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China Releases Military Propaganda Video Invading Taiwan

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China has threatened to “seize an island” presumed to be Taiwan during a live-fire drill video widely circulated in its media. The video marks the fourth threatening military propaganda film that the Chinese military has released in under six months.

In the recently released video which was syndicated by state broadcaster CCTV (China Central Television) on Saturday, troops from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) can be seen simulating an attack on an unidentified island during a large-scale military exercise. The video is 2 minutes and 35 seconds long complete with dramatic music matched to a montage of military drills held by China, The Telegraph reported.

The military maneuvers coincided with Taiwan celebrating a holiday known as National Day.

The footage comes as political tensions between China and Taiwan have spiked to a new high after Beijing aired a purported confession from a Taiwanese businessman who is held captive by Chinese authorities on spying charges, Dailymail reported.

It’s also worth mentioning that last month, China sent 18 fighter jets and bombers into the Taiwan Strait in a show of force that a military official in Beijing said was a warning to Taiwan and the United States about their increasing political and military cooperation within the region, The New York Times reported.

This buzz by fighter jets was amid a meeting with a diplomatic official Keith Krach, the undersecretary of state for economic, energy and environmental affairs.

“Those who play with fire are bound to get burned,” Senior Col. Ren Guoqiang, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of National Defense, said at a briefing in Beijing, warning the United States and Taiwan against what he called “collusion.”

This follows another mysterious meeting by a higher-up official in July-August, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

Upon Azar’s visit to Taiwan, Chinese state media angrily threatened to retaliate by holding live-fire missile drills near Taiwan and Guam.

Simultaneously last month, Chinese aircraft crossed what’s known as the “mid-line” and entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, prompting Taiwan to scramble jets to intercept them. A Twitter account by the Defense Ministry has been archiving all the incidents see: “@MoNDefense.”

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen previously called China a threat to the entire region.

“The Taiwan region is an inalienable part of China’s territory,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin, according to an official transcript. He added that the “so-called” mid-line of the Taiwan Strait does not exist.

The Taiwan Defense Ministry reports, China has threatened or entered into Taiwan’s airspace 46 times in just nine days, the island’s defense ministry said, in a statement, Aljazeera reported.

China claims Taiwan is its territory and threatens to use military force to bring under its control the island that is a self-governing democracy and close U.S. ally, CBS reported.

Taiwan and the U.S. are now said to be in economic talks and that’s the reason for these diplomatic meetings.  These meetings have angered China and the country has warned the U.S. of “serious damage” to their relations if they do not withdraw, the Associated Press reported.

On Saturday, the Taiwanese President stated in an address that she has hopes for less tensions with China and in the region if Beijing will listen to Taipei´s concerns, alter its approach and restart diplomatic talks with the self-ruled island.

Speaking at Taiwan’s National Day celebrations on Saturday, Tsai used recent remarks by Chinese leader Xi Jinping in a video message to the UN General Assembly that China would never seek hegemony, expansion or to establish a sphere of influence, Anewspost previously reported on this statement.

“As countries in the region and around the world are now concerned about China´s expanding hegemony, we hope this is the beginning of genuine change,” Tsai said in her annual address at the Presidential Office in downtown Taipei.

However, China seems to have responded to Tsai’s call for peace with a new video showing Chinese soldiers taking control of an island during a military exercise. This island is presumably assumed to be Taiwan.

The live-fire training session also featured — amphibious crafts, attack helicopters and land-based missiles.

The footage released by CCTV is said to have been filmed during a drill off China’s south-eastern coasts of Fujian and Guangdong provinces.

Anewspost has been covering the ongoing constantly evolving geopolitical relations between China and the U.S. for months now. Recently we reported that China’s President Xi Jinping warned that war was on the horizon if things didn’t turn around. Adding that China didn’t want to get involved in a cold war or hot conflict, but it would defend its national interests.

However, as Anewspost reported, China’s military has painted a much different picture releasing several frightening videos aimed at the U.S. More recently, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force published a video of nuclear-capable H-6 bombers carrying out a simulated attack on Andersen Air Force Base on the U.S. Pacific island of Guam.

That isn’t the first video release that seems aimed at the U.S. either. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has previously published a video on social media showing Hong Kong air defense drills as Anewspost reported.

Beijing’s state media has previously warned any attempt to prevent China from accessing its interests in the region of the South China Sea could risk sparking a “large-scale war.”

Even the UN chief Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, warned that the tensions between the U.S. and China were moving in a dangerous direction that could fracture the world and turn into a military conflict.

“We must do everything to avoid a new Cold War,” Guterres said. “We are moving in a very dangerous direction.” He added, “Our world cannot afford a future where the two largest economies split the globe in a great fracture. A technological and economic divide risks inevitably turning into a geo-strategic and military divide. We must avoid this at all costs,” Guterres said.

Guterres isn’t the only political official to warn about increasing tensions with China becoming into a hot conflict. A top Republican lawmaker Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) who sits on the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation recently predicted that an armed war with China was imminent.

“I would predict there will be a clash within the next three to six months,” Yoho told the Washington Examiner.

The Florida Republican predicted that armed conflict will be triggered by a Chinese naval attack against the U.S. Pacific Fleet, which often commands a strong presence in the South China Sea, as Anewspost reported.

Nikkei Asian Review warns that if the U.S. were to recognize Taiwan and end the “one-China policy,”  it would likely be the spark needed to fuel the fires of war between America and China, expressing the risk of war is “rising rapidly.”

While the U.S. and China is certainly a serious situation that needs to be watched, the potential conflict to heavily scrutinize even more is one much closer to the region between China and Taiwan. Taiwan previously released its own military propaganda video in late August fending off a Chinese attack, The South China Morning Post reported.

The war drums continue beating, louder than ever now…

Alex Baldridge is an activist and freelance journalist from the midwestern United States who was inspired to become a writer after watching the development of the Wikileaks story and the persecution of Julian Assange. Alex is especially interested in topics like surveillance, the rise of automation, foreign policy, prison reform, and the legal system.

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Colombian Govt Wants To Legalize Cocaine And Then Sell It

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This article was originally published On Dec 3, 2020

Colombia is one of the most notorious producers of cocaine in the world, despite the fact that the country has gone to great lengths in hopes of diminishing the trade of the drug trade within its borders.

Now, some members of the Columbian government are proposing a new approach. They are calling for the drug to be legalized and for the government to take control of the industry for themselves.

In a new bill first proposed earlier this year, senators Iván Marulanda and Feliciano Valencia call for the Colombian government to take total control of the cocaine industry to bolster public funds and cut violent cartels out of the trade.

In a recent interview with VICE, Marulanda explained that the government would purchase coca at market price from the 200,000 farming families that are believed to be involved in the trade.

The senators argued that it would actually be cheaper for authorities to buy the crop from the farmers than it would for them to destroy their crops. It costs the government roughly $1 billion every year to destroy coca crops, while it would only cost about $680 million to buy it.

The thing is, we have to recover control over the state. We’re losing control of the state to corruption, narcos in politics. They’re in municipalities, in departments and in congress. All the way to the highest echelons of government,” Marulanda explained.

From here, the state would supply cocaine to users and research groups looking to study its use for painkillers, but it would not be sold recreationally. However, cocaine use is already legal in Columbia, after a court ruled that personal consumption was a human right.

Marulanda is not sure if his bill will make an impact, or how long it will take to gain traction, but he is hoping to make it a major election issue in 2022.

‘The first big obstacle is to open up the conversation among public opinion. This has been a giant taboo. Colombians are born and raised under this assumption that drug-trafficking is a war. There’s no information about coca and cocaine. So, with this bill we hope to open the conversation,” he explained.

In recent years, the government has stepped up their military-police-style enforcement of the industry, and yet cocaine production continues to grow in the country.

Coca cultivation reached 212,000 hectares last year, a rise of nearly 2% from 208,000 hectares the year before, according to figures released by the White House in March. Potential pure cocaine production, meanwhile, rose to 951 metric tons, an 8% increase, according to the Associated Press.

“It’s pretty remarkable that they manually eradicated 100,000 hectares last year and didn’t move the needle,” Adam Isacson of the Washington Office on Latin America think tank said earlier this year. “I guess it means replanting has at least kept pace.”

It seems that no matter what the government does, the cocaine keeps on coming, so politicians are willing to try things that may drastic. However, as Marulanda pointed out in his interview with Vice, cutting out the criminal middlemen will reduce the violence seen in the country’s drug war, and also make the drug safer for the people who use it.

UPDATE: Historic win for coca/cocaine regulation Bill in Colombian Senate – 22nd April 2021

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Another Little Black Book That Once Belonged To Epstein With New Names Is Found

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It is well-known that the late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein kept detailed records of all the powerful people that he stayed in contact with. There is a notorious “little black book” that was published by Gawker in 2015, which exposed many of the powerful people in his circle. This book is believed to contain the contacts that he most frequently called around 2004 and 2005. However, a new list of contacts, recently published by The Insider, reveals new names that were friends with Epstein in the 1990s.

The new black book has the names of 349 people, many of whom did not appear in the list that was previously released to the public.

Among the names on the list are Suzanne Ircha, who’s married to Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets, famous wall street investor Carl Icahn, supermarket owner John A. Catsimatidis, actress Morgan Fairchild, former New Republic owner Marty Peretz; and Cristina Greeven, the wife of CNN anchor Chris Cuomo.

The new black book was made public through a strange twist of fate. A woman initially found the book in the late 1990s and saved it for many years until she finally sold it on eBay.

Denise Ondayko, the woman who found the book, said she was walking down Fifth Avenue in the mid-’90s when she spotted a black address book on the ground. She said that she didn’t realize it was Epstein’s book at the time, because he was pretty much unknown to the public, but she did realize that it had a lot of famous names and figured that it might be worth something, so she held onto it.

Last year, Ondayko was cleaning out an old storage unit where she was keeping some of her things and she stumbled upon the book. Now that Epstein was all over the news, the information contained in the book was much more obvious to identify.

Ondayko said she reached out to everyone in the media that she could, including John Oliver, Rachel Maddow, and The New York Times, but none of them ever got back to her, so she eventually just put it up for sale on eBay.

The buyer was Chris Helali, an aspiring politician from Vermont. He purchased the book for $425.

Helali also tried reaching out to the media, including journalists that were already reporting on Epstein, but none of them seemed interested. Finally, Nick Bryant, the reporter who wrote the original Gawker black book story forwarded the book to the Insider who decided to publish.

Insider hired Dennis Ryan, a former forensic document examiner and laboratory supervisor for the Nassau County Police Department, to verify the authenticity of the book. Ryan says that the book is definitely from the late 90s, and many of the dates and addresses match up perfectly with Epstein’s properties and known contacts at the time.

The Insider also reached out to dozens of contacts listed in the book who had never previously been publicly associated with Epstein. Fourteen acknowledged on the record that they knew or had met Epstein in the ’90s.

There are over 120 names that appear in both books, including Donald Trump and Bill Clinton. Some of the other names included, Steve Rattner, Beth Anne Bovino, Dominique Bluhdorn, Jill Harth, Ted Field, Robert Nunnery, Stanley Shopkorn, Steve Ruchevsky, Ellen Susman, William and Ann Nitze, Les Gelb, Ron Daniel, Sandy Warner, Cyril Fung, Marius Fortelni, Michael Cutlip. Many of these names aren’t necessarily famous, but they are very powerful people in business and finance.

The address book is now available in a searchable database on the Insider, but it is unfortunately hidden behind a paywall.

 

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Ghislaine Maxwell’s Lawyers Cite Cosby Case As Precedent To Have Her Released From Prison

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Last week, former actor Bill Cosby was released from prison on a technicality, despite the fact that he admitted to drugging and assaulting multiple women, and was accused by many others. After his release, legal experts warned that the ruling could set a dangerous precedent that attorneys in similar cases would use to get their clients released as well.

Now, just a week later, Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers are arguing that she should have her case thrown out on the same grounds, according to The Guardian.

Cosby was released because the prosecutor involved initially didn’t press any charges, and claimed that Cosby would not be facing any legal trouble, so when Cosby later confessed, his confession was called into question and no longer admissible in court. The judge also ruled that Cosby had no chance of a fair trial because evidence that was not admissible was so freely available in the media that the jury was unable to make a judgment without considering those facts.

Photo: AP

Maxwell’s case is similar because the first time that Epstein was arrested for human trafficking, he was given a sweetheart deal by Alex Acosta, a friendly prosecutor. The deal helped Epstein avoid any serious jail time, but it also gave him and his associates legal protection from being held accountable for any future crimes.

Obviously, it is not possible to shield a criminal from the consequences of actions that they will take in the future, so Epstein was arrested again many years later after it was discovered that he continued his crimes long after his initial arrest. If Epstein and his friends did have any kind of immunity from that deal, it ended when they continued to commit crimes after the deal was made.

Still, Maxwell’s lawyers are optimistic after Cosby’s recent release.

“The government is trying to renege on its agreement and prosecute Ms Maxwell over 25 years later for the exact same offenses for which she was granted immunity,” Maxwell’s lawyers wrote in a statement to Judge Alison Nathan.

However, the judge has previously ruled that the deal did not apply to the current case.

In an opinion piece for the New York Daily News, Maxwell’s attorney David Oscar Markus wrote that releasing Bill Cosby from prison was the right decision, and that Ghislaine Maxwell should be released as well. Markus argued that prosecutors should have to keep the promises that they make to suspects, because people will sometimes incriminate themselves if they think they have immunity.

However, many times prosecutors are corrupt and make promises that are against the best interests of the public, as we saw in Jeffrey Epstein’s first “sweetheart deal” with Alex Acosta while he was district attorney in Southern, Florida. Prosecutors are lawyers, they aren’t the judge and jury, and they shouldn’t hold this much power in a case this serious.

Judge Alison Nathan has not yet responded to the recent request, but she did condemn the recent opinion piece that was published by her lawyers in the New York Daily News earlier this week.

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