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Thu, 07 Dec 2023
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UN launches Gates-funded global digital ID program as experts warn of 'totalitarian nightmare'

Gates digital ID
With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the United Nations this month launched its "50-in-5" campaign to promote and accelerate the development of a global digital public infrastructure. One critic called the campaign "a totalitarian nightmare" designed to "onboard" small countries with "digital ID, digital wallets, digital lawmaking, digital voting and more."

With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the United Nations (U.N.) this month launched an "ambitious-country-led campaign" to promote and accelerate the development of a global digital public infrastructure (DPI).

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said its "50-in-5" campaign will spur the construction of "an underlying network of components" that includes "digital payments, ID, and data exchange system," which will serve as "a critical accelerator of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)."

"The goal of the campaign is for 50 countries to have designed, implemented, and scaled at least one DPI component in a safe, inclusive, and interoperable manner in five years," the UNDP stated.

Critics of the campaign include Tim Hinchliffe, editor of The Sociable, who told The Defender he believes DPI "is a mechanism for surveillance and control that combines digital ID, central bank digital currencies [CBDC], vaccine passports and carbon footprint tracking data, paving the way for 15-minute smart cities, future lockdowns and systems of social credit."


Russia rejects 'substantial proposal' from US for release of spies Whelan, Gershkovich

Paul Whelan
© Sputnik/Kirill Kallinikov
FILE PHOTO: Paul Whelan in the Lefortovo court in Moscow
Russia in recent weeks rejected a substantial new proposal for the release of Paul Whelan and Evan Gershkovich, two Americans considered by the U.S. to be "wrongfully detained" in Russia, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Tuesday.

Miller declined to provide details on what Washington proposed and it was the first time the United States revealed such a proposal had been made. Whelan and Gershkovich have been charged in Russia with spying, which they deny.

"In recent weeks, we made a new and significant proposal to secure Paul and Evan's release. That proposal was rejected by Russia. We shouldn't have to make these proposals. They never should have been arrested in the first place. They should both be released immediately," Miller told reporters.

Comment: Evidently those spies mean a lot to the US, and Moscow likely has good reason for wanting to ensure that they serve their sentence:

Eye 2

British government to send surveillance planes to facilitate Israel's genocide

HMS Diamond

HMS Diamond in waters off Bournemouth in 2018
On Saturday, Britain's Ministry of Defence (MoD) said that the Royal Air Force (RAF) would carry out surveillance flights over Gaza.

A joint statement by the Ministry of Defence, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, and Home Office, headed "UK military activity in the Eastern Mediterranean", announced, "In support of the ongoing hostage rescue activity, the Ministry of Defence will conduct surveillance flights over the eastern Mediterranean, including operating in air space over Israel and Gaza."

The statement claimed that the "Surveillance aircraft will be unarmed, do not have a combat role, and will be tasked solely to locate hostages. Only information relating to hostage rescue will be passed to the relevant authorities responsible for hostage rescue."

Comment: It's likely that the West will become increasingly wreckless in its attempts to maintain a modicum of power; more so following its undeniable defeat in Ukraine:

Star of David

Israel said to be setting up pumps in Gaza to flood Hamas tunnels with seawater

idf hamas tunnel gaza
IDF troops operate in northern Gaza near the mouth of an alleged Hamas tunnel in this handout photo released on November 23, 2023. (IDF)
Wall Street Journal says IDF has yet to decide on whether to go ahead with plan to flood terror group's subterranean passages and hideaways, with opinions mixed in US

Israel has readied plans to flood Hamas's system of tunnels under the Gaza Strip with water pumped from the Mediterranean Sea, a move aimed at destroying the terror group's subterranean network of passages and hideaways and driving its fighters above ground, according to a report Monday.

Quoting US officials, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Israel Defense Forces last month set up five large water pumps near the al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, which are capable of flooding the tunnels within weeks by pumping thousands of cubic meters of water per hour into them.

The officials said Israel alerted the US about the plan last month, but has not yet decided on whether to implement it.


Trump appeals New York gag order to state's highest court

Allison Greenfield Judge Arthur F. Engoron
© The New York Sun
Former President Donald Trump appealed a gag order on Monday that bars him from speaking about a judge's law clerk to the New York Court of Appeals, less than a week after a lower court reinstated the order.

Ever since the first weeks of Trump's civil business fraud trial in October, the former president has been under a limited gag order due to his social media posts referencing Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron's staff. A filing appeared on the New York Appellate Division, First Judicial Department docket on Monday, showing Trump's intent to appeal the lower court's decision to the state's highest court.

Engoron contends his principal law clerk, Allison Greenfield, has sustained harassing and antisemitic messages ever since Trump posted a picture of her with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and referred to her as his "girlfriend" on Oct. 4, the second day of the civil fraud trial against the Trump Organization.

Russian Flag

Migrants must learn Russian and respect the law - Putin

© Pavel Bednyakov/Sputnik
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Moscow favors immigration but must safeguard the interests of Russia first, the president has said...

Immigrants who come to work and live in Russia must comply with its laws and respect its customs and traditions, including learning the language, President Vladimir Putin said on Monday.

Putin addressed the issue at a meeting of the Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights, traditionally held in early December.
"We need to attract such labor resources that meet the interests of the Russian economy. This means that [these] people must be prepared from a linguistic, ethnocultural point of view. They must know our traditions and so on.

"The interest of Russia and its citizens 'must be put first'. All immigrants and visitors also must comply with Russian laws. And, of course, we, as a civilized country, must also ensure their rights."
Russia is opening schools in several countries of the former Soviet Union - part of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to assist with Russian language instruction and cultural events, the president informed the council.


Netanyahu must be charged by ICC - Erdogan

© TUR Presidency/Mural Cetinmuhurdar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Turkish House in New York City • September 19, 2023
The Turkish leader also rebuked Western nations for giving Israel "unconditional support to kill babies"...

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has predicted that Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu will eventually face war crimes charges in the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his country's offensive in Gaza, as he condemned Western inaction throughout Israel's ongoing military action in the besieged enclave.

More than 15,800 people, mostly women and children, have so far been killed in Israeli air and ground attacks in Gaza after Netanyahu vowed to "eliminate Hamas" in response to the Palestinian militant group's October 7 cross-border attack, which killed about 1,200 people and saw 240 hostages seized.

The two warring sides engaged in a truce to facilitate the deployment of international aid in Gaza last week, as well as to oversee the release of Hamas-held hostages in exchange for prisoners held in Israeli jails.

But with the brief accord having ended on Friday as Israel amped up its military action once again, Erdogan said in a speech to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul on Monday that he expected Netanyahu to one day face a war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

Comment: Israel and the US are not members of the ICC, thus power to hold them to account from this vehicle is virtually non-existent. Israel has been a prime topic for decades. The Hague is a different story.


'Russia will not lose': Orban outlines the future of Europe

© Ludovic Marin/AFP
Viktor Orban • October 6, 2023
In the heart of Zurich, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban delivered a speech that resonated not only through the grand halls but across the European political landscape.

Orban's address at the jubilee event of the Swiss Magazine Die Weltwoche at the end of November was a profound exploration of geopolitics, an ode to Hungary's economic resilience, and a pragmatic take on global alliances, particularly with Russia. This narrative, often overshadowed by mainstream discourse, deserves meticulous dissection for its potential to reshape the contours of European politics.

Orban's assertion that Europe has relinquished its self-determination struck a resonant chord in the corridors, where the future of the European Union is being debated. His critique of the European Commission's evolution into a political body lacking the necessary governance acumen echoes the sentiments of those yearning for decisive leadership.

The prime minister's call for the return of robust, capable politicians harkens back to an era when leaders like Helmut Kohl and Jacques Chirac commanded European politics. Their absence, as Orban rightly notes, has left a void in leadership and decision-making that bureaucrats cannot fill.


Border surveillance footage from 7 October 'disappears': Israeli officers

Army vehicle patrols border with Gaza Strip near Nahal Oz
Israeli reserve officers say surveillance video and audio recordings from the Gaza border during the Hamas attack have been deleted, potentially to prevent an investigation into what happened that day...

Israeli military surveillance video from the Gaza border from 7 October, the day of Hamas' surprise attack, has disappeared, Israeli news site Walla reported on 3 December.

During a visit by a senior female officer from the Israeli army general staff to the various division headquarters, senior officers in the reserves commented that "an invisible hand" had deleted videos from the various military surveillance cameras showing the events of that day, the Hebrew language outlet stated.


Moscow still ready for talks with Kiev - Kremlin

© Sputnik / Pavel Lisitsyn
Moscow is ready to resolve the ongoing conflict with Kiev through diplomatic means at any moment, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the news media outlet RTVI on Tuesday. Russia has never rejected such an option, and it was Kiev that withdrew from the talks in spring 2022, he noted.

Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine in February 2022 to protect the Russian-speaking population of the two Donbass republics. The former Ukrainian territories declared independence from Kiev in the wake of the 2014 Maidan coup, leading to years of conflict.

Moscow has repeatedly stated that it is ready to talk with Kiev as long as the situation on the ground is considered. In autumn 2022, the two republics, alongside two other Ukrainian territories, officially joined Russia following a series of referendums.