Aletho News


Monkeypox Update – fear porn kicks up a notch as WHO meeting looms

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | July 14, 2022

We’re only three days removed from our last monkeypox article – We’re “losing the fight against monkeypox”… apparently – and already it’s time for an update.

It’s been a busy two days for the monkeypox madness.

First, the World Health Organization announced their plans to hold a second “emergency meeting” on the monkeypox outbreak, to discuss if it merits being declared a “global emergency”.

As if trying to supply fuel for the WHO’s meeting next week, countries all around the world are reporting up ticks in cases.

Yesterday Global News reported that Canada’s monkeypox cases had “risen by 59% in just 9 days” (from 300 to 477 if you’re one of those people who likes hard figures in place of scary-sounding percentages).

According to the Associated Press, the UK’s “cases” have risen to 1735. One nursery school even shut down for the summer two weeks early…just because one their pupils may have come into contact with monkeypox.

Elsewhere in the UK press, one “expert” was “warning” that Monkeypox will become “endemic” if we don’t “take action”.

The “expert” also suggests that it would be wrong to “sit back and watch” monkeypox become endemic in “men who have sex with men”. Perhaps revealing the point of that part of the narrative – that if you reject monkeypox as anything to be worried about at all, you’re just being homophobic or speaking with “straight privilege”.

A similar angle is taken in this NPR piece, which claims that “the warning signs were there” with monkeypox for over a decade, and the only reason we never did anything about it is that it only affected poor African nations. Ergo, if you don’t care about monkeypox you’re a racist.

New York is apparently experiencing “urgent” vaccine shortages amid “rising cases”… rising from 223 to 267.

The US generally has seen cases increase from 700 to over a thousand since Monday. Monday was also the day they started allowing private labs to begin running tests. It’s baffling, isn’t it?

Australia has had the “killer virus spread to another state”. (To be clear, there are currently 28 reported cases of monkeypox on Australia, including “probable cases”, and not one of them is alleged to have died)

It’s not just the West either – India reported their first case in the last hour.

Argentina reports cases surging up to twelve whole people, while Bosnia & Herzogovina reported their first.

Meanwhile, on the other side of Iron Curtain 2.0, Russia reported their first monkeypox case on Tuesday. A handy reminder of their current position on the great reset agenda.

So, given all this, will the WHO declare monkeypox a “public health emergency of international concern”?

The smart money is very much on “yes”.

But there’s good news too… for biotech shareholders. China’s ZJ Biotech has seen its share prices increase by over 10% in just a day after the WHO announced a supply deal with the tech firm to manufacture Monkeypox test kits.

They still haven’t told us what they’re changing the name to, though. Maybe they can discuss that at the emergency meeting too.

July 14, 2022 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | | 3 Comments


July 14, 2022

U.S. Public Health Agencies Aren’t ‘Following the Science,’ Officials Say

‘People are getting bad advice and we can’t say anything.’

By Marty Makary M.D., M.P.H. and Tracy Beth Høeg M.D., Ph.D. | Common Sense | July 14, 2022

The calls and text messages are relentless. On the other end are doctors and scientists at the top levels of the NIH, FDA and CDC. They are variously frustrated, exasperated and alarmed about the direction of the agencies to which they have devoted their careers.

“It’s like a horror movie I’m being forced to watch and I can’t close my eyes,” one senior FDA official lamented. “People are getting bad advice and we can’t say anything.”

That particular FDA doctor was referring to two recent developments inside the agency. First, how, with no solid clinical data, the agency authorized Covid vaccines for infants and toddlers, including those who already had Covid. And second, the fact that just months before, the FDA bypassed their external experts to authorize booster shots for young children.

That doctor is hardly alone.

At the NIH, doctors and scientists complain to us about low morale and lower staffing: The NIH’s Vaccine Research Center has had many of its senior scientists leave over the last year, including the director, deputy director and chief medical officer. “They have no leadership right now. Suddenly there’s an enormous number of jobs opening up at the highest level positions,” one NIH scientist told us. (The people who spoke to us would only agree to be quoted anonymously, citing fear of professional repercussions.)

The CDC has experienced a similar exodus. “There’s been a large amount of turnover. Morale is low,” one high level official at the CDC told us. “Things have become so political, so what are we there for?” Another CDC scientist told us: “I used to be proud to tell people I work at the CDC. Now I’m embarrassed.”

Why are they embarrassed? In short, bad science.

The longer answer: that the heads of their agencies are using weak or flawed data to make critically important public health decisions. That such decisions are being driven by what’s politically palatable to people in Washington or to the Biden administration. And that they have a myopic focus on one virus instead of overall health.

Nowhere has this problem been clearer—or the stakes higher—than on official public health policy regarding children and Covid.

First, they demanded that young children be masked in schools. On this score, the agencies were wrong. Compelling studies later found schools that masked children had no different rates of transmission. And for social and linguistic development, children need to see the faces of others.

Next came school closures. The agencies were wrong—and catastrophically so. Poor and minority children suffered learning loss with an 11-point drop in math scores alone and a 20% drop in math pass rates. There are dozens of statistics of this kind.

Then they ignored natural immunity. Wrong again. The vast majority of children have already had Covid, but this has made no difference in the blanket mandates for childhood vaccines. And now, by mandating vaccines and boosters for young healthy people, with no strong supporting data, these agencies are only further eroding public trust. … Full article

July 14, 2022 Posted by | Video | , | 1 Comment

Fauci Likely to Birth His Own COVID Variant After Paxlovid

By Dr. Joseph Mercola | July 13, 2022

Pfizer’s Paxlovid was granted emergency use authorization to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 in December 2021.1 The drug consists of nirmatrelvir tablets — the antiviral component — and ritonavir tablets, which are intended to slow the breakdown of nirmatrelvir.2

What started out as a slow rollout — only 40,000 or fewer prescriptions were written for the drug in the U.S. each week through April 2022 — has gained steam, with more than 160,000 Paxlovid prescriptions now being issued each week.3 As of June 30, 2022, 1.6 million courses of Paxlovid have been prescribed in the U.S. since its emergency use approval in December.4

Yet, this increase in prescribing could be contributing to one of the significant downfalls of the drug — the creation of selective pressure on SARS-CoV-2, which promotes mutations that could make it resistant to the drug.5 The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also issued a warning to health care providers and public health departments about the potential for COVID-19 rebound after Paxlovid treatment.6

This recently happened to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), who experienced a return of COVID-19 symptoms after taking Paxlovid. He then took a second course of the drug, which could trigger even more mutations in the virus.

Paxlovid Triggers Fauci’s COVID-19 Rebound

Fauci said he tested positive for COVID-19, with only minimal symptoms. As his symptoms increased, he took Paxlovid for five days, after which he tested negative for three consecutive days. On the fourth day of testing, he tested positive for COVID-19 again, with symptoms worse off than they were the first time.
“It was sort of what people are referring to as a Paxlovid rebound,” he said. “… Over the next day or so I started to feel really poorly, much worse than in the first go around.”7 He was then prescribed a second course of Paxlovid.

On June 30, he stated, “I went back on Paxlovid, and right now I am on my fourth day of a five-day course of my second course of Paxlovid. Fortunately, I feel reasonably good. I mean, I’m not completely without symptoms, but I certainly don’t feel acutely ill.”8 In the CDC’s health advisory regarding COVID-19 rebound after Paxlovid treatment it’s stated:9

“Recent case reports document that some patients with normal immune response who have completed a 5-day course of Paxlovid for laboratory-confirmed infection and have recovered can experience recurrent illness 2 to 8 days later, including patients who have been vaccinated and/or boosted …

These cases of COVID-19 rebound had negative test results after Paxlovid treatment and had subsequent positive viral antigen and/or reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing.”

COVID-19 Still Spreads During Paxlovid Rebound

People who take Paxlovid can still transmit COVID-19 to others, even if they’re asymptomatic, according to a preprint study.10 Study author Dr. Michael Charness of the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Boston told CNN, “People who experience rebound are at risk of transmitting to other people, even though they’re outside what people accept as the usual window for being able to transmit.”11

The CDC12 and Pfizer13 have suggested that sometimes COVID-19 naturally comes back after a person tests negative, implying that COVID-19 rebound is spontaneous and not necessarily linked to Paxlovid. However, Charness and colleagues didn’t find this to be the case. When they analyzed 1,000 cases of COVID-19 diagnosed among members of the National Basketball Association — none of whom took Paxlovid — no cases of COVID-19 rebound were found.14

Research published in Clinical Infectious Diseases 15 looked into why Paxlovid may be leading to rebound symptoms and suggests it could be the result of insufficient exposure to the drug.16 “Not enough of the drug was getting to infected cells to stop all viral replication,” UC San Diego Health reported. “They suggested this may be due to the drug being metabolized more quickly in some individuals or that the drug needs to be delivered over a longer treatment duration.”17

Pfizer Seeks FDA Approval for Paxlovid

Despite the many questions regarding Paxlovid’s association with rebound infections, Pfizer is moving ahead and seeking full approval of the drug from the FDA.18 The drug’s emergency use authorization restricts who the drug can be sold and marketed to. Once full FDA approval is granted, Pfizer can market the drug directly to consumers.

Paxlovid’s emergency use authorization allows it to be prescribed for adults and children ages 12 and older who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19.19 Pfizer estimates that up to 60% of the U.S. population meets these criteria and has at least one risk factor for severe illness, such as obesity or diabetes, making them eligible for the drug.20

However, concerns have risen over whether Paxlovid, which is said to cut the risk of hospitalization or death by 86% in high-risk patients, when taken within five days of symptoms starting,21 is effective in people who are not high-risk.

In fact, Pfizer stopped a large trial of Paxlovid in standard-risk patients because it didn’t show significant protection against hospitalization or death in this group.22 According to a news release from Pfizer:23

“In previously reported interim analyses, the company disclosed that the novel primary endpoint of self-reported, sustained alleviation of all symptoms for four consecutive days was not met, and a non-significant 70% relative risk reduction was observed in the key secondary endpoint of hospitalization or death (treatment arm: 3/428; placebo: 10/426).

An updated analysis from 1,153 patients enrolled through December 2021 showed a non-significant 51% relative risk reduction (treatment arm: 5/576; placebo: 10/569). A sub-group analysis of 721 vaccinated adults with at least one risk factor for progression to severe COVID-19 showed a non-significant 57% relative risk reduction in hospitalization or death (treatment arm: 3/361; placebo: 7/360).”

Is Paxlovid Triggering SARS-CoV-2 Mutations?

Initial reports have suggested that SARS-CoV-2 is not mutating and becoming resistant to Paxlovid, but some experts believe it’s only a matter of time before this occurs — and emerging research suggests it’s already happened.

David Ho, a virologist at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center at Columbia University, was among the first to document resistance mutations in HIV 30 years ago and believes the same may be coming with SARS-CoV-2.24 He’s also experienced post-Paxlovid COVID-19 rebound firsthand. Bloomberg reported:25

“Ho said he came down with COVID on April 6 … His doctor prescribed Paxlovid, and within days of taking it, his symptoms dissipated and tests turned negative. But 10 days after first getting sick, the symptoms returned and his tests turned positive for another two days.

Ho said he sequenced his own virus and found that both infections were from the same strain, confirming that the virus had not mutated and become resistant to Paxlovid. A second family member who also got sick around the same time also had post-Paxlovid rebound in symptoms and virus, Ho says.

‘It surprised the heck out of me,’ he said. ‘Up until that point I had not heard of such cases elsewhere.’ While the reasons for the rebound are still unclear, Ho theorizes that it may occur when a small proportion of virus-infected cells may remain viable and resume pumping out viral progeny once treatment stops.”

Studies Show COVID-19 Virus Developing Paxlovid Resistance

Two separate studies cultured SARS-CoV-2 in a lab and exposed it to low levels of nirmatrelvir, which would kill some, but not all, of the virus. “Such tests are meant to simulate what might happen in an infected person who doesn’t take the whole regimen of the drug or an immunocompromised patient who has trouble clearing the virus,” Science reported.26

One of the studies revealed that SARS-CoV-2 developed three mutations after 12 rounds of nirmatrelvir treatment — “at positions 50, 166 and 167 in the string of amino acids that make up MPRO.”27 The mutations amounted to a 20-fold reduction in the virus’ susceptibility to nirmatrelvir.28 The other study29 also found mutations at positions 50 and 166, revealing that when they occurred together, SARS-CoV-2 became 80 times less susceptible to nirmatrelvir. According to the study:30

“Reverse genetic studies in a homologous infectious cell culture system revealed up to 80-fold resistance conferred by the combination of substitutions L50F and E166V. Resistant variants had high fitness increasing the likelihood of occurrence and spread of resistance.”

Lead study author Judith Margarete Gottwein with the University of Copenhagen told Science, “This tells us what mutations we should be looking for [in patients].”31 Ho, who was not involved in these studies, agreed that it appeared mutations were an inevitable outcome.

He told Science, “when you put pressure on the virus it escapes … Given the amount of infections out there, it’s going to come.”32 It’s also completely unknown what may happen when two courses of Paxlovid are taken in quick succession to treat COVID-19 rebound — as occurred with Fauci. It’s possible that ever-mutating COVID-19 variants could be created.

Other antivirals on the market to treat COVID-19 have also led to concerns over mutations. Molnupiravir (sold under the brand name Lagevrio) was developed by Merck and Ridgeback Therapeutics and approved by the FDA for emergency use December 23, 2021, for high-risk patients with mild to moderate COVID symptoms.

However, not only might it contribute to cancer and birth defects, it may also supercharge the rate at which the virus mutates inside the patient, resulting in newer and more resistant variants.33

Other Early COVID-19 Treatments Ignored

Using drugs that cause high rates of organ failure, like remdesivir, and drugs that cause the virus to rebound with a vengeance, like Paxlovid, and potentially trigger mutations don’t seem to be in the best interest of public health. The fact that U.S. health authorities have focused on these drugs to the exclusion of all others, including older drugs with high rates of effectiveness and superior safety profiles, sends a very disturbing message.

An investigation by Cornell University, posted on the University’s preprint server January 20, 2022, found ivermectin outperformed 10 other drugs against COVID-19, making it the most effective against the Omicron variant.34 It even outperformed Paxlovid, yet it’s been vilified by health officials and mainstream media.

Remdesivir costs between $2,340 and $3,120,35 and nirmatrelvir costs $529 per five-day treatment,36 while the average treatment cost for ivermectin is $58.37 Do you think this has anything to do with ivermectin’s vilification?

Paxlovid alone has cost U.S. taxpayers $5.29 billion,38 while safe and less expensive options exist. Dr. Pierre Kory, who is part of the group that formed the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Working Group (FLCCC) to advance early treatments for COVID-19, pleaded with the U.S. government early on in the pandemic to review the expansive data on ivermectin to prevent COVID-19, keep those with early symptoms from progressing and help critically ill patients recover — to no avail.39,40

However, if you’d like to learn more about its potential uses for SARS-CoV-2, FLCCC’s I-MASK+ protocol can be downloaded in full,41 giving you step-by-step instructions on how to prevent and treat the early symptoms of COVID-19.

Sources and References

July 14, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | 2 Comments

Biden Just Said He’s Willing To Go To War With Iran, Mainstream Yawns

By Jake Johnson | Common Dreams | July 14, 2022

U.S. President Joe Biden said in an interview aired Wednesday that he would be willing to go to war with Iran to prevent the country from obtaining a nuclear weapon, a position that drew condemnation from advocacy groups and foreign policy analysts who questioned the moral, strategic, and legal bases for such a stance.

Biden also reiterated in the sit-down interview with Israeli broadcaster N12 that he is committed to keeping the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations list, even if it means sinking the prospects of a deal to revive the nuclear accord that former President Donald Trump violated in 2018.

While acknowledging that Trump’s decision to abandon the seven-country deal was a “gigantic mistake,” Biden said he would not delist the IRGC to advance nuclear talks that have hit a wall in recent weeks.

Biden offered a one-word answer—”yes”—when asked whether he would keep the IRGC on the terror list “even if that means that kills the deal.”

The U.S. president went on to say that he’s prepared to use military force “as a last resort” to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Iran has repeatedly said it is not pursuing a nuclear weapon and that its nuclear energy program is designed for peaceful domestic purposes.

Peace organizations were outraged by the president’s interview, noting that the terror designation is largely symbolic while the nuclear deal was a substantive diplomatic achievement that lifted devastating economic sanctions in exchange for limits to Iran’s nuclear program.

“Let’s be clear: Congress has not authorized—and the American people overwhelmingly do not support—the use of force against Iran,” said the Friends Committee on National Legislation. “If the president is committed to preventing nuclear proliferation, he should return to the nuclear deal and prioritize diplomacy. War is not the answer.”

Matt Duss, foreign policy adviser to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), responded that “it makes absolutely zero sense that he won’t delist the IRGC to prevent an Iranian nuke but would launch a war to prevent an Iranian nuke.”

The president’s remarks came days after his administration announced new sanctions targeting Iranian firms and individuals, a move seen as further evidence that Biden remains wedded to the failed “maximum pressure” campaign that his predecessor launched, imperiling any remaining hopes of a breakthrough in the stalled nuclear talks.

“Astonishing to see the president say he is willing to throw away the diplomatic progress his team has made and invite war with Iran over pointless partisan symbolism,” said progressive advocacy group Win Without War.

July 14, 2022 Posted by | Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , | 4 Comments

Companies pillaging water resources in West Bank are violating international law, warns NGO

MEMO | July 14, 2022

Several companies complicit in destroying and pillaging water resources in occupied Palestine have been warned that they are violating Palestinians’ right to self-determination and international law.

Al-Haq, a Palestinian NGO, has called out a number of companies including Israel’s national water company, Mekorot, Hagihon Company, TAHAL Group International B.V, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Caterpillar, manufacturing giant JCB and Volvo Group.

According to Wafa news agency, the corporations enable Israel’s appropriation of water by supporting the ongoing dispossession of the already restricted water access to Palestinian communities.

An example includes Israel’s national water company, Mekorot, which uses stolen water to increase the supply to illegal Israeli settlements, which have a high demand. It does not do the same for Palestinian communities and cities in the occupied West Bank. Indeed, it discriminates systematically, and denies water to the Palestinian population, the rights group said.

In a letter addressed to the companies, Al-Haq wrote: “By illegally appropriating large water quantities from Palestinians, Mekorot’s actions may amount to the war crime of pillage. Mekorot’s drilling of illegal wells, along with TAHAL’s infrastructural support, serves illegal Israeli settlements with an unlimited supply of water, while simultaneously restricting water supply for Palestinian communities in the same region.”

“This sustains the transfer of a foreign population into the OPT, constituting a violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Through these actions, Mekorot, and many other corporations, blatantly violate Palestinians’ means of subsistence, a violation of Article 1(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 1(2) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.”

The Palestinian rights organisation called on the corporations to terminate their business in the occupied territories and “to act with enhanced due diligence to avoid further involvement in serious human rights violations and war crimes.”

Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967. Human rights abuses against Palestinians and breaches of international law are daily occurrences.

July 14, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel confiscates more Palestinian land near Ramallah

MEMO | July 14, 2022

The Israeli occupation army started on Wednesday the process of confiscating 1,480 dunams of land belonging to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. The move was made as US President Joe Biden touched down in the occupation state on his first trip to the Middle East since taking office.

According to Palestinian activists, the land targeted by the Israeli occupation belongs to four Palestinian villages, Jaloud, Qaryut, Turmusaya and Al-Mughayer. All of them are located between Ramallah and Nablus.

Palestinian anti-settlement activist Ghassan Daghlas said that the land was seized after appeals from the owners, who grow olives and almonds there, were rejected. The area was declared to be a security zone by the army to secure adjacent Israeli settlements and outposts. All of Israel’s settlements and settlement outposts are illegal under international law.

According to Daghlas, the land is located around the Jewish settlement of Shilo. He pointed out that this is the largest land grab intended to expand the settlements and outposts that surround the villages, and noted that the confiscation was under a military order issued on 14 April which was not disclosed until after the deadline for objections had passed.

The Israeli occupation authorities are planning to annex the land to increase the size of the illegal Amichai settlement.

July 14, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Biden: ‘You need not be a Jew to be Zionist’

MEMO | July 14, 2022

Speaking after his arrival in Israel yesterday, US President Joe Biden lauded the “ancient land” he’d arrived in and stressed “you need not be a Jew to be Zionist.” Biden was welcomed at the airport by Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, his deputy Naftali Bennett and President Isaac Herzog, according to the Times of Israel.

Repeating past comments he’s made about Israel, he said: “You need not be a Jew to be Zionist.”

“This is my tenth visit, and every chance I have to return to this ancient land is a blessing because the connection between the American people and Israeli people is deep,” Biden said.

“It is bone deep, and generation after generation that connection grows as we invest in each other and dream together.”

Lapid, for his part, described Biden’s visit as historic as “it expresses the unbreakable bond between our two countries.”

The Israeli premier called Biden “one of the best friends Israel has ever known,” and referred to the US president calling himself a Zionist in the past.

Biden will visit the West Bank as part of his tour where he will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

July 14, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Imaginary War

By Patrick Lawrence | Consortium News | July 13, 2022

What were the policy cliques, “the intelligence community” and the press that serves both going to do when the kind of war in Ukraine they talked incessantly about turned out to be imaginary, a Marvel Comics of a conflict with little grounding in reality? I have wondered about this since the Russian intervention began on Feb. 24. I knew the answer would be interesting when finally we had one.

Now we have one. Taking the government-supervised New York Times as a guide, the result is a variant of what we saw as the Russiagate fiasco came unglued: Those who manufacture orthodoxies as well as consent are slithering out the side door.

I could tell you I don’t intend to single out the Times in this wild chicanery, except that I do. The once-but-no-longer newspaper of record continues to be singularly wicked in its deceits and deceptions as it imposes the official but imaginary version of the war on unsuspecting readers.

As Consortium News’s properly suspecting readers will recall, Vladimir Putin was clear when he told the world Russia’s intentions as it began its intervention. These were two: Russian forces went into Ukraine to “demilitarize and de–Nazify” it, a pair of limited, defined objectives.

An astute reader of these commentaries pointed out in a recent comment thread that the Russian president had once again proven, whatever else one may think of him, a focused statesman with an excellent grasp of history. At the Potsdam Conference in July 1945, the Allied Control Council declared its postwar purpose in Germany as “the four D’s.”  These were de–Nazification, demilitarization, democratization and decentralization.

Let’s give David Thompson, who brought this historical reference to my attention, a deserved byline here:

“Putin’s reiteration of the de–Nazification and demilitarization principles established from the Potsdam Conference is not just some quaint tip of the hat to history. He was laying down a marker to the United States and the United Kingdom that the agreement reached at Potsdam in 1945 is still relevant and valid ….”

The Russian president, whose entire argument with the West is that a just and stable order in Europe must serve the security interests of all sides, was simply restating objectives the trans–Atlantic alliance had once signed on to accomplish. In other words, he was pointing out said alliance’s gross hypocrisy as it arms the ideological descendants of German Nazis.

I dwell on this matter because the imaginary war began with the Biden regime’s and the press’s quite irresponsible misrepresentations of the Russian Federation’s aims in Ukraine. All else has flowed from it.

You remember: Russian forces were going to “conquer” the whole of the nation, wipe out the Kiev regime, install a puppet government and then drive on to Poland, the Baltic states, Transnistria and the rest of Moldova, and who could imagine what after that. De–Nazification, we can now read, is a phony Kremlin dodge.

Next Edition

Having lied outright on this score, the next edition of the comic went onto the market. Russia is failing to achieve its imaginary objectives. Low morale, desertions, poorly trained troops with not enough to eat, logistical failures, lousy artillery, inadequate ordnance, incompetent officers: The Russians were riding for a fall on Ukrainian soil.

The corollary here was the heroism, courage and battlefield grit of Ukrainian troops, least of all, the Azov Battalion, who were not any longer neo–Nazis. Never mind the TimesThe Guardian, the BBC and various other mainstream publications and broadcasters had earlier told us about these ideological fanatics. That was then, this is now.

The problem at this point was there were no battlefield successes to report. The defeats, indeed, had begun. In May, roughly when the Azov Battalion, heroic and democratic as it is, was forced to surrender in Mariupol, it was time for — this just had to be — Russian atrocities.

We had the theater and the maternity hospital in Mariupol, we had the infamous slaughter in Bucha, the Kiev suburb; various others have followed. Just what happened in these cases has never been established by credible, disinterested investigators; plentiful evidence that Ukrainian forces bear responsibility is dismissed out of hand. But who needs investigations and evidence when the brutal, criminal, indiscriminately ruthless Rrrrusssians, must be culpable if the imaginary war is to proceed?

My unchallenged favorites in this line come courtesy of CNN, which went long this spring on allegations — Ukrainian allegations, of course — that Russian soldiers were raping young girls and young boys right down to months-old infants. Three such specimens are herehere and here.

The network abruptly dropped this line of inquiry after the senior Ukrainian official disseminating these allegations was removed from office because the charges are fabrications. A wise move on CNN’s part, I think: Propaganda does not have to be very subtle, as history shows, but it does have its limits.

Just after the atrocities narrative had ripened, the Russians-are-stealing-Ukrainian-grain theme began. The BBC offered an especially wonderful account of this. Look at this video and text presentation and tell me it isn’t the cutest thing you’ve ever seen, as many holes in it as my Irish grandma’s lace curtains.

But at this point, problems. Russian forces, with their desertions, antiquated guns, and dumb generals, were taking one city after another in eastern Ukraine. These were not — the fly in the ointment — imaginary victories.

Out with the war-is-going-well theme and in with the brutal Russians’ indiscriminate use of artillery. This was a “primitive strategy,” the Times wanted us to know. In the awfulness of war, you simply don’t shell an enemy position as a preliminary to taking it. Medieval.

Lately, there’s another problem for the conjurors of imaginary war. This is the death toll. The U.N. Human Rights Monitoring Mission reported May 10 that the casualty count to date was in excess of 3,380 civilian fatalities, bumped up in June to 4,509, and 3,680 civilians injured. (And both sides shoot and kill in a war.)

Goddamn it, they exclaimed on Eighth Avenue. That is nowhere near enough in the imaginary war. Desperate for a gruesomely high death toll, the Times, on June 18, published “Death in Ukraine: A Special Report.” What a read. There is nothing in it other than innuendo and weightless surmise. But the imaginary war must grind on.

The Times’s “special report”— dum-da-da-dum — rests on phrases such as “witness testimony and other evidence” and “the thousands believed killed.” The evidence, to be noted, derives almost entirely from Ukrainian officials — as does an inordinate amount of what the Times publishes.

There is a great quotation: “People are killed indiscriminately or suddenly or without rhyme or reason.” Wow. Is this damning or what?

But another problem. This observation comes from one Richard Kohn, who is emeritus at the University of North Carolina. I hope the professor is having a good summer down in Chapel Hill.

In late June, Sievierodonetsk fell — or rose, depending on your point of view — and in short order so did Lysychansk and the whole of Luhansk province. Now come the ’fessing up stories, here and there. The Ukrainian forces are so discombobulated they are shooting one another, we read. They can’t operate their radios and — an artful back flip here — they are running out of food and ammunition and morale. Untrained soldiers who signed up to patrol their neighborhoods are deserting the front lines.


There are the holdouts. The Times reported last week that the Ukrainians, done for in Luhansk, are planning a counteroffensive in the south to reclaim lost territory. We all need our dreams, I suppose.

To the surprise of many, Patrick Lang, the ordinarily astute observer of military matters, published “Unable to even fix its own tanks, Russia’s humiliation is now complete” on his Turcopolier last Friday. The retired colonel predicts the Russians are in for “a sudden reversal of fortunes.” No, I’m not holding my breath.

Have you had enough of the imaginary war? I have. I read this junk daily as a professional obligation. Some of it I find amusing, but in the main it sickens when I think of what the American press has done to itself and to its readers.

For the record, it is hard to tell exactly what occurs on Ukraine’s tragic fields of war. As noted previously in this space, we have very little coverage from professional, properly disinterested correspondents. But I offer here my surmise, and it is nothing more.

This war has proceeded, more or less inexorably, in one direction: In the real war, the Ukrainians have been on a slow march to defeat from the first. They are too corrupt, too mesmerized by their fanatical Russophobia to organize an effective force or even to see straight.

This is not a grinding war of attrition, as we are supposed to think. It has proceeded slowly because Russian forces appear to be taking care to limit casualties — their own and among Ukrainian civilians. I put more faith in the U.N.’s numbers than in that silly, nothing-in-it “special report” the Times just published.

I do not know why Russian forces approached the outskirts of Kiev from the north early in the conflict and then withdrew, but there is no indication they intended to take the capital. There were battles, but they were certainly not “beaten back.” That is sheer nonsense.

I await proper investigations — admittedly unlikely — of the atrocities that have certainly occurred but without, so far, any conclusive indication of culpability.

Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, remarked recently Russia’s objective remains to take most of Ukraine. In a speech at the end of June in Ashgabat, the Turkmenistan capital, Putin appeared notably at ease and asserted, “Everything is going according to plan. Nothing has changed.” The objective, he said, remained “to liberate Donbass, to protect these people, and to create conditions that would guarantee the safety of Russia itself. That’s it.”

Putting these two statements side by side, there is vastly more evidence supporting Putin’s than there is for Haines.

Intentionally or otherwise — and I often have the impression the Times does not grasp the implications of what it publishes — the paper put out a story Sunday headlined, “Ukraine and the Contest of Global Stamina.” The outcome of this conflict, it reported, now depends on “whether the United States and its allies can maintain their military, political and financial commitments to holding off Russia.”

Can they possibly not understand down on Eighth Avenue that they have just described Ukraine as a basket-case client? Do they know they have just announced that the imaginary war they have waged these past four and some months is ending in defeat, given there is no one in Ukraine to win it?

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century. His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site.

July 14, 2022 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Ukrainian militants forced mothers and newborns out of maternity wards – Russian MOD

Samizdat | July 14, 2022

The Ukrainian military has been accused, by the Russian Defence Ministry, of throwing mothers and their newborn babies out of maternity hospitals in the southern Odessa Region. Wednesday’s statement added that medical staff who tried to stop them were allegedly assaulted.

“In the settlements of Dobroslav and Krasnoselka of the Limansky district in Odessa Region, Ukrainian militants use hospitals and ambulance stations as command posts and barracks. At the same time, all the patients, regardless of their health condition, as well as maternity ward patients and their newborn children, were ruthlessly kicked out of medical institutions, while medical staff who tried to prevent the neo-Nazis’ cruelty suffered from physical violence,” Mikhail Mizintsev, the head of Russia’s National Defense Control Center, outlined.

He added that the Ukrainian forces set up barracks, firing positions, and ammunition depots in a clinic in Ugledar (a city in the Donetsk People’s Republic), with heavy weaponry, artillery, and mortars stationed nearby.

Mizintsev urged international organizations, including the World Health Organization, to influence Kiev to put an end to the use of medical facilities for military purposes.

“Such actions of the criminal Ukrainian authorities show their complete indifference to the fate of their own citizens and absolute disregard for all moral norms and principles of international humanitarian law,” he said.

Mizintsev’s comments come in the wake of Ukrainian shelling in the Russian-controlled city of Novaya Kakhovka in Kherson Region, which reportedly killed two people and injured at least 90, with seven still missing after a fertilizer storage depot was hit. The explosion also damaged several civilian sites, including a market and a hospital.

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.

July 14, 2022 Posted by | War Crimes | | Leave a comment

Putin’s summits next week will strengthen ties with Iran, Turkey


Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced in Moscow on Tuesday that President Vladimir Putin will travel to Tehran on July 19, to take part in a tripartite meeting with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts as part of the Astana peace process to end the war in Syria as well as hold a bilateral meeting with Turkish President Recep Erdogan. 

Such a summit was long expected but the pandemic and the Ukraine conflict  delayed matters. The current impasse in Syria is fraught with risks. Turkey has plans to launch another military incursion into Syria’s northern border regions that are under the control of Kurdish groups, who, Ankara alleges, are linked to the separatist PKK and also happen to be Pentagon’s inseparable allies. 

Damascus, Moscow and Tehran — and Washington — disfavour the Turkish move as potentially destabilising, but Erdogan is keeping plans in a state of suspended animation, while tactfully dialling down the threatening rhetoric and acknowledging he’s “in no rush.”

For want of green lights from its Astana partners, presumably, Erdogan is unlikely to launch the military incursion, but Russia and Iran are wary that the incursion could complicate their presence and political influence in Syria and risk confrontation between Turkish troops and Syrian government forces. 

However, Syria apart, Putin’s trip has much wider ramifications. What transpires in his bilateral meetings with Erdogan and Iranian leaders are certainly the more important templates to watch. Clearly, Turkey and Iran are emerging as two of the most consequential relationships of Russian foreign policies and diplomacy. And Putin’s visit comes at a highly transformative period in the US’ approach toward both Turkey and Iran. 

Erdogan’s hopes of a rapprochement with the US have been dashed as Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told reporters on June 30 that Athens had submitted a letter of request “in recent days” to the US government for a squadron of 20 F-35s, with options to buy an additional squadron. The Greek announcement came just a day after President Joe Biden  had assured Erdogan on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Madrid that he backed the latter’s pending request for F-16s to Turkey. 

Erdogan should have known that Biden’s long, successful career has been inextricably linked with the powerful Greek lobby in America, which is a big source of election funding for aspiring politicians. Therefore, Greece’s F-35 deal is certain to be approved and it could further drive a wedge between the already strained relationship of the US and Turkey — and will only reinforce Ankara’s suspicion that Washington is using Greece as a pawn to control Turkey. Conceivably, the deal could change the military balance in the Eastern Mediterranean, taking into account Greece’s alliance with Cyprus and Israel as well. 

Suffice to say, Putin’s conversation with Erdogan comes at a time of uncertainties in Turkish-American relations. In immediate terms, therefore, the circumstances are most conducive for establishing a Black Sea naval corridor to export grain from Ukraine. There is a strategic convergence between Moscow’s keenness to prove it has not caused the global grain crisis, and Turkey’s desire to project its strategic autonomy, although a NATO member country.

Turkish defence minister Akar announced on July 13 that a consensus has been reached on the establishment of a coordination centre in Istanbul with the participation of all the parties, and the Russian and Ukrainian sides also agreed on joint control of the ships in both entering and exiting the ports as well as on maritime security. It is a signal victory for Turkish mediation. In the process, we may trust the strong relationship between Erdogan and Putin to harness fresh energy for deepening Turkish-Russian political-economic relations. Turkey has a unique role to play, as Moscow navigates its way around the western sanctions. 

Equally, Putin’s talks with the Iranian leadership also have a big geopolitical setting. US President Joe Biden will have just finished his trip to Saudi Arabia, an event that impacts Iran’s core interests at a crucial juncture when the nuclear negotiations are adrift and Teheran-Riyadh normalisation talks have made progress. 

US National Security Advisor Jack Sullivan’s theatrical disclosure on Monday of Iran supplying “several hundred UAVs, including weapons-capable UAVs on an expedited timeline” and of Russian personnel undergoing training in Iran in this connection, etc. appear to have been timed carefully.

The important thing to be noted here is that Sullivan’s story overlaps secret parleys reportedly between Riyadh and Jerusalem on defence technology exchanges, specifically related to Saudi concerns about Iranian drones!  

Furthermore, Sullivan’s loose talk comes against the backdrop of the announcement by Israel last month of the formation of a mutual air defence coalition that is expected to involve, among others, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. 

To be sure, Sullivan’s revelation right before Biden’s trip to Riyadh comes with a political aspect, as it puts pressure on Saudi Arabia to rethink both its blossoming relationship with Russia as well as its normalisation talks with Iran. 

Moscow understands that Biden’s primary purpose in the Middle eastern tour is to put together a front against Russia and China. Indeed, Biden wrote in an op-Ed in the Washington Post last week on his Middle East tour, “We need to counter Russian aggression, be in a better position to win the competition with China, and work to strengthen stability in an important region of the world. To do this, we need to interact directly with countries that can influence the results of such work. Saudi Arabia is one of those countries.” 

Biden hopes to bring Saudi Arabia into some sort of format with Israel beneath an overarching binding strategic defence cooperation pact that goes beyond anything the US has agreed to before. This, inevitably, requires the demonising of Iran as a common threat. Simply put, Biden is reviving a failed American strategy — namely, organising the region around the goal of isolating and containing Iran.      

Indeed, if history is any guide, Biden’s idea of creating a collective security system is doomed to fail. Such attempts previously met with fierce resistance from regional states. Also, Russia has certain advantages here, having pursued a diplomacy with the regional states that is firmly anchored in mutual respect and mutual benefit, and predictability and reliability. During Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia, a certain understanding was reached, which Riyadh is unlikely to disown. 

Indeed, Saudi Arabia and Russia have a convergence of interests with regard to the oil market. At any rate, expert opinion is that both Saudi Arabia and the UAE have very limited spare capacity. The expectation is that Saudi Arabia will most likely agree to loosen the oil taps on the back of the Biden visit, but the leadership will still strive to find a way to do it within the context of the current OPEC+ agreement (with Russia) that extends through December by, say, compensating for the production underperformance of struggling OPEC states such as Nigeria and Angola. (The OPEC+ capacity is already well below the level implied in the agreement.)

Fundamentally, as the executive president of Quincy Institute Trita Parsi noted recently, “any reduction in tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran is a threat to the durability of the Abraham Accords… That means in order for Israel and Saudi Arabia and the UAE to continue to have enough strategic incentives to collaborate and have relations and all jointly forget about Palestinian suffering, there needs to be a threat from Iran. Otherwise the whole house of cards falls apart.” 

Iran understands that the JCPOA talks are neither dead nor alive but in a comatose state, which may perish soon unless salvaged — depending on the degree of success or failure of Biden’s talks in Saudi Arabia. But all signs are that Tehran is pressing the pedal on strengthening the ties with Moscow. Its SCO membership is through, while it is now seeking BRICS membership. The compass for Iran’s foreign policy trajectory is set. Surely, from such a perspective, Putin has a lot to discuss in Tehran with the Iranian leadership as the new world order is taking shape.

Even with regard to Sullivan’s drone story, although Iran has issued a pro forma rebuttal, we may not have heard the last word. The fact of the matter is that Iran is among the top five world leaders in the development and production of UAVs that may  interest Russia — Shahed strike systems, Mohajer tactical drones, various versions of Karrar reconnaissance and strike UAVs with range of 500-1000 kms, Arash kamikaze drones, etc. Interestingly, Iran’s MFA spokesman alluded to the existing framework of Iran-Russia military-technical cooperation that predates the war in Ukraine.

July 14, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Leave a comment

US provides Kiev with intelligence on Donbass targets – Moscow

Samizdat | July 14, 2022

Washington has not only supplied long-range High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) to Kiev, but is also providing intelligence on targets in Donbass and has even “unofficially” sent instructors to Ukraine to help with the hardware, the Russian Foreign Ministry claimed on Thursday.

Moscow alleges that the Ukrainian government has ordered troops to shell civilians in the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics with the help of the US-made weapons.

Speaking at a media briefing in Moscow, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said that Ukrainian forces “have used US-supplied multiple-launch rocket systems HIMARS on all fronts” of late. She added that Washington has been actively sharing intelligence on targets with Kiev, and has even “unofficially dispatched instructors, who were helping representatives of the Kiev regime to aim correctly.”

Zakharova linked the recent uptick in Ukrainian shelling with the delivery of the US-made rocket systems.

She noted that the Ukrainian military “has apparently been ordered by Kiev to use the said launchers against civilians without any hesitation.”

Also on Thursday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement, saying that Moscow’s “operation will continue despite attempts by the US and its allies to ‘strengthen the security’ of Ukraine.”

July 14, 2022 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Russia dismisses US abuse allegations

Samizdat | July 14, 2022

Moscow has dismissed American claims that it forced up to 1.6 million Ukrainians to move to Russia, was confiscating Ukrainian identification documents, and issuing Russian passports instead.

The accusations, which were made by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday, are “poor quality Western disinformation,” the Russian embassy in Washington said.

The top US diplomat accused Russia of abusing Ukrainian citizens in various ways. He cited estimates by sources that “indicate that Russian authorities have interrogated, detained, and forcibly deported [to Russia] between 900,000 and 1.6 million Ukrainian citizens, including 260,000 children.”

He was apparently referring to the evacuation of civilians from Eastern Ukraine and Donbass republics. Hundreds of thousands of people fled to Russia before and during the ongoing military conflict. Kiev claimed that those refugees were Russian “hostages.”

Blinken further claimed that Russian forces were “separating families, in an apparent effort to change the demographic makeup of parts of Ukraine.”

Moscow has offered Ukrainian citizens a simplified path to Russian citizenship, should they want it. Initially only residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, which Russia recognized as sovereign states in February, were eligible for the scheme, but it was later extended to all Ukrainians.

The US also claimed that Russia was “deliberately separating Ukrainian children from their parents and abducting others from orphanages before putting them up for adoption inside Russia.” Blinken cited “eyewitnesses, survivors, and Ukraine’s General Prosecutor” as his source for these and other serious accusations.

Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, commented on Blinken’s remarks, suggesting that “a case like this must have been described” somewhere in a medical encyclopedia.

When she discussed the allegations on Thursday on Russian TV, she said they were meant for consumption by a US audience. Blinken’s claims were as “absurd” as Washington’s “mantra” that Russian President Vladimir Putin had imposed “a tax” and driven American gas prices up, she added.

July 14, 2022 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 2 Comments