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A State for some of its citizens: Captured black soldier’s saga highlights racism in Israel

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | January 24, 2023

“For how long will I be in captivity? After so many years, where are the state and the people of Israel?” These were the words, uttered in Hebrew, of a person believed to be Avera Mengistu, an Israeli soldier of Ethiopian origin, who was captured and held in Gaza in 2014.

Footage of Mengistu, looking nervous but also somewhat defiant, calling on his countrymen to end his 9-year incarceration, mostly ended speculation in Israel on whether the soldier was alive or dead.

The timing of the release of the footage by Hamas was obvious, and is directly linked to the Palestinian group’s efforts aimed at conducting a prisoner exchange similar to the one carried out in 2011, which saw the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, in exchange for the release of over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

The main target audience of Hamas’ message is the new government and, specifically, the new military leadership. Israel now has a new army chief, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, who has replaced the departing chief, Aviv Kochavi. The latter seemed disinterested in Mengistu’s cause, while the new chief arrives with lofty promises about uniting the country behind its military and opening a new page where the army is no longer involved in everyday politics.

It may appear that Hamas and other Gaza groups are in a stronger position than the one they enjoyed during Shalit’s captivity, between 2006 and 2011. Not only are they militarily stronger but, instead of capturing one Israeli, they have four: aside from Mengistu, they also have Hisham Al-Sayed, and what is believed to be the remains of two other soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul.

But this is when the story gets particularly complicated. Unlike Shalit, who is white and holds dual Israeli-French citizenship, Mengistu and Al-Sayed are Ethiopian Jew and Bedouin, respectively.

Racism based on colour and ethnicity is rife in Israel. Although no Israeli officials will admit to this openly, Israel is in no rush to rescue two men who are not members of the dominant Ashkenazi group, or even of the socially less privileged Sephardic or Mizrahi Jews.

Black Jews and Bedouins have always been placed at the bottom of Israel’s socio-economic indicators. In 2011, the Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post shared numbers from a disturbing report, which placed poverty among children of Ethiopian immigrants at a whopping 65 per cent. The number is particularly staggering when compared to the average poverty rate in Israel, of 21 per cent.

Things have not improved much since then. The Israeli Justice Ministry’s annual report on racism complaints shows that 24 per cent of all complaints are filed by Ethiopians. This racism covers most aspects of public life, from education to services to police mistreatment.

Not even enlisting in the military – Israel’s most revered institution – is enough to change Ethiopians’ position in Israeli society.

The famous story of Demas Fikadey in 2015 is a case in point. Then only 21, the Ethiopian soldier was beaten up severely by two Israeli police officers in a Tel Aviv suburb for no reason at all. The whole episode was caught on camera, leading to mass protests and even violent clashes. For Ethiopian Jews, the humiliation and violence carried out against Fikadey was a representation of years of suffering, racism and discrimination.

Many believe that the government’s lacklustre response to Mengistu’s prolonged capture is directly linked to the fact that he is black.

Israel’s discriminatory behaviour against African asylum seekers, which often leads to forceful deportation following humiliating treatment, is well known. Amnesty International described this in a report in 2018 as “a cruel and misguided abandonment of responsibility”.

But discriminating against a black soldier, who, by Israel’s own estimation, is believed to suffer from mental illness, is a whole different kind of ‘abandonment’.

A former Israeli army official, Col. Moshe Tal, did not mince words in a recent national radio interview when he said that Mengistu and Al-Sayed are a low priority for the public “on the account of their race”, Haaretz reported.

“If we were speaking about two other citizens from other backgrounds and socio-economic statuses … the amount of interest would be different,” Tal said. In contrast to Shalit’s story, the government’s “attention to the affair (and) the media pulse, is close to zero.”

Israel’s Ethiopian Jews number around 170,000, hardly an important political constituency in a remarkably divided and polarised society. Most of them are immigrants or descendants of immigrants who arrived in Israel between 1980 and 1992. Though they are still known as the Falasha, they are sometimes referred to by the more dignified name of ‘Beta Israel’, or ‘House of Israel’.

Superficial language alterations aside, their struggle is evident in everyday Israel. The plight of Mengistu, as expressed in his own question, “where are the State and the people of Israel?” sums up the sense of collective loss and alienation this community has felt for nearly two generations.

When Mengistu arrived with his family at the age of 5 in Israel, escaping a bloody civil war in Ethiopia and historic discrimination there, the family, like most Ethiopians, hardly knew that discrimination would follow them, even in the supposed land of ‘milk and honey’.

READ: Hamas will not release Israel captives without ‘honourable swap’

And, most likely, they also knew little about the plight of Palestinians, the native inhabitants of that historic land, who are victims of terrible violence, racism and much more.

Palestinians know well why Israel has done little to free the black soldier; Mengistu and his Ethiopian community also understand how race is an important factor in Israeli politics. Although a prisoner exchange could potentially free Mengistu and an unspecified number of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel, the suffering of the Palestinians at the hands of Israel and discrimination against Ethiopian Jews will carry on for much longer.

While Palestinians are resisting Israel’s military Occupation and apartheid, Ethiopian Jews should mount their own resistance for greater rights. Their resistance must be predicated on the understanding that Palestinians and Arabs are not the enemy but potential allies in a joint fight against racism, apartheid and socio-economic marginalisation.

January 24, 2023 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

‘Science Fiction Medicine’: Moderna Developing mRNA Injection to Treat Heart Failure

By Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D. | The Defender | January 17, 2023

Moderna raked in significant earnings in 2022, based on $18.4 billion in sales of its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine — the company’s one and only product on the market.

But in a Jan. 9 update on the company’s “industry-leading mRNA pipeline,” Moderna told investors it is developing multiple new mRNA products — including a treatment designed to be injected directly into the hearts of patients who have sustained heart attacks or heart failure.

Moderna said it launched a phase 1B clinical trial of its mRNA-0184 injection, which it said: “encodes for relaxin, a naturally occurring hormone that is known to cause hemodynamic changes that are potentially beneficial for heart failure patients.”

The company stated:

“The mRNA sequence of mRNA-0184 is engineered to instruct the body to produce relaxin with an extended half-life, with the goal of producing a sustained clinical benefit in heart failure patients — this longer half-life may result in more durable effects compared to previous approaches.”

According to the Daily Mail, mRNA-0184 “uses the same technology as the company’s flagship COVID jab and is designed for people weeks or months after a heart attack to help them recover,” by “instructing human heart cells to generate a hormone that is known to improve blood flow, helping restore damaged heart muscles.”

Patients in the trial “have stable heart failure and the trial will determine how safe the shot is and how well patients can tolerate it, as well as perfecting the dosage amount and frequency.”

In a Nov. 4, 2021, presentation introducing the novel mRNA-0184 therapy, Moderna claimed its “relaxin program … is being developed to treat decompensated heart failure.”

Relaxin is “a naturally occurring hormone that is known to cause” changes to blood flow that are “potentially beneficial for heart failure patients,” according to the company.

federal disclosure filed by Moderna on Dec. 21, 2022, regarding its phase 1B clinical study indicates that 98 participants are expected to be enrolled and that the study is expected to be completed by May 7, 2024.

The clinical trials are taking place at six locations in Poland and the U.K.

In an October 2022 interview with Sky News Australia, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said:

“We are now in a super exciting program where we inject mRNA in people’s hearts after a heart attack to grow back new blood vessels and re-vascularize the heart.

“It’s a bit like science fiction medicine but that’s what is really exciting to me.”

Prior to jumping into the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, Moderna had a long history of failure, as persistent safety concerns and other doubts about its mRNA delivery system threatened its entire product pipeline, according to investigative journalist Whitney Webb.

‘No safety track record’ for this type of genetic therapy, expert says

Cardiologist Dr. Peter McCullough, an outspoken critic of COVID-19 vaccines, was less enthusiastic than Bancel about Moderna’s mRNA injection targeting heart disease.

McCullough told The Defender :

“There is no safety track record for genetic therapies that introduce functional code for production of a protein for an uncontrolled quantity and uncontrolled duration of time. There are no assurances on long-term safety of mRNA technology.”

Previous similar efforts have failed, McCullough said, casting doubt on the possibility of success for the mRNA-0184 injection.

“In a large trials program, Novartis failed to show benefit with a similar hormone, serelaxin, thus the Moderna product looks unattractive as a heart failure therapeutic,” he said.

The Gateway Pundit, reporting on Moderna’s announcement, remarked, “In short, Moderna will fix the problem it created,” in a thinly veiled reference to the increased prevalence of heart disease and heart failure among individuals who received COVID-19 vaccines.

Moderna announces several more mRNA vaccines and therapeutics that are in its pipeline

Moderna stated that it has 48 programs in development, including 36 in ongoing clinical studies.

“Moderna continues to scale, now with 48 programs in development, including 36 programs in clinical trials encompassing mRNA infectious disease vaccines and mRNA therapeutics spanning seven different modalities,” the statement read.

Bancel said:

“We enter 2023 in a great position, with significant momentum across our clinical pipeline, a highly energized team and a strong balance sheet of over $18 billion of cash and cash equivalents.

“With our infectious disease franchise continuing to accelerate with exciting near-term catalysts for RSV [respiratory syncytial virus] Phase 3 data and Flu Phase 3 data, and recent breakthroughs in the development of individualized cancer treatments, as well as our rapid advancement in rare diseases and promising cardiology programs, the Moderna platform is delivering across several modalities.

“Our progress is meeting the high expectations we set out a few years ago, and with encouraging clinical data across the entire Moderna platform, we are accelerating our investments to deliver the greatest possible impact to people through mRNA medicines … 2023 is going to be a very exciting year for Moderna, and most importantly, for patients.”

These “exciting” developments, according to the company, include candidate vaccines and therapeutics for flu, RSVcytomegalovirus and cystic fibrosis, as well as a “personalized cancer vaccine.”

As previously reported by The Defender, several Big Pharma companies, including Moderna, are vying to develop an RSV vaccine, despite repeated failed attempts to develop a vaccine for this illness in the past. These efforts have been ramped up just as many regions in the U.S. and worldwide are reporting outbreaks of RSV.

Moderna’s RSV candidate vaccine, which utilizes mRNA technology and is known under the identifier mRNA-1345, is currently in a phase 3 clinical study, according to the company’s announcement.

Moderna is also conducting two studies, with participants in the Northern and Southern hemispheres, of its candidate mRNA-1010 seasonal influenza vaccine, which also utilizes mRNA technology.

In conjunction with Merck, Moderna announced its mRNA-4157/V940 candidate vaccine — specifically, a “personalized” cancer vaccine that has been trialed on melanoma patients and which, according to Moderna, is the first treatment to have demonstrated “efficacy for an investigational mRNA cancer treatment in a randomized clinical trial.”

In addition to injectables, Moderna also announced the ongoing development of an inhalable mRNA therapy, VX-522, “mRNA targeted at treating the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis” that is “delivered to the lung.”

The company said it expects continued sales of its COVID-19 mRNA vaccine in 2023, stating “expected minimum COVID-19 vaccines sales of approximately $5.0 billion” and “potential additional contracts in the United States, Europe, Japan, and other key markets.”

Moderna’s announcement also referenced several recent acquisitions and new partnerships the company has entered into.

This includes the acquisition of OriCiro Genomics, “a Japanese company with a novel development approach for cell-free synthesis and amplification of plasmid DNA, a key building block of mRNA manufacturing.”

A “strategic research collaboration” with CytomX Therapeutics was also announced, “for [the] development of mRNA-based conditionally activated therapeutics for oncology and non-oncology conditions.”

Moderna’s ongoing partnership with Metagenomi, “to accelerate the development of in vivo gene editing therapeutics,” was also highlighted in its announcement. Metagenomi is funded by Bayer, which acquired Monsanto, producer of the widely used weedkiller Roundup, in 2018.

As previously reported by The Defender, thousands of lawsuits are currently pending in the U.S., claiming that Roundup causes cancer.

Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D., based in Athens, Greece, is a senior reporter for The Defender and part of the rotation of hosts for CHD.TV’s “Good Morning CHD.”

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.

January 24, 2023 Posted by | Aletho News | | 2 Comments

Pregnant Women Reject COVID-19 Vaccination

Post-Partum Hemorrhage Among Many Reasons to Decline Experimental Injection

By Peter A. McCullough, MD, MPH | Courageous Discourse | January 18, 2023

Early in 2021 the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology accepted an undisclosed amount of money from the US government (HHS WH) as part of the COVID-19 Community Corps Program. From that point forward, ACOG broke with traditional practice on experimental and and novel therapies being contraindicated, and with federal dollars in hand, moved to a wholesale endorsement of COVID-19 vaccination with no assurances on short or long-term safety. Throughout the campaign, enthusiasm for vaccination was tepid among gravid women with <20% at any time having accepted a vaccine. However, the sharpest decline in rates of uptake occurred in the gravid and by summer of 2022, fewer than 2% were getting vaccinated.

There were no large scale randomized, placebo-controlled double blind clinical trials demonstrating safety in pregnant women. The non-randomized literature was prone to financial conflict-of-interest bias since the doctors and editors were likely affiliated with ACOG, and influenced by the government money and aspiration to promote mass vaccination. Thus, as a clinical scientist, my concern is only the neutral papers on safety were being written and published. A paper by Dick et al, caught my attention by reporting a nearly fourfold post-partum hemorrhage rate among those triple compared to double vaccinated. One could imagine how large the magnitude would have been compared to unvaccinated where hemostasis is not impaired.

Dick A, Rosenbloom JI, Karavani G, Gutman-Ido E, Lessans N, Chill HH. Safety of third SARS-CoV-2 vaccine (booster dose) during pregnancy. Am J Obstet Gynecol MFM. 2022 Jul;4(4):100637. doi: 10.1016/j.ajogmf.2022.100637. Epub 2022 Apr 7. PMID: 35398583; PMCID: PMC8988438.

In 2021, McCullough and Stricker published that because of the known dangerous mechanism of action of COVID-19 vaccination and the lack of any assurances on maternal-fetal safety, that all of the products are considered pregnancy category X which means they should not be used. This message got out to the community and rates of vaccination have progressively winnowed. As we sit here today, we should understand that ACOG and the OB/GYN community is compromised and thereby putting the maternal-fetal health of women at risk by promoting COVID-19 vaccination. Under no circumstances should a woman of childbearing potential or gravid should receive a COVID-19 vaccine. It is absolutely contraindicated.

Dick A, Rosenbloom JI, Karavani G, Gutman-Ido E, Lessans N, Chill HH. Safety of third SARS-CoV-2 vaccine (booster dose) during pregnancy. Am J Obstet Gynecol MFM. 2022 Jul;4(4):100637. doi: 10.1016/j.ajogmf.2022.100637. Epub 2022 Apr 7. PMID: 35398583; PMCID: PMC8988438.

McCullough PA Lack of Compelling Safety data for mRNA COVID Vaccines in Pregnant Women, 2021

January 24, 2023 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Davos’ Damndest Delusion: FBI As Good Guys?

By Jim Bovard | The Libertarian Institute | January 24, 2023

You can judge an audience by how much bullshit they accept from the podium. By that standard, the World Economic Forum attendees in Davos, Switzerland last week were either depraved or craven. Why else would FBI chief Christopher Wray not get hooted down for portraying his agency as “good guys?”

Why was the FBI boss even making an appearance at a conference chockful of political weasels, billionaires, and depraved activists like former Vice President Al Gore? Actually, Wray was part of a panel on national security that included luminaries such as Ukrainian Vice-Prime Minister Yulia Svyrydenko, who could have offered insights from her government’s perpetual failed war against pervasive corruption. Wray boasted that “the level of collaboration between the private sector and the government, especially the FBI has, I think, made significant strides.”

A month before Wray’s appearance, Americans learned that “collaboration” meant the FBI massively censoring Twitter in recent years. As journalist Matt Taibbi revealed, “As the election approached in 2020, the FBI overwhelmed Twitter with requests, sending spreadsheets with hundreds of accounts.” The official browbeating continued until very recently. In an internal email from November 5, 2022, the FBI’s National Election Command Post sent the FBI San Francisco field office (which dealt directly with Twitter) “a long list of accounts that ‘may warrant additional action’” — i.e., suppression. The FBI pressured Twitter to torpedo parody accounts that only idiots or federal agents would not recognize as humor. Taibbi wrote, “The master-canine quality of the FBI’s relationship to Twitter comes through in this November 2022 email, in which ‘FBI San Francisco is notifying you’ it wants action on four accounts.”

The FBI condemned the TwitterFiles as “conspiracy theorists… feeding the American public misinformation with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency.” But Taibbi and his colleagues didn’t fabricate the emails the FBI sent to Twitter.

On that Davos panel last week, Wray dramatically placed both hands on his chest and declared, “The good guys are constrained by the rule of law and international norms. The bad guys aren’t.” But that self-evident truth is tricky to reconcile with the history of FBI surveillance crime sprees.

In October 2001, the Patriot Act gave the FBI a green light to cannibalize the nation’s email with its Carnivore email wiretapping system. Carnivore was contained in a black box that the FBI compelled Internet service providers to attach to their operating system. Though Carnivore might be authorized for a single person, Carnivore could automatically impound the email of all the customers using that service. The ACLU’s Barry Steinhardt observed, “Carnivore is roughly equivalent to a wiretap capable of accessing the contents of the conversations of all of the phone company’s customers, with the ‘assurance’ that the FBI will record only conversations of the specified target.”

The Patriot Act authorized life sentences in prison for computer hackers who maliciously spread viruses but federal agents were exempt from the law. The FBI created a special program to send emails to individuals to infect their computers with malware that enabled keystroke monitoring and automatic detection of all passwords. Norton, McAfee, and other computer security firms secretly agreed to leave a backdoor for the FBI to exploit with no warning to computer users. James Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology observed, “In order for the government to seize your diary or read your letters, they have to knock on your door with a search warrant. But [FBI malware] would allow them to seize these without notice.” The FBI also developed malware permitting it to covertly turn on a computer’s camcorder “without triggering the light that lets users know it is recording,” as The Washington Post reported in 2013.

The Patriot Act made it far easier for FBI agents to snatch personal data via National Security Letters (NSLs). These subpoenas compel individuals, businesses, and other institutions to surrender confidential or proprietary information that the FBI claims is related to a national security investigation. NSLs enable the FBI to seize records that reveal “where a person makes and spends money, with whom he lives and lived before, how much he gambles, what he buys online, what he pawns and borrows, where he travels, how he invests, what he searches for and reads on the Web, and who telephones or e-mails him at home and at work,” The Washington Post noted in 2005.

The number of NSLs increased by a hundredfold after 9/11. There is no judicial oversight of this power, and each FBI field office is entitled to dictate its own NSLs. Almost every NSL was accompanied by a gag order: Anyone who discloses that their data had been raided by the FBI could be sent to prison for five years.

By 2006, the FBI was issuing 50,000 NSLs a year. A single NSL can lasso thousands of people’s records, including all the clients of public libraries or book store customers. In 2007, an Inspector General report revealed that more than 10,000 NSLs  may have violated federal law. Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL), declared that the IG report “confirms the American people’s worst fears about the Patriot Act.” Rather than arresting FBI agents who brazenly broke the law, FBI chief Robert Mueller created a new FBI Office of Integrity and Compliance.

But the FBI was just getting warmed up. In 1978, Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to outlaw political spying (such as the FBI had committed) on American citizens. FISA created a secret court to oversee federal surveillance of suspected foreign agents within the U.S., permitting a much more lenient standard for wiretaps than the Constitution permitted for American citizens.

FISA warrants authorize the FBI to “conduct, simultaneous telephone, microphone, cell phone, e-mail and computer surveillance of the U.S. person target’s home, workplace and vehicles. Similar breadth is accorded the FBI in physical searches of the target’s residence, office, vehicles, computer, safe deposit box and U.S. mails,” a court decision noted. People surveilled under FISA orders rarely learn the feds have been intruding unless they are arrested as a result. And the FISA court rubberstamps 99.9% of all FBI search warrant requests.

The FISA court “created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans,” The New York Times reported in 2013 after Edward Snowden leaked court decisions. The court rubber-stamped FBI requests that bizarrely claimed that the telephone records of all Americans were “relevant” to a terrorism investigation under the Patriot Act, thereby enabling N.S.A. data seizures later denounced by a federal judge as “almost Orwellian.” In 2017, a FISA court decision included a 10-page litany of FBI violations, which “ranged from illegally sharing raw intelligence with unauthorized third parties to accessing intercepted attorney-client privileged communications without proper oversight.”

After the 2016 election, FBI officials devoted themselves to crippling Trump’s presidency with fabricated evidence on Russia collusion. Kevin Clinesmith, a top FBI lawyer, was convicted for falsifying evidence to secure a FISA warrant to unjustifiably target Trump campaign officials. A 2019 Inspector General report concluded that FBI officials made 17 “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in its application to the FISA court to spy on former Trump advisor Carter Page. The FBI withheld details from the court that would have crippled the credibility of the warrant request.

In 2021, a FISA court report revealed that the FBI has conducted warrantless searches of a massive data trove compiled by the National Security Agency for “public corruption and bribery,” “health care fraud,” and other targets — including people who notified the FBI of crimes and even repairmen entering FBI offices. Even people who volunteered for the FBI “Citizens Academy” program were illegally tracked by the FBI. In 2019, an FBI agent conducted an unjustified database search “using the identifiers of about 16,000 people, even though only seven of them had connections to an investigation,” The New York Times reported. In 2021, the FBI carried out more than 3 million warrantless searches on U.S. persons, according to data revealed in early 2022.

Maybe FBI boss Wray believes that the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of unreasonable warrantless searches doesn’t apply to “good guys.” The audience in Switzerland might have cheered him for making that assertion. Has the World Economic Forum ever seen a government surveillance scheme that it didn’t like?

Instead of swallowing Wray’s piffle, Americans should heed former FBI chief James Comey. In 2015, Comey told a congressional committee: “You should not trust me…because you cannot trust people with power.” President Trump followed that advice and fired Comey two years later. But Comey’s point remains a better lodestar for judging the FBI than the hokum currently prevailing in the mainstream media, on Capitol Hill, or at scheming Swiss confabs.

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. He is a member of the USA Today Board of Contributors and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Playboy, Washington Post, and other publications. His articles have been publicly denounced by the chief of the FBI, the Postmaster General, the Secretary of HUD, and the heads of the DEA, FEMA, and EEOC and numerous federal agencies.

January 24, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , | Leave a comment

Evidence says offshore wind development is killing lots of whales

By David Wojick | CFACT | January 23, 2023

The recent deaths of seven whales off New Jersey, mostly humpbacks, got a lot of attention. The federal NOAA Fisheries agency is responsible for whales. An outrageous statement by their spokesperson got me to do some research on humpback whale deaths.

The results are appalling. The evidence seems clear that offshore wind development is killing whales by the hundreds.

Here is the statement as reported in the press:

“NOAA said it has been studying what it calls unusual mortality events” involving 174 humpback whales along the East Coast since January 2016. Agency spokesperson Lauren Gaches said that period pre-dates offshore wind preparation activities in the region.” Gaches is NOAA Fisheries press chief.

The “unusual mortality” data is astounding. Basically the humpback death rate roughly tripled starting in 2016 and continued high thereafter. You can see it here:

But the claim that this huge jump in mortality predates offshore wind preparation activities is wildly false. In fact it coincides with the large scale onset of these activities. This strong correlation is strong evidence of causation, especially since no other possible cause has appeared.

To begin with, offshore lease sales really geared up 2015-16, with nine big sales off New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Massachusetts. These sales must have generated a lot of activity, likely including potentially damaging sonar.

In fact 2016 also saw the beginning of what are called geotechnical and site characterization surveys. These surveys are actually licensed by NOAA Fisheries, under what are called Incidental Harassment Authorizations or IHA’s.

There is some seriously misleading jargon here. IHA’s are incidental to some other activity, in this case offshore wind development. They are not incidental to the whales. In fact the term “harassment” specifically includes injuring the whales. That is called “level A harassment”.

To date NOAA has issued an astounding 46 one-year IHA’s for offshore wind sites. Site characterization typically includes the protracted use of what I call “machine gun sonar”. This shipboard device emits an incredibly loud noise several times a second, often for hours at a time, as the ship slowly maps the sea floor.

Mapping often takes many days to complete. A blaster can log hundreds of miles surveying a 10-by-10 mile site. Each IHA is typically for an entire year.

Here is a list of the IHA’s issued to date and those applied for:

There are lots of ways this sonar blasting might cause whales to die. Simply fleeing the incredible noise could cause ship strikes or fish gear entanglements, the two leading causes of whale deaths. Or the whales could be deafened, increasing their chances of being struck by a ship later on. Direct bleeding injury, like getting their ears damaged, is another known risk, possibly leading to death from infection. So there can be a big time difference between blasting and death.

Note also that these deaths need not be in the immediate vicinity of the sonar blasting, so spatial correlation is unlikely. Humpbacks in particular are prodigious travelers. One group was tracked traveling 3,000 miles in just 28 days, over 100 miles a day on average. Another group routinely migrates 5,000 miles. Both are winter-summer migrations which can happen twice a year.

Thus a sonar blasting, site characterization in one place could easily lead to multiple whale deaths hundreds of miles away. If one of these blasters suddenly goes off near a group of whales they might go off in different directions, then slowly die.

The point is that the huge 2016 jump in annual humpback mortality coincides with the huge jump in NOAA Incidental Harassment Authorizations. It is that simple and surely NOAA Fisheries knows this.

Nor is this just about humpbacks. Some of the dead whales off New Jersey are endangered sperm whales. And of course there are the severely endangered North Atlantic Right Whales, on the verge of extinction.

Even worse, the IHA’s are about to make a much bigger jump. There are eleven pending IHA applications and eight of these are for actually constructing 8 different monster wind “farms”.

Driving the hundreds of enormous monopiles that hold up the turbine towers and blades will be far louder than the sonic blasters approved to date, especially with eight sites going at once. These construction sites range from Virginia to Massachusetts, with a concentration off New Jersey and New York.

For more on this noise see my

Clearly we need a moratorium on new Incidental Harassment Authorizations until the safety of the whales and other marine species can be assured. Hundreds of whales may have already been killed by offshore wind activities. The evidence is right there.

David Wojick, Ph.D. is an independent analyst working at the intersection of science, technology and policy. For origins see For over 100 prior articles for CFACT see

January 24, 2023 Posted by | Environmentalism | | Leave a comment

US ‘Not Prepared’ for War With China, Claims Think Tank Funded by Arms Industry

Sputnik – 24.01.2023

Surprise! One of the military-industrial complex’s favorite think tanks is once again calling to ramp up weapons production.

The US has so thoroughly depleted its military supply reserves that it’s “not adequately prepared” for a long-term war with China, a leading American military-industrial complex think tank claimed Monday.

A war games simulation conducted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) reportedly found that the US would be likely to deplete its supply of long-range, precision-guided missiles in under a week of “protracted conventional war” against China in the Taiwan Strait.

The study claims the Biden administration’s insistence on sending over 8,500 Javelin missile systems and at least 1,600 Stinger missile systems to Ukraine means the US military’s inventory is now running low.

“The bottom line is the defense industrial base, in my judgment, is not prepared for the security environment that now exists,” CSIS Vice President Seth Jones claimed in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

“How do you effectively deter [China] if you don’t have sufficient stockpiles of the kinds of munitions you’re going to need for a China-Taiwan Strait kind of scenario?” Jones reportedly asked.

His assessment within the study was similarly glum.

“The main problem is that the US defense industrial base — including the munitions industrial base — is not currently equipped to support a protracted conventional war,” the researcher complained.

Jones claims his conclusions are based on “publicly available data on weapons systems and munitions, including data compiled by the [Department of Defense]… interviews with dozens of officials from the DoD, Congress, the defense industry, and subject matter experts,” and “the results of war games and other analyses.”

It’s unclear just how independent their assessments are, however, given that CSIS rakes in millions a year from multinational corporations, including some of the world’s most notorious weapons suppliers – like Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Raytheon.

January 24, 2023 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism | | 2 Comments

Ukraine war’s first anniversary and beyond


The first anniversary of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine falls on February 24. The Russian strategy of attrition war has not yet produced the desired political outcome but has been a success nonetheless.  

The delusional “westernist” notions of the Moscow elite that Russia can be a dialogue partner of the West have dissipated thoroughly, with ex-German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s stunning disclosure recently that the West’s negotiations with Russia regarding the Minsk Agreement were an “attempt to give Ukraine time” and that Kiev had used it “to become stronger.” 

Moscow reacted with bitterness and a sense of humiliation that the Russian ruling elite were taken for a ride. This awareness impacts the Ukraine conflict as it enters the second year. Thus, the annexation of the four regions of Ukraine — Donetsk and Lugansk [Donbass], Zaporozhye, Kherson oblasts — and Crimea, accounting for around one-fifth of Ukrainian territory, is a fait accompli now, and Kiev’s recognition of it is a pre-requisite for any future peace talks. 

Moscow’s initial optimism in February-March that “the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting” (Sun Tzu) has also given way to the realism that the Biden Administration will not allow the war to end anytime soon until Russia is bled white and weakened. This led to  the Russian withdrawal from Kharkhov and Kherson regions with a view to create a well-fortified defence line and dig in. 

Putin finally accepted the army commanders’ demand for a partial mobilisation. The ensuing big deployment in Ukraine, alongside the build-up in Belarus, has put Russia for the first time in a commanding position militarily as the war enters the second year.

The Kremlin has put necessary mechanisms in place to galvanise the defence industry and the economy to meet the needs of the military operations in Ukraine. From a long-term perspective, one historic outcome of the conflict is going to be Russia’s emergence as an unassailable military power that draws comparison with the Soviet Red Army, which the West will never again dare to confront. This is yet to sink in. 

Today, the Chief of the General Staff General Valery Gerasimov stated in an extraordinary interview with the journal Argumenti i Fakti that the newly approved Armed Forces development plan will guarantee the protection of Russia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and “create conditions for progress in the country’s social and economic development.

Under the plan approved by Putin, the Moscow and the Leningrad military districts will be created, three motorised rifle divisions will be formed in the Kherson and the Zaporozhye oblasts (that have been annexed in September) and an army corps will be built in the northwestern region of Karelia bordering Finland.    

The internal western assessment is that the war is going badly for Ukraine. Spiegel reported last week that Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) “informed security politicians of the Bundestag in a secret meeting this week that the Ukrainian army is currently losing a three-digit number of soldiers every day in battles.”  

The BND told the German MPs that it is particularly “alarmed by the high losses of the Ukrainian army in the battle for the strategically important city of Bakhmut” (in Donetsk) and warned that “the Russians’ capture of Bakhmut would have significant consequences, as it would allow Russia to make further forays into the interior of the country.”  

Again, a Reuters report quoted a senior Biden Administration official who was speaking to a small group of reporters in Washington on Friday that there is “a high possibility” that the Russians will push the Ukrainians out of Bakhmut, which western military experts have called the “lynchpin” of the entire Ukrainian defence line in Donbass.

On the other hand, the Biden Administration is hoping to buy time till spring to revamp the pulverised Ukrainian military and equip it with advanced weaponry. The old stocks of Soviet-era weaponry have been exhausted and future supplies to Ukraine will have to be from hardware in service with NATO countries. That is easier said than done, and the western defence industry will need time to restart production.

All the bravado that Kiev is preparing for an offensive to drive the Russians out of Ukraine has vanished. The signs are that a Russian offensive may have begun on the southern front, which is steadily advancing toward Zaporozhye city, a major industrial hub in Ukraine. 

This offensive would have profound implications. Capture of the remaining 25% of the territory in Zaporozhye oblast, which is still under Kiev’s control, will make the land bridge between Crimea and the Russian hinterland impregnable to Ukrainian counter-offensive as well as strengthen the Russian control of the Azov Sea ports (which connect the Caspian Sea with the Black Sea and the Volga–Don Shipping Canal leading to St.Petersburg), apart from dramatically weakening the entire Ukrainian military deployment in Donbass and in the steppes on the eastern side of Dnieper River.  

The big picture, therefore, as the war enters the second year is that the West is working feverishly on plans, with the Biden Administration leading from the rear, to deliver heavy armour to the Ukrainian military by spring, including German Leopard tanks. If that happens, Russia is sure to retaliate with strikes on supply routes and warehouses in western Ukraine. 

On Thursday, Dmitry Medvedev, the outspoken former Russian president who is close to Putin and serves as deputy chairman of the powerful security council, explicitly warned, “Nuclear powers have never lost major conflicts on which their fate depends.”

However, there are mitigating factors. First, the results of Davos 2023 and the meeting of NATO defence ministers in Ramstein on Friday as well as the inter-party disputes in Washington over the budget and the US debt ceiling, etc. are pushing the Biden Administration to make a choice between a risky continuation of confrontation with Russia or slowing down the gravy train running through Ukraine, fixing their profits with the withdrawal from the project. For the Zelensky regime, this will mean that the good things in life may be coming to an end. 

Last week, the influential Russian daily Izvestia featured an incisive essay authored by Viktor Medvedchuk, the veteran Ukrainian MP and oligarch-politician (based in Moscow currently) to the effect that “the process has started” in the unraveling of the regime in Kiev. 

Medvedchuk reminds us of “an interesting trend” in Ukrainian politics. President Poroshenko had promised peace with Russia in one week but once in power did not fulfil the Minsk agreements, and “miserably lost the next election.” He was replaced by Vladimir Zelensky, who also promised a settlement with Russia in Donbass, but instead became “the personification of war. That is, the Ukrainian people are promised peace, and then they are deceived.” The western press has shoved under the carpet the reality that Zelensky’s support base is small and there is a silent majority that pines for peace. 

The death of interior minister Denys Monastyrsky, a longtime aide to Zelensky, and his first deputy Yevgeny Enin in a helicopter crash in Kiev week ago in mysterious circumstances raises eyebrows, since the Ukrainian neo-Nazi militias operate out of his ministry. Only a day earlier came the surprise development of the resignation of Zelensky’s top adviser Alexey Arestovich for allegedly casting aspersions on the Ukrainian military. 

In TV interviews since then, Arestovich has been voicing his misgivings about the conduct of the war. Then, there has been the murder of Denis Kireev, who was an important participant in the March peace talks with Russia. A major personnel shakeup today, following corruption claims, involved a deputy prosecutor general, the deputy head of the president’s office, the deputy defence minister and five regional governors so far. 

Over and above this fluidity in Kiev, there is the ‘X’ factor — US domestic politics as it approaches the 2024 election year. The Republicans are insisting on an auditing of the tens of billions of dollars spent on Ukraine — $110 billion in military aid alone — making the Biden Administration accountable. The CIA chief William Burns paid an unpublicised visit to Kiev, reportedly to transmit the message that US arms supplies beyond July may become problematic. 

On the other hand, revelations are growing on President Biden’s handling of classified documents, which may include sensitive materials on Ukraine. These are early days, but the 13-hour FBI search of his personal residence in Delaware on Friday is generating new questions about White House transparency on the issue. New developments in the document scandal could cut into Biden’s support as he prepares to announce a reelection bid.

All things taken into account, therefore, one tends to agree with Medvedchuk’s prognosis that the Ukraine conflict, as it enters the second year, “will either grow further, spreading to Europe and other countries, or it will be localised and resolved.” 

January 24, 2023 Posted by | Aletho News | 1 Comment

‘Dishonest to the Point of Misinformation’: Federal Reserve Dragged for Odd Defense Spending Graph

By Fantine Gardinier – Sputnik – 23.01.2023

After the St. Louis Federal Reserve tweeted out a highly misleading line graph of several nations’ defense expenditures on Monday, users highlighted its ham-fisted and deceptive nature with both humor and facts.

The tweet linked to a January 3 article about the patterns of defense spending around the world in light of the conflict in Ukraine, highlighting the steady and rapid increase of China’s military budget since the early 1990s.

However, the graph accompanying it, which was included in the tweet, has been modified in an unconventional way: while the spending by five of the nations is measured on the Y-axis on the left side of the graph, as is traditionally the case, for the line representing the United States, the Fed used a bizarre separate Y-axis on the right side of the graph.

As a result, at a glance it seems China’s spending has rocketed far above every other nation’s, including the United States’, when in fact it remains barely one-third of the amount.

As replies poured in denouncing the Fed’s deception, a few users tweeted accurate versions of the graph, if the US’ line had been placed on the same Y-axis scale as the other five nations.

Others tore into the Fed in a more rhetorical way, or simply clowned on the absurdity of the graph.

“If a student made this graph for a statistics 101 class, the teacher would give them an F,” quipped journalist Ben Norton. “But because it involves Washington’s public enemy number one, Beijing, the ‘experts’ at the St. Louis Fed were awarded a Golden Star for service in the New Cold War.”

“Congrats on making the most misleading chart of 2023 so far!” said one user. “This is dishonest to the point of misinformation,” wrote another.

One person joked the situation was another example of “American exceptionalism.”

Someone even dropped an image of the cover of the 1954 book “How to Lie With Statistics” by former tobacco lobbyist Darrel Huff, with the message “I see you’ve read one of my favorite books.”

Some dropped other graphs that they felt better illustrated the drama of the difference between US defense spending and that of other nations.


According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), global military spending reached $2.1 trillion in 2021, with the US spending $804 billion of that by itself. By comparison, China spent $293 billion on its military that year. The US spent so much on its military, it spent more than the next nine countries combined, including China.

The most recent Pentagon budget, signed by US President Joe Biden last month, was a whopping $816.7 billion.

January 24, 2023 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | | 2 Comments

EU’s financial support for Ukraine now just shy of €50bn

By Jerome Hughes | Press TV | January 24, 2023

Brussels – Ukrainian officials took part in a meeting of EU foreign affairs ministers on Monday via video link. An additional €500m military aid package for Kiev was confirmed, but the EU is at pains to point out that’s just a drop in the ocean compared to what the bloc has already provided since last March.

Just a few days ago in the European Parliament, the strategy was condemned.

Workers have taken to the streets of Brussels to demand peace negotiations.

EU foreign ministers adopted a fresh round of sanctions against Iran on Monday over alleged human rights abuses. The grounds for such sanctions are vehemently rejected by Tehran. Critics say the West’s policy towards Russia and Iran is being driven by Washington.

Analysts say the EU’s access to markets in these countries is being hampered due to influence from the United States, and ultimately it is ordinary citizens who are paying the price.

Also on Monday, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh updated EU foreign ministers on the appalling situation in the occupied territories. There was absolutely no discussion on the EU side regarding possible sanctions against Israel.

January 24, 2023 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Calls for Khan Al-Ahmar’s demolition speak of colonial violence and privilege

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | January 24, 2023

The former Israeli ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, has told a Likud faction meeting that “illegal Palestinian construction” in the occupied West Bank is “rampant”. He wasn’t being honest.

“Last Friday we made it clear that supporting settlements does not contradict upholding the law,” he claimed. “The defence minister received our backing. We expect the defence minister to act with the same determination in the face of rampant Palestinian illegal construction in the West Bank. We will no longer tolerate discrimination against the settlers.”

Israeli settlements and settlers are, of course, illegal under international law, something that Danon is adept at overlooking when he makes such outrageous claims.

As the Israeli government prepares to submit its response to the High Court over the impending demolition of the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan Al-Ahmar, Danon and Likud MK Yuli Edelstein visited the village, calling for its demolition and accusing the government of selective enforcement over the evacuation of the Or Chaim illegal settler outpost in the occupied West Bank.

In an op-ed, Danon described the EU’s funding of infrastructure in Khan Al-Ahmar as “subversive involvement of international entities in Israel’s domestic affairs” and accused the bloc of violating Israel’s sovereignty and international law. “It is part of an ulterior agenda that seeks to delegitimise Israel’s historical claim to its own land,” Danon wrote.

Completely eliminating Israel’s colonial context and the fact that Khan Al-Ahmar is built on Israeli-occupied Palestinian land, Danon referred to the evacuation of Or Chaim and said, “The law is the law and must be applied to all citizens and communities, Jews and Arabs alike.” However, there is no equivalence between the coloniser and the colonised, as Danon knows well.

Khan al-Ahmar has attracted enough international attention to become newsworthy periodically, and the related activism has ensured that Israel’s violations are fully exposed. The village, though, is also part of a long colonial process that seeks to dispossess Palestinians of their land. Its demolition is not an isolated incident. Earlier expulsions and destruction of properties, including the ethnic cleansing from the 1948 Nakba onwards, need to be kept in mind.

Israel benefits from the international community’s differentiation of colonial settlement expansion. It has gained a veneer of legitimacy for the earlier colonial settlements despite the atrocities committed by Zionist paramilitary terror gangs to establish control over Palestinian territory. Israeli law is justifiable only unto itself and the violence it created. In terms of equality and rights, there is no justification for Israel’s colonial expansion. Likewise, there is no equivalence in calling for the demolition of Khan Al-Ahmar because an illegal (even under Israeli law) settlement outpost was dismantled. Palestinians are rarely issued building permits on what remains of their land. Danon’s use of the word “rampant” is totally dishonest. Indeed, his words only reflect his country’s colonial violence and privilege when calling for Khan Al-Ahmar’s destruction, not to mention targeting an integral part of Palestinian resilience in the face of impending demolition orders.

Lest Danon forgets, Khan Al-Ahmar’s residents relocated to the area after being displaced by Israel in 1950, laying bare the lie of delegitimising “Israel’s historical claim to its own land”. Israel wants territorial contiguity to Jerusalem, not demolitions based on equal rights. Erasing the Palestinian landscape through colonial settlement expansion does not erase the fact that Israel’s settler-colonial population cannot lay legitimate claims to Palestinian land, and neither can the Israeli government. The only claim that Israel can make with any degree of accuracy and honesty is that it colonised Palestine and intends to finalise its colonial enterprise. Khan Al-Ahmar stands in the way of its plans, just as other Palestinian towns and villages did decades ago. More than 500 paid the price and were totally destroyed and wiped off the map.

January 24, 2023 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , | Leave a comment

US renews waiver for gas field shared by Iran and UK

Press TV – January 24, 2023

The US government has renewed a sanctions waiver for the Rhum gas field in the UK North Sea in which Iran has a 50% stake.

Iran is heavily sanctioned by the United States, but Britain’s Serica Energy which owns another 50% of the field has repeatedly secured waivers to maintain production from the field.

In a statement, Serica said it had secured another waiver extension that ensures that all companies linked to the field can provide services and goods without fear of US penalties.

“We are grateful to the UK government and regulatory authorities who have supported us in this process,” Serica Chief Executive Mitch Flegg was quoted as saying.

Serica Energy is responsible for 5% of the gas produced in the UK which is currently in turmoil over runaway prices of energy in the wake of the Ukraine war.

The UK firm expects its net production to increase by between 50 and 80 percent this year and that level of production to continue into 2025.

This would mean that the company would be producing up to 40,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, reports said.

Rhum, a gas filed located 240 miles (390 km) northeast of Aberdeen in Scotland, is one of the largest on the UK Continental Shelf.

Iran owns half of the stakes at the gas field based on a deal signed before the Islamic Revolution of 1979. The field is believed to be capable of producing more than five million cubic meters of natural gas.

Washington has imposed a series of harsh sanctions on Iran’s energy sector since 2018 when it pulled out of an international nuclear deal.

Pressure hardening

The Biden administration, however, is hardening its position. The Iraqi government is reportedly under immense pressure from Washington to stem the alleged flow of dollars into Iran.

In recent weeks, Iraq’s currency market has been wracked by turmoil after the US introduced tighter controls on international dollar transactions by commercial Iraqi banks in November.

Reports said the move was designed to curb the alleged siphoning of dollars to Iran and apply more pressure along with US sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic.

Iraqi MP Aqeel al-Fatlawi, however, said Washington was deliberately using the new regulations as a political weapon.

“Americans are using the dollar transfer rigid restrictions as warning messages to Prime Minister Sudani to stay tuned with the American interests. ‘Working against us could lead to bringing down your government’ – this is the American message,” the lawmaker said.

The price of consumer goods has increased and the Iraqi currency has taken a beating in the wake of the US restrictions.

And it has deepened anti-American sentiment among politicians in Iraq, which remains unstable nearly 20 years after a US-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein.

The US is also targeting Iran’s other major trade partners. On Monday, the Biden administration’s top Iran envoy said it will increase pressure on China to cease imports of Iranian oil.

China is the main destination of exports by Iran, and talks to dissuade Beijing from the purchases are “going to be intensified,” US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley told Bloomberg Television.

The US reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic and its petroleum exports in 2018 after pulling out of the nuclear agreement, with then president Donald Trump pledging that Washington was set to bring Iran’s oil exports down to zero.

That goal never realized, with Iranian sales continuing to reach the market despite the US “maximum pressure” to curb them.

“We have not lessened any of our sanctions against Iran and in particular regards to Iran’s sale of oil,” Malley said.

Iranian crude shipments have surged in recent months, including to China, the world’s biggest importer.

Malley said the US will “take steps that we need to take in order to stop the export of Iranian oil and deter countries from buying it”.

January 24, 2023 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment


The Highwire with Del Bigtree | January 19, 2023

Former ethics researcher at the W.H.O, Astrid Stuckelburger, PhD, sheds light on how our top world health agencies have used the COVID-19 pandemic to push a dangerous globalist agenda.

January 24, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | Leave a comment