On Thursday, President Biden said one of the goals of his upcoming trip to the Middle East to to “deepen Israel’s integration in the region” as Israel is hoping to form an anti-Iran alliance in the region with Washington’s Arab allies.

Israel has increased military ties with regional countries as a result of the US-brokered Abraham Accords, which saw Israel normalize relations with the UAE and Bahrain. Saudi Arabia has been hesitant to open up relations with Israel, but the two nations have quietly increased military cooperation.

“Part of the purpose is … is to deepen Israel’s integration in the region, which I think we’re going to be able to do and which is good — good for peace and good for Israeli security,” Biden told reporters at the NATO summit in Madrid. “And that’s why Israel leaders have come out so strongly for my going to Saudi,” he added.

Posted on: Jul 03 09:13

SMALL TEAMS OF U.S. Special Operations forces are involved in a low-profile proxy war program on a far greater scale than previously known, according to exclusive documents and interviews with more than a dozen current and former government officials.

While The Intercept and other outlets have previously reported on the Pentagon’s use of the secretive 127e authority in multiple African countries, a new document obtained through the Freedom of Information Act offers the first official confirmation that at least 14 127e programs were also active in the greater Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region as recently as 2020. In total, between 2017 and 2020, U.S. commandos conducted at least 23 separate 127e programs across the world.

Separately, Joseph Votel, a retired four-star Army general who headed both Special Operations Command and Central Command, which oversees U.S. military efforts in the Middle East, confirmed the existence of previously unrevealed 127e counterterrorism efforts in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen.

Another former senior defense official, who requested anonymity to discuss a classified program, confirmed that an earlier version of the 127e program had also been in place in Iraq. A 127e program in Tunisia, code-named Obsidian Tower, which has never been acknowledged by the Pentagon or previously identified as a use of the 127e authority, resulted in combat by U.S. forces alongside local surrogates in 2017, according to another set of documents obtained by The Intercept. A third document, a secret memo that was redacted and declassified for release to The Intercept, sheds light on hallmarks of the program, including use of the authority to provide access to areas of the world otherwise inaccessible even to the most elite U.S. troops.

Posted on: Jul 03 09:13

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has appealed the British government’s decision to extradite him to the US, where he will face trial for exposing US war crimes by publishing documents he received from whistleblower and former Army soldier Chelsea Manning.

The appeal was lodged by Assange’s legal team to the High Court of London and came after British Home Secretary Priti Patel ruled to extradite the WikiLeaks founder. No further details have been made public about the appeal.

“The legal team representing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in his extradition case in the UK has filed an appeal at the High Court of Justice,” journalist Kevin Gosztola, who follows the Assange case closely, wrote on Twitter. “There aren’t many details his attorneys can share until the High Court decides whether to grant a hearing or not.”

Posted on: Jul 03 09:12

On Friday, Israeli soldiers injured dozens of Palestinians, including seventeen who were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets, during the weekly procession in Kufur Qaddoum town, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia.

Dozens of residents held the weekly procession and marched from the town’s center while chanting for liberation and calling for ending the illegal Israeli occupation and its colonialist activities.

The Palestinians also marked the twelfth year since the nonviolent processions started, and raised Palestinian flags before the soldiers assaulted them near the town’s closed main road.

The soldiers fired many rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs, and concussion grenades at the protesters, wounding seventeen and causing dozens to suffer the effects of tear gas inhalation.

Posted on: Jul 03 09:12

Israeli occupation forces on Friday attacked a Palestinian woman’s funeral in the town of Beit Ummar, in the southern West Bank province of Hebron (Al-Khalil), the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

Posted on: Jul 03 09:11

Palestinian authorities in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip systematically torture critics in detention, a practice that could amount to crimes against humanity, an international rights group said on Friday.

Human Rights Watch called in its report for donor countries to cut off funding to Palestinian security forces that commit such crimes and urged the International Criminal Court to investigate.

The report alleged that Palestinian security forces "use solitary confinement and beatings, including whipping their feet, and force detainees into painful stress positions for prolonged periods, including hoisting their arms behind their backs with cables or rope, to punish and intimidate critics and opponents and elicit confessions".

Posted on: Jul 03 09:10

Extremist Jewish settlers on Thursday set Palestinian-owned lands on fire in the village of Husan, near the city of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

Mohammad Sabatin, mayor of Husan, told WAFA that a group of Jewish settlers set fire to large swathes of land planted with olives and grapes, destroying hundreds of trees.

Posted on: Jul 03 09:09

Norway on Friday pledged 1 billion euros ($1.04 billion) to help Ukraine defend itself, support people in need and for reconstruction in the wake of Russia's invasion.

Addressing a news conference in Kyiv alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said Norway wanted to express its solidarity with Ukraine's fight for survival.

"I'm here to say that Ukraine's fight is not only for Ukraine. This is about some fundamental principles of the world we are going to offer to our children. This is about security in Europe, this is about the fate of your neighbour," he said.

"We will pledge 1 billion euros in support to your country and your people for the remaining part of 2022 and for 2023," he continued. "This war is a breach of international law. ... You have the right to defend yourself and we have the right to help you defend yourself."

Asked whether Norway was willing to increase gas supplies to Europe, Stoere said Norway was already producing gas "at its maximum" but it would do everything it could to provide gas.

Posted on: Jul 03 09:08

Ukraine now has a "very clear European perspective" but the road to EU membership will take time and require hard work, the president of the EU executive told the country's parliament on Friday.

EU leaders last week granted Ukraine candidate status to join the bloc, formally opening a process that is expected to take years before it becomes a member of the union that now comprises 27 countries.

In a speech by video-link to the Ukrainian assembly, Ursula von der Leyen underlined the progress made by the country in its path towards EU membership while it defends itself against Russia's Feb. 24 invasion.

"Ukraine now has a very clear European perspective. And Ukraine is a candidate country to join the European Union, something that seemed almost unimaginable just five months ago," she told lawmakers and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Posted on: Jul 03 09:08

Ukraine launched three Tochka-U ballistic missiles loaded with cluster munitions at the Russian city of Belgorod, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Sunday. It added that all three had been intercepted mid-air, but that parts of one of the missiles had hit a house.

Regional Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said that three people were killed and four injured overnight. He added that 11 apartment buildings and at least 39 smaller houses were damaged.

Gladkov later said that the death toll had grown to four. Three of the victims are Ukrainian nationals and one is a Russian citizen, he added.

Russian news outlet Baza later reported that two more bodies were recovered from under the rubble, raising the death toll to five. This has not yet been confirmed by officials.

Belgorod is located around 40 kilometers from the Russia-Ukraine border.

Defense Ministry spokesman Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov said that Ukraine had also sent two Tu-143 Reys drones, “loaded with explosives,” towards Kursk, another Russian city close to the border. He said both drones were destroyed by air defenses before reaching the city.

Konashenkov said that Ukraine targeted residential areas, which had “no military sites.”

Posted on: Jul 03 09:07

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wants to accelerate the discussion about bringing the Western Balkan states closer to the European Union.

No more time should be lost in the efforts for integration and harmonization, the Green politician said on Friday after talks with her Slovenian counterpart Tanja Fajon in Berlin.

"No niche must be created in the Balkans in which Russia or other actors can settle," Baerbock said. In addition to Russia, China is also seeking greater influence in the Western Balkans.

"The Western Balkans are geographically in the middle of the EU. We must also finally bring the people of the Western Balkans into our political centre," Baerbock demanded.

Posted on: Jul 03 09:07

Indonesia's president ended a trip to Ukraine and Russia saying he hoped for progress reintegrating global food and fertiliser supply lines disrupted by the conflict, and offered to be a diplomatic bridge between the two nations.

President Joko Widodo, who is the G20 president this year, was speaking at a news conference alongside his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin after a bilateral meeting in Moscow on Thursday.

His trip followed a visit to Kyiv on Wednesday where he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

"I really appreciate President Putin who said earlier that he will provide security guarantee for food and fertiliser supplies from both Russia and Ukraine. This is good news," said the Indonesian president, who is widely known as Jokowi.

"For the sake of humanity, I also support the United Nations' efforts to reintegrate Russian food and fertiliser commodities and Ukrainian food commodities to re-enter the world supply chain," he said.

Posted on: Jul 03 09:06

China will loosen entry restrictions on U.S. citizens, allowing entrance in case of transit via a third country, notices issued late on Friday by the Chinese embassy in Washington said, relaxing rules imposed in Beijing's drive to curb COVID-19.

China's "dynamic COVID zero" policy, which aims to minimise the risk of infected travellers arriving from abroad, has resulted in many barriers to international travel, from restrictions on the issue and renewal of passports for Chinese citizens to tough quarantine requirements upon arrival.

According to an updated policy statement, U.S. citizens with valid negative COVID test results looking to enter China may now apply for and receive a green health code for travel in from either the United States or a third country. In the past, the embassy would only grant the codes to U.S. citizens flying directly from the United States.

China has loosened the same restrictions recently for citizens of other countries.

The restrictions, coupled with a limited number of direct flights from the United States to China, caused ticket prices to cost as much as $10,000.

The changes follow a similar slight relaxation of COVID testing rules for people arriving in China from countries including the United States announced on May 18.

Posted on: Jul 03 09:05

The Royal Thai Navy is set to sign a 4 billion baht (around $112 million) deal with an Israeli defence firm for drones, according to local media.

The navy will buy seven unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Israeli weapons makers Elbit Systems after winning a tender for a drone system, Nation Thailand and Bangkok Post reported on Friday.

Five companies – from Turkey, China, the US, and two from Israel -  had proposed UAVs to the navy as part of the procurement process with the Israeli firm winning, a ministry source told Bangkok Post.

The contract is still in its drafting stages and is expected to be signed within the next month to make it official, Nation Thailand reported Vice Admiral Pokkrong Monthatphalin as saying.


Posted on: Jul 03 09:04

On Tuesday Russian First Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dmitry Polyansky addressed the UN Security Council:

“We started a special military operation in order to put an end to bombardments of Donbas by Ukraine, and also to make sure that this country (that Western states helped to turn anti-Russia) and its nationalist leadership stop posing a threat to both Russia and people living in Ukraine’s southern and south-eastern areas. The special operation will continue until these goals are achieved. By supplying your weapons, you only prolong the agony of the criminal Kiev regime that is ready to sacrifice its own population. The sooner you realize this, the sooner Ukrainian leadership comes to a negotiations table with a realistic position rather than pompous slogans and phantom pains.”

A final hotspot in Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) remains the city of Lisichansk, where over 1,000 Ukraine soldiers are now reported dead. The LPR also announced that the first of the US made and sent long range multiple launch rocket systems M142 HIMARS has been used to shell targets in Lugansk province. The Pentagon just announced that four more of these HIMARS rocket systems will be shipped to Ukraine.

With NATO member Lithuania’s blockade aggressively attempting to cut off supplies to the Russian enclave Kaliningrad, on June 25th, Putin promised his major Eastern European regional ally Belarus nuclear capable long-range missiles “within months.” In a televised meeting with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, Putin promised:

In the coming months, we will transfer to Belarus Iskander-M tactical missile systems, which can use ballistic or cruise missiles, in their conventional and nuclear versions. 

Iskander-M missiles carry the option of either conventional or nuclear warheads with a range of 300 miles (500km). With the West intentionally ratcheting up tensions with nonstop provocation in recent weeks, (months and years), the normally constrained Putin appears to finally had enough, and is now matching the West’s escalating threats in spades, showing the world he is not afraid of going toe to toe with the US and NATO, even if it means nuclear world war. Whereas the West’s historical pattern of nuclear brinkmanship consists of a steady stream of blusterous bluffing, Putin doesn’t play games or mince words and the Western elite knows this.

Posted on: Jul 03 09:02

Fast but not furious, the Global South is revving up. The key takeaway of the BRICS+ summit in Beijing,  held in sharp contrast with the G7 in the Bavarian Alps, is that both West Asia’s Iran and South America’s Argentina officially applied for BRICS membership.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry has highlighted how BRICS has “a very creative mechanism with broad aspects”. Tehran – a close partner of both Beijing and Moscow – already had “a series of consultations” about the application: the Iranians are sure that will “add value” to the expanded BRICS.

Talk about China, Russia and Iran being sooooo isolated. Well, after all we’re deep into the metaverse spectrum, where things are the opposite of what they seem.

Posted on: Jul 03 09:02

 President Joe Biden, as we all know, has taken to calling today’s high prices at the pump “Putin’s price hike.” At a Thursday news conference in Madrid, a reporter asked him, “How long is it fair to expect American drivers and drivers around the world to pay that premium for this war?”

By: orraz
Posted on: Jul 03 09:01

 Once mediocre NBA player, failed CNN host and left-wing social media fabulist Rex Chapman is being blasted for a racist tirade against U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas that he began posting on Twitter on Thursday.

By: orraz
Posted on: Jul 03 09:01

Throughout the 19th century, Americans generally had a much better understanding of their anti-colonial origins than is the case today.

Even though the last official war fought between Britain and the USA occured between 1812 and 1815, the British failure to destroy the United States militarily caused British foreign policy to re-focus its efforts on undermining the republic from within.

This slower attack from within required more patience, but was much more successful and led to the near collapse of USA during the Civil War of 1861-1865 when Lord Palmerston quickly recognized the Southern slave power’s call for independence from the Union.

Britain not only provided munitions, intelligence, and crown territories in Canada to serve as Confederate Intelligence stations, but nearly came in openly fighting alongside the Confederacy. This danger was only subdued thanks to Russia’s intervention on the Union’s behalf in 1863.

As the war raged, none other than Lord Robert Cecil (three times Prime Minister) told the British Parliament:

The Northern States of America never can be our sure friends because we are rivals, rivals politically, rivals commercially…With the Southern States, the case is entirely reversed. The population are an agricultural people. They furnish the raw material of our industry, and they consume the products which we manufacture from it. With them, every interest must lead us to cultivate friendly relations, and when the war began they at once recurred to England as their natural ally.”

Posted on: Jul 03 09:01

Britain’s military knew that fighters from an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist organisation were benefiting from the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi in 2011, but continued to support Nato airstrikes in Libya for another two months.

The revelation raises serious questions about British foreign policy and whether the UK’s then prime minister David Cameron misled parliament.

In early September 2011, Cameron updated the House of Commons about the situation in Libya, telling MPs:

“This revolution was not about extreme Islamism; al-Qaeda played no part in it.”

However, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) had assessed the month before that:

“The 17 February Brigade is likely to be an enduring player in [the] transition” away from Gaddafi’s regime and had “political linkages” to Libya’s rebel leadership, the National Transitional Council.

The 17 February Brigade, also known as the 17 February Martyrs Brigade, was a hardline Islamist militia named after the date the uprising began against Gaddafi. Its ranks included Salman Abedi, who went on to murder 22 innocent people in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in 2017.

The MOD assessment said,

“Many 17th February Brigade fighters have affiliations with the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups, such as the Libyan Islamic Movement for Change (formerly LIFG).”

The LIFG, or Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, was banned by Britain in 2005 as a terrorist organisation over its links to Al Qaeda. Its supporters included the Manchester bomber’s father, Ramadan Abedi. The organisation rebranded to the Libyan Islamic Movement for Change during the 2011 war.

Posted on: Jul 03 09:00

From the onset of the pandemic, social media giants, including FacebookTwitter and YouTube, have flagged COVID-related posts the social media giants deem “false or misleading.”

That’s not news — most social media users are aware of the practice, especially amid recent headlines citing increased pressure from Congress and the White House to aggressively crack down on “vaccine misinformation.”

But here’s a less-publicized fact some social media users — and consumers of online news — may not know: Reuters, owned by the $40 billion international multimedia company, Thomson Reuters Corporation, is also in the business of “fact checking” social media posts.

Reuters publishes its fact-checking commentary online in a format designed to resemble new stories, which turn up in online searches.

Last week, Reuters announced a new collaboration with Twitter to “more quickly provide credible information on the social networking site as part of an effort to fight the spread of misinformation.”

In February, Reuters announced a similar partnership with Facebook to “fact check” social media posts.

However, when announcing its fact-checking partnerships with Facebook and Twitter, Reuters made no mention of this fact: The news organization has ties to PfizerWorld Economic Forum (WEF) and Trusted News Initiative (TNI), an industry collaboration of major news and global tech organizations whose stated mission is to “combat spread of harmful vaccine disinformation.”

Reuters also failed to provide any criteria for how information would be defined as “misinformation” and did not disclose the qualifications of the people responsible for determining fact versus false or misleading “misinformation.”

Physician kicked off LinkedIn for calling out Reuters’ ties to TNI, Pfizer, WEF

Dr. Robert Malone, a physician and inventor of mRNA vaccines and RNA drugs, said he thinks anyone reading Reuters “fact check” articles about COVID-related content should know about, as Malone says, the obvious conflicts of interest.

Posted on: Jul 03 08:59

As proxy conflicts around the world rage on, America is poised to continue proliferating further instability across the globe, particularly in the vicinity of near-peer adversaries, Russia and China, neither of which want escalation, as they need peace and stability to fulfill their development goals. Washington DC (and lately Brussels as well) is determined to prevent that and force the (Eur)Asian giants to bleed cash and resources on new weapons, which in turn helps drive demand from America’s massive Military-Industrial Complex.

In the last 30+ years, the imperialist thalassocracy has tried to redefine its role, going from a self-styled “sole superpower” and “global policeman” to an increasingly isolated great power in decline, losing wars to AK-wielding insurgents in sandals. A string of military failures forced America to rethink its policy of “strategic containment”. Unwilling (or unable) to directly engage even smaller regional powers, the US has relegated most of its interventionist policies to numerous client states, whose sole purpose is to harass US rivals, be it China, Russia, Iran, Syria, etc. America’s role is to provide weapons, logistics, critical information, particularly its extensive ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) capabilities, etc.

The vassals are to do all the dirty work, including getting killed or maimed for the imperial metropole. To do this more effectively, they need weapons. One such client entity is Taiwan, China’s breakaway island in the increasingly contested Asia-Pacific region.

Posted on: Jul 03 08:59

On the final day of the NATO summit in Madrid, President Biden declared that the US and NATO will support Ukraine for ‘as long as it takes’ for Kyiv to win its war against Russia. He also said that his administration will be announcing a new $800 million weapons package for Ukraine in the coming days.

“We are going to stick with Ukraine and all of the Alliance is going to stick with Ukraine as long as it takes to, in fact, make sure that they are not defeated by… Russia,” Biden said at a press conference.

When asked how long Americans should expect to pay high gas prices that have spiked as a result of his sanctions on Russia, Biden also said for “as long as it takes” so Russia cannot “defeat Ukraine.”

As Russia is making more money from oil sales now than it was before the war, the US is looking at ways to hamper Moscow’s profits while not causing another spike in prices. One idea G7 leaders are exploring is placing a price cap on Russian oil, a plan doomed to fail as it would need the cooperation of Vladimir Putin as well as China and India, which have significantly stepped up their imports of Russian crude.

“I suggested a while ago that what we should consider doing is putting a cap on the amount of money that… the world would pay for Russian oil,” Biden told reporters. He said that he delegated a team to “sit down and work out that mechanism” for the price cap. “We think it can be done,” he said.

Posted on: Jul 03 08:58

Hey, I thought Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the US Transportation Secretary, was supposed to unclog the supply-chain crisis! Instead, we get heartaches on heartaches as diesel prices rise 118% under Biden AND now the bottle-necks may get a lot worse.

A US Supreme Court decision that could force California’s 70,000 truck owner-operators to stop driving is set to create another choke point in already-stressed West Coast logistics networks, a truckers’ organization said. 

“Gasoline has been poured on the fire that is our ongoing supply-chain crisis,” the California Trucking Association said in a statement following the Supreme Court’s decision to deny a judicial review of a decision of a lower court, a process known as certiorari.

“In addition to the direct impact on California’s 70,000 owner-operators who have seven days to cease long-standing independent businesses, the impact of taking tens of thousands of truck drivers off the road will have devastating repercussions on an already fragile supply chain, increasing costs and worsening runaway inflation,” the CTA said.

Posted on: Jul 03 08:57

I will always remember the day they took away the history books. My small boarding school, on a rain-lashed Devon hilltop, had until that day taught us about the glory and grandeur of English history. It was a story of courage, freedom and the defeat of foreign threats.

But these volumes, their pages soft from use, their illustrations in wistful black and white, were no longer acceptable. They were gathered up and carted off. Instead, we were given glossy, brightly-coloured replacements with larger print and supposedly exciting photographs of a brave new world.

Luckily for me, the change came just too late. I had already absorbed all the old stuff and I would never be able to regard the 1945 Labour Government as being as exciting or interesting as the Battle of Trafalgar. I thought then, as I think now, that this country had indeed had a Glorious Revolution in 1688. Significantly, it was about the same time that they began to inflict the ‘New Maths’ on us – but once again I had been lucky enough to learn my times tables by heart long before then.

Posted on: Jul 03 08:39

 Twitter’s suspension on Canadian psychologist and public intellectual Jordan Peterson is just supposed to be temporary — but, to hear him tell it, it may as well be permanent.

By: orraz
Posted on: Jul 03 08:39

 Following the horror of a human-smuggling attempt that left 53 people dead, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott ordered state troopers to inspect more trucks — again expanding a border security mission that has cost billions, given the National Guard arrest powers and bused migrants to Washington, D.C.

By: orraz
Posted on: Jul 03 08:39

The government has halted payments to citizens who received refugees, but nonetheless continues to supply Kiev with weapons. The latter, in the Kremlin's view, only perpetuates the conflict that had prompted the exodus.

Warsaw residents took to the streets to protest continuing waves of immigrants from Ukraine on 2 July.

Posted on: Jul 03 08:37

Dem Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez posted an Instagram story of her walking to get a manicure.

Posted on: Jul 03 08:37