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Kerry Lunges Into India With Anti-BRI Agenda Bringing Green Suicide for All

By Matthew Ehret | Strategic Culture Foundation | April 9, 2021

As the China-Russian-Iran alliance continues to gain new momentum spreading win-win cooperation and development across Asia, Africa and the World, the dying unipolar system run by detached militarists, financiers and technocrats is doubling down on its weird mix of 1) a “scorched earth” offensive threat to “dissuade” China and Russia from continuing on their current trajectory and 2) a “positive” green game on which nations are invited to tie their destinies as an alternative to China’s BRI.

Everyone reading this should already be aware of the “scorched earth” Full Spectrum dominance policy targeting Russia and China.

However, what is less appreciated even among the most geopolitically savvy anti-imperialists today is what sort of “positive” green game is being deployed to subvert the $3 trillion Belt and Road Initiative which has already won over 136 participating nations and which geopolicians understand to be a mortal threat to their desired world order.

A U.S.-Led Alternative to the BRI

According to Biden’s own remarks during his March 26 call to Boris Johnson, the USA must create “an infrastructure plan to rival the Belt and Road Initiative.”

This agenda was amplified by John Kerry’s foray to India, Bangladesh and the UAE from April 1-11 where the Presidential Climate Envoy has been deployed to set the stage for the April 22-23 International Leaders Summit on Climate to be hosted by Joe Biden.

Now, in principle, a U.S.-version of the BRI is not intrinsically a bad idea.

However, this idea could only function in the real world IF the USA were to give up its unipolar imperial ambitions and return to the anti-imperial constitutional traditions which once animated its greatest leaders like Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, FDR and JFK. Under influence of the technocrats managing the current Biden presidency in post-color revolution USA, that option is about as far from reality as one can imagine.

On the other hand, were the USA to stick with the Great Reset Agenda which is attempting to undo the industrial revolution under the cover of “reducing global emissions” to zero by 2050 as the Paris Accords proclaim, then any idea of a viable U.S.-led BRI doppelganger is pre-doomed to fail by its own internal self-contradictions.

What is the main self-contradiction of this “development agenda”?

The nations of the earth need to develop. They have objectively verifiable and measurable constraints to their ability to support their populations based on limits to agriculture, industry, energy, education and transportation. Decades of unchallenged Anglo-American dominance has only exacerbated these problems to the acute degrees we find today.

That’s why they are embracing China’s Belt and Road so enthusiastically.

Unlike the World Bank and IMF practices over the past 70 years, China is extending financing to all participating nations based on conditionality-free, low interest practices that create long term, genuine development, and full spectrum economies in every nation it touches. This is how China has met its goals of wiping out extreme poverty at home in a relative blink of an eye.

Despite the countless billions of dollars of loans extended to the poorest nations of the world since the earliest days of the Cold War, poverty, war, insecurity, terrorism and debt slavery have become more rampant today than ever before. The recent March 23 Hunger Hotspots Report issued by the World Food Program and FAO outlined hundreds of millions of people suffering acute food insecurity around the world with Syria, the Congo, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Venezuela, Haiti and South Sudan toping the list. U.S.-led imperial intrigue, financial loans, speculative warfare and humanitarian “aid” to all of these countries should not be seen as coincidental to their currently dismal situation.

China, on the other hand, is ensuring that these nations acquire genuine development, great megaprojects, interconnectivity via roads, ports and rail as well as local industrial production and engineering expertise via trade schools and on-the-ground training under Chinese experts. Investments into all forms of energy required to build megaprojects is on the table without any green conditionalities as we find being imposed by western technocrats.

Kerry’s Green Delusion Exposed in India

Compare this with John Kerry’s demands that India and Bangladesh embrace de-carbonization strategies in the build up to the April 22-23 climate conference and the latter COP26 summit in December. The delusional foundations of Kerry’s thinking were eloquently exposed by Chandrashekhar Dasgupta, a leading member of Modi’s Council on Climate Change who told the Hindustan Ties on March 30:

“First, it would require us to immediately scrap all existing coal-based power plants and factories, or alternatively, retrofit them with carbon-capture and storage technology. This would entail astronomical costs at a time when the economy is already reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Dasgupta called out the hypocrisy and imperial agenda’s underlying this apparently altruistic green agenda saying:

“It would necessitate an immediate switch-over to imported, existing clean energy technologies at a huge cost, denying our own industry the time required for indigenization or development of affordable indigenous technologies. Let us not forget that the U.S. lodged a complaint against us at the WTO when we took some modest measures to promote domestic manufacture of solar cells and modules… we need to examine the trade-related implications of surrendering our principled position on ‘common and differentiated responsibilities.’ The European Union is set to impose levies on carbon-intensive imports, even from developing countries. It would be naive to think that the countries calling on India to adopt a 2050 net-zero target are motivated purely by altruistic concerns unrelated to commercial interests.”

OSOWOG Revived

Despite the fact that a “Green BRI doppelganger” has been on the books since 2018 when the OSOWOG Plan was unveiled as a World Bank-financed/British Commonwealth-run initiative, the plan was generally acknowledged to be an unworkable green boondoggle and fell out of interest for quite some time. However, a flurry of renewed media propaganda over the past few months has attempted to drive this green zombie back into the zeitgeist as witnessed by Forbes’ recent promotional coverage of the plan. The authors of the Forbes fluff piece stated:

“The idea behind OSOWOG is that the sun never sets. An inter-continental grid can be instrumental in harnessing the sun’s energy (and all other forms of renewable energy) by optimally leveraging the differences in time zones, seasons, resources, and prices between countries and regions. This is particularly helpful for decarbonising countries which have limited avenues of harnessing renewable energy and heavily reliant on fossil fuels.”

The plan’s outline is broken up into three phases which is somewhat reminiscent of the famous “underpants gnome plot” from South Park.

The World Bank-connected authors describe how in phase one, solar panels will be spread across South Asia, Southwest Asia and the Middle East with India serving as the driving force. Completely skipping over how phase one could realistically happen, the technicians describe phase two which sees North Africa swiftly covered in solar panels (see: Desertec part deux) and as if by magic, both regions would be connected via green grids. In the final third phase, this new green energy hub cutting across the Eurasian Heartland from Africa through Asia, would then be extended to the entire globe.

When all of this is somehow finished by 2050, the world as a whole would be forever relieved of its dependence on dirty energy sources like oil, natural gas and nuclear as we collectively are steered into a new age of clean zero-growth, sustainable mediocrity under a technocratic elite managing the levers of consumption and production under a post-nation state world order.

Three basic questions might arise at this point:

1) How would such large-scale green megaprojects be funded by western nations who are sitting on top of a multi-quadrillion dollar derivatives bubble of speculative capital ready to blow out into a hyperinflationary collapse that will make Weimar 1923 look like a cake walk?

Answer: It can’t.

2) Even if green solar grids could be constructed across the heartland cutting across (and disrupting) the East-West New Silk Road, how could such forms of green energy- long known for its unreliability, high costs and low-quality energy output be capable of meeting the needs of the people of the world wracked by generations of poverty and underdevelopment?

Answer: It can’t.

3) So why would any nation go along with this sort of plan when viable alternatives like the Belt and Road Initiative and broader Multipolar Alliance already exist with olive branches open to all?

Answer: If they are not suicidal, then they won’t.

This last answer obviously creates a bit of an uncomfortable ambiguity since the thesis that “nations are not suicidal” is rather indefensible at this moment in time.

Suicidal Ideation as a Bad Foreign Policy Paradigm

Based upon their words and actions, any onlooker endowed with a basic IQ level would have to come to the conclusion that many nations have demonstrated a high degree of suicidal behavior in recent years. From pumping trillions of dollars into zombie, to shutting down entire economies in response to viruses with relatively low fatality rates, to encircling Russia and China with belligerent military postures, to pouring flames onto the fires of radical jihadi terrorist and neo-Nazi groups, to shutting down the foundations of industrial energy needs requisite to support existing population levels, to burning food for bioethanol- there is very little western governments have done in recent years which gives any strong indication that the desire to survive is strong.

The fact that many of those suicidal nations are concentrated in the Trans-Atlantic City of London-dominated zone of influence and have seen their nationalist leaders fall under assassins bullets many decades ago in order for supranational “deep state” operations to infuse themselves into positions of control should be kept firmly in mind. This fact helps remind us that we are not dealing with conventional “sovereign nation states” as some commentators make the foolish habit of doing, but rather we are dealing with a supranational financier oligarchy utilizing its influence across bureaucratic, media, military industrial, academic, and corporate lines of control.

Whether or not India, or any other nation among NATO (and newly emerging Pacific NATO Quad) has the moral fitness to survive will depend on how fast they realize that their genuine interests are not located in green grids or military confrontation with Russia and China but rather in dropping zero sum thinking in order to work with the Multipolar Alliance as collaborators.

April 10, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

A Deceptive Construction – Why We Must Question The COVID 19 Mortality Statistics

By Iain Davis | UKCOLUMN | March 28, 2021

According to the UK Government, as of 27 March 2021, 126,515 people have died as a result of contracting Covid-19, and an additional 21,610 people have died with COVID-19 on their death certificates.

The government alleges, therefore, that a total of 148,125 people in the UK have died as a result of COVID-19. As we shall see, this claim is not credible.

Justifiable Policy?

Claims about mortality have been used by both the government and the mainstream media to justify the policy response.

The pace of change driven by that policy response has been astonishing. With Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s recent announcement of the creation of the UK Health Security Agency and its commitment to take “action to mitigate infectious diseases and other hazards to health before they materialise,” it is clear the government’s new (ab)normal is here to stay.

There is clearly an agenda; one entirely founded upon the idea that COVID-19 presents a significant threat. The primary evidence offered to substantiate this claim is suggested COVID-19 mortality.

Age Standardised Mortality

Just like nearly every other mortality cause, COVID-19 risks increase proportionately with age. Statistics for those of working age show a population mortality risk of between 0.0166% and 0.0046%, depending upon who you believe. The COVID-19 risk to the working age population is statistically insignificant. For the under 18’s it is statistically zero.

Mortality risk disproportionately impacts men. In 2018 the average age of death for men was approximately 80, and 83 for women in England and Wales.

The average age of COVID-19 death is just over 82. When we look at standard mortality distribution, there is no observable impact from COVID-19.

UK all cause mortality doesn’t suggest any need to panic either.

The ONS released data estimating a total of 607,173 deaths from all causes in England and Wales for 2020. Given demographic changes over time, the ONS use Age Standardised Mortality Rates (ASMR’s) to calculate relative death rates. The ASMR showed that 2020 was the worst year for mortality in the last decade.

ASMR’s were in continual decline throughout the post war period. That decline stopped abruptly in 2009 as the economic impact of the global financial crisis took its toll on public health. Thereafter it showed a marginal rise to 2019. Mortality in 2020 and 2021 should be seen in the context of a global financial crisis that dwarfs the credit crunch of 2008.

ASMR’s fluctuate annually and 2020 showed a significant increase above the 5 year average mortality rate. This was higher than most rises but by no means “unprecedented.” ASMR’s in England since 1938 show similar increases in 1947, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1963, 1970, 1972, 1976, 1985, 1993 and 2014.

Most of these spikes in ASMR’s were in the region of 35 to 45 points. For example, in 2014 the ASMR rose by 40.2, in 1993 by 38.4 and in 1985 by 46.3 points. It rose by 90.5 in 1947, by 83.5 in 1963, it went up by 104.9 in 1970 and in 1951 by 216.3. So the 2020 rise of 118.5 is by no means the worst.

The death toll in 1951 was attributed to the the influenza epidemic which struck some parts of the UK (most notably Liverpool) but left others relatively unscathed. To this day science has struggled to account for this.

2020 not only didn’t have the highest mortality rate in the post war period, it didn’t have the highest mortality rate in the 21st century either. 2020 ranked 9th, out of 20 consecutive years, for all cause mortality in England and Wales. It was the 11th least dangerous year in the last 50.

While there is no statistical evidence of an unprecedented global pandemic in England and Wales (nor in Scotland and Northern Ireland) this tells us little about how many deaths were genuinely attributable to COVID-19. Nor does it indicate at which point we should sacrifice our rights, freedoms, children’s educations and economy in the service of public health.

We certainly didn’t sacrifice them in 1947, 1963, 1970, nor even in 1951. Why was 2020 different?

PCR Does Not Mean COVID

For the purposes of this analysis, we will use the government’s higher claim of 148,000 deaths. The vast majority of these deaths were attributed based upon a positive RT-PCR test. The UK Coronavirus Act makes a clear distinction between the virus and the disease. It states:

Coronavirus means severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2); coronavirus disease means COVID-19 (the official designation of the disease which can be caused by coronavirus).

SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 are not the same thing. The detected presence of SARS-CoV-2 does not mean the person has or will develop COVID-19.

Therefore the attribution of mortality based solely upon a positive test result in no way proves the person died of COVID-19. The extent to which the disease caused or contributed towards a death is a precise medical assessment. The UK government created a death certification and registration process where this did not occur in an unknown number of cases. We need to know what that number is.

COVID-19 has a distinct presentation that requires careful diagnosis. The unique symptoms are severe hypoxemia (low blood oxygen levels), hypercapnia (elevated blood Co2 saturation) and unusually no corresponding loss of respiratory system compliance.

Measurement of gaseous exchange and fluid retention in the lungs appears normal, meanwhile the patient, in serious cases, struggles to breath. This is unlike other influenza like illnesses (ILI’s).

Yet the NHS describe a list of COVID-19 symptoms that could be attributable to any ILI. A high temperature, continuous cough and loss of taste and smell are associated with many. While this is public information, intended to guide our decision to seek medical advice or a test, the list of possible causes expands further given that the NHS state just one of these symptoms possibly indicates COVID-19.

Without precise symptomatic diagnosis, it is difficult to distinguish COVID-19 from a range of other respiratory illnesses. A study from the University of Toronto found:

The symptoms can vary, with some patients remaining asymptomatic, while others present with fever, cough, fatigue, and a host of other symptoms. The symptoms may be similar to patients with influenza or the common cold.

Cochran Review meta analysis of available studies looked for a clear definition of COVID-19 symptoms. Published in June 2020, the reviewers noted:

The individual signs and symptoms included in this review appear to have very poor diagnostic properties … Based on currently available data, neither absence nor presence of signs or symptoms are accurate enough to rule in or rule out disease.

Even using advanced diagnostics, such as a computer tomography (CT) scan, won’t always provide a clear result. A study attempting to improve differential diagnosis using CT scans found:

Although typical and atypical CT image findings of COVID-19 are reported in current studies, the CT image features of COVID-19 overlap with those of viral pneumonia and other respiratory diseases. Hence, it is difficult to make an exclusive diagnosis.

Regardless of their SARS-CoV-2 test status, without a very accurate diagnosis of symptoms, suspected COVID-19 patients could be suffering from one among a range of ILI’s. Again, a positive test result does not mean the patient died from COVID-19, even if they had corresponding symptoms.

Notifications of Infectious Diseases

In England and Wales it is a legal requirement for all registered medical practitioners to notify their local health authority of any suspected cases of notifiable diseases. The list of Notifiable Infectious Diseases (NOIDS) includes COVID-19. This is not optional.

All diagnosing doctors must complete a NOIDS report upon making a diagnosis. Testing laboratories are also required to notify Public Health England (PHE) of positive tests for notifiable diseases.

According to the fact checker FullFact there were 18,152 COVID-19 notifications made by doctors in the whole of 2020.

Yet the government claim that there were 70,853 COVID-19 deaths, never mind cases, in England and Wales in the same year.

Fullfact offered an explanation for this apparent huge discrepancy:

People with Covid symptoms are advised to get a test, but not to visit their doctor, which may be part of the reason why doctors reported so few cases of the disease through NOIDS. Since Covid became widespread in the UK, and began to be monitored in other ways, it is also possible that doctors felt there was little need to continue notifying PHE about each case.

This is not credible. While it is true that people were told not to go to a doctor if they suspected they had COVID-19, a diagnosis by a doctor was still necessary at some point. Self diagnosis doesn’t usually afford access to hospital treatment. The suggestion by FullFact that doctors unilaterally decided not to bother with their statutory obligations is ridiculous.

What this massive difference between claimed cases, subsequent COVID-19 mortality and NOIDS indicates, is that Doctors were largely reliant upon laboratory testing to fulfil the duty to notify the authorities. This adds considerable weight to the notion that laboratory testing was the leading determinant in the overwhelming majority of COVID-19 diagnosis.

Until mid August 2020, a UK COVID-19 death was reported if the decedent had tested positive at any point during the preceding months. An individual may have have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in March, have died of cancer in August and subsequently have been recorded as a COVID-19 statistic.

The scientific rationale for this did not exist. Research conducted by scientists at Oxford University analysed the COVID-19 Hospitalisation in England Surveillance System (CHESS) and calculated the average time between infection (positive test) and mortality to be 26.8 days.

And so, in response to public and scientific pressure this approach changed to only recording a COVID-19 death within 28 days of a positive test. Still the UK government would not let go of its inflated number system, adding nothing but statistical confusion, they announced:

In England, a new weekly set of figures will also be published, showing the number of deaths that occur within 60 days of a positive test. Deaths that occur after 60 days will also be added to this figure if COVID-19 appears on the death certificate.

The August methodological change reduced claimed COVID-19 deaths by 5,377 in England alone. This didn’t make any difference to the number of people who had died from COVID-19, it just changed the number of people who had reportedly died from COVID-19.

This wasn’t the only notable change to the data gathering process. Just before the significant spring spike in mortality, on the 30th March 2020, the MSM reported that the government had instructed the ONS to change the way they record COVID-19 deaths. Hitherto the ONS only reported a COVID-19 death if it was recorded as the direct or underlying cause. This was changed to recording “mentions” of COVID-19. A spokesperson for the ONS said:

It will be based on mentions of Covid-19 on death certificates. It will include suspected cases of Covid-19 where someone has not been tested positive for Covid-19.

The reporting of COVID-19 comorbidity rates was“paused” in July and has yet to resume. The final published ONS analysis that directly reported the number of pre-exiting conditions for deaths “with” COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate, was released for the period ending 30 June 2020.

From this we learned that 91.1% of alleged COVID deaths had at least 1 serious additional comorbidity. The mean number of comorbidities for a those under 70 was 2.1 and for the vast majority over 70 it was 2.3.

It is preposterous to claim that a decedent who had cancer, pneumonia and had just had surgery, but tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 four weeks earlier, could reasonably be categorised as a COVID-19 death. Yet that is precisely what happened, and continues to happen to this day.

Covid-19 Cures the Flu

COVID-19 also cured influenza and other respiratory disease, such as adenovirus. Early January is always a period of notable influenza outbreaks, resultant hospital admissions and mortality. This is evident if we look at PHE’s Weekly Influenza Report for week 2 in any year prior to 2020.

In 2020, according to the newly combined PHE Weekly Influenza and COVID Report, there have been virtually no cases of influenza, treatment or related deaths.

The ONS note all the details on a death certificate. In their mortality roundup for the January to August 2020 period they stated:

Influenza and pneumonia was mentioned on more death certificates than COVID-19, however COVID-19 was the underlying cause of death in over three times as many deaths between January and August 2020.

How can flu and pneumonia possibly be on more death certificates than COVID-19 if, as the media and PHE allege, it has been wiped out? It seems the medical profession didn’t get the memo.

A Systemic Catch-22

A positive SARS-CoV-2 test appears to be the primary reason for attribution of mortality. Only the most fastidious diagnosis can differentiate between COVID-19 symptoms and other ILI’s. Is it credible to believe that flu and pneumonia are on more death certificates but that COVID-19 is deemed the cause of death on three times as many Medical Certificates of Cause of Death (MCCD’s)?

These are somewhat rhetorical questions. The reason why bizarre anomalies like this occurred is because recording COVID-19 as the cause of death was practically unavoidable.

The Coronavirus Act overhauled the MCCD and death registration processes. In addition, World Health Organisation Coding changes and guidance issued by the NHS and other medical authorities combined to create a systemic Catch-22.

In England and Wales an MCCD is completed online using the WHO’s recommended coding. The MCCD is split into sections. Part 1. a) “Disease or condition directly leading to death”; b) “Other disease or condition, if any, leading to (a)”; and c) “Other disease or condition, if any, leading to (b)”.

Part 2 records “Other significant conditions contributing to the death, but not related to the disease or condition causing it.” For example, a person may have died from heart failure caused by pneumonia but obesity, though not directly related to the immediate cause of death, could have contributed and would therefore be recorded in Part 2.

In the case of respiratory disease, the direct cause of death could be Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). This may be brought on by, for example, pneumonia which was caused by influenza. In this instance the direct cause of death would be recorded in Part 1. a) as ARDS, prompted by pneumonia in Part1. b), and the underlying cause would be set as influenza in Part 1. c).

The WHO Family of International Classifications (WHOFIC) Network Classification and Statistics Advisory Committee (CSAC) created new International Classification of Diseases codes (ICD-10 codes) for COVID-19. If the decedent had tested positive, or had been in contact with anyone else who had, a recorded COVID-19 death was practically a fait accompli.

“confirmed case” was dependent solely upon a positive test result and was given the code U07.1. Observable symptoms were not necessary for U07.1 code to be recorded on a death certificate.

suspected COVID-19 case was coded as U07.2. A decedent known to have had contact with a SARS-CoV-2 positive person who, while neither testing positive nor having any symptoms themselves, was deemed a suspected/probable COVID-19 case and given the code U07.2.

Neither the U07.1 nor the U07.2 codes required any evidence that the decedent had COVID-19.

As the U07.1 code indicated a “confirmed case,” unless the decedent passed away from something obviously unrelated, such as head trauma, a SARS-CoV-2 positive test would almost automatically confirm COVID-19 as the underlying cause of death.

The WHO clearly described this process in their International MCCD coding guidelines. They defined what death “due” to COVID-19 was:

A death due to COVID-19 is defined for surveillance purposes as a death resulting from a clinically compatible illness, in a probable or confirmed COVID-19 case, unless there is a clear alternative cause of death that cannot be related to COVID disease (e.g. trauma). There should be no period of complete recovery from COVID-19 between illness and death. A death due to COVID-19 may not be attributed to another disease (e.g. cancer).

A clinically compatible illness could be any ILI. Even if the individual died from cancer, as long as they tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, or the Doctor suspected respiratory distress, the death would be registered as “due to” COVID-19. COVID-19 would again be the reported as the underlying cause.

Additional WHO guidance stated:

COVID-19 should be recorded on the medical certificate of cause of death for ALL decedents where the disease caused, or is assumed to have caused, or contributed to death. Although both categories, U07.1 … and U07.2 … are suitable for cause of death coding … it is recommended, for mortality purposes only, to code COVID-19 provisionally to U07.1 unless it is stated as probable or suspected.

If a doctor was uncertain and merely suspected a probable COVID-19 case, they were clearly advised to record it on the MCCD as a confirmed case (U07.1 and not U07.2). Again, ensuring it would be reported as the “underlying cause.”

The Office of National Statistics stated:

Deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) include those with an underlying cause, or any mention, of U07.1 (COVID-19, virus identified) or U07.2 (COVID-19, virus not identified) …

If the Doctor held firm and coded COVID-19 as U07.2 on Part 2 of the MCCD, the ONS (and the NRS and NISA) would still report it as a COVID-19 death.

In the Clear

The Coronavirus Act indemnified all NHS doctors against any claims of malpractice or negligence. It removed the need for a second medical opinion (Medical Examiner), it effectively ruled out both post-mortem examinations and jury-led coroner’s inquests, allowed virtually anyone to act as the qualified informant and facilitated rapid cremation.

In response to the Coronavirus Act and WHO IC10 coding, the NHS issued guidance to doctors for the completion of the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD). The COVID-19 death certification and registration process they produced beggars belief. Under the guidance, acting on their own without any corroborating opinion:

Any medical practitioner with GMC registration can sign the MCCD, even if they did not attend the deceased during their last illness.

Attend doesn’t mean examine either. Checking in with the decedent via Zoom is sufficient. Failing that, if the MCCD signing doctor has only seen the decedent after death, providing they have tested positive, a review of their notes is still sufficient to record a COVID-19 death. The NHS stated COVID-19 could be recorded wherever:

A medical practitioner has attended the deceased (including visual/video consultation) within 28 days before death, or viewed the body in person after death.

In keeping with the WHO coding guidelines, there isn’t even any need for a positive test result. The NHS guidance added:

If before death the patient had symptoms typical of COVID-19 infection, but the test result has not been received, it would be satisfactory to give ‘COVID-19’ as the cause of death … In the circumstances of there being no swab, it is satisfactory to apply clinical judgement.

The NHS then created a system of remote death certification:

During periods of excess deaths due to COVID-19, healthcare providers are encouraged to redeploy medical practitioners whose role does not usually include direct patient care, such as some medical examiners, to provide indirect support by working as dedicated certifiers, completing MCCDs.

These dedicated certifiers, though medically qualified, are tasked with signing off COVID-19 MCCD’s. GP’s and hospital physicians gather reports, perhaps from a review of the deceased’s medical notes or a video conference with a care home provider, and pass that information to the dedicated COVID-19 certifier for MCCD completion.

The NHS advised that no proof was required for the attribution of a COVID-19 death. They stated:

Without diagnostic proof, if appropriate and to avoid delay, medical practitioners can circle ‘2’ in the MCCD (information from post-mortem may be available later)

This suggestion that a post mortem may be available is implausible.

Additional guidance issued by the Royal College of Pathologists states:

If a death is believed to be due to confirmed COVID-19 infection, there is unlikely to be any need for a post-mortem examination to be conducted and the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death should be issued.

Bearing in mind that the WHO had instructed suspected U07.2 deaths to be coded as confirmed U07.1 deaths, the chance of anything other than confirmed COVID-19 death reaching a pathologist is extremely remote. Any MCCD signed “without diagnostic proof” would almost certainly be agreed by the pathologist without further scrutiny. The mere act of putting COVID-19 anywhere on the MCCD was enough to negate the need for a post mortem.

This new death certification system, specifically designed for COVID-19, has understandably caused confusion. The British Medical Association’s verification of death guidance advises that if no signing doctor has seen the decedent prior to completing the MCCD they should refer it to the coroner. However, this was only a policy recommendation not a legal requirement.

Contradicting this, the Chief Coroner advised:

COVID-19 is a naturally occurring disease and therefore is capable of being a natural cause of death … The aim of the system should be that every death from COVID-19 which does not in law require referral to the coroner should be dealt with via the MCCD process.

This means that even if a coroner receives a referral from a doctor, they will be highly likely to automatically approve the MCCD without further inquiry. Since a post mortem has already effectively been ruled out, there will be little point in the coroner investigating further.

NHS staff and carers who may have been uncomfortable with all this have been under no illusions. The use of draconian Hospital Trust gagging orders (non disclosure agreements) are widely reported. Carers who have spoken out have been sacked.

To finalise this unbelievable COVID-19 death registration system, the Coronavirus Act also withdrew the standard second opinion required prior to cremation. The need to complete Cremation form 5 was suspended for all COVID-19 deaths.

Alleged COVID-19 decedents can be cremated without any clear evidence that they ever had the disease, regardless of their family’s wishes, swiftly ending any chance of any investigation by sceptical family members.

What was the Cause of Death?

SAGE assessed the UK mean operational false positive rate (FPR) for RT-PCR to be 2.3% of all conducted tests. The government say they have conducted just over 118M tests of which 4.3M were positive. This includes an unknown number of multiple tests of the same individual. A mean FPR of 2.3% suggests 2.7M of those 4.3M positive tests were false positives. This equates to 62.7% of all positive test results.

As we have already discussed it is highly likely that laboratory testing was the primary determinant for a diagnosis of COVID-19. Therefore it is not unreasonable to surmise that at least 50% of claimed COVID-19 deaths were attributed on the basis of false positives. We can halve the claimed 148,000 to 74,000 COVID-19 deaths.

The 2020 ONS mortality data for England showed a reduction in deaths from a number of other causes.

Deaths from Ischaemic heart diseases were 1,450 below the 5 year average. Cerebrovascular disease was down by 2,276, malignant respiratory neoplasm by 1,537, chronic lower respiratory disease by 2,764 and influenza and pneumonia deaths were 7,313 below the 5 year average. An apparent reduction of 15,340 deaths from other causes.

It seems highly likely that these deaths were wrongly recorded as COVID-19.

As we have seen above, approximately 90% of supposed COVID-19 decedents had at least one other comorbidity. Using the Government’s 148,125 figure, we might claim, therefore that only something like 15,000 of these died of, rather than with.

Is this claim justifiable? Well, consider this:

The Department of Health and Social Care published a study of residents in care homes which purported to show the total number of confirmed cases. Among this number they claimed:

80.9% of residents who tested positive were asymptomatic.

A meta analysis by the Oxford Centre for Evidence Based Medicine found that asymptomatic rates among those who tested positive varied between 5% – 80%. If there are no symptoms, then the disease cannot have contributed towards a death.

Taking everything into account, from high rates of comorbidity, to low rates of symptomatic individuals, the impact of false positives on testing and a death certification regime heavily biased towards recording COVID-19 as the underlying cause, then it is reasonable to conclude that the total number of deaths from Covid-19 is not 148,000, nor 126,000, but much closer to 15,000.

April 10, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Economics | , , | Leave a comment

Iran, Kazakhstan share many objectives on regional stability, nuclear disarmament: FM Zarif

Press TV – April 8, 2021

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran and Kazakhstan have many common goals when it comes to global nuclear disarmament and regional stability.

In a post on his Twitter account on Thursday, Zarif hailed his “substantive and fruitful meetings” with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tleuberdi which were held in Kazakhstan’s capital Nur-Sultan on Wednesday during his third leg of a four-nation Central Asian tour.

“Our two countries share many objectives on regional stability and global nuclear disarmament,” the top Iranian diplomat said.

In his tweet, Zarif once again highlighted the top priority of the neighboring states in Iran’s foreign policy.

During a meeting between Zarif and Tokayev in the Kazakh capital of Nur-Sultan, formerly called Astana, the two sides discussed bilateral relations and the latest developments surrounding the peace processes in Afghanistan and Syria in addition to Iran’s nuclear deal.

In talks with his Kazakh counterpart, Zarif highlighted the many historical and cultural commonalities linking the two nations.

“Excellent talks were held on important regional and international issues, and we thank Kazakhstan for its support of the Islamic Republic of Iran on international fronts,” he said.

The Iranian and Kazakh foreign ministries also signed a 15-article document for cooperation between the two countries aimed at reinforcing friendly, fraternal and neighborly relations based on mutual respect and trust.

Zarif visited Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan before heading to Kazakhstan. He will visit Turkmenistan as the last leg of his tour.

April 8, 2021 Posted by | Economics | , | 1 Comment

Alaska Won’t Let Biden Stop Its Oil Boom

By Felicity Bradstock | Oilprice.com | April 3, 2021

New discoveries in Alaska by an Australian independent could provide hope for bigger oil finds yet to come in the country’s National Petroleum Reserve. Australian independent oil firm 88 Energy has been making strides in its Alaska project in recent weeks announcing an oil discovery in its Merlin-1 exploration well in the southeast National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. Further testing will show the full extent of the discovery.

88 Energy is predicting a potential 650 million barrels of oil at Merlin-1 based on its current information. This would mean the oil-bearing geologic formation, Nanushuk, is much larger than originally thought.

Alaska Peregrine Development Company, or “APDC” has been largely funding 88 Energy operations, providing the first $10 million for the drilling project. Initial drilling reached 1,512 feet, or 460 metres with a prospective oil target at 6,000 feet, or 1,829m.

The Australian firm also announced a share subscription agreement with ELKO International LLC this month, issuing 360 million shares at a share price of 1.8 cents, meaning an input of $6.48 million (US4.92m) into the project.

ConocoPhillips is already planning the development of its ‘Willow’ discovery in the north of the Merlin well, which could hold an anticipated 750 million barrels. And New-Guinea producer, Oil Search, is developing ‘Pikka’, to the east of the well. Production is expected from both discoveries by 2026.

These discoveries are all based in the Nanushuk formation in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve. But Alaskan oil expands well beyond this. In December 2020, Shell Offshore Inc.’s application to form the West Harrison Bay unit in the shallow state waters of the Beaufort Sea was approved.

Shell’s plan of exploration in the 81,000-acre unit was filed last June, aiming to drill two wells over the next five years. The area encompasses both the Nanushuk and Torok formations.

Elsewhere in Alaska, its North Slope, which could hold tens of billions of barrels of heavy oil, is being explored. A study, costing $9.6 million, by Hillcorp Alaska and the University of Alaska Fairbanks is testing the potential of injecting a synthetic polymer to help recover the heavy oils.

However, Biden’s suspension of new leases on federal lands and in federal waters threatens new discoveries in the Alaskan region. Even if existing exploration projects prove successful, Biden’s suspension and aims to speed up climate change policies could mean a huge proportion of Alaskan oil remains untouched.

Alaska was one of 13 states to call for an end to Biden’s pause on new oil leases through a lawsuit this month. The state relies heavily on oil production for employment and its economy as a whole. Alaska has enjoyed $180 billion in oil revenue since its statehood, with one-quarter, or 77,600, of Alaskans employed in the sector.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s issued a statement stating, “We fear that President Biden’s attack on federal oil and gas leasing has only begun, and the State must be involved to protect the interests of all Alaskans in the responsible development of the bountiful natural resources contained within Alaska,” said Dunleavy, in the statement”.

With significant new finds in Alaskan waters and pressure on the government to balance environmental policies with the future of U.S. oil and gas, the state could prove hopeful for the substantial extraction projects of both light and heavy oil over the next decade.

April 4, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | | 1 Comment

How China is Going to Reshape Asia

By Salman Rafi Sheikh – New Eastern Outlook – 01.04.2021

With China and Iran signing a multi-billion dollar deal for the next 25 years, there remains little gainsaying that the former is going to increase its footprint in West Asia/Middle East in a way that once was thought to be unimaginable for reasons that included China’s own economic policies and West Asia’s too close ties with the West to allow for any players. Forces of economic change that China is unleashing will not only become a massive boost for Iran, but Iran will become a gateway for China’s further expansion into the Middle East, including countries, such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, that Iran rivals. For China, its presence and expansion in the Middle East is not merely about economic benefits; this presence is equally driven by the emerging US-China global rivalry and China’s desire to push back against erstwhile US hegemony and domination of the Middle East since the Second World War.

As such, when China’s foreign minister went on a tour to the Middle East last week, he was not merely looking to sign a deal with Iran; he was more interested in and largely focused on introducing new rules of the game that focus, first and foremost, on economic engagement and connectivity. Rather than traditional Gulf tensions. Therefore, while Wang Yi met Saudia’s Crown Prince, MBS, and supported Saudi stance to oppose any “interference” in the internal affairs by any external player, Wang also offered MBS, who is currently not on good terms with the Joe Biden administration, an opportunity to engage with China “to explore and find a path of development that fits its own conditions.” This path, as Wang emphasised in an interview with Saudia’s official news channel, Al Arabiya, can be found only when Gulf countries can “break free from the shadows of big-power geopolitical rivalry and [be able to] independently explore development paths suited to its regional realities.”

As it stands, China has offered Saudi Arabia the same path it has signed up with Iran. Therefore, China, while it does not want to get entangled in the cross-web of geo-political rivalries in the Persian Gulf, aims to chart a new course whereby countries in the region can stick to an agenda that maintains a strict separation between geo-economics and geo-political and/or ideological rivalries including those around Sunni & Shia faiths and organisations like Muslim Brotherhood.

Therefore, while China signed a multi-billion dollar deal with Iran that includes development projects and enhanced oil production and supplies, China’s growing ties with Saudi Arabia, too, include an increasing Saudi desire to enhance Saudi supply of oil to China and secure Chinese investment in fields ranging from petrochemical, nuclear energy and other energy fields, further expanding it into new fields such as 5G, telecommunication and digital technologies. Saudi Arabia, MBS affirmed, is also willing to make joint efforts with China to push forward the free trade negotiations between China and Gulf countries.

Therefore, by offering both rivals a somewhat similar paradigm of economic development that bypasses geo-political tensions and rivalries, China is building an economic landscape that would leave minimum room for external payers, like the US, to continue to manipulate the Gulf to its advantage as it has been doing for the past many decades.

As such, whereas Chinese investment in Iran offers the latter an opportunity to break economic shackles imposed by the US through economic sanctions, for Saudi Arabia, China offers an opportunity to reshape its ties with the US at a time when the Joe Biden administration appears unwilling to accept MBS as the future king.

By offering states in the Gulf an opportunity to diversify their external geo-economic ties and reduce dependence on the US, China is posing a serious challenge to the US position in West Asia, which has mostly relied on using the precarious geo-political scenario to keep itself militarily entrenched and maintain a relationship that served, first and foremost, the US military industrial complex. At the same time, for the Middle Eastern states, China’s economic path is a way out of their decades old reliance on oil as a primary source of national income.

For China itself, it is pivoting to the Middle East at a time when the Joe Biden administration is trying to assemble an anti-China coalition through the QUAD, a group of countries that includes the US, Japan, India and Australia. China, by simultaneously approaching rival countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey and the UAE, is posing a counter-challenge to the US ambitions, making it more and more difficult for the US to realise its “containment” of China ambitions at the global level.

The fact that China’s multi-billion dollar deals have received a very warm reception speaks volumes about how the Gulf itself is keen to transform its geo-economic landscape. In this sense, China-Gulf ties become, unlike US-Gulf ties, a fruit of a path that converges to serve mutual interests.

China’s pact with Iran and its deepening ties with other Gulf countries, therefore, has the potential to completely upend the prevailing geo-economic scenario. With the Gulf countries’ ability to diversify their ties and radically reduce their over-dependence on the US, the region’s geo-political scenario could also undergo a dramatic change.

Therefore, it would be wrong to grasp China-Iran deal as an isolated event. The fact that Wang has toured Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Oman, and the UAE shows how China is embracing the region as a whole through a single framework of policy that is very largely underpinned by economic development. The fact that Saudi Arabia, to China’s utter joy, even refused to back the US campaign against China’s alleged “genocide” of Uyghur shows how China, to the disappointment of the US, continues to earn more and more acceptability.

Salman Rafi Sheikh is a research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs.

April 1, 2021 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | 2 Comments

Papers reveal US-backed Brazil’s role in installing and supporting Pinochet in Chile

By Kit Klarenberg | RT | April 1, 2021

Washington’s involvement in the violent overthrow of the democratically elected government of Chile in September 1973 is by this point well known. The pivotal role played by Brazil has not been as clear until now.

On the anniversary of the 1964 US-backed coup that led to Brazilian President Joao Goulart being replaced by a military junta, the National Security Archive has published a trove of previously classified documents showing the role that junta later played in subverting democracy in Chile, and its subsequent support of General Augusto Pinochet’s brutal repression of political opponents.

The file trail begins September 22, 1970, 18 days after Salvador Allende of the Popular Unity alliance narrowly won the Chilean presidency. A document, prepared for General Emilio Garrastazu Medici – then the third president of Brazil’s military dictatorship – summarizes a recent meeting between the US ambassador to Chile, Edward Korry, and his Brazilian counterpart.

Following Allende’s victory, Korry, a veteran diplomat during the administrations of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, vowed that “not a nut or bolt shall reach Chile” under the socialist’s rule, and if and when he took office in November that year, the US would “do all within our power to condemn Chile and the Chileans to utmost deprivation and poverty.”

Accordingly, the summary makes clear US plans to undermine Allende were well underway by the time the two ambassadors met.

“Following direct orders from the White House,” Korry was said to be “insinuating to all relevant sectors” that Chile would have “difficulties” – including a shortage of foreign credit and military aid – should the country’s Congress confirm Allende as leader. He also noted the US Embassy was distributing written material warning of the dangers of an Allende government to Chilean military commanders, the very elements that would brutally take power three years later.

Korry’s message was clearly received loud and clear, for in March the next year – five months after Allende’s confirmation – Chilean ambassador to Brasilia Raul Rettig submitted a troubling report to his foreign ministry, titled ‘Brazilian Army possibly conducting studies on guerrillas being introduced into Chile’.

Rettig – who, two decades later, chaired the country’s first ‘truth commission’, which investigated human rights abuses during Pinochet’s rule – had heard from multiple sources that the Brazilian regime was extensively evaluating how to instigate violent insurrection in Chile and overthrow the Allende government via an “armed movement.”

Plans were well developed already, with the military having established a dedicated ‘war room’, with maps and models of the Andean mountain range along the Chilean border, to plan infiltration operations. A number of Brazilian secret agents had also reportedly “entered the country as tourists, with the intention of gathering more background on possible regions where a guerrilla movement might operate,” Rettig’s report revealed.

Brasilia was highly confident of success. In a November 1971 meeting at the White House, President Medici assured Richard Nixon that Allende “would be overthrown for very much the same reasons that Goulart had been,” and Chile’s military was up to the task. He added that Brazil had been “exchanging many officers with the Chileans, and made clear that Brazil was working towards this end.”

In return, the US president pledged “to be helpful in this area,” such as providing “discreet aid,” on the basis that “we must try and prevent new Allendes and Castros and try, where possible, to reverse these trends.” A contemporary CIA intelligence memorandum noted that, to Brazilian military top brass, Washington “obviously” wanted Brasilia to “do the dirty work” in Chile and elsewhere in Latin America.

By July the next year, Brazil had established back-channel communications with Chilean army officers, covertly flying them into the country to meet with high-ranking authorities and begin plotting the downfall of Allende. An August 1973 Brazilian intelligence report details a summit at an airbase in Santiago, at which high-level Chilean military officials were given extensive briefings on Brazil’s own military coup nine years earlier, in the process learning “useful” lessons for their own impending action.

So, it was that, on September 11, 1973, the Chilean military stormed the presidential palace and took power by force. Ground troops were assisted by British-made Hawker Hunter aircraft, which bombed the building and suppressed rooftop snipers. Allende also died in the fighting, and while investigators have ruled it was suicide, some still question that conclusion, arguing that he was in fact murdered.

In the process, Chile – hitherto an aberrant beacon of democracy and stability in a region typified by dictatorships – became a military junta, led by General Pinochet. Death squads immediately set about rounding up thousands of known or suspected Chilean leftists in the country, imprisoning up to 40,000 people in the country’s National Stadium.

The new files make it clear that Brazil moved very quickly to legitimize the new regime, racing to become the first country to officially recognize Pinochet’s despotism, and drafting speeches for the government’s representatives at the United Nations General Assembly to palliate the bloodshed unfolding in Santiago.

Plainclothes Brazilian intelligence agents also secretly assisted Chilean officials in conducting interrogations, torture, and executions at the National Stadium. Among those detained were US citizens, and Brazilians residing in Chile, at least three of whom were of such interest to Brasilia that officials were attempting to arrange their return home.

Comparable hands-on support persisted for many years thereafter. In August 1974, Colonel Manuel Contreras, chief of Chile’s Direccion de Inteligencia Nacional (DINA), requested official passports for 12 officers for a trip to Sao Paulo, in order that they might receive training from their Brazilian counterparts.

Humberto Gordon, who later headed DINA, is named among the officers, as are individuals later involved in the assassination of Orlando Letelier in Washington DC, which was directly ordered by Pinochet.

In the wake of the coup, Letelier – a Chilean economist, politician, and diplomat during Allende’s presidency – was held for 12 months in several concentration camps, along the way being severely tortured, being released only due to international diplomatic pressure. He fled the country and took refuge in the US, becoming Pinochet’s most prominent overseas critic.

On September 21, 1976, Letelier was killed via car bomb – much of his lower torso was blown away and his legs severed. Documents previously unearthed by the National Security Archive indicate that US officials had foreknowledge of the assassination, but transmission of a State Department communiqué warning the Chilean government against carrying it out was blocked by then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. … Full article

April 1, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Economics, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Warships & submarines entering zone of Nord Stream 2 pipeline in ‘planned & prepared provocations’ to obstruct work

By Jonny Tickle | RT | April 1, 2021

With the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline nearing completion and US sanctions against contractors failing to stop its construction, its operator has reported an increased “provocative” activity of warships in the area.

According to Moscow news agency TASS, Nord Stream 2 AG’s branch director, Andrey Minin, claimed that the last three months have seen a growth in military presence in the area.

“After the resumption of Nord Stream 2 offshore construction in January 2021, there has been an increase in activity of military ships, planes, and helicopters, as well as civilian ships of foreign countries, whose actions are often provocative in nature,” Minin said, noting that the presence of these vessels could damage the pipeline.

According to Minin, there is a 1.5-mile (2.4-km) safety zone around the site that boats not involved in the construction should not enter.

Nevertheless, foreign military ships are regularly seen nearby. He also noted that a Polish anti-submarine aircraft regularly circles the area at a low altitude.

Minin listed several incidents that occurred in the last few days, including an unidentified submarine passing just a mile away from the anchor of ‘Fortuna’, the pipe-laying ship. Recent weeks have also seen fishing vessels enter the work protection zone.

“We are talking about clearly planned and prepared provocations, both with the use of fishing vessels and warships, submarines and aircraft in order to obstruct the economic project,” he said. “This is perhaps the first and unprecedented case of its kind in history.”

Nord Stream 2 will connect Germany directly to Russia via the Baltic Sea. It aims to protect Berlin’s energy security and make it less reliant on third countries to transit gas, also lowering prices. Much of the European Union’s energy comes from Russia via Ukraine, and Kiev receives hefty fees for pipeline usage.

The project has been constantly opposed by Washington, which claims it is a threat to the energy security of Europe. In an attempt to stop its completion, the White House has imposed sanctions on companies involved in its construction. Thus far, 95% of the pipeline has been built.

April 1, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | Leave a comment

MILITARY INDUSTRIAL BOONDOGGLE

By Paul Robinson | IRRUSSIANALITY | March 29, 2021

Today in my defence policy course my students and I shall be spending some time discussing defence procurement. As luck would have it, as I was munching on my morning bread and marmalade, a highly relevant article swam into view in the op-ed page of my local rag, The Ottawa Citizen, after which I then discovered a new US report on a similar topic.

The Citizen article concerns Canada’s shockingly badly managed naval shipbuilding program. Written by a former Assistant Deputy Minister of Defence, Alan Williams, the article declares that ‘Canada’s Warship Program is Sinking Fast.’ In this Williams reports that Canada’s plan to build 15 new surface combatants originally had

an estimated cost of $26 billion, with deliveries to begin in the early 2020s. Today, the forecasted costs to build these ships is far beyond that. Deliveries are to start in the early 2030s, a decade later than scheduled … [The Parliamentary Budget Office] estimates that it will cost $77.3 billion … to maintain these ships over their expected total life-cycle would amount to an additional $208 billion, for a total life-cycle cost of $286 billion. In comparison, the funds available in DND’s [Department of National Defence] budget over the next 30 years to acquire and maintain its capital goods for the army, navy and air force combined is only $240 billion. This program alone would bankrupt the department’s capital and maintenance accounts for the next 30 years.

Despite this, DND insists that, ‘It will neither entertain a new design nor undertake a new procurement process.’ Williams adds that the United States is building very similar ships for about one-third of the price of the Canadian ones, and also that DND rejected an offer by the Italian company Fincantieri to build the ships in Canada ‘at a fixed cost of $30 billion’, less than half what DND is now paying. ‘As currently planned, these ships will likely never be built. They are simply unaffordable,’ concludes Williams.

But could the government cancel such a project after throwing so much money at it? That’s where the US report comes in. Published by the American Enterprise Institute, and entitled The 2020s Tri-Service Modernization Crunch, the report mentions how the shift in priorities during the War on Terror led the USA to cancel a whole series of projects originally designed for fighting wars of a different type. You can see the details in this chart, showing cancelled projects from 2002 to 2012 alone.

The ‘Sunk Cost’ column shows how much the US government had already spent on the project by the time it was cancelled. For instance, the Future Combat System, designed to revolutionize the US army by equipping it with networked vehicles, cost a staggering $22 billion before it was scrubbed. In total, in just one decade 2002-2012, projects were cancelled that had cost $81 billion. That’s $81 billion of taxpayers’ money that produced absolutely nothing! Nadda. Think about that for a second.

Waste on this scale is quite staggering. You’d think people would be outraged. But for whatever reason, it seems like nobody cares very much. It’s as if it’s just assumed that this is the cost of doing business.

Meanwhile, some people are doing very well out of it, namely defence industries. They, no doubt, would tell us all that the money isn’t wasted, because it all helps to stimulate the economy. ‘Money spent on defence boosts growth’ they tell us. But does it? I decide to check, and discovered this little table that summarizes economists’ research into the multiplier effect of defence spending.

For those of you without economics training, the multiplier effect is a measurement of how much the economy grows as a result of expenditure. The idea is that if the state spends some money on x, then that produces spending on y, which in turn produces spending on z, so that for every buck you spend, you stimulate the economy as a whole by several bucks. So what’s the multiplier of defence spending? The table tells us.

As you can see, research on the matter suggests strongly that for every dollar spend on defence, you get less than a dollar’s growth in the economy, with most studies showing a multiplier of around 0.6.

So, defence spending isn’t so great for the economy after all. I can’t say that I’m surprised. Yet somehow, we allow huge sums of money to be squandered on unnecessary and grotesquely overpriced military projects. I don’t know about you, but it suggests to me that there’s something seriously wrong with our democracy.

PS. An article published yesterday in Sputnik News tells us that the Russian Navy is planning to test its new Zircon hypersonic missile at the start of the summer. Coming on top of the deployment of Russia’s Avangard intercontinental hypersonic glide missile, this puts Russia well ahead of the rest of the world in the realm of hypersonic technology. Russia’s defence spending is about three times that of Canada in raw dollar terms (about $65 v. $22 billion). Yet, it’s in a completely different league. We can’t build a few ships. They can develop hypersonic missiles. All of which makes me think that raw numbers of defence spending don’t tell us everything. Just as important is how effectively the money is spent. From that perspective, we don’t seem to be doing so well.

March 29, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | | 2 Comments

Stoltenberg Comes Clean on China ‘Opportunity’ for NATO

By Finian Cunningham | Strategic Culture Foundation | March 28, 2021

In an unguarded moment, NATO’s secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg let the cat out of the bag when he described the rise of China as both a challenge and “an opportunity”. What he was admitting unintentionally is that a confrontational policy toward China gives the military alliance some badly needed new purpose.

Stoltenberg was giving an exclusive interview to Deutsche Welle to mark the first ministerial NATO summit attended by the Biden administration. The two-day summit held on March 23-24 at NATO headquarters in Brussels involved in-person participation of U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken as well as other foreign ministers of the 30-nation military alliance.

The NATO meeting comes as the United States and its European allies are ramping up a coordinated policy of sanctions against China and Russia over alleged human rights issues. This week saw an unprecedented coordination by the U.S., Canada, Britain and the European Union in implementing new sanctions against Beijing and Moscow. It is no coincidence that this provocative development comes after high-profile international meetings, both in-person and via videoconferencing, by the Biden administration calling for allies to adopt a more adversarial and unified position toward China and Russia.

The Biden administration has changed tack from the predecessor Trump “America First” policy to vigorously advocate for a “revitalized” transatlantic relationship. Washington views a more unified U.S.-Europe axis as a more effective strategic way to challenge China and Russia. And NATO is providing a renewed coordinating vehicle.

But in seeking unity, the Biden administration is by necessity having to push a much more aggressive policy toward China and Russia, portraying them as greater threats. This means the American military alliance takes on greater responsibility for spearheading Washington’s policy. A NATO joint statement this week affirmed the alliance’s unity in the face of Russian “aggression”. Moscow slammed the statement, saying that Russia threatened no nation, and that NATO was trying to justify its existence.

Senior Russian lawmaker Leonid Slutsky said that NATO’s claims about being a defensive alliance are a “blatant lie”, pointing to wars and interventions it has launched in former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.

America’s top diplomat Antony Blinken this week claimed that China’s rise and Russia’s attempts to destabilize the West were “threats” that required NATO to come together. Blinken added disingenuously that the U.S. won’t force its allies into making an “us or them choice” with China. That’s exactly what the U.S. is doing.

Jens Stoltenberg and other European leaders have been swooning over the “new chapter” in transatlantic relations under the Biden administration. After four years of dealing with vulgar-mouth Donald Trump and his relentless hectoring over military budgets, some European leaders are sighing with relief at Biden’s seemingly dulcet assurances that “America is back”.

Of course people like Stoltenberg, a former Norwegian prime minister who has been the civilian head of NATO since 2014, are reliant on pushing a stronger alliance for their comfy livelihoods and no doubt for future sinecures at corporate-funded think-tanks. Stoltenberg is constantly striving to find a new vision and mission for NATO, an organization founded over 70 years ago at the start of the Cold War, and which has been expanding ever since despite the official end of the Cold War three decades ago. The buzz phrase he uses is to make the alliance “future-proof” – that is to find a permanent pretext for the U.S.-led military organization to continue its existence regardless of real-world security needs.

In his interview with Deutsche Welle this week, Stoltenberg commented on the rise of China. He said, inferring something menacing: “China is coming closer to us, investing in our critical infrastructure.”

Well maybe that’s because China is the world’s biggest trading partner with the European Union and a major foreign direct investor in European nations which have become bankrupt from decades of neoliberal capitalism and austerity.

Stoltenberg went on: “There’s no way we can avoid addressing the security consequences for our regional alliance of the rise of China and the shift in the global balance of power.”

And then the usually cautious, wooden Stoltenberg let it slip: China, he said, provided “a unique opportunity to open a new chapter in the relationship between North America — the United States — and Europe.”

Voila! So the real strategic value of China being presented as a “threat” or an “adversary” is to give a new purpose to the U.S.-led NATO bloc which subordinates Europe to Washington’s geopolitical objective of hegemony. The emphasis here is on China “being presented as a threat” and not what the real relationship actually is, that is, one of a vital economic partner. (Same for Russia and its vast energy partnership with Europe.)

The United States in pursuit of global dominance by its corporations and its capitalist order must, by definition, thwart a multipolar global political economy which the rise of China and Russia embody.

The fiendish political problem, however, is that Washington and its European surrogates cannot justify such a stance based on the normal and natural relations that exist. For in doing that, they would be seen as obnoxious, unwarranted aggressors. It is imperative therefore to conflate China and Russia as “security threats” to the presumed Western “rules-based order”.

Never mind that the Western “rules-based order” has seen NATO powers trashing rules and order by invading countries all around the world, waging criminal wars and subversions, killing millions of people and unleashing terrorism and other security threats stemming from collapsing nations and mass migration.

Forget about China, or Russia, being an alleged threat. They are in actual fact an “opportunity” for NATO and U.S. imperialism, which the alliance ultimately serves, to find an excuse for their criminal existence and conduct. Just ask the secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg (who, as the jokes goes, is more secretary than he is general).

March 28, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , , | 4 Comments

GEERT V. BOSSCHE: WHISTLEBLOWER OR TROJAN HORSE? COVID VAX ENHANCE ZOONOTIC RISK

ice.age.farmer | March 19, 2021

Geert Vanden Bossche has made a splash by coming out against the current COVID-19 vaccinations — but is he genuine, or revealing the next leg of the agenda? Either way, his explicit warning about the enhanced risk of zoonotic spread is worth discussing.

March 27, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | | 1 Comment

Iran, China to sign cooperation document

IRNA – March 27, 2021

Tehran – Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Friday night that Iran and China would sign the 25-year Cooperation document on Saturday.

Speaking to IRIB TV Channel 1, Khatibzadeh said that China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi is visiting Iran on the verge of the 50th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries and the document would be signed in this trip.

The Chinese Foreign Minister, who arrived in Tehran Friday night, is also going to have meetings with a number of Iranian authorities, according to the Spokesman.

He also said that the cooperation document was discussed in 2015, when the Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Iran, to lead bilateral ties to a comprehensive and strategic level.

“Relations between Iran and China are multi-layered, deep and having different dimension and this necessitates them to be included in a document. Therefore, the document has been exchanged between the two states for several times and it will eventually be signed on Saturday by Foreign Ministers,” Khatibzadeh went on to say.

The document has a comprehensive road-map, said the diplomat, adding that the economic dimension, as the main axis of the document, includes cooperation in different areas, as well as Iran’s participation in One Road, One Belt initiative and special focus on the private sector in both countries.

“No comprehensive strategic participation is established unless the exact cultural, popular and media basis is formed. This has been addressed in the cultural part of the document,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman said, adding “We expect the document to serve as a road-map for Iran-China relations in the next 25 years.”

March 27, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism | , | 1 Comment

Reminding South Korea Who is Boss: Biden’s Enforcers Pay a Visit

BY GREGORY ELICH | CounterPunch | March 25, 2021

In a Washington Post opinion piece, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spelled out their objectives in visiting Japan, South Korea, and India. “The United States is now making a big push to revitalize our ties with friends and partners,” they wrote. The nature of those relationships, as perceived by Washington, is the subordination of Asian nations as junior partners in an anti-China coalition. “Our alliances are what our military calls ‘force multipliers,’ Blinken and Austin explain. “Our combined power makes us stronger when we must push back against China’s aggression and threats.” [1]

That approach found a receptive audience in meetings with Japanese officials, who recognize it as offering a path to remilitarization. Results in South Korea were more ambiguous. By a substantial margin, China is South Korea’s primary trading partner, and relations between the two nations are generally solid. South Korea has no rational reason to join Washington’s fanatical anti-China campaign, no matter how much pressure the United States applies. A difference of opinion between Washington’s envoys and South Korean officials can be inferred by comparing the joint U.S.-Japan statement with South Korea’s, as only the latter lacked China-bashing verbiage.

Blinken and Austin appear to have been more successful in reminding South Korean officials that no independent action should be taken to improve inter-Korean relations and in making it understood that Washington calls the shots. The two sides agreed to establish a “working-level diplomatic dialogue” process to align policy regarding North Korea and other matters. [2]In their joint statement, Korean and American officials affirmed that their two nations “are closely coordinating on all issues related to the Korean Peninsula” and that “these issues should be addressed through a fully-coordinated strategy toward North Korea.” [3]

Not that Blinken and Austin found their position on North Korea a hard sell. Although peace and improved inter-Korean relations matter deeply to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, he attaches more importance to the military alliance with the United States. In an article published at the end of 2019, Moon argued, “No matter how desperately peace is desired, Korea cannot afford to race ahead on its own. It has counterparts and must move within the international order.” Support from the “international community” is needed, Moon claims, while using the standard term signifying the several thousand people at the top rungs of power in the United States and excluding the nearly eight billion people in the rest of the world’s population. [4] Moon’s statement is consistent with other comments he has made, such as in his New Year’s address, where he stated, “If we can draw support from the international community in the process,” then the door to peace will “open wide.” [5] No role there for South Korea, other than as supplicant.

Joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises were well underway during Bliken’s and Austin’s time in Seoul. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, war games were conducted via computer simulation. Concurrently, the U.S. deployed F-22 Raptor stealth fighters to participate in joint exercises with the Japanese military. [6] According to a South Korean military official, “The deployment is significant as an alert to North Korea as well as deterrence to China, given F-22s’ operational radius and performance.” [7]

None of this went unnoticed in Pyongyang. Kim Yo Jong, Vice Department Director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, dismissed South Korean claims that the military exercises are defensive. While no details of the drilled scenarios have been publicly released, past war games customarily practiced the bombing and invasion of North Korea as well as sending commando teams into the north to assassinate government officials. There is no reason to suppose that the latest exercises pose a unique exception. Kim called the “launching of a war game against” her nation “a serious challenge” and pointed out that the “essence and nature of the drills” never changes, regardless of what form they take. [8]

It was not the first time that Pyongyang has expressed frustration over the discrepancy between Moon’s rhetoric on inter-Korean relations and his actions. Similar complaints were raised last June. By hitching its wagon to the U.S. military, the Moon administration is seriously straining ties with the north. “War drill and hostility can never go with dialogue and cooperation,” Kim stated. If South Korean authorities “persist in hostile acts” that deny dialogue and “destroy the foundation of trust through ceaseless war games,” then Pyongyang may abrogate some of the inter-Korean agreements it had signed. [9]

Some aspects of the Panmunjom Declaration, signed on April 27, 2018 by Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un, are already a dead letter. Certainly, the affirmation of “the principle of determining the destiny of the Korean nation on their own accord” has never been put into practice, as the Moon administration is unwilling to act without U.S. permission. Nor have any “practical steps” been adopted to connect and modernize rail and road connections or steps been taken to “actively implement” inter-Korean economic agreements signed in 2004. [10] After all, Washington would not approve.

“Pyongyang is pressing Seoul not to talk nonsense in the upcoming meeting with Blinken and Austin,” observed Kim Il-gi, a senior researcher at South Korea’s Institute for National Security Strategy. “And the message goes to the U.S., as well.” [11] A message, one cannot help noting, that inevitably fell on deaf ears.

The United States, too, is hoping for a change in South Korea’s approach, albeit in a decidedly different direction than that sought by North Korea. A recent report by the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security is typical of the recommendations being churned out by Washington think tanks. “The Republic of Korea and the United States should broaden their military alliance into a national security alliance in order to more effectively deal with the challenges and opportunities of this new era,” it states. Predictably, the Center lists China as the top challenge and argues that the U.S.-South Korea alliance “must be prepared to continue to deter and dissuade” China from “considering any further aggression.” South Korea ought to “prioritize security cooperation” with Southeast Asian nations “on behalf of the alliance,” the Center argues. Furthermore, “as NATO goes global in its approach in response to the challenges posed by China…NATO’s partnership with the Republic of Korea will increase in importance.” [12]

The Scowcroft Center recognizes that reliance on Chinese trade presents a roadblock in persuading South Korea to join Washington’s anti-China campaign. What South Koreans may happen to want is not a question the Center ever troubles itself with, other than to bemoan that it is necessary to “avoid forcing the Republic of Korea to make explicit, public choices in disputes between the United States and China.”

But less overtly, South Korea can be slowly moved into that position. The Center expects South Korea to join U.S. “efforts to reform international rules and institutions,” a euphemism for American plans to cut China off from much of its international trade.  Several measures are recommended that South Korea “should” adopt to align its economy with U.S. regional goals. In addition, to chip away at Chinese-Korean trade, “The Republic of Korea should join the US efforts to diversify its supply chains” and avoid “over-reliance on a single country.” [13] The essential task for South Korea, the Center insists, is that “much more must be done to reduce dependence on Chinese supply chains and protect key industries from” what it laughably calls “predatory Chinese practices.” Washington expects nations it regards as subordinates, such as South Korea, to act as pawns in maintaining American hegemony against challengers such as China.

Despite North Korea’s concerns, it appears that a resumption of full-scale military exercises on the Korean Peninsula may be on the horizon. Currently, the United States holds operational control (OPCON) over South Korean military forces in wartime. The Moon administration hopes to regain OPCON before the expiration of its term in office. Still, the key condition for doing so is completing full-scale live-action military drills to evaluate the concept. [14] According to a South Korean military source, Seoul wants to test Full Operational Capability (FOC) with a full-scale exercise in the second half of this year. [15] A successful assessment would leave only one official step, Full Mission Capability (FMC), to be completed before OPCON transfer could proceed.

Transfer of OPCON is long overdue, but predicating progress toward that decision on a resumption of live-action drills can be counted on to place a further strain on inter-Korean relations, which no doubt Washington regards as a bonus. Indeed, roiling inter-Korean waters may be the only result produced by full-scale military exercises. Robert Abrams, U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) commander, maintains that it is not enough for Seoul to pass the three official assessment stages; it would have to meet an additional 26 requirements. [16] It is a formula perfectly calculated to compel South Korea to resume live military drills while imposing endless conditions that will continually postpone OPCON transfer so that it may never take place.

Currently, relations between South Korea and Japan are at a low point over the unresolved issue of Imperial Japan’s “comfort women” system of sexual slavery, as well as Japanese trade restrictions on South Korea. The rift in relations is problematic for Washington, as it wishes to assign both nations the key role among junior partners in confronting China. As a U.S. State Department fact sheet explains, in “working to strengthen America’s relationships with our allies…[n]o relationship is more important than that between Japan and the Republic of Korea.” [17] Moon promised Blinken he would continue to reach out and try to resolve disputes with Japan. [18] However, previous conciliatory messages sent from South Korea to Japan since the Yoshihide Suga administration’s inauguration have gone unanswered. [19]

The Biden administration is currently undertaking a review to determine details of its North Korea policy, and it has attempted to contact North Korean officials through various channels. The content of the messages is not publicly known, but the Biden administration has indicated in general an intention to add other demands along with that of denuclearization. Piling on demands is not a promising approach for initiating dialogue.

North Korea chose not to respond to the Biden administration’s attempts at contact. In a statement issued during Blinken’s and Austin’s stay in Seoul, North Korean Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choe Son Hui explained that no communication or dialogue “of any kind can be possible unless the U.S. rolls back its hostile policy.” She took due note of the Biden administration’s harsh rhetoric and military activities aimed against North Korea. What North Korea is asking for is a change of tone, one that would be conducive for establishing dialogue “on an equal basis.” [20]

A more diplomatic attitude would seem not to be a tall order, but it is constitutionally foreign to the Washington establishment’s nature. It can be anticipated that President Moon may urge Biden to soften the administration’s public comments to encourage a resumption of dialogue. Whether anyone in Washington will be listening is another matter. When U.S. policymakers talk about South Korea and the United States needing to closely coordinate North Korea policy, what they have in mind is a one-way process in which the U.S. decides, and South Korea follows. On China, Seoul can expect to be subjected to mounting pressure to reduce trade, thereby providing Washington with more leverage in attempting to bully it into joining the belligerent U.S.-led anti-China alliance. The one certainty is that respect for South Korean sovereignty is not in the cards.

Notes.

[1] Antony J. Blinken and Lloyd J. Austin III, “America’s Partnerships Are ‘Force Multipliers’ in the World,” Washington Post, March 14, 2021.

[2] “S. Korea, U.S. to Launch New Working-level Policy Dialogue Aimed at Cementing Alliance,” Yonhap, March 18, 2021.

[3] “Full Text of Joint Statement of 2021 S. Korea-U.S. foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting,” Yonhap, March 18, 2021.

[4] https://english1.president.go.kr/Media/Interviews/541

[5] https://english1.president.go.kr/BriefingSpeeches/Speeches/931

[6] Nick Wilson, “Hawaii-based F-22s Land at MCAS Iwakuni to Support DFE Concept,” Pacific Air Forces, March 16, 2021.

[7] Sang-ho Yun, “U.S. Deploys F-21 [sic] Raptors in Japan,” Dong-A Ilbo, March 18, 2021.

[8] “It Will be Hard to See Again Spring Days Three Years Ago,” KCNA, March 16, 2021.

[9] “It Will be Hard to See Again Spring Days Three Years Ago,” KCNA, March 16, 2021.

[10] Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula, April 27, 2018.

[11] Won-gi Jung, “South Korea Defends Military Exercises After Kim Yo Jong Threatens Retaliation,” NK News, March 16, 2021.

[12] https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/in-depth-research-reports/report/the-future-of-the-us-rok-security-alliance/

[13] https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/in-depth-research-reports/report/the-future-of-the-us-rok-security-alliance/

[14] Mitch Shin, “South Korea, US to Prepare to Conduct Joint Military Exercise,” The Diplomat, March 2, 2021.

[15] Elizabeth Shim, “Reports: U.S., South Korea to Commence Scaled-down Military Exercises,” UPI, March 4, 2021.

[16] Lee Chul-jae, Kim Sang-jin, Shim Kyu-seok, “Opcon Timing Dashes Moon’s Hope for Transfer,” JoongAng Ilbo, January 24, 2021.

[17] https://www.state.gov/reaffirming-the-unbreakable-u-s-japan-alliance/

[18] Lee4 Chi-dong, “Moon Vows Efforts to Improve Japan Ties in Talks with Biden Aides,” Yonhap, March 18, 2021.

[19] Sarah Kim, “U.S. Working as Middleman to Help Korea-Japan Relations,” JoongAng Ilbo, March 15, 2021.

[20] “Statement of First Vice Foreign Minister of DPRK,” KCNA, March 18, 2021.

Gregory Elich is a Korea Policy Institute associate and on the Board of Directors of the Jasenovac Research Institute. He is a member of the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea, a columnist for Voice of the People, and one of the co-authors of Killing Democracy: CIA and Pentagon Operations in the Post-Soviet Period, published in the Russian language. He is also a member of the Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea and Militarism in Asia and the Pacific. His website is https://gregoryelich.org 

March 25, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , | 1 Comment