Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Chinese health experts call to suspend Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine for elderly after Norwegian deaths

By Zhang Hui | Global Times | January 15, 2021

Chinese health experts called on Norway and other countries to suspend the use of mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines produced by companies such as Pfizer, especially among elderly people, due to the vaccines’ safety uncertainties following the deaths of 23 elderly Norwegian people who received the vaccine.

The new mRNA vaccine was developed in haste and had never been used on a large scale for the prevention of infectious disease, and its safety had not been confirmed for large-scale use in humans, a Chinese immunologist said.

The death incidents in Norway also proved that the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines’ efficacy was not as good as expected, experts said.

As of Thursday, Norway has reported 23 deaths in connection with vaccination.

“So far, 13 of these have been assessed. Common side effects may have contributed to a severe course in frail elderly people,” the Norwegian Medicines Agency said on its website.

All the deaths have occurred in frail, elderly patients in nursing homes. All are over 80 years old and some of them over 90, Norwegian media NRK reported.

Two COVID-19 vaccines, Comirnaty, from BioNTec/Pfizer, and Moderna, are used in Norway. The vaccines have been developed on mRNA technology and have received temporary approval in the EU, according to the agency.

Norway launched a mass vaccination campaign at the end of December, with the very oldest citizens and residents of nursing homes being offered vaccination first, including those over the age of 85.

The Norwegian Medicines Agency admitted that the studies that form the basis for the temporary approval of the vaccine included very few people over the age of 85, and there is little known about how any side effects will affect these age brackets, but it said, “we assume that the side effects will largely be the same in the elderly as in those over 65 years of age.”

Chinese experts said the death incident should be assessed cautiously to understand whether the death was caused by vaccines or other preexisting conditions of these individuals.

Yang Zhanqiu, a virologist from Wuhan University, told the Global Times on Friday that the death incident, if proven to be caused by the vaccines, showed that the effect of the Pfizer vaccine and other mRNA vaccines is not as good as expected, as the main purpose of mRNA vaccines is to heal patients.

The mRNA vaccines teach human cells to make a protein to trigger an immune response; then, the immune response can protect people from getting infected if the real virus enters the body.

Meanwhile, toxic substances may be developed throughout the process of mRNA vaccinations; thus, the safety of vaccines cannot be fully ensured, Yang said.

But that’s not the case for inactivated vaccines in China, which have more mature technology, Yang said.

A Beijing-based immunologist, who requested anonymity, told the Global Times on Friday that the world should suspend the use of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine represented by Pfizer, as this new technology has not proven safety in large-scale use or in preventing any infectious diseases.

Older people, especially those over 80, should not be recommended to receive any COVID-19 vaccine, he said.

He said that people over 80 years old have a weaker immune system and are more prone to adverse effect; thus, they should be recommended to take medicines to improve their immune system, he said.

China has started vaccination for people aged between 18 and 59, as statistics on people aged 60 years and over and people aged 18 years and below were relatively small during clinical trials of the vaccines. Thus, we cannot fully identify the efficacy and side effects for these two groups, a Beijing-based health expert who requested to be anonymous, told the Global Times.

January 15, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Venezuela Rejects ICJ Ruling, Reaffirms Claim Over Essequibo Strip

By Ricardo Vaz | Venezuelanalysis | January 8, 2021

Mérida – The Venezuelan government has taken actions to defend its claim over the disputed Essequibo region.

President Nicolas Maduro held a meeting with the country’s National Defense Council and State Council on Thursday to address the territorial dispute between Venezuela and neighboring Guyana.

The Venezuelan government rejects a recent decision by the United Nations’ International Court of Justice (ICJ). On December 18, with a 12-4 majority, the ICJ judges ruled that the court has jurisdiction to settle a claim brought forward by the Guyanese government arguing that the border was established by a controversial 1899 arbitration agreement in which no Venezuelan negotiators were present.

In response, the Maduro government reaffirmed its rejection of the 1899 ruling and its adherence to the UN-brokered Geneva Agreement signed by all parties in 1966 as the only binding international framework.

“This is a cause uniting an entire nation to fight against the dispossession of a territory that always belonged to Venezuela,” the Venezuelan president said in the televised meeting.

Maduro added that the Geneva Agreement stipulates that the border dispute must be settled by direct negotiations between the two countries and that his administration would send a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to defend Caracas’ claim over the Essequibo.

“We believe your good will and efforts are more needed than ever to restart direct talks between Guyana and Venezuela in order to achieve a peaceful and mutually beneficial agreement,” the letter reads.

The Venezuelan government will likewise address a letter to ICJ President Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, arguing that the Hague-based court has no jurisdiction to rule on a unilateral Guyanese suit and demanding that Venezuela be allowed to defend its territorial claim. Maduro went on to denounce “suspicious” efforts to rush the hearings, which are set for January 25 after the Caribbean nation allegedly objected to the original January 15 date.

Earlier on Thursday, the newly-seated National Assembly (AN) unanimously approved a nine-point motion rejecting the ICJ ruling and defending the 1966 Geneva Agreement.

The AN document endorsed the government’s diplomatic efforts and the reopening of direct talks with Venezuela’s eastern neighbor. The legislative body also formed a special commission, headed by lawyer Hermann Escarra, to focus on the Essequibo claim.

The diplomatic quarrel over the 160,000 square kilometer, sparsely populated strip of land, which was taken by the British colonial regime in the late 19th century, recently came to the fore following the discovery of an estimated 15 billion barrels of oil in the Essequibo’s maritime waters.

Caracas has repeatedly voiced its opposition to Guyana’s decision to allow US multinational Exxon Mobil to drill in the disputed area, claiming that it violates the 1966 accords. For its part, Washington has backed Georgetown’s claim to the strip and pledged to execute joint military drills.

January 9, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

U.S. Experienced Below-Average 2020 Tornado Year, Continuing Long-Term Trend

By Anthony Watts | ClimateRealism | January 8, 2021

The United States in 2020 experienced fewer tornadoes than average, continuing a long-term trend of fewer of the deadly, extreme-weather events.

The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center (NWSSPC) reports 1,247 U.S. tornadoes in 2020, as shown in the graph below from the NWSSPC website. 

But there is even more good news: The official data show trends in observed U.S. tornadoes have been declining down over the past 15 years. Note the small table inserted in the upper left of the graph.

That 2020 count of 1247 tornadoes for 2020 comes in below the mean, with the mean being 1,392 tornadoes over years 2005-2020, as shown at the bottom of the table.

But here is the really good news that you won’t see reported in the mainstream media.

According to the data table on that graph, 7 of past 9 years have been below the mean for U.S. Tornadoes, which is reflecting a long-term downward trend. Because the vast majority of tornadoes globally occur in the United States, this means that global tornadoes are becoming less frequent, also.

If you look at the data table from the graph above where I have highlighted in yellow, 11 of the past 15 years have been below the mean for U.S. Tornado counts as well.

Of course, virtually every time there is a tornado on the news, climate alarmists try to claim that “climate change” is the root cause of more tornadoes, when in fact, the official data simply don’t support that narrative. We are actually experiencing fewer tornadoes as the Earth modestly warms.

Climate alarmists won’t tell you good news like this, because the real-world data spoils their narrative. We at Climate Realism will tell you the truth, regardless of political agendas.

Anthony Watts is a senior fellow for environment and climate at The Heartland Institute. Watts has been in the weather business both in front of, and behind the camera as an on-air television meteorologist since 1978, and currently does daily radio forecasts. He has created weather graphics presentation systems for television, specialized weather instrumentation, as well as co-authored peer-reviewed papers on climate issues. He operates the most viewed website in the world on climate, the award-winning website wattsupwiththat.com.

January 8, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | | Leave a comment

Iran’s IRGC impounds South Korean-flagged tanker in Persian Gulf over environmental violations

Press TV | January 4, 2021

The naval force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has impounded a South Korean-flagged tanker in the Persian Gulf waters for repetitive violation of maritime environmental law.

The IRGC Navy said in a statement on Monday that the tanker HANKUK CHEMI had departed from the Petroleum Chemical Quay in Saudi Arabia’s Jubail port before being impounded earlier in the day for polluting the Persian Gulf waters with chemicals.

The statement added that the ship, which carried 7,200 tonnes of ethanol, is now being held at Iran’s southern Bandar Abbas port city.

The IRGC further stated that the vessel’s crewmembers, who hail from South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar, have been detained, adding that the case will be handed over to Iran’s judicial officials for further investigation.

The IRGC said the ship was impounded at the request of Ports and Maritime Department of Hormogzan Province and upon judicial order of the provincial prosecutor.

The IRGC Navy has been diligently countering contamination of the Persian Gulf’s maritime environment in past years, and in line with its duties in this area, has impounded various ships found to be violating the Persian Gulf’s environmental regulations.

It confiscated a foreign oil tanker in the Persian Gulf in August 2019 that was smuggling fuel to some Arab countries.

A commander with the IRGC, Ramezan Zirahi, said that patrols from the IRGC’s Naval District 2 had seized the ship near the Persian Gulf island of Farsi after intelligence gathering.

The IRGC seized the Panamanian-flagged Riah tanker for smuggling one million liters of Iranian fuel south of Larak Island in the Persian Gulf on July 14, 2019.

The IRGC also impounded the 30,000-tonne UK-flagged Stena Impero tanker on June 19, 2019 as it was passing through the Strait of Hormuz en route to Saudi Arabia “for failing to respect international maritime rules.”

The vessel was involved in an accident with an Iranian fishing boat and had ignored its distress call, changing its route.

January 4, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | | Leave a comment

What Vaccine Trials?

The most important, meaningful phase of CV-19 vaccine trials has barely begun, let alone been completed

By Iain Davis | OffGuardian | January 3, 2021

COVID 19 vaccine trials appear to have caused some confusion. Hopefully, this article might help clear things up a bit. People genuinely appear to believe that the COVID 19 vaccines have undergone clinical trials and have been proven to be both safe and effective. That belief is simply wrong.

The main point is this. If you decide to have Pfizer and BioNTechs experimental mRNA-based BNT162b2 (BNT) vaccine, or any other claimed COVID 19 vaccine for that matter, you are a test subject in a drug trial.

The mRNA in the BNT vaccine was sequenced from the 3rd iteration of the original WUHAN published Genome SARS-CoV-2 (MN908947.3). However, the WHO protocols Pfizer used to produce the mRNA do not appear to identify any nucleotide sequences that are unique to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. When investigator Fran Leader questioned Pfizer they confirmed:

The DNA template does not come directly from an isolated virus from an infected person.

Nor are there any completed clinical trials for these vaccines. Trials are ongoing. If you are jabbed with one, you are the guinea pig. This may be fine with you but it’s not a leap of faith I or my loved ones wish to take. However, everyone is different.

On December the 8th the BBC reported a study in the Lancet and categorically stated:

The Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine is safe and effective, giving good protection, researchers have confirmed

The BBC had no justification to make this claim. The study in the Lancet did not confirm anything of the sort. The researchers wrote:

ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 has an acceptable safety profile and has been found to be efficacious against symptomatic COVID-19 in this interim analysis of ongoing clinical trials.

This was an interim analysis funded by, among others, CEPI and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The analysis was based upon trials which are years from completion and haven’t reported anything. The researchers also stated:

There were no peer-reviewed publications available on efficacy of any severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccines…

There is no clear scientific evidence establishing either the safety or efficacy of proposed COVID 19 vaccines. The BBC and other MSM reports that this evidence exists are false.

We are going to focus on Pfizer and BioNTech’s BNT vaccine but all the manufacturers have essentially exploited the same trick. The regulators and governments have worked with the pharmaceutical corporations to conflate the limited data from the initial, or phase one, trials with the incomplete and ongoing data collection from the substantially larger phase two and three trials. The MSM have then falsely claimed the 1,2,3 phase trials are complete and insinuated that the untested data demonstrates vaccine efficacy and safety.

In reality, not only has the reporting of existing data been manipulated to show efficacy that isn’t evident in the raw data itself, the most important and meaningful phases of the trials have barely begun, let alone been completed.

Recently the UK Financial Times reported that the UK regulators (the MHRA) are due to approve Astrazeneca/Oxfords AZD1222 [ChAdOx1] COVID 19 Vaccine. The FT revealed an anonymous statement from the UK Department of health:

The medicines regulator is reviewing the final data from the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca phase 3 clinical trials to determine whether the vaccine meets their strict standards of quality, safety and effectiveness.

Thus giving the public the impression that the trials are complete and that the regulators have strict safety standards. The 1,2,3 phase trial for AZD1222 was registered with the U.S. Centre for Disease Control as clinical trial NCT04516746 [Archived 29th December 2020]. It is incomplete and the estimated end date is February 21st 2023. The CDC state:

No Study Results Posted

Astrazeneca are years away from reporting any “final data.” It is impossible for the UK Department of Health to review it, because it doesn’t exist.

NCT04516746 is one of four trials of AZD1222. Another Russian arm of the AZD1222 trial was suspended after a Suspected Unexpected Serious Adverse Reaction (SUSAR) event occurred. The SUSAR supposedly happened in the United Kingdom after a 37 year old women developed inflammation of the spinal chord. It appears the Russian Ministry of Health have yet to reinstate their arm of the Astrazeneca/Oxford trial while it has resumed in the UK and elsewhere.

Clinical Trial NCT04516746: [Archived 29.12.2020], [Contemporary Link]

What Vaccine Trials?

On November 18th Pfizer and BioNTech announced they had concluded their phase three trial of BNT. They had demonstrated efficacy of 95% and U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) safety data milestone had been met.

The only part of this claim that was true was compliance with FDA emergency safety data milestones. They have not concluded their phase three trials. They haven’t even fully completed phase one.

Under section 564 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) so called “unapproved” drugs are allowed on the market in emergencies. Similarly, in the UK, authorisation under Regulation 174 of the Human Medicine Regulations 2012 (as amended) permits the same.

Having also been approved in the UK, this is why the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) state:

This medicinal product does not have a UK marketing authorisation

The fact that there are no completed clinical trials for the Pfizer and BioNTech BNT vaccine also explains why the FDA State:

Additional adverse reactions, some of which may be serious, may become apparent with more widespread use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.

The FDA also noted:

[There is]…currently insufficient data to make conclusions about the safety of the vaccine in sub-populations such as children less than 16 years of age, pregnant and lactating individuals, and immunocompromised individuals…..[the] risk of vaccine-enhanced disease over time, potentially associated with waning immunity, remains unknown.

Yet the first people to receive this vaccine are the most vulnerable in society, many of whom are immunocompromised. The precautionary principle appears to have been abandoned. The notion that the purpose of the BNT vaccine roll out is to save life appears untenable.

The Pfizer announcement enabled politicians to pretend to cry on national television while others were really excited. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was “fantastic news,” and the BBC said it was “good news” and “really encouraging.” Everyone was thoroughly impressed with the 95% effective claim.

However, this was based upon relative risk reduction.  That is the declared percentage difference between the vaccinated group’s  8/18310 chance (0.00044%) of developing COVID 19 against a 162/18319 (0.0088%) chance of COVID 19 symptoms without the vaccine. As this larger group of 43,000 people have yet to be trialled, there is no basis for this claimed outcome. But it is what it is, and we can use these reported figures here.

It should be noted this only refers to an alleged reduction of COVID 19 symptoms among those who have the virus. The tested endpoints do not demonstrate that the vaccine will either reduce the spread of infection or save lives. It should also be noted that these figures suggest the threat from COVID 19 is vanishingly small.

Using Pfizer’s figures, the relative risk reduction is 100(1 – (0.00044/0.0088)). Which is 95%. Voila!

This sounds fantastic and is a much better marketing strategy than reporting the absolute risk reduction. The absolute risk of developing COVID 19 symptoms without the vaccine is supposedly 0.0088% and with the vaccine 0.00044%. In absolute terms, the effectiveness of the vaccine is 100(0.0088-0.00044).

A risk reduction of 0.84%. Oh! A barely perceptible “efficacy.”

By using the relative instead of absolute risk reduction, the mainstream media (MSM) were free to market the mRNA vaccine for Pfizer and BioNTech (and other interested parties) with impressive sounding claims. These weren’t remotely truthful, not only because they relied upon statistical manipulation but because no one had a clue about BNT’s safety or efficacy. To this day, there are no clinical trial results.

The Clinical Trials That Don’t Exist

An analysis of available positive RT-PCR tests and mortality results led the Oxford Centre for Evidence Based Medicine estimated a very tentative COVID 19 Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of around 1.4%. Based upon the figures reported to the FDA by Pfizer and BioNTech, this indicates a broad population based mortality risk from COVID 19 of 1.4(0.0088/100) which is 0.00012%.

Please bear this incredibly remote risk in mind as we discuss the early indication of the apparent threat to public health presented by the mRNA vaccine.

It is reasonable to work in terms of population risk because, while the chance of COVID 19 mortality seemingly increases with age, with the average age of death being 82 and a mortality distribution indistinguishable from standard mortality, the intention is to give the vaccine to everybody.

If we look at the “V-Safe Active Surveillance for COVID 19 Vaccines” reported by the U.S. Center For Disease Control (CDC), early indications of the recorded “Health Impact Events” (HIE) reveal a worrying level of adverse reactions from the mRNA vaccine. The CDC define an HIE as:

Unable to perform normal daily activities, unable to work, required care from doctor or health care professional

On December the 18th 112,807 people were injected with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in the U.S. Of these, 3,150 were subsequently unable to perform normal daily activities, unable to work, required care from doctor or health care professional. This is an HIE rate of 2.8%.

This suggests that among the first 10 million people to receive the vaccine in the UK, around 280,000 may find themselves unable to perform normal daily activities, unable to work and require medical care as a result. As it is the most vulnerable who are the first to receive this vaccine, given the tiny risk of mortality from the COVID 19 disease, it is by no means clear that this is a risk worth taking.

CDC Presentation: [Archived 19.12.2020],[Original]

Not that any of the other vaccines seem any better. So far the CDC have noted more than 5,000 HIE’s for all vaccine being trialled on the population. Clearly, the potential exists that the vaccines will contribute to more deaths than the disease they allegedly protects vulnerable people against.

The Pfizer/BioNTech trial was registered as clinical trial number NCT04368728 with the CDC. Having recently discussed what I am about to share with you with people who simply refused to believe the evidence of their own eyes, I think it is important to stress that this is the Phase 3 Clinical Trial which Pfizer claimed they had concluded in their press release. There isn’t another one. This is it.

The CDC state:

When available, study results information is included in the study record under the Study Results tab…….After study results information has been submitted to ClinicalTrials.gov, but before it is posted, the results tab in the study record is labeled “Results Submitted.

At the time of writing (21st December 2020) as can be seen by date of the archived ClinicalTrials.gov web-page, the Study Results tab reads “No Results Posted.” That is because there are no posted or submitted results from the Pfizer BioNTech trial of the BNT162b2 vaccine:

No Study Results Posted on ClinicalTrials.gov for this Study

Mainstream media reports, giving the impression that these vaccines have been found to be effective and safe are not evidence and they are not based on science. They are based on political policy and they report dangerous pseudo-scientific babble, masquerading as science journalism.

There will of course be mindless anti-rationalists who will call this dangerous antivaxxer nonsense. All the time insisting that it is perfectly safe to give a vaccine with a questionable safety profile, for which there are no completed clinical trials, to the most vulnerable people in our society.

I am running out of patience with these people.

Vaccine Safety?

The start date for NCT04368728 was April 29th and the estimated trial completion date is January 27th 2023. The estimated end date of the primary or phase one of a three phase trial is June 13th 2021.

According to the “Current Primary Outcome Measures,” the minimum time frame for Pfizer to assess serious adverse events (SAE’s) is “6 months after last dose.” This is the minimum term for assessing SAE’s in phase one of the trial.

Phase one is the only part of the NCT04368728 trial to have been completed and published. It was published on the 14th October, 5 months and two weeks after the start date. Most of that period was taken up with recruitment an allocation. The minimum term for assessing SAE’s has not been met during Phase One.

During Phase One, 195 participants were split into 13 groups of 15 people. In each group 12 received one of two potential mRNA vaccine candidates (either BNT162b1 or BNT162b2) and 3 a placebo.

39 people aged between 18-55 and another 39 people aged between 65-85 received the BNT vaccine, now approved for global distribution. The threat of COVID 19, though tiny overall, is statistically zero for those aged 18-55. Those with any measurable risk from COVID 19 were in the older age group.

Of the 39 older people who received 2 doses of BNT about half of them experienced “fatigue,”roughly 15% had “chills” and 3 of them had a fever. The common side effects of BNT included nausea, headache (a very common BNT induced nervous system disorder) arthralgia and myalgia (very common), fatigue, chills and fever (again very common.) Other than fatigue, no one in the placebo group suffered these problems.

Safety and Immunogenicity of Two RNA-Based Covid-19 Vaccine Candidates: Figure 3, ‘Participants 65 – 85 yr of age’ [Archived 29.10.2020], [Original]

The study states:

Pfizer was responsible for the trial design; for the collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data; and for the writing of the report.

Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that while Pfizer see the side effects of their vaccine as fatigue, chills and fever, the CDC refer to them as people who can’t work and need medical care.

The UK Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved the BNT vaccine, to be given to vulnerable British people, based upon a study of 39 older people. This study reported a pretty high adverse reaction rate. It was produced exclusively from the R&D of the vaccine manufacturer. The MHRA questioned nothing.

They “approved” BNT in the certain knowledge that there were no completed clinical trials for this vaccine. In their Public Assessment Report they state:

At the time of writing, the main clinical study is still on-going….It was concluded that BNT162b2 has been shown to be effective in the prevention of COVID-19. Furthermore, the side effects observed with use of this vaccine are considered to be similar to those seen with other vaccines. Therefore, the MHRA concluded that the benefits are greater than the risks.

This conclusion and approval not only lacks supporting evidence it is utterly at odds with what little is known about BNT. While Pfizer and BioNTech only completed trials of the vaccine on 39 relevant test subjects, the results, even from this practically inconsequential effort, suggest the risk from the vaccine is greater than the risk presented by COVID 19. By a considerable margin.

This undoubtedly explains why the MHRA ordered software from European suppliers to deal with the slew of vaccine adverse reaction they presumably anticipate. They stated:

The MHRA urgently seeks an Artificial Intelligence (AI) software tool to process the expected high volume of Covid-19 vaccine Adverse Drug Reaction (ADRs)….it is not possible to retrofit the MHRA’s legacy systems to handle the volume of ADRs that will be generated by a Covid-19 vaccine.

From the way the manufacturers, politicians, regulators and the MSM have approached vaccine safety, it is clear that they collectively have at total disregard for the welfare of vulnerable people. We really must put aside this infantile notion that “the authorities” care about us or our loved ones. We mean nothing to them.

COVID 19 is only an appreciable risk for the most vulnerable in society. It is a risk to the infirm elderly and people with existing life threatening conditions.

If we look at the exclusion criteria for Phase One, these people were not in the cohort tested. Anyone with high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes or a high BMI were excluded from the alleged safety trial. But the vaccine is being given to the most vulnerable first.

Of the 39 older people at most risk in the phase one study, none of them had the serious comorbidities which the overwhelming majority of those who die “with” COVID 19 possess. The people actually at risk from COVID 19 nominally entered the BNT trials at phase 2 and 3. However, it appears every effort has been made to limit, if not completely remove, their number too. “Immunocompromised or individuals with known or suspected immunodeficiency,” were excluded.

Immunodeficiency is caused by a wide range of health conditions. Conditions such as undernutrition, polytrauma, stress after surgery, diabetes and cancer lead to immunodeficiency. The people with the comorbidities associated with so called COVID 19 deaths were practically ruled out from the BNT vaccine trials.

NCT04368728 was designed as a 1,2,3 trial with all phases running concurrently. With regards to assessing safety Pfizer described systemic events as:

Fever, fatigue, headache, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, new or worsened muscle pain, and new or worsened joint pain as self-reported on electronic diaries.

The first 360 subjects randomised into the phase 2 and 3 trials underwent monitoring for systemic events for less than a week, following each dose:

In the first 360 participants randomized into Phase 2/3, percentage of participants reporting systemic events [ Time Frame: For 7 days after dose 1 and dose 2 ]

The same cohort of 360 test subjects were also monitored for Serious Adverse Events (SAE’s) for up to 6 months in phase 2 and 3:

In the first 360 participants randomized into Phase 2/3, percentage of participants reporting serious adverse events [ Time Frame: From dose 1 through 6 months after the last dose]

Pfizer also intend to report the percentage of all test subjects who suffer SAE’s:

Percentage of participants in Phase 2/3 reporting adverse events [ Time Frame: From dose 1 through 6 month after the last dose ]

But there are no reported results from either phase 2 or 3. No one has the faintest idea what the health risks of BNT are, especially for those it is supposedly designed to protect, and no one in authority gives a damn. Phase 2/3 clinical trials are now a moot point anyway.

The regulatory agencies have already approved the vaccine and health services have started injecting people with BNT. They do so after the manufacturers failed to properly test its safety on a 39 people who were in the at risk group but did not have the comorbidity that leads to claimed COVID 19 deaths.

The degree to which people have been misled into believing that these vaccines are known to be either safe or effective is almost beyond imagination.

Sadly, we don’t need imagination. The evidence is clear.

***

You can read more of Iain’s work at his blog In This Together

January 2, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | | Leave a comment

Five Times this Year the New York Times Accidentally Told the Truth

By Jeffrey A. Tucker | American Institute for Economic Research | December 29, 2020

The paper of record in 2020 shifted dramatically to the most illiberal stance possible on the virus, pushing for full lockdowns, and ignoring or burying any information that might contradict the case for this unprecedented experiment in social and economic control. This article highlights the exceptions.

The first shocking sign of the placing of a persistent bias was a podcast with reporter Donald McNeil on February 27. This was the beginning. It was grossly irresponsible. He asserted that half the American public would get this disease and that it would have a case fatality rate of 2.5%, or 25 times as deadly as flu, hence 4.8 million dead people. No consideration of demographic gradients in risk and no knowledge of viral basics such as the tradeoff between severity and prevalence. Even if you leave aside the fog of fatality misclassification, he exaggerated the risk by 12 times but still spoke with a sense of certainty designed to create panic.

Host Michael Barbaro himself seemed shocked: “I thought you were here to bring calm, Donald.”

“I’m trying to bring a sense that if things don’t change, a lot of us might die,” he said. “If you have 300 relatively close friends and acquaintances, six of them would die.”

The primal fear of disease is thus thrown into massive overdrive, following 100 years in which public health tried to bring rationality to the topic.

That podcast was followed by an op-ed by the same journalist/pundit: “To Take On the Coronavirus, Go Medieval on It.” It seemed incredible that such a responsible outlet would advocate the overthrow of a century of public-health wisdom and even immunological basics, but that’s what they did. At this point, the New York Times was fully committed to the narrative that we must dismantle society to save it. And there it has been for nearly a year of unbearably biased coverage.

Even within the blatant and aggressive pro-lockdown bias, and consistent with the way the New York Times does its work, the paper has not been entirely barren of truth about Covid and lockdowns. Below I list five times that the news section of the paper, however inadvertently and however buried deep within the paper, actually told the truth.

1. Your Coronavirus Test Is Positive. Maybe It Shouldn’t Be. Byline: Apoorva Mandavilli

I’m still stunned that the paper did a study that confirmed what people have suspected, namely that a high cycle threshold used on PCR testing was creating the appearance of a pandemic that might have long receded. The testing mania was generating wild illusions of millions of “asymptomatic” carriers and spreaders. How severe was the problem? Read this and weep:

In three sets of testing data that include cycle thresholds, compiled by officials in Massachusetts, New York and Nevada, up to 90 percent of people testing positive carried barely any virus, a review by The Times found.

On Thursday, the United States recorded 45,604 new coronavirus cases, according to a database maintained by The Times. If the rates of contagiousness in Massachusetts and New York were to apply nationwide, then perhaps only 4,500 of those people may actually need to isolate and submit to contact tracing.

The implications of this revelation are incredible. A major reason for the ongoing lockdowns are due to the pouring in of positive case numbers from massive testing. If 90% of these positive tests are false, we have a major problem. The whole basis of the panic disappears. All credit to the Times for running the article but why no follow up and why no change in its editorial stance?

2. Scientists See Signs of Lasting Immunity to Covid-19, Even After Mild Infections. Byline By Katherine J. Wu

Gone missing this year in public commentary has been much at all about naturally acquired immunities from the virus, even though the immune system deserves credit for why human kind has lasted this long even in the presence of pathogens. That the Times ran this piece was another exception in otherwise exceptionally bad coverage. It said in part:

Scientists who have been monitoring immune responses to the virus are now starting to see encouraging signs of strong, lasting immunity, even in people who developed only mild symptoms of Covid-19, a flurry of new studies suggests. Disease-fighting antibodies, as well as immune cells called B cells and T cells that are capable of recognizing the virus, appear to persist months after infections have resolved — an encouraging echo of the body’s enduring response to other viruses….

Researchers have yet to find unambiguous evidence that coronavirus reinfections are occurring, especially within the few months that the virus has been rippling through the human population. The prospect of immune memory “helps to explain that,” Dr. Pepper said.

3. Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Studies Showing Waning Coronavirus Antibodies. Byline Apoorva Mandavilli

Reinforcing the solid point above:

Data from monkeys suggests that even low levels of antibodies can prevent serious illness from the virus, if not a re-infection. Even if circulating antibody levels are undetectable, the body retains the memory of the pathogen. If it crosses paths with the virus again, balloon-like cells that live in the bone marrow can mass-produce antibodies within hours.

4. Schoolchildren Seem Unlikely to Fuel Coronavirus Surges, Scientists Say. Byline: Apoorva Mandavilli

It’s still a shock that so many schools closed their doors this year, partly from disease panic but also from compliance with orders from public health officials. Nothing like this has happened, and the kids have been brutalized as a result, not to mention the families who found themselves unable to cope at home. For millions of students, a whole year of schooling is gone. And they have been taught to treat their fellow human beings as nothing more than disease vectors. So it was amazing to read this story in the Times:

So far, schools do not seem to be stoking community transmission of the coronavirus, according to data emerging from random testing in the United States and Britain. Elementary schools especially seem to seed remarkably few infections.

5. One-Third of All U.S. Coronavirus Deaths Are Nursing Home Residents or Workers. Byline Karen Yourish, K.K. Rebecca Lai, Danielle Ivory and Mitch Smith

Another strangely missing part of mainstream coverage has been honesty about the risk gradient in the population. It is admitted even by the World Health Organization that the case fatality rate for Covid-19 from people under the age of 70 is 0.05%. The serious danger is for people with low life expectancy and broken immune systems. Knowing that, as we have since February, we should have expected the need for special protection for nursing homes. It was incredibly obvious. Instead of doing that, some governors shoved Covid patients into nursing homes. Astonishing. In any case, the above article (and this one too) was one of the few times this year that the Times actually spelled out the many thousands times risk to the aged and sick as versus the young and healthy.

Notable Opinion columns 

The op-ed page of the paper mirrored the news coverage, with only a handful of exceptions. Those are noted below.

Is Our Fight Against Coronavirus Worse Than the Disease? Op-ed by David Katz

I am deeply concerned that the social, economic and public health consequences of this near total meltdown of normal life — schools and businesses closed, gatherings banned — will be long lasting and calamitous, possibly graver than the direct toll of the virus itself. The stock market will bounce back in time, but many businesses never will. The unemployment, impoverishment and despair likely to result will be public health scourges of the first order.

Worse, I fear our efforts will do little to contain the virus, because we have a resource-constrained, fragmented, perennially underfunded public health system. Distributing such limited resources so widely, so shallowly and so haphazardly is a formula for failure. How certain are you of the best ways to protect your most vulnerable loved ones? How readily can you get tested?

Quarantine May Negatively Affect Kids’ Immune Systems. Op-ed by Donna L. Farber and Thomas Connors

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the world is unwittingly conducting what amounts to the largest immunological experiment in history on our own children. We have been keeping children inside, relentlessly sanitizing their living spaces and their hands and largely isolating them. In doing so, we have prevented large numbers of them from becoming infected or transmitting the virus. But in the course of social distancing to mitigate the spread, we may also be unintentionally inhibiting the proper development of children’s immune systems.

What Has Lockdown Done to Us?. Op-ed by By Drew Holden

Our mental health suffers, too. The psychological effects of loneliness are a health risk comparable with risk obesity or smoking. Anxiety and depression have spiked since lockdown orders went into effect. The weeks immediately following them saw nearly an 18 percent jump in overdose deaths and, as of last month, more than 40 states had reported increases. One in four young adults age 18 to 25 reported seriously considering suicide within the 30-day window of a recent study. Experts fear that suicides may increase; for young Americans, these concerns are even more acute. Calls to domestic violence hotlines have soared. America’s elderly are dying from the isolation that was meant to keep them safe.

December 31, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

Major Covid Vaccine Glitch Emerges: Most Europeans, Including Hospital Staff, Refuse To Take It

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | December 27, 2020

All is not going according to plan in the biggest global rollout of what is arguably the most important vaccine in a century, and it is not just growing US mistrust in the covid injection effort that was rolled out in record time: an unexpected spike in allergic reactions to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (and now, Moderna too) may prove catastrophic to widespread acceptance unless scientists can figure out what is causing it after the FDA’s rushed approval, and is also why as we reported yesterday, scientists are scrambling to identify the potential culprit causing the allergic reactions.

Making matters worse, Europe rolled out a huge COVID-19 vaccination drive on Sunday to try to rein in the coronavirus pandemic but even more Europeans than American are sceptical about the speed at which the vaccines have been tested and approved and reluctant to have the shot.

While the European Union has secured contracts [with] drugmakers including Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca, for a total of more than two billion doses and has set a goal for all adults to be inoculated next year, this is looking increasingly like a pipe dream: according to recent surveys, the local population has expressed “high levels of hesitancy” towards inoculation in countries from France to Poland, with many used to vaccines taking decades to develop, not just months.

“I don’t think there’s a vaccine in history that has been tested so quickly,” Ireneusz Sikorski, 41, said as he stepped out of a church in central Warsaw with his two children.

“I am not saying vaccination shouldn’t be taking place. But I am not going to test an unverified vaccine on my children, or on myself.”

Smart: why take the risk of getting vaccinated when others will do it, resulting in the same outcome.

Surveys in Poland, where distrust in public institutions runs deep, show that fewer than 40% of people planning to get vaccinated. Worse, according to Reuters on Sunday, only half the medical staff in a Warsaw hospital where the country’s first shot was administered had signed up. And if the doctors don’t trust the vaccine, one can be certain that the broader population will refuse to take it.

The situation is similar in Spain, one of Europe’s hardest-hit countries, where 28-year-old singer and music composer German summarizes the skepticism of a broad range of the population, and plans to wait for now.

“No one close to me has had it (COVID-19). I’m obviously not saying it doesn’t exist because lots of people have died of it, but for now I wouldn’t have it (the vaccine).”

A Christian Orthodox bishop in Bulgaria, where 45% of people have said they would not get a shot and 40% plan to wait to see if any negative side effects appear – meaning only 15% of the population will actually volunteer for a vaccine in the near future – is in the tiny minority when it comes to taking the vaccine.

“Myself, I am vaccinated against everything I can be,” Bishop Tihon told reporters after getting his shot, standing alongside the health minister in Sofia. He spoke about anxiety over polio before vaccination became available in the 1950s and 1960s.

To be sure, the establishment is pounding the table on why the vaccines are safe despite the record short time in development (even though not even the “scientists” can explain what is behind the spike in vaccine allergic reactions), and claiming that the new technology behind the mRNA vaccine is all one needs to know… when it is precisely this new technology that is sparking the skepticism.

“We’ll look back on the advances made in 2020 and say: ‘That was a moment when science really did make a leap forward’,” said Jeremy Farrar, director of the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, which is backed by the Wellcome Trust. Oxford also received $750MM from Bill Gates in June in the billionaire’s quest to vaccinate the world against Covid.

Only problem: nobody in Europe seems to care about these “scientific” justifications. Independent pollster Alpha Research said its recent survey suggested that fewer than one in five Bulgarians from the first groups to be offered the vaccine – frontline medics, pharmacists, teachers and nursing home staff – planned to volunteer to get a shot.

An IPSOS survey of 15 countries published on Nov. 5 showed then that 54% of French would have a COVID vaccine if one were available. The figure was 64% in Italy and Spain, 79% in Britain and 87% in China.

Since then things have gone far worse, and a more recent IFOP poll  showed that only 41% people in France would take the shot. This means that a vast majority will not.

Not even in Sweden, where public trust in authorities is absurdly and inexplicably high, is there a universal trust in the vaccine, with at least one in three saying they won’t get the shot: “If someone gave me 10 million euro, I wouldn’t take it,” Lisa Renberg, 32, told Reuters on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, in a paradoxical attempt to force more to sign up – not realizing that it will only have the precisely opposite effect – Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki urged Poles on Sunday to sign up for vaccination, saying the herd immunity effect depended on them. Critics have accused Warsaw’s “nationalist leaders” of being too accepting of anti-vaccination attitudes in the past in an effort to garner conservative support. Well… let’s check back on said attitude in 10 years and see if perhaps it was the right one.

For now, however, the more European governments pressure their populations to get immunized, the fewer the people who will actually sign up and the worse the vaccine rollout will be, that much we can be 100% sure of.

December 27, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | | 1 Comment

Dream of Greater Europe dies: German efforts to create a Europe without Russia forged a Europe against Russia

By Glenn Diesen | RT | December 21, 2020

German-Russian friendship is over with ‘Ostpolitik’ dead and buried. Future relations will largely be based on confrontation, as Moscow no longer cares what Berlin thinks and Germany has lost its unique leverage with Russia.

Many observers believe the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) needs an overhaul. With countries such as Brazil, Germany, India and even Japan suggested as potential permanent members. Reaction to Berlin’s recent two-year stint on the body suggests the present five (China, France, Russia, the UK and the US) will be keeping the gate locked for a while.

Instead of the customary pleasantries and recognition for Germany’s contributions on its way out, Russia and China scolded the German Permanent Representative to the United Nations Christoph Heusgen. Russian Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitri Polyansky lambasted Germany’s “hypocritical behavior” and in no uncertain terms stated that “we will not miss you.” China also denounced Germany for its behavior and asserted Germany’s path toward a permanent seat at the UNSC “will be difficult.”

Disputes over Syria

The heated rhetoric derived primarily from Germany’s criticism of Russia and China over developments in Syria. For Heusgen, the fault for the crisis in Syria was simple: “Russia has been undermining the OPCW” by questioning its findings and supporting the Syrian government. Complex geopolitical rivalries in a strategic region are clothed in the language of values as liberal democracies versus authoritarians.

Since 2006, it has been widely reported and confirmed that the US has been preparing proxies in Syria for regime change. Since the fighting erupted in 2011, Western states have violated international law by funding and training militant groups and directly attacking Syrian targets.

Leaks from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) indicate that findings were deliberately misrepresented, and the chief of cabinet at the OPCW ordered officials to “remove all traces” of documents that found the gas cylinders in Douma had been planted there. The US, UK and France, blocked the testimony of Jose Bustani, the first director-general of the OPCW, who accused Washington of high-jacking the institution to control the narrative.

Russia’s denunciation of Germany’s role in the UNSC represents a wider rejection of Berlin’s self-professed moral authority. The post-Cold War era of liberal hegemony is increasingly seen by Moscow as an era of political radicalism. The West professed that its global hegemony would advance liberal values, yet Moscow perceives that liberal values have been used to assert global hegemony.

The West is accused of developing security strategies based on dominance rather than multilateralism, while relentlessly expanding a military bloc, invading and destroying other countries with increasing frequency, and pursuing coups – all the while claiming moral authority as defenders of human rights, democracy and peace.

The German-Russian split: Redefining Ostpolitik

The German-Russian relationship has historically swung between partnership and competition. In 1917, James Fairgrieve described Eastern Europe as a “crush zone” due to the power competition between Germany and Russia. Third parties such as the UK and US have historically defined their security interest as maintaining this division in Europe, as a German-Russian partnership would shift the balance of power on the continent and possibly become a threat.

Even today, the likes of ‘Stratfor’ founder George Friedman assert that the primary foreign policy goal of the US is to prevent any sort of alliance between Moscow and Berlin, because of the fear that it would offer a desirable alternative to US hegemony.

Willy Brandt’s Ostpolitik during the Cold War sought to normalize relations with the Soviet Union and its East European satellites. Moscow interpreted this as a German effort to resolve the historical zero-sum rivalry in Eastern Europe as opposed to merely regaining a foothold in Soviet satellite states. From Gorbachev’s aspiration of a Common European Home to the post-Cold War aspirations of a Greater Europe, Moscow recognized a partnership with Germany was necessary to unify the continent.

Today, Germany interprets Ostpolitik as leadership in Eastern Europe, which depends on pushing Russia out of Europe. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas announced this month the legacy of Ostpolitik: “Unlike Brandt, we no longer have to go via Moscow to talk to our eastern neighbours nowadays. Many partners in Eastern and Central Europe now view Russia very critically – and German foreign policy must take our neighbours’ concerns seriously. In addition to offers of dialogue, clear German positions vis-à-vis Moscow are therefore important for maintaining trust in Eastern Europe.”

Fairgrieve’s “crush zone” description of German-Russian relations remains, although expressed in Berlin’s value-based “Euro-speak.”

From Greater Europe to Greater Eurasia

Berlin’s efforts to create a Europe without Russia unavoidably became a Europe against Russia. The German-supported unconstitutional coup against Ukraine’s democratically elected government in 2014, or “democratic revolution” as Berlin frames it, resulted in the death of Moscow’s Greater Europe initiative.

While the West condemned Russia for how it reacted to the Maidan, less focus was devoted to the sense of betrayal in Moscow. The remaining Russian illusions of gradual integration into a Greater Europe collapsed as the EU compelled Ukraine to choose between East and West. Subsequently, the nature and utility of the special partnership with Germany also ended.

The German-Russian partnership for Greater Europe was replaced with the Chinese-Russian partnership for Greater Eurasia. Russia has been busy the past years diversifying its economy away from Germany and toward China and Asia. The growing success of the Greater Eurasia initiative is largely the result of Russian-Chinese efforts to harmonise interests in their shared regions, which is contrasted with German efforts to “peel away” Russia’s neighbours – or “European integration” as Berlin frames it.

German-Russian relations in the age of Greater Eurasia

Under the Greater Europe initiative, Russia implicitly accepted German interference in its domestic affairs. As the eternal aspirant aiming to be included in Europe based on common values manifested itself in a subject-object or teacher-student organization of relations, Berlin was bestowed with the assumed moral authority to socialize or civilize Moscow in domestic and international affairs.

In the age of Greater Eurasia, relations between Russia and Germany are changing rapidly.

The emergence of a multipolar world implies pluralism of morals and values. Moscow is charting a distinctive conservative path and will no longer accept that liberal democratic universalism legitimizes sovereign inequality. Moscow subsequently rejects that its domestic politics is an issue for international discussion, and likewise dismisses Berlin’s effort to frame competing national interests in a Manichean prism as good versus bad values.

The unfriendly farewell by Moscow and Beijing as Germany exits the Security Council is a manifestation of a recalibrating relationship. Rather than attempting to reset relations, Moscow and Berlin should organize an amicable divorce and establish clear expectations toward each other.

Glenn Diesen is an Associate Professor at the University of South-Eastern Norway and an editor at the Russia in Global Affairs journal. Follow him on Twitter @glenndiesen

December 21, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

Sarajevo’s snub of Lavrov’s visit is in the hope of challenging Serbian power in Bosnia

By Paul Antonopoulos | December 17, 2020

The scandalous refusal of the members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Željko Komšić and Šefik Džaferović, to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday, indicates what the Republika Srpska has been warning about for years is correct – that BiH is dysfunctional and it is impossible to cooperate with Sarajevo. Their move could also be linked to murmurings in Washington about intentions to destroy the Dayton Agreement that created BiH in 1995. BiH was established as two entities – the mostly Bosnian Muslim-Croatian Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Serbian-dominated Republika Srpska.

It is not the first time that Bosnian Muslim and Croat representatives have changed their minds before an event or meeting. At the beginning of the Bosnian War, Alija Izetbegović, who in 1992 became the first president of the Presidency of the newly independent BiH, withdrew from the Carrington–Cutileiro peace plan on the same day he met U.S. ambassador to Yugoslavia, Warren Zimmermann, in Sarajevo. Zimmermann denies instructing Izetbegović to withdraw from the 1992 Carrington–Cutileiro peace plan, but it is not hard to connect the dots. Because of Izetbegović’s withdrawal from the peace plan, the Bosnian War violently waged on until December 1995.

Sarajevo maintains a policy of constantly toying with agreements to create diplomatic scandals. However, despite the Bosnian Muslims and Croats continually undermining the unity of BiH by opposing the Republika Sprska, Džaferović and Komšić created perhaps their biggest scandal yet by refusing to meet with Lavrov with an undiplomatic excuse that he did not respect BiH institutions – without providing examples. Instead of holding an already scheduled meeting with him, they decided to hold their own press conference at the same time the Russian Foreign Minister spoke with the third member of the Presidency, the Republika Srpaska’s Milorad Dodik.

“With respect to the Russian Federation as a big and powerful country, we will not agree to become a Russian pawn in the Balkans in their games and conflicts with EU or NATO member countries. We expect them to understand and support this,” Komšić said.

It is possible that the Bosnian Muslim and Croat in the Presidency of BiH misunderstood a short statement from the transitional cabinet of U.S. President-Elect Joe Biden about how the work in Dayton is not finished.

Lavrov, as an extremely experienced diplomat, did not violate any protocol and did everything according to international norms and standards. The obvious problem is that Sarajevo does not want dialogue with Moscow. The Bosnian Muslim and Croat representatives could have taken advantage of the Serbs in BiH, who have a historical, ethnic and religious connection with Russia, to benefit all BiH citizens. Instead they decided to create a scandal and once again divide the country along ethnic and religious lines.

The visit of a foreign minister from a larger and influential country is an opportunity for each country to try and explain their views and improve understanding and relations with each other. If such an opportunity is rejected, it sends a negative message, not only because of the lack of desire to improve relations for mutually beneficial cooperation, but also because it fosters suspicions and tensions.

Komšić’s and Džaferović’s refusal to meet with Lavrov is an irresponsible political decision considering Moscow has always had a principled attitude towards BiH, especially as Moscow is one of the guarantors of the Dayton Agreement. Their decision to snub Lavrov is a reflection of their own frustrations against the Dayton Agreement because Bosnian Muslims are not satisfied with it. This is because they have always had the goal of supremacy and domination over all of BiH, while simultaneously sidelining the Serbs. They continually attempt to disempower the Dayton Agreement in order to achieve their goal through a belief that a better functioning system can be achieved through a centralized Bosnian Muslim dominated state that would gain supremacy over not only the Serbs, but also the Croats, who for now are just enjoying an alliance of necessity with Bosnian Muslims.

Lavrov did not comment on the boycott at a media conference and the Russian Foreign Ministry posted a photo of the meeting without mentioning that the other two presidency members were not present. Publicly, Moscow is showing that this is an unimportant issue. However, within the Kremlin, it is likely decisionmakers are contemplating what to make of this snub and how to react at an appropriate time.

The Russian diplomat’s visit to BiH coincided with the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Dayton peace agreement, which although left BiH as an example of why artificial states like BiH result in failure, it did end the bloodshed that Izetbegović instigated for many years by withdrawing from the Carrington–Cutileiro peace plan in March 1992.

Lavrov emphasized on Monday, the other day before his visit to BiH, that the Dayton agreement must not be changed, referring to comments by Western diplomats, Bosnian politicians and Washington that it needs to be changed.

“I would like to say that any attempt to demolish [the Dayton agreement] can cause the most serious risks and consequences,” Lavrov said.

By snubbing the Russian Foreign Minister, it appears that Komšić and Džaferović are attempting to demolish the Dayton agreement so that Bosnian Muslims and Croats can achieve more power in BiH at the expense of the Republika Srpska.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

 

December 17, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Cuban Officials Reject Claims That ‘Havana Syndrome’ Was Caused by Directed Radio Frequency Energy

By Gaby Arancibia – Sputnik – 16.12.2020

In late 2016, reports emerged that staff members at US and Canadian embassies in Havana, Cuba, were experiencing symptoms that included hearing loss, dizziness and a sensation or vibration of pressure in the head. The mysterious health effects resulted in the US accusing Cuba of carrying out attacks on its diplomats, resulting in new hostilities.

Cuban officials issued a statement on Tuesday rejecting claims made in a US report that alleged directed radio frequency energy was likely to blame for mysterious health ailments suffered by several diplomats working in Havana, Cuba.

Luis Velázquez, the president of the Cuban Academy of Sciences, noted in the release that the organization disagrees with the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) December 6 report, even though it “made progress in defining the medical characterization of the causes and issued valid recommendations.”

“The report does not provide scientific evidence that radio frequency waves of great intensity existed in the area where the diplomats were located,” the statement read, before underscoring that the NAS conclusion was more of a hypothesis and “certainly not a proven fact.”

The NAS report was commissioned by the US State Department, a fact which likely raised red flags for the Cuban organization.

Velázquez’s statement further stressed that the Cuban body recommended both “journalists and governments to listen to science and refrain from endorsing conspiracy theories.” He added that symptoms reported by the affected individuals “should be considered and treated as a health problem, not as a political issue.”

NAS explained in its reporting that it had determined “directed, pulsed radio frequency energy” was the “most plausible mechanism”, after examining symptoms experienced by diplomatic staff. It’s worth noting that the study authors did indicate that a more thorough investigation would be needed.

Although health problems were first documented in late 2016, reports on the matter were not raised until 2017, after dozens of individuals reported symptoms. The unusual development was eventually dubbed the “Havana Syndrome.”

Initial reports suggested that afflicted individuals began first hearing an odd noise for a period of time, often late at night in their homes or hotel rooms. In some cases, the sudden wave of headaches and dizzy spells would prompt an individual to become nauseous.

With no clear understanding of what was happening, the Trump administration subsequently declared that the health problems were the likely result of a coordinated attack against American diplomats.

By August 2017, tensions between the US and the island nation reached a new height as two Cuban diplomats were expelled from the US. Some 15 Cuban diplomats would be expelled in the months that followed. Non-essential staff at the US embassy in Havana were later removed, leaving only a skeleton crew to keep the site running.

The Cuban government has repeatedly rejected all allegations that it had any involvement in the incidences, going so far as to offer its cooperation on investigations. Trump administration officials have refused to collaborate.

December 16, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Former Presidential Candidate Capriles Calls on US to End ‘Interim Presidency’

By Ricardo Vaz – Venezuelanalysis – December 11, 2020

Mérida – Former two-time presidential candidate Henrique Capriles has demanded a change of strategy for the Venezuelan opposition.

In an interview with the BBC, Capriles argued for a “reconstruction” of the opposition following last Sunday’s government victory in National Assembly (AN) elections. He claimed that the current plan led by US-backed Juan Guaido is “finished” and stressed that Washington’s stance will be “crucial.”

“The new [Prospective] administration has to understand that this plan has run its course and it cannot keep the status quo: the [Guaido] ‘interim presidency’,” Capriles said, adding that the opposition could “disappear as an alternative” if there is no change of course.

The December 6 elections delivered an overwhelming parliamentary majority for the ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV) and allies for the 2021-2025 term, but turnout stood only at 30.5 percent of the electoral roll after mainstream opposition parties boycotted the vote. The results were endorsed by an international observation mission.

Capriles, who served two terms as Miranda State governor, argued that the low turnout reflected the Venezuelan population’s “weariness” towards politicians and claimed the international community would not see the process as “legitimate.”

The veteran leader and allied figures had previously caused a rift within the opposition when they held talks with international brokers with a view towards taking part in the elections, but ultimately decided against it. However, the Justice First party founder insisted on the need to “align” the international community towards an “electoral calendar” featuring both presidential and parliamentary contests.

The former presidential candidate also voiced severe criticisms at former AN President Juan Guaido, though stressing it was “nothing personal.”

“When Guaido was the main figure, I backed him, but we can’t turn a blind eye to mistakes. Attempting to overthrow the government from the Altamira overpass, please!” he said in reference to the April 30, 2019 failed military putsch.

Opposition lawmaker Guaido proclaimed himself “interim president” in January 2019 and led several attempts to oust the government by force. In May 2020 he was alleged to have backed a failed paramilitary incursion featuring US mercenaries. His popularity and standing within the anti-government forces quickly eroded following a string of scandals.

Guaido and his associates rejected the recent parliamentary elections and vowed to “extend” the term of the outgoing National Assembly, with the newly elected one constitutionally mandated to take office on January 5, 2021.

The hardline opposition sectors have instead organized a “popular consultation,” asking backers whether they reject the recent elections, demanding an end to President Maduro’s “usurpation” and calling for action from the international community to oust the government.

The consultation has taken place via digital apps such as Telegram, with an in-person component scheduled for Saturday. Nevertheless, no details on audits or oversight surrounding the process have been detailed, while social media users have shown it is possible to vote from abroad or using Venezuelan identity cards found online.

December 12, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

Montenegro expelled the Serbian Ambassador because Đukanović lost control of parliament

By Paul Antonopoulos | December 4, 2020

Serbian Ambassador to Montenegro, Vladimir Božović, was declared a persona non grata last week and was asked to leave the country. The Montenegrin Foreign Ministry justified its reasoning because of Serbia’s alleged “long and continuous meddling in the internal affairs of Montenegro.” They also claimed that the Serbian ambassador “directly disrespected” their country by highlighting that the 1918 decision for Montenegro to join the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was “liberation” and occurred because of the “free will” of the Montenegrin people.

Montenegro is politically split between those wanting to maintain closer ties with traditional allies like Serbia and Russia, and those who want Montenegro to become a liberal democracy modelled on the West. However, for those hoping to turn Montenegro into a Western-style liberal democracy, they place their hope in President Milo Đukanović. The Montenegrin President since 1991 has held leadership positions in an authoritarian manner, either as prime minister or president. Đukanović is alleged to have strong links to the mafia, was described in 2010 as “mysteriously wealthy” for being one of the world’s richest leaders, and engages in corrupt practises like smuggling, organized crime, and privatizing state assets like the Prva Banka for the benefit of his family.

However, Đukanović’s stranglehold over Montenegro is weakening. The 2020 Parliamentary elections saw an opposition coalition comprising of pro-Serbian, left-wing and right-wing political parties, specifically For The Future Of Montenegro, Peace Is Our Nation, and the United Reform Action Party, win 41 of the 81 seats in the Montenegrin Parliament. The ruling Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro (DPS) and the Liberal Party won 30 seats, officially becoming the opposition after thirty years in power. On Wednesday the new government was elected by 41 out of 81 members of the Montenegrin Parliament.

With the scandalous decision to expel Božović, motivated by the weakening of Đukanović’s political power, the outgoing Montenegrin government unsuccessfully tried to profit politically by provoking artificial tensions with Serbia before the formation of a new government. They were counting on the re-grouping of nationalist forces to back Đukanović’s DPS, an unsuccessful gamble.

Decisionmakers in the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica also made a second gamble. They expected the EU not to interfere in their issue with Serbia and thought Brussels would only silently observe the instability. They were proven wrong as a minor spat between the EU and Montenegro occurred this week. Montenegrin media, which is strongly aligned with Đukanović, got into a polemic with European Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi. They criticized him for not supporting the expulsion of the Serbian ambassador. The EU has no interest in supporting unnecessary hostility towards Belgrade, especially at a time when Brussels is attempting to become the main player in Kosovo and when Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić is becoming increasingly friendly towards the EU and NATO.

Serbia’s Foreign Ministry immediately announced its response to the expulsion of Božović. Montenegrin Ambassador Tarzan Milošević was asked to leave Serbia within 72 hours. Although the ambassador was given 72 hours to leave, Várhelyi welcomed Belgrade’s near immediate decision change on expelling him. On Twitter he said:

“I welcome the Serbian Government’s decision to withdraw expelling the Montenegrin ambassador. I call on Montenegro to do the same. Respect for good neighbourly relations and regional cooperation are cornerstones of EU enlargement, and Association and Stabilisation Process.”

Although Belgrade withdrew its demand, European institutions no longer have an understanding for the policies of the Montenegrin authorities. It is extremely uncommon in diplomatic practice for a government that was defeated in recent elections to make such important state decisions during the transition period. At this moment, there is no logic for the EU to unreasonably support hostility against Serbia, especially from a country like Montenegro that is in an advanced stage of EU accession.

Brussels is likely aware that Serbia has the greatest potential out of all the former Yugoslav countries. Any quarrelsome tone directed against Belgrade, which is not related to the Kosovo issue, does not serve EU interests. This is especially important because Podgorica has already announced that they will ignore Várhelyi’s call to withdraw the decision to expel the Serbian ambassador.

Such a mindless action by Montenegrin authorities was accompanied by reactions from the political and media establishment in the country. All of them vehemently demanded that Várhelyi learn about historical events from the beginning of the last century, and that on the basis of such interpretations it can be understood why the Montenegrin kleptocracy makes extreme moves against Serbia.

European representatives do not want to engage in any interpretations of Montenegrin history. Instead, the EU sent an explicit message against the provocative actions by Montenegrin authorities – the interest of the EU in the Balkans is stability. Another important message was sent to Đukanović as well – his anti-Serbian policies have been overcome and he cannot seek his political survival through Serbophobia.

The formation of a new government dealt a major blow to Đukanović’s dominance over Montenegro, and could pave the way for his final ousting from Montenegrin politics in the next presidential election. Although he and his faction expected silence or acceptance from the EU for provoking Serbia in reaction to losing the parliamentary elections, it could be suggested that Brussels’ patience with Đukanović’s authoritarianism, corruption and regional provocations is beginning to end.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

December 4, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment