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Michael Moore-Backed Documentary Reveals Massive Ecological Impacts Of Renewables

By Michael Shellenberger | Forbes | April 21, 2020

Over the last 10 years, everyone from celebrity influencers including Elon Musk, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Al Gore, to major technology brands including Apple, have repeatedly claimed that renewables like solar panels and wind farms are less polluting than fossil fuels.

But a new documentary, “Planet of the Humans,” being released free to the public on YouTube today, the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, reveals that industrial wind farms, solar farms, biomass, and biofuels are wrecking natural environments.

“Planet of the Humans was produced by Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore. “I assumed solar panels would last forever,” Moore told Reuters. “I didn’t know what went into the making of them.”

The film shows both abandoned industrial wind and solar farms and new ones being built — but after cutting down forests. “It suddenly dawned on me what we were looking at was a solar dead zone,” says filmmaker Jeff Gibbs, staring at a former solar farm in California. “I learned that the solar panels don’t last.”

Like many environmental documentaries, “Planet of Humans” endorses debunked Malthusian ideas that the world is running out of energy. “We have to have our ability to consume reigned in,” says a well-coiffed environmental leader. “Without some major die-off of the human population there is no turning back,” says a scientist.

The film unearths a great deal of information I had never seen before. It shows Apple’s head of sustainability, former EPA head Lisa Jackson, claiming on-stage at an Apple event, “We now run Apple on 100% renewable energy,” to loud applause.

But Gibbs interviews a scientist who researched corporate renewables programs who said, “I haven’t found a single entity anywhere in the world running on 100% solar and wind alone.” The film shows a forest being cut down to build an Apple solar farm.

After Earth Day Founder Denis Hayes claims at a 2015 Earth Day concert that the event was being powered by solar, Gibbs goes behind the stage to find out the truth. “The concert is run by a diesel generation system,” the solar vendor said. “That right there could run a toaster,” said another vendor.

The film also debunks the claim made by Elon Musk that his “Gigafactory” to make batteries is powered by renewables. In fact, it is hooked up to the electric grid.

“Some solar panels are built to only last 10 years,” said a man selling materials for solar manufacturing at a corporate expo. “It’s not like you get this magic free energy. I don’t know that it’s the solution and here I am selling the materials that go in photovoltaics.”

“What powers a learning community?” said [Bill] MicKibben at the unveiling of a wood-burning power plant at Middlebury College in Vermont. “As of this afternoon, the easy answer to this is wood chips. It’s incredibly beautiful to look at the bunker of wood chips. Anything that burns we can throw in there! This shows that this could happen everywhere, should happen everywhere, and must happen everywhere!”

The film reveals that McKibben and Sierra Club supported a Michigan ballot initiative that would have required the state get 25% of its electricity from renewables by 2025, and that the initiative was backed by biomass industrial interests, and that efforts to build a biomass plant at Michigan State University were hotly opposed by climate activists — including ones from

Read the full article here

The film:

Watch the full documentary on Bitchute.

The film description says:

Michael Moore presents Planet of the Humans, a documentary that dares to say what no one else will this Earth Day — that we are losing the battle to stop climate change on planet earth because we are following leaders who have taken us down the wrong road — selling out the green movement to wealthy interests and corporate America.

This film is the wake-up call to the reality we are afraid to face: that in the midst of a human-caused extinction event, the environmental movement’s answer is to push for techno-fixes and band-aids. It’s too little, too late. Removed from the debate is the only thing that MIGHT save us: getting a grip on our out-of-control human presence and consumption.

Why is this not THE issue? Because that would be bad for profits, bad for business. Have we environmentalists fallen for illusions, “green” illusions, that are anything but green, because we’re scared that this is the end—and we’ve pinned all our hopes on biomass, wind turbines, and electric cars? No amount of batteries are going to save us, warns director Jeff Gibbs (lifelong environmentalist and co-producer of “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “Bowling for Columbine”).

This urgent, must-see movie, a full-frontal assault on our sacred cows, is guaranteed to generate anger, debate, and, hopefully, a willingness to see our survival in a new way—before it’s too late. Featuring: Al Gore, Bill McKibben, Richard Branson, Robert F Kennedy Jr., Michael Bloomberg, Van Jones, Vinod Khosla, Koch Brothers, Vandana Shiva, General Motors,, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Nature Conservancy, Elon Musk, Tesla.

April 21, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Timeless or most popular, Video | 4 Comments

Renouncing Israel on Principle

How to answer the question, “Do you affirm Israel’s right to exist?”

By Steven Salaita | December 9, 2019

When anti-Zionists discuss the Middle East, the topic of Israel’s existence rarely arises. It’s almost exclusively a pro-Israel talking point.  We’re focused on national liberation, on surviving repression, on strategies of resistance, on recovering subjugated histories, on the complex (and sometimes touchy) relationships among an Indigenous population disaggregated by decades of aggression. That a colonial state—or any state, really—possesses no ontological rights is an unspoken assumption.

“Do you recognize Israel’s right to exist?” pretends to honor the downtrodden, but it is an altogether different proposition, transforming sophisticated ideas of liberation into a crude test of political respectability. Prioritizing the state as worthy of relief, as something to which we automatically owe deference, subsumes life to the imperatives of capital.

The fundamental goal of the question is to attribute a sinister position to dissidents. It accomplishes that goal even when the dissidents haven’t promoted destruction. Mere defense of Palestinian life is enough to evoke the settler’s existential fear. For people socialized into orthodoxy, Israel is synonymous with progress, technology, and production. Affirming its existence is an endorsement of the status quo; no matter how ludicrous as a moral premise, in capitalist spaces it is a perfectly sensible demand.

There are plenty of reasons to eschew the demand. The first reason is practical:  we don’t advocate for the destruction of human communities, but of ideologies conducive to racism and inequality. It’s both insidious and unethical to conflate Jewish people (of any national origin) with the existence of a violent, rapacious polity. That sort of conflation is a grave disservice to activists and intellectuals devoted to a better world—and to the communities for whom a better world is a necessity of survival. Nobody has ever asked me to affirm another nation-state’s existence, a demand I would likewise decline. Zionists constantly single out Israel for special treatment.

Moreover, it is remarkably impudent for champions of a state founded on the destruction of Palestine and now in its eighth decade of ethnic cleansing to ask the victims of its malevolence for recognition. Even worse, recognition is only the tip of the demand. We’re also being asked to legitimize apartheid and ignore the routine commission of war crimes. The upshot is to validate Israel as a militarized object of Western imperialism—in other words, to affirm the existence of a deeply antihuman entity.

Let’s consider the demand in context of North America, where it’s most frequently issued. Those of us operating in this geography haven’t the authority to abdicate nearly 80 (and arguably 100) percent of historical Palestine. It’s not any Westerner’s prerogative to relinquish Palestine under the pressure of a spuriously humanistic insistence by Zionists that their perfidy be excused because it will somehow make us more responsible citizens.

I am happy, eager even, to affirm the right of Jewish people to live in peace and security, wherever that may be, a right all humans deserve in no particular order of worthiness. But I won’t ratify Israel’s bloody founding or its devotion to racial supremacy. Ultimately, when Zionists demand that you affirm Israel’s right to exist, what they really seek is affirmation of Palestinian nonexistence.

Beyond these philosophical, political, and practical factors, there’s a worthy psychological reason to refuse the demand. Zionists are the bully in this supposed conflict and enjoy nearly universal support in centers of political and economic power. They have more funds, access to corporate media, and the backing of the US military. Palestinians, however, hold one form of power that doesn’t require money, platforms, or weaponry:  the ability to withhold legitimacy from Israel. It is a small power, without a material apparatus, but it is power, nevertheless, one that only a fool or opportunist would relinquish.  When an oppressor makes submission the basis of civic responsibility, insolence is the only dignified response.

April 21, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | 7 Comments

All Smoke and No Gun at the OPCW

By Jeremy Salt | American Herald Tribune | April 16, 2020

Over the past decade, the London Guardian has never reported the war on Syria in any way commensurate with the principles of true journalism. It is had been running a line, consistently slanted to do as much damage to the Syrian government as possible. As such, it has been a central conduit in the propaganda war. It closed down ‘comment is free’ on its Syria articles long ago because well-informed readers could see what it was up to and were writing embarrassing correctives.

Throughout, its language has been the language of propaganda – ‘the regime,’ ‘Assad loyalists,’ ‘the dictator,’ ‘the rebels’, ‘the armed opposition,’ ‘the uprising,’ ‘the civil war,’ so on and on, endlessly. Its ‘coverage’ has always been calibrated to the damage it thinks it can do to the Syrian government. In fact, by supporting its ‘rebels’ and by implication the  governments arming and financing them, it has only aggravated the damage being done to Syria and its people who, all the evidence suggests, overwhelmingly support their president and their army, not these ‘rebels.’

Silent when its ‘rebels’ are taking a beating, the Guardian springs to life the moment there’s a fresh opportunity to abuse Syria’s president. Accordingly, when the OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) issued its latest report on chemical weapon usage in Syria, its sibling Sunday paper, the Observer, was quick off the mark, running a headline on April 12 reading “The Observer view on the smoking gun that should force Assad to face justice.” It went on: “For the first time the world’s chemical weapons watchdog has directly accused Syria’s leadership of ordering illegal attacks on its own people.” Stating accusations from concealed sources as fact, it concludes that “the tyrant in Damascus has not yet won.”

As it turns out, the OPCW report is all smoke but no gun. Unsurprisingly, given their Syria coverage, the Guardian and the Observer are not even interested in distinguishing between the two. For their purposes, the smoke is as good as the gun. What they call “the world’s chemical weapons watchdog” is actually a watchdog protecting the interests of the governments attacking Syria through armed proxies. The Guardian and the Observer are watchdogs protecting the same interests, which in this case means protecting a tainted report coming from a tainted source.

Last year whistleblowers revealed that the OPCW executive had suppressed the interim report by the Fact Finding Mission (FFM) on the alleged chemical weapons attack on Douma in April 2018, and had issued a doctored final report, reversing the on-the-spot findings of its own experts.

The final report concluded that the cylinder said to have crashed through a roof had probably been dropped from the air when its own engineers had arrived at the “higher probability” that it had been placed there manually. As for the heavy amounts of chlorine it suggested had been released from this cylinder, killing 43 people, according to anonymous “witnesses”, what its own chemists said they found in the air were microparticles no different from what would have been in the air normally. On January 20 this year, the OPCW’s inspection team leader at Douma, Ian Henderson, told a specially convened session of the UN Security Council that the evidence indicated there had been no chemical weapons attack at all at Douma.

Its fraudulent behavior exposed, the OPCW secretariat tried to dismiss the evidence of its whistleblower engineers and scientists as “subjective” but the damage to its credibility was terminal, and in seeking to uphold a tainted report from a tainted organization, the Guardian and the Observer only underscore the tainted nature of their own ‘reporting’ and editorials on Syria.

Wisely, in this latest report, dated April 8, “The First Report by the OPCW Investigation and Identification Team” (IIT), a body established in 2018, the OPCW does not return to what happened at Douma in 2018.  The subject matter this time is chlorine and sarin attacks said to have been carried out in and around the “village” of Ltameneh on March 24, 25 and 30, 2017.

In fact, Al Lataminah (“Llatameneh”) is not a “village” as described in the IIT report but a town with a population of more than 16,000, according to the census of 2004. This has probably shifted upwards or downwards since then. Close to Hama and only a few kilometers from the strategically important M5 highway, the town is located within territory in the Hama governorate that was under the control of Hayat Tahrir al Sham and other terrorist factions when the chemical weapons attacks were said to have taken place in 2017. Al Lataminah itself was the headquarters of Jaysh al ‘Izza (Army of Glory).

According to the IIT, there were three attacks, one of chlorine and two of sarin, on March 24, 25 and 30, each in cylinders or bombs dropped from the air by Syrian air force SU (Sukhoi) 22 fighter aircraft or helicopters. The format of the report is identical to the format of all its reports, and indeed all the reports put out by the UN’s Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic. Lots of acronyms, weighty officious language implying authority, lots of imputations but virtually nothing in the form of evidence that would stand up in a court.

The sources, individual, institutional and governmental (“state parties”) are all concealed. The OPCW says it sought entry into Syria, but was ignored by the Syrian government, which is hardly surprising given the fakery of its report on Douma. It talks of witnesses, who, as its investigators were not on the spot inside Syria, have to be regarded as alleged witnesses. It does not say who they were or where they were when interviewed, but Turkey would be most likely. Neither is there any mention of possible affiliations, perhaps to the White Helmets or one of the armed groups.

The report ties the alleged attacks to the close proximity of Syrian airbases and the daily activity of Syrian aircraft as they take off and return.  Syria is fighting a war against terrorist groups that have infiltrated and taken over large parts of the Hama and Idlib governorates, so of course military planes and helicopters are frequently in the air. The ITT imputations that they might have been or could have been involved in chemical weapons attacks are devoid of substance.

The IIT report talks confidently of its chain of custody, including shell remnants said to have been taken from craters to one of its (unidentified) designated laboratories.  It does not say who allegedly carried this material out of Syria but as Jaysh al ‘Izza was then in control of the town, one of its members or its sympathizers, committed to the destruction of the Syrian government and out to blacken its name whenever possible,  is the most likely.

Included in the IIT evidential chain is information “obtained” during interviews, information “previously” provided by “witnesses,” interviews with “persons of interest” along with the evidence of other unidentified “witnesses” to the attacks and people affected by them. Again, these are alleged witnesses to an alleged attack and people allegedly affected by these alleged attacks. They were NOT interviewed in Syria and the IIT report provides no proof of their authenticity.

The IIT’s further sources include unidentified videos and  “documents,” as well as “relevant material” from “various sources,” briefings and advice from unidentified “experts” and “specialists,” information from unidentified “open sources” and “forensic institutes,” and unspecified input from unidentified “state parties.”

Noting the use of tunnels at Al Lataminah by Jaish al ‘Izza, a “military expert” advising the IIT “noted [that] the use of chemical weapons in this area would not be inconsistent [my italics] with a strategy aimed at inflicting terror on both civilians and combatants.” Neither, of course, on the basis of past compelling evidence, would it be inconsistent with the proven attempts by terrorist groups to lure outside governments into launching an air war on Syria by staging faked chemical weapons attacks. The IIT refers to the possibility of a staged attack, but does not take it seriously.

It claims to have received information “from multiple sources”, unidentified of course, that senior Syrian Republican Guard officers (names redacted) sent orders to “former members” of the “previously-designated branch 450, a component of the Syrian Arab Republic’s chemical weapons programme responsible for the storage, mixing and filling of chemical weapons, including sarin, to prepare items for use in the defense of Hama.”  By imputation, these “items” were chemical weapons. The IIT also claimed to have “obtained information” that in March 2017, sarin precursors were being stored at a facility at Him Shinshar, in the Homs governorate.

The ITT notes that branch 450 was “officially” dissolved in 2013, insinuating, again, that it wasn’t really, while providing no evidence at all to back up the “information” received from some unnamed source that the Syrian government still had a stock of sarin precursors. It does not say where the “former members” are now, or what they are doing, and provides no hard evidence at all to back up the claim by hidden “multiple sources” that in 2017 they were still involved in the preparation of chemical weapons

The report refers to satellite imaging of the Shayrat airbase (provided by whom?) showing, “according to a specialist” (in what?) “structures” that “could have been used [my italics] to store chemical weapons.”  Perhaps they also could have been used to store engine parts, garden tools, food for the base canteen or cleaning material for the toilet blocks but the unknown contents of these “structures” are all part of the buildup to the IIT report’s conclusion that it was “very likely” Syrian air force planes did drop chemical weapons on Al Lataminah.

The same imagery indicated that part of the Hama airbase was a “possible barrel bomb storage depot” with a number of items visible as “possible barrel bombs.” No doubt there is a vast range of other possibilities for what these “items” might have been, so why pick just this one? The ITT also claimed to have “obtained information” that chlorine barrel bombs had been prepared at nearby Masyaf, the 12th century center of the Ismaili fidais (sacrificers) who have passed into history as the Order of the Assassins. According to the IIT’s source, they were taken to Hama, but without there being any inkling of who provided this “information,” such a claim cannot possibly be taken at face value.

The IIT claimed to have “received information” that 176 people were admitted to hospital after the (alleged) sarin attack on March 24 but admitted that it had been unable to locate the medical records. Clearly they would have been of paramount importance in confirming what had taken place, and medical staff in a hospital in a town controlled by Jaysh al ‘Izza could surely have been easily persuaded to provide them. There is no attempt by the ITT, however, to explain why its sources could not come up with photocopies of at least one or two of these records, if indeed there was an attack, if there were indeed casualties and if there were indeed medical records to photocopy.

The IIT further claims to have interviewed casualties and medical staff who described symptoms toxicologists found “plausible” as being consistent with the effects of nerve gas. In fact, sarin is so deadly that it can kill within one to ten minutes, with those who survive often suffering permanent brain damage, raising further questions about its alleged use at Al Lataminah. There is no indication in the IIT report that any of these alleged victims were subjected to a medical examination either in Syria or wherever it was that they were later interviewed. For a team of investigators determined to get to the truth, one would have thought this also should have been a priority.

The IIT claimed to have interviewed individuals “with direct knowledge” of the attacks. It does not say where they were interviewed and how it knew they had “direct knowledge” of the alleged attacks.  It further claims that munitions remnants (allegedly) taken from a crater “could be linked” to “potential chemical weapons use.” “Could be” and “potential” are hardly persuasive.

Samples were (allegedly) taken from one crater on March 26, 2017, but not delivered to the FFM until August 12. There is no indication of who in this Jaysh al ‘Izza-controlled town dug up the samples and gave them to the FFM nearly five months later. One would have to conclude that it was most likely someone from Jaysh al ‘Izza, if in fact there was a crater and the samples were taken from it and not somewhere else.  Speculating further, the report says that 2000 bombs designed to carry chemical weapons had been converted into conventional bombs after 2013 and supposedly used but the secretariat had been unable to confirm that this had actually happened, conveniently leaving an avenue open to support the IIT’s claims.

The report claims that helicopters dropped four “barrel bombs” on March 25, one falling through the roof of a building, just as a cylinder full of chlorine was said to have done in the discredited report the OPCW issued on Douma. Three “witnesses” were said to have seen the event and reported that three people died as a result and 32 were injured. There is not a scintilla of confirmation for any of this. There is no indication of how the IIT was able to confirm that the individuals it interviewed in another country, apparently long after the event, really were witnesses.

Completely sweeping away the creaking foundations of all of this is the OPCW’s own earlier findings on the destruction of all the Syrian government’s stocks of chemical weapons material, following the staged attack in the Ghouta disrict, near Damascus, in August 2013, designed to draw Barack Obama over his self-declared “red line” so that he would launch an air attack.

Warned by his own intelligence agencies that the attack could be a setup, Obama pulled back at the last minute, but subsequently, the Syrian government offered to have all its stocks of chemical weapons destroyed under international supervision anyway. The process began in September 2013, the Syrian government simultaneously signing on to the International Convention on the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (1997).

By June 2014, the OPCW, the supervising body, reported that all production capacity had been destroyed. The remaining chemicals were removed from Syria and by August 2014,  all had been destroyed. In January 2016, the OPCW affirmed that the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons material in the previous three years had been completed. Now, however, the ITT is reproducing an unsubstantiated claim that they weren’t, in order to lend spurious plausibility to its accusations that the Syrian air force dropped chemical weapons and nerve gas on and around Al Lataminah.

The appropriate resting place for this report is not the filing cabinet but the wastepaper basket. With these reports, the OPCW has completely destroyed its credibility. It needs cleaning out, beginning with the sacking of the director-general and the entire secretariat. Otherwise, it should be replaced with a new body, if the world is to have a credible independent chemical weapons watchdog and not one that appears to dance to the foreign policy interests of the US and its global satraps.

April 21, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Covid-19 has a grandma, grandpa and great grandpa. Where are they?

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | April 21, 2020

The search for the genesis of Covid-19 is developing into an epic story. Thanks to the insinuations by the US President Donald Trump — ‘China virus’, ‘Wuhan virus’, etc. — that were explosive in their political and strategic content, Beijing is now more determined than ever to get to the bottom of the story.

Which is a good thing, because now that Beijing has been touched to the quick and is turbo-charged this story will appear in the public domain sooner rather than later.

In an unusual move last weekend, China’s envoy to Moscow, Zhang Hanhui highlighted that the whole story about Covid-19 is only unfolding and there are surprises in store for the world community.

It is inconceivable that Ambassador Zhang spoke without the knowledge of Beijing. Significantly, the Chinese envoy chose the Russian state news agency Tass for making some startling disclosures. According to the ambassador,

  • Five top Chinese scientific organisations have collected the data, 93 genome specimens of COVID-19 that have been published in a global database based on inputs from 12 countries on four different continents.
  • The research has shown that the Covid-19’s earliest “ancestor” is a virus known as mv1, which subsequently evolved into haplotypes H13 and H38. (A haplotype is a group of genes within an organism that was inherited together from a single parent.)
  • In turn, H13 and H38 evolved into a second-generation haplotype — H3 — which subsequently involved into H1 (Covid-19).
  • That is to say, in plain terms, Covid-19’s “father” is H3; its “grandparents” are H13 and H38; and, its “great grandfather” is mv1.
  • Now, although the virus that was discovered in the Wuhan seafood market (Covid-19) was of the H1 variety alright, only its “father” H3 has been spotted in Wuhan — and that too, NOT in the seafood market.
  • Importantly, the Covid-19’s “grandparents” — H13 and H38 — have never been spotted in Wuhan.

“This suggests that the H1 specimen was brought to the seafood market by some infected person, which sparked the epidemic. The gene sequence cannot lie.” (Ambassador Zhang)

Suffice to say, the original source of Covid-19’s spread is yet to be traced and the trail could lead in any direction. As of now, although Covid-19 was  first discovered in Wuhan, its exact origin is yet to be determined.

Meanwhile, there are tell-tale signs. Thus, Ambassador Zhang recounted:

  1. A married couple from Japan contracted Covid-19 while in Hawaii (where the US Pacific base is located) sometime between January 28 and February 3, although they had not visited China or had come into contact with any Chinese person. Notably, the husband had symptoms by February 3.
  2. The media reported that Covid-19 has first appeared in Lombardy in northern Italy as early as January 1.
  3. According to the renowned Italian medical specialist Giuseppe Remuzzi, the Covid-19 epidemic in Italy had begun spreading even before it started in China.
  4. The well-known American virologist Robert Redfield — currently the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the leading national public health institute of the US and a federal agency) and the Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (a a federal public health agency based in Atlanta, Georgia) — has speculated that the large number of flu deaths in the US could have in fact been caused by COVID-19, but the US did not test for it at that time. (An estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications last winter.)
  5. Shockingly enough, Italy wanted to trace the first infection case of Covid-19 by conducting an exhumation in the US of so-called flu victims, but the US has flatly refused permission.       

However, contemporary science and technology is well-equipped to trace the trail of Covid-19 and it is absolutely certain that “sooner or later, the day will come when everything that’s been concealed will be revealed.” (Ambassador Zhang)

Interestingly, since the appearance of Ambassador Zhang’s interview with the Tass, President Trump has calibrated his previous allegation of Chinese complicity and mala fide intentions. Whereas Trump had pointedly threatened Beijing with retribution, he has since moderated his stance and said on Saturday at a media briefing at the White House:

“You know, the question was asked, “Would you be angry at China?” Well, the answer might very well be a very resounding “yes,” but it depends: Was it a mistake that got out of control or was it done deliberately? Okay? That’s a big difference between those two. In either event, they should have let us go in. You know, we asked to go in very early, and they didn’t want us in. I think they were embarrassed. I think they knew it was something bad, and I think they were embarrassed.”

Trump no longer alleges culpability on China’s part. It’s no longer an open and shut case, either. Presumably, it’s now negotiable. Trump spoke only two days after Ambassador Zhang’s interview appeared. 

Clearly, the Chinese diplomat hinted that the trail of Covid-19 can and will be scientifically traced. Trump will have a serious problem if it transpires that Covid-19’s grandma, grandpa and great grandpa are actually domiciled in the US.

April 21, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , | 2 Comments

NYT Blames Maduro for Healthcare Horror, Downplays US Role

By Bryce Greene | FAIR | April 16, 2020

The New York Times (4/10/20) published an article describing the horrendous shape of the Venezuelan healthcare system. The human interest story, written by Julie Turkewitz and Isayen Herrera, followed several women through their nightmarish journey of childbearing in a broken medical system. The piece would be outstanding reporting, had it not fumbled the most important aspect of the story: how and why the system is as bad as it is. In true “manufacturing consent” fashion, the piece downplayed the US role in destabilizing the Venezuelan economy, and instead pointed to President Nicolás Maduro’s “authoritarianism” as the primary cause of the crisis.

The piece appeared on the Times’ front page on Saturday. The section of the piece visible on the front page pointed to Maduro as the cause for Venezuela’s healthcare problem, saying the system had been “crippled by a broken economy overseen by an increasingly authoritarian government.”

The story continued on an inside page, where it finally referenced the US role in creating the desperate conditions. The reporters briefly mentioned that Maduro claimed that US sanctions had some effect, but quickly brushed the claim aside, citing “analysts and critics” who said that Maduro’s charge had “only some weight.”

To back up this dismissal, the authors cited Feliciano Reyna, the founder of a nonprofit known as Action for Solidarity. Reyna blamed the Maduro administration for refusing to accept help from aid organizations. He indicated that despite the sanctions, the country would be able to receive the supplies it needed from those organizations.

However, a few paragraphs later, the piece stated the government had been attempting to receive help through the Red Cross for nearly a year now, throwing Reyes’ criticism into doubt. The contradiction was not addressed by the reporters, and the doublethink was allowed to go unchallenged, even as the piece acknowledged that the Red Cross has been failing to meet Venezuela’s needs, due to a lack of funds, and quoted Venezuela Red Cross leader Louis Farias, who said that their chapter’s call for help “didn’t get the backing [they] had hoped.”

The New York Times omitted other statements from the Red Cross organization that shed more light on the role the US has played. Francesco Rocca, president of the International Federation of the Red Cross, stated publicly last year that he believed that “political will” was behind the lack of funding for Venezuela. He said that there are some who wanted “to use the civilian population, their desperation, as a tool to destabilize the country.” Rocca pointed out that “it is easier to receive funds for Syria and even for Yemen.”

Later in the piece, the reporters cited economist Asdrúbal Oliveros, who claimed that “Mr. Maduro had simply chosen to prioritize the import of oil and food over medicine.” Oliveros believes the calculus was based on the fact that “pregnant women and sick people don’t protest—but that hungry people do.” No explanation was offered for why it’s Maduro’s fault that his administration has been forced to choose between essential resources for his country.

The piece merely calls Oliveros “one economist,” failing to disclose that he has been part of the Venezuelan opposition backing would-be president Juan Guaidó in an ongoing US-backed coup attempt against Maduro. Oliveros was described by the pro-Guaidó publication Americas Quarterly (4/18) as one of the “10 People Who Will (One Day) Rebuild Venezuela.”

The New York Times and other elite media have played an important role in mobilizing the US public against the Maduro government. They have highlighted the very real hardships on the ground, while casting blame for them almost exclusively on the “authoritarian” Maduro government (which, despite media’s constant implications, won an internationally observed election with more than 4 million more votes over the president’s closest rival (FAIR.org5/10/19). They consistently downplay the role of US sanctions in contributing to the dire economic situation (FAIR.org2/6/196/26/193/25/20).

If the Times were concerned about the fate of the women it profiled, and the state of Venezuelan economy, the paper would direct its readers to the sources of instability for which they bear the most responsibility. US sanctions have decimated the Venezuelan economy, as was predicted by analysts when they were first imposed. One 2019 study from the Center for Economic Policy Research found that the sanctions had indirectly caused the deaths of 40,000. Portraying Maduro as the sole reason for the country’s crisis is factually incorrect and journalistically irresponsible.

April 21, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

South Korean bank submits to US fine over Iran transactions

Press TV – April 21, 2020

South Korea’s Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK) says it has submitted to the US demand to pay $86 million in fine for processing Iranian transactions.

The compromise includes paying $51 million to US prosecutors and $35 million to the New York State Department of Financial Services, the lender said Tuesday.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency cited Geoffrey S. Berman, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, as saying that IBK’s branch in New York had failed to detect and report $10 million in US dollar payments from South Korean entities to Iranian banks.

Authorities said IBK entered a two-year deferred prosecution agreement with the US Department of Justice and a nonprosecution agreement with New York Attorney General Letitia James.

South Korea was among Iran’s major trade partners before falling in line with US guidelines after Washington withdrew from an international nuclear deal with Tehran in 2015 and imposed unilateral sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Iran was South Korea’s third biggest export market in the Middle East and companies such as Samsung and LG Electronics were among popular brands for TV sets, air conditioners, telecommunications equipment and washing machines.

Samsung’s sales also notably covered about half of Iran’s lucrative android phone market, with almost 18 million Iranians having Samsung devices as of February 2018, according to a report published by Iran’s largest app market Café Bazaar.

In February, Iran’s Foreign Ministry warned that foreign companies leaving the country due to the US sanctions would not be able to return to the country’s market easily after Samsung and LG Electronics pulled down their last advertisement banners in Iran.

According to a statement by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy in Seoul, Iran was once the sixth largest market in terms of orders won by South Korean builders before the 2011 sanctions.

South Korea was also the biggest client of Iranian condensate with 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) on top of 100,000 bpd of crude oil, but it stopped shipments two months before the sanctions kicked in.

South Korean companies have mostly even refused to fulfill Iran’s orders for medicine and medical equipment which is supposedly not subject to the US sanctions.

According to Iranian companies, South Korean banks are refusing to process payments related to Iran’s imports of pharmaceuticals for fear of falling foul of the sanctions.

Iran’s Health Ministry said Saturday South Korea had rejected a SWIFT payment request by Tehran for purchase of coronavirus testing kits.

Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour disclosed an international financial message recently sent by South Korea’s Woori Bank to Iran’s Keshavarzi Bank, noting that it could not take over an import letter of credit for 5.3 billion won issued by the Iranian bank.

As a result Iran was unable to import the kits because the Korean exporter could not receive payment after Woori Bank’s refusal to take over the import letter of credit.

“This shows claims of medicine and medical equipment not being subject to sanctions are lies. The bank has officially stated that the purchase is not possible due to the sanctions,” Jahanpour said.

The US government has intensified its sanctions on Iran despite international calls on Washington to suspend them to allow the Islamic Republic to secure necessary medicine and equipment in the midst of the coronavirus fight.

Washington claims the sanctions do not target medicine for Iran, but they make it all but impossible for importers to obtain letters of credit or conduct international transfers of funds through banks.

Last week, Iran’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York dismissed the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA) which the Europeans belatedly announced with much fanfare to have made operational in coordination with the US to barter medicine and food with Iran.

The mission said the United States has forced SHTA to pursue a very tight and tough procedure, making it practically very difficult for companies to trade with Iran.

According to the mission, several companies that supply the medical equipment required to fight the coronavirus have recently stopped shipping to Iran because the current US sanctions regime makes the shipping of such items to Iran almost impossible.

The only message the US is sending with intensifying its sanctions amid the coronavirus is that companies must avoid doing any business with Iran, even if their work is humanitarian in nature, it said.

April 21, 2020 Posted by | War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment