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Autopsy Studies of COVID-19 Illness Rule Out Extensive Myocarditis

Systematic Review of 50 Studies with 548 Hearts Does not Find Heart Inflammation as Significant Contributor to Death

By Peter A. McCullough, MD, MPH | Courageous Discourse | March 28, 2023

From the original Baric study demonstrating beta-coronavirus loading in laboratory models can cause myocarditis to the first year of the COVID-19 crisis there has been a concern that SARS-CoV-2 infection in humans could cause heart inflammation. Epidemiologic studies relying on ICD codes triggered by routine cardiac troponin testing and or results implied that hospitalized patients were developing myocarditis with the respiratory illness. None of these studies were confirmed with clinical adjudication or autopsy. In 2020 the NCAA Big Ten athletic conference, US Military, and many other organizations screened for myocarditis on clinical grounds—handful of cases were found without any reported hospitalizations or deaths. Tuvali, et al from Israel, demonstrated that myocarditis in 2020 was not any more common that the low levels of baseline myocarditis from parvovirus, giant cell, and other conditions.

Almamlouk et al performed a systematic review of 50 autopsy studies and 548 hearts of patients who died of or with COVID-19. Usual post-mortem findings of tissue edema and necrosis were reported commonly. About two thirds of hearts had SARS-CoV-2 found in the tissue. However, none of the hearts had extensive myocarditis as the cause of death.

Almamlouk R, Kashour T, Obeidat S, Bois MC, Maleszewski JJ, Omrani OA, Tleyjeh R, Berbari E, Chakhachiro Z, Zein-Sabatto B, Gerberi D, Tleyjeh IM; Cardiac Autopsy in COVID-19 Study Group; Paniz Mondolfi AE, Finn AV, Duarte-Neto AN, Rapkiewicz AV, Frustaci A, Keresztesi AA, Hanley B, Märkl B, Lardi C, Bryce C, Lindner D, Aguiar D, Westermann D, Stroberg E, Duval EJ, Youd E, Bulfamante GP, Salmon I, Auer J, Maleszewski JJ, Hirschbühl K, Absil L, Barton LM, Ferraz da Silva LF, Moore L, Dolhnikoff M, Lammens M, Bois MC, Osborn M, Remmelink M, Nascimento Saldiva PH, Jorens PG, Craver R, Aparecida de Almeida Monteiro R, Scendoni R, Mukhopadhyay S, Suzuki T, Mauad T, Fracasso T, Grimes Z. COVID-19-Associated cardiac pathology at the postmortem evaluation: a collaborative systematic review. Clin Microbiol Infect. 2022 Aug;28(8):1066-1075. doi: 10.1016/j.cmi.2022.03.021. Epub 2022 Mar 23. PMID: 35339672; PMCID: PMC8941843.

In summary, this review should be the nail in the coffin in ruling out COVID-19 illness as a cause of fatal myocarditis. Despite the virus being found in heart tissue, it was not causing significant inflammation. The explosion of fatal myocarditis by report of unexplained cardiac arrest, adjudication, and at necropsy must have another explanation than SARS-CoV-2 infection. The only new proven cause of heart damage in human populations is COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccines used in America (Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen, Novavax) have been demonstrated to cause myocarditis as published in the peer-reviewed literature.

These observations call for immediate access to the CDC COVID-19 vaccine administration database for physicians and other providers who are managing the burgeoning caseload of myocarditis. This will be the only way the epidemiology of COVID-19 vaccine induced myocarditis can be studied and patient outcomes can be improved.

Daniels CJ, Rajpal S, Greenshields JT, Rosenthal GL, Chung EH, Terrin M, Jeudy J, Mattson SE, Law IH, Borchers J, Kovacs R, Kovan J, Rifat SF, Albrecht J, Bento AI, Albers L, Bernhardt D, Day C, Hecht S, Hipskind A, Mjaanes J, Olson D, Rooks YL, Somers EC, Tong MS, Wisinski J, Womack J, Esopenko C, Kratochvil CJ, Rink LD; Big Ten COVID-19 Cardiac Registry Investigators. Prevalence of Clinical and Subclinical Myocarditis in Competitive Athletes With Recent SARS-CoV-2 Infection: Results From the Big Ten COVID-19 Cardiac Registry. JAMA Cardiol. 2021 Sep 1;6(9):1078-1087. doi: 10.1001/jamacardio.2021.2065. PMID: 34042947; PMCID: PMC8160916.

Tuvali O, Tshori S, Derazne E, Hannuna RR, Afek A, Haberman D, Sella G, George J. The Incidence of Myocarditis and Pericarditis in Post COVID-19 Unvaccinated Patients-A Large Population-Based Study. J Clin Med. 2022 Apr 15;11(8):2219. doi: 10.3390/jcm11082219. PMID: 35456309; PMCID: PMC9025013.

Almamlouk R, Kashour T, Obeidat S, Bois MC, Maleszewski JJ, Omrani OA, Tleyjeh R, Berbari E, Chakhachiro Z, Zein-Sabatto B, Gerberi D, Tleyjeh IM; Cardiac Autopsy in COVID-19 Study Group; Paniz Mondolfi AE, Finn AV, Duarte-Neto AN, Rapkiewicz AV, Frustaci A, Keresztesi AA, Hanley B, Märkl B, Lardi C, Bryce C, Lindner D, Aguiar D, Westermann D, Stroberg E, Duval EJ, Youd E, Bulfamante GP, Salmon I, Auer J, Maleszewski JJ, Hirschbühl K, Absil L, Barton LM, Ferraz da Silva LF, Moore L, Dolhnikoff M, Lammens M, Bois MC, Osborn M, Remmelink M, Nascimento Saldiva PH, Jorens PG, Craver R, Aparecida de Almeida Monteiro R, Scendoni R, Mukhopadhyay S, Suzuki T, Mauad T, Fracasso T, Grimes Z. COVID-19-Associated cardiac pathology at the postmortem evaluation: a collaborative systematic review. Clin Microbiol Infect. 2022 Aug;28(8):1066-1075. doi: 10.1016/j.cmi.2022.03.021. Epub 2022 Mar 23. PMID: 35339672; PMCID: PMC8941843.

March 28, 2023 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

RFK, Jr. and CHD Sue Biden, Fauci for Alleged Censorship

By Brenda Baletti, Ph.D. | The Defender | March 28, 2023

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Children’s Health Defense (CHD) on Friday filed a class action lawsuit against President Biden, Dr. Anthony Fauci and other top administration officials and federal agencies, alleging they “waged a systematic, concerted campaign” to compel the nation’s three largest social media companies to censor constitutionally protected speech.

Kennedy, CHD and Connie Sampognaro filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Monroe Division, on behalf of all the more than 80% of Americans who access news from online news aggregators and social media companies, principally Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

The plaintiffs allege top-ranking government officials, along with an “ever-growing army of federal officers, at every level of the government” from the White House to the FBI, the CIA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to lesser-well-known federal agencies of inducing those companies:

“to stifle viewpoints that the government disfavors, to suppress facts that the government does not want the public to hear, and to silence specific speakers — in every case critics of federal policy — whom the government has targeted by name.”

Kennedy, chairman and chief litigation counsel of CHD, said American Democracy itself is at stake in this case:

“U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said, ‘Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.’ It also violates the Constitution.

“The collaboration between the White House and health and intelligence agency bureaucrats to silence criticism of presidential policies is an assault on the most fundamental foundation stone of American Democracy.”

The lawsuit’s argument rests on the Norwood Principle, an “axiomatic,” or self-evident, principle of constitutional law that says the government “may not induce, encourage, or promote private persons to accomplish what it is constitutionally forbidden to accomplish.”

According to the plaintiffs, the U.S. government used the social media companies as a proxy to illegally censor free speech.

The complaint cites the now-weekly, ongoing disclosures of secret communications between social media companies and federal officials — in the “Twitter files,” other lawsuits and news reports — which revealed threats by Biden and other top officials against social media companies if they failed to aggressively censor.

The suit points to examples where the censorship campaign allegedly trampled First Amendment freedoms, such as the Hunter Biden laptop story, the COVID-19 Wuhan lab-leak theory and the suppression of facts and opinions about the COVID-19 vaccines.

The plaintiffs do not seek financial damages. Instead, they seek a declaration that these practices by federal agents violate the First Amendment and a nationwide injunction against the federal government’s effort to censor constitutionally protected online speech.

The complaint points to a Supreme Court decision that said social media platforms are “the modern public square” and argues that all Americans who access news online have a First Amendment right against censorship of protected speech in that public square.

Jed Rubenfeld, one of the attorneys arguing the case filed Friday, explained why the lawsuit was filed as a class action:

“Social media platforms are the modern public square. For years, the government has been pressuring, promoting, and inducing the companies that control that square to impose the same kind of censorship that the First Amendment prohibits.

“This lawsuit challenges that censorship campaign, and we hope to bring it to an end. The real victim is the public, which is why we’ve brought this suit as a class action on behalf of everyone who accesses news from social media.”

According to the complaint, when the administration violates the First Amendment of an entire class of people, the judiciary must step in to protect American’s constitutional rights:

“Apart from the Judiciary, no branch of our Government, and no other institution, can stop the current Administration’s systematic efforts to suppress speech through the conduit of social-media companies.

“Congress can’t, the Executive won’t, and States lack the power to do so. The fate of American free speech, as it has so often before, lies once again in the hands of the courts.”

The lawsuit also names Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Commerce, DHS, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and other individuals and agencies — 106 defendants in total.

‘The largest federally sanctioned censorship operation’ ever seen

According to the lawsuit, efforts by federal officials to induce social media platforms to censor speech began in 2020 with the suppression of the COVID-19 lab leak theory and reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop.

Once President Biden took office in January 2021, senior White House officials reported the Biden team began “direct engagement” with social media companies to “clamp down” on speech the White House disfavored, which officials called “misinformation.”

Revelations would later prove the administration was asking social media companies to suppress not only putatively false speech but also speech it knew to be “wholly accurate” along with expressions of opinion.

This practice, it alleges, spread from the administration and through the entire government, becoming “a government-wide campaign to achieve through the intermediation of social media companies exactly the kind of content-based and viewpoint-based censorship of dissident political speech that the First Amendment prohibits.”

Similar allegations about this massive federal censorship campaign also so were alleged by the plaintiffs in the Missouri. v. Biden case, but this case introduces many new allegations.

Some, but not all, examples of government-coordinated suppression of free speech on social media cited in the complaint include the following:

  • Substantial evidence of coordinated efforts by Fauci and others to suppress the lab-leak theory, which remains plausible and supported by evidence.
  • Extensive email communication between Fauci and Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, demonstrating Facebook and other social media companies adopted policies that identified any claims about the lab-leak hypothesis to be “false” and “debunked.”
  • Facebook’s admission that its censorship of COVID-19-related speech, on supposed grounds of falsity, is based on what “public health experts have advised us.”
  • Public statements by Zuckerberg on Joe Rogan’s podcast that Facebook suppressed the Hunter Biden laptop story as a result of communications from the FBI.
  • Extensive public commentary by FBI Special Agent Elvis Chan about his work with social media companies and CISA to discuss suppression of election-related speech on social media.
  • “Twitter files” documents on Twitter’s suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story.
  • “Twitter files” documents demonstrating weekly meetings between agents from the FBI’s 80-agent social media task force and Twitter to discuss content suppression along with direct payments from the FBI to Twitter for compliance with requests.
  • CISA’s work with the Center for Internet Security, a third-party group, to flag content, including particular individuals, for censorship on social media.
  • “Twitter files” evidence about the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP), a vast network of high-level interactions with the federal government and social media platforms — which included proposals, ultimately adopted, for the U.S. government to establish its own “disinformation” board. One free-speech advocate described the EIP as “the largest federally-sanctioned censorship operation” he had ever seen.
  • Documents demonstrating after the election, the EIP was transformed into the “Virality Project,” which was dedicated to “take action even against ‘stories of true vaccine side effects’ and ‘true posts which could fuel hesitancy.’”
  • Threats by congressional representativessenators and Biden to break up Big Tech if they did not improve censorship practices.
  • Census Bureau documents describing work by its “Trust & Safety” team with social media platforms to “counter false information.”
  • “Twitter files” documents, news reports, and documents received through Freedom of Information Act requests that demonstrated myriad, consistent communications with Facebook, Twitter and Google (YouTube) and numerous Biden administration officials named as defendants in the lawsuit including Murthy, former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, officials from the CDC, DHS, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, CISA, the U.S. State Department, the White House — including White House Counsel — and other agencies about how to take action against “misinformation” related to COVID-19.

This last set of communications included action against the so-called “Disinformation Dozen,” which includes Kennedy. According to the complaint, “Facebook itself has stated that the infamous ‘disinformation dozen’ claim has no factual support.”

Kennedy tweeted some of the evidence that the White House directly censored him.

The complaint alleges that the collusion between the administration, federal agencies and social media companies to suppress constitutionally protected free speech now also extends beyond the election and COVID-19-related commentary to include suppression of speech on topics such as climate change, “clean energy,” “gendered disinformation,” pro-life pregnancy resource centers and other topics.

It also alleges, based on research from the Media Research Center that identified hundreds of instances of censored critiques of Biden, that social media companies “have achieved astonishing success in muzzling public criticism of Joe Biden.”

It argues that the defendants’ power over social media gives them a “historically unprecedented power over public discourse in America — a power to control what hundreds of millions of people in this county can say, see, and hear.”

CHD President Mary Holland, who also serves as CHD general counsel, told The Defender :

“If Government can censor its critics, there is no atrocity it cannot commit. The public has been deprived of truthful, life-and-death information over the last three years. This lawsuit aims to have government censorship end, as it must, because it is unlawful under our constitution.”

The lawsuit asks the court to permanently enjoin them from, “taking any steps to demand, urge, pressure, or otherwise induce any social-media platform to censor, suppress, de-platform, suspend, shadow-ban, de-boost, restrict access to constitutionally protected speech, or take any other adverse action against any speaker, protected content or viewpoint expressed on social media.”

Brenda Baletti Ph.D. is a reporter for The Defender. She wrote and taught about capitalism and politics for 10 years in the writing program at Duke University. She holds a Ph.D. in human geography from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s from the University of Texas at Austin.

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.

March 28, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Trudeau invokes “flat-earthers” and “anti-vaxxers” as he calls for social platforms to be liable for “disinformation”

By Christina Maas | Reclaim The Net | March 28, 2023

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked “flat-earthers” and “anti-vaxxers” to call for a crackdown on “disinformation” online. He made the comments during a town hall event in Ottawa last week.

Trudeau began by saying the government should find a balance between censorship and free speech to protect people from disinformation.

“Governments have very limited tools to protect people in an online world, which is a good thing. It allows for a tremendous amount of freedom – freedom of expression, freedom of discovery – no oppressive governments controlling what you see, what you want, but it also opens us up to a tremendous amount of crap, of hate speech, of things that are illegal, but also things that are just going to bring us down roads where we’re going to get lost,” he said.

He then talked about misinformation in terms of anti-vaxxers and flat-earthers.

“I remember a few years ago before the pandemic, getting really fascinated by flat-earthers, and trying to understand – sort of – the thinking behind them, of people who decided actively to create an identity for themselves that was to just clearly reject what science settled thousands of years ago with the ancient Greeks and that there’s no real contrast to,” he explained.

“It’s more of an identity thing rather than a reasoning thing, and to have people sucked into that, it was fascinating to try and see what it was all about.

“And of course, we went on to understand the phenomenon of anti-vaxxers and anti-science, anti-skeptics, and this rise in these echo chambers that are validating this kind of thinking in ways that have real consequences.

“There are people in Canada who died surrounded by their families because they truly and genuinely believed that the vaccine was more dangerous than the virus, and it killed them.”

The PM then argued that online platforms should be held responsible for the content they host.

“My responsibility as Prime Minister is to try and keep everyone in this country as safe as I possibly can, but I can’t protect everyone from every bit of disinformation on the Internet. So we have to have reflections of how we move forward, how we responsibilize the companies that are controlling so much, the private companies that are controlling so much of the public square you now live in that doesn’t have police paid by your taxes to keep you safe.”

“It doesn’t have rules around businesses to regulate so you don’t get scammed by the corner store. This is the new world we’re in that we’re going to have to try and adjust to, and I can tell you, I’m worried about the direction we’re going.”

March 28, 2023 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 1 Comment

Baltimore blocks East Palestine toxic water dump

RT | March 28, 2023

A Baltimore contractor has agreed to relocate the processing of hundreds of thousands of gallons of toxic wastewater from the site of last month’s Norfolk Southern train derailment after local officials mounted strong opposition to the disposal plan. Clean Harbors of Baltimore Environmental Services announced on Tuesday morning that approximately 600,000 to 800,000 gallons of water from East Palestine, Ohio would be processed elsewhere.

Local officials had only learned on Friday that Norfolk Southern had contracted with Clean Harbors to ship enormous amounts of contaminated water from the derailment site to Baltimore. From there, the water would have been piped into Baltimore’s aging, leaky sewer system, and from there it would travel to the city’s troubled Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant. Just last year, the state declared the plant to be on the brink of “catastrophic failure,” and less than a month ago one of the plant’s buildings dedicated to processing sewage sludge suffered a massive explosion requiring its closure.

While the Baltimore city council voted on Monday to implore the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider allowing the wastewater to be sent there, the agency has refused to hear any objections, having warned state environmental agencies in a letter earlier this month that blocking Norfolk Southern’s hazardous materials from their jurisdictions would be “impermissible” as a violation of the Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

However, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott concluded that the city did not have to accept the wastewater from Clean Harbor into the local sewer system once it was inside Maryland state lines. On Monday, he announced the city could “shield its sewer system from the Ohio wastewater by modifying the discharge permit issued to Clean Harbors to ‘safeguard Publicly Owned Treatment Works’.”

Last month’s Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine spawned an environmental disaster of rare proportions after local authorities permitted the burning of highly toxic vinyl chloride that spilled from five of the cars, releasing numerous toxic substances including dioxins into the surrounding air, water, and soil. While the EPA attempted to reassure residents the pollution did not pose a health risk, numerous scientists have argued otherwise, pointing out that even small amounts of chemicals like dioxins can accumulate over years with deadly results.

March 28, 2023 Posted by | Environmentalism | | 1 Comment

Japanese environment economist says ALPS-treated Fukushima radioactive wastewater still contains radionuclides

Tokyo  urged to stop dumping plan

By Xu Keyue | Global Times | March 27, 2023

While stressing that the so-called treated water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant still contains radionuclides that are not able to be removed, a renowned Japanese environment economist said in an exclusive interview with the Global Times recently that we must persistently demand that the Japanese government and the Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) stop dumping the nuclear-contaminated wastewater into the ocean.

Kenichi Oshima, professor at Ryukoku University, told the Global Times that the Japanese government and TEPCO should not release the nuclear-contaminated wastewater.

The Japanese government and TEPCO plan to use ALPS – Advanced Liquid Processing System – to treat the nuclear-contaminated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear accident and then release the treated water into the ocean. The treated water contains radionuclides including ruthenium, strontium-90 and iodine-129, in addition to tritium, Oshima noted.

Before the release, TEPCO developed a “Radiation and Environmental Impact Assessment Report on Ocean Discharge of ALPS Processed Water” to assess the impact of ocean discharge.

“Nevertheless, we believe it is impossible to accurately predict the ecological effects of ocean discharges over the next several decades,” the Japanese environment economist said.

Commenting on the so-called treated Fukushima water, Mao Ning, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said on Monday that Japan has been claiming that ALPS-treated nuclear-contaminated water is safe and harmless and that it opposes calling the water “nuclear-contaminated”. The fact, however, is that the water contains over 60 radionuclides, many of which cannot be treated effectively with existing technologies.

Some long-lived radionuclides may spread with ocean currents and form a bioconcentration effect, which will multiply the total amount of radionuclides in the environment, causing unpredictable hazards to the marine environment and human health, Mao pointed out, noting that the discharge will last as long as 30 years or even longer.

Mao’s remarks are made in response to Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura, who claimed on Friday that the use of “nuclear-contaminated water” is a “misunderstanding of facts” after the heads of state of China and Russia expressed serious concern about Japan’s plan to dump the nuclear-contaminated water in a joint statement released on March 21.

The maturity and effectiveness of the ALPS technology has not been evaluated or certified by a third party, and the treatment of such large quantities and complex components of nuclear-contaminated wastewater is unprecedented, and its long-term effectiveness is in doubt, Mao said.

Oshima noted that in 2015, the Japanese government and TEPCO pledged in writing that they would never discharge the nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean without the understanding of fishermen and the public. The Japanese government and TEPCO have been explaining the situation to fishermen and local residents but have not obtained their consent.

However, the Japanese government and TEPCO are not listening to the voices of the people, including those involved in the fishing industry, Oshima revealed.

“We must persistently demand that the [Japanese] government and TEPCO stop discharging ALPS-treated water,” he stressed.

The Japanese professor raised two alternatives in dealing with the radioactive wastewater.

The first is to store the water in large tanks. The half-life of tritium is 12.3 years, so after 123 years of storage, the radioactivity will have decayed to 1/1,000 of its original level. Japan has experience in oil stockpiling, so this is feasible, said Oshima.

The second is mortar solidification. Mortar solidification can prevent leakage. Mortar solidification has been used in the US, Oshima noted.

What Japan needs to do now is to take seriously the legitimate concerns of the international community, faithfully perform its international obligations, handle the nuclear-contaminated water in the safest and most prudent way, including fully studying alternatives to ocean discharge, Mao urged.

Also, rather than whitewash its ocean discharge decision, Japan needs to fully subject itself to international oversight, and avoid, to the maximum extent possible, imposing unpredictable risks on the international community, Mao said.

March 28, 2023 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power | , | Leave a comment

Climate Change Is “Bigger Existential Threat Than Nuclear War”, Says Nutty Sustainability Advisor

By Paul Homewood | Not A Lot Of People Know That | March 26, 2023

Why does the Telegraph give publicity to nutters like this?

To claim that the impact of climate change meant that the construction and use of buildings are now a “bigger existential threat than nuclear war” is something that nobody in their right mind would say, and is an insult to those who lost their lives in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

And he is not even right about “buildings accounting for 15% of emissions”. It is the people who live in them who need energy to live their lives.

And it is irrelevant how “green” you make buildings – their construction will still require concrete, metals and equipment, all of which involve large amounts of fossil fuels in their production, transportation and use. And I doubt whether his preference for refurbishing rather than new build will have much effect either, since new builds can be designed to be much more energy efficient.

The end logic of Mr Sturgis is that we should all go back to living in mud huts.

Unfortunately Sturgis is just another of those attention seekers, who want to push their extreme agendas onto the rest of us. Shame on the Telegraph for giving him the opportunity.

March 28, 2023 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | | 1 Comment

Funding Ukraine ‘War Machine’ Against Russia Means Austerity in Europe

By James Tweedie – Sputnik – 28.03.2023

Western sanctions on Russia over its de-Nazification operation in Ukraine have ricocheted with disastrous results for European economies. Dr Linwood Tauheed, associate professor of Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, linked them to civil unrest now wracking the continent.

The wave of strikes and protests sweeping Europe are in response to austerity policies prompted by sanctions on Russia, an academic has said.
Linwood Tauheed told Sputnik that Europeans are “not willing to be stoic about this any longer.”

The unrest was “an indication that some of the issues caused out there directly by the sanctions, which, of course, was caused by the war, are affecting them greatly,” he said.

The sanctions have been centrally co-ordinated by the European Commission, the unelected executive of the European Union (EU), which has also diverted billions of euros from the ironically-named European Peace Facility fund to buy arms for the Kiev regime.

“All of the EU countries are subject to round and round, and have been, of austerity that is a particular element of having this European Economic Union,” where countries have “given up their own sovereign currency and therefore their ability to solve their individual problems,” Tauheed noted.

EU nations must ask economic giant Germany’s approval before taking any measures to support their own people — as Greece and Italy have discovered. That has formed “a particular view of Germany and Brussels in terms of how those entities affect their individual economies,” Tauheed argued.

He said sanctions on Russia, reduced energy imports, de-industrialisation and falling living standards were “unifying” the public against austerity.

“Their leaders are willing to take limited euro resources and put them into a war machine and send them to Ukraine,” Tauheed stressed. “Austerity is looming and citizens are wondering ‘how we have money to send to Ukraine when we don’t have money to extend our pensions in France?’ Austerity is at the core of this. And it is European-wide, it’s not just country to country.”

The crisis is not limited to public spending and strikes over wages. German financial giant Deutsche Bank is now facing collapse after losing 11 per cent of its share value on Friday, and 29 per cent since the start of the month.

“Large banks in large countries in Europe” are facing “some crisis or another” but the US option of a central bank bail-out was not available to them, the academic said.
“So they’re going to be less able to quell bankruptcies and solvency among European banks than the US has been,” Tauheed said. “More dominoes” will likely fall in Europe, “but that’s also going to be contagious back to the US.”

March 28, 2023 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | | Leave a comment

Use of Depleted Uranium in Ukraine Could Spark Global Health Crisis: Here’s Why

By Ilya Tsukanov – Sputnik – 28.03.2023

The US and Britain expended over 2,000 tons of depleted uranium (DU) in Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Syria. Now, London plans to hand DU shells to Ukraine. British and US officials insist the weapons are safe, but what does the evidence say? Sputnik investigates.

The political fallout over the United Kingdom’s decision to send DU anti-tank shells to Kiev for use along with its Challenger 2 tanks continues to spread. On Saturday, President Putin said he didn’t buy Britain’s assurances that the munitions wouldn’t cause any health effects, and that taking into account the toxic radioactive dust generated by the shells, they “of course amount to a weapon of the most dangerous kind.”

Igor Kirillov, the head of Russia’s Radiation, Chemical and Biological Defense (RCBD) Troops, echoed the president’s concerns, predicting that the weapons’ use would “cause irreparable harm” to the health of soldiers and the civilian population alike, with DU compounds expected to remain in the soil and affect people, animals and the environment for many years to come.

Russia’s concerns are not unjustified. Throughout the past year, Russian intelligence and the RCBD Troops issued report after worrying report regarding Kiev’s ambitions to build nuclear weapons, scenarios involving false flags using radioactive dirty bombs, and a long list of evidence of dangerous US and European-funded and coordinated experiments with biological weapons at Ukraine-based biolabs.

But depleted uranium poses a special kind of danger, due both to its availability and record of use.

Discovered during the Cold War by US and British scientists as an effective but controversial armor-piercing weapon, DU tank and artillery shells and air-dropped bombs are stuffed with the uranium byproducts left over from the production of nuclear energy.

The militaries of NATO, the USSR, China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and South Africa stockpiled hundreds of thousands of tons of DU materials, but the WWIII scenario they were training for never became a reality.

But having acquired the weapons, the US and its NATO allies quickly found places to use them, overlooking all potential international legal and moral barriers. DU shells and bombs were deployed during the Gulf War in 1991, in the bombardment of Bosnia and the rump state of Yugoslavia in 1995 and 1999, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the 2001-2021 occupation of Afghanistan, the dirty war against Syria, and, allegedly, the 2011 NATO air campaign in Libya.

Iraq and the former Yugoslavia were hit the hardest, with upwards of 2,300 tons of DU used in the Middle Eastern country in 1991 and 2003-2005, and as much as 30 tons strewn across the Balkans between the mid-to-late 1990s. Almost every country in which DU has been used has reported a surge in deadly ailments, including cancers, strokes, and birth defects. In Iraq, cancer rates in DU-affected areas jumped from 40 cases per 100,000 in 1991 to 800 per 100,000 in 1995, and 1,600 per 100,000 by 2005. Serbs, Bosnians, Kosovar Albanians, Montenegrins and other peoples of the former Yugoslavia suffered a similar fate, with Serbia today facing some of the highest cancer rates in Europe, with many attributing the spike in illness to NATO’s DU deployment two-and-a-half decades ago.

‘Anecdotal Evidence’ Claiming Real Lives

The US and UK governments have bent over backwards to avoid admitting that depleted uranium is the cause of the epidemic of cancers facing Iraqis, Serbs and others, suggesting evidence regarding their effects is “anecdotal” and “circumstantial.”

In 2021, British and US researchers released a much-cited study which concluded that low-level exposure to pesticides and sarin nerve gas, not depleted uranium, were the “most likely” causes of Gulf War Syndrome – the chronic disorder faced by about hundreds of thousands of US vets who took part in the 1991 Gulf War, and who now face a heightened incidence of cancers, respiratory and neurological illnesses, and other diseases.

“The British Army has used depleted uranium in its armor piercing shells for decades,” Britain’s Defense Ministry said in a statement last week meant to “debunk” Moscow’s concerns. “Russia knows this, but is deliberately trying to disinform. Independent research by scientists from groups such as the Royal Society has assessed that any impact to personal health and the environment from the use of depleted uranium munitions is likely to be low.”

But independent academics and researchers who have studied the weapons’ use and impact tell a very different story, as do those who know victims of depleted uranium poisoning, including Iraqi and Balkan civilians, but also NATO troops tasked with handling and deploying the toxic weapons.

“[Coalition forces] used depleted uranium shells in Baghdad, Karbala, Najaf, Baqubah and Fallujah; they were extensively used in Fallujah in 2004, and today, about 15 percent of the children born in this city suffer from congenital deformities, which is a very high rate. About 5 percent die from these deformities,” Dr. Souad Naji Al-Azzawi, a prolific Iraqi researcher specializing in hazardous waste contamination, told Sputnik in an interview.

“They completely destroyed Fallujah with these and other weapons,” the academic said, noting that radioactive contaminants spread by DU munitions have polluted the entire region’s food supply.

Al-Azzawi said there are roughly 5,000 DU-contaminated tanks and other armored vehicles destroyed by the coalition in the 1991 war and after the 2003 invasion spread across nearly two dozen large tank grave yards around Basra. “Whenever a sandstorm blows through the area, an additional dose of radiation moves from these sites towards the civilian population,” she noted.

Srjan Aleksic, a Serbian lawyer who represents victims of the 1999 NATO bombings, says DU has killed and sickened many of his relatives and clients.

“My mother died from depleted uranium, as did many of my relatives from the village of Bushtranje. NATO officials themselves admitted that they bombed Plackovica Mountain, overlooking the city of Vranje, and four villages near the border with Macedonia. There were large numbers of troops and equipment near Vranje, and NATO bombed these villages with depleted uranium every day,” Aleksic recalled in an interview.

“In 2005 alone, an area of about two square kilometers was cleared of depleted uranium. Our army did that. They put up a wire fence and wrote ‘Hazard to Life: Do Not Approach’. But nobody knew about that until 2005,” the lawyer added.

Aleksic hopes to take a case against NATO to Belgrade’s Higher Court later this year, representing a Serbian officer who filed to sue the alliance in early 2021, but subsequently died, with a health checkup finding levels of uranium contaminants in his body to be off the charts. NATO claims immunity from prosecution, but the attorney hopes to win compensation for the victim’s family anyway, saying the court could reach a verdict without the alliance’s participation.

“There is no immunity from criminal responsibility, especially when it comes to responsibility to civilians. My mother got sick, my relatives got sick, my clients got sick. They had nothing to do with the war; I am not getting into politics. I’m just talking about the consequences,” Aleksic stressed.

The lawyer explained that his efforts to defend victims of the 1999 bombings got started after working with Angelo Fiore Tartaglia, a Rome-based attorney who has spent some 20 years of his life representing Italian soldiers injured by DU, and their families.

“He has been very successful. Many Italian soldiers have cancer, especially those who were in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995 when NATO bombed it with depleted uranium, as well as Kosovo and Metohija. To date, he has obtained 330 [favorable] final judgements – 400 Italian soldiers have died from the effects of cancer – and he has proven a causal link between depleted uranium and their adverse health effects,” Aleksic said.

Domenico Leggiero is a retired Italian military pilot and weapons inspector who saw firsthand how many of his colleagues began to “fall ill with cancers, just like falling leaves,” after service in the former Yugoslavia. Leggiero now heads Osservatorio Militaire, an Italian military watchdog that seeks to shed light on the consequences of DU use on Italian troops.

“We couldn’t figure out where the cancers were coming from until we and our medics started taking biopsy samples from troops that had gotten sick, or even died. So we would take the primary biopsy of tumors and look at them not as medics, but as physicists, and realized that within these biopsy samples, there were materials that shouldn’t have been there,” Leggiero told Sputnik.

“We’re talking cadmium, we’re talking mineral substances, heavy metals. Furthermore, these heavy metals all had a well-defined shape and size – a very small size – 10-100 times smaller than PM-10 [particles with a diameter of 10 microns or less, ed.]. They basically had a spherical shape,” the soldier explained.

In research, Leggiero and his colleagues discovered that these particles were so minute and numerous that they were could disburse in the air over long periods of time, get inhaled by exposed civilians and military personnel, and enter the food chain after being deposited on crops.

The veteran said the Italian military’s commanders “knew” about the health risks associated with DU munitions since they were provided with this information by the Pentagon, but ordinary soldiers “were not warned.”

“I am in possession of all possible and imaginable documentation, including the rules on how to treat material contaminated with uranium. These rules were established at the level of the general staff; they were never issued among the troops, and therefore we essentially had a massacre,” Leggiero said.

‘Depleted Uranium Makes No Distinction Between Nationalities’

Dr. Hans-Christof von Sponeck, a former UN assistant secretary-general and UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq who resigned in 2000 in protest against the UN’s sanctions regime, which he said constituted a violation of the Geneva Conventions, has no doubt in his mind about the consequences of the US and Britain’s use of DU on Iraqi civilians.
“I will not pronounce on the question of whether the use of depleted uranium is legal or illegal – this debate is still taking place elsewhere. What I can state without hesitation is that I have seen the victims of depleted uranium munitions used by the US military in southern Iraq. On several occasions, I visited the Mother and Child Hospital in Basra in 1999 and saw young mothers with their horrifically deformed babies, something that had not existed before the 1991 war,” Sponeck told Sputnik.

“Let me also add that depleted uranium does not make a distinction between different nationalities. British and American soldiers deployed to southern Iraq and their families, also became the victims of depleted uranium, as court cases in the UK and the US confirm…Should depleted uranium munitions be used in Ukraine, it would mean that people in the area, soldiers and civilians alike, would be victimized even though the dangers of such munitions are well known in 2023,” the veteran German diplomat stressed.

What Makes DU Charges Difficult to Pursue?

“Based on what we know, depleted uranium will be bad for health and likely cause cancer. However, linking depleted uranium exposure to its effects using epidemiology is extremely difficult,” says Dr. Keith Baverstock, a veteran University of Eastern Finland biologist and former head of the Radiation Protection Program at the World Health Organization’s European office.

For one thing, Baverstock said, “exposure is very local to where a depleted uranium munition impacts but the depleted uranium, particularly in arid conditions, persists on the surface of the ground, so defining an exposed population is also difficult.” On top of that, the security situation in some affected countries, particularly Iraq, makes meaningful epidemiological research next to impossible, according to the scientist.

“However, we have information from animal and laboratory studies that tell us that DNA will be damaged if inhaled depleted uranium dust crosses the blood/air barrier in the lung (it can become systemic), and thus the normal functioning of cells, including germ cells, could be impaired and thus health effects, including cancer and birth defects, are likely risks in persons exposed to depleted uranium dust via inhalation,” the academic said.

“As a public health scientist, I regard these weapons as illegal, as do some EU countries,” Baverstock added.

Cancer Rates Double Those of Hiroshima

Chris Busby is a physical chemist, internal ionizing radiation expert and former senior researcher for a 2000s UK Ministry of Defense study examining the effects of DU weapons on veterans of the First Gulf War.

In an extensive, wide-ranging and highly illuminating interview with Sputnik, Dr. Busby explained how he and a group of British and Iraqi colleagues carried out extensive, first-hand, on-the-ground research into oncological diseases and child mortality in Iraq in the mid-to-late 2000s. Research led them to discover that cancer rates in Fallujah – specifically those associated with radiation, like leukemia and lymphoma, were higher than those in Hiroshima, the Japanese city hit with a US atomic bomb in 1945, and not just by a little, but by a factor of two or even more, depending on the cancer type.

“We found out the high level of infant mortality within the first year of life and the cause of these deaths were congenital malformations. We also [found a] skewed birth sex ratio, which is another sign of genetic damage associated with radiation exposure. We put all of these results together and concluded that there had been some very large genetic damage event which occurred around the time of the Fallujah [campaign],” the academic said.

Smoking Gun

Busby recalled how at the time, the Americans denied using DU munitions, prompting him and his colleagues to examine the hair of Iraqi women whose children suffered birth defects. That’s when they found what looks like smoking gun evidence of a direct correlation between the genetic mutations and DU use.

“There’s a method called ICP-MS, Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry, in which you can take a hair sample and you can dissolve it in acid, and then you can measure the atoms inside the hair sample and see what the concentration of all these different elements are. So we looked at 52 elements in the hair of 20 mothers of children with congenital malformations, and we found that there was an anomalously high level of uranium. The only anomaly we found associated with an element which can cause congenital malformations was uranium. And we found that. Arab women have very long hair. We know the rate at which hair grows, so we cut the hair into little slices and measured the uranium in each of the slices going back to the first bit. So we [could] get a graph of the uranium in the hair going right the way back to about 2005. And what we found is that the uranium went up, when we went back in time. So clearly there was an increase in uranium round about the time just after Fallujah battle, which then reduced as time went on, obviously because it got excreted from the system. So we had more or less proof, that uranium was the cause of all of these congenital malformations, genetic damage, sex ratio and extraordinary high level of cancer,” the scientist said.

Busby says that one of the factors making DU so deadly is its ability to bind strongly to DNA – a factor the scientific community has known about since the 1950s. As uranium burns, it produces microscopic volatile particles which behave like a gas and can contaminate wide swathes of territory, not only the environment surrounding battlefields, but neighboring countries or even distant regions. The academic pointed out, for example, that filters in the UK looking out for uranium picked up contamination from Iraq in 2003.

Another issue, which Dr. Busby said he discovered mostly independently, and which he presented to the MoD’s Depleted Uranium Oversight Board in 2004, is uranium’s very high atomic number (the number of protons in the nucleus of an atom), which he said turns it into “a sort of amplifier for normal radiation.”

“We all live in an environment where we get gamma rays that come through our body and go out… If you’ve got uranium inside you, then it intercepts this [radiation] because of its high atomic number and all its electrons. In my opinion, and I’ve written quite a lot about this, this is the reason why uranium is very dangerous. First of all, it binds to DNA. Secondly, it causes these photo electrons to be omitted into the DNA. And all studies that have been done of people exposed to uranium showed massive chromosome damage. So when they look to see the chromosomes in their cells, in the peripheral blood cells, they find massive amounts of chromosome damage that leads to genetic effects – cancer, birth defects and so forth. So that’s the reason why uranium is so dangerous,” the academic emphasized.

‘There’s Nothing to Do Except Wait for Them to Die’

Busby noted that once uranium contaminant particles enter the body, they don’t go away. Instead, they sit inside the victim, “shooting off little cannonballs all the time, close into the cells,” into the DNA, until a tumor is formed.

Recalling visits to Iraqi hospitals and conversations with local doctors treating people suffering from the DU usage after the First Gulf War, the scientist recalled how doctors told him that there was nothing they could do to combat the disease thanks to the tough sanctions regime against Iraq.

Busby emphasized that even with access to the right medicines and medical care, “to be honest, there’s not much you can do” for those affected.

“If you’ve got the sorts of pictures that we see and that I have, of the children with congenital malformations, there’s nothing you can do except throw your hands up and wait for them to die. I talked to a number of families while I was in the hospitals and looking at the poor children with leukemia lying there in beds. They were going to die, that’s it. There’s nothing you can do. And the contamination of the area is a public health nightmare, because the doctors can’t do anything,” the academic said.

Putin ‘Absolutely Right’ to Be Concerned

Saying that he’s familiar with President Putin’s remarks on the dangers posed by the potential use of DU weapons in Ukraine, Busby said the Russian leader was “absolutely right” to be upset and concerned.
“President Putin has accurately identified this as a weapon of mass destruction, a weapon of indiscriminate effect. The British and the Americans continue to cling to their crazy theory that these radioactive substances which bind to DNA are effectively harmless and have no genetic or indiscriminate effects on populations. In this case, I just have to say that the British are wrong, that this substance is contaminating Europe and it will cause all of the effects that it caused in Iraq that I have shown. It will cause all those effects in Germany, and Luxembourg, and France, and Sweden, and the Baltic States and long list of countries which stand between Ukraine and the United Kingdom,” the observer stressed.

The problem today, according to Dr. Busby, is that the military planners in Washington and London see DU as a “magic” anti-tank weapon. “It’s inconceivable that the military would allow anyone to stop them using [DU] in a real war where you want to win, and they don’t really care about the people that die as a result of all of this, the collateral damage…the cancers downwind, the congenital malformations, the weeping parents and all the rest of it,” the scientist summed up.

March 28, 2023 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Here’s why HRW deliberately only scratched the surface in exploring Ukraine’s use of banned ‘petal’ mines

 PFM-1 anti-personnel land mine found in a field, near the town of Artyomovsk, Donetsk People’s Republic © Viktor Antonyuk / Sputnik
By Eva Bartlett | RT | March 28, 2023

Since Ukraine dropped hundreds of mines on the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in July, 104 people have fallen victim to the internationally-banned PFM-1 ‘petal’ (otherwise known as ‘butterfly’) devices. Nine of them are children. Of which three died.

Among the most recent civilians to be injured, on March 19, were two 60-year-old men. On February 26, a woman in her sixties was wounded in her neighborhood. On February 14, a teenager stepped on a petal mine near a school. These are just a few documented examples from recent weeks.

The first wave of over 40 victims came within the first few weeks after Ukrainian forces deployed the mines over Donetsk en masse in July 2022, and the number has more than doubled since. Since then I, along with other reporters on the ground, have documented their lingering presence and the civilian victims.

NGO reports… selectively

After signing the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty in 1999, Kiev was obligated to destroy its stockpile of 6 million PFM-1s. It denies using them, but abundant evidence incriminates Kiev in this particular war crime. While the West has yet to turn its attention to the victims of the  petal mines in the Donbass, reports of Ukraine using them elsewhere have emerged.

In its January 2023 report on banned landmines, the Human Rights Watch NGO notes, “In 2021, Ukraine reported to the UN secretary-general that 3.3 million stockpiled PFM mines still need to be destroyed.” HRW then advised Ukraine to investigate itself for its use of the prohibited mines.

The report is titled “Ukraine: Banned Landmines Harm Civilians. Ukraine Should Investigate Forces’ Apparent Use; Russian Use Continues,” implying that not only is Russia also deploying the petal mines, but that Russia’s use of them is beyond question, while Kiev’s use is open to debate.

Yet, much like in 2020, when the UN accused Russia of war crimes in Syria based on “we say so” and unnamed sources, you won’t find proof of Russia’s use of petal mines in the HRW report. In fact, buried there is a HRW admission that it “has not verified claims of Russian forces using PFM mines in the armed conflict.” This is a standard media tactic: boldly state one thing in a headline and quietly clarify the opposite in the body of the article, which most people won’t bother reading.

On the other hand, HRW claims it interviewed over 100 people, “including witnesses to landmine use, victims of landmines, first responders, doctors, and Ukrainian de-miners,” regarding Ukraine’s use of the objects in Izium (a city in the Kharkov region, north of Donetsk) while it was briefly under Moscow’s control. The HRW team entered the city after Russian forces withdrew in September. Everyone interviewed, the report noted, “said they had seen mines on the ground, knew someone who was injured by one, or had been warned about their presence during Russia’s occupation of Izium.”

The testimony records that the areas were all, “close to where Russian military forces were positioned at the time, suggesting they were the target,” and that residents in Izium said that rocket attacks, “happened frequently during the Russian occupation.”

The report cited 11 civilian mine-casualties, and noted that HRW had seen “physical evidence of PFM antipersonnel mine use,” including, “unexploded mines, remnants of mines, and the metal cassettes that carry the mines in rockets.”

It has to be noted that HRW has been banned in Russia since April 2022, making it impossible for the organization to gather evidence on the ground in areas controlled by Russian forces. However, lack of access to evidence has not stopped it from using its report to carry accusations against Russia, citing Ukraine’s former prosecutor general Irina Venediktova’s claim that “Russian forces used PFM mines in the Kharkivska region as early as February 26”. In contrast, the numerous credible reports of Kiev’s use of petal mines in Donetsk, available through open sources, are absent from the report.

HRW’s history of targeted condemnations

Human Rights Watch is one of many Western-funded NGOs with a history of whitewashing NATO and its allies’ crimes while pretending to be a neutral observer. Over the years, I’ve pointed out the hypocrisy of Ken Roth, who was the George Soros-funded NGO’s executive director from 1993-2022. In March 2021 he pushed Washington’s propaganda about Russia starving Syria. More glaringly, in 2015, Roth used footage from an eastern Gaza neighbourhood (Shuja’iyya) that had been flattened by Israel, to claim the footage depicted Syria’s Aleppo. He went on to likewise push the 2013 Ghouta “chemical” narrative, which had long been widely-discredited by journalists and by the so-called “rebels” themselves.

If dubious claims from HRW or its representatives aren’t indication enough of their allegiances to Western narratives, then their links to the US government should be. The vice chair of its board of directors, Susan Manilow, according to this 2014 article, describes herself as “a longtime friend to Bill Clinton,” who helped manage his campaign finances. Bruce Rabb, also on the board, lists in his biography that he “served as staff assistant to President Richard Nixon” from 1969-70 – the period in which his administration secretly and illegally carpet-bombed Cambodia and Laos.

The article further notes that the advisory committee for HRW’s Americas Division has even boasted the presence of a former Central Intelligence Agency official, Miguel Díaz. According to his State Department biography, Díaz served as a CIA analyst and also provided “oversight of US intelligence activities in Latin America” for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

So, when HRW recently decided to finally discuss Ukraine’s deployment of the insidious petal mines (tens of thousands of which have been fired into the Donbass by Ukraine over the course of the past year), it is not because the body has suddenly become neutral and impartial, but it is rather a grasp at credibility: reporting what is widely known – that, in violation of international law, Ukraine has been deploying Petal mines – but avoid providing the whole story.

By downplaying and ignoring Kiev’s widespread use of petal mines throughout the DPR, HRW is deliberately downplaying war crimes, much like the entirety of Western corporate media.

Kiev’s Western supporters may even have to deal with its use of the petal mines at their own expense down the line – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has recently announced his country would invest $2.2 million into de-mining Ukraine. Of course, no mention was made of the Ottawa Treaty-banned munitions which will have to be cleared.

Kiev’s deadly delivery 

In one incident I witnessed first hand, an attack took place just after 9 pm on July 30, 2022. Ukraine fired rockets, each packed with over 300 mines, onto Donetsk, its suburbs, and other cities, including Yasinovataya, Makeevka and Gorlovka. The rockets exploded in the air to ensure greater distribution of devices on the ground. The attack mirrored previous ‘deliveries’ to the hard-hit Donetsk districts of Kievskiy, Kirovsky and Kuibyshevkiy.

The morning after, I walked the central Donetsk streets extremely carefully, wary of every leaf or piece of cardboard which could be obscuring or covering a Petal mine, so difficult are they to pick out from their surroundings. They cannot seriously damage military vehicles, which means that scattering them over Donetsk only has one purpose – to target and maim civilians. Some models of the petal mines have a self-destruct timer. Others, including those used by Kiev, can stay on the ground for years.

The innocent victims of Donbass

Since reporting the initial bombardment in late July, I have been following up on the methodical destruction of these mines by Russian sappers, as well as on civilians harmed by the illegal munitions. One of the more recent victims was 14 year old Nikita. His foot was blown off when in early November, 2022, he stepped on a mine in a playground while on his way to visit his grandmother.

RT journalist Roman Kosarev recently spoke with another recent teenage victim,  who stepped on a petal mine when getting into a car.

Kosarev also spoke to the Director of the Donetsk Republic’s Trauma Center, Andrey Boryak, who said: “The injury from such a mine is very severe, and immediately leads to a handicap. It’s almost impossible to save the foot and the lower part of the leg.”

HRW has had over 6 months to investigate Ukraine littering the DPR with Petal/PFM-1 mines… but it has not, and will not. It’s once again the case that the lives of Donbass civilians don’t matter when it comes not only to Western media reporting but also to supposedly-neutral human rights bodies. Even worse still is the knowledge that in spite of the valiant efforts of sappers in the DPR, the mines will inevitably claim more innocent civilians as their victims.

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine (where she lived for nearly four years).

March 28, 2023 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Japan’s Opposition Blasts PM Kishida’s Silence on Depleted Uranium Ammo to Ukraine

By Svetlana Ekimenko – Sputnik – 28.03.2023

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida paid a surprise visit to Ukraine to meet with Volodymyr Zelensky a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in Moscow. Both visits came as the announcement of future DU ammo supplies to Ukraine hit the headlines.

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has been condemned by the opposition for staying tight-lipped on the UK’s announced delivery of depleted uranium ammunition to the Kiev regime, according to media reports.

Taro Yamamoto, leader of the opposition party Reiwa Shinsengumi, is said to have raised the issue at a budget committee meeting in the Japanese parliament’s upper house.

“Mr Prime Minister, do you intend to encourage the UK not to send such shells?” the politician is cited as asking Kishida.

The head of the Japanese government ostensibly dodged giving a direct answer, saying something to the effect that, “despite studies on the negative effects on human health, no concrete results have been obtained”. However, Yamamoto would not let up, pressing further:

“Actually, such munitions could already be classified as nuclear weapons, … and it was found that there is a risk of cancer … Mr. Prime Minister, during your meeting with Zelensky, did you ask him not to use ammunition with depleted uranium?”

Kishida is said to have responded by saying that, “As for depleted uranium weapons, I didn’t say anything specific about it in my meeting with Zelensky.”

The opposition leader then slammed this response as sending a “bad message,” and added, as a parting “broadside”, that the Prime Minister himself was “from Hiroshima.”

The US dropped two atomic bombs – plutonium Fat Man and gun-type uranium Little Boy – on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in August 1945. The bombings killed between 129,000 and 226,000 people, mostly Japanese civilians. Neither Hiroshima nor Nagasaki hosted any key military installations whatsoever.

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who will chair the Group of Seven (G7) summit scheduled for May, visited Ukraine on March 21. He met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a day after Chinese leader Xi Jinping visited Moscow to meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Kishida’s visit was seen by analysts as tailored to demonstrate that Japan is “the West’s reliable ally”. Even though Kishida embarked on his Kiev visit to show solidarity with Ukraine, Tokyo has been contributing less economic help to Ukraine than other countries of the so-called collective West. Japan has limited itself to sending things like bulletproof vests, helmets and some humanitarian aid. Exports of arms and military equipment in Japan is regulated by the Japanese Arms Export Ban, known as the Three Principles on Arms Exports that prohibit the provision of lethal weapons to other countries.

Earlier, London announced its intent to supply depleted uranium (DU) munitions to Kiev to be used in the US-led proxy war of the collective West against Russia in Ukraine. The announcement was met with broad condemnation from Moscow. Russia warned that DU compounds that remain in the soil after its use as part of projectiles, may be dangerous to humans, animals and the environment for a lengthy amount of time.

“The use of uranium ammunition will cause irreversible harm to the health of the military and civilian population of Ukraine, but NATO is ready to supply them to Kiev,” Lt. Gen. Igor Kirillov, the head of the radiation, chemical and biological defense troops of the Russian armed forces, said. He recounted that NATO unleashed about 40,000 shells containing over 15 tons of depleted uranium during the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia.

March 28, 2023 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

US and Taiwan plan to equip Kiev regime forces with ‘swarms-of-swarms’ drones

By Drago Bosnic | March 28, 2023

There’s very little doubt that warfare has changed dramatically in recent decades, with the tactical gap between leading militaries and those of local powers (or even the usually overlooked small countries) narrowing as the proliferation of unmanned systems continues unabated. With the advent of the information era, the abundance of war footage has essentially eliminated the once-assured readiness of tens of millions to go to war, leaving militaries around the globe struggling to meet their recruitment quotas. Losing even a hundred drones is certainly preferable to having ten soldiers (or even one) killed and/or wounded in action, particularly for politicians and their respective parties seeking reelection. As a result, drones, robots and other unmanned vehicles have become increasingly important.

The combination of these factors created the “perfect storm” for the dramatic rise and adoption of unmanned systems by most militaries around the world. Perhaps the best proof of this has been the mass usage of drones by both sides of the Ukrainian conflict. Ranging from commercial quadcopters to HALE (high-altitude, long-endurance) military drones, these weapons are changing the face of warfare in a manner no less revolutionary than airplanes and tanks did during the First World War. Interestingly, as both the Russian military and the Kiev regime forces deploy advanced long-range air defenses (particularly the former), the role of larger drones has subsided, leaving smaller platforms as the more cost-effective alternative, while also providing significant tactical advantages.

Aside from circumventing advanced SAM (surface-to-air missile) systems, miniature drones offer an important upper hand in terms of first-strike capabilities and forward reconnaissance. Apart from Russia and the Kiev regime, the US-led political West is also taking this into account, especially when considering the fact that NATO’s massive ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) capabilities have been used to observe virtually every inch of the vast Ukrainian battlefields. Precisely this is pushing the belligerent alliance to equip the Neo-Nazi junta forces with the latest unmanned technologies, both as a way of providing its favorite puppet regime with weapons to counter the Russian military, as well as battle-testing the said drones against an advanced state adversary.

And while the Kiev regime’s pompous announcements of an upcoming offensive may be dismissed as routine propaganda stunts, Russian intelligence found solid evidence that such weapons are being supplied to the Neo-Nazi junta. Needless to say, the political West sending advanced weapons to Kiev is hardly breaking news, but what’s unusual is the participation of Taiwan. Apparently, China’s breakaway island province is working directly with the US on developing and manufacturing the new unmanned systems. Another novelty in this particular case is the ostensible ability of these drones to autonomously coordinate their attacks and act as a swarm, or more precisely, “swarms-of-swarms”, as the program’s name clearly indicates.

The project, named AMASS (Autonomous Multi-Domain Adaptive Swarms-of-Swarms), is directly supervised by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), the Pentagon’s top advanced weapons programs agency. In order to accomplish the task of controlling hundreds of drones simultaneously, the use of advanced artificial intelligence (AAI) is a given in this case. Considering that AAI is one of DARPA’s main fields of study, its involvement in the project is effectively guaranteed. Military experts estimate that several hundred kamikaze drones can function within one network, further connected to a much larger system that includes thousands of drones. DARPA’s share in the project is by far the largest, although Taiwan seems to be providing key manufacturing facilities.

Back in early February, several media reports emerged that the AMASS project was fast-tracked by DARPA due to Pentagon’s plans to create a “swarms-of-swarms” system that would “simultaneously counter multiple adversarial assets and enable warfighters to operate within the A2/AD [anti-access/area denial] environment”. With Russia and China being the only countries with such capabilities, it’s essentially guaranteed they are the primary targets. This is further reinforced by the involvement of the government in Taipei, which clearly aims to counter China’s A2/AD “bubbles”. These still represent an insurmountable obstacle against which the Taiwanese military is effectively powerless, both in terms of offensive and defensive capabilities.

However, before the possible deployment of AMASS in Taiwan, the system needs to be battle-tested in Ukraine. If it were to be proven effective, Washington DC and Taipei would certainly mass-produce it. Thus, it’s extremely likely that the project was discussed by Russian and Chinese military delegates during President Xi Jinping’s latest visit to Moscow, as it’s in the interest of both to see the program fail. Otherwise, if it proves successful in Ukraine, the Chinese military itself would most certainly face it in Taiwan, endangering the success of a possible amphibious operation in case of a US-orchestrated escalation. And while China has advanced systems capable of countering such weapons (including its own drone swarms), the best possible defense is preventing their deployment altogether.

Nevertheless, with the Russian military poised to be the first to encounter weapons such as the AMASS, Moscow has already started crucial upgrades to its air defense systems. Still, Russia’s A2/AD, better known as “echeloned defense” in Russian military nomenclature, is only one segment of its (recently revised) strategy, with the so-called “active defense” being the key to neutralizing immediate threats. This includes adopting new offensive capabilities and precisely this could have been one of the main topics of behind-closed-doors talks about Sino-Russian technological cooperation, which almost certainly includes the exchange of information on drone swarms.

Drago Bosnic is an independent geopolitical and military analyst.

March 28, 2023 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

US politicians urge Biden to send cluster bombs to Kiev

By Lucas Leiroz | March 28, 2023

Once again, American politicians are pushing for new escalations in the Ukrainian conflict. Now, lawmakers want the Biden regime to supply cluster munitions to the Ukrainian armed forces. This type of measure would be seen as a serious provocation by Russia and would certainly have strong impacts on the battlefield and in the current diplomatic crisis.

Recently, some Republican senators formally asked the government to “not hesitate” to send cluster arms to Ukraine. James Risch and Roger Wickers, both from Mississippi, led the Congress campaign, and were also supported by Michael McCaul, from Texas, and Mike Rogers, from Alabama. According to them, Washington should ship such bombs as quickly as possible to Kiev, ignoring what they think to be “vague concerns about the reaction of allies and partners and unfounded fears of ‘escalation'”.

The pressure comes amid a context of “despair” on the part of the neo-Nazi regime in Kiev and the more pro-war groups of American domestic politics. Faced with the Ukrainian military failure and the imminent Russian victory, despite the systematic sending of weapons by NATO, the only solution seems to be to resort to the use of “non-conventional” arms. In this sense, the use of cluster bombs would be one of the “alternatives”, which is why Ukrainian politicians have asked US congressmen to increase the pressure for the government to allow the export of such equipment.

Cluster bombs are banned in at least 110 countries by a 2008 UN-brokered treaty. These arms are notorious for their fragmentation power. Cluster munitions include countless small projectiles inside. When launched, these bombs explode ejecting projectiles that injure a much greater number of victims than conventional weapons. The most dangerous thing is that many of these small projectiles do not detonate immediately after being ejected, and can remain inactive for a long time, which is why civilians can be mutilated or killed by bomblets that explode long after a conflict ends.

In addition to the absolutely anti-humanitarian aspect of these arms, it is necessary to emphasize that American law prohibits their export in any situation. For the US government to authorize the shipment of cluster munitions to Ukraine, it would be necessary to change national legislation – or simply act illegally. Also, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby had already made it clear that there was no possibility of sending these arms to Kiev, stating that “according to our own policy, we have concerns about the use of those kinds of munitions”.

However, for warmongers, no limits should be respected. Failing to convince the US government directly, the Ukrainians appealed to parliamentarians, who then used their power of political mobilization to form pro-war coalitions and encourage the violation of the country’s laws. Parliamentary pressure is one of the most frequently used mechanisms by Western powers to promote institutional changes in other countries. Now, the US government itself is under pressure from Congress, which echoes the interests of pro-war elites.

On the part of Ukrainians, there is no interest in respecting any humanitarian limits. There are already several reports stating that the Ukrainian armed forces used Soviet-era cluster weapons in civilian residential areas in Donbass since 2014. In March last year, for example, a Tochka-U missile containing cluster munitions killed more than 20 people and injured dozens of civilians in Donetsk. Faced with the collapse of the Ukrainian arsenals, what interests the neo-Nazi regime now is to obtain cluster arms from American stockpiles.

It is important to emphasize that the pressure in Washington comes in parallel with the British decision to send depleted uranium radioactive weapons to Kiev. This reinforces that Western pro-war elites are interested in raising the level of aid to Kiev, openly promoting the shipment of illegal weapons banned by international treaties. The practical result of this will obviously be an unprecedented escalation.

Commenting on the case at a recent press conference, Russia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Ryabkov, said that American lawmakers do not seem aware of the tragic consequences that sending such armaments would generate. According to him, the very security of NATO countries would be threatened if such a measure were taken – since international tensions would escalate to a point of no return. Ryabkov also warned that this would block any possibility of normalization of relations between Moscow and Washington.

Obviously, Moscow will not remain inert while citizens in the special military operation zone are exposed to attacks with illegal weapons with high destructive power. In order to defend the inhabitants of territories reintegrated into the Russian Federation, extraordinary military measures will certainly be taken, which will have high impacts on the battlefield.

Lucas Leiroz is a journalist, researcher at the Center for Geostrategic Studies, geopolitical consultant.

You can follow Lucas on Twitter and Telegram.

March 28, 2023 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 4 Comments