South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has vowed more aggressive retaliation to military action by Pyongyang, calling to “punish” the DPRK soon after Seoul unveiled a new $440 million military spending package.
Briefing reporters following a meeting between the president and South Korea’s National Security Office on Wednesday, Yoon’s press secretary Kim Eun-hye said officials were instructed to react forcefully to any future “provocations,” citing a major breach of South Korea’s airspace by North Korean drones earlier this week.
“President Yoon told them to punish and retaliate in no uncertain terms in response to any provocation by North Korea, saying that is the most powerful way to deter provocations,” she said, adding that Yoon “also emphasized that we must not be fearful or hesitant just because North Korea has nuclear weapons.”
Elon Musk has opened the floodgates to expose the FBI’s latest war on Americans’ freedom of speech. The FBI massively intervened to pressure Twitter to suppress accounts and tweets from individuals the FBI disapproved of, including parody accounts. The FBI and other federal agencies also browbeat Facebook, Instagram, and many other social media companies.
Thus far, most of the American corporate media has ignored or downplayed the story, known as the Twitter Files. Since many of the individuals who the FBI got squelched were pro-Trump, the violation of their rights is a non-issue (or a cause for quiet celebration). At this point, it is difficult to know whether the scant reaction to the Twitter Files is the result of political bias, collective amnesia, or simply a total ignorance of American history.
The history of the FBI provides the best guide to the abuses that may be now occurring. From 1956 to 1971, the FBI carried out “a secret war against those citizens it considers threats to the established order,” a 1976 Senate report noted. The FBI’s Operation COINTELPRO involved thousands of covert operations to incite street warfare between violent groups, to get people fired, to portray innocent people as government informants, to destroy activists’ marriages, and to cripple or destroy left-wing, black, communist, white racist, and anti-war organizations. The FBI let no corner of American life escape its vigilance; it even worked to expose and discredit “communists who are secretly operating in legitimate organizations and employments, such as the Young Men’s Christian Association and Boy Scouts.”
While many people are aware of how the FBI hounded Martin Luther King Jr. and pressured him to commit suicide, that was not even the tip of the iceberg of the FBI’s racial persecution. Almost any black organization could be targeted for illegal wiretaps. One black leader was monitored largely because he had “recommended the possession of firearms by members for their self-protection.” At that time, some southern police departments and sheriffs were notorious for attacking blacks who stood up for their civil rights.
Webmaster addition: See COINTELPRO: The Sabotage Of Legitimate Dissent
Western countries, by their actions, are undermining confidence to themselves and their legal institutions in the world and the anti-Russian sanctions are a vivid example of that, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev wrote in an article summing up the results of the outgoing year that was published in the Rossiyskaya Gazeta.
He recalled that Western politicians are seeking to seize Russian assets "without charge or trial," or "simply to steal them." The sanctions, in his words, are imposed on Russia and its allies "with the stroke of the pen" by Washington and its "European minions."
"It is the last signal to other stets: it is impossible to deal with the Anglo-Saxon world. Like it is impossible to deal with thieves, fraudsters, cardsharps," he emphasized.
Israel's new government was sworn in Thursday, with Benjamin Netanyahu returning to the prime minister’s post 18 months after he was ousted.
Why it matters: It's the most right-wing and religious government Israel has had since its establishment, and its expected policies could significantly change the country.
Driving the news: The new government is mostly defined by the rise of the Israeli extreme right. Two of its leaders known for expressing racist and Jewish supremacist views — Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir — have become senior ministers.
- Smotrich was sworn in as the finance minister and will also serve as a minister in the Defense Ministry with authority over the military units in charge of civilian policy in the occupied West Bank. This will give him unprecedented influence on the policy related to Israeli settlements.
- Ben Gvir was sworn in as the new national security minister with unprecedented authority over the police. Per a coalition agreement, he will also be in charge of a new independent security force of border guard paramilitary units that operate in the West Bank and Israel.
US President Joe Biden has said he looks forward to working with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, ignoring concerns about the inclusion of far-right Israeli politicians accused of racism in the new cabinet.
Biden called Netanyahu his “friend for decades” in a statement on Thursday, saying that he will cooperate with the Israeli government to jointly address challenges in the Middle East, including “threats from Iran”.
The Kremlin said on Thursday Russia was concerned about tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan over a blockade of the road linking breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia and would keep trying to mediate, after Armenia's leader criticised Russia's stance.
In response to a question from reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: "We are concerned about the tension that has arisen around the Lachin corridor, and the Russian side will continue its efforts, both in contacts with Yerevan and in contacts with Baku."
The corridor, which allows supplies from Armenia to reach the 120,000 ethnic Armenians who control the mountainous region, has been policed by Russian peacekeepers since 2020.
Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but its inhabitants are predominantly ethnic Armenian and it broke away from Baku's control in a war in the late 1980s and early 1990s, as the Soviet Union was disintegrating.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned on Wednesday that Russia is working on new ways to disrupt Western arms supplies to Ukraine, signaling that Russia will start targeting more Ukrainian infrastructure.
“We observe that Ukraine is receiving more and more and better Western weapons,” Lavrov said in an interview on Russian TV, according to Al Jazeera. He said strikes on “railway lines, bridges and tunnels” are being considered.
Russia has been pounding Ukrainian energy infrastructure since October, leaving millions of Ukrainians without power and heat for the winter. But Lavrov’s comments suggest that Russia will be hitting other types of infrastructure.
Germany’s government gave the greenlight to arms exports amounting to at least €8.9 billion ($8.48 billion) this year, making it the second-highest annual figure ever….
Over a quarter of the weapons and military equipment sent during the course of the year has gone to Ukraine….
In the face of severe criticism over the country’s postwar policy of not providing lethal aid to conflict zones, the Scholz administration announced a reversal of that policy as part of the country’s military and security politics “Zeitenwende” or “turning point” announced shortly after the invasion began.
Germany has made deliveries worth €2.24 billion including anti-aircraft tanks, multiple rocket launches, the IRIS-T air defense system and self-propelled howitzers, among other pieces of military equipment.
On Sunday (1 January 2023), Germany takes the lead of NATO’s highest-readiness military force, placing thousands of troops on standby and ready to deploy within days.
NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) was created in 2014 at the core of a strengthened NATO Response Force, following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and crises in the Middle East. Germany takes over from France, which led the force in 2022….NATO deployed elements of the VJTF to Romania on the unit’s first ever…mission.
Israel’s Ambassador to France Yael German, an ally of former prime minister Yair Lapid, resigned on Thursday, accusing his successor, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his incoming government of violating the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the vision of a Jewish, democratic state.
In a letter to Netanyahu, German said she was unable to “to lie to myself and continue to represent policies that are so radically different from what I believe in.”
German said she was proud to represent Israel and the outgoing government, which was based on “democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.”
Churches in England are erasing references to the nativity and Jesus, replacing them with “queer” characters instead.
All Saints with Holy Trinity Church in Loughborough held a Mayor’s Community Carol Service on Monday.
Summit.news reports: In a Twitter post, trainee priest Rachael Brind-Surch lauded how the church had changed the lyrics to the classic carol “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” sung by attendees at the event.
Flipping love my church,” remarked Brind-Surch.
The new lyrics included the following two verses;
“God rest you also, women, who by men have been erased, Through history ignored and scorned, defiled and displaced; Remember that your stories too, are held within God’s grace.”
“God rest you, queer and questioning, your anxious hearts be still, Believe that you are deeply known and part of God’s good will For all to live as one in peace; the global dream fulfilled.”
The verses replaced the actual lyrics of the carol, which talk about the nativity and how Christ came to “save us all from Satan’s power.”
Apparently, Satan’s power is being exercised over this very church.
“When they say we aren’t ordaining political activists,” commented Sam Margrave, a member of the General Synod of the Church of England. “Show them this… Absolutely disgusted an act of worship to our Lord & Saviour is being used to push political ideology contrary to @churchofengland teaching.”
The year 2022 was unlike any other we have witnessed in over a decade. For an entire year, it seems as if the old yoke of collaborationism and complacency was cast off, and resistance was back on the agenda. The West Bank was “on fire” as Palestinians attempted to put a halt to the constant degradation of their lives and the humiliation of living under Israeli settler-colonialism. For the first time since the Second Intifada, Palestinians collectively took up arms and pointed them at the colonizer. Nablus and Jenin became the most important epicenters for the various armed groups that took shape throughout the course of the year, the most important being the Jenin Brigade and the Lions’ Den.
Resistance was not limited to the armed groups, either. A string of “lone wolf” operations targeting Israeli settlers and soldiers posed a serious problem for the Israeli army’s counterinsurgency strategy and marked a significant security failure on the part of the colonial apparatus to anticipate and prevent these armed operations.
This year of resistance has been a decade in the making. It was preceded by several popular uprisings (or, in Arabic, habbat sha’biyya) that were punctuated by mass protests and numerous individual operations.
Poland is looking to use money from the European Recovery Fund, intended to help restore the country’s economy after Covid-19, to finance its army, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in a post on Twitter on Thursday.
“The dispute with the European Commission must be over,” insisted the PM. “The real conflict is being played out in the east of Poland, and the funds from the KPO [National Recovery Plan] mean more money for the Polish army” he stressed, referring to the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Thursday said the tragic situation with migrants in Latvia and Lithuania testifies to the xenophobic nature of the regimes in these Baltic countries.
The diplomat noted in a statement, which said it was released due to the inhumane treatment of migrants by the governments of those countries, that Doctors Without Borders, a well-known NGO, had said recently that Latvia and Lithuania continued the totally unacceptable policy of forcing migrants out towards Belarus who are seeking refuge in the EU.
"Despite the winter cold, people are forced to stay without shelter or sufficient food supplies for weeks. The brutal steps by Latvian and Lithuanian border guards have caused dozens of severe frostbite injuries and fatalities over the past year," she revealed.
Russia has found more than 3,000 killed civilians in Mariupol after taking control over the city, the Russian Investigative Committee told Sputnik.
“In April alone, the bodies of 51 civilians were found at the positions abandoned by the Ukrainian troops, and after the complete liberation and examination of the city, their number amounted to over 3,000,” the committee said.
The investigators added that the Ukrainian military “artificially created obstacles for evacuation [of citizens] from the city” after the Russian armed forces had organized humanitarian corridors.
“Unable to leave the city and moving in search of food, civilians became a living target for Ukrainian punishers who killed them with various types of weapons,” the Russian Investigative Committee told Sputnik.
The Russian investigators proposed the creation of a special DNA database of those killed, citing difficulties in identifying the victims.
When a stray missile landed in a Polish border town last week killing two people, some European leaders worried as much about how Poland’s right-wing government would react as they did about the possibility that Russia had ordered the strike.
Poland’s longstanding distrust of all things Russian and the current government’s deep antipathy toward Moscow triggered concern from Brussels to Berlin that Warsaw might do something rash.
Instead of losing its nerve, however, Warsaw was stoical, placing its armed forces on alert, while also keeping its powder dry until there was clarity about what happened. (The conclusion is that it was an air defense missile fired by Ukraine to protect itself from a Russian attack that went astray.)
That calm was born of a simple reality that has for years passed most of Europe by: Poland has what is arguably Europe’s best army. And it’s only going to get stronger.