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Ukraine: Things Fall Apart

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Volodymyr Zelensky used to play a school teacher on a hit Ukrainian TV show called "Servant of the People." The premise was simple: a video goes viral of the teacher sounding off about corruption and, before you know it, he’s elected president. The program did so well that Zelensky formed a political party called "Servant of the People," ran for president against incumbent Petro Poroshenka, and won election by a margin of three to one – not on TV, but for real. Evidently, life imitates art so perfectly in the Ukraine that it’s sometimes hard to tell where one begins and the other leaves off.

At least that’s the way it used to be. Now reality is leaving comedy behind as it veers off in a distinctly nightmarish direction. Zelensky’s troubles have been mounting since the fall when he found himself caught in the middle of a Washington psychodrama over whether Donald Trump tried to pressure him into investigating Joe Biden after a Ukrainian oligarch hired Biden’s son, Hunter, for a high-paid, no-show job.

Zelensky got himself into more hot water a few weeks later by coming out in favor of special elections in the Ukrainian east where a pro-Russian revolt is now in its seventh year. Backed by German neo-Nazis, some 12,000 ultra-rightists poured into the streets of Kiev, shouting anti-Semitic epithets at a Jewish president they accused of betraying the country to Moscow.
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Douma Whistleblowers Respond to OPCW’s Attacks

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Two whistleblowers that have been speaking out about a scandal within the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have responded to the organization’s attempts to discredit them. The OPCW has been doing some serious damage control over its investigation into a chemical attack that allegedly took place in Douma, Syria on April 7th 2018.
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Old Ideas in New Bottles

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Numerous so-called “front groups” operate in the United States. A front group is very simply an organization that pretends to have a certain program while at the same time using that identity as cover to promote a hidden agenda that is something quite different, often opposed to what is being said publicly. The Global Climate Coalition is, for example, an organization funded by fossil fuel providers that works to deny climate change and other related issues. The Groundwater Protection Council does not protect water resources at all and instead receives its money from the fracking industry, which resists any regulation of water pollution it causes. The Partnership for a New American Economy has nothing to do with protecting the US economy and instead seeks to replace American workers with H1B immigrant laborers. Even the benign sounding National Sleep Foundation, is in reality a Big Pharma creation intended to convince Americans that they need to regularly use sleep inducing drugs.

Front groups in a political context can be particularly dangerous as they deceive the voter into supporting candidates or promoting policies that have a hidden agenda. The Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, is, for example, uninterested in preserving democracies unless that democracy is Israel, which many observers would prefer to describe as an apartheid state. It is funded by Zionists billionaires and its leadership meets regularly with Israeli officials. The American Enterprise Institute is likewise a neocon mouthpiece for economic imperialism and regime change disguising itself as a free market advocate and the Brookings Institution is its liberal interventionist counterpart.

Front groups are sometimes largely fictional, on occasion creations of an intelligence agency to give the impression that there exists in a country a formidable opposition to policies pursued by the governing regime. Recent developments in Venezuela and Bolivia rather suggest the CIA creation of front groups in both countries while the Ukrainian regime change that took place in 2014 also benefited greatly from a US created and supported opposition to the legitimate Viktor Yanukovych government.
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Joe Biden: Father of the Drug War's Asset Forfeiture Program

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In 1991, Maui police officers showed up at the home of Frances and Joseph Lopes. One officer showed his badge and said, “Let’s go into the house, and we will explain things to you.” Once he was inside, the explanation was simple: “We’re taking the house.”

The Lopses were far from wealthy. They worked on a sugar plantation for nearly fifty years, living in camp housing, to save up enough money to buy a modest, middle-class home. But in 1987, their son Thomas was caught with marijuana. He was twenty-eight, and he suffered from mental health issues. He grew the marijuana in the backyard of his parents’ home, but every time they tried to cut it down, Thomas threatened suicide. When he was arrested, he pled guilty, was given probation since it was his first offense, and he was ordered to see a psychologist once a week. Frances and Joseph were elated. Their son got better, he stopped smoking marijuana, and the episode was behind them.

But when the police showed up and told them that their house was being seized, they learned that the episode was not behind them. That statute of limitations for civil asset forfeiture was five years. It had only been four. Legally, the police could seize any property connected to the marijuana plant from 1987. They had resurrected the Lopes case during a department-wide search through old cases looking for property they could legally confiscate.
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Central Banking is Socialism

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Last week, the Federal Reserve responded to Wall Street’s coronavirus panic with an “emergency” interest rate cut. This emergency cut failed to revive the stock market, leading to predictions that the Fed will again cut rates later this month.
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Inside the World Uyghur Congress: The US-Backed Right-Wing Regime Change Network Seeking the ‘Fall of China’

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In recent years, few stories have generated as much outrage in the West as the condition of Uyghur Muslims in China. Reporting on the issue is typically represented through seemingly spontaneous leaks of information and expressions of resistance by Uyghur human rights activists struggling to be heard against a tyrannical Chinese government.
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Lift the US Embargo on Cuba

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The US embargo on Cuba has been in effect for 60 years. It’s time to end it.

The embargo makes it a criminal offense for any American to spend money in Cuba or to do business in Cuba. If an American travels to Cuba and spends money there or does business there, he is subject to criminal prosecution, conviction, fine, and imprisonment by his own government upon his return to the United States.

The purpose of the embargo is regime change. The idea is to squeeze the Cuban people economically with the aim of causing discontent against Cuba’s communist regime. If the discontent gets significant enough, US officials believe, the population will revolt and re-install a pro-US regime into power.

Where is the morality in targeting the civilian population with death and impoverishment with the aim of achieving a political goal? Isn’t that why we condemn terrorism?
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New Putin-Erdogan Deal is Sugar-Coating the Turks’ Surrender

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This week’s meeting between Presidents Putin and Erdogan in Moscow was cast as preventing a war between Russia and Turkey in Syria. War, however, was never on the horizon. Putin called Erdogan’s bluff, and the Turk folded.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, accompanied by their respective senior national security advisers, met in Moscow on March 5. The purpose of this emergency summit was to negotiate the terms of a ceasefire that would bring an end to heavy fighting in Syria’s Idlib province that threatened to draw their two nations into direct military conflict. After more than six hours of meeting, a new agreement, packaged as an “additional protocol” to the “Memorandum on Stabilization of the Situation in the De-escalation Area as of September 17, 2018” (better known as the “Sochi Agreement”), was agreed to by both parties.

A sputtering offensive

Over the course of a week, from February 27 through March 5, Syria’s Idlib province transitioned from being ground zero for a war between the Syrian army and allied forces, and heavily armed groups opposed to the rule of Syrian President Bashar Assad, into a geopolitical powder keg that threatened to pull the Turkish and Russian militaries into direct conflict with one another. On March 1, Turkey, following up on threats previously made by President Erdogan to drive the Syrian Army and its allies back to the line of demarcation set forth in the original Sochi Agreement, unleashed a major offensive, dubbed “Operation Spring Shield” and involving thousands of Turkish troops fighting alongside anti-Assad formations.
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