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Former President Donald Trump must pay nearly half a billion dollars as a bond to New York State before he can appeal the ruling by Judge Arthur Engoron last week that he must pay $354 million in fines — over $450 million, with interest — for fraud.

Critics have noted that Trump is the only person ever to be sued under an obscure New York fraud statute that does not require any harm be done, and that effectively criminalizes the everyday practice of real estate valuations in negotiations with banks.

Though Attorney General Letitia James — who ran for office promising to target Trump — claimed that no one is above the law, her case against Trump marks the only such case in the history of the state. And the staggering fine is likewise unprecedented.

Webmaster addition:  "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." -- 8th Amendment

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Russian investigators will not hand over the body of dead Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny for 14 days, his team have revealed, after his widow claimed he had been poisoned by Novichok. 

Yulia Navalnaya has accused the Russian authorities of hiding Navalny's body in order to wait for traces of the nerve agent to disappear.

And today, Ivan Zhdanov, the director of Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation, said that Navalny's body would not be given to his mother for 14 days while a chemical examination takes place.

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Eight Eritrean migrants were apprehended by North Carolina authorities on Saturday, following a riot and assault incident at a cultural festival in Charlotte.

The clash, which was reportedly between rival Eritrean gangs, resulted in a standoff that lasted over 10 hours. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) responded to the scene after rioters allegedly attacked police officers with sticks, rocks, and other projectiles. A tractor was also set ablaze during the riot.

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While presidents have long had disagreements on national policy, many agreed that unchecked immigration to the United States ultimately hurts Americans and those legal immigrants who have already arrived.

Five presidents, in particular, have famously warned against mass immigration to the United States — despite their differences on a variety of other issues.

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An illegal alien who should previously have been deported from the United States is accused of killing 35-year-old Steven Nasholm, a husband and father of three daughters, in Rusk County, Wisconsin, in late January.

Jorge Sanchez-Tzanhua, a 22-year-old illegal alien from Mexico, has been arrested and charged with drunk driving and felony homicide after Nasholm died following a crash in Rusk County allegedly caused by Sanchez-Tzanhua as a result of drunk driving.

According to Rusk County police, on Jan. 30, Sanchez-Tzanhua was driving drunk in an SUV when he crashed into Nasholm, who was driving a semi-truck.

Nasholm died from injuries he suffered in the accident.

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Four illegal aliens were arrested on Saturday in Chicago after being accused of robbing and strangling a man on the city’s Pink Line train.

The four men reportedly attacked and robbed a 48-year-old man on the train near the Kostner Avenue station at around 4:45 p.m. on February 17, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) said, according to CWB Chicago.

CPD officers arrested the four men at the next station and discovered that they were all staying at the Standard Club migrant shelter downtown, only blocks away from the Art Institute of Chicago.

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The Democrat-controlled state of New York has been quietly handing out cash payments to thousands of migrants under a rule change qualifying non-citizens for welfare.

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) modified its Safety Net Assistance (SNA) program’s parameters in 2023, making migrants who have filled out asylum application forms eligible to receive even more taxpayer dollars. 

A memo quietly sent out to New York welfare office workers from the Hochul administration on May 12, 2023, carefully revised the standards needed to qualify for SNA, expanding them to include “non-citizens who are considered permanently residing under color of law (PRUCOL).”

“PRUCOL is not an immigration status, but a public benefit category used by OTDA for the purposes of Safety Net Assistance (SNA) eligibility,” the memo reads, before listing the several different kinds of immigration documentation SNA providers should accept from migrants. 

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Way back then, amidst all that corruption! We nostalgically pine back to notions like those were the turning from the Good Old Days, when there was some pretense of normalcy and societal functioning—that is, some premises about life in general that one could tentatively take for granted—such as ‘some’ Bill of Rights still honored and protected.

Freedom of Speech was still considered an American value and for some of us, an American right. More aware individuals realized that freedom of speech is such an important right it is the reason it was listed as the First Amendment.

Furthermore, we came to realize the Second Amendment was equally important that it is, and was, necessary to secure the Peoples’ First Amendment.

Now both of these rights have been deftly conspired against, and many of us now realize there is ‘nothing’ sacred in our mortal conceptions regarding American freedoms and liberties (let alone sanity). In fact, even the Judicial branch of government (judges, DOJ, and FBI employees) has become highly corrupted and compromised. ALL OUR LINES IN THE SAND HAVE BEEN CROSSED.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday boasted that he had worked “for decades” to block the establishment of a Palestinian state.

“Everyone knows that I am the one who for decades blocked the establishment of a Palestinian state that would endanger our existence,” Netanyahu said, according to The Times of Israel.

He made the comments while discussing a plan to introduce legislation into the Knesset that would match a declaration made by the Israeli cabinet on Sunday that rejected “international diktats” related to a Palestinian state.

The strong statements came after reports said that the US and some of its Arab partners were looking to unveil an outline for a long-term peace deal that would include a “firm timeline” toward a Palestinian state.

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Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s war cabinet, threatened on Sunday that Israel will launch an assault on the southern Gaza city of Rafah if Hamas does not release the remaining Israeli hostages by Ramadan, which begins on March 10 this year.

“The world must know, and Hamas leaders must know — if by Ramadan our hostages are not home, the fighting will continue to the Rafah area,” Gantz told a gathering of Jewish American organizations in Jerusalem on Sunday.

Rafah has a pre-war population of 275,000 and is now packed with 1.5 million people as the city has become a final refuge for Palestinians who fled other areas of Gaza. Israeli airstrikes have been hitting Rafah, but Israel has yet to launch a full-scale invasion.

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Israel's plans to restrict Palestinian Muslim worshippers access to al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan is aimed at provoking the global Muslim community and prolonging Israel's military operations in Gaza, Palestinian political and religious figures have told Middle East Eye. 

A proposal put forward by Itamar Ben Gvir, Israel's far-right national security minister, to limit the entry of Palestinian citizens of Israel into the mosque was accepted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a meeting with senior officials on Sunday, according to a Haaretz report

The limitations will be based on criteria such as age and gender, the details of which are to be decided in the coming days. 

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The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague began hearing submissions on Monday on the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. 

Separate to the more well-publicised genocide case brought by South Africa on Israel's attack on the Gaza Strip, the UN's highest court will hear from 52 countries and three international organisations on the legal consequences of Israel’s decades-long occupation. The hearings will contribute to an advisory opinion, an ICJ instrument that has no binding force but carries significant legal and moral authority.  

The number of states participating in the oral proceedings is the highest in any case since the ICJ's establishment in 1945.

Israel has been occupying what is recognised under international law as Palestinian land since the 1967 war. East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza all fall under this category, and the separate legal systems, construction of settlements and acts of violence meted out against Palestinian residents are all key factors that will be considered in the hearings.

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A visit from an Iranian general to the Shia militias in Iraq led to a pause in attacks on US forces, Reuters reported on Sunday, citing Iranian and Iraqi sources.

Brig. Gen. Esmail Qaani made the trip to Iraq on January 29, one day after three US troops were killed in a drone attack on a base in Jordan near the Syrian border. He warned that the death of the American soldiers would likely provoke a heavy American response and said the groups should lie low to avoid being targeted.

A day after the visit, Kataib Hezbollah, one of the most powerful Shia militias in Iraq, announced it was suspending attacks on US troops. In its statement, Kataib Hezbollah said Iran “repeatedly declared opposition to our escalation against the US forces in Iraq and Syria.”

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The US Navy will test surface and underwater drone swarms next month in preparation for a future war with China. In the near term, American defense officials have warned that war with China over Taiwan could break out. The US is developing drone swarms in other domains for war in the Pacific. 

Adm. Sam Paparo, the head of the US Pacific Fleet, explained, “Beginning in March, we’ll execute Integrated Battle Problem 24.1.” He said it involves a “test and experiment” with naval drone swarms. 

The weapons being developed include a “large-diameter” unmanned submarine and “small uncrewed surface vessels that are functionally meant to be an interceptor.” The drones will be integrated with air and surface drones with AI for a potential war with China. 

“Drones may also be key to [Indo-Pacific Command’s] Joint Fires Network, a nascent battle-management system designed to find and deliver target data to forces much faster. The system will use AI and likely drones,” Paparo said at the AFCEA West conference. 

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At the White House last week, President Biden claimed to have concerns about Israeli plans for a ground invasion of Rafah, the southern Gaza area where more than one million Palestinians have fled. In the process, he committed a gaffe that revealed his actual stance.

“Our military operation in Rafah,” Biden began, before correcting himself.  “Their — the major military operation in Rafah should not proceed without a credible plan... for ensuring the safety and support of more than one million people sheltering there. They need to be protected.”

Although unintentional, Biden was accurate to refer to an Israeli military operation in Gaza in the possessive form. Every Israeli atrocity in Gaza is committed with US support. Accordingly, within 24 hours, the White House made clear that despite Biden’s words of caution, only Israel’s mass murder campaign will remain protected.

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The Grayzone has obtained a private letter authored by ADL director Jonathan Greenblatt threatening to weaponize the Nazi past of the BMG music company unless executives terminated a major deal with Roger Waters. BMG has publicly denied Israel lobby influence on its decision to nix Waters’ contract.

When the Berlin-based BMG music company terminated its business relationship with Roger Waters, the Pink Floyd co-founder claimed the decision was spurred by a concerted Israel lobby-directed campaign to financially retaliate against his outspoken support for Palestine. The Grayzone has obtained a threatening private letter sent by Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt to BMG executives which confirms the musician’s accusation.

“Given the fact that your parent company, Bertelsmann Group, has made laudable and necessary efforts to repair its Nazi past,” the ADL director warned in his June 16, 2023 letter, “it would be deeply unfortunate to have those efforts continue to be tarnished by such hurtful and injurious conduct.”

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The US Navy's current conflict with Yemen's Ansarallah-led armed forces in the Red Sea is one of the most significant battles the US Navy has fought in decades, a US admiral said on 18 February.

"I think you'd have to go back to World War II where you have ships who are engaged in combat," Vice Adm. Brad Cooper told the CBS News' 60 Minutes program in an interview broadcast Sunday.

"When I say engaged in combat, where they're getting shot at, we're getting shot at, and we're shooting back," he continued.

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Acquisition of territory by force, persecution, racial discrimination and apartheid, denial of self-determination – these are the crimes Israel has committed against the Palestinian people, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told the International Court of Justice this morning, in the Dutch administrative capital, The Hague, on the first day of Advisory Opinion hearings on the legality of Israel’s prolonged occupation of the Palestinian territories.

“For over a century, the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination has been denied and violated – their very existence negated,” al-Maliki told the court, flanked by Palestine’s 25-member delegation, many of them draped in keffiyehs.

“Palestine was not a land without a people,” al-Maliki added, the court’s fifteen justices listening closely.


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A top Marine general worries about the U.S. military’s ability to maintain its munitions stockpiles while supporting wars in Ukraine and Israel as the services prepare for a more sophisticated conflict with China.

Lt. Gen. Karsten Heckl, head of Marine Corps Combat Development and Integration, spoke Wednesday at the U.S. Naval Institute and AFCEA International West Conference in San Diego.

Heckl referenced expensive weapons being used to defeat threats in such instances as Houthi missile strikes on watercraft in the Red Sea, Breaking Defense reported.

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Richard C. Longworth, in his Chicago Tribune op-ed “Is America Still the Indispensable Nation?” ponders whether America will remain the world’s indispensable nation much longer.

His concern is that for the first time in the half century of polling by the Chicago Council of Global Affairs, a majority of Republicans think the US should stay out of world affairs. Longworth adds it is reinforced by GOP leadership which is jeopardizing continued US funding of Ukraine’s war against Russia. The resulting US pullback from world dominance, Longworth frets, will produce “global anarchy, a power vacuum drawing in any number of nations, many of them nuclear-armed.”

It somehow escapes Longworth, a former Tribune foreign correspondent and current distinguished fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, that the world has largely moved on from subservience to US world dominance. Nearly half the world’s population is now in BRICS and SCO, the two non-aligned geo-political blocks that have largely neutralized US unipolar leadership. They include most nations outside of Europe and North America seeking distance from US hegemony.

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The US is circulating its own Gaza-related UN Security Council resolution after threatening to veto one being drafted by Algeria that calls for a humanitarian ceasefire.

The new US version calls for the Security Council to express support for a “temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practical, based on the formula of all hostages being released.”

The resolution essentially reaffirms the US position that it opposes a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and doesn’t want a temporary one without a hostage deal. But as things stand now, a hostage deal is far off as Qatar, which is mediating the talks, said the prospects of an agreement are “not very promising.”

The US resolution also warns Israel against launching an assault on Rafah under the current conditions. “The Security Council should underscore that such a major ground offensive should not proceed, under the current circumstances,” the resolution reads.

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The EU on Monday announced a formal investigation into TikTok over alleged breaches of its obligations to protect minors online, under a landmark new law on policing digital content.

It is the second probe into a major online platform since Brussels introduced the Digital Services Act (DSA), after targeting tech billionaire Elon Musk's X in December.

Brussels is particularly concerned that the video-sharing app owned by China's ByteDance may not be doing enough to address negative impacts on young people.

A key worry is the so-called "rabbit hole" effect -- which occurs when users are fed related content based on an algorithm, in some cases leading to more dangerous content.

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Russian military personnel provided medical assistance to the residents of Avdeyevka, where a lot of elderly people still remain, one of the Russian servicemen said at a video distributed by the Russian Defense Ministry.

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Two “breaking news” items this week provided a timely opportunity for the United States and its media-intelligence apparatus to regain control of the narrative.

The claims about Russian space-based nuclear weapons unraveled to become a joke. Fortunately, the death of Western-sponsored dissident Alexei Navalny then occurred to enable Western media to go into a frenzy of anti-Russia headlines.

First up was the scaremongering story about Russia allegedly developing a space-based nuclear weapon. Initially, it was dramatically trailed as posing a serious national security threat to the United States. Despite the sensational reporting, the story quickly became a laughingstock. Even some U.S. lawmakers dismissed it as “bullshit” and a blatant attempt by the Biden White House and intelligence agencies to push Congress into passing a new mega military aid bill for Ukraine worth $61 billion.

We’ll get to the Navalny story in a moment. But let’s just first parse the orchestration of the alleged Russian space nukes.

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It turned out that the entreprise was a strategically-important facility which served the needs of the Ukrainian military. The destroyed plant reportedly produced about 5,000 drones per month, including Ukrainian UAVs of Furia, Leleka 100, RAM II UAV and other types.

No Russian drones were spotted in the region that night, so the fire was not a result of a Russian strike. The SBU of the Lviv region confirmed that the cause of the fire was not a missile attack. It was soon reported by military sources that the facility came under attack of pro-Russian saboteurs.

Local underground fighters entered the territory of the plant and set fire to the workshop, after pouring gasoline.

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The head of the DPR Denis Pushilin summed up the results of the last stage of the battle for Avdeevka, which was marked by the uncoordinated escape of the Ukrainian military from the city.

The head of the DPR claimed that the Armed Forces of Ukraine had committed many war crimes in Avdeevka, especially in recent weeks and days, when they were furiously treating the civilian population during their retreat.

Russian forces captured a lot of Ukrainian fighter. The number of Ukrainian prisoners is so high that there is no enough place in prisons for them. Abandoned corpses of Ukrainian servicemen are yet to be collected.

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On February 19, the Armed Forces of Ukraine supported by the NATO military attempted an attack in the Russian rear areas using British kamikaze UAV.

Russian FSB, units of the military commandant’s office and the Russian Guard intercepted a British kamikaze drone Banshee Jet 80 in the Novoazovsky district of the DPR.

The Russian military managed to intercept control of the UAV and land it in the fields far from the residential areas. After the controlled landing, the specialists defused the warhead, which included seven kilograms of explosive and destroyed the charge on the spot.

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