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“Operation Thermostat”: Energy rationing & the pivot from Ukraine to climate?

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | April 22, 2022

Italy is officially becoming the first country to start rationing energy after cutting their supply of Russian gas and oil.

From next month, until at least March 2023, public buildings across the nation will be banned from running air conditioning at lower than 25 degrees, or heating higher than 19 degrees.

The plan, termed “Operation Thermostat” in the press, is being sold as a way for ordinary people to show “solidarity” with the people of Ukraine, with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi saying:

Do we want to have peace or do we want to have the air conditioning on?”

I’m not exactly sure how adjusting your thermostat is going to achieve ‘peace’, but hey we’re living in the age of sentimental manipulation over reason, so – just believe.

For example, the Guardian is illustrating the story with pro-peace artwork allegedly done by Italian schoolchildren (in English, for some reason).

There’s no talk yet of this kind of energy-rationing rule extending to private businesses or homes, but a marker has been set down. Expect other nations to follow suit.

After that of course will come the opinion pieces asking questions like “we rationed gas to fight Putin, why not climate change?”, and headlines saying that “Europe-wide gas rationing was good for the planet” or something similar.

… Oh wait, it’s already happening.

Honestly, when I originally wrote the above paragraph I had no idea the Wall Street Journal had published this opinion piece for Earth Day, headlined:

This Earth Day, We Could Be Helping the Environment—and Ukraine”

It argues that rationing energy to fight Putin is just like digging for victory to fight Hitler, and – just as I predicted – would also be good for the planet:

During the Second World War, victory demanded more oil […] In the wars dominating the globe today — Putin’s land grab in Ukraine, and the global land grab caused by rising sea levels and spreading deserts — victory demands getting off fossil fuels as fast as we possibly can.

It even hints at a quasi-lockdown – this time for the sake of beating Putin and combating climate change:

Everyone who can work from home could continue to do so, at least on, say, Mondays, knocking a day off the national commute. Carpools could be organized, taking special advantage of the fact that there are now two million electric cars on the road. More bike paths could be made available, and, when air-conditioning season begins, Americans could turn their thermostats up a degree.

Remember lockdowns were marketed as planet-saving almost from the moment they were put in place, despite it making almost zero sense. The agenda was pretty obvious right from the start.

It’s interesting that “operation thermostat” should be announced on April 22nd – Earth Day – despite having zero to do with climate change. It’s also noteworthy that climate protests groups have piggy-backed on the idea to call for an EU-wide boycott of Russia’s fossil fuels.

We already know they planned a “pivot from covid to climate”, and moves like this mean they can easily “pivot from Ukraine to climate” too.

April 22, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Russophobia | | 1 Comment

Has Le Pen paved the way for more Macron?

By Richard Ings | TCW Defending Freedom | April 23, 2022

TOMORROW the French go to the polls to finish the job begun two weeks ago and choose their next elected monarch; if opinion polls can be trusted (with their manipulative influence on voting having become a major discussion point in France over the last few weeks) it looks as if Emmanuel Macron will be returned to the throne for another five years.

If Marine Le Pen, who has never been closer to power, falls at the final fence, she will not be blameless in her failure to take advantage of the seething resentment against the present incumbent. In the traditional head-to-head television debate four days before polls open, with the chance to voice the anger felt towards Macron by her potential supporters, she chose the route of trying to out-technocrat the technocrat. The result was that the smirking, supercilious bean-counter was invited to play on his home turf, within minutes deflecting the discussion away from his record in power to Le Pen’s record in opposition. The opportunity for a reckoning on Macron’s use of state forces against his own people, his enthusiastic embrace of digital IDs to coerce people into taking a novel medical intervention and his contempt for health workers who declined it, was squandered. At the end of the confrontation, he praised the fact that it had been much more ‘controlled’ than their previous meeting in 2017. It was clear to most who had been in control throughout.

Le Pen clearly also has only herself to blame for her political programme. Having once supported lockdowns and the huge accumulation of debt associated with them, she is largely joined at the hip with Macron in her plan to borrow and spend France’s way out of a problem caused by astronomical government borrowing and spending. Her flagship policy of reducing VAT on 100 ‘essential products’ is no match for Macron’s policy of continuing to send people cheques to bail them out, both a pitiful response to the enormous economic problems his decisions have created. Meanwhile, her desire to ban the wearing of the Muslim headscarf in public spaces as a puny symbol of the fight against Islamism essentially codifies the state’s right to decide what you are permitted to wear in public (indeed, Le Pen defended its enforceability in law by pointing out that Macron had found a way of policing his mask mandates).

Her own shortcomings aside, however, Le Pen is handicapped by the fact that, although she mobilised more than 8million people to vote for her, no one is allowed to say publicly that they support her without choosing the path of ostracism. In Britain by 2019 we had become painfully aware of the phenomenon of the ‘shy Brexiteer’, unable to ‘come out’ among friends and family without attracting a torrent of insults which often included the word ‘Nazi’. That’s been the norm in France for Le Pen voters for a long, long time.

However, something not widely reported happened ten days ago when a panellist on a major television show, former Miss France Delphine Wespiser, ‘came out’ in front of millions and said she understood why people might vote for Marine, suggesting she was like ‘France’s mum’. Did she realise what a pile-on would happen in saying that? She got a taste from her colleagues in the studio, but over the next few days found herself threatened on social media for daring to ‘contribute to the normalisation of the far Right’.

Removed from the show under byzantine French rules to do with ‘political balance’, she had to come back as an unpaid guest to report how her accidentally courageous opinion had seen her receive thousands of threats, as well as the call for her to be stripped of other sources of income, such as her featured role on the TV show Fort Boyard. Not being able to make a living for having expressed a view deemed unacceptable by the media (and not even an unpopular view) was, she said, ‘the price of my freedom’, adding defiantly: ‘I’m the spokeswoman for all those unhappy about what has happened over the last five years.’

Wespiser’s small, principled stand for freedom of speech and conscience is a marker of a very positive development. Dissenters are beginning to abandon their natural reticence and defend the right to have a different ‘non-mainstream’ point of view in the public square. The form that seems to be taking at the moment is voting for Marine Le Pen. Whatever her political shortcomings, Le Pen represents the dissident point of view. Crudely expressed, she is the biggest middle finger French people can currently give to the system which has crushed and oppressed many of them over the last few years.

And if not Le Pen, who? Macron has not ruled out a return to mandatory masking, and vaccine passports remain in place for access to hospitals. Le Pen has said she will scrap the system, has called vaccinating children against Covid ‘a kind of child abuse’, and will reinstate the health-workers ‘kicked out like scum’ for refusing to take the vaccine. Macron set up an undemocratic ‘citizens’ convention’ on the environment (only to ignore it) while touring the country in what he called his ‘great debate’ during which he lectured an invited audience for several hours. He’s committed to continuing to bore on if re-elected. Le Pen, on the other hand, has proposed a ‘Citizen’s choice referendum’ which, while it may struggle to get passed into law, holds out the promise of a new avenue for political change.

Take her at face value or not, Le Pen has put the word ‘freedom’ front and centre of her campaign. She is making commitments that will, in however limited a way, expand the power of ordinary people to influence what happens in their country. This promise to extend and defend liberty and democracy would be hard to break in circumstances where (unlike Boris Johnson and his smug party-loyal 80-seat majority) she would have to work hard to maintain the trust of those who lent her their vote.

Moreover, the prospect of her coming to power has so spooked the European establishment that they have taken the unprecedented step of calling for the French not to vote for her in what used to be called ‘interference in national elections’ but is now, it seems, just seen as doing the morally correct thing.

With all this in mind, the French now need to consider how much of a defiant middle finger they are brave enough to give to the established order when even today’s poster-boy of ‘democracy’ Volodymyr Zelensky says he is rooting for Macron. Will they stand up to conventional opinion and take the kind of risk Delphine Wespiser, or a nation of Brexiteers, were willing to take? The door to more freedom is definitely ajar. Dare they step through it?

April 22, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 1 Comment

Top Prosecutor Drops Out of Whitmer Kidnapping Case

By Jonathan Turley | April 20, 2022

We recently discussed the collapse of the Whitmer kidnapping case after a jury acquitted defendants in Michigan. Now, one of the lead prosecutors is leaving the case, according to a motion filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Roth. That adds questions about how the case will move forward after the earlier loss.

Shortly before the 2020 election, Gov. Whitmer stood before cameras describing her narrow escape from being kidnapped and murdered by “domestic terrorists.” Despite the fact that the Justice Department in the Trump Administration made these arrests, Whitmer blamed former president Donald Trump. President Biden agreed that Trump was fostering a “civil war.”

The media went into a frenzy, declaring that the case proved that “Trump’s rhetoric and policies have unleashed a second pandemic in the form of far-right domestic terrorism.”

The problem is that the case — and the narrative — quickly fell apart after the election. A Michigan jury recently acquitted Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta and hanged on the verdicts against Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. Fox is portrayed as a ringleader of the group and leader of the conspiracy.

While Fox and Croft can be retried, the acquittal raises an additional challenge. Harris and Caserta may feel fewer inhibitions in testifying. With the exception of perjury, they can safely take the stand to discuss their actions — and more importantly, the actions of the government.

The Michigan case stands as one of the most chilling examples of entrapment techniques used by the FBI. While Whitmer declared Trump “complicit” in her planned execution, the FBI increasingly appeared more “complicit” in the creation of a government-inspired, government-funded, and largely government-staffed plot.

The problem was that these guys seemed at points more interested in partying than conspiring. The FBI, therefore, decided to take control and get them serious about some major crimes. An informant known as “Big Dan” was paid over $50,000 to get the conspiracy going, including paying for the defendants to travel to Wisconsin to “train.”

Special Agent Jayson Chambers pushed Big Dan to get the men to take violent acts against Whitmer. The defendants reportedly resisted those entreaties. Dan pushed the alleged leader to fire a round into the window of Whitmer’s home and mail the casing to the news media. On Sept. 5, 2020, Chambers texted to remind Dan “Mission is to kill the governor specifically.

The Whitmer conspiracy was a production written, funded, and largely populated by FBI agents and informants. At every point, FBI literally drove the conspirators and controlled their actions. In the end, a majority of the “conspirators” were actually FBI agents or informants.

As discussed earlier, various key FBI agents and informants were removed from the case due to their own legal problems.

Now, Roth is pulling out. That will create a vacuum in the second trial. Retrials often allow prosecutors to better prepare for defense arguments. Yet, it has lost the one prosecutor most experienced in the case.

Politically, it would be highly damaging for both Biden and Whitmer to have the case dropped. The question is whether the reduction of the defendants and the change in the prosecution team will change the prospect for convictions. It could work for the defense if the two acquitted parties are more active in the case. Conversely, focusing on the alleged leader could strengthen the optics for the jury by eliminating marginal figures.

There could also be a more generous plea deal offered to the defense to avoid the threat of acquittal. It is notable to see a lead prosecutor bow out in such a high-profile case. Whether this indicates other significant changes in the case will likely become clear in the coming days.

April 22, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, False Flag Terrorism | , | Leave a comment

TSA mask mandate

By Vinay Prasad | April 20, 2022

Just imagine we had a competent CDC who ran a cluster Random Controlled Trial of cloth masking mandate in airplanes and measured spread. It could even be factorial design and test different ventilation filters. Imagine the trial was negative– a judge would not need to strike down the mandate. It would have fallen by scientific consensus.

Imagine now it were positive. We could have a discussion about the effect size, if it varies by case rate at the flight origin city or traveller origin cities. We could discuss when the tradeoff might be worth it, and when it might be not worth it.

Imagine the trial was large. It could be powered for interaction by age. Do cloth masks protect babies or is it a false reassurance? Does it protect immunocompromised? Or again, false reassurance?

Imagine the trial had arms for different rules. An ok to snack arm or a no snacking arm. Does it work with a rule modification?

We ran zero such trials. The CDC ran no studies. No one knows the answer to these questions, despite their bluster. The truth is it seems highly implausible that wearing a mask on one ear lobe, while eating pretzels for an hour works.

The CDC failed it’s social contract. It implemented a policy and never generated evidence. This turned a scientific question into a political one. Naturally battle lines were drawn.

Finally a judge comes in and throws out the mandate. Many people are upset with the judge. But the judge didn’t fail you. The CDC failed you. It never ran a trial. It never generated knowledge. It kept us in the dark. It should be no surprise that it lost it’s power and legitimacy. It proved it does not deserve the power it was was entrusted by the people. It failed to use science to reduce uncertainty. We should be ashamed of the organization. I certainly am.

April 22, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Leave a comment

Berlin Senate tries to hush dramatic increase in heart complaints and strokes in 2021

Free West Media | April 20, 2022

The Berlin SPD member of parliament Robert Schaddach inquired in March with a parliamentary question to the Senate’s internal administration about the development of relevant fire brigade incidents that suggest the suspicion of vaccination consequences. Schaddach said: “The aim of the question is to determine the development of the Berlin fire brigade’s deployment figures with regard to heart complaints and strokes over the past four years.”

The answer of the senate administration gives cause for concern. Under the headings of “Heart Complaints/Implanted Defibrillator” and “Chest Pain/Other Chest Complaints”, the number of logged deployments in 2021 increased by 31 percent to a total of 43,806 deployments compared to the averages from 2018/2019. Similarly, the number of logged deployments under the keywords “Stroke/Transient Ischaemic (TIA) Attack” increased by 27 percent to a total of 13,096 deployments compared to the averages from 2018/2019.

However, the Berlin Senate Administration does not want to comment on this development. It writes evasively in its response of April 7: “Changes in the frequency of use of the main complaint protocols ‘Heart complaints/Implanted defibrillator’ as well as ‘Chest pain/Other complaints in the chest’ within the framework of the standardised emergency call query may be related to more intensive protocol use, the classification of symptoms, the further development of quality management, but also changes in the number of emergency rescue deployments, for example due to population growth or demographic change.”

While the Berlin Senate administration is trying to keep the information out of the public eye, its response was received with all the more interest by the Feuerwehrgemeinschaft Berlin, an association of several hundred firefighters critical of vaccination. A spokesperson for the association explained: “Such rates of increase need to be explained.” He also said it was striking that the highest rates of increase are occurring precisely in the age groups that are not commonly understood to be vulnerable groups.

It is now necessary to “examine whether there is a causal connection here with the vaccination side effects caused by the Corona vaccine, which have increasingly come into the media spotlight”, according to the fire brigade community. It therefore “urges the management of the Berlin fire brigade to initiate a scientific and open-ended investigation of a possible connection in cooperation with the experts of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) and the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI)”.

Until meaningful results are available, the “facility-based vaccination obligation”, which is still in force, must be suspended.

April 22, 2022 Posted by | Deception, War Crimes | | 1 Comment

Sanctions against Russia will slow global economic growth, hurt vulnerable nations – minister

Samizdat | April 22, 2022

The accelerating inflation in most developed nations has come as a result of the irresponsible actions of Western financial authorities during the pandemic, worsened by a sanctions campaign against Moscow, according to Russia’s Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov.

“The scale of inflationary pressure is unprecedented in the context of recent decades,” the minister said, speaking at a plenary meeting of the International Monetary and Finance Committee of the IMF.

“This is the result of the irresponsible actions of the financial authorities of Western countries, from which the whole world suffers, and above all the most vulnerable countries with a low level of income,” he added.

According to Siluanov, the latest sanctions imposed by the West on Russia are exacerbating the situation.

“Dynamics of the accelerated energy transition is also pushing up energy prices, worsening the problems of poverty, food security, energy availability,” the minister said.

The US and its allies have introduced unprecedented economic penalties on Russia in response to the military operation in Ukraine. In less than two months, the country became the subject of over 6,000 different targeted restrictions. Russia is a major global exporter of all types of commodities, including energy and grain.

April 22, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | 1 Comment

Using War to Assault Freedom

By Judge Andrew Napolitano | April 20, 2022

Most judges and lawyers agree that the war on drugs in the past 50 years has seriously diminished the right to privacy guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.

Now a small group of legal academics is arguing that the war in Ukraine should be used to diminish property rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment.

Here is the backstory.

The Fourth Amendment was written to guarantee that the government may only search and seize persons, houses, papers and effects pursuant to a search warrant issued by a judge after the presentation under oath of evidence demonstrating that the place to be searched more likely than not contains evidence of crime. And the warrant itself must specifically describe the place to be searched and the person or thing to be seized.

These requirements — the work of James Madison, who was the scrivener of the Constitution in 1787 and the author of the Bill of Rights in 1791 — were intended to have two effects.

The first effect was to uphold the quintessentially American right to be left alone. The second was to compel the government to focus its law enforcement personnel and assets on crimes for which there is probable cause, not fishing expeditions or hunches.

Madison’s language prohibited absolutely the use of general warrants, a favorite tool of the British government against the colonists. General warrants were based on whatever the government wanted or claimed it needed.

The colonists were tormented by, and driven to revolution over, general warrants, as they authorized British agents to search wherever they wished and seize whatever they found. Surely, the dreadful colonial experience with general warrants was a driving force behind the wording and ratification of the Fourth Amendment.

Sadly, during the war on drugs, prosecutors and police persuaded judges to craft “emergency” exceptions to the Fourth Amendment. These included allowing police to look for whatever they wanted in cars and homes, and using the CIA for warrantless surveillance, lest the drugs supposedly being sought be destroyed before capture.

The effect of this was to destroy a fundamental liberty in deference to easing police work; that’s the definition of a police state. The courts effectively ruled that somehow the Constitution prefers liberty — rather than evidence of crimes — to be destroyed.

The Fifth Amendment protects the life, liberty and property of all persons from destruction or aggression by the government without due process of law. Due process requires a jury trial at which the government must prove fault.

Thus, property cannot be seized temporarily or taken permanently without either a search warrant or a jury trial.

Now back to the war in Ukraine.

I have argued in this column and elsewhere that the Biden administration sanctions imposed on Russian and American persons and businesses are profoundly unconstitutional because they are imposed by executive fiat rather than by legislation and because the sanctions constitute either the seizure of property without a warrant or the taking of property without due process.

When the feds seize a yacht from a person whom they claim may have financed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rise to power, they are doing so in direct violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

Similarly, when they freeze Russian assets in American banks, they engage in a seizure, and seizures can only constitutionally be done with a search warrant based on probable cause of crime.

As well, when the feds interfere with contract rights by prohibiting compliance with lawful contracts, that, too, implicates due process and can only be done constitutionally after a jury verdict in the government’s favor, at a trial at which the feds have proved fault.

As if to anticipate these constitutional roadblocks to its interference with free commercial choices, Congress enacted the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977 and the Magnitsky Act of 2016. These constitutional monstrosities purport to give the president the power to declare persons and entities to be violators of human rights and, by that mere executive declaration alone, to punish them without trial.

These laws turn the Fourth and Fifth Amendments on their heads by punishing first and engaging in a perverse variant of due process later. How perverse? These laws require that if you want your seized property back, you must prove that you are not a human rights violator.

As if to run even further away from constitutional norms, a group of legal academics began arguing last week that the property seized from Russians is not really owned by human beings, but by the Russian government. And, this crazy argument goes, since the Russian government is not a person, there is no warrant or due process requirement; therefore, the feds can convert the assets they have seized and frozen to their own use.

To these academics — who reject property ownership as a moral right and exalt government aggression as a moral good — the argument devolves around the meaning of the word “person.” The Fourth and Fifth Amendments protect every “person” and all “people,” not just Americans.

And in American jurisprudence, “person” means both human beings and artificial persons — corporations and governments capable of owning property. Property ownership is defined by the right to use, alienate and exclude. Only persons can exercise those rights.

Madison and his colleagues clearly sought to protect property rights from government aggression, no matter the legal status of the owner. We know this from the judicial opinions involving foreign property that preceded and followed the ratification of the Fifth Amendment. If this were not so, then nothing could prevent the feds from seizing and converting the property of states or local governments or international religious institutions to federal use.

War is the health of the state and the graveyard of liberty. The drug war was a disaster for freedom. The war in Ukraine will be so as well, only if we permit it.


April 22, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

Sending heavy weapons to Ukraine in German interests?

By Lucas Leiroz | April 22, 2022

Political polarization in Germany continues to increase. Currently, there is strong pressure for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to take a more incisive stance on the Ukrainian issue. The opposition insists on the need to send weapons to support Zelensky, endorsing the speech spread by NATO and the EU. It is evident that by refusing to take such positions, Scholz is trying to look for the interests of his country, but it remains to be seen whether he will be really strong enough to deal with the pressure coming both externally, from Brussels and London, and internally in Berlin.

Recently, Scholz met in London with his British counterpart Boris Johnson to discuss the Ukrainian conflict. During the conversation, Johnson clearly pressed Scholz to go along with the UK and the rest of the West in their stance of absolute opposition to Russia in the conflict. The Chancellor, however, avoided giving clear answers and maintained his ambiguous position on the possibility of supporting Kiev militarily, preventing from doing more incisive statements and preferring silence.

What happened next was even more remarkable and symbolic: the British prime minister traveled to Kiev to meet with Zelensky while Scholz returned to Germany in order to promote electoral campaign. The international mainstream media took advantage of the fact to intensify its pro-NATO propaganda, claiming that Scholz is concerned only with his internal political condition, ignoring the current international situation, while the Western world is supposedly “concerned” and takes the Ukrainian issue as a “humanitarian” priority.

In Germany, Scholz’s opponents are also increasingly agitated to criticize the chancellor, taking benefit of international pressure to intensify polarization and generate a crisis of legitimacy against him. Obviously, this was a predictable attitude on the part of opposition groups, but the main problem currently is that Scholz is losing support within his own coalition. The Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the Green Party are deeply dissatisfied with Germany’s unwillingness to send weapons to Kiev and use the case as a pretext to point to Scholz as a “big problem” to be solved through an electoral overthrow. And, in this sense, his situation is really worsening day after day.

In general, Scholz’s enemies demand that he takes a more active stance on the German role in the conflict. The chancellor is characterized by an extremely passive posture, avoiding making decisions until they become inevitable. Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, a member of the FDP and head of the Defense Committee in parliament, for example, recently commented that Scholz needs to “take the baton in his hand and set the rhythm.” In other words, opponents are asking Scholz to guarantee Germany a leading role on the European stage, as might be expected from the continent’s greatest economic power.

The central problem in this topic is that Scholz already seems to have realized that the most strategic thing for Germany is to remain as neutral as possible and away from any involvement in activities that harm the partnership with Russia, which is a very important commercial pillar for Germany. Scholz did not want to adhere to large-scale economic sanctions, especially regarding the SWIFT ban and the energy boycott. But he was forced to slowly accept such measures as other Western countries implemented them. This has been his typical behavior: postponing but, in the end, passively adhering to all Western measures when he finds himself “isolated”.

In this sense, the opposition is right on one point: Scholz has to change his attitudes and assume a leadership position, since this is what is expected from a country like Germany, which for years has consolidated itself as one of the “leaders” of the European bloc. The oppositionists’ problem is that they are pressuring Scholz to assume a leadership stance that is as damaging to German interests as his current indecision and passivity.

It is naive to think that sending heavy weapons to Ukraine benefits German interests in any way. On the contrary, it only extends the abyss between Moscow and Berlin even further, and with practically no benefit in return for the Germans: neither Ukraine will be sufficiently strengthened to win the conflict by receiving such heavy weaponry, nor will Germany reassume a supposed role of “leadership” in Europe.

It is not by chance that the greatest pressure on the Germans so far has been exerted precisely by Boris Johnson. The UK is not part of the EU and therefore does not care about the German role in the bloc, but, on the other hand, it is one of the most important members of NATO and tries to elevate its status in the military alliance as a way of boosting its international image in this post-Brexit context. In fulfilling British requests, Scholz would only be pursuing non-German and non-European interests.

It is obvious that there is also pressure within Europe and within Germany itself, but this pressure belongs to an outdated view of what the role of Germans and Europeans in the Western world should be. Scholz’s opponents apparently still expect a totally submissive stance on NATO from Berlin. This is also a very active thought in Brussels, with a strong tendency to see the entire European continent as a mere annex of the American military umbrella, ignoring that Europe has its own interests, which can often collide with those of the Western military alliance. That is why, in trying to prevent Germany from getting actively involved in the Ukrainian case, Scholz proves to be a really pragmatic politician who prioritizes the interests of his own country, but without the political force necessary to guarantee them.

In addition, there is a topic that needs to be mentioned, which is the German military passiveness of the last seventy years. Although it is active within NATO and has been trying to reform its defense forces in recent years, Berlin remains a virtual-demilitarized country, with an army of low offensive potential, outdated weaponry and a low-investment war industry.

In order to send heavy weapons to Ukraine, Germany would have to start a broad military industrial investment, which would cost it not only millions of euros, but a change in its international image, returning to being a nation of effective participation in international conflicts. Of course, improving its military status is a German right, but it must be taken into account in the name of what Berlin intends to do so. Would it really be strategic to break with seventy years of pacifism to defend the interests of the Maidan Junta in a conflict where Russian victory is highly predictable?

Scholz needs to be strong and active in defending German interests. His posture of passivity and silence demonstrates weakness and damages the image of both him and his country. But his stance must not be to subject Germany even more to foreign interests: on the contrary, he must assert what is in Berlin’s interests and pragmatically defend it, even if he has to clash with the NATO’s plans to do so. If Germany is interested in neutrality and maintaining good relations with Russia, Scholz must not only refrain from adhering to the new Western sanctions but also revoke those taken so far.

Lucas Leiroz is a researcher in Social Sciences at the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and a geopolitical consultant.

April 22, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Russian airlines told to prepare to fly without GPS

Samizdat | April 22, 2022

Russia’s air traffic regulator has told carriers to learn to fly their planes without relying on the American Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite-based-navigation facility, newspaper Izvestia reported on Friday.

According to the letter from the regulator, Rosaviatsia, which was seen by the paper, it has instructed national airlines to prepare to cope without GPS after a March report by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which warned of increased cases of jamming and spoofing of the system’s signal after February 24 – the day Russia started its military offensive in Ukraine.

These were apparently registered in such areas as Russia’s western enclave, the Kaliningrad Region, the Baltics, eastern Finland, the Black Sea, the eastern Mediterranean, Israel, Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and northern Iran.

The interference has led to some planes changing their course or destination as the pilots were unable to perform a safe landing without the GPS, EASA has reportedly said.

According to Rosaviatsia, carriers should evaluate the risks of GPS malfunction and provide additional training to its pilots on how to act in such situations. The crews have also reportedly been told to instantly inform traffic control about any problems with a satellite navigation system.

The letter from the agency should be treated as a recommendation only and doesn’t constitute a ban on the use of GPS by the Russian airlines, the paper clarified.

Several Russian carriers, including major ones like Aeroflot and S7, have confirmed receiving a relevant message from the traffic regulator. However, they insisted that they didn’t encounter any problems with GPS over the past two months.

Rosaviatsia later clarified that “disconnection from GPS or its disruption won’t affect flight safety in Russia.”

The GPS signal isn’t the only source of information about the location of a plane at any given moment. Crews can also rely on the aircraft’s inertial navigation system, as well as ground-based navigation and landing systems, the agency said.

Last month, Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, warned that Washington may well disconnect the country from GPS as part of draconian sanctions imposed on it over the conflict in Ukraine.

On Friday, Rogozin took to Telegram to propose switching all of the country’s commercial planes from GPS to its Russian counterpart, Glonass.

However, it might be a complicated thing to do as Boeing and Airbus planes, mainly used by the country’s carriers, are designed to solely support the GPS technology.

April 22, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | 8 Comments

Gonzalo Lira says he was taken by the Ukrainian Security Service last Friday

Samizdat | April 22, 2022

Chilean-American blogger Gonzalo Lira, who went missing in the Ukrainian city of Kharkov a week ago, has appeared online on Friday, revealing that he had been held by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU).

“I’m in Kharkov. I’m OK. I just want to say that I’m back online.” Lira said in short video chat with journalist Alex Christoforou on The Duran channel.

“I was picked up by the SBU on Friday, April 15,” the blogger revealed.

Speaking about his condition, the 54-year-old said that he was “fine physically,” but “a little rattled” and “a little bit discombobulated.” Lira made it clear that he was forbidden from revealing any details about what had happened to him in detention.

“I’m still in Kharkov and for the time being I cannot leave. The authorities here told me that I cannot leave the city,” he said, adding that his computer and phone were taken away and that he didn’t have access to his accounts on social media.

“There seems to have been like a lot of interest in my case, which is wonderful. Thank you. But there are a lot of other people, who are frankly more deserving of the attention,” the blogger said.Lira was referring to his tweet from March 26, in which he listed the names of Ukrainian opposition figures, who are thought to have died or disappeared since the outbreak of the conflict, adding then that “if you haven’t heard from me in 12 hours or more, put my name on this list.”

Since the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, Lira has been using YouTube, Twitter and Telegram to criticize President Volodymyr Zelensky and Kiev’s conduct on the battlefield, while also speaking about far-right tendencies among the Ukrainian military and debunking what he saw as false reports about events on the ground. After the blogger’s disappearance, some unconfirmed claims emerged that he could have been kidnapped by nationalists linked to the notorious Azov battalion, and even executed.

Lira who penned the novel ‘Acrobat’ and is a filmmaker with Hollywood experience had earlier claimed that the SBU had made at least two other attempts to detain him, but he was lucky to avoid arrest.

Lira also accused the Daily Beast of attracting Kiev’s attention to his work and revealing his location to the country’s law enforcers. The left-wing US outlet dedicated a large article to the blogger on March 21, slamming him as “a Pro-Putin shill in Ukraine.” In the piece, Daily Beast journalists said they had contacted Ukrainian authorities to learn about the man’s whereabouts and to clarify if he was still in Kharkov in the east of the country.

Lira’s week-long disappearance from social media had been largely overlooked by major Western media outlets.

April 22, 2022 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | | 2 Comments