Aletho News


NetZero destroys NetZero: Europe can’t make solar panels because green electricity costs too much

By Jo Nova | October 9, 2022

Ironies don’t get better than this: Thanks to the renewable energy transition, Europe can’t afford to make renewable energy.

When will the message get through that renewable energy is not sustainable?

European photovoltaic plants and battery cell factors are temporarily closing or quitting altogether because of obscenely high electricity prices. When the plants were built they expected to pay €50/MWh, but now they are €300 – 400/MWh. And the situation may last another couple of years, so it’s hard to see how these manufacturers can avoid leaving permanently.

So much for all the solar jobs. Europeans are being reduced to being installers while the production of panels shifts to coal fired China because electricity is so much cheaper. Most of the wind turbine industry has already moved to China.

European solar PV manufacturing at risk from soaring power prices – Rystad

By Jules Scully, PV Tech

Around 35GW of PV manufacturing projects in Europe are at risk of being mothballed as elevated power prices damage the continent’s efforts to build a solar supply chain, research from Rystad Energy suggests.

The consultancy noted that the energy-intensive nature of both solar PV and battery cell manufacturing processes is leading some operators to temporarily close or abandon production facilities as the cost of doing business escalates.

It’s not the only thing in jeopardy:

“Building a reliable domestic low-carbon supply chain is essential if the continent is going to stick to its goals, including the REPowerEU plan, but as things stand, that is in serious jeopardy,” [said Audun Martinsen, Rystad Energy’s head of energy service research].

Tell us what “affordable means:

The consultancy revealed that while power prices in Europe have retreated significantly since record highs in August, rates remain in the €300 – 400/MWh (US$297 – 396/MWh) range, many multiples above pre-energy crisis norms.

While Europeans have benefitted from reliable and affordable electricity, the research suggested that low-carbon manufacturers have based their build-up of production capacity on stable power prices of around €50/MWh.

And the country with the most fossil fuels wins:

The high costs of European PV manufacturing were revealed in a recent report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), which found China is the most cost-competitive location to manufacture all components of the solar PV supply chain, with costs in the country 35% lower than in Europe.

Eric Worrall | What’s Up With That? | October 9, 2022

… Shortly after the above was published, a French solar module plant was closed;

Maxeon closes French solar module manufacturing plant

The obvious question, if renewables are so cheap, why don’t these plants relocate to a large plot of land, disconnect from the grid, and power their manufacturing facilities from their own low cost renewable energy products?

Seems an obvious solution – but for some reason renewable manufacturers seem to be choosing to shutter their plants, rather than switching to consuming their own product.

October 9, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , | Leave a comment

Twitter reverses censorship of Florida’s Surgeon General after backlash

By Christina Maas | Reclaim The Net | October 9, 2022

Twitter has reversed its censorship of Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo after public backlash.

Ladapo was censored by the platform after he posted a tweet advising men between the ages of 18-39 to avoid the Covid vaccine as it had, he alleged based on a study, been found to cause an 84 percent increase in death rate for that group.

Ladapo’s statement and report were released on Friday, with the Surgeon General adding Florida “will not be silent on the truth.”

The published guidance “recommends against the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines for males ages 18-39 years old.”

Ladapo said that “Studying the safety and efficacy of any medications, including vaccines, is an important component of public health. Far less attention has been paid to safety and the concerns of many individuals have been dismissed – these are important findings that should be communicated to Floridians.”

Twitter removed the post by the public official, claiming the tweet violated “Twitter rules.”

However, the post was reinstated on Sunday after backlash from the public.

“This is an unacceptable and Orwellian move for narrative over fact,” said Bryan Griffin, the governor’s press secretary, in a further tweet.

October 9, 2022 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 2 Comments

Is PayPal About to Go Bankrupt?


With the stock prices of both Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank under pressure, many in the financial field are becoming concerned the world could be facing a renewed financial crisis. But this time around events could play out very differently. It might not even be banks that pose the greatest financial risk to consumers. It could be payment providers like PayPal.

The really big difference between 2007 and 2022 is that bank runs no longer look like the image above, they look like this:

That’s what I was faced with when I tried to transfer £500 from my PayPal account to a regular bank account. On Sunday morning the same message was still occurring. A quick scan of social media proved I was not alone.

“Boycott PayPal” was also trending on Twitter.

So what might the error message indicate about the business?

Here’s what we know so far.

In the last 48 hours a sneaky amendment to PayPal’s acceptable use policy widely captured the public’s attention. Free speech advocates had spotted that customers agreeing to the update would be allowing a sum of $2,500 to be lifted from their accounts if PayPal ever found them guilty of “sending, posting, or publication of any messages, content, or materials” that “promote misinformation” or “present a risk to user safety or wellbeing”.

When word got out, those already concerned about the company’s draconian turn started shutting their accounts and urging others to do the same on social media.

For some, the action proved the final straw.

On Saturday evening U.K. time, PayPal’s former president David Marcus distanced himself very clearly from the action. Elon Musk, whose pathway to billionairehood started in 2000 when his company was merged with Peter Thiel’s Confinity to create the PayPal of today, later tweeted that he agreed.

Readers of the Daily Sceptic and members of the Free Speech Union (such as myself) will already know that over the past few months PayPal has been on a whirlwind tour of shutting down the accounts of platforms and media sites it has deemed guilty of spreading misinformation. In many instances, those affected, such as the Daily Sceptic, were not even consulted ahead of the fact and had little idea of what specific text, post or media had violated PayPal terms.

So why exactly would PayPal descend to this level of reputational self-harm?

It’s hard to know for sure, but chances are the decision rests on pressures PayPal itself is facing with respect to its legal duty to enforce Know-Your-Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) rules. If I was to take an educated bet, it’s the counterterrorism section of the rulebook that is most relevant.

These days it’s hard to imagine that banks weren’t always responsible for screening transactions and making judgements about their legitimacy. But until the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was formed in 1989 with a view to combatting money laundering, banks only really cared about screening credit risk. It wasn’t until 2001 and the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers (and the introduction of the Patriot Act) that the scope of banks’ responsibilities in this field was expanded to include combatting the financing of terrorism too.

Tackling terrorist financing and criminality was easy enough when everyone was on the same page about what constituted terrorism or financial crime. But one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist. And in an increasingly polarised world, it’s become harder for ordinary bank employees to differentiate free-speech critical of authority from radicalising terrorist content, such as that distributed by Isis on social media to recruit new members.

It wasn’t the job they were hired to do.

Three factors have muddied the waters further.

The first is the scale of penalties directed at banks found in breach of AML/KYC regulation. The fear of being slammed with fines has made banks and payment providers like PayPal hugely risk-averse and inclined to err on the side of caution when facing any ambiguity. If something even whiffs of misinformation, from their point of view it’s better to shut it down than to run the risk of getting a fine.

Second, is a lack of resources. Human arbitration is costly, and screening activities would be unaffordable if they were to be done by living, breathing individuals. This is why banks and payment providers like PayPal have invested huge sums of money in cost-saving screening technology to detect illegal transactions both actively and preemptively. The problem here is that most of these tools, known as suptech or regtech, are algorithmically applied with limited human oversight. That means it’s mostly artificial rather than human intelligence deciding who gets to stay on a platform and who gets frozen out. As yet, robots are not well known for their sense of nuance, empathy or capacity to process ambiguity. How they decide what they decide is a black-box interpretation of the inputs they’ve been programmed with.

The third issue is the structure of the KYC/AML policing system itself. Since the scale of the task is so enormous, it goes beyond the scope and capacity of any existing government agency. Knowing this, governments, very similar to how they managed the enforcement of lockdown policy, realised it would be more cost-efficient to outsource the policing of their own rules to the banks and payment companies directly. But this is a strategically coercive dynamic. If payment companies don’t fall in line, they risk having their licences removed and their businesses shut down. Non-compliance is therefore not an option. PayPal isn’t perfect, but the pressure it is facing is very similar to the pressure pubs, restaurants and supermarkets faced under Covid. The structural problem here, as with the retail sector during Covid, is those payment companies are not legislative specialists. They take for granted that the governments know what they are doing and that the rules they are setting are human rights compatible and in line with the laws of the land. Nor do the payment companies have the capacity to investigate the rights and wrongs of every case. This is a job for the legal system, which is already excessively costly to access for most ordinary individuals.

This in itself is a huge blind spot for the financial system. There’s a very strong case to be made that the way democratic governments have gone about enforcing AML legislation is not compatible with human rights at all. The enshrined right of habeas corpus might even be under threat. The FATF has itself belatedly realised this. Back in October 2021, it noted in a “stock-take on the unintended consequences of the FATF standards” that (my emphasis):

Situations have arisen in the course of FATF evaluations concerning the interaction between the FATF Recommendations on combating TF (particularly R.5 and R.6) and due process and procedural rights (e.g. to legal representation, fair trial, and to challenge designations, etc.), which have been considered on a case-by-case approach as they arise in specific country contexts. In addition, the FATF has also been made aware of instances of the misapplication of the FATF Standards, which are allegedly introduced by jurisdictions to address AML/CFT deficiencies identified through the FATF’s mutual evaluation or ICRG process, potentially as an excuse measures with another motivation. This information often comes as a result of stakeholder input or when the attention of the FATF or its members is drawn to a particular issue, such as when another international body is reviewing legislation or actions are taken by national authorities. Analysis in the stocktake has therefore focused on the due process and procedural rights issues most often arising in evaluations or feedback.

The stock-take identified the following factors as key examples of where misapplication of FATF standards had affected due process and procedural rights:

  • excessively broad or vague offences in legal counterterrorism financing frameworks, which can lead to wrongful application of preventative and disruptive measures including sanctions that are not proportionate;
  • issues relevant to investigation and prosecution of TF and ML offences, such as the presumption of innocence and a person’s right to effective protection by the courts;
  • and, incorrect implementation of UNSCRs and FATF Standards on due process and procedural issues for asset freezing, including rights to review, to challenge designations, and to basic expenses.

Readers can hopefully see the issue.

The entire regulatory system since 2008 has focused on ensuring that the 24-hour payment banking infrastructure we have become used to will never face the risk of going down again.

Put bluntly, the style of service disruption currently being experienced at PayPal is something major banking and payment institutions are not supposed to be able to get away with. At least not for long. So yes, it does feel like a big deal.

For the most part, the practice of shuttering access through website maintenance, downtime or error messages is more commonly seen at cryptocurrency platforms during extreme bitcoin selloffs. Closing access to people’s accounts or pretending to do website maintenance often gives operators the time to raise the liquidity they need by slowing redemptions. But it’s far from a transparent or honourable policy.

For PayPal to have triggered a run on itself because it was merely following government orders is not just unfortunate, it is careless. But it also speaks of a deeper problem at the heart of the anti-money laundering regulatory structure. The entire system we have created may no longer be fit for purpose. Consider, for example, that despite many billions of dollars spent on FATF compliance, a company like Wirecard, whose business model in retrospect looks to have been based on fraud as a service (FAAS), could so easily rise to the top of the German stock market. Nor has any of the regulation been successful at combatting the type of electronic financial fraud (mostly based on phishing attacks or social engineering) that impacts users every day.

We need to seriously ask if the benefits outweigh the collateral damage also being incurred.

But while PayPal might not be entirely responsible for its own actions on the KYC/AML front, its business model may be more vulnerable to this sort of fallout than most people appreciate. The culpability for that lies with PayPal exclusively.

A key revenue generator for the group has always been the interest revenue it absorbs from all the customer balances it holds. (You may not have realised it, but if you have any significant sums in a PayPal account, you won’t be collecting interest on them.) A large outflow of deposits could easily inhibit the company’s ability to raise this income and harm its overall revenue-generating capability. (You don’t have to hold balances at PayPal to use it.)

More critical for PayPal at this juncture will be its inability as a payments company to access the central bank lender-of-last-resort backstop. That means if the group is genuinely facing challenges meeting transfer and redemption requests, it will only be able to turn to wholesale liquidity markets to make up the difference. The degree to which customer balances are locked up in harder-to-liquidate securities or bonds will largely determine its success here. Frustratingly for PayPal, in the current illiquid bond market, there’s a good chance that selling these quickly and without a loss could be challenging. The alternative path for PayPal will be to use these securities as collateral for temporary loans. But the expense here is potentially open-ended if there are no obliging counterparts. That may (or may not) be why the company is currently restricting transfers.

Before rushing to conclusions, it’s important to stress the company still has recourse to liquidity from fully-funded (in fact over-collateralised) entities. We may not know the makeup of that liquidity, but solvency is unlikely to be an issue over the longer term. The biggest problem facing users today will be uncertainty over how quickly they can transfer funds out of the PayPal ecosystem.

What I can say is that in the modern digital age, bank runs will be different. We may even long for the days when tellers transparently shut up shop when the vaults ran dry. At least it was clear what was going on. These days, on the other hand, it will become ever harder to differentiate a bank run from a maintenance issue on a website. Such matters will be shrouded in plausible deniability and uncertainty. Suffice it to say, corporate communication departments will always err towards disinformation of their own sort, that any such outage is nothing out of the ordinary.

Even more concerning is that in the event of a run, customers will no longer be able to tell if those with better connections aren’t unfairly cutting ahead of them in the redemption queue. Virtual queues may seem technologically efficient, but there’s no transparency to them at all.

That’s why if you’re caught out by any of these policies you already don’t stand a chance of getting your account back unless you have existing connections to the management or a platform of your own. None of this is progressive or encouraging.

Izabella Kaminska is the Editor of the Blind Spot, a financial news media service focused on the news everyone else is missing.

PayPal was not contacted for this piece, which is based on the opinions of the author.

October 9, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics, Full Spectrum Dominance | | Leave a comment

Top medical center pauses trans surgeries on kids

Samizdat | October 9, 2022

The Transgender Health Clinic at Tennessee’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center has “paused” gender surgeries for patients under the age of 18, according to a letter sent by the institution’s chief health system officer, C. Wright Pinson, to a state representative on Friday.

In the letter, which Republican Rep. Jason Zachary posted to Twitter, Wright explains that the clinic is pausing “gender-affirmation surgeries on patients under 18” due to the publication of new standard-of-care guidelines last month by the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH), citing the need to conduct an internal clinical review and consult a wide array of experts. The review could take “several months,” he added.

While Wright pointed to the new guidelines as Vanderbilt’s reason for “pausing” the controversial procedures, his message was framed as a response to the letter Zachary and other state Republican leaders had written to the medical center last month demanding a moratorium on providing gender surgeries to minors. Zachary hailed it as a victory, tweeting his appreciation to Vanderbilt for addressing the party’s “deep concerns.”

The state politicians had decried the university’s pediatric gender clinic’s practices as “nothing less than abuse.” They also demanded all its affiliates honor so-called conscientious objectors – medical professionals who refuse to perform “certain medical procedures” because of their religious beliefs.

The university official addressed both issues in his response, reassuring Zachary that Vanderbilt was compliant with Tennessee law – including legislation banning hormone treatment for pre-pubertal children. Of an average of five gender-affirming surgeries per year on patients under 18 that Vanderbilt doctors had performed since opening the Transgender Health Clinic in 2018, none were genital procedures, and all patients were over 16 and had parental consent, he insisted. Additionally, none of the surgeries were paid for by government funds, and the revenue from gender surgeries constituted an “immaterial percentage” of the center’s profits.

Vanderbilt is not the only pediatric gender clinic to back away from some of its more controversial practices. The Harvard-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital has struggled to conceal its own history of performing gender surgeries on minors, claiming to only operate on patients over 18 despite a peer-reviewed paper revealing it has performed 65 gender-affirming surgeries on teens as young as 15 since January 2017.

Tennessee, which adopted the ban on pre-pubertal hormone treatment last year, is one of several states attempting to crack down on practitioners that offer irreversible medical procedures such as hormone treatment and “gender-affirming” surgery to minors, sometimes without parental knowledge or consent. Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, and Arizona have also adopted legal measures restricting such treatments.

October 9, 2022 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | | Leave a comment

Satellite Temperature Data Show Almost All Climate Model Forecasts Over the Last 40 Years Were Wrong


A major survey into the accuracy of climate models has found that almost all the past temperature forecasts between 1980-2021 were excessive compared with accurate satellite measurements. The findings were recently published by Professor Nicola Scafetta, a physicist from the University of Naples. He attributes the inaccuracies to a limited understanding of Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS), the number of degrees centigrade the Earth’s temperature will rise with a doubling of carbon dioxide.

Scientists have spent decades trying to find an accurate ECS number, to no avail. Current estimates range from 0.5°C to around 6-7°C. Without knowing this vital figure, the so-called ‘settled’ science narrative around human-caused climate change remains a largely political invention, not a credible scientific proposition. Professor Scafetta has conducted extensive work into climate models and is a long-time critic of their results and forecasts. In a previous work, he said many of the climate models should be “dismissed and not used by policymakers”. Along with around 250 professors, he is a signatory to the World Climate Declaration which states there is no climate emergency and also notes climate models are “not remotely plausible as global tools”.

Scafetta’s latest work grouped 38 major climate models into low, medium and high ECS values, ranging between 1.8°C and 5.7°C. He found that models in the medium and high category “ran hot” in over 95% and 97% of cases respectively. The lower models were said to have done better when compared to global warming calculated for the period by the major surface datasets of 0.52-0.58°C. But the UAH satellite data showed warming up to 30% less during this period, suggesting even the low warming models produced “excessive warming” from 1980-2021.

According to Scafetta, these results show that the ECS figure could be as low as 1.2-2°C. Particular concern is expressed about surface temperature records that “appear to be severely affected by non-climatic warming biases”. Scafetta concludes that surface-based temperature records are likely to be affected by warming biases, such as the urban heat island effect due to expanding urban development, and subject to natural oscillations that are not reproduced by climate models. He concludes: “The global warming expected for the next few decades may be even more moderate than predicted by the low ECS-GCMs [Global Circulation Models], and could easily fall within a safe temperature range where climate adaptation policies will suffice.”

Scafetta’s work is vital in providing a realistic insight into the dominant role played by climate models in promoting the command-and-control Net Zero political agenda. Many of the constantly promoted climate thermogeddon scares use forecasts based on high ECS values. The higher values are behind every statement from bureaucrats, politicians, green activists and journalists that we are heading for a 2-3°C increase in global temperature in the near future. In the absence of any definitive ECS figure, these predictions are guesses.

In fact, once the ECS figure falls to around 1°C, it is moving into margin of error territory. However, many scientists have more or less given up trying to calculate ECS, since measuring the non-linear atmosphere is proving as difficult as it ever was. The atmosphere is a chaotic system with many powerful influences reacting unpredictably with each other. The huge heat transfers that obviously have a considerable part to play in climate are far from completely understood. Recent suggestions that modellers can ‘attribute’ single event weather events to human-caused climate change are unprovable, and little more than figments of over-active, agenda-driven imaginations. Furthermore, it is possible that carbon dioxide becomes ‘saturated’ beyond certain levels and its effect as a warming gas rapidly declines.

What we do know is that over the last 20 years, global warming has started to run out of steam. The latest September UAH satellite data, considered in some scientific circles as the most accurate measurement we have, show the current standstill has been extended to eight years. But whereas satellite data are common and invaluable in many geographical fields, these temperature results are less welcome. It is not hard to see why. Scafetta calculates that the results since the start of recordings around 1980 are 30% below surface temperature datasets. As it happens, the two adjustments since 2013 by the U.K.’s Met Office to its HadCRUT global surface temperature record have increased recent warming by a similar amount. Similar upward adjustments are to be found in the other major global datasets. A previous temperature pause from about 1998-2010 is no longer visible in these records.

Claims of ‘record’ heat years and ever higher temperatures are taken exclusively from the surface records. The satellite record is largely ignored. There are even attempts to cancel the inconvenient figures, with Google AdSense recently ‘demonetising’ the site of Dr. Roy Spencer, the Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, one of the main compilers of the UAH satellite record. The record, of course, that is a vital part of Professor Scafetta’s work investigating the accuracy of climate models.

October 9, 2022 Posted by | Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Science and Pseudo-Science | 2 Comments

Germany’s Green Party In Dire Straits

From most loved, to most hated… audiences are drowning out Green Party speakers at campaign rallies.

By P Gosselin – No Tricks Zone – October 8, 2022

The German Greens, who are partners with the SPD socialists in Germany’s government, are sinking dramatically in the public opinion polls as it becomes clear Green Party leader and Economics Minister Robert Habeck is driving the country’s economy into the ground at a dizzying speed.

Habeck, who currently also serves as Vice Chancellor, recently stunned millions of TV viewers when he appeared not to understand what bankruptcy is. Now as tomorrow’s state elections approach in Lower Saxony, the Green Party officials are scrambling to keep Habeck from doing more damage.

Blackout News reports that the Greens are “hiding” Habeck from the public in order to control the damage, and so far he has “had only one campaign appearance”. For that one particular appearance, “the audience had to stay outside, for security reasons” and “exclusively to selected members of his party.”

“In the polls, Robert Habeck has already experienced a significant plunge in the popularity of German politicians in recent days. So it’s no wonder that the Greens are literally hiding their once most popular politician ahead of the election in Lower Saxony,” reports Blackout News.

Desperate to find new sources of energy now that the Russian supply of natural gas has been halted, Habeck has angered his party base by extending the operating life for two nuclear power plants and putting lignite-fired power plants back on line.

In Göttingen, Habeck spoke at an election rally, but only in only in front of hand-picked audience after the police had completely sealed off the event.

Just a day earlier his party comrade Annalena Baerbock was “drowned out” by demonstrators. “Already at the beginning of her speech there was a deafening concert of whistles so that Baerbock could hardly be understood,” reports Blackout News. “In addition, there were shouts such as: ‘Baerbock must go’, ‘war-mongers’, ‘get lost’ and ‘impoverishment and war thanks to the Greens’, and ‘whoever votes Green, votes for war’.”

The mainstream media however, did not report on this.

Once the darlings of politics, the German Greens have seen their popularity plummet spectacularly over the recent weeks as Germany’s economy crashes due to excruciating energy shortages and price inflation.

“Therefore, on October 3, the Minister of Economics spoke only to a few dozen hand-picked party members and a few selected journalists,” according to Blackout News.

October 9, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Militarism | | 1 Comment

US Military Casualties in Vietnam


When considering war fatalities, we tend to construct a simple framework in our minds, of the form: “50,000 soldiers were sent into battle; 40,000 returned; fatalities 10,000. End of story.” But things are not so simple as this, for reasons both valid and fraudulent.

For one, the US government and military inevitably understate all the bad parts of their wars. It may be true that all governments and militaries do this, but here we are discussing the US. A few examples:

For the fire-bombing of Tokyo, any estimate of deaths less than one million is not even remotely plausible, yet I can recall that for many years the “official” US military estimate was 35,000.[1] The generally-accepted death totals for the Vietnam war (including Laos and Cambodia) is around five million; the US adamantly states the totals at only one million on the grounds that “Vietnamese statistics are notoriously unreliable”. Bonnie Triyana, an Indonesian historian, has documented the death toll during the American “pacification” of her country, of at least three million, while the NYT ran an article headlined “U.S. Stood By as Indonesia Killed a Half-Million People, Papers Show”,[2] reducing the death total by 85% and blaming the deaths on Indonesians rather than the US CIA and military. It is more or less an axiom that the greater the atrocities and the more horrific the war crimes, the greater the understatement, and also the more extensive the media censorship on the topic.

It is also an axiom that whenever the US inflicts its military (and other) atrocities on other nations, the victim is almost inevitably blamed, in one way or another. The NYT article above is one example; there are many others. When the US released the swine flu in Cuba in 1971, necessitating the killing of Cuba’s 500,000 pigs,[3] [4] the tragedy was immediately engulfed in US media accusations of Cuba having a biological weapons program that was a threat to the world.

The topic of this essay is US casualties in Vietnam, but let’s first examine the landscape to see the kinds of troubles we have in making determinations with any semblance of accuracy. We will look at Iraq, since it is more current and we have more details readily at hand.

First, civilian deaths. The US military claims about 100,000 civilian deaths in Iraq. The US Senate clams 115,000[5], using numbers from the Brookings Institution. The Lancet claimed more than 650,000, with Fox News immediately challenging this “controversial new study” with its “disputed” results.[6] According to Fox, “one respected group” made a “rough estimate at closer to 50,000”, and “one expert” was “skeptical” of the new findings. The Guardian,[7] on the other hand, supported the study, stating that it had been “examined and validated by four separate independent experts”, stating also that the US military’s lower estimate was “was hugely controversial”. One UN estimate for Iraqi civilian casualties was over one million, and dozens of other “reports” and “studies” have been all over the map. Meanwhile, the US military remains silent and lets everyone speculate. If accurate figures are indeed available – and they may not be – those who have the data will never release it. Thus, we will never know the truth.

Then, US military casualties and casualty rate in Iraq. To determine this, we need to know the number of deployed soldiers and the number of fatalities. As to deployment, the US military says that about 775,000 troops “participated” in the Iraq war,[8] while the Council on Foreign Relations says a total of 340,000 US troops were deployed to Iraq. On the other hand, the US Senate tells us, in a “definitive” study,[9] that “More than 1.5 million Americans served in Iraq”. To make the picture even more clear, other sources state that these numbers do not include the “hundreds of thousands” of Blackwater and other mercenaries. To further increase the clarity, the US Military often either forgets or remembers (whichever is most convenient) to identify or differentiate between Army (active and reserve), National Guardsmen, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and other categories, sometimes including totals of all branches for deployment but casualties for the Army only. And so on.

Increasing the clarity yet further, the DOD tell us things like “there is a total of “260,000 US Troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria”, with no way to separate them by country. Another source tells us the US has deployed more than 2,000,000 troops to Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11, again without separation.[10] If the Afghanistan figure of about 750,000 is accurate, that leaves about 1.25 million for Iraq, but we can’t be sure. Then we enter a huge cloud with statements like “More than 775,000 U.S. service members have deployed to Afghanistan at least once”, with no way to know how many have been double- or triple-counted. The military claim some have been deployed five times. At one point, the Pentagon stated there were 132,000 US troops deployed in Iraq, while the Congressional Research Service (CRS) said it was double that number at 260,000.

Further, on close examination of the data, we discover that the time periods are by no means consistent from one claim to another, with dates like: March 2003 to April 2009, March 2003 to June 2006, July 2004 to February 2013. Then, US military deaths and other casualties in Iraq. The US Senate’s “definitive study”, and the number most often presented, tells us about 4,500 US soldiers died in Iraq.[11] But then another report that appeared credible in its other data, stated that US casualties were in excess of 20,000 and climbing.[12]

Then we have a report in the Huffington Post that “The death count is accurate but the figure for combat injuries (of 35,000) wildly understates the number,” claiming the total may well be over 500,000, and that the Pentagon reports nearly 230,000 cases of . . . traumatic brain injury alone.[13]

Then we have some very strange reports, typified by an article in the WSWS,[14] detailing a distinction between “combat deaths” and “non-combat deaths”, with very wide variations between the two, the latter category being ignored by the DOD and the media, with some observers claiming the military deliberately pushes all possible casualties into the “non-combat” category. And here we enter The Twilight Zone: Lt. Col. Scott D. Ross of the US military’s Transportation Command stated his outfit had evacuated around 3,000 battle-injured casualties and nearly 19,000 non-battle injuries (both dead and wounded).[15] How is that even possible? For every soldier injured or killed in battle, another six were injured or killed in “non-battle” situations. And these injuries were apparently so severe they required emergency evacuation to Germany or elsewhere. Where did these “non-battle” injuries take place? In the mess tents? At the poker table? To add to the confusion, these deaths, injuries and evacuations apparently did not include “contractors” or Blackwater’s mercenaries.

There is the further problem of the apparently credible reports of the US military burying thousands of body bags in mass graves in the Iraq desert, with all those then listed as “Missing in Action” (MIA) and therefore excluded from the death toll.[16] These were apparently bodies of American servicemen and Blackwater’s mercenaries, who would now not be listed as war dead. This was not a single event but appeared to be a continuing program of some considerable size. The reporter cataloguing this was told that by classifying all those men as MIA, the US military could avoid many family, media, and financial difficulties, and that recruiting for both the military and Blackwater’s mercenaries would be much eased with smaller death tolls. The man was killed by a military sniper before he could release his videos and photos, which disappeared after his death.

The LA Times joined this parade with an article written by a former Air Force Captain employed by the US State Department in Iraq, who said that “95% of injured soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen were not reported as casualties due to what he refers to as the Pentagon’s ‘fudging the numbers’ in a bid to win funding from American lawmakers to finance the wars.”[17]

And where does this leave us? Exactly no place. Given all the smoke, there is no way to know the real numbers for Iraq. According to the Guardian,[18] “a bitter war of numbers is raging. Trying to cut one’s way through the statistical jungle quickly becomes a battle over methodology, and sometimes over motives. Critics even raise the specter of fraud . . .” To ensure this state of affairs, according to Lt. General Tommy Franks, who led the invasion of Iraq: “We don’t do body counts.”

Lastly, Slate carried an article stating that “A comparative analysis of U.S. casualty statistics from Iraq tells a different story. After factoring in medical, doctrinal, and technological improvements, infantry duty in Iraq circa 2004 comes out just as intense as infantry duty in Vietnam circa 1966 – and in some cases more lethal.”[19] For your information, the “official” numbers for Vietnam were about 7 times higher than those for Iraq.

We would like to know the total deaths and the casualty rate for US servicemen in Iraq, but there seems no way to accurately determine either the actual number deployed to Iraq, nor the number of deaths and injuries. It seems reasonably clear that the official numbers are incorrect – some would say fraudulent – but the information necessary for firm knowledge isn’t available or accessible.

To return to the beginning, the US government and military inevitably understate all the bad parts of their wars. It isn’t a secret that they also lie about all portions of their military adventures. There were multiple media reports that George Bush told 900 separate lies about Iraq, leading up to and during the war. I don’t know if the statement was true, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were, and the military, the State Department and the media told their share of hundreds of more lies about Iraq.

If we take the US Senate at their word for 1.5 million deployed in Iraq and a total of about 2 million for both Iraq and Afghanistan, with the “official” death toll at about 6,000 for both, we are left with 3 deaths per 1,000 or about 1/3 of 1%, a number that seems a bit implausible for about 20 years of war in both places. Given this, given the “95% are not reported”, given the “we don’t do body counts”, given the “injuries were not 35,000 but more than 500,000”, why would we choose to believe the “official” casualty statistics about Iraq?

Turning to Vietnam

The situation with Vietnam is not better than that in Iraq, but is actually much worse. This is true for no other reason than the powerful political constraints on Vietnam. For Iraq, the US population appeared to be more or less onside, with few street protests and other signs of strenuous objection. Vietnam was very different. You may recall the Kent State Massacre where protesting students were shot in the back on Nixon’s orders, and you may recall Daniel Ellsberg copying and releasing all the documents from the RAND corporation where he worked – the “Pentagon Papers”. The American public were so inflamed by the lies and the illegality, to say nothing of the brutality, of the Vietnam war that much of the nation was in anarchy and becoming ungovernable, with serious concerns of a nationwide public uprising that could easily have overthrown the government. It was in this climate that the US military rescinded the draft, primarily because almost no one was showing up for it.

No government wants to report bad news during a war, especially deaths and injuries, but Vietnam was a special case for the American military and for the government. Bear in mind that the US authorities lied about everything leading up to and during the war in Vietnam until the bad news escaped confinement. The false-flag Gulf of Tonkin incident was only the beginning. The US military lied about the existence of Project Phoenix, the massive torture-to-death program, about the use of Agent Orange – “The Vietnamese government asked us to spray some of their forests”. They lied about the false partition of Vietnam, about the bombing of Laos and Cambodia, about the total death tolls of Vietnamese, about the hideous deformed births, about the use of napalm on civilians, and scores of other items large and small. They also lied about the American POWs abandoned in Vietnam.

I have read through numerous files from that time and I cannot identify any item of consequence where the US military, government or media told the truth – essentially the same as Iraq.

Robert McNamara’s Project 100,000

Readers may recall my article on Robert McNamara’s Infamous “Project 100,000”,[20] where around 500,000 severely-retarded young men, combed from the ghettos of America, were pushed into military service and sent to Vietnam. These were men who were unable and had to be taught how to tie their own shoelaces, whose reading comprehension was so low the military had to make little comic books to explain the most basic of military protocol and procedures.

Many researchers have claimed that an overwhelming majority of these men, especially blacks, received combat assignments, and “comprised an overwhelming majority of … battle deaths”, and were also generally posted to “what were considered dangerous military occupations”. These men were provided with special ‘dog tags’ that began with “US67…” so they could be quickly identified by other soldiers. By all accounts, the regular troops did not want to be associated with these men, certainly not in a battle situation, because their lack of intelligence and training simply jeopardised the lives of all around them. Many have reported that when battlefield decisions were being made, given that these men were unable to learn anything much more complicated than pulling a trigger, they were just sent to their deaths. One Vietnam veteran reported that a common order issued to these young men ‘salvaged from the blight of poverty’ was to “Go over there and see if there’s a sniper in that tree”. According to Colonel David Hackworth, who fought in both the Korean and Vietnam wars and became one of the most highly decorated warriors in American history,

”Project 100,000 was implemented to produce more grunts for the killing fields of Vietnam. It took unfit recruits from the bottom of the barrel and rushed them to Vietnam. The result was human applesauce.”[21]

US casualty figures mushroomed after the introduction of this program, the victims of which were simply cannon-fodder and, for this and other reasons, I remain convinced there is a high probability that American deaths in Vietnam were grossly under-reported. The subject of war fatalities is always open to claims of manipulation by all sides, but more than a few people seem surprisingly eager to accept the US military’s Vietnam numbers, with what would appear to be unexamined opinions at best. Consider:

2.5 million US soldiers were sent to Vietnam. Officially, around 60,000 died, so a death rate of about 2.25%. “McNamara’s Morons” were reported to have been sent to Vietnam in total numbers ranging from 350,000 to about 500,000, depending on the source you choose. Their deaths are reported to be about 5,500. At the highest deployment numbers that would be a death rate of only 1%.

Yet all sources, including official US military reports, claim that these mentally-handicapped young men suffered fatalities at rates far higher than that of regular soldiers, many claiming death rates of “five to ten times” higher, most sources unanimous in claiming a death rate of around five times higher. I found only one original source claiming “three times higher”. But the mentally-retarded young men who were mostly infantry and confirmed as having been sent into combat at a rate “at least several times that” of regular soldiers, and who suffered death rates “at least several times higher’, apparently experienced a fatality rate only 40% or 50% that of regular soldiers. How does any of this make sense?

This is the problem that military researchers have in determining the truth of Vietnam even today, claiming that the US military provides only incomplete, contradictory, and confusing data, and stonewalls all attempts to ascertain the truth. In particular, researchers state the US military refuses to release any records on “McNamara’s Morons”, so there appears to be no way to know how many died. I do not know how many of these young men survived to return home. My estimate of “few returned” was gleaned from personal testimony of other soldiers who were in Vietnam and served with these men.

None of the official claimed numbers make any sense, either statistically or logically. The Vietnam war was one of the most bitterly-fought wars in recent history, one that the US lost and was in fact driven out of Vietnam, yet the total official death toll is a minuscule 2%+ for ordinary soldiers and a vanishingly-small 1% for hundreds of thousands of young men with an IQ as low as 60 and none above 80.

But perhaps a simpler question is this: The US government and military lied about almost every single element related to the war in Vietnam, and they did so – necessarily, I would suggest – in a political climate so incendiary that it might have sparked a popular revolution. Yet there appear to be many who inexplicably choose to believe that, out of literally hundreds of areas where the US government and military provably lied about US involvement in Vietnam, in this one single instance – the military death count – they magically are telling the truth. You are of course free to form whatever opinion you deem appropriate. For my part, I harbor grave doubts.

Mr. Romanoff’s writing has been translated into 32 languages and his articles posted on more than 150 foreign-language news and politics websites in more than 30 countries, as well as more than 100 English language platforms. Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He is one of the contributing authors to Cynthia McKinney’s new anthology ‘When China Sneezes’. (Chapt. 2 — Dealing with Demons).

His full archive can be seen at +

He can be contacted at:


[1] Japan – Ending a War and Saving Lives?

[2] U.S. Stood By as Indonesia Killed a Half-Million People, Papers Show

[3] New Evidence Implicates CIA in 1971 Attack on Cuba with African Swine Fever Virus

[4] Report: CIA Attacked Cuba with Swine Flu in 1971

[5] Iraq by the Numbers

[6] Disputed Study: Over 650,000 Civilians Killed in Iraq War

[7] ‘655,000 Iraqis killed since invasion’

[8] How 775,000 U.S. troops fought in one war: Afghanistan military deployments by the numbers.

[9] Iraq by the Numbers
Number of Americans who served in Iraq throughout the course of the war – More than 1.5 million

[10] United for Peace of Pierce County

[11] Iraq by the Numbers
Number of U.S. servicemembers who died while serving in Iraq – 4,474

[12] IRAQ: US casualties top 20,000

[13] How Many U.S. Soldiers Were Wounded in Iraq? Guess Again.

[14] Washington conceals US casualties in Iraq

[15] Washington conceals US casualties in Iraq

[16] Information Blockades – How and Why?

[17] IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN: American casualties total 500,000, counting injury and disease, writer claims

[18] What is the real death toll in Iraq?

[19] Iraq 2004 Looks Like Vietnam 1966

[20] Robert McNamara’s Infamous “Project 100,000” and the Vietnam War. A Premeditated Crime Against Humanity

[21] McNamara’s Folly

October 9, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment


The Highwire with Del Bigtree | October 7, 2022


The video, created by VSRF, that Twitter does not want you to watch.

October 9, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Video | , , | 1 Comment