Aletho News


Elon Musk responds to Mike Huckabee’s request for Twitter to remove online anonymity

By Ken Macon | Reclaim The Net | May 3, 2022

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has asked Elon Musk to remove online anonymity if his Twitter bid becomes successful, sparking concern from privacy advocates about how Musk will “authenticate all humans” and whether it will involve users handing over ID to use the platform.

“I hope @elonmusk will insist that all Twitter posters use their real names & not be keyboard cowards hiding behind silly little sophomoric screen names. Be man enough or woman enough (if you even know what that is) to stand by what you say! If you can’t own it don’t say it,” Huckabee tweeted.

Twitter has distinguished itself from other platforms like Facebook by allowing users to use pseudonyms. For that reason, people who need anonymity, like whistleblowers and dissidents in repressive regimes, people living in countries where anonymity is the difference between life and death, or even those who have opinions that go against the mainstream, have had a place where they can speak freely without fear of retribution.

In a new tweet, Musk replied to Huckabee indicating that there will be a balance when it comes to authenticating users vs preserving anonymity.

In a series of tweets, US Naval Academy’s associate professor of Cybersecurity Law Jeff Kosseff explained why Twitter should continue to allow anonymity.

“The Musk/Twitter press release states that the company will authenticate ‘all humans.’ I’m not sure what this means, but there is at least a chance that it could compromise users’ ability to be anonymous. In this thread I explain some concerns with this possibility,” Kosseff wrote.

“At least some high-profile commentators have interpreted it as banning anonymity/requiring ID verification. If that is the case, and it applies to “all humans” (rather than just making verification an option for everyone), then that could threaten some of the values that have helped to define and distinguish Twitter from platforms like Facebook that have always required real names.”

Twitter itself supported anonymity in a 2021 blog post, citing a PhD graduate who was able to express her frustration with the lack of job prospects without fearing her current employer would retaliate or losing potential employers.

“Being able to express vulnerability and the messiness of real life is important to Brooke, which is why she Tweets under a pseudonym,” the post read. “This is the handle where she can be herself, including talking frankly about the challenges of job searching, without worrying about turning off a potential employer.”

If Twitter were to collect ID on users, dictatorial governments would be able to pressure it to provide personally identifiable data of critics, journalists, and dissidents. That would contradict Musk’s stand of free speech stance.

May 3, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

‘Original Antigenic Sin’ Mentioned in the New England Journal of Medicine

By Noah Carl | The Daily Sceptic | May 3, 2022

Suppose an individual is infected with a novel pathogen, and then sometime later is infected with a related version of the same pathogen. If ‘original antigenic sin’ is present, the individual’s immune system will respond to the antigens carried by the original version of the pathogen, resulting in weaker immunity.

The idea is that, for certain classes of pathogen, the immune system’s response to any particular exposure depends on an individual’s first exposure. If two versions of a pathogen, A and B, are circulating in a population, individuals who were first exposed to A may develop weaker immunity against B, and vice versa.

There is substantial evidence that original antigenic sin applies to influenza: those who gain immunity to one strain of influenza may develop weaker immunity to other strains.

It can also apply to vaccines. As a recent review notes, “if we only immunise to a single strain or epitope, and if that strain/epitope changes over time, then the immune system is unable to mount an accurate secondary response.”

At the end of last year, ‘mainstream’ commentators began discussing the possibility that original antigenic sin applies to the Covid vaccines. If it does, we may have vaccinated millions of young people against a version of Covid that poses little risk to them, at the cost of weakening their immunity to subsequent variants.

Now ‘original antigenic sin’ has been mentioned in the context of Covid vaccines in the pages of the New England Journal of Medicine – the world’s most ‘prestigious’ medical journal.

Noting that boosters are “not risk-free”, the American immunologist Paul Offit writes: “all age groups are at risk for the theoretical problem of an ‘original antigenic sin’ – a decreased ability to respond to a new immunogen because the immune system has locked onto the original immunogen.”

He cites a recent preprint by Matthew Gagne and colleagues, who carried out an experiment on nonhuman primates. They began by giving two groups of primates the Moderna vaccine. After 41 weeks, they gave each group a booster shot. One group received the Moderna vaccine again, while the other group received an Omicron-specific booster.

Finally, both groups were exposed to Covid. The researchers measured memory B cells and found that the Omicron-specific booster “provided no advantage” over the original Moderna vaccine. Indeed, they “did not observe a population of Omicron-only memory B cells before or after the boost that was clearly distinct from background staining”.

This means the Omicron-specific booster did not produce any detectable Omicron-only memory B cells at all, though it did trigger the production of more memory B cells specific to the original SARS-CoV-2 strain. It’s important to note, however, that both boosters did increase memory B cells (and neutralising antibodies) to some extent. (Neither was totally ineffective.)

As Gagne and colleagues note, the fact that memory B cells were no higher in the group that received the Omicron-specific booster “likely stems from the principle of original antigenic sin”. How serious this problem turns out to be will depend on several factors, not least subsequent viral evolution.

Offit writes in the NEJM that it “could limit our ability to respond to a new variant”.

May 3, 2022 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Names of Hungarian PM, Croatian President Appear on Notorious Ukrainian Kill List Site

Samizdat | May 2, 2022

Curated by the Security Service of Ukraine and officials from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Myrotvorets website publishes the personal info of so-called “enemies of Ukraine”. Several individuals whose names have been posted on the site have been murdered, and rights groups and governments have repeatedly called for it to be taken down.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s name has appeared on the notorious Ukrainian website (lit. “Peacekeeper”).

The 58-year-old politician is listed as an “accomplice of Russian war criminals”, an “accomplice in the crimes of Russian authorities against Ukraine and its citizens”, for his “participation in acts of humanitarian aggression against Ukraine”, as an “anti-Ukrainian propagandist”, and for his general all-round “cooperation with the Russian aggressor”.

Orban’s specific “crimes” include his refusal to allow weapons intended for Ukraine to be sent through his country’s territory, and his refusal to reject Russian gas supplies even in the long-term. The prime minister’s willingness to pay for Russian gas in rubles is also mentioned.

The site further recalled Orban’s 4 April statement about the forces Hungary has faced to remain independent, ranging from the local opposition to “the bureaucrats in Brussels, money and institutes of the Soros empire, international media as well as the Ukrainian president”.

Finally, the website points to Orban’s demands that Kiev’s post-2014 authorities respect western Ukraine’s sizeable ethnic Hungarian community, and provide residents of Zakarpattia with greater autonomy.

Along with Orban, Croatian President Zoran Milanovic’s name has also been added to the site. Milanovic is listed as an “accomplice of Russian invaders” for his alleged “humanitarian aggression against Ukraine” for “the spreading of Kremlin propaganda” and so-called “support and justification of Russian aggression against Ukraine”.

The site recalls Milanovic’s 2 February 2022 remarks that Russia must be “a factor” in the “equation” of European-wide stability, and his opposition to Ukraine joining NATO.

Former Russian President and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who now serves as deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, suggested that Orban and Milanovic’s appearance on the notorious website was a sign that Ukraine’s neo-Nazi elements were dissatisfied with the amount of weapons, mercenaries, and money they have received from the West.

“At this rate, soon Ukrainian Nazis will personally carry out reprises against objectionable leaders and ‘separate the sheep from the goats’ directly in European capitals”, Medvedev wrote on his Telegram channel.

Hungary has refused to toe the line on the European Union’s anti-Russian policy in the wake of the escalation of the Ukraine crisis in February. On Sunday, Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyas said that Budapest has “made it clear” that it will “never support” extending EU sanctions against Russian energy imports, implying that it may veto Brussels’ plans to ban Russian oil.

Journalists, human rights groups, the G7, and the Russian Foreign Ministry have repeatedly called for Myrotvorets to be shut down, citing its use against the so-called “enemies of Ukraine” to murder, threaten, and intimidate individuals whose names have been listed there. Set up in 2014, the site has since amassed tens of thousands of names, ranging from Ukrainian opposition politicians and public figures to foreign officials, journalists, and businessmen.

In 2015, former Ukrainian lawmaker Oleg Kalashnikov and journalist and writer Oles Buzina were murdered after their personal data (including addresses) were posted on the site. Before he was killed, Kalashnikov repeatedly reported on threats being made against his life after his info was placed on the site. After he and Buzina were killed, Myrotvorets’ official Twitter handle mockingly joked about “the successful completion of a combat mission by agent 404” – a reference to the well-known HTTP 404 “not found” error.

Several other journalists and public figures listed on the site have subsequently been killed. Among the deceased is Andrea Rocchelli, an Italian independent journalist working in Donbass.

In 2015, the website began to publish the personal data of Russian military personnel involved in the anti-terrorist operation in Syria. Then-adviser to the Ministry of Internal Affairs Anton Gerashchenko publicly encouraged Daesh (ISIS) to “deal with” Russian troops under Sharia law. His comments prompted Russia’s Investigative Committee to open a criminal case against him over public calls for terrorist activities.

In 2016, Myrotvorets got its hands on leaked detailed personal data of some 5,000 Ukrainian, Russian, and Western journalists who had worked in Donbass. Among the records leaked was detailed personal information including phone numbers and addresses, and many of the journalists have reported threats against their lives.

Orban isn’t the first Hungarian to be added to the Myrotvorets list. In 2018, the website listed over 300 ethnic Hungarian residents from Zakarpattia who had “illegally” obtained Hungarian citizenship (Ukraine doesn’t allow dual citizenship, but much of the country’s political and business elite holds two or more citizenships anyway). In October 2018, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Peter Szijjarto blasted the site and the Ukrainian government, saying authorities in Kiev were using the website as part of a “hate campaign” in a desperate attempt to increase then-President Petro Poroshenko’s sagging approval ratings.

May 3, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 2 Comments

India, Germany cogitate on Ukraine

Germany to send fifty Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine to fight Russia

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s short visit to Germany pegged on the Indian-German Intergovernmental Commission meeting in Berlin on Monday inevitably came to focus on the Ukraine crisis. The western media would have loved to grill Modi on India’s reluctance to criticise Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine. But German hosts thoughtfully skipped the customary Q&A after the joint appearance of Modi and Chancellor Olaf Scholz before the press. 

India’s prudence is self-evident as much as Germany’s zealousness to flaunt its condemnation of Russia. Modi and Scholz are sailing in different boats. Modi draws flak for being a “strongman” who views the Ukraine crisis through the prism of India’s interests, while also taking a principled stance, whereas, Scholz carries the burden of vacuous moralising.

Scholz must prove constantly that he is indeed a loyal ally of President Biden and is by no means a “pacifist.” (To get a hang of Scholz’s predicament, read Spiegel’s maddening interview with him, here — alternatively annoying, infuriating, taunting, affronting and goading.)    

Modi can afford to be nonchalant because he is clearheaded about where Indian interests lie — its strategic autonomy in a highly unpredictable international environment. But Scholz is nervous as a mouse because German interests are caught up betwixt the crosscurrents of European politics and the NATO’s epochal struggle to bring Russia down on its knees. 

Modi is well ensconced in power while Scholz heads a precarious coalition of disparate partners. Modi could witness Scholz and his foreign minister Annalena Baerbock speaking in two different voices on Russia. Baerbock insisted that Russian forces should vacate Ukrainian soil before Western sanctions can be lifted, but Scholz toned down saying that the lifting of Western sanctions is linked to Russia and Ukraine reaching an agreement. 

Germany is a divided house when it comes to Russia ties. On the contrary, aside the clutch of noisy American lobbyists operating in India, the Indian public at large recognises the centrality of India’s friendly relations with Russia. 

India gets the space to manoeuvre, as Russia is excessively indulgent towards Delhi’ stance, which is, quintessentially, neither to support nor to oppose Moscow’s intervention — something  like Professor Godbole in the EM Forster novel A Passage to India, a Brahman Hindu who is very spiritual and reluctant to become involved in human affairs. 

Scholz who is new to international diplomacy could have learnt a thing or two from UK prime minister Boris Johnson’s recent visit to India. Johnson put Ukraine on the back burner and focused on the agenda of “Global Britain” to create his country’s post-Brexit pathway in India’s vast market. 

That said, Scholz has done remarkably well in getting the US off his back over sanctions against gas supplies from Russia. Germany’s dependence on Russian supplies of oil and gas (and coal) has been heavy and the Americans accept it as a reality. The point is, Germany and Russia have had a dense relationship and the Ukraine crisis comes in handy for Washington to try to redefine the parameters within which German-Russian relations will work in future. 

In India’s case, if Washington dared to bully the Modi government, it was largely because in the post-Cold War era, under successive Congress governments, India’s relations with Russia got atrophied to such an extent that Americans convinced themselves that it was a conscious Indian policy direction dictated by the compulsions of the “Washington Consensus,” which has been a beacon light for India’s past leaderships. Unsurprisingly, the Biden Administration misjudged that Modi too must be fair game.

But the core difference between the German and Indian predicament is that while German industry is a stakeholder in the relationship with Russia, India’s corporate houses, for reasons best known to them, sidestep the Russian turf in deference to the US wish. Thus, Washington has powerful Indian lobbyists and, therefore, the Modi government’s audacity to pursue an independent policy toward Russia becomes commendable. 

The chances are that Germany may pick up the threads of its relationship with Russia once the Ukraine conflict ends. In the chronicle of the “German Question” in European history, Russia had the role of a balancer, mostly. But there is a deep economic and political crisis waiting to erupt in Germany and how it pans out is crucial.

The rising inflation and the dramatic fall in living standards is souring the German mood, as the debris from Ukraine falls on it. So far, an estimated 5 million Ukrainian refugees have entered Europe. This figure is expected to double in a near future.

Meanwhile, the looming food crisis will also put tens of millions of people in Africa or the Middle East on the verge of starvation fuelling in turn large scale migration to Europe. Such migration will inevitably bring the dregs of Ukrainian society into Germany, which means that organised crime, human trafficking, illegal drug distribution and transnational crime, etc. will increase. Make no mistake that the Ukrainian mafia will introduce a new vicious culture of crime as it begins to dominate the European streets.

All in all, a fine balance has been struck during Modi’s visit. The joint statement conceded the host country’s prerogative to reiterate its “strong condemnation of the unlawful and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine by Russian Forces.” But it formed a “stand alone” statement of a solitary sentence, which helps signal India’s distancing from it. Germany joined India’s call for an “immediate cessation of hostilities,” although Berlin just announced a major transfer of offensive weaponry to Ukraine as part of the US-led “coalition of the willing” and implicitly acquiesces with the Biden administration’s aggressive agenda of “weakening Russia” militarily.

Significantly, the sombre mood in Germany got reflected in the joint statement. The Indo-German economic relations are far below potential and will remain so. CNN carried a grim report in the weekend that not only is German economy heading into a recession but it may suffer “structural damage” that will make recovery a drawn-out process. 

Clearly, behind the German rhetoric today, the fact remains that Berlin’s intelligence apparatus played a dubious role in Ukraine by navigating the ascendancy of the neo-Nazi forces to usurp power in Kiev in the coup in February 2014. This controversial past is now further complicated by Berlin fuelling the conflict by despatching tanks into Ukraine, which was after all the invasion route of Nazi Germany. 

When it comes to Ukraine, Germany doesn’t make good company for India. We have a transparent record and with great honesty and integrity, Modi could forewarn , with Scholz listening, that “there will be no winning party in this war, everyone will suffer.”    

May 3, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 2 Comments

PayPal seizes alternative media site’s money

Samizdat | May 3, 2022

Payment processor PayPal has frozen alternative media powerhouse Consortium News’ (CN) donation page without warning, confiscating the site’s $9,348.14 balance with no explanation beyond the claim that “an investigation and review” of the site’s “history” found “some potential risk associated with this account.”

CN was informed via email on Sunday that it couldn’t use PayPal anymore and told “we noticed activity in your account that’s inconsistent with our User Agreement and we [can] no longer offer you PayPal services.” Absent any further explanation beyond the desire to limit “potential risk exposure,” the site was informed that the nearly $10,000 sitting in its account would be effectively confiscated for “up to 180 days,” after which point, “if applicable, we’ll email you with information on how to withdraw any remaining money.”

The seizure came at a particularly damaging time for the reader-funded site, which had just begun a spring fundraising drive. Contacted by CN employees, a PayPal customer service representative confirmed on Sunday that no specific reason had been given by the “back office” for “permanently limiting” the account other than the aforementioned “potential risk.”

“I don’t see any existing case” of a complaint having been filed by “any agency, government or private, or any individual,” they told CN, promising to ask PayPal’s back office to explain its behavior to the website.

More ominously, the PayPal representative informed CN that “if there was a violation,” it was “possible” the $9,348.14 balance in its account would be kept by PayPal as “damages.” According to PayPal’s own documentation, violations include providing “false, inaccurate or misleading information” to PayPal, its customers, or “third parties.”

In a blog post discussing the suspension, CN editor-in-chief Joe Lauria suggested the site had been targeted due to its coverage of the conflict in Ukraine, noting that MintPress News – another well-known alt-media website with similar political views regarding the US and NATO’s foreign adventures – had its own account frozen by PayPal last week. PayPal’s definition of “violations,” Lauria implied, could easily be stretched to include the Orwellian crime du jour of “fake news,” an especially egregious offense during wartime.

Last week, former RT America correspondent Caleb Maupin also had his PayPal account frozen without warning or explanation, as did MintPress employees Alan MacLeod and Mnar Adley. Many on social media have speculated that the payment processor is deliberately targeting those with dissident views on the conflict in Ukraine and US foreign policy in general – “thoughtcrimes” hundreds of other prominent commentators have been deplatformed for in the past.

Consortium News was founded in 1995 by the late journalist Robert Parry, whose claims to fame included exposing the Iran-Contra scandal, in opposition to what the site’s own biography describes as “a crisis building in the US news media.”

Skewering the “pattern of groupthink on issue after issue, often ignoring important factual information because it didn’t fit with what all the Important People knew to be true.”

May 3, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | | 2 Comments

By redefining UNRWA, Washington destroys the foundation for a Just peace in Palestine

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | May 3, 2022

Palestinians are justifiably worried that the mandate granted to the United Nations Agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, might be coming to an end. UNRWA’s mission, which has been in effect since 1949, has done more than provide urgent aid and support to millions of refugees. It was also a political platform that protected and preserved the rights of several generations of Palestinians.

Though UNRWA was not established as a political or legal platform per se, the context of its mandate was largely political, since Palestinians became refugees as a result of military and political events – the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people by Israel and the latter’s refusal to respect the Right of Return for Palestinians as enshrined in UN resolution 194 (III) of 11 December, 1948.

“UNRWA has a humanitarian and development mandate to provide assistance and protection to Palestine refugees pending a just and lasting solution to their plight,” the UN General Assembly Resolution 302 (IV) of 8 December, 1949 read. Alas, neither a ‘lasting solution’ to the plight of the refugees, nor even a political horizon has been achieved. Instead of using this realization as a way to revisit the international community’s failure to bring justice to Palestine and to hold Israel and its US benefactors accountable, it is UNRWA and, by extension, the refugees that are being punished.

In a stern warning on 24 April, the head of the political committee at the Palestinian National Council (PNC), Saleh Nasser said that UNRWA’s mandate might be coming to an end. Nasser referenced a recent statement by the UN body’s Commissioner-General, Philippe Lazzarini, about the future of the organization.

Lazzarini’s statement, published a day earlier, left room for some interpretation, though it was clear that something fundamental regarding the status, mandate and work of UNRWA is about to change. “We can admit that the current situation is untenable and will inevitably result in the erosion of the quality of the UNRWA services or, worse, to their interruption,” Lazzarini said.

Commenting on the statement, Nasser said that this “is a prelude to donors stopping their funding for UNRWA.”

The subject of UNRWA’s future is now a priority within the Palestinian, but also Arab political discourse. Any attempts at canceling or redefining UNRWA’s mission will pose a serious, if not an unprecedented challenge for Palestinians. UNRWA provides educational, health and other support for 5.6 million Palestinians in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. With an annual budget of $1.6 billion, this support, and the massive network that has been created by the organization, cannot be easily replaced.

Equally important is the political nature of the organization. The very existence of UNRWA means that there is a political issue that must be addressed regarding the plight and future of Palestinian refugees. In fact, it is not the mere lack of enthusiasm to finance the organisation that has caused the current crisis. It is something bigger, and far more sinister.

In June 2018, Jared Kushner, son-in-law and advisor to former US President Donald Trump, visited Amman, Jordan, where he, according to the US Foreign Policy magazine, tried to persuade Jordan’s King Abdullah to remove the refugee status from 2 million Palestinians currently living in the country.

This and other attempts have failed. In September 2018, Washington, under the Trump administration, decided to cease its financial support of UNRWA. As the organization’s main funder, the American decision was devastating, because about 30 per cent of UNRWA’s money comes from the US alone. Yet, UNRWA hobbled along by increasing its reliance on the private sector and individual donations.

Though the Palestinian leadership celebrated the Biden Administration’s decision to resume UNRWA’s funding on April 7, 2021, a little caveat in Washington’s move was largely kept secret. Washington only agreed to fund UNRWA after the latter agreed to sign a two-year plan, known as Framework for Cooperation. In essence, the plan effectively turned UNRWA into a platform for Israel and American policies in Palestine, whereby the UN body consented to US – thus Israeli – demands to ensure that no aid would reach any Palestinian refugee who has received military training “as a member of the so-called Palestinian Liberation Army”, other organizations or “has engaged in any act of terrorism”. Moreover, the Framework expects UNRWA to monitor “Palestinian curriculum content”.

By entering into an agreement with the US Department of State, “UNRWA has effectively transformed itself from a humanitarian agency that provides assistance and relief to Palestinian refugees, to a security agency furthering the security and political agenda of the US, and ultimately Israel,” BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights noted.

Palestinian protests, however, did not change the new reality, which effectively altered the entire mandate granted to UNRWA by the international community nearly 73 years ago. Worse, European countries followed suit when, last September, the European parliament advanced an amendment that would condition EU support of UNRWA on the editing and rewriting of Palestinian school text books that, supposedly, ‘incite violence’ against Israel.

Instead of focusing solely on shutting down UNRWA immediately, the US, Israel and their supporters are working to change the nature of the organization’s mission and to entirely rewrite its original mandate. The agency that was established to protect the rights of the refugees, is now expected to protect Israeli, American and western interests in Palestine.

Though UNRWA was never an ideal organization, it has indeed succeeded in helping millions of Palestinians throughout the years, while preserving the political nature of their plight.

Though the Palestinian Authority, various poltical factions, Arab governments and others have protested the Israeli-American designs against UNRWA, such protestations are unlikely to make much difference, considering that UNRWA itself is surrendering to outside pressures. While Palestinians, Arabs and their allies must continue to fight for UNRWA’s original mission, they must urgently develop alternative plans and platforms that would shield Palestinian refugees and their Right of Return from becoming marginal and, eventually, forgotten.

If Palestinian refugees are removed from the list of political priorities concerning the future of a just peace in Palestine, neither justice nor peace can possibly be attained.

May 3, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Russia doubles down on Hitler remarks, says Israel supports neo-Nazis

Press TV – May 3, 2022

Russia says Israel is supporting “the neo-Nazi regime in Kiev”, raising the stakes in its tensions with Tel Aviv over the raging war in Ukraine.

The spat began after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking to Italian outlet Mediaset’s Rete 4 channel in an interview released Sunday, said that Adolf Hitler had Jewish origins.

Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid on Monday accused Lavrov of making an “unforgivable and outrageous statement as well as a terrible historical error” and summoned Moscow’s ambassador for “clarifications”.

“We have paid attention to Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s anti-historical remarks, which largely explain the current government’s decision to support the neo-Nazi regime in Kiev,” said the Russian foreign ministry in a statement on Tuesday.

“History unfortunately knows tragic examples of cooperation between Jews and Nazis,” it said.

In his interview, Lavrov said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “puts forward an argument of what kind of Nazism can they have if he himself is Jewish”.

Lavrov, according to a transcript posted on the Russian foreign ministry website, then added: “I could be wrong, but Hitler also had Jewish blood”.

Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett characterized Lavrov’s remarks as “lies” that he said effectively “accuse the Jews themselves of the most awful crimes in history”, perpetrated against themselves.

On Tuesday, the Russian foreign ministry said “the Jewish origins of the president (Zelensky) is not a guarantee of protection against rampant neo-Nazism in the country”.

“Ukraine, may it be said in passing, is not the only one in this case,” the ministry said, citing Latvian President Egils Levits who “has also Jewish roots and he also gives cover… to the rehabilitation of the Waffen SS in his country”.

Israel has expressed solidarity with Ukraine but unlike its Western allies, it has refrained from enforcing formal sanctions on Russia over its military operation in the neighboring country.

Last month, Lapid accused Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine. Moscow hit back, accusing Israel of using Ukraine to “distract” the world from its ongoing aggression against Palestinians.

May 3, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 12 Comments

Does Israel Permit Freedom of Worship?

Palestinian Christians will soon be extinct

By Philip Giraldi | Unz Review | May 3, 2022

A week ago I wrote a piece describing how Israel’s power over the US government is such that no American official will confirm that the Israelis have, and have had for years, a secret nuclear arsenal consisting of as many as 200 nukes. The situation is particularly odd in that the United States is on record as being strongly opposed to nuclear proliferation, except for Israel, and the enriched uranium that was used to create Israel’s bombs as well as the nuclear triggers were stolen and exported illegally from the US. Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself was reportedly involved in the thefts. One lawyer friend has suggested that the reason for the reticence is that under US law by way of the Symington Amendment, no assistance or aid can be given to any country that has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Israel has not signed and also has a widely acknowledged nuclear arsenal. To preserve Israel’s billions of dollars in annual largesse from the US taxpayer, silence over what goes on when the government breaks its own laws must be maintained. Some might consider that a case of pandering to Israel rather than taking steps to enhance United States security, but when it comes to the Jewish state that argument is a non-starter in Washington as Israel always comes first.

This week I am going to describe another aspect of the Zionist state’s policy that has been invisible if one relies on the mainstream media or the chattering magpies that occupy Capitol Hill and the White House. That is the ongoing elimination of Christianity in the region where it was born being carried out by Israel and its friends. The United States has been the enabler of much of the change in spite of the prevalence of self-described devout Christians in Congress, many of whom ironically are vocal and even enthusiastic supporters of Israeli “security” policies. Killing Palestinians is all too often justified in Congress and the White House with the meaningless expression “Israel has a right to defend itself.”

American power wielded on behalf of Israel has already destroyed a thriving Christian community in Iraq while still laboring to do the same in Syria and possibly even Lebanon. At Christianity’s very birthplace, in what was once Palestine, Israel has been engaged in making the lives of Palestinian so miserable that they frequently choose to emigrate. Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion famously declared in a letter to his son that “We must expel the Arabs and take their places…” and he exploited massacres of unarmed civilians carried out by the Haganah to create terror to accomplish that end. Since that time, Israel has refused to allow Palestinians driven from their homes by the 1948 fighting to return, has destroyed more than 400 Arab villages and confiscated other Palestinian properties, has appropriated additional land and water resources for its illegal settlements, has allowed armed settlers to destroy Palestinians crops and other forms of livelihood, and controlled Palestinian movements through a network of Jews only roads and numerous checkpoints. Even Palestinians who happen to be Israeli citizens are legally and in practice treated like second-class citizens with limited rights. There are more than 60 laws in Israel that discriminate against non-Jews while Israel now legally defines itself as a Jewish state. Israel has also imprisoned without any trial thousands of West Bank and Jerusalem Palestinians, including children, and shot dead hundreds more.

I could go on, but the point is that Israel wants Palestinians gone, a process that has particularly impacted on the Christian community. It has not been done by ethnic cleansing in the classic sense after the initial Nakba massacres and appropriations in 1948, but rather accomplished by creating incentives to leave. And it has been successful. At the end of the Second World War, an estimated one third of the Palestinian population identified as Christian, but the percentage is currently closer to 9% and continuing to decline. The numbers suggest that Christians in the former Palestine are verging on extinction. In fact, Christians have been able to become disproportionately emigrants from their homeland because they more frequently than Muslims have family already established in Europe and the US and have also been able to rely on networking through their churches for resettlement assistance in a new country.

Even by the wretched standards of the past 70 years, Israel’s seeking a “final solution” with the Palestinians recently has become particularly outrageous, focusing as it does on loosening their ties to their religious and cultural institutions while also destroying their livelihoods and appropriating their properties.

Hardly reported in the US media was the use of new Israeli imposed security restrictions to disrupt this year’s Palestinian Christian Orthodox Easter celebrations of Christ’s Resurrection at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. This comes on top of similar police action to support the usual crowd of rampaging settlers and other Jewish extremists at the most recent Ramadan services held by Palestinian Muslims at the al-Aqsa Mosque, which included using a drone to fire tear gas at worshipers.

What took place during Holy Week and more particularly on Easter Sunday has been described by Rod Dreher, who writes for The American Conservative. I will confess that I do not much like Dreher as he is fond of celebrating himself in everything he writes, full of navel gazing and smug sanctimonious twaddle, but as he was a participant and eye witness to what occurred his account is of necessity extremely valuable. To be sure, he makes it clear that readers understand that he is not criticizing Israelis in general, nor is he engaging in anything objectionable to Jewish sensitivities when he includes himself in how “we American Christians, especially those who support Israel,” also as “an American who cares about Israel,” and who refers to “my Israeli Jewish friends” and then goes on to assert “I condemn anti-Semitism unreservedly. Criticizing the Jewish settlers and official Israeli policy does not constitute anti-Semitism” before concluding that “most Israeli Jews wouldn’t support these hate-filled radical settlers.”

Actually, the US and other governments as well as many states do believe that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism as defined by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. And, depending on how the question is phrased many, possibly most Jews worldwide, support firm action against Muslims in particular, who are routinely described in the media and by the Israeli government as “terrorists.” Rod clearly understands that it is a bad idea to veer into areas that Jews are uncomfortable with as they can be surprisingly sensitive and unreasonably reactive to perceived slights. No need to bite the hand that feeds you, as one might put it, particularly if one wants to stay employed.

Dreher reports how he was “staying at a hotel inside the Old City, where I was advised to book a room out of fear that the Jerusalem police would not let Christians into the Old City on Holy Saturday. This turns out to have been very good advice.” Holy Saturday for Orthodox Christians features a “miracle” of the Holy Fire, which is believed to be the first sign of the Resurrection of Jesus. Normally, at 11 am, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher opens and is quickly packed with believers. After noon, the Greek Patriarch the “little house” built directly over the tomb of Christ, prays, and what is referred to as “divine energy” descends from heaven to light the Patriarch’s candles, the flames from which are shared with everyone present. He then emerges and passes the flame to everyone there.

Dreher and a friend reportedly left their hotel early to pray but when they arrived at the end of the street at the Jaffa Gate, two Jewish police officers refused to allow them to pass out of the Old City, warning that if they left they might not be able to come back in. They then walked over to an access point to the Jaffa Gate, and witnessed a large group of Christians behind a barrier on the other side, blocked from entering into the Old City where the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is situated. Dreher observed that at the same time Orthodox Jews wearing white prayer shawls, entered freely into the Old City on their way to the Western Wall to pray on the Jewish Sabbath. Later that morning, Dreher was only allowed to pass into the Church of the Holy Sepulcher because he had obtained a ticket to the “fire” service. The tickets, to control and limit attendance at the church was an innovation by the Israeli police. The Patriarch objected, observing that tickets had never before been required. The tickets allowed entry of only 1,800 worshipers in the church, which normally accommodates 10,000, a reduction of 82% of the faithful permitted to be in attendance on the highest of all holy days.

An Anglican priest from Virginia who spoke to Dreher at the service described that morning’s experience this way: “Police checkpoints were at every corner. Even when we reached the private property of the Greek Patriarchate, police had taken over there as well. They actually turned back nearly a dozen Consuls General and other diplomatic representatives, including ones from the United States. We had to take an alternative route to get inside. If that was the way it worked for VIPs, imagine you’re a local Palestinian Christian simply trying to worship on the holiest of Christian holidays inside the church built over the very Tomb of Christ.”

At issue are demands by radical Jewish groups, most notably the extremist Jewish settlers’ organization Ateret Cohanim, a type of Jewish Taliban, to “cleanse” Jerusalem of all non-Jews. They have been aggressively buying or otherwise occupying properties in and around the traditional Christian and Muslim quarters of the city and often use violence when they are resisted by local residents. Christians, unlike the Muslim community, notably do not tend to resort to violence in support of their property or civic rights even though recourse to the Israeli courts is useless as the judges have consistently sided with the settlers and police.

In Jerusalem there have been regular instances of verbal abuse, vandalism and spitting on Christian clergy, as well as sporadic violent assaults. In the Armenian Christian quarter a monk reports how “[The settlers] destroy the tires of our cars, graffiti ‘death to Christians’, break windows, they desecrate our cemetery, you know… ugly things, and it’s really invasive.” Some Christians have pointed to what happened to the former St John’s Hospice near the Jaffa Gate as a prime example of what the Christian churches fear could happen across the quarter. The building’s lintel still shows the tau-phi monogram of the Greek Patriarchate but in 1990, this pilgrims’ hostel was illegally occupied by Ateret Cohanim, and now the vast building is covered with multiple Israeli flags and houses violent armed Israeli settlers. The local Christians Dreher talked to “believe that this is part of a settler plot to choke off access to Christian holy sites within the city, and force Christians out.”

The Israeli authorities tend to ignore the settler activity as they have powerful supporters, including from the diaspora community in the US and some Evangelicals who help to fund them. Ateret Cohanim’s 2010 annual gathering featured as guest speaker no less than John Bolton and the Kushner Family Foundation has reportedly helped finance its activities. In addition, Israel’s religious conservative parties are a necessary component in the coalition government and their extreme behavior is tolerated and even aided and abetted on the sly. Nor will secular Jews stand up for their Christian brothers in Israel in enough numbers to matter. Also, many Israelis believe that increasingly hardline radical Jewish groups are actually the future of Israel based on demographic trends. All excuses aside, clearly enough of the ruling elite in America, and in Israel, support the radical settlers, or none of this would be happening.

And the situation is little better for Christians in Palestine outside Jerusalem. A Franciscan monk visitor to a monastery outside of the city reported how the Israeli authorities had cut off water to the building while the missionaries themselves were verbally abused and had rocks and other debris hurled at them by settlers. In Bethlehem, a Christian gift shop was deliberately put out of business after nearby Jewish settlements were allowed to erect walls blocking access to it. Other attacks on Christians have included a June 2015 arson incident at the Church of the Multiplication and a nearby Benedictine monastery in Tabgha, located 120 miles north of Jerusalem. The church is built on the site where Christ fed the 5,000 through the multiplication of loaves and fishes. The attackers left Hebrew graffiti on the walls, reading “all idols will be smashed.” In 2014 occurred vandalization of a Romanian Orthodox church, the Benedictine Abbey of the Dormition, and Catholic offices in Jerusalem, as well as a monastery in Beit Shemesh. The year before, more than 20 Christian sites of the Latin Patriarchate were attacked by vandals. And in 2012, a Trappist monastery in Latroun was subject to arson and graffiti, while the Convent of St. Francis on Mt. Zion was vandalized. Non-Jews in Bethlehem and on the West Bank meanwhile live under a system of Israeli military laws and check points established by government order number 101. In Hebron, non-Jews living on Jewish-only streets cannot even walk out their front doors and they are regularly bombarded by feces and other waste hurled down upon them by the settlers.

Israel’s anti-Christian policies are international and includes support of groups the US has called terrorists. Israel has given money and weapons to the jihadists fighting against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, which includes al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate. Wounded jihadists even have crossed into Israel to received hospital treatment. Once, ISIS accidentally fired into Israel and then publicly apologized. Israel is intent on removing al-Assad, which will lead to an exodus of Christians from Syria, similar to what took place in neighboring Iraq after US forces deposed Saddam Hussein.

There is a certain irony in how the United States doggedly pursues China over its alleged maltreatment of the Uighurs while at the same time rewarding and protecting Israel even though it spies relentlessly on the US and very clearly persecutes Palestinians. Dreher asks the question why the US government, which gives Israel multiple billions of dollars a year, cannot stop Israel’s de facto official punishment of its Christians. The answer is at least in part simple, that most American Christians do not care about the plight of their co-religionists in the Middle East. Millions of true-blue Christians not unlike Dreher, many weaned on the Scofield Bible and its dispensationalism, and many of whom wind up in government or other positions of power, choose to disengage from the problem, accepting that Jews are the “chosen people” of God and, for some, part of End Time prophecy. They are therefore to be given a pass by both the media and government on all their exclusivism and bad behavior even as they meddle in US politics and work to hobble freedom of speech by criminalizing anyone who criticizes Israel or supports Palestinians by urging a boycott against it. Until all that changes, if it even can happen, Christians in the so-called Holy Land will be on the chopping block and when the churches and monasteries no longer have a community to sustain them, it will be the end of Christianity in the place where it was born. And more’s the pity, the United States will have played a major role in enabling that to happen.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is

May 3, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 8 Comments

Biden’s ‘Disinformation Governance Board’ is another propaganda tool

By Ian Miles Cheong | Samizdat | May 3, 2022

US President Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security announced last week that it had formed a “Disinformation Governance Board” to fight the spread of so-called disinformation on the Internet. While White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki didn’t elaborate on how the bureau would operate, she suggested that it would monitor disinformation on topics like COVID-19 and elections.

Conservatives have often half-joked about George Orwell’s “1984” becoming a reality, but it appears that the Biden administration has decided to literally take a page from the book and create a “Ministry of Truth”.

The board’s aim is to target “disinformation,” but what constitutes disinformation? Many times over the years we have seen complete censorship from government officials and Big Tech social media companies, most infamously during the Hunter Biden laptop scandal, which saw major tech platforms and politicians painting it as “Russian propaganda.”

Allowing the government to dictate what “the truth” is sets a dangerous precedent, as it instead promotes desired narratives to bolster poll numbers, ratings, or nudging the citizenry into following government edicts – all on the basis of “trust us, we know what’s best for you.”

Facts be damned. Just do as you’re told. This was seen multiple times during the pandemic era, when both Dr. Anthony Fauci and then-Surgeon General Jerome Adams hummed and harred over mask-wearing and social distancing – first instructing the public not to wear masks, and then much later calling it a necessity.

Gatekeeping discourse is a surefire way to control the narrative, controlling what people see, what they say, and ultimately – what they believe. It’s also an effective means to silence dissent, and quash those who might speak out against the regime’s approved narrative – or even the regime itself.

The new Ministry of Truth is a tool, and there is no reality in which this tool will not be used for bad intent – and it’ll claim to be doing it all in the name of the greater good.

Unsurprisingly, the Ministry of Truth was rushed into creation seemingly as a reaction to “free speech absolutist” Elon Musk’s purchase of the social media platform, Twitter, the de facto town square of political discourse and public narratives.

With the relinquishment of Twitter to Musk, those who control mainstream narratives fear they will lose out on an important resource, and will no longer be able to promote narratives and fix algorithms to sway public opinion – at least not with ease. There will be pushback, and their positions are not ones they are willing to defend, hence why the creation of this new tool is necessary. It keeps the plebeians in check.

Free speech, which in Musk’s belief is “essential to a functioning democracy,” flies directly in the face of the Biden administration’s attempts to crack down on viewpoints that contradict the regime’s official narrative. And who better to head the Disinformation Governance Board than Nina Jankowicz, who herself perpetuated several regime-approved falsehoods?

Jankowicz, who previously advised the Ukrainian government on disinformation and strategic communications under the auspices of a Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship, voiced her support for Christopher Steele, whose infamous “Steele dossier” on Russian election interference during Donald Trump’s 2016 election dogged the presidency for years. Despite Steele’s loss of credibility, Jankowicz hyped up the former spy in August 2020 as being able to offer “some great historical context about the evolution of disinfo” when he spoke on a podcast about the topic.

It’s worth noting that the infamous dossier, which included the unverifiable claim that Russia had “kompromat” on Trump in the form of a sex tape, has since been entirely discredited. Steele’s main source, Igor Danchenko, was later charged with five counts of making false statements to the FBI. Jankowicz also repeated the unproven theory that Hunter Biden’s laptop was the product of a Russian disinformation campaign, spread by members of the Trump campaign.

“Back on the ‘laptop from hell,’ apparently—Biden notes 50 former natsec officials and 5 former CIA heads that believe the laptop is a Russian influence op,” Jankowicz said on Twitter. “Trump says ‘Russia, Russia, Russia.’”

She attempted to distance herself from her remarks with the claim that she was simply livetweeting Trump’s first presidential debate with Biden. However, when solicited by the Associated Press in October 2020 for her thoughts on the laptop, Jankowicz told the publication that “We should view it as a Trump campaign product,” dismissing the fact that the laptop belonged to Hunter Biden.

As detailed by Newsweek, Jankowicz continued to perpetuate doubt against the story, tweeting on October 22, 2020 that “The emails don’t need to be altered to be part of an influence campaign. Voters deserve that context, not a [fairy] tale about a laptop repair shop.”

In a consolidated effort to disqualify the New York Post’s original report on Hunter Biden’s laptop as “disinformation”, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms banned the New York Post and prevented its users from sharing the story weeks ahead of the 2020 US presidential election. The original report on the laptop has since been validated by a comprehensive report about the ongoing federal probe into Hunter Biden’s tax filings, published by the New York Times.

Twitter’s then-CEO Jack Dorsey later admitted to a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that censoring the report was a “total mistake,” and chalked up the decision to a “process error.”

Both Twitter and Facebook heads were grilled over their companies’ perceived anti-conservative bias and penchant for censoring so-called “disinformation,” with the censorship usually aimed at conservatives. It’s worth pointing out again that the now-discredited “Steele dossier” had no problem gaining traction when it first ran on BuzzFeed.

Nina Jankowicz had no problem spreading actual disinformation while helping to silence the truth under the auspices of “combating disinformation.” Given her predilection towards perpetuating anti-Russian narratives, one might ask if contradictory evidence to the “Snake Island” and “Ghost of Kiev” hoaxes constitute forms of “disinformation” in her book. After all, the mainstream media is chiefly responsible for promoting these heroic war stories, both of which were almost immediately discredited by the Russian media – and later by western experts. Even Ukraine’s own propagandists were forced to instruct the public to stop promoting disinformation about the conflict. Would the Ministry of Truth move to silence such attacks on its credibility?

Those concerned with the truth must do everything in their power to resist the Biden administration’s efforts to police the truth. To that end, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is one of the few American leaders who has stepped up and vowed to fight back against the Orwellian disinformation bureau.

“They want to be able to put out false narratives without people being able to speak out and fight back,” DeSantis said. “But we’re not going to let Biden get away with this one, so we will be fighting back.” Referring to the regime as a “decaying and discredited ruling elite in this country,” DeSantis said: “We believe it’s essential that individual Floridians and Americans are able to speak out against the false narratives trying to be jammed down our throats by this regime.”

May 3, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | | 3 Comments

Yes, TCW is being censored

TCW Defending Freedom | May 3, 2022

AFTER many reports over the weekend that the site was not working for some users, we have established that we are being blocked by the adult content filter on the Internet Service Provider (ISP) Three.

Affected users get the message above, which does not make it clear that the site is being censored, but gives an erroneous message about the SSL certificate. This makes it look like a misconfiguration on our part, but this is not the case.

We have contacted Three to enquire exactly why TCW has been added to their adult content filter.

Three use the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) guidelines, which you can find here.

TCW can appeal to BBFC to be unblocked by Three, and you can be sure that we are following this process. We have also registered the censorship with the Open Rights Group’s Blocked! website.

In the meantime, Three users may wish to reconsider their choice of ISP. Customers of Three can request that the adult filter be turned off by contacting customer services. A non-censoring ISP would be a good idea too – we can recommend Andrews and Arnold. A good VPN (Virtual Private Network) might be an idea too, if you would prefer that your ISP does not control the content you are able to access online. IVPN are great.

We will be tweeting @ThreeUKsupport and @ThreeUK to see what they have to say. It would be helpful if some of our readers could do this too.

If this can happen to TCW, it can happen to any site on the internet. Resist online censorship, for that is what this is.

May 3, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 2 Comments

People Die Faster After Eating These Foods

By Dr. Joseph Mercola | February 27, 2019*

The struggle with weight gain and obesity is a common and costly health issue, leading to an increase in risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and cancer, just to name a few.

According to CDC figures for 2017-18, 19.3% of American children1 and 42.4% of adults2 are now obese, not just overweight. That’s a significant increase over the 1999/2000 rates, when just under 16% of children ages 6 to 193 and 30.5% of adults were obese.

Research has linked growing waistlines to a number of different sources, including processed foods, sodas and high-carbohydrate diets. Risks associated with belly fat in aging adults includes an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.4

Researchers have actually predicted obesity will overtake smoking as a leading cause of cancer deaths,5 and recent statistics suggest we’re well on our way to seeing that prediction come true as obesity among our youth is triggering a steep rise in obesity-related cancers at ever-younger ages.

Millennials More Prone to Obesity-Related Cancers

As obesity rates rise, so do related health problems, including cancer. According to a report6 published in 2014 on the global cancer burden, obesity is already responsible for an estimated 500,000 cancer cases worldwide each year, and that number is likely to rise further in coming decades.

As reported in a Lancet study7 by the American Cancer Society, rates of obesity-related cancers are rising at a far steeper rate among millennials than among baby boomers. According to the authors,8 this is the first study to systematically examine obesity-related cancer trends among young Americans.

What’s more, while six of 12 obesity-related cancers (endometrial, gallbladder, kidney, multiple myeloma and pancreatic cancer) are on the rise, only two of 18 cancers unrelated to obesity are increasing. As noted in the press release:9

“The obesity epidemic over the past 40 years has led to younger generations experiencing an earlier and longer lasting exposure to excess adiposity over their lifetime than previous generations.

Excess body weight is a known carcinogen, associated with more than a dozen cancers and suspected in several more … Investigators led by Hyuna Sung, Ph.D., analyzed 20 years of incidence data (1995-2014) for 30 cancers … covering 67 percent of the population of the U.S. …

Incidence increased for 6 of the 12 obesity-related cancers … in young adults and in successively younger birth cohorts in a stepwise manner. For example, the risk of colorectal, uterine corpus [endometrial], pancreas and gallbladder cancers in millennials is about double the rate baby boomers had at the same age …

‘Although the absolute risk of these cancers is small in younger adults, these findings have important public health implications,’ said Ahmedin Jemal, D.V.M., Ph.D., scientific vice president of surveillance [and] health services research and senior/corresponding author of the paper.

‘Given the large increase in the prevalence of overweight and obesity among young people and increasing risks of obesity-related cancers in contemporary birth cohorts, the future burden of these cancers could worsen as younger cohorts age, potentially halting or reversing the progress achieved in reducing cancer mortality over the past several decades.

Cancer trends in young adults often serve as a sentinel for the future disease burden in older adults, among whom most cancer occurs.'”

Changes in Diet Are Driving the Obesity Epidemic

Studies10,11,12 have repeatedly demonstrated that when people switch from a traditional whole food diet to processed foods (which are high in refined flour, processed sugar and harmful vegetable oils), disease inevitably follows.

Below are just a few telling statistics. For more, see nutrition researcher Kris Gunnars’ 11 graphs published in Business Insider showing “what’s wrong with the modern diet.”13

  • Over the past 200 years, our sugar intake has risen from 2 pounds to 152 pounds per year.14 While Americans are advised to get only 10% of their calories from sugar,15 equating to about 13 teaspoons a day for a 2,000-calorie diet, the average intake is 42.5 teaspoons per day.16 It’s important to realize that it’s nearly impossible to achieve that on a processed food diet.
  • Not only that, you can’t exercise off the excess calories. For example, to burn off the calories in a single 12-ounce soda, you’d have to walk briskly for 35 minutes. To burn off a piece of apple pie, you’d be looking at a 75-minute walk.17
  • Soda and fruit juice consumption is particularly harmful, studies18,19 show, raising a child’s risk of obesity by 60% per daily serving.20 Research has also shown refined high-carb diets in general are as risky as smoking, increasing your risk for lung cancer by as much as 49%.21
  • Between 1970 and 2009, daily calorie intake rose by an average of 425 calories, a 20% increase, according to Stephan Guyenet, Ph.D.,22 who studies the neuroscience of obesity. This rise is largely driven by increased sugar and processed food consumption, and the routine advertising of junk food to children.23
  • To attract customers and compete with other restaurants, companies often add salt, sugar, fat and flavor chemicals to trigger your appetite. Unfortunately, it turns out additives and chemicals supplemented in processing kill off beneficial gut bacteria, which further exacerbates the problems created by a processed food diet.24
  • According to epidemiology professor Tim Spector, even eating a relatively small number of highly processed ingredients is toxic to your gut microbiome, which start to die off just days after eating a fast food heavy diet, suggesting excess calories from fast food may not be the only factor to blame for rising weight.
  • Processed vegetable oils, which are high in damaged omega-6 fats, are another important factor in chronic ill health. Aside from sugar, vegetable oils are a staple in processed foods, which is yet another reason why processed food diets are associated with higher rates of heart disease and other diseases.
  • Soybean oil, which is the most commonly consumed fat in the U.S.,25 has also been sh
  • “Ultraprocessed diets cause excess calorie intake and weight gain,” research26 concludes, showing that when people are allowed to eat as much as they want of either ultraprocessed foods or unprocessed food, their energy intake is far greater when eating processed fare.
  • In just two weeks, participants gained between 0.3 and 0.8 kilos (0.166 and 1.76 pounds) on the ultraprocessed diet, and lost 0.3 to 1.1 kilos (0.66 to 2.42 pounds) when eating unprocessed food.

As These Foods Became the Norm, so Did Chronic Illness

Unfortunately, Americans not only eat a preponderance of processed food, but 60% of it is ultraprocessed27 — products at the far end of the “significantly altered” spectrum, or what you could typically purchase at a gas station.

The developed world in general eats significant amounts of processed food, and disease statistics reveal the inherent folly of this trend. There’s really no doubt that decreasing your sugar consumption is at the top of the list if you’re overweight, insulin resistant, or struggle with any chronic disease.

It’s been estimated that as much as 40% of American health care expenditures are for diseases directly related to the overconsumption of sugar.28 In the U.S., more than $1 trillion is spent on treating sugar and junk food-related diseases each year.29

Any foods that aren’t whole foods directly from the vine, ground, bush or tree are considered processed. Depending on the amount of change the food undergoes, processing may be minimal or significant. For instance, frozen fruit is usually minimally processed, while pizza, soda, chips and microwave meals are ultraprocessed foods.

The difference in the amount of sugar between foods that are ultraprocessed and minimally processed is dramatic. Research30 has demonstrated that over 21% of calories in ultraprocessed foods comes from sugar, while unprocessed foods contain no refined or added sugar.

In a cross-sectional study31 using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of over 9,000 participants, researchers concluded that “decreasing the consumption of ultraprocessed foods could be an effective way of reducing the excessive intake of added sugars in the USA.”

Definition of Ultraprocessed Food

As a general rule, ultraprocessed foods can be defined as food products containing one or more of the following:

  • Ingredients that are not traditionally used in cooking.
  • Unnaturally high amounts of sugar, salt, processed industrial oils and unhealthy fats.
  • Artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners and other additives that imitate sensorial qualities of unprocessed or minimally processed foods (examples include additives that create textures and pleasing mouth-feel).
  • Processing aids such as carbonating, firming, bulking, antibulking, defoaming, anticaking, glazing agents, emulsifiers, sequestrants and humectants.
  • Preservatives and chemicals that impart an unnaturally long shelf-life.
  • Genetically engineered ingredients, which in addition to carrying potential health risks also tend to be heavily contaminated with toxic herbicides such as glyphosate, 2,4-D and dicamba.

As described in the NOVA classification of food processing,32 “A multitude of sequences of processes is used to combine the usually many ingredients and to create the final product (hence ‘ultraprocessed’).” Examples include hydrogenation, hydrolysation, extrusion, molding and preprocessing for frying.

Ultraprocessed foods also tend to be far more addictive than other foods, thanks to high amounts of sugar (a substance shown to be more addictive than cocaine33), salt and fat. The processed food industry has also developed “craveabilty” into an art form. Nothing is left to chance, and by making their foods addictive, manufacturers ensure repeat sales.

Processed Food Diet Linked to Early Death

In related news, recent research34 involving more than 44,000 people followed for seven years warns that ultraprocessed foods raise your risk of early death. The French team looked at how much of each person’s diet was made up of ultraprocessed foods, and found that for each 10% increase in the amount of ultraprocessed food consumed, the risk of death rose by 14%.

This link remained even after taking confounding factors such as smoking, obesity and low educational background into account. As you’d expect, the primary factors driving the increased death rate was chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

Nita Forouhi, a professor at the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge, who was not part of the study, told The Guardian :35

“The case against highly processed foods is mounting up, with this study adding importantly to a growing body of evidence on the health harms of ultraprocessed foods … [W]e would ignore these findings at public health’s peril.

A vital takeaway message is that consumption of highly processed foods reflects social inequalities — they are consumed disproportionately more by individuals with lower incomes or education levels, or those living alone.

Such foods are attractive because they tend to be cheaper, are highly palatable due to high sugar, salt and saturated fat content, are widely available, highly marketed, ready to eat, and their use-by dates are lengthy, so they last longer. More needs to be done to address these inequalities.”

Ultraprocessed Foods Linked to Cancer

Another French study36,37 published last year also found that those who eat more ultraprocessed food have higher rates of obesity, heart problems, diabetes and cancer. Nearly 105,000 study participants, a majority of whom were middle-aged women, were followed for an average of five years.

On average, 18% of their diet was ultraprocessed, and the results showed that each 10% increase in ultraprocessed food raised the cancer rate by 12%, which worked out to nine additional cancer cases per 10,000 people per year.

The risk of breast cancer specifically went up by 11% for every 10% increase in ultraprocessed food. Sugary drinks, fatty foods and sauces were most strongly associated with cancer in general, while sugary foods had the strongest correlation to breast cancer.

According to the authors, “These results suggest that the rapidly increasing consumption of ultraprocessed foods may drive an increasing burden of cancer in the next decades.” Study co-author Mathilde Touvier told CNN:38

“It was quite surprising, the strength of the results. They were really strongly associated, and we did many sensitive analysis and adjusted the findings for many cofactors, and still, the results here were quite concerning.”

Diet Is a Key Factor Determining Your Health and Longevity

Research39 published in 2017 linked poor diet to an increased risk of cardiometabolic mortality (death resulting from Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke).

According to the authors, suboptimal intake of key foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and animal-based omega-3, along with excessive consumption of processed foods such as meats and sugar-sweetened beverages accounted for more than 45% of all cardiometabolic deaths in 2012. In other words, the more processed foods you eat, and the less whole foods you consume, the greater your risk of chronic disease and death.

Other research published that same year found that eating fried potatoes (such as french fries, hash browns and potato chips) two or more times per week may double your risk of death from all causes.40 Eating potatoes that were not fried was not linked to an increase in mortality risk, suggesting frying — and most likely the choice of oil — is the main problem.

In a 2013 presentation41 at the European Ministerial Conference on Nutrition and Noncommunicable Diseases by Dr. Carlos Monteiro,42 professor of nutrition and public health at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monteiro stresses the importance of creating “policies aiming the reformulation of processed foods,” and limiting children’s exposure to junk food marketing, in order to tackle the rise in diet-related noncommunicable diseases.

In my view, eating a diet consisting of 90% real food and only 10% or less processed foods is an achievable goal for most that could make a significant difference in your weight and overall health. You simply need to make the commitment and place a high priority on it. To get started, consider the following guidelines:

  • Focus on raw, fresh foods, and avoid as many processed foods as possible (if it comes in a can, bottle or package, and has a list of ingredients, it’s processed).
  • Severely restrict carbohydrates from refined sugars, fructose and processed grains.
  • Increase healthy fat consumption. (Eating dietary fat isn’t what’s making you pack on pounds. It’s the sugar/fructose and grains that add the padding.)
  • You may eat an unlimited amount of nonstarchy vegetables. Because they are so low in calories, the majority of the food on your plate should be vegetables.
  • Limit protein to less than 0.5 gram per pound of lean body weight.
  • Replace sodas and other sweetened beverages with pure, filtered water.
  • Shop around the perimeter of the grocery store where most of the whole foods reside, such as meat, fruits, vegetables, eggs and cheese. Not everything around the perimeter is healthy, but you’ll avoid many of the ultraprocessed foods this way.
  • Vary the whole foods you purchase and the way you eat them. For instance, carrots and peppers are tasty dipped in hummus. You get the crunch of the vegetable and smooth texture of the hummus to satisfy your taste, your brain and your physical health.
  • Stress creates a physical craving for fats and sugar that may drive your addictive, stress-eating behavior. If you can recognize when you’re getting stressed and find another means of relieving the emotion, your eating habits will likely improve.
  • The Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) can help reduce your perceived stress, change your eating habits around stress and help you create new, healthier eating habits that support your long-term health. To discover more about EFT, watch the video at this referenced link on substack.43

* This article has been updated with new information.

Sources and References

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