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On Friday, February 16, ahead of a three-day weekend, JPMorgan Chase quietly filed its 10-K (annual report) with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The document carried the bombshell that the bank had paid an astonishing $1.4 billon in legal expenses in 2023 – a 426 percent increase over the prior year’s legal expenses.

While the bank didn’t break down the names of the law firms that received the lion’s share of those legal expenses, public records can fill in most of the blanks.

Throughout 2023, JPMorgan Chase was paying the expensive lawyers at WilmerHale to defend it against a federal lawsuit brought by the David Boies law firm, Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, on behalf of the raped, assaulted, and sex trafficked underage victims of Jeffrey Epstein. JPMorgan was also paying WilmerHale lawyers throughout 2023 to defend it against Epstein-related charges brought by the Attorney General of the U.S. Virgin Islands. In both cases, the plaintiffs credibly alleged that the bank was actively-engaged in facilitating Epstein’s criminal sex-trafficking enterprise by providing the financial services and hard cash necessary to keep it going while willfully violating its duty to report the cash transactions to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

Both cases were settled by JPMorgan last year, thus preventing the mountain of heavily redacted and sealed documents from seeing the light of day in a jury trial. The Epstein victims’ case was settled for $290 million while the U.S. Virgin Islands case was settled for $75 million.

Tags: COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION
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The White House is steering the United States into a budgetary ditch it may not be able to get out of.

The Biden administration is supersizing the defense industry to meet foreign arms obligations instead of making tradeoffs essential to any effective budget. Its new National Defense Industrial Strategy lays out a plan to “catalyze generational change” of the defense industrial base and to “meet the strategic moment” — one rhetorically dominated by competition with China, but punctuated by U.S. support for Ukraine’s fight against Russia and Israel’s military campaign in Gaza.

Instead of reevaluating its maximalist national security strategy, the Biden administration is doubling down. It is proposing a generation of investment to expand an arms industry that, overall, fails to meet cost, schedule, and performance standards. And if its strategy is any indication, the administration has no vision for how to eventually reduce U.S. military industrial capacity.

When the Cold War ended, the national security budget shrank. Then-Secretary of Defense Les Aspin and deputy William Perry convened industry leaders to encourage their consolidation in a meeting that later became known as the “Last Supper.” Arms makers were to join forces or go out of business. So they ended up downsizing from over 50 prime contractors to just five. And while contractors needed to pare down their industrial capacity, unchecked consolidation created the monopolistic defense sector we have now — one that depends heavily on government contracts and enjoys significant freedom to set prices.

In the decades since, contractors have leveraged their growing economic power to pave inroads on Capitol Hill. They have solidified their economic influence to stave off the political potential for future national security cuts, regardless of their performance or the geopolitical environment.

Growing the military industrial base over the course of a generation would only further empower arms makers in our economy, deepening the ditch the United States has dug itself into for decades by continually increasing national security spending — and by doling about half of it out to contractors. The U.S. spends more on national security than the next 10 countries combined, outpacing China alone by over 30%.

How Biden Can Bypass Congress on Ukraine Aid

Ironically, the administration acknowledges in the strategy that “America’s economic security and national security are mutually reinforcing,” stating that “the nation’s military strength depends in part on our overall economic strength.” The strategy further states that optimizing the nation’s defense needs typically requires tradeoffs between “cost, speed, and scale.” It doesn’t mention quality of industrial output — arguably the biggest tradeoff the U.S. government has made in military procurement.

Consider, for instance, the B-2 bomber, the F-35 fighter jet, the Littoral Combat Ship, the V-22 Osprey, and many other examples of acquisition failures that have spanned decades. More recently, the Government Accountability Office has reported that while the number of major defense acquisition programs has fallen, both costs and average delivery time have risen.

So what is the military really getting from more and more national security spending? Less for more: Fewer weapons than it asked for, usually late and over budget, and, much of the time, dysfunctional. Acquisition failures are a major reason the Congressional Budget Office projects that operations and maintenance spending will significantly exceed the rate of inflation for the next decade — a considerable budgeting issue for a military that seemingly has no plans to reduce either its force structure or its industrial capacity. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Tags: WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS, WHITE HOUSE, WMD
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Rishi Sunak is under growing pressure to end the use of hotels for Channel migrants as new figures have revealed more than 45,000 are still living in taxpayer-funded rooms.

New Home Office figures show 45,434 asylum seekers are being accommodated in venues across the UK.

Around a third of migrants (16,160) have been given rooms in London, while 5,652 are in the West Midlands, 5,394 in the South East and 5,074 in the East of England region.

The Home Office is spending £5.4 billion on asylum accommodation and support, estimates from the Treasury show.

Tags: CURRENT EVENTS, ECONOMY, GREAT BRITAIN/ UK, IMMIGRATION/GLOBALISM
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Terrence Bradley, Nathan Wade’s former law partner and divorce lawyer, allegedly told Trump co-defendant Michael Roman’s attorney outside of court that Fani Willis and Nathan Wade had sex at the law office she was renting before she was Fulton County District Attorney.

Bradley was back on the stand on Tuesday after previously refusing to answer questions and hiding behind attorney-client privilege. However, Judge Scott McAfee ruled he was not protected by attorney-client privilege and ordered him to testify Tuesday morning.

Attorney Ashleigh Merchant made this bombshell revelation during her examination of Bradley in the third hearing on a Motion to Disqualify Fani Willis from the RICO case against Trump and 18 co-defendants. Merchant asked Bradley if it’s true that Fani Willis had sex with Nathan Wade at her private law office before she was District Attorney and before Wade was hired to lead the prosecution.

Tags: COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION
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A Seattle comedy club abruptly canceled four comedians’ shows, citing the neighborhood’s “progressive values.”

Capitol Hill Comedy Bar dropped shows from April to October for comedians Dave Smith, Luis Gomez, Jim Florentine, and Kurt Metzger.

Two of the comedians, Florentine and Metzger, shared the email they said they received from the comedy club informing them their shows were canceled.

The club called it a “challenging situation” and said it considered the matter with investors, local comedians, and neighborhood advocacy groups.

Tags: CURRENT EVENTS
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The future of Britain's second aircraft carrier is under threat due to funding issues, naval sources have claimed.

Senior figures have spoken out after it emerged next week's Budget will not include any significant rise in defence spending.

They fear HMS Prince of Wales, which cost £3.5billion to build, could be mothballed or sold for a knockdown price to a friendly nation, over the fleet's flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Tags: CURRENT EVENTS, GREAT BRITAIN/ UK
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For years, the medical establishment – with the help of big government, big media and big tech – have tried to bury concerns about the efficacy and safety of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. Now, facing an avalanche of evidence about how dangerous and ineffective these shots are, big pharma’s defenders are turning up efforts to censor their critics.

In a recent substack, Dr. Peter McCullough, blew the lid on what he called a “stunning act of scientific censorship” after,

“a little known publication integrity staffer Tim Kersjes has retracted a manuscript authored by epidemiologist M. Nathaniel Mead, MSc, after the paper drew global attention to the Springer Nature Cureus platform with record views/reads/downloads. The paper called for a halt in COVID-19 mass vaccination based on a valid evaluation of the evidence. It topped >330,000 views/reads/downloads in a month as compared to an average Cureus-promoted paper which has only ~2700 in a year.”

Dr. McCullough points out how absolutely unethical it is to retract a paper after its publication without adequate justification -  something absolutely lacking in this retraction.

It is clear that the sole reason for the retraction of the paper, which was exhaustively peer-reviewed and meticulously cited, was that it called for a halt in COVID-19 mass vaccinations.

Big pharma will stop at nothing to protect their bottom lines, even if it means endangering the lives of millions of Americans.

Tags: CONSUMER RIGHTS / PRODUCT REPORTS, COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION, SCIENCE/ HEALTH/ CLIMATE/ NATURE
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This has always been the Houthi position: “stop the slaughter and we’ll open the Red Sea.”

Of course, due to media reporting, most Americans think they’re bombing these ships randomly because they’re “Islamic terrorists.”

I’ve been over this repeatedly, but we’ll do it again: “Islamic terrorist” is a very specific thing, and the overwhelming majority of these groups that get this label do not fit the definition. Hamas, Hezbollah, the IRGC, and the Houthis, among others (including some Sunni groups like the Taliban), are military groups that happen to be Islamic. They don’t commit acts of violence because of their religious beliefs, they commit acts of violence in self-defense against the Anal Empire. They would be doing the same things if they had a different religion.

Tags: JAPAN, MIDDLE EAST, PALESTINE, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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One of the reasons people dislike democracy is that government policy has no connection to the will of the people.

This is why a lot of people in the West are starting to appreciate autocracies like Russia and China, where government policy is shaped almost exclusively around popular opinion.

Democracy is a form of absolute tyranny, and in general, people do not enjoy living under tyrannical systems where they have no rights and things are constantly being forced on them against their will.

Tags: IMMIGRATION/GLOBALISM, WHITE HOUSE
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British courts have cooperated with Washington’s police state for years by keeping Julian Assange in captivity while pretending to give him every benefit of the doubt in the extradition case. Of course, the law is clear that he should not be turned over to revengeful Washington, but Britain is not independent of Washington and is merely going through motions that keep Assange in captivity.

It seems clear that Washington and London are conspiring to break the spirit of those Americans and British who still hope that their governments are capable of delivering justice. A demoralized people are easier coerced into tyranny, which is where the entirety of the Western world is headed.

So much is already lost. One would have thought that the US and British media would have been fierce in Assange’s defense if only in order to protect its power to hold government accountable and to protect itself. After all, the New York Times and The Guardian and other news organizations published the documents that Wikileaks released, for which Assange is in captivity. Yet until recently when the New York Times, Guardian, and a few other news organizations made a weak request that the extradition case against Assange be dropped, the US and British media were faithful carriers of the official narrative that Assange was a rapist, a Russian spy, and a hacker of US national security secrets, such as Washington’s hidden war crimes and deceit of its allies.

Tags: CORPORATE MEDIA, COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, CURRENT EVENTS, DICTATORSHIP, WHITE HOUSE
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The Russian president said: 'They, NATO and America, are active in other parts of the world, of course, and they continue to lie there, to deceive. They are preparing to strike our territory and, using the best possible forces, the most effective forces to do so. But we remember the fate of those who try to invade our territory and of course their fate will be much more tragic than anything we could face.' Putin repeatedly lauded Russia's vastly modernised nuclear arsenal in his speech and added as a warning to the West: 'They have to understand that we also have weapons, weapons that can defeat them on their own territory. Of course all this is very dangerous, because it could actually trigger the use of nuclear weapons. Do they not understand that?' 

Tags: RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA, WMD
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This post is extremely interesting. It shows the close, indeed identical, totally false explanations by the Department of Justice (sic) and New York City medical examiner, Barbara Sampson, of two prison murders. https://www.activistpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Now-It-Can-Be-Told-Part-2-AP.pdf

Kenneth Michael Trentadue’s murder occurred in August 1995, approaching 29 years ago. Epstein’s prison murder was in August 2019.

Trentadue’s murder apparently was due to misidentifying him as a party to the Oklahoma City bombing. Epstein was murdered because he had incriminating evidence against the US and UK elites involved in sex with underaged kids.

Trentadue’s brother is an attorney, and when Kenneth’s beaten and bruised head to toe body was prevented by the family from being cremated and instead delivered to the family for burial, it was completely obvious that murder, not suicide, was the cause of death.

I covered the case, which was still possible in those days, and the extraordinary disparity between the hard evidence and the Justice (sic) Departments explanation was completely obvious. My articles rattled the US Department of Justice (sic) and a Justice (sic) official called my office. My assistant answered and was astonished to hear that I needed to back off or there would be trouble. She asked whether she was talking to the Justice Department or to a Mafia thug.

Tags: ASSASSINATION, COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION
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Activists Urge Nigeria to Delay Shell's $2.4 Billion Sale of Assets in Deeply Polluted Niger Delta

Local activists and international environmental groups want Nigeria’s government to delay approving the $2.4 billion sale of oil company Shell’s onshore assets

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Local activists and international environmental groups want Nigeria's government to delay approving the sale of oil company Shell's onshore assets, claiming Shell is trying to shirk its environmental and social responsibilities in the highly polluted Niger Delta.

The London-based company is trying to sell its subsidiary Shell Petroleum Development Company — which operates its onshore assets in the delta — to Renaissance Africa Energy Company, a consortium of local companies. Shell says the $2.4 billion divestment deal is part of a "wider reconfiguration of the Nigerian oil and gas sector.

Claire's Observations:  "Wider reconfiguration of the Nigerian oil and gas sector", MY ASTROLABE!!!!

This... is "Corporate Legalese". which translates to, "We're getting out of Dodge, before the real negative impact of our drilling practices can be truly assessed, and the corporation is hit with a  massive fine!!" 

Tags: AFRICA, CORPORATE MEDIA, COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, GREAT BRITAIN/ UK, GULF/OTHER OIL
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Manufacturers are grappling with weaker demand for EVs than expected with buyers put off by fears over insufficient charging infrastructure and expensive price tags.

Just this week, Apple cancelled work on its electric car project dubbed Titan and Aston Martin delayed the launch of its first battery electric vehicle (BEV) until 2026.

Mercedes-Benz delayed its electrification goal last week, while Ford has said it is rethinking its EV strategies and Volkswagen delayed launching a forthcoming EV. And in recent months, Audi and General Motors have also reviewed their EV rollouts.

Purchases of new electric cars by private buyers fell 25 per cent in a year in January, latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) revealed.

Tags: CLIMATEGATE, CURRENT EVENTS
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In the wake of French President Emmanuel Macron’s comments about Western countries not ruling out sending troops to Ukraine, a European official speaking to Financial Times pointed out that Western special operations forces are already in the country.

“Everyone knows there are Western special forces in Ukraine — they’ve just not acknowledged it officially,” a senior European defense official said.

The Discord leaks revealed last year that as of March 2023, there were 97 NATO special operations soldiers in Ukraine, including 14 Americans and 50 British troops. The leak confirmed earlier reporting from The Intercept that said US special operations forces were on the ground, along with CIA operatives.

Tags: EUROPE, NATO, RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), the top Democrat in the House, has suggested that Democrats would protect House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) from being ousted if he brought the $95 billion foreign military aid bill to the floor for a vote.

Some Republicans have threatened to oust Johnson as speaker if he holds a vote on the bill, and it would only take one GOP member to file a motion to vacate the speakership, which would bring about a vote to oust him.

When Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was ousted, every single Democrat and eight Republicans voted against him. But Jeffries said some Democrats may be willing to promise to vote to keep Johnson as speaker if he moves forward the $95 billion bill, which includes aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.

Tags: POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION, RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA
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The Palestinian city of Rafah is not only older than Israel, it is also as old as civilisation itself. Rafah has existed for thousands of years. The Canaanites referred to it as Rafia, and Rafia has been almost always there, guarding the southern frontiers of Palestine, ancient and modern.

As the gateway between two continents and two worlds, Rafah has been at the forefront of many wars and foreign invasions, from ancient Egyptians to the Romans, to Napoleon and his eventually vanquished army. Now, it is Benjamin Netanyahu’s turn.

The Israeli prime minister has made Rafah the jewel in his crown of shame, the battle that will determine the fate of his genocidal war in Gaza; in fact, the very future of his country. “Those who want to prevent us from operating in Rafah are essentially telling us: ‘Lose the war’,” he said at a press conference on 17 February.

Tags: ISRAEL, PALESTINE, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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Over 50 UK-based journalists who report for mainstream outlets released a letter demanding that Israel allow more reporters into Gaza. Israel has killed over 120 Palestinian journalists and caused a communications blackout in the Strip that has stifled reporting on the scale of destruction in Gaza. Tel Aviv has allowed select members of the corporate press to take guided tours in Gaza. 

The letter, signed by reporters from Sky News, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS, was first reported in the UK media on Wednesday. “Almost five months into the war in Gaza, foreign reporters are still being denied access to the territory, outside of the rare and escorted trips with the Israeli military,” it states. “We urge the Governments of Israel and Egypt to allow free and unfettered access to Gaza for all foreign media.”

Some of the few guided trips into Gaza have resulted in embarrassment for Israel. After taking journalists to al-Shifa Hospital and a cemetery, mainstream media outlets reported that the curated evidence did not match the claims put forward by Israeli officials. 

Tags: CORPORATE MEDIA, COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, GREAT BRITAIN/ UK, ISRAEL, PALESTINE, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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France has rejected a call from US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to give $300 billion in frozen Russian central bank funds to Ukraine, a step that would amount to outright theft.

Yellen claimed there was a legal case to support handing the funds to Ukraine to fund the proxy war and future reconstruction, but French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said there wasn’t.

“We don’t think this legal basis is sufficient,” Le Maire said after a G7 finance ministers meeting in Brazil. “This legal basis must be accepted not only by the European countries, not only by the G7 countries, but by all the member states of the world community, and I mean by all the member states of the G20. We should not add any kind of division among the G20 countries.”

Tags: ECONOMY, FRANCE, RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA, WHITE HOUSE
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