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The Guardian Rewrites the Facts

By Will Jones | The Daily Sceptic | March 31, 2022

The Guardian has been running a series to mark the second anniversary of the first U.K. lockdown called “Rewriting COVID-19”, billed as examining the “narratives and received wisdom of the first two years of the pandemic”. It aims to ask “experts what we’ve got wrong and how to move forward”.

“Rewriting COVID-19” seems an apt title, with one contribution, from anthropologist Devi Sridharcriticised for literally rewriting the history of the pandemic by claiming she only advocated Zero Covid before the vaccines arrived, when she is on record promoting it subsequently.

Despite the Guardian saying the series is about asking “experts”, it begins with a scurrilous piece by science journalist Debora MacKenzie, proclaiming, “False narratives about Covid left us with millions of deaths.” Criticising lockdown scepticism as “libertarian” (boo, hiss!), MacKenzie argues: “Infectious disease is always profoundly collective, whether or not leaders find that ideologically congenial… The many people whose age or medical condition makes them more likely to die if [infected], or who have suppressed immunity – perhaps only because they need an arthritis drug – cannot take ‘personal responsibility’ for avoiding Covid if they must return to the office, surrounded by maskless people exercising their ‘individual freedom’ to exhale asymptomatic Omicron.” According to Ms. MacKenzie, then, we must all change the way we live forever in case we inadvertently infect others with our asymptomatic bugs. But don’t worry, if we all wear masks then no one will get infected!

One expert who has contributed is Dr. William Hanage, Professor of the Evolution and Epidemiology of Infectious Disease at Harvard University. It’s not a great start, however, when he cites a figure of 160,000 U.K. pandemic deaths, even though the number of excess deaths during the pandemic is more like 133,000 (a figure which includes collateral deaths). He also claims herd immunity has “stubbornly failed to arrive and expel the virus from the population”, despite that being, as he should know, a caricature of what scientists say about herd immunity.

It’s what he says next, however, that puts his dogmatism really on show.

It should be astonishing given these facts, but some stubborn voices have continued to argue that in the autumn of 2020 we should have rushed to remove restrictions on all except those most at risk – who would be somehow saved by untested, implausible means gathered together under the heading of ‘targeted protection’. At that point no vaccines were widely available, and the effective therapies we now have against Covid were pie in the sky. Shockingly, there are now attempts to rehabilitate these ideas in parts of the media. Reaching back to relitigate such already-discredited approaches is nonsense. And worse, it makes reasonable discussions about pandemic management that much harder. Distraction has always been the goal of such revisionism.

It’s a bit rich to criticise focused protection as untested and implausible when the lockdown measures he is promoting are themselves untested – and now that they have been implemented have shown no overall benefit or effectiveness.

Although he implies he wants “reasonable discussions about pandemic management”, he shows no sign himself of pursuing that, as he writes off any scepticism of Covid restrictions as beyond reasonable debate. He implies that relaxing restrictions before vaccines were available was not a “reasonable” position to take as it was “guaranteed to lead to more preventable transmission, more serious illness, more hospitalisations and more deaths”. This is despite it being shown repeatedly that Covid waves rise and fall whether or not restrictions are in place, with Sweden demonstrating this in spring 2020 and Florida – which from autumn 2020 adopted the focused protection approach Professor Hanage rails against – having no worse a winter than those places which locked down hard. Why is a Harvard professor of epidemiology dismissing out of hand the ‘reasonableness’ of the evidence from Florida in the winter of 2020-21?

Professor Hanage states that Omicron BA.2 is mild enough to be “readily handled by the great majority of vaccinated folks” – implying it isn’t readily handled by the great majority of unvaccinated people, which is clearly misleading.

Having found a scientist willing to write meanly and intemperately about those who disagree with him, the series falls back on its science journalists. (To be fair, it also includes a contribution from Professor Danny Altmann of Imperial College London, saying the vaccines are not much cop and seem to cause original antigenic sin – which is surprisingly off-narrative.)

Science journalist Laura Spinney attempts a heroic defence of Zero Covid – though seems to undermine her own argument by conceding that you “need a plan B in case the context changes”. This might seem fatal for the argument, as of course the context always changes (you can’t live in a hermit kingdom forever), but Spinney instead blames the ultimate failure of Zero Covid on “other countries” which “let the virus rip”. If only everyone had done Zero Covid, it would have just gone away.

Reciting the Zero Covid article of faith, “The virus deprives us of liberty; the efforts preserve it,” she insists these “efforts” don’t necessarily mean lockdown, but merely “mass testing plus isolation of the infected, ventilation, masking, distancing” – failing to recognise that such measures, even without stay-at-home orders and business closures, are economically and socially crippling, rendering normal life and many activities unviable or prohibitively unpleasant.

It’s no surprise to find Spinney is no fan of cost-benefit analyses when it comes to pandemics, claiming it is “pointless… to cost elimination, or any other containment strategy”. “How do you measure what it has saved you,” she asks, in a misplaced rhetorical question. “In speculative fiction terms, what’s the counterfactual?” I’d suggest, countries which didn’t do these things, and earlier pandemics where we didn’t panic and overreact, which show clear benefits to keeping calm and carrying on.

At one point she claims that “non-pharmaceutical interventions” “stop transmission completely” – has she been following any of the data or studies these past two years? – and lines up countries which are “abandoning” such restrictions as responsible for the rise of hypothetical “more severe” new variants. Whatever the problem, it’s always the fault of the countries which didn’t impose more severe Zero Covid measures.

Not so much rewriting Covid, then, as rewriting the facts. So much for them being sacred.

March 31, 2022 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 1 Comment

Following the Money on Climate Change Media Coverage

By Chris Morrison | The Daily Sceptic | February 20, 2022

The Associated Press (AP) is assigning another two dozen journalists across the world to cover ‘climate issues’. AP Senior Vice President Julie Pace described the move as a “far reaching initiative that will transform the way we cover the climate story”. Over 20 of the journalists will be new hires and they will be funded by an $8m gift from five billionaire philanthropic organisations, including the Left-wing Rockefeller Foundation. The money is just the latest in a series of such gifts and AP reports that 50 writing jobs are funded from these sources.

AP is not the only large media company to collect such hand-outs. The BBC and the Guardian regularly receive multi-million dollar contributions from the trusts of wealthy philanthropists. It is estimated that Bill Gates has given over $300 million over the last decade to a wide variety of media outlets. Faced with plummeting paid readers and advertisers, mainstream legacy media seems eager to tap a new revenue stream.

The money is spread wide across such media. This month, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting received $1.5 million from Rockefeller to “expand coverage of under-reported and/or inaccurately reported critical public health information”. The Quadrivium Foundation, run by Democrat power couple James and Kathryn Murdoch, is also paying climate wages at AP. On its website, the Foundation notes that it also invests in Climate Central, using meteorologists as “trusted messengers” of the links between extreme weather and climate change. Since it is not possible to link individual weather events to long term climate change with any scientific certainty, this aim looks to be a waste of money, or perhaps not.

‘Trusted messengers’ seems to be a phrase much in vogue around philanthropic operations. Last October, Rockefeller gave $4.5 million to Purpose Global, a non-profit company that aims to help corporate clients with their “cultural intelligence”. The money was given in support of facilitating a “communication network of trusted messengers”. This would “amplify accurate information and combat mis- and dis- information on COVID-19 vaccines”. In September 2020, the Gates Foundation gave the Guardian $3.5 million to “support” its regular reporting on global health. Likewise, the Global Health Security Team at the Telegraph is Gates-funded.

Old school journalists might be a little happier to see less of the ‘trusted messenger’ stuff and more of the requirement to investigate. But critical inquiry of climate change science has been more or less banned from many mainstream outlets. This is despite the fact that the hypothesis that humans cause all or most global warming is unproven, and many scientists look more to natural causes for long term change. Predictions – often termed evidence – of future warming, are based on climate models that have never provided an accurate forecast in the last 40 years. Global warming started to run out of steam two decades ago, and it has been at a standstill for the last seven. When Google Adsense banned the main climate web page tracking accurate satellite data showing the standstill, the interest was confined to just a few outlets, including the Daily Sceptic.

One of the largest suppliers of cash for climate change is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the BBC and the Guardian are two of its favourite giftees. The Guardian has received upwards of $20 million over recent years starting with £6m in 2011 to establish a “millennium Development Goals” feed that provides “compelling evidence-based content”. During the last decade, Gates has given at least $20 million to help fund the BBC World Service and $5.5 million for the Corporation’s Media Action charity.

In that time, the software tycoon, once treated with great suspicion for early monopolistic tendencies, has become a prized ‘talking head’ across the BBC for epidemics, vaccines and anti-meat diets. His recent scary tales of climate change, “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster”, was recently given five airings on prime time Radio 4.

Elsewhere, there are prizes for the best behaved – sorry – most distinguished climate journalist. Every year, the foundation of BBVA, a Spanish bank heavily involved in financing Net Zero projects, hands out €100,000 to the lucky recipient. Last year it went to Marlow Hood of Agence France-Presse, who describes himself as the “Herald of the Anthropocene”, the latter being a political renaming of the current Holocene era. In 2019, Matt McGrath of the BBC pocketed the cash, while in 2020 the award went to – no great surprise – the Guardian.

Much of the BBC money appears to support advocacy in the developing world, although the terms of specific grants are sometimes hard to understand. A letter from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in August 2019 describing the purpose of a $2.03 million grant to the BBC reads as follows: “To help us learn deepen our underpinning of processes and user journeys for different sets of women’s empowerment collectives, develop use cases for where digital can help amplify effects bring efficiencies, and close gender gaps for women”.

No doubt when this non-sensical gibberish was translated into understandable English, the money was spent wisely.

February 20, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Jordan Peterson Compares Climate Model Errors to Compounding Interest

By Chris Morrison | The Daily Sceptic | February 2, 2022 

It’s been all Canada on Joe Rogan’s popular Spotify podcast of late. First, crinkly rockers Neil and Joni threw their guitars out of the pram when Rogan dared to broadcast a number of different opinions on Covid and vaccines. Then fellow Canadian Dr. Jordan Peterson said climate models compounded their errors, just like interest. Green activists and zealots (often known in the climate change business as ‘scientists’) clutched their responsibly sourced pearls and whined, “Lawks a-mercy, it’s outrageous!” and “Banning’s too good for them!”. The septuagenarian songsters briefly found themselves out of the headlines as the mainstream media rushed to quell a growing sceptical climate debate and rubbish a troublesome competitor.

Dr. Peterson suggested that the climate was too complex to be modelled. Such notions were said to be a “word salad of nonsense,” reported a distraught Guardian. Dr. Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick of the University of Canberra added Peterson had “no frickin’ idea”. Professor Michal Mann of Penn State University said Peterson’s comments – and Rogan’s “facilitation” of them – was an “almost comedic type of nihilism” that would be funny if it wasn’t so dangerous.

This of course is the same Michael Mann who produced the infamous temperature hockey stick that was at the centre of the 2010 Climategate scandal. The graph was used for a time in IPCC reports and showed a 1,000 year straight temperature line followed by a recent dramatic rise. This startling image was helped by the mysterious disappearance of the medieval warming period and subsequent little ice age. Discussion about the graph led to Mann pursuing a U.S. libel suit against the broadcaster and journalist Mark Steyn. In court filings, Mann argued that it was one thing to engage in discussion about debatable topics, but it was quite another to “attempt to discredit consistently validated scientific research through the professional and personal defamation of a Nobel Prize recipient”. He is not himself a Nobel Prize recipient, but perhaps he was referring to someone else.

Independent minded communicators like Joe Rogan and take-no-prisoner intellectuals such as Dr. Peterson command a worldwide audience and they are difficult to cancel. The battle between Neil Young and Joni Mitchell and Joe Rogan, sitting on a $100m Spotify contract, had only one free speech winner – at least for the moment. Meanwhile, the Guardian’s default position when faced with something unsettling like the ‘settled’ science of anthropogenic climate change is to declare it will not “lend” its credibility to its critics by engaging in debate. That was obviously not possible with Peterson’s remarks being plastered all over social media, although it could be argued that the Guardian reporting the vulgar abuse users posted in response is not much of a substitute for the usual lofty disdain.

Dr. Peterson attacked climate models on a number of fronts. In particular, he noted that as you stretch out the models across time “the errors increase radically”. In its way, this refers to the biggest problem that lies at the heart of the 40-year track record of climate model failures. To make a prediction, climate models are fed a guess of the increase in the global mean surface temperature that follows a doubling of atmospheric CO2. Nobody actually knows what this figure is – the science for this crucial piece of the jigsaw is missing, unsettled you may say. The estimates run from 1°C to as high as 6°C and of course the higher the estimate, the hotter the forecasts run.

As they don’t say in the climate and Covid modelling business – Garbage In, Garbage Out.

Meanwhile back in the real world, global warming has been running out of steam over the last two decades. Satellite temperatures, which have been available since 1979, provide a more accurate measurement of global warming (or cooling) than flawed and frequently massaged surface measurements.

The graph above from Remote Sensing Systems demonstrates the lack of warming measured by satellites and is displayed by the black line. Forecasts from climate models, contained within the yellow area, started to diverge significantly from the late 1990s, backing Dr. Peterson’s claim that over time they magnify their own errors. As with epidemiological models, there seems little incentive to tone down the inputs – it’s difficult to make a reputation, and secure grants, by saying that few people will die. In the case of climate models, there are also 204,000,000,000,000 reasons to exaggerate – this being the £204 trillion that McKinsey recently said must be spent to achieve the political goal of global Net Zero by 2050.

The ‘pure’ science around climate change is thin on the ground in the fast-growing Earth Science university faculties, more often than not a rebranding of the old Geography departments. The real science surrounds the effect of adding CO2 to the atmosphere, where an advanced knowledge of chemistry and physics is essential. Within such academic circles, there are growing doubts about the unproven hypothesis that humans cause all or most global warming by burning fossil fuel. While CO2 has been rising recently from a geologically ultra-low base, there is little correlation between the gas and temperature movement in almost any timeframe. Again Dr. Peterson is right to note that the climate is too complex to model accurately since there are almost countless other natural factors at work in a chaotic atmosphere.

Professor William Happer of Princeton has suggested that CO2 becomes “saturated” once it reaches a certain level, since it reflects heat back to Earth only within certain bands of the infrared spectrum. Increases in CO2 beyond current levels will have little effect on future warming, or cooling. Far from being harmful, the extra COis highly beneficial for plant growth and food.

Recently, a group of physics professors from the University of Massachusetts led by Kenneth Skrable examined the carbon isotope trail released by fossil fuel burning. They found the amount of CO released was “much too low to be the cause of global warming”. The German physicist Dr Frank Stefani looked at the effect of the Sun and geomagnetic forces on the planet and concluded that the Sun alone accounted for between 30-70% of recent planetary warming.

About two years ago, 48 Italian science professors wrote an open letter to their Government noting that the “advanced alarmist forecasts” of climate models “were not credible”. Natural variability, it was said, “explains a substantial part of global warming observed since 1850”. Catastrophic predictions “are not realistic”. The letter was signed by a number of distinguished academics including Antonino Zichichi, Emeritus Professor of Physics, a past president of the World Federation of Scientists and the discoverer of nuclear antimatter. Not that the folks who write for the Guardian would ever “lend” their credibility by talking about the climate with these 48 ‘denier’ scientists.

February 3, 2022 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | | 2 Comments

Guardian: ANTI-VAXXERS ARE JOINING RACIST MILITIAS

OffGuardian | January 23, 2022

This Week in the New Normal is our weekly chart of the progress of autocracy, authoritarianism and economic restructuring around the world.

1. “ANTI-VAXXERS ARE JOINING RACIST MILITIAS”

We’ve covered the increasing demonisation of the “anti-vaxxers” regularly for over a year now. Ever since Joe Biden announced his new “domestic terrorism bill”, it was obvious that “Anti-vaxxers” were going to be re-branded as some kind of violent threat to democracy (and they were).

Now it’s happening in the UK too, with a story being published warning that “anti-vaxxers” are becoming more militant and there are fears they will “evolve towards US-style militias”, according to the Guardian.

The article references nameless “counter terrorism” officials and anonymous “Whitehall sources”, who warn that…

Latest intelligence assessments describe the anti-vaxxer movement as ostensibly a conveyor belt, delivering fresh recruits to extremist groups, including racially and ethnically motivated violent extremist organisations.

So there you have it, being anti-Covid “vaccines” is a gateway protest. Before you know it you’ll be shaving your head and sieg hieling all over the place.

Absolutely pathetic propaganda, and hopefully not an early warning sign of legislation to come.

2. “WHAT IF DEMOCRACY AND CLIMATE MITIGATION ARE INCOMPATIBLE?”

OK, this is from two weeks ago, but it’s too important to skip. The title says it all, Foreign Policy is genuinely wondering if climate change is too much of a threat to let democracy stand in the way of fighting it.

It’s a long read, soaked to the bone in double-talk and built on some very shaky assumptions, but there’s some good material on there…

Democracy works by compromise, but climate change is precisely the type of problem that seems not to allow for it. As the clock on those climate timelines continues to tick, this structural mismatch is becoming increasingly exposed. And as a result, those concerned by climate change—some already with political power, others grasping for it—are now searching for, and finding, new ways of closing the gap between politics and science, by any means necessary.

It warns in the opening section, before concluding…

… democracy, in its current form, is not necessarily the path to a solution. It might, instead, be part of the problem.

It’s not hard to see where this is going. We warned, several times, that we would be moving on from Covid to climate, and that “climate lockdowns” were a very real possibility. This kind of talk is setting the groundwork for that movement.

3. ‘MORE PEOPLE IS THE LAST THING THIS PLANET NEEDS’

Another from the Guardian, this time interviewing all the hip and happening young men who are “getting vasectomies to save the world”

It’s about the climate. Again.

Apparently, there are already too many people (that’s not true, but whatever), and so young men are getting the snip. Bravely preventing placing the burden of climate catastrophe onto the next generation… by making sure there isn’t one.

One of the (anonymous, and therefore potentially made-up) interviewees went right out cut his balls off the week Donald Trump was elected. That’ll show ’em.

But wait… It’s not just about climate, it’s also about feminism.

Specifically, it’s about correcting the “gender imbalance” traditionally associated with birth control:

Vasectomies address the gender imbalance that still accompanies the choice and practice of birth control. They come with less risk than more invasive and less reliable methods of female contraception, including sterilisation and the coil.

They are genuinely arguing that making yourself sterile forever is less risky and less invasive than having a completely 100% reversible IUD inserted.

Then they start bemoaning that vasectomies can be “hard to come by, especially for younger, childless men“. NHS GPs are apparently reticent to simply sterilise perfectly healthy young men for no good reason:

While there are no laws on the age at which men in the UK can get a vasectomy, the NHS advises that they may be more likely to be accepted if they are older than 30 and have children. “Your GP can refuse to carry out the procedure … if they don’t believe it’s in your best interests,”

Not only that, but the NHS has cut funding to for vasectomies, and perhaps as a result of this, vasectomy numbers are down nationwide. The Guardian want us to think this is a bad thing, but considering the UK’s birth rate has been falling for decades, it might not be.

Nevertheless, there is hope that “world vasectomy day”, and its links to the fight against climate change, will help “burnish” the vasectomy’s progressive image.

The story ends with inspiring words from one of the voluntarily snipped…

“A lot of people are happy to point and say: ‘That’s wrong,’ or film it on their phone… I look at the world and say: ‘That’s not right; I’m going to try to do something about it.’”

A wonderful attitude. I hope he can pass that wisdom on to his children and his children’s children.

… oh, wait.

BONUS: (NEW) HELLHOLE OF THE WEEK

Not Australia this time, well done guys.

This time it’s New Zealand, where Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has just put in place strict new rules to “combat” the spread of Omicron.

Starting today, the whole of the country will move into the red on New Zealand’s “traffic light” system, meaning mandatory masks, lockdowns for the unvaccinated and an increased self-isolation period of 24 days.

How many cases prompted this decision? Nine.

Nine Covid cases in Motueka are confirmed to have the Omicron variant, prompting the decision, Ardern said.

Australia has been pretty aggressive in the game of “anything you can do, I can do worse” they have going with both New Zealand and Canada, so expect a move from them sometime this week.

IT’S NOT ALL BAD…

Yesterday marked 2022’s first “Worldwide Freedom Rally”, with marches taking place all over the world, from London to Bern, to Vancouver to Warsaw to Liverpool to Genoa.

Bilbao, Graz, Brisbane. The list goes on and on and on.

Huge crowds turned out in Toronto… Stockholm… and Sydney.

In London NHS staff threw down their uniforms in front of Downing Street.

These are the people who they want to classify as domestic terrorists and militias.

Also, someone also sent us this sign, which is our new favourite:

All told a pretty hectic week for the new normal crowd, and we didn’t even mention that the world’s ten richest men have doubled their fortunes during the pandemic or the Fed’s report on a digital dollar.

January 23, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Environmentalism, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

SPOOKS, RUSSIA, AND DISINFORMATION

By Paul Robinson | IRRUSIANALITY | January 20, 2022

Jeremy Morris has an interesting post on his Postsocialism blog about the malicious role played by Western intelligence services in shaping narratives of Russia. I’m somewhat sceptical about his thesis – or at least the extent of the phenomenon he describes – but as if by chance, today I also came across a story that kind of backs him up.

Morris complains of two “elephants in the room,” who together distort our understanding of Russia. The first is the “clear leveraging of latent public sympathy abroad for the Russian regime by our friends at the English-language offices of RT.” I guess that would be me.

The second is “academic and think-tank contacts with the security services in the West.” Given my former involvement in the intelligence world, and the fact that I’ve taught courses at the University of Ottawa with members of the Canadian security and intelligence services, I guess that would be me too.

Double elephant!

I imagine that Morris thinks that elephant number one distorts things in favour of Russia, and elephant number two distorts them against. That must make me some sort of push-me-pull-you doing both at once. Perhaps that explains why I always end up occupying the middle ground!

Anyway, I digress, because this isn’t meant to be about me. Back to the point.

“If you underestimate the hidden motives of those that comment on Russia – from both elephants, then you are guilty of the ‘fallacy of insufficient cynicism’,” writes Morris. I must confess myself guilty as charged. I can be pretty cynical, but I don’t think that everybody has “hidden motives.” People who write what one might call “pro-Russian” articles for RT aren’t doing it for the money or because the FSB has got some dirt on them any more than people writing Russophobic stuff for think tanks are doing it because they’re taking orders from the FBI, MI5, or CSIS. People tend to believe what they’re doing.

In any case, I worry less about spooks and more about the military industrial complex and its funding of think tanks and the like, all of which work together to inflate threats, keep us in a state of fear, and justify increased defence spending and aggressive foreign policies. But even there, the think tankers etc believe in what they’re doing. The problem is that believers get funded whereas non-believers don’t. I don’t think “hidden motives” are the issue.

That said, Morris has a point, in that security and intelligence services do maintain contacts with chosen favourites and feed them information that they hope will further their chosen narrative. The story I came across today illustrates how this works quite well.

A while back, I mentioned a law case in the UK involving Guardian journalist Carol Cadwalladr and British businessman Arron Banks. Banks is suing Cadwalladr for libel for having claimed that the Russian government offered him money for use in the Brexit referendum campaign, and that he lied about his relationship with the Russians. The case is now before the court, and Cadwalladr’s defence is becoming clear.

The Guardian journalist isn’t claiming that what she said about Banks was true, merely that given the evidence she had at the time she had good reason to believe that it was in the public interest for her to report it. So what was this evidence, and where did she get it from? This is where it becomes interesting. For as the Guardian reports,

In her written evidence statement, she [Cadwalladr] said she had obtained two intelligence files from an organisation contracted to undertake work countering Russian disinformation in Europe on behalf of a government agency, one file of which raised concerns about Banks’s Russian wife.

In other words, British intelligence fed the information to her via another source.

The accusation that Banks took Russian money to fund Brexit received widespread coverage. It was even repeated in a parliamentary report. Yet no evidence to support the claim has ever been produced, and as we have seen, Cadwalladr isn’t trying to say that it was true. In short, it was disinformation. And yet, what prompted it was in part documents leaked by British intelligence to a third party “contracted to undertake work countering Russian disinformation” and then in turn given by that organization to Ms Cadwalladr.

Doesn’t that strike you as a bit iffy?

In the first place, the story reinforces what I have said several times before, namely that the “disinformation industry” set up to “counter Russian disinformation” is itself a major source of disinformation. And second, it reveals an excessively cosy relationship between the media – supposedly an independent guardian of the truth that holds the state to account – and state organizations, including secret intelligence.

Personally, I find it more than a little disturbing.

Maybe Mr Morris is right after all!

January 20, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Forget the headlines, these are the vaccine facts

By Geoff Moore | TCW Defending Freedom | January 20, 2022

WE were told before the Covid vaccine rollout that it wouldn’t block transmission, but that it would reduce symptoms and therefore hospitalisation. Throughout 2021 we saw many warning headlines like ‘Pandemic of the unvaccinated’, becoming ever more alarmist like this one in the Guardian towards the end of November when Professor Sir Andrew Pollard opined that ‘Getting jabs to the unvaccinated has never been more critical’. The article said that the horrors of Covid are now restricted to those who won’t or can’t have a jab, and further claimed that Covid patients in ICUs are ‘now almost all unvaccinated’. The BBC too was not backwards in coming forwards, in December reporting a spokesman for Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, saying that ’80 per cent of patients we’ve seen over the last few months in general wards and critical care have been unvaccinated’.

In his statement to Parliament yesterday the Prime Minister continued with this narrative: ‘When there are still over 16,000 people in hospital in England alone, the pandemic is not over. And, Mr Speaker, make no mistake, Omicron is not a mild disease for everyone – and especially if you’re not vaccinated.’

So, let’s report what Mr Johnson so blatantly ignored – the latest government data on Covid-positive hospitalisations: the facts, not his opinions. It makes for interesting reading.

Public Health Scotland’s Winter Statistical Report states that 541 vaccinated people were hospitalised versus 168 unvaccinated, see page 36 table 12 (I used December 25-31 as it’s not provisional) which by my count is over three times as many vaccinated.

NHS Wales Surveillance of Vaccine Status states that 433 vaccinated people were hospitalised versus 90 unvaccinated, see page 4 table 4. That’s nearly five times as many.

Northern Ireland’s Vaccination Status of Deaths and Hospitalisations states that 395 vaccinated people were hospitalised versus 289 unvaccinated (page 8 table 1). That’s 108 more vaccinated than unvaccinated.

UK Health Security Agency Covid-19 Vaccine Surveillance Report states that 8,566 vaccinated people were hospitalised in England versus 4,738 unvaccinated (Page 40 table 10).That’s nearly twice as many.

All confirmed in the report of the 95th Sage meeting on Covid-19 which states: ‘For patients admitted after 16 June 2021 the majority of patients had received two doses’ (Page 3 item 3).

I don’t know what Sir Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, University of Oxford and the media were basing their headlines on but it certainly wasn’t this data.

Meanwhile Johnson did his best with something that’s come to be understood with the phrase, ‘lies,damn lies and statistics’, telling us that from ‘our NHS data, we know that around 90 per cent of people in intensive care are not boosted’. Never mind that the totally unvaccinated are the minority in intensive care.

Sir Andrew Pollard might buy that one. Others won’t.

January 20, 2022 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

The media’s Covid mouthpieces don’t know their SARS from their elbow

By Suzie Halewood | TCW Defending Freedom | January 13, 2022

LAST week Guardian columnist Gaby Hinsliff (A Hard Lesson For Djokovic: Patience with vaccine sceptics is wearing thin) took a gleeful swipe at tennis star Novak Djokovic, who was initially denied the right to remain in Australia to defend his Australian Open title.

This was despite the world number one receiving an exemption from a review panel appointed by the state of Victoria’s Department of Health, which took into consideration Novak having previously been tested positive for asymptomatic Covid.

‘Few tears will be shed for the man now inevitably known as “Novaxx” Djokovic,’ opined Gaby, who has clearly never organised a tennis tournament.

She attacks the Serbian star for his ‘wacky beliefs’ such as ‘natural’ healing, as though natural immunity is a conspiracy theory, before equating him with the one rule for them, one rule for us elites of Downing Street, merely because he’s earned millions from being focused and talented. (A parallel piece in The Telegraph suggests they’re all still singing from the same hymn sheet).

But Djokovic isn’t trying to slip under the radar because he’s a millionaire. He isn’t trying to slip under the radar at all. Prior to the 2021 Australian Open, he quarantined as per the requirements of the Australian department of health. This year, having had Covid and therefore natural immunity, he applied for an exemption, which was granted. Djokovic’s only mistake was to travel to Australia during election year.

However, Gaby’s attack isn’t really on Djokovic, it’s on the unvaccinated in general: ‘Just over a month ago, I wrote about how the mood might harden as intensive care beds filled with patients realising too late that they should have got the jab, while restrictions once again loomed over people who had done what was asked of them.’

Sorry Gaby, but intensive care beds aren’t filling up with the unvaccinated. According to the latest technical briefing from UKHSA, Britain’s health security agency, emergency admissions up to December 29 consisted of 206 unvaccinated, 591 vaccinated and 18 unlinked.

As for restrictions once again looming over people who had done what was asked of them, more fool you for believing the Government. Three weeks to flatten the curve, a firm pledge to loosen restrictions once the vulnerable were jabbed, double-jabbed means fully jabbed – until you need a booster. When exactly are you going to catch on?

Like every other sloppy columnist with a ‘vaccine refusenik’ in their sights, Gaby clearly feels that as she unquestioningly followed the rules, so should everybody else, never stopping to ask who made the rules, why and to what end? History should have taught us that blindly following rules does not end well.

Vince Cable is another one who believes the unvaccinated are responsible for restrictions affecting everyone, sidestepping the latest UKHSA technical briefing to declare that the Covid circus is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. ‘The harm caused to society by the unvaccinated is partly that there is increased transmissibility,’ says Vince.

The UKHSA says otherwise, showing vaccine effectiveness against contracting the disease in all 18+ cohorts as a negative (the most extreme figure being minus 151.2 per cent in the 40-49 year-old cohort) which means you are more likely to catch the disease if vaccinated. If more catch it, more can spread it.

And let’s not forget the overburdened NHS, struggling to cope with a reduction in perfectly healthy staff who were sent home after testing positive using a lateral flow test that can find Covid in an orange.

The UKHSA, usually so reliable with a positive (if favourably skewed) spin on its own data, could manage only a crestfallen ‘among those who had received two doses of AstraZeneca, there was no effect against Omicron from 20 weeks after the second dose’. Oh dear.

Having dug himself into one hole, Vince – who is about as adept at statistics as he is at dancing – decides to dig himself an even bigger one, saying: ‘The most difficult objection is that there are distinct groups who have refused injection not as a result of laziness or bloody-mindedness, but because of widespread suspicion, based on experience, that the authorities are not to be trusted.’

Ignoring that something learned from experience is more than a suspicion, Vince goes on digging. ‘In the US, some black Americans cite the history of being used for scientific experiments (as to why they won’t get vaccinated) … but these arguments are wearing a little thin.’

Or to look at it another way Vince, perhaps being viewed as little more than a Petri dish by pharmaceutical companies and US governments alike for the best part of the 20th century is wearing a little thin for African Americans, or Guatemalans, or Africans.

Vince’s three options to deal with the unvaccinated in the UK (thankfully he had zero policy influence even when in office) are ‘compulsion through employment conditions; changes to rights of treatment under the NHS and a more comprehensive vaccine passport system’.

He does stop short of ‘refuseniks dragged away, held down and forcefully injected’, primarily because it’s impractical. A true Liberal.

Another Liberal (whilst at Cambridge at least) happy to inhabit the scientific wasteland of journalism is Matthew ‘How to wrongfoot an anti-vaxxer’ Parris, who trips over himself trying to prove in his Spectator article that those who choose not to be vaccinated against a disease with a survival rate of 99.98 per cent must be paranoid.

‘Mass paranoia is plainly a strand in the anti-vax movement,’ proclaims Matthew, whose Imperial College-worthy research includes a tale about a ‘lonely Arab boy’ who mistook a porch light for a death ray and one about a woman in Glasgow he has never met, whose neighbour believed someone was trying to poison the residents.

I wonder how he’d label those getting boosted against an Omicrom variant a third of the strength of the Delta strain, which is itself a twentieth of the strength of Alpha?

The Parris article is one of pure projection. He ‘cannot condone frightening people with stories that are not true’. Really? Then how about an article on wealthy Marxist pandemic adviser Susan Michie, or one on the government’s Nudge Unit, or the taxpayer millions thrown at PR companies such as 23red and MullenLowe, who are paid to frighten people into believing Covid is the new plague?

Parris’s claims that ‘viral ideas and beliefs’ fuel the ‘anti-vax rumour machine’ remain unsubstantiated, as he offers zero proof. Conversely, the unvaccinated have a plethora of government data from around the world to study.

Early data from Italy for example showed the average age of death from Covid was 84.1. In the UK, ‘deaths for any reason within 28 days of a Covid positive test’ in the healthy under-65 cohort – for the whole of 2020 – were 1,549. And on March 19 2020, both the Four Nations Public Health Group and The Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) were in agreement that Covid-19 need no longer be classified as an HCID – high consequence infectious disease.

But it isn’t just Cambridge graduates attacking the pro-choicers. Michael Deacon, in a particularly mean spirited piece in the Telegraph, singles out John O’Looney. He is he funeral director brave enough to speak out about the vaccine injuries he’s witnessed and the families who have opened up to him not only in regard to family members who died following the Covid jab, but also families of those who died with a Covid mention on the death certificate when their loved one clearly died of something else, like Alzheimer’s, cancer or a car crash.

Unlike O’Looney, Deacon does not attend autopsies of those who died with a suspected vaccine injury. Neither does Andrew Neil, who also claims those who choose not to get vaccinated do so through ‘fear, ignorance, irresponsibility or sheer stupidity’.

Or maybe they just studied government data or read autopsy report summaries of what the vaccines can do to the heart, lungs, liver and thyroid gland. ‘You can’t shout “fire!” in a crowded cinema if there is no fire,’ says Neil. But that is exactly what the Government did. And journalists either fell for it, or got paid to look the other way.

At least the ‘What Are We Going To Do With the Antivaxxers?’ pudding in Forbes magazine gets one thing right. ‘It is unacceptable,’ declares Enrique Dans ‘that millions of people, seemingly influenced by a small group of irresponsible idiots, have decided to endanger not only their own lives, but also the possibility of eradicating the pandemic’. Absolutely,  Enrique. Here in the UK we refer to those idiots as the Government.

Thankfully, such rhetoric is already beginning to feel outdated. There is light at the end of the tunnel.  ‘Mass population-based vaccination in the UK should now end,’ says Dr Clive Dix, former chairman of the UK’s vaccine task force.

Meanwwhile, Professor Angus Dalgleish, writing in the Mail points out that ‘the policy of obsessive Covid screening of the population using lateral flow tests has lurched into mass hysteria. Worse, it is tantamount to national self-harm’.

As Dr Steve James, the hospital anaesthetist who took on Sajid Javid over forced vaccination pointed out, there is no sense in a sustained boosting campaign when efficacy wanes after eight weeks and most will have been exposed to Covid by now.

But hold the front page. Researchers at Imperial College have now discovered the ‘Holy Grail’ of Covid resistance. News from the  Telegraph heralds a ground-breaking study which found that – and I hope you’re sitting down – large numbers of Britons were already protected from coronavirus before the pandemic began because of previous exposure to common colds. Which is exactly what Mike Yeadon and every other sane scientist flagged up prior to the vaccine rollout, before being laughed out of town.

The net is tightening around the Johnson government. If Boris  chooses to push forward with his NHS mandatory vaccination drive, come April 1, he could end up with 100,000 agitated NHS whistleblowers on his hands who now have a lot less to lose.

If he pulls back from mandatory vaccination for all NHS staff, he risks facing the wrath of both the sacked non-vaccinated care workers and those care workers forced to take the jab in order to keep their jobs.

And he will still have to answer to the millions (estimated prior immunity 30-50 per cent) of vaccinated who will surely want to know why they were hoodwinked into taking an experimental treatment when all along they could have been offered a T-cell test option which would have told them if they were even likely to develop Covid. Especially in light of the fact that the Johnson government invested taxpayer money in the very T-cell research that could have prevented any need for a jab – long before the vaccine rollout.

Whether or not Djokovic gets to defend his title, his greatest service yet may be worldwide publicity for basic common sense.

For here is a healthy, fit, intelligent 34-year-old sportsman with prior immunity who, having weighed up the odds of vaccine risk versus Covid risk, has maybe decided that taking an experimental treatment with zero long-term safety data and extremely concerning short-term safety data (especially amongst young, fit sportsmen) to ward off a much-weakened Omicron variant, defies logic.

Hinsliff, Cable, Parris and Neil meanwhile will no doubt continue to be guided by the voices coming out of the telly.

January 13, 2022 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | 2 Comments

Memo to the Guardian: Have you muzzled the facts on masks?

By David Seedhouse | TCW Defending Freedom | November 27, 2021

This is an open letter to Andrew Gregory, Health Editor of the Guardian. 

Dear Andrew,

We are a group of citizens dedicated to promoting a more open, democratic society. We have tried to contact you on several occasions without success, so we have published this open letter in the hope you will see it and reply.

On November 18, you published a story with the headline: ‘Mask-wearing cuts Covid incidence by 53%, says global study.’

The sub-heading was: ‘Researchers said results highlight the need to continue with face coverings, social distancing and handwashing alongside vaccine programmes’.

We were struck by this, since it goes against a substantial body of evidence that concludes that mask-wearing offers little if any protection against viruses, for example these studies https://swprs.org/face-masks-evidence/ https://www.professorhinkley.com/blog/sorry-oregon-your-mask-is-useless-according-to-the-sciencehttps://www.city-journal.org/do-masks-work-a-review-of-the-evidence.

You did not reference the paper on which you base your article but an internet search reveals it. (Stella Talic corresponding author). You paraphrase uncritically: ‘Vaccines are safe and effective and saving lives around the world. But … it is not yet known if jabs will prevent future transmission of emerging coronavirus variants …

‘Results from more than 30 studies from around the world were analysed in detail, showing a statistically significant 53 per cent reduction in the incidence of Covid with mask wearing …’

We find it puzzling that you did not mention that ten days earlier the CATO Institute (an American libertarian think-tank) published a 61-page working paper entitled: Evidence for Community Cloth Face Masking to Limit the Spread of SARS-CoV 2: A Critical Review.

It tentatively concluded: ‘Of 16 quantitative meta-analyses, eight were equivocal or critical as to whether evidence supports a public recommendation of masks, and the remaining eight supported a public mask intervention on limited evidence, primarily on the basis of the precautionary principle.’ 

Given this striking incongruity, we have ten questions:

1. Have you read the Talic paper?

2. Do you agree that it is an exaggeration to describe it as a ‘global study’?

3. Have you read the associated British Medical Journal editorial?

4. Do you agree that your headline: ‘Mask-wearing cuts Covid incidence by 53%, says global study’ is misleading?

5. Were you aware of this when you chose the heading?

6. Why has the Guardian not published the results of the many studies which say there is no evidence of benefit and some evidence of harm?

7. Do you agree that professional journalism requires balance, in the public interest?

8. Would a more accurate headline be: ‘The majority of randomised controlled trials fail to establish that wearing face masks protects anyone against viruses’?

9. Is the Guardian’s policy to publish only information that supports a particular set of beliefs?

10. Are you prepared publicly to debate this matter?

Here is a little more detail about our concerns. The CATO meta-analysis states: ‘In non-healthcare settings, of the 14 RCTs (randomised control trials) identified by the authors that evaluated face mask efficacy compared to no-mask controls in protecting against respiratory infections other than Covid-19, 13 failed to find statistically significant benefits … of eight RCTs that evaluated face mask efficacy against respiratory illness transmission in non-healthcare household settings, all eight failed to find a statistically significant benefit for the use of face masks alone …’

This gives a very different picture from the one your newspaper article presented.

Talic et al claim to have screened 36,729 papers, but found only six on masks they considered eligible for inclusion. Yet an internet search reveals numerous relevant research articles. How can the authors have overlooked this, and how can their conclusion be true given the many other conflicting studies?

We dug a little deeper and found that several of the papers cited by Talic et al are telephone surveys covering multiple variables, with questionable methodology.

For example, one study investigated the effectiveness of mask-wearing in families in their homes of laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 cases in Beijing and concluded that face mask use was ’79 per cent effective in reducing transmission’.

Strangely, the paper contains a passage that seems to undermine the whole study: ‘As the compliance of UFMU (universal face mask use) would be poor in the home, there was difficulty and also no necessity for everyone to wear masks at home …’

This seems to imply that the use of face masks by family members in their households included in the study was sporadic and that therefore the study has no scientific merit.

Equally strange, one of six papers referenced in the Talic paper is the Danish RCT mask study, which the authors presumably included to support their conclusions, even though it doesn’t. In fact, the study was inconclusive (a difference of between 1.8 per cent and 2.1 per cent)

Even more peculiar, the Talic article is linked in the BMJ to an editorial published simultaneously which directly refutes the claim of a 53 per cent reduction in Covid incidence.

It says: ‘Face masks seem to have a real but small effect for wearer and source control, although final conclusions should await full reports of the trials from Bangladesh and Guinea-Bissau.

‘However, the quality of the current evidence would be graded – by GRADE (Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations) criteria – as low or very low, as it consists of mainly observational studies with poor methods (biases in measurement of outcomes, classification of PHSM – Public Health and Social Measures – and missing data), and high heterogeneity of effect size. More and better research are needed.’ 

How can such inconsistencies be overlooked by a senior editor of a quality broadsheet?

Signed

Professor David Seedhouse, BSc (Hons), PhD

Bruce Luffman

Sarah Goode, PhD

Alex Thorn

Simon Fletcher

Sandy French

Fiona Swan, LLB, Solicitor (Rtd.)

Monica Coyle

Daphne Havercroft, Project Management Professional (PMP)®
Phil Button, BSc, MBCS

Professor Chris Jesshope, BSc Hons (Mathematics), MSc (computer science), PhD (electronics)

Philip Morkel, Managing Director Engineering Services, Law Degree, MBA, S/W Project management

Tony Woodcock

Dr Damien Bush, MA, VetMB, Cert. SAS, MRCVS, RCVS, Recognised Advanced Practitioner Small Animal Surgery

Neil Sherry

Michael Welby

Shirley Dudfield

Maddy Conway

Peter Whitehead

Vanessa Peutherer, Author, Learning & Development Consultant (Health Care Ethics), RGN, ENG, ENB (Rtd)

Michael Philips, BSc (Hons) Mathematics

Edina Atkinson

Adam Mockett, BA (Hons)

Mike Davies, Project Manager (Rtd)

Alex Camm MPhil, CQSW

Susan James, FCILEX

Myra Forster-van Hijfte, DVM, CertVR CertSAM, DipECVIM, FRCVS

Dr. Jo-Ann van Eijck, Ph.D, Former Associate Professor at University of Hong Kong

Helen Myles, BSc (Hons) Maths and Psychology

November 28, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

Guardian Claims Covid in Hospitals Has “Largely Become a Disease of the Unvaccinated” – Data Shows Opposite

By Will Jones • The Daily Sceptic • November 23, 2021

An article appeared in the Guardian this week written by an anonymous NHS respiratory consultant claiming that “in hospital, COVID-19 has largely become a disease of the unvaccinated”.

Of course, there are people who have their vaccinations but still get sick. These people may be elderly or frail, or have underlying health problems. Those with illnesses affecting the immune system, particularly patients who have had chemotherapy for blood cancers, are especially vulnerable. Some unlucky healthy people will also end up on our general wards with Covid after being vaccinated, usually needing a modest amount of oxygen for a few days.

But the story is different on our intensive care unit. Here, the patient population consists of a few vulnerable people with severe underlying health problems and a majority of fit, healthy, younger people unvaccinated by choice. … If everyone got vaccinated, hospitals would be under much less pressure; this is beyond debate. Your wait for your clinic appointment/operation/diagnostic test/A&E department would be shorter. Your ambulance would arrive sooner. Reports of the pressure on the NHS are not exaggerated, I promise you. … Most of the resources that we are devoting to Covid in hospital are now being spent on the unvaccinated.

This reads to me like a blatant attempt to stigmatise the unvaccinated as selfish, a burden on society and a threat to the vaccinated. (The clue is in the headline: “ICU is full of the unvaccinated – my patience with them is wearing thin.”) Given the polling (which may not be very reliable of course) showing that 45% of U.K. adults would support an indefinite lockdown of the unvaccinated, this is all starting to look and sound rather ugly.

The most frustrating thing about this anonymously written article is it doesn’t cite any data even though its arguments are based on claims which only data can validate. It consists instead only of a single medic’s subjective impressions, with no sources provided to see if his claims holds water.

Are the hospitalised mostly unvaccinated? Not according to Government data from the UKHSA. Here is the breakdown of hospitalisations by vaccination status in England for the four weeks up to November 14th from the latest Vaccine Surveillance report.

Adding these figures up we find that 3,200 of 9,831 or 33% of Covid hospitalisations are of unvaccinated people, leaving 67% of Covid hospital patients in the vaccinated category, most of them with two doses. Focusing just on adults, we find 2,692 of 9,278 or 29% of Covid hospitalisations are unvaccinated, leaving 71% vaccinated. Seeing as just 68% of the U.K. population is double vaccinated, 67% of Covid hospital patients having received at least one dose hardly seems like a strong result. Indeed, it suggests the unvaccinated are barely over-represented in hospitals at all.

What about Covid deaths – are the unvaccinated over-represented there? Here’s the table from the same report.

Adding them up we find that 675 of 3,676 or 18% of Covid deaths in the month up to November 14th are in unvaccinated people, leaving 82% in the vaccinated, most with two doses. Only in the under-40s do deaths in the unvaccinated outnumber those in the vaccinated.

It’s hard to square this data with the picture painted by the anonymous medic. Far from COVID-19 having “largely become a disease of the unvaccinated”, with most Covid hospital resources “now being spent on the unvaccinated”, a large majority of hospitalisations and deaths are occurring in the vaccinated, not the unvaccinated.

But what about ICU admissions? And is it true that the vaccinated-sick all have underlying health issues whereas the unvaccinated-sick are all healthy?

The problem with addressing these claims is that we don’t have the data to check them out. The data on ICU admissions by vaccination status has not been updated since July as far as I can see (if you are aware of a more recent update do let me know), and I am not aware of any data on co-morbidities (again, if you are aware of any please drop me a line).

The anonymous writer states: “I can’t think of a single case offhand of a person who was previously fit and healthy who has ended up needing intensive care after being fully vaccinated. It may not stop you from catching Covid. But it can save your life when you do.” But again, this is anecdotal and therefore not terribly helpful.

It’s fair to note that much data does appear to show that the vaccines protect people well against severe disease and death, at least for several months, though some recent analysis has questioned whether such efficacy has been overestimated.

But however well the vaccines protect against severe disease, that is no excuse for turning the unvaccinated into pariahs or scapegoats and blaming them for the strains on the health service. Such moralised blaming of a minority for supposedly disadvantaging the majority (‘Can’t get a doctor’s appointment? Surgery been cancelled again? The unvaccinated are to blame!’) has a very ugly history and rarely ends well. It’s particularly odd to see this scapegoating in a supposedly liberal newspaper. It needs to stop now.

November 24, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | 1 Comment

Will mainstream media heads roll over Trump ‘Russiagate’ fraud?

By Paul Robinson | RT | November 19, 2021

If you want to know how reliable journalists and TV talking heads are, look at their record when it comes to the biggest stories of the past decade: Iraq’s purported ‘weapons of mass destruction’ or the invasion of Afghanistan.

If they told you at the time that Iraq was knee-deep in lethal chemicals and victory over Islamist militias across the border would surely come in another six months’ time, then you have grounds for considering them to be less than reliable. If, on the other hand, they told you that all that WMD stuff was built on shaky ground and the war in Afghanistan would probably end badly, then you’ve got grounds for trusting them.

Once you start doing this, you reach a sad conclusion. The people who got it wrong have risen onwards and upwards to greater things, never having to repent for their errors, while those who got it right have been shoved to the margins. There is, in short, an astonishing lack of accountability for journalistic failure.

Still, errors need explaining, so it’s interesting to see how people go about it. Roughly speaking, there are three methods: first, deny any error; second, say you never actually believed it; and third, say you were the victim of deception. So, with the invasion of Iraq, you have a few who still maintain it was a good idea; a bunch who claim that they were secret doubters all along; and then some more who argue that the real problem was that Saddam Hussein deliberately misled everybody into thinking he had WMD, so it was quite reasonable to believe it.

Move on a few years and we can see much the same process at work in the aftermath of Russiagate – the breathless scandal that obsessed the American media for the best part of four years, with allegations that Donald Trump had colluded with the Russian state to win the 2016 election. Much like Iraq’s secretive chemical weapons program, proof of collusion has proved embarrassingly elusive. Moreover, as has become very clear, one of the key documents driving the story, the so-called Steele dossier, has turned out to be utterly worthless.

The latest nail in the coffin of the collusion narrative came with the arrest this month of the man who compiled the dossier on behalf of former British spy Christopher Steele, one Igor Danchenko. The reaction of the punditocracy has echoed that which followed the failure to find Iraqi WMD: denial by some; claims by others that they never believed the story; and, last, allegations that the whole affair was a deliberate act of deception by the Russian state.

Prime place among the first group, the deniers, goes to Max Boot. Writing in the Washington Post on Thursday, Boot showed not the slightest bit of repentance for boosting the Steele Dossier, any more than he has previously shown for backing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Even if the Steele dossier is discredited, there’s plenty of evidence of Trump’s collusion with Russia,” he says.

Paul Pillar, writing in the National Interest this week, likewise claims the dossier was unimportant. Pillar doubles down on what he knows to be the truth, that “Trump and his circle encouraged, welcomed, facilitated, and exploited a foreign power’s interference in a US election.” Incredibly, Pillar concludes that what is needed is, “a well-funded investigation to look into this further,” as if the only reason that proof of collusion is lacking is that we haven’t looked hard enough.

Given just how hard a huge number of people have looked, this is patently silly. But at least the deniers display the virtue of consistency. Perhaps more irritating are those who are now coming forward to claim that, although they didn’t say so until now, they never believed in collusion. They were, you might say, secret, silent sceptics.

Thus, Max Seddon of the Financial Times turned to Twitter to declare that the lesson of the affair was to “listen to reporters on the ground.” “I don’t know a single Moscow corr[espondent] who bought the dossier,” he says, adding that the immense fuss about Russiagate was the fault of “editors” who wasted journalists’ time on the matter rather than on “substantive coverage of Russia.”

I’m willing to believe Seddon when he implies that he never swallowed the nonsense in the Steele dossier as well as the rest of the collusion narrative. But I have to ask him, “Why didn’t you say so at the time?” Lots of people did. One assumes he’d blame his editors, and I get it – when you work for a media outlet, you’re constrained by what your editors want. But that hardly lets journalists off the hook. All it does is explain why the people who did publicly scoff at the dossier were to be found outside the mainstream media, while the likes of The Guardian’s Luke Harding were earning big bucks writing books on collusion and telling everybody what a great guy Christopher Steele was. But it doesn’t explain why all those journalists who say that they disbelieved the collusion story never called out Harding and co. Clearly something is amiss.

And then, we have the third group: those who claim innocence on the grounds of deception. The logic here is that the dossier was indeed garbage, but very clever garbage dreamt up by Russian intelligence to deceive us all. By spreading stories of Trump-Russia collusion, the Russians aimed to sow chaos and set Americans at each other’s throats.

It is, of course, ridiculous, but that hasn’t stopped many supposedly serious commentators from suggesting it as a means of excusing their own gullibility. For instance, Newsweek’s deputy opinion editor Batya Ungar-Sargon went on air to discuss the “irony of American journalists falling for Russian disinformation en masse because it confirmed what they *really* wanted to believe.”

For, you see, all those stories saying the Russians were spreading disinformation were themselves Russian disinformation. Damn, but those Ruskies are clever!

The reality is this – the Steele dossier was obvious rubbish from the start, but the mass of the journalistic community either swallowed it wholesale or, alternatively, chose to stay silent about its doubts while allowing the believers to dominate the headlines. Belated claims that “I never believed,” or absurd allegations that the whole thing was a Russian plot, are just excuses designed to deflect blame. If we are to avoid such failures in the future, we need an honest reckoning. Judging by what’s come out from Western journalists this week, it doesn’t seem we are likely to get it.

Paul Robinson is a professor at the University of Ottawa. He writes about Russian and Soviet history, military history and military ethics, and is author of the Irrussianality blog.

November 21, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Media outlets campaign to get Facebook to censor climate “misinformation”

By Didi Rankovic | Reclaim The Net | November 6, 2021

A series of articles have been appearing lately in Big Media, piling pressure on Facebook to step up censorship of what’s considered to be “climate misinformation” on the giant platform.

These reports published by the BBC, The Guardian, and The Verge – all citing and giving a lot of space to a study into climate-related content on Facebook produced by several fairly obscure advocacy groups – came shortly after Big Tech declared “climate misinformation” and “climate denial” to be its next censorship target.

One of these groups, “The Real Facebook Oversight Board,” announced on Twitter that it is publishing a quarterly report that documents “Facebook’s harms on climate change.”

The outfit, which states to be a part of the the-citizens.com site (that for now has a landing page and is funded, among others, by Luminate – an offshoot of billionaire Pierre Omidyar’s organization), said it was working with “Stop Funding Heat” and “Sum of Us” to produce the report.

The Verge bases its article on the “study” published on the Stop Funding Heat website, which accuses Facebook of “fact-checking” less than 4 percent of posts for climate misinformation, that is said to have increased by as much as 77% since January, to garner between about 800,000 and 1.3 million views.

“Facebook has been told over and over, through public reports and in private meetings, that its platform is a breeding ground for climate misinformation. Either they don’t care or they don’t know how to fix it,” Stop Funding Heat’s Sean Buchan is cited as stating.

“The Real Facebook Oversight Board” crops up again in a Guardian article dedicated to the same issue, which reveals that a majority of the 195 Facebook pages the activist groups analyzed mostly share memes ridiculing some politicians’ focus on climate change as a policy issue.

Facebook is singled out as being “among the world’s biggest purveyors of climate disinformation,” while the giant’s perceived inaction in censoring content skeptical of climate change is seen as harmful to the “the battle” led by the elites who gathered in Glasgow for UN’s COP26 summit.

The BBC also covered the topic of the allegedly rampant climate misinformation on Facebook, choosing to cite a study which said only 8% of the 7,000 posts they consider misleading were labeled as misinformation.

November 6, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , | 1 Comment

Crop Failures & The “Climate Disaster”

By Paul Homewood | Not A Lot Of People Know That | October 26, 2021

We looked at this phony Guardian report the other day:

image

One section deals with what it calls crop failure:

image

It claims that once-a-decade droughts are becoming more frequent, in comparison with 1850-1900! This apparently comes from the IPCC, but who was counting droughts in the 19thC?

As with disaster databases, it is only in recent years that organisations have been set up to monitor humanitarian crises and provide aid. A hundred years ago, there was no internet, television or mobile phones to relay the news.

A famine in Madagascar would simply have happened without being noticed.

The Guardian then goes on to “prove” its point, by cherry picking droughts in Guatemala and Zambia, as if they had never happened before. They are not even in the same year!

image

The dip in agricultural production in Guatemala is evident in 2017, but the trend for both countries is remorselessly up.

chart

https://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#compare

If there was any truth in the Guardian’s apocalyptic version of events, we would see global food production staggering from one crisis to another.

But we don’t.

chart-1

The Guardian reckons that India and Pakistan will be particularly badly hit by crop failures, even in this decade:

image

But this goes totally opposite to what is actually happening there.

chart-2

And long term monsoon trends clearly show that droughts are not becoming more severe or common in India, global warming or not. Most droughts are, in fact, associated with El Ninos, and not climate change:

https://www.tropmet.res.in/~kolli/MOL/Monsoon/frameindex.html

October 26, 2021 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | | 2 Comments