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Pfizer Says COVID Vaccine ‘Safe’ for Kids — But Pfizer Has Lied About Kids and Drugs Before

In 1996, Pfizer’s drug, Trovan, was still in the clinical stage of development when the drugmaker tested it, without parents’ consent, on about 200 children.

By Chelli Stanley | The Defender | September 30, 2021

Pfizer last week told the public and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) its new experimental COVID vaccine is safe for young children.

It’s a familiar story, similar to one the vaccine maker told in the past about another drug it tested on children — a story that had a terrible outcome.

Both stories began with this simple claim: “These drugs are safe for your children.”

In 1996, Pfizer, the transnational multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical company, was working to bring a new drug — Trovan — to market. The drug was still in the clinical stage of development, when Pfizer made a decision that reportedly cost the lives of many children, and triggered an international firestorm.

Pfizer took its unlicensed Trovan to Kano, Nigeria, during a meningitis outbreak — though Trovan had never been tested in children or against meningitis.

According to Pfizer whistleblower, Dr. Juan Walterspiel, Pfizer sent unskilled doctors to Kano, who were unlicensed to practice medicine in Nigeria, and who had limited experience treating meningitis in children.

Walterspiel also reported the staff were so unskilled they could not place IV lines, and quickly resorted to orally administering the drug to children.

In the short two weeks Pfizer was in Kano, staff worked with 200 children, and gave 99 of the children unlicensed Trovan, despite the children’s desperate state. Pfizer did this even though Doctors Without Borders was operating in the same Kano hospital, treating children for free, with medicine proven to work well against bacterial meningitis.

Doctors Without Borders realized what Pfizer was doing and in a statement said they “were shocked Pfizer continued the so-called scientific work in the middle of hell.” They “communicated their concerns to both Pfizer and the local authorities.”

Pfizer gave the other 101 children ceftriaxone, which is proven effective for meningitis.  However, many children were “low-dosed,” with only one-third of the recommended amount. Because Pfizer didn’t have enough skilled medical personnel to administer ceftriaxone by IV, staff injected it directly into the children’s butts or thighs.

But “the shots were severely painful, leading to ‘great fear and sometimes dangerous struggles with children.’” So Pfizer lowered the dose significantly to ease the severe pain caused by the shots.

Pfizer said available data indicated the dose remained more than sufficient, but the drug’s manufacturer, Hoffmann-La Roche, said the reductions could have sapped the drug’s strength.

“A high dose is essential,” Mark Kunkel, Hoffmann-La Roche’s medical director, told the Washington Post. “Clinical failures … and perhaps deaths of children could have resulted from the low dosing.”

According to a lawsuit against Pfizer, “five of the children who received Trovan and six of the children who were ‘low-dosed’ with ceftriaxone died, and others treated by Pfizer suffered very serious injuries, including paralysis, deafness and blindness.”

Of the 200 children treated by Pfizer, 181 were gravely injured, and 11 died.

The Washington Post investigated Pfizer’s ethics, stating, “Some medical experts questioned why the company did not switch to the proven pills when it was clear the young patients were approaching death.”

“It could be considered murder,” said Evariste Lodi, the leading Doctors Without Borders physician in Kano, after reading a report that Pfizer kept a child solely on Trovan until the child died.

In a statement about the child’s death, a Pfizer spokeswoman said “researchers had no reason to suspect the experimental medicine was not working.” Pfizer also said Trovan was “at least as effective as the gold standard treatment,” despite it having never been used in children, or for meningitis.

Pfizer designed the clinical trial in Kano “in six weeks, though the risks and complications of such a trial would typically require a year to adequately assess,” The Atlantic reported.

The parents in Kano have maintained they were not notified of an experiment, and that Pfizer did not have their consent to use their children in a drug trial in the middle of a health crisis. They organized to sue the drugmaker, while caring for children injured during the experiment.

Pfizer maintains the Nigerian parents gave full consent for their critically ill children to be used in an experiment, though even Pfizer admits no parent ever signed a consent form.

The lawsuits dragged on for years, as Pfizer refused to admit to any wrongdoing. “We are fed up with this case,” said a father who lost his daughter. “Our children are dead and some are maimed.”

Pfizer said “the trial was conducted appropriately, ethically and with the best interests of patients in mind; and it helped save lives.”

However, even the approval letter Pfizer submitted to the FDA about the Kano trial was exposed by a Nigerian doctor, who “said that his office backdated an approval letter and this may have been written a year after the study had taken place.”

The community of Kano has been profoundly affected — “the experiment shaped public perception of Western drugs in the region. Parents told their children about it. Teachers lectured about Pfizer in classrooms. Pundits spoke of Western physicians seeking human guinea pigs.”

Pfizer acknowledged the severe nature of the meningitis outbreak to a Nigerian investigative committee, then said, “Pfizer’s intervention was therefore strictly a humanitarian gesture aimed at saving lives. It was totally devoid of any commercial undertones.” The company called it “the humanitarian trial.”

“If I had the power, I would take away their medical licenses,” said Lodi.

Pfizer’s Trovan history gets worse

In the initial development of Trovan, Walterspiel reported that Pfizer tried another study and:

“ … the study failed and several patients developed severe post-operative infections and one woman had her uterus removed. Pfizer dispatched risk managers and asked affected patients and relatives to fill out checks for whatever amount they felt right against their signature to keep the payments confidential.”

Pfizer made no such offer in Kano. The families of Kano had to sue Pfizer repeatedly, and received no compensation until nearly 15 years after the incident occurred.

Pfizer did not let these mere setbacks of death, maiming and international scandals deter the company. Within a few short years, the drugmaker brought Trovan to market in both the United States and Europe.

Expecting to reap financial windfalls, Pfizer aggressively marketed Trovan — until it discovered the public in both the EU and U.S. was reeling from liver damage, liver failure and death as a result of taking Trovan.

Reports of adverse reactions grew until Europe took Trovan off the market completely, and the FDA severely restricted the public’s access in the U.S.

New York Times article detailed how Trovan’s serious side effects became known only after it was given to the public. “The case showed how a new drug, marketed by an expert like Pfizer, could be swiftly prescribed to thousands of patients before all the side effects were known. Pfizer said its tests of Trovan had not revealed any serious problems.”

In 2000, William C. Steere Jr., then chairman of Pfizer, acknowledged some side effects only become known after a drug is approved, saying, ”You put the drug in the general population, and then everyone is taking it. We just hold our breath and wait to see if there is something unique with the drug.”

‘If I had an enemy, I would not let him take their drugs’

Pfizer was repeatedly sued in Nigeria and the U.S. for its actions in Kano. In 2009, Pfizer agreed to pay $75 million, despite initially being sued for $8.5 billion.

The company got involved in several more scandals that exploded when Wikileaks published several U.S. Embassy cables detailing Pfizer’s communications.

A Pfizer lawyer described in the cables that “Pfizer has worked closely with former Nigerian Head of State Yakubu Gowon. Gowan spoke with Kano State Governor Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, who directed the Kano AG to reduce the settlement demand from $150 million to $75 million.”

In another cable, a top Pfizer representative in Nigeria said:

“Pfizer had hired investigators to uncover corruption links to Federal Attorney General Michael Aondoakaa to expose him and put pressure on him to drop the federal cases. Pfizer’s investigators were passing this information to local media. A series of damaging articles detailing Aondoakaa’s ‘alleged’ corruption ties were published in February and March.”

A cable showed a Pfizer representative commenting that “Doctors Without Borders administered Trovan to other children during the 1996 meningitis epidemic, and the Nigerian government has taken no action.”

The accusation prompted Doctors Without Borders to publish a strongly worded press release stating that they did not give anyone Trovan, and were in fact the first to speak out about Pfizer’s unethical actions.

Finally, the cables showed that “Pfizer was not happy settling the case, but had come to the conclusion that the $75 million figure was reasonable because the suits had been ongoing for many years, costing Pfizer more than $15 million a year in legal and investigative fees.”

The original lawsuit also sought prison terms for Pfizer officials.

Scandals continued even after the case was settled, when Pfizer demanded that anyone collecting the money give a sample of their DNA. Several people refused, distrusting what Pfizer may do with their DNA. They were not allowed to get compensation as a result.

Pfizer said it “always acted in the best interest of the children involved, using the best medical knowledge available.”

Najib Ibrahim of Kano said of Pfizer, “If I had an enemy, I would not let him take their drugs.”  Abdul Murtala said, “Pfizer reminds me of recklessness with human lives.”

The pattern continues, with 12-year-old injured during Pfizer COVID trial

Maddie de Garay was 12 when she voluntarily participated in Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine trial for 12- to 15-year-olds in Ohio. After she took the second dose on January 20, 2021, her life changed.

Her mother, Stephanie de Garay, spoke at press conference in June, held by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), during which she described the maiming of her child and Pfizer’s disregard towards Maddie and the family — despite Maddie being part of the trial in order to determine whether Pfizer’s covid vaccine is safe for children.

Stephanie said:

“All we want is for Maddie to be seen, heard, and believed, because she hasn’t been.  And we want her to get the care that she desperately needs so that she can go back to normal. She was totally fine before this. They’re not helping her.”

Stephanie said within 24 hours of the second dose, Maddie “developed severe abdominal and chest pain. She had painful electrical shocks down her neck and spine that forced her to walk hunched over. She had extreme pain in her fingers and toes.”

Maddie went to the ER immediately, as instructed by Pfizer’s vaccine trial administrator. After doctors ran few tests, she was sent home with a diagnosis: “Adverse effect of vaccine initial encounter.”

In the first five months after getting her second dose, Maddie would return to the ER eight more times.

According to Stephanie:

“Over the next 2.5 months, her abdominal, muscle and nerve pain became unbearable.  She developed additional symptoms that included gastroparesis, nausea and vomiting, erratic blood pressure and heart rate, memory loss, brain fog, headaches, dizziness, fainting, and then seizures.

“She developed verbal and motor tics, she had loss of feeling from the waist down and muscle weakness, drastic changes in her vision, urinary retention and loss of bladder control, severely irregular and heavy menstrual cycles, and eventually she had to have an NG tube put in to get nutrition. All of these symptoms are still here today. Some days are worse than others.”

Maddie’s doctors began to suggest she had “functional neurological disorder due to anxiety” and even tried to admit her to a mental hospital. Her family fought it.

It took five months for Maddie to get an MRI of her brain and appropriate blood tests, which she got when her family went elsewhere for medical advice after talking to others who were adversely affected by the COVID vaccines.

Stephanie said:

“What I want to ask is: Maddie volunteered for the Pfizer trial. Why aren’t they researching her to figure out why this happened so other people don’t have to go through this? Instead, they’re just saying it’s ‘mental.’”

The de Garay family has joined with emerging grassroots advocacy groups whose members’ lives suddenly changed after they got a COVID vaccine. They are asking the CDC and FDA to recognize their injuries, the medical community to believe and help them, the media to share their stories, for the public to know about these injuries as part of informed consent, and for their injuries to be studied so that solutions can be found.

Since being injured by new vaccines still in phase 3 trials, they have been subjected to stonewalling, cover-ups, bullying, refusal to collect the data and blanket denials.

Pfizer has not commented publicly on Maddie’s case.

At the September FDA advisory meeting on Pfizer COVID boosters in the U.S., Steve Kirsch, executive director of the COVID-19 Early Treatment Fund, said Pfizer did not record Maddie’s extensive injuries in its clinical trial results. Kirsch also noted Pfizer marked the entirety of Maddie’s injuries as “abdominal pain.”

Kirsch reported Pfizer’s fraud to FDA acting Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock, but no investigation has been launched into Pfizer for allegedly erasing Maddie’s extensive injuries from its trial data for children.

© 2021 Children’s Health Defense, Inc. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of Children’s Health Defense, Inc. Want to learn more from Children’s Health Defense? Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. Your donation will help to support us in our efforts.

September 30, 2021 Posted by | Deception | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ROBERT MALONE INTERVIEWED BY JIMMY DORE

anti_republocrat | September 15, 2021

Robert Malone, inventor of mRNA technology, is interviewed by Jimmy Dore. Malone is not “anti-vax,” but he is “pro-ethics” and believes that all medical procedures require truly informed consent, with absolutely no coercion. He shares the view of Geert Vanden Bossche, whom he mentions in the interview, that the vaccines help to generate the variants because they are non-sterilizing. He says they should be targeted toward those who are at highest risk from the virus, seniors and those with multiple co-morbidities. I personally disagree with that. I think they should be taken off the market altogether, but at least he is adamantly against mandates.

September 19, 2021 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Video | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Empire’s 2021 Coup in Guinea

Tales of the American Empire | September 16, 2021

The United States openly seeks to dominate the world. This becomes difficult as China’s economic power grows while the United States stagnates. The Chinese developed trade relationships with many nations in Africa, a region the United States considers part of its empire. The United States created an Africa Command after the Cold war ended and now maintains dozens of small bases and thousands of troops on the continent. The president of Guinea, Alpha Conde, developed close relations with China and profitable trade deals. China is Guinea’s chief customer for its principal export — bauxite, which used to produce aluminum. China imports half of Guinea’s production that provides half of the world’s aluminum. China provided funds to improve Guinean hospitals and infrastructure to ensure good relations. This friendship upset the United States, so President Conde was ousted in a 2021 coup.

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Related Tale: “The American Empire Invades Africa”; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTi7c…

“U.S. Forces Were Training the Guinean Soldiers Who Took Off to Stage a Coup”; Declan Walsh; New York Times ; September 10, 2021; https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/10/wo…

Related Tale: “The Empire’s 2009 Coup in Honduras”; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3RXl…

September 18, 2021 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | Leave a comment

Bill Gates finally realises that lockdown hurts children

By Toby Green | Unherd | September 8, 2021

This week The Guardian featured two articles funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) as part of its sponsorship of the paper’s Global Development coverage. One noted on Monday that hundreds of millions of children had fallen behind across the world during the last 18 months, and the other stated that Covid measures meant that education was at risk of collapse in one quarter of the world’s countries.

However, the articles did not mention that these outcomes were the direct result of the lockdowns enthusiastically supported by, er, Bill Gates. These results were entirely predictable — and were indeed predicted at the outset of the lockdowns by UNESCO.

On 18 March 2020, UNESCO reported that half of the world’s schoolchil­dren were not attending school, and outlined the potential consequences. These included interrupted learning, decline in nutrition, erosion of child protection and childcare, and inequitable access to digital learning leading to multiple future inequities. But no one listened.

Nearly 18 months since the catastrophic global policy response to Covid-19 began, the evidence of the appalling harms caused to children and their education is staggering. The Guardian report noted the case of the Philippines, which had some of the “world’s toughest restrictions for children”, with schools still not being reopened after 18 months. Translation? It was illegal for children aged 5-15 to leave their homes between March 2020 and July 9th this year.

Does it require a multi-billion dollar philanthropist and teams of well-paid researchers to work out that children’s learning outcomes are going to be badly affected if they can’t go to school or leave their home? Add to that the fact they live in a seriously impoverished country with scant internet access too. Thanks, BMGF, for putting us straight on that one.

Other bleak predictions from UNICEF’s March 2020 report are now becoming visible. A UNICEF report back in January found that more than 39 billion in-school meals have been missed globally since the start of the Covid-19. A July report in South Africa’s Business Day found that half a million fewer children were in school than a year before. A World Bank study found that Covid-19 school lockdowns had increased dropouts across the board in Nigeria, especially in the 15-18 age group, increasing child marriage and child labour rates dramatically. And these impacts are not limited to poor countries — a recent study found that in the US, poor and minority children were much less likely to have had in-person lessons last year.

Why then has the BMGF suddenly sat up to take notice? Rather than an awakening of sanity — and humanity — it’s more likely to be a case of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing. I’m sure that many people at BMGF are appalled at these prospects — but for many poor children, their realisation comes far too late. A future with millions of impoverished, ill-equipped, cruelly treated and angry young people looks to be the ultimate result of these global lockdowns, which should give mainstream media figures cause for reflection.

September 9, 2021 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Coup in Guinea, led by Israeli trained Colonel, hurts Russian interests 

Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya along with US Africa Command soldiers
By Lucas Leiroz | September 8, 2021

A recent coup in Guinea has left the world surprised and unanswered about what is really happening in the region. The military overthrew the president and seized power after some controversies involving alleged attempts by the former leader to perpetuate himself in power. Regardless of political factors on the domestic scene, the coup appears to have great international relevance, as it strongly harms Russian interests in Guinea.

On Sunday, Guinea’s armed forces arrested the country’s then president, Alpha Conde, and announced the dissolution of the government. According to witnesses, during the president’s detention, at least two people were injured in an intense firefight in and around the presidential palace, located in Conakry, the country’s capital. The military official who led the coup was Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya, who, in statements to the local media, said that there will be a major reform in the country, with the formation of a new government, promulgation of a new constitution and beginning of a military administration.

Doumbouya heads a dissident military group that calls itself the “National Committee of Reconciliation and Development” (CNRD, in its French acronym). So far, little is known about such organization, which appears to have been formed a few days before the coup and does not seem to have a formal ideology or agenda to be defended, just joining soldiers dissatisfied with Conde’s government. The CNRD released videos proving that the former president is alive and safe, but there is still not enough information to affirm the conditions under which he is being treated.

To understand the case, we must pay attention to the background of the coup. Alpha Conde was elected for a third presidential term in October 2020 and was declared president the following month, in November. The opposition claimed fraud during the elections and initiated a crisis of legitimacy. The point most criticized by his opponents was Conde’s decision to amend the constitution so that he could be perpetuated in power. Guinea’s constitution forbade a president to run for office three times in a row, but Conde made a change in the legal text in order to be able to run and defeat his opponents. Despite being a complicated and controversial legal maneuver, Conde gained strong popular support and his permanence in power was the preference of most of the Guinea’s people, according to surveys carried out at the time.

On the other hand, the leader of the coup, Colonel Doumbouya, was until then a rather obscure figure to the national political scenario. Doumbouya is a former member of the French Foreign Legion, having served in military operations in Afghanistan and African countries. He received military training in Israel before returning to his country and assuming command of the special forces. There are photos circulating on the internet showing Doumbouya along with US Africa Command soldiers at the US embassy in Guinea – the circumstances are unknown but reveal some degree of connection between military dissidents and foreign agents.

The reason that explains why the strong opposition occurred between Condé and Doumbouya may be precisely in their foreign connections. Guinea is one of the largest aluminum and bauxite suppliers in the world. The coup strongly impacted the metals industry, which reached record highs in the price of aluminum. And one of the main aluminum and bauxite explorers in Guinea is the Russian company Rusal, which has been operating in the country for two decades and is responsible for managing several local firms and industries.

Obviously, there wasn’t a coup d’état just to stop Rusal’s actions in Guinea. The tension is due to the level of collaboration between the African country and Russia. Conde was interested in taking advantage of the partnership in the aluminum and bauxite business to increase economic cooperation and seek more Russian investments in Guinea. In June of this year, Conde sent a delegation of officials to Russia, during the 24th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, with the intention of starting a bilateral dialogue to attract more investment in Guinea, mainly in the infrastructure sector, which is a strategic point for the implementation of national development policies. In fact, Conde saw Russia as an opportunity for strategic international cooperation between two emerging nations, just as other African countries have seen in China, for example.

Certainly, no Western country will publicly support the coup, but the unstable situation in national politics will already be enough to prevent Russian investments in Guinea, so Guinea has been “neutralized” in this regard. Perhaps, in addition to Latin America, Africa is also in Washington’s plans since the US has lost strength in Asia. If this is confirmed, it is possible that in the near future we will see new coups taking place in other African states.

Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

September 8, 2021 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | Leave a comment

What is Behind Algeria’s Severance of Diplomatic Ties with Morocco?

By Vladimir Odintsov – New Eastern Outlook – 29.08.2021

“Algeria has decided to sever diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Morocco as of August 24,” Algerian Foreign Minister Ramdan Lamamra told a news conference, accusing the neighboring kingdom of “hostile actions.” Although the termination of diplomatic relations has already taken effect, consulates in each country will nevertheless remain open, Ramtane Lamamra said. Algeria is considering suspending air traffic with Morocco, according to the newspaper Algérie Patriotique.

Algeria accused Rabat (capital of Morocco) of threatening stability and security at the instigation of Israel. Morocco is increasing its military presence on the borders, and some regional observers have assessed that tensions could lead to military clashes.

Morocco’s foreign ministry said it regretted the “unjustified decision” and said it would remain a “reliable and loyal partner” to the Algerian people.

Relations between Algeria and Morocco have been tense for the past few decades, with the border between the countries closed since 1994. One of the reasons for the tensions is disagreement over Western Sahara: Morocco considers this territory its own, and Algeria has supported the Polisario Front for decades, insisting on the establishment of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). This dispute is also reflected in the current history of the breakdown of diplomatic relations: Algeria has also accused official Rabat of failing to honor its bilateral commitments on the Western Sahara issue.

Further escalation of tensions between the two states over this issue largely occurred late last year for two reasons. In November, after years of relative quietness, the pro-independence Polisario Front announced that it was re-arming. In December 2020, the United States recognized Moroccan sovereignty over Western Saharain exchange for improved relations between Rabat and Israel.  The problem of Western Sahara is now challenging to solve, as both countries have strong positions. Algeria’s capacity to assist Polisario Front remains. This conflict will last for many years, and this should be the starting point.

Moreover, in mid-August, Algeria accused Morocco of “supporting two terrorist movements” operating on Algerian territory: the Movement for the Autonomy of Kabylia (MAK) and the opposition Rashad movement. Algerian authorities believe the activists of these organizations were involved in the forest fires last month in northern Algeria. These fires have already killed about 90 people, and the country’s government has repeatedly claimed that arson was the cause of the disaster. Algeria had previously reported the arrest of 61 people on suspicion of involvement in the fires in the country, stressing that the detainees belong to two specified terrorist groups backed by Israel and Morocco. According to local media reports, some of those arrested admitted their membership in the MAK. Algeria had already recalled its Ambassador from Rabat in July after a Moroccan diplomat in New York expressed support for the right of the Kabylian people to self-determination. For those reasons, Algeria’s Supreme Security Council had already considered reviewing relations with Morocco on August 18.

Overall, the Israeli factor has played a significant role in the current context of deteriorating relations between the two countries in North Africa. Last year, Morocco became one of the Arab countries that concluded peace agreements with Israel under Washington’s influence. As part of an agreement to normalize relations, the US, which mediated the talks, agreed to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, which caused resentment in Algeria and increased criticism of Washington. At the end of July this year, Algeria opposed Israel’s accession to the African Union as an observer country for the first time since 2002, carried out with Morocco’s support. Earlier, in 2002, Israel was expelled from the union on the initiative of Libya.

Moreover, the Algerian authorities, who do not officially recognize Israel, reacted negatively to the remarks of the Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid during his recent visit to Morocco. He expressed concern about the role of Algeria in the region, “veiled threats” to Algeria, and pointed out his fears about Algeria’s rapprochement with Iran.

Algerian Foreign Minister Ramdan Lamamra has also accused Morocco of using Pegasus spyware to spy on several Algerian officials. According to him, “Morocco has massively and systematically committed acts of espionage against Algerian citizens and officials.”

But behind all these accusations, there is a clear opposition of the current Algerian authorities to Washington’s attempts through Israel and Morocco to prevent Algeria from strengthening its leading role in the Maghreb and cause political instability in the country. An undoubtedly real impetus for the aggravation of Algeria’s relations with Morocco was the African Lion 2021, a military exercise conducted by the US command in North Africa from June 7 to June 18, 2021. Military Watch, an American magazine specializing in military analysis, reported that these ground and air maneuvers simulated an attack in Algerian territories on two fictitious countries, Rowand and Nehone.

Therefore, the British publication Rai Al Youm noted for a reason that these military exercises were undertaken in preparation for an invasion of Algeria. The US believes that Algeria threatens its influence in Africa because it has gas, oil, water, and areas suitable for agriculture. In addition, Algeria covers an area of 2 million square kilometers, has extensive reserves of mineral resources, and its control of the Sahel region of Africa and its people is hard to beat. A European military expert said this in an interview with Rai Al Youm.

Under these circumstances, the Algerian leadership learned lessons from Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s fatal mistakes. It became more critical of the policies towards Algeria on the part of the United States, Israel, Morocco, and several other states that had supported Washington’s plans to overthrow the Gaddafi regime it hated in the past. For this reason, Algeria has made it an absolute priority to create a strong army equipped with advanced land, air, and naval weapons and to develop military cooperation with Russia. As Rai Al Youm noted, the Algerian authorities have not trusted the West since the victory of the revolution over French colonialism. They are well aware of the plots being prepared against them. Algeria does not want to be the next target after Syria. Especially, according to Algeria, in the context of the ongoing preparations for the invasion and destruction of the countries in the League of the Arab States and the Persian Gulf countries. The United States, Great Britain, and France, which previously stood behind the conspiracies against Libya, Syria, and Iraq, sent NATO aircraft to bomb these countries, hiding behind loud statements about the “protection of democratic values.”

August 29, 2021 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Biden’s America is back – to Somalia

By Uriel Araujo | August 16, 2021

On July 20, the US carried out an airstrike in Somalia against al Shabaab militants – the first one in Somalia under President Joe Biden. It struck again on July 23 and August 1. Last week, it was reported Biden seeks to host a “Summit for Democracy”. According to a White House statement, this will include civil society figures and political leaders to galvanize initiatives “against authoritarianism”, “corruption”, and also “promoting respect for human rights”.

These two topics are somehow connected. During the cold war, the US espoused the rhetoric of being the “leader of the free world”, although the record shows it backed some of the most ruthless dictators and promoted coup d’etats worldwide. To this day, most of the US “humanitarian interventions” have brought chaos and destabilization, and its attempts at “nation building” have been major humanitarian disasters. One only needs to look at Libya and Iraq or even Afghanistan – and yet Washington insists on being the only player that can deliver stability to Somalia in its counter-terrorism effort.

Amid the narrative wars, this is the one the US has always pushed: they are the champions of freedom, democracy, and now, in Biden’s parlance, human rights. This is the stuff American wars are made of, if we are to believe it – and there usually is a great battle for democracy somewhere. One could in fact argue that Trump was the first US President (since at least Carter) not to lead its own large and long military campaign.

While the Chinese presence in Africa is widely discussed, the US has maintained a kind of “invisible” presence in the African continent for a while, with a network of US special forces and private contractors – and this includes a covert war on the Al-Qaeda connected al-Shabab jihadist organization in Somalia: since 2007, thousands of people have been killed there by US drones and this includes civilians.

Trump removed most of the American troops from Somalia in the final days of his term, relocating them to nearby countries to remotely assist Somali forces against al-Shabab. This move was criticized by some American experts that argued Biden should redeploy the troops back to Somalia, and the Defense Department has been considering doing precisely that, according to a June 29 US Air Force Magazine piece. This is ironic, considering that the troops removal was completed less than 7 months ago, and considering that Biden has just withdrawn troops from Afghanistan – this also makes one wonder how long will it take before discussions about bringing troops back to Afghanistan begin.

In a January piece – published in the US FPRI website –  former US Ambassador to Somalia Stephen M. Schwartz argues that the US “hasty exit” from Somalia would open “the door to a greater role for the People’s Republic of China”. According to him, the fight against al-Shabaab is a “classic counter-terrorism” effort, at a time when Washington’s attention is turning to great power competition with Beijing and Moscow. After all, Somalia, he argues, is “more” than al-Shabaab.

Somalia itself is part of the so-called Horn of Africa, a region that historically has been at crossroads and remains one of immense geopolitical importance: one of the main global trade routes lies off its coast and connects the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea and to the Mediterranean region and Europe through the Suez Canal.

It is well known Beijing currently seeks to employ its Belt and Road Initiative to enhance its position as the main investor in Africa. This can be clearly seen in the case of a small but strategic Horn of Africa country, namely, Djibouti – where Beijing also has its own permanent military base.

While Chinese military presence in the region and in the continent cannot rival American presence, China remains the largest investor in Africa and has been so for the last 10 years, according to a report by the Swiss-African Business Circle. For the 2010-2019 period, it has created an average of 18,562 jobs in Africa, while the US has created an average of 12,106. Moreover, according to Deborah Brautigam (Director of the China Africa Research Initiative), Beijing has been building long-term relationships in the continent, while Washington’s approach has a short-term time horizon.

There is yet another issue: Africa has been largely neglected by the US foreign policy – and Biden has not been an exception.

For example, in February 2021, the G5 Sahel held its N’Djamena meeting. While Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov stayed three days in Burkina Faso (prior to the summit), and French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by video conference, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken merely  sent a pre-recorded five-minutes talk and dispatched no official in his place. In April, Niger celebrated, for the first time, a peaceful transfer of power between elected presidents, and neither President Biden nor Blinken sent a delegation.

Meanwhile, both China and Russia have maintained good diplomatic relations with many African countries since at least the Cold War period, when both powers supported several African independence struggles.

Apparently, for the US, having a presence in Africa is all about bombing insurgent groups with drones, maintaining military bases and special forces in covert undeclared wars, while insisting on its rhetoric of human rights and democracy.  If the US wishes to compete with China and Russia for geopolitical influence on the Horn of Africa (as well as on the whole continent), it will need to improve its diplomacy.

Uriel Araujo is a researcher with a focus on international and ethnic conflicts.

August 16, 2021 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Meet Toka, the Most Dangerous Israeli Spyware Firm You’ve Never Heard Of

By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | July 21, 2021

LONDON –This past Sunday, an investigation into the global abuse of spyware developed by veterans of Israeli intelligence Unit 8200 gained widespread attention, as it was revealed that the software – sold to democratic and authoritarian governments alike – had been used to illegally spy on an estimated 50,000 individuals. Among those who had their communications and devices spied on by the software, known as Pegasus, were journalists, human rights activists, business executives, academics and prominent political leaders. Among those targeted political leaders, per reports, were the current leaders of France, Pakistan, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco and Iraq.

The abuse of Pegasus software in this very way has been known for several years, though these latest revelations appear to have gained such traction in the mainstream owing to the high number of civilians who have reportedly been surveilled through its use. The continuation of the now-years-long scandal surrounding the abuse of Pegasus has also brought considerable controversy and notoriety to the Israeli company that developed it, the NSO Group.

While the NSO Group has become infamous, other Israeli companies with even deeper ties to Israel’s intelligence apparatus have been selling software that not only provides the exact same services to governments and intelligence agencies but purports to go even farther.

Originally founded by former Israeli Prime Minister and Jeffrey Epstein associate Ehud Barak, one of these companies’ wares are being used by countries around the world, including in developing countries with the direct facilitation of global financial institutions like the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank. In addition, the software is only made available to governments that are “trusted” by Israel’s government, which “works closely” with the company.

Despite the fact that this firm has been around since 2018 and was covered in detail by this author for MintPress News in January 2020, no mainstream outlet – including those that have extensively covered the NSO Group – has bothered to examine the implications of this story.

Worse than Pegasus

Toka was launched in 2018 with the explicit purpose of selling a “tailored ecosystem of cyber capabilities and software products for governmental, law enforcement, and security agencies.” According to a profile of the company published in Forbes shortly after it launched, Toka advertised itself as “a one-stop hacking shop for governments that require extra capability to fight terrorists and other threats to national security in the digital domain.”

Toka launched with plans to “provide spy tools for whatever device its clients require,” including not only smartphones but a “special focus on the so-called Internet of Things (IoT).” Per the company, this includes devices like Amazon Echo, Google Nest-connected home products, as well as connected fridges, thermostats and alarms. Exploits in these products discovered by Toka, the company said at the time, would not be disclosed to vendors, meaning those flaws would continue to remain vulnerable to any hacker, whether a client of Toka or not.

Today, Toka’s software suite claims to offer its customers in law enforcement, government and intelligence the ability to obtain “targeted intelligence” and to conduct “forensic investigations” as well as “covert operations.” In addition, Toka offers governments its “Cyber Designers” service, which provides “agencies with the full-spectrum strategies, customized projects and technologies needed to keep critical infrastructure, the digital landscape and government institutions secure and durable.”

Given that NSO’s Pegasus targets only smartphones, Toka’s hacking suite – which, like Pegasus, is also classified as a “lawful intercept” product – is capable of targeting any device connected to the internet, including but not limited to smartphones. In addition, its target clientele are the same as those of Pegasus, providing an easy opportunity for governments to gain access to even more surveillance capabilities than Pegasus offers, but without risking notoriety in the media, since Toka has long avoided the limelight.

In addition, while Toka professes that its products are only used by “trusted” governments and agencies to combat “terrorism” and maintain order and public safety, the sales pitch for the NSO Group’s Pegasus is remarkably similar, and that sales pitch has not stopped its software from being used to target dissidents, politicians and journalists. It also allows many of the same groups who are Toka clients, like intelligence agencies, to use these tools for the purpose of obtaining blackmail. The use of blackmail by Israeli security agencies against civilian Palestinians to attempt to weaken Palestinian society and for political persecution is well-documented.

Toka has been described by market analysts as an “offensive security” company, though the company’s leadership rejects this characterization. Company co-founder and current CEO Yaron Rosen asserted that, as opposed to purely offensive, the company’s operations are “something in the middle,” which he classifies as bridging cyber defense and offensive cyber activities — e.g., hacking.

The company’s activities are concerning in light of the fact that Toka has been directly partnered with Israel’s Ministry of Defense and other Israeli intelligence and security agencies since its founding. The company “works closely” with these government agencies, according to an Israeli Ministry of Defense website. This collaboration, per Toka, is meant to “enhance” their products. Toka’s direct IDF links are in contrast to the NSO Group, a company that does not maintain overt ties with the Israeli security state.

Toka’s direct collaboration with Israel’s government is also made clear through its claim that it sells its products and offers its services only to “trusted” governments, law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies. Toka’s Rosen has stated that Russia, China, and “other enemy countries” would never be customers of the company. In other words, only countries aligned with Israeli policy goals, particularly in occupied Palestine, are permitted to be customers and gain access to its trove of powerful hacking tools. This is consistent with Israeli government efforts to leverage Israel’s hi-tech sector as a means of countering the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement globally.

Further evidence that Toka is part of this Israeli government effort to seed foreign governments with technology products deeply tied to Israel’s military and intelligence services is the fact that one of the main investors in Toka is Dell Technologies Capital, which is an extension of the well-known tech company Dell. Dell was founded by Michael Dell, a well-known pro-Israel partisan who has donated millions of dollars to the Friends of the IDF and is one of the top supporters of the so-called “anti-BDS” bills that prevent publicly employed individuals or public institutions in several U.S. states from supporting non-violent boycotts of Israel, even on humanitarian grounds. As MintPress previously noted, the fact that a major producer of consumer electronic goods is heavily investing in a company that markets the hacking of that very technology should be a red flag.

The government’s initial admitted use of the hi-tech sector to counter the BDS movement coincided with the launch of a new Israeli military and intelligence agency policy in 2012, whereby “cyber-related and intelligence projects that were previously carried out in-house in the Israeli military and Israel’s main intelligence arms are transferred to companies that, in some cases, were built for this exact purpose.”

One of the reasons this was reportedly launched was to retain members of Unit 8200 engaged in military work who were moving to jobs in the country’s high-paying tech sector. Through this new policy that has worked to essentially merge much of the private tech sector with Israel’s national security state, some Unit 8200 and other intelligence veterans continue their work for the state but benefit from a private sector salary. The end result is that an unknown – and likely very high – number of Israeli tech companies are led by veterans of the Israeli military and Israeli intelligence agencies and serve, for all intents and purposes, as front companies. A closer examination of Toka strongly suggests that it is one such front company.

Toka — born out of Israel’s national security state

The company was co-founded by Ehud Barak, Alon Kantor, Kfir Waldman and retired IDF Brigadier General Yaron Rosen. Rosen, the firm’s founding CEO and now co-CEO, is the former Chief of the IDF’s cyber staff, where he was “the lead architect of all [IDF] cyber activities,” including those executed by Israeli military intelligence Unit 8200. Alon Kantor is the former Vice President of Business Development for Check Point Software, a software and hardware company founded by Unit 8200 veterans. Kfir Waldman is the former CEO of Go Arc and a former Director of Engineering at technology giant Cisco. Cisco is a leader in the field of Internet of Things devices and IoT cybersecurity, while Go Arc focuses on applications for mobile devices. As previously mentioned, Toka hacks not only mobile devices but also has a “special focus” on hacking IoT devices.

Toka IoT

A slide from an April 20, 2021 presentation given by Toka’s VP of Global Sales, Michael Anderson

In addition to having served as prime minister of Israel, Toka co-founder Ehud Barak previously served as head of Israeli military intelligence directorate Aman, as well as several other prominent posts in the IDF, before eventually leading the Israeli military as minister of defense. While minister of defense, he led Operation Cast Lead against the blockaded Gaza Strip in 2009, which resulted in the deaths of over 1,000 Palestinians and saw Israel illegally use chemical weapons against civilians.

Toka is the first start-up created by Barak. However, Barak had previously chaired and invested in Carbyne911, a controversial Israeli emergency services start-up that has expanded around the world and has become particularly entrenched in the United States. Carbyne’s success has been despite the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, given that the intelligence-linked pedophile and sex trafficker had invested heavily in the company at Barak’s behest. Barak’s close relationship with Epstein, including overnight visits to Epstein’s now-notorious island and apartment complexes that housed trafficked women and underage girls, has been extensively documented.

Barak stepped away from Toka in April of last year, likely as the result of the controversy over his Epstein links, which also saw Barak withdraw from his chairmanship of Carbyne in the wake of Epstein’s death. Considerable evidence has pointed to Epstein having been an intelligence asset of Israeli military intelligence who accrued blackmail on powerful individuals for the benefit of Israel’s national security state and other intelligence agencies, as well as for personal gain.

Another notable Toka executive is Nir Peleg, the company’s Vice President for Strategic Projects. Peleg is the former head of the Research and Development Division at Israel’s National Cyber Directorate, where he led national cybersecurity projects as well as government initiatives and collaborations with international partners and Israeli cybersecurity innovative companies. Prior to this, Peleg claims to have served for more than 20 years in leading positions at the IDF’s “elite technology unit,” though he does specify exactly which unit this was. His LinkedIn profile lists him as having been head of the IDF’s entire Technology Department from 2008 to 2011.

While at Israel’s National Cyber Directorate, Peleg worked closely with Tal Goldstein, now the head of strategy for the World Economic Forum’s Partnership against Cybercrime (WEF-PAC), whose members include government agencies of the U.S., Israel and the U.K., along with some of the world’s most powerful companies in technology and finance. The goal of this effort is to establish a global entity that is capable of controlling the flow of information, data, and money on the internet. Notably, Toka CEO Yaron Rosen recently called for essentially this exact organization to be established when he stated that the international community needed to urgently create the “cyber” equivalent of the World Health Organization to combat the so-called “cyber pandemic.”

Claims that a “cyber pandemic” is imminent have been frequent from individuals tied to the WEF-PAC, including CEO of Checkpoint Software Gil Shwed. Checkpoint is a member of WEF-PAC and two of its former vice presidents, Michael Anderson and Alon Kantor, are now Vice President for Global Sales and co-CEO of Toka, respectively.

Tal Goldstein

The Wolrd Economic Forum does little to hide its partnership with former Israeli intelligence officials

Toka’s Chief Technology Officer, and the chief architect of its hacking suite, is Moty Zaltsman, who is the only chief executive of the company not listed on the firm’s website. Per his LinkedIn, Zaltsman was the Chief Technology Officer for then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Last January, when Toka was covered by MintPress News, his profile stated that he had developed “offensive technologies” for Israel’s head of state, but Zaltsman has since removed this claim. The last Toka executive of note is Michael Volfman, the company’s Vice President of Research and Development. Volfman was previously a cyber research and development leader at an unspecified “leading technology unit” of the IDF.

Also worth mentioning are Toka’s main investors, particularly Entrèe Capital, which is managed by Aviad Eyal and Ran Achituv. Achituv, who manages Entrée’s investment in Toka and sits on Toka’s board of directors, was the founder of the IDF’s satellite-based signals intelligence unit and also a former senior vice president at both Amdocs and Comverse Infosys. Both Amdocs and Comverse courted scandal in the late 1990s and early 2000s for their role in a massive Israeli government-backed espionage operation that targeted U.S. federal agencies during that period.

Despite this scandal and others in the company’s past, Comverse subsidiary Verint was subsequently contracted by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) to bug the telecommunications network of Verizon shortly after their previous espionage scandal was covered by mainstream media. The contract was part of Operation Stellar Winds and was approved by then-NSA Director Keith Alexander, who has since been an outspoken advocate of closer Israeli-American government cooperation in cybersecurity.

In addition to Entrèe Capital, Andreessen Horowitz is another of Toka’s main investors. The venture capital firm co-founded by Silicon Valley titan Marc Andreessen is currently advised by former Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers, a close friend of the infamous pedophile Jeffery Epstein. Early investors in Toka that are no longer listed on the firm’s website include Launch Capital, which is deeply tied to the Pritzker family — one of the wealthiest families in the U.S., with close ties to the Clintons and Obamas as well as the U.S.’ pro-Israel lobby — and Ray Rothrock, a venture capitalist who spent nearly three decades at VenRock, the Rockefeller family venture capital fund.

In light of the aforementioned policy of Israel’s government to use private tech companies as fronts, the combination of Toka’s direct Israeli government ties, the nature of its products and services, and the numerous, significant connections of its leaders and investors to both Israeli military intelligence and past Israeli espionage scandals strongly suggests that Toka is one such front.

If this is the case, there is reason to believe that, when Toka clients hack and gain access to a device, elements of the Israeli state could also gain access. This concern is born out of the fact that Israeli intelligence has engaged in this exact type of behavior before as part of the PROMIS software scandal, whereby Israeli “superspy” Robert Maxwell sold bugged software to the U.S. government, including highly sensitive locations involved in classified nuclear weapons research. When that software, known as PROMIS, was installed on U.S. government computers, Israeli intelligence gained access to those same systems and devices.

The U.S. government was not the only target of this operation, however, as the bugged PROMIS software was placed on the networks of several intelligence agencies around the world as well as powerful corporations and several large banks. Israeli intelligence gained access to all of their systems until the compromised nature of the software was made public. However, Israel’s government was not held accountable by the U.S. government or the international community for its far-reaching espionage program, a program directly facilitated by technology-focused front companies. The similarities between the products marketed and clients targeted by Maxwell during the PROMIS scandal and currently by Toka are considerable.

World Bank, IDB aid Toka in targeting Palestine’s allies

While the ties between Toka and Israel’s national security state are clear as day, what is also significant and unsettling about this company is how its entry into developing and developed countries alike is being facilitated by global financial institutions, specifically the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. Notably, these are the only deals with governments that Toka advertises on its website, as the others are not made public.

Several projects funded by one or another of these two institutions have seen Toka become the “cyber designer” of national cybersecurity strategies for Nigeria and Chile since last year. Significantly, both countries’ populations show strong support for Palestine and the BDS movement. In addition, Toka garnered a World Bank-funded contract with the government of Moldova, an ally of Israel, last September.

The World Bank selected Toka in February of last year to “enhance Nigeria’s cyber development,” which includes developing “national frameworks, technical capabilities and enhancement of skills.” Through the World Bank contract, Toka has now become so intimately involved with both the public and private sectors of Nigeria that it relates to the country’s “cyber ecosystem.” The World Bank’s decision to choose Toka is likely the result of a partnership forged in 2019 by the state of Israel with the global financial institution “to boost cybersecurity in the developing world,” with a focus on Africa and Asia.

Nigeria Toka

Toka executives pose with Nigerian officials in 2020. Photo | Israel Defense

“Designing and building sustainable and robust national cyber strategy and cyber resilience is a critical enabler to fulfilling the objectives of Nigeria’s national cybersecurity policy and strategic framework,” Toka CEO Yaron Rosen said in a press release regarding the contract.

Given Toka’s aforementioned use of its technology for only “trusted” governments, it is notable that Nigeria has been a strong ally of Palestine for most of the past decade, save for one abstention at a crucial UN vote in 2014. In addition to the government, numerous student groups, human rights organizations, and Islamic organizations in the country are outspoken in their support for Palestine. With Toka’s efforts to offer its products only to countries who align themselves with “friendly” countries, their now intimate involvement with Nigeria’s cyber development could soon have consequences for a government that has tended to support the Palestinian cause. This is even more likely given Toka CEO Rosen’s statements at an April 2021 event hosted by Israel’s Ministry of Economy, where he emphasized the role of cyber in developing countries specifically in terms of their national defense and economic strategy.

Three months after the deal was struck with Nigeria through the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) selected Toka to advise the government of Chile on “next steps for the country’s national cybersecurity readiness and operational capacity building.” As part of the project, “Toka will assess the current cybersecurity gaps and challenges in Chile and support the IDB project implementation by recommending specific cybersecurity readiness improvements,” per a press release. Toka claims it will help “establish Chile as a cybersecurity leader in South America.” Regarding the deal, Toka’s Rosen stated that he was “thankful” that the IDB had “provided us with this opportunity to work with the Government of Chile.”

Israel signed consequential agreements for cooperation with the IDB in 2015, before further deepening those ties in 2019 by partnering with the IDB to invest $250 million from Israeli institutions in Latin America specifically.

Toka executives are pictured with Chilean officials during a 2020 meeting in Santiago

Like Nigeria, Chile has a strong connection with Palestine and is often a target of Israeli government influence efforts. Though the current far-right government of Sebastián Piñera has grown close to Israel, Chile is home to the largest Palestinian exile community in the world outside of the Middle East. As a result, Chile has one of the strongest BDS movements in the Americas, with cities declaring a non-violent boycott of Israel until the Piñera administration stepped in to claim that such boycotts can only be implemented at the federal level. Palestinian Chileans have strong influence on Chilean politics, with a recent, popular presidential candidate, Daniel Jadue, being the son of Palestinian immigrants to Chile. Earlier this year, in June, Chile’s congress drafted a bill to boycott goods, services and products from illegal Israeli settlements.

While Toka frames both of these projects as aimed at helping the cyber readiness and economies of the countries it now services, Israeli media has painted a different picture. For instance, Haaretz wrote that Israel’s partnerships with development banks, specifically those made in 2019 that resulted in these Toka contracts, were planned by an inter-ministerial committee set up by then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “to realize the potential of international development to strengthen the Israeli economy, improve Israel’s political standing and strengthen its international role.” One source, quoted by Haaretz as being close to this undertaking, stated that “development banks are a way to help advance Israel’s interests and agenda in the developing world, including Latin America. But it’s not philanthropy.”

Given these statements, and Toka’s own modus operandi as a company and its background, it seems highly likely that the reason both Nigeria and Chile were chosen as the first of Toka’s development banks contracts was aimed at advancing the Israeli government’s agenda in those specific countries, one that seeks to counter and mitigate the vocal support for Palestine among those countries’ inhabitants.

The spyware problem goes far beyond NSO Group

The NSO Group and its Pegasus software is clearly a major scandal that deserves scrutiny. However, the treatment of the incident by the media has largely absolved the Israeli government of any role in that affair, despite the fact that the NSO Group’s sales of Pegasus to foreign governments has been approved and defended by Israel’s government. This, of course, means that Israel’s government has obvious responsibility in the whole scandal as well.

In addition, the myopic focus on the NSO Group when it comes to mainstream media reporting on Israeli private spyware and the threats it poses means that other companies, like Toka, go uninvestigated, even if their products present an even greater potential for abuse and illegal surveillance than those currently marketed and sold by the NSO Group.

Given the longstanding history of Israeli intelligence’s use of technology firms for international surveillance and espionage, as well as its admitted policy of using tech companies as fronts to combat BDS and ensure Israel’s “cyber dominance,” the investigation into Israeli spyware cannot stop just with NSO Group. However, not stopping there risks directly challenging the Israeli state, particularly in Toka’s case, and this is something that mainstream media outlets tend to avoid. This is due to a mix of factors, but the fact that NSO’s Pegasus has been used to spy on journalists so extensively certainly doesn’t help the matter.

Yet, Israel’s weaponization of its tech industry, and the global use of its spyware offerings by governments and security agencies around the world, must be addressed, especially because it has been explicitly weaponized to prevent non-violent boycotts of Israel’s occupation of Palestine, including those solely based on humanitarian grounds or out of respect for international laws that Israel routinely breaks. Allowing a government to engage in this activity on a global scale to stifle criticism of flagrantly illegal policies and war crimes cannot continue and this should be the case for any government, not just Israel.

If the outlets eagerly reporting on the latest Pegasus revelations are truly concerned with the abuse of spyware by governments and intelligence agencies around the world, they should also give attention to Toka, as it is actively arming these same institutions with weapons far worse than any NSO Group product.

Whitney Webb has been a professional writer, researcher and journalist since 2016. She has written for several websites and, from 2017 to 2020, was a staff writer and senior investigative reporter for MintPress News. She currently writes for her own outlet Unlimited Hangout and contributes to The Last American Vagabond and MintPress News.

July 24, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments

The African Union is self-destructing by letting Israel have observer status

By Dr Mustafa Mheta | MEMO | July 23, 2021

The Israeli Foreign Ministry announced yesterday that it has regained its observer status at the African Union. Until 2002, the colonial state was an observer member of the Organisation of African Unity, until the latter was dissolved and replaced by the African Union.

Who has decided to readmit Israel to the AU as an observer state? We know those responsible very well, because ever since they came to power in the continental body they have made some very unpopular decisions of no benefit to Africa and its people. Instead, they have sold us all to the highest bidder.

One day they will be exposed as traitors because Africa and its states have been born out of the struggles against slavery and colonialism; we don’t need to associate ourselves with colonial states such as the Zionist entity. In days gone by our kings and chiefs sold us for a teaspoon of sugar and a shiny mirror. Today our leaders are selling us again to the descendants of the same imperialists wearing democratic cloaks to hide their colonialist intentions.

Is there any difference between these modern African leaders and those who sold us into colonial slavery? Quite simply, none at all. They are the people who allow imperialists and Zionists to have access to our continent’s natural resources in exchange for spyware technology and weapons to enable their continuing grip on power.

When former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi spearheaded the formation of the African Union in 2002, he made sure that Zionist Israel was sidelined. Little did he know that his African brothers would go on to betray him and his anti-colonialist legacy.

Israel is a racist, apartheid state, so why should it have observer status at the AU? Before any such readmission was even considered, the union should have demanded that the Zionist state complies with the many UN resolutions hanging over it. It was a perfect opportunity to put pressure on Israel to withdraw from all Arab land that it occupies — Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian alike — and facilitate the independence of the State of Palestine.

The AU needs to wake up to what Israel is capable of doing. Just this week, Britain’s Guardian newspaper has reported that an Israeli company has developed and sold Pegasus spyware to a number of governments, including some in Africa, and that at least fourteen world leaders (among many activists, journalists and human rights campaigners), including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, have been targeted by the technology.

This is just one example of what befriending Israel means. One of the African leaders said to be implicated in such use of the Pegasus technology is Paul Kagame of Rwanda. He is a well-known friend of Israel and his relations with many of his neighbours in Africa are strained. Such relations are going to be tested even further after the Pegasus leak.

Kagame is known for pursuing his political opponents wherever they might be, and assassinating them. His relationship with the South African government is tense for that very reason. He also has problems with President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, who accuses him of espionage using the very same Pegasus spyware. The government of Burundi is also complaining about Kagame for doing the same thing.

Rwanda recently deployed its troops to northern Mozambique and a fierce war of words has since erupted within the ruling FRELIMO party in Maputo. Given the Pegasus situation, how can the Southern African Development Community, of which Mozambique is part, trust the Rwandan military working alongside its forces? This arrangement could go very wrong. It is impossible to fight alongside those who are spying on you.

It’s a fact that wherever Israel goes and is welcomed, problems of this nature tend to arise. Countries are destabilised and turn on each other. It’s the old colonial tactic of divide and rule, playing one side off against another while pretending to be friends of both.

The Israel observer status move is the second serious blunder made by the AU recently. The first was to allow Morocco to return to the fold before withdrawing its forces from occupied Western Sahara.

With the Zionist entity involved in the AU, we can expect the continent to be destabilised even further. Africa simply cannot afford or allow that to happen. The AU must, as a matter of urgency, rescind the decision about Israel’s status unless and until it complies with all UN resolutions concerning its withdrawal from all occupied territories and facilitate Palestinian independence. If the colonial-occupation state refuses to do so, then formal relations between Tel Aviv and the African Union should be off the agenda.

July 23, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 4 Comments

Where the Abraham Accords are (and aren’t) going

Israel has improved its relationship with the UAE, but what about other Gulf countries?

By Giorgio Cafiero and Kristian Coates Ulrichsen | Responsible Statecraft | July 7, 2021

On June 29, Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid arrived in the United Arab Emirates, marking the first official trip by any chief Israeli diplomat to the Gulf country. Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had wanted to visit Abu Dhabi while in office, so the timing of the visit so soon after the new Netanyahu-less government was sworn in was notable.

While Lapid was in the UAE, Israel inaugurated an embassy in Abu Dhabi and a consulate in Dubai, representing an important milestone in Emirati-Israeli relations nine months after the Abraham Accords were signed in Washington last September.

Lapid’s trip highlighted how the bilateral relationship has overcome challenges posed by the recent 11-day Gaza-Israel war. Although Emirati officialdom publicly condemned Israel’s conduct in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and called on both Hamas and Israel to halt attacks (which notably did not single out Israel) in May, the UAE is not cooling its relations with Israel. To the contrary, Abu Dhabi is keen to find ways to build on the Abraham Accords and enhance its ties with the Israelis notwithstanding the unresolved question of Palestine.

While with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Lapid signed an economic and commercial cooperation agreement. The two also co-authored a highly optimistic article in Abu Dhabi’s The National newspaper where they outlined their outlook for the Emirati-Israeli relationship as well as for “peace” across the greater region: “Peace isn’t an agreement you sign – it’s a way of life. The ceremonies we held this week aren’t the end of the road. They are just the beginning.” (Technically, the UAE-Israel accord is not a “peace” agreement because the UAE, which gained its independence in 1971, has never been at war with Israel.)

Beyond the rhetoric and the symbolism, what are this relationship’s substantive elements and what does this partnership truly mean in practice nine months after the accord’s signing?

Bilateral trade since September 2020 has reached around $675 million. The two countries have signed a long list of trade and cooperation agreements. Mediaeducation, and tourism are all promising sectors that are starting to take off. It is significant that amid the global pandemic, which greatly harmed the UAE and all other Gulf Cooperation Council states’ tourism sectors, 200,000 Israeli tourists visited the UAE with most flying to Dubai.

Technology may be the area where the Emiratis have the highest hopes for this relationship. The potential benefits of formalized ties with the region’s most technologically innovative and advanced country are clear to the UAE. This is particularly true with respect to cybersecurity and to the potential acquisition of offensive cyber-capabilities by the UAE. As Sheikh Abdullah stated, the Emiratis are pleased that the Israelis will participate in Expo2020, an event to be held later this year in Dubai that will bring 192 countries together through technology, innovation, science, and art.

Nonetheless, the Emirati-Israeli trade relationship has thus far not lived up to its expectations. There has also been a degree of disappointment among those who were expecting the partnership to take off much faster following then-President Donald Trump’s announcement of the Abraham Accords.

Some anticipated deals have not taken place. For example, there was the suspension of the 50 percent sale of Beitar Jerusalem (a Jerusalem-based professional football club with an anti-Arab image) to a member of Abu Dhabi’s royal family in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Nahyan. In addition, an Israeli energy firm that planned to sell its share of a gas field to Mubadala Petroleum (a subsidiary of the UAE’s sovereign wealth fund, Mubadala Investment Company) missed a deadline for completing the agreement, although, according to the UAE’s side, the deal remains set to proceed. Time will tell how many and how soon major government-to-government and private sector transactions will indeed take place.

Abraham Accords, the Gulf, and Africa

Despite the political risks for any Arab state that normalizes relations with Israel, the UAE has vocally stood by the Abraham Accords, which, in the words of its ambassador to Washington, Yousef al-Otaiba, “move the region beyond a troubled legacy of hostility and strife to a more hopeful destiny of peace and prosperity.” But Abu Dhabi at this point does not appear to be leading any trend within the Gulf region toward the formalization of relations with Israel.

In Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative remains popular and the only viable means of reaching a fair and lasting settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. This is true at the highest levels of government and among these countries’ general publics. But Tel Aviv almost certainly will not under any foreseeable circumstances agree to the API’s terms, which require Israel to return to the 1949-1967 borders and permit the Palestinians to have an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital in exchange for opening diplomatic relations. Therefore, among GCC states, the UAE, along with Bahrain, will probably stand alone on the normalization question for some time.

As the GCC state with the most pro-Palestinian stance, Kuwait is most strongly opposed to normalization and unlikely to change its position. Oman maintains pragmatic, albeit unofficial, relations with Israel as highlighted by Lapid’s phone call with Oman’s foreign minister Badr al Busaidi on June 24, plus Netanyahu and other Israeli prime ministers’ visits to Muscat since the 1990s. But Oman remains committed to the API, as affirmed by Muscat’s chief diplomat at an Atlantic Council event held on February 11.

Qatar has a special role to play in Gaza that would be jeopardized by “abandoning” the Palestinians in exchange for normalization with Israel. Through Al Jazeera, which focuses heavily on the plight of Palestinians, and the tendency of Qatari diplomats to advocate on behalf of Palestinians in international forums, Doha’s regional and global image has much to do with its ability to take firm positions on certain international issues that contribute to the image of a pro-human rights foreign policy.

Finally, Saudi Arabia, due to its special role across the wider Islamic world, its authorship of the API, and its own internal dynamics that are fundamentally different than the smaller GCC states, will likely continue seeing normalization of relations with Israel as too risky, at least so long as King Salman remains on the throne.

Within this context, Israel will likely have its next diplomatic openings in the Islamic world not in the Persian Gulf, but instead in impoverished parts of sub-Saharan Africa where countries such as Niger, Mali, and Mauritania could have their economic interests advanced by joining the Abraham Accords. It will be important to see what actions Abu Dhabi might take to incentivize these African countries, many of which are major recipients of Emirati aid, to formalize ties with Israel. Enhanced Emirati assistance in exchange for normalization with Israel was already evident in Sudan’s decision to normalize ties with Israel, and the UAE may take a similar approach with these and other predominantly Muslim and poor African states.

July 8, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | 1 Comment

U.N. Rejects Its Own Data to Claim ‘Climate Change’ Threatens Mass Starvation in Madagascar

Mainstream Media is Onboard with the Lie

By H. Sterling Burnett | ClimateRealism | June 24, 2021

A recent search of Google News for the term ‘climate change’ turns up a number of stories in the mainstream media promoting the United Nations (UN) World Food Programme saying climate change is causing a drought in Madagascar that threatens more than one million people with starvation.

Linking climate change to a temporary weather event, which this drought is, equates to a false comparison.

Also, the U.N.’s own data show Madagascar has been setting records in recent decades for crop production, so any food supply shortages are due to political or economic factors not declining crop production.

A story titled “Climate change has pushed a million people in Madagascar to the ‘edge of starvation,’ UN says,” by CNN is typical of the mainstream media’s uncritical coverage of the UN’s claims.

Climate change is the driving force of a developing food crisis in southern Madagascar, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) has warned,” writes CNN.

The African island has been plagued with back-to-back droughts — its worst in four decades — which have pushed 1.14 million people ‘right to the very edge of starvation,’ said WFP executive director David Beasley in a news release Wednesday.

The UN and CNN should check their premises and data. History shows back to back droughts are not unprecedented in Madagascar’s history.

Indeed, CNN’s own coverage notes the current drought is the worst in forty years. Forty years ago, during Madagascar’s last major drought, scientists were warning of a coming ice age, not global warming.

Peer-reviewed research shows Madagascar’s large megafauna declined sharply, with many species going extinct during previously extended droughts.

Research indicates Madagascar suffered extended droughts nearly 6,000 and again nearly 1,000 years ago.

A drought, approximately 950 years before the present, triggered a large transformation in vegetation, an increase in wildfires, and a sharp decline in the island’s megafauna.

It may be true that some people in Madagascar face potential starvation, but contrary to UN Food Programme’s claims it can’t be due to more than a very recent decline in food supplies, because data from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization show Madagascar’s food production has set repeated records since 1980, as seen in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1. Primary crops in Madagascar, all available years. Graph created from the FAO Website. Source

Rice, cassava, and sweet potatoes are three of Madagascar’s staple crops. Each has set multiple records for production over the past few decades. Between 1980 and 2019, the last year for which the FAO has records for Madagascar:

  • Rice production increased by approximately 101 percent.
  • Cassava production grew by slightly more than 73 percent.
  • Sweet potato production increased by more than 198 percent.

The FAO reports Madagascar also saw its fresh vegetable production grow 63 percent between 1980 and 2019.

Madagascar’s current drought is hardly unique and as dire as the present food shortage its people face may be, there is no evidence supposed human-caused climate change is to blame.

Indeed, during the era of global warming, Madagascar’s food production, like food production for the world as a whole, has increased significantly.

Research shows at least part of the recent increase in food production is due to the fertilization effect from increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from human fossil fuel use.

In a fervor to link the current drought and associated food shortages to climate change, the UN and CNN forgot a basic fact, weather is not climate and temporary weather conditions, such as back-to-back drought years, don’t necessarily reflect a changing climate.

The UN Food Programme should check its own data before it promotes climate alarm to the media.

Also, media outlets, like CNN, should be more skeptical of alarming climate change-related claims about drought and food production, which readily available data refute.


H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is managing editor of Environment & Climate News and a research fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute.

June 28, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | 1 Comment