Aletho News


Is Vaccine Safety Too Dangerous for Us to Discuss?

By Bretigne Shaffer | Lew Rockwell | September 3, 2019

Recently, the news and opinion site HuffPost removed an article that had been up for more than six years. The piece, titled “Government Concedes Vaccine-Autism Case in Federal Court – Now What?” was published in January of 2013, and dealt with a case in which the US government’s Court of Federal Claims conceded that routine vaccination had aggravated a child’s underlying condition and led to that child developing “features of autism spectrum disorder.”

Now, the following statement appears in place of that article:

A previous blog post published on this site has been removed in the interest of public health. The article expressed the sole opinion of its author, who retains the rights to publish it elsewhere. Multiple studies have demonstrated that vaccines are safe and effective. Our letter from the editor has more on this decision.

This retraction did not occur in a vacuum. The first half of 2019 has seen a coordinated effort to scrub the Internet of any information that is critical of the claim that “vaccines are safe and effective.” The push began last fall, but gained momentum in January when the World Health Organization declared “vaccine hesitancy” to be a “global health threat,” placing it alongside Ebola, cancer, war zones, and drug-resistant pathogens.

On March 1st, US Congressman Adam Schiff wrote to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and, after stating that “there is no evidence to suggest that vaccines cause life-threatening or disabling diseases,” expressed his concern that Amazon might be allowing content with “medically inaccurate information.” He asked what action Amazon was taking to address “misinformation about vaccines.”

Later that day, Amazon pulled from its streaming service the documentary “Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe,” along with other “anti-vaccine” documentaries including “Man Made Epidemic“ and “The Greater Good,” a film that “…weaves together the stories of families whose lives have been forever changed by vaccination.”

Schiff had written similar letters to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Not long after Amazon pulled the documentaries from its streaming service, other platforms began to follow suit. On March 7, Facebook announced that it would reduce the visibility of groups and pages that “spread misinformation about vaccinations,” and would no longer accept advertisements containing what it deemed to be “misinformation” about vaccines.

Back in August of 2018, Pinterest had already begun removing content (later accounts, and then search results) that it said contained “medical misinformation,” and in February, YouTube demonetized all videos that “promoted anti-vaccination content.” Etsy, Vimeo, MailChimp, and GoFundMe have all joined these other platforms in pledging to either prohibit or demote content deemed to contain “misinformation” about vaccines.


So what is the “misinformation” that the WHO, Congressman Schiff, and these social-media giants are so determined to remove from public view? Let’s start with the article mentioned above that was pulled from HuffPost :

The piece—which you can now read here—deals with the case of Hannah Poling, whose family was awarded more than $1.5 million by the US Court of Federal Claims after it acknowledged that her “regressive encephalopathy with features of autism spectrum disorder…” was the result of vaccinations she received at 18 months that aggravated an underlying mitochondrial condition. The article is a fairly straightforward accounting of the case, followed by questions it raises about such issues as research, public health, and the vaccine-autism debate.

HuffPost’s letter from the editor, explaining its reasoning for removing articles like this one, states:

HuffPost has decided to remove dozens of blogs that perpetuate the unfounded opinion that vaccines pose a health risk to the public. Allowing these blogs to remain on our platform does a disservice to our readers that outweighs any ostensible value as part of the public record.

HuffPost’s editors also chose to remove the Federal Claims Court document itself, which had been posted separately. Where that document was once found, there is now the same statement that replaced the above article, along with the assertion that it “… expressed the sole opinion of its author.”

But that is complete nonsense. There is no “author” of this piece (other than for the very brief introduction to the document), and it does not represent anyone’s “opinion.” It is an official record of a concession made by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, submitted to a Federal court. It is indeed a part of the public record—a part that HuffPost’s editorial team doesn’t believe its readers should be able to see.

Other “misinformation” that has been removed from major platforms include this fully referenced article by Anne Mason, on the scare tactics being used to incite fear of measles, taken down by Medium in February, and the Pinterest accounts of both GreenMedInfo and the National Vaccine Information Center, both of which provide well-referenced information on vaccine safety and efficacy.

In June, the email marketing service provider MailChimp announced that it would prohibit “anti-vaccination content.” However, even before announcing this policy change, it had already removed several accounts without warning, according to their owners. Some of these included organizations simply opposed to vaccine mandates, such as Health Choice Vermont, and Colorado Health Choice Alliance, both of which had their accounts closed suddenly in June.

And in May, GoFundMe took down the fundraising campaign for Dr. Kenneth Stoller. Dr. Stoller had been raising money for his legal defense fund after having been served with a subpoena to turn over patient health records by the San Francisco City Attorney as part of a public nuisance investigation regarding his writing of medical exemptions to vaccines.

As these last two examples reveal, this effort aims to suppress not only voices that question the official line on vaccines, but also those that are opposed simply to mandated vaccines, as well as a doctor raising money to defend himself from the threat of state action against himself and his patients.


Given the deep concern felt by these media giants for accuracy in coverage of the controversy over vaccines, it is surprising to find that so much misinformation on the topic remains in place on their platforms.

Contrary to the oft-repeated mantra in the mainstream press, the science about vaccines is far from “settled.” There is much that is a fair topic for debate, and there is much research that simply has not been done. There are, however, some easily refuted falsehoods, several of which feature prominently in nearly every story on vaccines that appears in a major media outlet.

Here are a few samples:

  • “Vaccines are safe and effective.”

How “safe”? How “effective”? Nothing is completely safe, and no medical treatment is completely effective all the time for every person. The only meaningful interpretation of “safe” in this context is that “vaccines are safer than the diseases they prevent.” But that has not been established.

To take just one example, the MMR vaccine, the Cochrane Review found, in its meta-analysis in 2012, that:

The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate. The evidence of adverse events following immunisation with the MMR vaccine cannot be separated from its role in preventing the target diseases.

I have written elsewhere about the fact that there is no solid data available to tell us how many vaccinations result in serious injury or death, that vaccine injuries are badly under-reported, and that those who claim that the rate of vaccine injury is “one in a million” are referring only to severe anaphylactic shock, ignoring the multitude of other possible injuries. Without this information, there is no way to know whether the risk from vaccines (specific vaccines or all vaccines) is greater or lesser than the risks of contracting and being harmed by the diseases they are meant to prevent.

Likewise, “effective.” The fact that vaccines are not 100% effective is not even remotely controversial. And the degree of effectiveness can vary widely from one vaccine to another. The question is: Given the expected efficacy of a given vaccine, is the protection it offers worth the risk of the harm it may create. We simply do not have the information needed to make that assessment with any certainty.

  • “Vaccines do not cause autism.”

No matter how many times major media outlets repeat this phrase, it has not been established that vaccines do not cause autism. Indeed, there is evidence that they can, including, but not limited to, the Federal Claims Court’s decision in the case of Hannah Poling that HuffPost is so determined that you not know about.

Those who insist that any connection between vaccines and autism has been discredited like to point to studies like this meta-analysis, or to this more recent Danish study looking at more than 600,000 children, both of which are used by defenders of vaccines to refute any association between vaccines and autism. However, a closer look reveals not only that these studies fail to do this, but that neither even addresses the question.

As with most studies purporting to refute an association with autism, those in the meta-analysis (all ten of them) look only at a single vaccine (the MMR and/or the monovalent measles vaccine) and/or specific ingredients (cumulative Hg dosage and/or thimerosal exposure), comparing those who have received it/them to those who are otherwise fully or partially vaccinated.

They are also observational studies, which means that they are subject to selection bias, including the risk of “healthy user bias,” which is especially relevant when looking at possible injury from vaccines. This is because families who have experienced a possible injury with one child might be less likely to give that vaccine to their other children. By thus excluding some of those who might be most at risk of vaccine injury, this can artificially skew the results of the vaccinated group toward better health outcomes.

As CDC researchers Dr. Paul Fine and Dr. Robert Chen wrote in their 1992 paper looking at confounding factors in studies of adverse reactions to vaccines:

… individuals predisposed to either SIDS or encephalopathy are relatively unlikely to receive DPT vaccination. Studies that do not control adequately for this form of “confounding by indication” will tend to underestimate any real risks associated with vaccination.

The Danish study by Hviid et al likewise only examines the possible impact of the MMR vaccine. It does also compare rates of autism diagnosis across sub groups, including those who have had some or all of their first-year vaccines and those who have not. However there is no true unvaccinated group (the closest being the group of those who had received no first-year vaccines—a whopping 0.7% of the total cohort). And the authors themselves acknowledge that the study suffers from the risk of healthy user bias.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of studies that do show a possible relationship between autism and vaccines. You just won’t see them splashed across the front pages of major newspapers and magazines.

Moreover, one of the world’s leading experts on vaccines, and former government witness in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVIC)’s “vaccine court”, pediatric neurologist Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, has famously stated that:

… in a subset of children, vaccine-induced fever and immune stimulation did cause regressive brain disease with features of autism spectrum disorder.

Others, including former director of the National Institutes of Health Dr. Bernadine Healy and former CDC director Julie Gerberding, have also acknowledged that some children—particularly those with a mitochondrial disorder—can suffer damage from vaccines that leads to the symptoms associated with autism. In 2008, Gerberding told CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta:

… if a child was immunized, got a fever, had other complications from the vaccines. And if you’re predisposed with the mitochondrial disorder, it can certainly set off some damage. Some of the symptoms can be symptoms that have characteristics of autism.

For the population as a whole, the bottom line is that there are no conclusive studies on either side of the autism-vaccine debate. Having media outlets endlessly repeat the claim that there are, and that the debate is “settled,” doesn’t make that claim any less false.


Let’s be absolutely clear: The position of the people who pressured Amazon, Facebook, Pinterest, GoFundMe, and other platforms to shut down content critical of vaccines is that ordinary people should not be free to discuss, debate, nor share information about, the safety of vaccines.

The question is: Why?

Those who make and promote vaccines are right to worry about a free and open conversation about the safety of their products. Their strategy to date has been to insist that “there is no debate” about vaccine safety, that “the science is settled.” And for a very long time they have gotten away with simply repeating these mantras. But the more they engage in what can only be described as Orwellian suppression of information, the more people start to wonder what they are afraid we might find out.

Once anyone starts looking closely, it becomes very clear just how mendacious both the industry and the media have been. It quickly becomes apparent that the WHO declaration is a truckload of nonsense; that vaccines have not, in fact, been proven to be “safe and effective”; that the science is not settled with regard to the vaccine-autism connection; and that the illnesses the vaccine proponents want us to be afraid of are in fact, not all that scary—certainly not as scary as a government with the power to force people to inject substances into their bodies against their will.

For those whose livelihoods are tied to an ever-increasing vaccine schedule, and ever-increasing sales of vaccines, this is a very dangerous conversation indeed.

Bretigne Shaffer [send her mail] was a journalist in Asia for many years. She is the author of Urban Yogini (A Superhero Who Can’t Use Violence) and Why Mommy Loves the State. She blogs at

September 3, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | | 1 Comment

The Future of the Spectacle … or How the West Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Reality Police

By CJ Hopkins | Consent Factory, Inc. | September 3, 2019

If you want a vision of the future, don’t imagine “a boot stamping on a human face — for ever,” as Orwell suggested in 1984. Instead, imagine that human face staring mesmerized into the screen of some kind of nifty futuristic device on which every word, sound, and image has been algorithmically approved for consumption by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (“DARPA”) and its “innovation ecosystem” of “academic, corporate, and governmental partners.”

The screen of this futuristic device will offer a virtually unlimited range of “non-divisive” and “hate-free” content, none of which will falsify or distort the “truth,” or in any way deviate from “reality.” Western consumers will finally be free to enjoy an assortment of news, opinion, entertainment, and educational content (like this Guardian podcast about a man who gave birth, or MSNBC’s latest bombshell about Donald Trump’s secret Russian oligarch backers) without having their enjoyment totally ruined by discord-sowing alternative journalists like Aaron Maté or satirists like myself.

“Fake news” will not appear on this screen. All the news will be “authentic.” DARPA and its partners will see to that. You won’t have to worry about being “influenced” by Russians, Nazis, conspiracy theorists, socialists, populists, extremists, or whomever. Such Persons of Malicious Intent will still be able to post their content (because of “freedom of speech” and all that stuff), but they will do so down in the sewers of the Internet where normal consumers won’t have to see it. Anyone who ventures down there looking for it (i.e., such “divisive” and “polarizing” content) will be immediately placed on an official DARPA watchlist for “potential extremists,” or “potential white supremacists,” or “potential Russians.”

Once that happens, their lives will be over (i.e., the lives of the potentially extremist fools who have logged onto whatever dark web platform will still be posting essays like this, not the lives of the Persons of Malicious Intent, who never had any lives to begin with, and who by that time will probably be operating out of some heavily armed, off-the-grid compound in Idaho). Their schools, employers, and landlords will be notified. Their photos and addresses will be published online. Anyone who ever said two words to them (or, God help them, appears in a photograph with them) will have 24 hours to publicly denounce them, or be placed on DARPA’s watchlist themselves.

Meanwhile, up where the air is clean, Western consumers will sit in their cubicles, or stagger blindly down the sidewalk like zombies, or come barrel-assing at you on their pink corporate scooters, staring down at the screens of their devices, where normal reality will be unfolding. They will stare at their screens at their dinner tables, in restaurants, in bed, and everywhere else. Every waking hour of their lives will be spent consuming the all-consuming, smiley, happy, global capitalist Spectacle, every empty moment of which will be monitored and pre-approved by DARPA.

What a relief that will finally be, not to have to question anything, or wonder what is real and what isn’t. When the corporate media tell us the Russians hacked an election, or the Vermont power grid, or are blackmailing the president with an FSB pee-tape, or that the non-corporate media are all “propaganda peddlers,” or that the Labour Party is a hive of anti-Semites, or that some boogeyman has WMDs, or is yanking little babies out of their incubators, or gratuitously gassing them, or attacking us with crickets, or that someone secretly met with Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy, or that we’re being attacked by Russian spy whales, and suddenly self-radicalized Nazi terrorists, or it’s time for the “International Community” to humanitarianly intervene because “our house is burning,” and our world is on fire, and there are “concentration camps,” and a “coup in Great Britain” … or whatever ass-puckering apocalyptic panic the global capitalist ruling classes determine they need to foment that day, we will know that this news has been algorithmically vetted and approved by DARPA and its corporate, academic, and government partners, and thus, is absolutely “real” and “true,” or we wouldn’t be seeing it on the screen of our devices.

If you think this vision is science fiction, or dystopian satire, think again. Or read this recent article in Bloomberg, “U.S. Unleashes Military to Fight Fake News, Disinformation.” Here’s the lede to get you started …

“Fake news and social media posts are such a threat to U.S. security that the Defense Department is launching a project to repel ‘large-scale, automated disinformation attacks’ … the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants custom software that can unearth fakes hidden among more than 500,000 stories, photos, video and audio clips. If successful, the system after four years of trials may expand to detect malicious intent and prevent viral fake news from polarizing society …”

What could be more reassuring than the knowledge that DARPA and its corporate partners will be scanning the entire Internet for content created with “malicious intent,” or which has the potential to “polarize” society, and making sure we never see that stuff? If they can’t do it, I don’t know who can. They developed the Internet, after all. I’m not exactly sure how they did it, but Yasha Levine wrote a book about it, which I think we’re still technically allowed to read.

Anyway, according to the Bloomberg article, DARPA and its corporate partners won’t have the system up and running in time for the 2020 elections, so the Putin-Nazis will probably win again. Which means we are looking at four more years of relentless Russia and fascism hysteria, and fake news and divisive content hysteria, and anti-Semitism and racism hysteria, and … well, basically, general apocalyptic panic over anything and everything you can possibly think of.

Believe me, I know, that prospect is exhausting … but the global capitalist ruling classes need to keep everyone whipped up into a shrieking apoplectic frenzy over anything other than global capitalism until they can win the War on Populism and globally implement the New Normality, after which the really serious reality policing can finally begin.

I don’t know, call me crazy, or a Person of Malicious Intent, but I think I’d prefer that boot in the face.


September 3, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Is the U.S. Government the Enemy of the People? America’s Lost Liberties, Post-9/11

By John W. Whitehead | The Rutherford Institute | September 3, 2019

Take heed, America.

Our losses are mounting with every passing day.

What began with the post-9/11 passage of the USA Patriot Act  has snowballed into the eradication of every vital safeguard against government overreach, corruption and abuse.

The rights embodied in the Constitution, which have been steadily chipped away at, undermined, eroded, whittled down, and generally discarded, are now on life support.

Free speech, the right to protest, the right to challenge government wrongdoing, due process, a presumption of innocence, the right to self-defense, accountability and transparency in government, privacy, press, sovereignty, assembly, bodily integrity, representative government: all of these and more have become casualties in the government’s war on the American people, a war that has grown more pronounced since 9/11.

Since the towers fell, the U.S. government has posed a greater threat to our freedoms than any terrorist, extremist or foreign entity ever could. Indeed, the U.S. government—the government that was supposed to be a “government of the people, by the people, for the people”—has become the enemy of the people.

This is a government that has grown corrupt, greedy, power-hungry and tyrannical over the course of the past 240-plus years.

This is a government that is laying the groundwork to weaponize the public’s biomedical data as a convenient means by which to penalize certain “unacceptable” social behaviors. Incredibly, as part of a proposal being considered by the Trump Administration, a new government agency HARPA (a healthcare counterpart to the Pentagon’s research and development arm DARPA) will take the lead in identifying and targeting “signs” of mental illness or violent inclinations among the populace by using artificial intelligence to collect data from Apple Watches, Fitbits, Amazon Echo and Google Home.

This is a government that railroads taxpayers into financing government programs whose only purpose is to increase the power and wealth of the corporate elite.

This is a government—a warring empire—that forces its taxpayers to pay for wars abroad that serve no other purpose except to expand the reach of the military industrial complex.

This is a government whose wall-to-wall surveillance has given rise to a suspect society in which the burden of proof has been reversed such that Americans are now assumed guilty until or unless they can prove their innocence.

This is a government that treats its people like second-class citizens who have no rights, and is working overtime to stigmatize and dehumanize any and all who do not fit with the government’s plans for this country.

This is a government that uses free speech zones, roving bubble zones and trespass laws to silence, censor and marginalize Americans and restrict their First Amendment right to speak truth to power.

This is a government that adopts laws that criminalize Americans for otherwise lawful activities such as holding religious studies at home, growing vegetables in their yard, and collecting rainwater.

This is a government that persists in renewing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which allows the president and the military to arrest and detain American citizens indefinitely.

This is a government that saddled us with the Patriot Act, which opened the door to all manner of government abuses and intrusions on our privacy.

This is a government that, in direct opposition to the dire warnings of those who founded our country, has allowed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish a standing army by way of programs that transfer surplus military hardware to local and state police.

This is a government that has provided cover to police when they shoot and kill unarmed individuals just for standing a certain way, or moving a certain way, or holding something—anything—that police could misinterpret to be a gun, or igniting some trigger-centric fear in a police officer’s mind that has nothing to do with an actual threat to their safety.

This is a government that has allowed private corporations to get rich at taxpayer expense by locking people up for life for non-violent crimes.

This is a government that has created a Constitution-free zone within 100 miles inland of the border around the United States, paving the way for Border Patrol agents to search people’s homes, intimately probe their bodies, and rifle through their belongings, all without a warrant. Nearly 66% of Americans (2/3 of the U.S. population, 197.4 million people) now live within that 100-mile-deep, Constitution-free zone.

This is a government that is operating in the negative on every front: it’s spending far more than what it makes (and takes from the American taxpayers) and it is borrowing heavily (from foreign governments and Social Security) to keep the government operating and keep funding its endless wars abroad. Meanwhile, the nation’s sorely neglected infrastructure—railroads, water pipelines, ports, dams, bridges, airports and roads—is rapidly deteriorating.

This is a government that has empowered police departments to make a profit at the expense of those they have sworn to protect through the use of asset forfeiture laws, speed traps, and red light cameras.

This is a government whose gun violence—inflicted on unarmed individuals by battlefield-trained SWAT teams, militarized police, and bureaucratic government agents trained to shoot first and ask questions later—poses a greater threat to the safety and security of the nation than any mass shooter.

This is a government that has allowed the presidency to become a dictatorship operating above and beyond the law, regardless of which party is in power.

This is a government that treats dissidents, whistleblowers and freedom fighters as enemies of the state.

This is a government that justifies all manner of government tyranny and power grabs in the so-called name of national security, national crises and national emergencies.

This is a government that exports violence worldwide, with one of this country’s most profitable exports being weapons.

This is a government that routinely undermines the Constitution and rides roughshod over the rights of the citizenry, eviscerating individual freedoms so that its own powers can be expanded.

This is a government that believes it has the authority to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation, the Constitution be damned.

In other words, this is not a government that believes in, let alone upholds, freedom.

So where does that leave us?

As always, the first step begins with “we the people.”

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, our power as a citizenry comes from our ability to agree and stand united on certain freedom principles that should be non-negotiable.

September 3, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Timeless or most popular | , | 5 Comments

‘Only True Safety is Ending Arms Race, Doing Away With Nuclear Weapons’ – Prof

Sputnik – September 3, 2019

The world is shifting from a human-controlled way of managing a variety of sectors, including the military, towards artificial intelligence (AI). The Pentagon has recently ordered the creation of an AI system for its strike drones. Dr Mark Gubrud, an adjunct assistant professor of peace, war, and defence at the University of North Carolina, has shared his opinion on potential threats that AI-guided military systems could lead to for people.

Sputnik: How do you assess the Pentagon’s push for artificial intelligence, especially one with the ability to order humans when to hit the “fire” button for nuclear missiles?

Dr Mark Gubrud: AI has obvious potential to be used in weapons. Humans are better at judging the most complicated, ambiguous situations, but when matters are simple and clear, machines can react faster and more accurately. Unfortunately, in war, mistakes are often irreversible, and if automated systems start fighting each other, we might not be able to stop them, or even understand what’s happening, before it’s too late.

Therefore, we must not allow any relaxation of human control. We need a strong treaty that makes human control of all weapons a matter of law and provides verification that autonomous weapons are not in use.

Unfortunately, the countries that are leading the development of autonomous, AI-driven weapons, including the United States, China and Russia, have resisted the creation of such a treaty. Human control is an essential principle, but it is not enough, because humans make mistakes or may choose to take advice from machines that make mistakes.

The US is reportedly developing AI systems for intelligence analysis that could warn of an imminent nuclear attack by North Korea, and similar systems may end up watching Russia and China, too. What makes this especially dangerous is that the systems are intended to speed up the process, doing the analysis faster than humans can check it or develop an alternate analysis.

If a US president is woken at 3 am and told the AI is warning of an imminent attack, what will he or she do? There might be responses short of ordering an immediate pre-emptive nuclear attack, but those could also be escalatory and lead to the same outcome.

Sputnik: What could be the consequences of an AI wired to a country’s nuclear arsenal? How realistic is such a scenario?

Dr Mark Gubrud: I think it is unlikely that the US or any nation will enable a computer to launch nuclear weapons without a human decision. Russia reportedly has an automated system that can react if a first strike destroys the top leadership, and some American authors are now calling for the US to develop a similar system. However, I believe the Russian system involves humans and would only be activated if an attack was feared imminent.

Unfortunately, that is the most dangerous moment. For example, in 1983, Soviet computers warned of a US missile attack, and Russian Lt. Col. Stan Petrov made the call that it was a false warning, in part because there was no reason to expect an attack at that moment. No one can say that nuclear war could never happen by accident, but I think the most realistic danger is that we walk straight into it with our eyes wide open, taking ever-greater risks to avoid backing down in some crisis.

That is exactly what we are doing today with the shredding of treaties and the so-called new arms race, featuring new nuclear and non-nuclear weapons that shorten the times for attack and response. With the loss of the INF Treaty, it is very important for the US and Russia to renew START and consider new initiatives, such as missile testing and deployment limits, a hypersonic flight test ban, a ban on anti-satellite and space-based weapons, and a ban on killer robots.

We need to think creatively. For example, as a small start, I think in the wake of Russia’s recent accident, it would be a good time for the US to suggest a permanent ban on nuclear-propelled missiles or airplanes, which both nations have previously attempted to develop and decided were too dangerous and unnecessary.

Sputnik: How reliable would an AI system be?

Dr Mark Gubrud: Complex systems can always fail, but in this case, there is a deeper problem. The fundamental problem with nuclear deterrence is that it only functions if it can fail – that is if nuclear war remains a possibility.

With our warning systems, we try to ensure that they will never give a false alarm, but also that they will not fail to warn us of an actual attack. These are contradictory objectives. As doctors, police and security officers know, it is impossible to simultaneously minimise “false positives” and “false negatives.”

With our nuclear command and control systems, we try to ensure that the system can’t be triggered by an unauthorised order, a hacker or an internal error, but also that they will function as intended, even under attack, if a proper order is given. Again, the same problem, contradictory objectives.

All this is true whether we are talking about AI or human systems. But when humans are involved, even when their official role is one that a machine could fulfil, they bring their full intelligence and understanding to the job. Humans want to live, want their families and the world to live, and will always check and check again that there isn’t a mistake or a way out. Human control is essential, but it is not enough. The only true safety is in ending the arms race and doing away with nuclear weapons. … Full interview

September 3, 2019 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | 1 Comment

Hundreds Take Part in Direct Action against UK Arms Trade with Israel

IMEMC News & Agencies – September 3, 2019

The UK Department for International Trade has officially invited the government of Israel to DSEI, despite a UN report earlier in the year stating that Israel’s repression of unarmed Palestinian protestors may have constituted “war crimes or crimes against humanity”.

Organizers Palestine Solidarity Campaign and War On Want are seeking to highlight Israel’s systematic violations of human rights and international law and call on the UK Government to implement a 2-way arms embargo with Israel.

Hundreds of human rights activists are currently protesting the UK’s trade in arms with Israel outside Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI), the world’s largest arms fair, held at ExCel London every two years.

Under the banner “Stop Arming Israel”, a day of creative action and protest organised by campaigning groups Palestine Solidarity Campaign and War on Want is taking place outside the fair throughout Monday 2nd September. Protesters have blocked roads in order to stop trucks carrying weapons from getting inside the fair.

Organisers of the event claim that DSEI is a site where violations of international law and human rights are flaunted by companies, including Israel’s Elbit Systems, who market their weapons as ‘battle-tested’, meaning that they have been tried and tested in attacks on Palestinian civilians.

They are also voicing opposition to the UK Government’s role in co-hosting the event. Israel has appeared for the first time on the Department of International Trade’s list of official invitees for DSEI, only months after the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Gaza protests found evidence indicating that Israeli forces fired on unarmed Palestinian protestors unlawfully, using force that may have constituted war crimes or crimes against humanity.

Ryvka Barnard, Senior Campaigns Officer (Militarism and Security) at War on Want, said: “The DSEI arms fair brings together the most destructive elements of the global arms trade, responsible for countless deaths and immeasurable destruction around the world.

Companies displaying their wares include the likes of Israel’s Elbit Systems, which has produced internationally banned weapons such as white phosphorous and artillery systems that can be used for cluster munitions. Elbit and other countries boast that their weapons are battle-tested, meaning that they fine-tune their products by testing in live combat situations. The people of London don’t want our city to be used as a marketplace for companies turning crimes against humanity into profit.”

Huda Ammori, Campaigns Officer at Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: “The UK Government can talk all it wants about respecting human rights, but its deadly arms trade with Israel reveals the truth. The UK Government is showing a total disregard for Palestinian lives, and is fully complicit in the atrocities committed against them by the Israeli state. We need a 2-way arms embargo now, and we need all other complicit companies and institutions – from HSBC to UK universities – to cut ties with the Israeli arms trade too and to stand on the side of human rights. That’s why we’re taking action at the DSEI arms fair.”

Activities throughout the day include street theatre, political discussions, banner-making and dabke dancing (Arab folkloric dance). The day’s events will lead into a street party this evening featuring a performance by award-winning poet Sabrina Mahfouz and a DJ set from Ben Smoke.

The ‘Stop Arming Israel’ protests begin a week-long set of protests against the DSEI arms fair, with a different theme each day, highlighting the diverse communities opposing the hosting of DSEI in London, PNN reports.

September 3, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Facebook threatens to block Palestine news site for using the term ‘Hezbollah’

MEMO | September 3, 2019

Facebook has threatened to block the page of Quds News Network and stop its work on the social media site after it publishing news about the Lebanon’s Hezbollah, QNN told MEMO.

The threat came through a notice sent to QNN’s Facebook page as a result of the network’s coverage of the recent tensions on Lebanon’s southern border.

The network has been targeted by an incitement campaign, with efforts to remove its Facebook page, and several of the page’s administrators having their personal accounts deleted. Some of QNN’s posts have also been removed or temporarily blocked.

Commenting on the campaign, QNN said it will continue to perform its media mission and use all the available tools to deliver the voice of Palestine to all parts of the world despite the crackdown and hate campaign it is facing.

It said the attacks it is facing are part of Facebook’s targeting of Palestinian media organisations and aimed to please Israel which seeks to stop the occupation’s crimes from being exposed on an international basis.

“The recent threats are only a prelude to stricter measures which may include the deletion or blocking of Palestinian and Arab pages, away from the freedom of opinion and professionalism claimed by Facebook.”

Quds News Network was launched in 2011 as the first Palestinian news community on the social networking site, aimed at spreading a full picture of the situation in Palestine. It has over than 6.6 million followers on Facebook.

September 3, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 2 Comments

Japan won’t join US-led maritime coalition in Gulf: Report

MEMO | September 3, 2019

Japan will not join the United States in a security mission to protect merchant vessels passing through key Middle Eastern waterways and will instead consider deploying its military independently, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Tuesday, Reuters reports.

Japan has been reluctant to join the United States, its most important ally, in its efforts to set up the coalition because of its close economic ties with Iran, a major supplier of oil.

Citing unidentified government sources, the Yomiuri said Japan was considering a plan to send its Maritime Self-Defense Force (SDF) on information-gathering missions in the areas around the Strait of Hormuz and Bab al-Mandab shipping lane between Yemen, Djibouti and Eritrea.

It would also consider including the Strait of Hormuz in the SDF’s sphere of activity if Iran agrees, the paper said.

Iran has denounced US efforts to set up the coalition and says countries in the region can protect waterways and work towards signing a non-aggression pact.

The Japanese government is set to make a final decision, including whether the plan is feasible, after the United Nations General Assembly later this month, the Yomiuri said.

Global commodity trading has been rocked in recent months by the seizure of a British tanker and a series of attacks on international merchant vessels that the US and Britain have blamed on Iran. Tehran denies involvement.

Britain last month became the first US ally to announce its participation, although most European countries have been reluctant to sign up for fear of adding to the tension in the region.

September 3, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 2 Comments

Iran’s Rouhani Rules Out Any Bilateral Talks with US

Al-Manar | September 3, 2019

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday that holding bilateral talks with the United States is not on the table.

“We’ve said it before time and again, and we say it again: We have no intention to hold bilateral talks with the United States. We never did and never will. It has been the case in the past year and a half, and even in previous years. There have been calls for talks, but we never responded to them,” the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a Parliament session on Tuesday.

Rouhani was attending the session to defend his two candidates for the ministry of education and the ministry of tourism and cultural heritage.

Stressing that holding bilateral talks with the US is not on the table, Rouhani added “we said that the US, as part of the 5+1, held talks with us and we took part in the talks. If the US lifts all of its sanctions against Iran, whether it returns to the JCPOA or not, it does not matter to us, but if it lifts all sanctions, it is still possible for the US to be part of the 5+1; granted that it first removes all sanctions.”

“When we talk about negotiations, we only mean it under the situation where all sanctions have been lifted; that is, the situation we previously had under the JCPOA. Our stance is clear,” Rouhani stressed.

Tensions started to build up between the US and Iran after President Trump withdrew Washington from the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May 2018, and imposed sanctions against Tehran in a bid to restrict the country’s trade transactions with the world. The Trump administration has been making empty calls for talks, but the Islamic Republic stresses that as long as sanctions are in place and the US refuses to return to the JCPOA, negotiations will be meaningless.

“Our progress is a testament to the fact that resisting [against pressure] works. On the other hand, an active diplomacy can pave the way for us. We have never closed the doors of diplomacy and never will do so…we don’t believe that only one of these two tools should be used,” said Rouhani.

About Iran’s measures to scale down commitments to the JCPOA, Rouhani said “If the remaining signatories to the nuclear deal can live up to a part of their commitments, we may reconsider reducing our commitments. But if they fail to take any solid step, we will definitely take the third step in a few days.”

As a first step, Iran increased its enriched uranium stockpile to beyond the 300 kilograms set by the JCPOA. Next, it announced that it had begun enriching uranium to purity rates beyond the JCPOA-limit of 3.76 percent.

Rouhani went on to add, “the further we move along this path, it may make solving the issue more difficult, but since our steps are designed in a way that we can return to the starting point at any given time we desire, it will not take any time, and we will continue our talks even after taking the third step.”

“The basis of our talks with the European side is that we want them to preorder our oil and the revenues to be in our possession. This will ease the situation for us to decide against making more cuts to our commitments to the JCPOA,” Rouhani added.

“We haven’t reached a final agreement yet, but negotiations are still underway. If we fail to reach a conclusive result by Thursday, we will announce the third stage of our cuts to the JCPOA commitments,” Rouhani concluded.

Some officials have noted that Iran’s measures for the third step may include installing a new generation of centrifuges, increasing the stockpile of enriched uranium, or restoring the Arak heavy water reactor to its previous design.

September 3, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 2 Comments

It’s Necessary to Find Way to Counter US, Otherwise Nuclear Deal Won’t Be Only Loss: Zarif

Sputnik – September 3, 2019

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Monday that Washington’s actions regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action are a blow to international law, and if the accord is not preserved, the nuclear deal “will not be the only loss”.

On Sunday, Tehran said it would make a third reduction of commitments agreed to under the deal and that this round would be the harshest yet. A spokesman for the Iranian government, Ali Rabiei, said on Monday that Iran would wait until Thursday for the deal’s signatories to take steps toward implementing the accord and make a decision on whether to further scrap its commitments depending on these actions.

“America’s actions are not only a blow to the JCPOA, but to the whole framework of international law. That is why, if we do not find a way to counteract the United States, the JCPOA will not be the only loss. Therefore, we share the same views with Russia on this issue”, Zarif told the Rossiya 24 broadcaster.

Earlier in the day, Zarif said that Tehran would return to full implementation of the deal, if there was progress in negotiations on the implementation by Europeans of their part of the agreement.

The JCPOA was signed in 2015 by Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. It required Iran to scale back its nuclear programme and severely downgrade its uranium reserves in exchange for sanctions relief. In 2018, the United States abandoned its conciliatory policy on Iran, withdrawing from the JCPOA and hitting Iranian petroleum industries with sanctions.

September 3, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

UN official blasts Nigeria’s use of ‘lethal force’ on Muslims

Press TV – September 3, 2019

A United Nations rapporteur strongly condemns Abuja’s application of deadly violence against the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).

Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, made the remarks in a report in the country’s capital on Monday. She was presenting her findings after a 12-day-long investigation.

The official deplored the “arbitrary deprivation of life” and the excessive use of lethal force in the case of processions held by the IMN back in 2015, Reuters reported.

Nigeria’s military attacked the movement’s members that year as they were holding religious processions, with Abuja alleging that the Muslims had blocked a convoy of the country’s defense minister. The movement has categorically rejected the allegation, and said the convoy had intentionally crossed paths with the IMN’s members to whip up an excuse for attacking them.

The military also raided the house of Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaki, the movement’s leader, at the time.

During the escalation, the 66-year-old was beaten and lost his left eye. His wife sustained serious wounds, and three of his sons and more than 300 of his followers were killed.

Callamard said a move by the government to ban the group appeared be based on what the authorities thought the IMN could become rather than its actions. She said she had not been presented with any evidence to suggest the group was weaponized and posed a threat to the country.

On a general note, the official cautioned that Nigeria’s multiple security problems had come to create a crisis that required urgent attention and could lead to instability in other African countries.

Callamard said the police and military had resorted to an excessive use of deadly force across the West African country which, combined with a lack of effective investigations and meaningful prosecution, had caused a lack of accountability.

“The overall situation I have found is one of extreme concern,” she said, and finally warned that the country had turned into a “pressure cooker of internal conflict.”

September 3, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Islamophobia | , | Leave a comment

The Truth About SMART Cities

Amazing Polly | June 27, 2019

I expose the con games & sales pitches that the billionaires use to entice us into building SMART Cities & share inspiration from Taipei where the people are rejecting the SMART grid system.

Also, I show you an odd similarity between SMART Cities and the “Hameau” — specially designed, fully functioning villages that were installed on the estates of the elites in France in the run up to the French Revolution.

September 3, 2019 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 1 Comment