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Russia Challenges US: If Biolab Documents are Fake Then Ask Head of the DTRA Office at the US Embassy in Kiev Joanna Wintrol Why She Signed Off on Them?

Visits: 33

The Russian Defense Department presented documents allegedly from the US Defense Threat Reduction Office in Kyiv

On Friday, March 18, the Russian Permanent Representative at to the United States Security Council Vassily Nebenzia presented what the Russian government claims is proof of a US bioweapon program in Ukraine and Georiga (Gateway Pundit reported). Nebenzia claims that the program has been running since 2005, and thatAmerican colleagues were not assisting the Ministry of Health as they claimed, but rather the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.”

According to Nebenzia, the US Department of Defense “delegated broad authorities to its affiliated contractor Black & Veatch in cooperation with Ukrainian state authorities.” The experiments on deadly pathogens in Ukraine were not conducted by Ukrainians, but by Pentagon personnel and foreign researchers, Nebenzia claims.

“The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) competitively awarded Black & Veatch Special Projects Corp. (Black & Veatch) one of its Biological Threat Reduction Integrating Contracts (BTRIC) in 2008 (in Ukraine). The 5-year IDIQ contract (with a 5-year option) has a collective ceiling of $4B among the five selected contractors”, the Black & Veatch website acknowledges.

“Simply speaking, Ukrainian authorities gave Pentagon a carte blanche and let them carry out dangerous biological experiments on the territory of Ukraine. Thereby, the American contractor was exempt from any taxes under Ukrainian legislation”, Nebenzia said. He called the programs “a cynical use of Ukraine’s territory and population for dangerous research that Washington does not want to have at home so that to not put its own population at risk.”

As to claims the Russian charges were merely “disinfomation”, Nebenzia pointed out the Russian government published documents  “signed by real US officials. Many of them were signed by head of the DTRA office at the US Embassy in Kiev Joanna Wintrol,” whom he called “well-known in non-proliferation circles.” Prior to Ukraine, Wintrol addressed elimination of chemical weapons in Libya, Nebenzia stated. “If journalists have doubts as to the authenticity of documents that we shared, I suggest they ask her directly whether this is really her signature on them.”

Wintrol left Kiev in August 2020, according to Russia Today: “In her parting interview, she insisted no US scientists worked in Ukrainian biolabs and accused Russia of spreading “false information” about the program. “

On Thursday, March 17, the head of  Russian Radiation, Chemical and Biological Protection  Igor Kirillov presented the documents in Moscow that were allegedly seized during Russia’s special operation in Ukraine, purportedly of Ukrainian and US origin. According to the documents, the US had been “carrying out experiments in Ukraine with viruses within the framework of projects P-382, P-444 and P-568 and one of the supervisors of this research was the head of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) office at the US embassy in Kyiv, Joanna Wintrol”, Turkish news agency AA reports. “During the experiments, six families of viruses were chosen, including coronaviruses and three kinds of pathogenic bacteria — pathogens of plague, brucellosis and leptospirosis,” said Kirillov, citing the documents.

Ukrainian Defense Ministry laboratories in Kiev, Odessa, Lvov and Kharkov received $32 million funding from the US, Kirillov claimed: “I draw your attention to the fact that the agreement on joint biological activity was signed between the US military ministry and the Health Ministry of Ukraine. However, the true recipients of the funds were laboratories of Ukrainian Ministry of Defense located in Kiev, Odessa, Lvov and Kharkov. The total funding amount was $32 million,” he said. According to Kirillov, these laboratories were selected by US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and its contractor Black & Veatch for the implementation of Project UP-8, aimed at studying the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF), leptospirosis and hantaviruses, TASS reported.

“The United Nations is not aware of any biological weapons programmes” in Ukraine, the UN High Representative of Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu told the Security Council.  “There are no Ukrainian biological weapons laboratories supported by the United States — not near Russia’s border or anywhere”, stated U.S. Representative to the United Nations  Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

Since it has been largely ignored by the media, Gateway Pundit again documents the entire speech by Vassily Nebenzia to the United States Security Council:

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Mr. President, Colleagues,

As we said earlier, during the special military operation in Ukraine we discovered facts that Ukrainian authorities, supported and directly sponsored by the US Department of Defense, were implementing dangerous projects in the framework of a military biological program. This activity was carried out on the Ukrainian territory, in the middle of Eastern Europe and close to Russia’s western borders, which posed a real threat to biological security of our country and the region.

A week ago upon our request UNSC held its first meeting on this issue, where we asked some questions to our Western colleagues, but did not receive any answers.

US officials claim that there are no US-controlled biolabs in Ukraine, however the Permanent Representative of the United States could not explain how these statements reconcile with the fact that there are documents proving this sort of “cooperation” between Kiev and Washington. I am referring to 2005 Agreement between the US Department of Defense and Ukrainian Health Ministry which stipulates Pentagon’s support for “cooperative biological research” with regard to “dangerous pathogens located at the facilities in Ukraine”.

Though the American delegation is not able or willing to answer our questions, the answers come to light as our Defense Ministry studies the materials received from personnel of Ukrainian biolabs that address US and NATO military biological programs in Ukraine.

Over the past week, we have discovered new details indicating that components of biological weapons were being developed in Ukraine.

The 2005 US-Ukraine Agreement that I mentioned and that we still expect the US representative to comment on was up and running all those years. As we take it from the documents, American colleagues were not assisting the Ministry of Health as they claimed, but rather the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. This morning we circulated as UNSC document a set of materials, where you can find “Plan of technical assistance to certain recipients of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine”. I suggest that you should study it carefully. It confirms that Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) directly funded and supervised military biological projects in Ukraine. The total funding amounted to 32 million USD, and the recipients of those funds were the following labs of the Defense Ministry of Ukraine:

– In Kiev – 10th regional sanitation and epidemiological branch of the Central Sanitation and Epidemiological Department of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

– in Odessa – 27th regional sanitation and epidemiological branch of the Central Sanitation and Epidemiological Department of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

– in Lvov – 28th regional sanitation and epidemiological branch of the Central Sanitation and Epidemiological Department of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

– in Kharkov – 108th regional sanitation and epidemiological branch of the Central Sanitation and Epidemiological Department of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

Let me flag another critical aspect. Representatives of the US Department of State still get confused when asked about it and assure that the United States allegedly takes no part in running any biolabs in Ukraine. Facts, however, speak of the opposite.

Under the technical assistance plan that I mentioned, the “donor” (US Department of Defense) set out goals, determined the scope of Ukraine-based projects, endorsed lists of equipment required, and delegated broad authorities to its affiliated contractor “Black & Veatch” in cooperation with Ukrainian state authorities. The recipient of American assistance (Defense Ministry of Ukraine) had to grant “timely access of personnel” of the Pentagon and its contractor to the labs on the territory of Ukraine “for the purpose of conducting works” as part of the projects. Apart from the Pentagon personnel, they also had to grant access to the facilities to some “foreign researchers”. The projects were not supposed to be implemented by, but rather “with participation of” Ukrainian researchers.

Simply speaking, Ukrainian authorities gave Pentagon a carte blanche and let them carry out dangerous biological experiments on the territory of Ukraine. Thereby, the American contractor was exempt from any taxes under Ukrainian legislation.

What did Ukrainian scientists and people of the country get in return? Free travel to international conferences “based on the tariffs for meals and lodging endorsed for official travel of US governmental officials”. A nice “compensation” for having most hazardous research conducted right on their doorstep.  

This is not the “noble” assistance to Ukraine that American representatives are ranting about. This is cynical use of Ukraine’s territory and population for dangerous research that Washington does not want to have at home so that to not put its own population at risk.

We would not be surprised should similar facts come to light regarding the activity of US-sponsored labs in other parts of the globe. We call on states who provide their areas to Pentagon for such experiments to read carefully contract documents regarding their cooperation with the United States in the biological area. We fully support China’s demand to the United States to disclose information about activities of 360 US-controlled labs in the world.

Back to Ukraine. It is no coincidence that the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency chose the biolabs in Kiev, Odessa, Lvov, and Kharkov. They were the executors of the UP-8 project aimed at studying the pathogens of the Congo-Crimean hemorrhagic fever, leptospirosis and hantaviruses. From our point of view, the interest of US military biologists in these pathogens is related to the fact that they have natural foci both on the territory of Ukraine and in Russia, and their use can be disguised as natural outbreaks of diseases.

The Kharkov laboratory was also home to project P-781 on the study of ways of transmitting diseases to humans through bats. This work was done jointly with the infamous R. Lugar Center in Tbilisi.

In this context, we should make a special mention of the company “Black & Veatch” that the Pentagon chose as a contractor for Ukraine. This is not an ordinary business. For over 100 years, it has been working for the US armed forces, building military bases and facilities, including the labs in Los Alamos, where nuclear weapons were developed.

Research in the area of transmitting diseases to humans through bats is systematic and has been conducted in Ukrainian labs since at least 2009 under the direct supervision of specialists from the United States. During the implementation of these projects, six families of viruses (including coronaviruses) and three types of pathogenic bacteria (pathogens of plague, brucellosis and leptospirosis) were identified. Those pathogens are most favorable for the purposes of infection, as they are characterized by resistance to drugs and rapid speed of spread from animals to humans.

Within the framework of the FLU-FLYWAY project, the Kharkov Institute of Veterinary Medicine studied wild birds as vectors for the spread of avian influenza. At the same time, the conditions under which spread processes can become unmanageable, cause economic damage and pose risks to food security were assessed. Documents were discovered that confirm the involvement of the Kharkov Institute in the collection of avian influenza virus strains with high epidemic potential and capable of overcoming the interspecific barrier.

Defense Ministry of Russia keeps receiving more documents that prove the fact of transfer of blood serum samples of Ukrainian citizens to third countries, including Great Britain, Georgia, Germany. Having analyzed that data, we can say that Ukrainian experts were not aware of potential risks of transferring biological samples. They had to act blindly and did not realize the real goals of research conducted. This does not seem surprising if we recall that under the contract documents that I mentioned, they had a secondary role to play.

Information continues to be received about attempts to destroy biomaterials and documentation in laboratories in Ukraine in order to “cover up the tracks” of a military biological program.

We know that during the liquidation measures in the laboratory of veterinary medicine in Khlebodarskoye, the employees (citizens of Ukraine) were not even allowed into the building. This laboratory cooperates with Anti-Plague Research Institute named after Mechnikov in Odessa, which conducts research with pathogens of plague, anthrax, cholera, tularemia.

In an attempt to cover the tracks, biological waste from the laboratory in Khlebodarskoye was taken 120 km away towards the western border of Ukraine to the area of Tarutino and Berezino settlements. Defense Ministry of Russia keeps record of all these facts in order to have them legally assessed at a later stage.

We also must mention the emergency destruction of documents in  Kherson biological laboratory. One of the reasons for such a rush may be the need to conceal from Russian experts the information about an outbreak of dirofilariasis, a disease transmitted by mosquitoes, that occurred in Kherson in 2019. Four cases of infection were detected in February, which is unusual for the life cycle of these insects, even taking into account the incubation period of the disease. We are also aware that in April 2018, representatives of the Pentagon visited local healthcare institutions, where they got acquainted with the results of the epidemiological investigation and copied medical documentation.

Western media, who readily perceive any fakes presented by Ukrainian authorities with the support of their Western sponsors, doubt the authenticity of the materials published by our Ministry of Defense. In this regard, let me draw your attention to the following fact. All documents we published had been signed by real US officials. Many of them were signed by head of the DTRA office at the US Embassy in Kiev Joanna Wintrall. This representative of the Pentagon is well known in the non-proliferation circles. Prior to Ukraine, she addressed elimination of chemical weapons in Libya. If journalists have doubts as to the authenticity of documents that we shared, I suggest they ask her directly whether this is really her signature on them.

I repeat that it is not just about Ukraine and the United States violating the BTWC. It is about evidence of high-risk military biological activity that has been underway in the middle of Eastern Europe until recently. Its implications could have “spilled” beyond the borders of Ukraine and even the entire region at any point. It is hard to imagine what toll it would have taken, i.a. on the European states. Perhaps it would have outmatched even the COVID-19 pandemic.

We already see alarming signs of such threat. For example, a sharp increase in cases of tuberculosis caused by new multi-resistant strains was detected among citizens living in Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics in 2018. During a mass outbreak recorded in the area of Peski settlement, more than 70 cases of the disease were detected, which ended in a rapid fatal outcome. This does not look like a coincidence.

In conclusion, let me comment on the words of UN Secretariat representatives who claim to have no proofs of military-purpose biological programs being carried out in Ukraine.

Under the BTWC, member states submit to the United Nations data regarding biological facilities and related activity. I mean confidence-building measures that are published for the purposes of monitoring the implementation of the Convention. Since 2016, the moment Ukraine embarked on the mentioned projects, including UP-4, UP-8, and Р-781, both the United States and Ukraine have knowingly omitted those projects from their reviews, even despite their clear military biological orientation.

That is why Russia for many years has been calling to strengthen the BTWC regime, adopt a legally binding protocol to the Convention that would allow to create an effective verification mechanism and bind member states to report on their military biological activity abroad. The United States has been opposed to this work for almost 20 years now and refused to provide such data. By the way, this is yet another question that US representatives evade answering.

The facts that we shared today and on 11 March are only the tip of the iceberg. Our Defense Ministry continues to receive and analyze new materials. We will keep the global community updated on the issue of Pentagon’s illegal activity in Ukraine.

Thank you.

 

Right of reply:

Mr. President,

Propaganda, disinformation, amateurism, baseless allegations, false flag operation – that’s what we heard today. Some statements repeated what was said on 11 March almost word-by-word. If you found nothing new in our today’s statement, you either were not listening or did not hear what we were saying. What we presented were not the conspiracy theories that we pried out of the deep abyss of the Internet. Those were new materials and documents that we had circulated among UNSC members. These documents elaborate on biological cooperation between Ukraine and the United States. I ask you to read those materials. If you can refute them, please do it. But do it by answering our questions rather than by spouting baseless allegations about Russian propaganda. You refuse to do this because you have nothing to say. Instead, you try accusing us of plans to use biological and chemical weapons in Ukraine. This is the height of cynicism. We already warned you that we had information that Ukrainian nationalists had delivered toxic chemical agents to some areas of Ukraine in order to carry out a provocation and blame Russia. This is what you call a false flag operation.

As I said, you, in particular the United States, did not listen carefully to us. We did not say (as the US representative would interpret it) that Ukraine had a military biological program of its own. We said the United States had such program, where Ukraine was used blindly. We cited facts about the growing incidence of dangerous diseases in Ukraine that could not be explained by simpler factors, but could be related to this sort of activity.

We heard again that the best argument you have to prove that no military biological activity was carried out in Ukraine is the opinion of the UN Secretariat. But as mentioned already, the United Nations cannot be aware of secret military biological programs. Those who implement them do not report it to the UN or whoever.

We do not lift this issue from the agenda. More facts will surely arrive soon, and we will keep the Security Council and the global community posted.

Thank you.

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Corruption COVID Politics

DHS: Agency Created after 9/11 to Protect Transport Investigates 3,800 “Non-Masked Passengers”

Visits: 23

Mask up or else!

The Homeland Security agency created after the 2001 terrorist attacks to protect the nation’s transportation system has been quite busy investigating and fining travelers who do not wear masks to supposedly slow the spread of COVID-19. Since February 2021 when the face mask security directive was implemented to March 2022, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has investigated more than 3,800 cases involving “non-masked passengers,” according to a federal audit. The agency charged with preventing another 9/11 issued more than 2,700 warning notices and over 900 civil penalties against passengers who violated the mask mandate, the probe found. The average fine was $699.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, conducted the audit and issued a report this week with the findings. Because the TSA is responsible for securing the nation’s transportation sector, it issues security directives if threat information, events, or significant vulnerabilities indicate that additional security measures are needed. In this case, surface transportation operators within the U.S. were ordered to implement face mask requirements for passengers and employees because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined that multi-person transportation modes potentially increase the risk of spreading COVID-19 because travelers are in close proximity to others in enclosed spaces where physical distancing is not possible.

It appears that the TSA, not exactly known for its competence, was more efficient than ever in cracking down on mask violators. Congressional investigators found that the agency issued the COVID-19 directives in less than a week and “expedited coordination with external stakeholders—other federal agencies and industry—to develop and issue these directives, due to the urgent nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Not everyone was happy. “While selected external stakeholders raised several issues with the security directives, they stated that TSA’s expedited coordination was generally effective,” the GAO writes. Some may wonder if health-related issues fall under the security threats that Congress created the TSA to deal with. Not really, but the TSA claims that the introduction or spread of a communicable disease through the transportation sector is a threat that allows it to exercise its authority as needed, including the authority to issue security directives.

Coinciding with the report highlighting the TSA’s mask policing duties, new research conducted by a European consulting and health group shows travel restrictions failed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Even when travel restrictions are implemented immediately after the discovery of a new variant, it only delays infection peaks by a maximum of four days, researchers found. By the time restrictions are issued, the new variant has likely been circulating in communities worldwide, according to the study. “Air travel restrictions do not affect the size of the peak,” researchers write, adding that “introducing air passenger testing does not affect the height of the peak of cases, relative to not having any restrictions in place. This holds even when travel volumes are high.” The study has led the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airports Council International Europe to call for an end to all COVID restrictions, including mask mandates.

The TSA’s “security directive” for mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs has been extended through April 18. The agency will continue to crack down on violators, issuing warning notices and civil penalty fines against passengers. First-time offenders typically get warning notices and “repeat offenders” get slapped with civil penalties of up to $1,500. Because so many passengers refused to comply with the face mask requirement, last fall the TSA expanded the list of aggravating factors that qualify a violator for a monetary civil penalty to include instances of defiant behavior while refusing to wear a face mask and repeated removal or improper use of a face mask after being instructed to wear one. The agency also increased the penalties, with first-time offenders receiving $500 to $1,000 fines and repeat offenders fines of up to $3,000. The overwhelming majority of mask incidents investigated occurred onboard aircrafts.

As the TSA does an impeccable job chasing non-masked passengers, its lapses in more serious areas come to mind. They include missing guns and bombs during covert exercises known as “red team tests,” TSA agents literally sleeping on the job and STEALING FROM PASSENGERS, the failure to properly screen luggage and a number of other violations that have risked national security. Records obtained by Judicial Watch a few years ago show hundreds of badges that allow agents to access secure areas of airports went missing along with uniforms and other devices used to control entry. Last year a federal audit disclosed that nearly 2 million workers with unescorted access to security restricted areas at airports throughout the U.S. could pose an “insider threat” as the TSA studies how to curb the risk. The agency is supposed to submit a plan to Congress examining the cost and feasibility of enhanced worker screening measures at American airports.

 

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Categories
How sick is this? Corruption Stupid things people say or do.

White House Deploys Kamala Harris to Tout ‘Achievements’

Visits: 34

Simon Kent for Breitbart

Get ready to see more, so much more, of Vice President Kamala Harris. According to a report Wednesday, Harris is being deployed by the White House to tout President Joe Biden’s “achievements” at home while he jets off to Europe and a role on the international stage formerly claimed by her.

Sources familiar with the plans told The Hill the vice president will be spending coming weeks crisscrossing the country and touting the successes of the administration.

Harris will reportedly use the trips to address infrastructure, expanded broadband access and key executive orders signed by Biden.

There is no indication if she will directly talk about the porous southern border or her assumed responsibility for it.

 

The reassignment news comes just 24-hours after Biden confirmed he will meet with other leaders from the NATO alliance in Brussels on March 23, as Breitbart News reported.

A lightning stop at another unspecified European location with a focus on the war in Ukraine was reported by NBC news, with the president seeking to carve out a role as an international peacemaker.

The sources told the outlet Harris will meanwhile assume a more typical schedule for a vice president during non-pandemic times.

That will stand in stark contrast to her recent efforts overseas.

Her past three-day sojurn to Eastern Europe was meant to reinforce U.S. support for the region against Russian aggression, however an awkward appearance at a major press conference dominated media coverage:

“While the Cabinet has been doing a good job hitting the road as much as possible, there is just no way any secretary can bring the star power and local media attention as Vice President Harris can,” Democratic strategist Eddie Vale told The Hill.“And as a lot of accomplishments, especially from the infrastructure bill are starting to kick in, it is perfect timing to be sharing specific — dare I say concrete— examples in local communities of how they will be benefiting.”

The vice president will also be holding larger events at the White House and at other stops around the country, the sources say.

On the trip to Louisiana on Friday, Harris is expected to highlight the administration’s “investments in affordable, accessible high-speed internet,” according to a White House statement seen by The Hill.

“These are the things we need and should continue to talk about,” one White House official said.


Pardon me while I choke on my laughter.

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Corruption Elections How sick is this?

Project Veritas questions possible media-govt. collusion on Jan. 6

Visits: 17

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 06: A large group of pro-Trump protesters stand on the East steps of the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)
The latest report by Project Veritas is raising questions about possible collusion between the mainstream media and government agencies to discredit Donald Trump and Republican voters. A new investigation by the non-profit journalism enterprise revealed mainstream media knew that FBI informants were inside the capitol during the January 6 protest.

The latest expose features confessions by Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg who has covered the capitol protest as a “matter on national security.” However, Rosenberg now admits the entire January 6 narrative was greatly exaggerated or even made up.

Over the past year, Rosenberg has written stories painting the capitol protest as a pre-mediated conspiracy by Donald Trump and friends to “subvert” American democracy. For example, on February 1 last year his article claims “a lie the former president had been grooming for years overwhelmed the Republican Party and stoked the assault on the capitol.” However now Rosenberg says nobody was in danger during that protest, including mainstream media reporters who went inside the capitol.

The New York Times reporter also spoke about FBI presence at the January 6 rally, which in the past raised questions by Republican lawmakers. In particular, Rep. Matt Gaetz and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene have voiced concerns the breach of U.S. Capitol could be a ploy to discredit Republican voters.

Meanwhile, Rosenberg appeared to suggest the New York Times editorial stance on the matter is shifting towards downplaying those events as if it’s no big deal. He went on to suggest slanted January 6 coverage is only part of a greater narrative aimed at attacking and discrediting Donald Trump. This includes attacks on Trump before the 2016 election, during his time in office and beyond.

Rosenberg’s confessions suggest mainstream media is presenting wishful thinking of its writers as factual news, which it is not. Meanwhile, potential efforts by federal agencies to manipulate public opinion may pose a greater concern moving forward.

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Categories
Politics Corruption

At Least 12 Missiles Hit Iraq’s Erbil Near US Consulate: Reports — But nobody was hurt.

Visits: 25

View on June 15, 2014 in Irbil, Iraq.

By Mimi Nguyen Ly for Epoch Times March 12, 2022 Updated: March 13, 2022

At least 12 missiles landed on targets in northern Iraq, hitting an area near a U.S. Consulate in the city of Erbil in the early hours of Sunday, the state news agency quoted the Directorate General of Counter Terrorism in Kurdistan as saying.

“Several missiles fell on the city of Erbil,” said governor Omid Khoshnaw, the Iraqi News Agency (INA) also reported. Erbil is the capital city of the autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq.

“No victims or casualties after Erbil blasts,” Saman Barzanji, health minister in Iraq’s Kurdistan Province, was cited as saying.

A spokesman for the Kurdish regional government said there were no casualties. A U.S. State Department spokesperson called it an “outrageous attack” but said no Americans were hurt and there was no damage to U.S. government facilities in Erbil.

No flight interruptions have been reported at Erbil airport.

Footage posted on social media shows multiple explosions. The Epoch Times cannot independently verify the footage.

Sky News Arabia earlier reported that five long-range ballistic missiles targeted the site of a U.S. Consulate currently under construction there. It later reported that “12 ballistic missiles” were launched “from outside Iraq,” citing a statement from the counter-terrorism forces in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

According to the outlet, one of the missiles fell on the headquarters of the Kurdish satellite channel K24, which is affiliated with the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq , Masrour Barzani. The building is near the U.S. Consulate in Erbil.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest attack.

“Seeing reports of Iran-backed attacks on the U.S. consulate in Iraq,” Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Mich.) said on Twitter. “This aggression shows we should absolutely end all Iran Nuclear Deal negotiations now. We must also never buy Iranian oil.”

In the past, U.S. forces stationed at Erbil’s international airport complex have come under fire from rocket and drone attacks that U.S. officials blame on Iran-aligned militia groups. There have been no such attacks for several months.

The last time ballistic missiles were directed at U.S. forces was in January 2020 in retaliation for the killing of Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’s Quds Force (IRGC-QF), at Baghdad airport earlier that same month. There were no deaths, however, many U.S. service members suffered head injuries from the strike.

Fars News Agency, which is managed by the IRGC of Iran’s Islamist regime, appeared to link the missile attack to the killing of Soleimani.

“Missiles hit the ‘Israeli-American’ bases at 01:20 local time; ‘that’s not a coincidence’. IRGC-QF chief Soleimani was killed in #Iraq on 7Jan20—01:20 Iraq time. #Iran,” Fars News wrote in a Twitter post, per a translation via journalist Khosro Kalbasi.

Jason Brodsky, policy director at United Against Nuclear Iran, wrote on Twitter: “The Soleimani factor in the #Erbil attack tonight is important. Soleimani’s birthday was on March 11, pro-IRGC media are boasting the attack tonight occured at same time of his death at 1:20 AM, the revenge attack on 01/08/20 also occured at 1:20 AM.

“And there are reports the Fateh-110s were used tonight, which also made a cameo appearance in the Soleimani revenge attack on U.S. forces in #Iraq on 01/08/2020. Would note #Iran has also launched Fateh-110s before on #Iraq, e.g. in September 2018 on KDPI HQ in Koya.”

An Israeli air strike in Syria killed two IRGC members on March 7, Iranian state media reported earlier. The IRGC vowed to retaliate, it said.

Melanie Sun and Reuters contributed to this report.


This sounds suspicious, if only because NONE of the missiles hurt anyone:

“No victims or casualties after Erbil blasts,” Saman Barzanji, health minister in Iraq’s Kurdistan Province, was cited as saying.

Hmm. The comments on the original article consider it to be the work of third parties, possibly to create more ME tension, and/or another ME war. Certainly a possible explanation, given certain other factors we’ve seen before this.

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Categories
The Courts Child Abuse Corruption Human Traficking

Federal Judge Orders Joe Biden to Stop Mass Release of Illegal Migrant Children at Border

Visits: 32

by Jordan Dixon-Hamilton For Breitbart  

A Texas federal judge on Friday ordered President Joe Biden to stop the mass release of illegal migrant children crossing the southern border into the country.

Judge Mark Pittman’s order prevents Biden from exempting minor migrants from Title 42. Title 42 is an immigration policy implemented by former President Donald Trump that allows U.S. immigration officials to expel immediately migrants who come to the southern border. Title 42 was implemented in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the policy’s start in March 2020, the federal government has expelled more than 1.6 million migrants.

Biden previously declined to expel unaccompanied minor children under Title 42. Instead, he allowed the young migrants to enter the country, where they would be placed under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ supervision. From there, they would be placed with sponsors in the United States, who are typically family members.

Pittman wrote:

Here, the President has (arbitrarily) excepted COVID-19 positive unaccompanied alien children from Title 42 procedures—which were purposed with preventing the spread of COVID-19. As a result, border states such as Texas now uniquely bear the brunt of the ramifications. Yet, while policy decisions are beyond judicial review, those agency actions that are “arbitrary, capricious, . . . or otherwise not in accordance with law” will be set aside.

Pittman explained that the “ramifications” Texas deals with include strains on the state’s public school system and medical resources, and increased incarceration.

record number of more than 122,000 unaccompanied minors arrived at the southern border during the fiscal year 2021.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said the decision is a “win for Texas & children—loss for Biden & cartels!”

 

America First Legal, led by former Trump adviser Stephen Miller, served as outside counsel for Texas as part of the lawsuit. Miller called the decision “a truly historic victory.”

In a statement, Miller said:

We are honored beyond words to have partnered with Attorney General Ken Paxton and the State of Texas in our landmark lawsuit against the Biden Administration’s egregious decision to except ALL illegal alien minors traveling without adults (UAC) from Title 42—and to have just obtained a preliminary injunction. Biden’s decision to except UAC from Title 42, and instead mass resettle them in the United States, has led to the largest wave of criminal child smuggling in human history–and the flood of illegal alien teens and minors has drained the resources of our schools, hospitals, and communities while creating a new unimpeded recruiting pipeline for MS-13. This preliminary injunction orders the Biden Administration to halt their order categorically excepting unaccompanied alien minors from Title 42 repatriation. This is a truly historic victory, but we have a long, long, long way to go to end the Administration’s crusade to eradicate our sovereignty.

Friday’s decision is Texas’s latest successful effort to prevent Biden from implementing his radical immigration agenda. Texas previously stopped a 100-day deportation moratorium from being enforced last February. Additionally, the state got a federal judge to order Biden to continue Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, where asylum seekers are returned to Mexico to wait for their hearings.

The case is Texas v. Biden, No. 4:21-cv-0579-P in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

 

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191
Categories
Corruption Politics

To Russia, with Love: House Democrats Block Bill to Approve Keystone XL Pipeline, Promote ‘American Energy Independence From Russia’

Visits: 40

By Nathan Worcester for EPOCH TIMES   March 2, 2022

Legislation promoting U.S. energy independence from Russia has been blocked by House Democrats.

House Republicans introduced the “American Independence from Russian Energy Act” on Feb. 28, a measure meant to authorize the Keystone XL pipeline, boost domestic oil and gas production, and prevent President Joe Biden’s executive branch agencies from halting energy leasing on federal land and water, among other provisions. Yet on March 1, the legislation was shot down in a 221–202 vote, almost entirely along partisan lines.

“Getting our pipelines expanded is huge,” Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee and a co-sponsor of the measure, told The Epoch Times. “We’re having to import Russian energy to the New England states because we don’t have pipelines that can carry Pennsylvania natural gas up there.”

U.S. crude oil imports from Russia more than doubled in 2021, rising to an average of 209,000 barrels per day from a daily average of roughly 76,000 per day barrels in 2020, according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time on his choice to vote down the legislation.

Republicans on the floor voiced near-unanimous support for the measure, with Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) describing U.S. reliance on Russian oil and petroleum products as “unconscionable.”

By contrast, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said Republicans “talk about energy independence, yet … are the ones who have consistently voted against and opposed green and renewable energy here at home, which is the fastest way to achieve real energy independence.”

The 220 Democrats who voted the legislation down were joined by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who said the measure could open up the northwest Florida coast to drilling, potentially impeding military testing and related missions that take place east of the Military Mission Line.

Westerman told The Epoch Times that Gaetz’s objection was a “totally illegitimate concern.”

“I don’t know where he got the misinformation, but it talks about the Western Gulf [of Mexico],” he said. “It is not going to allow drilling around Florida.”

A spokesperson for Gaetz explained the congressman’s concerns to The Epoch Times.

Although the bill doesn’t specifically authorize drilling near Gaetz’s district, it keeps the president and his cabinet from freezing the new drilling lease sales on federal land or water. Any withdrawal of those federal holdings from drilling would have to be authorized by Congress.

The spokesperson said this language could be used to undermine a September 2020 memorandum from then-President Donald Trump extending the drilling moratorium off Florida’s northwest coast until 2032.

“The Congressionally approved moratorium is set to expire in June of 2022,” the spokesperson said, referring to the original Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act that made the area off-limits for drilling.

“It would be foolish to respond to Russia’s aggression by rendering America less capable to defeat Russia or anyone else,” the spokesperson said. “Protecting the Gulf Test Range is in America’s best interest.”

The spokesperson told The Epoch Times that Gaetz is on record as favoring more U.S. energy production to undercut Russia, drawing attention to a passage in Gaetz’s 2020 book, “Firebrand”:

“Asia’s largest consumer of energy, China, is right next to Asia’s largest producer, Russia. They are building bridges to one another that could well imperil the free world.

“We can beat Russia and other fossil fuel foes just by keeping the price of oil perpetually low.”

Westerman, who said he supports an “all of the above” energy strategy that includes oil, gas, nuclear, solar, and wind, pointed out that greenhouse gas emissions fell during the Trump administration.

“I don’t think Putin gives a rip about environmental goals, or anybody’s economy other than his own,” he said.

The legislation instructs the secretary of the interior to immediately restart the oil and gas lease sales required by the Mineral Leasing Act, which Biden first froze through Executive Order 14008 in January 2021.

In addition, it specifically instructs the secretary to hold at least four oil and gas lease sales in Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Nevada, and “any other state in which there is land available for oil and natural gas leasing under the [Mineral Leasing] Act.”

The Epoch Times has reached out to three key bureaus and agencies of the Interior Department involved in mining and drilling authorization—the Bureau of Land Management, the Ocean Energy Management Bureau, and the Office of Surface Reclamation and Enforcement—but didn’t receive a response by press time.

“Democrats blocking the Act yesterday from even being considered demonstrates how unserious they are about truly addressing the crisis in Ukraine,” Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, a nonprofit energy industry association, told The Epoch Times in an email.

“We have the energy resources to starve Putin of revenue and lower prices for Americans if the president would just take action within his power now. For example, the government is holding up hundreds of federal permits in the Permian Basin, America’s most prolific oil region. Most are ready to go but are being held up for more climate change analysis.”

Representatives for the U.S. branch of Fridays for Future, the international climate movement started by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, didn’t respond to a request for comment on the legislation by press time.

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Categories
Biden Pandemic Corruption COVID The Courts

Court Denies Biden Administration Attempt to Impose COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate on Navy SEALs

Visits: 22

A Navy member gets a COVID-19 vaccine on Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Va., in a file image. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jackson Adkins via The Epoch Times)
By Zachary Stieber for EPOCH TIMES  March 1, 2022

A federal appeals court on Feb. 28 rejected an attempt by President Joe Biden’s administration to partially lift a block on the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for a group of Navy SEALs.

A federal judge in January blocked the mandate’s enforcement for 35 Navy members, many of them SEALs, ruling that while the Navy had provided a process for adjudicating religious exemption applications, “by all accounts, it is theater.”

At the time of the ruling, the Navy had granted zero religious exemptions. As of Feb. 23, it had still granted none.

Nonetheless, officials asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to allow the military to take into account the unvaccinated status of the 35 members when making “deployment, assignment and other operational decisions.” They argued that “forcing the Navy to deploy plaintiffs while they are unvaccinated threatens the success of critical missions and needlessly endangers the health and safety of other service members.”

A three-judge panel on the court rejected the request, noting the discrepancy between how the branch has handled medical and religious exemption requests.

“The Navy has granted hundreds of medical exemptions from vaccination requirements, allowing those service members to seek medical waivers and become deployable. But it has not accommodated any religious objection to any vaccine in seven years, preventing those seeking such accommodations from even being considered for medical waivers,” the panel said.

Judges said there is apparently no template for approving requests, but there is a disapproval template form. And during the process, Navy officials sent memorandums to Vice Admiral John Nowell asking that he disapprove the exemption requests, even those based on “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

The Navy has “has effectively stacked the deck against even those exemptions supported by Plaintiffs’ immediate commanding officers and military chaplains,” emphasizing the futility of pursuing exemptions, the panel said. Further, letting 35 unvaccinated members deploy wouldn’t seriously impede military function because over 5,000 other members are still on duty despite being unvaccinated, they added.

“Defendants have not demonstrated ‘paramount interests’ that justify vaccinating these 35 Plaintiffs against COVID-19 in violation of their religious beliefs,” the ruling stated.

The panel consisted of Judges Edith Jones, a Reagan nominee; Stuart Duncan, a Trump nominee; and Kurt Engelhardt, a Trump nominee.

Mike Berry, director of military affairs for First Liberty Institute, which is representing the plaintiffs, said the group was grateful for the ruling.

“The purge of religious service members is not just devastating to morale, but it harms America’s national security. It’s time for our military to honor its constitutional obligations and grant religious accommodations for service members with sincere religious objections to the vaccine,” Berry said in a statement.

The Navy declined to comment.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, the George W. Bush nominee who entered the injunction, has yet to rule on a motion to widen the preliminary injunction to all Navy members seeking a religious exemption. He received arguments from both parties in February.

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Categories
Corruption Crime Politics

What a Surprise: Secret Service Unable to Locate Multiple Years of Hunter Biden Travel Records

Visits: 36

Hunter Biden attends his father Joe Biden’s inauguration as the 46th President of the United States on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Pool
By Zachary Stieber for Epoch Times February 26, 2022 Updated: February 27, 2022

The U.S. Secret Service (USSS) says it can’t locate years of records on communications regarding agents guarding Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden.

Hunter Biden was a Secret Service protectee from Jan. 29, 2009, to July 8, 2014, and traveled extensively during that time, including to Russia, China, and India, a congressional investigation found.

As part of the probe, which is ongoing, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) have sought records from the Secret Service in the lawmakers’ roles as the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and ranking member of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, respectively.

The Secret Service provided 261 heavily redacted pages (pdf) concerning Hunter Biden’s travel, but didn’t provide any records from 2010, 2011, or 2013.

“The USSS’s lack of communications during these years raises questions given that USSS travel records show that Hunter Biden made trips to China and other destinations around the world, including, Russia, Italy, Spain, and Mexico,” Grassley and Johnson wrote in a letter to USSS Director James Murray in January.

Murray responded in a letter dated Feb. 14 that was obtained by The Epoch Times.

He said a search for the records “did not yield communications for the years 2010, 2011, or 2013.”

The USSS and an attorney for Hunter Biden didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Murray said the Secret Service and its parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, “remain committed to working with Congress to meet its oversight responsibilities and be responsive to requests for information.”

Chris Farrell, director of investigations and research for Judicial Watch, told The Epoch Times that it’s “highly improbable” that the USSS lost the records in question.

“I would not be surprised if there was political pressure on the service to withhold the records because it would be politically damaging to President Biden,” Farrell said.

Judicial Watch, one of the most prolific record-seeking nonprofits, has also sought Hunter Biden’s travel records from the Secret Service and obtained some of them through a Freedom of Information Act request. Those records showed the countries and territories that he visited while under the agency’s protection.

The records the senators and Judicial Watch are now seeking would likely shed more light on the younger Biden’s actions during that period of time, according to Farrell.

Both Judicial Watch and Sens. Grassley and Johnson say that Hunter Biden leveraged his father’s position as vice president to benefit himself personally, even conducting business while on trips with his father.

“Past performance doesn’t always guarantee exact reproduction or the same details, but I think it’s reasonable, given the pattern and practice, that we would see more of the same—lots of instances where Hunter was traveling with his father and essentially leveraging his father’s position as vice president for his own personal business benefit,” Farrell said.

Judicial Watch could file a lawsuit over the records.

Hunter Biden, who’s currently being investigated by a U.S. prosecutor, and Joe Biden have denied any wrongdoing.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters in late 2021 that she wouldn’t answer questions about Hunter Biden because he’s “not an employee of the federal government.”

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Categories
Uncategorized Corruption Opinion Politics Progressive Racism

Stop the gerrymandering lies.

Visits: 12

Stop the gerrymandering lies. RCP recently did an article where former governor Christie pointed out what gerrymandering looks like from the left. A few years back I pointed out how gerrymandering was done to create phony minority districts. A few blacks here, a few browns there, and you have a gerrymandering minority district.

We have this from RCP.

New York’s new district lines, signed off by the Democratic legislature and governor, are so comically contorted they’ve generated jokes and criticism from the right to the far left. The shape of Rep. Jerry Nadler’s newly crafted district – New York’s 10th – is downright serpentine, so much so that it was quickly dubbed the “jerrymander,” which brings this issue back to its historic roots

The Atlantic put it this way: “[The redrawn district] slices down the west side of Manhattan, takes a ferry ride across the East River, cuts a horseshoe-shaped path through a half dozen neighborhoods on its way to Prospect Park, then wraps around a cemetery containing the earthly remains of Boss Tweed and Horace Greeley before swallowing a huge section of central and south Brooklyn.”

Nadler’s new district is the most egregious example, but there are plenty of others across the Empire State. And some Democrats argue that some district lines in New York are drawn to protect moderate Democratic incumbents with others gaming the systems against Republicans. That is debatable, but regardless, a “jerrymandered” district like Nadler’s isn’t a good look for a party that has railed against GOP gerrymandering as a crime against the Constitution in places like Ohio.

The Princeton group labeled the New York map as particularly egregious; noted that new lines in Illinois and Maryland have benefited Democrats. The Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman has given a recent edge to Democrats in the great gerrymandering sweepstakes of 2020.

“For the first time, Dems have taken the lead on @CookPolitical’s 2022 redistricting scorecard,” Wasserman tweeted in early Feb. “After favorable developments in NY, AL, PA et. al., they’re on track to net 2-3 seats from new maps vs. old ones.”

Both sides are raising millions of dollars for their redistricting legal battles. A CNBC report last week, citing internal GOP fundraising invitations, said Republican “megadonors” want to raise at least $3 million to fight the New York maps alone. The report didn’t mention that the NDRC has raised $10 million since 2017, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

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