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"We are potentially the most dangerous agency in the country." -- FBI Director Louis Freeh, to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, 1997

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Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico survived an assassination attempt Wednesday, suffering serious wounds to his stomach, arms and legs, but remaining alive. The attack sparked a major spike in tensions in Slovakia and across Europe. Sputnik asked a pair of prominent European political analysts why Fico may have been targeted, and what happens next.

Slovakia is facing the most dangerous period in its modern history in the wake of the attempt on the prime minister’s life, with Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok warning that the country is on the brink of a “civil war” following Wednesday’s “politically motivated” shooting.

“What was unleashed, the hatred that was sown, has today become a storm. We are standing on the brink of civil war. This assassination attempt against the prime minister is confirmation of that,” Estok told reporters in a press conference.

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The first thought that came to mind while watching, albeit very reluctantly, a video of Secretary of State Antony Blinken “rocking out” on his guitar in a bar in Kiev was: What is wrong with these people?

A friend and fellow journalist who I forwarded the video to responded with a one word email: “Gross.”

“There’s colors on the street; Red, white and blue; People shufflin’ their feet; People sleepin’ in their shoes…”

Blinken was playing along to Neil Young’s cynical anthem of post-Reagan America, Rockin’ in the Free World, in which Young surveys the American scene and finds, beneath all the self-congratulation on our much touted “victory” in the Cold War, a kind of Hell-scape of poverty, drug abuse and despair: Think Sir Angus Deaton Deaths of Despair but as a pretty good – but by Young’s standards, not that good – rock song.

The irony of Blinken, whose career is – if nothing else – a monument to the neoliberalism that Young skewers, performing such a song hard to miss.

Obtuse? Sure.

But what makes it morally offensive is that Blinken was more or less partying on a pile of corpses – corpses from a war he himself played no small role in helping to bring about.

Our Boomer overlords (as The American Conservative’s Jude Russo pointed out yesterday) suffer from, among other maladies, a surfeit of self-importance. More striking still is what we might call a dignity deficit – particularly compared with the generation of Americans who once governed and who are now passing from the scene.

But this is true everywhere you look among the governing elite – and not just among Boomers.  Whose idea was it, for instance, to make a vacuous millennial  like Vendant Patel or, before him, a sneering imbecile like Ned Price, the face of the State Department ? Why did that staffer think it was appropriate to attend a meeting with the US Secretary of State and the Chinese Foreign Minister with purple hair?

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As Washington falls behind Russia and China in terms of developing hypersonic weapons, a joint US-Japanese plan for bolstering defense against such missiles was first revealed during the trilateral meeting that also involved South Korea last August at Camp David.

The United States and Japan are forging ahead with their plans to jointly develop weapons that would be able to shoot down incoming hypersonic missiles.

With both Russia and China successfully pioneering hypersonic weapons on a scale that has left the US biting the dust, this ambitious agreement was signed on Wednesday between the Pentagon and Japan’s Ministry of Defense.

By pursuing an agreement on [glide-phase interceptor] development, the US and Japan will strengthen regional deterrence while enhancing long-standing missile defense cooperation between the two countries,” the DOD news release stated on its website.

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Washington’s interventionist and bipartisan foreign policy blob in recent weeks has pushed two new and despotic pieces of legislation. Both are designed to consolidate even more federal power in the name of combatting various alleged foreign enemies. 

The first of these is the so-called “TikTok ban” with the Orwellian name “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act,” signed into law on April 24. Supporters claim that TikTok is owned by the Chinese regime and the popular social media app must be sold to new non-Chinese owners, or banned in the US altogether. The legislation grants the president vast new powers to force the sale of “a website, desktop application, mobile application, or augmented or immersive technology application” that is deemed to be owned by a “foreign adversary.” Who is a foreign adversary? This is to be determined by a handful of shadowy bureaucrats at the federal government’s intelligence agencies. Nor is it even clear which web sites and apps are “foreign owned.” As Senator Rand Paul has noted, TikTok is majority-owned by private investors, including many thousands of Americans. In other words, contrary to regime talking points, the company is not owned “by China.” Whether or not a company is “owned” by one of these so-called foreign adversaries nonetheless is legally based on the arbitrary judgement of federal bureaucrats. Congressman Thomas Massie has correctly described the bill as a “Trojan horse” given the vast potential for abuse by federal policymakers looking to shut down sources of opinions that the regime doesn’t like. 

The second legislative assault on freedom this past month comes in the form of the “Anti-Semitism Awareness Act.” This act, now working its way through Congress, instructs federal bureaucrats to adopt an extremely broad definition of anti-Semitism and to use that definition to “vigorously” enforce federal prohibitions of “discrimination” as found in the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This new broad definition of anti-Semitism equates criticism of the State of Israel with criticism of all Jews and the legislation could easily be read to define New Testament texts like the Gospel of John as “anti-Semitism.” After all, John’s gospel repeatedly refers to “the Jews” as the enemies of Jesus—that is, the enemies of God. 

The War Party vs. the First Amendment 

It should be no surprise that so much of the Congress’s attention in recent months has been devoted to the alleged dangers of people saying things and reading things. The foreign policy establishment in the US has been increasingly pushing for ever more US involvement in Ukraine and the Middle East while agitating for a new Cold War with China. As war fervor spreads, freedom always fades. 

Fortunately, there is growing voter opposition to US involvement in these active war zones, and regime agents have been unable to whip the taxpayers into a paranoid hysteria with the ease of decades past. The old bipartisan consensus supporting whatever new war the regime cooked up appears to be disappearing. Support for various wars is now a highly partisan issue. For example, a majority of polled Republicans say the US regime gives “too much” aid to Ukraine, and there is an active faction of Republicans in the Congress opposed to ongoing US involvement in that ten-year-old dispute. Meanwhile, support for the State of Israel’s mass-murder campaign in Gaza is in free-fall among Democrats. According to Gallup, 75 percent of Democrats oppose Tel Aviv’s current military campaign. (Notably, 60 percent of “independents” also oppose Israel’s war in Gaza.)

From the perspective of the neoconservatives and other foreign-policy “elites” in Washington, this is all awful news, and something must be done. That “something” turns out to be attacks on freedom of speech and independent media. Apparently, it is not enough that the federal government collude with social media corporations to fight “disinformation” and other opinions not approved by the regime. It is also “necessary” that the War Party insert into federal law new presidential powers over media outlets.

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President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are carrying a personal debt of up to $815,000, their financial records show, and no one is buying the president's books.

Most of the couple's debt is the mortgage on their Delaware home and an equity loan on that home. Additionally their debt consists of a term loan of about $15,000 and a loan against a mutual fund for about $50,000.

In total, the Bidens reported assets between roughly $1 million and $2.6 million and liabilities between roughly $350,000 and $850,000, according to an Office of Government Ethics form that lists ranges rather than precise figures. 

The Bidens' financial records, along with those of Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff, are required to be made public annually under the Ethics in Government Act, which was introduced to prevent any conflicts of interest.

In his form, President Biden reveals he has had no royalties from his two books: 'Promises to Keep' and 'Promise Me, Dad' this year.

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House Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-KY) on Thursday told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo that his Committee found new Biden family bank accounts.

Comer said the Biden family has dozens of bank accounts and dozens of LLCs without any legitimate business.

James Comer told Maria Bartiromo that he issued a subpoena for targeted financial information from a “certain financial institution” related to Jim Biden, Sara Biden and Hunter Biden.

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The list of vulnerabilities is as follows -

  • CVE-2014-100005 - A cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability impacting D-Link DIR-600 routers that allows an attacker to change router configurations by hijacking an existing administrator session
  • CVE-2021-40655 - An information disclosure vulnerability impacting D-Link DIR-605 routers that allows attackers to obtain a username and password by forging an HTTP POST request to the /getcfg.php page

There are currently no details on how these shortcomings are exploited in the wild, but federal agencies have been urged to apply vendor-provided mitigations by June 6, 2024.

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President Joe Biden asserted executive privilege on Thursday over his interview with special counsel Robert Hur to prevent Congress from obtaining his audio recordings.

The House Oversight Committee scheduled a markup on Thursday to begin the process of holding Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress for his refusal to hand over the recording.

Garland defied a final warning in April to comply with a subpoena for the audio of Biden’s interview with the special counsel.

During the president’s interview with Hur, Biden, 81, experienced mental lapses and “poor memory” at least seven times, according to a transcript obtained by Breitbart News.

“I write to inform you that the President has asserted executive privilege over the requested audio recordings and is making a protective assertion of privilege over any remaining materials responsive to the subpoenas that have not already been produced,” Associate Attorney General Carlos Uriarte wrote to House Judiciary and Oversight Committee chairs Jim Jordan (R-OH) and James Comer (R-KY).

Webmaster addition: These are the recordings that Hur claimed showed Biden as incompetent to stand trial.

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It’s about time!

At long last, National Institutes of Health (NIH) principal deputy director Lawrence Tabak admitted to Congress Thursday that US taxpayers funded gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China in the months and years before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Dr. Tabak,” asked Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, “did NIH fund gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology through [Manhattan-based nonprofit] EcoHealth [Alliance]?”

“It depends on your definition of gain-of-function research,” Tabak answered. “If you’re speaking about the generic term, yes, we did.”

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The Georgia Court of Appeals has given the green light to former President Donald Trump’s appeal to disqualify the Fulton County District Attorney and her office from the case in the ongoing saga of the election interference case.

This development comes after Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee decided Willis could continue leading the investigation, provided special prosecutor Nathan Wade bowed out amid swirling rumors of a past romantic entanglement with Willis. Despite admitting to the liaison, which they claim ended last summer, Willis and Wade staunchly maintain that their previous relationship holds no sway over the integrity of the proceedings.

Last week state appeals court in Georgia agreed to take up the appeal of a judge’s ruling that initially allowed Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to continue prosecuting Trump. Now, Trump’s legal team has notified the court it will move forward with the appeal after its approval. A timeline for the appeals court to issue a ruling is uncertain, though Willis’ office is bound to push for an expeditious process.

The indictment against Trump and 18 others in Georgia represented a pivotal moment in the ongoing examination of the 2020 presidential election’s aftermath. The charges stem from Democrat claims of a collective attempt to contest and potentially overturn the election results in Georgia, a key battleground state. Those charged alongside Trump include a variety of political operatives and legal advisors, suggesting that the investigation has been comprehensive, targeting not just the higher echelons of political leadership but also those who might have worked behind the scenes.

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Satellite Images Show Widening Destruction Amid Israeli Push Toward Central Rafah



May 15

By Lauren Leatherby

Israeli forces appear to be pushing closer to the center of the city of Rafah, according to satellite imagery, which shows military vehicles and widespread destruction of neighborhoods more than two and a half miles into Gaza from the Israeli border, as well as Palestinians fleeing the city even outside of areas the Israeli military has said to evacuate.

Israeli troops are still on the eastern side of the city in southern Gaza, according to the imagery, captured on Wednesday by the commercial satellite company Planet Labs. But they have continued to move toward central Rafah in recent days, passing the Rafah border crossing with Egypt and Salah al-Din road, Gaza’s main artery.

Collapsed buildings and debris are seen throughout this neighborhood, where only limited damage was visible before Israel started its incursion last week.

May 5


Source: Satellite imagery from Planet Labs

Satellite Images Show Widening Destruction in Rafah Amid Israeli Invasion - The New York Times

While it is not possible to know exactly what caused the damage in areas throughout Rafah, much of what is seen is consistent with the aftermath of Israeli bombardment and ground operations elsewhere in Gaza since the war began last October.

Israel says Rafah is Hamas’s last stronghold, and a critical gateway for arms shipments smuggled into Gaza from Egypt. It says it is determined to make sure the militants who were behind the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel no longer pose a threat.

But Rafah has also been a refuge for more than a million Palestinians who fled Israeli bombardment in other parts of Gaza. The United Nations says that hundreds of thousands of people have fled Rafah in recent days, and the imagery indicates that large numbers of people are leaving the center of Rafah, even in areas outside of evacuation orders the Israeli military has issued for the city.

Areas of Rafah that were full of tents and vehicles just a week ago appeared empty on Wednesday

Claire's Observations;  This is genocide, plain and simple, against the Palestinian people, executed by the IDF, and ordered by the Israeli government.  And these images, in a very "sang froid" way, are the witness to this genocide.  

So please remember; this is your tax dollars at work, folks.

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Biden’s announcement was followed by a letter from his campaign to the Commission on Presidential Debates, the nonpartisan commission that puts together debates among candidates. In the letter, the Biden campaign listed some limits they’re demanding if there would be a debate between the incumbent president and the Republican presidential candidate.

The campaign asked that there be no audience for the debate, demanding that the debate is held in a television studio with only Biden, Trump and the moderator present.

Criticizing the CPD for allowing “huge spectacles with large audiences” in its debates, the campaign wrote, “The debates should be conducted for the benefit of the American voters, watching on television and at home — not as entertainment for an in-person audience with raucous or disruptive partisans and donors, who consume valuable debate time with noisy spectacles of approval or jeering. As was the case with the original televised debates in 1960, a television studio with just the candidates and moderators is a better, more cost-efficient way to proceed: focused solely on the interests of voters.”

The team also demanded that third-party candidates are not allowed in the debate, a demand that excludes independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

“The debates should be one-on-one, allowing voters to compare the only two candidates with any statistical chance of prevailing in the Electoral College — and not squandering debate time on candidates with no prospect of becoming President,” the campaign’s letter read.

The demands made by Biden’s team did not end at limiting participants and the audience but went on to limit the number of major news outlets that can host a presidential debate for 2024.

Webmaster addition: Next Biden will demand this!

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California Governor Gavin Newsom has invited a wave of criticism and mockery after he claimed his state is the 'national model' for tackling homelessness

The Democrat, 56, made the remarks as he announced a $3.3 billion fund for California counties to tackle rampant homelessness, including a mental health initiative he pushed for. 

'The state of California saw a decline in veteran's homelessness,' he said on Tuesday. 'We have a national model.' 

Newsom appeared to be citing California's 30 percent drop in veteran homelessness over the past 12 years, despite a 2023 federal report finding that the state holds 28 percent of the nation's total number of unhoused people. 

That figure marked a 40 percent increase from the rate it was at five years ago, reports CalMatters

Webmaster addition: 

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by Dave DeCamp 

Ukrainian officials have asked NATO countries to send troops to Ukraine to help train 150,000 new recruits, The New York Times reported on Thursday.

The report said NATO countries are “inching closer” to sending trainers, which would mark a significant escalation and risk direct war with Russia. A small number of NATO special operations forces have been inside Ukraine — 97 as of March 2023 — but an open deployment to train a large number of Ukrainian troops would take things to another level.

The US and NATO had been training Ukrainian troops inside Ukraine before Russia’s February 2022 invasion. Since then, the training has been held in Germany and other parts of Europe, but Kyiv wants to shift it back inside Ukraine so the Ukrainian recruits can be quickly deployed to the frontlines. So far, the US has not agreed to the request, but it appears Washington is considering it.

The Times cited a US official who said one possibility could be to train Ukrainian troops in Lviv, a western Ukrainian city that’s near the Polish border. Russia has bombed Lviv throughout the war, including strikes a few weeks ago that targeted energy infrastructure.

In comments on Thursday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown said a NATO training deployment was an inevitability but appeared to rule it out for now. “We’ll get there eventually, over time,” he told reporters while on his way to Brussels. He said that if they were sent now, it would put “a bunch of NATO trainers at risk” and that Ukraine would have to choose whether to use air defenses to protect them or infrastructure near the frontlines.

Claire's Observations:  Does anyone else beside me, reading this, remember how the Vietnam War became truly "hot" for our military?!?  By the sending of US advisors/trainers to South Vietnam.  Should this happen in Ukraine, Russia will most probably respond by killing these NATO "advisors" just as quickly and efficiently as they can.  And suddenly, what has been a "proxy regional war" between the US and Russia in Ukraine, becomes a world war.

And Chairman General Brown, forgive me, but does it mean, when you say, "We'll get there eventually, over time"?!?  What does that even mean, looking at the situation on the ground right now?!?  The one element that NATO and the West does NOT have here, is time.

And please, sir, tell us:what "front lines" does Ukraine have, the the Russians have not been able to stop out of existence here?!?  Karkhiv, Ukraine's second largest city, is nearly gone, and Russians were able to simply "walk through" Ukrainian "front lines"  with little to no resistance, because the money sent to "defend" Karkhiv, wound up in "officials' pockets".

So sir, the operative question here is, how long before Kiev itself is taken by the Russians?!?  I don't know what the Vegas odds on this, but I am betting, if the situation doesn't immediately  and radically improve  for Ukrainian troops, this will possibly happen right around the end of this summer, and right before US elections in November, if those elections are actually being held this year.

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They're the wonders of the ancient world that still leave scientists scratching their heads today.

Now, an important part of the mystery of the Egyptian pyramids may have been solved.

Archaeologists have discovered that the famous structures could have been built along a long-lost branch of the river Nile.

And it could help explain why they now seem to be situated in a narrow, inhospitable desert strip.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina Wilmington studied satellite imagery to find the possible location of a former river branch running along the foothills of the Western Desert Plateau, very near to the pyramids.

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Some 84 percent of deadly measles cases in a recent major outbreak at a migrant center in Chicago are linked to Venezuelan immigrants, a new CDC report shows.

New information reveals that the spate of 57 cases at the Pilsen migrant shelter can be traced back to a one year-old boy who had only received one of the two vital vaccines.

The majority of the cases — 72 percent — were among unvaccinated people, the CDC said.

The report cites overcrowding at the center for the rampant spread, with 500 people said to be crammed into a single room. 

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Cohen's lies are piling up

Michael Cohen has lied. A lot. And lawyer Todd Blanche has been getting him to admit it himself. He lied to Robert Mueller. He lied to a congressional committee about a Moscow tower he was exploring while working for Trump. He even lied to a judge when he was guilty to a trio of crimes that sent him to prison. The prosecution has tried to get ahead with some of these during direct testimony, but jurors keeping score may be shocked by the numbers.

Texts with daughter point to trail of resentment

Anyone who has travelled in New York and D.C. political circles knows what it’s like to score a top invite – or to be left on the curb feeling like a has-been. Cohen's texts with his daughter revealed complaints about having trouble getting tickets to the Trump inauguration, after helping guide two campaigns.

Judge Merchan is looking for the exits

Judge Merchan told lawyers to be ready for summary arguments as soon as Tuesday. That comes despite Todd Blanche refusing to rule out testimony by former President Trump himself. He's also gaming out how to avoid long breaks in the rythm of the trial, a sign he may have eyes on completion before Memorial day.

Webmaster addition: If Merchan is pushing for an early finish, it means he knows the case is lost and wants it buried and forgotten by election day.

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Vice President Kamala Harris has joked she may return to California to run for governor if she and President Joe Biden lose the 2024 election, according to a new report.

Politico cites two people familiar with the Harris’ comments, but the vice president’s office predictably denied the report.

‘That did not happen,’ Harris spokesperson Kirsten Allen said. ‘This November, the vice president will be preparing to be inaugurated for the second term of the Biden-Harris administration.’

The race to succeed current California governor Gavin Newsom will take place in 2026, but there is no clear Democratic successor in place.

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According to testimony before Congress on Wednesday by Robert Costello, a former federal prosecutor, Michael Cohen confessed to having “nothing truthful” showing former President Donald Trump’s guilt in any crime. Costello represented Cohen when he was under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

“I swear to God Bob I don’t have anything on Donald Trump” Costello quoted Cohen as telling him repeatedly. This contradicts claims Cohen made on the witness stand during Trump’s ongoing Manhattan trial.

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CNN has identified multiple members of the Zionist mob filmed attacking pro-Palestine student protesters at UCLA earlier this month as police stood by and did nothing. 

In a segment aired Wednesday on Anderson Cooper 360, CNN reported that one of the suspected attackers, 18-year-old Edan On, was identified proudly by his own mother who told CNN "he's heading to Israel to join the IDF [Israel Defense Forces]."

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The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles approved a pardon for Army Sgt Daniel Perry on Thursday after spending over a year investigating his shooting of a BLM "protester" armed with an AK-47.

Perry, a veteran who was working as an Uber driver, shot AK-47 wielding BLM "protester" Garrett Foster during the Summer of Floyd in 2020 after Foster together with a mob of BLM protesters swarmed him in his car in the middle of a public street. 

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US Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday told reporters that the Justice Department does not need to comply with a congressional subpoena because the DOJ is “a fundamental institution of our democracy.”

A visibly rattled Garland made the statements during a press conference to reporters after Joe Biden asserted executive privilege over the audio of his interview with Special Counsel Robert Hur.

Merrick Garland was forced to go on defense for the first time as two GOP-led House Committees vote to hold him in contempt of Congress.

The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted to hold Garland in contempt and the House Oversight Committee will hold a contempt vote later this evening.

Garland told reporters that the congressional subpoena was ‘not legitimate’ and would harm the DOJ’s ability to successfully pursue sensitive investigations.

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On the cause of and progress of the war in Ukraine, RT cited Fico as saying the following:

  • “I say it loud and clear and will do so: The war in Ukraine didn’t start yesterday or last year. It began in 2014 when the Ukrainian Nazis and fascists started to murder Russian citizens in Donbass and Lugansk.”
  • “Russia completely controls the occupied territories militarily, Ukraine is not capable of any meaningful military counter-offensive, [and] it has become completely dependent on financial aid from the West with unforeseeable consequences for Ukrainians in the years to come.”

In regards to funding for Ukraine, Fico is on the record stating:

  • “If the strategy is to continue to pour money there, €1.5 billion per month without any result, and we have to cut our own resources? After all, we have huge problems, and public money is in a difficult state.”
  • “I will support zero military aid to Ukraine… An immediate halt to military operations is the best solution we have for Ukraine. The EU should change from an arms supplier to a peacemaker.”
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by Tyler Durden

Established in 1944, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) supports countries’ economic growth by providing financial aid and guidance on policies to enhance stability, productivity, and job opportunities.

Countries seek loans from the IMF to address economic crises, stabilize their currencies, implement structural reforms, and alleviate balance of payments difficulties.

In this graphic, Visual Capitalist's Bruno Venditti visualizes the 10 countries most indebted to the fund.


We compiled this ranking using the International Monetary Fund’s data on Total IMF Credit Outstanding. We selected the latest debt data for each country, accurate as of April 29, 2024.

Argentina Tops the Rank

Argentina’s debt to the IMF is equivalent to 5.3% of the country’s GDP. In total, the country owns more than $32 billion.

A G20 member and major grain exporter, the country’s history of debt trouble dates back to the late 1890s when it defaulted after contracting debts to modernize the capital, Buenos Aires. It has already been bailed out over 20 times in the last six decades by the IMF.

Five of the 10 most indebted countries are in Africa, while three are in South America.

The only European country on our list, Ukraine has relied on international support amidst the conflict with Russia. It is estimated that Russia’s full-scale invasion of the country caused the loss of a third of the country’s economy. The country owes $9 billion to the IMF.

In total, almost 100 countries owe money to the IMF, and the grand total of all of these debts is $111 billion. The above countries (top 10) account for about 69% of these debts.

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