Shanghai Lockdown Causing Global Medical Imaging Supply Shortage

Shanghai Lockdown Causing Global Medical Imaging Supply Shortage

General Electric (GE) Healthcare said on Wednesday a shortage of medical dye caused by a Chinese coronavirus lockdown of its production plant in Shanghai, China, has affected not only hospitals in the U.S. and Germany but also in other regions of the world, Reuters reported.

Reuters on May 11 paraphrased a spokesman for GE Healthcare as saying that “the weeks-long outage at the company’s Shanghai production plant due to the city’s COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] lockdown is not only affecting U.S. hospitals but also other world regions it did not specify, though to a less extent.”

Some of the largest hospitals in the U.S. prepared this week to endure critical shortages of medical dye normally sourced from GE Healthcare’s Shanghai factory. The medical imaging-focused company, which is a subsidiary of the U.S.-based multinational conglomerate General Electric (GE), has responded to the shortage by asking its manufacturing plant in Ireland to increase its output of medical dye agents and sending the products to hospitals via expedited air freight shipments.

TOPSHOT - A transit officer, wearing a protective gear, controls access to a tunnel in the direction of Pudong district in lockdown as a measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus, in Shanghai on March 28, 2022. - Millions of people in China's financial hub were confined to their homes on March 28 as the eastern half of Shanghai went into lockdown to curb the nation's biggest Covid outbreak. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP) (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

A transit officer wearing protective gear controls access to a tunnel in Shanghai on March 28, 2022. (HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

“We are working around the clock to expand capacity of our iodinated contrast media products, including drawing on our global manufacturing network,” GE Healthcare said through a spokesman Wednesday.

The association of German hospitals told Reuters on May 11 that “one of its members had been alerted by the GE unit [in Shanghai] that its contrast agent could go out of stock in June, citing the Shanghai outage.”

The German hospital association said it was “uncertain whether diagnostics procedures would have to be cancelled or to what degree the affected hospital could draw on inventories.”

GE Healthcare’s manufacturing plant in Shanghai reopened earlier this week after a month-long closure caused by the city’s lockdown, which began April 5. Local health officials had yet to allow the factory to return to full capacity as of May 11 due to the Communist Party’s strict anti-epidemic policies, meaning the medical dye shortages continued unabated.

GE Healthcare has been suffering from a shortage of its Shanghai-produced medical dye products since at least mid-April. The medical equipment company issued a letter to customers April 19 in which it revealed it was “rationing orders for its iohexol products after a COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] lockdown temporarily shut down its production facility for iodinated contrast media in Shanghai, China.”

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Mother’s Day 2022: The Real Reproductive Rights Battle Isn’t Abortion, It’s to Have and Raise Children

Mother’s Day 2022: The Real Reproductive Rights Battle Isn’t Abortion, It’s to Have and Raise Children

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, through a spokesman, declared “reproductive rights” the paramount struggle of humanity this week. He is right, but not in any way recognizable to him or his organization.

Support for abortion around the world is slowly diminishing today. Even so, in practice, the world is far more hostile to the idea of having a baby than killing it – from the near-total lack of prenatal care in parts like Africa and South America to Japan’s infamous “maternity harassment,” from China forcibly fitting tens of thousands of Uyghur women with IUDs to American celebrities and megacorporations promising women everything from an executive title to a Golden Globe statue if they reject their internal desire for motherhood.

“The Secretary General has long believed that sexual and reproductive health and rights are the foundation for lives of choice, empowerment and equality for the world’s women and girls,” Farhan Haq, Guterres’ spokesman, said on Tuesday. “Without the full participation of 50% of its population, the world would be the biggest loser.”

“Women should always have the right to choose when it comes to their bodies and their health,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the U.N.’s World Health Organization (W.H.O.), similarly proclaimed on Friday. “Restricting access to abortion does not reduce the number of procedures — it drives women and girls towards unsafe ones. Access to safe abortion saves lives.”

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres (R) talks to Syrian women and girls during a visit to the Zaatari refugee camp which shelters some 80,000 Syrian refugees on the Jordanian border with war-ravaged Syria on March 28, 2017. Syria's devastating civil war, now in its seventh year, has rendered more than half the country's population refugees. The conflict has left more than 320,000 people dead, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. / AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX (Photo credit should read THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images)

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres (R) talks to Syrian women and girls during a visit to the Zaatari refugee camp which shelters some 80,000 Syrian refugees on the Jordanian border with war-ravaged Syria on March 28, 2017. (THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images)

By “reproductive rights,” Guterres meant abortion – the “right” to kill a child (Tedros openly discussed only abortion). The two were responding to the illegal leak of a draft Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v Wade, which concluded in 1972 – before ultrasound technology and non-invasive prenatal testing was the order of the day in America – that a woman’s right to “privacy” was a constitutional guarantee that prevented states from stopping her from killing her child. The new decision, which Supreme Court Justice John Roberts confirmed is not final, would leave abortion laws to the states, not outlaw abortion, as leftists have disingenuously argued (never mind ban interracial marriage or outlaw homosexuality, as they have somehow concluded).

The debate around Roe on the left this week largely takes for granted the idea of abortion (and infanticide, as former Virginia Governor Ralph Northram famously promoted) as a liberalizing tool in women’s lives and the concept of motherhood, in essence, as 18 years of slavery. The reality for women in most of the world does not align with this view – often most loudly proclaimed from the summit of the world’s elite, out of the mouths of men.

Women around the world have to fight everything from mosquitos to Amazon human resources to fulfill the dream of motherhood. Societies of all economic statuses are actively hostile towards mothers and children. And for the few who do give birth, few things are more diverse than the number of ways the world tries to strip mothers of the power to raise their children.

Naturally, disease and lack of access to pre- and postnatal care are the biggest threats to motherhood in underdeveloped countries. Mosquito-borne diseases like malaria and Zika virus (which causes cerebral deformations in unborn children) are paramount threats. Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and remote parts of Latin America – often tropical climates where mosquitos thrive – consistently document the lowest rates of access to prenatal care.

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY LISSY DE ABREU Mothers and their newborns rest in a maternity center in Caracas, on December 15, 2011. According to the World Health Organization, Venezuela holds the first place in South America in cases of early pregnancy, with about 1,500 children born daily from teenage mothers aged between 12 and 19 years. AFP PHOTO / Leo RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Mothers and their newborns rest in a maternity center in Caracas, on December 15, 2011. (LEO RAMIREZ/AFP via Getty Images)

In socialist Venezuela, for example, dictator Nicolás Maduro’s plundering of the healthcare system sent maternal and infant mortality rates skyrocketing in the latter half of the 2010s. “Between 2015 and 2016, maternal deaths grew by 65 per cent and child mortality after six days of being born increased by 53 per cent” in Venezuela, according to the United Nations. The Maduro regime has essentially stopped publishing health statistics after global observers began pressuring the socialists to fix the problem. Venezuela’s leftist constitution has a right to health care enshrined in it, but under socialism the country functionally does not have a healthcare system. Abortion is illegal there, but increasingly popular due to the lack of access to most major contraceptives, along with nearly every other medical product.

In neighboring Brazil, under socialist President Dilma Rousseff, the Zika crisis of 2016 exposed a total lack of understanding in how to handle maternity care. For those who are not pregnant, Zika typically causes mild illness, though it can sometimes lead to Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), a crippling auto-immune disease. For unborn children, it is often a death sentence, causing microcephaly, a condition where a baby’s skull is too small for its body and crushes the brain. Rousseff responded to the health problem with the biggest military operation in Brazil’s history, fighting the mosquitos with soldiers and leaving mothers to fend for themselves.

Brazilian Military Personnel Work To Educate Public On Zika Virus on February 13, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Brazilian Army soldiers pass out pamphlets on Copacabana beach warning of the dangers of the Zika virus and how to protect against mosquitos on February 13, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The World Health Organization and developed world in general only add to the obstacles mothers face in these parts of the world. The W.H.O. has launched extensive campaigns, for example, to browbeat and shame women who cannot produce breast milk for using baby formula. The W.H.O. wants women to breastfeed for two years. While most women in wealthy countries have been lamentably familiar with the false slogan “breast is best” for a while, to the detriment of their mental health, the W.H.O. is flooding Africa and Latin America with similar propaganda, much of it based on poor science.

Tedros called breastfeeding a “vaccine,” for example, during “World Breastfeeding Week” last year.

The men running things like “World Breastfeeding Week” appear unaware or uninterested in the scientific fact that “stress is the No. 1 killer of breastmilk supply.”

Manila, PHILIPPINES: World Health Organisation (WHO) regional director Shigeru Omi speaks at a press conference at the WHO headquarters in Manila, 20 June 2007, following the WHO and UNICEF consultation on breasfeeding protection. Omi said failure to breastfeed led to the deaths of 16,000 children in the Philippines each year. WHO officials charged, all companies offering infant formula in the Philippines are violating a law that bars them from competing with breastfeeding. This came as the government and the milk companies are battling it out in the Supreme Court over the legality of the regulation that restricts the marketing of infant formula. AFP PHOTO/ROMEO GACAD (Photo credit should read ROMEO GACAD/AFP via Getty Images)

World Health Organisation (WHO) regional director Shigeru Omi speaks at an anti-baby formula press conference at the WHO headquarters in Manila, 20 June 2007, following the WHO and UNICEF consultation on “breasfeeding protection.” (ROMEO GACAD/AFP via Getty Images)

In the developed world, corporate culture can be the biggest obstacle to motherhood. Japan – widely recognized as having one of the world’s healthiest populations and functional healthcare systems – has experienced record lows in its birth rate and child population repeatedly over the past decade. The reason is simple: nearly every aspect of Japanese life is hostile to mothers. Companies actively pressure women to have abortions to keep them from being less profitable. The few women who defy this pressure face constant discrimination, from a total lack of consideration for the health difficulties of pregnancy to being told to simply quit and drop out of society entirely. Bosses pressure mothers who have already had a child to “wait their turn” or “take a break” for years, potentially forcing them into riskier pregnancies later in life.

Japan’s entirely male-dominated government has been aware for years that its anti-child policies have put the entirety of the ethnic Japanese population on the path to extinction and has tried to address this without addressing the rights of mothers. Programs like state-sponsored egg-freezing and artificial intelligence matchmaking have done almost nothing to reverse the birth rate collapse.

Abortion is legal under certain circumstances in Japan and requires the male partner to consent.

In this picture taken on May 8, 2015, a mother holds her child in the subway in Tokyo. AFP PHOTO / FRED DUFOUR (Photo credit should read FRED DUFOUR/AFP via Getty Images)

In this picture taken on May 8, 2015, a mother holds her child in the subway in Tokyo. (FRED DUFOUR/AFP via Getty Images)

Much of the West is on the same path, albeit somewhat less dramatically. Italy, Spain, France, and America, have documented catastrophic birth rate drops, though not as bad as those in Japan and China. Their stories lack the obvious villains of both those nations (intransigent corporate culture warriors and the Communist Party, respectively), but share with them a clearly hostile environment towards the entire concept of motherhood, from conception to the child reaching adulthood.

In America, the largest and loudest corporations, the ones most obnoxiously proclaiming their love of “social justice” and “equality,” are beginning to offer women thinking about becoming mothers false promises like paid egg-freezing. Touted as the “ultimate workplace perk,” the painful process of extracting a woman’s eggs and attempting to cryogenically preserve them often fails. The success rate of egg-freezing – the percentage of processes that result in newborns – is around one percent, a fertility expert told the BBC in 2020.

attends WIRED25 Festival: WIRED Celebrates 25th Anniversary – Day 1 on October 13, 2018 in San Francisco, California.

Egg freezing party t-shirt displayed at WIRED25 Festival: WIRED Celebrates 25th Anniversary – Day 1 on October 13, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for WIRED25)

“It’s an expensive lottery ticket,” Dr. Emily Goulet explained to NBC News in 2019. “If you win, you get the best payout ever: You get a child. But if you don’t win, you feel scammed.”

This week, corporations like Amazon, Citigroup, Yelp, Uber, and Lyft announced this would cut the middleman and just pay for employees to travel to undergo abortions, dodging motherhood as a potential barrier to squeezing the maximum profit out of every woman.

The women who manage to overcome these barriers and have a child face a society that has largely already concluded for them that they will not be raising their child most of the time. Homeschooling – the ultimate act of maternal autonomy – is still frowned upon for allegedly producing poorly socialized, undereducated, or even abused children. The left actively challenges concepts like charter schools that give mothers active authority over the majority of hours in their child’s day. A one-income household is a fantasy for many families. For women who want to work and raise their child – even after the past two years proved that technology can allow for both mothers and fathers in certain industries to work from home with their children – the expectation is that they will simply not parent. Teachers, nannies, day cares – anyone but the mother – will raise that child if a woman wants a place in society.

A woman works at a distrubiton station at the 855,000-square-foot Amazon fulfillment center in Staten Island, one of the five boroughs of New York City, on February 5, 2019. - Inside a huge warehouse on Staten Island thousands of robots are busy distributing thousands of items sold by the giant of online sales, Amazon. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)

A woman works at a distribution station at the 855,000-square-foot Amazon fulfillment center in Staten Island, one of the five boroughs of New York City, on February 5, 2019. (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)

Despondent as the situation may seem in the West, nowhere is the war on motherhood more violent and revolting than in China. For decades, China imposed a “one-child policy” that banned women from having more than one successful pregnancy. Women who “illegally” got pregnant a second time were forced into harrowing government abortions or infanticides if caught. Given that they could only have one child, many women were pressured into ensuring that child was a son, resulting in an untold number of baby girls being left out to die of starvation or exposure, sometimes in marketplaces or other public areas.

The result of this policy is that China currently has 35 million more men than women and one of the world’s worst birth rates due to the severe shortage of women of child-bearing age. The Communist Party increased the “one-child policy” to a “three-child policy” in 2021, which has had no effect on the birth rate collapse.

BEIJING, CHINA: A woman cycles pass a billboard encouraging couples to have only one child, along a road leading to a village in the suburb of Beijing, 25 March 2001. China has reaffirmed that it would continue enforcing its one-child policy to limit its huge population to 1.6 billion by 2050. AFP PHOTO/GOH Chai Hin (Photo credit should read GOH CHAI HIN/AFP via Getty Images)

A woman cycles pass a billboard encouraging couples to have only one child, along a road leading to a village in the suburb of Beijing, 25 March 2001. (GOH CHAI HIN/AFP via Getty Images)

Even this impending economic and social disaster has not forced the Communist Party to adopt friendlier policies towards motherhood – at least not for all Chinese. China is currently conducting a genocide against one of the few populations that had previously shown healthy birth rates: the Uyghur people of East Turkistan, who are distinct in language, religion, and culture from the majority Han ethnic group. Rather than encouraging Uyghur communities to build larger families in the face of low birth rates, dictator Xi Jinping has executed a mass sterilization campaign.

Given the secrecy with which China governs East Turkistan, outside experts do not have an exact date for when the forced sterilizations began. At least one local doctor who escaped said she performed 80 sterilizations a day for years; some eyewitnesses say Communist Party officials executed operations to sterilize the female population of entire villages at a time. Experts suggest hundreds of thousands of women, at least, have lost their ability to have children, but the witnesses affected have testified in ways that make it difficult to know exactly how they have been sterilized. Intrauterine devices (IUDs), Depo Provera implants, and hysterectomies are among the most prevalent ways China is believed to be sterilizing Uyghur women.

KASHGAR, CHINA - JUNE 28: An ethnic Uyghur man holds his grandson as he sits outside his house in an area waiting development by authorities on June 28, 2017 in the old town of Kashgar, in the far western Xinjiang province, China. Kashgar has long been considered the cultural heart of Xinjiang for the province's nearly 10 million Muslim Uyghurs. At an historic crossroads linking China to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, the city has changed under Chinese rule with government development, unofficial Han Chinese settlement to the western province, and restrictions imposed by the Communist Party. Beijing says it regards Kashgar's development as an improvement to the local economy, but many Uyghurs consider it a threat that is eroding their language, traditions, and cultural identity. The friction has fueled a separatist movement that has sometimes turned violent, triggering a crackdown on what China's government considers 'terrorist acts' by religious extremists. Tension has increased with stepped up security in the city and the enforcement of measures including restrictions at mosques. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

An Uyghur man holds his grandson amid the rubble of a location the government is “developing” June 28, 2017 in Kashgar, occupied East Turkistan, where China is currently committing genocide. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Abortions are legal in China, as in America, though the birth rate collapse has made the Communist Party increasingly hesitant to giddily promote it among Han mothers. Evidence shows forced abortions, like forced sterilizations, are increasingly common in East Turkistan.

The United Nations – the same one that claimed to believe this week “that sexual and reproductive health and rights are the foundation for lives of choice, empowerment and equality for the world’s women and girls” – has taken no meaningful action to stop, or even condemn, China’s mass sterilization campaign. It has little to say about American corporations promoting abortion and dubious alternative fertilization technologies to discourage motherhood. It actively participates in campaigns that make the lives of mothers in the developing world more difficult.

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Saudi Arabia Finds Its Way into the Electric Vehicle Market

Saudi Arabia Finds Its Way into the Electric Vehicle Market

The Saudi Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources on Friday announced $6 billion in funding for a plant that will manufacture metals for electric vehicle batteries, plus plans for another $32 billion invested into Saudi Arabia’s mining industry.

Al-Arabiya quoted Industry and Mineral Resources Minister Bandar al-Khorayef’s description of the investment plan:

The nine projects include a $4 billion steel plate mill complex for the shipbuilding, oil and gas, construction and defense sectors and a “green” flat steel complex that will supply the automotive, food packaging, machinery and equipment, and other industrial sectors.

Both projects are already underway, as is a $2 billion EV battery metals plant.

“These targeted investments represent an important ‘down payment’ in our efforts to move beyond exploration and extraction and into the creation of integrated value chains, a central focus of our overall mining strategy,” al-Khorayef said in the statement.

In April, the Saudi government signed a deal with Lucid Motors to buy at least 50,000 electric vehicles over the next ten years. 

Saudi officials called the deal “a significant move that supports the key objectives of Vision 2030 including diversifying and transforming the economy, society and lives of the people of Saudi Arabia, building new sectors fit for the future and creating skilled jobs for future generations.”

Saudi Vision 2030 is the plan promoted by de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy away from complete reliance on the oil sector. The plan was approved by the Saudi cabinet in 2016.

The Associated Press

In this photo released by Saudi Royal Palace, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, center left, is greeted by Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani upon his arrival at Doha airport in Qatar late Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021. (Bandar Aljaloud/Saudi Royal Palace via AP)

Lucid was selected as the electric vehicle provider because the Saudi sovereign wealth fund holds a 62-percent stake in the American company and because Lucid promised to build a factory in Saudi Arabia to assemble the cars.

When it becomes operational, the plant will be Lucid’s first factory outside the United States, capable of producing 150,000 electric vehicles per year. Lucid’s primary plant, located in Arizona, has been struggling to meet production goals due to supply chain issues.

Developing the Saudi mining sector is a major component of the Vision 2030 program. The plan envisions explosive growth in mining as the foundation for diversifying the rest of the Saudi economy, tapping into long-discovered mineral resources that were largely ignored while the kingdom focused on fossil fuels.

The Saudi Geological Survey has identified over 5,000 mineral deposits that could be exploited, including high-demand minerals such as cobalt, lithium, bauxite, titanium, and even uranium, which is earmarked for at least two nuclear reactors. 

The Saudis are keen on developing their own refining capacity as well, to avoid the reliance on foreign processing that makes the oil industry volatile. Lithium extraction and manufacturing are particularly desirable because China currently has a stranglehold on supplying materials for the lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles.

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Exclusive: Spygate Researchers Said Claim Russians Hacked The DNC Could Have Relied On ‘Spoofed’ Data

Exclusive: Spygate Researchers Said Claim Russians Hacked The DNC Could Have Relied On ‘Spoofed’ Data

The Georgia Tech cyber security experts ensnared in the Alfa Bank hoax conducted a retrospective analysis of the Democratic National Committee hack, according to the Department of Defense. While the results of that analysis have yet to be made public, internal documents obtained by The Federalist reveal that Georgia Tech’s computer scientists believed CrowdStrike’s approach to investigating computer intrusions relied on the use of easily “spoofed/impersonated” signals of traffic.

In June 2016, about one month before WikiLeaks released a trove of internal communiques revealing top DNC officials plotted to destroy Bernie Sanders’ presidential ambitions in favor of their preferred candidate, Hillary Clinton, the DNC publicly confirmed that its server had been hacked. In the Washington Post article breaking the story, the DNC maintained that the private security firm it had hired to investigate the hack, CrowdStrike, had concluded two Russian military intelligence groups, branded Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear, bore responsibility for the intrusions.

Given that Democrats and the media would later rely on CrowdStrike’s conclusion that Putin’s agents had hacked the DNC to support the Russia collusion hoax, those seeking to unravel Spygate paid particular attention to CrowdStrike’s initial assessment. The declassification of CrowdStrike President Shawn Henry’s December 2017 testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, that “there was no ‘concrete evidence’ that the emails were stolen electronically,” later raised more “questions about whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller, intelligence officials and Democrats misled the public” about the hack.

In his final report, Mueller concluded “that Russian intelligence ‘appears to have compressed and exfiltrated over 70 gigabytes of data’ and agents ‘appear to have stolen thousands of emails and attachments’ from Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and DNC servers, respectively.” But CrowdStrike remained the only publicly known source to support Mueller’s conclusion. Given the numerous illegal efforts to frame Donald Trump as colluding with Russia exposed by then, conservatives were unwilling to trust either Mueller or CrowdStrike.

Concerns over CrowdStrike’s analysis reemerged after Special Counsel John Durham indicted former Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann for allegedly lying to FBI General Counsel James Baker. That indictment and other documents filed in the Sussmann criminal case revealed that cyber-security experts assisted tech executive Rodney Joffe in crafting deceptive data and whitepapers to create the false appearance of a secret communication network between Trump and the Russian-based Alfa Bank. Sussmann then fed this “intel” to the CIA and FBI.

After the election, Sussmann also provided the CIA with deceptively cherry-picked data to suggest a connection between Trump or his transition team and Russians, using cyber-tracking of a Russian Yota cell phone. To compile both the Alfa Bank and Yota phone hoaxes, according to the indictment, Joffe exploited proprietary information he had access to because of his positions in various tech companies. More troubling still was the revelation that Joffe used sensitive data from the Executive Office of the President in his attempt to frame Trump.

This backdrop provided powder to the news The Federalist broke that Durham’s team had asked Georgia Tech cybersecurity expert Manos Antonakakis “point blank” whether the Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DAPRA) “should be instructing you to investigate the origins of a hacker (Guccifer_2.0) that hacked a political entity (DNC).”

Antonakakis, according to documents obtained by The Federalist, told lead prosecutor Andrew DeFilippis — in a seeming confirmation that DARPA had directed him to investigate the DNC hack or hacker — that that was “a question for DARPA’s director.”

Within days, however, DARPA denied any involvement “in efforts to attribute the DNC hack.” Jared Adams, then the spokesmen for the agency, told the Washington Examiner that “Dr. Antonakakis worked on DARPA’s Enhanced Attribution program, which did not involve analysis of the DNC hack.” The Washington Examiner further reported that Adams maintained “DARPA was not involved in efforts to attribute the Guccifer 2.0 persona, nor any involvement in efforts to attribute the origin of leaked emails provided to Wikileaks.”

But then another document dump by Georgia Tech revealed the university’s cybersecurity experts had drafted four “DARPA whitepapers.” Those included one “Whitepaper on DNC attack attribution” and a second identified as the “‘Mueller List’—list of domains and indicator related to APT-28.” (APT-28 is the more formal name for the Russian intelligence group of hackers known colloquially as Fancy Bear; Mueller would later charge 12 Russian intelligence agents with allegedly working as Fancy Bear with crimes related to the DNC hack.)

An email from Georgia’s attorney general’s office further indicated involvement by the tech researchers in Mueller’s investigation. The lawyer handling Durham’s subpoena of Georgia Tech noting that one of the individuals involved had “indicated that there was a ‘fairly large file of Trump related materials’ that had been assembled for production to the office of Special Counsel Robert Muller (sic) or the DOJ.” The state’s lawyer added that they were “unable to locate such a file,” and sought further assistance.  

Following The Federalist’s reporting on this latest inconsistency between DARPA’s story and what the documents obtained through Right To Know requests showed, Republican Sens. Ron Johnson and Charles Grassley sent a letter to Stefanie Tompkins, the director of DARPA, demanding copies of the alleged “whitepapers.”

In their joint letter, the senators stressed that “the DNC hack occurred during the lead up to the 2016 presidential election, which was marked by claims of meddling by foreign actors. Some of those claims have since been confirmed to be disinformation efforts by operatives from the Democratic campaign.” “As details continue to emerge,” the letter continued, “the public is rightly concerned about the extent to which various federal agencies investigated, validated, dispelled, or relied on these claims. Indeed, the credibility of some agencies has been called into question, and the public deserves a full accounting of federal officials’ involvement in these activities.”

When contacted by The Federalist concerning Johnson and Grassley’s letter, DARPA’s new spokeswoman, Tabatha Thompson, noted it had received the letter and “is following proper procedures to respond to the inquiry.” In response to questions concerning the whitepapers that appeared connected to the Mueller investigation and the DNC hack, Thompson told The Federalist that, “consistent with our previous statements, the research neither contributed to the Mueller investigation nor the investigation into the DNC hack or Guccifer 2.0 attribution.”

Thompson, however, then noted that contractors often conduct “retrospective analyses of publicly disclosed, real-world scenarios to verify and validate tools and capabilities in development on the EA program,” and that in the course of such programs, the contractors may “produced reports, sometimes referred to as white papers, explaining the retrospective analyses on those topics, relying on commercially available data to analyze attributions previously disclosed to the public.” “For example,” DARPA’s representative, added, enhanced attribution “performers analyzed indicators from publicly released DoJ indictments, such as the Mueller indictment, as well as public attribution reports from other federal agencies.”

In response to multiple requests from The Federalist for comment, Mark Schamel, the lawyer for Antonakakis, refused to go on the record with an explanation or to state whether the Georgia Tech whitepaper confirmed or contradicted CrowdStrike’s conclusion that Russians had hacked the DNC. He also refused to answer whether the whitepaper had been provided to Mueller’s office.  

Also unknown is whether Joffe provided Antonakakis the data used for the research and the whitepapers related to the DNC hack. That is a concern given Joffe’s role in the Alfa Bank and Yota phone hoaxes and given that other documents from Georgia Tech state that Joffe assisted with two other attribution requests performed by Antonakakis over the summer of 2016.

Other documents recently obtained by The Federalist likewise raise concerns over the validity of CrowdStrike’s analysis of the hack, namely an exchange between Antonakakis and the executive director of the university’s Institute for Information Security and Privacy, Lee Wenke.

In an email thread from May of 2018, in response to Antonakakis’ statement that “you do attribution from studying the mistakes they do during an operation,” Wenke wrote: “Then are you in principle doing the same as crowdstrike, e.g., using ‘signatures’ of coding/texting styles? And didn’t we all agree[] that those can be ‘spoofed/impersonated’?”

The exchange continued with Antonakakis stating that he is “not like” CrowdStrike, and is “not building signatures,” to which Wenke replied: “I was saying that if you are using signatures/signals of traffic and if those can be (easily) spoofed/impersonated, then in principle your approach would suffer the same weakness (spoof-able) as [CrowdStrike.]”

Antonakakis ended the exchange by acknowledging his point, but “strongly” disagreeing on the “value that policy has in computer security.” What remains unclear from this email thread, though, is whether Antonakakis’ retroactive analysis of the DNC hack reached the same conclusion as CrowdStrike, namely that Russians had hacked the servers.

Frankly, given Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear’s propensity to hack government networks, it is extremely likely the Russian intelligence services were behind the DNC hack. Evidence unrelated to Trump or attempts to destroy the former president indicate, for instance, that between 2012 and 2018, Russian intelligence officers “targeted hundreds of energy companies around the world.”

Both U.S. and U.K. national security agencies likewise believe the Russia’s military intelligence agency, GRU, has “engaged in a global campaign to target ‘hundreds’ of predominantly American and European entities, including government and military organizations, energy companies, think tanks and media companies.”

But given what we know now about the Steele dossier and Alfa Bank and Yota cell phone hoaxes, as well as the FISA abuse by the Crossfire Hurricane team, taking the word of the intelligence community no longer suffices. It’s now: Show me the evidence, who gave you the evidence, and that person’s political affiliation.

That is far from the ideal situation for national security, but it is the intelligence agencies and those in the cybersecurity world who own that reality — as well as Hillary Clinton and the media.


Margot Cleveland is The Federalist’s senior legal correspondent. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and Townhall.com, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time. As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland frequently writes on cultural issues related to parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.

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Biden: the State, the Media, and Misinformation

Biden: the State, the Media, and Misinformation

Biden’s new “Disinformation Governance Board” is the stuff of dystopian novels. How will his partisan government be able to provide objective “fact-checking” facilities? It is just a means to control the flow of information in accordance with the Democrats’ agenda.

When much of the media is about pushing agendas and taking partisan, ideological positions on what should be straight out objective news reporting, we are in trouble. When the state seeks to take control of the media, and launches an attack on the independent press, you know we are also headed for trouble.

But what happens when the state and the mainstream media end up happily in bed together, sharing the same ideological outlook and promoting the same radical agenda items? Then we are in massive trouble. This is the stuff of dystopian novels such as Nineteen Eighty Four. As Orwell presciently said in that 1949 book:

Do you realise that the past, starting from yesterday, has been actually abolished? … Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.

Infowars

Or as Andrew Breitbart somewhat more recently put it in his 2011 volume, Righteous Indignation:

Make no mistake: America is in a media war. It is an extension of the Cold War that never ended but shifted to an electronic front. The war between freedom and statism ended geographically when the Berlin Wall fell. But the existential battle never ceased. When the Soviet Union disintegrated, the battle simply took a different form. Instead of missiles the new weapon was language and education, and the international left had successfully constructed a global infrastructure to get its message out.

And Scott Powell in his 2022 book Rediscovering America put it like this:Rediscovering America book

Many assume that because the press is not state-controlled in the US, there is a long way to go before the American government has the power of Orwell’s Big Brother.

But what if the universities and the educational system and the major television and print media institutions embrace the groupthink that ingratiates them with the ruling elite and deep state?

What if the culture shapers in Hollywood and the advertising industry on Madison Avenue follow a similar path in participating in and reinforcing the same groupthink norms?

What if the rise of social media promotes a kind of groupthink conformity that effectively marginalizes and silences opposing views?

Propaganda may actually be more effective in America than in totalitarian societies because of the power of repetitive messaging — the key integral means and essence of brainwashing — from ostensibly separate private media sources within the United States. Citizens in totalitarian societies aren’t as easily fooled because they know that the government controls the media and all its messaging.

State Control

That is now where we seem to be heading in the West. In America in particular, an ominous new development from the Biden Administration may well mean we must dig out our copies of Nineteen Eighty Four and read it again. This has to do with a soon to be created Disinformation Governance Board by the Department of Homeland Security.

Ostensibly it is to be about monitoring and surveying misinformation and disinformation coming in from overseas. Hmm, what could possibly go wrong? One meme making the rounds shows a “pregnant man” emoji saying, “We must stop disinformation.”

Two pieces in the Wall Street Journal sounded the alarm on this. Its editorial board said this in part:

The concern isn’t that the board will spy on Americans. The problem is that this new board may choose to play the role of national fact checker, a kind of government PolitiFact. They’ll look down from Mt. Washington at this or that statement and vouchsafe to the masses what is true and what is false.

No doubt there’s some utility in telling migrants from Haiti that they will be deported if they seek to cross the Mexican border into the U.S. And there may be a need for someone in government to monitor and rebut Russian or Chinese propaganda.

But does anyone think this board will limit itself to foreign falsehoods? The temptation will be great to address issues that are part of America’s raucous domestic political debate. All the more so given that the disinformation board’s first executive director is reported to be Nina Jankowicz, whose partisan footprints are all over social media. She can be seen on TikTok singing her own highly partisan adapted lyrics to the tune of a “Mary Poppins” song. (What did Julie Andrews do to deserve that?)

Mr. Mayorkas’s intentions may be nonpartisan, but refereeing political debate isn’t the government’s job. Leave that to the free exchange of ideas in the public square. The Disinformation Governance Board will promote more mistrust than it prevents.

Alarm Bells

Roger Koppl said this:

By creating the DGB, the U.S. government is creating a crisis monitor with the dial permanently set to “existential threat.” No one inside the board will have the incentive — or the courage — to dial it down. The dangers of the DGB will be amplified if it becomes the tool of partisan political actors. And it already has.

Executive director Nina Jankowicz, who once described Hunter Biden’s laptop as “a Trump campaign product,” has written that America’s “information landscape” includes “declining trust in the media, fed by the Trump administration’s relentless attacks on the fourth estate.”

She has said: “Unless we mitigate our own political polarization, our own internal issues, we will continue to be an easy target for any malign actor — Russian or Iranian, foreign or domestic — to manipulate.”

Yes, you read that right. We must all fall in line because of the many grave threats — domestic as well as foreign — out there. Incorrect political opinions become a national-security threat. The DGB already looks frighteningly similar to the KGB.

Others have expressed their concerns. For example, Brian S. Brown of the National Organization for Marriage put it this way:

If you look at the calendar you might think that we’re in the year 2022. Actually, it appears that we’re living in 1984 and fulfilling George Orwell’s predictions of a dystopian society. The latest evidence of this is the “Disinformation Governance Board” that Joe Biden has authorized be created in the Department of Homeland Security ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

What will the Biden Administration consider to be “disinformation?” The woman selected to head the new department is a hard-core leftist who once declared that the Hunter Biden laptop story was a Trump-inspired hoax. We don’t know what their immediate targets for suppression might be in coming months, but we do know that it will be in furtherance of a hard-left political ideology. One set of issues high on the priority list is likely to be any critical discussion of the LGBT agenda. Biden is already pushing legislation to make the demonstration of support for traditional marriage a “sex stereotype” that could lead to ruinous lawsuits and punishment. Biden is also aggressively pushing the lie that gender-confused children can “change” their gender and government employees should encourage this even if they have to do it behind parents’ backs.

Yes, this is all very worrying indeed. Things are bad enough when you have the secular left Tech Giants deciding that they must monitor and control what information we get. Most of us have already fallen victim to their censorship and propaganda. Biden and the Democrats will simply make all this much worse.

Let me finish with another quote from Orwell: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” When the State gets in the business of telling people what they are allowed to hear, see and read, then we have reached a very scary place indeed.

___

Originally published at CultureWatch. Photo by Werner Pfennig.

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Pollak: Biden Takes High Risks in Escalating War with Russia in Ukraine

Pollak: Biden Takes High Risks in Escalating War with Russia in Ukraine

President Joe Biden’s garbled request for Congress to authorize an additional $33 billion in spending for weapons to send to Ukraine came without any explanation as to what U.S. goals in the ongoing war might be, or what victory might look like.

The answer may be in the spending proposal itself: the Biden administration may hope to defeat Russia, not just by stopping its advance in Ukraine, but by causing Russia’s ailing military to collapse and forcing President Vladimir Putin out of power.

That is the goal that Biden let slip during his address in Warsaw, Poland, in lat March, which was billed by aides as a kind of “historic” speech. (President Donald Trump’s speech in Warsaw in 2017 warning of Russia’s advance was called “racist.”)

While the so-called experts running Biden’s national security apparatus were openly contemptuous of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the start of the war, and offered to help him flee, they have been surprised by Ukraine’s strength.

They may seek to press home their advantage in the hope that they can remove a geopolitical rival to the U.S., or at least bring about a friendlier Russian regime, and send a signal to China about the price of aggression against smaller neighbors.

In the best-case scenario, Russia would undergo an internal revolution like that of 1917 — though in a more liberal, not totalitarian, direction. And the U.S. and NATO would have achieved that outcome without risking a single soldier.

If Biden pulls it off, it could be a legitimate foreign policy success — albeit an accidental one, since Biden’s first moves on Russia were appeasement — canceling Trump’s sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 project and renewing the New START treaty.

But as the Wall Street Journal‘s Peggy Noonan pointed out this weekend, and as this author has maintained throughout the conflict, Biden’s strategists seem not to have reckoned with the possibility that Russia could launch nuclear weapons.

These might not be aimed at the U.S. homeland or at NATO, but could be tactical nuclear weapons aimed at wiping out Ukrainian resistance. It would be harder to muster the political will to launch a retaliatory strike by NATO against Russia.

Russia could then bring about Ukraine’s swift defeat, and emerge as an isolated power, but a much greater geopolitical threat, since it has a big advantage in the number of tactical nuclear weapons it has accumulated, as opposed to long-range missiles.

Russia also has the edge in the development of hypersonic missiles that can evade U.S. missile defenses. And its military is much larger than the force currently deployed in Ukraine. It has far greater depth, and patience, than the forces it is facing.

It is not clear that the Biden planners have taken these possibilities into account. Certainly they are not preparing the public for the possibility that U.S. support for Ukraine could be cast as an escalation by NATO, justifying a Russian response.

Much of Biden’s policy on Ukraine seems haphazard, without thought about the consequences — such as Biden calling Putin a “war criminal,” which removes the incentive for Russia to negotiate an end to the war. Indeed, talks have stalled since then.

The primary motivation for Biden’s bellicose rhetoric and increased spending appears to be to convince the American public that he is tough — though he ceded the initiative to Putin long ago, choosing, as it were, to play chess with the black pieces.

Moreover, Biden can barely read his anti-Russia speeches from the TelePrompTer. There is no confidence, at home or abroad, in his leadership. He has chosen a high-risk strategy without managing, explaining, or perhaps comprehending the dangers.

Biden took office proclaiming that “diplomacy is back.” Yet he has shown little interest in diplomatic efforts to end the war. Admittedly, such efforts could allow Russia to cement its claim to some of what was once sovereign Ukrainian territory.

That cost must be weighed against the cost in lives and economic damage from allowing the war to continue — and risking the possibility that it would expand and escalate, perhaps even breaking the taboo on the use of nuclear weapons in war.

The time for tough words is before a conflict, to deter the enemy — not after a conflict has already begun, thanks in part to misguided efforts at appeasing that enemy. Biden backed the U.S. into a position of weakness, and Afghanistan did not help.

The question that Congress must ask before approving any more spending on the Ukraine war is what Biden’s goals are, and why the administration is not pursuing negotiations that could end the war while Ukraine still seems to have the upper hand.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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No Biden this Time: Nancy Pelosi Lands in Ukraine with Message of U.S. Solidarity

No Biden this Time: Nancy Pelosi Lands in Ukraine with Message of U.S. Solidarity

President Joe Biden dispatched House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a secret mission to Kyiv on Saturday where she met Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to deliver a message of U.S. solidarity.

Zelensky has previously pleaded with Biden to personally visit the capital city to show he stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Ukraine as it struggles through its eighth year of war and colonization by neighboring Russia.

Zelensky got Pelosi instead as Biden continues to steadfastly ignore all entreaties to make a personal appearance. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) was also on hand to provide diplomatic backup.

“Our delegation traveled to Kyiv to send an unmistakable and resounding message to the entire world: America stands firmly with Ukraine,” Pelosi said in a statement.

The California Democrat, who is second in line to the presidency after the vice president, is the most senior American lawmaker to visit the embattled country since Russia’s war began back in February.

Her visit to Kyiv marks a major show of continuing support for the country’s struggle against Moscow’s invasion forces.

In this image released by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office on Sunday, May 1, 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, right, awards the Order of Princess Olga, the third grade, to U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 30, 2022. Pelosi, second in line to the presidency after the vice president, is the highest-ranking American leader to visit Ukraine since the start of the war, and her visit marks a major show of continuing support for the country's struggle against Russia. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky awards the Order of Princess Olga, the third grade, to U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 30, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

In this image released by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office on Sunday, May 1, 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, third from right, and U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, third from left, talk during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 30, 2022. Pelosi, second in line to the presidency after the vice president, is the highest-ranking American leader to visit Ukraine since the start of the war, and her visit marks a major show of continuing support for the country's struggle against Russia. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, third from right, and U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, third from left, talk during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 30, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

Pelosi was joined by several lawmakers on the congressional trip that came after Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin made the same journey last weekend, as Breitbart News reported.

Pelosi said Zelensky had made clear Ukraine needed more security, economic and humanitarian aid “to address the devastating human toll taken on the Ukrainian people by (President Vladimir) Putin’s diabolic invasion.”

“Our delegation proudly delivered the message that additional American support is on the way,” she said.

Footage released by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office showed Pelosi and other U.S. legislators in Kyiv. In video later released by Pelosi’s office, the speaker and Zelensky both thanked each other for their support in the war.

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, center, talks during her meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 30, 2022. Pelosi, second in line to the presidency after the vice president, is the highest-ranking American leader to visit Ukraine since the start of the war, and her visit marks a major show of continuing support for the country's struggle against Russia. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, center, talks during her meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 30, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

“We’ll win and we’ll win together,” Zelenskyy said.

Pelosi added: “We are here until victory is won.”

The full congressional delegation included Democratic Reps. Gregory Meeks of New York who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Adam Schiff, of California who chairs the House Intelligence Committee; Jim McGovern of Massachusetts who chairs the House Rules Committee; Jason Crow of Colorado; Barbara Lee of California; and Bill Keating of Massachusetts.

Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: or e-mail to: skent@breitbart.com

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United States Military Training Ukrainian Soldiers in Germany, Pentagon Admits

United States Military Training Ukrainian Soldiers in Germany, Pentagon Admits

American armed forces have begun training Ukrainian soldiers to use advanced weapons systems in Germany, the Pentagon revealed on Friday.

In a Washington press briefing, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said that the United States had come to an agreement with Germany to begin training programmes for Ukrainian soldiers.

The Florida National Guard has been tasked with the “bulk” of the training, which will show a group of Ukrainian troops how to use advanced weapons such as howitzers, radar systems, and armoured vehicles.

“Today, I can announce that the United States has commenced training with the Ukrainian Armed Forces on key systems at U.S. military installations in Germany. Now, these efforts build on the initial artillery training that Ukraine’s forces already have received elsewhere, and also includes training on the radar systems and armoured vehicles that have been recently announced as part of security assistance packages,” Kirby said.

“This new training effort in Germany and at other locations in Europe is in direct support of recent U.S. security assistance packages that are designed to help Ukraine win their battles today and build strength for tomorrow. These new systems and the associated training… will strengthen Ukraine’s ability to counter Russia’s renewed offensive in Eastern Ukraine,” the Pentagon spokesman continued.

This week, President Joe Biden called on Congress to approve a further round of military aid to be sent to Ukraine, requesting another $33 billion on top of the $13.6 billion sent to the Eastern European nation in March.

“Basically, we’re out of money,” the President said.

Mr Biden previously drew controversy over remarks to U.S. soldiers in Poland suggesting that they would be entering the field of battle in Ukraine.

“You’re going to see, when you’re there, and some of you have been there, you’re going to see women, young people, standing in front of a damn tank,” Biden said during a March visit with the 82nd Airborne Division stationed in the Polish city of Rzeszow.

The 79-year-old Democrat later tried to say that he was merely talking about American troops training Ukrainians in Poland. However, the White House was forced to walk back this as well, as it would have been seen as a major escalation in what has become a proxy war between Western powers and the Russian Federation.

A White House spokesman later said that Ukrainian soldiers were merely “interacting” with American troops in Poland.

On Friday, the top Pentagon spokesman said that U.S. troops are currently training Ukrainian forces in “roughly three locations” but would only confirm the German site as he claimed he was “not at liberty” to disclose the other training locations.

The announcement from Kirby comes as German lawmakers approved a measure to send “heavy weapons and complex systems” to Ukraine, after previously showing reticence to send significant arms to the country, with many pointing to Germany’s heavy reliance on Russian energy for its hesitancy to appear involved in the war.

In 2020, former U.S. President Donald Trump had attempted to conduct a drawdown of American troops on the ground in Germany — a holdover from the Second World War and subsequent Cold War — over the country’s consistent failure to meet its NATO spending while sending billions to Moscow for Russian gas.

However, upon assuming control of the White House, President Joe Biden reversed the troop reduction, and instead actually decided to bolster America’s military footprint in Germany, sending an additional 7,000 soldiers to the leading European Union member-state in February.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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