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World Bank to receive $450 million to start pandemic preparedness fund

The Counter Signal | May 17, 2022

Joe Biden announced that the US would give the World Bank $450 million to start a pandemic preparedness fund, which will be run in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO).

“We’re increasing our support for [a] new pandemic preparedness and global health security fund that will be established at the World Bank this summer with $450 million in seed funding,” Joe Biden announced at the second Global COVID Summit.

Vice President Kamala Harris also said that the US would work to “shape new international norms” on pandemic-related issues.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom confirmed this and continued, reminding others in attendance that the WHO is still drafting its pandemic treaty.

“At the World Health Assembly this month, WHO will present a plan to strengthen the global architecture for health emergency preparedness response and resilience,” said Tedros Adhanom. “This includes the creation of a financial intermediary fund to support equitable access to life-saving tools in the face of future epidemics and pandemics.”

During the COVID Summit, other world leaders confirmed that they’re in favour of strengthening the WHO after reiterating that “the pandemic is not over” — even though it clearly is.

PM Justin Trudeau also announced that he would waste $732 million in Canadian taxpayers’ money on the Access to COVID-19 Tools-Accelerator (ACT-A).

“We must continue to work together and support the international response to end this pandemic everywhere and for everyone,” Trudeau began.

“Today, I am announcing new and meaningful funding for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), bringing Canada’s total contribution to more than $2 billion since the start of the pandemic. Canada is contributing to the international pandemic response and will continue to work with partners to ensure that that we strengthen our collective ability to prevent, prepare and respond to disease outbreaks going forward.”

May 20, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , | 4 Comments

Governments worried about Covid misinformation should start with their own lies and distortions: Indiana AG

The Daily Sceptic | May 20, 2022

Governments concerned about Covid misinformation should start with their own lies and distortions, Indiana’s Attorney General has told the U.S. Government. In a submission to the U.S. Surgeon General, who had requested information on the impact of online health misinformation during the pandemic in the United States, Todd Rokita joined with leading scientists Dr. Jay Bhattacharya and Dr. Martin Kulldorff to set out nine examples of disinformation propagated by the CDC and other health organisations that have “shattered the public’s trust in science and public health and will take decades to repair”. Read their full submission below.

May 2nd 2022

Agency: Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General

Action: Request for Information (RFI)

Subject: Impact of Health Misinformation in the Digital Information Environment in the United States Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic

Response: COVID-19 Misinformation from Official Sources During the Pandemic

Submitting parties: Todd Rokita, Indiana Attorney General; Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, Professor at Stanford University School of Medicine; and Dr. Kulldorff, Senior Research Fellow at the Brownstone Institute and former Professor at Harvard University School of Medicine.

The Office of the Surgeon General requested information on the prevalence of health misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of such misinformation on the U.S. public health system in order to be better prepared to respond to a future public health crisis.

We agree that misinformation has been a major problem during the pandemic. The spread of inaccurate scientific information has made it difficult for the public to make the right decisions to protect themselves, their families, and their communities from COVID-19 and the collateral public health damage arising from the pandemic countermeasures. As such, the disinformation has led to great harm in the lives and livelihoods of Americans. We submit the following examples of disinformation from the CDC and other health organisations that have shattered the public’s trust in science and public health and will take decades to repair.

#1 Overcounting COVID-19: The official CDC numbers for COVID-19 deaths and hospitalisations are inaccurate. The official tallies include many people who have died with rather than from COVID-19. CDC has not distinguished deaths where COVID-19 was the primary cause of death, where COVID-19 was a contributing cause of death, or where the death was entirely unrelated to COVID-19, but they incidentally tested positive.

There are three reasons for this problem. (i) The counting of COVID-19 cases and deaths is unlike the way that public health counts the incidence and mortality caused by other diseases; physicians have been advised to fill out death certificates to privilege COVID-19 as a proximal cause, even when the medical facts suggest otherwise. (ii) The population-wide testing to identify asymptomatic individuals infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus is unprecedented in human history. (iii) Although it would have been easy, CDC has not conducted random national surveys of medical charts to determine what proportion of reported COVID-19 deaths were truly due to COVID-19. Ex-post audits of death certificates and medical records in Santa Clara County and Alameda County, California, for instance, found that in around 25% of death certificates in which COVID-19 was labelled as the primary cause of death, other causes of death were more likely. The peer-reviewed literature confirms that COVID-19 is overcounted in other developed countries. Ex post audits of death certificates should be conducted to establish an accurate death count from COVID-19.

#2 Questioning Natural Immunity: There has been consistent questioning and denying of natural immunity after COVID-19 recovery. Using seriously flawed studies, CDC falsely claimed that natural immunity is worse than vaccine acquired immunity. In October 2020, the CDC director published a “memorandum” in the Lancetquestioning natural immunity. Most critically, by mandating vaccination for people who have recovered from COVID-19, the Government, corporations, and universities de facto deny natural immunity.

For scientists, this has been the most surprising disinformation. We have known about natural immunity since the Athenian Plague in 430 BC; other coronaviruses generate natural immunity; and throughout the pandemic, we knew that the COVID-19 recovered have good natural immunity if and when they get exposed the next time. That is, six months after the start of the pandemic, we had epidemiological evidence that natural immunity lasts at least six months; a year into the pandemic, we knew that natural immunity lasted at least one year, and so on.

#3 COVID-19 Vaccines Prevent Transmission: The CDC director and other health officials falsely claimed that the COVID-19 vaccine prevents the transmission of COVID-19 to others. This was also the rationale for vaccine mandates and passports – to prevent the spread of the virus to others. At the time, we did not know, and it turned out to be wrong. When the COVID-19 vaccines were approved for emergency use, the manufacturers presented randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that showed that the vaccines reduced symptomatic disease. The trials were not designed to determine whether they could also limit transmission or prevent death, even though they could have been designed to do so. As it turned out, vaccinated individuals spread the disease to others. While it was unfortunate that the RCTs were not designed to answer the disease transmission question, it is irresponsible for public health officials to claim that they did when the RCTs did not even attempt to answer that question.

#4 School Closures Were Effective and Costless: In the United States, most schools were closed for in-person teaching for some time, and many schools were closed for over a year. This decision was based on false claims that it would protect children, teachers and the community at large. Already in the early summer of 2020, we knew this was false. Sweden was the only major Western country to keep schools open throughout spring 2020 without masks, social distancing, or testing. Among these 1.8 million children ages one to 15, there were zero COVID-19 deaths, only a few hospitalisations, and teachers did not have a higher COVID-19 risk than the average of other professions.

Moreover, while older people living with a working-age adult had a higher COVID-19 risk, there was no evidence that also living with a child increased that risk further. In a July 2020 New England Journal of Medicine article evaluating school closures, they did not mention the Swedish data and evidence, which is like evaluating a new drug without including data from the placebo comparison group. Despite clear evidence on the safety of keeping schools open, misinformation led to many schools being closed for over one year.  

#5 Everyone is equally at risk of hospitalisation and death from COVID-19 infection: Though public health messaging has blunted this fact, there is more than a thousand-fold difference in the risk of hospitalisation and death for the old relative to the young. Though the risk of death is high for the old and some other vulnerable populations with severe chronic illness, the risk posed to children from COVID-19 infection is on par with the risk posed by a bad influenza season. Surveys indicate, however, that both old and young overestimate the risk of death from COVID-19 infection. This misperception about risk is harmful because it leads to demand for policies – such as school closures and lockdowns – that were themselves harmful.

#6 There was no reasonable policy alternative to lockdowns: Even from the beginning of the pandemic, the sharp age-gradient in the risk of severe disease on COVID-19 infection has provided an alternative to the lockdown-focused policies that many U.S. states adopted – focused protection of the aged and otherwise vulnerable. In October 2020, along with Prof. Sunetra Gupta of Oxford University, we wrote the Great Barrington Declaration – a public petition that proposed heightened measures to protect the vulnerable and a return to near-normal life for the less vulnerable (including the opening of schools). Tens of thousands of doctors and scientists signed the Declaration in opposition to lockdowns. In the Declaration itself and in supporting documents, we offered many concrete policy suggestions for better protecting the vulnerable, including reduced staff rotations in nursing homes, free home delivery of groceries and other essentials offered to older people living in the community, paid sabbatical leave or alternative work arrangements for older workers, and many other policy options. We also invited the public health community to join in thinking creatively about other ideas to protect the vulnerable. As subsequent research has confirmed, it was clear even at the time that lockdowns could not protect the vulnerable (nearly 80% of COVID-19 deaths have occurred among the elderly in the U.S.). Meanwhile, countries like Sweden, which did not implement lockdowns, have had near-zero overall excess death over the last two years of the pandemic. Lockdowns are an aberration– a sharp deviation from traditional public health management of respiratory epidemics – and a catastrophic failure of public health policy.

#7 Mask mandates are effective in reducing the spread of viral infectious diseases: Contrary to assertions by some public health officials, mask mandates have not been effective in protecting most populations against COVID-19 risk. The SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads by aerosolisation. Unlike larger viral droplets, which are pulled by gravity to the ground shortly after emission, aerosols are tiny particles that can persist in the air for extended periods. Aerosols escape through gaps of poorly fitted masks, greatly reducing their ability to stop disease spread. Cloth masks, in particular, cannot stop aerosols, and even well-fitted N95 masks have diminished capacity to stop viral transmission when they become moist from breathing. It is thus unsurprising that the highest quality evidence available – randomised trials – conducted both before and during the pandemic find that masks are ineffective at stopping the spread of respiratory viruses in most settings when worn by untrained people.

#8 Mass testing of asymptomatic individuals and contact tracing of positive cases is effective in reducing disease spread: Mass testing of asymptomatic individuals with contact tracing and quarantining of people who test positive has failed to substantively slow the progress of the epidemic and has imposed great costs on people who were quarantined even though they posed no risk of infecting others. Three facts are crucial to understanding why this policy has failed. First, even close contacts of someone who tests positive for the SARS-Cov-2 virus are unlikely to pass the disease on. In a large meta-analysis of household contacts of asymptomatic positive cases, only 3% of people living in the same home got sick. Second, the PCR test that has been used to identify asymptomatic infections often returns a positive result for people who have dead viral fragments, are not infectious, and pose no risk of infecting others. And third, the contact tracing system becomes overwhelmed whenever cases start to rise, leading to long delays in contacting new cases. At precisely the moment when contact tracing might be needed, it cannot do its job. At the same time, quarantining people is costly – for workers without adequate sick leave, absenteeism due to contact tracing means pay cuts, lost opportunities and perhaps even an inability to feed families. For children, it means more skipped lessons and missed opportunities for academic and social growth at school, with long-run negative consequences for their future prospects. In the U.K., an official government review determined that its 37 billion pound investment in contact tracing was a waste of resources. The same is undoubtedly true in the United States.

#9 The eradication of COVID-19 is a feasible goal: Throughout the pandemic, from “two weeks to flatten the curve” and onwards, the suppression of the spread of COVID-19 has been an explicit policy goal. Implicitly, public health leaders have made the suppression of COVID-19 spread to near-zero levels the endpoint of the pandemic. However, SARS-CoV-2 has none of the characteristics of a disease that can be eradicated. First, we have no technology to reduce the spread of the disease or meaningfully alter disease dynamics. Lockdowns and social restrictions fail because only people who can afford to work from home without losing their job can comply over long periods. While we have vaccines that can help prevent hospitalisation or death resulting from COVID-19 infection, the vaccines wane in efficacy against COVID-19 infection and cannot stop transmission. Second, there are many animal hosts for SARS-CoV-2 and evidence of transmission between mammals and humans. One USDA study in late 2021 found that nearly 80% of white-tailed deer in the U.S. had evidence of COVID-19 antibodies. Dogs, cats, bats, mink and many other mammals can get COVID-19. So even if the disease were eradicated among humans, zoonotic transmission would guarantee that it would come back. Finally, eradication takes a global commitment from every country – an impossible goal since COVID-19 eradication is far from the most pressing public health problem for many developing countries.

May 20, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Leave a comment

Why is a New War Coming to Afghanistan?

By Salman Rafi Sheikh – New Eastern Outlook – May 19, 2022

Afghanistan, every now and then, is hit by a bomb attack. Most of the recent attacks have been claimed by the Islamic State in Khorasan (terrorist organization, banned in Russia)). Its ability to orchestrate highly sophisticated attacks shows that the group, contrary to the claims the US military officials made during the US occupation of Afghanistan, has not lost its strength at all. But, to the surprise of many, the IS-K, while a potent threat to the Taliban and the wider region of South and Central Asia, a new armed resistance is emerging against the Taliban, this time led by local Afghans rather than transnational jihadis. Afghanistan’s National Resistance Front (NRF) being led by Ahmad Massoud and Amrullah Saleh, Afghanistan’s former vice president, has officially launched an offensive against the Taliban. Scores of other armed groups, too, have announced their formations and declared their intentions, on their Facebook pages and otherwise, to resist the Taliban on their own or in alliance with the NRF.

According to claims made by the NRF’s Ali Nazary, head of NRF’s foreign relations, a fully-fledged offensive has been launched in the Panjshir valley, in at least three districts. The NRF has a presence across Afghanistan’s many provinces. As Ali Nazary told the Associated Press of France in an interview, the NRF will launch operations in all the provinces to drive out what it calls illegal occupants (i.e., the Taliban) of power in Kabul.

To be sure, the NRF is not the only group. An ex-general in the Afghan army, Sami Sadat, recently vowed to “continue to fight.” In an interview given to the BBC, Sadat said he would “do anything and everything in our powers to make sure Afghanistan is freed from the Taliban and a democratic system is re-established.”

Most of the media projection – especially in the West – about the emerging resistance against the Taliban is tied to the failure of the Taliban to develop a politically and ethnically inclusive system. Many important political groups have been excluded and the Taliban high command has captured power, with most of the key ministries being led by key Taliban commanders, including the Haqqanis. On top of this is the Taliban’s gradual return to implementing an orthodox interpretation of Islam to regulate politics and society at large.

While all of these issues do point to certain political problems, the emerging resistance has some geopolitical underpinnings too. Consider this: Sadat, who was until recently was nowhere to be seen, emerged out of thin air and suddenly became so important as to attract the BBC for an interview. The fact that the BBC interviewed him and published his views shows (1) how new anti-Taliban personalities are being dug up by the West, and (2) how they are being given international projection.

While the criticism the Taliban are facing has a valid foundation, it is also true that Afghanistan’s new war is being planned somewhere else. As some reports have shown, US envoys have been holding meetings with the NRF in Tajikistan, where the latter is based.

Media reports in the west are already predicting a ‘new fighting season’ in Afghanistan. While Sadat was interviewed by the BBC, Britain’s state broadcaster, a news report carried by the Voice of America (VoA), America’s state-owned broadcaster, too, showed how anti-Taliban resistance is already coming of age.

According to the report, apart from the NRF, there is an ‘Afghanistan Freedom Front.’ According to VoA, it is being led by General Yasin Zia, a former defense minister and chief of general staff. Another group is ‘Afghanistan Islamic National and Liberation Movement’ is being led by Abdul Mateen Sulaimankhail, a former Afghan Army special forces commander.

Why is the west giving state-level projections to these groups? This sudden projection comes against the backdrop of Russia’s and China’s growing ties with the Taliban, and an ever-increasing possibility of both Moscow and Beijing extending legitimacy to the Taliban rule by recognising it. This comes against the backdrop of an emerging understanding between the Taliban and China and Russia that the former will make sure not to allow anti-China and anti-Russian groups to spread into their territories. In exchange, Beijing and Moscow will help the Taliban.

In his latest visit to Kabul, China’s Wangi Yi told Taliban officials that “China respects the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, respects the independent choices made by the Afghan people and respects the religious beliefs and national customs of Afghanistan.” In the same meeting, Wang was assured that the Taliban will improve the “security environment” of Afghanistanin in ways to make it safe for China/region.

For China, therefore, Afghanistan is turning into a hospitable country, offering an increasing possibility of extending the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan as well. Indeed, Wang Yi hinted during the same visit that China is considering it seriously.

Improving security and the political environment is something that Russia also believes is developing in Afghanistan. In a statement released on April 29, 2022, the Russian Foreign Minister said that “since the Taliban’s accession to power, the military-political situation in Afghanistan has become relatively stable,” which means that Russia thinks the Taliban might be able to rule Afghanistan effectively.

It is against this geopolitical backdrop that we must understand the emergence of anti-Taliban resistance. A challenge from within Afghanistan, led by Afghans themselves, against Kabul would challenge the Russian and Chinese claims, and indeed the Taliban’s own claim, that Afghanistan is stabilising. A large-scale insurgency, or a civil war, in Afghanistan will, yet again, force China to withdraw its CPEC extension plans, as well as forcing Russia to rethink the possibility of extending its cooperation. On the other hand, it will also allow the West to withdraw whatever support it has been providing to the Taliban in favour of supporting these resistance groups.

In short, therefore, there is as much, or even more, geopolitics tied to the emerging resistance as domestic politics i.e., the Taliban’s decision to exclude regional elites and the latter’s decision to resist their exclusion.

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

May 20, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Leave a comment

House passes antisemitism resolution calling for surveillance and censorship of online content

By Christina Maas | Reclaim The Net | May 20, 2022

The House of Representatives has voted to pass a resolution that calls for increased surveillance and censorship of online speech, to help reduce antisemitism.

The resolution goes beyond condemning antisemitism; it goes into the realm of calling on social media platforms to do more to stop it.

We obtained a copy of the resolution for you here.

The resolution calls on social media platforms to “institute stronger and more significant efforts to measure and address online antisemitism” and, like most resolutions of this kind, pays lip-service to the idea of “protecting free speech concerns,” without providing details on how this is possible.

The resolution also calls for the house to work “in tandem with the cross-party Inter-parliamentary Task Force to Combat Online Anti-semitism to help craft thoughtful global initiatives designed to address online antisemitism.”

The resolution names platforms specifically, saying there has been an uptick in “antisemitic language, conspiracy theories, and hatred has increased on multiple social media platforms—from Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and TikTok.”

Rep. Thomas Massie, a Republican, was the only member of the House that recognized the implications of government once again trying to insert themselves into moderation on online platforms and voted against the bill on free speech grounds.

Massie made clear that his vote against the bill was not due to hating anyone “based on his or her ethnicity or religion” but on First Amendment grounds, that is designed to prevent the government from regulating speech. While the resolution is not a law that would force this speech regulation on platforms, the sentiment of the government pressure on platforms is evident.

“I don’t hate anyone based on his or her ethnicity or religion. Legitimate government exists, in part, to punish those who commit unprovoked violence against others, but government can’t legislate thought,” Massie wrote on Twitter.

“This bill promoted internet censorship and violations of the 1st amendment.”

The author of the resolution, Democrat Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, blamed the racially-motivated shooting in Buffalo, New York, on social media for amplifying “radicalizing content and conspiracy theories.” She argued that Section 230, which protects platforms from liability from content posted by users, should be removed.

“It’s past time to pass sane gun safety laws, but we also need to revisit Section 230 to remove social media company immunity if they amplify radicalizing content and conspiracy theories that promote violence like we saw in Buffalo,” she wrote on Twitter.

May 20, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 1 Comment

US setting up military bases in eastern Yemen cashing in on UN-brokered truce: Ansarullah

Press TV – May 20, 2022

The leader of Yemen’s popular Ansarullah resistance movement says the United States, with the help of its allied Takfiri militant groups, is building several military bases in the country’s eastern provinces of Hadhramaut and al-Mahrah as well as on the Red Sea coast.

Addressing a delegation of tribal leaders from the western Yemeni province of Ibb on Thursday evening, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi said Washington is setting up military installations in eastern Yemen and the country’s southern coastal city of Aden.

He asserted that the Yemeni nation cannot accept Washington’s diktats, warning that the enemies are hell-bent on sowing the seeds of discord and division among people by hook or by crook.

“We must work for security and social stability in Ibb province through compromise and cooperation among local authorities,” the top Yemeni resistance leader told the delegation.

He said the “enemies” have begun to mobilize military reinforcements by taking advantage of the UN-brokered ceasefire, which clearly shows their orientation towards the next stage of the war, and bears testimony to their failure in the previous phase.

“Enemies, having become fairly frustrated with attempts to impose their diktats through ousted Yemeni president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, have decided to remove him in a humiliating matter,” Houthi said.

“They brought a bunch of criminals, traitors, and thieves to power, and declared them as the leaders of the Yemeni nation. They are actually the picks of outsiders, not Yemenis.”

The leader of the Ansarullah movement further asserted that the Yemeni nation will never accept being under the ominous specter of the United States.

“It is the traitors and mercenaries who would like to prove their servitude to Saudi or Emirati officers,” he said, calling for an immediate end to foreign domination of the Arab country.

Normalization deals with Israel

In other remarks, Houthi pointed to the controversial normalization agreements between the Israeli regime and some Arab countries, describing the process as an opening for the Tel Aviv regime to flex its clout in the Middle East region.

“The parties displaying animosity and military aggression against our nation are the ones that are pushing for the normalization of ties with the Israeli enemy. The enemies’ main goal is to shatter the Yemeni nation’s unity and solidarity, and easily dominate it,” the Ansarullah leader said.

“Yemeni people will continue to tread the path of independence and freedom, and will prevent foreigners from interfering in their domestic affairs.”

Saudi Arabia launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with its Arab allies and with arms and logistics support from the US and other Western states.

The objective was to reinstall the Riyadh-friendly regime of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and crush the Ansarullah resistance movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of a functional government in Yemen.

While the Saudi-led coalition has failed to meet any of its objectives, the war has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

May 20, 2022 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

$65 billion in Western ‘aid for Ukraine’ is neither aid nor is it for Ukraine

By Drago Bosnic | May 20, 2022

In recent weeks, much has been said about the political West’s (primarily US) “aid” to the embattled Kiev regime. The US Congress has so far approved or is in the process of approving at least $54 billion to Ukraine. In addition, various reports put the amount of EU “aid” at up to €10 billion thus far, although the actual number is most likely orders of magnitude greater. When put together, this pushes the publicly acknowledged figure to a staggering $65 billion, which is equivalent to Russia’s annual military spending in nominal USD exchange rates.

The number seems rather impressive and may give an outlook that Ukraine will be able to defeat Russian forces. However, the situation on the ground says otherwise. With the political West’s postindustrial economy, their ability to mass-produce affordable and easily replaceable military hardware has increasingly been called into question. Thus, most of the “aid” from the US/EU is essentially a half measure. Throwing money at a problem is highly unlikely to resolve it, as actual situations require genuine, not monetary action.

The amount of hardware Ukraine lost so far is difficult to determine, as both sides provide diametrically opposing data, while independent confirmation from the ground is virtually impossible due to ongoing military operations. However, war footage taken by civilians, alternative media embedded with frontline troops, and soldiers themselves, clearly shows that Ukraine’s losses in manpower and equipment have been massive.

To replace lost hardware, the Kiev regime will require enormous resources. However, this will be quite challenging, as the country’s Military-Industrial Complex has been virtually annihilated by Russia’s long-range strikes. Thus, the regime will need to acquire additional military hardware elsewhere. The political West is the go-to address for this purpose, as Ukraine has been getting NATO weapons for years. Still, this hardware has had a limited impact on the battlefield. To change that, NATO powers decided to ramp up the so-called “lethal aid”.

However, in reality, the prospect of Ukraine getting the promised “aid” is rather grim. An obvious question arises, what will happen to nearly $65 billion? The first go-to address for such a question should be the US Congress. With the lawmaking body trying to fast track the deal, some US congressmen have voiced concerns that corrupt officials would be able to steal the “aid”, as was the case for decades during numerous US invasions across the globe. However, corruption and embezzlement, which geopolitical expert Paul Antonopoulos recently covered in a superb analysis, is the lesser problem in this situation.

Mainstream media have been portraying the political West as if it will be sending actual, physical money to the Kiev regime. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The funds will essentially stay in the “donor” countries. The largest share of those funds will officially be allocated to arming, or rather, rearming the Kiev regime forces. But who exactly, or more precisely, which companies will be producing weapons for the Ukrainian military? It’s safe to assume we all know the answer – the US Military-Industrial Complex, the largest and most powerful arms manufacturing cartel on the planet. Household names such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, BAE Systems, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, to name a few, will be getting the vast majority of those funds.

For instance, the “Phoenix Ghost” drones, manufactured by the California-based Aevex Aerospace and “Switchblade” drones, manufactured by AeroVironment, both designed to strike tanks and other armored vehicles, as well as infantry units. M113 armored vehicle is also being sent and while old, largely obsolete and not in production since 2007, it’s quite numerous, and getting rid of it will make way for the acquisition of its immediate successor, the AMPV (Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle), a turretless variant of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, produced by the BAE Systems.

Another BAE Systems product is the M777 howitzer, a towed 155 mm artillery piece designed for direct fire support. Ukrainian troops are already using them, while recent videos released by the Russian military show some have already been destroyed in battle. Interestingly, the howitzers delivered to Ukraine lack digital fire-control systems.

The much-touted “Stinger” MANPADS (produced by Raytheon) and “Javelin” ATGMs (co-produced by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon) have been sent in the thousands. However, their effectiveness has been questionable at best, despite Western media trying to portray them as supposed “game-changers”. Russian tanks have been filmed surviving up to 7 “Javelin” hits, even continuing to fight, much to the frustration of Ukrainian forces, which have recently been ordered to stop publicly complaining about the lackluster performance of Western weapons.

Raytheon’s AN/MPQ-64 “Sentinel”, an X-band range-gated, pulse-Doppler radar used to alert and cue short-range air defense systems has also been sent. In addition, 40 million rounds of small arms ammunition, 5,000 assault and battle rifles, 1,000 pistols, 400 machine guns and 400 shotguns have been sent to Ukraine, along with more than 1 million grenades, mortars and 200,000 artillery rounds. These deliveries have been completed by early May. The actual number is most certainly much higher as of this writing.

The weapons in question are not changing the strategic balance between Russia and the Kiev regime, but are prolonging the fight, resulting in even higher military and civilian casualties. Also, logistics-wise, having so many different types of weapons creates a lot of problems for the Ukrainian military, which is barely holding together as it is. There are also issues of training and doctrinal incompatibility.

M777 howitzers are immobile when deployed and are designed with air dominance in mind. US troops are supposed to use them from a safe distance, serving as fire support by striking very specific targets during overseas operations, which is completely opposite to what is going on in Ukraine, where the other side (Russia) enjoys air dominance and uses massed artillery to punch holes in Ukrainian lines, followed by massive and well-coordinated armor assaults. Thus, US weapons not only fail in providing an effective counter to Russian troops, but are even getting Ukrainian forces killed, as they are still not accustomed to using them.

And last, but not least, the “aid” provided (and soon to be provided) by NATO countries are essentially long-term loans which will have to be repaid in the following decades. The WWII-era Lend-Lease program for the USSR, estimated at $160 billion in present-day USD, was repaid in full only in 2006. Thus, we can assume Ukraine will be paying off the current $65 billion “aid” for the rest of this century. That is, provided there will be a viable Ukrainian state to do so after the conflict ends.

Drago Bosnic is an independent geopolitical and military analyst.

May 20, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism | , , , | 1 Comment

Damascus Says Areas of Syria Occupied by US Troops Will Soon Return to Government Control

Samizdat – 19.05.2022

The United States and its Syrian Kurdish militia allies control wide swathes of territory in eastern Syria, including areas producing the vast majority of the Arab Republic’s oil, gas and food. Damascus has accused Washington of stealing these resources, and demanded repeatedly that the US withdraw its forces.
The US occupation of eastern Syria will soon be brought to an end, Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad has said.

“The illegal US presence in the Jazira region of northern Syria is reaching its end, and the regions occupied by American forces will soon come under the Damascus government’s authority,” Mekdad said, speaking to Syria’s al-Ikhbariyah TV.

Mekdad called on the majority Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces militias to realize that America would eventually withdraw and abandon them.

The foreign minister said Damascus’s principled support for the Palestinian cause, and its efforts to liberate Israeli-occupied territories in the Golan Heights and southern Lebanon were among the key causes behind the foreign-backed conflict which has rocked Syria since 2011.

“Given Syria’s strong commitment to such positions, as well as its strategic location and great regional influence, hostile nations have been trying to affect the Damascus government’s policies. Having failed in their attempts, they resorted to terrorism and sponsored this menace with billions of dollars,” Mekdad said.

This foreign-backed effort to break up the country has failed, Mekdad stressed.

US forces have occupied oil and food-rich areas of Syria since 2017, entering the country under the pretext of fighting Daesh (ISIS). The Islamist militia rampaged through northern and western Iraq and eastern Syria from 2013-2017 before being pushed back and defeated by an unlikely coalition including the Syrian and Iraqi governments, Iraqi Shia militias, Russia, Iran, Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, and, at least formally, the United States.

The Biden administration has expressed no intention of withdrawing US forces from Syria, with at least 900 troops and an unknown number of defence contractors operating across ten or more bases dotting the country’s northeast.

Syrian officials and media have accused these forces of guarding oil and gas production facilities, and of escorting convoys of oil tankers and food-laden trucks out of the country into Iraq, while bringing weaponry and supplies for bases in. Unlike his predecessor Donald Trump, who openly bragged about being in Syria to “take” and “keep the oil,” Joe Biden has insisted that the US’s illegal presence in the country is about “preventing a resurgence” of Daesh.

The Syrian army and ordinary residents regularly confront US occupation forces using non-lethal means, including by blocking off local roads and setting up checkpoints to try to stop American armoured vehicles from using them.

May 20, 2022 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Caught on camera – how Trump was robbed of the 2020 election

By Thomas Lane | TCW Defending Freedom | May 19, 2022

Joe Biden is president of the United States. That is an indisputable fact. But how he got to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is questionable.

The statistical anomalies of the 2020 election alone make Biden’s victory seem dubious. Here are a few, of many, examples:

Donald Trump’s campaign rallies filled stadiums with tens of thousands of supporters; Biden’s campaign events – when he left the basement – hardly attracted a dozen. If these candidates were two musicians, and one was selling out arenas while the other was struggling to fill a little pub, which act would a record company executive bet on becoming a gold-record performer?

For the past ten American presidential elections, 19 counties, often referred to as the ‘bellwether counties’, predicted the outcome of the race. In 2020, Donald Trump won 18 of these counties, but Biden won the presidency.

At midnight on election night, vote counting mysteriously stopped in five states – Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada and North Carolina – where Trump had a significant lead over Biden. The next morning, Biden suddenly had more votes than Trump. One is expected to believe that nearly 100 per cent of the votes which arrived during this suspicious pause were for Biden?

Certain that the election was fraught with fraud, Trump and some of his supporters challenged the results of the 2020 election with dozens of lawsuits. But most of the cases were dismissed by judges due to ‘lack of standing’, which is a legal term that states ‘the party has not alleged a sufficient legal interest and injury to participate in the case’.

However, Dinesh D’Souza’s new political documentary, 2,000 Mules, just might give Trump’s lawsuits a leg to stand on.

Using geotracking, a technology which locates the exact position of a person by obtaining data from his or her smartphone or similar devices, Catherine Engelbrecht and Gregg Phillips of True the Vote were able to expose a couple of thousand mules (people who illegally collected and deposited voting ballots) travelling between pro-Biden campaign offices and ballot drop boxes during the final month of the election season.

Engelbrecht and Phillips then obtained security camera footage of the mules stuffing the drop boxes with ballots. The mules’ activity ranged from just a few ballots deposited in several boxes throughout the month, to nearly 300 mules visiting one box and depositing 1,900 ballots (10x the average) in a single day.

In the most compelling scene in the documentary, D’Souza multiplies the number of mules by the number of their drop-box visits, then multiplies that number by the number of ballots deposited by each mule to get a total number of illegal votes. He does this calculation for each swing state where Biden won, then subtracts the number of illegal votes from Biden’s total. Spoiler alert: Mules concludes that Trump won the 2020 election.

D’Souza and his team have done their part: they have exposed the criminals and the crime. Between the geotracking data and the surveillance footage, they have evidence of over 2,000 people committing felonies. However, their hands are tied because they are mere citizens. As D’Souza concludes in the film: ‘It is time for law enforcement to step in.’

May 20, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Film Review | , | Leave a comment

Ex-FBI General Counsel Says Bureau Found No Evidence of Link Between Trump, Russian Bank

Samizdat – 19.05.2022

WASHINGTON – The FBI found no evidence of a covert communications channel between former US President Donald Trump and Russia’s Alfa Bank, former FBI General Counsel James Baker said in a testimony at the trial of Hillary Clinton’s lawyer Michael Sussmann, according to a Fox News report.

Sussmann told the FBI in 2016 that there was a backdoor communications channel between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, which is reportedly linked to the Russian government. Sussmann is being charged with making a false statement in connection with the meeting for allegedly lying about not working on behalf of any clients.

A probe conducted by Special Counsel John Durham alleges that Sussmann was actually working for the campaign of Hillary Clinton, as well as for tech executive Rodney Joffe.

Baker emphasized that the FBI concluded there was no substance to Sussmann’s allegations against Trump and could not confirm there was a surreptitious communications channel, the report said.

The testimony echoes that of FBI Special Agent Scott Hellman, who said on Tuesday during the trial said that the allegations against Trump were found to be untrue, the report added.

The FBI investigated allegations of Trump collusion with the Russian government in a probe run by Special Counsel Robert Mueller starting in 2017. Mueller’s investigation found no evidence of a criminal conspiracy or collusion between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian officials.

Durham in 2019 was chosen to investigate the origins of the FBI’s probe into the Trump campaign. The investigation has resulted in indictments against Sussmann, as well as Igor Danchenko and Kevin Clinesmith.

May 19, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , | 3 Comments

Moderna Vaccine Delivered More Risk Than Benefit in Trials for Children 6 to 11, Despite New York Times Positive Spin

By Madhava Setty, M.D. | The Defender | May 17, 2022

Two doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine “were found to be safe and effective in inducing immune responses and preventing COVID-19,” according to an analysis of the results of Moderna’s vaccine trial in children ages 6 to 11.

However, a closer look at the analysis, published May 11 in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), finds the trial results showed the vaccine provided meager benefit when compared to risk, and the study was too small to assess serious and known adverse events such as myocarditis and pericarditis in children of this age.

The NEJM paper presented findings from both Phase 1 (complete) and Phase 2 and 3 (ongoing) trials of Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine. Phase 1 results were used to determine an appropriate dose for the Phase 2 and 3 trials.

The authors of the analysis concluded:

“Two 50-μg doses of the mRNA-1273 vaccine were found to be safe and effective in inducing immune responses and preventing Covid-19 in children 6 to 11 years of age; these responses were non-inferior to those in young adults.”

The scope of my analysis below is limited to the Phase 2 and 3 portions of the trial where 4,016 children were randomly assigned to receive two injections of mRNA-1273 (50 μg each) or a placebo.

How effective was the vaccine?

The effectiveness of the Moderna vaccine, as determined by immunogenicity (the ability of the vaccine to elicit an antibody response), exceeded that measured in adolescents in a separate trial.

However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains that antibody test results should not be used as an indication of immunity.

Moreover, the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biologics Product Advisory Committee reached a consensus in April that antibody levels cannot be used as a correlate for vaccine effectiveness.

The FDA committee’s decision is consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s executive summary of a science brief, released on Oct. 29, 2021, which stated:

“Data are presently insufficient to determine an antibody titer threshold that indicates when an individual is protected from infection.”

Nevertheless, the FDA used immunobridging as a means to justify authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, as The Defender reported here and here.

If the FDA authorizes the Moderna formulation for children age 6 and under, it would be another example of the agency making a decision that contradicts its own position.

With regard to “preventing COVID-19,” Moderna’s Phase 2 and 3 trials showed no deaths, hospitalizations or severe infections in either those who received the vaccine or those who were given the placebo.

Thus, the trial could not determine the benefit, if any, of the vaccine in preventing these outcomes.

Beginning 14 days after the second dose, 3 of 2,644 vaccine recipients developed COVID-19 (defined as a positive PCR test and a single symptom) compared to 4 of 853 placebo recipients (see Table S26).

Adjusting for the different number of recipients in each of the two groups, 12.4 cases of symptomatic disease would have occurred in a group of 2,644 placebo recipients.

This means that 2,644 vaccinations would prevent 9.4 (12.4 – 3 = 9.4) cases of COVID-19.

Put another way, more than 280 children in this age group would need to be fully vaccinated (two doses) to prevent a single case of non-severe, symptomatic COVID-19 — so 280 is the Number Needed to Vaccinate (NNV), which is the key metric used to assess risk versus benefit as explained below.

The authors of the NEJM paper admitted their findings were limited because too few cases of COVID-19 occurred in this time window. They instead calculated a Vaccine Efficacy (VE) of 88% based on infections occurring 14 days after the first injection.

COVID-19 mRNA vaccine trials to date have all calculated VE starting from the time the product is thought to have maximum efficacy, i.e., 14 days after the second dose. This approach has been criticized as being impractical if not disingenuous as it will necessarily exaggerate the product’s benefit.

However, now faced with a dearth of outcomes, Moderna investigators chose to veer from their prior strategy. Using outcomes from 14 days after the first dose, we can calculate that 56 children need to be fully vaccinated to prevent a single symptomatic infection.

Was the vaccine ‘safe’?

Trial participants were assessed for local and systemic adverse reactions within 7 days of the first and second doses.

In the vaccine group, 94% of children experienced a local adverse reaction after the first dose, and 95% experienced a local adverse reaction after the second dose.

Local adverse reactions include pain, redness or swelling at the injection site or in proximal lymph nodes.

Also, according to the trial results, 58% of vaccine recipients suffered a systemic adverse reaction after the first dose, and 78% suffered a systemic adverse reaction after the second dose.

Systemic reactions include fever, chills, headache, muscle/joint pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.

The majority of these adverse reactions were mild. However, 4.1% of the vaccinated children experienced Grade 3 local and systemic reactions after the first dose, and 12.2% of vaccinated children experienced Grade 3 local and systemic reactions after the second dose.

Grade 3 events are serious and interfere with a person’s ability to do basic activities and may also require medical intervention.

Finally, 29.6% of vaccinees (891) reported an unsolicited adverse event.

Unsolicited events are those independently reported by a participant to investigators. There is generally a degree of underreporting of these adverse events because the reporting requires the participant to initiate the report, rather than reply to a survey initiated by someone else.

While solicited (via a survey) adverse events are assigned a grade, unsolicited adverse events are divided into “serious” and “not serious.”

In the Moderna Phase 2 and 3 trials, only three of these unsolicited adverse events were classified as serious. All three were deemed unrelated to the vaccine by the investigators.

However, the study reported only those unsolicited adverse events that occurred with a greater-than-1% incidence.

In other words, with a vaccinated pool of children of approximately 3,000, if fewer than 30 children had a particular adverse event, it was not reported in the trial results (Table S20).

Conclusions

The investigators admit their analysis of the vaccine’s efficacy is limited because of the limited number of cases that occurred during the study.

Nevertheless, they conclude, “… the mRNA-1273 vaccine at a dose level of 50 μg in children was protective against Covid-19 beginning 14 days after the first injection.”

They also wrote:

“These results extend the evidence of the safety and efficacy of the mRNA-1273 vaccine seen in adults and adolescents and provide support for the use of this vaccine to prevent Covid-19 in children.”

But at what price?

If we use an NNV of 56, and considering that 4.1% and 12.2% of vaccinated children will suffer Grade 3 local and systemic reactions, every one case of non-severe COVID-19 prevented through vaccination will result in two Grade 3 local reactions and nearly seven Grade 3 systemic reactions.

Using an NNV of 280 based on outcomes 14 days after the second dose predicts that 11 children will suffer a Grade 3 local reaction and 35 will suffer a Grade 3 systemic reaction for every COVID-19 case prevented.

The risk-benefit profile of this product in this age group should not reassure the public or the FDA.

Moreover, this study was conducted in the summer and fall of 2021, a time when Delta was the predominant strain.

A large observational study from the state of New York conducted during the time Omicron was the prevalent variant demonstrated Pfizer’s pediatric formulation had efficacy that plummeted to 12% within seven weeks.

There is no reason to believe Moderna’s product will fare any better.

Nevertheless, The New York Timesreporting on the May 11 NEJM analysis, highlighted the vaccine’s immunogenic power, running the headline, “Moderna Vaccine Provokes Strong Immune Response in Children 6 to 11.”

Despite the headline, which framed the analysis in a positive light, the Times did admit:

“The trial was not large enough to detect rarer side effects, such as the heart problems that have been observed in other age groups.

“Moderna’s trial measured the vaccine’s power against the Delta variant, and the researchers are still assessing its performance against Omicron. All of the vaccines have proven to be less effective, in all age groups, against the Omicron variant.”

Despite only tepid support from mainstream media, the FDA seems fixated on authorizing this product.

Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, recently hinted the FDA would not demand that pediatric vaccine formulations against COVID-19 meet the agency’s own Emergency Use Authorization guidelines requiring 50% efficacy.

Vinay Prasad, M.D., MPH, explained the implications of this potential shift in the FDA’s stance, stating it was “incredible” that Marks would sign off on a pediatric vaccine if it seems to be mirroring efficacy in adults but is less effective against Omicron.

“We have standards for a reason,” Prasad said. The standard chosen by the FDA was “arbitrary and, if anything, I’d argue it was on the low side — 50% isn’t as good as what we wanted.”

“Fifty percent is quite low, and if you have a very low vaccine efficacy […] you can have compensatory behavior that actually leads to a lot more viral spread,” he added.

Though an effective vaccine does not presently exist, finding and authorizing one does not pose a problem if the FDA somehow believes it can redefine “effective” while maintaining a semblance of a regulatory authority.

© 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.

May 19, 2022 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

George W. Bush Inadvertently Condemns “Unjustified and Brutal Invasion of Iraq”

By Paul Joseph Watson | Summit News | May 19, 2022

Former President George W. Bush endured an awkward moment during a speech when he meant to refer to Ukraine but instead condemned “the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq.”

Whoops.

Bush made the error during a speech where he compared Ukrainian President Zelensky to Winston Churchill.

“The decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq. I mean of Ukraine,” said Bush.

Freudian slip, much?

Bush blamed his age for the gaffe, joking, “I’m 75,” but his entire presidency was replete with similar such moments.

Bush’s reference to Russia eliminating political opponents from participating in the electoral process can equally be applied to Ukraine.

President Zelensky recently signed a law banning political opposition parties if they are deemed to be “pro-Russian,” a vague smear that could be applied broadly.

He also nationalized all television networks in the country, freezing out any possibility of dissent.

A YouTuber who criticized Zelensky was also recently detained on an international arrest warrant in Spain and faces possible extradition at the behest of the Ukrainian government.

Last month, footage was released of Associated Press accompanying armed men from the Ukraine Security Service as they kidnapped and arrested dissidents from their own homes.

But yeah, Putin bad!

May 19, 2022 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | | 1 Comment

The (Undercover) Epicenter Nurse | Episode Nine

Perspectives on the Pandemic | June 9, 2020

Erin Marie Olszewski is a Nurse-turned-investigative journalist, who has spent the last few months on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic, on the inside in two radically different settings. Two hospitals. One private, the other public. One in Florida, the other in New York.

And not just any New York public hospital, but the “epicenter of the epicenter” itself, the infamous Elmhurst in Donald Trump’s Queens. As a result of these diametrically opposed experiences, she has the ultimate “perspective on the pandemic”. She has been where there have been the most deaths attributed to Covid-19 and where there have been the least. Erin enlisted in the Army when she was 17. She deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Part of her duties involved overseeing aid disbursement and improvements to hospital facilities. While in country she received the Army Commendation Medal for meritorious service, and was wounded in combat.

Erin eventually retired as a sergeant, and became a civilian nurse in 2012. Erin is a medical freedom and informed consent advocate. She co-founded the Florida Freedom Alliance but no longer has any connection with the organization. Watch more episodes of Perspectives on the Pandemic here:

Episode 1: https://dai.ly/x7ubcws

Episode 2: https://dai.ly/k7af1wKOAvcoA7w5DkZ

Episode 3: https://youtu.be/VK0Wtjh3HVA

Episode 4: https://youtu.be/cwPqmLoZA4s

Episode 5: https://dai.ly/k3l3VyZ2YQv6Zbw5VqE

Episode 6: https://youtu.be/3f0VRtY9oTs

Episode 7: https://youtu.be/2JbOvjtnPpE

Episode 8: https://youtu.be/WlLmt6_w_AM (As of publication of this video, the producers are still awaiting comment from Elmhurst Hospital). Produced by Libby Handros and John Kirby, The Press and the Public Project. Ref 7814

May 19, 2022 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment