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Giorgia Meloni Tells Ex-PM Berlusconi ‘Keep Your Mouth Shut’ After Audio Leaks Bashing NATO

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An audio leak of three-time former prime minister and leader of the Forza Italia party Silvio Berlusconi is driving scandal and fragmentation within the Italian Right just ahead of Giorgia Meloni’s being sworn in as Italy’s first female prime minister on Saturday.

The contents of the recording, which have driven Italian media headlines this week, were condemned by Meloni. She warned Berlusconi in Wednesday comments that his future position in any new government is in question if he toes a ‘pro-Putin line’ on the war in Ukraine.

“Italy will never be the weak link of the West with us in government,” Meloni vowed in a message seeking to reassure Western European allies after Berlusconi was heard saying it was Ukraine that “provoked” the Feb.24 invasion.

The audio clip was published by the La Presse agency and subsequently went viral over the past two days. In the audio, Berlusconi can be heard calling Russian President Putin an “old friend” while blaming Ukraine’s Zelensky for provoking the current conflict by “tripling the attacks” against pro-Russian separatists in Donbas, in reference to the conflict that raged there since 2014.

“The Republics of the Donbas eventually sent a delegation to Moscow and told Putin: ‘Please, defend us!’,” the ex-prime minister said. “Putin was against any initiative but he was under a big pressure from the Russian people and so he invented this special operation: The plan was that his troops had to enter Ukraine, overthrow Zelenskiy and replace him with a government formed by a Ukrainian minority, formed by honest, sensible people.’”

According to an English translation featured in The Guardian

Berlusconi added that when the Russian military invaded Ukraine, they were “faced with a situation Putin could not have predicted, of resistance from the Ukrainians who started receiving money and weapons from the west. And the special operation became a 200-year war.”

The former PM, who was previously recorded as saying he was one of the Russian leader’s top five friends, said he can’t see how Putin and Zelenskiy can sit at a negotiating table.

That’s when Berlusconi is heard expressly blaming Zelensky for the Ukrainian government’s recalcitrant position on the possibility of ceasefire talks: 

“Because there’s no possible way. Zelenskiy, in my view … forget about it, I can’t say,” the recording went on.

“There are no real leaders in the West”, continued Berlusconi. “I can make you smile, the only true leader is me.”

Soon to be sworn-in prime minister Meloni as a result of the scandal reportedly told Berlusconi he must either support NATO’s stance on the war or face being left out of her nascent government, in what’s essentially a message to ‘keep his mouth shut’ on the issue.

More broadly, Forza Italia party has been in damage control mode ever since the two-part series of leaks were published mid-week. It has reportedly put Meloni and her coalition on the defensive with the rest of Europe given allies already view her far-right messaging with suspicion and as a potential threat to maintaining close relations. 

This post was originally published at Zero Hedge

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World at War

Jordan Peterson Calls For Regime Change in Iran

To fight “misogyny”.

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Jordan Peterson has called on the west to embark on regime change in Iran to fight “misogyny”.

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Video: Belarusian Tennis Star Calls Out Sports Reporters For “Dragging Players Into” Ukraine Conflict Talk

“I don’t know what’s the goal here that it’s continuously brought up.”

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Belarusian tennis star Victoria Azarenka has called out sports reporters for continually asking players questions about the Russia/Ukraine conflict, noting “I don’t know what you guys want us to do about it.”

Azarenka was speaking during a press conference after a recent match at the Australian open, when she lost patience with journalists asking question after question about pro-Russia protests by some at the event, and accused the reporters of continuously “dragging players into” political issues.

“I don’t know what you guys want us to do about it,” Azarenka asserted, adding “Like talk about it? I don’t know what’s the goal here that it’s continuously brought up.”

The former world number one continued, “These incidents that, in my opinion, have nothing to do with players, but somehow you keep dragging players into it. So what’s the goal here?”

“I think you should ask yourself that question, not me,” she sternly added.

Azarenka also stated that whatever she says will be twisted by the reporters to suit their own narrative anyway, so why should she bother.

“Whatever the answer I’m going to give it to you right now, it’s going to be turned whichever way you want to turn it to,” the tennis star urged, adding “So does it bother me? What bothers me is there’s real things that’s going on in the world. And I don’t know. Are you a politician? Are you? Are you covering politics?” she rhetorically asked the sports reporter.

“I’m an athlete,” Azarenka further proclaimed, adding “and you’re asking me about things that maybe somebody says are in my control, but I don’t believe that. So I don’t know what you want me to answer. And if it’s a provocative question, then, you know, you can spin the story however you want.”

“Obviously it’s a topic you want to continue to bring up and up and up again,” Azarenka charged, telling the reporters “I don’t know what you want me to say.”

Watch:

Azarenka is correct, there is a sustained effort by reporters, even non-politics reporters to involve sports personalities in narratives centred around the ‘current thing’ they obsessively use to sell newspapers and garner clicks.

Novak Djokovic has been repeatedly subject to such treatment, with tennis officials also guilty of dragging politics into the sport.

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    World at War

    Former UK Defense Minister Says NATO May Need To Send Ground Forces To Ukraine

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    The “domino theory” was once used to great effect in order to manipulate the American public into supporting the Vietnam War, but will the same narrative work to get the west to support World War III with Russia? 

    Former UK Defense Minister Sir Gerald Howarth seems to think so as he uses this exact claim to justify NATO boots on the ground in Ukraine. 

    It should be noted that a large percentage of the American populace and most of Europe have no interest whatsoever in engaging with Russia and possibly its allies in all out war, but the establishment appears intent on forcing the issue anyway.  The delivery of NATO tanks and the possibility of longer range missiles will no doubt trigger a wider response from Russia, which will then be used by NATO as a reason to escalate further. 

    At the very least, Howarth does admit what many in the alternative media have been saying for some time – That Ukraine’s efforts have ground to a halt without further support from NATO troops.  The deliveries of money and weapons are nothing more than a stop-gap; wars are won by men. 

    The former minister suggests that Ukraine is essentially too big to fail and that NATO cannot allow Russia to prevail in the region, otherwise they will be emboldened to strike other nearby nations.  There is zero evidence to support this argument, but it is clear that NATO talking heads are desperate to drum up some kind of public fervor. 

    Are western citizens willing to fight and die for Ukraine?  It’s highly unlikely. 

    This post was originally published at Zero Hedge

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