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A Tale of Two Pills: Media bias in reporting Ivermectin and ensitrelvir

By Guy Gin | Making (Covid) Waves in Japan | October 21, 2022

Last month, Japanese pharma company Kowa put out a press release of the results of its 1030-person double-blind randomised control trial (RCT) of Ivermectin conducted at 54 institutions in Japan and 2 in Thailand.

Here’s how the results were reported in The Japan Times.

Not effective, you hear! I mean, look at the photo. You don’t get Ivermectin from a pharmacy; you get it from a farmer. Anyway, on to the trial.

A clinical trial was unable to prove the efficacy of the antiparasitic medicine ivermectin against coronavirus variants, according to Japanese drugmaker Kowa Co., which has indicated that it will no longer seek approval for the drug as a COVID-19 treatment.

So this means that not only has IVM not been widely used in Japan (despite what many people outside Japan think) but probably never will be. So what happened? Did the people who took the anti-vaxers’ favourite veterinary medicine all get sick?

In the trial, 1,030 patients with mild COVID-19 were orally administered the drug daily for three days and then compared to others given a placebo.

Ivermectin was found to be safe and few people given the drug developed severe symptoms, Kowa said. But both the group given the drug and the one administered a placebo saw improvements in symptoms, meaning the trial did not show the drug’s efficacy over the placebo as a COVID-19 treatment.

So the reason Kowa was “unable to prove the efficacy” wasn’t because IVM is “not effective”; it was because almost everyone in the placebo group got better quickly too. According to Kowa’s press release, “Both intervention and placebo arms showed milder symptoms around 4 days after the start of administration” and “There were no deaths and hardly any severe cases.”

Although Kowa hasn’t released the full trial details or results, the 0% mortality rate among the 500+ participants in the placebo arm suggests they were mostly at very low risk of severe disease. So the results don’t show IVM was ineffective; they show no medication was necessary for these participants to prevent symptoms worsening or for them to recover quickly.

This a not a new issue in studies on early treatments. Yale epidemiologist Harvey Risch noted the same thing in RCTs showing non-significant effects for another “controversial” drug, hydroxychloroquine.

The RCT studies proclaimed supposedly as definitively showing no benefit of HCQ use in outpatients have all involved almost entirely low-risk subjects with virtually no hospitalization or mortality events and are uninformative and irrelevant for bearing upon these risks according to HCQ use in high-risk outpatients.

When tested on larger numbers of people for mortality benefit, IVM often performs a bit better.

Next, let’s compare how the JT reported Kowa’s IVM trial press release with how Reuters reported Shionogi’s press release for its 1821-person RCT of its anti-Covid drug ensitrelvir.

Japan’s Shionogi & Co Ltd said on Wednesday its oral treatment for COVID-19 demonstrated a significant reduction in symptoms compared with a placebo in a Phase III trial in Asia.

The drug, a protease inhibitor known as ensitrelvir, met its primary endpoint in a trial conducted among predominantly vaccinated patients with mild to moderate cases of COVID-19, the company said in a statement.

A significant reduction in symptoms! So how many people were kept out of the ICU? Well, the Reuters article didn’t clarify what the main result was, so here it is from Shionogi’s press release.

the median time to resolution of the five COVID-19 symptoms [stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, cough, feeling hot or feverish, and low energy or tiredness] was significantly reduced in those treated with the low dose of ensitrelvir (the dose level submitted for approval in Japan) compared to placebo: 167.9 hours versus 192.2 hours, a statistically significant difference of 24 hours (p=0.04).

Yep, ensitrelvir cleared runny noses 1 day quicker than a placebo. So the media reporting of Shionogi’s results wasn’t dishonest, but it wasn’t exactly candid.

Similar to in Kowa’s IVM trial, no deaths were reported among the 900+ placebo recipients in Shionogi’s trial, which again suggests they were very low risk. So these results give us no idea about whether ensitrelvir will prevent the progression to severe disease in high-risk immunocompromised people, which is what actually matters.

Shionogi also reported that no serious adverse events occurred in the intervention arm. But one problem with not trialing a medication on the type of high-risk people who will actually need it is that the trial probably won’t pick up major safety signals that become clear later.

But as El Gato Malo has said, pharma doesn’t make mistakes in trial design; it makes choices.

October 24, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | | Leave a comment

Odysee blocks French versions of Russia Today after legal demand

By Dan Frieth | Reclaim The Net | October 24, 2022

US-based online video sharing platform  has blocked the French versions of Russian state-run news outlets Sputnik and RT after a legal order out of .

“If we want to do business in another country we have to abide by their laws or they shut us down. RT FR and its affiliates are illegal in France. If you want to still watch them from France, use VPN, Odysee tweeted.

Several months ago, the European Union (EU) imposed sanctions on Russia, including banning RT and Sputnik from being broadcast in member countries. The two news outlets were accused of spreading Russian propaganda about the invasion of .

The channels are not allowed on television or online in EU countries. However, they have been circumventing the sanctions through online platforms that are not based in the EU.

A week ago, France’s President Emmanuel Macron acknowledged that France is struggling with completely banning Sputnik and RT.

The platform is still broadcasting the English versions of both channels.

October 24, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | | 1 Comment

Safety Reporting of COVID-19 Vaccine Induced Myocarditis Just Seeing the Tip of the Iceberg

By Dr. Peter McCullough & John Leake | Courageous Discourse | October 18, 2022

In 2021 the US CDC and FDA warned America and the world that the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines could result in heart inflammation or myocarditis.[i] This is a medical problem that has occurred in the past not related to vaccines but at a low rate ~4 per million population per year as reported by Arola, et al, from Finland. In general, ~90% of cases occur in men and ~10% in women.[ii]

The principles of management include stopping all forms of exercise since that can be a driver of the development of heart failure and a trigger for sudden death.  In cases where there is a progression to heart failure, cardiac biopsy is commonly performed to establish or rule out a diagnosis of giant cell myocarditis which has a markedly worse prognosis than the other forms (parvovirus, etc).

COVID-19 vaccination has been thrust on the world with such vehemence that there has been a hesitancy among physicians and hospitals to spontaneously report cases to the regulatory agencies. The vast majority of physicians took COVID-19 vaccines themselves and may be having trouble coming to personal grips with the threat of heart damage and other risks of vaccination. In 2021 as spontaneous reports came into agencies that predominately young men were developing myocarditis with COVID-19 vaccination, a pattern emerged: 1) highest risk group was males age 18-24 with a skewed distribution and a long tail that extended to men in their seventies, 2) ~90% of required hospitalization, 3) risk was explosive after the second injection, 4) death directly due to myocarditis was confirmed by autopsy.

In the biological licensing agreement letters to Pfizer and Moderna, the US FDA requested prospective cohort studies of myocarditis which call for measurement of blood tests, ECG, and cardiac imaging before injections and at timepoints afterwards to detect the real rate of heart damage and to ascertain how much of the problem could be asymptomatic and potentially present a future risk of sudden death in an unsuspecting patient. Both companies were not forthcoming, so the answer came from Mansanguan et al, from the Bhumibol Adulyadej Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand.[iii] Adolescents age 13-18 were studied in a prospective cohort manner just after the second injection of the Pfizer vaccine and 7/301 (23,256/million) developed myocarditis using a clinical definition based on blood tests, ECG, and cardiac imaging.

Data from multiple sources suggest the condition can be subclinical in about half, meaning neither the patient nor the parents bring it to clinical attention. Patone et al have recently reported on 100 fatal cases of vaccine-induced myocarditis in the UK, and such papers are expected to continue with larger numbers as the medical community begins to fully recognize cause and effect.[iv] Thus spontaneous reporting to agencies represents the tip of a very large iceberg.

If the estimate Mansanguan study is confirmed or anywhere close to ~25,000/million, that means a million young Americans could have sustained heart damage from COVID-19 vaccination and some of them will be at risk for cardiac arrest and future heart failure. These data suggest we should not be surprised by rising rates of sudden death in young persons with sports and during daily life including sleep.

There can be no more urgent need to halt vaccination and commit a substantial research effort into screening, detection, prognosis, and management of COVID-19 vaccine induced myocarditis. The stakes are high—an entire generation is at risk.

October 24, 2022 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | | Leave a comment

COVID Vaccines and Organ Transplants: Are Healthcare Providers Ignoring Safety Signals?

The Defender | October 24, 2022

Since its experimental beginnings in the mid-1950s, organ transplantation has evolved into what the medical community now casually refers to as a “standard-of-care” procedure, albeit one with still substantial failure rates.

For example, though kidneys top the list of transplanted organs14% to 21% of kidney transplants fail within five years, and 15% of kidney transplant candidates are awaiting a repeat procedure.

Recent studies identified a new concern related to the failure of transplanted kidneys and other organs: COVID-19 vaccination.

In one study, published in September in Transplant Infectious Disease, researchers cataloged acute organ rejection within a week or two of COVID-19 vaccination in five individuals who had received kidney, liver or heart transplants six to 18 months earlier.

In August, Japanese researchers reported rejection of corneal grafts in COVID-19 vaccine recipients, occurring from one day to six weeks post-vaccination.

The events caught the Japanese authors’ attention because corneal grafts ordinarily have a high success rate due to the cornea’s status as an organ with immune privilege.

Noting literature that documents transplant rejection in association with other vaccines such as influenza, hepatitis B, tetanus and yellow fever, the Japanese authors expressed worry about what “the projected societal shift towards a more frequent vaccination schedule” portends for transplant recipients.

Concerns about the impact of COVID-19 jabs on people with existing transplants are important, but another pressing-yet-unaddressed question lurks in the shadows: What happens if an unvaccinated person receives a transplanted organ from someone who got one or more COVID-19 jabs?

A record year

Although transplantation experienced a brief lull in the early days of the pandemic, by 2021, the U.S. saw a record-setting number of transplants performed — more than 40,000 kidneys, hearts, livers and other organs.

Although supply is never adequate to meet demand, transplant centers were able to achieve their 2021 milestone in part because of a 10% increase over 2020 in the number of “deceased organ donors” (as opposed to living donors), with 45 of 57 organ procurement organizations setting “all-time records for donors recovered in a single year.”

The surge in organ donation from deceased donors represents a decade-long trend, with “the rising number of deaths of young people due to the ongoing opioid epidemic” hypothesized to be a contributing factor prior to 2021. Still, in prior years, the increase averaged only 5%.

Thrilled with the increased availability of organs, transplant organizations have displayed no curiosity about whether fatalities linked to the rollout of experimental COVID-19 vaccines may be eclipsing or even replacing organs sourced from opioid-related deaths — even though there was a 30% increase (over 2020) in organ donation from individuals who died of cardiorespiratory failure, and a 15% increase in organs from deceased 50- to 64-year-olds.

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has been linked to 2021’s explosive rise in all-cause mortality in the working-age population, including unprecedented heart-related fatalities in younger adult COVID-19 vaccine recipients.

Traffic fatalities are a key pipeline for organ donation, so transplant centers also benefited from the 16-year high in traffic-related deaths in 2021.

Some observers believe these could be linked to COVID-19-vaccine-related loss of consciousness behind the wheel.

Damaged organs?

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), transplant rejection “is when the organ recipient’s immune system recognizes the donor organ as foreign and attempts to eliminate it.”

Rejection begins as an acute phenomenon but may proceed to the gradual loss of organ function defined as chronic rejection.

UNOS says, “Some degree of rejection occurs with every transplant,” which is why immunosuppressive medications, often for life, are a sine qua non following transplantation.

In August, the independent group of doctors and scientists known as Doctors for COVID Ethics outlined disturbing evidence from autopsies of persons deceased after COVID-19 vaccination about what is happening to the organs of mRNA vaccine recipients — organs potentially being offered to transplant recipients.

They noted that mRNA vaccines “travel throughout the body and accumulate in various organs” where they “induce long-lasting expression of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein” that in turn induces autoimmune-like inflammation — and the vaccine-induced inflammation “can cause grave organ damage, especially in vessels, sometimes with deadly outcome.”

Citing evidence from Pfizer’s animal experiments, they also underscored the particularly rapid accumulation of mRNA vaccine in the liver, and concluded that blood vessels, at the very least, “will be exposed and affected in every organ and in every tissue.”

Other researchers have highlighted “the possibility of subclinical organ dysfunction in vaccinated recipients.”

No transplant for you

Ironically, transplant programs commonly recommend that would-be organ recipients get “up-to-date” on a slew of vaccines — “typically hepatitis A and B, tetanus [diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus], pneumococcus, measles, human papillomavirus, influenza, and others dependent on geography and age.”

Given the manufacturer-documented potential for vaccines to cause organ-damaging adverse events, this advice was already questionable — but then many transplant centers made matters worse by adding stringent requirements for COVID-19 vaccination.

Even though researchers very quickly established that the immunosuppressive drugs taken by transplant recipients guarantee a “significantly blunt[ed]” COVID-19 vaccine response, prominent healthcare systems like Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Colorado’s UCHealth did not hesitate to coldly remove the unvaccinated from their transplant waiting lists.

The American Society of Transplant Surgeons’ COVID-19 Strike Force recommends COVID-19 vaccination not just for all transplant candidates but also for recipients, their family members and live donors.

They virtuously claim that decisions to deny transplants to the unvaccinated are based on a desire to “avoid futile transplants and wasting organs that could benefit other candidates.”

A University of Chicago physician who asserted a “legal right to discriminate against candidates who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine” nevertheless squeamishly labeled the discrimination “too severe,” asking, “one must ask how far the [transplant] community will go” and wondering, “will they mandate multiple boosters”?

Big bucks

Although organ transplantation is shrouded in noble lifesaving verbiage, it is also a major profit center for modern medicine.

Global projections for 2021-2028 suggest the combined organ and tissue transplantation market will double in size, going from $7.24 billion to $14.67 billion — and those figures do not take into account a thriving black market for trafficked organs.

Market analysts expect the growth to be fueled both by demand factors — such as the growing incidence of chronic diseases that cause “catastrophic damage to tissue and organs” — and increased supply — including a rise in celebrity-driven organ donation pledges.

Because access to organs remains the key barrier to transplantation, there has also been a push in recent years to allow donation from “suboptimal” or “extended criteria” donors — for example, the elderly, individuals with fatty liver disease, donors with malignancies or viral hepatitis or donations “after cardiac death.”

Will COVID-19-vaccine-contaminated organs become just another category of “suboptimal” donation?

Recent studies of COVID-19 vaccine recipients’ blood suggest that worries about a contaminated blood supply likely also extend to the organ supply and could place transplant recipients’ lives at risk.

Unfortunately, when problems arise, they will probably be chalked up to ordinary transplant rejection, with no one the wiser about the insidious role of newfangled COVID-19 or future mRNA vaccines.

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

October 24, 2022 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Time for Doctors and Politicians to Stop Ignoring the Devastating Data on the Vaccines and Change Course

BY DR ELIZABETH EVANS | THE DAILY SCEPTIC | OCTOBER 21, 2022

Aside from lobbying for changes in Covid polices, a key purpose of the 50-plus open letters that the U.K. Medical Freedom Alliance has written to Government, regulators, decision-makers and individuals over the last two and a half years has been to create a paper trail of accountability.

When the day of reckoning eventually arrives, these publicly published and dated letters provide evidence that those making and implementing destructive and unethical policies cannot claim that they were unaware of the potential harms of their actions.

Following the stunning admission by the Pfizer executive Janine Small in the EU Parliament on October 11th 2022, that the COVID-19 vaccines were never tested to see if they prevented transmission of SARS-CoV-2 because they were “working at the speed of science”, it is well worth reading through the very first letter we sent – to Matt Hancock, MHRA and JCVI – in November 2020, just before the vaccines were approved under conditional authorisation by the MHRA.

This 14-page, fully referenced letter detailing our serious safety and ethical concerns relating to a premature and rushed rollout of any COVID-19 vaccine, was sent in a desperate (and failed) attempt to stop them going ahead with authorisation. We had four subsections of concern, with a wealth of referenced evidence to substantiate each area:

  1. Overestimation of the public health risk from SARS-CoV-2.
  2. Inadequate assessment of the public health risk from a Covid vaccine.
  3. Medical freedom and informed consent.
  4. Media claims and misinformation.

Many people will be astonished at the evidence we presented, easily found in the public domain in the Autumn of 2020, by studying the trial data available and the published literature, and also by considering the situation from an ethical and legal standpoint using long established principles.

Tragically, the vast majority of the medical profession and wider public were deceived by the powerful and incessant Government and media messaging that the vaccines would be our ‘only way out’ and that we should ‘trust the science’. It is now clear that most people, including doctors, did no independent research beyond listening to the Government press conferences, the pronouncements of health officials, the Today programme and reading the TimesTelegraphGuardianMail and so on.

This failure of due diligence has come at a huge price – to doctors and nurses as individuals and clinicians, to the medical profession as a body, and to the public as a whole. Trust in the medical profession and health bodies has been seriously damaged, as evidence of unprecedented levels of vaccine injury mount and the extravagant claims of 95% or even 100% effectiveness have not been borne out in the real world. Indeed, real world data is repeatedly showing negative effectiveness of the Covid jabs in a matter of weeks – meaning that you are more likely to catch Covid if you are vaccinated than unvaccinated. These Covid jabs have certainly not lived up to the incessantly repeated marketing slogan of ‘safe and effective’.

The UKMFA is calling now for the medical profession, politicians and decision-makers to actively engage with the huge amount of published science and real-world data, and to listen to the multitude of eminent scientists, doctors and independent journalists laying the facts out for easy independent research and understanding.

A good place to start would be the two part paper “Curing the pandemic of misinformation on COVID-19 mRNA vaccines through real evidence-based medicine”, published by Dr. Aseem Malhotra in the Journal of Insulin Resistance on September 26th 2022, and the press conference that he gave to explain his findings and to call for an immediate and “complete suspension” of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines pending a full and independent investigation into the safety of these products.

As a society, we now have an opportunity and responsibility to change course, to start to put things right and to hold accountable those people who failed in their duties and responsibilities to protect the public, so that this can never happen again. There is no shame in admitting that you were wrong or misled.  Science, unlike the dogma of ‘The Science’, is all about constantly testing existing hypotheses and adapting and changing them when the facts change or new information comes to light. We have more than enough evidence to challenge the hypothesis that Covid vaccines are ‘safe and effective’.

Dr. Elizabeth Evans is Director of the U.K. Medical Freedom Alliance.

October 24, 2022 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | 2 Comments

“We are not QR codes” New Alberta Premier Danielle Smith apologizes for vaccine passports

By Ken Macon | Reclaim The Net | October 24, 2022

During the United Conservative party’s annual general meeting, Alberta’s new Premier Danielle Smith is seeking legal advice on pardoning those that got arrested or fined for violating COVID-19 rules such as not having a vaccine passport.

“We are human beings,” said Smith. “We are not QR codes,” she said, adding that she wanted to “purge” the QR database.

“I believe that Alberta Health Services is the source of a lot of the problems that we’ve had,” she said.

“They signed some kind of partnership with the  right in the middle of the pandemic; we’ve gotta address that. Why in the world do we have anything to do with the World Economic Forum? That’s got to end.”

“The things that come to top of mind for me are people who got arrested as pastors (and) people given fines for not wearing masks,” Smith said. “These are not things that are normal to get fines and get prosecuted for. I’m going to look into the range of outstanding fines and get some legal advice on which ones we are able to cancel and provide amnesty for.”

Smith also doubled down on her promise to amend the Human Rights Act to ban discrimination based on Covid vaccination status. She said the amendment would focus on Covid vaccines because the issue is not medical, it is political.

“Since it was a very specific reaction to a very specific vaccine mandate, we’re going to be very precise when we write the legislation,” she said.

“We have to get back to an attitude of ‘you take a vaccine to protect yourself.’

“[But] we have to get away from this attitude that you demonize those who make a different choice.”

Smith is a vocal opponent of vaccine passports and mandates, especially the Alberta Health Services (AHS) for not allowing people to work if they are not vaccinated against Covid. According to the premier, people not vaccinated against Covid are the most discriminated against she has seen in her life.

Smith vowed to reorganize the AHS governance system and fire the entire board.

“The system, my friends, is broken,” she said. “Most of those managing AHS today are holdovers from the NDP years. They have had their chance to fix this bloated system and they have largely failed on almost all accounts. Failure is no longer an option.”

Smith failed to address the comments she made during a virtual interview with Western Standard about the World Economic Forum (WEF). During the interview, she said she would end the AHS data sharing deal with other health providers, including Mayo Clinic, under a program overseen by the WEF.

October 24, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Moscow Slams US for Not Issuing Visas to Russian Delegation to IAEA Conference

Samizdat – 24.10.2022

MOSCOW – Moscow considers unacceptable the fact that the United States had not issued visas to the Russian delegation to the IAEA international ministerial conference on nuclear energy in the 21st century, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

The conference will be held in Washington from October 26-28. The Russian delegation comprising representatives of state corporation Rosatom and technical watchdog Rostekhnadzor planned to take part in it.

“The United States never issued visas to the Russian delegates, despite the fact that the relevant applications were submitted by them in advance in accordance with the established procedure. Thus, Russia’s participation in an important international event under the auspices of the IAEA was blocked in an absolutely unacceptable way and without any reason,” Zakharova said in a statement.

The refusal of the United States to issue visas to the Russian delegation to the IAEA conference grossly violates the norms in the agreement between the IAEA and the state hosting the event, this gives reason to think about the advisability of holding international forums in the United States, Zakharova said.

This is another example of how the United States “implements its short-sighted policy of ignoring international law and replacing it with a perverted postulate of some kind of ‘rules-based order’ that Washington itself invents and adjusts for itself,” she noted.

“This is another reason to think about whether it is worth trusting the holding of large international forums to a country that is not able to organize them properly,” Zakharova added.

October 24, 2022 Posted by | Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

The EU’s energy security now rests in Turkey’s hands

Europe has sought to bypass Russian gas with disastrous results. Turkey is set to reap the benefits.

By Karin Kneissl | The Cradle | October 24 2022

“Geography is the constant of history,” is a quote attributed to the German statesman Otto von Bismarck. Today, those words ring true as we witness geography altering global politics, finance, and alliances.

The geostrategic importance of Turkey has rarely been as clear to European politicians as it has been in recent months, as the continent grapples with a burgeoning energy crisis this coming winter.

Whether it is grain exports from the Black Sea region or the flow of energy supplies from the eastern producing countries, the Bosphorus and the links to Eurasia are once again playing a decisive geopolitical role, as they so often have throughout history. The fact is, Turkey is now crucial for the security of Europe.

Pipeline politics

On the occasion of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Sochi at the beginning of August 2022, the focus was mainly on bilateral cooperation in energy matters.

Putin told journalists after the tete-a-tete that Europeans should be grateful to Ankara for its gas supplies due to the reliability of the TurkStream pipeline.

Last year, Russian natural gas accounted for around 45 percent of European gas imports. But that share has fallen to less than 10 percent after supplies were halted via the eastbound Yamal-Europe pipeline and suspected US-backed operatives blew up Nord Stream, which also curtailed exports via Ukraine.

The Russian-Turkish TurkStream gas pipeline project was announced in December 2014 after Moscow realized that the long-planned SouthStream project – meant to deliver Russian natural gas via the Black Sea directly to European Union (EU) member state Bulgaria – was not feasible.

Russian energy giant Gazprom and the Italian energy company ENI were the main partners in the consortium. However, following the Crimean crisis in March 2014, the EU Commission blocked this major infrastructure project, citing competition rules.

As far as Moscow was concerned, this arrangement had already been completed in the form of terminals and pipeline routes. Thousands of work contracts had been issued between Bulgaria and Hungary at the time.

Construction was scheduled to begin in June 2014, but Brussels alluded to apparent violations of competition rules in the awarding of contracts by the Bulgarian authorities and brought everything to a halt.

Turkey as a Russian energy hub

Nine months later, during a joint press conference with Erdogan in Ankara, Putin remarked that “If Europe does not want to carry it out, then it will not be carried out.” Putin then announced the TurkStream project, which was formally launched in early 2020.

One pandemic and a war later, the world has experienced and continues to experience rising natural gas prices, while Russian-Turkish energy cooperation is intensifying. On 19 October, Erdogan said he had agreed with Putin to set up a comprehensive hub for Russian natural gas built in Turkey from where Europe could meet its energy needs.

“If Turkey and our potential buyers are interested, we could consider building another gas pipeline and creating a gas hub in Turkey for sale to third countries, especially in Europe,” Putin proposed. In addition, a gas exchange could also be created in Turkey to determine prices, he added.

Neither the EU nor the US have welcomed these developments or, in some cases, faits accomplis. Turkey makes no secret of the fact that it wants to expand its status in the China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and will probably soon become the tenth member of this important regional organization.

It should be noted that the SCO’s statutes stipulate energy and security – especially the fight against terrorism – as its essential agenda. The EU, it must be said, is only just discovering the importance of these issues.

Attempts to bypass Russian gas

In the recent past, governments and energy companies have looked to Turkey as an alternative to the existing transit routes for oil and gas between the east and west. In 2005, the 1750 km long Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline was opened, transporting Caspian oil across the Caucasus to the Turkish Mediterranean port.

Crucially, this route had the backing of Washington, reinforcing the close connection between politics and the oil business. As per an apt saying from the early 20th century US oil industry: “The oil business is too important to leave it to the oil people.”

The Nabucco pipeline project, intended to reduce Europe’s reliance on Russia’s gas, consisted of a consortium of six corporations based on the initiative of the Austrian partly state-owned OMV. The project was supported politically and financially by the European Commission, with the premise being that natural gas would be supplied from the Caspian region via Turkey to Central Europe to the Baumgarten hub in Austria.

Billions were spent on marketing this project between 2002 and 2014. However contractual agreements surrounding the deal never materialized. Though inconceivable now, Iran was also initially planned as an alternative supplier, yet these efforts failed from 2005 onwards due to UN Security Council sanctions on Iran from 2008 until the present.

Additionally, supply contracts with Iraq and Turkmenistan were targeted in vain, although these arguably had a lot to do with complete mismanagement. In the case of Turkmenistan, countless advisory opinions were commissioned on the status of the Caspian Sea under international law, sea, or lake, and the possible transit pipelines for landlocked Turkmenistan.

A failed strategy

After many years of mere marketing and a lot of hot air between Brussels and Vienna around the Nabucco project, OMV’s partners finally backed out in 2014. It was clear that there was no natural gas available.

In my book “Der Energiepoker” (The Energy Poker) I wrote in 2006: “If the managers had not gone to the State Opera to see Verdi’s Nabucco, but had seen the operetta by Johann Strauss “Wiener Blut” (Viennese Blood), then this natural gas pipeline would have been given a more appropriate name.

Now, in view of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline boycotted by the EU, OMV is facing further setbacks, as the contracts with take-or-pay clauses were drafted in such a way that payment would have to be made for the Russian natural gas, even if there was no physical delivery. These conditions apparently apply until 2040.

EU will buy Russian energy indirectly

While the EU wants to bypass Russian energy sources for political reasons, Turkey, India, and China, among others, will gladly fill in the consumer void. As described, Turkey already benefited in 2014 from the SouthStream project, which became TurkStream. The EU ultimately lost out, while Ankara stood to gain, with the EU presently buying Russian natural gas via Turkey.

This energy route is set to expand even further once the Russian natural gas hub in Turkey is established. Turkey thus becomes the safeguard of the EU’s energy security. While this was the case a few years ago with non-Russian natural gas and oil, it now looks as if Russia is merely adapting its role for the European market on a regional basis.

For some years, Ankara aligned its prospective role as a hub for BTC and the Nabucco project with its EU accession ambitions. Now it seems that Turkey will become a member of the SCO much faster, and despite its NATO membership, part of the security cooperation with Russia and China.

The EU is more dependent than ever on the goodwill of those it once created obstacles for, and Turkey and Russia are no exception. The coming months will show with all their force just how irresponsibly the EU governments handled the continent’s energy security needs.

October 24, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

The Mirage of Washington Intelligence

By Jim Bovard | The Libertarian Institute | October 24, 2022

“You can send a man to Congress but you can’t make him think,” quipped comedian Milton Berle in the 1950s. To update Berle for our times: You can spend $60 billion a year on intelligence agencies but you can’t make politicians read their reports. Instead, most politicians remain incorrigibly ignorant and hopelessly craven when presidents drag America into new foreign fiascos.

Congressional docility has been paving the way to war since at least the Vietnam era. In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson invoked an alleged North Vietnamese attack on a U.S. destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin to ram a resolution through Congress giving LBJ unlimited authority to attack North Vietnam. LBJ had decided earlier that year to attack North Vietnam to boost his reelection campaign. The Pentagon and White House quickly recognized that the core allegations behind the Gulf of Tonkin resolution were false but exploited them to sanctify the war.

When the official story of the Gulf of Tonkin attacks begin unraveling at secret 1968 Senate hearings, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara proclaimed that it was “inconceivable that anyone even remotely familiar with our society and system of government could suspect the existence of a conspiracy” to take America to war on false pretenses. But indignation was no substitute for hard facts. Sen. Frank Church (D-ID) declared, “In a democracy you cannot expect the people, whose sons are being killed and who will be killed, to exercise their judgment if the truth is concealed from them.” The chairman of the committee, Sen. J. William Fulbright (D-AR), declared that if senators did not oppose the war at that point,  “We are just a useless appendix on the governmental structure.” But other senators blocked the release of a staff report on the lies behind the Gulf of Tonkin incident that propelled a war that was killing 400 American troops a week. Sen. Mike Mansfield (D-MT) warned, “You will give people who are not interested in facts a chance to exploit them and to magnify them out of all proportion.” The same presumption has shielded every subsequent U.S. military debacle.

Lazy, cowardly congressmen perpetually paved the way for foreign carnage. In October 2002, prior to the vote on the congressional resolution to permit President George W. Bush to do as he pleased on Iraq, the CIA delivered a 92-page classified assessment of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction to Capitol Hill. The classified CIA report raised far more doubts about the existence of Iraqi WMDs than did the 5-page executive summary that all members of Congress received. The report was stored in two secure rooms—one each for the House and the Senate. Only six senators bothered to visit the room to look at the report, and only a “handful” of House members did the same, according to The Washington Post. Sen. John Rockefeller (D-W VA) explained that congressmen were too busy to read the report: “‘Everyone in the world wants to come to see you’ in your office, and going to the secure room is ‘not easy to do.’”

Hundreds of thousands of Americans were sent 6,000 miles away because congressmen could not be bothered to walk across the street. Congressmen acted as if going to a secured room to peruse a 92-page document was the equivalent of reading the entire 38 volume Encyclopedia Britannica by candlelight in a musty closet. Most congressmen had ample time to give speeches seconding Bush’s saber rattling, but no time to sift the purported evidence for the war. The only relevant evidence for many congressmen were the polls showing strong support of the president.

More details of the path to the Iraq War have been exposed in Sen. Patrick Leahy’s new memoir, The Road Taken. Leahy was one of the few senators who went to the classified room to read some of the confidential material on the war.  As he and his wife were out on a Sunday walk in their ritzy McLean, Virginia neighborhood in September 2002:

Two fit joggers trailed behind us. They stopped and asked what I thought of the intelligence briefings I’d been getting… I went through a requisite disclaimer that if I was in briefings and if they were classified, I could not acknowledge that they even occurred and could not talk about them if they had. They told me they understood that, but asked whether the briefers had showed me File Eight.

It was obvious from the look on my face that I had not seen such a file. They suggested I should and that I might find it interesting. Quickly thereafter I arranged to see File Eight, and it contradicted much of what I had heard from the Bush administration.

A happy ending? No, not quite.  A few days later, Leahy and his wife were out walking and the same joggers reappeared and asked what he thought of that secret file. Leahy commented, “It was the eeriest conversation I’d experienced in Washington. I felt like a senatorial version of Bob Woodward meeting Deep Throat—only in broad daylight.” The joggers then asked if Leahy “had also been shown File Twelve, using a code word… The next day, I was back in the secure room in the Capitol to read File Twelve, and it again contradicted the statements that the administration, and especially Vice President Cheney.”

The following Sunday, Leahy and his wife were walking past Robert Kennedy’s former estate when black cars with multiple antennas and darkened windows pulled up. Leahy wrote:

“A member of the presidential inner circle leaned out from the back window, greeting both myself and [his wife] Marcelle, and asked if he could talk with me… I got in the car with him while the security people got out of the car. We sat there and talked, and he said, ‘I understand you’ve seen File Eight and Twelve.’ I said I had, and I knew of course that he’d seen them. He said, ‘I also understand you’re going to vote against going to war.’ I said, ‘I am, because we all know there are no weapons of mass destruction and the reasons for going to war are just not there.’ He asked if he could talk me out of that, and I said no, and we ended the conversation. I started to get out of the car, and he said they would give me a ride home. ‘Thanks—let me tell you where I live.’”

The unnamed top Bush administration official replied: “We know where you live.” Leahy didn’t ask the dude whether he also knew all of Leahy’s computer passwords.

Leahy voted against the Bush resolution to use military force against Iraq. But Leahy waited 20 years to reveal the inside shenanigans he had seen on the road to war. And Leahy still refuses to disclose the name of the “member of the presidential inner circle” who was stalking him that morning in McLean. Podcast host Jimmy Dore scoffed that Leahy’s story was “just like a political thriller but at the end nothing happens and nothing is resolved.” Dore commented, “There’s a war anyway and he says nothing for 20 fucking years. The end. Did they even bother testing that ending with audiences?” Edward Snowden tweeted on Leahy’s story: “How could Leahy sit on classified information he knew could stop a war?”

But cover-ups are often unnecessary in Washington because few members of Congress are paying attention regardless. After four U.S. soldiers were killed in Niger in 2017, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) admitted they did not know that a thousand U.S. troops were deployed to that African nation. Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, admitted, “We don’t know exactly where we’re at in the world militarily and what we’re doing.” U.S. troops were engaged in combat in 14 foreign nations at that time, purportedly fighting terrorists. But most members of Congress probably could not list list more than 2 or 3 nations where U.S. troops are fighting.

As the U.S. government has become far more secretive in recent decades, congressional intelligence committees supposedly provide a check-and-balance for agencies hiding behind iron curtains. But “intelligence committee” is perhaps Washington’s biggest oxymoron.

Congressional intelligence committees lead the charge to kowtow to the CIA and other agencies. The Senate Intelligence Committee effectively absolved all of the Bush administration’s lies on the path to war with Iraq. When its report was released in mid-2004 (just in time to boost Bush’s re-election campaign), committee chairman Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) announced, “The committee found that the intelligence community was suffering from what we call a collective groupthink.” And since everyone was wrong, no one was at fault—especially conniving Vice President Dick Cheney. (Antiwar.com was right long before the war started). The CIA also paid no price when it was caught illegally spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation of CIA torture during the Obama administration.

And then there are the official bootlicking awards. The CIA publicly awards its Agency Seal Medal to members of Congress who boost its budget, coverup its crimes, and refrain from asking embarrassing questions. Pat Roberts got one—along with Rep. Jane Harman (D-California), Sen. John Warner (R-Virginia), and Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI)—all reliable stooges for the agency. The Founding Fathers would spin in their graves at the notion of federal agencies giving awards to congressmen who were supposed to be holding the leash on the agency. This is akin to a judge bragging about receiving a Public Service Award from a mobster who he connived to find not guilty.

There are some smart, dedicated, principled members of Congress who overcome the prevailing lethargy and bureaucratic roadblocks to learn enough to recognize the follies of proposed interventions. But those stalwart souls will probably always be outnumbered by the herd of senators and representatives far more likely to skim the latest polls than to read any official report longer than a tweet thread.

Jim Bovard is the author of Public Policy Hooligan (2012), Attention Deficit Democracy (2006), Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty (1994), and 7 other books.

October 24, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | 2 Comments

Nord Stream repair time frame assessed

Samizdat – October 24, 2022

Russia’s Nord Stream gas pipelines, which were damaged and made inoperable by underwater explosions in late September, can be repaired within a few months.

That’s according to the state-backed Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) which was citing Sten Ussing, Chief Engineer with consultant group COWI.

Ussing assessed from underwater video-footage that the pipes will not be damaged by rust for some time as there is little oxygen at a depth of 80 meters, where they are located. He noted that the fracture surfaces look “very clean and almost shiny,” which suggests that “the pipe will not rust in a few weeks, as one would expect in a more oxygenated environment.”

“We can expect corrosion inside the pipe to be limited as well,” he added.

The engineer, however, explained that the explosion caused a pressure surge, and that could have damaged sections of the pipeline some distance from the site, adding that they can be repaired by elevating the pipes slightly above the seabed, which would allow underwater welders to remove the damaged sections and replace them with new ones.

“It is standard procedure to weld such a piece of pipe under water. It has been done many times before, and the technologies – vessels, pipes and specialists – that need to be used already exist,” Ussing explained.

“Finally, the pipeline would have to be emptied, the strings cleaned of dirt and grime, blown and dried – and that’s it, you can have gas flowing again,” the engineer concluded, saying the process will likely take several months. He warned, however, that even with little oxygen, the fractured pipes can accumulate rust over time, and advised to carry out the repairs within a year.

The footage of the pipeline fractures which Ussing inspected was taken by Swedish media outlet Expressen, which sent a camera down one of the pipes.

The cause of the explosions which damaged three out of four strings of Russia’s 1,200-kilometer Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines is still being investigated. Sabotage is suspected to be the likely cause. President Vladimir Putin branded it “an act of international terrorism.”

October 24, 2022 Posted by | Economics, False Flag Terrorism | , , | 1 Comment

Ukrainian Army War Crimes Include Shelling of Ambulances, Firetrucks, and Rescue Workers in the Donbass Republics — Similar to Israelis and U.S. Backed Terrorists in Syria

By Eva Bartlett | CovertAction Magazine | September 23, 2022

In the more than eight years of bombing the civilians of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, Ukraine has committed untold numbers of war crimes. These include bombing residential areas, marketshospitals, schools, parks—including with prohibited heavy weapons and banned cluster munitions—and, since late July, raining banned “Petal” mines down on populated civilian areas, including the very center of Donetsk, including as recently as September 7.

A lesser-known war crime is Ukraine’s routine targeting of ambulances, fire trucks, medics and rescuers, and their headquarters and stations. Many of the times Ukraine bombs such heroic rescuers, it is when they are on the way, or already on site, to help civilians often themselves just bombed by Ukraine.

On August 21, Ukrainian shelling of the DPR’s Gorlovka wounded twelve, including five firefighters.

The day prior, Ukrainian shelling targeted an ambulance station in the LPR’s Lysychansk, wounding several and damaging some of the ambulances.

On June 23, the Kievskiy District of Donetsk came under repeated shelling over the course of the two hours I was visiting the Emergency Services headquarters there. On the grounds, I saw the remnants of a “Hurricane” missile from a previous Ukrainian attack.

The previous day, Ukrainian forces targeted an Emergency Services fire truck on call, leaving the driver hospitalized in critical condition. According to his colleagues, they saw a drone above them just prior to Ukraine’s strike. The targeting was unquestionably deliberate.

On June 18, Ukraine targeted a central Donetsk district after Emergency Services had arrived, killing a firefighter and the driver, and injuring three more rescuers.

In early June, heavy Ukrainian shelling of Kuibyshevsky District, Donetsk, destroyed an ambulance and seriously injured the driver.

Ukraine’s attacks on emergency workers is not new; Ukraine has been doing so for years.

In June 2021, during a humanitarian cease-fire, Ukrainian forces targeted an ambulance which had arrived to evacuate three injured DPR soldiers.

In October 2019, Ukrainian forces fired an anti-tank guided missile at a DPR military ambulance en route to help a child, wounding the driver and a paramedic.

In August 2018, Ukrainian forces fired a missile at a DPR ambulance, killing the driver and two female paramedics.

When I first visited the DPR in September 2019, going to hard-hit areas around Gorlovka, I was told by Zaitsevo administration that ambulances could not reach the villagers.

“The paramedics don’t go farther than this building; it’s too dangerous. If somebody needs medical care near the front lines, someone has to go in their own car and take them to a point where medics can then take them to Gorlovka. The soldiers also help civilians who are injured.”

This is something I was very familiar with in Gaza, occupied Palestine, where Israeli soldiers routinely fire at Palestinian farmers and other laborers on agricultural land, a policy of harassment to drive Palestinians off their land. In most cases, ambulances likewise could not reach the injured due to Israel’s policy of targeting ambulances. Consequently, seriously injured Palestinians bleed to death.

In Zaitsevo, I was told this had happened there, too. “A woman died due to huge blood loss because no one could reach her house to take her away in time. She was injured in the shelling and bled to death.”

See https://youtu.be/yFsLzCxAKwM

Targeting medics and other rescuers ensures those in need of help are deprived of it, and increases the likelihood that people who might have lived instead die of their injuries.

The intentional targeting of ambulances and medics, as well as fire trucks and other emergency services vehicles and workers, is against international law.

Speaking to DPR Rescuers

During my last two visits to the DPR, in June and August 2022, I interviewed a number of Emergency Services workers and medics.

According to Konstantin Zhukov, the Chief Medical Officer of Donetsk Ambulance Services, the ambulance services workers face shelling daily, constantly, and many employees have been wounded while working. One of the ambulance stations was completely destroyed by Ukrainian shelling.

Outside, I spoke with Tatyana Golota, an emergency physician, and Alena Kondrasheva, a paramedic.

Both reiterated that it is normal coming under repeated Ukrainian fire. They spoke of Ukraine shelling after medics and emergency services workers had arrived to help civilians.

They showed me an ambulance completely destroyed by Ukrainian shelling. It was new and had only been operational a few months before being destroyed.

“That day we were at work and heard about the brigade coming under fire. The doctor had gone to help people, and the driver, by chance, walked away to try to get a mobile signal. At that moment, there was a direct hit on the vehicle.”

Also in Donetsk, I spoke with Sergei Neka, Director of the Department of Fire and Rescue Forces of the Ministry of Emergency Situations.

He likewise said rescuers increasingly come under fire when they go out on a call, sometimes making it impossible to reach the people in need.

According to him, from February 24, 2022, to when I spoke with him in August, four people were killed and 40 injured, as well as significant damage to equipment and buildings.

“Our units arrive at the scene of the accident and Ukraine begins to shell it. A lot of equipment has been damaged and destroyed.”

I asked about the impact of the “Petal” mines Ukraine has been dropping on the city, and was told a 21-year-old employee was injured by a PFM-1S mine after a region was cleared, the mine falling from the building and the unsuspecting rescuer stepping on it, losing his foot.

In Makeevka, just east of Donetsk, I went to an orphanage that had been shelled with the mines. Most of the clean-up was completed by the time I arrived on the second day of de-mining, but one remained. I watched a sapper find and detonate it, and although I had previously seen a group of eight mines detonated, creating a massive blast, the force of the single mine was still quite powerful.

See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCpRy1iDXcA

According to Dmitry Chamota, Head of Donetsk Emergency Services Deminers, they found 26 PFM-1 mines scattered around the grounds of the orphanage, including on the playground.

In June, I met Andrey Levchenko, Chief of Kievskiy District Emergency Ministry. Over the course of the two hours at his station, Ukraine was intensively shelling the district, leading us to take cover inside the building lest the property be targeted again.

We did venture outside between bouts of shelling, where Levchenko pointed out damage to the buildings and the shell of the Ukrainian-fired Hurricane MLRS which struck the premises.

The building has blown out windows, sandbagged windows to attempt to protect the workers; some days prior, the chief’s office had been damaged by shrapnel from the shelling. Thankfully, he had just stepped out a minute before the blast.

See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJZvxWQfSHc

He showed me the fire truck damaged on June 22, pointing out the many shrapnel holes and noting one of the rear tires had been blown out.

Two of the employees who had been out on that call spoke to me about that day, saying that, after Ukrainian shelling of the district, they received a call that people were trapped inside a building with the door blocked after the shelling. A fire was spreading to the second and third floors, and that people were unable to escape. As the rescuers assessed the situation, a shell hit a wall near the truck and wounded the driver.

They said that, prior to the shelling, they saw a drone overhead. This, combined with the facts that they were uniformed and the fire truck was clearly marked and in a civilian area where people were calling for help, makes it credible to believe Ukraine deliberately targeted the rescuers.

Of Ukraine’s heightened shelling over the past many months, Levchenko said it was constant and daily. “Before, if we speak about 2014-2015, twenty minutes, one hour maximum. Now six-seven hours non-stop, every day.”

He said that the Ukrainian forces shell, wait until rescuers arrive and then shell again. “They wait for 30 minutes for us to arrive. We arrive there, start assisting people, and the shelling resumes.”

This is something I witnessed for myself when, on August 4, Ukraine bombed the hotel in which I was staying, the fourth and fifth shells landing 50 meters away and then directly beside the hotel, respectively. When the fifth struck, shattering inwards the lobby glass doors, I had fortunately just stepped out of the lobby where 30 seconds earlier I had been speaking to journalists who had run in from the street.

When it seemed the shelling had stopped, journalists went outside to document the damage. Sadly, a young woman outside the hotel had been killed by the shelling. Five others just two streets away were also torn apart by the bombs, including a promising 12-year-old ballerina, her grandmother, and her world famous former ballerina ballet teacher.

Galina Vasilyevna Volodina (left), and twelve-year-old Katya Kutubaeva, the ballerina killed by Ukraine. [Source: slippedisc.com]

Emergency Services arrived and, not long after, Ukraine resumed its shelling. Fortunately, they were able to get inside, but this is just one example of Ukraine’s double strikes.

According to Levchenko, Ukraine does not only shell two times, but that they sometimes shell three times: “They wait again, our guys hide in the shelters, as soon as we go out, put out the fire, help people, there could be people under the debris, doors stuck, people can’t get out and get to the basement…then shelling resumes.”

He described the people engaging in this sort of warfare against civilians and rescuers as “Shameless. Scumbags. Terrorists.”

He is not wrong.

Targeting Rescuers: A Terrorist Tactic Adopted by U.S. Allies in Ukraine, Israel and Syria

As the DPR Emergency Services chief pointed out damage to the fire truck, I was reminded of Israel’s attacks on Palestinian medics and fire brigades in Gaza, including during the December 27, 2008-January 18, 2009, Israeli war on Gaza, where I was living at the time.

During those three weeks, I rode in the medics’ ambulances, documenting the destruction and the victims of Israel’s war crimes, but also in a sense as a human shield, in the hope that Israel would not strike ambulances in which a handful of internationals and I were riding.

As it turned out, by the end of the Israeli massacre of Gaza, Israeli forces killed 16 medical rescuers, four in one day alone. Another 57 were injured. At least 16 ambulances were damaged, with at least nine completely destroyed.

One of the murdered was a 35-year-old paramedic, Arafa Abd al-Dayem, who I had accompanied the night prior to his murder. As I wrote of that evening, “The dead, a 24-year-old night watchman, had no warning of the at least 2 missiles which leveled the school and tore him apart. The medics work to load the corpse, first having to replace the flat tire. Working frantically, still fearful of potential strikes, they crowd the ambulance, hoist the van, replace the flat. A missile hits 50 meters away. Surely, undoubtedly, those warplanes above us know—from the markings of the ambulance, the clothes of the medics, the crystal clear photos their drones can take—that we are civilians and medics below. Yet they fire.”

Arafa was killed later that day, when Israeli forces fired a flechette shell directly at his ambulance, shredding him with the dart-like flechettes, causing massive internal bleeding in his abdomen, blood in his lung, shock, and death.

A surgeon I interviewed later when writing about Israel’s widespread use of flechettes in Gaza told me that flechettes cause more injuries than other small munitions precisely because they spread in a larger area. And while the darts appear innocuously small, their velocity and design enable them to bore through cement and bones and “cut everything internal.” Accordingly, the prime cause of death is severe internal bleeding from slashed organs, particularly the heart, liver and brain.

One of the injured, Hassan al-Attal, 35, was a medic whose ambulance I was in when he and another medic came under Israeli sniper fire while attempting to retrieve a corpse from the street just beyond the ambulance. The sniper fire reached the ambulance itself. Hassan was wounded in the leg. This was during a few hours of supposed cease-fire. But in any case, the medics never should have been targeted.

As I wrote, “Although the Geneva Conventions explicitly state that ‘medical personnel searching, collecting, transporting or treating the wounded should be protected and respected in all circumstances,’ throughout Israel’s invasion this was not the case. Indeed, as the injured and emergency workers testify, Israeli forces targeted and prevented medical workers from reaching the wounded.

Without coordination, many ambulances did not dare risk Israeli gunfire and shelling, meaning hundreds of calls went unanswered, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. Denied medical care, many victims succumbed to their wounds.”

Israeli forces killed 13 Civil Defense workers and injured 31, also destroyed six civil defense stations and damaging four.

From that same article, “Civil Defense workers, like medics, are protected under international law. The Fourth Geneva Convention states not only that emergency workers must be respected and allowed to do their work, but that their buildings, equipment and vehicles must not be targeted.

Yousef al-Zahar, director-general of Civil Defense in Gaza, told me at the time, ‘Targeting the Civil Defense centers and teams is an obvious indicator that the Israeli forces intended to paralyze Civil Defense activities in the Gaza Strip to raise civilian victims’ numbers in the casualties.’”

According to statistics from the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health and the PRCS, from the outbreak of the second Intifada in September 2000 to when I wrote the 2010 article, Israeli Forces have killed at least 56 medical rescuers, including paramedics, drivers, doctors and volunteers—an average of one rescuer every two months—and have injured at least another 500 medical rescuers.

Likewise, British journalist Vanessa Beeley has written at length about Syrian rescuers targeted by terrorist factions in Syria, their equipment stolen. In one of her articles, she cited a Commanding Officer of the Real Syria Civil Defense in an Aleppo district describing a scenario which Donbas and Palestinian rescuers would recognize:

“They (terrorists) targeted us deliberately in order to destroy our equipment & structures. They wanted to prevent us being able to work for our people. They would target our crew with sniper fire and explosive bullets. Their main mission was to kill the crew and destroy our base so we couldn’t care for the people of Aleppo.”

In that same article, she noted that “terrorist groups systematically carried out double-tap attacks” on the rescuers, just as Israel does to Palestinian rescuers and Ukraine to Donbas rescuers.

Ukraine Continues Killing Donbas Rescuers

On September 1, 13 DPR Emergency workers were killed and 9 injured from Ukrainian shelling. According to a representative of the Emergency Situations, the shelling was intentional.

“The missiles exactly hit residential buildings. The vehicle was outside and it was hit with shrapnel and pieces of the destroyed building. But again, you can see it’s an emergency vehicle—a fire vehicle. This is a war crime.”

The following day, two more Emergency Services workers were killed and two injured by Ukrainian shelling of their fire truck, in Makeevka. They were en route to put out a fire. Images accompanying the news show a mangled bright red fire truck, unmistakably a rescue services vehicle.

When in August I spoke with the Director of the Donetsk Department of Fire and Rescue of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, he told me that, at that time, four Emergency Services workers had been killed and 40 injured by Ukrainian shelling.

With Ukraine’s targeting of Emergency Services in September, the number of rescuers Ukraine has killed is now at least 19, with another 51 injured.

I had the chance to speak with the mother of a young firefighter, Pavel (“Pasha”) Legonkiy, killed by Ukrainian shelling on June 18, 2022. He and other Emergency Services personnel had gone to the site of a Ukrainian shelling, in central Donetsk. A Ukrainian double-tap strike killed Pasha and the driver, injuring three others.

Svetlana spoke proudly of her courageous, compassionate son.

“He loved his work very much. He lived for this work. It was his duty to help people. My son dreamed of starting a family, dreamed of having children, dreamed of working! And one shell that you sent here ended his life.”

These men and women know very well the threats they face when going out on a call, but go anyway, to help their citizens under Ukrainian attacks.

The two women I spoke to at Donetsk Ambulance Services replied to my question about whether they considered stopping their work.

“I’m really scared, everyone is scared. But what can we do? How about the patients? They are people like me, they hurt and are even more scared. They are waiting for our help. While you are driving you feel fear, but as soon as you get to the place of the tragedy, the fear goes away and you just start doing your job and forget about this fear.”

The Kievskiy Emergency Ministry Chief, Andrey Levchenko, said of the rescuers, “They are all heroes. If it were possible, I would give a medal to every one of them, to honor their work, to support them. But they don’t do that for the medals, no way. Nobody ever said, ‘we’re not going, we don’t want to,’” he said, referring to when rescuers go out on calls.

He is right. These rescuers are heroes, putting their lives on the line every time they go out to help a person in need, knowing full well Ukraine frequently strikes an area a second and a third time, specifically to target rescuers. While they might not receive or want medals, they should be afforded their right under international law to rescue people without fear of being shelled by Ukraine.

October 24, 2022 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

US elites wrong that aggression against Russia can be unlimited – intelligence chief

Samizdat | October 24, 2022

The fact that discussions about the possible use of nuclear weapons have become part of Western rhetoric is worrisome, Sergey Naryshkin, the head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), has said.

Contrary to claims by Western leaders, Russia is “absolutely” not threatening to deploy nuclear weapons, the senior official explained. But Kiev has openly claimed that it wants to become a nuclear power, an outcome that Naryshkin called on the world to prevent.

The Russian intelligence chief was referring to a speech that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky delivered during the Munich Security Conference in February. The Ukrainian leader lamented that Kiev had given up nuclear weapons stationed there during the Soviet era and said that his country could break its promise to stay a non-nuclear state.

Naryshkin was speaking on Monday in his capacity as head of the Russian Historical Society at the opening of an exhibition marking the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The current stand-off between Russia and the US over Ukraine has been compared by many to the events that happened six decades ago.

“The American elites today believe that they can maintain the aggression against our nation for as long as they want, feuling military action with thousands of lives of Ukrainian citizens and mercenaries,” the official remarked, drawing a parallel to how the Cuban Missile Crisis started.

The stand-off back then was triggered by the US decision to deploy missiles to Turkey, threatening the Soviet Union, he explained. When Moscow reciprocated, “the reaction of the US political elites, who had convinced themselves of being exceptional, was painful, nervous and acute,” he noted.

The administration of President John F. Kennedy recognized that there were red lines that neither the US nor the USSR should cross, Naryshkin said. There were people in the US government who “thought rationally, were able to calculate the consequences of their actions, and kept their word.”

It’s not clear that the same approach can be found in the Joe Biden administration, Naryshkin stated.

“Today, we will not be able to find a politician in a Western nation of the same magnitude as Kennedy,” he added.

The Russian official also suggested a way to discourage nuclear powers from deploying their arsenals for goals other than deterrence. He told the audience that holding the US accountable for the 1945 nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have had a cold shower effect.

October 24, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment