Aletho News


Southeast Asia at Energy-Climate Crossroads

By Vijay Jayaraj | RealClear Energy | August 10, 2022

Southeast Asia is at the crossroads of choosing between a climate agenda hostile to fossil fuels and the energy security its population desperately needs.

Central to the question is the use of coal. The fuel is especially critical in the production of electricity for the 700 million people of the 10 countries making up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN): Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Electricity demand in Southeast Asia grew by 22 percent between 2015 and 2021, greater than the global average. The International Energy Agency predicts that “energy demand in the region is set to grow by around 3 percent a year to 2030, with three-quarters of the increase being met by fossil fuels…The net oil import bill, which stood at $50 billion in 2020, is set to multiply in size rapidly.”

Contributing to the energy bill is the global phenomenon of inflation. In June, the highest rates of inflation in ASEAN were in Thailand (7.7 percent), Vietnam (3.4 percent), Philippines (6.1 percent) and Indonesia (4.3 percent), mainly due to rising energy and food prices.

Adding to the pressures of higher demand for electricity and more expensive fuel is  growing pressure from international political bodies to reduce fossil fuel consumption. Propositions such as the Paris agreement and the net zero agenda have captured the imaginations of the political elite with ASEAN countries within the grasp of the climate-crazy octopus.

Disregarding fossil fuels’ contribution to its economic growth in the last decade, Vietnam has espoused the net zero pledge. In its new National Power Development Plan, the country indicated its desire to reduce “coal-fired plants to less than 10 percent of the total capacity by 2045,” in addition to halting construction of new coal plants. With nearly 70 percent of all electricity coming from fossil fuels, Vietnam has absurdly declared war on coal.

Vietnam is ranked at a dismal 134th in global ranking for per capita energy consumption. Its “peak demand during 2022 – 2025 will rise by 2,830 megawatts (MW) annually on average while power generation will increase by only 1,565 MW per annum.” The decision to reduce coal consumption at this juncture is suicidal, running counter to the country’s objective of economic growth.

However, not all ASEAN countries have been as irresponsible as Vietnam. Because of the post-pandemic increase in energy demand, many ASEAN members are reversing decisions to reduce fossil fuel consumption.

Among them is Indonesia, one of the biggest producers of coal in Asia and a major exporter to other countries. Indonesia is reporting a 4 percent increase in coal mining during the 2nd quarter of 2022 following a ban on Russian coal. A further increase is expected to be prompted by a broader ban to be instituted by the EU in August. Indonesia’s largest energy infrastructure company has now acquired a Thai state-owned energy firm, expanding its coal mining business to Thailand and ensuring continuous coal production there.

Some in ASEAN are installing innovative fuel-saving artificial intelligence systems in their coal plants to make them more efficient, thus indicating that their reliance on coal power is here to stay.

Perhaps, the ASEAN countries will model neighboring India and China, which continue to increase fossil fuel consumption to meet energy demand. China, for example, approved a coal mine project worth $458 million in the Inner Mongolia region as recently as July.

The worst mistake would be to decommission ASEAN coal-fired power plants. Even the economic powerhouses of Europe like Austria, Germany and the UK have reopened coal plants to ensure energy security.

If common sense prevails, most ASEAN countries will adopt clean-coal technology, which provides remarkably low pollutant emissions and less dust. In fact, its safety and efficiency are so recognized that Japan is exporting its technology to other countries. India, which is the second largest consumer of coal, has opened a National Centre for Clean Coal Research and Development.

2020 report by the CO2 Coalition, found that clean-coal technology “virtually eliminates health hazards from sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter,” thus reducing the outdoor pollution problem that is so common in low-income and mid-income economies like those in ASEAN.

Still in the grip of energy poverty, ASEAN countries that deprive themselves of affordable fossil fuels risk becoming the next Sri Lanka.

Vijay Jayaraj is a Research Associate at the CO2 Coalition, Arlington, Va., and holds a master’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of East Anglia, England. He resides in Bengaluru, India.

August 22, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , , | Leave a comment

The Completely Fraudulent “Levelized Cost Of Electricity”

By Francis Menton | Manhattan Contrarian | August 18, 2022

My last post on Tuesday reported on the Soho Forum climate change debate that had taken place the previous day. Debater Andrew Dessler, arguing in favor of rapid reductions in human greenhouse gas emissions by the method of vastly increasing electricity production from wind and solar generators, had heavily relied on the assertion that wind and solar are now the cheapest ways to generate electricity. An important slide in his presentation showed comparative costs of generation from various sources, with wind and solar clearly shown as least expensive. At the bottom of the slide, the acronym “LCOE” was legible.

LCOE stands for Levelized Cost of Electricity. I first encountered this term a couple of years ago, and thought that I should get on top of it to understand its significance. It took me about a half hour to figure out that this metric was completely inapplicable and invalid for purposes of comparing the costs of using dispatchable versus non-dispatchable generators as the predominant sources to power an electrical grid that works. The reasons are not complicated, but do take some minutes of thought if the matter has not previously been explained to you. In Tuesday’s post, I asked as to Dessler’s reliance on this LCOE metric:

[I]s he aware of this [inapplicability of LCOE] and therefore intentionally trying to deceive the audience? Or, alternatively, is he innumerate, and does not understand how this works quantitatively?

Some commenters on the post were quite harsh in their judgments of Dessler. They argued for the inference of intentional deception, on the basis that no one claiming expertise in this field could really be so obtuse as to think LCOE was a valid metric for the purpose for which Dessler was using it.

So today I thought to look at how others go about comparing the costs of generation of electricity from wind and solar versus dispatchable sources like fossil fuels or nuclear. I can’t say that I was surprised to learn that LCOE is everywhere as the metric of choice for the comparison. Moreover, it is almost impossible to find any discussion of why LCOE is completely misleading when comparing the cost of a grid powered predominantly by dispatchable sources to the cost of a grid powered predominantly by intermittent wind and solar sources backed up by storage.

Consider, for example, the International Renewable Energy Agency, going by the acronym IRENA. IRENA is a UN offshoot, launched in 2009 and based in Abu Dhabi, that currently has 168 member countries including all the big ones. IRENA’s mission is to advocate for and promote “renewables” as the way to go for the world’s energy system. Surely, with all the big countries (and most of the small ones) backing its efforts, IRENA’s utterances can be relied upon as definitive.

IRENA puts out annual reports on the costs of renewable power generation. The latest one, titled “Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2021,” just came out in July. Here is the press release, dated July 13, 2022. Excerpt from the press release:

New IRENA report shows almost two-thirds of renewable power added in 2021 had lower costs than the cheapest coal-fired options in G20 countries. . . . IRENA’s new report confirms the critical role that cost-competitive renewables play in addressing today’s energy and climate emergencies by accelerating the transition in line with the 1.5°C warming limit and the Paris Agreement goals. . . . “Renewables are by far the cheapest form of power today,” Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA said. “2022 is a stark example of just how economically viable new renewable power generation has become.”

Amid the excited claims that renewables are “by far the cheapest” sources of power, the term LCOE does not appear anywhere in the press release. To find that that is the metric being used to make these “by far the cheapest” claims, you need to go to the main Report. Excerpt:

The global weighted average levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) of new utility-scale solar PV projects commissioned in 2021 fell by 13% year-on-year, from USD 0.055/kWh to USD 0.048/kWh. . . . The global weighted average LCOE of new onshore wind projects added in 2021 fell by 15%, year-on-year, from USD 0.039/kilowatt hour (kWh) in 2020 to USD 0.033/kWh.

Here is the featured chart, showing that costs of power from solar PV cells have now fallen well below the costs of power from natural gas:

You can see right there that here in 2022 power from natural gas is at least three times as expensive as power from solar PV cells. But the title of the chart gives away that the metric for comparison is LCOE.

Look around for others making cost comparisons of ways to produce electricity, and you will find more and more of same. From Bloomberg, June 30, 2022, “Renewable Power Costs Rise, Just Not as Much as Fossil Fuels”:

The costs for renewable plants plunged for a decade as production of solar and wind equipment surged and technologies improved, but the supply-chain chaos triggered by the pandemic ended those steady declines last year, according to BNEF’s biannual survey of the levelized cost of energy. . . . New onshore wind now costs about $46 per megawatt-hour, while large-scale solar plants cost $45 per megawatt-hour. In comparison, new coal-fired plants cost $74 per MWh, while gas plants are $81 per MWh.

From the Guardian, June 23, 2021 (citing last year’s report from IRENA — also based on LCOE):

Almost two-thirds of wind and solar projects built globally last year will be able to generate cheaper electricity than even the world’s cheapest new coal plants, according to a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena). . . . Francesco La Camera, Irena’s director general, said . . . “ “Today renewables are the cheapest source of power.”

So it’s not just Dessler. Some big international agency of “experts” adopts LCOE for making these cost comparisons, and everybody just nods along without ever putting in the 30 or so minutes of critical thinking that would be needed to figure out that this is completely wrong.

To reiterate points previously made, the LCOE metric assumes that wind and solar generators are essentially the same kind of thing as dispatchable fossil fuel-powered generation plants. Just build about the same amount of nameplate capacity, and everything will work out just fine. But in fact a predominantly wind/solar system requires vastly more infrastructure to make a fully-functioning reliable grid: some combination of a 4x or 5x overbuild of generators, vastly more transmission lines, and 20 or 30 days of battery storage. These elements could easily multiply the cost of electricity to the consumer by a factor of 5 or 10 or more. Nobody knows, because there is no functioning demonstration project from which reasonably precise costs can be extrapolated. And frankly, there never will be such a demonstration project, because the costs are so enormous that it can never be done. Meanwhile, everyone just nods along as if LCOE comparisons are meaningful.

August 22, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | Leave a comment

Fauci finally promises to leave and collect his gratuities with a book deal

By Meryl Nass, MD | August 22, 2022

Mr. and Mrs. Barack Obama got a $65 million advance for their joint book deals. Except, nobody sells enough books to make such a stupefying advance work. So those of an inquiring mind wondered if the book deal was a way to launder money to the former President and his family for services rendered.

Mr. Fauci earns a bureaucrat’s salary. $437,000/year. But with royalties, adding in his wife’s salary (head Ethics officer for the NIH Clinical Center) and their investments, it is said the family earned $1.7 million dollars last year.

You’d have thought he got a tidy sum on his last book, which came out only 10 months ago. But no. He only got a basket of superlatives:

Compiled from hours of interviews drawn from the eponymous National Geographic documentary, this inspiring book from world-renowned infectious disease specialist Anthony Fauci shares the lessons that have shaped the celebrated doctor’s life philosophy, offering an intimate view of one of the world’s greatest medical minds as well as universal advice to live by.

Before becoming the face of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and America’s most trusted doctor, Dr. Anthony Fauci had already devoted three decades to public service. Those looking to live a more compassionate and purposeful life will find inspiration in his unique perspective on leadership, expecting the unexpected, and finding joy in difficult times.

With more than three decades spent combating some of the most dangerous diseases to strike humankind– AIDS, Ebola, COVID-19–Dr. Fauci has worked in daunting professional conditions and shouldered great responsibility. The earnest reflections in these pages offer a universal message on how to lead in times of crisis and find resilience in the face of disappointments and obstacles.

Filled with inspiring words of wisdom, this profound book will offer readers a concrete path to a bright and hopeful future.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Anthony Fauci had no creative control over this book or the film on which it is based. He was not paid for his participation, nor does he have any financial interest in the film or book release.

Well then, since I don’t think he could legally be paid extra for a book while in office, it will be of great interest how much he gets for his next work of art. Somebody that good must be worth plenty.

Fauci’s final thoughts from STAT (he never forgets the $): “Thanks to the power of science and investments in research and innovation, the world has been able to fight deadly diseases and help save lives around the globe,” Fauci said. “I am proud to have been part of this important work and look forward to helping to continue to do so in the future.”

We the people will not necessarily benefit from Il Fauci giving up his post. What changed when Francis Collins left the NIH? Nothing. The Acting Director job was given to Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D. Dentist Tabak was one of Fauci and Collins’ co-conspirators in the COVID origins coverup. He knows where the bodies are buried and has kept the shovels locked up.

August 22, 2022 Posted by | Book Review, Corruption, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Oracle is sued for alleged surveillance network

By Ken Macon | Reclaim The Net | August 22, 2022

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties has launched a class action lawsuit against Oracle’s worldwide surveillance machine. Tech companies have claimed to have “detailed dossiers on 5 billion people,” and generate $42.4 billion in annual revenue, according to the complaint filed at the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

We obtained a copy of the complaint for you here.

The dossiers include names, physical addresses, email addresses, physical movements, online and real-world purchases, detailed online activity, income, and interests, including political views.

Oracle trades the dossiers through the Oracle Data Marketplace, the lawsuit alleges.

“For example, one Oracle database included a record of a German man who used a prepaid debit card to place a €10 bet on an esports betting site,” ICCL wrote in a report announcing the lawsuit.

Lead plaintiff in the complaint, ICCL’s Dr. Johnny Ryan, said: “Oracle has violated the privacy of billions of people across the globe. This is a Fortune 500 company on a dangerous mission to track where every person in the world goes, and what they do. We are taking this action to stop Oracle’s surveillance machine.”

The complaint alleges Oracle is in violation of the California Invasion of Privacy Act, California’s Constitution, the Federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and competition and common law.

The complaint has been filed on behalf of all internet users around the globe that have been affected by Oracle’s violation of privacy.

August 22, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | Leave a comment

Dr. Robert Malone sues The Washington Post who accused him of spreading “misinformation” online

By Christina Maas | Reclaim The Net | August 22, 2022

Dr. Robert Malone, an expert in mRNA technology and a vocal Covid vaccines critic who has been consistently censored by Big Tech, is suing the Washington Post for defamation. The lawsuit alleges that the news outlet made defamatory statements against him in an article published on January 24.

The article claimed that Dr. Malone spread “misinformation” in a speech where he said the vaccines “are not working” against the Omicron variant. As evidence the statement was false, the Post cited a paper by the CDC that found that booster shots were protecting people against severe disease.

The Post omitted the part where Dr. Malone said that vaccines, “do not prevent Omicron infection, viral replication, or spread to others.”

Speaking to The Epoch Times, Dr. Malone said: “I said nothing about disease and death at that point in time.” He went on to accuse the Post of selective misquoting and using the CDC study to counter a claim he never made.

The Epoch Times obtained an interview between the article’s writer, Timothy Bella and Dr. Malone, before the article was written. Bella told Dr. Malone, “I have respect for you and your body of work,” and that he was hoping to shadow the doctor during his stay in DC where he gave a speech at a protest against Covid mandates.

Malone initially sent a notice to the Post threatening legal action if the article was not removed or the defamatory statements retracted. When the outlet refused, he filed a lawsuit at a federal court in Virginia.

According to the lawsuit, the article made 10 defamatory statements against Dr. Malone, including that he has been “discredited,” his claims are “not only wrong, but also dangerous,” and that he “repeated falsehoods that have garnered him legions of followers.”

We obtained a copy of the complaint for you here.

“The qualities WaPo disparaged—Dr. Malone’s honesty, veracity, integrity, competence, judgment, morals, and ethics as a licensed medical doctor and scientist—are peculiarly valuable to Dr. Malone and are absolutely necessary in the practice and profession of any medical doctor and scientist. WaPo ascribes to Dr. Malone conduct, characteristics, and conditions, including fraud, disinformation, misinformation, deception, and dishonesty, that would adversely affect his fitness to be a medical professional and to conduct the business of a medical doctor,” the suit states.

“Dr. Malone’s statements concerning COVID-19 and the purported ‘vaccines’ were 100% factually accurate. He has never committed fraud on [sic] engaged in any medical disinformation or misinformation. Further, the so-called ‘vaccines’ do not work, as is abundantly clear from both the scientific and anecdotal evidence to date,” it also says.

Dr. Malone is also currently involved in a lawsuit against Twitter over its censorship.

August 22, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 2 Comments

Western University mandates vaccine booster dose

By Keean Bexte – The Counter Signal – August 22, 2022

Western University has joined University of Toronto in mandating the vaccine booster for nearly all of its students.

“As of October 1, 2022, all members of our community (Western, Brescia, Huron and King’s) are required to provide proof of vaccination of the primary series plus a booster shot (generally, three doses total) of any combination of COVID-19 vaccines recognized by Health Canada,” a COVID policy update published on August 22 reads.

According to Western University’s vaccine FAQ page, the policy applies to all students, faculty, staff, and some visitors.

Moreover, even if most of a student’s classes are online, the student must still comply with the vaccine booster mandate if any aspect of their course has an in-person component.

“Only those students and employees granted a medical or Ontario Human Rights Code accommodation will be exempted from the vaccination requirement, and those with exemptions are required to participate in regular, rapid antigen testing in order to be physically on campus this fall,” writes Western University.

The university has not stated the consequence for not complying with its policy, but de-enrollment for non-compliance is likely on the table.

Additionally, as of September 1, Western University is bringing back its mask mandate for classes, labs, and seminar rooms. However, masks will not be required when students present, perform, facilitate, or speak to a group. The university will also not require masks for those living in residence or those in offices, cubicles, libraries, or dining areas.

Why the university only wants to make students suffer in classrooms is unclear.

With only two weeks before classes start, many unvaccinated students are undoubtedly scrambling to figure out what they will do. Moreover, speaking with True North, several students say that despite the change on the website, they received no formal notice of the change in vaccination policy.

The university says that those who’ve received two doses will still be able to attend university so long as they receive a booster dose within 14 days of being eligible.

However, given the fact that recipients need to wait for a recommended eight weeks between the first and second dose, it’s impossible for students who haven’t received a single dose to reach the level of vaccination required for attendance, regardless if they’ve already paid their tuition.

August 22, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Canada announces millions in funding for COVID isolation site

By Thomas Lambert | The Counter Signal | August 22, 2022

The Trudeau government has announced $4.2 million in additional funding to keep a Windsor-Essex ‘voluntary’ isolation site afloat until March 2023.

In a new release, the Government of Canada said that isolation remains one of the best ways to slow the spread of COVID despite it being over two years since COVID began and there being little to no evidence to support such a position.

The government continues, saying that the isolation site will be used to accommodate foreign agri-workers who can’t find a place to isolate when they enter Canada. “These workers tend to live in close accommodations and work in congregate settings, which makes it difficult to isolate, if required,” reads the news release.

“As Essex continues to welcome thousands of incoming agricultural workers in the coming weeks and months, this critical federal funding will provide spaces for those who are unable to isolate safely in the community,” said Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk.

“Thank you to Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and the federal government for recognizing the unique challenges our community faces and always standing up for Windsor-Essex.”

According to the news release, the $4.2 million given to the County of Essex will allow the site to operate 50 rooms for foreign agri-workers until March 31, 2023. ($84,000/room)

The site, formerly operated by the City of Windsor, was previously allotted $4.8 million for the same purpose, with funding lasting until June 30, 2022.

While unvaccinated foreign nationals are still prohibited from entering Canada thanks to the country’s vaccine mandate, an exemption exists for agricultural and food processing workers, marine crew workers, those making medical deliveries, and those that work with medical equipment.

However, despite the exemption, agri-workers still have to follow testing and quarantine requirements upon arrival, including a mandatory (not voluntary) quarantine requirement.

Thus, with flu season on the horizon, it looks like foreign-born agri-workers will be the first to feel the squeeze of the government’s renewed effort to bring back COVID measures.

What it would take to convince the government to end such measures permanently, rather than merely suspend them in certain areas, is anyone’s guess, and the government has made no indication they will ever admit the pandemic is over despite criticism internally and abroad.

August 22, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

Tel Aviv hiding evidence of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from public: Israeli media

The Cradle | August 22, 2022

According to a report by Hebrew newspaper Haaretz released on 22 August, Tel Aviv has been working through its defense ministry to hide historical documents related to the founding of the state of Israel, from the Israeli public.

The founding of Israel in 1948, known throughout the Arab world as the “Nakba,” or catastrophe, involved the ethnic cleansing and mass expulsion of Palestinians from their land by ultra-nationalist Jewish gangs.

These gangs were later integrated into the Israeli military.

The documents contain details on Israel’s killing of civilians, as well as the erasure of entire Palestinian villages. Israel is undergoing “a systematic process to conceal evidence of the Nakba,” Haaretz reveals.

The report states that efforts to hide these documents have been carried out by the Directorate of Security of the Defense Establishment, a secret department in the Israeli Defense Ministry known as the Malmab, “whose work and budget are secret.”

Members of the Malmab reportedly “worked without any legal authority, even in some cases [hiding] documents that the military censor had previously allowed to be published,” Haaretz revealed.

The report also details that government officials, including members of the Israeli Knesset, who by law are allowed access to such archives, were barred from viewing the documents in question.

A settlement was reached in which the Israeli Treasury would send requests in order for archived documents to be examined for disclosure. The Malmab apparatus would then search through them thoroughly to determine if they can be published alongside Israel’s accessible archives, despite already being accessible by Israeli law.

Haaretz reported that the Malmab were also working to hide documents relating to Tel Aviv’s nuclear program.

“If the state admitted … that the documents were hidden without authority, why did it not insist on their immediate disclosure?” the report asks.

The report concludes by saying that Israel has to “get rid of the twisted habit it has adopted of concealing its past from the public … the public has the right to know the history of the country in which it lives, and also to discover its less pleasant aspects.”

Despite the events of the Nakba being common historical knowledge, Israel’s attempt to hide these documents represents its policy of trying to control the perception of the Israeli public.

Israel is known to have attempted hiding the atrocities of its past.

On 8 July, Hebrew media revealed the existence of a mass grave under the parking lot of a tourist attraction in Israel, where the bodies of dozens of Egyptian soldiers burned alive by Israeli forces were buried during the 1967 Arab–Israeli War, also known as the Six-Day War.

For over five decades, Tel Aviv kept the secret of the mass grave, never attempting to return the bodies to their homeland.

Additionally, Israel has been secretly building a nuclear arsenal for several decades – owning around 40 to 800 nuclear warheads which it denies having – while criticizing Tehran over its nuclear program.

August 22, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

Pakistan: Imran Khan supporters prevent police from arresting him

Press TV – August 22, 2022

Supporters of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan gathered around his home on Monday to prevent police from arresting their leader, who has been charged under anti-terror laws.

Hundreds of supporters of the cricketer-turned-politician assembled outside his hilltop mansion in the capital city of Islamabad on Monday, vowing to “take over” if he was arrested.

However, Khan has now been granted pre-arrest bail until Thursday.

Since being ousted from power in April in what he and his supporters have repeatedly blamed on a “US regime change plot”, Khan has been a vocal critic of the government and the powerful military.

On Sunday Islamabad police issued an arrest warrant against Khan for allegedly threatening police officials and a judicial magistrate under sections of the anti-terrorism act.

The cricketer-turned-politician reportedly accused authorities of torturing his close aide, who is himself being detained under sedition charges.

Khan’s political allies warned on Monday that arresting him would amount to crossing a “red line”.

“If Imran Khan is arrested … we will take over Islamabad with people’s power,” a former minister in his cabinet, Ali Amin Gandapur, threatened on Twitter, as some party leaders urged supporters to prepare for mass mobilization.

Khan said in his speech on Sunday that he was being censured for not condoning the ruling coalition government which had voted him out of power.

He has also said that he “would not spare” Islamabad’s police chief and a judge for issuing a warrant, arresting and torturing one of his close aides on sedition charges.

Khan’s aide had called on lower and middle ranks of the military to defy orders from the top brass.

Last month, Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party won the by-elections in the country’s most populous province, Punjab, dealing a heavy blow to the government led by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) incumbent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on his home turf.

PTI’s thumping win in Punjab is seen as a popularity test for Khan, whose government was dismissed by a no-confidence vote in April.

The use of anti-terrorism laws for leveling court cases against political leaders is common in Pakistan. Pakistani law experts claim that expressing public threats against officials put their lives at stake, and actually amounted to threatening the state, so that the anti-terrorism charges apply.

Khan’s aide, Fawad Chaudhry, told reporters outside an Islamabad court that the party had applied for bail for its leader ahead of his arrest.

August 22, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties | | 1 Comment

US Space Force wants to disrupt Russia-China space cooperation

Both Russia and China have been responding to the US militarization of space by enhancing their own capabilities, both separately and jointly.

By Drago Bosnic | August 22, 2022

Close strategic partnership between Russia and China has been the mainstay of their relationship for decades. The US has been trying to disrupt this successful partnership ever since, especially as Russia started regaining its strength, but the incessant belligerent actions of the imperialist thalassocracy have pushed the two (Eur)Asian superpowers even closer. This cooperation is manifold, but its space component is particularly concerning for the US, as it has serious security implications. The Pentagon is worried that the US “might not be able to match the united financing and know-how” of Moscow and Beijing.

“The two countries’ space cooperation, including in the military realm, has become inextricable since 2018 and works against U.S. interests,” said Kevin Pollpeter, senior research scientist at the CNA think tank’s China Studies Division. “I don’t think we can separate China and Russia. I just don’t think that’s possible,” Pollpeter said in response to a question from Air Force Magazine following a panel discussion on China-Russia space cooperation at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.

“While the countries do not have completely overlapping security concerns, they do share a strong desire to counter U.S. leadership, including in outer space,” he said. “What we need to do is, we need to mitigate whatever problems that relationship may cause for us. The two countries’ military space cooperation includes the areas of ballistic missile defense, space debris monitoring, and satellite navigation. The resulting exchange has included technology transfer, weapons sales, combined exercises, and compensating measures,” Pollpeter added.

In 1989, the US imposed sanctions on China, targeting Beijing’s defense and space industry. China looked to Russia for the necessary technology transfers and by 1997, the two countries started regular cooperation in space. Russia had the know-how, but its space industry was faced with severe funding shortages.

“… a number of embargoes that took place made [China] increasingly more reliant on Russia as a potential source of technology, particularly for dual use and defense,” said Pollpeter. “… China started looking more to Russia, and Russia started looking more to China for help with supporting their own space program.”

China also began cooperating with Russia on ballistic missile defense after the US unilaterally withdrew from the INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) Treaty in 2019. In the immediate aftermath of the withdrawal, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Russia would assist China in creating a ballistic missile early warning system. At the time, Putin said that China was perfectly capable of creating such a system itself, but that it would take longer, so Russia decided to aid Beijing in enhancing its strategic security in light of aggressive US moves in the Asia-Pacific region.

“There appears to be some sort of technology transfer going on,” Pollpeter added. “There’s been joint exercises – the Aerospace Security 2016 and 2017 involved joint air and missile defense planning and coordination.”

According to Pollpeter, another area of cooperation, space debris monitoring, “may sound innocuous,” but he claims “it has security implications.”

“If you have a space debris monitoring system, then you actually have a space domain awareness or space surveillance system,” he said. “This very much has a military role in helping China and Russia better monitor U.S. movements up in space.”

The US Space Force is particularly concerned about how “little is known about the satellite navigation cooperation between the two nations.” According to Pollpeter, other than the fact that there are compatibility and interoperability between the Russian and Chinese equivalents to GPS, the GLONASS and BeiDou navigation systems, nothing else is known about the security component of this cooperation. What is supposedly known is “the presence of augmentation stations in each other’s countries and performance monitoring,” Pollpeter claims.

“What they really want to do, then, is demonstrate that in a world where the U.S. and China could come into military conflict, they have an alternative,” he said. “They don’t have to rely on BeiDou exclusively. They also have the Russian system.”

As China doesn’t publicly discuss its space defense capabilities, Pollpeter claims it’s currently unknown which level of cooperation have Moscow and Beijing reached in this regard.

“A lot of it’s so opaque that when you get into something like counterspace, they’re not going to discuss that,” he said. “What China is developing is a capability that really is designed to threaten the United States space architecture from the ground all the way up to geosynchronous orbit.”

Existing agreements indicate close Chinese and Russian cooperation on launch vehicles, rocket engines, space planes, lunar and deep space exploration, remote sensing, electronics, space debris, satellite navigation and communication. Pollpeter thinks the US Space Force cannot halt the China-Russia cooperation, but it could do more to mitigate its effects.

“There’s really little we can do to separate the two countries, especially [on] the space side,” he said. “The distrust and, let’s say, to some extent, animosity of both countries towards the U.S. sort of precludes, at this point, that any of those efforts can be successful.”

As the US state-run space sector kept falling behind, private companies, the most prominent certainly being SpaceX, started closely cooperating with the US military. Both Russia and China have been responding to the US militarization of space by enhancing their own capabilities, both separately and jointly. While China started deploying pilotless spaceplanes, Russia is building land-based laser weapons to counter US space threats and is also launching its own spacecraft to track US space assets.

Drago Bosnic is an independent geopolitical and military analyst.

August 22, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Russia blames Ukraine for deadly Moscow blast

Samizdat | August 22, 2022

The car bombing outside Moscow on Saturday night, which took the life of journalist Darya Dugina, was orchestrated and carried out by Ukrainian secret services, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has said.

Dugina was killed while returning from a conservative family festival held in Moscow Region. She was the daughter of anti-Western author and political commentator Aleksandr Dugin. Like her father, she was known for her vocal support of the Russian military operation in Ukraine.

In a statement on Monday, the FSB said that Ukrainian national Natalya Vovk, born in 1979, carried out the bombing.

According to the FSB, Vovk arrived in Russia with her teenage daughter on July 23 and rented an apartment in the building in Moscow where the victim also lived.

Vovk and her daughter attended the ‘Tradition’ festival on Saturday, where Dugin was giving a lecture and his daughter was present, the FSB said.

Investigators stated earlier that a bomb was planted under the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado SUV Dugina used to leave the event. According to the FSB, Vovk detonated the bomb remotely, killing Dugina as she was driving on a highway. She then left with her daughter for Estonia on Sunday.

The FSB added that Vovk used a car with a license plate from the Donetsk People’s Republic when entering Russia, but replaced it with a Kazakhstan license plate when driving in Moscow, and a Ukrainian license plate when crossing into Estonia.

August 22, 2022 Posted by | War Crimes | , | Leave a comment


By Alan Macleod | MintPress News | July 12, 2022

It is an uncomfortable job for anyone trying to draw the line between “harmful content and protecting freedom of speech. It’s a balance”, Aaron says. In this official Facebook video, Aaron identifies himself as the manager of “the team that writes the rules for Facebook”, determining “what is acceptable and what is not.” Thus, he and his team effectively decide what content the platform’s 2.9 billion active users see and what they don’t see.

Aaron is being interviewed in a bright warehouse-turned-studio. He is wearing a purple sweater and blue jeans. He comes across as a very likable, smiley person. It is not an easy job, of course, but someone has to make those calls. “Transparency is incredibly important in the work that I do,” he says.

Aaron is CIA. Or at least he was until July 2019, when he left his job as a senior analytic manager at the agency to become senior product policy manager for misinformation at Meta, the company that owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. In his 15-year career, Aaron Berman rose to become a highly influential part of the CIA. For years, he prepared and edited the president of the United States’ daily brief, “wr[iting] and overs[eeing] intelligence analysis to enable the President and senior U.S. officials to make decisions on the most critical national security issues,” especially on “the impact of influence operations on social movements, security, and democracy,” his LinkedIn profile reads. None of this is mentioned in the Facebook video.

Berman’s case is far from unique, however. Studying Meta’s reports, as well as employment websites and databases, MintPress has found that Facebook has recruited dozens of individuals from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), as well as many more from other agencies like the FBI and Department of Defense (DoD). These hires are primarily in highly politically sensitive sectors such as trust, security and content moderation, to the point where some might feel it becomes difficult to see where the U.S. national security state ends and Facebook begins.

In previous investigations, this author has detailed how TikTok is flooded with NATO officials, how former FBI agents abound at Twitter, and how Reddit is led by a former war planner for the NATO think tank, the Atlantic Council. But the sheer scale of infiltration of Facebook blows these away. Facebook, in short, is utterly swarming with spooks.


In a political sense, trust, safety and misinformation are the most sensitive parts of Meta’s operation. It is here where decisions about what content is allowed, what will be promoted and who or what will be suppressed are made. These decisions affect what news and information billions of people across the world see every day. Therefore, those in charge of the algorithms hold far more power and influence over the public sphere than even editors at the largest news outlets.

There are a number of other ex-CIA agents working in these fields. Deborah Berman, for example, spent 10 years as a data and intelligence analyst at the CIA before recently being brought on as a trust and safety project manager for Meta. Little is known about what she did at the agency, but her pre-agency publications indicate she was a specialist on Syria.

Between 2006 and 2010, Bryan Weisbard was a CIA intelligence officer, his job entailing, in his own words, leading “global teams to conduct counter-terrorism and digital cyber investigations,” and “Identif[ying] online social media misinformation propaganda and covert influence campaigns”. Directly after that, he became a diplomat (underlining how close the line is between those two professions), and is currently a director of trust and safety, security and data privacy for Meta.

Meanwhile, the LinkedIn profile of Cameron Harris – a CIA analyst until 2019 – notes that he is now a Meta trust and safety project manager.

Harris Embed

Individuals from other state institutions abound as well. Emily Vacher was an FBI employee between 2001 and 2011, rising to the rank of supervisory special agent. From there she was headhunted by Facebook/Meta, and is now a director of trust and safety. Between 2010 and 2020, Mike Bradow worked for USAID, eventually becoming deputy director of policy for the organization. USAID is a U.S. government-funded influence organization which has bankrolled or stage managed multiple regime change operations abroad, including in Venezuela in 2002, Cuba in 2021, and ongoing attempts in Nicaragua. Since 2020, Meta has employed Bradow as a misinformation policy manager. 

Others have similar pasts. Neil Potts, a former intelligence officer with the U.S. Marine Corps, is vice president of trust and safety at Facebook. In 2020, Sherif Kamal left his job as a program manager at the Pentagon to take up the post of Meta trust and safety program manager.

Joey Chan currently holds the same trust and safety post as Kamal. Until last year, Chan was a U.S. Army officer commanding a company of over 100 troops in the Asia Pacific region.

None of this is to say that any of those named are not conscientious, that they are bad people or bad at their job. Vacher, for example, helped design Facebook’s amber alert program, notifying people to missing children in their area. But hiring so many ex-U.S. state officials to run Facebook’s most politically sensitive operations raises troubling questions about the company’s impartiality and its proximity to government power. Meta is so full of national security state agents that at some point, it almost becomes more difficult to find individuals in trust and safety who were not formerly agents of the state.

Despite its efforts to brand itself as a progressive, “woke” organization, the Central Intelligence Agency remains deeply controversial. It has been charged with overthrowing or attempting to overthrow numerous foreign governments (some of them democratically elected), helping prominent Nazis escape punishment after World War Two, funnelling large quantities of drugs and weapons around the world, penetrating domestic media outlets, routinely spreading false information and operating a global network of “black sites” where prisoners are repeatedly tortured. Therefore, critics argue that putting operatives from this organization in control of our news feeds is deeply inappropriate.

One of these critics is Elizabeth Murray, who, in 2010, retired from a 27-year career at the CIA and other U.S. intelligence organizations. “This is insidious,” Murray told MintPress, adding,

I see it as part of the gradual and sinister migration of ambitious young professionals originally trained (with CIA’s virtually unlimited, U.S.-taxpayer funded pot of resources) to surveil and target ‘the bad guys’ during the so-called Global War on Terror of the post-9-11 era.”

MintPress also contacted Facebook/Meta for comment but has not received a response.


Some may ask what the big fuss is. There is a limited pool of individuals with the necessary skills and experience in these new tech and cybersecurity fields, and many of them come from government institutions. Casinos, after all, regularly hire card sharks to protect themselves. But there is little evidence that this is a poacher-turned-gamekeeper scenario; Facebook is certainly not hiring whistleblowers. The problem is not that these individuals are incompetant. The problem is that having so many former CIA employees running the world’s most important information and news platform is only one small step removed from the agency itself deciding what you see and what we do not see online – and all with essentially no public oversight.

In this sense, this arrangement constitutes the best of both worlds for Washington. They can exert significant influence over global news and information flows but maintain some veneer of plausible deniability. The U.S. government does not need to directly tell Facebook what policies to enact. This is because the people in decision-making positions are inordinately those who rose through the ranks of the national security state beforehand, meaning their outlooks match those of Washington’s. And if Facebook does not play ball, quiet threats about regulation or breaking up the company’s enormous monopoly can also achieve the desired outcomes.

Again, this article is not claiming that any of the named individuals are nefarious actors, or even that they are anything but model employees. This is a structural problem. Put another way, if Facebook were hiring dozens of managers from Russian intelligence agencies like the FSB or GRU, everybody would recognize the inherent dangers. It should be little different when it hires individuals from the CIA, an organization responsible for some of the worst crimes of the modern era.


Facebook has also hired a plethora of ex-national security state officers to run its intelligence and online security operations. Until 2013, Scott Stern was a targeting officer at the CIA, rising to become chief of targeting. In this role, he helped select the targets for U.S. drone strikes across South and West Asia. Today, however, as a senior manager of risk intelligence for Meta, “misinformation” and “malicious actors” are his targets. Hopefully he is more accurate at Facebook than at the CIA, where the government’s own internal assessments show that at least 90% of Afghans killed in drone strikes were innocent civilians.

Other former CIA men at Facebook include Mike Torrey, who left his job as a senior analyst at the agency to become Meta’s technical lead of detection, investigations and disruptions of complex information operations threats, and former CIA contractor Hagan Barnett, who is now head of harmful content operations at the Silicon Valley giant.

BarnettMeta’s intelligence and online security team includes individuals from virtually every government agency imaginable. In 2015, Department of Defense intelligence officer Suzanna Morrow left her post to become director of global security intelligence for Meta. The FBI is represented by threat investigations manager Ellen Nixon and head of cyber espionage investigations Mike Dvilyanski. Facebook’s influence operations policy manager Olga Belogolova had stints at the State Department and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Before Meta, David Agranovich and Nathaniel Gleicher both worked for the National Security Council. Agranovich is director of global threat disruption at Facebook while Gleicher is head of security policy. Hayley Chang, director and associate general counsel for cybersecurity and investigations, worked formerly for both the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. And Meta’s global head of interaction operations, David Hansell, was once an Air Force and Defense Intelligence Agency man.

One of Meta’s most outwardly-facing employees is its global threat intelligence lead for influence operations, Ben Nimmo, a character MintPress has covered before. Between 2011 and 2014, he served as NATO’s press officer, moving the next year to the Institute for Statecraft, a U.K. government-funded propaganda operation aimed at spreading misleading information about enemies of the British state. He was also a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, NATO’s semi-official think tank.

Perhaps then, it is not surprising that Facebook never seems to find U.S. government influence operations online – they are part of one!


While Meta has not unmasked any nefarious U.S. government action, it regularly uncovers what it claims are foreign disinformation campaigns. According to a recent Facebook report, the top five locations of coordinated inauthentic behavior between 2017 and 2020 on its platform are Russia, Iran, Myanmar, the United States and Ukraine. However, it was at pains to note that American operations were driven by fringe far-right elements, white supremacists and conspiracy theorists, and not the government.

This is despite the fact that it is now well-established that the Pentagon fields a clandestine army of at least 60,000 people whose job is to influence public opinion, the majority of them doing so from their keyboards. A Newsweek exposé from last year called it “The largest undercover force the world has ever known,” adding,

The explosion of Pentagon cyber warfare, moreover, has led to thousands of spies who carry out their day-to-day work in various made-up personas, the very type of nefarious operations the United States decries when Russian and Chinese spies do the same.”

Newsweek warned that this army was likely breaking both U.S. and international law by doing so, explaining that,

These are the cutting-edge cyber fighters and intelligence collectors who assume false personas online, employing ‘nonattribution’ and ‘misattribution’ techniques to hide the who and the where of their online presence while they search for high-value targets and collect what is called ‘publicly accessible information’—or even engage in campaigns to influence and manipulate social media.”

As far back as 2011, The Guardian was reporting on this enormous cyber force, whose job it was to “secretly manipulate social media sites by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda.” Yet the ex-military and ex-CIA officials Facebook employs do not seem to have found any trace of their former colleagues’ at work on the platform.


Since its beginnings in 2004, Facebook has grown to become a massive global empire and by far the most important news distributor the planet has ever known. The company boasts almost 3 billion active users, meaning that nearly 2 in 5 people worldwide use the platform. A recent 12-country study suggested that around 30% of the entire world gets its news via their Facebook feeds. This gives whoever is in charge of curating those feeds and controlling those algorithms inestimable power. It also represents a serious national security threat for all other countries, especially those that might wish to take a path independent from the United States. That those people are in large part former spooks makes this threat all the more perilous.

This is far from a hypothetical quandary. In November, less than a week before the country’s election, Facebook took the decision to delete hundreds of pages and accounts belonging to individuals and groups that supported the Nicaraguan Sandinista party – a longtime U.S. target for regime change. These included many of the nation’s most influential journalists and media outlets. Considering that around half of the country uses the platform for news and entertainment, the decision could barely have been more intrusive, and was likely designed to try to swing the election towards the pro-U.S. candidate.

Facebook claims that those accounts were bots engaged in “inauthentic behavior.” When those individuals migrated on to Twitter, recording videos identifying who they were to show they were not bots, Twitter immediately deleted those accounts too, in what was dubbed a coordinated attempt at suppression.

The individual behind this attempt was the aforementioned Ben Nimmo, who co-authored an unconvincing report, full of questionable assumptions and allegations. This included an insinuation that accounts following a pattern of activity whereby their Facebook usage levels peaked in the morning and afternoon and dwindled to almost nothing after midnight Nicaragua time suggested they were bots.

Facebook was also used by right-wing Cubans to attempt a U.S.-backed color revolution against the ruling Communist government last year.

Giving any individual or group that much control over the airwaves of communication raises huge questions about national security and sovereignty – doubly so when those individuals are so intimately connected to the U.S. national security state.

When asked what the public’s reaction would be to the news of such an intimate connection between Facebook her former employer, Murray stated that she was unsure whether many would be bothered:

I would like to think that the American public would strenuously object. However the CIA and other agencies have worked over many decades to cultivate a positive – indeed almost glamorous – image in the eyes of the vast majority of the public, mostly through TV series, Hollywood films, and favorable media coverage – so sadly my guess is that the vast majority of the public probably believes that these are the folks who should be in charge.”

However, she said, the news would likely land a very different way in countries that have been the target of Washington’s ire. “As you’re no doubt aware, the CIA has an atrocious public reputation in most parts of the world,” she added.


MintPress has found former representatives of the U.S. national security state in virtually every politically sensitive department at Facebook. This includes even higher levels. Between 2020 and 2021, Kris Rose was a member of Meta’s governance oversight board – the group responsible for the overall direction of the platform. He left his job at the Director of National Intelligence as the president’s daily brief writer to take up the role. Before that, he had spent six years at the CIA as a political and counterterrorism analyst. Meanwhile, Gina Kim Sumilas, Facebook’s director and associate general counsel for the Asia Pacific region, spent nearly twelve years in the CIA before moving into the tech private sector.

There is also considerable overlap with the U.S. government in the company’s front facing staff. Kadia Koroma, for instance, was plucked from her position as an FBI spokesperson in January 2020 to become media relations manager at Facebook. Jeffrey Gelman, policy communications manager for Facebook’s oversight board, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and held influential roles in both the State Department and the National Security Council. And executive communications spokesman Kevin Lewis spent many years in the White House as President Obama’s spokesperson.

Meta’s vice president of legal strategy is Rachel Carlson Lieber, who went straight from the CIA into Facebook. Her first role at the Silicon Valley giant was as head of the North America regulatory and strategic response, a department that continues to feature a number of former state officials. This includes head of strategic programs, Robert Flaim, who spent more than twenty years as an FBI, and Erin Clancy, who left a 16-year career at the State Department to become a manager of strategic response policy.

Clancy’s official work centered around U.S. policy in the Middle East. Her own bio boasts that she worked on the U.S. sanctions regime placed on Iraq and Sudan. She also worked at the U.S. Embassy in Damascus at the time of the Arab Spring and the beginning of the Syrian Civil War. It is known that she also coordinated closely with the White Helmets, a controversial aid organization that some have alleged is far too close to Al-Qaeda and its affiliates. Even after her Facebook appointment, Clancy moonlighted as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and as a fellow at the Atlantic Council, the hawkish body that serves as NATO’s brain trust.

Why are these national security state officials so attractive to Meta? One reason, Murray explained, is financial. “By snagging a CIA employee a company can save a considerable sum,” she said, explaining that, “The individual has likely undergone extensive professional training (at taxpayer expense) and probably has a security clearance,” something that is difficult, expensive and time-consuming to obtain in private sector work. Therefore, companies dealing with matters of state secrecy (such as defense contractors) have historically courted both current and former officers to fill their ranks, enticing them with much higher salaries than they can receive in government service.

“What is new (or at least newly known to us!) is that now these professionals are being sought after by social media companies like Facebook, Google and others who are now heavily into monitoring, surveilling, and censoring content, and then sharing data about users with U.S. government entities,” Murray added.

Such is the need for these individuals in these fields that private companies often hire former national security agents to do the recruiting for them. For instance, John Papp, who spent 12 years at the CIA as a senior intelligence officer and 4 years as an imagery analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency, went on to work as a recruiter for many of the largest defense contractors in Washington. These included Booz Allen Hamilton, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, IBM and Lockheed Martin. Today, he works as a recruiter for Meta.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Meta also employs former spooks for their internal security operations. The company’s vice president, chief security officer is Nick Lovrien, a former counterterrorism operations officer at the CIA, while its head of insider protection is ex-CIA operational psychologist and “undercover officer” Nicole Alford.

Meanwhile, Meta’s director of global security governance – the individual reportedly responsible for the personal safety of Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg – is Jill Leavens Jones. Jones left her job as a U.S. Secret Service special agent to take the appointment. And director of global security operations Alexander Carrillo continued on as a lieutenant commander in the Coast Guard for several months after his appointment at Facebook. The company also hires former feds to work directly with law enforcement on legal issues. One example of this is former FBI special agent Brian Kelley.


45 years ago, legendary journalist Carl Bernstein released an investigation documenting how the CIA had managed to infiltrate U.S. and global media. The CIA had placed hundreds of agents into newsrooms and had convinced hundreds more reporters to collaborate with them. These included individuals at some of the most influential outlets, including The New York Times. The CIA needed to do this clandestinely because any attempt to do so openly would harm the effectiveness of the operation and provoke stiff public resistance. But by 2015, there was barely a murmur of disapproval when Reuters announced that it was hiring 33-year veteran CIA manager and director Dawn Scalici as a global director, even when the company announced that her primary responsibility was to “advanc[e] Thomson Reuters’ ability to meet the disparate needs of the U.S. government.”

Facebook, however, is vastly more influential than the New York Times or Reuters, reaching billions of people daily. In that sense, it stands to reason that it would be a prime target of any intelligence organization. It has become so big and ubiquitous that many consider it a de facto public commons and believe it should no longer be treated as a private company. Considering who is making many of the decisions on the platform, that distinction between public and private entities is even more blurry than many presume.

Alan MacLeod is Senior Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, as well as a number of academic articles.

August 22, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment