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Recent drone strikes in Afghanistan prove ‘Over-the-horizon’ is just a buzz phrase for US incompetence

By Scott Ritter | RT | August 31, 2021

Following the Kabul airport attack, the US military conducted two “over-the-horizon” air strikes against suspected ISIS-K targets. The results inspire zero confidence in the efficacy of this approach toward counterterrorism.

The August 26 suicide bombing outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in the Afghan capital killed more than 150 people, including 13 American troops. The Islamic State-Khorasan, or ISIS-K, claimed responsibility for the attack.

That night, in a televised address to the American people, President Joe Biden declared “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” adding that the US “will respond with force and precision at our time, where we choose and when we choose.”

The next day, August 27, the US carried out what it termed an “over-the-horizon” attack against an ISIS-K “planner” and “facilitator” at a home in the city of Jalalabad in Nangarhar Province in eastern Afghanistan, killing both men and, according to the US, wounding a third accomplice.

US defense sources sources said the men were killed by a special variant of the Hellfire missile, known as the R9X, or ‘flying Ginsu’, a reference to the six blade-like devices which emerge from the missile, killing its target by cutting it to shreds in lieu of the normal high explosive payload carried by the Hellfire. The R9X was developed specifically to handle situations such as the one in Jalalabad, where legitimate targets have taken refuge among a civilian population.

According to reports, the “planner” and “facilitator” were traveling in a three-wheeled vehicle common to the region as public transportation. The men were tracked by an MQ-9 ‘Reaper’ drone which maintained sufficient “eyes and knowledge” of the target to confirm their identities. The three-wheeled vehicle entered a compound believed to be the home of the “planner.” Reportedly, US personnel monitoring the live video images coming from the MQ-9 drone waited until the planner’s wife and children left the compound before launching the ‘flying Ginsu’.

“Initial indications are that we killed the target,” a CENTCOM spokesperson said. “We know of no civilian casualties.” The strike was reportedly authorized by President Biden and ordered by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

The US assertions about casualties were contradicted by a Jalalabad community elder, Malik Adib, who declared that three people were killed and four were wounded in the drone strike, noting that “women and children are among the victims.”

If the statements of Malik Adib are to be believed, then something went very wrong with the analysis of the imagery used to justify the launching of the missile. While no one has questioned the validity of the US claims that the targets struck were in fact affiliated with ISIS-K (while keeping in mind the US has provided no evidence that corroborates its claim that they were, in fact, ISIS-K operatives), either someone is lying about waiting for the wife and children to leave, or there were other civilians in the vicinity of the attack, one of whom was killed.

Before the media could press the Pentagon about the apparent inconsistencies in the official US account, however, the US launched a second drone strike, this time targeting a vehicle in Kabul, eliminating “an imminent ISIS-K threat” to Hamid Karzai International Airport. According to US officials, the existence of a “large secondary explosion” at the scene of the attack confirmed the assessment about the existence of a car bomb. It is not known if the US used a conventional Hellfire or one of the non-explosive RX9 variants in the attack.

According to unnamed defense sources, the alleged ISIS-K operatives inside the vehicle had been observed placing what was assessed to be a considerable amount of explosives in the trunk of a white Toyota Corolla, before driving the vehicle into the driveway of a home located near the airport. The decision was made to strike, resulting in the destruction of the vehicle. US officials claimed that at least one ISIS-K suicide bomber was killed in the incident. Allegedly, nine civilians also perished as a result of the attack.

“We are aware of reports of civilian casualties,” Major General William Taylor, a spokesperson for the Joint Staff, told the media on Monday. “We take these reports extremely seriously.”

The driver of the vehicle, Zemari Ahmadi, did not fit the profile one would expect of an ISIS-K suicide bomber. Zemari worked for an American-based charity called Nutrition and Education International.

According to his family, he was on his way home from work after dropping off colleagues on Sunday evening. As he pulled into the driveway of his home, where he lived with three brothers and their families, the children of his relatives ran out to greet him. The missile believed to be launched by the American drone struck the rear of the vehicle, killing Zemari and nine others, including seven children, the youngest of whom was two years old. Also killed was Zemari’s nephew, Ahmad Naser, who had previously served as a guard at a US military facility in Herat, and who was awaiting final approval of his Special Immigrant Visa paperwork so that he could leave Afghanistan.

“No military on the face of the Earth works harder to avoid civilian casualties than the United States military,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said after reports emerged about possible civilian casualties. “We take it very, very seriously. And when we know that we have caused innocent life to be lost in the conduct of our operations, we’re transparent about it.”

Kirby went on to suggest that the civilians were killed as a result of the detonation of the explosives alleged to have been contained in Zemari’s vehicle. At a later press conference, Kirby maintained this position, but refused to release any imagery that would sustain his contention of a powerful secondary explosion.

The drone strike that killed Zemari Ahmadi and his relatives represented the very scenario the Biden administration was trying to avoid when setting up the “over-the-horizon” strike capability used in the two responses to the suicide-bomb attack on Kabul Airport.

Back in April, when the totality of the failure that was to mark the US withdrawal from Afghanistan remained unknown (although not unknowable – many military and intelligence professionals anticipated the collapse of the Afghan government, but the Biden White House overrode their concerns in favor of better “optics”), General Frank McKenzie, the Marine commanding US Central Command, responsible for all US forces deployed in the Middle East, Central and South Asia, testified before Congress about his command’s efforts to conduct “over-the-horizon” counterterrorism missions once the US drawdown in Afghanistan was completed.

CENTCOM had a long history of conducting “over-the-horizon” (OTH) operations in support of its counterterrorism mission, using a mix of special operations commandos (i.e., the Bin Laden and Abu al-Baghdadi assaults), manned aircraft (the airstrikes against pro-Iranian militias in Syria and Iraq), and drone strikes, such as that carried out against Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad International Airport in January 2020.

“I don’t want to make light of it, I don’t want to put on rose-colored glasses and say it’s going to be easy to do,” McKenzie told the House Armed Services Committee. Any OTH operations in Afghanistan in a post-US drawdown, McKenzie noted, would require significant intelligence support at a time when US intelligence collection capabilities in Afghanistan were diminished to the point of non-existence. “It will be harder to do that, it is not impossible.”

The bulk of the burden of maintaining this OTH capability would fall on the US system of armed drones, which in the past operated from bases inside Afghanistan, providing them with greater reaction time and longer loiter time over the target. Any post-Afghanistan operation of drones in support of OTH operations would mean operating from bases outside of Afghanistan.

According to acting Air Force Secretary John Roth, the US planned on using existing bases in the region to host the drones, noting that the US operated from Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait’s Ali Al Salem and Ahmad al-Jaber air bases. The cost of maintaining this OTH capability for fiscal year 2022 was expected to run somewhere around $10 billion.

The Biden White House engaged in a policy review of OTH operations, temporarily placing limits on counterterrorism drone strikes and commando raids, and tightening the approval process for such missions, which had been loosened under the Trump administration.

Biden, according to press reports, was particularly sensitive to the need to limit civilian deaths as it looked into how it would respond to future terrorist threats from Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East. The decision was made to continue the program of drone-based assassination/pre-emptive killing but restrict the ability of field commanders to make the final decision, instead requiring White House permission before any OTH attack could occur.

The MQ-9 drones that were involved in the Jalalabad and Kabul drone attacks were operated out of Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. The MQ-9 system, however, operates according to what the Air Force calls “remote split operations,” which employs a launch-and-recovery ground control station for takeoff and landing operations at Al Udeid, before passing control of the MQ-9 to a crew based out of Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, which takes control of the aircraft for the remainder of the mission using satellite communication links.

Traditionally, an MQ-9 crew consists of a pilot and a sensor operator, who employ what is known as the Multi-Spectral Targeting System, which integrates an infrared sensor, color/monochrome daylight TV camera, image-intensified TV camera, laser range finder/designator, and laser illuminator, all of which can be viewed together or separately on display screens set up in front of the crew.

The MQ-9 would usually operate as part of an overall “intelligence surveillance reconnaissance” (ISR) package which used a variety of intelligence collection resources to identify and track potential targets. The US drawdown in Afghanistan, however, eliminated most if not all of the supporting infrastructure normally available to the MQ-9 crew to discriminate targets. To help compensate for this loss of capability, the US Air Force developed a special signals intelligence (SIGINT) pod that could be carried by the MQ-9 that provided full-spectrum SIGINT capability to the drone operators, who could now search for, identify and track signals of interest, such as the cell phones, walkie-talkies or satellite phones that comprise the communications network of terrorist organizations like ISIS-K. To better employ this capability, the MQ-9 crew would be supplemented by a linguist who could listen in real time to any conversations of interest, helping with the evaluation of potential targets in terms of both identity and intent.

Intelligence, properly done, is a combination of art and science which requires those involved to be true subject matter experts in the mission they have been given. Imagery analysts need to understand not only what it is they are seeing, but also what it means. Likewise, linguists monitoring conversations need not only be fluent in the language, but adept at slang and other colloquialisms used by people in their daily conversations. For this reason, the best imagery analysts and intercept linguists have been doing their respective jobs for years and, in doing so, are adept at sifting out the unusual from the normal.

However, the airmen operating the MQ-9 most likely did not have this level of experience and expertise. By way of example, the vehicle Zemari Ahmadi was driving was allegedly tracked as “containers containing explosives” were loaded into its trunk. While there is no doubt that an imagery analyst witnessed items being loaded into the trunk of the vehicle, the key question is what was in those containers. Basic identification signatures for car bombs include the use of bags of fertilizer mixed with diesel oil placed in the trunk of a car. However, were the analysts trained to know that Afghanistan blocked the sale of fertilizer back in 2010 because of its extensive use as a bomb-making material, and that the terrorists instead began using potassium chlorate as the primary bomb making material, and that potassium chlorate is loaded into containers virtually identical to those used to store cooking oil?

Moreover, experienced terrorist operatives, which you would expect to be operating from inside Kabul, would anticipate that their communications are being monitored, and as such never use specific words or phrases that could trigger interest on the part of anyone listening in. As such, it is highly unlikely that Zemari or anyone he might have been communicating with would have spoken about explosives or the intent to build a car bomb. He might, however, state that he is picking up cooking oil. If an experienced linguist intercept specialist were listening in, he or she would be able to discern if this was part and parcel of normal activity, or a deviation from the norm. An inexperienced linguist, however, would not possess such insights, and be prone to reading into Zemari’s words content and intent that did not, in reality, exist.

It is unlikely the public will ever know the truth about what happened in Creech Air Base that led the MQ-9 crew to believe that their targets were affiliated with ISIS-K. Despite John Kirby’s assertions regarding transparency, the US military and intelligence community is loath to discuss the specifics regarding intelligence collection capabilities. Likewise, to what extent the extended chain of approval was involved in modifying these assessments as they made their way up the White House will likewise most likely remain secret, further shielding all involved from the kind of scrutiny that full transparency demands.

The Biden administration has placed its hopes for containing terrorism in a post-Afghanistan drawdown on “over-the-horizon” strike capabilities that the president and his supporters believe adequate for the task of identifying and interdicting terrorists before they can carry out an attack against US interests, all the while reducing the likelihood of unintended civilian casualties. If the experience in Afghanistan proves anything, it is that OTH is no panacea when it comes to counterterrorism.

It also underscores the reality that the US intelligence community and military is prone to see what it wants to see. The time-tested adage of “if the only tool available is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail” holds true in every respect when it comes to OTH in a counterterrorism role: when the only tool available is an MQ-9 drone operated by crews who are not up to the task of properly identifying and tracking targets, then the only solution will be a Hellfire missile which, when employed, will more often than not kill innocent civilians.

August 31, 2021 Posted by | War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Revealed, the vaccine safety alert that drugs watchdog is ignoring

By Sally Beck | TCW Defending Freedom | September 1, 2021

FOR nearly a decade, Dr Tess Lawrie, MBBCh, DFSRH, PhD, has run the Evidence-Based Medicine Consultancy, an independent company concerned with rigorous medical research in healthcare.

She produces reports that can be found in the Cochrane Library, a respected organisation providing unbiased scientific paper analyses.

Dr Lawrie is a frequent member of technical teams developing international guidelines in the healthcare sector, and her peer-reviewed publications have received more than 3,000 citations. In short, Dr Lawrie should not be ignored.

Unless of course you are the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the deaf-eared UK body regulating the novel, experimental, and under-tested Covid-19 mRNA and traditional vaccines.

With vaccine-associated deaths passing 1,600 in Britain, the MHRA should suspend the vaccination programme, like it did after 47 deaths caused by the Pandemrix swine flu jab.

However, it has no intention of doing so and continues to insist that the vaccine is ‘safe and effective and the best protection against Covid-19’.

Dr Lawrie sent Dr June Raine, the MHRA’s chief executive, a 39-page, fully-referenced paper criticising the agency’s complicated Yellow Card Scheme, a government system designed to collate information about adverse events caused by new drugs, as ‘not fit for purpose.’

She reminded Dr Raine, and copied in 15 of her colleagues, that they had a duty to ‘take any necessary action to minimise risk to individuals, after weighing risks against expected benefits.’ She pointed out that because of omissions in their data collecting, such as age and gender, and the timeframe of reaction post vaccination, the Yellow Card Scheme is non-transparent.

She said: ‘These omissions mean that basic conclusions about safety cannot be drawn. Consequently, the public and trial participants are not fully informed of the potential risks of taking a Covid-19 vaccine and are unable to give fully informed consent.’

Dr Lawrie concluded that the voluntary reporting system needed a complete overhaul, saying the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) in the US was doing a much better job giving citizens and healthcare professionals detailed information.

From VAERS’ database, she was able to conclude that more than 90 per cent of deaths occurred afterfirst vaccination and there was a clear link between vaccination and death, something MHRA members frequently say they cannot prove and insist is more than likely ‘coincidental’.

Speaking of VAERS, Dr Lawrie said: ‘From that system it is apparent that sporadic event reporting is high in number, as in the UK, and that there is a tight temporal relationship between Covid-19 vaccination and deaths: 15 per cent of deaths occurring within 24 hours, 22 per cent within 48 hours and in 37 per cent of deaths, the patient became unwell within 48 hours of Covid-19 vaccination with an event that led to their death.

‘The deaths analysed followed an almost equal number of Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccinations, and 91 per cent of deaths occurred after administration of the first Covid-19 vaccine.’

With the AstraZeneca #clotshot, which has not been approved for use in the US, double the number of people are impacted compared with Pfizer.

Dr Lawrie said that, as well as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopaenia (VITT), the European Medicines Agency has identified Guillain-Barreì Syndrome as a potential risk from the AstraZeneca vaccine.

It is adding a warning to the product information that ‘vaccinated persons need to seek immediate medical attention if they develop weakness and paralysis in the extremities.’

In conclusion, Dr Lawrie asked Dr Raine a simple question, yet to be answered: ‘Why is this clear safety signal not being acted upon by MHRA?’

This is an updated report published on August 26, 2021, detailing MHRA Yellow Card Reporting up to August 18:

• Pfizer – 21.3million people, 37.9million doses. Yellow Card reporting rate, one in 199 impacted.

• AstraZeneca – 24.8million people, 48.7million doses. Yellow Card reporting rate, one in 108 impacted.

• Moderna – 1.4million people, 2.1million doses. Yellow Card reporting rate, one in 100 impacted.

Overall, one in 135 people experience a Yellow Card Adverse Event from the 47.5million injected (20.7million men, women and children remain not injected in UK).

The Yellow Card reporting rate may be approximately ten per cent of actual figures, according to MHRA.

Proportional to the number of weeks each brand has been administered, currently the reported toll is:

• Approximately 47 linked deaths reported per week

• More than 10,500 reported adverse event injuries per week with unknown long-term consequences.

A significant proportion of these adverse events require urgent medical care, may be life-changing or long-lasting. These figures represent immense distress for those 351,404 people suffering adverse events and their families.

Reactions: 302,146 (Pfizer) + 816,393 (AZ) + 43,949 (Moderna) + 3,148 (Unknown) = 1,165,636.

Reports: 107,215 (Pfizer) + 229,134 (AZ) + 14,019 (Moderna) + 1,036 (Unknown) = 351,404.

Fatal: 508 (Pfizer) + 1,056 (AZ) + 17 (Moderna) + 28 (Unknown) = 1,609.

Acute Cardiac: 4,831 (Pfizer) + 9,102 (AZ) + 495 (Moderna) + 35 (Unknown) = 14,463.

Pericarditis/Myocarditis (Heart inflammation): 362 (Pfizer) + 245 (AZ) + 65 (Moderna) + 2 (Unknown) = 674

Anaphylaxis: 466 (Pfizer) + 810 (AZ) + 32 (Moderna) + 1 (Unknown) = 1,309

Blood Disorders: 10,283 (Pfizer) + 7,354 (AZ) + 829 (Moderna) + 44 (Unknown) = 18,510.

Infections: 7,116 (Pfizer) + 18,102 (AZ) + 730 (Moderna) + 89 (Unknown) = 26,037

Herpes: 1,574 (Pfizer) + 2,475 (AZ) + 75 (Moderna) + 13 (Unknown) = 4,137.

Headaches: 21,646 (Pfizer) + 83,513 (AZ) + 2576 (Moderna) + 229 (Unknown) = 107,964

Migraine: 2,474 (Pfizer) + 8,015 (AZ) + 284 (Moderna) + 29 (Unknown) = 10,802.

Eye Disorders: 5,025 (Pfizer) + 13,718 (AZ) + 495 (Moderna) + 55 (Unknown) = 19,293.

Blindness: 99 (Pfizer) + 281 (AZ) + 12 (Moderna) + 4 (Unknown) = 396.

Deafness: 185 (Pfizer) + 360 (AZ) + 13 (Moderna) + 2 (Unknown) = 560.

Psychiatric Disorders: 6,135 (Pfizer) + 17,011 (AZ) + 884 (Moderna) + 74 (Unknown) = 24,104.

Skin Disorders: 21,263 (Pfizer) + 50,240 (AZ) + 6,657 (Moderna) + 211 (Unknown) = 78,371.

Spontaneous Miscarriages: 278 + 6 stillbirth/foetal death (Pfizer) + 195 + 2 stillbirth (AZ) + 24 + 1 foetal death (Moderna) + 1 (Unknown) = 499 + 9 (figures imply 20 related maternal deaths – four more this week alone).

Vomiting: 3,242 (Pfizer) + 11,347 (AZ) + 496 (Moderna) + 41 (Unknown) = 15,126.

Facial Paralysis including Bell’s Palsy: 691 (Pfizer) + 860 (AZ) + 48 (Moderna) + 5 (Unknown) = 1,604.

Nervous System Disorders: 52,947 (Pfizer) + 173,935 (AZ) + 6788 (Moderna) + 600 (Unknown) = 234,270.

Strokes and CNS haemorrhages: 496 (Pfizer) + 1,993 (AZ) + 17 (Moderna) + 9 (Unknown) = 2,515

Guillain-Barré Syndrome: 42 (Pfizer) + 388 (AZ) + 2 (Moderna) + 5 (Unknown) = 437.

Tremor: 1,288 (Pfizer) + 9673 (AZ) + 153 (Moderna) + 38 (Unknown) = 11,152.

Pulmonary Embolism and Deep Vein Thrombosis: 601 (Pfizer) + 2,696 (AZ) + 25 (Moderna) + 18 (Unknown) = 3,340.

Respiratory Disorders: 12,950 (Pfizer) + 27,425 (AZ) + 1,138 (Moderna) + 109 (Unknown) = 41,622.

Seizures: 713 (Pfizer) + 1,874 (AZ) + 119 (Moderna) + 9 (Unknown) = 2715

Paralysis: 301 (Pfizer) + 735 (AZ) + 39 (Moderna) + 6 (Unknown) = 1,081.

Haemorrhage (All types): 2,568 (Pfizer) + 4713 (AZ) + 321 (Moderna) + 24 (Unknown) = 7,626.

Vertigo/Tinnitus: 2,692 (Pfizer) + 6313 (AZ) + 271 (Moderna) + 25 (Unknown) = 9,301.

Renal & Urinary Disorders: 795 (Pfizer) + 2,507 (AZ) + 93 (Moderna) + 23 (Unknown) = 3,418

Reproductive/Breast: 17,108 (Pfizer) + 16,689 (AZ) + 2,215 (Moderna) + 120 (Unknown) = 36,132.

For full reports see Annex One.

August 31, 2021 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

‘Blood for Blood’: On Jenin and Israel’s Fear of an Armed Palestinian Rebellion

By Ramzy Baroud | MintPress News | August 26, 2021

The killing of four young Palestinians by Israeli occupation soldiers in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank, on August 16, is a consequential event, the repercussions of which are sure to be felt in the coming weeks and months.

The four Palestinians – Saleh Mohammed Ammar, 19, Raed Ziad Abu Seif, 21, Nour Jarrar, 19, and Amjad Hussainiya, 20  – were either newly born or mere toddlers when the Israeli army invaded Jenin in April 2002. The objective, then, based on statements by Israeli officials and army generals, was to teach Jenin a lesson, one they hoped would be understood by other resisting Palestinian areas throughout the occupied West Bank.

In my book, Searching Jenin, published a few months after what is now known as the ‘Massacre of Jenin’ or the ‘Battle of Jenin’, I tried to convey the revolutionary spirit of this place. Although, in some ways, the camp was a representation of the wider Palestinian struggle, in other aspects it was a unique phenomenon, deserving of a thorough analysis and understanding.

By the end of that battle, Israel seemed to have entirely eliminated the armed resistance of Jenin. Hundreds of fighters and civilians were killed and wounded, hundreds more arrested and numerous homes destroyed. Even voices sympathetic to the Palestinian struggle have underestimated Jenin’s ability to resurrect its resistance under seemingly impossible circumstances.

Writing in the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, on June 10, 2016, Gideon Levy and Alex Levac described the state of affairs in the small camp. “Jenin, always the most militant of the refugee camps, was battered and destroyed, suppressed and bloodied, by Israel. These days its spirit seems to be broken. Every person is dealing with his own fate, his own private struggle for survival,” they wrote. The title of their article was “Jenin, Once the Most Militant of Palestinian Refugee Camps, Waves a White Flag”.

Being suppressed and shattered by an overwhelming force, however, is entirely different from “raising the white flag”. In fact, this truism does not just apply to Jenin but to the entirety of occupied Palestine, where Palestinians, at times, find themselves fighting on multiple fronts: Israeli occupation, armed illegal Jewish settlers, and the co-opted Palestinian Authority.

However, May 2021 changed so much. The Israeli attempt at ethnically cleansing Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem, the subsequent war on Gaza and the unprecedented uprising of unity, bringing all Palestinians, everywhere, together, lifted Jenin and other Palestinian areas from their state of despondency. The stiff resistance in Gaza, in particular, has had a direct impact on the various fighting groups in the West Bank, which were either disbanded or marginalized.

An unprecedented scene in Ramallah, on May 17, tells the whole story. Tens of fighters, belonging to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which is affiliated with the Fatah movement – the political party that dominates Mahmoud Abbas’ PA – marched on the streets of Ramallah, where the Authority is situated, in a relatively calm environment. The fighters chanted against the Israeli occupation and their ‘collaborators’ before clashing with Israeli soldiers, who were manning the Qalandiya military checkpoint.

This event was quite unusual, for it ushered in the return of a phenomenon that Israel, with the help of its ‘collaborators’, had crushed during the Second Palestinian Intifada –  or uprising – between 2000-2005.

The Israeli military understands that the May war and uprising have triggered an unwelcomed transition in Palestinian society. Long-suppressed, occupied Palestinians are ready to rebel, eager to move on, beyond octogenarian Abbas and his corrupt clique, past the stifling factionalism and self-serving political discourses.  The questions are how, where and when.

This is precisely why Israel is back in Jenin, once more trying to teach the nearly 12,000 refugees there a lesson, one that is also meant for Palestinians throughout the West Bank. Israel believes that if the nascent armed resistance in Jenin is suppressed now, the rest of the West Bank will remain ‘quiet’.

According to Palestinian journalist, Atef Daghlas, the Israeli occupation forces killed ten Palestinians during their frequent nightly raids on Jenin. Eight of the victims have been killed since the end of the Gaza war alone. There are two main reasons behind the increased number of casualties among the Palestinians in the last few months: first, the increased number of Israeli raids – where occupation soldiers, often disguising themselves as Palestinians, enter the camp at night and attempt to capture young Palestinian fighters; second, because of the growing number of youth enlisting in various resistance groups. According to Daghlas, the rifles carried by these youth are purchased by the young men themselves, as opposed to being supplied by a group or a faction.

“Blood for blood, bullet for bullet, fire for fire,” were some of the chants that echoed in the Jenin town and its adjacent refugee camp, when the Palestinian residents carried the bodies of two of the four killed youth, before burying them in the ever-crowded martyrs’ graveyard. The fact that Jenin is, once more, openly championing the armed struggle option is sending alarm bells throughout occupied Palestine. Israel is now worried that an armed Intifada is in the making, and Abbas knows very well that any kind of Intifada would spell doom for his Authority.

It is obvious that what is currently taking place in Jenin is indicative of something much larger. Israel knows this, thus the exaggerated violence against the camp. In fact, two of the bodies of killed Palestinians are yet to be returned to their families for proper burial. Israel often resorts to this tactic as a bargaining chip, and to increase the psychological pressure on Palestinian communities, especially those who dare resist.

It might be relevant to note that the Jenin refugee camp was officially formed in 1953, a few years after the Nakba of 1948, the year when historic Palestine was destroyed and the State of Israel was created. Since then, generation after generation, Jenin’s youth continue fighting and dying for their freedom.

It turns out that Jenin never waved the white flag, after all, and that the battle which began in 2002 – in fact in 1948 – was never truly finished.

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press).

August 31, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | 6 Comments

Imposing mask mandates on red states under the guise of ‘civil rights’ will only deepen divisions

By Micah Curtis | RT | August 31, 2021

The Biden administration is looking to begin its war against Republican states over mask mandates and is planning to use civil rights legislation to do it. This is needlessly divisive and politically stupid.

Earlier this month, Joe Biden announced he would be targeting Republican-led states over mask mandates. Though different methods had been discussed when considering exactly what legal technicalities it was looking to use to do this, Biden’s administration eventually revealed it would be investigating several states for “civil rights” abuses. The states in question are Utah, Tennessee, Iowa, South Carolina, and Oklahoma. The alleged “goal” of these investigations is to establish whether or not it’s a violation of the civil rights of children with a heightened risk of Covid-19 exposure, because they cannot attend a school without a mask mandate in place.

The logic behind this line of investigation is downright silly. Aside from the simple fact that the lack of a mandate doesn’t mean there are no masks whatsoever, how, pray tell, is this argument going to work in court? How can the administration argue that keeping a child at home because of their heightened possibility of contracting this virus is against their civil rights, while millions of children had to suffer the exact same thing not one year ago? On top of that, are they going to suggest that the rights of parents to make the decision for their children on whether or not to mask up is superseded by a small number of children who might be at a higher risk from the disease?

I am at best skeptical of the modern American justice system, so one can never rule out that a court could make a ridiculous ruling in this regard, should it get that far, but what I do believe is undeniable is that this will spark deep resentment if it does come to pass. My heart goes out to the kids stuck home even when all of their friends are able to go back to school. Being stuck at home (for lack of a better term) sucks, and children need to socialize for their own development. But, at the same time, how can it be fair to place restrictions on all the kids who are likely at next to no risk, according to the CDC data, because just a few children are, unfortunately, more vulnerable?

Of course, this is just another game in Red vs Blue. Biden’s administration has no problem surrendering to the Taliban, but the Republicans? That’s a different story. They’ll fight the Republican Party wherever they can, but it’s a war that they’re very unlikely to win. 2022 midterm polling already isn’t looking good for the Democrats, and Biden is likely to turn into even more of a lame duck than he already is. This kind of vexatious interference from the federal government is simply going to make the divide even deeper. It’s simple logic: the best way to make someone your enemy is to treat them like one, and Biden and his party have done a tremendous job of framing the political right as exactly that.

There’s just one problem. The dumbest thing you can do if you want to win in a democracy is annoy the voters.

August 31, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fess Up, Washington Post, Actual Data Doesn’t Show Climate Change Made Ida Worse

By H. Sterling Burnett | ClimateRealism | August 30, 2021

A story in the Washington Post, titled “How climate change helped make Hurricane Ida one of Louisiana’s worst,” with Hurricane Ida as its news hook, asserts human caused climate change is driving more intense hurricanes. This is false.  Data show tropical storms and hurricanes are neither more numerous nor more powerful than they have been historically. Not in Louisiana and not anywhere else.

By the time Hurricane Ida made landfall in Port Fourchon, La., on Sunday, it was the poster child for a climate change-driven disaster. The fast-growing, ferocious storm brought 150-mile-per-hour wind, torrential rain and several feet of storm surge to the most vulnerable part of the U.S. coast. It rivals the most powerful storm ever to strike the state.

“People there are going to get blasted,” said Kerry Emanuel, an atmospheric scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who studies the physics of hurricanes and their connection to the climate. “This is exactly the kind of thing we’re going to have to get used to as the planet warms.”

As powerful as Ida was when made landfall, the Post and Emanuel are wrong to link Ida or any particular hurricane to climate change.

Ida may rival the most powerful hurricanes ever to strike Louisiana, but that does not make it unique. Research shows since 1957 alone five hurricanes have made landfall in Louisiana with wind speeds exceeding 150 mph. The most powerful of those five hurricanes, 1969’s Category 5 Camille, had wind speeds exceeding 190 mph. Three of the five Category 4 or higher hurricanes Louisiana has experience in the past 70 years occurred during late 1950s and 1960s during a period when the earth was undergoing a period of modest cooling, and many scientists were warning of a coming ice age.

Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center (NHC) show hurricanes have neither become more numerous or more powerful during the past half-century of modest warming.

EPA’s May 2021 report, titled “Climate Change Indicators: Tropical Cyclone Activity,” reported:

Since 1878, about six to seven hurricanes have formed in the North Atlantic every year. Roughly two per year make landfall in the United States. The total number of hurricanes (particularly after being adjusted for improvements in observation methods) and the number reaching the United States do not indicate a clear overall trend since 1878.

EPA’s conclusion that hurricanes have not become more numerous in recent years is unsurprising, because, U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2018 interim report came to essentially the same conclusion. As illustrated in figure 1 below, IPCC data demonstrates no increasing trend in tropical cyclone or hurricane numbers.

Figure 1. Tropical cyclone frequency through August 2021. Dr. Ryan Maue

NHC data indicate hurricane impacts on the United States are at an all-time low. The United States recently went more than a decade, 2005 through 2017, without experiencing a major hurricane measuring Category 3 or higher, making landfall—the longest such period in recorded history.

This can be seen in Figure 2 below showing the large gap with no major landfalling hurricanes (Category3 or greater) in the U.S. on the right-hand side.

Figure 2. Landfalling hurricanes category 3 or greater through 2020. Dr. Roger Pielke Jr.

Also from 2009 through 2017, the United States experienced the fewest number of hurricane strikes over any eight-year period, since records have been kept.

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 6th Assessment Report, released in early August, also finds limited evidence human caused climate change is causing more frequent or stronger hurricanes.

“There is low confidence in most reported long-term (multidecadal to centennial) trends in TC frequency- or intensity-based metrics,” writes the IPCC.

This is not surprising. As explained in Climate at a Glance: Hurricanes, warm ocean water is just one factor driving the formation and intensification of hurricanes. Wind shear inhibits strong storms from forming and rips apart storms that have already formed. Science indicates global warming is likely to cause more wind shear in places where hurricanes form and intensify. This is precisely what happened to Henri, in mid-August, with wind shear shredding its top reducing it from a minor hurricane to a tropical depression in a relatively short period of time.

While the human toll and economic costs of Hurricane Ida have yet to be totaled up, they are likely to be great. However, contrary to the Washington Post’s article, there is no evidence the recent modest warming of the earth contributed to Ida or any other recent hurricane’s formation or intensity. The facts show, recent hurricane numbers and wind speeds are well within historical norms. The Post should stop selling unwarranted climate alarmism on the back of real human misery.

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is managing editor of Environment & Climate News and a research fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute.

August 31, 2021 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | | Leave a comment

Where Are the Autopsies of People Dying Post COVID Vaccine?

By Dr. Joseph Mercola | August 31, 2021

Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, published a commentary July 7, 20211 asking an important question about the rising number of deaths being reported to the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) in conjunction with the COVID-19 injection program.

Her credentials2 are many: She’s a clinical lecturer in medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. She received her medical degree from Columbia University and is the author of several books. And, as president of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness and chairman of the Public Health Committee of the Pima County (Arizona) Medical Society, she asks: Why haven’t there been autopsies of healthy people who are dying unexpectedly after receiving a COVID jab?

It’s a reasonable and logical question since autopsies often reveal important information about diseases and illnesses — and it’s information that can help guide future medical treatment to reduce the risk of long-term disability and death after the vaccine.3 After all, without autopsy results, the ability to treat cardiovascular diseases,4 cancers,5 hereditary diseases like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy6 and even catch murderers7 would be incompetent.

Dr. Dylan Miller chairs the autopsy resource committee for the College of American Pathologists. He spoke with a reporter from The Wall Street Journal, saying,8 “We think we always know what’s going on inside our patients, but that’s a fallacy. There’s as much to be gained from an autopsy as ever.”

The nature of an autopsy is diagnosis.9 It can help family members come to terms with what caused a loved one’s death, identify unknown diseases and offer clinicians an opportunity for a greater understanding of what happened before a patient dies. It also can provide a valuable educational opportunity for health officials and even students, who study disease processes.

It’s been over eight months since the first COVID-19 vaccine was administered in the U.S. in December 2020.10 Since then, VAERS reports show there have been over 12,000 people who have died after the shot.11 Since autopsies are so incredibly important in the identification of disease and pathological processes, why haven’t healthy people who have died after the COVID jab been autopsied?

Lack of Autopsy Results May Mean Data Are Hidden

At the time of Orient’s published commentary,12 she quoted a death toll after the COVID shot of nearly 7,000 people as reported in VAERS. This was in early July. By the end of July that number had risen to 12,366 people.13 That’s a jump of over 5,000 people in less than 30 days who reportedly had died after the COVID injections.

Orient comments that while it’s the best system available now for recording adverse events from vaccines, VAERS is likely missing 90% or more of the actual number of individuals who are hospitalized, have suffered anaphylactic reactions, have Bell’s Palsy, had heart attacks or had life-threatening reactions. The lack of accurate recording also includes the actual number of people who have died after receiving an injection.

When it comes to death certificates, data from The Johns Hopkins Hospital were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2001,14 demonstrating that the accuracy and reliability of the recorded cause of death, on death certificates, was a significant problem, indicating the continued need for autopsies to correctly identify the cause of death.

According to Orient, the death of a 45-year-old mother after receiving the COVID-19 shot that was required for her to start work at the same institution, Johns Hopkins University, will likely not be investigated by autopsy. Additionally, the hospital has not paused their demand for the injection program for mothers and potential mothers who want to work at the university.

In the past, when an individual died without significant medical illness, they were designated a case for the medical examiner, who would decide whether an autopsy was needed. Any evidence that was related to the death was gathered and considered along with the autopsy report.

The most important reason for requesting and performing an autopsy was to ensure quality health care and at one time was required for hospital accreditation.15 However, that requirement has been dropped, and dropped along with it the number of autopsies routinely performed on patients who have died inside or outside the hospital.

The average rate for autopsies in the 1940s was 50%. That dropped to 41% in 1970, just before the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals removed the requirement that 20% of deaths in the hospital were to be autopsied to maintain accreditation.16

By 2018, experts estimated only 4% of in-hospital deaths were autopsied and only approximately 8% of all deaths. Since an estimated 700,000 die each year in the hospital, this means only approximately 28,000 of those deaths are autopsied. Experts have proposed three explanations for the falling rates, including:17

  • Fear of finding mistakes leading to a malpractice lawsuit
  • Lack of reimbursement for an autopsy
  • The belief that medical technology has made autopsies obsolete

However, it’s important to note that knowledge of why a person dies after vaccination will not help the family recover damages since the pharmaceutical industry is immune from liability.18,19 Even so, this information should be used to inform public health policy and help people decide how they want to proceed with the genetic therapy injection program.

Death Certificates Are Notoriously Inaccurate

Orient also notes that death certificates, which researchers use to gather statistics on the cause of death, “are known to be extremely unreliable.”20 An evaluation of 494 death certificates at The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions21 in 2001 showed 41% had improperly completed forms and the reliability and accuracy of the death certificates listing cause of death was a significant problem.

A study published in the Southern Medical Journal22 also found “major discrepancies” between the death certificates issued in the hospital and the information gathered on autopsy.

In 25% of the cases, the death was erroneously attributed to acute myocardial infarction, while an autopsy showed the deaths were actually from sepsis, cerebral hemorrhage, pneumonia and cardiac tamponade. Autopsy showed there were 52 myocardial infarctions that caused death, but death certificates accurately documented only 27. The researchers concluded:

“1) Death certificates are often wrong. 2) The time-honored autopsy is more valuable than ever. 3) Physicians need to write better death certificates and correct them. 4) Death certificate-based vital statistics should be corrected with autopsy results. 5) Vital statistics should note deaths confirmed by autopsy. 6) More autopsies would improve vital statistics and the practice of medicine.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s document on understanding death data quality, hospitals and health care providers should use the following criteria when filling out cause of death on a patient’s death certificate:23

“When a person dies, the cause of death is determined by the certifier — the physician, medical examiner, or coroner who reports it on the death certificate.

Certifiers are asked to use their best medical judgment based on the available information and their expertise. When a definitive diagnosis cannot be made, but the circumstances are compelling within a reasonable degree of certainty, certifiers may include the terms “probable” or “presumed” in the cause-of-death statement.”

In other words, data being reported about cause of death can be manipulated with a “probable” or “presumed” assumption if the certifier makes a subjective evaluation and believes the “circumstances are compelling.” This poor degree of accuracy only adds to the already notoriously inaccurate information found on death certificates.

Treatment for COVID-19 Improved After Autopsy Results

As Orient points out, there were tens of thousands of patients who died from COVID disease after being placed on ventilators before a small series of 12 autopsies done in Germany showed that most of these patients had blood clots and using a ventilator may have caused more damage.24

The improvement and treatment modalities for COVID-19 came after patients had been autopsied. Mechanical ventilation can easily damage lung tissue because it forces air into the lungs. Patients with COVID-19 who were ventilated had at best a 50-50 chance of surviving.25

However, risk analysis being reported indicated this chance of survival was higher than what was being seen clinically. China reported26 of 22 patients on ventilators, 86% of them did not survive the treatment. A British study found two thirds of patients on mechanical ventilation died and a study of 320 mechanically ventilated patients in New York showed 88% of them died. … Full article

Sources and References

August 31, 2021 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | | 1 Comment

Always Another War

America and Israel together against Iran


Afghanistan is not exactly history quite yet as there still will be a lot final adjustments on the ground as well as the usual Vietnam-syndrome war of words that inevitably follows on yet another American-engineered foreign catastrophe. But the recriminations will go nowhere as there is certainly enough mud to stick on both major political parties that make Washington their home, and neither wants to be embarrassed to such an extent that anyone will actually demand change.

Regarding Afghanistan itself, I often recall hearing from a CIA friend of mine who served as the last Chief of Station in Kabul in the 1970s before the start of the Mujaheddin insurgency against the Marxist-Leninist government that was then in place eventually forced the US Embassy to close. He remarked how liberated the city was, full of smartly dressed attractive women and well-turned-out men going about their business. Though there was considerable repression in rural areas, education was highly prized by the people in the cities while many aspects of fundamental Islam were made illegal.

All of that came to a crashing halt when the United States and Saudi Arabia supported the Mujaheddin and eventually created al-Qaeda in a bid to damage the Soviets, who had intervened in the country and were backers of the Kabul regime headed by Babrak Karmal. Zbigniew Brzezinski was the “brain” behind the plan, in part to do payback for the Soviet role in Vietnam and in part because Zbig apparently had difficultly in separating his attachment for Poland, at the time part of the Soviet empire, from his role as national security adviser for Jimmy Carter, President of the United States of America.

To be sure, wars that are unsuccessful, like Vietnam and Afghanistan, do generate a certain blowback. It was regularly observed that the 1990-1 US-led Desert Storm operation followed by a victory parade down Fifth Avenue in New York City helped the United States recover from Vietnam fatigue. That meant that it would not hesitate to again use armed force to enforce its often touted “rules based international order,” best translated as US global hegemony.

Some might suggest that the best thing to do about Afghanistan is to learn from it. Hold senior officials and officers responsible for the egregious errors in judgement that led to disaster. But that will never happen as the top levels of the US government operate like a large social club where everyone protects everyone else. A Marine Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller who has called for accountability at senior levels has already been relieved of his command and is leaving the service, a warning from above to others who might be similarly inclined to be outspoken.

So, with all that in mind, the best was to make Afghanistan go away is to begin preparations for the next war. Since that is so, how lucky is President Joe Biden to have a visit at this very critical moment from Israel’s new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who presented the president with a “new strategic vision” for the Middle East. In preparation for the visit, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the prime minister’s visit “will strengthen the enduring partnership between the United States and Israel, reflect the deep ties between our governments and our people, and underscore the United States’ unwavering commitment to Israel’s security.” Psaki, who conflates the deep ties between the Democratic Party and its Jewish donors with a “partnership,” predictably said everything demanded of her, only stopping short of turning in her application to join the Israel Defense Force (IDF).

Bennett met on the day before the White House meeting with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley and also separately with Secretary of State Antony Blinken. It is not known how many standing ovations were given to Bennett by the simpering US officials, but it is presumed that they were necessary as filler for the event because Austin and Milley in particular are notably inarticulate and poorly informed. The lumpish Austin did, however, echo Psaki in coming out with the usual message, telling Bennett that the Pentagon is absolutely “committed” to ensuring Israel can “defend itself” against the Iranians, that “The administration remains committed to Israel’s security and right to self-defense. That is unwavering, it is steadfast and it is ironclad.”

Bennett was engaged in delivering his timely message that the fall of Afghanistan has actually made everything in that part of Asia more dangerous, meaning that the US and Israel should prepare to fight Iran when it seeks to take advantage of the situation. More to the point, Bennett also made time to meet with the omnipotent Israel Lobby as represented by the head of its most powerful component, Executive Director Howard Kohr of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

The actual discussion with Biden and who-knows-who else in the room was also predictable, minus only that Biden did not feel compelled to go down on his knees as he did with visiting outgoing Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and his chief of staff Rivka Ravitz in early July. Perpetual victim Israel was presented by Bennett as facing hostilities coming from its southern border where Hamas controls the Gaza Strip. Neither Bennett nor Biden mentioned the enormous advantage in military power that Israel already possesses, as was evident in the conflict that took place three months ago, an 11-day war that left 265 dead in Gaza, including many targeted children in apartment blocks, while only 13 died in Israel.

Bennett had two principal objectives. First, he was looking for a commitment from Biden not to re-engage with Iran in the nuclear proliferation treaty Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) unless it is greatly “improved” to include peripheral regional issues as well as eliminating any uranium enrichment. As Iran is prepared to accept the status quo ante and nothing more, Bennett knew perfectly well that his insistence on a broader agreement would be a game-breaker. And second, as a consequence of that expected commitment, he wanted assurances that the US will not withdraw its remaining forces from Iraq and Syria and would support Israel fully if it should choose to attack Iran.

Israel’s Ambassador to the US Gilad Erdan has also been pushing the White House to admit Israel to the so-called Visa Waiver Program, which would allow Israelis to travel freely to the United States without having to obtain a visa. The program usually requires reciprocity which would mean that Israel would in turn have to admit all American travelers, but the Jewish state insists on reserving the right to block Arab and Muslim Americans for no reason whatsoever. It is presumed that Bennett discussed the issue with Blinken.

On the other more important issues, Biden appears to have bought into at least some of what Bennett was selling. In comments made after their meeting, with the Israeli standing beside him, the US President said that “We’re putting diplomacy first and see where that takes us. But if diplomacy fails, we’re ready to turn to other options.” Bennett was pleased by what he was hearing, elaborating on it, “I was happy to hear your clear words that Iran will never be able to acquire a nuclear weapon and that you emphasize that you will try the diplomatic route, but there’s other options if that doesn’t work out.” The other “options” include, of course, intensified covert action intelligence operations, assassinations and a hoped-for bombing attack on Iranian nuclear facilities and weapons sites. Attacking Iran will also have the benefit of demonstrating that Biden is a “tough” leader, surely a consideration at this point when his approval ratings are sinking.

The prime minister also surfaced another proposal for all his interlocutors, including Biden. He wants to upgrade his fleet of F-15 fighter bombers to give his military planners more options if there should be a war with Iran. The US produced F-35 is the primary fighter for IDF, but the older F-15 can carry significantly more weaponry and bomb load.

Bennett has asked Washington to provide an advance on its annual $3.8 billion military assistance package to pay for the improvements. In other words, Israel wants to start a war and have the United States pay for it, possibly in addition to actually doing much of the fighting.

Israel has, in fact, been warning that a war is coming for quite some time, a message that was delivered yet again in a timely fashion as Bennett winged his way to Washington for his meetings. As the prime minister was landing in the US, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi held a press conference in which he advised that the Israeli military advancing its “operational plans” against Iran. He observed that the country’s new military budget had funds earmarked specifically to improve IDF capabilities against Iran. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz also warned on the same day that “The State of Israel has the means to act and will not hesitate to do so. I do not rule out the possibility that Israel will have to take action in the future in order to prevent a nuclear Iran.”

So, the new Israeli premier has laid down the gauntlet and, for the moment, Joe Biden has only tentatively moved to pick it up even if he has in a sense pledged total support for Israel no matter what the Jewish state decides to do. The Israel Lobby meanwhile will be working hard to bring Joe totally into line. And to be sure Biden will have to reckon with the fact that there is a new player in town in the form of a bunch of progressive Democrats who are not in love with Israel, backed up by shrinking public support for Israeli actions resulting from the recent slaughter in Gaza. Nevertheless, a weakened and disoriented Biden will have only limited ability to stand up to an increasingly assertive Israel and its powerful lobby.

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 address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is

August 31, 2021 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , | 3 Comments

India Must Work on a ‘Common Strategy’ in Afghanistan: Germany on Delhi’s Alleged Backing of Daesh

By Dhairya Maheshwari – Sputnik – 31.08.2021

India, which had been backing a democratic government in Afghanistan before the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, is now following a “wait and watch” approach in the nation. One of Afghanistan’s largest regional donors since 2001, the nation’s takeover by the Taliban has led to India significantly scaling down its diplomatic presence.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Wednesday urged India to work on a “common strategy” with other regional nations on the security situation in Afghanistan.

The minister was responding to a question whether he would take up the issue of Delhi’s alleged backing of Daesh-K with other regional governments.

“For the broader region and also for India, it is important to discuss and develop a common strategy as far as developments in Afghanistan are concerned. We need international unity. We need to stand united. And the fact that the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution is an important step in that direction”, said the top German diplomat.

Maas was addressing a press conference with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad. He is on a five-nation visit to Turkey, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, and Qatar, as per the German Foreign Ministry.

​The remarks come days after a suicide bombing at Kabul’s international airport, claimed by Daesh-K, left 13 US troops and 169 Afghans dead.

Speaking about the question of India’s purported backing of the group, Qureshi stated that he has been consistently warning the global community about the role of “spoilers” in the Afghan peace process.

“Beware. We have been constantly warning the international community about the roles of spoilers within and beyond Afghanistan. The international objective is peace and stability. The international community has to discern between those who are standing on the side of peace and stability and has to differentiate between those who, for self-interest, are taking steps that won’t be helpful in promoting peace and stability”, said Qureshi.

The Pakistani foreign minister added that he had been taking up the matter during his bilateral consultations with other governments.

Qureshi also blamed India for perpetrating a terrorist attack at a dam project in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in July, which left nine Chinese engineers dead.

He also said in June of this year that Islamabad has “irrefutable evidence” about India running nearly 66 terrorist training camps inside Afghanistan for Pakistan-focused violent jihadi groups such as the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) and the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA).

In November of last year, Qureshi claimed that Indian agencies were also targeting infrastructure projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship initiative of the Beijing-backed One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative.

In February of this year, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan accused Delhi of using Daesh (ISIS) to incite unrest within the country.

“This is the unanimous opinion of our government and our security agencies that India is backing ISIS”, Khan stated at the time.

Time and again, India has denied Pakistan’s allegations of backing terrorist groups against Islamabad.

August 31, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment

Afghanistan: A Tragically Stupid War Comes to a Tragic End

By Ron Paul | August 30, 2021

Sunday’s news reports that the Biden Administration mistakenly killed nine members of one Afghan family, including six children, in “retaliation” for last week’s suicide attack which killed 13 US servicemembers, is a sad and sick epitaph on the 20 year Afghanistan war.

Promising to “get tough” on ISIS, which suddenly re-emerged to take responsibility for the suicide attack, the most expensive military and intelligence apparatus on earth appears to have gotten it wrong. Again.

Interventionists love to pretend they care about girls and women in Afghanistan, but it is in reality a desperate attempt to continue the 20-year US occupation. If we leave, they say, girls and women will be discriminated against by the Taliban.

It’s hard to imagine a discrimination worse than being incinerated by a drone strike, but these “collateral damage” attacks over the past 20 years have killed scores of civilians. Just like on Sunday.

That’s the worst part of this whole terrible war: day-after-day for twenty years civilians were killed because of the “noble” effort to re-make Afghanistan in the image of the United States. But the media and the warmongers who call the shots in government – and the “private” military-industrial sector – could not have cared less. Who recalls a single report on how many civilians were just “collateral damage” in the futile US war?

Sadly these children killed on Sunday, two of them reportedly just two years old, have been the ones forced to pay the price for a failed and bloody US foreign policy.

Yes, the whole exit from Afghanistan has been a debacle. Biden, but especially his military planners and incompetent advisors, deserves much of what has been piled onto him this past week or so about this incompetence.

Maybe if Biden’s Secretary of Defense and Joint Chiefs’ Chairman had spent a bit more time planning the Afghan exit and a lot less time obsessing on how to turn the US military into a laboratory for cultural Marxism, we might have actually had a workable plan.

We know that actual experts like Col. Douglas Macgregor did have a plan to get out that would have spared innocent lives. But because this decorated US Army veteran was “tainted” by his service in the previous administration – service that was solely focused on how to get out of Afghanistan safely – he would not be consulted by the Pentagon’s “woke” top military brass.

Trump also should share some of the blame currently being showered on Biden. He wanted to get out years ago, but never had the courage to stand up to the also incompetent generals and “experts” he foolishly hired to advise him.

Similarly, many conservatives (especially neoconservatives) are desperate to attack Biden not for how he got out of Afghanistan, but for the fact that he is getting us out of Afghanistan.

That tells you all you need to know about how profitable war is to the warmongers.

I’ve always said, “we just marched in, we can just march out,” and I stand by that view. Yes, you can “just march out” of these idiotic interventions…but you do need a map!

Copyright © 2021 by RonPaul Institute.

August 31, 2021 Posted by | Militarism | , | 4 Comments

Americans have long claimed Afghanistan helped end ‘Soviet empire’ – now it’s their turn?

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | August 31, 2021

Wise men in Washington have claimed for years that defeat in Afghanistan is what pushed the Soviet Union to collapse. Now that the US has done much worse, the world is about to see whether their theories hold water.

The last US military flight out of the Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) took off on Monday, a minute before the clocks struck midnight in Kabul. The 20-year war had come to an end, and the Taliban lit up the night skies with celebratory gunfire.

To hear President Joe Biden tell it, “the largest airlift in US history” was an “unparalleled” success, executed by the US military, diplomats, veterans and volunteers “with unmatched courage, professionalism, and resolve.”

In the minds of just about everyone else who could watch the events unfold over the past two weeks, it was a mad scramble to evacuate over 100,000 Afghans eager to emigrate, with fewer than 6,000 Americans making the flights – and several hundred being left behind for diplomats to try and save.

In fact, while 82nd Airborne Division commander General Christopher Donahue and US ambassador to Afghanistan Ross Wilson were the last two people to step on the last plane, no American civilians were on board the last five flights out of Kabul. This was the startling admission by General Kenneth McKenzie of CENTCOM to Pentagon reporters on Monday evening.

“We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out,” McKenzie said.

Compare that to the Soviet pullout from Afghanistan, which ended in February 1989. The USSR took nine months to draw down over 100,000 troops. The last man across the Bridge of Friendship into present-day Uzbekistan was General Boris V. Gromov, who turned to a TV crew and said, “There is not a single Soviet soldier or officer left behind me.”

The government of Dr. Najibullah, whom the Soviets intervened to support against the US-backed Islamists a decade earlier, fought on for three more years – collapsing only after the USSR itself imploded and stopped sending aid. By contrast, the US-backed government in Kabul vanished into thin air before the US withdrawal was even complete.

President Ashraf Ghani flew out of Kabul on August 14, letting the Taliban take over without firing a shot. The Afghan National Army, which Biden himself touted as 300,000-strong and equipped with some of the best US weaponry, simply surrendered and melted away, all that equipment taken by Taliban as trophies. The Taliban then surrounded HKIA with checkpoints, leaving the 6,000 or so US troops there to keep out desperate Afghan civilians. There were no more disturbing images of men stuck in airplane wheels – or falling to their deaths after clinging onto planes as they took off – but something worse was yet to come.

Last Thursday, a suicide bomber allegedly belonging to the ISIS-K terrorist group made it all the way to the line of US troops before blowing himself up – killing up to 200 Afghan civilians as well as 14 US troops in the process.

Biden’s response was to order two drone strikes. One reportedly killed unspecified ISIS-K leaders in another province, while another was said to have stopped a car bomb in Kabul. Except the Afghans said it killed ten civilians, seven of them children, instead.

Yet the only member of the US military sacked during this fiasco has been the Marine colonel who spoke out publicly and demanded accountability. The leadership at the Pentagon, the CIA, the State Department, and the White House that got just about everything wrong when it came to Afghanistan, remains in place.

While the Biden administration is now claiming credit for ending the 20-year war, it’s clear that its grip on the narrative – both at home and abroad – has been shaken, perhaps fatally.

For years it was thought that the US aided the Islamist mujahideen in Afghanistan only after the Soviets intervened. Until January 1998, that is, when former US national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski told a French publication that Washington’s support started months earlier, as part of his own plan to “give the USSR its Vietnam war.” Brzezinski outright boasted that the resulting conflict “brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.” Many US scholars agreed.

Fast forward to the present day, and it’s the American empire that’s facing demoralization, including a political and economic crisis at home. Biden was inaugurated with 25,000 troops lining the empty streets of Washington, and declared the alleged “extremism” of his political opponents as the greatest threat to the country, now rebranded as Our Democracy. He pitched the retreat from Afghanistan to the American public as a heroic decision to end the endless war before anyone else gets hurt. It was supposed to be a feather in his cap.

With the US now exiting Afghanistan after a 20-year nation-building effort and absolutely nothing to show for it but “complete disgrace and total humiliation” – as one commentator put it – Brzezinski’s theory is about to be put to a test.

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

August 31, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

China Suggests COVID-19 Could Have Been Imported Into Wuhan

By Tim Korso – Sputnik – 30.08.2021

China has been battling against being labeled the country allegedly responsible for the coronavirus pandemic since its onset. The first officially registered cases of COVID-19 were in the Chinese city of Wuhan, but Beijing has repeatedly suggested that the pathogen could have been imported into the country.

The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has unveiled its own suggestion regarding how the World Health Organisation (WHO) should handle the second phase of the investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 virus. According to the Chinese CDC, WHO investigators should focus their efforts on studying cold-chain products and their logistics ahead of the detection of the first COVID-19 cases in Wuhan – specifically between September and December 2019.

The Chinese CDC epidemiologists said that samples of COVID-19 could be found on some of the cold-chain products shipped to other Chinese cities, namely to Beijing and Dalian, right before the two cities suffered limited outbreaks of the disease in summer 2020. These incidents happened after China managed to quickly end the original outbreak in Wuhan in April 2020.

Chinese epidemiologists have thus suggested that COVID-19 might have been imported into Wuhan, either from another Chinese region or from a foreign supplier of cold-chain products. Members of the country’s CDC have proposed that the WHO explore this hypothesis and track the supply chain for this type of product. The scientists stressed in their publications that there have been numerous evidence of COVID-19 being present in other parts of the world, specifically the US, Italy, Spain and France, ahead of the detection of the first cases in China and as early as March 2019.

“We conducted epidemiological investigations, nucleic acid testing, antibody detections, cold-chain food retrospection and comparative analysis of viral gene sequencing of COVID-19 patients and food packages and confirmed that the virus was imported from other countries or regions through the cold-chain transportation”, Ma Huilai, an official from the China CDC said.

The researchers from the Chinese CDC further noted that over half of the stores in the Huanan seafood market, a suspected source of the original infection, imported 29 types of cold-chain products from 20 countries and regions of China.

The publication by the Chinese epidemiologists comes as the WHO is planning on carrying out the second phase of the investigation into the origins of the virus that has taken the lives of over 4,493,000 people around the world and disrupted economies. The previous probe yielded no answers as to when and how the virus jumped from animals to humans, and the global health body announced in July 2021 that a new investigation will be conducted. The announcement of the second phase probe also coincided with the US intelligence services opening an investigation into the allegations that the virus could have escaped from a Chinese laboratory.

Beijing has strongly rejected the idea of conducting the second phase probe on its territory, arguing that the new investigation is politicised and not based on science. The US probe into the allegation of the laboratory origin of the virus, however, produced a report in which most US intelligence agencies said that the virus was most likely naturally born, although some agents have refused to absolutely rule out the man-made theory.

August 31, 2021 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | 3 Comments

T-Cells Really Are The Superstars In Fighting COVID-19

British Medical Journal | Septmber 17, 2020

Thank you to Dr Doshi for raising the profile of T-cells. Incidentally, German researchers found that a staggering 81 percent of individuals had pre-existing T-cells that cross-react with SARS-CoV-2 epitopes [1].

This fits with modelling in May by Imperial College’s Professor Friston, a world authority in mathematical modelling of complex dynamic biological systems, indicating that around 80% and 50% of the German and UK populations, respectively, are resistant to COVID-19:…

Antibodies can only latch onto and help destroy pathogens outside cells and may also occasionally, paradoxically, enhance a pathogen’s ability to infect cell instead by antibody dependent ”enhancement” or ADE. It is only the T-cell that can cleverly sense and destroy pathogens inside infected cells using “sensors” which detect foreign protein fragments.

In the late 60’s the Lancet described a case of a child with agammaglobulinemia, a condition in which absence of B cells prevent them from producing antibodies, who overcame a measles infection quite normally and did not become re-infected thereafter. We now know that, although this condition can compromise immunity, in that particular case the rest of the immune functions, including T-cells, must have been perfectly up to the job of clearing infection and establishing immune memory without help from antibodies.

The importance of T-cells in fighting SARS-CoV-1 and establishing immune memory has also been well documented and discussed in a number of pre-COVID papers from 2017 and earlier [2].

Then, early in April, it was reported that two patients with agammaglobulinemia overcame COVID-19 infections without requiring ventilation [3], prompting the Italian authors to write: “This observation suggests that T‐cell response is probably important for immune protection against the virus, while B‐cell response might be unessential”.

All this should have shifted the focus of efforts towards T-cells at an early stage – the real question is why mainstream media and others continued to focus efforts and narrative on antibodies. Is it because vaccines are good at provoking antibody responses but not so great at generating T-cells? Some of the vaccines presently under trial do elicit some T-cells but it seems that neither the quantity nor variety are hugely impressive.

Does this matter? Apparently so: Research establishments including Yale found that in mild or asymptomatic cases, many T-cells are produced. These were highly varied, responding not just to parts of the Spike, S protein or Receptor Binding Domain but to many other parts of the virus [1, 4-6]. Notably, in these mild cases there were few or no detectable antibodies.

Conversely, the severely ill produced few T-cells with less variety but had plenty of antibodies. What is also of interest is that men produced fewer T-cells than women, and unlike women, their T-cell response reduced with age [7].

So why are some people unable to mount a good protective T-cell response? The key to this question might be a 10-year-old Danish study led by Carsten Geisler, head of the Department of International Health, Immunology and Microbiology at the University of Copenhagen [8].

Geisler noted that “When a T cell is exposed to a foreign pathogen, it extends a signalling device or ‘antenna’ known as a vitamin D receptor, with which it searches for vitamin D,”, and if there is an inadequate vitamin D level, “they won’t even begin to mobilize.” In other words, adequate vitamin D is critically important for the activation of T-cells from their inactive naïve state.

The question of whether T-cells might also need a continuing supply of vitamin D to prevent the T-cell exhaustion and apoptosis observed in some serious COVID-19 cases [9] deserves further research.

High levels of vitamin D are also critical for first line immune defences including physical mucosal defences, human antiviral production, modulating cytokines, reducing blood clotting and a whole host of other important immune system functions [10]. The obese, diabetics and people of BAME origin are far more deficient in vitamin D and men have lower levels than women [10].

Another intriguing clue is that Japan has the highest proportion of elderly on the planet but despite lack of lockdowns, little mask wearing and high population densities in cities, it escaped with few COVID deaths. Could this, at least in part, be because of extraordinarily high vitamin D levels of over 30 ng/ml in 95% of the active elderly [11]? By comparison, UK average levels are below 20ng/ml [10].

Vitamin D is made in the skin from the action of UV sunlight, food usually being a poor source, but the Japanese diet includes unusually high levels. Sunny countries near the equator (e.g. Nigeria, Singapore, Sri Lanka) also have very low COVID related deaths.

The results of the first vitamin D intervention double blind RCT for COVID was published on 29 August by researchers in Córdoba, Spain. This very well conducted study produced spectacular outcomes for the vitamin D group (n=50), virtually eliminating the need for ICU (reducing it by 96%) and eliminating deaths (8% in the n=26 control group). Although this was a small trial, the ICU results are so dramatic that they are statistically highly significant [12].

Substantially more vitamin D is required for optimal immune function than for bone health. It seems Dr Fauci is not ignorant of this, having apparently confirmed on TV and by email that he takes 6,000 IU daily! (see Dr John Campbell on YouTube Vitamin D and pandemic science, 16 September 2020). Meanwhile the US’s health body continues to recommend only 600-800 IU and the UK’s, only 400 IU.

It is high time for joined up solid scientific rationale to overthrow mainstream narratives based on an alternative “science” controlled by industry interests/politics. Beda M Stadler, the former Director of the Institute for Immunology at the University of Bern, a biologist and Professor Emeritus, certainly appears to think so (see Ivor Cummins Ep91 Emeritus Professor of Immunology… Reveals Crucial Viral Immunity Reality on YouTube, 28 July 2020).

In the same way that prior infections protect us against future infections by means of cross-reacting T-cells, overcoming COVID-19 naturally offers potential for greater protection against future coronaviruses. Vaccines have their place but so do our amazingly complex, sophisticated, highly effective immune systems which have evolved over millennia to protect us from a world teeming with trillions of pathogens.


  1. Annika Nelde, Tatjana Bilich, Jonas S. Heitmann et al. SARS-CoV-2 T-cell epitopes define heterologous and COVID-19-induced T-cell recognition, 16 June 2020, Research Square
  2. William J.Liuabc et al. T-cell immunity of SARS-CoV: Implications for vaccine development against MERS-CoV.Antiviral Research. Volume 137, January 2017, Pages 82-92
  3. Soresina, A, Moratto, D, Chiarini, M, et al. Two X‐linked agammaglobulinemia patients develop pneumonia as COVID‐19 manifestation but recover. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2020; 31: 565– 569.
  4. Avraham Unterman, et al. Single-Cell Omics Reveals Dyssynchrony of the Innate and Adaptive Immune System in Progressive COVID-19. medRxiv 2020.07.16.20153437; doi:
  5. Leticia Kuri-Cervantes, et al. Immunologic perturbations in severe COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 infection. bioRxiv 2020.05.18.101717; doi:
  6. Floriane Gallais, Aurelie Velay, Marie-Josee Wendling, Charlotte Nazon, Marialuisa Partisani, Jean Sibilia, Sophie Candon, Samira Fafi-Kremer. Intrafamilial Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 Induces Cellular Immune Response without Seroconversion. medRxiv 2020.06.21.20132449; doi:
  7. Takahashi T, Wong P, Ellingson M, et al. Sex differences in immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 that underlie disease outcomes. Preprint. medRxiv. 2020;2020.06.06.20123414. Published 2020 Jun 9. doi:10.1101/2020.06.06.20123414
  8. Von Essen MR, Kongsbak M, Schjerling P, Olgaard K, Odum N, Geisler C. Vitamin D controls T cell antigen receptor signaling and activation of human T cells. Nat Immunol. 2010;11(4):344-349. doi:10.1038/ni.1851
  9. Diao B, Wang C, Tan Y, et al. Reduction and Functional Exhaustion of T Cells in Patients With Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Front Immunol. 2020;11:827. Published 2020 May 1. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2020.00827
  10. King, E.. The Role of Vitamin D deficiency in COVID-19 related deaths in BAME, Obese and Other High-risk Categories. 2020, June 17.
  11. Nakamura K. Vitamin D insufficiency in Japanese populations: from the viewpoint of the prevention of osteoporosis. J Bone Miner Metab. 2006;24(1):1-6. doi:10.1007/s00774-005-0637-0
  12. Marta Entrenas Castillo et al. Effect of calcifediol treatment and best available therapy versus best available therapy on intensive care unit admission and mortality among patients hospitalized for COVID-19: A pilot randomized clinical study. The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Volume 203, October 2020, 105751.

August 31, 2021 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment