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Censored Russian Filmmaker Speaks Out Against ‘European Magnitsky Act’ as Yet Another Western Hit-Job Against Moscow

By Robert Bridge | Strategic Culture Foundation | October 5, 2020

Award-winning Russian filmmaker and investigative journalist Andrei Nekrasov has petitioned the EU Commission president to consider evidence that challenges the official EU narrative into the 2009 death of Sergei Magnitsky, the tax advisor who worked for Hermitage Fund chief Bill Browder. What has been the EU response thus far to the request? Nothing but a cacophony of crickets.

Last month, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the EU Commission, in the course of her State of the Union Address, urged parliament to “complete our tool box” by passing a so-called ‘European Magnitsky Act’ to punish Russia over the 2009 death of Sergey Magnitsky. Unfortunately, the only tool that appears in the EU “tool box” at this point is a sledgehammer.

Von der Leyen appears to be doing the cheap bidding of Washington at a time when the Trump administration is furious over the prospects of Germany and Russia completing the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which envisages 55 bln cubic meters moving annually from the coast of Russia through the Baltic Sea to Germany. Such a project could actually work to dissolve tensions between Brussels and Moscow, and of course Washington would never stand for that. The EU Commission president hinted as much in her speech when she remarked that “no pipeline will change” Brussels’ stance. Incidentally, this makes the alleged poisoning of Russian opposition figure, Alexei Navalny, seem all the more questionable when considered in the full context of events.

In any case, for anyone who has been following the long string of accusations being leveled against Russia over the course of the last several years, an unmistakable pattern has emerged. From the suspicious ‘poisoning’ of the Skripals in the UK, to the downing of Malaysia Flight 17 over Ukraine, Russia is never invited to contribute testimony and evidence that may help to shine a critical light on the proceedings. That seems to be an unforgivable oversight if the pursuit of truth were indeed the goal.

Instead of going out of its way to base its conclusions on all of the available data, the Western capitals are once again picking and choosing its sources. In the Magnitsky case, the bulk of the ‘incriminating evidence’ is being provided by none other than Bill Browder, an individual who has a real conflict of interest in the case, to say the least.

Before continuing, some essential background. As an auditor at the Moscow law firm Firestone Duncan, Sergey Magnitsky worked directly with Hermitage Capital Management, the asset management company headed by Browder. In 2001, Browder was the director of two HSBC subsidiary companies that were eventually accused by the government of underpaying its taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars.

Browder was convicted in Russia in absentia for “aggravated tax evasion” as well as illegally bankrupting a company involved in tax fraud. As for Magnitsky, he met a more tragic fate, dying in 2009 in a Moscow prison awaiting trial for tax fraud, a tragedy that has provided the basis for the so-called Magnitsky Act. In Western capitals, the name Magnitsky has become synonymous with the “murderous brutality” that the Western media endlessly ascribes to the Russian state. For many Russians, however, the case provides yet another stark example of the West acting unilaterally as judge, jury and executioner without considering all of the available evidence and facts at its disposal.

Former Kremlin critic questions Browder story

Andrei Nekrasov, an award-winning Russian filmmaker and investigative journalist, has spent a considerable amount of time and energy getting to the bottom of the Magnitsky case. In 2016, he released a film entitled, ‘The Magnitsky Act – Behind the Scenes’, which was supported by a number of European film funds and the public Franco-German TV network Arte TV. In the words of the New York Times, the film was “generating a furor.” In the film, Nekrasov argues, with no shortage of compelling evidence, that entire governments are being misled by Browder into believing that Magnitsky had been persecuted and killed for exposing political corruption. That is highly questionable, Nekrasov argues, considering that Browder had been an avid supporter of the Russian government before the question of tax fraud hit the headlines.

In his open letter to the EU Commission, Nekrasov goes on to take issue with Browder’s claim that Magnitsky was tortured during his imprisonment, revealing that the auditor “spent a considerable part of his detention in an “elite” – better equipped – section of the Matrosskaya Tishina prison…. where the rich and famous prisoners, such as the oil tycoon [Mikhail] Khodorkovsky…. and the leaders of the 1991 coup against Gorbachev were kept.”

Furthermore, during a Oct, 2013 hearing at the UK High Court of Justice (‘Karpov vs Browder’), Browder claimed that the Russian authorities, purportedly wanting Magnitsky out of the way, imprisoned him because the lethal outcome was a “reasonably foreseeable” consequence of the sentence, “not least” because of the high mortality rate in the Russian prisons. Judge Simon, however, dismissed such a “causal link”, noting that “nothing is said [by Browder – R.B.] about torture and murder ( §128, Page 25 ).

Meanwhile, Magnitsky himself stated that the quality of the medical attention he received in prison was “adequate”.

Here, it is important to note that Nekrasov is no biased journalist with a political ax to grind. As far as reporting the truth goes, he is a rare type of reporter who is guided not by a desire to reach a predetermined conclusion, but by where the facts lead him. In fact, in one of his earlier documentaries, ‘Disbelief,’ he discusses the 1999 Russian apartment bombings in a way that showed the government in a negative light.

In his letter, he admits that he was ready to retell Browder’s emotional story about his “heroic lawyer.”

“I believed Browder,” Nekrasov writes, “partly for political reasons, as my previous work had been highly critical of the Russian government.”

He continues: “Having, however, detected inconsistencies in Mr. Browder’s story I decided not to sweep them under the rug. The result of my investigative work, the film entitled “The Magnitsky Act – Behind the Scenes” was at first highly praised by its commissioning editors, at ZDF/ARTE inter alia. The premiere of the film was to be held at the European Parliament in April 2016. Yet, as a result of Browder’s intense pressure on the top management of ZDF, and a decision of a group of Green MEPs, the screening was dramatically cancelled, minutes before the planned starting time.”

It is difficult, as the mild-mannered journalist confessed, to consider that snub as “anything but censorship”.

The question that must be asked is obvious: how can the President of the EU Commission call to punish Russia when the cinematic work of a highly respected investigative journalist, who provides an alternative perspective to the Magnitsky case, is banned from viewing for EU MEPs due to the threat of legal action by Bill Browder? How can the West speak about “democracy” and the “rule of law” when only one side of the Magnitsky saga is allowed to go unchallenged? Why does Mr. Browder feel compelled to suppress this film? If he is telling the truth, why not let Neskrasov’s ‘false’ story see the light of day so that the facts can speak for themselves?

Andrei Neskarov’s letter ends as follows:

“Should you not be concerned that the findings of other European journalistic investigations [here, here and here] … while directly relevant to the Magnitsky question, have apparently failed to reach your high offices and your keen attention?

My film, “The Magnitsky Act – Behind the Scenes”, ends with a question: “Will democracy survive if its moral high ground, human rights, is used to protect selfish interests?”

My film was censored, but I pose that question again today.

Yours truly,

Andrei Nekrasov

Nekrasov’s open letter to the President of the EU Commission can be read in its entirety here.

October 5, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

As our (un)civil war escalates towards the real thing, America is in throes of unrest unlike any in its history

By Michael Rectenwald | RT | October 5, 2020

Nearly two thirds of Americans believe the US is on course for civil war. One third now support political violence. The first Civil War’s death toll won’t be beaten, but the second’s nation-destroying potential will be unequalled.

The American left and right no longer inhabit a common moral universe. In fact, that imagined universe does not exist. The old, cherished political notions no longer apply, if they ever did. Not only are the terms ‘left’ and ‘right’ complete misnomers under the current configuration, but the players are not as they seem, or as they are made out to seem.

First, Trump is hardly the stereotypical right-wing despot that the ‘resistance’ makes him out to be, his rough demeanor and coarse rhetoric notwithstanding. At the same time, the Democrats are hardly the vaunted champions of the ‘working class’ as imagined under the old dispensation. Instead, the resistance to Trump is actually led by an entrenched political establishment, although their supporters apparently remain unimpressed by this minor detail.

Take a look at this ironic and unlikely political alignment. It should go a long way toward understanding the perturbations throwing the nation into convulsions. The resistance includes the Democratic Party machine, the loyal Democratic Party voters, the never-Trumpersamong the Republican establishment, the permanent bureaucracy or ‘deep state’, the riotous Antifa and Black Lives Matter foot soldiers, and, but for a few isolated and dwindling islands, the entirety of the mainstream media. Given its uncontested hegemony, this establishment-backed resistance inhabits a parallel universe of its own making and projects a fabricated simulacrum as reality.

The resistance establishment controls the official narrative, which includes a few prominent elements: the tropes that Trump is an inveterate liar, a huckster profiting from his incumbency, and a criminal who is committing unspeakable (and undiscoverable) crimes against the nation and humanity at large. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the Speaker of the House, went so far as to call Trump, the sitting president, an “enemy of the state.” This establishment resistance routinely declares Trump a dictator. It now asserts as an incontrovertible article of faith that he will refuse to vacate the White House should he lose the upcoming election.

The death of civility

Despite its own chicanery and possible criminality, the resistance establishment is so sure that its success is guaranteed that Hillary Clinton boldly urged Joe Biden not to concede the election under any circumstances. Rumors have even been floated that a contingent of military generals are prepared to remove Trump from the presidential domicile, if or when it comes to that. And now, since Trump contracted the coronavirus, Democratic Party leaders, a frothing media, and ardent party supporters have been unable to contain their glee at the prospect of his early demise.

As an indication that ‘civility’ is a thing of the past, one may point to the recent spate of tweets by Trump haters openly wishing for his death by Covid. Such posts became so prevalent and glaring that Twitter was forced to introduce a new policy declaring that any tweets wishing for the death of a politician would be removed. Conspicuously missing was any mention of even temporarily banning tweeters who infringe the policy. Such banning is routine for pro-Trump posters – and for far lesser infractions – if they are not contrived by the tech giant in the first place.

Meanwhile, Trump supporters are routinely caricatured as a reactionary and irredeemably racist band of blind loyalists, including a significant contingent of white supremacists willing and already engaging in acts of racist violence. Even as Antifa and Black Lives Matter rampage and riot, leaving rubble in their wake, rightwing extremists, we are told, are the greatest domestic threat to national tranquility.

A very American coup?

At the same time, Trump Republicans and their few allies in an otherwise overwhelmingly Democrat-favored corporate media point to a growing body of evidence that a coup has been ongoing since before Trump assumed power. The director of national intelligence, John Ratcliffe, recently alleged in a letter published by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), just hours before the first (and perhaps last) presidential debate, that Hillary Clinton orchestrated “a campaign plan to stir up a scandal” – by linking Trump to Russia in 2016. The letter also claims that then-President Barack Obama knew about her intent and role in the contrived affair and did nothing to prevent his former secretary of state from ordering up the concoction.

While the resistance hurls an endless series of increasingly outrageous accusations and epithets at Trump, pro-Trump forces in the state nevertheless continue to pile up dirt on the Democrats and their assets in the permanent bureaucracy. For example, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s investigations into the ‘Crossfire Hurricane’ investigation of the Trump team’s supposed collusion with Russia has revealed evidence that a Russian asset, suspected by the CIA of being a spy, was the underlying source for the dirty dossier that prompted the FBI investigation. The committee has pointed to evidence that former FBI Director James Comey knew the dossier was unsubstantiated garbage peddled by a gutter-sniping mercenary hack when he or his staff members submitted FISA applications.

Added to this, the Department of Justice has since reported that more than two dozen phones belonging to members of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team were “accidentally” wiped clean of data before the Justice Department’s inspector general could comb them for records.

Ironically, the Senate Judiciary Committee has also asserted that the son of former VP and current presidential candidate Joe Biden, namely Hunter Biden, actually engaged in a kind of ‘Russian collusion’ – when he received a whopping 3.5 million dollars from Elena Baturina, the wife of the corrupt former mayor of Moscow. Hunter Biden then allegedly funneled a part of these funds into human trafficking and prostitution rings. This alleged swindle, gained on the basis of his father’s influence peddling, would be added to the vast sums reportedly collected from corrupt oligarchs in Ukraine, China, and elsewhere.

All of these claims are either scoffed at and deemed conspiracies prima facie, or simply memory-holed by a complicit press. Nothing, it appears, will ever come of any of them.

Meanwhile, the vastly outflanked pro-Trump camp maintains that the attempted coup extends to the upcoming presidential election. Fears are escalating that the Democratic Party’s election machinery has already been set in motion, harvesting fraudulent or otherwise invalid mail-in ballots in favor of Biden. These deep misgivings are compounded by early reports of dumped and discarded ballots for Trump.

Anarchy in the USA

Among the ground forces in both camps, some informed and some merely inflamed by baseless rhetoric, hostility has reached fever pitch. According to Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service, 83 percent of Americans believe that behavior once considered unacceptable is now deemed acceptable in the political sphere. Apparently, this behavior includes violence and threats of violence. Other studies found that 61 percent Americans polled believe the country is headed inexorably towards civil war. Other reports indicate that a nearly equal number of Democrats and Republicans (33 percent and 34 percent, respectively) believe that violence will be justified if their side loses the impending presidential election, up from just eight percent on both sides who believed that three years ago.

The ‘left’ justifies its campaign of violence given the supposedly disproportionate unjustified police violence against blacks. The ‘right’ justifies its pondered response as necessary self-defense and defense of the nation after months of almost unhampered rampages.

Surging gun sales across the country suggest that many Americans fear continued and increasing conflict. First-time gun and ammunition purchases have reached an all-time high. One might reasonably suppose that potential counter measures from pro-Trump ground forces are being seriously contemplated. The prospect of a protracted election controversy has both camps suggesting that they’re booted up and ready for action. Any state response to such action, on the other hand, remains unclear. Who, after all, will have the authority to direct state police forces if Democrats and their supporters claim that Trump’s ‘occupation’ of the White House is illegitimate?

Pro-Trump pundits warn that the violence coming from ‘leftists’ since May has only been a warm-up act for November 3 and beyond. There are so many related and somewhat disparate theories being floated that one’s head is left spinning. But suffice to say, anyone the least bit cognizant of the state of affairs is bracing for a massive confrontation.

‘Things fall apart’

The current and looming strife is demoralizing in the extreme, especially given the utterly incommensurable accounts held by the opposing sides. It is especially alarming to me, living as I do in urban Pennsylvania – a ‘swing state’ with the potential to be a center of a disputed election result that looks to tip over into open mortal combat. I plan on voting in the early morning, then driving immediately to another, probably uncontested, state.

The alarming state of affairs has led me to revisit a harrowing poem by William Butler Yeats, ‘The Second Coming’. The first stanza captures the temper and pitch of the moment so well that I quote in its entirety:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst   

Are full of passionate intensity.

I met my first grandchild for the first time the other day. And I wept with trepidation for his future.

Michael Rectenwald is an author of ten books, including the most recent, Beyond Woke. He was Professor of Liberal Arts at NYU from 2008 through 2019. Follow him on Twitter @TheAntiPCProf

October 5, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Progressive Hypocrite | | 2 Comments

UN Venezuela Report Omits US Human Rights Violations

By Leonardo Flores | MintPress News | October 2, 2020

On September 23, María Eugenia Russián, president of Fundalatin, Venezuela’s oldest human rights organization, testified to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and decried an attempt by a UNHRC fact-finding mission to erase people who were “lynched, burned alive, decapitated and murdered by extremist sectors of the Venezuelan opposition.” This fact-finding mission had published a report a week earlier that generated sensationalist headlines of “crimes against humanity” and painted a bleak picture of the situation in Venezuela.

However, the 400+ page report has been found to contain serious flaws and omissions, leading to charges that it politicizes human rights – a position backed by the Venezuelan government. But it’s not just Venezuela that has taken issue with the report: Argentina’s ambassador to the Organization of American States denounced it as “biased” and noted that “human rights are not an instrument for taking political positions.”

A parallel mission and attack on multilateralism

Moreover, even the formation of the fact-finding mission is suspect. Since 2017, Venezuela has been working with a different UN institution, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), to strengthen its capacity to guarantee human rights. This cooperation has led to technical agreements and to visits by the OHCHR to Venezuela.

Yet despite – or perhaps because – of this cooperation, the Lima Group, an ad hoc group of nations dedicated to regime change in Venezuela, maneuvered in the UN Human Rights Council to establish a parallel mission outside of the purview of the OHCHR. In the September 2019 debate prior to the founding of this mission, Russián said that it “seeks to thwart the advances between the Office of the High Commissioner and the Venezuelan state, hindering and duplicating its efforts.” She also made a prescient comment: “[the mission] will generate major headlines but will not contribute to resolving the situation.”

Several Venezuelan human rights organizations, including the Venezuelan Association of Jurists (AVJ), denounced the formation of the mission and the subsequent report as an attack on multilateralism. The AVJ notes that according to UN General Assembly Resolution 60/251, “the promotion and protection of human rights should be based on the principles of cooperation and genuine dialogue and aimed at strengthening the capacity of Member States.”

Neither of these principles were adhered to in the report, which means that the fact-finding mission violated the United Nation’s own guidelines. This contrasts severely with the latest update on Venezuela from the OHCHR, which notes that technical cooperation between Venezuela and the UN has led to progress in investigating 93 alleged cases of extrajudicial killings or excessive use of force, as well as the pardoning of 110 prisoners.

Flawed methodology, biased sources and egregious omissions

The first thing to note about the report is that the authors are all from countries that support Guaidó. One of them, Francisco Cox, has close ties to the Chilean Foreign Minister (Chile is one of the Latin American countries leading the charge against Venezuela). In an interview with journalist Anya Parampil, Chilean analyst Esteban Silva noted that Cox “is part of an operation against the government of Venezuela.”

Venezuelan human rights organization Sures considers that the report “lacks academic rigor” as the mission did not step foot in Venezuela “and as such never had direct access to the sources it consulted, including the victims, government officials and official records.” Lending credence to the claim of a lack of rigor is the fact that more than 50% of the report’s sources were links to social and digital media, while just 5% were NGOs.

Misión Verdad, an independent group of Venezuelan investigative journalists and analysts, wrote an exposé of the sources used in the report and found that one of these NGOs, COFAVIC (Committee of Relatives of Victims of the Caracazo), receives USAID funds and has ties to Human Rights Watch, which supports regime change and the brutal US sanctions. None of the NGOs the fact-finding mission contacted even mentioned the case of Orlando Figuera, a young Black man burned alive by anti-government protestors, which has arguably been the most infamous violation of human rights in Venezuela in recent years.

If the report were interested in balance, it would have cited or contacted Venezuelan human rights groups that document right-wing violence at protests and the devastating effects of U.S. sanctions. Five such organizations were contacted for this article: Fundalatin, AJV, Sures, Género con Clase (Gender with Class), and the Committee of Victims of the Guarimba and Ongoing Coup (guarimba is the term used for violent opposition protests in 2013, 2014 and 2017). None of them ever heard from the “independent” mission.

While victims like Figuera are ignored, another detailed critique by Misión Verdad documents the repeated “whitewashing” of political actors linked to violence by presenting them as victims. As analyst Joe Emersberger notes, the report’s treatment of opposition figure Leopoldo López ignores the leading role he has played in destabilizing Venezuela since 2002. López’s regime change strategy in 2014, ‘La Salida’, sparked opposition violence that resulted in the decapitation of Elvis Durán; he was riding a motorcycle down a street booby trapped by protestors with barbed wire. López’s name appears 61 times in the report; Durán’s does not appear at all.

As tragic as it is that a UN mission would engage in the erasure of victims of human rights violations perpetrated by government opponents, these are not even the most glaring omissions in the report. There are two ongoing mass violations of the human rights of all Venezuelans: the violent destabilization of the country by foreign and domestic actors, and the brutal U.S. sanctions. For Gisela Jiménez of Género con Clase, an organization that focuses on the rights of women and sexual diversity, currently the biggest challenge to the rights of Venezuelans is “the threat to the right to live in peace.” Russián of Fundalatin dates the biggest violation of human rights to March 2015, when then-President Obama characterized Venezuela as an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to the United States. Since then, she notes, ”the Venezuelan people have been subjected to violations of their right to health and even the right to life, due to the embargo and the obstruction of imports of medicine, food and supplies.”

The report in the context of a hybrid war

Beyond the bias and politicization of the report, what perhaps damns it most is how it is being used. The omissions on the impact of coups and sanctions enable regime change operatives such as Elliott Abrams, U.S. special representative for Iran and Venezuela, to cite the report as evidence of crimes against humanity while, in the same breath, threatening to cut off Venezuela’s diesel supplies, which has drawn widespread condemnation from NGOs across the political spectrum for the devastating effect it would have on the Venezuelan people.

The report was similarly used by Senators Marco Rubio and Ben Cardin, who referenced it in a letter to the European Union in which they expressed “deep concern” over EU talks with the Maduro government and urged the EU to not monitor Venezuela’s parliamentary elections. This blatant attempt at interfering in and attempting to delegitimize Venezuela’s elections went uncovered by mainstream media, which focused all of their attention on the UNHCR report.

Furthermore, the timing of the report was also suspect, coming just a week before the 2020 UN General Assembly. Its purpose in this regard is clear: to add fuel to the fire in Venezuela and to shift the spotlight from U.S. allies with their own human rights issues. The timely release allowed Colombian president Duque and Chilean president Piñera to cite it and Venezuela in their general assembly speeches. In Colombia, 64 massacres have taken place this year alone, while the Piñera government in Chile was almost brought down by his government’s excessive use of force against peaceful protestors. Yet it was Venezuelan opposition figure Juan Guaidó who made the headlines, invoking the report while calling on the international community to exercise its “responsibility to protect” in a YouTube webinar on the sidelines of the General Assembly. The responsibility to protect is a doctrine used as the justification for military aggressions against Libya and Syria, among others.

The fact-finding mission has produced a document that is currently being employed in the furtherance of sanctions, electoral interference and threats of war. To put it another way, the UNHCR report on the human rights of Venezuelans will likely lead to even more suffering for Venezuelans. In the words of Fundalatin President Russián, the threat to the human rights of Venezuelans “becomes graver because of the behavior by powerful states, who in the name of human rights, seek a foreign military intervention in Venezuela.”

October 5, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

Calls for France to reveal location of nuclear waste dumped in Algeria

MEMO | October 5, 2020

France should take initiative to solve the problem of the nuclear waste buried in the Algerian Sahara in the early 1960s, as no one knows its exact location, which is a classified military secret, the head of the Paris-based Observatory for Armament said.

In an interview with Radio France Internationale yesterday, Patrice Bouvre said: “When France suspended its nuclear tests in 1966, it simply buried the waste of the 17 experiments it conducted over the years.”

He added that Paris classified the location or locations of the buried nuclear waste and the documents related to the affair as “a military secret”, which remains to date.

As a result, there is no information available about the exact location of the nuclear waste buried in the Algerian desert, Bouvre explained.

He called on the French authorities to reveal the truth about this file and to cooperate with Algeria to clean up the areas contaminated by the nuclear waste that still exposes these regions to serious environmental damages.

France conducted 17 nuclear tests between 1960 and 1966 in the Algerian Sahara, and the waste from these experiments is buried in an unknown location in the area, hindering attempts to remove the radioactive materials and protect the population and the environment.

October 5, 2020 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Gantz: During Next War with Hezbollah, ‘Israel’ Will Strike Governmental Targets in Lebanon

Al-Manar | October 5, 2020

The Israeli minister of defense, Benny Gantz, threatened to strike governmental targets in Lebanon during any upcoming war with Hezbollah, considering that ‘Israel’ can no longer differentiate between the resistance military posts and the residential buildings which house missiles.

In an online interview with Saudi, Emirati and Bahraini journalists, Gantz said that the normalization deals with the Gulf countries will reinforce the fight against Iran, adding that the best approach to confront Tehran is to exert the heavy pressures and impose tough sanctions on it.

Gantz pointed out that no one can accept the demands of the Palestinians in the context of the ‘peace’ negotiations, adding that the normalization deals would reinforce the Zionist-Palestinian settlement.

October 5, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

PCR Inventor: “It doesn’t tell you that you are sick”

The MSM have been going all out trying to pretend this never happened, turns out it did

By David James | OffGuardian | October 5, 2020

There has been a great deal of controversy over claims that Kary Mullis, the creator of the PCR technology that is being widely used to test for so-called ‘cases’ of COVID-19, did not believe the technology was suitable for detecting a meaningful presence of a virus.

Those making these assertions were attacked and ‘fact checked’ (deemed inappropriate by propagandists) by news outlets claiming that Mullis’ comments had been taken out of context.

So when a video surfaces with Mullis talking about the efficacy of the technology it is worth paying close attention to what he is saying. He died last year, so it is the best ‘fact check’ available. In the video, Mullis is discussing AIDS. He first deals with a criticism from the audience that the PCR technology is being misused [timestamp – 48:40].

“I don’t think you can misuse PCR. [It is] the results; the interpretation of it. If they can find this virus in you at all – and with PCR, if you do it well, you can find almost anything in anybody.”

Mullis does not explicitly say that the PCR technology is unsuitable for detecting a meaningful presence of COVID-19. How could he, given that he died before it came to light? But such a conclusion can safely be inferred:

“It starts making you believe in the sort of Buddhist notion that everything is contained in everything else. If you can amplify one single molecule up to something you can really measure, which PCR can do, then there is just very few molecules that you don’t have at least one single one of in your body.”

Mullis then addresses the question of what should be considered meaningful, which is the central issue with the use of the PCR tests. Do the ‘case’ numbers being used around the world by governments to impose police states and egregious lockdowns of the population, especially in my home state of Victoria, actually mean anything? The answer seems to be ‘no’:

“That could be thought of as a misuse: to claim that it [a PCR test] is meaningful. It tells you something about nature and what is there. To test for that one thing and say it has a special meaning is, I think, the problem. The measurement for it is not exact; it is not as good as the measurement for apples. The tests are based on things that are invisible and the results are inferred in a sense. It allows you to take a miniscule amount of anything and make it measureable and then talk about it.”

Mullis also addresses, by implication, another question about the incidence of ‘cases’. If you test positive – and Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration has admitted that they do not know if this means you are infected or not – are you actually sick? In the past that is what the word ‘cases’ has meant: someone unwell from a disease. Mullis’ position is clear [emphasis added – timecode 51:49]:

“PCR is just a process that allows you to make a whole lot of something out of something. It doesn’t tell you that you are sick, or that the thing that you ended up with was going to hurt you or anything like that.”

Mullis’ comments are unsurprising for anyone who has been paying attention to the behaviour of the authorities during the COVID-19 catastrophe. The technology relies on amplifying results many times over. If they are amplified less than about 35 times, no-one will test positive. If they are amplified 60 times, everyone will test positive. The flawed thinking is obvious enough.

Why is there such a concerted effort to quell anyone exposing problems with the use of the technology? There is no doubt that these attacks are designed to deceive (including predictable use of that shoddy ad hominem phrase ‘conspiracy theory’, a rhetorical trick to insult people rather than address their arguments).

Look closely at the ‘fact checking’. The Reuters article uses a mixture of a straw man argument and a red herring. It asserts it was wrong to claim that Mullis said that: “PCR tests cannot detect free infectious viruses at all”. This is obviously a deliberate misrepresentation intended to wrongly characterise the opponents’ argument and then ‘expose’ it as false.

Then we get the red herring. The Reuters article claims that: “The quote is actually from an article written by John Lauritsen in December 1996 about HIV and AIDS, not COVID-19 (here).” Neat trick. Assert that your opponents got their sources wrong, and then dismiss them because of their poor research.

It is transparently untruthful, but why are these news outlets pushing such propaganda?

In one way, it could be said to be just business as usual. For those of us who have worked in newsrooms, especially in the finance and business sections, being subjected to propaganda is as routine as the daily cups of coffee.

The techniques are endless: outright lying, misleading but true facts, half truths, quarter truths, lack of context, lack of corporate memory, deceptive jargon, false statistics, lobbying by astro-turf organisations, threats of legal action, threats to complain to the editor or proprietor, threats of removal of access to important sources, promises of getting first access to important stories, subtle requests from former colleagues for assistance, and, of course, my favourites – free lunches at expensive restaurants and travel junkets.

The situation, always bad, has worsened with the destruction of the media’s business model by Facebook and Google, who have taken half the world’s advertising revenue. It has forced the hollowed out newsrooms to rely more on outside news feeds. And, as Matt Taibbi has noted, mainstream media organisations are, for commercial reasons, no longer interested in “selling a vision of reality they perceive to be acceptable to a broad mean”.

Instead, they deliberately sow division and only appeal to niches. Forget facts; inciting prejudice comes first.

But none of that explains why there is such intense propaganda about COVID-19.

The endless spin inflicted on media organisations is transparently related to satisfying greed or enhancing power, but what is the motive here? True, the US health system is one of the biggest profiteering exercises in the world, corrupting health everywhere. Health accounts for 16 per cent of US GDP, which is about twice the level of, say, Australia or the UK (countries that have universal care).

That extra eight per cent equates with $1.6 trillion in profiteering, or about two per cent of the global economy – an eye-watering scam conducted by pharmaceutical companies, hospital conglomerates, insurance companies, lawyers, consultants and so on. Those vultures will be trying to control the media to profit from a vaccine and who knows what else.

But they will only be one group of players and probably not the main ones. The most important question is who is funding the ‘fake news’ that COVID-19 is an existential threat and what is their agenda? Most countries have been greatly harmed. It has resulted in a medical dictatorship that has shut down Victoria; health bureaucrats may, absurdly, be given police powers.

There is a very sinister international agenda here, but the outline of it is, so far, only blurry.

October 5, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 1 Comment

‘False’ positive Covid-19 tests saw non-contagious people counted as fresh infections & triggered 2nd wave alarm – Belgian media

RT | October 5, 2020

Over a half of coronavirus infections revealed this summer by one of Belgium’s biggest labs were old and no longer contagious, but were still reported as new cases, local media discovered.

Belgian daily newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws examined the tests carried out by AZ Delta, one of the largest labs in the country, and made a stunning discovery. Almost half of all positive cases reported throughout June, July and August were actually people with an old infection.

The problem, it turns out, lies in the PCR Covid-19 tests. The paper reports that scientific data reveals virus particles can be detected up to 83 days after the actual infection. This led to instances where people were no longer contagious, but were still registered as positive cases. According to HLN, all of these people had to be quarantined.

Belgian experts sounded the alarm in mid-July, when coronavirus numbers spiked after a relief in June, and even insisted that the second wave had already begun for the country.

“We may have had to deal with old infections largely in the summer months,” the lab’s clinical biologist Frederik Van Hoecke told the paper.

October 5, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

Iran Does Not Care about US Election Result: Spokesman

Al-Manar | October 5, 2020

It does not matter for Iran who will win the upcoming presidential election in the US, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson said, noting that there is a clear path for Washington to reverse its hostile policies against Tehran.

“It is not important at all what is said inside the election campaigns in the US. Our criterion is the (UNSC) Resolution (2231) and the JCPOA,” Saeed Khatibzadeh told Tasnim at a press conference on Monday, when asked about the reports that the election campaign of US Democratic candidate Joe Biden has cited a change in the timing of the JCPOA articles after the US’ withdrawal from the deal.

Trump has pulled the US out of the JCPOA and has brazenly displayed his signature on the withdrawal order, the spokesman deplored. “It does not make much difference which party takes the power (in the US). If the US intends to return to the correct path, the road is clear.”

Washington must admit to making a mistake, stop the economic war and terrorism against Iran, return to its JCPOA commitments, and make up for the damages caused by its withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, the Iranian spokesman added.

In remarks in September, Iran’s permanent representative and ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi said it does not matter to the Islamic Republic who wins the US presidential election as long as Washington has not shifted its unlawful policy of sanctions.

In July, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said no matter who wins the 2020 presidential election in the US, the next American administration must compensate the Islamic Republic for the losses that its predecessor has inflicted on the Iranian people.

“It is not important for us who will win the upcoming election in the US, but it is important for us to see Washington rectify its approach towards Tehran,” Zarif said.

October 5, 2020 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment

Lavrov: Doctors at Berlin Clinic Where Navalny Was Treated Found No Signs of Military-Grade Poisons

Sputnik – 05.10.2020

Last month, German authorities announced that a Bundeswehr analysis of Russian opposition blogger Alexei Navalny’s samples found traces of a ‘Novichok’ group nerve agent. Moscow called the allegations odd, pointing out that before Navalny’s transfer to Germany, Russian doctors treating him in Siberia found no signs of any poisons in his system.

Doctors at the Charite university hospital where Alexei Navalny was treated found no evidence from his samples that he was poisoned by any military-grade poison, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.

“Doctors in Omsk did not find any traces of chemical warfare agents, they honestly said this. But I would like to draw your attention that the fact that  Charite clinic also did not find any toxic substances in its analyses; instead, they were ‘found’ later in the Bundeswehr’s clinic,” Lavrov said, speaking to members of the Association of European Businesses in Russia on Monday.

“We still do not know: did the French and the Swedes carry out the test themselves, or were they simply given them by the Germans. And the fact that our partners are trying to keep everything a secret, to muddy the waters, is something that worries us greatly. We want to find the truth and we will seek to do so,” the diplomat added.

At the same time, Lavrov said, Moscow has no doubts that the European Union will attempt to slap new sanctions on Russia in connection with the Navalny case, based on a recently created cookie-cutter sanctions policy about alleged violations in the use of chemical weapons, which he noted require no factual basis or large-scale discussion by all sides accused of involvement to implement.

According to Lavrov, Russia’s Western colleagues’ policies, whether in cyberspace or the alleged use of chemical weapons, seem to be aimed at the creation of new institutions outside the United Nations or any other international legal framework, allowing for facts to be presented, guilt to be determined and punishment in the form of sanctions to be doled out without listening to the other side.

On Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry complained that its German counterparts had refused to provide the Russian Embassy in Berlin with consular access to Alexei Navalny since he was discharged from the Charite clinic. According to Moscow, Russian prosecutors have sent the German side four requests for legal aid for their probe into Navalny’s alleged poisoning, with none of them receiving a response.

Moscow has also slammed the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for quietly providing the German side with ‘technical assistance’ on the Navalny case without informing Russia, pointing out that the claims of poisoning being alleged “took place not in Germany, but in Russia,” and that Russia must be party to any objective investigation.

Last week, Navalny accused the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin personally of poisoning him, saying he can’t think of any other explanation for what happened to him. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov shot back, calling the claims “groundless… extremely insulting and unacceptable,” and revealing that Moscow “has information” that Navalny has been cooperating with the Central Intelligence Agency.

On Saturday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned that sanctions against Russia would “be impossible to avoid” “if the results of the German, Swedish and French laboratories are confirmed” by the OPCW.

Dr. Leonid Rink, one of the chemists who helped create the so-called Novichok group of military-grade poisons, told Sputnik that if Navalny really had been poisoned by Novichok, he would have been dead in ten minutes flat, and would never have made it to the Tomsk airport or his plane.

Navalny collapsed onboard a domestic flight from Tomsk to Moscow on August 20, with his plane making an emergency landing in Omsk, where doctors worked for nearly two days straight to stabilize his condition. On August 22, a charter flight took him to the Charite clinic in Berlin. There he gradually recovered before being discharged late last month.

October 5, 2020 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Russophobia | | 1 Comment

Covid experts: there is another way

Three eminent epidemiologists met in Massachusetts to plan a better response to the pandemic

By Sunetra Gupta, Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff | UnHerd | October 5, 2020

As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists we have grave concerns about the damaging physical, and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies and recommend an approach we call Focused Protection.

“This is the saner approach, the more scientific approach,” the authors tell Freddie Sayers

Coming from both the left and right, and around the world, we have devoted our careers to protecting people. Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice.

Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.

Fortunately, our understanding of the virus is growing. We know that vulnerability to death from COVID-19 is more than a thousand-fold higher in the old and infirm than the young. Indeed, for children, COVID-19 is less dangerous than many other harms, including influenza.

As immunity builds in the population, the risk of infection to all – including the vulnerable – falls. We know that all populations will eventually reach herd immunity – i.e.  the point at which the rate of new infections is stable – and that this can be assisted by (but is not dependent upon) a vaccine. Our goal should therefore be to minimize mortality and social harm until we reach herd immunity.

The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection.

Adopting measures to protect the vulnerable should be the central aim of public health responses to COVID-19. By way of example, nursing homes should use staff with acquired immunity and perform frequent PCR testing of other staff and all visitors. Staff rotation should be minimized. Retired people living at home should have groceries and other essentials delivered to their home. When possible, they should meet family members outside rather than inside. A comprehensive and detailed list of measures, including approaches to multi-generational households, can be implemented, and is well within the scope and capability of public health professionals.

Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal. Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone to reduce the herd immunity threshold. Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home. Restaurants and other businesses should open. Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume. People who are more at risk may participate if they wish, while society as a whole enjoys the protection conferred upon the vulnerable by those who have built up herd immunity.

Great Barrington, Massachusetts, 4th October 2020

To sign the declaration, follow this link (will be live later today):

Dr Sunetra Gupta is a professor at Oxford University, an epidemiologist with expertise in immunology, vaccine development, and mathematical modelling of infectious diseases

Dr Bhattacharya is a professor at Stanford University Medical School, a physician, epidemiologist, health economist, and public health policy expert focusing on infectious diseases and vulnerable populations.

Dr Kulldorff is a Professor of medicine at Harvard University, a biostatistician, and epidemiologist with expertise in detecting and monitoring of infectious disease outbreaks and vaccine safety evaluations.

October 5, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

Influx of foreign fighters to Nagorno-Karabakh could lead to region wide conflict

By Paul Antonopoulos | October 5, 2020

The war in Artsakh, or more commonly known as Nagorno-Karabakh, is becoming increasingly internationalized as foreigners are arriving to fight on both sides of the conflict. Artsakh, despite being internationally recognized as a part of Azerbaijan, has had a de facto independence since 1994 when Armenian forces won a decisive victory. On September 25, it was first revealed that Syrian militants were being transferred to Azerbaijan via Turkey. This was denied by the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry on the same day. It must be noted that the war in Artsakh began only two days after it was exposed Syrians were being transferred. Yet, despite photographs, videos, documents and testimonies made by Syrian militants themselves, the Azerbaijani government maintains the position that there are no foreign mercenaries fighting alongside the Azerbaijani army and that it is Armenian propaganda. All major international outlets have reported that these Syrians are not motivated by jihad, but rather money.

In given testimonies, a Syrian militant said “Jihadi, I swear by Allah don’t come, […] we have been deceived, everything is a lie. This is not a war, this is a meat grinder, people are dying, they cannot get the corpses.” Another Syrian militant said “Two days after the start of the war, everybody wants to return but they do not let us and […] they make us stay here.” This was in reference to Turkish military handlers lying to the transferred Syrian militants about the situation in Artsakh and forcing them to stay and fight.

At the same time though, Armenians from across the diaspora, including those in Greece, the Netherlands and the U.S., have already left or a preparing to go and fight in Artsakh, meaning that citizens of Western countries will be embroiled in this conflict. This also comes as it was revealed that ethnic Greeks are volunteering to go and fight in Artsakh, with one source telling Greek City Times that the first batch of volunteers amount to 30 men, while a former non-commissioned officer claimed to Sputnik Hellas that the number is as high as 500. Whatever the truth may be, it is being widely reported in Greek media that tens if not hundreds of volunteers from Greece are going to Artsakh, motivated by religion and solidarity with Armenians, and without receiving a salary. It has also been revealed that the Greek minority in Armenia, mostly descendants of Greek Genocide survivors, are fighting alongside the Armenian army.

This sets a dangerous precedent as this war is becoming increasingly internationalized and threatens to embroil the entire region in conflict if it cannot be contained. The First Artsakh War (1988-1994) saw Greek and Russian volunteers fight alongside the Armenians. Chechens, Afghan Mujahedeen’s, Turkey’s Gladio Gray Wolves, Ukrainian Far Right militants fought on the side of Azerbaijan in the First War. Foreign fighters in Artsakh is not a new phenomenon. With Armenian-Greeks and ethnic Greeks fighting in Artsakh against Turkish-sponsored Syrian militants and the Azerbaijani military, Athens could potentially be dragged into the conflict unwillingly.

Hikmet Hajiyev, aide to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, told reporters on Friday that Greeks were fighting in Artsakh, describing the volunteers as “mercenaries.” The Greek government has not responded to the statement made by Hajiyev and most likely will not as relations between the two countries remain tense. While accepting the credentials on September 4 from Greece’s newly appointed ambassador to Baku, Nikolaos Piperigos, Aliyev directly told the diplomat:

“I can tell you, and it is no secret, that Turkey is not only our friend and partner, but also a brotherly country for us. Without any hesitation whatsoever, we support Turkey and will support it under any circumstances. We support them [Turkey] in all issues, including the issue in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

The comments by Aliyev are unprecedented when considering the usual formalities of a head of state accepting the credentials of a new ambassador. With these diplomatic tensions already existing between Athens and Baku weeks before Azerbaijan began its offensive against Artsakh, it is unlikely that Greece will try and prevent volunteers from going to Armenia. Some Greek sources claim that many of the volunteers are ex-special forces, meaning it is likely that the Greek military will be indirectly involved to some extent. This also comes as Greek and Cypriot Members of the European Parliament are leading efforts to try and impose sanctions on Azerbaijan for launching a war.

The internationalization of the Artsakh War because of the influx of foreign fighters, especially the Syrian militants, would be a major concern for both Iran and Russia who would be feeling uncomfortable having such radical forces on or close to their borders. The internationalization of the war has the potential to spark conflict across the Caucasus as militants from North Caucasia, particular Dagestan, Ingushetia and Chechnya, could travel to Azerbaijan to fight, and gain invaluable experience to take with them on their return to Russia. Although Russia and Iran have called for a ceasefire and an end to hostilities, they have not made strong efforts to try and end the war, which if not contained and ended soon, could potentially spill over into the North Caucasus or Iran’s northern provinces which is overwhelmingly ethnic Azeri.

The war could also potentially become a part of the wider Greek-Turkish rivalry that already exists in the East Mediterranean, Cyprus and Libya. Greece will not be directly militarily involved, but it is highly probable that there would be constant communication between the Greek military and the volunteers. This comes as Turkey is directly involved in the Artsakh War, not only by transferring Syrian fighters and arms to Azerbaijan, but also using its air force when we remember one of its F-16 fighter jets downed an Armenian Su-25 aircraft last Tuesday.

Without being contained and the front lines having an influx of foreign fighters, there is a real possibility that the internationalization of the conflict through these forces could set the entire region into conflict if a ceasefire agreement is not made quickly.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

October 5, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment