Aletho News


Ex-Pentagon Analyst Doubts China Would Risk Sending Surveillance Balloon Over US

Sputnik – 04.02.2023

WASHINGTON – A former US defense official told Sputnik it is hard to imagine why China would risk sending an uncontrollable balloon with high-end surveillance equipment over the United States.

The Pentagon on Friday said it detected another Chinese surveillance balloon – this one transiting Latin America, which comes a day after the US identified the first one over Montana.

Beijing said the balloon over the US is a civilian airship intended for scientific research, however, Secretary of State Antony Blinken scrapped a high profile visit to China over the incident.

“It is hard to imagine why the Chinese would risk sending military-grade surveillance equipment in a vulnerable, uncontrollable balloon that cannot even be directed to a specific target,” former Pentagon analyst Chuck Spinney said. “These high altitude balloons basically go with the wind-flows.”

US constitutional historian and political commentator Dan Lazare said the US response has been a gross overreaction. Canceling an important diplomatic trip over something as trivial as this is absurd, he added.

China’s foreign ministry on Friday said the airship deviated far from its planned course and regrets the unintended entry into US airspace due to force majeure.

February 3, 2023 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 2 Comments

Content production company for RT’s sister channel ceases operations, citing crackdown on media freedom

RT | February 3, 2023

RT DE Productions – a German-based company that produces content for the RT DE TV channel and website in Moscow – has announced that it’s halting all its operations in the country. The company cited “the repressive state of media freedoms within the EU.”

The latest round of sanctions adopted by Brussels has made any further activities of the company in Germany impossible, RT DE Productions said in a statement on Friday.

The ninth sanctions package introduced in December 2022 amounted to “effectively cutting off oxygen for staff,” the firm said, adding that the EU had “betrayed the reliance on the fundamental rights and freedoms recognized in the Charter of Fundamental Rights” of the bloc itself.

“The EU, in permitting the imposition of sanctions on media freedoms, has shown that the very values claimed to define the core of its existence are without any substance,” the statement read, adding that the freedom of the press “does not exist in Germany today.”

The production company also said it was “happy and proud” to be able to provide German-speaking audiences in multiple countries with “essential stories and opinions, often side-lined or overlooked by the mainstream media outlets.”

The sanctions package announced in December blacklisted RT’s parent company, TV-Novosti, as well as revoking the EU broadcasting licenses of Russian media outlets including NTV, NTV Mir, Rossiya 1, REN TV and Perviy Channel. Following the introduction of these new restrictions, Paris froze the accounts of RT France, citing the need to comply with the new regulations. The move forced RT’s French subsidiary to cease broadcasting.

Even before the conflict in Ukraine, RT had faced multiple obstacles to launching a live TV channel for a German audience back in 2021. German banks abruptly refused to work with the broadcaster, and Luxembourg shot down its licensing bid.

When the channel was eventually launched in December 2021, its YouTube page was immediately banned and European satellite TV operator Eutelsat took it off air shortly after, giving in to pressure from the German media regulator, MAAB. The regulator then demanded a broadcast ban on the RT DE channel, accusing RT DE Productions of broadcasting without a valid German license.

RT DE Productions is not a broadcaster, but a production company, while the RT DE channel was broadcast from Moscow under a valid EU-wide Serbian license. However, a German court sided with the media regulator in March 2022.

February 3, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Is the UK Health Security Agency Careless, Trolling or Knows Something We Don’t?

A strange Job Posting

The Naked Emperor’s Newsletter | February 3, 2023

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is currently advertising to recruit an individual for the position of “Vaccine Supply Operation Lead”. You have until 14th February 2023 to apply and can earn up to £62,286 (USD $76,174).

Nothing strange about that so far so why am I writing a post about it?

The weird part comes in the description about the job. In the ‘Job summary’ section it says the following: (emphasis my own)

The role of Vaccine Supply Operations Lead is a new post to support the operations, providing accurate and timely reports for a range of stakeholders during what is expected to be the UK’s largest vaccination programme which will be delivered at pace and will be a key Ministerial priority. The role will be directly responsible for the daily operational management of all covid related products, ensuring their timely distribution across the UK, Crown Dependencies, and Overseas Territories.

“The UK’s largest vaccination programme which will be delivered at pace and will be a key Ministerial priority.” Surely no vaccination programme could be larger than the Covid one? What could they be talking about?

As I see it, there are three possible explanations for this ominous sounding job description:

  1. The most obvious and likely reason is that the UKHSA have been sloppy. They have recruited someone to write an advert who is lazy, recycled previous material from the pandemic and hasn’t checked their work. However, I have tried to find a previous job description from which the wording may have been taken but with no luck so far. Furthermore, this posting has been up for a few days now, so you would think that any mistake would have been highlighted and corrected. When searching for the job, it is the third paragraph in the job summary, so not something buried away in mountains of text.
  2. The second reason is that someone in the UKHSA is trolling people like me who have been suspicious about the mRNA roll out. This may sound unlikely but they have recent form in this area. At the beginning of the pandemic, someone in the Civil Service who had clearly had enough, tweeted the following about the government.Tweet
  3. And the third and least likely reason is that the UKHSA are aware of some reason why a massive vaccination campaign may need to start up again. Whilst the least likely of the three options, it would be unwise to dismiss the idea completely.

February 3, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , | 1 Comment

Pfizer: sales before child safety

The inside story of how we held Pfizer to account for misleading parents about Covid vaccine safety

UsForThem · Broken Custodians · February 2, 2023

Free pass promotional opportunity given by BBC to Pfizer

On 2 December 2021, the BBC published on its website, its popular news app and in the BBC News at One programme, a video interview and an accompanying article under the headline Pfizer boss: Annual Covid jabs for years to come.

The interview by the BBC’s medical editor, Fergus Walsh, conducted as a friendly fireside chat, gave Dr Albert Bourla, the Chairman and CEO of Pfizer, a free pass promotional opportunity that money cannot buy — as the UK’s national public service broadcaster, the BBC is usually prohibited from carrying commercial advertising or product placement.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Pfizer made the most of that astonishing opportunity to promote the uptake of its vaccine product. As the BBC’s strapline suggests, the key message relayed by Dr Bourla, responding to an obediently leading question from Mr Walsh, was that many more vaccine shots would need to be bought and jabbed to maintain high levels of protection in the UK. He was speaking shortly before the UK Government bought another 54 million doses of Pfizer vaccines.

Misleading statements about safety

Among his explicit and implicit encouragements for the UK to order more of his company’s shots, Dr Bourla commented emphatically about the merits of vaccinating children under 12 years of age, saying “[So] there is no doubt in my mind that the benefits, completely are in favour of doing it [vaccinating 5 to 11 year olds in the UK and Europe]”. No mention of risks or potential adverse events, nor indeed the weighing of any factors other than apparent benefits: Dr Bourla was straightforwardly convinced that we should immunise millions more children in the UK.  In fact, it later emerged that the BBC’s article had misquoted Dr Bourla who in the full video interview recording had ventured the benefits to be “completely completely” in favour of vaccinating young children.

Despite the strength of Dr Bourla’s unconditional and superlative pitch for vaccinating under-12s, the UK regulatory authorities would not authorise the vaccine for use with those children until the very end of 2021; and indeed this came just a few months after the JCVI — the body which advises the Government on whether and when to deploy vaccines in the UK — had already declined to advise the Government to roll out a mass vaccination programme for healthy 12 to 15-year-olds on the basis that the margin of benefit, based primarily on a health perspective, is considered too small to support advice on a universal programme of vaccination of otherwise healthy 12 to 15-year old children….

In response, soon after the interview aired, UsForThem submitted a complaint to the UK’s Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA) — the regulator responsible for policing promotions of prescription medicines in the UK.  The complaint cited the overtly promotional nature of the BBC’s reports and challenged the compliance of Dr Bourla’s comments about children with the apparently strict rules governing the promotion of medicines in the UK.

A year-long, painful process

More than a year later, following a lengthy assessment process and an equally lengthy appeal by Pfizer of the PMCPA’s initial damning findings, the complaint and all of the PMCPA’s findings have been made public in a case report published on the regulator’s website.** Though some aspects of that complaint ultimately were not upheld on appeal, importantly an industry-appointed appeal board affirmed the PMCPA’s original findings that Dr Bourla’s comments on vaccinating 5 to 11-year-olds were promotional, and were both misleading and incapable of substantiation in relation to the safety of vaccinating that age group.

Even after UsForThem involved a number of prominent Parliamentarians, including Sir Graham Brady MP, to help accelerate the complaint, the process was dragged on — or perhaps ‘out’ — while the roll-out of Pfizer’s vaccine to UK under-12s proceeded, and the BBC’s interview and article stayed online.  Even now the interview remains available on the BBC’s website, despite the PMCPA in effect having characterised it as ‘misinformation’ as far as vaccinating children is concerned.

When news of the appeal outcome was first revealed in November 2022 by a reporter at The Daily Telegraph newspaper, Pfizer issued a comment to the effect that it takes compliance seriously and was pleased that the “most serious” of the PMCPA’s initial findings — that Pfizer had failed to maintain high standards and had brought discredit upon and lowered confidence in the pharmaceutical industry — had been overturned on appeal.

It must be an insular and self-regarding world that Pfizer inhabits, that discrediting the pharmaceutical industry is considered a more serious matter than making misleading and unsubstantiated statements about the safety of their products for use with children. This surely speaks volumes about the mindset and priorities of the senior executives at companies such as Pfizer.

And if misleading parents about the safety of a vaccine product for use with children does not discredit or reduce confidence in the pharmaceutical industry, it is hard to imagine what standard can have been applied by the appeal board which overturned that initial finding.  Perhaps this reflects the industry’s assessment of its own current reputation: that misinformation promulgated by one of its most senior executives is not discrediting.  According to the case report, the appeal board had regard to the “unique circumstances” of the pandemic: so perhaps the view was that Pfizer can’t always be expected to observe the rules when it gets busy.

Multiple breaches. No meaningful penalty

Indeed, a brief look at the PMCPA’s complaints log confirms that Pfizer has been found to have broken the UK medicines advertising rules in relation to its Covid vaccine a further four times since 2020.  Astonishingly, though, for their breaches in this most recent case, and in each of the other cases decided against it, neither Pfizer nor Dr Bourla will suffer any meaningful penalty (the PMCPA will have levied a small administrative charge to cover the cost of administering each complaint).  So in practice, neither has any incentive to regret the breach, or to avoid repeating it if it remains commercially expedient to do so.

And this is perhaps the crux of the issue: the PMCPA, the key UK regulator in this area, operates as a division of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, the UK industry’s trade body.  It is therefore a regulator funded by, and which exists only by the will of, the companies whose behaviour it is charged with overseeing.  Despite Pharma being one of the most lucrative and well-funded sectors of the business world, the largely self-regulatory system on which the industry has now for decades had the privilege to rely has been under-resourced and has become slow, meek and powerless.

The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in principle has jurisdiction to hold the BBC accountable for what seems likely to have been mirroring breaches of the medicines advertising rules when it broadcast and promoted Dr Bourla’s comments, but no action has yet been taken.

This case, and the apparent impunity that companies such as Pfizer appear to enjoy, evidence that the system of oversight for UK Pharma is hopelessly outdated and that the regulatory authorities are risibly ill-equipped to keep powerful, hugely well-resourced corporate groups in check. The UK regulatory system for Big Pharma is not fit for purpose, so it is time for a rethink. Children deserve better, and we should all demand it.

** Endnote: an undisclosed briefing document

As part of its defence of UsForThem’s complaint, Pfizer relied on the content of an internal briefing document that had been prepared for the CEO by Pfizer’s UK compliance team before the BBC interview took place. Pfizer initially asked for that document to be withheld from UsForThem on the grounds that it was confidential. When UsForThem later demanded sight of the document (on the basis that it was not possible to respond fully to Pfizer’s appeal without it), UsForThem was offered a partially redacted version, and only then under terms of a perpetual and blanket confidentiality undertaking.

Without knowing the content of that document, or the scope of the redactions, UsForThem was unwilling to give an unconditional perpetual blanket confidentiality undertaking, but reluctantly agreed that it would accept the redacted document and keep it confidential subject to one limited exception: if UsForThem reasonably believed the redacted document revealed evidence of serious negligence or wrongdoing by Pfizer or any other person, including evidence of reckless or wilful damage to the public health of children, UsForThem would be permitted to share the document, on a confidential basis, with members of the UK Parliament.

This limited exception to confidentiality was not accepted. Consequently, UsForThem never saw the briefing document and instead drew the inference that it contained content that Pfizer regarded as compromising and which it therefore did not wish to risk ever becoming public.

February 3, 2023 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

Merck’s Taxpayer-Subsidized COVID Pill Linked to New Virus Mutations, Study Finds

By Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D. | The Defender | February 3, 2023

Merck’s oral antiviral pill for COVID-19, molnupiravir — marketed under the name Lagevrio — may be fueling the development of new and potentially deadly variants of COVID-19, according to the authors of a new preprint study.

The study, released Jan. 27 by a team of U.S. and U.K researchers, found, “It is possible that some patients treated with molnupiravir might not fully clear SARS-CoV-2 infections, with the potential for onward transmission of molnupiravir-mutated viruses.”

Merck received significant taxpayer funding from the Biden administration to develop and distribute molnupiravir, and the U.S. government bought nearly 2 million courses of the drug on the taxpayer’s dime.

The study, which is pending peer review, followed the discovery by a middle school science and math teacher in Indiana who found numerous variants of COVID-19 emerged after molnupiravir began to be widely distributed.

Scientists had long warned that the development of such mutations from the use of molnupiravir was possible.

“It’s not a surprise that molnupiravir could cause [the] escape of mutant virus strains or substrains into the population,” said Dr. Harvey Risch. “Its main function is to get the virus to mutate faster.”

Risch, professor emeritus and senior research scientist in epidemiology (chronic diseases) at the Yale School of Public Health, told The Defender :

“The idea is that it will mutate itself to death. But some live mutants could get out, and this paper gives evidence that they have.”

Brian Hooker, Ph.D., P.E., chief scientific officer for Children’s Health Defense, said the study’s authors scanned global SARS-CoV-2 sequence databases looking for mutations characteristic of those by molnupiravir (G-to-A and C-to-U) and found an uptick of those mutants starting in 2022 — after molnupiravir was put on the market and specifically in countries where molnupiravir was distributed.

“Although this isn’t ‘direct proof’ that the mutations came directly from molnupiravir use,” Hooker told The Defender, “the evidence is very compelling, confirming the fears of many who warned of this prior to FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] approval of the drug in late 2021.”

The FDA granted molnupiravir Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) on Dec. 23, 2021, for use in mild-to-moderate COVID-19 infections in patients 18 and over.

The EUA came just one day after the FDA authorized Pfizer’s COVID-19 antiviral treatment Paxlovid.

Merck this week announced massive revenues from sales of molnupiravir in 2022, but projected a significant decrease in those sales in 2023.

The FDA on Wednesday removed the requirement that a person has to test positive for COVID-19 in order to get a prescription for molnupiravir or Paxlovid.

‘I think we are courting disaster’

Molnupiravir “works by creating mutations in the COVID-19 genome that prevent the virus from replicating in the body, reducing the chances it will cause severe illness,” according to Bloomberg.

However, according to Science, the findings of the preprint study suggest “some people treated with the drug generate novel viruses that not only remain viable, but spread.”

This finding “underscores the risk of trying to intentionally alter the pathogen’s genetic code,” leading some researchers to “worry the drug may create more contagious or health-threatening variations of COVID,” Bloomberg reported.

Virologist William Haseltine, Ph.D., chair and president of ACCESS Health International, has repeatedly raised such concerns about molnupiravir.

“It’s very clear that viable mutant viruses can survive [molnupiravir treatment] and compete [with existing variants],” Haseltine told Science. “I think we are courting disaster.”

According to the Gateway Pundit, “When one studies how Lagevrio works, this should not come as a shock. The pill attacks the COVID virus by trying to alter its genetic code.”

The Gateway Pundit reported:

“Once inside a human cell, a virus can make 10,000 copies of its genetic code in a few hours. Each copy made increases the risk the virus makes a rare mistake and creates an inexact replica.

“This is how mutations happen as we have seen with COVID. A drug that deliberately alters a virus’s genetic code would greatly increase the mutation risk.”

Dr. Jonathan Li, a virologist and the director of Li Laboratory, associated with Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, told Bloomberg :

“There’s always been this underlying concern that it could contribute to a problem generating new variants. This has largely been hypothetical, but this preprint validates a lot of those concerns.”

According to Science, Haseltine and other scientists have long worried that molnupiravir would create COVID-19 mutations that “would survive and propagate — and perhaps turn out to be more transmissible or virulent than before.”

A Merck spokesperson described that theory as “an interesting hypothetical concern,” prior to the drug receiving EUA.

The same scientists also worried that aside from the virus, the DNA of those receiving the drug might also mutate, Science reported.

These concerns led “researchers and citizen scientists” to examine COVID-19 genome sequences cataloged in the international GISAID (Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data) database, seeking to identify mutations likely to be caused by molnupiravir.

‘Clearly something is happening here’

Searching for these mutations was based on the premise that, “Rather than inducing random changes in the virus’ RNA genome, [molnupiravir] is more likely to cause specific nucleic acid substitutions, with guanine switching to adenine and cytosine to uracil,” added Science.

Through this process, Ryan Hisner, a middle school science and math teacher from Monroe, Indiana — described by Science as a “virus hunter” — ultimately “identified dozens of sequences that showed clusters of those hallmark substitutions.”

Hisner took to Twitter with his concerns, where he came into contact with Thomas Peacock, Ph.D., a virologist at the Imperial College London. They and other U.K. and U.S. researchers “systematically reviewed more than 13 million SARS-CoV-2 sequences in GISAID and analyzed those with clusters of more than 20 mutations,” according to Science.

The team found “a large subset showed the hallmark substitutions; all dated from 2022, after molnupiravir began to be widely used,” Science reported.

According to the preprint study, Molnupiravir, “acts by inducing mutations in the virus genome during replication. Most random mutations are likely to be deleterious to the virus, and many will be lethal.”

However, the researchers wrote:

“It is possible that some patients treated with molnupiravir might not fully clear SARS-CoV-2 infections, with the potential for onward transmission of molnupiravir-mutated viruses.

“We set out to systematically investigate global sequencing databases for a signature of molnupiravir mutagenesis. We find that a specific class of long phylogenetic branches appear almost exclusively in sequences from 2022, after the introduction of molnupiravir treatment, and in countries and age groups with widespread usage of the drug.

“Our data suggest a signature of molnupiravir mutagenesis can be seen in global sequencing databases, in some cases with onwards transmission.”

Peacock told Science these “signature clusters” were up to 100 times more likely to be identified in countries where molnupiravir was widely used, including the U.S., U.K. and Australia, as compared to countries such as Canada and France, where it was not in widespread use.

“Clearly something is happening here,” said Peacock.

Merck: ‘no evidence’ any antiviral agent has contributed to the emergence of circulating variants’

Theo Sanderson, Ph.D., a geneticist at the Francis Crick Institute and co-author of the preprint, told Science “We are not coming to a conclusion about risk” just yet, with regard to whether or not these mutations may lead to more severe COVID-19 variants.

Indeed, according to the preprint study, the variants identified by the researchers have not been shown to be more lethal or more evasive to immunity than other existing strains of COVID-19.

However, Haseltine illustrated the potential risk via the analogy of owning a pet lion: “Just because it didn’t bite you yesterday doesn’t mean it won’t bite you today.”

According to the Gateway Pundit :

“Merck was warned by multiple scientists their drug might create problematic mutations which would render the virus more dangerous and difficult to treat. The company decided to blow off any concerns and put Lagevrio [molnupiravir] on the market anyway.”

As previously reported by The Defender​​Dr. James Hildreth, president and CEO of Meharry Medical College and member of Biden’s COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, expressed concerns about mutant variants escaping.

In 2021, Hildreth told an FDA advisory panel, “Even if the probability is very low, one in 10,000 or 100,000, that this drug would induce an escape mutant from which the vaccines we have do not cover, that could be catastrophic for the whole world actually.”

Also in 2021, Haseltine told Science :

“You are putting a drug into circulation that is a potent mutagen at a time when we are deeply concerned about new variants. I can’t imagine doing anything more dangerous.

“If I were trying to create a new and more dangerous virus in humans, I would feed a subclinical dose [of molnupiravir] to people infected.”

Two other recent studies also called out molnupiravir, questioning its effectiveness and raising concerns the drug may help lead to the development of new COVID-19 variants.

A December 2022 preprint by a team of Australian researchers, found “this commonly used antiviral can ‘supercharge’ viral evolution in immunocompromised patients, potentially generating new variants and prolonging the pandemic.”

And a study published Jan. 28 in The Lancet found, “Molnupiravir did not reduce the frequency of COVID-19-associated hospitalisations or death among high-risk vaccinated adults in the community.”

University of Cambridge clinical microbiologist Ravindra Gupta, Ph.D., told Science that while it’s unclear whether molnupiravir will cause deadlier COVID-19 variants, the overall results of these recent studies “call into question whether molnupiravir should be used.”

Merck spokesperson Robert Josephson defended the product, telling Bloomberg, “There is no evidence that any antiviral agent has contributed to the emergence of circulating variants.”

Molnupiravir ‘different’ than Paxlovid — and ‘riskier’

Although molnupiravir is similar to Paxlovid in that both are oral antiviral treatments for COVID-19, Hooker told The Defender there are significant differences in how the two drugs work:

“Molnupiravir acts on the SARS-CoV-2 virus by directly inducing mutations in the RNA genome. This is a completely different mode of action compared to Pfizer’s product, Paxlovid, and in my estimation is quite dangerous.

“Merck claimed the mutation rate induced by molnupiravir would kill the virus and that mutants wouldn’t escape, but that has been shown to be false in studies of immunocompromised patients.”

Hooker said Paxlovid — and the COVID-19 vaccines — can potentially lead to the development of mutations as well.

But in his view, the “mechanism of action” used by molnupiravir is different — and far riskier — than Paxlovid and COVID-19 vaccines, which merely increase the virus’ lifetime in the human body, giving the virus a greater opportunity to naturally mutate.

Hooker said:

“In contrast, molnupiravir directly induces mutations and thereby vastly increases the mutation rate of the virus in the human host.

“In my estimation, this is a very dangerous way to treat such an infection, given the implications of creating random mutants.”

Merck made billions from molnupiravir — thanks to taxpayers

In 2022, sales of Merck’s molnupiravir hit $5.68 billion, fueled in part by strong fourth-quarter sales of the drug in Asia.

Fourth-quarter sales of molnupiravir reached $825 million, more than doubling analyst expectations of $358 million.

These strong earnings were boosted by government — or taxpayer — support.

In June 2021 — with molnupiravir still in clinical trials, which weren’t completed until October 2021 — the federal government signed a $1.2 billion contract with Merck for 1.7 million courses of the drug, at a cost of approximately $712 per patient.

An analysis by Melissa Barber of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Dzintars Gotham of King’s College Hospital in London found the cost of production of molnupiravir was approximately $1.74 per unit — or $17.74 for a five-day regimen.

By those calculations, the U.S. government paid a near-4,000% markup.

In March 2022, during his State of the Union address, President Biden announced the “Test to Treat” initiative, which allowed those who tested positive for COVID-19 at a pharmacy to obtain free antiviral pills — including molnupiravir — on the spot.

One month earlier, the Biden administration had proceeded with a new purchase of 3.1 million courses of molnupiravir, with the option to purchase more.

Estimates for Merck, and other COVID-19 drugmakers, are less rosy for 2023, as the public tires of all things pandemic and Biden looks to end the COVID-19 national emergency in May.

According to Reuters, sales of molnupiravir are expected to fall to about $1 billion this year, contributing to an expected decline in sales for Merck from $59.3 billion in 2022 to $57.2-$58.7 billion this year.

Merck’s stock price dropped by about 2% with Thursday’s announcement.

Despite these large earnings, overall sales of molnupiravir lagged significantly behind Paxlovid in 2022. Sales of Paxlovid reached $18.9 billion last year.

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.

February 3, 2023 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why was British ISIS member ‘Jihadi George’ tried in a US court?

“Beatles” ISIS member was tried in the US was to conceal his previous links to British intelligence and his role in their regime-change efforts in Syria

By William Van Wagenen | The Cradle | February 2, 2023

In January 2023, reports emerged that Alexanda Kotey, known as “Jihadi George” and one of the four British ISIS members collectively known as the “Beatles,” had disappeared from the custody of the US Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

In 2022, Kotey was convicted in a US court and sentenced to life in prison for the abduction and detention of multiple western hostages in Syria between 2012 and 2015, including journalists James Foley, John Cantlie, and Steven Sotloff, and aid workers Kayla Jean Mueller, Peter Kassig, David Haines, and Alan Henning, most of whom were later executed by ISIS.

A BOP spokesperson refused to provide details of Kotey’s whereabouts or why he had been moved, stating only that there are “several reasons” why an inmate may be referred to as “not in BOP custody,” including for “court hearings, medical treatment or for other reasons. We do not provide specific information on the status of inmates who are not in the custody of the BOP for safety, security, or privacy reasons.”

Kotey’s links with British intelligence

The refusal of BOP officials to provide details of Kotey’s whereabouts raises fears that Kotey may be able to escape facing justice for his crimes. This is due to Kotey’s previous links to British intelligence, which sought to use UK-based Islamist extremists such as Kotey as proxies in the 2011 US-led regime-change war against the Syrian government.

Kotey’s links to British intelligence are evidenced by the convoluted effort to prosecute him after his 2018 detention by the US-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Although Kotey held UK citizenship like three of his alleged victims, Haines, Henning, and Cantlie, British officials insisted that Kotey and fellow Beatle Elshafee Elsheikh be tried in US rather than UK courts.

A review of events surrounding Kotey’s case reveals that prosecuting the West Londoner in the US was necessary to avoid revealing his and fellow Beatles’ links to British intelligence.

Laying the foundations for ISIS

Kotey traveled to Syria in August 2012 with fellow Beatle Muhammad Emzawi, known as “Jihadi John,” as part of a “terror-funnel” established by British intelligence. Upon arrival in Syria, Kotey and Emzawi immediately joined an armed group fighting against the Syrian government known as Katibat al-Muhajireen.

In November 2012, Emzawi participated in the abduction of American journalist James Foley and British journalist John Cantlie near the town of Binnish in northwestern Syria.

Kotey, Emzawi, and Elsheikh then served as prison guards for Foley, Cantlie, and other western hostages. Many members of Katibat al-Muhajireen – including the trio – then helped lay the foundation for the rise of ISIS by joining the terror group when it was established in April 2013.

Foley was brutally murdered by Emzawi in August 2014. In a video recording of the murder, a black-clad and masked Emzawi beheaded Foley, who was kneeling in the desert sand in an orange Guantanamo-style prisoner’s jumpsuit. Sotloff, Haines, Hennig, and Kassig were murdered subsequently, while Cantlie’s whereabouts are still unknown.

Terrorism researcher Raffaello Pantucci reports that Kotey and Elsheikh, “were longstanding figures of concern to the security services. Involved in a West London network that has long fed young British men to jihadi battlefields and created terrorist cells back in the UK.”

The Times reports that according to court papers filed in Kotey’s case, he first tried to travel to Syria with three other Britons via the Channel tunnel in February 2012 but was denied entry at the Turkish border and deported.

A month later, Kotey tried again but failed to reach Syria by flying from Barcelona. He returned to London through St Pancras station, where police arrested him for carrying a “lock-blade knife.”

The Times reported further that, “In August 2012 Kotey tried for a third time to make it to Syria by travelling overland across Europe with Emwazi. He has disclosed that the pair were detained at least twice during the two-month journey, although it is unclear in which countries. Each time, it seems, they were allowed to continue on their way.”

A spokesman for the SDF claimed that Kotey entered Turkey in 2012 “even though the Turkish intelligence had his jihadi record. He gained two months’ residence in Turkey and then he was allowed to go to Syria and he entered Syrian soil through the border crossing at Bab al Hawa.”

After years of fighting for Katibat al-Muhajireen and then ISIS, Kotey and Elsheikh were detained by the SDF in 2018 as the Caliphate faced defeat by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies on the one hand, and US and SDF forces on the other, during the race to control Syria’s northeastern oil and grain producing regions. Emzawi had already been killed in a US airstrike in 2015.

Trial in the US instead of UK

By the time of Kotey’s detention in 2018, British police had long been collecting evidence of Kotey’s terrorist activities. As a result, the Guardian reported that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had charged Kotey with five counts of murder and eight counts of hostage-taking in February 2016, and issued warrants for his arrest.

However, once Kotey was in SDF custody, British officials took extraordinary legal measures to ensure he would not be brought back to the UK for trial, insisting instead that Kotey be tried in a US court.

The British Home Office then revoked Kotey’s British citizenship, making it more difficult to prosecute him in the UK. According to Ken Macdonald, a former UK director of public prosecutions, stripping Kotey of his citizenship appeared to be an attempt by the government “to duck responsibility for bringing this Briton to justice.”

The Guardian reports that UK Security Minister Ben Wallace claimed to parliament in July 2018 that the UK did not have enough evidence to try Kotey and a US trial was the only option. However, a legal source with knowledge of the case claimed that the “British families of those murdered by ‘the Beatles’ were misled by UK government officials” and told that “if these men are not sent to the US, we won’t be able to prosecute them.”

The Telegraph reported in 2018 that according to a leaked letter from British Home Secretary Sajid Javid, the Metropolitan Police and FBI had been investigating Kotey’s activities in Syria for the past four years, “collecting more than 600 witness statements in a criminal inquiry involving 14 other countries,” and that there was “intelligence” implicating Kotey in the “kidnap and murder” of two Britons and three Americans.

Britain’s support of terrorists in Syria

UK officials were correct, however, in saying to the victims’ families that if Kotey and Elsheikh were not sent to the US, they could not be prosecuted. This was because British intelligence had been directly supporting Katibat al-Muhajireen, the armed group Kotey, Elsheikh, and Emzawi initially fought for during the time they participated in the abduction and captivity of numerous western hostages.

Two previous efforts to convict British citizens on terrorism charges for their involvement with Katibat al-Muhajireen had fallen apart for this specific reason, illustrating British intelligence support for the armed group.

The first was the 2015 terror trial of Swedish citizen Bherlin Gildo, who according to the Daily Mail fought for Katibat al-Muhajireen and later for the official al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, the Nusra Front.

The Guardian reports that after Gildo abandoned the conflict, he was detained while transiting through Heathrow Airport. He was accused by British authorities of attending a terrorist training camp and receiving weapons training between 31 August, 2012, and 1 March, 2013, as well as possessing information likely to be useful to a terrorist.

However, the terror trial collapsed “after fears of deep embarrassment” to the British security services. This was because, as Gildo’s lawyer explained, “British intelligence agencies were supporting the same Syrian opposition groups as he [Gildo] was.”

Another example is former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg, who was also tried on terror charges for assisting Katibat al-Muhajireen. Begg traveled to Syria several times in 2012 and provided physical training to foreign fighters from the group in Aleppo, as reported by Foreign Policy. Begg made his latest trip to Syria in December 2012.

As a result, Begg was detained by UK authorities in 2014 and accused of attending a terrorist training camp. The Guardian reported, however, that Begg was freed after British intelligence officials from MI5, “belatedly gave police and prosecutors a series of documents that detailed the agency’s extensive contacts with him before and after his trips to Syria,” and which showed that MI5 told Begg he could continue his work for the so-called opposition in Syria “unhindered.”

It was therefore clear that any terror trial of Kotey and Elsheikh in the UK would collapse for the same reasons as the previous cases, leaving UK officials no choice but to have them tried in the US instead.

In the letter leaked to the Telegraph, former Home Secretary Sajid Javid explained that “the UK does not currently intend to request, nor actively encourage, the transfer of Kotey and El-sheikh to the UK to support future UK-based prosecution.” Showing that he was under pressure as a result of this decision, Javid wrote further to the letter’s addressee, “I do understand your frustration on this subject.”

The Telegraph notes further that, “despite repeated ministerial assurances that British jihadists traveling to Syria would be held to account in British courts, the Home Secretary’s letter discloses concerns that laws in this country may not be robust enough to ensure successful prosecution. He believes American terrorism laws are more effective.”

In other words, British law was not robust enough to convict someone on terrorism charges for fighting with a terrorist group the UK intelligence services themselves supported.

The capital punishment loophole

Despite claims that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Kotey in the UK, any successful conviction in the US would have relied on evidence collected by UK prosecutors, which would have to be shared with their US counterparts.

This was problematic, however, because US officials had not provided assurances that Kotey would not face the death penalty if convicted. Because the death penalty is banned in the UK, it was contrary to long standing UK policy to provide evidence that could contribute to a death sentence.

Home Secretary Javid nevertheless approved providing evidence against Kotey and Elsheikh to US prosecutors after the pair were transferred from SDF to US custody.

House of Lords member Alex Carlile, a former reviewer of terrorism legislation, described Javid’s willingness to approve this as “a dramatic change of policy by a minister, secretly, without any discussion in parliament,” and that “Britain has always said that it will pass information and intelligence, in appropriate cases, provided there is no death penalty. That is a decades-old policy and it is not for the home secretary to change that policy.”

This led Elsheikh’s mother to sue the British government, fearing that if her son and Kotey were convicted in a US court, they would be executed. The case eventually went to the British Supreme Court, which according to the New York Times, “unanimously ruled that the British home secretary’s decision to transfer personal data to law enforcement authorities abroad for use in capital criminal proceedings without any safeguards violated a data protection law passed in 2018.”

As a result, US Attorney General William Barr belatedly gave the assurance in August 2020 that Kotey and Elsheikh would not face the death penalty, allowing the sharing of evidence and the prosecution to move forward.

A testimony of the west’s support of ISIS

In 2022, Kotey and Elsheikh were finally convicted and sentenced to life in prison. At the time, the Washington Post explained that the successful prosecution of Elsheikh and Kotey had been unlikely, given that at time of their capture, it was “unclear whether an American trial would happen at all. A federal prosecution was met with opposition at the highest levels of government on two continents.”

While the reason for Kotey’s recent disappearance from US Bureau of Prisons custody is unclear, the insistence of UK officials to have him and fellow Beatle Elsheikh prosecuted in a US rather than UK court, and the reluctance of both governments to try the two ISIS militants at all, indicates that British planners wished to hide their previous support for extremists who helped lay the foundation for ISIS.

While ISIS is widely understood to have emerged in Iraq, evidence continues to emerge showing that officials in London and Washington played the crucial role in the rise of the notorious terror group as part of a broader effort to topple the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad.

February 3, 2023 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Alarming Trend in Core Mortality Since the Vaccine Rollout


In a previous article I introduced the concept of looking at mortality from non-respiratory causes (i.e., not deaths from flu, Covid or other similar pathogens) as a better indicator of core mortality changes in the U.K. population than either excess deaths alone (or even excess non-Covid deaths). This is because most of the variation in the number of deaths between winter and summer and from year to year are due to respiratory causes; thus, take those out and you get a clearer picture of the underlying health of the population and whether people are generally getting sick and dying more or less than in recent years from causes such as cardiovascular problems, cancer, Alzheimer’s and so on.

I decided to go back and re-analyse the data in order to see how excess non-respiratory mortality has accumulated over the last few years. I discovered that this showed a total for 2021, 2022 and 2023 (thus far) of 49,696 deaths. When one takes into account the mortality displacement for this time period (owing to the pandemic bringing expected deaths forward; explained here), which I estimate as 23,650 deaths, the non-respiratory excess mortality reaches 73,346 deaths.

Comparing this to the number of deaths due to Covid (as underlying cause) over the same time period, which total 89,629 deaths, we see that the Covid figure is just 16,283 or 22% higher. Bearing in mind that it is widely acknowledged that there has been overcounting of Covid deaths (and thus conversely undercounting of non-respiratory deaths), the two tallies are now broadly similar, and thus an emergency situation at least as dangerous as the pandemic itself has arisen, which must surely now be addressed by the authorities.

To highlight the overcounting of Covid deaths, one only need compare the data for ‘deaths due to’ against ‘deaths with’ for COVID-19, and contrast it with the figures for other respiratory diseases. For Covid around 82% of deaths ‘with Covid’ are claimed to be ‘due to’ Covid over the course of the pandemic, yet with all other respiratory diseases only 34% of deaths ‘with’ the disease are claimed to be ‘due to’ it. The reason for the considerable discrepancy is unclear and suggests Covid is being significantly over-attributed as underlying cause.

For this article I calculated the number of excess non-respiratory deaths (relative to 2015-2019 pre-Covid averages) for each week of the year, and then calculated the cumulative values over the course of a full year. These charts confirm the suitability of the concept of non-respiratory mortality to serve as a stable core mortality rate that does not normally vary significantly from year to year. This is because there is a clear tendency (pre-Covid) for the cumulative non-respiratory mortality values to tend back to zero (i.e., the x-axis) if there has been a period of abnormal positive or negative values for an extended time. This indicates the role of mortality displacement in causing overall deaths to even out over time.

In fact, even in 2020 the shape of the curve (orange) looks very similar to the pre-Covid curves, excepting for the sudden spike at the beginning of the first wave of the pandemic when chaotic counting was arguably occurring. Without this the curve would hug the x-axis pretty much all through the year.

When we look at the curves for 2021, 2022 and 2023, however, the pattern changes radically. From week 18 in the spring of 2021 onwards the curve begins to point only upwards, and it further accelerates from the spring of 2022 and once again in the early part of 2023.

Please note all these curves are generated from the raw data from the ONS weekly reports for England and Wales. They are not adjusted for mortality displacement or anything else.

Putting all these curves together on one chart illustrates the changing pattern over the course of the pandemic, and in particular the striking upward turn in the spring of 2021.

Note that there appears to be little evidence of any need for an age-standardised adjustment to prevent an upward drift in death rates owing to an ageing population. Even after six years from the beginning of 2015 through to the end of 2020, the cumulative non-respiratory mortality is still around the zero mark, and even dips a little below in the first three months of 2021 (remember this is mortality with the respiratory deaths including Covid taken out).

Recent articles from Dr. Noah Carl have questioned whether mortality was unusually high in 2022 because, when the figures are adjusted for an ageing population using the age-standardised mortality rate (ASMR), excess deaths come out low. The ASMR is a hypothetical construct that is used to adjust crude mortality data for changes in the age structure of a population. It relies on a standardised population model that provides the weightings in the population of different age groups. This is a very useful model that can make sense of changing mortality rates over time when studying the demography of a population.

However, I would argue that it is not a useful model during times of exceptional change, as it relies on assumptions of weightings that change only incrementally over time and doesn’t take into account when a large number of deaths occur unexpectedly in older age groups. During the Covid pandemic there have been nearly 200,000 excess deaths (relative to the 2015-2019 average), and these are largely concentrated in the oldest age groups, i.e., the groups that provide the bulk of ‘normal’ mortality.

In particular, the over-80 age group comprises just 4.6% of the U.K. population yet delivers almost 60% of deaths in a normal year. As the U.K. population is roughly 67 million people, this puts the over-80s at about three million persons. The occurrence of 200,000 excess deaths in this age group implies a drop in the ‘weighting’ of this age group in the age make-up of the population of some 6.5%.

As the mortality in the U.K. in recent times has averaged about 600,000 deaths per year, a 6.5% adjustment in 60% of them would represent about 24,000 fewer deaths to be expected in 2022 than standardised models would predict, counteracting the ASMR expectation that the number of deaths should rise owing to an ageing population. 2022 has, however, seen something of a record year in overall mortality figures.

This is why, instead of looking at a misleading age-standardised mortality rate, we get a much better picture of what’s going on if we look at non-respiratory mortality as a measure of ‘core’ mortality, taking out the highly variable respiratory deaths. It’s worth noting here that it’s possible that the reason ‘core’ non-respiratory mortality has remained stable over recent years rather than rising as the age-standardised model would predict is because stronger winter flu seasons such as 2017-18 have naturally counteracted the effect of ageing on ‘core’ mortality.

The actuarial profession certainly seems to agree that there is a negative trend in underlying life expectancy based on what has been happening in 2022.

The upshot of this analysis of non-respiratory mortality is that something extraordinary has been occurring in the trends in core mortality since spring 2021, notably around the time of the Covid vaccination rollout. This worrying trend is currently accelerating and requires an urgent inquiry into whether the vaccinations themselves are playing a part or, if not, what is going on.

February 3, 2023 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Douma locals, medical personnel deny veracity of 2018 ‘chemical weapons attack’

The Cradle | February 2, 2023

Locals and medical personnel from the Syrian city of Douma in the Damascus countryside confirmed on 2 February during a press conference in the country’s Foreign Ministry headquarters that the alleged 2018 chemical attack on the city was, indeed, staged.

This follows the release of a new report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on 27 January, which once again renewed the accusation that Damascus was behind a 2018 chlorine gas attack on civilians in Douma.

“I live 400 meters from the place of the alleged incident, and I only learned of its occurrence the next day through social media,” Syrian lawyer Muhammad al-Naasan said during the press conference.

Another testimony is that of Dr. Hassan Oyoun, an ambulance worker at Douma Hospital, who claimed that “information was published a day before the alleged incident that it was necessary to prepare for an event that would result in a large number of injuries.”

This confirms that “prior preparations” were underway for the staging of the attack, Oyoun said, referring to the incident as a “fabricated play that was filmed.”

“What the terrorists announced about 800 injuries from chemical substances is incorrect, and the number of people who visited the hospital that day did not exceed 35,” he added.

According to Dr. Mumtaz al-Hanash, a Douma local, Douma Hospital announced just one day after the alleged attack that no chemically induced deaths were recorded whatsoever. He went on to say that the “photographed cases” did not provide evidence that chlorine, or any other weaponized chemical, was used.

An imam and preacher at a local mosque, Sheikh Ratib Naji, said: “We did not see with our own eyes any injured or dead, as they claimed, and those whom the terrorists claimed were dead, their bodies did not appear, and when we demanded them, they assaulted us.”

Syria’s permanent representative at the Hague-based chemical weapons watchdog, Milad Attiya, affirmed that Damascus does not recognize the OPCW investigation team’s third and latest report, as it rejected the last two. Attiya added that the report relies heavily on western sources, as well as groups such as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and the White Helmets, an Al-Qaeda affiliated rescue organization with links to organ trafficking networks in Syria.

Since 2013, armed groups in Syria have attempted to pin chemical attacks on the government to instigate internationally-led regime change operations against it. This comes in the form of staged attacks, or actual false-flag chemical attacks which leave many dead and are designed to implicate Damascus – as was the case in Ghouta in 2013 and in Khan Sheikhoun in 2017.

On 28 January, the Syrian government released a statement rejecting the OPCW report, which it said ignored “objective information which was provided by some … experts … and former OPCW inspectors with knowledge and expertise,” referring to the fact that the organization suppressed the findings of its initial report on Douma, as revealed by WikiLeaks in 2019.

February 3, 2023 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

US giving cold feet to countries willing to normalize with Syria

Press TV – February 3, 2023

The United States is actively working to discourage countries willing to normalize relations with Syria, according to a report.

The report, based on the summary of a recent UN Security Council meeting on Syria seen by al-Akhbar, shows that Washington has tried to draw “red lines” for countries seeking to normalize with Syria, return the Syrian refugees to their homeland, or help find a permanent solution to the crisis in the Arab country.

Regarding the return of refugees, the report said instead of encouraging a repatriation process, the United States is urging the host countries to “double their support” for refugee programs, despite the heavy social and economic burden the refugee crisis puts on some of these countries, most notably Lebanon.

Al-Akhbar said the European representatives present in the meeting conditioned their support for the reconstruction of Syria and the repatriation of refugees on Damascus accepting a “credible and comprehensive political process” – which is considered by many to mean a political process dictated by Washington.

The report said that the summary of the meeting, which was held on January 25, shows the US-led camp continues to block a rapprochement – facilitated by Russia and Iran – between Syria and Turkey.

Ankara resumed diplomatic contacts with Damascus in late December, following a decade of severed ties in the wake of the crisis in Syria.

Turkey has now announced its willingness for a meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad.

A number of Arab countries have also resumed contact with Syria, including Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

February 3, 2023 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

Attempts by France & Germany to Negotiate With Russia Should Be Prevented, Bolton Tells Pranksters

By Andrei Dergalin – Sputnik – 02.02.2023

John Bolton shared his thoughts on topics such as the anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the West and the prospects of Ukraine’s NATO membership with Vovan and Lexus.

Former US presidential advisor John Bolton has made some rather frank admissions during a phone conversation with whom he thought was the ex-president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko.

Alas, his interlocutor turned out to be the well-known Russian prankster duo known as Vovan and Lexus, who promptly spilled the beans online.

During the chat, Bolton apparently insisted that all attempts by Germany or France to hold negotiations with Russia amid the current crisis in Ukraine should be disrupted, and claimed that the sooner Ukraine and Georgia become members of NATO, the better.

Regarding the sanctions imposed by western powers against Russia, Bolton complained that they weren’t enough and that Moscow continues to bypass these punitive measures.

He also commented on the promise made over three decades ago by former US Secretary of State James Baker to the former leader of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev regarding NATO not expanding to the east, claiming that Baker merely “launched into arguments and looked for ways to avoid confrontation,” as the pranksters put it.

February 3, 2023 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia | , , , , , | 2 Comments

‘Türkiye and UAE told to cut trade ties with Russia’

RT | February 3, 2023

US officials have warned Türkiye and the United Arab Emirates against maintaining economic and financial ties with Russia because trade is undermining sanctions, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

The warnings were reportedly voiced by the undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the US Treasury, Brian Nelson, during meetings with Turkish officials on Thursday and Friday.

Nelson’s visit to Türkiye comes as part of a regional tour that included the UAE earlier this week, and is said to be aimed at discussing Washington’s concerns over rising exports to Russia that include US goods.

US officials have called on the two countries to clamp down on the flow of goods to Russia, the sources told the news agency, adding that millions of dollars’ worth of export-controlled items were reaching the sanctions-hit country, and could be used by the defense industry to extend the conflict in Ukraine.

Scores of Turkish exporters shipped over $800 million worth of goods to Russia, including $300 million in machinery and another $80 million in electronics in the eight months through October 2022, according to people who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Other areas of concern reportedly include Russian vessels either sanctioned or subject to export controls making port calls in Turkey.

Meanwhile, the UAE has maintained ties with both Ukraine and Russia. The Gulf state’s ruler, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, traveled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in October amid the continuing conflict in Ukraine. The leaders expressed Moscow and Abu Dhabi’s willingness to develop cooperation on all levels.

February 3, 2023 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | , , | 2 Comments

‘Nobody can tell us how to live’: Hungary slams US envoy for meddlesome remarks

“We welcome non-governors and non-regents”

Press TV – February 3 2023

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has lashed out at the US ambassador to Budapest for meddling in the country’s internal affairs over its support for Russia, saying, “Nobody can tell us from the outside how to live.”

Szijjarto issued the scathing rebuke on Thursday after David Pressman, who has represented Washington in Budapest since September last year, censured Hungary’s push for the continuation of policies endorsed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and the country’s opposition to Western-led anti-Russia sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine.

“Nobody can tell us from the outside how to live, so it is of no interest what a citizen of another country – be it an ambassador – thinks about the domestic political processes in Hungary,” Szijjarto said at a press conference. “We ask for more respect for the Hungarians, even from the ambassador.”

Stressing that it is not Pressman’s “job to interfere in the internal affairs of Hungary,” the Hungarian foreign minister said, “If he wants to use his stay in Hungary to qualify the activities of the government elected by the Hungarian people with a fairly clear majority… then he will have a very difficult time.”

Szijjarto said when Hungary receives foreign ambassadors, it expects them to behave appropriately and work to improve bilateral relations, emphasizing that the era of foreign envoys telling Hungarians how to live in their own country “is over.”

Hungary has on numerous occasions voiced opposition to Western sanctions against Moscow in response to Russia’s protracted military operation in Ukraine, arguing that the restrictions have wreaked havoc on the EU economy.

Last month, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban also slammed Germany’s decision to support Ukraine by supplying 14 Leopard 2 tanks, warning that such steps would make Western countries active participants in the conflict. Orban stressed that, instead of arming Kiev, the West should pursue “a ceasefire and peace talks” in Ukraine.

Russia launched what it calls a special military operation in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, over the perceived threat of the ex-Soviet republic joining NATO and to “de-Nazify” Kiev. Since then, the United States and Ukraine’s other allies have sent Kiev tens of billions of dollars’ worth of weapons, including rocket systems, drones, armored vehicles, tanks, and communication systems.

Western countries have also imposed a slew of economic sanctions on Moscow. The Kremlin has said the sanctions and the Western military assistance will only prolong the war.

February 3, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment