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Ukraine Says Austria “Indulging Putin” For Rejecting EU Membership Bid


Austria has just broken from what was looking like an emerging EU consensus on Ukraine’s membership bid, with Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg announcing Vienna’s opposition on Sunday at the 14th European media summit.

Underscoring Austria’s commitment to neutrality as a central element to Ukraine’s “self-definition”, he asserted that Ukraine’s application for candidate status should be rejected by the 27-country economic and political union.

“We don’t belong to any military alliance and we don’t want to,” he stressed in the speech, instead urging a “different way” for Ukraine to deepen its ties with Europe, strongly suggesting that EU membership for Ukraine would unnecessarily deepen Europe’s involvement in the conflict amid the Russian invasion.

He called Austria “militarily neutral, but not politically” on the issue of the Russian war in Ukraine. Additionally, Schallenberg went so far as to spell out that Ukraine shouldn’t be granted membership even in the future.

As part of current rules and procedures dictating the process, to even start Ukraine’s candidate status, all EU governments would have to unanimously agree.

Schallenberg suggested an alternative that would look something like the EU relationship with Balkan countries:

Austrian publication Heute reported that Mr Schallenberg called for models other than full membership and for more flexibility.

Mr Schallenberg justified his position by saying there are countries in the Western Balkans, who the EU calls “enlargement countries,” who have come a long way without full membership.

As expected, Ukraine’s foreign ministry was quick to slam the statements, calling FM Schallenberg’s position “short-sighted” and ultimately “not in the interests of the united Europe.”

“Such statements also ignore the fact that the vast majority of the population of the EU founding member states support Ukraine’s membership,” Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said.

Kiev also suggested that somehow the government under Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer – who came under some degree of criticism in EU corners for his April 11th meeting with President Putin for “direct, open and tough” talks – is being ‘influenced’ by Russia. Nikolenko suggested Schallenberg’s stance represents Austria “indulging Putin’s aggressive plans.”

Current polling in reporting, however, points to the Austrian public generally wanting to avoid confrontation with Russia:

But around 40% of Austrians consider the government’s position on Ukraine as “on the whole correct,” while 23% believe the government is “too pro-Ukraine” and 17% “too pro-Russia,” according to Heute.

At the same time, once-neutral EU governments like Germany have flipped – going from expressing a strictly neutral status on Ukraine to shipping heavier and heavier arms to Kiev.

April 27, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

FDA Rubber-Stamps Remdesivir for Infants Without Evidence of Safety, Efficacy

By Madhava Setty, M.D. | The Defender | April 27, 2022

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday approved the use of the antiviral therapy, remdesivir, to treat COVID-19 in infants four weeks and older.

Dr. Patrizia Cavazzoni, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a press release:

“As COVID-19 can cause severe illness in children, some of whom do not currently have a vaccination option, there continues to be a need for safe and effective COVID-19 treatment options for this population.

“Today’s approval of the first COVID-19 therapeutic for this population demonstrates the agency’s commitment to that need.”

According to the press release, the FDA’s decision to approve the therapy, marketed under the name Veklury, is supported by a clinical study conducted on infants 4 weeks and older weighing a minimum of 6.6 pounds.

The study is underway and will not be completed until February 2023. There are no published results.

However, Gilead Sciences, maker of remdesivir and sponsor of the study, provided the following details in a company press release:

  • A total of 53 hospitalized pediatric patients were enrolled in the clinical study.
  • 72% suffered adverse events.
  • 21% suffered serious adverse events determined to be unrelated to the drug.
  • Three children died from either underlying conditions or COVID-19.

Nevertheless, Gilead Science assured that “no new safety signals were apparent for patients treated with Veklury.”

The study was of single-arm, open-label design.

single-arm study has no control group, making it impossible to compare its effectiveness against standard of care.

Open-label means participants and investigators were aware they were receiving the drug, making it impossible to separate placebo from drug effect.

Studies show little or no benefit

Beyond the absence of any publicly available data on the efficacy and safety of this drug in humans of this age, available studies on older subjects indicate remdesivir offers no more than a meager benefit to those who survive its use.

In fact, this is why the World Health Organization (WHO) in November 2020 recommended against the use of remdesivir to treat COVID-19. The WHO only recently (April 22, 2022) updated its recommendation to support the drug’s use in patients who are at high risk for hospitalization.

Nevertheless, the FDA explains its long-standing support of remdesivir use in adults here, citing six studies that had the greatest impact on the agency’s position.

Here is a summary of the findings of each study from the FDA’s webpage:

  1. ACTT-1 Trial: Time to clinical recovery was shortened from 15 days to 10 through the use of remdesivir. There was no difference in mortality. The drug was no better than placebo when administered to patients who required high-flow oxygen, non-invasive respiratory support, mechanical ventilation or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation at baseline. A benefit was seen only in patients who required low levels of supplemental oxygen.
  2. Discovery Trial: There was no clinical benefit of remdesivir in hospitalized patients who were symptomatic for >7 days and who required supplemental oxygen. There was no difference in mortality between remdesivir and standard of care. Investigators judged three of 429 participants who received remdesivir died from the drug.
  3. WHO Solidarity Trial: Remdesivir did not decrease in-hospital mortality or the need for mechanical ventilation compared to standard of care. Four hundred and forty patients in this study were also enrolled in the Discovery trial above.
  4. Journal of the American Medical Association (moderate disease): After 10 days of treatment with remdesivir, clinical status was not significantly different from standard of care.
  5. New England Journal of Medicine (severe disease): No difference between five and 10 days of remdesivir treatment. No placebo group, thus “the magnitude of benefit cannot be determined.”
  6. PINETREE study: Three consecutive days of IV remdesivir resulted in an 87% relative reduction in the risk of hospitalization or death when compared to placebo.

As demonstrated, the first five studies used to justify the FDA’s approval of remdesivir showed little, if any, benefit to hospitalized patients with moderate or severe disease.

This is in contrast to the sufficiently proven benefit of off-label use of the previously licensed medications hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.

Only the PINETREE study investigated the benefit of remdesivir for outpatient use. In that study, the drug provided a substantial benefit in preventing hospitalization when given in three separate doses over three days.

However, only eight individuals under the age of 18 were enrolled in the study, and none were younger than 12.

The primary endpoint, a composite of COVID-19-related hospitalization or death from any cause, did not occur in the under-18 group.

In other words, the study — funded by Gilead Sciences — showed the drug offered no benefit in this cohort.

Nevertheless, in reporting on the FDA’s approval of remdesivir for infants and young children, CNN found someone to support the FDA’s decision.

CNN wrote:

“The FDA’s approval of remdesivir for young children is ‘great,’ said Dr. Daniel Griffin, an instructor in clinical medicine and associate research scientist in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Columbia University.”

Safety ‘not established’ in pediatric patients

Not only is there scant evidence that remdesivir is an effective treatment for COVID-19, the drug’s safety is debatable.

With regard to its use in infants, even the FDA must acknowledge nobody knows how safe it is.

After all, the manufacturer’s label states:

“The safety and effectiveness of VEKLURY (remdesivir) have not been established in pediatric patients younger than 12 years of age or weighing less than 40 kg.”

With regard to pharmacokinetics (where the drug distributes in the body) the label states:

“The pharmacokinetics of VEKLURY in pediatric patients have not been evaluated.”

An indictment of the drug regulatory process

Let’s reflect on what the director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research said regarding the approval of remdesivir for treating COVID-19 in infants 4 weeks and older:

“As COVID-19 can cause severe illness in children, some of whom do not currently have a vaccination option, there continues to be a need for safe and effective COVID-19 treatment options for this population. Today’s approval of the first COVID-19 therapeutic for this population demonstrates the agency’s commitment to that need.”

To summarize:

  • Some children do not have a vaccination option.
  • They need a safe and effective treatment.
  • The FDA meets that need by approving a drug with no safety and efficacy record in children.

Safety and efficacy apparently can be conveniently established by fiat, not evidence.

In the end, the FDA’s approval of remdesivir is not an assurance of the drug’s safety and efficacy but an indication the agency is no longer interested in protecting the public from potentially harmful and ineffective therapies — or, in other words, in doing its job.

There will undoubtedly be doctors like Griffin who welcome this approval.

However, I don’t believe every pediatrician will accept the FDA’s guidance so readily.

It’s not easy to place an intravenous line to administer remdesivir in the tiny vein of an irritable baby coming from home with a positive rapid test. And then do it again the next day. And the day after that.

At some point, clinicians’ sensibilities will be challenged enough to compel them to actually examine how the FDA arrived at its conclusions.

Guidelines are meaningless if doctors choose not to abide by them.

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

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

April 27, 2022 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

Denmark Suspends COVID Vaccine Campaign, EU Set to End Mass Testing

By Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D. | The Defender | April 27, 2022

Denmark on Tuesday became the first country to suspend its national COVID-19 vaccine campaign after health officials said the pandemic is under control there.

Bolette Soborg, director of the Danish Health Authority’s department of infectious diseases, on Tuesday said Denmark is “winding down” the mass vaccination program, and that invitations for vaccinations would no longer be issued after May 15.

“We plan to reopen the vaccination programme in the autumn,” Soborg said, adding: “This will be preceded by a thorough professional assessment of who and when to vaccinate and with which vaccines.”

Public health authorities cited several factors contributing to the decision to end the national vaccination campaign. These include a decline in the number of new reported infections, stabilized hospitalization rates and an overall high level of vaccination.

This decision comes just a few months after Denmark eliminated all COVID-19-related restrictions, becoming the first European Union (EU) member state to do so.

On February 1, the country dropped restrictions ranging from vaccine passports to mask mandates. Public health authorities at the time said COVID-19 was no longer considered a critical threat to public health.

Despite a “surge” in reported infections in Denmark, attributed to the Omicron variant, health authorities said these cases are not placing a heavy burden on the country’s health system.

Denmark’s health authorities are the first to explicitly state that future COVID-19 vaccination drives will be targeted, rather than universal.

EU set to announce ‘post-emergency’ phase of pandemic, Fauci says U.S. out of ‘pandemic phase’

Denmark’s decision comes as several other countries appear to be walking back mass-scale COVID-19 vaccination and related public health initiatives.

In an interview Tuesday on PBS NewsHour, Dr. Anthony Fauci said, “We [the United States] are certainly right now in this country out of the pandemic phase.”

However, when asked whether there will be an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said that’s “an unanswerable question.”

In the U.K., the country’s Health Security agency this week announced it is slashing its staff by almost half, and reducing its COVID-19 budget by nearly 90% compared to 2021 levels.

And the European Commission — the executive branch of the EU — is reportedly preparing to announce the EU has entered a new “post-emergency phase” of the COVID-19 pandemic, Reuters reported today, citing a draft document the news agency said it reviewed.

Despite there being no official statements yet from EU officials, according to Reuters, the draft document, prepared by EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides, states:

“This Communication puts forward an approach for the management of the pandemic in the coming months, moving from emergency to a more sustainable model.”

In practical terms, this would mean an end to mass COVID-19 testing, already shut down in several EU countries.

This approach contrasts with China’s “zero-COVID” policies — which have resulted in mass testing and a renewed wave of mass lockdowns.

In a possible reflection of the EU’s new policy direction — and its stark differentiation from China’s COVID policies — Greek health minister Thanos Plevris said recently “we are entering the phase of co-existing with COVID … we don’t believe in the zero-COVID policy, like in China.”

According to Reuters, the EU’s draft document is non-binding on member-states and states that “COVID-19 is here to stay,” with a likely emergence of new variants and “surges,” necessitating that “vigilance and preparedness remain essential.”

The document asks EU governments to be ready to re-enact emergency measures if deemed necessary, though the nature of these “emergency measures” does not appear to be specified.

However, the draft document does address the introduction of more sophisticated means of detecting outbreaks of — and the spread of — COVID-19, highlighting that “[t]argeted diagnostic testing should be put into place.”

Such “targeted” testing would focus on “priority groups,” such as people close to outbreaks, those at risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms and medical staff who are in regular contact with vulnerable populations.

The draft document also suggests surveillance and tracking of COVID-19 infections should be adapted and targeted, focusing more on genomic sequencing and less on the mass reporting of “cases.”

This new surveillance system would amount to one that, according to Reuters, is “similar to that used to monitor seasonal flu, in which a limited number of selected healthcare providers collect and share relevant data.”

As reportedly stated by the document, “[t]he objective of surveillance should no longer be based on the identification and reporting of all cases, but rather on obtaining reliable estimates of the intensity of community transmission, of the impact of severe disease and on vaccine effectiveness.”

However, unlike Denmark’s approach, the document states that vaccines remain essential, with a recommendation that EU member states consider enacting strategies to bolster vaccination levels among children age 5 and up prior to the start of the new school year.

Some EU member states, such as Greece, have strongly hinted wide-scale COVID-19 vaccinations and restrictions may resume in September.

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

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

April 27, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment

Moldova turns down Kiev’s suggestions on Transnistria

Samizdat | April 27, 2022

Moldova has turned down the “offer” to capture its breakaway region of Transnistria by force floated by Kiev, stating that it seeks to reintegrate the self-proclaimed republic only through political means.

“The settlement of the Transnistrian issue can be achieved by political means and only on the basis of a peaceful solution, excluding military and other forcible actions, as well as on the basis of the principles of democratization and demilitarization of the region, [and] respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Moldova,” the country’s office for reintegration told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

The statement came in response to remarks made by Alexey Arestovich, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The official suggested the country was capable of “capturing” Transnistria should Chisinau formally request Kiev’s help in conquering the breakaway region.

“Yes, [we] would have managed somehow, but this is the territory of sovereign Moldova, [it could happen] only after the appeal of the Moldovan side,” he said.

Arestovich’s remarks garnered condemnation in Moscow as well, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov describing such statements as “quite provocative.”

The international attention towards Transnistria comes as the breakaway nation endured a string of mysterious incidents over the past few days. On Monday, Transnistria’s Ministry of State Security was attacked by three unknown assailants, who fired shoulder-mounted rocket launchers at the building, blowing out its windows and damaging its façade.

The attack was followed back-to-back by explosions at a local broadcasting center on Tuesday morning. While no one was hurt, the facility had its biggest antennas – transmitting Russian radio stations – destroyed.

The president of the self-proclaimed republic of Transnistria, Vadim Krasnoselsky, blamed the incidents he described as “terror attacks” on Ukrainian nationals and urged Kiev to investigate the armed groups that had allegedly infiltrated his region.

Transnistria, officially known as the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR), is a self-proclaimed state located along a narrow strip of land between the Dniester River and the Ukrainian border in the eastern part of Moldova.

The region broke away from Moldova in the early 1990s shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The region maintains close ties with Moscow, with Russian peacekeepers stationed there and a sizable portion of local residents holding Russian citizenship.

April 27, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

Putin warns the US to back off in Ukraine


The Western narrative of the two-month old war in Ukraine imbued with the rhetoric of “democracy versus autocracy,” has dramatically changed with the assertion by the US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin at a news conference in Poland Monday following his and Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to Kiev, that Washington  wants to “to see Russia weakened.” 

David Sanger at the New York Times noted that Austin was “acknowledging a transformation of the conflict, from a battle over control of Ukraine to one that pits Washington more directly against Moscow.” But this is not really a transformation. Sanger’s colleague at the Washington Post, David Ignatius, had written over three months ago that the Biden Administration was working on a road map to get Russia bogged down in Ukraine and attrition it in a way that it becomes a much diminished power on the world stage. 

For the Kremlin, most certainly, Austin’s remark would not have come as surprise. As recently as on Monday, President Vladimir Putin repeated at a meeting in the Kremlin that the US and its allies have sought to “split Russian society and destroy Russia from within.” Putin revisited the topic again on Wednesday pointing out that “the forces that have been historically pursuing a policy aimed at containing Russia just don’t need such an independent and large country, even enormously large, in their view. They believe that its very existence poses a threat to them.” 

In fact, several perceptive Western observers had estimated that the Kremlin has effectively fallen into a trap laid by the US that is intended to bring down Putin’s regime. Come to think of it, that famous gaffe on 26 March wasn’t a gaffe after all, when President Biden, speaking in Warsaw, had blurted out the impromptu, unscripted remark: “For God’s sake, this man (Putin) cannot remain in power.”

All the same, Austin’s remark signifies that a dramatic change is taking place in the geopolitical situation, which could have positive or negative results. On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned the West that staying involved in the Russia-Ukraine war posed “serious” and “real” risks of a World War III and “we must not underestimate it.” 

To be sure, the conflict is slowly but steadily turning into a new phase. Foreign fighters and soldiers from NATO regular units are increasingly beefing up the depleted Ukrainian army’s front lines.

That said, the optics also need to be understood. Austin’s war cry comes soon after Mariupol fell to the Russian forces. A couple of thousands Ukrainian nationalists and a few hundred military personnel from NATO countries are trapped in an underground labyrinth at the Azovstal complex in the city, which Russian forces have sealed off. It has been a severe blow to the US’ prestige. 

The Russian special operation is on track — “grinding” the Ukrainian forces to the ground, to borrow the graphic expression from UK prime minister Boris Johnson. On Monday, Russian high-precision missiles hit at least six railway substations in Western Ukraine destroying railway facilities in Krasnoe, Zdolbunov, Zhmerinka, Berdichev, Kovel, Korosten, which were meant to be key transshipment points for the supply of Western weaponry to the Ukrainian forces in the Donbas region. Rail communication in several western regions of Ukraine is effectively blocked. 

Reports from the east show that Ukrainian forces are suffering heavy losses. Russian forces have taken the city of Kremennaya and are approaching the town of Lyman, which would give them control of a direct road to Slavyansk from the east. 

Austin’s hyped up rhetoric notwithstanding, Ukraine is not only not showing any signs of winning but keeps bleeding, and the territory under the actual control of the Ukrainian government is steadily shrinking. US officials admit that the Pentagon lacks the ability to track the weapons that are going in. Yet, the Biden administration has so far spent around $4 billion on Ukraine. Therein hangs a tale. Who are the real beneficiaries of the US supplies? The level of corruption in Ukraine is legion.  

The plain truth is that it will be many weeks or months before meaningful volumes of heavy weapons could be delivered to Ukrainian combat units but in the meanwhile, the Battle of Donbass will be fought almost entirely on the basis of the current strength on the ground. In a detailed analysis this week, a former colonel in the US Army and prolific media commentator Daniel Davis concluded: “It will take too long for Western governments to come up with a coherent equipping plan and then prepare, ship, and deliver the kit to its destination in a timeframe that could provide Kyiv’s troops the ability to tip the balance against Russia.”  

The bottom line is this: The Biden Administration’s geopolitical agenda is to prolong the military conflict, which apart from weakening Russia militarily and diplomatically, turns Europe into a battlefield and makes the continent heavily dependent on the US leadership for a very long time to come. For Biden, the war provides a useful distraction in US politics in an election year. 

Austin hosted a conference of the US’ allies on Monday at the American base in Germany to form a monthly contact group on Ukraine’s self defence to coordinate the “efforts to strengthen Ukraine’s military for the long haul.” It has the ominous look of a “coalition of the willing.” Even Israel was recruited. But the US is underestimating the steely Russian resolve to fully realise the objectives behind the special operation in Ukraine. Moscow will not brook any roadblocks, no matter what it takes. 

Putin issued a stern warning today: “If someone from outside moves to interfere in the current developments, they should know that they will indeed create strategic threats to Russia, which are unacceptable to us, and they should know that our response to encounter assaults will be instant, it will be quick.”

He was explicit that Russia has military capabilities that the US cannot match. “We have all the tools to do it, the tools that others can’t boast of at the moment, but as for us, we won’t be boasting. We will use them if the need arises and I would like everyone to be aware of it. We have made all the necessary decisions in this regard,” Putin warned. 

April 27, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment

US wants EU to sanction China for its Ukraine-Russia policy

By Paul Antonopoulos | April 27, 2022

Washington is trying to convince Europe that it has the ability to influence China’s relationship with Russia. However, Beijing’s stance on Ukraine and associated threats from the West are unlikely to deter it from deepening cooperation with Moscow.

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman visited Brussels from April 19 to 22 and forced the Europeans to listen to Washington’s arguments about the possibility of imposing sanctions on China if it provided material support for Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine. At an event organised by the US and EU-funded “Friends of Europe” group, Sherman again warned that China would face sanctions similar to those being imposed on Russia.

After Sherman’s meeting with Bjoern Seibert, Chief of Staff for European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the State Department said the two sides agreed that they must urge China not to circumvent sanctions against Moscow or offer any support for Russia’s special operation in Ukraine.

Effectively, the US is instructing Europeans on the policies they must adopt to counter Russia’s action in Ukraine, making a mockery of the efforts by French President Emmanuel Macron to create a “strategically autonomous” Europe. Macron’s emboldened announcement of Europe’s “strategic autonomy” from the US was exposed as being nothing more than a buzzword with the outbreak of the war in Ukraine as Paris immediately abandoned all efforts of diplomacy after ignoring Moscow’s years-long complaints regarding Ukraine’s illegal and provocative actions in Donbass. This is on top of imposing sanctions that negatively affect the average European citizen.

For all this talk of “strategic autonomy”, Brussels has just once again demonstrated that it is obedient and submissive to Washington. However, despite the EU imposing sanctions, closing its airspace to Russian planes and delivering weapons to Ukraine, the US is clearly not satisfied and sent Sherman to Brussels to ensure that tougher policies against China are also implemented.

The US at the very minimum hopes to divide European countries as many are still unwilling to provoke China due to trade relations. In the context of the US ignoring all international communication norms and continuing its threats of sanctions against China, Beijing unlikely views this as just renewed verbal attacks.

China is using various channels to convey to its European partners its views on the crisis in Ukraine, as well as on efforts to help the conflicting parties resolve the war peacefully. It is recalled that Beijing sent a diplomatic mission led by Huo Yuzhen, China’s special representative for the China-Central and Eastern Europe Investment Cooperation Fund (CEEC). On April 25, the delegation began its European tour in the Czech Republic, with visits to Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia and Estonia also included.

The visit to the Czech Republic is significant since the country will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from July 1 to December 31. In this way, perhaps the comments by Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Tlapa were too hasty when he made de facto statements on behalf of EU members. At a meeting with the Chinese delegation in Prague, he warned that China’s cooperation with Russia could damage its relations with the EU.

Clearly, the Czech diplomat’s desire to please and appease the US overshadowed his own obligation to follow rudimentary political submissions, or perhaps the EU has amended this principle like many other ethical and legal norms due to the crisis in Ukraine?

Although EU officials concede China is unlikely to enforce the broad sanctions imposed on Moscow by a minority of the world’s recognized UN member states, this has not deterred their efforts to lambast and shame countries for their position. Brussels falsely hoped that Beijing could influence Moscow to stop its demilitarization of Ukraine, but hopes were quickly dispelled at an EU-China virtual summit on April 1 that left Western leaders frustrated and angry that they are international pariahs on the Ukraine issue.

A joint EU-US statement following Sherman’s talks in Brussels vowed to push Chinese leaders on issues such as the inadmissibility of sanctions circumvention, and “reaffirmed that such support would have consequences for our respective relationships with China”.

However, Sherman and EU foreign service chief Stefano Sannino avoided answering a journalist’s question on what potential repercussions could be for China. This suggests that the West actually does not have a clear idea on how and why they could punish China for its relationship with Russia and instead it hopes that threats of sanctions could deter their cooperation.

This of course is extremely naïve as sanctions have never made state leaderships of Middle Powers, like North Korea and Iran, collapse or capitulate. Given this fact, there is little prospect that sanctions will achieve the West’s hopes against Great Powers like Russia and China, especially as only just days before the US-EU forum, Chinese vice foreign minister Le Yucheng assured Russian ambassador Andrey Denisov of Beijing’s aim to “deepen bilateral comprehensive strategic coordination”.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

April 27, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran and China agree to counter ‘unilateralism’

Samizdat | April 27, 2022

Iran sees its relations with China as part of an effort by like-minded powers to confront US unilateralism and create stability and order, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi told the visiting Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe on Wednesday.

Raisi said that the successful implementation of the 25-year strategic cooperation agreement between China and Iran, signed in 2021, was a priority for Tehran, according to the state media.

“Confronting unilateralism and creating stability and order is possible through the cooperation of independent and like-minded powers,” Raisi was quoted as saying by the IRNA news agency. He added that the current “regional and global developments show more than ever the value of Iran-China strategic cooperation.”

Wei said his visit was aimed at “improving the strategic defense cooperation” between Tehran and Beijing, which would have a “remarkable” impact on fighting terrorism and defusing unilateralism, “particularly in the current critical and tense situation.”

Wei also met with Iranian Defense Minister General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani and reportedly invited him to visit China. In their meeting, Ashtiani stressed “the need to counter American hegemony in the world by strengthening multilateralism,” according to a statement by the Iranian Defense Ministry.

Ashtiani also criticized the US military presence in the Middle East and elsewhere, saying that “wherever the US has had military presence, it has created waves of insecurity, instability, rifts, pessimism, war, destruction and displacement,” according to IRNA.

Major General Mohammad Bagheri, the chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, also met with the Chinese visitor, and offered some details on the shape of their cooperation going forward.

“We agreed to expand bilateral cooperation in joint military drills, exchange of strategies, training issues and other common fields between the two countries’ armed forces so that we can provide better security for the two countries,” Bagheri told reporters in Tehran on Wednesday.

The 2021 strategic cooperation treaty has paved the way to military cooperation between Iran and China, but also a variety of economic activities ranging from oil trade to transportation and agriculture.

Iran has been under unilateral US sanctions since 2018, when the Trump administration reneged on the 2015 nuclear deal. China is one of the signatories of the original pact, along with the UK, France, Germany, and Russia. The current US government has said it wants to restore the agreement, but the talks have gone nowhere due to Washington’s refusal to lift the sanctions against Tehran.

April 27, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 1 Comment

The White House is Turning the War in Ukraine into a New Gold Rush

By Valery Kulikov – New Eastern Outlook 27.04.2022

The Americans have a saying that every new president needs his own “splendid little war.” They understand perfectly that a war of that kind will enrich the incoming political and military establishment and also solve many social and financial problems in the country, not least unemployment, and help reduce foreign debt.

The political establishment has found it easy to arrange matters behind the back of the indecisive and ailing 46th US president, Joe Biden (about whose mental acuity many, both in the US and internationally, are now seriously concerned), and continue the work of previous administrations in drawing Russia deeper into the Ukrainian crisis.

As a result, Washington clearly has no interest in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict, and in provoking its escalation into outright war the White House has found itself forced to put together an anti-Russian coalition and supply more and more consignments of arms to the Ukrainian government.

On March 2, 2022 Dmytro Kuleba, Ukrainian Foreign Minister, claimed that Ukraine had “mobilized an international anti-war coalition, which already has at least 86 states and 15 international organizations” and that “19 countries are giving weapons to Ukraine.” And in a briefing on March 8 Pentagon Press secretary John Kirby confirmed that Ukraine was receiving weapons form 15 countries, including the USA.

The press briefing, published on the official web site of the US Department of Defense, stated that the United States had committed more than $4 billion in military assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden administration, including $3.4 billion since the beginning of Russia’s special operation! According to the briefing, the US had provided security assistance including 700 Switchblade drone systems, 16 Mi-17 helicopters, more than 1,400 shoulder-launched Stinger anti-aircraft missile systems, 183,000 155mm Howitzer artillery rounds and 72 tactical vehicles to tow them, 200 armored personnel carriers, 121 Phoenix Ghost tactical drones and more than 7,000 small arms. The Pentagon is also providing the Ukrainian armed forces with 5,100 Javelin anti-tank missiles and more than 14,000 “other anti-tank systems.”

As for the claim that representatives of the US military and political establishment have a financial stake in the Ukrainian conflict, it is enough to take the example of the Javelins. According to a number of US experts and industry publications, the US has provided Ukraine with approximately a third of its stock of Javelin anti-tank missiles. Significantly, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has taken personal charge of supplying the Javelins to Ukraine. The reason is clear – he has long been closely linked to the manufacturer, and is now able to place government orders for these weapons. And with Javelin stocks steadily decreasing, the US army has requested new supplies, which means that Lloyd Austin is placing new orders, and may soon be making a big profit from these transactions.

Let us now look at the articles that have appeared in the US media – clearly planted by the Pentagon – suggesting that the transfer of the US’s supplies of Javelins may damage its own defense readiness, as there is the risk that remaining stocks may be insufficient to respond in the event of an “unexpected conflict.” Naturally, articles of this type are a form of propaganda, aimed at promoting the interests of the Department of Defense and of its head, Lloyd Austin. Currently the US army is not directly engaged in conflict, and is therefore able to replace its reserves of these weapons without difficulty. And by stepping up production volumes, Washington is able to boost its profits and create new jobs.

Many of the Javelins that have fallen into the hands of the Russian, PRD and PRL armies during the current conflict have an expiry date of 2022. Many media have reported on an embarrassing incident in the Yavoriv training ground, while US military specialists were instructing Ukrainian soldiers in the operation of the Javelin system – using a Javelin whose service life had expired. After firing the missile, the missile, fortunately without its warhead attached, fell to earth, almost under its users’ feet.

In other words, the war in Ukraine will, for a long time to come, boost the wealth of members of the United States’ political and military elite, including Pentagon officials, as they offload old stock, attract new orders from other countries, and embroil Washington in the “remote conflict” of their own creation. As for the European governments, US puppets who are supplying more and more of their own arms to Ukraine at Washington’s behest, they will, in the end, start to realize that this policy is harming them. By providing military assistance they are merely serving to draw out Russia’s military operation and tighten the financial noose around their own necks – which is one of the USA’s main goals. For, as a result of Washington’s rush to pressurize them into supplying Kiev with “sponsored military support,” in the end the European nations’ own arms reserves will run low, and they will be forced to restock by ordering new armaments from the USA.

It should therefore come as no surprise that the US government is standing on the sidelines and watching on with glee – it knows that when Europe and Nato need to replenish their arsenals, it will be the US military industrial complex that gets the contracts. And, in their joy the heads of the armament industry are drinking themselves into oblivion.

According to a recent article in The Independent, the arms companies are rushing to cash in on this new “gold rush” triggered by the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine. While to pickings from supplying arms to Kiev may be fairly modest, remilitarizing Europe would bring the US arms manufacturers huge profits. And the arms bosses have already started making promises to their shareholders and talking to the media about the profits to be gained from this project. Countries such as Germany, committed to a policy of pacifism since the end of World War II, are now trying to reform their militaries. Germany has already ordered 35 F-35 fighters, the most modern combat aircraft, from the American manufacturer Lockheed Martin, as well as 60 Chinook CH-47F heavy transport helicopters from the US aerospace giant Boeing.

Poland’s Ministry of Defense has signed a contract for the purchase of 250 US-made Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 tanks, the latest version of this vehicle. It has also signed an agreement for logistical and training support, including training for tank teams. In total, it has budgeted some $6 billion for the purchase of these tanks. According to the Polish army, this is its largest arms purchase since the Second World War.

To make sure no-one else benefits from this new Gold Rush the US intends to coordinate the international supply of arms to Ukraine, and to this end is organizing a conference on Ukraine at the United States European Command in Stuttgart, as reported by the German news television channel Welt.

April 27, 2022 Posted by | Corruption | , , , | Leave a comment

U.S.-Led NATO Is at War Against Russia

By Finian Cunningham | Strategic Culture Foundation |April 26, 2022

We are now in the realm of World War Three. The abysmal situation is such that the war is in danger of going nuclear in which case the future of the planet is at stake.

Incredibly, to warn of this danger leaves a person open to the accusation that they are peddling Russian propaganda. Blindly, the Western governments are doubling down on the powder-keg.

The U.S.-led NATO alliance is flooding Ukraine with heavy offensive weaponry capable of hitting Russia, and the British government this week has openly called for Ukraine to target Russia’s “depth” with NATO weapons.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov commented that the U.S. military alliance is now fully-fledged in a proxy war against Russia. He said there is a “serious danger” of confrontation spiraling into a nuclear conflagration.

Only a fool or an insane person could remain insouciant about the dynamic unfolding.

Ominously, there is evidently no diplomatic will from Washington and its allies to address the background to the war in Ukraine or Russia’s long-held security concerns. The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is being vilified for even attempting to negotiate a peace settlement by going this week to Moscow before traveling on to Kiev.

There is a palpable sense that the U.S. and NATO are recklessly pushing a military showdown with Russia – albeit under the cynical guise of “defending Ukraine”. All the while, the Western public is being kept in the dark by a complicit corporate-controlled news media.

This week saw the United States host what can only be called a war conference at its European command center in the Ramstein airbase, Germany, where NATO military chiefs coordinated their weapons delivery to Ukraine. This is a war footing.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the United States and its NATO allies would “move heaven and earth” to get more weapons into Ukraine to defeat Russia’s military intervention in that country. Austin’s rhetoric was a disturbing malapropism with apocalyptic resonance.

But it does reveal the determination to take on Russia that is now openly visceral. The conflict in Ukraine is emerging for what it is – a war between the U.S.-led NATO bloc and Russia. Moscow has long held that the U.S. and NATO are a hostile entity tacitly aiming to subjugate Russia. Such claims have been derided as Russian paranoia. However, it’s now apparent that the actual intent is hostility and defeat of Russia.

Austin stated at the Ramstein conference that America’s allies are now openly exploiting an opportunity to “weaken Russia” and pursue the regime change objective in Moscow that U.S. President Biden referred to in his controversial Warsaw speech last month.

Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken accompanied Austin, the Pentagon’s civilian chief, on a secret visit to the Ukrainian capital, Kiev. American news media dutifully complied with an embargo on reporting the Sunday visit which shows that these media are complicit in conforming to Washington’s agenda of belligerence.

The American envoys held three-hour discussions with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky during which they pledged more military support on top of the huge arsenal already provided by the U.S. The meeting is a stark signal to Moscow of what the real American intentions are. This is not about resolving Russia’s grievances over NATO expansionism and the neutrality of Ukraine. That discourse was never taken seriously by the United States anyway. No, now relations are in the framework of the U.S. waging a war against Russia, with Ukraine merely the present battleground.

When the top American officials returned to Poland they held a press conference Monday at a warehouse shipping NATO weapons to Ukraine. At one stage, Austin told reporters about the earlier meeting with Zelensky: “So our focus in the meeting was to talk about those things that would enable us [sic] to win the current fight and also build for tomorrow [sic].”

Unable to contain his enthusiasm for confrontation, the Pentagon chief went on to make the direct U.S. involvement more apparent: “In terms of our – their ability to win, the first step in winning is believing that you can win. And so they believe that we can win; we believe that they – we can win – they can win if they have the right equipment, the right support. And we’re going to do everything we can – continue to do everything we can to ensure that that gets there.”

When Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered what he called “the special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, he said Russia had no choice but to defend the Russian-speaking people of the Donbass who had endured eight years of a deadly offensive by the NATO-backed Kiev regime forces.

The United States, NATO, and the Kiev regime have shown no will whatsoever to resolve the civil war in Ukraine peacefully by implementing the Minsk accords negotiated in 2015.

It is more apparent than ever that the conflict in the Ukraine was never a localized civil war but rather was always a front line in a bigger geopolitical confrontation between the U.S.-led NATO bloc and Russia, as Bruce Gagnon explained in a recent interview for Strategic Culture Foundation.

Instead of an earnest effort to genuinely resolve the conflict, the NATO-backed Kiev regime and its openly Nazi regiments are mobilizing in a general war footing against Russia.

The rationale is now explicitly stated as the U.S. and its allies wanting to defeat Russia and subjugate it.

British armed forces minister James Heappey even went as far as telling the BBC this week that Ukrainian forces should strike Russia’s depth with NATO weaponry.

Russia’s military defense doctrine forgoes first-use of nuclear weapons but it reserves the right to use such weapons if the country comes under existential threat even from conventional military assault.

The United States and its NATO allies have willfully ignored Russia’s decades-long concerns about its security and in particular the use of Ukraine as a cat’s paw to destabilize and dissipate Russia. The full-on U.S. imperial war agenda of targeting Russia for defeat is now coming into focus. The crazies are in charge of the asylum. And shouting about it too.

April 27, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 6 Comments

US Boeing X-37 may carry weapons of mass destruction — Head of Roscosmos

TASS – April 23, 2022

MOSCOW – US Boeing X-37 orbital spacecraft may carry reconnaissance tools or weapons of mass destruction, Director General of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin said on Saturday.

“It may carry some kind of reconnaissance tools or weapons of mass destruction. This is a new category of carriers of mass destruction weapons. Attacks from space pose the most serious danger,” he said in an interview with Rossiya 24 TV channel, mentioning the vehicle returning from space.

“We do not have any intelligible information from the United States about the purpose and technical capabilities of this device,” he added.

According to Rogozin, the Russian side believes that the United States is trying to launch weapons into space with the help of the Boeing X-37.

April 27, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Political West mulls reshaping UN and what’s left of international law

By Drago Bosnic | April 27, 2022

In order to understand the prelude to World War 2, one cannot ignore the failures of the long-defunct League of Nations, which was a UN-like structure aimed at being a forum of countries resolving disputes through dialogue rather than war. Although just another noble idea before World War 1, in the immediate aftermath of the sheer death and destruction resulting from that conflict, it became an urgent necessity. The League of Nations was supposed to make sure nothing of sorts ever happened again.

Sadly, as we all know, it failed miserably, with an even worse conflict erupting less than 20 years after the Paris Peace Conference was completed. Now, nearly 80 years since the horrors of WW2, we have reached a hauntingly similar point as we realize the UN didn’t just inherit the League of Nations flag, but also many of the same faults which ultimately led the world into yet another disaster of global proportions, one which resonates to this very day.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is the pillar of the UN and its veto power mechanism serves as a balancing tool which takes into account the interests of world powers and thus provides the UN with relevance which no other international organization or forum of sovereign nations in known history ever had. Currently, the five permanent members of UNSC (China, France, Russia, the UK and the US) can veto any resolution put forth by the body. The council’s other 10 rotating members do not have such powers.

This veto power has especially been a source of frustration for the United States, NATO and the EU. Due to their dominance in the UN General Assembly (UNGA), where there is a swarm of Western client states and statelets, many of which were created through deliberate and oftentimes forceful disintegration of larger and more sovereign nations (for instance, Yugoslavia was split into 6 states and one illegal state-like entity), the political West wants this UN body to be more prominent than the UN Security Council.

By pushing the UN General Assembly to the forefront of decision making, the West could then simply force these countless vassal states and statelets to vote in a way which would be beneficial to the US, EU or NATO and give these decisions a sort of “international community” touch which the political West needs in order to build what they see as a much-needed facade of “international legitimacy”.

Because of this, Western political elites and the mainstream media often try to portray the UNGA as a “more democratic” body than the UNSC. How truly democratic is up for debate, given the sheer amount of US pressure and arm-twisting used to coerce countries into voting not just in line with Western interests, but oftentimes at the expense of their own. And in terms of population distribution, we see that these states and statelets, despite oftentimes being the majority or close to a majority in the UNGA, actually represent less than 20 or even 15 percent of the world’s population. This also explains the Western obsession with forceful fragmentation of larger nations into smaller ones, echoing the ancient Roman policy of divide et impera.

To meet this goal, the UNGA is now considering introducing a provision that would require permanent members of the UN Security Council to justify their use of veto powers. It was tabled by Liechtenstein in mid-April and presented at a closed-door discussion panel last Tuesday. The discussion supposedly “turned out to be quite positive” and the initiative “received additional co-sponsors”, the mission of the microstate to the UN said after the meeting.

“We had a strong turnout and positive engagement on the Veto Initiative in open format this afternoon. We will continue our work to get the strongest possible political support for our text which now has 57 cosponsors,” it stated.

If adopted, the initiative would mandate convening the UNGA within 10 days after a permanent member of the UNSC uses their veto power. At the meeting, the state would have to justify its decision to use the veto. According to Liechtenstein, adopting the provision would “empower the General Assembly and strengthen multilateralism.”

Quite unsurprisingly, so far, the initiative has been openly supported only by one permanent member of the UNSC – the United States. Washington co-sponsored the provision, openly acknowledging the drive is aimed at Moscow and its use of the veto power to block a resolution on the ongoing Russian special military operation in Ukraine. Announcing the co-sponsorship, the US envoy to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield accused Moscow of “misusing” its veto powers.

“We are particularly concerned by Russia’s shameful pattern of abusing its veto privilege over the past two decades,” she stated, adding that, in the latest alleged abuse, Moscow had used the veto power to “protect President Putin from condemnation over his unprovoked and unjust war of choice against Ukraine.”

Of course, it would require an entirely separate analysis to dissect US envoy’s statements, which are filled with “liberal interpretation” of facts. But the statement does confirm the assertion that the political West, and the US in particular, are trying to reshape the UN to their liking, which would result in sidelining US competitors. In doing so, the US might be successful in turning the UN into another footnote of its belligerent foreign policy and even use it to justify sanctions and wars of aggression anywhere in the world.

However, even though this may seem like a victory to the aggressive planners in Washington DC, it may spell a disaster for world peace. By sidelining countries like Russia, China or even India, Brazil, South Africa and many others in the foreseeable future, the US is incentivizing these countries to ignore or even leave the UN, which would bring about the de facto end of international law.

At best, it would result in the creation of another UN-style organization led by those same sidelined countries, bringing about a deeply divided world where there would be at least two blocks – the political West (plus its vassals) and the rest of the world composed of sovereign nations. The last time such a division happened, the world suffered up to 80,000,000 dead in just 6 years.

Drago Bosnic is an independent geopolitical and military analyst.

April 27, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Biden regime wants private companies to censor online speech

By Tom Parker | Reclaim The Net | April 26, 2022

The White House continued pressuring the tech giants to censor content that it deems to be “misinformation” yesterday by throwing its support behind the use of Section 230 and antitrust reforms to combat misinformation.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki shared the Biden administration’s support for these reforms when a reporter asked whether the White House would be interested in working with Twitter, “like it has in the past,” to continue to combat COVID misinformation and disinformation.

The reporter didn’t point to a specific past partnership between the White House and Twitter when asking his question but Twitter has previously facilitated a White House Q&A as part of its “work on COVID-19 vaccine misinformation” and reportedly partnered with the White House to promote COVID vaccines. The White House has also admitted that it regularly contacts social media platforms about misinformation and even flags content for Facebook to censor.

Psaki responded to the question by confirming that Biden’s White House is still “engaging regularly with all social media platforms about steps that can be taken.”

She continued by suggesting that Congress should impose reforms on Big Tech platforms. Specifically, Psaki said the White House would support reforms of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) (which currently gives large tech platforms immunity from civil liability if they act in “good faith” to moderate content), antitrust reforms, and “requiring more transparency” from tech platforms.

Psaki also commented on Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s recent acquisition of Twitter by warning that President Joe Biden wants Big Tech platforms to be “held accountable for the harms that they cause.”

Additionally, when she was asked about “purveyors of election misinformation, disinformation” having more of an opportunity to speak on Twitter after Musk’s takeover, Psaki said: “The President has long talked about his concerns about the power of social media platforms, including Twitter and others, to spread misinformation, disinformation, the need for these platforms to be held accountable.”

Psaki’s comments are the latest of many calls from the Biden administration for tech platforms to purge speech that the Federal Government deems to be misinformation. Research has shown that the current levels of Big Tech censorship already heavily favor Biden.

The Biden White House’s previous demands for tech platforms to censor misinformation are currently the subject of a lawsuit that alleges these demands violated the First Amendment.

April 27, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | | 2 Comments