Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Is Russia the REAL target of Western sanctions?

Soaring oil prices, energy and food crises on the horizon… is it possible the REAL target of this economic war is us?

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | March 30, 2022

The first tweet I saw when I checked my timeline this morning was from foreign policy analyst Clint Ehlirch, pointing out that the Russian ruble has already started recovering from the dip created by Western sanctions, and is almost at pre-war levels.

Ehrlich states, “sanctions were designed to collapse the value of the Ruble, they have failed”.

… to which I can only respond, well “were they?”

… and perhaps more importantly, “have they?”

Because it doesn’t really look like it, does it?

If anything, the sanctions seem to be at best rather impotent, and at worst amazingly counterproductive.

It’s not like the US/EU/NATO don’t know how to cripple economies. They have had years of practice starving the people of Cuba, Iraq, Venezuela and too many others to list.

Now, you could argue that Russia is a larger, more developed economy than those countries, and that’s true, but the US and its allies have previously managed to hurt the Russian economy quite drastically.

As recently as 2014, following the “annexation” of Crimea, Western sanctions were tame compared to the recent unprecedented measures, but crucially the US massively increased its own oil production, then later that year (following a visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry) Saudi Arabia did the same.

Despite objections from other members of OPEC – Venezuela and Iran chiefly – the Saudis flooded the market with oil.

The result of these moves was the biggest fall in oil prices for decades – collapsing from $109 a barrel, in June 2014, to $44 by January 2015.

This kicked Russia into a full recession and saw Russia’s GDP shrink for the first time under Putin’s leadership.

Again, just two years ago, allegedly as part of competing with Russia for a share of the oil market, Saudi Arabia once more flooded the market with cheap oil.

So, the West does know how to hurt Russia if it really wants to – by increasing oil production, flooding the market and tanking the price.

But has the US increased its oil production this time round? Have they leant on their Gulf allies to do the same?

Not at all.

In fact, in a point of beautiful narrative synchronicity, the US claims it’s “unable” to increase its oil production due to “staff shortages” caused by that gift that keeps on giving – Covid.

Similarly, Saudi Arabia is not tanking the oil market, but deliberately increasing prices.

Yes, right now, with the Western allies locked in an alleged economic war with Russia the price of oil is soaring, and may continue to do so.

This is good news for the Russian economy, to the point it may even make up for the damage done by the brutal sanctions.

The high price of oil and need “not to rely on Putin’s gas” or “de-Russify” our energy supply will doubtless result in millions being poured into “green” technology.

Those Western sanctions are targeting other Russian exports too, including grains and food in general.

Russia is a net exporter of food, meaning they export more food than they import. Conversely, many countries in Western Europe rely on imported food, including the UK which imports over 48% of its food supply.

If Europe refuses to buy Russian food, the net effect is that Russia has food… and the West doesn’t.

And, just as with oil, increasing food prices will help rather than hinder the Russian economy.

Take wheat for example, of which Russia is the biggest exporter in the world. The vast majority of this wheat is not even sold to Western countries – but instead to China, Kazakhstan, Egypt, Nigeria and Pakistan – and so is not even subject to sanctions.

Nevertheless, the sanctions, and the war, have actually driven the price of wheat up almost 30%.

This is good for the Russian economy.

Meanwhile, according to CNN, the US is likely to enter a full-blown recession by 2023, France is considering food vouchers and countries all over the world are expected to begin rationing fuel.

So, the sweeping sanctions imposed against Russia by the West, allegedly in response to the invasion of Ukraine, are not having their stated aim – tanking the Russian economy – but they are driving up the price of oil, creating potential energy and food shortages in the West and exacerbating the “cost of living” crisis created by the “pandemic”.

You should always be wary of anybody – individual or institution – whose actions accidentally achieve the exact opposite of their stated aim. That’s a simple rule to live by.

Remember how Orwell described the evolution of the concept of war in 1984:

War, it will be seen, is now a purely internal affair. In the past, the ruling groups of all countries, although they might recognize their common interest and therefore limit the destructiveness of war, did fight against one another, and the victor always plundered the vanquished. In our own day they are not fighting against one another at all. The war is waged by each ruling group against its own subjects, and the object of the war is not to make or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society intact.

Recall that “the worst food shortages for fifty years” were predicted as a result of Covid. But they never materialised.

Likewise, we were due to experience Covid-related energy disruptions and power cuts. Short of the UK’s damp squib of a “petrol crisis”, they never really arrived.

But now they are heading our way after all – because war and sanctions

Increased food prices, decreased use of fossil fuels, lowering standards of living, public money poured into “renewables”. This is all part of a very familiar agenda, isn’t it?

Regardless of what you feel about Putin, Zelensky, the war in general or Ukrainian Nazis, it’s time to confront the elephant in room.

We need to be asking: What exactly is the real aim of these sanctions? And how come they align so perfectly with the great reset?

March 30, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , , | 4 Comments

UK refuses to pay for gas in rubles

Samizdat | March 30, 2022

The UK prime minister’s spokesman said on Wednesday the nation would not pay for Russian gas in rubles as Moscow demands. London is liaising with British companies who might be concerned about the issue or its impact on industries and manufacturers across Europe, he added.

The statement comes as the Kremlin indicated on Wednesday that all of Russia’s energy and commodity exports could soon be priced in rubles.

“[Business minister] Kwasi Kwarteng, working with his counterparts, have made clear that they won’t be paying in rubles,” Johnson’s spokesman told reporters, adding, “[The business ministry] is obviously in contact with any UK businesses that may have concerns.”

Unlike other countries in Europe, the UK is less dependent on Russian gas supply. Russia only provides around 5% of Britain’s gas imports. However, surging energy prices have been affecting the economy.

According to the Office for National Statistics, 51% of Britons currently spend less on non-essential goods due to rising energy costs, 34% are saving gas and electricity at home, while 31% spend less on food and essential goods. Overall, some 83% of those surveyed pointed to the growth of everyday expenses amid rising gas and electricity prices.

March 30, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Russophobia | | 5 Comments

Rowlatt Facing Two Complaints Over Panorama

By Paul Homewood | Not A Lot Of People Know That | March 30, 2022

You will recall the Panorama edition last November, “Wild Weather- Our World Under Threat”. Presented by Justin Rowlatt, it attempted to show  that the world’s weather was getting worse because of global  warming:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m00117h1/panorama-wild-weather-our-world-under-threat

The programme highlighted four weather disasters, yet failed to offer even the slightest evidence that they were either  unusual or becoming worse.

One of the four concerned a drought in Madagascar, which Rowlatt described as “the world’s first climate change-induced famine.”

Shortly after the programme was aired, a scientific study proved that his claim was nonsense, and that equally severe droughts had occurred there in the past.

I filed a complaint about this, only to be fobbed off with the response that they had been told this by the World Meteorological Organisation,WMO. I have now escalated my complaint to the Executive Complaints Unit, ECU, pointing out that since this was a major segment of the programme, the failure to check the actual  data, which is readily available, was extremely shoddy journalism. Regardless of their excuses, a full correction  needed to be broadcast.

The Panorama edition also included this opening statement by Rowlatt:

“The world is getting warmer and our weather is getting ever more unpredictable and dangerous. The death toll is rising around the world”

This is another lie. According to the same WMO:

Deaths decreased almost threefold from 1970 to 2019. Death tolls fell from over 50 000 deaths in the 1970s to less than 20 000 in the 2010s. The 1970s and 1980s reported an average of 170 related deaths per day. In the 1990s, that average fell by one third to 90 related deaths per day, then continued to fall in the 2010s to 40 related deaths per day.

https://public.wmo.int/en/media/press-release/weather-related-disasters-increase-over-past-50-years-causing-more-damage-fewer

Another reader complained about this, and received this astonishing reply:

In other words, the BBC justify their claim because the cumulative number of deaths is rising!

Needless to say, he too has escalated to the ECU.

It is clear that Rowlatt is facing big problems here. He has already been rebuked by BBC News bosses about his lies regarding offshore wind costs last year. He is now facing two complaints over this flagship Panorama edition.

Regardless of the ECU decision, it is crystal clear that Rowlatt is far too emotionally attached to climate issues on a personal level to be able to report accurately and objectively.

He should be removed from the climate brief.

March 30, 2022 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

The illusion of Evidence-based Medicine

By Robert W Malone MD, MS | March 28, 2022

In 1990, a paradigm shift occurred in the development of new medicines and treatments. An idea so big, that it was supposed to encompass the whole of medicine. It was to start initially at the level of pre-clinical and clinical trials and work all the way through the system to the care and management of individual patients. This new concept for how medicine would be developed and conducted is called evidence-based medicine (EBM). Evidence-based medicine was to provide a more rigorous foundation for medicine, one based on science and the scientific method. Truly, this was to be a revolution in medicine – a non-biased way of conducting medical research and treating patients.

Evidence-based medicine

Evidence-based medicine is “the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients.” The aim of EBM is to integrate the experience of the clinician, the values of the patient, and the best available scientific information to guide decision-making about clinical management.

So, what the hell happened?

There is a big flaw in the logic of evidence-based medicine as the basis for the practice of medicine as we know it, a practice based on science; one that determines care down to the level of the individual patient. This flaw is nestled in the heart and soul of evidence-based medicine, which (as we have seen over the last two years) is not free of politics. It is naive to think that data and the process of licensure of new drugs is free from bias and conflicts of interest. In fact, this couldn’t be any farther from the truth. The COVID-19 crisis of 2020 to 2022 has exposed for all to see how evidence based medicine has been corrupted by the governments, hospitalists, academia, big pharma, tech and social media. They have leveraged the processes and rationale of evidence-based medicine to corrupt the entire medical enterprise.

Evidence based medicine depends on data. For the most part, the data gathering and analysis process is conducted by and for the pharmaceutical industry, then reported by senior academics. The problem, as laid out in an editorial in the British Medical Journal is as follows:

The release into the public domain of previously confidential pharmaceutical industry documents has given the medical community valuable insight into the degree to which industry sponsored clinical trials are misrepresented. Until this problem is corrected, evidence based medicine will remain an illusion.

This ideal of the integrity of data and the scientific process is corrupted as long as financial (and governments) interests trump the common good.

Medicine is largely dominated by a small number of very large pharmaceutical companies that compete for market share, but are effectively united in their efforts to expanding that market. The short term stimulus to biomedical research because of privatization has been celebrated by free market champions, but the unintended, long term consequences for medicine have been severe. Scientific progress is thwarted by the ownership of data and knowledge because industry suppresses negative trial results, fails to report adverse events, and does not share raw data with the academic research community. Patients die because of the adverse impact of commercial interests on the research agenda, universities, and regulators.

The pharmaceutical industry’s responsibility to its shareholders means that priority must be given to their hierarchical power structures, product loyalty, and public relations propaganda over scientific integrity. Although universities have always been elite institutions prone to influence through endowments, they have long laid claim to being guardians of truth and the moral conscience of society. But in the face of inadequate government funding, they have adopted a neo-liberal market approach, actively seeking pharmaceutical funding on commercial terms. As a result, university departments become instruments of industry: through company control of the research agenda and ghostwriting of medical journal articles and continuing medical education, academics become agents for the promotion of commercial products. When scandals involving industry-academe partnership are exposed in the mainstream media, trust in academic institutions is weakened and the vision of an open society is betrayed (BMJ ).

The corporate university also compromises the concept of academic leadership. No longer are positions of leadership due to distinguished careers. Instead, the ability to raise funds in the form of donations, grants, royalty revenue and contracts, dominates the requirements for University leaders. They are now must demonstrate their profitability or show how they can attract corporate sponsors.

As the US government, particularly NIAID, controls a significant amount of the grants and contracts of most academic institutions in the USA, NIAID employees also can determine what research is conducted and who is funded to conduct that research.

US government employees also control the narrative. Take for example the use of the media, CDC and the FDA to control the narrative about early treatment for COVID-19. By now we should all know about the corruption of the early clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine. On the basis of these faked studies, one of the safest drugs in the world was recommended to not be used in an out patient setting – most likely, in order to increase vaccine acceptance. Or how our government used propaganda to control the use of ivermectin by such tactics as calling it unfit for human use and labelling it as a “horse wormer.” All indications are that these efforts by the US government were to dissuade early treatment to stop vaccine hesitancy.

Beyond our government skewing evidence-based medicine for their own purposes, then there is the university system, which is more interested in generating income than creating a research program that is free from bias.

Those who succeed in academia are likely to be key opinion leaders (KOLs in marketing parlance), whose careers can be advanced through the opportunities provided by industry. Potential KOLs are selected based on a complex array of profiling activities carried out by companies, for example, physicians are selected based on their influence on prescribing habits of other physicians. KOLs are sought out by industry for this influence and for the prestige that their university affiliation brings to the branding of the company’s products. As well paid members of pharmaceutical advisory boards and speakers’ bureaus, KOLs present results of industry trials at medical conferences and in continuing medical education. Instead of acting as independent, disinterested scientists and critically evaluating a drug’s performance, they become what marketing executives refer to as “product champions.”

Ironically, industry sponsored KOLs appear to enjoy many of the advantages of academic freedom, supported as they are by their universities, the industry, and journal editors for expressing their views, even when those views are incongruent with the real evidence. While universities fail to correct misrepresentations of the science from such collaborations, critics of industry face rejections from journals, legal threats, and the potential destruction of their careers. This uneven playing field is exactly what concerned Popper when he wrote about suppression and control of the means of science communication. The preservation of institutions designed to further scientific objectivity and impartiality (i.e., public laboratories, independent scientific periodicals and congresses) is entirely at the mercy of political and commercial power; vested interest will always override the rationality of evidence (BMJ ).

Regulators (ergo the FDA) receive funding from industry and use industry funded and performed trials to approve drugs, without in most cases seeing the raw data. What confidence do we have in a system in which drug companies are permitted to “mark their own homework” rather than having their products tested by independent experts as part of a public regulatory system? Unconcerned governments and captured regulators are unlikely to initiate necessary change to remove research from industry altogether and clean up publishing models that depend on reprint revenue, advertising, and sponsorship revenue.

Some proposals for reforms include:

  • Regulators must be freed from drug company funding. This includes the FDA funding -which must come directly from the government, as opposed to pharma fees, as now is the case. Tying employee salaries to pharma fees creates a huge conflict of interest within the FDA.
  • The revolving door between regulators like the FDA, the CDC and big pharma (as well as tech/media) must stop. Employment contracts for regulatory government positions must have “non-compete” clauses whereby employment opportunities are limited upon leaving these regulatory agencies. Likewise, big pharma executives should not fill leadership positions at regulatory agencies.
  • Taxation imposed on pharmaceutical companies to allow public funding of independent trials; and, perhaps most importantly, anonymised individual patient level trial data posted, along with study protocols. These data to be provided on suitably accessible websites so that third parties, self-nominated or commissioned by health technology agencies, could rigorously evaluate the methodology and trial results.
  • Clinical trial data must be made public. Trial consent forms are easily changed to make this anonymized data freely available.
  • Publication of data must be open and transparent. The government has a moral obligation to trial participants, real people who have been involved in risky treatment and have a right to expect that the results of their participation will be used in keeping with principles of scientific rigor.
  • The government and it’s employees has a moral obligation to the public to conduct clinical trials in ways that are non-biased by industry.
  • The Foundation for the CDC and the Foundation for the NIH, which runs clinical trials and studies for these organizations (while their boards are made up of pharma industry executives and employees) must be decommissioned. We have laws in this country whereby the government does not accept volunteer labor, or direct donations to influence government decisions. These NGOs are doing just that. These practices must be stopped. They are intentionally using these organizations to bypass federal laws concerning exertion of undue influence on federal decision making.
  • Off label drugs must continue to be used by the medical community. The early treatment protocols, which have saved countless lives, have documented the important role that physicians have played in finding cheap and effective treatments for COVID as well as many other diseases. Let doctors be doctors.
  • Scientific and medical journals must be stopped from taking monies from big pharma. This includes the sales of reprints, banner ads, print ads, etc.
  • Government must stop interfering with the publishing of peer reviewed papers and social media. A free press must remain free from coercion from government. We all know countless examples, such as the Trusted News Initiative (TNI) and White House meetings with big tech to influence what is allowed to be printed. And the billion dollars spent by the US Government to promote these EUA/unlicensed “vaccine” products that do not prevent infection or transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This is a direct assault on our first amendment rights. It also skews evidence based medicine.
  • Informed consent, one of the foundations of modern medicine, has been stymied by the FDA, NIH, the CDC hospitalists, big tech and social media. They have been hiding data and skewing results. When people can not get the information they need to make an informed decision, evidence-based medicine can not function correctly.
  • The government and it’s employees must stop picking winners and losers. Evidence-based medicine requires a non-biased playing field.
  • Industry concerns about privacy and intellectual property rights should not hold sway.

If we are ever trust and support the concept of evidence based medicine again, significant changes to the system must be enacted. The only question is… is our government and our HHS bureaucrats up to the job?

March 30, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

For pro-lockdown campaigners, all roads lead to the Kochs

By Martin Kulldoff and Jay Bhattacharya | Unherd | March 29, 2022

During the Covid-19 pandemic, tribal politics have pushed scientific discourse into the back seat. Scientists who provide their honest assessment of medical and public health data have often been subject to ad hominem attacks and slander.

When Left-leaning journalists defend the government’s pandemic strategies by falsely classifying opponents as Right-wing, it hurts the Left while boosting the Right. The latest example is an article in the New Republic with one of the most far-fetched personal attacks we have seen since March 2020 — a true accomplishment during a pandemic filled with logical somersaults.

The target is Urgency of Normal, a group of physicians and medical scientists arguing against the masking of toddlers and children. The group includes Dr Vinay Prasad, a physician, epidemiologist, and associate professor at the University of California in San Francisco. With colleagues at Harvard and the University of Colorado, he wrote the most thorough scientific review of the efficacy of masks against Covid. They concluded that “data to support masking kids was absolutely absent.”

The New Republic article is called ‘Why Is This Group of Doctors So Intent on Unmasking Kids?’ The straightforward answer is that the doctors concluded that there is no reliable scientific evidence that masks on children reduce disease spread alongside a strong presumption that they may harm some children. The New Republic dismisses this possibility, claiming that “the science is strong” that masks help to “quell the pandemic”, and that there is “‘little scientific disagreement”. The last point is self-evidently untrue given the participation by many eminent scientists in the Urgency of Normal itself.

The essay then goes full ad hominem, attempting to link Dr. Prasad to “libertarian” efforts by the Koch family to unmask children via a convoluted chain of supposed associations, each of which is weak and the combined effect of which is simply conspiracy (see below). It appears that the New Republic, once a fierce critic of Sen. Joe McCarthy, has now embraced McCarthy’s guilt-by-association techniques.

Dr. Prasad is an excellent epidemiologist, but to paraphrase the New Republic, it seems “that the days of listening to the epidemiologists are over”. They are not alone. The Daily Poster/Lever and Jacobin magazine have used similar ad hominem arguments to falsely “connect” lockdown opponents with the Koch network, falsely claiming that the two of us are “connected to Right-wing dark money”. Our closest and only financial “connection” to the Koch Network is to have worked for universities, Stanford and Harvard, which have received millions of dollars from Koch foundations, although unrelated to any of our own work.

In the summer of 2020, Jacobin magazine interviewed one of us about lockdowns and their devastating effects on children and the working class. Their reader’s reactions were illuminating. The public criticism from high-profile individuals was harsh, calling us Trumpian, among other things. But, we also received many private letters from Jacobin readers, thanking us for saying what they were thinking but did not dare to say in public.

Views on pandemic strategies do not map onto a simple Left/Right binary. In the United States, Dr Anthony Fauci’s lockdowns were implemented by both Republicans and Democrats, generating enormous collateral damage to education, cancer, cardiovascular disease, vaccination rates, mental health, and hunger, to name a few malign outcomes. More often than not, members of the working class were the hardest hit. In Europe, the social democrats in Sweden chose not to copy Fauci’s response to the pandemic. One contributing factor may have been that its prime minister came from the working class, having started his career as a welder.

Classifying those like Dr Prasad as “Right-wing” for taking different views on pandemic restrictions is only damaging to the Left. Instead of permitting the Right to claim full credit for opposing misguided Covid policies, the Left should rightly claim some of that credit — Dr Prasad is, after all, on the Left himself. Instead, publications like the New Republic seem intent, not merely on smearing scientists instead of learning from them, but on driving reasonable men and women to the Right.

The New Republic’s convoluted attempt to associate Dr Prasad with the Koch family, in full:

  1. Prasad ‘writes for the Brownstone Institute for Social and Economic Research.’ (The Brownstone Institute, with no Koch connections, has republished Dr. Prasad’s Substack articles without payments.)
  2. The Brownstone Institute’ advocates for a more libertarian approach to the pandemic’. (Brownstone is not a libertarian organisation. It advocates for a more scientific approach to the pandemic based on basic principles of public health. It has attracted writers from across the political spectrum.)
  3. The Brownstone founder ‘consults for the American Institute for Economic Research’ (AIER). (He is a former employee without current ties.)
  4. AIER ‘receives funding from the Charles Koch Foundation.’ (One grant only, which paid <1% of AIER expenses in 2018.) AIER ‘receives funding’ from the ‘Koch-funded public relations firm Emergent Order and Emergent Order which also aided the Great Barrington Declaration.’ (Neither is true.)
  5. ‘One Koch-backed group has been linked to school unmasking efforts.’ (A mother’s anti-mask letter was circulated by a women’s group with some Koch funding. In contrast, a Koch-backed group have funded the pro-lockdown Covid work of Prof. Neil Ferguson at Imperial College.)

Martin Kulldoff, Ph.D., is an epidemiologist, biostatistician, and a former professor of medicine at Harvard University. Jay Bhattacharya, M.D., Ph.D., is an epidemiologist, health economist, and professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Both are senior scholars at the Brownstone Institute and founding fellows at the Academy for Science and Freedom.

March 30, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

Surgeon General, HHS Violated First Amendment by Directing Twitter to Censor COVID ‘Misinformation’: Lawsuit

By Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D. | The Defender | March 29, 2022

A civil rights group is suing the U.S. surgeon general and the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on behalf of three men who allege the government violated the First Amendment by directing Twitter to censor them for spreading COVID “misinformation.”

The New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) on March 24 filed a complaint against Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Columbus Division.

NCLA describes itself as “a nonpartisan, nonprofit civil rights group founded by prominent legal scholar Philip Hamburger to protect constitutional freedoms from violations by the Administrative State.”

According to the complaint, between May 2021 and December 2021, Twitter temporarily or permanently suspended the accounts of the three plaintiffs — Mark Changizi, Daniel Kotzin and Michael P. Senger.

The lawsuit states:

“Mark Changizi, Daniel Kotzin, and Michael Senger each had or have Twitter accounts with tens of thousands of followers or more.

“Their Twitter platforms provided them with a social network, and an outlet to express their views, to hear the views of others, and to engage with detractors and fans alike.”

Twitter permanently suspended Senger’s account. Senger is a San Francisco-based attorney who was openly critical of COVID-related policies and of what he called “pro-lockdown propaganda” from China.

Twitter only temporarily suspended the accounts of Changizi and Kotzin. Visitors to the Twitter account belonging to Changizi, a well-known theoretical cognitive scientist, now see a warning stating “Caution: This profile may include potentially sensitive content.”

Kotzin’s Twitter account is active as of this writing, despite prior suspensions. A stay-at-home father, Kotzin is married to Jennifer Sey, the former president of Levi’s who recently stepped down from her position, alleging Levi’s executives bullied her after she spoke out against some COVID-related policies.

The lawsuit alleges the suspensions of the three men’s accounts are a result of the policies against “misinformation” announced by the surgeon general and HHS.

The lawsuit states:

“Outrageously, the U.S. surgeon general and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have directed social media platforms including Twitter to censor alleged ‘misinformation’ about Covid-19.

“The speech ban has included information the Government later conceded was true but that conflicted with the Government’s messaging on Covid-19 at the time.”

As reported earlier this month by The Defender, the Biden administration and Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recently made statements contradicting earlier official statements and public pronouncements regarding COVID policies.

The lawsuit provides a timeline of federal government “intimidation tactics” aimed at stifling so-called “misinformation” about COVID on social media:

“On March 3, the surgeon general demanded that the tech companies turn over information about individuals who spread such ‘misinformation,’ a clear intimidation tactic that HHS has labeled a ‘Request for Information’ (RFI).

“Adding insult to injury, on March 3, the surgeon general issued his RFI, demanding that technology platforms turn over ‘information about sources of Covid-19 misinformation’ to the Government by May 2, 2022.

“In response to Government pressure, Twitter has permanently banned Mr. Senger, and temporarily suspended Mr. Changizi and Mr. Kotzin.”

According to the RFI, social media companies must submit such information posted on their platforms dating back to January 2020.

The complaint alleges Murthy and Becerra lack the statutory authority to issue such a request to private social media platforms.

The Defender previously reported on attempts by the federal government to combat alleged “misinformation.”

As stated in the RFI:

“Health misinformation — health information that is false, inaccurate, or misleading according to the best available evidence at the time — has been a challenge during public health emergencies before, including persistent rumors about HIV/AIDS that have undermined efforts to reduce infection rates in the U.S. and during the Ebola epidemic.

“But the speed, scale, and sophistication with which misinformation has been spread during the COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented.

“Recent research shows that most Americans believe or are unsure of at least one COVID-19 vaccine falsehood.”

The RFI outlines social media’s purported contribution to the spread of such “misinformation,” and the role such platforms can play in future pandemics:

“The digital information environment is a phenomenon that requires further research and study to better prepare for future public health emergencies. This RFI seeks to understand both the impact of health misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic and the unique role that technology and social media platforms play in the dissemination of critical health information during a public health emergency.

“The inputs from stakeholders will help inform future pandemic response in the context of an evolving digital information environment.”

According to the lawsuit, this RFI comes as part of a broader White House effort to stop the spread of “health misinformation” dating back to spring 2021, threatening Big Tech with antitrust proceedings over their enormous market share if companies did not provide the requested information to the government:

“In May 2021, the White House began a coordinated and escalating public campaign to stop the flow of purported “health misinformation” related to Covid-19.

“In a May 5, 2021 press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated that the President believed social media platforms have a responsibility to censor health ‘misinformation’ related to Covid-19 vaccinations, that by not doing so they were responsible for American deaths, and that the President believed ‘antitrust’ programs were in order to effectuate this end.

“In other words, if tech companies refused to censor, they would face antitrust investigations—or worse.”

The surgeon general and HHS later joined these efforts, according to the lawsuit:

“By July, the surgeon general and HHS ratcheted up the pressure by issuing an advisory on the subject, commanding technology platforms to collect data on the ‘spread and impact of misinformation’ and ‘prioritize early detection of misinformation ‘super-spreaders’ and repeat offenders” by ‘impos[ing] clear consequences for accounts that repeatedly violate platform policies’.”

It was during this period that Twitter banned or suspended the three plaintiffs.

Commenting on the lawsuit, Senger said:

“It’s difficult to overstate the federal government’s cynicism in pretending to respect the First Amendment rights of American citizens while explicitly working with a company whose CEO says it ‘is not to be bound by the First Amendment’ in silencing American citizens on the most widely-used platform for political discourse.”

According to the NCLA, the censorship advocated by Murthy and HHS strikes at the heart of what the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was designed to protect — free speech, especially political speech, much of which has since been vindicated and proven accurate.

“[B]y instrumentalizing tech companies, including Twitter — through pressure, coercion, and threats — to censor viewpoints that the federal executive has deemed ‘misinformation,’ the surgeon general has turned Twitter’s censorship into state action,” the NCLA said.

The nonprofit said the government’s policy of “pressuring Twitter and other tech companies to censor the Plaintiffs” should be halted immediately, adding:

“The surgeon general does not have the authority to issue this demand. The statute only gives him the authority to implement measures to stem spread of communicable disease. The statute cannot reasonably be interpreted to allow him to order tech companies to censor individuals with whom he disagrees on COVID policy, or to demand that Twitter hand over information about such account holders without a warrant based on probable cause.

“Demanding social media platforms, including Twitter, to turn over information about users that the Government deems problematic constitutes a warrantless search in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

Civil rights attorney, writer and activist Jenin Younes, litigation counsel for this case, said, “The surgeon general apparently believes he can do whatever he wishes, even going so far as to commandeer technology companies to stifle the perspectives of those who differ from the government on COVID policies.”

Younes said Congress did not give Murthy the authority to “coerce social media platforms into censoring the voices of those with whom he disagrees,” and in fact, it could not have given him this power.

“The surgeon general’s demand has turned Twitter’s censorship into government action,” Younes said. “Thus, this viewpoint-based suppression of speech violates our clients’ First Amendment rights to free speech.”

Mark Chenoweth, NCLA executive director and general counsel, said:

“Surgeon General Murthy’s RFI is really a Request for Intimidation. HHS is a serial violator when it comes to abusing its statutory power.

“Incredibly, HHS is relying on the exact same statute to issue the RFI here that it relied on the past two years to justify its unlawful nationwide eviction moratorium.

“The Supreme Court finally shot down the illegal moratorium. NCLA hopes lower courts are quicker to act on this latest unconstitutional outrage.”

Incidents of social media censorship stemming from purported COVID-related “misinformation” have been plentiful over the past two years.

For instance, last year, Twitter banned former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson for publishing “COVID misinformation,” leading him to file a federal lawsuit against the platform.

The NCLA lawsuit does not directly target Twitter, instead, it goes after HHS and the surgeon general for strongly encouraging — or indirectly mandating — censorship policies on the part of social media platforms.

Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D., is an independent journalist and researcher based in Athens, Greece.

© 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 30, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Leave a comment

University of Waterloo fires 49 staff for refusing to show a vaccine passport

By Ben Squires | Reclaim The Net | March 30, 2022

While other universities are scrapping vaccine passport requirements, the Ontario-based University of Waterloo has fired 49 members of staff for not showing a vaccine passport.

As reported by CTV, this came as the province of Ontario announced it would be dropping all COVID-19 measures.

“We have an obligation under the Health and Safety Act to protect our employees, and the employees have the obligation to comply,” said Nick Manning, vice president of university relations.

“All of those who weren’t able to be compliant after progressive measures faced the ultimate result of termination.”

The university terminated the staff members, yet it had announced it would be dropping its vaccine mandate on May 1.

Other schools in the province, including the University of Toronto, Wilfrid Laurier University, Ryerson University, and the University of Guelph, have announced that those who had been suspended over their vaccine status will resume work.

March 30, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , | 1 Comment

Western lambasting of India’s Russia-Ukraine policy reignites discussions of neo-colonialism

By Paul Antonopoulos | March 30, 2022

Earlier this month on pro-government IndiaTV, celebrity astrologer Acharya Indu Prakash presented an hour-long Ukraine special in which he predicted good fortune was 99% in favor of Putin. He said that Russia’s military operation in Ukraine “was the last resort for Mr. Putin, he was left with no options. Even now, attempts are being made to create this narrative that Putin is engaging in a bad war.”

Such an outlook would shock most Western audiences as this rhetoric is seldom heard. However, such an outlook is mostly shared across the political spectrum in India, as highlighted by an article published in The Washington Post on March 29, titled: “In India, a U.S. partner, Modi’s base is inundated with anti-U.S. commentary on Ukraine.” The opening sentence of the article wrote:

“Turn on a television in India this past month, and the arguments espoused by some of the country’s most popular media personalities follow a pattern: The United States provoked Russia into attacking Ukraine. The Americans were possibly developing biological weapons in Ukraine. Joe Biden, the US president who fumbled the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, has no business criticizing India over the war he sparked in Ukraine.”

Due to this position, New Delhi has been continuously lambasted by Western officials, media and academics for protecting the interests of the country and its citizens.

Among some of the many examples, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said for India to: “Think about where you want to stand when the history books are written in this moment in time, and support for the Russian leadership is support for an invasion that obviously is having a devastating impact”; Award-winning and renowned conservative American host of the Trish Regan Show tweeted: “If INDIA buys Russian crude oil, INDIA should expect to be sanctioned by the United States. And, believe me, that won’t work out so well for India’s economy. Right now: you’re with US or you’re against us. Simple”; and, The Telegraph newspaper complained that “India is the only Quad member not to have condemned the invasion.”

India, despite traditionally being a non-aligned country, joined the QUAD formation with the US, Japan and Australia to oppose China at sea in the so-called Indo-Pacific region. New Delhi believes that such a formation will be beneficial in its confrontation with China over its support for Pakistan and control of Aksai Chin, which New Delhi says is occupied by the East Asian country.

A Pew Research poll in 2017 found 49% of Indians viewed the US favorably while 47% viewed Russia favourably. A 2020 Pew Research poll found that 49% of Indians saw Russia positively, a significantly higher amount when compared to a quarter of Japanese and Australians and 19% of Americans who viewed the country favorably. Some domestic polls have shown that most Indians approve of their government abstaining from criticizing Russia, just as India did for the seventh time at the United Nations on March 25.

None-the-less, India’s cooperation with the US through the QUAD formation and its increasing confrontation with China appears to have created misunderstandings in Western capitals about New Delhi’s independent foreign policy. With the advent of the Special Military Operation in Ukraine, India maintained a balance by refusing to condemn and sanction Russia, something that has created great irritation in the West, thus demonstrating that they do not care for India’s interests but only in India serving their interests.

With Russia locked out of using Dollars and the SWIFT system, discussions of India-Russia trade in local currencies accelerated so much that purchases for agriculture, pharmaceuticals and energy without dollars will seemingly become a reality. The Reserve Bank of India reportedly met with officials from Russian banks VTB, Sberbank and Gazprombank so that a rupee-ruble trade mechanism could be established.

M. K. Bhadrakumar, an Indian columnist and former diplomat, highlighted that 60-70% of weaponry for India’s armed forces is of Russian origin, and that New Delhi’s capitulation to Western demands will “render a crippling blow to India’s defence preparedness.”

“By the colour of our skin, our religion, our culture, our geography, our political economy, we will never be accepted by the West as ‘one of us’. Do not be mesmerised by promises of equal partnerships […] Fundamentally, what the Western powers are planning is a form of neo-colonialism borne out of the desperate need to arrest the decline of their economies through a massive transfer of wealth from the rest of the world inhabited by 88% of mankind — Asia,” he added.

As Western condemnation against India intensifies, discussions of neo-colonialism is re-entering Indian discourse. Because India suffered from centuries of colonial rule, which saw an astronomical $45 trillion plundered by the British alone between 1765 to 1938 (almost 9 times the current combined GDP of Britain and India), the country never wants to be colonized again, including in the form of 21st century neo-colonialism.

Although the US has found India as an ally to oppose China, pushing the South Asian country to abandon all its interests and carefully crafted foreign policy to serve exclusively the interests of the West, whilst lambasting India for not adopting Western positions in issues that New Delhi has no business being involved in, will only strengthen the discourse of Western attempts of neo-colonialism against India.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

March 30, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Russia warns about Ukrainian use of UN vehicle

Samizdat | March 30, 2022

Russia has raised concerns over the apparent use of an official UN vehicle in combat by Ukrainian forces. It’s the latest of numerous incidents of civilian transport being seized for the war effort by Kiev, Moscow’s envoy to the UN Security Council complained on Tuesday.

Vassily Nebenzia warned that it created a situation where, for example, medical vehicles could be used to deliver Western weapons into the country.

“We are expecting a response to our latest inquiry about the UN vehicle with the diplomatic number DP210015, which was also taking part in Kharkov in combat operations of the Ukrainian nationalists, according to witness accounts,” he said.

The vehicle he mentioned was apparently spotted in a video released by Ukrainian fighters to show off the shooting down of an aircraft. It was reportedly used to transport anti-aircraft missiles.

The diplomat said there were credible reports that official vehicles of the UN and the OSCE were used by Ukrainian forces. He called on both organizations to “give fair assessments of such facts.”

Nebenzia also mentioned evidence of DHL delivery vans being used for combat in Ukraine. A video showing a Ukrainian mortar team apparently using such a vehicle to move around was published on Reddit last weekend.

One of the fighters shown in the video claimed the van was one of six voluntarily donated to the war effort by the Ukrainian branch of the German company. DHL shut down all operations in the country in early March. It told Russian media that the Ukrainian authorities had confiscated corporate transport.

The Russian diplomat said cases such as these have disturbing ramifications in terms of telling apart civilian and military targets in Ukraine.

“We cannot rule out that vehicles of these organizations or vehicles marked as medical transport could be used to deliver to Ukraine from neighboring states the very same weapons that the West has generously promised to Kiev,” he said.

Moscow has repeatedly warned that it will consider any arms shipments to Ukraine as legitimate military targets.

March 30, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Germany Scrambles To Ration Gas After Refusing To Make Payments In Rubles

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | March 30, 2022

Now that Moscow has doubled down on its demands that its European “partners” pay for its oil and gas in rubles instead of euros (which, as the bloc already demonstrated, can be easily confiscated in the name of “sanctions”), the German government is digging in its heels as the payment dispute threatens to precipitate problematic energy shortages in Europe’s largest economy.

The FT reported Wednesday that German Energy Minister Robert Habeck has activated the “early warning phase” of Germany’s gas emergency law, which was adopted to help ration supplies in the face of a severe shortage. The decision will alert German consumers and businesses to do what they can to conserve energy.

Too bad President Biden and the US will take years to reroute their promised LNG exports (and even so, they will likely never be able to fully compensate for Russian supplies).

Habeck issued the warning for fear that Moscow would swiftly move to cut off energy exports to one of its biggest customers in Europe over its refusal to make payment in rubles, which Habeck has insisted would be a violation of the two sides’ contract.

The move was triggered by German concern that Russia might cut supplies to the country and its neighbors because they are rebuffing Moscow’s efforts to force payment for gas imports in rubles.

After demanding last week that “hostile states” pay for its gas and oil in rubles (although it hinted that gold and cryptocurrency might also be considered), Moscow said it wouldn’t share its resources “for free” after the G-7 aggressively repudiated the Russians’ request.

“We will definitely not supply oil and gas for free, that’s for sure. It’s hardly possible and reasonable to engage in charity in our situation,” Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier this week.

As Germany scrambles to address a looming shortfall in energy supplies, analysts are warning that the government’s refusal to meet Moscow’s request for payment in rubles could create a “substantial” risk.

During the early warning phase – the first of three stages in Germany’s emergency response – a crisis team from the economics ministry, the regulator and the private sector will monitor imports and storage.

If supplies fall short, and less draconian attempts to lower consumption do not work, the government would cut off certain parts of German industry from the grid and give preferential treatment to households.

Volker Wieland, a professor of economics at Frankfurt University and a member of the German council of economic advisers, on Wednesday warned that a halt in Russian energy supplies would create a “substantial” risk of a recession and bring Europe’s largest economy “close to double-digit rates of inflation.”

Already, the German economy is facing its most brutal inflation in decades, with an annual headline inflation rate that could top 6% by the end of the year. The dire situation has already prompted the government to subsidize citizens’ energy costs with a round of energy stimmies.

Further restrictions on Russian supply could have even more dire consequences.

Of course, if Berlin doesn’t play ball, gas won’t be the only commodity in short supply. The Kremlin said on Wednesday that demanding ruble payments for exports of oil, grain, fertilizers, coal, metals and other key commodities in addition to natural gas was a good idea, Russia’s top lawmaker Vyacheslav Volodin said on Wednesday, per Reuters.

“If you want gas, find rubles,” Volodin, the speaker of the lower house of parliament, said in a post on Telegram.

Peskov, meanwhile, said the dollar’s global reserve currency was already diminishing, and that pricing Russia’s biggest exports in rubles would be “in our interests and the interests of our partners.”

Now, if the leaders of Europe don’t play ball, then President Biden’s prediction of devastating food shortages could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

March 30, 2022 Posted by | Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | | 1 Comment

US Top Commander In Europe Attempts To Rebut Latest Biden Remarks

Samizdat | March 30, 2022

The head of US forces in Europe has said he is not aware of a program to train Ukrainian soldiers in Poland, after President Joe Biden appeared to suggest such a mission was underway while clarifying a previous gaffe made last week.

Speaking to lawmakers during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday, General Tod Wolters – the commander of the US European Command (EUCOM) and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe – insisted there is no training mission in Poland “at this time.”

“I do not believe we are in the process of currently training military forces from Ukraine in Poland,” Wolters told Republican Senator Tom Cotton (Arkansas).

However, the general added that there have been “liaisons” with Ukrainian troops in Poland and that they are “being given advice,” but argued “that’s different than I think [what] you’re referring to with respect to training.” He did not offer details on what those ‘liaisons’ include.

Wolter’s comments come after President Biden attempted to walk back prior remarks about the conflict in Ukraine, having told American soldiers stationed in Poland last week that they would soon “see” the country, appearing to suggest they would be deployed there. On Monday, Biden insisted he was “talking about helping train … the Ukrainian troops that are in Poland,” again landing himself in hot water as White House officials raced to clarify that US forces are not, in fact, training foreign troops on Polish soil.

During a press briefing later on Monday, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield told reporters “there is regular interaction between Ukrainian soldiers in Poland and the US troops that the president saw on the trip,” insisting that Biden did not accidentally reveal “compromised information.”

“The troops that he met with in Poland routinely interact with Ukrainians. That is something that’s known,” she continued, though also declined to get into specifics about what interactions the troops have had.

Asked about US forces currently stationed in Europe, Wolters said American troop levels have swelled from 60,000 to 100,000 since Russia began its military operation in Ukraine in late February. Nearly half of those soldiers are deployed to Germany, and of those, the general noted that 70% would have a direct combat role should they be activated, calling them the “teeth” of the US presence. Some of the troops may be stationed on the continent permanently, Wolters added, stating that European defense contributions in the coming months would determine EUCOM’s next steps.

While Washington and other NATO states have worked to bolster Kiev’s defenses with arms shipments, the allies have repeatedly stated they will not get directly involved in the war in Ukraine, instead committing to defend the territory of member states only. Though prior US administrations have declared that Ukraine would someday be admitted into the bloc, it remains outside of NATO, and the Biden administration has warned that American intervention could kick off an armed confrontation with Moscow, or even World War III.

March 30, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Refugees Expose Mariupol War Crimes

Patrick Lancaster | March 27, 2022

Report by Patrick Lancaster, US Navy veteran and independent crowd-funded journalist.

See also:

March 30, 2022 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment