Aletho News


Chicago Students Try to Cancel Professor Who Predicted Ukraine Crisis

By Noah Carl | The Daily Sceptic | March 10, 2022

Professor John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago is the man who, way back in 2015, said the following:

The West is leading Ukraine down the primrose path and the end result is that Ukraine is going to get wrecked … What we’re doing is encouraging the Ukrainians to play tough with the Russians. We’re encouraging the Ukrainians to think that they ultimately will become part of the West … And of course the Ukrainians are playing along with this, and the Ukrainians are almost completely unwilling to compromise with the Russians and instead want to pursue a hardline policy. Well as I said to you before, if they do that their country is going to get wrecked.

Quite a prophetic remark, you might say. Indeed, predicting that Ukraine would “get wrecked” seven years in advance would seem to suggest that Mearsheimer has a good understanding – that he’s worth listening to. (Note: Mearsheimer did not think Russia would launch a full-scale invasion, so he wasn’t 100% right.)

With the Ukraine crisis still dominating the headlines, Mearsheimer must be the golden boy of his department, right? Actually, no. A group of students recently circulated a letter denouncing him for “propagating Putinism” and claiming his actions are “extremely detrimental for our country”.

The students take issue with several statements from Mearsheimer’s 2015 lecture (which is the source of the quotation above). For example, they characterise his use of the word “coup” to describe the toppling of Viktor Yanukovych as “ideological rather than academic”. (They prefer the more heroic-sounding “revolution”.)

The students end their missive by demanding “public disclosure” of all Russian funding received by Professor Mearsheimer, as well as a “statement from the university community at large that it does not condone anti-Ukraine ideology on campus”. They also claim that, if left unaddressed, the problem could “tarnish the reputation of our beloved University”.

I haven’t been able to find any articles suggesting that the university took action in response to the letter. So the students’ campaign appears to have failed. Good.

And it’s of course absurd to suggest that Mearsheimer holds an “anti-Ukraine ideology”. Indeed, much of his 2015 lecture (which the students probably just skimmed through while searching for ‘incriminating’ statements) is concerned with how to prevent Ukraine from “getting wrecked”.

As I noted in a previous post, Mearsheimer’s proposal comprised three elements: ruling out NATO membership for Ukraine; funding an economic rescue plan, together with Russia and the IMF; and insisting that Ukraine respect minority rights, especially minority language rights.

It seems plausible that if we’d followed this proposal, we wouldn’t be in the situation we are today, with Russian troops advancing on Kiev, and the West powerless to intervene for fear of sparking World War III. From what I see, Mearsheimer is a far better friend to Ukraine than the people who dismissed his warnings.

March 10, 2022 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

CDC-funded study concludes most COVID vaccine reactions ‘mild’ yet VAERS data show thousands of deaths, hospitalizations

By Madhava Setty, M.D. | The Defender | March 9, 2022

study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and published Monday in The Lancet concluded most COVID-19 vaccine-related adverse events reported during the first six months after the vaccines were rolled out in the U.S were “mild and short in duration.”

For the study, researchers analyzed data captured between Dec. 14, 2020, and June 14, 2021, by two reporting systems, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and v-safe, both of which are overseen by the CDC. Nearly 300 million doses of COVID vaccines were administered during the study period.

The authors found that of the 340,522 adverse events reported to VAERS, 27,023 (8%) were serious, 4,496 of which were deaths.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines a Serious Adverse Event (SAE) as an outcome that is life-threatening or one that results in hospitalization (immediate or prolonged), permanent injury, birth defect or death.

Authors suggest vaccines didn’t cause deaths

As an event capturing system VAERS is not designed to attribute causation. However, the authors noted that there was a “… concentrated reporting of deaths on the first few days after vaccination..”

The temporal relationship of the death to the time of vaccination was demonstrated here:

The correlation in time between inoculation and death is highly suggestive of causation. Instead, the authors chose to explain it as follows:

“This pattern might represent reporting bias because the likelihood to report a serious adverse event might increase when it occurs in close temporal proximity to vaccination.”

The authors suggest that if a death occurs soon after vaccination it will be more likely reported than if the death occurred later. This, they believe, is why the number of deaths asymptotically approaches zero as more time elapses since inoculation.

Independent researcher unable to duplicate study’s VAERS findings

Jessica Rose, Ph.D., attempted to duplicate the Lancet authors’ findings through her independent analysis of the VAERS data.

Despite filtering the database using three different date stamps (Vaccination Date, Onset Date and Received Date), none returned the number of reports published in the Lancet.

From her analysis:

“The closest I got to their estimate when I filtered using the RD (Received Date) data was 371,775.

“For the VD (Vaccination Date) data filter I got 545,275 reports and for OD (Onset Date) data filter I got 499,432 reports.”

In other words, using every date option, Rose found tens (sometimes hundreds) of thousands more reports than the authors of the Lancet study found.

The most conservative number, 371,775, is still nearly 30,000 more than reported. Nevertheless, using the Received Date as the date filter still returned 6,114 deaths — 36% more than the CDC study claimed.

Furthermore, Rose’s most conservative search parameters returned 68,124 SAEs, or three times more than the Lance study.

Rose said she believes using the Received Date field will unavoidably lead to an undercount of actual reports because this field is left blank more often than the other timestamps in a given record.

How can this large difference be reconciled?

One clue is Pfizer’s “Cumulative Analysis of Post Authorization Adverse Event Reports,” a document released through a Freedom of Information Act request submitted in August 2021, by the Public Health and Medical Professionals for Transparency.

In it, approximately 50% of adverse events reported to Pfizer were SAEs. The adverse events tabulated in this document were passively reported, as they are in VAERS. This further suggests that the authors of the Lancet report may have undercounted SAEs for an unexplained reason.

What about the v-safe findings?

The authors reported separately on their analysis of v-safe data.

V-safe is an active reporting system. Enrolled participants are contacted by phone and are asked to complete a survey. Active surveys are expected to return more complete data. Subjects agree to enroll voluntarily.

Of the 5,674,420 vaccinated subjects that received a second dose and responded through the v-safe system, 26.5% reported they were unable to do normal activities at the time of survey completion.

Additionally, 16.1% were unable to work, 0.9% received medical care and 2,053 were hospitalized.

Is the data ‘reassuring?’

Reporting on the Lancet study, MedPage wrote:

“In an accompanying editorial, Matthew Krantz, MD, and Elizabeth Phillips, MD, both of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, characterized the report as ‘reassuring,’ noting that, ‘there were no unexpected signals other than myopericarditis and anaphylaxis, already known to be associated with mRNA vaccines.’”

Krantz and Phillips stated myopericarditis and anaphylaxis were “unexpected” signals but were already known to be a problem.

Nonetheless, the Lancet study found that the incidence of myopericarditis and anaphylaxis were 4.4 and 5.5 per million vaccine doses administered respectively.

Yet coagulopathies (clotting disorders including pulmonary embolism), seizures, strokes and Bell’s Palsy (paralysis of the facial nerve) all occurred at higher incidence rates than myopericarditis according to the Lancet study.

Why aren’t these considered unexpected signals to be further investigated or at least acknowledged?

Anaphylaxis, though reported at an incidence of 5.5 per million in the Lancet study, is known to occur at a much higher rate from COVID vaccines.

In a paper published in March 2021, anaphylaxis following COVID vaccines was found to occur at a rate of 250 per million. These findings are a foundational argument for the existence of a significant and calculable underreporting factor (URF) with regard to all events reported in VAERS.

Steve Kirsch estimated the URF to be approximately 41. It is not possible to know what the URF is for every adverse event. Nevertheless, the 4,496 deaths reported in the Lancet are most likely grossly under-representative of the true number of vaccine-related fatalities.

© 2022 Children’s Health Defense, Inc. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of Children’s Health Defense, Inc. Want to learn more from Children’s Health Defense? Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. Your donation will help to support us in our efforts.

March 10, 2022 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 1 Comment

Venezuela backs Russia despite tempting US offers

MEMO | March 10, 2022

The US has been trying to tempt Venezuela into increasing its oil production, but President Nicolas Maduro insists on standing by his traditional ally and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. US officials have visited the country with the promise of continued access to US markets.

Venezuela and other South American countries were surprised by the visits by the officials from the White House and the State Department as soon as the Russian military operation against Ukraine started. Venezuelan newspapers reported that the American justification was the difference in the vision of the administration of Democratic President Joe Biden compared with its predecessor run by Republican President Donald Trump, who once threatened to wage war against Venezuela’s socialist President Maduro to remove him from power.

Venezuela wants to regain its share of oil sales to the US market, which was its main market before sanctions were imposed by Washington. However, it said that this must be done without engaging in any policy hostile to Russia. US companies increased their imports of Russian oil when the embargo on oil from Venezuela was imposed.

Despite the US offers, Venezuela has stressed that any increase in its oil quota will be made in coordination with OPEC. It will not submit to US demands.

Although it is in contact with the Biden administration, Venezuela has made its support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine very clear. President Maduro, for example, has told Putin that Russia has the right to defend its security in the face of NATO expansion. Moreover, the Venezuelan representative in the Human Rights Council in Geneva has condemned the punitive measures taken against Russia, while his country abstained during the UN General Assembly vote on a resolution condemning the invasion.

March 10, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , | 11 Comments

Teach your child censorship!

By Niall McCrae | Unity News Network | March 9, 2022

As any critically thinking parent knows, schools are a hotbed of state propaganda, from subversive gender ideology to prophecies of doom on climate change. But this has worsened significantly in the past two years, with the official covid-19 narrative pushed in every possible way (whether the schools were open or in online learning). An important strategy is to teach children to avoid contrary viewpoints and controversial assertions on the internet.

Yesterday my 5-year-old brought home a booklet handed out to her class, titled Digital Parenting (sponsored by Vodafone). The contents are in tune with the Online Safety Bill: the focus is not on preventing exposure to violence, terrorism or pornography, but on suppressing inconvenient truths.

Featuring in the pamphlet is Nicky Cox MBE, editor of First News newspaper and producer of FYI on Sky News channel, both presenting current affairs to children. According to Cox, ‘as adults we have the experience to question what we read, but children are not so savvy’. The gullibility of the adult populace, duped by bought mainstream media into fearing a killer virus, fraudulent testing, wearing useless facemasks and taking a series of experimental genetic engineering injections, suggests otherwise.

Cox warns that fake news isn’t always obvious: ‘more confusingly there are stories with a kernel of truth which have biased reporting’. Shouldn’t children be taught to understand and critically appraise bias, rather than pretending it is just a tool of opponents? Shouldn’t they be shown different perspectives, and how the likes of the BBC and Guardian project their own prejudices and political agenda? These outlets become more like Pravda, the mouthpiece of Soviet totalitarianism, by the day. Audaciously, Cox congratulates her news as ‘balanced’: does she allow a smidgen of counter-narrative alongside shilling for covid vaccines or war with Russia?

The most egregiously censorial part of this guide is ‘5 terms every parent should know’. First is ‘deepfakes’, which apparently means doctored images. However, the Ukraine theatricals have shown that video or photographs do not need to be manipulated; they can simply be taken from another context, whether from a past war in another continent or from a movie.

Second is cancel culture, which you and I may see as a real problem. No, the booklet casts this as a positive, meaning ‘withdrawal of support for public figures or companies we disagree with’. This is teaching children that it is justifiable to ‘unperson’ someone who thinks differently to them; it is an affront to a free, democratic society. Children should be encouraged to tolerate and listen to other opinions, not to silence them. And resilience should be nurtured, not vulnerability.

Next are misinformation and disinformation. The former is unintentional or careless falsehood, while the latter is deliberate untruth. An example of a misleading message is ‘sharing a covid-19 “miracle cure” without knowing if it’s genuinely effective’.  Well, that would be enough to put a health warning on all covid vaccine promotion. But of course the booklet authors are thinking of ivermectin, typically misrepresented by compliant broadcasters as ‘horse dewormer’.

Finally there is digital activism. Like cancel culture, this is something to encourage. It means ‘using digital platforms to encourage social or political change, as seen during the US election and Black Lives Matter movement’. Could it also include supporting the Canadian truckers’ convoy or informed choice on vaccinating kids? Don’t be silly. The establishment and its paid helpers are now nakedly discriminatory, and they don’t care. If you are angered by their hypocrisy and bias, all the better for them.

I would summarise this as a glossy guide to teaching children censorship. Using its own language – a deepfake.

March 10, 2022 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | | Leave a comment

Do Ukrainian biolabs violate the ban on biological weapons programs?

By Scott Ritter | RT | March 10, 2022

Unless either Ukraine or the US can prove otherwise, the available evidence points to Kiev operating biological laboratories which may have violated the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention.

Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland appeared before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on March 8, testifying on the US and international response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine. After delivering her opening remarks, the veteran US diplomat took questions from the committee members. One question, asked by Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from the state of Florida, stood out. “Does Ukraine have chemical or biological weapons?” he asked.

Nuland answered the question very deliberately. “Ukraine has biological research facilities which, in fact, we’re now quite concerned Russian troops, Russian forces may be seeking to gain control of, so we are working with the Ukrainians on how we can prevent any of those research materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces should they approach,” she said.

Of note was the fact that none of this was mentioned in the entirety of her opening speech. The purpose of Rubio’s question wasn’t to pin Nuland into a corner, but rather set up the follow-on question, designed to deflect a very discomforting issue into a propaganda opportunity for the US government.

“I’m sure you’re aware,” Rubio said, “that the Russian propaganda groups are already putting out there all kinds of information about how they have uncovered a plot by the Ukrainians to unleash biological weapons in the country, and with NATO’s coordination.” The senator paused before asking his question. “If there is a biological or chemical weapon incident or attack inside Ukraine, is there any doubt in your mind that 100% it would be the Russians behind it?”

Nuland answered this question with more authority: “There is no doubt in my mind, Senator. And, in fact, it is a classic Russian technique to blame the other guy for what they are planning to do themselves.”

Rubio was right about one thing – the Russians were having a field day about the “biological research facilities” Nuland was so reticent about discussing. Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, announced that “We [Russia] confirm that, during the special military operation in Ukraine, the Kiev regime was found to have been concealing traces of a military biological program implemented with funding from the United States Department of Defense.”

According to Zakharova, the Ukrainian Ministry of Health, on February 24 – the first day of the Russian offensive – had ordered all the Ukrainian biological laboratories to “urgently” eradicate the stored reserves of “highly hazardous pathogens of plague, anthrax, rabbit fever, cholera and other lethal diseases.” She said the documentation on the “urgent eradication” of the pathogens was “received from employees of Ukrainian laboratories.”

While noting that more work was being done by the Russian Ministry of Defense to fully assess the documents in question, Zakharova said Russia was able to conclude “that components of biological weapons were being developed in Ukrainian laboratories in direct proximity to Russian territory.”

“The urgent eradication of highly hazardous pathogens on February 24 was ordered to prevent exposing a violation of Article I of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) by Ukraine and the United States,” she added.

Article I of the BTWC states that “Each State Party to this Convention undertakes never in any circumstances to develop, produce, stockpile, or otherwise acquire or retain:

  1. microbial or other biological agents, or toxins whatever their origin or method of production, of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes;
  2. weapons, equipment or means of delivery designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict.”

Earlier, the US Embassy in Kiev published information relating to what it described as a “Biological Threat Reduction Program,” a collaboration between the US Department of Defense and the Ukrainian government. According to this data, “The [biological threat reduction] program accomplishes its bio-threat reduction mission through development of a bio-risk management culture; international research partnerships; and partner capacity for enhanced bio-security, bio-safety, and bio-surveillance measures.” According to the US Embassy, “the Biological Threat Reduction Program’s priorities in Ukraine are to consolidate and secure pathogens and toxins of security concern and to continue to ensure Ukraine can detect and report outbreaks caused by dangerous pathogens before they pose security or stability threats.”

This all sounds innocuous enough and, if true, seems to meet the criterion set forth in Article 1 of the BTWC regarding “prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes.”

There is suspicion, however, that the Defense Threat Reduction Agency-led biological programs may have a more nefarious purpose. The Bulgarian investigative journalist, Dilyana Gaytandzhieva, has conducted extensive research into this issue. “The US Army regularly produces deadly viruses, bacteria and toxins in direct violation of the UN Convention on the prohibition of Biological Weapons. Hundreds of thousands of unwitting people are systematically exposed to dangerous pathogens and other incurable diseases. Bio-warfare scientists using diplomatic cover test man-made viruses at Pentagon bio laboratories in 25 countries across the world,” she claimed.

Gaytandzhieva’s work has been dismissed by the US as ‘pro-Russian propaganda.’ But the inescapable fact is that the US does not have a clean record when it comes to compliance with the BTWC. So-called “bio-defense” has been used by the US to circumvent, if not outright violate, the provisions of the BTWC in the past. The most flagrant example of this was the CIA-led “Project Clear Vision,” which from 1997 until 2000 sought to reverse-engineer and subsequently test a Soviet-era “bomblet” designed to disperse biological agents, including anthrax. There was a debate within the Clinton administration as to whether “Clear Vision” violated the BTWC, which led to the program being halted in 2000.

There is no need to worry about any such malfeasance at the biolabs in Ukraine, however, the director of the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, Robert Pope, recently told reporters. “What we have today… are small amounts of various pathogens that by and large are things that are collected out of their environment that they need for research to be able to legitimately surveil disease and develop vaccines against.”

According to Pope, the Ukrainians had “more pathogens in more places than we recommend,” adding that his organization had been helping Ukrainian researchers organize their frozen pathogen collections with an eye on preserving genetic information via sequencing before destroying the live samples. “All of that, obviously, has been derailed here with the recent events,” he said.

Pope’s biggest concern was that if these biolabs lost electrical power for any extended time, then the frozen samples would thaw out. “If the ventilation system is damaged, or the building itself is damaged, and these now ambient-temperature pathogens are able to escape the facility, then they can be potentially infectious in the region around the facility,” he said.

He expressed hope that the facilities would not be deliberately attacked. “I think the Russians know enough about the kinds of pathogens that are stored in biological research laboratories that I don’t think they would deliberately target a laboratory. But what I do have concerns about is that they would… be accidentally damaged during this Russian invasion.”

While Pope had been painting a relatively benign picture of the types of pathogens stored at the facilities he supervised, he left a clue about the potential for something far more worrisome. While noting that many of the biolabs in Ukraine were of new construction, “others date back to the Soviet-era and the country’s bioweapons program.” Some of these older laboratories, Pope said, could hold pathogen strains dating back to the Soviet biowarfare programs. “Scientists being scientists, it wouldn’t surprise me if some of these strain collections in some of these laboratories still have pathogen strains that go all the way back to the origins of that program.”

If this is the case, then the Ukrainian labs could very well be the repository of Anthrax 836, an extremely deadly strain of that disease specifically developed to be delivered in warheads mounted on SS-18 intercontinental ballistic missiles operating from Ukraine.

This, it would seem, would put the labs in direct violation of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, which prohibits the acquisition or retention of pathogens “that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes.”

Anthrax 836, and other similar Soviet-era biological weapons, no longer exist. As such, there is no need to conduct research designed to defend from any potential exposure to such agents. The only possible explanation for retention of Soviet-era biological warfare pathogens would be to keep them for some future biological warfare program, or as a source for covert operations seeking to falsely link a target nation, such as Russia, to illegal activity.

If Marco Rubio had been doing his job, instead of promoting anti-Russian propaganda, he could have – indeed, should have – held Victoria Nuland’s feet to the fire regarding what was really going on at the biological labs in Ukraine. There might be an innocuous answer out there. But until it is provided, it appears that Russia did in Ukraine what the US was unable to in Iraq – launched an attack on a nation which was in possession of prohibited biological weapons.

Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and author of ‘SCORPION KING: America’s Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump.’ He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector.

March 10, 2022 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

On the Edge of a Nuclear Abyss

By Edward J. Curtin | Behind The Curtain | March 10, 2022

Two days after Russia attacked Ukraine and the day before Vladimir Putin put Russia on nuclear alert, I wrote a little article whose first sentence was: “Not wanting to sound hyperbolic, but I am starting to conclude that the nuclear madmen running the U.S./NATO New Cold War they started decades ago are itching to start a nuclear war with Russia.”

It was an intuition based on my knowledge of U.S./Russia history, including the U.S engineered coup in Ukraine in 2014, and a reading of current events.  I refer to it as intuition, yet it is based on a lifetime’s study and teaching of political sociology and writing against war. I am not a Russian scholar, simply a writer with a sociological, historical, and artistic imagination, although my first graduate academic study in the late 1960s was a thesis on nuclear weapons and why they might be someday used again.

It no longer sounds hyperbolic to me that madmen in the declining U.S. Empire might resort, like rats in a sinking ship, to first strike use of nuclear weapons, which is official U.S. policy. My stomach is churning at the thought, despite what most experts say: that the chances of a nuclear war are slight. And despite what others say about the Ukraine war: that it is an intentional diversion from the Covid propaganda and the Great Reset (although I agree it achieves that goal).

My gut tells me no; it is very real, sui generis, and very, very dangerous now.

The eminent scholar Michel Chossudovsky of Global Research agrees that we are very close to the unthinkable. In a recent historical analysis of U.S.-Russia relations and nuclear weapons, he writes the following before quoting Vladimir Putin’s recent statement on the matter. “Vladimir Putin’s statement on February 21st, 2022 was a response to U.S. threats to use nuclear weapons on a preemptive basis against Russia, despite Joe Biden’s “reassurance” that the U.S. would not be resorting to ‘A first strike’ nuclear attack against an enemy of America”:

Let me [Putin] explain that U.S. strategic planning documents contain the possibility of a so-called preemptive strike against enemy missile systems. And who is the main enemy for the U.S. and NATO? We know that too. It’s Russia. In NATO documents, our country is officially and directly declared the main threat to North Atlantic security. And Ukraine will serve as a forward springboard for the strike.” (Putin Speech, February 21, 2022, emphasis added)

Putin is absolutely correct. It is why he put Russia’s nuclear forces on full alert.   Only those ignorant of history, which sadly includes most U.S. Americans, don’t know this.

I believe that today we are in the greatest danger of a nuclear war since the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, something I vividly remember as a teenager. The same feelings return. Dread. Anxiety. Breathlessness. I do not think these feelings are misplaced nor they are simply an emotional response. I try to continue writing on other projects that I have started but feel stymied. The possibility of nuclear war, whether intentional or accidental, obsesses me.

In order to grasp this stomach-churning possibility within the context of Ukraine, we need to put aside all talk of morality, rights, international law, and think in terms of great power politics, as John Mearsheimer has so clearly articulated. As he says, when a great power feels its existence is threatened, might makes right. You simply can’t understand world politics without thinking at this level.  Doing so does not mean justifying the use of might; it is a means of clarifying the causes of wars, which start long before the first shots are fired.

In the present crisis over Ukraine, Russia clearly feels existentially threatened by U.S./NATO military moves in Ukraine and in eastern Europe where they have positioned missiles that can be very quickly converted to nuclear and are within a few minutes range of Russia. (And of course there are U.S./NATO nuclear missiles throughout western and southern Europe.) Vladimir Putin has been talking about this for many years and is factually correct. He has reiterated that this is unacceptable to Russia and must stop. He has pushed for negotiations to end this situation.

The United States, despite its own Monroe Doctrine that prohibits another great power from putting weapons or military forces close to its borders, has blocked its ears and kept upping the ante, provoking Russian fears. This fact is not in dispute but is shrugged off by U.S./NATO as of little consequence.  Such an attitude is pure provocation as anyone with a smidgeon of historical awareness knows.

The world was very lucky sixty years ago this October when JFK and Nikita Khrushchev negotiated the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis before the world was incinerated. Kennedy, of course, was intensely pressured by the military and CIA to bomb Cuba, but he resisted. He also rejected the insane military desire to nuke the Soviet Union, calling such people crazy; at a National Security Council meeting on September 12, 1963, when the Joint Chiefs of Staff presented a report about a nuclear first strike against the Soviet Union which they wanted for that fall, he said, “Preemption is not possible for us.”

Such leadership, together with the nuclear test ban treaty he negotiated with the USSR that month, inter alia (such treaties have now been abrogated by the U.S. government), assured his assassination organized by the CIA. These days, the U.S. is led by deluded men who espouse a nuclear first strike policy, which tells one all one needs to know about the danger the world is in. The U.S. has been very sick with Russia hatred for a long time.

After the terror of the Cuban Missile Crisis, many more people took the threat of nuclear war seriously. Today very few do. It has receded into the ”unimaginable.” In 1962, however, as James W. Douglass writes in JFK and the Unspeakable:

Kennedy saw that, at least outside Washington, D.C., people were living with a deeper awareness of the ultimate choice they faced.  Nuclear weapons were real.  So, too, was the prospect of peace.  Shocked by the Cuban Missile Crisis into recognizing a real choice, people preferred peace to annihilation.

Today the reality of nuclear annihilation has receded into unconsciousness. This despite the recent statements by U.S. generals and the U.S. Ukrainian puppet Zelensky about nuclear weapons and their use that have extremely inflamed Russia’s fears, which clearly is intentional. The game is to have some officials say it and then deny it while having a policy that contradicts your denial. Keep pushing the envelope is U.S. policy. Obama-Biden reigned over the U.S. 2014 coup in Ukraine, Trump increased weapon sales to Ukraine in 2017, and Biden has picked up the baton from his partner (not his enemy) in this most deadly game. It is a bi-partisan Cold War 2, getting very hot. And it is the reason why Russia, its back to the wall, attacked Ukraine. It is obvious that this is exactly what the U.S. wanted or it would have acted very differently in the leadup to this tragedy. All the current winging of hands is pure hypocrisy, the nihilism of a nuclear power never for one moment threatened but whose designs were calculated to threaten Russia at its borders.

The media propaganda against Russia and Putin is the most extreme and extensive propaganda in my lifetime. Patrick Lawrence has astutely examined this in a recent essay, where he writes the same is true for him:

Many people of many different ages have remarked in recent days that they cannot recall in their lifetimes a more pervasive, suffocating barrage of propaganda than what has engulfed us since the months that preceded Russia’s intervention. In my case it has come to supersede the worst of what I remember from the Cold War decades.

Engulfed is an appropriate word.  Lawrence rightly points to this propaganda as cognitive warfare directed at the U.S. population (and the rest of the world) and notes its connection to the January 2021 final draft of a “diabolic” NATO study called “Cognitive Warfare.” He quotes it thus: “The brain will be the battlefield of the 21st century,” . . . “Humans are the contested domain. Cognitive warfare’s objective is to make everyone a weapon.”

This cognitive warfare, however, has a longer history in cutting edge science. For each successive decade beginning with the 1990s and a declaration from President (and ex-Director of the CIA) George H. W. Bush that the 1990s would be the Decade of Brain Research, presidents have announced additional decades long projects involving the brain, with 2000-2010 being the Decade of Behavior Project, followed by mapping of the brain, artificial intelligence, etc. all organized and funded through the Office of Science and Technology Project (OSTP) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). This medical, military, and scientific research has been part of a long range plan to extend MK-Ultra’s mind control to the population at large under the cover of medical science, and it has been simultaneously connected to the development and funding of the pharmaceutical industries research and development of new brain-altering drugs. RFK, Jr. has documented the CIA’s extensive connection to germ and mind research and promotion in his book, The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health. It is why his book is banned from the mainstream media, who do the prime work of cognitive warfare for the government. To put it clearly: these media are the CIA. And the issue of U.S. bio-weapons research and development is central to these many matters, including in Ukraine.

In other words, the cognitive warfare we are now being subjected to has many tentacles connected to much more than today’s fanatical anti-Russian propaganda over Ukraine. All the U.S. wars of aggression have been promoted under its aegis, as have the lies about the attacks of September 11, 2001, the economic warfare by the elites, the COVID crisis, etc.  It’s one piece.

Take, for example, a book written in 2010 by David Ray Griffin, a renown theologian who has written more than a dozen books about 9/11. The book is Cognitive Infiltration: An Obama Appointee’s Plan to Undermine the 9/11 Conspiracy Theory. It is a critique of law professor Cass Sunstein, appointed by Obama to be the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Sunstein had written an article with a plan for the government to prevent the spread of anti-government “conspiracy theories” in which he promoted the use of anonymous government agents to use secret “cognitive infiltration” of these groups in order to break them up; to use media plants to disparage their arguments. He was particularly referring to those who questioned the official 9/11 narrative but his point obviously extended much further. He was working in the tradition of the great propagandists. Griffin took a scalpel to this call for cognitive warfare and was of course a victim of it as well. Sunstein has since worked for the World Health Organization (WHO) on COVID psychological responses and other COVID committees. It’s all one piece.

Sunstein’s wife is Samantha Power, Obama’s Ambassador to the United Nations and war hawk extraordinaire. She gleefully promoted the U.S. destruction of Libya under the appellation of the “responsibility to protect,” a “humane” cover for imperialism. Now she is Biden’s Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), an arm of the CIA throughout the world. It’s all one piece.

The merry-go-round goes round and round.

I have gone off on this slight tangent to emphasize how vast and interconnected are the players and groups on Team Cognitive Warfare. They have been leading the league for quite some time and are hoping their game plan against Team Russia will keep them there. So far they are winning, as Patrick Lawrence says:

Look at what has become of us. Most Americans seem to approve of these things, or at least are unstirred to object. We have lost all sense of decency, of ordinary morality, of proportion. Can anyone listen to the din of the past couple of weeks without wondering if we have made of ourselves a nation of grotesques?

It is common to observe that in war the enemy is always dehumanized. We are now face to face with another reality: Those who dehumanize others dehumanize themselves more profoundly.

Perhaps people are too ignorant to see through the propaganda. To have some group to hate is always “uplifting.” But we are all responsible for the consequences of our actions, even when those actions are just buying the propaganda and hating those one is told to hate. It is very hard to accept that the leaders of your own country commit and contemplate unspeakable evil deeds and that they wish to control your mind. To contemplate that they might once again use nuclear weapons is unspeakable but necessary if we are to prevent it.

I hope my fears are unfounded. I agree with Gilbert Doctorow that the Ukraine-Russia war separates the sheep from the goats, that there is no middle ground. This is not to celebrate war and the death of innocent people, but it does demand placing the blame squarely where it belongs and not trying to have it both ways. People like him, John Mearsheimer, the late badly missed Stephen Cohen, Ray McGovern, Scott Ritter, Pepe Escobar, Patrick Lawrence, Jack Matlock, Ted Postol, et al. are all cutting through the propaganda and delivering truth in opposition to all the lies. They go gentile with fears of nuclear war, however, as if it is somewhat possible but highly unlikely, as if their deepest thoughts are unspeakable, for to utter them would be an act of despondency.

The consensus of the experts tends to be that the U.S. wishes to draw the Russians into a long protracted guerrilla war along the lines of its secret use of mujahideen in Afghanistan in 1979 and after. There is evidence that this is already happening. But I think the U.S. strategists know that the Russians are too smart for that; that they have learned their lesson; and that they will withdraw once they feel they have accomplished their goals. Therefore, from the U.S./NATO perspective, time is reasonably short and they must act quickly, perhaps by doing a false flag operation that will justify a drastic response, or upping the tempo in some other way that would seem to justify the use of nuclear weapons, perhaps tactical at first.

I appreciate the input of the Russia experts I mentioned above. Their expertise dwarfs mine, but I disagree. Perhaps I am an excitable sort; perhaps I am one of those Patrick Lawrence refers to, quoting Carl Jung, as too emotional and therefore incapable of clear thinking. (I will leave the issue of this long held but erroneous western philosophical belief in the division of emotions and thoughts for another day.) Perhaps I can’t see the obvious that a nuclear war will profit no one and therefore it cannot happen. Yet Ted Postol, MIT professor of technology and international security, while perhaps agreeing that an intentional nuclear war is very unlikely, has been warning of an accidental one for many years.  He is surely right on that score and well worth listening to.

But either way, I am sorry to say, perhaps because my perspective is that of a generalist, not an expert, and my thinking is informed by art as much as social science and history, my antennae pick up a very disturbing message. A voice tells me that the danger is very, very real today. It says:

Beware, we are on the edge of a nuclear abyss.

March 10, 2022 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Militarism, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 3 Comments

EU tells Google to delist Russian state media websites from search

By Mariella Moon – engadget – March 10, 2022

The European Commission has sent Google a request to remove Russian state media results for searches performed in countries within the EU. As The Washington Post reports, Google has uploaded a letter from EU officials to a database of government requests. In it, the officials explain how the commission’s official order to ban the broadcast of RT and Sputnik in the European Union also applies to search engines and internet companies in general.

If you’ll recall, the commission issued a ban on the state media outlets a few days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said back then that by doing so, the outlets “will no longer be able to spread their lies to justify Putin’s war.” While it wasn’t quite clear how the order applies to internet companies, FacebookTwitter and TikTok promptly restricted access to RT and Sputnik across Europe. Google also announced its own restrictions, but only for the outlets’ YouTube channels.

In the letter Google has uploaded, officials explained that search engines play a major role in disseminating content and that if the company doesn’t delist the outlets, it would facilitate the public’s access to them. Part of the letter reads:

“The activity of search engines plays a decisive role in the overall dissemination of content in that it renders the latter accessible to any internet user making a search on the basis of the content indication or related terms, including to internet users who otherwise would not have found the web page on which that content is published…Consequently, if search engines such as Google did not delist RT and Sputnik, they would facilitate the public’s access to the content of RT and Sputnik, or contribute to such access.

It follows from the foregoing that by virtue of the Regulation, providers of Internet search services must make sure that i) any link to the Internet sites of RT and Sputnik and ii) any content of RT and Sputnik, including short textual descriptions, visual elements and links to the corresponding websites do not appear in the search results delivered to users located in the EU.”

Google didn’t return The Post’s request for comment, but the publication says a search conducted within the EU didn’t bring up links for “Russia Today.” RT links still showed up for us, however, when we conducted searches using Google Austria and France.

The letter also said that the order applies to “posts made by individuals that reproduce the content of RT and Sputnik” — for example, screenshots of articles from those outlets — and that social networks must delete those posts if they get published. That could create a deluge of additional work for social media websites already struggling to moderate content posted by their users. According to The Post, though, the actual sanctions law doesn’t define the order in the way that’s written in the letter, so the officials’ interpretation could be challenged in court.

March 10, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Russia Sanctions Blowback Only Beginning: Globalization in the Crosshairs, Russian Retaliation Coming?

By Yves Smith – naked capitalism – March 10, 2022 

It’s surprising that the business press has not gotten to be apocalyptic about the worst case downside of the economic war on Russia. And by that we are not including nuclear winter. Due to the fact that financial and real economy effects occur in very different time scales, we are in a phase similar to the runup to the global financial crisis, where it was clear Something Bad to Horrible was underway, yet the press and pols were largely sanguine. I gasped out loud in May 2007 when Bernanke declared that subprime was contained.

The reason the blowback from the sanctions could be cataclysmic is that trying to isolate one of the biggest commodity producers in the world, with significant market share in many critical ones, will soon hit Covid-stressed supply chains. And if the economic brinksmanship isn’t dialed down soon, we’ll see tightly-coupled systems start to go critical. Because the hollowed out business press is much more fixated on finance than nitty gritty real economy operations, some bad outcomes will be noticed quickly because they affect visible companies, while others could be just as detrimental but not be picked up until the effects were advanced.

And recall that the defining characteristic of a tightly coupled process is that a shock moves through the system so quickly that it can’t be interrupted (or may not be reversible at all. Mind you, that does not necessarily mean it moves quickly in clock time.

Another characteristic of tightly coupled systems is that moves to reduce risk once the system is spiraling out of control are virtually assured to make matters worse, since participants don’t understand the system well enough to know how to intervene. The only measures that do help are ones that reduce the tight coupling, like trading halts.

Admittedly, the Something Bad to Horrible that is now occupying center stage is the prosecution of the war itself. That plus the West’s desire to punish Russia, combined with its unwillingness to do so militarily, has led to unprecedented economic measures, like preventing Russia’s central bank from using $300 billion of its foreign exchange reserves. Even the Financial Times politely pointed out that that move would focus the minds of other central bankers. As Michael Hudson and other commentators have pointed out, this move alone is a strong impetus of the heretofore slow-moving trend for China and other major non-Western economies to move away from the dollar, which has been a powerful tool of American economic and increasingly foreign policy.

So far, Russia has not imposed much in the way of counter-sanctions, although Russia-friendly websites report that Putin signed a series of measures early this week, to be announced Thursday. Since that shoe has yet to drop, we’ll go over only a few examples of how sanctions aimed at Russia are set to do a great deal of harm outside Russia. (Yes, it is theoretically possible that the US could de-escalate and swallow a peace negotiated by Ukraine, but given the press-induced blood lust and Biden Administration’s ego investment, that seems vanishingly unlikely).

One way Russia has been naughty is in seizing commercial jets under lease. According to Bloomberg, it’s managed to hang on to all but two dozen of over 500 planes. I had assumed Russia would keep them for domestic-only use; they can’t run much of a commercial airline service otherwise. If things ever get back to sort of normal, Russia probably won’t be able to lease planes for a very long time again and might have to make large deposits on service contracts, but count on the profit-minded to find a way.

It doesn’t appear that Russia is even trying to pretend it has no option: “Oh, gee, we understand you want your planes, but we can’t find a safe way to do that given the givens” or “Gee, we’d love to return those jets, but we are entitled to lease termination payments. How about gold for equipment?” From Bloomberg :

Technically, lessors have until March 28 to retrieve the planes under European Union sanctions. But state-owned Aeroflot PJSC and other Russian airlines have already gathered the vast bulk of them back inside the country, out of reach of their owners. The government aided the effort by instructing carriers to stop flying internationally and return the jets to Russia by Tuesday…

In telexes over the weekend, Russian authorities urged the nation’s airlines to restrict flying to domestic routes and friendly Belarus to prevent their jets being grabbed by repossession crews lying in wait, Emily Wicker, a partner with law firm Clifford Chance, told the lessor conference. The Russian government also advised operators to re-register foreign-owned aircraft in Russia from their traditional base of Bermuda, another move that could thwart efforts to revoke an aircraft’s certification — or track its maintenance and upkeep.

Lessors are now weighing their next steps…they’ve hired lawyers to parse insurance and re-insurance policies as they gird for long, costly fights and try to recover their losses…

Russia’s recent actions raise questions about another aviation staple: records documenting every detail of a jet’s upkeep, from maintenance visits to the remaining life for key parts. Without such paperwork, a jet’s value rapidly diminishes, said Chris Sponenberg, a vice president at Wilmington Trust.

However, at this juncture, the vast majority of harm to the non-Russian world is not due to retaliation. For instance, Biden appeared to up the ante by banning Russian oil imports earlier this week. However, Biden may simply have been taking credit for the state of play. It’s not clear how much oil was able to come into the US due to barring Russian ships from ports,1 shipments from Black Sea ports being halted due to war risk, and oil buyers being unable to get letters of credit.

Admittedly, the Reuters Feb 24 story does not parse out how much of the freeze on letters of credit was due to war risk, as in fear of destruction of tankers, versus fear of sanctions, which the US had said it would impose:

At least three major buyers of Russian oil have been unable to open letters of credit from Western banks to cover purchases on Thursday, four trading sources said, citing market uncertainty after the Russian invasion…

Letters of credit from the bank of the buyer are standard practice in commodities trading and guarantee the seller’s bank that payment will be made in full and on time.

Keep in mind that the latest report we have seen says Russia was still sending gas to Europe consistent as stipulated.

Another source of pain we’ve mentioned more than once is fertilizer. Russia and Ukraine provide roughly 40% of global supply. Fertilizer was already expected to be in short supply before the war. It’s hard to ship it given the inability to use the Black Sea and difficulties in getting paid. A lack of fertilizer means greatly reduced output of grains and famine. That will be compounded by reduced wheat exports from Russia and Ukraine.

Similarly, Russia is a critically important supplier of aluminum, necessary for airplanes and other equipment, and metals used in non-electric cars. It was possible to work around chip shortages to a degree. Metals are a much more binding constraint. And car prices were already a big driver of headline inflation.

We are already seeing market upheaval in terms of the massive nickel short squeeze. Matt Levine provided great one-stop shopping, describing how a huge Chinese producer, Tsingshan Holding Group Co., the world’s largest nickel and stainless steel producer, got caught in a short placed by its owner, Xiang Guangda. Levine pointed out how a producer could be net long yet still not having enough ready cash to meet on a margin call on his hedge. Levine described how some people, apparently officials at the LME, decided to intervene on Guangda’s behalf, no doubt arguably to protect market integrity. From Levine:

There is a sense in which this is all a bit unnatural. Yes, nickel prices should go up for geopolitical reasons, but arguably they should not go up that much; arguably the extent of these moves is driven by technical factors (margin calls on short sellers who are “really” long) that, in some sense, shouldn’t count. I mean. You could think that. You don’t have to; you could instead think “no, market structure is part of the real world, and if prices go up because of a short squeeze then prices go up, that’s life.” But some people certainly think that these price moves shouldn’t count, either because they are generically unnatural and unfair, or more specifically because they might blow up some traders and destabilize the market.

One way to reduce this sort of pressure is to suspend some of the margin calls, which happened:..

Another, more drastic way to reduce this sort of pressure is to suspend nickel tradingwhich also happened:…

A third, even more drastic way to reduce this sort of pressure is to retroactively suspend nickel trading, by canceling trades that already happened. That happened too; from the LME today:

The LME have been monitoring the impact on the LME market of the situation in Russia and the Ukraine, as well as the recent low-stock environment observed in various LME base metals. With immediate effect, and following the suspension of the LME Nickel market announced in Notice 22/052, the LME (acting where required through the Special Committee) has determined that it is appropriate in the circumstances to take the following actions in respect of physically settled Nickel Contracts: (i) cancel all trades executed on or after 00:00 UK time on 8 March 2022 in the inter-office market and on LMEselect until further notice (Affected Contracts); and (ii) defer delivery of all physically settled Nickel Contracts due for delivery on 9 March 2022 and any subsequent Prompt Date in relation to which delivery is not practicable (as determined by the LME and notified to the market) owing to a trading suspension in line with the process in this Notice.

Obviously that’s bad! You don’t want to break trades! The whole point of an exchange is that it is a transparent and predictable place to agree to trades. On the other hand if price moves are too wild, and if they are driven too much by margin calls, you’re going to blow up enough exchange participants to undermine predictability anyway. (If a lot of traders go bankrupt, it is hard to avoid breaking trades. If some of those traders are nickel producers, bankrupting them due to soaring nickel prices is an especially bad idea: You need them to make some more nickel!)

So you shut everything down for a while, including retroactively, and hope that everyone can get their financing in order to make for an orderly reopening. In theory, if the people caught in the short squeeze are in fact largely big nickel producers, this should work. If you’re a nickel producer your nickel should be worth more now, and probably someone will give you some money for it.

On the other hand if you’re a retail investor who was three times short nickel, this was not your week.

Oh, and in a later story, Bloomberg reported that Tsingshan also got emergency bank loans.

What Levine does not say explicitly but strongly implies is if you blow up enough big traders, you could blow up the exchange. If traders fail to meet margin calls and their liquidated position leave a loss, the exchange has to plug the hole from its reserves, or failing that, capital calls to members or other backstops. We’ve repeatedly pointed out that derivatives central counterparties are systemically under-reserved because charging enough to properly reserve would render derivatives economically unattractive. Volatility is certain to continue. How long before we see a CCP or exchange bailout?

Mind you, these are just first order effects. There are going to be plenty of second-order ones due to “for the want of a nail” supply chain problems propagating, as well as businesses failing due to Russia effects, even just exposure to suddenly high energy prices.

The Russia-friendly press has highlighted additional Russian gambits. One sounds potentially very powerful, the other isn’t, as described. The first, from RT, contends that Russia could withhold chip substrates as a quid pro quo for being denied advanced chips. From RT:

The ban on technology exports to Russia, in response to the war in Ukraine, could backfire on global manufacturers of computer processors and semiconductors, as many crucial components for their production are made exclusively in Russia, an industry expert has warned…

While global tech majors are announcing their split from Russia, Izumrudov says potential Russian retaliation moves “would leave almost the entire world without microelectronics.” [Oleg Izumrudov, head of the Consortium of Russian Developers of Data Storage Systems (RosSHD), says.]

According to the expert, Russia accounts for 80% of the market for sapphire substrates – thin plates made of artificial stone, which are used in “every processor in the world,” including those manufactured by AMD and Intel.

“Our position is even stronger in special chip etching chemistry using ultra-pure components. Russia accounts for 100% of the world’s supply of various rare earth elements used for these purposes,” the expert states…

He says the timeframe to ensure the quality of sapphire substrates, required for microchips, for instance, is 30 years of continuous production. Plants at which they can be made have to be located in conditions of almost zero seismic activity, which means the products of enterprises similar to those in Russia in seismically active California or Taiwan “are noticeably inferior in quality and volume to the level required in the industry.”

The key question is whether the second-best sources are workable, and what the cost is in terms of reduced reliability and performance.

Izumrudov also asserts that Russia has work-arounds for the loss of tech imports. He does not mention a large laundry operation through non-banned countries.

Pepe Escobar claims Russia is about to announce a work-around for the banking restrictions. I’m dubious about this one:

Moscow has not even announced a package of what could be defined as “counter-sanctions from hell”. Yet a decree on “foreign exchange obligations to foreign creditors” which allows Russian companies to settle their debts in rubles is already an eye-opener.

Economist Yevgeny Yushchuk defined it as a “nuclear retaliatory landmine”.

It all revolves around a new presidential decree, signed last Saturday: “On Temporary Order of Obligations to Certain Foreign Creditors”.

It works like this: to pay for loans obtained from a sanctioning country exceeding 10 million rubles a month, a Russian company does not have to make a transfer. They ask for a Russian bank to open a correspondent account in rubles under the creditor’s name. Then the company transfers rubles to this account at the current exchange rate, and it’s all perfectly legal.

Payments in foreign currency only go through the Central Bank on a case-by-case basis. They must receive special permission from the Government Commission for the Control of Foreign Investment.

As I discussed with Michael Hudson, what this means in practice is that the bulk of the $478 billion or so in Russian foreign debt may “disappear” from the balance sheets of Western banks. The equivalent in rubles will be deposited somewhere, in Russian banks, but Western banks, as it stands, can’t access it.

Sorry, this is silly, except possibly as a talking point for debt cramdown negotiations: “You know we are prohibited from paying you the usual way. This is much better than nothing, which is what you’d get otherwise.” It cannot be forced on lenders. The question is how many, if any, would bite.

This idea would work only if the debts in question were subject to Russian law. This is almost certainly not the case. The reason Cyprus was a huge center for investment into Russia was that Western companies and investors structured those deals as subject to English law, which could be adjudicated in courts in Cyprus, which used English law.

If not, Russia cannot unilaterally change payment terms. If a Russia borrower agreed to pay as of certain dates in dollars or euros, tendered to a certain account or address, those payments are still due. Depositing a foreign currency in a new account does not cut it.

Due to time constraints, as well as this situation still evolving, I have not begun to adequately articulate how much havoc widespread commodities shortages will inflict in an overly-interdependent manufacturing and trading system. The fact that the harm hasn’t show up much does not mean it won’t become baked in very soon.


1 I have no idea how much Russian oil is carried by Russian tankers…

March 10, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | 1 Comment

US Enriches itself at the Expense of the EU Paralized by the Price Shock

By Vladimir Danilov – New Eastern Outlook – 09.03.2022

Europe has been shaken by galloping gas prices in recent months, leading to financial and socio-political instability in the Old World.

There are several reasons for this, one of them being the politics of domestic European speculators, who wanted to get rich quick when, as a result of their blatant Russophobic policies, European officials managed to keep Gazprom and its cheap gas out of the EU internal market. As a result, these speculators sell at a markup of 300, 400 or 500 per cent the cheap gas that Gazprom pumped into their storages back in the summer. In doing so, they squeeze their super-profits out of the European consumer. And until they sell these reserves, they will not let Russian gas into Europe.

In addition to European speculators on Russian gas, the United States has become enormously rich in recent months, profiting from the extraordinarily high prices. Meanwhile, in order to distract public opinion from the true situation on the issue, Joe Biden’s administration officials are trying to falsely accuse Moscow of increasing gas prices, while doing nothing to lower those prices themselves, as their fall is absolutely unprofitable for Washington.

And this is confirmed by data from the Russian Federal Customs Service and the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, which clearly show reports on gas exports to Europe by the US and prove that it is the US that has been making more money than Russia on the super-high gas prices in recent months. Thus, the value of natural gas and LNG exported by Russia in January-August 2021 was $33.197 billion, compared with $42.9 billion worth of LNG exported by the US during the same period!

Most US gas supplies to Europe come under spot contracts (at exchange prices, quick purchase and payment and delivery by a certain date) concluded in December and January, when quotations in Europe were hitting record highs. As a result, traders now supplying American gas to Europe are making super profits. In January, they not only benefited from supplying Europe with gas produced in the US, but they also diverted volumes from the Middle Eastern and even Asian routes as a result of lower gas prices in the Asia-Pacific region (APAC).

As for Gazprom, it delivers, fulfilling its contractual obligations mainly under long-term contracts, i.e. at prices significantly lower than those on the stock exchange.

If LNG supplies result in lower gas prices in Europe, that market will automatically become uninteresting to US exporters, and Europeans themselves will have to go back to buying gas from the traditional suppliers. The panic mood in Europe is therefore now being artificially maintained by allegtions that Russia could cut off gas supplies because of the escalating situation around Ukraine. It is remarkable, however, that all the LNG supplies from the US have never managed to seriously depress gas exchange quotations in Europe, while any news of successful negotiations between Russia and the US or European leaders knocks prices down by $100-150.

As we know, the European gas market is the backyard of the global LNG market, dependent on the conditions in the APAC countries, where the market is physically larger. As soon as prices begin to fall in Asia, they also fall in Europe, and vice versa. In 2021, half of US gas exports went to Asia-Pacific and only a quarter to Europe. However, the diversion of LNG flows from the US to Europe could soon result in higher gas prices in the APAC, with US gas carriers heading back to Asia and European prices again breaking records for the benefit of the same European speculators and US traders, and to the misfortune of Europeans who will pay the price for Washington’s gangster gas policy.

Europe, with its substantial gas consumption and dozens of underutilized LNG import terminals, has long been of great interest to US companies, which have spent a total of $60bn on export infrastructure. There has been a real boom in the construction of LNG terminals in Europe too, under the influence of Washington, and they have even been built in Lithuania and Poland. However, no one can deny that LNG is expensive compared to pipeline gas from Russia. This is why, until recently, Europe was very enthusiastic about buying pipeline gas cheaply from Russia and why 75-80% of Europe’s LNG terminal capacity stood empty. In any case, the main criterion for assessing the prospects of US LNG as a competitor to Gazprom in Europe is price.

However, there have been some significant deteriorations in the gas market in recent weeks. Above all, they followed Russia’s receipt in late February of written confirmation of NATO’s and the United States’ refusal to engage in a dialogue with Moscow on security guarantees. This came against a backdrop where the West had previously blatantly refused to reassure Kiev’s rampant neo-Nazi authorities, who came to power in 2014 through a Washington-inspired coup. But for 8 years, at the instigation of Washington and with the tacit support of the West, the Kiev authorities have consistently pursued a policy of genocide in Donbas, where, according to incomplete information, they have killed more than 13,000 Russian-speaking civilians and pursued a policy of Russophobia. In addition, the Kiev authorities have recently intensified their neo-Nazi activities in the country and have made increasing threats of a potential nuclear weapon capability in Ukraine, in the hope of using which Kiev has already begun to develop far-reaching plans to attack Russia.

Under these conditions and in the absence of a proper Western response to the activities of the Kiev authorities, in late February Moscow was forced to launch a special operation in Ukraine to demilitarize and denazify it for reasons of self-preservation. In response, Washington and its Western allies unleashed an information war against Russia and slapped severe sanctions. Brussels, in a bid to please the Russophobic US political establishment, has refused to certify the already built Nord Stream 2, which could have significantly eased the situation on the European gas market. However, other Russian pipelines continue to operate and pump gas to Europe. Moreover, despite the misleading anti-Russian information warfare unleashed by Washington, Russian gas continues to flow through the Ukrainian gas transmission system without interruption, as reported by the Ukrainian transmission system operator itself. Gas supplies to Europe are not just flowing through the Ukrainian pipeline, they have also increased. The Europeans have increased their requests for supply and Gazprom has begun to pump through the Ukrainian pipe all of 109 million cubic meters of gas per day instead of 50 million cubic meters per day, as it was before the Russian special operation in Ukraine began, which is a doubling of supplies.

However, due to the depletion of European underground storage facilities due to winter weather, there is almost no gas left, forcing the EU to switch to current imports, which are “obligingly” offered by the US, which itself unleashed the crisis in Ukraine to, among other things, raise the price of gas in Europe. As for the Europeans, they are so far trying to move Russia’s hydrocarbon supplies out of the sanctions bracket, although individual European politicians, such as Borel, who openly “eat from Washington’s table”, have started talking about imposing additional sanctions against Russia in the gas sector as well, to please White House policy. At the same time, such European officials know full well that Russia is not going to use its gas as a tool against Europe. The EU has no substitute for that, by the way, and many of the world’s gas exporters have already spoken out about it. And the situation in Europe will only get worse for the population if the anti-Russian policy of the current European officials continues, threatening not only the impoverishment of the population, but also the bankruptcy of many European companies and even entire sectors of the economy.

At the same time, as Europe’s anti-Russian sanctions policy continues to escalate, it cannot be ruled out that Russia may eventually, in order to ensure its own security, use hydrocarbon supplies as a retaliatory measure if it considers Western sanctions to be disastrous for the Russian economy. But such actions will only lead to a clear victory for the United States over Europe, a further increase in its dependence on Washington, including on gas, and an even greater enrichment of the United States through its previously planned increase of gas prices in Europe by exacerbating relations with Russia.

March 10, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Economics, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Pushing toward Nuclear War

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | March 9, 2022

According to Yahoo! News, “More than two dozen foreign policy experts have called for the United States and NATO to institute a partial no-fly zone over Ukraine, which would serve as an escalation of the conflict with Russia.” Joining them is Illinois Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger, who also happens to be a former Air Force combat officer. That would mean the U.S. military would be shooting down Russian planes containing Russian soldiers. 

So far, the idea is being resisted by President Biden and the military-intelligence establishment. However, given the extreme anti-Putin mentality that characterizes Biden, the Pentagon, and the CIA, their position could easily change on a moment’s notice.

The matter brings to mind what happened during the John Kennedy administration, the details of which were set forth in an article we posted yesterday on FFF’s website, entitled “When the Pentagon Wanted to Nuke Russia.” The article was an excerpt from FFF’s book JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas P. Horne, who served on the staff of the Assassination Records Review Board in the 1990s.

In July 1961, the U.S. military establishment was pressing Kennedy to launch a surprise nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, China, and all the other communist-bloc countries, similar to the surprise attack that Japan initiated against the United States at Pearl Harbor. 

Their attitude was that there was inevitably going to be a nuclear war anyway between the United States and the Soviet Union. Given such, the generals believed that it would be in the best interests of the United States to fire first in order to disable a large portion of the Soviet nuclear arsenal. 

The generals acknowledged to Kennedy that under their first-strike surprise-attack plan, the United States would nonetheless suffer a large number of deaths — like in the neighborhood of, say, 70 million people — as well as significant destruction of property. 

But there would still be tens of millions of Americans who would survive, given that the surprise attack would disable much of the Soviet nuclear arsenal. The important part of the first-strike plan was that there would be no Russians, Chinese, or other communists who would survive the massive U.S. surprise nuclear attack. Since there would still be millions of Americans surviving, that would mean that America will have prevailed as the winner in the war, under indefinite military rule of course. 

There is something else that is worth noting: The Pentagon’s plan called for the launching of the surprise nuclear attack “during a period of heightened tensions” with Russia and the rest of the Soviet Union.

To his everlasting credit, Kennedy walked out during the middle of the meeting in total disgust. In the process, he turned to his Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, and stated, “And we call ourselves the human race.” Do you see why they hated the guy so much?

Was that military mindset passed down from generation to generation within the Pentagon? I don’t know. But what I do know is that the political gamesmanship that the Pentagon and the CIA have played to maneuver Russia into having to choose between invading Ukraine versus permitting the Pentagon and the CIA to establish military bases, missiles, tanks, and weapon on Russia’s border constitutes an evil, irresponsible, and dangerous game, one that comes with the possibility of nuclear fire. 

In the midst of this war, where the Pentagon and the CIA are furnishing weaponry to the Ukrainians to help them kill Russian soldiers, and where U.S. officials are targeting the Russian people with death and impoverishment with brutal economic sanctions, any mishap can easily lead to a rapid escalation of hostilities between the United States and Russia, one in which it becomes in the interest of both sides to initiate a first-strike nuclear attack. Moreover, there is no telling what any exhausted person, including Vladimir Putin, will do when he is under severe pressure in a highly stressful war situation.

That’s one big reason why this entire escapade is so highly evil and irresponsible, even if it is resolved without a war between the United States and Russia. And make no mistake about the cause of the crisis: It’s not about liberty. It is entirely about NATO, the Pentagon-CIA-controlled bureaucratic dinosaur that should have gone out of existence when the Cold War racket supposedly ended decades ago. If NATO had been abolished back then, this crisis in Ukraine would never have happened. All those dead people in Ukraine would still be alive today.

In the final analysis, President Biden, the Pentagon, and the CIA were willing to sacrifice any number of Ukrainians for the sake of having Ukraine join NATO, which would thereby permit the Pentagon and the CIA to establish U.S. military bases, missiles, tanks, and weaponry on Russia’s border.

If that isn’t evil, I don’t know what is. Not one single Ukrainian life was worth NATO, the corrupt bureaucratic dinosaur that should have gone out of existence a long time ago.

Even worse, their unswerving devotion to NATO has clearly motivated Biden, the Pentagon, and the CIA to run the risk of a war with Russia, a war that could easily turn nuclear and cost the lives of countless millions of Americans. If that’s not evil, I don’t know what is. I do know this: NATO, that corrupt bureaucratic Cold War-era dinosaur, is not worth risking the life of even one American, much less untold millions of Americans. 

If the United States can escape a nuclear conflict with Russia this time, there is no telling when the Pentagon’s and the CIA’s political gamesmanship will produce the same sort of crisis in the future, either against Russia, China, or North Korea. That’s one big reason it is imperative that the American people do some serious soul-searching about what they want out of life. If they want a crisis-filled life that might well end up at some point in a nuclear holocaust, then they should keep the national-security state form of governmental structure that was brought into existence after World War II. If Americans instead want a life filled with liberty, peace, prosperity, security, and harmony, there is but one solution: restore America’s founding system of a limited-government republic and a non-interventionist foreign policy.

March 10, 2022 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Moscow responds to Ukraine maternity clinic bombing accusation

RT | March 10, 2022

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denied Ukrainian claims that Russian troops had shelled an operating maternity hospital in Ukraine. The building had been used as a base by the far-right Azov Battalion of the Ukrainian National Guard, the top Russian diplomat claimed on Thursday, during a press conference in Turkey.

The hospital in question has been for days under the control of a Ukrainian paramilitary group and Moscow presented evidence of this to the UN Security Council several days ago, Lavrov said.

“The Azov Battalion and other radicals kicked out all the expectant mothers, the nurses and other staff members. It was the base of the Azov ultra-radicals,” he said, speaking after meeting his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba in Turkey’s Antalya.

Lavrov added that reports coming from Ukraine that contradict this were obviously meant to “manipulate global public opinion” about what is happening in the country, and he also chastised Western media for taking part in the propaganda effort.

“I have seen reports … that were really emotional. Unfortunately, the other side of the situation, which would allow one to form an objective opinion, was not given any prominence,” Lavrov said.

The Russian diplomat was commenting on claims raised by Ukraine that Russian troops had deliberately attacked a medical facility in the city of Mariupol on Wednesday. Ukrainian officials claimed that a Russian airstrike had injured at least 17 people but killed nobody.

Footage from the scene showed a heavily damaged building with broken medical equipment scattered inside and Ukrainian troops helping women, some of them carrying infants in their arms, who were implied to be survivors of a bombing.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address on Wednesday that the incident proved that Russia was conducting a genocide of the Ukrainian people and called on other nations to stop Russian atrocities.

March 10, 2022 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 1 Comment

What Can the Stanford Prison Experiment Tell Us about Life in the Pandemic Era?


Late in the summer of 1971, a young man was taken from his home in Palo Alto, California. Then another. And another. Nine in all, they were each spirited away. Eventually brought to a place with no windows and no clocks, they were stripped and they were chained. They were costumed in dress-like gowns. They were given numbers to be used in place of their names. Minor pleasures were redefined as privileges, as were such basic acts as bathing, brushing one’s teeth, and using a proper toilet when one pleased.

In essence, they had become the playthings of the nine other young men who now kept them in that windowless place. Uniformly dressed in khakis pants and shirts, along with large reflective sunglasses, wearing whistles around their necks and brandishing clubs, these nine other young men could have been their classmates, their co-workers, their friends had they met in another place or time, but instead now possessed near absolute control over them, often exercising it for no other purpose than to humiliate and emasculate, to remind their prisoners of their subordinate state.

These uniformly dressed young men in khakis and sunglasses were the guards of the “Stanford County Prison.” They were acting at the behest of Dr. Phillip G. Zimbardo.

The research that Zimbardo carried out that August would go on to become one of the most renowned and most infamous studies in the history of psychology.

As the story is told in most introductory psychology texts, Zimbardo set out to study the power of situational forces and social roles on identity and behavior. To do this, he randomly assigned seemingly normal college students with no criminal history or mental illness to the role of guard or prisoner in a simulated prison, providing little to no instruction.

However, due to the spontaneous and increasingly sadistic actions of the guards and the extreme emotional breakdowns of the prisoners, Zimbardo had to call off the experiment prematurely – but not before making some important discoveries about how social roles and oppressive environments can alter the psyches and actions of normal people in pathological ways.

Zimbardo’s own descriptions of his work tend to be somewhat more grandiose, sometimes bordering on a telling of a Greek myth or biblical tale, a story of something surreal, or as Zimbardo once put, something “Kafkaesque.”

The way the story is presented in the transcript of a slideshow put together by Zimbardo, all who entered that mock prison he constructed seemingly drifted into a dream. The minds of those who stayed too long fractured. Soon, everyone who remained began to metamorphose into nightmarish vermin.

Fortunately though, the good doctor was awakened by the pleas of a young man, who, in the midst of a mental breakdown, begged not to be released so he could prove he was a good prisoner. This is when Zimbardo knew it was time to bring the world he had created to an end.

Critics, however, have questioned many aspects of Zimbardo’s telling of the tale and its often uncritical, albeit less dramatic, retelling in psychology texts.

Only a third of the guards actually behaved sadistically. Some of the prisoners may have faked their emotional breakdowns for early release after being led to believe that as volunteer prisoners they were not permitted to leave the pretend prison.

But perhaps the most damning critique is that from the beginning, Zimbardo, who took on the role of prison superintendent, made it clear that he was on the side of the guards. He did this along with his undergraduate warden, who had researched and designed a rudimentary dormroom version of the simulation three months prior for a project in one of Zimbardo’s classes. He provided the guards with detailed instructions for how to manage the prisoners at the start, then continuously pressed them to be tougher on the inmates as the Stanford experiment went on.

In a documentary, Zimbardo acknowledged that, although he forbade the guards from hitting the prisoners, he explained to them they could instill boredom and frustration. Video from orientation day shows the charismatic professor in his prime instructing his guards, “We can create fear in them, to some degree. We can create a notion of arbitrariness, that their life is totally controlled by us, by the system.”

Some participants later admitted to leaning into their assigned roles deliberately. Given that Zimbardo was paying them $15 per day for their participation, he was essentially their boss at their summer job.

Despite these additional details though, it remains difficult to deny that Zimbardo’s study can tell us something important about human nature.

Maybe like the pre-teen boys with whom Muzafer Sherif played Lord of the Flies in the summers of 1949, 1953, and 1954, the young men of Stanford County Prison came to internalize the identities associated with their arbitrarily assigned groups, but here in an environment intelligently designed for oppression and with a pre-established social hierarchy.

Maybe like the seemingly normal Americans Stanley Milgram instructed to deliver what they thought were increasingly painful shocks to forgetful learners in an alleged memory experiment, they were just obeying authority.

Maybe they simply knew they were getting paid by the day and wanted this arrangement to continue.

Maybe it was a combination of the above.

In the end though, at least a portion of guards and prisoners acted in accordance with their arbitrarily assigned roles, with perhaps members of both groups accepting the authority of those above them, even if it meant behaving with casual cruelty or accepting degradation.

The Current Experiment: Year One

In the early days of the Pandemic Era, our superintendents and wardens took control over all aspects of daily life. They costumed us in masks. Minor pleasures, as well as basic acts such as spending time with family and friends were redefined as privileges. They created fear. They instilled boredom and frustration. They created a notion of arbitrariness, that our lives were totally controlled by them, by the system. We were their prisoners. We were their playthings.

In the early days of the Pandemic Era, there weren’t true guards or arbitrary groupings beyond authorities and prisoners – at least not any with which many truly came to identify.

We had actual law enforcement who could be said to have acted as guards in some places, following the orders of the superintendents and wardens, arresting lone paddle boarders and harassing parents for letting their children have playdates. Yet, most people throughout much of the United States, at least, never quite experienced that level of direct tyranny.

Early on we had the designations of essential and nonessential, but no one really knew what those categories meant. No one derived real power or status from them.

The only distinctions that could be said to have meant anything for Year One of the Pandemic Era were obedient and dissident, masked and unmasked, good prisoner and bad prisoner, although even these lost some meaning by virtue of the fact they were impermanent and fluid and that revealing one’s affiliation was generally a matter of personal choice.

The obedient granted themselves the occasional indulgence, meeting up with romantic partners and taking off their masks in the company of intimates. The unmasked reluctantly donned the symbol of their oppression when required. No one had to state their cognitive dissonance.

It was not until the Covid vaccines became available that more meaningful groups began to emerge.

The Current Experiment: Year Two

As the Covid vaccines became widely available, the objective groups of vaccinated and unvaccinated took shape and it was clear which group our superintendents and wardens favored from the start.

Sometimes they provided direct instructions. Sometimes they did not. But, in locations and institutions where their power was strongest, our superintendents and wardens encouraged and coerced their prisoners to be part of the favored group, allowing them to earn back such privileges as education, employment, and minor pleasures from the lives they once lived. They also made it clear that no one could fully rise from their present state until virtually everyone chose to do so.

Before long presumably normal people came to support vaccination requirements for travelwork, and education.

Some, however, seemed to go a step further and began to fancy themselves as guards.

As in the Stanford County Prison, physical violence was out of the question. So was the kind of pushing, shoving, and nighttime raids Sherif observed among the arbitrarily divided boys chosen for his summer camps. However, various forms of ostracism were deemed fully acceptable, if not encouraged and condoned.

Most explicitly this came in the form of those newly deputized guards who, acting in an official or professional capacity, obediently enforced the orders of our superintendents and wardens, turning unvaccinated patrons away from restaurantshaving unvaccinated doctors removed from hospitalsputting unvaccinated pilots on indefinite unpaid leave.

Yet, more subtly, it also took the form of a kind of casual cruelty within families, offices, and schools.

Loved ones required one another to show proof of vaccination to attend weddings and holiday gatherings.

Those who had received medical or religious exemptions from employers and universities with vaccine mandates had, in some places, supervisors that barred them from certain corners of their workplaces and co-workers and classmates, who long ago stopped masking and social distancing around one another, reminded them to keep their distance and demanded that before entering a room they stand in the doorway and give those present time to mask up.

Although maybe not sufficient to foment the kind of alleged breakdowns noted by Superintendent Zimbardo at the Stanford County Prison, at least in the short term, it does not take much to imagine how such day-to-day humiliations could erode one’s sense of belonging or meaning. Long-term, it would seem only natural for such constant reminders of one’s subordinate state to engender feelings of depression, alienation, and worthlessness.

A considerable body of research on ostracism and social exclusion would suggest such feelings would be only natural.

Additional work in the area indicates that those that have been ostracized, to some degree, come to see themselves and their social aggressors as losing elements of their human nature, changing into cold and rigid things lacking agency and emotion.

In other words, our modern prisoners, with time, come to see themselves and their guards as metamorphosing into nightmarish vermin.

Future Directions: Year Three

As time passes though, it is becoming increasingly clear that the effectiveness of the Covid vaccines is not quite what was initially promised.

Numerous studies from CaliforniaIsraelOntario, and Qatar, along with others, have consistently shown that fully vaccinated individuals can still contract and presumably transmit SARS-CoV-2, especially following the rise of the Omicron variant.

Hence the basis for ascribing any real meaning to the groups of vaccinated and unvaccinated, or at least any real meaning from which the former could be granted or derive some form of social or moral superiority over the other, has been demolished.

Subsequently it would only make sense that these groupings dissolve.

Yet, research has shown that people still find meaning in even the most meaningless groupings even when there is no objective reason to do so.

After a year of our superintendents and wardens publicly impugning the unvaccinated as a literal and figurative blight on society standing in the way of a return to normalcy, it is even more understandable that some continue to find meaning in these designations.

Thus, even as some cities and companies drop vaccine mandates, not all have been willing to return the same rights, now termed privileges, to both vaccinated and unvaccinated alike.

Additionally, the family, friends, co-workers, and classmates of some unvaccinated individuals still experience no qualms about behaving with casual cruelty towards them. Some unvaccinated individuals are even still willing to accept their casual degradation.

Maybe like the pre-teen boys with whom Muzafer Sherif played Lord of the Flies, these modern guards and prisoners have come to internalize their new identities, but in an environment intelligently designed for oppression and with an implied social hierarchy.

Maybe like the seemingly normal Americans, Stanley Milgram instructed to deliver what they thought were increasingly painful shocks to forgetful learners in an alleged memory experiment, they are just obeying authority.

Maybe they are trying to do their part to please their superintendents and wardens in the hope of earning some imagined reward.

Maybe it is a combination of the above.

A Final Lesson from Superintendent Zimbardo

Given the world in which we have been living for the past two years, despite the numerous flaws critics have found in both Zimbardo’s work, as well as Zimbardo the man and Zimbardo the legend, it would seem that both he and other members of social psychology’s golden age can still tell us a lot about how social roles, oppressive environments and powerful authorities can alter the psyches and actions of normal people in pathological ways.

But perhaps one of the last lessons Zimbardo can teach us is more a reminder of something George Orwell wrote in 1984 : “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past”.

Throughout his career Zimbardo appears to have actively worked to write his own myth and influenced the fields of psychology and criminal justice for decades.

Hence, perhaps as long as those who worked to give social or moral meaning to the groupings of vaccinated and unvaccinated are allowed to write the myth of how the public policies and interpersonal behaviors that followed contributed to delivering us to our returning semblance of normalcy, the more likely we will be to continue to have a society of guards and prisoners who act with casual cruelty and accept degradation as we move forward into the future.

Daniel Nuccio holds master’s degrees in both psychology and biology. Currently, he is pursuing a PhD in biology at Northern Illinois University studying host-microbe relationships. He is also a regular contributor to The College Fix where he writes about COVID, mental health, and other topics.

March 10, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Science and Pseudo-Science, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment