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What explains the Croatian President's criticism of NATO's anti-Russian policies?

croatia russia flag
Croatian President Zoran Milanovic surprised everyone when he declared that he'll withdraw all of his country's soldiers from NATO operations in the event that tensions escalate with Russia. He also disassociated Croatia from the bloc's latest anti-Russian moves in the region. Observers were shocked since this Balkan nation is traditionally regarded as being solidly within the US-led West's sphere of influence. It's also been extremely antagonistic against Serbia, which is considered Russia's closest regional partner, since even before the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia.

Those perceptions, however, aren't exactly accurate even though they've been pushed by both the Mainstream Media and the Alt-Media Community (AMC) for years, each for their own self-serving political reasons. It's fashionable to oversimplify Balkan geopolitics by claiming that Croatia is a Western ally while Serbia is a Russian one and then imagining that this means that Zagreb and Moscow can never have any pragmatic cooperation with one another. That's not true, though, as the author explained in his May 2018 analysis titled "Serbs, Listen Up! Here's Why Russia's Getting Chummy With Croatia".

Comment: See also: And check out SOTT radio's: NewsReal: Ukraine Gambit - US Attempting to Destroy Russia




Info

Zelenskiy calls for calm, warns of destabilization amid Russia fears

Volodymyr Zelenskiy Ukraine president
Ukraine's president again pushed back on U.S. assertions that a new Russian invasion of Ukraine was imminent, as he sought to tamp down fears within the country and ease mounting economic strains.

Speaking before foreign reporters in Kyiv, Volodymyr Zelenskiy insisted that tensions with Russia had not increased and that the main risk to his country is destabilization from within.

Zelenskiy said that while he couldn't rule out a further escalation of tensions, it is not clear that the start of a war with Russia, which has moved more than an estimated 100,000 troops to areas close to Ukraine's border, is certain.

Comment: See also:


Stock Down

Zelensky says Ukraine lost almost $500 million to Biden war hype: 'We don't need this panic'

Zelensky
© SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned international corporate media and world leaders like President Joe Biden for publicly predicting imminent war with Russia on Friday, stating that the panic caused by these statements cost Ukraine 12.5 billion hryvnia (about $437 million) in foreign investment.

Zelensky spent nearly an hour and a half with reporters at a press conference in Kyiv on Friday following what has become a controversial phone conversation with President Biden on Thursday night. While the official readouts from both Washington and Kyiv depicted the call as productive and friendly, a CNN report based on anonymous sources described the call as frustrating and tedious, featuring harried warnings from Biden that Kyiv would be "sacked" and exasperated requests from Zelensky for the president to "calm down."

Both the White House and the Ukrainian president's office have rejected the CNN report, and Zelensky himself, during the press conference, repeatedly expressed gratitude to Biden without addressing the acute challenges the CNN report claimed exist in the relationship.

Comment: See also: Hysteria can be hard to redial - Ukrainians in panic mode as President tries to calm fears of economic collapse


Dollars

Soros pours $125M into super PAC ahead of midterms

Soros
© Getty Images
George Soros is seeding a super PAC with $125M for 2022 election cycle.
Billionaire mega-donor George Soros is seeding a super PAC with $125 million, an enormous investment that will aid Democratic groups and candidates for the 2022 election cycle and beyond.

The group, Democracy PAC, has served as Soros' campaign spending vehicle since 2019, channeling more than $80 million to other Democratic groups and candidates during the 2020 election cycle. The new, nine-figure investment from Soros is aimed at supporting
"pro-democracy causes and candidates, regardless of political party" who are invested in "strengthening the infrastructure of American democracy: voting rights and civic participation, civil rights and liberties, and the rule of law,"
Soros said in a statement shared first with POLITICO.

Soros added that the donation to the super PAC is a "long-term investment," intended to support political work beyond this year.

Comment: See also:


Footprints

BLM's millions unaccounted for after leaders quietly jumped ship

BLM logo
© BLM/KJN
No one appears to have been in charge at Black Lives Matter for months. The address it lists on tax forms is wrong, and the charity's two board members won't say who controls its $60 million bankroll, a Washington Examiner investigation has found.

BLM's shocking lack of transparency surrounding its finances and operations raises major legal and ethical red flags, multiple charity experts told the Washington Examiner. CharityWatch Executive Director Laurie Styron said of BLM:
"Like a giant ghost ship full of treasure drifting in the night with no captain, no discernible crew, and no clear direction."
BLACK LIVES MATTER FOUNDATION RAISED MORE THAN $90M IN 2020

BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors appointed two activists to serve as the group's senior directors following her resignation in May amid scrutiny over her personal finances. But both quietly announced in September that they never took the jobs due to disagreements with BLM. They told the Washington Examiner they don't know who now leads the nation's most influential social justice organization.

Comment: It appears only certain black lives really matter. Non-profit rules and regulations are in place for the purpose of protecting the public against fraud and mismanagement - both of which look to be the case.


Snakes in Suits

Poland ready to make deal with Russia

soldier missile system
© Sputnik/Igor Zarembo
Warsaw is willing to let Russia inspect US air defense facilities if Polish inspectors are allowed to enter Kaliningrad.

With Moscow looking to come to an agreement with NATO over security guarantees in Europe, bloc member Poland has expressed willingness to allow Russian inspectors into its country to check US air defense facilities, it was reported on Wednesday.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which cited unnamed Polish officials, Warsaw would be willing to come to a reciprocal deal with Moscow. In return, Poland wants its inspectors to be allowed to check missile locations in Kaliningrad.

The idea to let Russians into American sites in Poland was initially proposed by Moscow, according to US officials. The Kremlin has repeatedly opposed the placement of foreign missiles on European territory and has suggested that air defense facilities could be used to fire ballistics at Russian territory.

Comment: Poland steps up in an unexpected moment of reason.


Attention

Biden visits site of Pittsburgh bridge collapse before speech on infrastructure

bridge collapse Biden
© Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Biden visits bridge collapse in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
President Joe Biden made an unscheduled visit to the site of a bridge collapse in Pittsburgh on Friday afternoon, during a trip in which Biden planned to promote his legislative agenda — including the landmark infrastructure law he signed last year.

Pittsburgh Public Safety confirmed the collapse on Twitter before 7 a.m. ET, urging people to avoid the area around Forbes and Braddock avenues near Frick Park.

Three people have been hospitalized with nonlife-threatening injuries, while authorities have been deployed to "ensure there are no victims under the collapsed bridge," the city tweeted in an update later Friday morning. Ten people have been checked or treated for minor injuries, including first responders, the city said in a press release.

The site of the collapse is just a few miles from Carnegie Mellon University at Mill 19, where Biden was set to deliver remarks around 2 p.m.

Comment: Scenes from the collapse:
bridge collapse
© AP/Gene J. Puskar
Emergency vehicles are parked at the edge of a bridge that collapsed, Friday Jan. 28, 2022 in Pittsburgh’s East End.



Attention

Biden spits on Putin's request for security

Eagle & the Bear
© Katehon.com/2016
"The main issue is our clear position on the unacceptability of further NATO expansion to the East and the deployment of highly-destructive weapons that could threaten the territory of the Russian Federation." Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
Washington delivered a slap in the face to Moscow on Wednesday when U.S. ambassador John Sullivan provided a written response to Russia's proposals for security guarantees. The missive was given to Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko who did not reveal the contents but passed them on to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for analysis. Lavrov, in turn, issued a statement on Thursday morning confirming our worst suspicions that the Biden administration has shrugged off Russia's reasonable demands choosing instead to intensify the provocations that are likely to trigger a war between the world's two nuclear superpowers. This is an excerpt from an article at Tass News Agency:
"The United States and NATO don't seem to have taken Russia's concerns on security guarantees into account when drawing up responses to Moscow's proposals, nor did they demonstrate any willingness to do so, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday.

"The numerous statements that our colleagues made yesterday make it clear that as for the major aspects of the draft agreements that we earlier presented to other parties, we can't say that they took our concerns into account or showed any readiness to take our concerns into consideration." (Tass News Agency)
Peskov is right, on the core issues the US either issued no clear response or refused to comply. In effect, the US response was designed to look like Washington was honestly negotiating when in fact, they were merely reinforcing their original position. The US response is essentially a defense of Washington's commitment to rule the world by force and to ignore the legitimate demands of weaker states to provide even minimal security for their people. If the US and NATO are allowed to pursue their present course of action, Russian cities and towns will be within 7 to 10 minutes of nuclear missiles located in nearby Romania and Poland. Russia's are being asked to live with a nuclear dagger pointed at their throats. This is Biden's idea of global security. Is it any wonder why Putin does not agree? Here's part of what Lavrov said on Thursday:
"There is no positive reaction on the main issue in this document. The main issue is our clear position that further NATO expansion to the east and the deployment of strike weapons that could threaten the territory of the Russian Federation are unacceptable."

Syringe

EU watchdog accuses Ursula von der Leyen of 'maladministration'; hand over secret texts sent to Pfizer's CEO to buy 1.8B Covid jabs

Von Leden/Bourla
© Reuters/VT News Networks/Reuters
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen • Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla
An official EU watchdog has slammed Ursula von der Leyen for keeping secret text messages with Pfizer's CEO about purchasing Covid vaccine doses, saying it 'constituted maladministration'.

The EU ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, issued a formal recommendation telling von der Leyen's office to search for and hand over the texts under a freedom of information request lodged by a journalist.

In April last year, the New York Times revealed that EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla had exchanged text messages and calls about vaccine procurements for EU countries.

The European Commission chief used 'personal diplomacy' to secure the deal for 1.8billion Pfizer vaccines via texts with the CEO, the paper revealed.

Journalist Alexander Fanta of news site netzpolitik.org then asked the Commission for access to the text messages and other documents, but the executive branch did not provide them.

The commission rebuffed the freedom-of-information request, refusing to say whether the texts existed - even though von der Leyen had referred to them herself in a media interview.

Bullseye

Scott Ritter: America couldn't defend Ukraine even if it wanted to

us troops soldiers saudi arabia iraq war
© David Turnley / Corbis / VCG via Getty Images
United States military personnel with an M16 rifle, guarding prisoners of war near the 5th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, during the Gulf War, at King Abdulaziz Air Base in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, 1991.
The Pentagon is in the process of preparing options for President Joe Biden regarding the deployment of US forces into NATO's eastern flank to seek to deter Russia from acting against Ukraine, or threatening NATO's easternmost members of Poland, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania.

Some 8,500 US troops have been put on standby to be prepared to deploy to Europe on short notice. These are the US contingent of the NATO Response Force, a multinational, 40,000-troop unit tasked with responding to aggression against member countries.

If the US wanted to do more, it could deploy a few squadrons of US Air Force fighters, along with another heavy armored brigade, whose equipment is prepositioned in Poland, and some support troops. It could also send 3,000 troops from the 82nd Airborne Division, which is tasked to "respond to crisis contingencies anywhere in the world within 18 hours."