Link back to the discussion thread.


  • Eurovision 2023 should be held in Ukraine, Boris Johnson says The Guardian

  • Eurovision 2023 won’t be held in Ukraine; UK may step in WaPo

  • Russia’s gas cuts to Europe in summer could bring a bitter winter WaPo

As tensions between Europe and Moscow rise over the war in Ukraine, Russia has sharply reduced gas flow to the continent. It’s a move officials say is deliberate political retribution for Europe’s support for Kyiv.

Both Italy and Slovakia said Friday that Russia’s state-owned energy firm Gazprom had reduced their anticipated gas deliveries by half. The two countries join a growing list of European nations — including Austria, France, Germany and Poland — that have seen their energy supplies dwindle in recent months.

The cuts from Russia are not an immediate threat to consumers, analysts say, but could portend significant gas shortages later in the year. Many European nations use the slower summer months to stockpile gas for winter when energy demand is higher.

  • EU backs Ukraine’s membership bid to ‘live the European dream’ Inquirer

The European Union gave its blessing on Friday for Ukraine and its neighbour Moldova to become candidates to join the bloc, reaching out deep into the former Soviet Union for what would be a major geopolitical shift following Russia’s Ukraine invasion.

“Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference, wearing Ukrainian colours: a yellow blazer over a blue blouse. “We want them to live with us the European dream.”

  • Natural Gas Could Start to Melt United Front Against Russia WSJ

There is a global market for natural gas, but when supplies are as tight as they are today, technical problems can be painful local events.

Prices for the heating- and power-generation fuel have generally been moving in the same upward direction everywhere this year as storage levels remain depleted and as Europe’s geopolitical tension with Russia, a crucial natural-gas exporter, escalates in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But on Tuesday, they went in dramatically opposite directions. The U.S. futures benchmark, the Henry Hub, plunged more than 15% to $7.28 per million British thermal units, while the Dutch TTF benchmark surged 16% to nearly $30 per MMBtu.

Two things came together on Tuesday: Freeport LNG, which liquefies and exports natural gas from Quintana Island, Texas, said its facility won’t resume full operations until late 2022 after a fire that broke out last week. Even partial operations won’t start for at least three months, which surprised observers since the company previously telegraphed that the facility would remain shut down for at least three weeks. That takes out about 18% of total U.S. liquefied natural gas export capacity. Lower exports mean more natural gas gets to stay at home, possibly allowing more to be stored up for the winter.

It also means less gas for Europe, though. Exacerbating that issue, Russia’s Gazprom said Tuesday that Nord Stream, the pipeline that transports Russian natural gas to Germany, is running at reduced capacity. Gazprom blamed Germany’s Siemens for failing to return gas compressor units in time after repairs. Whatever the reason, the pipeline is only able to supply 100 million cubic meters of gas per day, or 3.53 billion cubic feet—around 60% of total planned supply.

The price reaction might look overdone given that the outage at Freeport LNG is a drop in the ocean, compared with the amount of natural gas the U.S. produces every day—about 2%. One way to interpret the wild swing is that the existing price rally was probably more about geopolitical skittishness than about fundamentals.

The 2% figure also understates its importance at the margin. Freeport LNG has capacity to liquefy and export 2.1 billion cubic feet per day, which is about 15% of the volume that the U.S. added to its natural-gas storage the week before the fire broke out. Using a back-of-the-envelope calculation, if the U.S. added natural gas to storage at the same rate it did in 2021, then it was on track to end up a hair below the five-year range ahead of winter heating season, when shortages can cause price jumps. Adding 2.1 bcf/d of additional natural gas over the next 90 days would take it comfortably within that five-year range.

The latest development is salt in the wound for Europe, where soaring energy prices are leading some factories to shut down. Meanwhile, given the relief U.S. factories could see after the drop in natural-gas prices following Freeport LNG’s outage, the incident could be fodder for U.S. industrials to lobby for reduced LNG exports, as they did last year.

  • Gas Rationing Is Getting Closer for Europe Bloomberg

Throughout the entire Cold War and in the decades since, Russia was a stable supplier of gas to Europe. That changed this week.

Russia slashed gas supplies in apparent retaliation over Europe’s support for Kyiv. After its biggest moves yet to use energy as a weapon, gas rationing in the region is now a very real prospect.

The squeeze caused prices to surge, added pressure to the region’s economy and could strain European solidarity — all victories for the Kremlin that came as European leaders underlined support for Ukraine during a high-profile trip to the country.

With European utilities forced to tap reserves intended to cover needs for the winter, government controls of gas distribution could start within months. If Russia completely shuts its main link, the region could run out of supplies by January, according consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd.

“It’s a serious situation, a tense situation,” Germany Economy Minister Robert Habeck said in an interview with ARD television on Thursday. “It’s a trial of strength between Western allies and Russia.”

The heightened alarm was triggered after the Kremlin cut flows by about 60% through the Nord Stream pipeline, which pumps gas straight to Germany. The diminished deliveries had a knock-on effect for France, Austria and the Czech Republic.

Germany’s Uniper SE, the biggest buyer of Russian gas in Europe, is receiving 60% less gas than ordered. Italy’s Eni SpA received just half of its requested volumes from state-owned Gazprom PJSC on Friday, and France’s Engie SA and Austria’s OMV AG have been hit as well.

Germany, which is at the first level of its own three-stage crisis plan, is considering a range of options to reduce demand such as allowing landlords to reduce heating in the winter and implementing an auction platform for companies to sell their consumption rights. Europe’s largest economy, which is reliant on Russia for more than a third of its supplies, has called for solidarity and urged people to save energy to thwart Putin.

  • EU states forced to use gas reserves RT

The EU’s gas storage levels decreased this week for the first time in two months, according to the latest data from Gas Infrastructure Europe, as quoted by Bloomberg.

The drop, which is seen as a sign of a deepening energy crisis in Europe, sent futures of the fuel soaring to their biggest weekly gains since late February.

“Clearly this should not be happening in the injection season,” Warren Patterson, the head of commodities strategy for ING Groep, told the news agency. “This will be unsettling for the market and is likely to keep prices supported.”

The decrease in the reserves, which are often tapped during the peak winter season, comes amid gas supply cuts to customers in Italy, Germany, France, and Austria announced by Russian energy giant Gazprom in the past two days.

On Tuesday, the Saint Petersburg firm said it was reducing gas deliveries via the Nord Stream pipeline after German equipment supplier Siemens Energy failed to return gas pumping units to its compressor station on time.


  • Russian telegram:

Rostourism is working on accepting Mir bank cards in seven new countries.

It is planned to start a dialogue with five more countries, Doguzova said at the SPIEF.

She clarified that these are popular tourist destinations, including in the Asia-Pacific region, Latin America and the Middle East.

In Mariupol, the construction of 12 five-storey houses and polyclinics has begun on the site of the market, which will be ready by autumn.

  • Putin’s stagflation revenge: Everyone said his war would destroy Russia’s economy but he’s killing America’s too Fortune

Between a tanking stock market, soaring inflation, and mounting recession fears, Americans are turning on the economy.

And somewhere, Vladimir Putin is probably smiling about it.

Amid all the chaos, inflation has become the biggest financial concern of nearly every American as prices rise for everything from gas to groceries.

There are several reasons that inflation reached a 40-year-high of 8.6% last month, including rising rents and labor costs. But economists say a major driver is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the subsequent disruption to commodities that it has caused.

“The Russian invasion and spike in oil and other commodity prices is the No. 1 reason, followed by the pandemic & the housing shortage,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, wrote in a recent Twitter thread.

Responding to the invasion, Western powers unleashed a crippling series of sanctions on Russia’s economy. Hundreds of international companies have left the country, and Russia’s subsequent isolation led to a GDP loss of 3.5% there in the first quarter.

But even as Russia’s economy feels the pain, President Vladimir Putin continues to dictate global prices for energy and food. Western sanctions are starting to hurt the U.S. and the rest of the world too due to recent surges in energy prices that have caused factory shutdowns and slower growth across the U.S. and Europe, proving that Russia has more leverage than Western leaders thought.

  • Putin Ally Medvedev Mocks European Leaders in Kyiv as ‘Fans of Frogs’ Newsweek

Former Russian president and staunch Vladimir Putin ally Dmitry Medvedev derided French, German and Italian leaders who visited the Ukrainian capital Kyiv as “fans of frogs, liverwurst, and spaghetti.”

  • Russia Envoy Says Biden Sanctions Backfire, Hurting U.S. Economy and Power Newsweek

Russia’s top envoy to the United States has warned that the sweeping sanctions campaign pursued by President Joe Biden and his allies has backfired, instead hurting the U.S.' economy and international prestige during a dangerous period of global instability.

United Kingdom

  • UK Farmers Look Farther Afield to Replace Ukrainian Workers Bloomberg

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is choking off a vital supply of labor for the UK’s apple, strawberry and raspberry farmers, forcing them to recruit migrant workers from nations where the risks of exploitation may be greater.

Ukrainians received about 67% of Britain’s 30,000 seasonal visas for farm work last year, but that percentage is falling as the government in Kyiv enlists people to fight in the war. With crops ripening, British growers are turning to countries such as Tajikistan, Moldova and Nepal to make up the difference, but that may not be as simple as it sounds, according to a report by London-based charity Work Rights Centre.

Half of UK food growers and manufacturers expect to struggle recruiting lower-skilled seasonal workers in the next six months, according to a survey by the Association of Labour Providers.

  • ‘Sad Day for Western Democracy’: Chomsky, Ellsberg, Others Denounce Assange Extradition Common Dreams

As supporters of Julian Assange held a news conference Friday at the United Kingdom’s consulate in New York to demand freedom for the jailed WikiLeaks founder, a trio of leading leftist figures decried the British government’s approval of the ailing Australian’s extradition to the United States.

In a statement published ahead of Friday’s press conference, the three chairs of the Assange Defense Committee—linguist and political dissident Noam Chomsky, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker—blasted U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel’s greenlighting of Assange’s transfer to the U.S. earlier in the day. Assange plans to appeal the decision.

“It’s a sad day for Western democracy. The U.K.’s decision to extradite Julian Assange to the nation that plotted to assassinate him—the nation that wants to imprison him for 175 years for publishing truthful information in the public interest—is an abomination,” the trio said, referring to an alleged 2017 CIA scheme to kidnap or kill the WikiLeaks founder.

“We expect the world’s most despised autocrats to persecute journalists, publishers, and whistleblowers. We expect totalitarian regimes to gaslight their people and crack down on those who challenge the government,” they continued. “Shouldn’t we expect Western democracies to behave better?”


  • France braces for sweltering weekend amid record heatwave France24

France, Spain and other western European nations braced on Saturday for a sweltering June weekend that is set to break records and sparked concern about forest fires and the effects of climate change.

  • French Nuclear Power Crisis Frustrates Europe’s Push to Quit Russian Energy NYT

Plumes of steam towered above two reactors recently at the Chinon nuclear power plant in the heart of France’s verdant Loire Valley. But the skies above a third reactor there were unusually clear — its operations frozen after the worrisome discovery of cracks in the cooling system.

The partial shutdown isn’t unique: Around half of France’s atomic fleet, the largest in Europe, has been taken offline as a storm of unexpected problems swirls around the nation’s state-backed nuclear power operator, Électricité de France, or EDF.

As the European Union moves to cut ties to Russian oil and gas in the wake of Moscow’s war on Ukraine, France has been betting on its nuclear plants to weather a looming energy crunch. Nuclear power provides about 70 percent of France’s electricity, a bigger share than any other country in the world.

But the industry has tumbled into an unprecedented power crisis as EDF confronts troubles ranging from the mysterious emergence of stress corrosion inside nuclear plants to a hotter climate that is making it harder to cool the aging reactors.


  • Italy May Declare State Of Alert If Russian Gas Cuts Persist Oil Price

Italy may declare next week a state of alert if natural gas supplies from Russia continue to be limited, government sources told Reuters on Friday.

Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Italy sourced around 40% of the gas it uses from Russia. Italy has sought to diversify its gas imports with more supply from North African producers, but it still is a major consumer of Russian gas.

The state of alert is the second step in Italy’s gas emergency protocols. The country has been in a state of pre-alert since February, when Russia invaded Ukraine, while the third stage of the protocol is a state of emergency.

Asia and Oceania


  • China’s Xi says trade with Russia expected to hit new records in the coming months CNBC

  • China launches its third aircraft carrier RT

China launched its third aircraft carrier at the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai on Friday morning. The vessel that has a full-load displacement of over 80,000 tons is the first Chinese aircraft carrier equipped with electromagnetic catapults and blocking devices like those used on US carriers to launch and land planes.

The technologies used in this aircraft – the second one fully designed and built in China – allow it to carry more aircraft as well as increase sortie rates and allow the planes to take off carrying more fuel and munitions, the Chinese media reported. The carrier might also be used by heavier early warning and cargo planes. According to the Global Times, the electromagnetic catapults mounted on the vessel can change their power output to match the needs of various types of aircraft.

The ship might be carrying China’s upgraded J-15 heavy fighter jets as well as a new generation of stealth fighter currently under development, which is expected to be called the J-35, the Global Times reported.

The Fujian also appears to be a step forward in comparison to the two other Chinese aircraft carriers. The first one – the Liaoning – was initially an unfinished Soviet vessel bought from Ukraine in 1998 and eventually commissioned in 2012 after some upgrades. The knowledge gained from working on it was used to build the second aircraft carrier – and the first domestically produced carrier – the Shandong which was commissioned in 2019.


  • At least 25 dead and millions stranded as floods devastate India and Bangladesh The Guardian

At least 25 people died as floods cut a swatch across north-eastern India and Bangladesh, leaving millions of homes underwater, authorities said on Saturday.

In India’s Assam state, at least nine people died in the floods and 2 million others saw their homes submerged in flood waters, according to the state disaster management agency.

Lightning strikes triggered by the storms had killed at least 21 people in Bangladesh since Friday afternoon, police officials said. Among them were three children aged 12 to 14 who were struck in the rural town of Nandail, local police chief Mizanur Rahman said.


  • Trains set on fire in India military hiring protests BBC

Several states across India, including Bihar and Telangana, have seen huge protests against a government plan to hire soldiers on fixed rather than permanent contracts.

The new Agnipath scheme is aimed at people aged between 17.5 and 21. Successful candidates will join the armed services for four years, after which only a quarter of them will be retained.

Protesters say the government’s plan to hire temporary soldiers will reduce their chances of getting coveted permanent military jobs, which guarantee fixed salaries and pensions.

The government says the reforms will reduce unemployment and military spending, and it has promised to create hundreds of thousands of other jobs for India’s youth.

  • Why the US’ Indo-Pacific Economic Framework is really all about India Bilaterals

With much fanfare, US President Joe Biden launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) in Tokyo last month. Unveiled against the backdrop of the third in-person iteration of the Quad summit, and including 13 states of the Indo-Pacific region, the framework nevertheless did not get the reception Biden was hoping for.

It was certainly not his “America is back” moment, and if the details of the IPEF are any indicator, nor was it the unrolling of the red carpet for America’s re-entry into the Asian trade architecture.

For starters, the framework sets the standards for cooperation on supply chain issues, the environment, labour and corruption. It is not a free trade deal or a multilateral agreement like the erstwhile US led-Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

In a region that already houses two major trade blocs – the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – a lack of enthusiasm for a “framework” is not totally unfounded.

Yet most Indo-Pacific analysts can’t see the wood for the trees. The IPEF was not designed for the free traders in Asia but for the trade protectionist in the Indo-Pacific, namely India. Biden has repeatedly referred to the relationship with India as the most important one for the US. He reiterated that message in Tokyo. Unlike his message on Taiwan, this was clearly not a gaffe. The IPEF’s launch is a case in point.

The framework may not necessarily bring the US into the Asian trade architecture but it will certainly bring it into the “Indo”-Pacific one.

At every turn, the US has tried to coax India into the Western fold but failed to do so. It has tried and failed with the Ukraine-Russia conflict, in which it hoped the economic sanctions on Russia and the global condemnation of India’s silence would persuade it to rethink its policy toward its Cold War ally.

Despite these overt and other covert measures, India’s relationship with Russia has not significantly changed. While the Indian government is seeking to diversify its defence supplies, this predates the Ukraine conflict and has been a mainstay of the Modi administration’s policy.

Moreover, the economic sanctions have only had the unintended consequence of increasing Russia’s share of India’s oil imports to over 18 per cent from a mere 1 per cent in April, making it India’s second-largest supplier of crude.

Given the perennial challenge of Russia-India relations, Washington has diverted its focus to areas where the US-India relationship can be developed without hiccups. The Indo-Pacific theatre is one in which the two have shared interests, goals and enemies.

Middle East

  • Russian telegram:

Pushilin said that the DPR could start supplying grain to Syria through the port of Mariupol. The day before, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad announced the beginning of the procedure for recognizing the DPR and the LPR.

The DPR has agreed to supply fruits, vegetables and construction products from Iran.

Kazakhstan says that they do not recognize the DPR and LPR, saying that they are quasi-states.


  • In a parched land, Iraqi gazelles dying of hunger Iraqi News

Gazelles at an Iraqi wildlife reserve are dropping dead from hunger, making them the latest victims in a country where climate change is compounding hardships after years of war.

In little over one month, the slender-horned gazelle population at the Sawa reserve in southern Iraq has plunged from 148 to 87.


Electricity generation by Iran’s thermal power plants has currently reached 51,800 megawatts (MW) which is a new record in the history of the country’s electricity industry, Head of Iran Grid Management Company (IGMC) Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi announced.

  • Washington sanctions Chinese and UAE firms RT

Chinese and Emirati companies, along with a network of Iranian petrochemical producers, have been hit by secondary US penalties for helping Tehran to “evade sanctions” by supporting the sale of its petrochemical products in international markets.

The sanctions were introduced against two companies based in Hong Kong, three in Iran, and four in the United Arab Emirates, according to a statement released by the US Department of the Treasury on Thursday.

The United States is pursuing the path of meaningful diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E Nelson said, referring to the Iran nuclear deal.

“Absent a deal, we will continue to use our sanctions authorities to limit exports of petroleum, petroleum products, and petrochemical products from Iran,” he added.


  • Lebanon’s natural heritage threatened by rampant development MEE

The lack of state regulation of growing urbanisation in Lebanon has led to an anarchic expansion and degradation of the country’s natural heritage at a time of chronic political and economic unrest.

Lebanon is one of the most urbanised countries in the world: 88.76 percent of its population is living in or near existing built-up areas, according to a UN report.

The report, published in 2021 by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), attributes the problem partly to the fact that the Lebanese state has had a “laissez-faire” policy when it comes to development, but it also highlights a number of other factors that aggravate the situation.

These include limited local planning regulations and the absence of urban policies, the formation of informal, slum-like, areas on the outskirts of cities, the illicit use of public properties, alongside the progressive loss of green spaces, natural resources, and biodiversity.


  • Israel targets Gaza with multiple air strikes following rocket fire MEE

Israel launched air strikes on the besieged Gaza Strip on Saturday, following reported rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave targeting the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon.

“A short while ago, in response to the rocket attack, [Israeli military] aircraft struck a number of Hamas terror targets in the Gaza Strip,” the Israeli military said in a statement.

Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that Israeli warplanes had targeted sites in the centre of Gaza and in Malaka, southeast of Gaza City.

It added that drones also targeted locations near Beit Lahiya and Beit Hanoun, in the north of the enclave, destroying the sites and causing damage to nearby homes.

North America

United States

  • US Democrat leader blames inflation on wrong conflict RT

The Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, claimed on Thursday that the coronavirus pandemic and the “war in Iraq” were responsible for the soaring cost of living in the US. Pelosi’s own office later corrected her statement to read “Ukraine,” in keeping with the rhetoric of her fellow Democrats.

The annual inflation rate in the US hit 8.6% in May, the highest level since 1981. Food and fuel costs have soared, with the national average gas price passing $5 per gallon this week. According to a recent Wall Street Journal poll, 83% of Americans rate the country’s economic state as poor or “not so good.”

  • There’s a nationwide Sriracha shortage, and climate change may be to blame NPR

  • Extreme heat to grow even more intense next week in Midwest, Southeast WaPo

The signs are growing that there could be a significant heat wave across the South, Southeast and Mid-Atlantic next week, with tropical humidity and highs 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit above average. Records may be in jeopardy in a number of major U.S. cities, with highs well into the lower 100s across Georgia and the Carolinas, for instance.

  • US gas prices will surge even higher thanks to shrinking stockpiles and refinery bottlenecks, Rystad Energy says Business Insider

  • U.S. Mulls Over Fuel Export Limits Oil Price

The White House is reportedly considering putting limits on fuel exports in a bid to contain prices at the pump, which have topped $5 per gallon nationally.

Per a Bloomberg report citing unnamed sources familiar with the discussion, the topic came to the fore in the last few days as President Biden accused the oil production and refining industry of taking advantage of the oil price rally to profit t the expense of consumers.

  • Economy is Already Collapsing, Majority of Americans Believe Newsweek

More than half of Americans think the U.S. has already entered a recession, new polling shows.

The latest IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index published on Friday found that 53 percent of Americans think the economy has gone into a recession, and 25 percent say they’re unsure. Only 20 percent believe the country is not in a recession.

Even amid uncertainty, concerns have dramatically risen over the last month. Back in May, less than half of Americans—48 percent—said the economy was in a downturn while 23 percent said the U.S. was not in a recession.

Recession fears have surged in recent weeks, with inflation reaching a 40-year high last week and the Dow Jones Average falling below 30,000 for the first time in a year and a half on Thursday.

  • More than 60% of executives think a recession will hit soon, new survey finds Fortune

  • The U.S. is hurtling toward a recession. Here’s the best-case scenario for how it could play out—and the worst Fortune

  • ‘We Won’t Be Silent or Unseen Anymore’: Poor People’s Campaign to Lead DC Assembly Common Dreams

The Poor People’s Campaign plans to hold a “generationally transformative and disruptive gathering of poor and low-wealth people, state leaders, faith communities, moral allies, unions, and partnering organizations” in the U.S. capital on Saturday, June 18.

The Mass Poor People’s and Low-Wage Workers' Assembly and Moral March on Washington is scheduled to begin at 9:30 am local time. The campaign has put together an online FAQ page for participants.

Contrasting the planned event with a right-wing mob’s attack on the U.S. Capitol last year, Bishop William Barber, the campaign’s co-chair, said on Democracy Now! Friday that poor people and allies from across the country “are coming nonviolently to Washington, D.C.”

Their key messages for those in power, Barber said, include: “We won’t be silent or unseen anymore.”


  • No petrol, no cars: Cubans turn to electric transport Iraqi News

There is a new sight on the streets of Havana: increasing numbers of electric vehicles whizzing among the old American cars so emblematic of the Cuban capital.

As fuel shortages and US sanctions take their toll, and even though electricity generation can be spotty, Cubans are turning to smaller, cheaper, plug-in alternatives.

“Gasoline? Imagine. After 50 years battling to get hold of it, I don’t even want to smell it anymore!” taxi driver Sixto Gonzalez, 58, told AFP atop the shining, electric-blue quadricycle with which he moves through the streets at a top speed of about 40 kilometers (25 miles) per hour.


  • Oil markets are heading for an ‘insanely difficult’ summer, with Russian production plunging under EU pressure Business Insider

Despite Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, the world has not been able to reduce its desperate thirst for the pariah state’s energy.

Quite the opposite: Russia is now exporting more oil than before the war broke out, and soaring prices mean it’s raking in roughly $20 billion a month from foreign sales.

But the European Union’s agreement to ban most Russian oil imports is set to change all that. Analysts predict Russia’s production will tumble by around 1 to 2 million barrels per day, or by 10% of current levels.

Oil prices have surged over 50% this year to around $120 a barrel, which has sent US gas prices to record highs of $5 a gallon.

Yet the oil market is heading for an “insanely difficult” summer, analysts say. The drop in Russian production will make itself felt, but demand will stay high as post-pandemic travel continues to rebound.

  • Bitcoin sinks below $20,000 as crypto meltdown intensifies CNBC

Bitcoin dropped below the $20,000 mark on Saturday, extending a brutal slide in cryptocurrencies.

The price of bitcoin fell 9% in 24 hours to $19,217.81, according to Coin Metrics data. The last time bitcoin fell below that level was December 2020.


The Ukraine War

  • Russian telegram:

The supply of drinking water throughout Donetsk has been stopped due to the shelling of the city by Ukrainian troops.

Up to 1,200 civilians and Azot workers, who are being held by the Ukrainian military, can stay in the shelters of the plant.

On June 15, militants disrupted the evacuation of civilians along the corridor opened by Russia. The APU is being covered by civilians as a “human shield”.

According to the LPR NM, the Allied armies have already entered the Azot industrial zone. However, it is not planned to take the plant by storm.

Slovenia “demilitarized” through Ukraine. This was announced by the Minister of Defense of the country Marjan Sharets during a visit to Brussels.

The Republic has supplied Kiev with 35 BMP-1 units, as well as several thousand assault rifles and sets of equipment. However, the Slovenes have already exhausted their arsenal and Kiev will not receive new batches of weapons yet.

Not so long ago, Warsaw announced that it had transferred so much equipment to Kiev that it itself needed military assistance.

The two American mercenaries have been captured near Kharkiv, and are in the DPR’s custody right now.

The implementation of the plans of the White House to sell Ukraine 4 reconnaissance and strike drones MQ-1C Gray Eagle has been suspended due to fears of Pentagon officials that UAVs could fall into the hands of the Russian army, Reuters reports.

Deputy Minister of Defense of the Kyiv regime reported that Russian artillery is constantly counter-battery and, as a rule, extremely effective. According to him, two of the six M777 howitzers delivered from the USA need to be repaired after the first battle. At the same time, it is impossible to repair weapons at the factory, so artillery fails for a long time.

  • West doesn’t want ‘complete defeat’ of Russia – Zelensky aide RT

“It’s clear what we’re talking about. They don’t want a complete defeat of Russia. They want to force Russia to negotiate in order to achieve peace,” Arestovich said in an interview interview with activist Mark Feygin on the latter’s YouTube show on Friday.

“It’s going to be about Ukraine liberating all its territories by military means, or at least, bringing things to as they were before February 24” when Moscow launched its military operation, he insisted.

  • Ukraine reveals huge weapons losses RT

Ukraine has lost up to 50% of its heavy-weapons stock, including 400 tanks, a top commander, Volodymyr Karpenko, revealed earlier this week amid the ongoing Russian military offensive in his country.

In an interview with National Defense Magazine, Karpenko said that “as a result of active combat,” equipment losses have amounted to 30-40%, sometimes up to 50%, compared to pre-conflict levels.

Ukraine’s deputy minister of defense Denis Sharapov, in the same interview, revealed that Western supplies do not cover Kiev’s needs.

“We have received a large number of weapon systems, but unfortunately with such a massively expendable resource, it only covers 10 to 15 percent of our needs,” Sharapov said.

Climate and Space

  • Droughts may affect three-quarters of the world by 2050 Tehran Times

  • Newly documented polar bear population lives in a surprising place CNN

A genetically distinct and isolated population of polar bears have been documented living in southeast Greenland.

Scientists who studied and tracked the bears determined that they survive despite having limited access to sea ice – something that is critical for polar bears – and instead use the freshwater ice supplied by Greenland’s ice sheet.

  • Climate Summit Ends in ‘Unconscionable’ Failure as Rich Nations Turn Backs on Poorest Common Dreams

As international delegates left Germany Friday following the Bonn Climate Change Conference, climate campaigners called the talks, which lasted 10 days this month, an “utter failure” for neglecting to establish plans to support the Global South in adapting to the planetary crisis—months after developing countries demanded aid at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Scotland.

“It is unconscionable that developed countries continue to kick the issue of financing for loss and damage down the road—first COP26, now Bonn,” said Jeni Miller, executive director of the Global Climate and Health Alliance, referring to the impacts of the climate crisis which developing nations have already suffered and demanding that the issue get badly-needed attention at upcoming talks.

“Such financing would enable countries to deal with the impacts on their people’s lives and livelihoods, homes and health systems, and must be a core component of the COP27 agenda,” Miller added.

Dipshittery and Cope

Reaction to the SPIEF

  • Russia’s Putin lashes out at the U.S. and claims victory over sanctions NPR

Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a scathing critique of the United States Friday in what the Kremlin billed as a major speech — blaming the U.S. rather than Russian military actions in Ukraine for fostering crises in global relations, food security, inflation and trade.

Americans “think of themselves as exceptional. And if they think they’re exceptional, that means everyone else is second class,” Putin said in a more than 70-minute marquee address at the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

In contrast, Putin presented Russia as part of a new global order willing to challenge an America still clinging to its past status as the world’s lone superpower.

“Nothing lasts forever,” Putin said.

“Only strong and sovereign governments can speak their minds in this newborn world order — either that or they’re destined to remain colonies” of the U.S. without rights, he later added.

The war in Ukraine and Western sanctions also figured heavily in the Russian leader’s speech, which was delayed by more than an hour after a cyberattack disrupted the security systems.

The Kremlin labels the conflict in Ukraine a “special military operation” and forbids calling it a war or invasion under penalty of law.

On the same day that the European Commission recommended that Ukraine be granted EU candidacy, Putin said he had no objection to Ukraine’s bid for membership. “The EU isn’t a military organization, so Russia is not against Ukraine joining the EU,” he said.

Putin insisted Russia would meet “all its goals” in Ukraine — which he notably defined as “freedom for the Donbas,” the eastern Ukrainian region where Russian troops are locked in fierce fighting with Ukrainian forces. Putin had initially pursued regime change in Kyiv.

Putin also repeated earlier assertions that a “blitzkrieg” of Western sanctions had failed to destroy the Russian economy, as hoped by the West. The Kremlin’s own economic development minister, however, expects the country’s economy will shrink by 7.8% this year, and the central bank chief said it’s unlikely to bounce back soon.

But in Putin’s view, sanctions primarily damaged the very countries issuing them. He pointed to the European Union in particular as having committed “economic suicide” by cutting back on Russian natural gas and oil imports that much of the EU relies on.

Putin acknowledged that Western sanctions presented Russia with challenges — including a sudden lack of some consumer goods — but argued that Russia would come out stronger in the long run.

“What is more important for us? To be independent, self-sufficient and guarantee our own future development?” said Putin. “Or to have some cardboard packaging today?”

  • A Defiant Putin Says Russia Will Flourish Without the West NYT

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, seeking to rally anti-American sentiment in Europe and across the world, lashed out anew at the United States on Friday, calling it a fading power that treats its allies as colonies, and said the West was falsely blaming its economic woes on the war in Ukraine.

“We all hear about so-called Putin inflation in the West,” Mr. Putin said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, an annual business conference once known as “Russia’s Davos,” seeming to refer to President Biden’s efforts to blame Russian aggression for what he calls a “Putin price hike” that is hurting American consumers.

“When I see this, I always think: Who’s this meant for, this stupidity?” Mr. Putin said. “For someone who doesn’t know how to read or write.”

Mr. Putin’s remarks to the economic forum were delayed by over an hour after the Kremlin cited “large-scale” distributed denial-of-service cyberattacks on the conference’s computer systems. The cyberattack came after IT Army of Ukraine, a “hacktivist” group behind previous attacks on Russian websites, had flagged the event as a target.

Mr. Putin appeared onstage for more than three hours, in his most extended public appearance since he ordered the Ukraine invasion in February. But he did little to clarify his war aims, reprising his descriptions of Ukrainian territory as historically belonging to Russia while avoiding the even more hostile rhetoric of other Russian officials.

“Only the people who live there will determine their future,” Mr. Putin said of the territory in eastern Ukraine that Russia is capturing, leaving open the question of whether he will seek to annex it. “And we will respect any choice they make.”

Ukrainian officials have heatedly dismissed the legitimacy of any putative referendums organized by the Kremlin and its proxies.

The chief executives of blue-chip Western companies used to flock to the St. Petersburg conference, but this year guests from Europe and the United States were few. Instead, it was a small delegation from Taliban-ruled Afghanistan that made headlines in the Russian news media, while the leaders of Egypt and China recorded video greetings that were played at the plenary session after Mr. Putin’s speech.

But even at the session, which appeared aimed at underlining Russia’s global connections despite its Western isolation, the limits of its friendships became apparent. Mr. Putin shared the stage with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic that has been a close ally of Russia but has said it will not violate Western sanctions against Russia.

Asked about his attitudes toward what the Kremlin calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine, Mr. Tokayev chose his words carefully, refusing to offer any support. He said that as with the Russian-backed breakaway enclaves of Georgia, Kazakhstan would not recognize the “quasi-state territories” that Russia is propping up in eastern Ukraine.

Mr. Putin, relaxed and frequently cracking a smile, did not give the appearance of a wartime president. Instead, he focused on the economy, alternating between the idea that Russia could easily replace Western imports and investment, and the claim that Russians could temporarily do without such comforts.

“Russia is entering the approaching epoch as a powerful, sovereign country,” Mr. Putin said. “We will certainly use the new, colossal opportunities that this era is opening in front of us and will become even stronger.”

Turning to the European Union’s sanctions against Russia, Mr. Putin claimed the bloc had acted on orders from Washington despite the fallout for its own economy. “The European Union has completely lost its political sovereignty,” Mr. Putin said.

But he said Russia would have nothing against Ukraine joining the bloc. The E.U. is “not a military organization,” like NATO, he said, and it is “the sovereign decision of any country” whether to seek to join it.

“We were never against this — we were always against military expansion into Ukrainian territory because it threatens our security,” Mr. Putin said. “But as for economic integration, please, for God’s sake, it’s their choice.”

Russia, in fact, opposed a trade agreement with the European Union that Ukraine was negotiating in 2013. Ukraine then backed away from the pending deal under Russian pressure, a move that sparked the country’s pro-Western uprising the following year.

  • Putin accused the US of acting like God and predicted a new world order in bullish St Petersburg speech Business Insider

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called Western sanctions against Russia “reckless and insane” and accused the US of acting like God in their actions against the country.

Speaking at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, dubbed the “Russian Davos,” President Putin accused the USA of acting as though it is “God’s emissary on Earth.”

He presented Russia as the emerging leader in “a new world order,” according to the Metro newspaper, that would confront the US superpower status.

“Only strong and sovereign governments can speak their minds in this newborn world order — either that or they’re destined to remain colonies,” of the US, said the Russian president, per NPR.

Putin slammed the punitive sanctions against Russia imposed by Western countries, calling them “reckless and insane,” and vowed Russia would face the “challenge” they posed, The Guardian reports.

“We are strong people and can cope with any challenge. Like our ancestors, we will solve any problem. The entire thousand-year history of our country speaks of this,” he said.

“Against a backdrop of increasing risks for us and threats, Russia’s decision to conduct a special military operation was forced - difficult, of course, but forced and necessary,” he said, according to Reuters.


  • European leaders still can’t shake the urge to appease Russia WaPo

It felt like a historic occasion when the leaders of Europe’s largest states, Germany, Italy and France, finally visited Kyiv on Thursday. Air raid sirens howled as their night train pulled into the Ukrainian capital. French President Emmanuel Macron spoke of “a message of European unity.” But behind the warm words, there was also plenty of cold calculation as Europe’s leaders push to end the war as soon as possible.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, none of the European Union heavyweights had seen fit to visit Ukraine. Macron, who boasted that he has spent “at least a hundred hours” on the phone with Vladimir Putin, declared that he would travel to Kyiv only if he felt it was “useful.” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke dismissively of not wanting to “join the queue of people who do a quick in-and-out for a photo opportunity.”

But the Thursday visit didn’t turn out to be particularly “useful” to Ukraine, which has been pleading desperately for more weapons; nor was it much more than a photo op. Apart from six additional howitzers from France, all the European leaders offered was support for Ukraine’s bid to become a member of the E.U. at some point in the future.

But how large the Ukrainian state will still be if it joins is anyone’s guess. The visitors made it clear that they want the war to end as soon as possible — and that they expect Kyiv to make concessions to make that happen.

Italy, which gets 40 percent of its imported gas from Russia, had already begun to circulate a peace plan that would implicitly compel Ukraine to give up political control over Crimea and Donbas. Both Italy and Germany have also begun to undermine sanctions against Russia by allowing their energy companies to open ruble accounts to pay for gas and oil, thus helping to fuel Putin’s war machine.

Macron, who had been widely criticized for recently declaring that Russia shouldn’t be “humiliated,” doubled down on that notion. He said that the harsh terms imposed on Germany after its loss in World War I had been “a historic mistake” that “lost the peace because [France] wanted to humiliate Germany.” The implication is that if Russia is not treated with leniency now, it will commit far worse crimes in the future, just as Germany did in World War II.

Macron’s analogy is particularly ill-suited since it assumes that Russia has already lost the war. But this could not be further from the truth. According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Russia controls one-fifth of his country. British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has said that Russia outnumbers Ukraine in artillery fire by 20 to 1 in some areas. By contrast, Germany was defeated in 1918 and forced to accept terms that cost it 13 percent of its territory in Europe. Nobody can or will make such demands on Russia. Macron’s analogy is wrong in every way, and he knows it.

Behind the desire to end the conflict soon lies the false assumption that this will allow Europe to resume business as usual. Russia is a crucial trading partner for Germany. Macron wants an end to the painful side effects of the war that are threatening to unravel his new tenure as president, and his Italian counterpart Mario Draghi, too, is struggling with the fallout from the sanctions. The trio sees a swift end of the war as necessary if they are to form a new axis of economic and political power in continental Europe after Brexit.

But this realpolitik approach is not only morally wrong, it is also shortsighted. Putin has notoriously argued that the collapse of the Soviet Union, of which Ukraine was a constituent republic, was “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.” He has made it clear that he seeks to undo this “catastrophe.”

If Putin is appeased now, as he was in 2014 when Germany and France failed to freeze the conflict in Ukraine, he will simply take the time to regroup. Bowing to economic pressures undermines the entire concept of deterrence. Germany long dismissed warnings that Moscow might try to leverage its deep dependence on Russian natural gas, thereby emboldening the Kremlin. Now Germany, Italy and France seem prepared to make the same mistake again.

With Poland, the Baltic States, Finland and Sweden seriously concerned about their security, the soft Western European approach is also likely to exacerbate tensions within the E.U. The German government, in particular, remains tone-deaf to their concerns.

Russia, meanwhile, shows little sign of concern. During the Kyiv visit, former prime minister Dmitry Medvedev sneered at the European leaders, calling them “fans of frogs, liverwurst and spaghetti.” Yet even as Moscow continues its indiscriminate bombing and shelling of Ukrainian civilians, Russia’s politicians are still treated as rational actors by those who seek peace at all costs.

Putin cannot, and will not, give up his claim on Eastern Europe. The supposed realpolitik of Europe’s most powerful countries is both shameful and ill-considered. France and Germany, of all countries, should know that an ambitious dictator can never be appeased.

  • Zelensky adviser: Ukraine can win war in ‘3 to 6 months’ if it gets heavy weapons soon France24

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, spoke to FRANCE 24 a day after the visit of the French, German, Italian and Romanian leaders to Kyiv and Irpin. While welcoming this display of European unity with Ukraine, Podolyak called for more heavy weapons to be sent to his country. He said that such a move would change the situation on the ground in favour of the Ukrainian troops, faced with Russian advances in the eastern Donbas region.

  • Russians breached this city, not with troops, but propaganda Seattle Times

LYSYCHANSK, Ukraine — Gesturing to the artillery shell lodged in the ground and a rocket protruding from the wall, Maksym Katerynyn was in a rage. These were Ukrainian munitions, he shouted. And it was Ukrainian artillery that struck his home the day before and killed his mother and stepfather.

“The Russians are not hitting us!” Katerynyn barked. “Ukraine is shelling us!”

But that was next to impossible: There were no Russian soldiers for the Ukrainians to shell in the eastern city of Lysychansk, and it was clear that the projectiles had come from the direction of Sievierodonetsk, a neighboring city, much of which has been seized by Russian forces.

The fact that Katerynyn believed this, and that his neighbors nodded in agreement as he careened through his neighborhood condemning their country, was a telling sign: The Russians clearly already had a foothold here — a psychological one.

“I will ask Uncle Putin to launch a rocket where these creatures launched their rockets from,” Katerynyn said, standing next to the backyard graves of his mother and stepfather, referring to President Vladimir Putin of Russia. He wanted the Ukrainian military to get out, he said heatedly, using an expletive.

It was not always like this in Lysychansk, an industrial city with a prewar population of 100,000. Now it is isolated from most of the world, with no cell service, no pension payments and intensifying Russian shelling. But some residents have turned into receptive audiences of Russian propaganda — or they have taken to spreading it themselves.

They are able to listen over the radio, both hand-held and in their cars, and to watch pro-Russian television channels when generator power allows. Given Lysychansk’s proximity to Russia, those channels appear to have a stronger hold in some neighborhoods than their Ukrainian counterparts do.

“When you’re hit over the head with the same message, you just drown in it,” said Nina Khrushcheva, a professor of international affairs at the New School in New York, who teaches a course on the politics of propaganda. “After awhile, you don’t know what the truth is. The message takes over your reality.”

The notion that the Ukrainian military is shelling its own people has been an oft-repeated message on pro-Russian disinformation channels on the radio, television and internet since the start of Moscow’s invasion in February. Aside from sowing doubt among Ukrainians about their own government and military, it has been a way for the Kremlin to sidestep accountability when it comes to civilian casualties caused by Russian attacks.

  • With scant options in Ukraine, U.S. and allies prepare for long war WaPo

The United States and its allies are making preparations for a prolonged conflict in Ukraine, officials said, as the Biden administration attempts to deny Russia victory by surging military aid to Kyiv while scrambling to ease the war’s destabilizing effects on world hunger and the global economy.

President Biden’s announcement this week of an additional $1 billion in security aid for Ukraine, the single largest tranche of U.S. assistance to date, offered the latest proof of Washington’s determination to ensure Ukraine can survive a punishing battle for the eastern Donbas region. European nations including Germany and Slovakia unveiled their own shipments of advanced weapons, including helicopters and multiple-launch rocket systems.

“We’re here to dig in our spurs,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said after convening dozens of nations in Brussels to pledge greater support for Kyiv.

The decision to supply Ukraine with increasingly sophisticated arms such as anti-ship missiles and long-range mobile artillery — capable of destroying significant military assets or striking deep into Russia — reflects a growing willingness in Western capitals to risk unintended escalation with Russia.

The support appears to have emboldened the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky, who this week vowed to retake all of Russian-controlled Ukraine, even areas annexed by Moscow long before Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Feb. 24 invasion.

But analysts say that despite the surge in outside aid, and strong morale among Ukrainian troops, Kyiv and its backers can hope for little more than a stalemate with Russia’s far bigger, better armed military. Unlike in Moscow’s failed attempt to seize the capital Kyiv, the Donbas battle has played to Russia’s military strengths, allowing it to use standoff artillery strikes to pound Ukrainian positions and gradually expand its reach.

Many experts believe the war is likely to settle into a lower intensity conflict or a situation like that on the Korean Peninsula, where north-south fighting was halted in a 1953 armistice without a formal end to the war. A heavily militarized boundary developed between the two Koreas, with occasional flare-ups, and is a scenario some analysts predict could occur between Ukraine and the parts of its territory controlled by Moscow.

“I don’t think either Putin or Zelensky can continue at the current level of combat for years,” James Stavridis, a retired Navy admiral and former supreme allied commander of NATO, said in an email. “Certainly for some months, but unlikely years.”

As the conflict grinds on, it is prompting conversations about what trade-offs the United States may need to make in its larger foreign policy goals or its massive military budget. The Senate Armed Services Committee, citing inflation and the war in Ukraine, on Thursday added $45 billion to the defense budget, bringing the likely bill to $847 billion for the next fiscal year.

Stacie Pettyjohn, the director of the defense program at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, said the war also continues to eat up the bandwidth of senior U.S. officials that could be spent on long-term planning and modernization. In the past officials have cited crises like the multiyear war against the Islamic State as factors that delayed a planned shift to focus on China.

“They keep having to deal with Ukraine because the situation is evolving and it is immediate, and we need to provide the assistance that we can and figure out how to support the Ukrainians,” she said. “But that means that they don’t have the time and attention to sort of press ahead on those other issues that are really important, and those long-term changes that would be necessary if the U.S. is really going to pivot its attention and focus to the Pacific.”

In response:

  • US willing to risk economic pain and global hunger to win in Ukraine RT

Good Takes that are Dope

President Daniel Ortega’s government in Nicaragua is “laying waste to civil society,” according to the Associated Press (6/2/22). The Guardian (6/2/22) called it a “sweeping purge of civil society,” while for the New York Times (2/14/22), Nicaragua is “inching toward dictatorship.” According to the Washington Post‘s Spanish edition (5/19/22), the country is already “a dictatorship laid bare.” In a call echoed by the BBC (5/5/22), the UN human rights commissioner urged Nicaragua to stop its “damaging crackdown on civil society.”

What can possibly have provoked such widespread criticism? It turns out that the Nicaraguan National Assembly’s “sweeping purge” was the withdrawal of the tax-free legal status of a small proportion of the country’s nonprofit organizations: just 440 over a period of four years. In more than half the cases, these non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have simply ceased to function or no longer exist. In other cases, they have failed (or refused) to comply with legal requirements, such as producing annual accounts or declaring the sources of their funding. Modest legal steps that would go unnoticed in most countries are—in Nicaragua’s case—clear evidence that it is “inching toward dictatorship.”

None of the media reports asked basic questions, such as what these nonprofits have done that led to the government taking this action, whether other countries follow similar practices, or what international requirements about the regulation of nonprofits Nicaragua is required to comply with. There is a much bigger story here that corporate media ignore. Let’s fill in some of the gaps.

There are three basic questions. First, is Nicaragua exceptional in closing nonprofits on this scale? No, the practice is widespread in other nations. While figures are difficult to find, government agencies in the United States, Britain, Australia and elsewhere have closed tens of thousands of nonprofits in the last few years.

For example, between 2006 and 2011, the IRS closed 279,000 nonprofits out of a US total of 1.7 million; it closed 28,000 more in 2020. The Charity Commission in Britain closes around 4,000 per year. And in Australia, some 10,000 nonprofits have been closed since 2014, one-sixth of the total. In Nicaragua, four years of closures have so far affected only 7% of a total of more than 6,000 nonprofits.

Second, does Nicaragua impose tighter rules than other countries? Again, the answer is no. Rules introduced in 2020 required nonprofits to register as “foreign agents” if they receive funds from abroad: The AP report (6/2/22; picked up by the Guardian, 6/2/22) puts this in scare quotes, but the term is borrowed from the far heavier requirements that have applied in the US since 1938 under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). The Financial Times (4/10/20) dubbed the Nicaraguan legislation “Putin’s Law,” erroneously linking it to Russia, not the United States.

The US has some of the world’s strongest and most detailed powers, but they are not unique: The Library of Congress has examples of 13 countries with similar legislation. In Britain, the government consulted last year on the introduction of a “Foreign Influence Registration Scheme,” which is similar to FARA. Nicaragua’s law is not exceptional, and nor were its consequences in reducing NGO numbers; when Australia introduced similar laws in 2014, there were 5,000 nonprofit closures in the following year as a result.

An important factor is that Nicaragua, like other countries, has to comply with international regulations that address the risks posed by unregulated nonprofits. These include widespread international concern that nonprofits are susceptible to money-laundering.

Whether deliberately or out of ignorance, media ignore the fact that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), set up in 1989 by the G7 governments, imposes rules that apply globally. In 2020, Nicaragua was praised by the FATF for “largely complying” with its requirements. FATF specifically endorsed the tougher controls and the sanctions for non-compliance that the government introduced, including the threat of withdrawing an organization’s legal status.

Third, have nonprofits been given time to comply with the rules? According to the Guardian (6/2/22), “the government was not giving them an opportunity to get in line with new legal requirements,” yet I know this to be untrue. I have talked to leaders of several nonprofit organizations who have completed the process or are working their way through it. The rules are tough, and the government ministry is under-resourced for the task it has been given, but hundreds of NGOs are taking steps to comply. Many of those who fail the test are given the option of reconstituting themselves as businesses without tax-free status.

US imperialism is the greatest threat to life on the planet, a force of ecological devastation and disaster impacting not only human beings, but also our non-human relatives. How can we organize to dismantle the vast and complicated network of US imperialism which includes US war and militarism, CIA intervention, US weapons, technology, and surveillance corporations, political and economic support for dictatorships, military juntas, death squads and US-trained global police forces favourable to US geopolitical interests, US imposed sanctions, so-called “humanitarian interventions,” genetically modified grassroots organizations, corporate media’s manipulation of spontaneous protest, and US corporate sponsorship of political repression and regime change favourable to US corporate interests?

This article deals with US imperialism since the Second World War. It is critical to acknowledge that US imperialism emanates both ideologically and materially from the crime of colonialism on this continent which has killed over 100 million Indigenous people and approximately 150 million African people over the past 500 years.

The exact death toll of US imperialism is both staggering and impossible to know. What we do know is that since the Second World War, US imperialism has killed at least 36 million people globally in Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, the Congo, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Chad, Libya, East Timor, Grenada, Honduras, Iran, Pakistan, Panama, the Philippines, Sudan, Greece, Yugoslavia, Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, Somalia, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Palestine.

This list does not include other aspects of US imperialist aggression which have had a devastating and lasting impact on communities worldwide, including torture, imprisonment, rape, and the ecological devastation wrought by the US military through atomic bombs, toxic waste and untreated sewage dumping by over 750 military bases in over 80 countries. The US Department of Defense consumes more petroleum than any institution in the world. In the year of 2017 alone, the US military emitted 59 million metric tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, a carbon footprint greater than that of most nations worldwide. This list also does not include the impact of US fossil fuel consumption and US corporate fossil fuel extraction, fracking, agribusiness, mining, and mono-cropping, all of which are part and parcel of the extractive economy of US imperialism.

The article continues for a while, talking about dollar hegemony, the IMF, USAID, American univerisites, intelligence agencies, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.

Bloomerism and Hope

  • Summit Of The Americas Flops While Workers Summit Exposes Cracks In Imperial Façade Popular Resistance

Valentín, the man next to us in line as we made our way across the international border, asked what we had been doing in Tijuana. We had been at the Workers Summit of the Americas, organized as an alternative to Biden’s Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles. Our summit was as a place where countries besieged by and barred from the US could participate and was held in cooperation with a kindred counter-summit in Los Angeles.

That border had not always been at Tijuana. As the immigrant rights movement reminds us, “we did not cross the border, the border crossed us.”

Texas seceded from Mexico and was annexed to the US in 1845. The following year, the Mexican-American War was provoked by the US in a campaign of conquest. Two years later, Mexico was forced to sign the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ceding nearly half its national territory. The US gained what would become parts or all of California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Colorado. The Gadsden Purchase of 1853 added southern Arizona and New Mexico to the spoils of war.

In all, 55% of Mexico, over half of her sovereign territory, was taken by the Colossus of the North. Consequently, the US owes Mexico an historical debt for the theft of its sovereign territory. This debt should be included with other major US historical debts such as those incurred by the exploitation of African slave labor and the genocide of its original peoples.

Besides acknowledging the theft of Mexican lands, those of us on the left should also recognize Mexico’s considerable political contributions. The Mexican Revolution stands in the pantheon of great 20th century revolutions. Before the Russian, Chinese, Cuban, Vietnamese, and other revolutions, before the many Third World liberation struggles of the last century, came the Mexican Revolution, which began in 1910.

For the first time since its 1994 launch in Miami, the US was hosting the Summit of the Americas, convened by the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS). However, as AP News described, Biden’s maneuverings in the leadup to his summit was a “scramble” to “avoid a flop.”

That was in part because, today, Mexico again led the way challenging imperial hubris. Its president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), stood up to Biden’s imperial summons to come to the summit. AMLO would only dignify the event with his presence if all the countries of Our Americas were invited. Even after the US dispatched a team to Mexico City to cajole him to attend – but still refusing to invite the heads of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela – AMLO stood by his original principled stand.

Joe Biden surely found it lonely with the presidents of Bolivia, Honduras, Guatemala, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines similarly boycotting his summit. The presidents of El Salvador and Uruguay also purposely missed the party, albeit for different reasons.

Biden’s summit took place, but the buzz both inside the meeting and outside was the hypocrisy of the US attempt to try to appear to be promoting a “Summit for Democracy” while its actions have proven the opposite. The US-imposed illegal sanctions and blockades – unilateral coercive measures – on countries whose people fail to elect leaders sufficiently obedient to Washington are, in fact, a denial of democracy.

And speaking of unelected leaders, the Trump-anointed and Biden-supported so-called “interim president of Venezuela,” Juan Guaidó, wasn’t on the guest list for the Los Angeles summit either. Even though the US and a handful of sycophantic allies still embarrassingly recognize the puppet as the Venezuelan head of state, he was closeted.

Inside Biden’s summit, Argentinian President Alberto Fernández delivered what the press called a “damning speech” condemning the US president to his face for excluding other states. Belize, Chile, and a number of Caribbean countries also criticized the exclusions, calling for a realignment of regional institutions.

In contrast, the Workers’ Summit of the Americas in Tijuana called for the unity of grassroots working class, peasant, political, and social movements to create a permanent forum for solidarity and linking of progressive struggles.

Organizers from workers, peace, human rights, and solidarity organizations from north of the Rio Grande included Alliance for Global Justice, All-African People’s Revolutionary Party, Fire This Time, Unión del Barrio, Troika Kollective, Black Lives Matter – OKC, the Latino Community Service Organization (CSO), Freedom Road Socialist Organization, and the Task Force on the Americas.

Mexican participation included Movimiento Social Por la Tierra, Sindicato Mexicano Electricista, and Frente Popular Revolucionario. Venezuelans included militants with the Plataforma de la Clase Obrera Antiimperialista (PCOA). Among the other participating organizations were Central de Trabajadores de Cuba, Asociación de Trabajadores del Campo de Nicaragua (ATC), and the Haitian MOLEGHAF.

Host Jesús Ruiz Barraza, rector of CUT-University of Tijuana, opened the encuantro on June 10. US political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, via recording, welcomed “the delegates of the excluded” in Tijuana. Former president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, addressed the encuantro, also via recording.

Nelson Herrera of the Venezuelan PCOA, Rosario Rodríguez Remos of the Workers’ Central Union of Cuba, and Fausto Torres Arauz of the ATC of Nicaragua spoke. Revered Venezuelan campesino leader Braulio Alvarez, who had twice survived assassination attempts and is now a deputy in the National Assembly, addressed the meeting along with Venezuelan union leader Jacobo Torres de Leon.

The second day was devoted to movement building and featured workshops on solidarity with the countries excluded from the Biden summit along with workshops on regional integration.

With flags and banners flapping in the sea breeze, the last day convened on the international border. Speakers from both sides of the border and from throughout Our Americas addressed the crowd.

Standing in front of the border wall, Venezuelan-American activist with the FreeAlexSaab campaign William Camacaro called for the immediate release of the Venezuelan diplomat from a Miami prison. That day, June 12, marked the second year of Alex Saab’s imprisonment for the “crime” of engaging in legal international trade to buy needed food, fuel, and medicine for the Venezuelan people, but in contravention of the illegal US sanctions designed to asphyxiate that independent nation.

The final declaration of the Workers Summit called for a robust internationalism to promote solidarity with the sovereign nations and peoples suffering from sanctions imposed by the US and its allies. Latin America and the Caribbean were proclaimed a zone of peace.


  • Paratroopers banned from Nato deployment after Essex orgy The Guardian

Hundreds of paratroopers have reportedly been banned from an annual Nato deployment to the Balkans after videos emerged of an orgy at a military barracks.

In a letter to generals and commanding officers, the new head of the army, Gen Sir Patrick Sanders, said he was not willing to “risk the mission or the reputation of the British army” by sending them overseas.

It emerged this month that eight paratroopers from 16 Air Assault Brigade had been placed under police investigation after being filmed having a consensual orgy with a civilian woman at Merville barracks in Colchester, Essex, while dozens of others watched.

Although military police established no crime had been committed, Sanders said the activity could have been construed to “denigrate women”, and that it contravened army values and standards, reported the Times, which has seen the letter.

  • Trump warns of World War III RT

“We have a war in Ukraine… and perhaps it’s going to lead to World War III because of the way we’re handling it,” Trump warned in a speech at a religious conservative conference in Nashville, Tennessee on Friday.

“We just gave $40 billion on top of another $16 billion. So, we’re in for $56 billion,” he said regarding the aid packages the Biden administration has already approved for Ukraine amid the conflict with Russia.

“But when you look at Europe – and Germany, and France and all these other countries – they’ve given a tiny fraction, a tiny, tiny fraction of what we’re giving. We’re giving $56 billion and they’re giving a few billion dollars. And they’re the ones who are affected much more so,” he said.

Trump once again blamed the conflict on President Joe Biden, who replaced him in the White House, insisting that “if I were president that would never have happened.”

“And I got to know Putin very well and we talked about it… he knew the consequences were going to be tremendous. He understood that and he would have never ever done it,” the former president insisted.

“If the election weren’t rigged and stolen, we wouldn’t have had any problems with Ukraine being attacked viciously,” he said.

He also once again teased a potential run for president in 2024. “Would anyone like me to run for president?” Trump asked, leading to loud cheers from the audience.

Link back to the discussion thread.