Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Pennsylvania legislator quoted in Atlantic story about Trump rigging election claims his words were twisted

‘I never said that’

RT | September 26, 2020

A recent story in The Atlantic suggested Donald Trump was working to appoint his supporters to the Electoral College so they can help swing the election his way, but one of the interviewees is now slamming the story as fake news.

“The story is pure conjecture,” Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman told the Washington Examiner.

Corman says he spoke to Atlantic writer Barton Gellman last month and the conversation turned to a handful of hypothetical scenarios regarding the Electoral College.

The story insinuates that Trump’s campaign is working with Republican state legislators to appoint electors who support him to the Electoral College, so that even if people vote one way, the electors could go against them.

“The genesis of the story is that, despite Pennsylvania voting one way with the voters, that the Legislature could step in and thwart that and appoint their own electors. I never said that.”

Corman claims the entire basis of the article doesn’t stand up to fact since, in Pennsylvania, the legislature has nothing to do with picking electors.

“To the best of my knowledge, looking through election code law, there is not a role for the Legislature in this. And so, the premise of the story is false. I think it was done to inflame individuals, which certainly has spurred a lot of phone calls to my office. So, I guess the writer’s intention was successful, but it’s not accurate,” he said.

Corman also said he had had “zero conversation” with the Trump campaign or administration officials about appointing electors. Electors, the senator said, are appointed by individual parties and submitted to the Department of State. Once a winner in the race is chosen, the department appoints said electors.

The Atlantic said in an editor’s note that the story, which will be part of its November print issue, was rushed to publication online because of its “urgency.” The story suggests Trump could use any means necessary to refuse to accept the results of the election if he loses, bringing the US to a dangerous “precipice.”

The author argues that if the election results are in doubt for weeks, which some have suggested could happen because of the influx of mail-in ballots, then states with Republican-led legislatures will take charge and simply appoint their own electors, who will then presumably elect Trump.

What Corman does say in the article, however, is that if the election controversy drags on and “conspiracies are created” then the legislatures may “have no choice but to appoint electors.”

The Atlantic also stoked controversy recently with a disputed story claiming that Trump frequently insulted veterans. The magazine is now being slammed once again over theories about electors in light of Corman’s comments.

“Oops. Another Atlantic fantasy story implodes,” writer Rita Panahi tweeted in reaction.

Though the basis of the lengthy ‘what if’ story is being disputed now, it had already been shared numerous times by Trump critics, who theorized that the president rigging the Electoral College or simply refusing to concede could be “completely plausible.”

September 26, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

Hack reveals UK’s propaganda campaign to drive Syrian regime change

By Johanna Ross | September 25, 2020

When I reported on the leak of Integrity Initiative documents back in 2018/19 which exposed the extent of the UK’s propaganda war against Russia, I didn’t think it could get much more organised and coordinated than it was. Involving hundreds of journalists and academics across the globe to spin disinformation about Russia and paint the country in as negative a light as possible in the mainstream media, the UK government-funded campaign was as sophisticated as the information war gets. But here we are in 2020, still uncovering the true scope of western government influence on the narrative plugged by the mainstream media. And it doesn’t speak well for our ‘democracy’.

On 8th September the hacker group Anonymous published shocking revelations of how a concerted and organised campaign has been waged to support the anti-government rebels in Syria. One set of documents relates to the NGO ARK, which although brands itself as a humanitarian organisation, effectively functions as a vehicle for western-led regime change. In one of the papers it states:

‘ARK’s focus since 2012 has been delivering highly effective, politically- and conflict-sensitive Syria programming for the governments of the United Kingdom, United States, Denmark, Canada, Japan and the European Union.’

This is a somewhat different picture from the mission statement on their website:

‘ARK was created in order to assist the most vulnerable, particularly refugees, the displaced and those impacted by conflict and instability.’

Sounds lovely doesn’t it? But this organisation is far from charitable. In the last few years it has received $66 million from western governments to drive regime change in Syria. It boasts of relationships with Syrian opposition members that have been built up ‘over the years’, and we know that they date as far back as 2011, if not before, as its  documents read ‘ARK staff are in regular contact with activists and civil society actors whom they initially met during the outbreak of protests in spring 2011’.

ARK also had a targeted propaganda campaign package for Syrian media. In the documents it is discussed how best to reach Syrian audiences to promote the regime change narrative, with success being achieved it is said, on digital media such as Facebook, but also through broadcast media. If there was ever any evidence that the mainstream media was bought, this is it:

‘To achieve a strong digital presence, ARK/Accadian will draw on its existing relationships with media organisations… Using its existing networks and connections, ARK/Accadian would target key Syrian satellite TV networks (Orient TV, Souria al-Shaab, Souria al-Ghad, Barada) and regional Arabic networks and primary international channels.’

What is extraordinary is the repeated use of the word ‘independent’ to describe the media outlets being promoted by ARK. The authors are clearly blissfully unaware that by interfering in the media of this sovereign state to promote the overthrow of the government, the media can hardly be termed ‘independent’ but instead an arm of the British state and its own particular political aims and objectives. The document reads:

‘Since ARK first began training citizen journalists in 2012, as part of HMG’s efforts to develop professional, 2 independent and self-sufficient local Syrian media organisations, it has trained more than 200 journalists and has been a key implementer of a multi-donor effort to develop media platforms inside Syria, maintaining close links with these organisations’.

It boasts having produced over 2000 news reports for various mainstream Arabic channels, including Orient, Al Arabiya, Al Jazeera and Sky Arabic which it says are ‘broadcast almost every day’. Some of the statements are pure, straightforward admissions of propaganda:

‘ARK has also facilitated contact between the Syrian opposition and international media, seeking to address the perception of an uncoordinated opposition by fostering the image of a united front.’

It is extraordinary the sheer brassneck with which this author writes about manipulating the Syrian public through propaganda. It has the stated goal of creating the impression of a united Syrian opposition, which of course there never was.

These documents contrast with the UK government’s website on ‘what it is doing in Syria’. There we are told that British involvement is limited to humanitarian aid as it ‘suspended all services of the British Embassy in Damascus and withdrew all diplomatic personnel from Syria in 2012’. The Anonymous hack shows that this is far from the truth. There has clearly been considerable British involvement in fostering regime change in Syria. If it weren’t for these leaked documents, the UK taxpayer would remain completely ignorant as to what foreign meddling is being carried out in his or her name.

For more detailed analysis and context of the hacked documents, please see Ben Norton’s report on The GrayZone.

Johanna Ross is a journalist based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

September 25, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 2 Comments

Tehran: Guardian report meant to paint black picture of Iran rights situation

Press TV | September 24, 2020

Tehran has denounced a recent report by Britain’s Guardian newspaper about Iran’s treatment of duly convicted prisoners in the country, saying such “commissioned” reports are an attempt to portray the human rights situation inside the Islamic Republic in a negative light.

“The purpose of these commissioned reports, which are meant to paint a black picture of the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran, especially at the current juncture, is crystal clear,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Wednesday.

He also noted that politicking and selective measures on the part of the United States and some European governments have always dealt the biggest blows to the principle of human rights.

Earlier, The Guradian reported that France, Germany and the UK were summoning Iranian envoys in a protest against Iran’s “detention of dual nationals and its treatment of political prisoners.”

Iran’s Ambassador to London Hamid Baeidinejad was summoned by the Foreign Office on Tuesday and the ambassadors to Paris and Berlin are also being called in this week, it added.

Khatibzadeh said that Iran considers the statements and actions of certain European countries as interference in its domestic affairs, adding that relevant authorities have adopted necessary response in this regard and will do so hereafter.

“It is very strange and unbelievable for us that the same countries not only have not reacted to the gross violations of Iranian nation’s rights by the US regime’s inhumane policy of maximum pressure and its oppressive sanctions, but are also fueling it practically by their inaction and are complicit in it,” he emphasized.

The US unleashed the so-called maximum pressure campaign against Iran in 2018, when it left the 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement.

Following its unilateral withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Washington targeted the Iranian nation with the “toughest ever” economic sanctions.

Tehran remained fully compliant with the JCPOA for an entire year after the US pullout, waiting for the co-signatories to fulfill their end of the bargain by offsetting the impacts of Washington’s bans on the Iranian economy.

Buckling under Washington’s pressure, the European parties to the JCPOA, namely France, Germany and the UK, failed to do so, causing Tehran to move in May 2019 to suspend its commitments under the accord.

The European inaction comes as the sanctions are taking a heavy toll on the Iranian health sector at a time the Islamic Republic, along with other world nations, is fighting to rein in a deadly coronavirus outbreak.

September 24, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | 2 Comments

Western media manufactured narratives to rally support for Syria militants: Report

Press TV – September 24, 2020

Western governments and their media outlets have been concocting narratives to sway public opinion in favor of militant groups operating in the Arab country, according to a report.

Citing leaked documents, the investigative journalism group Grayzone revealed in a report published on its news website on Wednesday that Western governments and their affiliated news agencies carefully organized English- and Arabic-language media coverage of the war in Syria to drum up support for the militant groups there.

“Virtually every aspect of the Syrian opposition was cultivated and marketed by Western government-backed public relations firms, from their political narratives to their branding, from what they said to where they said it,” the article said.

The group said US and European contractors trained and advised Syrian “opposition” leaders, including young media activists, at all levels and organized interviews for them on mainstream outlets such as the BBC and the UK’s Channel 4.

“Western government public relation firms not only influenced the way the media covered Syria, but as the leaked documents reveal, they produced their own propagandistic pseudo-news for broadcast on major TV networks in the Middle East, including BBC Arabic, Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and Orient TV,” Grayzone said.

The UK-funded firms functioned full-time to serve the militant outfits in Syria, according to the article, with one contractor, called InCoStrat, saying it was in constant contact with a network of more than international 1,600 journalists and “influencers,” and used them to promote anti-Damascus narratives.

The leaked documents also revealed that the Western government contractor, ARK, had played a role in “popularizing” the so-called civil defense group the White Helmets in American and European media.

“ARK ran the social media accounts of the White Helmets, and helped turn the Western-backed group into a key propaganda weapon of the Syrian opposition,” the article said.

The so-called White Helmets have been implicated by Syria and its ally Russia in numerous violations, including working with Takfiri militants in the Arab country and staging false-flag gas attacks to be blamed on Damascus as an excuse for Western allies to attack Syria.

ARK also ran an anti-Damascus propaganda outlet called Moubader, which developed a huge following on social media, including more than 200,000 likes on Facebook. The Western government contractor also printed 15,000 copies per month of a “high-quality hard copy” Moubader magazine and distributed in militant-held areas of Syria.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011.

Idlib, in northwestern Syria, and small parts of an adjacent area in Aleppo form the only large areas in the hands of militants after the Syrian military managed to undo militant gains across the country and bring back almost all of Syrian soil under government control.

Idlib is now held by an array of militants dominated by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) Takfiri group, which is led by members of the former al-Qaeda franchise.

The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups that are wreaking havoc in the country.

September 24, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | 1 Comment

The American deep state revives its tired allegations of Russian interference in November’s presidential elections

By Scott Ritter | RT | September 23, 2020

CIA and FBI officials, helped by MSM chums, allege the Kremlin’s running a campaign to denigrate Joe Biden. But where’s the evidence? The real threat to US democracy isn’t Russia, but the anonymous sources behind the claims.

There have been a spate of reports recently, alleging Russian interference in the 2020 US presidential election, specifically the charge that Russian President Vladimir Putin is seeking to “sow divisiveness and discord” to “denigrate” the Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, and undermine public confidence in the legitimacy of the electoral process.

While allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election continue to be bandied about by those who believe that President Donald Trump’s victory over Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton was solely due to Russian malfeasance, the new allegations arise from a separate set of facts unique to this year’s race.

These are the efforts of Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and the Republican chairmen of the Senate Homeland Security and Finance Committees (Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley, respectively) to uncover evidence of corruption on the part of Joe Biden and his son Hunter regarding the latter’s relationship with Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company. These efforts have led to the release of an 87-page joint report, titled ‘Hunter Biden, Burisma, and Corruption: The Impact on U.S. Government Policy and Related Concerns’, published by Senator’s Johnson and Grassley on September 22.

There is nothing substantively new in the report that has not already been publicly disclosed previously. The difference is that Giuliani, Johnson, and Grassley have made extensive use of information provided to them by a pro-Russian member of the Ukrainian Parliament, Andriy Derkach, in fleshing out the allegations of corruption leveled against Joe and Hunter Biden. The information contained in the report does not significantly further the case against either Joe or Hunter Biden and, if left to its own devices, the report would most likely have been ignored by the voting public.

But the Derkach angle has caught the eye of elements within the US intelligence community and the FBI, who have used the connection between Giuliani, Johnson, and Grassley on the one hand, and Derkach on the other, to promote their own conspiracy theories linking the Russian government to the revelations. This linkage was furthered by the fact that Derkach was singled out by the US Department of Treasury in August for being “an active Russian agent for over a decade,” who employed “manipulation and deceit to attempt to influence elections in the United States.”

Derkach’s activities were also the subject of a classified CIA assessment published on August 31 in the CIA World Intelligence Review. But the CIA took it a step further, stating: “We assess that President Vladimir Putin and the senior-most Russian officials are aware of and probably directing Russia’s influence operations aimed at denigrating the former U.S. Vice President, supporting the U.S. President and fueling public discord ahead of the U.S. election in November.”

Details of this classified CIA assessment were shared with Josh Rogin, an opinion columnist with the Washington Post (and vehement opponent of Trump), who published them in a column that appeared in his newspaper on September 22. According to Rogin, the information about the CIA assessment came from two unnamed sources “familiar with” the report. Rogin claims he withheld details about the intelligence used to form the assessment at the request of his sources to protect them and their methods.

Rogin’s ‘scoop’ comes on the heels of similar claims put forward in written testimony to Congress by the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, William Evanina, in early August. “We assess that Russia is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden and what it sees as an anti-Russia ‘establishment,’” Evanina wrote. “This is consistent with Moscow’s public criticism of him when he was Vice President for his role in the Obama administration’s policies on Ukraine and its support for the anti-Putin opposition inside Russia.”

Evanina’s concerns were echoed by FBI Director Christopher Wray, who testified before the House Homeland Security Committee on September 17. “We certainly have seen very active, very active efforts by the Russians to influence our election in 2020 … to both sow divisiveness and discord and … to denigrate Vice President Biden,” Wray said.

Both Evanina and Wray drew heavily on the efforts by Derkach to assist Giuliani, Johnson, and Grassley in their aim of digging up dirt on Joe and Hunter Biden. Wray’s testimony, when viewed in conjunction with the Rogin revelations about the CIA’s assessment, appears to be timed to pre-empt the impact of the Johnson-Grassley report.

If that’s true, then the FBI director, together with whomever in the intelligence community leaked the details of the CIA’s assessment to Rogin, are guilty of the kind of politicization of intelligence that undermines public confidence in the US system of government far more than any thinly sourced allegations about Russian interference.

One can scour the government’s organizational charts, looking in vain for an entity that describes itself as the ‘deep state’, and the efforts will be in vain. But the deep state exists. It exists in the form of so-called intelligence professionals who craft analysis about alleged foreign interference in domestic American politics, derived from secret ‘sources and methods’, which is then leaked to a willing recipient in the press who publishes it for the sole purpose of undermining a sitting president on the eve of a national election, without disclosing what these ‘sources and methods’ are.

It exists in the form of an organization, the FBI, that is already stinging from the public disclosure of its massive failings on issues related to allegations of Russian collusion on the part of a sitting president (the Mueller Report fiasco, the disaster that was the Steele Dossier, and the incompetence manifested in the Carter Page FISA warrant process, to name but a few) suddenly seeking relevance – and, one might say, revenge – by speculating on the domestic impact of the same allegations put forward by the intelligence community.

The only purpose one can ascribe to these actions is the denigration of President Trump for the purpose of sowing divisiveness and discord regarding the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election – the very charge that those who embrace the CIA and FBI allegations about Russian interference have levelled against Moscow.

A reasonable person can conclude that President Trump, by questioning the legitimacy of mail-in ballots and openly speculating about voter fraud, is actively engaging in a politically motivated ploy to undermine public confidence in the election for the purpose of preparing the public for an inevitable challenge if the results point to a Biden victory.

While this is not conduct that any politician seeking elected office should engage in, it isn’t being done in the shadows, as part of a vast secret conspiracy, but rather out in the open, for all the public to see and, by extension, to opine on come election day.

That’s the difference between what Trump and his supporters are doing, and the actions of the deep state. Both are destroying public confidence in whatever the outcome may be on election night, to make the case that their candidate has the more legitimate claim to electoral victory.

Two wrongs don’t make a right, but the fact that one side – the supporters of Donald Trump – are conducting their work with complete transparency, while the other side hides behind the impenetrable walls the deep state affords them, does serve as a discriminator.

America does not need any help in undermining the foundations of democratic rule, nor does it need help in destroying public confidence in the notion of a free and fair election. The actions of both political parties have shown they are collectively and individually more than capable of accomplishing this in their own right; all an outside power need do is sit back and watch the show.

There is nothing to gain for Putin, were he to orchestrate a campaign designed to attack Joe Biden, and everything to lose. If there wasn’t an Andriy Derkach, Rudy Giuliani and Senator Johnson would have found someone just like him. The Hunter Biden/Burisma story is to Republican operatives like chum is to sharks – irresistible.

It wasn’t manufactured by Putin and co behind the Kremlin walls, but was rather the by-product of Hunter and Joe Biden’s own words and deeds. The American electorate is sophisticated enough to sort through the chaff to get to the wheat. Nothing Giuliani or Johnson did was in secret – and they most certainly don’t hide behind secret ‘sources and methods’ when making their allegations.

One cannot say the same thing for the intelligence community, the FBI, or the partisan mainstream media. At the end of the day, the information they describe as being at the heart of the alleged Russian interference – the Derkach papers – contains the same fact set as does the report published by Senators Johnson and Grassley.

The big difference, however, is how this information is packaged and marketed. The Republicans have taken the path of full transparency, where every voter is capable of discerning whether this is a matter of legitimate national concern, or a political witch hunt. Most important of all is the fact that both Johnson and Grassley are elected officials who, at the end of the day, are accountable to their respective constituencies for their conduct while in office.

The deep state, however, has taken a different path – one of secret allegations about foreign manipulation of American democratic processes. The deep state seeks to distract from the political reality of what the Republicans have done – namely, to put it all on the line for the American people to see whether the Hunter Biden/Burisma story holds water, or to conclude that the Republicans have behaved poorly.

The Republicans have given the American voter a choice – one the deep state seeks to obviate by tainting it with unfounded allegations of Russian interference. Moreover, the deep state has put forward its case in an opaque way and in a manner where those making the case cannot be held accountable to the American public because they were never elected in the first place, and have opted to keep their identities a secret.

And it is destroying American democracy as we speak.

Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and author of ‘SCORPION KING: America’s Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump.’ He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter

September 23, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

Betrayal. Infuriating, Betrayal

By Mike Whitney • Unz Review • September 23, 2020

“The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.” Joseph Conrad

Here’s your political puzzler for the day: Which of these two things poses a greater threat to the country:

  1. An incompetent and boastful president who has no previous government experience and who is rash and impulsive in his dealings with the media, foreign leaders and his critics?
  2. Or a political party that collaborates with senior-level officials in the Intel agencies, the FBI, the DOJ, the media, and former members of the White House to spy on the new administration with the intention of gathering damaging information that can be used to overthrow the elected government?

The answer is “2”, the greater threat to the country is a political party that engages in subversive activity aimed at toppling the government and seizing power. In fact, that’s the greatest danger that any country can face, an enemy from within. Foreign adversaries can be countered by diplomatic engagement and shoring up the nation’s military defenses, but traitors–who conduct their activities below the radar using a secret network of contacts and connections to inflict maximum damage on the government– are nearly unstoppable.

What the Russiagate investigation shows, is that high-ranking members of the Democrat party participated in the type of activities that are described above, they were part of an illicit coup d’etat aimed at removing Donald Trump from office and rolling back the results of the 2016 elections. It is a vast understatement to say that the operation was merely an attack on Donald Trump when, in fact, it was an attack on the system itself, a full-blown assault on the right of ordinary people to choose their own leaders. That’s what Russiagate is really all about; it was an attempt to torpedo democracy by invoking the flimsy and unverifiable claim that Trump was an agent of the Kremlin.

None of this, of course, has been discussed in a public forum because those platforms are all privately-owned media that are linked to the people who executed the junta. But for those who followed events closely, and who know what actually happened, there has never been a more serious crime in American history. What we discovered was that the permanent bureaucracy, the media and the Democrat party are riddled with strategically-placed quislings and collaborators that are willing to sabotage their own government if they are so directed. The question that immediately comes to mind is this: Who concocted this plot, who authorized the electronic eavesdropping, the confidential informants, the widespread spying, the improperly obtained warrants, the fake news, and the endless leaks to the media? Who?

What we witnessed was not just an attempted coup, it was a window into the inner-workings of a secret government operating independently from within the state. And the sedition was not confined to a few posts at the senior levels of the FBI, CIA, NSA, or DOJ. No. The corruption has saturated the entire structure, seeping down to the lower levels where career bureaucrats eagerly perform tasks that are designed to damage or incriminate elected officials. How did it ever get this bad?

And who is calling the shots? We still don’t know.

Let me pose a theory: The operation might have been concocted by former CIA-Director John Brennan, but Brennan surely is not the prime instigator, nor is Clapper, Comey or even Obama. The real person or persons who initiated the coup will likely never be known. These are the Big Money guys who operate in the shadows and who have a stranglehold on the Intelligence agencies. These are the gilded Mandarins who have their tentacles wrapped firmly around the entire state-power apparatus and who dictate policy from their leather-bound chairs at their high-end men’s clubs. These are the people who decided that Donald Trump “had to go” whatever the cost. They pulled out all the stops, engaged their assets across the bureaucracy, and launched a desperate 3 and half year-long regime change operation that blew up in their faces leaving behind a trail carnage from Washington, DC to Sydney, Australia. In contrast, Trump somehow slipped the noose and escaped largely unscathed. He was pummeled mercilessly in the media, disparaged by his political rivals, and raked over the coals by the chattering classes, but — at the end of the day– it was Trump who was left standing. Trump– who took on the entire political establishment, the Intel agencies, the FBI, the mainstream media, and the Democratic party– had beaten them all at their own game. Go figure??

Keep in mind, the Democrats have known that the Mueller probe was a fraud from as early as 2017 when the President of Crowdstrike, Shawn Henry, (who provided cyber security for the DNC) admitted to Congress that there was no forensic evidence that the DNC emails had been hacked by Russia or anyone else.

Think about that for a minute: The entire Mueller investigation was based on the assumption that Russia hacked into the DNC servers and stole the emails. We now know that never happened. The cyber-security team that conducted the investigation of the DNC computers admitted in sworn testimony before Congress that there was no evidence of “exfiltration” or pilfering of any kind. Repeat: There was no proof of hacking, no proof of Russian involvement, and no proof of foul play. The entire foundation upon which the Russia investigation was built, turned out to be false. More importantly, Democrat members of the Intelligence Committee knew it was false from the get-go, but opted to let the charade continue anyway. Why?

Because the truth didn’t matter, what mattered was getting rid of Trump by any means necessary. That’s why they used “opposition research” (Note– “Oppo” research is the hyperbolic nonsense political parties use to smear a political opponent.) to illegally obtain warrants to spy on members of the Trump team. It’s because the Democrat leadership will do anything to regain power.

By the way, we also have evidence that the warrants that were used to spy on Trump were obtained illegally. The FISA court was deliberately misled so the FBI could carry out its vendetta on Trump. Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith “did willfully and knowingly make and use a false writing and document, knowing the same to contain a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement and entry in a matter before the jurisdiction of the executive branch and judicial branch of the Government of the United States.” Bottom line: Clinesmith deliberately altered emails so that FISA applications could be renewed and the spying on the Trump campaign could continue.

So, let’s summarize:

  1. The Democrats knew there was no proof the emails were stolen; thus, they knew the Russia probe was a hoax.
  2. The Democrats knew that their fraudulent “opposition research” was being used to illegally obtain warrants to spy on the Trump camp. This makes them accessory to a crime.
  3. Finally, the Democrats continue to spread (virtually) the same Russia-Trump collusion allegations today that they did before the Mueller investigation released its report. The lies and disinformation have persisted as if the “nation’s most expensive and exhaustive investigation” had never taken place. What does this tell us about the Democrats?

On a superficial level, it tells us that they can’t be trusted because they don’t tell the truth. But on a deeper level, it expresses the party’s Ruling Doctrine, which is to control the public by means of deceit, disinformation, propaganda and lies. Only the powerful and well-connected are entitled to know the truth, everyone else must be subjected to fabrications that are crafted in a way that best coincides with the overall objectives of ruling elites. That’s why the Democrats stick with the shopworn mantra that Trump is in bed with Russia. It doesn’t matter that the theory has been thoroughly discredited and disproved. It doesn’t even matter that the theory was never the slightest bit believable to begin with. What matters is that party leaders are preventing ordinary people from knowing the truth, which is an essential part of their governing doctrine. It’s surprising that this doesn’t piss-off more Democrats, after all, it’s the ultimate expression of contempt and condescension. When someone lies to your face relentlessly, repeatedly and shamelessly, they are expressing their loathing for you. Can’t they see that?

But maybe you think this is overstating the case? Maybe you think the Dems are just trying to “cover their backside” on a matter that is purely political?

Okay, but answer this: Were the Democrats involved in a plot to overthrow the President of the United States?

Yes, they were.

Is that treason?

Yes, it is.

Then, are we really prepared to say that treason is “purely political”?

No, especially since Russiagate was not a one-off, but just the first shocking example of how the Democrats operate. If we examine the Dems approach to the Covid-19 crisis, we see that their policy is actually more destructive than the 4-year Russia fiasco.

For example, which party has imposed the most brutal, economy-eviscerating lockdowns and the most punitive mask mandates, while steadily ratcheting up the fearmongering at every opportunity? Which states suffered the most catastrophic economic damage due in large part to the edicts issued by their Democrat governors? Which party is using a public health emergency to advance the global “Reset” agenda announced at the World Economic Forum (WEF)? Which party is using the Covid-19 fraud to crash the economy, eliminate 40 million jobs, roll-back basic civil liberties and turn the United States into a NWO slave-state ruled by Wall Street bankers, Silicon Valley technocrats and Davos elites? Which party?

And which party has aligned itself with Black Lives Matter, the faux-social justice organization that is funded by foreign oligarchs that are working tirelessly to crush the emerging populist movement that supports “America First” ideals? Which party applauded while American cities burned and small businesses across the country were looted and razed by masses of hooligans engaged in an orgy of destruction? Which party’s mayors and governors rejected federal assistance to put down the riots and reestablish order so ordinary people could get back to work to provide for themselves and their families? And which party now is threatening widespread social unrest and anarchy if the upcoming presidential election does not produce the result that they or their globalist puppet-masters seek?

The Democrat party has undergone a sea-change in the last four years. There’s no trace of the party that was once headed by progressive-thinking idealists like John F Kennedy. What’s left now is a shell of its former self; a cynical, self-aggrandizing, cutthroat organization that has betrayed its base, the American people, and the country. Indeed, for all its many failings, it is the ‘betrayal’ that is the most infuriating.

September 23, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | 3 Comments

CIA releases new fiction on Putin

Press TV – September 22, 2020

The US Democratic Party and their media sycophants along with elements of the CIA are trying to make Americans believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin is directing a campaign to help Donald Trump win re-election in November, Charles Dunaway has said.

Dunaway, an American political commentator who’s based in Oregon, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Tuesday while commenting on a report which said US intelligence agencies believe President Putin is behind a disinformation campaign targeting Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

According to a CIA assessment, Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Derkach is engaged in peddling “disparaging information about Biden inside the United States through lobbyists, Congress, the media and contacts with figures close to the president,” two sources with knowledge of the report told The Washington Post.

“We assess that President Vladimir Putin and the senior most Russian officials are aware of and probably directing Russia’s influence operations aimed at denigrating the former U.S. Vice President, supporting the U.S. president and fueling public discord ahead of the U.S. election in November,” the document reportedly reads.

Why admit fault when you can blame Putin?

Commenting on this, Dunaway said, “Once again the US mainstream media is publishing stories intentionally leaked by the CIA without independent fact checking or investigation. In essence a Ukrainian lawmaker, who the CIA ‘believes’ to be a Russian agent (no evidence), met with Rudy Giuliani last year and appeared once on a pro-Trump TV network peddling some audio recordings between then Vice President Biden and then Ukraine President Poroshenko. Those tapes allegedly proved there was a connection between the delivery of US aid to Ukraine and the investigation of Burisma.”

“As a raw first source for a story, this sounds interesting but there are so many facts alleged that a responsible journalist would need to find external corroboration for them. The Ukranian MP, Andriy Derkach, was a supporter of former President Yanukovych who was overthrown in a coup supported by the Obama-Biden Administration. In October 2019, Derkach alleged that Biden had been involved in an international money-laundering scheme with Burisma Holdings and the US-based investment firm headed by Biden’s son Hunter,” he added.

“The very curious fact that Biden threatened to withhold US aid to the Poroshenko regime unless they fired the prosecutor investigating Burisma Holdings should be well known to the US public since video of Biden bragging about it surfaced on the internet months ago. The same media outlets that are printing the recent CIA allegations as fact didn’t spend any time at all looking into the very suspicious activities of Biden in the Ukraine or the fact that Poroshenko would not have been President had it not been for a coup engineered by the US,” he stated.

“Now the Democratic Party and their media sycophants along with elements of the CIA are trying to make us believe that his member of the Ukraine parliament is being personally directed by Vladimir Putin in a campaign to help Trump win re-election. Trump’s Treasury Department issued sanctions on Derkach on September 10th, hardly much of a reward for his alleged service to the Trump campaign,” he said.

“A conscientious journalist would view this allegation in light of the many other unfounded accusations, many of which are purely fantasy, that are being made against the Russian government. The idea of blaming Putin and Russia for US election interference was born after the 2016 election when the US political elite, aghast at the prospect of a Trump presidency, decided to blame Russia for their defeat. Since the US elites see Russia as a threat to the US empire, they want to destroy it, or at least change its government into a subservient puppet of the US. They also want to get rid of Trump,” he said.

“From a few ineffective Facebook ads and some news and analysis on Russian media outlets, they invented the first Russian interference story. When it petered out with the failed Mueller report, they raised the specter of Trump threatening to withhold military aid to Ukraine unless they investigated Biden. That ploy amplified into an impeachment trial failed as well. But it did uncover the Biden-Ukraine connection and that must be thoroughly discredited now to get rid of Trump,” he noted.

“It’s time the US media did their job and treat the US government, especially the CIA, as no more trustworthy than a man in a trench coat approaching them in a parking garage. Instead they should spend their time investigating US interference in Ukraine, Belarus, Thailand, Russia, Iran, Syria, Libya and China. We should remove the beam from our own eye rather than trying to find motes the eyes of others,” he concluded.

September 22, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

Lies, Damned Lies and Health Statistics – the Deadly Danger of False Positives

By Dr Michael Yeadon | Lockdown Sceptics | September 20, 2020

I never expected to be writing something like this. I am an ordinary person, recently semi-retired from a career in the pharmaceutical industry and biotech, where I spent over 30 years trying to solve problems of disease understanding and seek new treatments for allergic and inflammatory disorders of lung and skin. I’ve always been interested in problem solving, so when anything biological comes along, my attention is drawn to it. Come 2020, came SARS-CoV-2. I’ve written about the pandemic as objectively as I could. The scientific method never leaves a person who trained and worked as a professional scientist. Please do read that piece. My co-authors & I will submit it to the normal rigours of peer review, but that process is slow and many pieces of new science this year have come to attention through pre-print servers and other less conventional outlets.

While paying close attention to data, we all initially focused on the sad matter of deaths. I found it remarkable that, in discussing the COVID-19 related deaths, most people I spoke to had no idea of large numbers. Asked approximately how many people a year die in the UK in the ordinary course of events, each a personal tragedy, they usually didn’t know. I had to inform them it is around 620,000, sometimes less if we had a mild winter, sometimes quite a bit higher if we had a severe ’flu season. I mention this number because we know that around 42,000 people have died with or of COVID-19. While it’s a huge number of people, its ‘only’ 0.06% of the UK population. Its not a coincidence that this is almost the same proportion who have died with or of COVID-19 in each of the heavily infected European countries – for example, Sweden. The annual all-causes mortality of 620,000 amounts to 1,700 per day, lower in summer and higher in winter. That has always been the lot of humans in the temperate zones. So for context, 42,000 is about ~24 days worth of normal mortality. Please know I am not minimising it, just trying to get some perspective on it. Deaths of this magnitude are not uncommon, and can occur in the more severe flu seasons. Flu vaccines help a little, but on only three occasions in the last decade did vaccination reach 50% effectiveness. They’re good, but they’ve never been magic bullets for respiratory viruses. Instead, we have learned to live with such viruses, ranging from numerous common colds all the way to pneumonias which can kill. Medicines and human caring do their best.

So, to this article. Its about the testing we do with something called PCR, an amplification technique, better known to biologists as a research tool used in our labs, when trying to unpick mechanisms of disease. I was frankly astonished to realise they’re sometimes used in population screening for diseases – astonished because it is a very exacting technique, prone to invisible errors and it’s quite a tall order to get reliable information out of it, especially because of the prodigious amounts of amplification involved in attempting to pick up a strand of viral genetic code. The test cannot distinguish between a living virus and a short strand of RNA from a virus which broke into pieces weeks or months ago.

I believe I have identified a serious, really a fatal flaw in the PCR test used in what is called by the UK Government the Pillar 2 screening – that is, testing many people out in their communities. I’m going to go through this with care and in detail because I’m a scientist and dislike where this investigation takes me. I’m not particularly political and my preference is for competent, honest administration over the actual policies chosen. We’re a reasonable lot in UK and not much given to extremes. What I’m particularly reluctant about is that, by following the evidence, I have no choice but to show that the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, misled the House of Commons and also made misleading statements in a radio interview. Those are serious accusations. I know that. I’m not a ruthless person. But I’m writing this anyway, because what I have uncovered is of monumental importance to the health and wellbeing of all the people living in the nation I have always called home.

Back to the story, and then to the evidence. When the first (and I think, only) wave of COVID-19 hit the UK, I was with almost everyone else in being very afraid. I’m 60 and in reasonable health, but on learning that I had about a 1% additional risk of perishing if I caught the virus, I discovered I was far from ready to go. So, I wasn’t surprised or angry when the first lockdown arrived. It must have been a very difficult thing to decide. However, before the first three-week period was over, I’d begun to develop an understanding of what was happening. The rate of infection, which has been calculated to have infected well over 100,000 new people every day around the peak, began to fall, and was declining before lockdown. Infection continued to spread out, at an ever-reducing rate and we saw this in the turning point of daily deaths, at a grim press conference each afternoon. We now know that lockdown made no difference at all to the spread of the virus. We can tell this because the interval between catching the virus and, in those who don’t make it, their death is longer than the interval between lockdown and peak daily deaths. There isn’t any controversy about this fact, which is easily demonstrated, but I’m aware some people like to pretend it was lockdown that turned the pandemic, perhaps to justify the extraordinary price we have all paid to do it. That price wasn’t just economic. It involved avoidable deaths from diseases other than COVID-19, as medical services were restricted, in order to focus on the virus. Some say that lockdown, directly and indirectly, killed as many as the virus. I don’t know. Its not something I’ve sought to learn. But I mention because interventions in all our lives should not be made lightly. Its not only inconvenience, but real suffering, loss of livelihoods, friendships, anchors of huge importance to us all, that are severed by such acts. We need to be certain that the prize is worth the price. While it is uncertain it was, even for the first lockdown, I too supported it, because we did not know what we faced, and frankly, almost everyone else did it, except Sweden. I am now resolutely against further interventions in what I have become convinced is a fruitless attempt to ‘control the virus’. We are, in my opinion – shared by others, some of whom are well placed to assess the situation – closer to the end of the pandemic in terms of deaths, than we are to its middle. I believe we should provide the best protection we can for any vulnerable people, and otherwise cautiously get on with our lives. I think we are all going to get a little more Swedish over time.

In recent weeks, though, it cannot have escaped anyone’s attention that there has been a drum beat which feels for all the world like a prelude to yet more fruitless and damaging restrictions. Think back to mid-summer. We were newly out of lockdown and despite concerns for crowded beaches, large demonstrations, opening of shops and pubs, the main item on the news in relation to COVID-19 was the reassuring and relentless fall in daily deaths. I noticed that, as compared to the slopes of the declining death tolls in many nearby countries, that our slope was too flat. I even mentioned to scientist friends that inferred the presence of some fixed signal that was being mixed up with genuine COVID-19 deaths. Imagine how gratifying it was when the definition of a COVID-19 death was changed to line up with that in other countries and in a heartbeat our declining death toll line became matched with that elsewhere. I was sure it would: what we have experienced and witnessed is a terrible kind of equilibrium. A virus that kills few, then leaves survivors who are almost certainly immune – a virus to which perhaps 30-50% were already immune because it has relatives and some of us have already encountered them – accounts for the whole terrible but also fascinating biological process. There was a very interesting piece in the BMJ in recent days that offers potential support for this contention.

Now we have learned some of the unusual characteristics of the new virus, better treatments (anti-inflammatory steroids, anti-coagulants and in particular, oxygen masks and not ventilators in the main) the ‘case fatality rate’ even for the most hard-hit individuals is far lower now than it was six months ago.

As there is no foundational, medical or scientific literature which tells us to expect a ‘second wave’, I began to pay more attention to the phrase as it appeared on TV, radio and print media – all on the same day – and has been relentlessly repeated ever since. I was interviewed recently by Julia Hartley-Brewer on her talkRADIO show and on that occasion I called on the Government to disclose to us the evidence upon which they were relying to predict this second wave. Surely they have some evidence? I don’t think they do. I searched and am very qualified to do so, drawing on academic friends, and we were all surprised to find that there is nothing at all. The last two novel coronaviruses, Sar (2003) and MERS (2012), were of one wave each. Even the WW1 flu ‘waves’ were almost certainly a series of single waves involving more than one virus. I believe any second wave talk is pure speculation. Or perhaps it is in a model somewhere, disconnected from the world of evidence to me? It would be reasonable to expect some limited ‘resurgence’ of a virus given we don’t mix like cordial in a glass of water, but in a more lumpy, human fashion. You’re most in contact with family, friends and workmates and they are the people with whom you generally exchange colds.

A long period of imposed restrictions, in addition to those of our ordinary lives did prevent the final few percent of virus mixing with the population. With the movements of holidays, new jobs, visiting distant relatives, starting new terms at universities and schools, that final mixing is under way. It should not be a terrifying process. It happens with every new virus, flu included. It’s just that we’ve never before in our history chased it around the countryside with a technique more suited to the biology lab than to a supermarket car park.

A very long prelude, but necessary. Part of the ‘project fear’ that is rather too obvious, involving second waves, has been the daily count of ‘cases’. Its important to understand that, according to the infectious disease specialists I’ve spoken to, the word ‘case’ has to mean more than merely the presence of some foreign organism. It must present signs (things medics notice) and symptoms (things you notice). And in most so-called cases, those testing positive had no signs or symptoms of illness at all. There was much talk of asymptomatic spreading, and as a biologist this surprised me. In almost every case, a person is symptomatic because they have a high viral load and either it is attacking their body or their immune system is fighting it, generally a mix. I don’t doubt there have been some cases of asymptomatic transmission, but I’m confident it is not important.

That all said, Government decided to call a person a ‘case’ if their swab sample was positive for viral RNA, which is what is measured in PCR. A person’s sample can be positive if they have the virus, and so it should. They can also be positive if they’ve had the virus some weeks or months ago and recovered. It’s faintly possible that high loads of related, but different coronaviruses, which can cause some of the common colds we get, might also react in the PCR test, though it’s unclear to me if it does.

But there’s a final setting in which a person can be positive and that’s a random process. This may have multiple causes, such as the amplification technique not being perfect and so amplifying the ‘bait’ sequences placed in with the sample, with the aim of marrying up with related SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA. There will be many other contributions to such positives. These are what are called false positives.

Think of any diagnostic test a doctor might use on you. The ideal diagnostic test correctly confirms all who have the disease and never wrongly indicates that healthy people have the disease. There is no such test. All tests have some degree of weakness in generating false positives. The important thing is to know how often this happens, and this is called the false positive rate. If 1 in 100 disease-free samples are wrongly coming up positive, the disease is not present, we call that a 1% false positive rate. The actual or operational false positive rate differs, sometimes substantially, under different settings, technical operators, detection methods and equipment. I’m focusing solely on the false positive rate in Pillar 2, because most people do not have the virus (recently around 1 in 1000 people and earlier in summer it was around 1 in 2000 people). It is when the amount of disease, its so-called prevalence, is low that any amount of a false positive rate can be a major problem. This problem can be so severe that unless changes are made, the test is hopelessly unsuitable to the job asked of it. In this case, the test in Pillar 2 was and remains charged with the job of identifying people with the virus, yet as I will show, it is unable to do so.

Because of the high false positive rate and the low prevalence, almost every positive test, a so-called case, identified by Pillar 2 since May of this year has been a FALSE POSITIVE. Not just a few percent. Not a quarter or even a half of the positives are FALSE, but around 90% of them. Put simply, the number of people Mr Hancock sombrely tells us about is an overestimate by a factor of about ten-fold. Earlier in the summer, it was an overestimate by about 20-fold.

Let me take you through this, though if you’re able to read Prof Carl Heneghan’s clearly written piece first, I’m more confident that I’ll be successful in explaining this dramatic conclusion to you. (Here is a link to the record of numbers of tests, combining Pillar 1 (hospital) and Pillar 2 (community).)

Imagine 10,000 people getting tested using those swabs you see on TV. We have a good estimate of the general prevalence of the virus from the ONS, who are wholly independent (from Pillar 2 testing) and are testing only a few people a day, around one per cent of the numbers recently tested in Pillar 2. It is reasonable to assume that most of the time, those being tested do not have symptoms. People were asked to only seek a test if they have symptoms. However, we know from TV news and stories on social media from sampling staff, from stern guidance from the Health Minister and the surprising fact that in numerous locations around the country, the local council is leafleting people’s houses, street by street to come and get tested.

The bottom line is that it is reasonable to expect the prevalence of the virus to be close to the number found by ONS, because they sample randomly, and would pick up symptomatic and asymptomatic people in proportion to their presence in the community. As of the most recent ONS survey, to a first approximation, the virus was found in 1 in every 1000 people. This can also be written as 0.1%. So when all these 10,000 people are tested in Pillar 2, you’d expect 10 true positives to be found (false negatives can be an issue when the virus is very common, but in this community setting, it is statistically unimportant and so I have chosen to ignore it, better to focus only on false positives).

So, what is the false positive rate of testing in Pillar 2? For months, this has been a concern. It appears that it isn’t known, even though as I’ve mentioned, you absolutely need to know it in order to work out whether the diagnostic test has any value! What do we know about the false positive rate? Well, we do know that the Government’s own scientists were very concerned about it, and a report on this problem was sent to SAGE dated June 3rd 2020. I quote: “Unless we understand the operational false positive rate of the UK’s RT-PCR testing system, we risk over-estimating the COVID-19 incidence, the demand on track and trace and the extent of asymptomatic infection”. In that same report, the authors helpfully listed the lowest to highest false positive rate of dozens of tests using the same technology. The lowest value for false positive rate was 0.8%.

Allow me to explain the impact of a false positive rate of 0.8% on Pillar 2. We return to our 10,000 people who’ve volunteered to get tested, and the expected ten with virus (0.1% prevalence or 1:1000) have been identified by the PCR test. But now we’ve to calculate how many false positives are accompanying them. The shocking answer is 80. 80 is 0.8% of 10,000. That’s how many false positives you’d get every time you were to use a Pillar 2 test on a group of that size.

The effect of this is, in this example, where 10,000 people have been tested in Pillar 2, could be summarised in a headline like this: “90 new cases were identified today” (10 real positive cases and 80 false positives). But we know this is wildly incorrect. Unknown to the poor technician, there were in this example, only 10 real cases. 80 did not even have a piece of viral RNA in their sample. They are really false positives.

I’m going to explain how bad this is another way, back to diagnostics. If you’d submitted to a test and it was positive, you’d expect the doctor to tell you that you had a disease, whatever it was testing for. Usually, though, they’ll answer a slightly different question: “If the patient is positive in this test, what is the probability they have the disease?” Typically, for a good diagnostic test, the doctor will be able to say something like 95% and you and they can live with that. You might take a different, confirmatory test, if the result was very serious, like cancer. But in our Pillar 2 example, what is the probability a person testing positive in Pillar 2 actually has COVID-19? The awful answer is 11% (10 divided by 80 + 10). The test exaggerates the number of covid-19 cases by almost ten-fold (90 divided by 10). Scared yet? That daily picture they show you, with the ‘cases’ climbing up on the right-hand side? Its horribly exaggerated. Its not a mistake, as I shall show.

Earlier in the summer, the ONS showed the virus prevalence was a little lower, 1 in 2000 or 0.05%. That doesn’t sound much of a difference, but it is. Now the Pillar 2 test will find half as many real cases from our notional 10,000 volunteers, so 5 real cases. But the flaw in the test means it will still find 80 false positives (0.8% of 10,000). So its even worse. The headline would be “85 new cases identified today”. But now the probability a person testing positive has the virus is an absurdly low 6% (5 divided by 80 + 5). Earlier in the summer, this same test exaggerated the number of COVID-19 cases by 17-fold (85 divided by 5). Its so easy to generate an apparently large epidemic this way. Just ignore the problem of false positives. Pretend its zero. But it is never zero.

This test is fatally flawed and MUST immediately be withdrawn and never used again in this setting unless shown to be fixed. The examples I gave are very close to what is actually happening every day as you read this.

I’m bound to ask, did Mr Hancock know of this fatal flaw? Did he know of the effect it would inevitably have, and is still having, not only on the reported case load, but the nation’s state of anxiety. I’d love to believe it is all an innocent mistake. If it was, though, he’d have to resign over sheer incompetence. But is it? We know that internal scientists wrote to SAGE, in terms, and, surely, this short but shocking warning document would have been drawn to the Health Secretary’s attention? If that was the only bit of evidence, you might be inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. But the evidence grows more damning.

Recently, I published with my co-authors a short Position Paper. I don’t think by then, a month ago or so, the penny had quite dropped with me. And I’m an experienced biomedical research scientist, used to dealing with complex datasets and probabilities.

On September 11th 2020, I was a guest on Julia Hartley-Brewer’s talkRADIO show. Among other things, I called upon Mr Hancock to release the evidence underscoring his confidence in and planning for ‘the second wave’. This evidence has not yet been shown to the public by anyone. I also demanded he disclose the operational false positive rate in Pillar 2 testing.

On September 16th, I was back on Julia’s show and this time focused on the false positive rate issue (1m 45s – 2min 30s). I had read Carl Heneghan’s analysis showing that even if the false positive rate was as low as 0.1%, 8 times lower than any similar test, it still yields a majority of false positives. So, my critique doesn’t fall if the actual false positive rate is lower than my assumed 0.8%.

On September 18th, Mr Hancock again appeared, as often he does, on Julia Hartley-Brewer’s show. Julia asked him directly (1min 50s – on) what the false positive rate in Pillar 2 is. Mr Hancock said “It’s under 1%”. Julia again asked him exactly what it was, and did he even know it? He didn’t answer that, but then said “it means that, for all the positive cases, the likelihood of one being a false positive is very small”.

That is a seriously misleading statement as it is incorrect. The likelihood of an apparently positive case being a false positive is between 89-94%, or near-certainty. Of note, even when ONS was recording its lowest-ever prevalence, the positive rate in Pillar 2 testing never fell below 0.8%.

It gets worse for the Health Secretary. On September the 17th, I believe, Mr Hancock took a question from Sir Desmond Swayne about false positives. It is clear that Sir Desmond is asking about Pillar 2.

Mr Hancock replied: “I like my right honourable friend very much and I wish it were true. The reason we have surveillance testing, done by ONS, is to ensure that we’re constantly looking at a nationally representative sample at what the case rate is. The latest ONS survey, published on Friday, does show a rise consummate (sic) with the increased number of tests that have come back positive.”

He did not answer Sir Desmond’s question, but instead answered a question of his choosing. Did the Health Secretary knowingly mislead the House? By referring only to ONS and not even mentioning the false positive rate of the test in Pillar 2 he was, as it were, stealing the garb of ONS’s more careful work which has a lower false positive rate, in order to smuggle through the hidden and very much higher, false positive rate in Pillar 2. The reader will have to decide for themselves.

Pillar 2 testing has been ongoing since May but it’s only in recent weeks that it has reached several hundreds of thousands of tests per day. The effect of the day by day climb in the number of people that are being described as ‘cases’ cannot be overstated. I know it is inducing fear, anxiety and concern for the possibility of new and unjustified restrictions, including lockdowns. I have no idea what Mr Hancock’s motivations are. But he has and continues to use the hugely inflated output from a fatally flawed Pillar 2 test and appears often on media, gravely intoning the need for additional interventions (none of which, I repeat, are proven to be effective).

You will be very familiar with the cases plot which is shown on most TV broadcasts at the moment. It purports to show the numbers of cases which rose then fell in the spring, and the recent rise in cases. This graph is always accompanied by the headline that “so many thousands of new cases were detected in the last 24 hours”.

You should know that there are two major deceptions, in that picture, which combined are very likely both to mislead and to induce anxiety. Its ubiquity indicates that it is a deliberate choice.

Firstly, it is very misleading in relation to the spring peak of cases. This is because we had no community screening capacity at that time. A colleague has adjusted the plot to show the number of cases we would have detected, had there been a well-behaved community test capability available. The effect is to greatly increase the size of the spring cases peak, because there are very many cases for each hospitalisation and many hospitalisations for every death.

Secondly, as I hope I have shown and persuaded you, the cases in summer and at present, generated by seriously flawed Pillar 2 tests, should be corrected downwards by around ten-fold.

I do believe genuine cases are rising somewhat. This is, however, also true for flu, which we neither measure daily nor report on every news bulletin. If we did, you would appreciate that, going forward, it is quite likely that flu is a greater risk to public health than COVID-19. The corrected cases plot (above) does, I believe, put the recent rises in incidence of COVID-19 in a much more reasonable context. I thought you should see that difference before arriving at your own verdict on this sorry tale.

There are very serious consequences arising from grotesque over-estimation of so-called cases in Pillar 2 community testing, which I believe was put in place knowingly. Perhaps Mr Hancock believes his own copy about the level of risk now faced by the general public? Its not for me to deduce. What this huge over-estimation has done is to have slowed the normalisation of the NHS. We are all aware that access to medical services is, to varying degrees, restricted. Many specialities were greatly curtailed in spring and after some recovery, some are still between a third and a half below their normal capacities. This has led both to continuing delays and growth of waiting lists for numerous operations and treatments. I am not qualified to assess the damage to the nation’s and individuals’ health as a direct consequence of this extended wait for a second wave. Going into winter with this configuration will, on top of the already restricted access for six months, lead inevitably to a large number of avoidable, non-Covid deaths. That is already a serious enough charge. Less obvious but, in aggregate, additional impacts arise from fear of the virus, inappropriately heightened in my view, which include: damage to or even destruction of large numbers of businesses, especially small businesses, with attendant loss of livelihoods, loss of educational opportunities, strains on family relationships, eating disorders, increasing alcoholism and domestic abuse and even suicides, to name but a few.

In closing, I wish to note that in the last 40 years alone the UK has had seven official epidemics/pandemics; AIDS, Swine flu, CJD, SARS, MERS, Bird flu as well as annual, seasonal flu. All were very worrying but schools remained open and the NHS treated everybody and most of the population were unaffected. The country would rarely have been open if it had been shut down every time.

I have explained how a hopelessly-performing diagnostic test has been, and continues to be used, not for diagnosis of disease but, it seems, solely to create fear.

This misuse of power must cease. All the above costs are on the ledger, too, when weighing up the residual risks to society from COVID-19 and the appropriate actions to take, if any. Whatever else happens, the test used in Pillar 2 must be immediately withdrawn as it provides no useful information. In the absence of vastly inflated case numbers arising from this test, the pandemic would be seen and felt to be almost over.

Dr Mike Yeadon is the former CSO and VP, Allergy and Respiratory Research Head with Pfizer Global R&D and co-Founder of Ziarco Pharma Ltd.

September 21, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

US-based ‘creator of Novichok’ apologizes to Navalny, but Russian scientists say he wasn’t even involved in poison’s development

By Jonny Tickle | RT | September 21, 2020

US-based chemist and independence campaigner for Tatarstan Vil Mirzayanov has ‘apologized’ to Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny, saying he considers himself indirectly responsible for his high-profile alleged poisoning.

Mirzayanov, who left Russia in the mid-1990s, has frequently claimed that he was one of the developers of Novichok. This has been rejected by other scientists known to have been on the team which created the lethal substance. In 1992, Mirzayanov leaked the structure of the poison, which resulted in Russian authorities charging him with treason, in a case that later collapsed.

Speaking to TV Rain, Mirzayanov said that he was part of the group behind the military-grade poison, which Germany claims has been found in the activist’s body. He also asserted that Navalny’s symptoms are typical of those experienced by people who have experienced exposure to Novichok.

“All the symptoms are similar,” Mirzayanov said. “Navalny will have to be patient. But in the end, he should recover.”

As none of Navalny’s associates were infected, the former scientist believes that the poison must have entered his body through his digestive tract.

However, according to Leonid Rink, a man commonly referred to in Russian media as the creator of Novichok, Mirzayanov was not involved in the development of the poison and is not an expert on its symptoms.

“He has nothing to do with biochemistry, nothing. He is an ordinary chromatographer,” Rink told Moscow news agency RIA Novosti. “He’s had nothing to do with the creation of Novichok.”

According to Rink, Navalny would not be alive if he was genuinely poisoned by Novichok.

Rink was backed up by Vladimir Uglev, another scientist known to have been on the poison’s development team, who claimed that Mirzayanov “never took part in field tests.”

Navalny, a well-known opposition figure and investigative journalist, fell ill on August 20, on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow. Following an emergency landing, he was immediately hospitalized in the Siberian city of Omsk. Two days later, after a request from his family and associates, Navalny was flown to Germany for treatment at Berlin’s Charité clinic. Over a week later, Berlin announced that the opposition figure was poisoned with a nerve agent from the ‘Novichok’ group. Contrary to German experts’ diagnoses, medical professionals in Omsk deny that any poison was found in his body.

On Saturday, a post on Navalny’s Instagram account explained that he is slowly recovering and is expected to get back to normal.

Mirzayanov has long been a vocal Kremlin opponent and Tatar activist. A member of the Presidium of the Milli Mejlis of the Tartar People in exile, he has prominently advocated for Tatarstan, a majority Muslim republic, to separate from Moscow. Back in 2008, he was declared “Prime Minister” of the region’s “government in exile”

September 21, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | Leave a comment

France says no ‘tangible’ evidence supporting US allegation of secret Hezbollah explosive stores

RT | September 19, 2020

France has pushed back against Washington’s assertion that Hezbollah has stockpiles of ammonium nitrate stashed around Europe, stating there’s no indication of such stores existing in its own country.

“To our knowledge, there is nothing tangible to confirm such an allegation in France today,” French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll said in response to the US State Department’s alarming claim.

The spokeswoman stressed that France would not allow such “illegal activity” on its territory and that it would respond to such actions with “the greatest firmness.”

On Thursday, Nathan Sales, the US State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism, alleged that Lebanon’s Hezbollah had caches of dangerous chemicals in France, Spain, Italy, and other European states. He said that the chemicals had been smuggled into the country hidden in first-aid kits, but did not provide evidence backing his incendiary accusation.

Hezbollah is creating stockpiles of chemicals so that “it can conduct major terrorist attacks” at the bidding of Tehran, which backs the group, Sales claimed. He alleged that the stores include ammonium nitrate, an industrial chemical linked to the massive explosion that destroyed much of Beirut, Lebanon last month. It’s believed that the blast was triggered by the unsafe storage of the substance.

The United States has designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, but its elected arm is considered a legitimate political organization by France.

Washington recently announced sanctions on two Lebanon-based companies, accusing the companies of being “owned, controlled, or directed by Hezbollah.”

September 19, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 2 Comments

Scientific American Goes Full Anti-Science

By Francis Menton | Manhattan Contrarian | September 12, 2020

Back at the beginning of the Trump administration in January 2017, it was all the rage for media on the left to accuse Trump and his people of being “anti-science.” I compiled a collection of such accusations in a post on January 27 of that year, using the title “Who Again Is ‘Anti-Science’?” Among those I cited as making the accusation was the venerable magazine Scientific American, which had published a piece on January 18, 2017 with the title “Trump’s 5 Most Anti-Science Moves.

If you look at that 2017 Scientific American piece, or the other articles that I cited in my post, you will see that those commenters are conceiving of “science” not as a special methodology, but rather as something more like: “science is what people who call themselves scientists do.” The basic complaint of the commenters was that Trump was “anti-science” because he was listening to or appointing people who disagreed with — or worse, sought to de-fund — functionaries in the government who called themselves scientists.

I have a different definition of the term “science.” Here’s my definition: “Science is a process for understanding reality through using experiment or data to attempt to falsify falsifiable hypotheses.” Those are my words, but I have tried there to capture the gist of the classic conception of the scientific method articulated by philosopher Karl Popper. For a somewhat longer articulation of the same thing, here is an excerpt discussing Popper’s principles from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

Popper’s falsificationist methodology holds that scientific theories are characterized by entailing predictions that future observations might reveal to be false. When theories are falsified by such observations, scientists can respond by revising the theory, or by rejecting the theory in favor of a rival . . . In either case, however, this process must aim at the production of new, falsifiable predictions. . . . [Popper] holds that scientific practice is characterized by its continual effort to test theories against experience and make revisions based on the outcomes of these tests.  By contrast, theories that are permanently immunized from falsification by the introduction of untestable ad hoc hypotheses can no longer be classified as scientific.

Astute readers of this passage will immediately recognize that today’s political environment is full of theories that claim the mantle of science — indeed, claim to be scientifically-established truth — but at the same time are “permanently immunized from falsification.” Exhibit A is the religion going under the name of “climate science.” Or consider Exhibit B, in the field of social science, the hypothesis that “systemic racism” is the cause of all economic underperformance by African Americans. There are plenty more such examples.

In recent years Scientific American has somehow gotten itself into the position of defending the truth of many such non-falsifiable claims, but most notably in its strenuous advocacy of climate change alarmism. How to reconcile such advocacy with the use of the term “Scientific” in its title? If you are wondering how that could even be attempted, check out the piece in the current issue by a guy named Mano Singham, with the title and sub-title, “The Idea That a Scientific Theory Can Be ‘Falsified’ Is a Myth; It’s time we abandoned the notion.” Singham is identified as a member of the American Physical Society, and is apparently a retired professor from Case Western Reserve University.

Singham begins by acknowledging that “[E]ver since the seminal work of philosopher of science Karl Popper, for a scientific theory to be worthy of its name, it has to be falsifiable by experiments or observations.” However, Singham now understands that that whole approach has become passé. Apparently, there is a new field, going by the name “science studies,” that “compris[es] the history, philosophy and sociology of science.” People in this new field have now demonstrated that “falsification cannot work even in principle.” Here’s the explanation:

[A] theoretical prediction is never the product of a single theory but also requires using many other theories. When a “theoretical” prediction disagrees with “experimental” data, what this tells us is that that there is a disagreement between two sets of theories, so we cannot say that any particular theory is falsified.

Got that? And now that we’ve deep-sixed falsifiability as having anything to do with science, what’s the replacement?

Science studies . . . show[] that the strength of scientific conclusions arises because credible experts use comprehensive bodies of evidence to arrive at consensus judgments about whether a theory should be retained or rejected in favor of a new one. . . . It is the preponderance of evidence that is relevant in making such judgments, not one or even a few results.

Well, Mano, let’s consider my hypothesis that the thing that causes the sun to come up every morning is my going to sleep the night before. I formulated this hypothesis a year ago based on some ten thousand consecutive nights where I had gone to sleep and the sun therefore arose the next morning. I then tested the hypothesis for a full year of going to sleep every night and observing that sure enough, the sun arose every succeeding morning, 365 consecutive times. Surely my hypothesis has been established as true.

A friend points out that one time back in college I pulled an all-nighter, and the sun still came up. So what? Under Singham’s “science studies” principles, that’s just putting “one result” up against “the preponderance of the evidence.” That one conflicting observation does not tell us that my hypothesis has been falsified, but rather only that “there is a disagreement between two sets of theories.” (Another thing that it might be telling us is that Singham is not very bright.)

Anyway, there is an obvious purpose for Singham’s piece appearing at this time in Scientific American, which is to attempt to defend the climate “science” scam against attacks that it is not real science because it lacks falsifiable hypotheses. Singham:

[The] knowledge [of science studies] equips people to better argue against anti-science forces that use the same strategy over and over again, whether it is about the dangers of tobacco, climate change, vaccinations or evolution. Their goal is to exploit the slivers of doubt and discrepant results that always exist in science in order to challenge the consensus views of scientific experts.

I don’t know how Singham chose his examples of arguments used by what he calls “anti-science forces,” but a look at those examples demonstrates what his exercise is really about, which is exempting climate “science” from the requirement of falsifiable hypotheses. The hypothesis that cigarette smoking is a significant factor in causing lung cancer could definitely be falsified by a study of thousands of randomly-selected non-smokers who developed lung cancer at the same rates as smokers. The hypothesis that life forms change over time through a process of evolution could be falsified by discovery of “fossil rabbits in the Precambrian,” in a famous formulation of J.B.S. Haldane that is actually quoted by Singham in his piece. And vaccinations are subjected to double-blind clinical trials, which are explicit attempts to falsify the hypothesis that they are effective. So the only one of the four examples selected by Singham that actually lacks falsifiable hypotheses, and that seeks to be “permanently immunized from falsification,” is climate change.

Overall, this is a thoroughly embarrassing performance, not just by Dr. Singham, but by Scientific American. It is beyond explanation how the editors of this once-prestigious publication, with the term “Scientific” in its name, could have so completely lost track of what makes science science. And then to top it off, they call the people who actually understand what science is “anti-science.”

My message to the editors is this: The proponents of climate change alarmism, if they want to make any kind of legitimate claim to the mantle of “science,” need to specify the falsifiable hypothesis that they claim has been established, and also the evidence which, if it emerged, they would agree had falsified the hypothesis. Until they do that, their assertions have no more claim to the label of “established science” than does my hypothesis that my going to bed is what causes the sun to come up the next morning. Those of us who understand what the scientific method is are onto the climate scammers. As for Scientific American, your reputation at this point is beyond rehabilitation.

September 19, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

On Russia, Joe Biden’s mouth is writing checks the US can’t afford to cash

By Scott Ritter | RT | September 18, 2020

Joe Biden’s tough rhetoric on Russia, fueled by politically motivated FBI testimony alleging continued Russian electoral interference, may play well to his base. But if US allies act on it, it could mean war.

Joe Biden talks a good show. “I believe Russia is an opponent, I really do,” he said at a CNN town hall Thursday night. Biden’s statement was in response to a question from the moderator, Anderson Cooper, as to whether Biden viewed Russia as “an enemy.”

In the world of politicized semantics as used by Joe Biden, the difference between an “opponent” (someone who competes against or fights another; a rival or adversary) and an “enemy” (a person who is actively opposed or hostile to someone or something) knows no differentiation between mens rea (the intention or knowledge of wrongdoing), as opposed actus reus (the actual action or conduct). Both are elements of a crime and, according to Biden, Russia’s actions violate both principles.

“Putin’s overwhelming objective is to break up NATO,” Biden told the made-for-television audience, “to fundamentally alter the circumstance in Europe so he doesn’t have to face an entire NATO contingent.”

Mens Rea.

Biden also called Russia’s alleged election meddling, which FBI Director Christopher Wray recently testified before Congress was “ongoing,” as a “violation of our sovereignty.”

Actus Reus.

The problem here is that while Biden seeks to soften his hardline stance on Russia by using the lesser descriptor “opponent,” the actions he is accusing Russia and its leader, President Vladimir Putin, of committing are de facto elements of a crime, meaning that to anyone listening to Biden’s words, Russia is transformed into an “enemy.”

“Opponents” engage in genteel debates; “enemies” seek to undermine your security and destroy your democracy.

Biden can play fast and loose with words, but at the end of the day, words have meaning, and the picture painted by Biden in his town hall meeting is of a Russian threat to America, and a Russian threat to him personally. “There will be a price to pay,” Biden said of Russia’s actions. “And Putin knows – the reason he doesn’t want me as president, he knows me, and he knows I mean it.”

The personalization of actions which, if true, could be construed as constituting an attack on the United States, is itself disturbing, since it links the political fate of Biden to America’s willingness to stand idle in the face of such perfidy.

Biden is not alone in making such claims. FBI Director Wray appeared to be channeling the Democratic nominee when he told Congress that Russia’s interference in the 2020 presidential race relies heavily on disinformation and agitation designed to make some Americans so angry they support a preferred candidate (Trump) and others so angry and disaffected they don’t vote for another (Biden).

Biden and Wray are both playing to a domestic American audience, and both for political reasons. Biden’s motives are that of a seasoned politician seeking to exploit a predisposition amongst a certain element of the American electorate to accept at face value anything negative said about Russia and/or its president.

Christopher Wray’s motives are more complicated, rooted as they are in the need to restore the FBI’s reputation in the aftermath of the Mueller Report fiasco, the Christopher Steele disaster, and the FISA warrant scandal. By reasserting as fact allegations of Russian political interference in the 2020 presidential election, and claiming ongoing Russian “active measures” in the form of unspecified “disinformation”, Wray seeks to soften the blow of FBI incompetence and malfeasance by resurrecting the Russian threat in a manner designed to make Americans believe that the FBI’s past errors were at least made in good faith while confronting a real enemy… or opponent.

The danger here is not that the United States under a Biden administration would do anything precipitous when it came to dealing with Russia. As Biden himself stated, he knows Russia, and he knows President Putin, and as such he knows the reality of the limits to which Russia can be pushed. Russia is not some petulant child to be punished haphazardly, but a grown man capable of giving as good, or better, than it takes. Joe knows.

But others are listening to the rhetoric who might be fooled into believing that there is substance behind the bluster. Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Georgia – all of these lesser powers today play an oversized role in shaping the US-Russian dynamic, whether by anointing a “true president” in Belarus, dragging their feet on peace in the Donbas, or reigniting the dream of NATO membership by playing host to US forces in large scale military exercises designed to mimic a NATO-like reality.

All it would take in the early weeks and months of a future Biden administration would be for one of these lesser powers to overplay their hand, transitioning the rhetoric of “opposition” into the reality of “war” by pushing Russia too hard. Then Joe Biden would be left holding the bag, having talked the talk, and now being called upon to walk the walk.

But the reality is, Joe Biden’s mouth is writing checks the United States can ill afford to cash. “I don’t mean war,” he told the town hall when talking about how he would respond to alleged Russian perfidy. “But they’ll pay a price… There’ll be an economic price.”

Not if Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine and Georgia can help it.

Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and author of ‘SCORPION KING: America’s Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump.’ He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter

September 19, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 3 Comments