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British journalists could face jail for publishing leak stories that embarrass the government

Chilling new proposals

By Dan Frieth | Reclaim the Net | July 20, 2021

As if there needed to be yet another threat to free speech in the UK, British journalists could face 14-year prison sentences for publishing stories embarrassing the government, under proposed reforms to the Official Secrets Act. According to the government, the new proposals will crack down on foreign spies but many fear it could even be used domestically.

The UK government, through the Home Office, has proposed reforms to the 1989 Official Secrets Act, to account for changes technology and the internet has enabled in the sharing of leaked data.

But critics have noted that with the proposed changes local journalists are not protected if charged under the new laws.

Critics further noted that if the new proposals were currently law, the journalists who revealed that former Health Secretary Matt Hancock broke his own COVID rules while having an affair with his aide would have been charged. The leak was newsworthy and the story broke through leaked CCTV footage.

Last week, the Information Commissioner’s Office came under fire when it emerged that it searched two homes while investigating how the CCTV footage leaked to The Sun, the news outlet that first broke Matt Hancock’s affair story.

Among the groups criticizing the new proposals is the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), which noted that the new law would treat whistleblowers and those who publish leaked content the same way foreign spies are treated.

A spokesperson for the organization said:

“Existing legislation distinguishes provisions and penalties between those who leak or whistleblow, those who receive leaked information, and foreign spies.

“The government proposes to eliminate or blur these distinctions. The government also wants to increase the maximum penalties that journalists might suffer for receiving leaked material from two to 14 years…

“The NUJ has long argued that where whistleblowers believe that they have acted in the public interest, they should be able to make this case in court, and if a jury agrees with them, be protected.”

But according to the Home Office:

“Since the passage of the Act in 1989, there have been unprecedented developments in communications technology (including data storage and rapid data transfer tools) which in our view, means that unauthorized disclosures are now capable of causing far more serious damage than would have been possible previously.

“As a result, we do not consider that there is necessarily a distinction in severity between espionage and the most serious unauthorized disclosures, in the same way that there was in 1989.

“Although there are differences in the mechanics of and motivations behind espionage and unauthorized disclosure offenses, there are cases where an unauthorized disclosure may be as or more serious, in terms of intent and/or damage.

“For example, documents made available online can now be accessed and utilized by a wide range of hostile actors simultaneously, whereas espionage will often only be to the benefit of a single state or actor.

“In severe cases, the unauthorized disclosure of the identities of agents working for the UK intelligence community, for example, could directly lead to imminent and serious threat to life.”

The Law Commission and the human rights organizations that helped draft the new proposals insist there should be a “public interest defense” in the amendment to protect journalists who receive leaked content.

However, the Home Office argues that such a provision would “undermine our efforts to prevent damaging unauthorized disclosures, which would not be in the public interest.”

A Home Office spokesman said:

“Freedom of press is an integral part of the UK’s democratic processes and the government is committed to protecting the rights and values that we hold so dear.

“It is wrong to claim the proposals will put journalists at risk of being treated like spies and they will, rightly, remain free to hold the government to account.

“We will introduce new legislation so security services and law enforcement agencies can tackle evolving state threats and protect sensitive data.

“However, this will be balanced to protect press freedom and the ability for whistleblowers to hold organizations to account when there are serious allegations of wrongdoing.”

July 20, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception | | 4 Comments

Time to assume that health research is fraudulent until proven otherwise?

By Richard Smith | BMJ | July 5, 2021

Health research is based on trust. Health professionals and journal editors reading the results of a clinical trial assume that the trial happened and that the results were honestly reported. But about 20% of the time, said Ben Mol, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Monash Health, they would be wrong. As I’ve been concerned about research fraud for 40 years, I wasn’t that surprised as many would be by this figure, but it led me to think that the time may have come to stop assuming that research actually happened and is honestly reported, and assume that the research is fraudulent until there is some evidence to support it having happened and been honestly reported. The Cochrane Collaboration, which purveys “trusted information,” has now taken a step in that direction.

As he described in a webinar last week, Ian Roberts, professor of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, began to have doubts about the honest reporting of trials after a colleague asked if he knew that his systematic review showing the mannitol halved death from head injury was based on trials that had never happened. He didn’t, but he set about investigating the trials and confirmed that they hadn’t ever happened. They all had a lead author who purported to come from an institution that didn’t exist and who killed himself a few years later. The trials were all published in prestigious neurosurgery journals and had multiple co-authors. None of the co-authors had contributed patients to the trials, and some didn’t know that they were co-authors until after the trials were published. When Roberts contacted one of the journals the editor responded that “I wouldn’t trust the data.” Why, Roberts wondered, did he publish the trial? None of the trials have been retracted.

Later Roberts, who headed one of the Cochrane groups, did a systematic review of colloids versus crystalloids only to discover again that many of the trials that were included in the review could not be trusted. He is now sceptical about all systematic reviews, particularly those that are mostly reviews of multiple small trials. He compared the original idea of systematic reviews as searching for diamonds, knowledge that was available if brought together in systematic reviews; now he thinks of systematic reviewing as searching through rubbish. He proposed that small, single centre trials should be discarded, not combined in systematic reviews.

Mol, like Roberts, has conducted systematic reviews only to realise that most of the trials included either were zombie trials that were fatally flawed or were untrustworthy. What, he asked, is the scale of the problem? Although retractions are increasing, only about 0.04% of biomedical studies have been retracted, suggesting the problem is small. But the anaesthetist John Carlisle analysed 526 trials submitted to Anaesthesia and found that 73 (14%) had false data, and 43 (8%) he categorised as zombie. When he was able to examine individual patient data in 153 studies, 67 (44%) had untrustworthy data and 40 (26%) were zombie trials. Many of the trials came from the same countries (Egypt, China, India, Iran, Japan, South Korea, and Turkey), and when John Ioannidis, a professor at Stanford University, examined individual patient data from trials submitted from those countries to Anaesthesia during a year he found that many were false: 100% (7/7) in Egypt; 75% (3/ 4) in Iran; 54% (7/13) in India; 46% (22/48) in China; 40% (2/5) in Turkey; 25% (5/20) in South Korea; and 18% (2/11) in Japan. Most of the trials were zombies. Ioannidis concluded that there are hundreds of thousands of zombie trials published from those countries alone.

Others have found similar results, and Mol’s best guess is that about 20% of trials are false. Very few of these papers are retracted.

We have long known that peer review is ineffective at detecting fraud, especially if the reviewers start, as most have until now, by assuming that the research is honestly reported. I remember being part of a panel in the 1990s investigating one of Britain’s most outrageous cases of fraud, when the statistical reviewer of the study told us that he had found multiple problems with the study and only hoped that it was better done than it was reported. We asked if he had ever considered that the study might be fraudulent, and he told us that he hadn’t.

We have now reached a point where those doing systematic reviews must start by assuming that a study is fraudulent until they can have some evidence to the contrary. Some supporting evidence comes from the trial having been registered and having ethics committee approval. Andrew Grey, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Auckland, and others have developed a checklist with around 40 items that can be used as a screening tool for fraud (you can view the checklist here). The REAPPRAISED checklist (Research governance, Ethics, Authorship, Plagiarism, Research conduct, Analyses and methods, Image manipulation, Statistics, Errors, Data manipulation and reporting) covers issues like “ethical oversight and funding, research productivity and investigator workload, validity of randomisation, plausibility of results and duplicate data reporting.” The checklist has been used to detect studies that have subsequently been retracted but hasn’t been through the full evaluation that you would expect for a clinical screening tool. (But I must congratulate the authors on a clever acronym: some say that dreaming up the acronym for a study is the most difficult part of the whole process.)

Roberts and others wrote about the problem of the many untrustworthy and zombie trials in The BMJ six years ago with the provocative title: “The knowledge system underpinning healthcare is not fit for purpose and must change.” They wanted the Cochrane Collaboration and anybody conducting systematic reviews to take very seriously the problem of fraud. It was perhaps coincidence, but a few weeks before the webinar the Cochrane Collaboration produced guidelines on reviewing studies where there has been a retraction, an expression of concern, or the reviewers are worried about the trustworthiness of the data.

Retractions are the easiest to deal with, but they are, as Mol said, only a tiny fraction of untrustworthy or zombie studies. An editorial in the Cochrane Library accompanying the new guidelines recognises that there is no agreement on what constitutes an untrustworthy study, screening tools are not reliable, and “Misclassification could also lead to reputational damage to authors, legal consequences, and ethical issues associated with participants having taken part in research, only for it to be discounted.” The Collaboration is being cautious but does stand to lose credibility—and income—if the world ceases to trust Cochrane Reviews because they are thought to be based on untrustworthy trials.

Research fraud is often viewed as a problem of “bad apples,” but Barbara K Redman, who spoke at the webinar insists that it is not a problem of bad apples but bad barrels if not, she said, of rotten forests or orchards. In her book Research Misconduct Policy in Biomedicine: Beyond the Bad-Apple Approach she argues that research misconduct is a systems problem—the system provides incentives to publish fraudulent research and does not have adequate regulatory processes. Researchers progress by publishing research, and because the publication system is built on trust and peer review is not designed to detect fraud it is easy to publish fraudulent research. The business model of journals and publishers depends on publishing, preferably lots of studies as cheaply as possible. They have little incentive to check for fraud and a positive disincentive to experience reputational damage—and possibly legal risk—from retracting studies. Funders, universities, and other research institutions similarly have incentives to fund and publish studies and disincentives to make a fuss about fraudulent research they may have funded or had undertaken in their institution—perhaps by one of their star researchers. Regulators often lack the legal standing and the resources to respond to what is clearly extensive fraud, recognising that proving a study to be fraudulent (as opposed to suspecting it of being fraudulent) is a skilled, complex, and time consuming process. Another problem is that research is increasingly international with participants from many institutions in many countries: who then takes on the unenviable task of investigating fraud? Science really needs global governance.

Everybody gains from the publication game, concluded Roberts, apart from the patients who suffer from being given treatments based on fraudulent data.

Stephen Lock, my predecessor as editor of The BMJ, became worried about research fraud in the 1980s, but people thought his concerns eccentric. Research authorities insisted that fraud was rare, didn’t matter because science was self-correcting, and that no patients had suffered because of scientific fraud. All those reasons for not taking research fraud seriously have proved to be false, and, 40 years on from Lock’s concerns, we are realising that the problem is huge, the system encourages fraud, and we have no adequate way to respond. It may be time to move from assuming that research has been honestly conducted and reported to assuming it to be untrustworthy until there is some evidence to the contrary.

Richard Smith was the editor of The BMJ until 2004.

Competing interest: RS was a cofounder of the Committee on Medical Ethics (COPE), for many years the chair of the Cochrane Library Oversight Committee, and a member of the board of the UK Research Integrity Office.

July 20, 2021 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | Leave a comment

Should COVID-19 be a vaccine disease or a childhood disease?

By Christine S Benn & Professor Peter Aaby | BMJ | July 18, 2021

Dear Editor

In the discussion regarding COVID-19 vaccination of children, several aspects seem to be missing.

First, vaccination of children is based on a small Pfizer-sponsored phase 3 trial of 2260 adolescents randomized to BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccine or saline. The resulting paper concludes that the vaccine ”had a favorable safety profile”(1). However, based on data presented in supplementary table 2, in the age group 12-15 years, 7/1131 vaccinated vs. 2/1129 unvaccinated had a severe adverse event (1), i.e. a 3-fold increased risk. In the 16-25 years age group presented in the same paper, 9/536 vaccinated vs. 3/561 unvaccinated had a severe adverse event (1), i.e. likewise a 3-fold increased risk. The combined results indicate a 3.28 (95% confidence interval 1.21 to 8.94)-fold increased risk in severe adverse events in the vaccinated adolescents/young adults (2). In absolute numbers, 1 of 100 vaccinated experienced a severe event, vs. 3 of 1000 unvaccinated. Data was not presented by sex.

A protective vaccine can have negative non-specific and sex-differential effects on overall health (3). For instance, a protective measles vaccine had to be withdrawn after being associated with 2-fold higher all-cause mortality for females (4). A partially protective malaria vaccine was recently likewise associated with 2-fold higher female mortality (5). These epidemiological observations indicate that while the vaccines protected against the target disease, they increased the susceptibility to other diseases. In other words, the specific protection came at the price of increased susceptibility to other diseases. This epidemiological phenomenon of negative non-specific effects has been linked to innate immune tolerance (3, 6). Though the number of participants was small, the only study so far of BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccine indicates that this vaccine induces innate immune tolerance towards bacterial and viral ligands (7). Thus, protection against COVID-19 could come at the price of increased risk of other infections.

Other pandemic vaccines have later been found out to have caused rare but severe side effects, like Guillain-Barré syndrome in recipients of flu vaccines in 1976, and narcolepsy linked to one brand of swine flu influenza vaccine in 2009(8). None of the phase 3 trials of COVID-19 vaccines were designed to study either non-specific sex-differential effects, or rare but severe long-term side effects (8).

Given the low risk of severe COVID-19 in previously healthy children – none in the Pfizer-sponsored phase 3 trial (1) – it is not clear that vaccine benefits outweigh harm in healthy children.

Second, arguments for vaccinating children include that infection in children could lead to more dangerous variants. Variants of concern have typically been the result of persistent infections in immunocompromised people that can cause the virus to mutate more frequently because the person’s immune system cannot clear the virus as quickly as the immune system of a healthy person (9). Presumably healthy children, who typically have very mild/short-lasting infections, are unlikely to give rise to variants of concern. Noteworthy, individuals, who have had COVID-19 infection, will likely have broad resistance towards SARS-CoV2 variants(10), and thus contribute importantly to herd immunity.

This leads us to the third point: Should COVID-19 be a vaccine disease or a childhood disease? There has been surprisingly little discussion about the future of COVID-19. Many people seem to assume that COVID-19 will become a disease for which we vaccinate the whole population perhaps annually or biannually. This will be expensive – and potentially harmful, if the (repeated) vaccinations have negative effects. We do not think vaccination of the whole population is necessary either; in fact, it may be counter-productive for society.

The known endemic human Corona-viruses (HCoV) infect most people before age 15; thereafter people may become re-infected again, but as evidenced by the lack of IgM responses, the response is a recall response (11). These HCoV rarely cause severe disease until the age of immunosenescence and we would never contemplate vaccinating against HCoVs at the population level, even if vaccines existed.

Given that we are so lucky that SARS-CoV2 very rarely cause severe disease in children, the safest and cheapest way forward seems to be to tame SARS-CoV2 to a common childhood disease like other HCoV. This would happen by allowing SARS-CoV2 to infect children, who thereby likely become protected against severe disease well into late adulthood. Importantly, this transition of SARS-CoV2 into a childhood disease would be delayed if there is too little SARS-CoV2 circulating. As noted by others: “Once most adults are vaccinated, circulation of SARS-CoV-2 may in fact be desirable, as it is likely to lead to primary infection early in life when disease is mild, followed by booster re-exposures throughout adulthood … This would keep reinfections mild and immunity up to date”(12).

In conclusion, there are good arguments why not vaccinating children may in fact serve several purposes at the individual as well as at the societal level:
• Not vaccinating children protects children against the potential unknown harms of COVID-19 vaccinations.
• Not vaccinating children gives them the opportunity to develop a broad natural immunity, contributing to herd immunity, and speeding up the transition of SARS-CoV2 into a childhood disease.
The avoided costs of making COVID-19 a vaccine disease, for which we vaccinate the whole population maybe annually or biannually, could be well spent on other health related issues such as smoking, cancer, obesity, and mental health.

References:

1. Frenck RW, Jr., Klein NP, Kitchin N, Gurtman A, Absalon J, Lockhart S, et al. Safety, Immunogenicity, and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 Covid-19 Vaccine in Adolescents. N Engl J Med. 2021.
2. Benn CS. https://www.linkedin.com/posts/christine-stabell-benn_safety-immunogenic…. LinkedIn post 2021.
3. Benn CS, Fisker AB, Rieckmann A, Sørup S, Aaby P. Vaccinology: time to change the paradigm? Lancet Infect Dis. 2020.
4. Aaby P, Jensen H, Samb B, Cisse B, Sodemann M, Jakobsen M, et al. Differences in female-male mortality after high-titre measles vaccine and association with subsequent vaccination with diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis and inactivated poliovirus: reanalysis of West African studies. Lancet. 2003;361(9376):2183-8.
5. Klein SL, Shann F, Moss WJ, Benn CS, Aaby P. RTS,S Malaria Vaccine and Increased Mortality in Girls. MBio. 2016;7(2):e00514-16.
6. Blok BA, de Bree LCJ, Diavatopoulos DA, Langereis JD, Joosten LAB, Aaby P, et al. Interacting, Nonspecific, Immunological Effects of Bacille Calmette-Guerin and Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis Inactivated Polio Vaccinations: An Explorative, Randomized Trial. Clin Infect Dis. 2020;70(3):455-63.
7. Föhse FK, Geckin B, Overheul GJ, van de Maat J, Kilic G, Bulut O, et al. The BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 reprograms both adaptive and innate immune responses. medRxiv. 2021:2021.05.03.21256520.
8. Doshi P. Will covid-19 vaccines save lives? Current trials aren’t designed to tell us. Bmj. 2020;371:m4037.
9. Peacock TP, Penrice-Randal R, Hiscox JA, Barclay WS. SARS-CoV-2 one year on: evidence for ongoing viral adaptation. J Gen Virol. 2021;102(4).
10. Ferretti AP, Kula T, Wang Y, Nguyen DMV, Weinheimer A, Dunlap GS, et al. Unbiased Screens Show CD8(+) T Cells of COVID-19 Patients Recognize Shared Epitopes in SARS-CoV-2 that Largely Reside outside the Spike Protein. Immunity. 2020;53(5):1095-107.e3.
11. Zhou W, Wang W, Wang H, Lu R, Tan W. First infection by all four non-severe acute respiratory syndrome human coronaviruses takes place during childhood. BMC Infect Dis. 2013;13:433.
12. Lavine JS, Bjornstad O, Antia R. Vaccinating children against SARS-CoV-2. BMJ. 2021;373:n1197.

Competing interests: No competing interests

Christine S Benn & Professor Peter Aaby
Bandim Health Project, Department of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark
Studiestræde 6, 1455 Copenhagen K, Denmark
@StabellBenn

July 20, 2021 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

Why the EU’s Carbon Border Tax will Fail to Stop Carbon Leakage

By Eric Worrall | Watts Up With That? | July 20, 2021

The EU is once again attempting to impose a carbon tax on all imports, to stop “carbon leakage”, the loss of manufacturing or other businesses relocating to lower cost countries. But a few simple economic calculations demonstrate why the EU’s plan will not stop the ongoing haemorrhage of business activity.

Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism: Questions and Answers

Why is the Commission proposing a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism?

The EU is at the forefront of international efforts to fight climate change. The European Green Deal sets out a clear path towards realising the EU’s ambitious target of a 55% reduction in carbon emissions compared to 1990 levels by 2030, and to become a climate-neutral continent by 2050.

The July 2021 package in support of the EU’s climate targets is an integral part of our strategy to achieve this, and will further seal the EU’s reputation as a global climate leader. As part of these efforts, the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) is a climate measure that should prevent the risk of carbon leakage and support the EU’s increased ambition on climate mitigation, while ensuring WTO compatibility.

Climate change is a global problem that needs global solutions. As we raise our own climate ambition and less stringent environmental and climate policies prevail in non-EU countries, there is a strong risk of so-called ‘carbon leakage’ – i.e. companies based in the EU could move carbon-intensive production abroad to take advantage of lax standards, or EU products could be replaced by more carbon-intensive imports. Such carbon leakage can shift emissions outside of Europe and therefore seriously undermine EU and global climate efforts. The CBAM will equalise the price of carbon between domestic products and imports and ensure that the EU’s climate objectives are not undermined by production relocating to countries with less ambitious policies.

Read more: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/qanda_21_3661

Why does this tax put an EU producer at a disadvantage?

EU Border Tax – No Sale

Simple – selling to another EU entity is price competitive, so far, but selling outside the EU is impossibly expensive, because you are competing with other sellers who don’t pay EU carbon taxes. An exporter outside the EU has an advantage over a manufacturer inside the EU, even if they have to pay a carbon border adjustment.

What about if the EU tries to level the playing field for EU based exporters, and applies a tax credit to exports? This opens the door to massive global carbon carousel fraud.

EU Carbon Tax Carousel Fraud

EU Carbon Tax Carousel Fraud

Either the EU destroys their own exporters, in an attempt to protect their domestic industry, or they have a big firefight on their hands, trying to contain carbon carousel fraud, which will only get worse any time they try to ratchet up their carbon price.

What about the effect of carbon pricing on businesses inside the EU carbon tax zone?

Classic supply and demand graph

Classic supply and demand graph, showing the impact on quantity of a tax driven rise in price per unit.

In this case quantity is assumed to be a proxy for economic activity.

Ever visited a shopping centre, and wondered why all the interesting shops are slowly replaced by clothes shops or other high turnover businesses? The reason is all those interesting shops are not profitable enough to pay the rent, and over time they are replaced by simpler, less interesting businesses – safe, boring, profitable, but still a contraction in the diversity of life choices available to consumers.

Pretty much the same thing would happen to domestic high carbon businesses afflicted by EU carbon pricing.

The EU at least in principle likely hopes that revenue from the carbon tax will drop to zero, as people discover low carbon or zero carbon alternatives to the high carbon goods they currently use such as alumina, or simply learn to live without.

But this is a huge gamble. The only reason for carbon leakage in the first place is because the carbon intensive goods targeted by the EU are difficult to replace with low carbon alternatives, and difficult to live without.

If a carbon intensive good is irreplaceable, continued dependency on that high carbon good will be an ongoing anchor dragging on the European economy.

Of course you could make an argument that the benefits the people of the EU receive from reduced CO2 emissions outweigh the costs, that one day our descendants will thank us for giving them the opportunity to experience cold weather. But this does not help consumers and businesses today.

In conclusion, the EU carbon border adjustment will do nothing to prevent carbon leakage. The EU does not control enough of the global economy to make it more than an inconvenience for multinationals. The only people the EU border carbon adjustment will hurt are people living in the EU, who will see their choices and opportunities contract.

July 20, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

‘Climate Change’ Charlatanism Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

By John O’Sullivan • The Pipeline • July 18, 2021

Professor Ole Humlum is a former Professor of Physical Geography at the University Centre in Svalbard, Norway, and Emeritus Professor of Physical Geography, University of Oslo, Norway. He specializes in reporting and analyzing annual changes in the climate. I wrote about the professor’s work just over a year ago on this site. His report, published annually by the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London, was moderately optimistic on climate changes in 2019, pointing out that some of them were for the better, some worse, but that overall there was no justification for the alarmist rhetoric of climate emergency. For instance, as I then wrote,

He points out  that new data on rising ocean temperatures raise interesting questions about the source of the heat. We can detect a great deal of heat rising from the bottom of the oceans. This obviously cannot be anything to do with human activity.

Since annual reports come out every year, his latest report on the world’s climate in 2020 has just been published. It covers the waterfront from Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation to Zonal Air Temperatures, and though most of it is addressed to technical specialists, it reaches some broad general conclusions that can be grasped by the layman. By and large these are a mix of moderate changes, long-term stability in main trends, and some trends getting worse but falling short of a climate emergency. Here, for instance, is his summing-up of changes in snow cover:

Variations in global snow-cover extent are driven by changes in the Northern Hemisphere, where most of the major land masses are located. Southern Hemisphere snow-cover extent is essentially controlled by the Antarctic ice sheet, and is therefore relatively stable. Northern Hemisphere average snow cover has also been stable since the advent of satellite observations, although local and regional inter-annual variations may be large. Considering seasonal changes in the Northern Hemisphere since 1979, autumn extent has been slightly increasing, mid-winter extent has been largely stable, and spring extent has been slightly decreasing. In 2020, Northern Hemisphere seasonal snow cover was somewhat below that of the preceding years.

And here is his account of storms and hurricanes in 2020:

The most recent data on numbers of global tropical storms and hurricane accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) are well within the range seen since 1970. In fact, the ACE data series displays a variable pattern over time, with a significant 3.6-year variation, but without any clear trend towards higher or lower values. A longer ACE series for the Atlantic Basin (since 1850), however, suggests a natural cycle of about 60 years’ duration for tropical-storm and hurricane ACE. The number of hurricane landfalls in the continental United States remains within the normal range for the entire record since 1851. (My italics.)

Not easy reading, as you can see, but worthwhile because it records what actually happened to the climate in the last year. And that picture contrasts strongly with two things: the general impression of what happened to the climate given by the mainstream media, and the forecasts drawn from computer modelling in previous years of what would happen to the climate. Those two things generally reinforce each other almost as if the media reports those real climate events that reflect the media “narrative” and ignore or gloss over those that don’t. The truth rarely, if ever, catches up with the predictions in mainstream news reporting.

Time and again the dates for which catastrophe was confidently predicted have passed without grave occurrences, as I wrote a year ago. No apologies are offered, and no signs given that the forecasters will be reconsidering the theories on which their forecasts either were based or by which they will in future be supported.

To be sure, that’s a problem not confined to climate science. There’s a general crisis of “replication” or “reproducibility” in science as scientists themselves have been debating in the last decade. As Wikipedia sums it up:

A 2016 poll of 1,500 scientists conducted by Nature reported that 70 percent of them had failed to reproduce at least one other scientist’s experiment (including 87 percent of chemists, 77 percent of biologists, 69 percent of physicists and engineers, 67 percent of medical researchers, 64 percent of earth and environmental scientists, and 62 percent of all others), while 50 percent had failed to reproduce one of their own experiments, and less than 20 percent had ever been contacted by another researcher unable to reproduce their work. Only a minority had ever attempted to publish a replication, and while 24 percent had been able to publish a successful replication, only 13 percent had published a failed replication, and several respondents that had published failed replications noted that editors and reviewers demanded that they play down comparisons with the original studies.

That’s bad enough. Worse, common sense suggests that the rate of failed replications will be higher in forecasting than in already performed physical experiments. To replication failure and prediction failure, however, we should probably add a third crisis—namely, impartiality failure on the part of the mainstream media—if we are to understand how bad things are.

The latest example of this is the media treatment of a new book, Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters, by Steven Koonin, a physicist specializing in energy policy who served as an Under-Secretary for Energy for Science in the Obama administration. He doubts some of the claims allegedly accepted as valid by a “consensus” of scientists. Koonin has since come under fierce attack from those scientific reviewers who in turn doubt his own claims. That’s well and good—it’s how science is supposed to operate until experiments settle the argument conclusively–for the moment. In the meantime Koonin must fight his corner as best he can—as apparently he intends to do.

What is objectionable is that social media should tilt an already tilted playing field so that its “fact-checkers” preface information about “Unsettled” with a kind of health warning that its statistics are unreliable and that the book itself “denialist” when in fact Koonin denies not climate warming but some arguments about its speed, extent, and whether we’re pursuing the right mix of mitigation and adaptation in dealing with it. That’s a debate we need—and which we’re bound to have anyway because of the looming costs of Net-Zero.

Suppressing debate simply won’t work. And that’s likely to be demonstrated soon. Koonin has agreed to give the GWPF’s annual lecture in November in London. My guess is that the Foundation will have to hire a larger-than-usual hall to accommodate an audience drawn there by today’s equivalent of “Banned in Boston”—namely, “Not Available on Social Media.”

July 20, 2021 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | 2 Comments

California utility PG&E admits it probably started yet ANOTHER devastating wildfire

RT | July 20, 2021

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) seems to have once again helped ignite a deadly wildfire in California, contributing to the carnage in the most populous US state for the fourth year in a row, according to a report on its website.

Documents posted to the utility’s website on Monday and filed with the California Public Utilities Commission indicate that a PG&E employee saw “blown fuses in a conductor on top of a pole, a tree leaning into the conductor, and a fire at the base of the tree” when he responded to a reported circuit outage around 7am local time last Tuesday. The equipment problem is believed to have helped contribute to the start of the Dixie Fire in Feather River Canyon, a devastating blaze that is still just 15% contained.

Unable to access the pole until nearly 12 hours after first taking note of the fire, due to “challenging terrain and road work resulting in a bridge closure,” the employee reported that upon returning to the site around 4:40pm local time, he encountered “a fire on the ground near the base of the tree” plus “two of three fuses blown and what appeared to him to be a healthy green tree leaning into the Bucks Creek 1101 12 kV conductor, which was still intact and suspended on the poles,” according to the report.

Only then did the worker call his supervisor – who subsequently called 911. Given PG&E’s abysmal track record of responding to wildfires (especially those linked to its equipment), it is perhaps unsurprising that the utility reportedly waited five days – rather than the required two to four hours – to report the nascent blaze to the state regulatory agency.

The Dixie Fire has already consumed more than 30,000 acres as of Monday, and continues to force evacuations in Plumas and Butte counties. PG&E’s systems reportedly showed an outage near Cresta Dam in the area of Feather River Canyon where the fire began. Mandatory evacuation orders remain in force in High Lakes, Bucks Lake, and Meadow Valley in Plumas County; Jonesville and Philbrook in Butte County are also under evacuation order. Cal Fire reported on Monday that 800 structures remain under threat.

PG&E has become notorious for its dysfunctional equipment’s apparent contributions to the increasingly devastating wildfires plaguing the region. PG&E equipment has been connected to at least one wildfire every year for the past four years, starting with the deadly 2018 Camp Fire.

The utility pleaded guilty last year to 84 counts of manslaughter, each count representing one life lost in the Camp Fire. The deadly blaze began in October in the town of Pulga, eventually engulfing 140,000 acres aided by high winds and low humidity. Some 8,700 homes were destroyed and tens of thousands of people forced to evacuate, while even those whose homes were spared the destruction were unable to go outside due to the extremely unhealthy air quality. The worst wildfire in California history, the Camp Fire killed 85 people and all but wiped out the town of Paradise.

The judgment pitched PG&E into a bankruptcy from which it finally emerged last year, with a promise to compensate fire victims for whatever damages had not been covered by their insurance – a sum of $13.5 billion that will be partially paid in company stock.

Last year, PG&E equipment was found to be partially responsible for the Zogg Fire in Shasta County. The company is still facing a criminal investigation over that blaze and was forced to pay out $43 million to local governments for that fire and the previous year’s Kincade Fire in Sonoma County. The utility still faces prosecution in Sonoma County over the 2019 fire.

Should PG&E continue to perform not just poorly but criminally, the utility could ultimately be taken over by the state, though California’s Public Utilities Commission requires the firm to progress through six ‘tiers’ of its so-called enhanced oversight program first. PG&E is already on the first tier, having been nailed for the shoddy job it did clearing out tree limbs and other kindling from its riskiest lines since November, and has pledged to spend $4.9 billion on “wildfire safety” this year.

Its promise to “do better” after four years of contributing to the devastating losses experienced by California residents was made as a condition for exiting bankruptcy. Meanwhile, company officials have attempted to blame drought and climate change, instead of taking responsibility.

PG&E has also outraged and alienated customers by shutting off the power supply during peak usage hours for hundreds of thousands of people, hoping to prevent the sparking that has been known to cause wildfires out of fear that high winds could topple the power lines altogether.

An investigation by the CPUC accused the utility of lacking even a rudimentary safety strategy, noting it only makes “positive changes” when forced to do so by dire accidents like fires and explosions. The CPUC report itself was issued seven years after the explosion of a gas pipeline in 2010, which killed eight people and uncovered poor if not criminal business practices such as overcharging customers, underspending on maintenance, and in general placing profit over everything – including but not limited to safety.

This year’s fire season is already predicted to be especially devastating, with expectations it will be longer, drier, and riskier than previous years’ even as PG&E struggles to fix its decaying infrastructure.

Over 158,000 acres of Northern California forest have burned so far this season, including the Tamarack Fire, which grew to 23,000 acres as of Monday morning and remains entirely uncontained. It was reportedly ignited by a lightning strike earlier this month, and local firefighters made the questionable decision not to dispatch fire crews “because of safety concerns,” leaving Alpine County Sheriff Rick Stephens to explain the bizarre response to local residents who now face losing their homes to the inferno. The Beckwourth Complex Fire has burned over 105,000 acres as of Monday and is 82% contained.

July 20, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

China: US-led hacking allegations fabricated out of nothing

Press TV – July 20, 2021

China has roundly rejected the “groundless” and “irresponsible” hacking allegations made by the United States and its allies, saying they are “fabricated out of nothing.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian hit back at Washington on Tuesday, calling the US the “world champion” of cyber-attacks.

“The US has mustered its allies to carry out unreasonable criticisms against China on the issue of cybersecurity,” he said. “This move is fabricated out of nothing.”

In a coordinated move, Washington and several allies in Europe and Asia publicly accused Beijing of hacking the Microsoft Exchange Server software in March. Microsoft Exchange is an email platform used by corporations around the world.

Senior US officials claimed that hackers tied to China’s Ministry of State Security carried out the unusually indiscriminate hacking. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday that Washington and “countries around the world” are holding China “accountable for its pattern of irresponsible, disruptive, and destabilizing behavior in cyberspace, which poses a major threat to our economic and national security.”

Japanese government spokesperson Katsunobu Kato followed suit on Tuesday, saying that Japanese companies had been targeted by a hacking group called APT40. He alleged that “the Chinese government is highly likely” behind the attack.

Earlier, China’s diplomatic missions around the world reacted to the charges.

The Chinese Embassy in New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, said the accusations were “totally groundless and irresponsible” and a “malicious smear.”

“Given the virtual nature of cyberspace, one must have clear evidence when investigating and identifying cyber-related incidents,” said the embassy.

The Chinese mission in Canberra said Australia was “parroting” US rhetoric. It also described the US as “the world champion of malicious cyber-attacks.”

The United Kingdom (UK) and European Union (EU) also joined the others in accusing China of carrying out hacking attacks, which they alleged to have targeted an estimated hundreds of thousands of mostly small businesses and organizations.

The Chinese Embassy in Norway also reacted to the allegations made by Oslo, saying that Beijing was a staunch defender of cyber security and was resolutely opposed to any form of cyberattacks.

“It is reasonable to question and doubt whether this is a collusively political manipulation,” it said, demanding that Oslo provide evidence for the claims. The embassy said that Beijing was “willing to cooperate with all relevant parties, based on facts and evidence, to jointly combat illegal activities in cyber space.”

The US-led global campaign against China is an apparent move to open a new front in cyber offensive following years of blaming Russia for cyberattacks against American organizations. Moscow time and again denied involvement.

July 20, 2021 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 5 Comments

Shocking leaked files once again expose BBC as insidious UK foreign policy tool

By Kit Klarenberg | RT | July 20, 2021

A newly released raft of government papers has revealed the British Broadcasting Corporation’s extensive involvement in spreading pro-London, pro-EU, and pro-NATO messaging across the Balkans.

In February, classified documents revealed that BBC Media Action (BBCMA), the ‘charitable arm’ of the British state broadcaster, was embroiled in a number of clandestine operations to “weaken the Russian state’s influence,” funded by the UK Foreign Office.

The exposure raised serious questions about the BBC’s international reputation as a ‘neutral’, ‘objective’ purveyor of news, and what implications its murky relationship with Whitehall has for its output more widely. A further tranche of leaked files, related to covert UK actions in the Balkans, amply reinforces that the organization serves as a cloak-and-dagger device for achieving London’s foreign policy goals.

The papers indicate that BBCMA has been operating across the region since 1996, conducting a wide variety of “media capacity-building, reform and change management” projects. Cited examples of its initiatives include “reforming [the] institutional structures” of Montenegro’s state broadcaster RTCG, working with Macedonian media to “effectively cover elections” and act as a “watchdog,” and supporting the development of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Public Broadcasting System.

The organization also targeted youth audiences in five separate Balkan countries with “an innovative multi-platform media project,” which aimed to “build young people’s capacity for civic participation.” The centrepiece was “social media-based educational web drama” #SamoKazem (Just Saying). Strikingly, viewers were directed to “offline activities to translate awareness into action for change,” strongly suggesting stirring teenagers to activism was the program’s ultimate objective.

Details of BBCMA’s extensive meddling in Serbia greatly reinforces the overtly political nature of its Balkan ventures. From 2007 to 2017 alone, it delivered “four large-scale projects” in the country, such as “a challenging undertaking” with Radio Television Serbia (RTS) over the course of two years “to assist in its transition from state to public service broadcaster,” and working to “professionalise” five local radio stations “to develop their capacity to hold local government to account.”

The organization also delivered a huge three-year project for the European Union, which “strengthened media capacities for improving objective public information about all aspects of EU integration” ­– in other words, it assisted in the production of pro-Brussels propaganda.Vital work indeed, considering Serbian citizens remain by far the most skeptical about bloc membership.

Under the program’s auspices, BBCMA distributed a two-million-euro grant to 25 Serbian media platforms, and helped produce a staggering 174 separate TV programs, including the 15-part RTS series ‘What’s in It for Me?’ – which averaged 500,000 viewers per episode and won a national award for best EU-related documentary – and human trafficking docudrama ‘Sisters’, which was shown at the United Nations and won “numerous” awards.

Other files explicitly confirm that there is little meaningful distinction between the BBC and its charitable arm. In service of a Foreign Office effort to counteract allegedly falling levels of independence in Macedonian and Serbian media, which ran from November 2016 to March 2019, BBCMA created “a pool of local media professionals with the skills, knowledge and willingness to ensure digital media plays an effective role in fostering debate and accountability.”

Beneficiaries were said to have benefited from the British state broadcaster’s “wealth of experience and talent in creating quality journalism and compelling programmes,” with BBC journalists embedded in the organizations for which they worked in order to provide “mentoring/on-the job training, production support and co-production.” They were also granted access to the BBC Digital Lab, BBC studios, and BBC Blue Room.

The organization asserted in its Whitehall submissions that it considered the production of content to be a fantastic opportunity to “have [an] impact with Serbian and Macedonian audiences.” The consequences of its machinations aren’t certain, although it could be significant that one veteran BBC journalist assigned to the project was in charge of “masterminding” coverage of UK elections during their many years at the Beeb.

After all, the endeavor concluded not long before North Macedonia’s 2019 presidential vote, which pitted pro-EU, pro-NATO candidate Stevo Pendarovski against Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova, a more skeptical, pro-Russian figure. While the first round of the election produced a virtual tie, precipitating a runoff, Pendaraovski was comfortably elected in the second. What’s more, previously leaked files make abundantly clear that the Foreign Office sought to interfere directly in the process in other ways.

That the UK government is engaged in multiple cloak-and-dagger initiatives to influence politics and perceptions in the Balkans is sinister enough, without even considering the covert and overt role played by London in the blood-spattered breakup of Yugoslavia, the non-aligned, independent republic that once comprised most of the region. Given this history, BBCMA’s restructuring of RTS is rendered particularly disquieting.

On April 23, 1999, in the midst of the West’s protracted bombing campaign against Serbia, RTS’ headquarters in Belgrade, along with several radio and electrical installations throughout the country, were targeted for destruction by NATO missiles. In all, 16 journalists were killed in the strike and 16 more wounded, with many trapped in the rubble for days afterward.

In the face of significant international condemnation, high-ranking US and UK officials rushed to declare the bombing entirely justified. Then-Prime Minister Tony Blair defended it on the basis the station was part of “the apparatus of dictatorship and power” of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

“The responsibility for every single part of this action lies with the man who has engaged in this policy of ethnic cleansing and must be stopped,” he added.

Of course, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), a UN body established to prosecute crimes committed during the Yugoslav wars and their perpetrators, would eventually conclude Yugoslav troops had not in fact pursued a policy of ethnic cleansing, and Milosevic, who died in a UN prison in 2006, was posthumously exonerated of all charges.

The ICTY also considered whether the RTS bombing constituted a war crime, ultimately ruling that while its pro-government transmissions didn’t make the station a military target, as the action aimed to disrupt the state’s communications network, it was still legitimate.

Amnesty International branded the tribunal’s findings a miscarriage of justice, and contradictorily too, the judgment quoted NATO General Wesley Clark, who oversaw the overall campaign, as saying it was well-understood that the attack would only interrupt RTS broadcasts for a brief period, but “we thought it was a good move to strike it and the political leadership agreed with us.” In the event, it was off the air for a mere three hours.

Another motive for the hideous incident unexplored by the ICTY could well be that the station’s reporting on NATO’s almost-daily attacks on civilian and industrial infrastructure in Serbia was overly problematic for the military alliance, given its intervention was sold on humanitarian grounds. Nine days prior to the RTS bombing, as many as 85 innocent civilians were killed when NATO jets bombed a Kosovan refugee convoy.

While spokespeople initially claimed the tragedy was an “accident”, RTS subsequently broadcast a chilling recording of the pilot who delivered the deadly payload being repeatedly ordered to strike the convoy on the basis it was a “completely legitimate” target, despite them protesting that they couldn’t see any tanks or military hardware on the ground, just cars and tractors. If truth is the first casualty of war, purveyors of truth are surely the second.

n a perverse irony, though, the ICTY did record that NATO had warned Yugoslav authorities weeks prior that RTS may be caught in the crossfire, unless it acquiesced to broadcasting six hours of uncensored Western media reports per day to balance its coverage, thus making it an “acceptable instrument of public information.”

With the troublesome socialist federation of Yugoslavia now irrevocably smashed into pieces, Whitehall needn’t threaten the use of military force to compel Balkan media outlets to transmit pro-Western propaganda. It simply dispatches BBC staffers to their offices, under the bogus aegis of promoting media diversity, free expression, democracy, civic participation, and fostering debate, to ensure they remain “acceptable” instruments of public information.

Kit Klarenberg is an investigative journalist exploring the role of intelligence services in shaping politics and perceptions. 

July 20, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Biden Doubles Down on Voters

Fraud in 2020 election is only a preview of what is coming

BY PHILIP GIRALDI • UNZ REVIEW • JULY 20, 2021

President Joe Biden has now declared that the United States is facing an existential crisis comparable to what it experienced during the Civil War, a struggle that will produce a truly democratic form of government with universal franchise or which will result in the denial of basic rights to many citizens. And he is quite willing to address the issue employing a maximum of emotion and fear mongering unmitigated by a minimum of reasonable suasion, saying “We’re facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War. That’s not hyperbole. Since the Civil War — the Confederates back then never breached the Capitol as insurrectionists did on January the 6th. I’m not saying this to alarm you. I’m saying this because you should be alarmed.”

Of course, what may have occurred on January 6th has nothing to do with the issue currently in play, which is voting rights, though it is only one aspect of what is essentially a revolution sponsored by the Democratic Party to reorder the American political system in such a fashion as to guarantee its dominance for decades to come. Other steps will include greatly increased immigration, a war on so-called domestic terrorists and decriminalizing or choosing not to prosecute many felonies committed by party constituencies.

The voting rights legislation currently before Congress includes the interestingly named For the People Act and its successor the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, both of which would seek to restore certain unconstitutional aspects of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Most important, they would eliminate the ability of the states to pass legislation that creates conditions on registering and voting. The text of the John Lewis Act now before Congress refers to these steps as “discriminatory laws, needless barriers, and partisan dirty tricks.”

At the heart of the push by the Democrats is the creation of a uniform national electoral system which will essentially make it much easier for people to vote, permitting block voting, ballot harvesting and both registration and voting itself by mail. If passed, the new legislation will compel each state to adopt “automatic and same-day voter registration, voting rights for felons, no-excuse absentee balloting, mandatory early voting, and taxpayer funding for political campaigns.”

The key objections to the new voting procedure being promoted by Biden are several, largely related to its lack of any requirement for potential voters to provide information or show documentation confirming citizenship and residency or even one’s identity. The Democrats are denouncing their Republican opponents who are raising these issues as guilty of “voter suppression.” If the Democrats win the debate, it will be possible for anyone to vote in elections without having any human contact whatsoever using the mail-in ballots which are potentially susceptible to large scale fraud.

Another problem with the Biden program to nationalize voting procedures is that the there are four amendments to the United States Constitution that make it clear that it is left to the states to determine the modalities of voting. That means that even if the new voting act passes through Congress and is signed by the president there still would certainly be challenges based on its unconstitutionality. While Blue states will presumably go along with the guidance from Washington, those states still leaning Red will undoubtedly resist any nationalization of voting procedures.

It is not as if the current voting system is fraud-resistant. All too often it is not, which is why state legislatures in Georgia, Texas and several other Republican controlled states have passed new voting laws that actually require in many cases one’s physical presence to vote as well as production of documentation or information confirming citizenship and residency. They also include the purging of electoral rolls of voters who have died or moved. The new laws come as close as is reasonably possible to creating a system where voting security and integrity will be greatly enhanced, but the fact is that the Democrats are not at all interested in reducing criminal voting. They are interested in creating a permissive environment where all their presumed supporters will be able to vote without having to make any effort to do so or even be compelled to demonstrate who they really are and that they are citizens.

Prior to the recent national election, I examined the procedures to register and vote in my home state of Virginia and determined that one could both register and vote without any human contact at all. The registration process can be accomplished by filling out an online form, which is linked here. Note particularly the following: the form requires one to check the box indicating US citizenship. It then asks for name and address as well as social security number, date of birth and whether one has a criminal record or is otherwise disqualified to vote. You then have to sign and date the document and mail it off. Within ten days, you should receive a voter’s registration card for Virginia which you can present if you vote in person, though even that is not required.

It is important to realize that no documents have to actually be presented to support the application, which means that all the information can be false. You can even opt out of providing a social security number by checking the box indicating that you have never been issued one, even though the form indicates that you must have one to be registered, and you can also submit a temporary address by claiming you are “homeless.” Even date of birth information is useless as the form does not ask where you were born, which is how birth records are filed by state and local governments. Ultimately, it is only the social security number that validates the document and that is what also appears on the Voter’s ID Card, but even that can be false or completely fabricated, as many illegal immigrant workers in the US have discovered.

Prior to the November election my wife and I received unsolicited four mail-in ballots, all of which were sent to us anonymously. I examined the ballots carefully and noted that they bore no serial numbers or other forms of validation that could conceivably be used to limit the potential for fraud. In a state like Virginia, the actual mail-in ballot only requires your signature and that of a witness, who can be anyone. That is also true in six other states. Thirty-one states require only your own signature on the ballot while just three states require that the document be notarized, a good safeguard since it requires the voter to actually produce some documentation and identification. Seven states require your additional signature on the ballot envelope and two states require that a photocopy of the voter ID accompany the ballot. Some of these procedures may have been changed since the November allegation but it appears that only the handful of Republican states that are in the process of passing new voting laws are taking the problem seriously. In other words, the safeguards in the system continue at this time to vary from state to state but in most cases, fraud would be relatively easy if one is using mail-in voting. In fact, former President Jimmy Carter’s headed a bipartisan commission in 2005 that concluded that mail-in ballots constitute the “largest source of potential voter fraud” of any voting system.

Joe Biden is of course right about a crisis developing comparable to the Civil War, but what he is choosing to ignore is that his White House is carelessly feeding into what has become a growing chorus of dissent. He and his colleagues in Congress are deliberately and with malice pushing an agenda that, if successful, will lead to something like one party rule in the United States. Combine that with impending legislation and executive action to pursue “domestic extremists,” whom the Administration has also defined as “white supremacists,” it is not hard to imagine what kind of trouble is brewing.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

July 20, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , | 1 Comment

Covid vaccines: We’ve been misled from the very start

By Neville Hodgkinson | The Conservative Woman | July 20, 2021

IT IS truly amazing how self-deceiving a profession that sets out to help and heal sick people can be when it comes to acknowledging that the cure is sometimes worse than the illness. Evidence is mounting that just such a state of denial is manifesting in the mass rollout of the Covid vaccine.

Decades ago, I examined evidence for the effectiveness of flu vaccine and found that it rested entirely within studies showing an increase in antibodies to the circulating virus, but that this did not translate into less illness.

A group of GPs who were uneasy about the impact of the vaccine on old and frail people set up a trial of their own in which they found that those who had the jab had no less flu, but more non-specific illness, in the ensuing year compared with a group of similar frailty who were not inoculated.

Similarly, doctors at two boarding schools who conducted trials among their own pupils dropped the vaccine after finding it was of no benefit.

It would be almost impossible to do similar studies today because the NHS mounts such a relentless campaign every winter to have everyone vaccinated. It is in effect the marketing arm for the flu vaccine manufacturers, of which GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi and AstraZeneca are leading players, making billions from the jabs.

The UK-based Cochrane research network, however, has been constantly evaluating global studies on the effectiveness of flu vaccinations since 1999. Put together, the data from dozens of well-conducted studies covering more than 80,000 participants fails to prove a reduction in deaths from flu or flu-like illnesses, and shows that vaccinations could even increase the number of hospitalisations.

Germany’s renowned Robert Koch Institute has found clear evidence that for the over-60s, in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 flu seasons, vaccination increased the risk of flu instead of protecting against it.

The fact that despite the scientific evidence, illusions still continue about such a commonly used vaccine bodes ill for hopes that governments and their advisers will listen to the evidence with regard to Covid-19.

The mantra that the jab is ‘safe and effective’ is becoming a sick joke.  There is now massive evidence of harm and mounting evidence that it does not work anything like as well as hoped.

The harm is there for all to see. As of mid-June, UK regulators received 276,867 adverse events reports, including 1,332 deaths; in the US, there were more than 6,000 deaths, and 400,000 events serious enough to be reported; and in the European Union, some 1,500,000 injuries and 15,000 deaths.

Claims that these reports are unconfirmed as cause-and-effect related are countered by the argument ‘Where is the proof that they are not?’ Under-reporting is known to be common, and many of the injuries occurred within hours or days of the victim receiving the jab.   There has never been a vaccine with anything like this measure of recorded harm.

Government agencies assert that thousands of lives have been saved by the vaccination drives. But wherever the claims are examined carefully, as opposed to being passed on by doctors and journalists who accepted them uncritically and are now desperately hoping they are true, the evidence is found to be increasingly thin.

As Dr Will Jones noted in the newly launched Daily Sceptic (formerly Lockdown Sceptics), latest data from the ZOE app, the world’s largest ongoing study of Covid-19, shows that as of July 12, infections in the vaccinated (at least one dose) in the UK now outnumber those in the unvaccinated for the first time, as the former continue to surge while the latter plummet.

What does Germany’s Robert Koch Institute, which seems more independent-minded than leaders of the UK’s state-run NHS, tell us about the Covid vaccine?

It published a 74-page paper last January in which the effectiveness in the age group 75 and over was said to be ‘subject to a high degree of uncertainty’ and no longer statistically significant. What’s more, the quality of the data across all age groups, based on proof of prevention of serious illness, was ‘very low’.

Reporting these findings, the German magazine Multipolar said it was scandalous that they are not mentioned in their government’s information services, and that the big media remain silent on the topic.

In truth, we have been misled about the vaccine from the start.  Repeatedly publicised claims of 95 per cent ‘efficacy’ do not mean you are 95 per cent protected against Covid if you have the jab.

They are based on studies such as Pfizer’s in which 40,000 participants in different countries were divided into two groups, one of which received the vaccine and the other a placebo. There were no deaths in either group, so the trial told us nothing about risk of death. But 162 of the placebo group were designated Covid cases, compared with only eight among those vaccinated. The diagnosis was on the basis of the participants having one or more symptoms of the disease, confirmed through a lab test.

Eight compared with 162 gives what is called a relative risk reduction (RRR) of 95 per cent. It is a self-contained figure that has only a marginal bearing on the experience of the trial participants generally.

What we rarely hear about is what is known as the absolute risk, that is, the percentage of cases reported in each group of 20,000. For the vaccinated individuals, their chances of becoming a case were 0.04 per cent, and for the placebo group, 0.75 per cent. That represents an absolute risk reduction (ARR) of 0.71 per cent (0.75 per cent minus 0.04 per cent) which does not sound like much to write home about. Even that was probably an exaggeration, because side-effects in the vaccinated group would have been obvious to observers, making them less likely to report them as cases.

It gets even worse. One of the criteria of a ‘case’ in the trials was that it should be contracted not earlier than seven days after the second jab. That helped keep the number down enormously – to only eight – in the vaccinated group. This is because so many vaccine recipients have Covid-like symptoms in the first few days after the jab.

A subsequent analysis, hidden away in a report by the US Food and Drug Administration, found that when Covid-like symptoms reported in those first few days were included, there were 407 cases among the vaccinated compared with only 287 in the placebo group, an entirely different risk-benefit picture and one consistent with many studies showing an increase in death rates among the elderly immediately after the jab.

All of this means we should not be surprised to find that ‘a disturbing trend’ has appeared among the most vaccinated nations in the world, as TrialSite News reports. In Gibraltar, Malta, Seychelles, UAE and the Isle of Man, Covid cases are considerably up, including deaths in some of these nations, despite ‘overwhelming’ percentages of their populations being vaccinated.

Israel, too, with 81 per cent of its adult population fully vaccinated and cases that went right down to a handful a day, is now seeing a surge in new infections, of which an estimated 40-50 per cent are in vaccinated individuals.

Is this because of a new variant of the virus, against which the existing vaccines don’t work? Will it mean subjecting ourselves to booster shots, with the accompanying risks, every few months? Or is it because there is ultimately going to be no escaping actual infection with the virus?

We just do not know.

There is one light in the darkness. Several studies have shown that once an individual has had the infection, even if only mildly, their immune system develops lasting protection against the toxic spike protein encoded by the genetically engineered virus.

July 20, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | | Leave a comment