Aletho News


Pompeo’s ‘Tokyo Kick’ Cannot Start the QUAD

By  Salman Rafi Sheikh | New Eastern Outlook | October 26, 2020

Mike Pompeo lashed out at China in his latest visit to Tokyo where he met his counterparts from India, Australia and Japan as part of his efforts to revive the QUAD, a US-centered anti-China alliance of the four countries. Speaking to his counterparts, Pompeo said that there was an urgent need to counter China, adding that “As partners in this Quad, it is more critical now than ever that we collaborate to protect our people and partners from the CCP’s exploitation, corruption, and coercion.” In an interview given to a Japanese news outlet, Pompeo also said that the grouping was a “fabric” that could “counter the challenge that the Chinese Communist Party presents to all of us.” “Once we’ve institutionalized what we’re doing – the four of us together – we can begin to build out a true security framework”, he added further. Mike Pompeo, who was clearly on a mission to persuade his allies to join the military alliance, was obviously trying to make US allies sell the same anti-China discourse that the Trump administration has used at home to start a ‘trade war’ with China. The US, now aiming to expand the war, is recruiting allies; hence, Pompeo’s high-pitched speeches against China.

While Pompeo said what he had to say, prospects of the QUAD’s rise as a powerful military alliance or an ‘Asian NATO’ remain bleak. Its most important reason is the fact that none of the countries—India, Japan and Australia—are interested in picking a military fight with China, while the US has no real allies against China.

While there is no gainsaying that all of these countries—India, Japan and Australia—have tense and uneasy relations with China, they appear not in the least interested in formalizing a US led anti-China military alliance, thus making PRC their official enemy.

It explains why these countries have so far chosen to manage their relations with China on their own and continue to shy away from exacerbating the fault lines by joining the US bandwagon of a ‘global anti-China coalition.’

Consider this: while Japan has its economic ties with China and there is no will in Tokyo to ‘de-couple’, following the US in its footsteps, it, with an eye on China, still is increasing its military strength. Whereas it is already converting two of its existing ships into aircraft carriers, it is going to make a record increase in its defense spending as well. Japan’s Defence Ministry has asked for an 8.3 per cent increase in the defense budget, which is by far the country’s largest rise in last two decades. Interestingly enough, one crucial reason why Japan has decided to increase the budget is the pressure that the Trump administration has been putting on the Japanese to manage their own national security. If Japan is anyway going to spend more and more on defense, increasing its military capability to position itself better in the region, not requiring extensive US military support, and it still wants to continue to have strong economic ties with China, there is no reason why it would want to permanently destabilize its relations with China by joining the ‘Asian NATO.’ Although this was prime minister Abe’s dream, his absence from the government will leave a further dampening impact on the alliance’s future prospects and Japan’s standing therein.

Australia’s government has announced a raft of legislation to curb foreign influence that is clearly (though unofficially) targeted at China. And India is actively engaged in a high-altitude, high-stakes game of chicken with China in the Himalayas—a hot-and-cold conflict in which India is no longer acting passively.

The fact that all of these countries have their specific problems with China and yet they have not been able to fully activate the QUAD shows there is no active and strong desire for a US-led military alliance. As such, the QUAD summit failed yet again to issue a joint statement or a communique.

Notwithstanding the US belligerence, the main focus of Japan, Australia and India remains a politically, economically and militarily balanced relationship with China.

This is the crucial reason that explains why, despite Pompeo’s hype and upbeat assessment of the ‘China threat’, none of the countries’ mentioned China directly in their statements issued after the meeting.

Unlike Pompeo, Japan’s Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi notably did not mention China in his remarks, and the Japanese government was quick to clarify that the talks were not directed at any one country. Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar noted the fact that the meeting was happening at all, given the coronavirus pandemic, was “testimony to the importance” of the alliance. Accordingly, while India like Japan, did endorse the agenda of “free pacific region” and “rule-based system”, it did not mention China either. Certainly, Indian policy makers were not looking to further destabilize the situation in and around the Ladakh region. For Australian foreign minister, who also did not mention China, the essence of the QUAD was to “promote strategic balance” in the Indo-pacific (and not start an Indo-pacific military alliance).

Starting a military alliance against China does not make sense. If the US is these countries’ biggest military and security ally, China is by far one of the largest trading partners, which makes the summit more symbolic than substantive. Accordingly, while Pompeo was talking of creating a ‘security network’, Japanese officials confirmed to local media that the subject was not even raised in the meeting; for, such a venture is unlikely to gain traction in the wake of these countries’ main thrust for balanced ties with China.

In the absence of a clear will and desire for building up military pressure on China, the ‘Asian NATO’ will remain an engine-less rail car, one that even persistent kicks wouldn’t be able to ignite.

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

October 26, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Turning Kids’ Grey Matter a Mushy Green

By Tony Thomas | Quadrant | September 23, 2020

Australian schools in the past decade have forced literally millions of kids to watch Al Gore’s error-riddled propaganda movie, An Inconvenient Truth. In 2007 an outraged English truck driver and parent took the education minister to the High Court in 2007 over the film’s gross inaccuracies, with Justice Burton ordering UK teachers must not show it without first warning kids it is politically partisan and contains nine significant errors. Those include Gore’s absurd claim that many low-lying Pacific island populations had already been  evacuated to New Zealand. Despite his vast wealth, Gore has never edited prints of his film to remove the errors.

No such mandatory warnings have accompanied Australian screenings. The Australian Academy of Science, our supposed bulwark against science misinformation, has made no objection to the brainwashing, although its president rushed to condemn a skeptic equivalent film in 2007.

The propaganda cycle is now being repeated. Kids in class are being drenched with Damon Gameau’s saccharine documentary 2040 about purported solutions to a purported climate crisis. The film doesn’t actually tell kids, “Vote Green”, but it calls for strong new political leadership. “Wouldn’t it be terrific if new leaders emerge who could navigate us to a better 2040,” Gameau hints.

Pushing the film into classrooms is Cool Australia, which has provided teachers with at least 32 ready-to-use lessons based on the documentary. The film is backed and part-funded by bedfellows, the Australian and Victorian governments.

Gameau reveals his inner Zeitgeist in interviews, which include an urge to re-shape our democratic ways. He imagines a “shift from a society built upon industry to a life-sustaining civilisation” which he called “The Great Turning”. As he spoke at Byron Bay (where else?) a year ago, a certain Olivia Rosebery “boldly stood in the audience” and sang her own song, ‘No more need for greed and hunger if we respect the Mother’s ways.’”

In an interview last May regarding COVID-19, he likes all the “silver linings”. He says,

Do we really need all these things, this excess of all these things we’re told are going to make us happy? In fact, I’m happier with a lot less of this stuff. And that excess is the very thing that would be destroying us ecologically…. So, I think that’s been a great win. So, how do we take this time to now rebuild with a lot more resilience … with food or energy or even our democracy. This is the time to have those discussions and think quite radically. And thankfully some countries and regions around the world are doing that.

Interviewer: What is bringing you hope during these unprecedented times?

Gameau: I would say, the fact that we do have closed shops, the streets are empty and we’ve got these silent skies. I think that’s a clue that we do care about each other, somewhere deep down…

As a documentary, his 2040 would normally be laughed away, but played in class to susceptible kids from about age 6 upwards, it’s pernicious. He’s also happy to do speeches on how to save the planet. But, “Please note that a speaker fee will be applicable.”

This essay will first detail the workings of leftist lobby Cool Australia, then analyse the content of 2040.

Few parents know that Education Departments around Australia have farmed out much of their kids’ schooling to green/Left lobbies. The most significant is Cool Australia, operating in 8,400 primary and secondary schools —  90 per cent of all schools. Nearly half our teachers use the lessons, downloading 2.1 million of them last year.[i]

Cool Australia delivers a win-win for everyone except Coalition supporters. Its agenda is anti-capitalism, anti-growth, and anti-coal, gas and petroleum. It’s pro the re-writing of the Constitution for the benefit of the Aboriginal industry, and watering down our Western heritage in favor of all sorts of multi-culturalism. Cool Australia’s CEO and founder, Jason Kimberley, boasts how Cool turns kids into green activists, whether or not they’ve yet learnt to tie their shoelaces.[ii] The video below shows how it’s done:

While most of Cool Australia’s ready-to-use topics are innocuous or praiseworthy, recall that the Antifa and BLM mobs now torching US cities are “mostly peaceful”. Our kids are lining up as Greens cadets, demanding “zero carbon” and the up-ending of two centuries of capitalist progress. Another example is Cool Australia’s foisting the anarchism of dark-green Canadian raver Naomi Klein onto teens and pre-teens.

I’ve been documenting Cool Australia’s work for half a decade (here, here, here) and have noticed how the organisation has ratcheted up in the past year by pushing into classes a barking-mad climate “documentary” called 2040. The film, after five years’ gestation, sports high production values, cute actors and story line. It’s had respectful reviews in the New York Times and LA Times and, according to Gameau, ‘the UN is going to show three minutes [of it] to all world leaders’. Taxpayers paid for some of it via the Australian Government and Screen Australia and the Victorian Government and Film Victoria.[iii] Below is a sample of what taxpayers got for their money.

Cool’s 32 lessons are half an hour or more.[iv] Add the kids’ viewing of the entire 92-minute film, and a typical nipper might tangle with this travesty for  a full day of school. Never mind the 3Rs, where Australian kids’ performance is sliding internationally.

The Cool Australia charity was founded in 2008 by Just Jeans heir[v] and climate alarmist Jason Kimberley, now teamed with leftist warriors including WWF, Earth Hour and the Human Rights Commission, and titans like Google, Atlassian and Foxtel. Cool Australia gets into classes on-line with 1400 ready-to-use lessons tapped by 120,000 teachers for 3.2 million kids.

Cool Australia has only eight full-time staff, $1.3 million in revenue (none from government) and a flock of savvy pedagogues. (Charity watchdog ChangePath rates it zero stars out of three for transparency). But Cool Australia has leveraged its way into almost all schools by mapping its free lessons according to teachers’ required curricula. Because of a mandatory cross-curricula priority for “sustainability”, Cool Australia is pushing against an open door. The priorities were designed in 2008-09 by Julia Gillard and state Labor governments.

At a recent gathering with Cool Australia, the former president of the Education Union, Angelo Gavrielatos, is quoted by Jason Kimberley, “Only UNICEF has a greater school’s penetration and they had a 50-year head start … You are, quite seriously, the good guys in education.”

Cool Australia saves teachers 1.65 million hours of lesson-preparations yearly, and plugs the yawning holes in their worldly knowledge with its own climate, refugee, “global citizenship” and gender tropes. Teachers love it, since about 45 per cent of them are teaching outside their expertise and three-quarters complain of unmanageable workloads. Says one teacher: “I haven’t touched Geography since the mid 1980s, and there I was, explaining resources – with an eventual focus on water – to Year 7! Cool Australia rescued me at a time of dire need and ever so slight panic.”

The Human Rights Commission is notorious for its years-long persecution of innocent Queensland University of Technology students who complained on social media about being kicked out of an Indigenous-only computer room.[vi] Cool Australia quotes ex-HRC head Gillian Triggs, “With values such as empathy, collaboration and real world learning there [has been] a close synergy with Cool Australia. In just a few months, our animated video, interactive time-line and lesson plans reached more than 1,200 schools.” This HRC grievance-mongering involved 640,000 students and 14,000 lessons.

Cool Australia’s overt goal is to turn kids into child soldiers in the culture wars, via its “unique action-based pedagogy”. Jason Kimberley says, “Cool Australia’s role is to educate in a way that empowers young people to take agency and tackle the many challenges that urgently require twenty-first century skills. Our focus is always on what can be done.”

Cool Australia’s surveys show that after absorbing its materials, 70 to 80 per cent of kids adopt its positions, change their behaviour towards social and environmental issues, and are ready “to take action”. Here’s from a set of guides for 10-to-12 year olds, most unable or unwilling to put their singlets in the wash.

Step 1: Think about some of the big issues that are facing the world at the moment. How can we ensure that the world’s population can have its basic needs around food, water, housing, clothing, employment, education and health met whilst also looking after the environment and reducing the effects of climate change? … Your idea could aim to make a change in your house, your street, your school or your neighbourhood.

A mainstream Cool Australia cause is Earth Hour, when the woke folk dispense with electricity for 60 minutes (renewables’ unreliability is already achieving that). But Cool Australia’s Earth Hour folderol by last year had reached 2.3 million kids via 50,000 downloaded lessons.[vii]

Now let’s get back to the 2040 documentary. By time travelling into the future, the film can pretend that every green policy works. Make way for rainbows and unicorn stampedes! Its climate solutions include swapping steaks for seaweed and pulling down levels of evil CO2 to return the atmosphere to 350ppm CO2 (now 412ppm). That’s some feat.

To scare and prime the kids, the perceived status quo is from Al Gore’s climate-porn: allegedly CO2-caused cyclones, floods, droughts, acid oceans, bushfires, melted ice-caps and those long-foreseen but invisible millions of climate refugees. While touting its message as positive, there’s enough doom-talk in this film to give kids and even credulous adults a lot of what Gameau calls “climate grief”.

The end-result of the solutions in 2040 is ecstatic kids literally playing ring-a-rosy in the park (I’m not making that up) and birds twittering in a car-less CBD (ditto). Car parks become vege plots and push-bikers wave to sharers of electric driverless cars. Trucks? Who needs those when we live in green self-sufficient communes?

In the plotline 2040‘s protagonist helps his real-life 4-year-old daughter, Velvet, to navigate through climate perils to his 20-years-hence nirvana. He spends half the film in airports and planes to Bangladesh, Stockholm etc. He’s begged off the guilts by using carbon credits and planting a few trees to save 90 tonnes of CO2 by 2040. China happens to be putting out 10 billion tonnes CO2 a year, but Gameau doesn’t mention China once. Here’s how director Gameau shows kids how to deal with sceptics.

# Governments spend $10 million a minute subsidising fossil fuels.

He doesn’t say which governments or which currency, but it looks like $A5.3 trillion a year. Australia’s total GDP is only $2 trillion.

# US fossil fuel vested interests are now spending $US1 billion a year preventing us from lowering emissions, using the tobacco-lobby playbook of creating doubt and confusion.

This $US1 billion appears sourced from a debunked 2013 paper by “environmental sociologist” Robert J. Brulle in the journal Climatic Change.[viii] He added up the total spending of 91 US conservative organisations instead of their fractional spending on climate, and mysteriously lumped even arch alarmist James Hansen among his list of “deniers”.[ix] The tobacco analogy is febrile hand-waving from Naomi Oreskes in her Merchant of Doubt tract, 2010.

# Sceptics create websites full of misinformation like claiming the science is not settled and that climate-peril is a religion.

No science is settled, as Einstein would vouch. The IPCC’s now-disgraced skirt-chasing leader Rajendra Pachauri himself said his cause was religious.[x]

# Exxon-Mobil finances multiple “denier” groups to make it look like “denialism” has broad support.

The oil giant funded 43 skeptic groups with a total $US16 million from 1998 to 2005. That was $US260,000 per group and it ceased 15 years ago. For perspective, Australia’s climate princess, Dr Joelle “Paper Withdrawn” Gergis, got $A692,000 taxpayer money just for one study, which she had to retract in 2012 because of statistical flaws pointed out by skeptics, and she re-did it over the subsequent four years 2013-16. Renewables are now a $US1.5 trillion per year juggernaut. Meanwhile, world-leading skeptic bloggers like JoNova (Perth), Paul Homewood (UK) and Anthony Watts (US) mostly live off tip jars.

# “Deniers” create algorithms and “bots” masquerading as humans to populate the web with climate falsehoods.

The source list points to a 2011 blog post. Its content is just nuts].

The film’s “fact-based dreaming” has spooky or inspirational music to reinforce its messages. It starts with Gameau’s house getting filled with choking smoke after he stokes his fireplace. That represents rising CO2. He mourns that little daughter Velvet will be facing “a deteriorating environment” as ice caps “melt faster than scientists predicted”. That’s odd as the Arctic ice extent has been stable for half a decade and the Antarctic is cooling, not heating.

The oceans, which are alkaline anyway, we’re told are getting so acidic that its animals struggle to make their shells (nonsense). In fact NOAA concedes the historic ocean pH measurements are unreliable, so no conclusions are possible.[xi]

Sea rise, continues the flick, threatens “hundreds of millions” of people. (The UNEP in 2005 predicted a 50 million horde of climate refugees by 2010. When none showed up, it sneakily changed their arrival date to 2020. Now they’d better advance it again to 2030).

Every ten minutes Gameau interviews some of his 100-kid stockpile in the six-to-eleven age bracket, and they repeat memes from adults, like

Ten-year-old girl: “I would like for the government to have done something on global warming and pollution as now I think they are not really doing anything about it.” [Except waste $US1 trillion a year].

“I don’t want to see people eating meat because that is from animals.” [Gameau says we’ll be salivating over “pretty convincing” meat substitutes].

 “The sea looks like a big big mess.”

“The beach would not be the same if you could not swim in the water and whales are all gone.”

 “I wish they would stop killing off animals and forests like that. That would be cool.”

Gameau comments without irony: “It’s sobering to learn how pre-occupied kids are with the state of the planet.”

Daughter Velvet, berates a guilty adult: “What were you guys thinking?”

Adult (shame-facedly): “Well sometimes we weren’t.”

Gameau’s first solution is from Bangladesh (would we all just love to live like Bangladeshis? OK, probably not), which he celebrates for deploying “solar microgrids” powering what looks like 15W light globes. (The others enjoy fossil-fired mains 220V power. Renewables in Bangladesh are currently 2.5 per cent of its electricity capacity, and the renewables target is only 10 per cent.[xii] Mustn’t tell schoolkids that inconvenient truth, Mr Gameau.

His narrative also claims that somehow we will get those all-important solar household batteries “so cheap you are not even going to notice”. The cost of a battery system: currently between $2000 and $20,000., which are certainly numbers large enough to be noticed. Many countries, he dreams, could be close to 100 per cent renewables by 2040, presumably when the sun will be shining at night and the wind never stops.

He trots out a succession of “experts”, like Oxford’s Dr Kate Raworth. She’s a “renegade economist”  and “the brain behind the widely influential theory of Doughnut Economics.” She plans for a free economy where the value created is shared more equitably, granting prosperity to everyone in the world without climate change or pollution, the film says.

Cars are scrapped or converted to electric drive (wow, what would the mechanic charge?). The film provides another of those wonderful ‘peak oil’ forecasts:  “If no-one buys (normal) cars, oil demand will peak and go down dramatically and never come back”. We will have “less road rage” and actually hear birds singing in the city. (The flick’s sound editor splices helpfully “tweet, tweet” into the sound-track at this point).

Another of Gameau’s talking heads is author/film-maker Helena Norberg-Hodge, who “has been promoting an economics of personal, social and ecological well-being for more than 30 years.” She pushes purer living patterns in both “North and South” hemispheres, according to her blurb, which explains she mastered her green methods over decades of work in Ladakh, Kashmir, which is famous for its religious mask-dancing and weaving. Her books include Learning from Ladakh and the rather ambitious Schooling the World.

Australian actress, Davini Malcolm, plays a shaman in Gameau’s film. She was born “Lindy” but received the name “Davini” from her Indian spiritual teacher, Osho, in 1994. She went on to help produce and write the 13-part children’s TV Series Teenie Weenie Greenies and do a film, Lotus Birth, of her experience having twins in the bath. The births were preceded by her partner, Peter, and their two boys around the piano singing what the DVD notes call their famous and delightful “fart song”.

In 2040 a glum fellow Eric Toensmeier lectures our kids that “even if we ceased all our human emissions altogether, cut emissions to zero, we would still be toast” because we’ve passed some phony tipping point “and on our way to a point of no return”. So we have to sequester and store existing “carbon” (he means CO2 but only nerds do chemistry). Experts describe how to “flip” global crop and livestock farming to cut emissions through soil regeneration and fence-free cattle grazing. Gameau’s case study is Cole Seis who has reworked his 2000 acres at Shepparton and claims savings of over $2 million – except “I don’t know where the $2 million went,” he says.[xiii]

The future-stepping Velvet explains that someone did get stung for the costs of all this transformation: “Those who polluted our era with excess carbon [she means CO2] had to pay a penalty and the money raised paid farmers to clean our air.” This innovative economic planning is accompanied by vision of “smoke” aka steam, billowing from a coal-fired power station.

Next up is marine permaculture for the oceans “to get the overturning circulation going again”, quite a task. A 100 square kilometre patch of oceanic desert between Australia and America would be switched to permaculture, producing food to stave off those “unprecedented numbers of [climate] refugees”, according to Gameau. Seaweed farms flourish for thousands of kilometres in the Bay of Bengal and around the coast of Africa, contributing to ‘thriving local economies’.

The film’s explanatory notes say, “Kelp and seaweed are nature’s climate warriors … Researchers estimate that if 9 per cent of the world’s ocean surfaces were used for seaweed farming, we would be removing 53 billion tonnes of CO2 per year from the atmosphere.” Hmm, what’s 9 per cent of the oceans? On my estimate, four times the size of Australia. That’s a challenge.

Cool Australia tells kids:

Students will investigate the relationship between seaweed farming, the health benefits of eating seaweed and climate change. They will use this info to develop an infographic that uses numbers to convince their peers to eat more seaweed.

Can we surmise Cool Australia founder Jason Kimberley does his bit by lunching on kelp and algae? Somehow I doubt it.

De-commissioned oil rigs, we learn, “become exciting tourist destinations for those keen to explore marine life.” Who needs silly old oil and plastics? Newsreader Angela Pippos is wheeled on to read this fake script: “Big banks continue to take a hit as the public shifts its money away from organisations that support fossil fuels.” […]

He closes his concoction with rapturous music and vision of youngsters of all colors and creeds dancing in a hi-tech ambience through a forest. One white-clad 20-something grows from her shoulder-blades giant butterfly wings that actually flap. Gameau rhapsodises that this generation is “celebrating regeneration” (geddit?) because CO2 levels are coming down. This must be the cheesiest movie clip ever made or even imaginable.

Gameau leaves his world-straddling Boeing at the airport and heads home to start planting stuff, as distinct from planting stuff in kids’ heads. There are so many helpers involved in this 92-minute mock epic that ten minutes are needed for the closing credits.

Cheryl Lacey is an education strategist and author of Marching Schools Forward (Connor Court, 2019). She comments:

Whether schools are being used by Al Gore, Cool Australia, Gillard, the Greens, or even the Liberal party, the truth is that schools have become nothing more than a playing field for power and wealth distribution. This ‘child abuse’ isn’t new. Education’s been bastardised for at least 50 years: the Greens especially have  deeply penetrated young minds.  It’s no surprise that 90% of all schools are buying into Cool Australia’s propaganda. Just print and distribute. No teaching required. As for thinking? Impossible.

Remarks in a Tagespiegel article from Germany last week seem quite applicable to Australian schools. The former Potsdam Climate Institute Director, Prof. Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber is quoted: “The closing of ranks of science and youth in the fight for a new society that is sustainable in its management and living is like a ‘big bang’. We need these heroes and heroines who are not even of age”.

Tagespeigel comments,

These minors are well organized in their own schools – that is their basis. But something has changed fundamentally. Whereas ten years ago, the climate and environment clubs in the schools themselves were not taken seriously by students and particularly frequented, today they are the smallest units from which mobilization and organization for the big demonstrations are done. (Translation by Pierre Gosselin, Notrickszone )

I know conservative politicians are timid but why are they supporting schools’ campaign for their own extinction?

Tony Thomas’s new book, Come To Think Of It – essays to tickle the brain, is available here as a book ($34.95) or an e-book ($14.95)

[i] Cool Australia Impact Report, 2019

[ii] Impact Report: “The outcome is better engaged students who commit to individual and community action. This approach goes beyond a simple transfer of knowledge. It builds on an individual’s capacity for transformational change.”

[iii] Some items I’ve tracked include Film Victoria: 2018-19, $22,000; 2017-18, $88,000; 2016-17, $10,000. Screen Australia, 2016-17, $15,000 (development), unstated (production).

[iv] In a search, “2040” comes up in 64 lessons

[v] Craig Kimberley sold his Just Jeans empire for $64m in 2001.

[vi] The HRC also trawled for complaints about The Australian’s cartoonist Bill Leak, who died of a heart attack during the furore.

[vii] Cool Australia Impact Report, 2019

[viii] Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of U.S. climate change counter-movement organizations

[ix] Hansen is known as “the father of the global warming movement” from his 1988 testimony to Congress.

[x] Pachauri: ‘For me the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems is more than a mission. It is my religion and my dharma.’

[xi] The data collected prior to 1989 are typically not well documented and their metadata is incomplete; therefore, such data are of unknown and probably variable quality.

[xii] 48 power plants with a combined generation capacity of 16,875 megawatts (MW) are under construction in Bangladesh. State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid says the power division has been working on uninterrupted, reliable and quality power at reasonable and affordable prices.

[xiii] “Colin Seis discovered a new way of farming after his 2,000-acre family farm burned to the ground in a devastating bushfire. The disaster forced Colin to rethink his approach and develop a radical new farming technique. It was so successful it became a global agricultural movement, known as ‘pasture cropping’.”

October 17, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Film Review, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Australia Faces Challenging Times Caused by Deteriorating Relations with China

By James ONeill – New Eastern Outlook – 16.10.2020

A recent article published in Russia Today on 13 October 2020 by Tom Fowdy raised some very important issues affecting Australia’s economic well-being. That economic position is rapidly deteriorating as the country’s crucial economic relationship with China disintegrates at an accelerating rate. Australia’s export structure has had several distinctive features over the 250 or so years since it was first colonised by the British in the late 18th century.

Its initial role was to serve as a penal colony for people from Britain who had committed crimes, but not severe enough to warrant execution. The rights of Australia’s indigenous population who had inhabited the country for more than 100,000 years did not enter the equation. Indeed, they were not officially regarded even as human beings, that status only being assigned in the 1960s. Before then the aboriginal people had the same legal status as flora and fauna.

The defeat of the British in Singapore by the Japanese army in 1941 lead to the beginning of a move from reliance on the British for the country’s security to reliance upon the Americans. The latter’s troops arrived in 1942 and they have been there ever since.

Australia’s trading patterns showed a similar reliance upon the British until the latter’s joining the European Common Market on 1 January 1973 forced a reappraisal of that economic relationship. Thereafter, Australia’s trade shifted progressively to its Asian neighbours, a trend that accelerated in every year since the 1970s. Today, Asian nations account for the vast bulk of Australia’s trade with the world.

China, which accounted in 2019 for more than one third of the total Australian exports, was easily the biggest trading partner, accounting for nearly twice the amount of trade than that with Japan, the second most important trading partner.

Despite its geography, being a landmass immediately South of its major trading partners, the Australian political psyche has remained firmly fixed to the Anglo-United States worldview. Since the end of World War II in 1945, Australia has joined the United States in at least four major military conflicts; Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, that are not only geographically remote from Australia, but also involved no discernible vital Australian strategic interest.

The fact that all four wars were based on false justifications did nothing to enhance their legitimacy. The Korean War was manifestly aimed at the overthrow of the then newly installed Communist Party in China. This was readily discernible from the actions of the Allied troops that clearly violated the terms of the United Nations Security Council resolution authorising military action (in the absence of Russia and with China’s seat still held by the Nationalists.)

The lies told about Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” or Afghanistan’s alleged role in sheltering the falsely accused Osama bin Laden for his alleged role in the events of 11 September 2001 are too well known to bear repetition here. What is important for present purposes is that the falsehoods and ulterior motives for the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq did not deter Australia from either its initial involvement or its continuing role as an occupying power.

Australia similarly joined in the United States manufactured war in Vietnam, again for no discernible strategic or military interest to Australia. It was the experience of the 1972 –1975 Whitlam Labor government in Australia in response to that war that cemented the subservience to United States interests.

Whitlam had removed Australian troops from Vietnam and recognised the PRC as China’s legitimate government. Both moves met with bitter opposition by the Liberal Opposition party. What sealed the Whitlam government’s fate however, was its decision to close the American run spy base at Pine Gap in Australia’s Northern Territory. The Whitlam government was dismissed by the country’s Governor General John Kerr the day before Whitlam was to announce Pine Gap’s closure to the Australian parliament. That the base is still open (one of at least eight United States military bases in Australia) speaks volumes about the geopolitical consequences of the Whitlam dismissal.

Through these tumultuous years trade with China continued to flourish. China also became the largest source of foreign students, the largest source of foreign tourists, and the third largest source of foreign investment. In 2020 all this changed. Clearly acting as a mouthpiece for the American administration, Australia demanded an “explanation” from China at the beginning of this year for the outbreak of the Corona virus.

The accusatory tone of the Australian demand was not well received in Beijing. This began a series of economic countermeasures by China. The initially relatively small economic impact of banning wine imports was clearly intended to send a signal.

That signal fell on deaf ears. Australia’s anti-China rhetoric progressively escalated through 2020. The Chinese response was to increase the banning of Australian imports. The latest (early October 2020) was to ban coal imports from Australia. This is a market worth $US13 billion to the Australian economy. It will not be the last item to be banned or greatly restricted, with iron ore (more than US$100 billion) probably being the next commodity banned, already falling 17% each month since July.

The Covid crisis has also resulted in an almost complete cessation of Chinese student arrivals (again the largest foreign source) and an industry worth billions of dollars and thousands of jobs to the Australian economy. It would be naïve to expect those numbers to recover in the foreseeable future. The same is true with Chinese tourists, a vanishing species and again unlikely to return to anywhere near previous levels. Again, tens of thousands of jobs are lost.

The rational response by an Australian government would be to review both its policies and its rhetoric. Not only has the Morrison government shown no such inclination, it is difficult to see how it could feasibly do so without adversely affecting its close and continuing (subservient) relationship with the United States.

The memory of the fate of the 1975 Whitlam government which dared to pursue policies contrary to United States wishes continues to cast a very long shadow over Australian politics.

Fowdy suggests that Australia’s situation “might be described as the most clear and explicit reaction yet of the discomfort in the Anglo-sphere world caused by the rise of China.” I respectfully agree. The solution however, is not to try and maintain the dominance of the Western world as it has been for the past 300 years.

Instead there needs to be a recognition that the Anglo-Saxon dominance was an historical anomaly, and that the old order is resetting itself. In Australia’s case that will require some major mental adjustments.

The country has flourished in recent decades precisely because of its geography and growing trade and other links with what Australians call “the near North.” What has been manifestly lacking is the political attitudes and conduct that match the geopolitical and trade realities. Unfortunately, that adjustment may be a bridge too far for the Australian psyche. It has only itself to blame.

James O’Neill is an Australian-based former Barrister at Law.

October 16, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , | 1 Comment

Round up the ‘anti-vaxxers’? Enlist religious leaders? Bill Gates warns US needs to brainstorm ways to reduce ‘vaccine hesitancy’

RT | October 6, 2020

Billionaire software tycoon Bill Gates has urged the US to prepare for a Covid-19 vaccine rollout by deputizing trusted community leaders to “reduce vaccine hesitancy,” bemoaning the rapid spread of “conspiracy theories” online.

The Microsoft founder-turned-vaccine-evangelist painted a mostly rosy picture of a vaccine rollout getting “rich countries” back to normal by the end of 2021 in an interview during the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council on Tuesday.

However, with less than half of Americans saying they’d get a Covid jab – even if paid $100 for it – in a recent survey, Gates then focused his talk on enlisting the nation’s “trust network” to overcome the skeptics.

Lamenting that “vaccine hesitancy is in all countries and predates the pandemic,” Gates suggested American health officials start “thinking about which voices will help reduce the hesitancy, so we can get a level of vaccination that really has a chance of stopping” the virus.

Gates provided the example of challenges the polio vaccine faced in some countries – and the cunning lengths some were willing to go to get their populations jabbed.

“In places like Nigeria we had to go to the religious leaders, talk to them, have them speak out, you know, vaccinate their children. So [it is about] understanding the trust network – who is it that you view as an expert. Very few people can look at the formulation or data directly.”

Coronavirus czar Anthony Fauci hinted back in June that he was already on the task, revealing the government had a PR blitz planned in which “people [vaccine-hesitant Americans] can relate to in the community – sports figures, community heroes, people that they look up to” – will spread the pro-vaccine gospel.

Gates had typically harsh words for both conspiracy theorists and the social media platforms he believes enable them, complaining that “very titillating things” like the notion that “somebody intentionally made this virus, or that there’s some conspiracy” spread online “so much faster than the truth, which is that it comes from a bat.” Gates called on social media to “slow down or annotate things that actually cause huge damage, like not wearing masks or not being willing to take the vaccine if it proves that it is this key tool to getting back to normal.”

While he stressed he wasn’t suggesting Facebook and its peers go for “the Chinese solution” of telling companies what they must censor, the billionaire has previously called conspiracy theories about his funding of global vaccination schemes “a big problem,” and on Tuesday he slammed platforms for the absence of “smart solutions” to that problem.

Gates saved some barbs for the Trump administration, disparaging the government’s preparation for and response to the pandemic, accusing it of creating a “vacuum of leadership” by pulling out of the World Health Organization. Among other failings, “we didn’t do [pandemic] simulations” like some countries, he complained, referencing his now-famous 2015 TED Talk about the importance of comprehensive state-level planning for epidemics.

However, his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation actually staged one of the best-known pandemic simulations, Event 201, in conjunction with the World Economic Forum and Johns Hopkins University in New York last October. The barely-fictional scenario involved a deadly coronavirus originating in geese spreading around the world, devastating economies and triggering the imposition of strict behavioral controls while leaving a trail of 65 million bodies in its wake. The narrative was so close to the subsequent outbreak of the novel coronavirus that Johns Hopkins was forced to include a disclaimer on the event website.

Indeed, the US government has run several such simulations in conjunction with representatives of local governments, hospitals, and various other private sector interests over the years. “Crimson Contagion,” one such exercise held from January to August last year, predicted the US would respond in a chaotic and disorganized fashion to an outbreak, exposing weaknesses that were apparently not remedied in time for Covid-19. A 2017 Pentagon report similarly warned that a “novel respiratory disease” emanating from, among other places, a Chinese wet market could spread throughout the world, hurting the military’s readiness and national security for as long as two years and prescribing correctives – which apparently fell on deaf ears.

Gates has previously warned that the “final hurdle” to a vaccine-fueled return to normalcy is convincing the population to actually roll up their sleeves and take the jab(s), and the World Health Organization – of which his foundation is the single largest funder, following the US’ departure – declared “vaccine hesitancy” one of the biggest threats to world health last year. The billionaire has stated he hopes to have seven billion humans vaccinated with whatever formula proves safe and effective, but has suggested a mandate would be counterproductive and actually increase resistance to vaccines.

Gates is far from the only voice urging governments to soft-pedal their inoculation demands. Noting that a straight-up mandate would probably be challenged and nullified in court, a paper published earlier this month in the New England Journal of Medicine instead suggested at-risk populations be threatened with “penalties” like job loss for failure to get vaccinated. Australian PM Scott Morrison similarly had to walk back comments that vaccination should be “as mandatory as possible” after intense public outcry, and US President Donald Trump has promised the shot will be optional even as he tasked the military with delivering it.

Gates is funding the development of six leading Covid-19 vaccine candidates, and told the conference Phase III clinical trial data would be in before the year’s end. Acknowledging “we still don’t know whether these vaccines will succeed,” he nevertheless pooh-poohed Russian and Chinese vaccine development efforts, predicting that once ‘his’ – the Western – jabs were widely available at low cost, “I doubt there will be a lot of Russian or Chinese vaccine going outside these countries.”

October 7, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , | Leave a comment

‘Vicious slanders’: China hits out at Australian foreign interference allegations

RT | September 16, 2020

Chinese officials in Australia have dismissed allegations of foreign interference as “vicious slanders.” The denial follows reports that a consular member had been investigated for his role in a suspected propaganda campaign.

The Chinese Consulate in Sydney said on Wednesday that it wanted to promote “friendly exchanges and pragmatic cooperation,” and that it had always abided by “international law and basic norms of international relations.”

“The accusations that the Consulate General and its official engaged in infiltration activities are totally baseless and nothing but vicious slanders.”

Relations between the two countries sunk to their lowest point in decades amid a months-long investigation into whether top Chinese diplomats, academics and journalists were involved in deliberately spreading propaganda and influencing Australian officials.

On September 15, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported it had obtained documents showing that Australian Federal Police (AFP) were investigating whether a consulate official was involved in the suspected influencing of a state politician and policy adviser.

According to the report, an AFP warrant named consulate member Sun Yantao in relation to an investigation involving New South Wales (NSW) State Parliament member Shaoquett Moselmane and one of his policy advisers, John Zhisen Zhang.

Moselmane’s home and office were raided by AFP and Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) officers in June, during which computers and other communication devices were seized. The investigation was focused on whether Moselmane’s activities as a lawmaker were influenced by members of the Chinese Communist Party, with whom he allegedly corresponded.

Gradually worsening relations between the two countries have also affected journalists from both sides. Last week, two reporters working for Australian media in China were rushed out of the country “for their safety.” Before their departure, the correspondents were questioned by China’s state security ministry in relation to the case of Cheng Lei, an Australian China-based journalist who worked for English-language channel CGTN. Cheng was detained in August and remains in custody over suspected activities that endanger China’s security.

At the same time, Beijing has repeatedly condemned the ‘harassment’ of Chinese journalists in Australia. The latest incident of this sort came on late Tuesday, when ASIO agents raided the homes of four Chinese journalists and confiscated communications items, raising questions of a tit-for-tat escalation between the sides, according to China’s state news agency Xinhua.

Deteriorating relations between Australia and China partially resemble those playing out between China and the US, where moves have already been made to counter alleged influence and intelligence operations by Beijing.

In July, the Chinese consulate in Houston was forced to close suddenly due to the threat of “espionage and influence activities,” according to a senior US Justice Department official.

Earlier in the year, Chinese-state media organizations operating in the US were told they would be treated as foreign government functionaries, instilling them with the same administrative requirements as embassies and consulates.

According to Washington, the moves were for the purpose of curbing undue Chinese influence from within the US; however, they were met with heavy criticism from Beijing. China has accused both the US and Australia of holding double standards in their approach to freedom of the press and free speech.

September 16, 2020 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 3 Comments

Australia Confronts a Changing Economic World

By  James ONeill – New Eastern Outlook – 09.09.2020

The nature of Australia’s trading relationship with the rest of the world has changed dramatically in the 75 years since the end of World War II. In 1945–46 the total value of Australia’s exports of goods and services was $19 billion. It remained relatively low for the next 25 years, passing $50 billion only in 1969-70. It took a further 15 years to double, passing the $100 billion mark in 1984–85. It doubled again to $200 billion in 2000-01, and more than doubled again to $473.7 billion in 2019.

The nature of Australia’s export commodities has also changed rapidly over recent decades. Right up until the early 1980s rural commodities such as wool and meat dominated Australia’s exports. The shift away from this rural product reliance began in the 1970s, initially driven by exports of coal and iron ore.

Service exports began to assume a more dominant role in the 1980s. Short-term visitor arrivals into Australia went for about 137,000 in the early 1960s to over 2.5 million in 1991–92 and 9.3 million in 2019. The rural sector had a corresponding drop in its relative importance, accounting for about 42% of exports in 1969-70 to around 10% in 2018–19. Minerals and fuels on the other hand rose from under 17% to over 50% in the same period.

It was not just the structure of Australia’s exports that changed rapidly. The principal markets also changed radically. In the early 1960s the United Kingdom took 24% of Australia’s exports, the United States 13%, China 7.7% and Japan 22.4%. The figures for 2018-19 show a radical change. The United Kingdom has shrunk to less than 1.5%, the United States 3.9%, Japan a small shrinkage to 18% and a dramatic rise for China to just under 37% of the total.

Of Australia’s 25 largest export markets, (who account for the overwhelming majority of total exports) Asian countries constituted the greatest proportion, both in number and in value. Of the top 10 export markets, seven were in Asia (the other three being the United Kingdom, 4th, the United States 5th, and New Zealand 8th.) China, by far the largest market was 2.5 times greater than Japan in second place, and more than 10 times greater than the United Kingdom and the United States, each of the latter two accounting for less than 10% of the value of the Chinese market.

The year 2020 has seen some radical changes in Australia’s relationship with China, not all of which can be attributed to the virus. Australia’s exports to China fell by nearly a quarter year on year, and fell for each of the last five months to August 2020. It would be unwise to attribute this loss to the coronavirus effect. China’s imports from all nations grew by 6% in the year to August 2020 and the country’s economy, including imports, has had a relatively short and minor impact from the virus.

The Chinese view as expressed in the Party’s media outlet, the Global Times, in a series of articles featuring Australia in recent weeks, is that the slump in trade is a direct consequence of the deteriorating political relationship between the two countries. If the slump continues, and there are no signs at all of any improvement in the relationship, quite the contrary, the economic consequences for Australia will be devastating.

Unlike the food exports of decades ago, the market for mineral products is much less elastic. Importing countries have to have the industrial infrastructure to utilise the raw minerals, and new markets cannot be created in the medium, let alone short term.

It is not just exports that will be affected by the rapid cooling of China – Australia relations. Chinese students in 2019 comprised by far the biggest number of foreign students in Australian universities. That market has virtually vanished this year. Similarly, with Chinese tourists, again the largest group in 2019. It would be extremely unwise for either the tourist or the University sectors to expect any improvement in the foreseeable future. Both sectors contributed billions of dollars to Australia’s foreign exchange balance and supported tens of thousands of jobs.

It is not too difficult to ascertain the reasons for the deteriorating relationship between the two countries. A major factor is Australia’s relationship to the United States with the latter country engaging in a bitter economic and propaganda war with China. Contrary to the constant claims about the alleged freedom of the United States, it is engaged in a bitter economic war with China, arbitrarily excluding Chinese investment; the forced closure of Chinese companies; the forced closure of a Chinese consulate; reducing entry visas to Chinese citizens across a huge range of areas; and engaging in a constant propaganda war. Allegations of alleged Chinese responsibility for the current coronavirus outbreak is one example, accompanied by a bitter personalisation of the disease as the “China virus” by United States president Donald Trump.

The United States runs an enormous trade deficit with China which is somehow turned into a Chinese “fault”. The blunt reality is different. Chinese education and technology have significantly outpaced the United States in recent years. One manifestation of this is that a huge number of major United States companies have moved their production out of the United States and relocated to China and other Asian countries.

It is not just a cost driven exercise. As noted, the Chinese technology is now superior to that of the United States (as is also the case in Russia), the labour force is better educated, production costs are lower, and the market for advanced goods is rapidly expanding. China lifting 700 million people out of poverty this century alone has had major downstream effects, including an educated, affluent domestic market. The major social indicators in the United States by comparison have nearly all been in the opposite direction.

When one looks at the social and economic indicators in China, they all point to increasing demand for quality imports, whether of raw materials or other indicia of social and economic progress. Australia, with large resources and a small population (about the same as Shanghai) should be in a prime position to benefit from China’s economic progress.

Instead, as the figures now demonstrate, Australia is paying an economic price for its political subservience to the United States. That subservience takes many forms, all of which defy rational explanation if the test was one of a country acting in it own economic interests.

Australia has willingly engaged in the United States’ foreign wars of choice, from Korea 70 years ago up to and including the ongoing travesties in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. None of that by itself would necessarily have impacted on Australia’s relationship with China. In recent years, and especially in the Trump era, that subservience has taken on a different and more dangerous element.

Australia seems to have completely disregarded the maxim attributed to Lord Palmerston: a country has neither friends nor enemies, only interests. The current actions of the Australian government are the antithesis of enlightened self-interest. To go out of one’s way to annoy and alienate such an important economic partner (in multiple senses) such as China, is simply irrational. The foolishness is compounded by there being an absence of any obvious plan B.

The next few years are likely to be years of hardship for Australia unprecedented in the modern era. The Australian government has only itself to blame. It would be extremely unwise to assume that a change of government in Australia would make the least difference. The Opposition Labor Party is basically an echo chamber when it comes to the government’s actions with regard to China.

The reasons for that go back in all probability to the overthrow of the Labor government in 1975, an exercise from which the party has never fundamentally recovered. Under the Australian electoral system, itself uniquely bad for a so-called democratic nation, no viable alternative to the two major parties seems a realistic prospect. Australia will have to learn to adjust to a new, and harsher, economic reality.

James O’Neill is an Australian-based Barrister at Law.

September 9, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , | 1 Comment

Craig Kelly Speech on the Suppression of Hydroxychloroquine for treatment of COVID-19 in Australia

Craig Kelly Speech on the Suppression of Hydroxychloroquine for the early treatment of COVID-19 in the Australian Federal Parliament

Original can be found on Facebook here…

August 30, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | | 2 Comments

Building Immunity to Viral Pandemics

By David Macilwain | American Herald Tribune | August 27, 2020

We are facing two viral pandemics in 2020 which are oddly related yet profoundly different – the pandemic of a novel Coronavirus, and the extraordinarily contagious virus of disinformation, falsehoods, and bad science about that pandemic, itself being shared and spread in countries around the globe.

Such a metaphor may be misleading, but also instructive, and possibly leading us to solutions to both pandemics by thinking about them in a different way. Consider two examples; the “lock-down trap” and the “media echo-chamber”.

The lock-down trap is epitomised by the current situation in Melbourne, Australia, where the whole population of five million people is half way through a six-week long “stage 4” lock-down, with a night-time curfew policed by soldiers and enforced with severe on the spot fines. While the introduction of this lock-down might appear to have been justified by the “second wave” outbreak of infections, the origins of that outbreak in an escape from quarantine hotels means that the punishment for government incompetence is being served by the victims. Those victims also include the casualties of COVID, who are almost entirely in insufficiently protected aged care homes, of which an astonishing number were somehow infected.

There are few overt signs of revolt at this injustice, but the repressive conditions are creating a near-hysterical interest in vaccines – presented and seen as the only true way out of the domestic prison. To say this is being exploited by government and commercial interests might be going beyond the evidence, but the situation is certainly “exploitable”. While the media and the public are jumping the gun as even challenge trials are still some way off – at least in the candidate vaccines being considered here – discussion has already turned to the question of mandatory vaccination.

Enter the disinformation pandemic! Unlike the measures taken under state of emergency powers to arrest the progress of the Coronavirus epidemic, the epidemic of disinformation and false ideas going viral is mostly doing so at the hands of the credulous public, albeit echoing the “talking points” or “dog whistles” of health advisors and government ministers.

Rather like the man in “1984” denounced by his own daughter for “thought crime” but who didn’t know he was guilty of it – the “credulous” public truly believe the ideas they have been fed, as if they were their own. So many times people will say to me, as if they’d discovered some gem of knowledge the authorities were loath to admit to – “I heard that some people are suffering strange conditions long after they’ve had the infection, even though they had few symptoms at the time”.

What they didn’t hear, because the authorities really were loath to admit to it, was that “nearly all people” suffered only mild symptoms, with many not even knowing they had it, and henceforth becoming immune. Instead they heard, from various experts and advisors, that “COVID mightn’t produce immunity”, or “young people spread the disease even though they are asymptomatic”, along with many other myths and half-truths and downright lies, like those about Hydroxychloroquine.

And there are more to come, particularly on vaccines. To the Western world’s horror, Russia has developed a very promising vaccine quickly and without fuss, which is already in its final stages of approval and is expected to be both effective and safe. This is not just “Russian propaganda” – which only really exists in the minds of Western media and their captive audience these days. Russia has many of the world’s best scientists and a long history of relevant research, not compromised by excessive commercial interests. Russia’s vaccine is based on a simple formula which can be rapidly developed to suit new types and strains of virus, as described here in detail. As the article points out, the Western world simply doesn’t want to know about the excellent credentials of Russia’s vaccine or admit that it may be more promising than their own. And with the new resurgence of suspicions about things in vials coming from Russia following the “Navalnychok” stunt, we won’t be competing with the twenty countries who’ve already put in orders.

But there is some even more significant and striking news that is likely sending shivers through the boardrooms of favoured Western pharmaceutical companies – the apparent prospect of herd immunity amongst India’s 1.4 Billion people. In a discovery described as “shocking news” by our media, antibody testing in New Delhi had discovered that 29% of the population of 20 million appeared to have been infected with CV19, giving a total of around 6 million cases instead of the 150,000 odd positive test results for the city. Other cities in India showed similar levels of antibodies following a huge testing program of 220,000 people across the whole country.

Even more astonishing, and I would say exciting, was the discovery that in some poor slum areas of cities up to 57% of people tested positive for antibodies, which is approaching “herd immunity” levels. The implications of this were not discussed by the “shocked” reporter in New Delhi, beyond noting that the death toll from Coronavirus would be far lower in relation to infection rate than previously thought, but then concluding that many deaths must be going uncounted. That is possible, but there is another explanation which is more positive – that the widespread use of hydroxychloroquine, and in fact its recommendation by the chief health body in India, has resulted in a far lower death to infection ratio than in countries where it has not been used or has been banned.

The drug has been used for decades in India as a prophylactic against malaria, so is readily available and very well understood and accepted as one of the safest drugs in existence. Consequently its protective effect against infection with the novel Coronavirus was soon noticed, as well as its ability to lessen the depth and duration of infection. While HCQ’s lethal effect on the virus is now incontrovertibly established, a small but well-planned trial of its possible prophylactic effect provided a highly significant finding.

In a survey of 106 Indian health care workers over a fixed period beginning in March, of which half had been taking HCQ, it was observed that twenty developed the infection in the control group, while only four did so in those taking the HCQ prophylactic – representing an 80% cut in infection rate. This research has a special significance for the current outbreak in Melbourne for two reasons. As with so many countries around the world, healthcare workers have been disproportionately affected, and infected by the virus. This is put down to their greater exposure and also failure of protective equipment, both of which may be inevitable, but the invariable response makes the situation worse, often inducing a breakdown in the hospital system thanks to quarantining of infected staff as well as all their contacts.

In Melbourne this knee-jerk response of forcing all staff and contacts into quarantine led to a disaster in aged-care homes, where replacement staff failed to attend to residents’ needs or prevent the spread of infection, and mortality was likely far greater. As it was, infection appears to have initially spread to these centres through staff, who often work in several homes and through labour hire companies, and have not received proper instruction in infection control. They are however mostly conscientious and hard-working – and underpaid – so cannot take any of the blame.

The second point of significance of the Indian trial is that the high infection rate of health workers in Victoria could have been far lower had Hydroxychloroquine been taken prophylactically, and for those who became infected, would have reduced the time they were unable to work. It is more than ironic that while HCQ has been effectively banned in Australia, either by direct prohibition of use for CV19 or by a constant stream of negative comment from health authorities, researchers and media, there is still a trial ongoing in Melbourne of HCQ as a prophylactic treatment in health workers.

When this trial started back in June, I considered it just another attempt to show that HCQ was no use, because there was practically no Coronavirus infection persisting in Australia. Participants would take 200mgs a day or a placebo for four months, when it would be shown that HCQ had no useful effect as none of either group was likely to have been infected!

But how things have changed!  Now some 2700 healthcare workers have been infected in Victoria’s “second wave”, out of a total number of positive cases around 16,000. The “COVID Shield” trial at Melbourne’s Walter and Eliza Hall Institute planned to recruit 2,200 health workers for their study, and unlike many HCQ trials that were abandoned following the fraudulent Lancet study and WHO’s temporary halt on research, the trial is continuing, and due to finish in September. Even at this late stage, an early examination of the results is clearly called for; given that the Indian study was published on June 22nd, one could argue that the failure to examine the early results was negligent, as chance would suggest that tens or hundreds of those involved in the trial would be working at infected sites in Melbourne and there would soon be a clear indication whether HCQ has a useful protective effect.

Demonstrating this prophylactic effect would have obliged authorities to recommend and make it available for all health workers, and ultimately saved many lives, particularly of those for whom normal hospital service has been suspended for months. It’s very hard to see a good reason why this shouldn’t have happened, though it’s too easy to see a bad one. It’s also worth noting (from personal communication) that the drug has been widely used by healthcare workers in South Africa, helping them to deal with the most serious epidemic of Coronavirus in Africa.

But as with signs of developing resistance and immunity, this cheap and effective drug cure is not in the interests of those who seem to be in control of both pandemics, whoever they are. By recruiting willing media to hide the elephant from view, and well-paid scientists to claim it doesn’t exist, their control has become totalitarian.

August 27, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Australia: Willing Pawn in US Struggle with China

By Tony Cartalucci – New Eastern Outlook – 07.08.2020

Upon reading Australia’s new defense strategy, one might think its authors believe they are surrounded by nations invaded and destroyed by China with Australia next in line.

News headlines declare, “Australia’s new defence strategy unveils a significant strategic shift in foreign policy to meet new threats from China,” “China the unspoken threat at centre of new defence strategy,” and “Australia to buy ship-killing missiles and shift focus to Indo-Pacific” to “to protect overseas forces, allies and the mainland against rising threats including China.”

The “threat” of China – the articles and the new defense strategy argue – requires Australia to spend billions on weapons bought from the United States and to depend more heavily on the US for Australia’s protection.

Yet in the same breath, Australia’s media openly admits that up until now, Australia’s military has spent much of its time contributing to America’s many and still-ongoing wars of aggression around the globe from Libya and Syria to Iraq and Afghanistan. Most recently, Washington has recruited Australia to help bolster its presence in the Strait of Hormuz in an effort to menace Iran as well.

In one of the above mentioned articles it’s admitted that:

For decades Australia has been quick to send troops, naval vessels and planes to help the United States wage wars on distant shores.

Despite all but admitting the US – not China – is engaged in a global campaign of armed aggression and that Australia is a willing accomplice – Australia’s new defense strategy points the finger at China as the ultimate global threat.

A likely explanation for this contradictory worldview among Australian policymakers is the possibility that deep-pocketed lobbyists from Washington still hold more sway over Australia’s political levers than Australian businesses and certainly the Australian public – and plan to collectively squeeze Australia for billions in arms sales for missiles and other weapon systems pointed at what is otherwise Australia’s largest and most important economic partner – China.

Not only does this fill up the coffers of corporations like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and others, but Australia’s apparently hostile posture toward China will most certainly taint relations between the two nations, creating further conflict, and requiring continued and increased weapon sales well into the future.

Should any conflict erupt between the US and China, Australia will find itself a much closer target than the US – a sacrificial pawn of sorts that will bear the full brunt and consequences of any potential US-Chinese hostilities.

Well-Timed “Cyber Attacks” Help Sell an Otherwise Unappealing Defense Strategy 

The new defense strategy – long in the works – was unveiled only after a healthy dose of recent and mysterious “cyber attacks” Australian security agencies attributed with no evidence to China.

Again – the irony here is that the US has by far demonstrated itself to be as much a threat in cyberspace as it is to sovereign nations and their physical territory, and much more so than China.

Regarding Australia specifically, a 2013 Guardian article titled, “NSA considered spying on Australians ‘unilaterally’, leaked paper reveals,” would note that a:

The US National Security Agency has considered spying on Australian citizens without the knowledge or consent of the Australian intelligence organisations it partners with, according to a draft 2005 NSA directive kept secret from other countries.

The US National Security Agency (NSA) has been revealed to have compromised communications worldwide, hacked the phones of national leaders both friend and foe, infiltrated and created backdoors in Western-manufactured high tech hardware, and carried out offensive cyber attacks against nations around the globe.

There is also a growing body of evidence that suggests many attacks attributed to nations like Russia and China – like the one recently carried out against Australia – were either fabricated entirely, or in fact carried out by actors in the US itself.

But what better way is there to sell the otherwise unpopular idea of Australia buying billions of dollars of weapons from America and poisoning relations with China than to cite an alleged act of aggression from China that is nearly impossible to attribute one way or the other? The Western media’s clout has in the past and continues to be much more persuasive than fact or common sense in the short-term.

Other analysts have pointed out Australia’s new defense policy is out of touch with reality. It will also do much more to undermine Australia’s national security than underwrite it.

While it is sensible for nations to ensure they have a credible deterrence against all forms of aggression regardless of the nation of origin, Australia’s defense posture has it facing a nation clearly more interested in economics than conquest, and facing away from a nation not only openly and repeatedly carrying out aggression worldwide, but one increasingly turning on its own allies for not exhibiting enough zeal against its many and multiplying enemies.
While Australia commits billions to buying American weapons and buying into Washington’s continued and growing confrontation with China – in the end – Australia will need to pick between fading with the US economically or finally accepting China’s rise regionally and globally and Australia’s role as a partner with China rather than part of America’s “primacy” over it.

Again – the irony here is of course that the most likely threat to Australia’s national security will not be from a rising China eager to do business with Australia, but a scorned Washington seeking increasingly aggressive means to force Australia back into its traditional role of buttressing US primacy.

August 7, 2020 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

Despite the Hype, the US has no Allies against China

By Salman Rafi Sheikh – New Eastern Outlook – 03.08.2020

Since particularly the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, a sea change in the US policies vis-à-vis China has taken place. Its latest manifestation came on July 23 when the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, delivered what has been called the American “Iron curtain” speech. Pompeo’s “Communist China and the Free World’s Future” speech does provide a significant insight into how the US is trying to establish a ‘new cold war’ global politics whereby it can place itself once again as the leader of the ‘free world’ against China, the so-called epitome of “threat” to America—its unilateral supremacy, its hegemonic domination of the world politics since the disintegration of the Soviet Union and its increasing tilt towards sabotaging multilateral agreements, such as the Iran nuclear deal, to extend its own and those of its allies’ supremacy, even if it comes at the expense of peace. Pompeo’s speech does show that the US is projecting China as an ‘evil power’ that needs to be countered. To quote him:

“If we bend the knee now, our children’s children may be at the mercy of the Chinese Communist Party, whose actions are the primary challenge today in the free world. General Secretary Xi is not destined to tyrannise inside and outside of China forever, unless we allow it. Now, this isn’t about containment. Don’t buy that. It’s about a complex new challenge that we’ve never faced before. The USSR was closed off from the free world. Communist China is already within our borders. So we can’t face this challenge alone. The United Nations, NATO, the G7 countries, the G20, our combined economic, diplomatic, and military power is surely enough to meet this challenge if we direct it clearly and with great courage.”

However, while Pompeo refused to call it “containment”, the ‘new cold war’ strategy is more of a roll back of China from the US and Europe. Simply put, the US is selling the ‘decoupling’ mantra to its allies both in Europe and elsewhere. This is how the US aims to regain the leadership position it has lost in last few years. Accordingly, while ‘decoupling’ from China is important, it is only “America”, which “is perfectly positioned to lead” this endeavour, argued Pompeo.

But the question is: how well is the US’ ‘new cold war’ rhetoric being received? As Pompeo himself said, the US alone cannot achieve this objective. The US allies, however, seem to have an all together different mindset when it comes to defining their relations with China. To the US’ dismay, not many of the allies, even if their relations with China are not typically ‘friendly’, think that following the US in its footsteps is a good idea. Not many of them seem to believe that a ‘new cold war’ is required to first de-couple and then contain China.

This was particularly evident when the Australian foreign minister Marise Payne recently visited the US even as the pandemic is truly raging there. While the minister did say that they have differences with China, Australia, like the US, has a its own position vis-à-vis China. As the minister, standing alongside Pompeo, explained further, their position is far from a potential or even real decoupling. In fact, it is that of engagement. To quote her:

“But most importantly from our perspective, we make our own decisions, our own judgments in the Australian national interest and about upholding our security, our prosperity, and our values. “So we deal with China in the same way. We have a strong economic engagement, other engagement, and it works in the interests of both countries.”

Adding further, the minister said,

“As my prime minister put it recently, the relationship that we have with China is important, and we have no intention of injuring it.”

While the US would have obviously wanted to enlist Australian support to counter China in the Pacific, Europe, too, is not particularly enthusiastic about the US’ ‘new cold war.’ In fact, US-Europe relations are already becoming too fragile to tackle what Pompeo called ‘a new challenge.’

How integral fragility is to the US-Europe relations is evident from the US decision to cut the size of its troops from Germany, a country which is not only no longer on good terms with the US, but also is actively seeking to cultivate China as a reliable economic partner for Europe. Indeed, German and Chinese leadership have established a frequency of contact that even the US does not have with Europe.

Even the UK, despite its on-going tensions with China over Hong Kong and its decision to roll back Chinese 5G, is not in line with US thinking on a grand strategy and a grand alliance versus China. Indeed, when the UK’s foreign secretary recently framed China policy in his July 20 speech to the House of Commons, he emphasised cooperation over confrontation, saying “We want to work with China. There is enormous scope for positive, constructive, engagement. There are wide-ranging opportunities, from increasing trade, to cooperation in tackling climate change.”

The US effort, therefore, to create a new iron curtain is highly unlikely to attract any bidders, ready to jump on the bandwagon, from Europe or elsewhere. Significantly enough, if Europe continues to maintain a calculated distance with the US over its China policies, other US allies, such as Australia, too will feel encouraged to chart an independent course of action.

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

August 3, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , , | 1 Comment

On Australia’s Potential Participation in the Malabar Exercise

By Vladimir Terehov – New Eastern Outlook – 20.07.2020

On July 10, a number of news agencies reported that India’s leadership is considering inviting Australia to participate in the international naval exercise Malabar, scheduled later this year. The report is noteworthy for a number of reasons, mainly from the perspective of assessing the state of affairs in the Indo-Pacific region. The changes that have taken place in this region are directly linked to the history of the Malabar exercises.

This was the name given to the first joint Indian-US Navy exercise to be conducted in decades, which took place in the Gulf of Bengal in 1992. This was a notable sign of the burgeoning transformation of the entire geopolitical map after the end Cold War. India, for one, was in a state of strategic solitude (because of the disappearance of its former ally, the USSR) in the face of the same foreign policy challenges from China and Pakistan.

Naturally, India’s leadership began to seek a new external “balancing force,” and Washington was willing to fill this role. The very fact that the Malabar 1992 exercise had taken place marked the start of a US-India rapprochement—something that had seemed unbelievable just a few years before. This process has been neither smooth nor easy and continues to this day.

The first sticking point on this path was India testing its own nuclear weapons in 1998. The termination of the Malabar exercise was just one amongst other “sanctions” against Delhi.

However, compared to the Cold War, Washington stayed displeased with India for quite a long time. The prospect of a new geopolitical opponent in the face of China, which was already obvious then, forced Washington to turn a blind eye to Delhi’s recent “nuclear debacles” and to resume developing relations with India. Since then, India itself sees the US as the potential balancing force for the rapidly developing China.

The starting point of the process was President Bill Clinton’s visit to India in March 2000. A year later, Washington made it clear that it was willing to recognize India as a de facto nuclear power and generally cooperate in the field of peaceful nuclear energy. This led to the US-India nuclear deal, signed in 2006 by President George W. Bush. In 2002, the annual Malabar exercise was resumed.

At the same time the idea of forming an “Asian NATO” (evidently based on anti-Chinese sentiments) was put on the table in Washington’s political circles. The core of the new NATO was to consist of the US, India, Japan and Australia. In 2007, at the ASEAN Regional Forum, US Defense Secretary R. Gates formulated a concept to create a so-called Quad comprising the above-mentioned countries.

The evidence of the potential participants of the proposed project taking this seriously was the participation of Japan and Australia (joined by Singapore) in the Malabar exercise held that year.

This was, however, the first and, for many years to come, the last of these exercises to be conducted in a quadrilateral format. However, the very idea of the Quad seemed to have been forgotten. Among other reasons, we note the internal unrest that struck Japan at that time, as well as a sharp change in the domestic political situation in Australia.

As for Japan, with the early (and rather scandalous) end of Shinzo Abe’s first term as prime minister in 2007, the country entered a period of annual changes of government. At such times, it is difficult to conduct any significant foreign policy actions. Japan’s partners (including the US) also had doubts about doing serious business with a country whose leaders were replacing each other so quickly.

The domestic political situation in Japan only stabilized after Abe’s triumphant return to the Prime Minister’s seat at the end of 2012. This dramatically boosted the country’s foreign policy activity. In the summer of 2014, the Japanese Navy took part in another Malabar exercise after a seven-year hiatus. For the first time, it was held not in the Bay of Bengal, but on the eastern coast of Japan.

Since then, the exercise has adopted a trilateral format, and Japanese ships head to the Indian Ocean to participate in it. However, this wasn’t the only occasion for the Japanese Navy to frequent the Indian Ocean.

Australia paused its participation in the Malabar exercise due to a bloc of left-centrist parties coming to power in 2007. Their foreign policy (along with certain ideological considerations) considered economic wellbeing its main priority. China had already begun to occupy the position of Australia’s leading trade and economic partner, and it seemed absolutely unnecessary for the latter to spoil relations with it because of some “solidarity with the democratic countries of the region.”

Its foreign policy preferences underwent dramatic changes again in 2013 with the return of the bloc of center-right parties, who then won again twice (in 2016 and 2019) in the parliamentary elections. For the center-right government, the aforementioned factor of solidarity, which Canberra still tires to demonstrate on various occasions, was quite significant. One of the examples of this solidarity, recently discussed in the New Eastern Outlook, was the question of the “culprit” of the SARS COV-2 pandemic, as well as Australia joining a Western propaganda campaign connected to events in Hong Kong.

From the moment it came to power, the center-right government renewed its interest in the Malabar exercise and repeatedly asked the Indian leadership to allow Australia’s participation. The latest such request took place in late April 2018. For quite understandable reasons, Delhi refused every time.

A positive answer would obviously indicate the Indian leadership’s departure from the strategy of keeping the country in a neutral position (which over time grows more and more relative) in the aggravating confrontation between the two leading world powers.

Despite all the difficulties in China-India relations, the leaders of both countries, Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi, have made efforts to keep their development in a positive and constructive direction in recent years. Two informal meetings between them were of particular importance in this regard. The first took place in Wuhan at the end of April 2018, and the second in the Indian resort town of Mamallapuram a year and a half later.

Something negative had to happen recently between China and India in order for the latter to start considering the possibility of Australia joining the Malabar exercise in Delhi, which is tied to the prospect of forming an anti-Chinese Quad. And there is no doubt about what this “something” was. It is connected with another escalation of the situation on one of the China-India (quasi) borders in the highlands of Ladakh. This happened on the night of June 16 and resulted in the largest collision between the border patrol units of both countries over the past 40 years.

There was another noteworthy event taking place between early May and June 16, namely the Australian-Indian virtual summit, attended by Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Narendra Modi. The parties focused on cooperation defense and security in general.

Perhaps the June 16 incident in Ladakh was intended to serve as a warning to India in response to the outcome of this summit. This summit, in turn, could also be seen as a response to the aggravation of the situation in Ladakh that began back in May. Thus, a possible invitation extended to Australia to join the upcoming Malabar exercise could well be an answer to the “response” of June 16.

This raises the question of how far the spiral of mutual “responses” can reach. The fact that this question has been raised at all leads to some upsetting conclusions.

Hopefully, however, the “spirit of Wuhan” has not yet been completely eroded from the relationship between the two Asian powers, and even with the (possible) quadrilateral Malabar exercise, the idea of building an “Asian NATO” with India’s participation won’t develop further.

July 20, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

The danger of looking things up

Climate Discussion Nexus | July 15, 2020

Australia’s hottest day ever recorded was in Edwardian times, so long ago it was 125°F rather than 51.7°C, on Jan. 3 1909 in a place called Bourke. (Not to be rude, but it’s in north New South Wales in a spot even Canadians might concede resembled the middle of nowhere.) The Australian Bureau of Meteorology recently dropped this reading, claiming it was an “observational error” because no official stations recorded high temperatures on that day. As Jennifer Marohasy observes, Australian MP Craig Kelly didn’t believe them, went to the Australian National Archive in Chester Hill and found the actual handwritten records for the nearby official weather station at Brewarrina, showing 50.6°C on that day. Strange that the meteorological authorities couldn’t find that record themselves even though it was in their own files. Just possibly they didn’t really want to.

Even once they’d disposed of Bourke’s 1909 mark the new official hottest day ever was in 1960 rather than during the current climate emergency. Or at least it would be if Kelly had not also discovered that the actual second-hottest to Bourke’s scorcher was in White Cliffs on Jan. 11 1939. Once again the facts show that the 1930s were extremely hot for reasons CO2 cannot explain and others seem not to want to try to.

Of course some might say, well, Australia is an outlier where they even have their hot days in January. But it turns out the hottest day ever in Death Valley, California was in ‘13. No, not 2013. 1913. And in response to “the ever over-alarmed Bill McKibben” tweeting about that temperature over 100°F in Verkhoyansk “Siberian town tops 100 degrees F, the hottest temperature ever recorded north of the Arctic Circle. This scares me, I have to say.” Anthony Watts noted tartly that in fact it was over 100°F in Fort Yukon, Alaska, north of the Arctic Circle in… 1915.

With the hot weather here last week there was the usual talk of breaking records. But it’s interesting to look at the records that were broken, or nearly so. On July 10 Ottawa had its hottest July day since… 1931. And its hottest day overall since 2001, passing records set in 1944, 1921, 1917 and, well, you get the idea. Many of the hottest days ever were not in the last decade or even half-century. And in case you think streaks matter more than individual days, the nation’s capital was chasing a record for consecutive days at or over 31°C set in 1921, narrowly beating the 1919 one, with 1949 in 3rd, and 1911 and 1880 in hot pursuit. Proof positive that we’re in an unprecedented man-made crisis.

Is the Earth warming? Generally it seems to have been since the Little Ice Age. Which itself rules out CO2 as the main factor. But when you look at the record with an eye to preserving rather than “correcting” it, you see that while the 20th century was generally warmer than the 18th, there’s no pattern of extreme heat events bunching together in the very recent past.

July 18, 2020 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 2 Comments