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All Roads Lead to Dark Winter

By Whitney Webb | The Last American Vagabond | April 1, 2020

The leaders of two controversial pandemic simulations that took place just months before the Coronavirus crisis – Event 201 and Crimson Contagion – share a common history, the 2001 biowarfare simulation Dark Winter. Dark Winter not only predicted the 2001 anthrax attacks, but some of its participants had clear foreknowledge of those attacks.

During the presidency of George H.W. Bush in the early 1990s, something disturbing unfolded at the U.S.’ top biological warfare research facility at Fort Detrick, Maryland. Specimens of highly contagious and deadly pathogens – anthrax and ebola among them – had disappeared from the lab, at a time when lab workers and rival scientists had been accused of targeted sexual and ethnic harassment and several disgruntled researchers had left as a result.

In addition to missing samples of anthrax, ebola, hanta virus and a variant of AIDS, two of the missing specimens had been labeled “unknown” – “an Army euphemism for classified research whose subject was secret,” according to reports. The vast majority of the specimens lost were never found and an Army spokesperson would later claim that it was “likely some were simply thrown out with the trash.”

An internal Army inquiry in 1992 would reveal that one employee, Lt. Col. Philip Zack, had been caught on camera secretly entering the lab to conduct “unauthorized research, apparently involving anthrax,” the Hartford Courant would later report. Despite this, Zack would continue to do infectious disease research for pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and would collaborate with the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) throughout the 1990s.

The Courant had also noted that: “A numerical counter on a piece of lab equipment had been rolled back to hide work done by the mystery researcher [later revealed to be Zack], who left the misspelled label ‘antrax’ in the machine’s electronic memory.” The Courant’s report further detailed the extremely lax security controls and chaotic disorganization that then characterized the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) lab in Fort Detrick.

This same lab would, a decade later, be officially labeled as the source of the anthrax spores responsible for the 2001 anthrax attacks, attacks which are also officially said to have been the work of a “deranged” USAMRIID researcher, despite initially having been blamed on Saddam Hussein and Iraq by top government officials and mainstream media. Those attacks killed 5 Americans and sickened 17.

Yet, as the investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks unfolded, accusations from major U.S. newspapers soon emerged that the FBI was deliberately sabotaging the probe to protect the Anthrax attacker and that the CIA and U.S. military intelligence had refused to cooperate with the investigation. The FBI did not officially close their investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks, nicknamed “Amerithrax,” until 2010 and aspects of that investigation still remain classified.

More recently, this past July, the same Fort Detrick lab would be shut down by the CDC, after it was found that researchers “did not maintain an accurate or current inventory” for toxins and “failed to safeguard against unauthorized access to select agents.” The closure of the lab for its numerous breaches of biosafety protocols would be hidden from Congress and the facility would controversially be partially reopened last November before all of the identified biosafety issues were resolved.

The same day that the lab was controversially allowed to partially reopen, which was the result of heavy lobbying from the Pentagon, local news outlets reported that the lab had suffered “two breaches of containment” last year, though the nature of those breaches and the pathogens involved were redacted in the inspection findings report obtained by the Frederick News Post. Notably, USAMRIID has, since the 1980s, worked closely with virologists and virology labs in Wuhan, China, where the first epicenter of the current novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) cases emerged. The Chinese government has since alleged that the virus had been brought to China by members of the U.S. military, members of which attended the World Military Games in the country last October.

Such similarities among these Fort Detrick lab breaches, from the early 1990s to 2001 to the present, may be nothing more than unfortunate coincidences that are the result of a stubborn federal government and military that have repeatedly refused to enforce the necessary stringent safety precautions on the nation’s top biological warfare laboratory.

Yet, upon examining not only these biosafety incidents at Fort Detrick, but the 2001 Anthrax attacks and the current Covid-19 outbreak, another odd commonality stands out — high-level war games exercises took place in June 2001 that eerily predicted not only the Anthrax attacks, but also the initial government narrative of those attacks and much, much more.

That June 2001 exercise, known as “Dark Winter,” also predicted many aspects of government pandemic response that would later re-emerge in last October’s simulation “Event 201,” which predicted a global pandemic caused by a novel Coronavirus just months before the Covid-19 outbreak. In addition, the U.S. government would lead its own multi-part series of pandemic simulations, called “Crimson Contagion,” that would also predict aspects of the Covid-19 outbreak and government response.

Upon further investigation, key leaders of both Event 201 and Crimson Contagion, not only have deep and longstanding ties to U.S. Intelligence and the U.S. Department of Defense, they were all previously involved in that same June 2001 exercise, Dark Winter. Some of these same individuals would also play a role in the FBI’s “sabotaged” investigation into the subsequent Anthrax attacks and are now handling major aspects of the U.S. government’s response to the Covid-19 crisis. One of those individuals, Robert Kadlec, was recently put in charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) entire Covid-19 response efforts, despite the fact that he was recently and directly responsible for actions that needlessly infected Americans with Covid-19.

Other major players in Dark Winter are now key drivers behind the “biodefense” mass surveillance programs currently being promoted as a technological solution to Covid-19’s spread, despite evidence that such programs actually worsen pandemic outbreaks. Others still have close connections to the insider trading that recently occurred among a select group of U.S. Senators regarding the economic impact of Covid-19 and are set to personally profit from lucrative contracts to develop not just one, but the majority, of experimental Covid-19 treatments and vaccines currently under development by U.S. companies.

This investigative series, entitled “Engineering Contagion: Amerithrax, Coronavirus and the Rise of the Biotech-Industrial Complex,” will examine these disturbing parallels between the 2001 anthrax attacks and the current scandals and “solutions” of the Covid-19 crisis as well as the simulations that eerily preceded both events. By tracing key actors in Dark Winter from 2001 to the present, it is also possible to trace the corruption that has lurked behind U.S. “biodefense” and pandemic preparedness efforts for decades and which now is rearing its ugly head as pandemic panic distracts the American and global public from the fundamentally untrustworthy, and frankly dangerous, individuals who are in control of the U.S. government’s and corporate America’s response.

Given their involvement in Dark Winter and, more recently, Event 201 and Crimson Contagion, this series seeks to explore the possibility that, just like the 2001 anthrax attacks, government insiders had foreknowledge of the Covid-19 crisis on a scale that, thus far, has gone unreported and that those same insiders are now manipulating the government’s response and public panic in order to reap record profits and gain unprecedented power for themselves and control over people’s lives.

A Dark Winter Descends

In late June 2001, the U.S. military was preparing for a “Dark Winter.” At Andrews Air Force Base in Camp Springs, Maryland, several Congressmen, a former CIA director, a former FBI director, government insiders and privileged members of the press met to conduct a biowarfare simulation that would precede both the September 11 attacks and the 2001 Anthrax attacks by a matter of months. It specifically simulated the deliberate introduction of smallpox to the American public by a hostile actor.

The simulation was a collaborative effort led by the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies (part of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security) in collaboration with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the Analytic Services (ANSER) Institute for Homeland Security and the Oklahoma National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism. The concept, design and script of the simulation were created by Tara O’Toole and Thomas Inglesby of the Johns Hopkins Center along with Randy Larsen and Mark DeMier of ANSER. The full script of the exercise can be read here.

The name for the exercise derives from a statement made by Robert Kadlec, who participated in the script created for the exercise, when he states that the lack of smallpox vaccines for the U.S. populace means that “it could be a very dark winter for America.” Kadlec, a veteran of the George W. Bush administration and a former lobbyist for military intelligence/intelligence contractors, is now leading HHS’ Covid-19 response and led the Trump administration’s 2019 “Crimson Contagion” exercises, which simulated a crippling pandemic influenza outbreak in the U.S. that had first originated in China. Kadlec’s professional history, his decades-old obsession with apocalyptic bioweapon attack scenarios and the Crimson Contagion exercises themselves are the subject of Part III of this series.

The Dark Winter exercise began with a briefing on the geopolitical context of the exercise, which included intelligence suggesting that China had intentionally introduced Foot and Mouth disease in Taiwan for economic and political advantage; that Al-Qaeda was seeking to purchase biological pathogens once weaponized by the Soviet Union; and that Saddam Hussein of Iraq had recruited former biowarfare specialists from the Soviet Union and was importing materials to create biological weapons. It further notes that a majority of Americans had opposed a planned deployment of U.S. soldiers to the Middle East, which was also opposed by Iraq, China and Russia. The script also asserts that the soldiers were being deployed to counter and potentially engage the Iraqi military. Later, as the exercise unfolds, many of those Americans once skeptical about this troop deployment soon begin calling for “revenge.”

Amid this backdrop, news suddenly breaks that smallpox, a disease long eradicated in the U.S. and globally, appears to have broken out in the state of Oklahoma. The participants in Dark Winter, representing the National Security Council, quickly deduce that smallpox has been deliberately introduced and that this is the result of a “bioterrorist attack on the United States.” The assumption is made that the attack is “related to decisions we may make to deploy troops to the Mid-East.”

Not unlike what is unfolding currently with the Covid-19 crisis, in Dark Winter, there is no means of rapid diagnosis for smallpox, no treatments available and no surge capacity in the healthcare system. The outbreak quickly spreads to numerous other U.S. states and throughout the world. Hospitals in the U.S. soon face “desperate situations” as “tens of thousands of ill or anxious persons seek care.” This is compounded by “grossly inadequate supplies” and “insufficient isolation rooms,” among other complications.

Since this exercise occurred in June 2001, the heavy hinting that Saddam Hussein-led Iraq and Al Qaeda are the main suspects is notable. Indeed, at one point in one of the fictional news reports used in the exercise, the reporter states that “Iraq might have provided the technology behind the attacks to terrorist groups based in Afghanistan.” Such claims that Iraq’s government was linked to Al Qaeda in Afghanistan would re-emerge months later in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, and would be heavily promoted by several Dark Winter participants such as former CIA Director James Woolsey, who would later swear under oath that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11. It would, of course, later emerge that Iraq’s connections to Al Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks were nonexistent as well as the fact that Iraq did not possess biological weapons or other “weapons of mass destruction.”

Notably, this insertion into one of the Dark Winter news clips was not the only part of the exercise that sought to link Saddam Hussein and Iraq to biological weapons. For instance, during the exercise, satellite imaging showed that a “suspected bioresearch facility” in Iraq appeared to be expanding an “exclusionary zone” in order to limit civilian activity near the facility as well as a “possible quarantine” area in the same area as this facility. Previously in the exercise, Iraq was one of three countries, along with Iran and North Korea, who were “repeatedly rumored” to have illicitly obtained Soviet smallpox cultures from defecting scientists and Iraq was alleged to have offered employment to a leading smallpox scientist who had worked on the Soviet bioweapons program.

Then, at the end of the exercise, a “prominent Iraqi defector” emerges who claims Iraq had arranged the bioweapons attack “through intermediaries,” which is deemed “highly credible” even though “there is no forensic evidence to support this claim.” Iraq officially denies the accusation, but vows to target the U.S. in “highly damaging ways” if the U.S. “takes action against Iraq.” It is thus unsurprising that, as will be shown later in this report, key participants in Dark Winter would heavily promote the narrative that Iraq was to blame for the 2001 Anthrax attacks. Other participants, including Robert Kadlec, would then become involved in the FBI’s “sabotaged” investigation once the Bureau began to focus on a domestic, as opposed to an international source.

In addition, as part of Dark Winter, mainstream media outlets, including the New York Times and others, were sent anonymous letters that threatened renewed attacks on the U.S., including anthrax attacks, if the U.S. did not withdraw its troops from the Middle East. In this simulation, those letters contained “a genetic fingerprint of the smallpox strain matching the fingerprint of the strain causing the current epidemic.” During the Anthrax attacks that would occur just a few months after Dark Winter, Judith Miller – who participated in Dark Winter – and other U.S. reporters would receive threatening letters with a white powder presumed to be Anthrax. In Miller’s case, the powder turned out to be harmless.

Other aspects of Dark Winter appear more notable now than ever, particularly in light of recent pandemic simulations that were conducted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (Event 201) and the Trump administration (Crimson Contagion) in 2019, as well as the federal government’s current options for responding to Covid-19.

For instance, Dark Winter warns of “dangerous misinformation” spreading online selling “unverified” cures and making similarly “unverified” claims, all of which are deemed as posing a threat to public safety. Such concerns over online misinformation/disinformation and narrative control have recently surfaced in connection with the current Covid-19 crisis. Notable, however, is the fact that the “Event 201” simulation held last October, which simulated a global pandemic caused by a novel coronavirus, also greatly emphasized concerns about such misinformation/disinformation and suggested increased social media censorship and “limited internet shutdowns” to combat the issue. That simulation was co-hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, which is currently led by Dark Winter co-author Thomas Inglesby.

Dark Winter further discusses the suppression and removal of civil liberties, such as the possibility of the President to invoke “The Insurrection Act”, which would allow the military to act as law enforcement upon request by a State governor, as well as the possibility of “martial rule.” The Dark Winter script also discusses how options for martial rule “include, but are not limited to, prohibition of free assembly, national travel ban, quarantine of certain areas, suspension of the writ of habeas corpus [i.e. arrest without due process], and/or military trials in the event that the court system becomes dysfunctional.”

The exercise later includes “credible allegations” that those deemed “suspicious for smallpox” by authorities were illegally arrested or detained and that these arrests largely targeted low income individuals or ethnic minorities. In terms of current events, it is worth pointing out that U.S. Attorney General William Barr and the Department of Justice he leads have recently requested new “emergency powers” that are allegedly related to the current Covid-19 outbreak. That request specifically references the ability to indefinitely detain Americans without right to a free trial.

Weaving a narrative

After examining Dark Winter, it then becomes important to examine the events the exercise seemingly predicted, namely the 2001 anthrax attacks. This is particularly crucial for two reasons: first, that the source of the anthrax was later traced to a domestic source, allegedly the USAMRIID lab in Fort Detrick; and second, the mode of attack and the initial narrative of those attacks were straight out of the Dark Winter playbook. Furthermore, key players in the government response to the anthrax attacks, including those with apparent foreknowledge of the attacks, as well as those who sought (falsely) to link those attacks to Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda were also participants in Dark Winter.

Weeks before the first Anthrax case would be discovered, on the evening of September 11, 2001, then-Vice President Dick Cheney’s staff was told to start taking injections of the antibiotic Cipro in order to prevent Anthrax infection. In addition, at least one member of the press, journalist Richard Cohen – then at the Washington Post – had also been told to take Cipro soon after September 11 after receiving a tip “in a roundabout way from a high government official.” Who exactly in the Bush administration and in the Beltway began taking Cipro weeks prior to the anthrax attacks and for how long? Unfortunately, the answer to that question remains unanswered. Yet, it has since been revealed that the person who had told these officials to take Cipro was none other than Dark Winter participant Jerome Hauer, who had previously served for nearly 8 years at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC), which oversees the USAMRIID lab at Fort Detrick.

Hauer, on September 11, 2001, was the managing director of Kroll Inc., a private intelligence and security company informally known as the “CIA of Wall Street,” a company that French intelligence had accused of acting as a front for the actual CIA. Kroll Inc., at the time of the attacks was responsible for security at the World Trade Center complex, yet Hauer was conveniently not present at his World Trade Center office on the day of the attacks, instead appearing on cable news. More on the series of “conveniences” that have followed Hauer throughout his career, especially over the course of 2001, and the massive amounts of money he stands to make off of the current Covid-19 epidemic will be discussed in detail in Part II of this series.

Then, on September 12, Donald Kagan of the neoconservative think tank the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), whose members populated key posts in the Bush administration, made an odd comment (for the time, anyway) about the September 11 attacks and anthrax. Speaking on Washington DC radio, Kagan – after suggesting that the U.S. should invade Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine in retaliation for September 11 – asks “What would have happened if they had anthrax on that plane?” That same day, James Woolsey, himself a PNAC member and also a Dark Winter participant, claimed that Iraq was to blame for September 11 during a cable news interview.

A week later, another PNAC member and advisor to the Bush White House– Richard Perle – told CNN that the next terror attack is likely to involve “chemical or biological weapons.” Soon after, Jerome Hauer re-emerges, claiming that the government now has a “new sense of urgency” regarding bioterrorist threats and asserts that “Osama Bin Laden wants to acquire these [biological] agents and we know he has links to Saddam and Saddam Hussein has them.” Of course, Saddam Hussein did not actually possess these biological weapons, although he did during the fictional Dark Winter exercise in which Hauer had actively participated. Just days after Hauer made these bold claims, ABC News reported that the alleged 9/11 hijackers may have intended to modify crop dusters to disperse Anthrax.

All of this took place several days before the first anthrax victim, photojournalist Bob Stevens, would even begin to show symptoms and over a week before doctors would even begin to suspect that his condition had been caused by anthrax poisoning.

On October 2, as Stevens’ health began to rapidly deteriorate, a new book co-written by journalist Judith Miller of the New York Times was released. Entitled “Germs: Biological Weapons and America’s Secret War,” the book asserted that the U.S. faced an unprecedented bioterrorism threat from terrorist groups like Al Qaeda. It further alleged that such groups may have teamed up with countries such as Iraq and Russia. Miller, who had participated in Dark Winter months prior, had conducted numerous interviews with senior White House officials for the book, particularly Dick Cheney’s chief of staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

Libby, although he had not personally attended Dark Winter, was greatly impacted by the exercise when he learned of it, so much so that he had personally arranged for Cheney to watch the video of the entire Dark Winter exercise on September 20, 2001. Cheney took the contents of Dark Winter to the National Security Council the very next day. It would later be reported in New York magazine that, “a few days after 9/11,” the principal authors of Dark Winter – Randall Larsen, Tara O’Toole and Thomas Inglesby – would personally meet with Cheney and members of the administration’s national security staff about the exercise.

Larsen, who worked closely with Robert Kadlec throughout the 1990s, allegedly smuggled a test tube of weaponized Bacillus globigii, “almost genetically identical to anthrax,” into the meeting, according to that report. It is unclear when this meeting took place in relation to when Cheney had watched the video of the Dark Winter exercise.

The same day that Miller’s “Germs” was released, October 2, another odd occurrence took place. A former scientist at the USAMRIID lab at Fort Detrick, Dr. Ayaad Assaad, received a call from the FBI after someone who intimately knew Assaad’s work history and career in great detail (and who also claimed to have previously worked with Assaad) had anonymously accused him of being a “potential biological terrorist” with a deep-seated hatred of the U.S. government. At the time the letter was received by the FBI, neither the public nor the FBI were aware of any anthrax cases. Assaad, who was then working for the Environmental Protection Agency, told the FBI that he believed he was being framed by former co-workers. The FBI deemed this to be credible and never contacted Assaad in connection with the case again.

It later emerged in the Hartford Courant that Assaad had been the target of extensive harassment by a clique of co-workers at the USAMRIID lab in the early 1990s. One of those co-workers who had harassed Assaad would leave the lab disgruntled as a result of the controversy over Assaad’s harassment allegations. He would later return to the lab to conduct unauthorized, late night research on anthrax and be tied to several missing specimens of anthrax and other pathogens – Lt. Col. Philip Zack.

Zack, in 2001, was working for the U.S. biotechnology company Gilead Sciences. Though he first began working for Gilead in 1999, he was “handpicked” in 2001 to lead the establishment of “a new Project Management Department in conjunction with a complete restructure of R&D [Research and Development].” Donald Rumsfeld, another member of PNAC, became the chairman of Gilead Sciences in 1997 and he served as chairman of that company up until he became George W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense in early 2001.

Rumsfeld would later announce on September 10, 2001 that $2.3 trillion had gone “missing” from the Pentagon’s budget. The Pentagon’s accounting office, whose staff was attempting to locate these missing trillions, would be destroyed on September 11, 2001. Though planes being flown into the Pentagon would later be described by government officials as “unimaginable” and “unthinkable” after the attacks, a simulation of planes being flown into the Pentagon had been conducted less than a year prior to September 11.

Terror Redux

On October 4, 2001, Bob Stevens’ anthrax poisoning diagnosis was made known to the FBI and CDC and the public was then informed via a press conference. The second anthrax case was declared soon after and was a co-worker of Stevens’, who had worked for the Florida-based newspaper, the Sun.

A day later, White House officials began to immediately pressure then-FBI Director Robert Mueller to prove that the anthrax attacks were linked to Al Qaeda, despite there being no evidence to make such a link. “They really wanted to blame somebody in the Middle East,” a then-senior FBI official would later tell the New York Daily News of the meetings.

Over the next few weeks, suspicious letters containing fine, white powder were sent to well-known American journalists, including NBC’s Tom Brokaw and The New York Times’ Judith Miller, though the powder in the letter addressed to Miller was found to be harmless. Notably, Miller and other New York Times journalists wrote a total of 27 articles specifically about anthrax and its potential use as a bioweapon between September 12, 2001 and the day before Stevens was diagnosed with anthrax poisoning.

Letters containing anthrax were also received by Senators Tom Daschle, Russ Feingold and Patrick Leahy, all of whom were – at the time – preventing the US Patriot Act from quickly passing through the Senate and who were resisting administration attempts to ram the legislation through with little to no debate. Several of the letters included the date “9-11-01” and the phrases “Death to America, Death to Israel, Allah is great” in neatly-printed block letters.

Soon after, a suspicious letter was found in the office of then-Congressman and current Vice President Mike Pence. Media Roots noted the following about Pence’s subsequent press conference in a 2018 podcast that examined the timeline of the 2001 anthrax attacks:

“… Mike Pence, who once hosted an AM talk show describing himself as ‘Rush Limbaugh on decaf,’ conducts a press conference outside the Capitol proclaiming revenge and biblical style justice to whoever conducted the anthrax attacks. His family–with news cameras in tow–gets tested for anthrax at the hospital after it is allegedly found in his office.

No news outlets questioned his grandstanding or odd performance of going to the hospital with his family, and unlike Senators Daschle and Leahy in their press appearances, Mike Pence alluded to the anthrax letters being connected to the larger ‘war on terror.’”

As public panic swelled, more letters continued to be found, not just in the United States but around the world, with anthrax and/or hoax letters being found in Japan, Kenya, Israel, China and Australia, among others. Simultaneously, efforts to link the anthrax attacks to Saddam Hussein and Iraq began to emerge and quickly grew in intensity and number.

The media push to link the attacks to Iraq began first with The Guardian and then was followed by U.S. media outlets like The Wall Street Journal. Those early reports cited unnamed “American investigators” and defense officials and largely centered on the false claim that alleged 9/11 mastermind Mohammad Atta had met with an Iraqi diplomat in Prague in late 2000 as well as similarly false allegations that members of Al Qaeda had recently obtained vials of anthrax in the Czech Republic.

A key person in disseminating that false Prague story was Dark Winter participant and PNAC member James Woolsey. It was also revealed in late October 2001 that Woolsey was serving as the personal emissary of Paul Wolfowitz, Iraq War “architect” and then-Deputy Secretary of Defense, in “investigating Iraqi involvement in the September 11 attacks and anthrax outbreaks.”

Beyond the Pentagon, foreign “experts” soon began to assert that there was a link between the anthrax attacks and Iraq, including former Israeli military intelligence officer Dany Shoham. Shoham recently resurfaced this past January after claiming that Covid-19 was developed by the Chinese government as a bioweapon.

These assertions were soon followed by a report from ABC News’ Brian Ross, who (again falsely) claimed that some of the anthrax used in the attacks had contained bentonite. Ross claimed that bentonite “is a trademark of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s biological weapons program” and that “only one country, Iraq, has used bentonite to produce biological weapons.” Ross asserted this information had come from three “well-placed but separate sources,” which later grew to four. Yet, no tests conducted during the Anthrax investigation ever found any bentonite at all, meaning the story was an invention from the very start. ABC and Brian Ross never retracted the story.

Glenn Greenwald, then writing at Salon, would state the following about Ross’ sources in 2008:

“Ross’ allegedly four separate sources had to have some specific knowledge of the tests conducted and, if they were really “well-placed,” one would presume that meant they had some connection to the laboratory where the tests were conducted — Ft. Detrick. That means that the same Government lab where the anthrax attacks themselves came from was the same place where the false reports originated that blamed those attacks on Iraq.

It’s extremely possible — one could say highly likely — that the same people responsible for perpetrating the attacks were the ones who fed the false reports to the public, through ABC News, that Saddam was behind them. What we know for certain — as a result of the letters accompanying the anthrax — is that whoever perpetrated the attacks wanted the public to believe they were sent by foreign Muslims. Feeding claims to ABC News designed to link Saddam to those attacks would, for obvious reasons, promote the goal of the anthrax attacker(s).”

Soon, media reports began noting the contradictory messaging of the U.S. government with regards to the anthrax attacks, messaging which has striking parallels to the Trump administration’s messaging on Covid-19. In one such report, written by Matthew Engel for The Guardian, states:

“Those in charge have compounded the problems by sending out confused messages. Was the anthrax weapons-grade or not? Should Americans be alarmed or relaxed? Has President Bush himself been tested? The signals keep changing. Mr. Thompson suggested early on that Bob Stevens, the first anthrax victim, might have drunk from an infected stream.”

During the 2001 anthrax attacks, there was no shortage of contradictory actions either, such as the government’s failure to mandate that postal workers take Cipro or even take the simplest precautions even though members of the Bush administration had been taking Cipro weeks before the anthrax attacks were known to the FBI and the public. Even worse, the Bush administration waited an extremely long time to close post offices for anthrax testing, waiting until numerous postal workers had already become infected and some had already died. In addition, Ernesto Blanco – a Florida mail room worker who later recovered from Anthrax poisoning – and his family were left confused about the refusal of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to diagnose him with anthrax poisoning while he was in dire condition. Blanco’s family later claimed that his diagnosis had been kept a secret for political reasons.

BASIS for surveillance and control

The contradictory response of the Bush administration to the anthrax attacks and the panic that ensued was also paralleled by an equally contradictory sensor system, one which had been installed just a few months before the anthrax attacks in thirty cities throughout the U.S. despite a dubious record of accuracy.

Just as the fictional scenarios proposed in Dark Winter were being written, American scientists were developing a sensor system for the detection of anthrax and botulinum toxin called BASIS (Biological Aerosol Sentry and Information Systems). Months before anthrax would cause extreme panic and target American Senators, scientists from Los Alamos and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory were testing the biological sensing device at the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, inside the Special Programs Division of what was once the site of the U.S. biological weapons program and where anthrax samples used at Fort Detrick are often produced.

It is worth noting that Dugway, not unlike Fort Detrick, has longstanding issues with biosafety lapses that have resulted in numerous mishaps, such as their accidental shipment of live anthrax over 70 times to 86 different labs throughout the world from 2005-2015. Independent analyses conducted after the FBI closed its investigation into the attacks have suggested that Dugway may have been the source of the anthrax used in the attacks, as opposed to Fort Detrick.

Returning to BASIS, the results of the tests conducted on this new sensor system in 2001 showed that it was highly prone to generating false positives and was, therefore, worthless beyond the ability to “induce the very panic and social disruption it is intended to thwart“, according to the Livermore Laboratory, which nevertheless marketed BASIS as a tool to “guard the air we breathe.” Vice President Cheney, following his September 2001 briefing on Dark Winter, decided to install the system in the White House.

Days after Senator Tom Daschle’s press conference that revealed he had been targeted by the anthrax attacker, President Bush was in Shanghai attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit when he received a call from Dick Cheney on Airforce Two. Cheney delivered a chilling message — the President and Secretaries Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, who were with Bush in China, might have been exposed to the ultra-lethal botulinum toxin at the White House.

BASIS had returned two positive results for the deadly neurotoxin and – if the tests held true – three of the U.S.’ highest ranking officials were “toast.” Yet, once again, BASIS had lived up to its reputation as a great panic-inducing mechanism when the supposed botulinum toxin hits were determined to have been false positives. Apparently, this “unintended” feature was a real selling point, as proven by George W. Bush’s subsequent deployment of the system in thirty cities throughout the country under the auspices of the newly-minted Department of Homeland Security as part of a program called Bio-Watch.

Given the events described, it is noteworthy that BASIS relies on the CDC’s Laboratory Response Network (LRN) to identify the biological agents trapped by its sensors. The 150 state and local laboratories that make up the LRN use a polymerase chain reaction (PCR-based) analysis, which is ill-equipped to detect the aforementioned botulinum toxin. In addition, the Bio-Watch program is plagued by bureaucratic and logistical problems, which further undermine any potential public health benefits.

DHS was fully aware of the program’s limitations from the start and issued requests for proposals (RFPs) for the development of autonomous sensor technology that would eliminate the need for manual sample collection. The Bioagent Autonomous Networked Detector (BAND) program was then initiated by HSARPA (Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency) in September of 2003 and, in 2008, awarded a multi-year contract for its development to MicroFluidic Systems, Inc., a company founded by Allen Northrup. Northup is also co-founder of Cepheid, a diagnostic testing company that received FDA approval for a 45-minute Covid-19 test less than two weeks ago.

In tandem with the development of BASIS shortly before 9/11 and the 2001 anthrax attacks, DARPA was sponsoring a surveillance program to collect data on U.S. citizens without their knowledge or consent by using their medical records. The ostensible purpose of that program was to develop algorithms that could detect a bioweapons attack based on real-time data input. The Bio-Event Advanced Leading Indicator Recognition Technology, or Bio-ALIRT, is at the heart of what Dark Winter co-author, Dr. Tara O’Toole, calls the “information supply chain.”

“We need to have a disciplined flow of information during epidemics that goes to the people who need to know what they need to know,” O’Toole recently told Ira Pastor in an interview. “That’s different from this cosmic surveillance system, that captures all the possible information all the time and tells us, in advance when an epidemic is coming. We need a supply chain of information to manage the epidemic.” O’Toole, who now works for the CIA’s venture capital arm In-Q-Tel, and her longstanding promotion of mass surveillance in the name of “public health” will be discussed in a subsequent installment of this series.

DARPA’s partners in this Orwellian endeavor were, perhaps unsurprisingly, recurring actors in the arena of biological attack simulations, from Johns Hopkins to the University of Pittsburgh – the Biosecurity centers of which were both previously run by O’Toole – and defense industry giants, General Dynamics and IBM.

Hovering over these draconian innovations floats the overarching narrative, which the 2001 anthrax attacks were supposed to activate in popular consciousness. Though the attacks would be pinned on USAMRIID scientist Bruce Ivins, the highly questionable investigative and prosecutorial methods employed in Ivins’ case, not to mention his timely pre-trial suicide, may instead offer clues regarding a botched false flag operation that had originally been designed to bolster the creation of a new geopolitical chessboard pitting the U.S. against its same perpetual enemies.

Covering up the real conspiracy

Dark Winter

From its earliest moments, the FBI’s “Amerithrax” investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks was clearly botched, sabotaged and even farcical. For instance, the letter sent to Dr. Ayaad Assaad would obviously have been a clear starting point for any honest investigation, as whoever wrote it had obvious foreknowledge of the attacks, connections to USAMRIID and was attempting to frame someone else for a crime that – at the time it was sent – had yet to be committed. Yet, The Hartford Courant noted in late 2001 that “the FBI is not tracking the source of the anonymous letter, despite its curious timing, coming a matter of days before the existence of anthrax-laced mail became known.” Why would the FBI not be interested in who wrote that letter, when it presents a clear lead on someone who, at the very least, knew a bioterrorism attack would soon take place and that the attacker’s profile would fit that of Assaad (i.e. Muslim and a former USAMRIID scientist).

In addition, in the early days of the investigation on October 12, 2001 – just one week after the attacks had claimed their first victim, the FBI called the University of Iowa and demanded that they destroy their entire database on the Ames strain of anthrax, the strain that would later be revealed to have been the very strain used in the attacks.

Both the FBI and the university officially claimed that the database’s destruction was ordered in order to prevent its potential use by terrorists in the future and was thus a “precaution,” despite greatly hampering the capacity of the investigation to determine the origins of the anthrax used in the attacks. Dr. Francis Boyle, an American law professor who drafted the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, later asserted that the FBI’s decision to order the destruction of the Ames strain database was an “obstruction of justice, a federal crime,” adding that “… That collection should have been preserved and protected as evidence. That’s the DNA, the fingerprints right there.”

Can the destruction of the Ames strain database and the decision to not pursue any leads related to the anonymous letter framing Dr. Assaad be written off as merely “missteps” made in the earliest and arguably most crucial days of the investigation? The fact that the Bush administration, as previously mentioned, was strongly pressuring then-FBI Director Robert Mueller to find a connection to “someone in the Middle East” at the same time these decision were made instead suggests that the investigation was highly politicized and manipulated by top government officials from the very beginning.

The FBI investigation continued to be marred by similarly obstructive actions. For instance, the anthrax sample that was in the envelope addressed to Senator Patrick Leahy had been found to contain traces of human DNA, a crucial finding that the FBI laboratory deliberately concealed from the agency’s own investigators. The FBI lab then declined to search for a match to this human DNA sample, despite the fact that doing so would – in all probability – lead to the actual attacker.

Due to all the obstruction and deliberate sabotage that took place, the investigation progressed slowly as crucial clues were ignored or outright discarded, apparently in order to keep FBI investigators off of the real trail. After coming under political and media pressure to at least name a suspect, the FBI began to focus on former USAMRIID researcher Stephen Hatfill.

Despite lacking any good reason to pursue Hatfill, the FBI – accompanied by TV crews – raided Hatfill’s apartment in biohazard suits and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft later publicly named him a “person of interest” in the case. The FBI pressured Hatfill’s then-employer to fire him and refused to clear his name years after the Bureau knew full well that he had no connection to the crime. Hatfill first sued the government in 2003 and the Department of Justice settled with Hatfill five years later, paying him $4.6 million in damages.

Though it was eventually settled, Hatfill’s lawsuit initially resulted in some odd claims from FBI investigators, with Richard Lambert – the FBI official in charge of the Amerithrax investigation, claiming that the lawsuit “could jeopardize the probe and expose national secrets related to U.S. bioweapons defense measures.” He also claimed it would “make public the vulnerabilities and capabilities of U.S. government installations to bioweapons attacks and expose sensitive intelligence collection sources and methods.” Lambert would later file a federal whistleblower lawsuit where he accused the Bureau’s Washington field office and FBI headquarters of having “greatly obstructed and impeded the investigation.”

The Department of Justice, which oversees the FBI, would make a similar argument when Maureen Stevens, the wife of the first anthrax victim Bob Stevens, sued the federal government over the lax security measures in place at the USAMRIID lab where the anthrax used in the attacks was alleged to have originated. Stevens’ lawyer said the lawsuit was also filed due to “the government’s stonewalling tactics,” which included “taking months to turn over an autopsy report, denying them access to DNA tests and even denying them money from the Sept. 11 Victims Compensation Fund.” Citing “national security concerns,” federal attorneys sought to delay Stevens’ lawsuit, arguing that the litigation “would pose a significant risk of disclosing classified or sensitive information relating to the acquisition, development and use of weapons of mass destruction such as anthrax.”

In 2008, soon after Hatfill was cleared and the lawsuit with him settled, the FBI began to focus on another USAMRIID researcher, Dr. Bruce E. Ivins. Ivins, who had previously helped the FBI analyze the anthrax used in the letters sent to politicians, journalists and others, was aggressively targeted by the FBI through aggressive surveillance and what can only be described as extreme harassment.

As Glenn Greenwald noted in Salon in 2008, “the FBI investigation was so heavy-handed that it actually entailed showing gruesome photographs of the anthrax victims to Ivins’ adult children, telling them that their father is the one who did that, while trying to entice them to turn on him with promises of a reward.” It was also revealed that addiction counselor Jean Duley, whose restraining order against Ivins was used by the media as “proof” that he was deranged and a likely “lone wolf” terrorist, had actually been egged on by none other than the FBI to seek that very restraining order.

The FBI, as it ramped up its targeting of Ivins, leaked much of its evidence to media outlets, which – for the most part – uncritically reported it. However, it eventually became clear that the case was shoddy and would never hold up in court as it was built on circumstantial evidence and questionable scientific analyses.

It was then announced on July 29, 2008 that Ivins, whose life and career had been left in ruins by the FBI’s aggressive tactics, had committed suicide just as the federal government was set to charge him as the sole culprit behind the Anthrax attacks. Few chose to question the suicide narrative despite there being legitimate reasons to do so, such as the lack of a suicide note at the scene and the fact that no autopsy was ever performed on Ivins’ corpse.

Former FBI agent Richard Lambert’s whistleblower lawsuit would later reveal that the FBI had intentionally withheld a “wealth” of evidence that proved Ivins’ innocence and further charged that the DOJ and FBI had “crafted an elaborate perception management campaign to bolster their assertion of Ivins’ guilt” that included “press conferences and highly selective evidentiary presentations which were replete with material omissions.”

After Ivins’ suicide, questions continued to arise regarding the FBI’s case against the deceased scientist, with several journalists and even Senator Patrick Leahy – who had been sent an Anthrax letter – insisting that the FBI’s case against Ivins, particularly the charge that he had acted alone, was implausible. A former co-worker of Ivins and one of the country’s top biowarfare experts, Richard Spertzel, asserted in The Wall Street Journal that Ivins couldn’t have been the culprit because Ivins did not know how to make anthrax of the quality used in the attacks as only 4-5 people in the entire country, Spertzel being one of them, knew how to do so. Spertzel asserted that one of those 4-5 people would have needed at least a year as well as a full lab and a staff dedicate to the task in order to produce the Anthrax used.

In an attempt to mollify mounting criticism, Mueller announced in September 2008 that a panel from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) would independently review the FBI’s “smoking gun” scientific analyses that had led them to accuse Ivins. However, the FBI abruptly closed the case in 2010, well before the panel could conclude its review, and stood by its controversial assertion that Ivins had acted as a “lone wolf” and that anthrax from a flask in Ivins’ lab was “conclusively identified as the parent material to the anthrax powder used in the mailings.”

When the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) did release its review of the FBI’s scientific findings a year later in 2011, it found that the Bureau’s “smoking gun” scientific evidence against Ivins was actually very inconclusive and they also identified several still, unresolved issues with the FBI’s analyses for which the Bureau could not provide an explanation.

However, because Ivins had died before the FBI’s scientific case could go to trial, the FBI’s claims would never be challenged in court. David Relman, vice chairman of the National Academy study committee, later told ProPublica that Ivins’ trial would have been the only way the FBI’s claims “could have been weighed and challenged by experts.”

The NAS study was not the only independent report that challenged the FBI’s case against Ivins after his apparent suicide. In 2014, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its own analysis of the FBI investigation and concluded that the FBI’s approach lacked consistency, adequate standards and precision. The GAO report ultimately supported the NAS’ conclusion that the scientific evidence did not definitely prove Ivins to be the culprit.

The conclusions of both the NAS and GAO reports show that the FBI’s “smoking gun” against Ivins – its scientific analyses – were hardly a smoking gun as they were just as circumstantial as the rest of the Bureau’s evidence against the scientist. This, of course, makes the timing of the FBI’s decision to close the case, a year before any independent analysis of its evidence against Ivins could be completed, significant.

A familiar cast of characters

Key players in Dark Winter would also end up playing a role in the FBI Amerithrax investigation and Bush administration efforts to link them to a foreign, rather than a domestic, source. For instance, as increasingly desperate efforts were made to link the anthrax attacks to Al Qaeda in early 2002, an “independent” team from the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies argued that the anthrax attackers were linked to Al Qaeda, citing a diagnosis made by a Florida doctor in June 2001 that alleged 9/11 hijacker Ahmed al-Haznawi had a skin lesion that was “consistent with cutaneous anthrax.”

Yet, this team from Johns Hopkins was – in reality — far from independent, as it was led by Dark Winter co-authors Tara O’Toole and Thomas Inglesby. However, their association with Dark Winter and their September 2001 meeting with Dick Cheney went unmentioned as media outlets ran with O’Toole and Inglesby’s assertion that al-Haznawi’s allegedly anthrax-related lesion “raises the possibility that the hijackers were handling anthrax and were the perpetrators of the anthrax letter attacks.” Other scientists and analysts as well as the FBI challenged and rejected their claims.

Another Dark Winter figure involved in the Amerithrax case was current Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Robert Kadlec, who became an adviser on biological warfare to the Rumsfeld-led Pentagon in the days after 9/11. Kadlec’s official biography states that he “contributed to the FBI investigation of the anthrax letter attacks,” though it’s unclear exactly what those contributions were, beyond having met at least once with scientists at Fort Detrick in November 2001. Whatever his contributions were, Kadlec has long been an emphatic supporter of the official narrative regarding Bruce Ivins, who he has referred to as a “deranged scientist” and the sole culprit behind the attacks. Kadlec has also used the official narrative about Ivins to assert that bioweapons have been “democratized,” which he argues means that weaponized pathogens can be wielded by essentially anyone with “a few thousand dollars” and enough time on their hands.

Notably, Kadlec isn’t the only key figure in the current U.S. government response to Covid-19 to have ties to the botched FBI investigation as current HHS Secretary Alex Azar was also involved in the FBI investigation. In addition, Azar stated at a White House press briefing in 2018 that he had been “personally involved in much of managing the response [to the anthrax attacks]” as then-General counsel to HHS.

Yet, given that the FBI investigation into the anthrax attacks and the government response to them were so disastrous and heavily criticized by independent and mainstream media alike, it is surprising that Azar and Kadlec would so proudly tout their involvement in that fiasco, especially considering that the scientific analyses used in that investigation were fatally flawed and, by all indications, led to the death of an innocent man.

While such credentials in a “normal” world would be grounds for exclusion from public service, they apparently have the opposite effect when it comes to post-2001 HHS policy and U.S. biodefense policy, which – especially following 2001 – has championed the interests and profits of corporate pharmaceutical companies and the apocalyptic vision of bioweapons held by war hawks and perpetual Cold Warriors. This latter category, of course, includes members of the now-defunct PNAC, who infamously referred to racially-targeted bioweapons as a “politically useful tool” in a now infamous 2001 document, and their ideological descendants.

As the next installment of this series will show, Dark Winter participant and 2001 anthrax attack insider Jerome Hauer epitomizes this merging of perpetual hawkishness and corporate pharmaceutical interests, as he has long held (and continues to occupy) key board positions of the very pharmaceutical company that not only sold tens of millions of anthrax vaccine doses to HHS following the 2001 anthrax attacks, but is now a partner in the development of the majority of vaccines, drugs and experimental treatments currently under development in the United States for the treatment of Covid-19.

April 1, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Virginia Goes Zionist

Jewish power manifest in the Old Dominion

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • March 31, 2020

Politicians, bureaucrats and media talking heads have long turned a blind eye to legislation and policies that benefit the state of Israel to the detriment of United States’ interests. The U.S. Treasury is plausibly describable as a gift that never stops giving to the people and governments of Jewish state. Since the foundation of Israel in 1948, the federal government in Washington has provided some $142.3 billion in direct aid of various kinds. Currently, Israel receives $3.8 billion per annum guaranteed for ten years, a sum that is supplemented by various giveaways, tax concessions and co-production arrangements from the government. Private “charitable” donations from individuals, businesses and foundations, some of which are fraudulent, considerably augment those numbers, making the total that Israel receives annually from the United States well in excess of $10 billion. A considerable proportion of that money is technically illegal, as it goes in support of the Israeli settlements on Arab land. No other country has received anything even approaching what Israel gets from the American taxpayer in one form or another and the one-way flow of money is also remarkable in that it has been guaranteed well into the future.

Other benefits obtained by Israel from the United States are less easy to quantify, to include the theft of U.S. military technology, which is then copied and sold by the Israeli arms industry, directly eliminating American jobs in one of the few manufacturing sectors that is relatively speaking thriving. There is also the observable transfer of high-tech jobs from the U.S. to Israel, engineered by Jewish billionaires like Paul Singer who are able to influence such decisions in the corporate world.

Israel also benefits enormously from the United States-Israel Free Trade Agreement of 1985, which is, by design, intended to give the Jewish state free access to the huge U.S. market without any real reciprocity for U.S. companies to enter the tiny Israeli market. Israel also is able to bid on U.S. government contracts, including classified defense contracts, a practice that has led to several lawsuits when the Israeli company gets a contract by lowballing the bid but then fails to perform. In some cases, Israeli companies have submitted low bids to obtain contracts at state and federal levels even when they had no relevant experience and no facilities that can actually perform the work. They pocket the subsidies and advance payments they receive from local governments and states and then effectively disappear.

The desire of some American Jews who occupy powerful positions to aid Israel at the expense of the United States is despicable, sustained by the lie that Israel is an ally and that both countries ultimately benefit from the process. Israel’s ability to impose its own priorities at the levels of Congress and the White House has long been observed, but its political manipulation and ability to corrupt U.S. democracy of behalf of a foreign power have lately been extended to the state and local levels. This shift is due in part to the desire on the part of Israel’s promoters to shut down the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. It has proven difficult to pass an unconstitutional national level ban on non-violent criticism of Israel going through Congress, so the Israel firsters have instead concentrated on the states. Twenty-eight states now have some form of legislation that denies state services or jobs to anyone who does not sign an agreement to not boycott Israel. A particularly draconian bill being considered in Florida equates any criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, enabling any critic to be sued in courts for hate speech.

A particularly egregious and also unique example of a state’s economic policies being manipulated by a dedicated Israeli fifth column in government is the Virginia Israel Advisory Board. Grant Smith, long a critic of the VIAB, heads the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRMEP). He has written a new book entitled The Israel Lobby Enters State Government: Rise of the Virginia Israel Advisory Board, which documents in considerable detail how the conspiracy by powerful Jews in Virginia to benefit Israel has actually operated, much of it secretly through special arrangements and deals. He has also had a long interview with Scott Horton of Antiwar.com regarding the book which is well worth listening to.

The VIAB is unique because it is actually part of the Virginia state government. It is funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia and is able to access funds from other government agencies to support Israeli businesses. It is staffed by Israelis and American Jews drawn from what has been described as the “Israel advocacy ecosystem” and is self-administered, appointing its own members and officers. While there are many Israel business promotion entities active in the United States, only Virginia has such a group actually sitting within the government itself, ready to make secret preferential agreements, to arrange special concessions on taxes and to establish start-up subsidies for Israeli businesses. Israeli business projects have been, as a result, regularly funded using Virginia state resources with little accountability. Bear in mind that this agency exists not to promote Virginia businesses but rather to give an advantage to Israeli businesses, some of which might even be competing with existing Virginia companies and putting local people out of work.

Virginia already runs an estimated $500 million trade deficit with Israel due to the federal Free Trade Agreement and the promotion of Israeli businesses in the state, which repatriate their profits to Israel, adds considerably to that sum. Smith reports how VIAB is not just an economic mechanism. Its charter states that it was “created to foster closer economic integration between the United States and Israel while supporting the Israeli government’s policy agenda.” Smith also has observed that “VIAB is a pilot for how Israel can quietly obtain taxpayer funding and official status for networked entities that advance Israel from within key state governments.”

Jewish federations and groups active on behalf of Israel were present in Virginia before VIAB was founded in 1996. Its Godfather was Eric Cantor, a state legislator who later entered Congress as the only Jewish Republican, where he was a powerful advocate for Israel. The board grew significantly under governor Terry McAuliffe’s administration (2014-2018). McAuliffe, regarded by many as the Clintons’ “bag man,” received what were regarded as generous out-of-state campaign contributors from actively pro-Israeli billionaires Haim Saban and J.B. Pritzker, who were both affiliated with the Democratic Party. McAuliffe met regularly in off-the-record “no press allowed” sessions with Israel advocacy groups and spoke about “the Virginia Advisory Board and its successes.” That was, of course, a self-serving lie by one of the slimiest of the Clinton unindicted criminals.

And wherever Israel goes there is inevitably going to be the usual hanky-panky. Many of the Israeli companies chowing down on the Virginia feed bag are located on land stolen from Arabs on the West Bank. They are illegal under international law, even if President Donald Trump and company have declared otherwise. And then there are the conflicts of interest. VIAB board member Aviva Frye, whose family mostly resides in Israel and who worked to obtain the government approvals for an Israeli solar and wind energy company called Energix, located on the West Bank, was subsequently rewarded with a company directorship. And one hand inevitably washes the other. Board member Eileen Filler-Corn, a leading advocate for Israel, recently became the first woman to become speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates. Grant Smith reports how she benefited greatly in her campaign by virtue of large donations from other board members as well as from Jewish groups and Israeli companies.

The VIAB is little more than a mechanism set up to carry out licensed robbery of Virginia state resources being run by a cabal of local American Jews and Israelis to benefit their co-religionists in Israel. Grant Smith observes how some pushback is finally in evidence, due to fraud in accounting procedures that have been exposed as well as environmental devastation for various projects that were never completed. Some human rights groups have also begun to challenge the illegality of the Israeli West Bank settlement-based companies involved. But it is not enough and it is probably too late as Israel is never held accountable for anything by the American Establishment. For my part, as a Virginia resident I have written and called the governor’s office and the offices of my state Senator and Delegate. No one has returned my calls or responded to my letters. Whose America is it? one might well ask.

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

March 30, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Corruption, Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 5 Comments

Coronavirus: the Reactionaries from USA

By Viktor Mikhin – New Eastern Outlook – 29.03.2020

Coronavirus is spreading to more and more countries and leaving an increasing number of deaths in its wake. It is about time experts and the common men asked legitimate questions: “Where did this deadly virus come from, in what laboratories was it created, and who is behind the pandemic?”. We will try to answer them as objectively as possible.

The first country where the novel coronavirus was detected and that actively began to stop its spread was China. When residents of the city of Wuhan began to get infected and die, the Chinese authorities warned the global community about the danger and started its full-on battle against the virus.

Many nations in the world immediately offered to help China and quickly began working on the cure for COVID-19.

But what did the current U.S. administration do in the wake of the outbreak? Some U.S. media outlets started accusing China of unleashing the virus. A number of articles followed pointing to China as the origin of the virus. The author was left with the impression that either these journalists had witnessed its creation or they had been carefully instructed as to what to write. A seafood market in Wuhan was also mentioned as the source of the virus. There were also stories suggesting that the unexpected appearance of the novel coronavirus hinted at it being man-made, and that people could have used the theory the virus had come from animals to hide the true nature of its origins.

People who think they are intelligent and astute know for sure that only thieves and fraudsters make the biggest noise as they flee from those who they have stolen from or deceived. And this is exactly what some U.S. conspiracy theorists did, out of sheer stupidity, as they do not care about being objective and, instead, only strive for publicity and wider reach. Then, in the author’s opinion, more serious analytical articles were published insinuating that the new virus was created by biologists from the military and originated in U.S. laboratories.

In short, they said that as a result of experiments, the coronavirus genome appeared to contain “HIV virus-like insertions”. According to the biologists responsible for the research, the virus was not a product of evolution or mutation even theoretically speaking. Hence, they concluded it could have been man-made. Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding also addressed this issue by posting: “I am absolutely not saying it’s bioengineering nor am I supporting any conspiracy theories with no evidence. I’m simply saying scientists need to do more research + get more data. And finding the origin of the virus is an important research priority”. A professor of Molecular Biology in New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, Anand Ranganathan, and his colleagues published a preprint (which has not been peer-reviewed as yet) about their research on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). They discovered a possible link between it and other similar known coronaviruses circulating in animals (such as bats and snakes), and found HIV virus-like insertions in 2019-nCoV. No other well-studied coronaviruses have such a structure. Hence, their research hints at the possibility that the virus was designed and could be used to wage biological warfare.

In light of these recent developments, it seems apt to remind our readers that a fierce, take-no-prisoners type of trade war is currently ongoing between the United States and China. And in the midst of this confrontation, as if by a wave of a magic wand, the coronavirus outbreak started in the PRC, which has already caused enormous damage to the Chinese economy and considerably weakened Beijing’s bargaining position at the negotiating table.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, many experts reported that, recently, Washington, in contravention of international law, was actively developing biological weapons in its numerous laboratories located in the United States as well as abroad. Apparently, there are more than 200 U.S. biological laboratories worldwide: in Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Uzbekistan and Ukraine.

Incidentally, the author has come across articles published by Ukrainian media outlets claiming that local authorities have no oversight of such facilities. It seems that the situation in a number of other countries where U.S. biolabs are located is similar.

DTRA (the Defense Threat Reduction Agency), which collaborates with the Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research in Georgia, is suspected of involvement in an incident that occurred in Chechnya in spring 2017. Locals reported seeing a drone that appeared to be spreading a white powder near Russia’s border with Georgia.

Ethnic bioweapons (biogenetic weapons), “is a type of theoretical bioweapon that aims to harm only or primarily people of specific ethnicities or genotypes”. Although there have never been any reports confirming that research on such weapons exists, documents that the author has come across show that the United States is gathering information about certain ethnic groups, first and foremost Russians and the Chinese. After all, Washington has labelled Russia and China as its main rivals recently. The author believes that the U.S. Air Force has been collecting Russian RNA (ribonucleic acid) and sinus tissue samples from a federal initiative. Apparently, information about this can be found in the Federal Procurement Data System. According to Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court biological experiments are deemed as war crimes. However, the United States is not a member of the Court and has a tendency to evade responsibility for war crimes.

From the author’s perspective, there is a hidden motive behind the coronavirus pandemic. And as some have already guessed, it is not the Great Plague of the XXI century but a highly contagious disease that appeared at just the right time. In other words, the pandemic is part of a far-reaching disinformation campaign aimed at creating panic and chaos. According to Chinese conspiracy theories, the virus appeared in Wuhan during the Military World Games, which U.S. and British servicemen took part in. The author believes that there were many agents from the CIA and MI6 who could have released the coronavirus at the time thus putting everyone’s lives at risk. Incidentally, the British could have played an important role in this mission as they have already gained similar experience by spreading biological agents from the Porton Down science park near the city of Salisbury. The poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia lends further credence to the author’s theory as they managed to survive the ordeal.

There are over 400,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases globally, and millions more are worried about the pandemic. What is curious to the author is that not only are the common men in a panic but so are authorities and officials who are preparing to take unprecedented quarantine measures in Russia, China, Iran and other nations that are known to choose their own path. The information war has served as a catalyst to the crisis that could have been smaller in scale but thanks to manipulation of mass consciousness, this is no longer the case.

The author thinks that the current disinformation campaign accompanying the coronavirus pandemic is the beginning of the “heist of the century”. As a result of this con, assets and savings of many nations, companies and individuals will end up in the hands of the current oligarchy, more specifically hundreds of the richest and most powerful families. The substantial portion of global wealth they already own will only increase as the rich always want more. From the author’s point of view, the United States is accustomed to robbing other countries and people of their wealth, and their allies are no exception, take Italy for example.

March 29, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Economics, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Why France is hiding a cheap and tested virus cure

The French government is arguably helping Big Pharma profit from the Covid-19 pandemic

By Pepe Escobar | Asia Times | March 28, 2020

What’s going on in the fifth largest economy in the world arguably points to a major collusion scandal in which the French government is helping Big Pharma to profit from the expansion of Covid-19. Informed French citizens are absolutely furious about it.

My initial question to a serious, unimpeachable Paris source, jurist Valerie Bugault, was about the liaisons dangereuses between Macronism and Big Pharma and especially about the mysterious “disappearance” – more likely outright theft – of all the stocks of chloroquine in possession of the French government.

Respected Professor Christian Perronne talked about the theft live in one of France’s 24/7 info channels: “The central pharmacy for the hospitals announced today that they were facing a total rupture of stocks, that they were pillaged.”

With input from another, anonymous source, it’s now possible to establish a timeline that puts in much-needed perspective the recent actions of the French government.

Let’s start with Yves Levy, who was the head of INSERM – the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research – from 2014 to 2018, when he was appointed as extraordinary state councilor for the Macron administration. Only 12 people in France have reached this status.

Levy is married to Agnes Buzy, who until recently was minister of health under Macron. Buzy was essentially presented with an “offer you can’t refuse” by Macron’s party to leave the ministry – in the middle of the coronavirus crisis – and run for Mayor of Paris, where she was mercilessly trounced in the first round on March 16.

Levy has a vicious running feud with Professor Didier Raoult – prolific and often-cited Marseille-based specialist in communicable diseases. Levy withheld the INSERM label from the world-renowned IHU (Hospital-University Institute) research center directed by Raoult.

In practice, in October 2019, Levy revoked the status of “foundation” of the different IHUs so he could take over their research.

French professor Didier Raoult, biologist and professor of microbiology, specializes in infectious diseases and director of IHU Mediterranee Infection Institute. Photo: AFP/Gerard Julien

Raoult was part of a clinical trial that in which hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin healed 90% of Covid-19 cases if they were tested very early. (Early, massive testing is at the heart of the successful South Korean strategy.)

Raoult is opposed to the total lockdown of sane individuals and possible carriers – which he considers “medieval,” in an anachronistic sense. He’s in favor of massive testing (which, besides South Korea, was successful in Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam) and a fast treatment with hydroxychloroquine. Only contaminated individuals should be confined.

Chloroquine costs one euro for ten pills. And there’s the rub: Big Pharma – which, crucially, finances INSERM, and includes “national champion” Sanofi – would rather go for a way more profitable solution. Sanofi for the moment says it is “actively preparing” to produce chloroquine, but that may take “weeks,” and there’s no mention about pricing.

A minister fleeing a tsunami

Here’s the timeline:

On January 13, Agnes Buzyn, still France’s Health Minister, classifies chloroquine as a “poisonous substance,” from now on only available by prescription. An astonishing move, considering that it has been sold off the shelf in France for half a century.

On March 16, the Macron government orders a partial lockdown. There’s not a peep about chloroquine. Police initially are not required to wear masks; most have been stolen anyway, and there are not enough masks even for health workers. In 2011 France had nearly 1.5 billion masks: 800 million surgical masks and 600 million masks for health professionals generally.

But then, over the years, the strategic stocks were not renewed, to please the EU and to apply the Maastricht criteria, which limited membership in the Growth and Stability Pact to countries whose budget deficits did not exceed 3% of GDP. One of those in charge at the time was Jerome Salomon, now a scientific counselor to the Macron government.

On March 17, Agnes Buzyn says she has learned the spread of Covid-19 will be a major tsunami, for which the French health system has no solution. She also says it had been her understanding that the Paris mayoral election “would not take place” and that it was, ultimately, “a masquerade.”

What she does not say is that she didn’t go public at the time she was running because the whole political focus by the Macron political machine was on winning the “masquerade.” The first round of the election meant nothing, as Covid-19 was advancing. The second round was postponed indefinitely. She had to know about the impending healthcare disaster. But as a candidate of the Macron machine she did not go public in timely fashion.

In quick succession:

The Macron government refuses to apply mass testing, as practiced with success in South Korea and Germany.

Le Monde and the French state health agency characterize Raoult’s research as fake news, before issuing a retraction.

Professor Perrone reveals on the 24/7 LCI news channel that the stock of chloroquine at the French central pharmacy has been stolen.

Thanks to a tweet by Elon Musk, President Trump says chloroquine should be available to all Americans. Sufferers of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, who already have supply problems with the only drug that offers them relief, set social media afire with their panic.

US doctors and other medical professionals take to hoarding the medicine for the use of themselves and those close to them, faking prescriptions to indicate they are for patients with lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

Morocco buys the stock of chloroquine from Sanofi in Casablanca.

Pakistan decides to increase its production of chloroquine to be sent to China.

Switzerland discards the total lockdown of its population; goes for mass testing and fast treatment; and accuses France of practicing  “spectacle politics.”

Christian Estrosi, the mayor of Nice, having had himself treated with chloroquine, without any government input, directly calls Sanofi so they may deliver chloroquine to Nice hospitals.

Because of Raoult’s research, a large-scale chloroquine test finally starts in France, under the – predictable – direction of INSERM, which wants to “remake the experiments in other independent medical centers.” This will take at least an extra six weeks – as the Elysee Palace’s scientific council now mulls the extension of France’s total lockdown to … six weeks.

If joint use of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin proves definitely effective among the most gravely ill, quarantines may be reduced in select clusters.

The only French company that still manufactures chloroquine is under judicial intervention. That puts the chloroquine hoarding and theft into full perspective. It will take time for these stocks to be replenished, thus allowing Big Pharma the leeway to have what it wants: a costly solution.

It appears the perpetrators of the chloroquine theft were very well informed.

Bagged nurses

This chain of events, astonishing for a highly developed G-7 nation proud of its health service, is part of a long, painful process embedded in neoliberal dogma. EU-driven austerity mixed with the profit motive resulted in a very lax attitude towards the health system.

As Bugault told me, “test kits – very few in number – were always available but mostly for a small group connected to the French government [ former officials of the Ministry of Finance, CEOs of large corporations, oligarchs, media and entertainment moguls].  Same for chloroquine, which this government did everything to make inaccessible for the population.

They did not make life easy for Professor Raoult – he received death threats and was intimidated by ‘journalists.’

And they did not protect vital stocks. Still under the Hollande government, there was a conscious liquidation of the stock of masks – which had existed in large quantities in all hospitals. Not to mention that the suppression of hospital beds and hospital means accelerated under Sarkozy.”

This ties in with anguished reports by French citizens of nurses now having to use trash bags due to the lack of proper medical gear.

At the same time, in another astonishing development, the French state refuses to requisition private hospitals and clinics – which are practically empty at this stage – even as the president of their own association, Lamine Garbi, has pleaded for such a public service initiative: “I solemnly demand that we are requisitioned to help public hospitals. Our facilities are prepared. The wave that surprised the east of France must teach us a lesson.”

Bugault reconfirms the health situation in France “is very serious and will become even worse due to these political decisions – absence of masks, political refusal to massively test people, refusal of free access to chloroquine – in a context of supreme distress at the hospitals. This will last and destitution will be the norm.”

Professor vs president

In an explosive development on Tuesday, Raoult said he’s not participating in Macron’s scientific council anymore, even though he’s not quitting it altogether. Raoult once again insists on massive testing on a national scale to detect suspected cases, and then isolate and treat patients who tested positive. In a nutshell: the South Korean model.

That’s exactly what is expected from the IHU in Marseille, where hundreds of residents continue to queue up for testing. And that ties in with the conclusions by a top Chinese expert on Covid-19, Zhang Nanshan, who says that treatment with chloroquine phospate had a “positive impact,” with patients testing negative after around four days.

The key point has been stressed by Raoult: Use chloroquine in very special circumstances, for people tested very early, when the disease is not advanced yet, and only in these cases. He’s not advocating chloroquine for everyone. It’s exactly what the Chinese did, along with their use of Interferon.

For years, Raoult has been pleading for a drastic revision of health economic models, so the treatments, cure and therapies created mostly during the 20th century, are considered a patrimony in the service of all humanity.“That’s not the case”, he says, “because we abandon medicine that is not profitable, even if it’s effective. That’s why almost no antibiotics are manufactured in the West.”

On Tuesday, the French Health Ministry officially prohibited the utilization of treatment based on chloroquine recommended by Raoult.  In fact the treatment is only allowed for terminal Covid-19 patients, with no other possibility of healing. This cannot but expose the Macron government to more accusations of at least inefficiency – added to the absence of masks, tests, contact tracing and ventilators.

On Wednesday, commenting on the new government guidelines, Raoult said, “When damage to the lungs is too important, and patients arrive for reanimation, they practically do not harbor viruses in their bodies any more. It’s too late to treat them with chloroquine. Are these the only cases – the very serious cases – that will be treated with chloroquine under the new directive by [French Health Minister] Veran?” If so, he added ironically, “then they will be able to say with scientific certainty that chloroquine does not work.”

Raoult was unavailable for comment on Western news media articles citing Chinese test results that would suggest he is wrong about the efficacy of chloroquine in dealing with mild cases of Covid-19.

Staffers pointed instead to his comments in the IHU bulletin. There Raoult says it’s “insulting” to ask if we can trust the Chinese on the use of chloroquine. “If this was an American disease, and the president of the United States said, ‘We need to treat patients with that,’ nobody would discuss it.”

In China, he adds, there were “enough elements so the Chinese government and all Chinese experts who know coronaviruses took an official position that ‘we must treat with chloroquine.’ Between the moment when we have the first results and an accepted international publication, there is no credible alternative among people who are the most knowledgeable in the world. They took this measure in the interest of public health.”

Crucially: if he had coronavirus, Raoult says he would take chloroquine. Since Raoult is rated by his peers as the number one world expert  in communicable diseases, way above Dr. Anthony Fauci in the US, I would say the new reports represent Big Pharma talking.

Raoult has been mercilessly savaged and demonized by French corporate media that are controlled by a few oligarchs closely linked to Macronism. Not by accident the demonization has reached gilets jaunes (yellow vest) levels, especially because of the extremely popular hashtag  #IlsSavaient (“They knew”), with which the yellow vests stress that French elites have “managed” the Covid-19 crisis by protecting themselves while leaving the population defenseless against the virus.

That ties in with the controversial analysis by crack philosopher Giorgio Agamben in a column published a month ago, where he was already arguing that Covid-19 clearly shows that the state of exception – similar to a state of emergency but with differences important to philosophers – has become fully normalized in the West.

Agamben was speaking not as a doctor or a virologist but as a master thinker, following in the steps of Foucault, Walter Benjamin and Hannah Arendt. Noting how a latent state of fear has metastasized into a state of collective panic, for which Covid-19 “offers once again the ideal pretext,” he described how, “in a perverse vicious circle, the limitation of freedom imposed by governments is accepted in the name of a desire for security that was induced by the same governments that now intervene to satisfy it.”

There was no state of collective panic in South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam – to mention four Asian examples outside of China. A dogged combination of mass testing and contact tracing was applied with immense professionalism. It worked. In the Chinese case, with the help of chloroquine. And in all Asian cases, without a murky profit motive to the benefit of Big Pharma.

There hasn’t yet appeared the smoking gun that proves the Macron system not only is incompetent to deal with Covid-19 but also is dragging the process so Big Pharma can come up with a miracle vaccine, fast. But the pattern to discourage chloroquine is more than laid out above – in parallel to the demonization of Raoult.

March 28, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , | Leave a comment

This scientist suggested a drug to treat Covid-19. ‘Fact checkers’ branded him fake news

French professor Didier Raoult, director of IHU Mediterranee Infection Institute in Marseille, pictured on February 26, 2020
By Nebojsa Malic | RT | March 26, 2020

Amid a pandemic panic over the coronavirus, evidence for a possibly effective treatment has been denounced as ‘fake news’ – even when offered by a renowned scientist with decades of experience.

Take Didier Raoult, a French microbiologist with undeniable expertise, even if some of his views are about as eccentric as his appearance. Though he may look like he just stepped out of an Alexandre Dumas novel, the director of the Mediterranean University Hospital Institute in Marseille cited not one but three different studies from China showing that the anti-malaria drug called chloroquine has been effective in treating Covid-19 patients.

That did not stop Le Monde, France’s biggest newspaper, of declaring his February 25 video as “partially false.” Raoult’s ‘sin’ was to argue that the common anti-malaria drug used widely for decades resulted in “dramatic improvements” among those afflicted by the virus.

As a result of Le Monde’s fact-check, anyone attempting to share Dr. Raoult’s videos on Facebook gets a banner saying the information therein was “partially false” as “determined by independent fact-checkers.”

The main argument put forward by those critical of the drug is that more testing is required before it can be officially approved as treatment for the coronavirus. As the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts it, “There are no currently available data from Randomized Clinical Trials… to inform clinical guidance on the use, dosing, or duration of hydroxychloroquine” treatments for Covid-19.

Which is fair enough, but last time I checked, there was a pandemic going on, with billions of people locked in their homes and all business grinding to a halt across the globe, over apocalyptic predictions of hospitals brimming with corpses due to this coronavirus.

Should any kind of treatment – especially a drug that has been used safely for decades to treat something else, with side effects meticulously documented – be so cavalierly rejected, under the circumstances? Do “experts” really think the world has the luxury of waiting for months or even years for their controlled lab studies?

As for the fact-checkers, shouldn’t they have applied the same rigor to the models used to scare everyone into hoarding toilet paper and setting off a depression orders of magnitude worse than anything the world has ever seen?

To ask these questions is to answer them, yet no one seems to bother. Nor is this sort of selective blindness endemic to France; across the Atlantic, the mainstream media raised their voices in unison against chloroquine after US President Donald Trump brought it up as a possible treatment – apparently referring to Dr. Raoult’s work.

They went so far as to widely circulate a deliberately misleading story about an Arizona couple that ate fish tank cleaner – chloroquine phosphate, clearly labeled not for human consumption – as somehow Trump’s fault. Some of them quietly amended it to specify the difference, but long after the original story – implying they took the actual medication praised by the president – literally went viral and poisoned the minds of millions.

Worse yet, as a result of this media blitz, the governor of Nevada actually banned using chloroquine to treat Covid-19 patients this week, saying there was “no consensus among experts or Nevada doctors” that the anti-malaria drug can treat coronavirus sufferers. There were no angry editorials denouncing Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, for letting people die of the coronavirus rather than have them treated with a drug endorsed by the Republican president and the media’s favorite hate object.

One would think the world paralyzed with fear of the invisible death would pounce on every possible solution, no matter how unlikely it seems. That’s what we’re shown in Hollywood disaster movies, after all. Yet when such a solution presents itself, it is dismissed and denounced as “not proven”!

We’re supposed to blindly trust apocalyptic models produced by panic-mongering political hacks, but ignore the man who says the drug brought him back from the brink of death, even though his story can be easily verified and theirs cannot.

“Preferring opinions to facts is a disease,” Dr. Raoult told the French magazine Marianne last week. Just so.

I don’t know if hydroxychloroquine works on Covid-19. Dr. Raoult seems to believe so, and he’s not alone. In the absence of better solutions – and locking billions of people in their homes indefinitely is not one – don’t we owe humanity to at least try? What do we have to lose?

In the three months or so since the coronavirus first appeared in China, there has been a lot of conflicting, confusing and outright false information about it. One thing that has consistently proven true, however, is that the biggest obstacle in effectively battling its spread and treating the afflicted has been the obtuse insistence of the political and medical establishment on blindly following their rules. If the virus is truly threatening to kill millions, as they say, they would not value procedures over saving lives. Nevertheless, they persist. It makes one wonder why.

Nebojsa Malic is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Twitter @NebojsaMalic

March 26, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Corporate Money Grab of 2020 Coronavirus Crisis Looks Similar to Taxpayer-Funded 2008 Bank Bailout

Sputnik – March 26, 2020

Despite a partisan struggle in the Senate which lasted days, the newly-agreed-upon coronavirus stimulus package was marked by all but universal support for corporate bailouts – the same measure that was tried to handle the 2008 financial crisis.

The Senate on Wednesday adopted the largest emergency aid package in US history, which was largely framed as a measure to protect workers’ jobs and wages.

That might not be entirely true, says Ryan Christian, the founder and editor of the alternative news outlet The Last American Vagabond.

Just another transfer of wealth?

“What is the real motivation behind this legislation?” he inquires. “Following the bail-out of 2008-2009, one of the largest transfers of wealth in US history, no one was truly held accountable, and the entities behind driving the policies that allowed that to take place were allowed to not only take the exact same actions moving forward, but to do so to an unprecedented degree to this day.

”The proposed aid package is worth $2.2 trillion and includes a $500 billion corporate bailout programme; tens of billions of dollars would be allocated out of that pot to distressed airlines and national security companies (those reportedly include Boeing).

That fund is similar to the Troubled Asset Relief Programme (TARP), which was established under the Emergency Economic Stabilisation Act of 2008 in the midst of the financial crisis. It ended up injecting $426.35 billion into troubled banks and auto companies, with a $15.3 billion profit. Damon Silvers, a member of the congressional panel that oversaw TARP’s loans, lamented that this body had played a “purely advisory role” (the lack of oversight is what many fear regarding the currently proposed bailout fund).

Although TARP’s support did help overcome the crisis, Silvers believes that it allowed banks to “bleed homeowners to rebuild their capital” and had a “terrible return for the risk that was taken with the public’s money.”

“Regardless of your opinions surrounding this coronavirus event, there are numerous agendas being both forced in, as well as covered up, using the very fear which the-powers-that-shouldn’t-be helped create,” says Ryan Christian.

“So as we continue to see this package increase by not billions, but TRILLIONS, we must begin to see the old familiar bail-out writing on the wall, before we once again awaken to find that wealth was siphoned from the dying middle class, in order to fund another decade of elitist economic adventurism at the expense of you and your family, and of course, the United States itself.”

Christian insists the public should make sure that the proposed act does not become “another PATRIOT Act-style subversion of our rights that forces every American to become even more beholden to an unaccountable power structure.”

States could fall short of what they need

Another $367 billion would be provided to small businesses to help them keep making payroll, in addition to multiple provisions designed to help them weather impending shutdowns and layoffs. And some $500 billion would be set aside for direct one-time payments to people ($1,200 per individual and $500 per child), coupled with an extra $600 per week for four months to jobless people on top of their state benefits.

Alan Gin, associate professor of economics at the University of San Diego, suggests that the $150 package for state and local governments will “probably fall well short of what is needed”.

New York Governor Cuomo, for example, gave a stinging rebuke of the bill on Wednesday, as it would only provide $3.8 billion to his state, compared with the $15 billion the pandemic stands to wipe off its budget.

“Dealing with the consequences of COVID-19 threatens to strain the budgets of state and local governments to the breaking point, which could lead to the curtailing of other services,” Alan Gin warns.

The other problem is with one-time checks: direct payments to individuals would be “the appropriate course of action if people could spend that money, but that is not the case now,” he argues. “Restaurants are closed, as are retail stores, and not many people are going to be taking vacations with that money. It would have been better if that money was directed to state and local governments instead.”

He concludes, however: “Although the proposed legislation is not perfect, it will help in trying to prevent a collapse of the US economy.” It remains to be seen at what cost.

March 26, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | | 1 Comment

OPCW Scandal Reaches New Height of Farce With Latest Whistleblower Allegations Over Smeared Douma Officers

By Martin Jay | Strategic Culture Foundation | March 15, 2020

How much longer can the troubled OPCW organisation continue to operate with any credibility after the doctoring of its investigations to suit a western narrative in Syria continues to be exposed and shows it is far from an independent chemical weapons watchdog?

Readers may remember that previously, towards the end of 2019, leaked emails from two key OPCW investigators who were dispatched to Douma in Syria in 2018, revealed that their original remarks – which indicated that the Assad regime could not have orchestrated the chemical attack – were removed from the final edited report. This act alone was the starter’s pistol on a rebellion which is threatening to severely damage the organisation’s credibility in the field and confirms to many that the role of it is purely as an apparatus for the West’s agenda in the field of conflict around the world, against those who stand up to the giants of NATO.

A fourth whistleblower has now emerged from the farcical debacle which will surely reach a tipping point soon either threatening to remove OPCW’s Spanish chief – the main culprit who tarnished the two officers who kicked off the scandal in the first place – or for the organisation itself to have a world-wide identity problem which will manifest itself in many countries simply refusing to allow it entry into hotspots. It’s hard to see how Syria’s Assad would continue to allow OPCW inspectors into Syria following another chemical attack after the organisation has been “hijacked” by western interests who appear to go to extraordinary levels to falsify evidence to serve a narrative.

The latest OPCW official to step forward and support the findings of the two initial inspectors, whose scandal was revealed in a series of leaked emails in May 2019, has spoken of the culture of intimidation within the organisation and how the two inspectors have been dealt a grave injustice in their work and in their determination to salvage credibility for their employer.

“The mistreatment of two highly regarded and accomplished professionals can only be described as abhorrent,” the OPCW official wrote in an email to The Grayzone website. “I fully support their endeavours, in that it is for the greater good and not for personal gain or in the name of any political agenda. They are in fact trying to protect the integrity of the organisation which has been hijacked and brought into shameful disrepute.”

Central to the dispute surrounding the two officers who have had their conclusions dismissed by OPCW’s chief, is the discovery by one of the investigators that the gas canisters on the ground appeared not to have been dropped from an aircraft but rather placed there. This finding is important as it destroys the West’s assertion that the attack at Douma was made by the Assad regime which it alleges dropped the chemicals from a plane or a helicopter.

This incendiary finding was removed from the final redacted report which leans more on the Assad theory and keeps a safe distance from the distinct possibility that the entire attack was staged by western-backed extremist groups in the area.

One of the two whistleblowers and former inspectors is believed to be Ian Henderson, a 12-year veteran of the organization and weapons expert. According to the Grayzone, “Henderson led on-the-ground inspections in Douma and conducted a detailed engineering study of gas cylinders found at the scene” and concluded that the cylinders were likely “manually placed” rather than being dropped by air. The second officer is not named but is believed to be of higher rank who wrote one version of a final report, which was ultimately rejected for a redacted version which failed to acknowledge the findings of the two investigators – ultimately that it could not have been an attack by Assad’s forces.

Their work continues to draw wrath from the OPCW’s boss General Fernando Arias who remarkably seems to be conducting a smear campaign against them slamming their work as “erroneous, uninformed, and wrong,” believed to be what has sparked a new whistleblower – believed to be British – to come forward with startling new allegations which cast a shadow over the integrity of the organisation.

“It is quite unbelievable that valid scientific concerns are being brazenly ignored in favour of a predetermined narrative,” the email reads. “The lack of transparency in an investigative process with such enormous ramifications is frightful.”

Yet the culture of arbitrary vengeance against those who question the biased narrative or working practices of its chief, is deeply worrying, as the latest whistleblower reveals in the email.

“I am one of many who were stunned and frightened into silence by the reality how the organisation operates,” the official wrote. “The threat of personal harm is not an illusion, or else many others would have spoken out by now.”

It’s unclear what “personal harm” means. But even if it is punitive measures which mean blocked promotion or even constructive dismissal, it raises a number of questions as to the integrity of the OPCW itself which will reverberate around the world’s so-called democratic centres of debate and will spark a new debate among those corridors. Does the OPCW have any credibility left?

March 15, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | Leave a comment

Update on the OPCW’s investigation of the Douma incident

Paul McKeigue, David Miller, Piers Robinson
Members of Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media

1 Summary

  • As we noted in April 2019, there were defects in the published interim and final Reports of the Fact-Finding Mechanism on the Douma incident that indicated that evidence had been withheld or distorted.
  • From comparing the original Interim Report drafted in June 2018, the modified report that was intended to be substituted for it, and the published Final Report, it is clear that this was not simply a divergence of opinions between experts. The misrepresentation of evidence in the published Final Report can reasonably be described as fraudulent. Specifically, the following points can be identified:
    • Quantitative results on the levels of chlorinated organic compounds were suppressed. A false assertion about “high levels” of these compounds had been added to the modified report.
    • An assessment based on the epidemiology of chlorine release incidents was omitted from the modified report and the Final Report.
    • On-site assessments that the observations were incompatible with aerial delivery of the cylinders were omitted from the modified report and the Final Report.
    • The testimony of opposition-linked witnesses interviewed in Turkey was rewritten in the Final Report so as to obscure inconsistencies about the distribution of bodies at Location 2 that would have cast doubt on the reliability of their testimony.
    • The result of the consultation with medical experts in June 2018, indicating that the victims had not been killed by chlorine, was suppressed and omitted from the timeline of the investigation published in the Final Report.
    • The internal engineering assessment was excluded from the published Final Report.
    • In violation of Article VIII of the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Chief of Cabinet allowed US officials to attempt to influence the inspectors in July 2018.
  • The evidence of fraud in the published report of the Douma investigation means that all other published reports from FFM Team Alpha, including the FFM reports on the alleged chlorine attacks in 2015 and the alleged sarin attack in Khan Sheikhoun in 2017, must also be disregarded as unreliable and possibly fraudulent.
  • The OPCW’s report on 6 February 2020 of what was purported to be an investigation into the leak of the engineering assessment to the Working Group was used instead to smear two of the organization’s most experienced and highly-rated inspectors with false and misleading statements.
  • It is now clear that the Director-General’s statements on 28 May and 6 June 2019 that the FFM had “examined, weighed and deliberated”, “considered” and “analysed” the engineering assessment were unequivocally false: the Team Leader and Head of the FFM had refused to accept the document in February 2019.
  • The Douma investigation has been passed to the Identification and Inspection Team (IIT). A brief examination of the careers of the investigators and analysts appointed to the IIT shows that all four of them have serious conflicts of interest. This calls into question their ability to resist pressure to come up with the answers that the influential delegations of the US, UK and France want.

2 Irregularities in the published reports of the Fact-Finding Mechanism

In a briefing note posted on 11 April 2019, we drew attention to defects in the published FFM reports that indicated, to anyone who examined these reports closely, that evidence had been withheld or distorted. We review this material briefly before examining what new information has been provided by documents and briefings released from May 2019 onwards.

2.1 No comparison with epidemiology or toxicology of chlorine release incidents

The reports did not assess whether the alleged chemical attack was consistent with the epidemiology of chlorine release incidents, which typically have low case fatality rate.

The analysis of the images of victims stated that “this type of rapid collapse is indicative of an agent capable of quickly killing or immobilising” but did not explain how this opinion was compatible with release of chlorine from an intact gas cylinder on the balcony, or with the presence of foamy pulmonary edema that would take time to develop.

2.2 Withholding of quantitative results of chemical analyses

Quantitative results of lab analyses were withheld. The lack of concordance between labs suggested that chlorinated organic compounds were present only at trace levels, close to the lower limit of detection.

The reports did not make clear that trace levels of these compounds are ubiquitous in environments where industrial or household products are present.

The Final Report emphasized correctly that testing for exposure to chlorine depends on comparison with control samples, but inexplicably did not report results for the control samples that were taken.

Although molecular chlorine is not naturally present in the environment, chloride ions and many chlorinated organic derivatives exist in the natural background. For that reason it was important to gather control samples, wherever feasible, at locations not expected to have been exposed to chlorine gas.

In Table A9.3 two specimens are described as control samples:

  1. Control sample: debris 20 meters west of the building entry (level 0): 2018.04.21_1909_04
  1. Concrete dust scraping at pillar 51: 2018.05.01_1779_05

From the Evidence Reference Numbers listed in Table A5.1 we can deduce that these two control samples relate to Location 2 (numbers prefixed 2018.04.21_1909) and the hospital (numbers prefixed 2018.05.01 1779).

Results for these samples are not given.

This should have raised questions about the conduct of the investigation. If rigorous procedures had been followed, with control samples included in the same batches as putatively exposed samples and laboratory staff blinded to exposure status, the omission of control samples from analysis or reporting could only have been deliberate.

We emphasize that the issue here is not whether chlorine was released, but that the withholding of quantitative results and failure to report results on control samples is strong evidence of scientific misconduct.

2.3 Delay in initiating engineering / ballistics studies, inadequate reporting

Three engineering/ballistics consultations are mentioned in the final report: but the figures show screenshots from what appears to be only a single study using a software package for finite-element analysis, These are barely legible screenshots, not of the professional standard one would expect from experts preparing a report for an international agency. Figures 10 and A7.6 show a simulation of the impact at Location 4 with a cylinder without harness or valve, though the cylinder found on the bed had a harness and an intact valve. The barely legible graphs based on the simulation assume improbably low drop heights for a helicopter flying over defended territory. Figure 12 shows the cylinder at Location 4 bouncing off the floor at 2 m/s, which would not have allowed it to reach the bed more than 3 metres away.

There was no explanation for why, if the FFM had considered it necessary to obtain expert opinions on the possible trajectories of the cylinders found at Locations 2 and 4, they did not request on-site examinations while the FFM was deployed in Damascus in April/May, rather than six months later when inspection of the sites and cylinders was no longer possible.

2.4 Ignoring evidence of staging in images uploaded by opposition-linked media

An analysis of images uploaded on the night of 7 April showed that bodies had been rearranged between photo sessions: infants first shown separated from adults were subsequently placed on the bodies of adult women. The opposition cameramen attempted for the first few days to represent the cylinder at Location 4 as the cause of the deaths at Location 2.

2.5 Blending of witness interviews and exclusion of testimony that the hospital scene had been staged

Information obtained from interviews was summarized in the Final Report without any distinction between information obtained from witnesses in Damascus and those interviewed in Turkey (who would have been opposition supporters who had relocated to Idlib under the evacuation agreement), and without any effort to establish whether the presence of each witness at the scene was corroborated by other evidence. The report was written to make it appear as if the witnesses who reported that the hospital dousing scene had been staged were never formally interviewed by the FFM, downgrading their testimony to “other open-source video material”.

2.6 Conduct of the investigation

The Team Leader had left Damascus for unexplained “information gathering activities” in Turkey three days after arriving, before on-site inspections had begun. All evidence other than the lab results was withheld from the Interim Report released in July 2018, even though most of the evidence – witness interviews, one-site assessment of the cylinder and craters, analysis of uploaded images of victims – had already been collected. There was an unexplained delay in the investigation between June and September 2018. Both the interim and final reports were unsigned, though previous FFM reports had been signed by the Team Leader.

In summary, it was possible by April 2019 for anyone with a scientific grounding who read the published reports closely to infer, as we did, that something was wrong with the published reports of the FFM on the Douma incident. We listed most of the points above in our briefing note posted in April 2018, but missed one of the most interesting clues: that results on control samples were not reported even though these samples had been collected. From [reports] that a Russian proposal for all members of the FFM team to give a briefing on the Final Report had been voted down by the OPCW Executive Council on 14 March 2019, it was evident that there was dissent among members of the FFM team.

3 What we now know about misconduct in the Douma investigation

During 2019 more information about the Douma investigation reached the public domain. This began with the release of the engineering assessment in May 2019, continued with the briefing of a panel convened by the Courage Foundation in October 2019 and the release of more internal documents including the original draft of the interim report in December 2019, and finally the release of a written statement provided to the UN Security Council.

3.1 Attempt to substitute a modified report for the original interim report

We now know that the published Interim Report, which reported only lab results, was the result of a stand-off between the Team Leader Sami Barrek and the other inspectors. In June 2019 a secretly-prepared modified report had been substituted for the original interim report.

This original interim report had stated that “Although the cylinders might have been the sources of the suspected chemical release, there is insufficient evidence to affirm this”. The modified report asserted instead that there was “sufficient evidence at this time to determine that chlorine, or another reactive chlorine-containing chemical, was likely released from cylinders.” The section on the epidemiology of chlorine release incidents in the original interim report, which had noted that in such incidents most of those exposed manage to escape, was omitted from the modified report.

The original interim report had noted that preliminary observations on the cylinders and the impact sites raised doubts about the story that the cylinders had been dropped from the air:

The FFM team is unable to provide satisfactory explanations for the relatively moderate damage to the cylinders allegedly dropped from an unknown height, compared to the destruction caused to the rebar-reinforced concrete roofs. In the case of Location 4, how the cylinder ended up on the bed, given the point at which it allegedly penetrated the room, remains unclear. The team considers that further studies by specialists in metallurgy and structural engineering or mechanics are required to provide an authoritative assessment of the team’s observations.

In the modified report this passage was removed, and the question of “how the cylinder ended up on the bed” at Location 4 was replaced by assessing “the trajectory of the cylinder”, implicitly excluding the possibility of manual placement.

The team considers that further analysis would need to be conducted by suitable experts, possibly in metallurgy and structural or mechanical engineering, to provide an assessment of the trajectory of the cylinder, in addition to the damage caused to the bed, the roof and the cylinder itself.

3.2 Suppression of quantitative lab results

The modified report asserted that “high levels of various chlorinated organic derivatives” were present in organic samples. These chlorinated organic compounds were present mostly at levels of only a few parts per billion, not above the background levels that would be expected in an environment where industrial products were present. The quantitative results were withheld from the inspectors who had deployed to Damascus. The inspectors protested about the withholding of quantitative results, and were assured that they would be included in the interim report, only to find that they were withheld from the published version.

3.3 Suppression of inconsistencies in the eyewitness testimony

The original interim report clearly separated the eyewitness accounts obtained in Damascus from those obtained in Turkey (referred to as “Country X”). It also noted inconsistencies between the statements of witnesses that raised questions about their credibility:

There were variations (see table and footnotes below) in the numbers of bodies and their distribution throughout Location 2 as observed in video footage and photos, compared to the numbers provided by various witnesses who were interviewed. According to statements from witnesses, “many people they presumed dead, were lying on the floor of the basement”. The FFM did not obtain any video footage or photos of dead casualties lying in the basement of Location 2 or being removed from there.

The table showed that of seven witnesses who reported the distribution of bodies at Location 2, two reported bodies in basement only, one reported bodies at ground level and above only, and four reported bodies both in basement and above ground level. The videos had not shown any bodies in the basement.

3.4 Suppression of the consultation with medical experts in June 2018

It is now clear that the vague and contradictory account of expert opinions about the cause of death of the victims in the Final Report is explained by suppression of the consultation with medical experts that took place on 6 June 2018 at the Bundeswehr Research Institute for Protective Technologies and NBC Protection (WIS) in Munster. The “chief expert” can be identified as Colonel Dr Franz Worek, the leading medical expert on chemical defence in the Bundeswehr.

His argument, reconstructed from the original interim report written in June 2018 and the minutes written two months later, was as follows:

  1. Pulmonary edema is a delayed effect of “choking agents” such as chlorine which cause acute inhalation injury. If the victims of exposure to such an agent had had lived long enough for their airways to be filled with foamy edema fluid, they would have been able to escape and would not have collapsed “gathered in piles” on the spot.
  2. Massive exposure to chlorine can cause laryngospasm leading to immediate asphyxiation, but in this situation there would not be time for foamy pulmonary edema to develop
  3. Cholinesterase inhibitors (nerve agents) [or opiates, we would add] could have caused instant collapse and also rapid onset of pulmonary edema, but known agents were ruled out by the negative lab tests.

The OPCW participants agreed that the conclusions were clear: whatever killed the victims, it was not chlorine. This consultation does not appear in the timeline of the final Report of the Fact-Finding Mission: the first toxicology consultations are dated to September 2018.

3.5 Concealing the date and rationale for the decision not to proceed with exhumations

The original interim report recorded that plans for exhumations were halted when the first lab results were received on 22 May 2018:

When the analytical results of the first round of environmental and biological samples were received and no nerve agents or their degradation products were identified in either environmental or biological samples, the plans for exhumations were halted as the risk of not finding substantive evidence of the alleged attack was now considered high and proceeding with the exhumations presented a risk to benefit ratio that was no longer acceptable.

The Interim Report released on 6 July 2018 stated that the intention to exhume bodies from mass graves was “communicated to the Syrian Arab Republic in Note Verbale NV/ODG/214827/18” without indicating that plans for exhumation had been halted two months earlier. The Final Report omits the date and the rationale for the decision not to proceed with exhumations, and insinuates that the Syrian Arab Republic was responsible for delaying exhumations until they would no longer be informative:

The Syrian Arab Republic replied in Note Verbale No. 45 on 4 May 2018 and enumerated the conditions to be met in order to conduct the exhumation. With due consideration of the time elapsed since the alleged incident, the possibility was eventually not explored any further.

3.6 Attempt by US officials to influence the inspectors

In the first week of July 2018 all FFM team members were summoned by the Chief of Cabinet, Robert Fairweather, to a meeting with three US officials who asserted that their findings proved that there had been a chlorine attack. This attempt to influence the inspectors violated Article VIII Part D of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which stipulates that:

In the performance of their duties, the Director-General, the inspectors and the other members of the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any Government or from any other source external to the Organization. They shall refrain from any action that might reflect on their positions as international officers responsible only to the Conference and the Executive Council.

Each State Party shall respect the exclusively international character of the responsibilities of the Director-General, the inspectors and the other members of the staff and not seek to influence them in the discharge of their responsibilities.

3.7 Unreviewed report prepared by unknown authors presented as “the Report of the Fact-Finding Mechanism”

FFM team members who had deployed to Douma were excluded from preparation of the final report, and were not even kept informed of its status or expected date of publication. No technical peer review of the final report was conducted. In particular the only organic chemist and the only chemical engineer on the team were excluded from drafting and reviewing the report. A briefing to States Parties was given on 5 March 2019 by Boban Cekovic, a former inspector who could not have contributed to the investigation before December 2018 when he rejoined the OPCW.

3.8 Suppression of the engineering assessment

It is now clear that the absence of an on-site engineering opinion in the Final Report is explained by deliberate suppression. Ian Henderson had been tasked with the Location and Munition (cylinder) study in the work plan issued by the Team Leader on 26 June 2018. He was excluded from external consultations held later that year. The Team Leader and the FFM Leader refused to accept Henderson’s engineering report on 26 February 2019. The Chief of Cabinet, Sebastien Braha, attempted to have all copies of the Engineering Assessment destroyed and also ordered that the log of the Document Registration Archive be altered to erase “all traces, if any, of [the document’s] delivery/storage/whatever in DRA”.

We have noted previously that the OPCW has come up with three contradictory explanations of why Ian Henderson’s Engineering Assessment was excluded from the Final Report of the FFM:

  • 1E1: the document was “not part of any of the material produced by the FFM”.
  • 2E2: the document was “analysed, it was part of the investigation” but rebutted by the reports of “three external experts commissioned by the FFM”.
  • 3E3: the document “pointed at possible attribution which is outside of the mandate of the FFM” and Henderson was therefore advised to submit his assessment to the IIT.

Arias has on two occasions asserted that the Engineering Assessment was considered by the FFM. In a briefing on 28 May 2019 he stated that:

The document produced by this staff member pointed at possible attribution, which is outside of the mandate of the FFM with regard to the formulation of its findings. Therefore, I instructed that, beyond the copy that would exclusively be kept by the FFM, the staff member be advised to submit his assessment to the IIT, which he did, so that this document could later be used by the IIT. As is the case with all FFM investigations, the Secretariat encourages serious and professional debates within, so all views, analysis, information and opinions are considered. This is what the FFM did with the information included in the publicly disclosed document [the Engineering Assessment]; all available information was examined, weighed and deliberated.

In a panel discussion on 6 June 2019 Arias stated that

This information [the Engineering Assessment] was considered and it was analysed, it was part of the investigation and this information has already been given to the Investigation and Identification Team in charge of attributing responsibilities because this information you referred to is more focussing, is more targeted to to establish responsibility than to focus to the facts.

These statements by Arias are unequivocally false. Henderson’s statement to the UN Security Council makes clear that his Engineering Assessment was never considered by the FFM: the Team Leader and the head of the FFM had refused to accept it.

In Arias’s latest briefing, his widely ridiculed explanation 3E3 that the Engineering Assessment had been excluded from the FFM report because it “pointed at possible attribution” which was “outside the mandate of the FFM” was abandoned. Instead he reverted to explanation 1E1:

Inspector A’s assessment purports to be an official OPCW FFM report on the Douma incident. Instead it is a personal document created with incomplete information and without authorisation.

He conceded that “In the interest of transparency and completeness, Inspector A’s assessment has been transmitted to the IIT and will be examined by it in due course.”

3.9 The three external engineering/ballistics consultancies supposedly obtained by the FFM

The Final Report, without mentioning that an internal engineering assessment had been excluded, stated that engineering/ballistics assessments had been obtained from three external experts, and described the results of the assessments of the cylinder at Location 4 as follows:

The results of these assessments indicated that the shape of the aperture produced in the modulation matched the shape and damage observed by the team. The assessments further indicated that, after passing through the ceiling and impacting the floor at lower speed, the cylinder continued altered trajectory, until reaching the position in which it was found.

In the light of other irregularities in the Final Report, we may reasonably be suspicious of the Final Report’s assertion that reports from three independent experts supported the explanation that the cylinders at Locations 2 and 4 reached their positions as a result of being dropped from the air.

If these three assessments exist, and their conclusions were as described in the Final Report, it should have been straightforward to document this. We have been informed that one report was obtained from a European institute with expertise in impact engineering, and that this group assessed that it was “very unlikely” that the cylinder at Location 4 had reached its position as a result of being dropped from the sky.

At a press conference in The Hague on 12 July 2019, Alexander Shulgin, the Russian envoy to the OPCW, stated that:

We would like to review the reports of the three independent experts that made a conclusion that these canisters were dropped from high altitude. You are free not to name them. We already know the name of one of the experts and we highly doubt that they are indeed unbiased.

In an interview in November 2019, Shulgin expressed doubts about the existence of three reports: “The refusal of the Technical Secretariat to unveil the reports of these anonymous outside experts makes us question whether these reports ever existed.” He added that the expert whose name he knows “has a rather dubious reputation in terms of his impartiality, and he is anything but a specialist in ballistics”.

4 The OPCW’s investigation into “Possible Breaches of Confidentiality”

This investigation was originally set up to investigate the leak of the Engineering Assessment to the Working Group in May 2019. However the report of the investigation, the briefing from the Director-General, Fernando Arias, and the accompanying press release were used instead to smear two of the organization’s most experienced and highly-rated inspectors.

The smears include unequivocally false statements – for instance that Inspector A “was not a member of the FFM” – and misleading statements whose only purpose is to denigrate: for instance that Inspectors A and B were “rehired at a lower grade” without explaining that the P-5 grade had been merged with the P-4 grade.

One notably false assertion is that “The majority of the FFM’s work occurred after Inspector B’s separation, and during the last seven months of the FFM’s investigation (August 2018 through February 2019).”

The timeline in the published report shows that the additional information gathered during this period consisted only of interviews with an additional five witnesses in Turkey (October 2018), toxicology consultations (September-October 2018), engineering/ballistics reports purportedly obtained from three external experts (October-December 2018), and lab analyses of a second batch of samples (received February 2019).

Comparison of the original interim report with the Final Report shows that most of the text and figures in the Final Report had already been prepared by June 2018. The only substantive new material that appears in the Final Report consists of figures generated from one of these engineering consultations.

The delay from June 2018 to September 2018 in resuming the investigation is explicable by the necessity to wait until Inspector B had left the organization at the end of his contract.

The OPCW management’s denunciation of Inspectors A and B for “unauthorised disclosure of highly protected information to individuals who did not have a need to know such information.” is unintentionally revealing.

This makes clear that the preparation of the report of the FFM was organized like a covert operation, with information shared on the basis of “need to know”, rather than as a scientific investigation in which material is shared for internal review before submission for external peer review.

There was no basis for the engineering analysis of the Douma cylinders to be classified as “highly protected information”: it did not contain personal data, nor did it include confidential information provided by a State Party.

Syrian officials had told the inspectors who deployed to investigate the Douma incident that the information they gathered was not confidential as far as the Syrian Arab Republic was concerned.

The Verification Annex Part II of the Chemical Weapons Convention specifies in the section on reports that “Differing observations made by inspectors may be attached to the report” and that “The provisions of this Part shall apply to all inspections conducted pursuant to this Convention”. In accordance with this provision, the template for reporting “Other Chemical Production Facility” inspections includes a section for “Differing observations made by inspectors”, implying that the report is not complete unless this section is filled in.

This clause can thus be read as guaranteeing a right to attach “differing observations” that has been denied to inspectors in the Fact-Finding Mission.

5 The Investigation and Identification Team (IIT)

The remit “to identify the perpetrators of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic”, adopted by the Conference of the States Parties on 27 June 2018 was assigned to an Investigation and Identification Team (IIT). On 28 June 2019 the IIT published a list of nine incidents, including the Douma incident, on which it would focus its investigative work:

  • Three alleged chlorine attacks in 2014: Al-Tamanah 12 April, Kafr-Zita 18 April, Al-Tamanah 18 April examined in the Third Report of the FFM then led by Malik Ellahi.
  • An alleged attack in Marea on 1 September 2015, examined in an FFM report that confirmed that victims had been exposed to sulfur mustard. This incident has been widely attributed to ISIS .
  • Two alleged chemical attacks in Ltamenah on 24 and 25 March 2017, examined in the Report on Alleged incidents in Ltamenah, released 13 June 2018. This unsigned report concluded that sarin on 24 March and chlorine on 25 March were “very likely used”.
  • An alleged chemical attack in Ltamenah on 30 March 2017, examined in a separate report
  • An alleged chemcial attack in Saraqib on 4 February 2018. An unsigned report concluded chlorine was “likely used”, but was unable to explain the presence of sarin breakdown products in the environment and in wipes from the chlorine cylinder.
  • The Douma incident of 7 April 2018.

In the light of the evidence of fraud in FFM Team Alpha’s report on the Douma incident, all earlier reports from this team, including their reports on the incidents above, should now be considered unreliable. In an earlier briefing note we noted irregularities in the Fact-Finding Mission’s investigations of these earlier incidents.

5.1 Alleged chlorine attacks in 2014

We noted that information for the FFM’s investigation of the alleged chlorine attacks in April to May 2014 was provided by the CBRN Task Force set up by Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, who revealed also that during 2013 he had been undertaking covert activities for an agency that can only have been MI6.

Videos of an alleged impact site in Talmenes, provided by de Bretton-Gordon to the FFM, were later examined for the Joint Investigative Mechanism by a forensic expert, who identified “inconsistencies” that were unmistakable evidence of staging. This calls into question all other evidence from the CBRN Task Force.

5.2 Alleged chemical attacks in Ltamenah in 2017 and Saraqib in 2018

We discussed the anomalous findings of the FFM report on the alleged incident in Ltamenah on 24 March 2017, from which there were no contemporaneous reports but samples purportedly recovered from the alleged impact site after a long delay were reported to contain intact sarin.

Another commentator has noted anomalies in the published report of the FFM on the alleged incident in Ltamenah on 30 March 2017: no explanation was given for the detection of sarin in samples of gravel provided by the White Helmets that were purportedly recovered from a “crater” containing no munition fragments some 200 metres south of the alleged impact point.

In the report on the alleged incident in Saraqib on 4 February 2018, where the alleged munition was a chlorine cylinder and the FFM determined that “chlorine, released from cylinders through mechanical impact, was likely used as a chemical weapon”, no explanation was given for the positive tests for sarin breakdown products in environmental samples from this cylinder.

5.3 Management and staffing of the IIT

As we have noted previously, the director, Santiago Oñate, is employed as a consultant and cannot be a line manager. This implies that the staff of the IIT report to the Chief of Cabinet.

For reports of investigations to be credible, a requirement in science and in legal proceedings is that the names of the investigators are disclosed so that possible conflicts of interest can be examined and so that these investigators have to put their reputations on the line as guarantors of the report that bears their names.

The names of the two investigators and two analysts hired for the IIT have not been publicly disclosed. A brief examination of their careers shows that all four of them have serious conflicts of interest.

Of the two investigators, one is an employee of the Canadian security service and foreign ministry, and the other is an employee of the Netherlands Ministry of Justice. Of the two analysts, one is a former NATO intelligence officer and the other is the spouse of a consultant to the Netherlands Ministry of the Interior.

In noting these conflicts of interest we are not casting doubt on the personal integrity of these individuals, but we are calling into question whether the IIT can produce an impartial report if – as is to be expected – its team is under pressure to come up with a result that will vindicate the governments of France, UK and the US.

It has been reported to us that other individuals, whose independence is even more doubtful, have been brought in to help prepare the report.

OPCW staff members who have information about misconduct or fraud in investigations of alleged chemical attacks are welcome to contact us. For those who are under pressure to collude with or cover up such misconduct, we can arrange expert legal advice. As always, we guarantee to protect the identities of our sources. Emails from a ProtonMail address to wgspm@protonmail.com are secure.

March 13, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, False Flag Terrorism | | Leave a comment

Fourth OPCW whistleblower: Staff ‘frightened into silence’, watchdog brought into ‘shameful disrepute’ over Douma probe

RT | March 13, 2020

A fourth whistleblower has come forward to defend two senior OPCW inspectors who revealed the watchdog tried to cover up evidence in the Douma chemical weapons probe, saying that other employees were “frightened into silence.”

In a statement to the Grayzone, the latest whistleblower said they were “horrified” but “unsurprised” by recent events within the organization, describing the “mistreatment” of “two highly regarded and accomplished professionals” as “abhorrent.”

The employee wrote that he is “one of many who were stunned and frightened into silence by the reality how the organization operates,” and that the “threat of personal harm” to those who speak out is “not an illusion.”

The fourth whistleblower emerged after the OPCW leadership attempted to smear and discredit veteran inspector Ian Henderson and an individual known as ‘Alex’ who challenged the organization’s narrative on the alleged Syrian government attack on Douma in 2018. A third whistleblower has also previously defended the integrity of the first two who spoke out and expressed concern for the safety and security of those who dissent from the official narrative.

The Grayzone said it had independently verified the identity of the fourth whistleblower and their position at the OPCW, but granted them anonymity “to protect them from potential retaliation.”

Last week, Henderson and ‘Alex’ both wrote to OPCW Director-General Fernando Arias, accusing the organization of trying to “smear” their reputations and questioning why two top inspectors with “impeccable records” would suddenly “go rogue.” The letters followed an effort by the chemical weapons watchdog to discredit them, rubbish their serious concerns, and frame them merely as two disgruntled former employees.

“I fully support their endeavors, in that it is for the greater good and not for personal gain or in the name of any political agenda,” the fourth whistleblower wrote, adding that the inspectors are “trying to protect the integrity of the organization which has been hijacked and brought into shameful disrepute.”

After a detailed study, Henderson, who led the probe on the ground in Douma, concluded that gas cylinders found at the scene had likely been manually placed, which suggests the attack may have been a false flag staged by anti-government militants. The incident, however, was swiftly used to justify US, UK and French airstrikes on Syria before OPCW investigators had even arrived at the scene.

Yet, the OPCW disregarded Henderson’s evidence without explanation and in its official report implied that the gas cylinders were dropped by Syrian military planes – allegedly after “unacceptable pressure” was applied by the US government.

March 13, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

Call for retraction of EU-funded G-TwYST study on GM maize

Study claiming no adverse effects from a GM maize is unreliable, writes Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini in a new peer-reviewed analysis

Report by Claire Robinson | GM Watch | March 7, 2020

Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini of the University of Caen has published a peer-reviewed paper criticising the EU-funded 2-year feeding study on GM maize that claimed to show no adverse effects from the GM diet.

The EU-funded study was published in 2019 by Pablo Steinberg and colleagues and reported the results of the 2-year rat feeding study, called G-TwYST, on a GM Roundup-tolerant maize, NK603. The published paper claimed that there were “no adverse effects” related to the feeding of the GM maize cultivated with or without Roundup spraying and that no further long-term studies with GMOs were justified.

This was in spite of the fact that the male rats in this study that were fed NK603 maize sprayed with Roundup had a significantly increased mortality rate compared with controls. The main cause of death was pituitary tumours, followed by kidney disease.

The Steinberg study was carried out to follow up the study led by Prof Séralini, which was initially published in 2012. The Séralini study had found serious adverse effects in rats fed NK603 maize and very low doses of Roundup fed both separately and together with the maize. Effects in most treatment groups strongly paralleled the findings of Steinberg’s team, including severe kidney disease and increased mortality. The pituitary gland was the second most tumour-affected organ in females after the mammary gland.

Now Prof Séralini has responded to the Steinberg study in a new peer-reviewed publication. Séralini draws attention to the differences between his own team’s and Steinberg and colleagues’ study, as follows.

* Steinberg and colleagues used a rat strain that was not sensitive to tumour-causing substances:

Steinberg and colleagues used a rat strain, the Wistar, that was less sensitive to substances causing tumours than the Sprague-Dawley rat used by Séralini (and Monsanto in its shorter study). In GMWatch’s view this is only understandable on the basis that they were actively trying not to find tumorigenic and carcinogenic effects from the GM maize tested. The Sprague-Dawley rat is one of the most commonly used models for human breast cancer risk. In other words, the Sprague-Dawley rat is about as sensitive to substances causing mammary tumours as humans and thus a suitable model for a study intended to look at carcinogenic effects.

* Steinberg and colleagues didn’t study Roundup or glyphosate alone:

Long-term effects of Roundup alone at environmentally relevant levels (0.1 ppb) on a diet without pesticides were not tested by Steinberg and colleagues, unlike Séralini’s team. Séralini’s team found severe health effects from this low dose of Roundup, including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which was confirmed by separate research carried out by a different group of researchers at a later date.

* Heavy contamination of diets in Steinberg and colleagues’ study meant effects of the GMO could be masked:

Glyphosate-based residues were present at high levels in the diets in Steinberg and colleagues’ study, including the control diets, even though the aim was to study a glyphosate-tolerant GMO. The levels of glyphosate found corresponded to 300–1400 times more glyphosate than was present in the dose of Roundup found to be toxic in the Séralini study.

Steinberg and colleagues also found many other contaminants in the analysis of their feeds. The authors considered a priori that all the feed contaminations would have no effect. But Séralini comments, “This is only their subjective opinion, and many indications that we have cited can prove the contrary.” The bottom line is that the effects of such mixtures have not been properly tested for, so it is not valid to claim that they have no effect.

This heavy contamination of the feeds, Séralini suggests in the new paper, increased the background level of serious diseases in the controls, preventing many observable effects of the GMO treatment on animals. He writes that such contamination would have prompted him to abandon the experiment before it began: “Given such neglect of the contamination issue, we would have stopped there instead of drawing scientifically inadequate conclusions.”

The probable reason for the differences in contamination levels was that in the Séralini study, the crops were grown specially using organic methods. Thus pesticide residues were so low as to be undetectable – at least, by the detection methods available at the time, which were less sensitive than those available now. Therefore the researchers were able to highlight any effects from the GMO and/or the Roundup.

Given the low-to-non-existent pesticide and GMO contamination of the base and control diets in the Séralini team’s experiment, it is perhaps not surprising that they found 5–8 times fewer tumours and diseases in their control rats than did Steinberg and colleagues. Separate research led by Séralini showed that laboratory rat feeds are routinely contaminated by many pollutants, including GMOs, heavy metals, dioxins, and pesticides.

* High mortality rates in males fed GM NK603 corn dismissed by Steinberg and colleagues:

Séralini writes, “In spite of the many weaknesses of the study design, Steinberg et al. still found significant differences, most notably in male mortality, which was higher in the animals fed the GM corn sprayed with Roundup for 2 years. In addition, increased incidence of pituitary neoplasia, and disorders of the sex hormones estradiol and thyroid in females were also noticed.”

GMWatch has also drawn attention to these dramatic findings. But bafflingly, not a single mainstream media outlet has reported on them, even though they will be clearly evident to anyone who reads the full paper rather than just the abstract and the press statements put out by the G-TwYST researchers.

As Séralini points out in the new paper, these findings in Steinberg and colleagues’ experiment were the same as those observed in the earlier Séralini study. But Steinberg and colleagues dismissed these effects as “not… adverse”, due to the lack of histopathological alterations in the estrogen-sensitive tissues and organs. However, Séralini counters, “Lesions can be missed in the histopathological sectioning, and/or some functional alterations that have biological effects on the organism may not result in histopathological changes. It is not the place of Steinberg et al. to dismiss such changes based on assumptions, like EFSA or industry conclude, particularly in a research study conducted with the aim of revealing any health risk to humans.”

* Steinberg and colleagues haven’t published their histopathology slides:

This brings us to an important omission in Steinberg and colleagues’ paper. As Séralini writes, the histopathological sections are not shown even in supplementary data, and thus cannot be analysed by others to confirm or refute the interpretation of Steinberg and colleagues that there were no adverse effects from the GM maize.

Moreover, on closer examination of the Steinberg and colleagues’ publication, GMWatch has noticed that they did not conduct their histology (microscopic analysis of tissues) and histopathology (microscopic analysis of tissues with the aim of studying development of disease) blinded. They justify this highly unusual move on the grounds of saving time and money. However, the issue with this is that absence of blinding allows bias to creep in. They also state that they didn’t look at tissues from all the animals – but only the control and high dose group animals. The problem with that is that they could easily have missed important effects in the lower dose groups.

* Steinberg and colleagues dismiss differences in GM-fed animals for invalid reasons:

Steinberg and colleagues dismissed some statistically significant differences in treatment groups as not biologically relevant since they are “small” or “not dose-related”, the latter meaning there should be an effect proportional to the dose of the GMO. But as Séralini writes, “Such assertions are not scientifically justifiable. A dose-related observation begins with three doses and not two according to OECD [Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, which sets protocols for industry experiments conducted for regulatory purposes]. Moreover, an effect that is statistically significant should not be dismissed as ‘small’ and the effects of hormone disruptors are often not proportional to the dose.”

* Steinberg and colleagues misuse historical control data to dismiss differences:

In order to dismiss the differences in GM-fed animals, Steinberg and colleagues compare the effects observed in this experiment with the “historical control data” obtained from previous feeding trials. Séralini points out that this use of unrelated historical control data violates the Test Guidelines of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on the conduct and design of chronic toxicity and carcinogenicity studies [30] — guidelines that Steinberg and colleagues cite in their paper. The OECD states, “the concurrent control group is always the most important consideration” when considering the effects of the test substance.

Séralini writes that he finds it surprising that the authors conclude from their findings that “we should no longer bother to conduct long-term studies on agricultural GMOs in general”. This, he states, “is contrary to the spirit of scientific inquiry and (more importantly) is not supported by the concerning results that were found in spite of the methodological weakness of the study”.

Séralini continues by pointing out the many conflicts of interest of Pablo Steinberg, which were not declared in the G-TwYST study publication. For example, elsewhere Steinberg noted that he was an expert for the International Life Science Institute (ILSI), an industry lobby group funded by the likes of Monsanto and Syngenta, which has worked to weaken regulation and testing, including of GMOs and pesticides, and supports their use.

Séralini concludes that the results of Steinberg and colleagues’ paper are “unreliable” and that the paper “should be retracted, and the results deleted from regulatory appraisals and risk assessments”.


Update on long-term toxicity of agricultural GMOs tolerant to Roundup

Gilles-Eric Seralini

Environmental Sciences Europe volume 32, Article number: 18 (2020)

https://enveurope.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s12302-020-0296-8

Abstract

Agricultural genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are plants obtained by gene transfer or more recently by gene-editing. Their major common phenotypic trait for which 99% have been modified is that these are designed to be grown with pesticides, which may bioaccumulate in the plants and/or the consumer, and/or express insecticides in their cells. Examples of both types are Roundup-tolerant soy and corn and Bt insecticidal plants. Recently, Steinberg et al. concluded that there were no adverse effects in rats from consumption of a GM corn tolerant to Roundup, called NK603, and that no other long-term studies are justified. This contradicts several of our in vivo studies on the short- and long-term toxicological effects of either the same GMO, other GMOs, or the pesticide Roundup itself. Our results were attributed in particular to the long-term in vivo effects of Roundup residues, which also present toxic and endocrine-disrupting effects in vitro. These effects were clearly linked to the formulants of the pesticide, such as petroleum residues and heavy metals, and not to glyphosate alone. In fact, the treated rats in Steinberg et al.’s experiment showed many adverse effects, some of which, including increased mortality in males fed GM corn + Roundup, were statistically significant. Other adverse effects affected both treated and control groups. The latter trend may be due to contamination of the feed of the control animals by many carcinogenic pollutants, including pesticides, but also by Roundup residues and Roundup-tolerant GMOs. For instance, glyphosate contained in Roundup was found to be 300–1400 times more elevated in their control feed than in our treated group. In conclusion, Steinberg et al.’s study is invalidated by the contaminated feed, biased interpretations, and major undeclared conflicts of interest.

March 13, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | | Leave a comment

US Army Cites Cybersecurity Concerns In Scrapping Planned Purchase of Israeli Military Tech

By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | March 11, 2020

After spending $373 million to buy two batteries of the Israeli-made Iron Dome missile defense system, the U.S. Army has announced that it is unable to integrate the batteries it purchased with its other air defense systems because Israel has refused to provide the Army with the source code. The Army asserted that without the source code, the system could not be integrated without causing grave cybersecurity vulnerabilities. As a result, the Army has now scrapped its plans to purchase an additional $600 million worth of Iron Dome components.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that the Iron Dome system itself was largely financed by U.S. taxpayers after Congress authorized over $1.5 billion in taxpayer funds to be used by Israel for the development and production of the Iron Dome system, which has suffered from a series of embarrassing failures since it entered the market.

It remains to be seen if the other countries that have signed deals with Israel to purchase Iron Dome, including Azerbaijan and India, will take notice of the U.S. Army’s decision and similarly scrap those plans given Israel’s apparent refusal to provide the source code to even its closest military ally following purchase.

News of the Army’s decision was made public last Thursday when Gen. Mike Murray, commander of Army Futures Command, spoke to the House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee. “We believe we cannot integrate them into our air-defense system based upon some interoperability challenges, some cyber[security] challenges and some other challenges. So what we ended up having is two stand-alone batteries that will be very capable, but they cannot be integrated,” Murray told the subcommittee.

Murray further stated that it would prove “exceptionally difficult to integrate Iron Dome into our layered air-defense architecture [and] to get Iron Dome to talk to other systems [and] other radars, specifically the Sentinel radar.” “What you’re probably – almost certainly – going to see is two stand-alone systems. And if the best we can do is stand-alone systems, we do not want to buy another two batteries,” Murray added.

If future international purchases of Iron Dome are to be impacted by the U.S. Army’s decision, it will not only be a setback for Israel’s defense industry, but also that of the United States, given that U.S. weapons manufacturer Raytheon produces some of the system’s components and markets the systems within the United States. Notably, current U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is a former lobbyist for Raytheon, a company that closely collaborates with Israel’s defense industry on other systems as well, such as “David’s Sling.”

Esper’s history may be a factor in a potential reversal of the Army’s recent decision, which was urged by Israel’s Defense Ministry following Gen. Murray’s statements before Congress. Israel’s Defense Ministry asked the Army to reconsider their decision to halt future purchases and overlook the existing cybersecurity hurdles in integrating those already purchased “as it would express confidence and recognition of the system’s ‘exceptional capabilities’ and the quality of Israel’s defense industries,” the Jerusalem Post reported.

Israel’s decision to not reveal the source code of a system the U.S. helped finance and subsequently purchased is striking, particularly given that their refusal to do so has resulted in the loss of considerable revenue and the potential collapse of future international sales of the system. Israel’s history of using backdoors in software for intelligence and military purposes, including at sensitive U.S. government facilities, raise obvious concerns about the motive for such a decision.

Yet, while the U.S. Army has raised cybersecurity concerns about the lack of transparency regarding Iron Dome’s source code, the same company that creates Iron Dome’s software has its software running on critical infrastructure systems throughout the United States. Indeed, Iron Dome’s software was created by mPrest, whose largest stakeholder is Israeli weapons manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, which in turn is a state-owned company. Rafael is also the principal developer of the Iron Dome system.

In just the past few years, mPrest has become a major provider of software to U.S. utility companies across the country — from California to New York — and has also entered the European and Australian markets. It remains to be seen if the scrutiny over mPrest’s code for the Iron Dome system and the motives behind it will lead to scrutiny of the software that is being used at critical points of the U.S. power grid, particularly at a time when government officials and private companies (including Israeli-American cybersecurity company Cybereason) are warning that “foreign actors” are targeting the U.S. power grid with malicious intent.

Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

March 11, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | 2 Comments

Haiti petition challenges foreign policy apparatus

By Yves Engler · March 8, 2020

While it may seem to be a simple call to release documents, Solidarité Québec-Haïti’s House of Commons petition is an indictment of Canada’s entire foreign policy/media apparatus.

In my research about Canadian foreign policy I have come across no equivalent to the “Ottawa Initiative on Haiti”. In early 2003 the federal government organized a private meeting of US, French and Organization of American States officials to discuss replacing Haiti’s elected government, putting the country under UN trusteeship and re-establishing its army. In what was likely a government-organized trial balloon, a prominent journalist working for Québec’s top news magazine reported on it at the time. A year later what was reported/discussed largely transpired.

Nonetheless, after the February 29, 2004, coup the dominant media refused to investigate the “Ottawa Initiative on Haiti” and barely mentioned the meeting. A Canadian Newsstand search found not one single English language report about the meeting (except two opinion pieces by me and another solidarity activist that mentioned it). La Presse may be the only corporate newspaper to have reported on the “Ottawa Initiative on Haiti” in the 15 years after the coup. In that case progressive journalist Jooned Khan used space made available during Haiti’s February 2006 election upheaval to briefly mention the gathering on two occasions.

Recently a major media outlet looked back on the “Ottawa Initiative on Haiti”. In a 45-minute report tied to the 10thanniversary of the 2010 earthquake Radio-Canada’s flagship news program “Enquête” reported on it. They interviewed Denis Paradis, the Liberal minister responsible for organizing the meeting, who admitted no Haitian officials were invited to discuss their own country’s future during the get together in 2003. They also interviewed Solidarité Québec-Haïti member Jean Saint-Vil who offered a critical perspective.

In a bid to build on this media breakthrough, Solidarité Québec-Haïti has launched a House of Commons petition referencing Enquête’s report and calling on the government to “Publish all documents relating to the ‘Ottawa Initiative on Haiti’” and to “Hold a hearing of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development to learn everything there is to know about the ‘Ottawa Initiative on Haiti,’ including its link to the “Core Group.” Bloc Québecois MP Mario Beaulieu has sponsored it.

Just after the coup then NDP MP Svend Robinson requested minutes of the private meeting be made available. Subsequently, researcher Anthony Fenton placed an Access to Information request for all documents related to the “Ottawa Initiative on Haiti”. What he received was heavily redacted. In Haiti Betrayed, a powerful new documentary about Canadian imperialism, Elaine Brière notes that the government refused to release documents related to the Ottawa Initiative on Haiti.

The meeting remains politically relevant. Enquête suggested the Ottawa Initiative on Haiti led to the creation of the “Core Group,” an alliance of foreign ambassadors that largely determines Haitian affairs. Solidarité Québec-Haïti is using the petition to pressure Ottawa to withdraw from the “Core Group”, which is the real power behind corrupt, repressive and illegitimate president Jovenel Moïse.

The petition requires 175 more signatures to be presented in the House of Commons, which will force the government to formally respond. If you are a citizen or permanent resident of Canada please sign it.

March 8, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , | Leave a comment