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Global Research Editor’s Note

We bring to the attention of our readers the following text of Osama bin Laden’s interview with Ummat, a Pakistani daily, published in Karachi on September 28, 2001. It was translated into English by the BBC World Monitoring Service and made public on September 29, 2001.

The authenticity of this interview remains to be confirmed. It is available in recognized electronic news archives including the BBC. Its authenticity has not been questioned.  

The interview tends to demystify the Osama bin Laden persona.

Osama bin Laden categorically denies his involvement in the 9/11 attacks.  Bin Laden’s statements in this interview are markedly different from those made in the alleged Osama video tapes.

In this interview, Osama bin Laden exhibits an understanding of US foreign policy. He expresses his views regarding the loss of life on 9/11. He focusses on CIA support to the narcotics trade.

He also makes statements as to who, in his opinion, might be the likely perpetrator of  the September 11 attacks.

This is an important text which has not been brought to the attention of Western public opinion.

We have highlighted key sections of this interview.

It is our hope that the text of this interview, published on 28 September 2001 barely a week before the onset of the war on Afghanistan, will contribute to a better understanding of the history of Al Qaeda, the role of Osama bin Laden and the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

This interview is published for informational purposes only. GR does not in any way endorse the statements in this interview.

Michel  Chossudovsky, September 9, 2014


Full text of September 2001 Pakistani paper’s “exclusive” interview with Usamah Bin-Ladin

Ummat (in Urdu)

translated from Urdu

Karachi, 28 September 2001, pp. 1 and 7.

Ummat’s introduction

Kabul: Prominent Arab mojahed holy warrior Usamah Bin-Ladin has said that he or his al-Qa’idah group has nothing to do with the 11 September suicidal attacks in Washington and New York. He said the US government should find the attackers within the country. In an exclusive interview with daily “Ummat”, he said these attacks could be the act of those who are part of the American system and are rebelling against it and working for some other system. Or, Usamah said, this could be the act of those who want to make the current century a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity. Or, the American Jews, who are opposed to President Bush ever since the Florida elections, might be the masterminds of this act. There is also a great possibility of the involvement of US intelligence agencies, which need billions of dollars worth of funds every year. He said there is a government within the government in the United States.

The secret agencies, he said, should be asked as to who are behind the attacks. Usamah said support for attack on Afghanistan was a matter of need for some Muslim countries and compulsion for others. However, he said, he was thankful to the courageous people of Pakistan who erected a bulwark before the wrong forces. He added that the Islamic world was attaching great expectations with Pakistan and, in time of need, “we will protect this bulwark by sacrificing of lives”.

Following is the interview in full detail:

Ummat: You have been accused of involvement in the attacks in New York and Washington. What do you want to say about this? If you are not involved, who might be?

Usamah [Osama bin Laden]: In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful. Praise be to Allah, Who is the creator of the whole universe and Who made the earth as an abode for peace, for the whole mankind. Allah is the Sustainer, who sent Prophet Muhammad for our guidance. I am thankful to the Ummat Group of Publications, which gave me the opportunity to convey my viewpoint to the people, particularly the valiant and Momin true Muslim people of Pakistan who refused to believe in lie of the demon.

I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks, nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children, and other humans as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children, and other people.

Such a practice is forbidden ever in the course of a battle. It is the United States, which is perpetrating every maltreatment on women, children, and common people of other faiths, particularly the followers of Islam. All that is going on in Palestine for the last 11 months is sufficient to call the wrath of God upon the United States and Israel.

There is also a warning for those Muslim countries, which witnessed all these as a silent spectator. What had earlier been done to the innocent people of Iraq, Chechnya, and Bosnia?

Only one conclusion could be derived from the indifference of the United States and the West to these acts of terror and the patronage of the tyrants by these powers that America is an anti-Islamic power and it is patronizing the anti-Islamic forces. Its friendship with the Muslim countries is just a show, rather deceit. By enticing or intimidating these countries, the United States is forcing them to play a role of its choice. Put a glance all around and you will see that the slaves of the United States are either rulers or enemies of Muslims .

The US has no friends, nor does it want to keep any because the prerequisite of friendship is to come to the level of the friend or consider him at par with you. America does not want to see anyone equal to it. It expects slavery from others. Therefore, other countries are either its slaves or subordinates.

However, our case is different. We have pledged slavery to God Almighty alone and after this pledge there is no possibility to become the slave of someone else. If we do that, it will be disregardful to both our Sustainer and his fellow beings. Most of the world nations upholding their freedom are the religious ones, which are the enemies of United States, or the latter itself considers them as its enemies. Or the countries, which do not agree to become its slaves, such as China, Iran, Libya, Cuba, Syria, and the former Russia as received .

Whoever committed the act of 11 September are not the friends of the American people. I have already said that we are against the American system, not against its people, whereas in these attacks, the common American people have been killed.

According to my information, the death toll is much higher than what the US government has stated. But the Bush administration does not want the panic to spread. The United States should try to trace the perpetrators of these attacks within itself; the people who are a part of the US system, but are dissenting against it. Or those who are working for some other system; persons who want to make the present century as a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity so that their own civilization, nation, country, or ideology could survive. They can be any one, from Russia to Israel and from India to Serbia. In the US itself, there are dozens of well-organized and well-equipped groups, which are capable of causing a large-scale destruction. Then you cannot forget the American Jews, who are annoyed with President Bush ever since the elections in Florida and want to avenge him.

Then there are intelligence agencies in the US, which require billions of dollars worth of funds from the Congress and the government every year. This funding issue was not a big problem till the existence of the former Soviet Union but after that the budget of these agencies has been in danger.

They needed an enemy. So, they first started propaganda against Usamah and Taleban and then this incident happened. You see, the Bush administration approved a budget of 40bn dollars. Where will this huge amount go? It will be provided to the same agencies, which need huge funds and want to exert their importance.

Now they will spend the money for their expansion and for increasing their importance. I will give you an example. Drug smugglers from all over the world are in contact with the US secret agencies. These agencies do not want to eradicate narcotics cultivation and trafficking because their importance will be diminished. The people in the US Drug Enforcement Department are encouraging drug trade so that they could show performance and get millions of dollars worth of budget. General Noriega was made a drug baron by the CIA and, in need, he was made a scapegoat. In the same way, whether it is President Bush or any other US president, they cannot bring Israel to justice for its human rights abuses or to hold it accountable for such crimes. What is this? Is it not that there exists a government within the government in the United Sates? That secret government must be asked as to who made the attacks.

Ummat: A number of world countries have joined the call of the United States for launching an attack on Afghanistan. These also include a number of Muslim countries. Will Al-Qa’idah declare a jihad against these countries as well?

Usamah: I must say that my duty is just to awaken the Muslims; to tell them as to what is good for them and what is not. What does Islam says and what the enemies of Islam want?

Al-Qa’idah was set up to wage a jihad against infidelity, particularly to encounter the onslaught of the infidel countries against the Islamic states. Jihad is the sixth undeclared element of Islam. The first five being the basic holy words of Islam, prayers, fast, pilgrimage to Mecca, and giving alms Every anti-Islamic person is afraid of it. Al-Qa’idah wants to keep this element alive and active and make it part of the daily life of the Muslims. It wants to give it the status of worship. We are not against any Islamic country nor we consider a war against an Islamic country as jihad.

We are in favour of armed jihad only against those infidel countries, which are killing innocent Muslim men, women, and children just because they are Muslims. Supporting the US act is the need of some Muslim countries and the compulsion of others. However, they should think as to what will remain of their religious and moral position if they support the attack of the Christians and the Jews on a Muslim country like Afghanistan. The orders of Islamic shari’ah jurisprudence for such individuals, organizations, and countries are clear and all the scholars of the Muslim brotherhood are unanimous on them. We will do the same, which is being ordered by the Amir ol-Momenin the commander of the faithful Mola Omar and the Islamic scholars. The hearts of the people of Muslim countries are beating with the call of jihad. We are grateful to them.

Ummat: The losses caused in the attacks in New York and Washington have proved that giving an economic blow to the US is not too difficult. US experts admit that a few more such attacks can bring down the American economy. Why is al-Qa’idah not targeting their economic pillars?

Usamah: I have already said that we are not hostile to the United States. We are against the system, which makes other nations slaves of the United States, or forces them to mortgage their political and economic freedom. This system is totally in control of the American Jews, whose first priority is Israel, not the United States. It is simply that the American people are themselves the slaves of the Jews and are forced to live according to the principles and laws laid by them. So, the punishment should reach Israel. In fact, it is Israel, which is giving a blood bath to innocent Muslims and the US is not uttering a single word.

Ummat: Why is harm not caused to the enemies of Islam through other means, apart from the armed struggle? For instance, inciting the Muslims to boycott Western products, banks, shipping lines, and TV channels.

Usamah: The first thing is that Western products could only be boycotted when the Muslim fraternity is fully awakened and organized. Secondly, the Muslim companies should become self-sufficient in producing goods equal to the products of Western companies. Economic boycott of the West is not possible unless economic self-sufficiency is attained and substitute products are brought out. You see that wealth is scattered all across the Muslim world but not a single TV channel has been acquired which can preach Islamic injunctions according to modern requirements and attain an international influence. Muslim traders and philanthropists should make it a point that if the weapon of public opinion is to be used, it is to be kept in the hand. Today’s world is of public opinion and the fates of nations are determined through its pressure. Once the tools for building public opinion are obtained, everything that you asked for can be done.

Ummat: The entire propaganda about your struggle has so far been made by the Western media. But no information is being received from your sources about the network of Al-Qa’idah and its jihadi successes. Would you comment?

Usamah: In fact, the Western media is left with nothing else. It has no other theme to survive for a long time. Then we have many other things to do. The struggle for jihad and the successes are for the sake of Allah and not to annoy His bondsmen. Our silence is our real propaganda. Rejections, explanations, or corrigendum only waste your time and through them, the enemy wants you to engage in things which are not of use to you. These things are pulling you away from your cause.

The Western media is unleashing such a baseless propaganda, which make us surprise but it reflects on what is in their hearts and gradually they themselves become captive of this propaganda. They become afraid of it and begin to cause harm to themselves. Terror is the most dreaded weapon in modern age and the Western media is mercilessly using it against its own people. It can add fear and helplessness in the psyche of the people of Europe and the United States. It means that what the enemies of the United States cannot do, its media is doing that. You can understand as to what will be the performance of the nation in a war, which suffers from fear and helplessness.

Ummat: What will the impact of the freeze of al-Qa’idah accounts by the US?

Usamah: God opens up ways for those who work for Him. Freezing of accounts will not make any difference for Al-Qa’idah or other jihad groups. With the grace of Allah, al-Qa’idah has more than three such alternative financial systems, which are all separate and totally independent from each other. This system is operating under the patronage of those who love jihad. What to say of the United States, even the combined world cannot budge these people from their path.

These people are not in hundreds but in thousands and millions. Al-Qa’idah comprises of such modern educated youths who are aware of the cracks inside the Western financial system as they are aware of the lines in their hands. These are the very flaws of the Western fiscal system, which are becoming a noose for it and this system could not recuperate in spite of the passage of so many days.

Ummat: Are there other safe areas other than Afghanistan, where you can continue jihad?

Usamah: There are areas in all parts of the world where strong jihadi forces are present, from Indonesia to Algeria, from Kabul to Chechnya, from Bosnia to Sudan, and from Burma to Kashmir. Then it is not the problem of my person. I am helpless fellowman of God, constantly in the fear of my accountability before God. It is not the question of Usamah but of Islam and, in Islam too, of jihad. Thanks to God, those waging a jihad can walk today with their heads raised. Jihad was still present when there was no Usamah and it will remain as such even when Usamah is no longer there. Allah opens up ways and creates loves in the hearts of people for those who walk on the path of Allah with their lives, property, and children. Believe it, through jihad, a man gets everything he desires. And the biggest desire of a Muslim is the after life. Martyrdom is the shortest way of attaining an eternal life.

Ummat: What do you say about the Pakistan government policy on Afghanistan attack?

Usamah: We are thankful to the Momin and valiant people of Pakistan who erected a blockade in front of the wrong forces and stood in the first file of battle. Pakistan is a great hope for the Islamic brotherhood. Its people are awakened, organized, and rich in the spirit of faith. They backed Afghanistan in its war against the Soviet Union and extended every help to the mojahedin and the Afghan people. Then these are the same Pakistanis who are standing shoulder by shoulder with the Taleban. If such people emerge in just two countries, the domination of the West will diminish in a matter of days. Our hearts beat with Pakistan and, God forbid, if a difficult time comes we will protect it with our blood. Pakistan is sacred for us like a place of worship. We are the people of jihad and fighting for the defence of Pakistan is the best of all jihads to us. It does not matter for us as to who rules Pakistan. The important thing is that the spirit of jihad is alive and stronger in the hearts of the Pakistani people.

Copyright Ummat in Urdu, BBC translation in English, 2001

Read about Osama Bin Laden in Michel Chossudovsky’s international best-seller

According to Chossudovsky, the  “war on terrorism” is a complete fabrication based on the illusion that one man, Osama bin Laden, outwitted the $40 billion-a-year American intelligence apparatus. The “war on terrorism” is a war of conquest. Globalisation is the final march to the “New World Order”, dominated by Wall Street and the U.S. military-industrial complex.

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Today’s Most Popular Stories

October 15th, 2013 by Global Research News

A deluge of articles have been quickly put into circulation defending France’s military intervention in the African nation of Mali. TIME’s article, “The Crisis in Mali: Will French Intervention Stop the Islamist Advance?” decides that old tricks are the best tricks, and elects the tiresome “War on Terror” narrative.TIME claims the intervention seeks to stop “Islamist” terrorists from overrunning both Africa and all of Europe. Specifically, the article states:

“…there is a (probably well-founded) fear in France that a radical Islamist Mali threatens France most of all, since most of the Islamists are French speakers and many have relatives in France. (Intelligence sources in Paris have told TIME that they’ve identified aspiring jihadis leaving France for northern Mali to train and fight.) Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), one of the three groups that make up the Malian Islamist alliance and which provides much of the leadership, has also designated France — the representative of Western power in the region — as a prime target for attack.”

What TIME elects not to tell readers is that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is closely allied to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG whom France intervened on behalf of during NATO’s 2011 proxy-invasion of Libya – providing weapons, training, special forces and even aircraft to support them in the overthrow of Libya’s government.

As far back as August of 2011, Bruce Riedel out of the corporate-financier funded think-tank, the Brookings Institution, wrote “Algeria will be next to fall,” where he gleefully predicted success in Libya would embolden radical elements in Algeria, in particular AQIM. Between extremist violence and the prospect of French airstrikes, Riedel hoped to see the fall of the Algerian government. Ironically Riedel noted:

Algeria has expressed particular concern that the unrest in Libya could lead to the development of a major safe haven and sanctuary for al-Qaeda and other extremist jihadis.

And thanks to NATO, that is exactly what Libya has become – a Western sponsored sanctuary for Al-Qaeda. AQIM’s headway in northern Mali and now French involvement will see the conflict inevitably spill over into Algeria. It should be noted that Riedel is a co-author of “Which Path to Persia?” which openly conspires to arm yet another US State Department-listed terrorist organization (list as #28), the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) to wreak havoc across Iran and help collapse the government there – illustrating a pattern of using clearly terroristic organizations, even those listed as so by the US State Department, to carry out US foreign policy.Geopolitical analyst Pepe Escobar noted a more direct connection between LIFG and AQIM in an Asia Times piece titled, “How al-Qaeda got to rule in Tripoli:”

“Crucially, still in 2007, then al-Qaeda’s number two, Zawahiri, officially announced the merger between the LIFG and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM). So, for all practical purposes, since then, LIFG/AQIM have been one and the same – and Belhaj was/is its emir. “

“Belhaj,” referring to Hakim Abdul Belhaj, leader of LIFG in Libya, led with NATO support, arms, funding, and diplomatic recognition, the overthrowing of Muammar Qaddafi and has now plunged the nation into unending racist and tribal, genocidal infighting. This intervention has also seen the rebellion’s epicenter of Benghazi peeling off from Tripoli as a semi-autonomous “Terror-Emirate.” Belhaj’s latest campaign has shifted to Syria where he was admittedly on the Turkish-Syrian border pledging weapons, money, and fighters to the so-called “Free Syrian Army,” again, under the auspices of NATO support.

Image: NATO’s intervention in Libya has resurrected listed-terrorist organization and Al Qaeda affiliate, LIFG. It had previously fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now has fighters, cash and weapons, all courtesy of NATO, spreading as far west as Mali, and as far east as Syria. The feared “global Caliphate” Neo-Cons have been scaring Western children with for a decade is now taking shape via US-Saudi, Israeli, and Qatari machinations, not “Islam.” In fact, real Muslims have paid the highest price in fighting this real “war against Western-funded terrorism.”

….

LIFG, which with French arms, cash, and diplomatic support, is now invading northern Syria on behalf of NATO’s attempted regime change there, officially merged with Al Qaeda in 2007 according to the US Army’s West Point Combating Terrorism Center (CTC). According to the CTC, AQIM and LIFG share not only ideological goals, but strategic and even tactical objectives. The weapons LIFG received most certainly made their way into the hands of AQIM on their way through the porous borders of the Sahara Desert and into northern Mali.

In fact, ABC News reported in their article, “Al Qaeda Terror Group: We ‘Benefit From’ Libyan Weapons,” that:

A leading member of an al Qaeda-affiliated terror group indicated the organization may have acquired some of the thousands of powerful weapons that went missing in the chaos of the Libyan uprising, stoking long-held fears of Western officials.”We have been one of the main beneficiaries of the revolutions in the Arab world,” Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a leader of the north Africa-based al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [AQIM], told the Mauritanian news agency ANI Wednesday. “As for our benefiting from the [Libyan] weapons, this is a natural thing in these kinds of circumstances.”

It is no coincidence that as the Libyan conflict was drawing to a conclusion, conflict erupted in northern Mali. It is part of a premeditated geopolitical reordering that began with toppling Libya, and since then, using it as a springboard for invading other targeted nations, including Mali, Algeria, and Syria with heavily armed, NATO-funded and aided terrorists.

French involvement may drive AQIM and its affiliates out of northern Mali, but they are almost sure to end up in Algeria, most likely by design.

Algeria was able to balk subversion during the early phases of the US-engineered “Arab Spring” in 2011, but it surely has not escaped the attention of the West who is in the midst of transforming a region stretching from Africa to Beijing and Moscow’s doorsteps – and in a fit of geopolitical schizophrenia – using terrorists both as a casus belli to invade and as an inexhaustible mercenary force to do it.

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Salafism and the CIA: Destabilizing the Russian Federation?

September 14th, 2012 by F. William Engdahl

Part I: Syria comes to the Russian Caucasus

On August 28 Sheikh Said Afandi, acknowledged spiritual leader of the Autonomous Russian Republic of Dagestan, was assassinated. A jihadist female suicide bomber managed to enter his house and detonate an explosive device.

The murder target had been carefully selected. Sheikh Afandi, a seventy-five-year old Sufi Muslim leader, had played the critical role in attempting to bring about reconciliation in Dagestan between jihadist Salafi Sunni Muslims and other factions, many of whom in Dagestan see themselves as followers of Sufi. With no replacement of his moral stature and respect visible, authorities fear possible outbreak of religious war in the tiny Russian autonomous republic.[1]

The police reported that the assassin was an ethnic Russian woman who had converted to Islam and was linked to an Islamic fundamentalist or Salafist insurgency against Russia and regional governments loyal to Moscow in the autonomous republics and across the volatile Muslim-populated North Caucasus region.

Ethnic Muslim populations in this region of Russia and of the former Soviet Union, including Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan and into China’s Xinjiang Province, have been the target of various US and NATO intelligence operations since the Cold War era ended in 1990. Washington sees manipulation of Muslim groups as the vehicle to bring uncontrollable chaos to Russia and Central Asia. It’s being carried out by some of the same organizations engaged in creating chaos and destruction inside Syria against the government of Bashar Al-Assad. In a real sense, as Russian security services clearly understand, if they don’t succeed in stopping the Jihadists insurgency in Syria, it will come home to them via the Caucasus.

The latest Salafist murders of Sufi and other moderate Muslim leaders in the Caucasus are apparently part of what is becoming ever clearer as perhaps the most dangerous US intelligence operation ever—playing globally with Muslim fundamentalism.

Previously US and allied intelligence services had played fast and loose with religious organizations or beliefs in one or another country. What makes the present situation particularly dangerous—notably since the decision in Washington to unleash the misnamed Arab Spring upheavals that began in Tunisia late 2010, spreading like a brushfire across the entire Islamic world from Afghanistan across Central Asia to Morocco—is the incalculable wave upon wave of killing, hatreds, destruction of entire cultures that Washington has unleashed in the name of that elusive dream named “democracy.” They do this using alleged Al-Qaeda groups, Saudi Salafists or Wahhabites, or using disciples of Turkey’s Fethullah Gülen Movement to ignite fires of religious hatred within Islam and against other faiths that could take decades to extinguish. It could easily spill over into a new World War.

Fundamentalism comes to Caucasus

Following the dissolution of the USSR, radical Afghanistani Mujahadeen, Islamists from Saudi Arabia, from Turkey, Pakistan and other Islamic countries flooded into the Muslim regions of the former USSR. One of the best-organized of these was the Gülen Movement of Fethullah Gülen, leader of a global network of Islamic schools and reported to be the major policy influence on Turkey’s Erdogan AKP party.

Gülen was quick to establish The International Dagestani-Turkish College in Dagestan. During the chaotic days after the Soviet collapse, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation officially registered and permitted unfettered activity for a variety of Islamic foundations and organizations. These included the League of the Islamic World, the World Muslim Youth Assembly, the reportedly Al-Qaeda friendly Saudi foundation ‘Ibrahim ben Abd al-Aziz al-Ibrahim.’ The blacklist also included Al-Haramein a Saudi foundation reported tied to Al-Qaeda, and IHH, [2] a Turkish organization banned in Germany, that allegedly raised funds for jihadi fighters in Bosnia, Chechnya, and Afghanistan, and was charged by French intelligence of ties to Al Qaeda.[3] Many of these charities were covers for fundamentalist Salafists with their own special agenda.

As many of the foreign Islamists in Chechnya and Dagestan were found involved in fomenting the regional unrest and civil war, Russian authorities withdrew permission of most to run schools and institutions. Throughout the North Caucasus at the time of the Chechyn war in the late 1990’s, there were more than two dozen Islamic institutes, some 200 madrassas and numerous maktabas (Koranic study schools) present at almost all mosques.

The International Dagestani-Turkish College was one that was forced to close its doors in Dagestan. The College was run by the Fethullah Gülen organization.[4]

At the point of the Russian crackdown on the spread of Salafist teaching inside Russia at the end of the 1990’s, there was an exodus of hundreds of young Dagestani and Chechyn Muslim students to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other places in The Middle east, reportedly to receive training with the Gülen movement and various Saudi-financed organizations, including Salafists. [5] It is believed in Russia that the students trained by Gülen supporters or Saudi and other Salafist fundamentalist centers then were sent back to Dagestan and the North Caucasus to spread their radical strain of Islam.

By 2005 the situation in the Caucasus was so influenced by this Salafist intervention that the Chechen Salafist, Doku Umarov, cited by the UN Security Council for links to Al-Qaeda,[6] unilaterally declared creation of what he called the Caucasus Emirate, announcing he planned to establish an Islamic state under Sharia law encompassing the entire North Caucasus region including Dagestan. He modestly proclaimed himself Emir of the Caucasus Emirate. [7]

*  *  *

WWIII Scenario

*  *  *

 

Part II: Salafism at war with Sufi tradition

Salafism, known in Saudi Arabia as Wahhabism, is a fundamentalist strain of Islam which drew world attention and became notorious in March 2001 just weeks before the attacks of September 11. That was when the Salafist Taliban government in Afghanistan willfully dynamited and destroyed the historic gigantic Buddhas of Bamiyan on the ancient Silk Road, religious statues dating from the 6th Century. The Taliban Salafist leaders also banned as “un-islamic” all forms of imagery, music and sports, including television, in accordance with what they considered a strict interpretation of Sharia.

Afghani sources reported that the order to destroy the Buddhas was made by Saudi-born jihadist Wahhabite, Osama bin Laden, who ultimately convinced Mullah Omar, Taliban supreme leader at the time to execute the act.[8]

Before and…After Salafist Taliban …

While Sufis incorporate the worship of saints and theatrical ceremonial prayers into their practice, Salafis condemn as idolatry any non-traditional forms of worship. They also call for the establishment of Islamic political rule and strict Sharia law. Sufism is home to the great spiritual and musical heritage of Islam, said by Islamic scholars to be the inner, mystical, or psycho-spiritual dimension of Islam, going back centuries.

As one Sufi scholar described the core of Sufism, “While all Muslims believe that they are on the pathway to God and will become close to God in Paradise–after death and the ‘Final Judgment’– Sufis believe as well that it is possible to become close to God and to experience this closeness–while one is alive. Furthermore, the attainment of the knowledge that comes with such intimacy with God, Sufis assert, is the very purpose of the creation. Here they mention the hadith qudsi in which God states, ‘I was a hidden treasure and I loved that I be known, so I created the creation in order to be known.’ Hence for the Sufis there is already a momentum, a continuous attraction on their hearts exerted by God, pulling them, in love, towards God.” [9]

The mystical Islamic current of Sufism and its striving to become close to or one with God is in stark contrast to the Jihadist Salafi or Wahhabi current that is armed with deadly weapons, preaches a false doctrine of jihad, and a perverse sense of martyrdom, committing countless acts of violence. Little wonder that the victims of Salafist Jihads are mostly other pacific forms of Islam including most especially Sufis.

The respected seventy-five year old Afandi had publicly denounced Salafist Islamic fundamentalism. His murder followed a July 19 coordinated attack on two high-ranking muftis in the Russian Volga Republic of Tatarstan. Both victims were state-approved religious leaders who had attacked radical Islam. This latest round of murders opens a new front in the Salafist war against Russia, namely attacks on moderate Sufi Muslim leaders.

Whether or not Dagestan now descends into internal religious civil war that then spreads across the geopolitically sensitive Russian Caucasus is not yet certain. What is almost certain is that the same circles who have been feeding violence and terror inside Syria against the regime of Alawite President Bashar al-Assad are behind the killing of Sheikh Afandi as well as sparking related acts of terror or unrest across Russia’s Muslim-populated Caucasus. In a very real sense it represents Russia’s nightmare scenario of “Syria coming to Russia.” It demonstrates dramatically why Putin has made such a determined effort to stop a descent into a murderous hell in Syria.

Salafism and the CIA

The existence of the so-called jihadist Salafi brand of Islam in Dagestan is quite recent. It has also been deliberately imported. Salafism is sometimes also called the name of the older Saudi-centered Wahhabism. Wahhabism is a minority originally-Bedouin form of the faith originating within Islam, dominant in Saudi Arabia since the 1700’s.

Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz of the Centre for Islamic Pluralism give the following description of Saudi conditions under the rigid Wahhabi brand of Islam:

Women living under Saudi rule must wear the abaya, or total body cloak, and niqab, the face veil; they have limited opportunities for schooling and careers; they are prohibited from driving vehicles; are banned from social contact with men not relatives, and all personal activity must be supervised including opening bank accounts, by a male family member or “guardian.” These Wahhabi rules are enforced by a mutawiyin, or morals militia, also known as “the religious police,” officially designated the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) who patrol Saudi cities, armed with leather-covered sticks which they freely used against those they considered wayward. They raid homes looking for alcohol and drugs, and harassed non-Wahhabi Muslims as well as believers in other faiths.” [10]

It’s widely reported that the obscenely opulent and morally-perhaps-not-entirely-of- the-highest-standards Saudi Royal Family made a Faustian deal with Wahhabite leaders. The deal supposedly, was that the Wahhabists are free to export their fanatical brand of Islam around to the Islamic populations of the world in return for agreeing to leave the Saudi Royals alone.[11] There are, however, other dark and dirty spoons stirring the Wahhabite-Salafist Saudi stew.

Little known is the fact that the present form of aggressive Saudi Wahhabism, in reality a kind of fusion between imported jihadi Salafists from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and the fundamentalist Saudi Wahhabites. Leading Salafist members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood were introduced into the Saudi Kingdom in the 1950’s by the CIA in a complex series of events, when Nasser cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood following an assassination attempt. By the 1960’s an influx of Egyptian members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Saudi Arabia fleeing Nasserite repression, had filled many of the leading teaching posts in Saudi religious schools. One student there was a young well-to-do Saudi, Osama bin Laden.  [12]

During the Third Reich, Hitler Germany had supported the Muslim Brotherhood as a weapon against the British in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East. Marc Erikson describes the Nazi roots of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood thus:

…as Italian and German fascism sought greater stakes in the Middle East in the 1930s and ’40s to counter British and French controlling power, close collaboration between fascist agents and Islamist leaders ensued. During the 1936-39 Arab Revolt, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of German military intelligence, sent agents and money to support the Palestine uprising against the British, as did Muslim Brotherhood founder and “supreme guide” Hassan al-Banna. A key individual in the fascist-Islamist nexus and go-between for the Nazis and al-Banna became the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini.[13]

After the defeat of Germany, British Intelligence moved in to take over control of the Muslim Brotherhood. Ultimately, for financial and other reasons, the British decided to hand their assets within the Muslim Brotherhood over to their CIA colleagues in the 1950s. [14]

According to former US Justice Department Nazi researcher John Loftus,  “during the 1950s, the CIA evacuated the Nazis of the Muslim Brotherhood to Saudi Arabia. Now, when they arrived in Saudi Arabia, some of the leading lights of the Muslim Brotherhood, like Dr Abdullah Azzam, became the teachers in the madrassas, the religious schools. And there they combined the doctrines of Nazism with this weird Islamic cult, Wahhabism.” [15]

“Everyone thinks that Islam is this fanatical religion, but it is not,” Loftus continues. “They think that Islam–the Saudi version of Islam–is typical, but it’s not. The Wahhabi cult has been condemned as a heresy more than 60 times by the Muslim nations. But when the Saudis got wealthy, they bought a lot of silence. This is a very harsh cult. Wahhabism was only practised by the Taliban and in Saudi Arabia–that’s how extreme it is. It really has nothing to do with Islam. Islam is a very peaceful and tolerant religion. It always had good relationships with the Jews for the first thousand years of its existence.” [16]

Loftus identified the significance of what today is emerging from the shadows to take over Egypt under Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi, and the so-called Syrian National Council, dominated in reality by the Muslim Brotherhood and publicly led by the more “politically correct” or presentable likes of Bassma Kodmani. Kodmani, foreign affairs spokesman for the SNC was twice an invited guest at the Bilderberg elite gathering, latest in Chantilly, Virginia earlier this year.[17]

The most bizarre and alarming feature of the US-financed  regime changes set into motion in 2010, which have led to the destruction of the secular Arab regime of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Muhammar Qaddafi in Libya, and the secular regime of President Ben Ali in Tunisia, and which have wreaked savage destruction across the Middle East, especially in the past eighteen months in Syria, is the pattern of emerging power grabs by representatives of the murky Salafist Muslim Brotherhood.

By informed accounts, a Saudi-financed Sunni Islamic Muslim Brotherhood dominates the members of the exile Syrian National Council that is backed by the US State Department’s Secretary Clinton and by Hollande’s France. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is tied, not surprisingly to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood of President Mohammed Morsi who recently in a meeting of the Non-Aligned in Iran called openly for the removal of Syria’s Assad, a logical step if his Muslim Brothers in the present Syrian National Council are to take the reins of power. The Saudis are also rumored to have financed the ascent to power in Tunisia of the governing Islamist Ennahda Party,[18] and are documented to be financing the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Syrian National Council against President Bashar al-Assad. [19]

Part III: Morsi’s Reign of Salafi Terror

Indicative of the true agenda of this Muslim Brotherhood and related jihadists today is the fact that once they have power, they drop the veil of moderation and reconciliation and reveal their violently intolerant roots. This is visible in Egypt today under Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi.

Unreported in mainstream Western media to date are alarming direct reports from Christian missionary organizations in Egypt that Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood has already begun to drop the veil of “moderation and conciliation” and show its brutal totalitarian Salafist colors, much as Khomeini’s radical Sharia forces did in Iran after taking control in 1979-81.

In a letter distributed by the Christian Aid Mission (CAM), a Christian Egyptian missionary wrote that Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood “announced they would destroy the country if Morsi didn’t win, but they also said they will take revenge from all those who voted for [his opponent Ahmed] Shafiq, especially the Christians as they are sure we did vote for Shafiq. Yesterday they began by killing two believers in el Sharqiya because of this,” the missionary added, speaking on condition of anonymity.[20]

This report came only weeks after Egyptian State TV (under Morsi’s control) showed ghastly video footage of a convert from Islam to Christianity being murdered by Muslims. The footage showed a young man being held down by masked men with a knife to his throat. As one man was heard chanting Muslim prayers in Arabic, mostly condemning Christianity, another man holding the knife to the Christian convert’s throat began to cut, slowly severing the head amid cries of “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is great”), according to transcripts. In the letter, the Egyptian missionary leader added that, “soon after Morsi won, Christians in upper Egypt were forcibly prevented from going to churches.” Many Muslims, the letter claimed, “also began to speak to women in the streets that they had to wear Islamic clothing including the head covering. They act as if they got the country for their own, it’s theirs now.” [21]

Already in 2011 Morsi’s Salafist followers began attacking and destroying Sufi mosques across Egypt. According to the authoritative newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm (Today’s Egyptian), 16 historic mosques in Alexandria belonging to Sufi orders have been marked for destruction by so-called ‘Salafis’. Alexandria has 40 mosques associated with Sufis, and is the headquarters for 36 Sufi groups. Half a million Sufis live in the city, out of a municipal total of four million people. Aggression against the Sufis in Egypt has included a raid on Alexandria’s most distinguished mosque, named for, and housing, the tomb of the 13th century Sufi Al-Mursi Abu’l Abbas.[22]

Notably, the so-called “democratically elected” regime in Libya following the toppling of Mohamar Qaddafi by NATO bombs in 2011, has also been zealous in destroying Sufi mosques and places of worhip. In August this year, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova expressed “grave concern” at the destruction by Islamic Jihadists of Sufi sites in Zliten, Misrata and Tripoli and urged perpetrators to “cease the destruction immediately.” [23] Under behind-the-scenes machinations the Libyan government is dominated by Jihadists and by followers of the Muslim Brotherhood, as in Tunisia and Egypt. [24]

The explosive cocktail of violence inherent in allowing the rise to power of Salafist Islamists across the Middle East was clear to see, symbolically enough on the night of September 11,th when a mob of angry supporters of the fanatical Salafist group, Ansar Al-Sharia, murdered the US Ambassador to Libya and three US diplomats, burning the US Consulate in Bengazi to the ground in protest over a YouTube release of a film by an American filmmaker showing the Prophet Mohammed indulging in multiple sex affairs and casting doubt on his role as God’s messenger. Ironically that US Ambassador had played a key role in toppling Qaddafi and opening the door to the Salafist takeover in Libya. At the same time angry mobs of thousands of Salafists surrounded the US Embassy in Cairo in protest to the US film. [25]

Ansar Al-Sharia (“Partisans of Islamic law” in Arabic) reportedly is a spinoff of Al-Qaeda and claims organizations across the Middle East from Yemen to Tunisia to Iraq, Egypt and Libya. Ansar al-Sharia says it is reproducing the model of Sharia or strict Islamic law espoused by the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Islamic State of Iraq, a militant umbrella group that includes al-Qaeda in Iraq. The core of the group are jihadists who came out of an “Islamic state”, either in Afghanistan in the mid-1990s, or among jihadists in Iraq after the US-led invasion in 2003.[26]

The deliberate detonation now of a new round of Salafist fundamentalist Jihad terror inside Muslim regions of the Russian Caucasus is exquisitely timed politically to put maximum pressure at home on the government of Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Putin and the Russian Government are the strongest and most essential backer of the current Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, and for Russia as well the maintenance of Russia’s only Mediterranean naval base at Syria’s Tartus port is vital strategically. At the same time, Obama’s sly message to Medvedev to wait until Obama’s re-election to evaluate US intent towards Russia and Putin’s cryptic recent comment that a compromise with a re-elected President Obama might be possible, but not with a President Romney, [27] indicate that the Washington “stick-and-carrot” or hard cop-soft cop tactics with Moscow might tempt Russia to sacrifice major geopolitical alliances, perhaps even that special close and recent geopolitical alliance with China.[28] Were that to happen, the World might witness a “reset” in US-Russian relations with catastrophic consequences for world peace.

F. William Engdahl*  is the author of Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order

Notes:

[1] Dan Peleschuk, Sheikh Murdered Over Religious Split Say Analysts, RIA Novosti, August 30, 2012, accessed in

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20120830/175517955.html.

[2] Mairbek  Vatchagaev, The Kremlin’s War on Islamic Education in the North Caucasus, North Caucasus Analysis Volume: 7 Issue: 34, accessed in http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=3334

[3] Iason Athanasiadis, Targeted by Israeli raid: Who is the IHH?, The Christian Science Monitor, June 1, 2010, accessed in http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2010/0601/Targeted-by-Israeli-raid-Who-is-the-IHH.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Mairbek Vatchagaev, op. cit.

[6] UN Security Council, QI.U.290.11. DOKU KHAMATOVICH UMAROV, 10 March 2011, accessed in http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQI29011E.shtml. The UN statement reads: “Doku Khamatovich Umarov was listed on 10 March 2011 pursuant to paragraph 2 of resolution 1904 (2009) as being associated with Al-Qaida, Usama bin Laden or the Taliban for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of”, “recruiting for”, “supplying, selling or transferring arms and related materiel to” and “otherwise supporting acts or activities of” the Islamic Jihad Group (QE.I.119.05), the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (QE.I.10.01), Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs (RSRSBCM) (QE.R.100.03) and Emarat Kavkaz (QE.E.131.11).”

[7] Tom Jones, Czech NGO rejects Russian reports of link to alleged Islamist terrorists al-Qaeda, May 10, 2011, accessed in http://www.ceskapozice.cz/en/news/society/czech-ngo-rejects-russian-reports-link-alleged-islamist-terrorists-al-qaeda?utm_source=tw&utm_medium=enprofil&utm_campaign=twennews.

[8] The Times of India, Laden ordered Bamyan Buddha destruction, The Times of India, March 28, 2006.

[9] Dr. Alan Godlas, Sufism — Sufis — Sufi Orders:

[10] Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz, Wahhabi Internal Contradictions as Saudi Arabia Seeks Wider Gulf Leadership, Center for Islamic Pluralism, May 21, 2012, accessed in http://www.islamicpluralism.org/2040/wahhabi-internal-contradictions-as-saudi-arabia

[11] Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz, Wahhabi Internal Contradictions as Saudi Arabia Seeks Wider Gulf Leadership, May 21, 2012, accessed in http://www.islamicpluralism.org/2040/wahhabi-internal-contradictions-as-saudi-arabia.

[12] Robert Duncan, Islamic Terrorisms Links to Nazi Fascism, AINA, July 5, 2007, accessed in http://www.aina.org/news/2007070595517.htm.

[13] Marc Erikson, Islamism, fascism and terrorism (Part 2), AsiaTimes.Online, November 8, 2002, accessed in http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/DK08Ak03.html.

[14] Ibid.

[15] John Loftus, The Muslim Brotherhood, Nazis and Al-Qaeda,  Jewish Community News, October 11, 2006, accessed in http://www.canadafreepress.com/2006/loftus101106.htm

[16] Ibid.

[17] Charlie Skelton, The Syrian opposition: who’s doing the talking?: The media have been too passive when it comes to Syrian opposition sources, without scrutinising their backgrounds and their political connections. Time for a closer look …, London Guardian, 12 July 2012, accessed in http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/12/syrian-opposition-doing-the-talking.

[18] Aidan Lewis, Profile: Tunisia’s Ennahda Party, BBC News, 25 October 2011, accessed in http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15442859.

[19] Hassan Hassan, Syrians are torn between a despotic regime and a stagnant opposition: The Muslim Brotherhood’s perceived monopoly over the Syrian National Council has created an opposition stalemate, The Guardian, UK, 23 August, 2012, accessed in http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/23/syrians-torn-despotic-regime-stagnant-opposition.

[20] Stefan J. Bos, Egypt Christians Killed After Election of Morsi, Bosnewslife, June 30, 2012, accessed in http://www.bosnewslife.com/22304-egypt-christians-killed-after-election-morsi.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Irfan Al-Alawi, Egyptian Muslim Fundamentalists Attack Sufis, Guardian Online [London],

April 11, 2011, accessed in http://www.islamicpluralism.org/1770/egyptian-Muslim-fundamentalists-attack-sufis

[23] Yafiah Katherine Randall, UNESCO urges Libya to stop destruction of Sufi sites, August 31, 2012, Sufi News and Sufism World Report, accessed in http://sufinews.blogspot.de/.

[24] Jamie Dettmer, Libya elections: Muslim Brotherhood set to lead government, 5 July, 2012, The Telegraph, London, accessed in http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/9379022/Libya-elections-Muslim-Brotherhood-set-to-lead-government.html.

[25] Luke Harding, Chris Stephen, Chris Stevens, US ambassador to Libya, killed in Benghazi attack: Ambassador and three other American embassy staff killed after Islamist militants fired rockets at their car, say Libyan officials, London Guardian, 12 September 2012, accessed in http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/12/chris-stevens-us-ambassador-libya-killed.

[26] Murad Batal al-Shishani, Profile: Ansar al-Sharia in Yemen, 8 March 2012, accessed in  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17402856.

[27] David M. Herszenhorn, Putin Says Missile Deal Is More Likely With Obama, The New York Times, September 6, 2012, accessed in http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/07/world/europe/putin-calls-missile-deal-more-likely-if-obama-wins.html. According to an interview Putin gave on Moscow’s state-owned RT TV, Herszenhorn reports, “Mr. Putin said he believed that if Mr. Obama is re-elected in November, a compromise could be reached on the contentious issue of American plans for a missile defense system in Europe, which Russia has strongly opposed. On the other hand, Mr. Putin said, if Mr. Romney becomes president, Moscow’s fears about the missile system — that it is, despite American assurances, actually directed against Russia — would almost certainly prove true.

“Is it possible to find a solution to the problem, if current President Obama is re-elected for a second term? Theoretically, yes,” Mr. Putin said, according to the official transcript posted on the Kremlin’s Web site. “But this isn’t just about President Obama. “For all I know, his desire to work out a solution is quite sincere,” Mr. Putin continued. “I met him recently on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, where we had a chance to talk. And though we talked mostly about Syria, I could still take stock of my counterpart. My feeling is that he is a very honest man, and that he sincerely wants to make many good changes. But can he do it? Will they let him do it?”

[28] M.K. Bhadrakumar, Calling the China-Russia split isn’t heresy, Asia Times,  September 5, 2012, accessed in http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/NI05Ad01.html.

 

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Shortly before midday on 9 November 1923, around 3,000 far-right insurgents began marching on Munich, Germany’s second largest city in the south of the country. Before these brownshirts had set out it was clear to the Nazi Party leader, the 34-year-old Corporal Adolf Hitler, that their coup d’état had already failed. A few hours prior to marching out Hitler learnt that the inter-war German Army, the Reichswehr, would firmly oppose his so-called Beer Hall Putsch. This was ordered by the Reichswehr chief, General Hans von Seeckt, who remained loyal to the Weimar Republic for now.

With impending defeat obvious Hitler had not wanted this march on Munich to go ahead, but proposed that the rebels retire to nearby Rosenheim. Hitler suggested this retreat of their forces to his famous ally, the 57-year-old Erich Ludendorff, dictator of Germany during World War One. In reaction General Ludendorff looked coldly at Corporal Hitler and exclaimed, “We march!” When Hitler said rather nervously that they “would be fired on” by Reichswehr troops or police, Ludendorff barked again, “We march!”

They marched. Ludendorff, Hitler and a few other Nazi Party officials marched at the head of the units, as they quickly reached the Marienplatz square in central Munich. A few hundred yards away at the top of Residenzstrasse, a cordon of armed police loyal to the government were awaiting the brownshirts. As they approached one Nazi Party member, Ulrich Graf, stepped forward and shouted to the police, “Don’t shoot, Ludendorff and Hitler are coming!” (1). The police commander Freiherr von Godin, a conscientious officer later persecuted by the Nazis, ordered his men to fire at the rebels.

On hearing von Godin’s command to shoot, the police hesitated for they could clearly see General Ludendorff at the forefront, goose-stepping in their direction. Just a few years previously, Ludendorff had issued orders to most of these police officers during the war, when they were then soldiers. Von Godin loudly repeated the order to fire, but as it was met once more with silence, the police commander grabbed a rifle from one of his men and fired it himself at the brownshirts. The other policemen followed suit. A prominent Nazi, Scheubner-Richter, marching with linked arms between Ludendorff and Hitler immediately fell dead.

If the rifle had only been fired some inches to the other side, Hitler might well have met his end – and Europe would have been spared the brutal dictatorship to come. A few Nazis shot at the police in response, but the latter showed more resolve, inflicting 16 fatalities on the brownshirts compared to four police deaths. Panic set in as the fascists dropped to the ground and fled in every direction, like earwigs disturbed from the nest.

Out of the few thousand insurgents who marched on Munich, only two of them had held their nerve. The American historian and war correspondent William L. Shirer noted that,

“Ludendorff did not fling himself to the ground. Standing erect and proud in the best soldierly tradition, with his adjutant Major Streck, at his side, he marched calmly on between the muzzles of the police rifles until he reached the Odeonsplatz. He must have seemed a lonely and bizarre figure. Not one Nazi followed him. Not even the supreme leader, Adolf Hitler”. (2)

Having suffered a dislocated shoulder Hitler was instead “bundled into a little yellow Fiat on the Odeonsplatz and driven away to hiding” (3), according to the biographer of Ludendorff, Lieutenant-Colonel Donald J. Goodspeed, professor emeritus of history at Brock University, Ontario.

Lt. Col. Goodspeed acknowledged that as the unarmed Ludendorff steadfastly approached the line of policemen and “brushed them contemptuously aside”, that also “he was, in fact, marching out of history. All the rest of his life was excruciating anti-climax. Perhaps after all, it would have been better if von Godin’s men had dared to shoot their wartime leader down”. (4)

How quickly fortunes change. Less than six years before, as Germany’s military autocrat, Ludendorff ruled over much of Europe and came tantalisingly close to winning the First World War. During the Germans’ major spring offensive, which was Ludendorff’s creation, by late March 1918 the German 18th Army had captured the town of Montdidier, less than 65 miles from Paris.

The 18th Army was meeting little opposition, and it looked likely that the French capital would soon fall. In addition, German railway guns produced by the Krupp steel company, such as the 43 ton “Big Bertha”, were ominously lining up near Montdidier. German soldiers quickly loaded these siege howitzers with their 16.5 inch shells, which were then pointed southwards at Paris and fired (5). Horrified Parisiens could see the shells of Big Bertha soaring through the air, and smashing into the buildings of the landmark city.

The experienced French commander Philippe Pétain, seldom the most high-spirited of men, gloomily informed his British counterpart, Douglas Haig, that he would have to relocate French Army reserves south-west, in a desperate attempt to save Paris. This was the equivalent of saying that France would have to abandon their British ally further north.

On 24 March 1918, the Germans had already driven a deep wedge between the French and British forces south of the Somme – but, in the end, the Allied commanders need not have worried too much, for the German advance gradually petered out. The German Army of 1918, though still formidable, was not quite as good as its 1914 or 1916 predecessors, failing to capitalise on the progress made while Allied resistance hardened. From April 1918, a quarter of a million American troops were landing on French soil each month, another factor in the turning of the tide.

Yet credit must be given where credit is due. The fact that Germany, against daunting odds, had fallen just shy of victory in a conflict where they had faced the world’s strongest nations (Russia, Britain, France and finally America), was largely down to Ludendorff’s “outstanding military talent”, as outlined by Lt. Col. Goodspeed. He continued that,

“The defensive and offensive doctrines developed under his direction displayed a tactical brilliance not shown elsewhere in the war, and seldom equalled in any war… Ludendorff’s administrative ability was even more pronounced, and he must be ranked as one of the very greatest military organisers of all time”. (6)

Hindenburg and Ludendorff (pointing), 1917 (CC BY-SA 3.0 de)

Today Ludendorff’s name is often classed in equal terms with Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg, a tall, well-built man who possessed strong nerves and simple optimism. Yet Goodspeed discerned correctly that in comparison, “Ludendorff was a much stronger personality and much more intelligent”. For most of the war Hindenburg played a somewhat passive role, leaving the key and complex details for Ludendorff to iron out, including political matters, which Hindenburg had little time for. By the autumn of 1916, with Ludendorff having amassed virtually all real power in Germany, Kaiser Wilhelm II was merely a ceremonial figurehead. The Kaiser never did relish his meetings with the overbearing “Sergeant-Major”, as he dubbed Ludendorff.

Hindenburg, Kaiser Wilhelm II, and Ludendorff, January 1917 (Public Domain)

The Ludendorff dictatorship can most plausibly be described as a milder version to that of Hitler’s. The younger fanatics who emerge are usually worse than their elders, and Hitler was undoubtedly more extreme than Ludendorff by a considerable margin. While the general pursued imperialist policies as Germany’s warlord, he refrained from initiating wanton acts of annihilation against the Russian-led armies, nor against Slavic civilians. Though Ludendorff could be heard making anti-Semitic comments during the war, there is no evidence to suggest that he considered executing criminal acts against Europe’s Jewish populations, let alone genocide.

In fact at a conference at General Headquarters, on 14 August 1918, Ludendorff requested a “more vigorous conscription of the young Jews, hitherto left pretty much alone” (7). He held out hope, unrealistically, that Poland would dispense with armed divisions to bolster Germany’s forces. These attitudes would have been unthinkable in Hitler’s Germany.

Four weeks into the conflict, on 23 August 1914 Ludendorff and Hindenburg – having achieved a significant success at the fortress city of Liège in Belgium – were transferred to the Eastern front, in order to rescue a potentially dire situation against the Russian Empire’s huge armies. They were threatening not only the whole of East Prussia, but had a conceivable chance to march on to Berlin itself, thereby bringing the war to an early end. In the coming months with Ludendorff’s arrival, assisted by his able deputy Lt. Col. Max Hoffmann, German forces would instead force the Tsar to retreat. The Germans secured decisive early victories against the Russians, such as in the Battle of Tannenberg and around the Masurian Lakes of Central Europe.

Come the spring of 1915, the Germans had conquered a large swathe of territory in the East, and were inflicting horrendous casualties on the Russian divisions. After just over a year of war, by September 1915 the Russians had lost 1,750,000 men. (8)

Before the age of Blitzkrieg, the rapidity of German advances in the East were “made possible only because Ludendorff paid the closest attention to prosaic administrative details” (9). He set the road-mending companies feverishly to work, while he ordered that the broad Russian railway line gauge be changed to the narrower German gauge. This enabled the swift transfer of German soldiers and materiel to the Eastern front. World War One was in many ways a railway war. It had created a constant necessity for lumber, railway sleepers and cellulose. Ludendorff therefore established forestry inspectorates and saw-mills to help cope with the demand.

After less than 18 months of fighting, the German Army had captured land areas such as all of Lithuania, Courland (western Latvia), Suwalki and Bialystok (both in northern Poland), and Grodno (western Belarus). Ludendorff poured over his map at headquarters with satisfaction, and he divided these conquered areas into separate districts under German rule. He formed a police corps and law courts with provincial appeals, along with a high court of appeal founded in Kovno (central Lithuania), where Ludendorff and Hindenburg settled down in new headquarters from October 1915.

Ludendorff issued local coinages and levied taxes and customs duties (10). In the opposite manner to present day neoliberalism, he controlled big business at home and in the captured territories. Ludendorff nationalised industries en masse and brought them under his domain, roughly brushing aside the arguments of corporate managers who came to see him. Hindenburg, a massive and intimidating presence, nodded approvingly and grunted in his deep voice to support his colleague’s views.

Goodspeed wrote that, “Ludendorff was at least as brilliant an administrator as a soldier, and he thoroughly enjoyed using his powers. More ambitiously than Napoleon, he dreamed of the future colonisation of the East, especially of Courland… Ludendorff, determined that Germany would get everything possible out of the occupied territories, administered them with a ruthless hand”.

Further power was drawn to Ludendorff as he created monopolies on cigarettes, alcohol, especially spirits, salt, matches and confectionery. He founded a chain of newspapers and placed them under strict censorship, which forced upon the local populations the news that he wanted them to read (11). Ludendorff established factories for the manufacture of barbed wire, and erected workshops for the repair of military equipment.

Large caches of captured Russian machine-guns were altered to take German ammunition. Billets were constructed for the German troops, better quality hospital facilities were built, winter clothing was provided; and other measures were adopted to maintain the health of the German Army’s soldiers and its horses. Leave was arranged and the mail delivery system put in order to reach standards of German efficiency.

To sustain morale Ludendorff created soldiers’ clubs, libraries, bookshops and concerts. He intensified military training and tweaked it to incorporate lessons learnt during the war. Supply services were improved, and the roads were made fit for all-weather transport, including mechanised machinery and horses. Ludendorff saw to it that Germany was furnished with ample quantities of Polish scrap-iron, brass, copper, skins and hides. The German Army was heavily reliant on the horse, and there was an ongoing shortage of these once sought after animals. He implacably ordered that horses be conscripted from farmers and peasants, despite the hardship this brought on the people in occupied regions.

In particular, Ludendorff commandeered the Lithuanian horse which he wrote “possesses great powers of endurance” and is “a very useful animal for military purposes”; though the general admitted of Lithuania itself, “The country was bound to suffer severely as the result of the continuous heavy demands made upon it, especially the constant levies of horses and cattle. The local administrative authorities often drew my attention to this fact, but there was nothing for it but to insist on these deliveries”. (12)

Ludendorff ruthlessly enacted tight controls over agriculture in the conquered regions, and he dispatched motor-ploughs, agricultural machinery and seed from Germany to augment food crops. German companies were established to farm the colonised areas, while a census was taken of peasants’ cattle.

From the war’s outset, Ludendorff spoke bluntly about his desire “of a greater Fatherland and of territorial acquisitions that would compensate the German people for their sacrifices”. His view was that “if Germany makes peace without profit, Germany has lost the war” (13). For these reasons Ludendorff began to enjoy “a tremendous reputation with the masses of the German people”, along with Hindenburg. (14)

On 11 September 1917 at a Crown Council meeting in Pless Castle, Silesia, Ludendorff demanded that “the conquered territories in the East be divided into a Duchy of Courland and a Grand Duchy of Lithuania”. These annexed lands would ostensibly be placed under the personal sovereignty of the Kaiser.

Ludendorff’s hegemonic aspirations for the West were likewise exacting. Once victory was obtained, far from his considering the returning of Alsace-Lorraine to France or offering concessions on it, he intended that these provinces be fully incorporated into Prussia, rather than administered as a separate entity. Ludendorff had plans for the seizure of all French property in Alsace-Lorraine, which he wanted to hand over to German war veterans as compensation for their sacrifices to Germany. He wanted economic union with Belgium, and a prolonged military occupation of that country.

In late 1917, as Germany’s eastern forces were preparing to give the coup de grâce to the Tsar’s regime, Ludendorff increased his demands against the Kremlin. His final peace terms to Russia were harsh and audacious in scope, and he was becoming impatient with how long the negotiations were taking. To show how serious he was, Ludendorff ordered German soldiers to march deep into eastern Europe during the early spring of 1918 – which they did, almost unmolested. Ludendorff was firmly set on carving out a great slice of Russia’s Empire, to be absorbed into the German Reich: A land mass stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea, hundreds of miles of fertile, resource rich land.

These expansionist goals were supported strongly by Field Marshal Hindenburg. He and Ludendorff rarely disagreed on anything, hence their seamless collaboration. On 19 December 1917 Hindenburg informed the German foreign secretary, Richard von Kühlmann, that Germany needed the Baltic territories “for the manoeuvring of my left wing in the next war”. (15)

As further humiliation for Russia, and to demonstrate his contempt for the Bolsheviks, Ludendorff granted Finland, Poland and the Ukraine their independence – all formerly part of the Russian Empire – while Estonia and Latvia were to be occupied by the German Army. Also stripped from the Kremlin were the Black Sea port of Batumi and Kars Oblast. Ludendorff turned his ire towards Romania too. He insisted that Romania be turned into a German satellite under a puppet regime, partly as retribution for the Romanians having unexpectedly chosen to join the Allied side in August 1916.

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Shane Quinn obtained an honors journalism degree. He is interested in writing primarily on foreign affairs, having been inspired by authors like Noam Chomsky. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Notes

1 David King, The Trial of Adolf Hitler: The Beer Hall Putsch and the Rise of Nazi Germany (Pan; Main Market edition, 14 June 2019) Chapter 20, Blood Land

2 William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany (Fawcett Crest Book, 1 Jan. 1968) p. 74

3 Donald J. Goodspeed, Ludendorff: Soldier: Dictator: Revolutionary (Hart-Davis; 1st edition, 1 Jan. 1966) p. 242

4 Goodspeed, Ludendorff, p. 243

5 Washington Post, “A Blast from ‘Big Bertha’”, 24 March 1999

6 Goodspeed, Ludendorff, p. 248

7 Ibid., p. 209

8 Ibid., p. 136

9 Ibid., p. 103

10 Ibid., p. 138

11 Ibid.

12 Erich Ludendorff, Ludendorff’s Own Story, August 1914-November 1918, The Great War (Pickle Partners Publishing, 12 Apr. 2012) Chapter 6, The Headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief on the Eastern front in Kovno

13 Will Brownell, Denise Drace-Brownell, Alex Rovt, The First Nazi: Erich Ludendorff (Counterpoint, 31 Mar. 2016) Chapter 7, Ludendorff fights Lenin

14 Goodspeed, Ludendorff, p. 236

15 James Joll, Gordon Martel, The Origins of the First World War (Routledge; 3rd edition, 5 Oct. 2006) p. 212

Featured image: Cropped photograph of German general, Erich Ludendorff (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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Britain’s “Thought Police” of the Labour Right

November 28th, 2020 by Megan Sherman

The tragic, cynically calculated decline of Corbynism, and the subsequent ascendancy of the neo-Blairite Starmer project, have made the Labour party a lot less free. When Starmer’s great power games started – after being elected on a manifesto of party unity – censorship and propaganda was introduced to manage the threat of socialism and democracy. The alliance between Zionist diplomacy and Starmer’s administration created the necessity for Labour’s new bureaucrats to embark upon a McCarthyist pursuit of its political enemies, and in the process to control and narrow the spectrum of acceptable opinion within the party.

In this era of escalated warfare against the left, the leadership’s list of enemies has grown to embrace, beyond Jeremy Corbyn, a large amount of the party membership he’s allied with. Israel is the preeminent enemy of Corbynism, since its empire has a strong motivation to exterminate the influence of his pro-Palestinian, anti-imperial policies. Starmer is even making enemies of grassroots activists keen for a civic-minded debate on his controversial decision to suspend and remove the whip from Jeremy Corbyn, punishing their free discussion of policy within the confines of the law. Starmer is an adversary to Labour socialism because of his agenda to capitulate policy to the needs of big business donors. Most of his positions are the same as the Tory government’s, making it possible to see Starmer’s Labour and the Tories as one entity, the same power.

An example of the intersection between the hard right Tory government and Starmer is the PLP’s support for a surge in war spending, favouring bombs over investment in public services. During moments like this year’s coronavirus crisis, Starmer has been hesitant to present an alternative opposition to government policy, erring on the side of praise. His biggest commitment to the right comes from his rehearsal of pro-Zionist propaganda, with “anti-semitism” being cynically used as a political tool behind apologist arguments for Israeli war crimes.

This repellent, opportunistic abuse of antisemitism was repeated throughout the media’s attempts to discredit Jeremy Corbyn, so much so that they were able to destroy his reputation as a principled, veteran anti-racist. At one point, Pompeo, an ally of far right Zionism, claimed that he would use his power to prevent Corbyn’s election when in fact that decision lies squarely with the sovereign UK electorate.

Such blatant Zionist interference in the internal democracy of the Labour party was not acknowledged by the political mainstream, because these truthful, accurate narratives are portrayed as the antisemitic enemy to Israeli self-determination. The tale the establishment tells is one of widespread, aggressive chauvinism against Jews, against which their allies must be eternally vigilant. This story is disinformation, and the Labour left has collapsed under pressure from its agents.

The happenings of the last fortnight have proven that this information war is focused not just on Jeremy Corbyn, but on the entire alliance he galvanised. In response to internal party debate about the suspension and removal of the whip, party bureaucrats have suspended dozens of innocent members. The reporting on this development by the progressive, independent left media, which has rightly criticised Starmer’s nascent dictatorship, might be right, but it is not the view of the political mainstream, which is largely sympathetic to the persecution of Corbynism. So far the media has ignored that Starmer crosses a line far more dangerous than what’s represented by Corbyn.

The examples never end of the political policing of supporters of the Labour left, representing the agenda of a totalitarian regime that’s emerged during the new Mccarthyism. To enforce this regime, the establishment has needed to reconcile the public to their own suppression. To rationalise its persecution of Corbynism, elites have treated it as a form of ideological extremism, with the implicit assumption that Blairite centrism is the only agenda deserving of time, attention and respect.

Policies crafted in the public interest generate outrage, while the cronyism and corruption of the centre is viewed as a standard. The leader of the opposition isn’t allowed to advocate policies that will resonate with the electorate, while the government is able to spin its self-serving policies in the media. And the narrow agenda of corporatocracy is protected by the media-politico complex, whilst the accurate criticisms levelled against it by independent media analysts is censored on social media.

This commitment to capitalist totalitarianism among elites – and therefore to the type of fascist reaction the West has so long thought itself immune from – is rationalised through the logic that it is a radical, progressive resistance to left fundamentalism. The monolithic ideology of capitalist realism has conquered heterogeneous, pluralist social democracy, making the superiority of the neoliberal regime the default assumption of the dominant political centre.

Buoyant radical hope for a Corbynite restoration of the UK’s neoliberal political economy to its former glory as a world-leading social democracy has been betrayed by a violent crackdown. Reactionary in nature, the censorship and propaganda that’s occurring is imposed by authoritarianism, because it’s built upon hierarchical, elitist power. And authoritarian hierarchical, elitist power is a system that’s evolved to efficiently exploit the weaknesses of the people.

The thought police of the ascendant Labour right yield authority from the aggressive Zionist psyops the elite class is happy to rehearse, and from the logic that Corbyn represents a fundamentalist threat to political virtues. Until we can next reelect a socialist to the leadership of the Labour party, the best we can do to resist these cynical, opportunistic attacks on democracy is to insist on fearlessly having the debate that Starmer so fears.

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There, it happened.

For my words, my words, my writings, I was dismissed like a waste, a thief, without the right to answer.

An experienced, competent emergency physician, appreciated by his colleagues for my actions in stressful situations, fired in the middle of COVID!

For words, for an image.

All you had to do was reassure people, defend your doctor, attenuate and wait for the storm to calm down…  and then talk.

I write, it’s true, things that disturb, dissident points of view, those who follow me on this site since 2009 know it.

When I resumed my writing starting in 2020, about the political management of the COVID crisis, but also generally, about the endemic corruption of medicine, science and official bodies in Belgium, I felt that it would be risky, really.

But I did not give up because I will never let my life be controlled by fear.

Some people say that I am unconscious. Do you think that after 17 years of treating people, in emergency, stress, often for 24 hours at a time, I could have done all this while being unconscious?

Some people say that I am irresponsible. I have always taken my responsibilities, preferred writing to speaking because it allows reflection, rereading, and I have always turned my tongue 7 times in my mouth, before finishing an article and sending it with all its sources and references. I have always respected the rules of the hospital, of society, even when, as they stand, they seemed crazy to me and likely to cause more harm than good. I have always put the safety of my patients above my convictions, preferring to explain, to convince through words and writings.

Some say I am a disgrace to the profession.

Those who say that are ignorant of my profession. Many people talk about critical care, especially today with Covid, when critical care has been around for 70 years, but do they even know, these accusing people, what they are talking about?

We can’t pretend, this is live, live, surrounded by death and suffering,

We don’t know how to lie and if we do, we get out. I’ve held on to it for 17 years and I only had to stop suddenly because of people who don’t like what I say, don’t like my opinions!

Some say, the most beautiful things, that I am anti-everything. Those who say that are certainly much more so than I am. I will tell you all the things I am for:

  1. The truth, in any case its permanent search and accept for that, to deceive me.
  2. Tolerance of other people’s ideas, opinions and writings.
  3. The will, in turn, to be able to express my ideas, opinions and writings.
  4. Respect for nature and animals
  5. Relief of pain and suffering
  6. Life in all its facets, music, sounds, songs, dances, colors, and therefore accept death, because one cannot live like this without accepting the idea of dying at any time.

I only wanted to ask questions, to give my points of view without ever imposing them, to question, to nuance, to contextualize, to reassure when others only want to terrorize.

I was condemned, thrown away for that.

I was forced to abandon my colleagues in difficulty, summoned to leave burning places by people who should not so easily spit on the help of one of their own, a resuscitator, for words, a picture!

That’s how it is.

They have that power.

And yet,

  • Professor Didier Raoult (France)
  • Professor Christian Perronne (France)
  • Professor Toubiana (France)
  • Professor Toussaint (France)
  • Professor Gala (Belgium)
  • And all those other doctors, caregivers, health care professionals,

Belgium :  https://docs4opendebate.be/fr/open-brief/ 

Netherlands: https://opendebat.info/  et https://brandbriefggz.nl/ 

US Frontline Doctors : https://www.xandernieuws.net/algemeen/groep-artsen-vs-komt-in-verzet-facebook-bant-hun-17-miljoen-keer-bekeken-video/ 

Spain: https://niburu.co/gezondheid/15385-artsen-komen-massaal-met-coronawaarheid-naar-buiten 

Germany: https://acu2020.org/international/ 

Belgium : https://omgekeerdelockdown.simplesite.com/?fbclid=IwAR2bJAAShAlIidjnRQPyVSoZbk1Uj-FTHAthL77hKX_Oo8aMLN3V6DdwAac 

https://www.lalibre.be/belgique/enseignement/septante-medecins-flamands-demandent-l-abolition-du-masque-dans-les-ecoles-une-menace-serieuse-pour-leur-developpement-5f58a5189978e2322fa9d32c 

https://belgiumbeyondcovid.be/ 

France : https://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/provence-alpes-cote-d-azur/bouches-du-rhone/marseille/covid-tribune-pres-300-scientifiques-denoncent-mesures-gouvernementales-disproportionnees-1878840.html 

We are all of them.

There are thousands of us.

Thanks to all of you who want a world where the word is respected, truth is defended, freedom is a reality.

I will never let fear rule my life. Don’t negotiate with fear.

Dr. Pascal Sacré

Featured Photo: Citizen Initiative Video

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While Donald Trump continues to stoke the flames of division and uncertainty surrounding election 2020, the Establishment is also preparing for the possibility of martial law in response to this chaos. Meanwhile, the public is being prepped for a second wave of COVID-19 infections which could lead to the foreshadowed Darkest Winter. While we don’t care to instill fear we do encourage everyone to heed these warnings and be prepared for potential unrest in the days and weeks following the election.

– Derrick Broze, excerpt of The Darkest Winter [1]

Without better planning, 2020 could be the darkest winter in human history.

– Richard Bright, Former Dir, DHS’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Auth (excerpted from Dark Winter)

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The ballots to the US Presidential election have been counted. That tally indicates that the Joe Biden won and that Donald Trump lost. [2]

The battle isn’t quite over yet. Trump insisted since the night of the election that he won. Biden’s victory after the fact was, according to Trump, a product of election-rigging and fraud.

None of the courts to which he has challenged the election results have so far seen any substantial evidence of election fraud. But not only is the 45th President sticking to his guns, but a huge swath of the population – fully 70 percent of the Republican Party – is backing the President’s position!

The interesting development though is how this circumstance was predicted as an outcome! In October, the site TheLastAmericanVagabond.com featured extensive conversations about election simulations guided by the Transition Integrity Project (TIP). The drill anticipated scenarios where Trump lost the election but refused to accept defeat under any circumstances, resulting in chaos confusion and possibly a potential civil war.

On October 29, a video, The Darkest Winter, debuted about 5 days in advance of the election. It was intended as a message and a warning to members of the general public. Not only was it about the election result, it highlighted the potential for a second wave of COVID-19, which was predicted by several officials, and even the prospect of martial law being invoked to contain the ebullient spirits waking up opposing any establishment narratives.

The author of The Darkest Winter is a young man by the name of Derrick Broze. He will be our feature guest this week.

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For about 40 minutes, he not only expands on his video prediction, he focuses on The Great Reset being planned as a strategy for resolving COVID-19 and other issues related to the economy, technology, the environment and other issues. He will also share his views on Operation Warp Speed and the alliance of vaccines with bio-electronics placed inside the body. And he will discuss the issues associated with the immense 5G project.

Following the interview, we will pay a clip from Dr. Roger Hodkinson, a prominent physician and CEO speaking the Edmonton City Hall earlier in November in opposition to the ‘anti-COVID’ strategies being implemented.

Derrick Broze is a freelance investigative journalist, documentary film maker, author, public speaker and, in 2019, a candidate for Mayor of his town Houston. Derrick is the author of 5 books and writer of 5 documentaries. He is currently a staff writer for The Last American Vagabond, co-host of Free Thinker Radio on 90.1 Houston, and the founder of The Conscious Resistance Network & The Houston Free Thinkers.

Roger Hodkinson received his medical degree at Cambridge University and is the CEO of Western Medical Assessments providing Independent Medical Examinations (IMEs) to insurance companies, employers, and lawyers. He is the CEO of a biotech company that manufactures COVID tests. He is also a general practitioner in the UK and Canada, a Pathologist with the Medical Examiner’s Office in Edmonton, and the President of the Alberta Society of Laboratory Physicians.

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The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca .
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Notes:

  1. https://www.thelastamericanvagabond.com/darkest-winter/
  2. Sarah Elbeshbishi (Nov. 25, 2020) ‘Biden won, but technically the election’s not over: What to expect in the next 60 days’, USA Today; https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/politics/elections/2020/11/13/electoral-process-and-what-expect/6234952002/
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Introduction: using a technique to lock down society

All current propaganda on the COVID-19 pandemic is based on an assumption that is considered obvious, true and no longer questioned:

Positive RT-PCR test means being sick with COVID. This assumption is misleading.

Very few people, including doctors, understand how a PCR test works.

RT-PCR means Real Time-Polymerase Chain Reaction.

In French, it means: Réaction de Polymérisation en Chaîne en Temps Réel.

In medicine, we use this tool mainly to diagnose a viral infection.

Starting from a clinical situation with the presence or absence of particular symptoms in a patient, we consider different diagnoses based on tests.

In the case of certain infections, particularly viral infections, we use the RT-PCR technique to confirm a diagnostic hypothesis suggested by a clinical picture.

We do not routinely perform RT-PCR on any patient who is overheated, coughing or has an inflammatory syndrome!

It is a laboratory, molecular biology technique of gene amplification because it looks for gene traces (DNA or RNA) by amplifying them.

In addition to medicine, other fields of application are genetics, research, industry and forensics.

The technique is carried out in a specialized laboratory, it cannot be done in any laboratory, even a hospital. This entails a certain cost, and a delay sometimes of several days between the sample and the result.

Today, since the emergence of the new disease called COVID-19 (COrona VIrus Disease-2019), the RT-PCR diagnostic technique is used to define positive cases, confirmed as SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus responsible for the new acute respiratory distress syndrome called COVID-19).

These positive cases are assimilated to COVID-19 cases, some of whom are hospitalized or even admitted to intensive care units.

Official postulate of our managers: positive RT-PCR cases = COVID-19 patients. [1]

This is the starting postulate, the premise of all official propaganda, which justifies all restrictive government measures: isolation, confinement, quarantine, mandatory masks, color codes by country and travel bans, tracking, social distances in companies, stores and even, even more importantly, in schools [2].

This misuse of RT-PCR technique is used as a relentless and intentional strategy by some governments, supported by scientific safety councils and by the dominant media, to justify excessive measures such as the violation of a large number of constitutional rights, the destruction of the economy with the bankruptcy of entire active sectors of society, the degradation of living conditions for a large number of ordinary citizens, under the pretext of a pandemic based on a number of positive RT-PCR tests, and not on a real number of patients.

Technical aspects: to better understand and not be manipulated

The PCR technique was developed by chemist Kary B. Mullis in 1986. Kary Mullis was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1993.

Although this is disputed [3], Kary Mullis himself is said to have criticized the interest of PCR as a diagnostic tool for an infection, especially a viral one.

He stated that if PCR was a good tool for research, it was a very bad tool in medicine, in the clinic [4].

Mullis was referring to the AIDS virus (HIV retrovirus or HIV) [5], before the COVID-19 pandemic, but this opinion on the limitation of the technique in viral infections [6], by its creator, cannot be dismissed out of hand; it must be taken into account!

PCR was perfected in 1992.

As the analysis can be performed in real time, continuously, it becomes RT (Real-Time) – PCR, even more efficient.

It can be done from any molecule, including those of the living, the nucleic acids that make up the genes:

  • DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)
  • RNA (Ribonucleic Acid)

Viruses are not considered as “living” beings, they are packets of information (DNA or RNA) forming a genome.

It is by an amplification technique (multiplication) that the molecule sought is highlighted and this point is very important.

RT-PCR is an amplification technique [7].

If there is DNA or RNA of the desired element in a sample, it is not identifiable as such.

This DNA or RNA must be amplified (multiplied) a certain number of times, sometimes a very large number of times, before it can be detected. From a minute trace, up to billions of copies of a specific sample can be obtained, but this does not mean that there is all that amount in the organism being tested.

In the case of COVID-19, the element sought by RT-PCR is SARS-CoV-2, an RNA virus [8].

There are DNA viruses such as Herpes and Varicella viruses.

The most well known RNA viruses, in addition to coronaviruses, are Influenza, Measles, EBOLA, ZIKA viruses.

In the case of SARS-CoV-2, RNA virus, an additional specific step is required, a transcription of RNA into DNA by means of an enzyme, Reverse Transcriptase.

This step precedes the amplification phase.

It is not the whole virus that is identified, but sequences of its viral genome.

This does not mean that this gene sequence, a fragment of the virus, is not specific to the virus being sought, but it is an important nuance nonetheless:

RT-PCR does not reveal any virus, but only parts, specific gene sequences of the virus.

At the beginning of the year, the SARS-CoV-2 genome was sequenced.

It consists of about 30,000 base pairs. The nucleic acid (DNA-RNA), the component of the genes, is a sequence of bases. In comparison, the human genome has more than 3 billion base pairs.

Teams are continuously monitoring the evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 viral genome as it evolves [9-10-11], through the mutations it undergoes. Today, there are many variants [12].

By taking a few specific genes from the SARS-CoV-2 genome, it is possible to initiate RT-PCR on a sample from the respiratory tract.

For COVID-19 disease, which has a nasopharyngeal (nose) and oropharyngeal (mouth) entry point, the sample should be taken from the upper respiratory tract as deeply as possible in order to avoid contamination by saliva in particular.

A

ll the people tested said that it is very painful [13].

The Gold Standard (preferred site for sampling) is the nasopharyngeal (nasal) approach, the most painful route.

If there is a contraindication to the nasal approach, or preferably to the individual being tested, depending on the official organs, the oropharyngeal approach (through the mouth) is also acceptable. The test may trigger a nausea/vomiting reflex in the individual being tested.

Normally, for the result of an RT-PCR test to be considered reliable, amplification from 3 different genes (primers) of the virus under investigation is required.

“The primers are single-stranded DNA sequences specific to the virus. They guarantee the specificity of the amplification reaction. » [14]

“The first test developed at La Charité in Berlin by Dr. Victor Corman and his associates in January 2020 allows to highlight the RNA sequences present in 3 genes of the virus called E, RdRp and N. To know if the sequences of these genes are present in the RNA samples collected, it is necessary to amplify the sequences of these 3 genes in order to obtain a signal sufficient for their detection and quantification. »[15].

The essential notion of Cycle Time or Cycle Threshold or Ct positivity threshold [16].

An RT-PCR test is negative (no traces of the desired element) or positive (presence of traces of the desired element).

However, even if the desired element is present in a minute, negligible quantity, the principle of RT-PCR is to be able to finally highlight it by continuing the amplification cycles as much as necessary.

RT-PCR can push up to 60 amplification cycles, or even more!

Here is how it works:

Cycle 1: target x 2 (2 copies)

Cycle 2: target x 4 (4 copies)

Cycle 3: target x 8 (8 copies)

Cycle 4: target x 16 (16 copies)

Cycle 5; target x 32 (32 copies)

Etc exponentially up to 40 to 60 cycles!

When we say that the Ct (Cycle Time or Cycle Threshold or RT-PCR positivity threshold) is equal to 40, it means that the laboratory has used 40 amplification cycles, i.e. obtained 240 copies.

This is what underlies the sensitivity of the RT-PCR assay.

While it is true that in medicine we like to have high specificity and sensitivity of the tests to avoid false positives and false negatives, in the case of COVID-19 disease, this hypersensitivity of the RT-PCR test caused by the number of amplification cycles used has backfired.

This over-sensitivity of the RT-PCR test is deleterious and misleading!

It detaches us from the medical reality which must remain based on the real clinical state of the person: is the person ill, does he or she have symptoms?

That is the most important thing!

As I said at the beginning of the article, in medicine we always start from the person: we examine him/her, we collect his/her symptoms (complaints-anamnesis) and objective clinical signs (examination) and on the basis of a clinical reflection in which scientific knowledge and experience intervene, we make diagnostic hypotheses.

Only then do we prescribe the most appropriate tests, based on this clinical reflection.

We constantly compare the test results with the patient’s clinical condition (symptoms and signs), which takes precedence over everything else when it comes to our decisions and treatments.

Today, our governments, supported by their scientific safety advice, are making us do the opposite and put the test first, followed by a clinical reflection necessarily influenced by this prior test, whose weaknesses we have just seen, particularly its hypersensitivity.

None of my clinical colleagues can contradict me.

Apart from very special cases such as genetic screening for certain categories of populations (age groups, sex) and certain cancers or family genetic diseases, we always work in this direction: from the person (symptoms, signs) to the appropriate tests, never the other way around.

This is the conclusion of an article in the Swiss Medical Journal (RMS) published in 2007, written by doctors Katia Jaton and Gilbert Greub microbiologists from the University of Lausanne :

PCR in microbiology: from DNA amplification to result interpretation:

“To interpret the result of a PCR, it is essential that clinicians and microbiologists share their experiences, so that the analytical and clinical levels of interpretation can be combined.”

It would be indefensible to give everyone an electrocardiogram to screen everyone who might have a heart attack one day.

On the other hand, in certain clinical contexts or on the basis of specific evocative symptoms, there, yes, an electrocardiogram can be beneficial.

Back to RT-PCR and Ct (Cycle Time or Cycle Threshold).

In the case of an infectious disease, especially a viral one, the notion of contagiousness is another important element.

Since some scientific circles consider that an asymptomatic person can transmit the virus, they believe it is important to test for the presence of virus, even if the person is asymptomatic, thus extending the indication of RT-PCR to everyone.

Are RT-PCR tests good tests for contagiousness? [17]

This question brings us back to the notion of viral load and therefore Ct.

The relationship between contagiousness and viral load is disputed by some people [18] and no formal proof, to date, allows us to make a decision.

However, common sense gives obvious credence to the notion that the more virus a person has inside him or her, especially in the upper airways (oropharynx and nasopharynx), with symptoms such as coughing and sneezing, the higher the risk of contagiousness, proportional to the viral load and the importance of the person’s symptoms.

This is called common sense, and although modern medicine has benefited greatly from the contribution of science through statistics and Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM), it is still based primarily on common sense, experience and empiricism.

Medicine is the art of healing.

No test measures the amount of virus in the sample!

RT-PCR is qualitative: positive (presence of the virus) or negative (absence of the virus).

This notion of quantity, therefore of viral load, can be estimated indirectly by the number of amplification cycles (Ct) used to highlight the virus sought.

The lower the Ct used to detect the virus fragment, the higher the viral load is considered to be (high).

The higher the Ct used to detect the virus fragment, the lower the viral load is considered to be (low).

Thus, the French National Reference Centre (CNR), in the acute phase of the pandemic, estimated that the peak of viral shedding occurred at the onset of symptoms, with an amount of virus corresponding to approximately 108 (100 million) copies of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA on average (French COVID-19 cohort data) with a variable duration of shedding in the upper airways (from 5 days to more than 5 weeks) [19].

This number of 108 (100 million) copies/μl corresponds to a very low Ct.

A Ct of 32 corresponds to 10-15 copies/μl.

A Ct of 35 corresponds to about 1 copy/μl.

Above Ct 35, it becomes impossible to isolate a complete virus sequence and culture it!

In France and in most countries, Ct levels above 35, even 40, are still used even today!

The French Society of Microbiology (SFM) issued an opinion on September 25, 2020 in which it does not recommend quantitative results, and it recommends to make positive up to a Ct of 37 for a single gene [20]!

With 1 copy/μl of a sample (Ct 35), without cough, without symptoms, one can understand why all these doctors and scientists say that a positive RT-PCR test means nothing, nothing at all in terms of medicine and clinic!

Positive RT-PCR tests, without any mention of Ct or its relation to the presence or absence of symptoms, are used as is by our governments as the exclusive argument to apply and justify their policy of severity, austerity, isolation and aggression of our freedoms, with the impossibility to travel, to meet, to live normally!

There is no medical justification for these decisions, for these governmental choices!

In an article published on the website of the New York Times (NYT) on Saturday, August 29, American experts from Harvard University are surprised that RT-PCR tests as practiced can serve as tests of contagiousness, even more so as evidence of pandemic progression in the case of SARS-CoV-2 infection [21].

According to them, the threshold (Ct) considered results in positive diagnoses in people who do not represent any risk of transmitting the virus!

The binary “yes/no” answer is not enough, according to this epidemiologist from the Harvard University School of Public Health.

“It’s the amount of virus that should dictate the course of action for each patient tested. »

The amount of virus (viral load); but also and above all the clinical state, symptomatic or not of the person!

This calls into question the use of the binary result of this RT-PCR test to determine whether a person is contagious and must follow strict isolation measures.

These questions are being raised by many physicians around the world, not only in the United States but also in France, Belgium (Belgium Health Experts Demand Investigation Of WHO For Faking Coronavirus Pandemic), France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States and the United Kingdom. in Germany, Spain…

According to them: “We are going to put tens of thousands of people in confinement, in isolation, for nothing. » [22]. 22] And inflict suffering, anguish, economic and psychological dramas by the thousands!

Most RT-PCR tests set the Ct at 40, according to the NYT. Some set it at 37.

“Tests with such high thresholds (Ct) may not only detect live virus but also gene fragments, remnants of an old infection that do not represent any particular danger,” the experts said.

A virologist at the University of California admits that an RT-PCR test with a Ct greater than 35 is too sensitive. “A more reasonable threshold would be between 30 and 35,” she adds.

Almost no laboratory specifies the Ct (number of amplification cycles performed) or the number of copies of viral RNA per sample μl.

Here is an example of a laboratory result (approved by Sciensano, the Belgian national reference center) in an RT-PCR negative patient:

No mention of Ct.

In the NYT, experts compiled three datasets with officials from the states of Massachusetts, New York and Nevada that mention them.

Conclusion?

Up to 90% of the people who tested positive did not carry a virus. »

The Wadworth Center, a New York State laboratory, analyzed the results of its July tests at the request of the NYT: 794 positive tests with a Ct of 40.

With a Ct threshold of 35, approximately half of these PCR tests would no longer be considered positive,” said the NYT.

“And about 70% would no longer be considered positive with a Ct of 30! “

In Massachusetts, between 85 and 90% of people who tested positive in July with a Ct of 40 would have been considered negative with a Ct of 30, adds the NYT. And yet, all these people had to isolate themselves, with all the dramatic psychological and economic consequences, while they were not sick and probably not contagious at all.

In France, the Centre National de Référence (CNR), the French Society of Microbiology (SFM) continue to push Ct to 37 and recommend to laboratories to use only one gene of the virus as a primer.

I remind you that from Ct 32 onwards, it becomes very difficult to culture the virus or to extract a complete sequence, which shows the completely artificial nature of this positivity of the test, with such high Ct levels, above 30.

Similar results were reported by researchers from the UK Public Health Agency in an article published on August 13 in Eurosurveillance: “The probability of culturing the virus drops to 8% in samples with Ct levels above 35.” [23]

In addition, currently, the National Reference Center in France only evaluates the sensitivity of commercially available reagent kits, not their specificity: serious doubts persist about the possibility of cross-reactivity with viruses other than SARS-CoV-2, such as other benign cold coronaviruses. [20]

It is potentially the same situation in other countries, including Belgium.

Similarly, mutations in the virus may have invalidated certain primers (genes) used to detect SARS-CoV-2: the manufacturers give no guarantees on this, and if the AFP fast-checking journalists tell you otherwise, test their good faith by asking for these guarantees, these proofs.

If they have nothing to hide and if what I say is false, this guarantee will be provided to you and will prove their good faith.

  1. We must demand that the RT-PCR results be returned mentioning the Ct used because beyond Ct 30, a positive RT-PCR test means nothing.
  2. We must listen to the scientists and doctors, specialists, virologists who recommend the use of adapted Ct, lower, at 30. An alternative is to obtain the number of copies of viral RNA/μl or /ml sample. [23]
  3. We need to go back to the patient, to the person, to his or her clinical condition (presence or absence of symptoms) and from there to judge the appropriateness of testing and the best way to interpret the result.

Until there is a better rationale for PCR screening, with a known and appropriate Ct threshold, an asymptomatic person should not be tested in any way.

Even a symptomatic person should not automatically be tested, as long as they can place themselves in isolation for 7 days.

Let’s stop this debauchery of RT-PCR testing at too high Ct levels and return to clinical, quality medicine.

Once we understand how RT-PCR testing works, it becomes impossible to let the current government routine screening strategy, inexplicably supported by the virologists in the safety councils, continue.

My hope is that, finally, properly informed, more and more people will demand that this strategy be stopped, because it is all of us, enlightened, guided by real benevolence and common sense, who must decide our collective and individual destinies.

No one else should do it for us, especially when we realize that those who decide are no longer reasonable or rational.

Summary of important points :

  • The RT-PCR test is a laboratory diagnostic technique that is not well suited to clinical medicine.
  • It is a binary, qualitative diagnostic technique that confirms (positive test) or not (negative test) the presence of an element in the medium being analyzed. In the case of SARS-CoV-2, the element is a fragment of the viral genome, not the virus itself.
  • In medicine, even in an epidemic or pandemic situation, it is dangerous to place tests, examinations, techniques above clinical evaluation (symptoms, signs). It is the opposite that guarantees quality medicine.
  • The main limitation (weakness) of the RT-PCR test, in the current pandemic situation, is its extreme sensitivity (false positive) if a suitable threshold of positivity (Ct) is not chosen. Today, experts recommend using a maximum Ct threshold of 30.
  • This Ct threshold must be informed with the positive RT-PCR result so that the physician knows how to interpret this positive result, especially in an asymptomatic person, in order to avoid unnecessary isolation, quarantine, psychological trauma.
  • In addition to mentioning the Ct used, laboratories must continue to ensure the specificity of their detection kits for SARS-CoV-2, taking into account its most recent mutations, and must continue to use three genes from the viral genome being studied as primers or, if not, mention it.

 

Overall Conclusion

Is the obstinacy of governments to use the current disastrous strategy, systematic screening by RT-PCR, due to ignorance?

Is it due to stupidity?

To a kind of cognitive trap trapping their ego?

In any case, we should be able to question them, and if among the readers of this article there are still honest journalists, or naive politicians, or people who have the possibility to question our rulers, then do so, using these clear and scientific arguments.

It is all the more incomprehensible that our rulers have surrounded themselves with some of the most experienced specialists in these matters.

If I have been able to gather this information myself, shared, I remind you, by competent people above all suspicion of conspiracy, such as Hélène Banoun, Pierre Sonigo, Jean-François Toussaint, Christophe De Brouwer, whose intelligence, intellectual honesty and legitimacy cannot be questioned, then the Belgian, French and Quebec scientific advisors, etc., know all this as well.

So?

What’s going on?

Why continue in this distorted direction, obstinately making mistakes?

It is not insignificant to reimpose confinements, curfews, quarantines, reduced social bubbles, to shake up again our shaky economies, to plunge entire families into precariousness, to sow so much fear and anxiety generating a real state of post-traumatic stress worldwide, to reduce access to care for other pathologies that nevertheless reduce life expectancy much more than COVID-19! [24]

Is there intent to harm?

Is there an intention to use the alibi of a pandemic to move humanity towards an outcome it would otherwise never have accepted? In any case, not like that!

Would this hypothesis, which modern censors will hasten to label “conspiracy”, be the most valid explanation for all this?

Indeed, if we draw a straight line from the present events, if they are maintained, we could find ourselves once again confined with hundreds, thousands of human beings forced to remain inactive, which, for the professions of catering, entertainment, sales, fairgrounds, itinerants, canvassers, risks being catastrophic with bankruptcies, unemployment, depression, suicides by the hundreds of thousands. [25-26-27-28]

The impact on education, on our children, on teaching, on medicine with long planned care, operations, treatments to be cancelled, postponed, will be profound and destructive.

“We risk a looming food crisis if action is not taken quickly.”  [29].

It is time for everyone to come out of this negative trance, this collective hysteria, because famine, poverty, massive unemployment will kill, mow down many more people than SARS-CoV-2!

Does all this make sense in the face of a disease that is declining, over-diagnosed and misinterpreted by this misuse of overly sensitively calibrated PCR tests?

For many, the continuous wearing of the mask seems to have become a new norm.

Even if it is constantly downplayed by some health professionals and fact-checking journalists, other doctors warn of the harmful consequences, both medical and psychological, of this hygienic obsession which, maintained permanently, is in fact an abnormality!

What a hindrance to social relations, which are the true foundation of a physically and psychologically healthy humanity!

Some dare to find all this normal, or a lesser price to pay in the face of the pandemic of positive PCR tests.

Isolation, distancing, masking of the face, impoverishment of emotional communication, fear of touching and kissing even within families, communities, between relatives…

Spontaneous gestures of daily life hindered and replaced by mechanical and controlled gestures …

Terrified children, kept in permanent fear and guilt…

All this will have a deep, lasting and negative impact on human organisms, in their physical, mental, emotional and representation of the world and society.

This is not normal!

We cannot let our rulers, for whatever reason, organize our collective suicide any longer.

Translated from French by Global Research. Original source: Mondialisation.ca

Dr Pascal Sacré is a physician specialized in critical care, author and renowned public health analyst, Charleroi, Belgium. He is a Research Associate of the  entre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

****

Professionals whose references and comments are the basis of this article in its scientific aspect (especially and mainly on RT-PCR):

1) Hélène Banoun

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Helene_Banoun

PhD, Pharmacist biologist

Former INSERM Research Officer

Former intern at the Paris Hospitals

2) Pierre Sonigo

Virologist

Research Director INSERM, worked at the Pasteur Institute

Heads the Virus Genetics Laboratory in Cochin, Paris.

Participated in 1985 in the sequencing of the AIDS virus.

3) Christophe De Brouwer

PhD in Public Health Science

Honorary Professor at the School of Public Health at ULB, Belgium

4) Jean-François Toussaint

Doctor, Professor of Physiology at the University of Paris-Descartes

Director of IRMES, Institute for BioMedical Research and Sports Epidemiology

Former member of the High Council of Public Health

***

Notes (French)

[1] “Une nette augmentation du nombre de cas dans toutes les provinces et toutes les tranches d’âge”, 7sur7 ACTU Belgique, 5-10-2020

[2] Le gouvernement belge renforce des mesures anti-Covid, VRT.be ; 6 octobre 2020.

[3] Non, l’inventeur du test PCR n’a pas dit que sa méthode était inefficace pour détecter les virus, dans Le Monde, 7 octobre 2020

[4] Kary Mullis : « Le test PCR ne permet pas de savoir si vous êtes malade », vidéo accessible sur YouTube, 9 octobre 2020.

[5] https://www.weblyf.com/2020/05/coronavirus-the-truth-about-pcr-test-kit-from-the-inventor-and-other-experts/ 

[6] « The Truth about PCR Test Kit from the Inventor and Other Experts »

[7] PCR en microbiologie : de l’amplification de l’ADN à l’interprétation du résultat 

[8] COVID : La PCR nasale peut-elle mentir ?, Dr Pascal Sacré, AIMSIB, 30 août 2020.

[9] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaAcSJI0oMs&feature=youtu.be, 8 octobre 2020. Évolution génomique des virus ARN à l’Institut Pasteur, environ la moitié des nucléotides sont susceptibles d’avoir muté sur les 30 000 nucléotides de l’ARN viral. « Pour l’instant aucune mutation ou délétion n’a été associée à une perte de sévérité de la maladie sur une grande échelle géographique mais de nombreuses publications devraient bientôt préciser ces points. »

[10] https://www.mediterranee-infection.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/FD_Raoult_SARS-CoV-2_EID_Sep2020_vL2.pdf, Article IHU-Méditerranée, Professeur D. Raoult, Dramatic increase in the SARS-CoV-2 mutation rate and low mortality rate during the second epidemic in summer in Marseille, 7 septembre 2020

Conclusions :

Dans l’ensemble, comme l’ont récemment souligné Tomaszewski et al. (7) qui ont décrit pour les génomes viraux disponibles jusqu’en mai 2020 un déplacement mutationnel sur la spike et le complexe de réplication vers des gènes codant pour d’autres protéines non structurelles qui interagissent avec les voies de défense de l’hôte, il semble que le taux de mutation du SARS-CoV-2 s’accélère depuis mai, impliquant principalement des mutations C vers U. L’augmentation du taux de mutation du SRAS-CoV-2 génère des génotypes viraux plus éloignés de la souche Wuhan initiale que ceux observés de mars à avril. Cela semble entraîner des épidémies de durée limitée, du moins pour le premier nouveau génotype que nous avons identifié, et est associé à une gravité globalement moindre à ce stade du développement de cette nouvelle épidémie.

Mutations observed in these seven different viral genotypes are located in most SARS- CoV-2 genes including structural and non-structural genes among which nsp2, nsp3 (predicted phosphoesterase), nsp5 (membrane glycoprotein), nsp12 (RNA-dependent RNA polymerase), S (Spike glycoprotein), ORF3a, E (membrane glycoprotein), M (membrane glycoprotein), ORF8 and N (Nucleocapsid phosphoprotein).

[11] https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Helene_Banoun Evolution of SARS-CoV-2: Review of mutations, role of the host immune system, octobre 2020, mise à jour par Hélène Banoun, 

PhD, Pharmacien biologiste, ancien Chargé de Recherches INSERM, ancien Interne des Hôpitaux de Paris.

[12] https://nextstrain.org/, We are incorporating SARS-CoV-2 genomes as soon as they are shared and providing analyses and situation reports. In addition we have developed a number of resources and tools, and are facilitating independent groups to run their own analysis. Please see the main SARS-CoV-2 page for more.

[13] Tutoriel prélèvement nasopharyngé : Un geste technique, essentiel à la fiabilité du test COVID-19 

[14] Covid-19 : comment fonctionnent les tests et quelles sont leurs utilités ?

[15] COMMENT FONCTIONNENT LES TESTS DE DÉPISTAGE DU COVID-19 ? 7 avril 2020, Laboratoire de biologie et pharmacologie appliquée (LBPA), Clémence Richetta, maître de conférences au département biologie de l’ENS Paris-Saclay et chercheuse en virologie au LBPA : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNVDHCf8bGA 

Independent researcher, PhD 9 

Former research fellow at INSERM (French Institute for Health and Medical Research) 

[16] Par Pierre Sonigo, virologiste (un des découvreurs du VIH), MD PhD, CSO at Sebia, clinical diagnostics

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/diagnostic-du-covid19-comprendre-les-tests-pcr-leur-et-pierre-sonigo/?trackingId=pTYxDkpvRzKHWZwCzxSIag%3D%3D

Diagnostic du COVID19 : comprendre les tests PCR, leur interprétation et leurs limites, publié le 16 septembre 2020

La PCR utilise un principe très particulier : la cible du test, un fragment d’ARN viral, est massivement amplifiée afin de permettre sa détection. Au cours de l’analyse, une réaction enzymatique associée à des « cycles » de variation de température permet une série de « réplications » successives de l’acide nucléique cible. Chaque cycle correspond à une multiplication théorique de la cible par 2. On multiplie donc par 2 en un cycle, par 4 en 2 cycles, par 8 en 3 cycles, par 16 en 4 cycles, et ainsi de suite de manière exponentielle. A l’heure actuelle, l’amplification est généralement pratiquée sur 40 cycles, soit une amplification théorique de 2^40, environ mille milliards de fois ! En réalité, la réplication n’est pas efficace à 100%, mais la cible est amplifiée environ un million de fois, ce qui permet de détecter moins d’une dizaine de fragments d’ARN dans le volume analysé.

Lorsque l’acide nucléique viral est détectable après un petit nombre de cycles, cela signifie que la quantité de virus dans l’échantillon de départ est grande. Au contraire, lorsqu’il faut un grand nombre de cycles de réplication pour détecter l’ARN viral, cela signifie que l’échantillon de départ contient une quantité de virus très faible. On parle alors en nombre de cycles, ou Ct, qui signifie « cycle time », pour définir, au moins de façon semi quantitative, la quantité d’ARN présent dans l’échantillon de départ. Ainsi, un petit Ct correspond à un grand nombre de copies, un grand Ct à un petit nombre de copies.

Cette spectaculaire sensibilité n’est pas sans inconvénient et nécessite des précautions particulières. En effet, un échantillon positif amplifié un million de fois contient une très haute concentration de cible et le risque qu’il contamine (carry over) d’autres échantillons est particulièrement élevé. La saturation des laboratoires peut encore accroître ce risque et générer des faux positifs accidentels. Dans ces conditions, il est important que les résultats positifs soient confirmés par un second test, à plus forte raison lorsqu’un test positif présente des conséquences significatives, qu’elles soient médicales, professionnelles ou liées à l’obligation d’isolement.

La deuxième question importante concernant la PCR, une fois encore conséquence de sa spectaculaire sensibilité, est celle de sa signification clinique. Un sujet parfaitement asymptomatique présentant une PCR positive ne peut être qualifié de « malade », comme on le lit dans les médias qui rapportent la progression de l’épidémie ! Peut-on même parler de « cas » ? C’est pourtant le terme utilisé dans les dénombrements officiels. Ne sommes-nous pas en train d’oublier le patient pour se focaliser sur la technologie ? Est-ce une épidémie d’ARN dans des tubes que nous surveillons ou une maladie grave et potentiellement mortelle ?

Des publications récentes soulignent que la dose détectable par PCR est inférieure à la dose infectieuse ou contagieuse : aucun virus infectieux n’a pu être retrouvé chez les patients asymptomatiques présentant des tests PCR positifs avec un Ct élevé. Suite à ces résultats, la question du seuil de Ct qui permet de déclarer un échantillon positif est débattue. Peut-on rendre un résultat négatif chez un sujet asymptomatique dont la positivité apparaît au-delà de 35 cycles ? A défaut, est-il utile de retester ces échantillons ? Comme souvent en matière de diagnostic médical, lorsqu’un seuil de positivité est déterminé, faut-il privilégier la sensibilité ou la spécificité du test ?

De plus, un échantillon confirmé positif d’un point de vue analytique reste un faux positif du point de vue de la clinique, si la personne testée est en parfaite santé, parfois même prêt à affronter une compétition de tennis ou de football professionnels ! La question devient uniquement celle de sa potentielle contagiosité. C’est la question de la transmission éventuelle par des sujets asymptomatiques, qui sans être eux-mêmes en danger, pourraient en représenter un pour les autres.

Par rapport à cette question, il est important de raisonner quantitativement. La virologie, ce n’est pas du tout ou rien. De manière générale, au cours des infections virales aiguës, le risque de contagion et la gravité de l’infection varient en fonction de la quantité de virus présents dans l’organisme et de leur excrétion dans le milieu extérieur. Quelques copies de virus tapis dans les sinus n’ont pas la dangerosité d’un million projetés par la toux. Un sujet asymptomatique produit moins de virus qu’un sujet symptomatique et les sécrète moins vers l’extérieur. La quantité de virus produite et donc le risque de contagion sont corrélés à la gravité des symptômes. Même si elle n’est pas de zéro, le risque de transmission est donc vraisemblablement faible pour un sujet asymptomatique. Malheureusement, répéter sans cesse que la contagion venant d’un sujet parfaitement asymptomatique est possible sans aucune précision sur le niveau de risque pousse à prendre des mesures disproportionnées avec le risque.

De même, la stratégie « dépister-isoler » n’est pas réaliste lorsque le dépistage n’est pas suffisamment fiable et surtout lorsque le virus est déjà largement répandu dans la population. Il est bien trop tard pour appliquer une méthode conçue pour bloquer une épidémie à sa naissance. Comme pour une invasion de coccinelles ou de frelons, on ne peut stopper un virus qui est déjà partout avec une passoire trouée à 25% et bouchée par endroits. L’échec de la stratégie actuelle est plutôt lié à sa conception naïve et inapplicable qu’aux mauvais comportements des citoyens. 

Si, comme on l’observe en ce moment, la diffusion virale reprend, faut-il dépister plus massivement ou revoir la stratégie de protection de la population ?

Cette question ne relève pas de la science. Elle dépend des risques acceptables par un individu ou par un groupe. Si on est dans la recherche du risque minimal, proche de zéro, parce que le risque n’a pas été quantifié, ou pour des raisons de responsabilité juridique, on doit prendre les précautions maximales. Si on accepte un risque même faible, on peut reprendre certaines libertés et protéger ceux qui en ont réellement besoin. 

Le scientifique doit mesurer la grandeur des risques et ne pas se contenter d’affirmer qu’un événement adverse est « possible ». Mais ce n’est pas son rôle de décider si ces risques peuvent être pris par autrui.

Les tests PCR permettent une détection extrêmement sensible de l’ARN viral. Ils sont indispensables mais ne sont pas la solution ultime et unique qui permettra de contrôler l’épidémie et de gérer efficacement les risques de contagion. Appliquée lorsque le virus est largement disséminé dans la population, la stratégie « dépister isoler » est vouée à l’échec. Du fait de la sensibilité très élevée et des limites de leur spécificité, les tests PCR doivent être pratiqués et interprétés avec précaution, et comme toujours en lien avec le contexte clinique et épidémiologique. N’oublions pas qu’un sujet asymptomatique doit plutôt être considéré comme immunisé que comme malade.

[17] Les tests RT-PCR du Covid-19 se révèlent être de très mauvais tests de contagiosité, Xavier Boisinet, mis à jour le 3/9/2020.

[18] De nombreuses publications partagées des milliers de fois sur les réseaux sociaux en quelques jours affirment que « 90% » des personnes déclarées positives au Covid-19 ont en fait des charges virales trop basses pour être « malades » ou « contagieuses ». C’est faux.

[19] Mise au point du CNR sur la réalisation des prélèvements et la sensibilité des tests RT-PCR pour la détection du SARS-CoV-2, 9 mai 2020

[20] Avis du 25 septembre 2020 de la Société Française de Microbiologie (SFM) relatif à l’interprétation de la valeur de Ct (estimation de la charge virale) obtenue en cas de RT-PCR SARS-CoV-2 positive sur les prélèvements cliniques réalisés à des fins diagnostiques ou de dépistage, 25 septembre 2020

[21] Coronavirus – Les tests PCR inadaptés contre l’épidémie? « Jusqu’à 90% de personnes testées ne seraient pas contagieuses », basé sur une étude d’une équipe de Harvard ( Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health) de Michael Mina, département d’épidémiologie, je vous mets en fichier joint le PDF correspondant, une étude, reprise par le NY Times :

« Pour eux, la limite du test PCR (prélèvement par voie nasale ou salivaire) réside dans la brutalité et la simplicité du résultat qu’il donne. La personne est soit positive, soit négative. Pas plus de renseignement, notamment sur la contagiosité du malade.

Or, les scientifiques d’Harvard soulèvent le problème de la quantité de virus que ce test PCR ne donne pas et qui pourrait, selon eux, permettre de donner des clés supplémentaires pour contrer l’épidémie. 

« Les tests standards diagnostiquent un grand nombre de personnes qui peuvent être porteuses de quantités relativement insignifiantes du virus », explique ainsi le Dr. Michael Mina, épidémiologiste à la Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. »

[22] « Au rythme actuel avec nos tests RT-PCR, nous allons confiner des dizaines de milliers de gens pour rien », alerte le Dr. Yvon Le Flohic, manuel Moragues, 3 septembre 2020.

[23] Tests de diagnostic ultra sensibles, les tests RT-PCR sortent positifs même pour des individus qui portent trop peu de virus pour être encore contagieux. Pour en faire de meilleurs tests de contagiosité, certains appellent à baisser leur seuil de détection. Est-ce une bonne idée ? Quelles sont les limites de cette solution ? Décryptage.Xavier Boinivet, 15 septembre 2020

[24] Jean-Luc Gala (UCL) estime que les futures mesures de la Celeval, tel le lockdown, vont tuer l’économie, provoquer des suicides et déstabiliser l’État. Le Celeval, ou Cellule d’évaluation, est le groupe d’experts qui conseillent le gouvernement belge dans la gestion du COVID.

[25] L’OMS plaide pour éviter à tout prix les confinements : ‘Cela ne rend que les pauvres plus pauvres’

[26] Voici comment la pandémie risque de faire exploser la pauvreté mondiale, une première en 22 ans

[27] ‘Le coronavirus menace 500 millions de personnes de pauvreté’, prévient l’Oxfam. Ce n’est pas le coronavirus, la menace, mais l’attitude de nos gouvernants face au coronavirus !

[28] Le chômage de masse est désormais mondial

[29] ‘Nous risquons une crise alimentaire imminente si des mesures ne sont pas prises rapidement’. Encore une fois, ce n’est pas à cause du coronavirus, mais à cause de notre attitude face à cette crise.

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The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual meeting at the end of January in Davos, Switzerland, brings together international business and political leaders, economists and other high-profile individuals to discuss global issues. Driven by the vision of its influential CEO Klaus Schwab, the WEF is the main driving force for the dystopian ‘great reset’, a tectonic shift that intends to change how we live, work and interact with each other.

The Great Reset entails a transformation of society resulting in permanent restrictions on fundamental liberties and mass surveillance as entire sectors are sacrificed to boost the monopoly and hegemony of pharmaceuticals corporations, high-tech/big data giants, Amazon, Google, major global chains, the digital payments sector, biotech concerns, etc.

Using COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions to push through this transformation, the great reset is being rolled out under the guise of a ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ in which older enterprises are to be driven to bankruptcy or absorbed into monopolies, effectively shutting down huge sections of the pre-COVID economy. Economies are being ‘restructured’ and many jobs will be carried out by AI-driven machines.

In a short video below, the WEF predicts that by 2030, “You’ll own nothing and you’ll be happy.” A happy smiling face is depicted while a drone delivers a product to a household, no doubt ordered online and packaged by a robot in a giant Amazon warehouse: ‘no humans were involved in manufacturing, packaging or delivering this product’; rest assured, it is virus- and bacteria-free – because even in 2030, they will need to keep the fear narrative alive and well to maintain full-spectrum dominance over the population.

The jobless (and there will be many) could be placed on some kind of universal basic income and have their debts (indebtedness and bankruptcy on a massive scale is the deliberate result of lockdowns and restrictions) written off in return for handing their assets to the state or more precisely the financial institutions helping to drive this great reset. The WEF says the public will ‘rent’ everything they require: stripping the right of ownership under the guise of ‘sustainable consumption’ and ‘saving the planet’. Of course, the tiny elite who rolled out this great reset will own everything.

Hundreds of millions around the world deemed ‘surplus to requirements’ are to be robbed (are currently being robbed) of their livelihoods. Our every movement and purchase are to be monitored and our main dealings will be online.

The plan for individual citizens could reflect the strategy to be applied to nation states. For instance, World Bank Group President David Malpass has stated that poorer countries will be ‘helped’ to get back on their feet after the various lockdowns that have been implemented. This ‘help’ will be on condition that neoliberal reforms and the undermining of public services are implemented and become further embedded.

On 20 April, the Wall Street Journal ran the headline ‘IMF, World Bank Face Deluge of Aid Requests From Developing World. Scores of countries are asking for bailouts and loans from financial institutions with $1.2 trillion to lend. An ideal recipe for fuelling dependency.

In return for debt relief or ‘support’, global conglomerates along with the likes of Bill Gates will be able to further dictate national policies and hollow out the remnants of nation state sovereignty.

Identity and meaning

What will happen to our social and personal identity? Is that to be eradicated in the quest to commodify and standardise human behaviour and everything we do?

The billionaire class who are pushing this agenda think they can own nature and all humans and can control both, whether through geoengineering the atmosphere, for example, genetically modifying soil microbes or doing a better job than nature by producing bio-synthesised fake food in a lab.

They think they can bring history to a close and reinvent the wheel by reshaping what it means to be human. And they think they can achieve this by 2030. It is a cold dystopian vision that wants to eradicate thousands of years of culture, tradition and practices virtually overnight.

And many of those cultures, traditions and practices relate to food and how we produce it and our deep-rooted connections to nature. Consider that many of the ancient rituals and celebrations of our forebears were built around stories and myths that helped them come to terms with some of the most basic issues of existence, from death to rebirth and fertility. These culturally embedded beliefs and practices served to sanctify their practical relationship with nature and its role in sustaining human life.

As agriculture became key to human survival, the planting and harvesting of crops and other seasonal activities associated with food production were central to these customs. Freyfaxi marks the beginning of the harvest in Norse paganism, for example, while Lammas or Lughnasadh is the celebration of the first harvest/grain harvest in Paganism.

Humans celebrated nature and the life it gave birth to. Ancient beliefs and rituals were imbued with hope and renewal and people had a necessary and immediate relationship with the sun, seeds, animals, wind, fire, soil and rain and the changing seasons that nourished and brought life. Our cultural and social relationships with agrarian production and associated deities had a sound practical base.

Prof Robert W Nicholls explains that the cults of Woden and Thor were superimposed on far older and better-rooted beliefs related to the sun and the earth, the crops and the animals and the rotation of the seasons between the light and warmth of summer and the cold and dark of winter.

We need look no further than India to appreciate the important relationship between culture, agriculture and ecology, not least the vital importance of the monsoon and seasonal planting and harvesting. Rural-based beliefs and rituals steeped in nature persist, even among urban Indians. These are bound to traditional knowledge systems where livelihoods, the seasons, food, cooking, processing, seed exchange, healthcare and the passing on of knowledge are all inter-related and form the essence of cultural diversity within India itself.

Although the industrial age resulted in a diminution of the connection between food and the natural environment as people moved to cities, traditional ‘food cultures’ – the practices, attitudes and beliefs surrounding the production, distribution and consumption of food – still thrive and highlight our ongoing connection to agriculture and nature.

‘Hand of God’ Imperialism

If we go back to the 1950s, it is interesting to note Union Carbide’s corporate narrative based on a series of images that depicted the company as a ‘hand of god’ coming out of the sky to ‘solve’ some of the issues facing humanity. One of the most famous images is of the hand pouring the firm’s agrochemicals on Indian soils as if traditional farming practices were somehow ‘backward’.

Despite well-publicised claims to the contrary, this chemical-driven approach did not lead to higher food production according to the paper ‘New Histories of the Green Revolution’ written by Prof Glenn Stone. However, it has had long-term devastating ecological, social and economic consequences (see Vandana Shiva’s book ‘The Violence of the Green Revolution’ and Bhaskar Save’s now famous and highly insightful open letter to Indian officials).

In the book ‘Food and Cultural Studies’ (Bob Ashley et al), we see how, some years ago, a Coca Cola TV ad campaign sold its product to an audience which associated modernity with a sugary drink and depicted ancient Aboriginal beliefs as harmful, ignorant and outdated. Coke and not rain became the giver of life to the parched. This type of ideology forms part of a wider strategy to discredit traditional cultures and portray them as being deficient and in need of assistance from ‘god-like’ corporations.

What we are seeing in 2020, is an acceleration of such processes. In terms of food and agriculture, traditional farming in places like India will be under increasing pressure from the big-tech giants and agribusiness to open up to lab-grown food, GMOs, genetically engineered soil microbes, data harvesting tools and drones and other ‘disruptive’ technologies.

The great reset includes farmerless farms being manned by driverless machines, monitored by drones and doused with chemicals to produce commodity crops from patented GM seeds for industrial ‘biomatter’ to be processed and constituted into something resembling food. What will happen to the farmers?

Post-COVID, the World Bank talks about helping countries get back on track in return for structural reforms. Are tens of millions of smallholder farmers to be enticed from their land in return for individual debt relief and universal basic income? The displacement of these farmers and the subsequent destruction of rural communities and their cultures was something the Gates Foundation once called for and cynically termed “land mobility”.

Cut through the euphemisms and it is clear that Bill Gates – and the other incredibly rich individuals behind the great reset – is an old-fashioned colonialist who supports the time-honoured dispossessive strategies of imperialism, whether this involves mining, appropriating and commodifying farmer knowledge, accelerating the transfer of research and seeds to corporations or facilitating intellectual property piracy and seed monopolies created through IP laws and seed regulations.

In places like India – still an agrarian-based society – will the land of these already (prior to COVID) heavily indebted farmers then be handed over to the tech giants, the financial institutions and global agribusiness to churn out their high-tech, data-driven GM industrial sludge? Is this part of the ‘own nothing, be happy’ bland brave new world being promoted by the WEF?

With the link completely severed between food production, nature and culturally embedded beliefs that give meaning and expression to life, we will be left with the individual human who exists on lab-based food, who is reliant on income from the state and who is stripped of satisfying productive endeavour and genuine self-fulfilment.

Technocratic meddling has already destroyed or undermined cultural diversity, meaningful social connections and agrarian ecosystems that draw on centuries of traditional knowledge and are increasingly recognised as valid approaches to secure food security (for example, see ‘Food Security and Traditional Knowledge in India’ in the Journal of South Asian Studies). The massive technocratic transformation currently envisaged regards humans as commodities to be controlled and monitored just like the lifeless technological drones and AI being promoted.

But do not worry – you will be property-less and happy in your open prison of mass unemployment, state dependency, track and chip health passports, cashlessness, mass vaccination and dehumanisation.

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Featured image is from Countercurrents.org

Introduction

Red Zones, the facemask, social distancing, the closing down of schools, colleges and universities, no more family gatherings, no birthday celebrations, music, the arts: no more cultural events, sport events are suspended, no more weddings, “love and life” is banned outright.

And in several countries, Christmas is on hold … 

It’s the destruction of people’s  lives. It is the destabilization of civil society. And for What? 

The Lies are sustained by a massive media disinformation campaign. 24/7, Incessant and repetitive “Covid alerts” for the last ten months. … It is a process of social engineering. 

Manipulation of the Estimates. The RT-PCR Tests are Misleading.

What they want is to hike up the numbers so as to justify the Lockdown. 

Millions of covid-Positive Tests.

According to Dr. Pascal Sacré in an article entitled: The COVID-19 RT-PCR Test: How to Mislead All Humanity. Using a “Test” To Lock Down Society.

This misuse of RT-PCR technique is used as a relentless and intentional strategy by some governments, supported by scientific safety councils and by the dominant media, to justify excessive measures such as the violation of a large number of constitutional rights, the destruction of the economy with the bankruptcy of entire active sectors of society, the degradation of living conditions for a large number of ordinary citizens, under the pretext of a pandemic based on a number of positive RT-PCR tests, and not on a real number of patients.

Covid-19 is portrayed as the “killer Virus”.

Falsifying Death Certificates

In the US, the deaths certificates are falsified on the instructions of the CDC.

COVID-19:  The “underlying cause of death”. This concept is fundamental. It is defined by the WHO as “the disease or injury that initiated the train of events leading directly to death”.

The criteria have been changed. In the US, the CDC instructions are crystal clear.  COVID-19 will be the underlying cause of death “more often than not”    

click screenshot below to access CDC document (pdf):

Destroying Civil Society 

People are frightened and puzzled. “Why would they do this?”

Empty schools, Empty airports, bankrupt grocery stores.

In France “Churches are threatened with Kalashnikovs over Covid-19 outbreak” (April 2020)

The entire urban services economy is in crisis. Shops, bars and restaurants are driven into bankruptcy. International travel and holidays are suspended.  Streets are empty. In several countries, bars and restaurants are required to take names and contact information “to support effective contact tracing if necessary“.

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Free Speech is Suppressed

The lockdown narrative is supported by media disinformation, online censorship, social engineering and the fear campaign.

Medical doctors who question the official narrative are threatened. They loose their jobs. Their careers are destroyed. Those who oppose the government lockdown are categorized as “anti-social psychopaths”: 

Peer reviewed psychological “studies” are currently being carried in several countries using sample surveys.

 Accept the “big Lie” and you are tagged as a “good person” with “empathy” who understands the feelings of others.

…[E]xpress reservations regarding  … social distancing and the wearing of the face mask, and you will  be tagged (according to “scientific opinion”) as a “callous and deceitful psychopath”.

In colleges and universities, the teaching staff is pressured to conform and endorse the official covid narrative. Questioning the legitimacy of the lockdown  in online “classrooms” could lead to dismissal.

Google is marketing the Big Lie. The opinions of prominent scientists who question the lockdown, the face-mask or social distancing are “taken down”:

“YouTube doesn’t allow content that spreads medical misinformation that contradicts the World Health Organization (WHO) or local health authorities‘ medical information about COVID-19, including on methods to prevent, treat or diagnose COVID-19, and means of transmission of COVID-19.” (emphasis added)

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They call it “fact checking”, without acknowledging that both the WHO and local health authorities contradict their own data and concepts.

March 11, 2020: Engineered Economic Depression. Global Coup d’Etat?

The Pandemic was launched by the WHO on March 11, 2020 leading to the Lockdown and closure of the national economies of 190 (out of 193) countries, member states of the United Nations. The instructions came from above, from Wall Street, the World Economic Forum, the billionaire foundations. This diabolical project is casually described by the corporate media as a “humanitarian” endeavor.  The “international community” has a “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P).  An unelected “private-public partnership” under the auspices of the World Economic Forum (WEF), has come to the rescue of  Planet Earth’s 7.8 billion people. The closure of the global economy is presented as a means to “killing the virus”.

Sounds absurd. Close down the real economy of Planet Earth is not the “solution” but rather the “cause” of a process of Worldwide destabilization and impoverishment.

The national economy combined with political, social and cultural institutions is the basis for the “reproduction of real life”: income, employment, production, trade, infrastructure, social services. Destabilizing the economy of Planet Earth cannot constitute a “solution” to combating the virus. But that is the imposed “solution” which they want us to believe in. And that is what they are doing.

 “Economic Warfare”

Destabilizing in one fell swoop the national economies of more 190 countries is an act of “economic warfare”. This diabolical agenda undermines the sovereignty of nation states. It impoverishes people Worldwide. It leads to a spiralling dollar denominated global debt.

The powerful structures of global capitalism, Big Money coupled with its  intelligence and military apparatus are the driving force. Using advanced digital and communications technologies, the Lockdown and Economic Closure of the global economy is unprecedented in World history.

This simultaneous intervention in 190 countries derogates democracy. It undermines the sovereignty of nation states Worldwide, without the need for military intervention.   It is an advanced system of economic warfare which overshadows other forms of warfare including conventional (Iraq-style) theater wars.

Global Governance Scenarios. World Government in the Post-Covid Era? 

The March 11 2020 Lockdown project uses lies and deception to ultimately impose a Worldwide totalitarian regime, entitled “Global Governance” (by unelected officials). In the words of David Rockefeller:

“…The world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.” (quoted by Aspen Times, August 15, 2011, emphasis added)

The Global Governance scenario imposes an agenda of social engineering and economic compliance.

“It constitutes an extension of the neoliberal policy framework imposed on both developing and developed countries. It consists in scrapping “national auto-determination” and constructing a Worldwide nexus of pro-US proxy regimes controlled by a “supranational sovereignty” (World Government) composed of leading financial institutions, billionaires and their philanthropic foundations.”(See Michel Chossudovsky, Global Capitalism, “World Government” and the Corona Crisis, May 1, 2020).

Simulating Pandemics

The Rockefeller Foundation proposes the use of scenario planning as a means to carry out “global governance”. (For further details, see Michel Chossudovsky, May 1, 2020). In the  Rockefeller’s 2010 Report entitled “Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development Area” scenarios of Global Governance and the actions to be taken in the case of a Worldwide pandemic are contemplated. More specifically, the report envisaged (p 18) the simulation of a Lock Step scenario including a global virulent influenza strain. The 2010 Rockefeller report was published in the immediate wake of the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic.

Another important simulation was carried out on October 18, 2019, less than 3 months before SARS-2 was identified in early January 2020.

Event 201 was held under the auspices of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and   the World Economic Forum. (For details see Michel Chossudovsky, March 1, 2020)

Intelligence and “The Art of Deception”

The Covid crisis is a sophisticated instrument of the power elites. It has all the features of a carefully planned intelligence op. using “deception and counter-deception”. Leo Strauss: “viewed intelligence as a means for policymakers to attain and justify policy goals, not to describe the realities of the world.” And that is precisely what they are doing in relation to Covid-19.

Video: The Event 201 Pandemic Exercise. October 18, 2019. Focusses on the extent of the pandemic. Also addresses within the simulation how do deal with online social media and so-called “misinformation”. (Listen carefully)

Macro-Economic Intervention. Evolution of the Global Economy 

History of Economic “Shock Treatment”. From The Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) to “Global Adjustment (GA)”

The March 11, 2020 (simultaneous) closing down of  the national economies of 190 member states of the UN is diabolical and unprecedented. Millions of people have lost their jobs, and their lifelong savings. In developing countries, poverty, famine and despair prevail.

While this model of “global intervention” is unprecedented, it has certain features reminiscent of  the country-level macro-economic reforms including the imposition of  strong “economic medicine” by the IMF. To address this issue let us examine the history of so-called “economic shock treatment”.

Flash back to Chile, September 11 1973.

As a visiting professor at the Catholic University of Chile, I lived through the military coup directed against the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende. It was a CIA op led by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger coupled with devastating macro-economic reforms.

Image on the left: Kissinger together with General Augusto Pinochet (1970s)

In the month following the Coup d’Etat, the price of bread increased from 11 to 40 escudos overnight. This engineered collapse of both real wages and employment under the Pinochet dictatorship was conducive to a nationwide process of impoverishment. While food prices had skyrocketed, wages had been frozen to ensure “economic stability and stave off inflationary pressures.” From one day to the next, an entire country had been precipitated into abysmal poverty: in less than a year the price of bread in Chile increased thirty-six times and eighty-five percent of the Chilean population had been driven below the poverty line.” That was Chile’s 1973 “Reset”

Two and a half years later in 1976, I returned to Latin America as a visiting professor at the National University of Cordoba in the northern industrial heartland of Argentina. My stay coincided with another military coup d’état in March 1976. Behind the massacres and human rights violations, “free market” macro-economic reforms had also been prescribed – this time under the supervision of Argentina’s New York creditors, including David Rockefeller who was a friend of The Junta’s  Minister of Economy José Alfredo Martinez de Hoz.

Image on the right: General President Jorge Videla, David Rockefeller and Argentina’s Economy Minister Martinez de Hoz, Buenos Aires (1970s)

Chile and Argentina were “dress rehearsals” for things to come: The imposition  of the IMF-World Bank Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) was imposed on more than 100 countries starting in the early 1980s. (See Michel Chossudovsky, The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order, Global Research, 2003)

A notorious example of the “free market”: Peru in August 1990  was punished for not conforming to IMF diktats: the price of fuel was hiked up 31 times and the price of bread increased more than twelve times in a single day. These reforms – carried out in the name of “democracy” – were far more devastating than those applied in Chile and Argentina under the fist of military rule.

And now on March 11, 2020, we enter a new phase of macro-economic destabilization, which is more devastating and destructive than 40 years of “shock treatment” and austerity measures imposed by the IMF on behalf of dominant financial interests.

There is rupture, a historical break as well as continuity. It’s “Neoliberalism to the n-th Degree”

Image on the left: Kissinger with Argentina’s Dictator General Jorge Videla (1970s)

Closure of the Global Economy: Economic and Social Impacts at the Level of the Entire Planet

Compare what is happening to the Global Economy today with the country by country “negotiated” macro-economic measures imposed by creditors under the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP). The March 11, 2020 “Global Adjustment” was not negotiated with national governments. It was imposed by a  “private/ public partnership”, supported by media propaganda, and accepted, invariably by co-opted and corrupt politicians.

“Engineered” Social Inequality and Impoverishment. The Globalization of Poverty 

Compare the March 11, 2020 “Global Adjustment” “guidelines” affecting the entire Planet to Chile September 11, 1973.

In a bitter irony, the same Big Money interests behind the 2020 “Global Adjustment” were actively involved in Chile (1973) and Argentina (1976). Remember “Operation Condor” and the “Dirty War” (Guerra Sucia).

There is continuity: The same powerful financial interests: The IMF and the World Bank bureaucracies are currently involved  in preparing and managing the” post-pandemic “New Normal” debt operations (on behalf of the creditors) under the Great Reset.

Henry Kissinger was involved in coordinating Chile’s 9/11, 1973 “Reset”.

The following year (1974), he was in charge of the drafting of the “National Strategic Security Memorandum 200 (NSSM 200) which identified depopulation as  “the highest priority in US foreign policy towards the Third World”.

The Thrust of “Depopulation” under the Great Reset? 

Today, Henry Kissinger is a firm supporter alongside the Gates Foundation (which is also firmly committed to depopulation) of the Great Reset under the auspices of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

No need to negotiate with national  governments or carry out “regime change”. The March 11, 2020 project constitutes a “Global Adjustment” which triggers bankruptcies, unemployment and privatization on a much larger scale affecting in one fell swoop the national economies of more than 150 countries.

And this whole process is presented to public opinion as a means to combating the “killer virus” which, according to the CDC and the WHO is similar to seasonal influenza. (Viruses A, B).

The Hegemonic Power Structure of Global Capitalism 

Big Money including the billionaire foundations are the driving force. It’s a complex alliance of  Wall Street and the Banking establishment, Big Oil and Energy, the so-called “Defense Contractors”, Big Pharma, the Biotech Conglomerates, the Corporate Media, the Telecom, Communications and Digital Technology Giants, together with a network of think tanks, lobby groups, research labs, etc. The ownership of intellectual property  also plays a central role.

This complex decision-making network involves major creditor and banking institutions: The Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank (ECB), the IMF, the World Bank, the regional development banks, and the Basel based Bank for International Settlements (BIS), which plays a key strategic role.

In turn, the upper echelons of the US State apparatus (and Washington’s Western Allies) are directly or indirectly involved, including the  Pentagon, US Intelligence (and its research labs), the Health authorities, Homeland Security and the US State Department (including US embassies in over 150 countries).

Ongoing Wealth Appropriation by The Super Rich  

“V the Virus” is said to be responsible for the wave of bankruptcies and unemployment. That’s a lie. There is no causal relationship between the virus and economic variables. It’s the powerful financiers and billionaires, who are behind this (decision-making) project which has contributed to the destabilization (Worldwide) of the real economy.

In the course of the last nine months, they have cashed in on billions of dollars. Between April and July the total wealth held by billionaires around the world has grown from $8 trillion to more than $10 trillion, 

The Forbes report does not explain the real cause of this massive redistribution of wealth:

“collective billionaire wealth has grown at its fastest rate over any period over the past decade.”

In fact it is the largest redistribution of global wealth in World history. It is predicated on a systematic process of Worldwide impoverishment. It is an act of economic warfare.

The billionaires were not only the recipients of generous “government stimulus packages” (i.e. Handouts), the bulk of their financial gains from  the outset of the Covid fear campaign in early February was the result of insider trading, foreknowledge, derivative trade and manipulation of  both financial and commodity markets. Warren Buffett rightfully identifies these speculative instruments as “Financial Weapons of Mass Destruction”.

The combined wealth of U.S. billionaires increased by $850 billion from March 18th, 2020 to October 8, 2020, an increase of over 28 percent. This estimate does not account for the increase in wealth during the period preceding March 18, which was marked by a series of stock market crashes. (See Michel Chossudovsky, Economic Chaos and Societal Destruction, November 7, 2020)

On March 18, 2020, U.S. billionaires had combined wealth of $2.947 trillion.  By October 8th, their wealth had surged to $3.8 trillion.

This upper billionaire class manipulates financial markets starting in February and then orders the closing down of the global economy on March 11, the stated objective of which was to combat Covid-19, i.e. similar to seasonal influenza.

The “Real Economy” and “Big Money”

Why are these Covid lockdown policies spearheading bankruptcy, poverty and unemployment?

Global capitalism is not monolithic. There is indeed “A Class Conflict” “between the super-rich and the vast majority of the World population.

But there is also intense rivalry within the capitalist system. Namely a conflict between “Big Money Capital” and what might be described as “Real Capitalism” which consists of corporations in different areas of productive activity at the national and regional levels. It also includes small and medium sized enterprises.

What is ongoing is a process of concentration of wealth (and control of advanced technologies) unprecedented in World history, whereby the financial establishment, (i.e. the multibillion dollar creditors) are slated to appropriate the real assets of both bankrupt companies as well as State assets.

The “Real Economy” constitutes “the economic landscape” of  real economic activity: productive assets, agriculture, industry, services, economic and social infrastructure, investment, employment, etc. The real economy at the global and national levels is being targeted by the lockdown and closure of economic activity. The Global Money financial institutions are the “creditors” of the real economy.

“The Second Wave”. Another Lockdown

Second Wave is a Lie. It is presented to public opinion as a means to combating the virus and saving lives.

That is what the governments are telling us. The fear campaign has gone into high gear, applied simultaneously in different regions of the world. 

Test, Test, Test, In the UK, the Armed Forces are involved in mass testing operations using the PCR, the objective of which is to push up the numbers of so-called positive cases.

If you live alone in the UK, you can set up a “Support Bubble (see left)

Needless to say: at the outset of this Second Wave, the global economy is already in a state of chaos. While the reports fail to reveal the depth and seriousness of this global crisis, the evidence (which is still tentative and incomplete) speaks for itself.

The rationale of the Second Wave is to prevent and postpone the reopening of the national economy, coupled with the enforcement of social distancing, the wearing of the face mask, etc.

The target are the service economy, the airlines, the tourist industry, etc.  Maintaining strict restrictions on air travel is tantamount to spearheading major airlines into bankruptcy.  The bankruptcy program is engineered and imposed. Solely in the US tourism and travel industry, 9.2 million jobs could be lost and “between 10.8 million and 13.8 million jobs … are at serious risk”.

And the Second Wave is intent upon enabling the billionaires to pick up the pieces, acquiring ownership of entire sectors of economic activity at rockbottom prices.

The money they appropriated in the course of the financial crisis (through outright manipulation) will be used to buy out bankrupt corporations as well as bankrupt governments.

Image: Hong Kong Airport. Empty.

Global Governance: Towards a Totalitarian State

The individuals and organizations involved in the October 18, 2019 201 Simulation are now involved in the actual management of the crisis once it went live on January 30th,  2020 under the WHO’s  Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), which in turn set the stage for the February financial crisis.

The lockdown and closure of national economies triggers a second spree of  mass unemployment coupled with the engineered bankruptcy (applied Worldwide)of  small and medium sized enterprises.

All of which is spearheaded by the installation of a global totalitarian State which is intent upon breaking all forms of protest and resistance.

The Vaccine

The Covid vaccination program (including the embedded digital passport) is an integral part of  a global totalitarian regime.

What is the infamous ID2020? It is an alliance of public-private partners, including UN agencies and civil society. It’s an electronic ID program that uses generalized vaccination as a platform for digital identity. The program harnesses existing birth registration and vaccination operations to provide newborns with a portable and persistent biometrically-linked digital identity.red zones, face masks, social distancing, lockdown, (Peter Koenig, March 12, 2020)

“The Great Reset”

The same powerful creditors which triggered the Covid Global Debt Crisis are now establishing a  “New Normal” which essentially consists in imposing what the World Economic Forum describes as the “Great Reset”:

Using COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions to push through this transformation, the Great Reset is being rolled out under the guise of a ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ in which older enterprises are to be driven to bankruptcy or absorbed into monopolies, effectively shutting down huge sections of the pre-COVID economy. Economies are being ‘restructured’ and many jobs will be carried out by AI-driven machines.

The jobless (and there will be many) would be placed on some kind of universal basic income and have their debts (indebtedness and bankruptcy on a massive scale is the deliberate result of lockdowns and restrictions) written off in return for handing their assets to the state or more precisely to the financial institutions helping to drive this Great Reset. The WEF says the public will ‘rent’ everything they require: stripping the right of ownership under the guise of ‘sustainable consumption’ and ‘saving the planet’. Of course, the tiny elite who rolled out this great reset will own everything. (Colin Todhunter,  Dystopian Great Reset, November 9, 2020)

By 2030, the global creditors will have appropriated the World’s wealth under the “Global Adjustment” scenario, while impoverishing large sectors of the World Population.

In 2030 “You’ll own nothing, And you’ll be happy.” (see video below)

The United Nations: An Instrument of Global Governance on Behalf of an Unelected Private/Public Partnership

The UN system is also complicit. It has endorsed “global governance” and The Great Reset.

While UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres rightfully acknowledges that the pandemic is “more than a health crisis”, no meaningful analysis or debate under UN auspices as to the real causes of this crisis has been undertaken.

According to a September 2020 UN Report:

“Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost. The lives of billions of people have been disrupted. In addition to the health impacts, COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated deep inequalities … It has affected us as individuals, as families, communities and societies. It has had an impact on every generation, including on those not yet born. The crisis has highlighted fragilities within and among nations, as well as in our systems for mounting a coordinated global response to shared threats. (UN Report)

The decisions which triggered social and economic destruction Worldwide are not mentioned.  No debate in the UN Security Council. Consensus among all Five Permanent Members of the UNSC.

V the Virus is held responsible.

The WEF “Reimagine and Reset our World” in a private-public partnership has been endorsed by the UN.

Flash back to George Kennan and the Truman Doctrine in the late 1940s. Kennan believed that the UN provided a useful way to “connect power with morality,” using morality, as a means to rubber-stamp America’s “humanitarian wars”.

The Covid crisis is the culmination of a historical process.

The lockdown and closure of the global economy are “weapons of mass destruction”.  What we are dealing with are extensive “crimes against humanity”.

Joe Biden and the “Great Reset”

“Elected President” Joe Biden is a groomed politician, a trusted proxy, serving the interests of the financial establishment.

Let’s not forget that Joe Biden was a firm supporter of the Invasion of Iraq on the grounds that Saddam Hussein “had weapons of mass destruction”. “The American People were deceived into this war”, said Senator Dick Durbin. Do not let yourself be deceived again by Joe Biden.

Evolving acronyms. 9/11, GWOT, WMD and now COVID: Biden was rewarded for having supported the invasion of Iraq.

Fox News describes him as a “socialist”  who threatens capitalism:  “Joe Biden’s disturbing connection to the socialist ‘Great Reset’ movement”. While this is absolute nonsense, many “progressives” and anti-war activists have endorsed Joe Biden without analyzing the broader consequences of a Biden presidency.

The Great Reset is socially divisive, it’s racist. It is a diabolical project of Global Capitalism. It constitutes a threat to the large majority of Americans workers as well as to small and medium sized enterprises. A Biden-Harris administration actively involved in carrying out the “Great Reset” is a threat to humanity.

With regard to Covid, Biden is firmly committed to the “Second Wave”, i.e. maintaining the partial closing down of both the US economy and the global economy as a means to “combating the killer virus”.

Joe Biden will push for the adoption of  the WEF’s “Great Reset” both nationally and internationally, with devastating economic and social consequences. The 2021 World Economic Forum (WEF) scheduled for Summer 2021 will focus on the implementation of  the “Great Reset”

A Joe Biden administration would actively pursue Big Money’s totalitarian blueprint: The Great Reset. 

Unless there is significant protest and organized resistance, nationally and internationally, the Great Reset will be embedded in both domestic and US foreign policy agendas of the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris administration.

It’s what you call Imperialism with a “Human Face”.

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Michel Chossudovsky: Biographical Summary

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The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order

by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

.

In this expanded and updated edition of Chossudovsky’s international best-seller, the author outlines the contours of a New World Order which feeds on human poverty and the destruction of the environment, generates social apartheid, encourages racism and ethnic strife and undermines the rights of women. The result as his detailed examples from all parts of the world show so convincingly, is a globalization of poverty.

This book is a skillful combination of lucid explanation and cogently argued critique of the fundamental directions in which our world is moving financially and economically.

In this new enlarged edition – which includes ten new chapters and a new introduction — the author reviews the causes and consequences of famine in Sub-Saharan Africa, the dramatic meltdown of financial markets, the demise of State social programs and the devastation resulting from corporate downsizing and trade liberalisation.

Note: This title is also available via Amazon

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Excerpt from Preface to the Second Edition

Barely a few weeks after the military coup in Chile on September 11, 1973, overthrowing the elected government of President Salvador Allende, the military Junta headed by General Augusto Pinochet ordered a hike in the price of bread from 11 to 40 escudos, a hefty overnight increase of 264%. This economic shock treatment had been designed by a group of economists called the “Chicago Boys”.

GOP .jpg

At the time of the military coup, I was teaching at the Institute of Economics of the Catholic University of Chile, which was a nest of Chicago trained economists, disciples of Milton Friedman. On that September 11, in the hours following the bombing of the Presidential Palace of La Moneda, the new military rulers imposed a 72-hour curfew. When the university reopened several days later, the “Chicago Boys” were rejoicing. Barely a week later, several of my colleagues at the Institute of Economics were appointed to key positions in the military government.

While food prices had skyrocketed, wages had been frozen to ensure “economic stability and stave off inflationary pressures.” From one day to the next, an entire country was precipitated into abysmal poverty: in less than a year the price of bread in Chile increased thirty-six times and eighty-five percent of the Chilean population had been driven below the poverty line.

These events affected me profoundly in my work as an economist. Through the tampering of prices, wages and interest rates, people’s lives had been destroyed; an entire national economy had been destabilized. I started to understand that macro-economic reform was neither “neutral” – as claimed by the academic mainstream – nor separate from the broader process of social and political transformation. In my earlier writings on the Chilean military Junta, I looked upon the so-called “free market” as a wellorganized instrument of “economic repression”.

Read complete text of Preface

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No Thanks on Thanksgiving During US-Engineered Economic Collapse

By Stephen Lendman, November 27 2020

On Thanksgiving day, throughout the year, with likely worsening times ahead, ordinary Americans are suffering through the hardest of hard times in US history. For 36 straight weeks since March, over one million Americans sought unemployment insurance benefits.

Venezuela Presents Proposal for an International Association Against US Sanctions to Stop Crimes Against Humanity (UN Security Council)

By Orinoco Tribune, November 27 2020

Venezuela’s ambassador to the United Nations, Samuel Moncada, intervened this Wednesday in the session of the Security Council to denounce the economic aggression of the United States against twenty-nine countries of the world, through their misnamed “sanctions,” and proposed the formation of an International Alliance to stop the crimes against humanity perpetuated by the US.

EPA Finds Glyphosate Is Likely to Injure or Kill 93% of Endangered Species

By Center For Biological Diversity, November 27 2020

The Environmental Protection Agency released a draft biological evaluation today finding that glyphosate is likely to injure or kill 93% of the plants and animals protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Vindicating Jeremy Corbyn

By Megan Sherman, November 27 2020

He will doom Labour at the ballot box; he’s a threat to your nan; if you say his name three times the ghost of Trotsky will appear, collectivize your cat and steal your taxes. This circus of fear isn’t just misleading: when Corbyn is trying to shine a light on the troublesome logic of government policy, on the nightmare that austerity and privatization creates, it shuts down dialogue before it can even get started.

Britain’s Class War on Children

By John Pilger, November 27 2020

In this abridged article published by the London Daily Mirror & based on his 1975 film, Smashing Kids, John Pilger describes class as Britain’s most virulent disease, causing record levels of child poverty.

European Sanctions Against Turkey Are More Likely than Ever

By Armen Tigranakert, November 27 2020

Another scandal erupted in relations between Turkey and the EU – on November 22, the Turkish merchant vessel, Roseline A, was detained and fully inspected by personnel of German frigate Hamburg in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, 160 nautical miles north of the Libyan city of Benghazi.

The War Crimes of Bush and Blair – Afghanistan and Iraq

By Rod Driver, November 27 2020

For all practical purposes, Iraq has now been destroyed. It no longer exists as a single country and has disintegrated into regional power bases, with widespread ethnic cleansing in each region. It is estimated that approximately two million people have died in Iraq since the invasion, and millions more have been displaced.

The New Norm: Government Lawbreaking

By True Publica, November 27 2020

Government lawbreaking in Boris Johnson’s adminstration has now reached an unprecedented scale for a British government – and we should all be concerned.

Biden Proclaims ‘America Is Back’ as the US Makes Provocations on Russia’s Borders

By Johanna Ross, November 27 2020

 ‘America is back’ hailed Joe Biden on Twitter this week. The world tried to work out exactly what that meant. For different parts of the world, of course, it means different things. As many liberal Americans breathe a sigh of relief, the people of Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq may shudder.

Maradona: The Fragile God of the Global South

By Pepe Escobar, November 27 2020

His life was a running planetary pop opera for the ages. From Somalia to Bangladesh, everyone is familiar with the basic contours of his story – the pibe from Villa Fiorito, a poor suburb of Buenos Aires (“I am a slum dweller”), who elevated football to the status of pure art.

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“The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law…We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it ‘bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East’.” (Harold Pinter, Nobel Prize for Literature Speech, 2005) 

Following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre Twin Towers in New York, on September 11, 2001, (known as 9/11) the US declared a global war on terror. Since then it has destroyed Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. It has supported the destruction of Yemen, and the attempted destruction of Syria. (Libya, Syria and Yemen will be discussed in a subsequent post).

Afghanistan 

For many years, Afghanistan has been seen as a key area in what is known as ‘The Grand Chessboard’ – It is important for control of immense energy resources (oil and gas) in central Asia. Up until 1989, the US government had been unable to take control of the region because of the proximity of the Soviet Union. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 changed this. Immense deposits of oil and gas in the region are now accessible to Western corporations. Not only does Afghanistan have its own deposits of natural gas, it is the obvious choice for numerous pipeline routes.(1)

The US and its allies invaded Afghanistan in October 2001. The explanations given for the invasion included dealing with the al-Qaida terrorist network, led by Osama Bin Laden, and to replace the extremely repressive Taliban government with a better one for humanitarian reasons. As with the justifications for other wars, these reasons were repeated by the media with little questioning. However, most of the 9/11 terrorists came from Saudi Arabia. It was widely recognised that most of the al-Qaida network would have dispersed before the attacks, and the attempted removal of the Taliban left equally violent warlords in power in many parts of the country. The US had been negotiating with the Taliban about building oil pipelines late into the 1990s, but the Taliban were not sufficiently cooperative. The US had therefore decided to “bury you [the Taliban] under a carpet of bombs” shortly before the 9/11 attacks.(2) The US went ahead and dropped plenty of bombs, but this has not decreased terrorism in the region. Predictably, the first US representative in Afghanistan was connected to the oil industry, and had been involved in earlier negotiations to build pipelines.(3)

The war in Afghanistan does not receive nearly as much media coverage as the Iraq war, but thousands of Afghan citizens are still being killed every year.(4) Wikileaks released files showing that the US military is aware that they have killed hundreds of thousands of people in Afghanistan.(5) The country has been in chaos for almost 20 years.

Iraq 

Britain and the US helped to overthrow the leadership of Iraq in 1963. Saddam Hussein became President of that Iraqi government in 1979. The US and Britain supplied him with weapons for many years, despite knowing that he was a murderous dictator. They encouraged him to fight a war throughout the 1980s against Iran(6), creating devastation in the region. In 1991, Saddam invaded the neighbouring country of Kuwait. In response, US  forces invaded Iraq. This was known as Gulf War 1. President H.W.Bush stated that the issue in Kuwait was not democracy, but to “prevent a dictator…from seizing control of more than a quarter of the world’s oil reserves”.(7) There were opportunities to negotiate a peaceful resolution with Iraq in 1991, but the US leadership did not want this to happen so they deliberately suppressed information about possible non-violent solutions, and the media also failed to discuss these alternatives(8). Throughout the 1990’s Britain and the US continued to wage war against Iraq, bombing it approximately once every three days.(9) In 2003, the US and Britain carried out a full-scale invasion, known as Gulf War 2. Immediately following the invasion, US forces secured the oilfields and the ministry of oil, but not much else.(10)

Image below: George W. Bush declares victory in Iraq War, USS Abraham Lincoln, San Diego, May 1, 2003)

The 2003 invasion of Iraq was an excellent example of the way in which the US and British governments try to scare us into supporting war by exaggerating threats. First we were told that we should be afraid because Iraq was making Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), but the only WMD that Iraq might have had were old, degraded chemical shells.(11) Then we were told lies about Saddam’s links to terrorism. The ‘links to terrorists’ explanation was always doubtful as Saddam Hussein’s government was secular (non-religious) and he was therefore an unlikely ally of religious terrorists. Finally we were told that we had to invade for humanitarian reasons – essentially ‘Saddam is a bad man’ – but Britain and the US had actively helped him when he had committed earlier atrocities. The US and British governments lied repeatedly to justify the invasion.(12) There were forgeries supposedly showing that Iraq was trying to buy nuclear material from Africa(13), and a ‘dodgy’ dossier(14) trying to convince journalists that Saddam was a serious threat. None of these had much evidence to back them up, yet, as with earlier interventions, they were repeated by the media without adequate scrutiny. The government decided on its plan, then tried to pick and choose selective pieces of information to fit that plan. Iraq was slightly unusual in that lots of people did not believe any of these scare stories. Millions of people protested against the war in many countries,(15) including huge protests in Britain and the US, but the invasion went ahead anyway.

The extent of the lies has been admitted by former government insiders. The head of the CIA, George Tenet, has now admitted briefing George Bush that Saddam did not have any weapons of mass destruction, and other sources have admitted that the intelligence information was “being fixed around the plan.”(16) In other words, the invasion was going ahead and the politicians needed an excuse. There is an unofficial record of notes by the US Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, from the afternoon of September 11th 2001 (just a few hours after the 9/11 terrorist attacks) which says: “best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] at same time. Not only U.B.L. [Usama Bin Laden]. Sweep it all up. Things related and not.”(17) Rumsfeld wanted to see if the terrorist attacks could be used to justify invading Iraq. He repeatedly asked for evidence to connect Iraq to the terrorist attacks but the CIA was unable to find any.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair supported these policies and actively participated in the lies. He has written that “[Vice-President] Cheney wanted forcible ‘regime change’ in all Middle Eastern countries that he considered hostile to US interests”.(18) This strategy has been confirmed by former US general, Wesley Clark, who admitted that in 2001 he was told that US President Bush and US Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld wanted to ‘take out’ seven countries in five years. These were Iraq, Somalia, Syria, Libya, Lebanon, Sudan and Iran.(19) President Bush’s Energy Secretary, Paul O’Neill, has disclosed that President Bush came into office planning to overthrow Saddam.(20) Although the war began two years later, the decision to invade Iraq was made less than two weeks after 9/11. One US commentator pointed out “This is a war of an elite. I could give you the names of 25 people [in Washington] who, if you had exiled them to a desert island a year and a half ago, the Iraq war would not have happened”.(21)

For all practical purposes, Iraq has now been destroyed. It no longer exists as a single country and has disintegrated into regional power bases, with widespread ethnic cleansing in each region.(22) It is estimated that approximately two million people have died in Iraq since the invasion,(23) and millions more have been displaced. This has been described as genocide.(24) Many people have fled the country and others are homeless within the country. Over half of Iraqis have had a close friend or relative killed or injured, and a whole generation of people growing up from 1991 to the present day have been traumatised. The invasion and destruction of Iraq is almost certainly the worst crime of the 21st Century.

Key Points

The invasion of Afghanistan was not about terrorism or humanitarianism.

The invasion of Iraq was not about weapons of mass destruction, or humanitarianism, or links to terrorism.

Both wars were part of a wider policy of US imperialism and control of energy resources.

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This article was first posted at medium.com/elephantsintheroom

Rod Driver is a part-time academic who is particularly interested in de-bunking modern-day US and British propaganda. This is the third in a series entitled Elephants In The Room, which attempts to provide a beginners guide to understanding what’s really going on in relation to war, terrorism, economics and poverty, without the nonsense in the mainstream media.

Notes 

1) Mark Curtis, Web of Deceit, pp47-74

2) Michael Meacher, ‘This war on terrorism is bogus’, 6 Sep 2003, at www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2003/sep/06/september11.iraq

3) Patrick Martin, ‘Oil Company Advisor named US representative to Afghanistan’, WSWS, 3 Jan 2002, at

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2002/01/oil-j03.html

4) BBC News, ‘Afghanistan’s Ghani says 45,000 security personnel killed since 2014’, 25 Jan 2019, at

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-47005558

5) Wikileaks, ‘Afghan War Diary, 2004-2010’, 25 July 2010, at

https://wikileaks.org/wiki/Afghan_War_Diary,_2004-2010

6) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_support_for_Iraq_during_the_Iran%E2%80%93Iraq_War

7) Thomas Friedman, ‘Haiti’s Coup: Test Case for Bush’s New World Order’, Oct 4 1991, N.Y.Times, at

https://www.nytimes.com/1991/10/04/world/haiti-s-coup-test-case-for-bush-s-new-world-order.html

8) David Edwards, ‘Where Egos Dare’, 12 Jun 2002, at

https://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2002/06/33629.html

9) Jeffrey St. Clair, Iraq as Prison State’, Oct 15, 2002, in Alexander Cockburn and Jeffery St. Clair, Imperial Crusades: Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia,

10) Derek Gregory, Colonial Present: Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq, p.220

11) Jon Schwarz, ‘Twelve Years Later, US Media Still Can’t Get Iraqi WMD Story Right’, 10 April 2015, at

https://theintercept.com/2015/04/10/twelve-years-later-u-s-media-still-cant-get-iraqi-wmd-story-right/

12) Jon Schwarz, ‘Lie After Lie: What Colin Powell Knew About Iraq 15 Years Ago and What He Told The U.N.’, 6 Jan 2018, at

https://theintercept.com/2018/02/06/lie-after-lie-what-colin-powell-knew-about-iraq-fifteen-years-ago-and-what-he-told-the-un/

13) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niger_uranium_forgeries

14) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_Dossier

15) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/15_February_2003_anti-war_protests

16) Sidney Blumenthal, ‘Turning Truth Into Lies’, Guardian, 7 Sep 2007, at

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2007/sep/07/turningtruthintolies

17) Paul Krugman, ‘Osama, Saddam and The Ports’, 24th Feb, 2006, at

http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2006/02/paul_krugman_os.html

Thad Anderson, blogger who found the memo from a FOIA request, posted at

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/100545349/

Note that the spelling is usually Osama, but Usama is used in the memo.

18) Tony Blair, A Journey: My Political Life, discussed in Robert Parry, ‘Blair reveals Cheney’s war agenda’, 6 Sep 2010, at

http://www.consortiumnews.com/2010/090610.html

19) Wesley K. Clark, A Time To Lead: For Duty, Honor and Country, 2007

Joe Conason, ‘”Seven countries in five years”’, 12 Oct 2007, (mentions memo from 2001) at

http://www.salon.com/2007/10/12/wesley_clark/

20) BBC News, ‘Bush ‘plotted Iraq War from start’’, 12 Jan 2004, at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3387941.stm

21) Thomas Friedman, cited in James S. Henry, The Blood bankers, p.304

22) Gareth Stansfield, ‘Accepting Realities In Iraq’, May 2007, at https://reliefweb.int/report/iraq/accepting-realities-iraq

23) Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S.Davies, ‘The Iraq Death Toll 15 Years After the U.S. Invasion’, 15 March 2018, at

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/03/15/iraq-death-toll-15-years-after-us-invasion

24) Abdul-Haq al-Ani and Tarik al-Ani, Genocide in Iraq Volume II: The Obliteration of a Modern State, 2015

Lies, “Yellow Journalism” and the Death of the Mainstream Media

November 27th, 2020 by Timothy Alexander Guzman

During the era of Yellow Journalism in the U.S. which defined the type of journalism that existed before the start of Spanish-American War in 1898. The term, ‘Yellow Journalism’ was associated with various major newspapers that held no journalistic principals or truth, “sensationalism” or “eye-catching headlines” was the only truth that mattered for newspaper owners that exaggerated stories to sell newspapers and fill their pockets with profits. Today they sell you lies to support the agendas of major corporations and the Military-Industrial Complex because corporate interests pays the MSM handsomely to sell their wars, drugs and propaganda.

The accelerated downfall of the mainstream media (MSM) occurred since the election of Donald Trump. It’s apparent that the MSM has caught TDS, or Trump Derangement Syndrome. I don’t know what you feel or sense when you are watching the MSM, whether it’s CNN, MSNBC who are obviously liberal networks or FOX News who is aligned with the Republicans party, it’s almost like watching the twilight zone.

Journalistic integrity has been absolutely flushed down the toilet. For the record, the MSM has been losing its reputation as a reliable news source way before Trump became US president, he just added TDS to the so-called “television journalists” on CNN and MSNBC. However, that did not stop CNN’s president Jeff Zucker to propose a weekly show with the US President on a call with Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen according to The Hill, “I have all these proposals for him,” Zucker reportedly told Cohen “I want to do a weekly show with him and all this stuff.” Despite the fact that anti-Trumpism is alive and well in the MSM, it’s hypocritical. CNN and MSNBC will surely miss Trump if Joe Biden officially steals the election because low-ratings will collapse both networks and even FOX news will suffer to a point without Trump being showcased regularly on television networks and that’s probably why Jeff Zucker, had reportedly called Trump “the boss” if he would have signed a contract with CNN.

The print media is also guilty for publishing numerous false claims, accusations and lies that has led to wars and regime change in various countries for decades. One recent example is the case with The New York Times who published an article with the worst possible title ‘The baseless ‘Great Reset’ conspiracy theory rises again’ yet, on November 1st, Time magazine published a cover story that read ‘The Great Reset’ on its front page.

The media must think the people are that stupid, it clearly shows how they view its target audience.  There are many reasons why liberal networks with the possibility of FOX news following in the same direction will collapse due to low-viewership ratings.  CNN, MSNBC and FOX employs a long list of liars and state propagandists who were in previous administrations that offer their one-sided analysis and reports in domestic and foreign issues presented to the viewer.  In an important note, all of the MSM networks are on board and all agree that no matter who is president, they know who their foreign enemies are when it comes to war because they all obviously work for the same US war machine.  Remember when liberal media host on MSNBC, Brian Williams and his comment on U.S. missiles hitting Syrian airfields with Trump’s approval in 2017 as “beautiful”?  I guess he thought Trump wasn’t so bad after all.  The MSM is a propaganda organ of the Democratic party and to the Republican party if we include FOX news.  All of US viewers are beholden to the US war machine that includes all special interest groups and major corporate powers that dictate to the MSM what to report and say to the public. Since 2016, the MSM has stooped to its lowest level of lies and deceit.  Its journalistic principles have evolved into a joke, a laughing stock in the world of news.  Here is a short list out of many lies by the MSM:

The Trump-Russia Collusion Hoax: 3 Years Worth of Conspiracy Theories

The Trump-Russia Collusion scandal was proof in itself that CNN and MSNBC are conspiracy theorists with no actual facts. Conspiracy theorists is defined as those who create “a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators” Well there is a group of “powerful conspirators” that does explain a set of fake circumstances surrounding Trump’s collusion with Russia which in under the definition of a conspiracy theorist.  It took 3 years of this non-stop nonsense about Trump and Russia colluding 24 hours a day which was way over the top for anyone, even for some democrats who turned into republicans because of the MSM lies. The nearly $32 million spent on the Trump-Russia Collusion report turned out to be a devastating blow to the Democratic party.

A letter that was addressed to Senator Lindsey Graham that was signed by John Ratcliffe, Director of National Intelligence (NIA) for the Trump administration requested information on the FBI’s behalf concerning their Investigation. Ratcliffe declassified the information which exposed the scandal and as many of us knew from the start, it was a hoax.  It all turned out to be a major humiliation for the MSM after the dossier was exposed as a Hillary Clinton smear campaign against President Trump. Hillary Clinton was on board with a plan to link candidate Trump in 2016 to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “In late July 2o16, U.S. intelligence agencies obtained insight into Russian intelligence analysis alleging that U.S. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had approved a campaign plan to stir up a scandal against U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump by typing him to Putin and the Russians’ in hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The IC does not know the accuracy of this allegation or the extent to which the Russian intelligence analysis may reflect exaggeration or fabrication.”  It also stated the following:

According to handwritten noted, former Central Intelligence Agency Director Brennan subsequently briefed President Obama and other senior national security officials on the intelligence, including the ‘alleged approval by Hillary Clinton on July 26, 2016 of a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisors to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by Russian security services 

The letter also included that “On 07 September 2016, U.S. intelligence officials forwarded an investigative referral to FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok regarding ‘U.S. President candidate Hillary Clinton’s approval of a plan concerning U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian hackers hampering U.S. elections as a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server.” The MSM including MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow (who cried on air) after the hoax was exposed was humiliated. The MSM has lost time, money and whatever they had left of their credentials based on Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia lie, at this point they should be all crying themselves to sleep at night.

CNN Claimed Ecuador’s Embassy in London is a ‘Russian Hacking Hub’

Another case of pure MSM propaganda was against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange who at the time was in exile in Ecuador’s embassy in London. The former President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa criticized the MSM’s side of the story on Ecuador’s Embassy in London as a ‘Russian Hacking Hub.’ Correa was interviewed by RT.com and this is what he said about CNN and other US media sources:

We never approved interference in the internal affairs of other countries, we respect every nation, that is why when we saw that Julian Assange was publishing the data of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election campaign, we warned him two or three times, and on the third or fourth time we acted, we cut the internet. The story that CNN wants to build, that in the embassy there was a center for espionage operations with Russian support, that we knew about it and approved it. That’s how they want it to appear. what they want to sell to the world. What CNN and other media are saying is rubbish, but were use to it. They are prepping for the show. The reason is, when they extradite Assange to the US and sentence him to life, they want the honest backing of the public, they are setting the stage

What CNN reported on December 9, 2017, was that Donald Trump, Jr. was offered “advanced access” to the DNC and Podesta emails published by WikiLeaks before those emails were made public. MSNBC also jumped on the band wagon and “independently confirmed” CNN’s evidence about the collaboration between the Trump team and WikiLeaks over the hacked DNC emails. It all turned out to be false information. The email which Donald Trump, Jr. received was a link that was published online and open to the public. If that is not reckless and irresponsible journalism on a grand scale or just plain spiteful propaganda to paint Trump’s team as Russian assets, I don’t know what is.

The Pentagon with Help from the MSM is Pushing Regime Change in Venezuela

The MSM’s Commitment to the Pentagon’s agenda of regime change in Venezuela has been steady as well with CNN has been following Trump’s Line on Venezuela who falsely claimed in the SOTU address last February when Trump declared Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s true and legitimate president. CNN claimed that the voters wanted Maduro to step down since the elections in January 2019, but there’s one problem with that statement, Venezuela’s presidential election was actually held on May 20, 2018. CNN’s story ‘Military helicopter crashes in Venezuela, killing 7, amid protests’ first reported on a helicopter crash that killed seven military officers then redirects the story to the political scene mentioning Juan Guaido, the unpopular political figure who was unpopular among the opposition he’s part of. Washington chose Guaido as the best puppet they can manage as it’s “acting President.” After all, Uncle Sam still makes important decisions for the Venezuelan elite and the rest of its Latin American puppet states. CNN said that “pressure is mounting on Maduro to step down, following elections in January in which voters chose opposition leader Juan Guaido over him for president.” Current president Nicolas Maduro won that election by more than 67% of the vote as Juan Guaido and his followers decided not to participate in the elections as a way of protest against the Maduro government.

Eventually Big Tech Will Collapse, And the Independent Media Will Rise

I feel sorry for the MSM’s faithful viewers, frying their brains with absolute propaganda from their preferred sources of information. They could have done more productive things with their lives. Just imagine, decades of endless lies by the MSM.  It’s hard to wrap my head around what and how the MSM reports to its target audience who accept what is reported as the truth. The media has used propaganda and flat out lies to manipulate the public into believing whatever they said to further Washington’s agenda at all costs, even if it means losing viewership and they still get paid no matter what.  Real journalism has died a long time ago in the US and that’s why the alternative media has grown significantly to challenge MSM’s narrative.

Big Tech companies such as Face book, Twitter and YouTube are trying to suppress the alternative media and the truth it reveals to the public by way of censorship, but guess what?  There will be alternative platforms that will compete and outperform Big Tech in the future. We already have numerous platforms where alternative voices are heard such as www.bitchute.com, www.minds.com, ise.media, Global Research.ca, Information Clearinghouse, The Corbett Report, The Gray Zone, rt.com, sometimes even Al Jazeera can be truthful when it wants to be and many others that will rise to the occasion of telling or spreading the truth on various platforms.  The MSM has embarrassed themselves to the point of no return. They are dead in its tracks and the world is waking up to that fact.

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Timothy Alexander Guzman writes on his blog site, Silent Crow News, where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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Recent attempted infringements of Russia’s airspace and maritime borders by NATO are very dangerous instances of de-facto brinksmanship intended to provoke the Eurasian Great Power into reacting in a way that could then be manipulated as the “plausible pretext” for imposing further pressure upon it.

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It seems like almost every week that Russian media reports on NATO’s attempted infringement of Russian airspace and maritime borders, but two ultra-dangerous developments occurred over the past week which signify that this trend will intensify. The Russian Navy threatened to ram the USS John McCain after it aggressively passed into the country’s territorial waters near Peter the Great Bay off Vladivostok, after which it thankfully reversed its course. The second incident involved the US launching rockets into the Black Sea from Romania that are capable of reaching Crimea in a wartime scenario. These two events deserve to be discussed more in detail because of their significance to NATO’s grand strategy.

The transatlantic alliance intends to provoke the Eurasian Great Power into reacting in a way that could then be manipulated as the “plausible pretext” for imposing further pressure upon it. It amounts to de-facto brinksmanship and is therefore incredibly dangerous since both parties are nuclear powers. Furthermore, it’s the definition of unprovoked aggression since Russia doesn’t partake in symmetrical provocations against NATO. If anything, every time that it’s been dishonestly accused of such was just the country carrying out military exercises within its own borders which just so happen to abut several NATO states after the bloc extended its frontiers eastward following the end of the Old Cold War.

It’s the eastern expansion of NATO and the alliance’s recent activities in the Arctic Ocean that represent the greatest threat to peace between the two. On the eastern front, the US is once again provoking Russia in order to craft the false impression among the Japanese that Moscow is a military threat to their interests. Washington is greatly perturbed by their past couple years of technically fruitless but nevertheless highly symbolic talks over signing a peace treaty to end the Second World War and resolve what Tokyo subjectively regards as the “Northern Territories Dispute”. Moscow’s reclamation of control over the Kuril Islands following that conflict was agreed to by the Allies, but then America went back on its word in order to divide and rule the two.

Their mutual intent to enter into a rapprochement with one another could in theory occur in parallel with a similar rapprochement between Japan and China, which might altogether reduce Tokyo’s need to retain as robust of an American military presence on its islands. That in turn would weaken the US’ military posturing and therefore reduce the viability of its grand strategic designs to “contain” both multipolar countries in that theater. As regards the Arctic and Eastern European fronts, these are also part of the same “containment” policy, albeit aimed most directly against Russia and only tangentially against China’s “Polar Silk Road”.

It’s understandable that the US will continue to compete with these two rival Great Powers, but such competition must be responsibly regulated in order to avoid the unintended scenario of a war by miscalculation. It’s for that reason why the world should be alarmed by American brinksmanship against them, especially the latest developments with respect to Russia that were earlier described. All that it takes is one wrong move for everything to spiral out of control and beyond the point of no return. Regrettably, while Biden might ease some pressure on China, he’ll likely compensate by doubling down against Russia.

Trump should also take responsibility for this as well since it’s occurring during his presidency after all, even if it might possibly be in its final months if he isn’t able to thwart the Democrats’ illegal seizure of power following their large-scale defrauding of this month’s elections. He capitulated to hostile “deep state” pressure early on into this term perhaps out of the mistaken belief that “compromising” with his enemies in the permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies would result in them easing their pressure upon him on other fronts, but this gamble obviously failed since it only emboldened them to pressure him even more.

It’s unfortunate that Trump was never able to actualize his intended rapprochement with Russia for the aforementioned reasons, but he could have rebelliously defied the “deep state” after this month’s fraudulent elections by reversing his currently aggressive policy against Moscow if he truly had the political will to do so. He doesn’t, though, and this might nowadays be due more to his support of the military-industrial complex than any “deep state” pressure like it initially was. After all, war is a very profitable business, and artificially amplifying the so-called “Russia threat” by provoking Moscow into various responses could pay off handsomely.

It’s therefore extremely unlikely that this dangerous trend will change anytime in the coming future. To the contrary, it’ll likely only intensify and get much worse under a possible Biden Administration. Nevertheless, Russia doesn’t lack the resolve to defend its legitimate interests and will always do what’s needed in this respect, albeit responsibly (so long as it’s realistic to react in such a way) in order to avoid falling into the Americans’ trap. The ones who should be the most worried, then, are the US’ NATO and other “allied” vassals who stand to lose the most by getting caught in any potential crossfire for facilitating American aggression.

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This article was originally published on OneWorld.

Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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European Sanctions Against Turkey Are More Likely than Ever

November 27th, 2020 by Armen Tigranakert

Another scandal erupted in relations between Turkey and the EU – on November 22, the Turkish merchant vessel, Roseline A, was detained and fully inspected by personnel of German frigate Hamburg in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, 160 nautical miles north of the Libyan city of Benghazi.

Since no weapons were found on board, Ankara received moral satisfaction which would later turn into notes of protest demanding an apology and compensation, as well as statements about European “Turkophobia”. Turkey for sure will use this cause in all possible ways – necessary protests will be made; lawsuits will be filed. This very issue will be included in the agenda of Turkey’s activities in NATO and the UN. The Turkish side has already declared its official protest, and the EU ambassadors have been invited to the Turkish Foreign Ministry for “talks”.

It is worth noting that this incident occurred shortly before the next EU summit scheduled on December 10, devoted to possible imposing of sanctions against Turkey for its actions in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. EU top officials are once again trying to make it clear to Turkey that its activities in the region are unacceptable and “sanctions are more likely than ever.”

Moreover, on November 26, MEPs voted by an absolute majority in favor of a draft resolution calling on the EU member states to impose tough sanctions on Ankara. The document emphasizes that relations between Turkey and the EU have reached a “historical minimum” due to Ankara’s actions in the Mediterranean, Libya, Syria, and Nagorno-Karabakh.

Europe sends constant signals to Turkey that its position is contrary to European values, interests, and understanding of regional and global security.

What will happen at the summit on December 10, when the EU will, once again, discuss sanctions against Turkey? How far the EU will be ready to go and what steps Ankara will take in the near future to prevent it? Now Turkey provides a more restrained policy trying not to give a leverage to Europe, Paris, or Berlin.

France still may be the most anti-Turkish country in the EU, but now Berlin is starting to act more openly against Ankara. The incident in the Eastern Mediterranean was approved by the German leadership in advance for sure. This means that the situation for Turkey is changing for the worse on the eve of the EU summit, so important for Erdogan.

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Armen Tigranakert is a freelance journalist from Armenian diaspora in Syrian Aleppo.

 ‘America is back’ hailed Joe Biden on Twitter this week. The world tried to work out exactly what that meant. For different parts of the world, of course, it means different things. As many liberal Americans breathe a sigh of relief, the people of Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq may shudder. For democratic, progressive values at home were often balanced with interventionism and destruction abroad during previous ‘normal’ administrations. There is no doubt that Russians are viewing Biden’s presidency with trepidation: the return of familiar hawks does not bode well for Russian-US relations.

Biden’s announcement curiously coincided with another incident on the very same day – the appearance of US naval destroyer John S McCain within Russian waters off the coast of Vladivostok. The incident should not be overlooked. The move seems to be a display of sheer bravado on the part of the Americans, who released a statement later on asserting that they had the right to challenge ‘Russia’s excessive maritime claims’. Moscow responded by saying the ship had been ‘warned of the unacceptability of its actions’ and (in short) it was lucky it had not been rammed by the Udaloy-class destroyer which had been tailing it.  This provocative move was followed on the next day by US missiles being launched into the Black Sea from Romania.  The rocket-launch tests reportedly involved more than 130 troops and 30 pieces of military hardware.  It doesn’t take much imagination to work out what they could be used for: the range of these missiles is 300km, they could reach Crimea.

But don’t take my word for it. For greater insight into the US’ ambitions when it comes to Russia, one need only look to this RAND report from last year. This think-tank has close ties to the US military and therefore offers a pretty good reflection of what current US policy is. And it makes disturbing reading. Entitled ‘Extending Russia’ the document discusses all the different ways the US can undermine Russia, ideologically, geopolitically and militarily. It identifies that the US is locked in a ‘great-power’ competition with Russia (welcome back to the 19th century) and it assesses which tactics would bring about the best results at what risk. From promoting regime change in Belarus to increasing NATO exercises in Europe, every possibility is explored. With regard to the recent military exercises in Romania, and the incident with the USS John S McCain, we can see where the ground has been laid for such provocations:

‘There are several measures the US and its allies could take to encourage Russia to divert defense resources into the maritime domain, an area where the US already possesses key comparative advantages…deploying land-based or air-launched anti-ship cruise missiles on NATO’s Black Sea coast could compel Russia to strengthen defenses of its Crimean bases, limit its navy’s ability to operate in the Black Sea, and thus diminish the utility of its Crimean conquest.’

It speaks of developing a land-based military presence on the coast, citing Romania as a country likely to comply with such plans, having concerns over the Russian ‘build-up’ in the Black Sea region. It suggests that installing land-based weapons systems could be preferable to increasing maritime activity, as the increased presence of NATO vessels in the Black Sea could lead to Russia bolstering its presence in the region. Which, naturally, given this increased US threat, it already has. Only this week, it was reported that the Russian army had installed advanced artillery on Crimea to defend the peninsula from any “surprise missile attack.” The Deputy Head of the Public Chamber of Crimea, Alexander Formanchuk, expressedconcern that these NATO exercises fit within a wider pattern of escalation, saying that “provocations against Crimea have become more frequent. Unfortunately, we are witnessing a further exacerbation of international relations and the international situation. And the topic of Crimea is a convenient reason for escalating such provocations.”

The question is, does the US appreciate the danger of the path it is treading? Do these policy makers understand that if it continues on the current trajectory the chances of conflict with Russia, even being triggered accidentally, are increasing? With such demonstrations of force taking place on Russia’s borders, there is a high risk of one side misinterpreting the other’s actions, leading to retaliation. One has to ask if this is in fact the goal of some in the US military and security establishment. Look where this ‘great power’  competition led us to in the 20th century- two catastrophic world wars. And yet the rhetoric coming from US politicians and media couldn’t try to incite war more if it tried. “The U.S. Army Has A Rocket Surprise For Russian Troops In Crimea’ a Forbes article read this week.  The US is sending ‘a message’ to Moscow it reads, ‘The U.S. Army in Europe has restored its long-range firepower. And it wants the Russians to know’. Sounds friendly, doesn’t it?

The US has never recognised Crimea’s reunification with Russia; nor has it ever understood or appreciated the history of the peninsula or why Russia felt obliged to involve itself in the Ukraine conflict to protect ethnic Russians. Only this year Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that the US ‘will not ever recognize’ Crimea as Russian territory and that it will maintain sanctions against Russia until the peninsula returns to Ukraine. This unequivocal position, together with the somewhat fanciful hope that Crimea could return to Ukraine demonstrates just how far apart the two nations are. It has been widely acknowledged that relations between the US and Russia are worse now than during the Cold War. With Joe Biden, having already acknowledged during his recent election campaign that Russia is the ‘biggest threat’ the US faces, we are entering a very uncertain and potentially volatile period ahead.

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This article was originally published on InfoBrics.

Johanna Ross is a journalist based in Edinburgh, Scotland.  You can follow the author on Twitter @shottlandka

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The New Norm: UK Government Lawbreaking

November 27th, 2020 by True Publica

Government lawbreaking in Boris Johnson’s adminstration has now reached an unprecedented scale for a British government – and we should all be concerned.

In September last year, the supreme court ruled that Boris Johnson’s advice to the Queen that parliament should be prorogued for five weeks at the height of the Brexit crisis was unlawful. It was a unanimous judgment from the 11 justices on the UK’s highest court. Johnson’s response was to attack the supreme court and threatened to dissolve it.

More recently, we’ve heard how Members of Parliament have been pushing the UK government to back down over its controversial plan to breach international law with its Internal Markets Bill. The House of Lords reacted badly to it and inflicted a crushing defeat on Boris Johnson. In the first vote, the government was defeated by 433 to 165 by the Lords, in the second, by 407 to 148. This is still not resolved. For ‘global Britain’ this alone has been a disaster as it has attracted worldwide derision.

You could argue that both these events are seen by the government as the only way to get through their Brexit agenda – others would say that these are acts of desperation because Brexit simply can’t be done by working inside political, economic and diplomatic norms.

But as each day passes we are learning that at the very highest levels of government – new lawbreaking is being reported.

For the purposes of this article, we can leave aside the scale of illegal contracts provided by what is becoming known as the ‘chumocracy’ to Tory donors and friends of Tory MP’s who are taking advantage of the Covid crisis to feather their nests. Court cases against the government are already filed.

Controlling Information, blacklisting, targeting journalists

A report from OpenDemocracy this week that exposes the government of creating a ‘clearing house’ to control Freedom of Information requests is breathtaking. This is the stuff of tinpot dictators. Here, the governemt has been accused of running an ‘Orwellian’ unit in Michael Gove’s office that instructs Whitehall departments on how to respond to Freedom of Information requests. Worse still, it collects the personal information about journalists who submit them for nefarious reasons.

oD reports – “Freedom of Information (FOI) requests are supposed to be ‘applicant-blind’: meaning who makes the request should not matter. But it now emerges that government departments and non-departmental public bodies have been referring ‘sensitive’ FOI requests from journalists and researchers to the Clearing House in Gove’s department in a move described by a shadow cabinet minister as “blacklisting”.

Not only is the government centralising control over what information can be released for the public – but journalists are being targeted. oD again:

“The secrecy of this list and the fact that our names have been circulated around Whitehall is seriously chilling”

Labour shadow Cabinet Office minister Helen Hayes said: “This is extremely troubling. If the cabinet office is interfering in FOI requests and seeking to work around the requirements of the Act by blacklisting journalists, it is a grave threat to our values and transparency in our democracy.

As the government continues to act in a way that raises the suspicion of its lawbreaking, immorality or malfeasance in office – the government has since been found in this investigation to have granted fewer and rejected more FOI requests than ever in the history of the Freedom of Information Act. That report, entitled ‘Art of Darkness’ paints a disturbing picture of the state of Freedom of Information in Britain. The government are now being legally pursued in this case.

Silke Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch said,

We’re appalled that such important information rights have been so disrespected by the government. The centralisation of difficult FOIs, the secrecy of this list and the fact that our names have been circulated around Whitehall is seriously chilling. This is a shameful reflection on the government’s attitude towards transparency.

Detained, deported and denied legal rights

Next up is the Windrush scandal that broke in 2018 when it was discovered that hundreds of Commonwealth citizens had been wrongly detained, deported and denied legal rights.

“It is unacceptable that equality legislation, designed to prevent an unfair or disproportionate impact on people from ethnic minorities and other groups, was effectively ignored”

The Equality and Human Rights Commission agreed with an earlier report that the experiences of the Windrush generation were “foreseeable and avoidable”, and its chair described their treatment as a “shameful stain on British history”. In its investigation, which it has subsequently just published it found the government had willfully broken the law and went on to say –

It is unacceptable that equality legislation, designed to prevent an unfair or disproportionate impact on people from ethnic minorities and other groups, was effectively ignored in the creation and delivery of policies that had such profound implications for so many people’s lives.”

Children

Last Tuesday, we find that Education Secretary Gavin Williamson acted unlawfully by failing to consult children’s rights bodies before deliberately watering down safeguards for children in care, a court has just ruled.

Judges found against Williamson over his actions in relaxing some of the important obligations on local councils over the 78,000 children in care in England during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The government’s actions were shameful, both in the scale of the protections they took away from very vulnerable children in England and the way they went about it”

A case was brought against Williamson because it was thought he acted illegally. The Court has now ruled that there was “no good reason” why Williamson excluded England’s children’s commissioner, Anne Longfield, and other bodies representing children in care from his decision-making.

Carolyne Willow, the director of the charity that brought the case said:

I am hugely relieved and overjoyed that the Court has confirmed that children and young people, and the organisations who represent their rights and interests, must be consulted when the government is considering changes to their legal rights and protections. The government’s actions were shameful, both in the scale of the protections they took away from very vulnerable children in England and the way they went about it. This should draw to a close backroom, secret government consultations which exclude the rights, views and experiences of children and young people.”

Intimidation

The Priti Patel case is a high profile case but it only scratches the surface. Boris Johnson was left facing questions about why he sat on this report for so long and why he tried to tone down an independent report which said Home Secretary Priti Patel broke the ministerial code by bullying staff.

Sir David Normington, a former Home Office chief, said Patel’s behaviour was “completely unacceptable” and “You shouldn’t have bullies in government”. One person at the end of Patel’s obviously vicious and insidious character attempted to take her own life. She lost her job – as did the person who reported it. After a Cabinet Office inquiry, Sir Alex Allan said the home secretary’s conduct “amounted to behaviour that can be described as bullying” – finding she had breached the ministerial code. For the first time ever, Johnson rejected the advice and supported the bully – Sir Alex felt he had no choice but to resign as his role has been fully undermined.

We shouldn’t forget, it was only two weeks ago that Sonia Khan – a special adviser to the then chancellor, Sajid Javid who was escorted out of Downing Street by armed police on the orders of Dominic Cummings has been given a five-figure payoff by the government to stop a lawsuit over intimidation and unfair dismissal that it would have emphatically lost. Before that, another civil servant received a five-figure payout from a bullying case against a senior member of Michael Gove’s team. IN addition, there is an ongoing case of a senior civil servant taking the government to court for the same reasons.

In the eBook – Brexit – A Corporate Coup D’Etat, we see evidence of senior Tory MP’s at the heart of Brexit threatening and bullying the CEO’s of some large British companies for speaking out about the dangers of leaving the EU. Others were made to sign non-disclosure agreements to effectively silence CEO’s who have a legal obligation to publicly report trading threats to their shareholders and the stock market.

The governments own website says of bullying – “Bullying and harassment is behaviour that makes someone feel intimidated or offended. Harassment is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.” No matter how the government dresses this up – they are breaking the law that applies to everyone in Britain.

Autocrats

These examples, distorting and withholding information of public interest, creating secretive units within government, blacklisting media operations and targeting journalists is bad enough. But to be found in a British court of wrongly detaining people, illegally deporting them and denying them their legal rights is truly shameful.  Then we come to the utterly disgraceful behaviour of this government who have willfully attempted to deny poverty-stricken children a meal whilst a pandemic rages around them. It took a football player to defeat the government and force them into an embarrassing U-Turn. Since them, we have learned that the government effectively jettisoned legal obligations to protect nearly 80,000 extremely vulnerable children.

People like Boris Johnson, Priti Patel, Gavin Williamson and Michael Gove have decided that the rule of law is simply too inconvenient. It’s not for them.

Scholars say countries across the globe are experiencing a rise in autocratic rule, with declines in democratic ideals and practice. Autocratic rule – also known as authoritarianism – is when one leader or political party attempts to extend and then exercise more and more power to govern a country and its people.

The Tories are now dispensing with long-held checks and balances designed to highlight government lawbreaking and accountability in what was once a functioning democracy. This government is: extending its own executive powers, repressing citizen efforts to hold it accountable, appealing to an ethno-nationalistic force to support it, are capturing elite support, controlling information, singling out journalists and abusing emergency laws. These are signs of rising authoritarianism according to Shelley Inglis – who for 15 years with the United Nations, advised governments and democracy advocates on how to strengthen the rule of law, human rights and democratic governance.

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Britain’s Class War on Children

November 27th, 2020 by John Pilger

In this abridged article published by the London Daily Mirror & based on his 1975 film, Smashing Kids, John Pilger describes class as Britain’s most virulent disease, causing record levels of child poverty.

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When I first reported on child poverty in Britain, I was struck by the faces of children I spoke to, especially the eyes. They were different: watchful, fearful.

In Hackney, in 1975, I filmed Irene Brunsden’s family. Irene told me she gave her two-year-old a plate of cornflakes. “She doesn’t tell me she’s hungry, she just moans. When she moans, I know something is wrong.”

“How much money do you have in the house? I asked.

“Five pence,” she replied.

Irene said she might have to take up prostitution, “for the baby’s sake”. Her husband Jim, a truck driver who was unable to work because of illness, was next to her. It was as if they shared a private grief.

This is what poverty does. In my experience, its damage is like the damage of war; it can last a lifetime, spread to loved ones and contaminate the next generation. It stunts children, brings on a host of diseases and, as unemployed Harry Hopwood in Liverpool told me, “it’s like being in prison”.

This prison has invisible walls. When I asked Harry’s young daughter if she ever thought that one day she would live a life like better-off children, she said unhesitatingly: “No”.

What has changed 45 years later?  At least one member of an impoverished family is likely to have a job — a job that denies them a living wage. Incredibly, although poverty is more disguised, countless British children still go to bed hungry and are ruthlessly denied opportunities..

What has not changed is that poverty is the result of a disease that is still virulent yet rarely spoken about – class.

Study after study shows that the people who suffer and die early from the diseases of poverty brought on by a poor diet, sub-standard housing and the priorities of the political elite and its hostile “welfare” officials — are working people. In 2020, one in three preschool British children suffers like this.

In making my recent film, The Dirty War on the NHS, it was clear to me that the savage cutbacks to the NHS and its privatisation by the Blair, Cameron, May and Johnson governments had devastated the vulnerable, including many NHS workers and their families. I interviewed one low-paid NHS worker who could not afford her rent and was forced, to sleep in churches or on the streets.

At a food bank in central London, I watched young mothers looking nervously around as they hurried away with old Tesco bags of food and washing powder and tampons they could no longer afford, their young children holding on to them. It is no exaggeration that at times I felt I was walking in the footprints of Dickens. 

Boris Johnson has claimed that 400,000 fewer children are living in poverty since 2010 when the Conservatives came to power. This is a lie, as the Children’s Commissioner has confirmed. In fact, more than 600,000 children have fallen into poverty since 2012; the total is expected to exceed 5 million. This, few dare say, is a class war on children.

Old Etonian Johnson is may be a caricature of the born-to-rule class; but his “elite” is not the only one. All the parties in Parliament, notably if not especially Labour – like much of the bureaucracy and most of the media — have scant if any connection to the “streets”: to the world of the poor: of the “gig economy”: of battling a system of Universal Credit that can leave you without a penny and in despair.

Last week, the prime minister and his “elite” showed where their priorities lay. In the face of the greatest health crisis in living memory when Britain has the highest Covid-19 death toll in Europe and poverty is accelerating as the result of a punitive “austerity” policy, he announced £16.5 billion for “defence”. This makes Britain, whose military bases cover the world, the highest military spender in Europe.

And the enemy? The real one is poverty and those who impose it and perpetuate it.  

John Pilger’s 1975 film, Smashing Kids, can be viewed at http://johnpilger.com/videos/smashing-kids.
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John Pilger is an Australian-British journalist and filmmaker based in London. Pilger’s Web site is: www.johnpilger.com. In 2017, the British Library announced a John Pilger Archive of all his written and filmed work. The British Film Institute includes his 1979 film, “Year Zero: the Silent Death of Cambodia,” among the 10 most important documentaries of the 20thcentury. Some of his previous contributions to Consortium News can be found here.  

Featured image: A British family from the film Smashing Kids, 1975. (John Garrett)

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Taiwan: A US Foothold Before a Chinese Tidal Wave

November 27th, 2020 by Tony Cartalucci

Taiwan has found itself increasingly in the middle of the growing power struggle between a waning US and a rising China.

Taiwan is recognized by both the UN and the vast majority of the world’s nations including (officially) the United States under the One China policy – but Taiwan’s pro-independence circles have nonetheless enjoyed large amounts of financial and political support from Washington and has been a point of contention in the region and between Beijing and Washington for decades.

The most recent example of this – reported by the Taipei Times in their article, “Two Washington-based pro-democracy NGOs to establish offices in Taipei,” – was the increased footprint of Washington’s notorious regime change front – the National Endowment for Democracy.

The article would claim:

Two Washington-based non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), are to establish offices in Taiwan after they were sanctioned by Beijing last year.

The two institutes, along with the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Freedom House and Human Rights Watch were sanctioned last year after speaking in support of Hong Kong democracy activists and as well as being part of China’s tit-for-tat reaction against US President Donald Trump signing the US’ Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. 

Of course the US NED was not simply “speaking in support” of Hong Kong opposition groups – but was a primary conduit through which US government funding passed to these opposition groups.

Making the purpose behind the US NED’s expansion in Taiwan much clearer was IRI president Daniel Twining’s comments claiming (emphasis added):

From our Taipei base, we will work with our partners to highlight Taiwan’s hard-won democratic lessons, strengthen networks of Asia’s democratic actors and build resilience against malign authoritarian influence in the region… As the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] becomes more aggressive in violating the global rules-based order, now is the time for all democracies … to invest in strengthening ties with Taiwan.

In other words, the US NED’s move in Taiwan is meant to contribute to Washington’s wider campaign of encircling and containing not only China but to fuel US-funded unrest targeting China’s closest regional allies.

Independence movements in Taiwan have identified themselves as part of the so-called “Milk Tea Alliance” – a united front of US-funded opposition groups from across the region attempting to coerce their respective governments into a confrontational posture toward Beijing. Most recently this has included the opposition in Hong Kong and anti-government protests in Thailand.

And while the US is clearly banking on its heavy investments in “soft power” – essentially region-wide political interference – China’s strategy focuses instead on economic ties underpinned by principles of non-interference.

It is no surprise that the Asian region has responded positively to the latter instead of the former.

Taiwan’s Future is Inevitable 

The US and the wider Western media have promoted narratives of an impending Chinese invasion of Taiwan. This narrative has been used to justify the sale of US weapons to Taiwan’s military including a recent arms deal worth several billion US dollars.

The Business Insider in an article titled, “A Chinese invasion of Taiwan would not be easy, and the 400 anti-ship missiles the US plans to sell to Taiwan would make it even harder,” would note:

Less than a week after it authorized a $1.8 billion arms sale to Taiwan, the US Department of State notified Congress on Monday of another possible Foreign Military Sale to Taiwan for $2.4 billion that includes hundreds of Harpoon anti-ship missiles and launchers.

The big sale, if approved by Congress, would give Taiwan 100 Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems (HCDS) and 400 RGM-84L-4 Harpoon Block II Surface-Launched Missiles, very capable all-weather weapons that can search for and take out ships as far as half-way across the Taiwan Strait.

The sale of the additional missiles would later be approved.

The weapons are for a “Chinese invasion” that will likely never come and in addition to the US “soft power” networks Taiwan now serves as a base for – the US still lacks any means to confront or contain China’s influence – both in regards to Taiwan and in regards to the wider region.

The need for a “Chinese invasion” of territory already recognized as part of China by the UN makes so little sense on so many levels. But the clearest level is economically where mainland China now stands as Taiwan’s largest trade partner and investor.

Mainland China has been the key to Taiwan’s economic growth throughout recent years and had helped drive the easing of cross Strait tensions.

Because of Taiwan’s economic ties with the mainland, the most recent drive by the US to re-introduce a wedge between the two has come at high cost to Taiwan’s economy. The government fulfilling Washington’s desire to restrict mainland investment and  oppose Beijing’s decisions regarding Chinese territory has cut Taiwan off from economic inflows the US – and even the wider West – are unable to compensate for.

A look at Taiwan’s foreign investment and trade over the last two decades reveals an obvious and unavoidable trend regarding Taiwan’s near to intermediate future.  It is a trend of a shrinking Western role in Taiwan’s economy replaced by a rising mainland China – and a trend that inevitably impacts Taiwan geopolitically.

Twenty years ago only 4% of Taiwan’s exports headed to mainland China while 18% headed to the United States. Today, 34% of Taiwan’s exports head to China versus 10% to the United States. Taiwan’s imports reflect a similar shift in economic power. Both China’s economic rise and its proximity to Taiwan means that this trend will only continue.

US efforts to build up Taiwan’s independence movement is meant to deliberately disrupt this trend – and it is doing so not by providing Taiwan with economic alternatives but instead baiting the island into a growing political and even military standoff with the mainland and its regional allies. This is being done specifically at the expense of Taiwan’s economic ties to both.

Just like Australia and others being drawn into Washington’s anti-Chinese foreign policy – such a stance is not sustainable. As long as China can avoid provocations and conflict and continue offering the benefits of economic prosperity and peace as an alternative to Washington’s strategy of tension – patience and time will run out for Washington’s style of Indo-Pacific hegemony and the interests in the region abetting it will be displaced by those interested in a more constructive regional architecture.

Perhaps on a more global scale a similar process can play out within the United States itself – where current circles of power pursuing this counterproductive foreign policy are displaced by those with a more constructive vision of America’s role not only in Asia but around the globe.

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Tony Cartalucci is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from US-China Perception Monitor

There was no rea­son to think that a Biden admin­is­tra­tion would be to the left of the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion when it comes to for­eign pol­i­cy. Biden comes with a long polit­i­cal career of sup­port­ing the wars of the Unit­ed States and its allies, from the 2003 inva­sion of Iraq to Israel’s aggres­sion against Pales­tini­ans to the pro­tract­ed occu­pa­tion of Afghanistan. And what­ev­er lim­it­ed over­tures he made to the Left dur­ing his cam­paign for the gen­er­al elec­tion in 2020 (while he simul­ta­ne­ous­ly ran on dis­tanc­ing him­self from the Left), for­eign pol­i­cy was almost entire­ly omit­ted, as evi­denced by the issue’s exclu­sion from the uni­ty task force with Bernie Sanders.

Per­haps the most dis­tin­guish­ing for­eign pol­i­cy posi­tion Biden took on the cam­paign trail was his saber rat­tling toward Chi­na, which was not quite as racist at Trump’s, but nonethe­less got so bad a Biden ad was rebuked by pro­gres­sive Asian-Amer­i­can groups for its racist con­tent (Biden even­tu­al­ly walked back some of the ad’s rhetoric). Biden did say dur­ing his cam­paign that he wants to end ​for­ev­er wars” (many of which he helped start) and that he’s against the war in Yemen (a posi­tion he only took after he served in the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion that sup­port­ed the war), but he nei­ther cen­tered these plat­forms nor accom­pa­nied them with con­crete pol­i­cy pro­pos­als that would actu­al­ly bring an end to end­less war.

In keep­ing with this tra­jec­to­ry, Biden is already draw­ing from a host of pro-war indi­vid­u­als from the Oba­ma era to fill his cab­i­net. Because many of these peo­ple have been around for a while and have rela­tion­ships across Wash­ing­ton, there is no short­age of well-known polit­i­cal fig­ures who are tes­ti­fy­ing to their decen­cy and smarts—that’s how the rel­a­tive­ly insu­lar world of Wash­ing­ton ​nation­al secu­ri­ty pro­fes­sion­als” works, after all. But for those on the out­side of the Wash­ing­ton Blob look­ing in, the oper­a­tive ques­tions are, ​What are these appointees’ records, and what does this say about what exact­ly we are up against in a Biden administration?”

Antony Blinken — who will be nom­i­nat­ed for Sec­re­tary of State, as the Biden-Har­ris tran­si­tion team announced Mon­day — has right­ful­ly attract­ed con­sid­er­able crit­i­cism for a record of sup­port­ing wars and so-called human­i­tar­i­an inter­ven­tions. Blinken was a top aide to Biden when the then-Sen­a­tor vot­ed to autho­rize the U.S. inva­sion of Iraq, and Blinken helped Biden devel­op a pro­pos­al to par­ti­tion Iraq into three sep­a­rate regions based on eth­nic and sec­tar­i­an iden­ti­ty. As deputy nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er, Blinken sup­port­ed the dis­as­trous mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion in Libya in 2011, and in 2018he helped launch Wes­t­Ex­ec Advi­sors, a ​strate­gic advi­so­ry firm” that is secre­tive about its clients, along with oth­er Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion alum­ni like Michèle Flournoy. Jonathan Guy­er writes in The Amer­i­can Prospect, ​I learned that Blinken and Flournoy used their net­works to build a large client base at the inter­sec­tion of tech and defense. An Israeli sur­veil­lance start­up turned to them. So did a major U.S. defense com­pa­ny. Google bil­lion­aire Eric Schmidt and For­tune 100 com­pa­nies went to them, too.”

But oth­er, less­er-known Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion alum­ni deserve greater scruti­ny. Among them is Avril Haines, who has been tapped as Biden’s Direc­tor of Nation­al Intel­li­gence. Haines was one of the co-authors of Obama’s ​pres­i­den­tial pol­i­cy guid­ance,” the infa­mous drone play­book that nor­mal­ized tar­get­ed assas­si­na­tions around the world. Here’s how Newsweek described Haines in 2013:

Since becom­ing the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil’s legal advis­er in 2011, she had been work­ing on a wide array of high­ly com­pli­cat­ed and legal­ly sen­si­tive issues — gen­er­al­ly until 1 or 2 in the morn­ing, some­times lat­er — that go to the core of U.S. secu­ri­ty inter­ests. Among them were the legal require­ments gov­ern­ing U.S. inter­ven­tion in Syr­ia and the range of high­ly clas­si­fied options for thwart­ing Iran’s nuclear pro­gram. All the while, Haines was some­times sum­moned in the mid­dle of the night to weigh in on whether a sus­pect­ed ter­ror­ist could be law­ful­ly incin­er­at­ed by a drone strike.

Dur­ing the Biden pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, there was a con­cert­ed effort by for­mer Oba­ma aides to cast Haines retroac­tive­ly as a voice of restraint and pro­tect­ing civil­ians, as cap­tured in an arti­cle by Spencer Ack­er­man. This revi­sion­ism should not be believed: What­ev­er civil­ian pro­tec­tions Haines may have writ­ten into drone law, they clear­ly did not work, as evi­denced by the dev­as­tat­ing toll of U.S. drone wars on civil­ians. While the Trump admin­is­tra­tion esca­lat­ed the drone war and loos­ened restric­tions on killing civil­ians, it was the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion — aid­ed by Haines — that nor­mal­ized the wide­spread use of tar­get­ed assas­si­na­tions that turned the whole world into a poten­tial U.S. battlefield.

There are oth­er aspects of Haines’ record that are wor­ry­ing. She has ​in the past described her­self as a for­mer con­sul­tant for the con­tro­ver­sial data-min­ing firm Palan­tir,” as Mur­taza Hus­sain report­ed for The Inter­cept. Palan­tir was co-found­ed by a Trump-back­ing bil­lion­aire, and is impli­cat­ed in some of the worst wrong­do­ings of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, includ­ing mass sur­veil­lance and immi­grant deten­tion. As Hus­sain reports, lit­tle is known about Haines’ role at the firm, and she scrubbed any men­tion from her bio when she came on as a Biden advi­sor. (Haines also worked for Wes­t­Ex­ec, as Guy­er reports.)

In 2018, Haines angered pro­gres­sives when she spoke in sup­port of Gina Haspel’s nom­i­na­tion for CIA Direc­tor. Haspel was wide­ly opposed for her role in run­ning CIA pris­ons where tor­ture took place.

And then there is Lin­da Thomas-Green­field, tapped to serve as Unit­ed Nations Ambas­sador. Thomas-Green­field lists her most recent employ­ment Albright Stone­bridge Group, a secre­tive ​glob­al strat­e­gy firm” some­what sim­i­lar to McK­in­sey & Com­pa­ny, and chaired by Madeleine Albright (Thomas-Green­field is cur­rent­ly list­ed as ​on leave” from the firm). Albright Stone­bridge Group is a black box: It’s near impos­si­ble to get any info about who its clients are. The firm claims that it does not lob­by the U.S. gov­ern­ment or do work that is cov­ered by the For­eign Agents Reg­is­tra­tion Act, but many of its staffers dou­ble in roles that cer­tain­ly do exert influ­ence, or have in the past. The firm’s UAE office is head­ed by Jad Mneym­neh, who pre­vi­ous­ly was in the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi’s Office of Strate­gic Affairs.

There is noth­ing remark­able about Biden appoint­ing some­one who hails from a shad­owy glob­al strat­e­gy firm for a pow­er­ful role, but that is pre­cise­ly the prob­lem. As Guy­er points out, Jake Sul­li­van, set to be Biden’s Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advi­sor, went to work for Macro Advi­so­ry Part­ners in 2017. ​Run by for­mer British spy chiefs, Macro Advi­so­ry Part­ners has about 30 full-time staff and report­ed $37 mil­lion in rev­enue last year,” notes Guy­er. ​Macro Advi­so­ry Part­ners has used Sullivan’s involve­ment as a sell­ing point in offer­ing ​trust­ed coun­sel in a tur­bu­lent world,’ with his face atop the ros­ter on their website’s land­ing page. But when Sul­li­van pub­lish­es a mag­a­zine arti­cle about U.S. for­eign pol­i­cy or deliv­ers uni­ver­si­ty lec­tures, he almost always omits this job from his biography.”

Then there is Michèle Flournoy, con­sid­ered the favorite to lead the Pen­ta­gon (though this hasn’t been offi­cial­ly announced yet). Not only is she on the board of mil­i­tary con­trac­tor Booz Allen Hamil­ton, but she co-found­ed the the hawk­ish cen­ter-left think tank Cen­ter for a New Amer­i­can Secu­ri­ty (CNAS) — which receives sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing from the weapons indus­try, includ­ing Gen­er­al Dynam­ics Cor­po­ra­tion, Raytheon, Northrop Grum­man Cor­po­ra­tion and Lock­heed Mar­tin Cor­po­ra­tion. She served in the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion as Under Sec­re­tary of Defense for Pol­i­cy from 2009 to 2012and then played a pow­er­ful role at CNAS. She was a major backer of the 2011mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion in Libya, a sup­port­er of the occu­pa­tion of Afghanistan, and firm­ly opposed the com­plete removal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

More Biden nom­i­na­tions will be trick­ling in over the com­ing days and weeks, and we have every rea­son to expect more of the same: His tran­si­tion team is a clear tell. As I report­ed on Novem­ber 11, one third of Biden’s Pen­ta­gon tran­si­tion team alone lists as their ​most recent employ­ment” think tanks, orga­ni­za­tions or com­pa­nies that are either fund­ed by the weapons indus­try or are direct­ly part of this indus­try. Many of these enti­ties are well-known and even respect­ed, includ­ing influ­en­tial think tanks like CNAS and the Cen­ter for Strate­gic and Inter­na­tion­al Stud­ies. Staffers of these think tanks do not get the same bad flak that lob­by­ists receive, but they deserve it: Via pol­i­cy papers, media out­reach and rela­tion­ships with politi­cians, these staffers effec­tive­ly do the same thing lob­by­ists do, but dressed in a more aca­d­e­m­ic veneer, and the think tanks Biden is draw­ing from have proven track records of push­ing weapons sys­tems on the U.S. gov­ern­ment. Indeed, in 2016 even the New York Times accused CSIS of lob­by­ing for Gen­er­al Atom­ics, a Cal­i­for­nia-based man­u­fac­tur­er of Preda­tor drones, based on a cache of emails show­ing it doing just that. And then there are the many that do not dis­close their fun­ders, includ­ing four tran­si­tion team mem­bers (Lin­da Thomas-Green­field among them) who hail from Albright Stone­bridge Group.

There is a temp­ta­tion to take a moment to breathe, to cel­e­brate that the Trump admin­is­tra­tion has been vot­ed out (although Trump appears deter­mined to main­tain pow­er), and to hold on to hope that Biden will mark a turn away from some of Trump’s worst impuls­es, includ­ing his war mon­ger­ing. But we learned from the ear­li­est days of the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion that it is sober assess­ment — rather than pro­jec­tion — that is called for in moments like this. Oba­ma, with Biden at his side, over­saw inter­ven­tion in Libya, dis­as­trous involve­ment in the Yemen war, ongo­ing occu­pa­tion in Afghanistan, sup­port for the coup in Hon­duras, and much more. And Biden is now pulling from the same team of advi­sors and influ­ence ped­dlers and con­sul­tants who helped make it all happen.

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Sarah Lazare is web edi­tor at In These Times. She comes from a back­ground in inde­pen­dent jour­nal­ism for pub­li­ca­tions includ­ing The Inter­cept, The Nation, and Tom Dis­patch. She tweets at @sarahlazare.

Featured image: Then-Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies before a Senate appropriations subcommittee on April 12, 2016 in Washington, DC. PAUL MORIGI/WIREIMAGE

Thailand’s ongoing US-funded anti-government protests aren’t “pro-democracy,” they are anti-Chinese. 

Just like in Hong Kong, the US is attempting to create crisis for China and its allies and impede both China’s and Asia’s rise upon the global stage.

I go over the close and ever-growing ties between Thailand and China and why the US is so determined to undo them. 

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This article was originally published on Land Destroyer Report.

Sources

CGTN – Thailand, China ink key Bangkok-Nong Khai High-Speed Railway contract:

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-10-29/Thailand-China-ink-key-high-speed-train-contract-UZpg0RAGZy/index.html

Bangkok Bank – Huawei’s role in Thailand’s 5G development:

https://www.bangkokbank.com/-/media/Files/Business-Banking/Tips-Insight-China-Weekly/Year-2019/ChinaInsight_Week11.ashx?la=en&hash=98C78B5764542C1F9A4E070822A21DF67E04769B

Tourist Arrivals to Thailand by Nationality in 2019:

https://www.thaiwebsites.com/tourists-nationalities-Thailand.asp

The Nation – Chinese tanks arrive ahead of schedule:

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30329063

Army Recognition – Army of Thailand takes delivery of the first local-made DTI-1 rocket launcher system:

https://www.armyrecognition.com/february_2016_global_defense_security_news_industry/army_of_thailand_takes_delivery_of_the_first_local-made_dti-1_rocket_launcher_system_11502161.html

ATN – Thai Protesters Host US-Funded Uyghur Separatists:

https://altthainews.blogspot.com/2020/10/thai-protesters-host-us-funded-uyghur.html

Bloomberg – Thailand needs hyperloop, not China-built high-speed rail: Thanathorn:

https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/politics/1550586/thailand-needs-hyperloop-not-china-built-high-speed-rail-thanathorn

NEO – Washington’s “Tiananmen” Lies Begin to Fray:

https://journal-neo.org/2019/06/09/ashingtons-tiananmen-lies-begin-to-fray/

NEO – The Biggest Lie About China’s Xinjiang “Internment Camps”: https://journal-neo.org/2020/09/03/the-biggest-lie-about-chinas-xinjiang-internment-camps/

Featured image is a screenshot from the video above

Vindicating Jeremy Corbyn

November 27th, 2020 by Megan Sherman

By now the apocalyptic metaphor for Jeremy Corbyn has crept through the doors of our consciousness. The tendency in the press to describe the unlikely leader in foreboding words which contain a warning: toxic; dangerous; destroy; risk, has gone in to overload. There’s always a warning attached to Corbyn. He will doom Labour at the ballot box; he’s a threat to your nan; if you say his name three times the ghost of Trotsky will appear, collectivize your cat and steal your taxes. This circus of fear isn’t just misleading: when Corbyn is trying to shine a light on the troublesome logic of government policy, on the nightmare that austerity and privatization creates, it shuts down dialogue before it can even get started.

Mainstream media renderings of Jeremy Corbyn tell us he has travelled through a wormhole that leads back to 1970, to drag us all back kicking and screaming in to an age of unbridled left-wing lunacy. In truth, like most ‘golden ages’ alluded to in politics, the reality is often more complex than the mythologizing which hides it. A lot seems odd about the reasoning of the debunkers. Firstly the issue that the chief problem is Corbyn’s obsolescence, rather than the reverse: precisely because of the way global debates on security, warfare, climate change and inequality are escalating, throwing 21st century challenges in to sharp relief, Corbyn’s ideas on rail and energy nationalisation, trident renewal and redistributive justice are ever salient. What should the era of an idea matter anyway? It made sense to left-wing activists in the sixties and seventies to protest the fact that the war economy hoovers up resources that might instead be devoted to helping people. Why can’t it make sense now? If anything those beliefs have been vindicated by time. You’d hope the idea that libraries, schools, hospitals and nurses do more good than bombs didn’t just die on January 1st 1980.

As for introducing Hamas as “friends”, one senses the alternative phrasing, “our enemies in Hamas”, may have escalated tensions somewhat. Corbyn’s choice was simply politic. There is a better reason why his bedfellows stir controversy, and that is when they are at odds with humanitarian principles. For example Corbyn’s refusal to speak out on regimes like Russia and Iran, which violate principles of justice by persecuting LGBTQI citizens, is horrendously out of touch.

Nevertheless he has done good to challenge the UK government for its collusion with Saudi Arabia, an extremist regime notorious for its abuse of human rights and to whom we nevertheless have a policy of selling guns and bombs. Arguably the UN has bastardized the whole legacy of humanitarianism by inviting Saudi Arabia to sit on its human rights council. It is horrifying to think that the (dubiously named) Ministry of Justice in the UK is being contracted to make Saudi Arabia’s disgusting penal system more efficient, at a time when human rights activists are campaigning for the release of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, a teenager sentenced to death for his involvement with anti-government protests. Jeremy Corbyn can be a force for good if he can keep applying diplomatic pressure and expose the pernicious influence of the Sauds on government policy.

Despite his high ideals he will doom us at the ballot box, say many. Of course Labour has to fight elections, but is that its central political task? If seizing the centre and capturing the average voter means capitulating to the portfolio and rhetoric of the Conservatives, it is mind-boggling why anyone would want to try. Obviously Blair did it, and sold Labour’s soul for peanuts. But there is no reason Labour should ever again ditch people power for parliamentary privilege, and ditch progress for politics.

Elections matter, but there is another battle, to build a mass movement for social justice sustainable on the local level, to win back the population for whom Labour was once an authentic opposition to the status quo but morphed in to a spooky robot replica of the Conservatives. Labour shouldn’t just rely on elections, but should equally support the struggle of trade unions, campaign groups and students aspiring in earnest to eliminate poverty and injustice from the world. There’s a whole generation of young people who want to change the state of democracy and struggle for peace and freedom who have found cause for hope in Corbyn, and his success in galvanizing this generation is a great illustration of how progressive principles of the past can still have meaning for people today.

People may accuse Labour of being stuck in the past but the truth is that we are still fighting Thatcher. We have a choice between the neoliberal society, organized by markets and private ownership and run for the benefit of a few self-serving plutocrats, or a socialist democracy, putting power in people’s hands to end the blight of war and division. Thatcher’s triumph was to convince the political class that “there is no alternative” to her Rayndian social engineering. New Labour embraced the essentials of the consensus. She herself said Blair was her greatest success. And every now and then a Blairite will rise up in a bubble of hot air to spew invective over the people’s protest, to try and kill off the Corbyn conga. But socialism is back. The struggle of progressives to reveal the truth, that “another world is possible”, has won, and the establishment hates it. And that is why they crank out phoney propaganda, and ask us if Jeremy Corbyn wins, would the last person who leaves Britain turn the lights out. Because it sits very, very uneasily with them that even if the all the lights did go out, more and more people are following Jeremy Corbyn, who may be a blind man leading the blind, but leading with the light of socialism in his heart.

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Featured image is from Global Justice

First things first, and rather than speculate about what may happen five or ten years from now, we need to look at the present. What is being tested now is to what extent the powerful are able to shape our perception of reality at will, and were we to believe mainstream media, it seems they are getting it. 

We can only trust our instinct, and what my instinct tells me is we have to throw away the masks and go on general strike. Act in unison, not in that social distancing that they want to enforce to its last consequences. Everything else is calculated ambiguity, mediocrity and delirium, a worthless attempt to escape from what is happening right now. 

This would be truly cathartic, and the crossing of supposedly contradictory gestures would short-circuit power and the ideological divisions that are at its service.

The future will depend on what we do in the present and not the other way around. Today what we observe is general subjection; each mask is the most effective vote for the party of the technocracy, fear and the multiple levers of repression. We will return to this at the end. But it is also necessary to pay attention to the medium and long term and not give a few the additional advantage of being the only ones capable of playing a long game, since they already have too many.  

It has almost become commonplace to put populism and technocracy at opposite poles, and so it is on a superficial reading. What is less appreciated is how they participate in the same lie, and this is always the essential thing if one wants to see beyond banana politics. 

Everything encompassed under the umbrella term “populism” has the common denominator of claiming to represent “the people” as opposed to an elite; the unitary character of such a people may be a myth, but the overwhelming reality of a tiny kleptocracy is not, which ends up endowing populist claims with undeniable strength and truth.

On the other hand, it is crystal clear that technocracy is at the service of these minute elites and their facilitators, which exposes a myth much more unfounded and false than that of populism: its legitimization in the name of efficiency. Since the aim is to optimize benefits and structural advantages for a minimum percentage of the population, it is absolutely impossible for technicians at the service of power to work for the benefit of general efficiency, but for a very particular efficiency that is not only different but so often in stark contrast to the former. 

No technocracy is more consolidated today than that of the central banks whose archetype and keystone is the Federal Reserve System, a mere consortium of private banks with the official blessing of the Government. And it is clear that the Fed does not work for the general efficiency of the economy —not even that of its own nation- but for the financial interests of global banking with the hegemony of the dollar as instrument. 

It is also clear that the economic theory that technocrats force on us is garbage economics at the service of the debt trap, so their alleged technical superiority is simply ridiculous: it is just counter-demagogy at the service of the economic elite. 

It is in the interest of this pseudo-elite that everything is, or at least seems, way more complicated than it really is, so that no one but them can be in charge. The best example is the convoluted fractional reserve system, which is ten times more complex than a hundred percent legal money system and incomparably less fair, since it is at the service of and intimately related to the inverted pyramid of inequality.

So-called “right-wing populism” claims to be sovereignist, but today it is impossible to seriously consider sovereignty without a way to guarantee an economic autonomy which begins with monetary independence. In this way any claim to sovereignty is a dead letter from the outset, and national-populism is a neutered cat that is only allowed the mewing, or rather the screaming, of cheap demagogy.

Trump is the textbook example: the base that support Trump is that of the impoverished white worker, but all he offers is more tax breaks for the rich and inconsequential measures against China. His feeble invectives against the Fed are a very small matter because we all know that the consortium has much more weight than the chief executive —he is there to assume quick decisions, distract the attention, and take the hits and the slaps. 

Populism could only be something more than demagoguery if it had a place to grasp the question of monetary sovereignty, but this cannot even be posed in the current correlation of forces.

Populism as a “fourth political theory”, whether right or left, is an option neutralized beforehand by the prevailing system as long as it is incapable of proposing monetary sovereignty: it continues to be on the same plane and turns within the same wheel as the rest of the parties and ideologies, each with its own ambiguity and indetermination, each with its own demagoguery. 

But is it not also demagogy to raise economic sovereignty when it has been totally hijacked and is impossible to access? Demagogy, it is not; it is a vital and elemental question, but totally beyond the reach of modern democracies. After all, democracy itself has been emptied of real content because the usurpation by private banks of such a fundamental public prerogative has also emptied it of effective power. 

Geoeconomics and Geopolitics

Except for China, no country today has monetary sovereignty: certainly not the United States, despite what appearances might suggest. And it is this situation that really determines the hostility of the globalists towards the eastern giant, a hostility that they try to transfer to the masses that support them. 

The media does a great job, and so we see the corner shopkeeper complaining about the Chinese next door and his fellows, “who are taking everything,” instead of looking at the bank to whom he pays the mortgage and who happens to be the engine of globalization. 

The Empire’s hostility towards China will not be tempered, but rather the contrary, since it is an existential threat. And it is here that the wires of geoeconomics and geopolitics will cross.

The Chinese government never had global hegemonic aspirations and would be content with having a voice in international affairs commensurate with its weight. Understandably, the real hegemon is not willing to yield a single portion of its present power. By increasingly harassing China, it is forcing her to defend herself in all spheres —and today attack is an integral part of defense. 

The more hostile the West is to the Sinosphere, the deeper her reaction will be. Previously, Western decision-makers believed that these attacks would leave no wounds and would be reversible since the ultimate goal was to assimilate the Chinese economy into global capitalism. Thus, anything that would weaken the dragon would be good for gaining bargaining power and obtaining concessions more easily. 

But, reached a certain point, the hostility begins to take on an irreversible character and the rival moves further and further away from the negotiating horizon, even if it never loses sight of it. It is forced to move deeper. And that is the point we are getting to, because, unable to solve their own problems, Democrats and Republicans alike need to blame China to get returns from both the electorate and the deep state. 

In the United States, the fallacy of Chinese guilt becomes the only “floating signifier,” the only remaining space left for powerless politicians to the point of pathetic. 

But what is a floating signifier in the jumble of lies of the West could end up being a meaningful token for China, and for this very thing that liars cannot meddle with. 

There is a much more pressing technological race right now than that of coronavirus vaccines. It is the race for control of the cryptocurrency space, in which China seems to be in the lead. 

Digital currency is the ultimate phase of capitalism in the final stage of the liquefaction of money: both a technical culmination and a critical step in the enslavement of the masses and the closure of the system. This step poses a great danger both for those who run it and for those who suffer from it. 

It is only natural that in this phase neoliberalism takes a sharp turn towards technocracy and global governance until it is no longer recognizable. But technocracy itself is only a screen to disguise as neutral the unusual power of a plutarchy that also uses the oligarchy to hide. 

In previous works we have detected a “double contradiction” at the crossroads of the main monetary decisions. We have seen that there are two basic attitudes of the states with respect to the digital currency, as well as two types of private crypto-currencies, the speculative and corporate cryptos, and the alternative cryptos for all sorts of communities. The latter seem to be a residual option but may tip the balance in the very plausible case of a generalized currency war. 

China has no pretensions to monetary hegemony —its currency is still pegged to the dollar- and would be content with some sort of equilibrium; but it is the aggressiveness of those who want to impose the rules that will force her to undertake incursions in the global market even reluctantly, and precisely to preserve the equilibrium. 

The coming crypto-currency war can be a great test to find out the truth of monetary theories. The globalist elite wants to impose a “global governance” of the digital currencies so that the subjects have no escape from their system, even if it means the end of the dollar’s hegemony, now replaced by a new design and a new consensus. This is something that Mark Carney, ex of Goldman Sachs and former governor of the Bank of England, put frankly at the Jackson Hole meeting in 2019. 

But efforts to reach international agreements may come late and badly, at least with respect to a player as important as China; and if agreements were finally reached, today it could only be at the expense of the US dollar, or more precisely of the people of the United States, which would have to submit to a new international discipline for which their internal market is not even remotely accustomed.

Today the different currencies do not have real autonomy because if they turn their backs to the dollar system, the response, whether financial or military, is almost immediate, as we have seen with relatively modest countries like Iraq or Libya. If the monetary hegemony is transferred to a global crypto-currency, blessed by the Bank for International Settlements, they must be certain that the US army will continue to be at its service, or else the always decisive resource of force will be lost. 

On the other hand, if the dollar is abandoned, the Americans will see with painful clarity something they should have seen long before: that the United States has always been an instrument and nobody gave a damn about the people. To speak in such circumstances of betrayal of the American people would be ludicrous; but a new kind of humiliation, of plundering and derision, can still await them if they don’t wake up. Not everyone will accept it. 

The question of the transfer of monetary hegemony, which until now had nothing to do with Chinese initiatives, is a very delicate one and reminds us of a blanket too short for the bed —one has to choose between the feet and the head.

American populism is not going to die with Trump, that could represent only the beginning of a somewhat comical but more than understandable struggle for self-determination. The division in American society is deep and has a dual but unique origin: in the external opposition between globalists and isolationists, and in the internal division of the elites themselves. 

It may well be the case that global banking will reach an agreement with China to the detriment of the American people, but this would only further fuel populism and neo-isolationism: one can even imagine soon the vindication of the dollar as a symbol of the lost sovereignty… even if it was through the dollar that sovereignty fled to the Empire. 

But on the other hand, a monetary hegemony dissociated from military hegemony and force will never get very far. Add to this the fact that the American stock market bubble is the greatest in history and is yet to pop, and we can begin to imagine the chaos into which the old models and behaviors will be plunged. 

Smaller economies and currencies always look for another reference currency to be backed for. After the Last Great Bubble pops, it will be really difficult for the dollar to be the main reserve currency —because the Fed is the Last Great Bubble itself. What is broken, is broken. Hence the urgency to “reinvent” the hegemony by the Great Financial Siphon.

This will make the impending digital yuan, better supported by both a more robust economy and a more solid and balanced state, even more attractive. If the American bullying disappears, the flight to the eastern currency will be much easier —but here we are not only talking about national currencies, but also private crypto-currencies, whether speculative or alternative.

From Chinese dual circulation to the Tao of Judah

Just this fall of 2020 the Communist Party of China has revealed its new five-year strategy of “dual circulation” to reduce dependence on foreign markets and technologies from 2021 to 2025. 

It does not take much insight to realize that the dual attitude is a deeply rooted feature of Chinese idiosyncrasy: from yin and yang to the “one China, two systems”, to this brand-new dual circulation that admits more levels of interpretation than what commentators have so far discovered. 

One of these levels, and a vital one indeed, would be the imminent new digital currency. Let us remember in passing that our own fractional reserve monetary system is also a dual circulation system, with legal money issued by the central banks, barely a five per cent of it, and endogenous money created out of thin air by bank credit, which is the bulk of the total: the debt-money for which we all work, even if we have never asked for credit in our whole lives.

But the “dual circulation” of the Chinese digital currency would have very different implications. The Chinese government could be extremely restrictive about the use of its crypto-currency in its huge domestic market, while adopting a much more “liberal” approach in foreign markets in order to attract long-awaited capital while harvesting new support and a new kind of soft power. 

It sounds very attractive, both to the Chinese government and to a growing sector of the foreign population that feels increasingly destitute, not to mention the flow of capitals that ignores ideologies and is always willing to sell out its mother. 

This explains why guys like Carney are stressing once and again that “governance is the core pillar of any form of digital currency” —global governance, of course; because it is not easy to empty the sea with a sieve. 

China would in no way want to play hard the card of a dual monetary system unless it is strongly provoked, that is, as a defensive countermeasure; but this game, which would disrupt the global financial corral, would be easily interpreted as an incursion into someone else’s yard or “aggression” in other words. Put another way, if China is winning the economic war, the Western countries will intensify their offensive in the other sectors of the hybrid war, from opinion to military pressure and attempts of destabilization.

It can be assumed then that China will evolve in this arena with great caution and according to the behavior of its rivals, because after all, the official approach to double circulation is to decrease the dependence on foreign markets and to come closer to the Chinese ideal of self-sufficiency, which will never cease to be the ultimate goal of its movements. 

The Chinese government would also have an additional reason for concern: the difference in treatment for users of its currency in the domestic and foreign markets could lead to growing discontent at home. It is not easy to harmonize the state-directed economy with navigating the markets, but the Chinese technocracy already know something about it. And they are not alone, because the Fed and the other central banks are familiar with this issue too. 

However, this contrasts sharply with the attitude of the Western powers, which still believe they have a special right to rule the world and impose their wills on others. But we should not blame the “West” for what is basically a matter of the plutocracy and its lackeys.

Elite comes from elected, the chosen ones, and it is known that some are more Chosen than others. We have spoken repeatedly of the 80/20 law in the distribution of wealth and its successive powers, and we have also spoken of the x-ray of that x-ray, that informal “law” of 50/50 that affects the share of the booty and the most intimate physiology of accumulation, that special relationship within AngloZionism between leaders in the exercise of violence and deceit.

This share seems insufficient to one of the parties given the notorious advantage they enjoy; the financial elite wants the United States to serve the Empire and not the other way around. The disappearance of the dollar would not at all imply the retreat of the interests of those who manage the Federal Reserve, but its protection against the growing instabilities of the nation and loss of consensus —of which they are the main cause. 

This transfer or succession would imply an internecine war that can only be read between the lines, and this conflict is the invisible cause of a social division that is but the ultimate consequence of the projection of power with its control of means and minds. 

The transfer of the coercive mechanisms of financial control can leave a vacuum of power and authority that will be favorable to the monetary sovereignty of countries, collectives and peoples, and right now it is impossible to say what will tip the balance, since many of the consequences will be unintended. 

China may favor that spring, but so may the United States if it throws off the yoke of empire and creates the first one hundred percent legal tender, as already proposed in the 1933 Chicago Plan. And only in this way they could set a positive example and have the only moral leadership, involuntary, that may be worthwhile. 

Social Democrat Roosevelt did a great job for the Fed at the time, which should not be surprising. But it is in the destiny of the United States and of all of us that this unprecedented option —which will not fail to come up at the critical moment of “change of phase” in the state and reality of money. And this will completely disrupt the props of the political spectrum, which, as we see, can no longer stand.

Today there would no longer be globalism or a will to continue with this project were it not for the weight and power projection of “Jewish” money, which is the only will that continues to give a direction to the multiple divergent interests of the oligarchies. The West itself would be dismembered into a heap of disperse interests without this element of cohesion; there is nothing easier to demonstrate, if the question is the fate and concentration of capital. It is good to understand this, and he who ignores it miss the thread of the plot. 

Not even the Jews themselves have exhausted the meaning of this reality, since censorship of public opinion must also have a profound effect on involuntary mechanisms of self-censorship. Only at the very end can instinct attain self-understanding. 

Too many confuse loyalty to the West with loyalty to Netflix, and there is a point to it, since the West is above all the imaginary of the descent in search of its unfathomable bottom.  

As the couplet goes, ’cause the Tao of Judah, neither is tao nor is not nah, the anonymous poet complaining that the sharp-edged rigor of the Law has little to do with the harmonious roundness of reciprocity. But surely our coplero, whether Benjamin of Tudela or not, had an understandable bias that prevented him from seeing the issue more objectively. 

Because yes, there is a Tao of Judah; and it is true that it does not have to do directly with the Law, but with its reversal: we are talking about the dialectic between the Jews and the Goyim —the nations and their peoples. The “tao of Judah” is literally the winding road and tortuous way of the Law among the nations.

Jewish scriptures continuously emphasize the outstanding status of Israel over all peoples and nations; China, on the contrary, was the popular civilization par excellence long before the People’s Republic, since there the ideal is not to stand out. The Tao of Judah seeks the extremes with full intention, turning everything into gold included, while the Chinese people, in their instinctive search for the invariable medium, aspire to the golden mean or aurea mediocritas by carefully avoiding the extremes. 

So the archetype of the Jew and the Chinese are like the scorpion and the frog of the fable: one is always looking for soft parts to nail the sting to the heart, while the other, all defensive instinct, is always ready to avoid it. 

Of course, we are talking of a big frog. And if we are dealing with how the digital liquefaction of money is going to affect the balance and legitimacy of nations —water and earth, after all- it is not hard to spot a curious fight between Behemoth and Leviathan. And in our upside-down world, the earth has to use the liquid element of money to defend itself, while the plutarchs who accumulate the bulk of the wealth seek to poison all the levers of politics to prevent it. 

Those who like enigmas may wonder where the Ziz is today —that mysterious creature of the air capable of covering the Sun with its wings. 

To avoid being fried in the pan, China would have to combine the three mythical creatures into a single entity: a full-fledged Dragon with brand new claws. 

Israel’s extremely close ties with the national-populist movements are telling: from Trump to Bolsonaro, Johnson, or the European populist parties. It is as much about controlling their movements as it is about ensuring that their leaders are unpresentable enough to discredit their most legitimate claims. And so far they are having great success, because even if they win, and especially if they win, the expectations about a real sovereignty wear down more and more —especially when they have control of the media and can round out the caricature of these already cartoonish characters. 

The current national-populist leader appeals on the one hand to healthy instincts against globalization, while on the other appeals to the most dull and stupid selfishness. Lacking real power, he is a movie loser doomed to ridicule. 

The only game changer here would be the new (digital) monetary balance. If sovereignty is able to regain control of money for nations and do so successfully, the myth of the efficient technocracy would be forever discredited.   

But this requires not only a window of opportunity, but also another sense of goodness and justice. There should be much more coherence and integrity in speaking about the common good and the ways to achieve it.

There is the erotics of power and there is the necrotics: but now they are barely distinguishable for both politicians and technocrats. The true erotics of power is being able to awaken in the people the desire for good, and the present national-populist has no idea what that might be. If he gets so many votes today, it is only because many people know what they hate. Adherence by negative reaction is already guaranteed by the system; the question is if there is a real offer beyond demagoguery. 

Given the nature of the forces at play, the time to rise this question will come.

Saying no

In the coming monetary war we can distinguish three axes: the horizontal axis, linked to the most purely commercial, civil and liquidity factors, the vertical axis, to the political-legal environment of the states and the agreements between states, and a temporal axis in depth encoding the scope of the reversibility and irreversibility of the debt, and of the uses and changes in monetary technology.

As we have already said elsewhere, this third axis is as important or more than the other two, and it is present in all orders and not only in the economy. In fact, it defines the extremes of our sense of temporality, and maybe one day analysts will understand its relevance. Today it is beyond their estimations, and even their ideas, which makes it even more interesting.

The things now being discussed are at a very different level; issues such as basic income, which, by the way, will be one of the star products to gain the assent of the debt-serf without costing the elites a penny. The same people responsible for all this situation have to present themselves as saviors; what less not to end up hanged. 

And this brings us back to the beginning of our article, and how to respond to those who care so much about saving us. And for this we do not need to ponder or analyze; we only need to have guts. 

They say fear is free but nothing is further from truth. Surely those who seek to frighten us 24/7 are trying to free us. 

Many people who often talk about the Revolution and taking over the Winter Palace not only put on their masks but also launch diatribes against the “deniers”. It is well known that “fascism” must be fought —but operetta fascism, not the real thing we know so well. Perhaps, by attacking this paper fascism they believe they have fulfilled their political consciousness, a truly revolutionary one. They are the necessary counterpart of all those who say that the Democratic Party is communist.

I am not going to tell anyone what to do, but there is no need to wait for the revolution, or the taking of the Winter Palace, or anything like that. If you wanted a chance to do something against this system, to make a real gesture for once, the time has long since come. It never will be easier for you, because you don’t even have to start by doing something, but simply decide not to do it.

Not to wear a mask. Not to close your business. Not to submit to disgusting and unnecessary tests. Not to be vaccinated with completely experimental and unnatural vaccines. Not letting them muzzle you or inserting icky sticks and needles in your body, you insert them something bigger by the best place possible, without no need to stain yourself with their shit. 

It is way better to die alone than suffer their special treatments, because anything is better than owing them your life. Show yourself you don’t depend on them. If there is a time to prove it, this is it. 

You don’t need to be their guinea pig, let them graciously experiment in their own flesh —this are the only experiments worthwhile. You don’t need to back up with actions what you don’t believe in. If you stop doing and consuming certain things, you will soon find room to do and assimilate others; if you stop giving in to the all-pervasive pressure to isolate yourself, you will soon find unexpected companions, because you will also be busy looking for them. 

Whatever happens, in spite of everything and with all our actions included, I am convinced that this is always the least bad of the infinite possible worlds; but no one can imagine how the others might be. We have enough with just one.

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Anti-Iran Saber Rattling

November 27th, 2020 by Stephen Lendman

For over 40 years, the US never attacked Iranian territory — other than by covert operations.

Tehran’s legitimate nuclear energy program has no military component — confirmed time and again by the IAEA and US intelligence community assessments.

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh earlier said the following:

According to US National Intelligence Estimates on Iran’s nuclear program, “there is no conclusive evidence that Iran has made any effort to build the bomb,” adding:

“Despite years of covert operations inside Iran, extensive satellite imagery, and the recruitment of many Iranian intelligence assets, the United States and its allies, including Israel, have been unable to find irrefutable evidence of an ongoing hidden nuclear-weapons program in Iran…”

It’s because none exists, not now or earlier.

Iran’s nuclear program is the world’s most heavily monitored by IAEA inspectors.

Their reports across the board stress the program’s legitimacy.

No evidence suggests a future Iranian aim to develop the “bomb.”

In stark contrast, Israel is nuclear armed and dangerous. It maintains stockpiles of chemical, biological and other banned weapons.

The US operates the same way, using banned weapons in all its preemptive wars.

Yet the UN, most of its member states, and corporate-controlled establishment media turn a blind eye to vital information everyone has a right to know.

At the same time, US major media promote the myth of an Iranian threat — when none ever existed throughout Islamic State history. More on this below.

Iran is the region’s leading proponent of peace, stability, and mutual cooperation with other nations — seeking confrontation with none, threatening no other countries.

Throughout nearly four years in office, Trump waged all-out war on Iran by other means — short of military confrontation.

The one exception of sorts was last January when the Pentagon assassinated Iranian Quds Force commander General Qassem Soleimani and deputy head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in their car after departing from the Baghdad International Airport.

While continuing wars he inherited, Trump launched no new ones on his own.

With his tenure nearing an end — barring a highly unlikely 11th hour Supreme Court ruling that invalidates fraudulent election results — why would he risk embroiling the Middle East in potentially greater war than anything seen since WW II?

Would he want his legacy more greatly tarnished than already?

If Iranian territory is attacked, retaliation would be swift and harsh against US regional forces, possibly against Israel.

Russia and/or China might intervene to protect their regional interests – a worst case global war scenario.

Where US ruling authorities never went since Jimmy Carter was president is highly unlikely to happen now — especially near the end of Trump’s time in office.

Yet saber-rattling US media suggest possibly otherwise.

In November, the NYT claimed Trump “asked senior advisors (for possible) options to take action against Iran’s main nuclear site in the coming weeks,” adding:

He was “dissuaded” from striking Iran militarily, including by Joint Chiefs chairman General Mark Milley.

According to the Middle East Eye (MEE) on Tuesday, Iranian Quds Force commander General Ismail Qaani told Iraqi PMU officials in Baghdad to halt attacks on the Green Zone and US bases until Trump’s tenure ends.

According to a senior PMU commander quoted by the MEE:

“Qaani made it clear that Trump wants to drag the region into an open war before leaving, to take revenge on his opponents over losing the election, and it is not in our interest to give him any justification to start such a war.”

While it’s highly unlikely that Trump would order an attack on Iran militarily at this time, Iranian officials don’t want a pretext created for him to do the unthinkable.

Qaani added that

“(i)f war breaks out between Iran and America, its repercussions cannot be contained, and Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran will all be a battleground for both sides.”

“Therefore, the higher interest must be taken into consideration…So all attacks targeting US interests in the region should be stopped.”

According to a November 21 CENTCOM press release, a nuclear-capable B-52 bomber was sent to the Middle East on the phony pretext of “deter(ring) aggression and reassur(ing) US partners and allies.”

Reportedly, a US aircraft carrier task force is en route to the Persian Gulf, what appears to be a saber-rattling move, not preparation to strike Iran.

On Thursday, WaPo said “(a)nti-Iran hawks in the (US) and Israel see the window closing on the possibility of a preemptive US-Israeli strike against the Iranian nuclear program,” adding:

Netanyahu, Pompeo, and other Trump regime hardliners support what cooler head US and Israeli officials reject.

Netanyahu cried wolf about a nonexistent Iranian nuclear weapons program countless times before — knowing it doesn’t exist. Last week, he was quoted saying:

“There must be no return to the previous nuclear agreement.”

“We must stick to an uncompromising policy to ensure that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons (sic)” — ignoring his own illegal stockpile.

According to an unnamed US war department official, the idea of a “clean, limited surgical strike” on one more Iranian nuclear facilities is folly.

All-out regional war could follow with potentially devastating consequences for Iran, Israel, and US-allied Arab countries.

According to individuals close to Trump, he values preservation of steps taken to draw down US regional forces, an effort to stop endless wars.

Striking Iran militarily would be a polar opposite step.

His regular intelligence briefings surely explained that Iran’s nuclear program has no military component.

On November 25, Reuters reported that Trump’s envoy for regime change in Iran Elliott Abrams said more US sanctions on the country are coming regularly through January 20.

He stopped short of suggesting possible military confrontation.

Because high-level US political and military officials oppose the idea — along with the type legacy Trump wants to preserve — anything potentially leading to war with Iran is highly unlikely.

Separately on Wednesday, Axios reported that Israel’s IDF was “instructed to prepare for the possibility that the US will conduct a military strike against Iran before President Trump leaves office,” adding:

The move was unrelated to an “intelligence assessment” or belief that Trump would order such a strike.

It’s another example of saber-rattling.

With Trump’s tenure near an end, his focus mainly on convincing at least five Supreme Court justices to reject rigged election results against him in hopes of a second term, Iran is a side issue by comparison.

The clock is ticking on his remaining days in office, as things now stand.

As January 20 inauguration day draws closer, chances for Trump ordering a military strike on Iran will likely diminish and fade away.

Hostile US actions on Iran — short of hot war — will continue as it’s played out endlessly since its 1979 revolution.

*

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

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Biden’s Promise: America Is Back(wards)

November 27th, 2020 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

With President Donald Trump all but conceding to the transition team that will take over after January next year, interest now shifts to President-elect Joe Biden’s choices for cabinet.  On the national security front, the imperial-military lobby will have reasons to be satisfied.  If Trump promised to rein in, if not put the brakes on the US imperium, Biden promises a cocktail of energising stimulants.

While campaigning for the Democratic nomination, Biden tried to give a different impression.  Biden the militarist was gone.  “It time to end the Forever Wars, which have cost us untold blood and treasure,” he stated in July 2019. Pinching a leaf or two out of Trump’s own playbook, he insisted on bringing “the vast majority of our troops home – from the wars on Afghanistan and the Middle East”.  Missions would be more narrowly focused on Al-Qaeda and ISIS.  Support would also be withdrawn from the unpardonable Saudi-led war in Yemen.  “So I will make it my mission – to restore American leadership – and elevate diplomacy as our principal tool of foreign policy.”

This was an unconvincing display of the leopard desperately trying to change its striking spots.  During the Obama administration, the Vice-President found war sweet, despite subsequent attempts to distance himself from collective cabinet responsibility.  These included the current war in Yemen, the assault on Libya that crippled the country and turned it into a terrorist wonderland, and that “forever war” in Afghanistan.  In 2016, Biden claimed to be the sage in the administration, warning President Barack Obama against the Libyan intervention.  An impression of combative wisdom was offered.  He had “argued strongly” in the White House “against going … to Libya,” a position at odds with the hawkish Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who insisted on something a bit more than going to Libya. After the demise of Muammar Gaddafi, what then?  “Doesn’t the country disintegrate?  What happens then?  Doesn’t it become a place where it becomes a – petri dish for the growth of extremism?”  So many questions, so few answers.

The Iraq War is another stubborn stain on Biden’s garments.  His approval of the invasion of Iraq has been feebly justified as benign ignorance.  As he explained to NPR in September last year, he had received “a commitment from President [George W.] Bush he was not going to go to war in Iraq.”  Bush looked him “in the eye at the Oval Office; he said he needed the vote to be able to get inspectors into Iraq to determine whether or not Saddam Hussein was engaged in dealing with a nuclear program.”  Then came the invasion: “we had a shock and awe”.  For Iraqis, it was a bit more than shock and awe.   

With the warring efforts of the US in Iraq turning sour, Biden entertained a proposal reminiscent of Europe’s old imperial planners: the establishment of “three largely autonomous regions” for each of Iraq’s ethnic and confessional groups, governed by Baghdad in the execrable policy of “unity through autonomy”.  Not exactly an enlightened suggestion but consistent with previous conventions of dismemberment that have marked Middle Eastern politics. 

In considering Biden’s record on Iraq, Spencer Ackerman of The Daily Beast was clear in describing an erratic, bumbling and egregious performance.  “Reviewing Biden’s record on Iraq is like rewinding footage of a car crash to identify the fateful decisions that arrayed people at the bloody intersection.”

Now, we forward ourselves to November 2020.  The Trump administration has given a good cover to the incoming Democratic administration.  Considered putatively wicked, all that follows the orange ogre will be good.  In introducing some of his key appointments, Biden’s crusted choices stood to attention like storm troopers-elect, an effect helped by face masks, solemn lighting and their sense of wonder.  “America is back,” declared Biden.  A collective global shudder could be felt.  The Beltway establishment, mocked by Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes as “the Blob,” had returned.

In the cast are such figures from the past as former Deputy Secretary of State and former Deputy National Security Adviser, Tony Blinken. He will serve as Secretary of State.  National Security adviser: former Hillary Clinton aide and senior adviser Jake Sullivan.  Director of National Intelligence: Avril Haines (“a reliable expert leading our intelligence community,” remarked CNN’s unflinching militarist Samantha Vinograd of CNN, herself another former Obama stable hand from the National Security Council).  Secretary of Defence: most probably Michèle Flournoy, former Under Secretary of Defence for Policy.

Blinken, it should be remembered, was the one who encouraged Biden to embrace the antediluvian, near criminal project of partitioning Iraq.  This does not worry The Guardian, which praises his “urbane bilingual charm” which will be indispensable in “soothing the frayed nerves of western allies, reassuring them that the US is back as a conventional team player.”  He is a “born internationalist” who likes soccer and played a weekly game with US officials, diplomats and journalists before joining the Obama administration. 

Johannes Lang, writing in the Harvard Political Review, is a touch sharper, noting that Blinken “is a committed internationalist with a penchant for interventionism.”  The two often go together.  As Blinken recently told The New York Times (members of the UN General Assembly, take note), “Whether we like it or not, the world simply does not organize itself.”

Flournoy and Blinken have been spending time during the Trump years drawing sustenance through their co-founded outfit WestExec Advisors, a consulting firm promising to bring “the Situation Room to the Board Room.”  Revolving door rhetoric is used unabashedly: We knew power; we can show you how to exploit it. Having served in a presidential administration, these individuals are keen to use “scenario development and table-top exercises to test ideas or enhance preparedness for a future contingency”.  The consultants are willing to give their clients “higher confidence in their business decisions,” as Flournoy puts it, in times of “historic levels of turmoil and uncertainty around the world”. 

The Flournoy set have also been the beneficiaries of the US defence funding complex, fronting think tanks that have received generous largesse.  In a report for the Center for International Policy, Ben Freeman notes that, “Think tanks very considerably in terms of their objectives and organization, but many think tanks in Washington D.C. share a common trait: they receive substantial financial support from the US government and private businesses that work for the US government, most notably defense contractors.”  Flournoy’s own Center for a New American Security now ranks second to the RAND Corporation in the cash it gets from defence contractors and US government sources. 

Biden’s Department of Defense agency review team, tasked with informing what is hoped will be a “smooth transfer of power,” has its fair complement of those from entities either part of the weapons industry or beneficiaries of it.  According to In These Times, they make up at least eight of the 23 people in that team.  Think tanks with Biden advisory personnel include the militarily minded Center for Strategic and International Studies, which boasts funding from Raytheon, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Lockheed Martin Corporation and General Dynamics Corporation.

America – at least a version of it – is back, well and truly.  The stench of wars continuous, and interventions compulsive, is upon us.

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Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research and Asia-Pacific Research. Email: [email protected]

EPA Finds Glyphosate Is Likely to Injure or Kill 93% of Endangered Species

November 27th, 2020 by Center For Biological Diversity

The Environmental Protection Agency released a draft biological evaluation today finding that glyphosate is likely to injure or kill 93% of the plants and animals protected under the Endangered Species Act.

The long-anticipated draft biological evaluation released by the agency’s pesticide office found that 1,676 endangered species are likely to be harmed by glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and the world’s most-used pesticide.

The draft biological opinion also found that glyphosate adversely modifies critical habitat for 759 endangered species, or 96% of all species for which critical habitat has been designated.

“The hideous impacts of glyphosate on the nation’s most endangered species are impossible to ignore now,” said Lori Ann Burd, environmental health director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Glyphosate use is so widespread that even the EPA’s notoriously industry-friendly pesticide office had to conclude that there are hardly any endangered species that can manage to evade its toxic impacts.”

Hundreds of millions of pounds of glyphosate are used each year in the United States, mostly in agriculture but also on lawns, gardens, landscaping, roadsides, schoolyards, national forests, rangelands, power lines and more.

According to the EPA, 280 million pounds of glyphosate are used just in agriculture, and glyphosate is sprayed on 298 million acres of crop land each year. Eighty-four percent of glyphosate pounds applied in agriculture are applied to soy, corn and cotton, commodity crops that are genetically engineered to tolerate being drenched with quantities of glyphosate that would normally kill a plant.

Glyphosate is also widely used in fruit and vegetable production.

“As we prepare to feast on our favorite Thanksgiving dishes, the ugly truth of how harmful industrial-scale agriculture has become in the U.S. has never been so apparent,” said Burd. “If we want to stop the extinction of amazing creatures like monarch butterflies, we need the EPA to take action to stop the out-of-control spraying of deadly poisons.”

The EPA has, for decades, steadfastly refused to comply with its obligation under the Endangered Species Act to assess the harms of pesticides to protected plants and animals. But it was finally forced to do this evaluation under the terms of a 2016 legal agreement with the Center.

Emails obtained in litigation brought against Monsanto/Bayer by cancer victims and their families have uncovered a disturbingly cozy relationship between the agency and the company on matters involving the glyphosate risk assessment.

In one example, when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced it would be reviewing glyphosate’s safety, an EPA official assured Monsanto he would work to thwart the review, saying, “If I can kill this, I should get a medal.” The Health and Human Services review was delayed for three years.

Monsanto/Bayer has also enjoyed broad support from the Trump White House. A domestic policy advisor in the Trump administration stated, “We have Monsanto’s back on pesticides regulation.”

Earlier this year, relying on confidential industry research, the EPA reapproved glyphosate. The EPA’s assessment contradicts a 2015 World Health Organization analysis of published research that determined glyphosate is a probable carcinogen.

President-elect Joe Biden has already tapped Michael McCabe, a former consultant to chemical giant DuPont, to join his Environmental Protection Agency transition board, drawing broad outrage, including from Erin Brockovich.

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More Transparency Demanded for Gene-edited Crops

November 27th, 2020 by GMWatch

Researchers at North Carolina State University are calling for a coalition of biotech industry, government and non-government organizations, trade organizations, and academic experts to work together to provide basic information about gene-edited crops to lift the veil on how plants or plant products are modified and provide greater transparency on the presence and use of gene editing in food supplies.

At issue is a May 2020 US Dept of Agriculture rule called SECURE (sustainable, ecological, consistent, uniform, responsible, efficient) that governs genetically engineered organisms. The rule is expected to exempt most genetically modified plants from pre-market field testing and data-based risk assessment. In fact, the USDA estimates that 99% of biotech crops would receive this exemption.

NC State researchers Jennifer Kuzma and Khara Grieger, in a policy forum paper published in the journal Science, say that SECURE, though decades in the making, falls short in providing enough public information about gene-edited crops in the food supply. Given consumer interest in GM foods and labelling information, the lack of public information on gene-edited crops could decrease trust and confidence as they begin to enter the marketplace and become more commonplace.

“It’s pretty clear that consumers want to know which products are genetically modified and which are not, and we suspect that these desires will not be different for gene-edited crops,” said Kuzma, the Goodnight-NC GSK Foundation Distinguished Professor in the Social Sciences and co-director of the Genetic Engineering and Society Center at NC State. “Crop developers, including companies, have signalled that they want to do better with gene editing to improve public trust. We present a model for them to improve transparency and obtain certification based on providing information about their gene-edited and other GM crops in a public repository.”

To provide more transparency, the NC State researchers recommend the creation of CLEAR-GOV, or a “Community-Led and Responsive Governance” coalition, that would provide access to basic information on biotech crops in accessible language. That would include the species and variety of plant, type of trait modified, improved quality provided by the trait modification, general areas where the crop is grown, and downstream uses of the crop. CLEAR-GOV would be operated through a non-profit organization staffed by experts from a variety of academic fields.

“If leadership at a non-profit, independent research organization decided that this is something that they are passionate about, they could see a market value in housing this coalition and hosting this depository,” said Grieger, a paper co-author and assistant professor and extension specialist in NC State’s Department of Applied Ecology.

Kuzma adds that CLEAR-GOV would fill an important gap for consumers and other stakeholder groups who want to know more about gene-edited products in the marketplace.

“Because many gene-edited crops would be exempt under SECURE and new GM food labelling rules may also not apply to them, there needs to be some information repository for companies that want to do the right thing and be more transparent,” Kuzma said. “Our recommendations would provide a mechanism for that.”

This initiative is timely in light of the biotech company Cibus’s obfuscation over the origins of its gene-edited herbicide-tolerant canola. Cibus promoted the canola for years as a triumph of its proprietary “precision” gene-editing technology. But as soon as the canola became detectable through the development of a public test, Cibus did a U-turn and claimed that the herbicide tolerance was the result of an accidental mutation rather than gene editing.

We might speculate that Cibus’s turnaround came because the gene-edited canola does not have EU approval under the GMO regulations and thus any presence in EU imports would be illegal.

GMWatch welcomes the researchers’ call for more transparency. But in our view, the responsibility to deliver that transparency lies firmly with the gene-edited crop developer. It should not fall to the public, NGOs, or academics to fill the gaps in knowledge created by the secrecy of the GMO industry.

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The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela’s ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Samuel Moncada, intervened this Wednesday in the session of the Security Council to denounce the economic aggression of the United States against twenty-nine countries of the world, through their misnamed “sanctions,” and proposed the formation of an International Alliance to stop the crimes against humanity perpetuated by the US in violation of human rights and the UN Charter.

“The US pretension to impose its national legislation as if they were universal laws, through economic and military coercion, is a danger to the entire system of international relations,” said the high diplomatic representative at the UN, through the publication of several videos in his virtual participation in the session.

Through his Twitter account, @SMoncada_VEN , he reported that Venezuela supports the creation of this “International Association against Unilateral Coercive Measures,” as an operational platform that will combat the illegal sanctions that the US has imposed against a third of humanity.

“Today we denounce in the UN Security Council, Trump’s economic aggression against twenty-nine countries—including Venezuela—representing a third of humanity, attacked in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic,” stated the Venezuelan ambassador.

He stressed that these illegal measures amount to a systematic and deliberate attack against entire populations, and against the right to self-determination of peoples, “by a permanent member of the Security Council.”

“We face the unusual situation in which a Member State with a special responsibility to comply with international law, perpetrates crimes against humanity and forces other States to assist it in committing the crime,” he reproached.

The immoral economic persecution through criminal means is aggravated by the use of military threats, which increase obstacles in the struggle of countries to combat the coronavirus pandemic. In this sense, he denounced the so-called “humanitarian exceptions” to these coercive measures, which the US says it applies to help the affected peoples, as a cruel and utter mockery.

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COVID-19, which has thus far killed over 1.4 million people globally; the alleged treatment of the Uighur minority; the neoliberal-supporting rioters in Hong Kong; and, the trade war with Washington, have all contributed to the deterioration of China’s image in the West. The majority of French people also have a negative image of China, according to the findings of a European study, which is curious as it opposes France’s own economic interests. The result of the study demonstrates that there was a successful culmination on the demonization of China by the West, especially in the Anglosphere, which in turn influences other countries in Western Europe and pro-American states around the world.

The perception of China was the subject of a vast survey carried out in September and October in thirteen European countries by the Czech Palacký University Olomouc, in partnership with the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI). And the result is interesting as 62% of French people have a negative image of China for only 16% of positive perceptions. The overwhelming negative sentiment towards China was also shared by Sweden, Germany, the UK, Czechia and Hungary. Spain, Slovakia, Italy, Poland and Latvia were more neutral towards China while Serbia and Russia had overwhelmingly positive views.

Interviewed by Le Monde, researcher Marc Julienne also observed that the French are more attached to “political than economic” interests. Thus the “first terms that come to the minds of those surveyed, apart from COVID-19, are ‘dictatorship’ and ‘authoritarian’” when they think of China. The French rank China last among trusted states and entities behind the EU, the U.S. and Russia, according to Julienne.

Such a radical opinion by Westerners against China is not surprising. One of the most determining factors in the construction of these public opinions is the posture of the direct and increasingly ideologized confrontation of U.S. President Donald Trump against China. Trump started with a trade war against China, blaming the Asian Giant for the end of U.S. manufacturing rather than the corporations that sought greater profits by using cheap labor in China. However, what started off as only a trade war against China ended up with direct attacks against the ruling Chinese Communist Party for its political and economic system.

Responding to Trump’s accusations of the “China virus,” Beijing’s diplomacy went on the offensive at the start of the year. In March, the Twitter account of the Chinese Embassy in Paris had mentioned the possibility that the U.S. was responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chinese ambassador, Lu Shaye, was even summoned by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian for his remarks publicly denigrating France’s abandonment of the elderly in the first months of the pandemic.

If Chinese diplomats ever dare to make arguments against the provocations of Western media and politicians, they are immediately described as aggressive. This is a demonstration of Western soft power, and the results of the survey are a testament to this. This is because there is an ideological alignment of the U.S.’ anti-China position which has been adopted by all Western media, a far cry from when they once adored the Cultural Revolution and Maoism at the height of the Sino-Soviet Split during the Cold War.

The demonization of China, that has spilled over into France and the majority of Western Europe, has been imposed by American diplomacy – this is whether they are backing and supporting neoliberal rioters in Hong Kong, constantly denouncing China’s alleged treatment of the Uighur minority, pushing COVID-19 conspiracy theories about the origin of the virus, or instigating a trade war. The media have been unanimous on China since the accession of Trump to the presidency. We of course cannot be massively surprised that public opinion towards China has been deeply influenced by Trump’s rhetoric and the media’s portrayal of the Asian country.

China has therefore become the scapegoat for Western countries to project their own internal crises, for example the poor handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., or the endless protests like those by the Yellow Vests in France, or the bad treatment of minorities like Native Americans in the U.S. and Canada, or the lack of domestic manufacturing all across the Western World.

However, despite the constant antagonizations and provocations against China, economic ties have simply continued and developed. Beijing has once again opted to rhetorically react to provocations, but continue economic developments, presenting a major rift between the French political class and the economic elite. China is France’s second largest non-EU trading partner after the U.S., and is quickly rising through the ranks and even surpasses rich countries neighboring France like Switzerland and Belgium.

French President Emmanuel Macron believes that Europe stretches from Lisbon in Portugal to Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East close to the borders with China and North Korea. This is in the hope that in the future Europe will have direct access to Asia’s rising markets via the Eurasian landmass. Constant provocations by the French political elite have the risk of locking out the European country from reaching the pearl of all of Asia’s markets – China. By following the example of Trump and the U.S. media establishment, Paris risks a lot for virtually no gain by joining the U.S.’ anti-China initiative.

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This article was originally published on InfoBrics.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

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Dear Sirs and Madams,

I am an independent scientist of over 30 years experience leading research into new medicines, operating up to Vice President and head of Respiratory Research at Pfizer, a US pharmaceutical company and founder and CEO of Ziarco Ltd a biotechnology company sold to Novartis in 2017.

As an independent I am less constrained than academics and commercial persons. However, I have applied the same rigour to analysing the pandemic since March as with any of my former projects.

In brief:

  • I am certain the pandemic is over and was over before the end of June.
  • There was a clear peak of excess deaths in spring. COVID-19 clearly caused many deaths, mostly of the elderly and already ill.
  • Turning to late summer and into the autumn – despite exaggerated claims that there is an ongoing full-blown pandemic, there are still FEWER respiratory deaths than at the same time periods in all five of the years since 2015. The below shows monthly deaths with any respiratory primary diagnoses including COVID-19.

There is a small and potentially growing all-causes excess mortality signal. I am working with a pathologist and our evaluation so far shows that these excess deaths are inconsistent with being COVID-19. In short, they are not dying from respiratory illness, but from heart failure and from cerebrovascular accidents such as stroke and diabetes. An awful realisation I have is that these excess deaths are just the sort you would expect if you take a mixed population, deprive them of easy access to the healthcare system for seven months and keep them stressed.

Looking at data obtained from contacts within the NHS, we do not have hospitals full of respiratory patients to any greater extent than usual for November. There are always hotspots and we know Liverpool is one such today. Again, the evidence is against this being due to COVID-19. And to repeat, we have not had excess respiratory deaths since the spring event itself. Liverpool and other cities and towns nearby have additional capacity and ‘surge capacity’, if required. The NHS as a whole is not in crisis and there is nothing to suggest it is about to be. I also checked with a colleague regarding intensive care beds. While an increasing number of their occupants have tested positive for COVID-19, intensive care beds are at exactly normal loadings for the time of year, i.e. 82%. I believe those COVID-19 diagnoses are mostly or all incorrect. We have tested well over 30,000,000 people. It wouldn’t be surprising if lots of people get a false diagnosis from a PCR test.

Antibody prevalence in the blood of those surveyed periodically is falling steadily and has been since its peak in the spring, when the virus was moving very fast through the population, infecting perhaps hundreds of thousands per day at its very peak. That antibodies are falling was last week wrongly touted as problematic and suggested immunity was fading. That’s the wrong interpretation. The human body does not maintain high levels of antibodies which are not needed. Consequently, steady falls in prevalence of antibodies is a clear signal that people are no longer encountering the virus. I believe that insofar as it is still present, it has become endemic at low levels and represents no threat to the health of the nation.

As someone experienced at reading into adjacent areas of science which I have done time without number since obtaining my PhD in respiratory pharmacology in 1988, I was always confident that the population would speedily attain ‘community immunity’. This is what I believe has happened as detailed in my article “What SAGE has got wrong”.

In my view – probably because SAGE lacked cellular and clinical immunologist expertise earlier this year and at no time during this event has it seconded a pathologist or an expert generalist such as myself – they’ve made a series of terrible errors which continue to infect policy to this very day. If such experts had been consulted, our advice would have made a huge difference, not least to the starting assumptions which are widely criticised as outlandish in the scientific community. In addition, we could have “sense checked” some of the more perplexingly unlikely predictions, such as 4,000 deaths per day.

The most fundamental error SAGE has made was to ignore all evidence of the very existence of prior immunity in the population on the spurious grounds that this was a novel virus. This virus is in fact related to four common-cold producing coronaviruses in general circulation and it has been shown unequivocally that a sizeable proportion of the peoples of at least Europe and North America possess T-cells that provide them with some protection against both endemic and novel viruses.

This virus is a serious threat to a low proportion of the elderly, especially if they are already ill. This description of the most vulnerable accounts for the vast majority of Covid deaths and the median age of those who’ve died of COVID-19 is slightly older than the median age of those who died of all other causes. However, the majority even of this elderly group survive infection. Overall, the lethality of the virus is now known to be very close to typical seasonal influenza. Notably, in relation to risks to the working population, the lethality of the virus in those aged 60 and younger is actually less than seasonal flu.

By using several sets of data I have been able to estimate the proportion of the UK population who have been infected. If you add them to the estimated proportion of the population that had prior immunity, and take account of the fact that young children do not often participate in transmission or become very ill, it is clear that there are far too few susceptible people remaining in UK to support an expanding infection as has been suggested. Instead, the evidence is strong from practical, theoretical and observational standpoints that the nation as a whole and probably most if not all regions in the UK are already protected by community immunity as described by many world leading academic epidemiologists in UK.

I heard with disbelief suggestions that surviving infection might not lead to immunity, or that immunity might only last a few months. Let me assure you, we have known for scores of years that surviving simple respiratory viruses which are neither immuno-toxic like HIV or change their appearance yearly like flu, leads as a rule, not an exception, to long-lived and robust T-cell mediated immunity. Antibodies may play a role but they are not central. That this ordinary virus has become a global media event is simply not justified by its profile.

I have been active on Twitter rather a lot in recent months. I would suggest that the people of UK are now highly suspicious of what is claimed to be happening. Many is the time people have in exasperation said: “This just doesn’t make any sense.” Indeed, what we are being told (that there is a full blown pandemic still underway) does not make sense and while I have no idea why it is being said, it is doubtless incorrect. Ordinary people know that each season’s flu takes perhaps three-to-four months to pass through the whole population. Knowing that SARS-CoV-2 is more infectious, they know that it would take the same or less time to pass through the UK population, not more. Indeed, we know it was in the UK by February. Adding a generous four months takes us to June, where all clinical signs of COVID-19 has disappeared (ignoring PCR test results, of which more in a moment). The rise and fall of Covid deaths in the UK follows exactly the same curve as that of other, highly seeded/infected countries such as Sweden. There is no doubt that we are in the same position as Sweden and it is only the monstrously error-prone and untrustworthy PCR test that suggests otherwise. What SAGE claims is happening is immunologically implausible in light of other data, specifically the shape of the death versus time curve, which shows beyond all reasonable doubt that the pandemic was self-extinguishing.

The PCR testing machinery is, at best, greatly in error and completely misleading. I have good knowledge of mass testing systems. I have always been deeply worried about polymerase chain reaction (PCR) because of its power, not only to find one molecule as small as a broken fragment of viral RNA and amplify it, sometimes by two to the power of 40, through repeated cycling, but also because it can find something that is not there – it can yield a ‘positive’ result even though the virus is not present. The greater the amplification and the higher the number of tests being done each day day – and the lower the expertise of the staff doing it – the higher the probability of error. I was the person who, with a radio journalist, finally pressed Mr Hancock to disclose the false positive rate of the Pillar 2 test, when it was still measuring far fewer tests per day than now. Having established that false positives exist, it is important to know that the rate of these can be small yet, when the prevalence of the virus is low, many or even all the positive results are false. That’s a practical debate for another time.

Yesterday, in response to a written question, the Government disclosed that while attempts had apparently been made to determine the operational false positive rate, it still doesn’t know it. As an experienced lab scientist, I know that when testing capacity is boosted substantially and the staff recruited have less and less lab experiences, there is only one outcome: errors of handling and of procedure. These in turn destroy the integrity of the testing system. The entire response of the UK depends upon the reliability of these tests. I have to tell you quite firmly: at present, it is practically, logically and legally impossible for anyone to be able to tell you what fraction of the positive tests recently obtained are real and which are not. For a range of reasons related to strong evidence that this virus cannot just hover around as it has been suggested and viruses certainly do not perform waves ever, the most secure conclusion is that these results are not to be trusted and are not reliable in any way.

So what I am saying is this. Despite warnings from all sides over months about this test it has continued to be used with increasing ferocity. It’s a medical diagnostic test. On no occasion would such a diagnostic be put into mass testing – in the NHS, for example – without knowing in advance how reliable it is. In terms of proper characterisation, it has NEVER been measured, despite the war-like impact of the test results on the nation and its people. At a minimum, the charge is reckless endangerment. Given all this information, it is literally impossible to guess whether the FPR is 1% or 10%. If even near the latter, there are no “cases” et seq. And there are other reasons to be very concerned about mass testing which I cannot go into today.

In my view, community mass testing is the pathology in the country now – not the virus. It must cease today. Without the ‘cover’ of mass testing, there is no evidence at all that the health of the nation is under any threat whatsoever. That event occurred in spring and our responses to it have been exaggerated and – what is worse – extraordinarily persistent, even when all the evidence says the pandemic has concluded.

I have a colleague who has a half a dozen sets of data all related to the pandemic. These show clear relationships between the data in the spring, all of which illustrated the impact of the virus. However, time after time, these relationships have broken down. The explanation for this is that at least one of the measurements are wrong, and the culprit is the PCR test. This has happened before. In New Hampshire in the USA there was a hospital that was convinced it had a huge outbreak of whooping cough. Physicians, patients and parents were all very worried about the expected deaths. Eventually, an older physician examined some of the patients and did not agree with the diagnosis. Asking the staff why they were so sure it was whooping cough, the answer was it had been diagnosed by the PCR test, the sole diagnostic tool. A review was ordered and this led to culture of the organism from the suspected patients. There was not a single person who actually had whopping cough. No infectious organism was found. What had happened was a now infamous case of a “PCR False Positive Pseudo-epidemic”. That is what I believe we have now in UK and in many other countries using similar technology.

MPs: If you vote for it now, you will condemn more people to suffering and some to death and the evidence does not support this extreme measure for which, even if the virus was circulating as SAGE claims, there is no evidence of benefit.

I urge you to vote against so we can all disclose our evidence that the pandemic is over and the epidemic of PCR testing can end.

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This Week’s Most Popular Articles

November 27th, 2020 by Global Research News

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On Thanksgiving day, throughout the year, with likely worsening times ahead, ordinary Americans are suffering through the hardest of hard times in US history.

For 36 straight weeks since March, over one million Americans sought unemployment insurance (UI) benefits.

It’s at time when real US unemployment exceeds 26% — based on the pre-1990 calculation model.

The official Labor Department reported 6.7% rate is fabricated.

It’s part of a major media-supported grand scheme to conceal evidence of manufactured Main Street economic collapse and the nation’s dismal state.

In the past week, another 778,000 jobless Americans applied for UI, 312,000 more seeking Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) — about 1.1 million in total.

Unless renewed, these benefits expire at yearend.

An additional 13 weeks of Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) for qualified recipients also expires at yearend.

At this time, nothing is being done to provide millions of unemployed, impoverished Americans with vital aid for essentials to life.

Millions of US households are food insecure, millions more face eviction from residences in January for lack of income to pay rent.

Millions of US debt-entrapped students can’t service loans for the same reason.

The vast majority of ordinary Americans struggle daily to get by while privileged ones never had things better.

The greatest ever engineered wealth transfer from ordinary people to the super-rich added trillions of dollars to their wealth in the last four years — around $1 trillion this year alone for US billionaires.

All politicians lie, Biden as untrustworthy as Trump.

In August, candidate Biden falsely pledged to largely reverse Trump’s tax cuts for the rich.

He lied saying he’ll use the funds for education, healthcare, childcare, strengthening Social Security, and other vital homeland needs.

He’ll do none of the above. Nor will he make corporations and rich households pay their fair share.

He falsely claimed that he’ll reduce incentives for corporations to outsource jobs by raising the tax rate on offshore profits and closing tax loopholes.

His regime will continue neoliberal harshness he supported as US senator and vice president.

He’ll exclusively serve privileged interests at the expense of the general welfare at a time of greater Depression than in the 1930s.

Thanksgiving day through the weekend and what follows won’t be enjoyed by millions of hungry Americans, millions more facing possible homelessness.

What reasons exist to give thanks when endless US wars on humanity rage at home and abroad, when mass unemployment and impoverishment exists, when ordinary Americans are exploited, not served, when elections are rigged and fundamental freedoms are disappearing in plain sight.

Robert Jensen earlier called for replacing Thanksgiving with “a National Day of Atonement, accompanied by a self-reflective fasting.”

It’ll take far more than an annual day of self-reflection and fasting to change the nation’s longstanding wicked ways.

The only solution is popular revolution. It’s the only way for transformational change — what elections and legislation never accomplish.

Duopoly rule runs the US. Elections are selections, not democracy in action.

If the real thing emerged, it would be banned.

If peace took hold, another 9/11 type state-sponsored false flag would invent an enemy to attack.

If alternative voices made a difference for constructive change, they’d be silenced or otherwise eliminated.

Growing up long ago, Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday.

It was at a time when America wasn’t beautiful, far from it.

Yet ordinary inner-city kids like myself benefitted from public schools teachers who taught, affordable higher education, and career opportunities after graduation.

All of the above are gone for the vast majority today, remaining only for the privileged few.

No reasons exist to give thanks at any time of year when government in cahoots with dark forces harm ordinary people instead of serving everyone equitably according to the rule of law.

I’ll spend Thanksgiving day, weekend, and throughout the year reflecting, not celebrating.

As long as my health and energy hold out, I’ll keep doing what I can for a nation safe and fit to live in, for an end to imperial wars and growing homeland tyranny.

I hope millions of others will get involved through activism for vital change.

The alternative is grim or grimmer than what Orwell, Huxley and others like them imagined.

Politicians won’t deliver governance of, by, and for everyone equitably.

Positive change only comes from the bottom up, never the top down, never through the ballot box.

It’ll only come by taking to the streets and staying the course, doing whatever it takes for constructive change.

There’s no other way.

That’s the cold, hard reality on Thanksgiving day and every other day of the year.

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Featured image is from Needpix.com

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Maradona: The Fragile God of the Global South

November 27th, 2020 by Pepe Escobar

His life was a running planetary pop opera for the ages. From Somalia to Bangladesh, everyone is familiar with the basic contours of his story – the pibe from Villa Fiorito, a poor suburb of Buenos Aires (“I am a slum dweller”), who elevated football to the status of pure art.

Being the king of the pitch is one thing. Playing on the global pitch non-stop is a completely different ball game. Multitudes instinctively seized what he was all about – like he was always emitting a magic buzz in a higher frequency, beyond the Empire of the Senses.

Italians, who know a thing or two about aesthetic genius, would compare him to Caravaggio: a wild, human – all too human – pagan deity dwelling in light and shades, hitting all time lows over and over as virtually his whole life played out in public: the dizzying ballet of all inner demons exploding, family scandals, divorces, rivers of alcohol, doping, evading the income tax enforcers, Himalayas of Colombian marching powder, countless intimations of death amid perpetual joy.

He personified the non-stop crossover of Olympian Heights with The Harder They Fall: a walking – dribbling – fest of wild contradictions, beyond good and evil. To borrow, laterally, from T.S. Eliot, he was like a river, “a strong brown god – sullen, untamed and intractable.”

The late, great Eduardo Galeano did picture him as a pagan deity, just like one of us: “arrogant, womanizer, weak…. We’re all like that!” El Pibe was the ultimate dirty god – “a sinner, irresponsible, presumptuous, a drunkard.” He could “never return to the anonymous multitude where he came from.”

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Selected Articles: Bribery and Corruption in the Covid-19 Era

November 26th, 2020 by Global Research News

Bribery and Corruption in the Covid-19 Era

By Kristina Pierce, November 26 2020

While the world is trying to limit the destruction caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are only starting to understand its long-term effects on governments, economies, companies and individuals. The global crisis has exacerbated existing flaws at all levels, including vulnerabilities to corruption and bribery.

World Economic Forum’s ‘Great Reset’ Plan for Big Food Benefits Industry, Not People

By Jeremy Loffredo, November 26 2020

The architects of the plan  claim it will reduce food scarcity, hunger and disease, and even mitigate climate change. But a closer look at the corporations and think tanks the WEF is partnering with to usher in this global transformation suggests that the real motive is tighter corporate control over the food system by means of technological solutions.

Brave Vandana Shiva Speaks Out Against the Great Reset

By Organic Radicals, November 26 2020

She warns in a new interview that “The Great Reset is about maintaining and empowering a corporate extraction machine and the private ownership of life”.

COVID Vaccine Hesitancy Widespread, Even Among Medical Professionals

By Jeremy Loffredo, November 26 2020

Pfizer recently announced that its covid vaccine was more than 90 percent “effective” at preventing covid-19. Shortly after this announcement, Moderna announced that its covid vaccine was 94.5 percent “effective” at preventing covid-19. Unlike the flu vaccine, which is one shot, both covid vaccines require two shots given three to four weeks apart. Hidden toward the end of both announcements, were the definitions of “effective.”

At the UN, Italy Abstains on Nazism

By Manlio Dinucci, November 26 2020

The political significance of this vote is clear: NATO members and partners boycotted the Resolution which, first of all, calls into question Ukraine without naming it, whose neo-Nazi movements have been and are used by NATO for strategic purposes.

Palestine and the Middle East: “Trump Will Leave this Region with Toxic Legacy When Departing White House”

By Michael Jansen, November 26 2020

When he departs the White House on January 20, Donald Trump will leave this region with a toxic legacy. First and foremost, his ongoing campaign to delegitimise the Palestinian people and encourage Israel to continue colonising their homeland has had disastrous consequences for both Palestine and countries further afield.

US Propaganda War on China

By Stephen Lendman, November 26 2020

US trade, legislative and propaganda war rage against China. Is what’s unthinkable possible? What’s gone on since the Obama/Biden regime’s 2013 Asia pivot, greatly escalated by Trump hardliners, is the stuff that preemptive wars are made of.

UK’s Military Spending Boost Will Make the World More Dangerous

By Andrew Smith, November 26 2020

‘I have decided that the era of cutting our defence budget must end, and it ends now.’ These were the words of the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, when he the biggest increase to the UK’s military budget since the Cold War. His shopping list includes lasers, a ‘hackers HQ’ and all sorts of conventional weapons.

US Limited Isolation from the World Stage Is Likely Coming to an End

By Paul Antonopoulos, November 26 2020

With Biden frequently emphasizing that “America is back,” it gives a clear indication that the period of Washington’s limited isolation from the world stage under Trump has come to an end. Biden has already promised to help political opposition, without specifying exactly where except in the case of Turkey, but we can expect that this would include Russia, Belarus and Syria.

UK Military’s Overseas Base Network Involves 145 Sites in 42 Countries. Encircling China? Global Military Presence

By Phil Miller, November 26 2020

Britain’s military has a permanent presence at 145 base sites in 42 countries or territories around the world, research by Declassified UK has found. The size of this global military presence is far larger than previously thought and is likely to mean that the UK has the second largest military network in the world, after the United States.

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US Propaganda War on China

November 26th, 2020 by Stephen Lendman

US trade, legislative and propaganda war rage against China.

Will it turn hot after hawkish interventionists infesting the Biden/Harris regime’s national security team take over in January?

Is what’s unthinkable possible? What’s gone on since the Obama/Biden regime’s 2013 Asia pivot, greatly escalated by Trump hardliners, is the stuff that preemptive wars are made of.

While neither side wants hot war with the other, the absence of mutual trust — combined with US hegemonic rage to control planet earth, its resources and populations — makes the unthinkable possible.

While the US is militarily superior to other nations — except Russia because of its unmatched super-weapons — war with China would be against a far more formidable adversary than any Washington ever attacked preemptively.

Twice post-WW II, the US waged two failed Asia wars, one ending with an uneasy armistice, the other in humiliating defeat — both against nations far less powerful than China today.

Pentagon joint chiefs are very leery about war with Iran, a nation able to hit back hard if attacked.

Nuclear-armed China with intercontinental ballistic missiles and other super-weapons would be able to exact a heavy price on the US in response to aggression if launched.

While it’s clearly possible ahead by accident or design, it’s highly unlikely.

Pentagon commanders no doubt want another humiliating Asia war defeat avoided.

Most likely, Republicans and Dems will stick to war by other means on China, including use of intense propaganda — amplified by establishment media.

China’s growing political, economic, industrial, technological, and military prominence on the world stage made it Washington’s public enemy No. one.

Yet no foreign threats to the US and West exist, invented ones alone to maintain a perpetual war on humanity by hot and other means.

Pompeo and material on the Trump regime’s State Department website keep up a steady drumbeat of anti-China propaganda.

It currently features fake news about nonexistent “Chin(ese) military aggression in the Indo/Pacific region.”

It’s how the US operates globally in stark contrast to China’s pursuit of peace, stability, and cooperative relations with other countries, confrontation with none.

Below is a litany of Pompeo OK’d bald-faced Big Lies about China— likely to be repeated by incoming Biden/Harris regime interventionists:

“Across much of the Indo-Pacific region, (China) is using military and economic coercion to bully its neighbors, advance unlawful maritime claims, threaten maritime shipping lanes, and destabilize” regional territory (sic).

All of the above describes how the scourge of US imperialism operates worldwide — polar opposite China’s law-abiding higher standard.

US “conduct increases the risk of miscalculation and conflict,” not China’s or any other independent nation free from Washington’s control.

US policy under both wings of its war party militantly oppose “a free and open Indo-Pacific” they seek unchallenged control over.

Beijing seeks to strengthen its military capabilities because of possible US aggression, not to advance its regional “footprint” as the State Department falsely claimed.

Nor does evidence exist to suggest that China aims “to project and sustain military power at greater distances (sic).”

In stark contrast, the US empire of bases operates worldwide.

Pentagon conventional and special ops forces are based in or occupy over 150 countries on every continent — posing a major threat to world peace and stability.

According to TomDispatch’s Nick Turse, Pentagon “commandos (are) deployed (in at least) 141 countries.”

Many US “secretive bases (are) left off the (Pentagon’s) books.”

Officially it “maintains (about) 4,775 ‘sites, spread across all 50 states, eight US territories, and 45 foreign countries.”

Officially, the Pentagon operates about 800 bases globally.

Unofficially — including mini-bases and others shared with host countries — it operates thousands at home and abroad.

What’s secret and off-the-books avoids congressional and other public scrutiny.

Countless billions of dollars are spent annually to maintain the US empire of bases.

According to the Overseas Base Realignment and Closure Coalition, around 95 percent of foreign military bases are US ones.

At most, China and Russia have a scattered few abroad by comparison, none used as launching pads for hostilities toward other nations the way the US operates.

The Pentagon recently admitted having a military presence (including about “4,800 defense sites”) in 164 countries — with little or no further elaboration.

According to Turse, the Pentagon doesn’t define what it means by a “location,” adding:

“The annual cost of deploying US military personnel overseas, as well as maintaining and running those foreign bases, tops out at an estimated $150 billion annually, according to the Overseas Bases Realignment and Closure Coalition.”

The cost of maintaining outposts is about “one-third” of the above total.

Including for intelligence, off-the-books black budgets, homeland security, and other related categories, annual US military/security-related spending at home and abroad matches or exceeds other world community of nations combined.

It represents a monumental black hole of waste, fraud and abuse.

In February 2018, Project Censored reported a whopping $21 trillion gone missing from the federal budget throughout the 1998 – 2015 period.

Most likely it went for militarism, warmaking, Wall Street bailouts and speculation, trillions more to the present day — an abuse of power left unexplained by US officials and establishment media

Countless trillions of dollars go for so-called national security, with little or no oversight, at a time when America’s only enemies are invented.

No real ones exist — not China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, or any other nations.

All of the above goes on endlessly while vital homeland needs go begging — especially at a time of manufactured economic collapse with over one-fourth of working-age Americans left jobless.

The State Department falsely accused China of “stealing” South China Sea resources.

It accused Beijing of a “might makes right” agenda, “imposing its will on the region…intimidat(ing) and challeng(ing) its neighbors.”

All of the above and much more applies to US hegemonic practices worldwide, polar opposite China’s geopolitical agenda.

Claiming the US “partners (with other nations) for peace and prosperity” ignores its endless wars on humanity at home and abroad.

China, Russia, Iran, and other nations on the US target list for regime change seek cooperative relations with other countries, confrontation with none.

Washington under both right wings of duopoly rule seeks unchallenged global dominance — endless wars by hot and other means its favored strategies.

When Biden/Harris most likely replace Trump in January, longstanding US dirty business as usual at home and abroad is sure to continue at least largely unchanged.

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Joe Biden’s team has created a new body, unprecedented in the transitional period between American presidents, and provided the names of six people who will occupy some of the most important positions in his administration if he assumes the presidency on January 20. Judging from those appointed, we have a clear insight into Washington’s foreign policy if Biden enters the White House next year – and there’s no mistaking, “America Is Back,” as Biden announced once again this week.

In particular, the two most important appointments Biden made were Jake Sullivan as National Security Advisor and Antony Blinken as Secretary of State as these are crucial roles. The National Security Advisor is in charge of the powerful National Security Council housed in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House, and normally meets the U.S. President every day. The Secretary of State has the task of coordinating American diplomatic actions, both bilaterally and within many multilateral forums.

Judging from the two names listed, Biden gives a decisive sign of discontinuing Trump’s foreign and national security policies. There is also a strong feeling that Biden wants many of the policies made by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to return.

Sullivan has already held the position of National Security Advisor and his ideas resembles that of the policies enacted and endorsed by Clinton. In 2008, Sullivan was deputy political director of Obama’s election campaign and even prepared Obama’s televised debates against John McCain. When Clinton became Secretary of State, Sullivan became her Deputy Chief of Staff and the Director of Policy Planning. He has been credited with making significant contributions to Washington’s Libya and Syria policies during the so-called Arab Spring. Sullivan also took part in the negotiation process that would lead to the Geneva accords with Iran, in particular by participating in a series of secret meetings held in Oman.

As for Blinken, he was National Security Advisor to Vice President Biden between 2009 and 2013 right before Sullivan. He then became Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor between 2013 and 2015 and finally Deputy Secretary of State. In these positions, he had a significant role in policies adopted for Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as negotiations with Iran. He also influenced the American response to Crimea’s reunification with Russia where he argued the necessity for sanctions against Moscow. After Trump’s ascent to the White House, Blinken worked as a global policy expert for CNN.

The combination of these two appointments suggests important changes could begin on January 20, both in the global posture of the U.S. and in the choices that will be made in some crucial areas, confirming the underlying difference between Biden’s vision and Trump’s. Under Biden, the U.S. will attempt to regain global influence it lost under Trump. In doing so, the architects of Washington’s new foreign policies will undoubtedly have full support from the American establishment and much more resources at its disposal.

It is reasonable to assume that Washington’s re-engagement with the world under a Biden presidency will begin with renewed pressure against governments whose economic and political systems ​​do not reflect those of Western liberalism. We can expect that Biden will offer support to political oppositions, like he has already said he will do in Turkey, or with economic measures like sanctions. These measures will most likely reverberate not only against Russia, but also several countries like Syria, Turkey and Serbia.

A reassessment of bilateral relations with Iran is also likely, albeit most probably not how it was under Obama. Among the people that Biden selected, there is indeed an opportunity to abandon the policy of maximum pressure against the Islamic Republic to induce negotiations and potentially dismantle sanctions. Perhaps Tehran could be convinced to abandon its nuclear program.

With China, defined as a competitor rather than a rival by Biden, intense negotiations will likely occur. However, trade wars will probably be renounced, which for Trump was not only a system to rebalance trade and attempt to relaunch U.S. manufacturing, but also a form of disguised strategic embargo aimed at slowing the economic and military growth of China.

Although not confirmed yet, just like Biden’s success in the 2020 elections, it is being flouted in U.S. media that Michele Flournoy, former Undersecretary of Defense between 2009 and 2012, will likely become the chief of the Pentagon. She sits on the board of directors of the Atlantic Council, a Washington D.C. think tank known for viscerally alleging Russian hackers steered the 2016 American elections in Trump’s favor. As given in the name, the think-tank is a major hub of disseminating Atlanticism and U.S. unipolarity.

The appointments of Sullivan and Blinken, and potentially Flournoy, demonstrates that a Biden administration would be steered against states opposing U.S. unilateralism and unipolarity, particularly Russia. Although we can expect softer stances towards China and Iran, it will still be far removed from normality. In addition, with Biden frequently emphasizing that “America is back,” it gives a clear indication that the period of Washington’s limited isolation from the world stage under Trump has come to an end. Biden has already promised to help political opposition, without specifying exactly where except in the case of Turkey, but we can expect that this would include Russia, Belarus and Syria, all with the aim of weakening Moscow’s influence and geopolitical position. Therefore, we can also expect more color revolutions in areas that are critical to Russia’s security and geopolitical aims.

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This article was originally published on InfoBrics.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

Featured image is CC BY-SA 2.0

The UK government has responded to pressure from the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Conservative Friends of Israel by listing Israel and occupied Jerusalem together as one country in its weekly update to COVID-19 related travel corridors.

Yesterday the Board condemned the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in a tweet which contained a screenshot of the revised FCDO list that had made a clear distinction between the status of Israel and Jerusalem by including the two territories on its list as separate countries.

Though the list was in line with US foreign policy, the Board, which over the years has adopted the hard-line positions of the Israeli far-right towards the Palestinians, slammed the UK Foreign Office.  “Absolutely inappropriate to list ‘Jerusalem’ as a separate country. We have taken this up with ⁦@FCDOGovUK⁩ this morning & they are urgently reviewing it” said the Board in its tweet.

Members of the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) Stephen Crabb and Eric Pickles and President Lord Polak also urged the government to make an immediate correction to the advice about Jerusalem.

“The announcement of a travel corridor with Israel is excellent news. However, the FCDO’s decision to define Jerusalem as a territory separate from Israel is offensive and hostile,” CFI is reported saying in the Times of Israel.

“Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. To describe Jerusalem as anything other than an integral part of Israel is a fiction divorced from reality and the travel advice must be immediately corrected”.

Following the complaint, the FCDO published a revised list which had Israel and Jerusalem down as the same country, even though there has been no change in the UK’s position over Jerusalem.

“The position of the UK government has remained constant since April 1950” the FCDO says on its website. “We recognise Israel’s de facto authority over West Jerusalem. In line with Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) and subsequent Council resolutions, we regard East Jerusalem as under Israeli occupation”.

MEMO has asked the FCDO to explain its reason for listing Israel and Jerusalem as the same country when hours before it had made a distinction between the two territories in line with its long-held position that East Jerusalem is occupied territory. No response has been received at the time of publication.  

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Featured image: Partition of Jerusalem? Let my people in! – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

‘I have decided that the era of cutting our defence budget must end, and it ends now.’

These were the words of the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, when he the biggest increase to the UK’s military budget since the Cold War. His shopping list includes lasers, a ‘hackers HQ’ and all sorts of conventional weapons.

It is hard to believe that this is the same Prime Minister who only a matter of days ago was arguing that his government could not afford to provide meals for hungry school students during the October break. But this decision does not just tell us about the domestic priorities of the PM, it also tells us a lot about how ‘Global Britain’ will act on the world stage.

With the UK in the final days of Brexit negotiations, we are starting to see the redrawing of its foreign policy. It is likely to see an even more inward-looking approach to world affairs. Earlier this week the government refused to rule out cuts to the overseas aid budget, with Downing Street sources briefing that it could be reduced from 0.7 per cent of spending to 0.5 per cent – a cut of around one third to a commitment that is enshrined in law.

In comparison, the proposed increase in military spending, of £16 ($21) billion over a four-year period, would be on top of what is already one of the highest military budgets in the world. Contrary to the image we are often given of a depleted military that is supposedly dying on its knees, data from the International Institute for Strategic Studies shows that, with £55 ($72) billion at its disposal prior to the announcement, the UK already has the sixthhighest military budget in the world.

The problem is not just the scale of military spending. It is also what it is used for. For far too long, UK security policy has been focused on military solutions, foreign wars of aggression and hypocritical and dangerous partnerships with human rights abusing regimes. These policies have had a devastating impact around the world, while doing nothing to keep us safe from many of the biggest threats, including pandemics, inequality and climate change.

With the scale of the Covid-19 crisis becoming apparent, it is clear that the government has a big job ahead in terms of rebuilding the economy after the pandemic, and, with so many sectors of the economy facing uncertain futures, it is important that it is done right.

We are told that this military funding is a necessary part of that rebuilding, and that it will be used to secure thousands of jobs. However, even if we were to strip away the dire political consequences and look at military spending as nothing more than a job creation scheme, then it is totally ineffective. There are more and better jobs that can be created through investing in far more positive and sustainable areas of engineering, such as renewable energy.

Research from Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) shows that investment in offshore wind and marine energy could produce more jobs than the entire arms industry, providing alternative high-skilled employment for arms trade workers. Jobs in an industry which is growing rather than declining, and which would contribute to building a safer, rather than a more dangerous, world.

Making a transition from arms to renewables and other areas of engineering is a long-term process, but that is no reason not to do it. There is no doubt that such a change would require major support and political will from the government, but if these changes are made then it can help us to prepare for a different future based on different political and economic choices.

However, when push has come to shove the government has totally failed to face up to the challenge of climate change. This week Johnson also announced his ‘green industrial revolution.’ Most of these steps did not go far enough to meet the scale of the climate emergency we are facing, and nor did the funding. With ($4 billion) provided in additional funding, it is less than a quarter of what has been pledged for the military.

This pandemic has underlined many things: how our security is interdependent on that of our neighbours around the world; that the least well-paid with the least working rights are many of the same people that keep our societies running, and that people of colour have been hit hardest by Covid-19. That is why the government must maintain its aid commitments, while investing in the services and workers that we all rely on.

The decisions made by the government will have consequences for years to come. In a post-covid world, access to healthcare facilities, a living wage, environmental sustainability, and other essential services should be seen as a key part of a wider national security strategy. None of these causes are advanced by the ever-greater proliferation of bombs, missiles, and fighter jets. Security does not come from throwing money at the military, it comes from building more equal societies and better services.

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Andrew Smith is a spokesperson for Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).

Featured image: Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a press conference on 16 March, with Chief Medical Officer Prof Chris Witty and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance. Picture by Andrew Parsons

Pentagon Shakeup Aimed at Paving Path to Trump Coup?

November 26th, 2020 by Bill Van Auken

In the midst of the attempt by US President Donald Trump to nullify the 2020 election by means of an extra-constitutional coup, neither Biden and the Democrats, nor the US corporate media, have seen fit to alert the American and world public to ominous developments within the US military and its Pentagon command.

The outlines of this coup have come into sharp focus in the past few days. This is not a matter merely of Trump’s intentions, but rather of actions aimed at executing this coup that are being carried out in real time.

Trump’s invitation to the White House Friday of Michigan Republican state legislators has laid bare a definite strategy for establishing a presidential dictatorship. Trump and his supporters are carrying out an aggressive propaganda campaign to delegitimize the election with lying allegations of ballot fraud and increasingly fascistic conspiracy theories in order to provide a pretext for Republican-controlled statehouses in states like Michigan to repudiate the popular vote and select slates of pro-Trump electors.

They are counting on this extralegal operation ending up in the US Supreme Court, where fully one-third of the justices are Trump appointees, and a precedent has already been established by the 2000 decision in Bush v. Gore, which stopped the popular vote count in Florida and awarded the presidency to Republican George W. Bush, with no opposition from the Democratic Party.

Such a brazen attempt to overturn an election will inevitably provoke explosive resistance, particularly in the heavily working-class urban areas where millions cast their ballots to drive Trump from office. Such an assault on core democratic rights and the last vestiges of constitutional forms of rule cannot be executed without a resort to overwhelming repression.

Image on the right: Christopher Miller (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Christopher C. Miller - Wikipedia

It is in this context that a ceremony held Wednesday at the Fort Bragg, North Carolina headquarters of the US military’s Special Operations Command—comprised of the Army’s Green Berets, the Navy’s SEALs and other elite killing squads—serves as a deadly warning. The new “acting” Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller announced the elevation of the Special Operations Command to a status on a par with the existing branches of the armed forces, the Army, Navy, Air Force, etc.

As the well-connected military website breakingdefense.com explained the shakeup:

“The crux of the transformation will ensure that the top special operations official at the Pentagon can go directly to the Defense Secretary on … operational matters, including secret raids against high-value targets. The office will no longer have to move through the larger DoD Policy apparatus to reach the secretary.”

Miller, who has refused to answer any questions from the media since being installed as Pentagon chief, told an audience of assembled troops,

“I am here today to announce that I have directed the Special Operations civilian leadership to report directly to me, instead of through the current bureaucratic channels.”

Miller has not been confirmed, and will not be confirmed, by the US Senate to an office he has held for little more than a week. A retired colonel and 30-year Special Forces officer, he has no qualifications to hold the post outside of his unswerving loyalty to Trump.

Under normal circumstances, Miller would be surrendering his office to a Biden appointee in barely two months and, in the interregnum, would be collaborating closely with his incoming replacement. Instead, he is announcing the most far-reaching change in the military chain of command in recent memory.

Miller’s installation as defense secretary is the result of a wholesale purge of the top civilian leadership at the Pentagon that Trump initiated with the firing-by-tweet of Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. Trump’s determination to oust Esper dates back to last June, when the US president deployed federal security forces and US troops to suppress anti-police-violence demonstrations near the White House and threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act in order to send troops into the streets across the country to put down the mass protests provoked by the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Esper, a former lobbyist for the arms industry, voiced his opposition, saying that such a domestic deployment of the US military to suppress the American population could be ordered only as a “last resort.” His position, shared by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, expressed fears that such a use of US troops would provoke uncontrollable resistance and tear the military apart. Since his ouster, Esper, Milley and the fired number-three official at the Pentagon have all issued statements pointedly reminding US military personnel that they have sworn an oath to the Constitution.

Such invocations will have no effect on the cabal of Trump loyalists and semi-fascists that have been placed in charge at the Pentagon since the election. Miller made it clear in a confirmation hearing for another national security post that he had no compunction against using federal intelligence resources to pursue protesters at the order of the White House.

The new civilian head of Special Operations, who will now enjoy direct and secret collaboration with the defense secretary, unencumbered by “bureaucratic channels,” is one Ezra Cohen-Watnick, 34, an extreme right-wing operative. He was brought onto the National Security Council by virtue of his political connections to the likes of Trump’s fascistic former adviser Steve Bannon, the fanatically anti-Iranian and indicted ex-National Security Advisor Gen. Michael Flynn and the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Named to the number-three post at the Pentagon, undersecretary for policy, is retired general and frequent Fox News commentator Anthony Tata, whose previous nomination for the post had to be withdrawn after it emerged that he has denounced Obama as a “terrorist leader,” a “Manchurian candidate” and a Muslim.

A similar figure has been named as Miller’s chief adviser, retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor, another Fox News commentator known for denouncing European countries for admitting “unwanted Muslim invaders” bent on “turning Europe into an Islamic state.” He has also condemned attempts in Germany to come to terms with the Holocaust as a “sick mentality” and called for martial law and the summary execution of migrants on the US-Mexican border.

Trump has made a particular appeal to the Special Operations forces that have now been elevated in status within the chain of command. He aggressively intervened last year in the court martial of Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher for war crimes in Iraq, protesting,

“We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill!”

At the close of his campaign, just five days before the election, Trump flew to Fort Bragg for closed-door meetings with Special Forces troops and their commanders. Given subsequent developments, there is every reason to believe that the purpose of this trip was to assess the level of his support within the military units stationed there, and among their commanders, and to discuss plans for an armed response to an explosion of resistance to his plans to steal the election and establish a presidential dictatorship.

The tactics being employed by the Trump White House have been rehearsed countless times abroad under both Democratic and Republican administrations. Fabricated claims of election fraud have been used to justify US-backed coups, oust presidents and foment “color revolutions” from Honduras, Bolivia and Venezuela to Ukraine and Georgia.

Now these same methods are being brought “home” under conditions of an insoluble economic and social crisis, characterized above all by staggering levels of social inequality and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the homicidal “herd immunity,” back-to-work policy of the capitalist ruling class.

The Democratic Party is well aware of Trump’s maneuvers and threats. There has been a stream of contacts between Biden’s transition team and the Pentagon, no doubt to assess the attitude of the military to Trump’s coup plotting. The widely reported discussions between the Biden camp and former Trump defense secretary James Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general with wide contacts throughout the officer corps, are only the tip of the iceberg.

Former president Barack Obama said Wednesday night that in response to Trump’s intransigent refusal to concede the election, “I think we can always send the Navy SEALs in there to dig them out.” While presented by the media as a joke, this remark confirms that, in the final analysis, the Democrats rely on the military, rather than popular opposition, to remove Trump from office. Such an outcome would make the military the arbiter of American politics.

Far more than the threat of a coup and dictatorship, Biden and the Democratic Party fear an eruption of popular protest and mass resistance from below against Trump and his co-conspirators. Whatever their tactical differences with Trump, they represent the interests of Wall Street and the military-intelligence apparatus.

The working class must intervene in this unprecedented crisis as an independent social and political force, opposing the conspiracies of the Trump White House and its military allies through the methods of class struggle and the fight for the socialist transformation of society.

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Featured image is from Syria News

On November 25, Azerbaijani troops entered the district of Kalbajar in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The district was handed over to Baku under the ceasefire deal reached between Armenia and Azerbaijan to put an end to the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War earlier in November.

In total, Armenian forces were set to hand over the following districts: Agdam, Kalbajar, and Lachin, excluding the Lachin corridor. Agdam and Kalbajar are already in the hands of Azerbaijani forces. Lachin will be handed over on December 1. Withdrawing Armenians are destroying their properties and even evacuating graves of their relatives. Just a day ago, on November 24, Armenians troops blew up their barracks in Kalbajar.

In these conditions, the presence of the Russian peacekeepers remains the only guarantee of the security of the local Armenian population. And Russian forces already suffered first casualties as a part of this mission. On November 23, a Russian peacekeeper, four employees of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic were wounded, and an Azerbaijani officer was killed in a mine explosion near the village of Magadiz. A joint group, that also included representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, was searching bodies of those killed in the war.

A large number of IEDs, not exploded ammunition and projectiles are an important security factor that prevents the potential return of displaced civilians to Nagorno-Karabkah. A group of Russian sappers has been already working on demining key roads and areas in the Russian zone of responsibility. Baku also vowed to demine territories that its forces captured and already started building a new road linking the town of Shusha and Ahmedbeyli.

In the coming months, the security and humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabkah will likely improve, but there are almost zero chances the Armenian population that fled the Azerbaijani advance would return. Therefore, the Azerbaijani-controlled part of Nagorno-Karabakh is in fact empty and the Azerbaijani leadership would have to launch some settlement program if it wants re-populate the region.

Pro-Kurdish sources, waging a propaganda campaign against the traditional Azerbaijani ally, Turkey, already claimed that Ankara is planning to settle families of fighters of Turkish-backed Syrian militant groups in Karabakh. According to reports, Turkish authorities opened 2 offices in the Turkish-occupied Syrian town of Afrin for this purpose. If such plans even exist, it is unlikely that Azerbaijan would be happy to support them. The one thing is to use a cheap cannon fodder recruited by the Big Turkish Brother and the very different thing is to allow multiple Syrian radicals to become the permanent factor of your internal security. The implementation of such a plan would inevitably turn the Azerbaijani-controlled part of Nagorno-Karabkah into the hotbed of terrorism.

Meanwhile, Israel has been desperately exploiting the last months of the current Trump presidency term. Early on November 25, the Israeli Air Force carried out a series of airstrikes on targets in the southern countryside of Damascus and the province of Quneitra. According to Syrian state media, missiles were launched from the direction of the occupied Golan Heights. As of now, the Syrian side denies any casualties and claims that the strike caused a material damage only. Pro-Israeli sources insist that the strike led to multiple casualties among Iranian-backed forces and Iranian personnel.

This became the second Israeli strike on Syria in the last 7 days. The previous one took place on November 18 and hit the very same areas, including Damascus International Airport. The activation of the Israeli military activity in the region indicates that Tel Aviv expects a particular decrease of unconditional support that it was receiving from the United States under the Trump administration. Therefore, it seeks to use the last days of this 4-year-long honeymoon as effective as possible. Even more Israeli and potentially US actions against Iranian interests in the region and Iran itself could be expected in the coming weeks.

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Britain’s military has a permanent presence at 145 base sites in 42 countries or territories around the world, research by Declassified UK has found.

The size of this global military presence is far larger than previously thought and is likely to mean that the UK has the second largest military network in the world, after the United States.

It is the first time the true size of this network has been revealed.

The UK uses 17 separate military installations in Cyprus as well as 15 in Saudi Arabia and 16 in Oman – the latter both dictatorships with whom the UK has especially close military relations.

The UK’s base sites include 60 it manages itself in addition to 85 facilities run by its allies where the UK has a significant presence.

These appear to fit the description of what General Mark Carleton-Smith, Britain’s Chief of the General Staff, recently termed as “lily pads” – sites which the UK has easy access to as and when required.

Declassified has not included in the figures the UK’s small troop contributions to UN peacekeeping missions in South Sudan or the Cyprus buffer zone, nor staffing commitments at NATO administrative sites in Europe or most of its special forces deployments, which are largely unknown.

The findings come days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced an extra £16-billion would be spent on the UK military over the next four years – a 10% increase.

The spending announcement was originally meant to be combined with a review of defence strategy, that was being championed by Johnson’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings.

The results of Whitehall’s “integrated defence review” are now not expected until next year. Indications suggest the review will recommend a traditional British strategy of building more overseas military bases.

Last month, former Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the UK needs a more permanent presence in the Asia-Pacific region. The current Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, has gone further. In September he announced a £23.8-million investment to expand Britain’s army and navy bases in Oman, to accommodate the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers as well as many tanks.

General Carleton-Smith recently said:

“We think there is a market for a more persistent presence from the British Army (in Asia).”

His superior, Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter, spoke more cryptically when he said the military’s future “posture will be engaged and forward deployed.”

Encircling China?

The rise of China is leading many Whitehall planners to believe Britain needs military bases in the Asia-Pacific region to counter Beijing’s power. However, the UK already has military base sites in five countries around China.

These include a naval logistics base at Sembawang Wharf in Singapore, where eight British military staff are permanently based. The base provides Britain with a commanding position overlooking the Malacca Strait, the world’s busiest shipping lanes which are a key choke point for vessels sailing from the South China Sea into the Indian Ocean.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has previously told Declassified: “Singapore is a strategically important location for commerce and trade.” Singapore’s most elite police unit is recruited by British soldiers and commanded by UK military veterans.

As well as having a naval base on the rim of the South China Sea, the British military has an even more central basing location in Brunei, near the disputed Spratly Islands.

The Sultan of Brunei, a dictator who recently proposed the death penalty for homosexuals, pays for British military support in order to stay in power. He also allows the British oil giant Shell to have a major stake in Brunei’s oil and gas fields.

The UK has three garrisons in Brunei, at Sittang Camp, Medicina Lines and Tuker Lines, where around half of Britain’s Gurkha soldiers are permanently based.

Declassified files show that in 1980, British troops in Brunei were based “on land provided by Shell and in the middle of their headquarters complex”.

Special accommodation for British troops is provided through a network of 545 apartments and bungalows in Kuala Belait, near the military bases.

Elsewhere in Brunei, 27 British troops are on loan to the Sultan at three locations, including the Muara naval base. Their roles include imagery analysis and sniper instruction.

Declassified has found that the UK also has around 60 personnel spread across Australia. Some 25 of these hold defence attaché roles in the British High Commission in Canberra and at Australian Defence Department sites near the capital, such as the Headquarters Joint Operations Command at Bungendore.

The remainder are on exchange to 18 separate Australian military bases, including a warrant officer at Australia’s Electronic Warfare Unit in Cabarlah, Queensland.

Four Royal Air Force (RAF) officers are based at the Williamtown airfield in New South Wales, where they are learning to fly the Wedgetail radar plane.

Britain’s MOD is also testing its high-altitude Zephyr surveillance drone at an Airbus site in the remote settlement of Wyndham in Western Australia. Declassified understands from a freedom of information response that MOD staff visit the test site but are not based there.

Two members of UK Strategic Command, which manages British military operations across the services, and one from Defence Equipment and Support visited Wyndham in September 2019.

The Zephyr, which is designed to fly in the stratosphere and could be used to surveil China, has crashed twice during testing from Wyndham. Another high-altitude drone, the PHASA-35, is being tested by staff from arms corporation BAE Systems and the UK military’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory in Woomera, South Australia.

Airbus also operates a ground station for the Skynet 5A military communications satellite on behalf of the MOD at Mawson Lakes in Adelaide. A British naval commander is based in the coastal city, according to a freedom of information response.

A further 10 British military personnel are based at unspecified locations in New Zealand. Parliamentary data from 2014 showed their roles included working as navigators on a P-3K Orion aircraft, which can be used for maritime surveillance.

Meanwhile in Nepal, on China’s western flank close to Tibet, the British army runs at least three facilities. These include Gurkha recruitment camps in Pokhara and Dharan, plus administrative facilities in the capital Kathmandu.

Britain’s use of young Nepalese men as soldiers has continued despite a Maoist government coming to power in Kathmandu.

In Afghanistan, where peace talks are now under way between the government and the Taliban, UK forces have long maintained a quick reaction force at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, as well as providing mentoring at the Infantry Branch School and the Afghan National Army Officers’ Academy. The latter, known as ‘Sandhurst in the Sand’, was built with £75-million of British money.

Around 10 personnel are based in Pakistan, where roles have included teaching pilots at the air force academy in Risalpur.

Europe and Russia

In addition to concern over China, military chiefs believe Britain is now locked in a permanent competition with Russia. The UK has a military presence in at least six European countries, as well as at NATO administrative sites, which Declassified has not included in our survey.

Britain continues to run four base sites in Germany that house 540 personnel, despite a 10-year drive called “Operation Owl” to scale down its Cold War-era network.

Two barracks remain in Sennelager, in northern Germany, with a vast vehicle depot in Mönchengladbach and a munitions storage facility in Wulfen on a site originally built by slave labour for the Nazis.

In Norway, the British military has a helicopter base codenamed “Clockwork” at Bardufoss airport, deep in the Arctic Circle. The base is frequently used for mountain warfare exercises and lies 350 miles from the headquarters of Russia’s northern fleet in Severomorsk near Murmansk.

Bardufoss airport and the Andselv town, centre of the municipality of Malselv, Troms (North Norway). Photo: Wikipedia

Since the fall of the USSR, Britain has expanded its military presence into former Soviet bloc states. Twenty UK military personnel are currently on loan to the Czech military academy in Vyškov.

Closer to Russia’s border, the RAF bases Typhoon fighter jets at Estonia’s Amari Air Base and Lithuania’s Siauliai Air Base, from where they can intercept Russian jets over the Baltic as part of NATO’s “air policing” mission.

In the eastern Mediterranean, Declassified has found there are 17 separate UK military installations in Cyprus, which analysts have traditionally counted as one British overseas territory comprising the “sovereign base areas” of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, containing 2,290 British personnel.

The sites, which were retained at independence in 1960, include runways, firing ranges, barracks, fuel bunkers and spy stations run by the UK’s signals intelligence agency – GCHQ.

Declassified has also found that several of the sites are located beyond the sovereign base areas, including on the top of Mount Olympus, the highest point on Cyprus.

British military exercises areas L1 to L13 are outside of the UK enclave and inside the Republic of Cyprus

A map obtained by Declassified shows that the UK military can use a large area of land outside Akrotiri known as Lima as a training area. Declassified previously revealed that low flying British military aircraft have caused the deaths of farm animals in the Lima training area.

British special forces operating in Syria are believed to be resupplied by air from Cyprus, where RAF transport planes can be seen online taking off before their trackers disappear over Syria.

Little is known about the location of UK special forces teams in Syria, aside from a claim that they are based at Al-Tanf near the Iraq/Jordan border and/or in the north near Manbij.

Guarding Gulf Dictators

RAF flights from Cyprus also frequently land in the Gulf dictatorships of the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, where the UK has permanent bases at the Al Minhad and Al Udeid air fields, run by around 80 personnel.

These bases have been used to supply troops in Afghanistan as well as for conducting military operations in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

Qatar has a joint Typhoon squadron with the RAF based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire which is half-funded by the Gulf emirate. Defence minister James Heappey has refused to tell Parliament how many Qatari military personnel are based at Coningsby amid plans to expand the base.

Even more controversial is Britain’s major military presence in Saudi Arabia. Declassified has found that UK personnel are installed across 15 key sites in Saudi Arabia. In the capital, Riyadh, British armed forces are spread out over half a dozen locations, including the air operations centres where RAF officers observe Saudi-led coalition air operations in Yemen.

Under the Ministry of Defence Saudi Armed Forces Project (MODSAP), BAE Systems has made 73 accommodation units available to UK military personnel at its Salwa Garden Village compound in Riyadh.

RAF staff, some of whom are on secondment to BAE Systems, also serve at the King Fahad air base in Taif, which services the Typhoon jet fleet, the King Khalid air base in Khamis Mushayt close to the Yemen border and at the King Faisal air base in Tabuk where Hawk jet pilots train.

There are separate contracts for Britain to support the “special security brigade” of Saudi Arabia’s National Guard (SANG), a unit that protects the ruling family and promotes “internal security”.

British soldiers are believed to be stationed at the Guard’s ministry in Riyadh as well as at its Signals School (SANGCOM) in Khashm al-An on the outskirts of the capital, in addition to smaller teams at SANG command posts in the western and central regions at Jeddah and Buraydah.

The rest of the British personnel in Saudi Arabia are situated in its oil-rich eastern province, whose Shia Muslim majority is harshly discriminated against by the ruling Sunni monarchy.

A Royal Navy team teaches at the King Fahd Naval Academy in Jubail, while RAF staff assist the Tornado jet fleet at King Abdulaziz air base in Dhahran.

Accommodation for British contractors and personnel is provided by BAE at the company’s purpose built Sara compound at Khobar, near Dhahran. A British army lieutenant colonel advises SANG infantry units at their Eastern Command post in Damman.

These British personnel in the eastern province are close to the King Fahd Causeway, the vast bridge connecting Saudi Arabia to the neighbouring island of Bahrain where Britain has a naval base and a smaller presence (costing £270,000 per year) near the international airport in Muharraq.

In 2011, the SANG drove BAE-made armoured vehicles over the causeway to suppress pro-democracy protests by Bahrain’s Shia majority against its Sunni dictator King Hamad.

The British government later admitted: “It is possible that some members of the Saudi Arabian National Guard which were deployed in Bahrain may have undertaken some training provided by the British military mission [to the SANG].

After the uprising was crushed, Britain increased its military presence in Bahrain with the construction of a naval base that was opened in 2018 by Prince Andrew, a friend of King Hamad.

Britain maintains a substantial military presence in seven Arab monarchies where citizens have little or no say in how they are governed. These include around 20 British troops supporting the Sandhurst-trained King Abdullah II of Jordan.

The country’s army has received £4-million in aid from Britain’s shadowy Conflict, Security and Stabilisation Fund to set up a quick reaction force, with a British army lieutenant colonel on loan to the unit.

Last year it was reported that a British military adviser to Jordan’s King, Brigadier Alex Macintosh, was “fired” after becoming too politically influential. Macintosh was reportedly replaced immediately, and Declassified has seen army records that show a serving British Brigadier remains on loan to Jordan.

Similar arrangements exist in Kuwait, where around 40 British troops are stationed. They are believed to operate Reaper drones from the Ali Al Salem air base and teach at Kuwait’s Mubarak Al-Abdullah Joint Command and Staff College.

Until August, former Royal Navy officer Andrew Loring was among the college’s leading staff, in keeping with a tradition of giving British personnel very senior roles.

Although there are British personnel on loan to all three branches of Kuwait’s military, the MOD has refused to tell Declassified what role they have played in the war in Yemen, where Kuwait is a member of the Saudi-led coalition.

The most extensive British military presence in the Gulf can be found in Oman, where 91 UK troops are on loan to the country’s repressive Sultan. They are stationed at 16 sites, some of which are run directly by the British military or intelligence agencies.

These include the Royal Navy base in Duqm, which is being tripled in size as part of a £23.8-million investment designed to support Britain’s new aircraft carriers during their deployments to the Indian Ocean and beyond.

It is unclear how many British personnel will be based at Duqm.

Heappey has told Parliament: “The possibility of additional personnel to support this logistics hub at Duqm is being considered as part of the ongoing Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy.”

Duqm 2009

Duqm 2019

Duqm port expansion, 2009 (top) and 2019 (bottom)

He added that 20 personnel have been temporarily deployed to Duqm as a “UK Port Task Group” to assist with the expansion plans.

Another major development to Britain’s base network in Oman is the new “joint training area” located 70kms south of Duqm at Ras Madrakah, which it has used for tank firing practice. It appears plans are underway to move a large number of Britain’s tanks from their current firing range in Canada to Ras Madrakah.

In Oman, it is a criminal offence to insult the Sultan, so domestic resistance to the new British bases is unlikely to get far.

British forces at Duqm will likely work closely with the US military facility at Diego Garcia on the Chagos Islands, part of the British Indian Ocean territory that belongs to Mauritius under international law. Some 40 UK military personnel are stationed at Diego Garcia.

Britain has refused to return the islands to Mauritius, in defiance of a recent UN General Assembly resolution, after having forcibly removed the indigenous population in the 1970s.

In Iraq, the only democracy in the Arab world which housed British troops this year, the political figures have taken a different approach.

In January, Iraq’s parliament voted to expel foreign military forces, which include the remaining 400 British troops, and which, if implemented, would bring an end to their presence at four sites: Camp Havoc in Anbar, Camp Taji and Union III in Baghdad and Erbil International Airport in the north.

Britain’s other military presence in the Middle East can be found in Israel and Palestine, where around 10 troops are stationed. The team is split between the British embassy in Tel Aviv and the United States security coordinator’s office which is, controversially, based in the US embassy in Jerusalem.

Declassified recently discovered that two British army personnel assist the US team.

Militarised Tax Havens

Another feature of Britain’s overseas military bases is that they are often located in tax havens, with Declassified finding six such sites. Closest to home, these include Jersey in the Channel Islands, which is one of the world’s top ten tax havens according to the Tax Justice Network.

A crown dependency and not technically part of the UK, Jersey’s capital, St Helier, is home to an army base for the Royal Engineers’ Jersey Field Squadron.

Further afield, Britain continues to govern Gibraltar, at the southernmost tip of Spain, amidst demands from Madrid to return the territory which was seized by the Royal Marines in 1704. Gibraltar has a corporation tax rate as low as 10% and is a global hub for gambling companies.

Approximately 670 British military personnel are stationed across four sites in Gibraltar, including at the airport and dockyard. Accommodation facilities include the Devil’s Tower Camp and an MOD-run swimming pool.

The rest of Britain’s militarised tax havens can be found branching out across the Atlantic Ocean. Bermuda, a British territory in the mid-Atlantic, is ranked as the world’s second “most corrosive” tax haven.

It contains a small military site at Warwick Camp, run by 350 members of the Royal Bermuda Regiment which is “affiliated to the British army” and commanded by a British officer.

A similar arrangement exists on the British territory of Montserrat in the Carribean, which is periodically included on lists of tax havens. Security for the island is provided by 40 local volunteers of the Royal Montserrat Defence Force based in Brades.

This model appears to have inspired plans for similar schemes in the Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos, two British Carribean territories which are both major tax havens.

Since 2019, there have been efforts to establish a Cayman Islands Regiment, which aims to recruit 175 soldiers by the end of 2021. Much of the officer training has taken place at Sandhurst in the UK. Plans for a Turks and Caicos Regiment appear to be less advanced.

The Americas

While these military installations in the Caribbean are unlikely to grow to significant size, the UK presence in the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic is much larger and more expensive.

Thirty-eight years after the Falklands war with Argentina, the UK maintains six separate sites across the islands. The barracks and airport at RAF Mount Pleasant is the largest, but it relies upon a dockyard at Mare Harbour and three anti-aircraft missile silos on Mount Alice, Byron Heights and Mount Kent.

Their remote nature has given rise to abusive behaviour.

RAF veteran Rebecca Crookshank claims she was subjected to sexual harassment when serving as the only female recruit at Mount Alice in the early 2000s. Naked airmen greeted her upon arrival and rubbed their genitals against her in a crude initiation ritual. Later she was cable-tied to a bed.

The incident is alleged to have taken place in facilities where the MOD subsequently spent £153-million in 2017 to install a Sky Sabre air-defence system, the majority of which is supplied by Israeli arms company, Rafael. The move was criticised at the time, given Rafael’s history of supplying missiles to Argentina.

In addition to these sites, there is a local defence camp in the capital of Stanley, while Royal Navy vessels keep a constant patrol offshore.

The net result is a military presence of between 70 and 100 MOD personnel, although the Falkland Islands Government puts the figure much higher: 1,200 troops and 400 civilian contractors.

None of this comes cheap. Stationing soldiers and their families overseas requires housing, schools, hospitals and engineering work, overseen by the government’s Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO).

The DIO has a 10-year investment scheme for the Falklands budgeted at £180-million. Almost a quarter of this has been spent on keeping troops warm. In 2016, £55.7-million went on a boiler house and power station for the Mount Pleasant military headquarters complex.

In 2018, Mare Harbour was expanded at a cost of £19-million, mainly to ensure food and other supplies can reach the troops more easily. Cleaning, cooking, emptying the bins and other administrative tasks costs another £5.4-million a year, payable to outsourcing firm Sodexo.

This expenditure has been justified by the government despite a decade of austerity on the UK mainland, which saw 59-year-old army veteran David Clapson die in 2014 after his job seeker’s allowance was stopped. Clapson was diabetic and relied on a supply of refrigerated insulin. He had £3.44 left in his bank account and had run out of electricity and food.

The Falklands also serves as a link to the British Antarctic Territory, a vast area which is reserved for scientific exploration. Its research station at Rothera relies on logistical support from the UK military and is resupplied by HMS Protector, an ice patrol ship in the Royal Navy with around 65 personnel usually onboard.

Maintaining such a ‘forward’ presence in Antarctica and the Falklands is only possible because of another expensive British territory in the South Atlantic, Ascension Island, whose runway at Wideawake Airfield acts as an air bridge between Mount Pleasant and RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

Ascension recently hit the news with Foreign Office proposals to build a detention centre for asylum seekers on the island, which is 5,000 miles from the UK. In reality such a scheme is unlikely to go ahead.

The runway is in need of costly repairs, and Britain’s secretive spy agency GCHQ has a significant presence there at Cat Hill.

In total there appear to be five UK military and intelligence sites on Ascension, including accommodation at Travellers Hill and married quarters at Two Boats and George Town.

The US air force and National Security Agency operate alongside the UK personnel on the island, a relationship mirrored in the United States where 730 Britons are spread throughout the country.

Many of them are clustered in US military command centres around Washington D.C. and NATO sites in Norfolk, Virginia. The RAF has around 90 personnel based at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, where they fly Reaper drones on combat operations around the world.

Until recently, there were also major deployments of RAF and Navy pilots at other airfields in the US, where they were learning to fly the new F-35 strike fighter. This scheme saw 80 British personnel conducting long-term training at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in California.

Other sites involved in the F-35 training scheme included Eglin AFB in Florida, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina and the Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland. By 2020, many of these pilots returned to the UK to practice flying the F-35s from the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers.

In addition to these deployments, there are British military officers on exchange to a wide range of US units. In September 2019, British Major General Gerald Strickland held a senior role at the US army base in Fort Hood, Texas, where he was working on Operation Inherent Resolve, the mission to combat Islamic State in the Middle East.

There have also been British personnel stationed inside President Trump’s much derided Space Force. Last December, it was reported that the Deputy Director of the Combined Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California was “Group Captain Darren Whiteley – a Royal Air Force officer from the United Kingdom”.

One of the few British overseas bases that looks threatened by the government’s defence review is the tank training range at Suffield in Canada, where around 400 permanent staff maintain 1,000 vehicles.

Many of these are Challenger 2 tanks and Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicles. The Defence review is expected to announce a reduction in the size of Britain’s tank force, which would decrease the need for a base in Canada.

However, there is no sign that Britain’s other major base in the Americas, in Belize, will be axed by the review. British troops maintain a small garrison at Belize’s main airport from where they have access to 13 sites for jungle warfare training.

Declassified recently revealed that British troops have access to one sixth of Belize’s land, including a protected forest area, for such training, which includes firing mortars, artillery and “machine-gunning from helicopters”. Belize is one of the world’s most biodiverse countries, home to “critically endangered species” and rare archaeological sites.

Exercises in Belize are run by the British Army Training Support Unit Belize (BATSUB), located at Price Barracks near Belize City. In 2018, the MOD spent £575,000 on a new water treatment plant for the barracks.

Africa

Another region where the British military still maintains military bases is Africa. During the 1950s, the British army suppressed anti-colonial fighters in Kenya by using concentration camps where prisoners were tortured and even castrated.

After independence, the British army was able to retain its base at Nyati Camp in Nanyuki, Laikipia County. Known as BATUK, it is the hub for hundreds of British army personnel in Kenya.

Britain has access to five more sites in Kenya and 13 training grounds, which are used for preparing troops before they deploy to Afghanistan and elsewhere. In 2002, the MOD paid £4.5-million in compensation to hundreds of Kenyans who had been injured by unexploded weaponry fired by British troops at these training grounds.

From Nyati, British soldiers also make use of the nearby Laikipia air base, and the training ground at Archers Post in Laresoro and Mukogodo in Dol-Dol. In the capital Nairobi, British troops have access to Kifaru Camp at Kahawa Barracks and an International Peace Support Training Centre in Karen.

An agreement signed in 2016 set out that: “The Visiting Forces shall respect and be sensitive to the traditions, customs and cultures of local communities of the places where they are deployed in the Host Nation.”

British soldiers are also known to use local sex workers.

There have been attempts to attack the British troops in Kenya. In January, three men were arrested for attempting to break in to Laikipia and were questioned by anti-terrorism police.

They are believed to be linked to the Al Shabaab group in neighbouring Somalia, where British troops also have a permanent presence. Army training teams are stationed at Mogadishu International Airport, with another team at the Baidoa Security Training Centre.

A smaller British military presence can be found at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, where UK forces are involved in drone operations over the Horn of Africa and Yemen. This secretive site is linked by a high-speed fibre optic cable to the Croughton spy base in England, which is connected to the GCHQ headquarters in Cheltenham. Djibouti has also been linked to UK special forces operations in Yemen.

A more overt British presence is maintained in Malawi, where British soldiers are assigned to counter-poaching missions in Liwonde National Park and the Nkhotakota and Majete Wildlife Reserves.

Image on the right: Mathew Talbot in Malawi. Photo: MOD

In 2019, a 22-year-old soldier, Mathew Talbot, was trampled by an elephant in Liwonde. There was no helicopter support on standby to airlift injured troops and it took over three hours for a paramedic to reach him. Talbot died before arriving at hospital. An MOD investigation made 30 recommendations to improve safety after the incident.

Meanwhile in west Africa, one British officer still runs the Horton Academy, a military training centre, in Sierra Leone, a legacy of Britain’s involvement in the country’s civil war.

In Nigeria, around nine British troops are on loan to the Nigerian armed forces, amid its controversial human rights record. British troops seem to have regular access to Kaduna International Airport where they train local forces to guard against the threat from Boko Haram.

Amnesty International alleges that 10,000 civilians have died in detention camps run by the Nigerian military, one of which was part funded by the UK.

Britain’s military presence in Africa is set to grow substantially later this year with the deployment of a “peacekeeping” force to Mali in the Sahara. The country has been rocked by civil war and terrorism since the NATO intervention in Libya in 2011.

UK troops have operated with French forces in Mali under the banner of Operation Newcombe almost continuously since the Libya intervention. The current order of battle involves RAF Chinook helicopters based in Gao flying ‘logistical’ missions to more remote bases manned by French troops who have suffered heavy losses. The SAS is also reported to be operating in the area.

The future of the mission has been in jeopardy since Mali’s military staged a coup in August 2020, following massive protests against the presence of foreign forces in the country and years of frustration at the government’s handling of the conflict.

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A note on our method: We have defined “overseas” as outside the United Kingdom. The base must have a permanent or long-term British presence in 2020 for it to be counted. We included bases run by other nations, but only where the UK has constant access or a significant presence. We only counted NATO bases where the UK has a major combat presence e.g with Typhoon jets deployed, not just officers stationed on a reciprocal basis.

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Phil Miller is a staff reporter for Declassified UK, an investigative journalism organisation that covers the UK’s role in the world. 

Featured image is from Public Domain

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It has been more than three weeks since election day and the incumbent U.S. president still has yet to concede defeat. Despite the media’s distraction over the perspiration of his personal attorney during a bizarre press conference, the legal team led by former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has actually done a decent job uncovering potential fraud in battleground states where vote counting was delayed for several days before the former vice president was declared a “winner” by the news media and Silicon Valley.

Unfortunately, the 2020 election is not a sporting event or academic paper, therefore evidence that instances of fraud occurred will likely not be enough for the litigation to change the outcome, though it does appear his camp is finally facing up to leaving the White House come January. Then again, whether or not burden of proof was ever provided is immaterial, seeing as before he even took the oath of office a silent coup was underway to remove the democratically-elected government of Donald J. Trump that is now entering its final phase.

Trump found an unlikely voice of support contesting Biden’s premature declaration of victory in former six-term Democratic Congresswoman from Georgia and 2008 Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, who this time was the running mate of former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura as a write-in entrant in some eligible states for the divided Greens who officially nominated labor activist Howie Hawkins.

During the 2016 election, the Democrats scapegoated Jill Stein for Hillary Clinton’s unexpected loss, even baselessly implicating the Green Party nominee in the Russiagate hoax simply for having appeared at a 2015 Moscow gala for the RT television network where General Michael Flynn and Russian President Vladimir Putin were in attendance. Not only did the legislatures of swing states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin exclude Hawkins from the ballot at the behest of Democrats in a shameless act of voter suppression, but McKinney described the irregularities which plagued electronic voting machines in her home state of Georgia in 2020 as “déjà vu”, having been cheated out of Congress herself by such tactics in 2006. McKinney also previously penned an essay entitled “The Purple Revolution: U.S. Hybrid Warfare Comes Home to Roost?” on the establishment’s efforts to remove Trump which makes an apropos historical reference.

This November 22nd marked fifty-seven years since the assassination of John F. Kennedy. When asked for his reaction to the killing of the 35th president in Dallas back in 1963 and less than two years before his own public murder, civil rights leader Malcolm X famously stated that “chickens were coming home to roost”, alluding to the U.S. government’s interventions overseas such as the CIA-orchestrated assassination of the first Prime Minister of the Congo, Patrice Lumumba, in 1960 following its independence from Belgian colonial rule. His remarks in the wake of a national tragedy proved too controversial even for the Nation of Islam which publicly censured its most recognizable minister who would announce his departure from the black nationalist organization a few months later. The following year, he would be gunned down in Harlem in an assassination long-suspected to have been the work of the FBI’s counter-intelligence program (COINTELPRO) which had infiltrated his inner circle to frame the NOI for a mysterious death equally thought by the public to have been a state-sanctioned execution like that of JFK.

It is unclear whether the African-American Muslim leader believed the U.S. government was behind Kennedy’s death, but chances are he was not naïve enough to think that the same machinations used abroad could not be implemented by those very forces domestically to remove someone elected by the American people they opposed. If the Kennedy assassination was indeed a result of the “unwarranted influence of the military-industrial complex” which his predecessor Dwight D. Eisenhower even famously warned of during his farewell address, what took place was almost certainly a secret putsch. The president had already been undercut by his own Joint Chiefs of Staff and Central Intelligence Agency in trying to defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis and his back-channel negotiations with Nikita Khrushchev were sabotaged by hawkish officials within his own administration. The internal struggle that scuttled Kennedy’s attempts at détente parallels the vying factions which undermined Trump ’s diplomacy with North Korea to a near tee.

Political scientist Michael Parenti explained in his essay The JFK Assassination: Defending the Gangster State how the 35th president was targeted by the security state which perceived Kennedy as “soft on communism” and placating the Soviet Union in his diplomatic efforts following the failed Bay of Pigs invasion:

“The dirty truth is that Kennedy was heartily hated by right-wing forces in this country, including many powerful people in the intelligence organizations. He had betrayed the national interest as they defined it, by refusing to go all out against Cuba, making overtures of rapproachment with Castro, and refusing to escalate the ground war in Vietnam. They also saw him as an anti-business liberal who was taking the country down the wrong path. Whether Kennedy really was all that liberal is another matter. What the national security rightists saw him to be was what counted.”

While the widely perceived truth about the JFK assassination remains sealed from public view, the Church Committee and Rockefeller Commissions of the 1970s exposed the numerous CIA-backed juntas which unseated popular leaders in Guatemala, Syria, Iran, the Dominican Republic, the Congo, Brazil, Indonesia, Chile, and countless other nations in the global south. Ever since, the CIA’s preferred regime change stratagem has been to use what are paradoxically labeled non-governmental organizations (NGOs) — which actually receive U.S. government funding — as cutouts to destabilize noncompliant nations under the guise of supporting “pro-democracy” opposition movements. During the Cold War, the vast majority of states overthrown were left-leaning or socialist governments aligned with the Eastern Bloc, but in the post-Soviet world many of the toppled administrations have been far from left-wing and even conservative, with their only offense favoring economic ties with Russia or China and resisting Western hegemony.

Similarly, when domestic protest movements have taken shape at home in the U.S., the political establishment has used plutocratic foundations in Big Philanthropy and the Non-Profit Industrial Complex to defang them for its own agenda.

Look no further than the way the nationwide mass demonstrations against racism and police brutality this year were rapidly transformed into a movement to elect Joe Biden, who drafted the senate version of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, with no substantial legislation passed to reform police. The corporatized Black Lives Matter movement, a recipient of $100 million dollar grants from the CIA’s philanthropic frontage in the Ford Foundation, grew out of the legacy of the short-lived Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011 which itself were coopted by reformist and pro-Democratic Party outfits. Not coincidentally, OWS was also infiltrated by Serbian political activist Srđa Popović of Otpor! (“Resistance!”) and the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS) fame who previously led the Bulldozer Revolution which overthrew Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević in 2000.

A central component of the Gene Sharp-inspired ‘Color Revolution’ template is the engineering of contested election scenarios where leaders singled-out for regime change can be ousted after appearing to consolidate power, as seen in election-themed revolutions in Serbia (Bulldozer), Georgia (Rose), Ukraine (Orange), Kyrgyzstan (Tulip), Moldova (Grape), and other countries. The same manner in which Biden declared himself the victor in spite of the lawsuits filed in federal court was recently observed abroad in the disputed election aftermath in Belarus where U.S.-backed opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya announced herself the winner of its presidential contest in order to spark preplanned protests in Minsk against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. This was a replication of an unsuccessful blueprint from the 2009 Green Movement unrest in Iran during the incumbency of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as well as the presidential crisis in Venezuela last year, among others.

Trump‘s lawyer Rudy Giuliani appeared to be confused when he alleged that the e-voting irregularities involving the election software company Dominion Voting Systems had ties to deceased former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and international financier George Soros, who actually supports the U.S.-backed opposition to the Chavista government in Caracas. Giuliani may be mistaken but is pointing to something accurate, except in the contested U.S. election his client is in the position of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro while Biden would be the equivalent of self-appointed “interim president” Juan Guaidó. Sans a few exceptions such as Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (who certainly knows a rigged contest when he sees one), most of the “international community” congratulated Biden on his assumed win just like Venezuela’s illegitimate coup leader. Meanwhile, both the pseudo-left and conservative right seem to be equally misunderstood about Soros, who is neither the charitable billionaire or “globalist” bogeyman they imagine, but rather an anti-communist business tycoon who favors vulture capitalism and Western imperialism under the banner of liberal democracy.

As touched on by Cynthia McKinney, in the aftermath of Trump’s shocking triumph over Hillary Clinton in 2016, rumors began to swirl that a philanthropist-funded U.S. ‘Color Revolution’ was in the works — a ‘Purple Revolution’, monikered after the noticeable shade Mrs. Clinton chose to don in her concession speech as a combination of blue and red intended to symbolize bipartisan opposition to Trump. Whether or not that was true, it was in the wee hours following her loss that the Clinton campaign reportedly settled on placing the blame at the feet of unproven Russian interference for Trump’s unlikely victory. Or was it even earlier? Recently declassified CIA memorandums proved that months before the election in July 2016, Clinton had orchestrated a plan to whip up a smear campaign tying Trump to the alleged Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee email server. The documents also showed beyond a doubt how the Russia probe was launched even though both the FBI and CIA were privy to Clinton’s intent on linking Trump with the Kremlin.

The three-year Russia investigation and subsequent impeachment over the Ukraine scandal were only the beginning chapters in the slow-motion soft coup against Trump. When all else failed, the U.S. elite began to prepare for his ouster in the 2020 election. In fact, the possibility of a second Trump term was evidently too much of a nightmare for the establishment to even fathom, so they only prepared for his defeat and presupposed refusal to relinquish power instead. Quite literally, an exclusive cabal of Washington insiders, establishment Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans were gathered by a former high-ranking Pentagon official, Nils Gilman, to participate in role-playing “election simulation” scenarios and tabletop “war game” exercises predicting various election outcomes which anticipated that Trump would resist acknowledging defeat and transferring power, precipitating a constitutional crisis. It was called the Transition Integrity Project (TIP) and featured Clintonites John Podesta and Donna Brazile, who were joined by prominent neoconservative figures William Kristol, Max Boot, and the former George W. Bush speechwriter who coined the “Axis of Evil” phrase, war criminal David Frum.

Most telling is that among the scenarios considered, even in the postulated drill where the premise was a decisive victory for Trump, TIP determined that Biden should ignore the vote result and consider any measures necessary to attain the presidency, including provoking a constitutional crisis and possible civil war where Democratic-held states would be encouraged to secede from the Union, the electoral college abolished, and statehood awarded to Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. Upon reading the TIP report, it is clear that the real purpose of the bipartisan exercise was to mastermind the very disputed election outcome and concentration of power it predicts would be triggered by Trump. It is also possible that the project enlisted mass media in its scheme. Just weeks before Election Day, a highly-publicized scandal broke at The New Yorker magazine after staff writer and CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin accidentally exposed himself during a Zoom video meeting with fellow employees. Many were too amused to notice the online conference call was revealed to be an “election simulation” featuring top columnists of the publication role-playing as participants.

It would not be out of the realm of possibility given the unprecedented extent to which corporate outlets and Big Tech companies have gone to influence the outcome of the election.

Even those within legacy media such as The New York Post, one of the oldest newspapers in the United States, found itself censored by Twitter for publishing an explosive story which contained emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop of which not even the former vice president’s campaign denied the authenticity.

When Trump delivered a press conference outlining his campaign’s allegations of election fraud, major news outlets not only made the Orwellian decision to “fact check” Trump live on-air but cut away from the speech in the middle of his remarks in coordinated unison. Then when the president’s own social media posts were censored and flagged as disinformation, the jig was truly up. It’s little wonder Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg openly bragged about how the platform was “partnering with the intelligence community” for censorship to be a soft power arm after the 2016 election. Lo and behold, rather than being broken up for violating anti-trust laws, Silicon Valley has already been rewarded for staying true to its roots in the national security state by Biden’s transition team which consists of executives from Airbnb, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, Dell, DropBox, Microsoft’s LinkedIn, Lyft, Stripe and Uber.

Can it really be that Trump is so hated because of his rejection of certain foreign policy orthodoxies like JFK alone? The truth is really so much more. It is because of his inclination to disgrace Washington’s sacred institutions for his own political gain which the entire establishment desperately needs to maintain the faith of the masses in its corrupt political system, rogue national security state, yellow press, and obsolete democratic process. It is imperative to preserve these bureaucratic cornerstones as above criticism because they are a linchpin to holding power. As a political outsider, Trump blazed his own trail to the presidency and in doing so undermined the hallowed bastions of power in Washington, promising to “drain the swamp” while eroding faith in the leading U.S. spy agencies as an unelected secret government or “deep state”, and most of all denouncing corporate media as “fake news” and the “enemy of the people.” Even though these were accuracies cynically told by Trump for his own advantage, they were misunderstood by his detractors to be falsehoods simply because he was the source.

Trump’s populist agitation even worried his own group of backers within the ruling elite who convinced him to soften his rhetoric and reverse many of his positions once he took office. Since the 2020 election has not resulted in a desirable outcome, he has only continued to increase popular distrust of the political order and its mechanisms which guarantee the status quo overrides the will of the people, signaling he is more than willing to take the whole system down with him. Indeed, polls indicate many Americans seem to agree with the president that the election was rigged in Biden’s favor. This is precisely why his rabble-rousing is viewed as dangerous by the elite which unleashed its media organs and intelligence agencies from day one to sabotage him — they knew that he is willing to lay bare the full corruption of the powers that be in order to help his own cause. For this reason, the media has resorted to the most deceitful and partisan methods to portray Trump as a unique danger that most be ousted at any cost.

It is no wonder how a coalition as incongruous as that behind Biden came into formation, from Lincoln Project “Never Trumper” Republicans to the Democratic Socialists of America, Big Tech monopolies to Black Lives Matter, Wall Street megadonors to the remnants of Occupy Wall Street, Bush-era national security officials to the inappropriately-named Revolutionary Communist Party (Refuse Fascism), and so on. Or to really give an idea of just how absurd the ideological alliance was to ensure a Biden presidency, the Transition Integrity Project was even shamefully promoted by the likes of so-called “progressive” news outlets like Democracy Now! which made its journalistic name critically covering the very neoconservative figures from the Bush years behind TIP. Somehow, those in power managed to persuade the “anti-establishment” to side with them against the bad orange man as the supposed greater evil, tricking them into defending institutions they should oppose as inviolable and the archaic U.S. electoral system which deprives them of real democracy as unimpeachable. This is the real legacy of the Trump era — only time will tell if it is its lesson.

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Max Parry is an independent journalist and geopolitical analyst. His writing has appeared widely in alternative media. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Max may be reached at [email protected]

Credits to the owner of the featured image

When he departs the White House on January 20, Donald Trump will leave this region with a toxic legacy. First and foremost, his ongoing campaign to delegitimise the Palestinian people and encourage Israel to continue colonising their homeland has had disastrous consequences for both Palestine and countries further afield.

Trump defied decades old international policy by recognising occupied East Jerusalem as part of Israel’s capital although its status is meant to be determined in negotiations between Palestine and Israel. Trump cancelled the US contribution to UNRWA, the UN agency providing for five million Palestinian refugees.  This has deprived UNRWA of $665 million over two years and forced the agency to cut expenditures, services and staff jobs. For decades, the US donation had been one-third of UNRWA’s budget. Trump has also cut off all funding for USAID projects in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip, West Bank, East Jerusalem, where the St John’s Opthalmic and Makassad hospitals in East Jerusalem were defunded.

Trump closed the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington, launched his “Deal of the Century” peace plan which promised the Palestinians economic incentives to agree to accept autonomy in isolated islets of territory in Gaza, the West Bank, a capital on the edge of East Jerusalem and Israel’s annexation of 30 per cent of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley. Israel would remain in control of Palestinian air, land and sea.  This plan — rejected by the Palestinians, the Arabs, and the international community — would have put paid to Palestinian hopes for an end to the occupation and statehood. Trump has consigned the Palestinian people to either endless occupation or perpetual exile.

Trump followed up these “gifts” to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his right-wing government with others.  In March 2019, he recognised as part of Israel, the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. In November of that year, his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a radical evangelical Christian, declared that Israeli “settlements” in occupied territory are not “inconsistent with international law”, although occupiers are prohibited by international law from colonising and annexing conquered territories, a dikta accepted by the majority of countries.  Pompeo’s statement amounted to a reversal of the Obama’s administration policy on “settlements” and of earlier administrations which regarded them, a least, as “obstacles” to a peace deal. Last week, Pompeo took a further provocative step by not only visiting an Israeli colony near Ramallah in the West Bank but also going to a colony in the Syrian Golan.  Pompeo subsequently declared products from colonies could be labelled “Made in Israel”, rather than in the West Bank or Golan colonies.

Pompeo piled on the administration’s anti-Palestinian policies by declaring that Washington would regard as “anti-Semitic”, the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement, designed to put pressure on Israel to end its occupation and reach a just deal with the Palestinians. He labelled BDS a “cancer”.  He said he would identify and sanction organisations that adopt “politically motivated actions intended to penalise or limit commercial relations with Israel”. This policy would put an end to peaceful Palestinian, Arab and international resistance to Israel’s occupation regime even though resistance — both violent and peaceful — is legal under international law.

As it nears the end of its term in office, the Trump administration has also ruled that US citizens born in Jerusalem can put “born in Israel” on their passports and that Jonathan Pollard, convicted of spying on the US navy for Israel, could leave the US to live in Israel although he had been banned from doing just this.

Trump also gifted Netanyahu with the withdrawal of the US from the 2015 six-nation agreement lifting sanctions on Iran in exchange for reducing its nuclear programme by 90 per cent. This involved violating the terms of a deal which has the force of an international treaty. Trump also reimposed sanctions which had been lifted and imposed fresh primary and secondary sanctions in order to prevent governments, businesses and individuals from dealing with Iran. This punitive policy, adopted during the global COVID pandemic, has impoverished millions of Iranians and Syrians, whose government is allied to Iran, and Lebanese, whose Hizbollah movement is tied to Iran. Why did Trump oblige Netanyahu? Because of the opposition to Israel of Iran, Syria, and Hizbollah.

Nevertheless, pulling out of the nuclear deal has not been enough for Netanyahu who has pressed the Trump administration to take military action against Iran.  Trump did this by assassinating Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani in Baghdad in January and by threatening further strikes if Iran retaliated.  Tehran did not oblige and patiently awaits the end of Trump’s reign.

The murder of Suleimani and Iraqi Abu Mahdi Al Muhandis, deputy head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Forces, which consists largely of pro-Iranian militias, prompted a vote in the Iraqi parliament demanding the total withdrawal of US and other foreign forces from that country. The Trump administration refused at first but is now planning to pull out 500 of the remaining 3,000 US troops deployed in Iraq. This is a half measure which will please neither the Pentagon nor the Iraqi people.  They seek an end to the current Iran-friendly Shia sectarian regime and want both the US and Iran to stop intervening in their affairs.

The strike on Suleimani combined with anti-government protests led to the fall of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and the formation of a new cabinet by Mustafa Al Kadhimi who has struggled to contain demonstrations and restrain pro-Iranian militias from mounting rocket attacks on military bases housing US forces. Determined to deny Trump a pretext to attack Iran itself, Tehran displayed its influence in Iraq by ordering the militias to suspend their attacks.

Trump’s exit from the White House on January 20 will be welcomed by a majority of people in this region, but his destructive policies will be hard to reverse and will continue to inflict damage and suffering.

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Featured image: President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence participate in an expanded bilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)

The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) The Great Reset includes a plan to transform the global food and agricultural industries and the human diet. The architects of the plan  claim it will reduce food scarcity, hunger and disease, and even mitigate climate change.

But a closer look at the corporations and think tanks the WEF is partnering with to usher in this global transformation suggests that the real motive is tighter corporate control over the food system by means of technological solutions.

Vandana Shiva, scholar, environmentalist, food sovereignty advocate and author, told The Defender,

“The Great Reset is about multinational corporate stakeholders at the World Economic Forum controlling as many elements of planetary life as they possibly can. From the digital data humans produce to each morsel of food we eat.”

The WEF describes itself as “the global platform for public-private cooperation” that creates partnerships between corporations, politicians, intellectuals, scientists and other leaders of society to “define, discuss and advance key issues on the global agenda.”

According to WEF’s founder and executive chairman, Klaus Schwab, the forum is guided by the goal of positioning “private corporations as the trustees of society” to “address social and environmental challenges.”

In July, Schwab published a 195-page book, “COVID-19: The Great Reset,” in which he challenged industry leaders and decision makers to “make good use of the pandemic by not letting the crisis go to waste.”

TIME magazine (whose owner Marc Benioff is a WEF board member) recently partnered with the WEF to cover The Great Reset and to provide a “look at how the COVID-19 pandemic provides a unique opportunity to transform the way we live.”

The Great Reset is meant to be all-encompassing. Its partner organizations include the biggest players in data collection, telecommunications, weapons manufacturing, finance, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and the food industry.

The WEF’s plans for the “reset” of food and agriculture include projects and strategic partnerships that favor genetically modified organisms, lab-made proteins and pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals as sustainable solutions to food and health issues.

For example, WEF has promoted and partnered with an organization called EAT Forum. EAT Forum describes itself as a “Davos for food” that plans to “add value to business and industry” and “set the political agenda.”

EAT was co-founded by Wellcome Trust, an organization established with funds from GlaxoSmithKline and which still has strategic partnerships with the drugmaker. EAT collaborates with nearly 40 city governments in Europe, Africa, Asia, North America, South America and Australia. The organization also assists the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the “creation of new dietary guidelines” and sustainable development initiatives.

According to Federic Leroy, a food science and biotechnology professor at University of Brussels, EAT network interacts closely with some of the biggest imitation meat companies, including Impossible Foods and other biotech companies, which aim to replace wholesome nutritious foods with genetically modified lab creations.

“They frame it as healthy and sustainable, which of course it is neither,” Leroy told The Defender.

Impossible Foods was initially co-funded by Google, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. Recent lab results showed the company’s imitation meat contained glyphosate levels 11 times higher than its closest competitor.

EAT’s biggest initiative is called FReSH, which the organization describes as an effort to drive the transformation of the food system. The project’s partners include Bayer, Cargill, Syngenta, Unilever and even tech giant Google.

“Companies like Unilever and Bayer and other pharmaceutical companies are already chemical processors — so many of these companies are very well positioned to profit off of this new food business which revolves around processing chemicals and extracts needed to produce these lab-made foods on a global scale,” Leroy said.

In Schwab’s book, he discusses how biotechnology and genetically modified food should become a central pillar to repairing global food scarcity issues, issues which COVID has revealed and exacerbated.

He writes “global food security will only be achieved if regulations on genetically modified foods are adapted to reflect the reality that gene editing offers a precise, efficient and safe method of improving crops.”

Shiva disagrees. She told The Defender that the “WEF is parading fake science,” and “for Mr. Schwab to promote these technologies as solutions proves that The Great Reset is about maintaining and empowering a corporate extraction machine and the private ownership of life.”

EAT developed what it refers to as “the planetary health diet,” which the WEF champions as the “sustainable dietary solution of the future.” But according to Leroy, it’s a diet that’s supposed to replace everything else. “The diet aims to cut the meat and dairy intake of the global population by as much as 90% in some cases and replaces it with lab-made foods, cereals and oil,” he said.

Shiva further explained, “EAT’s proposed diet is not about nutrition at all, it’s about big business and it’s about a corporate takeover of the food system.”

According to EAT’s own reports, the big adjustments the organization and its corporate partners want to make to the food system are “unlikely to be successful if left up to the individual,” and the changes they wish to impose on societal eating habits and food “require reframing at the systemic level with hard policy interventions that include laws, fiscal measures, subsidies and penalties, trade reconfiguration and other economic and structural measures.”

But Shiva said this is the wrong approach, because “all of the science” shows that diets should be centered around regional and geographical biodiversity. She explained that “EAT’s uniform global diet will be produced with western technology and agricultural chemicals. Forcing this onto sovereign nations by multinational lobbying is what I refer to as food imperialism.”

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Jeremy Loffredo is a reporter for The Defender.

Featured image is from WEF

Bribery and Corruption in the Covid-19 Era

November 26th, 2020 by Kristina Pierce

While the world is trying to limit the destruction caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are only starting to understand its long-term effects on governments, economies, companies and individuals. The global crisis has exacerbated existing flaws at all levels, including vulnerabilities to corruption and bribery.

Corruption and bribery are not new problems, but crises such as today’s COVID-19 pandemic tend to increase their risk. Governments are occupied with urgent matters and take shortcuts to get what they need. Companies or individuals may be tempted to resort to bribes to meet objectives and there is increased competition and pressure to secure certain supplies and services. Plus, changes in supply chains and regulatory environments (borders closed, travel restrictions) create new avenues for corruption and less oversight.

Using Existing Anti-Bribery Measures

Thanks to The International Organization for Standardization, an international, independent non-governmental organization, there is a means for combating this cross-border problem. The ISO 37001 Anti-Bribery Management Systems is the universal standard that helps organizations, private or public, large or small, prevent and address bribery. ISO 37001 was developed in 2016 with input from international organizations such as Transparency International, the OECD and the International Chamber of Commerce, as well as country participants and international regulators. To become certified, organizations must implement an anti-bribery management system that meets the standard’s requirements, designate an individual to oversee compliance with the policy, establish financial controls and adopt monitoring and reporting processes.  

Companies and governments also implementing their own anti-bribery policies or become members of industry-level self-regulating organizations (SROs). While both have benefits, they are also inherently flawed. As Amit Narang argued in The Hill, “It is simply unacceptable for our government to allow corporations to decide whether products and services are safe for the public when those companies have an overwhelming incentive to make products and services merely appear safe, so they can reach the market. This fundamental conflict of interest is at the heart of why industry self-regulation doesn’t work…” While he was referring to health and safety regulations, the argument is still pertinent for bribery. Self-regulators are funded and overseen by companies they are meant to be regulating. When certain business practices are lucrative for an industry, it is doubtful that SROs or companies will go out of their way to abolish or create punitive oversight for such practices. This is even more true during a global crisis when companies are struggling, and competition becomes even more cutthroat.

Fighting Government Corruption

Perhaps nowhere is bribery more widespread than at the government level – we have seen too many examples of this throughout the pandemic. The World Bank argues that the, “COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in large scale emergency spending by governments, sometimes without adhering to the regular checks and balances… The strains placed on the public sector in responding to the current situation present enormous opportunities for corruption to flourish.” In July, officials in Brazil were accused of pocketing almost $72.2 million in bribes when awarding state contracts for medical supplies. Most of the ventilators were not delivered, resulting in avoidable deaths.  

ISO 37001 provides the means for curtailing such corruption. Governments can require ISO 37001 compliance not only for vendors bidding on public contracts, but also for themselves. When former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was forced out of office in 2018 after being convicted of seven corruption charges involving hundreds of millions of dollars, Mahathir Mohamad, Razak’s successor, announced that all ministries, departments and government-linked companies would pursue ISO 37001 certification. “This effort will make Malaysia the first country in the world to apply the ISO 37001 certification in the public sector,” he noted. Malaysia has since shown improvement in international corruption rankings. Given the potential risks of the current crisis, other countries would be wise to follow.

Governments also need a high level of oversight when it comes to their central banks and currencies. In 2018, it was revealed that Securency and Note Printing Australia (NPA), then subsidiaries of the Reserve Bank of Australia, were ordered to pay $21.6 million relating to corruption charges. Securency and NPA pleaded guilty to bribing foreign officials in Asia to win banknote printing contracts in 2012.

A group of banknote producers formed the Banknote Ethics Initiative (BnEI) in 2013 to write their own set of ethical practices. But BnEI faces the same issues as self-regulating organizations in other industries: member companies will ultimately want to protect their own interests. Antti Heinonen, Chairman of BnEI, claims “The key difference which separates BnEI from other similar initiatives is that – rather than self-assessment – companies are externally audited and accredited.” But with only two organizations doing the auditing, their true independence has to be questioned.

Given various scandals and with economies fragile from the pandemic, central banks need objective reassurances that companies printing their money follow strict anti-bribery guidelines. They need more than industry self-regulation and promises. In “How Companies Can Take a Stand Against Bribery,” Ravi Venkatesan and Leslie Benton argue, “Because the standard is a global tool, developed by a global expert stakeholder group that was not tied to the law or guidance of any one country, it may be more readily accepted by some as an anti-bribery common language.” Plus, central banks can trust that ISO 37001 certified manufacturers are monitored and evaluated by independent third-party auditors.

Every Business Sector is Impacted by Bribery

Corruption is certainly not limited to governments, currencies or any specific industry. Some companies have become ISO 37001 certified because clients demand it. Such was the case for U.K.-based Mott MacDonald, a global engineering, management and development consulting firm. Lorna Raymond, who led the company’s certification process says, “In our tenders, the question was being asked, ‘Do you have certification to ISO 37001?’”

Others are required by prosecutors to pursue certification as part of settlement deals in corruption cases. In 2016, Brazilian construction giant, Grupo Odebrecht, signed a deal with U.S. and Swiss officials in which they agreed to pay $2.6 billion in fines for paying bribes to win contracts. Additionally, authorities demanded that the company seek ISO 37001 certification. Prosecutors in Singapore and Denmark have also made ISO 37001 certification a condition of corruption settlements. Such legal conditions signal a recognition of the standard’s merit and trustworthiness.

And some companies proactively seek certification to create a corporate culture of compliance. Microsoft, the first large American company to become ISO 37001 certified, has been very vocal in the need for a universal framework. David Howard, Corporate Vice President, General Counsel, Litigation, Competition Law, & Compliance at Microsoft states, “We think a consistent approach to anti-corruption programs is a good thing. That, along with an objective and independent certification process, should give governments around the world confidence that the companies which achieve certification are doing everything they reasonably can to reduce corruption. We encourage other major companies to adopt ISO 37001…”

In the COVID-19 era, when governments are cutting corners and rushing orders and companies are facing cutbacks and pressure to win contracts, adopting universal anti-bribery norms such as ISO 37001 has become all the more important.

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What the COVID Vaccine Hype Fails to Mention

November 26th, 2020 by Dr. Gilbert Berdine

Pfizer recently announced that its covid vaccine was more than 90 percent “effective” at preventing covid-19. Shortly after this announcement, Moderna announced that its covid vaccine was 94.5 percent “effective” at preventing covid-19. Unlike the flu vaccine, which is one shot, both covid vaccines require two shots given three to four weeks apart. Hidden toward the end of both announcements, were the definitions of “effective.”

Both trials have a treatment group that received the vaccine and a control group that did not. All the trial subjects were covid negative prior to the start of the trial. The analysis for both trials was performed when a target number of “cases” were reached. “Cases” were defined by positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. There was no information about the cycle number for the PCR tests. There was no information about whether the “cases” had symptoms or not. There was no information about hospitalizations or deaths. The Pfizer study had 43,538 participants and was analyzed after 164 cases. So, roughly 150 out 21,750 participants (less than 0.7 percent) became PCR positive in the control group and about one-tenth that number in the vaccine group became PCR positive. The Moderna trial had 30,000 participants. There were 95 “cases” in the 15,000 control participants (about 0.6 percent) and 5 “cases” in the 15,000 vaccine participants (about one-twentieth of 0.6 percent). The “efficacy” figures quoted in these announcements are odds ratios.

There is no evidence, yet, that the vaccine prevented any hospitalizations or any deaths. The Moderna announcement claimed that eleven cases in the control group were “severe” disease, but “severe” was not defined. If there were any hospitalizations or deaths in either group, the public has not been told. When the risks of an event are small, odds ratios can be misleading about absolute risk. A more meaningful measure of efficacy would be the number to vaccinate to prevent one hospitalization or one death. Those numbers are not available. An estimate of the number to treat from the Moderna trial to prevent a single “case” would be fifteen thousand vaccinations to prevent ninety “cases” or 167 vaccinations per “case” prevented which does not sound nearly as good as 94.5 percent effective. The publicists working for pharmaceutical companies are very smart people. If there were a reduction in mortality from these vaccines, that information would be in the first paragraph of the announcement.

There is no information about how long any protective benefit from the vaccine would persist. Antibody response following covid-19 appears to be short lived. Based on what we know, the covid vaccine may require two shots every three to six months to be protective. The more shots required, the greater the risk of side effects from sensitization to the vaccine.

There is no information about safety. None. Government agencies like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) appear to have two completely different standards for attributing deaths to covid-19 and attributing side effects to covid vaccines. If these vaccines are approved, as they likely will be, the first group to be vaccinated will be the beta testers. I am employed by a university-based medical center that is a referral center for the West Texas region. My colleagues include resident physicians and faculty physicians who work with covid patients on a daily basis. I have asked a number of my colleagues whether they will be first in line for the new vaccine. I have yet to hear any of my colleagues respond affirmatively. The reasons for hesitancy are that the uncertainties about safety exceed what they perceive to be a small benefit. In other words, my colleagues would prefer to take their chances with covid rather than beta test the vaccine. Many of my colleagues want to see the safety data after a year of use before getting vaccinated; these colleagues are concerned about possible autoimmune side effects that may not appear for months after vaccination.

These announcements by Pfizer and Moderna are encouraging. I certainly hope that these vaccines protect people from the harm of covid-19. I certainly hope that these vaccines are safe. If both of these conditions are true, nobody will need to be coerced into taking the vaccine. However, you should pay even more attention about what is left out of an announcement than about what is stated. The pharmaceutical companies are more than happy for patients to misunderstand what is meant by efficacy. Caveat emptor (buyer beware)!

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Gilbert Berdine is an associate professor of medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and an affiliate of the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University.

Featured image is from Health Impact News

Public health groups, including the World Health Organization, are making a concerted effort to reduce COVID vaccine hesitancy, as many medical professionals and minority groups remain doubtful about safety and efficacy.

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As details on the latest COVID vaccine contenders flood the news cycle on a daily basis, reports of concerns regarding the safety and efficacy of the vaccine are widespread among many demographics, even including the professional medical community.

As vaccine hesitancy grows, agencies including the World Health Organization (WHO) are stepping up efforts to build vaccine confidence through public relations and communications campaigns.

Surveys reveal vaccine hesitancy

Researchers from the University of California Los Angeles’ Karin Fielding School of Public Health surveyed healthcare personnel working in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. As the Washington Post reported, they found that two thirds (66.5%) of healthcare workers “intend to delay vaccination,” meaning they do not intend to get the COVID vaccine when it becomes available. They plan instead on reviewing the data once it’s widely administered and proven safe.

Seventy-six percent of the vaccine-hesitant healthcare workers cited the “fast-tracked vaccine development” as a primary reason for their concerns. Typically, vaccines take between eight to 10 years to develop, Dr. Emily Erbelding, an infectious disease expert at National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN in an article titled, “The timetable for a coronavirus vaccine is 18 months. Experts say that’s risky.”

The coronavirus vaccine frontrunners — Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca — are expected to make their debut in January. The pharmaceutical giants have exponentially accelerated the average safety and review timeline for vaccine development and production, to get the vaccines to market in under a year. Erbelding admitted that the accelerated pace will involve “not looking at all the data.”

Susan Bailey, president of the American Medical Association, said in a video that the number of physicians expressing hesitancy was “unprecedented” and “posed a real risk” to public confidence in vaccines.

A recent Gallup poll showed that only 58% of Americans plan on getting the COVID vaccine when it’s available. An October poll conducted by Zogby found that nearly 50% of Americans have concerns about the safety of the coming COVID vaccines.

A new collaborative survey project by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Langer Research found that Black and Latinx Americans are overwhelmingly concerned about the coming COVID vaccine.

The survey, as reported in the Washington post, claims to be “one of the largest and most rigorous conducted on this topic to date.” It found that only 14% of Black Americans trust that a vaccine will be safe, while only 34% of Latinx Americans trust it will be safe.

The survey also found, in the context of COVID, only 19% percent of Black Americans trust drug companies, while less than a third trust the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to “look after their interests.”

According to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a group of medical experts who advise the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fears surrounding the painful or harmful side-effects of the COVID vaccine are rooted in reality.

According to CNBC, during a virtual Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ meeting on Nov. 23, Dr. Sandra Fryhofer told fellow CDC officials that patients need to be aware that the side effects from the COVID vaccines “will not be a walk in the park.” Fryhofer acknowledged that side effects from the vaccines have been reported to mimic symptoms of a mild case of COVID, including muscle pain, fever, chills and headache.

Fryhofer, who explained that both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s COVID vaccines require two doses, worries that her patients might not come back for a second dose after experiencing potentially unpleasant side effects after the first shot.

As a participant of the Moderna vaccine trials noted “it was the sickest I’ve ever been.”

Health officials try to combat vaccine hesitancy

Despite this, officials at the forefront of the COVID response plan to combat vaccine safety concerns and hesitancy using, what some are calling, questionable psychological techniques.

For example, the WHO, which named “vaccine hesitancy” as the top global public health threat, has hired the PR firm Hill + Knowlton to identify micro-influencers, macro-influencers and “hidden heroes” on social media who could covertly promote the organization’s image as a COVID authority in order to “ensure WHO’s advice and guidance is followed.”

Cass Sunstein, the chairman of WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on Behavioral Insights, recently wrote an article in Bloomberg in which he promoted the use of popular celebrities, athletes and actors as tools for vaccine persuasion against those who “lack vaccine confidence.”

“Trusted politicians, athletes or actors — thought to be ‘one of us’ rather than ‘one of them’ — might explicitly endorse vaccination and report that they themselves have gotten the vaccine,” Sunstein wrote.

Then there’s the “Guide to COVID-19 Vaccine Communications,” developed by the University of Florida and the United Nations that aims to help governments improve COVID vaccine uptake. The authors of the guide promote the tactic of covertly using trusted community leaders to help with pro-vaccine information.

Citing vaccine hesitancy among the African American community, the guide suggests that barber shops and hair salons in predominantly black neighborhoods might be tapped to help disseminate approved vaccine messaging.

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Jeremy Loffredo is a reporter for The Defender.

Credits to the owner of the featured image

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Brave Vandana Shiva Speaks Out Against the Great Reset

November 26th, 2020 by Organic Radicals

Organic radical inspiration Vandana Shiva has been couragely speaking out against the insidious ‘Great Reset’ being sprung on us by Klaus Schwab, Bill Gates and the rest of the global capitalist elite.

She warns in a new interview that “The Great Reset is about maintaining and empowering a corporate extraction machine and the private ownership of life”. (1)

Shiva has lately been drawing particular attention to the insidious role of Bill Gates in the technocrats’ assault on food and nature.

In October 2020 she warned:

“With his philanthro-imperialism, Gates is emerging as the Columbus of the digital age, the New Monsanto pushing failed GMOs and trying to introduce new GMOs based on gene editing”. (2)

Gates’ nefarious activity is the subject of a special report produced by Navdanya, the seed and food sovereignty movement founded by Shiva in 1987. (3)

Shiva commented:

“We have seen the Green Revolution and the industrial agriculture model fail, wiping out forests, transforming the land into a monoculture, causing pollution and illness, destroying natural resources and livelihoods. And it is now a major contributor of climate change and species and biodiversity extinction.

“In spite of this, while we are looking at better ways to farm, Gates has pushed the Green Revolution in Africa. He seems too impatient to look at the complexity of the natural world and biodiversity. He’s taking control of the worlds’ seed banks, pushing failed GMOs that we had rejected in India to other countries, taking control of gene traits through gene editing, trying to control the climate through geoengineering, and driving extinction through gene drives”. (4)

Shiva has also been strongly critical of The Great Reset, the global technocratic corporate coup promoted by Gates’ friend and associate Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum.

She told Jeremy Loffredo of The Defender:

“The Great Reset is about multinational corporate stakeholders at the World Economic Forum controlling as many elements of planetary life as they possibly can. From the digital data humans produce to each morsel of food we eat”. (5)

Shiva accused the WEF of “parading fake science” with its emphasis on GM food, lab-made proteins and pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals as “sustainable solutions”.

She added that “for Mr Schwab to promote these technologies as solutions proves that The Great Reset is about maintaining and empowering a corporate extraction machine and the private ownership of life”. (6)

Schwab’s WEF has partnered with an organization called EAT Forum, closely linked to the pharmaceutical industry.

Said Shiva:

“EAT’s proposed diet is not about nutrition at all, it’s about big business and it’s about a corporate takeover of the food system.

“EAT’s uniform global diet will be produced with western technology and agricultural chemicals. Forcing this onto sovereign nations by multinational lobbying is what I refer to as food imperialism”. (7)

Our updated profile of Vandana Shiva can be found here.

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Notes

1. Jeremy Loffredo, ‘Worl d Economic Forum’s ‘Great Reset’ Plan for Big Food Benefits Industry, Not People‘, The Defender, November 9, 2020.

2. Navdanya International, ‘Is philanthro-capitalism endangering sustainable development?’, Lifegate, October 26, 2020. lifegate.com/philantro-capitalism-sustainable-development

3. Navdanya International, ‘Gates to a Global Empire‘, 2020.

4. Manlio Masucci, ‘The Philanthro-capitalist empire of Bill Gates‘.

5. Loffredo.

6. Ibid.

7. Ibid.

Featured image is from Sott.net

At the UN, Italy Abstains on Nazism

November 26th, 2020 by Manlio Dinucci

The political significance of this vote is clear: NATO members and partners boycotted the Resolution which, first of all, calls into question Ukraine without naming it, whose neo-Nazi movements have been and are used by NATO for strategic purposes.

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The United Nations Third Committee – in charge of social, humanitarian and cultural issues – approved on November 18 the Resolution “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”.

The Resolution, recalling that “The victory over Nazism in World War II contributed to the creation of the United Nations in order to save future generations from the scourge of war” raised alarm for the spread of neo-Nazi, racist, and xenophobic movements in many parts of the world.

The Resolution expressed “deep concern for the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and former members of the Waffen-SS” in whatever form. The Resolution, therefore, emphasized that “neo-Nazism is more than just the glorification of a past movement: it is a contemporary phenomenon.” Neo-Nazi and other similar movements “fuel contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, antisemitism, Islamophobia, Christianophobia, xenophobia and related intolerance”.

The Resolution therefore called on the States of the United Nations to undertake a series of measures to counter this phenomenon.

The Resolution, already adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 18, 2019, was approved by the Third Committee with 122 votes in favor, including the votes of Russia and China, two permanent members of the Security Council.

Only two members of the United Nations voted against it: The United States (a permanent member of the Security Council) and Ukraine.

The other 29 country NATO members, including Italy, certainly due to an internal directive, abstained. So did the 27 members of the European Union, 21 of them belonging to NATO. Among the 53 abstentions are also Australia, Japan, and other NATO partners.

The political significance of this vote is clear: NATO members and partners boycotted the Resolution that calls into question Ukraine first of all without naming it, Ukraine’s neo-Nazi movements have been and are used by NATO for strategic purposes.

There is ample evidence that neo-Nazi teams were trained and employed, under US / NATO direction, in the Maidan square putsch in 2014 and in the attack on Ukrainian Russians to provoke, with the detachment of Crimea and its return to Russia, a new confrontation in Europe similar to that of the Cold War.

The role of the Azov battalion – founded in 2014 by Andriy Biletsky, the “white Führer” who is a supporter of the “racial purity of the Ukrainian nation, which must not mix with inferior races,” is emblematic.

After being distinguished for its ferocity, the Azov battalion was transformed into a regiment of the Ukrainian National Guard, equipped with tanks and artillery. It preserved the emblem, modeled on that of the SS Das Reich, and the ideological formation of its recruits is modeled on that of the Nazis. The Azov Regiment is trained by US instructors, transferred from Vicenza to Ukraine, flanked by others from NATO.

Azov is not just a military unit, but an ideological and political movement. Biletsky is the charismatic leader especially for the youth organization, which is educated in hatred against Russians and militarily trained. At the same time, neo-Nazis from all over Europe, including Italy, are being recruited in Kiev. Thus, Ukraine has become the “nursery” of the resurgent Nazism in the heart of Europe.

Italy’s abstention is part of this framework, even not voting for the Resolution at the General Assembly. The Parliament agreed, as when in 2017 it signed a memorandum of understanding with the President of the Ukrainian Parliament Andriy Parubiy, who is the founder of the Ukrainian National Social Party organized  on the Hitlerian National Socialist model; he is the head of the neo-Nazi squads that are responsible for murders and ferocious beatings of political opposers.

He will be the one to congratulate the Italian government on the  UN Resolution on Nazism non-vote, in line with what he declared on television: “The greatest man who practiced direct democracy was Adolf Hitler.”

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This article was originally published in Italian on Il Manifesto.

Manlio Dinucci is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Featured image is by andriy parubiy/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Selected Articles: Xi Jinping’s “China First”

November 25th, 2020 by Global Research News

Xi Jinping’s “China First”

By Tom Clifford, November 25 2020

It isn’t about what happened, it’s about what will happen. Our time has come is the catchphrase, a rallying cry. The people are told they have been cheated. It won’t happen again. We are the justice seekers. Upend the global trade order, it is skewed against us. This is heady stuff.

The Vicious Circle of Violence and Obedience: Exercise the Right to Individual and Collective Resistance!

By Dr. Rudolf Hänsel, November 25 2020

Many adults react to the confused instructions of politicians like children or how primitive primitive people reacted: in the form of a “magical belief in authority”: uncritical and clouded by moods, feelings and promises of happiness. And that has consequences.

Biden’s Victory Does Not Guarantee a Progressive Agenda. We Must Fight for It.

By Prof. Marjorie Cohn, November 25 2020

Biden has already promised to end U.S. support for the tragic war in Yemen. He should also restore humanitarian aid to Yemen and urge Saudi Arabia to negotiate an end to that conflict. It is essential that we pressure Biden to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. forces.

Behind the US Treasury vs. Federal Reserve ‘Rift’. Just What is the $455 Billion?

By Dr. Jack Rasmus, November 25 2020

This past week the US Treasury and the US Federal Reserve Bank engaged in a rare public disagreement. US Treasury Secretary, Mnuchin, in a letter to Jerome Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve, last week directed the Fed to return $455 billion that the Fed was holding in reserve should future lending to banks and non-bank businesses become necessary if the US economy and markets further deteriorate in 2021.

UK Supreme Court Judge Slams ‘Totalitarian’ COVID ‘Control Freaks’ in Government

By Steve Watson, November 25 2020

A British Supreme Court judge has slammed the UK government as ‘control freaks’ for attempting to control people’s lives under the guise of COVID, and labeled it “morally and constitutionally indefensible” to define what freedoms the public should and shouldn’t have.

Keeping the Empire Running: Britain’s Global Military Footprint

By Dr. Binoy Kampmark, November 25 2020

Britain, it turns out, has a rather expansive global reach when it comes to bases, military installations and testing sites.  While not having the obese heft and lumbering brawn of the United States, it makes a good go of it.  Globally, the UK military has a presence in 145 sites in 42 countries.  Such figures tally with Ian Cobain’s prickly observation in The History Thieves: that the British were the only people “perpetually at war.”

Return of Great Game in Post-Soviet Central Asia

By M. K. Bhadrakumar, November 25 2020

What emerges is that the common narrative that China is overshadowing the Russian security presence in Central Asia lacks any empirical evidence. Russia is still the only extra-regional power that maintains a military base in Central Asia (in Tajikistan) and also heads a CSTO base (in Kyrgyzstan). 

The Cunning Plot to Kill Kennedy

By Jacob G. Hornberger, November 25 2020

While the normal thing would have been all out investigations into the murder, in this particular murder the state of Texas and U.S. officials did the exact opposite. They settled for simply pinning the crime on Oswald, the purported lone nut communist ex-U.S. Marine. Here is how they pulled it off.

As Palestinian Refugees Face Severe Crisis, Canada Must Show Support for UNRWA

By Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, November 25 2020

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) and the Coalition of Canadian Palestinian Organizations (CCPO) are urging the Canadian government to take action in response to the crisis facing the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the UN agency responsible for 5.7 million Palestinian refugees.

Cuba Successfully Halts Its COVID-19 Outbreak: A Reflection of the Socialist Revolution and the Legacy of Fidel Castro’s Vision of Health Care

By Dr. Birsen Filip, November 25 2020

The success of Cuba’s healthcare system is widely acknowledged, even among the country’s adversaries, critics and enemies. However, little credit is given to Fidel Castro’s role and vision in bringing it to fruition.

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Antony Blinken: What Kind of Secretary of State?

November 25th, 2020 by Andrew Korybko

While Pompeo is brash, Blinken is humble, and this key difference might play a leading role in repairing America’s damaged reputation abroad after the past four years of current US President Trump’s bombastic foreign policy statements. Nevertheless, this impression shouldn’t be taken to mean that Blinken isn’t decisive.

Democrat presidential candidate and popularly projected winner of this month’s elections Joe Biden announced that he’ll nominate his close advisor Antony Blinken as the US’ next Secretary of State. Blinken is a veteran Democrat expert in the foreign policy field who comes from a family of diplomats. He previously served as Biden’s National Security Advisor when he was Vice-President as well as Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor and Deputy Secretary of State. The tremendous experience that Blinken will bring to a possible Biden Administration means that the world can expect a return to the US’ Obama-era foreign policy.

Media reports indicate that his personality is the complete opposite of current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. While Pompeo is brash, Blinken is humble, and this key difference might play a leading role in repairing America’s damaged reputation abroad after the past four years of current US President Trump’s bombastic foreign policy statements. Nevertheless, this impression shouldn’t be taken to mean that Blinken isn’t decisive. Other reports claim that he was in favor of former President Obama bombing Syria during the 2013 chemical weapons crisis, and former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul revealed some other interesting details.

According to the Financial Times in their article titled “Biden’s ‘alter ego’ Antony Blinken tipped for top foreign policy job”, McFaul said that Blinken was part of a secretive group of Democrats called the “Phoneix Initiative”. The former ambassador claimed that they began assembling in 2004 after former Democrat presidential candidate Kerry’s loss to incumbent President Bush Jr. Their debates allegedly consisted of passionate arguments in support of more robust national security strategies, including Blinken advocating very strongly for “human rights” according to McFaul.

This correlates with the US’ Obama-era foreign policy of supporting Color Revolutions and so-called “humanitarian interventions” across the world in countries as diverse as Ukraine and Libya respectively under such pretexts. Observers might thus be worried that these policies could repeat themselves under a possible Biden Presidency, which could in turn be destabilizing for Eastern Europe and the Mideast, especially if those aforesaid processes were weaponized for the purpose of geopolitically containing Russia and Iran. It’s too early to tell whether that’ll be the case, but it’s worth noting nonetheless.

Blinken was also critical of Russia over the past few years and even dramatically claimed in 2017 that “The president’s ongoing collusion with Russia’s plans is really striking, intentional or not.” It’s therefore unlikely that he’ll oversee any improvement of relations with Russia, which is worrisome because the two nuclear powers should renegotiate a new strategic weapons treaty after the New START expires early next year. Failing to do so for reasons possibly related to Blinken’s groundless suspicions of then-former President Trump’s relations with Russia (which were never proven despite several years of investigations) would worsen global insecurity.

On the topic of Iran, however, he seems to be much more pragmatic. Blinken supported the 2015 nuclear deal and would likely see the US attempt to return to it under a possible Biden presidency. While that might repair American-Iranian relations, it could also inadvertently worsen the US’ historical ties with Israel and Saudi Arabia, both of which are totally against the agreement. Still, it would represent a symbolic return to the UN-enshrined rules-based order if Blinken were to oversee the US’ return to that pact. Thus far, it can be concluded that he’d probably be harder on Russia but more flexible with Iran, but his stance towards China is unclear.

The same earlier cited Financial Times piece reported that Blinken told an interviewer during a recent podcast that “the US had to rebuild alliances to tackle the ‘democratic recession’ enabled by Mr Trump that let ‘autocracies from Russia to China . . . exploit our difficulties’.” This suggests that he might share some of his predecessor’s suspicions of China and thus be less pragmatic towards it than some had initially hoped after first hearing that Biden was projected by the media to be the next President-Elect. His ideological views towards governance hint that he might even try to strengthen the US’ regional alliances on a “democratic” basis.

It can only be hoped that Blinken wouldn’t let his personal opinions blind him to the fact that the US has no choice but to pragmatically cooperate with China despite those two countries’ different governing systems. Seeing the world in black-and-white terms of us-versus-them with respect to democracies versus what he regards as autocracies would be the wrong way to approach relations with the People’s Republic. It might even result in a possible Biden Administration ruining the chance to enter into a comprehensive rapprochement with China towards what some have predicted could even become a New Detente between the two if successful.

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This article was originally published on OneWorld.

Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Today’s brave new world may be heading in directions beyond what Orwell and Huxley imagined.

It’s facilitated by made-in-the USA covid and economic collapse. 

For ordinary Americans, it created worse hard times than during the Great Depression.

It’s facilitating the greatest ever wealth transfer from most people to the privileged few.

It’s part of a grand scheme for transforming the US and other Western states into ruler-serf societies.

Covid is another form of seasonal flu/influenza, an annual epidemic in the US and elsewhere that affects millions of people.

It comes and goes like clockwork without mass hysteria fear-mongering, partial or full shutdowns causing mass unemployment, mask-wearing that does more harm than good, and social distancing.

All of the above with likely more on the way seems more like a Hollywood horror film than reality.

Interventionist hawks comprising the Biden/Harris regime’s national security team likely means escalated militarism and endless wars over the next four years while vital homeland needs go begging — along with all of the above.

The World Economic Forum-promoted Great Reset may be on the way — a scheme promoted executive chairman Klaus Schwab.

Paul Craig Roberts called him an “insane tyrant,” his scheme intended to “end…human autonomy, (facilitated by) implantable microchips (to control) our bodies and brains.”

It aims to control and exploit ordinary people so privileged ones can benefit more than already.

It’s a dystopian nightmare — wrapped in deceptive equitable socioeconomic rhetoric.

Neoliberal harshness expanded a large-scale underclass in the US and West.

Great Reset planners intend expanding it further toward their goal — ruler/serf societies in the West and worldwide.

Digital health passports may be part of their scheme to facilitate hazardous mass vaxxing.

Will they be required for employment, attending school, air travel, other public transportation, hotel reservations, restaurant dining, in-store shopping, attending a sporting event, and other social interactions?

Will daily lives and routines no longer be possible without proof of covid immunity?

Will what was inconceivable not long ago become reality ahead?

Will something similar to what Britain’s Boris Johnson has in mind be on the way?

Despite unreliable PCR tests that produce false positives and negatives time and again — rendering them useless — Johnson aims to start mass-testing.

He wants to “identify people who are (covid) negative…who are not infectious so we can allow them to behave in a more normal way, in the knowledge they cannot infect anyone else.”

Will he require a health passport for Brits to resume daily life — which includes mass-vaxxing?

Rushed development of hazardous to human health covid vaccines are close to being rolled out.

Is something similar to what’s planned in Britain coming to the US and other Western societies — a brave new world more unfit to live in than already?

On Friday, Children Health Defense chairman Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. said the following about Pfizer and Moderna covid vaccines:

Will “a significant percentage of people who are going to get the vaccine…get sicker than they would from covid…?”

Moderna vaccine development showed “100% of the people had some side effects, many of them mild.”

But “20% of the high-dose test subjects had serious side effects.”

“(W)e have to ask ourselves (if it’s) better to get covid, at least for most age groups, then it is to get the vaccine?”

On his Children’s Health Defense website, Kennedy discussed a New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) mass-vaxxing strategy.

It recommends voluntary use initially. If “unsuccessful,” mandate it, adding:

“(P)rinciples of public health ethics support trying less burdensome policies before moving to more burdensome ones.”

Voluntary vaxxing “should be limited to a matter of weeks” — followed by federal and state legislation that mandates it.

Noncompliance should incur “substantial penalties…(like) employment suspension or stay-at-home orders.”

According to Kennedy, authors of the NEJM article are connected to the (Bill) Gates Foundation, a leading promoter of mass-vaxxing.

The NEJM’s “article is a revealing — and horrifying —  blueprint for Pharma’s imposition of mandates that could require hundreds of millions of reluctant Americans to submit to a risky medical procedure with poorly-tested, ineffective, zero-liability vaccines,” Kennedy explained, adding:

“The NEJM has once again confirmed its former editor Marcia Angell’s warning that this once renowned journal has devolved into a propaganda vessel for Pharma.”

Other than diabolical brave new world plotters, who could have imagined earlier what’s unfolding in real time now.

Air travel may be affected early in the new year.

According to the International Air Transport Association’s Nick Careen:

IATA is “in the final development phase (of a) digital passport” to show if international travelers were vaccinated against covid.

IATA will urge all international carriers to adopt what the association is promoting.

Will domestic carriers in the US, West and elsewhere go the same way?

Will federal and local governments, businesses, and operators of whatever involves public interactions follow suit?

If voluntary compliance with covid vaxxing doesn’t work, will mandating it be implemented?

Is a draconian new way of life on the way under hardened police state rules?

Mass nonviolent resistance is the only alternative, pushing back against what no just societies would tolerate.

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

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The World Economic Forum (WEF) has just published (October 2020) a so-called White Paper, entitled “Resetting the Future of Work Agenda – in a Post-Covid World”.

This 31-page document reads like a blueprint on how to “execute” – because an execution (or implementation) would be – “Covid-19 – The Great Reset” (July 2020), by Klaus Schwab, founder and CEO (since the foundation of the WEF in 1974) and his associate Thierry Malleret.

They call “Resetting the Future” a White Paper, meaning it’s not quite a final version. It is a draft of sorts, a trial balloon, to measure people’s reactions. It reads indeed like an executioner’s tale. Many people may not read it – have no awareness of its existence. If they did, they would go up in arms and fight this latest totalitarian blueprint, offered to the world by the WEF.

It promises a horrifying future to some 80%-plus of the (surviving) population. George Orwell’s “1984” reads like a benign fantasy, as compared to what the WEF has in mind for humanity.

The time frame is ten years – by 2030 – the UN agenda 2021 – 2030 should be implemented.

Planned business measures in response to COVID-19:

  • An acceleration of digitized work processes, leading to 84% of all work processes as digital, or virtual / video conferences.
  • Some 83% of people are planned to work remotely – i.e. no more interaction between colleagues – absolute social distancing, separation of humanity from the human contact.
  • About 50% of all tasks are planned to be automated – in other words, human input will be drastically diminished, even while remote working.
  • Accelerate the digitization of upskilling / reskilling (e.g. education technology providers) – 42% of skill upgrading or training for new skills will be digitized, in other words, no human contact – all on computer, Artificial Intelligence (AI), algorithms.
  • Accelerate the implementation of upskilling / reskilling programs – 35% of skills are planned to be “re-tooled” – i.e. existing skills are planned to be abandoned – declared defunct.
  • Accelerate ongoing organizational transformations (e.g. restructuring) – 34% of current organizational set-ups are planned to be “restructured’ – or, in other words, existing organizational structures will be declared obsolete – to make space for new sets of organizational frameworks, digital structures that provide utmost control over all activities.
  • Temporarily reassign workers to different tasks – this is expected to touch 30% of the work force. That also means completely different pay-scales – most probably unlivable wages, which would make the also planned “universal basic salary” or “basic income” – a wage that allows you barely to survive, an obvious need. – But it would make you totally dependent on the system – a digital system, where you have no control whatsoever.
  • Temporarily reduce workforce – this is projected as affecting 28% of the population. It is an additional unemployment figure, in disguise, as the “temporarily” will never come back to full-time.
  • Permanently reduce workforce – 13% permanently reduced workforce.
  • Temporarily increase workforce – 5% – there is no reference to what type of workforce – probably unskilled labor that sooner or later will also be replaced by automation, by AI and robotization of the workplace.
  • No specific measures implemented – 4% – does that mean, a mere 4% will remain untouched? From the algorithm and AI-directed new work places? – as small and insignificant as the figure is, it sounds like “wishful thinking”, never to be accomplished.
  • Permanently increase workforce – a mere 1% is projected as “permanently increased workforce”. This is of course not even cosmetics. It is a joke.

This is the what is being put forth, namely the concrete process of implementing The Great Reset.

The Great Reset also foresees, a credit scheme, whereby all personal debt would be “forgiven” – against handing over all personal assets to an administrative body or agency – could possibly be the IMF.

So, you would own nothing – and be happy. Because all your necessities will be provided for.

Also, it should not occur to you to disagree with the system, because – by now each one of you has been covid-vaccinated and nano-chipped – so that with 5G and soon to come 6G, your mind can be read and influenced.

Please do not call this a conspiracy theory. It is a White Paper, an “authoritative report” by the WEF.

DARPADefense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is part of the Pentagon –and has years ago developed the technology. It is just a matter of time to implement it. And Implemented it will be, if We, The People, do not protest — Massive Civil Disobedience is of the order – and that rather sooner than later.

The more we wait with action, the more we sleepwalk into this absolute human disaster.

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Social and human relations are being eviscerated.

This has several advantages for this novel “totalitarian” WEF approach to humanity – to controlling humanity.

– We, The People, cannot rebel, we have no longer cohesion among ourselves,

-“We, The People”, will be played against each other – and there is an absolute digital control over humanity – executed by a small super elite.

-We have no access to this digital control – it is way beyond our reach. The idea is, that we will gradually grow into it – those of us who may survive. Within a generation or so, it is expected to become the New Normal.

The “survival angle” is an aspect not mentioned directly either in The Great Reset, or in the “Implementation Guide” – i.e. in the White Paper “Resetting the Future of Work Agenda – in a Post-Covid World”.

Bill Gates, the Rockefellers, Kissinger et al, have never made a secret out of their strong opinion that the world is over-populated and that the number of people has to be literally reduced. We are dealing with eugenicists.

A perfect method for reducing the world population, are Bill Gates initiated, and WHO-supported vaccination programs. Scandals of such disastrous vaccine programs resulting in children’s death were recorded in India (in the 1990s), Kenya (2014 and thereafter) and other parts of the world.

See also a very revealing TedTalk by Bill Gates of February 2010, “Innovating to Zero”, just about at the time when the “2010 Rockefeller Report” was issued – the very report that has given us so far, the “Lock Step Scenario” – and we are living it now. Hardly protesting it – the entire world – 193 UN member countries – has been coopted or coerced into following this abject human rights abuse on a global scale.

What either report, The Great Reset and the “Resetting the Future of Work Agenda” fails to mention is who is going to enforce these draconian new rules? – They are supposedly the same forces which now are being trained for urban warfare and for suppressing riots and social unrest – they are the police and the military.

Part of our People’s Organization of Civil Disobedience, will be on how to focus on and talking to,  educating, informing the police and military of what they will be used for by this small elite, and that in the end they are also just human beings, like the rest of us, therefore they better stand up in defense of the people, of humanity. The same needs to be done to teachers and medical personnel – information, the unfettered truth.

That’s the challenge. If we succeed – the game is over. But it’s a long way.

Media disinformation is brutal and powerful and hard to contradict for “us”, without a sizable budget for counter-propaganda, and as a group of people, which is ever more divided by the very media. The mandatory wearing masks and social distancing – has already made enemies of what we used to be, colleagues, friends, even within families.

This very diktat has managed to create rifts, divisions and discord within our societies

No fear – but shredding “Resetting the Future of Work Agenda” and the “The Great Reset” literally to pieces – with a human alternative that would do away with organizations like the WEF, and coopted UN agencies, like WHO, UNICEF, WTO, World Bank, IMF – and maybe even the entire UN system. Political and business leaders behind this project must be confronted. The fundamental principles of international law including Nuremberg must be applied.

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Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals such as Global Research; ICH; New Eastern Outlook (NEO) and more. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

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After the Lockdown: A Global Coronavirus Vaccination Program

November 25th, 2020 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

The COV-19 vaccine is now front page news.

The following article was first published by Global Research on March 17, 2020, following the first tests of a vaccine conducted by Moderna Inc. with human volunteers in Seattle on March 16.

Author’s Note and Update

The COVID-19 Vaccine Project had been envisaged several months prior to the official identification of the virus on January 7, 2020 by China’s health authorities. 

At the 201 Simulation meeting in October 19, 2019 under the auspices of John Hopkins, the development of a vaccine for a fictitious novela virus was envisaged.

 According to Richard Hatchett, CEO of  the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) an organization sponsored and financed by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Gates Foundation the project to develop a vaccine commenced not only prior to the discovery and identification of the coronavirus (January 2020) but several months prior to the October 2019 simulation exercise. “We did that in the last year or so [early 2019]. … ” ( see interview below)

According to the WEF Video below, produced in relation to the 201 Simulation, “the organizers created a virus” 

“the current strain of the coronavirus [201 simulation], known as 2019-nCoV, but claimed that the death toll could run in the millions if the virus were resistant to modern vaccines … ” (November 2019 analysis of the 201 Simulation)

Ironically, on January 30th, the WHO defined the new virus as 2019-nCoV, i.e. the same name as the “organizers invented disease” used in the 201 simulation in October 2019. No doubt a coincidence.

It was only later that Covid-19 was identified by the WHO not as a virus but as a disease: coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Virus was identified as “severe acute respiratory syndrome” coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)

Video; The World Economic Forum was a partner in The 201 Simulation.

Video Produced by the World Economic Forum in association with the 201 John Hopkins Simulation

 

Two weeks after the virus had been formally identified by the PRC (Jan 7, 2020), a vaccine for the novel coronavirus was announced by CEPI at the Davos World Economic Forum, January 20-24, 2020.

Michel Chossudovsky, September 18, 2020, November 25, 2020

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The tendency is towards a Worldwide lockdown spearheaded by fear and media disinformation. Currently, hundreds of millions of people Worldwide are under lockdown. 

What is the next step in the evolution of the COVID-19 Crisis?  

The lead entity for the novel coronavirus vaccine initiative is the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) an organization sponsored and financed by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Note the chronology: The development of the 2019 nCoV vaccine was announced at the Davos World Economic Forum (WEF) a week prior to the official launching by the WHO of  a Worldwide Public Health Emergency (January 30) at a time when the number of “confirmed cases” Worldwide (outside China) was 150 (including 6 in the US). 

The pandemic was launched by the WHO on March 11. And five days later, barely covered by the media, the first tests involving human volunteers were conducted in Seattle on March 16.  

CEPI is seeking a “monopoly” role in the vaccination business the objective of which is a “global vaccine project”, in partnership with a large number of “candidates”. It announced funding for its existing partnership with Inovio and The University of Queensland (Australia). In addition, CEPI confirmed (January 23) its contract with Moderna, Inc. and the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been instrumental in waging the fear and panic campaign across America: “Ten Times Worse than Seasonal Flu”.

 

According to a report of the WHO pertaining to China’s epidemic (which has currently been resolved):

The most commonly reported symptoms [of COVID-19] included fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath, and most patients (80%) experienced mild illness. Approximately 14% experienced severe disease and 5% were critically ill. Early reports suggest that illness severity is associated with age (>60 years old) and co-morbid disease. (largely basing on WHO’s assessment of COVID-19 in China)

Screenshot The Hill, March 19, 2020

The Central Role of CEPI

CEPI is dealing simultaneously with several pharmaceutical companies. The Moderna- NIAID in all likelihood is slated to implement the COV-19 vaccine in the US.

On January 31st, the day following the WHO’s official launching of the global public health emergency and Trump’s decision to curtail air travel with China, CEPI announced its partnership with CureVac AG, a German-based  biopharmaceutical company. A few days later, in early February, CEPI “announced that major vaccine manufacturer GSK would allow its proprietary adjuvants— compounds that boost the effectiveness of vaccines — to be used in the response”. (The pandemic was officially launched on March 11)

There are many “potential vaccines in the pipeline” with “dozens of research groups around the world  racing to create a vaccine against COVID-19”.

In turn the EU and the US are currently competing for the vaccine markets on behalf of powerful pharmaceutical conglomerates, with the European Commission “offering up to €80 million in financial support to the CureVac AG” after it was reported that Trump “was attempting to secure exclusive access to a COVID-19 vaccine it is developing”, under the auspices of NIAID headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci.

The October 2019 Coronavirus Event 201 Simulation Exercise

The coronavirus was initially named nCoV-19 by CEPI and the WHO: exactly the same name as that adopted in the WEF-Gates-John Hopkins Event 201 (2019-nCov) pertaining to a coronavirus simulation exercise held in Baltimore in mid October 2019.

The Event 201 John Hopkins simulation addressed the development of an effective vaccine in response to millions of cases (in the October 2019 simulation) of the 2019 nCoV. The simulation announced a scenario in which the entire population of the planet would be affected. “During the initial months of the pandemic, the cumulative number of cases [in the simulation] increases exponentially, doubling every week. And as the cases and deaths accumulate, the economic and societal consequences become increasingly severe.”

The scenario ends at the 18-month point, with 65 million deaths. The pandemic is beginning to slow due to the decreasing number of susceptible people. The pandemic will continue at some rate until there is an effective vaccine or until 80-90 % of the global population has been exposed. From that point on, it is likely to be an endemic childhood disease.

The COV-19 Global Vaccination Program 

CEPI (on behalf of Gates-WEF, which funded the simulation exercise) is currently playing a key role in a large scale (global?) vaccination program in partnership with biotech companies, Big Pharma, government agencies as well as university laboratories.

The foregoing statement by CEPI was made nearly two months prior to the official declaration of a pandemic on March 11.

“We’re having conversations with a broad array of potential partners”. And critical to those conversations is: What’s the plan to make very large quantities of vaccine within a time frame that is potentially relevant to what people seem to be increasingly certain will be a pandemic, if it isn’t already there? …” [Richard Hatchett, CEPI CEO in interview with stat.news.com].  …

The underlying focus is to develop a global vaccine.

And part of that was doing a global survey of manufacturing capacity to think about where we wanted to plant the manufacturing of any successful products we were able to bring forward.

Of significance, Hackett  confirmed that the project to develop a vaccine commenced not only prior to the discovery and identification of the coronavirus (January 2020) but several months prior to the October 2019 simulation exercise.

“We did that in the last year or so. …  We are using the information that we have collected and have that team now thinking about opportunities for scaling vaccines of various different types. That is a work in progress. For some of the technologies the tech transfer [to a manufacturer] may be something that could be done in a time frame that was pertinent to the epidemic, potentially.

I think it is going to be really important to engage those folks who have access to really substantial production capacity. And having the big producers at the table — because of their depth, because of their experience, because of their internal resources — would be very, very important.

The candidate vaccines will be very, very quick. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID [who has been spreading panic on network TV], is out in public as saying he thinks the clinical trial for the Moderna vaccine may be as early as the spring. (emphasis added)

What is unfolding in real life is in some regards similar to the October 2019 simulation exercise at John Hopkins. The scenario is how to produce millions of vaccine shots on the presumption that the pandemic will spread.

The CEPI sponsored vaccine conglomerates had already planned their investments well in advance of the global Worldwide health emergency (January 20th).

I [Hackett] think part of the general strategy is to have a large number of candidates. [and] you want to have enough candidates that at least some of them are moving rapidly through the process.

And then for each candidate, you need to ask yourself the question: How do you produce that? … [And] how are you going to get to that point with production at a scale that is meaningful in the context of a disease that is going to infect the whole of society? (Interview conducted by Helen Branswell, statsnews, February 3, 2020)

Moderna Inc 

Moderna Inc based in Seattle is one of several candidates involved and supported by CEPI.

Moderna announced on February 24th the development of “an experimental mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, known as mRNA-1273″. The initial batch of the vaccine has already been shipped to U.S. government researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)” headed by Dr. Antony Fauci.

While Moderna Inc initially stated that the first clinical trials would commence in late April, tests involving human volunteers started in mid-March in Seattle: (bear in mind the pandemic was officially launched on March 11)

.

Researchers in Seattle gave the first shot to the first person in a test of an experimental coronavirus vaccine Monday — leading off a worldwide hunt for protection even as the pandemic surges.  …

Some of the study’s carefully chosen healthy volunteers, ages 18 to 55, will get higher dosages than others to test how strong the inoculations should be. Scientists will check for any side effects and draw blood samples to test if the vaccine is revving up the immune system, looking for encouraging clues like the NIH earlier found in vaccinated mice.

“We don’t know whether this vaccine will induce an immune response, or whether it will be safe. That’s why we’re doing a trial,” Jackson stressed. “It’s not at the stage where it would be possible or prudent to give it to the general population.” (FOX news local)

CEPI’s nCoV-2019 Global Vaccine and the ID2020 Digital Identity Platform

While CEPI announced the launching of a global vaccine at the Davos World Economic Forum, another important and related endeavor was underway. It’s called the ID2020 Agenda, which, according to Peter Koenig constitutes “an electronic ID program that uses generalized vaccination as a platform for digital identity”.

“The program harnesses existing birth registration and vaccination operations to provide newborns with a portable and persistent biometrically-linked digital identity”. (Peter Koenig, March 2020)

The Founding Partners of ID2020 are Microsoft, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) among others.

It is worth noting the timeline: The ID2020 Alliance held their Summit in New York, entitled “Rising to the Good ID Challenge”, on September 19,2020, exactly one month prior to nCov-2019 simulation exercise entitled Event 201 at John Hopkins in Baltimore.

Is it just a coincidence that ID2020 is being rolled out at the onset of what the WHO calls a Pandemic? – Or is a pandemic needed to ‘roll out’ the multiple devastating programs of ID2020? (Peter Koenig, March 2020)

ID2020 is part of a “World Governance” project which, if applied, would roll out the contours of what some analysts have described as a Global Police State encompassing through vaccination the personal details of several billion people Worldwide.

In the Wake of the Lockdown

The fear campaign will continue in the wake of the lockdown. Will the hardships of the economic and social crisis encourage people to get vaccinated?

To implement the Global Vaccine, the propaganda campaign must continue. The Truth must be suppressed. These are their “guidelines”, which must be confronted and challenged.

The main actors including CEPI will require the firm endorsement of the WHO (which they control), a green light from the scientific community as well bold statements by corrupt politicians.

Moreover, they will  have to suppress information and analysis on the features of the virus, how it can easily be cured (without a vaccine), which is currently the object of debate by virologists and physicians in several countries including the US. In recent developments, hydroxychloroquine is being used to treat patients in both Europe and North America. Big Pharma is intent upon suppressing evidence on how COVID-19 can be cured. The media is complicit. It is not informing the public.

Remember the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic when Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology compared the H1N1 pandemic to the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic while reassuring the public that the latter was more deadly. (CBC: Get swine flu vaccine ready: U.S. advisers)

Based on incomplete and scanty data, the WHO Director General predicted with authority that: “as many as 2 billion people could become infected over the next two years — nearly one-third of the world population.” (World Health Organization as reported by the Western media, July 2009).

It was a multibillion bonanza for Big Pharma supported by the WHO’s Director-General Margaret Chan. 

In a subsequent statement she confirmed that:

“Vaccine makers could produce 4.9 billion pandemic flu shots per year in the best-case scenario”,Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO), quoted by Reuters, 21 July 2009).

Swine flu could strike up to 40 percent of Americans over the next two years and as many as several hundred thousand could die if a vaccine campaign and other measures aren’t successful.” (Official Statement of Obama Administration, Associated Press, 24 July 2009).

There was no pandemic affecting 2 billion people… Millions of doses of swine flu vaccine had been ordered by national governments from Big Pharma. Millions of vaccine doses were subsequently destroyed: a financial bonanza for Big Pharma, an expenditure crisis for national governments.

There was no investigation into who was behind this multibillion fraud. Several critics said that the H1N1 Pandemic was “Fake”

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), a human rights watchdog, is publicly investigating the WHO’s motives in declaring a pandemic. Indeed, the chairman of its influential health committee, epidemiologist Wolfgang Wodarg,has declared thatthe “false pandemic” is “one of the greatest medicine scandals of the century.” (Michael Fomento, Forbes, February 10, 2010)

Michael Fomento  concludes:

Even within the agency, the director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Epidemiology in Munster, Germany, Dr. Ulrich Kiel, has essentially labeled the pandemic a hoax. “We are witnessing a gigantic misallocation of resources [$18 billion so far] in terms of public health,” he said.

They’re right. This wasn’t merely overcautiousness or simple misjudgment. The pandemic declaration and all the Klaxon-ringing since reflect sheer dishonesty motivated not by medical concerns but political ones.

Unquestionably, swine flu has proved to be vastly milder than ordinary seasonal flu. It kills at a third to a tenth the rate, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates. Data from other countries like France and Japan indicate it’s far tamer than that.

COVID-19 is Déjà Vu. Lets not be taken in again. 

We are currently in a Lockdown, We have time to reflect. There are important lessons to be learnt from the 2009 H1N1 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is far more serious and diabolical than the 2009 H1N1. The COV-19 pandemic has provided a pretext and a justification for destabilizing the economies of entire countries, impoverishing large sectors of the World population. Unprecedented in modern history.

And it is important that we act cohesively and in solidarity with those who are victims of this crisis. People’s lives are in a freefall and their purchasing power has been destroyed.  What kind of twisted social structure awaits us in the wake of the lockdown?

Can we trust the World Health Organization (WHO) and the powerful economic interest groups behind it. The answer is obvious.

Can we trust the main actors behind the multibillion dollar global vaccination project?

Can we trust the Western media which has led the fear campaign? Disinformation sustains the lies and fabrications. Can we trust our “corrupt” governments? Our national economy has been devastated.

This is an act of “economic warfare” against humanity.

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This past week the US Treasury and the US Federal Reserve Bank engaged in a rare public disagreement. US Treasury Secretary, Mnuchin, in a letter to Jerome Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve, last week directed the Fed to return $455 billion that the Fed was holding in reserve should future lending to banks and non-bank businesses become necessary if the US economy and markets further deteriorate in 2021.

Fed chair Powell initially balked at Mnuchin’s request, replying that the Fed needed the funds to ensure market stability since the US economy was entering a “difficult period” in late 2020 and early 2021. According to Powell, the $455 billion was essential “as a backstop for our ill-stressed and vulnerable economy”. Returning the funds therefore was “not appropriate”. To do so now was not the right time. Not “yet”, replied Powell. Not even “very soon.”

The Fed’s initial response to Mnuchin no doubt reflected Powell’s concern the US economy may very likely weaken in the current 4th quarter, compared to the 3rd. That means possibly more defaults and bankruptcies could be on the agenda for the 1st quarter 2021—in particular for junk bond heavy businesses and state and local governments that appear most vulnerable at the moment. The Fed therefore needs to keep the $455 billion funds in reserve to address a potentially worsening economic situation.

If the differences between Mnuchin and Powell represented a ‘rift’, as the mainstream media often reported, it was undoubtedly the shortest Treasury-Fed rift on record. It wasn’t twenty-four hours after Powell’s initial resistance statement that the Fed capitulated to the US Treasury. Powell quickly retreated publicly, saying the Fed would comply. In retracting his position of the day before, Powell declared the US Treasury had “sole authority”. The Fed would return the funds. The ‘rift’ was over in less than 24 hours.

What then were Mnuchin’s rationale for insisting the funds be returned to the US Treasury? What were his public reasons given for taking back $455 billion at a time of intensifying Covid impact on the economy; as fiscal stimulus appeared dead for months to come; and as 12 million workers were about to lose unemployment benefits in December while simultaneously hundreds of thousands were experiencing rent evictions, lines for food banks were growing throughout the country, and student loan forebearance for millions was about to end?

Mnuchin’s Rationale

To deflect critics Mnuchin floated a number of obviously false narratives to justify his decision to take back the $455 billion. He said it was Congress’s intent to end all the funding by December 31, 2020. Even so, he added, he was allowing Fed programs like the Fed’s commercial paper and money market mutual fund special lending facilities to continue for an additional 90 days into 2021. Then there was the $74 billion in the Fed’s Financial Stabilization Fund (FSF) which would remain at the Fed. He puffed up the $74 billon saying the Fed “would still have $800 billion”, assuming the $74 billion represented a fractional reserve that allowed the Fed to fund up to 10X that amount. The central bank could also keep another $25 billion to cover distribution of funds in progress. He further noted that the $455 billion was needed to fund spending in what might be an eventual fiscal stimulus bill later negotiated in 2021 between the US House and the Senate.

It is perhaps interesting to note that Mnuchin’s retraction of the funds came barely a month after in October he wrote a letter indicating that all the Fed’s funds, including the $455 billion, could be retained by the Fed into 2021. The October letter, followed by his November decision to retract the $455 billion, suggests strongly that some kind of decision was made by the Trump administration, or McConnell in the Republican Senate, or perhaps both, sometime after the November 3 election in order to make it as difficult as possible for the incoming Biden administration to address the deteriorating US economic situation.

McConnell had signaled quickly after November 3 there was no chance for a new fiscal stimulus in 2020; Mnuchin then retracted the $455 billion and McConnell was among the first to publicly endorse his move. The timing of both was unlikely merely coincidental.

The Reactions

The Democrat and mainstream media reactions to Mnuchin’s move were swift and to the point.

Typical was Democrat Maxine Waters’, a key player in the US House of Representatives: “It is clear that Trump and Mnuchin are willing to spitefully destroy the economy and make it difficult as possible for the incoming Biden administration”.

Even more to the point were business media editorialists and comments that followed Mnuchin’s announcement: The Financial Times declared Mnuchin has “aligned himself with Mr. Trump’s ‘burn the house down’.” The Wall St. Journal added “The termination is also important to limite the demands by politicians to use the Fed for policies they can’t get through Congress”. Fidelity Investments’ Market Watch online news service concluded the “intent of the Mnuchin move appears to be to prevent the next Treasury Secretary extending relief to state and local governments”.

In other words, the real rationale of Mnuchin was Politics, first and foremost. One might add a close second: i.e. improving Bank profits. Stripping the funds from the Fed would now force borrowers to turn more to capital markets to raise funds, instead of relying on government funding programs made available through the Fed.

The Politics of $455 Billion

Despite Mnuchin’s various explanations to the contrary, his withdrawal of the funds from the Fed is clearly about denying the incoming Biden administration from perhaps convincing the Fed to expend the $455 billion to provide loans to hard pressed state and local governments in 2021 and/or for making additional loans & grants available to small businesses.

For the Biden administration, getting the Fed to provide the financial assistance in loans to local governments and small business would obviate the need for the Biden administration to have to fight a Republican Senate, led by McConnell, to pass the same amount of aid targeting local governments and small businesses as part of an eventual Biden fiscal legislative package.

Mnuchin and McConnell have long opposed fiscal support for state and local governments, which they view as heavily weighted toward Democrat ‘blue’ states and cities. They preferred these governments raise money in capital markets instead of getting financial aid via government programs. Providing loans via government programs, with terms and conditions more favorable to borrowers (and not to banks), means less profits for private banks and private lenders. The same applies to small businesses as well as local governments. Republicans want to redirect their financing needs to private markets, instead of through government programs.

That economic motive fits nicely with the political objective of Mnuchin, McConnell, and other Republicans to deny the Biden administration access to funding already on the Fed ‘books’, i.e. funding that was already established in March 2020 as part of the Cares Act passed at the time.

The fact that $455 billion has not been spent as part of Cores Act after almost nine months is of course a related question of importance. Given the great distress of small businesses and 22 million still unemployed in the US as of late November, one might well ask why hasn’t that $455 billion been provided to businesses and their employees still in need? Why has the Trump administration not comitted it, given the growing stress on small business and expiring unemployment benefits? And why have the Democrats not more insisted it be spent, as was intended in March. Congress and the Trump administration have been at stalemate for months over passing a new fiscal stimulus bill, when $455 billion in funds was, and still remains, available.

In recalling the Fed’s funds back to his Treasury, Mnuchin’s strategy is clearly to force the Democrats to confront McConnell and Republicans directly via renewed fiscal stimulus negotiations sometime in 2021, and to do so starting from scratch. Biden and the Democrats won’t have that $455 billion potentially available from the Fed. And they’ll have to in effect ‘renegotiate it all over again’.

Moreover, should the Republicans retain control of the majority of the Senate in 2021—to be determined after the Georgia state Republican Senator election runoffs—McConnell can dictate with his Senate veto the scope and magnitude of any future fiscal stimulus in 2021. The Fed and its $455 billion ‘back door’ possible funding source for state and local governments and small businesses will be denied to Biden and the Democrats.

The Mnuchin move is therefore political—i.e. to deny Biden the availability of nearly a half trillion in bailout financing especially for small businesses and state and local governments—and to force the Democrats to renegotiate it with McConnell again. A corollary gain for the Republicans is to force the same governments and small businesses to access the private capital markets for future financing needs, thus benefiting private lenders more than they would otherwise by simply playing ‘middle men’ distributing government program loans for a fee.

Banks have consistently complained since March that the Cares Act lending programs did not provide them sufficient profits. Their interest rate spreads are too narrow. Redirecting lending from Fed programs to private capital markets would prove more profitable.

Just What is the $455 Billion?

The $455 billion represents the unspent funds left over from the Cares Act passed in March 2020. That Act consisted of four parts. One part provided $500 billion in emergency unemployment assistance and $1200 per person checks for households whose annual income was less than $75,000. The checks were spent within 60 days. A good part of the unemployment benefits later expired at the end of July 2020; the rest will expire around Christmas and thus leave 12 million workers without any unemployment benefits any longer. It is estimated the August partial ending of the benefits reduced US GDP household spending by $65 billion a month; the December expirations will reduce it another $150 billion per month.

Another part of the Cares Act amounted to $350 billion to provide loans to small businesses, called the Payroll Protection Program or PPP. That $350 billion initially proved insufficient, as larger businesses quickly scammed and exhausted the funds with the help of their banks that were responsible for distributing the funds. Many of the banks simply disbursed the funds first to their larger, preferred customers even if they didn’t qualify as ‘small business’ under the PPP program. As a result, another $320 billion supplement to the PPP was passed by Congress in April. That brought the total available in the PPP to $660 billion ($10B of which was put aside for administration). The PPP was shut down in early August 2020, even when only $525 of the $660 billion was distributed. So $135 billion of the PPP remains unspent. That remainder is apparently part of Mnuchin’s order for the Fed to return $455 billion.

As a third element, the March Cares Act provided for another $600 billion for medium sized corporations, and for a host of special directed financial bailouts of financial institutions and corporations. A number of the bailouts were created under the umbrella of what is called the ‘Main St. Program’.

The Main St. program included Fed purchases of corporate bonds for the first time in its history, including Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) which are traded like stocks. It also included Fed financial support for the Municipal Bond market, for asset backed securities, for nonprofit businesses, commercial paper issuers, and for money market mutual funds, among others.

Most of these were special lending facilities resurrect from the 2008-09 experience, with the exception of funding for corporate bonds and ETFs which were historically new and unprecedented. What was also precedent setting was none of the above markets had actually collapsed in March. The Fed resurrecting of the special lending facilities was in anticipation of a possible collapse. So much of the Fed lending to big corporations and financial markets was a pre-emptive bailout before an actual crash! So too was the Fed lending to non-financial corporations!

In short, there was at least $1.1 trillion put aside in the Fed—supported by Treasury funding—for the purpose of bailing out medium and larger corporations and targeted financial asset markets like commercial paper, asset backed securities, corporate bonds, municipal bonds, etc. But it mostly wasn’t used.

Why Big US Corporations Didn’t Need Fed Loans

Medium and large corporations didn’t require emergency liquidity from the Fed. They were able to accumulate trillions of dollars to add to their balance sheets quickly as the real economy began to crash in March-April. The Fed enabled their liquidity accumulation in significant part by pumping $120 billion a month via its QE program into the economy, and by other measures, which drove interest rates to record lows. That enabled large businesses to issue record levels of new corporate bonds. For the Fortune 500 alone it raised $2 trillion in funds. Hundreds of billions of dollars more were added by big firms drawing down their credit lines at their banks, again enabled by low rates thanks to the Fed. Nearly all big corporations suspended their dividend payouts, which in prior years had exceed more than $500 billion a year. Still other firms boosted available liquidity by saving on their daily costs of operations as workers were either laid off or allowed work remotely and facilities were shuttered.

In other words, most medium and large US businesses were fat with cash, could borrow at lower rates in private markets, and simply didn’t need the $1.1 trillion in emergency loans provided for them, through the Fed, as a result of the March Cares Act. So Mnuchin’s request for the $455 billion returned from the Fed included the funds the Treasury had given the Fed in March for possible lending to medium and large corporations—lending that never materialized because it was never needed.

About $100 billion was loaned by the Fed to date for various ‘Main St.’ lending facilities and other programs. In March the US Treasury provided $195 billion for Main St. programs. Another $25 billion was allowed the Fed to complete funding in progress. That left $70 billion of the $195 billion that Mnuchin now wants back. Add to that $70 billion the roughly $135 billion in unused PPP funds. And to that total ($70 + $135) another approximate $250 billion in funds allocated for large corporations and for other sources, and the grand total is the $455 billion that Mnuchin told Powell he wants back.

Jerome Powell’s Conundrum

The Fed will be left with the $25 billion to cover Main St. loans still being disbursed, as well as $74 billion in its ‘Financial Stabilization Fund’ (FSB) for future emergencies.

Cleaned out of most of its emergency funding originally allocated under the Cares Act, the Fed will be forced to address any future financial instability and emergencies by providing even more QE in addition to the $120 billion a month already. But that’s quite ok with financial investors and markets, since it will mean even lower (and longer duration) interest rates on Fed government securities. It may even force the Fed to introduce nominal negative interest rates, as have other central banks in Europe and Japan.

By his action, Mnuchin signaled the Republican preferred policy is to force monetary policy to again play the lead role in any future recovery. Fiscal stimulus is not primary, or even likely, in 2021. That explains in large part why both the Trump administration and McConnell’s Republican Senate have stonewalled any fiscal stimulus package subsequent to the March Cares Act. The Democrats’ ‘Heroes Act’ of $2.4 trillion passed back in June 2020 by the Democrat majority US House of Representatives has been thwarted and delayed by various tactics and means by McConnell and Trump coordinated maneuvers. Nor will McConnell permit any reasonable fiscal stimulus in what remains of 2020. Should he agree on anything, moreover, it will be to ‘give’ the Democrats back the $455 billion he took from the Fed with the assistance of Mnuchin. Moreover, should the Republicans retain control of the Senate by winning the run off elections in Georgia on January 5, 2021, McConnell’s Republican Senate majority will continue to oppose any fiscal stimulus proposed by the new Biden administration. It will mean a continuation of virtual veto of fiscal stimulus proposals that McConnell and Republicans have adhered to since at least 2012-14.

The Cares Act March 2020 fiscal stimulus was an aberration to this strategy. Immediately after, the Republicans returned to their monetary policy/central bank as primacy policy that has been in effect ever since the 2008-09 great recession 1.0. But even that generalization may be an exaggeration, since by monetary policy in this Republican strategic view is meant only QE and near zero rates—and does not include special lending to small businesses or employment assistance. In short, soon after the passage of the Cares Act it was back to monetary policy designed to benefit private markets and investors and not to benefit small business or wage earners.

The GDP Effect of Fiscal-Monetary Policy in 2020

The Cares Act has been consistently estimated as a $2.4 trillion stimulus event (or $3 trillion if one counts the $650 billion in business-investor tax cutting also provided by that legislation). But in fact the actual fiscal stimulus—in the form of PPP $525 billion and $500B employment assistance—amounted only to around $1 trillion! Add another $200 billion in direct spending assistance to hospitals and for Covid emergency health care, plus the minimal $125 billion or so in Main St. and other corporate lending, and the total actual fiscal stimulus to the general economy has totaled less than $1.5 trillion under the Cares Act. That’s around only 7% of GDP!

That compares to roughly $5.5% stimulus in the 2009 Obama recovery act, which proved grossly insufficient to generating a sustained economic recovery for most of the real economy after 2009. The 2020 contraction of the real economy has been at least four times as deep as the 2008-09 contraction. So the stimulus in GDP terms in the Cares Act was even less sufficient than was the Obama 2009 recovery package. How long it will take the 2020 great recession to recovery in employment and business activity terms with this even less sufficient stimulus to date remains to be seen. But history suggests recovery in the current great recession 2.0 will be measured in more years than the last 2008-09 great recession 1.0.

There has been much hype by politicians and media about the so-called economic recovery 3rd quarter in the USA. But the facts show the economy contracted sharply by 10.8% from March through June. It then ‘rebounded’ (not to be confused with ‘recovered’)in the 3rd quarter by 7.4%. More importantly, many key economic indicators have been flashing in the 4th quarter that the 3rd quarter recovery will weaken appreciable in the 4th. And some predict even more so in the 1st quarter 2021. Like Europe, the US Economy may be headed toward a double dip contraction over the winter months ahead. That will result in a clear ‘W-shape’ recovery (not V-shape) that is typical of all great recessions—which this writer has been predicting since last March.

The economic ‘relapse’ to a slower growth path in the 4th quarter is all but ensured by the current failure to quickly pass a sufficient fiscal stimulus bill at year’s end 2020, by the intensifying negative impact on the US economy by the Covid 3rd wave surging in America today, and for months still to come, and by the continuing political instability and gridlock in policy impacting the economy as well.

Much is made by optimists of the strength of recovery of US manufacturing and Construction sectors—i.e. the goods sectors—in the US economy. But together they constitute only 20% at best of the total US economy and GDP. Moreover, the recovery here is deceptive. Manufacturing is still 5.6% below 2019 and employment not recovered by any estimate. And Construction recovery is limited to new single family housing—with apartment and multiple housing barely improving—and commercial property construction still mired in a deep recession with no end in sight. This is not the basis for a sustained full economic recovery by any means. Especially since much of the services sector will lag in recovery for some time as well.

It is in the context of this questionable ‘recovery’ of the US economy in late 4th quarter 2020 that a fiscal stimulus package appears dead on arrival in Congress for the rest of the year; that Covid continues to surge with its expected economic impact; that the last vestiges of the Cares Act will soon expire before year end; and political instability threatens to create more business investment uncertainty.

In the midst of all this, Mnuchin and Republicans have acted to pull much needed funding from the Fed, making it even more difficult to restore economic resources needed in 2021.

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Dr. Rasmus is author of the recently published book, ‘The Scourge of Neoliberalism: US Economic Policy from Reagan to Trump’, Clarity Press, January 2020. He blogs at jackrasmus.com. His website is http://kyklosproductions.comand his twitter handle @drjackrasmus.

Featured image is from Moneycontrol

In response to her selection, the Dow topped 30,000 for the first time in market history.

The disconnect between equity prices and Main Street reality is stark.

Since valuations plunged last winter, they’ve gone hyperbolic to record or near-record highs.

It’s happening during economic collapse with over one-fourth of working-age Americans left jobless.

According to Feeding America, one in six Americans are food insecure — unsure about how families will be fed.

At yearend, an evictions moratorium ends.

Without federal aid not forthcoming since benefits expired for millions of Americans at end of July, a tidal wave of evictions could follow.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) also expire at yearend — beneficiaries to be on their own if follow-up aid isn’t provided.

What’s going on exceeds the worst of earlier hard times in US history.

In 2013, the Obama/Biden regime appointed Yellen to succeed Ben Bernanke as Fed chairman.

Both figures followed the same playbook, handing Wall Street trillions of dollars of near-free money for speculation.

Noted investor Jeremy Grantham sharply criticized Fed policies earlier, saying:

“If I were a benevolent dictator,” he’d limit the Fed solely to maintaining price stability.

He’d make sure the economy got enough liquidity to function normally.

He’s “force (the Fed) to swear off manipulating asset prices through artificially low rates and asymmetric promises.”

He’d eliminate “immoral hazard” made possible by the Greenspan/Bernanke/Yellen put — flooding the market with liquidity, along with maintaining near-zero short interest rates over most of the past decade.

Grantham once compared Fed policy to beating a donkey “until it either turns into a horse or drops dead from too much beating.”

“We’ve been conned” at the expense of lost industrialization and failure to “educat(e) a new generation,” he added.

“We’re in this death grip that only paper things matter.”

Speculators benefit. Ordinary people lose out.

Retirees are deprived of vital income. Financial interests are served at the expense of the real economy.

Money printing madness defines Fed policy. Bernanke and Yellen dropped helicopter money on Wall Street at the expense of Main Street.

David Stockman earlier called Bernanke/Yellin supplied quantitative easing (QE) “high grade monetary heroin…legalized bank robbery.”

Their tenure at the Fed reflects its  most “shameful chapter in American financial history” — chairman Powell going the same way.

It’s been at the expense of economic growth and the public welfare.

According to a University of California study, 95% of wealth accumulation since 2009 accrued to the wealthiest 1% of Americans.

Accommodative Bernanke/Yellen/Powell Fed policy made it possible.

Yellen as Treasury secretary along with Powell will likely continue monetary madness QE and near-zero short interest rates into the new year and succeeding ones — at the expense of economic growth and jobs creation.

Wall Street on Parade.org quoted Yellen’s recent reinvention of reality about the out-of-control US stock market bubble.

Admitting prices are “elevated” at “the high end of historical ranges,” she added the following:

“(E)conomists are not great at knowing what appropriate valuations are (sic).”

“We don’t have a terrific record. And the fact that those valuations are high doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily overvalued (sic).”

“We’re enjoying solid economic growth (sic) with low inflation (sic), and the risks in the global economy look more balanced than they have in many years (sic).”

“(W)hen we look at other indicators of financial stability risks, there’s nothing flashing red there or possibly even orange (sic).”

“We have a much more resilient, stronger banking system (sic), and we’re not seeing worrisome buildup in leverage or credit growth at excessive levels (sic).”

The above deception comes at a time of economic collapse, mass unemployment, profound human deprivation and despair — with things likely to worsen in the new year, not improve for ordinary Americans.

Wall Street on Parade (WSP) commented in response to Yellen’s remarks.

Citing the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s most recent quarterly report through June 30, WSP said the following:

“(T)he dystopian bank situation looked like this:”

“JPMorgan Chase had increased its derivatives exposure to $52.6 trillion notional.”

“Goldman Sachs had moved into second place with $43.3 trillion.”

“Citigroup stood at $41.1 trillion, and Bank of America hadn’t budged much at $18.5 trillion.”

“This massive, concentrated exposure to derivatives at four mega Wall Street banks has been allowed to persist by both (Dem) and (GOP)-led (regimes) despite the fact that derivatives played a central role in blowing up the US economy in 2008.”

“Until Congress gets serious about restoring the Glass-Steagall Act, which would separate federally-insured, deposit-taking banks from the trading casinos on Wall Street, the financial system of the United States remains at grave risk, regardless of who sits at the helm of the regulators.”

The real world described by WSP that Yellen ignored in her above-quoted remarks is what she’ll face as Treasury secretary — not the fantasy one she pretends exists.

Based on her accommodative Fed record, currently followed by chairman Powell, bubble US equity markets are likely to inflate further on their watch.

Only hindsight will tell to what levels before they crash with a bang heard round-the-world.

Based on his firm’s research, Grantham explained that all markets eventually revert to their mean level.

They’ve been no exceptions to the rule in market history.

The greater they inflate to unsustainable levels, the harder they’re likely to plunge when their day of reckoning arrives.

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Featured image is from Public Domain

Putin Talks Global Stability and Coronavirus Vaccine with Ambassadors

November 25th, 2020 by Kester Kenn Klomegah

While receiving newly arrived Ambassadors accredited to the Russian Federation from different foreign countries including Rwanda, Gambia and Central African Republic, President Vladimir Putin stressed the importance of coordinating global efforts to ensure stability and halt the spread of coronavirus pandemic around the world.

Despite the well-known and necessary restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic, the ceremony signing the official beginning of their diplomatic mission took place in the Alexander Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace.

Putin said that this year has been very difficult and unpredictable as the world is currently facing the coronavirus pandemic, and this required the adoption of extraordinary measures both in Russia and in all countries.

“As you know, Russia has developed and is already using the world’s first vaccine against coronavirus, Sputnik V, and the second EpiVacCorona has also been registered. Now the most important thing is to ensure mass production in Russia and start a public vaccination campaign. Our third vaccine is also almost ready,” he told the ambassadors’ gathering.

According to reports, Russia was one of the first to announce the development of a vaccine in August — dubbed Sputnik V after the Soviet-era satellite — but before the start of final clinical trials. It was developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology under the Russian Health Ministry. The second vaccine, EpiVacCorona, developed by the Vector Center has also obtained registration.

“We are ready to share our experience with all interested states and international agencies. Together with a number of our foreign partners, we are working out the issues of launching the production of these vaccines locally at our partners’ production base,” the president added.

By tradition, Putin said a few words about Russia’s relations with each of the countries that ambassadors represent in the Russian Federation.

With Frank Mushyo Kamanzi from the Republic of Rwanda, Putin reiterated that Russia’s relations are developing in a friendly spirit with the Republic of Rwanda. Rwandan officials took an active part in the first Russia-Africa Summit held in Sochi.

In accordance with the agreements reached at this summit, Russia and Rwanda are expanding their cooperation in power engineering, including the nuclear power industry and geological prospecting. Russia continues training Rwandan civilian and military personnel at Russian universities.

Alhagi Nyangado is the new Ambassador from Republic of the Gambia. Russia has stable ties with The Gambia. Putin stressed the development of contacts on international issues and to deepen cooperation in different areas, including in the military-technical and education areas.

December marks the 60th anniversary of Russia’s diplomatic relations with the Central African Republic. As tradition demands, Putin used the occasion to wish for an early settlement of the challenging situation in that country and expressed support for the UN Stabilization Mission activities in the Central African Republic. Its new envoy is Leon Dodonou-Punagaza.

In conclusion, President Vladimir Putin said that Russia and its people look forward to seeing these relations develop dynamically for the benefit of the people, and in the interest of international security and stability.

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Kester Kenn Klomegah is a frequent and passionate contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from Kremlin.ru

Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump is monumental. After four years of nonstop cruelty against workers, the poor, people of color, women, LBGTQ folks, immigrants, Muslims, the environment, the climate, and the foreign victims of Trump’s bombs, we can breathe a sigh of relief.

But no sooner did Biden win the election, then centrists in the Democratic Party began blaming the left for the loss of seats in the House of Representatives and the failure to decisively regain control of the Senate.

In fact, progressives played a pivotal role in delivering the presidency to Biden and several congressional races to Democrats as well as turning Georgia and Arizona blue. Now progressives must hold Biden’s feet to the fire and demand that he govern for the 99 percent and not the 1 percent.

Biden’s cabinet selections so far are a mixed bag. His choice for United Nations ambassador has been praised by progressives. But Biden chose a secretary of state who is a strong supporter of U.S. militarism.

Progressives Were Key to Biden’s Victory

In a three-hour conference call among House Democrats on November 5, centrists lambasted their progressive colleagues for embracing socialism, Medicare for All, and supporting calls to defund the police. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Virginia), a former CIA officer, reportedly declared, “We have to commit to not saying the words ‘defund the police’ ever again. We need to not ever use the words ‘socialist’ or ‘socialism’ ever again. It does matter, and we have lost good members because of that.”

Likewise, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, who has taken more money from the pharmaceutical industry in the past decade than any other member of Congress, reportedly said if “we are going to run on Medicare for All, defund the police, socialized medicine, we’re not going to win.”

The protests against white supremacy led by Black Lives Matter activists and demands to defund the police, however, brought Black Americans to the polls in cities that were critical to Biden’s victory.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) told CNN’s Jake Tapper she wasn’t aware of any candidate who campaigned on socialism or defunding the police, but “these were largely slogans or demands from activist groups that we saw in the largest uprising in American history around police brutality.”

Ocasio-Cortez said she offered her help to “every single swing state Democrat” and all but five refused her assistance. The five who accepted her offer were victorious or are on a path to victory. And every one who rejected her help is losing.

Moreover, every single Democrat who supported Medicare for All won reelection, Ocasio-Cortez noted. Progressive Representatives Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) were instrumental in delivering Minnesota and Michigan, respectively, for Biden. Candidates endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America won 26 out of the 30 races they entered.

“It turns out that supporting universal health care during a pandemic and enacting major investments in renewable energy as we face the existential threat to our planet from climate change is not just good public policy. It also is good politics,” Bernie Sanders wrote on November 11.

When he addressed the country as president-elect, Biden attributed his victory to “the broadest and most diverse coalition in history.” Indeed, “youth turnout was through the roof, and we’re probably looking at, when all the ballots are tallied, the highest youth vote turnout ever,” said NextGen America’s executive director, Ben Wessel. Young people of color supported Biden overwhelmingly and their votes were decisive in many races, according to an analysis by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University.

Many on the left were not keen on Biden because he supported the Iraq war, played a key role in the 1994 crime bill that led to mass incarceration, and refused to oppose fracking and back universal health care. They didn’t enthusiastically back Biden but rather voted against Trump’s escalating fascism.

Biden Must Be Pushed to Embrace Progressive Policies

Trump could not have been defeated but for the activism of progressives and grassroots organizing, Norman Solomon wrote at Common Dreams. “Now, on vital issues—climate, healthcare, income inequality, militarism, the prison-industrial complex, corporate power and so much more—it’s time to engage with the battle that must happen inside the Democratic Party.” Solomon advocates “a combative approach toward corporate Democrats.”

In a November 10 memo to the Democratic Party, New Deal Strategies, Justice Democrats, Sunrise Movement, and Data for Progress wrote, “Scapegoating progressives and Black activists for their demands and messaging is not the lesson to be learned here. It was their organizing efforts, energy and calls for change needed in their communities that drove up voter turnout.”

The four progressive organizations warned that abandoning “our core progressive base agenda” will lead to the loss of the House majority in the 2022 midterm elections and the Democratic Party will not gain ground in the Senate. “We cannot let Republican narratives drive our party away from Democrats’ core base of support: young people, Black, Brown, working class, and social movements who are the present and future of the party.”

They urged linking racial and economic justice, noting that a “progressive message framing racism as a divide-and-conquer class weapon” polled effectively before the election. The memo also advocated investment in mobilizing the base, including organized labor and allied progressive organizations, and driving an economic message that resonates with all working people.

A recent New York Times poll found that 3 in 5 respondents support Medicare for All, 2 in 3 favor a wealth tax, and even more support free college tuition. National exit polls revealed that 53 percent of Americans want a national health care option “in which all Americans would get their insurance from a single government plan.” Sixty-six percent of voters think climate change is a serious problem and 52 percent consider climate change a “severe threat” that must be an “immediate priority” for Congress and the president. And a study in late September by the Guardian and Vice Media Group demonstrated that 8 out of 10 Democrats and 41 percent of Republicans supported the Green New Deal.

Exit polls also showed that 57 percent of voters support Black Lives Matter. Seventy-one percent said that racism is either one of the most important issues or the most important issue we face today. Fifty-three percent believe that Black people are treated unfairly by the criminal legal system.

The groups recalled in their November 10 memo how controversial the statement “Black Lives Matter” was in 2014 and the way Democrats resisted too close an association with Colin Kaepernick and Black athletes who kneeled during the national anthem. But after the public lynching of George Floyd, a majority of Americans said they supported Black Lives Matter. Indeed, the organizations wrote, “the Black youth leading the Black Lives Matter movement have turned their power in the streets into votes and have helped secure Biden’s victory in key cities.”

Black Lives Matter activists told The New York Times on November 10 that they sent a letter to Biden seeking a role in the transition process but had not received a response.

Biden’s Administration Must Adopt Popular, Not Corporate, Policies

If Democrats are to retake leadership of the Senate, both Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff must win their runoff elections in Georgia. It was the monumental organizing by Stacey Abrams and other progressives over a decade that caused Georgia to vote Democratic. Now there is a tremendous mobilization effort underway to elect the two Democrats on January 5.

But even if Democrats are unable to reclaim control of the Senate, Biden can use executive orders to undo some of Trump’s worst actions and take other bold steps to move the country in a progressive direction.

Biden has already committed that he will reinstate DACA, reenter the Paris Climate Accord, end the Muslim Ban and rejoin the World Health Organization. As Elizabeth Warren argued in a November 11 op-ed in the Washington Post, Biden should take the offensive on Day One and cancel billions of dollars in student loan debt, lower drug prices for key pharmaceuticals, issue enforceable OSHA health and safety standards for the COVID-19 pandemic to protect essential workers, raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for all federal contractors, declare the climate crisis a national emergency to marshal resources to fight that battle, establish a Racial and Ethnic Disparities Task Force to collect data and address racial disparities in funding for the pandemic, and prioritize enforceable anti-monopoly policies. Biden must also revoke Trump’s unconscionable asylum policies and support progressive immigration reform.

It is essential that Biden not capitulate to Mitch McConnell’s right-wing agenda and take independent action to implement a progressive program. Biden can use the Vacancies Act and the Presidential Adjournment Clause of the Constitution to make appointments that don’t require Senate approval.

The warning signs of a hawkish Biden administration are all too evident. “An eye-popping array of corporate consultants, war profiteers, and national security hawks have been appointed by President-elect Joe Biden to agency review teams that will set the agenda for his administration,” Kevin Gosztola wrote at The Grayzone. “A substantial percentage of them worked in the United States government when Barack Obama was president.”

Biden Must End the Wars and Punishing Sanctions

The antiwar movement, which helped end the Vietnam War, prevented large-scale U.S. imperial wars until George W. Bush invaded Iraq in 2003. Unfortunately, Barack Obama and Trump both bought into Bush’s “war on terror” and continued his illegal and deadly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and mounted drone and bombing attacks in multiple countries.

Biden’s choice for secretary of state is worrisome as the nation’s chief diplomat should favor diplomacy over militarism. Tony Blinken was Obama’s deputy national security adviser. He was instrumental in formulating Biden’s support for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Blinken recently said that Biden “would not tie military assistance to Israel to any political decisions that it makes, period, full stop.”

But Biden’s selection for ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who was Obama’s assistant secretary of state for African Affairs, looks more promising.

Michèle Flournoy, Obama’s top policy official in the Pentagon, is a prospective Biden pick for secretary of defense. She advocated a preemptive strike on Iraq in 2002, and helped lead the escalation of the Afghan war and the illegal humanitarian and political disasters in Syria and Libya during the Obama administration.

Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser, will likely be appointed to a cabinet position. Rice argued for attacking Iraq without a Security Council resolution in 2002 and engineered Obama’s disastrous policy of regime change in Libya. In 2014, she defended Israel’s illegal slaughter in Gaza.

Biden has already promised to end U.S. support for the tragic war in Yemen. He should also restore humanitarian aid to Yemen and urge Saudi Arabia to negotiate an end to that conflict. It is essential that we pressure Biden to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. forces. In addition, Biden must reverse Trump’s escalation of the war in Syria and urge all parties to engage in diplomacy.

We must also push Biden to end U.S. military aid to regimes that commit gross violations of human rights, as required by the Leahy Law. And he must comply with the Arms Export Control Act, which forbids the export of weapons that are not solely used for legitimate self-defense. These regimes include Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Israel. Although Biden has pledged his undying loyalty to Israel, in spite of its illegal occupation of Palestinian lands and egregious human rights violations, he should be pressured to restore financial assistance to the Palestinians and reimburse them for the aid Trump withheld during his regime.

Biden must end the illegal punishing sanctions (unilateral coercive measures) against Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Syria and Cuba. He should restore Obama’s steps toward normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba, and support South Korea’s diplomatic efforts for a “permanent peace regime” in Korea.

In addition, Biden must rejoin the Iran nuclear deal and end the saber-rattling against that country. He should halt the arms race — both conventional and nuclear — with Russia and China, renew the new START treaty with Russia, and rejoin the nuclear treaties from which Trump has withdrawn. And Biden must urge the Senate to consent to ratification of the new UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Biden should also end U.S. sanctions and threats against the International Criminal Court and cooperate with its investigations.

Finally, Biden must reduce the enormous U.S. military budget which enriches defense contractors and enables the commission of U.S. imperial wars that kill innocent people, create massive refugee crises and make us less safe.

This is a tall order and Biden will only respond to overwhelming popular pressure to pursue a progressive agenda. As history has demonstrated, the executive and congressional branches submit most effectively to mass organizing efforts. “The New Deal of the 1930s owed less to Democratic politicians than to workers’ disruption of their workplaces,” Kevin Young wrote at Truthout. It was those struggles that gave us the Social Security Act of 1935 and unemployment insurance. Likewise, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the result of the massive civil rights movement.

We have our work cut out for us. Let us begin.

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Copyright Truthout. Reprinted with permission.

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and a member of the advisory board of Veterans for Peace. Her most recent book is Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues. She is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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Xi Jinping’s “China First”

November 25th, 2020 by Tom Clifford

Tom Clifford reporting from Beijing

It isn’t about what happened, it’s about what will happen. Our time has come is the catchphrase, a rallying cry. The people are told they have been cheated. It won’t happen again. We are the justice seekers. Upend the global trade order, it is skewed against us. This is heady stuff.

These are not the viewpoints of the (current) occupant of the White House but rather of another world leader.

The fallout from the 2020 US presidential election is providing fascinating viewing in Beijing. Chinese president Xi Jinping would never boast publically that he trumped the Donald but the small shots of Baiju to ward off the Beijing chill are being consumed in the leadership compound off Tiananmen Square with more relish than usual. Of course there are differences between the two, not least in hair styles, but the similarities are also worth commenting on. An outsider comes to power. Xi was originally meant to be premier to Li Keqiang who was meant to be president. But Xi was able to persuade the military that he was their man more than the “economist” Li.  Xi shook things up, refuses to leave office, (an option not available to Trump unless his diligent hair-dye dripping lawyers have reinterpreted the constitution in ways not attempted before) and prefers to have his country invest in itself rather than seek markets elsewhere.

Xi has abandoned “going global” for Chinese business and finance. Xi, instead, is, again you’ve guessed it, putting China first. His policies have resulted in an extension of China’s state sector. Even the Belt and Road Initiative is now seen as primarily beneficial to large-scale state firms.

A personality cult, (much more effective than Donald’s), unseen since the days of Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book, is being fostered. By stripping term limits from the Chinese constitution, Xi has the right to rule for life.

Nor does Xi care much for global opinion as seen by his willingness to risk international condemnation to stamp out democratic values in Hong Kong. People outside of China still have difficulty is realizing how little the former British colony matters to people on the Chinese mainland. Hong Kongers are simply viewed as ungrateful, they have liberties undreamt of on the mainland, and their economy is not as vital to China as it once was. None of this excuses the dire state of human rights in China but the party has been able to claim, unchallenged because it controls the media, that the right to work is more important than the right to vote. The job rate is national security. The party becomes less secure if the employment rate drops.

And China feels more secure now than it’s has done for centuries. And this is why the South China Sea is so important.

For the first time since Portuguese ships reached the Chinese coast five centuries ago, China is in command or believes it is in command of waters off its coast. This means that Beijing views China as secure and the party is reaping the benefits of that. One reason is sheer, old fashioned patriotism. But the other is that the military, long a byword for inefficiency and corruption, is being seen to deliver. Without a shot being fired in anger, an era of unquestioned US dominance in Asia has drawn to a close. The coverage of the South China Sea militarization in the West has been about that, the military build-up. In China the coverage has been on the security aspect.

Xi’s ascent to power took place at a time when the West was largely distracted. Financial crises, Brexit, Trump. It seemed to have enough on its plate. The West does not know how to handle Xi. Handling the West is a dilemma the Chinese president and his advisors have not had to grapple with.  He can be sanctioned in the US but get trade deals in Europe. In reality, Beijing believes the West needs China more than China needs to change. Xi feels emboldened. The West seems reluctant and dithering. You do not have to be a student of history to appreciate that this is a dangerous mix.

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Noch immer in der Geschichte der Menschheit mussten sich die Bürger eines Volkes Tyrannen aller Couleur beherzt entgegenstellen, um die ihnen zustehende Freiheit zu erkämpfen und sich nicht unterjochen zu lassen. Friedrich Schiller hat uns diesen Freiheitskampf gegen die Tyrannei mit dem Recht auf individuellen und kollektiven Widerstand in seinen Schauspielen „Die Räuber“ und „Wilhelm Tell“ wortgewaltig und inspirierend vor Augen geführt. Das Eingangszitat sind seine weisen Worte. Heute ist unsere Generation gefordert, den Kampf gegen die Willkürherrschaft einer korrupten Politiker-Clique und deren finstere Hintermänner aufzunehmen, um unsere eigene Zukunft und die unserer Kinder nicht zu verspielen. Eltern und Erzieher sind in besonderem Maße dazu aufgerufen, da viele Klein- und Schulkinder bereits schwer traumatisiert sind. Doch die meisten Bürger können die „Flammenschrift an der Wand“(Heine) nicht entziffern und verharren in Untätigkeit. Autoritätshörigkeit, irrationale Ängste und ein Gehorsamsreflex hindern sie daran. In wirklicher Kenntnis der diabolischen Pläne der herrschenden Milliardärs- und Macht-„Elite“ würden sie mit unbeugsamen Willen die teils unbewussten Mechanismen ihres inneren Widerstands zu überwinden versuchen.

Der Teufelskreis des Gehorsams

Viele Erwachsene reagieren auf die wirren Anweisungen von Politikern wie Kinder oder wie die primitiven Urmenschen reagierten: in Form eines „magischen Autoritätsglaubens“: kritiklos und umnebelt von Stimmungen, Gefühlen und Glücksverheißungen. Und das hat Folgen: Die Autoritätsgläubigkeit führt unweigerlich zur Autoritätshörigkeit, die in der Regel den Reflex eines absoluten geistigen Gehorsams und eine Verstandeslähmung auslöst. Vollsinnige Erwachsene können dann nicht mehr selbständig denken und vernünftig urteilen und übergeben die Entscheidungsgewalt sittenlosen Politikern. Wohin das führt, erleben wir gerade.

Ignatius von Loyola, der Gründer des Jesuiten-Ordens, verfasste Mitte des 16. Jahrhunderts einen erhellenden Text, auf den das deutsche Wort „Kadavergehorsam“ zurückzuführen ist. In der vom Spanischen ins Lateinische übertragenen und von der Ordenskongregation 1558 veröffentlichten Fassung heißt es:

„Wir sollten uns dessen bewusst sein, dass ein jeder von denen, die im Gehorsam leben, sich von der göttlichen Vorsehung mittels des Oberen führen und leiten lassen muss, als sei er ein toter Körper, der sich wohin auch immer bringen und auf welche Weise auch immer behandeln lässt, oder wie ein Stab eines alten Mannes, der dient, wo und wozu auch immer ihn der benutzen will.“

Bereits lange Zeit vor Ignatius von Loyola verglich Franz von Assisi (1181/82–1226) die vollkommene und höchste Form des Gehorsams (perfecta et summa obedientia) gegenüber dem Vorgesetzten mit einem toten, entseelten Leib (corpus mortuum, corpus exanime), der sich ohne Widerstreben und ohne Murren hinbringen lässt, wo man will. (1) 

Der Teufelskreis der Gewalt

Nach dem Ergebnis einer am 19. November veröffentlichen Studie des Universitätsklinikums Ulm im Auftrag der UNICEF und des Deutschen Kinderschutzbundes sieht in Deutschland eine von zwei Personen körperliche Gewalt als adäquate Erziehungsmethode an. Jede sechste Person ohrfeigt ihr Kinder. Körperliche und emotionale Gewalt würde sich somit generationsübergreifend fortsetzen – und einen „Teufelskreis der Gewalt“ auslösen. (2)

Alle an der Erziehung von Kindern und Jugendlichen Beteiligten – ob Eltern, Erzieherinnen oder Lehrkräfte – sollten niemals versuchen, die heranwachsende Generation auf ihrem Weg ins Erwachsenenalter mit Schlägen und anderen autoritären Erziehungsmethoden gehorsam und gefügig zu machen. Auch sollten sie ihnen nicht den verstandeslähmenden Ballast der Religion aufbürden. Sie verspielen damit ihrer Kinder und unser aller Zukunft.

Die tiefenpsychologische Einsicht hat uns deutlich gemacht, welch ungeheure Tragweite die Erziehung hat. Pädagogik in Elternhaus und Schule haben deshalb auf das autoritäre Prinzip – das Jahrhunderte lang als fraglos gültige Grundlage des erzieherischen Verhaltens angesehen wurde – und auf Gewaltanwendung jeglicher Art zu verzichten. Erzieher haben sich mit wahrem Verständnis dem kindlichen Seelenleben anzupassen, die Persönlichkeit des Kindes zu achten und sich ihm freundschaftlich zuzuwenden. Eine solche Erziehung wird einen Menschentypus hervorbringen, der keine „Untertanen-Mentalität“ besitzt und darum für die Machthaber in unserer Welt kein gefügiges Werkzeug mehr sein wird. (3)

Schläge und andere Formen der Gewalt wie die gefühlsmäßige Ablehnung des Kindes bewirken, dass das Kind Angst hat vor dem anderen Menschen und der Auffassung ist, dass mit den Menschen nicht gut Kirschen essen sei. Diese teilweise unbewussten Gefühlsregungen lassen ihn nicht froh werden. Im späteren Leben in Ehe, Beruf und Gemeinschaft findet sich der Erwachsene dann nicht zurecht, kann sich mit dem anderen nicht solidarisieren. Nur dann findet er zu sich selbst, wenn er den Eltern nicht grollt und sich mit ihnen versöhnt, weil diese aufgrund mangelnder Kenntnisse über das Erziehungsproblem nicht imstande waren, mit dem Kind richtig umzugehen.

Staatliche Vollzugsbeamte als willige Vollstrecker

Auch staatliche Vollzugsbeamte wie Polizistinnen und Polizisten sowie Vertrauensärzte oder andere Beauftragte der öffentlichen Gesundheitsverwaltung (Gesundheitsämter) und der gesetzlichen Kranken- und Rentenversicherung sollten sich bewusst werden, in wessen Auftrag sie handeln. Wenn Polizeibeamte gegen friedlich demonstrierende Bürger gewaltsam vorgehen oder Gesundheitsbeauftragte in private Haushalte von Familien eindringen, um die Einhaltung von zweifelhaften Regierungsmaßnahmen zum sogenannten Schutz der Kinder zu überprüfen, handeln sie auf sehr zweifelhaften rechtlichen Grundlagen. Es sind bereits haarstäubende und angstauslösende Erfahrungsberichte sowohl von friedlichen Bürgern als auch von besorgten Eltern im Umlauf. Warum diese Eltern nicht auf die Barrikaden gehen, ist wieder eine andere Frage.

Alle Beamten haben im Verlauf ihrer Ausbildung – zumindest in Deutschland – erfahren, dass nach den Vorschriften des Beamtenrechts ein Beamter seine dienstlichen Handlungen auf ihre Rechtmäßigkeit prüfen muss. Ja, es ist ein Muss! (Remonstrationspflicht gemäß deutschem Beamtenrecht nach § 63 BBG und § 36 BeamtStG). Hat er Bedenken gegen die Rechtmäßigkeit einer Anweisung, so muss er seinem unmittelbaren Vorgesetzten gegenüber remonstrieren, das heißt, gegen die Ausführung der Weisung Einwände erheben. (4)

Inwieweit beamtete Lehrkräfte staatliche Vollzugsbeamte sind, entzieht sich meiner Kenntnis. In jedem Fall müssen sich auch diese Kolleginnen und Kollegen fragen lassen, wie sie die haarsträubenden Anweisungen ihrer Kultusbehörden einschätzen und was ihnen die Gesundheit, das Wohlergehen und die Bildung der ihnen anvertrauten Schülerinnen und Schüler wert ist.

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Dr. Rudolf Hänsel ist Diplompsychologe und Erziehungswissenschaftler.

Noten:

1. http://www.nrhz.de/flyer/beitrag.php?id=27120

https://www.globalresearch.ca/dispel-the-magical-belief-in-author…-power-and-violence-strengthen-community-feelings/5729560?

2. https://deutsch.rt.com/inland/109449-unicef-jeder-zweite-in-deutschland/

3. http://www.nrhz.de/flyer/beitrag.php?id=27120

https://www.globalresearch.ca/dispel-the-magical-belief-in-author…-power-and-violence-strengthen-community-feelings/5729560?

4. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remonstration

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The Australian Special Forces’ Culture of Death

November 25th, 2020 by Kym Robinson

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The Cunning Plot to Kill Kennedy

November 25th, 2020 by Jacob G. Hornberger

If anyone murders a federal official, you can be assured of one thing: the feds will do everything they can to ensure that everyone involved in the crime is brought to justice. It’s like when someone kills a cop. The entire police force mobilizes to capture, arrest, and prosecute everyone involved in killing the cop. The phenomenon is even more pronounced at the federal level, especially given the overwhelming power of the federal government.

Yet, the exact opposite occurred in the Kennedy assassination. The entire effort immediately became to pin the crime solely on a communist ex-U.S. Marine named Lee Harvey Oswald and to shut down any aggressive investigation into whether others were involved in the crime.

What’s up with that? That’s not the way we would expect federal officials to handle the assassination of any federal official, especially the president of the United States. We would expect them to do everything — even torture a suspect — in order to capture and arrest everyone who may have participated in the crime.

For example, just three days after the assassination and after Oswald himself had been murdered, Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach sent out a memo stating,

“The public must be satisfied that Oswald was the assassin; that he did not have confederates who are still at large; and that evidence was such that he would have been convicted at trial.”

How in the world could he be so certain that Oswald was the assassin and that he had no confederates? Why would he want to shut down the investigation so soon? Does that sound like a normal federal official who is confronted with the assassination of a president?

The answer to this riddle lies in the brilliantly cunning scheme of the U.S. national-security establishment to ensure that the investigation into Kennedy’s assassination would be shut down immediately and, therefore, not lead to the U.S. national-security establishment.

The assassination itself had all the earmarks of a classic military ambush, one in which shooters were firing from both the front and back of the president. It is a virtual certainty that responsibility for the ambush lay with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who had been waging a vicious war against Kennedy practically since the time he assumed office. (See FFF’s book JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne, who served on the staff of the Assassination Records Review Board in the 1990s.)

While the JCS were experts at preparing military-style ambushes, they lacked the intellectual capability of devising the overall plot and cover-up, given its high level of cunning and sophistication. That responsibility undoubtedly lay with the CIA, whose top officials were brilliant graduates of Ivy League Schools. Moreover, practically from its inception the CIA was specializing in the art of state-sponsored assassinations and in how to conceal the CIA’s role in them.

To ensure that the role of the Pentagon and the CIA in the Kennedy assassination would be kept secret, they had to figure out a way to shut down the investigation from the start. Their plan worked brilliantly. While the normal thing would have been all out investigations into the murder, in this particular murder the state of Texas and U.S. officials did the exact opposite. They settled for simply pinning the crime on Oswald, the purported lone nut communist ex-U.S. Marine.

Here is how they pulled it off.

As the years have passed, it has become increasingly clear that Oswald was a government operative, most likely for military intelligence or maybe the CIA and the FBI as well. His job was to portray himself as a communist, which would enable him to infiltrate not only domestic communist and socialist organizations but also communist countries, such as Cuba and the Soviet Union.

After all, how many communist Marines have you ever heard of? The Marines would be a good place to recruit people for intelligence roles. Oswald learned fluent Russian while in the military. How does an enlisted man do that, without the assistance of the military’s language schools? When he returned from the Soviet Union after supposedly trying to defect and after promising that he was going to give up secret information he had acquired in the military, no federal grand jury or congressional investigation was launched into his conduct, even though this was the height of the Cold War.

Thus, Oswald would make the perfect patsy. He could be stationed wherever his superiors instructed. And he would have all the earmarks of a communist, which would immediately prejudice Americans at the height of the Cold War.

But simply framing Oswald wouldn’t have been enough to shut down the investigation. An aggressive investigation would undoubtedly be able to pierce through the pat nature of the frame-up. They needed something more.

If you’re going to frame someone who is supposedly firing from the rear, then doesn’t it make sense that you would have shots being fired only from the rear? Why would they frame a guy who is supposedly firing from the rear by having shots fired from the front?

That’s where the sheer brilliance of this particular regime-change operation came into play. The plan was much more cunning than even the successful regime-change operations and assassinations that took place prior to the one against Kennedy — i.e., Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Cuba from 1959-1963, and the Congo in 1961.

There is now virtually no doubt that Kennedy was hit by two shots fired from the front. Immediately after Kennedy was declared dead, the treating physicians at Parkland Hospital described the neck wound as a wound of entry. They also said that Kennedy had a massive, orange-sized wound in the back of his head. Nurses at Parkland said the same things. Two FBI agents said they saw the big exit-sized wound. Secret Service agent Clint Hill saw it. Navy photography expert Saundra Spencer told the ARRB in the 1990s that she developed the JFK autopsy photos on a top-secret basis on the weekend of the assassination and that they depicted a big exit-sized wound in the back of JFK’s head. A bone fragment from the back of the president’s head was found in Dealey Plaza after the assassination. That is just part of the overwhelming evidence that establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that the shot that hit Kennedy in the head came from the front.

Okay, if you’ve got a shooter firing from the back and he’s a communist, and if you have other shooters firing from the front, then they have to be working together. So, who would the shooters be who were firing from the front? The logical inference is that they had to be communist cohorts of Oswald.

That’s what Oswald’s supposed visits to the Cuban and Soviet embassies in Mexico just before the assassination were all about —making it look like Oswald was acting in concert with the Soviet and Cuban communists to kill Kennedy.

If the assassination was part of the Soviet Union’s supposed quest to conquer the world, retaliation would mean World War III, which almost surely would have meant nuclear war, which was the biggest fear among the American people in 1963.

But why not retaliate in some way? Would U.S. officials at the height of the Cold War hesitate to retaliate for the communist killing of a U.S. president, simply because they were scared of nuclear war? Not a chance! In fact, throughout Kennedy’s term in office the Pentagon and the CIA were champing at the bit to attack Cuba and go to war with the Soviet Union.

But here’s the catch: How do you take action that is going to destroy the world when it was your side that started the assassination game in the first place? Remember: It was the CIA that started the assassination game by partnering with the Mafia to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Thus, Lyndon Johnson, the CIA, and the JCS had the perfect excuse to shut down the investigation and pin the crime only on Oswald: If they instead retaliated, it would be all-out nuclear war based on an assassination game that the U.S. had started.

In fact, when Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade alleged from the start that Oswald was part of a communist conspiracy, Johnson told him to shut it down for fear that Wade might inadvertently start World War III.

Moreover, when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren initially declined Johnson’s invitation to serve on what ultimately became the Warren Commission, Johnson appealed to his sense of patriotism by alluding to the importance of avoiding a nuclear war. Johnson used the same argument on Senator Richard Russell Jr.

From the start, the Warren Commission proceedings were shrouded in “national-security” state secrecy, including a top-secret meeting of the commissioners to discuss information they had received that Oswald was an intelligence agent. When Warren was asked if the American people would be able to see all the evidence, Warren responded yes, but not in your lifetime.

Does that make any sense? If the assassination was, in fact, committed by some lone nut, then what would “national security” and state secrecy have to do with it?

That’s undoubtedly how they induced the three military pathologists to conduct a fraudulent autopsy — by telling them that they had to hide the fact that shots had been fired from the front in order to ensure that there was no all-out nuclear war. That’s how we ended up with a fraudulent autopsy. (See my books The Kennedy Autopsy and The Kennedy Autopsy 2.)

Thus, the plan entailed operating at two levels: One level involved what some call the World War III cover story. It entailed shutting down the investigation, as well as a fraudulent autopsy, to prevent nuclear war. The other level involved showing the American people that their president had been killed by only one person, a supposed lone nut communist former Marine.

Obviously, secrecy and obedience to orders were essential for the plan to succeed. That was why the autopsy was taken out of the hands of civilian officials and given to the military. With the military, people could be ordered to participate in the fraudulent autopsy and could be forced to keep everything they did and witnessed secret.

That’s why Navy photography expert Saundra Spencer kept her secret for some 30 years. She had been told that her development of the JFK autopsy photos was a classified operation. Military people follow orders and keep classified information secret. Imagine if Spencer had told her story suggesting a fraudulent autopsy in the week following the assassination.

Gradually, as the years have passed, the incriminating puzzle has come together. The big avalanche of secret information came out in the 1990s as part of the work done by the Assassination Records Review Board.

Of course, there are still missing pieces to the puzzle, many of which are undoubtedly among the records that the CIA and national-security establishment are still keeping secret. But enough circumstantial evidence has come to light to enable people to see the contours of one of the most cunning and successful assassination plots in history.

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Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics.

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