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Americans increasingly see FBI as ‘Biden’s Gestapo’ – poll

Samizdat | August 20, 2022

A majority of respondents in a new survey have said they view the FBI as President Joe Biden‘s “personal Gestapo,” reflecting increasingly polarized views about the federal policing agency amid an investigation into the former commander in chief.

A Rasmussen poll published on Thursday showed major divisions in Americans’ attitudes toward the FBI, with 44% of respondents stating a recent raid on Trump’s Florida home made them lose some trust in the bureau. However, a significant 29% said the move only increased their confidence in the FBI, while 23% said it made no difference.

Asked about previous comments by former Trump adviser Roger Stone – who said “politicized thugs at the top of the FBI” are using the agency as “Joe Biden‘s personal Gestapo” – a majority (53%) of those polled agreed, including 34% who concurred “strongly.” That figure is up from 46% last December, though the more recent survey still found 36% disagree with Stone’s characterization. The results were split along party lines, with 76% of Republican and 37% Democrat respondents agreeing with the “Gestapo” claim.

According to officials and an unsealed property receipt, the federal raid on Trump’s Florida home on August 8 was centered on a probe into classified documents allegedly taken from the White House – some of them said to be top-secret and even potentially related to nuclear weapons – with the bureau hoping to recover 11 different sets of material from the residence. It remains unclear what was found in the search, however, and unnamed sources cited by NBC recently said agents will need time to sift through the seized files.

Trump, for his part, has accused the FBI of a politicized raid, and claimed the agency “stole” his passports and privileged legal documents “which they knowingly should not have taken,” although the passports had since been returned. The former president’s lawyers were not permitted to observe the search of his property, and said FBI agents ordered them to shut off security cameras while it was conducted.

August 19, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 9 Comments

How We Have Been Misled About Antidepressants

By Joanna Moncrieff | Brownstone Institute | August 18, 2022

Our umbrella review that revealed no links between serotonin and depression has caused shock waves among the general public, but has been dismissed as old news by psychiatric opinion leaders. This disjunction begs the questions of why the public has been fed this narrative for so long, and what antidepressants are actually doing if they are not reversing a chemical imbalance.

Before I go on, I should stress that I am not against the use of drugs for mental health problems per se. I believe some psychiatric drugs can be useful in some situations, but the way these drugs are presented both to the public and among the psychiatric community is, in my view, fundamentally misleading. This means we have not been using them carefully enough, and crucially, that people have not been able to make properly informed decisions about them.

Much public information still claims that depression, or mental disorders in general, are caused by a chemical imbalance and that drugs work by putting this right. The American Psychiatric Association currently tells people that: “differences in certain chemicals in the brain may contribute to symptoms of depression.” The Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists tells people: “Medications work by rebalancing the chemicals in the brain. Different types of medication act on different chemical pathways.”

In response to our paper finding that such statements are not supported by evidence, psychiatric experts have desperately tried to put the genie back in the bottle. There are other possible biological mechanisms that could explain how antidepressants exert their effects, they say, but what really matters is that antidepressants ‘work.’

This claim is based on randomised trials that show that antidepressants are marginally better than a placebo at reducing depression scores over a few weeks. However, the difference is so small that it is not clear it is even noticeable, and there is evidence that it may be explained by artefacts of the design of the studies rather than the effects of the drugs.

The experts go on to suggest that it does not matter how antidepressants work. After all, we do not understand exactly how every medical drug works, so this should not worry us.

This position reveals a deep-seated assumption about the nature of depression and the action of antidepressants, which helps to explain why the myth of the chemical imbalance has been allowed to survive for so long. These psychiatrists assume that depression must be the result of some specific biological processes that we will eventually be able to identify, and that antidepressants must work by targeting these.

These assumptions are neither supported nor helpful. They are not supported because, although there are numerous hypotheses (or speculations) other than the low serotonin theory, no consistent body of research demonstrates any specific biological mechanism underpinning depression that might explain antidepressant action; they are unhelpful because they lead to overly optimistic views about the actions of antidepressants that cause their benefits to be overstated and their adverse effects to be dismissed.

Depression is not the same as pain or other bodily symptoms. While biology is involved in all human activity and experience, it is not self-evident that manipulating the brain with drugs is the most useful level at which to deal with emotions. This may be something akin to soldering the hard drive to fix a problem with the software.

We normally think of moods and emotions as being personal reactions to the things going on in our lives, which are shaped by our individual history and predispositions (including our genes), and are intimately related to our personal values and inclinations.

Therefore we explain emotions in terms of the circumstances that provoke them and the personality of the individual. To override this common-sense understanding and claim that diagnosed depression is something different requires an established body of evidence, not an assortment of possible theories.

Models of drug action

The idea that psychiatric drugs might work by reversing an underlying brain abnormality is what I have called the ‘disease-centred’ model of drug action. It was first proposed in the 1960s when the serotonin theory of depression and other similar theories were advanced. Before this, drugs were implicitly understood to work differently, in what I have called a ‘drug-centred’ model of drug action.

In the early 20th century, it was recognised that drugs prescribed to people with mental disorders produce alterations to normal mental processes and states of consciousness, which are superimposed onto the individual’s preexisting thoughts and feelings.

This is much the same as we understand the effects of alcohol and other recreational drugs. We recognise that these can temporarily override unpleasant feelings. Although many psychiatric drugs, including antidepressants, are not enjoyable to take like alcohol, they do produce more or less subtle mental alterations that are relevant to their use.

This is different from how drugs work in the rest of medicine. Although only a minority of medical drugs target the ultimate underlying cause of a disease, they work by targeting the physiological processes that produce the symptoms of a condition in a disease-centred way.

Painkillers, for example, work by targeting the underlying biological mechanisms that produce pain. But opiate painkillers may work in a drug-centred way too, because, unlike other painkillers, they have mind-altering properties. One of their effects is to numb emotions, and people who have taken opiates for pain often say they still have some pain, but they do not care about it anymore.

In contrast, paracetamol (so often cited by those defending the idea that it does not matter how antidepressants work) does not have mind-altering properties, and therefore although we may not fully understand its mechanism of action, we can safely presume it works on pain mechanisms, because there is no other way for it to work.

Like alcohol and recreational drugs, psychiatric drugs produce general mental alterations that occur in everyone regardless of whether they have mental health problems or not. The alterations produced by antidepressants vary according to the nature of the drug (antidepressants come from many different chemical classes – another indication that they are unlikely to be acting on an underlying mechanism), but include lethargy, restlessness, mental clouding, sexual dysfunction, including loss of libido, and numbing of emotions.

This suggests they produce a generalised state of reduced sensitivity and feeling. These alterations will obviously influence how people feel and may explain the slight difference between antidepressants and placebo observed in randomised trials.

Influences

In my book, The Myth of the Chemical Cure, I show how this ‘drug-centred’ view of psychiatric drugs was gradually replaced by the disease-centred view during the 1960s and 70s. The older view was erased so completely that it seemed people simply forgot that psychiatric drugs have mind-changing properties.

This switch did not occur because of scientific evidence. It occurred because psychiatry wanted to present itself as a modern medical enterprise, whose treatments were the same as other medical treatments. From the 1990s, the pharmaceutical industry also started to promote this view, and the two forces combined to insert this idea into the minds of the general public in what has to go down as one of the most successful marketing campaigns in history.

As well as wanting to align with the rest of medicine, in the 1960s the psychiatric profession needed to distance its treatments from the recreational drug scene. Best-selling prescription drugs of the period, amphetamines and barbiturates, were being widely diverted onto the street (the popular ‘purple hearts’ were a mixture of the two). So it was important to emphasise that psychiatric drugs were targeting an underlying disease, and to gloss over how they might be changing people’s ordinary state of mind.

The pharmaceutical industry took up the baton following the benzodiazepine scandal in the late 1980s. At this time it became apparent that benzodiazepines (drugs like Valium- ‘mother’s little helper’) caused physical dependence just like the barbiturates they had replaced. It was also clear they were being doled out by the bucket load to people (mostly women) to medicate away the stresses of life.

So when the pharmaceutical industry developed its next set of misery pills, it needed to present them not as new ways of ‘drowning one’s sorrows,’ but as proper medical treatments that worked by rectifying an underlying physical abnormality. So Pharma launched a massive campaign to persuade people that depression was caused by a lack of serotonin that could be corrected by the new SSRI antidepressants.

Psychiatric and medical associations helped out, including the message in their information for patients on official websites. Although marketing has died down with most antidepressants no longer on patent, the idea that depression is caused by low serotonin is still widely disseminated on pharmaceutical websites and doctors are still telling people that it is the case (two doctors have said this on national TV and radio in the UK in the last few months).

Neither Pharma nor the psychiatric profession has had any interest in bursting the chemical imbalance bubble. It is quite clear from psychiatrists’ responses to our serotonin paper that the profession wishes people to continue under the misapprehension that mental disorders such as depression have been shown to be biological conditions that can be treated with drugs that target the underlying mechanisms.

We haven’t worked out what those mechanisms are yet, they admit, but we have plenty of research that suggests this or that possibility. They do not want to contemplate that there might be other explanations for what drugs like antidepressants are actually doing, and they do not want the public to do so either.

And there is good reason for this. Millions of people are now taking antidepressants, and the implications of discarding the disease-centred view of their action are profound. If antidepressants are not reversing an underlying imbalance, but we know that they are modifying the serotonin system in some way (though we are not sure how), we have to conclude they are changing our normal brain chemistry – just like recreational drugs do.

Some of the mental alterations that result, such as emotional numbing, may bring short-term relief. But when we look at antidepressants in this light we immediately understand that taking them for a long time is probably not a good idea. Although there is little research on the consequences of long-term use, increasing evidence points to the occurrence of withdrawal effects which can be severe and prolonged, and cases of persistent sexual dysfunction.

Replacing the serotonin theory with vague assurances that more complex biological mechanisms can explain drug action only continues the obfuscation, and enables the marketing of other psychiatric drugs on equally spurious grounds.

Johns Hopkins, for example, is telling people that ‘untreated depression causes long-term brain damage’ and that ‘esketamine may counteract the harmful effects of depression.’ Quite apart from the damage to people’s mental health by being told they have, or will soon get brain damage, this message encourages the use of a drug with a flimsy evidence base and a worrying adverse effect profile.

The serotonin hypothesis was inspired by the desire of the psychiatric profession to regard its treatments as proper medical treatments and the need of the pharmaceutical industry to distinguish its new drugs from the benzodiazepines that, by the late 1980s, had brought the medicating of misery into disrepute.

It exemplifies the way that psychiatric drugs have been misunderstood and misrepresented in the interests of profit and professional status. It is time to let people know not only that the serotonin story is a myth, but that antidepressants change the normal state of the body, brain and mind in ways that may occasionally be experienced as useful, but may be harmful too.

Joanna Moncrieff is a Professor of Critical and Social Psychiatry at University College London, and works as a consultant psychiatrist in the NHS. She researchers and writes about the over-use and misrepresentation of psychiatric drugs and about the history, politics and philosophy of psychiatry more generally. She is currently leading UK government-funded research on reducing and discontinuing antipsychotic drug treatment (the RADAR study), and collaborating on a study to support antidepressant discontinuation. In the 1990s she co-founded the Critical Psychiatry Network to link up with other, like-minded psychiatrists. She is author of numerous papers and her books include A Straight Talking Introduction to Psychiatric Drugs Second edition (PCCS Books), published in September 2020, as well as The Bitterest Pills: The Troubling Story of Antipsychotic Drugs (2013) and The Myth of the Chemical Cure (2009) (Palgrave Macmillan). Her website is https://joannamoncrieff.com/.

August 19, 2022 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | 2 Comments

WEF Proposes Globalized Plan to Police Online Content Using Artificial Intelligence

By Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D. | The Defender | August 19, 2022

Warning about a “dark world of online harms” that must be addressed, the World Economic Forum (WEF) this month published an article calling for a “solution” to “online abuse” that would be powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and human intelligence.

The proposal calls for a system, based on AI, that would automate the censorship of “misinformation” and “hate speech” and work to overcome the spread of “child abuse, extremism, disinformation, hate speech and fraud” online.

According to the author of the article, Inbal Goldberger, human “trust and safety teams” alone are not fully capable of policing such content online.

Goldberger is vice president of ActiveFence Trust & Safety, a technology company based in New York City and Tel Aviv that claims it “automatically collects data from millions of sources and applies contextual AI to power trust and safety operations of any size.”

Instead of relying solely on human moderation teams, Goldberger proposes a system based on “human-curated, multi-language, off-platform intelligence” — in other words, input provided by “expert” human sources that would then create “learning sets” that would train the AI to recognize purportedly harmful or dangerous content.

This “off-platform intelligence” — more machine learning than AI per se, according to Didi Rankovic of ReclaimTheNet.org — would be collected from “millions of sources” and would then be collated and merged before being used for “content removal decisions” on the part of “Internet platforms.”

According to Goldberger, the system would supplement “smarter automated detection with human expertise” and will allow for the creation of “AI with human intelligence baked in.”

This, in turn, would provide protection against “increasingly advanced actors misusing platforms in unique ways.”

“A human moderator who is an expert in European white supremacy won’t necessarily be able to recognize harmful content in India or misinformation narratives in Kenya,” Goldberger explained.

However, “By uniquely combining the power of innovative technology, off-platform intelligence collection and the prowess of subject-matter experts who understand how threat actors operate, scaled detection of online abuse can reach near-perfect precision” as these learning sets are “baked in” to the AI over time, Goldberger said.

This would, in turn, enable “trust and safety teams” to “stop threats rising online before they reach users,” she added.

In his analysis of what Goldberger’s proposal might look like in practice, blogger Igor Chudov explained how content policing on social media today occurs on a platform-by-platform basis.

For example, Twitter content moderators look only at content posted to that particular platform, but not at a user’s content posted outside Twitter.

Chudov argued this is why the WEF appears to support a proposal to “move beyond the major Internet platforms, in order to collect intelligence about people and ideas everywhere else.”

“Such an approach,” Chudov wrote, “would allow them to know better what person or idea to censor — on all major platforms at once.”

The “intelligence” collected by the system from its “millions of sources” would, according to Chudov, “detect thoughts that they do not like,” resulting in “content removal decisions handed down to the likes of Twitter, Facebook, and so on … a major change from the status quo of each platform deciding what to do based on messages posted to that specific platform only.”

In this way, “the search for wrongthink becomes globalized,” concludes Chudov.

In response to the WEF proposal, ReclaimTheNet.org pointed out that “one can start discerning the argument here … as simply pressuring social networks to start moving towards ‘preemptive censorship.’”

Chudov posited that the WEF is promoting the proposal because it “is becoming a little concerned” as “unapproved opinions are becoming more popular, and online censors cannot keep up with millions of people becoming more aware and more vocal.”

According to the Daily Caller, “The WEF document did not specify how members of the AI training team would be decided, how they would be held accountable or whether countries could exercise controls over the AI.”

In a disclaimer accompanying Goldberger’s article, the WEF reassured the public that the content expressed in the piece “is the opinion of the author, not the World Economic Forum,” adding that “this article has been shared on websites that routinely misrepresent content and spread misinformation.”

However, the WEF appears to be open to proposals like Goldberger’s. For instance, a May 2022 article on the WEF website proposes Facebook’s “Oversight Board” as an example of a “real-world governance model” that can be applied to governance in the metaverse.

And, as Chudov noted, “AI content moderation slots straight into the AI social credit score system.”

UN, backed by Gates Foundation, also aiming to ‘break chain of misinformation’

The WEF isn’t the only entity calling for more stringent policing of online content and “misinformation.”

For example, UNESCO recently announced a partnership with Twitter, the European Commission and the World Jewish Congress leading to the launch of the #ThinkBeforeSharing campaign, to “stop the spread of conspiracy theories.”

According to UNESCO:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a worrying rise in disinformation and conspiracy theories.

“Conspiracy theories can be dangerous: they often target and discriminate against vulnerable groups, ignore scientific evidence and polarize society with serious consequences. This needs to stop.”

UNESCO’s director-general, Audrey Azoulay, said:

“Conspiracy theories cause real harm to people, to their health, and also to their physical safety. They amplify and legitimize misconceptions about the pandemic, and reinforce stereotypes which can fuel violence and violent extremist ideologies.”

UNESCO said the partnership with Twitter informs people that events occurring across the world are not “secretly manipulated behind the scenes by powerful forces with negative intent.”

UNESCO issued guidance for what to do in the event one encounters a “conspiracy theorist” online: One must “react” immediately by posting a relevant link to a “fact-checking website” in the comments.

UNESCO also provides advice to the public in the event someone encounters a “conspiracy theorist” in the flesh. In that case, the individual shold avoid arguing, as “any argument may be taken as proof that you are part of the conspiracy and reinforce that belief.”

The #ThinkBeforeSharing campaign provides a host of infographics and accompanying materials intended to explain what “conspiracy theories” are, how to identify them, how to report on them and how to react to them more broadly.

According to these materials, conspiracy theories have six things in common, including:

  • An “alleged, secret plot.”
  • A “group of conspirators.”
  • “‘Evidence’ that seems to support the conspiracy theory.”
  • Suggestions that “falsely” claim “nothing happens by accident and that there are no coincidences,” and that “nothing is as it appears and everything is connected.”
  • They divide the world into “good or bad.”
  • They scapegoat people and groups.

UNESCO doesn’t entirely dismiss the existence of “conspiracy theories,” instead admitting that “real conspiracies large and small DO exist.”

However, the organization claims, such “conspiracies” are “more often centered on single self-contained events, or an individual like an assassination or a coup d’état” and are “real” only if “unearthed by the media.”

In addition to the WEF and UNESCO, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council earlier this year adopted “a plan of action to tackle disinformation.”

The “plan of action,” sponsored by the U.S., U.K., Ukraine, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, emphasizes “the primary role that governments have, in countering false narratives,” while expressing concern for:

“The increasing and far-reaching negative impact on the enjoyment and realization of human rights of the deliberate creation and dissemination of false or manipulated information intended to deceive and mislead audiences, either to cause harm or for personal, political or financial gain.”

Even countries that did not officially endorse the Human Rights Council plan expressed concerns about online “disinformation.”

For instance, China identified such “disinformation” as “a common enemy of the international community.”

An earlier UN initiative, in partnership with the WEF, “recruited 110,000 information volunteers” who would, in the words of UN global communications director Melissa Fleming, act as “digital first responders” to “online misinformation.”

The UN’s #PledgeToPause initiative, although recently circulating as a new development on social media, was announced in November 2020, and was described by the UN as “the first global behaviour-change campaign on misinformation.”

The campaign is part of a broader UN initiative, “Verified,” that aims to recruit participants to disseminate “verified content optimized for social sharing,” stemming directly from the UN communications department.

Fleming said at the time that the UN also was “working with social media platforms to recommend changes” to “help break the chain of misinformation.”

Both “Verified” and the #PledgeToPause campaign still appear to be active as of the time of this writing.

The “Verified” initiative is operated in conjunction with Purpose, an activist group that has collaborated with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the World Health Organization, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Google and Starbucks.

Since 2019, the UN has been in a strategic partnership with the WEF based on six “areas of focus,” one of which is “digital cooperation.”

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

This article was originally published by The Defender — Children’s Health Defense’s News & Views Website under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Please consider subscribing to The Defender or donating to Children’s Health Defense.

August 19, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Russia’s energy export revenues forecast to soar

Samizdat | August 19, 2022

Russia will see a 38% year-on-year increase in energy earnings due to higher oil export volumes, coupled with rising natural gas prices, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing a document from the German Economy Ministry.

According to the report, the country’s revenues are expected to jump to $337.5 billion this year, which will help shore up the Russian economy in the face of Western sanctions.

The document predicted that energy export earnings will ease to $255.8 billion next year, but will still be higher than the 2021 figure of $244.2 billion.

According to the forecast, the average gas export price will more than double this year to $730 per thousand cubic meters, before gradually falling until the end of 2025.

The document pointed out that Moscow has started to gradually boost its oil production following the sanctions-related curbs and as a result of increased purchases by Asian buyers.

Moscow has also improved its forecasts for output and exports until the end of 2025.

Overall, the German Economy Ministry forecast cited by Reuters suggested that the Russian economy is coping well with the sanctions regime and will contract by less than expected.

August 19, 2022 Posted by | Economics | | 1 Comment

Details of EU plan to revive Iranian nuclear deal leaked to media

Samizdat | August 19, 2022

A proposal the EU submitted at the Vienna talks to revive the Iranian nuclear deal would reportedly see an immediate lifting of sanctions on over 160 Iranian entities, including banks, in exchange for Tehran gradually scaling down its nuclear activities, Al Jazeera reported on Friday, citing “informed sources.”

The proposal that Brussels previously called “final” reportedly involves four stages and would take at least 120 days to be fully implemented, the media outlet said. The “first day” after its signing would see the lifting of sanctions on 17 Iranian banks and 150 other economic entities. Tehran, in turn, would also begin returning to its commitments under the agreement from day one and scale back its nuclear activities.

The implementation of this accord would also involve the release of $7 billion in Iranian funds that are currently frozen in South Korea, the report said.

During the 120-day period after the signing of the agreement, Iran will be allowed to export 50 million barrels of oil as part of a “verification mechanism,” Al Jazeera said, citing its sources. After that period, the Islamic Republic would be able to export 2.5 million barrels per day.

The proposal also includes an obligation for the US to pay a fine if it ever pulls out of the deal again, Al Jazeera said, without revealing the amount of any such penalty or where the money would go.

Iran submitted a written response to the proposal on Monday, without revealing its details. “There are three issues that if resolved, we can reach an agreement in the coming days,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said at the time. “We have shown enough flexibility… We do not want to reach a deal that after 40 days, two months or three months, fails to be materialized on the ground,” he added, warning that Tehran’s “red lines” should be respected.

Earlier, the US said the 2015 nuclear deal could be revived only if Iran drops its “extraneous” demands, which included an end to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) probe into unexplained uranium traces in Iran and the removal of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the American terrorism list.

Al Jazeera reported on Friday, citing a European official in Vienna, that Tehran is no longer seeking the removal of the organization from the list.

Last week, Politico reported that the EU had proposed watering down the US sanctions on the IRGC as part of efforts to revive the 2015 deal. The news outlet also said Washington was set “to make greater concessions than expected” to revive the deal.

According to Politico, the text of the proposal also said Washington and Brussels “take note of Iran’s intent” to address the issue of the IAEA probe by the time the agreement enters into force again.

The Iranian nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was signed in 2015 by Iran, the US, UK, France, and Germany, as well as Russia, China, and the EU. It involved Iran agreeing to certain restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange for economic sanctions relief. In 2018, the US unilaterally withdrew from the deal under President Donald Trump. Talks to revive the deal have been taking place in Vienna for the past 16 months.

August 19, 2022 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment

Israel ‘yields to Lebanon’s maritime demands’ as Hezbollah-set deadline approaches

Press TV – August 19, 2022

Israel has reportedly yielded to Lebanon’s full maritime demands over the disputed waters and gas fields, asking the Arab country for extra time to finalize a deal.

According to a report by Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar on August 19, the regime sent a message to Hezbollah through diplomatic channels, saying it accepts Lebanon’s full demands.

Israel has pledged to acknowledge that Line 23 and the Qana prospect field are in Lebanese territory while also pleading with Hezbollah to set aside potential plans to attack Israeli gas fields in case of a delayed deal, the report added.

Secretary General of Hezbollah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has already rejected any delays in the case as Lebanon is going through dire economic conditions. “Time is short, and depending on the [Israeli] response, we will surely act,” he said in a speech during Ashura mourning procession.

Hezbollah had set a deadline for Lebanon to secure its rights over the disputed areas, which will expire on September 15.

Meanwhile, Israeli media reported an Israeli official is set to make a trip to the United States to discuss the dispute in the hopes of achieving an agreement.

According to Al-Akhbar, some firms have warned Israel they would withdraw their employees and facilities in case the regime fails to guarantee their safety.

Nasrallah had earlier said the Israeli regime would not be allowed to conduct drilling operations for oil and natural gas in the disputed area in the Mediterranean Sea until Lebanon gets what it deserves.

“Lebanon is facing a historic and golden opportunity to get out of its financial crisis. If we fail to take advantage of it, we would not be able to extract oil within the next 100 years. We are not looking for moral gains out of extraction in the Karish natural gas field. We rather want to tap into our oil reserves. There would, therefore, be no room for oil or gas extraction in the entire region if Lebanon does not get its right,” Nasrallah said at a local event in Beirut on July 19.

Lebanese politicians hope commercially viable hydrocarbon resources off Lebanon’s coast could help the debt-ridden country out of its worst economic crisis in decades.

In February 2018, Lebanon signed its first contract for drilling in two blocks in the Mediterranean with a consortium comprising energy giants Total, Eni, and Novatek.

Lebanon and Israel took part in indirect talks to discuss demarcation in 2020. But the talks stalled after Lebanon demanded a larger area, including part of the Karish gas field, where Israel has given exploration rights to a Greek firm.

The talks were supposed to discuss a Lebanese demand for 860 square kilometers (330 square miles) of territory in the disputed maritime area, according to a map sent to the United Nations in 2011. However, Lebanon then said the map was based on erroneous calculations and demanded 1,430 square kilometers (552 square miles) more further south, including part of Karish.

August 19, 2022 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , | Leave a comment

Venezuela Stops Oil Shipments To Europe As Alternatives To Russian Energy Dry Up

Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | August 19, 2022

The writing is on the wall for Europe in terms of this coming winter – It’s going to get ugly. With natural gas imports from Russia cut by 80% through Nord Stream 1 along with the majority of oil shipments, the EU is going to be scrambling for whatever fuel sources they can find to supply electricity and heating through the coming winter. Two sources that were originally suggested as alternatives were Iran and Venezuela.

Increased Iranian oil and gas exports to the west are highly dependent on the tentative nuclear deal, but as Goldman Sachs recently suggested, such a deal is unlikely anytime soon as deadlines on proposals have not been met and the Israeli government calls for negotiators to ‘walk away.’

Venezuela had restarted shipments to Europe after 2 years of US sanctions under a deal that allows them to trade oil for debt relief. However, the country’s government has now suspended those shipments, saying it is no longer interested in oil-for-debt deals and instead wants refined fuels from Italian and Spanish producers in exchange for crude.

This might seem like a backwards exchange but Venezuela’s own refineries are struggling to remain in operation because of lack of investment and lack of repairs. Refined fuels would help them to get back on their feet in terms of energy and industry. Some of Venezuela’s own heavy oil operations require imported diluents in order to continue. The EU says it currently has no plans to lift restrictions on the oil-for-debt arrangement, which means Europe has now lost yet another energy source.

Sanctions on Venezuela along with declining investments have strangled their oil industry, with overall production dropping by 38% this July compared to a year ago. Joe Biden’s initial moves to reopen talks with Maduro triggered inflated hopes that Venezuelan oil would flow once again and offset tight global markets and rising prices. Europe in particular will soon be desperate for energy alternatives, which will probably result in a scouring of markets this autumn to meet bare minimum requirements for heating.

If this occurs and no regular sources of energy can be found to fill the void left by Russian sanctions, prices will rise precipitously in the EU. Not only that, but with European countries buying up energy supplies wherever they can find them, available sources will also shrink for every other nation including the US. Get ready for oil and energy prices to spike once again as winter’s chill returns.

August 19, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | , | 2 Comments

A Democrat President Again Wastes Taxpayer Money On Useless Renewables

By Jerome Corsi | American Thinker | August 12, 2022

This past week, the Senate passed the Biden administration’s “Inflation Reduction Act,” which includes $368 billion for green energy spending targeted to reduce CO2 emissions by 40 percent by 2030, a move that will almost certainly increase inflation. In a repeat of the renewable energy project failures that the Obama administration financed with federal grants and tax breaks, the Biden administration is betting more potentially inflationary deficit spending against the odds that renewable energy will be profitable this time.

Ironically, on September 4, 2009, then-Vice President Joe Biden was the one who announced that the Department of Energy (DOE) had just finalized a $535 million loan guarantee for Solyndra, LLC. This green energy company manufactured “innovative cylindrical solar photovoltaic panels that provide clean, renewable energy.” Biden enthusiastically noted the DOE loan guarantee aimed to finance the construction of Solyndra’s manufacturing plant. He also bragged that the annual production of solar panels from the first phase of Solyndra’s plans would provide energy equivalent to powering 24,000 homes a year for over half a million homes during the project’s lifetime.

On September 6, 2011, Solyndra filed for bankruptcy, suspended operations at its headquarters, and laid off 1,100 workers. Solyndra went bankrupt despite $535 million in federal loan guarantees and more than $700 million in venture capital funding. The U.S. Department of Energy blamed the Solyndra bankruptcy on the Chinese, claiming the China Development Bank offered more than $30 billion in financing to Chinese solar manufacturers, “about 20 times more than U.S.-backed loans to solar manufacturers.”

On December 25, 2011, after analyzing thousands of memos, company records, and internal emails, the Washington Post provided interesting insights into Obama’s entire $80 billion clean energy technology program.

First, it concluded that the Obama administration gave preferred access to investors in Solyndra who had donated to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Some of these select investors even took jobs in the administration and helped manage the clean energy program. “Documents show that senior officials pushed career bureaucrats to rush their decision on the [Solyndra] loan so Vice President Biden could announce it during a trip to California.” The same article noted that Obama’s May 2010 stop at Solyndra’s headquarters, “like most presidential appearances,” was “closely managed political theater.”

Second, it noted that Solyndra’s most substantial political connection was George Kaiser, a Democratic fundraiser and oil industry billionaire who happened to be an Obama campaign bundler in 2008. Kaiser had hosted Obama at his home, and his family’s foundation owned more than a third of Solyndra. Kaiser “took a direct interest in its [Solyndra’s] operations.”

Peter Schweizer, head of the Government Accountability Institute, reported that 80% of the money spent in Obama’s 2009 Recovery Act on green energy companies went to companies with individual owners who sat on Obama’s finance committee for his 2008 presidential campaign. Given the number of influential donors in Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign who have considerable financial stakes in green energy companies, Schweizer predicts Biden’s “Build Back Better” green energy program amounts to nothing more than “a wealth transfer to Biden’s biggest bundlers.”

By 2015, the Obama administration had used taxpayer funds to subside solar and other renewable energy in the United States at an average of $39 billion per year over five years, for a total of nearly $200 billion. This massive investment in renewable energy resulted in less than 1% of additional electrical generation.

In total, the Obama administration financed some thirty-four faltering or bankrupt green energy companies, including the following: solar panel manufacturers Solyndra LLC ($535 million loss in federal loan guarantees) and Abound Solar Manufacturing, LLC ($400 million loss); Fisker Automotive ($529 million), a green vehicles program; and green energy storage companies Beacon Power ($43 million) and A123 Systems ($132 million).

On May 5, 2021, Wyoming Republican Senator John Barrasso, M.D., the ranking member of the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee, introduced an investigative report that the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources had released about a concept he called the “Solyndra Syndrome.” The report contended Biden is heading down the same green energy path as Obama. Throwing billions of taxpayer jobs at various clean energy ventures didn’t work for Obama, and Barrasso argued it wouldn’t work for Biden either. Moreover, like Obama, Biden was putting a stranglehold on the oil and gas industries, where jobs were being created.

The reality is that green energy is an expensive chimera. With today’s technology, it can’t come close to satisfying America’s energy needs.

In a perfect world, batteries the size of flashlight batteries could store enough wind or solar energy to light a city; and ten wind turbines placed a few miles outside a metropolitan area could provide all the electricity that the city and suburbs needed for a week, whether or not the wind blew. If that technology existed, the entire world would instantly switch to these new, powerful solar batteries. Instead, in the real world, renewable energy use in utility-scale electricity generation will remain dependent upon government grants and tax credits for the foreseeable future.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), renewable fuels in 2020 were only 12% of all U.S. energy consumption. When we break down the renewable energy category, solar energy and wind energy together were 37% of the renewable energy used, but only 4.44% of all energy the United States used that year. These numbers would surprise those who consume only the mainstream media.

In September 2019, the EIA released an International Energy Outlook that included global energy projections from 2019 to 2050. The EIA noted that, while renewables are “the world’s fastest growing form of energy,” hydrocarbon fuels “continue to meet much of the world’s energy demand.” The report projected that by 2050, world energy consumption would grow nearly 50%, even as 70% of global energy consumption would remain using oil, natural gas, and coal, with the oil price possibly reaching as high as $175/barrel. Despite the worldwide push for renewable fuels, the EIA projected that, by 2050, renewable fuels would still be only 28% of global energy consumption.

While Trump was still president, the left turned to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to propose an FDR-like, government-mandated, sweeping Green New Deal to shove hydrocarbon fuels into the dustbin of world energy history. On January 19, 2019, at the Women’s Unity Rally at Foley Square in New York City, Ocasio-Cortez declared that young Americans fear “the world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.” She called the fight to mitigate the effects of climate change her generation’s “World War II.”

Guided by Ocasio-Cortez and her understanding of climate science, the Biden administration appears determined to repeat the Obama administration’s failure by once again pursuing an aggressive taxpayer-subsidized green energy policy designed to achieve net-zero CO2 emissions, even if reducing the use of hydrocarbon fuels amounts to the United States committing economic suicide.

Meanwhile, Alexandria Ocasio-Ortez has captured the neo-Marxist critical theory left by doubling down on her hysteria that we are facing a world-ending global warming crisis if we fail to declare a climate emergency to force decarbonization. Her argument is only convincing to those whose selective memory chooses to ignore the Obama era “Solyndra Syndrome,” instead believing the global-warming climate catastrophes Al Gore predicted 16 years ago in his 2006 An Inconvenient Truth documentary has come true.

Since 2004, Jerome R. Corsi has published 25 books on economics, history, and politics, including two #1 New York Times bestsellers. In 1972, he received his Ph.D. from the Department of Government at Harvard University. He currently resides in New Jersey with his family. His current book, The Truth About Energy, Global Warming, and Climate Change: Exposing Climate Lies in an Age of Disinformation, published on June 28, 2022, was listed by Amazon.com as a “Best Seller” in the first week of sales. Dr. Corsi’s new website, DrJeromeCorsi.com, is now on the Internet in its first phase of redevelopment.

August 19, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Russian gas transit to EU via Nord Stream to be halted – Gazprom

Samizdat | August 19, 2022

Russian energy giant Gazprom announced on Friday that transit of natural gas to the European Union via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline will be halted from August 31 to September 2 for maintenance.

“On August 31, the only working Trent 60 gas compressor unit will be shut down for three days for maintenance,” the company stated, noting that all repairs will be carried out jointly with specialists from the German manufacturer, Siemens.

Gazprom added that “Upon completion of work and the absence of technical malfunctions of the unit, gas transportation will be restored to the level of 33 million cubic meters per day,” representing roughly 20% of the pipeline’s full capacity.

The unit is the last one of the pipeline’s six turbines that was operational, with the rest in need of an overhaul. One of the turbines is currently stranded in Germany due to sanctions, after returning from repair works in Canada.

Russian gas supplies to the EU via Nord Stream 1 dropped to 20% of the maximum level last month. According to Gazprom, five turbines need to be operating to pump gas at full capacity.

European gas prices spiked after Friday’s announcement, jumping 7% to above $2,600 per thousand cubic meters.

August 19, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , | 2 Comments

US on verge of becoming party to Ukrainian conflict, Moscow warns

Samizdat | August 19, 2022

Washington’s continued support for Kiev during Moscow’s military operation has put the US on the verge of becoming party to the Ukrainian conflict, Russia’s deputy Foreign Minister, Sergey Ryabkov has said.

“We don’t want escalation. We’d like to avoid a situation, in which the US becomes a party to the conflict, but so far we don’t see any readiness of the other side to take these warnings seriously,” Ryabkov told Rossiya 1 TV channel on Friday.

Moscow rejects Washington’s explanation, that providing Ukraine with weapons and other aid is justified by Kiev’s right to self-defense, he pointed out.

“Excuse me, what kind of self-defense is it if they are already openly talking about the possibility of attacking targets deep in the Russian territory, in Crimea?” the deputy FM wondered.

According to Ryabkov, such statements are being made by the Ukrainian side “not just under the blind eye of the US and NATO, but with the encouragement of this kind of sentiment, approaches, plans and ideas directly from Washington,” Ryabkov insisted.

“The ever more obvious and deeper involvement in Ukraine in terms of countering our military operation, in fact, puts this country, the US, on the verge of turning into a party to the conflict,” he reiterated.

The US has been the strongest supporter of Kiev amid its conflict with Russia, providing Kiev with billions of dollars in military and financial aid, as well as intelligence data. Washington’s deliveries to the Ukrainian military have included such sophisticated hardware as HIMARS multiple rocket launchers, M777 howitzers and combat drones.

Reuters reported on Friday that US President Joe Biden is about to announce another lethal aid package for Kiev of around $800 million.

An unnamed official from the Biden administration told Politico on Thursday that the White House had no problem with Ukraine attacking Crimea, which became part of Russia after a 2014 referendum staged in response to a violent coup. The US believes that Kiev can strike any target on its territory, and “Crimea is Ukraine,” the American official insisted.

There have recently been a number of explosions near a Russian ammunition depot and at a military airfield in Crimea, which the Defense Ministry said were acts of “sabotage.” However, Ukrainian authorities haven’t officially confirmed involvement in the attacks.

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 Pyotr 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.

August 19, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 4 Comments

Justice For Liberty

Justice For Liberty.org | August 16, 2022

On June 8, 1967, Israeli forces tried to sink a U.S. Navy ship, the USS Liberty, killing 34 American servicemen and wounding 174. ‘Justice for Liberty’, filmed at the crew’s 54th anniversary reunion in Pensacola, Florida, allows the survivors to tell the American public their stories, some for the first time. It is time for the truth to come out. Visit the Justice for Liberty website at https://justiceforliberty.org/.

(A 30-second trailer for this was broadcast on the Tucker Carlson show on August 16th, reaching approximately three million people.) According to former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Thomas Moorer, “In attacking the USS Liberty, Israel committed acts of murder against American servicemen and an act of war against the United States….

Those men were then betrayed and left to die by our own government.” The survivors are still awaiting justice.

The Liberty crew is one of the most decorated in U.S. Naval history. Yet, for decades this attack has been covered up and misrepresented.

Please share our trailers! ( TV30 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4S7uL…

TV60 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=im6v2…

00:00:00 – Intro

00:02:12 – The Crew

00:05:01 – June 8th, 1967

00:15:16 – Torpedo Attack

00:26:37 – Topside

00:37:14 – Fight for Life

00:47:37 – Dry Dock

00:55:41 – Cover Up

01:10:39 – Fight for Truth

01:23:04 – Echoes

01:31:40 – A Call to Action

01:42:11 – RIP

August 19, 2022 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | , , | 4 Comments