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German blacklisting of Hezbollah only serves Israel interests: Iran

Press TV – April 30, 2020

Iran has vehemently condemned the German government’s decision to designate the Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah a “terrorist organization”, saying Berlin must be held to account for the “consequences” its decision will have for the fight against terrorism in the region.

“Certain countries in Europe are apparently adopting their stances without considering the realities in the West Asia region,” said Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi in a statement on Thursday night.

Mousavi said the German government’s blacklisting of Hezbollah only serves “the objectives of the propaganda machine of the Zionist regime and the bewildered US regime.”

He further noted that Berlin’s decision totally “disrespects” the Lebanese government and nation, as Hezbollah is a “legitimate and official part of the country’s government and parliament”.

Condemning the German move as “a decision of utmost imprudence”, the Iranian official said the Lebanese resistance movement has been playing a key role in combating the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the region.

Earlier in the day, Germany banned all of Hezbollah’s activities in the country and ordered raids on sites police said were linked to the group.

A number of properties in Berlin, Bremen and North Rhine-Westphalia were searched early on Thursday, according to the German police.

The German Interior Ministry, which has issued the ban, says four mosques and cultural associations were raided, as well as private homes of Hezbollah’s board members, treasurers and tax advisers.

Most EU member states have so far refrained from labeling the political arm of the Lebanese resistance movement a “terrorist organization”.

Last year, the British government broke with the rest of Europe to adopt a stance similar to that of Germany against the entire Hezbollah resistance movement.

Hezbollah’s role in an anti-militancy campaign in Syria has angered Western countries that have, for the past eight years, supported terrorist groups opposed to the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Hezbollah has played a major role in helping Assad purge the Syrian territory from terrorist groups.

The resistance group also responds to Israel’s frequent aerial incursions into Lebanon.

April 30, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | 1 Comment

The real climate change deniers

By Paul Driessen | CFACT | April 26, 2020

Fifty years ago, I helped organize Earth Day #1 programs on my college campus, calling attention to serious pollution problems that afflicted much of the USA. Over the ensuing decades, laws, regulations, and changed attitudes, practices and technologies reduced most of that pollution, often dramatically.

I didn’t buy the 1970 end-is-nigh, doom-and-gloom, billions-will-die hysteria that Ron Stein and Ron Bailey recapture so deliciously, including the manmade global cooling crisis. I don’t buy it today, either – certainly not this year’s Earth Day focus on the alleged manmade global warming crisis, also blamed on emissions of carbon dioxide and water vapor, the same gases that humans and animals exhale, and plants use to grow. We’re told the crisis is unprecedented, and poses existential threats to humanity and planet.

What I find fascinating in all this is the steadfast, often nasty determination of scientists, politicians and interest groups promoting alarmist themes – and profiting immensely from them – to reject and deny any science, history and evidence that undermines their claim that nothing like this ever happened before.

The “highest ever” temperatures may be just a few tenths or even hundredths of a degree above previous records set many decades ago. The United States may have enjoyed a record 12-year respite from Category 3-5 hurricanes, ended finally by Harvey and Irma in 2017. Violent tornadoes may be far fewer during the last 35 years than during the 35 years before that, and the complete absence of violent twisters in 2018 may have been truly unprecedented. Modern day floods and droughts may be nothing compared to past floods or the multi-decade droughts that devastated Anasazi, Mayan and other civilizations.

However, alarmists insist, Earth’s climate and weather were stable and unchanging until humans began using coal, oil and natural gas. We must eradicate fossil fuels now, they say, regardless of what impacts biofuel, battery, wind and solar replacements (and mining for raw materials to manufacture them) might have on wildlife, scenery, environmental values or human rights. The disconnect from reality is truly amazing.

Equally fascinating is the notion that melting glaciers are something new. It amounts to asserting that everything was just peachy until American, European and Greenland glaciers started melting a few decades ago, threatening us with catastrophic sea level rise. It amounts to claiming the glacial epochs never happened; their mile-high ice sheets never blanketed a third of the Northern Hemisphere, multiple times, with balmy periods in between; and seas haven’t risen some 400 feet since the Pleistocene ice age.

It amounts to claiming the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods never happened, and weren’t followed by the Little Ice Age, when priests performed exorcisms, asking God to keep glaciers from inundating villages in the Alps of Europe. It’s as though we couldn’t possibly be finding what we are finding today.

In the latest example, government and university researchers recently found numerous Viking-era artifacts along a Norwegian mountain pass that had been heavily traveled for at least 700 years, but then was buried beneath the ice and lost to history for 1,000 years. Locals used the rough 2,200-foot-long pass to travel between summer and winter lodgings, while long-distance trekkers used it as a trade route.

Among the treasure trove were tunics, mittens, horse shoes and bits, remnants of sleds used to haul food and gear over winter snow, a small shelter, and even the remains of a dog with a collar and leash. They all came to light because the glacial ice is again receding, as Earth continues its post Little Ice Age warming.

Alarmists insist the warming is due to fossil fuels, and deny that it is just part of natural climate cycles. Much more evidence of past warming and cooling periods has also come to light in recent years.

In 1991, German hikers found the incredible mummified and heavily tattooed remains of “Oetzi the Ice Man” sticking out of the ice in the Oetzal Alps near the Italian-Austrian border, at an altitude of some 10,000 feet. A partial longbow, bearskin hat and other artifacts were found nearby. He had died about 5,300 years ago from an arrow wound and had the blood of four different people on his clothes and weapons. He is further evidence of human habitation in these alpine areas during past warm periods.

Tourists and archeological teams have also discovered parts of shoes, leather clothing, fragments of a wooden bowl and numerous other items from 3000 to 4500 BC (BCE) that have emerged from the alpine ice. They are among the oldest objects ever found in the Alps. A Bronze Age pin, Roman coins and early Medieval artifacts have also been found. They show how these mountain passes and trails, impassible during cold, more glaciated periods, served as vital trade routes in periodic warmer centuries.

Norwegian ice fields show shrinkage and growth patterns similar to those of the alpine glaciers, says Norwegian glacial scientist Atle Nesje. The archaeological findings “seem to fit quite nicely with our glacier reconstructions,” he adds, which helps us understand past, present and future climate changes.

Years of research by Swiss and other scientists have produced similar findings – sometimes human artifacts, but also plant and animal remains, in areas of newly melted ice. In one location in the Swiss Alps, University of Berne geology professor Christian Schluechter found pieces of wood 12-24 inches thick and the remains of a moor. Melting waters had flushed them out from under the glacier. That means the ice there is hardly “perpetual,” he says. There were multiple periods of warmer weather and less ice.

In fact, carbon-14 dating shows ten “clearly definable time windows” over the last 10,000 years – times when glaciers were limited to regions up to 1,000 feet higher in the Alps than today. This means that, for multiple long periods of time, “the Alps were greener than they are today,” Schluechter concludes.

Inca children sacrificed 500 years ago in Argentina’s Andes have also emerged from melting glaciers.

Off the Florida coast, the Mel and Deo Fisher archeological diving team didn’t just find the famous Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Atocha, which sank during a ferocious 1622 hurricane, or only the British slave ship Henrietta Marie, which went down during a 1700 hurricane, after leaving 190 Africans in Jamaica, to be sold as slaves. They also found charred tree branches, pine cones and other remnants from a forest fire 8,400 years ago, when this vast ocean area was still well above present day sea levels!

Even an entire forest has been discovered, protruding from the melting Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, Alaska – an area I visited several years ago. Roots, stumps and large segments of entire upright spruce or hemlock trees have been found across several acres already. They are the remains of a forest that thrived there for as long as 2,350 years, until it was buried by glacial ice around 1,000 years ago.

The chronicle of amazing discoveries yielded by melting glaciers goes on and on. Their most important lesson is that our current climate is but a snapshot in time, on a vibrant planet where climate change and extreme weather have been “real” since time began. Only a science-denying climate alarmist would refuse to recognize this. Simply put, there is nothing “unprecedented” about what we are seeing today.

Now it may be that carbon dioxide and water vapor from wheezing, snorting horses, oxen and humans – laboring at the edge of exhaustion doing what our fossil-fuel-powered vehicles and equipment do for us today – caused these past climate changes. But it’s far more likely that they were due to a complex and still poorly understood combination of solar and other powerful natural forces.

Climate alarmists may not want to recognize or discuss these natural fluctuations. But the rest of us should. Improving our knowledge of what these forces are and how they work together will enable us to better predict, prepare for and adapt to future climate changes. Continuing to focus on carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases,” as the primary or sole cause of climate changes and weather events, will ensure that we never get beyond the politically driven battles in which we are now engaged.

April 30, 2020 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | 1 Comment

Germany’s Move to Ban Hezbollah May ‘Clearly Be Seen as an Act Against Lebanon’

By Oleg Burunov – Sputnik – 30.04.2020

Germany’s decision to ban Hezbollah can be perceived, among other things, as an act against Lebanon, Middle East expert and Professor Emeritus Werner Ruf from the University of Kassel said on Thursday.

Also, “this is, to my mind, an example of obedience to Israel and the United States because there is no reason for the ban. On the other hand, it should be noted that Germany maintains normal diplomatic relations with Lebanon, where Hezbollah is represented in the government. So what’s the point [of banning the group]?” Ruf, who is also a lecturer at the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, pointed out.

He added that even though one should not rule out that “donations are sent to certain associations or mosques, which are mainly controlled by Hezbollah”, there is no reason to believe that the organisation poses a security threat to Germany.

On the other hand, Ruf went on to say, the ban “will clearly be seen as an act against Lebanon”, as Hezbollah is represented in the Lebanese government and has great authority – something which should not be overlooked.

According to the expert, Hezbollah was “the only military force that forced Israel to leave Lebanon following the last war [between Beirut and Tel Aviv]”.

“These are completely different perspectives”, he said, adding that when it comes to anyone feeling a threat, “then it is most likely Lebanon [that] feels the menace coming from Israel than vice versa”.

At the same time, Ruf referred to Tel Aviv’s “military superiority”, arguing that Hezbollah is not going to target Israel, given that the Jewish state “has already shown in the last war that it is ready to use almost all types of weapons to destroy Lebanese infrastructure”.

“I do not think that in this situation, Hezbollah would be interested in a new military scenario with Israel”, the expert concluded.

His remarks came after German Interior Ministry spokesman Steve Alter tweeted earlier in the day that Berlin had banned all Hezbollah activities on the country’s territory.

According to him, security forces are currently involved in staging raids against suspected Hezbollah members in a number of German states.
Jewish Group Praises Germany’s ‘Much-Anticipated Move’

American Jewish Committee head David Harris hailed the move as a “welcome, much-anticipated, and significant German decision”, expressing hope that “other European nations will take a close look” at the move and “reach the same conclusion about the true nature of Hezbollah”.

This was preceded by German lawmakers approving a non-binding initiative in December 2019 to call on the government to ban Hezbollah, a Lebanese political party and militant group whose primary basis of support is the country’s Shiite Muslim community.

April 30, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment

‘President Biden’ would not erase Trump’s concessions to Israel

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | April 30, 2020

US Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden will not reverse the Trump administration’s unilateral decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem if elected president. “The move shouldn’t have happened in the context as it did, it should happen in the context of a larger deal to help us achieve important concessions for peace in the process,” he has declared.

From one US president to another, the Palestinian people can only ascertain for themselves the varying degrees of ongoing international capitulation to Israeli demands. Biden might have wished for a different context, but still requires concessions by the Palestinian leadership to the detriment of the people. Meanwhile, asserting that the embassy would remain in Jerusalem indicates that despite opposing US President Donald Trump’s actions in terms of context, Biden sees no obstacle for US foreign policy on Palestine in the decision.

Reopening the US consulate in occupied East Jerusalem “to engage the Palestinians” is the most that they can hope for in terms of diplomatic relations. This rhetoric ties in to the two-state compromise and diplomatic negotiations. According to advisor Tony Blinken, Biden would pursue the two-state diplomacy if elected, but only for Israel’s benefit. As reported in the Times of Israel, Blinken argued, “In many ways, pulling the plug on a two-state solution is pulling the plug, potentially, on an Israel that is not only secure but is Jewish an democratic – for the future. That’s not something any of us, who are ardent supporters of Israel, would like to see.”

If the US once again aligns itself with the two-state paradigm, the purported discord between Washington and the international community will be eliminated. However, a return to the defunct hypothesis does not include a reversal of the unilateral decisions which Trump has implemented. Israel’s gains will still be losses for the Palestinians regardless of who wins the presidential election.

Biden’s opposition to annexation must be analysed separately from his comments regarding the embassy relocation to Jerusalem. Disagreement does not equal a reversal of actions. Recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was the first step taken by the US in a series of political manoeuvres which paved the way for the current annexation plans. If Biden is stating that he will not consider reversing the embassy decision, he is signalling tacit approval for the momentum created by Trump to facilitate Israel’s colonial project in Palestine.

The international community has also played a treacherous game. In promoting two states as the only solution, it created an illusion of Trump being against the international consensus. However, the political disagreements will only be temporary. If the US elects a president who endorses the two-state paradigm, the international community will not refer to the unilateral US actions taken by the Trump administration, but rather focus on the US diplomatic engagement within international consensus post-Trump. There will be no effort to reclaim what Palestinians lost during Trump’s presidency, in much the same manner as the UN prefers to commemorate violations against the Palestinian people as opposed to upholding accountability and the right of return.

April 30, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 3 Comments

Yemen’s Al-Houthi Says Saudi-Led Coalition Responsible for COVID-19 Outbreak in Aden

Al-Manar | April 30, 2020

Member of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council Mohammad Ali Al-Houthi accused the Saudi-led Coalition of being responsible for the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the southern province of Aden.

“We consider the countries of the American-Saudi [coalition] and its allies accountable [for the spread of COVID-19], as they have ignored the quarantine regime or any [other] precautions”, Al-Houthi said.

Al-Houthi’s remarks came after two coronavirus-related deaths were registered in Aden on Thursday.

Earlier on Wednesday, five COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Aden. Following the increase in cases, the United Nations expressed concern over an outbreak that could potentially overwhelm the country’s already fragile healthcare system.

Yemen has been since March 2015 under brutal aggression by Saudi-led Coalition, whose military campaign has killed or injured tens of thousands of Yemenis.

The coalition has been also imposing a harsh blockade on the Arab impoverished country, causing the humanitarian situation to be worsened.

April 30, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , | Leave a comment

Turkey deployed US-made HAWK missiles to Idlib: Syria’s UN envoy

Press TV – April 30, 2020

Syria’s UN ambassador has once again denounced Turkey for defying Damascus and intensifying its “illegitimate” military presence in the Arab country, saying Ankara’s forces have deployed US-made missiles to Syria’s militant-held Idlib Province in a flagrant violation of international law.

Speaking at a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) session on the situation in Syria via a video link on Wednesday, Bashar al-Ja’afari said Ankara had deployed medium-range surface-to-air MIM-23 Hawk missiles to Idlib.

“The Turkish regime didn’t stop at violating its obligations according to the understandings of Astana, Sochi and Moscow, and supporting the terrorist organizations, but it reinforced its illegitimate military presence on the Syrian territories through bringing in convoys loaded with weapons and heavy equipment every day,” said Ja’afari.

He called on the 15-member UN body to oblige Ankara and other states that sponsor terrorist groups in Syria to end such support and instead help Damascus in its counter-terrorism efforts in order to complete the reconstruction process in the Arab country.

The Syrian diplomat added that any foreign military presence in Syria without authorization from the government in Damascus amounts to aggression and occupation.

He further urged the UN to support the Syrian government in its efforts to complete the reconstruction process, eradicate terrorist groups and reach a political solution to the ongoing conflict without any foreign meddling.

Syria is determined to adhere to its sovereignty and territorial integrity and will not abandon its firm resolve to liberate its occupied territories whether the occupiers are Americans, Turks, Israelis or terrorist organizations, stressed Ja’afari.

Ankara has recently beefed up its military presence in the militant-held Syrian region despite a ceasefire reached last month to halt an escalation.

On March 5, Russia and Turkey, which support opposite sides in the Syrian conflict, came to an agreement on the ceasefire regime in Idlib, where Turkish aggression against the Syrian government had earlier risked starting a war.

The ceasefire came a few months after the Syrian army launched an anti-terror operation against foreign-sponsored militants after they failed to honor a de-escalation agreement between Ankara and Moscow.

Ankara, which itself supports a number of anti-Damascus militant outfits in Idlib, claims that Syrian offensives there have killed dozens of its troops. It has threatened to attack the Syrian military unless government forces abandoned the liberated areas, and asked Moscow to “stop” Damascus.

Turkey has, meanwhile, sent thousands of troops and heavy military hardware into Idlib in an unprecedented incursion to back the militants.

Damascus, though, has vowed to liberate entire Syria, including Idlib, which remains the last major bastion for foreign-backed Takfiri terrorists in the country.

April 30, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , | Leave a comment

Moscow: UN Weapons Embargo on Iran Can’t Be Prolonged Despite US Efforts

Sputnik – April 30, 2020

The UN embargo on conventional weapons sales to Iran, which expires in October 2020, can’t be extended despite US efforts to prevent its expiration, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister has stated.

“For us, the case of the existing ban on arms deliveries to and from Iran was closed with the adoption of Resolution 2231. The embargo regime expires in October this year”, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov stated.

Ryabkov went on to blame the US for its selective approach to Resolution 2231. He recalled that Washington itself had stopped adhering to its provisions two years ago and has since spared no effort to prevent other nations from remaining in compliance with the resolution by introducing unilateral sanctions.

“Instead of discussing which provisions of Resolution 2231 could be used to achieve certain political goals, the US would be better off ensuring the full and comprehensive implementation of the provisions of this resolution, and return to full compliance with the JCPOA”, the Deputy Foreign Minister added.

UN Resolution 2231 adopted back in 2015 alongside the Iran nuclear deal, prohibited the sale of conventional weapons to the Islamic Republic until 18 October 2020 and separately the sale of missiles until 2023. However, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated yesterday that Washington is planning to do anything in its power to extend the ban beyond October 2020 and will apply to the UN to do that.

Pompeo mulled resorting to a mechanism that renews international sanctions against the Islamic Republic by declaring that it violated the nuclear deal inked in 2015, but was later abandoned by the US in 2018. The secretary of state claims the US is still formally a party to the deal and that Washington will seek help from its European allies, signatories to the deal, in this matter. UN inspections, however, revealed that Iran complied with the deal as it promised in 2015.

April 30, 2020 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment

US push for low-yield nukes makes atomic war MORE likely as Russia will retaliate with full force: Moscow

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | April 30, 2020

The US State Department’s case for tactical nuclear weapons is a case study in psychological projection not seen since the darkest days of the Cold War and its ever-present threat of world-ending atomic holocaust.

Back in February, the Pentagon announced the US Navy has fielded the first batch of W76-2 low-yield submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) warheads. A paper by the State Department’s Bureau of Arms Control, published last week, aimed to explain the reasoning  behind this move and “debunk” the critics. The 10-page document was endorsed by the acting Under Secretary for arms control Christopher Ford, who hailed the missiles as “reducing net nuclear risks.”

On Wednesday, however, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called the move “a deliberate blurring of the lines between non-strategic and strategic nuclear weapons” that “inevitably leads to a lowering of the nuclear threshold and an increase in the threat of nuclear conflict.”

“Everyone who wants to do this should understand that according to the Russian military doctrine, such actions will be considered the basis for the reciprocal use of nuclear weapons by Russia.”

At the root of this discrepancy is a fundamental misunderstanding. Foggy Bottom and the Pentagon are basing their arguments not on the actual Russian doctrine or behavior, but on their belief as to what those might be.

For example, there is an unquestioned assumption in US policy circles that Russia has a nuclear doctrine described as “escalate to de-escalate” – which “purportedly seeks to deescalate a conventional conflict through coercive threats, including limited nuclear use,” according to a 2015 congressional testimony of then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work.

As former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter pointed out, Work’s own words reveal that this is not the actual Russian doctrine, but the impression of it by some US analysts. Whoever originated this utter fantasy is irrelevant; it ranks right alongside Molly McKew’s “expertise” on Russian nuclear posture or the likewise widespread acceptance of the nonexistent “Gerasimov Doctrine.”

The State Department’s paper is indeed based on Work’s assumptions about Russia, as it literally talks about the US “deterrence objective of undermining Russian confidence that it can control escalation in a nuclear war.”

In struggling to understand where this notion may have come from, I remembered a 1978 fiction book about World War III by Sir John Hackett, a British general. Hackett envisioned a Soviet nuclear strike on a European NATO capital after the conventional war started going badly for the USSR. In the book, NATO responds with a nuclear strike on Minsk, and the war ends with a coup in Moscow by Ukrainian nationalists (stop me if you’ve heard that one before!). It may sound insane that a 42-year-old fantasy appears to be the basis of US thinking about current Russian strategy, yet here we are.

The other thing that’s downright alarming about the State Department paper is its talk of a “limited response to demonstrate resolve.” Considering that the US is the only country in the world to ever use nuclear weapons in combat – against primarily civilian targets, no less – there is no reason for anyone to doubt Washington’s “resolve.” Go read their argument; it seems to be one giant straw man, composed of wishful thinking, projection and mirror imaging – textbook mistakes its authors should have known better than to make.

Which gets us to the fundamental misunderstanding at work here. Over the course of its 244-year history, almost every US war has been fought abroad and by choice. By contrast, Russian wars tend to be fought at home and against foreign invaders. Russians do not think of war in terms of posturing, but in terms of life and death. They don’t need to “demonstrate resolve” – not after countless documented acts of bravery against overwhelming odds.

Moreover, Russian President Vladimir Putin literally spelled out his country’s nuclear doctrine back in 2018, on two separate occasions. “Why would we want a world without Russia?” he said in March, illustrating the notion that Moscow is willing to use atomic weapons if the survival of Russia was endangered, even if by conventional means. Several months later, in October, he was even more graphic.

“Any aggressor should know that retribution will be inevitable and he will be destroyed. And since we will be the victims of his aggression, we will be going to heaven as martyrs. They will simply drop dead, won’t even have time to repent.”

Yet here are the Pentagon and the State Department, ignoring this observable reality in favor of their own wishful thinking that may well be based on decades-old fantasies from a world long since gone. As Zakharova correctly points out, that’s not making the world safer – not even a tiny bit.

Nebojsa Malic is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Twitter @NebojsaMalic

April 30, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Russia: US use of low-yield nukes would still be nuclear attack, draw retaliation

Press TV – April 30, 2020

Russia has warned that any attack by the United States involving its low-yield submarine-launched ballistic missiles would still be construed as nuclear aggression and would draw all-out nuclear retaliation.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday that any attack with the use of the submarine-launched ballistic missiles, regardless of their characteristics, would be viewed by the Kremlin as nuclear aggression and, therefore, a basis for a retaliatory strike.

Zakharova made the comments following the United States’ deployment of its low-yield nuclear warheads, saying the move was a dangerous step that would lead to destabilization.

“We noted the article, published by the US Department of State’s official website on April 24 and devoted to the issue of creating W76-2 low-yield nuclear warheads and deploy it on some of its Trident submarines,” she said. “As we have already said many times, we view this as a dangerous step. We believe that it carries a certain element of destabilization.”

The US State Department argued in a paper released last week that the new warhead “reduces the risk of nuclear war by reinforcing extended deterrence and assurance.”

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the US’s production of W76-2 missiles lowered the nuclear threshold and increased the risk of a nuclear conflict.

Back in February, the United States announced the deployment of a new long-range nuclear missile aboard its stealth submarines to deter what it called Washington’s potential adversaries.

The US Department of Defense claimed in a statement at the time that the low-yield warheads were deployed on the USS Tennessee submarine patrolling in the Atlantic Ocean to deter “potential adversaries, like Russia,” and in response to Russian tests of similar weapons.

Low-yield nuclear weapons have less than 20 kilotons of destructive power but still have devastating effect. The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, in August 1945, had about the same explosive power.

Washington has been deploying missiles in Eastern Europe and near Russia’s western borders, a provocative move denounced by the Kremlin.

Moscow has repeatedly warned Washington not to deploy weapons systems in the vicinity of Russia.

April 30, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

In Effect Sweden’s Economy Is Also Closed

By Paul Craig Roberts • Institute for Political Economy • April 29, 2020

We have been subjected to much nonsensical disinformation that Sweden has kept its economy open and is faring no worse in infections than countries with closed economies and without the economic consequences of closed-downed economies. The fact of the matter is that de facto Sweden’s economy is closed and is doing no better than anyone’s else’s, and its infection rate is still rising.

Sweden closed universities and high schools, banned gatherings of large groups, asked people to avoid non-essential travel, and advised those ill and over 70 to stay at home. Sweden did not require restaurants, bars, and gyms to close, but business is down by 70% as people have avoided the risk. That decline could be larger than in the US where restaurants are permitted to provide takeouts. In Sweden the hotel occupancy rate has dropped from 60% to 10%. Sweden’s economy is “open” only in words.

Despite the alleged “open economy,” economic sentiment indicators fell more in Sweden than in the rest of Europe and the US. The Swedish Riksbank estimates an 11% drop in Swedish GDP from January through April with a number of Swedish economic sectors being “drastically weaker.” This is worse than the 9% decline predicted for the US.

Moreover, closed down Norway, with which Sweden is usually compared, has seen its virus infection rate decline while “open” Sweden’s continues to rise.

This information comes from Bank of America’s Global Research, but I am prevented from reproducing the information. If I include the URL for the report, it opens as “bad request.” So I will describe a bit more of the information. It is distributed as a Merrill Lynch “morning market tidbits,” April 29, 2020.

There is a graph comparing Norwegian and Swedish infection rates. The rates begin together and rise together until the end of the first week in April when the Norwegian rate turns down and the Swedish rate continues to rise. If a line is fitted to the Norwegian data it is an upside down U shape. The line fitted to the Swedish data is a straight line that rises to the right. As of yesterday Sweden’s new cases per million people is a multiple of Norway’s.

In view of these facts, go now and review all of the false claims that Sweden proves the close downs were pointless.

April 29, 2020 Posted by | Economics | | 6 Comments

WhatsApp Blasts Israeli Firm for ‘Being Deeply Involved’ in Hacking 1,400 Users, Court Files Say

By Lilia Dergacheva – Sputnik – 29.04.2020

The now unveiled court documents reveal how an Israeli firm could technically have conducted the hacking of strings of individuals, including human rights activists and journalists, alleging that it was carried out through its special software called Pegasus.

In newly publicised court filings cited by The Guardian, WhatsApp has taken a dig at the Israeli spyware company NSO Group, accusing it of exploiting US-based servers, as it was “deeply involved” in carrying out the mobile phone hacks of 1,400 users – with senior government officials and human rights activists among them.

The social media company took the matter to court last year, indicting NSO of severe human rights violations, including the hacking of more than a dozen Indian journalists and Rwandan dissidents.

The documents shed light on a number of technical details about how the hacking software, Pegasus, is allegedly deployed against targets.

WhatsApp alleges that the victims of the hack had received phone calls using its messaging app and were “infected” with Pegasus, which NSO reportedly updated using a network of computers for monitoring. “These NSO-controlled computers served as the nerve centre through which NSO controlled its customers’ operation and use of Pegasus”, the court files suggest.

WhatsApp insists that NSO gained “unauthorised access” to its servers by reverse-engineering the messaging app and then going around the company’s security settings that prevent misuse of the company’s call features.

One WhatsApp engineer who looked into the hacks charged in a sworn statement that in 720 instances, the IP address of a remote server was included in the malicious code used in the attacks. The remote server was allegedly based in Los Angeles and owned by a company whose data centre was used by NSO, which is said to have logs, including targeted users’ IP addresses, at its disposal.

NSO said in legal filings that it has no idea how government clients use its hacking tools, and therefore does not know who exactly they are targeting.

In comments to The Guardian, NSO defended its earlier statement praising its digital brainchildren: “Our products are used to stop terrorism, curb violent crime, and save lives. NSO Group does not operate the Pegasus software for its clients”, the company said, stressing that their “past statements about our business, and the extent of our interaction with our government intelligence and law enforcement agency customers, are accurate”. It added that the company’s management is preparing a formal response to the court files in the near future.

NSO is meanwhile in the public crosshairs over it latest product – a reportedly US-marketed tracking program specially meant for those infected with COVID-19. The new program, called Fleming, uses mobile phone data and public health information to identify the whereabouts of corona patients and whom they have come into contact with.

April 29, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , | Leave a comment

Covid-19 was already ‘silently circulating’ in France before virus arrived from China & Italy – study

RT | April 29, 2020

The outbreak of the coronavirus in France has little to do with cases imported from China or Italy, as another strain of the disease of unknown origin had already been infecting people in the country, research claims.

The virologists at the Pasteur Institute in Paris have sequenced the genomes from samples taken from 97 French and three Algerian coronavirus patients between January 24 and March 24.

What they found is that the dominant types of Covid-19 viral strains in France differed from those that arrived from China or Italy, and belonged to another group, or ‘clade.’

The earliest sample in the French clade dated from February 19 and came from an infected person who hadn’t traveled abroad recently and had no contacts with possible carriers of the disease.

“We can infer that the virus was silently circulating in France in February” prior to the wave of Covid-19 cases in the country, the virologists said in a paper, published on bioRxiv website but not yet peer-reviewed.

The origins of this third strain were unknown to the scientists. They also pointed out that their sampling was insufficient to reliably establish the time of its introduction in France.

The first coronavirus-related fatality was registered in the country in mid-February, with 129,859 people confirmed as infected and 23,660 dying from complications related to the highly contagious disease since then.

April 29, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment