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OPEC+ agrees on oil output cut

BY M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | INDIAN PUNCHLINE | SEPTEMBER 6, 2022 

The OPEC+ meeting at Vienna on Monday came amidst two events affecting the oil market — the G7 finance ministers decision to endorse the US proposal regarding price cap on Russia’s oil exports with effect from December 5 and secondly, Gazprom’s announcement on cutting off all gas supplies to Europe indefinitely. 

Although notionally these are unrelated events, the fact remains that the energy scene is increasingly fraught with uncertainties and there are many variables at work such as fears of a global recession, the continuing difficulty to conclude a US-Iran deal on JCPOA that would have lifted the sanctions against Iran’s oil exports. 

The statement by the OPEC secretariat on Monday’s meeting in Vienna has sent out a powerful message that not only is there not going to be any increased oil production but a token cut of 100,000 bpd has been agreed upon in September to bolster prices that have slid on recession fears. Oil prices jumped after the announcement. US crude rose 3.3%, to $89.79 per barrel, while international benchmark Brent was up 3.7%, to $96.50, after the decision.

This is in the face of attempts by the Biden Administration to push through a decision on an additional increase in production so that oil prices would go down. Saudi Arabia and the UAE did not agree to the US suggestion, saying that it was outside the scope of the OPEC + agreement. 

The cut in oil production by 100,000 bpd is largely symbolic because OPEC+ members are estimated to be some 2.9 million bpd behind the collective quotas allotted to them. But the point is, this is the first OPEC+ oil supply cut in more than a year and it shows that the OPEC+ will not hesitate to take preemptive action. 

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Monday that expectations of weaker global economic growth were behind the decision by Moscow and its OPEC allies to cut oil output. Novak said the global energy market is characterised by heightened uncertainty at the moment. “We are not talking about price formation, but about the adequacy of supply on the market, so that on the one hand there is no excess, and on the other there is no shortage.” 

The Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman has been more forthright, saying, “This (OPEC+) decision is an expression of will that we will use all of the tools in our kit. The simple tweak shows that we will be attentive, preemptive and proactive in terms of supporting the stability and the efficient functioning of the market to the benefit of market participants and the industry.”

The Saudi Minister was implying that the OPEC+ also faces a market where concerns about the strength of demand have started to outweigh supply fears. In fact, crude futures have lost about 20% in the past three months on the threat of a global economic slowdown. 

Besides, OPEC+ weighs in on the likelihood that the negotiations to revive a nuclear accord and remove US sanctions on Iran’s petroleum sales might result in a successful agreement in which case, more than 1 million barrels a day will enter world markets shortly, according to the International Energy Agency. 

However, the latest indications are that the Biden Administration may find it politically expedient to postpone the future of the JCPOA (2015 Iran nuclear deal) to the post-midterm election period in the US beyond November 7. Of course, both the US and Iran (as well as the European Union) are interested in reaching an agreement and want to restore the JCPOA on favourable terms.     

At any rate, the OPEC+ move on Monday can only be seen as a rebuke from Saudi Arabia, the leading member of OPEC, to the Biden administration’s call for its Middle Eastern ally to increase production at a time of rising inflation and western sanctions on Russia’s energy industry. The OPEC+ decision comes less than two months after US President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia when he said he expected the kingdom to take “further steps” to increase the supply of oil in the “coming weeks”.

After the OPEC+ decision, the White House said Biden is committed to shoring up energy supplies and lowering prices. “The president has been clear that energy supply should meet demand to support economic growth and lower prices for American consumers and consumers around the world,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

But beyond asking Gulf states to boost production and unleashing crude from emergency stockpiles, western countries have no leverage in the matter, since industry investment and new drilling have lagged behind demand and a significant increase in output is not to be expected.

The OPEC+ has scheduled its next meeting for October 5 but signalled it may hold talks even before that “to address market developments, if necessary.” According to Reuters, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, half-brother of Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, has been empowered to intervene whenever necessary to stabilise crude markets by calling for a meeting at any time. 

Quite obviously, things are moving in a direction where the G7 decision to impose a price cap on Russian oil is likely becoming the business of the OPEC+ as well, albeit indirectly. Russia has said it will stop supplying oil to countries that support the G7 idea. Signals from the physical market  suggest that supply remains tight and many OPEC states are producing below targets even as fresh Western sanctions are threatening Russian exports following up on the G7 idea. 

An unspoken factor is that the G7 move sets a precedent that is a cause of concern for all OPEC countries. Today, the G7 is cracking the whip on Russia over Ukraine, which has technically nothing to do with the oil market. Tomorrow, it could as well be on, for example, democracy deficit in the Gulf states. Simply put, the western powers are straying onto turf that OPEC has jealously guarded as its preserve for the past 62 years since the cartel was established — and it is doing so by politicising the core issue of oil prices by introducing extraneous geopolitical considerations. 

At any rate, while speaking on the OPEC meeting’s outcome on Monday, Russian minister Novak said, “We shall examine how the market situation will evolve because there are many uncertainties” not least regarding “the declaration by G7 leaders regarding capping of the price of Russian oil” which will sow “uncertainty” on the global market. (Interestingly, Chinese Foreign Ministry has called on the G7 to reconsider its move: “Oil is a global commodity. Ensuring global energy supply security is vitally important. We hope relevant countries will make constructive efforts to help ease the situation through dialogue and consultation, instead of doing the opposite.”) 

The bottom line is that the US entreaties to disband the OPEC+ are getting nowhere. The OPEC meeting in Vienna on Monday underscored in its final statement that “OPEC+ has the commitment, the flexibility, and the means within the existing mechanisms of the Declaration of Cooperation to deal with these challenges (higher volatility and increased uncertainties) and provide guidance to the market.” 

The message is loud and clear: Saudi Arabia and Russia who form the axis of the OPEC+ are closely coordinating on shaping the world oil market even as they could be competing for market share. 

September 5, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | 2 Comments

Ivermectin Cuts Covid Mortality by 92%, Major Study Finds – Why is it Still Not Approved?

BY WILL JONES | THE DAILY SCEPTIC | SEPTEMBER 3, 2022

Regular use of ivermectin led to a 100% reduction in hospitalisation rate, a 92% reduction in mortality rate and an 86% reduction in the risk of dying from a COVID-19 infection when compared to non-users, a major new study has found.

The study, published in the medical journal Cureus, analysed data from 223,128 people from the city of Itajaí in Brazil, making it the largest study of its kind and giving its findings a high degree of certainty. Senior author Dr. Flavio A. Cadegiani wrote on Twitter: “An observational study with the size and level of analysis as ours is hardly achieved and infeasible to be conducted as a randomised clinical trial. Conclusions are hard to be refuted. Data is data, regardless of your beliefs.”

The study compared those who took ivermectin regularly, irregularly and not at all prior to being infected with COVID-19 (i.e., as prophylaxis), and found a dose-dependent relationship, confirming that the difference in outcomes is very likely to be due to the drug and not other factors, such as differences between the groups.

The authors used a technique called ‘propensity score matching’ to control for confounding factors that may otherwise have biased the study in one direction or another. For example, those taking ivermectin tended to be older than those not taking it (average age 47 years vs 40 years), but by matching people of similar age in each group and comparing outcomes this confounding factor was controlled for.

Here is the abstract of the study, which summarises the methods and results.

Background

We have previously demonstrated that ivermectin used as prophylaxis for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), irrespective of the regularity, in a strictly controlled citywide program in Southern Brazil (Itajaí, Brazil), was associated with reductions in COVID-19 infection, hospitalisation, and mortality rates. In this study, our objective was to determine if the regular use of ivermectin impacted the level of protection from COVID-19 and related outcomes, reinforcing the efficacy of ivermectin through the demonstration of a dose-response effect.

Methods

This exploratory analysis of a prospective observational study involved a program that used ivermectin at a dose of 0.2 mg/kg/day for two consecutive days, every 15 days, for 150 days. Regularity definitions were as follows: regular users had 180 mg or more of ivermectin and irregular users had up to 60 mg, in total, throughout the program. Comparisons were made between non-users (subjects who did not use ivermectin), and regular and irregular users after multivariate adjustments. The full city database was used to calculate and compare COVID-19 infection and the risk of dying from COVID-19. The COVID-19 database was used and propensity score matching (PSM) was employed for hospitalisation and mortality rates.

Results

Among 223,128 subjects from the city of Itajaí, 159,560 were 18 years old or up and were not infected by COVID-19 until July 7th 2020, from which 45,716 (28.7%) did not use and 113,844 (71.3%) used ivermectin. Among ivermectin users, 33,971 (29.8%) used irregularly (up to 60 mg) and 8,325 (7.3%) used regularly (more than 180 mg). The remaining 71,548 participants were not included in the analysis. COVID-19 infection rate was 49% lower for regular users (3.40%) than non-users (6.64%) (risk rate (RR): 0.51; 95% CI: 0.45-0.58; p < 0.0001), and 25% lower than irregular users (4.54%) (RR: 0.75; 95% CI: 0.66-0.85; p < 0.0001). The infection rate was 32% lower for irregular users than non-users (RR: 0.68; 95% CI: 0.64-0.73; p < 0.0001).

Among COVID-19 [infected] participants, regular users were older and had a higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes and hypertension than irregular and non-users. After PSM, the matched analysis contained 283 subjects in each group of non-users and regular users, [283] between regular users and irregular users, and 1,542 subjects between non-users and irregular users. The hospitalisation rate was reduced by 100% in regular users compared to both irregular users and non-users (p < 0.0001), and by 29% among irregular users compared to non-users (RR: 0.781; 95% CI: 0.49-1.05; p = 0.099). Mortality rate was 92% lower in regular users than non-users (RR: 0.08; 95% CI: 0.02-0.35; p = 0.0008) and 84% lower than irregular users (RR: 0.16; 95% CI: 0.04-0.71; p = 0.016), while irregular users had a 37% lower mortality rate reduction than non-users (RR: 0.67; 95% CI: 0.40-0.99; p = 0.049). Risk of dying from COVID-19 [once infected] was 86% lower among regular users than non-users (RR: 0.14; 95% CI: 0.03-0.57; p = 0.006), and 72% lower than irregular users (RR: 0.28; 95% CI: 0.07-1.18; p = 0.083), while irregular users had a 51% reduction compared to non-users (RR: 0.49; 95% CI: 0.32-0.76; p = 0.001).

Conclusion

Non-use of ivermectin was associated with a 12.5-fold increase in mortality rate and a seven-fold increased risk of dying from COVID-19 compared to the regular use of ivermectin. This dose-response efficacy reinforces the prophylactic effects of ivermectin against COVID-19.

The authors draw particular attention to the dose-dependent relationship as confirming the efficacy of the treatment:

The response pattern of ivermectin use and level of protection from COVID-19-related outcomes was identified and consistent across dose-related levels. The reduction in COVID-19 infection rate occurred in a consistent and significant dose-dependent manner, with reductions of 49% and 32% in regular and irregular users, when compared to non-users. The most striking evidence of ivermectin’s effectiveness was the 100% reduction in mortality for female regular users.

The data in the study come from official government databases and, according to the authors, “conclusively show that the risk of dying from COVID-19 was lower for all regular and irregular users of ivermectin, compared to non-users, considering the whole population”.

The study, while not a randomised controlled trial (RCT), used a “strictly controlled population with a great level of control for confounding factors” and was larger than would be feasible in an RCT.

The authors highlight a “notable reduction in risk of death in the over 50-year-old population and those with comorbidities”.

They conclude that the evidence provided by the study is “among the strongest and most conclusive data regarding ivermectin efficacy”.

Many governments have suppressed the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19, claiming there is a lack of evidence of efficacy. However, this purported lack of evidence often relies on poorly designed trials and biased conclusions. For example, a recent widely-reported RCT concluded the study “did not show adequate support for the effectiveness of this drug” – yet its own results showed statistically significant benefits for speed of recovery as well as large (though not, in that study, statistically significant) benefits for mechanical ventilation and death. Participants also were not given the treatment until over a week into having symptoms and the study may have been confounded by people in the placebo arm also taking the drug.

One of the new study’s authors and a seasoned proponent of repurposed treatments like ivermectin, Dr. Pierre Kory, made clear his thoughts on Twitter in April as he responded to an FDA tweet reminding the public that ivermectin is not approved: “Messaging BS with one corrupt study while ignoring 82 trials (33 RCTs) from 27 countries, 129K patients – sum showing massive benefits. Stop lying man, people are dying. #earlytreatmentworks.”

Social media companies have censored information about ivermectin, often considering any suggestion that it is an effective treatment for COVID-19 to be misinformation. Yet ivermectin is a cheap, safe drug that many studies have shown brings considerable benefit in treating and preventing COVID-19. The latest study impressively confirms this efficacy as a prophylactic, with a reduction in mortality of up to 92%.

Shockingly, most governments still do not have a protocol for early treatment or prevention of COVID-19. The NHS says treatment is only available for those at high risk of serious disease who have a positive test and symptoms that are not getting better. Its guidance on self-care for people ill at home only recommends paracetamol and ibuprofen. Yet here is a highly controlled study of over 200,000 people that shows huge benefit – 92% reduction in mortality, 100% reduction in hospitalisation – for the prophylactic use of a cheap, widely available drug, and which confirms the results of multiple earlier studies. What are our governments waiting for? What more do they need to approve drugs that have been shown to save lives?

September 5, 2022 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 5 Comments

The more you jab, the sicker you get

By Neville Hodgkinson | TCW Defending Freedom | September 5, 2022

One consequence of the appalling rush to market with experimental and largely untested Covid vaccines is a growing scepticism about vaccine safety in general.  Now that NHS propaganda proclaiming the jabs ‘safe and effective’ is clearly false (see for example here and here), other mass inoculations are coming under increasing scrutiny.

Robert Kennedy Jr, the American lawyer who heads the US campaign group Children’s Health Defense (CHD), is one of the most influential and passionate critics.  In his recent best-selling book The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health, he documents ‘disastrous declines in public health’ during Dr Fauci’s half-century as chief of the taxpayer-funded National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Over this period, he writes, American children have become ‘pin-cushions’ for 69 mandated vaccine doses by the age of 18.

Yes, you read that correctly: sixty-nine doses. And these start almost immediately after a child is born.

At the same time there has been an exploding chronic disease epidemic, making the ‘Fauci generation’ the sickest in US history and Americans, once among the world’s healthiest populations, now among the least healthy.

Allergic, autoimmune, and chronic illnesses afflict 54 per cent of American children today, Kennedy says, up from 12.8 per cent when Fauci took over NIAID in 1984. Some 80 autoimmune diseases, practically unknown before 1984, suddenly became epidemic under his watch. Autism exploded from between one and two in 5,000 children to one in 34 today.  American children have lost seven IQ points since 2000.

Many of these illnesses became widespread in the late 1980s, when vaccine manufacturers accelerated the introduction of new jabs after being granted government protection from liability.  A ‘toxic soup’ of threats to health, including pesticide residues and processed foods, may also have contributed to weakened immunity.

The Defender, CHD’s newsletter, says vaccination rates began plummeting with the onset of the pandemic.  At first this was because of lockdowns and fears of Covid.  But as concerns rose about the Covid jabs – and the drive to inflict them on young people for whom there was zero benefit – many parents began wondering if medical assurances on vaccine safety generally can be trusted.

Steve Kirsch, a tech millionaire who launched a drive to find early treatments for SARS-CoV-2, claimed in a recent article that the data shows ‘the more you vax, the sicker you are’, and CHD offers a similar perspective.  It says public health fundamentals including sound nutrition, safe housing, economic security – and parents’ loving attention – are what children most need to thrive. Dozens of studies show dramatically better health in unvaccinated children, while there is none showing better health outcomes in the vaccinated.

That does not prove the vaccines are harmful, because parents able to inform themselves about the benefits and risks may be in a better position to support their children generally. But it does indicate that at the very least, we have an overblown idea of the value of administering so many jabs. The concerns are intensified by findings that missed infant vaccines coincided with a big drop in reports of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) to America’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Three-quarters of reported post-vaccination SIDS cases occur within seven days of childhood shots.

The UK situation is more lax than in America, with parents entitled to refuse the childhood vaccinations offered against 18 infections. But health professionals often put parents under intense pressure to agree, and it is officially estimated that only 1 to 2 per cent refuse them all.

With the NHS now said to be not far behind the US in producing some of the worst health outcomes, despite costing every household £10,000 a year, a broad reassessment of vaccine safety and effectiveness is needed.

A public inquiry should take evidence from parents as well as doctors, and include legal minds with a proven record of resisting rather than deferring to professional opinion. With few exceptions, doctors have proved incapable of maintaining an objective outlook on the subject and continue to react dismissively towards data that challenge the dogma.

Decades ago I reported on the work of Professor Thomas McKeown, who plotted graphs showing that declines in the main childhood infectious diseases came about just as CHD maintains – largely through better diet and warmer homes.  Vaccines came late in the day and slightly accelerated the falls, but made no long-term difference to the shape of the curve. However, powerful pharmaceutical interests decided some 30 years ago that in the absence of new ‘magic bullet’ blockbuster drugs, mass administration of vaccines would be the best means of maintaining profits.

I have also reported on the uselessness of the flu jab, which I investigated in detail, finding that it receives its licence on the basis of laboratory evidence of increased antibody production but that this does not translate into less illness. Yet what a palaver the NHS makes every year, as chief marketing agency for Big Pharma, flooding pharmacies and GP surgeries with unscientific propaganda about getting your jab.

It is not a question of being ‘anti-vax’. It is a matter of facing up to realities: to minimise vaccine damage, improve regulatory processes and monitoring, get proper value for money and remove dangerous or unnecessary shots.

Until recently, I remained firm in the belief that despite some failures, vaccines are a wonder of modern medicine. Had they not eliminated smallpox and polio? The Covid crisis encouraged me to look at data offering a more challenging perspective, such as in this cool and evidence-based video presentation by the late Dr Ray Obomsawin. A champion of indigenous people’s health needs, he published more than 85 research papers until his sudden death this year.

Another questioning view comes in Turtles All the Way Down: Vaccine Science and Myth, published in Israel in 2019 and available in English since July this year. Anaesthetist Dr Madhava Setty, The Defender’s senior science editor, says a review of the book in Israel’s leading medical journal found it ‘well-written, serious, scientific and important’, offering ‘a comprehensive view of the issue’. To protect their careers and reputations, the authors have stayed anonymous, but they cite more than 1,200 references from scientific journals and health agencies such that ‘an attack on the book is ultimately an attack on the medical establishment itself’.

Setty says that if the work had received its deserved attention from the international medical community when it was published, the world may well have avoided the predicament it faces today with the Covid vaccines disaster.

In his 1988 book The Mirage of Health, microbiologist René Dubos wrote: ‘When the tide is receding from the beach, it is easy to have the illusion that one can empty the ocean by removing water with a pail.’

With energy prices soaring and food shortages looming, the tide of better health enjoyed by many in the developed world may soon turn. So it is more important than ever to recover responsibility for maintaining our own health, and that of our children, and free ourselves from costly, state-dependent illusions.

September 5, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

The Great Recycling Scam

By Dr. Vernon Coleman – 21st Century Wire – September 2, 2022

Recycling was introduced, worldwide, as a tool to teach citizens to become compliant.

Forcing citizens to sort their rubbish into up to nine separate bags or boxes every week had absolutely nothing to do with ‘saving the planet’ and everything to do with teaching citizens (through a mixture of fines and shame) to behave ‘responsibly’ i.e. to do as they were told without looking too closely at the rationale of what they were being told to do.

The recycling never had anything to do with protecting the planet, of course. Most of the rubbish sorted, washed and collected in the UK was taken abroad, by lorry or ship or train, and burnt or dumped. It was, quite simply, impractical and not cost effective to recycle the material that had been collected. And, of course, collecting the sorted rubbish involved massive costs in terms of cash and pollution.

Today, the recycling business has reached an apogee of lunacy. Councils introduce ever more complex rules and fees. They refuse to take away much of the waste that is collected. And those wanting to take their rubbish to a ‘recycling’ centre will probably have to make an appointment and answer a host of questions.

It is no surprise that fly-tipping has become a major problem. The biggest causes of plastic in the sea are dumped fishing gear and plastic waste (much of it officially designated as recycled) which has been dumped by ships.

The good news, however, is that in Britain, recycling rates are falling. More and more people have become aware that the whole recycling movement was just another piece of manipulative trickery.

September 5, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

China rejects West’s call for Russian oil price cap

Samizdat | September 5, 2022

Beijing opposes the decision made by the G7 nations to introduce a price cap on Russian oil, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning said on Monday.

“Oil is crucial for ensuring global energy security,” she told a briefing, adding: “we hope that the countries concerned… will make constructive efforts, and not the other way around.”

The spokesperson urged the G7 states to instead “fortify dialogue and advance negotiations.”

On Friday, the finance ministers of the G7 (the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Japan) agreed to impose a price ceiling on Russian oil, to limit the country’s revenues. The plan includes banning services such as insurance and financing to ships transporting Russian crude above an agreed price threshold.

On Saturday, the European Union urged China and India to join the G7’s price cap initiative. The EU claimed it’s unfair for countries to pay excess revenues to Moscow. China and India have ramped up their purchases of Russian oil lately, benefiting from discounted rates.

Moscow has warned it will suspend supplies of oil and petroleum products to states that decide to enforce a price cap.

September 5, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , | Leave a comment

Australian Painter Forced to Remove His Mural Showing Russian, Ukrainian Soldiers Hugging

‘Peace before Pieces’ by Peter Seaton, AKA CTO. Image from http://www.ctoart.com
Samizdat – September 5, 2022

Australian artist Peter Seaton was forced to paint over his latest work, dubbed “Peace Before Pieces” showing a Russian and a Ukrainian soldier hugging each other, after pressure from the local Ukrainian community and Ambassador to Australia Vasyl Myroshnychenko, who branded the work “offensive”. The mural, was painted on a building in Melbourne, just a couple days ago, but the artist has been forced to remove his creation.

Seaton apologized for painting the mural and explained that his intention has always been to emphasize the importance of reaching peace. He noted that he has dedicated a lot of thought to the issue before coming up with the painting and said he discussed it a lot with other people.

“The original intention was to focus our efforts on this war towards a negotiation of peace, to avoid nuclear disaster […] I felt it was the best way I could portray a message of peace which is something I am fundamentally about,” Seaton said.

His efforts, however, did not impress Ambassador Myroshnychenko, who claimed the peace-promoting work of the artist was “utterly offensive to all Ukrainians” and he said that Seaton should have “consulted the Ukrainian community in Melbourne” before painting the mural. Myroshnychenko demanded that the work be promptly removed.

The Russian embassy in Australia reacted to the news of mural’s removal sarcastically:

“A mural recently unveiled in Melbourne was slammed for not reflecting the concept of fighting Russia to the last Ukrainian. The artist had to destroy his work. New normal for freedom of artistic expression in Australia: check with Ukrainian Embassy before painting,” the embassy said.

Russia proposed a diplomatic resolution to the conflict to Ukraine soon after the start of the special military operation on February 24th, but after a month of talks, Kiev halted the process for good.

Instead, the Ukrainian leadership has since been claiming it would fight Russia until it seizes the territories it sees as theirs and will hold talks only after that. Moscow maintains that it is always ready to return to the negotiations table but sees no initiative on the Ukrainian side.

September 5, 2022 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Militarism | , | 6 Comments

Anti-NATO protests in Europe likely to increase

By Lucas Leiroz | September 5, 2022

The consequences of the anti-Russian sanctions are causing revolt and indignation among European citizens. In recent days, thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Prague demanding an end to the coercive measures against Russia. Similar situations have been also seen in other important cities of Europe. Intelligence agencies already predict that the situation will worsen in the near future, with serious risks of an escalation in internal tensions in European countries. Indeed, these facts make it clear that the European people absolutely reject the interventionist ambitions of the EU and NATO.

On the 3rd of September, one of the biggest mass protests in recent years was seen in the streets of Prague. Current problems such as rising gas prices and security crises have taken thousands of Czech citizens to the streets in protests against the EU and NATO. Official Czech government sources claim 70,000 people attended the demonstrations, but protest organizers say the actual number of participants exceeded 100,000.

Members of different political ideologies and different social movements participated in the event. Nationalists, conservatives, social reformers, leftists, and moderate liberals have united in the common cause of combating negative foreign influence on the Czech government, which is leading the country to adopt an anti-Russian international policy that greatly harms the interests of the population. Not by chance, the slogan of the protesters was “Czech Republic First”, which succinctly expresses the popular and patriotic urges of the activists.

As expected, the main demand was that the Prime Minister Petr Fiala coalition impose limits on the price of gas as a way of controlling the worsening of the energy crisis. Some groups involved have openly called for a circumvention of EU policies, so that Prague could negotiate directly with Moscow for energy supplies. In fact, some groups seemed to hold more moderate opinions and others more radical, however all converged on the need for the Czech Republic to maintain an independent foreign policy that prioritizes national interests, instead of simply adhering to sanctions packages planned by think tanks in Brussels, London and Washington.

A common cause for all participants was the demand for absolute military neutrality, which is an extremely important issue considering that the Czech government was the first to violate NATO’s self-imposed rule of not taking direct action in the Ukrainian conflict. In April, before all other countries in the Western alliance, Prague sent a wide range of war equipment to Ukraine, mainly tanks and other armored vehicles. Until then, the West was only sending financial and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, but Prague started an unlimited military escalation, which has resulted in the prolongation of the conflict with the sending of Western weapons.

In an official statement, Fiala said citizens have the right to protest, but arrogantly asserted that the Czech people are being manipulated by pro-Russian forces. The head of government simply ignored the wishes of the people he was chosen to represent, which is a very problematic issue and reveals a serious status of democracy crisis in the country. No action was announced after the protests, with Prague continuing to suffer all the consequences of anti-Russian sanctions.

Prague, however, was not the only place to witness popular revolt against Western interventionism. In Germany, the day before, violent protests took place in some cities, most notably in Kassel, where 200 protesters faced heavy police brutality as they protested against the supply of weapons to Kiev. Eight protesters were arrested after violent clashes. Also, it is necessary to remember that similar situations had already occurred in many regions of Europe in recent months. In Madrid, the June NATO summit was responded to with large protests by the Spanish population, for example. And, according to the German intelligence, this situation of popular indignation will only get worse and worse.

Sources from security departments in Germany allege that the country is close to facing violent protests. German intelligence seems to have obtained privileged information that different parties would be coming together exceptionally in order to demand solutions to the energy crisis. The mass protests would be being organized by absolutely antagonistic groups, such as Die Linke and AfD, and would still be receiving support from more moderate organizations, such as the CDU’s Christian Democrats. 

The German situation reflects the same scenario seen in Spain and the Czech Republic: antagonistic ideologies and parties are ignoring their rivalries and uniting for a common cause. In practice, this tends to make the protests really massive and strong, attracting citizens from all ideological affiliations.

“So what we saw during the coronavirus pandemic might look like a children’s party in comparison to what is to come”, a German intelligence officer commented during an interview to Die Welt about the protests to come.

For all European countries, the question is the same: abandon the sanctions or face social chaos. The coercive measures against Moscow do not benefit European citizens and do not influence the military scenario in Ukraine, so they simply have no reason to exist. Either European countries adopt a sovereign stance and prioritize their own interests in foreign policy, or the bloc will suffer irreversible damage in its social structures.

Lucas Leiroz is a researcher in Social Sciences at the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; geopolitical consultant.

September 5, 2022 Posted by | Militarism, Solidarity and Activism | , , | 3 Comments