Reader’s Links for August 16th, 2022

Each day at just after midnight Eastern, a post like this one is created for contributors and readers of this site to upload news links and video links on the issues that concern this site. Most notably, Islam and its effects on Classical Civilization, and various forms of leftism from Soviet era communism, to postmodernism and all the flavours of galloping statism and totalitarianism such as Nazism and Fascism which are increasingly snuffing out the classical liberalism which created our near, miraculous civilization the West has been building since the time of Socrates.

This document was written around the time this site was created, for those who wish to understand what this site is about. And while our understanding of the world and events has grown since then, the basic ideas remain sound and true to the purpose.

So please post all links, thoughts and ideas that you feel will benefit the readers of this site to the comments under this post each day. And thank you all for your contributions.

This is the new Samizdat. We must use it while we can.

About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic

75 Replies to “Reader’s Links for August 16th, 2022”

  1. https://www.producer.com/news/hailstorm-wreaks-havoc-sets-record-in-alberta/

    https://www.producer.com/markets/wasde-put-wheat-up-but-flat/

    https://www.producer.com/crops/cn-warns-of-grain-disruptions/

    https://www.producer.com/news/china-extends-phosphate-export-restrictions/

    A snapshot of Canadian domestic agriculture headlines show hail storms in the west but not the drought of the American west, possible undercapacity in rail to move product, near average crop production, and China limiting fertilizer exports.

    An interesting fact in the hail story is that the clouds were supposedly seeded by a private company in an attempt to reduce the hail and its impact on crops. An interesting aspect of the rail story is that the whole focus is on getting products to ports for export. Remember this if we are told, “moving forward”, that we have food shortages domestically. (As an aside, the expression “moving forward” supplanted “in the future” at some point. The future is a destination suggesting an eventual arrival, while moving forward never ends. Ever notice this?)

    This hard glimpse into agriculture is something most city folk don’t do. When I do it I’m always impressed by farmers. These country bumpkins must know how to weld angle iron and read wheat futures, bet millions on land leases and purchases while mortgaging millions more on equipment. What’s more, they usually only cash in when they’re done, selling the aggregated operation for whatever richly-deserved millions they can get.

    There is no drought that I detect in eastern Canada. No catastrophes should be imminent, therefore, for livestock production. If I’m wrong I didn’t look hard enough. I’m not an analyst. Moving forward I shall try harder.

    Canada is energy rich, too. Like our food production, we export energy if our government allows it to get to the ports.

    My point is that the self-inflicted European energy catastrophe is not Canada’s catastrophe. Yes, we must pay the world rate for energy, but it should remain available because we should not be subjected to any counterparty risk to secure our own commodities.

    Any knock-on energy impacts on European food supply and costs should be unique to Europe. Too many “shoulds” here, I know, but I intend them to be conspicuous. North American supplies are adequate to avoid such issues. I switch to the continental U.S. because Mexican and Canadian producers make any possible American domestic production shortfalls of essential products offset. Combine this with the strong USD and there is no food or energy problem. Extreme data points such as big hail stones or west Texas rainfall deficits do not make a whole market extreme in the aggregate.

    Likewise, any current extreme data points do not a climate make. Minor temperature increases from extreme low averages within this cycle give a clearer picture. Everything is normal. Human-activity impacts on climate are miniscule. It is the sun and clouds that dictate the rhythm of the Earth, and when hippopotami return to the Thames.

    Watch the hard markets to know the future truth. Be wary as Dear Leader moves forward into manufactured catastrophe.

    • The only food shortages in the US are Government made. The supply chain screw up and the fuel prices are hurting some farmers but overall we should have the internal and most of our export markets covered.

    • My big worry is the way DC keeps working to take land out of production. If they Left remains in power that could be a problem.

  2. Pakistani politician

    Engr. Reham M. Sabri (PMLN)
    @RehanMSabir

    After the attack of Salman Rushdie Insha’ Allah, the next number is @geertwilderspvv- I will give 20 $ million.
    I want @geertwildersspvv head. We want head. All Muslims want head.

    • NATIONAL POST – Rex Murphy: Trudeau, Biden won’t name actual threat to Salman Rushdie

      They ignore radical Islamists in favour of platitudes about free expression

      It is welcoming to see and hear so many Western leaders, writers and newspapers offering condolence and support for Salman Rushdie after the savage and barbarous knife attack on the famous author.

      Who could not be both outraged by the attempted murder and deeply sympathetic to the victim? Think about it. Here was a 75 year old man gracing something as innocent as a talk about books and writing in the heart of a great democracy and he was stabbed at least 10 times.

      Most world leaders, after the due expressions of concern and sympathy, went on to praise Rushdie for his commitment to free speech, free expression, the right to say and write what one thinks, which — for a long while at least — has been the crucial hallmark of every democracy. And that view is the correct one. For free speech, unfettered by governments or institutions, (or faddish causes) is the very seed principle of the democratic way.

      Joe Biden for example expressed presidential thanks to “Rushdie and all those who stand for freedom of expression.” Our prime minister placed a similar stress on the horrible event: “The cowardly attack on Salman Rushdie is a strike on the freedom of expression that our world relies on.” The same emphasis on the cardinal value of freedom of speech and expression may be found in the statements of many other leaders.

      I have no doubts that the expressions of sympathy were absolutely genuine. I am far less impressed by the — to me — new found reverence for freedom of expression. Especially since so many leaders, including Mr. Biden and Mr. Trudeau were rather stringent, laconic even, in its exercise.

      It is true that Rushdie was attacked for what he had written. All the throat clearing about “the motive is still unclear” in the early hours, was startling and genuinely incredible. For has not Salman Rushdie been under a sentence of death — that is what a fatwa in Islamist fundamentalism is — since 1989? It was in that year that Ayatollah Khomeini declared The Satanic verses a “blasphemy” and issued the fatwa. And to give energy to the call for the author’s beheading, a religious organization put a US$2.7 million dollar on its head, swollen to nearly US$4 million by 2016.

      So in all this reverential talk about “freedom of expression” why was that freedom not deployed to make the very necessary point that Rushdie’s life has been in danger because fundamentalist Islamists have been calling for his murder, and offering a huge reward for his death, for over 30 years. That is the most egregious and particular factor — the central fact of the villainous onslaught.

      To listen to Mr. Biden or Mr. Trudeau, for example, he was stabbed for standing up for the generalized idea of “freedom of expression.” No, he was not. He was stabbed because a fundamentalist strand of Islam and the leaders of Iran regarded his book as a “blasphemy” for in their words “insulting the prophet.”

      And for public statements by these two leaders, and others, not to reference that most salient fact, not to reference that an intolerant and fanatic faction had been urging his death, was — to use Orwell’s term — “objectively” a form of self-censorship, “objectively” again, to pay deference, by limiting comment, to the very intolerance and anti-expression of fundamentalist Islam. Which would not be paid by these same leaders to any other religion and emphatically not to the Christian faith.

      Rushdie was not attacked not as the Governor of New York so evasively put it for “speaking truth to power,” a phrase which has become trite from overuse and sloppy application to trivial and consequence-free protest. He was attacked for speaking “offensively” in the judgement of fanatics of their prophet.

      Say it. Name the actual cause. And do not be content with the empty pieties about freedom of expression which evade the predominant motive.

      These same pieties are mere lip music. Freedom of expression in the West has been seriously impaired by faddish concerns over “safe spaces.” falsely labelling as “racist” or “phobic” what are mere objections to current causes, and universities, in particular, which used to be seen as its ultimate defenders, the Bethlehem cradle of its very logic, are now ostracizing and even firing professors for wrong speech.

      Here in the West over the last decade freedom of speech has been choked by wokeism, political correctness, the cancel-culture craze, imperious rulings from Twitter, and most recently by the hyper-agitated activists who have showered J.K. Rowling with vicious abuse and death threats, for who comments on trans issues.

      The novel doctrines that “speech is violence” and “giving offense” have gutted the idea of real free speech.

      Here in Canada, it is under hearty and eager threat from the Trudeau government’s brazen ambition to police online communication, with their dubious and vague so-called “anti-hate” legislation.

      Rushdie, one hopes will survive and be lauded further. How serious the leaders of the West are about freedom of speech is for the next column.

      https://nationalpost.com/opinion/rex-murphy-trudeau-biden-wont-name-actual-threat-to-salman-rushdie

    • Perfectchild –
      I’m trying to accept your silence.

      Anyway, you’re here.
      You always will be.

      Still, I miss you terribly. There’s a rend in the fabric of this community – only you can mend it.

      My heart reaches out, your soul touches it.

      As ever,
      ~ Yucki, Yankee Kafir ~

    • Once upon a time, people were in monogamous relationships. And then, it was no longer sexy to be loyal to one partner. And thus was born STDs.

      • Degenerates spiraling down, subjecting the poor pet to such abuse. Violating the trust of your own dog, an animal that bonds like none other. Filthy perverts, such cruelty is a sin.

        Lev 18.23
        Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.

        Deut 27:21
        Cursed be he that lieth with any manner of beast…

  3. Where the United States was once considered a paragon of free and fair elections, now it seems more dubious procedures are calling into question the results of another referendum, this time concerning the effort to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon.

    Gascon, who has made it clear he doesn’t understand the concept of crime and punishment, faced his second recall after a 2021 effort failed just weeks into his tenure. In order to put the newest effort on the ballot in November, 566,857 signatured were needed.

    The county received more than enough at 715,000+, but a whopping 30 percent of those signatures were rejected, resulting in the acceptance of only 520,050. So, the effort to unseat the soft-on-crime DA has failed yet again, much to the peril of the citizens of LA, but at least the criminals in the City of Angels can rest easy tonight.

    https://www.bizpacreview.com/2022/08/16/massive-amount-of-supposed-invalid-signatures-sink-second-recall-effort-for-las-soft-on-crime-da-gascon-1274033/

    • BREITBART – L.A. Claims 27% Error Rate in Recall Signatures; < 1% Error Rate in Mail-in Ballots in 2020

      Los Angeles County reported Monday that over 27% of the signatures submitted on petitions to recall District Attorney George Gascón were invalid — after reporting that less than 1% of mail-in ballots were invalid in the 2020 election.

      The county reported that it rejected 195,783 of the 715,833 signatures submitted, roughly 27.3%. The reasons given included that some voters were found to be unregistered; incorrect addresses were given; or signatures did not match those on file.

      However, in January 2021, the county reported that less than 1% of the 3,422,585 vote-by-mail ballots submitted were rejected. The test for the validity of ballots is similar to that of petitions, involving checking signatures and addresses.

      Given that the State of California mailed ballots to every voter on the rolls, rather than just to those who had requested them as in years past, there was a high likelihood of error; some voters reported receiving multiple ballots, often for prior residents. (These problems persisted in the 2021 recall election for Gov. Gavin Newsom, as personally witness by this author.)

      Yet the county reported that 99.38% of vote-by-mail ballots were accepted in 2020. The number of vote-by-mail ballots that were rejected due to inaccurate signatures (12,135) in the election was close to the number rejected for that reason in the recall petitions (9,490), though the number of signatures to be examined in the election was roughly five times greater.

      In the primary phase of the 2020 election, when many states were using vote-by-mail for the first time, the rejection rate was roughly one in four, according to the Washington Post. That rate of rejection was less than one percent nationwide in the general election — and lower than the rejection rate in 2016 in many states, when there were far fewer people voting by mail.

      One explanation, according to FiveThirtyEight.com, was that “states … proactively changed their election policies to prevent ballots from getting tossed due to lateness,” and that voters were given a chance to “cure” invalid ballots. A more cynical theory was that officials may have lowered standards for rejection given the emphasis on vote-by-mail during the pandemic.

      Recall proponents complained that they were not allowed to watch the signature verification process, after county officials said they were not required to allow observers since the petition drive did not qualify as an “election” under state law.

      https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2022/08/16/l-a-claims-27-error-rate-in-recall-signatures-1-error-rate-in-mail-in-ballots-2020/

  4. Note: the following story is important in the language being used, and how it is being used by MSM, because it foretells the framing that is about to unfold… I know nothing of the events or the participants, so I hold back any comment on that. All I am trying to show is the escalation in the rhetoric.

    Plans by followers of leading Canadian QAnon figure Romana Didulo to arrest Peterborough police officers led to the arrest of several of their own on the weekend.

    Didulo, the self-proclaimed “Queen of Canada,” arrived in the city in a crowd-funded RV on Saturday along with a group of 30 individuals. Didulo for months has called for the arrests and killings of anyone involved with Canada’s rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. Her followers — with 70,000 on Telegram, many staunch anti-vaccine supporters — often deliver “cease and desist” letters to organizations demanding they end their “crimes against humanity.”

    https://globalnews.ca/news/9060426/romana-didulo-peterborough/

  5. The Babylon Bee (/s):

    The FBI raided former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and found incriminating evidence that he was once President of the United States of America! While they were there they spent over four hours cracking open a solid gold safe.

    Here’s what they found:

    Thousands of McDonald’s receipts: Immaculate record keeping!

    Three pallets of Norvell Premium Sunless Tanning Solution, Dark 1: Only the best for our President!

    World’s best president mug: The mug has been detained for questioning.

    Barron’s Xbox controller because he’s grounded from Xbox: This is a relief. We thought he was ghosting us on Xbox Live.

    The kickstand for Biden’s bike: Sneaky!

    Obama’s actual birth certificate: Everyone was wrong. He was born in Zap, ND. Weird.

    A note that reads “You FBI guys are low IQ. Sad! Not good!”: This was found in a safe within a safe.

    Free verse, reflective poems: So sensitive!

    Several dozen copies of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York: Probably the inspiration for all the booby traps federal agents had to evade.

    The actual nuclear codes and not the fake ones he slipped to Biden: Wait a minute, wouldn’t the real president have the nuclear codes?

    Little tiny shampoos which were stolen from the White House bathroom: Ladies and gentlemen, we got him!

    Over a million unsent tweets: Carefully recorded and cataloged on papyrus scrolls.

    A signed agreement between Trump and Pence that he would not “mean tweet” Pence: Appears to be scrawled in crayon on a KFC napkin.

    The Mirror of Erised: When he looks into it he sees world peace.

    https://babylonbee.com/news/14-things-the-fbi-found-in-donald-trumps-safe

    • sky news australia -Donald Trump is ‘on his way to becoming the next president’

      Curtin University Professor Joseph Siracusa says Donald Trump is “on his way to becoming the 47th President of the United States”.

      “Only an act of God will stop him from running, it’s only poor health,” he told Sky News Australia.

      “If he does run – and he will win if he runs – he’s only allowed one term, he can’t go two terms.”

    • twitter @breaking911

      SCHUMER: “After 4 years of a President who relished creating chaos, Americans are seeing what it looks like to have a President & a Congress that’s focused on delivering results that make their lives better.

      Mr. President, you’ve restored dignity…to the Oval Office.”

      (+ 28 sec video )

      https://twitter.com/Breaking911/status/1559649930813358084

      ==================================
      ‘Relished Creating Chaos’: Schumer Takes Swipe At Trump In Praise Of President Biden

    • Mark Steyn reacts to Kamala Harris | ‘Maximising collective understanding of engaging with tech’

      Mark Steyn decodes US Vice President Kamala Harris’ speech on ‘maximising the collective understanding of engaging with technology’.

  6. Nearly a year after the government forced Americans to receive a vaccine in order to live a normal life, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is back tracking what they originally said about the jab.

    First reported by the Epoch Times, the CDC is finally admitting that it gave false information about the Wuhan Coronavirus vaccine.

    The CDC has been caught with blood on their hands.

    They wrongfully said it conducted a certain type of analysis of the vaccine over one year before the CDC actually did.

    https://thinkcivics.com/cdc-admits-scary-truths-about-vaccine/

  7. NIH argues in court it cannot release information about COVID-19 origins because there’s too much misinformation out there

    https://thinkcivics.com/nih-argues-in-court-misinformation-covid/

    Note: This article is a few days old, but I did not submit it earlier because for a few days, the link kept returning the message that it was not accessible. I don’t know if this is the limitation of my computer or my skills, or just the regular modus operandi of making the article not accessible until it is deemed to be stale/old…

    • Donetsk court charges Britons, Swede and Croat as mercenaries, 3 face death penalty

      Aug 15 (Reuters) – A Russian-backed separatist court in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk charged five foreign nationals captured fighting with Ukrainian forces with being mercenaries on Monday, saying three could face the death penalty, Russian media reported.

      Briton John Harding, Croatian Vjekoslav Prebeg and Swedish citizen Mathias Gustafsson, who were captured in and around the port city of Mariupol, face a possible death sentence under the laws of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Russian state-owned news agency TASS reported.

      Two more Britons, Dylan Healy and Andrew Hill, were also charged but do not face execution. All five of the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges, TASS reported.

      It cited the judge as saying that the trial would resume in early October.

      In response to the charges against Prebeg, the Croatian Foreign Ministry said: “Croatia dismisses the indictment and does not consider it to be founded and legal because it is opposed to international law and international conventions on the treatment of detained civilians and prisoners of war.”

      The British Foreign Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

      The Donetsk authorities in June sentenced to death two Britons and one Moroccan citizen captured fighting with Ukrainian forces against Russia on charges of attempting to forcibly seize power, and of being mercenaries.

      Foreign governments have declined to negotiate with the Donetsk People’s Republic, one of two Russian-backed entities that have controlled parts of east Ukraine’s Donbas region since 2014, citing its internationally recognised status as part of Ukraine.

      https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/donetsk-separatist-court-charges-5-foreigners-mercenaries-says-3-face-death-2022-08-15/

  8. Refugees from Afghanistan have reportedly refused to move to Scotland or Wales from their taxpayer-funded hotel accommodations for fear that the countries are “too cold” or that they don’t speak English.

    On Friday, the government revealed that around 21,000 Afghans have been relocated to the United Kingdom after President Joe Biden’s disastrous and hasty withdrawal from the country, ceding control of the South Asian nation to the Islamist Taliban.

    According to a report from The Telegraph, around 9,500 Afghans and their families are still being housed in hotels in England a year after they were evacuated from Kabul.

    The scheme to house the refugees in hotels is costing the taxpayer around £1 million per day. This is in addition to the £3 million spent per day housing other migrants in hotels, including those who cross the English Channel illegally.

    The British broadsheet reported that, despite many Afghans being unhappy with remaining in hotels for such a long time, there is a reluctance to move to Scotland or Wales because they believe the British Home Nations are too cold.

    There is also an erroneous belief that they do not speak English.

    https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2022/08/14/afghan-refugees-complain-scotland-and-wales-are-too-cold/

  9. This is Why Democrats Are Not Worried about 2020 — The Fix Is In… Postal Service Institutionalizes Ballot Interference Scheme with New Mail-in Ballot Division
    By Jim Hoft
    Published August 16, 2022 at 8:51am
    363 Comments

    Democrats just passed a $700 spending bill — during a recession — with record 8.6% inflation.
    The new spending bill will force middle class Americans to pay $20 billion more in taxes.
    The bill will create 87,000 new IRS agents to harass Americans and target their political enemies.
    And Democrats did all of this less than three months before an election.

    Democrats are NOT worried about the midterms.
    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2022/08/democrats-not-worried-2020-fix-postal-service-institutionalizes-ballot-interference-scheme-new-mail-ballot-division/

    (I think they mean 2024)

  10. AG Garland “Deliberated for Weeks” Over Raiding President Trump’s Home – But Nuclear Secrets Were at Risk? This Doesn’t Make Sense
    By Joe Hoft
    Published August 16, 2022 at 9:52am
    88 Comments

    There are a bunch of corrupt and dishonest people running Biden’s DOJ and FBI. They’re not too bright either.

    After the Biden DOJ gang raided the President’s home in Florida it was reported that AG Garland didn’t know about the raid. Then he came out and said he signed off on it. Then they claimed they had to do it because nuclear secrets were at risk. Now they say AG Garland debated about raiding the President’s home for weeks.

    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2022/08/ag-garland-deliberated-weeks-raiding-president-trumps-home-nuclear-secrets-risk-doesnt-make-sense/

  11. Natural Gas Prices in Europe Reach New Record High — Russia’s Gazprom Warns of 60% Price Increase in Gas in Coming Months
    By Jim Hoft
    Published August 16, 2022 at 8:29am
    143 Comments

    In 2018 during his speech to the UN General Assembly President Donald Trump lodged a warning to Germany about their country’s reliance on Russian energy.

    The German delegation laughed on camera at the remarks.

    In June Russia announced it would reduce natural gas flows through a key European pipeline by roughly 40% into Germany

    German politicians called this a political move.

    The Russians don’t care what they call it. They will have to deal with it.

    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2022/08/natural-gas-prices-europe-reach-new-record-high-russias-gazprom-warns-60-price-increase-gas-coming-months/

  12. I Don’t Give Them a Pass – It Shows How Aggressive They Were” – Trump Attorney Christina Bobb Responds to FBI Goons Taking President Trump’s Passports (VIDEO)
    By Jim Hoft
    Published August 16, 2022 at 7:30am
    187 Comments
    Attorney for President Trump Christina Bobb joined Laura Ingraham on The Ingraham Angle on Monday night to discuss the DOJ raid on President Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago.

    Christina Bobb was absolutely flawless.

    Christina was able to correct the fake news mainstream media on the DOJ and FBI’s confiscation of President Trump’s passport. Christina told Laura the passports were returned later Monday and that this was not an “honest mistake” made by the FBI and DOJ.

    Christina Bobb: “I don’t know about any honest (mistake). I won’t give them that much credit at this point. I think it goes to show the level of audacity that they had. If you’re going to execute a raid on the primary residence of the President of the United States you need to do it perfectly. There’s no room for error. And when our 4th Amendment rights are at stake as a nation you cannot be flippant in any way. So I don’t give them a pass that this was a simple mistake. I think it goes to show how aggressive they were. How overreaching they were. They were willing to go past the four corners of the warrant and take whatever they felt was appropriate or what they could take. And then go back and look through

    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2022/08/dont-give-pass-shows-aggressive-trump-attorney-christina-bobb-responds-fbi-goons-taking-president-trumps-passports-video/

  13. CTV News – Quebec launches another COVID-19 vaccination campaign for seniors

    Quebec health authorities are launching another COVID-19 booster vaccination campaign on Monday, targeting people living in CHSLDs and private seniors’ residences (RPAs).

    The recommended interval between baseline vaccination and a first booster dose is three months or more, while the suggested interval between each subsequent booster dose is five months or more.

    Ten days ago, Quebec Director of Public Health Dr. Luc Boileau announced that the province would be stepping up its vaccination efforts against COVID-19.

    He warned that an increase in coronavirus cases was highly likely in the fall as students return to school.

    He also reiterated the need for the public to remain vigilant and follow health measures despite pandemic fatigue, such as wearing a mask in crowded places, isolating at the onset of symptoms and having an up-to-date vaccination record.

    Quebec Premier François Legault recently received his fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Montreal.

    He encouraged Quebecers to follow his lead, especially young people who are less likely to get seriously ill.

    He said it is important to show solidarity and get vaccinated to reduce contagion, especially when meeting vulnerable people.

    Legault notes authorities plan to provide an update on the upcoming vaccination campaign and talk about the low inoculation rate among children.

    Meanwhile, Quebec reported three more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus Monday and a seven-patient drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

    The Health Ministry says there are 1,993 people in hospital with the disease, including 55 people in intensive care, a drop of two.

    The department notes there are 3,457 health care workers off the job because of COVID-19.

    https://montreal.ctvnews.ca/quebec-launches-another-covid-19-vaccination-campaign-for-seniors-1.6027359

    ==================================
    Due to a “change in methodology,” Quebec says it is unable to provide hospitalization and intensive care numbers for Monday.

    On Aug. 13, a total of 8,366 samples were analyzed.

    […]Quebecers have declared 276,121 rapid tests, with 231,054 positive.

    In the last 24 hours, 243 were reported, including 213 positive.

    Quebec is encouraging people to declare the status of their at-home rapid test so officials can get a clearer picture of infection levels in the province.

    […]Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé points out vaccination against the virus does not completely prevent infection, but it does decrease the risk of dire consequences.

    […]91 per cent of the eligible population aged five and up have received a first dose of vaccine, and 56 per cent have received three.

    An additional 19 per cent have received four.

    The government has not included data for children aged six months to four years old.

    https://montreal.ctvnews.ca/quebec-covid-19-infections-steady-as-province-prepares-fall-vaccination-campaign-1.6027599

    ===================================

    AUSTRALIA – Anti-vax protest slammed for allegedly blocking entrances at Melbourne hospital

    • Mark Steyn -‘Big Pharma, Big Government and Big Tech work together to abuse their power’

      Eva Vlaardingerbroek and Mark Steyn discuss censorship around Covid and narrative control on social media.

    • DAILY MAIL – GPs want a bonus to lead autumn Covid booster vaccine drive: Family doctors call for £10-a-jab supplement to return as they accuse ministers of trying to run the rollout ‘on the cheap’

      Moderna’s new Omicron-targeting jab will start being dished out next month

      Doctors warned rising costs and staff shortages may slow down the rollout

      They called for their £12.58-per-jab payment from last year to be reinstated

      […]They are calling for the return of a £10 bonus that was offered to family doctors last year for every jab administered in care homes.

      […]Some 29million Britons over 50, and patients with comorbidities, are in line to get Moderna’s new Omicron-specific jab in weeks

      […]But the vaccines have to be kept refrigerated until they are used, like the original mRNA vaccine, which will be more expensive with rising energy costs this year, GPs claim.

      […]Moderna’s new Covid jab is a half and half vaccine, made from the genetic material of the original Wuhan Covid strain and Omicron.

      […]Nine million doses are already available, with 20million more expected by the end of the year. Britain order 54million doses of Pfizer’s new offering last year.

      […]Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the JCVI, said people eligible for a Covid booster jab should not worry about what type of vaccine they will receive.

      ‘The key point is that people need to get vaccinated rather than worrying too much about the type of vaccine that they’re receiving,’ he told BBC Breakfast.

      […]It said getting any booster was a priority.

      https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-11115595/GPs-want-bonus-lead-Britains-autumn-Covid-booster-vaccine-rollout.html

    • twitter @tomselliott

      Biden Covid coordinator ashish jha :

      “Much harder than I thought” to overcome Covid “misinformation.”

      Adds: “Right now, we have Americans die every day.

      If everybody was up-to-date on their vaccines and people got treated with Paxlovid, that will be close to zero.”

      https://twitter.com/tomselliott/status/1559617646093557763

      ==============================

      Biden Covid Czar Ashish Jha: 6 Feet Of Separation Was “Not The Right Way To Think About” COVID

    • Path Forward: Special Update with White House COVID Czar Dr. Ashish Jha

      ( 53 min)

      Join U.S. Chamber President and CEO Suzanne Clark and Ashish K. Jha, M.D., M.P.H. for an important update on the global response to COVID-19, including what we need to know about reinfection and BA.5 – the most transmissible subvariant yet.

      We’ll also discuss updates on therapeutics and current COVID projections for the Fall.

  14. YUCLA Creates Database to ‘Track Attacks on Critical Race Theory’

    Faculty at the University of California–Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law have created a database to identify and record efforts to block critical race theory (CRT) being taught in schools across the country.

    The database, called the CRT Forward Tracking Project, allows users to “track attacks on critical race theory” and filter the information as part of an effort to “support anti-racist education, training and research,” according to the school.

    The project was created by UCLA’s Critical Race Studies Program, founded in 2000 as the first law school program in the nation dedicated to critical race theory.

    CRT, according to the school, is “the study of systemic racism in law, policy and society,” and suggests efforts need to be made to fix these alleged injustices.

    Meanwhile, critics say CRT pushes a controversial worldview related to Marxism that analyzes all aspects of life through a racial lens instead of through the concept of class struggle.

    UCLA Law announced earlier this

    https://www.thethinkingconservative.com/ucla-creates-database-to-track-attacks-on-critical-race-theory/

  15. Why Merrick Garland Is Losing the People
    Is the attorney general disingenuous or simply naïve?

    Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday held a belated press conference to explain that he had personally approved the FBI’s raid of Donald Trump’s Florida residence to seize documents deemed U.S. government property.

    A clearly agitated and nervous Garland sought to exude confidence in the raid. He went on to heatedly defend the professionalism and integrity of the Justice Department and FBI.

    But almost immediately after his sermon, the Justice Department and its affiliates were back to their usual selective leaking (“sources say” . . . “according to people familiar with the investigation”) to liberal newspapers.

    In no time, the Washington Post claimed the raid was aimed at finding Trump Administration documents relating to “nuclear secrets.” The now-familiar desired effect was achieved. “Presidential historian” Michael Beschloss quickly tweeted a picture of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, noting that in the past revealing such nuclear secrets had led to the death penalty. Former CIA Director Michael Hayden,

    https://amgreatness.com/2022/08/15/why-merrick-garland-is-losing-the-people/

  16. Why the Case Against Donald Trump Remains Incomplete

    Below is my column in the Hill on the lingering questions concerning any prosecution of former President Donald Trump for the retention of classified or sensitive material. As previously discussed, the three referenced criminal provisions do not require classified status of documents to be the basis for prosecution. However, if the documents were declassified, it would make any prosecution very difficult, if not untenable, though the obstruction count could be based on

    https://jonathanturley.org/2022/08/15/why-the-case-against-donald-trump-remains-incomplete/#more-192554

  17. It’s Inevitable: Trump Will Be Indicted
    Americans should prepare for the spectacle of Donald Trump pleading not guilty to charges brought by the Biden Justice Department.

    QyqAfew days after federal agents stormed Donald Trump’s castle in Palm Beach last week, Judge Beryl Howell berated a man from Georgia for his involvement in the Capitol protest on January 6, 2021.

    “Listening without question to political rhetoric that leads to serious offenses, criminal conduct, is not an excuse when you’re standing in a court of law,” Howell told Glen Simon, a Trump supporter who pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct on restricted grounds. “You’ve got to use your common sense and your own sense of who you are and how you’d like to conduct yourself as an American citizen before just blindly doing what a political figure says.”

    Howell then sentenced Simon to eight months in prison.

    The “political figure” to whom the judge was referring is President Trump. And Howell is not just any judge; she is the chief judge of the D.C. District Court that is overseeing at least 850 criminal cases related to the Capitol protest.

    Appointed by Barack Obama in 2010, Howell

    https://amgreatness.com/2022/08/15/its-inevitable-trump-will-be-indicted/

  18. Arizona Governor Finally Takes Action, Stacks Shipping Containers With Razor Wire On Southern Border Wall To Stop Biden’s Invasion – Border Gap Near Yuma CLOSED
    By Jordan Conradson
    Published August 16, 2022 at 11:40am
    27 Comments

    Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has finally taken a page out of Trump-Endorsed Gubernatorial Candidate Kari Lake’s border policy, starting with finishing President Trump’s beautiful wall.

    Ducey hasn’t gone as far as Lake, who has vowed to declare an invasion starting on day one in office, but he did issue an Executive Order to barricade the border in Yuma, where there is no wall. There was not even a fence in this area.

    The Biden Regime has effectively abolished Trump-era illegal immigration policies, and the floodgates are open.

    Biden recently ended President Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, and over 6 million illegals are expected to cross the wide-open border yearly.

    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2022/08/arizona-governor-finally-takes-action-stacks-shipping-containers-razor-wire-southern-border-wall-stop-bidens-invasion-border-gap-near-yuma-closed/

  19. Address to participants and guests of the 10th Moscow Conference on International Security

    President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    Esteemed foreign guests,

    Let me welcome you to the anniversary 10th Moscow Conference on International Security. Over the past decade, your representative forum has become a significant venue for discussing the most pressing military-political problems.

    Today, such an open discussion is particularly pertinent. The situation in the world is changing dynamically and the outlines of a multipolar world order are taking shape. An increasing number of countries and peoples are choosing a path of free and sovereign development based on their own distinct identity, traditions and values.

    These objective processes are being opposed by the Western globalist elites, who provoke chaos, fanning long-standing and new conflicts and pursuing the so-called containment policy, which in fact amounts to the subversion of any alternative, sovereign development options. Thus, they are doing all they can to keep hold onto the hegemony and power that are slipping from their hands; they are attempting to retain countries and peoples in the grip of what is essentially a neocolonial order. Their hegemony means stagnation for the rest of the world and for the entire civilisation; it means obscurantism, cancellation of culture, and neoliberal totalitarianism.

    They are using all expedients. The United States and its vassals grossly interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign states by staging provocations, organising coups, or inciting civil wars. By threats, blackmail, and pressure, they are trying to force independent states to submit to their will and follow rules that are alien to them. This is being done with just one aim in view, which is to preserve their domination, the centuries-old model that enables them to sponge on everything in the world. But a model of this sort can only be retained by force.

    This is why the collective West – the so-called collective West – is deliberately undermining the European security system and knocking together ever new military alliances. NATO is crawling east and building up its military infrastructure. Among other things, it is deploying missile defence systems and enhancing the strike capabilities of its offensive forces. This is hypocritically attributed to the need to strengthen security in Europe, but in fact quite the opposite is taking place. Moreover, the proposals on mutual security measures, which Russia put forward last December, were once again disregarded.

    They need conflicts to retain their hegemony. It is for this reason that they have destined the Ukrainian people to being used as cannon fodder. They have implemented the anti-Russia project and connived at the dissemination of the neo-Nazi ideology. They looked the other way when residents of Donbass were killed in their thousands and continued to pour weapons, including heavy weapons, for use by the Kiev regime, something that they persist in doing now.

    Under these circumstances, we have taken the decision to conduct a special military operation in Ukraine, a decision which is in full conformity with the Charter of the United Nations. It has been clearly spelled out that the aims of this operation are to ensure the security of Russia and its citizens and protect the residents of Donbass from genocide.

    The situation in Ukraine shows that the United States is attempting to draw out this conflict. It acts in the same way elsewhere, fomenting the conflict potential in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. As is common knowledge, the US has recently made another deliberate attempt to fuel the flames and stir up trouble in the Asia-Pacific. The US escapade towards Taiwan is not just a voyage by an irresponsible politician, but part of the purpose-oriented and deliberate US strategy designed to destabilise the situation and sow chaos in the region and the world. It is a brazen demonstration of disrespect for other countries and their own international commitments. We regard this as a thoroughly planned provocation.

    It is clear that by taking these actions the Western globalist elites are attempting, among other things, to divert the attention of their own citizens from pressing socioeconomic problems, such as plummeting living standards, unemployment, poverty, and deindustrialisation. They want to shift the blame for their own failures to other countries, namely Russia and China, which are defending their point of view and designing a sovereign development policy without submitting to the diktat of the supranational elites.

    We also see that the collective West is striving to expand its bloc-based system to the Asia-Pacific region, like it did with NATO in Europe. To this end, they are creating aggressive military-political unions such as AUKUS and others.

    It is obvious that it is only possible to reduce tensions in the world, overcome military-political threats and risks, improve trust between countries and ensure their sustainable development through a radical strengthening of the contemporary system of a multipolar world.

    I reiterate that the era of the unipolar world is becoming a thing of the past. No matter how strongly the beneficiaries of the current globalist model cling to the familiar state of affairs, it is doomed. The historic geopolitical changes are going in a totally different direction.

    And, of course, your conference is another important proof of the objective processes forming a multipolar world, bringing together representatives from many countries who want to discuss security issues on an equal footing, and conduct a dialogue that takes into account the interests of all parties, without exception.

    I want to emphasise that the multipolar world, based on international law and more just relations, opens up new opportunities for counteracting common threats, such as regional conflicts and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and cybercrime. All these challenges are global, and therefore it would be impossible to overcome them without combining the efforts and potentials of all states.

    As before, Russia will actively and assertively participate in such coordinated joint efforts; together with its allies, partners and fellow thinkers, it will improve the existing mechanisms of international security and create new ones, as well as consistently strengthen the national armed forces and other security structures by providing them with advanced weapons and military equipment. Russia will secure its national interests, as well as the protection of its allies, and take other steps towards building of a more democratic world where the rights of all peoples and cultural and civilisational diversity are guaranteed.

    We need to restore respect for international law, for its fundamental norms and principles. And, of course, it is important to promote such universal and commonly acknowledged agencies as the United Nations and other international dialogue platforms. The UN Security Council and the General Assembly, as it was intended initially, are supposed to serve as effective tools to reduce international tensions and prevent conflicts, as well as facilitate the provision of reliable security and wellbeing of countries and peoples.

    In conclusion, I want to thank the conference organisers for their major preparatory work and I wish all participants substantial discussions.

    I am sure that the forum will continue to make a significant contribution to the strengthening of peace and stability on our planet and facilitate the development of constructive dialogue and partnership.

    Thank you for your attention.

    http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/69166

    • WASHINGTON POST – Road to war: U.S. struggled to convince allies, and Zelensky, of risk of invasion

      On a sunny October morning, the nation’s top intelligence, military and diplomatic leaders filed into the Oval Office for an urgent meeting with President Biden. They arrived bearing a highly classified intelligence analysis, compiled from newly obtained satellite images, intercepted communications and human sources, that amounted to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war plans for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

      For months, Biden administration officials had watched warily as Putin massed tens of thousands of troops and lined up tanks and missiles along Ukraine’s borders. As summer waned, Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, had focused on the increasing volume of intelligence related to Russia and Ukraine. He had set up the Oval Office meeting after his own thinking had gone from uncertainty about Russia’s intentions, to concern he was being too skeptical about the prospects of military action, to alarm.

      The session was one of several meetings that officials had about Ukraine that autumn — sometimes gathering in smaller groups — but was notable for the detailed intelligence picture that was presented. Biden and Vice President Harris took their places in armchairs before the fireplace, while Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, joined the directors of national intelligence and the CIA on sofas around the coffee table.

      Tasked by Sullivan with putting together a comprehensive overview of Russia’s intentions, they told Biden that the intelligence on Putin’s operational plans, added to ongoing deployments along the border with Ukraine, showed that all the pieces were now in place for a massive assault.

      The U.S. intelligence community had penetrated multiple points of Russia’s political leadership, spying apparatus and military, from senior levels to the front lines, according to U.S. officials.

      Much more radical than Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and instigation of a separatist movement in eastern Ukraine, Putin’s war plans envisioned a takeover of most of the country.

      Using mounted maps on easels in front of the Resolute Desk, Milley showed Russian troop positions and the Ukrainian terrain they intended to conquer. It was a plan of staggering audacity, one that could pose a direct threat to NATO’s eastern flank, or even destroy the post-World War II security architecture of Europe.

      As he absorbed the briefing, Biden, who had taken office promising to keep the country out of new wars, was determined that Putin must either be deterred or confronted, and that the United States must not act alone. Yet NATO was far from unified on how to deal with Moscow, and U.S. credibility was weak. After a disastrous occupation of Iraq, the chaos that followed the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and four years of President Donald Trump seeking to undermine the alliance, it was far from certain that Biden could effectively lead a Western response to an expansionist Russia.

      Ukraine was a troubled former Soviet republic with a history of corruption, and the U.S. and allied answer to earlier Russian aggression there had been uncertain and divided. When the invasion came, the Ukrainians would need significant new weaponry to defend themselves. Too little could guarantee a Russian victory. But too much might provoke a direct NATO conflict with nuclear-armed Russia.

      This account, in previously unreported detail, shines new light on the uphill climb to restore U.S. credibility, the attempt to balance secrecy around intelligence with the need to persuade others of its truth, and the challenge of determining how the world’s most powerful military alliance would help a less-than-perfect democracy on Russia’s border defy an attack without NATO firing a shot.

      The first in a series of articles examining the road to war and the military campaign in Ukraine, it is drawn from in-depth interviews with more than three dozen senior U.S., Ukrainian, European and NATO officials about a global crisis whose end is yet to be determined. Some spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence and internal deliberations.

      The Kremlin did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

      As Milley laid out the array of forces on that October morning, he and the others summed up Putin’s intentions. “We assess that they plan to conduct a significant strategic attack on Ukraine from multiple directions simultaneously,” Milley told the president. “Their version of ‘shock and awe.’ ”

      According to the intelligence, the Russians would come from the north, on either side of Kyiv. One force would move east of the capital through the Ukrainian city of Chernihiv, while the other would flank Kyiv on the west, pushing southward from Belarus through a natural gap between the “exclusion zone” at the abandoned Chernobyl nuclear plant and surrounding marshland. The attack would happen in the winter so that the hard earth would make the terrain easily passable for tanks. Forming a pincer around the capital, Russian troops planned to seize Kyiv in three to four days. The Spetsnaz, their special forces, would find and remove President Volodymyr Zelensky, killing him if necessary, and install a Kremlin-friendly puppet government.

      Separately, Russian forces would come from the east and drive through central Ukraine to the Dnieper River, while troops from Crimea took over the southeastern coast. Those actions could take several weeks, the Russian plans predicted.

      After pausing to regroup and rearm, they would next push westward, toward a north-south line stretching from Moldova to western Belarus, leaving a rump Ukrainian state in the west — an area that in Putin’s calculus was populated by irredeemable neo-Nazi Russophobes.

      The United States had obtained “extraordinary detail” about the Kremlin’s secret plans for a war it continued to deny it intended, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines later explained. They included not only the positioning of troops and weaponry and operational strategy, but also fine points such as Putin’s “unusual and sharp increases in funding for military contingency operations and for building up reserve forces even as other pressing needs, such as pandemic response, were under-resourced,” she said. This was no mere exercise in intimidation, unlike a large-scale Russian deployment in April, when Putin’s forces had menaced Ukraine’s borders but never attacked.

      Some in the White House found it hard to wrap their minds around the scale of the Russian leader’s ambitions.

      “It did not seem like the kind of thing that a rational country would undertake,” one participant in the meeting later said of the planned occupation of most of a country of 232,000 square miles and nearly 45 million people. Parts of Ukraine were deeply anti-Russian, raising the specter of an insurgency even if Putin toppled the government in Kyiv. And yet the intelligence showed that more and more troops were arriving and settling in for a full campaign. Munitions, food and crucial supplies were being deposited at Russian encampments.

      Biden pressed his advisers. Did they really think that this time Putin was likely to strike?

      Yes, they affirmed. This is real. Although the administration would publicly insist over the next several months that it did not believe Putin had made a final decision, the only thing his team couldn’t tell the president that autumn day was exactly when the Russian president would pull the trigger.

      CIA Director William J. Burns, who had served as U.S. ambassador to Moscow and had had the most direct interactions with Putin of anyone in the Biden administration, described the Russian leader to the others as fixated on Ukraine. Control over the country was synonymous with Putin’s concept of Russian identity and authority. The precision of the war planning, coupled with Putin’s conviction that Ukraine should be reabsorbed by the motherland, left him with no doubts that Putin was prepared to invade.

      “I believed he was quite serious,” Burns said months later, recalling the briefing.

      II

      The intelligence had underscored the promise of Putin’s own words. Three months earlier, in July, he had published a 7,000-word essay, “On the Historical Unity Between Russians and Ukrainians,” suffused with grievance and dubious assertions. Russians and Ukrainians, he argued, were “one people” — an idea rooted in Putin’s claims about “blood ties” — and Moscow had been “robbed” of its own territory by a scheming West.

      “I am confident that true sovereignty of Ukraine is possible only in partnership with Russia,” Putin wrote.

      Just weeks before the essay appeared, Biden and Putin had held a June 16 summit that both declared was “constructive.” At that point, Ukraine was a concern, but one that White House officials felt could be dealt with. As the White House delegation left the meeting, held in Geneva, a senior Biden aide would later recall, “we didn’t get on the plane and come home and think the world was on the cusp of a major war in Europe.”

      But Putin’s subsequent publication “caught our attention in a big way,” Sullivan later said. “We began to look at what’s going on here, what’s his end game? How hard is he going to push?” As a precaution, on Aug. 27, Biden authorized that $60 million in largely defensive weapons be drawn from U.S. inventories and sent to Ukraine.

      By late summer, as they pieced together the intelligence from the border and from Moscow, analysts who had spent their careers studying Putin were increasingly convinced the Russian leader — himself a former intelligence officer — saw a window of opportunity closing. Ukrainians had already twice risen up to demand a democratic future, free from corruption and Moscow’s interference, during the 2004-2005 Orange Revolution, and the 2013-2014 Maidan protests that preceded Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

      While not a member of NATO or the European Union, Ukraine was now moving steadily into the Western political, economic and cultural orbit. That drift fed Putin’s broader resentment about Russia’s loss of empire.

      In a grim actuarial assessment, the analysts concluded that Putin, who was about to turn 69, understood that he was running out of time to cement his legacy as one of Russia’s great leaders — the one who had restored Russian preeminence on the Eurasian continent.

      The analysts said Putin calculated that any Western response to an attempt to reclaim Ukraine by force would be big on outrage but limited in actual punishment. The Russian leader, they said, believed that the Biden administration was chastened by the humiliating U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and wanted to avoid new wars. The United States and Europe were still struggling through the coronavirus pandemic. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the de facto European leader, was leaving office and handing power to an untested successor. French President Emmanuel Macron was facing a reelection battle against a resurgent right wing, and Britain was suffering from a post-Brexit economic downturn. Large parts of the continent depended on Russian oil and natural gas, which Putin thought he could use as a wedge to split the Western alliance. He had built up hundreds of billions of dollars in cash reserves and was confident the Russian economy could weather the inevitable sanctions, as it had in the past.

      Presented with the new intelligence and analysis at the October briefing, Biden “basically had two reactions,” Sullivan said. First, to try to deter Putin, they “needed to send somebody to Moscow to sit with the Russians at a senior level and tell them: ‘If you do this, these will be the consequences.’ ”

      Second, they needed to brief allies on the U.S. intelligence and bring them on board with what the administration believed should be a unified and severe posture of threatened sanctions against Russia, reinforcement and expansion of NATO defenses, and assistance for Ukraine.

      Burns was dispatched to Moscow and Haines to NATO headquarters in Brussels.

      Months later, Milley still carried in his briefcase note cards encapsulating the U.S. interests and strategic objectives discussed at the October briefing. He could recite them off the top of his head.

      Problem: “How do you underwrite and enforce the rules-based international order” against a country with extraordinary nuclear capability, “without going to World War III?”

      No. 1: “Don’t have a kinetic conflict between the U.S. military and NATO with Russia.” No. 2: “Contain war inside the geographical boundaries of Ukraine.” No. 3: “Strengthen and maintain NATO unity.” No. 4: “Empower Ukraine and give them the means to fight.”

      Biden’s advisers were confident Ukraine would put up a fight. The United States, Britain and other NATO members had spent years training and equipping the Ukrainian military, which was more professional and better organized than before Russia’s assault on Crimea and the eastern region of Donbas seven years earlier. But the training had focused nearly as much on how to mount internal resistance after a Russian occupation as on how to prevent it in the first place. The weapons they had supplied were primarily small-bore and defensive so that they wouldn’t be seen as a Western provocation.

      The administration also had grave concerns about Ukraine’s young president, a former television comic who had come into office on a huge wave of popular support and desire for fundamental change but had lost public standing in part because he failed to make good on a promise to make peace with Russia. Zelensky, 44, appeared to be no match for the ruthless Putin.

      Math was not in Ukraine’s favor. Russia had more troops, more tanks, more artillery, more fighter jets and guided missiles, and had demonstrated in previous conflicts its willingness to pummel its weaker adversaries into submission, with no regard for the loss of civilian lives.

      Kyiv might not fall as quickly as the Russians expected, the Americans concluded, but it would fall.

      III

      On Nov. 2, Burns was escorted into the Kremlin office of Yuri Ushakov, Putin’s foreign policy adviser and a former ambassador to the United States. Ushakov’s boss was on the other end of a phone line and spoke to Burns from the resort city of Sochi, where he had retreated during another wave of coronavirus infections in Moscow.

      The Russian leader recited his usual complaints about NATO expansion, the threat to Russian security, and illegitimate leadership in Ukraine.

      “He was very dismissive of President Zelensky as a political leader,” Burns recalled.

      Practiced at listening to Putin’s tirades from his years in Moscow, Burns delivered his own forceful message: The United States knows what you’re up to, and if you invade Ukraine, you will pay a huge price. He said he was leaving a letter from Biden, affirming the punishing consequences of any Russian attack on Ukraine.

      The CIA director also met with another of Putin’s advisers, Nikolai Patrushev, an ex-KGB officer, from Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg, who ran Russia’s Security Council.

      Patrushev had thought Burns flew to Moscow to discuss the next meeting between Putin and Biden and seemed surprised that the CIA chief had come bearing a warning about Ukraine.

      He almost exactly echoed Putin’s grievances about history and NATO in his discussions with Burns. There seemed to be no room for meaningful engagement, and it left the CIA director to wonder if Putin and his tight circle of aides had formed their own echo chamber. Putin had not made an irreversible decision to go to war, but his views on Ukraine had hardened, his appetite for risk had grown, and the Russian leader believed his moment of opportunity would soon pass.

      “My level of concern has gone up, not down,” the spy chief reported back to Biden.

      IV

      As Burns was speaking with Putin, Blinken was sitting down with Zelensky, in Glasgow, Scotland, on the sidelines of an international summit on climate change. He laid out the intelligence picture and described the Russian storm that was heading Ukraine’s way.

      “It was just the two of us, two feet from each other,” Blinken recalled. It was a “difficult conversation.”

      Blinken had met before with the Ukrainian president and thought he knew him well enough to speak candidly, although it seemed surreal to be “telling someone you believe their country is going to be invaded.”

      He found Zelensky “serious, deliberate, stoic,” a combination of belief and disbelief. He said he would brief his senior teams. But the Ukrainians had “seen a number of Russian feints in the past,” Blinken knew, and Zelensky was clearly worried about economic collapse if his country panicked.

      Blinken’s presentation, and Zelensky’s skepticism, set a pattern that would be repeated both privately and in public over the next several months. The Ukrainians could not afford to reject U.S. intelligence wholesale. But from their perspective, the information was speculative.

      Zelensky heard the U.S. warnings, he later recalled, but said the Americans weren’t offering the kinds of weapons Ukraine needed to defend itself.

      “You can say a million times, ‘Listen, there may be an invasion.’ Okay, there may be an invasion — will you give us planes?” Zelensky said. “Will you give us air defenses? ‘Well, you’re not a member of NATO.’ Oh, okay, then what are we talking about?”

      The Americans offered little specific intelligence to support their warnings “until the last four or five days before the invasion began,” according to Dmytro Kuleba, Zelensky’s foreign minister.

      Less than two weeks after the Glasgow meeting, when Kuleba and Andriy Yermak, Zelensky’s chief of staff, visited the State Department in Washington, a senior U.S. official greeted them with a cup of coffee and a smile. “Guys, dig the trenches!” the official began.

      “When we smiled back,” Kuleba recalled, the official said, “ ‘I’m serious. Start digging trenches. … You will be attacked. A large-scale attack, and you have to prepare for it.’ We asked for details; there were none.”

      If the Americans became frustrated at Ukraine’s skepticism about Russia’s plans, the Ukrainians were no less disconcerted at the increasingly public U.S. warnings that an invasion was coming.

      “We had to strike a balance between realistically assessing the risks and preparing the country for the worst … and keeping the country running economically and financially,” Kuleba said. “Every comment coming from the United States about the unavoidability of war was immediately reflected in the [Ukrainian] currency exchange rate.”

      A number of U.S. officials have disputed Ukrainian recollections, saying they provided the Kyiv government with specific intelligence early on and throughout the lead-up to the invasion.

      Yet when it came to Ukraine, U.S. intelligence was hardly an open book. Official guidance prohibited the spy agencies from sharing tactical information that Ukraine could use to launch offensive attacks on Russian troop locations in Crimea or against Kremlin-backed separatists in the east.

      Ukraine’s own intelligence apparatus was also shot through with Russian moles, and U.S. officials were leery of sensitive information ending up in Moscow’s hands. After the war began, the Biden administration changed its policy and shared information on Russian troop movements throughout Ukraine, on the grounds that the country was now defending itself from an invasion.

      V

      At a side meeting during the Group of 20 conference in Rome at the end of October, Biden shared some of the new intelligence and conclusions with America’s closest allies — the leaders of Britain, France and Germany.

      In mid-November, Haines used a previously scheduled trip to Brussels to brief a wider circle of allies: NATO’s North Atlantic Council, the principal decision-making body of the 30-member alliance. Speaking in a large auditorium, she limited her remarks to what the intelligence community believed the evidence showed, and didn’t offer policy recommendations.

      “A number of members raised questions and were skeptical of the idea that President Putin was seriously preparing for the possibility of a large-scale invasion,” Haines recalled.

      French and German officials couldn’t understand why Putin would try to invade and occupy a large country with just the 80,000 to 90,000 troops believed to be massed on the border. Satellite imagery also showed the troops moving back and forth from the frontier. Others posited that the Russians were performing an exercise, as the Kremlin itself insisted, or playing a shell game designed to conceal a purpose short of invasion.

      Most were doubtful, and noted that Zelensky seemed to think Russia would never attack with the ambition and force the Americans were forecasting. Didn’t Ukraine understand Russia’s intentions best?

      Only the British and the Baltic states were fully on board. At one point, an official from London stood up and gestured toward Haines. “She’s right,” the official said.

      But Paris and Berlin remembered emphatic U.S. claims about intelligence on Iraq. The shadow of that deeply flawed analysis hung over all the discussions before the invasion. Some also felt that Washington, just months earlier, had vastly overestimated the resilience of Afghanistan’s government as the U.S. military was withdrawing. The government had collapsed as soon as the Taliban entered Kabul.

      “American intelligence is not considered to be a naturally reliable source,” said François Heisbourg, a security expert and longtime adviser to French officials. “It was considered to be prone to political manipulation.”

      The Europeans began to settle into camps that would change little for several months.

      “I think there were basically three flavors,” a senior administration official said. To many in Western Europe, what the Russians were doing was “all coercive diplomacy, [Putin] was just building up to see what he could get. He’s not going to invade … it’s crazy.”

      Many of NATO’s newer members in eastern and southeastern Europe thought Putin “may do something, but it would be limited in scope,” the official said, “ … another bite at the [Ukrainian] apple,” similar to what happened in 2014.

      But Britain and the Baltic states, which were always nervous about Russian intentions, believed a full-scale invasion was coming.

      When skeptical member states asked for more intelligence, the Americans provided some, but held back from sharing it all.

      Historically, the United States rarely revealed its most sensitive intelligence to an organization as diverse as NATO, primarily for fear that secrets could leak. While the Americans and their British partners did share a significant amount of information, they withheld the raw intercepts or nature of the human sources that were essential to determining Putin’s plans. That especially frustrated French and German officials, who had long suspected that Washington and London sometimes hid the basis of their intelligence to make it seem more definitive than it really was.

      Some of the alliance countries provided their own findings, Haines said. The United States also created new mechanisms for sharing information in real time with their foreign partners in Brussels. Austin, Blinken and Milley were on the phone to their counterparts, sharing, listening, cajoling.

      Over time, one senior European official at NATO recalled, “the intelligence was narrated repeatedly, consistently, clearly, credibly, in a lot of detail with a very good script and supporting evidence. I don’t remember one key moment where the lightbulb went off” in the months-long effort to convince the allies, the official said. Ultimately, “it was the volume of the lights in the room.”

      VI

      Macron and Merkel had been dealing with Putin for years and found it hard to believe he was so irrational as to launch a calamitous war. In the weeks after Biden’s Geneva meeting, they had tried to arrange an E.U.-Russia summit, only to be shot down by skeptical members of the bloc who saw it as a dangerous concession to Russia’s aggressive posture.

      Months later, despite the new U.S. intelligence, the French and Germans insisted there was a chance for diplomacy. The Americans and the British had little hope that any diplomatic effort would pay off, but were prepared to keep the door open — if the Europeans gave something in return.

      “A big part of our focus,” recalled Sullivan, “was basically to say to them, ‘Look, we’ll take the diplomatic track and treat it [as] serious … if you will take the planning for [military] force posture and sanctions seriously.’ ”

      Each side was convinced it was right but was willing to proceed as if it might be wrong.

      Over the next several months, the Americans strove to show the Western Europeans and others that they were still willing to search for a peaceful resolution, even though in the back of their minds, they were convinced that any Russian efforts at negotiation were a charade. “It basically worked,” Sullivan said of the administration strategy.

      On Dec. 7, Putin and Biden spoke on a video call. Putin claimed that the eastward expansion of the Western alliance was a major factor in his decision to send troops to Ukraine’s border. Russia was simply protecting its own interests and territorial integrity, he argued.

      Biden responded that Ukraine was unlikely to join NATO any time soon, and that the United States and Russia could come to agreements on other concerns Russia had about the placement of U.S. weapons systems in Europe. In theory, there was room to compromise.

      For a while, as Blinken headed the U.S. diplomatic effort with repeated visits to NATO capitals and alliance headquarters in Brussels, the Ukrainians continued their contacts with European governments that still seemed far less convinced of Putin’s intentions than the Americans were.

      Kuleba and others in the government believed there would be a war, the Ukrainian foreign minister later said. But until the eve of the invasion, “I could not believe that we would face a war of such scale. The only country in the world that was persistently telling us” with such certainty “that there would be missile strikes was the United States of America. … Every other country was not sharing this analysis and [instead was] saying, yes, war is possible, but it will be rather a localized conflict in the east of Ukraine.”

      “Put yourself in our shoes,” Kuleba said. “You have, on the one hand, the U.S. telling you something completely unimaginable, and everyone else blinking an eye to you and saying this is not what we think is going to happen.”

      In fact, the British and some Baltic officials believed a full invasion was probable. But Kuleba was far from alone in his skepticism. His president shared it, according to Zelensky’s aides and other officials who briefed him.

      “We took all of the information that our Western partners were giving us seriously,” recalled Yermak, Zelensky’s chief of staff. “But let’s be honest: Imagine if all of this panic that so many people were pushing had taken place. Creating panic is a method of the Russians. … Imagine if this panic had started three or four months beforehand. What would’ve happened to the economy? Would we have been able to hold on for five months like we have?”

      VII

      In early January, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman led a diplomatic delegation to Geneva and met with Sergei Ryabkov, her Russian counterpart, whom she knew well. He reiterated Moscow’s position on Ukraine, formally offered in mid-December in two proposed treaties — that NATO must end its expansion plans and halt any activity in countries that had joined the alliance after 1997, which included Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and the Baltic states.

      Rejecting the proposal to close NATO’s doors and reduce the status of existing members, the administration instead offered talks and trust-building measures in a number of security areas, including the deployment of troops and the placement of weapons on NATO’s eastern flank along the border with Russia. The offer was conditioned on de-escalation of the military threat to Ukraine. Ryabkov told Sherman that Russia was disappointed in the American attitude.

      The White House had envisioned Sherman’s meeting with Ryabkov as “a chance to test whether the Russians were serious about the substance of the concerns … and if there was a way forward for any kind of diplomacy,” said Emily Horne, then the spokesperson for the National Security Council. “I think it became pretty clear, pretty quickly that [the Russians] were performing diplomacy, not actually undertaking diplomacy. They weren’t even doing it with much seriousness.”

      “All the Western allies wanted to convey that there was an alternative path involving dialogue and respect for Russia as a great power,” said a senior British government official involved in negotiations. “What became increasingly clear was that Russia was not interested in those.”

      As the United States pursued the diplomatic track, it also positioned forces to defend NATO, all of them visible to Moscow and to Europeans and demonstrating American willingness to put skin in the game. While Biden repeatedly said there would be no U.S. troops in Ukraine, the Pentagon increased pre-positioned weapons stocks in Poland and moved a helicopter battalion there from Greece. Paratroops from the 171st Airborne were deployed to the Baltic states. More troops were sent from Italy to eastern Romania, and others went to Hungary and Bulgaria.

      Over the next several months, the U.S. military presence in Europe increased from 74,000 to 100,000 troops. Four airborne fighter squadrons became 12, and the number of surface combatant ships in the region increased from five to 26. Combat air patrols and surveillance were flying 24/7 missions over the alliance’s eastern flank, with visibility deep inside Ukraine.

      “We were saying, ‘Look, we’re taking diplomacy seriously, but we’re so worried about this that we’re actually moving men and material,’ ” Sullivan recalled.

      With National Security Agency authorization, the United States established a direct communication line from the Ukrainian military to U.S. European Command. The highly secure system would keep the Americans in direct contact with their Ukrainian counterparts as events unfolded.

      The administration was also sending arms to Ukraine. In December, Biden authorized an additional $200 million in weapons to be drawn from U.S. inventories — even as the Kyiv government, many in Congress and some within the administration itself argued that if the United States really believed a full-scale invasion was coming, it was not enough.

      But every step in the administration campaign was premised on avoiding direct U.S. involvement in a military clash. The overriding White House concern about provocation influenced each decision about how much assistance and what kind of weapons to give the Ukrainians to defend themselves.

      “I make no apologies for the fact that one of our objectives here is to avoid direct conflict with Russia,” Sullivan said of the prewar period.

      The Russians were going to do what they did regardless of what the allies did, a senior official involved in the decisions said, and the administration found “incredible” the notion, as some later argued in hindsight, that “if only we would have given” the Ukrainians more arms, “none of this would have happened.”

      Determining whether Russia would interpret a military exercise or a weapons shipment as provocative or escalatory was “more art than science,” the official said. “There’s not a clear and easy mathematical formula. … There has always been a balance between what is required to effectively defend, and what is going to be seen by Russia as the United States essentially underwriting the killing of huge numbers of Russians.”

      Ukrainian officials have expressed unending gratitude to the United States for what it has provided since the start of the war. “No other country in the world did more for Ukraine to get the necessary weapons than the United States since 24 February. No other country in the world,” Kuleba said recently. But from the beginning, he said, he and other Ukrainian officials have believed that the “non-provocation” strategy was the wrong one.

      “Where did it take us to?” Kuleba said. “I think this war — with thousands killed and wounded, territories lost, part of the economy destroyed … is the best answer to those who still advocate the non-provocation of Russia.”

      VIII

      As part of its ongoing campaign to convince the world of what was coming — and dissuade the Russians — the White House decided toward the end of 2021 to challenge its own reluctance, and that of the intelligence agencies, to make some of their most sensitive information public.

      U.S. intelligence had picked up on “false flag” operations planned by the Russians, in which they would stage attacks on their own forces as if they had come from Ukraine. Publicly exposing those plans might deny Putin the opportunity to concoct a pretext for invasion, administration officials reasoned.

      As a first step, the White House decided to reveal the scale of the troop buildup that continued on Ukraine’s borders. In early December, the administration released satellite photos, as well a map created by U.S. analysts showing Russian troop positions and an intelligence community analysis of Russian planning.

      The analysis said the Russians planned “extensive movement” of 100 battalion tactical groups, involving up to 175,000 troops, along with armor, artillery and equipment. The picture that administration officials had been developing for weeks in secret was now seen around the world.

      In anticipation of more selective disclosures of intelligence, Sullivan set up a regular process at the White House in which a team would determine whether a particular piece of information, if made public, could thwart Russian plans or propaganda. If the answer was yes, it would then be submitted to the intelligence community for recommendations on whether and how to release it.

      In late January, the British government publicly accused Russia of plotting to install a puppet regime in Kyiv. The allegation, based on U.S. and British intelligence, was revealed in a highly unusual press statement by Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, late in the evening in London but just in time for the Sunday morning papers.

      And in early February, the Biden administration disclosed that Moscow was considering filming a fake Ukrainian attack against Russian territory or Russian-speaking people — the false flag that intelligence had detected. The propaganda film would be heavy on spectacle, officials said, with graphic scenes of explosions, accompanied by corpses posed as victims and mourners pretending to grieve for the dead.

      “I had watched Putin falsely set the narrative too many times,” another U.S. official said. Now, “you could see him planning quite specifically in [eastern Ukraine] false flags. It was quite precise.”

      The intelligence disclosures themselves had an air of theatricality. The initial revelation of satellite pictures could be corroborated by commercial footage, though the analysis was unique to the intelligence community. But whether the public believed the subsequent disclosures depended on the government’s credibility. And Biden administration officials knew they faced a public, at home and abroad, that could be deeply skeptical of “intelligence,” following the Iraq War and the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.

      Broadly speaking, the U.S. public information campaign worked. World attention focused on the Russian troop buildup. The idea that Putin would falsify the reasons for his invasion seemed plausible, perhaps because in 2014 he had denied entirely that his troops were in Crimea, an assertion that led to descriptions of “little green men” in military uniforms without insignia occupying part of Ukraine.

      Given how skeptical some allies remained about the intelligence, the most powerful effect of disclosing it was to shape Russian behavior and deprive Putin of the power to use misinformation, U.S. officials said.

      IX

      On Jan. 12, Burns met in Kyiv with Zelensky and delivered a candid assessment. The intelligence picture had only become clearer that Russia intended to make a lightning strike on Kyiv and decapitate the central government. The United States had also discovered a key piece of battlefield planning: Russia would try to land its forces first at the airport in Hostomel, a suburb of the capital, where the runways could accommodate massive Russian transports carrying troops and weapons. The assault on Kyiv would begin there.

      At one point in their conversation, Zelensky asked if he or his family were personally in danger. Burns said Zelensky needed to take his personal security seriously.

      The risks to the president were growing. Intelligence at the time indicated that Russian assassination teams might already be in Kyiv, waiting to be activated.

      But Zelensky resisted calls to relocate his government and was adamant that he not panic the public. Down that path, he thought, lay defeat.

      “You can’t simply say to me, ‘Listen, you should start to prepare people now and tell them they need to put away money, they need to store up food,’ ” Zelensky recalled. “If we had communicated that — and that is what some people wanted, who I will not name — then I would have been losing $7 billion a month since last October, and at the moment when the Russians did attack, they would have taken us in three days. … Generally, our inner sense was right: If we sow chaos among people before the invasion, the Russians will devour us. Because during chaos, people flee the country.”

      For Zelensky, the decision to keep people in the country, where they could fight to defend their homes, was the key to repelling any invasion.

      “As cynical as it may sound, those are the people who stopped everything,” he said.

      Ukrainian officials remained irritated that the Americans weren’t sharing more about their intelligence sources. “The information that we received was, I would call it, a statement of facts without a disclosure of the origins of those facts or of the background behind those facts,” Kuleba recalled.

      But Western intelligence wasn’t alone in thinking Zelensky should prepare for a full-scale invasion. Some of Ukraine’s own intelligence officials, while still skeptical that Putin would strike, were planning for the worst. Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine’s military intelligence chief, said he moved the archives out of his headquarters three months in advance of the war and prepared reserves of fuel and ammunition.

      The American warnings were repeated on Jan. 19 when Blinken made a brief visit to Kyiv for a face-to-face meeting with Zelensky and Kuleba. To the secretary’s dismay, Zelensky continued to argue that any public call for mobilization would bring panic, as well as capital flight that would push Ukraine’s already teetering economy over the edge.

      While Blinken stressed, as he had in previous conversations, the importance of keeping Zelensky and his government safe and intact, he was one of several senior U.S. officials who rebuffed reports that the administration had urged them to evacuate the capital. “What we said to Ukraine were two things,” Blinken later recalled. “We will support you whatever you want to do. We recommend you look … at how you can ensure continuity of government operations depending on what happens.” That could mean hunkering down in Kyiv, relocating to western Ukraine or moving the government to neighboring Poland.

      Zelensky told Blinken he was staying.

      He had begun to suspect that some Western officials wanted him to flee so that Russia could install a puppet government that would come to a negotiated settlement with NATO powers. “The Western partners wanted to — I’m sure someone was really worried about what would happen to me and my family,” Zelensky said. “But someone probably wanted to just end things faster. I think the majority of people who called me — well, almost everyone — did not have faith that Ukraine can stand up to this and persevere.”

      Similarly, warning Ukrainians to prepare for war as some partners wanted him to, he said, would have weakened the country economically and made it easier for the Russians to capture. “Let people discuss in the future whether it was right or not right,” the Ukrainian leader recalled, “but I definitely know and intuitively — we discussed this every day at the National Security and Defense Council, et cetera — I had the feeling that [the Russians] wanted to prepare us for a soft surrender of the country. And that’s scary.”

      X

      In a news conference on Jan. 19, Biden said he thought Russia would invade. Putin had come too far to pull back. “He has to do something,” the president said.

      Biden promised that the West would answer Russia’s attack. “Our allies and partners are ready to impose severe costs and significant harm on Russia and the Russian economy,” he said, predicting that if Putin ordered an invasion, it would prove a “disaster” for Russia.

      It was one of Biden’s most forceful warnings to that point. But the president also muddied the waters, suggesting that a “minor incursion” by Russian forces, as opposed to a full-scale invasion, might not prompt the severe response that he and allies had threatened.

      “It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion, and then we end up having to fight about what to do and not do, et cetera,” Biden said, signaling that NATO was not unified in its opposition to any Russian use of force. “If there’s something where there’s Russian forces crossing the border, killing Ukrainian fighters, et cetera, I think that changes everything,” Biden said when, later in the news conference, a reporter asked him to clarify what he meant by a “minor incursion.”

      “But it depends on what he [Putin] does, actually, what extent we’re going to be able to get total unity on the NATO front.”

      Biden’s comments revealed the cracks in his own administration’s planning, as well as in NATO. Blinken was in Kyiv, vowing that the United States would support Ukraine, in every way short of committing its own forces, if the country was attacked. But privately, administration officials had been contemplating for weeks how they would respond to a “hybrid” attack, in which Russia might launch damaging cyber-strikes on Ukraine and a limited assault on the eastern part of the country.

      Zelensky and his aides, who still weren’t convinced Putin would go to war, replied to Biden’s comments about a “minor incursion” with a caustic tweet.

      “We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations. Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones. I say this as the President of a great power.”

      Biden clarified the next day that if “any assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion” for which Putin will pay. But White House officials quietly fumed that while the administration was trying to rally support for Ukraine, Zelensky was more interested in poking the president in the eye over an awkward comment.
      “It was frustrating,” said a former White House official. “We were taking steps that were attempting to help him, and there was a feeling that he was protecting his own political brand by either being in denial or projecting confidence because that’s what was important to him at the time.”

      An aide to Zelensky who helped craft the tweet said it was meant to rebut Biden, but also to be light and humorous, a way to defuse the burgeoning tension. Zelensky’s inner circle worried that Washington’s predictions that war was around the corner would have unintended consequences.

      As Biden was clarifying, Zelensky’s team tried to assuage Washington with a conciliatory message.

      “Thank you @POTUS for the unprecedented [U.S.] diplomatic and military assistance for [Ukraine],” Zelensky tweeted, with emoji of the U.S. and Ukrainian flags.

      XI

      Jan. 21 was a cold, bleak day in Geneva, with gusty winds whipping the surface of the usually placid lake that shares the Swiss city’s name. As Blinken and his aides sat across from their Russian counterparts at a table set up in the ballroom of a shoreline luxury hotel, the secretary offered the whitecaps as a metaphor. Perhaps, Blinken told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, they could calm the turbulent waters between their two countries.

      They exchanged tense niceties and covered other issues — a spat about the size and activities of their embassies in each other’s capital, the Iran nuclear deal — before turning to Ukraine. Blinken again laid out U.S. positions. If Putin had legitimate security concerns, the United States and its allies were ready to talk about them. But once an invasion of Ukraine began, Western sanctions would be fast and merciless, isolating Russia and crippling its economy, and the alliance would provide Ukraine with massive military assistance. If one Russian soldier or missile touched one inch of NATO territory, the United States would defend its allies.

      Blinken found Lavrov’s responses strident and unyielding. After an hour and a half of fruitless back-and-forth, it seemed there was little more to say. But as their aides began to file out of the ballroom, Blinken held back and asked the Russian minister to speak with him alone. The two men entered a small, adjacent conference room and shut the door as the U.S. and Russian teams stood uncomfortably together outside.

      During Lavrov’s nearly 18 years as Russia’s foreign minister, a succession of American diplomats had found him blunt and doctrinaire, but occasionally frank and realistic about relations between their two countries. After again going over the Ukraine situation, Blinken stopped and asked, “Sergei, tell me what it is you’re really trying to do?” Was this all really about the security concerns Russia had raised again and again — about NATO’s “encroachment” toward Russia and a perceived military threat? Or was it about Putin’s almost theological belief that Ukraine was and always had been an integral part of Mother Russia?

      Without answering, Lavrov opened the door and walked away, his staff trailing behind.

      It was the last time top national security officials of Russia and the United States would meet in person before the invasion.

      Biden spoke with Putin once more by telephone. On Feb. 12, the White House said, he told the Russian president that “while the United States remains prepared to engage in diplomacy, in full coordination with our allies and partners, we are equally prepared for other scenarios.”

      XII

      A day earlier, British Defense Minister Ben Wallace had flown to Moscow to meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, a longtime Kremlin survivor who helped sculpt Putin’s tough-guy persona.

      Wallace wanted to ask one more time if there was room for negotiation on Putin’s demands about NATO expansion and alliance activities in Eastern Europe. The Russians, he said, showed no interest in engaging.

      Wallace warned Shoigu that Russia would face fierce resistance if it invaded Ukraine. “I know the Ukrainians — I visited Ukraine five times — and they will fight.”

      “My mother’s Ukrainian,” Wallace said Shoigu replied, implying that he knew the people better. “It’s all part of our same country.”

      Wallace then raised the prospect of sanctions. Shoigu responded: “ ‘We can suffer like no one else.’ And I said, ‘I don’t want anyone to suffer.’ ”

      Shoigu aired a long and by now familiar list of complaints and said Russia couldn’t tolerate Ukraine’s Western trajectory. “It was in some respects incomprehensible,” said a British official who attended the meeting. “Everyone wanted to keep negotiations going — we were throwing off-ramps, but they weren’t taking them.”

      As the British officials were about to leave, Shoigu spoke directly to Wallace. “He looked me in the eye and said, ‘We have no plans to invade Ukraine’ ” Wallace recalled. “That shows you how much of a lie it was.”

      A week later, on Feb. 18, Biden called the leaders of several NATO allies and told them the latest U.S. analysis. Biden told reporters in the Roosevelt Room at the White House later that day, “As of this moment, I’m convinced he’s made the decision” to invade. “We have reason to believe that.”

      The French, however, continued to seek a way out of the crisis.

      On Feb. 20, Macron called Putin and asked him to agree to a meeting in Geneva with Biden. The conversation led the French president to believe that Putin was finally willing to seek a settlement.

      “It’s a proposal that merits to be taken into account,” Putin said, according to a recording of the conversation aired months later in a France TV documentary, “A President, Europe and War.”

      Macron pressed the Russian leader. “But can we say, today, at the end of this conversation, that we agree in principle? I would like a clear answer from you on that score. I understand your resistance to setting a date. But are you ready to move forward and say, today, ‘I would like a [face-to-face] meeting with the Americans, then expanded to the Europeans’? Or not?”

      Putin didn’t commit and appeared to have more-pressing matters at hand. “To be perfectly frank with you, I wanted to go [play] ice hockey, because right now I’m at the gym. But before starting my workout, let me assure you, I will first call my advisers.”

      “Je vous remercie, Monsieur le President,” Putin concluded, thanking him in French.

      Macron is heard laughing in delight as he hangs up. The French president and his advisers thought they had a breakthrough. Macron’s diplomatic adviser, Emmanuel Bonne, even danced.

      But the following day, in a televised address, Putin officially recognized two separatist Ukrainian provinces in Donbas, including territory controlled by Kyiv, as independent states. It was a stark sign that Putin — his French-language pleasantries aside — intended to dismember Ukraine.

      XIII

      As Britain and France made last-ditch efforts at diplomacy, world leaders gathered in Munich for an annual security conference. Zelensky attended, prompting concerns among some U.S. officials that his absence might give Russia the perfect moment to strike. Others wondered if the Ukrainian leader believed Russia would attack and had used the opportunity to leave the country before the bombs started falling.

      In a speech, Zelensky reminded the audience that his country was already at war with Russia, with Ukrainian troops fighting against the eastern separatists since 2014.

      “To really help Ukraine, it is not necessary to constantly talk only about the dates of a probable invasion,” Zelensky said. Instead, the European Union and NATO should welcome Ukraine into their organizations.

      Some European officials were still unconvinced that an attack was coming. One told a reporter, “We have no clear evidence ourselves that Putin has made up his mind, and we have not seen anything that would suggest otherwise.”

      “It felt otherworldly,” the British official said. In sideline conversations, U.S. and British officials were convinced of an imminent invasion, but “that just wasn’t the mood in the hall.”

      Some in London began to doubt themselves, the British official said. “People were saying [we] got it wrong on Afghanistan. We returned and scrubbed the [Ukraine] intelligence again.”

      They came up with the same conclusion — Russia would invade. But despite the U.S. diplomatic and intelligence-sharing campaign, it remained a difficult sell.

      “If you discover the plans of somebody to attack a country and the plans appear to be completely bonkers, the chances are that you are going to react rationally and consider that it’s so bonkers, it’s not going to happen,” said Heisbourg, the French security expert.

      “The Europeans overrated their understanding of Putin,” he said. “The Americans, I assume … rather than try to put themselves in Putin’s head, decided they were going to act on the basis of the data and not worry about whether it makes any sense or not.”

      There had been many reasons to be mystified. U.S. intelligence showed that the Kremlin’s war plans were not making their way down to the battlefield commanders who would have to carry them out. Officers didn’t know their orders. Troops were showing up at the border not understanding they were heading into war. Some U.S. government analysts were bewildered by the lack of communication within the Russian military. Things were so screwy, the analysts thought, Russia’s plans might actually fail. But that remained a distinctly minority view.

      For Kuleba, the turning point came in the days after the Feb. 18-20 Munich conference, when he traveled again to Washington. “These were the days I received more-specific information,” he recalled. At a specific airport A in Russia, they told him, five transport planes were already on full alert, ready to take paratroops at any given moment and fly them in the direction of a specific airport B in Ukraine.

      “That was where you see the sequence of events and the logic of what is happening,” he said.

      Western intelligence officials, looking back at what turned out to be the shambolic Russian attack on Kyiv, acknowledge that they overestimated the effectiveness of the Russian military.

      “We assumed they would invade a country the way we would have invaded a country,” one British official said.

      XIV

      Early in the evening of Feb. 23, the White House received an urgent intelligence flash. There was “high probability” that the invasion had begun. Troops were on the move, and the Russians had fired missiles on targets in Ukraine. The president’s top advisers assembled; some met in the Situation Room while others joined on a secure line.

      Sullivan spoke with Yermak, Zelensky’s chief of staff. There was “an extremely high level of agitation” in Kyiv, said a person familiar with the call. “They were not spinning out of control. Just extremely emotional, but in a way you’d expect.”

      Yermak told Sullivan to hold on — he wanted to bring Zelensky to the phone to speak directly with Biden. Sullivan connected the call to the Treaty Room, part of the second-floor White House residence used as a study, and got the president on the line.

      Zelensky implored Biden to immediately contact as many other world leaders and diplomats as possible. He should tell them to speak out publicly and to call Putin directly and tell him to “turn this off.”

      “Zelensky was alarmed,” the person recalled. He asked Biden to “ ‘get us all the intelligence you possibly can now. We will fight, we will defend, we can hold, but we need your help.’ ”

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/interactive/2022/ukraine-road-to-war/

    • WASHINGTON POST – Five takeaways from The Post’s examination of the road to war in Ukraine

      A months-long examination by The Washington Post of the road to war in Ukraine, including Western efforts to thwart the Kremlin’s plans, is based on extensive interviews with more than three dozen senior U.S., Ukrainian, European and NATO officials. Here are some key findings:

      1. The United States intelligence community penetrated multiple points of Russia’s political leadership, spying apparatus and military, and found Vladimir Putin preparing for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

      In the Oval Office in October 2021, President Biden’s top advisers presented him with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war plans for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. U.S. intelligence agencies had used satellite imagery, intercepted communications and human sources to show that Putin was massing troops along Ukraine’s border with the aim of seizing the capital, Kyiv, and much of the country, leaving only a rump Ukrainian state in the west.

      The United States had discovered Putin sharply increasing funding for military operations while leaving his pandemic response underfunded. “We assess that they plan to conduct a significant strategic attack on Ukraine from multiple directions simultaneously,” Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, told Biden. “Their version of ‘shock and awe.’ ”

      2. Every decision on arming Ukraine was predicated on not giving Russia a reason to attack the United States and NATO.

      Biden was determined to rally NATO allies in the face of the impending invasion without provoking a direct conflict between Russia and the United States. Milley carried note cards in his briefcase encapsulating the U.S. interests and strategic objectives, as well as the high stakes. “Problem: ‘How do you underwrite and enforce the rules-based international order’ against a country with extraordinary nuclear capability, ‘without going to World War III?’ ”

      Every decision on arming Ukraine was predicated on not giving Russia a reason to escalate, often to the frustration of Ukrainian officials, who pressed the United States to send increasing numbers of more powerful weapons, even as they publicly doubted that the invasion would happen. “I make no apologies for the fact that one of our objectives here is to avoid direct conflict with Russia,” said Jake Sullivan, Biden’s security adviser.

      3. Biden dispatched his top intelligence official to confront Putin with evidence of Russia’s war planning.

      Biden sent CIA Director William J. Burns to Moscow to deliver Putin a message: We know what you’re up to, and if you invade, there will be severe consequences. Burns delivered a personal letter from Biden, and he spoke to Putin by phone from an office in the Kremlin. The Russian leader had decamped to the resort city of Sochi during a coronavirus wave that placed Moscow under lockdown.

      Putin, in a now familiar diatribe, complained about NATO expansion and the illegitimacy of Ukraine’s government. “He was very dismissive of President [Volodymyr] Zelensky as a political leader,” recalled Burns, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia. Burns concluded that Putin had not made an irreversible decision to invade. But, he reported back to Biden after the phone call, “my level of concern has gone up, not down.”

      4. Kyiv complained U.S. intelligence wasn’t specific enough to prepare for an invasion.

      Ukrainian officials complained that whenever the Americans shared their bleak outlook about an imminent invasion, they never fully provided Kyiv with the details of their intelligence. In November, Ukraine’s foreign minister and Zelensky’s chief of staff visited the State Department in Washington, where a senior U.S. official greeted them with a cup of coffee and a smile. “Guys, dig the trenches!” the official said.

      “When we smiled back,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba recalled, the U.S. official said, “ ‘I’m serious. Start digging trenches. … You will be attacked. A large-scale attack, and you have to prepare for it.’ ”

      “We asked for details; there were none,” Kuleba said.

      5. Zelensky suspected that some Western officials wanted him to flee.

      The Ukrainian leader worried that with his government out of the way and a Kremlin-backed regime installed, NATO powers would seek a negotiated settlement with Moscow over Ukraine. “The Western partners wanted to — I’m sure someone was really worried about what would happen to me and my family,” Zelensky said. “But someone probably wanted to just end things faster. I think the majority of people who called me — well, almost everyone — did not have faith that Ukraine can stand up to this and persevere.”

      Similarly, warning Ukrainians to prepare for war as some partners wanted him to, he said, would have weakened the country economically and made it easier for the Russians to capture. “Let people discuss in the future whether it was right or not right,” Zelensky recalled, “but I definitely know and intuitively — we discussed this every day at the National Security and Defense Council, et cetera — I had the feeling that [the Russians] wanted to prepare us for a soft surrender of the country. And that’s scary.”

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/16/ukraine-road-to-war-takeaways/

    • WASHINGTON POST – An interview with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

      KYIV, Ukraine — Over the past six months, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has become an inspiring wartime leader and champion of his country. During an hour-long, wide-ranging interview with The Washington Post at the presidential office, where hallways are kept dark and are lined with sandbags to protect against Russian attack, Zelensky discussed U.S. warnings about Russia preparing to launch a full-scale invasion — and if he believed them.

      The following is a translated and lightly edited transcript of excerpts from the interview. The full transcript will be published at a later date.

      Q: When CIA Director William J. Burns met with you here in Kyiv in January, one of the things he told you was that the Russians would attempt a landing at the airport in Hostomel. What was your reaction when that actually happened on Feb. 24? Should there have been more Ukrainian forces already there?

      A: Regarding the airport, some six months prior to all of this, and perhaps even earlier, if you remember, there was a gathering of troops on the territory of Belarus and so on. We appealed to all our partners, telling them that we believed this is how they would act. They were training there — and it was well known — to capture or bomb key infrastructure points. They had been training, they had plans to capture Boryspil airport and so on. I don’t know how old these plans are.

      They used maps, and the way they were capturing things, some of their paths were the same as those of the Nazis during World War II. So to say they had something unique planned here, it is impossible. Everything we had, it was there.

      I’m not ready to talk about everything Burns talked about, but his main signals were about threats to my life. And those were not the first signals — they came from everywhere, from our intelligence services, from foreign colleagues and so on.

      Look, as soon as the full-scale invasion began, from that moment on, our economy was losing $5 billion to $7 billion a month. This is wages. And you know the money our partners give us, we cannot spend the money on military salaries. There is some kind of global paradox in all this. I need money so I don’t lose my country. But I can’t spend this money on military salaries. Therefore, simultaneously with the explosions and the shelling, I had a very problematic story. I have to pay salaries to people who go there and die. And you’re hopeless. I don’t have time for reasoning, warnings, commitments — I just have a task to do. I must not allow them to occupy our land, and I have to pay people who die. That’s exactly what it sounds like. There are no sentiments. You have to do this every month.

      When it comes to all warnings or signals from certain partners, here is what I explained to them: If we don’t have enough weapons, it will be difficult for us to fight. We will fight them, that’s for sure. And they don’t want to talk. [Russian President Vladimir Putin] hasn’t been willing to communicate for three years. So I don’t want to listen to this nonsense that Russians are ready to talk, this is nonsense. I clearly explained that. Everything we need is weapons, and if you have the opportunity, force him to sit down at the negotiating table with me. I’d been talking about this specifically, because we believed there will be an invasion.

      You can’t simply say to me, “Listen, you should start to prepare people now and tell them they need to put away money, they need to store up food.” If we had communicated that — and that is what some people wanted, who I will not name — then I would have been losing $7 billion a month since last October, and at the moment when the Russians did attack, they would have taken us in three days. I’m not saying whose idea it was, but generally, our inner sense was right: If we sow chaos among people before the invasion, the Russians will devour us. Because during chaos, people flee the country.

      And that’s what happened when the invasion started — we were as strong as we could be. Some of our people left, but most of them stayed here, they fought for their homes. And as cynical as it may sound, those are the people who stopped everything. If that were to happen, in October — God forbid, during the heating season — there would be nothing left. Our government wouldn’t exist, that’s 100 percent sure. Well, forget about us. There would be a political war inside the country, because we would not have held on to $5 billion to $7 billion per month. We did not have serious financial programs. There was a shortage of energy resources in the market created by the Russians. We did not have enough energy resources. We would not have been able to get out of this situation and there would be chaos in the country.

      But it is one thing when chaos is controlled and it is during a military time — you run the state in a different way. You can open the border, close the border, attack, retreat, defend. You can take control of your infrastructure. And it’s another situation when you do not have a military situation or emergency regime in place, and you have a state that is ruled by a huge number of different officials and institutions. And minus $7 billion a month, even without weapons, is already a big war for our country.

      Q: So did you personally believe full-scale war was coming?

      A: Look, how can you believe this? That they will torture people and that this is their goal? No one believed it would be like this. And no one knew it. And now everyone says we warned you, but you warned through general phrases. When we said give us specifics — where will they come from, how many people and so on — they all had as much information as we did. And when I said, “Okay, if they’re coming from here and it’s going to be heavy fighting here, can we get weapons to stop them?” We didn’t get it. Why do I need all these warnings? Why do I need to make our society go crazy? Since February, even from January as there was a lot going on in the media, Ukrainians transferred out more money than Ukrainians abroad received in assistance. Tens of billions of dollars in deposits have been withdrawn, so Ukrainians spent much more money in Europe compared with the amount Ukrainians had been given there, with all due respect.

      Therefore, you must understand that this is a hybrid war against our state. There was an energy blow, there was a political blow — they stirred the pot here, they wanted a change of power from inside the country, thanks to this party. The third blow was during autumn and a financial one. They needed the exchange rate of our currency to be a wartime one so that we did not have gasoline. So they did all this: There was no fuel, we did not have gas, they were cutting us out to ensure that the heating season would lead to destabilization within the country, and for the people to know there are the risks of currency devaluation so they would withdraw money. In general, they did this so we would stop being a country, and by the time of their invasion, we would have been a rag, not a country. That’s what they were betting on. We did not go for it. Let people discuss in the future whether it was right or not right. But I definitely know and intuitively — we discussed this every day at the National Security and Defense Council, et cetera — I had the feeling that [the Russians] wanted to prepare us for a soft surrender of the country. And that’s scary.

      Q: I understand concerns about sowing panic and tanking the economy, but what would you say to those Ukrainians who now say, “I would’ve wanted to evacuate my family or just be better prepared”?

      A: For all of December, January and February, Ukrainians were withdrawing money out of our economy. We could have been strict about that, but we weren’t letting either the National Bank or anyone else limit the people’s ability to take their money. Although we knew perfectly well that this will affect the country’s economy. The freedom people have in a democratic country is the freedom our people had. They had access to all the information that was available. Sorry, the fact that I wasn’t telling them about the Russians’ plot to do something to me and everything the intelligence services had been reporting to me: “You have to take your family away.” I told them, “How do you imagine that? I’ll be taking my family away, I’ll be doing something, and people will be just staying here? I can’t do that.” Our land is the only thing we have; we’ll stay here together. And then what happened, happened.

      Q: If the United States knew for sure that a full-scale invasion was coming, did it give you enough weapons to defend yourself before Feb. 24?

      A: Today, I can only be grateful to the U.S. for what we’ve got. But we need to have a clear understanding of the fact that we have always had weapons from the Soviet times. We never had the NATO weapons. The minimum we had from 2014 was, in my view, insufficient. The serious forces we needed, like the HIMARS we can all see now, or, let’s say, the 155-millimeter artillery — I’m not even mentioning tanks and aircraft — we had none of that and we didn’t have a possibility to buy it. The only thing we had agreed on was military drones, Bayraktars, et cetera. But with all due respect, one can’t wage war with drones.

      And so, as you probably remember, since the full-scale invasion started and until now, all I’ve been asking is to close the sky, because if the sky was closed, we wouldn’t have all these deaths. And we were offering an alternative to the closed sky: a number of aircraft.

      And there was no problem or shortage with that, I think, because we supplied addresses where all those aircraft were. But we never got that opportunity to close the sky. Even now, we are talking about what had been before the war, what had been in 2014, but what’s the point if even today, when this war is on, we haven’t got a chance to close and secure the sky.

      Q: Did you ever get an explanation for why you weren’t supplied with more weaponry before Feb. 24 if Washington knew what was coming?

      A: I have no complaints — up to the point when someone starts telling me, “But we were sending you signals.” Up to that point, I have no complaints. But when one is claiming they were sending us some signals, I tell them, “Send us weapons.” I was absolutely right, and I’m sure about it even now.

      So as soon as we received serious weapons — I had told them, “Our country is not going to run anywhere, we are ready to fight, give us weapons.” And as soon as we got them, we would fight.

      Everyone was afraid of the war. No one wants to wage war with Russia. Look, no one wants to wage war with Russia. Everyone wants Ukraine to win, but no one wants to wage war with Russia. And that’s it. That’s a full stop. And that’s why we had to decide how to stay strong. If no one wants to wage war with them, everyone is scared to fight them — excuse me, then we’ll be deciding how to do that, whether it’s right or wrong. But the war will go farther, deeper into Europe, so please send us weapons, because we are also defending you. And they started sending it.

      But is it possible to close the sky now? Just wondering. It’s a rhetorical question.

      Q: Regarding Kherson, what can be done to prevent Russia from holding a referendum there? What are you asking from your Western partners right now to help you stop it?

      A: They can only take strong and specific steps using sanctions. Because the illegal referendum and the annexation of Kherson, what the Russians are planning to do, is a violation of any — well, I don’t want to talk about international law, they violated it a long time ago. It makes no sense. But countries can do the same thing because it’s a violation of borders. That is, they can definitely impose restricting sanctions. For example, a ban on the entry of all citizens of the Russian Federation to the European Union countries. Good sanctions. I think they are very good and peaceful.

      There is nothing in these sanctions that takes away property or human life. I said from the very beginning that I believe that the most important sanctions are to close the borders, because they are taking away someone else’s territory. Well, let them live in their own world until they change their philosophy. So, countries close the borders and put an embargo on energy resources. My personal opinion is that everything else is weaker. There is no complete embargo on the energy supplies, and the borders are not shut.

      It’s very simple: Whatever the citizens of the Russian Federation may be — there are those who support and do not support it — their children are there, studying abroad, in schools, universities and so on. Let them go to Russia. There’s nothing scary about that, let them go there. Not forever, please, let them come back. They’ll just understand then. They say, “Oh, we have nothing to do with this and all people can’t bear the responsibility.” They can. They elected these people and now they are not fighting them, they do not argue with them and don’t shout at them. The Russians who publicly oppose the war are just isolated cases and these people are in prisons. But let Russians go home, let everyone go to Russia. You want this isolation, don’t you? You’re telling the whole world that the whole world will live by your rules. Okay, then go there and live there.

      What does this give us? This is the only way to influence Putin. Because this person has no other fear but the fear for his life. And his life depends on whether he is threatened by his internal population or not. Nothing else is threatening to him. That’s the way it is. Therefore, when its population puts pressure on his decisions, then there will be results. And the war will end. These are very understandable sanctions, they are very simple. It’s not about money, it’s not about gas or pipes, or that Germans won’t have heat in the winter. Just close the borders for a year and you’ll see the result.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/16/zelensky-interview-transcript/

    • MSNBC – U.S. Should Take The ‘Courageous Decisions Now’ In Ukraine, Says Vindman

      Alexander Vindman is faulting the Biden White House for its handling of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, saying it is time for the U.S. to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.

  20. Palestinian desecration of the Temple Mount continues, Temple Mount activists revealed Monday, shortly after Tisha B’Av.

    Follow Israel Hayom on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

    Members of the Beyadenu group had previously exposed how antiquities and stones from the Temple Mount were being desecrated. Now, the group has reported that garbage trucks are dumping trash all over the Temple Mount, particularly at the holiest site in Jewish tradition – the area facing the site of the former Temple.

    Israel Hayom has obtained footage of several vehicles dumping trash there, without any supervision or oversight.

    Beyadenu Director-General Tom Nisani said, “After the soccer games on the Temple Mount plaza and the desecration of antiquities, now we are seeing another stage of the Temple Mount being turned into a playground for the Arabs.

    “After we realized that the Temple Mount doesn’t really have any value in their eyes, it’s time for Israel to start enforcing sovereignty at the holiest place in the world, and decide whether or not it wants to be in charge there. This is another painful sight of trash being dumped at the holiest place in the world. This is a disgrace for the Jewish people,” Nisani said.

    https://www.israelhayom.com/2022/08/16/watch-garbage-truck-dump-trash-at-sacred-site-on-temple-mount/

  21. Hamas-linked CAIR loses appeal on suit aimed at silencing prof accused of criticizing Islam

    This was a ridiculous suit to begin with, aimed at bringing Sharia blasphemy laws forbidding criticism of Islam into U.S. law, and so it’s good that Hamas-linked CAIR lost its appeal. However, the protracted suit likely accomplished at least one of its intended purposes: intimidating into silence any academics who might be considering saying something that departs from the establishment narrative about the Religion of Peace and its poor, victimized adherents.

    “CAIR Loses Appeal on Suit Aimed at Muzzling Arizona Professor,” by Steven Emerson, IPT News, August 11, 2022:

    A Scottsdale Community College professor did not violate his Muslim student’s rights when he taught about religious justification in Islamic terrorism, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

    The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district judge’s 2020 ruling dismissing the lawsuit filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on behalf of student Mohamed Sabra. In her 2020 order, District Judge Susan M. Brnovich found that Nicholas Damask’s World Politics coursework and quizzes did not violate Sabra’s First Amendment rights or require him to abandon his faith as a Muslim.

    “Curriculum that merely conflicts with a student’s religious beliefs does not violate the Free Exercise Clause,” she wrote, citing precedent.

    “Dr. Damask’s course did not inhibit Mr. Sabra’s personal worship in any way,” Brnovich wrote.

    https://www.jihadwatch.org/2022/08/hamas-linked-cair-loses-appeal-on-suit-aimed-at-silencing-prof-accused-of-criticizing-islam

  22. Iraqi arrested after arson attack on anti-migration Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ)
    Late success in the manhunt: After an arson attack on the provincial headquarters of the Lower Austrian Freedom Party in St. Pölten three years ago, a second suspect is in custody. A DNA match led to the Iraqi. Shortly after the attack, an Afghan had been arrested.

    A DNA match in the course of investigations into terrorist organization led to the man, according to the prosecutor’s office. A trial date has not yet been scheduled. “The investigation is still ongoing,” confirmed Leopold Bien of the St. Pölten prosecutor’s office.
    The DNA match resulted already at the end of 2021, informed the spokesman of the prosecutor’s office. Age and nationality of the suspect were not disclosed on the part of the prosecution. According to the free newspaper ” Heute “, the suspect is a 29-year-old Iraqi. A suspected accomplice was sentenced to prison in 2020, two suspects could not be identified so far.

    https://medforth.biz/iraqi-arrested-after-arson-attack-on-anti-migration-austrian-freedom-party-fpo/

  23. ‘Hindus killed for being Hindus’ series: 75 and still counting…here is a never-ending list of Hindus killed and brutalised in independent India
    As India completes its 75 years of its Independence, OpIndia has compiled a list of 75 Hindus who were brutally killed for wearing their identity on their sleeves and standing up for their faith.

    https://www.opindia.com/2022/08/hindus-killed-for-being-hindus-series-75-and-still-counting-list-of-hindus-killed-in-independent-india/

  24. Arizona Governor Finally Takes Action, Stacks Shipping Containers With Razor Wire On Southern Border Wall To Stop Biden’s Invasion – Border Gap Near Yuma CLOSED
    By Jordan Conradson
    Published August 16, 2022 at 11:40am
    414 Comments

    Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has finally taken a page out of Trump-Endorsed Gubernatorial Candidate Kari Lake’s border policy, starting with finishing President Trump’s beautiful wall.

    Ducey hasn’t gone as far as Lake, who has vowed to declare an invasion starting on day one in office, but he did issue an Executive Order to barricade the border in Yuma, where there is no wall. There was not even a fence in this area.

    The Biden Regime has effectively abolished Trump-era illegal immigration policies, and the floodgates are open.

    Biden recently ended President Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, and over 6 million illegals are expec

    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2022/08/arizona-governor-finally-takes-action-stacks-shipping-containers-razor-wire-southern-border-wall-stop-bidens-invasion-border-gap-near-yuma-closed/

  25. After Arrest and Indictments, Special Counsel John Durham’s Next Target Revealed
    August 16, 2022 by Red Patriots
    Special Counsel John Durham is preparing to go after the FBI, according to investigative journalist John Solomon- the founder of Just The News, and that would be characteristic of Durham- since he has actually done that exact same thing in his past and punished the FBI for corruption before.

    72-year-old John Henry Durham is an American lawyer who served as the United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut from 2018 to 2021. He is a Republican, and he was appointed by US Attorney General William J. Barr. Durham was appointed on On October 19, 2020, by this order.

    Durham’s behavior has been confusing to many people who are eager to see justice brought upon the corrupt and out-of-control government. The mainstream media has promoted many conspiracies about Durham, his career, his intentions, and his methods to confuse and dispirit the American people about the changes of seeing the justice they crave.

    But there is some proof from the past that gives hope, looking forward to Solomon’s predictions.

    https://redpatriots.org/?p=963

  26. American Stasi
    What police sirens blaring outside Mar-a-Lago really mean.

    Mon Aug 15, 2022Josh Hammer50 comments

    Last Monday’s shocking images of police sirens blaring outside Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald Trump’s magnificent Palm Beach, Florida, estate, will not soon be forgotten.

    Much has already been said and written about the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago that precipitated those sirens: “outrageous,” “unprecedented,” a “crossing of the Rubicon” moment. Regrettably, all of that is true. The siccing of the national law enforcement apparatus to execute a pre-dawn raid on a top partisan rival — especially when that rival is the head of state’s predecessor and perhaps-likely future opponent — is a contemptible act of raw political bloodlust. It is an act far more befitting a crumbling hellhole like Venezuela, or a third-world country in sub-Saharan Africa, than it is the land that was to be, per Benjamin Franklin’s alleged quip, “a republic, if you can keep it.”

    https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2022/08/american-stasi-josh-hammer/

  27. Project Veritas: DHS Whistleblower Leaks New Joint Intelligence Bulletin on ‘Domestic Violent Extremists’ Following FBI Raid on Mar-a-Lago
    By Cristina Laila
    Published August 16, 2022 at 5:50pm
    304 Comments

    Project Veritas on Tuesday released a leaked DHS bulletin on ‘domestic violent extremists’ in wake of the FBI’s raid of Trump’s Florida residence.

    The DHS told its agents that Americans who discuss topics such as “government overreach” and “election fraud” are a threat.
    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2022/08/project-veritas-dhs-whistleblower-leaks-new-joint-intelligence-bulletin-domestic-violent-extremists-following-fbi-raid-mar-lago/

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