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Why I spoke out against lockdowns

Martin Kulldorff on the necessity of challenging the Covid consensus

Martin Kulldorff, a professor of medicine at Harvard University.
By Martin Kulldorff | spiked | June 4, 2021

I had no choice but to speak out against lockdowns. As a public-health scientist with decades of experience working on infectious-disease outbreaks, I couldn’t stay silent. Not when basic principles of public health are thrown out of the window. Not when the working class is thrown under the bus. Not when lockdown opponents were thrown to the wolves. There was never a scientific consensus for lockdowns. That balloon had to be popped.

Two key Covid facts were quickly obvious to me. First, with the early outbreaks in Italy and Iran, this was a severe pandemic that would eventually spread to the rest of the world, resulting in many deaths. That made me nervous. Second, based on the data from Wuhan, in China, there was a dramatic difference in mortality by age, with over a thousand-fold difference between the young and the old. That was a huge relief. I am a single father with a teenager and five-year-old twins. Like most parents, I care more about my children than myself. Unlike the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, children had much less to fear from Covid than from annual influenza or traffic accidents. They could get on with life unharmed — or so I thought.

For society at large, the conclusion was obvious. We had to protect older, high-risk people while younger low-risk adults kept society moving.

But that didn’t happen. Instead, schools closed while nursing homes went unprotected. Why? It made no sense. So, I picked up a pen. To my surprise, I could not interest any US media in my thoughts, despite my knowledge and experience with infectious-disease outbreaks. I had more success in my native Sweden, with op-eds in the major daily newspapers, and, eventually, a piece in spiked. Other like-minded scientists faced similar hurdles.

Instead of understanding the pandemic, we were encouraged to fear it. Instead of life, we got lockdowns and death. We got delayed cancer diagnoses, worse cardiovascular-disease outcomes, deteriorating mental health, and a lot more collateral public-health damage from lockdown. Children, the elderly and the working class were the hardest hit by what can only be described as the biggest public-health fiasco in history.

Throughout the 2020 spring wave, Sweden kept daycare and schools open for every one of its 1.8million children aged between one and 15. And it did so without subjecting them to testing, masks, physical barriers or social distancing. This policy led to precisely zero Covid deaths in that age group, while teachers had a Covid risk similar to the average of other professions. The Swedish Public Health Agency reported these facts in mid-June, but in the US lockdown proponents still pushed for school closures.

In July, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article on ‘reopening primary schools during the pandemic’. Shockingly, it did not even mention the evidence from the only major Western country that kept schools open throughout the pandemic. That is like evaluating a new drug while ignoring data from the placebo control group.

With difficulty publishing, I decided to use my mostly dormant Twitter account to get the word out. I searched for tweets about schools and replied with a link to the Swedish study. A few of these replies were retweeted, which gave the Swedish data some attention. It also led to an invitation to write for the Spectator. In August, I finally broke into the US media with a CNN op-ed against school closures. I know Spanish, so I wrote a piece for CNN-Español. CNN-English was not interested.

Something was clearly amiss with the media. Among infectious-disease epidemiology colleagues that I know, most favour focused protection of high-risk groups instead of lockdowns, but the media made it sound like there was a scientific consensus for general lockdowns.

In September, I met Jeffrey Tucker at the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), an organisation I had never heard of before the pandemic. To help the media gain a better understanding of the pandemic, we decided to invite journalists to meet with infectious-disease epidemiologists in Great Barrington, New England, to conduct more in-depth interviews. I invited two scientists to join me, Sunetra Gupta from the University of Oxford, one of the world’s pre-eminent infectious-disease epidemiologists, and Jay Bhattacharya from Stanford University, an expert on infectious diseases and vulnerable populations. To the surprise of AIER, the three of us also decided to write a declaration arguing for focused protection instead of lockdowns. We called it the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD).

Opposition to lockdowns had been deemed unscientific. When scientists spoke out against lockdowns, they were ignored, considered a fringe voice, or accused of not having proper credentials. We thought it would be hard to ignore something authored by three senior infectious-disease epidemiologists from what were three respectable universities. We were right. All hell broke loose. That was good.

Some colleagues threw epithets at us like ‘crazy’, ‘exorcist’, ‘mass murderer’ or ‘Trumpian’. Some accused us of taking a stand for money, though nobody paid us a penny. Why such a vicious response? The declaration was in line with the many pandemic preparedness plans produced years earlier, but that was the crux. With no good public-health arguments against focused protection, they had to resort to mischaracterisation and slander, or else admit they had made a terrible, deadly mistake in their support of lockdowns.

Some lockdown proponents accused us of raising a strawman, as lockdowns had worked and were no longer needed. Just a few weeks later, the same critics lauded the reimposition of lockdowns during the very predictable second wave. We were told that we had not specified how to protect the old, even though we had described ideas in detail on our website and in op-eds. We were accused of advocating a ‘let it rip’ strategy, even though focused protection is its very opposite. Ironically, lockdowns are a dragged-out form of a let-it-rip strategy, in which each age group is infected in the same proportion as a let-it-rip strategy.

When writing the declaration, we knew we were exposing ourselves to attacks. That can be scary, but as Rosa Parks said: ‘I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.’ Also, I did not take the journalistic and academic attacks personally, however vile – and most came from people I had never even heard of before. The attacks were not primarily addressed at us anyhow. We had already spoken out and would continue to do so. Their main purpose was to discourage other scientists from speaking out.

In my twenties, I risked my life in Guatemala working for a human-rights organisation called Peace Brigades International. We protected farmers, unionised workers, students, religious organisations, women’s groups and human-rights defenders who were threatened, murdered, and disappeared by military death squads. While the courageous Guatemalans I worked with faced much more danger, the death squads did once throw a hand grenade into our house. If I could do that work then, why should I not now take much smaller risks for people here at home? When I was falsely accused of being a Koch-funded right-winger, I just shrugged – typical behaviour by both establishment servants and armchair revolutionaries.

After the Great Barrington Declaration, there was no longer a lack of media attention on focused protection as an alternative to lockdowns. On the contrary, requests came from across the globe. I noticed an interesting contrast. In the US and UK, media outlets were either friendly with softball questions or hostile with trick questions and ad hominem attacks. Journalists in most other countries asked hard but relevant and fair questions, exploring and critically examining the Great Barrington Declaration. I think that is how journalism should be done.

While most governments continued with their failed lockdown policies, things have moved in the right direction. More and more schools have reopened, and Florida rejected lockdowns in favour of focused protection, partly based on our advice, without the negative consequences that the lockdowners predicted.

With the lockdown failures increasingly clear, attacks and censorship have increased rather than decreased: Google-owned YouTube censored a video from a roundtable with Florida governor Ron DeSantis, where my colleagues and I stated that children do not need to wear masks; Facebook closed the GBD account when we posted a pro-vaccine message arguing that older people should be prioritised for vaccination; Twitter censored a post when I said that children and those already infected do not need to be vaccinated; and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) removed me from a vaccine-safety working group when I argued that the Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine should not be withheld from older Americans.

Twitter even locked my account for writing that:

‘Naively fooled to think that masks would protect them, some older high-risk people did not socially distance properly, and some died from Covid because of it. Tragic. Public-health officials/scientists must always be honest with the public.’

This increased pressure may seem counterintuitive, but it is not. Had we been wrong, our scientific colleagues might have taken pity on us and the media would have gone back to ignoring us. Being correct means that we embarrassed some immensely powerful people in politics, journalism, big tech and science. They are never going to forgive us.

That is not what matters, though. The pandemic has been a great tragedy. A 79-year-old friend of mine died from Covid, and a few months later his wife died from cancer that was not detected in time to initiate treatment. While deaths are inevitable during a pandemic, the naive but mistaken belief that lockdowns would protect the old meant that governments did not implement many standard focused-protection measures. The dragged-out pandemic made it harder for older people to protect themselves. With a focused-protection strategy, my friend and his wife might be alive today, together with countless other people around the world.

Ultimately, lockdowns protected young low-risk professionals working from home – journalists, lawyers, scientists, and bankers – on the backs of children, the working class and the poor. In the US, lockdowns are the biggest assault on workers since segregation and the Vietnam War. Except for war, there are few government actions during my life that have imposed more suffering and injustice on such a large scale.

As an infectious-disease epidemiologist, I had no choice. I had to speak up. If not, why be a scientist? Many others who bravely spoke could comfortably have stayed silent. If they had, more schools would still be closed, and the collateral public-health damage would have been greater. I am aware of many fantastic people fighting against these ineffective and damaging lockdowns, writing articles, posting on social media, making videos, talking to friends, speaking up at school board meetings, and protesting in the streets. If you are one of them, it has truly been an honour to work with you on this effort together. I hope that we will one day meet in person and then, let’s dance together. Danser encore!

June 7, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , | Leave a comment

“Had COVID? You’ll probably make antibodies for a lifetime”/ Nature

By Meryl Nass, MD | June 7, 2021

Looks like the Nature publishing company is trying to regain some respectability. They are publishing information that has been suppressed (mostly) since the start of the pandemic. It turns out that Covid immunity following infection appears to be life-long. Even for mild cases. (Of course, you heard it from me that immunity was going to be long-lasting many months ago.)

THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD NOT GET VACCINATED. Vaccination can sometimes interfere with developing long-lasting immunity. That is one of the things you need to test for when you develop a vaccine. But of course, that was not done in the case of the Covid vaccines.

And so the manufacturers and the governments have already signed contracts for many doses of Covid vaccines per person in the US and EU. This is something they never should have done without knowing the extent of populatin immunity and following the immune response over time post-vaccination. It makes absolutely no sense, unless you consider that they may have something they would like injected along with the Covid vaccines.

I still must return to the disaster of vaccinating people who have natural immunity. CDC and FDA do not want anyone to be able to prove they are immune naturally, so they have not approved or authorized even a single test for that purpose. Pretty clever, huh? The reason is to force everyone to be vaccinated, even though the side effects are more pronounced in those who have recovered, and you get no benefit in terms of added immunity. Those who claim you do are liars. You may get a brief boost in antibody levels but it declines quickly and you are back where you started:  95% are immune after the disease, which is better than after the vaccine. Better than after any vaccine, with the possible exceptions of the live vaccines smallpox and measles. (I know, I know, they claim 95% efficacy for the mRNA vaccines, but the study methods used to prove it were worthless. See Dr Sin Hang Lee’s Petition to the FDA last December, which I edited.) There wouldn’t be a coverup regarding breakthrough cases in the vaccinated population if the efficacy was truly 95%. (CDC does not want these cases reported unles they are in hospital or die, and then you also need to have a positive PCR test done with a cycle threashold no greater than 28 in order to report. That is how CDC is belatedly minimizing reports of breakthrough cases.

But here is the good news, and it is very very good.  From Nature :

Many people who have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 will probably make antibodies against the virus for most of their lives. So suggest researchers who have identified long-lived antibody-producing cells in the bone marrow of people who have recovered from COVID-191.

The study provides evidence that immunity triggered by SARS-CoV-2 infection will be extraordinarily long-lasting. Adding to the good news, “the implications are that vaccines will have the same durable effect”, says Menno van Zelm, an immunologist at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

Antibodies — proteins that can recognize and help to inactivate viral particles — are a key immune defence. After a new infection, short-lived cells called plasmablasts are an early source of antibodies.

But these cells recede soon after a virus is cleared from the body, and other, longer-lasting cells make antibodies: memory B cells patrol the blood for reinfection, while bone marrow plasma cells (BMPCs) hide away in bones, trickling out antibodies for decades.

“A plasma cell is our life history, in terms of the pathogens we’ve been exposed to,” says Ali Ellebedy, a B-cell immunologist at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, who led the study, published in Nature on 24 May.

Researchers presumed that SARS-CoV-2 infection would trigger the development of BMPCs — nearly all viral infections do — but there have been signs that severe COVID-19 might disrupt the cells’ formation2. Some early COVID-19 immunity studies also stoked worries, when they found that antibody levels plunged not long after recovery3.

Ellebedy’s team tracked antibody production in 77 people who had recovered from mostly mild cases of COVID-19. As expected, SARS-CoV-2 antibodies plummeted in the four months after infection. But this decline slowed, and up to 11 months after infection, the researchers could still detect antibodies that recognized the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

To identify the source of the antibodies, Ellebedy’s team collected memory B cells and bone marrow from a subset of participants. Seven months after developing symptoms, most of these participants still had memory B cells that recognized SARS-CoV-2. In 15 of the 18 bone-marrow samples, the scientists found ultra-low but detectable populations of BMPCs whose formation had been triggered by the individuals’ coronavirus infections 7–8 months before. Levels of these cells were stable in all five people who gave another bone-marrow sample several months later.

June 7, 2021 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

The Coming Biden/Putin Train-Wreck Summit

By Ron Paul | June 7, 2021

I have my doubts whether the Putin-Biden summit in Geneva will take place later this month, but even if somehow it is pulled off, recent Biden Administration blunders mean the chance anything of substance will be achieved is virtually nil.

The Biden Administration was supposed to signal a return of the “adults” to the room. No more bully Trump telling NATO it’s useless, ripping up international climate treaties, and threatening to remove troops from the Middle East and beyond. US foreign policy would again flourish under the steady, practiced hands of the experts.

Then Biden blurted out in a television interview that President Putin was a killer with no soul. Then US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discovered the hard way that his Chinese counterparts were in no mood to be lectured on an “international rules-based order” that is routinely flouted by Washington.

It’s going to be a rough ten days for President Biden. Just as news breaks that under the Obama/Biden Administration the US was routinely and illegally spying on its European allies, he is preparing to meet those same allies, first at the G7 summit in England on June 11-13 and then at the June 14th NATO meeting in Brussels.

Make no mistake, Joe Biden is up to his eyeballs in this scandal. Ed Snowden Tweeted late last month when news broke that the US teamed up with the Danes to spy on the rest of Europe, that “Biden is well-prepared to answer for this when he soon visits Europe since, of course, he was deeply involved in this scandal the first time around.”

Though Germany’s Merkel and France’s Macron have been loyal US lapdogs, the revelation of how Washington treats its allies has put them in the rare position of having to criticize Washington. “Outrageous” and “unacceptable” are how they responded to the news.

Russia has been routinely accused (without evidence) of malign conduct and interference in internal US affairs, but it turns out that the country actually doing the spying and meddling was the US all along – and against its own allies!

Surely this irony is not lost on Putin.

Biden has bragged in the US media that he would be taking Putin to task for Russia’s treatment of political dissidents like Alexei Navalny. Biden wrote recently in the Washington Post, that when he meets Putin, “I will again underscore the commitment of the United States, Europe and like-minded democracies to stand up for human rights and dignity.”

Perhaps President Putin will remind him of how the Biden Administration continues the slow-motion murder of Julian Assange for the non-crime of being a journalist exposing government misdeeds.

Perhaps Putin will remind Biden of how US political dissidents are being treated, such as the hundreds arrested for what the Democrats and the mainstream media laughably call the “January 6th Insurrection.” Many of these non-violent and unarmed protesters have been held in solitary confinement with no chance of bail, even though they have no prior arrests or convictions. Most await trial on minor charges that may not even take place until next year.

The Washington foreign policy establishment is hopelessly corrupt. The weaponization of the US dollar to bring the rest of the world to heel is backfiring. Only a serious change in course – toward non-interventionism and non-aggression – can avert a disaster. Time is running out.

Copyright © 2021 by RonPaul Institute

June 7, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite | , , | 2 Comments

How Biden’s Effort to Weaponise Human Rights Against Russia May Backfire on Washington

Members of the National Guard stand inside anti-scaling fencing that surrounds the Capitol, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, in Washington

Members of the National Guard stand inside anti-scaling fencing that surrounds the Capitol, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, in Washington © AP PHOTO / ALAN FRAM
By Ekaterina Blinova – Sputnik – 07.06.2021

While Joe Biden has vowed to “press” Moscow on human rights issues in Geneva, he may be given a dose of his own medicine one day given Washington’s record of human rights abuses both at home and abroad, according to economist and author Dr. Paul Craig Roberts.

President Joe Biden has vowed to bring up human rights issues during an upcoming meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on 16 June in Geneva. Commenting on the American president’s remarks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted on 31 May that Russia views no topics as taboo and is ready to discuss issues including the prosecution of Americans charged with orchestrating the January 6 riots and the human rights of US opposition activists.

Not Everything in the US Garden is Rosy

The Biden administration’s attempts to weaponise human rights against Russia may backfire on the White House, according to Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, an American economist and former assistant secretary of the Treasury for economic policy under President Ronald Reagan.

“In mass violations of human rights, we have President Bill Clinton’s destruction of Serbia, George W. Bush’s destruction of Iraq, Barack Obama’s destruction of Libya and attempted destruction of Syria, Washington’s protection of Israel’s violation of Palestinians’ human rights, Washington’s bombings of Pakistan. The list goes on and on. Reformist governments in Latin America are overthrown,” he says.

When it comes to the US, the situation does not look better; currently, conservative observers are expressing growing concerns about the prosecution of Trump rally participants referred to as “armed insurrectionists” by the US mainstream press and Democratic politicians.

​One of them, Richard Barnett, 60 – who posed for the cameras with his feet on Nancy Pelosi’s desk – was ordered to remain behind bars in a DC jail, along with dozens of other Capitol protesters, “with no chance to make bail even though he has no criminal record and faces no violent charges,” according to Julie Kelly, a political commentator at American Greatness. Barnett spent almost four months in jail before a federal judge released him in April 2021.

Speaking to Kelly, Barnett and another 6 January defendant, Jacob Lang, complained that they and other detainees were “abused mentally, physically, socially, emotionally, legally, and spiritually.” Some defendants were severely beaten while the detainees’ attempts to practice their religion were mocked by “nasty and insulting” jailers, according to Barnett’s account of events.

While painting all the 6 January demonstrators with the same brush, Democratic policy-makers and MSM remain tight-lipped about the trigger behind the riot, i.e. suspicions over alleged election irregularities and voter fraud, according to Dr. Roberts. The former Reagan official believes that the 2020 election with its last-minute voting rule changes in swing states and abuse of authority by some governors and secretaries of state was nothing short of “a coup against democracy” and “a human rights violation.”

Big Tech Censorship, Critical Race Theory & Warrantless Spying

Big Tech’s censorship and suspension of accounts of conservative pundits, politicians, activists, and those who expressed doubts about the 2020 election outcome is a violation of the Constitution’s First Amendment protection of freedom of speech, the economist notes.

“‘Cancelling’ people is a human rights abuse,” he says.

Those who have been recently subjected to the critical race theory (CRT) programming or fired from their jobs for objecting to their children being taught CRT in public schools could also be added to the list of domestic human rights controversies, Dr. Roberts believes.

​CRT revolves around the concepts of “white supremacy” and premises that US laws and legal system are inherently racist and designed to suppress people of colour, most notably African Americans. Corporate human resource training sessions and diversity workshops for educational and government institutions label white people as “oppressors” and urge them to be “less white.” While former President Donald Trump banned these training sessions, new Oval Office occupant, Joe Biden, rescinded his predecessor’s ban via executive order in the first days of his presidency.

​”The Democrats’ demonisation of white Americans as ‘systemic racists’ is a major human rights abuse,” insists Dr. Roberts.

In addition to this, American citizens are being routinely spied on by federal agencies, the economist notes, referring to the latest FISA compliance review declassified in April 2021. According to FISA Court Presiding Judge James Boasberg, the FBI continues to use the NSA’s massive electronic troves for warrantless searches of US citizens’ information despite repeated criticism. The Department of Defence appears to surveil US citizens without warrants too, according to a 13 May letter written by Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, who introduced a bill protecting Fourth Amendment rights. On top of this, the Biden administration is reportedly considering hiring outside companies to spy on suspected “white extremists” online and “legally” infiltrate private groups under fake identities.

“Spying is a violation of the Constitution,” says Dr. Roberts. “An assault on the Constitution is an assault on the human rights of all Americans.”

Julian Assange

However, perhaps the worst case of US human rights violation is that against WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange, Dr. Roberts believes.

“Acting first through the Swedish government and now through the British government, Assange has been imprisoned without charges or conviction for about a decade,” Dr. Roberts underscores. “This case is as bad or worse than Soviet human rights violations against individual dissidents. I would say worse, because Assange is not an American citizen; yet Washington is trying to bring treason charges against Assange. A person who is not a citizen of the country cannot commit treason against the country.”

On 11 April 2019, Assange – who shed light on US atrocities in Iraq, Democratic Party’s rigging of primaries in 2016, and the CIA’s cyber-hacking tools among other issues – was arrested in London after being stripped of Ecuadorian asylum protection. The US Justice Department charged the him with conspiracy to commit intrusion into a US government computer and 17 counts relating to the Espionage Act of 1917. The charges brought against the journalist carry a maximum sentence of 170 years in prison.

Given all of the above, Biden is opening a can of worms if he wants to lecture others about human rights, Dr. Roberts concludes.

June 7, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Progressive Hypocrite | , | 1 Comment

EU: Growing online censorship of presumed “violent extremism” of all ideological varieties

StateWatch | June 7, 2021

EU police agency Europol recently undertook its first ever “Referral Action Day against right-wing terrorist online propaganda,” in which officers trawled the internet to file complaints about material that may contravene platforms’ terms of service.

The “Action Day” followed recommendations made by the Council of the EU and was part of a growing move towards EU and national bodies removing “violent extremist” material from the internet.

However, as “violent extremism” is a term for which – unlike terrorism – there is no legal definition, it has an expansive scope that puts much in the eye of the beholder.

Indeed, the Portuguese Council Presidency states (in document 8372/21) that the current EU threat assessment takes into account “all forms of extremism that could lead to a terrorist threat or to violence.”

Alongside “Islamism/Jihadism”, it is taken to include both the far-right (or “violent right-wing extremism”, VRWE) and “violent left-wing and anarchist extremism” (VLWAE), both of which encompass a broad sweep of ideologies and activities.

A specific recommendation stemming from the threat assessment was for Europol to use Joint Action Days to target “violent right-wing extremist and terrorist online content.”

However, this is likely to precede action against other ideologies – the document also suggests that: “Where appropriate, consideration should also be given to other forms of violent extremism, such as left-wing.”

This is not the end of it. A separate note from the Presidency (7896/21) considers that:

“Taking into consideration the latest assessments provided to the TWP [Terrorism Working Party], the growing polarization in society, whether based on ideological extremisms or not, seems to be a trend worldwide that may fuel violent extremism. It is also assessed that mainly, but not exclusively, due to the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new breeding ground for radicalisation has the potential to emerge.”

And:

“Mainly as a consequence of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, today’s ideological extremism in the EU is no longer restricted to the “classic” VRWE, VLWE or jihadist extremism. Some recent antisystem COVID-19 denier movements have obvious potential for violence; inspired by conspiracy theories, they challenge governments and restrictive measures put in place, by inciting civil disobedience and unrest. Although extremely difficult to label, they need to be addressed since they pose security challenges to EU Member States.”

Thus:

“Bearing in mind this new reality, it is critical to understand the depth of today’s online threats and the extent to which extremists are using the internet. Therefore, an adequate balance between the improvement of operational capacity and the necessary security requirements on PCVE online activities should be met.”

Documentation

Further reading

June 7, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

What happened in the ‘torture room’ at Israel’s police station in Nazareth?

IMEMC | June 7, 2021

Lawyers from Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel have collected multiple sworn affidavits testifying to rampant, systemic Israeli police attacks and brutal beatings of Palestinian protesters, innocent bystanders, children, and even attorneys inside Nazareth’s police station during the period of protests in the city in May.

The graphic testimonies from victims, attorneys, and paramedics on the scene tell a story of systemic Israeli police brutality and physical, verbal, and psychological abuse of Palestinian citizens of Israel in the northern city, and indicate that Israeli officers ran a “torture room” inside the Nazareth police station – an informal term whose initial use may be traced to the recent detainees and lawyers on the scene.

Adalah submitted a formal complaint to senior Israeli officials today, Monday, 7 June 2021, regarding serious failures on the part of Israeli police and investigators in Nazareth that amount to grave criminal offenses, starting on 9 May 2021 and continuing for a number of days.

In their letter, Adalah attorneys Nareman Shehadeh-Zoabi and Wesam Sharaf highlighted brutal, overt Israeli police violence in Nazareth in breach of the rights of Palestinian citizens grabbed off the street and held in the station, including the rights to liberty, dignity and bodily integrity, as well as the right to counsel and due process.

Israeli “police officers led the detainees to a room located on the left side of the entrance corridor to the station, forcing them to sit on the floor handcuffed, to lower their heads towards the floor, and began to beat them on all parts of their bodies, using kicks and clubs, slamming their heads against walls or doors, and more. Officers wounded the detainees, terrorized them, and whomever dared to lift his head upwards risked more beatings by officers. According to affidavits, the floor of the room was covered in blood from the beatings.”

Most of the violent arrests of and attacks on Palestinian citizens of Israel in the city were carried out by Israeli special police forces, including undercover mista’aravim officers posing as Palestinians. Israeli officers would continue beating, shoving, and choking detainees while walking them from the scene of their arrest to the city’s police station.

Additional testimonies indicate Israeli police prevented Palestinian detainees in the Nazareth station from receiving urgent medical care for wounds resulting from beatings and attacks by officers, also another extremely serious criminal offense.

Almost every night during the Nazareth protests, ambulances were summoned to the police station and wounded Palestinian detainees were evacuated to the city’s hospitals. Other detainees appeared in court following their arrests displaying clearly visible signs of abuse and violence, including stitches on their head, facial swelling, scratches, and extensive bruising.

Sworn testimonies collected from attorneys on the scene indicate Israeli police in Nazareth also attacked them and their colleagues, who were seeking to provide legal aid to Palestinian detainees, used force to distance them from the station, seized telephones and even detained a lawyer.

Adalah demands immediate criminal probe of Israeli police torture

“What happened inside the police station in Nazareth amounts to torture and ill-treatment, and requires the immediate opening of a criminal investigation to examine the circumstances and conditions of the protesters’ detention at the station – including the investigation and prosecution of police officers involved in the violence,” Adalah attorneys wrote in the letter.

Faiz Zbedeiat, 21, university student, Nazareth resident

The protesters stood in a circle … and I stood about 6-7 meters away from them. After a while, a police officer approached the scene and announced over the loudspeaker that the gathering was forbidden and demanded that the participants disperse. When I heard this, I stepped back so that it was clear that I was not part of the rally. I was on the phone with a friend, and a second after I hung up, the cops threw a stun grenade into the street. Suddenly, I noticed a Border Police officer running towards me, and when he got to me he punched me in the nose. I immediately said: “I’m standing far away [from the protest], what have I done? I didn’t do anything.” He suddenly started yelling at me, cursing me, hitting me again, and he said, “Don’t talk to me, talk to the interrogator.” I immediately said that I was not resisting… Two more policemen arrived, grabbed me and pushed me towards another Border Police officer who grabbed me, hit me, and tried to slam my head against the wall. I asked why they were hitting me when I’m not resisting. I even I put my hands behind my back even though they didn’t handcuff me. Nevertheless, the same Border Police officer hit me in the nose with the walkie-talkie that he was holding. I raised my hands above my head to protect myself, and this angered him and he started cursing and threatening me.

The cops dragged me, grabbing me by the head and forcing me to look down. I was taken to the police station a few minutes’ walk away. On the way to station, the same cops continued beating me even though I wasn’t resisting at all. On the way, we met a policeman who appeared to be an officer, and he started laughing and said to them: “Did you only arrest him? That’s not enough. We need more.”

[In the Nazareth police station], police brought more detainees into the room, some of them minors who were nevertheless held together with us rather than being separated. At this point, the cops started beating us and kicking us with their feet and batons. [My friend] who was next to me, received a blow that caused a head wound which began to bleed. The blood could be seen on the floor. I told him he should ask for immediate medical attention, but he was afraid that if he asked for help they would beat him again. The cops kept saying “Close the door.” No one was allowed to raise their head; whomever raised his head or spoke was beaten more. I saw one guy who had a broken nose, his face covered in blood, and yet they kept hitting him inside the room. One of the police officers had an M-16 rifle and I saw that he used it to hit detainees. There was a moment when I could take a glance back and see that a police officer who was beating the detainees was masked.

The cops hit us in the back, slapped us in the face. I personally was hit in the back. They tried to hit me in the head but I dodged the blow, so they hit me in the stomach and slapped me in the face. I remained calm and composed the whole the time, but those who resisted or reacted were beaten more. The cops kept trying to provoke us, they cursed and threatened us. For example, during the adhan (Muslim prayer), they started laughing and saying “Pray that God will get you out of here.” After awhile, a police officer approached me and whispered in my ear, threatening me. He cursed my mother, my sister, and my wife. He then asked, “Did you understand?” I didn’t answer, and he immediately slapped me in the face. He asked me again: “Do you understand?” I still didn’t answer and he slapped me again in the face. Finally, he said “Go explain to your friends”. He pushed me back down to the floor and hit me again.

I saw deliberate humiliation of the detainees. I saw one of the cops kicking a detainee in the leg. Another officer came over and said to him “That’s not how you beat someone,” and kicked the detainee harder. The two cops started laughing.

Omaiyer Lawabne, Nazareth resident

On the eve of Eid el-Fitr and the last day of Ramadan, my brother and I and two other friends decided to go out and celebrate with two friends. We left the house around 21:00, and went to the “Checkers” store near the parking lot on Hagalil Street in Nazareth. I parked the car there, and we went to withdraw money from an ATM. I immediately noticed many police forces in the area, some of whom were well-equipped and looked like special units, as well as a demonstration that was taking place nearby. When I saw this, I started to walk away slowly in order to distance myself a bit. At one point, I looked to my right and saw a police officer in full gear running towards me with his fist raised in the air. The officer hadn’t appealed to us, hadn’t called out to us, hadn’t demand that we identify ourselves or stop. As soon as he saw us, he came running towards me with his fist raised in the air. But the thing is, we were just standing there, away from the demonstration, in a place where no one was gathering.

When I saw the police officer running towards me, I was scared, and I knew he was going to hit me. Out of fear, I started running. I wanted to stop and explain to him that I hadn’t done anything, but when I looked back I heard someone call out “Throw it, throw it,” and I realized that they were referring to stun grenades. The cops started throwing grenades at me, and I kept running because I knew that if I stood still I could be badly wounded by the grenades… While I was still running, one of the policemen raised his hand and hit me in the left eye, and I fell to the ground.

I covered my face while begging the cops who surrounded me to release me because I hadn’t done anything. Suddenly, one of the cops started kicking me in the face and head, stepping with his boot on my head and then on my shoulder. Several cops gathered around me as I lay on the ground. They began to hit me, both kicking and punching. I felt intense pain all over my body, from my head to my legs. One of them started kicking me in the artery behind the ear. At that moment, I thought I was going to die.

After a few minutes, two of the cops dragged me to the city police station. I tried to explain to them that I hadn’t done anything, but when I tried to speak they started punching me in the stomach… I saw that every detainee they brought into the station, they would slam his head against the door. I tried to keep my head away from the door as I didn’t want a scar that would stay with me for life but they still tried to slam my head against the door.

When we entered the station, we continued straight and turned left through a doorway. One of the officers immediately started cursing me and my family, and another slapped my face. There were a lot of detainees in the room, and I was shocked to see that they looked like prisoners of war: They were forced to sit on the floor, with their legs folded under their bodies and their heads held down. One masked officer was walking around the room with an object in his hand – I couldn’t tell if it was a club or something else – but everyone who raised his head was hit on the head with this object. They pushed me down into a corner and I lowered my head and curled up. Nevertheless, the same police officer hit me hard on the head with that object.

Seconds later I felt a great pain in my head, I saw that there was a large amount of blood coming down from a head wound, and I felt very dizzy… When they saw this, the police dragged me out, and ordered me to put my head under a tap of water. I told them I wouldn’t put my head under the tap because it would aggravate the pain and aggravate the bleeding, that they are also not doctors, and I didn’t need diagnosis by cops but rather professional medical treatment. One of the cops told me to shut up and hit me on the stomach. I felt threatened so I followed his orders and put just part of my head under the tap, so that it wouldn’t harm the wound. The officer then told me to “put my whole head under the faucet”, held me by the neck, and forced me to put the wound under the faucet.

A few minutes later two paramedics came to me. As soon as they saw me, they immediately decided to take me to the hospital… When the ambulance arrived, the officer who hit me in the head demanded to explain to the paramedics what had happened. I replied that the officer had beaten me with some object, but the officer – in an attempt to cover up my accusation – rejected my explanation and said, “Wrong. You were hit by a rock” [thrown during the demonstration]. I replied that I was not at the demonstration at all, and that police had in fact photographed me at the entrance to the station without any wounds and without bleeding, so it could be seen that I was therefore wounded only after being brought into the station.

That night I was released from hospital directly home rather than back to the police station. I couldn’t sleep for two nights because of the pain and dizziness. I couldn’t eat because of pain from the blows to my stomach. If I tried to eat, I would start vomiting. My chin hurt and I couldn’t speak well. It was the first time I had been arrested, an arrest that I believe was illegal, pointless, and very violent. Since then, I have not been summoned to the police station for any questioning or to provide testimony.

June 7, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 5 Comments

White House admits CIA involvement in “War on Corruption” which jailed Lula and elected Bolsonaro

Brasil Wire – June 3, 2021

In a White House ‘Background Press Call by Senior Administration Officials on the Fight Against Corruption’, a Biden administration official admitted that the CIA and other parts of the U.S. intelligence apparatus were involved in assisting the “War on Corruption” which jailed former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and elected Jair Bolsonaro.

Read the full transcript here.

The admission will come as an embarrassment to a media who has for the most part omitted, minimised or denied U.S. involvement in anti-corruption actions across Latin America, despite it being a matter of public record for years.

In July 2017, Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco gave a speech at NATO think tank the Atlantic Council in which he bragged of FBI personnel informally involved in Brazilian anti-corruption operation Lava Jato and its prosecution of former president Lula. FBI personnel involved later boasted that it had “toppled presidents“. Lava Jato prosecutor Deltan Dellagnol described Lula’s 2018 arrest which kept him out of the election he was on course to win, as “a gift from the CIA“. The judge who prosecuted Lula, Sergio Moro, became Bolsonaro’s Justice Minister, and both made an unprecedented visit to CIA headquarters in Langley within months of taking office. Lava Jato’s origins can be traced back to 2008/09, where Moro and a blueprint for an operation of its type appear in State Department cables.

The role of anti-corruption as U.S. foreign policy tool in Latin America has expanded gradually since the 1990s, and has continued through successive Democrat and Republican administrations. Lava Jato was central to the ouster of president Dilma Rousseff, and pivotal to the election of Jair Bolsonaro, which were both undeniably advantageous to the United States government and business/banking sector, which is represented in Latin America by lobby and think tank Council of the Americas.

The June 3 press call was to mark a new national security study memorandum or NSSM on “Establishing the fight against corruption as a core U.S. national security interest“, which is being renewed under the Biden administration, and held by unnamed “senior administration officials”.

The following exchange left little to the imagination.

Journalist: “As you know, anti-corruption activists periodically urge the U.S. government to use its various assets and capabilities, including the intelligence community, to expose specific cases of corruption overseas, to name and shame corrupt officials — and the arguments they make are familiar — but also include not only, you know, a deterrent to corruption, but also a possible contribution to the promotion of democracy. Does the memorandum — does the program include any component that connects with that?”

Senior Administration Official: “What I can say on that front is that the memorandum includes components of the intelligence community. So, the work on that front, in part, remains to be seen, but they are included — the Director of National Intelligence and Central Intelligence Agency.”
 
“And so we’re just going to be looking at all of the tools in our disposal to make sure that we identify corruption where it’s happening and take appropriate policy responses.”
 
“And I’ll take the opportunity to mention that we’re also going to be using this effort to think about what more we can do to bolster other actors that are out in the world exposing corruption and bringing it to light.”
 
“So, of course, the U.S. government has its own internal methods, but, largely, the way that corruption is exposed is through the work of investigative journalists and investigative NGOs.”
 
“The U.S. government — to my point earlier, in terms of the support we’re already providing — in some instances provides support to these actors. And we’ll be looking at what more we can do on that front as well.”

The journalist asked for clarification: “What does the word “support” mean in that context?”

Senior Administration Official: “Well, sometimes it boils down to foreign assistance. There are lines of assistance that have jumpstarted investigatory journalism organizations. What comes to my mind most immediately is OCCRP, as well as foreign assistance that goes to NGOs, ultimately, that do investigative work on anti-corruption, as well.”

Evidence of the very nature that the official describes above has been dismissed by supporters of partisan anti-corruption campaigns for years.

The official was asked by a journalist specifically about Vice President Kamala Harris’s upcoming trip to Latin America, and: “if there were any corruption measures associated with that, or any, sort of, additional push related to that?”

The unnamed official responded: “I’m not going to characterize the views of the prior administration, but I would say, to your point: The essence of the memorandum we’re going to release today is that the U.S. government is placing the anti-corruption plight at the center of its foreign policy, so we very much want to prioritize this work across the board.”

The latest admission of CIA involvement in the U.S. led “fight against corruption”, of which Operation Lava Jato (Carwash) was the high-profile centrepiece, has grave implications for Brazilian democracy, and that of wider Latin America.

Brasil Wire has been covering this subject in depth since 2015: All articles on Lawfare in Brazil and U.S. involvement in it, 2015-2021.

June 7, 2021 Posted by | Deception | , , , , | 1 Comment

MORENA Party Leads Legislative Elections in Mexico

teleSUR | June 7, 2021

Mexico’s National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) party is emerging as the winner of the legislative elections carried out on Sunday

The party led by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) is expected to obtain between 190 and 203 seats in the Lower Chamber.

The National Electoral Institute (INE) Counselor Lorenzo Cordova revealed that the preliminary voting range of MORENA goes from 34.9 to 35.8 percent, which would ensure between 190 and 203 legislators.

After clarifying that the results offered are preliminary, Cordova noted that Morena leads the largest elections in the country’s history, in which 15 out of 32 governors, 30 local congresses, and over 1,900 city councils were renewed.

On Monday, President AMLO celebrated the election results because they will allow him to continue with the transformation of his country.

“Especially in the federal election, citizens voted for two different and opposing projects… and I am very grateful because as a result of this election the parties that sympathize with the ongoing transformation project will have a majority in the Lower House,” Lopez Obrador said.

June 7, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | | 1 Comment

Taliban: Foreign forces’ interpreters have nothing to fear if ‘show remorse’

Press TV – June 7, 2021

The Taliban militant group says Afghans who used to work with foreign forces as interpreters have nothing to fear after the withdrawal of troops if they “show remorse.”

The Taliban made the announcement after many Afghan translators working alongside US and NATO troops demonstrated in the capital, Kabul, demanding foreign forces and embassies that they worked with help them leave the country a head of US President Joe Biden’s September 11 withdrawal deadline.

The Afghan translators said they were afraid the Taliban would “take revenge” on them since they were seen as US agents and spies.

“They shall not be in any danger on our part,” the Taliban said in a statement.

The militant group “would like to inform all the above people that they should show remorse for their past actions and must not engage in such activities in the future that amount to treason against Islam and the country,” the statement added.

The Taliban went on to say that while Afghan translators were viewed as foes when they worked with foreign forces, they will not face any issues “when they abandon enemy ranks and …should not remain fearful.”

Dozens of Afghan translators have over the past two decades been killed in attacks claimed by the Taliban.

Meanwhile, the Taliban said last week that they would provide a “safe environment” for foreign embassies to work in Afghanistan even after foreign troops leave the country.

The assurance by the militant group came after Australia closed its mission in Kabul and said it will not be able to guarantee security once foreign troops pull out.

The embassy said an “increasingly uncertain security environment” had made it too unsafe for embassy staff to be based in Afghanistan.

The US and its allies overthrew the Taliban regime shortly after the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. But US forces have remained bogged down there through the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and now Joe Biden.

All foreign troops were supposed to have been withdrawn by May 1, as part of an agreement that the US had reached with the Taliban in the Qatari capital last year. But Biden last month pushed that date back to September 11.

The Taliban warned that the passing of the May 1 deadline for a complete withdrawal “opened the way for” the militants to take every counteraction they deemed appropriate against foreign forces in the county.

June 7, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , | 1 Comment

The Global Race Towards Full Vaccination

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | June 1, 2021

Scientists initially estimated that 60 to 70 percent of a population would have to acquire resistance to Covid-19 in order for herd immunity to take effect, a threshold that has been revised upwards since the start of the year with 80 to 85 percent quoted in some cases.

Despite the ever-higher immunity threshold discussed by scientists, Israel’s Covid-19 case count started to tumble when 40 percent of its population received at least one jab and now 59.3 percent of its inhabitants are fully vaccinated. The country’s reproduction rate has been around 0.5 in recent weeks and it appears to be on track to emerge from the pandemic, suggesting that initial herd immunity estimates carried some accuracy.

With 45.4 percent of its inhabitants fully vaccinated, Bahrain comes second on the list.

In the United States, 40.2 percent of people have been fully vaccinated (though do not forget that almost half of unvaccinated Americans have natural immunity from prior infection).

In this case, full vaccination refers to all doses prescribed by the vaccination protocol with data only available for countries reporting the breakdown of their doses.

As Scott Morefield wrote recently, Blue-state lockdown-lovers drunk on their own power like Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer who insist on a 70 percent vaccination rate in order to ease up on mandates and restrictions are ignoring the science completely in order to hold their people hostage to an unobtainable, unnecessary goal.

Dr. Marty Makary, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital debunked the desire among some health officials, sometimes referred to as “zero COVID,” that COVID-19 can be eradicated completely.

Well, unfortunately, we have this perception now that’s being created by some public health leaders that we need to reach total eradication. We’re not gonna get to total absolute risk elimination. That is a false goal and quite honestly it’s being used now to manipulate the public. We heard today again from our public health leaders that if we get to 70% vaccination, then we can start seeing restrictions removed. That’s dishonest. Most of the country is at herd immunity.

Other parts will get there later this month. San Francisco had 12 cases yesterday, most asymptomatic. What do you call that? I call that herd immunity. And I think what’s happening is our public health leaders are dismissing natural immunity from prior infection, which changes the path to get to more population immunity. It invokes mandates, it means kids may have to get it and it demonizes those that are hesitant rather than respecting their decision.

Indeed, you don’t have to have a medical degree to know that the formula for herd immunity has always been vaccinated plus natural immunity.

June 7, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , | Leave a comment

Meryl Nass on anti-vaccine petition to FDA

Listen HERE

Kevin Barrett | May 31, 2021
Dr. Meryl Nass

Meryl Nass, MD discusses her and RFK Jr.’s new Children’s Health Defense petition to the FDA to withdraw COVID vaccines from the market. CHD reports:

“On May 16, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Meryl Nass, MD, on behalf of Children’s Health Defense (CHD), took a landmark step in the COVID crisis that has irrevocably changed billions of lives around the globe by filing a Citizen Petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to withdraw COVID-19 vaccines from the market…

“Specifically, the petition calls upon the FDA to:

  • Revoke the Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for COVID vaccines
  • Refrain from licensing COVID vaccines
  • Disallow the participation of minors in COVID vaccine trials
  • Immediately revoke all EUAs permitting vaccination of minors
  • Revoke its tacit approval of pregnant women receiving COVID vaccines
  • Immediately amend its existing guidance for the use of chloroquine drugs, ivermectin, and any other safe and effective drugs against COVID.”

Evidence for the effectiveness of COVID-19 treatments can be found at c19study.com .

At the end of the show, Meryl Nass expresses her concern that the suppression of COVID treatments, in conjunction with the mass vaccination program and draconian censorship, raises a disturbing question: Is there some ulterior and perhaps sinister motive driving this seemingly irrational policy?

June 7, 2021 Posted by | Audio program, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment