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WHO Abandons Covid Origins Investigation, Saying China Isn’t Cooperating. But What About America?


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has quietly abandoned its investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, citing ongoing challenges over attempts to conduct crucial studies in China. Nature has the story.

Researchers say they are disappointed that the investigation isn’t going ahead, because understanding how the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 first infected people is important for preventing future outbreaks. But without access to China, there is little that the WHO can do to advance the studies, says Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada. “Their hands are really tied.”

In January 2021, an international team of experts convened by the WHO travelled to Wuhan, China, where the virus that causes COVID-19 was first detected. Together with Chinese researchers, the team reviewed evidence on when and how the virus might have emerged, as part of phase one. The team released a report in March that year outlining four possible scenarios, the most likely being that SARS-CoV-2 spread from bats to people, possibly through an intermediate species. Phase one was designed to lay the groundwork for a second phase of in-depth studies to pin down exactly what happened in China and elsewhere.

But two years since that high-profile trip, the WHO has abandoned its phase-two plans. “There is no phase two,” Maria Van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist at the WHO in Geneva, Switzerland, told Nature. The WHO planned for work to be done in phases, she said, but “that plan has changed”. “The politics across the world of this really hampered progress on understanding the origins,” she said.

Researchers are undertaking some work to pin down a timeline of the virus’s initial spread. This includes efforts to trap bats in regions bordering China in search of viruses closely related to SARS-CoV-2; experimental studies to help narrow down which animals are susceptible to the virus and could be hosts; and testing of archived wastewater and blood samples collected around the world in late 2019 and early 2020. But researchers say that too much time has passed to gather some of the data needed to pinpoint where the virus originated.

Many researchers aren’t surprised the WHO’s plans have been thwarted. In early 2020, members of then US president Donald Trump’s administration made unsubstantiated claims that the virus had originated in a Chinese laboratory, and US intelligence officials later said they had begun investigations. The city of Wuhan is home to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a high-security lab that works on coronaviruses. Chinese officials questioned whether the virus originated inside the country’s borders.

In the midst of simmering hostility between the two superpowers, WHO member states requested in May 2020 that the agency put together a science-led effort to identify how the pandemic started. Although China agreed to the mission, tensions were high by the time the WHO group left for Wuhan, and engagement with China quickly unravelled after the group returned.

In its March 2021 report, the team concluded that it was “extremely unlikely” that the virus accidentally escaped from a laboratory. But the inclusion of the lab-incident scenario in the final report was a key point of contention for Chinese researchers and officials, says Dominic Dwyer, a virologist at New South Wales Health Pathology in Sydney, who was a member of the WHO team.

That July, the WHO sent a circular to member states outlining how it planned to advance origins studies. Proposed steps included assessing wild-animal markets in and around Wuhan and the farms that supplied those markets, as well as audits of labs in the area where the first cases were identified.

But Chinese officials rejected the WHO’s plans, taking particular issue with the proposal to investigate lab breaches. Zhao Lijian, the spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, said the WHO proposal was not agreed by all member states, and that the second phase should not focus on pathways the mission report had already deemed extremely unlikely.

The Nature report adds that outside the formal WHO process some studies have gone ahead. In May 2022, researchers in China published the results of an analysis of donor blood supplied to the Wuhan Blood Centre before December 2019. After screening more than 88,000 samples collected between September 1st and December 31st 2019, they did not find any SARS-CoV-2-blocking antibodies in the samples (though did find some non-neutralising antibodies, which they imply are false positives due to cross-reaction or other issues). A second study, by the Chinese CDC in February 2022, looked at samples collected at the Huanan wet market in January and February 2020 and found evidence of the virus among humans but not among animals, confirming the early outbreak but casting doubt on the idea of a zoonotic spillover event at the market.

We may not be inclined to believe these Chinese findings. But we should note that they are more than the U.S. has managed to put out in the same period. The U.S. published one study of archived Red Cross blood in November 2020, which found 39 antibody-positive serum samples (2%) collected December 13th-16th 2019 in California, Washington and Oregon. No further studies of early spread in America have appeared. On this evidence, of course, the virus is more likely to have been circulating in the U.S. than Wuhan during autumn 2019. Certainly, the Wuhan data may not be trustworthy, or the U.S. data may be mistaken. But clearly there is good reason to look into what was going on in America as well as China. Note that we still don’t have a single wastewater study from the U.S. to give an indication of when in 2019 the virus may have begun circulating in different parts of the country (to be fair, we also don’t have any wastewater studies from China). A wastewater study from Brazil turned positive as of November 27th 2019, suggesting extensive community spread in the Americas during that month.

We also still have no idea what U.S. scientists were working on in relation to SARS-like viruses at the onset of the pandemic. Yet we know that in collaborative coronavirus projects with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the genetic engineering of the virus was typically stated to be done in the U.S., not China. We also know that Jeffrey Sachs disbanded the Covid origins taskforce which formed part of the Lancet Covid commission he was chairing because he perceived severe conflicts of interest and a basic lack of cooperation from U.S. scientists.

Concerns about a U.S. cover-up are growing. The latest senior figure to call for an investigation into the role of the U.S. in the origin of the virus is Matt Pottinger, the Deputy National Security Adviser at the start of the pandemic, who recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal that “China hasn’t been the only problem”.

In the early days of the pandemic, a small group of Western virologists came together to consider the pandemic’s origin. Emails that eventually came to light revealed their plan to push the public conversation away from the lab-accident hypothesis and toward the natural-origins explanation. In a now infamous February 2020 letter in the Lancet, and in an equally problematic letter in Nature Medicine the next month, some of these scientists labelled any questions about a possible lab origin as “conspiracy theories”, even though they lacked evidence to dismiss the lab-leak hypothesis.

But in September 2021, a leaked Defense Department document revealed that some of the same scientists had worked together, along with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, on a 2018 proposal to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Their project? Genetically engineering rare gain-of-function features, called furin cleavage sites, into SARS-like viruses in their possession.

To its credit, DARPA didn’t fund that research, but it was highly significant — or spectacularly coincidental — that the SARS-CoV-2 virus, containing this precise feature never-before-seen in any SARS-like virus, began infecting people in Wuhan the next year. Scientists who had called the lab-leak hypothesis a conspiracy had failed to disclose that the lethal virus sweeping the world was eerily similar to the one they had wanted to create.

China’s systematic efforts to block meaningful investigation doesn’t mean that the U.S. should throw up its arms. In fact, both the Trump and Biden administrations have taken action to dig further. The Trump administration began asking questions internally. Early in his tenure, President Biden also authorised a limited, 90-day review of this issue by America’s intelligence agencies. It’s fair to say that both administrations did something and that neither has done enough.

Earlier this year, an international group of scientists and former national security officials — including us — signed an open letter detailing some of the failures of scientific journals and news organisations and calling for greater accountability. What we now need are bipartisan, evidence-based hearings asking the toughest questions about the pandemic’s origins. Congress must carefully look at China’s transgressions as well as our own shortcomings.

The obfuscation by the Chinese is obviously very poor form and only increases suspicions they are hiding something. However, what the Nature report – and the WHO, based on that report – fail to acknowledge is that we don’t need Chinese cooperation to investigate what U.S. scientists and officials can tell us about the origin of the virus and early spread in America. Investigating this properly should have begun long ago, and even now it is not too late. The politicians need to compel the scientists and officials to reveal what they know.

February 14, 2023 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Leave a comment

From the Peak of Fitness to Wanting to Die — How the COVID Vaccine Ruined One Man’s Life

By Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D. | The Defender | February 14, 2023

Adam Rowland had a promising career, working with professional athletes on the PGA Tour and Premiership Rugby, splitting his time between the U.S. and the U.K.

He also was the fittest he’d ever been, Rowland told The Defender — until early 2021, when he received the two-dose primary series of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

Today, Rowland, 48, cannot work, cannot lie down, and experiences several conditions affecting everything from his heart health to his vision, including pericarditis, pulmonary embolisms, severe thrombotic vasculitis and vascular neuropathy.

He is now separated from his wife, misses most family events and was repeatedly told by doctors that his severe injuries were “all in his head” — bringing him to the brink of suicide.

He said his discovery of online support groups for the vaccine-injured afforded him a new lease on life.

Rowland, who provided extensive documentation supporting his claims, shared his story with The Defender in an exclusive interview.

‘I was the fittest I’d ever been in my life’

Rowland had worked as a medical sports physiotherapist and stroke consultant for professional golfers for the previous 16-17 years.

“I was absolutely at the top of my career in professional sport,” he said, having worked on the PGA Tour with Jason Day and other high-profile golfers.

“I was working in America when COVID kicked off,” said Rowland, “and living quite a luxury lifestyle. And then, I decided to come back to the U.K. because obviously, I didn’t know when I’d be able to get back to the U.K. if I didn’t go then.”

The U.S. government gave Rowland special permission to return to the country and resume his employment. However, “Once the vaccination program kicked in, you had to be double vaccinated.”

It was during this time — before he got the vaccine — that Rowland said he was “even fitter than when I was 18,” because “any workout program I gave an athlete, I would try it myself” to determine firsthand how physically strenuous it was.

He said:

“So, because of that, I exercised six or seven days a week … I was just so fit, I could row on the rowing machine 18 minutes, something around five kilometers. I could ride a bike 20K in under 30 minutes. At one stage I was running 5K in 21 minutes.”

Multiple injuries and conditions brushed off as ‘anxiety’

Rowland received two doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in February and May 2021. That’s when everything changed.

“Very quickly after being vaccinated, I started to get quite ill,” said Rowland. “I never got back to the U.S.” He continued working for six months after his first dose, but had to take a lot of time off from work because he was in the hospital.

“I’ve never worked since,” he said. “I’ve lost my job and I’m disabled as we speak.”

Rowland’s symptoms began with a “fever like I’d never had before in my life,” he said. “I was in bed for four days.” The fever eventually subsided, he said, “but I felt very virally ill for a number of weeks. I started to notice horrendous pains down my left arm and my left leg. And my wife noticed I started to have fits in bed … they were basically non-epileptic fits.”

The symptoms appeared within a week of his first dose.

Rowland couldn’t get a face-to-face appointment with his doctor because of the pandemic, so he had to settle for a phone appointment. The doctor diagnosed him with “anxiety” and “said it was a panic attack” — not unlike what happened to other vaccine-injury victims, whose conditions also were chalked up to “anxiety.”

Rowland’s condition continued to worsen. “I couldn’t sleep for five days because [the fits] were happening 15 or 20 times a night,” he said. “It got horrendous. I just couldn’t lie down.”

Rowland took six weeks off from work. However, when he spoke to his doctor again, “He said it’s anxiety and depression and put me on antidepressant medication. So, I tried this medication, and it made me even worse.”

Rowland’s doctor then prescribed “three or four” additional antidepressants, but none of them helped. Ultimately, his doctor said, “I don’t know what to do for you, I’m going to send you to a psychiatrist because I believe this is like a mental health [issue].”

“He didn’t think it was anything physical,” said Rowland, “and neither of us … I didn’t think it was a vaccine, because I had vaccines all my life. I didn’t figure it was the vaccine … no one put it down to the vaccine.”

Rowland eventually returned to work.

‘I just got sicker and sicker’

Whatever sense of normalcy Rowland reattained was short-lived. After receiving the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, “That’s when all hell broke loose in my life.”

Rowland told The Defender :

“Immediately after having the second vaccine … I passed out once at work. I passed out at home … I developed chest pain immediately after the vaccine. I developed such chest pain and dizziness, and I was sweating. The pain was horrendous. I couldn’t breathe. I thought I was having a heart attack.”

Rowland was taken to the hospital, where he was told, “We can’t find anything wrong with you. We think it’s just a panic attack,” and he was sent home.

Not satisfied with the diagnosis, Rowland spoke to a cardiologist at his workplace and asked for an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG). “So, he did a 24-hour ECG … and it basically showed my heart was going into ventricular tachycardia (VT), when I was getting all dizzy. It’s very dangerous and could cause sudden death.”

The cardiologist instructed Rowland to show the results of this exam to the hospital in the event he was to go back.

“Another week went by,” said Rowland, “I was getting tremendous pain and dizziness and I had another episode where I nearly collapsed again.” He showed paramedics the results of his ECG and was taken to the hospital.

But Rowland’s difficulties with doctors didn’t end there.

“I had a high D-dimer, so they started to look for blood clots on my lungs and kept me in hospital, wouldn’t let me move out of the bed.”

He added:

“They still didn’t think it was the vaccine when they couldn’t find blood clots … they sent my ECG to a specialist heart hospital … and got them to look at the ECG. Nobody thought it was the vaccine.”

As a result, Rowland was discharged and told he would be administered an MRI “in a couple of weeks,” with the expectation of finding cardiomyopathy. But the MRI didn’t find anything.

“Doctors were very, very confused about what was causing this VT,” he said. “They thought it was an adrenal problem and then referred me to an endocrinologist, and that’s when my horrible gaslighting and traumatic story really started. Because, again, they couldn’t find the cause of it, so they kept blaming things on anxiety.”

Rowland described what happened next:

“And then … I just got sicker and sicker. I developed blurred vision, face rashes, jaundice and tinnitus in my head. I started to develop neuropathy in my hands … some of my fingers don’t straighten anymore.

“I developed horrendous pain below both my knees … I can’t feel temperature in my lower legs. My toenails have died … I have no pulse in my feet.”

He was discharged from the hospital but returned monthly. Each time, doctors told him, “We can’t find what’s wrong with you.”

In June 2022, Rowland “collapsed with three pulmonary embolisms” in his lungs — but when he went to the hospital, they again told him it was just anxiety.

“So I said, ‘look at my eyes. I’ve lost two stone [one stone = 6.35 kilograms] in weight … I’m not leaving this hospital until you do some more scans and tests. This is definitely not anxiety.’”

So they scanned his lungs, and that’s when they found the three pulmonary embolisms and “a hundred tiny embolisms on my lungs.”

Rowland ended up in the hospital for a month, where he was diagnosed with pericarditis and told he would have died if they hadn’t found the embolisms.

Since then, Rowland said, “I’ve spent four more months in hospital on separate occasions. And I’ve been diagnosed now with severe thrombolytic vasculitis of my blood vessels.”

But that’s not all that’s wrong with his health. Rowland told The Defender :

“My diaphragm doesn’t work properly. Some of my eye muscles and my facial muscles aren’t working properly, and my leg muscles aren’t working properly … They did something called a CPET [cardiopulmonary exercise] test and … found that my cells in my muscles aren’t getting enough oxygen and nutrients.

“I’m waiting to see a vascular surgeon for the blood — it’s not getting to my legs and my muscles. I’m also waiting to see an immunologist and another hematologist because I’m on three blood-thinning medications and they don’t think it’s stopping my blood clotting properly.

“They think my blood is still clotting. They want me to have a special test where they take my blood out, spin it and take the platelets out and then look how my blood is responding to the three blood thinners I’m on, because for some reason it’s not doing its job.”

Rowland hasn’t been able to get that test because under the U.K. healthcare system, “the government won’t pay for it.”

He’s been trying to get the test through private healthcare. Meanwhile, his doctors tell him they can see that he’s really ill, “but we don’t know how to make it better” because they don’t know what’s in the vaccines. They suggested he travel to Germany to receive specialist treatment.

‘You’re the 239th person we have seen with similar symptoms from the vaccines’

Rowland described how he finally got a diagnosis that definitively linked the vaccine to his injuries:

“After I collapsed with the blood clots and they tried to send me home and I said ‘no, I’m not going anywhere, you scammed me, there’s something wrong,’ they finally admitted it was probably the vaccine.

“I was needing a wheelchair and they just discharged me and said, ‘Take this morphine, we’ll see you in four or five months’ time.’ And I was like, ‘I can’t even walk, you know?’ And they were like, ‘well, we can’t help you.’”

Rowland did his own research, locating a specialist hospital and private lung consultant, whom he visited in London, bringing with him the scans from the exams administered at his local hospital.

He said:

“I just said to him, ‘I feel like I’m dying, can you look at my scans and tell me, am I going to die, you know, imminently? I want you to be honest with me so I can tell my children.’ He looked at my scans and he said, ‘I don’t think you’re going to die imminently from your lungs’ … but he said to me, ‘it is 100% vaccine injury.’

“He said ‘you’re the 239th person we have seen with similar symptoms from the vaccines.’ And that was at one hospital in London … He said, ‘I’m more worried that you’re going to die with your heart and I need you to see one of my colleagues urgently.”

So Rowland saw a cardiologist who told him, it’s “completely vaccine injury. You don’t get VT like you developed for no reason. It’s definitely the vaccine with everything that’s happened to you since.’”

The doctor urged him to go to London immediately for treatment. “So they took me down to London for a month and then they diagnosed me … they realized it was in all my organs. So it’s in my heart, my lungs … so they diagnosed me with multisystem inflammatory syndrome.”

“So, at this moment in time, I’m on steroids for the pericarditis in my heart,” he said. “I’m on two different heart medications, another one for pericarditis [and] one for microvascular angina … and I’m on three blood thinners from my clotting, and various painkillers and things like that.”

‘It’s like living in hell’

As for what his life is like today, Rowland said:

“I don’t say these words slightly, but it’s like living in hell. It’s like torture, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.”

He said he’s pretty much housebound and struggles to walk because of his breathing issues and chest pain.

Rowland added:

“Because I have fits trying to lie down, I can’t sleep in a regular bed … my bed’s adapted, so it’s at 45 degrees, so it’s like sitting up in a chair because the fits get triggered when I lie down.

“I don’t sleep. I just get these fits. So, every single day, I dread going to bed because the fits are so scary. And my heart sometimes misses a few beats and stops for a split second. And when I get that, it feels like I’m going to die.”

Rowland’s waking hours are not much better. He told The Defender :

“Because of my pain and my vulnerability, I can’t stand up for very long on some days. I struggle to make food. I can make breakfast and maybe lunch if I’m lucky, but I can’t cook myself an evening meal. When I go to the hospital, I never know whether I’m going to be able to walk from the car park to the hospital …

“Some days I can walk very short distances, 50 meters, maybe 100 meters. I’m really, really breathless … the chest pain is so bad that I can’t walk any further. And it does crazy things in my heart, it gives me the heart arrhythmia.”

Rowland also experiences blurred vision and struggles to type and write because of the neuropathy in his hands and because he can’t straighten some of his fingers.

Most days, he has to “live within the four walls of the house,” he said. “And then occasionally, when I’m on a good day, a friend might come and pick me up and take me for a drive to a nearby coffee shop and have a coffee. That’s about the most pleasure I’m getting in my life. I can’t walk my dog anymore. I can’t take my grandson to the park to push him on the swing.”

Rowland said he lost his wife and family because of the strain. “They couldn’t look after me,” he said. “I’ve not had a Christmas dinner with the family in two years because I’ve been too ill.”

As for his prognosis, Rowland said his doctors “don’t know how much I’ll heal or whether I’m just going to slowly die, because since I got injured, I’ve just gotten worse gradually on a linear projection.”

“I haven’t gotten any better,” he said, “so we don’t know what the future’s going to hold.”

‘I got to a point where I was suicidal’

The gaslighting Rowland experienced from multiple doctors, the lack of definitive answers, and the questioning of his mental health, drove him to the brink of suicide.

“Because they didn’t believe me … I felt like I was going crazy,” he said. “And I got to a point where I was suicidal.”

Rowland said many of the doctors he saw wanted him to be “on lots of pain medications: morphine, oxycontin, pregabalin.” He said his local hospital is “quite happy to give me morphine and all these other medications and leave me like that for the rest of my life.”

He doesn’t want to go back to taking lots of medications, he said, noting that morphine “doesn’t work … it takes a bit of the edge off the pain, but it doesn’t get rid of it.”

Rowland told The Defender he “wasn’t someone who watched TV or used social media.” But taking to social media ultimately helped provide Rowland with a new lease on life.

He said:

“I went on Twitter one evening. I don’t know what drew me to do that. This was when I was suicidal. I found a guy called Alex Mitchell in the U.K. who lost a leg [due to vaccine injury]. I started chatting to him and he was like, ‘it sounds like you might have a vaccine injury.’

“He pointed me to a support group, UK COVID Vaccine Family. I couldn’t believe it, that there was — I think at the time in the U.K. there were 600-odd people in this group — and I was like, ‘there’s all these people [with] all the same symptoms as me’ … It just completely opened my eyes.”

“From that moment,” said Rowland, while “it was nice to get the support, I still realized that the doctors didn’t have a clue what they were doing. I think what it did was, it took me from a place of being suicidal [to] where I wanted to fight for my life now.”

Rowland said he started to seek out specialists who were seeing patients with vaccine injuries and “knew it wasn’t all in their heads and knew what sort of tests to do.”

He also “went on Twitter and decided that I needed to speak out, because I thought, ‘well, if I’m going to die’ — and I didn’t realize how bad my story was — I thought, ‘well, I didn’t want anyone else to go through what I’m going through.’”

“I just wanted to warn people that if they do inject you and it goes wrong,” he said, “they tell you it’s safe and effective but there’s nobody there for you to help you.”

He said he’s met some wonderful people “who’ve reached out to me and offered me support.”

“I just take pleasure from speaking to those people and the people who are trying to help me,” said Rowland.

At the same time, Rowland told The Defender he is also “going down a legal route.”

“I want to know … what’s keeping my blood clotting and giving me vasculitis. [Doctors] don’t seem prepared to do that. So that’s the battle I’m on … I want to prove it’s negligence because then the [U.K.] government will have to pay for private treatment for me, even if it’s abroad. So, it’s about keeping me alive,” he said.

He had some words of advice for other vaccine-injured individuals:

“I think the first thing they need to do is, don’t suffer in silence alone … trust your own body and your intuition. So, if people are saying that to you, don’t just accept that if your intuition says otherwise.

“Try a two-pronged approach. Find a support group and question people in that support group. Even reach out and contact me online. That’s what I’m there for. And then also, if your doctor is gaslighting you … print off a lot of evidence. If your doctor is not helping you, you need to find another doctor, which I know is not as easy as that, but do not accept a doctor that’s telling you it’s in your head.”

Rowland encouraged vaccine injury victims to “come out publicly if you’ve got the strength to do that because there’s hundreds of thousands and probably millions of us around the world.”

“We were part of the worst experiment that I believe has probably ever taken place,” said Rowland. “And I think it’s going to be like a dam that’s going to burst by the back end of 2023 … I don’t think they can keep it covered up much longer.”

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 14, 2023 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

Long on Covid, terrifyingly short on reason

By Niall McCrae | TCW Defending Freedom | February 14, 2023

As far as the mainstream media goes, the vaccine-injured are unicorns. Their symptoms are delusional or fabricated for ‘anti-vax’ activism. But the real fantasy is in the purported ‘miracle of science’ of the vaccine – novel mRNA technology that is proving to be anything but safe and effective. Any medical treatment has risks as well as benefits, which should have been properly assessed in clinical trials before mass vaccination began.

So strong is faith in heroic medicine that many recipients cannot begin to connect their subsequent maladies to the jabs. A classic of the genre is the latest column by Scottish journalist Emma Cowing in the Daily Mail. ‘A miserable way to find you CAN’T avoid Covid’ is the title of Cowing’s account of catching Covid-19 for the first time.

‘Aware I had recently been in the company of someone who had ended up with Covid, I decided to take a test, and watched with horror as that treacherous first line turned red . . . It wasn’t the first time I had been in contact with people who had tested positive, and yet each time I had got away scot free. I might have known that such pride comes before two lines on a plastic test kit.’

The lateral flow test taken by Cowing is as dubious as the concept of asymptomatic transmission, or indeed of the virus itself. Was there really a coronavirus with the same symptoms and mortality rate of influenza, which almost completely replaced influenza in the last three years? Despite such similarities, the approach taken to Covid-19 was unprecedented: lockdown, school closure, masks and universal vaccination, all pushed by propagandised fear. Just as Dr Mike Yeadon detailed at TCW’s Celebration of Dissent last Thursday. Cowing however believes that we let our guard down too early: ‘The truth is, we have all got pretty complacent. Just a fortnight ago I was in London, and, despite travelling everywhere by Tube, didn’t even think to wear a mask. I think nothing of hugging friends, or sitting in meetings with doors closed and no windows open.’

It’s always a trip to London, isn’t it? City of the medieval Great Plague, and now the Great Unwashed on public transport. As a journalist, Cowing was able to identify her pathogen with specificity: ‘A little research tells me that what I have is likely the relatively new “Kraken” strain, an Omicron sub-variant that took hold in the US and has now made its way over here. It is particularly contagious and fast-moving.’

I’m not sure that Cowing’s research went beyond the archives of her own newspaper. Kraken hasn’t caught the public imagination, a clear sign of Covid-19 fatigue. But for Cowing, the analogy is validated by her debilitation: ‘I have a range of symptoms that I never knew were features of Covid. Cramp in my legs and feet, excruciating pain in my lower back that saw me lying on the floor for an hour in search of relief, a burning pain in my arms and legs. Even my hair hurts.’

Hardly able to work at home, Cowing took days to write her short piece. She is trying to keep her nasty symptoms to herself. ‘All conversations with my husband, who is still testing negative, have taken place from behind a door and I have confined myself to one bedroom, with occasional trips to the kitchen for food and water while wearing a mask, careful to wash my hands and disinfect anything I touch.’

Ironically, the likes of Cowing would regard Covid-19 sceptics as delusional, and the claimed vaccine-injured as hypochondriacal. The latter would not doubt that Cowing’s apparently neurological symptoms are painful and distressing. But it’s a shame that this is not reciprocated. And more importantly for Cowing, she needs to break the spell that clouds her comprehension of why she is so ill. Instead, Cowing doubles down on Covid-19 narrative: ‘Yes, Covid-19, in 2023, even for the quadruple-vaxxed like myself, is no joke.’ Because of the vaccine, Cowing has less to fear than those afflicted by the initial outbreak, when there was no relief by needle, and ‘when many young, healthy individuals were ending up in intensive care’.

Like millions of others who believe that it is somehow a positive to contract the very illness that they were supposedly inoculated against, Cowing worships at the altar of the pharma gods. Her blind faith, her ‘doubling down’ and the cognitive dissonance it exposes, is terrifying.

‘Thank goodness for the scientists who created the vaccine. It is because of them that normal life has been able to go on at all. And as I pop some more painkillers and settle down for another nap, I have never felt more grateful.’

A rational response by the quadruple-jabbed Cowing would be to report her symptoms on the Yellow Card system, as these are not the effects normally expected of an endemic respiratory virus, but more likely adverse reaction to the injections. After all the hubris, it is time for belated backtracking by journalists who have failed in their fundamental role of investigating and telling the truth.

February 14, 2023 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | 5 Comments

Canada’s conservative leader Pierre Poilievre says no to digital ID

By Ken Macon | Reclaim The Net | February 13, 2023

The leader of the Canadian Conservative Party, Pierre Poilievre, said that if he were to be elected Prime Minister, he would not impose digital IDs. He made the comment on a campaign trail in Windsor, Ontario.

Prime Minister ’s government announced its federal Digital Identity Program last August.

“And to answer your question, I will never allow the government to impose a digital ID,” Poilievre said.

Poilievre’s comment came a few days after Alberta and Saskatchewan’s premiers said that they were not interested in a federal digital ID.

“The government of Saskatchewan is not creating a Digital ID nor will we accept any requirements for the creation of a digital ID tied to healthcare funding,” said Saskatchewan’s Premier Scott Moe.

Alberta’s Premier Danielle Smith said that she fully supported what Moe said.

Transport  has recently announced that the Known Traveller Digital Identity (KTDI) project is ongoing, contrary to earlier reports suggesting that the project has been discontinued.

The KTDI is a collaborative effort between the  (WEF), Accenture, INTERPOL, various government entities, and the governments of the Netherlands and Canada. The project was initiated in 2018 to create a secure and decentralized digital identity system for travelers between the Netherlands and Canada. The system utilizes cryptographic encryption and distributed ledger technology to ensure the protection of travelers’ personal information.

February 14, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | 3 Comments

DeSantis Announces Legislation To Ban Social Credit Scores, ‘Woke ESG Financial Scam’

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | February 13, 2023

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) on Monday announced a proposal to eliminate ESG banking and prohibit the financial sector from implementing social credit scores that would otherwise prevent Floridians from obtaining loans, lines of credit and opening bank accounts.

“Today’s announcement builds on my commitment to protect consumers’ investments and their ability to access financial services in the Free State of Florida,” said DeSantis in a statement. “By applying arbitrary ESG financial metrics that serve no one except the companies that created them, elites are circumventing the ballot box to implement a radical ideological agenda. Through this legislation, we will protect the investments of Floridians and the ability of Floridians to participate in the economy.”

The proposal “seeks to protect Floridians from the woke ESG financial scam” by:

  • Prohibiting big banks, trusts, and other financial institutions from discriminating against customers for their religious, political, or social beliefs — including their support for securing the border, owning a firearm, and increasing our energy independence.
  • Prohibiting the financial sector from considering so called “Social Credit Scores” in banking and lending practices that aim to prevent Floridians from obtaining loans, lines of credit, and bank accounts.
  • Prohibiting banks that engage in corporate activism from holding government funds as a Qualified Public Depository (QPD).
  • Prohibiting the use of ESG in all investment decisions at the state and local level, ensuring that fund managers only consider financial factors that maximize the highest rate of return.
  • Prohibiting all state and local entities, including direct support organizations, from considering, giving preference to, or requesting information about ESG as part of the procurement and contracting process.
  • Prohibiting the use of ESG factors by state and local governments when issuing bonds, including a contract prohibition on rating agencies whose ESG ratings negatively impact the issuer’s bond ratings.
  • Directing the Attorney General and Commissioner of Financial Regulation to enforce these provisions to the fullest extent of the law.

“That is a way to try to change people’s behavior. It’s a way to try to impose politics on what should just be economic decisions,” said DeSantis, of ESG. “We are also not going to house in either the state or local government level deposits. And we have a lot of deposit, we got a massive budget surplus in Florida, you have deposits all over the place that go in where state and local government use financial institutions, none of those deposits will be permitted to be done in institutions that are pursuing this woke ESG agenda.”

As Florida’s Voice notes,

The proposal would also aim to make sure ESG will not “infect decisions” at both the state and local governments, such as investment decisions, procurement and contracting, or bonds.

House Speaker Paul Renner said Bob Rommel, R-Naples, will introduce the bill in the House.

“The biggest thing that I think ESG represents is a total hijacking of democracy,” said Renner.

We’re lucky here in the state of Florida, that we’ve got a governor who will stand up to things like ESG, when others will not.”

February 14, 2023 Posted by | Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , , | 1 Comment

One year ago, this Western democracy dipped into autocracy

By Rachel Marsden | RT | February 14, 2023

On February 14, 2022, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked a sweeping nationwide measure, the kind of which hadn’t been used since his father, former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, during the October Crisis of 1970, amid a rash of terrorist incidents perpetrated by Francophone separatists in the province of Quebec.

The federal Emergencies Act, which replaced the War Measures Act used in 1970, as well as during both World Wars, is supposed to be used in cases of serious threat to national security or public welfare. So what was the threat that caused Trudeau to pull out the big guns? A convoy of truckers and their supporters — coined the Freedom Convoy — headed to Canada’s capital city of Ottawa to defend the notion of equal rights of all Canadians to work, assemble, enjoy indoor leisure activities, and travel regardless of anti-Covid vaccine status. The fact that these fundamental aspects of everyday life could no longer be taken for granted was a testament to how authoritarian the Canadian government had already become. And when Canadians finally decided to demonstrate that they were fed up, the Trudeau government’s response was an unprecedented crackdown that put Canada on par with countries that it in-turn criticizes.

“We are broadening the scope of Canada’s anti-money laundering and terrorist financing rules so that they cover crowdfunding platforms and the payment service providers they use. These changes cover all forms of transactions, including digital assets such as cryptocurrencies,” deputy prime minister and finance minister, Chrystia Freeland, said during the Emergency Act announcement. She also introduced an order “authorizing Canadian financial institutions to temporarily cease providing financial services where the institution suspects that an account is being used to further the illegal blockades and occupations. This order covers both personal and corporate accounts.”

It’s hard to imagine that the conflation of Freedom Convoy protesters and terrorism was just coincidental. Western governments use the tactic frequently. The European Union, for example, routinely evokes “Russia” and “ISIS” in the same breath when arguing for the need to control “disinformation” or “propaganda”. Putting two very different things in the same rhetorical basket served to associate them in people’s minds. So people end up thinking that these average Canadians are like terrorists, and then end up supporting the blocking of their bank accounts by government order.

During an inquiry into the use of the Emergency Act, whose results are expected to be made public just after the one year anniversary of the events, it emerged that a CEO of one of Canada’s banks encouraged Freeland to make this designation. “Label them as terrorists,” he said. “Seize the assets and impair them.” Apparently the government simply dutifully complied.

Trudeau ended up lifting the order nine days later on February 23, 2022, before it could be defeated in a challenge, but the damage was done. As a Canadian born and raised near Vancouver, my earliest memories of protests and strikes roughly date back to the same time that I learned to walk. The Freedom Convoy protests weren’t any different from others. Many public demonstrations are loud, and block traffic. I can’t even count the number of times that traffic was halted on a particular Vancouver area bridge and into the downtown core, all because of environmental protesters perched in old growth trees.  The cops usually just end up charging them with mischief, but no one calls a national emergency over it.

Freeland has argued that the extraordinary measures were needed to protect Canada’s economic interests. “What was happening was profoundly jeopardizing the Canadian economy and putting investment in Canada at risk,” she told the inquiry. Sorry, not buying it. How many protests against Canadian oil and gas pipeline projects, which are clearly critical to Canada’s economic security, have lasted for months on end while the government just sat back and let the police do their jobs as they see fit?

As civil rights groups have pointed out, wielding the Emergencies Act was like using a jackhammer on a thumbtack. It failed to specify who in Canada could be targeted by it, and in theory could have been used against anyone or any cause. “By invoking the Emergencies Act, Cabinet gave itself power to enact wide-reaching orders without going through the ordinary democratic process. Using this Act, the federal government gave police increased authority to shut down peaceful protests, on any issue, right across Canada,” argued the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. And that’s without even getting into the merits of the cause.

At the same time, the Canadian government invested a billion dollars to help Canadian provinces set up an integrated digital passport system that linked health and jab records to a digital QR code, much like the European Union’s digital Covid certificate that determined who had received the number of jabs mandated by the government as a prerequisite for access to all the old basic freedoms of daily life. The more people were coerced into getting jabs so they could travel, keep their job, or work out in a gym, the more digital identities could be tied to digital QR codes.

While the mandates have since largely fallen away, that digital tracking infrastructure hasn’t. It is still firmly in place. As long as it persists, it will serve as a reminder of Canada’s authoritarian turn under a questionable but convenient sanitary pretext — and of the government overreach that the Freedom Convoy fought against.

February 14, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , | 2 Comments

Israeli soldier filmed assaulting Palestinian activist in occupied West Bank

This screengrab shows an Israeli soldier assaulting Palestinian activist Issa Amro on February 13, 2023.
Press TV – February 14, 2023

An Israeli soldier has been filmed assaulting a prominent Palestinian human rights activist in front of a famous American journalist in the occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil.

In a video posted on Twitter by Lawrence Wright of the New Yorker on Monday, the Israeli soldier is seen grabbing Issa Amro by his jacket and neck and throwing him to the ground. He then kicks Amro before being pulled away by another soldier.

“I never had a source assaulted in front of me until today when an Israeli soldier who stopped my interview did this … I can’t stop thinking how dehumanizing the occupation is on the young soldiers charged with enforcing it,” Wright, the author of The Looming Tower, wrote in a post on his Twitter account.

The Israeli military claimed in a statement that the incident occurred after the soldier, who was guarding a military post, asked the Palestinian activist who approached the post, to step away.

It further claimed that in response, the Palestinian began recording and cursing at the soldier, and that a verbal confrontation followed, which soon became a physical confrontation, during which the soldier hit the Palestinian.

However, Wright tweeted that Amro had done nothing to justify the “violent assault,” adding that the Israeli military is “misrepresenting” the build-up to the assault on the Palestinian peace activist.

“The soldier initiated the encounter, Amro did not curse him, [he] only asked to call his commander. Nothing to justify the violent assault that followed,” he said.

“Before the assault the other soldiers were afraid to intervene although I warned them it was getting out of hand,” he added.

Amro also posted several videos of the run-up to the incident on Twitter, saying the Israeli military has lied about what happened.

“I was detained outside the military post, I started shouting to bring the commander out, the soldiers refused to tell him, it was a trap for me by them. The commander came out only after I was beaten and grabbed by the throat and kicked and pushed on the ground,” he wrote n another post.

He said that the video is not just about the activist as it tells the story of every Palestinian in Palestine.

“It is not about Issa Amro, it is about the Palestinian women and children who are attacked frequently by Israeli soldiers and settlers. All Palestinians are living under Israeli occupation and apartheid. The video of the attack tells the story of each Palestinian in Palestine,” he added.

The Israeli military said the soldier was jailed for 10 days in a military prison following the incident.

Far-right Israeli minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has defended the soldier’s actions, describing the decision to put him in a military prison as a “disgrace.”

Amro, an engineer by profession, is a well-known human rights defender in his hometown of al-Khalil. He is the founder of Youth Against Settlements (YAS), which aims to empower the Palestinian community in the face of Israeli settlers in the Old City of al-Khalil.

He was detained in November days after filming a soldier assaulting an Israeli activist during a visit by Israeli anti-occupation activists to meet Palestinian residents near the Old City of al-Khalil.

Israeli occupation soldiers and Israeli settlers have noticeably been escalating their attacks against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and other areas, in an attempt to forcibly expel Palestinians from their lands and make way for expanding illegal Jewish-only settlements.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

All the settlements are illegal under international law. The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions. – View videos

February 14, 2023 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 2 Comments

Does Israel Seek a “Final Solution for Palestinians?”

Diaspora Jews choose to look the other way as the carnage increases


There is what passes for a sick joke among those who watch the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians with increasing shock over what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his thugs have been allowed to get away with. It goes something like this: Israel has succeeded in killing or driving out the remaining three million or so Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, describing them as “terrorists.” President Joe Biden, his cabinet and virtually all of Congress respond afterwards by saying how the move was unfortunate but “Israel has a right to defend itself.”

Such is the power of Israel as manifested through its Lobby in the US, and the saddest part of the joke is that it reflects quite likely exactly what would happen. The Palestinians have no constituency in the United States, where Israel and its friends rule the roost. But one of the real ironies of watching a genocide being carried out now in the twenty-first century is that the killers come from a group that constantly flaunts its claimed status as history’s perpetual victims. This duality is a convenience, to be sure, providing as it does immunity from its own crimes as it also escalates the criminal policies that might lead to the genocide of a whole category of potential “enemies.”

Israel’s new government, again headed by the monstrous Benjamin Netanyahu, has shifted hard to the right, incorporating as it does the extremist settlers’ movement as well as parties that have spoken casually of forcing the Palestinians out and even of extermination if it comes to that. Half of Israelis are comfortable with the Arabs having minimal civil rights even if they are Israeli citizens and many accept the desirability of forced expatriation of the Palestinians to neighboring states like Jordan or Lebanon. Arab residents of Israel have only limited legal rights and, contrary to the US domestic Israel Lobby’s constant assertion that the Zionist entity is a “democracy,” Israel in reality became an apartheid state by law when it in 2018 declared itself to be legally the nation state of the Jews with “exclusive right of self-determination.”

More recently Netanyahu has made clear exactly what his government stands for. In late December, he stated that “the Jewish people have an exclusive and inalienable right to all parts of the Land of Israel. The government will promote and develop the settlement of all parts of the Land of Israel.” He was explicit that “all parts” was intended to include the West Bank and even Gaza, which have long been presumed to be the basis of a future Palestinian state. With Washington’s support, they presumably will become part of Eretz Israel, which will stretch from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

To be sure, Israel and its powerful US lobby know very well that the constant claim of victimhood combined with labeling its perceived enemies as antisemites and holocaust deniers to discredit them is little more than a tool employed in part to excuse war crimes and human rights violations committed by the Israelis. In 2002 a former Israeli government minister Shulamit Aloni revealed in an interview how labeling a critic as an antisemite to discredit what is being is little more than “a trick.” She said “Well, it’s a trick, we always use it. When from Europe somebody is criticizing Israel, then we bring up the Holocaust. When in this country [the US] people are criticizing Israel, then they are antisemitic.” She added that there was an “Israel, my country right or wrong” attitude and “they’re not ready to hear criticism”. Antisemitism, the holocaust and “the suffering of the Jewish people” are used to “justify everything we do to the Palestinians.”

Indeed, there is every indication that Prime Minister Netanyahu will be taking a much harder line not only with the Palestinians, but as well with its foreign “enemies” the Syrians, Iranians and Lebanese. And there is every sign that he has drawn the United States into his web. President Joe Biden, a self-declared Catholic “Zionist”, is politically too weak to take on the Israel Lobby even if he wanted to, and he has in any event surrounded himself with Zionist Jews as a foreign policy and national security team that would consider any weakening of ties with Israel to be unimaginable. Quite the contrary. Jewish power in the US demands unconditional military, financial and diplomatic support for Israel, even as its government moves to the right and becomes more dangerous regionally, threatening to involve the United States in new wars. Seemingly blind to what is developing, the US last month proceeded with the largest wargames ever involving the Jewish state. The games simulated an attack on Iran and could be a model for a series of pointless conflicts initiated by the more hawkish Israeli government.

And there is almost certainly much more to come, including a bill in the Knesset that will make it nearly impossible for Arab citizens to organize political parties. The new government in Israel has also placed police under the control of ultra-nationalist Jewish Power party head Itamar Ben-Gvir as National Security Minister. He is exploiting his position to already call for a war to destroy Hamas in Gaza. Meanwhile, the shoot to kill policy vis-à-vis Palestinians has increased the number of deaths already in 2023, totaling twelve on January 25th and 26th alone when a refugee camp at Jenin on the West Bank was raided by the army and two teenagers elsewhere were shot dead. Another shooting a week later took 5 Palestinian lives. Many more Palestinians were wounded in all the army attacks and the Israelis, as is their practice, routinely deny them any access to medical help. The army’s Chief of Staff has declared that its policy on using firearms will not be changed in spite of the large number of civilian deaths. Israeli soldiers and policemen who kill Palestinians, who are routinely described as “terrorists,” are almost never investigated or prosecuted and have been, in some cases, praised in the media and promoted.

And Ben-Gvir is not the only fanatic who has surfaced as a worrisome character in the new government. Another is Bezalel Smotrich, the leader of the Religious Zionism party and now finance minister, who has called for Israel’s annexation of the entire West Bank and the imposition of citizenship requirements that would make Jewishness a prerequisite for inclusion.

Smotrich’s party aspires to make Israel a theocracy governed by the racist Talmud, and both he and Ben-Gvir have supported the expulsion of Arabs who fail to agree that “the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people.” Smotrich has stated that his immediate plans include authorizing dozens of new and completely illegal West Bank outposts to include continuing the demolition of what he claims are unauthorized Palestinian homes there. Smotrich is also enthusiastically racist when it comes to the Palestinians, asserting that new Jewish mothers in hospitals should be separated from new Palestinian mothers. “[My wife] would not want to sleep next to someone who just gave birth to a baby who might want to murder her baby in twenty years.”

Zvika Fogel, another prominent right wing Israeli member of parliament, has called for genocide in his promotion of a “final war” against the Palestinians to “subdue them once and for all,” saying in an interview that Israel’s policy of going to war with Palestinians “every two or three years” was no longer good enough and that there should be one last war to “subdue them once and for all. It would be worth it because this will be the final war…”

Home demolitions, property seizures, checkpoints and other round the clock harassment of Palestinians also are increasing in frequency as the Israelis accelerate their expansion into areas that are nominally Palestinian. Palestinians who marry foreigners are not allowed to enter the country with their spouses while the Palestinian flag has now been declared illegal. The possibility that the Arabs will stage a general uprising increases daily, leading to more demands from some Israelis that remaining Palestinian centers of resistance be utterly destroyed.

To be sure, many young Jewish Israelis have recently been demonstrating against their own government’s shift rightwards. And in the United States many liberal Jews are concerned at developments, though they are critical of what is happening for all the wrong reasons. An increasing number of American Jews believe that Israel is indeed an apartheid state and that its treatment of the Palestinians is inhumane to say the least. But they, at the same time, oppose doing anything to punish the Israeli government to make it draw back from its most brutal and dangerous policies. They argue that the Netanyahu government is risking a confrontation with the US government, and the Jewish community will splinter over Israeli human rights abuses, weakening political support in Washington for a strong and enduring relationship with the Jewish state. In a sense the power of the Jewish diaspora both in the US and elsewhere thereby becomes the enabler of Israeli bad behavior even as it disapproves of what is taking place.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is

February 14, 2023 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 6 Comments

Hungary wants apology for ‘outrageous’ claims by US official

RT | February 14, 2023

Hungary blasted the US over what it says are “outrageous” and “false” accusations of anti-Semitism, leveled by a senior diplomat against Budapest. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mate Paczolay added that while Washington later admitted the mistake, it has not issued a public apology.

On Tuesday, speaking to the Index news site, Paczolay slammed Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN.

During a UN event on Thursday, Thomas-Greenfield cited Hungary as an example of a place where anti-Semitism is on the rise, noting that “a Holocaust memorial was vandalized” there. In a transcript later released by Washington’s mission to the UN, this phrase was crossed out.

An explanatory note said that Thomas-Greenfield was referring to a statue in Sweden of diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved thousands of Jews from the Nazis in Hungary during WWII.

“It is quite outrageous that the US ambassador made baseless and false claims about Hungary in front of the… public,” the spokesman said, adding that the Hungarian delegation was not given an opportunity to speak, and was able to complain only after the event had ended.

Paczolay noted that “the American side admitted behind closed doors that it made a mistake.” However, it never issued “a clarifying or an apologetic statement,” which he said is the “minimum expectation in diplomacy” in this type of situation.

If the mistake was indeed unintentional and resulted from a “lack of preparation,” then it is “incomprehensible why the representation does not issue a statement in order to resolve the situation,” he said.

Earlier this month, Hungarian-US relations were marred by another diplomatic spat. Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto called out David Pressman, Washington’s ambassador to Budapest, over alleged “interference” in the nation’s internal affairs.

Pressman had commented that local decision-makers “continue to push policies endorsed by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” referring in particular to Hungary’s opposition to the Western sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine conflict.

February 14, 2023 Posted by | Russophobia | , | 2 Comments

USA Today: “Little by Little” Russia is Winning Key Ground War

Surprising admission deviates from usual narrative

By Paul Joseph Watson | Summit News | February 14, 2023

USA Today raised some eyebrows when it deviated from the usual narrative by acknowledging “little by little” Russia is winning the ground war in a pivotal area of Ukraine, citing a quote given by a pro-Ukraine spokeswoman.

The admission was in relation to the battle for the city of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

Russia has been fighting fiercely to take back the city since last summer, and now appears to be pouring more manpower into the region to finish the job.

“They have been trying to take the city since July,” Iryna Rybakova, press officer for Ukraine’s 93rd Brigade, told BBC. “Little by little they are winning now. They have more resources, so if they play the long game they will win. I can’t say how long it will take.”

Moscow has established control of both main roads into the city, with only one back route left open, making it increasingly difficult to get supplies to Ukraine troops.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office also admitted that the turf war had become “difficult,” while Donetsk Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said, “We’re seeing a very tough battle in which the Russians aren’t sparing neither themselves nor us.”

As Chris Menahan notes, the statements contradict legacy media narratives that Russia is running out of weapons and supplies, which has been the dominant mantra since just after the start of the conflict.

“Nonetheless, the US and NATO keep stringing Ukraine along with this BS to encourage them to fight their proxy war with Russia,” writes Menahan.

“The most likely outcome of this war is that Russia will take the Donbas and Ukraine will agree not to join NATO and recognize Crimea as Russian, which is an outcome that could have been achieved 10 months ago (with a tiny fraction of the deaths and the EU/global economy intact) if the US and NATO didn’t bribe the Zelensky regime with over $100 billion to keep the war going in perpetuity.”

For months now, numerous mainstream media outlets have been pushing the narrative that Russia is being routed in many areas of Ukraine and that the war could have entered its final phase.

Much of this appears to be little more than pro-NATO propaganda to boost morale, which paradoxically in the longer term could actually harm morale if Ukrainian forces aren’t prepared to dig in for a prolonged war.

February 14, 2023 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 2 Comments

Tanker Rates To Haul Gasoline Soar 400% After Russian Sanctions

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | February 14, 2023

Clean product tanker rates soared last week after the European Union and G-7 nations targeted Russia’s petroleum sales. Restrictions on Russian crude exports began in early December. The sanctions have been a ploy by Western countries to limit Russian crude and crude product exports, though it’s definitely not working.

Sanctions have redirected Russian energy flows from Europe to Asia. The rejiggering of supply chains means Russia has to rely more on tankers. According to Bloomberg, this has led to a 400% surge in the daily rates for clean product tankers.

The latest data from the Baltic Exchange in London shows clean product tankers rates have reached $55,857 per day, surging 58% just last Thursday.

According to trading giant Trafigura, Russia relies on a “shadow fleet” of tankers to move crude and crude products. The trading firm said the fleet is about 600 ships.

Bloomberg said the surge in tanker rates has been “spurred in part by a bifurcation of the fleet with some tankers serving Moscow’s interests and others the international market. It highlights a possible flipside of aggressive measures aimed at limiting Russia’s petroleum revenues.”

“Russian volumes continue to flow at more or less the same rate and that takes up a lot of ships.”

“Ultimately, the spike shows demand is pretty good, and the fundamentals are strong,” Lars Bastian Ostereng, an analyst at Arctic Securities.

About 400 tankers, or 20% of the global fleet, recently “switched” from hauling fuels for traditional countries to carrying Russian petroleum products, Trafigura’s co-head of oil trading Ben Luckock said in a recent Bloomberg interview. That has reduced the number of tankers for traditional routes and is leading to the skyrocketing cost of freight.

Bloomberg pointed out that surging rates aren’t entirely because of the tanker “switch.” It’s also due to more crude flowing by water following Western sanctions on Russia. Much of those energy exports are now being sent to Asia.

“We see no indication that Russia will have to cut back its exports of crude or refined products,” said David Wech, chief economist of Vortexa, during a presentation late last week.

Furthermore, crude prices have edged over $86 a barrel following last Friday’s announcement that Russia will reduce crude oil production by 500,000 barrels per day. This is in response to Western price caps on purchasing Russian fuel.

February 14, 2023 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | , , , | 1 Comment

‘Damn Stupid’: US Journalist Behind Nord Stream Bombshell Takes Aim at Biden, Legacy Media

By Wyatt Reed – Sputnik – 14.02.2023

In his first interview since publishing his bombshell story on the attack on the Nord Stream pipelines, legendary investigative journalist Seymour Hersh fleshed out the details of his explosive report exposing the role of the US Navy in blowing up critical German-Russian energy infrastructure.

American journalist Seymour Hersh is “taking heat” over his recent explosive report documenting how the US sabotaged the Nord Stream pipelines, the legendary reporter revealed in a new interview.

In a wide-ranging discussion on the War Nerd podcast, Hersh called on US President Joe Biden to come clean to the American people about the Biden administration’s role in the attack. The journalist underscored that the US public is being misinformed about the proxy war in Ukraine en masse.

Last week, Hersh published a dizzying report detailing how US Navy divers planted C-4 charges on the Nord Stream pipelines during a NATO training exercise and then remotely detonated them with a Norwegian reconnaissance plan.

The veteran war journalist suggests media outlets are refusing to cover his new revelations because “they think that the story I wrote supports Russia” – which “it does,” he concedes.

But Hersh said that despite being “colossally bad” for the European economy and “inexcusable,” the American government’s intentional attack on the critical energy infrastructure of a US ally is not technically illegal under international law.

“The law on the sea is very interesting. There are treaties that go back to 1884, when we began to lay telegraph lines across the ocean, and if you inadvertently or deliberately ran across the line that was a real bad deal.”

But “there were mostly economic consequences” for those infractions, Hersh pointed out, noting there’s actually “no law on the books that says deliberately blowing up a pipeline is a crime.”

Such a crime “has never been considered,” Hersh said, but there are “certainly a lot of law about damages, if you damage a pipeline. And this is a pipeline that’s probably going to cost… — there’s a Swiss company that did an estimate — 1.5 billion to fix the pipelines.”

Asked if he’s ever covered anything like a government “blowing up your ally’s critical infrastructure,” Hersh replied that the Biden administration “didn’t see it that way.” Instead, Biden “saw that gas as a weapon, Hersh claimed, “because as long as Russia was selling that much gas they thought Russia would weaponize if… there was a war.”

In reality, Hersh said “the fear was: Biden wants this war.”

“Don’t ask me why presidents want war. I think it’s good for their ratings. I just don’t know.”

“But Biden was very big on showing the Russians that in the Ukraine, with Ukrainian bodies, soldiers, we’ll show ‘em – we can stand up to Russia,” the journalist explains.

Anti-Russian posturing is “good politically in America too,” Hersh added, noting that in the US, “we all, you know, we wake up everyday kicking Russia and Putin, our…”

“Our nemesis,” the host chimed in.

In the comprehensive interview, Hersh took aim at outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post, who he said are only interested in burning his source for the Nord Stream story. According to his recent report, that anonymous figure had “direct knowledge of the operational planning” of the pipeline attack.

“I think what the newspapers… think I should do” is “use his name and get him put in jail” – something which would end my career,” Hersh added, stating that under no circumstances would he ever give up a source. “Inside the community, I protect people.”

“I’m taking heat, I have a source, I’m taking heat – but that’s okay, that’s my job, right? But it’s their job to understand the business a little better.” And in terms of the conflict in Ukraine, mainstream Western outlets “don’t seem to have anybody inside,” Hersh said.

“The coverage of the Ukrainian war is, compared to what I’m hearing from my friends who have access to the information… it’s – the thinking is so dumb.”

“The war I know about isn’t the war you’re reading about,” Hersh said cryptically, pointing out that military operations against Russia were by no means going well. “No, of course not. Are you kidding?”

While he admitted Russian forces “made great misjudgments,” he acknowledged “they have a 350,000 man regular army that hasn’t gone in yet.”

One of the likely causes for those waves of misinformation may be what the host refers to as the “Bellingcats and the OSINT [open source intelligence] bros.”

Responding to their mention, Hersh doesn’t mince words: “No one cares about those people.”

The storied journalist seemingly suggested instead that Bellingcat, the self-professed ‘independent’ outlet upheld by much of the mainstream media, is actually a British intelligence operation:

“I mean, why don’t you think about their nexus to certain intelligence agencies in a certain country,” Hersh asked rhetorically. “You know, you get to know who’s who.”

“But there are legitimate people complaining” about his reporting as well, he added.

“It’s amazing to me how they fall in line, my colleagues,” the reporter expressed. “When I was at the New York Times, they didn’t do that.”

“I’m not sure they underestimate the American people,” Hersh said. “We’re ready to accept the fact that an American president did this.”

And “it’s not only accepting it,” the journalist added. “You have to hold the president to account.”

Of the mainstream Western outlets that covered the story, Hersh faced fierce pushback from most of them, which tended to emphasize White House and CIA denials of the Nord Stream allegations.

Reuters called his jaw-dropping exposé a “blog post,” and one headline from Insider described the report as a “claim by a discredited journalist” which the authors insist “is proving a gift to Putin.”

Hersh faced major attacks on his reputation in the wake of stories debunking now–discredited claims from Western governments about Syrian forces using sarin gas, and for his writings dismantling the official story of the killing of Osama Bin Laden. As for the criticism, he says he’s “used to it.”

But this time, it “sort of stunned me because this was such an obvious story,” he said.

As Hersh noted in his story, top US officials – including Biden – repeatedly threatened to sabotage the pipeline in the event that Russian troops engaged Ukrainian forces.

Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland warned in January: “if Russia invades Ukraine, one way or another, Nord Stream 2 will not move forward.”

“So what does that mean?” Hersh asked. “I don’t know what anybody’s thinking but I’Il tell you what that means: that’s called a threat.”

“A friend of mine put it this way: what you’ve done, [Seymour]… you’re an expert at deconstructing the obvious. What else was it? What else was it?”

“The Russians didn’t do it, [and] if the Russians didn’t do it, which country in NATO [did]?” he questioned.

“It’s just not even a hard story to understand – the president of the United States and the undersecretary of state both said they were going to do it and then they did it,” Hersh stated, adding: “they waited a long time but they cut off oil.”

“Literally within a month of the actual event,” Hersh noted, Secretary of State Antony Blinken “gave a speech in which he talked about stopping Russia from weaponizing oil and gas – ‘now is the time we can do it,’ he said.”

Meanwhile, the effect on the European economy is “devastating.”

As Hersh pointed out, Germany’s BASF, the largest chemical producer in the world, shut down nearly 100 plants and “has actually been talking to China about moving some facilities there.”

In terms of “the economic stuff, which hasn’t been reported nearly enough in the Western press here,” Hersh said, “this is called, I guess you could [say], shooting off your left foot.”

“For no reason whatsoever, yes, we shot ourselves in the foot. Yes, it’s stupid beyond belief. Yes.”

“I would think that it’s certainly, unquestionably, a wonderful degree of stupidity at the White House and on [the] part of the president. It’s just stupid – it’s just damn stupid.”

The journalist said it’s unlikely Biden will face scrutiny for his actions in many mainstream media outlets anytime soon, because “this White House,” Hersh said, has “the New York Times and the Washington Post and MSN and CNN fronting for them.”

And “the enemy is Fox News.”

But “the only reporter that has called me from any TV station – outside of somebody that’s running out of the kitchen of their mother’s house” was Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Hersh declined the request, but said Carlson has been “dead right” about the Nord Stream attack. “And I’ll tell you something else – Tucker’s been right about is the war in Ukraine.”

The reporter repeatedly emphasized his unwillingness to discuss his sourcing, explaining “the one thing government’s good at is tracking down people who talk.” But ultimately, he suggested the information could be coming from someone inside the US oil and gas industry, telling his interviewer: “there’s something called a pipeline industry.”

“There’s an industry [with] American companies involved. They build pipelines around the world. Are you listening to me? They know what happened,” Hersh said. “The last thing they want to do is end up in a goddamn newspaper story, but they know who did what.”

“Of course they know – they built the goddamn things!”

“I’m not talking necessarily about Nord Stream 1 or 2, but they build pipelines and they talk to divers, and they know what’s happening, they know who has the capability, and they know what they hear inside,” Hersh concluded.

February 14, 2023 Posted by | Deception, Economics, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments