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Headed to disaster? U.S., Russia harden stances in talks

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Some believe the situation will have to become even more dire before the impasse can be broken.

The failure of last week’s high-stakes diplomatic meetings to resolve escalating tensions over Ukraine has put Russia, the United States and its European allies in uncharted post-Cold War territory, posing significant challenges for the main players to avoid an outright and potentially disastrous confrontation.

Unlike previous disagreements that have arisen since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the current Ukraine crisis and seemingly insurmountable differences between Washington and Moscow carry real risks of debilitating economic warfare and military conflict that are exacerbated by the dangers of miscalculation and overreaction.

For the U.S. and its NATO and other European allies, nothing less than a vast pullback of the roughly 100,000 Russian troops now deployed near the Ukrainian border will prove that Russian President Vladimir Putin has any intention of negotiating in good faith. For the Russians, the West’s absolute refusal to consider a ban on NATO expansion and the withdrawal of troops from Eastern Europe is proof of its perfidy.

Potential concessions are complicated by the fact neither Putin nor President Joe Biden wants to be seen as backing down before either domestic or foreign audiences.

The refusal thus far by each side to climb down from what the other regards as unrealistic and maximalist demands has left the prospects for diplomacy in limbo, with the U.S. and its allies accusing Russia of stoking tensions for no legitimate reason and the Russians complaining again that the Americans are the aggressors.

Some believe the situation will have to become even more dire before the impasse can be broken.

“The gap in perceptions is so broad that a new and dangerous escalation could be necessary to make the parties open up their imagination and search for agreements,” Fyodor Lukyanov, the head of the Moscow-based Council for Foreign and Defense Policies, observed in a commentary.

For Western analysts, it seems a situation in which Putin will have to compromise if conflict is to be avoided. Some think Putin’s focus on NATO, which has struggled for years with questions about its relevance, may have given the alliance a new lease on life.

“This is an extremely uncertain and tense period without an obvious way out unless Putin backs down,” said Jeff Rathke, a Europe expert and former U.S. diplomat who is currently president of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

“He’s talked himself into a frenzy that is hard to walk away from if he doesn’t get the fundamental redrawing of the European security architecture that he claims to want. He’s shown he’s ready to play chicken with the threat of massive military force to bring that about and he’s certainly gotten everyone’s attention, but he hasn’t changed anyone’s views,” Rathke said.

U.S. officials from Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan to chief negotiator Wendy Sherman have said it is Russia that faces a “stark choice.” De-escalate or face punishing sanctions and the opposite of what it wants: an increased NATO presence in Eastern Europe and a more well-armed Ukraine.

Yet in Russia, officials say the shoe is on the other foot. They have cast their demands as an “absolute imperative” and have argued that the Western failure to meet them makes talks on other issues irrelevant.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday that Russia had vainly tried for years to persuade the U.S. and its allies to engage in talks on the non-deployment of intermediate-range missiles to Europe, limits on war games and rules to avoid dangerously close encounters between Russian and allied warships and aircraft until the U.S. and NATO expressed willingness to discuss those issues this week.

He attributed the change in approach to a U.S. desire to shift attention away from Russia’s main demands, adding that Moscow will focus on NATO non-expansion. And he insisted that it’s the U.S. that’s formulating the position in talks while other allies just march on its orders.

“To be frank, everyone understands that the prospect for reaching a deal depends on the U.S.,” Lavrov said. He said whatever the U.S. says about the need to consult allies in negotiations “are just excuses and attempts to drag the process out.”

Thus, the stalemate.

The West’s approach has been to have “as much diplomatic effort as possible to de-escalate,” said Andrew Weiss, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he oversees research in Washington and Moscow on Russia and Eurasia.

“The problem we’ve got is that the Russians mean business, and they’ve shown us in a bunch of cases, in 2014, in 2008, that they’re prepared to go to war to get these things, and we’re not,” he said. “And that’s the challenge.”

The tough and uncompromising Russian positions have led some to believe that Moscow will only up the ante after receiving what all sides expect will be formal, written refusals from the U.S. and NATO to accede to its demands.

Indeed, the chief Russian negotiator in the talks, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, suggested Thursday that Moscow might respond to rejections by escalating matters outside of Europe through the potential deployment of troops to Cuba and Venezuela. The U.S. has called such a suggestion “bluster” and said it would respond decisively if it happened.

“The lack of a diplomatic solution logically leads to the further exacerbation of the crisis,” wrote Dmitri Trenin, the head of the Carnegie Moscow Center, in an online analysis.

Trenin predicted that a set of “military-technical measures” that Putin said Russia would take if the West rejects its demands could include “a broad array of moves … from the deployment of new weapons systems in various regions to much stronger military ties with Belarus and a closer coordination with the Chinese partners.”

Still, there’s a risk that by focusing his ire on NATO, Putin may have inadvertently strengthened its hand, especially with its newer members like the Baltic states, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic.

“For countries that have joined NATO since the Cold War, you can definitely say that NATO is more relevant to them now than it was a year ago or in 2014,” Rathke said. “Anyone who thought that NATO was no longer relevant to European security has been taught a lesson in the last few months. And it’s only going to get worse.”

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Republished with permission from The Associated Press.


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Report: Detroit Man Accused of Setting Fire to Girlfriend Pregnant with Twins Bonds Out for $5,000

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A 41-year-old Detroit man accused of setting fire to his girlfriend, who is pregnant with twins, has bonded out of a Wayne County jail for just $5,000 after posting ten percent of his $50,000 bond, according to a report.

“Police said Devonne Marsh got into an argument with his girlfriend at their Detroit home off Packard and Outer Drive last Friday, Jan. 14, and he doused her with lighter fluid before setting her on fire,” WJBK reports.

According to the latest reporting from the outlet:

Devonne Marsh was released from the Wayne County Jail Friday morning. According to documents with the jail, he was released from custody just before 11:20 a.m. on Friday. He’s now out on bond with multiple conditions including no weapons, no drug use, and is ordered not to go to their shared apartment.

However, FOX 2 has learned that Marsh has a hold in Macomb County for other charges so while he’s posted bail in Wayne County, he is not currently free.

A man charged with setting his girlfriend – who was 6 months pregnant with twins – on fire, there was shock that his bond was set as low as $50,000 with 10%. Now, for just $5,000, he’s made bail. https://t.co/8PHFtDRtEY

— FOX 2 Detroit (@FOX2News) January 21, 2022

At about 10:40 on January 14, Detroit Police received a tip “that a woman was being held against her will and tortured,” according to WDIZ. At the scene, officers said they found the 26-year-old pregnant woman, with severe burns to her legs and stomach, lying on a bed in the basement of the home. Officers said she could hardly move.

The 26-year-old is in critical condition with burns to 60 percent of her body, and “It’s not yet known if her babies will survive,” WJBK reports. She is six and a half months pregnant.

“How do you do this to another human being? I can’t – it’s unimaginable,” Commander Michael McGinnis of the Detroit Police Department told WJBK. 

“Just incredibly traumatic injuries, I did see pictures and I mean the pain that she must be suffering – I can’t imagine,” he said. 

 Marsh, 41, was arrested and is charged with “kidnapping/abduction, aggravated/felonious assault and violation of the controlled substance act,” according to WDIZ.

He is a parole absconder with a lengthy rap sheet according to WJBK, including previous charges for guns, assault, and drugs.

“Marsh pleaded guilty in Macomb County Circuit Court to four counts of delivering more than 50 grams of cocaine in 2019 and was sentenced to two years probation,” Macomb Daily reports.

The victim had been too scared to report the abuse she was enduring, and Heaven of Oakland County CEO Aimee Nimeh told WJBK that victims often fear retaliation from their abusers when speaking up.

“Fear is part of the relationship and so absolutely there is fear of retaliation,” Nimeh explained.

She added that victims are often frightened by low bonds.

“The court system can be very overwhelming; the process can be complicated,” she said. “It’s not just that court is a little scary, it’s also that what happens next with that assailant that might be coming out, that might be walking free. How do you stay safe in that situation?”

McGinnis previously said he had hoped Marsh, who ended up making bond, remained in custody.

“We just hope that he remains in custody through the trial process so that the victim can heal without the fear of any kind of retribution from him,” McGinnis said.

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Wilson: GOP Wants 2024 to Be Last Election — Like the Ba’ath Party in Iraq

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Lincoln Project founder Rick Wilson said Friday on MSNBC’s “The ReidOut” that the Republican Party wanted the 2024 presidential election to be the last election in America.

Wilson said, “They’re trying to throw so much friction into voting and all the sand into the machine, especially in communities they don’t feel will be reliable voters for them. So they are not going to bitch and moan about early voting in a red county. ”

He continued, “This is exactly the kind of mechanism that proto authoritarian states and authoritarian states set up. They want to say who can vote, when they can vote, how they can vote, when the votes are counted. They want to have a veto of the vote count at the end. They want to also say they can bring criminal sanctions and try to intimidate people who are trying to go out and register voters. They want to bring criminal sanctions with these organizations. You know who enforces the law? State attorneys enforce the law. They don’t need an election police force. This is a tool of intimidation. And it is frankly a sign again. They don’t want elections. They would like 2024 to be the last election. They want to be like the Ba’ath Party in Iraq. They have a thing called elections, and the dear leader gets 117% of the vote.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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GETTR: Leaked Texts Suggest Miles Guo Is Jason Miller’s Boss, Tells Him What to Do

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Jason Miller



 By Jack Hadfield


 January 21, 2022 at 9:21pm


Leaked WhatsApp messages between Jason Miller and Miles Guo suggests Guo has far more influence over GETTR than previously claimed.

Speaking to Tim Pool on Wednesday, Miller, the CEO of the “free speech” social media network GETTR, was quizzed about his relationship with exiled Chinese billionaire Miles Guo. GETTR was based on a nearly identical platform called Getome, then renamed Getter, which was hosted by Guo’s GTV, before it was relaunched as GETTR in July of 2021.

When asked, Miller said that while Guo does not have “a direct financial or leadership role within the company,” he admitted that “one of the firms that’s invested in [GETTR] has a heavy influence from Miles’s family foundation.” Miller stated that while he does “get ideas and hears things from Miles… he is not [his] boss.”

However, leaked WhatsApp messages acquired by leftist news outlet Mother Jones suggest that Guo does actually have a lot more influence than Miller claimed. The messages between Miller and Guo center around Joe Rogan’s remarks earlier this month.

On his podcast, Rogan labelled GETTR as being “fugazi,” for combining Twitter and GETTR follower counts together, something the site has now reversed.

In the exchange, which included audio messages from Guo and texts from Miller, Miller said the situation was not good, but that he had attempted to smooth things over with Rogan’s producer.

“It’s just a misunderstanding. There is no problem Jason,” Guo said in an audio message, “Joe Rogan is a big help to us. We are friend. We don’t want to do any bad things to this guy. We need to respect him. Just…explain to him what happened… We solve the misunderstanding… We must keep it gentleman-style. No fight back. We are friends. We need to respect him,” Guo continued, arguably giving Miller instructions.

“Exactly,” Miller replied. “I was very humble when I spoke with his producer yesterday.”

“That’s why I love you. You’re a 100 percent gentlemen,” Guo said. “You’re the super gentleman. That’s why you have the extremely enemy. Miles Guo is too many enemy, Steve Bannon too many enemy. We are easy create the enemy. That’s our trouble… We need to learn from you… That’s why you good CEO in GETTR. Thank you very much I learn a lot.”

Due to Guo’s broken English, the last sentence in the second message is harder to decipher, but can potentially be transcribed as follows: “Thank you for the GETTR, you sacrifice your patience and you are a big benefit for me and to GETTR,” lending more credence to the idea that Guo has control over the site.

The message exchange seemed to be initially private between Miller and Guo, but was forwarded on by Guo to a group chat of around 20 people:

“Regarding Joe Rogan, last night, we discussed with Jason to display the number of followers separately: GETTR followers and total followers,” Guo wrote in the WhatsApp chat that originally appeared in Chinese. “The web version has been launched, and the mobile version is also being submitted. After all the changes are made, Jason should respond to this issue. An announcement to explain.”

In a comment to Mother Jones, Miller said that Guo was just “one of many” people who offered him advice over the Rogan debacle. “I received suggestions from several dozen people that day, ranging from policy guidance to chewing me out,” Miller said. “Pointing out that we need to better communicate with some of our high-profile users isn’t exactly inside baseball.”

Mother Jones further alleged that legal documents leaked to them show an even closer connection between Miller, Guo and GETTR:

The social media app has said it is headquartered at 3 Columbus Circle in New York, but according to the document, the paychecks for GETTR employees bear a different address: 162 East 64th Street, an Upper East Side building that houses Guo’s commercial and nonprofit ventures.

National File was one of the first news outlets to publicly connect Guo and GETTR, highlighting that GETTR had received around 1,200 strange reviews from Chinese linked accounts, many mentioning Guo’s and Steve Bannon’s organization, known as the New Federal State of China.

The group positions itself as a government-in-waiting, ready to take over China after the fall of the CCP. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the address of the “Himalaya Embassy” of the New Federal State of China is also 162 East 64th Street.

In August last year, a team from the Stanford Internet Observatory and Cyber Policy Center analyzed the site. According to this analysis, the parties responsible for creating and promoting GETTR “are not transparent,” because, “while Miller has distanced Gettr from Miles Guo, the app appears to still be developed by a Guo-linked development team.”

About the Author:


Jack Hadfield is a conservative and patriot from the UK, and the director and presenter of “Destination Dover: Migrants in the Channel.” His work has appeared in such sites as Breitbart, The Political Insider, and Politicalite. You can follow him on Facebook @JackHadfield1996, on Twitter @JackHadders, on Gab @JH, or on Telegram @JackHadders. Tips can be sent securely to [email protected].

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