Genetically engineered crops are a form of food imperialism. This technology allows mega-corporations like Bayer/Monsanto to patent seeds, lure farmers into buying them with visions of high yields, and then destroy the ability of small farmers to survive.

Genetic engineering produces an artificial combination of plant traits which often results in foods with less nutritional value while introducing health problems to animals and humans who eat them. It increases costs of food production, pushing millions of farmers throughout the world into poverty and driving them off their land.

Agricultural corporations get control of enormous quantities of land in Africa, Latin America and Asia which they use to control the world’s food supply and reap super-profits from the cheap labor of those who work for them, sometimes people who once owned the same land. These crops can be developed in open-field testing which allows the novel pollen to contaminate wild relatives of the engineered crops.

Agro-industries which dominate this process have the resources to lobby two sections of governments. They tell one government agency that their plants do not need to pass safety tests because they are “substantively equivalent” to already existing plants. Yet, out of the other side of their mouths, corporate lawyers argue that, far from being equivalent to existing plants, their engineered ones are so novel as to deserve patents, patents which allow companies to sue farmers who save seeds for planting during the next season.

As a resident of St. Louis, former world headquarters of Monsanto (now Bayer), I have participated in and organized dozens of actions at the company’s world headquarters, as well as forums and conferences. It is necessary to compare the use of biotechnology by food corporations with that of Cuba to decide if they are the same or fundamentally different.

Medicine in Cuba

John Kirk’s Health Care without Borders: Understanding Cuban Medical Internationalism (2015) provides a wealth of information regarding Cuba’s early use of biotechnology in medicine. It is a poor country suffering effects of a blockade by the US which interferes with its access to materials, equipment, technologies, finance, and even exchange of information. This makes it remarkable that Cuba’s research institutes have produced so many important medications. Even a partial list is impressive. The use of Heberprot B to treat diabetes has reduced amputations by 80 percent. Cuba is the only country to create an effective vaccine against type-B bacterial meningitis, and it developed the first synthetic vaccine for Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib), which causes almost half of pediatric meningitis infections. It has also produced the vaccine Racotumomab against advanced lung cancer and has begun clinical tests for Itolizumab to fight severe psoriasis.

By far, the best known efforts of Cuban biotechnology followed an outbreak of dengue fever in 1981 when its researchers found that it could combat the disease with Interferon Alpha 2B. The same drug became vitally important decades later as a potential cure for COVID-19. Interferons are signaling proteins which can respond to infections by strengthening anti-viral defenses. In this way, they decrease complications which could cause death. Cuba’s interferons have also shown their usefulness and safety in treating viral diseases including Hepatitis B and C, shingles and HIV-AIDS.

A tale of two technologies

There are marked differences between corporate biotechnology for food and Cuba’s medications for health. First, corporations produce food that fails to be healthier than non-engineered food which it replaces. Cuba’s biotechnology improves human health to such a degree that dozens of nations have requested Interferon Alpha 2B.

Second, corporate food production drives people off of their land while making a few investors very rich. No one loses their home due to Cuban medical advances.

Third, food imperialism fosters dependency but Cuba promotes medical independence. While corporate biotechnology drains money from poor counties by monopolizing genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Cuba strives to produce drugs as cheaply as possible.

Patents for its many medical innovations are held by the Cuban government. There is no impetus to increase profits by charging outrageously high prices for new drugs – these medications become available to Cubans at much lower cost than they would in a market-based health care system like that of the United States. This has a profound impact on Cuban medical internationalism. The country provides drugs, including vaccines, at a cost low enough to make humanitarian campaign goals abroad more achievable. Its use of synthetic vaccines for meningitis and pneumonia has resulted in the immunization of millions of Latin American children.

Cuba’s other phase of medical biotechnology is also unknown in the corporate world. This is the transfer of new technology to poor countries so that they can produce drugs themselves and do not have to rely on purchasing them from rich countries. Collaboration with Brazil has resulted in meningitis vaccines at a cost of 95¢ rather than $15 to $20 per dose. Cuba and Brazil worked together on several other biotechnology projects, including Interferon Alpha 2B, for hepatitis C, and recombinant human erythropoletin (rHuEPO), for anemia caused by chronic kidney problems.

In perspective

The bigger picture is that technology of all types is not “value free” – it reflects social factors in its development and use. Nuclear plants require military forces for protection from attack, making them attractive in any society dominated by those who employ a high degree of violence to suppress dissent.

Market forces within capitalism select technologies that are profitable, even if they are destructive to human welfare. Of course, medicine such as antibiotics benefit humanity even if their original goal was profits for pharmaceutical giants.

At other times, products that damage society as a whole are pursued because they augment corporate profits by weakening labor unions. Planting and harvesting equipment have been used to undermine organizing efforts of agricultural workers. In the mid-1880s Chicago McCormick adopted new molding machines which could be run by unskilled workers. The company used them to replace skilled workers of the National Union of Iron Molders.

Expensive technologies can destroy small competitors so that large companies with more capital can better control the market. No case is clearer than the use of GMOs in agriculture. By use of market control (making non-GMO seeds unavailable), financial terrorism (such as lawsuits against resistant farmers), and the pesticide addiction treadmill, GMO giants such as Bayer/Monsanto have increased the cost of food production. This destroys the livelihood of small farmers across the globe while transforming the large farmers who remain into semi-vassals of these multinational lords of seeds and pesticides.

Though a century separated them and they affected different types of labor, actions by McCormick and Bayer/Monsanto had something in common. They both utilized novel technology which resulted in less desirableproducts but increased profits.

Because they were an invaluable weapon against the union, McCormick used molding machines that produced inferior castings and cost consumers more. GMOs in agriculture result in lower-quality food. Since two-thirds of GMOs are designed to create plants that can tolerate poisonous pesticides such as Roundup, pesticide residues increase with GMO usage.

GMOs are also used to increase the production of corn syrup which sweetens a growing quantity of processed foods, and thereby contributes to the obesity crisis. At the same time, food engineered to be uniform, survive transportation, and have a longer shelf life contains less nutritional value. The use of GMOs in corporate agriculture is one of the largest contributing factors to the phenomenon of people simultaneously being overweight and undernourished.

Cuba’s use of biotechnology to create medications is in sharp contrast to both McCormick and Bayer/Monsanto. Its drugs, especially Interferon Alfpha 2B, are used to help people overcome illnesses. They are created to share throughout the world rather drive people into worse poverty. Making a distinction between the biotechnology of Bayer/Monsanto and Cuba requires understanding the difference between bioimperialism and biosolidarity. Imperialism subdues. Biosolidarity empowers.

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Don Fitz ([email protected]) is on the editorial board of Green Social Thought where a version of this article first appeared. Portions of this article are from his forthcoming book, Cuban Health Care: The Ongoing Revolution, to be published by Monthly Review Press in June, 2020.

Smug assertions of liability in history are often incautious things.  They constitute a fruit salad mix: assertions of the wishful thinkers; hopes of the crazed; the quest of genuinely aggrieved generations who feel that wrongs need to be rectified (the Elgin Marbles and transatlantic slavery come to mind).  Before you know it, the next historical act will require compensation, the next crime balanced on the ledger of misdeeds.  Lawyers will be summoned, writs and briefs drawn up.   

The advocates of the China-compensation initiative for COVID-19 are growing in number; most are charmingly untouched by history.  Sociologist Massimo Introvigne is one, and with a certain peashooter menace claims that China, specially the Chinese Communist Party “may find itself attacked by an enemy its mighty military power will not be able to stop, aggressive Western lawyers.” Introvigne, while clearly no sharp taloned legal eagle, suggests reference to the International Health Regulations of 2005 which obligate States to conduct surveillance of, and convey accurate and timely information about, diseases through their agencies to the World Health Organization.  Tardiness on the issue of reporting outbreaks that can constitute public health emergencies, for Introvigne, might constitute such grave breaches as to violate the Draft Articles on the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts. 

These particular articles, drafted by the International Law Commission, are not binding. But the Blame-China lobby has been cunning.  James Kraska of the US Naval War College, for instance, thinks that the restatement has been absorbed into the ether of international state practice.  Magically, the articles have been constituted as international customary law, which is binding. 

A rash of legal suits have appeared across the United States, all sharing one common theme: a guerrilla compensation war via courts against a sovereign state.  Members of Congress have been drafting various bills seeking to ease the pathway of private and public suits. 

Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn is one of several, hoping to amend that imposing legal obstacle to suing states known as the Foreign State Immunities Act of 1976 by establishing “an exception to jurisdictional immunity for a foreign state that discharges a biological weapon”.  The name of the bill is instructive and leaves little to the imagination, being either the “Stop China-Originated Viral Infectious Diseases Act of 2020” or the “Stop COVID Act of 2020”.   

This sort of legal pamphleteering and raging from the stump is interesting but not very instructive.  Guilt and agency is already presumed by the advocates: China was not merely negligent in not containing the outbreak of COVID-19, but had actually created the virus with venality.  The supreme self-confidence of those in this group leads to problems, the most obvious being the evidence they cite, and much they do not.

Even if there was something to be made about international pandemic wrongfulness, the United States would surely be one of the first to be cautious in pushing the compensation cart. The measure by Senators Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley, for instance, would grant the US president powers to impose visa and financial sanctions on foreign government officials who “deliberately conceal or distort information” about public health crises.  This would also cover associates and those assisting in the endeavour. 

But as has been pointed out by more grounded analysts, such measures will simply place US officials in the retaliatory firing line, including those who were rather slipshod with informing the US public about the dangers of the novel coronavirus.  Rachel Esplin Odell is convincing in her summation at War on the Rocks: “If applied to Chinese officials, such sanctions would likely invite swift retaliation against US officials who themselves dismissed the threat of COVID-19, shared incorrect medical information about it, or spread false theories about its origins, such as the president, vice president, and many governors and members of Congress – including Cotton himself.”

Odell also warns that using the Draft Articles on State Responsibility in the context of public health is more than mildly treacherous.  Disease outbreaks can be unruly things, hard to monitor and track; the the customary rule accepting that a state in breach of international law is required “to make full reparation for the injury caused” by that breach has not featured in international health efforts. 

David Fidler, a global health specialist, also suggests abundant caution in Just Security for linking state wrongs with infection and disease.  What such eager commentators as Kraska avoid is the tendency in state practice to avoid attributing “state responsibility for acts allegedly to be legally wrongful with respect to the transboundary movement of pathogens.”  Compensatory mechanisms are absent in any treaty dealing with the spread of infectious disease, and this includes the International Health Regulations (2005). 

The pursuit of blame, and efforts to monetise it, also brings to mind the fact that an imperium such as the United States should be reluctant to cast stones in the glass house of international politics. That pedestrian dauber yet dangerously inept President George W. Bush might be free to pontificate about COVID-19 and the sweetness of solidarity but remains silent about his misdeeds in ruining Iraq, and, by virtue of that, a good deal of the Middle East.  This was an individual who, in March 2003, said that the US would meet the threat of “an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder” so as not to do so “later with armies of firefighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities.”  Unlike the case of pathogen transmission, the issue of attribution in that case is far from difficult. 

While international law furnishes little by way of financial compensation for damage caused by pandemics, it does about the criminal liability of state leaders and military commanders for war crimes and crimes against humanity.  It is also worth noting that the foundations for the invasion by the US and its allies was conspiratorial and deceptive, filled with the sorts of fabrications and mendacity that make the bumbling authorities in Wuhan seem childishly modest.  In doing so, the crime against peace, sketched by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, was committed.  As a Dutch Parliamentary inquiry found in 2010, UN Security Council Resolution 1441, giving Saddam Hussein a final chance to disarm, could not “reasonably be interpreted as authorising individual member states to use military force to compel Iraq to comply with the Security Council’s resolutions.”  The warning for US law and policy makers in seeking Chinese scalps should be starkly crystal in clarity.

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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]

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UPDATE (May 8, 9:00AM EST): Archbishop Viganò, who gathered the signatures and communicated with Cardinal Sarah about the initiative, has now issued a timeline of his communications with Sarah. Read full report here.

UPDATE (May 7, 8:00PM EST): This story originally indicated, based on information from the organizers, that Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, had joined the appeal. But the cardinal has now written on Twitter that he did not sign. “From a personal point of view, I may share some questions or preoccupations raised regarding restrictions on fundamental freedom but I didn’t sign that petition,” he wrote.

A Note from Global Research:

This a powerful statement for all humanity. It upholds fundamental values. It rejects “global governance”. It upholds the sovereignty of nations. It points to the irresponsibility of national governments which pay lip service to a global public health concern while adopting economic and policies which impoverish their citizens. Politicians in high office have become the lackeys of powerful financial interests.

The facts have shown that, under the pretext of the Covid-19 epidemic, the inalienable rights of citizens have in many cases been violated and their fundamental freedoms, including the exercise of freedom of worship, expression and movement, have been disproportionately and unjustifiably restricted. Public health must not, and cannot, become an alibi for infringing on the rights of millions of people around the world… (read statement in full below)

The rights to income and employment are denied. Social engineering is imposed leading to a de facto police state. Increasingly, there is evidence that the data pertaining to the COVID-19 has been deliberately manipulated with a view to sustaining the fear campaign led by the corporate media.

The Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) supports the substance of this important endeavor of the catholic clergy. This message should spread Worldwide.

Michel Chossudovsky, May 11, 2020

 

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Catholic clergy led by former papal nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and Cardinals Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, Joseph Zen, and Janis Pujats have joined an appeal “for the Church and the world” that warns that the COVID-19 pandemic is being used as a “pretext” by world leaders to “control” people, strip them of their fundamental rights, while providing a “disturbing prelude to the realization of a world government beyond all control” (read full text below).

In the face of restrictions around the world on the public celebration of the sacraments, the signatories assert the right of the Church to offer public worship, unimpeded by State interventions.

Finally, as Pastors responsible for the flock of Christ, let us remember that the Church firmly asserts her autonomy to govern, worship, and teach. This autonomy and freedom are an innate right that Our Lord Jesus Christ has given her for the pursuit of her proper ends. For this reason, as Pastors we firmly assert the right to decide autonomously on the celebration of Mass and the Sacraments, just as we claim absolute autonomy in matters falling within our immediate jurisdiction, such as liturgical norms and ways of administering Communion and the Sacraments. The State has no right to interfere, for any reason whatsoever, in the sovereignty of the Church.

The signatories ask that “restrictions on the celebration of public ceremonies be removed.”

Along with the 4 cardinals signing the appeal are 8 bishops, 3 priests, 21 journalists, 11 medical doctors, 13 lawyers, 18 teachers and professionals, and 12 various groups and associations.

SIGN Appeal for the Church and the World here

In reference to coronavirus lockdown measures around the world and the reduction of individuals’ civil liberties, the signatories say that they believe there are powers at work in society “interested in creating panic among the world’s population with the sole aim of permanently imposing unacceptable forms of restriction on freedoms, of controlling people and of tracking their movements.”

“The imposition of these illiberal measures is a disturbing prelude to the realization of a world government beyond all control,” they state.

Arguing that widespread closures of shops and businesses has in some instances “precipitated a crisis that has brought down entire sectors of the economy,” the signatories continue to raise concerns about potential radical changes to the geopolitical landscape. They stated that such weakened economies “encourages interference by foreign powers and has serious social and political repercussions.”

“Those with governmental responsibility must stop these forms of social engineering, by taking measures to protect their citizens whom they represent, and in whose interests they have a serious obligation to act,” the letter states.

The letter also directly addresses several questions related to medical treatments for Covid-19.

In the first instance, the letter implores governments and international bodies not to allow “shady business interests” to influence their responses to the coronavirus.

“It is unreasonable to penalize those remedies that have proved to be effective, and are often inexpensive, just because one wishes to give priority to treatments or vaccines that are not as good, but which guarantee pharmaceutical companies far greater profits, and exacerbate public health expenditures,” the signatories write.

On the question of potential coronavirus vaccines, the signatories say that “for Catholics it is morally unacceptable to develop or use vaccines derived from material from aborted fetuses.” They insist too that individuals must be free to reject such vaccines without any penalties being imposed on them.

The letter also calls on governments not to adopt attempts to control people through “tracking systems or any other form of location-finding,” or for the crisis to be used as an excuse for increasing levels of media censorship and the de-platforming of dissenting voices.

“Let us not allow centuries of Christian civilization to be erased under the pretext of a virus, and an odious technological tyranny to be established, in which nameless and faceless people can decide the fate of the world by confining us to a virtual reality,” the letter urges.

The signatories stress that in the face of the current crisis, followers of God must try to understand the current situation in the light of the Gospels.

“This means taking a stand: either with Christ or against Christ. Let us not be intimidated or frightened by those who would have us believe that we are a minority: Good is much more widespread and powerful than the world would have us believe.”

“With faith, let us beseech the Lord to protect the Church and the world. May the Blessed Virgin, Help of Christians, crush the head of the ancient Serpent and defeat the plans of the children of darkness,” the appeal concludes.

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APPEAL FOR THE CHURCH AND THE WORLD

To Catholics and all people of good will

Veritas liberabit vos. Jn 8:32

In this time of great crisis, we Pastors of the Catholic Church, by virtue of our mandate, consider it our sacred duty to make an Appeal to our Brothers in the Episcopate, to the Clergy, to Religious, to the holy People of God and to all men and women of good will. This Appeal has also been undersigned by intellectuals, doctors, lawyers, journalists and professionals who agree with its content, and may be undersigned by those who wish to make it their own.

The facts have shown that, under the pretext of the Covid-19 epidemic, the inalienable rights of citizens have in many cases been violated and their fundamental freedoms, including the exercise of freedom of worship, expression and movement, have been disproportionately and unjustifiably restricted. Public health must not, and cannot, become an alibi for infringing on the rights of millions of people around the world, let alone for depriving the civil authority of its duty to act wisely for the common good. This is particularly true as growing doubts emerge from several quarters about the actual contagiousness, danger and resistance of the virus. Many authoritative voices in the world of science and medicine confirm that the media’s alarmism about Covid-19 appears to be absolutely unjustified.

We have reason to believe, on the basis of official data on the incidence of the epidemic as related to the number of deaths, that there are powers interested in creating panic among the world’s population with the sole aim of permanently imposing unacceptable forms of restriction on freedoms, of controlling people and of tracking their movements. The imposition of these illiberal measures is a disturbing prelude to the realization of a world government beyond all control.

We also believe that in some situations the containment measures that were adopted, including the closure of shops and businesses, have precipitated a crisis that has brought down entire sectors of the economy. This encourages interference by foreign powers and has serious social and political repercussions. Those with governmental responsibility must stop these forms of social engineering, by taking measures to protect their citizens whom they represent, and in whose interests they have a serious obligation to act. Likewise, let them help the family, the cell of society, by not unreasonably penalizing the weak and elderly, forcing them into a painful separation from their loved ones. The criminalization of personal and social relationships must likewise be judged as an unacceptable part of the plan of those who advocate isolating individuals in order to better manipulate and control them.

We ask the scientific community to be vigilant, so that cures for Covid-19 are offered in honesty for the common good. Every effort must be made to ensure that shady business interests do not influence the choices made by government leaders and international bodies. It is unreasonable to penalize those remedies that have proved to be effective, and are often inexpensive, just because one wishes to give priority to treatments or vaccines that are not as good, but which guarantee pharmaceutical companies far greater profits, and exacerbate public health expenditures. Let us also remember, as Pastors, that for Catholics it is morally unacceptable to develop or use vaccines derived from material from aborted fetuses.

We also ask government leaders to ensure that forms of control over people, whether through tracking systems or any other form of location-finding, are rigorously avoided. The fight against Covid-19, however serious, must not be the pretext for supporting the hidden intentions of supranational bodies that have very strong commercial and political interests in this plan. In particular, citizens must be given the opportunity to refuse these restrictions on personal freedom, without any penalty whatsoever being imposed on those who do not wish to use vaccines, contact tracking or any other similar tool. Let us also consider the blatant contradiction of those who pursue policies of drastic population control and at the same time present themselves as the savior of humanity, without any political or social legitimacy. Finally, the political responsibility of those who represent the people can in no way be left to “experts” who can indeed claim a kind of immunity from prosecution, which is disturbing to say the least.

We strongly urge those in the media to commit themselves to providing accurate information and not penalizing dissent by resorting to forms of censorship, as is happening widely on social media, in the press and on television. Providing accurate information requires that room be given to voices that are not aligned with a single way of thinking. This allows citizens to consciously assess the facts, without being heavily influenced by partisan interventions. A democratic and honest debate is the best antidote to the risk of imposing subtle forms of dictatorship, presumably worse than those our society has seen rise and fall in the recent past.

Finally, as Pastors responsible for the flock of Christ, let us remember that the Church firmly asserts her autonomy to govern, worship, and teach. This autonomy and freedom are an innate right that Our Lord Jesus Christ has given her for the pursuit of her proper ends. For this reason, as Pastors we firmly assert the right to decide autonomously on the celebration of Mass and the Sacraments, just as we claim absolute autonomy in matters falling within our immediate jurisdiction, such as liturgical norms and ways of administering Communion and the Sacraments. The State has no right to interfere, for any reason whatsoever, in the sovereignty of the Church. Ecclesiastical authorities have never refused to collaborate with the State, but such collaboration does not authorize civil authorities to impose any sort of ban or restriction on public worship or the exercise of priestly ministry. The rights of God and of the faithful are the supreme law of the Church, which she neither intends to, nor can, abdicate. We ask that restrictions on the celebration of public ceremonies be removed.

We should like to invite all people of good will not to shirk their duty to cooperate for the common good, each according to his or her own state and possibilities and in a spirit of fraternal charity. The Church desires such cooperation, but this cannot disregard either a respect for natural law or a guarantee of individual freedoms. The civil duties to which citizens are bound imply the State’s recognition of their rights.

We are all called to assess the current situation in a way consistent with the teaching of the Gospel. This means taking a stand: either with Christ or against Christ. Let us not be intimidated or frightened by those who would have us believe that we are a minority: Good is much more widespread and powerful than the world would have us believe. We are fighting against an invisible enemy that seeks to divide citizens, to separate children from their parents, grandchildren from their grandparents, the faithful from their pastors, students from teachers, and customers from vendors. Let us not allow centuries of Christian civilization to be erased under the pretext of a virus, and an odious technological tyranny to be established, in which nameless and faceless people can decide the fate of the world by confining us to a virtual reality. If this is the plan to which the powers of this earth intend to make us yield, know that Jesus Christ, King and Lord of History, has promised that “the gates of Hell shall not prevail” (Mt 16:18).

Let us entrust government leaders and all those who rule over the fate of nations to Almighty God, that He may enlighten and guide them in this time of great crisis. May they remember that, just as the Lord will judge us Pastors for the flock which he has entrusted to us, so will He also judge government leaders for the peoples whom they have the duty to defend and govern.

With faith, let us beseech the Lord to protect the Church and the world. May the Blessed Virgin, Help of Christians, crush the head of the ancient Serpent and defeat the plans of the children of darkness.

8 May 2020

Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii

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The “Secret Agenda” of the So-called Elite

May 16th, 2020 by Dr. Rudolf Hänsel

“The International” is the world-renowned battle song of the socialist labor movement. The English version of the original French text reads:

“Wake up, damned of this earth, who are still forced to starve! (…) Army of slaves, wake up! (…) Peoples, hear the signals! To the final battle! There is no supreme being, no God, no emperor or tribune to save us. To put us out of our misery, that is something we can only do ourselves.”

This call was made to the international labor movement after the violent suppression of the Paris Commune in May 1871. It was not issued to the ruling “Elite” of the exploiters and oppressors.

However, it is precisely this so-called elite that seems to be blowing to the last battle today, in that it is seeking to reduce the population (depopulation) by means of a compulsory “mass protective vaccination”. The pathogenic or even deadly composition of this vaccine, which will also contain Nano-chips to control humanity, has certainly already been mixed in the world’s secret laboratories.

Even the active euthanasia of elderly and sick fellow citizens by means of strong sleeping pills and opiates has already set these dark figures on their way. Likewise a worldwide redistribution of general wealth from the bottom to the top, from the poor to the super rich. Should we citizens of this world, remembering these plans of the cabal, not recall to whom the call for the final battle was actually made?

Two of these “world citizens” who are involved in such sinister plans are the former US Secretary of State and Nobel Peace Prize winner Henry Kissinger and the wealthy US entrepreneur and patron of the arts Bill Gates.

More than 50 years ago, Kissinger was Secretary of State and head of the US National Security Council and author of the “National Strategic Security Memorandum 200 (NSSM 200)

. According to the memorandum, depopulation should be “the highest priority in US foreign policy towards the Third World”, (…) because “the US economy needs large and growing amounts of raw materials from overseas, especially from the less developed countries” (Eggert, W. (2003). The planned epidemics AIDS – SARS and military genetic research. Munich, p. 64)

In an opinion piece for the “Wall Street Journal”, Kissinger called for

“a first step to develop ‘new techniques and technologies for infection control and appropriate vaccines for large populations’. (…) In a second step, the focus should now be on ‘healing the wounds of the global economy’. ( quoted in RT Deutsch  https://de.rt.com/25kn)

The citizens of the world should therefore – whether they want to or not – be vaccinated and, in addition, it should be checked whether they have complied with this vaccination obligation.

In the RT article just mentioned, Nobel Peace Prize winner Kissinger is also referred to as a war criminal because, as the architect of the US aggression against Vietnam and other covert CIA secret operations, he is responsible for the death of millions of people.

Vaccination

Kissinger and the The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation seem to agree on the question of “mass protection vaccination”. On March 31, 2020, the “Washington Post” published an opinion article by Gates in which he describes his vision to vaccinate people around the world:

“To bring the disease to an end, we’ll need a safe and effective vaccine. If we do everything right, we could have one in less than 18 months — about the fastest a vaccine has ever been developed.

But creating a vaccine is only half the battle. To protect Americans and people around the world, we’ll need to manufacture billions of doses. (Without a vaccine, developing countries are at even greater risk than wealthy ones, because it’s even harder for them to do physical distancing and shutdowns.)

We can start now by building the facilities where these vaccines will be made. Because many of the top candidates are made using unique equipment, we’ll have to build facilities for each of them, knowing that some won’t get used. Private companies can’t take that kind of risk, but the federal government can. It’s a great sign that the administration made deals this week with at least two companies to prepare for vaccine manufacturing. I hope more deals will follow.

In 2015, I urged world leaders in a TED talk to prepare for a pandemic the same way they prepare for war — by running simulations to find the cracks in the system. As we’ve seen this year, we have a long way to go. But I still believe that if we make the right decisions now, informed by science, data and the experience of medical professionals, we can save lives and get the country back to work.

Is the vaccination program related to the objective of reducing world population?

In this context, let us recall Kant’s Enlightenment motto “Sapere aude!”:“Have the courage to use your own intellect!”

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Dr. Rudolf Hänsel is a graduate psychologist and educationalist.

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The Real Coronavirus Victims: Relations between People

May 15th, 2020 by Dr. Pascal Sacré

“Only touch, medicine and speech can truly heal. »

Hippocrates, 5th century B.C.

Some say the world is going to change. For me, it has already changed in March 2020.

A “coronavirus” world

A better world?

That depends.

For me, the world doesn’t change for the better. It’s never just a point of view, my point of view, because for the Big Pharma manufacturers of future drugs and vaccines [1], of course, it’s a change for the better.

The minority for whom the world is “changing for the better” because of the coronavirus :

Phenomenal profits in the offing. A gush of dollars and euros to come for the majority shareholders and CEOs of Big Pharma, who are already immensely wealthy.

For the already richest people in the world, it’s a change for the better, yes [2].

                                         © image taken from the site: Graphseobourse.fr. Source Investir.

According to Forbes [3],

“The unemployment rate and the number of COVID-19 cases continue to skyrocket, but the stock market is doing better. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both jumped more than 12% in the week ending April 9. (Markets closed on April 10 for Good Friday). Stocks jumped significantly on Thursday as the Federal Reserve announced a $2.3 trillion (trillion) loan to support the economy. Market gains led to a combined $51.3 billion increase for 10 of the world’s billionaires since the market closed a week ago on April 2.”

I’ve always wondered why, at such a level of wealth, would you want to be even richer.

But this is certainly the naive questioning of a person who is not part of this “world of the super-rich” (and does not want to be part of it).

For governments, business leaders, directors, for any person in power attracted by an authoritarian, even totalitarian, dictatorial drift [4], this is a change for the better too.

This is the case at the global level, at the national level but also in all power structures, major and minor.

Wherever leaders prefer to impose rather than propose, to force rather than convince, the coronavirus crisis makes it possible to suspend rights, to establish manu militari their austerity programs, almost neither seen nor known. (ni vu ni connu)

The coronavirus crisis threatens to make us live in a “Chinese-style” dictatorship [5], an “Amazon” social model [6], an “Apple” ethical model [7], a “Google” moral model [8], a “Facebook” model of righteousness [9] … this time on a worldwide scale.

The expression “free world” will no longer have any meaning.

Already nibbled, gnawed, attacked from all sides, this expression will explode into thousands of unrecognizable little pieces. It is already well underway.

In the “coronavirus” world, you are “a number”, a “piece of meat”, a more or less profitable “piece of brain”, without social protection, without rights except the right to do what “the power” tells you to do.

Always using the same propaganda language:

“More security for less freedom”.

“State of emergency… health”.

A novel language leitmotiv repeated ad infinitum, and the more it is repeated, the more it is accepted.

For example, in some countries, patients can leave hospital by agreeing to wear an electronic bracelet [10]. This is only a sample of all the totalitarian measures planned or even already decided by our governments in favor of the coronavirus crisis. It goes much further, it’s limitless [11] and it affects a good part of the world, if not the whole world [12]:

“After the drones equipped with loudspeakers that we saw calling recalcitrant citizens to conform, in China and then in Paris, tracking devices are now flourishing all over the world. In France, the Stop-Covid application is thus being promoted by the government as a necessary tool for deconfinement, while on the other side of the Atlantic, rival companies Apple and Google are teaming up to produce an application to go up the transmission chain.”

It is not surprising that Apple, Google and Facebook are putting themselves “at the service” (big profits in perspective) of these totalitarian drifts.

The same goes for YouTube, whose CEO Susan Wojcicki has arrogated to herself the right to delete all information that does not follow the WHO’s recommendations [13].

After Bill Gates, a non-medical person who tells us what to do, it is now the turn of the CEO of an online video site to meddle with our health and decide what is good or bad for us to know. In the name of what? In whose name?

As for doctors, the real ones, or other specialists like health anthropologist Jean-Dominique Michel [14], they are vilified. People are told not to listen to them!

What an inverted world!

More control versus less autonomy.

In the meantime, all the constitutional rights dearly acquired by our ancestors and all human rights are under attack.

Freedom to demonstrate, to assemble, freedom of expression, to hug, to breathe freely, to move around, to challenge any health dogma coming from the official line.

What makes sense and is scientifically founded is fake news.

What is false news is unassailable truth.

In this “coronavirus” world that will benefit the minority described at the beginning of this article.

Some people have been forcibly interned in psychiatric hospitals, a practice I thought relegated to the last century or to communist dictatorships. It is today, in Italy [15], in Germany [16], in this new “coronavirus” world.

So,

– For very rich people (no, it’s much more than that, for stratospherically rich people)
– For the majority shareholders and CEOs of the financial monsters that pharmaceutical companies have become (1000 billion euros in profits over twenty years).
–  For the corporate media, who make money and live better by spreading fear and crises which they sell to their readers,
–  For all those interested in more authority, more power for themselves and less autonomy and freedom for citizens

The world is changing for the better.

For billions of people, you, me, the world is changing for the worse.

Yes, here, as long as you’re not one of those rulers, CEO of a pharmaceutical company, journalist spokesperson for governments or director addict to strong power, it’s you, it’s me that we’re talking about now.

This “coronavirus” world is a change for the worse.

Unless we (you, me) reject it “en masse”:

Then we must be such a number that it is impossible to commit us all to a mental hospital, a mass critical enough for the brutal repression of so many to cause the awakening of all the others.

All the more so since, for me, it is not necessary to revolt or use violence, especially not!

It is enough:

– To no longer take part in this terrifying scene.
– Not to take this path that leads us to more poverty, more famine:

The tyranny of the coronavirus – and death by starvation, by Peter Koenig, who worked for the World Bank and the WHO for years:

“By the end of 2020, more people will have died from hunger, despair and suicide than from coronavirus. We, the world, are facing a famine pandemic of biblical proportions. This true pandemic will far surpass the “COVID-19 pandemic”. The famine pandemic is reminiscent of the film “Hunger Games” because it is based on similar circumstances of a dominant minority controlling who can eat and who will die – through competition. »

Not to condone this destruction of all social ties, a deadly phenomenon that the coronavirus dictatorship even wants to impose on our kindergarten children:

The school cannot become a prison where the teachers are the matrons.

Parents, protect your children! Not only from the coronavirus, but especially from these abuses. Boycott schools that attack the very purpose of life, human relations, and this is done through contact, play and mutual aid.

A review of scientific studies has failed to find a single case of transmission of the virus from a child to an adult [18].

–  Not to accept this social distancing:

Social distancing in pictures, all over the world…

Yes, let us protect the sick, but if not, let us live the life for which we are here on earth, with emphasis on relationships, mutual support, solidarity and empathy.

– Not to put on masks, all of us, all the time:

Faces and smiles disappear under masks, whereas these masks do not protect us, prevent us from breathing and from oxygenating [19], a much more important parameter of good health, can aggravate the situation by concentrating possible exhaled viruses close to our respiratory tracts, and that the WHO itself reserves this practice only for the sick (who must then stay at home) and for the caregivers.

These are all ways to resist.

Choose something else.

Two world views are now clashing, exacerbated by this coronavirus crisis.

On one hand:

A cold, contactless, masked and tyrannical world, the same for all, without thought or common sense, promising enormous power and profit for a minority of people already immensely rich and powerful.

On the other hand:

A world where contact, warmth, looks, smiles remain the inviolable basis of all humanity.

A world where touch, (natural) medicine and speech [20] continue to form the unshakeable pillar of human medicine.

A world in which not everything is sacrificed, human dignity, human rights (and women’s rights), in exchange for life at all costs, because to do so deprives life of its value.

Testimony of this 97-year-old woman [21]:

I’m locked up, it’s not a life,” she says, crying. I can’t even go to my neighbor’s house. We can’t even talk. All day long I’m locked in there. »

She hardly feeds herself any more because she feels that this life is not worth living.

Right now, this woman is more likely to die from loneliness than from the coronavirus.

That is the human choice we must make today.

                                                                                                                                                                                            

Dr. Pascal Sacré is Anesthesiologist-intensivist  and a frequent contributor to mondialisation.ca

Translated from French by Maya Chossudovsky-Ladouceur. 

Notes:

[1] Coronavirus: the race against time to find a vaccine.

[2] The big VIDOC scam 19: the 10 billionaires made $51 billion last week…

[3] 10 Billionaires Gained $51 Billion This Week As Markets Edged Up From The Stock Crash, Forbes.com, April 11, 2020.

[4] Techno-tyranny: How the US security state is using the coronavirus crisis to realize an Orwellian vision.

[5] Coronavirus is pushing dictatorship, and not just in China.

[6] Testimonies from the inside showed another face of Amazon: that of an abusive, ultra-liberal firm, importing management methods that are hardly compatible with French law. On this point, the minister is silent.

[7] Is Apple an ethical company: the great illusion of the dividend.

[8] Google no longer respects its ethical principles, according to a former director. The former director of international relations at Google accuses the internet giant of having abandoned its founding moral values and of being complicit in human rights violations in certain countries, such as China and Saudi Arabia.

[9] Facebook and its dubious ethics, copying users.

[10] In several countries, such as Russia, patients can decide to leave the hospital if they wear an electronic bracelet. The French government would study this possibility.

11] In a kindergarten in Varese, Italy, electronic bracelets for the social distancing of children are being used in a nursery school.

[12] Monitored and docile. It’s Justin Trudeau’s turn to be seduced by the sirens of tracking applications.

[13] Coronavirus: YouTube removes all information that does not follow WHO recommendations. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki told CNN that any coronavirus-related content that contravenes World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations will be removed from its platform.

[14] Jean-Dominique Michel, health anthropologist

[15] In Italy, an opponent of confinement placed in a psychiatric hospital, 9 May 2020

16] Covid-19, a lawyer interned in psychiatry because she dared to get in the way of the Coronavirus. Me Beate Bahner, a lawyer based in Heidelberg / Germany, filed an appeal for the annulment of the measures taken by the German government.  Indeed, following Covid-19, restrictive measures were put in place by the Chancellor.  Me Bahner pleads that the German people’s rights of freedom have been violated by the measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus. She therefore asked the Federal Constitutional Court to annul these measures restricting freedoms. The result? Psychiatric confinement!

Origin: Polizei bringt “Coronoia”-Anwältin Bahner in die Psychiatrie

“Police take “Coronoia” lawyer Bahner to the psychiatrist”

[17] French media, who owns what?

[18] https://dontforgetthebubbles.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/COVID-data-top-10.pdf

[19] Face Masks Pose Serious Risks to the Healthy

[20] Le toucher, le remède, la parole, by Roberta Milanese and Simona Milanese, SATAS editions, 2015 original edition in Italian, 2018, English translation. To heal is to take care of the person as much as of the disease.

[21] “I’m locked up, it’s not a life”: Jeanne, 96 years old, gives a moving testimony, April 21, 2020.
Dr. Pascal Sacré, Mondialisation.ca, 2020

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存在严重的健康危机,必须适当解决。这是第一要务。

但是还有另一个重要方面必须解决。

数以百万计的人失去了工作,失去了生命积蓄。在发展中国家,贫穷和绝望盛行。

尽管封锁已作为解决全球公共卫生危机的唯一方法提交了公众舆论,但其破坏性的经济和社会影响却被忽略了。

不言而喻的事实是,新的冠状病毒为强大的经济利益和腐败的政客提供了借口,使整个世界陷入大规模失业,破产和赤贫的漩涡。

这是正在发生的事情的真实画面。贫穷无处不在。与此同时,饥荒在第三世界国家(更接近该国)爆发

“数百万绝望的美国人正在等待大众的慈善”

“在过去的一周中,美国各地的食品银行和失业办公室已经形成了数千英里的边界。”

 

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Fake Coronavirus Data, Fear Campaign. Spread of the COVID-19 Infection

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, April 25, 2020

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First published on April 16, 2020

There is a serious health crisis which must be duly resolved. But there is another important dimension which has to be addressed. 

Millions of people have lost their jobs, and their lifelong savings. In developing countries, poverty and despair prevail. 

While the lockdown is presented to public opinion as  the sole means to resolving a global public health crisis,  its devastating economic and social impacts are casually ignored.  

The entire World has been precipitated into a spiral of  mass unemployment, bankruptcy and extreme poverty. 

VIDEO: Coronavirus: Economic and Social Collapse: Mass Unemployment, Bankruptcy, Poverty and Despair

Summarized Timeline  

(For Complete Analysis and Timeline click Here)

October 18, Event 201. New York. Coronavirus nCoV-2019 Simulation and Emergency Preparedness Task Force, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health Security.  Big Pharma-Big Money Simulation Exercise sponsored by WEF and Gates Foundation 

Simulation Exercise of a coronavirus epidemic which results in 65 million dead. Supported by the World Economic Forum (WEF) representing the interests of Financial institutions, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation representing Big Pharma.

January 1, 2020: Chinese health authorities close the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market after Western media reports that wild animals sold there may have been the source of the virus. This initial assessment was subsequently refuted by Chinese scientists.

January 7, 2020: Chinese authorities “identify a new type of virus” which was isolated  on 7 January. The coronavirus was named 2019-nCoV by the WHO exactly the same name as that adopted in the WEF-Gates-John Hopkins October 18, 2019 simulation exercise. 

January 21-24, 2020: Consultations at the World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland under auspices of  the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) for development of a vaccine program. CEPI is a WEF-Gates partnership. With support from CIPI, Seattle based Moderna will manufacture an mRNA vaccine against 2019-nCoV, “The Vaccine Research Center (VRC) of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of NIH, collaborated with Moderna to design the vaccine.”

January  30, 2020Geneva: WHO Director General determines that the outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). This decision was taken on the basis of 150 confirmed cases outside China, First case of person to person transmission in US is reported, 6 cases in the US, 3 cases in Canada, 2 in the UK.

The WHO Director General had the backing of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Big Pharma and the World Economic Forum (WEF). There are indications that the decision for the WHO to declare a Global Emergency was taken on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos (January 21-24) overlapping with the Geneva January 22 meeting of the Emergency Committee.

Both WHO’s Director Tedros as well as Bill Gates were present at Davos 2020. Bill Gates announced the Gates Foundation’s $10 billion commitment to vaccines over the next 10 years.

January 30, 2020 The Simulation Exercise Went Live. The same corporate interests and foundations which were involved in the October 18 John Hopkins Simulation Exercise became REAL ACTORS involved in providing their support to the implementation of the WHO Public Health emergency (PHEIC).

January 31, 2020 – One day later following the launch of WHO Global Emergency, The Trump administration announced that it will deny entry to foreign nationals “who have traveled in China in the last 14 days”. This immediately triggers a crisis in air transportation, China-US trade as well as the tourism industry, leading to substantial bankruptcies, not to mention unemployment.

Immediately triggers a campaign against ethnic Chinese throughout the Western World.

Early February: the acronym of the coronavirus was changed from nCoV- 2019 (its name under the October Event 201 John Hopkins Simulation Exercise before it was identified in early January 2020) to COVID-19.

February 28, 2020: A massive WHO vaccination campaign was announced by WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus  

Late February 2020. Collapse of the stock markets, surge in the value of the stocks of Big Pharma.

Early March devastating consequences for the tourist industry Worldwide.

February 24:  Moderna Inc supported by CIPI  announced  that it experimental mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, known as mRNA-1273, was ready for human testing.

Late February 2020. Second wave of transmission of the virus (Worldwide) to a large number of countries.

Late February – Early March: China: More than 50% of the infected patients recover and are discharged from the hospitals. March 3, a total of 49,856 patients have recovered from COVID-19 and were discharged from hospitals in China.

March 7: USA: The number of “confirmed cases” (infected and recovered) in the United States in early March is of the order of 430, rising to about 6oo (March 8). Rapid rise in the course of March.

Compare that to the figures pertaining to the Influenza B Virus: The CDC estimates for 2019-2020 “at least 15 million virus flu illnesses… 140,000 hospitalizations and 8,200 deaths. (The Hill)

Early March:  IMF and World Bank To the Rescue 

The WHO Director General advises member countries that “the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have both made funds available to stabilize health systems and mitigate the economic consequences of the epidemic”. That is the proposed neoliberal  “solution” to COVID-19. The World Bank has committed $12billion in so-called “aid” which will contribute to building up the external debt of developing countries.

March 7:  China: The Pandemic is Almost Over

Reported new cases in China fall to double digit. 99 cases recorded on March 7.  All of the new cases outside Hubei province are categorized as  “imported infections”(from foreign countries).

March 10-11, 2020: Italy declares a lockdown, followed by several other countries of the EU.  Deployment of 30,000 US troops in the EU as part of the “Defend Europe 2020” war games directed against Russia.

March 11, 2020: the Director General of the WHO officially declares the COV-19 Pandemic. Bear in mind the global health emergency was declared on January 3oth without stating officially the existence of a pandemic outside Mainland China.

March 11:  Trump orders the suspension for 30 days of all transatlantic flights from countries of the European Union, with the exception of Britain. Coincides with the collapse of airline stocks and a new wave of financial instability. Devastating impacts on the tourist industry in Western Europe.

March 16: Moderna  mRNA-1273 is tested in several stages with 45 volunteers in Seattle, Washington State. The vaccine program started in early February:

“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.” (AP, March 16, 2020)

March 21, 2020: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo while addressing the American people from the White House stated that COVID-19 is a live military exercise.

This is not about retribution, … This matter is going forward — we are in a live exercise here to get this right.”

With a disgusted look on his face, President Trump replied: “You should have let us know.”

April 8, 2020: Mounting fear campaign led by Western media. Very rapid increase in so-called “confirmed cases”. “1,282,931 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 72,776 deaths, reported to WHO” (April 8). Mounting doubts on the reported “confirmed cases” of COVID-19. Failures of the CDC’s categorization and statistical estimates.

March- April: Planet Lockdown. Devastating economic and social consequences. The economic and social impacts far exceed those attributed to the coronavirus. Cited below are selected examples of  a global process: 

  • Massive job losses and layoffs in the US, with more than 10 million workers filing claims for unemployment benefits.
  • In India,  a 21 days lockdown has triggered a wave of famine and despair affecting millions of homeless migrant workers all over the country. No lockdown for the homeless: “too poor to afford a meal”.  
  • The impoverishment in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa is beyond description. For large sectors of the urban population, household income has literally been wiped out.
  • In Italy, the destabilization of the tourist industry has resulted in bankruptcies and rising unemployment. 
  • In many countries, citizens are the object of police violence. Five people involved in protests against the lockdown were killed by police in Kenya and South Africa.

 

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特朗普认为冠状病毒是“中国制造的”。而中国威胁着美国。

美国总统希望美国人相信冠状病毒大流行带有“中国制造”的标签。

Mike Pompeo将其称为“武汉冠状病毒”。

“大谎言”始于1月30日,当时世卫组织总干事在强大的美国经济利益的压力下宣布发生全球性公共卫生突发事件,中国境外只有150例(经世卫组织确认),在美国只有6例。这被称为大流行病。

“假媒体”立即受到关注。中国被认为对全球的“传播感染”负有责任。

在第二天(2020年1月31日),特朗普宣布他将拒绝“过去14天来中国旅行的中国人和外国人”入境美国。这立即引发了航空旅行,运输,中美商业关系以及货运和海运交易的危机。

虽然冠以“中国制造”的冠状病毒标签,但潜意识的目标是使中国经济屈服。

这是一场“经济战”,它不仅损害了中国的经济,而且损害了大多数西方国家(美国的盟国)的经济,导致了破产浪潮,更不用说失业,旅游业,关闭学校等

而且,截至2月初,特朗普的“中国制造”冠状病毒标签几乎立即引发了针对整个西方世界的华人运动。

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Coronavirus COVID-19: “Made in China” or “Made in America”? 

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, March 14, 2020

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In the wake of the lockdown: Bankruptcies and mass unemployment, the economic destabilization of entire countries. 

Millions of people have lost their jobs, and their lifelong savings. They are unable to pay their home mortgages.

In developing countries, poverty and despair prevail.

The political implications are far-reaching. The lockdown undermines real democracy. 

It would be naive to believe that the financial crisis was solely the result of spontaneous market forces. It was carefully engineered.

The coronavirus continues to provide a camouflage. Fear and panic (generated profusely by the corporate media) create “favorable conditions” for “institutional speculators”, many of whom had detailed foreknowledge of the WHO decision to launch a Global Public Health Emergency on January 30th, at a time when there were only 150 “confirmed cases” outside China.

The collapse of stock markets has resulted in one of the most important transfers in money wealth in modern history, yet to be firmly established.

The Coronavirus is not the cause of financial collapse. What prevails is an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty which enables powerful financial interests to manipulate the stock market and consolidate their financial positions.  There is evidence that “corporate insiders sold off billions of dollars worth of shares in their own companies just before the stock market imploded.”

This crisis has led to an unprecedented concentration of money wealth.

In early February, roughly $6 trillion were wiped off the value of stock markets Worldwide. Massive losses of personal savings (e.g. of average Americans) are ongoing not to mention corporate failures and bankruptcies.

Each time Trump opens his mouth, or blames the Chinese on twitter, the stock markets respond. Those who have inside information or foreknowledge of US policy decisions will make a bundle of money.

Behind the global public health emergency, there are powerful economic interests: Wall Street, Big Pharma, the Washington Consensus, Corporate Charities and Foundations, the IMF, World Bank, et al. They met on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on January 21-24, one week prior to the launching of the WHO global public health emergency.

The “international community” is calling for economic recovery. How will it be instrumented? So-called “corporate bailouts” i.e. “handouts” for banks, major corporations including airlines are contemplated.

One trillion promised by the US Federal Reserve, another trillion by the European Central Bank (ECB) now headed by Christine Lagarde.

“We have a responsibility to recover better” than after the financial crisis in 2008, said UN secretary general António Guterres:

“We have a framework for action – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. We must keep our promises for people and planet.”

That so-called “promise” is meant to promote “Green Bonds”, a multibillion investment project sponsored by the Rockefellers among others, the objective of which is to “redirect pension plans and mutual funds towards green projects.”

For Big Money in America and Western Europe it’s “hand-outs”. For Big Pharma, the multibillion dollar global vaccination program will be funded by debt.

“Developing countries”

And what happens to the so-called “developing countries” most of which are indebted up to their ears.

The process of impoverishment in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa is beyond description. In large cities, informal urban sector workers are self-employed, paid on a daily basis, Others are paid on a weekly basis. What this means is that for large sectors of the urban population, household income has literally been wiped out.

In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a 21 days lockdown which has resulted in an immediate spiral of unemployment coupled with famine, despair and disease:

“The only way to save ourselves from coronavirus is if we don’t leave our homes, whatever happens, we stay at home…” said Modi.

This statement was accompanied with outright threats: “If we are not able to manage the next 21 days, then many families will be destroyed forever.” Diabolical statement by a “democratically elected” head of government.

At the time of Modi’s announcement (March 20), India had 482 cases of the coronavirus and 10 deaths (India’s total population: 1.37 billion). Forget COVID-19? In India, an estimated 37, 500 children under five die on a daily basis. And that figure will increase under the 21 days lockdown (2015 estimate, The Lancet)

My message to PM Modi, “You are killing India’s children”.

Third World Debt Overhang 

The debt overhang in developing countries is in the trillions.

It’s a debt driven agenda directed against developing countries which are already heavily indebted: new loans to pay back “bad debts”. It is a “safety net” for both the Western creditors and the Big Pharma conglomerates involved in the multibillion global vaccination project.

Real debt cancellation is not contemplated.

A rescue package for the heavily indebted developing countries has been announced. In early March, the IMF Managing Director together with the World Bank Group President held a joint press conference. A lot of humanitarian rhetoric.

The magic number: “We rely on $1 trillion in overall lending capacity.” (IMF M-D Georgieva)

At first sight this appears to be “generous”, a lot money. It encourages corruption at the highest levels of government. But ultimately it’s what we might call “fictitious money”, what it means is

“We will lend you the money and with the money we lend you, you will pay us back”.(paraphrase).

It is equivalent to usury.

The unspoken truth is that this one trillion dollars ++ is intended to drive up the external debt. And then the Western creditors will impose massive economic reforms including privatization of health and education, freeze on wages, etc. That’s the neoliberal solution applied at a global level: No real economic recovery, more poverty and unemployment Worldwide.

The IMF is explicit. In one of its lending windows, the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust, which applies to pandemics, generously “provides grants for debt relief to our poorest and most vulnerable members.” Nonsensical statement, it is there to replenish the coffers of the creditors, the money is allocated to debt servicing.

“For low-income countries and for emerging middle-income countries we have … up to $50 billion that does not require a full-fledged IMF program.”

No conditions on how you spend the money. But this money increases the debt stock and requires  reimbursement. The countries are already in a straight-jacket. The more you lend, the more you squeeze the developing countries into political compliance. And ultimately that is the objective of the failing American Empire.

“the World Bank Group Board announced a $12-billion package … to provide a fast, flexible response, … to reduce the transmission of the pathogens. (supplies, equipment, medication, etc. vaccination?)”

The financing of the vaccination program is not explicitly mentioned. Most probably loans for the vaccination program will be announced at a later date.

Economically Advanced “Developed Countries”

For EU member countries, a debt driven recovery of bankrupt national economies is in the pipeline.

Without significant debt relief or cancellation, what can we expect in the wake of the lockdown?

A process of outright “Thirdworldisation” of the “advanced” European countries?

If this program is accepted by the EU member states: Real wages will plummet, the Welfare State which developed in the post war era will be scrapped. Social services will be privatized. Assets will be sold off to pay back the debt.

Millions of small and medium sized enterprises including family farms and urban services, tourism, etc are affected. The 2015 “Greek model” of brutal debt restructuring (or worse) could be applied to Italy and Spain…

We have provided a brief summary of a complex process. Negotiations with the creditors are ongoing in the course of the lockdown.

While panic and fear prevail with regard to COVID-19, these are the potential impacts of  what we might describe as “Dirty Economic Medicine”.

People across the land, nationally and internationally in solidarity must understand what is happening.

In the wake of the lockdown: what is the economic and social aftermath of this crisis?

It is crucial that this “Neoliberal Solution” to the crisis which consists in building up the debt be forcefully rejected.

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Bill Gates — who invests in the same industries he gives charitable donations to, and who promotes a global public health agenda that benefits the companies he’s invested in — has gone on record saying life will not go back to normal until we have the ability to vaccinate the entire global population against COVID-19.1

To that end, he is pushing for disease surveillance and a vaccine tracking system2 that might involve embedding vaccination records on our bodies. One example of how this might be done is using an invisible ink quantum dot tattoo, described in a December 18, 2019, Science Translational Medicine paper.3,4

According to statements made by Gates, societal and financial normalcy may never return to those who refuse vaccination, as the digital vaccination certificate Gates is pushing for might ultimately be required to go about your day-to-day life and business. Without this “digital immunity proof,” you may not even be allowed to travel locally or visit certain public buildings.

Gates has a history of “predicting” global pandemics with vast numbers of deaths,5 and with his call for a tracking system to keep tabs on infected/noninfected and vaccinated/unvaccinated individuals, he’s ensuring an unimaginably profitable future for the vaccine makers he supports and makes money from via his Foundation investments.

Along with Gates, The Rockefeller Foundation is also coordinating efforts in the direction of social control through the implementation of draconian COVID-19 tracking and tracing measures that are clearly meant to become permanent.

National COVID-19 Testing Action Plan

April 21, 2020, The Rockefeller Foundation released a white paper6 titled, “National COVID-19 Testing Action Plan — Strategic Steps to Reopen Our Workplaces and Our Communities.” In the foreword, Rockefeller Foundation president Dr. Rajiv J. Shah writes:

“In the face of an ineffective nationally-coordinated response, insufficient data, and inadequate amounts of protective gear and testing, we need an exit plan. Testing is our way out of this crisis.

Instead of ricocheting between an unsustainable shutdown and a dangerous, uncertain return to normalcy, the United States must mount a sustainable strategy with better tests and contact tracing, and stay the course for as long as it takes to develop a vaccine or cure.

Any plan to do so must win the faith of private and public sector leaders across the country, and of individual Americans that they and their loved ones will be safer when we begin to return to daily life.

The Rockefeller Foundation exists to meet moments like this. In the past two weeks we have brought together experts and leaders from science, industry, academia, public policy, and government — across sectors and political ideologies — to create a clear, pragmatic, data-driven, actionable plan to beat back Covid-19 and get Americans back to work more safely.”

The plan calls for testing and tracing 1 million Americans per week to start, incrementally ramping it up to 3 million and then 30 million per week (the “1-3-30 plan”) over the next six months until the entire population has been covered.

Test results would then be collected on a digital platform capable of tracking all tested individuals so that contact-tracing can be performed when someone tests positive. According to the “National COVID-19 Testing Action Plan”:

“Policy makers and the public must find the balance between privacy concerns and infection control to allow the infection status of most Americans to be accessed and validated in a few required settings and many voluntary ones.”

To this end, they suggest using incentives “to nudge the voluntary use” of tracking and contact tracing apps rather than making them mandatory. They also call for the use of “innovative digital technologies” aimed at improving “workforce monitoring and early detection of recurrent outbreaks.”

When integrated into national and state surveillance systems, such innovations may enable the same level of outbreak detection with fewer tests.

Promising techniques include anonymous digital tracking of workforces or population-based resting heart-rate and smart thermometer trends; continually updated epidemiological data modeling; and artificial intelligence projections based on clinical and imaging data,” the document states.7

Modern ‘Wartime’ Effort That Will Cost Billions

According to the “National COVID-19 Testing Action Plan”:8

“Monitoring the pandemic and adjusting social distancing measures will require launching the largest public health testing program in American history … The effort will ultimately grow to billions of dollars per month … But with widespread business closures costing the country $350 billion to $400 billion each month, the expense will be worth it.

This testing infrastructure is intended to tide the country over until a vaccine or therapy is widely available.

Coordination of such a massive program should be treated as a wartime effort, with a public/private bipartisan Pandemic Testing Board established to assist and serve as a bridge between local, state, and federal officials with the logistical, investment and political challenges this operation will inevitably face.”

Don’t Be Naïve About Infectious Tracking Plan

Call me jaded, but this sounds like a plan to surveil Americans so that they can easily be tracked down for mandatory vaccination once a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available. It also creates the necessary infrastructure for vaccination tracking across the board, for all vaccines.

While they give lip-service to privacy and anonymization of data, privacy promises have been repeatedly broken in the past. Besides, the document clearly states that:9

Some privacy concerns must be set aside for an infectious agent as virulent as Covid-19, allowing the infection status of most Americans to be accessed and validated in a few required settings and many voluntary ones.

The loss of privacy engendered by such a system would come at too high of a price if the arrival of a vaccine early next year was a certainty. But vaccine development and manufacture could take years, and when it comes certain populations may be excluded from receiving it for health reasons.

In the meantime, infection status must be known for people to participate in many societal functions. Legislation protecting people from being fired over infection status must be passed.

Those screened must be given a unique patient identification number that would link to information about a patient’s viral, antibody and eventually vaccine status under a system that could easily handshake with other systems to speed the return of normal societal functions.

Schools could link this to attendance lists, large office buildings to employee ID cards, TSA to passenger lists and concert and sports venues to ticket purchasers. Such connections should be made in a way that protects personally identifying information whenever possible … Whenever and wherever possible data should be open.”

patient identification number

Are You Ready to Give Up EVERYTHING Over a Virus?

“Privacy concerns must be set aside.” Infection status must be “accessed and validated in a few required settings.”

Infection status will be linked to schools, office buildings, places of work, airports, concert and sport venues — in other words, most areas people need or want to frequent, if not daily, then at least occasionally. Infection status must be known “for people to participate in societal functions.” Legislation must be passed to protect people from being fired from their jobs based on their infection status. Are you concerned yet?

Anyone who remembers the tactics employed in Nazi Germany, or anyone familiar with the current surveillance of the Chinese population, will realize where this is headed.

Reading through the plan, it should also be crystal clear that this tracking and surveillance program is not designed to be temporary. You can be strongly assured this will be permanent. It calls for hundreds of thousands of new employees, updating computer systems and new laws that in many ways resemble the implementation of TSA post-9/11.

Not addressed in this report is the question of just how often would you have to undergo testing. A negative test today may not be valid tomorrow, if you happen to come across someone who is infected between now and then. Would you have to undergo testing every single day? Once a week?

If regular retesting is not part of the plan, then the whole system is worthless as your infection status could change at any time.

Other questions not addressed: If you happen to be in the vicinity of someone who tests positive in the near future, would you have to quarantine for two weeks? Will your employer pay for that time off? Will you have a job when you come out of quarantine?

What if you quarantine for two weeks but don’t get sick and test negative for antibodies, then go out and happen across yet another person who ends up testing positive shortly thereafter. Will you be forced into quarantine again? Where does it end?

The tracking system The Rockefeller Foundation is calling for is eerily similar to that already being used in China, where residents are required to enroll in a health condition registry. Once enrolled, they get a personal QR code, which they must then enter in order to gain access to grocery stores and other facilities.10

The plan also demands access to other medical data. According to the “National COVID-19 Testing Action Plan”:11

“This infection database must easily interoperate with doctor, hospital and insurance health records in an essential and urgent national program to finally rationalize the disparate and sometimes deliberately isolated electronic medical records systems across the country …

Unfortunately, obtaining the necessary clinical data to bring these powerful analytic tools to bear has been difficult due to information-blocking tactics of electronic health records (EHR) vendors. Among the longtime tactics used by such vendors has been charging unreasonable fees for data access, requiring providers to sign restrictive contracts, and claiming patients’ clinical data is proprietary.

On March 9, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released two long-awaited final rules that would prohibit information blocking in health care and advance more seamless exchange of health care data. But publication in the Federal Register, necessary to activate the rules, has been inexplicably delayed. This delay must end.”

In other words, this plan is far more comprehensive than merely tracking COVID-19 cases. It’s designed to replace the current system of “disparate and sometimes deliberately isolated electronic medical records systems across the country.”

ID2020

While The Rockefeller Foundation’s white paper simply calls for the use of a digital “patient identification number” without indicating exactly how you would carry this ID number on your person, Gates has repeatedly talked about the “need” for some sort of implantable vaccine certificate.

In 1999, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donated $750 million to set up Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance.12 Gavi, in turn, has partnered with the ID2020 Alliance, along with the Bangladeshi government, to launch a digital identity program called ID2020.13

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also funded the GSMA Inclusive Tech Lab, launched in 2019, the aim of which is to promote access to digital and biometric identity services and systems.14,15

ID2020, which also launched in 2019, is designed to “leverage immunization as an opportunity to establish digital identity.” This digital identity system is said to carry “far-reaching implications for individuals’ access to services and livelihoods,” so to think that Gates’ call for implantable COVID-19 vaccine certificates would be limited to that alone would again be a grave mistake.

Like The Rockefeller Foundation, Gates is not presenting short-term, temporary measures. They’re both aiming to implement a Worldwide control system. It’s not so far-fetched to imagine a future in which your vaccine certificate or “unique patient ID number” replaces personal identifications such as your driver’s license, state ID card, Social Security card and passport, and is tied not only to your medical records in total, but also your finances.

I remain confident that it would be a tragic mistake to trust Gates, Rockefeller, Google or any of the other players that are being brought before us as the saviors of the day. While most people are well-acquainted with the Rockefeller name, few probably know the true history of the Rockefellers’ rise to power. If you fall in this category, be sure to read “How the Oil Industry Conquered Medicine, Finance and Agriculture,” which features an excellent video report by James Corbett.

Those who are ignorant of history are bound to repeat it, and if the Rockefeller story tells us anything, it is that unless we realize what has been done, we’ll be deceived again and again, because the oil oligarchy’s end game is yet to be realized — if we let them.

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Notes

1 GatesNotes April 30, 2020

2 Forbes March 18, 2020

3 Science Translational Medicine December 18, 2019; 11(523): eaay7162

4 Scientific American December 18, 2019

5 Business Insider April 2018

6, 7, 8, 9, 11 The Rockefeller Foundation, National COVID-19 Testing Action Plan — Strategic Steps to Reopen Our Workplaces and Our Communities, April 21, 2020 (PDF)

10 Berggruen Institute March 6, 2020

12 Gavi.org, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

13 Biometric Update September 20, 2019

14 Biometricupdate.com October 11, 2019

15 Old Thinker News April 12, 2020

Israel Perfecting Surveillance Tech

May 15th, 2020 by Philip Giraldi

Israel’s external spy organization Mossad and its internal espionage equivalent Shin Bet have reputations that are much larger than their actual successes, but the one area where they have excelled is electronic intelligence gathering. Recent electronic spying around the White House and other federal buildings in Washington carried out by the Israeli Embassy demonstrates that Israel does not differentiate much between friends and enemies when it conducts espionage. In fact, spying targeting the U.S. is probably its number one priority due to the fact that the Jewish state is so heavily dependent on American support that it feels compelled to learn what discussions relating to it are taking place behind closed doors.

Israeli penetration of U.S. telecommunications began in the 1990s, when American companies like AT&T and Verizon, the chief conduits of the National Security Agency (NSA) for communications surveillance, began to use Israeli-produced hardware, particularly for law enforcement-related surveillance and clandestine recording. The devices had a so-called back door, which meant that everything they did was shared with Israel. Israeli cyber-specialists even broke into classified networks with the NSA and FBI aware of what was going on but unwilling to confront “America’s best ally.” President Bill Clinton once quipped to Monica Lewinski that they should avoid using the Oval Office phone because someone might be listening in. He was referring to Israel.

To be sure, the Jewish state’s high-tech sector has been much assisted in its effort by “own goals” provided by the United States, which allows Israel to bid on government contracts relating to national security, virtually guaranteeing that any technical innovations will be stolen and re-exported by Israeli high-tech companies. Major technology innovators like Intel, which works with the NSA, have set up shop in Israel and have publicly stated, “We think of ourselves as an Israeli company as much as a U.S. company.” Vulture capitalist Zionist billionaire Paul Singer has recently been accused of steering highly paid U.S. tech sector jobs to Israel, jobs that are lost to the American economy forever.

So, Israel is a leader in using electronic resources to carry out espionage and collect information on various targets of interest. Israel is also an innovator, and its close relationship with the U.S. intelligence community (IC), most particularly the NSA, means that technologies and procedures developed by the Jewish state will inevitably show up in America.

The U.S. is in any event working hard on its own tools for managing the public, spurred by Covid-19 hysteria. Special ID cards could help track the health status of individuals. This status would be recorded and updated on a chip readable by government scanners that, by some accounts, might be either carried or even permanently embedded in everyone’s body. Another plan being promoted in a joint venture by Apple and Google that appears to have White House support involves “add[ing] technology to their smartphone platforms that will alert users if they have come into contact with a person with Covid-19. People must opt into the system, but it has the potential to monitor about a third of the world’s population” with monitoring done by central computers. Once the legal principle is established that phones can be manipulated to do what is now an “illegal search,” there are no technical or practical limits to what other tasks could also be performed.

Developments in Israel

With those steps being taken to control the movements of possibly infected citizens in mind, some recent developments in Israel are, to put it mildly, ominous. The Jewish state is currently achieving multi-level 24/7 surveillance of everyone residing in the country conducted in real time. Investigative reporter and peace activist Richard Silverstein describes in some detail why it is happening now, what it means, and how it works.

Per Silverstein, Israel, like every other authoritarian state, is currently taking advantage of the distraction caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose political fortunes seemed to be on the wane due to three hung elections, exploited the fear of the virus to assume emergency powers and obtain Knesset approval to use a highly classified national database “compiled by the Shin Bet and comprising private personal data on every Israeli citizen, both Jewish and Palestinian. In the aftermath of 9/11, Israel’s Knesset secretly assigned its domestic intelligence agency the task of creating the database, which was ostensibly meant as a counterterrorism measure.”

The database, nicknamed “The Tool,” includes names, addresses, phone numbers, employment, and educational information but it goes well beyond that in using phone tracking data to record every phone call made by the individual to include names and numbers of those called and the geo-location of where the call was made from. Phone tracking also enabled Shin Bet to create a log of where the caller traveled in Israel and the occupied territories. Internet use, if active on the phone, was also recorded. It is as complete and total surveillance of an individual as is possible to obtain and it does not involve any human participation at all, every bit of it being done by computer.

Netanyahu publicly proclaimed his intention to use the database, stating that it would be employed to combat the coronavirus, which he described as a threat to national survival. As a result of the claimed crisis, he and his principal opponent, Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, were able to come to terms on April 20 to form a “national emergency unity government” with Netanyahu as prime minister yet again.

The exploitation of the fear of the virus plus that revelation about Israel’s powerful technical tool to thwart it produced a victory for Netanyahu, who effectively portrayed himself as a strong and indispensable leader, erasing the stigma resulting from his pending trial on charges of massive corruption while in office. One of the first steps Netanyahu will reportedly take is to replace the attorney general and state prosecutor who were seeking to send him to prison, effectively taking away the threat that he might go to prison.

The exposure of the existence of the database inevitably led to charges that Netanyahu had, for personal gain, revealed Israel’s most powerful counterterrorism weapon. There were also concerns about the significance of the huge body of personal information collected by Shin Bet, to include suggestions that it constituted a gross violation of civil liberties. But carefully stoked fear of the virus combined with some political deals and maneuvers meant that use of the data was eventually approved by the Knesset security committee at the end of March.

Israel, which has closed its borders, and which still has a relatively low level of coronavirus infections and deaths, has already started using the Shin Bet database while also turning the attempts to deal with the disease as something like an intelligence war. The information obtained from “The Tool” enables the police and military to determine if someone were standing near someone else for more than a few minutes. If the contact included someone already infected, all parties are placed under quarantine. Any attempt to evade controls leads to arrest and punishment of a six-month prison term plus a $1,500 fine. Armed soldiers patrolling the streets are empowered to question anyone who is out and about.

Mossad is also involved in fighting the virus, boasting of having “stolen” 100,000 face masks and also respirators from a neighboring country presumed to be the United Arab Emirates. Silverstein observes that “Israel’s far-right government has militarized the contagion. Just as a hammer never met a nail it didn’t want to pound, it is only natural for a national security state like Israel to see Covid-19 as a security threat just as much or more than a health threat.” And when it comes to bioweapons, Israel is no parvenu. Ironically, the hidden story behind the “war on the coronavirus” is that Israel is itself one of the most advanced states in developing and testing biological weapons at its lab at Nes Tziona.

Returning to the emergence of “The Tool,” hardline Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has also suggested monetizing the product by selling a “civilian version of it,” to include its operating system, analytic capabilities, and setup details to foreign countries, including the United States. Israel has already successfully marketed to security agencies and governments a similar product called Pegasus, which has been described as the most sophisticated malware on the market.

Like The Tool, Pegasus does data mining and real-time analysis of individuals based on a range of collection techniques. The Israeli cyber company NSO Group that markets Pegasus was recently involved in an attempt to hack Facebook-owned secure communications system Whats-App, targeting journalists and political activists, on behalf of an unknown client. Ironically, it is believed that Facebook had earlier used NSO Group’s somewhat shadowy services. Perhaps more notoriously, Pegasus was also used to monitor contacts and establish physical location in the case of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered by Saudi intelligence agents in Istanbul.

So, Americans should beware when confronted by the new cyber-security software being promoted by Israel because the Jewish state is also exporting its own vision of a centrally controlled militarized state where all rights are potentially sacrificed for security. As whistleblower Edward Snowden has already revealed, the NSA has the capability to collect vast amounts of information on citizens. If the United States government falls for the bait and moves in the Israeli direction, using that data to enable the surveillance and manage all the people all the time, the temptation will be great to employ the new capability even if its use is not strictly speaking warranted.

And there will be no one there to say nay to the new powers, not in Congress, on the Supreme Court or in the White House. And the media will be on board, too, arguing that security against external and internal threats requires some infringements of individual rights. It is one of the ironies of history that the United States of America, with its vast resources, large population and legacy of individual freedom, has been becoming more like its tiny militarized client state Israel. It is a tendency that must be resisted at all costs by every American who cares about fundamental liberties.

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This article was originally published on American Free Press.

Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. His other articles appear on the website of “The Unz Review.”

Featured image is from American Free Press

Details of the failed armed mercenary incursion on Venezuela are surfacing daily thanks to the prompt public information system from Venezuela and scant corporate media reports. The so-called Operation Gideon took off from Colombia on May 3 and was effectively disbanded a few hours later by the prompt action of the Bolivarian National Armed Force (FANB) and the Bolivarian National Police’s Special Actions Force (FAES) with substantial help from the civilian population that helped in the capture of mercenaries. At this point about 46 mercenaries, out of an estimated total of 60, have been captured. The search for the others is ongoing.

Thanks to the voluntary confessions by some of the mercenaries, whose statements were carefully matched with Venezuela’s intelligence work, the clear image of a network of key figures associated with the master plan is emerging. In the 44-minute long video of a media report Venezuelan Vice President of Communication, Tourism and Culture, Jorge Rodriguez gives full details about the network and the major actors involved. Despite denial of involvement by the Trump administration some links can credibly be made all the way to the White House.

Aside from the fact that, Jordan Goudreau, the owner of the US company Silvercorp contracted to carry out the incursion, is Canadian-born and served in the Canadian military in the 1990s, there is no direct Canadian connection to the raid on Venezuela that we are aware of. At the time of writing there has been no official reference to the event as if did not happen. However, author Arnold August in a recent Canadian Dimension article asks the pertinent question, “Was Canada Unaware?” He offers an answer:

“One would have to be naive to believe that both the successive tweets by Champagne and Trudeau’s statement were not coordinated to reiterate the government’s support for Guaidó as self-declared interim president, and its tacit alignment with Duque and Trump’s regime change agenda.”

Further, in response to a direct request by Media Co-op for a statement about the raid, “Global Affairs Canada sent a short email stating ‘Canada is aware of reports of developments in Venezuela and is following the situation closely,’ and that ‘Canada is committed to working with its partners around the world to ensure a peaceful transition.’ “

That is not enough given the severity of the situation in the region. Canadians expect and deserve more clarity.

I would like to suggest that Canadians are misrepresented by the Trudeau government in light of serious consequences that stem from the Guaidó-Goudreau signed contract revealed by the Washington Post. Some implications have been reviewed. But two statements are particularly disturbing in my view as a Canadian that prompted me to raise specific questions to the Canadian government.

The first says, “Service Provider Advisors will advise and assist Partner Group in planning and executing an operation to capture/detain/remove Nicolas Maduro (heretoafter ‘Primary Objective’), remove the current Regime, and install the recognised Venezuelan President Juan Guaido.” (emphasis mine).

Upon reading that statement, I posted the following questions on a Facebook note to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne:

  • Is your government condoning removal of political opponents in other countries?
  • Is your government supporting the destabilisation of Venezuela?
  • Is your government supporting a coup in Venezuela that may cause hundreds of civilian deaths?
  • Is your government condoning political assassinations in other countries, like Venezuela?
  • Is your government aware that your protégé Juan Guaidó is not using a democratic process to attain power in his country but rather offers to pay multi million dollars in order to“capture/detain/remove President Nicolás Maduro”?

Let me ask again:

  • Does your government realise that Juan Guaidó has been plotting a coup and contracting out a foreign service to carry out a political assassination? Will you tell Canadians if you agree and explain why you support Juan Guaidó?

But there is a second disturbing paragraph in the contract that refers to a wider range of targets that are called “Declared Hostile Forces”, “these individuals and/or groups may be neutralized.” Those are:

  1. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP);
  2. The National Liberation Army (ELN);
  3. Hezbollah;
  4. Illegitimate Venezuelan Forces;
    1. Nicolas Maduro, his lieutenants, key associates, any armed supporters of Nicolas Maduro have been designated as a declared hostile force;
    2. Diosdado Cabello, his lieutenants and key associates have been designated as a declared hostile force;
  5. Drug Trafficking Organisations & Cartels; and,
  6. Armed and Violent Collectivos. [sic]

We cannot accept that a private mercenary army would attempt to “neutralize” any of those “individuals and/or groups” regardless of your position on them. Even under the slightest suspicion that the Trudeau government may be associated with an individual organising such actions, the Canadian government would try to distance itself from such an individual. A recent article by Scott Taylor in the Hill Times says precisely that, “Hopefully, Canada will cut its ties with Guaidó now that his true colours have been revealed. The Venezuelan people deserve better.”

Nevertheless, as a Canadian, I sent an e-mail to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with these questions:

  • Does your government consider that seizing power by force is constitutional?
  • How can your government justify its support for an individual in Venezuela who engages in a military action to gain access to power in the country?
  • Will your government issue an explanation to Canadians how Canadian values are enhanced by supporting such an individual and by recognising him as the legitimate interim president of Venezuela?
  • Will your government drop all pretensions of granting legitimacy to an individual like Juan Guaido – self appointed 16 months ago – and now engaged in the use of foreign military mercenary activities to gain power undemocratically?

The Canadian people deserve better and wait for an answer!

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) pressed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on whether or not there is a political bias at the social media giant.

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Like with the disastrous Iraq quagmire years before the US war machine came to Syria under Obama, Washington’s rationale and justification for occupying the Syrian Arab Republic has shifted and changed drastically multiple times over.

When ultimately what started as US covert regime change efforts targeting Assad failed (based ostensibly in “protecting civilians”), the official mission then conveniently switched to ‘defeating terrorism’ — though of course this meant turning on the very jihadists the US armed and trained in the first place. Then the Kurds became the proxy flavor of the month, which also happened to have control of all the major oil and gas fields in the country’s east (“secure the oil!” – Trump has repeatedly echoed of late).

When the Islamic State collapsed and became just another underground insurgency like its al Qaeda cousin, the ever-hawkish national security state establishment argued that Trump must not pull troops out because of ‘Iranian expansion’.

But now that the myth that somehow Assad and the Syrians just want to hand their sovereign country over to their allies the Iranians has also largely fallen away (remember that Baathist Syria is a secular Arab and multi-confessional state, while Iran is a hardline Shia Islamic theocracy), a new official – and it might be added, provocative – US administration rationale has been concocted.

Washington now says it’s all about defeating the Russians. While it’s not the first time this has been thrown around in policy circles (recall that a year after Russia’s 2015 entry into Syria at Assad’s invitation, former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell admitted in a TV interview he views that the US should be in the business of “killing Russians and Iranians covertly”).

And now the top US special envoy to region, James Jeffrey, has this to say on US troops in Syria:

“My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians.”

Ironically, Jeffrey’s official title has been Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL, but apparently the mission is now to essentially “give the Russians hell”.

His comments were made Tuesday during a video conference hosted by the neocon Hudson Institute:

Asked why the American public should tolerate US involvement in Syria, Special Envoy James Jeffrey points out the small US footprint in the fight against ISIS. “This isn’t Afghanistan. This isn’t Vietnam. This isn’t a quagmire. My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians.”

He also emphasized that the Syrian state would continue to be squeezed into submission as part of long-term US efforts (going back to at least 2011) to legitimize a Syria government in exile of sorts. This after the Trump administration recently piled new sanctions on Damascus.

As University of Oklahoma professor and expert on the region Joshua Landis summarized of Jeffrey’s remarks: “He pledged that the United States will continue to deny Syria – international funding, reconstruction, oil, banking, agriculture & recognition of government.”

But no doubt both Putin and Assad have understood Washington’s real proxy war interests all along, which is why last year Russia delivered it’s lethal S-300 into the hands of Assad (and amid constant Israeli attacks).

As for oil, currently Damascus is well supplied by the Iranians, eager to dump their stock in fuel-starved Syria amid the global glut. Trump has previously voiced that part of US troops “securing the oil fields” is to keep them out of the hands of Russia and Iran.

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Recall the CIA’s 2016 admission of what’s really going on in terms of US action in Syria:

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150115 Long War Cover hi-res finalv2 copy3.jpg

The Globalization of War: America’s “Long War” against Humanity

Michel Chossudovsky

The “globalization of war” is a hegemonic project. Major military and covert intelligence operations are being undertaken simultaneously in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and the Far East. The U.S. military agenda combines both major theater operations as well as covert actions geared towards destabilizing sovereign states.

ISBN Number: 978-0-9737147-6-0
Year: 2015
Pages: 240 Pages

List Price: $22.95

Special Price: $15.00

Click here to order.

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In “freedom and democracy” America there is only official truth, and it is a lie.  A person or website that speaks real truth is shunted aside as a “conspiracy theorist,” “Russian agent,” “racist,” “anti-semite,” or other such name with the purpose of discrediting the message and the messenger.  

For example, when I told the truth that Russiagate was a hoax, which it has proved to be, an anonymous website, possibly a CIA or NATO operation called “PropOrNot,” included this website among its fake list of 200 “Russian agents/dupes.”  The Washington Post, a believed long-time CIA asset, hyped the PropOrNot revelation as if it were the truth.  With “Russiagate” in full hype, the purpose was to scare readers away from those of us who were exposing the hoax.

When in a book review of one of David Irving’s World War II histories I reported his finding that many Jews were killed by Nazis, but that the holocaust that took place was different from the official story, Zionist agents at Wikipedia put into my biography that I am a “holocaust denier.”  Simply reporting a historian’s findings in a book review was all it took to be labeled with a name that in Europe can mean a prison sentence. Does this mean I cannot risk ever again traveling to Europe where Zionists on the basis of this spurious claim could have me arrested?

Because I investigated the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, interviewed many of the survivors, and reported the factual story, I was branded an “anti-semite.” 

Because I reported conclusions of scientists, architects, and engineers about 9/11, I became a “conspiracy theorist.”  In other words, in America today any dissent or merely the reporting of dissent, no matter how factual, is not tolerated.

The way those with agendas control the explanations is by shouting down those who provide objective accounts.  Social media is part of the censorship. Explanations out of step with official ones are labeled “abusive,” and in “violation of community standards.”  In other words, truth is unacceptble. Two weeks ago the Unz Review, a widely read website with dissenting views was kicked off of Facebook for being in violation of official opinion.  The same thing happened to Southfront.

Everyone who uses social media is by their use supporting censorship. Facebook imposes fascist censorship in order to protect official explanations.  The presstitutes and universities do the same.  In America truth has lost its value.

Even a public health threat like coronavirus is politicized.  One would think that there would be an interest in accurate information is order to know what steps to take and which treatments offer promise.  But that is not the case. If you are a Democrat you want the economy kept closed in hopes that a bad economy with people out of work and small businesses ruined will defeat Trump in the election.  If you are a Republican you want the economy reopened ready or not in order to boost Trump’s reelection chances.  Instead, attention should be focused on how to prepare for a successful reopening that can be sustained and not result in a flood of new cases and a second closedown as China has had to do.

If you are Big Pharma, NIH, CDC, or the research professionals dependent on grants from these sources, you want a vaccine, not a cure.  This means a long wait, assuming an effective and safe vaccine is possible.  If you are a doctor involved in treating Covid-19 patients, you want a cure or a treatment that prevents the progress of the disease.  The hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), zinc, and intravenous vitamin C treatments, which have proved to be effective, are  badmouthed by Big Pharma and its minions.  In other words, the profit agenda over-rides health care and the saving of lives.  There are reports that Facebook censures Covid-19 reporting that does not support the line that Dr. Fauci of NIH has taken. 

The FDA is clearing the way for Gilead’s Remdesivir on the back of claims that HCQ, in safe use for decades, causes heart attacks.  It is all about money.  There are no profits for Big Pharma or a chance for patents for Dr. Fauci unless inexpensive HCQ, zinc, and Vitamin C can be sidelined.  

The race for a vaccine is on as everyone wants the profits from the patent.  Instead, effort should go into testing and refining what appear to be cures or at least treatments that prevent the virus’ progression.  A vaccine might be iffy, and if the process is rushed people could be in danger from the vaccine as well as from the virus.  

Covid-19 is now a big business for the pharmaceutical corporations, for bankruptcy lawyers, for fat cats who can buy up bankrupted businesses, and for labor service providers who will hire laid-off workers and lease them back to the firms that laid them off for a fee less than the cost to the firms of full-time employees.  Many interests will be served but not that of the public.

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Dr. Paul Craig Roberts writes on his blog, PCR Institute for Political Economy, where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from TP

It is time for the United States to end its bipartisan blanket support for Israeli policies that violate the human rights of Palestinians. At this critical moment, where Israel has announced its intention to annex Israeli settlements on the West Bank with the support of the Trump administration, we must speak out and resist this blatant violation of international law and the right of Palestinians to self-government.

Friday, May 15 is the anniversary of the Nakba, which Palestinians commemorate as The Day of Catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were displaced from their own lands, homes, and businesses preceding and following the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948. Between 1947 and 1949, at least 750,000 Palestinians of a total Palestinian population of 1.9 million became refugees, 530 Palestinian villages and cities were destroyed and about 15,000 Palestinians were killed and 78 percent of Palestine was claimed by the State of Israel. Since 1967, Israel has militarily controlled the remaining 22% and expanded Jewish settlements into these occupied territories.

This year a new phase of land theft from the Palestinians is developing with the Israeli plan, backed by the Trump administration, to annex Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank to the State of Israel. This annexation is illegal under international law and opposed by all the members of the UN Security Council, except the United States. It is opposed nearly unanimously in the UN General Assembly and unanimously across the Palestinian political spectrum.

Democratic Party leaders nominally oppose the annexation, but the Biden wing refuses to call for measures to pressure Israel to drop its ambitions. Bernie Sanders has called for a cut-off of US military aid to Israel if the annexation goes forward, but Joe Biden along with other Democratic Party leaders have called Sanders’ position “outrageous.”

The new coalition of government led by a partnership between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Benny Gantz says it could announce the annexation plan to the Knesset after July. It may be timed to come right before or after the Republican Convention.

The United States should stop giving Israel blanket support no matter how much it violates Palestinian rights and expands the illegal settlements on Palestinian land.

The growth of illegal settlements and the annexation of Palestinian land, as well as Jewish-only roads and hundreds of checkpoints already dominating in the occupied West Bank, is making the two-state solution, supported by international law, increasingly untenable. The two-state solution calls for an independent State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel, west of the Jordan River, based on the pre-1967 borders. As a result of the constant expansion of Israeli settlements on the West Bank, Palestinians and pro-justice Israelis are increasingly turning to the one-democratic-state solution as the only just solution that is possible now.

The One Democratic State solution respects the multicultural character and the collective rights of the peoples living in the country, Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews among others. It calls for a constitutional democracy in which all citizens enjoy a common citizenship, a common government, and equal civil rights. Constitutional protection will prohibit laws that discriminate against any ethnic or religious community, which addresses the key concern Israeli Jews that their religious and cultural rights will be protected in a country in which they will be a minority.

Regarding the Gaza Strip, which has become a large open-air prison, the Israeli blockade of Gaza must be lifted so that food, construction equipment, and the essentials for healthcare and other humanitarian aid are allowed into the area. The repeated bombings by Israel of Gaza must come to an end. The 715,000 people of Gaza must be given democratic rights and their human rights protected.

The US should be putting pressure on Israel to change its policies by no longer providing Israel with political protection in the UN and no longer providing $3 billion in annual funding and military aid without any conditions that require Israel to respect Palestinian human rights and negotiate with the Palestinians for a just solution.

I support an escalating program of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) to put pressure on Israel to respect human rights and negotiate a just settlement, starting with cuts to US military aid to Israel, as called for by the Palestinian BDS National Committee with broad support across Palestinian society. I oppose laws in the United States that criminalize individuals and businesses that take their own BDS actions. These laws violate our constitutional rights to organize, speak out, and take political action.

If the US is going to play a positive role diplomatically in promoting a just solution, it has to end its unconditional support for Israel in whatever it chooses to do and instead become a neutral broker helping both sides to negotiate their differences. The political solution is up to the Palestinians and Israelis to negotiate because self-determination means they decide their solution, not us.

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Howie Hawkins is the leading candidate for the Green Party nomination for president. His website is HowieHawkins.US.

COVID-19:  Construir os empregos do futuro AGORA! 

May 15th, 2020 by Flávio Gonçalves

Reconstruir as economias depois da pandemia de COVID-19 parece ser uma tarefa impossível dado ao contrário do que sucede numa guerra convencional não há infra-estruturas a reconstruir, o que criaria emprego e relançaria a economia. Ou será esta a oportunidade para um Novo Pacto Verde realista?

 Não há danos na infra-estrutura

Tenho lido e ouvido compulsivamente todas as análises por parte das correntes de opinião dominantes na comunicação social tanto nacional como internacional sobre como poderíamos fazer ressuscitar a economia depois dos isolamentos causados pelo COVID-19 e todos parecem concordam num só ponto: estamos todos a comparar esta pandemia a uma guerra, mas não podemos aplicar medidas semelhantes ao Plano Marshall porque não se trata de uma guerra real, por isso não temos infra-estruturas que possamos reconstruir para criar emprego e relançar a economia.

Caso se tratasse de uma catástrofe mais terrena como um tsunami ou um terramoto, ameaças que historicamente têm afectado Portugal e as ilhas dos Açores, ainda podíamos aplicar a habitual fórmula que todos os Estados empregam para reduzir o desemprego e reforçar a economia: reconstruir as infra-estruturas danificadas, mas o COVID-19 sendo microscópico os danos que criou são muito menos palpáveis.

Há um par de dias tropecei num debate no Twitter com outras pessoas de esquerda e comecei a sugerir uma série de medidas que a meu ver podiam ser tomadas, o mês passado entrevistei a activista climática e autora Carmen Lima para a edição portuguesa do Pravda.ru e reparei que precisamos que sejam construídas muitas infra-estruturas caso alguma vez queiramos mesmo implementar mudanças de fundo que possam dar origem a uma economia e a um modo de vida que seja muito menos danoso para este planeta do que o actual modelo capitalista enlouquecido e quanto mais depressa se der essa mudança, melhor.

Concordamos que as guerras geopolíticas do futuro serão por recursos naturais como a água e o lítio, do mesmo modo que as guerras do século XX foram em grande parte pelo petróleo necessário para manter a economia dos Estados Unidos, tinha isso em mente quando entrei no debate, que sim, realmente não temos infra-estruturas para reconstruir, mas porque é que então não começamos a construir centrais de dessalinização, fábricas para produzir baterias de lítio, indústrias de plástico biodegradável, sistemas de redes fotovoltaicas, fábricas de hidrogénio, a velha fórmula “vamos fazer grandes obras públicas para criar emprego e restaurar a economia” só que numa vertente mais verde que criaria AGORA os novos empregos do futuro.

Um Novo Pacto Verde?

A reacção que recebi foi: portanto, um Novo Pacto Verde? Nunca foi propriamente grande entusiasta do Novo Pacto Verde se tornar em algo palpável no meu tempo de vida, achamos mesmo que as economias de orientação capitalista e os governos liberais vão adoptar tais medidas, reduzindo os lucros dos accionistas? Parecia-me tudo demasiado optimista, disparates da esquerda identitária, o tipo de Utopia vegan e ciclista que para mim não tinha qualquer apelo, quanto mais para a classe trabalhadora que está mais preocupada em chegar ao fim do mês com comida na mesa do que em ter de escolher produtos ecológicos caros e em pensar a longo prazo no futuro dos seus filhos.

Mas agora parece-me algo concretizável, precisamos de nos reindustrializar, os governos parecem estar finalmente dispostos a investir na criação de empregos em vez de se cingirem a resgatar os bancos e as grandes empresas multinacionais só para que estes nos mantenham vivos em empregos sem quaisquer perspectivas de futuro, com ordenados mínimos e uma dívida impagável crédito atrás de crédito, empréstimo atrás de empréstimo, então porque não aproveitar esta oportunidade para reindustrializar o país por via de um Novo Pacto Verde?

Podemos criar HOJE os empregos do futuro, não estaremos só a criar os habituais empregos na construção civil, teremos também que treinar equipas inteiras que possam operar todas estas fábricas novas tendo em vista uma economia com um Novo Pacto Verde, que limpe o ar, que extraia água potável do nosso oceano, que crie quintas biológicas, ferramentas solares, maquinaria eléctrica, transportes públicos ecológicos, iremos criar todo o tipo de empregos de produção e investigação país acima e abaixo, precisamos de mudanças e precisamos destas mais rapidamente do que a burocracia dos nossos governos as consegue concretizar, tudo isto me parecia impossível há um par de meses, com acordos climáticos que empurram as mais ínfimas mudanças como “objectivos” concretizar só daqui a décadas. Quando provavelmente já será demasiado tarde para terem qualquer efeito.

Esperança no pós-COVID-19

É que a maior parte dos activistas contra as alterações climáticas não conseguem fazer chegar à maior parte da classe trabalhadora que ao poluir estamos a criar as condições para a nossa própria extinção, o planeta consegue sobreviver a isto e restaurar a sua fauna e flora muito depois da humanidade se envenenar ou morrer de fome. E quando os guerreiros ecologistas conseguem fazer com que essa mensagem chegue a uns poucos membros da classe trabalhadora, a sua reacção é um mero: o ordenado só me dura uma semana depois de pagar as contas, a renda e a comida, a minha vida é horrível, sinto-me um miserável, que mal tem morrermos? Estou-me nas tintas…

As pessoas precisam mais de ordenados melhores do que de esperança, todos estes novos empregos industriais e técnicos verdes teriam que ser calculados de acordo com um Ordenado de Subsistência. Pela primeira vez desde sempre estou um tanto ou quanto optimista que os nossos governos podiam, caso tenham coragem para isso, construir um futuro melhor para todos nós por via de um Novo Pacto Verde que relançasse a economia e criasse empregos depois dos isolamentos do COVID-19.

Estou esperançoso, mas já sou demasiado velho para acreditar em utopias e em governos que se preocupem com o bem estar deste planeta e da população que nele vive, os milionários preferem investir em bunkers apocalípticos e em mansões fortaleza na Nova Zelândia para fugirem às massas famintas e depauperadas do mundo do que investirem para criar empregos verdes com ordenados altos, infelizmente só os governos poderão intervir e uma vez que não podem aplicar um novo Plano Marshall, o mínimo que podiam fazer era criar os empregos do futuro agora ao construir as infra-estruturas que um Novo Pacto Verde irá necessitar se alguma vez se concretizar.

Flávio Gonçalves

 

Flávio Gonçalves é membro do Conselho Consultivo do Movimento Internacional Lusófono, sócio fundador do Instituto de Altos Estudos em Geopolítica e Ciências Auxiliares, tradutor, revisor, autarca, crítico e difusor literário, editor da Libertaria.pt e colaborador dos Pravda.ru, Center for Global Research, Center for a Stateless Society, Conselho Português para a Paz e Cooperação, da campanha Tirem as Mãos da Venezuela e da coligação Tirem as Mãos da Síria, anima os blogues Autarcias, Livros à Mesa e Portugal for Bernie Sanders, pode segui-lo em @flagoncalv e contactá-lo pelos [email protected] ou via Apartado 6019, EC Bairro Novo, 2701-801 Amadora, Portugal

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Philip’s third interview with Ellen Brown focused on the Universal Basic Income, which Philip believes is the ONLY way out of the current economic crisis. The social distancing forced by the COVID-19 epidemic has shut down the country, and one-time stimulus payments are not enough.

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This interview was originally published on It’s the Empire Stupid.

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In the Race for Immunity, Sweden Leads the Pack

May 15th, 2020 by Mike Whitney

In a pandemic, there is no substitute for immunity, because immunity provides the best protection against reinfection. That’s why Sweden set its sights on immunity from the very beginning. They crafted a policy that was designed to protect the old and vulnerable, prevent the public health system from being overwhelmed, and, most important, allow younger, low-risk people to interact freely so they’d contract the virus and develop the antibodies they’d need to fight future infections. That was the plan and it worked like a charm. Now Sweden is just weeks away from achieving herd immunity (which means that future outbreaks will not be nearly as severe) while the lockdown nations– that are just now easing restrictions– face an excruciating uphill slog that may or may not succeed. Bottom line: Sweden analyzed the problem, figured out what to do, and did it. That’s why they are closing in on the finish line while most of the lockdown states are still stuck at Square 1.

As of this writing, none of the other nations have identified immunity as their primary objective which is why their orientation has been wrong from the get-go. You cannot achieve a goal that you have not identified. The current US strategy focuses on stringent containment procedures (shelter-in-place, self-isolation) most of which have little historical or scientific basis. The truth is, the Trump administration responded precipitously when the number of Covid-positive cases began to increase exponentially in the US. That paved the way for a lockdown policy that’s more the result of groupthink and flawed computer models than data-based analysis and nimble strategic planning. And the results speak for themselves. The 8-week lockdown is probably the biggest policy disaster in US history. Millions of jobs have been lost, thousands of small and mid-sized businesses will now face bankruptcy, and the future prospects for an entire generation of young people have been obliterated. The administration could have detonated multiple nuclear bombs in the country and done less damage than they have with their lunatic lockdown policy.

At present, 24 states have begun the process of reopening their economies. There is no uniform criteria for lifting restrictions, no standardized approach to opening one sector over the other, and no plan for dealing with the inevitable surge of new cases and deaths. It all looks like another disaster in the making but we’ll reserve judgement until the results are in. What we know for certain is that no one in the Trump administration gave the slightest thought to the problems that might arise from eventually lifting the restrictions. We know that because we know that there was no “exit strategy”, just make-it-up-on-the-fly and hope for the best.

In contrast, Sweden won’t need an exit strategy because it never shut down its economy or quarantined its people to begin with. So the transition to normal life and stepped-up economic activity is not going to be as difficult. That’s the benefit of strategic planning, it anticipates the problems one might encounter on the path one’s goal. Here’s a clip from an interview with Swedish an infectious disease clinician, Johan Giesecke, , who served as state epidemiologist of Sweden as well as Chief Scientist at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Giesecke helps explain why the Swedish approach is different. It’s a matter of perception as well as analysis:

“What we are seeing is a rather mild infection spreading around the globe. I think there is relatively little chance of stopping this whatever measures we take. Most people will become infected by this and most people won’t even notice. We have data now from Sweden that between 98 and 99% of the cases have had a very mild infection or didn’t even realize they were infected. So we have the spread of this mild disease around the globe and most of it is happening where we don’t see it because it happens among people who don’t get very sick and , spread it to someone else who doesn’t get very sick… What we looking at (with the official number of cases and deaths) is a thin layer at the top of people who do develop the disease and an even thinner layer of people who go into intensive care and an even thinner layer of people who die. But the real outbreak is happening where we don’t see it.” (“Swedish scientist Johan Giesecke asks Australia how it plans to lift its lockdown without deaths”, you tube…52 second mark to 1:48)

Giesecke’s analysis veers from the conventional view of the virus which explains why the Swedish response has been so different. For example, he says: “I think there is relatively little chance of stopping this whatever measures we take.”

This gets to the root of the Swedish approach. Sweden is not trying to suppress the infection which they see as a force of nature (like a tsunami) that cannot be contained but only mitigated. From the beginning, the Swedish approach has been to “control the spread of the virus”, not to suppress it through containment strategies. There’s a fundamental difference here, and that difference is expressed in the policy.

Second, “We have data now from Sweden that between 98 and 99% of the cases have had a very mild infection or didn’t even realize they were infected.” In other words, this is highly-contagious infection that poses little or no threat to most people. That suggests the economy can be kept open without endangering the lives of low-risk groups. The added benefit of allowing certain businesses to remain open, is that it creates a controlled environment in which the infection can spread rapidly through the healthy population who, in turn, develop the antibodies they need for future outbreaks. This all fits within Sweden’s plan for managing, rather than avoiding, the virus.

Finally, “What we looking at is a thin layer at the top of people who do develop the disease and an even thinner layer of people who go into intensive care and an even thinner layer of people who die.” The vast majority of people who die from Covid are over 65 with multiple underlying conditions. It’s a terrible tragedy that they should die, but destroying the lives and livelihoods of millions of working people in a futile attempt to stop an unstoppable force like Covid, is foolish and unforgivable. The appropriate response is to protect the old and infirm as much as possible, carefully monitor the rise in cases to prevent the public health system from cratering, and keep the economy operating at a lower level. And that’s exactly what Sweden has done.

FAUCI vs. PAUL: Operation “Obfuscate Immunity”

Not surprisingly, the issue of immunity came up during Dr Anthony Fauci’s testimony on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. There was a heated exchange between Fauci and Senator Rand Paul who challenged the infectious disease expert on the misleading information that the WHO has been spreading in the media. Here’s an excerpt from the transcript:

Senator Rand Paul: “Dr. Fauci, Studies show that the recovering COVID-19 patients from the asymptomatic to the very sick are showing significant antibody response. Studies show that SARS and MERS, also coronaviruses, induce immunity for at least 2 to 3 years, and yet the media continues to report that we have no evidence that patients who survive coronavirus have immunity. I think actually the truth is the opposite. We have no evidence that survivors of coronavirus don’t have immunity and a great deal of evidence to suggest that they do….

You’ve stated publicly that you’d bet it at all that survivors of coronavirus have some form of immunity. Can you help set the record straight that the scientific record, as it is being accumulated, is supportive that infection with coronavirus likely leads to some form of immunity, Dr. Fauci?”

Dr. Anthony Fauci: “Thank you for the question, Senator Paul. Yes, you’re correct that I have said that, given what we know about the recovery from viruses such as coronaviruses in general, or even any infectious disease with very few exceptions, that when you have antibody present it very likely indicates a degree of protection.

I think it’s in the semantics of how this is expressed. When you say has it been formally proven by long-term natural history studies, which is the only way that you can prove, one, is it protective, which I said and will repeat, it’s likely that it is, but also what is the degree or titer of antibody that gives you that critical level of protection and what is the durability. As I’ve often said and again repeat, you can make a reasonable assumption that it would be protective, but natural history studies over a period of months to years will then tell you definitively if that’s the case.” (Real Clear Politics)

This is a critical exchange that helps to underscore what an elusive and calculating political character Fauci really is. You will notice that his answer is completely scripted, completely circuitous and carefully avoids any mention of the word “immunity”.

Rand Paul’s question couldn’t be more straightforward: Do Covid survivors have immunity or not? Yes or no?

And, the answer is: “Yes, they do. Covid survivors do have immunity.”

But Fauci doesn’t deliver that answer, after a long-winded rumination, Fauci finally offers the most opaque response he can conjure up, he says, “you can make a reasonable assumption that it would be protective.” In other words, he carefully avoids a definitive answer. But, of course, that’s understandable since the WHO has been spreading false rumors about herd immunity trying to muddy the science since it doesn’t jibe with their pro-vaccine agenda. That’s what this is all about, bashing natural immunity to clear the way for a vaccine. Check out this clip from an article at Business Insider:

“…leaders at the World Health Organization Monday expressed outrage at the idea that some people might have to die in pursuit of a far-fetched virus-fighting strategy called herd immunity.

This idea that, ‘well, maybe countries who had lax measures and haven’t done anything will all of a sudden magically reach some herd immunity, and so what if we lose a few old people along the way?’ This is a really dangerous, dangerous calculation,” the WHO’s Executive Director of Health Emergencies Mike Ryan said on a call with reporters.

Ryan didn’t mention any specific countries by name, but it was hard not to think about the high death rate in Swedish nursing homes as he mentioned that “in some countries, over half of the cases have occurred in longterm care facilities,” where people haven’t been “properly shielded.”…

“Humans are not herds,” Ryan said. “I think we need to be really careful when we use terms in this way around natural infections in humans, because it can lead to a very brutal arithmetic which does not put people, and life, and suffering at the center of that equation.”

Ryan was audibly troubled by the idea that the world would accept an infection spreading through a population, and even killing some people, to provide a kind of herd protection, especially one which scientists don’t even know exists. He said that’s not a calculus that any “responsible” country should be willing to take.” (“Humans are not Herds”, Business Insider)

As you can see, the Gates Vaccine Gestapo has launched a propaganda campaign aimed at discrediting, obfuscating and ridiculing other methods for achieving immunity that don’t coincide with their grandiose ambitions to use vaccines as an entry-point for enhanced global tracking, surveillance and social control. Is anyone surprised by this?

But the fact remains that–as Paul says, “recovering COVID-19 patients …show significant antibody response (and will likely have) immunity for at least 2 to 3 years.” Here’s more from Sweden’s chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell who made this comment in an interview last week:

“It is quite certain that immunity does exist…. For all the cases we have had in Sweden, there has not been one single person who had this disease twice. And we have a very strict identification system. So there is no way we would miss a person who had it twice. I haven’t heard any reports from any countries where there has been a certified case who has actually had this twice. There’s been rumors about it. But in the end, they have been disclaimed.” (“Key quotes: Sweden’s top epidemiologist challenges conventional wisdom on COVID-19” ijnet)

Repeat: “there has not been one single person who had this disease twice.”

The science is clear, immunity is real and Sweden is on its way to achieving herd immunity within the month.

Sweden’s public health experts have loosened the grip of a vicious pandemic and delivered the Swedish people to a place of safety and security where they can get on with their lives without fear of contracting a lethal infection.

Hurrah for Sweden!

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Mike Whitney is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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 Despite Covid-19, Iraqis have returned to the streets to demand an end to mismanagement, corruption and sectarianism as Mustafa Al Kadhimi was confirmed as the country’s new prime minister. His first act was to mollify protesters by calling for the release of dozens of their number imprisoned since they took to the streets last October, promising compensation to those who were slain by security forces, and pledging to “hold to account all those who shed Iraqi blood.”

He followed up these verbal assurances by ordering security forces to arrest five men from a local party’s office in the southern city of Basra after the shooting death of a protesters outside the building. Since demonstrations began, shooters have generally got away with murder. He will have to continue this crack-down if he is to retain credibility.

Kadhimi also promoted highly-respected and popular General Abdel Wahab Al Saadi, who played a major role in the fight against Daesh but was demoted last year by former Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi.

Kadhimi is said to have stamps of approval of regional rivals, Iran and the US. An independent and pragmatist, he lived in exile in Tehran during the rule of Saddam Hussein and wrote articles critical of him. While intelligence chief from 2016 until his appointment as premier, he cultivated good relations with Washington.

While courting the public, Kadhimi has been subjected to a rough ride from competing assembly factions which have squabbled over his nominees for the oil and foreign affairs ministries and rejected his candidates for trade, justice, culture, agriculture and migration. Only 15 of his 22 nominees have been confirmed.

He has to contend with two competing domestic blocs, Binna which is loyal to Iran and Islah which is dominated by the unpredictable Shia cleric Muqtada Al Sadr. Both blocs group Shia, Sunni and Kurdish parties which have multiple agendas and are committed to preserving their patronage networks rather than working for the good of Iraq. He clearly has to navigate skilfully between blocs and among factions to govern at a time of pandemic, economic and social collapse, and the revival of Daesh and its affiliates in both Iraq and Syria.

Kadhimi faces a host of challenges in addition to the coronavirus. Due to the dramatic fall in the price of oil, Iraq is suffering its worst economic crisis since the 2003 US invasion and occupation. Iraqis encounter increasing deprivation and never-ending electricity outages, as well as shortages of potable water. Simmering summer is on the way. The country’s healthcare facilities, once the pride of Iraq, have been eroded by sanctions and destroyed by warfare. If Covid-19 breaks out in Iraq, it will be difficult to contain infection and thousands of Iraqis could contract the virus, sicken and die.

As he has the for-now support of the erratic Trump administration as well as Iran, Kadhimi needs to maintain Washington’s backing without upsetting Tehran, which is Iraq’s main trading partner and supplier of 20 per cent of Iraq’s electricity. Despite its campaign of “maximum pressure” – i.e., economic war – on Iran, the administration has granted Baghdad a new 120 day waiver allowing Iraq to continue its purchases from Iran of electricity and fuel for power plants.

By reiterating Baghdad’s refusal to allow its territory to be used for attacks on neighbouring countries, Kadhimi has tried to assuage Iran’s concerns over strikes on Iranian assets by US forces in Iraq. These include the assassination near Baghdad of General Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Quds force, and strikes on pro-Iranian Iraqi militias. When negotiating a new status of forces deal between Iraq and the US, Kadhimi will have to steer adroitly between politicians who demand the full withdrawal of US forces from Iraq and those who are prepared to accept the presence of US forces. Kadhimi will also have to deal carefully with the Trump administration which makes policy shifts without rhyme or reason from time to time and day to day, even within a single day.

While threatened by the coronavirus, weakened economically, and tied in knots politically, Iraq also has to renew its fight against Daesh which has regrouped and is stepping up attacks on Iraqi military and civilian targets. The movement’s leadership has launched a “Ramadan offensive” and urged fighters to mount fresh operations in both Iraq and Syria while their governments have deployed the army and security forces to impose lockdown in urban areas and curbed country-wide traffic. Covid-19 has, therefore, given Daesh fighters increased freedom of movement to operate from inaccessible Iraqi mountain ranges in Dyala and Kirkuk provinces, cross into Syria and make common cause with Daesh survivors based in that country’s eastern desert. In Iraq, Daesh has struck hyper-sensitive targets near the cities of Kirkuk and Baghdad.

Daesh has managed to revive due to Baghdad’s failure to secure control of the north following the defeat of the false “caliphate”, which was established in 2014. The attacks by Daesh remnants have followed the pattern set before then. Daesh fighters ambush military convoys and patrols and hit checkpoints. They finance their activities by kidnapping for ransom and other criminal activities. If Kadhimi is to halt Daesh’s depredations, he will have to redeploy the army and resume the campaign to eradicate this poisonous movement. He will need the help of the Syrian government in this effort. Neither Iraq nor Syria can afford to allow Daesh to return as a major challenge.

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 The total amount of people who are unemployed right now seems to something of a closely guarded secret as is the amount of financial support that is really being dished out by the government. I suspect this has something to do with the appalling global ranking of Britain place in the COVID-19 death toll.

In 2019, an employment record was reached when the ONS published its report and declared that 32.54 million were in employment in Britain.

ONS head of labour market David Freeman said: “The number of people working grew again, with the share of the population in work now the highest on record. Meanwhile, the share of the workforce looking for work and unable to find it remains at its lowest for over 40 years, helped by a record number of job vacancies.”

The number of ‘economically inactive’ people ie long-term sick leave, students, and people who had given up looking for a job also rose to a new record of 8.6 million.

Of course, this 32.5 million included everyone in part-time jobs which was recorded as more than one hour per week, nearly a million on zero-hours contracts and we simply don’t know how many are self-employed because they were unable to find meaningful full-time work.

According to Rishi Sunak’s announcement on furloughed employees two days ago, there are around 7.5 million jobs on the scheme already. This also represents nearly one million companies.

It is sad to say, we have no idea how many will keep their jobs – and on what terms or how many will remain unemployed.

The Federation of Self-Employed and Small Business (FSB)  has calculated through a survey of 5000 members that one-third of businesses may never open their doors for business again. The average size of their membership in terms of employees for this survey was not disclosed.

COVID-19: How many are really unemployed and how many companies are going bust

Prior to the COVID-19 crisis we know that around one million people were unemployed and claiming benefits. We also know that a further 1.6 million have applied for benefits and claiming unemployment with an additional 7.5 million on the furlough scheme.

Right now, we know there are over 10 million people – around one-third of the entire workforce are out of work due largely to the COVID-19 crisis. It is hard to come up with any conclusion, for when the crisis is over, that at least three million will be registered unemployed. What a catastrophe for those people and well over one million British households.

The cost to the state this year alone is calculated by the treasury to be something in the order of £330billion – but that assumes a best-case scenario. Looking at these figures, which would include losses of revenue to the treasury, it is difficult to be that optimistic. The sum is far more likely to reach half a trillion in this tax year alone.

A leaked document published in The Telegraph (May 12th) –

estimates that it will cost the Exchequer almost £300 billion this year and could require measures including an increase in income tax, the end of the triple lock on state pension increases and a two-year public sector pay freeze. The Telegraph can reveal that a Treasury document drawn up for Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, sets out a proposed “policy package” of tax increases and spending reductions which may have to be announced within weeks in order to “enhance credibility and boost investor confidence” in the British economy.”

I doubt this is a ‘leaked’ document but more a purposeful media stunt to test the public appetite for what the Tories have in mind. It’s ironic that key workers will be targeted once again, just as they were after the bank-led financial crisis of 2008.

A debt of nearly £1.2 trillion over ten years is anticipated in this report. This confirms that there will be no ‘V’ shaped return to the economy and the best we could expect is somewhere between an ‘L’ (which would be truly awful) and a ‘U’ shaped return. One can only hope that ‘U’ doesn’t take too long.

Tax rises of £30bn a year are being considered but that will never bring the national debt down. Only inflation over the decades will be able to do that.

When all said and done, it is challenging to look at these numbers and not conclude that Britain’s finances, like many other countries, will resemble something like emerging from the rubble of 1945 when drastic austerity measures were imposed. In those days, people’s expectations of government was not so high and the government knew they had no choice but allow extreme capitalism to make way for social democracy where health, education and housing were put in the front lines of rebuilding the nation, which worked. That debt was largely repaid by inflation in the 40s and 50s and especially in the 1970s to the early 1990s when inflation reached nearly 25 per cent.

In 1976 the UK was forced to go to the IMF for a bailout as many investors feared the effects of inflation. The reason – unsustainable public sector borrowing.

The stakes are now very high.

 

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Big Pharma is poised to cash in big from mass COVID-19 vaxxing — at the expense of human health and welfare.

Author of “Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America” Gerald Posner explained that drug companies “view Covid-19 as a once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity,” adding:

It’ll be “a blockbuster for the industry in terms of sales and profits. The worse the pandemic gets, the higher their eventual profit.”

In the US, taxpayers are funding COVID-19 vaccine research. According to federal procurement data, the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) gave Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen $604 million in free money for COVID-19 vaccine and antivirals development.

Regeneron got $92 million in largely taxpayer provided free money for monoclonal antibody research and development.

Genentech got $25 million for Actemra development, a potential COVID-19 treatment.

Congress appropriated around $3.5 billion to hand Big Pharma for drug development, much of it COVID-19 related.

These companies rely on large-scale government handouts to fund research and development, likely much more coming for COVID-19 related work alone — courtesy of US taxpayers without their knowledge or consent.

The Trump regime appointed four-star General Gustave Perna to head Operation Warp Speed.

Since 2016, he served as commander of the US Army Material Command — responsible for its worldwide supply chain.

Former chairman of Big Pharma firm GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccines division/current vulture capitalist Moncef Slaoui was appointed as his chief advisor.

On Wednesday, Bloomberg News first reported on their appointments, adding:

The Trump regime project “seeks to produce 300 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine (for mass vaxxing) by the end of the year, hastening development by simultaneously testing many different candidates and beginning production before they’ve completed clinical trials.”

The Trump regime aims to begin mass vaxxing Americans by yearend or early 2021 — DJT saying, “we’re going to fast-track (development) like you’ve never seen before,” failing to add:

COVID-19 vaccinated individuals will risk potentially serious health hazards.

All vaccines are toxic and hazardous to human health. Development usually takes years.

Anything rushed to market at “warp speed” will likely be especially dangerous.

Among other dangers, inoculated individuals will risk becoming ill from the coronavirus instead of being protected from infection by being vaxxed.

Both right wings of the US one-party state are in cahoots with Wall Street and other corporate favorites, notably Big Pharma.

A bonanza awaits firms that develop and market Big Pharma-controlled/FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines, their potential serious human health hazards to go unreported.

A previous article explained that all vaccines include toxic mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, phenoxyethanol (antifreeze), and squalene adjuvants that weaken and can destroy the human immune system, making it vulnerable to many annoying to life-threatening illnesses.

It’s why vaccines can be more hazardous than diseases they’re supposed to protect against.

They cause thousands of unreported adverse reactions, including permanent disabilities and deaths.

Their promoted effectiveness is greatly exaggerated. They often prove an unreliable and dangerous way to prevent illness and disease.

Far more important is following proven good health and fitness practices, notably a healthy diet, proper hygiene, no smoking, limited or no alcohol use, daily exercise of the body and mind, along with other good health practices.

Vaccine effectiveness remains scientifically unproven because no double blind studies have been conducted to provide convincing evidence.

Plenty of documented evidence shows their toxicity and hazards to human health. Many promoted benefits about vaccines were later proved false.

Most infectious diseases are effectively treated without vaccines.

Most polio cases were caused by vaccines developed to prevent the disease.

The Salk vaccine was extremely dangerous. He later admitted that mass inoculations caused most polio cases since 1961.

Information about its hazards was suppressed. Declines in the disease were well underway when mass-inoculations began.

Health hazards from vaccines can develop quickly or later in life.

They include arthritis, diabetes, chronic headaches, rashes, anaphylaxis, non-healing skin lesions, seizures, autism, anemia, multiple sclerosis, hepatitis, ALS, cancer, lupus, polio, osteoporosis, Addison’s disease, and many others.

Is getting vaxxed worth the risk?

Inoculation with a rushed to market, untested for safety, COVID-19 vaccine will enrich Big Pharma at the risk of straightaway or later in life onset of degenerative other diseases — including damage to internal organs, disability and pain.

When available, COVID-19 vaccines will likely be hazardous to human life and welfare.

It’s why they should be shunned to avoid their potentially catastrophic side effects.

When available, they’ll be heavily promoted by federal, state, and local governments, establishment media, and Big Pharma with deceptive television ads.

Ignore the deception to preserve and protect your health and welfare by avoiding coronavirus vaccines virtually sure to be hazardous.

VISIT MY WEBSITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My two Wall Street books are timely reading:

“How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion, and Class War”

https://www.claritypress.com/product/how-wall-street-fleeces-america/

 

“Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity”

https://www.claritypress.com/product/banker-occupation-waging-financial-war-on-humanity/

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Even supporters of increased US defense budgets expect that, because the US government will likely spend trillions of dollars trying to rescue the economy from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, military spending in the United States is likely to decline significantly over the next couple of years. Those predicting such a decline include experts at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the Center for Strategic and International Studies, (CSIS), American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Analysis, the RAND Corporation, and retired generals like David Barno and Hawk Carlisle.

According to SIPRI’s latest report, global defense spending has grown for five straight years and in 2019 amounted to almost $2 trillion. US defense spending has also grown significantly over this period. Since President Trump took office, the annual defense budget—which, at $740 billion, consumes more than half of federal discretionary spending—has increased by almost $100 billion compared to Obama’s last budget, and during the Trump presidency, total US defense spending has amounted to almost $3 trillion. As a result, the US alone now accounts for about 40 percent of the world’s total military expenditures and spends more than the next 10 highest defense spenders combined (seven of whom are our allies). In real terms—that is, taking inflation into account—the US defense budget is higher than it was during the Reagan military buildup or the wars in Korea and Vietnam.

In 2019, the combined budget of our two primary strategic competitors, Russia and China, was $326 billion—less than half of the Pentagon’s annual spending. Moreover, these countries will also likely have to reduce spending on defense to cope with the damage caused by COVID-19.

The primary reason that many experts foresee a drop in defense spending involves the massive US deficit. Since Trump came into office, the federal debt has grown by more than $3 trillion, and the deficit for 2020 was projected to reach $1 trillion, even before the pandemic. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had already predicted that the federal deficit would reach 98 percent of the United States’ total gross domestic product within a decade. The three stimulus packages already passed will increase the deficit for 2020 to almost $4 trillion.

But beyond the massive deficits, as retired Lt. Gen. David Barno and his colleague Nora Bensahel pointed out in a recent article in War On The Rocks, COVID-19 will also profoundly change the military’s role in defending the United States—something the Pentagon’s leaders apparently have not yet realized. Barno and Bensahel believe this will happen because many Americans will look at the immeasurable damage caused by the pandemic and correctly conclude that defending the homeland from catastrophic threats is more urgent than defending against foreign threats far from America’s shores. Barno and Bensahel offer specific areas—including personnel and some conventional programs like the F-35—that can and should be cut because of the vast cost of the pandemic. But they do not mention nuclear programs.

This omission is not surprising. Nuclear programs are often overlooked when it comes to budget reductions because many officials and analysts believe that those programs consume only a small part of the overall military budget. A closer analysis demonstrates that this is not the case.

In the proposed fiscal 2021 budget (which actually declines in real terms compared to fiscal 2020 and is now being considered by the House and Senate armed services committees), the Pentagon not only will spend significant amounts on nuclear programs but will increase that spending substantially. The 2021 budget proposal seeks to spend $29 billion—a $4 billion or 16 percent increase—on modernizing the weapons in its massive nuclear arsenal.

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the part of the Energy Department that develops nuclear technology, wants to spend another $20 billion, which represents a $3 billion or 19 percent budget increase. If one adds in the $5 billion the government will spend on cleaning up nuclear sites and the $20 billion it proposes for missile defense, the cost of our nuclear programs climbs to approximately $75 billion.  Some will argue that even this total amounts to a little more than 10 percent of the overall defense budget. And if one ignores environmental and missile defense costs and counts only the cost of NNSA weapons development and Defense Department delivery systems, that $50 billion amounts to only about 7 percent of the total budget.

But these claims underestimate the real impact of nuclear programs on the size of the defense budget. The nuclear programs include only the cost of developing and procuring nuclear weapons. They do not include support and operations for nuclear weapons and delivery systems like the Columbia Class ICBM submarine or the B-21 bomber.

To get a realistic handle on the cost of the nuclear program, it should be compared to the modernization (research and development and procurement) portion of the Defense Department budget. For  fiscal 2021, Defense plans to spend about $244 billion on this area. Developing nuclear weapons amounts to 20 percent of the modernization portion of the budget, and total nuclear spending consumes about 30 percent. These percentages are not trivial, and neither is the absolute amount being spent.

Even the low-end calculation of nuclear spending—$50 billion—is more than we spend on the entire State Department, or on ship building, or on aircraft or tank procurement. In fact, to increase the NNSA budget this year, the Pentagon had to cancel a nuclear-powered attack submarine over the objections of the Office of Management and Budget. And nuclear spending is projected to rise.

Over the next five years, the Pentagon plans to spend increasing amounts on modernizing nuclear weapons and nuclear technology. If no changes are made, these two items will consume at least $170 billion between fiscal 2021 and fiscal 2025 on just the Defense Department portion of the modernization budget, and they will draw another $100 billion the NNSA budget.

To reduce spending on nuclear weapons safely over the next decade, the United States needs to do two things:

First, take up Russian President Vladimir Putin’s offer to extend New START, which can be done without Senate approval, and begin negotiations to reduce the deployed nuclear weapons on both sides to no more than 1,000 from their current level of 1,550. This will allow us to cancel the land-based portion of our nuclear modernization program and the Long Range Standoff Weapon (LRSO). Stopping these programs will save $2 billion in fiscal 2021and at least $100 billion over the next five years.

Second, the Trump administration needs to begin talks with the Russians aimed at resolving our differences over the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). The Trump administration announced it would pull out of the treaty in October 2018 because it argued that the Russians were testing missiles that violated the treaty’s terms; the US exit became final in the summer of 2019. The Russians, for their part, argued that the missile defense systems the United States has deployed in Poland and Romania could be retrofitted to launch intermediate range missiles, also in violation of the treaty. If talks on somehow reinvigorating the INF are begun, the United States could halt its programs to deploy intermediate range missiles on Navy ships and submarines. Spending on nuclear warheads in fiscal 2021 is projected to be more than $2 billion.  Not only is this a waste of money; it also increases the likelihood of nuclear war.

Since the Russian defense budget will also have to decrease as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Moscow should be open to discussions that lead to reduced nuclear costs. The Chinese also will find it difficult to keep increasing their defense budget at the pace they have maintained over the past decade. Therefore, they should be willing to join talks, particularly on intermediate-range weapons.

The pandemic has had and will continue to have a disastrous impact on the global community. But, if the United States uses this health and economic disaster as an opportunity to take the lead in limiting the danger of nuclear weapons, some good may come of it. As bad as this pandemic is, a nuclear war would be much worse.

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Lawrence J. Korb is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. He is also an adjunct professor of security studies at Georgetown University.

This article was originally published in 2018.

Among the top ten investors in nuclear weapons are banks which stand to benefit from the de-regulatory bill S.2155 in Washington, including JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, State Street and Goldman Sachs. This is according to a just released study by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), here. Should this move them out of the UN Global Compact, administered by Secretary General Antonio Guterres?

On March 7 Inner City Press asked Guterres’ deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: The ICAN, the Nobel Prize-winning group on nuclear weapons, has put out a list of companies that are… that they say are profiting from the nuclear weapons manufacturing industry.  So, I guess it made me wonder, in connection with the oil company question  that Stéphane [Dujarric] responded to yesterday, whether the UN Global Compact views… how it views funding and profiting from nuclear weapons production.  These are, like, major American banks — Citi, Chase, Goldman Sachs, State Street.  And… and, given that the Secretary-General… I know that, when he was in Europe, he said, this is going to be a big drive for nuclear disarmament.  Does he think this should be a criterion?  Do you think that companies should have to come up with some kind of plan to divest?

Deputy Spokesman:  The criteria for the Global Compact and what it is intended to achieve are very clear on their website, and so I would just refer you to what they, themselves, state as both their mandate and the criteria for inclusion.  So that’s about that.  Of course, we do encourage all companies to act in as socially responsible way as possible, and we hope that they will do so in questions of disarmament, as well.

Inner City Press: Right.  Okay.  I mean, I guess I’m just wondering if he has a view since this is an issue that he says is important to him and he seems to have some input into those criteria.  They’re not voted by Member States.  They’re a UN Secretariat…

Deputy Spokesman:  Yes.  I mean, well, it’s clear what the criteria are, but the Secretary-General has made it clear that he wants all parties, including big business, to behave with a… an attitude of social responsibility, and that includes when it comes to nuclear disarmament.”

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So will anyone be kicked out or suspended, as CEFC belatedly was?  Back on 9 October 2017 when ICAN held a press conference at the UN on October 9, Inner City Press asked the ICAN representatives about two prior Nobel winners. On nuclear weapons, the Pugwash Conferences have raised the issue of state which hold nuclear weapons for others: in Europe, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Turkey. And, as another elephant in the room, Inner City Press asked for ICAN’s view of if Aung San Suu Ki should have to return her Nobel, given the mass killings and displacement of the Rohingya in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.  ICAN’s Asia-Pacific director Tim Wright replied,

“There are five countries in Europe that currently host US nuclear weapons on their soil: Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey. The treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons offers a very clear pathway for those nations to accede. They would be required to remove the weapons within a particular time line and according to particular conditions to be agreed. We have very strong campaigns in most of those countries. We have many parliamentarians who have pledged to work for the signature and ratification of this treaty by those countries. So we are confident in the reasonably near future a number of those current nations hosting nuclear weapons join this treaty.”

Then ICAN’s overall executive director Beatrice Fihn (image on the right) said,

“Just quickly on the issue of Myanmar. ICAN is a campaign focusing on nuclear weapons, so we’ve never really made statements on other issues, and I think it’s a bit early for us to reflect on what it means to be a Nobel prize winner. But obviously we’re a campaign that is fully committed to humanitarian law, and international law. That’s all I can say about that issue.”

We’ll have more on this. In other statements, as fast transcribed by InnerCityPro.com:

Tim Wright: We take this opportunity to renew our call to the Japanese government to sign and ratify the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons. Its failure to do so is a betrayal of the Hibakusha, who for more than 70 years have worked tirelessly to eliminate nuclear weapons. They have issued a dire warning to humanity and we must listen to their testimony and hear their call. Thank you.

[Set aside first question] I asked the US ambassador about this win, and about the nuclear disarmament treaty, and she said there would be no possible impact on disarmament. How do you counteract this argument? How will you convince the P5 to disarm? What will you do about umbrella nations like Japan?

A: It’s quite expected that they would say that. This is something we’ve heard from the beginning: the humanitarian consequence doesn’t matter; the work of all these other states doesn’t matter; the work of civil society doesn’t matter. Clearly it matters. And I think the protests against this shows that it does have an impact on them. But frankly, of course a Nobel peace prize isn’t going to make Trump give up nuclear weapons. But I don’t think that’s really what we’re doing here. What we’re trying to do is make nuclear weapons unacceptable in the mindsets of people. And that is where civil society has the power. That’s what’s changing things. And in the end, governments have to do what their people say. And in the end, that gives us an enormous opportunity to reach out to new audiences and to mobilize people once again.

For a long time, nuclear weapons have been seen as an issue of the past, something that is no longer relevant. And developments recently, that started a few years ago with the potential new nuclear arms race, all the nuclear arms states modernizing, and these direct threats of using nuclear weapons, slaughtering hundreds of thousands of civilians, makes this an issue once again. And I think this Nobel peace prize can really bring about a much bigger movement against nuclear weapons. I think we also have to remember that in times  of big crisis, before, we have always made the most progress. It was after the Cuban missile crisis that the Tlateloco treaty was negotiated, and also the NPT. It was during the 80s, during the huge tensions between the US and the Soviet Union, that the Reykjavik meeting happened, and the whole nuclear freeze movement. So I think these great crises also bring about public mobilization. I think that’s where this peace process is extremely timely and urgently needed attention on this issues.

Ray Acheson: Just to add quickly to what Beatrice said, I think in the beginning when we approached the treaty with our government partners, the idea was also that it would have a normative effect, a legal effect, a political effect, and an economic effect. And we’re going to see that happen over time. Of course, nothing will happen immediately. Nuclear weapons aren’t just going to magically disappear. But what’s going to happen over time is what we’ve seen happen with cluster munitions, which have been banned now for some time. Even countries which initially objected to the treaties have joined, and even those that haven’t are still more or less abiding by their provisions, and coming every year more or less in compliance, even if they haven’t joined onto them officially. So I think we will see those types of impacts happen over the years. And I think the economic side of this is going to be very significant. There’s already divestment campaigns underway, where banks and other financial institutions are withdrawing money from nuclear weapons producers. And I think that the Nobel peace prize going to ICAN is going to really get the word out about campaigns like that and other initiatives that people around the world can do to contribute.

Austria PR: From a member state’s perspective, we didn’t have any illusion that the nuclear weapon states would join, from day one. But we believe this treaty is filling a legal gap and is able to delegitimize and even stigmatize the last weapon of mass destruction which is still on earth not outlawed. No one of these prohibition treaties was universal from the very beginning.  Not even the non-proliferation treaty was universal. And I always like to remind nuclear weapons states who now say the NPT is the only agreement which should be around, that even nuclear weapon states, it took them over two decades to join this treaty. So we are patient, we wait for them to join us.

Q: Does ICAN have any North Korean members? Have you reached out to the government? What have you done, and what are you planning to do?

A: In terms of North Korea, no. We do not have members in North Korea, they are not a country where civil society can engage, which makes that difficult. I think these kinds of treaties still impact that kind of state. No one is really immune towards international norms. It does – we hear NK here at the UN needing to defend themselves, needing to argue why they’re doing what they’re doing. And they’re doing that because there’s a certain expectation that you don’t do that. We see in other issues, countries that perhaps aren’t recognizing certain norms still have to engage in a discussion about them. So I think it does have an impact, anyway. And what we do know is that it will be impossible to get NK to disarm as long as we think that nuclear weapons are acceptable. When we say that nuclear weapons are acceptable and absolutely necessary, like the nuclear states and many of the umbrella states say, for security, North Korea is always going to want them, and see them as legitimate and justified. And I think that’s what this treaty is about. Stop allowing them to justify having weapons of mass destruction that are only meant to indiscriminately slaughter hundreds of thousands of civilians.

Q: We have a nuclear deal with Iran that is in peril right now. What can ICAN do?

A: That’s exactly the problem with only focusing on proliferation. Because if you don’t address the underlying problem with nuclear weapons, if some countries still have it, you are going to be unable to prevent every single state in the world forever from developing nuclear weapons. We can’t force any one country to disarm. Countries will disarm when they think it’s in their interest. What we’re trying to do with this treaty is make it in their interest to disarm. You’ve seen over time chemical and biological weapons, landmines, cluster munitions were once seen as okay weapons to have. Countries were happy to have them, proud to have them. And suddenly they were prohibited by treaties. And it became difficult. They started making other choices. Some of them because of the treaty, answered it straightforwardly, signed it. Some of them don’t sign it but still make changes. So I think this is also how we approach it in the middle east. We can’t prevent states from wanting nuclear weapons forever. We have to make nuclear weapons unwanted.

The Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction is part of the NPT action plan of 2010. And one of the failures of the 2015 review conference is that there was no progress on this issue, and no progress on article 6 of the NPT, meaning that nuclear weapon states took it upon themselves to disarm . We haven’t seen this. And this frustration has also led to this ban treaty. And since you mentioned it, the JCPOA on Iran, we Europeans are very clear, we think there is no justification to decertify, and it will also be harmful and self-defeating. If you want to control non-proliferation, this will send the totally wrong message.

Q: The Nobel Committee themselves said that the international prohibition will not, in itself, eliminate a single nuclear weapon. What’s your response? And, have you seen any pressure on states that participated in the negotiations from nuclear weapon states?

A: Tim Wright: The treaty provides a pathway for accession for nuclear armed nations. If a nuclear nation were to join, which we expect them to do at some point in the futre, an additional agreement would need to be negotiated setting out the parameters within which they’d pursue the disarmament of their nuclear arsenal. In that sense, the weapons would be eliminated under the treaty or the associated protocols. I think we wouldn’t agree fully with the comment made by the Norwegian nobel committee in that regard.

Austria PR: “Yes, there is pressure on states, even Austria, which is known to be very stubborn in this respect. There is pressure on states not to sign. There was pressure not to participate. And there are even veiled, or not so much veiled, threats. But I hope this Nobel prize will give an encouragement to these countries to say, okay, this is the right thing to do and they will join us.”

Back in July 2017, days after the then most recent North Korea missile launch, a “Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading towards Their Total Elimination” was adopted 122-1-1, with Singapore abstaining and the Netherlands voting No. Inner City Press asked the President of the Conference, Costa Rican Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gómez about the Netherlands’ complaint that the treaty is not verifiable; she replied that there is more work to be done, through protocols.

Periscope video here. Now on September 20, a tired looking Antonio Guterres gave a short speech opening the treaty for signature without mentioning Kim Jong Un, dubbed “Rocket Man” by Donald Trump just the day before. Here’s from what Guterres said:

“It is an honor to oversee this historic treaty’s opening for signature, the first multilateral disarmament treaty in more than 2 decades.

Civil society played a vital role in bringing the treaty to fruition. There are survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Hibakusha, continue to remind us of the devastating consequences of nuclear weapons. [ICP: Most NGOs are banned from the UN for UNGA week.] The treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons is the product of increasing concerns about the risk posed by the continued existence of nuclear weapons, including the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences of their use. Today, we rightfully celebrate a milestone. Now we must continue along the hard road towards elimination of nuclear arsenals… I now declare the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons open for signature.”

On July 6 Inner City Press asked Elayne Whyte Gómez how the North Korean launch had impacted talks, and what the treaty would do about the issue. She said that an international norm could help improve things. Video here. Inner City Press also asked about the provisions for withdrawal. She said that right is mandated by the law of treaties but the notice period is extended, particularly for parties to a conflict. She said Antonio Guterres presumably supports it since it’s mandated by the General Assembly. It’s classic UN – as is a list of countries proposed changes which Inner City Press obtained and puts online on Patreon, here. US Ambasssador Nikki Haley, along with the UK’s Matthew Rycroft and France’s Francois Delattre, said they had “not taken part in the negotiation of the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons. We do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it. Therefore, there will be no change in the legal obligations on our countries with respect to nuclear weapons.” Full statement here.

After North Korea fired another missile, on June 3-4, UN Secretary General was in his stomping ground of Lisbon, Portugal, after days of his spokesman not disclosing where he was. The Spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, later put out a statement from New York, below. The US Mission spokesman announced that Ambassador Nikki Haley “requested an urgent UN Security Council meeting on North Korea in response to ballistic missile launch. Session [July 5] afternoon.” By evening Inner City Press was reliably informed the meeting would be open. And it was, ending with a back and forth between Nikki Haley and Russian charge d’affaires Vladimir Safonkov, who said sanctions are not a panacea while Haley spoke, if necessary, of proceeding anyway. Haley said,

“One of our capabilities lies with our considerable military forces. We will use them if we must, but we prefer not to have to go in that direction. We have other methods of addressing those who threaten us and of addressing those who supply the threats. In the coming days, we will bring before the Security Council a resolution that raises the international response in a way that is proportionate to North Korea’s new escalation.”

Periscope from Council stakeout here and here. The launch, now said to be intercontinental, was also expected to be discussed at the upcoming G20 meeting in Germany. Meanwhile the UN system continues to recruit internationally for “Junior Professional Officers” to work for it in Pyongyang, here – Inner City Press on July 5 asked UN Spokesman Dujarric about that, and for all details on any North Korean participation in or agreements with the UN JPO program. He should answer, today, after once again vague defending WIPO’s work on cyanide patents for North Korea (see below). The UN Security Council president for July, China, had only hours before reiterated its suspension for suspension proposal, while UN DESA chief Wu Hong Bo had said of course North Korea would have the right to place a Junior Professional Officer in the UN. The UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization had defended working on cyanide patents for North Korea, and Guterres’ spokespeople had defended it. But on July 4 the UN issued this:

“The Secretary-General strongly condemns the launch of a ballistic missile of possible intercontinental range conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on 4 July 2017. This action is yet another brazen violation of Security Council resolutions and constitutes a dangerous escalation of the situation. The DPRK leadership must cease further provocative actions and comply fully with its international obligations. The Secretary-General underlines the importance of maintaining the unity of the international community in addressing this serious challenge.”

The US Mission’s subsequent press release said,

“A short time ago, Ambassador Nikki Haley and her counterparts from Japan and the Republic of Korea requested an emergency UN Security Council meeting to be held in the open chamber in response to North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile launch. The Security Council session will be held tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 p.m. EDT.”

After the last launch, the UN Security Council added to its sanctions list 14 individuals and four companies. Inner City Press put the resolution online here. This as some on the UN Security Council, and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres or at least his spokesman Stephane Dujarric have no problem with or comment on the UN’s own World Intellectual Property Organization helps North Korea with a patent application for social cyanide (WIPO site here). 

On Capitol Hill on June 28, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) urged US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley to act on WIPO, including its retaliation against whistleblowers. Haley spoke about reviewing peacekeeping missions, which is needed – as is a review and reversal of the UN’s lack of protections for free press, and continued restrictions on investigative Press. At the day’s UN noon briefing Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN Transcript here:

Inner City Press: down in Washington this morning, there’s a hearing in the committee… House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the issue of the… the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), not only its dealings with patents for North Korea, but its retaliation against its own staff, you know, has been raised.  So, I’ve asked you about it before.  I just wanted to know, what does the Secretary-General… given there’s even some provisions of US law about failure to protect whistle-blowers, has he taken any action on the… the numerous cases within WIPO of…?

Spokesman:  The Sec… WIPO is an independent agency, specialized agency.  It has its own governing body, on which the United States is represented.  I expect those discussions are going on between the US and WIPO… the WIPO leadership, and I really have nothing else to add than what I’ve previously said on the issue.

Inner City Press: Right, but given that they’re a part of the Chief Executives Board (CEB) and there are certain, I guess, minimum standards in the UN system, such as not using criminal defamation against the press, I would assume…?

Spokesman:  As a matter of principle, the Sec… and this goes across the board for every organization.  The Secretary-General expects all UN agencies, whether specialized or not, to… to uphold standards… minimum standards.  But, I’m not going to go into the details of WIPO management, which is an issue that WIPO management will… dealing with, with its own governing body.

The UN Secretariat alsobacked up WIPO on May 26 when Inner City Press asked, transcript here and below. Inner City Press on May 16 began to ask US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley about it (video here).

On May 17, Nikki Haley replied to Inner City Press’ question:

“All parts of the UN system need to support the Security Council in its efforts to respond to the grave threat of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction programs. Sodium cyanide is banned for export to North Korea by the Security Council. A common sense reaction would be for WIPO to inform the Council of such patent applications. Its failure to do so may have dangerous consequences.”

The UN through spokesman Stephane Dujarric told Inner City Press it supports WIPO, video here. On May 19, Inner City Press asked North Korea’s Ambassador Kim In Ryong about it, without answer. Video here.  Then the US Mission to the UN issued a longer press release, here.

On May 26, Inner City Press asked the UN’s deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq to respond. UN transcript:

Inner City Press: since, since I last asked, the US Mission has put out a second, more-detailed statement about the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) work on the sodium cyanide patent for either a North Korean individual or the Government.  They seem to insist that there was no need for them to inform the Sanctions Committee that everything is fine with that.  And I wanted to know, what does the Secretary-General think, given his calls and his own statements that all Member States take this very seriously both, implementing… does he think that WIPO has met all of its obligations and that it should continue in the future to do patent work in North Korea on cyanide without informing the Committee?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, as you’re aware, the World Intellectual Property Organization has, twice now, on its website, put explanations of its actions, and we would refer you to what they have said on this.  Of course, the Secretary-General does want all Member States, and, indeed, all parts of the UN, to abide by Security Council resolutions, but you can see what the explanation is provided by WIPO itself.

Question:  But, what does he think of their explanation?  I guess that’s my question.  He’s the head of the UN System.  Does he think… obviously, there are some that think that the…   what they’re saying is asinine, and they think that it’s fine.  So, I’m asking what does he think of it?

Deputy Spokesman:  We’re aware of what their explanation is, and we refer you back over to them.

That is not leadership. Inner City Press adds: condemnation should also include the UN Federal Credit Union, which is soliciting the funds of the North Korean mission and its employees, as well as UNA-USA members. Inner City Press on the morning of May 18 asked the chair of the UN Security Council’s North Korea sanctions committee, the Italian Mission to the UN under Sebastiano Cardi, “Does your Mission, which holds the chair of the 1718 Committee, agree that WIPO should have informed the Security Council of this work with North Korea? I recently asked Ambassador Cardi about a DPRK sanctions violation in Germany, without yet much of a response. I notice that the Italian mission stopped sending Inner City Press any information at all in February 2017. Please explain.” In the afternoon, the Italian Mission’s spokesperson Giovanni Davoli replied, “the Panel of Experts was not aware of this matter. Therefore the Committee could not be. The Panel announced they are going to open an investigation. Once the Committee will receive the report of the panel, we might be able to comment further.” We await that, and another answer.

Inner City Press also on May 18 asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Ambassador Haley’s response – but all Dujarric would do was refer, positively, to a WIPO press release. In its press release, WIPO says “a DPRK individual citizen applicant filed an international patent application under WIPO’s PCT system in respect of a process for production of sodium cyanide.” Are there really “individual applicants” in today’s North Korea? Isn’t the import of sodium cyanide into North Korea a violation of UN sanctions? Dujarric called this WIPO’s “very clear explanation.” Inner City Press repeatedly asked Dujarric to state if the Secretariat finds WIPO’s statement on May 16 — before Ambassador Haley’s response — sufficient. Apparently yes. We’ll have more on this:

Inner City Press has asked other UN Security Council members. In an earlier exchange with UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, the UN itself acknowledged that the Security Council’s Panel of Experts is belatedly looking into it as a possible sanctions violation. Video here, transcript below.

Later to May’s President of the UN Security Council, Uruguay’s Elbio Rosselli, Inner City Press asked about UN WIPO’s (non) compliance with UN sanctions, working on a patent for North Korea’s production of sodium cyanide. Periscope video here.

Ambassador Rosselli said he had not heard of the issue. At the UN’s May 16 noon briefing, Inner City Press had asked the UN about that and its reporting that the UN Federal Credit Union, regulated by the US National Credit Union Administration, openly solicits the business of both North Korean employees of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s mission to the UN and the members of the UN Association of the USA (UNA-USA), amid questions of immunity and a previous UNFCU settlement for sanctions violations.  UN briefing video here, from Min 10:20.

UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric dodged on whether Secretary General Antonio Guterres would this time talk to WIPO chief Francis Gurry, as he did not as Gurry deployed criminal defamation law against the press; he also wouldn’t answer on UNFCU. UN transcript:

Inner City Press:  About WIPO [World Intellectual Property Organization] doing a patent application for North Korea for the production of sodium cyanide, which is banned to be brought into the country.  Before, it wasn’t clear to me if the Secretary-General had communicated with WIPO about their use of criminal defamation against journalists.  But, is this something that concerns him?  I also want to ask you about the UN Federal Credit Union (UNFCU) openly soliciting deposits from… from the Mission of North Korea, as well as the employees of the Mission despite having previously settled sanctions charges for just such activity on another sanctioned country.  Do you think that this is consistent with this whole idea of tightening up?

Spokesman Dujarric:  I don’t speak for the Credit Union.  They’re an independent body.  I would agree… I would urge you to question them.  On the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] and the Fox News report, obviously, I think what’s contained in the report is disturbing and demands looking into.  The Panel of Experts… the Security Council Panel of Experts, as you know, is an independent team reporting to the Council.  And they have the prerogative to look into all alleged violations of DPRK sanctions and report to the Council accordingly.   I think, as noted in the article, the Panel’s coordinator said the Panel will look into the issue.  And I think we’ll need… the Panel will do its work and report back.  And if… we will obviously look more directly into the issue, as well from our end.

Inner City Press:  Given that there have been previous allegations and reported retaliation at WIPO concerning activities with North Korea, do you or the Secretary-General think it’s something that at the CEB [Chief Executives Board] or some kind of system-wide, does it need to be reiterated to the UN agencies that these sanctions are reported?

Spokesman:  I think the need… the absolute need to respect the sanctions regime, both whether it’s from Member States or within the UN, I think, is clear and should be clear to everyone.

UNFCU’s website lists under “Missions to the UN in New York eligible to join UNFCU” that of “North Korea (DPRK”). Inner City Press asked UNFCU’s Senior Manager of Media Relations Elisabeth Philippe questions including “why some UN member states’ missions to the UN are eligible to join UNFCU, including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and others are not, why members of UNA-USA became eligible to join UNFCU, what regulatory filings in any UNFCU made for this change in field of membership, and any restrictions on the use of these UNA-USA members’ funds, and what services UNFCU offers to UN agencies and country teams, in which countries, and if there are any restrictions or safeguards.”

On deeming the North Korean mission and all of its employees eligible, UNFCU’s Ms. Philippe told Inner City Press,

“The employees of any mission to the United Nations based in New York are eligible to apply for UNFCU membership. The employees of all missions are eligible to join once their mission has submitted an application and been approved.”

The website says the mission itself can join UNFCU. On May 10, Inner City Press asked the chairman of the UN Security Council’s North Korea Sanctions Committee Sebastiano Cardi about North Korea’s embassy in Berlin renting out space as a hostel, video here. What safeguards does UNFCU, with UNA-USA’s members in its field of membership, have?

On UNFCU expanding its field of membership to including anyone who joins UNA-USA, Ms. Philippe told Inner City Press,

“UNA-USA is the largest UN advocacy organization in the United States. UNFCU is a financial organization providing retail banking for the UN community. Members of UNA-USA, who are US citizens or permanent residents of the US, are eligible to become members of UNFCU. In December 2013, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the US regulatory body which oversees US federal credit unions, approved the expansion of UNFCU membership to include UNA-USA based on a shared mission and values in support of the United Nations. UNA-USA members who become members of UNFCU are eligible for the full suite of products and services available to UNFCU’s field of membership.”

But what is in the “full suit of products and services” available from UNFCU? The US Office of Financial Asset Control or OFAC settled charges against UNFCU for, in connection with Mission employees, violating sanctions. And Inner City Press’ third question, about precisely what services “UNFCU offers to UN agencies and country teams” – including for example in North Korea – remained at publication time unanswered. Now this:

“As a member-owned financial institution that serves the UN community globally, UNFCU provides bank account services to UN/agency staff, and consultants subject to payroll requirements of the various UN agencies and subject to the rules and regulations governing all US Financial Institutions. Accounts are maintained in US dollars and are protected by federal share insurance through the National Credit Union Administration. UNFCU complies with US regulations, including those governing US economic sanctions.”

But why then did UNFCU settle charges of sanctions violations? We’ll have more on this. Inner City Press previously exclusively reported for example that

“Sudanese nationals working for the UN have had part of their salaries paid into UN Federal Credit Union accounts, in U.S. dollars. Then they were told that these dollar accounts were frozen, and could only be transferred to the Bank of Khartoum.”

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Corona-Crisis and Two Models of Capitalism

May 14th, 2020 by Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

It is clear that we are entering worldwide an era of very grave social, political and international conflicts and we cannot exclude new wars, writes Dimitris Konstantakopoulos, former adviser to the Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou and former Member of Secretariat of the Central Committee of the SYRIZA Party. We cannot say what the world of tomorrow will be or what will be the place of capitalism in it. What we can say with almost certainty is that the future world will be very different from the one we know.

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What has begun as a Chinese and then as a global health crisis is already catalyzing a global, very deep economic crisis, while it threatens to catalyze also open geopolitical conflicts. The economic crisis is interacting also strongly with the effort of western capitalism to check the rise of China, Russia and other international powers. Simultaneously, the crisis reflects the many, “life or death” problems, the development of productive forces and new technologies are putting in front of humanity.

We know very well from the history of capitalism that so deep crises as the one we are facing now – in reality already since 2008 – comparable with the 1873 and 1929 economic crises, have the potential of provoking “regime change” ruptures. The previous two crises of such depth (1873, 1929) produced two world wars, revolutions (the Russian and Chinese), “counter-revolutions” (Fascism and Nazism) and huge reform projects (New Deal, the post-war social-democratic European capitalist model, till 1980).

If it is impossible to make now certain and safe predictions for the future, it is already clear we are entering worldwide an era of very grave social, political and international conflicts and we cannot exclude new wars. We cannot say what the world of tomorrow will be or what will be the place of capitalism in it. What we can say with almost certainty is that the future world will be very different from the one we know.

A radical situation asks for radical answers

If such a prediction comes true, it means western Left, China or Russia must shift away from their usual, essentially “conservative” strategies and their efforts to defend the acquis of the previous situation and find a way to “accommodate” the most aggressive forces of the “Empire of Finance” and of Western Capitalism.

If you are conservative in radical times, times of huge changes and upheavals, you are doomed to lose.

(The same is also true if you are radical in “conservative” times.)

Of course, we don’t mean that Russia or China should launch some kind of war on America and the West. What we mean is they have to find the force and the inspiration to propose and fight for a new, radically different world order. As for the western Left, if such a thing exists, and in order to exist, it must also challenge the established order in a fundamental way. If they don’t do it all of them run the risk of huge defeats, of helping, inadvertently, the most radical forces of international finance and western capitalism, thus augmenting also the probability of catastrophic wars or other world disasters.

As they usually do in times of crisis, the “Markets’ Leninists” will, most probably, try to use the crisis and the associated shock to advance their agenda. They know western capitalism, as we know it, is no more sustainable. They will try to exploit the crisis in order to replace it with a much worse, totalitarian – surveillance system of techno-feudalism and permanent war to keep their domination. They are already doing it by launching cold wars and sanctions wars against China, Iran, Cuba and Russia, or by blowing up the international system (WHO).

Some people write articles describing the end of capitalism as a result of this crisis. This is an illusion. Capitalism will find always a way to survive. It is even able to take all of us into its graveyard as it is struggling to survive. Capitalism will not die automatically, because of its internal contradictions. It will disappear and replaced as a social system only if people make it disappear.

A crisis from the past, but also a crisis from the future

Nothing of what we have already exposed is really new in human history and, in particular, the history of world capitalism. What is fundamentally new and makes this crisis, potentially, the most dangerous in the whole history of humanity, is the fact that it is taking place in the environment of the new productive forces and technologies we developed and continue to do, in an exponential rhythm, since 1945.

Those productive forces and technologies, if unchecked, not only are able to destroy life on earth, they will do it for sure, most probably during this century. To check them we need a radically different social, economic, international relations system, we need indeed a different civilization. You will probably object that this seems unrealistic and utopian. I will answer to you that it is much more utopian and unrealistic to hope the world will survive as it is organized now. It is not only unrealistic, it is clearly impossible and we must begin by this element of reality in order to build politics. If this idea becomes common in the minds of people, then probably it will acquire the power to alter fundamentally the situation, making another world possible. In that sense, the corona-crisis is not only a tragedy, it is also an opportunity, probably the last one we will have.

It is an opportunity because even now, with all this crisis and catastrophes unfolding, all over the world, is nothing compared to what will come if we let unchecked production, technology, interconnectivity, urbanization, climatic change, generalized pollution of our environment, minds, bodies and DNA.

While it is too early to make specific predictions, the first indications we have concerning the response of the Empire of Finance and the western establishment to the crisis provides us with precious hints of the direction things will follow. They give us also ample reason for grave concern.

There are nowadays two factions competing for power inside the western establishment and the “Empire of Finance”, of the international financial capital, which is ruling or aspiring to rule the world. Both of those factions, those parties agree on the strategic goal, which is no else than the eternal world domination of finance. Still they strongly disagree on methods, ideologies, strategies to attain this goal.

One group consists of the classical neoliberal – globalization elites (Soros, Fukuyama, Obama, Merkel). They promote the “dissolution” of nations into a huge world “market” of capitalist globalization. The prototype of the coming world organization, according to the “globalist” wing of western establishment, is the European Union, a post-modern, meta-national, sui generis power structure, controlled, in final analysis, through a system of labyrinthic procedures, by the Empire of Finance, the oligopoly of the big international banks and of a handful of multinationals (and NATO, as far as geopolitics is concerned).

The second camp consists of the “neocon-nationalist” wing (Huntington, Pompeo, Bannon, Netanyahu, Thiel with Trump). This second tendency is not hostile to nationalisms as such. On the contrary, it wants to use opposing nationalisms to dominate through “War of Civilizations”, “divide and rule” and chaos strategies.

The second faction is governing now the US, the first Europe. Their reactions to the corona-crisis are quite different in the sense the second faction is tempted to launch wars as an answer to its problems. The first is not doing that but, unable to produce any comprehensive answer to the crisis and deeply divided itself, it is provoking now a kind of civil war inside Europe!

The Pompeo – Netanyahu – Bannon – Trump group is answering to the crisis by imposing sanctions in the midst of the pandemic, threatening with military intervention Venezuela and Iran, not permitting the delivery of medical help to Cuba, pressing countries not to accept medical aid from Cuba, launching an extended Cold War against China and preparing in reality a Hot War and attacking all elements of international cooperation, included in medicine (WHO). Washington is even stealing masks and medical equipment from its allies.

Those reactions confirm the fact that, under Trump and Pompeo, the US stopped trying to safeguard its domination through “soft”, political and economic power. Under Trump it is reacting mainly to the challenges either by financial terrorism (sanctions) – using its special position in the international financial architecture – or by resorting to military power or the threat of using it. It is a reflection of weakness in reality, but a very dangerous one. US policy becomes more and more a kind of “gangster”, criminal policy.

The reactions of both factions inside the West – the one governing the US, the other Europe – reflect in reality the impasses of Late Capitalism and its temptation to resort to catastrophic policies and totalitarian choices. The totalitarian choice is much more clear and pronounced in the policy of the Pompeo – Trump – Netanyahu wing (the one who was also responsible beforehand for the campaigns against Iran, Korea and Venezuela, the generalized sanctions and the return of nuclear threats as a diplomatic tool). The US has become nowadays, the main revisionist force, threatening the world peace.

Unfortunately, the opposite faction also, the old “globalist – neoliberal” elites, which rule Europe, the other pillar of western capitalism, if it avoids to opt for war solutions, it is also inclined to use totalitarian methods, albeit more “peaceful” and less “violent”. It remains unable to produce any positive alternative, a huge difference compared with capitalism in the past. Today we do not discern anything comparable to Roosevelt, Keynes, Kennedy, De Gaulle, Social Democracy, the German post-war model etc. That’s why the Corona-crisis is already provoking the biggest crisis in the history of the European Union and we should think what are the dangers and the possibilities as a result of this crisis.

Author’s Note: In the above article we made a reference to Trump’s decision to stop financing the W.H.O. It is not our intention to defend the W.H.O. which seems to need a serious reform and, in particular, to secure its independence from all private interests. But we need more than ever international medical cooperation. The policy of just destroying all institutions of international cooperation and replace them by the Gangster concept of “America First” is a guarantee for a global Disaster of unprecedented proportions.

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Featured image is from Pixabay

 Bill and Melinda Gates, “major stakeholders” in the Pirbright Institute, “own” the identified problem, which is the coronavirus.

The patent, pictured below, was acquired on November 20, 2018.

Coronavirus patent owned by Pirbright Institute

Not only do they own the “problem”, but they also have vested interests in the “solution”. The proposed “solution” is the vaccine.

Watch the video below by Dr. Rashid Buttar.

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A Well-Planned Epidemic

May 14th, 2020 by Mark Taliano

Evidence demonstrates that the Coronavirus Operation started well before the “lockdowns” and the Fear campaigns.

Consider, for example, that whereas the WHO declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on January 30, 2020 (1) the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARE Act), also known as H.R 748 was introduced over a year earlier, on January 24, 2019, at a time when most had not even heard of the Coronavirus.

According to descriptor, the bill “responds to the COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) outbreak and its impact on the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals, and businesses.” (2) President Trump would later refer to the CARE Act ( a bailout of up to 6.2 trillion dollars) as “the single biggest economic relief package in American history” (3).

All of this is significant, because it contradicts the notion that the virus or other parties caused the crash, as it reinforces the likelihood that the crash was in fact created, with intent. The virus is the scapegoat or false flag for previously-planned economic bailouts, disemployment, fiscal and social distress, emergency laws, authoritarianism, vaccination programs, and an imposed “Fourth Industrial Revolution”.

But there is more. On November 20 2018, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, through the Pirbright Institute, in which they are “major stakeholders”, acquired a patent on the Coronavirus itself (4). Hence, they “own” the “problem”. They also have vested financial stakes in perceived “solutions”, which would include vaccines.

 

 

Consider also, as Mike Champine points out, that the Trump administration conducted these “pandemic drills” in 2019:

1. Crimson Contagion by the Trump administration’s US Department of Health and Human Services (January-August 2019).

2. Urban Outbreak, by the US Naval War College and Johns Hopkins (September 2019). Followed immediately by the US government’s creation of Flu Vaccine Task Force.

3. Event 201, by Johns Hopkins, the World Economic Forum, and Gates Foundation (October 2019).

As government spokespeople are now calling for a “second wave” in the “pandemic”, we can anticipate more digital education and healthcare, more authoritarianism, more poverty, higher “excess death” rates, and an increasingly ravaged public sphere.

We did not consent to any of this.

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Mark Taliano is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) and the author of Voices from Syria, Global Research Publishers, 2017. Visit the author’s website at https://www.marktaliano.net where this article was originally published.

Notes

(1)  Prof Michel Chossudovsky and Bonnie Faulkner, “COVID-19 Coronavirus: The Crisis/Full Transcript of Guns and Butter Interview with Prof. Michel Chossudovsky and Bonnie Faulkner.”
Global Research, March 27, 2020 Guns and Butter 19 March 2020.
(https://www.globalresearch.ca/covid-19-coronavirus-crisis/5706741?fbclid=IwAR3j3fSb4Sx8JjxhZDwYt2pgZAzJwo1Wg7kzOp8BqcBMcs6qWTZOCga_uhI ) Accessed 13 May, 2020.

(2) H.R.748 – CARES Act, Sponsor:Rep. Courtney, Joe [D-CT-2] (Introduced 01/24/2019) .
(https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/748?fbclid=IwAR0YAAx1kNmSfMeJopDVtxUIBLxZLCZ3NNFYL5-SJkrVjiT_JjdiPAsjf5c ) Accessed 13 May, 2020. (see also:
https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/748/all-info?fbclid=IwAR1zVMX0k0_DIXZ81MoqX46pQA6OlQuf-XEqPVtUmEa5jpMv4Db5WRHhdXk )

(3) “Remarks by President Trump at Signing of H.R.748, The CARES Act” (
(https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-signing-h-r-748-cares-act/) Accessed 13 May, 2020.

(4) Mark Taliano, “Problem, Reaction, Solution” www.marktaliano.net
(https://www.marktaliano.net/problem-reaction-solution/) Accessed 13 May, 2020

See also:
https://www.facebook.com/donna.durant.5/videos/3137146132972082/?fref=mentions


Order Mark Taliano’s Book “Voices from Syria” directly from Global Research.

Mark Taliano combines years of research with on-the-ground observations to present an informed and well-documented analysis that refutes  the mainstream media narratives on Syria. 

Voices from Syria 

ISBN: 978-0-9879389-1-6

Author: Mark Taliano

Year: 2017

Pages: 128 (Expanded edition: 1 new chapter)

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Anyone who thought the US military was preparing to force vaccinate every American with a coronavirus vaccine has just found strong evidence to confirm the plan. According to a press release from the US Dept. of Defense, featuring an announcement from Lt. Col. Mike Andrews, the DoD is partnering with HHS to acquire 500 million ApiJect vaccine injection devices, with deliveries expected to begin in October of this year.

According to the press release:

Spearheaded by the DOD’s Joint Acquisition Task Force (JATF), in coordination with the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, the contract will support “Jumpstart” to create a U.S.-based, high-speed supply chain for prefilled syringes beginning later this year by using well-established Blow-Fill-Seal (BFS) aseptic plastics manufacturing technology, suitable for combatting COVID-19 when a safe and proven vaccine becomes available.

The ApiJect syringes come with an optional RFID tag so that health care workers can track the GPS location and identity of the individual being injected. Via the Apiject.com website:

With an optional RFID/NFC tag on each BFS prefilled syringe, ApiJect will make this possible. Before giving an injection, the healthcare worker will be able to launch a free mobile app and “tap” the prefilled syringe on their phone, capturing the NFC tag’s unique serial number, GPS location and date/time. The app then uploads the data to a government-selected cloud database. Aggregated injection data provides health administrators an evolving real-time “injection map.”

Yes, you will be tracked, tagged, bagged and injected, most likely against your will.

Don’t forget that this is being married with President Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed” which aims to bypass all the usual protocols of vaccine safety testing and clinical trials, delivering up to 300 million coronavirus vaccine doses before the end of calendar 2020.

500 million prefilled syringes by 2021

The $138 million contract aims to achieve, “the ultimate production goal of over 500 million prefilled syringes (doses) in 2021.”

Notably, there are only around 327 million people living in the United States. That means this DoD / HHS project will produce enough coronavirus vaccine doses to cover every man, woman and child in America.

The only reason they would need so many doses is if there is a plan under way to force vaccines on everyone.

If coronavirus vaccines were planned to be optional — respecting the vaccine choice of individuals — not more than 100 million doses would be needed. The fact that 500 million doses are being manufactured is an admission that the DoD and HHS plan to make coronavirus vaccines mandatory.

Present-day vaccines that claim to treat measles, mumps, chicken pox, HPV and other infectious diseases are deliberately manufactured with a bizarre list of toxic and unethical ingredients, including:

  • Aluminum
  • Mercury (Thimerosal)
  • Antibiotics
  • Squalene (an inflammatory chemical)
  • Aborted human fetal tissue
  • Formaldehyde
  • MSG
  • Live viruses
  • HCG, an infertility chemical

Which ingredients are going to be formulated into the coronavirus vaccine?

And if the coronavirus vaccine is going to be produced without any real quality control or clinical trials, how will drug companies or government agencies know whether the vaccine is safe?

Vaccine safety isn’t the goal… mass murder and depopulation is the real objective

With LA County recently announcing a plan to keep its residents locked down for another three months, and with the FDA and CDC conspiring with Big Pharma to grant “emergency approval” to vaccines which could not possibly go through the required safety trials, it’s abundantly clear that safety is not the issue.

Even Bill Gates now admits that 700,000 people could experience side effects from a coronavirus vaccine, and some of those side effects no doubt include death.

The real goal here is to corral human beings like cattle and subject them to a “kill switch” vaccine injection, which will obviously be engineered with infertility chemicals (soft kill) and engineered elements that cause a cytokine storm death upon a subsequent infection (hard kill). Depopulation has been the goal all along. That’s why they need all the RFID tracking technology: to make sure they’ve injected everyone while tracking now “refuseniks” to be arrested and injected at gunpoint.

And that’s why vaccine mandates are going to be aggressively resisted by the “human resistance” members, who are already aware that the US military is being prepared for a vaccine mandate deployment mission on US soil. President Trump, meanwhile, has become the “vaccine president” and has apparently gone all-in with Big Pharma, pushing his “Operation Warp Speed” project that makes a mockery of the very idea of “evidence-based medicine” or vaccine safety.

Resistance against coronavirus vaccines is already accelerating. It looks like even mainstream conservatives are going to fight to resist the coming vaccine mandates, while so-called “pro choice” progressives are going to claim the government owns your body and can forcibly inject you with anything they want, including experimental, unproven vaccine cocktails. One thing that has emerged from all this is how conservatives are now more skeptical of vaccines than ever before… and the battle for medical choice is rapidly gaining awareness.

It’s clear that any effort by Trump or various governors to push mandatory vaccines on the public is likely to be met with determined resistance.

The vaccine wars may be coming to America very soon.

Are you prepared to defend your body against an assault with a deadly vaccine weapon?

From a human rights perspective, a mandatory vaccination is an assault with a deadly weapon and a violation of basic human dignity and the rights of personhood. This is self-evident from the fact that vaccines kill people every year in America, a verified fact that’s openly admitted by the government in its quarterly vaccine damage reports (VAERS.HHS.gov).

If vaccines kill and maim people — which they do — then forcing an especially fast-tracked vaccine on someone against their will is a form of violence and a clear felony assault against that person.

If someone is attempting to assault you with a deadly weapon, you have every right to defend yourself under US law. No emergency declaration nullifies your exclusive ownership over your own body. And no legitimate government would ever attempt to claim the right to penetrate your body with dangerous substances without your consent.

This argument is even stronger when you realize that there are many ways a person can boost their immunity against an infectious disease, including having good nutrition (vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, etc.) and maintaining a healthy lifestyle that avoids toxic prescription medications such as blood pressure drugs. For a vaccine zealot to claim that vaccines are the one and only way to protect public health, while denying the effectiveness of all other strategies, is a horrifying example intellectual fraud.

The fact that vaccines can and do spread other diseases under certain circumstances — such as polio, chickenbox and even the measles — reveals that vaccines may actually harm more people than they help. Because vaccines present the risk of harm, the choice of whether to agree to a vaccine injection must rest with the patient, not the doctor nor the government. This is a basic principle of western medicine: Informed consent. (And “First, do no harm.”) In fact, it is codified under medical ethics rules of the American Medical Association.

Without informed consent, we don’t have a system of medicine at all. In its place, we have a system of authoritarian medical tyranny — essentially a medical police state. And any such police state should be resisted and defeated by any liberty-minded citizen.

And if Trump is going to push a medical police state on America, he no longer deserves to be president at all and should be voted out of office at the next opportunity. Or pressured to resign before the election.

You can’t Make America Great Again if you’re running armed vaccine goon squads that “medically RAPE” Americans so that Big Pharma can cash in on a deadly pandemic. Trump is going to need to pick a side here, and if he picks Big Pharma, then Trump becomes the enemy of the People.

It’s as simple as that. All the Trump supporters out there need to come to their senses and realize that, based on current observable evidence, it looks like Trump is about to become the anti-Christ by pushing “mark of the beast” RFID vaccine tracking technology that will no doubt be used to deny anti-vaxxers access to commerce and public transportation. Is this even America anymore?

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Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act have exposed a secretive Foreign Office unit aimed at the ‘reconstruction’ of Venezuela. The files also reveal private discussions between Venezuelan opposition figures and UK officials, detailing proposals for the promotion of British business after a planned coup.

UK support for coup attempt in Venezuela

Over the past 16 months, the UK government has consistently supported Venezuelan opposition figure Juan Guaidó’s attempts to topple the elected government of president Nicolás Maduro.

In late January 2019, for example, the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) urged the Bank of England to grant Guaidó access to £1.2bn of Venezuelan gold reserves.

The Department for International Development (DFID) has also pledged some £40m of ‘humanitarian assistance’ to Venezuela, but it has refused to reveal where this assistance is going.

‘Venezuela Reconstruction Unit’

In January 2020, Guaidó travelled to London to meet with UK government officials and shore up international support for his flailing efforts to overthrow the Venezuelan government.

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act offer details of his visit, and reveal the existence of a specialist unit within the FCO dedicated to the ‘reconstruction’ of Venezuela.

On his visit, Guaidó met with foreign secretary Dominic Raab, minister for the Americas Christopher Pincher, and director for the Americas Hugo Shorter.

Notably, the list also includes “Head [of the] Venezuela Reconstruction Unit, FCO”, John Saville. The existence of this unit has never been publicly acknowledged by either the FCO or Saville, who was formerly UK ambassador to Venezuela (2014-2017). Saville’s biography on the UK government’s website, for instance, bears no mention of the unit.

When asked what the purpose of the Venezuela Reconstruction Unit is and why its existence had not been revealed, an FCO spokesperson told The Canary:

The UK is committed to working with international partners to bring an end to the appalling crisis in Venezuela.

The FCO’s Venezuela Reconstruction Unit was set up in Autumn 2019 to coordinate a UK approach to international efforts to respond to the dire economic and humanitarian situation in Venezuela.

This response is virtually indistinguishable from UK government public messaging on Venezuela. Three weeks before Guaidó’s arrival, Saville shared an FCO statement declaring:

The United Kingdom underlines its support for interim constitutional President Guaidó and his efforts to lead Venezuela towards a peaceful and democratic resolution of the appalling crisis the country is facing [emphasis added].

Saville was a central figure in organising Guaidó’s visit and, by January 2020, plans were already underway for a violent incursion into Venezuela by US and Venezuelan mercenaries – a plan which, according to the US mercenary in charge, was signed off by Guaidó himself. Indeed, the full contract leaked to the Washington Post names Guaidó as “Commander in Chief” of the entire operation. Guaidó has denied involvement.

This was not the first scandal of its type. In February 2019, Guaidó was assisted over the Venezuelan border by a Colombian narco-paramilitary cartel before attending an ‘aid’ concert organised by Richard Branson. Funds raised by this concert were then reportedly embezzled by the Venezuelan opposition, and food packages were left to rot.

The UK government’s commitment to bringing “an end to the appalling crisis in Venezuela” through a secretive FCO unit thus seems, to put it lightly, insincere.

The existence of the unit also raises a more fundamental question: What business does the UK government have in the “reconstruction” of a sovereign nation? The people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria may have something to say about this.

‘Gang busters’

Private discussions surrounding Guaidó’s visit to London also reveal the importance that the FCO and Venezuelan opposition figures placed in sympathetic media attention.

On 17 January, an official notes that an unnamed media company in London “wants [Guaidó] to come into the office for a roundtable with their editors and they could do a special feature on the resurrection”.

Another unnamed official boasts on 21 January 2020 that: “This [visit] has gang busters”, meaning a massive impact: “Now CNN International wants to be squeezed in between BBC and FT.”

Private discussions with Guaidó’s UK representative

Another Freedom of Information request can reveal private discussions between Guaidó’s UK representative, Vanessa Neumann, and UK government officials.

“I would like to request a meeting with Secretary Raab, as soon as feasible,” Neumann wrote to FCO officials in July 2019:

I understand he was the FCO’s legal liaison to the ICC [International Criminal Court] for years, and his family background is almost identical to mine and Madeleine Albright’s

In July 2019, Neumann also described meeting former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright as “a dream come true for me: meeting my teenage idol… Now I hope to glean some of her wisdom to help me fight for Venezuela’s freedom.”

Journalist Glenn Greenwald has described Neumann’s “teenage idol” as “one of the most deranged and bloodthirsty warmongers to occupy a high government position in decades”. In 1996, for instance, Albright told PBS News that the deaths of “half a million [Iraqi] children” resulting from US economic sanctions were “worth it”.

The parallels with Venezuela are particularly concerning. Neumann consistently encourages“strong targeted sanctions” against Venezuela which, according to the Centre for Economic and Policy Research, “killed 40,000 people… between 2017 and 2018”. More recently, former UN human rights expert Alfred de Zayas estimated that this number likely exceeds 100,000.

In May 2019, Neumann wrote to FCO officials that she had “reached out to Rory Stewart at DFID for a meeting that will… sustain British business in Venezuela’s reconstruction [emphasis added]”. This suggests the very nature of British ‘reconstruction’ of Venezuela: garnering favourable conditions for British business. And one can only guess at what these “British business” interests might be within a country that reportedly sits on the world’s largest proven oil reserves.

Indeed, in September 2019, Neumann was reportedly secretly recorded “surrendering Venezuela’s claim to the disputed Essequibo region in exchange for political support from the UK government”.

Also in May 2019, meanwhile, Neumann privately encouraged the FCO to publicly “pronounce itself in support of our democratic forces, your partners… before my interview on BBC World Service to discuss the matter in one hour”.

Later the same day, Neumann was reassured by an FCO official that “the Foreign Secretary [Jeremy Hunt] has just tweeted” in support of Edgar Zambrano, who was charged with treason, conspiracy, civil rebellion, usurpation of responsibilities, criminal association, and public instigation to disobey the law after joining an armed coup attempt.

The private discussions between Neumann and FCO officials also entail “Venezuela debt restructuring” and a ‘new Venezuela military attaché’, though these conversations have been redacted almost entirely.

“We are consistent in our view that Maduro is illegitimate”, the FCO’s Latin America department head Nigel Baker assured Neumann in May 2019, “and in our support for Juan Guaido”.

“Excellent. Thank you, Nigel,” responded Neumann. “We appreciate your support, which is critical for us now and in our reconstruction.” Elsewhere, Neumann praises Britain’s “historic role in concepts of liberty and justice (I used to teach political philosophy, and particularly loved the British thinkers)”.

Asymmetrica

Neumann is also the CEO of Asymmetrica Limited, a “strategic communications” firm whose website dons quotes from Henry Kissinger.

Alongside Neumann, the names Alec Bierbauer and Michael Marks were listed in 2015 as co-directors of Asymmetrica. Both are closely connected to the US military and intelligence services. Bierbauer was a central figure in the development of Washington’s drone warfare programme. Marks, meanwhile, “has worked around the world within the US intelligence and special operations community, a career that stretches from the jungles of Nicaragua to the mountains of Afghanistan”.

In 2018, Bierbauer and Marks published a book entitled Predator Rising: How a Team of Renegades Broke Rules, Shattered Barriers, and Launched a Drone Warfare Revolution. The book offers “the inside story of how a CIA agent and an Air Force officer joined forces to develop America’s most powerful tool in the War on Terror”.

In this light, Asymmetrica’s name appears to be a reference to the Asymmetrical Wafarestrategies developed after 11 September 2001, and now being exported to Venezuela.

As Guaidó’s UK representative, Neumann’s proximity to people connected to the CIA and US armed forces is likely to raise eyebrows. Indeed, in 2017, Neumann told then-CIA director Mike Pompeo that “regime change [in Venezuela] looks to be – we hope – imminent or spiralling down”.

Curiously, Asymmetrica recently partnered with a California-based loan firm, offering loans to US-based businesses worth up to $5m. This seems to be quite a departure from typical ‘ambassadorial’ duties, particularly given these loans are offered exclusively to US companies. Neumann’s latest venture also raises questions regarding the collection of funds for the Venezuelan opposition, which has long been an issue clouded by murky waters.

Asymmetrica did not respond to a request for comment. Nor did Neumann.

UK contribution to coup efforts

The existence of a secretive Venezuela Reconstruction Unit within the FCO, combined with the FCO’s private discussions with Guaidó’s UK representative, seems to demonstrate the extent to which the UK government is committed to the overthrow of the Venezuelan government.

These documents also suggest that ‘regime change’ in Venezuela is following the typical procedure: the countries that contribute most during the destabilisation phase can expect to share the financial spoils in the ‘reconstruction’ phase.

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All images in this article are from The Canary unless otherwise stated

As soon as they had to do anything, the whole thing fell down. From the slogan, to the statement, to the guidance, it is an unholy shambles, a near-ceaseless demonstration of cack-handed inadequacy.

It’s not like they didn’t have time to prepare. We’d been hearing rumours of Boris Johnson’s announcement for a week before it happened. And then look how it played out.

The government changed the ‘stay home’ slogan to ‘stay alert’, a phrasing which had no obvious meaning whatsoever, and which then had to be explained by a statement which suggested, among other things, that people should “stay alert by staying at home as much as possible”. So it meant nothing unless it might also meant the other thing which it had just replaced.

Last night, Downing Street put out a statement saying the prime minister would tell people that they should go to work on Monday if they could not work from home. Shortly afterwards, Johnson made a statement in which he made the same point. He did not specify the day but the clear implication, given it was delivered on Sunday night, was that he meant Monday morning. This afternoon in the Commons he simply referred to “this week”.

But on the Today programme this morning, Dominic Raab said:

“We’re saying to them, they should now, from Wednesday, go back to work.”

On the extremely basic matter of when people should go to work, there was no clarity. And in fact there was some evidence people were already going to work, with videos of the London Tube network showing packed carriages of commuters.

Employers were told that workplaces needed to be distanced so that they were safe for workers. Public transport should be avoided, but where people had to use it they should also be subject to safety measures.

What were the safety measures? We do not know, because they have not been published. Pushed on the issue today, Johnson suggested the workplace guidance would be published tonight and the transport guidance tomorrow. The plan itself was only released this afternoon.

So at the moment at which people were pressured to go back to work, they were provided no basis upon which to assess the safety of them doing so.

There was a fascinating turn of phrase during last night’s statement. Johnson delivered most of it directly to the viewer. But then he suddenly switched gears and started speaking about the viewer instead.

“We said that you should work from home if you can, and only go to work if you must,” he said. And then: “We now need to stress that anyone who can’t work from home, for instance those in construction or manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work.”

Who was that said to? It was hard to escape the conclusion that it was aimed at employers. It seemed to give away a deep truth about whose side the government was on.

Johnson will not know what it is like to work in a factory on low wages. He will not understand, or be interested in, the power dynamic that operates in places like that. It is not, as he seems to envisage it, a forum where egalitarian discussions take place. You are told to go work by your bosses and then you go to work, if you want to keep your job.

But the statement yesterday and in the Commons this afternoon provided those workers with very few protections.

“People who cannot work from home should talk to their employers about returning this week and the difficulties they may or may not have,” he said.

On the struggles of those who have children to look after and no school provision, he could only say:

“We will count on employers to be reasonable.”

He used the phrase “common sense” so often that it seemed to dominate the entire debate. And yet there is no common sense here. Common sense to an employer is getting back to work so they can make money again. And that might involve less stringent safety provisions than an employee would like. The sense was not common at all. It would be different to different people, depending on where they stood.

In reality, common sense had only one translation. It was the transfer of responsibility for what was happening from the government to people themselves.

Only at one point, in response to a question from Labour MP Chi Onwurah, did Johnson finally go further, insisting that the Health and Safety Executive would do spot inspections. The rest of the session was devoid of meaning.

Labour leader Keir Starmer asked the prime minister a series of very specific questions about guidance provision, timetables, workplace safety requirements, public transport arrangements, childcare and gaps between policy in the home nations. He did not get any answers, just a series of platitudes – “there is far more that unites the UK than divides it”, “this is the moment for the whole country to come together”, all of that. It was an incessant stream of vapid tosh.

This is a government which simply does not know what it is doing. There is not even a trace-element of competence on display. After a week of planning, it is beyond comprehension that they should fail to decide on what day these measures are supposed to apply, let alone be unable to describe what they are.

Don’t expect them to improve. They will not. They are simply not up to it. If they’re unable to summon the gravitas and responsibility to handle this, they’ll be unable to do it over anything.

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Ian Dunt is editor of Politics.co.uk. His new book, How To Be A Liberal, is out later this year.

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On May 3rd a bunch of mercenaries, led by Rambo-like US soldiers of fortune attempted to disembark on the coastal town of Macuto in the La Guaira state in Venezuela’s Caribbean coast, in a so-called Operation Gedeon.

Their leader, ‘contractor’ Jordan Goudreau, CEO of US ‘security company’, SilverCorp, in interview with Miami-based extreme right wing Venezuelan opposition journalist, Patricia Poleo, candidly explained that the aim of their military incursion against the South American nation was to attack the presidential palace so as to overthrow the government of President Nicolas Maduro and install a de facto Guaidó-led government. Goudreau claimed to have deployed a mercenary force of 300 to carry out the military ‘mission’.

The mercenaries received training in at least three camps in Riohacha, Colombia, had the full support of the Colombian government that has declared explicitly its desire to overthrow the government of President Maduro. All sorts of their logistical needs were resolved by well-known narco-trafficker and paramilitary, Elkin Javier López Torres, alias ‘Doble Rueda’1, leading member of the La Guajira drug cartel, who offered his own ranch to host the mercenaries and financed all Gedeon’s preparation expenses. It would be impossible for Doble Rueda or any other Colombian drug kingpin to happily engage and participate in such a hefty political adventure without the Colombian government approving, supporting and collaborating with it. There is nothing surprising about this: It was the Colombian drug cartel Los Rastrojos who gave armed protection to Juan Guaidó after he illegally crossed the border to attend the Branson-led Cucuta concert in February 2020. After Los Rastrojos took pictures of themselves with Guaidó, handed him over to Colombia’s presidential guard who took him to the presidential helicopter who would fly him to the concert.

What was even more astonishing was that Goudreau showed on camera the contract for his services for which he would be paid US$212 million, “plus other expenses” (more on this later), signed by himself, ‘self-proclaimed interim president’ Juan Guaidó, Juan Jose Rendon, Sergio Vergara, and finally Manuel Retureta as witness. That is, Juan Guaidó and key members of his cabinet contracted the services of a mercenary company to launch a military attack on the presidential palace in Caracas, kidnap and/or assassinate president Maduro, also assassinate key members of the Bolivarian government such as president of the National Constituent Assembly and leader of the PSUV, Diosdado Cabello, Vladimir Padrino López, commander in chief of the armed forces, Delcy Rodriguez, vice-president of Venezuela and other high officials and Chavista political leaders.

Source: PRR

JJ Rendon, a Venezuelan extreme right winger, specialist on black propaganda, has been advisor to presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, to Colombian presidents Alvaro Uribe and Juan Manuel Santos, Enrique Peña Nieto (Mexico), and a few other high level right wing politicians. Rendon signed the contract in his capacity as High Presidential Commissioner General Strategy and Crisis Management; Vergara, member of extreme right wing party Voluntad Popular, is Guaidó’s right hand and in charge of the his ghost cabinet, signed as High Presidential Commissioner for Crisis Management; Retureta, the witness, has been defense lawyer for Colombian paramilitary leader, Salvatore Mancuso; Dámaso Lopez, right-hand man to Sinaloa cartel leader, Chapo Guzman; Tony Hernandez, brother of Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernandez, convicted by a US federal judge of large-scale drug trafficking; and Fabio Lobo, son of former Honduran President, Lobo, son condemned to 24 years in prison in the US for drug trafficking (Retureta is known as the ‘drug traffickers’ lawyer’). He is JJ Rendon’s personal lawyer.

The mercenary attack

A strategic objective of the mercenary incursion was to create distractions so as to disperse Venezuela’s military and police forces so as to facilitate their plans to drive in several SUVs with high calibre machine guns of their rooftops (a la ISIS) the 1-hour trip to central Caracas to both attack the presidential palace and secure the Simon Bolivar airport in Maiqueitía.

As a distraction, a fake confrontation between criminal gangs in the poor and populous Petare barrio was organized seeking to divert crucial military and police forces from the coastal areas. This was confessed in video by José Alberto Socorro Hernandez, alias ‘Pepero’, a Venezuelan drug traffickers who in video confessed to being a DEA agent and said: “The DEA asked me to bring about chaos in several poor areas of Caracas. The DEA asked me to contact drug traffickers, and threaten them so they collaborated in this.” Pepero goes on to say that he hired Petare gang head ‘Wilexis’ so as to feign armed confrontation between gangs with war weapons but no casualties. If anybody has strong connections with drug traffickers is the DEA. President Maduro correctly drew the conclusion that the DEA seemed to have been in charge of the operational and logistical aspects of Gedeon.2

To top it all up, it has transpired that Goudreau’s company have performed security services as part of the personal guard of President Donald Trump himself. Goudreau “had been introduced to Keith Schiller, President Trump’s long time bodyguard, and accompanied him to a Miami meeting with representatives of Venezuelan opposition figure Juan Guaidó in May 2019”.3 And, Goudreau was in charge of security of the Branson-led Cucuta February ‘concert’ aimed at pushing so-called ‘humanitarian aid’ into Venezuela by military force, seeking military confrontation so as to justify an external (US military) intervention.

The full complexion and cobweb of links and connections of the mercenary incursion began to emerge slowly but inexorably. As all trails of the conspiracy led to Bogota and invariably ends up in Washington DC, President Nicolas Maduro has charged the US and Colombian governments of being behind the mercenary incursion. As expected, presidents Trump and Duque strenuously denied any involvement. In TV interview Rendon admitted he had signed the contract, which he characterised as ‘exploratory’ but denied Guaidó had signed it. Guaidó himself has denied signing it, even though the whole world has actually seen the contract with his signature.4

Three gunships carrying large quantities of heavy ammunition belonging to the Colombian Navy that certainly were abandoned by mercenaries on the run ended up in Venezuela. They were seized by Venezuelan military authorities. The Colombian Navy issued a statement ‘explaining’ the gunships had ended up in Venezuelan territorial waters because they had been dragged there by water currents.5 President Maduro has publicly said that as soon as the Colombian government formally requests it his government would immediately return them.

On April 29th, Pompeo, announced that James Story, US ambassador to Venezuela and all his staff, who have been running a virtual US embassy for Venezuela from Bogota, “would soon be moving to Caracas’. Next day (April 30th) war criminal Elliott Abrams, Special US Envoy on Venezuela, twitted “Transition in Venezuela is coming”. And infamous John Bolton in twitter message announced (April 30th) “Morning is coming to Venezuela – again.” Similar twitter messages were posted by prominent oppositionists such as Ivan Simonovis, Guaidó appointee to the White House on matters of defence: “What is coming is unavoidable and unstoppable”. This was one or two days before the mercenary attack. The US clearly knew about it.

As has been widely reported, the mercenary attack failed because it was stopped in its tracks by the Bolivarian armed forces which had a confrontation with one contingent of mercenaries in one of the boats in the small coastal town of Macuto which resulted in the death of 8 of them on May 3rd. On May 5th, 8 more mercenaries were captured by the inhabitants of Chuao, a small fishing village in the Aragua state. The image of a Chuao barefoot Black fisherman, member of the people’s militia, holding a gun in his right hand, supported by the community and a few municipal police officers, ordering the mercenaries to raise their arms behind their head in surrender was indeed symbolic. In Chuao the captured mercenaries, including two US mercenaries, Luke Denman and Airan Berry, were tied one next to each other. It poignantly symbolises the struggle of Venezuela against a powerful but immoral world power. Both, Denman and Berry have appeared on videos confirming the key features of Operation Gedeon, including securing the airport to wait for the arrival of an airplane to take kidnapped President Maduro to the United States. Berry said that one of the tasks was to kill President Maduro.6 When Denman was asked who he received orders from, he said, ‘Jordan Goudreau’ and when asked who gave the orders to Goudreau, his reply was, ‘President Donald Trump.’

In the last few days, more fugitive mercenaries are being mopped up by Venezuelan security forces, the militia or communities in a national mobilization of alert and, though God knows what else Trump and Co have in store for Venezuela, Operation Gedeon has been defeated and crushed by what President Maduro calls the ‘Bolivarian fury’.

Who is really behind this?

Since it would be impossible for training camps for such a number of mercenaries to operate in Colombia without government knowledge and agreement, even less so if it happens with the collaboration of powerful drug kingpins, for which the knowledge and connections the DEA has in Colombia and elsewhere are very convenient. Despite massive US military presence (at least 10 military bases established in 2009 entrusted with the task of precisely combatting drug trafficking) the training went on without detection. Furthermore, the DEA would not have been so collaborative without the State Dept. and President Trump himself agreeing to the carrying out of Operation Gedeon. Guaidó and his corrupt entourage follow orders from the Yankee paymaster that not only finances but owns them.7 Thus, it looks like the line of command of all Colombia-originated terrorist operations against Bolivarian Venezuela perforce of existing hierarchies, can be traced to the Four Apocalypse Horsemen: Abrams, Pompeo, Pence and Trump, as must have been the case with Gedeon. Additionally it is impossible for Guaidó to have undertaken such a hefty financial commitments with SilverCorp without consulting and the specific authorisation of the US and especially Steven Mnuchin US Secretary of the Treasury, body that is managing all Venezuelan illegally confiscated monies.

The ostensibly puzzling feature of Operation Gedeon is the deployment of about 60-70 mercenaries who were expected, if one follows the full details of the tasks to be undertaken if Gedeon was successful, could not possibly have been carried out by such a small number confronting a well-armed, well trained, well equipped, and fully alert and mobilised Bolivarian armed forces and police supplemented by about 3.5 million people’s militia. This scepticism holds even if the number of mercenaries was 300 as claimed by Goudreau.

This has allowed the world corporate media to present Operation Gedeon as the narcissistic whim and money ambition of one crazy individual, Jordan Goudreau. In this regard, the worst was an AP piece by journalist Joshua Goodman who in an extremely long account of the whole saga desperately seeks both to ‘demonstrate’ no connection with Duque and Trump but also convince us that Guaidó and Co, having entered into ‘exploratory’ talks and even drawing a ‘drafts contract’, had abandoned the project with Goudreau. Goodman claims “Guaidó’s envoys, including Toledo, ended contact with Goudreau after the Bogota meeting because they believed it was a suicide mission, according to three people close to the opposition leader.”8 The Guardian’s Julian Birger, Joe Daniel Parkin and Chris McGreal echoed the narrative and mount a sturdy defense of Guaidó who they quoted as having said “that if the Venezuelan president let the operation go ahead in that knowledge, he had blood on his hands.”9 And the BBC forcefully reported that “Mr Guaidó denied having anything to do with Mr Goudreau. In a statement, he said he had “no relationship nor responsibility for any actions” taken by the US war veteran.”10 These two ‘bastions’ of the struggle for democracy rather than condemn a criminal and illegal mercenary attack against a sovereign nation they end up, though deviously, the side of the criminals.

So almost monolithically most of the corporate media pumped the same narrative. It was a big effort aimed to get international public opinion away from focusing on Trump, Duque, the DEA and, if possible, Guaidó. It feels as though the world corporate media is intensely compliant when it comes to communicational narratives required explicitly or not by the State Dept.

The feasibility of Operation Gedeon takes an entirely different complexion when other contextual factors are taken into account. First, not only La Guaira is at 1-hour drive from Caracas (the airport to be secured by the mercenaries is even closer), and Juan Guaidó was elected to the National Assembly for the state of Vargas, where La Guaira happens to be.11 The plan, after the attack on the palace and the kidnapping (or killing) of President Maduro, mercenary forces involved taking control of Macuto, a Restauration Patriotic Government Junta headed by Juan Guaidó would be flown in, proclaimed it as ‘liberated territory’, calling upon the ‘international community’ to be recognised, followed by the immediate recognition by the US government and all its vassals in Latin America, starting from Colombia and probably, the European Union.

This was almost certainly to be followed by an intoxicating media frenzy ‘reporting’ the fall of Maduro filling the waves with images of confrontations, corpses, blood and ‘heroic resistance by freedom fighters’, showing Guaidó making an impassionate call for foreign assistance to be responded in the first instance probably by the anti-drug US-led air and sea fleet deployed recently by Trump in the Caribbean Sea (which includes warships from Holland, France and the UK).12 Thirdly, where was the plane to take President Maduro to be flown to the US coming from? Not only the US has 10 military bases in Colombia, it also has military facilities in Aruba, Curacao, and recently they have obtained control over Brazil’s Alcántara military base and have also been granted control over military facilities in the Galapagos islands, Ecuador, plus plenty of more in the Lesser Antilles. When added up to the NATO bases in the region, Venezuela is completely surrounded by hostile military installations. The US-led air-sea combined fleet deployed on the false premise to ‘cut off links between the Venezuelan government and drug traffickers’, was followed after an indictment by US General Attorney, Bill Warren13, against President Maduro and his government on charges of drug-trafficking and terrorism, so as to purposefully create a scenario, legitimising and generously rewarding in law any endeavour leading to the capture of President Maduro and other indicted high officials in the Bolivarian government, as in 1989 Panama with Manuel Noriega.14

The Dept. of Justice held a media show with President Trump leading it, and accused President Maduro and 14 high ranking Venezuelan officials of Allegedly Partnered With the FARC to Use Cocaine as a Weapon to “Flood” the United States.”15 Incredibly as it may sound, during the whole media show, with all kind of speakers including President Trump and Barr himself who, with ardent rhetoric they castigated drug trafficking, Colombia was not mentioned once. Warren issuing of the indictment took place barely one month before the mercenary forces was unleashed. As though in the Far West the US offered a US$15 million reward for any information leading to the capture of Nicolas Maduro.

The US characterization of Venezuela as ‘narco-state’ (repeated by sections of the media ad nausea) are not only false but thoroughly contradict the DEA’s own reports whose data lead it to conclude that “92% of cocaine seized in the U.S. comes from Colombia”.16 Worse, since 2009, date of the installation of the 7 extra U.S. military bases in Colombia to combat cocaine production and trafficking, both problems have massively increased according to the DEA itself, institution whose data also shows that 82% of the cocaine produced in Colombia reaches the US through the Pacific Ocean.17 Figures and trends broadly consistent with official UN Office on Drug and Crime. Furthermore, Venezuela does not have geographical access to the Pacific.

US harassment, aggression and criminal sanctions against Venezuela have intensified during the pandemic because US strategists think that the complications, extra expenditure, lockdown and dislocation that Covid-19 brings in its wake are likely to be conducive to implement successful ‘regime change’ rogue operations. There must be the additional consideration that Venezuela has received international recognition for its efficient programme to control the pandemic (see article by Francisco Dominguez on this in Transform Nº8), something Washington finds intolerable therefore it is not reported in the world corporate media.

Thus, a coalition to carry out the mercenary attack was put together which must have had the OK from Washington with the DEA in charge of its operational and logistic features which involved high levels of decision making in the US, the Colombian government and its para-state outfits, including well known paramilitary drug traffickers (Doble Rueda), SilverCorp, Guaidó, his close entourage (JJ Rendon et al), and petty criminals in Caracas coerced by local DEA agents. All crisscrossed from top to bottom by vast sums originated in the cocaine trade in Colombia.18

What were the political objectives?

The speculation about the central role that large foreign military forces would play to support the mercenary attack, is relevant and valid when one considers the full plan of ‘regime change’ involved in the Guaidó-Goudreau contract, especially since the legal and political framework for a military strike against President Maduro had been created by the Dept. of Justice. Once the Guaidó-Goudreau contract’s appendixes were published the tasks to be carried out by a successful coup d’état are so enormous and so multifaceted that unless the golpistas had at their disposal a massive invading military force, they could not be accomplished. The plan amounts to the full and complete dismantlement of the Venezuelan state brick by brick until its total demolition. Given the size and commitment of Chavismo in all its thousands upon thousands of local committees, grassroots organizations, trade unions, women bodies, the 3.5-milllion strong people’s militia, the armed forces and so forth, the dismantlement of the Bolivarian state necessitates perforce a gigantic social and political purge involving mass killings to a level that would make Pinochet like a naughty school boy. The full 41-page Appendixes of the Guaidó-Goudreau contract19 stipulate among other tasks, for the military force in command – Goudreau – after the successful ‘regime change’ to stay for a preliminary period of 450 days, a year and a half, renewable depending on the evolution of the situation in the country. In short, US plans for Venezuela is total and thorough demolition of the Bolivarian state and for which Goudreau would be paid, to start with, US$212 million.

In the appendix (page 3), there is mention to an Investors’ Group, who would put together the US$212 million, but because such a sum was not immediately available, Goudreau would request a bank loan to finance the preliminary operations and for which Guaidó commits his government to pay it back with a 55% interest. If the mission has been accomplished, additionally Goudreau would receive an extra bonus of about US$10 million.

The mercenary military force would constitute itself in a Military Task Force who would be under the direct command of Guaidó, but it would exert military authority over all the existing military and police forces and over the whole of the Civil Service. Thus, by virtue of the Guaidó-Goudreau contract, the latter becomes the most powerful body in the land.

The Task Force would declare hostile certain military forces (military, naval, air, police, etc. both conventional and non-conventional) associated with the V Republic (page 8) and that have emerged and evolved with the 1999 Constitution and Bolivarian Revolution that must be “neutralised”, i.e., assassinated. Furthermore, any military force loyal to Maduro in the eventuality of putting up resistance, must be eliminated (sic). Among key figures to be eliminated are Diosdado Cabello and forces loyal to him and to Maduro would be declared hostile and also eliminated (page 9).

By decision of Guaidó (page 9) as stipulated in the contract, authorises Goudreau to order and approve any military attack and to start any hostilities he deems necessary, against groups such as non-conventional troops, over any private or public buildings, weapons storage facilities, roads, motorways, any media, and can order attacks on buildings associated with the V Republic government that have been declared hostile (page 7). Thus, for example a building of the Housing Programme where a local cultural committee operates can be declared hostile and be attacked so as to be eliminated. The same applies to thousands of such premises throughout the country that house trade unions, communal councils, local committees, cooperatives, and such like. That is, by virtue of the Guaidó-Goudreau contract the whole of the Chavista movement or anything that may resemble it can, to the prejudiced and racist eye of a Rambo-style gringo mercenary, be a military target for elimination. One can imagine extreme right wing armed Venezuelans ‘guiding’ members of the Task Force to attack just about any target as they themselves have done so many times during their guarimbas: health centres schools, universities, houses of the Housing Mission, crèches, and burning dark-skinned people alive. Guaidó, additionally authorises the Task Force to make use of any lethal weapon, including personal or other type of mines.

Page 15 authorises the Task Force to arrest any civilian ‘involved in a criminal activity’, that interferes with any military mission of the Task Force, that is on a list of persons to be arrested, for security reasons, this includes even priests can be arrested.

In page 20 of the contract, confirming how much US neocon mindset influences the desired outcome, since “Any person providing support to or a member of the following international terrorist organizations, or any group/cells/facilities associated therewith: ELN, FARC, Drug Cartels, Al Qaida, Hizballah, Hamas, Taliban and about 10 other organizations in the Middle East are deemed to be hostile forces and therefore targets for the Task Force (page 20).

Any form of disturbance, demonstrations, marches, etc., would be dealt with by force as follows, first a call to stop, then deployment of weapons showing the intention to use it, a shot is fired as warning and, if not heeded, then the threat or disturbance is eliminated. Any civilian can be arrested and held prisoner with no legal rights. The contract stipulates that the Task Force can make use of force at any time, even lethal force. The Task Force would also assume the role of security for Guaidó and his entourage, assistants and the golpista government. Furthermore, (page 21), the contract grants “all privileges, exemptions and immunities”” from prosecution for the use of lethal force as you would ‘to any country’s security force’, well before the perpetration of the announced Force’s military attacks. The contract also grants the Force and its members to get in and out of the country without passport and are exempted from visa protocols, all they need is to show their SilverCorp staff card and for travel they would only need a written authoritisation from Goudreau (page 24). And SilverCorp is not responsible for any destruction or loss of life that occurs in the carrying out of the mission contained in the contract and were there to be any litigations emanating from the US, Venezuela or any other source, the ‘Venezuelan Guaidó state’ would cover all costs and were the litigations to be lost Guaidó would indemnify them financially (page 38).

If any member of the Task Group is wounded, killed or arrested, Guaidó commits himself to insure them by paying US$450,000 to their closest relative, this means that because Berry and Denman have been captured, Guaidó already owes Goudreau’s SilverCorp US$900,000. And if any member of the Task Group loses a limb or eyesight during the carrying out of the mission they will be paid US$250,000 (page 28).

The chain of command in the planned golpista Guaidó government would be as follows: Juan Guaidó, Commander in Chief; Overall Project Supervisor, Sergio Vergara; Chief Strategist, Juan Jose Rendon; On Site Commander, To Be Determined. That is to say, the democratic institutional apparatus of the Bolivarian Republic would have been simply pulverised by a de facto rogue government supported militarily by a bunch of rogue US mercenaries very likely with the collaboration of invited ‘friendly’ military forces from at least the US and Colombia. A bunch of 300 mercenaries have no chance in hell to carry out such a mammoth task as the dismantlement of the Bolivarian state apparatus. As with the April 2002 brief coup against Hugo Chavez, all state institutions (National Assembly, Supreme Court, National Electoral Council, all ministries, the Ombudsman, the government, the Constitution, national sovereignty and so forth, would be simply dissolved). The difference with 2002 is this time their dissolution would have been carried out by military force followed by mass elimination of Chavistas.

Bolivarianism versus barbarism

President Maduro and the Bolivarian government have responded to yet another US-inspired, and probably US-funded mercenary attack with political calm and military efficiency. As we write social networks report that over 37 mercenaries have been rounded up whilst an intense search throughout the nation but especially around the areas La Guaira, Aragua and the whole Caribbean coast are being combed inch by inch, continues, and the border with Colombia is tightly secured. They have also responded by telling the truth and fully informing their people and the world through various press conferences on national TV to journalists from all around the world. President Maduro himself has led the truth offensive and it is clear that whatever the level of unscrupulous cynicism of Trump, Pompeo, Abrams et al, there is no question they did not expect such a swift outcome favourable to Maduro. Nor probably did they expect such a crushing and humiliating defeat for the US mercenaries. The Bolivarian government has already submitted a formal accusation against the US in the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for all its aggression, sanctions and threats. On national TV President Maduro instructed Jorge Arreaza, minister of foreign affairs, to add the charges related to the US government involvement in the recent mercenary attack. Another accusation to the ICC will be presented by the Venezuelan government against President Duque and his government for his undeniable participation in Goudreau’s Rambo criminal adventure.

This is essential since the skilful diplomacy of the Bolivarian government has led to interesting and fruitful collaboration with various UN bodies, including the UNHRC Michelle Bachelet, but also with the International Red Cross, the WHO, plus powerful international voices such as the Non-Aligned Movement, several Latin American countries, Russia, China and plenty of others. Additionally Venezuela enjoys worldwide solidarity support from international trade union federations, mass political parties everywhere particularly in Latin America, social movements, intellectuals and solidarity bodies. During the few days following the mercenary attack, literally hundreds of messages of support came from all over the globe.

What is disgusting is the sickening silence of the European Union that has been so preoccupied with just about anything and everything with Bolivarian Venezuela for the last decade at least taking a highly negative stance and being led by the nose from Washington’s views and foreign policy on Venezuela. They knowingly took a skewed view of US-led extreme right wing forces violent efforts to oust the democratically government of Venezuela in 2014 and 2017. The EU pretended it did not see Guaidó collaborating with criminal gangs of Colombian narco-paramilitaries in February this year to attend the Branson-led concert in Cucuta. Worse still the EU did not condemn the coup attempt led by Juan Guaidó and Leopoldo on April 30 this year and they pretended. By then however doubtful Guaidó’s credentials were since he was never elected nor did he even stand as a presidential candidate yet most European governments recognise his thoroughly unconstitutional self-proclamation as ‘interim president’ which ought to have been sufficient for European governments to withdraw that recognition. And now Guaidó contracts mercenaries with the explicit and written aim to kidnap a head of state and assassinate him as a prelude to establishing a de facto rogue military dictatorship with the declared aim to eliminate a whole political current by the use of lethal force which is deemed genocide in international law nevertheless the European governments continue to recognise him as the ‘interim president of Venezuela’ and keeps silent about the mercenary attack. Is the EU decomposing politically as well as falling apart?

Conclusion

The US continues with its ‘regime change’ policy through violent means against Venezuela but keeps failing. The mercenary attack clearly took a long gestation period since it included the US Dept. of Justice indictment against President Maduro and high officials in his government of drug trafficking and narco-terrorism so as to create Panamanian conditions for US military intervention. However, they know Venezuela is not Panama and the US of 2020 is increasingly becoming a shadow of its 1989 self. Yet, US imperialism will persists because it desperately needs to lay its claws of the largest deposits of oil and gold in the planet but more importantly Venezuela’s resistance is a key obstacle in its efforts to fully reassert its hegemony regionally which will give it a better position from which to face the formidable China challenge.

Therefore, our solidarity with the heroic Venezuelan people must be redoubled and we must demand, echoing international voices such as UN General Secretary, Antonio Guterres, and Pope Francis I, the immediate suspension of US sanctions against Venezuela during the period of the pandemic so as to allow Venezuela to engage in financial transactions to purchase food, medicines and vital health inputs, essential to combat the pandemic and keep saving tens of thousands of lives.

The international labour movement should call upon the US stop interfering in the internal affairs of Venezuela, a fully sovereign and proud nation and demand the immediate and unconditional return of all assets and resources illegally confiscated to the Venezuelan state by the Trump administration. By 12th May 2020, the US has about 1,4 million people infected with Covid-19 with over 80,000 deaths, greater than the deaths of US Marines of the entire Vietnam War, whilst Venezuela on the other hand has 422 cases of infection, with 10 deaths. The argument for the US to abandon its wasteful and criminal ‘regime change’ efforts against Venezuela to instead concentrate on saving US lives and allow Venezuela the breathing space to continue with saving Venezuela lives.

This applies to Europe as well where banks and financial institutions are illegally retaining Venezuelan assets to the tune of over US$5 billon (notably Venezuelan gold in the Bank of England), they should be immediately and unconditionally return to its legitimate owner the state of and the people of Venezuela.

There is no legal or political justification on earth for the EU to continue its untenable policy of recognising Juan Guaidó as ‘interim president’ of Venezuela when de facto they work with the Bolivarian government of President Maduro, especially now that his criminal credential have been (again) conclusively proved.

US Hands Off Venezuela! Fight the Pandemic Not Venezuela!

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Notes

1 Doble Rueda is a close relative of Martha Gonzalez, wife of Venezuelan military deserter Cliver Alcalá Cordones. In interview to Colombian radio stations and in a video Alcalá confessed he was preparing such an attack by training mercenaries and unsuccessfully trying to smuggle large quantities of weapons into Venezuela; surrendered to the DEA and is now under their protection in the US; Alcalá faces charges of terrorism and narco-trafficking yet when he was discovered seeking to smuggle weapons into Venezuela was not arrested nor tried by the Colombian authorities.

https://actualidad.rt.com/actualidad/352332-agente-dea-bandas-petare-caracas-venezuela; there has been a rather large amount of academic and other research that persistently show strong connections between sections of the US security community (CIA, NSC, DEA, etc.) with drug traffickers not just in Colombia, the most notorious case being the Iran-Contra Affair, when seeking to illegally fund the Contras against Sandinista Nicaragua, led high US officials and agencies to collaborate with drug traffickers; declassified “documents demonstrate official knowledge of drug operations, and collaboration with and protection of known drug traffickers.” “The Contras, Cocaine, and Covert Operations National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 2 (https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//NSAEBB/NSAEBB2/index.html).

6 See video of his interrogation where he admits that killing Maduro is one of the tasks to be accomplished (minute 6:05’) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3eOrNHfoRQ

7 Even though the US government has ritually continue their support for Guaidó, he is a DHA: Disposable Human Asset.

8 Joshua Goodman, “Ex-Green Beret led failed attempt to oust Venezuela’s Maduro”, AP, May 1, 2020(https://apnews.com/79346b4e428676424c0e5669c80fc310

9 ‘His head wasn’t in the world of reality’: how the plot to invade Venezuela fell apart, The Guardian, 8the May 2020 (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/08/his-head-wasnt-in-the-world-of-reality-how-the-plot-to-invade-venezuela-fell-apart)

10 Venezuela: Trump denies role in bungled incursion, BBC, 8th May 2020 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-52592824)

11 At the 2015 elections to the National Assembly, Guaidó was elected deputy for the state of Vargas with 97,492 votes; his mandate will end in the coming National Assembly elections scheduled for this year.

12 RFA Argus, Dixmunde are the warships sent from the UK and France respectively to help Trump’s efforts to cut ‘the links between narco-traffickers and the Maduro government’; https://www.infobae.com/america/america-latina/2020/04/03/el-reino-unido-anuncio-el-envio-de-un-buque-de-guerra-al-caribe/

13 Barr is a longtime proponent of the unitary executive theory of nearly unfettered presidential authority over the executive branch of the U.S. government.[1][2][3] In 1989, Barr, as the head of the OLC, justified the U.S. invasion of Panama to arrest Manuel Noriega. As deputy attorney general, Barr authorized an FBI operation in 1991 which freed hostages at the Talladega federal prison. An influential advocate for tougher criminal justice policies, Barr as attorney general in 1992 authored the report The Case for More Incarceration, where he argued for an increase in the United States incarceration rate.[4] Under Barr’s advice, President George H. W. Bush in 1992 pardoned six officials involved in the Iran–Contra affair.

14 In December 1989 27,000 troops landed in Panama to arrest of strongman Manuel Noriega; Marines killed up to 5,000 Panamanians; see full details in excellent documentary The Panama Deception, Barbara Trent and writer/editor David Kasper, https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-panama-deception/

17 DEA Intelligence Brief, Colombian Cocaine Production Expansion Contributes to Rise in Supply in the United States, Aug 2017 (https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2018-07/DIB-014-17%20Colombian%20Cocaine%20Production%20Expansion_1.pdf)

18 In August 2019 President Duque publicly announced the decision to arrest Doble Rueda for drug trafficking; in December 2019 the DEA requested his extradition to the US; yet he is free and in charge of major US-led terrorist operations against Venezuela.

19 See attachments to the General Services Agreement between the Venezuelan opposition and Silvercorp, Washington Post, 7th My 2020,

https://www.washingtonpost.com/context/read-the-attachments-to-the-general-services-agreement-between-the-venezuelan-opposition-and-silvercorp/e67f401f-8730-4f66-af53-6a9549b88f94/

It is not as if the battle of information warfare has not been going on for some time now. It was amply demonstrated in the runup to Brexit, throughout the three years to last December and is now fully deployed to contain the COVID-19 crisis.

The mainstream media frenzy over Prof Neil Ferguson’s apparent and not very extraordinary love life is just the latest example of a scientist who has been targeted for confronting parts of Britain’s political-media complex. He has been scapegoated by a government that is failing at every turn to manage the COVID-19 crisis and the political fallout it is causing. Ferguson is just one of a few in the list who will be used as Boris Johnson’s human shield against public outrage.

Was Ferguson, who sat on the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) before his resignation, really so wrong in his actions as to require one of Britain’s best and most talented to resign. The PM has done much worse and not resigned. We shouldn’t forget, just prior to the COVID-19 crisis, the PM rushed off with his girlfriend to a secret (undisclosed) hideout, given by a Tory donor just as the Russia Report was raging and days away from being in the public realm. We shouldn’t forget that Johnson is as inappropriate a leader for Britain as can be. He proudly characterised himself as someone who is sexist, a homophobe, a racist and a misogynist.

But shock horror – Prof Ferguson is having an affair. The lurid front-page headlines are now following little more than the usual campaign to discredit him by those ideologically opposed to anything where experts, pressure groups and public opinion mean government could intervene in the public interest. For instance, it’s the same tactics used against scientists in other fields, most particularly climate change.

Bob Ward is policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics. Here’s what he has to say on the same subject:

“It is a further sign that some media commentators and politicians favour a version of Britain in which politicians and newspaper editors dictate the public’s understanding of biology and physics.

Ferguson has been under attack ever since his research team’s modelling suggested in mid-March that hundreds of thousands of deaths in the UK from Covid-19 were possible if stronger efforts were not made to curb the growing epidemic.

Within a week, the prime minister announced the current lockdown measures. The move was perceived as a U-turn because the government’s chief scientific adviser had days earlier suggested that allowing widespread infection might be an option to achieve “herd immunity” across the country.

Ferguson’s contribution was initially praised, but it was not long before his reputation was under assault from parts of the media traditionally sceptical of a so-called “nanny state”.

On 28 March, the Daily Telegraph published an article alleging that “the scientist whose calculations about the potentially devastating impact of the coronavirus directly led to the countrywide lockdown has been criticised in the past for flawed research”.

The story relied on the views of a handful of critics of how Ferguson’s models were used by the then Labour government to tackle the 2001 outbreak of foot and mouth disease. The article failed to mention that Ferguson received an OBE in recognition for his important role in the crisis, or that he was afterwards elected a fellow of the prestigious Academy of Medical Sciences.

The next day, Peter Hitchens, in the Mail on Sunday, described the lockdown as “mass house arrest” and identified Ferguson as being “one of those largely responsible for the original panic”.

A few days later the Wall Street Journal published an article by two British commentators that argued “the coronavirus pandemic has dramatically demonstrated the limits of scientific modelling to predict the future”. It singled out Ferguson’s work and complained that “reasonable people might wonder whether something made with 13-year-old, undocumented computer code should be used to justify shutting down the economy”.

Bizarrely, this article was written by Benny Peiser and Andrew Montford, the director and deputy director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which was set up by Nigel Lawson in 2009 to lobby against climate change policies. The foundation has a track record of attempting to discredit climate models that show rising greenhouse gas levels risk warming the world to dangerous levels.”

Only this week – government scientific advisers were found to be furious at what they saw as an attempt to censor their advice on government proposals during the Covid-19 lockdown by heavily redacting an official report before it was released to the public.

The Guardian published a report by the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE) last week designed to reduce growing criticism about the lack of transparency over the advice given to ministers responding to the coronavirus. However, large blocks of text in their report, produced by SPI-B, the SAGE subcommittee providing advice from behavioural scientists on how the public might respond to lockdown measures, were entirely blanked out.

One SPI-B adviser said: “It is bloody silly, and completely counterproductive.” A second committee member said: “The impression I’m getting is this government doesn’t want any criticism.”

One member of the government’s advisory committee called it “Stalinist censorship“. Another scientific adviser is understood to be considering resigning over the government’s secretive approach to science around the Covid-19 outbreak, which they believe is undermining public trust.

The big problem here is that the scientists are reporting their findings, which doesn’t sing in tune with the governments’ desire to get the economy fired up again – irrespective of the cost to human life. So the scientists report, the government censors those reports, it then goes against the science and then blames the scientists when it goes wrong.

All of this undermines the independence of scientific experts as well as trust and confidence – but worse, is supported by a media complex that spews out exactly what it has been given by the Downing Street office of propaganda.

A week ago, the behavioural scientists on the team said that in their four-page report that there was a consensus that the high levels of adherence to government guidelines “are likely to be maintained in the short-to-medium term, for as long as it is evident that Covid-19 poses a serious risk that cannot be managed in any other way”. Last night Boris Johson went against that advice in his speech to the nation, but only after various newspapers had been given several days to break the news that the lockdown was coming to an end.

And as Bob Ward says –

Many other scientists in the UK working on issues that have implications for government policy know what it is like to be vilified, both publicly and privately, for their findings. They are regularly attacked by many of the British media commentators who are currently joining the pile-on to Ferguson.

It is time to put a stop to these media lynch mobs that risk driving Britain back into the Dark Ages. We must continue to base our decisions on the advice of experts such as Ferguson, and reject the irrational arguments of those who want political dogma to trump evidence.”

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Germany Split on Banning US Nuclear Weapons on Its Territory

May 14th, 2020 by Lucas Leiroz de Almeida

NATO has a “sharing” treaty with Berlin where it delivers to Germany dozens of nuclear warheads, which are deposited in Buchel, at Ramstein Air Force Base.

The presence of these weapons in German territory has been controversial for a long time. In addition to violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the presence of American warheads on German soil constitutes an attack on NATO’s basic principles, being a case of true legal and political aberration on the international stage. However, the state of collective dissatisfaction with such passive subordination has been growing gradually in recent years. In this sense, the debate about the maintenance of such weapons is becoming increasingly fierce, with great opinions against these nukes taking hold among Germans and Europeans in general.

“I defend a clear position against parking, making available and, of course, using nuclear weapons,” said Norbert Walter-Borjans, president of the Social Democratic Party, in an interview published in the “Frankfurter Allgemene Zeitung” newspaper.

In the same vein, Rolf Mützenich, President of the Social Democratic Parliamentary Parliament, said that

“nuclear weapons on German soil do not strengthen our security, on the contrary. (…) The time has come for Germany to exclude nuclear parking”.

The moderate German left is beginning to take part in the cause of the country’s liberation from foreign occupation, shifting the anti-NATO discourse from the sphere of “political extremisms” (both left and right) to a spectrum of greater acceptability in European public opinion.

The challenges, however, are many. The most conservative wings in the country stand up fiercely against any speech in favor of banning arms. Annegret Kramp Karrenbauer, German Defense Minister, made a statement on the topic, arguing that the “needs” of these weapons are due to geopolitical political tensions:

“As long as there are states with nuclear weapons that do not want to be part of our community of values, we need a strong negotiating position. (…) The capacity to deter nuclear sharing provision serves this purpose. Those who want to abandon it are weakening our security”.

In the same vein, conservative Patrick Sensburg, in an interview with the Handelsblatt newspaper, stated that “nuclear weapons are first to protect Germans”.

Outside Germany, at NATO, any discourse critical of the American occupation is met with disgust and reactions are immediate and aggressive. The secretary general of the Western military alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, spoke as follows:

“NATO’s nuclear sharing is a device (…) that guarantees benefits, responsibilities, and the risks of nuclear deterrence are shared among allies. (…) Politically, this is significant (…) Participating allies, such as Germany, make joint decisions on nuclear policy and planning, as well as maintain appropriate equipment. (…) All allies agreed that, as long as there are nuclear weapons, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance”.

The debate raises major controversies and is far from over. However, here we contemplate yet another example of the great problem of post-1945 international law: war is prohibited, except when the West determines it. Likewise, military occupation and weapons of mass destruction are illegal internationally, but they are easily used, without any punishment at the UN, when the West so desires, in its goal to exercise a global police function. NATO exists solely for this purpose: to act as a global police, overseeing the correct functioning of the hegemonic power structure of the West.

The argument that nuclear bombs provide a country greater sovereignty and can assist in international negotiations is valid. Indeed, countries with nuclear arsenals have greater power in the negotiations. However, these weapons on German soil do not belong to Germany and Germany itself does not have the power to use them according to its unilateral sovereign will. These weapons belong to the US and their use is the prerogative of Washington, which means that their presence in Germany decreases, does not increase, the country’s sovereignty and makes it more, not less, fragile in international negotiations.

For a country embedded in the secular and legal culture of Western Europe, strongly committed to the world’s pacification, the banning of arms is a fair and acceptable route and it is up to NATO and the US just to respect the sovereign decision of the German National State, abandoning the warlike mentality of the last century and the vision of Germany as a “dangerous nation”.

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Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

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Canada and the Coup Attempt Against Venezuela

May 14th, 2020 by Arnold August

In the early hours of May 3, and then again on May 4, heavily armed mercenaries on speedboats attempted to enter Venezuela from Colombia. They were confronted by the Venezuelan armed forces, militia, police and local fisherman. Eight were killed in an ensuing shootout, while the others were arrested. Among those detained were two former United States Army Green Berets. The isolated pockets of army deserters are still being rounded up as these lines are being written.

One of the leaders of the failed coup attempt is Canadian-born Jordan Goudreau, a former US Marine who heads up a private Florida-based security firm called Silvercorps USA. While he did not participate directly in the raid, he did leave behind a video recorded in Colombia in which he and his Venezuelan military partner take credit for the attempted coup. The other two Americans captured also testified to their involvement. The confessions lead us through a labyrinth of corruption and shady deals, from Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó all the way up to Donald Trump.

The goal of the coup plotters was the capture and arrest of President Nicolas Maduro. A contract signed by Goudreau, Guaidó and his advisors including exiled lawmaker Sergio Vergara and Juan José Rendon confirm in black and white the plan to overthrow the Venezuelan government. Maduro has blamed Trump and the Colombian government for the chaos, but the US has so far denied any involvement.

Not convinced about US involvement? Here is the clincher. On April 29, only several days before the May 3 adventure, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo boasted:

“I’m pleased to report that the multilateral effort to restore democracy is continuing to build momentum. I’ve asked my team to update our plans to reopen the U.S. Embassy in Caracas so that we are ready to go. As soon as Maduro steps aside, I am confident that we will raise that flag again in Caracas.”

The Trudeau government was surely aware of Pompeo’s confident statement. In addition, the news about the May 3 fiasco even appeared on CBC television that morning. What’s more, we know that some Canadians were already online in the evening of May 3 and again the next day, appealing to Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne to take a stand against the US-sponsored paramilitary action.

Was Canada Unaware?

Yet, a full day and a half after the May 3 debacle, Champagne tweeted, tagging Guaidó:

Couching his message in concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears Champagne used the global health emergency as a pretext to discuss the coup attempt. The facts overlooked by Champagne, in his apparent haste to phone and tweet, show that the countries Canada mentions (Peru, Colombia and Brazil) are all facing domestic disasters because of right-wing policies. In sharp contrast, Venezuela has the best record in all of Latin America in containing the coronavirus.

Moreover, the tweet indicates that the Canadian government is still very much on board with the US narrative on Venezuela irrespective of the failed military incursion, without making explicit reference to it. This is further reflected in another tweet, posted after further captures of mercenaries and the release of additional proof of the international nature of the plot as it continued to unfold. On May 8, Champagne tweeted:

A few days later, on May 11, Trudeau spoke directly with Colombian President Iván Duque. According to the Canadian government readout:

“Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with the President of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez, to discuss the latest developments on COVID-19 in each of their countries, and around the world… The two leaders also discussed the crisis in Venezuela and its humanitarian impact in the region which is heightened by the pandemic. They underscored the need for continued close collaboration and a concerted international effort to address this challenging situation.”

One would have to be naive to believe that both the successive tweets by Champagne and Trudeau’s statement were not coordinated to reiterate the government’s support for Guaidó as self-declared interim president, and its tacit alignment with Duque and Trump’s regime change agenda.

Trudeau Should Take a Public Stand Against US Intervention and Sanctions

On May 6, when Pompeo vowed to “use every tool available” to secure the release of “two American military veterans”, he was engaging in a rhetorical sleight of hand, portraying the mercenaries as “victims” in the fight against “human right violations” committed by the Maduro government.

Judging by Champagne’s tweets and the readout from Trudeau’s call with Duque, it is clear that Canada is pledging implicit support of the coup attempt without dirtying its hands in the murky waters of corruption and hitman politics. After all, if it wants to live up to its self-professed humanitarian role in global politics, Canada must maintain its image of peacemaker.

If one looks to previous crises, the Trudeau government is likely biding its time, waiting for events to unfold. Yet, its continued complicity in imperialist actions in Venezuela, and its failure to speak out against blatant violations of international law in Latin America speak volumes.

On May 8, Trump referred to the failed coup attempt and made it clear that he would have done things differently:

“I’d go in and they would do nothing about it… they would roll over. I wouldn’t send a small, little group. No, no, no. It would be called an army. It would be called an invasion.”

Canadians must demand that the Trudeau government publicly disavow all forms of military intervention against Venezuela, including the May 3 paramilitary incursion and Trump’s reckless threats of invasion. Irrespective of one’s views on Maduro, Venezuela has the right to self-determination and national sovereignty.

At the same time, one can have no illusions about Canada’s Venezuela policy under the Liberals, and thus a long-term alternative foreign policy direction must also be sought.

Canada’s Complicity in the US-Led War Against Venezuela’s Constitutional Government

Some may have forgotten that Canada was involved in regime change efforts in Venezuela a few years after Hugo Chávez was elected and sworn in as President in January 1999. Ottawa’s resentment was focused on Chávez’s nationalization of Canadian gold mines, and his general hostility to large-scale foreign investment. The Bank of Nova Scotia, Canada’s most international financial institution, was also involved in mining investments in Venezuela and joined the push for regime change.

More recently, in 2017, Canada was instrumental in establishing the Lima Group, a multilateral body composed of 13 mostly right-wing governments including Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Saint Lucia. The Lima Group’s stated objected is the peaceful “democratic transition” of leadership in Venezuela. It was formed because the US and Canada failed to obtain unanimous backing from the Organization of American States (OAS) to support regime change against Maduro. Thus, the Lima Group is, in the words of Nino Pagliccia, “totally illegitimate in its pretension to be an international body.” The US is not even a member.

Trudeau and his foreign affairs minister have played a key role in the Lima Group, and have also been instrumental in reaching out to European nations to bring them into the fold. Without Canada’s leadership, the Lima Group would certainly have collapsed or become almost irrelevant. It is precisely due to the perception of Canada’s foreign policy as devoted to “peacekeeping” and “humanitarianism” that the body has widespread approval, at least in elite circles.

The website of Global Affairs Canada contains almost 100 statements added since 2017 concerning Canada’s role in the Lima Group. All of these entries, without exception, provide cover for the numerous coup attempts by the US. Not one of them criticize in any way the aggressive and wanton actions of Washington to enhance the suffering of the Venezuelan people to achieve its imperial aims in the hemisphere.

Sanctions Kill and Canada Is Involved

Furthermore, the US has been carrying out crippling economic sanctions against Venezuela.

According to American economistsMark Weisbrot and Jeffrey Sachs of the Center for Economic and Policy Research:

The sanctions have inflicted, and increasingly inflict, very serious harm to human life and health, including an estimated more than 40,000 deaths from 2017–2018; and that these sanctions would fit the definition of collective punishment of the civilian population as described in both the Geneva and Hague international conventions, to which the U.S. is a signatory. They are also illegal under international law and treaties which the U.S. has signed, and would appear to violate U.S. law as well.

One would expect the supposedly progressive Trudeau government to oppose these violent economic sanctions, given that they are illegal and constitute a war crime. Yet, Ottawa also carries out sanctions against Venezuela. This policy has been lauded by the Trump administration. Vice president Mike Pence stated in Ottawa, alongside Trudeau in a May 2019 press conference: “Canada has imposed sanctions on 113 of the dictator’s cronies. You’ve promoted the cause of freedom and free Venezuela inside the Lima Group and the OAS. And the two of us have said, with one voice, that Nicolás Maduro is a dictator with no legitimate claim to power, and Nicolás Maduro must go.”

The Trudeau government’s Venezuela policy is a disgrace to all peace-loving Canadians who support the right of self-determination. Irrespective of our individual political views, we ought to unite in support of the Venezuelan people against illegal and dangerous attempts to enact regime change. Is it asking too much for Canadian MPs to work towards a common ground, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, to demand that Canada rescind its sanctions against Venezuela, and rebuff the Trump regime for its support for the recent coup attempt?

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Arnold August is a Montreal-based journalist and author of three books on Cuba–Latin America–U.S. whose articles appear in English, Spanish and French in North America, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. He is also a speaker currently concentrating on Trudeau’s foreign policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Source

https://canadiandimension.com/articles/view/canada-and-the-coup-attempt-against-venezuela

The COVID-19 Chronicles: USA

May 14th, 2020 by Ulson Gunnar

The US is claimed to be hardest hit by COVID-19 with, at the time of writing, over 80,000 deaths attributed to the virus. The nation is also suffering from socioeconomic disaster as lockdowns have driven millions of Americans into not only unemployment, but predictable poverty and hunger as a result.

The crisis has been pounced upon by special interests to help propel various sociopolitical and economic agendas rather than confront and overcome the crisis, leading many to suspect the crisis itself has been deliberately overblown.

Health Impact

At face value the US would seem to be hit by an unprecedented health crisis. Hysteria spread by the mass media focusing on the numbers of infected and dead are provided to a panicked public without context.

Indeed, over 80,000 people have so far died with infections at nearly 1.5 million (confirmed).

Yet a quick look at basic statistics provided by the US government’s own Center for Disease Control (CDC) shows that COVID-19’s impact on human health including total deaths has not even surpassed recent flu season burdens. For example, according to the CDC’s website, the 2017-2018 flu season (running from December 2017 to March 2018) left anywhere between 46,000 to 95,000 dead.

Deaths attributed to COVID-19 have been recorded for 2 full months longer with questionable methods used to attribute COVID-19 as the cause for death.

The death rate has been reported at anywhere between 1% to as high as 5% to 6%. Missing from these seemingly concerning numbers is the fact that widespread testing has not been undertaken. The few instances where it has been done has shown that the number of infected is many times higher than official reports. This means that the death rate is much lower and more comparable to the annual flu than any sort of novel and particularly dangerous pathogen.

Testing in California and New York have revealed that in these states alone millions are likely to have been infected by COVID-19 and simply showed little to no symptoms.

A CBS article titled, “Study shows 13.9% of people tested in New York state have coronavirus antibodies, Cuomo says,” admits:

New York’s first survey of coronavirus antibodies shows that 13.9% of those tested in the state had coronavirus antibodies in their system, meaning they have contracted and recovered from the virus, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday. That suggests that 2.7 million people have been infected statewide.

In other words, there are likely more people infected in New York state alone than infected nationwide according to “official” reports.

If information regarding how widespread COVID-19 actually is and how dangerous it is or isn’t, is not accurate, how can the United States formulate appropriate measures to respond to the outbreak?

Measures

Despite what appears to be similar to a bad cold or flu, the US has ground its society to a halt with lockdowns and social distancing measures.

“Non-essential” occupations have been encouraged to work from home or to not work at all. The food and beverage industry for example, the second largest employer in the United States, has been ground to a halt with employees furloughed for what has now been weeks or even months. Many of these employees do not expect to return to work until at least June.

In Los Angeles, county officials have extended “stay at home” measures for another 3 months meaning that people will have been shut in for nearly half a year if and when in late August people are allowed to return to their normal lives!

Social distancing is being enthusiastically enforced by police around the nation. In New York City, in order to “protect” people, those not practicing social distancing have been beaten, tased and even arrested. The physical and legal damage done “saving” the public from COVID-19 appears to be more extreme than the actual threat of COVID-19 itself.

Since most New Yorkers (and most people around the entirety of the United States) likely have been infected by the virus anyway, social distancing and lockdowns are more of a psychological exercise than one of isolating the pathogen and stopping its spread, an exercise aimed at addressing public panic, but public panic deliberately fuelled by the media and the government.

Socioeconomic Impact

For the United States, a nation’s whose economy was already in steep decline and losing ground to emerging economies around the globe, most notably China, these lockdowns amount to a self-inflicted mortal wound no conceivable plan of action can reverse.

Had COVID-19 been the deadly pathogen many may believe it is owed to mass media misinformation, the United States stood ill-prepared for it. This was not merely the doing of the current US administration, but a problem known for well over a decade with US presidents from George Bush Jr. to Barack Obama to current US President Donald Trump taking turns ignoring it.

The New York Times reported that things like ventilator shortages were known for at least 13 years and instead of rectifying the problem, large biomedical corporations were allowed by the US government to buy out small contractors tasked with fixing the shortage and ending programs to develop cheap ventilators in order to maintain artificial scarcity and the high prices (and profits) associated with it.

While COVID-19 appears to be far less dangerous than claimed by the mass media, the impact of measures taken by the US government and local state governments has created what is a disaster now being compared to the Great Depression.

Rather than rectifying it by simply rolling back lockdowns and social distancing measures, or even finding ways to aid the millions left unemployed, special interests are taking turns exploiting the crisis by blaming political opponents or even international competitors (like China). They are also looking for ways to cash in, with America’s deeply corrupt pharmaceutical industry being the most prominent example already teeing up massive profiteering by offering “vaccines” to solve COVID-19 fears.

The US, rather than uniting and overcoming whatever COVID-19 actually is, be it a pathogen or an unprecedented wave of widespread panic, has instead allowed itself to become divided and distracted, as well as exposed to the very worst sort of socioeconomic predators lurking amid America’s economic and political landscape.

It is difficult to predict what will happen in the weeks, months and even years to come regarding the state of America socioeconomically considering just how widespread and deep the damage being done now is. A nation as large as the United States plunging so quickly has never historically boded well for that nation nor the world it finds itself free falling in. The US already faced many challenges regarding its decline both at home economically and abroad geopolitically.

COVID-19 has simply exposed and accelerated the process, compounding an already uncertain future with a new degree of damage, danger and desperation.

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Gunnar Ulson is a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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A report by New Economy found that “Turkey had significant foreign exchange outflows” because of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s costly wars. The report also found that “Turkey’s probability of bankruptcy is extremely high,” along with its three big banks of Garanti, Akbank and the Mustafa Kemal Atatürk-founded İşbank. “The country’s commercial banks, its last stronghold, have dried up from foreign exchange currency,” meaning that Turkey has nearly no money for its import and export companies.

Daily air violations of Greek airspace, the continued occupation of northern Cyprus, a failed invasion of Idlib province and continued financing of terrorist organizations in Syria, funding of Muslim Brotherhood in Libya, and overseas military bases in Africa, the Balkans and the Middle East, has all tallied up against the Turkish economy.

Turkey’s Ahval wrote that “there is no money in the treasury. Everyone knows why, but we are not supposed to talk about it. Today it is hard to speak openly about military spending in Turkey. It is also hard to even access information about Turkey’s war expenditure.” However, we can get some insights. A Stockholm International Peace Research Institute released their latest report on global military spending and found that between 2009 and 2019, Turkish military expenditure increased by 27%.

On Thursday, the same day the Turkish lira fell to new all-time low of 7.26 against the U.S. dollar, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party Deputy Chairman Numan Kurtulmuş blamed his country’s economic woes because it is “under global attack.” This was mostly an outburst to distract the fact that his country has an out of control military spending.

Although Turkey is attempting to secure money from the U.S., Washington is unwilling to assist Turkey believing it is too high risk. Although Turkey has improved relations with Russia, Moscow could offer a few billion dollars, but this would be nowhere near enough to make a meaningful impact on the downturn.

So what are Turkey’s options?

The International Monetary Fund, which Turkey has already ruled out.

China, which Ankara is continually criticizing for alleged human rights abuses against the Turkic Uighur minority in Xinjiang province.

The European Union, which Turkey can always count on long-time ally Germany but faces a resistance from other states.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Saturday called for deeper bonds to be forged between the EU and Turkey, saying that his country “is open to all sincere and meaningful cooperation for our common future” and “we expect the EU to adopt a rational policy that goes beyond the narrow national perspectives of Member States and reflects the Union’s global responsibilities, as well as the EU’s motto of ‘unity in diversity’.”

It now appears that Turkey is so desperate for economic relief that it is turning to the EU for assistance, even after it attempted to flood EU-member Greece with illegal immigrants in February and March, and some weeks ago Turkish soldiers shot at EU border protectors. Negotiations with the EU are likely to reach a standstill as Turkey still occupies a part of EU-member Cyprus, restricted French bank PRB Paribas from FX transactions, violates Greek airspace on a daily basis, and continues to threaten the flooding of the EU with illegal immigrants. Although Turkey will surely receive support from long-time ally Germany, it is likely to hit a roadblock with many other EU members.

In speaking with Dr Konstantinos Vergos from the Portsmouth Business School at the University of Portsmouth, he explained that “Erdoğan set a 5% GDP growth target for 2020 and that it is unlikely Turkey will have anything less than a 6% drop in GDP.”

Although Erdoğan is adamant that he does not want assistance from the International Monetary Fund, according to Vergos, if Turkey “already has 10% deficit, this is going to increase the probabilities of knocking on the Fund’s door by September.” He urged that Turkey “should decrease any non-necessary expenses, such as excess military expenditure and to focus on the big issues, like the coronavirus.”

It is unlikely that Turkey will subside its militarism as it does not want to take a step back from achieving total regional hegemony, no matter the extreme cost to the Turkish economy.

Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and a close ally of Erdoğan, said on November 29, 2019 that “only one hour of gasoline for an F-16 [war jet] costs $14,000.” Turkey in 2019 alone violated Greek airspace 4,811 times, meaning that up to $60 million could have been spent on penetrating Greek airspace with war jets. This does not include F-16 and naval violations in Cyprus, occupying northern Cyprus, airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, funding jihadists in Libya and Syria, continuing its domestic war against the Kurds, maintaining military bases in the Balkans, Africa and the Middle East, buying the Russian S-400 missile defense system, and many other military related endeavours.

As much as Turkey may want to blame a “global attack” for its economic problems, it is for domestic consumption that aims to distract the Turkish people that its leadership’s war machine has a huge role in the weakening of the lira. Although Turkey is now opening up to the EU in the hope of having some financial pressure released, the EU will hardly assist Turkey so long as it continues to pressurise Greece and Cyprus. It is unlikely the U.S. will help unless Turkey ends its S-400 plans, something it will not do, too. Without foreign assistance and unwilling to end its military campaigns, it now appears that Turkey’s only hope can be the International Monetary Fund that it is desperately trying to avoid being trapped in.

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The European Union promised €3.3 billion to the West Balkan countries and provinces of Serbia, Montenegro Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro and North Macedonia. In return, the European Union is demanding loyalty and renunciation of close ties with Moscow and Beijing. However this is unlikely after the initial refusal of Brussels to supply aid and relief and there is now little trust in European Union solidarity.

“The EU is mobilizing a substantial financial package, confirming the strong solidarity. Together we will overcome this crisis and recover. And beyond that, we will continue to support the region, including with the reforms needed on their EU path, as the recovery will only work effectively if the countries keep delivering on their commitments,” said European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Her comments about substantial financial packages only came when in March she announced in a Twitter video message that the European Union is restricting the export of medical devices and stressed that the ban on exports of these goods applies throughout the entire EU and is linked to the need to maintain sufficient supplies of medical supplies within the alliance. This announcement prompted Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić to say that European solidarity is just a “fairy tale on paper” and that China was the only country who could help them.

Not only did China help Serbia, but so too did Russia. Obviously, the European institutions, even reluctant to help fellow member countries such as Italy and Spain, did not hesitate to make an indignant face by denouncing Moscow and Beijing of exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to ensure a greater presence in the Balkans. And with the usual hypocrisy they explained that the Commission had not denied aid, but simply stressed the need to obtain the consent of all 27 member countries before granting it. In short, a mockery. Aware that they have lost much of their credibility, the European Union are now attempting to recover lost ground.

The first move was the video conference on May 6 in which European Union leaders and the heads of state and government of the 27 member countries listened to the requests of the six states in the West Balkans who are waiting to be admitted into Union. This expectation was frustrated in mid-October by Emmanuel Macron’s veto who was determined to block the negotiations to Albania and North Macedonia. A veto officially returned last February when the French president, under pressure from other European Union members and NATO concerned about the favor given to Russia and China, agreed to adapt to the Commission’s decisions.

However, North Macedonia also faces difficulty from Bulgaria who has vowed to block any accession so long as Skopje continues to claim there is a “Macedonian minority” in Bulgaria and not acknowledge that the main language of North Macedonia, as Bulgaria claims, is actually a West Bulgarian dialect. Albania also faces difficulty as it could face a veto from Greece as Tirana continues to discriminate against the Greek minority in Northern Epirus.

However, ignoring these disagreements that exist in the West Balkans, European bureaucrats have put on the table €3.3 billion to be distributed to all the countries and states that agree to refuse any Russian or Chinese aid. The need to use money to buy Balkan loyalty is a clear sign of how unattractive the European project has now become – having itself been questioned and become widely unpopular in Italy and Spain.

In addition to the feared penetration of Russian soft-power based in centuries-old relationships of culture, identity and religious tradition with the Serbian people and their communities in Bosnia, Montenegro and Kosovo, the Chinese and the Turks are also exhibiting far more influence in the region compared to the European Union. China, in addition to donating health products needed in the fight against coronavirus is also building a new railway line. This new railway line agreement with Hungary and Serbia and financed by the Exim Bank of China, will connect the port of Piraeus in Greece to Budapest and Belgrade. In addition to traditional relations with the Muslim communities of Bosnia, Kosovo and Albania, Turkey has also developed very intense trade and exchanges with Serbia and Montenegro.

In short, the €3.3 billion promised by Europe risks proving to be the counterpart of an illusion that has already vanished. And to understand it, Milorad Dodik, the Serb Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said “the Europe we believed in ten years ago no longer exists today.”

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Obamagate Shows Biden Is Inadequate in Challenging Trump

May 14th, 2020 by Paul Antonopoulos

Former U.S. President Barack Obama is coming under increasing pressure, led by what President Donald Trump is calling “Obamagate.” This comes as Mexico has requested to finally clarify the affair with the secret sale of American weapons to Mexican drug cartels. Mexico is asking for the case to be clarified after almost ten years.

In this secret operation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, weapons from the U.S. were sold to Mexican drug cartels. The U.S. claimed that about 2,000 automatic weapons were sold to Mexicans so that the Barack Obama administration could follow their path to the drug cartels. Instead, these weapons were used in massacres. Mexican authorities are now seeking answers from the United States.

In addition to selling weapons to Mexican drug cartels, Obama is responsible for a lot of global upheaval on the world stage – primarily the so-called “Arab Spring” that should be more accurately described as the “Arab Winter” as it brought death and destruction across the Arab world.

The sale of these weapons to Mexican drug cartels is another ugly legacy of Obama’s rule that liberals like to view as one of the best periods of American history. Let’s not forget that in 2009 Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize for his apparent “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people.”

The majority of U.S. media will most likely try and find appropriate excuses so they can minimize Obama’s role in these scandals. It is completely clear that the battle over who will be in the White House in the next four years is now taking focus on the Obama era as of opposed to Trump’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed the lives of over 80,000 Americans and infected more than 1.3 million people.

With endless tweets by Donald Trump dedicated to Obama over the past few days, it is as if the presidential battle in November will be fought between him and Obama, and not Democrat сandidate Joe Biden.

The reason for Trump’s many tweets against the former president was because of Obama’s private conversation that was leaked to the public in which he criticized the suspension of the investigation against Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, while he called Trump’s fight against the coronavirus epidemic a “chaotic disaster.”

The American president started tweeting on the morning of May 10 and stopped late in the evening, making over a hundred tweets against Obama. This exchange between Obama and Trump is not common in American politics as former presidents usually do not interfere in the politics of their successors. However, there are suggestions that Obama still has connections to the deep state and is actively undermining Trump.

Obama, who openly admitted he would remain active in politics and wished he could contend for a third term, could be exerting influence through Hillary Clinton and Biden. It is likely Obama is becoming more public as Trump’s opponent Biden is proving inadequate and incapable of defeating Trump.

The battle between Obama and Trump started with the announcement that the Ministry of Justice is terminating the investigation against former Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn. Flynn, who was probably the shortest-serving national security adviser in history, was sacked at the beginning of his term on charges of lying to Vice President Mike Pence about talks with the Russian ambassador to Washington. His removal triggered a chain of failed investigations and campaigns against Trump and his alleged links to Russian interference during the U.S. presidential election, which also ended in a failed impeachment.

In private conversations that leaked to the public, Obama described Flynn’s acquittal as a threat to the rule of law.

Trump also retweeted statements from CIA agent Buck Sexton, in which he accused Obama of sabotaging the Trump administration in the first days of his term. Sexton also called former FBI Director Andrew McCabe “a dishonorable partisan scumbag who has done incalculable damage to the reputation of the FBI and should be sitting in a cell for lying under oath”

Trump then continued with accusations on Twitter and said that Obama committed “the biggest political crime in American history, by far!” and ended briefly with “Obamagate.”

As for the affair with the secret operation of selling weapons to Mexican drug cartels, journalists of Forbes in 2011 wondered whether that operation would become Obama’s “Watergate,” and it appears that it very well could be. Obama’s attempts to smear Trump has not only backfired, but it could have very serious legal ramifications against him and others in his administration.

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Selected Articles: More on COVID-19, Economic Crisis and NATO

May 14th, 2020 by Global Research News

To say that the public has become disillusioned and wary of constant doomsday media reports and news coverage is a gross understatement — people see their world changing and they want to understand what is happening, and why. They want to be informed and therefore be prepared. They want the freedom to make educated choices instead of being told what to do by the very individuals and institutions that have led them into chaos.

In an effort to provide this resource to our readers, Global Research has remained independent and continues to deliver vital and timely information, for free, on a daily basis. If reading our pages helps in some way make sense of this crazy world we live in where it is deemed too risky to give your dear mother a hug on mother’s day, we kindly ask you to consider becoming a member or making a donation so that we may continue our project and keep the information circulating:

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US Government Fails to Prevent a Worsening Economic Downturn

By Abayomi Azikiwe, May 14, 2020

Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky suggested several weeks earlier that state governments facing shortfalls in revenue due to the drastic decline in sales, property and income tax revenues prompted by the massive economic dislocation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, should consider the federal bankruptcy courts as a possible solution to the enormous funding problems which are already jeopardizing education, municipal services and public construction projects.

April 2020 Rockefeller Foundation Paper Urges Testing and Tracing Entire US Population

By Makia Freeman, May 14, 2020

A 2020 Rockefeller Foundation Paper now proposes the next phase of the solution to the coronavirus crisis – after the 2010 Rockefeller Foundation Paper which predicted and analyzed the problem and reaction. It’s problem-reaction-solution, Rockefeller-Gates style. Last month on April 21st, the New World Order (NWO) manipulators released a 2020 Rockefeller Foundation Paper entitled National Covid-19 Testing Action Plan – Pragmatic steps to reopen our workplaces and our communities. This came after countless MSM appearances by NWO frontman, eugenicist and depopulation-via-vaccines enthusiast Bill Gatesclaiming you would need digital certificates and immunity passports to travel around again, and that your inherent rights such as the right to gather or assemble may never return unless you’re vaccinated.

Beginning of the End of German Support for NATO

By Mish, May 14, 2020

Make way for the Greens and the Leftists. They do not want US nuclear weapons on German soil.

Angela Merkel will soon be gone. The next German coalition already shares new ideas in many areas including NATO.

Don’t Expect to See Trump’s Tax Returns Before the Election

By Prof. Marjorie Cohn, May 14, 2020

Donald Trump claims that while he is president, his pre-presidency financial records can’t be subpoenaed and he can’t even be investigated for criminal conduct. The Supreme Court will decide by the end of June whether Trump is indeed beyond the reach of the law.

On May 12, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments about whether Trump can block subpoenas for his tax and other financial records that predate his presidency. Although prior presidents made their tax returns public, Trump has steadfastly refused to reveal his. In 2016, he promised to release them when the purported “audit” is complete. But they remain under wraps.

HR 6666: The Testing, Reaching and Contacting Everyone (TRACE) Act. Towards a Totalitarian State?

By Renee Parsons, May 13, 2020

Some weeks ago the UN’s World Health Organization  recommended house to house searches for family members infected with  COVID 19 and the removal of those infected into a mandatory quarantine.  The American reaction was mostly ‘it could never happen here’  but that has not stopped House Democrats from introducing HR 6666 also known as the TRACE (Testing, Reaching and Contacting Everyone) Act.

The COVID-19 Crisis in the U.S.: How Many More Innocent People Have to Die?

By Prof. Joseph H. Chung, May 13, 2020

Since Trump took over the power in Washington in 2016, China has been considered as a serious threat to Washington’s global domination. Washington has deployed all possible means to discredit the Chinese regime, destabilize the Chinese economy and isolate China from international decision making.

In Trump’s eyes, China bashing has very useful roles to play in the dynamics of the COVID-19 crisis in the U.S. Trump can make China the scapegoat, generate anti-China feeling and attribute Washington’s poor anti-virus policy to China. China bashing can be a good tool of covering up the policy failure.

German Foreign Policy Is a CIA Front

By Aidan O’Brien, May 13, 2020

Is it really in Germany’s interest to destabilize a region that has already been crippled by multiple wars? On the surface Germany doesn’t appear to have a stake in the politics of Lebanon. Indeed, from whatever angle the situation is viewed from, Germany qua Germany doesn’t have a meaningful stake in Lebanon. Yet Berlin is assaulting the sovereignty of this small Mediterranean nation that means no harm.

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As leaders of the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives in the United States attempt to pass new legislation introduced on May 12 costing $3 trillion which is aimed at providing assistance to state and local governments, households and healthcare workers, the White House and Republican-dominated Senate are opposing any additional measures. (See this)

Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky suggested several weeks earlier that state governments facing shortfalls in revenue due to the drastic decline in sales, property and income tax revenues prompted by the massive economic dislocation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, should consider the federal bankruptcy courts as a possible solution to the enormous funding problems which are already jeopardizing education, municipal services and public construction projects.

This new House bill, known as the Heroes Act, would allocate $1 trillion to municipal, state and tribal (indigenous) governments. In addition to aid for the cities, states and reservations, another $375 billion would be directed towards suburban and rural communities all of which were largely excluded from the previous Cares Act that provided a $2 trillion stimulus package for large corporations, small and medium-sized enterprises as well as individual households filing taxes annually with the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) or receive benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). (See this)

An article published by the Associated Press on May 13 said of the proposed legislation that:

“The bill will offer a fresh round of $1,200 direct cash aid to individuals, increased to up to $6,000 per household, and launches a $175 billion housing assistance fund to help pay rents and mortgages. There is $75 billion more for virus testing. It would continue, through January, the $600-per-week boost to unemployment benefits. It adds a 15% increase for food stamps, new subsidies for laid-off workers to pay health insurance premiums under a COBRA law and a special ‘Obamacare’ sign-up period. For businesses, it provides an employee retention tax credit. There’s $200 billion in ‘hazard pay’ for essential workers on the front lines of the crisis.”

These legislative debates are in direct response to the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the continuing rates of infections, which are leveling off in some areas while increasing in others, remain a threat to the health and security of all people living inside the U.S.

President Donald Trump has consistently undermined the guidelines issued by the White House and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These suggested behaviors related to mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic are routinely contradicted through the making of false claims by the president misrepresenting the actual health situation in the U.S. along with encouraging those workers still on lockdown to return to their places of employment absent of safety guarantees.

A major problem with this argument from the administration is that officially 33 million people in the U.S. have lost their jobs over the last two months. Unemployment rates will undoubtedly increase as businesses and public institutions permanently eliminate positions leaving untold numbers of workers facing financial ruin. (See this)

United States unemployment rate at Depression levels during April-May 2020 (Market Watch graph)

Consequently, there are tens of millions of people who have no jobs to return to in the immediate period. Others are facing imminent lay-offs, furloughs along with salary and benefits reductions.

Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Jerome Powell has sounded an alarm in regard to the prospects for any immediate rebound of the U.S. economy. Powell strongly urged Congress and the White House to continue to implement policies which can prevent a prolonged economic downturn which could have grave implications for large segments of the population.

Jobs categories subject to large-scale lay-offs amid COVID-19 pandemic (Vox graph)

Another article appearing in the Associated Press said of the present situation:

“The Fed and Congress have taken far-reaching steps to try to counter what is likely to be a severe downturn resulting from the widespread shutdown of the U.S. economy. But Powell cautioned that numerous bankruptcies among small businesses and extended unemployment for many people remain a serious risk. ‘We ought to do what we can to avoid these outcomes,’ Powell said. Additional rescue aid from government spending or tax policies, though costly, would be ‘worth it if it helps avoid long-term economic damage and leaves us with a stronger recovery,’ he said.”

Reductions in Education Funding to Impact Millions of Students and Workers

There has been much discussion about the shift to online distance learning in response to the closing of K-12 and pre-schools throughout the U.S. Nonetheless, many households in urban, suburban, small town and rural areas remain without internet connectivity and personal computers.

Moreover, in states such as Michigan, predictions are already being made by legislators indicating that there will be a severe funding shortage beginning in the next academic year. Whether schools, colleges and universities can open for on-campus learning remains to be seen as the threat of another wave of COVID-19 outbreaks are anticipated for the fall and winter seasons. (See this)

Bridge Magazine noted in a report based upon discussions taking place within the legislature in the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, emphasizing:

“The chair of the Senate committee that sets the K-12 school budget has a dire warning for Michigan schools: Prepare for a crippling decline in state funding. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, said Monday that he has told school officials in recent meetings to ‘prepare for the worst’ budget in decades — a possible cut in the per-pupil foundation grant schools receive of 20 to 25 percent in the 2020-21 state budget, which must be approved before Oct. 1. A 25 percent cut is the equivalent of a loss of about $2,000 from the roughly $8,000 schools received per enrolled student this year.”

The imposition of such austerity policies would translate into billions of dollars in reductions for school districts across the state. Teachers and other education employees would be laid-off while classrooms become even more crowded at a time when social distancing is essential to minimizing the spread of COVID-19.

Food Supply Threatened for Working Families as a Result of Economic Dislocation

White House officials said several weeks ago that the food supply in the U.S. was resilient and secure. However, the widespread infection levels within the meat processing industry has triggered the closing of plants and the rise in absenteeism among workers due to illnesses and resignations over safety concerns.

Prices for many food products have increased over the last month. Shortages of certain consumer goods found in supermarkets and pharmacies are noticeable despite statements to the contrary by the Trump administration.

There is of course a class character to the shortages. Bloomberg reported in a recent article that:

“While many regular American grocers are running out of meat, specialty food producers have plentiful supplies — for those who can afford it. Production of luxe varieties like heritage pork, grass-fed beef and Amish-raised chicken are expanding at a time when coronavirus outbreaks at mammoth plants operated by Tyson Foods Inc. and Cargill Inc. have wiped out about 40% of conventional U.S. beef and pork capacity in recent weeks. So while lower-income consumers are finding meat hard to come by — with Kroger Co. and Costco Wholesale Corp. rationing purchases — richer Americans have their pick of fancy offerings that often cost twice as much, or more.”

Progressive and Socialist-oriented Policies Needed to Address Crises

With the U.S. government divided among the two leading capitalist and imperialist political parties which dominant the bureaucratic landscape, the potential for effective and immediate remedies to the burgeoning economic difficulties remain elusive. The Heroes Act legislation proposed by the Democratic Party leadership may help working and oppressed people in the short-term nevertheless the passage of such measures over and beyond Senate and White House opposition could require the intervention of popular organizations and Labor.

What is obviously more appropriate in light of the projected long term economic downturn resulting in another recession or depression, would be the need for the redistribution of income and wealth from the ruling capitalist class and the state to the working class and nationally oppressed. International finance capital dominating the transnational corporations should be taxed and nationalized in order to effectively address the grim social conditions of the proletariat and the oppressed.

Resources needed to maintain the households of working families and the chronically impoverished could be diverted from the subsidies and privileges provided to multibillion dollar private firms, the Pentagon and Homeland Security. The deteriorating public health status of millions of people in the U.S. represents a national emergency and should be approached as such.

Strategically, socialism provides the only solution to the crises of capitalist production and property relations. Under socialism a planned economy would ensure the health and economic security of the masses of working people and the oppressed as a priority within the public policy framework of the state.

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Abayomi Azikiwe is the editor of Pan-African News Wire. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Cuban Interferon Proven Effective Against COVID-19

May 14th, 2020 by Orfilio Peláez

Since the appearance, March 11, of the first cases of COVID-19 in Cuba, the country’s Ministry of Public Health (Minsap) has reported that the inclusion of Recombinant Human Interferon Alpha 2b in treatment protocols for these patients has shown positive results.

Details on the effectiveness of the product were presented by Dr. Eulogio Pimentel Vázquez, director of the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB), affiliated with the BioCubaFarma Enterprise Group, where the medication was first produced in the late 1980s.

“The strength of the Cuban health system, and its close ties with the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, in our social system that prioritizes the people’s health, makes possible the medication’s availability for all Cubans.”

According to Dr. Pimentel, in accordance with the Minsap treatment protocol, this product, in combination with other drugs, is used as soon as a case is confirmed, and not with patients in serious or critical condition.

Data released April 14 shows that 93.4% of patients testing positive for SARS-COV-2 had been treated with Heberon (the commercial name of Recombinant Human Interferon Alpha 2b). Only 5.5% reached serious condition. The mortality rate reported by Minsap on that date was 2.7%, while for patients with whom the drug was used, the rate was 0.9%. On this same date, on the international level, 15 to 20% of patients were reported in serious condition, while the mortality rate was over 6%.

“The data shows that the protocol in our country is effective, and interferon plays a key role in these results.”

Referring to the medication’s use around the world, the doctor noted that important reports of preclinical and clinical evidence have appeared in several countries. One recent scientific article refers to a study conducted in Wuhan, China, regarding its use with medical personnel. Of the individuals included in the study, 2,944 received the drug and 3,387 did not. Fifty percent of those not treated contracted the disease, while there were no cases identified among those who benefited from Cuban interferon.

At this time, more than 80 countries have expressed interest in acquiring Heberon, reflecting confidence in its usefulness in confronting the pandemic.

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Whether it’s India’s latest clashes with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), its selective embrace of “economic nationalism” to “poach” foreign companies from the People’s Republic, or its forthcoming leadership of the World Health Assembly (WHA) where it might very well take Washington’s side in demanding an investigation into Beijing’s response to World War C, India is indisputably intensifying its American-backed Hybrid War on China as a sign of loyalty to its new ally.

BRICS Is Broken

Gone are the “good ‘ole days” of BRICS bonhomie when the Alt-Media Community used to sing the praises of this nascent trade bloc and portray it as a game-changing development in International Relations. Although promising on paper, BRICS was always destined to be disappointing due to the irreparable differences between India and China that were either downplayed or outright ignored by this organization’s loudest advocates. The author has been consistently warning for over the past four years that “India Is Now An American Ally” after it clinched the Logistics Exchange Memorandum Of Agreement (LEMOA) with the US to allow the latter to use its military infrastructure on a case-by-case “logistical” bases. Since then, India has fully submitted to the Pentagon’s “Indo-Pacific” strategy of empowering the South Asian state as a “counterweight” China, with even Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov loudly warning his country’s strategic partner of the pitfalls of this scenario as recently as early January of this year while speaking at a conference in their country.

Modi’s Military Madness

Alas, whether due to long-lasting ignorance of the situation, unchecked professional incompetence, and/or shadowy motives that can only be speculated upon, the majority of the Alt-Media Community still refuses to recognize these facts, though the latest developments pertaining to Indian-Chinese relations might finally cause them to reconsider their inexplicable stance of always “covering up” for New Delhi. India has recently clashed with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Indian-Occupied Kashmir‘s Ladakh region and close to the Donglang Plateau(described as “Doklam” by India and thus widely reported upon with this name in the Western Mainstream Media and among the members of the Alt-Media Community sympathetic to New Delhi) near Sikkim where they had their infamous three-month-long standoff in summer 2017 (which threatened to repeat itself in 2018). So tense has the situation become in Ladakh that China reportedly flew several helicopters near the scene while India flew a few fighter jets, significantly upping the ante.

India’s Attempt To “Poach” Chinese-Based Companies

The backdrop against which these clashes are transpiring is India’s aggressive attempt to “poach” foreign companies from the People’s Republic, which the author analyzed last month in his piece about how “India’s Selective Embrace Of Economic Nationalism Has Anti-Chinese Motivations“. Of relevance, India has also set aside land twice the size of Luxembourg for such companies to exploit in the event that they decide to re-offshore from the East Asian state to the South Asian one. This perfectly dovetails with Trump’s “trade war” plans to encourage foreign companies to leave his country’s rival and either return home or set up shop in a friendly pro-American country instead. Of note, India is also vehemently opposed to China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) behind the US on the basis that its flagship project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) traverses through territory that New Delhi claims as its own per its maximalist approach to the Kashmir Conflict. Obviously, the US couldn’t have found a better ally than India to thwart China’s economic plans.

The US Might Rule The WHO Via Its Indian Proxy

On the soft power front, India is slated to assume leadership of the World Health Assembly (WHA, the governing body of the World Health Organization, WHO) from Japan later this month, and it’s already being widely speculated in Indian media that the country might be seriously consideringtaking the US’ side in respect to investigating the WHO for its alleged pro-Chinese bias. Not only that, but India might even be receptive towards Taiwan’s request to participate in the organization’s meetings, the scenario of which has already concerned China so much that its embassy in New Delhi felt compelled to remind the Indian leadership that doing so would violate the One China principle. From the American perspective, this is an unprecedented opportunity for Washington to exercise proxy leadership of the WHO through its “junior partner” of India, which could add a speciously convincing degree of credibility to its anti-Chinese claims in an attempt to win back the many hearts and minds that it’s lost to its rival throughout the course of World War C.

The Indo-American Hybrid War On China

Taken together, India is indisputably intensifying its American-backed Hybrid War against China as a sign of fealty to its new ally, especially considering that it’s only officially been the US’ “comprehensive global strategic partner” since Trump’s landmark visit to the country a few months back in February and thus feels like it has something to prove. Both countries share the grand strategic goal of “containing” China, to which end they’re working hand-in-glove with one another to carry out this concerted campaign against the People’s Republic. Building off of the idiom, the American hand is unquestionably controlling the Indian glove after Trump cracked the whip on Modi by forcing him to export hydroxychloroquine to the US last month, which asserted his country’s dominance as India’s neo-imperial master. Whether across the military, economic, or soft power domains, the US-Indian alliance is doing its utmost to create serious difficulties for China. With India now suspecting China of building an island off of its coast, ties will likely continue to worsen to the US’ benefit.

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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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A 2020 Rockefeller Foundation Paper now proposes the next phase of the solution to the coronavirus crisis – after the 2010 Rockefeller Foundation Paper which predicted and analyzed the problem and reaction. It’s problem-reaction-solution, Rockefeller-Gates style. Last month on April 21st, the New World Order (NWO) manipulators released a 2020 Rockefeller Foundation Paper entitled National Covid-19 Testing Action Plan – Pragmatic steps to reopen our workplaces and our communities. This came after countless MSM appearances by NWO frontman, eugenicist and depopulation-via-vaccines enthusiast Bill Gates claiming you would need digital certificates and immunity passports to travel around again, and that your inherent rights such as the right to gather or assemble may never return unless you’re vaccinated. Predictably, the April 2020 Rockefeller Foundation Paper is a blueprint for the creation of a colossal nation-wide DNA database of the entire US population. In a moment of raw honesty, the paper even admits that “The Rockefeller Foundation exists to meet moments like this” although to be fair it would be more accurate to say ‘The Rockefeller Foundation on behalf of its NWO masters exists to orchestrate crises like this, then pose as the savior to solve them.’ It calls for testing and tracing of all Americans – initially 1 million per week, then 3 million per week and finally 30 million per week (the “1-3-30 Plan”) until every single American is assimilated into the database.

2020 Rockefeller Foundation Paper Narrative: Testing, Tracking and Vaccinating is Our Only Way to Return to Normalcy

The brainwashing is nothing if not blatant and transparent. The Rockefeller Foundation and Bill Gates have the same puppetmaster and thus read from the exact same script. Gates has repeated the scheme ad nauseam: no return to normalcy until you’re vaccinated … no return to normalcy until you’re vaccinated … no return to normalcy until you’re vaccinated. The foreword of the paper paints a grim picture (with propagandistic ideas of a resurgence and a 2nd wave in the background):

“instead of ricocheting between an unsustainable shutdown and a dangerous, uncertain return to normalcy, the United States must mount a sustainable strategy with better tests and contact tracing, and stay the course for as long as it takes to develop a vaccine or cure.”

COVID Healthcare Corps

First of all, check this out. The 2020 Rockefeller Foundation Paper advocates a military force (a corps, which is etymologically similar to corpse or a dead body) to administer “health”:

“The plan also includes: launching a Covid Community Healthcare Corps so every American can easily get tested with privacy-centric contact tracing; a testing data commons and digital platform to track Covid-19 statuses, resources, and effective treatment protocols across states and be a clearinghouse for data on new technologies … at least 100,000 people and perhaps as many as 300,000 must be hired to undertake a vigorous campaign of test administration and contact tracing.”

Notice how the plan includes a “Healthcare Corps” which funnily enough is exactly what Bill Clinton was planning a few weeks ago in his talks with the Californian and New York Governors where they spoke of an “army of tracers” (Cuomo’s words) and using the AmeriCorps (founded by Clinton) to become America’s new national contact tracing force. What is truly audacious and disgraceful about this part of the scheme is that some governors are shamelessly calling for the very people who have been put out of work by their policies to now go and sign up to be a contact tracer or contact investigator, so as to continue to enforce the same tyranny on others that screwed them over and caused them unemployment. Wow. You just can’t make this stuff up.

The 1-3-30 Plan

The next quote pushes their insidious 1-3-30 Plan which aims to test every single American within the next 6 months:

“We are proposing our nation come together around the bold, ambitious, but achievable goal of rapidly expanding testing capacity to 30 million tests per week over the next six months. This 1-3-30 Plan would be achieved by: (1) creating an Emergency Network for Covid-19 Testing to coordinate and underwrite the testing market, (2) launching an eight-week National Testing Laboratory Optimization Initiative to increase output to 3 million tests per week from the current one million, and (3) investing in a Testing Technology Accelerator to further grow U.S. testing capacity from 3 million to 30 million tests per week.”

Please bear in mind 5 very important things about these so-called tests:

1. Initial batches of tests overseen by the CDC were found to be contaminated themselves with the coronavirus;

2. Scientific studies such as this one found the error rate for false positives was an astronomical 80%;

3. The tests are based on the RT-PCR or PCR test which merely isolates genetic RNA/DNA sequences and cannot prove causation or tell you if that genetic sequence has anything to do your state of health. Thus, a positive or negative result is meaningless in terms of telling you whether the alleged ‘virus’ has anything to do with your state of health or your capacity to ‘infect’ another;

4. The current tests use a DNA swab and thus are engaged in DNA harvesting. Corporations in this industry are coincidentally funded by Bill Gates; and

5. The virus allegedly causing COVID-19, SARS-CoV2, fails Koch’s postulates and has still never been isolated, purified, re-injected to cause disease and 100% proven to exist. How can these tests identify a virus which has never been conclusively proven to exist?

Real-Time Data Platform

The next quote is about surveillance and monitoring:

“Integrate and expand Federal, state, and private data platforms to cover the full range of data required to monitor the pandemic, deploy resources, and remove bottlenecks … develop and integrate a real-time data platform … monitoring the pandemic and adjusting social distancing measures will require launching the largest public health testing program in American history … coordination of such a massive program should be treated as a wartime effort.”

Notice the allusion to war (as in the new war on bioterror) and the tyrannical appeal to fear to justify more surveillance. This quote also brings to mind the late NWO insider Zbigniew Brzezinski, who wrote about the coming technetronic era as he called it (his neologism for what is essentially technocracy). He said that “Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date complete files containing even the most personal information about the citizen. These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities.”

Unique Patient Identification Number

The 2020 Rockefeller Foundation Paper calls it a Unique Patient Identification Number, while Gates calls it a digital certificate or immunity passport, but it’s the same idea:

“Some privacy concerns must be set aside for an infectious agent as virulent as Covid-19, allowing the infection status of most Americans to be accessed and validated in a few required settings and many voluntary ones … Those screened must be given a unique patient identification number that would link to information about a patient’s viral, antibody and eventually vaccine status under a system that could easily handshake with other systems to speed the return of normal societal functions. Schools could link this to attendance lists, large office buildings to employee ID cards, TSA to passenger lists and concert and sports venues to ticket purchasers.”

In other words, this is going to determine whether you can travel, work, trade and partake in any inherent, God-given rights. Looks like all those biblical prophecies about the mark of the beast could come true if humanity lets these psychopaths get away with this.

A Pandemic Testing Board

This next one is about the formation of new board with new powers:

“The plan also includes … a Pandemic Testing Board, in line with other recommendations, to bridge divides across governmental jurisdictions and professional fields …”

“… with a public/private bipartisan Pandemic Testing Board established to assist and serve as a bridge between local, state, and federal officials with the logistical, investment and political challenges this operation will inevitably face.”

It is surely not too much a prediction to say that this Pandemic Testing Board may turn out to be another public-private monstrosity with way too much power, just as many Big Tech companies have become. The Pandemic Testing Board may just start in the US but what’s to stop it expanding? It funnily enough sounds just like the familiar appeals for World Government because ‘there is a big big problem which crosses jurisdictions and the only way to solve it is a big big government.’

Other Quotes from the 2020 Rockefeller Foundation Paper

Lastly, here is a final notable quote from the paper:

“The good news is that in the coming weeks the country could have the tools needed to allow governors and other officials to lift the most severe lockdowns and begin a phased reopening of some businesses. The goal is to allow enough economic activity to forestall a full-blown depression while keeping Covid-19 infection rates low enough to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed and thereby causing a wider and more deadly health crisis.”

The only thing which is full-blown is that this is assuredly a full-blown lie. The goal is actually to destroy as much of the economy as they can get away with (short of riot and revolution), but enough to annihilate numerous small and medium-sized businesses, and throw many people below the poverty line. This will usher in desperation, dependency and soften resistance to a UBI (Universal Basic Income), first with no strings attached, but later with conditions. The absurd lockdown policies will absolutely have the effect they say they are trying to avoid, because keeping people locked up (away from vitamin D and an active social lifestyle) lowers people’s immune systems, so when they are released, disease (and hospitalization) will increase, not from the fake COVID-19 virus, but from other opportunistic diseases which will strike those with weakened immunity. Doctors such as Dr. Dan Erickson and Dr. Artin Massihi have explicitly stated this.

Final Thoughts

Although this article has focused on plans within the USA, make no mistake about it – this engineered coronavirus crisis is a worldwide agenda. Whether it’s the Australian Government releasing creepy tracking apps (COVIDSafe) or corrupt Israeli PM Netanyahu calling for microchipping kids, the NWO agenda of surveillance, mandatory vaccination and microchipping is advancing full steam ahead around the world. This scheme is way, way beyond national borders. It affects every single person on Earth. At the rate at which this is unfolding, it won’t be long until it comes knocking at your door. Time is running out. Get informed, spread the word and gather with others who understand this nefarious agenda now. Informed and united, an awakened and determined humanity can stop this scheme and maintain freedom.

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This article was originally published on The Freedom Articles.

Makia Freeman is the editor of alternative media / independent news site The Freedom Articles and senior researcher at ToolsForFreedom.com. Makia is on Steemit and FB.

Sources

https://thefreedomarticles.com/2010-rockefeller-foundation-paper-plan-exploit-pandemic/

https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/TheRockefellerFoundation_WhitePaper_Covid19_4_22_2020.pdf

https://thefreedomarticles.com/digital-vaccine-certificates-bill-gates-plan-post-coronavirus/

https://thefreedomarticles.com/bill-gates-no-mass-gatherings-unless-youre-vaccinated/

https://thefreedomarticles.com/operation-coronavirus-next-phases-resurgence-prediction-bioterror-attack/

https://thefreedomarticles.com/orwellian-contact-tracing-program-begins-in-usa/

https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/04/cdcs-failed-coronavirus-tests-were-tainted-with-coronavirus-feds-confirm/

https://thefreedomarticles.com/6-solid-scientific-reasons-to-assuage-your-coronavirus-panic/

https://thefreedomarticles.com/covid-19-umbrella-term-fake-pandemic-not-1-disease-cause/

https://thefreedomarticles.com/new-war-on-bioterror-everyone-suspected-carrier/

https://thefreedomarticles.com/brzezinski-easier-to-kill-than-control/

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/162691-the-technotronic-era-involves-the-gradual-appearance-of-a-more

https://www.bitchute.com/video/pv21BUMi06K3/

https://thefreedomarticles.com/msm-article-shames-those-refuse-surveillance-app-covidsafe/

https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/benjamin-netanyahu-suggests-to-microchip-kids-slammed-by-experts-627381

Featured image is from TFA

Is COVID-19 Killing Democracy?

May 14th, 2020 by Guy Verhofstadt

Global media are so consumed by the public-health and economic consequences of COVID-19 that they have failed to pay adequate attention to growing political and institutional risks. In fact, if we are not careful, the biggest casualty of COVID-19 could be democracy.

The economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis occupy almost everyone’s thoughts and conversations. And for good reason: the European Union, for one, is headed toward the worst recession in its history, with the economy expected to shrink by 7-12% this year. But far less is being said about the danger the pandemic poses to democracy, even though the signals are similarly ominous.

The EU acted fast to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic. The European Central Bank launched exceptional monetary measures, and the EU introduced a recovery and reconstruction package amounting to €1-1.5 trillion ($1.1-1.6 trillion). Differences over how to finance an EU rescue package remain, but the primary objective is straightforward: to achieve a rapid V-shaped recovery, though a slower U-shaped recovery remains a distinct possibility.

Beyond a straightforward economic recovery, however, is the widely shared ambition of building a greener, more digitized European economy. Virtually everyone agrees that the COVID-19 crisis represents an important opportunity to accelerate such a transformation, though the jury is still out on whether the EU will seize it.

The outcome will depend partly on the pandemic’s impact on Europe’s political institutions. And, so far, there are serious reasons to worry.

From an institutional perspective, the biggest threat comes from Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court, which recently ruled that the German government had violated the country’s Basic Law by failing to monitor adequately the ECB’s public-sector asset purchases. This ruling is not only remarkably detached from reality – saving the European economy must be the top priority today – but also reflects open contempt for the EU Treaties.

Juridical responsibility for the ECB – including oversight over whether it is overstepping its mandate – belongs to the Court of Justice of the EU, which deemed the ECB’s asset purchases legal in 2018. Yet the German court, using utterly torturous logic, claims that it is not bound by that ruling – all in an effort to impose German economic prejudices on the rest of the EU.

Far more worrying, however, are populist efforts to use the crisis to undermine democracy. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is a case in point. Having spent the last decade attacking the free press, NGOs, and political opponents, Orbán has used the COVID-19 crisis as pretext to push through legislation that enables him to rule by decree indefinitely. This is Europe’s first such dictatorial démarche since Adolf Hitler’s Enabling Act of 1933.

In Russia, the assaults on democratic institutions are even cruder. Three doctors treating COVID-19 patients have mysteriously fallen out of windows in recent weeks, after questioning or criticizing the country’s handling of the crisis. One cannot help but recall the fate of Jan Masaryk, the Czechoslovak foreign minister who was found dead below his apartment window in March 1948, two weeks after the Communist takeover.

This trend is hardly limited to Europe. The world’s largest democracies – the United States, Brazil, and India – are also in growing peril.

US President Donald Trump has managed to politicize the pandemic. He has refused to help governors – especially Democrats – secure needed equipment, and even attempted to intercept equipment that had been ordered privately. Moreover, he has been stoking resistance to stay-at-home orders in states, such as Michigan and Minnesota, under Democratic control.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been following the same playbook, albeit in a more openly thuggish and oligarchic way. And, beyond implementing a poorly thought-out lockdown that left millions of Indians jobless and hungry overnight, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been using the virus to advance its anti-Muslim agenda.

Shockingly, these assaults on democracy have so far received little international attention. The global media are so consumed by the public-health and economic consequences of COVID-19 that they apparently have little space for the political implications. This is particularly true when it comes to coverage of contact-tracing apps – possibly the biggest threat to democracy of all.

By informing users of possible exposure to COVID-19, contact-tracing apps are supposed to be the key to enabling economies to reopen while minimizing the risks to public health. Yet even the most “secure” versions – which use Bluetooth, encrypt data, and promise anonymity – raise serious questions.

Who guarantees the security of the data against hackers? If I want to delete the app, will all my data be erased? How soon? What ensures that governments won’t make the apps mandatory? If they do make the app mandatory during the pandemic, what stops them from keeping it that way? These questions go to the heart of our constitutional rights and freedoms.

Mass adoption of contact-tracing apps is a slippery slope. Before long, Europeans, Americans, or others could find themselves living more like the Chinese, with every move monitored, every violation – even of unwritten rules – punished, and a “personal rating” dictating one’s access to travel and public services.

This may seem farfetched, but one need only consider the latest developments in Hungary or Poland to see just how vulnerable democratic institutions can be. If we are not careful, the biggest casualty of COVID-19 could be democracy.

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Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister, is President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group (ALDE) in the European Parliament and the author of Europe’s Last Chance: Why the European States Must Form a More Perfect Union.

Featured image is from williamengdahl.com

The Pentagon is excelling itself in its enthusiastic march to war. There are countless thousands suffering from the effects of the Covid-19 virus, including hundreds of members of the U.S. armed services, while the world’s despots are relishing their freedom to persecute minorities, and the poor and downtrodden are dying in hideous misery because of starvation and lack of medical care. But the propaganda war against China continues, concurrent with ramping up of anti-China confrontation by Washington in its ongoing deployment of nuclear attack warships and bombers to the Western Pacific and the South China Sea.

The propaganda campaign is intriguing, and although amateur and absurd in content and dissemination its message is believed by many of the millions at whom it is directed.

The focus of the latest barbs is aimed at convincing the western world that China is responsible for the spread of Covid-19 – what the President of the United States and his Secretary of State refer to as the “China virus” – and it is not surprising that the major outlet for the latest Goebbels’ gambols is News Corp [sic; chaired by the egregious Rupert Murdoch] whose Australian Saturday Telegraph headlined on 4 May that “China deliberately suppressed or destroyed evidence of the coronavirus outbreak in an ‘assault on international transparency’’ that cost tens of thousands of lives, according to a dossier prepared by concerned Western governments on the COVID-19 contagion. The 15-page research document, obtained by The Saturday Telegraph, lays the foundation for the case of negligence being mounted against China.”

The report was given much cover by Fox News in the U.S. (owned and directed by Rupert Murdoch) which noted that “A research dossier compiled by the so-called ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence alliance, that reportedly concludes China intentionally hid or destroyed evidence of the coronavirus pandemic, is consistent with U.S. findings about the origins of the outbreak so far, senior U.S. officials told Fox News on Saturday [ May 2].” The reporter who produced the Telegraph story, ‘National Political Editor’ Sharri Markson, declared on Fox News next day that “It’s very clear from this 15-page dossier that has been prepared by concerned western governments that China deliberately covered up evidence of the virus early on in a pure case of negligence… this directly contributed to thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people getting sick and dying.”

It was utter nonsense, of course, and was therefore seized upon by the UK’s gutter tabloid the Daily Mail which informed its millions of readers that “Bombshell ‘Five Eyes’ Western intelligence dossier claims China lied about coronavirus.” To give them their due, the majority of the UK media declined to spread such garbage, but the stink has lingered in spite of the revelation on 7 May that “Australia has determined the report is not a Five Eyes intelligence document. It is not believed to include original intelligence from human sources or electronic intercepts.” Of course not. But that doesn’t matter to the propaganda-meisters who scored a victory over truth and decency.

And even supposedly respectable organisations are not averse to slanting information when there is an opportunity. As pointed out by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, “United States Strategic Command, the branch of the U.S. military responsible for the nation’s nuclear weapons, recently released an imperially misleading infographic on Twitter. The graphic is confused – not only about when to use bold typeface, but also about the facts.”

The graphic claims that “Russia, China, North Korea and Iran pursue new nuclear weapons and delivery systems to threaten the world” while, as the Bulletin points out “there’s no mention of Russia’s dramatic reductions [in numbers of nuclear weapons], which have outpaced those of the United States. Since 1990, the Russian stockpile has declined from roughly 37,000 warheads to 4,310 – an 88 percent decrease.” But the head of U.S. Strategic Command, Admiral Charles Richard, tweeted on 3 May that “The threats we face today and in the future are real, and have not changed during the pandemic. While we continue to seek and provide for a safe and secure world, others continue to act provocatively and irresponsibly.”

Perhaps nobody told Admiral Richard that the U.S. has 3,800 nuclear weapons while China has 300. And while his Command is alleging provocation and irresponsibility by China he should bear in mind the report on 30 April that “The U.S. military continued its weeklong show of force in the South China Sea with a sortie over the contested waters by two Air Force bombers. The B-1B Lancers from the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., flew a 32-hour round trip to conduct operations over the sea as part of a joint bomber task force by the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and U.S. Strategic Command.” Not only this, but in the waters of the South China Sea “The guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill sailed near the Spratlys on Wednesday as part of its so-called freedom-of-navigation operations” and “on Tuesday, the guided-missile destroyer USS Barry sailed near the Paracel Islands.” Provocation, anybody?

The Pentagon’s 2019 Report to Congress about China’s ‘Military and Security Developments’ notes that the Chinese navy’s “latest surface and subsurface platforms enable combat operations beyond the reach of China’s land-based defences. In particular, China’s aircraft carrier and planned follow-on carriers, once operational, will extend air defence coverage beyond the range of coastal and shipboard missile systems and will enable task group operations at increasingly longer ranges.” But nobody can believe that China will “follow-on” in the foreseeable future to the extent that it will have anything like the eleven nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed aircraft carriers that the U.S. Navy deploys all over the world.

The Covid-19 pandemic is a world crisis that should have resulted in all nations getting together and cooperating in every possible way to control the spread of the virus, combat its physical and economic consequences, and produce and administer an immunity vaccine. Instead, the priority of Trump Washington has been to denigrate China in every way possible. The exchange between Secretary of State Pompeo and Martha Raddatz on ABC television made this clear, when he was asked “Do you believe coronavirus was man-made?” to which he replied that “the best experts seem to think so.” Martha Raddatz wasn’t going to let him get away with that and pointed out that “the Director of National Intelligence says the consensus is it wasn’t.” Pompeo’s lame but most revelatory counter to her line of questioning was “What’s important is the Communist Party could’ve prevented this.”

And to further challenge the Communist Party, the Pentagon’s aggressive operations around China’s shores include the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group along with “the amphibious assault ship USS America, smaller than the Reagan but carrying F-35B Lightning II stealth strike fighters” and the USS Nimitz Strike Group is about to leave San Diego for an undisclosed Indo-Pacific mission. The health crisis affected the U.S. fleet, and there will be yet more instances of virus infection, but the Chief of Naval operations, Admiral Gilday declared that in spite of the world health emergency the U.S. navy has “a duty to ensure we are ready to respond. We cannot simply take a knee or keep everyone in port until this enemy is defeated. We are America’s away team. The uncertainty caused by [the coronavirus] makes our mission of protecting America at sea more important than ever. That is why the U.S. Navy continues to operate forward every day.”

So now we know. Forget the world health crisis. Concentrate on confronting China. The “away team” is considered to be Washington’s route to a peaceful and prosperous future.

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Brian Cloughley is a British and Australian armies’ veteran, former deputy head of the UN military mission in Kashmir and Australian defense attaché in Pakistan.

Make way for the Greens and the Leftists. They do not want US nuclear weapons on German soil.

Angela Merkel will soon be gone. The next German coalition already shares new ideas in many areas including NATO.

Three Consequences

  1. Germany will cease its nuclear sharing agreement with the US.
  2. It will ask the US to remove its nuclear weapons from German soil.
  3. Germany will abandon plans to purchase US military equipment such as the F/A-18 Hornet.

Justyna Gotkowska from the OSW think tank in Warsaw, laments in a Twitter Thread that Germany may soon abandon a key pillar of its NATO defence policy.

Eurointelligence picked up on the thread in its report Will Germany cease to host US nuclear weapons on its soil?

Gotkowska argues that it is highly probable that Germany will end its participation in the nuclear sharing programme within ten years. While the government itself, including the SPD leadership, is committed to it, the programme is not supported by the rank-and-file of the SPD. We would add that it is not supported by the Greens either.

Rolf Mützenich, the SPD leader in the Bundestag, has now formally come out supporting withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from Germany, and quitting nuclear sharing. The SPD has also nominated an anti-nuclear MEP for the job of Bundeswehr ombudsman.

Gotkowska concludes that there is no longer a majority in the Bundestag for the procurement of the F/A-18 Hornet tactical aircraft, which forms a key component for the nuclear sharing strategy. The government has now pushed a decision on the F/A-18 into the next parliament, which is even less likely than the current one to support it. Germany’s exit from the programme poses important questions for Nato: whether Germany can still be useful in other ways, and whether others member will, or should, pick up the slack.

Fake News Headline

Defense News reports NATO chief backs Germany’s vow to keep war-ready US nukes

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has waded into Germany’s fiery debate about the decades-old pledge to retain American atomic bombs in the European nation as a way of deterring Russia.

Stoltenberg argued that only sticking to the doctrine of “nuclear sharing” would ensure Berlin’s continued seat at the table of strategic decision-making within the alliance.

Led by Rolf Mützenich, the chairman of the Social Democrats in parliament, a group within the governing coalition’s junior party want to exit the NATO atomic arrangement, arguing that deal, too, has outlived its usefulness.

Vow? What Vow? 

Both Eurointelligence and Gotkowska lament this result. I view this as a good thing.

I suggest we remove the nukes and the troops, not just from Germany, but everywhere.

If Germany or Japan or any other country wants US weapons or troops, they should pay for them, not US taxpayers.

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Donald Trump claims that while he is president, his pre-presidency financial records can’t be subpoenaed and he can’t even be investigated for criminal conduct. The Supreme Court will decide by the end of June whether Trump is indeed beyond the reach of the law.

On May 12, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments about whether Trump can block subpoenas for his tax and other financial records that predate his presidency. Although prior presidents made their tax returns public, Trump has steadfastly refused to reveal his. In 2016, he promised to release them when the purported “audit” is complete. But they remain under wraps.

In April 2019, three committees of the House of Representatives and the New York district attorney issued subpoenas to banks and financial institutions to obtain Trump’s records. Trump sued to prevent the disclosures. Even though all four lower courts that considered the issue ruled that the records must be produced, Trump continues to stonewall, claiming in essence he is above the law.

During the oral arguments, the justices disagreed about what standard should be used to determine when a president can block subpoenas to third parties for records relating to his personal conduct before he took office. A majority of the justices seemed to reject the argument made by the lawyer for the House of Representatives, that congressional committees have broad authority to obtain a president’s personal records. But they were also skeptical of Trump’s argument that he has immunity from state grand jury investigations while he is president.

“One of the most important takeaways from the oral arguments is that no justice appears to accept the extreme argument made by Jay Sekulow, President Trump‘s personal lawyer, that the president is entitled to an absolute temporary immunity from a state grand jury investigation into his private conduct before becoming president,” Stephen Rohde, a scholar of constitutional law, told Truthout. “That argument only had an audience of one.”

Congressional Subpoenas Raise Separation of Powers Concern

The justices first took up the cases of Trump v. Mazars and Trump v. Deutsche Bank. In April, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform subpoenaed documents from Mazars USA LLP, Trump’s accounting firm, because the committee was investigating payments of hush money and whether Trump lied about his assets to underpay taxes. Pursuant to an investigation of whether there was foreign interference in the election, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Committee on Financial Services subpoenaed documents from Deutsche Bank and Capital One, which had loaned Trump large sums of money.

Both the district court and the Court of Appeals rejected Trump’s challenges to the subpoenas.

During the Supreme Court argument, Justice Sonia Sotomayor cited the Court’s precedent “that a congressional subpoena is valid so long as there is a conceivable legislative purpose and the records are relevant to that purpose.”

Justice Brett Kavanaugh said, however,

“I think, pertinent to a legislative purpose is almost no limiting principle at all.”

Most of the justices appeared to agree.

Patrick Strawbridge, Trump’s personal lawyer, suggested a more rigid standard. He said that when Congress employs its subpoena power against the president, “it must yield absent any long-standing tradition or particularly compelling showing of need,” that is, a “demonstrated need standard.”

Strawbridge charged that “the committees have not even tried to show any critical legislative need for the documents these subpoenas seek.”

Justice Neil Gorsuch then asked Strawbridge, “Why should we not defer to the House’s view about its own legislative purposes?” and Strawbridge replied that Congress’s subpoena power was “an implied power” that can’t be used “to challenge the structure of government.” He added that “a subpoena targeting the President’s personal documents is a challenge to the separation of powers.”

But Sotomayor warned of a separation of powers problem if the Court were to establish “a heightened standard or clear statement” requirement. She asked Strawbridge whether he was disputing the Intelligence Committee’s stated purpose: “investigation efforts by foreign entities to influence the U.S. political process and related to the financial records.”

Justice Elena Kagan characterized Strawbridge’s position as asking the Court “to put a kind of 10-ton weight on the scales between the President and Congress and essentially to make it impossible for Congress to perform oversight and to carry out its functions where the President is concerned.”

Kagan noted that the subpoenas don’t request official records, where the president could assert executive privilege, and queried why a lower standard shouldn’t apply to personal records.

Deputy Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall appeared as amicus curiae (friend of the court) during the argument. Justice Stephen Breyer asked Wall, “why not apply the standard that is ordinarily applied to every human being in the United States … go to a judge and say: Judge, this is overly burdensome.” Wall argued that a congressional subpoena for a president’s records should be measured by “a heightened standard.”

When Kavanaugh suggested, “why not employ the demonstrably critical standard or something like that,” Douglas Letter, counsel for the House of Representatives, replied that would violate separation of powers. Kavanaugh stated that the demonstrably critical standard is used when the president invokes executive privilege, but Letter reminded him that this case doesn’t involve executive privilege because the subpoenas seek financial business records.

Executive privilege protects the need for confidentiality in presidential communications. In 1974, the Court held in United States v. Nixon that there is a qualified executive privilege and Richard Nixon was compelled to produce the Watergate tapes. “The generalized assertion of privilege must yield to the demonstrated, specific need for evidence in a pending criminal trial,” the Court ruled unanimously.

Wall complained that the House of Representatives had not explained why it needs the requested documents in order to exercise its legislative powers, in spite of the findings of the lower courts. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg charged that Wall would expect more from Congress than from a patrol officer.

“To impugn Congress’s motive, even the policeman on the beat, if he stops a car and gives the reason that the car went through a stop sign, we don’t allow an investigation into what the subjective motive really was. So, here, you’re — you’re distrusting Congress more than the cop on the beat,” Ginsburg said.

Prosecutor’s Subpoena Tests Whether Presidential Power Is Unlimited

The second case the justices considered during oral argument was Trump v. Vance. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., issued a subpoena to Mazars USA LLP for personal and business tax returns for a state grand jury investigation of hush money payments before the 2016 election. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the subpoena for most of the requested records.

Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow argued that the Court of Appeals decision “would allow any DA to harass, distract, and interfere with the sitting President.” He argued for “temporary presidential immunity” in a state criminal case, citing Article II of the Constitution (which establishes the executive branch) and the Supremacy Clause (that affirms the supremacy of federal over state laws).

Sekulow said he wasn’t arguing that a grand jury can’t investigate the president, just that the president should have immunity while in office. Chief Justice John Roberts retorted, “it’s okay for the grand jury to investigate, except it can’t use the traditional and most effective device that grand juries have typically used, which is the subpoena.”

In 1997, the Court decided unanimously in Clinton v. Jones that a sitting president does not have immunity from federal civil litigation arising from conduct that occurred before he took office. Bill Clinton was compelled to give a deposition in Paula Jones’s sexual harassment lawsuit against him.

Roberts reminded Sekulow that the Jones Court was “not persuaded that the distraction in that case meant that discovery could not proceed.” Jones was a federal civil case and Vance is a state criminal proceeding, Sekulow argued. When he complained that 2,300 district attorneys could harass the president, Breyer responded, “of course, in Clinton v. Jones, there might be a million, I don’t know, tens of thousands of people who might bring lawsuits.”

Once again, Breyer suggested using the ordinary standard of whether compliance with the subpoena is “unduly burdensome.” Kagan echoed Breyer’s suggestion.

Gorsuch asked how this is more burdensome than Jones, which “sought the deposition of the President while he was serving,” whereas “here, they’re seeking records from third-parties.”

Kavanaugh raised the issue of statute of limitations which could prevent prosecution after the president leaves office.

Solicitor General Noel Francisco, who appeared as amicus curiae, argued that the Court should apply the “special needs standard” from the Nixon case and not even reach the issue of presidential immunity. Francisco said the district attorney must show that the requested information is critical to a responsible charging decision, that he can’t obtain it elsewhere, and that the information he has is insufficient.

Breyer and Sotomayor reminded Francisco that Nixon was an executive privilege case. Sotomayor suggested a standard of “harassment and interference,” in which the court would “ask whether the investigation is based on credible suspicion of criminal activity and whether the subpoena is reasonably calculated to advance that investigation.”

Carey Dunne, general counsel of the New York County District Attorney’s Office, argued for a case-specific analysis. Once the president establishes that his Article II powers are burdened, the prosecutor must show an objective basis for the investigation and a reasonable probability that the request would produce relevant information. Dunne said the lower courts already found that the district attorney had met that standard.

Justice Samuel Alito proposed “a somewhat more demanding standard,” where the prosecutor would have to establish that the information cannot be obtained from another source and that delay would cause “serious prejudice to the investigation.”

Not necessary, said Dunne.

“There’s no need here to upend precedent or to write a new rule that undermines federalism, especially when such a rule would create a risk that American presidents, as well as third-parties, could unwittingly end up above the law.”

When the high court issues its decision, we are likely to see several fragmented opinions. Whatever test ultimately garners five votes, the cases will probably be sent back to the lower courts to apply the new rule. That could take several months or even years, leaving the matter unresolved until after the 2020 presidential election. And even if the Supreme Court were to order Trump to release his tax returns, they would be transmitted confidentially to the grand jury.

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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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When he announced at the end of April that he would be retiring, thereby vacating the federal seat of Eden-Monaro, the Australian Labor Party’s Mike Kelly (image below) welled up.  He noted persistent “health issues” from his time in the service of the Australian Defence Forces, including a worsening osteoarthritic situation and deteriorating renal condition.  He had endured some ten invasive surgeries in recent times.  He spoke, implausibly, of having made no enemies in politics.  He had “stared into the face of true evil, whether it was genocidal warlords in Somalia, or murdering militia in Timor, or war criminals in Bosnia, or staring into Saddam Hussein’s face and the dirty-dozen, so called, in Iraq.” 

Labor leader Anthony Albanese was full of lapping praise.  “Mike Kelly is an extraordinary Australian, and he has brought a great deal of dignity, talent, capacity and commitment to this Parliament.” His labours “on defence and national security issues” in Parliament had been “second to none”.

Then came the revolving military door, where evil dons a different visage for its recruits. “I have been fortunate,” Kelly revealed even before the dust had settled, “to be able to take up a job offer with Palantir Technologies Australia that will enable me to work within my physical limitations but still be in a position to make a difference in relation to the issues that matter to me.”  Good of the Silicon Valley-based Palantir: generous to an ailing man; considerate of his limits but happy to stroke the ego.

To work with the data mining security outfit Palantir Technologies can hardly be regarded as ethically elevating, certainly for a former member of parliament who had supposedly spent time gazing at faces evil and malevolent.  But then again, his gaze must lack a certain resistance, bewitched as he is by this “amazing organisation” staffed by “some of the finest talent and quality personnel in the world.”   

Mike Kelly Portrait 2008.jpg

In recent times Kelly has given Palantir some free parliamentary advertising.  In 2018, he told his fellow members that, “Companies like Palantir … effectively vectored Osama Bin Laden’s location so these are companies and capabilities that we need to work with.”  The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security was also informed by Kelly of the Palantir’s “massive $US12 billion international effort on security issues.”

The company oozes of the slime that is the military-industrial complex, and counts the Central Intelligence Agency as an exclusive customer, though its client list has ballooned to include other government agencies, hedge funds and big pharma.  In 2003, it got off the ground with US information analysts, among them Peter Thiel, champing at the bit to use data mining tools developed for Paypal. 

Since then, the entity has developed search tools have given it pride of place in the security environment, earning it a credible fourth place in the “evil list” of technology companies compiled by Slate.  Its software has found its way into the operations of the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC).  But in addition to encouraging bouts of faux patriotic heroics (Kelly notes the company’s role “in over 30 countries in the fight against COVID-19”), it has also veered into disdainfully murky territory.  The same company, for instance, linked arms with Berico Technologies and HBGary Federal in 2011 to target WikiLeaks and smear the credibility of journalist Glenn Greenwald.  The plan was revealed in emails obtained by the hacker group Anonymous, which managed to penetrate the servers of HBGary to unearth the nasty proposal to wage a campaign of misinformation against WikiLeaks and its supporters.

At the time, Palantir chief-executive Alex Carp, in a statement, was all contrite in severing ties with HBGary.  With his hands firmly in the cookie jar, Carp claimed that his company “does not build software that is designed to allow private sector entities to obtain non-public information, engage in so called ‘cyber-attacks’ or take other offensive measures.”  He also apologised specifically to Greenwald “for any involvement that we may have had in these matters.”

Carp and his company have since busied themselves with such humane endeavours as finding, in his words in a CNBC interview, “people in our country who are undocumented.” Over the years, Palantir’s role in aiding US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s deportation efforts has been skirted over. Its public relations arm has insisted that only Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) within ICE is of interest to them, rather than Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).  This is a distinction with bare difference, given that ERO avails itself of Palantir’s technology in conducting its deportation operations.

Kelly’s decision has caused a flutter of interest in various media stables, from Crikey to Sky News.  Despite being at different ends of the journalist’s spectrum, they are in broad agreement that the decision to join Palantir reeks.  Chris Kenny, an anchor for Sky, picked up on the sick card played by Kelly and was far from impressed.  “Remember it’s less than two weeks since former Labor frontbencher Mike Kelly resigned from his seat saying he was too sick to serve out the term.”  Not to be deterred, he confirmed with some swiftness that he had “already taken up a new job”, one with “a major US technology firm that does a lot of defence work.”  Such behaviour demonstrated, in Kenny’s eyes, that the member was “apparently … not up to serving out another two years in parliament, but he is up to lobbying for a US tech giant.”

Kelly is yet another addition to the military-industrial complex that snaps up public servants and representatives at will.  In February 2020, Australia’s former domestic intelligence spy chief, Duncan Lewis, was appointed to the board of the world’s tenth largest weapons making concern, Thales.  He had waited a mere five months.  At the time, few pundits deemed it problematic that a man privy to a nation’s secrets would take up a post with a French company which, admittedly, has a 35 percent share of Naval Group, the lead contractor of Australia’s bloated Future Submarines project. 

A stint in public service, it seems, is merely a prelude for moneyed rewards in the security sector, where conflicts of interest cease to be relevant, and lobbies run riot.  Accountability is not so much diminished and ditched along the way.  Companies operating in this realm know that securing a notable ex-politician or civil servant will grease the wheels and lead to deals.  The gullible citizenry are left none the wiser. 

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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]

Featured image is from Flickr

Economic collapse that’s harming most ordinary people in the US, West, and elsewhere — that’s likely to be long-lasting — is far more serious than numbers of COVID-19 infections and their aftermath.

Hundreds of thousands of small and medium-sized businesses in the US alone are likely permanently shuttered.

Many more may only partially operate when reopened for many months to come — countless millions of jobs lost, less pay and few or no benefits to be the new normal for many others, perhaps for the majority of US workers.

During the 1930s Great Depression, an alphabet soup of New Deal programs put millions of Americans back to work.

In her book titled “Put to Work: The WPA and Public Employment in the Great Depression,” Nancy Rose explained the following:

“Although much of the business community steadfastly opposed federal unemployment relief, increasing destitution, continuing protests, the exhaustion of traditional sources of relief, and pleas from local and state governments compelled the Roosevelt administration to act.”

“The alternative, as historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., wrote in his study of this period, might be revolution.”

FDR’s first hundred days and what followed were polar opposite how the Trump regime and Congress are responding to what in hindsight may be seen as a Greater Depression.

At this time, half the US workforce is either unemployed or working reduced hours.

At the height of the 1930s Great Depression, unemployment reached around 25%.

New Deal programs cut to 11% in 1937 — before it spiked higher because of cutbacks in economic stimulus programs before early war production revived growth and created millions of jobs.

Two severe recessions produced the Great Depression — from 1929 to 1933, followed by recovery to 1937, the Dow average gaining almost 335% during this period.

It then fell sharply and bottomed down 89% from its 1929 high valuation because of a letup in pump-priming.

Instead of focusing on government programs to put unemployed Americans back to work, the Trump regime, Congress, and Wall Street owned Fed handed countless trillions of dollars in free money to major banks and other corporate favorites — ordinary people left largely on their own.

The National Bureau of Economic Research estimated that 42% of US jobs lost this year through layoffs and furloughs are likely to be permanently gone.

Many US workers “will suffer permanent job losses,” it said, adding:

“If the pandemic and partial economic shutdown linger for many months, or if pandemics with serious health consequences and high mortality rates become a recurring phenomenon, there will be profound, long-term consequences for the reallocation of jobs, workers and capital across firms and locations.”

Trump’s claim that 2021 will be a “phenomenal year” amounts to ignoring reality by whistling past the graveyard.

Over 40 million Americans became unemployed this year — on top of over 20% US unemployment before economic collapse — based on how the number was calculated pre-1990.

Official headlined Labor Department U-3 numbers conceal the US job market’s dismal state, reflecting thirdworldized America — things far more dire for most people today than before economic crisis began.

US job losses are likely to increase before things improve.

When economic hard times produce large-scale layoffs and keep private enterprises from hiring, it requires government to fill the void with projects to put people back to work — what was done during the Great Depression.

That’s not happening now, creating harder hard times for most Americans that are likely to be long-lasting, painful, and for many people devastating.

Things are in uncharted territory, numbers of food insecure and homeless growing exponentially.

COVID-19 didn’t cause economic crisis. It created conditions for the house of cards US economy to collapse.

If it wasn’t the coronavirus, it would have been something else in the months ahead.

Collapse was coming. Only its catalyst was unknown until now. Earlier economic crisis conditions were warmups for what’s unfolding in real time.

Potential longterm harm from COVID-19 infections may also be far more serious than reported.

A new Lancet medical journal assessment said “if routine health care is disrupted and access to food is decreased (as a result of unavoidable shocks, health system collapse, or intentional choices made in responding to the pandemic), the increase in child and maternal deaths will be devastating.”

According to a Thailand Medical News alert, “(r)ecovered (COVID-19) patients could suffer chronic health effects for the rest of their lives,” adding:

“(M)any recovered individuals report breathlessness, fatigue and body pain months after first becoming infected.”

Chinese research studies showed that “survivors grapple with poorer functioning in their lungs, heart and liver. And that may be the tip of the iceberg.”

COVID-19 is “known to attack many parts of the human body beyond the respiratory system, causing damage from the eyes to the toes, the gastrointestinal tract including the liver, to the kidneys, the nervous system and even the testes of males.”

“Patients’ immune systems can go into overdrive to fight off the infection, compounding the damage done.”

According to Nature magazine, patients who recovered from SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in 2003 were vulnerable to other diseases, including “lung susceptibility to infections, tumors, cardiovascular disorders, and abnormal glucose metabolism” for as long as 12 years after becoming ill from the respiratory disease.

UK Dr. Nicolas Hart treated PM Boris Johnson’s COVID-19 infection. He called the coronavirus “this generation’s polio.” The fullness of time will tell if he’s right or wrong.

According to Hong Kong infectious disease Dr. Owen Tsang, half of 20 COVID-19 infected patients had below normal lung function — for up to two months after recovering.

A study of 25 COVID-19 recovered patients in Wuhan, China found that they hadn’t regained normal functioning whether their symptoms were mild or severe.

Another study of 90 COVID-19 recovered patients in Wuhan found that 66 of 70 who were discharged from hospitalization had mild to more considerable lung abnormalities — based on CT scans.

Los Angeles-based Cedars-Sinai Medical Center researchers noted that some COVID-19 recovered patients had cardiac complications.

The above numbers of patients studied were small. It’s unclear if post-COVID-19 complications were because of age, obesity, and/or other pre-conditions.

COVID-19 is relatively new. So it’s unknown if serious longterm lung or other health issues could affect large numbers of recovered patients.

Professor of Medicine Dr. Jessica Justman noted that “(t)here is such a wide range in the way the illness affects people.”

“The various stakeholders need solid data to help them understand the breadth and duration of long term effects” that’s unknown so far.

Various diseases affect most people in their lifetimes, older individuals most vulnerable.

Protracted harm from economic collapse in the US and elsewhere will likely affect far greater numbers of people than COVID-19 or any other diseases.

It’s because of indifference toward public health and welfare — notably in the world’s richest country USA.

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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.

German Foreign Policy Is a CIA Front

May 13th, 2020 by Aidan O’Brien

On March 30 Germany declared the important Lebanese political group, Hezbollah, to be a “terrorist” organization and banned it from German soil. By doing so it gratuitously increased the tension in the eastern Mediterranean and exposed Berlin’s lack of credibility on the world stage.

Is it really in Germany’s interest to destabilize a region that has already been crippled by multiple wars? On the surface Germany doesn’t appear to have a stake in the politics of Lebanon. Indeed, from whatever angle the situation is viewed from, Germany qua Germany doesn’t have a meaningful stake in Lebanon. Yet Berlin is assaulting the sovereignty of this small Mediterranean nation that means no harm.

Hezbollah is an organization that forms 10% of the current Lebanese parliament and is a significant part of Lebanon’s governing coalition. Because of its commitment to international justice, Hezbollah is, in fact, Lebanon’s most recognizable political group. And that’s the point. Hezbollah’s successful efforts to defend the sovereignty of Lebanon in the past decades, and the sovereignty of Syria in recent years, is a problem for that power which aims to destroy the sovereignty of both Lebanon and Syria. However, that power isn’t Germany, so what then explains Berlin’s hostility towards Beirut?

Germany is doing someone’s bidding. Germany’s problem is that it’s foreign policy is stuck in the late 20th century. At present, Germany’s political structure is stuck in post World War Two Europe. Ever since the Nazis were defeated in 1945, Germany has been a cutout. To begin with, it was either a Soviet or an American cutout. But when the Soviets had the decency to exit Germany in “1989”, the Americans remained. As a consequence, in the 21st century German independence is still an aspiration rather than a reality.

According to Deutsche Welle (DW), in 2019 there were “roughly 38,600” American soldiers based in Germany. “This is…more military personnel than the US keeps in any other country except Japan.” In other words, whether it likes it or not, Germany is a key part of American geopolitics. As DW explains:

“Germany’s strategic importance for the US is reflected by the location of US European Command (EUCOM) headquarters in the southwestern city of Stuttgart, from which it serves as the coordinating structure for all American military forces across 51 primarily European countries.”

And the purpose of EUCOM? “The mission of EUCOM is to protect and defend the US..” It’s purpose is not to defend the interests of Germany but the interests of the USA.

EUCOM though is only the overt dimension of US power in Germany. As intimidating and oppressive as EUCOM is, it is less sinister than the covert dimension of US power in Berlin and beyond. To bend German politicians and opinion towards warmongering in west Asia requires a level of deceitfulness that is too subtle for the straightforward American war machine. This need for sly covert action is the raison d’être of America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). And Germany is as much under the control of the CIA as it is under the control of EUCOM. The evidence is the illogical German decision to make Hezbollah illegal.

The evidence is the fact that Germany’s “foreign” secret service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (the BND), which reportedly has 300 bases inside and outside Germany, was a CIA creation. This means that infamous spymasters, like Allen Dulles (CIA/Nazi sympathizer) and Reinhard Gehlen (Nazi/CIA), developed a covert system within Germany in the late 1940s and 1950s – a system that continues to function surreptitiously today.

Recent evidence of this insidious CIA activity in Germany includes the US bugging of Germany’s prime minister, Angela Merkel (revealed in 2013); the US/German creation of a Swiss front company (Crypto AG) to spy on world governments (revealed in 2020); and the manipulation of German media, as revealed in the book Presstitutes Embedded in the Pay of the CIA (2019), by Udo Ulfkoette. All of which confirms the claims made by CIA whistleblower Philip Agee in the 1970s. For example, in a 1976 interview with the German magazine Informations Dienst he stated:

“Since World War II, the aim of US foreign policy has been to guarantee the coherence of the western world under the leadership of the USA. CIA activities are directed toward achieving this goal….Left opposition movements had to be discredited and destroyed….After World War II, West Germany was a crucial area. In order to secure US interests there, the CIA supported not only the CDU (Christian Democratic Union) but also the SPD (Social Democratic Union) and the trade unions. The CIA wanted the influence of the two major political parties to be strong enough to shut out and hold down any left opposition…..Most CIA stations pay journalists to publish the CIA’s propaganda as if it were the journalist’s own work….”

And how does Hezbollah fit into this CIA / German matrix? Its an official US enemy. And so, ipso facto, its an official German “enemy”. As a key part of the “axis of resistance” (Lebanon, Syria and Iran) that’s fighting US imperialism in west Asia, Hezbollah has been in the crosshairs of Washington DC for sometime. Hence the March 2019 Aljazeera headline: “[US] Tells Lebanon to Choose Hezbollah or Independence”. A headline which can also be read: “US Tells Germany to Criminalize Hezbollah”.

The big geopolitical picture is, of course, the grand chessboard that stretches across the Eurasian landmass. On the western edge of this “world island” the US is anchored in Germany. And on the eastern side the US is anchored in Japan. The aim of US imperialism is to control or contain everything in between – primarily Russia and China. And in this US “game” of control and containment, the oil fields and pipelines in west Asia (the eastern Mediterranean) are fundamental.

Germany’s decision to criminalize Hezbollah is a part this great US “game”. As a key American base on the Eurasian landmass, the “mighty“ Germany is nothing but a pawn in the hands the US. This “German decision”, therefore, is in reality an American decision – a decision managed by America’s covert warriors: the CIA. The problem for the USA and Germany, however, is that the “game” is now so obvious that whatever decision is made lacks power and meaning.

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Aidan O’Brien is a hospital worker, Dublin, Ireland.

To me, an American-Palestinian, the world tainted by the corona virus is analogous to Israel tainted by the evil it contains.

Every day for the past few days, I have been listening to New York Governor Cuomo give his daily briefing on the virus. His words resonate with me eerily transforming themselves to advice on how to handle Israel’s cruel manifestation in Palestine as a Zionist Jewish apartheid colonial state. As talk of “re-opening” the New York increases in volume, so does my feverish imagination.

For those who don’t know, the Arabic word “Fateh” [فتح], the name of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, which is the political bloc now dominating the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank, means “opening”. It also carries the meaning of “conquering”. What’s more, “Fateh” and “key” [مفتاح], that profoundly indicative word of Palestinian longing for return, have the same linguistic root in Arabic. Hence, all these unbidden associations in my mind as I listen to Cuomo.

Every day, I wait for Cuomo’s briefing impatiently and watch while perched, tense and hyper-alert, at the edge of my seat, mesmerized by the shifting lines of his charts that, I swear, often morph into the outline of the map of Palestine.

My mind automatically sucks in Cuomo’s words and echoes them back at the TV in an altered form. I am Muslim, but the dynamic gripping me is one akin to the relationship between a pastor and his congregation at a black church. Cuomo calls and I respond, sometimes aloud. I hold back from hollering and shouting at his image, so as not to scare my family.

I take in every word of his sane, hopeful message — facts, not “facts on the ground”; science, not myths; let’s learn from our mistakes. Yes!

I translate his sentences into something else, like this: After decades of land theft, when will Palestinians be finally in control of their destiny and not subject to the whims of Israel and the international community? You tell me how Israel behaves today; I will tell you how Palestinians will be resisting a year from now.

The Zionist virus that is the Jewish state of Israel has yet to be stamped out. Hot-spot outbreaks have been with us since the Nakba of 1948. Currently, they are in the form of Israel’s horrifying annexation of parts of the West Bank, preying on the most vulnerable of peoples. We need to look for solutions that make things better for the Palestinian people. We need to reimagine the status quo and pose such a solution.

“In the first phase, we had to figure out what we are dealing with because we had no idea.” Yes, we had no idea — just intimations of unbelievable cruelty and diabolical greed! In 1947–48, we really had little idea. Remember, Palestine was 80% agrarian then — not the sophisticated community of Basle, Switzerland, where the plot for our dispossession was hatched at the First Zionist Conference in 1897.

“In the first phase, stabilize, control the damage,” says Cuomo. It turns out the key (here is that word again!) is information.

“I worked hard every day to make sure they knew the facts. ‘Trust the people’ — Lincoln, right? An informed public will keep this country safe. True, and that’s exactly what happened here,” Cuomo continues.

Funny Cuomo should say that, because, just the other day, a Palestinian friend on Facebook, Imad Jibawi, was saying something similar. He was commenting on a Zoom discussion I had posted titled “What do we do now?” conducted by Hani al-Masri, Director General of Masarat — The Palestinian Center for Policy Research & Strategic Studies (Masri is also a Policy Advisor for Al-Shabaka).

Imad Jibawi wondered:

“What is it that would drive the Palestinian people to the streets to protest by the thousands? Is it the annexation of Jerusalem? No; is it annexation of the Jordan Valley? No; is it Israel’s new settlements, then? No.

Why is that so?

I think the answer is in the question: Who is it mainly that we expect to take to the streets? They are those who are primarily under 30 — i.e., the Oslo generation.

These Palestinians were born and brought up in the reality of the Palestinian Authority, a government, ministries, VIPs, jobs, loans, etc.

[Preserving that] has been the national project for which our people sacrificed for years. People’s very livelihoods are now the red lines, holding them back. Their concerns are the teachers’ movement, the social security movement, the “we want to live” movement.

The question that concerns the political class as a whole is this: What next? What to do? The answer is: We start with our ABCs all over again. The first lesson is: Who are the Palestinians? What are the borders of the homeland of Palestine? The second lesson is: Who is our enemy? And what do we want?

Wanted: a new national awareness ….” [my translation from Arabic]

But then, as I continued to listen to Cuomo, I realized that, even though he and Jibawi are appealing to people to act collectively in their best interests by looking to themselves, rather than to their governments, there is a fundamental difference.

Cuomo is invoking security of health, family and livelihood as a raison d’etre for a certain set of collective behaviors, whereas what Jibawi is pushing for, necessarily given the Palestinian condition, is a revolutionary national consciousness that calls for a sacrifice of the very same things Cuomo is protecting for New Yorkers.

To Jibawi, the ideal of home and hearth (job security, health care, education, etc., as provided currently by the Palestinian Authority and the Oslo regime) must be superseded by the ideal of liberty, justice and equality for a people under occupation, who have escaped Israel’s genocide so far, but who continue to be dispossessed, brutally subjugated and oppressed by a vicious, powerful judeo-fascist entity and its allies.

Cuomo says,

“I don’t know when government became so political. It all became about rhetoric rather than actual competence, but it happened somewhere along the way that government could not handle the situation. People had to get engaged; people had to be informed and that’s the new thing I did. They got engaged because it mattered — this is not an abstract issue we are talking about people’s lives and people’s health and the health of their children.”

They’ll get engaged, because it matters. For both Palestinians and New Yorkers, these are not abstract issues. Far from it. In our case, all you have to do to realize the concreteness is to tune in to the daily news of thievery and savagery in their myriad forms the Israeli regime inflicts on the Palestinian people.

Many ask, if not the Palestinian Authority, if not the status quo of self-government for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, what then? My answer is this: First, hard as it is for many, we must find the will and steadfastness to effect an insurrection to continue the interrupted Palestinian revolution, returning to the political and community structures that sprang up to further the first intifada. We need a supreme manifestation of popular resistance against both the Palestinian Authority and Israel in all of occupied Palestine from the river to the sea with aid from Palestinians in exile.

Cuomo is right! “No government can impose any of these things … Stay in the house. Close every school. Close every bus. State government can’t enforce that. People had to understand the facts people had to engage in governing themselves in a way they hadn’t in decades … We are tough, smart, united, disciplined and loving” — even if our governments aren’t. We are samidoun.

Amen to that! Hallelujah!
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Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank.

All images in this article are from the author

Only three countries are in control of more than three quarters of the world’s diamond reserves globally. Data gathered and calculated by Learnbonds.com indicates that Russia, Congo, and Botswana combined account for at least 80.6% of the world diamond reserves.

Russia has the largest reserves at 650 million diamond carats, representing about 52% of the global capacity. Congo comes second with 150 million carats or 13% of the global tally while Botswana is third with reserves totaling 90 million carats in diamonds. In total, the global diamond reserves stand at about 1.1 billion million carats. South Africa and Australia also account for notable reserves at 54 and 39 million diamond carats. Other countries control reserves totaling to 120 million carats.

Our research has also overviewed diamond mine production by the end of 2019 where Russia occupied the top spot with an estimated 19 million carats in mining. Australia is in the second spot with 13 million carats followed by Congo at 12 million carats. Botswana, Zimbabwe, and South Africa produced six, three, and two million carats respectively. Other countries produced one million diamond carats.

A carat is a unit of measurement used to specify the weight of a diamond. ‘Carat’ is a diamond industry-unique term for the weight of a diamond stone. For example, one carat is equal to 200 milligrams, a 5-carat stone will then weigh 1 gram.

Global demand for diamonds to keep rising

The study acquired by Learnbonds editorial team shows that the buy and sell demand for diamonds is projected to keep rising in the coming years. By 2050, the demand is expected to be 292 million carats, representing a growth of 88.38% from 2018’s figure of 155 million diamond carats. By 2022, the global demand will stand at 178 million diamond carats.

Four years later, the demand is calculated to grow by 12.36% to 200 million carats. Notably, the demand for diamonds might surpass the 250 million carat mark by 2038 when the figure will stand at 250 million. In general, demand is expected to keep rising.

The demand for polished diamonds is mainly driven by two major factors including geopolitical and macroeconomic. These factors tend to increase or lower consumer confidence and thus affect the demand directly.

Additionally, the demand for diamonds has been impacted by conditions surrounding the mining. For example, diamonds from parts of Africa have been classified as ‘blood diamonds’ due to lack of environmental protection policies and the use of children in mining fields like in DR Congo.

Although production has declined in recent years due to constant political turmoil, DRC holds the potential for more diamond production. Over the years, DR Congo’s diamond mining has shifted from large scale to small scale with just a small area being explored.

It is worth noting that although Russia is the world’s largest producer of gem-quality diamonds based on carat weight. However, Botswana is the only country that has a higher production value. The South African country’s position can be linked to the quality of production which includes a high proportion of large, high-quality diamond mines. In most of the countries, diamond mining is done through the open pit system.

Diamond mining reserves depleting

Apart from mining, diamonds can also be produced in laboratories in the form of synthetic diamonds. The cost of these diamonds is at least 25% lower than the cost of natural diamonds for stones of similar size and quality. However, most consumers are still demanding “natural diamonds” because the supply of lab-created diamonds is relatively small.

For years, the highlighted countries have been leading the world by consistently producing over one million carats per year. In some countries, however, difficult mining conditions due to the remote location of mines has led to shut down of mining.

In general, production rates in mines globally have been slowing down, confirming that the natural diamonds are a finite resource and will eventually be depleted unless there are new discoveries. However, the depletion period is not known.

Miners are now turning to advanced technologies and underground mining techniques to extend the lifespan of some mines. With these technologies, some closed mines have begun operations again.

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Justin is an editor, writer, and a downhill fan. He spent many years writing about finances, blockchain, and crypto-related news. He strives to serve the untold stories for the readers.

All images and charts in this article are from LearnBonds

On January 9, 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) alerted authorities worldwide of a potential novel coronavirus outbreak. Three weeks of investigations and conferences later (January 30) WHO declared a global public health emergency. Regions which subsequently posted extraordinarily high Covid-19 (C-19) fatalities did not encounter notable domestic C-19 cases until mid-February. Their governments, therefore, had weeks to plan pandemic responses. Such plans required death certification protocols. 

The 10-city Boston-Newark Megalopolis spans 30,000 square kilometres along America’s northeast coast and hosts 36 million people. Ninety percent of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island citizens reside in this Megalopolis. The area’s transportation and energy infrastructures are well-integrated, as is its commercial realm. Politically, it’s effectively a one-party state.

Rhode Island’s Democratic Party has ruled for a half century. Currently, all statewide executive officers are Democrats including Governor Gina Raimondo. The Party holds super-majorities in the Senate (33/38) and House (66/75).

New York’s Democratic Party holds all statewide executive offices including the Governorship (Andrew Cuomo). They occupy 40 of 63 Senate seats and 106 of 150 Assembly seats. They have maintained an Assembly majority since 1974.

New Jersey’s Democratic State Committee enjoys comfortable majorities in Senate and Assembly. Governor Phil Murphy is Chair of the Democratic Governors Association. This wealthy former Goldman Sachs banker served as Finance Chair for the Democratic National Committee.

Connecticut’s Democratic State Central Committee controls Connecticut’s Senate (22/36) and House (91/151). Democratic Governor ‘Ned’ Lamont (grandson of J.P. Morgan CEO, Thomas Lamont) pours tens of millions from his own pocket into campaigns. CT Dems control all statewide executive offices.

Massachusetts’ Democratic Party is a black sheep for failing to retain the Governor’s office. Republican Charlie Baker won by a hair in 2014, then handily in 2018. Nevertheless, Baker faces veto-proof Democratic super-majorities in Senate and House.

Collectively, these 5 states have 10 US Senators. All are Democrats, most are prominent.

Third-term New York Senator Chuck Schumer (twice elected with a 70% vote) Chairs the Democratic Caucus. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is Caucus Vice-Chair.

Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed (elected with 70% of the vote) is Ranking Member on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

New Jersey’s Bob Menendez (formerly Union City’s Mayor) is Ranking Member, and former Chair, of the Senate Foreign Intelligence Committee. Jersey’s junior Senator, Corey Booker, served two terms as Newark’s Mayor.

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, one of the wealthiest senators, was Connecticut Attorney General for 20 years. He sits on the Commerce, Science and Technology Committee.

(Blumenthal, Warren, and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) adorn the Senate Committee on Aging. Warren and Gillibrand promote euthanasia. Not so sanguine is Blumenthal but some of his CT Dems have pushed euthanasia legislation since 2013. Massachusetts Dems placed a ‘Death with Dignity’ question on the 2012 ballot (defeated by a 1% margin). New York Dems sought to litigate a right to assisted-suicide until 2015 when they proposed a legislative route. New Jersey’s euthanasia law came into force August 1, 2019. Five Rhode Island Democrats co-introduced an assisted-suicide bill on January 30, 2020.)

Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut send only Democrats to the House of Representatives. Ten of 12 New Jersey Reps are Democrats as are 21 of New York’s 27 Reps. The Megalopolis’s Congressional legation includes Joe Kennedy III and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Nine of New York State’s 10 largest cities have Democratic mayors. Bill de Blasio won New York City’s mayoralty by a landslide; carrying 48 of 51 Councillors with him.

All 10 cities inside the Megalopolis have Democrat mayors. New Haven has had only Democrat mayors since 1954; Newark since 1953. Minus a forgotten three-year blip, Hartford has had Democrat mayors for 72 years. Boston mayors have been Democrats for 90 years straight.

State and municipal employees are hand-picked by Democratic Party functionaries. Where workforces are organized, unions support Democrats.

State and municipal governments play leading healthcare roles.

NYC Health + Hospitals is America’s largest public healthcare provider. Its insurance plan covers 500,000 New Yorkers including all NYC government employees. It also serves the city’s immense uninsured population and funds hundreds of clinics and home support organizations. NYC Health + Hospitals owns 11 acute care hospitals and 5 long-term care facilities. They treat 1.4 million patients annually on a budget of $10.5 billion.

New York State’s Department of Health employs another 4,700 doctors, nurses, and lab technicians etc.

Massachusetts’ Department of Public Health runs 4 multi-specialty hospitals and 24 bureaus with titles like: Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences, Preparedness and Emergency Management, and Registry of Vital Records and Statistics.

Boston’s Public Health Commission employs an additional 1,100 medical professionals.

New Jersey’s Department of Health enforces regulations onto 2,200 healthcare facilities (including 375 long-term care facilities) whilst delivering services related to: vital statistics, surveillance systems, aging and the uninsured.

Scores of Democrat-led activist groups representing doctors, nurses and patients agitate for expansions to public healthcare. Unions are particularly effective. The 42,000-member New York State Nursing Association brays about its legions of door-knockers and phone-callers who assist Democratic candidates during elections. SEIU’s 450,000-member Healthcare Workers East is militantly pro-Democrat.

The Boston-Newark Megalopolis’s medical complex is designed, funded and run by Democratic operatives. They oversee the coroners, medical examiners, attending physicians, nurse practitioners and statisticians comprising the Megalopolis’s death certification system.

This Megalopolis did not launch the C-19 deaths exaggeration crusade. The Lombards issued the pronunciamento on February 26. Madrid and France joined two weeks later; Belgium soon after.

Notable C-19 cases arrived in the Boston-Newark Megalopolis mid-February. Their first C-19 death came March 14. Over the next two weeks C-19 death reports popped-up across the area. By then New York reported over 1,000 deaths; New Jersey over 100. This period witnessed the rise of obvious efforts to write “Covid-19” onto as many death certificates as plausible. Results:

These 5 states (with 12% of America’s population) post 44,546 (55.2%) of America’s 80,789 C-19 deaths.

These 5 states’ combined population equals that of California’s (40 million). Having greater contact with Asia than the Northeast, California reported C-19 cases earlier. Now, California records only 2,717 C-19 deaths.

Utah, Nebraska, Arkansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, West Virginia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Maine, Hawaii, Alaska, Vermont and Tennessee collectively have a population of 40 million. They report 1,553 C-19 deaths; roughly half that of Connecticut.

Texas, population 28 million, reports 1,133 C-19 deaths.

The best explanation for these incredible discrepancies is that Boston-Newark Megalopolis’s death certification agencies are jacking-up their C-19 body-counts.

Some legerdemain is glaring. On April 14 New York City Health Commissioner added 3,778 C-19 deaths. These people had died in previous weeks, often at home. None were tested. In making this pronouncement the Commissioner described her marching orders as:

We are focussed on ensuring that every New Yorker who dies because of Covid-19 gets counted.

The number of “presumptive” C-19 deaths buried in the stats remains unknown, but looms large.

The main method of inflating C-19 fatalities is to insist, in every instance, that a positive test for C-19 warrants listing C-19 as a “cause of death.” This illogic also applies to presumed (untested) cases.

New York funeral directors express dismay at the cavalier writing of “Covid-19” on death certificates.

Between March 7 and 10 all five Governors declared “states of emergencies.” The next two weeks saw a ratcheting up of curfews and closures culminating in sweeping lockdowns decreed firstly (March 20) by Governor Cuomo and lastly by Governor Raimondo (March 28). Certain mayors, notably Boston’s Marty Walsh and Providence’s Jorge Elorza, pushed ahead of their Governors.

The hand that signs death certificates also signs: stay-at-home orders, bans on public assembly, postponements of elections, mobilizations of National Guards, and socially-transformative fiscal deficits.

The Megalopolis’s Democratic Parties exploit this manufactured crisis to ram through unpopular policies and to further cement themselves into power.

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Sources

https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/27-04-2020-who-timeline—covid-19

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-14/nyc-adds-3-700-to-death-toll-to-count-victims-not-hospitalized

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/

https://www.projectveritas.com/video/funeral-directors-in-covid-19-epicenter-doubt-legitimacy-of-deaths/

https://www.nychealthandhospitals.org/

https://www.nj.gov/health/me/

https://www.mass.gov/orgs/department-of-public-health

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As coronavirus has spread rapidly among meat plants across the country, it’s not just the workers that are getting infected. Many people have strongly criticized the industry’s response for waiting too long to implement safety precautions and close processing plants as thousands have tested positive for coronavirus and at least 20 workers have died. But the inspectors checking these facilities and their products are not immune to the virus either. 

FSIS inspectors are classified as essential workers, so they have continued to travel to monitor these facilities. But as the plants become coronavirus hot spots, reports have shown the inspectors haven’t been able to protect themselves adequately.

A FSIS inspector interviewed in Government Executive said moving inspectors exposed to an outbreak at one plant to another location isn’t safe because they could then be coronavirus carriers and further the spread.

Last month, Politico reported many of the inspectors were expected to find their own protective gear since USDA wasn’t able to secure face masks for all of its workers. In April, USDA said it would give a $50 reimbursement for inspectors to find their own, according to Politico. But now the department says it has enough masks.

Since more than 300 inspectors have either tested positive or self quarantined, that can make it challenging to inspect every plant. Recent closures, however, could make that easier. More than 20 meatpacking plants, including facilities run by Tyson Foods, JBS USA, Smithfield Foods and Cargill​, have closed temporarily or indefinitely following pressure from local authorities and their own workforce. But as plants start to reopen, the smaller FSIS workforce could weigh on meat processors.

Two weeks ago, President Donald Trump signed an executive order declaring meat plants as “critical infrastructure” using the Defense Production Act to keep these facilities open and help prevent shortages. But as plants reopen, inspectors will need to travel to them and there is still risk of the virus continuing to spread.

The new executive order puts USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue in charge of coordinating with companies to reopen or continue operations during the pandemic. Perdue previously said he anticipated plants would reopen in “days not weeks.” Already, a major beef and pork plant for Tyson reopened with limited production last week after nearly 900 of its workers tested positive. A Smithfield plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where hundreds contracted the virus, also reopened with limited staff last week.

Several labor groups have criticized the USDA, asking if it can’t protect its own employees from the virus, how can it protect workers? ​”The health and safety of federal inspectors and plant workers is in the hands of an industry that the administration is now pressuring to stay open, no matter the costs,” Paula Schelling, acting president of the American Federation of Government Employees Council 45, which represents 6,500 federal food inspectors, said in a release.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Occupational Safety and Health Administration created guidelines calling for distancing and other safety measures, there are no requirements forcing companies to reconfigure facilities. And if inspectors continue to catch the virus traveling from plant to plant, they could risk spreading it themselves, or if even more get sick, then there may not be enough inspectors to properly check each facility. It’s just the latest hurdle to challenge the meat industry hit hard during the recent pandemic.

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Selected Articles: COVID-19: An Ocean of Fears and Lies

May 13th, 2020 by Global Research News

Return of the Brown Shirts? US Federal and State Governments to Hire Contact Tracers to ‘Hunt Down New Covid-19 Cases

By Timothy Alexander Guzman, May 13, 2020

The US federal and state governments are now hiring “Contact Tracers” to track those who are infected with the Coronavirus. The Daily Beast, a liberal online news site claims that in order to reopen businesses and institutions, the government needs to hire thousands of Contact Tracers, the article ‘Contact Tracing Is Vital to Reopening the Country. These States Are Recruiting Thousands’ calls for a mass hiring of Contact Tracers since “health experts are pressing more than ever the need for contact tracing”the article claims that “It’s a tool that proved effective in past epidemics like SARS and Ebola, and it’s regarded as essential to safely reopening the country with the looming threat of higher surges in cases.” Currently, there are around 2,000 contact tracers or disease detectives, but they are estimating that the US workforce will need between 100,000 to 300,000 contact tracers, and that is just the beginning.

Why China’s President Xi Won’t Repeat Ming Dynasty Mistakes

By Pepe Escobar, May 13, 2020

With hybrid warfare 2.0 against China reaching fever pitch, the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative, will continue to be demonized 24/7 as the proverbial evil communist plot for economic and geopolitical domination of the “free” world, boosted by a sinister disinformation campaign.

It’s idle to discuss with simpletons. In the interest of an informed debate, what matters is to find the deeper roots of Beijing’s strategy – what the Chinese learned from their own rich history and how they are applying these lessons as a re-emerging major power in the young 21st century.

Holding Healthcare Hostage: The Making of a Ventilator Crisis

By Tony Cartalucci, May 13, 2020

When coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) began dominating headlines, it was accompanied by fears of potential shortages of critical medical equipment including personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators.

Nations like Russia had large stockpiles of affordable ventilators on hand – so many that they were able to send them overseas to nations at risk of shortages.

Fifty Years Ago: The Lessons of Kent State. Open Fire on Unarmed Student Anti-War Protesters

By Donald Monaco, May 13, 2020

May 4, 2020 was the 50th anniversary of the Kent State University massacre that saw Ohio National Guardsmen open fire on a group of unarmed student anti-war protestors killing 4 and injuring 9 on campus.  Not satisfied with the carnage, police forces killed 2 black students and injured 12 others at Jackson State University in Mississippi on May 15, 1970.  On two spring days in May the veil of democracy was momentarily discarded to expose the ugly face of state terror revealing its murderous intent.  The revelation uncovered a brutal reality.  The American ruling class will execute its own youth to preserve oligarchic power.

A Close Look at Efforts of Pro-NATO Propaganda Units Behind the Scenes of South Front Censorship

By South Front, May 13, 2020

On May 5th, the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab), published a new piece designed to label SouthFront as official Russian propaganda. (LINK) The article employs a twisted, yet sophisticated, style of mixing words, pictures and public facts in order to support the Atlantic Council’s agenda. It largely attempts to build an association between SouthFront and News Front, and in so doing, relies heavily, if not entirely on guilt by association, to label SouthFront as official Russian propaganda. Throughout its report, the DFRLab fails to provide a single example of any association between the two entities, providing zero evidence.

COVID-19: An Ocean of Fears and Lies

By Dr. Pascal Sacré, May 13, 2020

In countries where prescriptions have been banned outside hospitals, such as in France and Belgium, some field doctors have “disobeyed” and done what they thought was right, with good results and without major side effects.

Just imagine!

Qualified, experienced doctors, normally responsible and free to prescribe, prohibited from doing their job!

Face Masks Pose Serious Risks to the Healthy

By Dr. Russell Blaylock, May 12, 2020

Researchers found that about a third of the workers developed headaches with use of the mask, most had preexisting headaches that were worsened by the mask wearing, and 60% required pain medications for relief. As to the cause of the headaches, while straps and pressure from the mask could be causative, the bulk of the evidence points toward hypoxia and/or hypercapnia as the cause. That is, a reduction in blood oxygenation (hypoxia) or an elevation in blood C02 (hypercapnia).


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“Beloved Ghana, born with a deep sense of pride, nurtured with unshakeable courage, has said goodbye forever to reaction, to timidity and hypocrisy in Government, and to the suppression of the interests and welfare of the people. Together we shall make Ghana great. Long live the revolution. Long live Ghana. May God bless us all.” – Colonel Ignatius Acheampong speaking at a Durbar of Chiefs in August 1972.

Ignatius Acheampong, the one-time military ruler of Ghana occupies an unenviable position in the political history of the first Black African nation to have been granted independence by a colonial power. Deposed first in a palace coup by his colleagues, who stripped him of his rank and honours, he was later executed by firing squad after a perfunctory trial held by junior members of the armed forces whose violent uprising was in many ways a reflection of the groundswell of public anger at the parlous state Ghana found itself during the 1970s. It was a state of affairs for which many of his countrymen blamed him. Acheampong was held responsible for the acute economic problems that beset the nation, including shortages of basic necessities, a debilitating brain drain and endemic corruption. It was a far cry from the heady days at the beginning of his leadership when he projected a spirit of optimism and a sense of purpose grounded on firm ideas about how to create the conditions by which Ghana could eventually become economically self-sufficient. It is this neglected aspect of Acheampong’s rule that requires recapitulation and reappraisal. For it reveals a man with a clear vision about how a post-colonial African nation could be transformed, but who was hindered not only by extraneous economic events such as the oil crisis of 1973, but primarily by an inability to properly select and synthesize the appropriate ideas that could have enabled him to achieve this objective. Examining the political career of Acheampong also necessarily reveals certain constant features that have continually bedevilled Africa states and impeded their development: the inter-ethnic rivalries, the ineffectual post-colonial structures of governance, as well as a pervasive inclination to submit to tyranny. A visionary who succumbed to the temptations inherent to the wielding of untrammelled power; the tragedy of Ignatius Acheampong encapsulates the tragedy of the African continent.

Ignatius Kutu Acheampong was born in 1931 in Trabuom, a town in the Ashanti Region of British-ruled Gold Coast which came to be known as the nation of Ghana after it secured its independence in 1957. Raised in the Roman Catholic faith, Acheampong worked, among other things, as a stenographer before enlisting as a private in the British colonial army in 1951. He received officer-training at Aldershot in England and was commissioned into the Ghana Army as a Second Lieutenant in 1959. He was a member of the contingent of Ghanaian troops who served as part of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in the Congo in the early 1960s and later during the period of military rule that followed the overthrow of the government of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, and as a lieutenant colonel, Acheampong was appointed to serve as the Chairman for the Western Regional Committee of Administration. He was the Commanding Officer of the First Infantry Brigade at the time of the coup that led to the ousting of Dr. Kofi Busia on January 13th 1972.

Acheampong’s bloodless coup brought about the suspension of the 1969 Constitution, the proscribing of political parties and political activity, as well as the detention of those whom he suspected of threatening his government, a junta which he called the National Redemption Council (NRC).

He consolidated his power and was quick to notify his countrymen and the world that his coming to power was nothing short of a revolution. Indeed, he would declare that “ours is a Revolution that must achieve the permanent transformation of our nation”. He would from the start reveal a programme of national development which owed more than a passing reference to the ideology and nationalist sentiment of the Nkrumah era. He spoke of “the dignity of man, equal opportunities for all, (and) the equitable distribution of our resources.”

It is useful however, to explain why a man who was not trained to manage a national economy and who came to power by force should be deserving of a serious examination as a political agent. Writing in 1976, Samuel Decalo in Coups and Army Rule in Africasaw “nothing unique about the abilities or characteristics of ‘colonels in command cars’ that should incline us to expect them to hurdle the universal obstacles in the road to … political development.”

Yet, some of those who pour scorn over the idea of a military leader with a vision may not persist with their objection where the regime led by Capitaine Thomas Sankara, the widely revered Marxist-Pan-Africanist leader of Burkina Faso is concerned. Fidel Castro, a paragon of the political left, seized power by force of arms on the island of Cuba. And despite the murderous nature of his right-wing regime, a sizable segment of Chilean society consider General Augusto Pinochet’s overthrow of Salvador Allende to have saved his country from civil war, as well as preventing it becoming, from their perspective, a “pit of Marxist Misery”.

The armed forces of certain nations have spearheaded ideological movements which its adherents have considered were either socially progressive in objectives or as defining the elemental conditions for propelling the national destiny. In Japan, for instance, the ‘Imperial Way’ faction or Kodo-ha contended with the ‘Control Group’ or Tosei-ha for influence in government during the 1930s, while in Bolivia, the ‘Revolutionary Nationalism’ championed by General Alfredo Ovando reflected a reformist belief on the part of many military officers who felt that the military was better placed than the politicians to arrest the underdevelopment of the nation.

From the vantage point of time, the idea of a military government is correctly viewed with abhorrence. And during an era of many military regimes, some military men spoke out against the trend including the Chilean martyr General Rene Schneider who at a General Staff meeting on July 23rd 1970 enunciated his doctrine of the political neutrality of the Chilean Armed Forces by saying:

The armed forces are not a road to political power nor an alternative to that power. They exist to guarantee the regular work of the political system and the use of force for any other purpose than its defence constitute high treason.

So while any endeavour aimed at explaining the virtues of a man who seized power from a constitutionally elected government may understandably be treated with suspicion, if not with outright contempt, it is worth reminding why military regimes where at one point in time thought of as being capable of forming a viable form of political administration. This rationale was based on the genuinely held belief that the military ethos of discipline, prompt execution of duties and strenuously inculcated nationalist sentiment all combined to provide the framework through which the decision-making process could be much quicker and the implementation of policies more efficient that under the often chaotic and fractious conditions of post-independence Africa’s civilian governments.

Decisions would be made in the national interest by disciplined, highly-motivated and detribalised members of the armed forces. The sense that military governments could work in Africa also rested on the belief that democracy did not work in the artificially constructed nations where tribal sentiment often held sway. In contrast, the authoritarian culture of the military could, it was felt, harness the resources of the nation and efficiently mobilise the population. It was after all an authoritarian regime in Stalinist Russia which had succeeded in industrialising Russia within a generation.

The suitability and the ability of a military government involved in implementing national revival and indoctrinating a population could be seen in the administrations imposed by the Western Allies on conquered nations such as Germany and Japan. There, military governors such as US Army General Lucius Clay in Allied occupied Germany (later West Germany) and US Army General Douglas MacArthur in Japan were concerned with national reconstruction, running local economies, trying war criminals and re-tuning the minds of people who had been from the Allied perspective, “brainwashed” by the pernicious ideologies of Nazism and Emperor Worship. It could then stand to reason that a similar feat could be achieved in positively engineering post-colonial African societies. Thus, there were possibilities of military governance working in Africa, if the human and institutional elements were able to be merged with a central unifying idea.

Certainly, Acheampong’s inaugural press conference given a few days after he seized power explicitly alluded to the idea that military rule, with the assistance of “certain eminent civilian advisers”, was uniquely suited to stamping out what he described as “the malpractices which existed before the 1966 coup.” He said:

In simple terms, we are almost like a nation at war, without an external enemy. The National Redemption Council (has) therefore decided to place the economy of Ghana on a war footing. We are soldiers, who know one way of dealing with crisis situations, and that is action. I want to assure the nation that we shall spare no effort and no sacrifice will be too great for us in this gigantic task of winning a great economic war.

But Acheampong’s objective at the outset of his leadership went further than merely rescuing and stabilising a dysfunctional economy: it addressed the fundamental task of constructing the conditions in which Ghana could eventually become economically self-sufficient. A few months after taking power he assessed the situation thus:

Ghana is basically an agricultural country, but over the years we have been relying on foreign aid as far as food is concerned. And not only that: we rely more on foreign assistance so far as raw materials (is concerned). So we have decided that we must be self-reliant in this respect. We must produce the food we eat; we must produce the raw materials we need for the factories.

That he tried to live up to his words is evidenced by the policies he sought to implement in the spheres of food production, the manufacture of cloth, the development of light industry, energy, infrastructure, as well as the economic empowerment of Ghanaians in relation to the multinational corporations based in the country. He was also mindful of the part to be played in melding these facets together by creating an educated and technically proficient workforce who would need to be sufficiently infused with a spirit of patriotism.

And what is more, Acheampong appeared to have been keenly conscious of a key obstacle purposely designed to keep the economies of the developing world in a persistent state of dependency: the creation of indebtedness. He therefore sought to renounce the debts accrued by the Busia government -which he claimed were incurred through “corruption”- and he also denounced the Bretton Woods organisations responsible for imposing debt on ‘Third World’ economies.

A recapitulation of the projects pursuant to creating the conditions for self-reliance is warranted. The irony of importing large quantities of food was evidently not lost on Acheampong or anyone who bothered to survey Ghana’s abundant resources in quality agricultural land, as indeed was the absurdity of Ghanaians having to purchase imported canned fish of what was caught off Ghana’s own shores. Acheampong’s response, his green revolution dubbed “Operation Feed Yourself”, proved a success. The Agricultural Development Bank, which had been created by the Nkrumah government, was encouraged to support the revolution and the government made sure that farming equipment was made duty free. It also set up a transport task force to move produce from farms to the regional centres. By the end of the year of his coming to power, Ghana had achieved food sufficiency and in 1973 and 1974, Ghana was a net exporter of rice.

Ignatius Kutu Acheampong - Wikipedia

Then there was the manufacturing of cloth; another essential indicator of national self-sufficiency. The Acheampong government set up a sister project to Operation Feed Yourself named the “Operation Feed Your Industries”. This involved the Cotton Development Board supplying Ghana’s textile industries with cotton. The result was that some industries began the manufacture of items such as towels and underwear. This fed into the goal of developing light industry; a difficult task under Acheampong’s policy of Yentua (the renunciation of foreign debt), which made capitalisation from overseas extremely difficult, but one nonetheless which claimed a measure of success through for instance, the maintenance of sugar factories at Asutware and Komenda as well as the Bonsa Tyre Factory which supplied tyres for road transport, farming and construction. Vehicle assembly plants were established and there were even indigenous creations of vehicles known as the Boafo and the Adom.

Acheampong tried to build upon Nkrumah’s Volta Region Project by initiating the building of the Kpong Dam and mulled over resuscitating the Atomic Energy Commission. He also promoted the idea of economic empowerment through the acquisition by the Ghanaian state of 51 percent of shares in some multinational companies which were taken up by Ghanaian citizens.

Striving for self-reliance requires a workforce that is adequately educated and it was under the Acheampong government that the most far-reaching policy statement on the structure and objectives of pre-university education was made. The Dzobo Committee on Educational Reform recommended the implementation of the Junior Secondary School (JSS) concept through which young people could receive vocational training. The regime started with a pilot of ten schools which were called “the continuation school”. Students were also mobilised to become involved in community projects such as the construction of irrigation canals and the harvesting of crops. And the objective of providing shelter for the masses was not neglected: Housing projects were boosted under the auspices of the State Housing Corporation, the Tema Development Corporation and certain regional development corporations which built over 2000 housing units annually. Home ownership was prioritised and organisations were encouraged to set up housing loan schemes for their staff as was done in regard to the Armed Forces and Civil Service. Finally, the regime, which trumpeted a slogan “One nation, One People, One Destiny”, tried to foster an atmosphere of patriotic feeling by introducing the National Pledge.

But Acheampong knew that his goal of securing Ghana’s economic emancipation could not be achieved while the nation was saddled with debt; debts which he alleged were “tainted with corruption”. He defiantly issued a pledge not to pay for those debts that had been contracted in bad faith which he encapsulated in the Twi word Yentua i.e. “We will not pay”. He based this on the rationale of Kafo Didi (“the debtor too must eat”).

It was a high risk policy to defy the Western banks and corporations, as it would mean that Ghana would not be able to attract foreign investors. And self-sufficiency would have to be achieved by means which would be similar to the hugely resented austerity measures imposed by the Busia government. The deeply ingrained habit of preferring foreign-produced goods to those that came with the “Made in Ghana” label -derisively referred to as “Made in Here”- would have to be changed; something that William Raspberry, an African-American syndicated columnist of the Washington Post thought would require “major re-education and psychological readjustment”. But Acheampong clearly believed that Ghanaians would have to accept any hardships attendant to such readjustment. His position was that Ghanaians, who he claimed were “living in false glory”, had to wean themselves off their self-inflicted dependencies. Ghana had to stop importing items for its basic sustenance. Going without would, he calculated, breed an urge to provide for themselves, and in providing for themselves the resultant enforced self reliance would serve as a boost to national pride. In his words:

If someone is living in this false glory and you try to remove him, he will try to capitalise on any hardship … There is no hardship as such. Ghanaians can do without corned-beef. They can do without sardines which we are subsidising.

There were some dividends. Apart from the aforementioned successes in food production and light manufacturing, Acheampong’s regime managed to turn around a trade deficit of US$56 million in 1971 to a trade surplus of US$204 million in 1973. The slashing of imports clearly played a major role in reversing the foreign exchange deficit inherited from Busia. The use of military men in settling state accounts, albeit in crude fashion yielded success. Soldiers were sent on debt-collecting missions while armed with lists of those in arrears in payment of power supply and rates. More than 30% of the government’s bad debts were cleared up under a “pay up or go to barracks” ultimatum. Those defaulters who were sent to the barracks were subjected to two hours of drills conducted under the gaze of a sergeant-major. The health of the economy was also aided by a clampdown on custom evasion and smuggling across Ghana’s borders, most notably with that of the Ivory Coast.

But these gains were short-lived. The oil crisis brought about by the Arab embargo against those nations perceived as having supported the State of Israel during the Yom Kippur War of 1973 certainly played a part in disrupting Acheampong’s brave new world.

Writing a special report for the New York Times in December 1973, Kathleen Teltsch’s “Oil Crisis Could Halt Poor Nations Growth” explained how countries such as Ghana were likely to be confronted by a threefold loss. First, they would have to pay more for the petroleum products they needed for industry and agriculture. Secondly, the expected recession in the industrialised world would result in huge cutbacks on the prices they had been able to get for exported commodities such as cocoa. And thirdly, there would be an expected cut back in regard to developmental assistance to poorer countries.

As with other countries, the extraordinary increase in oil prices had a negative impact on economic growth for Ghana. Indeed, 1973 saw the beginning of a decade-long per capita decline in GDP at an average of 3%. Industrial output declined and the budget deficit increased. Acheampong’s solution was to print more money leading to an inflationary rate of 116.4 percent by 1977. He also stubbornly refused to adjust the domestic price of petroleum products to reflect the increase in the world price of crude oil. Instead, he opted to absorb the increases in the price of crude oil through the mechanism of subsidies rather than passing the cost to the consumer. Additionally, the price of cocoa on which Ghana relied for foreign currency earnings remained as volatile as ever.

Acheampong may have felt trapped in a cul-de-sac. His stance on the non-payment of debts earned him the same level of derision the likes of the American conservative commentator William F. Buckley reserved for the Chilean leftist leader Salvador Allende. His syndicated column of April 1973, accused Acheampong of finding a groundless excuse for not paying his country’s debts. And like Allende, Acheampong committed the cardinal sin of nationalising over half of Ghana’s foreign-owned gold, diamond and timber operations. With undisguised contempt, Buckley wrote:

But suddenly things began to happen to Ghana. Credit dried up -completely. Forced to pay cash for its imports, Ghana’s prices skyrocketed. In no time at all, Acheampong was crawling back to the creditors, suggesting a modification of his previous boisterous, carefree solution to his country’s economic problems, which was to steal from foreigners.

There were already signs that Acheampong had capitulated in other areas including that related to the moral sphere. His indictment of the Busia government for what he termed its “hypocrisy” and the “huge fortunes” amassed abroad began to ring hollow as reports of nepotism and corruption within his military regime began to filter out.

There were allegations that Acheampong, in league with his Commissioner for Industry, was depositing foreign currency into a Nigerian bank. A report by the New York Times in July 1979, the month after his execution along with other senior officers who had served in his regime for “using their positions to amass wealth while in office and recklessly dissipating state funds to the detriment of the country”, described the seven years of military rule as “to have been among the most corrupt in modern-day Africa”. It was claimed that two-thirds of the licenses needed to deal in foreign exchange were issued through Acheampong’s office rather than the Bank of Ghana. He reportedly received a kick-back of at least 10 percent on major transactions.

Among the nepotistic appointments made by Acheampong were the appointment of a cousin of his as the head of the Ghana Supply Commission; this notwithstanding the man’s earlier dismissal for mishandling bank funds during a previous appointment. Another cousin was appointed head the Electricity and Sewerage Control Commissions, while an uncle, an Ashanti chieftain turned businessman, had been extended government credit to the tune of 7 million Cedis. The military kleptocracy at which Acheampong stood at the head permitted a culture of fraud and corruption which in the popular language of the day came to be known as Kalabule. The “big men” in power wielded power to acquire wealth and dispense patronage including those related to the rendering sexual favours. Thus the regime, if not Acheampong himself, who was rumoured to have many mistresses, received the nickname Fa Woto Begye Golf meaning “bring your backside for a golf”, a term inspired by the habit of government officials giving Volkswagen Golf cars to their concubines.

By the mid-1970s when Acheampong had dissolved the NRC and revamped the junta under the aegis of what was named the Supreme Military Council (SMC), he appeared to have run out of ideas about how to arrest the desperate economic situation which had engulfed the country. There were shortages of basic commodities in markets and stores, and smuggling was rife. Many educated Ghanaians fled abroad to secure employment particularly in Nigeria which was experiencing an economic upsurge owing to the increased revenues from the exploitation of crude oil. That his government could launch a national essay writing competition seeking suggestions as to how the economy improved only confirmed its level of incompetence. And Acheampong’s decision in 1977 to declare a “Week of National Repentance” from June 27th to July 3rd during which Ghanaians would repent before God and pray for the revival of the economy only confirmed the view that he had become out of touch with reality and even delusional.

The proposal by Acheampong of what he termed “Union Government” (UNIGOV) in October 1976 was his last major political initiative. This was a form of multilateral state governance that Acheampong envisaged would dispense with the acrimony and rancour that had accompanied multi-party politics in Ghana. He may have been impressed by the diarchy of military-civil rule as developed under the rule of his Egyptian contemporary, Anwar Sadat. There the mixed economy model allowed for a free market alongside a state monopoly of heavy industry with control over imports and the financial speculation market. Interestingly, Acheampong’s proposals did not attempt to include any elements of the methods by which Ghana’s pre-colonial feudal-organised kingdoms operated. For instance, Colonel Richard Ratsimandrava, a short-lived military ruler of the Malagasy Republic, had as a Minister of the Interior pioneered a concept of governance based on the traditional system of Fokon’olona that aimed to unify the diverse political movements whose differences had led to outbreaks of violence.

But in this coming together of the “estates” of military, police and civilian components, most saw an attempt by Acheampong to preserve his power and avoid setting Ghana on a path to democratic civilian rule. UNIGOV, or Nkabom Aban was met with widespread opposition from professional associations such as the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) and student groups. In 1976, the GBA called on the Acheampong regime to take immediate steps to return the country to civilian rule. And the following year, the National Union of Ghana Students organized demonstrations at the University of Ghana, the University of Cape Coast and the University of Science and Technology to call for the resignation of General Acheampong. He refused and closed down each university on May 13th 1977.

Opposition to UNIGOV also came from Lt. General Akwasi Afrifa, the retired soldier who had handed power to Kofi Busia in 1969, and the man whom Acheampong had arrested and detained in January 1972 on the grounds that Afrifa had been plotting a counter-coup designed to restore Busia. In a letter dated December 18th 1977, Afrifa advised his former colleague that “the political forces militating against it are too strong.” Acheampong went ahead with a referendum for UNIGOV on March 30th 1978. He secured a victory for the proposal with 55% of the claimed 1,983,678 votes cast (less than 24% of the registered voters), but the figures were almost certainly manipulated. Further, the margin of approval was far from the overwhelming endorsement envisaged by the regime.

It was the final straw for those of his colleagues who could see only a wall in front of them. On July 5th, a palace coup initiated by several senior military commanders forced Acheampong to resign. At the beginning of May 1979, the new Supreme Military Council, by virtue of the Armed Forces (Miscellaneous Provisions) Decree, stripped him of his rank, all honours he had acquired during his tenure in office, as well as his entitlement to retirement benefits. After specifying that Acheampong would be subject to a sentence not exceeding 5 years imprisonment without the option of a fine if he entered “any military barracks, camp, establishment or installation”, the decree went on to set out a exhaustive list of economic, administrative and other forms of personal misconduct “against the state and the people of Ghana”.

The decree also confined him to Trabuom, his home village.

Although his successor Lt. General Frederick Akuffo made arrangements for a return to civilian rule, the continuing economic malaise and discontent felt in all parts of Ghanaian society came to a head in the early part of June 1979 when an uprising by junior ranks of the armed forces seized power. A new leader named Jerry Rawlings, a half-Scottish air force flight lieutenant who had been sprung from a prison cell where he had been ensconced since leading an abortive coup a few weeks earlier, was installed as the leader of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC). The AFRC immediately made clear its intention to hold to account those it considered responsible for Ghana’s economic woes and proceeded with what it described as a ‘House Cleaning’ operation. Acheampong and a number of other high-ranking military officials including two former Heads of State, Lt. General Akuffo and Lt. General Akwasi Afrifa, were apprehended and placed in detention.

During his detention, Acheampong was interrogated about his activities while in power. Then on Wednesday, June 13th he was allowed to give a press conference in Accra. The reason for this, a spokesman for the AFRC explained, was not to afford Acheampong the “opportunity to exonerate himself from the allegations made against him”, rather, it was to openly demonstrate to all, particularly to former high-placed government officials, that Acheampong in his statements to his interrogators had been “persistently shifting blame away from himself to other people” in a bid to “save his own skin”.  The AFRC’s statement ended on an ominous note:

The Council wishes to assure the public that Mr. Acheampong’s professed support for the objectives of the revolution will not deter the Council pursuing relentlessly, its stated aim of punishing severely, the selfish pillage of the nation’s wealth by past regimes.

Acheampong was treated to a last dinner of fufu brought to him by his 25-year-old daughter Elizabeth. His last words to her were “Tell everybody I was a good man and pray for me.”  The next morning, Acheampong and E.K. Utuka, the major general who had served as the Commander of the Border Guards, were driven to an Anglican Church situated in Camp Burma, the seat of power for successive Ghanaian military governments. Both men prayed for a short period before being taken to the firing range in Teshie that was to serve as the place of execution. Captain Budu Koomson who had been charged with transporting both men recalled Acheampong’s quiet demeanour in contrast to Utuka who kept repeating that he had not received a trial.

What Acheampong’s final thoughts were as he contemplated his life coming to an end are anyone’s guess. But his mind doubtlessly at some point then or at some other time after the AFRC takeover must have tread back to the contents of the letter written to him by Afrifa in December 1977. In it, Afrifa had warned Acheampong about “the vengeance that is about to be unleashed on us.” He had been concerned about the growing public revulsion at the conduct of the military and the threats from Nkrumaists to exact revenge after a return to civilian government. At one point Afrifa wrote: “In order to discourage the military from staging coups in the future, how about if they line all of us up and shoot us one by one?”

Afrifa, along with Akuffo and four others, would be executed ten days later.

When the car arrived at the range, the execution stakes were still being prepared, so Koomson drove them to the nearby military academy and returned when the site was ready. Acheampong waved his ever present white handkerchief at the onlooking crowd. He took off his watch and handed it to a soldier. Koomson then placed a hood over his head and saluted him one final time before the firing squad took aim and obeyed the command to “fire”.

What then is the legacy of this former military Head of State whose mortal remains lay in a makeshift wooden coffin for over two decades at a cemetery reserved for common criminals? Today, the discourse on Acheampong among his countrymen often recalls a corrupt and incompetent leader who inexorably manoeuvred his country to disaster. The man whose time in power brought about the entrenchment of Kalabule culture and economic atrophy. His execution is also alternately remembered as a case of just retribution for the magnitude of his failings as a leader on the one hand, or as a gross injustice perpetrated by those infused with a mob mentality on the other.

Those who assert that Acheampong paid the price for the commission of treason by virtue of his supplanting a democratically elected government point to the Ghanaian Criminal Code of 1960 which expressly made the overthrow of a constitutionally elected government a criminal offence subject to capital punishment. Furthermore, the establishment by Acheampong of the NRC and the SMC facilitated the creation of   ‘illegal’ regimes through which participants were incriminated by virtue of the Armed Forces Act of 1962, as well as the Superior Order Rule attendant to the Armed Forces regulation. Major Kofi Boakye-Gyan, the spokesman for the AFRC, insisted at the National Reconciliation Hearings in the early 2000s that this had been brought to the attention of his colleagues after consulting figures such as Colonel Peter Ageko, the head of the Armed Forces Legal Services Directorate; Justice Mills Odoi, the Advocate-General of the Armed Forces; and Justice Austin Amissah, an eminent jurist.

Others are not convinced, pointing out that Acheampong and other senior officers were not properly tried given the absence of any semblance of natural justice. There are also allegations that the executions were tribally motivated; that Akan officers, most notably the former Heads of State Acheampong, Afrifa and Akuffo were specifically targeted. Others dispute this by pointing out that the executed came from different ethnic backgrounds.

But it is worth noting that the army has been the centre of ethnic tensions which have only reflected the fears and grievances related to tribal affiliations in the wider society. And with the advent of the military into politics in 1966 there is much evidence of how ethically motivated manoeuvrings were undertaken. This has often centred on the rivalry between the Akan (including the Ashanti) and Ewe ethnic groups, the latter of which, together with the Ga) dominated Ghana’s army at the time of independence. When Colonel Emmanuel Kotoka, an Ewe, led the coup which overthrew Kwame Nkrumah in 1966, there followed a junta with a preponderance of Ewes. But this began to lessen after Kotoka’s assassination the following year during an abortive coup led by the subalterns Samuel Arthur and Moses Yeboah. The death of Kotoka and two other soldiers of Ewe ethnicity raised tensions between Ewe and Akan soldiers because of the preponderance of Akan military personnel who took part in the putsch and the fact that three of the four fatalities during the operation were Ewe.

If there is any truth to Samuel E. Finer’s maxim that “military leadership always tries to control the political product of any successor regime they establish”, then this was clearly exhibited by the manner in which Afrifa did all that he could to smoothen the path of his fellow-Ashanti Kofi Busia in the run-up to the 1969 elections during which time he arranged the removal of Ewe policemen from areas where it was felt they could threaten Busia’s campaign. At the same time, he arranged for Akan army officers to replace Ewe ones stationed at strategic army commands. This policy of ethnic manipulation continued during Busia’s time in office when Lt. Colonel Ignatius Acheampong, an Ashanti, was deployed to a series of strategically important positions of commands, the last from which he launched his coup. Busia’s purges, it should be noted, extended to positions in the civil service where mass dismissals disproportionately affected Ewes and Gas.

Although Ewe domination of the military had been largely eroded by the time of Acheampong’s putsch (only one Ewe was in a senior army position at the end of 1971), his action received critical support from two army majors of Ewe origin, namely Anthony Selormey and Kodzo Agbo. But both men were removed from the NRC by Acheampong who apparently succumbed to the perennial Akan fear regarding Ewe aspirations to political hegemony. It meant in effect that he was perpetuating the sort of marginalisation that had been practised by Afrifa and Busia. Indeed, Acheampong had accused Busia of increasing ethnic factionalism in the Ghanaian Army which if unchecked, he believed, would mirror the tragic consequences of the Hausa-Igbo rivalry in the Nigerian Army:

I watched the seed of tribal conflict being slowly sown by the actions of the Busia regime and with the blood of millions of our Nigerian brothers to warn us. I acted to nip the threat in the bud.

This is the context in which those who brandish the argument that the half-Ewe Rawlings was the instrument of Ewe vengeance when Acheampong and his Akan kinsmen were executed have to contend with. In any case the executions, which would have been extended but for international protests including an oil embargo imposed by the Nigerian military regime, met with a good deal of public approval. The crowds at the execution sites had jeered at the prisoners and encouraged the executioners by yelling “Action! Action! Finish them all!” Away from the baying-for-blood, proletarian crowds, the executions were endorsed by a range of media and public organisations. For instance, the June 24th editorial of the Catholic Standard, which was entitled “The Great Lesson”, approved of the first round of executions which included Acheampong by noting that it was “a means of instilling discipline and justice” in the country.

The lessons to learn from the tragedy of General Ignatius Acheampong invite not only an analysis of historical ethnic rivalries in the Ghanaian military and society, they also warrant an appraisal of the nature and objectives of African leadership, the forms of governance that are chosen, as well as the reaction of people to the manner in which they are governed.

An appraisal of any leader including a military ruler such as Ignatius Acheampong has to necessarily scrutinise the ideas which informed the man. Acheampong was not an intellectual by any stretch of the imagination. But his words after he came to power and his initial policies did present a tangible vision of what he perceived Ghana should become.

Several of his military-ruler contemporaries such Colonel Mathieu Kerekou in Dahomey (later Benin) and Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam of Ethiopia led regimes which were explicitly Marxist-Leninist in orientation. But Acheampong’s regime did not project itself as one which adhered to a specific ideological format. It is claimed that he once described himself as a “socialist”. And some have gone as far as to label him as an Nkrumaist. Acheampong appears to have been greatly influenced by Nkrumah although there are clear distinctions in the means each man attempted to utilise in order to make Ghana a self-reliant nation. Although the words that he uttered in the Twi language such as Yentua and Kafo Didi became popularised short-handed expressions of the major planks of his policies, he never prescribed a overarching ideological concept such as Ujamaa, the socialist-orientated programme of Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere. He also did not promote any socio-cultural policies such as the varieties of Authenticite as were attempted by Francois Tombalbaye in Chad and Mobutu Sese Seko in Congo (Zaire).

Nonetheless, from his early policies, Acheampong clearly led a government which operated within an economy that was centrally planned and had a free market. There is little evidence that he had any grounding in the disciplines of political economy and political science. He would therefore have been dependent on those “eminent” civilian advisers to whom he referred during his first press conference after seizing power. This lack of intellectual preparation for governing a country put Acheampong, as was the case with most of the military leaders who came to power on the African continent at a serious disadvantage. At the same time, it is also important to note that even those leaders who held far greater levels of academic training and who had definable ideological approaches, such as Nkrumah and Nyerere ultimately did not ultimately succeed in their objectives.

But having a greater level of intellectual curiosity could have enabled Acheampong to have performed better in managing the economy as well as in positively re-shaping the Ghania psyche. He was born a Roman Catholic but almost certainly did not have the inclination or the ability to extract any of the substantive body of knowledge from the rich intellectual heritage of Catholicism which could have served as a resource in enhancing his understanding of economics, as well as serving as a reservoir of ideas on how to mobilise labour.  An understanding of the works of Catholic scholars such as Heinrich Pesch might have provided a clearer vision on how to construct a “third way” of approaching economics that was neither capitalist nor socialist. A familiarity with Catholic social teaching and an appreciation of its universalism may also have given him concrete ideas ranging from how to foster national unity to translating Cistercian values on work ethic to the Ghanaian masses.

In fact, it is clear that by the time he had assumed office, Acheampong was no longer a practicing Catholic, and instead was heavily influenced by a succession of charismatic Christian churches. This factor severely limited Acheampong during his time in power and actually contributed to his downfall. He was a member of the Nazirite Healing Church, a mystical circle at Korle Gonno, Accra, at the time he led the coup which overthrew the Busia government. He also belonged at some point to an organisation named the Mystery of Mysteries Research Society.

It meant that Acheampong was captive to his spiritual psyche, one based on superstition and of taking solace and inspiration from the advice of charismatic leaders who prayed for him and saw visions for him. This background did not allow for a consistent pattern of rational thinking and reasoned decision-making, albeit that it did supply him with resolve and courage at some critical moments. For instance, an officer who was on duty in the operations room at the Ministry of Defence when Acheampong’s coup was underway in the early hours of January 13th told the Ghanaian Christian theologian John S. Pobee that he remembered Acheampong bursting into a room looking as if he were possessed and then telling the officer: “With effect from today, I have taken over the administration of this country. I have support, both spiritually and in men.”

Acheampong took his immersion in the spiritual vagaries of his religion when he set aside the days between June 27th and July 3rd a Week of National Repentance. This was one of Acheampong’s greatest errors of judgement. It earned him a great deal of derision from his countrymen who correctly interpreted as an attempt by Acheampong to lay the blame of the nation’s economic woes on the ‘sinfulness’ of the mass of people and divert the attention from the true culprits: the military regime headed by Acheampong.

By 1977, it was clear that the idealism of 1972 was a thing of the unrevivable past. But the subsequent degeneration and the dysfunctionality of his regime only make Acheampong’s lost vision all the more poignant and relevant today given the prevalence today of weak and dependent economies in sub-Saharan Africa.

The cause of this state of affairs does not rest solely with the quality of African leaders and their governments which have been generally incompetent, as well as lacking in both courage and imagination. A great deal of it is caused by the prevailing global economic and financial arrangements put in place by the Western powers which serve to create a permanent state of indebtedness among developing nations. The economic powers of the West have also consistently worked towards stifling the development of local manufacturing industries in the developing world which would serve as unwanted competition. The sanctions imposed by the US Treasury Department on several East African nations who sought to reject the importation of Mitumba (imported used clothing) so as to develop their local cotton growing sector and cloth-making industries serves as a contemporary example. Furthermore, it can be strongly argued that those powers who possessed colonies only gave them an illusory independence because it was less expensive maintaining them in the sort of neo-colonial relationship that has persisted after “independence” was granted than bearing the cost of maintaining them when ruling them.

Acheampong’s renunciation of some, and not all debts, accrued by the Busia government provided one of the few instances where an African leader challenged, albeit unsuccessfully, debts which were unnecessarily foisted on a developing economy. It is tempting to believe that Acheampong may have been thinking as an orthodox Catholic who recalled the Church’s teaching of the sinfulness of usury. Yet, even if he (or his “eminent ” civilian advisers) were merely using their commonsense, his reaction was a precedent of great relevance given the contemporary state of understanding of the way the IMF and the World Bank function.  For the modus operandi of the Bretton Woods institutions has been to create debt among nations; debt of course being a vital feature of the capitalist system. If this assessment of Acheampong is correct, then he had a greater level of insight into this issue than even the learned Julius Nyerere.

Nyerere was shrewd enough to ward off every attempt by the CIA to overthrow his government and he had the courage to persist with his uncompromising policy of giving a home to a multitude of Africa liberation movements, most of which were political left and perceived as “anti-Western” at the height of the Cold War, but he was very trusting of the Bretton Woods institutions with which he worked closely to bring his intended socialist paradise to fruition. The IMF and World Bank were amenable to what was termed “development economics” during an era when many Western states were ruled by left-of-centre political parties and when their economies were run according to Keynesian principles. But under Ujamaa the Tanzanian economy faltered: self-sufficiency in food production declined and debt increased. And while Nyerere admitted to mistakes, (the war successfully prosecuted against Uganda during the rule of Idi Amin did not help matters) the time he spent ruminating during his retirement enabled him, finally, to understand the mechanism causing the perpetual state of indebtedness that plagued developing nations; a phenomenon which was clearly extended to European nations such as Greece. While it would be presumptuous to anoint Ignatius Acheampong as a soothsayer of sorts, the veracity of his stance in regard to the accrual of tainted debts should be acknowledged inspite of his later incompetent management of the economy.

Acheampong’s initiative to create UNIGOV, albeit a misbegotten one, also raises an enduring question about the ways in which African states have chosen to govern themselves in the aftermath of their independence. These states have slavishly followed the systems prescribed by the colonial powers that had previously ruled their territories or have subsequently adopted the American model. Often, these ostensibly democratic systems have been tainted by corruption and despotic rulers. They have often appeared to be unworkable.

It is an issue which has not been retained in the consciousness of Ghana’s political leaders since the time of Acheampong, although Brigadier Joseph Nunoo-Mensah, a short-term member of the military government established after the second coming of Flt. Lt. Jerry Rawlings had cause to say the following in March of 1982: “We have had party politics brought down to us from Europe. We have worked with it for twenty five years. It has been disastrous. The people are disillusioned. They are disenchanted. They’ve lost faith in the system, and I don’t believe they will go back to that system again”.

Rawlings, of course, went on to transform himself into a civilian leader and a system based on the liberal democratic tradition remains. But although Acheampong’s attempt to adopt UNIGOV was largely seen as a cover for his objective of holding onto power, the rationale which he proffered for the adoption of a different sort of governing system still resonates. The “divisions, tribalism, victimisation and various forms of social evil brought by party politics” persist and the idea of UNIGOV ought not to be condemned to the proverbial ‘trash can of history’, at least in the sense of Ghanaian and other African nations thinking of developing institutions of governance that are tailor-made to their cultural and historical circumstances.

Another issue which the Acheampong years of military rule raises is that of the reaction of the people to those who govern them. A foreign observer based in Ghana in the late 1970s spoke of its people as perpetually throwing up their hands “as though accepting that they will always be victims.” The inaction of people was not one of “patience” but one of “apathy”. This fatalism that leads to the acceptance of tyranny was expounded upon by Elizabeth Amoah, an academic who wrote:

Whatever has been ordained as part of a man’s nkrabea is believed to have a specific time ordained for it. This belief influences greatly how man goes about his daily activities. Man finds from his group that he should not rush to do things, for it is believed whatever is bound to happen will come true in the time appointed for it.

The Akan concept of predestination has been argued by some including Pobee to have enabled tyranny and oppression to have gone unchecked during long periods of Ghanaian history. The saying Onyame asem, meaning “it is God’s business”, encapsulates this mentality. It is a mentality aided by the influence of the charismatic churches to which he belonged which was firmly inculcated into Acheampong’s belief system. His favourite song at the time that he led the coup which brought him to power in 1972, was titled Afedia wura beba, which literally means “the owner of the trap will come.” Thus, as Pobee put it:

In God’s own appointed time a man is raised to subdue the oppressor of the nation. Meanwhile the masses do practically nothing or, at the best they will complain behind closed doors, to await the appointed time.

It is worth noting that Acheampong was not a bloodthirsty tyrant in the mould of a Mengistu. He never resorted to murdering colleagues who he may have perceived as threats to his position. And those who were convicted of plotting to overthrow his regime and sentenced to death had their sentences commuted. Nonetheless, he ruled as a dictator ruled by exercising a good deal of arbitrary authority including when it came to dealing with opposition and dissent which was channelled through the media. In their book entitled Press Freedom and Communication in Africa, Festus Eribo and William Jong-Ebot describe Acheampong as having “restored the authoritarian method of press control” after the overthrow of the Busia government. For instance, his military regime issued a decree indemnifying the state-owned press against libel suits by opposition figures who alleged that they had been defamed by state-owned media outlets. In March 1973, his government revived the Newspaper Licensing Decree and the Rumour Decree to tighten control of Ghana’s media institutions and in the course of imposing a regime of official censorship in the media; he arrested and detained editors and journalists.

The Acheampong regime was of course challenged by various professional and student groups and in doing so displayed a great amount of courage. But the overall tendency of African societies to live under intolerable circumstances created by military regimes, as well as dictatorial and unresponsive civilian governments is a tangible one.

After the execution of Acheampong and his military colleagues, the Times of Zambia editorialised that “The fact must remain startling clear that the situation in Ghana is symptomatic of a rottenness that is slowly eating away at the very vitals of African independence.” Yet, the description of “rottenness” is a suitable one to apply to the condition of many nations in sub-Saharan Africa. Though there might have been a diminution of bloody coups, civil wars, retributive executions of the pillars of an ancien regime and famine, the scourge of bad governance continues and with it the resultant widespread poverty and lack of true independence from outside powers.

The legacy of Ignatius Acheampong must not only be to draw lessons from his failings as a leader, but to also draw some inspiration from what he attempted to achieve at the beginning of his ill-fated rule. In his announced “guiding principle” he called on all Ghanaians to “look inward to themselves, to their resources; human as well as material, for defining the way of life, the system of government, the social and cultural practices, and the general economic policy to be pursued for national development and survival.”

His words remain a blueprint for any African country that seriously envisages building a strong and progressive nation.

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Adeyinka Makinde is based in London, England. He has a keen interest in history and geopolitics. He writes on his blog, Adeyinka Makinde, where this article was originally published.

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And so it begins with the first Congressional effort to codify what may be the first of many unconstitutional legislative attempts to create a totalitarian One World Government under the guise of attacking the coronavirus COVID 19.

Some weeks ago the UN’s World Health Organization  recommended house to house searches for family members infected with  COVID 19 and the removal of those infected into a mandatory quarantine.  The American reaction was mostly ‘it could never happen here’  but that has not stopped House Democrats from introducing HR 6666 also known as the TRACE (Testing, Reaching and Contacting Everyone) Act .

Introduced by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill) on May 1,  the TRACE Act would establish a nation wide contact and quarantine program, has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee for a yet to be scheduled hearing before the Health Subcommittee.

That subcommittee has a hearing scheduled for Thursday, May 14 on “Protecting Scientific Integrity in COVID 19 Response” with no published description of the hearing or list of witnesses.  With 39 co-sponsors, HR 6666 could be rolled into a larger CV response legislative package yet to be introduced.

HR 6666 grants $100 billion to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) to establish a local mobile health unit in each community to conduct a diagnostic door to door COVID 19 testing program.  With the ACLU nowhere in sight, there is no doubt of HR 6666’s unconstitutionality as the Act states that such testing will take place “at individuals’ residences.”  

The bill goes on to establish the effort to trace and monitor the contacts of infected individuals and to support the quarantine of such individuals.’  

In other words, TRACE not only allows a massive dragnet type effort to seek and find those infected in what may amount to enforced home invasions but to force compliance by requiring the names of all individuals an infected person has had contact with – all of which raises the constitutionality of the entire CV effort with the ultimate goal being mandatory worldwide vaccinations.

HR 6666 is unconstitutional as it violates the Fourth Amendment which guarantees every American citizen the right to be secure in their own home.

Dr. Rashid Buttar has said that Ventura, California will be the first test location to initiate the TRACE program.

In addition, Microsoft was recently granted Patent #060606 for a “crypto currency system using human body activity data.”  In other words, Gates, a maniacal control freak, now owns the patent to conduct global surveillance via a quantum tatoo  inserted as a chip into the human body.  Gates has been advocating for digital surveillance system for some time.

Reminiscing about how British children were evacuated to the countryside during the WW II bombing of London, The Queen says it all:

”…evacuated from their homes and sent away for their own safety. Today,  once again, many will feel a painful separation from their loved ones but now, as then, we know, deep down, it is the right thing to do.

Presumably the royal family will line up for public inspection to allow its children to be tested and quarantined, ‘away from home’ if necessary. Belated kudos to Harry and Meghan for making their break to freedom – they got out just in time.

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Renee Parsons has been a member of the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and President of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist with Friends of the Earth and staff member in the US House of Representatives in Washington, DC. Renee is also a student of the Quantum Field. She may be reached at [email protected]

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The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was a hardliner Republican before Trump appointed him the head of American premier civilian intelligence service, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and later on to serve as the top US foreign diplomat.

Although the post he was elevated to is highly demanding and sought him to be well-balanced, the ex-spymaster has overly botched to offload his ham-fisted and parochial instinct that seemed to have dominated in his numerous photo shoots.

During his term so far, his hostile tone has further ruptured US ties with several countries including the US’ European allies. The opening of too many frontages at one fell swoop reveals that he is naive in handling the delicate international relations.

In order to overcome his serious diplomatic lacking, the former army captain greatly banks on incongruous theories and lies. Recently, he accused China for ripping up the US and global economy by not sharing the information it had on coronavirus.

Pompeo trashed all the diplomatic norms and crowed the reprehensible allegations over the killer bug that by not sharing the data, “they (China) failed to comply with their most fundamental obligations as a nation” and then “to cover that up.”

Lately, he has been spreading blunt lies about origin of the virus, alleging that it has emanated from Wuhan Institute of Laboratory. The former intelligence chief has “enormous evidence” about his sham contention but doesn’t “have certainty.”

While the attack on the Chinese nation was woeful and unforeseen, it was  deplorable for a top US official delegate to drag the people of another country or the government to justify his shallow claims without providing any evidence at all.

Even though the international analysts and intelligence experts including the intelligence-sharing group of the Five Eyes – including the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada have confirmed it is “highly unlikely” that it was an accident – he continues to parrot his spurious lab theory.

Jeffrey D. Sachs, professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University said that these kinds of charges by Trump administration are “reckless and dangerous” and could drag the world into a “conflict just as Bush Administration’s lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq pushed the US into war in 2003.”

In an interview with CGTN separately, he blasted Trump for shifting the blame of his failures on China such as loss of jobs, loss of competitiveness and now the deaths from the Covid-19. “And this is working in the United States, unfortunately, as a political tactic, but it’s a very dangerous one.”

Sachs consistent warnings about the “dangerous” campaign of the Trump administration toward China, led by Secretary Pompeo, tells that the US president and his hawkish advisers are laying the country on a suicidal track for their egocentric and sporadic political ambitions.

By propagating the venomous thoughts, Trump is redirecting his 2020 presidential campaign in lines with 2016 canvassing when he used to smear China to fire emotions of Americans by pledging to reduce trade deficit and relocate the US manufacturing facilities back in the country.

On the other hand, Pompeo, one of the worst US secretaries of State ever, has been irrationally and rashly knocking Beijing to placate Trump so that he may book a chair in the cabinet of next government. And the whole dirty politicking flits around only one exploitative socket: blame China on the coronavirus pandemic to cover up offending lapses in containing Covid-19.

While the outbreak outsmarts American life and economy – the US federal government cannot escape from its statutory duty to ensure the citizens’ health and protect businesses and thus would eventually be accountable to the people for a chain of bloopers – slackened response to the highly contagious disease that exterminated thousands of people, erased millions of jobs and floored trillion-dollars of economy.

In order to galvanize his election probability amid surging unemployment and tumbling economic numbers, the US president wants to reroute trade war with China. Last Friday, Trump said he was “very torn” about whether to terminate the hard-won phase-one deal with Beijing.

On Monday, a top White House trade adviser Peter Navarro fueled speculation after he said “A bill has to come due for China” and accused it for inflicting tremendous loss to the global economy. “It’s not a question of punishing them; it’s a question of holding China accountable, the Chinese Communist Party accountable.”

The rabble-rousing statement emerged just days after the trade officials from China and the US discussed economic and trade issues including the phase one deal – appreciated the progress on creating the governmental infrastructure necessary to make the agreement a success and pledged to meet their obligations.

Such an act, if committed by the US president, would be a disaster for the US economy and thousands of small businesses that rely on cheap Chinese raw material, as well as manufactured goods, to survive in a highly competitive international market.

As the move would provoke Beijing to slap retaliatory tariffs, American exports to China, which had just started to climb, would immediately take a swipe while millions of domestic farmers, who have put everything at stake on Trump’s advice to buy more land and “huge tractors” and are seeing the farm exports mounting, will be furious too.

Despite the strong wave of coronavirus in the country, Beijing had radically increased its farm imports from the US. In the first quarter of 2020, the US shipments of soybean, meat, cotton and fiber to China witnessed a whopping surge of 210%, 640%, 43.5% and 17% as compared to the same period of last year.

In April, there were reports that China was planning to buy 30 million of crops, mostly from the US, to fulfill its purchase commitments and boost its state stockpiles including 10 million tons of soybean, 20 million tons of corn and 1 million ton of cotton worth of more than $6.25 billion. The US poultry and product exports to China in March were also the largest for any month since August 2013.

While economists have repeatedly shown that the US businesses and consumers are paying the duties Trump enacted on Chinese goods – millions of enraged American businessmen and farmers alongside their families could retaliate in the upcoming US presidential elections, ignoring his spending of more than $23 billion from the US taxpayers’ money to the farmers.

Though the hostile attitude and tariff saber-rattling being actively promoted by the hawkish White House officials may probably help to stoke hatred about China, the political hoax can no way revive US economy or retrieve millions of jobs – which would continue to haunt Trump throughout the rest of his presidential campaign.

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Azhar Azam works in a private Organization as “Market & Business Analyst” and writes on economy, geopolitical issues and regional conflicts.

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The COVID-19 is sweeping the U.S. land leaving behind mountains of dead bodies. This is just incredible. Soon, millions of persons may be inflicted. God knows how many more lives will be sacrificed.

What is frightening is the disorderly easing of lockdown and social distancing in many states, which will surely bring another upsurge of infected people and deaths.

The U.S. is the richest country in the world. Its GDP in 2019 was $21.4 trillion; its GDP per capita was $ 65,000. Militarily, it is the most powerful country in the world and in human history.

It is therefore normal that the world was expecting Washington to show how to fight the global enemy, COVID-19.

The world is disappointed. It is worried. But it is hoping to see the Americans conquer the virus, with dignity, as citizens of the most powerful nation in the world.

This paper argues that the following factors are responsible for Washington’s less than poor performance: China bashing, the counter-productive legacy of neo-liberalism and the doubtful quality of leadership of Washington.

To conclude, I will add a few words on the possible messages of COVID-19 to the American society.

China Bashing

Since Trump took over the power in Washington in 2016, China has been considered as a serious threat to Washington’s global domination. Washington has deployed all possible means to discredit the Chinese regime, destabilize the Chinese economy and isolate China from international decision making.

In Trump’s eyes, China bashing has very useful roles to play in the dynamics of the COVID-19 crisis in the U.S. Trump can make China the scapegoat, generate anti-China feeling and attribute Washington’s poor anti-virus policy to China. China bashing can be a good tool of covering up the policy failure.

China bashing has taken two forms.

First, Washington argues that the spread of the virus in the U.S. is due to the lack of cooperation of China in the sharing of information on the virus.

We must remember that it was December 31, 2019 when the corona -virus broke out in the city of Wuhan.

On January 3, 2020, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) was aware of the cases of pneumonia in Wuhan city.

On January 4, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported in social media the cases of the virus.

On January 6, the Chinese National Center Diseases Control and Prevention issued level-2 emergency warning.

On January 7, Xi Jinping recognized the danger of virus.

On January 8, the U.S. CDC issued a statement warning about the disease.

In the meantime, the urgent issue was whether the virus led to inter-human transmission. In fact, because of this issue, the adoption of proper measure was delayed.

This is understandable, because Chinese did not know the nature of the virus never seen before; it might have come from outside China. Finally on January 28, it was found out that the virus could be transmitted from person to person.

The U.S. was well informed about the virus directly or through the WHO.

The White House created Corona-virus Task Force on January 29 under the leadership of Alex Azar, Secretary of the HHS (Department of Health and Human Services.)

On January 30, WHO declared the Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

On January 31, U.S. HHS declared the Public Health Emergency.

This sequence of these events shows that China provided quickly the information on the corona virus. The U.S. could have taken more proactive actions based on this information.

The U.S. argues this. If China had provided more quickly the information concerning the corona-virus, it could have prevented the pandemic in the U.S. But, in a situation where China was dealing with a mysterious disease, it was, perhaps, normal to have taken some time to know it better.

In fact, Trump was very satisfied with China’s cooperation.

On January 24, Trump said this:

“China has been working hard to control corona-virus. The United States appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work well. In particular, on behalf of American people, I want to thank President Xi Jinping.”

Thus, the U.S. was well aware of the danger of the corona-virus. And, it had ample time to prepare for the onslaught of the virus. But, for two month, the U.S. and other countries in Europe did not pro-act soon enough; this could have led to the huge backlog of infected people.

It is not clear why these countries have not pro-acted earlier. They might have thought that the virus would be confined in Asia or they might have had the over-confidence in the capacity of their public health systems to cope with the crisis.

Trump says that he cannot trust the Chinese statistical data on the number of the infected and the death. It is possible that the number of the infected and deaths looks small, given the population of China.

But, there is no way to judge the reliability of the data. For that matter, we may question the reliability of American data, too; there are reasons to suppose that the number of deaths in the U.S.is very much under estimated.

One wonders how the poor quality of Chinese data on the number of infections and deaths can prevent Washington from taking more effective anti-virus war.

Second, Trump has been trying to tell the world that the corona-virus was originated in China. Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State of the U.S. is repeating the expression ” Wuhan virus”, while Trump seems to love the expression” Chinese virus”.

The U.S. pretends that the virus was originated in China. Trump argues with no proof that the virus was leaked from a lab near the city of Wuhan.

The argument of Trump and Pompeo implies that the virus was engineered or man-made. But the U.S. Intelligence people and scientists including Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of CDC, are denying the Trump-Pompeo argument.

Furthermore, there are important papers published by authors including Asian scientists and those of the Center for Research on Globalization which claim that the virus could have been brought to China from the U.S.

What is important to point out, here, is that Washington’s argument that the virus was originated in the City of Wuhan has no proof. If there is any, it is about the time to produce it.

Of course, it is important to identify the origin of the virus. But, we should let the scientists to do the job of identifying the virus origin. The politicians should not intervene in the debate. Above all, they should not politicize and use the debate for political purpose. .

The China bashing has damaging effect on the anti-virus war. To begin with, policy makers in Washington may try to attribute their policy failure to China and this will certainly compromise the effectiveness of the anti-virus fight.

China bashing is already stirring up, in China, anti-Trump feeling; this would surely hamper the Washington-Beijing concerted efforts to fight the virus.

The U.S. needs China as much as China needs the U.S. for information, scientific research and production of medical equipments.

We are facing the common enemy of mankind; all nations should unite to kill the virus. Without the close cooperation of the two most powerful nations, it will be difficult to win the present anti-virus war, let alone the future wars against the virus that are surely coming.

There is another danger in China bashing; it is generating anti-Chinese sentiment and even anti-Asian racial discrimination, which surely hurts the global concerted efforts to fight the virus.

In fact, In San Francisco, in two weeks, in April, there were, 141 incidences of racial discrimination against Asians. The discrimination against Asians is taking place in major cities throughout the world. This is very unfortunate, for it is the time for unified cooperation of every American.

Neo-liberalism and COVID-19 

The neo-liberalism is one of the factors which make the anti-virus war unusually difficult to win. The negative impact of neo-liberalism is the privatisation of the public health system on the one hand, and, on the other, the creation of the huge army of alienated low-income people who have difficulty in participating in the anti-virus fight and who are the most vulnerable targets of virus infection.

In the U.S., the neo-liberalism is the gospel of the privatization of public sector establishments. The credo underlying this gospel is the superior efficiency of private firms compared to public corporations.

Here, the issue is the definition of efficiency. In the context of neo-liberalism, it is profit. But, the value of public goods is not profit; it is the value of people’s welfare; it is the value of welfare per dollar spent.

The trouble is that once the public goods are privatized, they are no longer public goods; they don’t care about people’s welfare. One of the most important public goods in all countries is public health.

In the U.S. everything is privatized; even the prison is privatized. What is most frightening is the fact that the medical service system is privatized; there is no public health system. More than 30 million Americans have no medical insurance.

In the U.S., every medical service is profit motivated. The U.S. has the dishonour of being the nation of the most expensive medical service in the developed world.

The number of the American with no health insurance increased from 10.9% in 2016 to 13.7% in 2018.

Those who do have health insurance have to pay “co-pay” and burdensome “deductable” amounting to more than $3,300 a year in average.

The absence of a public health system means chronic shortage of hospitals, medical staff and medical equipments. For instance, the number of hospitals decreases by 30 a year; there are fewer than 45,000 intensive care units (ICU), while 2.9 million are needed.

Only 160,000 ventilators are available in addition to the federal government stock of 8,900. But, the U.S. needs millions to cope with corona-virus crisis. The situation has been improved a little lately, however.

Another credo of neo-liberalism is economic growth led by exports of goods and services. To export goods, one has to make profit. To make profit, one has to cut down the production cost. To cut down the production cost, one has to use high technology and save labour cost. To save further the labour cost, one has to develop the global value chain and exploit cheap labour and raw materials of developing countries.

The use of high technology creates unemployment or under-employment. The use of the global value chain allows the large multinational firms to make huge profit but the off-shoring of manufacturing leads to fewer jobs in developed countries. In short, one of the defects of neo-liberalism is the creation of the huge army of jobless and quasi-jobless.

The end result of neo-liberalism is the widening income gap. The popular index of the inequality of income distribution is the Gini coefficient. The higher the Gini, the wider is the income gap in favour of the higher income group. The Gini varies from zero to 100.

The present Gini of the U.S. is 50, which is level of Gini in developing countries.

This is just incredible! Remember, the U.S. is the richest country in the world, yet it is as poor as a developing country as far as the Gini is concerned.

In 2018, 1% top income group had 70% of household wealth. The bottom 50% of Americans had no income increase for thirty years. The minimum wage remains at $7.25.

The unequal income distribution combined with the absence of a public health system makes the fight against the corona-virus terribly difficult.

As we saw above, everything is in grave shortage. There are not enough hospitals, let alone the intensive care units (ICU); the number of nurses and all other health-care related human resources are in great shortage. The State governments and cities are asking Washington’s help in vain.

State governments, city governments and hospitals have to get, without much Washington’s help, needed masks, ventilators, gloves, gowns and other equipments.

Even if all these equipments are available, the great number of Americans who are jobless with no savings cannot have tests, self-isolation or social distancing.

Being poor, testing is expensive; living in crowded housing environment, social distancing is difficult; having no savings, they have to go to work, quarantine is not easy.

Leadership of Washington 

The global media seems to rightly suggest that Trump’s administration’s anti-COVID-19 fight has not been very successful, because Trump has lacked the following qualities.

  • Respect for science and professionals of medical and public health
  • Apolitical approach to the problem, transparency in handling data and the facility of government-people communication
  • Ability to coordinate sectional and regional anti-corona-virus efforts
  • Ability of mobilizing the general public’s participation in the anti-virus fight

Respect for science and professionals of medical and public health

One of the key features of daily briefing of the White House is President Trump’s lack of respect for the advice of medical science and public health experts; he often makes his personal views with no scientific or professional backing.

This attitude might have delayed the whole process of anti-virus war. As early as January-February, 2020, Trump was warned six times (January 8, 25, 30 and February 21, 23 and 25) by his close advisors about the propagation of the COVID-19.

However, Trump did not take the advice seriously for some reasons. He was quoted to have said that experts had told him that the virus would not touch the U.S. One wonders on what ground his advisors would have so advised.

Finally as late as March 13, Trump declared the National Emergency and timidly started to “re-act” not “pro-act”.

In other words, Trump lost a whole month before reacting. In the case COVID-19, one month is terribly long period of time. Nobody knows how many people in the U.S. were already infected.

In the literature on epidemic diseases, there is the coefficient R0 (reproduction ratio) which is the multiplier of virus propagation.

If triple-day coefficient R0is 3, it means that the number of the infected triples every three days. On the first day there is one person infected. On the third day, there will be 3 persons infected; on the sixth day, 9 persons; on the ninth day, 27 persons; on the twelfth day, there will be 81 persons infected.

If we have 100 persons infected on day one, in 12 days we will have 8,100 infected.

Thus R0is a very important indicator of the extent of the virus propagation. For instance, if R0is 5.7, no less than 82% of the population must be immunized. It is estimated that the multiplier for COVID-19 is about 3.

There is no doubt that a very large number of persons in the U.S. could have been infected due to the delayed reaction of the federal government.

Politicization of the Anti-Virus War

One thing a national leader should not do, during the urgent pandemic crisis, is the temptation to find a balance among various conflicting interests.

The big business may want to delay the knockdown because of the fear of losing profit caused by the lockdown.

Trump may want to maximize his political TV exposure in order to win the presidential election.

Religious leaders may ask Trump to let open the church during the crisis for religious and financial reasons.

The search for a balance among these different interests is the best way to speed up the propagation of the virus. In the fight against the virus, each minute counts. In the anti-virus war, the saving of lives should be given the top national priority.

It is understandable that the government wishes to ease lockdowns and social distancing to recover the shrinking economy and help skyrocketing jobless.

But, the timing is important. If it is too soon, there will another onslaught of the virus. On the other hand, if it is too late, the economy will be further destroyed.

Each country should choose the timing and the extent of easing in function of the cost acceptable by the people.

However, the saving of lives should have the priority, because the lost lives cannot be restored, while the broken economy can be recovered.

Another unpleasant picture of the briefing is the arrogant attitude of Trump toward reporters. He is reported to ask the reporters to praise his deeds before asking questions; this is surely politically motivated. When the reporters ask the data or proof of his claims, he shows even hostility toward the reporters. He is not transparent; he often contradicts himself.

Poor Coordination of Anti-Virus war Efforts 

There are fifty states and a number of metropolitan cities in the U.S. The corona-virus ignores the state demarcation borders; it likes to travel from one place to another. Therefore, the only way to win over the virus is to have unified approach of all states and all cities.

So, we need one single central authority which should coordinate the anti-virus efforts of states and cities. Such authority is the federal government.

The federal government must coordinate the whole process of anti-virus war beginning from the identification of the infected to the stage of healing the infected.

The access to medical equipment can vary from state to state and from city to city depending upon the financial capacity of states and cities on the on hand, and, on the other, the condition of virus propagation.

Unfortunately, there is no real coordination by the federal government. At present time, there is no Washington’s real coordination of testing, lockdown, hospitalization and the curing of the infected, the production and the distribution of medical equipments.

What is alarming is this. In the absence of a unified policy, in some states, golf clubs remain open. In some other states, there is no effective social distancing or lockdown.

The federal government’s coordination is so bad that the governor of New York State, Andrew Cuomo is proposing a creation of regional inter-state coordination of anti-virus fight for the North-Eastern region. So is the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, for the South-Western Region. But, they still need the federal coordination of the inter-State efforts of coordination.

People’s Voluntary Participation in the Anti-virus Fight

One of the qualities of the national leader in time of crisis is the mobilization of the people for the unified efforts to handle the crisis; this is the necessary condition for the success in the fight. To beat the virus, people should be united.

But, the U.S is perhaps one of the most divided countries in the world. The American culture is essentially based on the competition in all fields of human activities.

It is a country where the strong rules over the weak, where the rich is indifferent to the poor and where the skin colour determines the social hierarchy. In this situation, the marginalisation and the alienation of people become a challenging social problem.

The sad thing is that under the neo-liberalism, the marginal group has become more marginal; the alienated people have become more alienated.

Under such conditions, it is very difficult to expect to see the unified cooperation of the people for the fight against the virus. Indeed, there are signs that the people do not respect the guidelines put out by the federal government.

It is just unbelievable to see that so many people make a mockery of the government instruction on self-quarantine and social distancing. In some states, heavily armed crowds protest the government’s guidelines. This shows how little the people do have confidence in the federal government.

Lessons of the Corona-virus Crisis to the American Society 

One thing sure is that for all these reasons, it will be difficult to prevent further propagation of the virus in the U.S. Nonetheless, one day, it will be over. But what lesson can we learn from the corona-virus crisis?

If there is any lesson to learn from this crisis, it is the crying need for major investments for people’s security. America has been investing heavily for military security and world supremacy. Regrettably, this policy has resulted in the negligence of other kinds of security, namely, income security, physical security and public health security.

The income security in the U.S. is in bad situation, in very bad situation. As we saw above, the U.S. is suffering from unjust income distribution. The lack of income security for the people is not only unjust but also it could lead to decades-long economic stagnation, as it has happened in Japan.

Another terrible phenomenon in America is poor physical security, let alone psychological security. In fact, the American society is the most dangerous society among the developed countries. The number of mass killings is 415 a year, or 1.13 a day. In 2019, as many as 39,052 were killed by gun violence; the number of guns per capita is 1.25.

The preparation of the public health security in the U.S. is urgent, because the next global pandemic of virus will surely come. As far as the public health is concerned, Americans should free themselves from the god of neo-liberalism which has destroyed public health.

These three kinds of security is something which even a poor country tries hard to assure. But, it is just incredible that a country where the per capita GDP is $65,000 does not seem trying hard to provide. So, we ask why?

The sad answer is the massive investments in military muscles. The annual national defence budget is more than $ 738 billion in 2020 as against mere $260 billion in China. No less than three quarter of the “discretionary budget” goes to the military.

Washington justifies heavy military investment and dozens of wars carried out since WWII in the name of the national defence security. But are these wars necessary? The wars are justified, if there are enemies which threaten the U.S.

Is there any country which can be a real threat to the U.S.? Even China cannot be a military threat, because China does not want war with the U.S.; its GDP is caching up, but, as far as the per capita GDP is concerned, it is still a near middle-income country. Besides, China wishes to live in a peaceful global order.

It is hoped that once this virus crisis is over, the Americans should persuade their government to cut down the military spending and heavily invest for the assurance of income security, physical security and public health security.

History shows us that any major changes in the society are not done by the politicians alone because of their interconnected political and financial interests; only the ordinary people can do itunder a real leader. We have seen it in South Korea.

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Professor Joseph H. Chung is professor of economcs and co-director of l’ Observatoire de l’Asie de l’Est (OAE) of le Centre d’Études sur l’Intégration et la mondialsation (CEIM), Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). He is a Research Associate of the Center of Research on Globalisation (CRG).

Featured image is from CODEPINK

The US federal and state governments are now hiring “Contact Tracers” to track those who are infected with the Coronavirus. The Daily Beast, a liberal online news site claims that in order to reopen businesses and institutions, the government needs to hire thousands of Contact Tracers, the article ‘Contact Tracing Is Vital to Reopening the Country. These States Are Recruiting Thousands’ calls for a mass hiring of Contact Tracers since “health experts are pressing more than ever the need for contact tracing”the article claims that “It’s a tool that proved effective in past epidemics like SARS and Ebola, and it’s regarded as essential to safely reopening the country with the looming threat of higher surges in cases.” Currently, there are around 2,000 contact tracers or disease detectives, but they are estimating that the US workforce will need between 100,000 to 300,000 contact tracers, and that is just the beginning:

Former CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden estimates that the country needs at least “several hundred thousand” in order to effectively trace the network of those infected with COVID-19. The National Association of County and City Health Officials recommends 15 tracers per 100,000 people in normal times, increasing to 30 tracers during a pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that contact tracers will “identify an infected person and track down every person and location that might have been exposed “for a prolonged period of time” during the incubation period. They’re not told the identity of who might have exposed them.” Then contact tracers will notify potential carriers through “via phone, email, or social media” the article claims. “But a big challenge is that state and local public health departments need a huge amount of people and resources to conduct widespread tracing.” There will be various agencies that will be hiring this new breed of “professionals”. The Daily Beast mentioned Scott Gottlieb, a former Food and Drug Administration chief under President Trump reportedly claimed in a recent interview with NPR that “as many as 180,000 contact tracers will be needed “if we want to enter into the fall with the kinds of resources we need to try to trace infection to prevent large outbreaks.” Another mainstream media network who knows how to put the fear in people was published by CNN ‘Experts say the US needs teams ready to hunt down new Covid-19 cases. But so far, there aren’t nearly enough’, “hunt down” sounds like they will be hunting down criminals. “Contact tracing is a widely used method in public health that relies on identifying every person who tests positive with an infection, isolating them, and then finding anyone that person could have infected” CNN reported. It seems that Trump is also on board with a massive hiring phase which would give him an opportunity to claim that he has provided jobs while the job market is in a downfall:

Trump unveiled a three-phase return-to-normal plan to all 50 state governors on Thursday. It outlines steps each state should take once they meet a certain threshold for number of cases declining over two weeks and certain level of capacity and ability to care for all patients in hospitals. The 17-page document makes a brief mention of contact tracing, saying states should have the ability to do it, but does not offer guidance on how to do it, how many people will be needed to do it, or explain how the federal government will help build up contact tracing systems

Many states are quickly moving into this direction. An NBC News report, ‘Inside an ‘army’ of COVID-19 contact tracers in Massachusetts’ said that “the program in Massachusetts has a virtual workforce of 1,000 contact tracers. Roughly 9,000 applied in the first 24 hours, and the job pays the rate of a federal census worker, $20 to 25 an hour.” NBCinterviewed Christian Arthur, who was formally employed at a addiction recovery center in South Boston until he found a job as a contact tracer:

Christian Arthur was out of a job when the addiction recovery center in South Boston where he worked closed last month. It took him two weeks to find a new one — as a “contact tracer” on the virtual front lines of Massachusetts’ effort to halt the spread of COVID-19. “There’s an army of us,” Arthur, 29, told NBC News

To justify these positions, NBC made sure to mention that contact tracing has been around for some time:

Contact tracing has long been used in the U.S. and other countries to help curb the spread of such diseases as tuberculosis, cholera and Ebola. It has also been used to great effect to mitigate the virus in countries like South Korea and Germany, public health experts say

Under Massachusetts Governor, Charlie Baker, the chief medical officer of the Boston-based Partners in Health Dr. Joia Mukherjee is in charge of the contact tracing program. The president and executive director of Partners in Health, Ophelia Dahl, was recently on a Clinton Global Initiative University online video discussion with Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton with governors Andrew Cuomo and Gavin Newsom about contact tracing.  Dahl and both governors all basically said the same thing, and that is a significant “army” of contact tracers is needed to fight Covid-19.  Dr. Joia Mukherjee is currently overseeing the recruiting, training and the deployment of newly hired contact tracers throughout the state of Massachusetts:

The program in Massachusetts has a virtual workforce of 1,000 contact tracers. Roughly 9,000 applied in the first 24 hours, and the job pays the rate of a federal census worker, $20 to 25 an hour, according to Mukherjee. The job is done exclusively by phone and the workers are trained in handling what could be difficult conversations

NBC News mentioned was Krysta Cass, a 2010 West Point graduate and a former orthopedic physician assistant who was an Army officer for eight years in Afghanistan and other countries in the Middle East before she became a supervisor in the Massachusetts tracing program:

Cass now oversees a team of 100 contact tracers, divided into 10 units with two to three case investigators in each. The case investigators interview those who tested positive and then pass along the list of contacts and places they went to the contact tracers in the unit.

“Most military recruits volunteer for public service in response to a global need,” said Cass, whose team focuses on Boston. “The people I’m working with are so similar. They care about the mission”

The state of California under its governor, Gavin Newsom wants to increase the number of contact tracers to at least 20,000 according to a report produced by CBS13.com, a news network based in Sacramento, California. During a recent press conference, Newsom said that “This is all foundational so that we can more quickly move to modify our stay-at-home order.” The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) are now offering Online contact tracer academies the report said. The Daily Beast said that “Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in late April that the state would immediately launch a “nation-leading” coronavirus contact tracing program, with between 6,400 and 17,000 tracers—equivalent to 30 per 100,000 residents.” Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is partnering with Governor Cuomo to collaborate within the tri-state area in the East coast “The program, in collaboration with former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s charity, “will be done in coordination with the downstate region as well as New Jersey and Connecticut.”

The main question that has to asked is what if the government, multi-national corporations including major pharmaceuticals and the private billionaire class and others with special interests might find this new contact tracing model appealing? With billionaires Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates supporting and funding Covid-19 tracing programs and mass vaccination campaigns in the US and around the world, individual liberties are slowly being taken away. This same system can be used to create an “army” to combat any perceived crisis they see fit.  What if they targeted anti-war groups, civil rights activists, anti-GMO groups to pro-2nd Amendment organizations, to regular citizens who hold different political views? The point is that they can use a tracing program model for almost any situation they see as a threat to their agenda.

It definitely reminds me of the history of Nazi Germany with their creation of “the brown shirts” or The Sturmabteilung, a legion of both the unemployed and the underemployed German people, high-school students and others who became “political soldiers.” The brown shirts were originally created to protect rallies who supported the Nazi Party and fought against those who opposed them including the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) known as the Red Front Fighters League, the Romani, Jews and others.

With an increasing unemployment rate with more than 30 million people who had lost their jobs so far since the Covid-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic thus forcing businesses to close and companies to lay-off a massive amount of workers in an already fragile economy. It is estimated that more than 18.6% of the labor force is now unemployed. The more realistic picture of the unemployment numbers should be measured in U-6 unemployment rate because it counts people who have given up looking for jobs and those that are working part-time but would prefer working full-time and are considered underemployed. The Federal Bank of St. Louis (see this) states that the U6 unemployment rate as of April stands at 22.8% and it could be allot worse.

The US population will certainly face an economic decline and a pending world war with one of Washington’s adversaries, but one of the immediate effects they will encounter is long-term unemployment. The unemployment numbers are only going to increase in coming months and even years as more businesses close or lay-off workers due to the already weak economy and Covid-19 pandemic scare. A recession has essentially started and its starting to take its toll on the working class. Many people will apply for these contact tracing jobs in desperate times, and a certain percentage of government-trained recruits will violate the civil rights of ordinary citizens just like those incidents in the past that occurred with the TSA at US airports. The US government and the 50 states of the union are actively hiring a new army of contact tracers as the unemployment numbers gets worse, creating a complete totalitarian police state.

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

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