Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Uninvited foreign troops must leave, African nation says

RT | January 24, 2022

Denmark must “immediately withdraw” some 90 troops it deployed to Mali last week “without [the government’s] consent and in violation of the protocols” allowing European nations to intervene in that African country, the government in Bamako said on Monday.

Some 91 Danes from the Jaeger Corps special forces arrived in Mali on January 18, as part of Task Force Takuba, a French-led counter-terrorism mission in the West African country. According to the Danish defense ministry, their job will be to reinforce the border with Niger and Burkina Faso, train Malian Armed Forces, and provide medical services to the peacekeepers.

While the government of Mali is grateful to “all its partners involved in the fight against terrorism,” it stressed “the need to obtain the prior agreement of the Malian authorities” before sending any troops to the country, says the communique signed by Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga, spokesman for the Ministry of Administration and Decentralization.

Announcing the deployment of the force last week, the government in Copenhagen said it had been scheduled in April 2021, as France sought to withdraw some of its troops from Mali.

Their objective was “to stabilize Mali and parts of the border triangle between Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, and to ensure that civilians are protected from terrorist groups,” the Danish military said.

The Jaegers are also experienced in “training and educating” local militaries, a job they have previously performed in Afghanistan and Iraq. They were sent shortly after Sweden withdrew its contingent from Mali. The French-led operation also involves forces from Belgium, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden.

Task Force Takuba has operated in Mali since March 2020, when Paris decided to wrap up the previous Operation Barkhane. France has maintained a military presence in its former West African colony since 2013, to help the government in Bamako deal with a Tuareg rebellion in the northwest of the country and subsequent terrorist insurgency loyal to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).

Relations between Bamako and Paris have grown chilly since the latest military takeover in Mali in 2021, and France has since closed three of its military bases there, in Kidal, Tessalit, and Timbuktu.

January 24, 2022 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

As Protests Erupt, Some Countries Backtrack on COVID Mandates While Others Double Down

By Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D. | The Defender | January 14, 2022

As protests grow in EU countries and worldwide against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and so-called “vaccine passports,” some countries appear to be backtracking or at least harboring second thoughts about enforcing such measures.

Some policymakers point to evidence COVID is here to stay and we need to live with it, since Omicron is similar to the common cold or seasonal flu. Others appear more willing to accept natural immunity in lieu of vaccination.

Still, other governments are digging in their heels and moving forward with punitive restrictions on the unvaccinated.

Here’s a look at the latest shifting policies outside the U.S.

Austria, citing ‘technical complications,’ won’t enforce mandates until at least April

Austria garnered much attention in November 2021 when it became the first country in the world to impose an all-encompassing vaccine mandate for its entire adult population and minors 14 years old and up.

This mandate, set to take effect in February, would be accompanied by fines of up to 3,600 euros per quarter. To that end, Austria recently reportedly began hiring “headhunters” to track down those who continue to remain unvaccinated.

The mandate has resulted in frequent large-scale protests against the mandate, as well as a political movement opposing this policy.

An open letter recently sent to Austria’s Interior Minister, Gerhard Karner, signed by 600 police officers, also expressed opposition to mandatory vaccination.

This opposition may be having an impact. Recently, the firm responsible for the technical implementation of the mandate announced that due to “technical complications,” the mandatory vaccination law cannot be enforced until at least April.

This news came amidst calls in Austria that the mandate should be reevaluated in light of the spread of the Omicron variant.

Germany struggling with mandate implementation; support not unanimous

Similar concerns over the feasibility of rapid implementation of a vaccine mandate have been raised in Germany, which has also mulled the implementation of compulsory vaccinations and has already approved such a mandate for healthcare workers.

In December 2021, Germany’s Ethics Council also gave its stamp of approval for vaccine mandates.

Nevertheless, concerns have been raised in Germany that parliamentary debate and subsequent technical implementation of a vaccination database cannot be completed before June at the earliest, calling into question the feasibility of the mandate in light of rapidly changing conditions.

Such hesitation comes despite renewed calls from German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier for an immediate full parliamentary debate on a potential vaccine mandate, and from German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for COVID vaccines to be mandated.

Similarly, German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach recently suggested vaccine mandates, not natural herd immunity stemming from the rapid spread of the Omicron variant — which he described as “dirty vaccination” — represent the only way “out” of the crisis.

In November 2021, Lauterbach’s predecessor, Jens Spahn, publicly predicted that by the end of the coming winter, everyone would be “vaccinated, recovered, or dead” — due to the Delta variant.

Soon thereafter, in December 2021, U.S. President Joe Biden made a similar warning, predicting a winter of “severe illness and death” for the non-vaccinated.

Despite these public proclamations from German politicians though, recent reports suggest support for a vaccine mandate in Germany’s three-party governing coalition is far from unanimous.

Nevertheless, some localities in Germany are moving ahead with their own innovative means of confirming individuals’ vaccination status.

The city of Saarbrücken will soon launch a system where individuals who received a COVID vaccine or who have recovered from infection can voluntarily wear a colored wristband to indicate their status.

Greece pushes ahead with age 60+ mandate policy, threatens fines for unvaxxed

Greece was one of the first countries in Europe to implement a vaccine mandate for a portion of its general population when, in December 2021, it imposed such a policy for everyone age 60 and over.

The policy is set to take effect Jan. 16, with fines of 100 euros per month levied against anyone who doesn’t comply.

Despite this policy, which has received broad and highly sensational media attention in Greece, and despite the burden the policy would place on pensioners in a country where the average pension is just over 700 euros per month, a significant number of individuals 60 and older appear to have opted to remain unvaccinated.

In late December 2021, it was reported that 400,000 people in this age group had not received the COVID vaccine.

In a televised appearance on Jan. 11, Greek government spokesperson Giannis Oikonomou stated that 200,000 people aged 60 and over had gotten vaccinated as a result of this mandate, touting this as a “big success.”

However, this would suggest approximately half of the relevant population in question had chosen to remain unvaccinated, despite the looming threat of a financial penalty.

It is perhaps, for this reason, the Greek government reportedly “froze” any further discussion of expanding the mandatory vaccination policy to those aged 50 and over, while it has been suggested the measure is unconstitutional and may eventually be struck down judicially.

However, despite rumors that the enforcement of fines against individuals 60 and older who have not been vaccinated would be postponed, Greece’s far-right Interior Minister Makis Voridis announced the policy would be enforced as originally planned.

Nevertheless, the Greek government will now extend existing measures, which include a midnight curfew and ban on music for dining and entertainment venues, and a 1,000-spectator capacity limit at sporting events, for at least an additional week past the original sunset date of Jan. 16.

In Balkans, protests lead to standstill on mandates

Major protests against the so-called “Green Pass,” or vaccine passport, took place recently in both Bulgaria and Romania.

In Bulgaria, protesters on Jan. 12  stormed the parliament building in opposition to the “Green Pass” and other restrictions. Attempts to enter parliament resulted in clashes with police and multiple arrests.

Similar events transpired recently in Romania, where on Dec. 21, 2021, protesters attempted to enter Romania’s parliament as part of a protest against proposed legislation making the “Green Pass” mandatory for workers.

Disagreements that have since followed between the parties which comprise Romania’s governing coalition have resulted in talks on this proposed policy coming to a standstill.

Notably, Bulgaria and Romania have the lowest and second-lowest COVID vaccination rate in the EU as of this writing.

Herd immunity as official policy?

As attempted moves toward wide-ranging vaccine mandates and broader implementation of vaccine passports appear to be floundering in Europe, such hesitation has increasingly been accompanied by ever more vocal suggestions that a form of herd immunity, via natural infection stemming from the rapid spread of the milder Omicron variant, should be considered at the policymaking level.

In Israel, for instance, a country that was among the first to move forward with a mass vaccination and booster campaign against COVID, health officials are mulling a “mass infection model.”

On Jan. 11, EU regulators, who had previously supported the administration of COVID booster shots every three months, had a sudden about-face, warning about the dangers the continued administration of boosters could pose for the human immune system.

That same day, the World Health Organization issued a remarkably similar warning, stating that “a vaccination strategy based on repeated booster doses of the original vaccine composition is unlikely to be appropriate or sustainable.”

Just one day prior, on Jan. 10, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez suggested European officials should move towards treating COVID as an endemic illness, calling for a debate on the issue and for a move away from the detailed pandemic case tracking system in place since early 2020.

Dr. Clive Dix, former chairman of the UK’s vaccine task force, Nick Moakes, chief investment officer of the Wellcome Trust (Britain’s largest independent funder of medical research) made similar remarks. Moakes suggested coronavirus be treated like the common cold.

Meanwhile, certain European countries appear to be shifting away from considering a mandatory vaccination policy for their populations. Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin said his country will maintain a system of voluntary vaccination, while Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said his intention to give people a “free choice” on the matter.

This shift is occurring despite remarks made on Dec. 1, 2021, by Ursula von der Leyen, president of the EU Commission, who said it is time to “potentially think about mandatory vaccination within the European Union” and to have a “discussion” about this possibility.

Punitive measures continue elsewhere

The gradual shift away from vaccine mandate policies in Europe and elsewhere is far from uniform, with punitive restrictions and policies continuing to be implemented in several countries.

In Italy, for instance, mandatory vaccination was expanded on Jan. 5 to everyone age 50 and older. The unvaxxed will face a potential fine ranging from 600 to 1,500 euros.

French President Emmanuel Macron made waves in an interview with the Le Parisien newspaper on Jan. 4, justifying the implementation of his country’s “Green Pass” by stating “I really want to piss them off, and we’ll carry on doing this — to the end” and that “irresponsible people [the unvaccinated] are no longer citizens.”

Despite uproar and protests that his comments generated, Macron later doubled down on these remarks.

On Jan. 11, the premier of the Canadian province of Quebec, Francois Legault, stated adults who refuse the COVID vaccine will face a “significant” financial penalty.

This statement came on the heels of remarks made on Jan. 7 by Canadian Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos. When asked whether mandatory vaccination was on the horizon in Canada, Duclos stated, “I personally think we will get there at some point.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau previously stated, in May 2021, that “[w]e’re not a country that makes vaccination mandatory.”

Other countries have resorted to more extreme, albeit “temporary,” measures.

Non-vaccinated individuals in one Australian state, the Northern Territory, were recently required to stay home for a four-day period, with limited exceptions. The conclusion of this four-day ban coincided with the launch of vaccine passports in the territory.

And in the Philippines, the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, called for the arrest of non-vaccinated citizens who venture outside their homes, in light of what he described as the “galloping” spread of the coronavirus.

This nevertheless may represent a milder stance on the part of Duterte, who in April 2020, empowered the police and military with shoot-to-kill orders against lockdown violators.

Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D., is an independent journalist and researcher based in Athens, Greece.

© 2022 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.

January 15, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

EU, a Human Rights Basketcase

Francesca Donato | January 5, 2022

January 9, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | 3 Comments

Turning point

eugyppius | January 8, 2022

Where’s the vaccine mandate they promised us?” whines Daniel Brössler, reporter for the Süddeutsche Zeitung, disappointed because yesterday’s Corona summit of German minister presidents returned nothing but some adjustments to quarantine and sharpened testing rules. The double vaccinated will now have to submit negative tests if they want to eat at restaurants. Markus Söder, lockdown- and vaccine mandate-loving minister president of Bavaria, criticised even these milquetoast restrictions, with some bluster about how he’d already taken a hard line against bars and discos. This is after leading German Corona astrologer, Christian Drosten, used his state media podcast to suggest that Germany should start tolerating some of degree of SARS-2 transmission, and that breakthrough infections among the vaccinated should be considered normal. Such statements, which almost surely reflect sentiments within the coalition government, destroy most of the rationale for ongoing restrictions and vaccine mandates.

Meanwhile, in Austria, the thrice-vaccinated chancellor Karl Nehammer has tested positive for Corona. The news comes as Austria announces they will delay implementing their vaccine mandate by two months. It will now take effect in April, if at all. Gerald Gartlehner, an epidemiologist and sometime governmental adviser, suggested that mandates (or at least their enforcement) might have to be re-evaluated in light of Omicron and the widespread immunity the new variant will elicit across the Austrian population. There is every reason to think that Austria will be past the peak of the Omicron wave in April, and that a majority of Austrians will have SARS-2 antibodies by then.

In the United States, former Biden advisers have published a series of editorials in the Journal of the American Medical Association, arguing that it is time to normalise containment and begin managing SARS-2 as one of various seasonal respiratory infections.

It is obvious that we are at a turning point, even if everyone has yet to realise it – even if France is sharpening vaccine requirements, even if Italy has imposed vaccine mandates for everyone over 50, and even if Canada is for the moment determined to remain a prison state. This is the first time since the Floyd riots in America, that major political leaders and public health authorities have said that preventing Corona can no longer be the highest goal of western society.

It is a commonplace observation, but a true one: Since the vaccines began to fail in August, the vaccinators have been progressing through the proverbial five stages of grief. They spent a lot of time in denial, before becoming very angry and punitive. Then they began bargaining, hoping that SARS-2 would go away after four doses, or after five, with just the right dosing intervals, with a return to double masking, with child vaccinations. Now they appear to be drifting finally into depression and acceptance. They have realised, not a second too soon, that there is nothing to be done [outside of improving personal health and early treatment protocols].

Omicron is a highly contagious variant with immune escape features. The vaccinators can vaccinate all they want, but their vaccines will not stop the waves of infection to come. A lot of the hyperbolic rhetoric about Corona was put about in the hopes that most everyone wouldn’t be infected. They thought they could terrify people for a few years, vaccinate them, and harvest their gratitude for saving them from the worst respiratory virus since SARS. Now, though, it’s clear that everyone will have personal experience with Corona infection, whether or not they are vaccinated. This will destroy popular faith measures, it will erode their confidence in the vaccines, and it will do away with their fear of the virus. Maybe a few people somewhere will still support containment, after two years of heavy restrictions, mandated vaccinations, and infection, but I doubt there will be very many of them. It’s the beginning of the end.

January 8, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Postcard from Genoa

By Roger Watson | Reflections on life and religion | November 9, 2021

If anyone who is unvaccinated is considering visiting Italy soon, I would strongly advise against it. Britain seems very civilised in comparison, despite having a run in with a BA official who questioned me about my lack of a mask on leaving the first class lounge in Heathrow, seemingly unaware that we were still on British soil. But, as reported in a Postcard From Istanbul, once the curtain was drawn behind us in BA Club Class, the masks were off and not donned again until arrival in Milan. From Milan I took the train to Genoa to work at the University of Genoa, where I teach regularly, for a week. It is worth noting that I completed the European Passenger Location Form using details from my British passport but, to avoid the queue at the border, I used my Irish passport to enter Italy. I expected to be questioned about the lack of congruence between this passport and the one used to complete the online form which, I assumed, would have to match at immigration. I was through like the proverbial dose of pesto thus indicating, beyond reasonable doubt, that the completion and submission of passenger location forms is a complete waste of time.

You may enter Italy unvaccinated after the requisite Covid tests and then a period of quarantine. But, thereafter, freedom does not beckon as, wherever you step out of quarantine, you will remain… indefinitely. No form of public transport such as trains, buses and internal flights is permitted without displaying a euphemistically named ‘Green Pass’ (Italy’s vaccine passport). If anyone from the U.K. wants to see what the introduction of vaccine passports will be like, then Italy is already there. Mask wearing is strongly enforced on public transport with repeated ‘mascherina’ messages over the PA system.

Social distancing is requested too but the one exception was taxis where, ironically, you can be squeezed into very close proximity with your fellow passengers without the benefit of any social distancing. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that passengers are not allowed to travel in the front of the taxi beside the driver, so it was common for three people to be arse cheek by jowl in the back. On one journey I was asked to mask up in a taxi that had no functioning seat belt.

To be fair to most restaurateurs and bar owners, who are supposed to demand your vaccine passport, they were not doing this. I was never once asked to don a mask. In typical Italian fashion, the rules are selectively applied. But the Italians have bought into the mask mandate to an incredible degree. Mask wearing is not required outside but no self-respecting Genovese would be seen without a mask at the ready, mainly under the chin at all times, or draped on the wrist like an adornment.

Of course, being Italian, the men can look stylish in a mask and the women still look elegant, but it is the sheer mass scale anticipatory obedience on entering public buildings, bars and restaurants and the 100% compliance that is shocking – and all without any apparent enforcement. In some ways compliance is worse when it is self-imposed.

My small class of doctoral students always insisted on remaining masked when meeting with me but made no comment about my facial nudity. They refused to remove their masks at my request and when challenged, could only refer to “the rules”. Despite attending my class on systematic reviewing and evidence assessment, not one had ever considered the evidence regarding masks and, even more distressing, was their complete lack of interest. I had to wonder, Godwin-like, whether this is how Mussolini started? Or am I just a bad teacher?

Roger Watson is a Professor of Nursing at Hull University. 

November 10, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Leave a comment

Italian Senator suspended for not showing vaccine passport

By Didi Rankovic | Reclaim The Net | October 21, 2021

Protesters who have been gathering across Italy to support a campaign against introduction of vaccination certificates, known as “the green pass” in that country have some supporters in high places like senators and members of parliament (MPs).

One of them, Senator Laura Granato, has experienced first-hand what the new rules around Covid passes mean for gainfully employed persons who oppose them: she was suspended and left without her daily allowance for ten days for refusing to show the pass once inside the Senate building.

Granato first managed to get in, but was “reported” for deciding not to show the document. The senator was in this way prevented from taking part in a meeting that was discussing precisely the green passes, which became mandatory both for public and private sector workers on Friday.

These new, more restrictive measures have been described as “some of the toughest in the world,” while Granato echoed the sentiment of Italians opposed to them blasting the passes as “certificates of obedience.”

In Italy, the green pass is designed to show that a person has either been vaccinated, has tested negative (these tests are valid only for several days) or that they recently recovered from Covid. The government believes that mandating green passes for the workplace will boost the vaccine drive and avoid a repeat of lockdowns that have ravaged Italy’s economy over the past nearly two years of the pandemic.

But although many Italians are “obeying the certificates of obedience” – no doubt seeing no way out other than ultimately losing their livelihoods – many others remain defiant and indignant at the prospect, with thousands of dock workers in Trieste protesting over the weekend, along with others elsewhere in Italy.

And while over one million green passes were downloaded on the first working day that the new, tougher Covid restrictions came into force, they have so far failed to significantly increase the number of vaccinations.

October 21, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

US Treasury deputy sec warns unvaxxed Americans that shortages will continue until EVERYONE is jabbed

RT | October 15, 2021

The deputy secretary at the US Treasury has put Americans on notice that the only way to end the plague of empty shelves around the country is for every resident to be vaccinated. The frank warning came off as a threat to many.

Wally Adeyemo, the Biden administration’s second-highest official in the Treasury Department, appeared to publicly blackmail the still-sizable portion of Americans who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 during a Thursday ABC interview, seemingly blaming them for the ongoing shortages of consumer goods that have led many to mock the president as ‘Empty Shelves Joe’.

Despite viral photos depicting thousands of cargo ships lined up at the Port of Los Angeles ready to unload their goods, Adeyemo claimed that the supply chain issues plaguing so many US retailers are an international issue and will only let up when a sufficient percentage of the country has been vaccinated.

Describing the disastrous economic conditions as “an economy that’s in transition,” Adeyemo acknowledged that “we are seeing high prices for some of the things that people have to buy.” While he praised the administration’s stimulus payments, he also pinned the blame squarely on the unvaccinated.

“The reality is that the only way we’re going to get to a place where we work through this transition is if everyone in America and everyone around the world gets vaccinated.”

While the ABC reporter repeatedly suggested that the country’s shortages of toilet paper and other panic-buy items could be traced to international supply chain disruptions, a growing number of Americans are demanding answers regarding the weirdly specific nature of certain products missing from store shelves. Some have even voiced doubt concerning whether the shortages are being introduced deliberately, either to gin up hatred against the unvaccinated or keep Americans economically off-balance as they grow accustomed to the wild disruptions of the pandemic.

Adeyemo did the Biden cabinet no favors by adding fuel to the conspiratorial fire, explaining the primary reason Biden continued to push for everyone to be vaccinated was that only then could the White House “provide the resources the American people need to make it to the other side” of the supply chain problem.

Despite blaming the international shipping industry for empty shelves in the US, the media establishment has acknowledged that the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach – which together process 40% of the nation’s imports – had their busiest years on record last year, giving the lie to the notion that the products missing from American shelves simply don’t exist. However, many truckers working for shipping companies have balked at the idea of mandatory vaccination, leaving their firms’ fleets woefully understaffed, and others have gone on strike to demand better working conditions.

The Biden administration has attempted to address the supply chain problem by calling for the Port of Los Angeles to run 24 hours, but while he praised his own promised move as a “game changer,” the executive director of the port has made it clear that there is no timetable in place for the promised schedule shift. Meanwhile, Biden’s cabinet has come across as woefully out of touch – White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, for example, pooh-poohed the issue of empty shelves as a “high class” problem earlier this week, eliciting criticism from both Left and Right. And Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has been quietly vacationing on paternity leave since mid-August, leaving the country without even a semblance of logistical oversight as the cargo clog shows no signs of dissipating.

Labor shortages are being felt far beyond the US, though often for similar reasons. In Italy, thousands of protesters turned out to block cargo ships from unloading their bounty earlier this week. The demonstrators were outraged over the country’s adoption of a mandatory vax-to-work policy similar to that threatened by the Biden administration. And the UK government has begged lorry drivers to return to work, even luring foreign drivers in with temporary visas as the country frets over its own empty shelves issues.

Australian ‘truckies’ have united with other unions to exert pressure on the government, which has kept cities like Melbourne under lockdown for months despite vanishingly few reported cases of Covid-19. The government was already floating policies like ‘no jab, no job’ over a year ago and has led the way in leveraging the pandemic to turn Five Eyes ‘democracies’ into police states.

October 15, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

1,295 DEAD in UK Following COVID Bioweapon Shots – Italy Halts AstraZeneca Shots After Teen Dies

By Brian Shilhavy | Health Impact News | June 11, 2021

The UK Government’s reporting system for COVID vaccine adverse reactions from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency released their latest report yesterday, June 10, 2021.

The report covers data collected from December 9, 2020, through June 2, 2021, for the three experimental COVID “vaccines” currently in use in the U.K. from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Moderna.

They report a total of 1,295 deaths and 922,596 injuries recorded following the experimental COVID injections.

Here are the breakdowns from the three shots:

  • AstraZeneca: 863 deaths and 717,250 injuries. (Source.)
  • Pfizer- BioNTech: 406 deaths and 193,768 injuries. (Source.)
  • Moderna: 3 deaths and 9243 injuries. (Source.)
  • Unspecified COVID-19 injections: 22 deaths and 2335 injuries. (Source.)

Meanwhile, Italy announced today that it was halting use of the AstraZeneca injections for people under the age of 60, following the death of a teenager who died from blood clots.

June 12, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 4 Comments

“I Am Open”: 50,000 Italian Restaurant Owners Plan to Ignore Lockdown

Huge act of civil disobedience plans to conduct business as usual inspite of “anti-Covid” measures

OffGuardian | January 15, 2021

Today – Friday 15th January – over 50,000 restaurants are planning to open, an act of mass civil disobedience against “anti-Covid” lockdown measures which have massively hurt the restaurant business, especially small family-owned businesses.

Spreading through social media under the hashtag #IoOpro (“I am opening”), the movement is largest country-wide act of civil disobedience since lockdowns began.

Italain opposition MP Vittorio Sgarbi has backed the movement, saying in an interview:

Open up, & don’t worry, in the end we will make them eat their fines”.

Italy’s government is already facing internal conflict and crisis, an early election is a possibility.

A similar movement already started in Mexico on January 12th, when hundreds of restaurant owners gathered to protest the lockdowns.

The “I am Open” protest is spreading across Europe as well, with variants already taking hold in German-speaking Switzerland (#Wirmachenauf) and Poland (#OtwieraMY).

It’s good to be reminded that, no matter how much it looks like the new normal is spreading unopposed, it’s not. People all over the world are resisting where they can. That’s what “Covid Positive” is all about.

To follow the progress of this movement we recommended following Robin Monotti and the It’s Time to Rise accounts on twitter and other platforms.

January 15, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics, Solidarity and Activism | , , | Leave a comment

Zionist War on Palestinian Festival in Rome is Ominous Sign of Things to Come

A book reading at the Falastin Festival in Rome
By Ramzy Baroud & Romana Rubeo | Palestine Chronicle | October 12, 2020

A Zionist-led war on a Palestinian cultural festival in Rome has exposed the fragility of the Italian political system when it comes to the conversation on Palestine and Israel. The sad truth is that, although Italy is not often associated with a ‘powerful’ pro-Israel lobby as is the case in Washington, the pro-Israel influence in Italy is just as dangerous.

The latest episode began on September 24, when the Palestinian community in Rome announced plans to hold ‘Falastin – Festival della Palestina’, a cultural event that aims at illustrating the richness of Palestinian culture in all of its grandeur. The idea behind it is not to simply humanize Palestinians in the eyes of ordinary Italians, but to explore commonalities, to cement bonds and to build bridges. However, for Israel’s allies in Italy, even such unthreatening objectives were too much to bear.

The festival, sponsored by II Municipio of Rome – one of the administrative subdivisions of Rome central municipality – found itself at the center of a major – and ludicrous – controversy.

On September 25, an odd pro-Israel post appeared on the Partito Democratico II Municipio – the center-left Italian political party that controls that particular subdivision. Without any context or marking any specific occasion, the post, which displayed the Israeli flag, celebrated the friendship between the Democratic Party and Israel while condemning the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS).

The haphazardness of the post and the strange timing suggested that the Democratic Party is under attack for its sponsorship of the Palestinian festival. Overwhelmed by angry comments on social media, the Party’s Facebook page abruptly removed the anti-Palestinian post without much explanation.

But clarity followed soon when, on September 30, the Jewish Community of Rome issued a statement expressing outrage at the II Municipio for allegedly sponsoring ‘an anti-Semitic festival’. Taking advantage of the deliberate distortion between anti-Semitism and the legitimate criticism of apartheid Israel, the Community’s representatives raged on about BDS and the alleged boycott of Jewish businesses.

The statement, part of which we translate here, claimed that “… the BDS Movement will attend the initiative (The Festival), and this is unacceptable and dangerous (because) the boycott movement denies the very existence of the state of Israel and it is linked to the terrorist groups of Hamas and Fatah.”

Aside from the unsubstantiated – more accurately, completely fallacious – claims, the statement referenced the ‘IHRA definition of anti-Semitism’, further explained below, which was accepted by the Italian government as well as the French and Austrian parliaments. Based on that logic, the statement concluded that, one, “the BDS movement is anti-Semitic” and, two, “the II Municipio is legitimizing anti-Jewish hatred”.

In a clearly coordinated move, the Wiesenthal Center, which often poses as a progressive organization, also went on the attack. On the same day that the Jewish Community of Rome released its statement, the Center dispatched a letter to Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, also recounting the same false claims of BDS’ alleged anti-Semitism, the IHRA definition and so on.

The Center stooped so low as to compare the BDS movement to Germany’s Nazi program. It claimed that the Palestinian boycott movement was, in fact, inspired by the Nazis’ boycott of Jews, referencing the slogan “Kaufen nicht bei Juden” (Do not buy from Jews).

The fallout was quick and, judging by the typical gutlessness of European politicians, predictable as well. II Municipio councilor, one Lucrezia Colmayer, abruptly declared her resignation, “distancing” herself from the decision of II Municipio President, Francesca Del Bello, for sponsoring the Festival.

“With this gesture, I want to renew my closeness to the Jewish Community of Rome, with which I shared this important cultural and administrative path,” Colmayer wrote.

Del Bello soon followed with her own statement. “I apologize if the sponsorship of the II Municipio to ‘Falastin – Festival della Palestina’ … offended the Jewish community and led a councilor to resign,” she wrote, rejecting Colmayer’s resignation and inviting her to return to the Council.

Fortunately, despite all obstacles, “the Festival was a great success,” Maya Issa, a member of the Palestinian Community of Rome and Lazio, told us.

The Festival “was a way for people to learn about Palestine and to see Palestine under a different light. The atmosphere was magic – Palestinian colors, scents, food, Dabkah, art and literature”.

The good news is that, despite the well-coordinated Italian Zionist campaign, the Palestinian Festival still went ahead and, according to Issa, “many Italian politicians understood our message and they decided to participate”.

Now that the Festival is over, the pro-Palestinian groups in Italy are ready to counter the false accusations and the defamatory language lobbed at them by the pro-Israel camp.

“We will respond with the truth and we will refute all the false claims, especially the lies about the BDS Movement,” Issa said, adding “we, the Palestinian community, must resist, along with all those who support true democracy and freedom”.

There is no doubt that the Palestinian community of Italy is more than capable of achieving this crucial task. However, two important points must be kept in mind:

First, the “IHRA definition of anti-Semitism”, also known as EUMC, has been deliberately misused by Zionists to the point that a genuine attempt at curbing anti-Jewish racism has been transformed as a tool to defend Israeli war crimes in Palestine, and to silence critics who dare, not only to censure Israel’s illegal actions, but to even celebrate Palestinian culture.

Of particular significance is that the very person who drafted that ‘definition’, US attorney Kenneth S. Stern, has condemned the misuse of the initiative.

In a written statement submitted to the US Congress in 2017, Stern argued that the original definition has been greatly misused, and that it was never intended to be manipulated as a political tool.

“The EUMC ‘working definition’ was recently adopted in the United Kingdom, and applied to campus. An ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ event was cancelled as violating the definition. A Holocaust survivor was required to change the title of a campus talk, and the University (of Manchester) mandated it be recorded, after an Israeli diplomat complained that the title violated the definition,” he wrote.

“Perhaps most egregious,” Stern continued, “an off-campus group citing the definition called on a university to conduct an inquiry of a professor (who received her PhD from Columbia) for anti-Semitism, based on an article she had written years before. The University (of Bristol) then conducted the inquiry. While it ultimately found no basis to discipline the professor, the exercise itself was chilling and McCarthy-like.”

A second point to also consider is that Italian politics has reached the point that, on many issues, it has become difficult to easily distinguish between supposedly progressive parties and the populist ones. Palestine, in the new Italian political discourse, especially that of the Democratic Party is, perhaps, the most obvious case in point.

This is particularly disturbing, considering that Partito Democratico was, itself, the ideological culmination of parties that existed during the era of Italy’s First Republic (1948-1992), which were known for their strong stances in favor of Palestinian rights and self-determination and strong opposition to Israel’s violations of international law.

This is no longer the case, as the party’s stance on Palestine now hardly deviates from the stifling mantra, “Due popoli due stati” – “Two people two states”.

The new era of Italian politics makes it possible for the likes of Lia Quartapelle – a Democratic Party MP – to pose as a human rights defender on the global stage while referring to Israel as “an extraordinary exception, a plural democracy in a region that fed sectarian and fundamentalist policies”. Her statement is not only wrong and deluding, it also embodies a deep-seated form of anti-Arab sentiment, if not, arguably, outright racism.

The attempt at shutting down the Palestinian Festival is a microcosm of Italy’s foreign policy agenda in Palestine and Israel, where Rome offers Palestinians nothing but empty rhetoric, while practically remaining subservient to the chauvinistic and racist right-wing agenda of Tel Aviv.

Italians must understand that this is no longer just a conversation on Palestine and Israel, but one that directly affects them and their democracy, as well. Italy is a country that brought, then fought and defeated fascism; allied with, then fought and defeated Nazism. Once more, they are presented with the same stark options: siding with Israeli racism and apartheid or upholding the Palestinian people’s struggle for freedom.

Romana Rubeo is an Italian writer and the managing editor of The Palestine Chronicle. Her articles appear in many online newspapers and academic journals. She holds a Master’s Degree in Foreign Languages and Literature, and specializes in audio-visual and journalism translation. 

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and also at the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

October 12, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

Israel and Italy Cement Military Ties, Massive Arms to Be Exchanged

Palestine Chronicle | September 24, 2020

The Israeli and Italian governments concluded a major arms deal, according to a statement issued Wednesday by the Israeli Defense Ministry.

According to Israeli sources, the deal would allow Israel to sell “Spike anti-tank guided missiles and aircraft simulators in exchange for training helicopters to replace the Israeli Air Force’s aging fleet”.

Intense talks, which led to the agreement, began last February.

The military exchange is estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars and its consequences are expected to last for at least two decades. According to the newly-signed agreement, Italian military contractor Leonardo will provide Israel with 20 years of aircraft maintenance.

“The agreement signed today is another expression of the close security and economic relations between Israel and Italy,” Israeli Defense Ministry Director-General Amir Eshel said in a statement, which was quoted in The Times of Israel.

Israel is currently the eighth leading weapons exporter in the world, and its military hardware, touted as ‘combat-proven’, is coveted by many countries.

September 25, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

The Senseless and Bloody Italian Campaign 1943-44

Tales of the American Empire | September 27, 2019

American society worships wars and wartime leaders. As a result, most Americans do not know that many wartime leaders were incompetent, while others sacrificed thousands of American lives to advance their career. There are several examples from World War II, like the mindless attacks through mountains up the Italian peninsula. This pointless effort also killed great numbers of Italian civilians and destroyed entire towns.

Related Tale: “The Madness of Operation Torch in 1942” – the big desert battles in Tunisia and Libya could have been skipped https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeUFL…

Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial https://www.abmc.gov/cemeteries-memor…

July 28, 2020 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment