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And Just Like That… It Was All Gone

Zero Covid is deemed surplus to requirements

Health Advisory & Recovery Team | December 13, 2022

Newsflash from China: the world’s last bastion of Zero Covid has finally given up the pretence. “Covid China cracks”… this is a message that seems to have penetrated even the mainstream media’s coverage.

What is not, however, entirely clear is how brave BBC reporters can travel around the world to capture footage in the Far East, but were blind to peaceful protests closer to home. Those voices of reason who have been ignored for almost three years have found the cognitive dissonance more than a little unnerving. How can it simultaneously be true that lockdown sceptic protests and protestors in UK are bad, selfish and unscientific, while lockdown sceptic protests and protestors in China are brave and pushing back against regime oppression?

Even in their dissonant apostasy, the media cheerleaders still struggle with fundamental misconceptions due to their alignment with the crumbling narrative and blindness to the obvious: “the main challenge is ensuring the inevitable uptick in infections does not lead to mass deaths” claims the BBC. Really? With almost three years of data now to hand, is it now not blindingly obvious that the UK’s Chief Scientific Officer Patrick Vallance was absolutely correct when he stated on 16 March 2020 that “this is a mild disease in most people”?  If these brave reporters want to investigate ‘mass deaths’, how about some hard-hitting investigative reporting on iatrogenesis instead?

This unpalatable (and hard to ignore) charade aside, can we at least hope that this is the end of an era? Can the Zero Covid chapter be closed for good?

Let us hope so. Humanity may – finally – have rid itself of Zero Covid policies, but what of its erstwhile supporters – what new hair-brained schemes are they now supporting? Whether the chaos they were involved in creating was by accident or design is arguably immaterial: how can society protect itself against future periods of collective self-harm?

The precautionary principle “emphasises caution, pausing and review before leaping into new innovations that may prove disastrous”.

Winding back the clock almost three years, it was for this reason that many of us had a principled objection to draconian non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs, i.e. lockdowns) from before they were enacted. While this view is now fashionable, many supported these policies at the time and then did not want to back down from this shibboleth. But why was it ever acceptable to deploy this combination of hand grenades to crack a nut? Why did society go along with a perverse inversion of the anti-precautionary principle: “panic; shout ‘fire’, abandon detailed disaster planning and then implement the precise opposite, botch the implementation, shut down constructive debate and then vilify those that challenge the new orthodoxy”?

It is instructive to observe the flailing attempts by vocal proponents of Zero Covid and its associated policies (school closures, rules of six, masks, vaccine mandates) to post-rationalise and excuse their mistakes.  This is where lessons will be learned (and not, incidentally, from the preposterous attempts by those who piloted the ship onto the rocks to shift blame onto others or to claim that the right decisions were made “based on all the information available at the time”).

We have previously outlined clear evidence of what was common knowledge by mid-March 2020. Chief Scientific Advisor Vallance, quoted above, went on to state: “Epidemics are like a pole vaulter taking flight: the outbreak starts slowly, takes off rapidly, reaches a peak and then comes back down to earth”.  No different to what had happened in previous months on the Diamond Princess, in Wuhan and in Bergamo. This was a known quantity well before the UK launched itself, lemming-like, off the cliffs on 23 March 2020.

From hereon in it was one-way traffic for much of the next two years. Dissent was essentially criminalised, and the full force of far-from-benign authoritarian state machinery was turned against its citizens. Rational discourse was squashed (why would authorities collude with the media to stifle calm voices of reason such as Professor Jay Bhattacharya and instead promote shrill panic-mongers?); the media controlled via carrot (advertising) and stick (OFCOM diktat); dissenters were made an example of. None of this was necessary, and a normally-functioning society and fourth estate could have led us quickly back to balanced rationality, avoiding much of the human cost and unnecessarily-wrought collateral damage of the Coronapanic debacle.

They might prefer us to forget, but we must not. Thankfully, public records exist that will serve as a salutary reminder to future generations of what our own home-grown Zero Covid zealots wanted to perpetrate. For example, in the dark days of February 2021, 47 MPs from Opposition parties tabled an Early Day Motion promoting Net Zero. This Motion – as well as its stated (and implicit) underlying assumptions – has not aged well, the most egregious claim being that harsher draconian measures might avoid “putting huge additional strain on the NHS” – tell that to those on the now-gargantuan waiting lists for essential treatment. Most of the 47 signatories on this Motion are Labour MPs… Labour is currently riding high in the polls. They might well now criticise the UK Government’s handling of the last few years, but it was Labour – and their union paymasters – who were consistently pushing for more and more restrictions. Voters should be careful what they wish for.

So good riddance to Zero Covid, but have we learned any lessons? Unfortunately, there is as yet little evidence to show that society has the strength to resist the siren calls of the next Zero Policy fiasco… for example, could it be that Net Zero is an unholy hysteria rather than a holy grail? We would do well to look a bit more closely before we leap into deindustrialised pauperisation.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and in the interests of protecting all that we hold dear, we can only encourage everyone to keep constructively challenging and critiquing the official narrative.

December 13, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 4 Comments

In Germany, putative vaccine-induced causes of sudden death tripled after vaccine rollout

By Meryl Nass | December 13, 2022

What the graph below shows is that there are 6 codes on death certificates that correspond to “sudden deaths”—unexpected events that happened acutely and resulted in rapid demise.

Use of these codes jumped roughly 2-3 times from their 5 year average (even including the year of severe COVID (2020) in the five year average) in 2021, when the COVID vaccines began rolling out. The data are consistent for all 5 quarters in 2021-2022 for which data are available. The vaccines are killing us. Not COVID. Simply look at the data or the press conference (in German) where they were discussed..

Below is what the wonderful Jane Orient had to say:

Dec 13, 2022

COVID-19: Do you have enough life insurance?

If you have dependents, you need to protect them in case you die suddenly. Life insurance is the method used by most. Sudden, unexpected death of a breadwinner is not new, but the constant stream of hazards in the news should focus your attention.

Many scare stories turn out to be hype—especially those based on computer modeling (and serving an agenda). But the graph below shows actual occurrences. Sudden Adult Death Syndrome is real.

The source is the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV), which insures 72 million lives. Remember that if actuaries, in contrast to public health authorities, make a mistake, they and the companies they work for face consequences—including bankruptcy.

Just after the rollout of COVID-19 injections, there was a sharp, unprecedented spike in unexpected deaths, a 1,000% increase. The KBV denies a causal relationship to vaccination. The cause for the deaths is unknown, but it is not COVID-19. Authorities have not yet done appropriate studies to investigate a possible vaccine connection. Mainstream media did not attend a press event where data analyst Tom Lausen presented the figures, which he calls a “risk signal.”

From CDC data, equity investment advisor Edward Dowd calculates that Millennials, age 25 to 40, experienced an 84% excess mortality in the fall of 2021, coinciding with vaccine mandates and boosters—a Vietnam War-size event.

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, number 1 should be providing as best you can for your family’s future, and carefully examining the risks you might be taking.

Jane Orient, M.D., Executive Director, Association of American Physicians and

December 13, 2022 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Pandemicism and the Foreknowledge of the Virus Planners

eugyppius: a plague chronicle | December 13, 2022

When I write of the pandemic response as a basically undirected social and institutional contagion, the same question always comes up: What about Event 201, and the 2017 SPARS exercise, and all those other creepy prophetic pandemic wargames? Don’t they indicate some of kind of unified plan? How else to explain the foreknowledge of the planners?

I’ve given partial replies here and there, but I’ve never laid out all of my ideas in one place. I think these strange exercises seem much less bizarre when considered against the broader backdrop of the pandemicists and the beliefs they share. You might call their most central article of faith pandemicism, which is the doctrine that pandemics represent a serious threat to human health, and that they can be prevented or substantially ameliorated with the right scientific interventions.

Aspects of pandemicism are as old as 1918, but the proximate origins of this mind virus are much more recent. Tellingly, they don’t lie with any kind of pandemic at all, but rather with the WHO campaign to eradicate smallpox. This started in 1967, and it took ten years to complete. Any institutionalised enterprise that persists for a full decade will acquire institutional momentum, such that it can’t simply be turned off when the mission is over. Just as the push for trans rights and trans acceptance owes a lot to the institutional forces accumulated by the gay rights movement since the 1970s, pandemicism became the next stage of advocacy for the smallpox eradicators after they had put themselves out of business. All the careers, institutions and grand funding schemes that had been thrown at smallpox needed a second act.

The smallpox eradicators began their transition to a post-smallpox world by fantasising that the virus they had killed off would someday return. Donald Henderson, director of the eradicators, founded the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies in 1998, a key pandemicist think tank that was later rechristened as the Center for Health Security, and that went on to hold a series of notorious and well-publicised pandemic war games. The earliest of these – Dark Winter and Atlantic Storm – were funded by the US Department of Defence and involved elaborate fictional scenarios of smallpox biowarfare. Later on, with the rise of billionaire philanthropy and the ever waning cultural significance of Variola, the Johns Hopkins pandemicists began peddling horror scenarios of other pandemic pathogens. Event 201 was their first major tabletop exercise featuring a pathogen other than smallpox that entered humans via a natural spillover event.

There are, then, two pandemicist eras – an early period, fuelled by Defence funding and devoted primarily to biowarfare scnearios, with curious parallels to the 1995 film Outbreak; and a later period driven by banal third-worldist philanthropy, that is more heavily focused on natural pathogens and reflected in the film Contagion. The Hollywood resonances are no accident; the pandemicists are above all interested in publicity and fundraising, and they try hard to make their mark on popular culture. The earliest wargames were at base morality tales intended to convince the US government to increase its smallpox vaccine stockpiles. The second era of pandemicist thought owes a great deal in turn to the SARS outbreak of 2003. Vaccine development at this stage becomes the central concern, and the pandemicist mission expands with novel projects to predict and preempt the emergence of novel human-infecting viruses. The old roots were still there, and the Defence Department funds were a major part of this new research.

The primary problem of pandemicism, is that there just aren’t very many pandemics, which means that most of the time the pandemicists don’t have anything to do. Wargaming attracts publicity and the interest of fundraisers, and it gets scary viruses into headlines in the absence of any reason for them to be there. Pandemicist wargames feature what we should think of as “fundraising viruses.” These are either fictional pathogens with very high infection fatality rates (often modelled on SARS), or real viruses like Nipah that are extremely deadly but not very contagious. The pandemicists almost never bother to wargame the most common pandemic virus, namely influenza, because nobody finds it particularly scary. As founding pandemicist Larry Brilliant said in 2007:

Last year, six hundred thousand people died and we didn’t notice. That’s a little bit of the reason you find so much hyperbole in the whole question of pandemic flu. Because a lot of public health people are saying, oh goody, we have something that’s going to frighten rich people, let’s use it as a chance to build up the public health system.

Fundraising viruses are a fictional threat. Any viral pathogen adapted to spread widely via direct person-to-person contact in human hosts will cause nothing more than influenza-like illness, with mortality well within the familiar range for seasonal respiratory viruses. This important difference, between what grabs attention and what is actually biologically likely to occur, is one reason I think that most scientists, and the pandemicists in particular, ignore the broader behavioural patterns of viruses and the evolutionary pressures to which they’re subject. Looking too deeply into these questions threatens to turn up evidence that we don’t really need the pandemicists at all.

Formally, it seems that this bland pandemic theatre is supposed to familiarise “stakeholders” and “decision-makers” with the expected mitigationist response. As late as Event 201 in Fall 2019, this response consisted of not doing very much. Before Corona, the pandemicists didn’t like the idea of travel restrictions or lockdowns. These might be used to contain very local outbreaks, but once a virus had achieved pandemic status, closures were considered counterproductive and likely to increase poverty and disease in the developing world. The pandemicists preferred things like travel advisories and fast-tracking vaccine development. The idea of mass containment emerged in the wake of SARS; it was never a part of Western pandemicist doctrine, though brief lockdowns were trialled in Mexico in 2009 against the nothingburger Swine Flu, and again in 2014 against Ebola.(1)

As I never tire of typing, what happened in the West was a hybrid response. Via China and pressure from the WHO, mass containment came to be added at the very last minute to the standard mitigationist playbook that the pandemicists had been peddling for a generation. This is why the messaging shifted so suddenly after February 2020. Until that date, we were in the standard world of Event 201, and authorities talked down the risk of the virus in an effort to prepare us all for the inevitable infections and deaths. Mass containment, adopted with the Italian lockdown in March, required a vastly more hysterical and overblown messaging strategy, in an effort to convince all of us to hide at home.

All that wargaming about how we’d stay open didn’t matter very much in the end, because well-publicised pandemic wargames aren’t actually planning exercises and have very little strategic importance. They’re for fundraising and publicity.

Probably the most obtrusive feature of pandemicist material – and the least discussed – is its extremely low quality. This is above all why I have a hard time buying theories that these events reflect any nefarious plan. They are just so, so stupid, it is actually hard to put into words. While earlier wargames were fairly textured and elaborate, there’s been a steady decline, worsened by the arrival of Big Philanthropy. I strongly advise that you not waste your life watching the extremely insipid Event 201 videos. Far more digestible is the SPARS pandemic exercise, which is often cited as another ominously prophetic document, particularly for its lengthy discussions of anti-vaxxers and pro-vaccine public health messaging. There are some parallels to recent events, but if you read carefully, you’ll see that the whole thing is firmly rooted in vintage 2016 anxieties about social media disinformation. And, again, it’s just really, really dumb. Every chapter concludes with tiresome questions for discussion by “public health risk communicators,” whoever they are. It feels like a weird textbook written for virusphobic primary school children in an alternate reality, where the hot new social media platform is called ZapQ and the big antivaxx disinformationist is a “science blogger” named EpiGirl and public health officials recruit a “hip hop icon” named BZee whose fictional tweets get fewer retweets and likes than mine do (see the figures on p. 25).

Nevertheless, the SPARS scenario and others like them have their moments of foreknowledge. I would never exclude malfeasance outright, but the general explanation for this phenomenon is that we get the virus freakouts we plan for. Virus fantasies like Event 201 and SPARS reflect a prior epidemiological interest in specific pathogens, and they serve to focus the attention of the public health brigade further on specific viral species. Monkeypox and the 2009 Swine Flu show that pandemicist attention alone – in the absence of any serious mortality – is enough to generate widespread hysteria. These are prophecies, but they are mostly self-fulfilling ones. That is also why the laboratory origins of SARS-2 are such a big piece of this puzzle.

What’s missing from all these planning scenarios – what every last one of them fails to predict – is the steely biomedical dictatorship that emerged to ruin all of our lives in 2020. Nobody in any of these wargames is ever locked up in their homes. Public health officials respond to the off-message EpiGirl with press releases, not threats and deplatforming. There are no green passes. The unvaccinated are never deplored or fired. Part of the reason is that, before 2020, lockdowns had never been part of the plan, and they gave public health bureaucrats a chance at overt and direct repression, which they’d never counted on before. But it’s also true that the basic project of pandemicism has authoritarian and repressive elements baked into it, which I think the pandemicists themselves never really noticed. They’re just not the most intelligent or introspective people.

(1) In the years after SARS, some public health bureaucrats and pandemicists played with ever more restrictionist mitigation regimes, contemplating school closures and work-from-home orders, but their focus remained firmly mitigationist. The purpose was only to slow infections to spare the healthcare system. Mass containment, by contrast, is eradicationist in outlook, aiming not to slow infections but to stop the virus altogether.

December 13, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

U.S. Government Has Been Planning to ‘Lockdown and Wait for a Vaccine’ Since 2007


More and more evidence is coming to light that the ‘lockdown and wait for a vaccine’ strategy unleashed in 2020 was being cooked up inside the U.S. Government for decades before COVID-19 appeared and gave too many people an excuse to put the dreadful plan into action.

Recently the role of CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) in producing key lockdown guidance for America in March 2020 came to light.

Now, a pandemic plan from 2007 produced by the National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) and currently hosted on the CISA website has emerged.

The plan contains the original list of pandemic ‘essential businesses’ that was used by CISA in 2020 to lock down America. The 2007 plan (which was itself based on a Department of Homeland Security plan from the previous year) clearly states the intention to ban large gatherings “indefinitely”, close schools and non-essential businesses, institute work-from-home, and quarantine exposed and not just sick individuals. The aim is simple and clear: to slow the spread to wait for a vaccine.

During a pandemic, the goal will be to slow the virus’ transmission; delaying the spread of the virus will provide more time for vaccine development while reducing the stress on an already burdened healthcare system.

Here’s the relevant section of the 2007 NIAC plan in full.

2006 and 2007 were a turning point in U.S. biodefence planning. Prior to 2006, such planning had been focused on biological attacks, but after that point major mission creep set in and the new draconian ideas were applied wholesale to general pandemic planning. This controversial switch in focus so riled leading U.S. disease expert D.A. Henderson, who had been involved with the project up to that point, that he issued his famous riposte objecting in the strongest terms to the new ideas. He and his fellow dissenters wrote, presciently:

Experience has shown that communities faced with epidemics or other adverse events respond best and with the least anxiety when the normal social functioning of the community is least disrupted. Strong political and public health leadership to provide reassurance and to ensure that needed medical care services are provided are critical elements. If either is seen to be less than optimal, a manageable epidemic could move toward catastrophe.

I’m told by someone who was involved with the programme in the early days that the original biodefence planning in 2002-2003 assumed a targeted biological weapons attack with smallpox as the viral case and anthrax as the bacterial case – both considered worst case scenarios. It was recognised that the old smallpox vaccine was too risky to try to use on a wider population to protect them if such an attack occurred, thus the effort for a new vaccine. But very quickly, within a year or two (not least due to the SARS outbreak in 2003), there was a massive expansion of the original mission and suddenly every infectious agent, whether dangerous or not, was cast into the web of biodefence.

Outside the U.S. there was more resistance to this kind of totalitarian nonsense. However, even the 2019 World Health Organisation pandemic guidance bears many of its marks. While this guidance commendably did not recommend “in any circumstances” contact tracing, border closures, entry and exit screening and quarantine of exposed individuals, it did make conditional recommendations for use of face masks by the public, school and workplace closures and “avoiding crowding” i.e., social distancing.

The purpose was also the same: to ‘flatten the curve’ to wait for a vaccine, as illustrated in the diagram below. The WHO guidance states: “NPIs are often the most accessible interventions, because of the time it takes to make specific vaccines available”; “specific vaccines may not be available for the first six months”; NPIs are “used to delay the peak of the epidemic… allowing time for vaccines to be distributed”.

These untested ideas, which the WHO’s own guidance rightly admitted had no good quality evidence to support them, have now become a terrible orthodoxy for global pandemic response. This is despite them utterly failing to achieve any of their goals – a point that no one who backs them seems to have noticed.

Somehow, the world must learn the right lessons from this debacle. Yet it keeps threatening to learn all the wrong ones.

December 13, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Algeria’s growing influence is putting it in the US crosshairs

By Robert Inlakesh | RT | December 13, 2022

As Algiers continues to play a more prominent role in Middle Eastern and African affairs, will it face US pressure and even regime change attempts for its foreign policy stances that do not align with those of the West?

In September, US Congress members evoked the 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), to call for sanctions to be placed upon Algeria over weapons deals with Moscow. This plea came shortly after the same argument was made by Republican Senator Marco Rubio in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Since the days of the Cold War, the Algerian state has been outside the orbit of the West, lending its favor instead to national liberation movements and pursuing a more tailor-made foreign policy platform. This pitted it against its western neighbor, Morocco, which opted to align itself with the West. Today, tensions are boiling again between the neighboring North African leaderships over a similar alignment of sorts, especially since Morocco decided to normalize ties with Israel owing to pressure from the administration of then-US President Donald Trump. An arms race has been developing between the two nations since 2015, as both governments find themselves further tied to their East-West allegiances.

Against the backdrop of tensions with its Western-aligned North African neighbor, Algiers has emerged in 2022 as a revived regional player. As the global energy crisis continues amid the West’s standoff with Russia in Ukraine, Algeria has come off well and with more wealth. In the first five months of this year alone, Algeria’s oil and gas earnings skyrocketed by more than 70%, amounting to a total of $21.5 billion. This has given Algiers greater freedom to work on its defense goals and infrastructure projects.

Algeria is making significant strides at building sustainable living and working on projects to provide more jobs to its citizens. One such project is the construction of a futuristic city called Boughezoul. The city will not only house 400 new residents as part of its strategy to eliminate slums and derelict housing, but also seeks to host the Algerian space agency, a new railway station, and a new international airport. Efforts such as these, combined with the revival of military displays on the nation’s independence day, seem to represent a real effort to reassure the population of the government’s intentions after years of mistrust and mass demonstrations.

Along with the ongoing attempts to make the best of the new economic advantages domestically, Algiers also seems fixated on having its own impact on regional affairs. As the nation has cut off ties with neighboring Morocco, due in part to Israel’s intelligence and military influence, as well as the alleged Moroccan backing of Kabylie separatist groups, it now seeks to align itself with Tunisia to a greater degree.

Algeria, the third largest gas supplier to Europe, has attracted significant interest this year, becoming the top supplier now for Italy, as military ties also seem to deepen. In the case of Tunisia, Algeria has granted recognition to the nation’s president, Kais Saied, who relies on Algerian gas and is receiving supplies at a discounted rate. Tunis is facing an acute economic crisis and has been accused of trading its historically cordial relations with Morocco for closer ties with Algeria. The Tunisian president invited Brahim Ghali, the leader of the Polisario Front – a movement that fights for the disputed territory of Western Sahara, against Morocco – to the eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development that was hosted in Tunisia in August. Inviting the sworn enemy of Morocco to the country triggered the subsequen withdrawal of ambassadors between Tunisia and Morocco. Algeria supports the Polisario Front in its fight over Western Sahara.

For Algerian President Abdelmajid Tebboune, keeping Tunisia on its side is an important issue, as it fears the UAE-Saudi-Egyptian bloc will assert its own dominance over Tunis’ policies. Kais Saied, who seized power in October of 2019, is clearly within the UAE’s sphere of influence, as opposed to his opponents in the Ennahda party that align with Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood. Due to such a strong influence from Abu Dhabi in North Africa, Algeria is made to play a careful balancing game.

Another major issue that Algiers is now involving itself in is Palestinian reconciliation. It has hosted a number of meetings between rival parties Hamas and Fatah in order to bridge the gap and develop a stronger platform from which to argue for Palestinian statehood. The issue of achieving Palestinian statehood also played out as a central theme in the Arab League summit in November, as Algeria attempted to bolster its position regionally by hosting the meeting.

Despite having to play a careful balancing act, both regionally and internationally, Algeria has emerged this year as a key player in Africa, the Middle East, and beyond. It has even held strong against its former colonizing power, France, forcing President Emmanuel Macron to change his rhetoric about Algiers and has paved the way to dropping French in the education system and opting to adopt the English language instead, eroding France’s influence further.

All the moves being made by Algeria are signaling that it intends to continue along the lines of adopting policies that do not necessarily align with Western interests, sometimes coming into direct conflict with them. This is why threats from US congressmen and senators to impose sanctions on Algeria have begun to raise eyebrows. America’s ambassador to Algeria, Elizabeth Moore Aubin, has refused to answer questions on hypothetically imposing sanctions, opting to focus on what her job entails, which may indicate that such decisions may not be on the immediate minds of high-ranking US officials. However, Republican party officials have certainly stirred the pot. The question now becomes how far Washington will go to punish Algeria for refusing to ditch Moscow and whether the strategy going forward may be to use Morocco against Algeria.

Robert Inlakesh is a political analyst, journalist and documentary filmmaker currently based in London, UK. He has reported from and lived in the Palestinian territories and currently works with Quds News. Director of ‘Steal of the Century: Trump’s Palestine-Israel Catastrophe’. 

December 13, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Social media’s history of suppressing Palestine content

By Kathryn Shihadah | Israel-Palestine News | December 12, 2022

For years, social media have been making it difficult for Palestinian and their allies’ voices to be heard – even as Israel’s stranglehold on Palestinians has grown stronger, and as increasing amounts of US tax money have been sent to Israel and to various countries for Israel’s direct benefit.

Social media users, especially Palestinian human rights advocates, have reported puzzling occurrences on the major platforms Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram – especially during times of Israeli crackdowns.

Users who shared information on the situation in the Palestinian territories described posts being deleted as “hate speech or symbols,” or “violence,” inexplicably losing followers and views of their content, or having entire accounts abruptly frozen or deleted.

One rights group documented over 700 instances of social media networks restricting or removing Palestinian content in May 2021 alone, during a time of especially heavy Israeli state violence.

Another group reported that nearly half of the Palestinian-themed content that disappeared off of Instagram during this time period

occurred without the company providing the user a prior warning or notice. In an additional 20 percent of the cases, Instagram notified the user but did not provide a specific justification for restricting the content.

When users appealed the censorship, often their content or account would be restored, with a message that it never should have been deleted to begin with. But by the time this resolution came, the opportunity to inform and influence readers was past.

For example, in May 2021, during a time of escalating Israeli violence, Twitter restricted the account of Palestinian-American journalist Mariam Barghouti, who had been posting photos and videos of the violence in Jerusalem. It later restored Barghouti’s account and apologized for the suspension, saying it was done “by mistake.”

A long report on social media actions regarding Israel-Palestine in the Columbia Journalism Review pointed out: “Some of those who have been covering such issues for years don’t think these kinds of things are a mistake; rather, they believe social networks are deliberately censoring Palestinian content.”

Barghouti explained the significance of Twitter to the Palestinian rights movement:

It’s our only avenue for speaking with the world from under a military occupation that controls all our entry and exit points. We’re left to share through soundbites of 280 characters. If even that is taken away, we’re looking at the slaughter of Palestinians in silence.

Social media suppression is particularly critical since mainstream media tend not to cover Israel and Palestine with the kind of accuracy and context that would enable Americans to understand the issue.

In essence, social media have been preventing the victims of Israeli violence from sharing their experiences or building support for their plight.


Although owned by two different companies, the three platforms, Twitter and Facebook/Instagram, have offered duplicate “explanations” for what has happened, including glitches that just happened to affect posts and hashtags about Israel, and  “widespread global technical issue not related to any particular topic.”

One Facebook spokesperson stated,
While these [glitches] have been fixed, they should never have happened in the first place. We’re so sorry to everyone who felt they couldn’t bring attention to important events, or who felt this was a deliberate suppression of their voice. This was never our intention – nor do we ever want to silence a particular community or point of view.
Human rights advocates familiar with the years-long social media battle were not convinced.

TRT World reported another case in which Twitter restricted information on Palestine:

Pro-Palestinian activist Hebh Jamal’s Twitter was targeted with complaints over a post detailing an emotional conversation between her husband and his little cousin in Gaza. The young cousin admitted to wanting to brush his hair before sleeping for fear that the Israeli fire may kill him in his sleep. He said he wanted to look good in case he died. Hebh’s post was flagged for deletion, and restricted by Twitter.

Since the German government has implemented legal measures to make social media companies accountable to users, Twitter later confessed to Hebh that the complaints against her post were baseless. Under German law, Twitter has to inform the user if their post or account is being investigated. This only applies because Hebh and her family reside in Germany. For most Palestinians hailing from Gaza City, there’s a different set of rules, and a radically different set of rights.

TRT reports: “Hebh now faces a video review for every post she makes. She’s also been reported on TikTok as well, with her account deleted before.”

Journalist Bayan Ishtaiwi explained: “For Palestinians sealed-off in open-air prisons like Gaza, social media is all they have. Whoever uses words like occupation or martyr, is penalized for three days at least, which happened to me, or face a ban on live videos for a month.”


A group of Instagram employees confirmed the human rights activists’ suspicions when they protested the platform’s blocking of pro-Palestinian content during Israel’s violence in May 2021 – even after the issue had already been reported.

An employee circulated an internal document, which was later shared with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, in which he asked,

Can we investigate the reasons why posts and stories pertaining to Palestine lately have had limited reach and engagement, especially when more people than ever from around the world are watching the situation unfold?

Other employees added comments, including,

I’d really like to understand what exactly is breaking down here and why. What is being done to fix it given that this is an issue that was brought up a week ago?

Soon after, nearly 200 Facebook employees signed on to an open letter demanding that Facebook address the allegations of censorship.

Israel calls the shots

Foreign Policy reports:

“Since 2015, the Israeli Justice Ministry has operated a Cyber Unit that has issued tens of thousands of content removal requests to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, mostly alleging violent incitement or support for terrorism.

Technically, these requests are voluntary. They are not legally binding and are therefore not tracked in the transparency reports that technology companies use to disclose formal government censorship orders.

Nonetheless, social media companies have complied with the Cyber Unit’s requests roughly 90 percent of the time.”

Israel’s infamous Cyber Unit patrols social media, searching for “incriminating” content, passing along thousands of requests to social media administrators to remove what the unit finds unacceptable.

In 2016, the Israeli government and Facebook agreed to collaborate on ways to combat what Israel considers “incitement to violence” on the platform.

Then-justice minister Ayelet Shaked noted that at the time, Facebook’s compliance with Israel’s requests to take down content was up to 95%, but expressed hopes that the plan would result in even more censorship.

Neither Israel nor the platforms have been transparent about this practice.

In 2020, Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs issued a report on allegedly “phony” online profiles that put out content critical of Israel.

Within a day, Twitter “suspended dozens of Palestinian and pro-Palestine accounts,” claiming the information they circulated violated its terms of service.

It may be noteworthy that both Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk have had private audiences with top Israeli leaders.

Israelis abound in Silicon Valley, with about 60,000-100,000 in the Bay Area, and Israel partisans are also ever-present. A recent photo of Musk shared on Twitter was of him with his friend Ari Emanuel, son of a former Irgun terrorist and brother of Rahm Emanuel, who once volunteered with the IDF.

One Palestinian activist summed up the situation:

Rather than being some kind of enabler of democracy, social media has come to be the epitome of political silencing and repression as tech giants have collaborated with various oppressive governments, including the Israeli government, to censor and delete content that exposes their true oppressive character.

Facebook, Instagram report card

Facebook’s Oversight Board recommended that Meta (parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp) undergo an evaluation of its treatment of Palestinian content in May 2021. Meta hired the consulting company Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) for the work.

Jewish Currents summarized BSR’s final report in an article entitled “Human Rights Due Diligence of Meta’s Impacts in Israel and Palestine”:

The report underscored heavy-handed content moderation by Facebook and Instagram, which Palestinian social media users claim censors critics of Israeli repression.

These restrictions have undermined Palestinian users’ effort to use social media to document Israeli human rights abuses.

BSR contrasted Meta’s over-enforcement of Palestinian social media posts with its under-enforcement of Hebrew-language posts, which the report attributes to Meta installing an algorithmic “hostile speech classifier” for Arabic, but not for Hebrew.

The report concludes that Arabic language content is over-regulated because Hamas, the ruling, elected party in Gaza, is on Facebook’s blacklist, so it was standard to remove posts that appeared to “praise, support, or represent” that group or others on the list.

Other reasons for the interference lie in the fact that the Palestinian content was not reviewed by Palestinian dialect speakers of Arabic, nor was the algorithm developed with the proper “linguistic and cultural competence.”

Internet policy experts summed up the situation at Facebook and the other platforms:

Social media companies have] shown a willingness to silence Palestinian voices if it means avoiding potential political controversy and pressure from the Israeli government.

“Unintentional”? Really?

BSR’s report speculated that the impact of Facebook’s actions – Palestinian users’ loss of rights to expression – was unintentional. Rights groups disagreed.

Dozens of groups signed a public statement in response to BSR’s report, insisting that they had been

calling Meta’s attention to the disproportionately negative impact of its content moderation on Palestinians for years, [so] even if the bias started out as unintentional, after knowing about the issues for years and not taking appropriate action, the unintentional became intentional.

Looking ahead

The BSR report ends with 21 recommendations to Meta, some of which Meta has committed to, either fully or in part.

Marwa Fatafta, a policy manager for a digital rights group, had mixed feelings:

The report validates the lived experiences of Palestinians… They cannot tell us anymore that this is a system glitch. Now they know the root causes…

But regarding Israel’s interference in content restriction, he added,

We’ve wanted more clarity on this because Meta refuses to provide answers. Users deserve transparency on whether their piece of content has been removed as a result of the Israeli government’s request.

Bottom line

Social media have for years – and for various reasons – repressed content about Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.

In some particularly egregious situations, like Israel’s aggression in May 2021, the companies have offered excuses and apologies. But impartial analysis has proven these excuses false and the apologies hollow.

Not only are social media platforms inherently skewed to over-regulate Palestinian voices, but they are influenced by a powerful foreign government (and no doubt, its US lobby) to an extent we can only imagine.

And Palestinians continue dying.

A report in Foreign Policy by Emerson T. Brooking and Eliza Campbell described the situation with rare eloquence:

The 4.8 million residents of the occupied Palestinian territories live in two simultaneous and vastly different realities. In the physical world, Palestinians are captives, crammed into Gaza or West Bank enclaves and blockaded by Israeli military checkpoints…

But on the internet, the checkpoints disappear. Palestinians can converse with family from whom they are separated by barbed wire and machine gun emplacements. They can share their stories with observers and sympathizers around the world.

In doing so, Palestinians can call themselves citizens of a sovereign State of Palestine: one recognized by 138 countries and admitted in 2012 as a non-member observer state to the United Nations. This second, digital Palestine represents a fulfilment of the internet’s optimistic and largely forgotten promise to give voice to the voiceless and illuminate the darkest corners of the world.

It is also under threat of being extinguished. This is due to a confluence of three forces. The first is the expansive police and surveillance apparatus of the State of Israel, which is used to track, intimidate, and imprison Palestinians in the occupied territories for their online speech.

The second is a network of formal and informal institutions used by the Israeli government to target pro-Palestinian expression across the globe.

The third—and most surprising—force is that of American social media companies, which have shown a willingness to silence Palestinian voices if it means avoiding potential political controversy and pressure from the Israeli government.

Together, these forces demonstrate how it is possible for an ostensibly democratic government to suppress a popular online movement with the acquiescence of ostensibly liberal Silicon Valley executives. The playbook being pioneered against Palestinians will not stay in the Middle East forever. In time, it may be deployed against activist communities around the world.

December 13, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

UK admits it sent troops to Ukraine

RT | December 13, 2022

British Royal Marines conducted high-risk operations in Ukraine in April, Lieutenant General Robert Magowan wrote in the force’s official journal. Before Magowan’s admission, Russia’s claims that NATO troops were active in Ukraine had been dismissed by Western analysts and media.

Members of 45 Commando Group of the Royal Marines left Ukraine in January after evacuating the British embassy in Kiev to Poland. However, some 300 members of the elite unit were sent back into the country in April to reestablish the British mission in Kiev, before going on to conduct “other discreet operations,” Magowan wrote in the force’s magazine, according to a report by The Times on Tuesday.

These operations took place “in a hugely sensitive environment and with a high level of political and military risk,” Magowan, who formerly served as commandant general of the Royal Marines and is now deputy chief of Defense Staff at the Ministry of Defense, stated.

While Magowan did not elaborate on what kind of missions the commandos carried out, his statement marks the first time that the UK has admitted its troops conducted special operations in Ukraine. The Ministry of Defense refused to confirm earlier accounts of British special forces training Ukrainian troops in Kiev in April.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has described the conflict in Ukraine as one between Russia and the “entire Western military machine,” and claimed in September that there are entire military units in Ukraine “under the de-facto command of Western advisers.”

Putin’s words were rejected by Western media outlets. “There is no evidence of NATO ground forces participating in Ukraine,” Edward Arnold of the Royal United Services Institute think tank told the BBC at the time. “Nor of NATO commanders directing Ukrainian units on the battlefield. There is also a very low likelihood of this happening in the future as Nato seeks to mitigate escalation risks.”

Magowan’s admission proves Arnold incorrect, but the UK is not the only NATO country to acknowledge the presence of its forces in Ukraine. An unnamed Pentagon official told reporters in October that an unspecified number of US troops were inspecting American arms shipments somewhere within Ukraine.

December 13, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

From Neck-Breaking Ejection Seats to Frightening Lightning: F-35’s Top Ten Problems

By Ilya Tsukanov – Samizdat – 13.12.2022

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is the most expensive weapon in history, with a per unit price between $78 and $95 million, and a lifetime operations and sustainment cost of a whopping $1.3 trillion. Yet years after its introduction, the plane has continued to plague operators with a host of problems.

With its overall $1.7 trillion price tag roughly equivalent to the annual GDP of Australia, or more than twenty times Russia’s annual defense budget, one might expect US weapons giant Lockheed Martin to show a little humility when it comes to requesting more cash to fix issues affecting the F-35.

But it seems that’s too much to ask. Last week, US media reported that cost overruns for upgrades to the jet’s sophisticated cockpit computers had reached $680 million, nearly matching the $712 million the Pentagon originally planned to spend on upgrading them (for a total cost of $1.3 billion). Adding insult to injury, the F-35 Joint Program Office announced that the upgrades wouldn’t be completed by the agreed-upon completion deadline of July 2023, with the timeframe pushed back to the end of 2023.

Separately this month, the US Congressional Research Service revealed that the Pentagon wants an unspecified amount of cash for upgrades to the plane’s engines, promising that the new ones will reduce annual sustainment costs, which jumped from $79 million in 2016 to $315 million in 2020, and are projected to reach over $ 1billion by 2028.

Fortunately for Lockheed, cost overruns aren’t a problem. Actually, they’re baked into the agreements on the planes’ acquisition signed by the United States and its allies, with the company enjoying “cost-plus,” “undefinitized” contracts which make any unexpected costs the buyer’s problem (i.e. governments and their taxpayers). Some of Washington’s allies have caught on to the scheme. Last week, one angry Australian defense expert demanded that Canberra get a refund for its existing F-35s and stop buying new ones after calculating that the plane’s “killer” price tag, range limitations, and reliance on a hackable data communications link based thousands of kilometers away in the US makes it a bad buy for the Land Down Under.

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) issues yearly updates on the F-35’s projected costs, as well as outstanding problems associated with the plane. In its 2022 report, the GAO calculated that seven years after its introduction, the plane still has four major “Category 1” deficiencies, and 822 lesser “Category 2” problems.

Here are some of the issues the jet has faced over the years:

10. Cabin Overpressurization

The 2022 GAO report outlined “cabin overpressurization” as one of these outstanding Category 1 deficiencies. The watchdog did not elaborate on the scale, nature and causes of the problem. However, an overpressurized cabin can be a big deal, causing ear popping, temporary hearing loss, headaches, sinus pain, and, if it’s severe enough, ruptured eardrums, permanent hearing loss, and loss of consciousness. It goes without saying that for the pilot of an $80 million aircraft flying through the skies at speeds up to 2,000 km an hour, an overpressurized cabin can be problematic.

9. Night Vision Problems

“Issues” with the F-35’s night vision camera are another “critical deficiency” highlighted in the GAO’s 2022 report. The document did not offer details, but earlier reports on the matter pointed to a range of potential problems – from failing to operate when there is no Moon, to annoying horizontal lines, or striations, in the night vision display. Other issues, including a disorienting “green glow,” have also been reported, with the latter feeding video from a built-in camera onto the headgear display, obscuring the pilot’s vision during night flight. Last year, the Pentagon announced that fixes to these issues would involve upgrading the planes’ $400,000-a-piece integrated night vision helmets. However, not all branches of the US military have approved the acquisition of the new equipment.

8. Lightning Strikes

Given its name, the F-35 Lightning II has an ironic propensity to suffer from problems related to stormy weather, with the Marine Corps expressing concerns as far back as 2018 that “as a composite type aircraft,” the plane “does not provide inherent passive lightning protection.” A 2012 Pentagon report concluded that the planes’ operation is unsafe within 40 km of a thunderstorm amid fears that lightning could damage or destroy the aircraft if it struck their fuel tank inerting system. The Air Force announced earlier this year that it will fix lightning danger-related issues by 2025.

7. Software Bugs

Software bugs with the aircraft’s onboard computer and its 8 million+ lines of code are a persistently-reported problem for the F-35, with the issue apparently getting so bad that the Pentagon called in software experts from top American universities last year for advice on how to resolve the persisting issues. A $14 billion software upgrade promises to fix a range of issues, from weapons functionality and communications to navigation, cybersecurity and targeting, but the Pentagon has already called the patch “immature, deficient and insufficiently tested.”

6. Radar Headaches

In 2016, the Pentagon confirmed that the F-35 had a problem involving the shutdown of its radar system once every four hours. After shutdown, it would reportedly take “a few minutes” for the radar to “regain picture” – a not-insignificant issue for a warplane, where “a few minutes” can be the difference between flying over your target or finding yourself a hundred or more kilometers away.

5. Corrosion

F-35 jets feature an advanced radar-absorbent skin, designed to improve stealth capabilities against cutting-edge enemy radar. However, photos of Navy F-35s published earlier this year showed that the planes’ skin appears to be suffering from severe corrosion thanks to its use of an iron ball paint designed to scramble radio waves. It’s not clear if and how Lockheed plans to address the problem, but as with almost every other problem involving the aircraft, a fix probably won’t be easy, or cheap.

4. Breakneck Action

One of the most serious problems with the F-35 has been its faulty ejection seats. In 2015, low-speed ejection tests revealed that the aircraft’s ejection seat systems were snapping crash test dummies’ necks. In 2016, the Pentagon responded by beginning testing of a reinforced helmet designed to keep pilots’ precious necks safe. A year later, the Air Force reported that tinkering with the planes’ ejection seat systems had alleviated the danger, allowing the military to lift pilot weight requirements.

3. Trackability

One of the F-35’s biggest selling points is its stealthiness – the ability to fly into and out of enemy territory undetected, fire its munitions, and leave before ever being engaged by enemy missiles. However, even before substantial quantities of the aircraft were built, a flurry of reports indicated that Russian, Chinese, and Iranian designers had developed radars capable of detecting the jets at long ranges. Of course, only time, and radar and air defenses’ interactions with F-35 in real-life environments, will determine the true significance of the aircraft’s trackability.

2. Lockheed’s Nary a Care Culture

Over seven years after its introduction, the F-35 has not yet received approval from the Pentagon for full-rate production. That’s because the US military has not completed the jet’s certification. To date, Lockheed has yet to make good on its requirement to provide the Pentagon with detailed data for the Joint Simulation Environment – a virtual training domain designed to test the F-35’s hypothetical performance against top Chinese and Russian aircraft. The company promises to provide the military with data from 64 JSE tests by the summer of 2023.

Despite the lack of certification, the Pentagon has already taken delivery of hundreds of F-35s, and expects to receive about one-third of its 2,470-plane F-35 fleet before full-rate production is granted, with all the problems that come with it –including issues upgrading and fixing problems with jets already built and bought.

1. Single-Engine Design

Arguably the F-35’s biggest problem, and a flaw that no amount of tinkering will be able to fix, is its single-engine, ‘one size fits all’ design. Lockheed’s decision to use a single, Pratt & Whitney F135 afterburning turbofan means that, if the plane suffers a major malfunction at sea, or damage to its engine while engaged in combat against an enemy plane or ground-based air defenses, it would become nearly impossible for it to limp safely back to base. Japan’s Air Force had cause to ponder this issue in 2019, when one of its F-35A jets was lost at sea after its pilot suffered spacial disorientation.

December 13, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

US nuclear bomber catches fire after emergency landing

RT | December 13, 2022

One of the US Air Force’s stealth nuclear bombers caught fire on Saturday after being forced to make an emergency landing in Missouri due to a technical malfunction.

The B-2 Spirit touched down at Whiteman Air Force Base and suffered damage on the runway after experiencing an “in-flight malfunction during routine operations,” according to a US Air Force statement. “There was a fire associated with the aircraft after landing, and the base fire department extinguished the fire.”

There were no reports of injuries in the incident, which is still under investigation. A still image purported to be from the scene – as broadcast by KMBC-TV, the ABC News affiliate in Kansas City, Missouri – appeared to show smoke rising from the crash site. Another shot appeared to show the bomber sitting on the ground, without its landing gear engaged, and with smoke rising from behind the aircraft.

The 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman touts the B-2 Spirit as “the world’s most strategic aircraft.” It’s also reportedly the world’s most expensive bomber. It had a unit cost of about $1.16 billion, including spare parts and software support, when it entered service in 1997, which is equivalent to more than $2.15 billion in today’s dollars.

Another B-2 stealth bomber was damaged at Whiteman last year, when a mechanical failure caused the left landing gear to collapse upon landing. The US Air Force blamed the malfunction on “worn springs.”

The lead defense contractor on the B-2 Spirit, Northrop Grumman, earlier this month unveiled the new aircraft that will replace it, the B-21 Raider.

December 13, 2022 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

America’s B-21 Raider and Why the West Can’t “Spend” it’s way Out of Ukraine

By Brian Berletic – New Eastern Outlook – 13.12.2022

US arms manufacturer Northrop Grumman recently unveiled its new stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider. Having not even flown yet and still facing an extensive critical design review, it won’t enter service any time in the immediate future.

The B-21 Raider is estimated to cost around 753 million US dollars per aircraft – a significant sum for an aircraft experts seem to believe will have less-than-significant capabilities.

Despite the dramatic ceremony surrounding its unveiling and claims that it serves “as part of the Pentagon’s answer to rising concerns over a future conflict with China,” according to one NPR article, even its advocates across the West seem to lack confidence the new stealth aircraft could evade the integrated air defenses of nations like Russia and China.

The B-21 Raider is ultimately an illustration of how despite the US outspending its rivals, it does not possess any real advantage on, or in this case, above the battlefield.

Western Analysts on the B-21 Raider’s Capabilities 

The National Interest in an article titled, “Stealth vs. Missiles: Who Wins When Russia’s S-400 Takes On America’s New B-21 Raider?,” attempts to make a case for the massive amount of money invested in the new aircraft.

It claims:

A new generation of stealth technology is being pursued with a sense of urgency, in light of rapid global modernization of new Russian and Chinese-built air defense technologies; advances in computer processing, digital networking technology and targeting systems now enable air defenses to detect even stealth aircraft with much greater effectiveness.

Russian built S-300 and S-400 air defense weapons, believed by many to be among the best in the world, are able to use digital technology to network “nodes” to one another to pass tracking and targeting data across wide swaths of terrain. New air defenses also use advanced command and control technology to detect aircraft across a much wider spectrum of frequencies than previous systems could.

This technical trend has ignited global debates about whether stealth technology itself could become obsolete. “Not so fast,” says a recent Mitchell Institute essay – “The Imperative for Stealth,” which makes a lengthy case for a continued need for advanced stealth platforms.

The Mitchell Institute, unsurprisingly, is funded by a large consortium of Western arms manufacturers including corporations like Lockheed Martin deeply invested in selling stealth platforms to the Pentagon, calling into question the veracity of their conclusions regarding the topic.

The National Interest article lays out the argument the institute makes for the B-21 Raider, claiming:

Given the increased threat envelope created by cutting edge air defenses, and the acknowledgement that stealth aircraft are indeed much more vulnerable than when they first emerged, Air Force developers are increasingly viewing stealth capacity as something which includes a variety of key parameters.

This includes not only stealth configuration, IR suppression and radar-evading materials but also other important elements such as electronic warfare “jamming” defenses, operating during adverse weather conditions to lower the acoustic signature and conducting attacks in tandem with other less-stealthy aircraft likely to command attention from enemy air defense systems.

The article concludes by claiming the US Air Force prefers to refer to stealth capabilities as merely “one arrow in the quiver of approaches needed to defeat modern air defenses.”

In reality, while stealth capabilities may be useful if they can be practically and economically integrated into an aircraft’s design, it is obvious even according to Western analysts that it is not worth the 700+ million US dollar price tag that comes with the B-21 Raider.

Conventional aircraft firing long-range precision standoff munitions well outside the range of enemy air defense systems and enemy aircraft are just as capable of safely carrying out strikes, perhaps more so, than stealth aircraft flying into well-defended airspaces. In fact, Western analysts seem to imply that is precisely how the B-21 Raider will be employed.

It is worth noting nations like Israel and the US who possess stealth aircraft like the F-35 or the US’ F-22, when operating in conflict zones like Syria, still prefer to carry out standoff strikes versus risking their stealth aircraft by flying into contested airspace.

Articles like Breaking Defense’s “Israel Shifts To Standoff Weapons In Syria As Russian Threats Increase,” admit that despite possessing stealth capabilities, standoff strikes are preferred to minimize the risk of expensive aircraft being detected and possibly destroyed by advanced Russian air defense systems.

If that is the case regarding F-35 and F-22 aircraft, it most likely will be the case for the B-21 Raider, even more so considering the astronomical price tag attached.

B-21 Raider, an Example of Why Outspending Doesn’t Equate to Outperforming

A November 2022 article published by the US government and arms industry-funded think tank, the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) titled, “It’s Costing Peanuts for the US to Defeat Russia,” attempts to convince readers the US and its allies will ultimately prevail in their proxy conflict in Ukraine against Russia by merely by outspending Moscow.

The article claims:

How can Russia possibly hope to win an arms race when the combined GDP of the West is $40 trillion, and its defense spending amounting to 2% of GDP totals well in excess of $1 trillion when the disproportionate US defense contribution is considered?

Basic logic, however, suggests what is most important is “how” money is spent rather than “how much.”

The B-21 Raider is a perfect example of this crucial point. For the price of a single B-21 Raider Russia could build a fleet of aircraft as well as large quantities of precision-guided long-range weapons needed to launch multiple salvos against enemy targets in well-defended airspace. Conventional aircraft firing conventional munitions at standoff distances will be safe from enemy air defenses without the need for expensive stealth capabilities. And while some of the munitions fired in these salvos will inevitably be intercepted by enemy air defenses, many more will find their targets.

For wars of attrition, which seem to be the type of conflict the US faces in Ukraine and likely will face elsewhere as it shifts from targeting impoverished, poorly defended developing nations to waging proxy war on peer and near-peer competitors, quantity is proving to have a quality in and of itself.

This is a fact that has not been lost on Western analysts. A report by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) titled, “Preliminary Lessons in Conventional Warfighting from Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine: February–July 2022,” would admit:

Warfighting demands large initial stockpiles and significant slack capacity. Evidently, no country in NATO, other than the US, has sufficient initial weapons stocks for warfighting or the industrial capacity to sustain largescale operations. This must be rectified if deterrence is to be credible and is equally a problem for the RAF and Royal Navy.

Meanwhile the Financial Times in its article, “Military briefing: Ukraine war exposes ‘hard reality’ of west’s weapons capacity,” would admit:

After sending more than $40bn of military support to Ukraine, mostly from existing stocks, Nato members’ defence ministries are discovering that dormant weapons production lines cannot be switched on overnight. Increasing capacity requires investment, which in turn depends on securing long-term production contracts.

The article also claims:

There are two main reasons why western nations are struggling to source fresh military supplies, defence officials and corporate executives said. The first is structural. Since the end of the cold war, these countries have reaped a peace dividend by slashing military spending, downsizing defence industries and moving to lean, “just-in-time” production and low inventories of equipment such as munitions. That is because combating insurgents and terrorists did not require the same kind of heavy weaponry needed in high-intensity land conflicts.

The second factor is bureaucratic. Governments say they are committed to bigger defence budgets. Yet, amid so much economic uncertainty, they have been slow to write the multiyear procurement contracts that defence groups need to accelerate production.

Clearly, the B-21 Raider program does not fit into the reality emerging from the fighting in Ukraine.

In essence, despite the gargantuan sums the West has invested in defense, it has invested – admittedly – very poorly. Instead of investing in production lines and the vast quantities of weapons and munitions produced by them required to fight large-scale conflicts, the US and its allies have sunk billions if not trillions into weapons programs like the F-35 and the B-21 which do not perform their tasks any better than their much cheaper and more numerous Russian and Chinese counterparts.

Western analysts admit that even if they could convince defense contractors – who are prioritizing profits over purpose – to ramp up production and meet the requirements demanded by the US proxy war in Ukraine, it could take years to do so.

Thus, between the B-21 Raider and events unfolding in Ukraine, it is clear that Russia and China do not need to outspend the US and its allies, instead they need to simply outsmart them in terms of how they spend on defense. It is a process both Russia and China have a headstart on and also a process both enjoy structural advantages in maintaining.

December 13, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | Leave a comment

Kremlin Spokesman Says Russia Never Deployed Heavy Weapons at Zaporozhye NPP

Samizdat – 13.12.2022

MOSCOW – Russian heavy weapons have never been and are not now deployed at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant (ZNPP), Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, French President Emmanuel Macron said that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had achieved a “withdrawal of heavy and light weapons” from the ZNPP.

“I would like to remind you remarks by President [of Russia Vladimir] Putin that there have not been any and are no heavy weapons at the power plant itself, and representatives of the IAEA, who are present there day and night, can definitely confirm this,” Peskov told journalists.

Russia highly appreciates and continues talks with the IAEA on the security of the station, he added.

Director General of the IAEA Rafael Grossi said earlier in the day that work on ensuring safety and security of the ZNNP was in progress.

Located on the left bank of the Dnepr River, the ZNPP is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe by number of units and output. During the military operation in Ukraine launched by Russia on February 24, the station and surrounding area went under the control of the Russian forces and have since been shelled multiples times. Russia and Ukraine blame each other for the attacks.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Sputnik in early December that it was untimely to say that Russia and Ukraine were close to agreeing on the creation of a safety zone around the ZNPP, as it was unclear whether Kiev was ready to stop the shelling of the plant.

December 13, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Moscow’s response to oil price cap revealed

RT | December 13, 2022

The Russian authorities have “generally agreed” on a response to a Western coalition’s price cap on the country’s seaborne oil that took effect last week, the newspaper Vedomosti reported on Tuesday.

Moscow will ban oil sales under contracts that specify a price cap, according to the report, which cites government sources. Also, exports will be banned to countries that demand the price cap as a condition in their supply contracts, or if their reference prices are fixed at the cap price level of $60 per barrel.

A decree describing the mechanism is currently being finalized by the president’s administration, sources said. It will take effect immediately upon being issued and will be valid until July 1, 2023, with the possibility of extension. On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the decree would be announced “in the next few days.”

The document will also reportedly contain a clause that allows buyers to bypass the restrictions if granted government approval. The measures will not apply to contracts that were concluded prior to December 5, the date when the price cap took effect. One of the sources said the final draft of the decree might include a provision on the marginal discount for Russian oil relative to international grades.

The price cap was introduced by the EU, G7 countries and Australia on December 5. The mechanism prohibits Western companies from providing shipping, insurance, and other services to tankers carrying Russian oil, unless the cargo is bought at or below the price limit.

December 13, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | Leave a comment