Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Russia makes move on foreign firms leaving the country

Samizdat | May 25, 2022

Lawmakers have approved a bill allowing Moscow to introduce control over foreign companies’ assets in Russia if their owners have ceased activities in the country “for no apparent economic reasons.” The legislation passed in the first reading in the Russian State Duma on Tuesday.

The bill applies to companies in which foreign equities account for 25% or more if they are of ‘major’ significance for the Russian economy. They could be the only supplier of ‘critically important industries’, produce goods of prime necessity, or be a local economic mainstay.

The legislation is primarily aimed at firms that have left Russia and decided to do so “based on the anti-Russian sentiments in Europe and the US,” a statement published by the State Duma says.

External control could only be imposed by a court for a period of up to 18 months, the bill says. The measure could then be lifted before the scheduled date if shareholders that together own more than 50% of the stock file a request with the Russian authorities and remove the causes that led to the court decision.

A court would be able to impose external control over a company’s assets for a number of reasons, including supply-side shocks, key supply chain breaches, as well as job slashing and “actions or inaction” that could lead to casualties or technogenic disasters.

Moscow has been mulling the seizure of foreign assets for months after many foreign companies halted operations in the country over the fighting in Ukraine. Consumer protection groups such as the Public Consumer Initiative (OPI) have been calling for the measure to be introduced against the likes of Apple, IKEA, Microsoft, IBM, Shell, McDonald’s, Volkswagen, Porsche, Toyota, H&M, and others.

Under the proposed bill, external management would not mean full nationalization. Foreign owners would have the opportunity to get their assets back and resume operations in Russia, or sell their shares.

May 25, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Backed by Big Pharma, NewsGuard Brings ‘Fact Checking’ to Tens of Millions of Kids in Schools

By Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D. | The Defender | February 28, 2022

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is partnering with NewsGuard — a for-profit “fact-checking” company with deep ties to Big Pharma — to help students in U.S. classrooms “navigate a sea of online disinformation.”

AFT is the second-largest teachers’ union in the U.S. It’s also a staunch advocate of mandatory COVID vaccination and masks for schoolchildren.

Under a deal announced last month, AFT agreed to purchase NewsGuard licenses for its entire membership of teachers — 1.7 million in total — making the NewsGuard tool available to tens of millions of public school students and their families.

Teachers will receive licensed copies of NewsGuard’s internet browser extension, providing access to its “traffic light” ratings and “nutrition label” reviews evaluating the purported reliability of news and information websites when those sites are visited.

Announced during “News Literacy Week,” AFT touted the agreement as an opportunity for its member teachers to play a bigger role in helping their students “navigate a sea of online disinformation.”

AFT stated:

“For years, educators have fought battles against suspect sourcing, with their students often misled by dubious outlets and spam sites posing as ‘news’. NewsGuard offers a practical solution, alerting students and educators to those sites while also providing a valuable lesson in media literacy.

“Students and their teachers will be able to see how NewsGuard applies nine criteria of journalistic practice to thousands of websites and will get an immediate read on the truthfulness and rigor of the information they encounter when searching online.”

Randi Weingarten, president of AFT, added:

“We are constantly trying to help our students, particularly our middle, high school and post-secondary students, separate fact from fiction, as we help them develop their critical-thinking and analytical skills.

“NewsGuard is a great tool in this regard. It is a beacon of clarity to expose the dark depths of the internet and uplift those outlets committed to truth and honesty rather than falsehoods and fabrications. This historic deal will not only help us steer clear of increasingly fetid waters—it will provide a valuable lesson in media literacy and a discussion point for teachers in class on what can, and can’t, be trusted.

“The hallmark of good journalism is fair, richly sourced reporting that gives citizens an insight into how the world works. Sadly, the foundational role of the fourth estate is in danger of being poisoned by torrents of trash. NewsGuard reminds us of the importance of an independent press that students can rely on to form their own views and opinions so they can participate as active citizens in our democracy.”

Axios described the deal as one in which American schoolchildren are getting “an internet librarian,” adding that “[t]he hope is that students with the skills to spot disinformation will grow into more thoughtful and better-informed citizens and voters.”

Drawing on the library analogy, NewsGuard stated:

“Imagine you walked into a library, and there were a trillion pieces of paper flying around in the air, and you grabbed one, and you didn’t know anything about it, or where it came from or who’s financing it.

“That’s the internet, that’s your Facebook feed, that’s your Google search.”

Helping children become more media literate and better able to spot misinformation online appears, at face value, to be a noble goal.

However, a closer look at NewsGuard’s advisers, partners and investors reveals a web of interests closely linked to the military, intelligence, media and political establishments, as well as to the world of corporate marketing — including an advertising agency sued for illegally marketing opioids.

How does NewsGuard work?

Launched in March 2018 as an effort to “fight fake news,” NewsGuard maintains a database of news and information outlets, which are ranked for their supposed “trustworthiness.”

These rankings then become available to the public via extensions that are available for mainstream browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox and Microsoft Edge.

Once installed, the browser extension displays green or red warning labels next to a ranked website’s address, indicating whether the site is considered to be “trustworthy” or not.

As of January 2022, NewsGuard had evaluated and ranked 7,466 domains which it claims covers 95% of online news engagement.

Algorithms alone are insufficient for identifying “fake news,” according to NewsGuard:

“Our goal isn’t necessarily to stop [fake news] but to arm people with some basic information when they’re about to read or share stuff,” Brill said. “We’re not trying to block anything.

“Our goal is to help solve this problem now by using human beings—trained, experienced journalists—who will operate under a transparent, accountable process to apply basic common sense to a growing scourge that clearly cannot be solved by algorithms.”

How does this evaluation process take place?

NewsGuard uses nine weighted criteria to rate and analyze news websites along two broad categories: credibility and transparency.

The following five criteria are incorporated into the “credibility” category, listed alongside their respective “weights”:

  • Does not repeatedly publish false content (22 points).
  • Gathers and presents information responsibly (18 points).
  • Regularly corrects or clarifies errors (12.5 points).
  • Handles the difference between news and opinion responsibly (12.5 points).
  • Avoids deceptive headlines (10 points).

Under the “transparency” category are these four criteria:

  • Discloses ownership and financing (7.5 points).
  • Clearly labels advertising (7.5 points).
  • Reveals who’s in charge, including possible conflicts of interest (5 points).
  • Provides the names of content creators, along with either contact or biographical information (5 points).

It is unclear how the respective “weights” were determined and set, or how they are measured.

Connected to these nine criteria, NewsGuard implemented a “Nutrition Label” system, which it uses to rate news sites according to one of four categories: “Green,” “Red,” “Satire” or “Platform.” The corresponding icon then appears in browsers when a rated website is visited.

These categories are connected to the previously mentioned point system, such that sites with a “score” of 60 points or higher earn a “Green” label, while those below 60 points are given a “Red” label.

Specifically:

  • A “Green” label indicates the website “generally adheres to basic standards of credibility and transparency.”
  • A “Red” label indicates the website “generally fails to meet basic standards of credibility and transparency.”
  • Α “Satire” (yellow) label indicates the website is “not a real news website.”
  • A “Platform” (gray) label indicates the website “primarily hosts user-generated content that it does not vet” and the information on this site “may or may not be reliable.”

The “Nutrition Labels,” aside from the color-coded system indicated above, also include a more detailed analysis about each news site. As explained by NewsGuard:

“The labels will explain the history of the site, what it attempts to cover, who owns it, who edits it, and make transparent other relevant factors, such as financing, notable awards or missteps, whether the publisher participates in programs such as the Trust Project, which holds publishers to transparency standards, or has repeatedly been found at fault by one of the established programs that check individual articles.”

In other words, there is a direct connection between NewsGuard’s website-level rating system and the various “fact-checking” entities that evaluate the content of individual news stories.

Each website is initially “independently reviewed” by a NewsGuard analyst against the nine criteria. The analyst prepares the “Nutrition Label,” the website is contacted for comment, and then “at least one senior editor and NewsGuard’s co-CEOs review every Nutrition Label prior to publication to ensure that the rating is as fair and accurate as possible.”

In addition to its formal ratings process, a separate NewsGuard “SWAT Team” is “on call on a 24/7 basis to receive and act on alerts about sites that are suddenly trending, but that have not yet been rated — including because the site was just launched to promote a fictitious, sensational story.”

The “SWAT Team” then rates these websites in real time.

NewsGuard also works on social media platforms — specifically, on links to news articles on other websites that are posted on social media.

Additionally, NewsGuard maintains what it calls “advertiser inclusion lists.” As of January, these lists contained 4,247 so-called “quality news sites.” The lists are used to help online advertisers direct their advertising expenditures toward websites NewsGuard deems reliable.

NewsGuard, which received $6 million in seed funding from various investors and venture capitalists, is subscription-based.

A NewsGuard subscription costs $2.95 per month, which includes the browser extension and a mobile app for Android and iOS devices. (The browser extension is available for free on the Microsoft Edge browser, thanks to a licensing agreement with Microsoft).

AFT deal not first time NewsGuard has ventured into education arena

For some, fighting “fake news” on websites and social media isn’t enough — they believe the “battle” needs to reach educational institutions.

As stated in 2019 by Jonathan Anzalone, assistant director and lecturer at Stony Brook University’s Center for News Literacy:

“Our problems are much larger than identifying a bogus website or a piece of propaganda. It’s like we just invented fire, and we’re trying to learn how to deal with it. It will take more than a few tools, as valuable as they may be.”

As a solution, Anzalone recommended “large-scale educational intervention” and “constant reinforcement in class and at home that we have to be critical of the news.”

These calls for “educational intervention” in 2019 perhaps foreshadowed NewsGuard’s later turn toward educational institutions.

NewsGuard’s past educational collaborations may also provide more than a few hints as to the types of learning materials it will provide as part of its new agreement with AFT.

Prior to NewsGuard’s new agreement with AFT, it had maintained a collaboration with Turnitin, a tool commonly used in secondary and higher education to evaluate students’ written assignments and identify possible cases of plagiarism.

NewsGuard’s partnership with TurnItIn, announced May 4, 2020, was touted as an initiative “that will help many million students and teachers spot and avoid misinformation, improve their research abilities and develop critical media literacy skills.”

On its end, Turnitin promoted its collaboration with NewsGuard as a marriage between “academic integrity” and “digital literacy” that would enable students to “navigate 21st-century news with 21st-century skills” and to “imbue [their] work with integrity right from the source.”

Offering NewsGuard through the Turnitin service would allow “students and instructors, writers and researchers [to] confidently discern the legitimacy of digital news and information, using only the sources best suited for their needs.”

Commenting on this partnership in 2020, Crovitz described it as a “perfect match,” and stated:

“From the start, our mission has been to help people tell the difference between trustworthy sources and the many online sources that have hidden agendas, publish misinformation, or exist to promote hoaxes.

“We have heard from many teachers how valuable NewsGuard has been to help students in their research and writing find sources that publish with accuracy and integrity and to stay away from the others. To be able to provide that information to Turnitin’s millions of students and teachers is a tremendously important milestone in advancing that mission.”

Free access to NewsGuard via Turnitin appears to have ended with the conclusion of the 2020-2021 academic year. However, a series of NewsGuard learning materials developed as part of the partnership with Turnitin remain online, and provide a likely indication as to the nature and content of the resources NewsGuard will now make available to schools and teachers as part of its new collaboration with AFT.

These resources, which offer an eye-opening look at how students are instructed to identify so-called “misinformation,”  include:

The lesson materials for the so-called COVID-19 “Infodemic,” which are targeted primarily to high school students, but also, middle school and university students, include the following statement:

“As misinformation about COVID-19 proliferates online, and as remote learning and social distancing cause students to spend even more of their time on social media and other platforms, media literacy skills have taken on greater importance.

“To address this need, NewsGuard has created a suite of plug-and-play resources for educators to teach a media literacy lesson through the lens of COVID-19 misinformation.”

A set of PowerPoint slides on “Coronavirus Conspiracies & Other Health Hoaxes,” includes a quiz wherein one of the questions asks students to identify which sources they would trust, out of the following list: Medicine-Today.net, MedicineNet.com, Vaccination.co.uk, Patient.info, HealthyChildren.org, and ChildrensHealthDefense.org (the ‘correct’ answers, we are told, are MedicineNet.com, Patient.Info, and HealthyChildren.org).

An accompanying “tip sheet” unironically advises students, educators, and parents to “be suspicious of requests for secrecy or pressure to take action quickly,” and to “teach yourself and your kids to ask the tough questions.”

In turn, the “best practices” recommended by NewsGuard and Turnitin include a suggestion that “students should reference NewsGuard throughout the semester/year,” whenever “they need to do research for a project or paper or any time they need to consult current events.”

As part of this, educators are advised to “have students annotate their bibliographies with explanations for why they selected each source, drawing from NewsGuard’s Nutrition Label reviews to provide evidence for why they deemed certain sources reliable.”

NewsGuard partnerships extend to businesses, ad agencies and the WHO

NewsGuard’s line of products extends beyond its browser extension, “Nutrition Labels,” and educational materials.

For example, it offers a product called “Misinformation Fingerprints,” a “catalog of all the top current hoaxes on the internet.”

According to NewsGuard, the product is “purpose-built for use by both human analysts and AI tools” which “provide a continuously updated view of the digital information environment — and a powerful way to track narratives that are emerging and spreading online,” specifically, the “top misinformation narratives spreading online.”

The users of “Misinformation FIngerprints” include the Pentagon’s Cyber Command and the U.S. State Department’s Global Engagement Center.

For businesses, an “Insights Dashboard” helps clients access NewsGuard’s news reliability ratings and misinformation fingerprints “through a powerful, searchable web interface purpose-built for use by businesses seeking to identify and mitigate risks from misinformation and disinformation.”

BrandGuard” targets advertisers and advertising agencies. It is touted as “the only humanly generated, constantly updated solution” to help such companies “avoid advertising on misinformation sites while finding valuable new inventory on trustworthy news sites.”

Similarly, NewsGuard’s “HealthGuard” product targets the healthcare industry and global public health authorities.

Described as “a vaccine against medical information,” HealthGuard, we are told, “helps patients, healthcare workers and anyone involved in the medical field identify trustworthy sources of health information — and avoid dangerous misinformation.”

How does HealthGuard purport to accomplish this? 

It maintains a set of ratings for more than 3,000 online health information sources, as well as a catalog of “false health narratives — from bogus cancer cures to COVID vaccine myths,” through which it “provides a solution to the “infodemic” of rampant online health misinformation.”

The WHO said it relies on NewsGuard “to fight health hoaxes.  Andy Pattison, head of the WHO’s Digital Channels Team, said:

“Though health misinformation circulates online, it causes real life consequences. We must put tools in the hands of people everywhere so they can better assess the credibility of health information online in order to make informed health choices in their life.

“NewsGuard has been instrumental in helping WHO and partners keep people safe by identifying and combating online COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation.”

NewsGuard on Aug. 24, 2020, announced a partnership agreement, “to provide the WHO and the technology platforms that WHO advises on healthcare-related online safety with a variety of reports and data aimed at fighting online COVID-19 misinformation online.”

Dr. Sylvie Brand, director of the WHO’s infectious hazards management department, described the partnership with NewsGuard:

“WHO has been fighting an infodemic of misinformation on multiple fronts, working hand in hand with governments, the private sector and civil society.

“It is vital that people everywhere get the right information at the right time to protect themselves and their loved ones. That’s why we are looking forward to working with NewsGuard and other platforms to fight misinformation and disinformation.”

In turn, NewsGuard claims that, through the provisions of this agreement where it will provide information about health “hoaxes” to social media and search platforms, “digital platforms will finally be able to act before these new myths — whether it’s about a vaccine or another supposed source of the virus—spread on their platforms.”

As it turns out, NewsGuard since 2020 has filed at least 29 such reports with the WHO As described by NewsGuard, these reports have highlighted:

“… trending health hoaxes and conspiracies across Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, which the WHO has been able to share with digital platforms to alert them to misinformation and hoaxes on their platforms.

“These reports identify large social media pages, accounts, and public and private groups that encourage the spread of false and often dangerous narratives about the virus and vaccines.”

One such report, dated Oct. 28, 2021, is titled “Despite NewsGuard’s prior warnings in reports to the WHO, Facebook and Instagram have allowed known anti-vaccine misinformation superspreaders to flourish on their platforms.

A June 22, 2021 report, “COVID-19 and Vaccine Misinformation Groups and Pages on Facebook” prominently features Children’s Health Defense (CHD), among other pages and groups.

NewsGuard included CHD on its list of websites that spread “vaccine myths,” lamenting that “[s]ome of the websites NewsGuard identified have become more popular online than trustworthy sources of information about COVID-19,” while specifically stating that CHD’s website “has received more engagement … than the CDC and the National Institutes of Health.”

A February 2021 NewsGuard interview with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. was “annotated in italics in footnote form with fact checks debunking the dozens of arguments Kennedy employed to bolster his false claim that Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines are dangerous.”

NewsGuard’s involvement in health-related matters also extends to the creation of a “COVID-19 Misinformation Tracking Center,” which “reports on fake news, rumors and bad actors related to the Coronavirus Pandemic.”

What constitutes a “bad actor” does not appear to be defined.

Via this “tracking center,” NewsGuard compiled a list of 53 supposed COVID  myths. The list appears in a September 2021 NewsGuard “special report” on “Top COVID-19 vaccine myths.”

In addition to partnering with the WHO, NewsGuard’s HealthGuard partners with the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH).

Described by Mercola as “a progressive cancel-culture leader,” CCDH has “extensive ties to government and global think tanks that has labeled questioning the COVID-19 injection as ‘threats to national security.’”

Who are the people behind NewsGuard?

NewsGuard was founded by two veterans of mainstream journalism: Steven Brill (who previously founded Court TV, the Yale Journalism Initiative and The American Lawyer), and Gordon Crovitz, former publisher of the Wall Street Journal.

When it launched, NewsGuard had a team of 25 professional journalists, purportedly to evaluate the reliability of news sources.

Two other key founding members of NewsGuard, who are still with the company, include James Warren and Eric Effron.

Brill and Crovitz are members of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, a highly influential U.S. foreign policy establishment think tank.

This stance is further reflected in the makeup of NewsGuard’s advisory board, which includes a who’s who of individuals from the political, intelligence, Big Tech and media establishments, including:

  • Don Baer, who served as White House communications director during the administration of Bill Clinton
  • Arne Duncan, who served as Secretary of Education during the administration of Barack Obama.
  • (Ret.) General Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA, former director of the NSA, and former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence.
  • Leo Hindery, Jr., the former chairman of the National Cable Television Association.
  • Elise Jordan, a political analyst for NBC News and a former speechwriter for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, under the administration of George W. Bus.
  • Kate O’Sullivan, general manager for digital diplomacy of Microsoft.
  • Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former general secretary of NATO, former prime minister of Denmark, and founder of the Alliance of Democracies Foundation.
  • Tom Ridge, the first Secretary of Homeland Security, under the administration of George W. Bush.
  • Richard Stengel, former editor of Time Magazine and former Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy under the administration of Barack Obama. He is the author of “Information Wars: How We Lost the Global Battle Against Disinformation and What We Can Do About It.”
  • Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia.

NewsGuard says members of the advisory board play “no role in the determination of ratings or the Nutrition Label[s] … unless otherwise noted” and “have no role in the governance or management of the organization.”

However, members’ association with the military and intelligence community and their connections to major technology companies and media outlets that support COVID measures and mandatory vaccination cannot be overlooked.

Looking at NewsGuard’s team members, similar connections can be made to the media, political and intelligence establishments.

Two team members, Alex Cadier and Amy Westfeldt, have previous “fact-checking” experience. Cadier worked with Agence France-Presse’s AFP Fact Check Service since 2020, with a focus on “COVID-19 vaccine misinformation, 5G conspiracy theories and other myths.”

Westfeldt produced The Associated Press’ first fact checks, soon after the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in conjunction with Facebook. She also founded the “Not Real News” fixture.

Two other team members, Nerissa Beekharry and Cynthia Brill, were previously associated with Verified Identity Pass, operator of the Clear Pass for airport security checkpoints.

And at least two team members, Sam Howard and Sruthi Palaniappan, were involved in presidential campaigns: Howard with the Obama 2012 campaign and Palaniappan with Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016, the same year he was a delegate at the Democratic National Convention .

NewsGuard’s partnerships also reflect an affinity for entities associated with Big Tech, the military and intelligence establishments and government more broadly — even as a private initiative.

For example, NewsGuard partners include:

  • Microsoft (including Microsoft Bing, Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Education and MSN).
  • The WHO.
  • The U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. State Department.
  • The U.S. National Security Innovation Network.
  • The UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
  • The News Media Alliance (a U.S.-Canada newspaper trade association).
  • The German Marshall Fund of the United States.
  • GumGum (a “contextual intelligence” company).
  • Dartmouth University, Northeastern University and the University of Michigan.
  • Advertising and marketing firms such as IPG, Peer39, TripleLift and the Publicis Groupe.

Backed by Big Pharma?

As mentioned above, NewsGuard received approximately $6 million in venture funds for its launch.

One of its major early investors was the Publicis Groupe, a multinational advertising agency and communications conglomerate.

Publicis, the third largest communications group in the world, divides its businesses into four “solutions hubs”: Publicis Communications, Publicis Media, Publicis Sapient and Publicis Health.

It is Publicis’ health division that has generated significant controversy. The company names “40 clients in the life sciences industry,” including “being a preferred partner with 13 of the top 20 global pharmaceutical companies.”

These clients include Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Merck, Bayer, Abbot, Allergan, Biogen, Eli Lilly, Genentech, Gilead, Sanofi and Purdue Pharma.

In October 2018, GlaxoSmithKline sent its $1.5 billion media account to the Publicis Group, then added an additional $400 million account — for its new portfolio of Pfizer Consumer Healthcare brands such as Advil, Caltrate, and Centrum, as part of a joint venture with Pfizer.

In August 2019, Publicis secured the account of another pharmaceutical giant, Novartis, worth $600 million.

However, it was its partnership with Purdue Pharma that directly generated controversy and legal trouble for the Publicis Groupe.

In May 2021, the Massachusetts attorney general’s office filed a lawsuit against Publicis Health, accusing it of helping Purdue Pharma develop deceptive marketing materials and advertising campaigns, used to mislead doctors into prescribing OxyContin, a widely-abused opioid.

According to the lawsuit:

“From 2010 until 2019, Publicis worked with opioid companies, particularly Purdue Pharma, to increase sales of dangerous opioids like OxyContin, including in Massachusetts, in ways that increased the risk to patients and the public of opioid use disorder, overdose, and death.

“Publicis devised and deployed unfair and deceptive marketing campaigns designed to push doctors to prescribe opioids to more patients, in higher doses, and for longer periods of time.”

So while NewsGuard purports to be fighting against online misinformation and deception pertaining to public health — it has no problem taking money from a major advertising and communications conglomerate that has itself been accused of deceptive practices relating to health care.

Maurice Lévy, chairman of the Publicis Group, made the following remarks on the occasion of NewsGuard’s launch:

“Advertisers are increasingly concerned about their brand safety and do not want to help finance and appear alongside fake news.

“NewsGuard will be able to publish and license ‘white lists’ of news sites our clients can use to support legitimate publishers while still protecting their brand reputations.”

As noted by Dr. Joseph Mercola:

“Seeing how Publicis represents most of the major pharmaceutical companies in the world and funded the creation of NewsGuard, it’s not far-fetched to assume Publicis might influence NewsGuard’s ratings of drug industry competitors, such as alternative health sites.

“Being a Google partner, Publicis also has the ability to bury undesirable views that might hurt its clientele.”

Publicis is a partner of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and, indeed, appears as a partner of the WEF’s “Great Reset” (as are pharmaceutical companies and COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers such as AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer).

What appears to be a common thread connecting NewsGuard employees, investors and partners is  connections to organizations that have a vested interest in promoting COVID vaccination and pandemic countermeasures;

And now NewsGuard is coming to children’s schools.


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.

March 1, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Google, Amazon staff protest ties to Israel spy network

MEMO | October 13, 2021

Employees of the tech giants, Google and Amazon, have condemned the companies for their contract with the Israeli military to develop cloud-based cybersecurity services, and have called on their employers to cut their ties with the occupation forces.

As part of the major $1.2 billion contracts signed with the Israeli military in May, following a bid in which it beat other giants like Microsoft, Google and Amazon are to provide cloud services technology to Tel Aviv and its armed forces.

In an article published yesterday in the Guardian newspaper, however, hundreds of anonymous employees of the companies, who described themselves as “employees of conscience from diverse backgrounds”, condemned the program named ‘Project Nimbus.’

Referencing their belief “that the technology we build should work to serve and uplift people everywhere,” the employees stated that “we are morally obligated to speak out against violations of these core values.”

They wrote that “we are compelled to call on the leaders of Amazon and Google to pull out of Project Nimbus and cut all ties with the Israeli military,” revealing that the signatories of the letter-number over 90 at Google and over 300 at Amazon.

The employees, who confirmed that they “are anonymous because we fear retaliation,” acknowledged that “We cannot look the other way, as the products we build are used to deny Palestinians their basic rights, force Palestinians out of their homes, and attack Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”

If Google and Amazon continue with the project which would “sell dangerous technology to the Israeli military and government”, then it would only enable the “further surveillance of and unlawful data collection on Palestinians, and facilitate the expansion of Israel’s illegal settlements on Palestinian land.”

Aside from urging the companies to abandon the project and their ties with Israel’s occupation forces, the employees also “call on global technology workers and the international community to join with us in building a world where technology promotes safety and dignity for all.”

October 13, 2021 Posted by | Environmentalism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Governments are using credit card purchase data as “contact tracing’ COVID surveillance

By Didi Rankovic | Reclaim the Net | July 16, 2021

The ongoing “war on cash” that far preceded the pandemic, whose goal is to steer people towards using traceable forms of payment, is coming in very handy in the COVID era precisely for the reason the policy is criticized in the first place – it makes it easy for authorities to keep tabs on individuals who use card transactions.

Reports now mention instances of Australian residents receiving a mandate to quarantine after using their credit card to pay at an establishment, where somebody known to be infected with the virus had stayed.

Credit card receipts led back to the person that was then forced to self-isolate (although they did not have coronavirus) – and apparently led the person to consider what, if anything, is left of their privacy in a world where more and more people leave long “data trails” behind them.

Stop-gap measures like switching to alternative browsers etc (while probably running it on Windows) aside – the takeaway is that the only way to regain some privacy in the world of mass surveillance and tracking is to turn to alternatives – but do it consistently, and be prepared to pay for the privilege of removing oneself from the closed ecosystems like those ruled with an iron fist by Google, Apple, or Microsoft.

As for using card transactions to do COVID contact tracing, Australia is far from being the only country that is doing it. In fact, those lauded as most successful in even getting their contact tracing efforts off the ground, like South Korea, pioneered the practice. Data surveillance, reports said, was used by authorities there to make sure that people who were either unable or unwilling to share their every move are eventually forced into doing it.

Australia has “distinguished” itself for being willing to jeopardize people’s privacy with a series of COVID surveillance and control measures over the past 18 months, and last November, the National Contact Tracing Review, whose chair is Australia’s Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, recommended using consumer credit card data for track and trace purposes.

But what about privacy? Privacy rules will apply – until they don’t, seems to be the gist of it.

“Privacy rules will apply,” the Review said, but then added, “and in some jurisdictions legislative change may be required.”

July 16, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Big Tech created a gold mine of data for law enforcement

By Didi Rankovic | Reclaim the Net | June 30, 2021

It’s not exactly news at this point: law enforcement agencies are increasingly seeking Big Tech’s cooperation in giving them access to massive data sets taken from users of social networks and other online platforms and services.

And although some reports now address this topic in the context of the way these powers were used during the Trump era Department of Justice (DoJ), the practice neither started, nor ended with the previous US administration.

Instead, over the past six years, there has been a steady and entirely predictable rise in requests for detailed personal data that Big Tech collects from users and their devices. The more data – the more requests.

The latest available statistics from the first half of last year show that Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft received three times more requests for information about users’ calls and emails, and content like photos and texts, compared to 2015. But tech giants collect – and hand over – much more than that, shopping and driving route history being some of the data harvested thanks to map and payment apps.

In the first half of 2020 alone US law enforcement asked for this data a total of 112,000 times – and Big Tech complied either fully or partially in 85% of cases. Facebook and Instagram in particular, having the largest combined user base, also topped this list.

And while the behemoths say that most of that data is “non-content” – such as metadata – user’s privacy is not much better off for it, considering that identifiable information can clearly be extracted from multiple correlated metadata points.

In a recent report, AP cites the case of Newport, a small town with a large tourist industry, whose police department is now increasingly relying on obtaining data from tech companies when investigating crimes.

“The amount of information you can get from people’s conversations online – it’s insane,” Newport supervising detective Robert Salter shared with the agency.

Digital privacy groups like the EFF call this “the golden age of government surveillance” as law enforcement not only has more access to data, but is also more prone to using gag orders, leaving its targets unawares.

The EFF suggests tech companies use strong encryption as one remedy to the police “short-circuiting constitutional protections against unreasonable searches.”

June 30, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Biden Administration Wants to Partner with Criminals to Spy on You

By Thomas Knapp | CounterPunch | May 6, 2021

“The Biden administration,” CNN reports, “is considering using outside firms to track extremist chatter by Americans online.”

Federal law enforcement agencies are legally and constitutionally forbidden to monitor the private activities of citizens without first getting warrants based on probable cause to believe those citizens have committed, or are committing, crimes. The feds can browse public social media posts and so forth, but secretly trawling private groups and hacking encrypted chats is off-limits.

Private companies and nonprofit civic organizations, not being government entities, don’t need warrants or probable cause to access those private discussion areas. The administration’s bright idea is that through partnership with these non-government entities, they can get around legal and constitutional barriers: “WE didn’t collect the information. THEY collected the information, then gave it to us.”

There are several flies in that ointment. Here’s a big one:

It’s entirely understandable that — to use an entirely hypothetical example — someone with the Southern Poverty Law Center might impersonate a fictional white supremacist to get into a private Ku Klux Klan chat room and see what those people are up to.

But the US Department of Justice says it’s illegal  (under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act) to evade terms of service with false identities.

A government partnership with an organization that gathers information in that way is no different than the government partnering with a burglar to find out what you have in your house, without the bother of convincing a judge there’s probable cause to issue a search warrant. It is, quite simply, criminal conspiracy.

As with so many political and social issues arising in the Internet age, we’re coming up against a big question that urgently needs answering:

At what point does “working with” government amount to “being part of” government?

Much of the “private” tech sector makes big money on government contracts. NBC News reports, based on  a 2020 Tech Inquiry expose, that Microsoft enjoys thousands of subcontracts with the US Department of Defense and federal law enforcement. Amazon has more than 350 such subcontracts with agencies like ICE and the FBI. Google, more than 250.

What about the “nonprofit” sector? According to the National Council of NonProfits, 31.8% of nonprofit revenues are tied to government grants and contracts.

When  these entities do things FOR government, they should be held to the same standards and limits AS government. And those standards and limits should put our freedom and privacy first.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org).

May 9, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , | 2 Comments

Silicon Valley and WEF-Backed Foundation Announce Global Initiative for COVID-19 Vaccine Records

Multiple airlines are now testing a digital health passport, called CommonPass, that will store health information needed for travel on a secure, easy-to-update app. The Commons Project
By Whitney Webb | Unlimited Hangout | January 15, 2021

Silicon Valley’s most influential companies, alongside healthcare companies, US intelligence contractors and the Commons Project Foundation, recently launched the Vaccination Credential Initiative. The initiative’s ambitions reach far beyond vaccines and will have major implications for civil liberties.

On Thursday, tech giants with deep ties to the US national-security state—Microsoft, Oracle, and the MITRE corporation—announced that they had partnered with several health-care companies to create the Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI) to advance the implementation of digital COVID-19 vaccination records.

According to a Reuters report, the VCI “aims to help people get encrypted digital copies of their immunization records stored in a digital wallet of their choice” because the “current system [of vaccination records] does not readily support convenient access and sharing of verifiable vaccination records.”

The initiative, on its website, notes that the VCI is a public-private partnership “committed to empowering individuals with digital vaccination records” so that participants can “protect and improve their health” and “demonstrate their health status to safely return to travel, work, school and life while protecting their data privacy.” The initiative is essentially built on a common framework of digital vaccination “wallets” called SMART Health Cards that are meant to “work across organizational and jurisdictional boundaries” as part of a new global vaccination-record infrastructure.

The host of the VCI website and one the initiative’s key backers is the Commons Project Foundation. That foundation, in partnership with the World Economic Forum (WEF), runs the Common Trust Network, which has three goals that are analogous to those of VCI. As listed on the WEF website, the network’s goals are (1) to empower individuals by providing digital access to their health information; (2) to make it easier for individuals to understand and comply with each destination’s requirements; and (3) to help ensure that only verifiable lab results and vaccination records from trusted sources are presented for the purposes of cross-border travel and commerce.

To advance these goals, the Common Trust Network is powered by “a global registry of trusted laboratory and vaccination data sources” as well as “standard formats for lab results and vaccination records and standard tools to make those results and records digitally accessible.”

How CommonPass works, thecommonsproject.org

Another, and related, Commons Project Foundation and WEF partnership is CommonPass. CommonPass, which is also supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, is both a framework and an app that “will allow individuals to access their lab results and vaccination records, and consent to have that information used to validate their COVID status without revealing any other underlying personal health information.” Current members of CommonPass, including JetBlue, Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines, United Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic, are also members of the Common Trust Network.

This overlap between the Commons Project Foundation/WEF partnerships and the VCI illustrates that the WEF itself is involved with the VCI, albeit indirectly through their partners at the Commons Project Foundation. The Commons Project Foundation itself is worth exploring, as its cofounders, Paul Meyer and Bradley Perkins, have long-standing ties to the RAND Corporation, the US’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the International Rescue Committee, as noted in this article published last year by MintPress News. The IRC, currently run by Tony Blair protégé David Milliband, is developing a biometric ID and vaccination-record system for refugees in Myanmar in cooperation with the ID2020 Alliance, which is partnered with CommonPass backer, the Rockefeller Foundation. In addition, the ID2020 Alliance funds the Commons Project Foundation and is also backed by Microsoft, one of the key companies behind the VCI.

Wearable IDs for your Health and your Wallet

Overlap between digital vaccination records, promoted via initiatives such as CommonPass and VCI, and the push for a new global digital-identity system is no coincidence. Indeed, the developer of VCI’s SMART Health Cards framework at Microsoft Health, Josh C. Mandel, noted in his overview presentation on that framework that digital identity is integral to the digital vaccination-record effort. SMART Health Cards, as of now, are expected to include a person’s complete name, gender, birth date, mobile phone number, and email address in addition to vaccination information, though it is possible and likely that more personal information will be required as the initiative advances, given that VCI states that these identifiers are merely a starting point.

While advertised as digital vaccination records, SMART Health Cards are clearly intended to be used for much more. For instance, public information on the framework notes that SMART Health Cards are “building blocks that can be used across health care,” including managing a complete immunization record that goes far beyond COVID-19 vaccines, sharing data with public-health agencies, and communication with health-care providers.

Vaccine Credential Initiative partners, vaccinationcredential.org

Yet, this framework will not be limited to health-care information, as Mandel has said. In his presentation, he notes the application of SMART Health Cards could soon be used as IDs for commercial activity, such as renting a car. The VCI framework’s use of the term “digital wallet” to refer to its digital vaccination record is also suggestive of future connectivity to economic activity. Efforts to link digital identity, not just to economic activity but also to health data, have recently escalated, for example with the piloting of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (aka GAVI)–Mastercard–Trust Stamp partnership in Africa. That program, first launched in 2018, links Trust Stamp’s digital-identity platform with the GAVI-Mastercard Wellness Pass, a digital vaccination record, and Mastercard’s click-to-pay system run on AI technology called NuData. Mastercard and GAVI are both partnered with the ID2020 Alliance, which includes VCI member Microsoft.

Given the reasonable speculation that such platforms would utilize digital currency, specifically cryptocurrency, for financial activity, it is worth noting that VCI member Microsoft filed a patent in 2019 that would allow “human body activity,” including brain waves and body heat, to mine (i.e., generate) cryptocurrency. This, of course, would link biometrics to financial activity, among other things.

Such a system, as laid out in the Microsoft patent, would likely require the introduction of wearables in order to be implemented. Notably, numerous wearables for contactless identity, digital travel passes, and payment devices have recently been launched. Examples include DigitalDNA, Proxy, and FlyWallet. FlyWallet is particularly notable as their latest product, Keyble, is a wearable that combines digital identity through fingerprint authentication, which enables both contactless payments and health applications, such as vital-sign monitoring and data sharing with insurance companies and health-care providers.

The SMART Health Cards framework was developed by a team led by the chief architect of Microsoft Healthcare, Josh Mandel, who was previously the Health IT Ecosystem lead for Verily, formerly Google Life Sciences. Verily is currently heavily involved in COVID-19 testing throughout the United States, particularly in California, and links test recipients’ results to their Google accounts. Their other COVID-19 initiatives have been criticized due to still-unresolved privacy concerns, something that has also plagued several of Verily’s other efforts pre-COVID-19, including those involving Mandel.

Of particular concern is that Verily, and by extension Google, created Project Baseline, which has been collecting “actionable genetic information” with a focus on “population health” from participants since 2017. Yet, during the COVID-19 process, Project Baseline has become an important component of Verily’s COVID-19 testing efforts, raising the unsettling possibility that Verily has been obtaining Americans’ DNA data through its COVID-19 testing activities. While Verily has not addressed this possibility directly, it is worth noting that Google has been heavily involved in amassing genomic data for several years. For instance, in 2013, Google Genomics was founded with the goal of storing and analyzing DNA data on Google Cloud servers. Now known as Cloud Life Sciences, the Google subsidiary has since developed AI algorithms that can “build your genome sequence” and “identify all the mutations that an individual inherits from their parents.”

Google also has close ties with the best-known DNA testing companies in the United States, such as Ancestry.com. Ancestry, recently purchased by private-equity behemoth Blackstone, shares data with a secretive Google subsidiary that uses genomic data to develop lifespan-extending therapies. In addition, the wife of Google cofounder Sergey Brin, Anne Wojcicki, is the cofounder and CEO of DNA testing company 23andMe. Wojcicki is also the sister of the CEO of Google-owned YouTube, Susan Wojcicki.

Google and the majority of VCI’s backers—Microsoft, Salesforce, Cerner, Epic, the Mayo Clinic, and MITRE Corporation, Change Healthcare—are also prominent members of the MITRE-run COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition. Other members of that coalition include the CIA’s In-Q-Tel and the CIA-linked data-mining firm Palantir, as well as a myriad of health-care and health-record companies. The coalition fits well with the ambitions of Google and like-minded companies that have sought to gain access to troves of American health data under the guise of combatting COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition describes itself as a public-private partnership that has enabled “the critical infrastructure to enable collaboration and shared analytics” on COVID-19 through the sharing of health-care and COVID-19 data among members. That this coalition and VCI are intimately involved with MITRE Corporation is significant, given that MITRE is a well-known, yet secretive, contractor for the US government, specifically the CIA and other intelligence agencies, which has developed Orwellian surveillance and biometric technologies, including several now focused on COVID-19.

Just three days before the public announcement of VCI’s establishment, Microsoft Healthcare and Google’s Verily announced a partnership along with MIT and Harvard’s Broad Institute to share the companies’ cloud data and AI technologies with a “global network of more than 168,000 health and life sciences partners” to accelerate the Terra platform. Terra, originally developed by the Broad Institute and Verily, is an “open data ecosystem” focused on biomedical research, specifically the fields of cancer genomics, population genetics, and viral genomics. The biomedical data Terra amasses includes not only genetic data but also medical-imaging, biometric signals, and electronic health records. Google, through its partnership with the Pentagon, which was announced last September, has moved to utilize the analysis of such data in order to “predictively diagnose” diseases such as cancer and COVID-19. US military contractors, such as Advanced Technology International (ATI), have been developing wearables that would apply that AI-driven predictive diagnosis technology to COVID-19 diagnoses.

Predictive COVID-19 diagnosis is also an ambition of another company that backs VCI, Salesforce. Salesforce is one of three companies that created COVID 360, which Salesforce senior vice president Bob Vanstraelen describes as a “free full Coronavirus treatment solution for patients and citizens at risk” that is hosted on Salesforce Health Cloud and was by Deloitte’s Israel branch and the Israeli intelligence-linked AI firm Diagnostic Robotics. COVID 360 uses the Diagnostic Robotics clinical-predictions platform and applies it to COVID-19 so that “government agencies or caretakers” can identify individuals “in proximity to a potential positive coronavirus case” and mandate coronavirus testing and/or treatment regimes, based on a risk profile generated by COVID 360. Diagnostic Robotics and Salesforce are both members of the MITRE-run COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition.

Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff, inclusivecapitalism.com

Salesforce founder, chair, and CEO Marc Benioff was previously a vice president at Oracle. Oracle, another VCI backer, was created as a spin-off of a CIA project of the same name, and its top executives have close ties to the outgoing Trump administration and also to Israel’s government. While Benioff’s pre-Salesforce history to a CIA-linked company like Oracle is significant, Benioff’s close ties to the World Economic Forum also deserve greater scrutiny.

Benioff is not only a member of the WEF’s board of trustees, but he is also the inaugural chair of the forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a “revolution” that its architect and WEF founder Klaus Schwab defines as a merging of humans’ physical, digital, and biological identities. Benioff is also the owner and cochair of Time magazine, which recently ran an entire issue focused on promoting the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the WEF-backed Great Reset.

Benioff also serves on the Council for Inclusive Capitalism, a collaboration between the Vatican and oligarchs to create a “more inclusive, sustainable and trusted economic system” for the twenty-first century. Alongside Benioff on the council are well-known figures such as Lynn Forester de Rothschild (close associate of Jeffrey Epstein and the Clintons), Mark Carney (UN special envoy for Climate Action and former Governor of the Bank of England), and William Lauder (executive chairman of Estée Lauder, nephew of Mega Group member Ronald Lauder) as well as the top executives of MasterCard, Visa, Dupont, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, BP, and Bank of America. Also present are the heads of the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations.

Benioff and others mentioned in this article are perfect examples of the cross-pollination between groups of oligarchs and their associated foundation and organizations and how these networks are working together to pursue a common agenda. While the push for combining digital identity with vaccination records and economic activity appears, superficially, to be the efforts of various organizations and groups, the same individuals and entities appear time and again, pointing to a coordinated push to not only implement such a system, but manufacture consent for such a system among the global population.

The effort to manufacture consent for an all-encompassing digital identification system is notable given that its main “selling point” thus far has been coercion. We have been told that such a system is necessary, or we will never be able to return to work or school, we will never be able to travel and we will be prohibited from participating normally in the economy. While this system is being introduced in this way, it is essential to point out that coercion is a built-in part of this infrastructure and will be used to modify human behavior to great effect, reaching far beyond just the issue of COVID-19 vaccines if implemented.

Whitney Webb has been a professional writer, researcher and journalist since 2016. She has written for several websites and, from 2017 to 2020, was a staff writer and senior investigative reporter for Mint Press News. She currently writes for The Last American Vagabond.

January 15, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Biden/Harris Promoting Sickness and Death

By Stephen Lendman | January 15, 2021

Biden’s proposed stimulus plan is top-heavy with billions of dollars for hazardous to health mass-vaxxing and corporate handouts.

He plans a “major expansion of” mass-vaxxing, the NYT reported.

The Washington Post noted that he called for $400 billion for covid mass-vaxxing.

It’s more than that as I explained in a same-day article.

He wants $350 billion for states and local communities for mass-vaxxing their residents.

Another $170 billion for K12 and higher education isn’t for teaching and learning. It’s largely for mass-vaxxing students and staff.

He proposed $50 billion for PCR tests that are not designed for detecting viral infections and don’t work when used for this purpose.

They’re tools of mass deception, not for diagnosing disease.

Another $20 billion in the Biden stimulus plan is for what appears to be the largest ever mass promoted public health propaganda campaign.

If it works as planned, it’ll likely harm millions of Americans from hazardous to heath toxins jabbed into them by covid vaccines if taken.

Biden/Harris, Pharma, the Times, WaPo and other major media are pushing sickness and deaths if they are able to convince enough Americans to be vaxxed with what no one valuing their health and well-being should touch.

Biden’s proposed plan has nothing to do with combatting covid as he, the Times and other major media claimed.

It has everything to do with promoting harm to human health after seasonal flu/influenza was renamed covid last year and all the pre-planned horrors that followed that will likely worsen this year and beyond.

WaPo reported that what Biden/Harris have in mind “far outstrips the funding Congress devoted to (promoting mass-vaxxing nationwide in last year’s) stimulus package” as well as sums that House (Dems) unsuccessfully sought.

He has a reverse Marshall Plan in mind related to harming health, not protecting it.

On Wednesday, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said covid “is not going away.”

“We are going to live with this virus… forever.”

He’s pushing mass-vaxxing. What he, Big Parma overall, and US anti-public health officials have in mind is far more than one or two jabs.

Annual flu shots differ each year because viruses mutate so new formulas are developed for flu vaccines.

Covid IS flu. Forever mass-vaxxing is planned.

The more jabs taken, the more potential harm to health, the higher the risk of developing one or more serious illnesses in the near-or-longer-term that in some cases will be deadly.

Biden/Harris and Congress are in cahoots with Pharma.

The more people mass-vaxxed forever, the greater the profit potential for Moderna, Pfizer and other drug companies that market covid vaccines ahead.

The same is true for large hospital chains. The more people are vaxxed, the greater the spread of illnesses and hospitalizations.

What Biden/Harris want in congressional legislation for mass-vaxxing is polar opposite promoting health and well-being.

In cahoots with Pharma, dark forces in Washington, and their Western counterparts, establishment media are pushing drugs that risk serious illness and deaths when taken as directed.

Biden/Harris are greasing the wheel for this diabolical plan by calling for tens of billions of dollars to force-feed it to Americans and others abroad.

The plan includes issuing digital vaccine passports in development, without which access to work, school and other public places may be denied.

A so-called Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI) was established that includes Microsoft, Oracle, the Mayo Clinic, Rockefeller Foundation, likely Bill Gates, and other stakeholders in the project to create what’s called a “trustworthy, traceable, verifiable, and universally recognized digital record of vaccination status.”

The goal is to push voluntary submission to covid vaxxing.

If not successful enough, it may be mandated for free movement publicly.

What’s going on is more diabolical than what Orwell and Huxley imagined.

Unless willing to play Russian roulette with our health, well-being and lives, perhaps indefinite house arrest or worse is coming for non-compliers.

According to a VCI statement:

“We are kicking off the most significant vaccination effort in the history of the United States,” adding:

“Now more than ever, individuals need access to their own vaccination and health information in a portable format to begin to move about the country safely and comfortably (sic).”

Last year was likely a test run to learn how much dark forces can compel ordinary people to put up with.

What’s coming will likely be much more than what’s gone on up to now.


Stephen Lendman’s most recently published books include:

How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion, and Class War

Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity

January 15, 2021 Posted by | Corruption, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Climate Lockdowns Are Coming: Part III

What About the Roads? | October 20, 2020

In this three-part series we will exam the transformation from COVID lockdowns to climate lockdowns. Part I we established a timeline of the dark side of the environmental movement. In Part II we looked into the specifics of what a climate lockdown really means and what impact current lockdown measures have had on the environment. Now we will see how it fits into the bigger picture of sustainable development as described by international organizations such as the United Nations and what can be done to derail this agenda.

The time has come to step back and look at the bigger agenda of what’s behind climate lockdowns. The groundwork for Mazzucato’s proposals have already been laid and seeded into the public consciousness. This agenda goes by many names and has many faces but at it’s core it is a deception which promotes sustainable development to combat climate change through organizations like the United Nations.

The deception rests on the successful deployment of the Hegelian Dialectic, also known as problem, reaction, solution. In this case governments and institutions have deemed climate change to be the most pressing issue facing civilization (create the initial problem), the public then demands protection and aid in combating this problem (manage the public reaction), and lastly come to the rescue with sustainability goals (sell the pre-planned solution) which can be brought in without any resistance.

It is through these central pillars that we will conclude this series and present solutions for derailing this dystopian vision of the future.

The Truth About Sustainable Development

Though her work is presented as an opinion piece, Mazzucato is simply promoting a larger agenda. The agenda is pushed through everything from The Green New Deal and The Paris Agreement to The Great Reset crafted by the World Economic Forum and the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda (formerly Agenda 21). These are the instruments which serve as tools for the elite to spread their globalist philosophies. Those familiar with these organizations and accompanying legislation are rightly skeptical of presidents and prime ministers mixing with hedge fund managers, CEOs, European royalty, unelected technocrats, and career bureaucrats to dictate the future of the world. Supposedly this is done in the interest of saving the planet but a closer look at what’s behind these agendas tells a very different story.

At the core of these visions of the future is sustainable development. The United Nations and it’s acolytes in the mainstream media promise a world where economic growth still flourishes without harming the environment, so long as the world adopts their 17 goals for sustainable development. These goals include No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Affordable and Clean Energy, and Quality Education. When presented in this simple way it is difficult to find issue with those goals. After all, who doesn’t want a world where poverty has been eradicated and children aren’t going hungry?

While photos of smiling African children or wind turbines against a pastoral background usually accompany reporting on the goals there is little context given to the history or players involved in their creation. How these goals will actually be achieved is a question mostly left unanswered as well. Once these issues are addressed one really wonders if this agenda is what they say it is, or if there’s more to the story.

So where did the term sustainable development come from and how did it become the core of the United Nation’s goals for the future of mankind? In 1983, Agenda 21 began taking shape in the UN as part of the Brundtland Commission who’s goal was to unite the world on a path towards sustainable development. What came out of this commission was a work called Our Common Future which popularized the term sustainable development and defined it as, “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Short, sweet, and without substance.

The commission conveniently featured a cadre of people close to the Rockefeller Family, who’s fingerprints on the environmental movement can be found everywhere. It was headed by Gro Harlem Brundtland, a member of David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission who would go on to become the Prime Minister of Norway; oil man and Rockefeller associate Maurice Strong; Italian politician Susanna Agnelli who’s brother Gianni considered David Rockefeller to be in his inner circle; former EPA head William Ruckelshaus who ran in the same circles in Washington D.C. as Nelson and David Rockefeller; and Canadian environmentalist Jim MacNeil who co-authored Beyond Interdependence, a work on sustainable development for the Trilateral Commission.

The United Nations’ Plans For The Future

The agenda was updated and made public in the form of a 300-page document in 1992 at the UN’s Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and was adopted by 178 governments. The agenda was expanded upon in the 1995 report, Global Biodiversity Assessment (GBA) which elaborates on how society needs to be transformed in the name of sustainability. These works leave no stone unturned when it comes to reshaping the world but there are three factors that are of particular use for creating a control grid: the abolishment of private property, population control, and total resource management.

Perhaps the most far-reaching transformation is with regards to private property which will largely be prohibited. They explain that, “Property rights can still be allocated to environmental public goods, but in this case they should be restricted to usufructual or user rights. Harvesting quotas, emission permits and development rights… are all examples of such rights.” This in essences turns over all land, resources, and property to be managed and distributed by bureaucrats who will usher the rural and suburban populations into designated urban spaces. In the United States the map of habitable zones will look something like this (more background on this map here). The smart cities of the future will be unbearably dystopian.

One interpretation of Agenda 21 includes population control as part of the equation. To maintain current standards of living in North America the authors of the GBA estimated that the world population would need to be one billion, two to three billion if “frugal European standards” were desirable. The implicit choice there is that either those standards of living must become a thing of the past or that much of the world’s population will need to be done away with. The authors do not mention how we would return to those levels but with eugenicists like the Rockefellers in support of this agenda it is frightening to imagine the possibilities.

The ability to inventory the world’s production and consumption of any and all resources was a desired but far-off dream of the technocrats of the early 20th century. This dream was closer to being possible in the mid-90s when the GBA stated their goal to:

Expand or promote databases on production and consumption and develop methodologies for analyzing them… Assess the relationship between production and consumption, environment, technological adaption and innovation, economic growth and development, and demographic factors… Identify balanced patterns of consumption worldwide.

The language used here makes this sound like a boring exercise in record keeping but this banal language, when put in the context of a plot like Agenda 21, becomes much more nefarious. Researcher Rosa Koire has been studying the UN’s environmental agendas for decades and calls this cataloging, “The action plan, the blueprint to inventory and control all land, all water, all plants, all minerals, all animals, all construction, all means of production, all information, all energy, all education, and all human beings.” In today’s technologically-driven world, and with the growing Internet of Things, this is a very real possibility.

It became clear in 2015 that 2021 was an unrealistic goal and the agenda once again received a facelift and became Agenda 2030. The agenda outlined in Agenda 21 was reframed as the UN’s Sustainable Goals, 17 interlocking items meant to serve as the blueprint for a sustainable future. They can be read about in great detail and are very appealing on the surface. The catch is that the technocrats in charge of pushing this agenda have to be trusted and as has been outlined previously, and well-documented in other places, this is a huge ask.

A Look At The Green Economy

These technocrats are also asking to be in charge of world finances. Both the World Bank and International Monetary Foundation were spawned from the United Nations and represent, among other institutions and central banks, the financial arm of the elite.

Those in support of this agenda perpetually claim that capitalism has failed us and that along with this reorientation towards sustainability the foundations of our economy will need to change. Patrick Wood, in his seminal book, Technocracy Rising outlines how this will work in the green economy of the future:

It is plainly evident today that the world is laboring under a dysfunctional system of price-based economics as evidenced by the rapid decline of value in paper currencies. The era of fiat (irredeemable paper currency) was introduced in 1971 when President Richard Nixon decoupled the U.S. dollar from gold. Because the dollar-turned-fiat was the world’s primary reserve asset, all other currencies eventually followed suit, leaving us today with a global sea of paper that is increasingly undesired, unstable and unusable. The deathly economic state of today’s world is a direct reflection of the sum of its sick and dying currencies, but this could soon change.

Forces are already at work to position a new Carbon Currency as the ultimate solution to global calls for poverty reduction, population control, environmental control, global warming, energy allocation and blanket distribution of economic wealth. Unfortunately for individual people living in this new system, it will also require authoritarian and centralized control over all aspects of life, from cradle to grave.

What is Carbon Currency and how does it work? In a nutshell, Carbon Currency will be based on the regular allocation of available energy to the people of the world. If not used within a period of time, the Currency will expire so that the same people can receive a new allocation based on new energy production quotas for the next period.

Because the energy supply chain is already dominated by the global elite, setting energy production quotas will limit the amount of Carbon Currency in circulation at any one time. It will also naturally limit manufacturing, food production and people movement.

The elite know this is coming and have already positioned themselves accordingly. Al Gore has already profited nicely off his green investments; members of the Rothschild family are backing sustainability; the Rockefellers have divested from fossil fuels without hurting their net worth; companies like Tesla have made people rich in the name of being eco-friendly. As a matter of fact, a bank (discussion begins at 39:41) has already been set up to facilitate this transition into a new economic paradigm.

It’s another case of new boss, same as the old boss. With most private property rights gone, bodily autonomy in the hands of the ruling class, and complete centralization of the economy there is really nothing outside of the grasp of the elite in this system.

How To Derail Sustainable Development

The cynicism held by those behind this agenda is astounding. They believe that humanity is so distrustful and irresponsible that every facet of their existence must be restricted and controlled. This doesn’t even touch on the eugenicist beliefs held by many within their ranks who would rather see most people simply done away with so they can live in a world unspoiled by their inferiors.

While the fight against such an overarching plan may seem impossible there is a part each person can play in resisting this nightmarish takeover of the world. If the problem is framed as a battle of David v. Goliath, in which the dismantling the UN or wresting away the fortunes of the Gates and Rockefellers of the world are the goals, then the task seems insurmountable. The much simpler resolution to this problem, and one which allows everyone to do their part, is to just opt out and build anew.

It is pure myth to assume that these bureaucracies need to exist or that the billionaires need to have the power that they claim to hold. It is simply a choice to walk away and disavow the system. There are problems in society that need addressing and there are certainly environmental issues that need fixing but these can be handled in a decentralized fashion. To think that a technocratic elite knows what’s best for each man, woman, and child on the planet better than they themselves is ridiculous. Instead we need a free market of ideas, innovations, and technologies where individuals and communities can voluntarily collaborate to create the solutions. A world where mankind works hand-in-hand, not as mortal enemies, could lead to levels of advancement and abundance of society unthinkable by these psychopathic elite.

Once this is understood on a wide scale the work can begin on a large scale. However, nobody has to wait that long as there are already individual tasks that can be done. Some examples:

– Look for signs of these agendas being deployed in your community and push back. Local Agenda 21 serves as the vehicle for taking the larger agenda of the United Nations and reformulating their goals to make them adoptable at the local level.

– If these goals are rolled out it will be much harder to connect with like-minded people in the smart cities of the future. Form Freedom Cells and other voluntary groups to organize, share skills, build community, etc.

– The mainstream media collaborates with the United Nations and governments around the world and therefore cannot be trusted to tell the truth on these issues. Find alternative sources of information on these matters.

– The Internet of Things will be used to spy on the public and under sustainable development goals they will be used to ration resources. Do not allow these devices in your home. Instead, go off the grid or turn to decentralized technology.

– Central planning of the food supply in the Soviet Union and in Communist China led to widespread famine and starvation and yet this is the model the UN hopes to replicate. Grow your own food and support your local farmers. Decentralizing the food supply is critical to preventing food shortages  while helping to build community.

– Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and all the other tech giants all collaborate with the United Nations to push this agenda. Opt-out of these controlled platforms and move towards open-source alternatives.

– When the Dollar, Euro, Yuan, etc collapse the central banks will have controlled digital currencies at the ready. To insulate yourself from the fallout it is worth considering diversifying away from fiat currency. Precious metals, cryptocurrency, local currencies, cash, barter systems, and real assets are all alternatives.

– Take steps to become more self-sufficient. The less you have to rely on technocratic institutions, the state, controlled technological platforms, banks, pharmaceutical companies, etc the less they can interfere with your life.

– Digital censorship is a serious threat to freedom so please share this information. Spread links to websites like this, host documentary screenings, start a book club, distribute USBs loaded with information, bring up Agenda 2030 in conversation, etc. There really is no wrong way to do this last one!

This list is hardly exhausted and will mean different things to different people but that’s really the point. Nobody is better suited to direct your life than you. As we all learn, share, and grow this destructive agenda can be dismantled while a beautiful new chapter of humanity begins.

December 24, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Iran rejects claim of meddling in US elections, blasts US’ own intl. election meddling

Press TV – September 11, 2020

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has rejected allegations by US technology company Microsoft that Tehran seeks to meddle in Washington’s 2020 presidential elections, blasting US’ own history of interfering in other countries’ affairs.

“The United States is leading active disinformation campaigns against other countries. The US is not in a position to make such a woeful claim,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement on Friday.

“The US has interfered for decades in the elections of other countries – including Iran – and orchestrated a coup d’état which overthrew Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minster Mohammad Mossadeq,” he said.

The remarks come a day after Microsoft claimed that it had detected Russian, Chinese and Iranian efforts to target “people and organizations involved in the upcoming presidential election”.

The statement claimed that the attempts had sought to attack campaigns associated with both US President Donald Trump and his rival Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden.

It claimed that most of the attacks had been “detected and stopped by security tools built into our products”.

Speaking on Friday, Khatibzadeh said that Tehran has no interest in the outcome of US elections.

“As we have reiterated over and over, it does not matter who is the president in the White House for Tehran. What matters is that Washington abides by international law, regulations and norms and stops interfering in other countries and honors its commitments,” he said.

Washington, which has sought to impose an overt campaign of “maximum pressure” against Iran ever since withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, has also sought to stifle Iranian media operating across different social media platforms in recent years.

Facebook, Twitter and Youtube have consequently cracked down on pages belonging to credible Iranian figures and media outlets, closing them or limiting their access to international audiences.

September 11, 2020 Posted by | Deception | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Microsoft should not fund Israeli spying on Palestinians

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | November 4, 2019

The act of Palestinian activists covering their faces during anti-Israeli occupation rallies is an old practice that spans decades. The masking of the face, often by Kufyias – traditional Palestinian scarves that grew to symbolise Palestinian resistance – is far from being a fashion statement. Instead, it is a survival technique, without it, activists are likely to be arrested in subsequent nightly raids; at times, even assassinated.

In the past, Israel used basic technologies to identify Palestinians who take part in protests and mobilize the people in various popular activities. TV news footage or newspaper photos were thoroughly deciphered, often with the help of Israel’s collaborators in the Occupied Territories, and the ‘culprits’ would be identified, summoned to meet Shin Bet intelligence officers or arrested from their homes.

That old technique was eventually replaced by more advanced technology, countless images transmitted directly through Israeli drones – the flagship of Israel’s “security industry”. Thousands of Palestinians were detained and hundreds were assassinated in recent years as a result of drones data, analyzed through Israel’s burgeoning facial recognition software.

If in the past, Palestinian activists were keen on keeping their identity hidden, now they have much more compelling reasons to ensure the complete secrecy of their work. Considering the information sharing between the Israeli army and illegal Jewish settlers and their armed militias in the occupied West Bank, Palestinians face the double threat of being targeted by armed settlers as well as by Israeli soldiers.

True, when it comes to Israel, such a grim reality is hardly surprising. But what is truly disturbing is the direct involvement of international corporate giants, the likes of Microsoft, in facilitating the work of the Israeli military, whose sole aim is to crush any form of dissent among Palestinians.

Microsoft prides itself on being a leader in corporate social responsibility (CSR), emphasizing that “privacy (is) a fundamental human right.”

The Washington-State based software giant dedicates much attention, at least on paper, to the subject of human rights. “Microsoft is committed to respecting human rights,” Microsoft Global Human Rights Statement asserts. “We do this by harnessing the beneficial power of technology to help realize and sustain human rights everywhere.”

In practice, however, Microsoft’s words are hardly in line with its action, at least not when its human rights maxims are applied to occupied and besieged Palestinians.

Writing in the American news network NBC News on October 27, Olivia Solon reported on Microsoft funding of the Israeli firm, AnyVision, which uses facial recognition “to secretly watch West Bank Palestinians”.

Through its venture capital arm M12, Microsoft has reportedly invested $78 million in the Israeli startup company that “uses facial recognition to surveil Palestinians throughout the West Bank, in spite of the tech giant’s public pledge to avoid using the technology if it encroaches on democratic freedoms”.

AnyVision had developed an “advanced tactical surveillance” software system, dubbed “Better Tomorrow” that, according to a joint NBC News-Haaretz investigation, “lets customers identify individuals and objects in any live camera feed, such as a security camera or smartphone, and then track targets as they move between different feeds.”

As disquieting as “Better Tomorrow’s” mission sounds, it takes on a truly sinister objective in Palestine. “According to five sources familiar with the matter,” wrote Solon, “AnyVision’s technology powers a secret military surveillance project throughout the West Bank.”

“One source said the project is nicknamed ‘Google Ayosh,’ where ‘Ayosh’ means occupied Palestinian territories and ‘Google’ denotes the technology’s ability to search for people.”

Headquartered in Israel, AnyVision has several offices around the world, including the US, the UK, and Singapore. Considering the nature of AnyVision’s work, and the intrinsic link between Israel’s technology sector and the country’s military, it should have been assumed that the company’s software is likely used to track down Palestinian dissidents.

In July, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz pointed out that “AnyVision is taking part in two special projects in assisting the Israeli army in the West Bank. One involves a system that it has installed at army checkpoints that thousands of Palestinians pass through each day on their way to work from the West Bank.”

Former AnyVision employees spoke to NBC News about their experiences with the company, one even asserting that he/she “saw no evidence that ethical considerations drove any business decisions” at the firm.

The alarming reports invited strong protests by human rights organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Alas, Microsoft carried on with supporting AnyVision’s work unhindered.

This is not the first time that Microsoft is caught red-handed in its support of the Israeli military or criticized for other unethical practices.

Unlike Facebook, Google and others, who are constantly, albeit deservingly being chastised for violating privacy rules or allowing politics to influence their editorial agenda, Microsoft has been left largely outside the brewing controversies. But, like the rest, Microsoft should be held to account.

In its ‘Human Rights Statement’, Microsoft declared its respect for human rights based on international conventions, starting with the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In occupying and oppressing Palestinians, Israel violates every article of that declaration, starting with Article 1, which states that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights,” and including Article 3: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”

It will take Microsoft more than hyperlinking to a UN document to show true and sincere respect for human rights.

Indeed, for a company that enjoys great popularity throughout the Middle East and in Palestine itself, an inevitable first step towards respecting human rights is to immediately divest from AnyVision, coupled with an apology for all of those who have already paid the price for that ominous Israeli technology.

November 4, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Microsoft funds Israel firm that spies on West Bank Palestinians – Report

MEMO | October 29, 2019

Microsoft has invested in an Israeli startup that uses facial recognition to spy on Palestinians throughout the occupied West Bank, “in spite of the tech giant’s public pledge to avoid using the technology if it encroaches on democratic freedoms”, NBC News has reported.

AnyVision, headquartered in Israel but with offices in the United States, the United Kingdom and Singapore, sells an “advanced tactical surveillance” software system, Better Tomorrow.

“It lets customers identify individuals and objects in any live camera feed, such as a security camera or a smartphone, and then track targets as they move between different feeds,” said the report.

NBC News’ investigative report concluded that “AnyVision’s technology powers a secret military surveillance project throughout the West Bank” – a project “so successful that AnyVision won the country’s [Israel’s] top defence prize in 2018”.

As noted by NBC News, “Palestinians living in the West Bank do not have Israeli citizenship or voting rights but are subject to movement restrictions and surveillance by the Israeli government.”

Israeli forces have “installed thousands of cameras and other monitoring devices across the West Bank”, while authorities “also scan social media posts and use algorithms in an effort to predict the likelihood that someone will carry out a lone-wolf attack and arrest them before they do.”

“The addition of facial recognition technology transforms passive camera surveillance combined with the list of suspects into a much more powerful tool,” the report stated.

When NBC News first approached AnyVision for an interview, CEO Eylon Etshtein denied any knowledge of the West Bank project, threatened to sue, disputed that the West Bank was occupied, and suggested the reporter “must have been funded by a Palestinian activist group”.

AnyVision then later “apologised for the outburst and revised its position”, claiming that “as a private company we are not in a position to speak on behalf of any country, company or institution”.

NBC News also confirmed how AnyVision’s technology has also been used by Israeli police to track suspects through the Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem.

AnyVision launched in 2015 and enjoys “close ties to Israel’s military and intelligence services”, NBC News stated, with former head of Mossad Tamir Pardo among its board of advisers.

Microsoft told NBC News that the company “takes these mass surveillance allegations seriously because they would violate our facial recognition principles.”

“If we discover any violation of our principles, we will end our relationship,” a spokesperson said.

Earlier this month Palestinians in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah discovered a surveillance device planted in concrete at a village cemetery. According to Ma’an News Agency, the monitoring tool was manufactured by AnyVision.

READ ALSO:

Israel has been caught spying on the US, again

Israel tech ‘facilitating press freedom abuses around the world’

October 29, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | Leave a comment