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What’s Keeping China From Buying More Russian Crude?

By Tsvetana Paraskova | Oilprice.com | April 13, 2022

Outbound shipments of Russian oil have yet to show signs of a major decline, as many analysts feared last month. In fact, Russia’s shipments of crude oil rebounded in the first full week of April to the highest level so far this year, Bloomberg News’ tracker of crude leaving Russian ports showed on Monday. Yet, a “buyers’ strike” in Europe with many majors refusing to deal with Russian spot cargoes is forcing Russian crude to make much longer and complicated voyages to reach willing buyers in Asia. While China and India are not shying away from Russian crude—which sells at hefty discounts attracting price-sensitive buyers—the logistics of shipping oil from Russia’s Black Sea and Baltic ports to Asia and the scarce tanker availability, bank guarantees, and insurance for Russian cargoes would limit the amount of oil that Asia could take and compensate for lost barrels that are no longer going to Europe, analysts say.

Due to major shifts in global trade routes to accommodate more Russian oil going to Asia, the world’s top-importing crude region will not be able to accommodate all the oil Europe is shunning.

Shifts in trade routes are already happening.

Some volumes previously bound for the West will be replaced by Asia, but not all, analysts say. That’s because of the two-month-long trip to Asia (and a four-month round trip) which will necessitate many supertankers that are not readily available on the global tanker market, says Zoltan Pozsar, Global Head of Short-?Term Interest Rate Strategy at Credit Suisse.

Before the war, 1.3 million bpd of Russian oil was shipped from the Baltic ports of Primorsk and Ust Luga to Europe on Aframax carriers, and these journeys to Hamburg or Rotterdam take a week or two to complete, Pozsar wrote in a market commentary on March 31.

“If Russia now needs to move the same amount of oil not to Europe but China, the first logistical problem it faces is that it can’t load Urals onto VLCCs in Primorsk or Ust Luga because those ports aren’t deep enough to dock VLCCs. Russia will first have to sail Aframax vessels to a port for STS crude transfer (ship -to -ship crude transfer) onto VLCCs,” Pozsar says.

The STS transfer takes weeks, and after the transfer is done, the VLCC will sail two months east, discharge, and go back to the Baltics, which is another two months.

“Conservatively, Russian crude traveled about a week or two before it fueled economic activity (the time it took to sail smaller Aframax carriers from Primorsk to Hamburg) and now will have to travel at least four months before it fuels economic activity,” Credit Suisse’s Pozsar notes.

“Worse, it’s not just the time to market that’s getting worse, but we also end up with a ship shortage and a corresponding surge in shipping freight rates,” he added.

According to OPEC’s analysis in its latest Monthly Oil Market Report published this week, “Tanker markets are being broadly impacted by uncertainties related to the conflict in Eastern Europe, which is expected to affect trade patterns.”

“Aframax spot freight rates around the Mediterranean are up more than 70% in March from January levels, while spot Suezmax rates in the Atlantic basin are some 50% higher over the same period. The strength filtered up to VLCCs, improving overall sentiment,” OPEC said.

The reshuffling of the Russian barrels is very attractive for buyers such as China and India due to the hefty discounts on Urals. But refiners in China and India face challenges in taking up too much Russian crude in the short term because of contractual obligations with Middle Eastern producers, according to Wood Mackenzie.

In addition, China hasn’t shown yet too much appetite for Russian crude because of several factors, WoodMac said. These include expensive freight for Russian cargoes due to the sanctions, challenges with payments and tanker insurance, the fact that a Urals voyage takes double the time compared to Middle Eastern grades going to China, and Chinese refiners’ long-term contracts with oil exporters from the Middle East.

Russia may still have willing buyers for its oil in developing Asia, and those buyers may not care about the ethics of buying Russian crude, but they will certainly care about tanker rates and availability and much longer voyages.

April 14, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | 1 Comment

Google limits what publishers can say about the Ukraine war if they want to stay monetized

By Cindy Harper | Reclaim The Net | April 14, 2022

Google’s Adsense this week sent an email to publishers reminding them of the new policy about monetization of content related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Google will not allow publishers to show ads on content that condones the war.

“Due to the war in Ukraine, we will pause monetization of content that exploits, dismisses, or condones the war,” the email read.

“This pause includes, but is not limited to, claims that imply victims are responsible for their own tragedy or similar instances of victim blaming, such as claims that Ukraine is committing genocide or deliberately attacking its own citizens.”

The email was a reminder of a previous policy that stated: “Due to the war in Ukraine, we will pause monetization of content that exploits, dismisses, or condones the war.”

If a publisher insists on posting content that condones the war, Google ads will be removed from such pages, and Google has a monopoly on website advertising infrastructure.

“Google helps to enable a free and open web by helping publishers monetize their content and advertisers reach prospective customers with useful, relevant products and services,” the policy states. “Maintaining trust in the ads ecosystem requires setting limits on what we will monetize.”

Failure to comply with the policy could result in a publisher’s monetization being terminated.

“Failure to comply with these policies may result in Google blocking ads from appearing against your content, or suspending or terminating your account,” the policy says.

April 14, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

NATO pins nuclear plans on F-35

Samizdat | April 15, 2022

NATO planners are updating the US “nuclear sharing” program to account for most European allies planning to buy F-35 joint strike fighter jets, the alliance’s director of nuclear policy said this week. Lockheed Martin’s fifth-generation fighter has been embraced by multiple US allies, including most recently Germany, despite the Pentagon’s own misgivings about the program.

“We’re moving fast and furiously towards F-35 modernization and incorporating those into our planning and into our exercising and things like that as those capabilities come online,” Jessica Cox, director of the NATO nuclear policy directorate in Brussels, said on Wednesday, adding that “By the end of the decade, most if not all of our allies will have transitioned” to the F-35.,

Cox spoke during an online discussion hosted by the Advanced Nuclear Weapons Alliance Deterrence Center (ANWA DC), a US think tank, according to Defense News.

Her remarks come a month after Berlin said Germany would replace its aging Tornado jets with F-35s, committing to buy up to three dozen and specifically citing the nuclear sharing mission as factoring in the decision.

Cox said that other NATO allies currently operating the F-35, such as Poland, Denmark or Norway, might be asked to support nuclear sharing missions in the future, adding that NATO “will also have some operational advantages with the F-35 since there will be opportunities for enhanced networking and integration across the force.”

In addition to Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Turkey are currently hosting an estimated 150 US nuclear weapons – mainly B-61 gravity bombs, intended to be carried by smaller fighter-bombers like the Tornado or the F-16 – according to estimates by the British think tank Chatham House.

Finland and Sweden have recently voiced a desire to join NATO, and Helsinki already announced it would buy some 60 F-35s in early February. Russia has responded by saying it would reposition some of its troops and nuclear deterrent accordingly.

The US first deployed some of its nuclear bombs in Europe in the 1960s. Ending this program was high on the list of security demands Moscow presented to the US and NATO in December 2021, which were rejected in January – a month before the escalation of hostilities in Ukraine.

The F-35 was originally proposed as a cost-effective modular design that could replace multiple older models in service with the US Air Force, Navy and the Marines. In reality, it turned into three distinct designs with a lifetime project cost of over $1.7 trillion, the most expensive weapons program in US history.

In addition to the price tag, the fifth-generation stealth fighter has also been plagued with performance issues, to the point where the new USAF chief of staff requested a study into a different aircraft in February 2021.

General Charles Q. Brown Jr. compared the F-35 to a “high end” sports car, a Ferrari one drives on Sundays only, and sought proposals for a “clean sheet design” of a “5th-gen minus” workhorse jet instead. Multiple US outlets characterized his proposal as a “tacit admission” that the F-35 program had failed.

Russia launched its military offensive in Ukraine on February 24, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the 2014 German and French-brokered Minsk Protocols, designed to give the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. Moscow has now recognized the Donbass republics as independent states, and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc.

April 14, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | 5 Comments

The question MSM should be asking about Partygate

The Naked Emperor’s Newsletter | April 14, 2022

Partygate, as the name suggests, concerns parties and in particular parties in Downing Street during lockdowns. For those who don’t know no. 10 Downing Street is where the current Prime Minister works and resides, in this case, Boris Johnson. Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, lives and works next door at number 11. Number 10 may look small from the outside but actually comprises of more than 100 rooms.

From March 2020, the UK had a number of lockdowns and until recently some form of restrictions in place. As with most countries, many of these restrictions included who you could and couldn’t visit or numbers of people allowed indoors or outdoors.

It has since transpired that whilst authoring and implementing all of these draconian rules, along with the harsh penalties if the rules were broken, Boris, his wife Carrie, Rishi and other staff at Downing Street had at least 12 parties. At least 50 penalty notices are being handed out to Boris, Carrie, Rishi and others.

The MSM is focussing on Boris breaking the rules and lying when asked if he had broken them. However, the question they should be asking is:

Why was the government desperately trying to scare the public about Covid when they themselves weren’t scared in the slightest?

Were they so stressed and tired of it all that they were happy to risk their lives just to have a few parties or did they know, the whole time, that Covid would mainly kill the elderly and vulnerable so they themselves were perfectly safe. Or perhaps they knew of the potential dangers a lab made virus could pose but had access to an already prepared inhibitor which targeted the spike protein?

If the correct answer is that they knew Covid was not as deadly as being made out, then the MSM should be investigating why they continued to scare the public. Where did the idea come from? Why was it pushed so hard if they knew it was rubbish? Why was no cost/benefit analysis undertaken and if it was why did they continue to destroy the economy?

Another anomaly, which verges into conspiracy theory territory, is why was Boris Johnson partying after he came out of intensive care less than a month previously? Surely you would take it easy for a while after such a big scare? Even if Boris wasn’t bothered, staff would have been shell shocked and scared for their own safety? Politicians and Journalists voiced rumours at the time but they were quickly retracted.

Come on MSM, step up and ask the correct questions.

April 14, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , | 2 Comments

Smiling US health chief shrugs off her Covid blunders

By James Rogers | TCW Defending Freedom | April 14, 2022

Dr Rochelle Walensky is director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the national public health agency of the United States.

Just over a year ago, on March 29, 2021, Dr Walensky publicly stated: ‘Vaccinated people do not carry the virus . . . and do not get sick.’ 

She also claimed that the Pfizer jab was 95 per cent effective at preventing Covid-19. Last month Dr Walensky answered questions at Washington University, St Louis, during which she admitted that her claim of 95 per cent Pfizer jab-effectiveness came from CNN, which based its report on a press release from Pfizer.

Walensky also claimed she was unaware the shots might lose effectiveness over time. Yet she’s a highly qualified public health official, and even 15-year-old science students know that cold/flu viruses are prone to mutations, which go a long way to altering a vaccine’s effectiveness. It was quite galling to hear her talk about ‘waning jab efficacy’, then casually smile, shrug her shoulders and say: ‘Science is not black and white, it’s not immediate . . . science is grey’ i.e. that nobody could be certain.

Contrary to Dr Walensky’s position in spring 2022, throughout 2021, the US authorities (and elsewhere) were so certain of jab efficacy that they insisted that everyone had to get jabbed. Never mind the psychological pressure and moral blackmail, they threatened serious consequences: fines, imprisonment, ‘no jab, no job’ and ‘no jab, no school’ mandates. They were so certain about jab efficacy that they threatened peoples’ livelihoods, careers, businesses and education. They were certain enough to foment severe discord in society, creating disputes and anxiety that damaged, fractured and destroyed marriages, families and friendships.

They pushed the jabs this hard, but they had no real idea how well they worked. Now we know that they don’t work at all; we also strongly suspect that the jabs actually make infection levels and illnesses worse, and this does not include jab-related deaths, conditions and illnesses that should result in the total withdrawal of these chemicals.

The Walenskys of this world were so certain, yet it in reality they were so wrong, so her airy dismissal of these errors in her interview was absolutely breath-taking.

A few questions also spring to mind:

Dr Walensky has a BA in biochemistry and molecular biology and a masters in public health from Harvard. She is a scientist. How is it possible that someone with such qualifications, and holding a position of such responsibility, doesn’t know that cold/flu viruses mutate?

Dr Walensky is also a MD. Has she forgotten the ethics and principles of informed consent? We’ll return to this point.

Why was the director the CDC accepting information about a new drug from its manufacturer (Pfizer) via CNN? Should the CDC accept the manufacturer’s own assessment and then tell the whole population with certainty that it is ‘safe and effective’? Shouldn’t they be doing their own thorough investigations and evaluations? Especially since mRNA technology was so new and untested.

Did it not occur to Dr Walensky that if the new, ‘safe and effective’ mRNA-based jab was not ‘effective’, it might not be all that ‘safe’ either? Did the possibility that the drug’s emergency authorisation ought to be withdrawn not occur to her? If it didn’t, her competence must be questioned. If it did, and she discussed it, we need to know a lot more details. If it did, and she dismissed it, she ought to be asked a lot more questions.

The US-based Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN) pressure group has obtained data revealing that 70 per cent of the CDC staff who got Covid from August last year onwards were fully vaccinated. This raises other questions:

With such evidence in front of Dr Walensky, why didn’t the CDC withdraw support for government mandates?

Why didn’t Dr Walensky tell President Biden that he might think again before dishonourably discharging members of the armed services for declining a jab?

Why didn’t the CDC inform the American public that claims about jab efficacy were completely and utterly unreliable? Had they known that being jabbed didn’t stop people getting C-19 or passing it on, then many people may well have decided to decline consent to be jabbed – at least to their second and third shots – and thereby avoid post-jab effects, serious medical problems or even death.

Was it not completely unethical for Dr Walensky to withhold this important information? Was she not expressly bound to inform the public that there are risks involved in accepting an untested synthetic compound – and that it did not work as intended anyway? Did she wilfully deprive them of information that would have facilitated ‘informed consent’?

Dr Walensky has also publicly discredited the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), which is co-administered by the FDA and the CDC. Does she not know that VAERS has revealed that the Covid jabs are the most damaging ever created? How can she pooh-pooh these VAERS figures when they are supported by WHO statistics: 2,457,386 reports of adverse reaction to C-19 jabs 2020-21, against 6,891 adverse reactions after smallpox jabs 1968-2021. Of course, smallpox is/was a much bigger threat than C-19.

How can Dr Walensky not know these numbers? Why has she not halted the jab roll-out? No matter how well she is supported by the American authorities and the MSM – who insist that criticism is ‘misinformation’ – this isn’t going to go away, especially if they insist that more jabs are needed every year or every six months.

People have stopped believing and are recovering belief in their own judgement, hopefully in sufficient numbers that dissuades them from jabbing their kids.

Surely Rochelle Walensky must resign. Given the damage that has been done to the physical, emotional and economic health of tens of millions, it’s not good enough to shrug one’s shoulders and say, ‘We weren’t sure’.

April 14, 2022 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 3 Comments

6 Double Standards Public Health Officials Used to Justify COVID Vaccines

Madhava Setty, M.D. | The Defender | April 13, 2022

We are not only in an epidemiological crisis, we also are in an epistemological crisis. How do we know what we know? What differentiates opinion from a justified belief?

For nearly two years, the public has been inundated by a sophisticated messaging campaign that urges us to “trust the science.”

But how can a non-scientist know what the science is really saying?

Legacy media sources offer us an easy solution: “Trust us.”

Legions of so-called “independent” fact-checking sites that serve to eliminate any wayward thinking keep those with a modicum of skepticism in line.

“Research” has been redefined to mean browsing Wikipedia citations.

Rather than being considered for their merit, dissenting opinions are more easily dismissed as misinformation by labeling their source as untrustworthy.

How do we know these sources are untrustworthy? They must be if they offer a dissenting opinion!

This form of circular reasoning is the central axiom of all dogmatic systems of thought. Breaking the spell of dogmatic thinking is not easy, but it is possible.

In this article I describe six examples of double standards medical authorities have used to create the illusion their COVID-19 narrative is logical and sensible.

This illusion has been used with devastating effect to raise vaccine compliance.

Rather than citing scientific publications or expert opinions that conflict with our medical authorities’ narrative — information that will be categorically dismissed because it appears on The Defender — I will instead demonstrate how, from the beginning, the official narrative has been inconsistent, hypocritical and/or contradictory.

1. COVID deaths are ‘presumed,’ but vaccine deaths must be ‘proven’

As of April 8, VAERS included 26,699 reports of deaths following COVID vaccines.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially acknowledges only nine of these.

In order to establish causality, the CDC requires autopsies to rule out any possible etiology of death before the agency will place culpability on the vaccine.

But the CDC uses a very different standard when it comes to identifying people who died from COVID.

The 986,000 COVID deaths reported by the CDC here are, as footnote [1] indicates, “Deaths with confirmed or presumed [emphasis added] COVID-19.”

If a person dies with a positive PCR test or is presumed to have COVID, the CDC will count that as COVID-19 death.

Note that in the CDC’s definition, a COVID fatality does not mean the person died from the disease, only with the disease.

Why is an autopsy required to establish a COVID vaccine death but not to establish a COVID death?

Conversely, why is recent exposure to SARS-CoV-2 prior to a death sufficient to establish causality — but recent exposure to a vaccine considered coincidental?

2. CDC uses VAERS data to investigate myocarditis yet claims VAERS data on vaccine deaths is unreliable

On June 23, 2021, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices met to assess the risk of peri/myocarditis following COVID vaccination, especially in young males.

This was the key slide in this presentation:

The observed risk of myocarditis is 219 in about 4.3 million second doses of COVID vaccine in males 18 to 24 years old.

The CDC is fine with using VAERS data to assess risk of myocarditis following vaccination — yet the agency rejects all but nine of the 26,699 reports of deaths following the vaccines.

Why does the CDC trust the peri/myocarditis data in VAERS but not the data on deaths?

One reason may be because the onset of myocarditis symptoms is closely tied to the time of vaccination.

In other words, because this condition closely follows inoculation the two events are highly correlated and suggestive of causation.

For example, here is another slide from the same presentation:

The majority of cases of vaccine-induced peri/myocarditis suffered symptoms within the first few days after injection. As explained above, this is highly suggestive of a causative effect of the vaccine.

A recent study in The Lancet included a similar graph, taken directly from VAERS, on deaths following vaccination:

Once again, the event (death) closely follows vaccination in the majority of cases.

As we regard the two graphs above we should acknowledge that the temporal relationship between the injection and the adverse event is suggestive of causation but does not stand as proof of such.

However, it is also important to note that if the vaccination caused the deaths, that is exactly what the plot would look like.

It should be clear that the CDC has no justification for dismissing VAERS deaths if the agency is willing to accept reports of myo/pericarditis from the very same reporting system.

3. CDC pushes ‘relative risk’ for determining vaccine efficacy, but uses ‘absolute risk’ to downplay risk of adverse events

In Pfizer’s Phase 3 trial, nine times more placebo recipients developed severe COVID than those vaccinated during the short period of observation. This constitutes a relative risk reduction of 90%.

This seemed an encouraging finding and was used as a major talking point to compel the public to accept this experimental therapy despite the absence of any long-term data.

However, the risk of a trial participant contracting severe COVID (Table S5) was 1 in 21,314 (0.0047%) if they were vaccinated.

If they received the placebo, the risk was still only 9 in 21,259 (0.0423%).

The vaccine reduced the absolute risk of contracting severe disease by 0.038%.

Mainstream media and the CDC never mentioned the minuscule reduction in absolute risk of contracting severe COVID by getting inoculated.

Moreover, with 0.6% of vaccine recipients in the trial suffering a serious vaccine injury (one that results in death, medical or surgical intervention, hospitalization or an impending threat to life), approximately 16 serious adverse events will result for every serious case of COVID prevented by vaccination.

However, when it comes to risk of myo/pericarditis, the CDC states, “Myocarditis and pericarditis have rarely been reported, especially in adolescents and young adult males within several days after COVID-19 vaccination.”

The CDC further states, “While absolute risk remains small, the risk for myocarditis is higher for males ages 12 to 39 years…”

In other words, the risk of adverse events is being considered in absolute terms, not relative.

The CDC presentation slide above (Table 1) indicates the relative risk of contracting myo/pericarditis in males 18 to 24 is 27 to more than 200 times higher than expected in (unvaccinated) young men that age.

When assuaging the public’s fear around vaccine-induced myocarditis, the CDC finds it useful to cite absolute risk — yet when promoting the efficacy of the vaccine, the CDC emphasizes relative risks.

This double standard has been quietly and masterfully employed to reduce vaccine hesitancy and encourage compliance.

4. FDA requires randomized control studies for early treatment medications — but not for boosters

The CDC reports that as of April 8, 98.3 million Americans had received a COVID booster.

On March 29, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized a second booster for the immunocompromised and adults over age 50.

These authorizations were made not because of solid evidence the boosters are effective but rather to remedy the fact that the primary vaccine series has been widely shown to have waning efficacy within a few months.

As reported by The Defender, Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s vaccine division, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, admitted the fourth booster dose approved last week was a “stopgap measure” — in other words, a temporary measure to be implemented until a proper solution may be found in the future.

Despite the lack of solid evidence, the FDA continues to recommend and authorize boosters.

Yet when it comes to early treatment options, the agency holds medicines — including those the agency has already licensed and approved for other uses — to a different standard.

In this CNN interview from August 2021, Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warns people not to take ivermectin for COVID because “there is no clinical evidence that this works.”

With regard to hydroxychloroquine, Fauci said, “We know that every single good study —  and by good study, I mean randomized control study in which the data are firm and believable — has s shown that hydroxychloroquine is not effective in the treatment of Covid-19”, as reported by the BBC on July 29, 2020.

Where, then, are the randomized control studies in which the data are firm and believable that show boosters are effective at preventing COVID?

There aren’t any. None have been done.

As of today, the FDA still refuses to authorize the use of ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID despite hundreds of studies that demonstrate significant benefits (ivermectinhydroxychloroquine) in prevention as well as early and late treatment.

The double standard here is blatant. There are no randomized control studies that show boosters are effective in preventing COVID.

Nevertheless, these experimental therapies have the FDA’s blessing while inexpensive, highly effective safe and proven medicines are ignored despite the enormous evidence that supports their use.

5. FDA uses immunobridging to justify Pfizer shots for young kids, but rejects antibodies as indicative of immune protection from COVID

Immunobridging is a method of inferring a vaccine’s effectiveness in preventing disease by assessing its ability to elicit an immune response through the measurement of biochemical markers, typically antibody levels.

The FDA asserts the presence of SARS-COV-2 antibodies is not necessarily indicative of immune protection from COVID.

Moreover, the FDA’s Vaccine and Related Biologics Product Advisory Committee reached a consensus last week that antibody levels cannot be used as a correlate for vaccine effectiveness.

Their decision is consistent with the CDC’s executive summary of a science brief released on October 29, 2021:

“Data are presently insufficient to determine an antibody titer threshold that indicates when an individual is protected from infection.”

Nevertheless, the FDA used immunobridging as a means to justify authorization of the Pfizer vaccine to children ages 5 to 11, as explained in The Defender here and here.

Because there were no deaths or serious cases of COVID in the pediatric trial, the FDA chose to reject its own position (and that of its advisory committee) regarding antibody titers as a correlate for vaccine efficacy.

6. Causation must be proven for vaccine injuries, but correlation suffices for proving vaccine efficacy

When it comes to vaccine injuries the public is often reminded that correlation does not equal causation.

In other words, just because an injury was preceded by inoculation doesn’t mean the vaccine caused the injury.

But what constitutes causation in medicine? A mechanism of action needs to be identified and pathological studies must confirm this mechanism while eliminating other potential causative factors. Causation can be proven only on a case-by-case basis.

Proving causation requires an enormous burden of proof in medicine.

For example, does smoking cause lung cancer? The answer is yes, it can. That doesn’t mean that it will.

However, when it comes to the benefit of medical intervention, such as a vaccine, causation does not have to be established. Correlation suffices.

In the COVID vaccine trials, fewer vaccinated people contracted COVID than unvaccinated ones. Yet there were those who received the vaccine who contracted the disease anyway.

To be fair, this is how all new medical interventions are evaluated. The benefit doesn’t have to be caused by the vaccine in the strictest sense, there just has to be a correlation between vaccination and a relative protective effect.

The more often this happens, the more confident we can be that the outcome wasn’t simply a coincidence.

Likewise, when it comes to assessing the harm of medical intervention, the most sensible outcome to consider is mortality. After all, what would be the point of introducing a vaccine that prevented some deaths while causing more?

Nevertheless, this is, in fact, what we have done with the Pfizer product. The interim results from the Phase 3 trial demonstrated that all-cause mortality in the vaccinated cohort was higher than in the placebo.

This glaring problem gets brushed aside because there were two deaths from COVID in the placebo arm versus just one in the vaccinated cohort, allowing the vaccine manufacturer to claim a 50% efficacy in preventing this outcome.

However, if we attribute a protective benefit to the vaccine in preventing this one fatality, we must also conclude that the vaccine was responsible for the extra death when considering mortality from all causes.

Doing otherwise would be applying yet another double standard.

How the pandemic could have played out differently

To summarize how devastating the use of these double standards in crafting the “safe and effective” narrative was, let’s look at how different the situation would be if we had adopted the opposite standard:

  1. There would have been an extremely low number of deaths from COVID. Very few, if any, autopsies have definitively confirmed that a fatality was caused by SARS-CoV-2. If confirmation by autopsy is the standard, there have been essentially zero deaths from COVID during the pandemic.
    On the other hand, if we presume the deaths registered in VAERS are in fact vaccine-induced fatalities — similar to how the CDC presumed many deaths from COVID — we can affirm there have been more than 26,000 vaccine deaths.
  2. Using absolute risk reduction as a measure of efficacy, vaccines would have been widely rejected as ineffective, providing only a 0.038% risk reduction for contracting severe COVID.
  3. Ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine would have been readily available for people who got COVID. And for those who got the vaccine but got COVID anyway, these medicines would have been a great alternative to boosters, which wouldn’t have been approved due to the lack of a single randomized control study proving they work.
  4. No children between the ages of 5 and 11 would have received this risky, experimental vaccine as it wouldn’t have been authorized for this age group — because Pfizer’s pediatric trials did not demonstrate any meaningful outcomes in children ages 5 to 11.
  5. The Pfizer vaccine would no longer be in use because interim data demonstrated that all-cause mortality is higher in the vaccinated.

Madhava Setty, M.D. is senior science editor for The Defender.

April 14, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments

Leaked files expose Britain’s covert infiltration of Palestinian refugee camps

By Kit Klarenberg | The Cradle | April 13 2022

In February, Lebanese journalist Mohammed Shoaib was arrested on suspicion of collusion with Israel’s Mossad spy agency. The writer who worked for Al-Jaras, confessed that the notorious spy agency secretly paid him to author “dozens” of anti-Hezbollah articles, receiving a paltry $30 to $70 per article.

In particular, Shoaib was tasked with writing hit jobs on the “Iranian occupation” of Lebanon, and falsely linking Hezbollah with the August 2020 Beirut port blast, drug trafficking, and murder of political activists.

It is also alleged that Mossad specifically requested his work incite hostility towards Palestinian refugees in the country who number almost 300,000. In all, Lebanon hosts more than 1.7 million refugees and has the largest per capita population of refugees in the world.

Roughly half inhabit camps administered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), where they endure abysmal living conditions, overcrowding, poverty, unemployment, lack of access to justice, and other unspeakable hardships. The 11-year, foreign-backed crisis in neighboring Syria has also prompted Palestinian refugees there – and Syrian citizens – to seek sanctuary in Lebanon.

Given Israel’s track record of multifaceted crimes against the Palestinian people, that they are targeting an already vulnerable refugee population for propaganda purposes is hardly surprising. Nonetheless, Israel is not the only hostile foreign country resorting to these tactics.

Leaked files reviewed by The Cradle reveal the British Foreign Office has for many years secretly meddled in Lebanon’s refugee camps, courtesy of ARK, a shadowy intelligence cutout run by probable MI6 operative Alistair Harris. London’s agenda is rather different than Tel Aviv’s, however – it seeks to subtly stir up revolutionary fervor, and exploit them as unwitting foot soldiers in its ongoing clandestine war against Lebanon’s ruling elite.

‘Community Engagement’

The documents indicate ARK has been operating in all 12 camps since 2009, implementing British-funded “programming” of various kinds. This experience has granted the company “granular understanding” of their internal political, economic, ideological, religious and practical dynamics, and led to the establishment of a “diverse delivery team” and array of “local contacts” with “access throughout all camps and gatherings,” meaning community-level discussions and activities of residents can be spied upon and influenced.

This intimate, insidious insight is reinforced by “daily monitoring of neighborhood-level WhatsApp groups,” with “any new information, such as affiliation between a local group and a faction, or conflict between factions” documented by ARK’s in-house “stakeholder tracker.”

Typically, ARK has engaged in small-scale initiatives in the camps, including the restoration of streets and cemeteries, recycling initiatives, assisting in the launch of small businesses, providing income to disadvantaged and disabled residents, creating nurseries and daycare centers, and even launching a community hub, Sawa Coffeeshop. It serves to this day as “a popular place for youth to gather and promote civic engagement in their community and a shared Palestinian identity that bridges factional differences.”

In submissions to the Foreign Office dating to May 2019, ARK proposed ramping up these activities significantly. It pledged to create “Community Leadership Committees” in each camp, composed of hand-picked “stakeholders” – including NGOs, youth activists, women’s organizations, and representatives of neighborhood armed groups – to identify “quick impact projects” that could be implemented therein. These projects aim to “counter threats to social stability in the camps, create or improve livelihood opportunities, and provide better access to services.”

A social media platform created by ARK, Nastopia – which boasted 20,000 “highly invested” followers on Facebook at the time, a figure that has almost doubled since – was forecast to be fundamental to these efforts.

The page, run by a 24-strong team of ARK-trained “youth reporters”, would be used to recruit local participants, increase awareness and demand for “community engagement and improved conditions” among camp residents.  Other activities include the promotion of Foreign Office-financed projects and to publicize “success stories” generated by them, while “promoting Palestinian culture and a sense of belonging, and tackling social injustice.”

Nastopia was “already [an] effective voice for connecting Palestinian communities, particularly youth” by that point. ARK cited a recent “Camps Films Festival” organized by the platform, covered by Al-Jazeera, which showcased “films portraying life in the camps and what it means to be Palestinian,” and in the process provided “positive examples of a shared identity.”

All along, the Nastopia page was to be monitored with “community feedback” on the assorted initiatives gauged to identify areas in which these activities “could be adapted to maximize impact.” Specialist training provided to its staff meant the platform could also serve “as a forum for online and offline discussion about social injustices [and] virtual space to talk about topics considered taboo in the camps,” allowing ARK to burrow even deeper inside the heads of refugees.

‘Active Citizenship’

If the obvious surveillance and manipulation dimensions of ARK’s project weren’t troubling enough, it takes on an acutely sinister character when one considers a key objective of “highlighting successful initiatives” in the camps was to “[enhance] the audience’s confidence in their own ability to contribute to social change.”

A Foreign Office-commissioned Target Audience Analysis conducted by ARK in March 2019 sought to pinpoint a segment of Lebanon’s population that could be mobilized to “affect positive social change,” and methods by which tensions between sectarian communities could be reduced, in order to unify them in opposition to the country’s ruling elite. Reading between the lines, it gives every appearance of a blueprint for the overthrow of the Lebanese government.

An ideal audience was duly identified, representing 12 percent of the population, who disavowed violence but did not reject “other forms of contentious politics,” and could be “influenced” to engage in “behaviors leading to positive social change,” such as protests and community initiatives.

The only questions for ARK were: “What might be done to enable other Lebanese to have similar confidence in their potential to contribute to positive social change?” and “how might this segment of the population … be grown to include a larger fraction of the public?”

The answer, ARK proposed, was to both covertly and overtly promote the message that “change is possible and ordinary citizens have a role to play in achieving change,” by way of propaganda campaigns and civil society initiatives “[highlighting] where change has been achieved or where threats to Lebanon’s stability have been countered.” This would demonstrate to the country’s diverse population that “barriers” to reform can be overcome, by taking matters into their own hands.

Providing evidence of “responsive government at local levels” was crucial for reinforcing “principles of active citizenship” among Lebanon’s population – and the analysis specifically cited Syrians and Palestinians, who are mostly Sunni Muslims, as representing an “important part” of the country’s demography, to be motivated in this manner.

In other words, Foreign Office activities in the refugee camps form just one fragment of a wider, clandestine, multi-channel assault on public perceptions in Lebanon that Britain has been waging against its democratically-elected government.

A mobilized force

One can judge these efforts by their fruits. In October 2019, seven months after ARK’s Target Audience Analysis was supplied to the Foreign Office, large-scale protests engulfed the streets of Beirut, which have ebbed and flowed ever since, and generated enormous amounts of western media coverage along the way.

The extent to which ARK’s Foreign Office-funded meddling in Lebanon influenced this incendiary unrest may never be fully quantifiable, but it may be significant that in July that year, thousands of refugees across several camps began demonstrating in unison, demanding the government immediately reform employment laws barring them as “foreign workers” from numerous professions.

This turmoil was arguably the spark that ignited the entire “October Revolution” – and in one of its Foreign Office submissions, ARK refers to how it “takes pride” in ensuring refugees recruited to its illicit schemes receive “annual leave, sick leave, and health insurance,” despite this not being “legally necessary” due to local legislation “discriminating against Palestinians.”

Who benefits?

The influence of ARK on Lebanon’s impending general election in May, the country’s first since the riots began, is even more unambiguous. Several news outlets have hailed the unprecedentedly high profusion of young candidates vying for office – 80 in total, many of them women.

A clandestine Foreign Office project influenced by the aforementioned Target Audience Analysis sought to enlist Lebanese youth as “agents of change”, fostering among them a culture of active political participation, in order that they could better “hold political institutions and individuals accountable,” and increase “electoral participation” in favor of opposition parties.

Under its auspices, ARK convened “boot camps” in “priority areas” of Lebanon, cultivated “a national group capable of pushing for greater change” composed of young women, and created social media assets and youth-focused websites featuring political interviews, question-and-answer sessions, coverage of boot camp meetings, “calls to action,” and “humorous messaging campaigns.” Activity on these assets was scheduled to ramp up ahead of the 2022 elections.

Clearly, irrespective of the outcome of the Lebanon May elections, the ultimate victors won’t be the parties and candidates that secure office, or the average Lebanese citizens who elected them, but Britain – for whatever form the next government takes, one way or another, it will serve London’s financial, ideological, military, and political interests.

April 14, 2022 Posted by | Deception | , , , , | 1 Comment

Will Khan’s ousting be Pakistan’s Mosaddegh moment?

By Omar Ahmed | MEMO | April 14, 2022

The US and British governments denied their roles in the 1953 coup against Iran’s democratically elected prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh, for decades. Although western complicity in the toppling of Iran’s government was common knowledge, it was only in 2013 that America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) finally admitted its involvement in the coup. It was the first time that the agency had overthrown a foreign government successfully, but not the last.

According to a declassified document, “The military coup… was carried out under CIA direction as an act of US foreign policy.” Two main issues are said to have been behind the covert operation: oil and communism.

The populist leader Mosaddegh’s decision to nationalise the country’s oil industry in 1951 deprived the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company of revenue; it had been taking the lion’s share of Iran’s oil income. The company is known today as BP. Washington was worried about the continued flow of oil and the Mosaddegh government’s ability to function independently. In those early days of the Cold War, there was also the fear of a communist takeover by the Tudeh Party, which did not always see eye to eye with the nationalist prime minister’s policies.

Mosaddegh was a very popular prime minister. A year before the coup he resigned over disagreements with Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi about who should appoint the minister of war. His replacement, Ahmad Qavam, lacked the same broad popular support and mass demonstrations called for Mosaddegh’s reinstatement. The shah buckled under pressure and agreed.

Nevertheless, despite such popular support, by going against foreign interests Mosaddegh simply had to go. After an initial plot to remove the prime minister failed, the shah fled the country. However, the US-funded conspiracy eventually succeeded; Mosaddegh was ousted and replaced by a handpicked general, Fazlollah Zahedi, who reinstalled an increasingly autocratic shah.

Tried on treason charges and sentenced to three years imprisonment, the 72-year-old Mosaddegh remained under house arrest until his death in 1967. During his trial, he said that, “My greatest sin is that I nationalised Iran’s oil industry and discarded the system of political and economic exploitation by the world’s greatest empire.”

The shah would rule as an absolute monarch until he himself was overthrown by a populist revolution in 1979, which under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s guidance became the Islamic Revolution. The 1953 coup remains ingrained in the country’s collective memory as it was instrumental in setting Iran on a course towards being a pro-Western dictatorship and then an anti-American theocracy.

In the words of Stephen Kinzer, the author of All The Shah’s Men: An American Coup And The Roots of Middle East Terror, “The 1979 revolution was a long-term effect of the increasing repression from the shah, who came to power as a result of the coup. That Islamic Revolution brought to power a fanatically anti-American regime that has spent more than 30 years working to undermine American interests all over the world.”

Today, in the neighbouring Islamic Republic of Pakistan there is a risk of Iran’s experience being replicated to some extent following the “soft coup” on Saturday which ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan after a tumultuous few weeks. He lost a parliamentary vote of no confidence, having been found to have acted against the constitution in seeking to avoid the motion.

Khan’s claims of a US-backed conspiracy to remove him from power, as happened to Mosaddegh, was denied by both Washington and the pro-West Pakistani military. Crucially, Khan fell out with the latter amid reports that he was seeking to replace senior officers. His relationship with the US was damaged by his realignment of Pakistan to get closer to Russia and China.

Hard evidence to support Khan’s allegations is difficult to find, other than a diplomatic cable sent in March following his historic visit to Moscow. Yet, given the CIA’s regime change track record, can there be smoke without fire?

Last year, in an interview with Axios, Khan was adamant that Pakistan will “absolutely not” allow the CIA to use bases within the country for cross-border operations in Afghanistan. This was a bold departure from the previous two decades of support for the US “war on terror”.

As recently as last month, Western diplomats published an open letter calling on Pakistan to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, Khan criticised the move while asserting Pakistan’s sovereignty. During a public meeting he asked rhetorically, “Are we your [the West’s] slaves? That whatever you say, we will do?”

His language was particularly interesting. During his trial, Mosaddegh said presciently, “I am well aware that my fate must serve as an example in the future throughout the Middle East in breaking the chains of slavery and servitude to colonial interests.”

While Khan’s overthrow was not a military coup, as Mosaddegh’s was in 1953 Iran, there have been three successful such takeovers since Pakistan’s independence in 1947; ultimately, the military is in charge of running the country. Mosaddegh’s successor in Tehran, General Zahedi, was chosen by the US and the British, and if revelations made by the late Pakistani General Hamid Gul are anything to go by, the US has a say in the appointment of the army chief of staff in Pakistan.

Since Khan’s removal from power, there have been huge rallies across the country by those who support him and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI). It is arguable that only a charismatic, cricket-legend-turned-politician could prompt such crowds, despite a survey conducted by Gallup Pakistan which found that 57 per cent of respondents approved of Khan’s ousting.

A gathering in Peshawar on Wednesday was also a show of power and popularity by Khan, who has planned a “bigger surprise” later this month in Lahore. It is evident that he is looking to bring about an early election, which was already on the agenda after Khan’s political ally, Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri, dissolved parliament.

Providing that he is permitted to do so, Imran Khan will come back stronger than before, judging by the support he is receiving. His immediate opponent is the so-called “imported government” of his successor Shehbaz Sharif who, like his brother and former Prime Minister Nawaz, has faced numerous charges of corruption and money laundering. Sharif’s appointment represents a return to Pakistan’s domestic politics being dominated by two dynasties with a history of looting the country. This new government, it is said, “Will start its term with great unpopularity and under a serious crisis of legitimacy.” The same claim was made about Mosaddegh’s successor Ahmad Qavam.

Khan’s leadership was not without its faults. As difficult as it would be, more should have been done to rein in the disproportionate power enjoyed by the military and prevent the potential for another military coup.

The elephant in the room, of course, is Pakistan’s economy and inflation, the highest in South Asia. Mismanagement of the economy was what led to the no-confidence vote.

In the event of social and political unrest in the days ahead, the economy will take a hit. Faced with a British-imposed embargo, Mosaddegh also faced an economic crisis, yet he maintained that, “The moral aspect of oil nationalisation is more important than its economic aspect.” Should Khan or the PTI return to power, a principled stance informed by national sovereignty and self-interest may also trump any prospect of short-term economic gains.

Khan has repeatedly vowed to “fight till the last ball” and — to take the cricket analogy further — has not yet been bowled out. As part of its inquiry into the matter, Pakistan’s Supreme Court has reportedly received the “threat letter” sent by the US, in which it is said that Pakistan would face strict sanctions if the no-confidence motion failed.

As with the 1953 coup in Iran, we may only find out whether Khan’s ousting was indeed Pakistan’s “Mosaddegh moment”. If it was, we can expect a more overtly anti-American foreign policy by successive governments in Pakistan and greater distrust of the West. It is also worth remembering that the coup preceded, if not inspired, a revolution. Any short-term gains from Khan’s removal may have serious medium- to long-term consequences.

April 14, 2022 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

India defies Western pressure to stop Russia trade

Samizdat | April 14, 2022

Weeks after snapping up discounted Russian crude, India is setting for a major increase in its purchases of coal from the sanctioned country. The world’s sixth biggest economy is focused on its energy security, disregarding attempts by the US and its allies to isolate Moscow.

In March, India’s coal imports from Russia reportedly surged to a two-year high. The Asian country purchased 1.04 million tons of Russian coal, the highest amount since January 2020, according to Matthew Boyle, lead dry bulk analyst at commodity intelligence firm Kpler, as cited by CNBC.

Last week, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order banning the import of Russian coal along with crude oil, gasoline, petroleum products, oils and liquefied gas as part of a new batch of penalties against Moscow over its military operation in Ukraine. Later, the European Commission proposed banning Russian energy imports, including coal. However, the bloc’s policy-makers have failed to agree on a new package of sanctions.

“Markets suspect that India and China may boost coal imports from Russia, offsetting some of the impact of a formalized EU ban on Russian coal imports,” Vivek Dhar, director of mining and energy commodities research at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia told media.

Last week, India’s steel minister Ramchandra Prasad Singh said that the country is looking to double imports of Russian coking coal, a vital ingredient for steel-making. Singh added that India had imported 4.5 million tons but did not indicate the period he was referring to.

Coal accounts for nearly 70% of India’s electricity generation, according to the International Energy Agency’s 2021 outlook. The nation is ranked as the world’s second-biggest consumer and importer of coal, after China. Last year, India was hit by a coal shortage amid soaring post-pandemic power demand.

Russia is the world’s sixth-largest coal producer. In 2020, 54% of the nation’s coal exports reportedly went to Asia, while about 31% went to Europe.

“Despite warnings from the West, India continues to lean into their supply-chain relationship with Russia for natural resources like oil and coal,” Samir N. Kapadia, head of trade at government relations consulting firm Vogel Group explained.

According to the analyst, a currency swap agreement would help the partners “to bypass some of the financing challenges in the market.”

April 14, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , | Leave a comment

US lawmakers arrive in Taiwan unannounced

Samizdat | April 14, 2022

A group of six US lawmakers arrived in Taiwan on Thursday on an unannounced two-day visit, amid growing tensions between Beijing and Washington. The visit has been confirmed by the American Institute in Taiwan, which serves as a de-facto embassy of the United States in Taipei.

“The congressional delegation will meet with senior Taiwan leaders to discuss U.S.-Taiwan relations, regional security, and other significant issues of mutual interest,” the Institute said  in a statement.

According to Reuters, the bipartisan group, which includes a chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Menendez and senior Republican senator Lindsey Graham, arrived on Thursday in Taipei on a US Air Force aircraft and were welcomed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu.

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen will meet the lawmakers on Friday.

Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang said that the lawmakers’ visit would contribute to deepening partnership between the island and the US, and underlined that Taipei would continue to work with the United States for the benefit of “global and regional peace, stability, prosperity and development.”

The parliamentarians’ visit has angered China. At a daily press briefing on Thursday Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian underlined that Beijing “firmly opposes any form of official interaction between the US and the Taiwan region.”

“Members of the US Congress should act in consistence with the US government’s one-China policy. The US side should abide by the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiqués, stop official exchanges with Taiwan and avoid going further down the dangerous path,” Lijian said.

He warned that China would continue to take “strong measures” to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

April 14, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

China rejects US ‘pressure or coercion’ over Russia

Samizdat | April 14, 2022

Beijing won’t sanction or condemn Russia over the conflict in Ukraine, and will reject American “pressure or coercion” to change its relationship with Moscow, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters on Thursday. China has remained publicly neutral on the conflict, with Zhao saying this position puts it “on the right side of history.”

“China is playing a constructive role in the Ukraine issue,” Zhao told a press briefing, claiming that Beijing has “made considerable efforts to de-escalate the situation, defuse the crisis and rebuild peace.”

“We oppose unfounded accusations and suspicions against China, nor will we accept any pressure or coercion,” Zhao continued. “Time will tell that China’s claims are on the right side of history.”

China has from the outset called for a negotiated settlement to the conflict in Ukraine, and has affirmed both Ukraine’s right to territorial integrity and Russia’s legitimate security concerns. It has continued to trade with Russia, and has joined Moscow in urging the investigation of the US’ alleged biological weapons development in Ukraine. Furthermore, Beijing’s diplomats have opposed or abstained from UN resolutions condemning Russia.

This stance has incurred the scorn of leaders in the US and Brussels. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has repeatedly called on China’s leaders to “assess where they want to stand as the history books are written,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has declared that China now poses a “challenge” to the alliance, and most recently, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called for Beijing to use its “special relationship with Russia” to force an end to the conflict.

“The world’s attitude towards China and its willingness to embrace further economic integration may well be affected by China’s reaction to our call for resolute action on Russia,” Yellen told the Atlantic Council, a pro-NATO think tank partly funded by the weapons industry, on Wednesday.

China’s stance is unlikely to change. In addition to reaping the opportunities for trade that Russia’s excommunication from western markets has presented, Beijing has vowed to resist potential US sanctions on its companies as a result of this trade. Furthermore, China has dismissed US media reports suggesting it is preparing to offer Russia military assistance. US officials later admitted that these reports were based on faulty intelligence, and released to the press to win an “info war” against the Kremlin.

April 14, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

The War in Ukraine Marks a Turning Point for Power in the World

By James O’Neill – New Eastern Outlook – 13.04.2022

One of the interesting features of the ongoing war in Ukraine is the extent to which the Australian mainstream media has almost entirely ceased to bother offering an objective assessment of what is actually happening in the ongoing war in that country. The latest examples refer to the alleged murder of citizens in the town of Bucha by Russian soldiers. The allegations of the Ukrainian forces are accepted without question. The facts of the case create a different picture.

The Russian troops had vacated the town four days before the discovery of the deceased victims, most of whom who had been shot in the head with their arms bound together. The gap between the departure of the Russian soldiers and the revealing of the deceased was not less than three days, or more likely four. Reports from the city in the first days after the departure of the Russians made no mention of the finding of any bodies.

This gap is something in entirely missing from Western mainstream media accounts. Similarly missing from media accounts is that the city was re-occupied by members of the Neo-Nazi battalion whose hatred for Russian speaking persons (who were the victims) is well established. Western mainstream media have reported the finding of these bodies, days after the Russians left, without pointing out the obvious problem with “the Russians did it” official narrative. The Western governments (nearly all members of NATO) that have supported the Ukrainian government, have leapt upon the incident as a reason to express horror at the alleged Russian atrocities and to propose further restrictions on the purchase of Russian goods.

It is in this context that NATO has held a meeting in Brussels on the sixth and seventh of April. The Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg said that the NATO allies are “determined to provide further support to Ukraine, including the provisions of weapons.” This is something the Australian government has also done. That it makes them a party to the ongoing war and therefore a legitimate target of attack is something that seems not to have entered the limited brain cells of Australia’s foreign minister.

Not content with mounting an attack on Russia, Stoltenberg also said that NATO would “need to take account of China’s growing influence inclusive and coercive policies on the global stage, which pose a systemic challenge to our security, and to our democracies.” The last time anyone looked, NATO was an acronym for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Stoltenberg’s comments draw attention to the fact that NATO’s ambitions are in fact worldwide. It is no less than a United States vehicle to enhance the United States’ pretentions to worldwide domination.

Stoltenberg’s speech coincided in terms of timing with the evidence given to the Defence Appropriations Subcommittee of the United States Congress by Admiral Charles Richards. His testimony related to the “systemic challenge” posed by the rise of China. He said that China “continues the breathtaking expansion of its strategic and nuclear forces with opaque intentions as to their use.”

Richards went on to say that “the strategic security environment is now a three-party nuclear peer reality, where the PRC and Russia are stressing and undermining international law, the rules-based order, and norms in every domain. Never before has this nation simultaneously faced two nuclear capable near peers who must be deterred differently. Today, both the PRC and Russia have the capability to unilaterally escalate a conflict to any level of violence, any domain, worldwide, with any instrument of national power, and at any time.”

In the case of Russia, the Admiral noted “its novel and advanced weapon delivery systems, many of which are capable of hypersonic speeds and flight path adjustments designed to avoid United States missile defence systems. They continue to develop additional strategic systems with new hypersonic warheads to expand the range of threats against the United States.”

In the case of Russia, the Admiral noted “its novel and advanced weapon delivery systems, many of which are capable of hypersonic speeds and flight path adjustments designed to avoid United States missile defence systems. They continue to develop additional strategic systems with new hypersonic warheads to expand the range of threats against the United States.”

Of the admiral’s conclusions the one that was of most significance was his claim that China and Russia both “actively seek to change the international rules-based order, while the United States and our allies and partners seek to defend it.”

These statements by both Stoltenberg and Richards highlight the critical importance of the current conflict in Ukraine. A defeat of Russia in the conflict would force a rethink of the non-western international community (currently overwhelmingly supportive of Russia,) although you won’t read that in the local newspapers as to the lack of capability of the United States led Western alliance. Conversely, Russia’s victory in that war, which looks increasingly likely to be the case, would inevitably speed the decline of the West as a major global player.

Which points to the real reason for the support for Ukraine given by the United States and its European stooges. The outcome of that conflict is of critical importance because the conflict is being closely watched around the world. There are two possible outcomes. On the one hand, if Russia is defeated by a United States led Western alliance, then the current perception around the world of the United States as a declining power would be reversed. On the other hand, for Russia to win this conflict would inevitably result in an acceleration of the world’s perceptions of the declining western power structure as a force to be reckoned with, and in the American perception, feared.

In short, the West needs to win in Ukraine to reverse the disintegration of United States and Europe in the eyes of the world. Such a victory looks increasingly unlikely. The world is undergoing massive changes in its balance of power. The emphasis has shifted from West to East and the speed of the transition has been markedly affected by the conflict in Ukraine. The West is showing a remarkable tendency to completely misjudge the resilience of Russia and the impact upon its own position of so disastrously misjudging the course of events.

What we are witnessing is of historical significance. The war in Ukraine truly marks the end of an era. The West should have noted the refusal of the developing world to condemn the Russian move. Its implications will be profound in its effects. Western hegemony has at last been given the proverbial boot. It is not before time.

James O’Neill is an Australian-based former Barrister at Law.

April 14, 2022 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment