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Russia Paid Off European Politicians In Relation to Ukraine and Violence Elsewhere

Since Russia launched its brutal invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, condemnation of Vladimir Putin’s overseas aggression has reached a fever pitch. Yet Russia can still rely on the occasional friendly voice in Europe: Last November, for example, far-right Italian local legislator Stefano Valdegamberi penned an op-ed decrying the EU’s decision to designate Russia a terrorist state as “a serious mistake” that “foments conflict by denying historical truth.”

But what Valdegamberi didn’t mention was that he had long been collaborating with a secretive Russian lobbying group with a direct link to the Kremlin. Since at least 2014, that group had designed plans to channel cash to European politicians to help it legitimize Russia’s occupation of Crimea and promote pro-Moscow policies inside EU countries.

Laine, Martin, Cecilia Anesi, Lorenzo Bagnoli, and Tatiana Tkachenko. “Kremlin-Linked Group Arranged Payments to European Politicians to Support Russia’s Annexation of Crimea.” Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, February 3, 2023.

Reading Highly Recommended–>

Greg Olear’s 2018 investigation of how the world works between Donald J. Trump, Russia’s political interests, and related mafia and ill-gotten wealth.

America Has Lost Its Objectivity Over “Spy Balloon”, Says Chinese Pundit–And He’s Right

Influential commentator Hu Xijin blamed American “politicization” and “hype” for preventing the incident from escalating, saying that competition to look tough on China meant that the United States “has already lost its objectivity.”

Shepherd, Christian. “China blames U.S. politics for ‘overreaction’to suspected spy balloon.” The Washington Post, February 5, 2023.

In the normal course attending diplomatic incidents, investigations ensue, and with “spy data” presumed already transmitted, there would seem not much point in destroying the technology involved in the overflight. Of course, there was Gary Powers too, so Biden did what ranting Republicans appeared to expect in the way of “tough” leadership. It was not a good decision nor display of national air and space defense–the object should have been addressed and turned or interdicted on or just past arrival in American air space.

China has already apologized for the incident–“On Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that the balloon was theirs, but called it a “civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological purposes,” that had gone off course. And the ministry expressed rare “regret” for the incident.” Beijing should now follow up with details regarding the research mission and its technology, in general, while the U.S. Navy attempts retrieval of the drowned payload.

The Silencing by Removal of Ilhan Omar From the Foreign Affairs Committee

The angry header displayed this morning in The Jerusalem Post: “Decision to remove Ilhan Omar from Foreign Affairs Committee was overdue -editorial: What makes Omar particularly dangerous is that while she spews blatant antisemitism, she pretends not to be an antisemite.”

Omar herself had asked (same article), “‘Why is it OK for me to talk about the influence of the (National Rifle Association), or fossil fuel industries or Big Pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobbying group that is influencing policy?'”

Conservative and liberal Americans have now to ask this question: what else is off the table?

Who hasn’t an ox?

Our American system relies on compassion, education, intelligence, open discourse, earnest problem-solving abilities, and respect, not religious or tribal hate.

Apparently, some Jews–not this one although I have become with experience very much an American of Jewish descent–believe Ilhan Omar’s election and voice should be nullified where it most counts, and suspicion, for that is what is expressed by, “. . . pretends not to be an antisemite”, put in place of of argument, education, and reason. The only lesson imparted: don’t mess with the Jews, even if and when they are wrong.

Posted by PBS to YouTube, February 2, 2023.