"All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak."

– Sun Tzu, The Art of War

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A powerful blast rocked the Russian city of St. Petersburg early on Saturday when a drone crashed into an apartment block, local media have reported. 

The explosion occurred in the northern part of the city, and the facade of a residential block was “seriously damaged.”

St. Petersburg Mayor Alexandr Beglov declined to say whether it was a drone strike.

Local residents report that before the explosion they heard the sound of an engine and saw a bright flash in the sky.

Debris fell next to one of the houses, probably from an unmanned aerial vehicle.

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US Special forces troops will be permanently stationed in Taiwan, UDN confirms.  China earlier warned they would view such a thing as an "invasion."

Along with Marines stationed on the island, US Special Forces are now reportedly permanently based in Taiwan to deter Chinese aggression on the disputed territory!!

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Economists expected ISM manufacturing to improve to a nearly flat 49.5. Instead the index fell to 47.8 from 49.1.

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You have already taken a side on Israel-Palestine. Whether you know it or not. Whether you admit it or not. 

You have either consciously chosen to side with the people who are being continually massacred by Israel, or you have consciously chosen to side with Israel, or you have sided with Israel by being “neutral”, or you have sided with Israel by being indifferent.

As Desmond Tutu said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” 

The powerful oppressors are more than happy for you to be “neutral”. The ones who are already in control want as little scrutiny as possible. From their position the fewer people who are looking them and evaluating whether their actions are right or wrong, the better. Your neutrality just means they get to keep doing what they want to do.

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In a recent development, Catherine Herridge, an Emmy-winning journalist renowned for her coverage of national security and intelligence, was held in civil contempt by a federal judge.

The ruling was made on Thursday due to Herridge's refusal to disclose her confidential sources in a case related to an FBI investigation.

The ruling was handed down by U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Christopher Cooper, an appointee of former President Barack Obama. Judge Cooper imposed a daily fine of $800 on Herridge, but the enforcement of this fine has been postponed to allow the journalist an opportunity to appeal the decision.

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In a surprising turn of events, Mark Green, the Republican Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has decided to seek re-election, reversing his previous decision to retire.

This announcement came on Thursday, following numerous appeals from constituents, colleagues, and notably, former President Donald Trump.

Green, a representative from Tennessee, stated, "While my strong desire was to leave Congress at the end of this year, since my announcement, I have received countless calls from constituents, colleagues, and President Trump urging me to reconsider." He further declared his commitment to resolving the border crisis, stating, "I will be running for re-election so I can be here on Day 1 next year to help President Trump end this border crisis once and for all."

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Joe Biden twice confused Gaza with Ukraine as he was announcing that the US would provide desperately needed aid to Palestinians.

The US president, 81, confirmed on Friday that humanitarian assistance would be airdropped into Gaza and said the US would “insist” Israel did more to facilitate help for those affected by famine and the effects of war, saying: “Children’s lives are on the line”.

Biden twice mistakenly referred to airdrops to help “Ukraine”, leaving White House officials to clarify he was in fact talking about Gaza.

Biden made the announcement while hosting the Italian prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, in Washington.

He said: “Aid flowing to Gaza is nowhere nearly enough. Innocent lives are on the line and children’s lives are on the line. We won’t stand by until we get more aid in there. We should be getting hundreds of trucks in, not just several.”

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Right-wing British activist Sam Melia was sentenced to two years in prison in the UK on Friday for "intending to stir up racial hatred" by sharing various anti-immigration stickers stating "White Lives Matter" and "We will be a minority in our homeland by 2066."

From GB News, "Free speech activists outraged after man jailed for two years for running 'far-right' stickers library":

Free speech concerns have been raised after a Leeds man was sentenced two years in prison after being found guilty of inciting racial hatred with a library of stickers.

Sam Melia, 34, was in charge of an online collection of downloadable stickers that contained anti-immigration messages for activists of the “Hundred Handers” group.

At Leeds Crown Court last month, Melia was also found guilty of encouraging racially aggravated criminal damage because his collection was involved in multiple “stickering” incidents.

During the trial, jurors were told that members of the group would access the downloadable stickers that they could download and stick around their communities.

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French President Emmanuel Macron caused a furor this week by speculating that NATO troops may end up being deployed in Ukraine. Hold it. They have been for over a decade, that’s why the war in that country erupted two years ago.

It was comical – if not pathetic – to see the French leader speaking out of turn, trying to project a tough-guy image with his delusions of grandeur as if he was Napoleon or De Gaulle reincarnated.

Macron puffed out his boyish chest and declared Russia “must not win the war in Ukraine”; and he suggested that in order to prevent that assumed dreadful outcome Western soldiers would get their marching orders to enter the conflict. (Note the unbridled arrogance and how the logic of such false assertions is not even remotely explained or justified. It’s total diktat.)

Immediately, however, the American and European counterparts balked at Macron’s troop talk and hurried to deny their support for Macron’s willingness to deploy NATO battalions. Notably, even the usually hawkish British and Polish quickly quashed the French proposal.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was particularly anxious to repudiate Macron’s loose talk of troops. Herr Scholz said there would be no NATO or German soldiers going to Ukraine.

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On February 17, after Ukrainian units in Avdeevka had started to leave their position, the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian army, General Syrski, announced a retreat to new defense lines:

"Based on the operational situation around Avdiivka, in order to avoid encirclement and preserve the lives and health of the military, I decided to withdraw our units from the city and move to defense on more favorable lines," Syrskyi said.

He emphasized that Ukrainian soldiers had fulfilled their duty with dignity, did their best to destroy the best Russian military units and inflicted significant losses in manpower and equipment on the enemy.

"The lives of servicemen are the highest value. We will take back Avdiivka anyway," the Chief added.

As some had already predicted it turned out that the "more favorable lines" Syrski promoted did not exist.

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As the United States hurtles into an era of unprecedented national debt, concerns are mounting over the implications of the staggering financial trajectory. The national debt, surging by an alarming $1 trillion approximately every 100 days, paints a concerning picture for the nation’s fiscal health. Starting the year at $34 trillion, the debt catapulted to $34.5 trillion by the close of February, reflecting an alarming addition of $470 billion in just two months.

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Windows users are advised to install the February 2024 Patch Tuesday updates as soon as possible to block Lazarus' CVE-2024-21338 attacks.

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Negotiators involved in Qatari-mediated peace efforts between Israel and Hamas are said to be scrambling to salvage talks after the deadly aid convoy incident. The death toll from that Thursday incident has reportedly risen to 118. President Biden has said he hopes a deal can be reached by the start of the Muslim season of Ramadan, which begins March 10.

"We’re not there yet," he told reporters Friday. The Wall Street Journal has reported on the emerging disappointment and fear that talks have been utterly stalled. "Talks between Israel, Hamas and their mediators were expected to kick into high gear as the two sides try to reach a cease-fire for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan...," the Saturday report describes. Meanwhile Al Jazeera reports of a new mass casualty attack near Rafah:

At least 11 Palestinians were killed and 50 wounded when an Israeli air raid directly hit tents housing displaced people in Tal as-Sultan, Rafah, an area previously designated as "safe".

Claire's Observations: Right now, Israel has just shot its way out of any potential "cease fire"; there is, nor will there be any "safe space" in Gaza to which starving, peaceful, and terrified Gazans can possibly retreat.

The "Fix is In" courtesy of a 2 billion dollar loan/(bribe) from the IMF, and those Gazans left breathing will find themselves forced into tent camps on the Egyptian side of the Israeli/Egyptian border.

But what about their future in Egypt?!?  Will they be able to organize, and form political parties inside Egypt?!?  With El-Sisi as President, bets on that happening are extremely low.  Right now, political dissidents in Egypt are known to have been "disappeared", with utterly no one knowing anything about their whereabouts.

And what about their kids?!? How are they going to be fed and educated?

Right now, Egypt's economy is groaning from an intense demographic time bomb.  As reported in September, InterPressServices 2023:

CAIRO, Sep 20 2023 at InterPressServices: (IPS) - The population of Egypt increased from 104 million in November 2022 to 105 million in June 2023, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS). This represents the growth rate for the country, where the poverty rate is 27.3 percent. The population increase means that every 245 days, it increases by one million, or 3 people per minute.

The population density in Egypt has also increased, from 100.1 people per square kilometer (km2) in 2020 to 104.2 people per km2 in 2023. Cairo is the most populous Governorate in Egypt, with over 10 million residents, followed by Giza, with 9.5 million residents.

The fertility rate in Egypt has been declining in recent years, from 3.5 births per woman in 2014 to 2.85 births per woman in 2021. However, the annual birth rate is still high, at around 2.2 million.

If current fertility rates remain stable, Egypt's population will reach 119 million in 2030 and 165 million in 2050. However, if fertility rates fall to 1.6 children per woman by 2042, the population will reach 117 million in 2030 and 139 million in 2050, Dr Najwa Samak, former head of the economics department at Cairo University, told IPS.

Samak stressed that the rapid population growth in Egypt is a burden on the national economy and a major challenge to the state's development efforts. She called for concerted efforts from all sectors of society, including civil society organizations, the media, and state agencies, to control the population growth rate.

She said that the human element is one of the most important factors in production for any country and that population growth can be a blessing if it is used to raise production rates and national income. However, in the case of Egypt, the rate of population growth is outpacing the rate of economic growth, putting a strain on the country's resources."

So, if Egypt is having a terrible time supporting its own citizens because of its intense growth rate, how in the world are they going to support the future of the Palestinian people?  I know that two billion dollars sounds to most of us like a great deal of money, but you have to understand; most Egyptians will not see any real benefit from that money. 

Who will most likely benefit will be El-Sisi, and his cronies.  

Reports of El-Sisi's current net worth are all over the place, but a reasonably "middle of the road estimate"  comes as follows: https://peopleai.com/fame/identities/mahmoud-el-sisi at around $ 5 million dollars.  And WOW, how does one do that on an Egyptian  Civil Service salary?!?

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Kenya & Haiti Sign Agreement To Deploy Force To Caribbean Nation

Image removed.

by Tyler Durden

Saturday, Mar 02, 2024 - 06:50 PM

Via The Libertarian Institute,

The leaders of Kenya and Haiti inked a pact for a Kenya-led UN mission to the Caribbean nation. Nairobi plans to send 1,000 armed men, dubbed police officers, to Port-au-Prince as local authorities have all but lost control of Haiti’s capital city. The Joe Biden administration has been working for several years to create a UN force to invade Haiti to restore order. 

In October, at Washington’s urging, the UN Security Council approved a resolution that authorized Kenya to lead a UN police force in Haiti to return power to Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who has faced months of violent unrest in the wake of the 2021 assassination of President Jovenal Moise.

Image removed.Image via UN: United Nations peacekeepers conduct a patrol in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, April 2004

The people of Haiti did not elect the government in Port-au-Prince. Not long after Moise’s murder, then-Prime Minister Claud Joseph resigned at the behest of Western pressure, allowing Henry to assume power in his stead.

Since then, armed gangs have seized control over most of the city under Henry’s watch, at times occupying critical infrastructure, including its main port.

After the UNSC approved the force, opposition leader Ekuru Aukot in Nairobi challenged President William Ruto’s decision to send Kenyans to Haiti. In January, the Kenyan High Court ruled in favor of Aukot, blocking the deployment. 

The president later declared he could skirt the ruling by inking a pact directly with Port-au-Prince. That “reciprocal” agreement was signed on Friday. Ruto said he and Henry “discussed the next steps to enable the fast-tracking of the deployment,” though the leaders did not offer a timeline for the operation. 

The US-backed plan to send Kenyans to Haiti has met opposition in Port-Au-Prince in addition to Nairobi. Haitians have protested Henry’s request for the UN deployment, as UN peacekeepers in Haiti have a legacy of rampant sexual abuses and, causing a cholera outbreak that killed thousands

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Donald Trump dominated in Saturday's primary races, inning caucuses in Idaho and Missouri - while sweeping the delegate haul at a Michigan party convention.

The former president earned every delegate at stake on Saturday, bringing his overall count to 244 vs. Nikki Haley's 24. To secure the Republican nomination, Trump will need 1,215 delegates in total.

In Michigan, Trump won all 39 delegates at the Republican convention in Grand Rapids, after winning the state's primary on Tuesday with 68% of the vote vs. Haley's 27%.

In Missouri, Trump won 51 delegates. Things went particularly not well for Haley at one point:

The steep odds facing Haley were on display in Columbia, Missouri, where Republicans gathered at a church to caucus.

Seth Christensen stood on stage and called on them to vote for Haley. He wasn't well received.

Another caucusgoer shouted out from the audience: “Are you a Republican?”

An organizer quieted the crowd and Christensen finished his speech. Haley went on to win just 37 of the 263 Republicans in attendance in Boone County. -AP

Claire's Observations; One has to wonder what Haley knows - or intuits - about the future fate of President Trump between now, and the November Elections (and whether those elections are going to be held in November, is still an open question)

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