“My own sense – and I mentioned this the other day – is, look, there’s a lot of hard work to do to make sure that countries and partners get through the winter. Europe itself has taken very significant steps to both decrease demand but also look at ways to pursue the transition to renewables at the same time. And ultimately this is also a tremendous opportunity. It’s a tremendous opportunity to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy and thus to take away from Vladimir Putin the weaponization of energy as a means of advancing his imperial designs. That’s very significant and that offers tremendous strategic opportunity for the years to come, but meanwhile, we’re determined to do everything we possibly can to make sure that the consequences of all of this are not borne by citizens in our countries or, for that matter, around the world.”–US Secretary of STATE Antony J. Blinken describing terrorist cutting of European gas lifeline, NordStream 1 + 2 as
“tremendous strategic opportunity”
[The violent destruction of the Nordstream 1 + 2 pipelines is a direct aggression against the people and interests of the European Union, as well as against Russia. The entire world is aware that the European people had great hopes that they would be able to top-off all Euro storage facilities before the US forced closure of all Russian gas and oil to Europe. And there will now be no American gas available to meet the shortage and it will take a very long time to build new Qatari ships and lp facilities…the coming freezing of Europe will not be Russia’s fault.]
Gas leaks in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines connecting Russia to Germany are being investigated by a crisis team set up by Sweden and Denmark.
Although the cause of the leaks has not been officially confirmed, measuring stations connected to the Swedish National Seismic Network (SNSN) detected powerful underwater explosions.
“We do not know what the cause of the explosions is,” Michael Roth, a seismologist at SNSN, told EUobserver on Tuesday (27 September). “But we think the events are explosions and not just a burst [pipe] or leak because of the high-frequency signals.”
The first explosion was recorded at 02:03 on the night of Monday, and the second at 7:04 p.m. on Monday.
One of the explosions had a magnitude of 2.2 on the Richter scale and was registered at as many as 30 measuring stations in Sweden.
“Blasts and earthquakes can be distinguished by the type of seismic waves they emit. An earthquake of that magnitude would have lower frequencies than a blast,” Roth said. “The signals related to the two events are clearly explosions.”
“However, we can not deduce which source was used,” he said.
The Danish Royal Navy announced on Tuesday it had sent the frigate Absalon and the environmental ship Gunnar Thorson to patrol the waters and prevent vessels from entering the exclusion zones near the leak.
In an aerial picture posted by the Danish air force taken from an F-16 fighter jet, gas could be seen swirling to the surface in an area measuring about 1km in diameter. The smaller circle where the other blast took place is approximately 200 metres wide.
“We can see that a lot of gas is being released. So it is not a small crack. It’s a really big hole,” director of the Danish Energy Agency Kristoffer Böttzauw told Danish daily Berlingske.
Danish authorities on Tuesday raised the level of preparedness for energy companies. This requires them to do physical safety checks of the generator grounds several times a day.
“A leak is extremely rare, and it naturally causes strong concern. That is why we have raised the level of preparedness in Denmark,” Böttzauw said.
“It is hard to imagine that it is accidental. We cannot rule out sabotage, but it is too early to conclude,” Danish prime minister Mette Frederiksen said while in Poland, where she attended the inauguration of the Baltic pipeline which will connect the Norwegian gas grid to Poland.
Her Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawieckiwas was less cautious. “Today we faced an act of sabotage, we don’t know all the details of what happened, but we see clearly that it’s an act of sabotage related to the next step of escalation of the situation in Ukraine,” he said.
When asked when divers would be able to investigate the leaks up close, the Danish Energy Agency could not immediately respond.
Right now, most Governments do things that are commonly said to be evil when perpetrated by an ‘enemy’ country but which are simultaneously considered to be okay when one’s own Government does it. For example, the U.S. Government invaded Iraq in 2003 on the basis of purely lies (for which no one was held to account, and which lies were themselves subsequently lied-about by saying they had been only ‘intelligence failures’ though they weren’t at all that), but this same U.S. Government is now pouring the most vicious terms of condemnation upon today’s Russian Government for invading Ukraine after the U.S. anti-Russian military alliance NATO had announced unanimously on January 7th that Ukraine’s application to join that anti-Russian military alliance on Russia’s very border and thus to allow the U.S. Government to position its nuclear missiles in Ukraine within only a five-minute striking-distance from Russia’s central command in Moscow, was going to be accepted. If Russia fails to win control over enough of Ukraine so as to block that from ever happening, then the very real prospect will exist that the time-window for a U.S. blitz nuclear annihilation of Russia’s central command in Moscow will become far shorter than the half-hour time-frame for the Soviet Union to annihilate America’s central command in Washington DC was when JFK threatened Khrushchev with World War III if the Soviet Government were to place its missiles in Cuba. Obviously, that’s unacceptable for any country; it was unacceptable for Americans during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, and it would be even more unacceptable for Russians today, because, whereas Cuba is 1,131 miles from DC, Ukraine is (at its nearest point to Moscow) only 353 miles from The Kremlin — and missiles today are far faster than they were in 1962.
America’s voters don’t want to acknowledge that they were fooled, by lying Presidents and by their stenographic ‘free press’ transmitting Governmental lies — they were thus deceived into invading and destroying Iraq in 2003, and Libya in 2011-, and Syria in 2011-. U.S. is globally the most frequently mentioned nation as being “the greatest threat to peace in the world today.” The biggest threat to peace isn’t Iran, and isn’t Russia, and isn’t China, and isn’t Venezuela, but it is, in fact, their mutually shared and actually aggressive enemy, the United States of America, which wants to dictate to them all — this imperialistic dictatorship demands to impose its ‘democracy’ throughout the world, as it has tried to do in hundreds of coups and invasions. It destroyed Iran’s democracy in 1953. It destroyed Guatemala’s democracy in 1954. It destroyed Chile’s democracy in 1973. And there are many other such instances, less well-known — including many even after the so-called ‘ideological’ Cold War ended in 1991. But the American people obviously don’t want to know, and don’t even care, about the ugliness of the Government that they allegedly ‘elect’ (but really do not — and they don’t want to know that, either). Americans aren’t physical slaves, but are mental slaves — they don’t even want to know the reality, of the regime that rules them.
As A.B. Abrams’s 2021 World War in Syria: Global Conflict on Middle Eastern Battlefields stated in its Chapter 1, regarding what was actually an obsession by the U.S. regime to take control over Syria as soon as the French imperial regime lost Syria in the wake of WW II, “The first [coup in Syria, the CIA’s actually second coup, the one in Thailand in 1948 having been its first-ever coup] was engineered by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) against the government of President Shukri Al Quwatli.11 The [Al Quwatli] administration was targeted primarily due to its lack of enthusiasm for [actually its opposition to] a major American project, the Trans-Arabian Pipeline, which was intended to transport Saudi Arabian oil to Europe through Syrian territory. Quwatli’s replacement, a general with a ‘strong pro-French orientation’ named Husni Al Zaim, ran what Pentagon cables described as an ‘army supported dictatorship’ with a ’strong anti-Soviet attitude.’12 His government approved the pipeline in its first week in power, but was overthrown five months later by colonel Sami Al Hinnawi whose short-lived administration was itself toppled by another colonel, Adib Shishakli, in December . Shishakli’s pro-Western government lasted four years before a coup deposed it and restored national elections. Al Quwatli was then re-elected in 1955, and his administration distanced itself from the West as a result of the CIA’s involvement in the original March 1949 coup.” This bit of history alone is sufficient to show that at the start of the CIA by U.S. President Truman in 1947, Truman’s Government was fixated upon robbing the peoples of other countries — which Governments it would label as being ‘communist’ though they were not and were ONLY trying to establish or continue democracy, which the U.S. regime would NOT allow — in order to enrich America’s own and allied billionaires, such as the Saudi royal family, and, of course, the U.S.-and-European billionaires who would ALSO get a cut into the marketing and distribution of the Saud family’s oil sales. Clearly, therefore, that bit of history constitutes virtually a proof that as soon as FDR died and WW II was over, Truman turned the U.S. Government into the U.S. regime that we know today, a hegemonic imperialistic-capitalist, or fascist, dictatorship by America’s super-rich as now constituting America’s aristocracy controlling the entire then-nascent growing U.S. empire — grab, grab, grab, all the way. For example: as was documented by the link at the opening here, the U.S. regime’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 was no mere fluke or ‘intelligence error’ (such as the billionaires’ media portray it) but instead it was just another part of the entire post-FDR U.S. global dictatorship, which constantly lies through its teeth in order to further enrich its insatiably grasping billionaires and their foreign business-partners, all being an international-gangland operation that they have the nerve to call ‘democracy’ (and, so, to insult that noble term).
Americans prefer to remain deceived, and to blame-the-victims — Iran, Russia, China, Syria, Venezuela, etc. — even as our Government imposes entirely unjustified and unjustifiable strangulating economic blockades (“sanctions”) against countries that America’s voracious and vicious megacorporate aristocracy (America’s billionaires) want to control, so as for those lands to become additional parts of the U.S. regime’s global dictatorship, and for those super-rich vampires to suck dry even of their independence.
This is a 1984 country, where white is black, good is bad, war is peace, deception is routine, and the masses are satisfied, with their intellectual enslavement, to these lies and liars — their masters.
Here’s an example:
On August 1st of 2019, the largest Republican Party online news-medium, Breitbart, headlined “Donald Trump: Tulsi Gabbard ‘Doesn’t Know What She’s Talking About’ on Al Qaeda”, and reported:
President Donald Trump criticized Rep. Tulsi Gabbard on Thursday for claiming that he was supporting Al Qaeda.
During the Democrat debate on Wednesday, Gabbard accused the president of betraying the American people on terrorism.
“We were supposed to be going after Al Qaeda,” she said. “But over years now, not only have we not gone after Al Qaida, who is stronger today than they were in 9/11, our president is supporting Al Qaida.”
Gabbard had asserted during the July 31st Democratic debate:
We were all lied to. This is the betrayal. This is the betrayal to the American people, to me, to my fellow servicemembers. We were all lied to, told that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, was working with Al Qaida, and that this posed a threat to the American people.
So I enlisted after 9/11 to protect our country, to go after those who attacked us on that fateful day, who took the lives of thousands of Americans.
The problem is that this current president is continuing to betray us. We were supposed to be going after Al Qaida. But over years now, not only have we not gone after Al Qaida, who is stronger today than they were in 9/11, our president is supporting Al Qaida.
Donald Trump can’t stand the truth, and neither can Gabbard’s own Democratic Party voters, who refuse to recognize that their own beloved President Obama had been protecting Al Qaeda in Syria in order to overthrow Syria’s sovereign Government and replace it with one that would be appointed by the Saud family who own Saudi Arabia.
The scum that is at the top of the U.S. Government (including all recent Presidents) is bipartisan in supporting the Sauds and their Israeli ally, both of whom crave for America to invade and destroy Iran, which both of them consider to be their mortal enemy. Trump wanted economically to strangle Iran to death without physically invading it, but that’s hardly less barbaric, and less unjustifiable, than an outright invasion — and Iran never invaded nor even threatened to invade America. This is pure U.S. aggression, which is the American Government’s way. Israel and the Sauds aren’t rich enough to protect themselves? What? They really can’t protect themselves? (And Iran won’t attack either of them, unless it’s invaded; so: What’s all of this about, anyway, other than lies and power-grabbing, by the U.S. Government and its allies?)
One of the rare intelligent and well-informed readers at that Breitbart article commented:
windship Doug Dannger • I’m not American, so am neutral on Gabbard, but most of the world that pays attention knows full well that al Qaeda owes it’s entire existence to the astounding generosity of three deceptive nations: the US, Israel and the KSA. Great teamwork produces things like 9/11.
Why don’t Americans know and understand what that person knew and understood? They refuse to. There are exceptions, of course, just as there are some Americans who know and understand that the U.S. regime is the biggest threat to peace throughout the world, but there are only few exceptions. The rest are mental slaves — they insist upon believing lies.
Also on August 1st of 2019, Fox News headlined “Tulsi Gabbard defends debate claim that Trump supports Al Qaeda”, and reported:
“Gabbard cited Trump’s “support and alliance with Saudi Arabia that is both providing direct and indirect support directly to Al Qaeda,” when she spoke to Shannon Bream of “Fox News @ Night” after the debate.” “’How can you say Saudi Arabia is a great partner in fighting terrorism when they are fueling and funding terrorist groups in Yemen?’ she added.” She said that Saudi Arabia is pushing for a war with Iran, which would be “far more devastating, far more costly” than the U.S. war in Iraq.
Most of the reader-comments there were pure partisan (i.e., suckered) bunk, like “Democrats never back down from a lie even when they’re proven wrong.” But one was partly realistic:
RobtheOld: Whose to blame on this one…Tulsi or Fox? The Saudis have been giving money to Al Qaeda for years thru radical clerics [actually, even through Saudi princes’ own donations], under the table and not so under the table. Clinton, Bush and Obama all knew this in real time. What did they do about it? What does she expect Trump to do about it? The Saudis are one of our “best” friends in the region, or so the experts say.. I don’t see how that means President Trump is supporting Al Qaeda. I do know that Tulsi once took a volcanic stone from the Big Island and that’s why Kilauea erupted. That means Tulsi started the volcano, right?
The reality is that Gabbard spoke the truth. But Americans don’t want to know this. Trump, like Obama, was a supporter of the Sauds, and protected Al Qaeda. Even the neocon The Daily Beast acknowledged on 13 March 2017 (two months after Trump became President) “The American air campaign has notably not targeted al Qaeda in Syria, known as Jabhat al Nusra.” Trump continued Obama’s policy. Trump does whatever he can to place the Sauds in control of Syria. The U.S. regime lies through its teeth. And Americans believe it, each time, as if the U.S. Government’s track-record in its allegations regarding international affairs were good, instead of disgusting and loaded with lies. Donald Trump protects Al Qaeda in Syria, just as did Barack Obama.
Back on 4 April 2007, when the New York Times headlined “Pelosi Meets With Syrian Leader [Assad]”, Democrats approved but Republicans did not; but when on 26 January 2017 Rep. Gabbard met with him, the headline at CBS was “Rep. Tulsi Gabbard defends meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad”, and she was not only condemned by Republicans, but abandoned by Democrats. PBS’s (Public Broadcasting System’s) 1 October 2020 interview with Gabbard opened with the interviewer saying that Gabbard had “infamously met with Bashar al-Assad.” The U.S. regime is in lock-down mode, now — bipartisan fascism — and its public just go along with this, don’t rebel against such propaganda; they instead subscribe to it. Not to be fascist is even treated as if that were to be unpatriotic. (This is like the McCarthyism period; but, this time, there’s not even the ideological rationalization for it, just sheer evil on the part of the perpetrators, plus callousness, if not disinterest, on the part of the public.) The American people accept a fascist regime; this has even become bipartisan fascism, in America. Never before has Americans’ self-deception been quite this pervasive. Only around 2% of Democratic voters were supporting Gabbard, and the media did everything they could to bring that number even lower. Right after the 31 July 2019 Democratic Presidential Primary debate, a ten-minute Anderson Cooper interview with her presented Cooper (at 5:10-8:10 in that video-clip) basically challenging her patriotism and even her decency, because she had met with Assad. This was blatant billionaires-hired prime-time CNN propaganda, to ditch her candidacy. Jamil Smith, of Rolling Stone, MSNBC, and The New Republic, said that her answers there, to Cooper, were “disqualifying”.
Americans today don’t mind invading and occupying a country on the basis of sheer lies. But then Americans become exercised with hatred against Russia when it invaded Ukraine after NATO insisted that Ukraine would become a member (and so there was the real prospect of U.S. nuclear missiles becoming positioned just a five-minute flight to annihilating Moscow) after Obama had couped and grabbed Ukraine in 2014 in what some have called “the most blatant coup in history.” Controlling the media is controlling the mass-mind, in a ‘democracy’. But such a country can’t be any democracy, because its public are mere mental slaves to whatever liars appeal to the biggest percentage of the public’s prejudices. In America, it comes down to Democratic Party lies, versus Republican Party lies. Just like with science itself, democracy can be based only on the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Billionaires won’t give up on corporate rule. The angry masses embrace fascist demagogues. This won’t end well
Scales with dollars and skull with US flag (Getty Images/bestdesigns)
This article originally appeared at ScheerPost. Used by permission.
The persecuted and the abandoned, now in the tens of millions, know the future. For them, the future has already arrived. Julian Assange, the most important publisher of our generation, whose extradition to the U.S. was approved last Friday by British Home Secretary Priti Patel, is an example of what will befall all publishers and journalists that expose the inner workings of power. His imprisonment for revealing the war crimes, mendacity, cynicism and corruption of the ruling class, including the Democratic Party, heralds a new era. Investigations into the centers of power, the life blood of journalism, will be a criminal offense.
It does not matter that Assange, who suffered a stroke and is in poor physical and psychological health, is not a U.S. citizen or that WikiLeaks is not a U.S.-based publication. It does not matter that all of Assange’s meetings with his attorneys were recorded by UC Global, the Spanish security firm at the Ecuadorian embassy where Assange lived for seven years, and turned over to the U.S., obliterating attorney-client privilege. The campaign against Assange, and I have sat in on hearings in London, is a Dickensian farce, the persecution of an innocent and heroic man, far more reminiscent of the Lubyanka than the best of British jurisprudence. He is being used to send a message: If you expose what we do we will destroy you.
The decision to raise interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point, with new rate hikes on the way, will further depress wages, which have stagnated for decades, increase unemployment and personal debt and make food and other basic necessities more expensive. Raising interest rates usually induces a recession. But the oligarchs are more than willing to extract blood from the working class. Inflation reduces investment returns. It disrupts leveraged financial strategies.
The Fed’s decision to raise interest rates will depress wages, increase unemployment and make basic necessities more expensive. The oligarchs are more than willing to extract blood from the working class.
Antitrust laws and breaking up monopolies would ease the strain of inflation and lower prices. Rationing would break inflation. So would a wage-price freeze. Nationalization, reversing the capture of public utilities, the health care system, banking and other services by corporations, would also blunt price rises. But the billionaire class is not about to impose measures that diminish their profits. They will keep their monopolies. They will keep their grip on what were once public assets. The message from the billionaire class is this: The economy is run for our benefit, not yours.
The U.S., struggling with societal breakdown and an ailing economy, sees its military as the only mechanism left to destroy global competitors, especially Russia and China. Russia, hemmed in by an expanding NATO in Central and Eastern Europe, and China, harassed by a succession of carrier groups in the South China Sea, which Washington has called a “national interest,” have been united as U.S. adversaries. China sees the waterways of Asia and the Pacific as part of its sphere of influence, as Russia sees Ukraine and other neighboring states. The aggressive military posturing of the U.S. on the borders of China and Russia has provoked an unnecessary cold war, one many Washington policy makers nonchalantly expect may evolve into a hot war amongst nuclear armed nations that would potentially obliterate life on the planet.
There is an intensifying scramble for control, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s building of air bases from Japan to Australia along the Asian littoral, giving it the ability to attack warships, including aircraft carriers, in the western Pacific. The refusal of the U.S. to accommodate itself to a multipolar world and to stop chasing the chimera of unrivaled global hegemony has seen Russia and China solidify an alliance that cold warriors worked hard to prevent. The hostilities, a self-fulfilling prophecy by U.S. warmongers, delight the Washington establishment whose goal is to perpetuate endless war.
You know you are in trouble when Henry Kissinger, who has called for Ukraine to cede territory to Russia and open negotiations with Moscow “in the next two months before it creates upheavals and tensions that will not be easily overcome,” is a voice of sanity.
You know you’re in trouble when Henry Kissinger is a voice of reason. As Orwell wrote, “The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous.”
“The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous,” George Orwell writes in “1984.” “Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. This new version is the past and no different past can ever have existed. In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia, but to keep the very structure of society intact.”
The 140 million people across the globe suffering from acute hunger, a result of the pandemic, the climate crisis and the war in Ukraine, know the future, along with the families of the 15 million people who died from the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of whom with proper prevention and medical care could have been saved. The refugees fleeing failed states and climate disasters — there could be 1.2 billion climate refugees by 2050 — in the global south know the future.
The message imparted to the poor, the vulnerable, the sick and the weak is this: Your lives and the lives of your children do not matter.
The oligarchs in the Democratic Party and the establishment wing of the Republican Party are aware they are in political trouble. Is it due to Russian meddling? Is it due to Donald Trump and his proto-fascist minions? Is it caused by journalists and publishers like Assange who give them a bad name? Is it a failure of messaging? Is it a lack of rigorous censorship of the far-right and leftist critics?
Perhaps the expected Supreme Court ruling that will overturn Roe v. Wade will work in their favor. Perhaps the televised hearings on the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, an extended campaign commercial, will convince voters to support them. Perhaps the promise of more stringent gun laws will excite the electorate.
What can we expect from a party leadership that believed Michael Bloomberg, who has switched allegiance between the Democratic and Republican parties several times, would save them from progressives such as Bernie Sanders? What can we expect from a party leadership that anointed Joe Biden, who spent his political career dispossessing working men and women, building the world’s largest prison system, militarizing police, destroying the welfare system and funding military fiascos in the Middle East, as president?
The Biden administration is defined by failed expectations, from its stymied Build Back Better Plan to its refusal to raise the minimum wage. It is running on fumes, using gimmicks, empty rhetoric, spectacle and fear to intimidate the electorate.
The billionaire class, or at least many of them, would prefer to loot and pillage under the cover of the old political decorum and rhetoric. They like the fiction of paying homage to an emasculated democracy. It gives them the veneer of respectability.
But this is not to be. The rage of the betrayed is articulated by imbecilic demagogues vomited up from the social and political swamp. Corporations and the billionaire class will continue to exploit, but under a cruder and crueler authoritarianism. The social, political, economic and environmental breakdown will accelerate. Reality, increasingly unpalatable, will cease to exist in public discourse. It will be replaced by millenarian cults, such as the Christian fascists, and bizarre conspiracy theories, a retreat into magical thinking where evil is embodied in demonized individuals and groups that must be eradicated. Truth and lies will be indistinguishable. The vulnerable will be cast aside, blamed for their own misery, as well as ours. Those who resist will be criminals. Mass death will sweep across the planet. This is the world our children will inherit unless those who control us are wrenched from power.
Read more from Chris Hedges on war, peace and the future:
By CHRIS HEDGES
“When the American Govt. made the decision to wage total economic war against Russia, Europe’s and one of the world’s top energy producers, it was obvious to any observer that there would be severe economic hardship inflicted upon all the people of Europe and anyone heating their homes with nat. gas or fuel oil. Like the many extreme and deadly hardships already visited upon the people of Ukraine by the American plan to use Ukraine to destroy Putin (Did US GOV Sacrifice Ukraine To Get Putin?), US leaders had zero concern for the hardships to be inflicted upon the world by this cowardly American foreign policy plot.”
Diesel storage tanks are drying up ahead of a Russian oil ban, according to the media
The European Union is heading into winter with seasonally low levels of diesel in storage tanks, Reuters reported on Friday, warning of major implications for the continent’s industries and drivers amid looming sanctions on Russian crude oil and refined product supplies.
The latest data from Wood Mackenzie shows the region’s stockpiles of road diesel, heating oil and other diesel-type fuel are set to dwindle this November to the lowest levels on record in data that goes back to the start of 2011.
According to a Reuters report, current prices trade at a premium to prices for future deliveries, which makes it uneconomical for traders to put diesel into storage and book a profit. “No one in their right mind would put diesel into tanks at those levels,” an unnamed European trader told the outlet.
The situation is deteriorating as the market is already tight due to refinery outages in Austria, which along with Germany and Switzerland is looking to build heating oil stocks ahead of winter.
Meanwhile, surging natural gas prices, which are encouraging a switch to oil products for power generation could also tighten the market further, FGE Energy warns.
The International Energy Agency on Thursday raised its forecast for oil demand growth for this year by 380,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 2.1 million bpd citing the gas-to-oil switch.
Reuters pointed out, citing data from energy analytics firm Vortexa, that Europe continues to rely heavily on Russia to satisfy its diesel demand. Statistics show that 60% of the region’s seaborne diesel imports originated from Russia last month.
And with no evidence that companies are stockpiling ahead of sanctions, “traders expect Europe to be in for a winter shock,” the media outlet wrote. It quoted another European trader as saying “Who knows what is going to happen [at the] back end of this year, early next – looks like it will be carnage for a bit.”
The European Union plans to stop buying all seaborne Russian crude oil from early December and will ban all refined products from the country two months later.
“McConnell has never seen a war he didn’t like. When it comes to hawkishness and reckless bloodlust, Pelosi and Mitch are opposite sides of the same coin…they join hands for every war and argue publicly over a handful of issues. This is the state of American Democracy.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will provide China a “victory of sorts” if she backs off from an expected trip to Taiwan.
The Kentucky Republican was asked about the speaker traveling to Taiwan amid China’s threats and said there are other matters beyond the trip that should be discussed.
“If she doesn’t go now, she’s handling China a sort of a victory of sorts,” McConnell said at a Senate Republican leadership news conference on Tuesday.
Instead, he said the emphasis should be on making sure that the “weapons systems that they actually have meet the threat that they might actually have to endure. And that requires I think a good deal more emphasis on Taiwan defense than we’ve had.”
China, reacting this weekend to a possible visit by Pelosi later this summer, escalated its warnings to the US — even a possible military response.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Monday said: “We are seriously prepared.”
Asked what that meant, he responded, “If the US side is bent on going its own way, China will take strong measures to resolutely respond and counteract.”
“The United States should be held responsible for any serious consequences,” he added.
Amid the heightened tensions, Taiwan’s capital Taipei staged air raid drills and the country’s military conducted joint air and sea exercises that involved the mobilization of tanks and troops on Monday.
Sirens blared throughout the city as people took to shelters and shops closed.
“In recent years, Chinese military planes have frequently harassed Taiwan, and the war between Russia and Ukraine broke out in February this year,” Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je told reporters, referring to fears that Beijing could follow Moscow’s example and invade Taiwan.
“All these things make us understand the importance of being vigilant in times of peace and we need to be prepared if there is war.”
“With this poll, we see confirmation that the majority of the American people do not trust corporate media, 85%. We the People have learned to see through big media’s claim that they are the defender of Democracy, when it is now obvious that Big Media’s purpose is to manipulate Democracy, as the path to subverting real Democracy at the polls. Corporate control of the American electoral process through money and the media demonstrates most clearly that America is NO LONGER a Democracy, it is just another authoritarian dictatorship…complete totalitarianism is next.”
“Sunday Night in America” host Trey Gowdy credited the media for managing to unite the country against them in a deeply polarizing political environment, citing a Gallup poll that found that 85% of the country has lost faith in print and television media.
TREY GOWDY: I want to congratulate the media, they have managed to do that which seemed impossible. A pandemic could not do it, natural disasters can’t do it, war can no longer do it. But the media has done it. In a country rife with vision torn asunder with political fights, the media has brought about a glimmer of unity. The media has united the country in believing that the media is untrustworthy, unfair, and biased.
A country and a culture cannot survive without fairness. We need… an impartial, neutral detached judge… Americans know fairness is a virtue. And we salute the humility of those who can call the game without trying to influence the game.
“What this means, of course, is that Twitter, along with the rest of Big Tech, is little more than a social engineering tool to manipulate and brainwash the masses into believing the scripted reality that psychopaths are using to maintain control.”
Based on his assessment, Musk alleges that up to 90 percent of Twitter’s entire user base is fake. This situation has obvious implications for the valuation of the company. If most of the users are fake, advertisers will be far less interested in spending money to place ads on the platform. But the implications of the bot count don’t stop there and reveal much about the true, inner workings of Big Tech.
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is likely behind the AI bot front on Twitter. Now that we know Twitter is controlled by spam bots, its not a stretch to assume the same spam bots are also likely present on Reddit, Facebook, Instragram, YouTube and TikTok.
“After all, it’s no secret that the powers that be are conducting military-grade psy-ops on the public,” writes Vince Quill.
“All of us have at one point or another encountered bots, sometimes it was obvious, other times not so much, but 90% of the users being bots is just beyond the pale.”
Twitter’s bot check sample size was only 100 users, Musk reveals
What this means, of course, is that Twitter, along with the rest of Big Tech, is little more than a social engineering tool to manipulate and brainwash the masses into believing the scripted reality that psychopaths are using to maintain control.
If Musk can prove that Twitter is mostly fake, he will likely be able to purchase the company for a much cheaper price than his initial bid. But most importantly, the revelations that come out of this fiasco has exposed Twitter for the fraud that it has long been.
NewsTarget report: On May 13, Musk tweeted that he was going to take a random sampling of users to try to come up with an estimate for the number of bots on Twitter. The sample size he used was 100, which is apparently what Twitter uses internally for metrics purposes.
“Twitter legal just called to complain that I violated their NDA (non-disclosure agreement) by revealing the bot check sample size is 100!” Musk wrote. “This actually happened.”
According to Twitter, less than 5 percent of its platform is bots, but Musk believes otherwise. Who is correct? And more importantly, will the full truth ever be revealed, leading to justice on the matter?
So far, Twitter has failed to produce any actual evidence to back its claim that less than 5 percent of the platform is fake. And Musk still wants to know: Where’s the evidence?
I continue to be convinced the US/NATO could never win and will never fight a war against Russia in eastern Europe – unless the #EmpireAtAllCosts death cult somehow seizes the reins of power, in which case, it will become the biggest catastrophe in US military history, and very possibly result in a civilization-ending nuclear war.
For me, one of the most intriguing aspects of the unprecedented levels of propaganda beclouding the ongoing Ukraine War are the incessant claims, from the very beginning, of the alleged strategic, tactical, and logistical ineptitude of the Russian military.
The theme of the bumbling Russians was clearly preconceived and coordinated, and commenced in earnest within the first 24 hours of hostilities. CIA/MI6 fronts like Oryx, Bellingcat, and the war-mongering Kagan family propaganda mill The Institute for the Study of War have pumped out this narrative so relentlessly that it has now been almost universally enshrined as “received wisdom” in the western state-controlled corporate media and among large numbers of clueless, arms industry-compromised former generals – even to the point of entering into the body of assumptions embraced by many “experts” who I expected to be more discerning.
It has given rise to countless evidence-free myths, from the #FakeNews downing of two IL-76 jumbo transports packed with Russian paratroopers, to the persistent meme of thousands of Russian tanks and armored vehicles allegedly abandoned for mechanical breakdown, lack of fuel, or other logistical failures.
One of the more inexplicable narratives included in this disinformation package has been the allegation that Russian troops are poorly trained conscripts who are thrown into the meat grinder with antique weapons, little ammo, and so little food they are literally starving.
These tall tales are then woven back into the main strand of the narrative: the Russian army is a disorganized mob of demoralized “orcs” whose only real talent is plundering household appliances, raping young women, and randomly gunning down old folks on the streets.
Attached to this constant refrain are repeated comparisons to the allegedly incomparable professionalism, organization, training, and weaponry of US/NATO forces. The implication is that any undersized company of exceptional American soldiers would be more than a match for an entire oversized battalion of incompetent Russians.
I’ve concluded this unrelenting narrative must have as its aim the persuasion of the general public and policy-makers in NATO countries that western militaries are so vastly superior to their Russian counterparts that no one should entertain reservations about making war against them.
Connected to this theme is a recurring baseless assertion that the Russian nuclear arsenal is in a state of total disrepair, and that, were nuclear war enjoined, very few Russian missiles would even make it out of their silos, let alone fly long enough and straight enough to then be summarily dispatched by the fictional impenetrable American missile defense shield.
In other words, we have virtually nothing to fear from the bumbling Russians – that “gas-station masquerading as a country” – as the late Fighter Ace in Reverse John McCain was fond of saying.
And thus we continue to hear calls for immediate NATO intervention into the war; the establishment of a “no-fly zone” over Ukraine, and “boots on the ground” to teach the amateurish third-world Russian army a lesson it will not soon forget.
Never mind the numerous reports from western mercenaries and foreign legion volunteers who managed to escape back to their home countries after very brief and terrifying “tours of duty” in Ukraine, all of whom relate similar accounts.
They talk about encountering overwhelming firepower for the first time in their military careers, and they soberly warn anyone else thinking of embarking on a “safari” to kill Russians that it was “nothing like Iraq” and they feel very lucky to have made it out alive – often without ever firing their weapon, nor having even seen a Russian soldier.
Russian “Grad” rocket artillery striking Ukrainian troop positions.
Never mind also the fact that, to my knowledge, there are few if any conscripts among the Russian forces fighting in Ukraine, and few if any reports in Russian independent media sources of demoralized, under-supplied Russian battalions in any theater of the war.
Quite to the contrary, every indication I have seen suggests that Russian morale is sky high, both among the soldiers doing the fighting and the Russian public at home. To be sure, there have been Russian casualties – they are, after all, going up against what was, on February 24, 2022, the largest and best-armed land force on the European continent (outside of Russia).
(Data Source: Global Firepower – Military Strength Comparisons)
Best estimates are ~5000 Russian Federation KIAs (killed in action) plus ~8000 of their DPR / LPR (Donetsk People’s Republic / Lugansk People’s Republic) allies, or ~13,000 KIA in total.
These numbers pale in comparison to the western propaganda “think tank” fantasies of ~100k total Russian casualties, including 35k – 50k KIAs, which, were it true, would be unmistakably reflected both in the morale of the army itself and the public at home – and it clearly is not.
Nor is any of this manufactured narrative consistent with the desperate and incessant Ukrainian appeals for massive replenishment of lost heavy weaponry, air-defense systems, and ammunition, as well as the total mobilization of poorly trained and equipped “territorial guard” troops and expansion of the conscript window to include boys, old men, and now even women.
On the other side, Russian troops are regularly rotated off the battlefield, rested and refitted, then returned to the front. Russia has deployed ~15% of its total professional force, has not ordered a general mobilization, and has approximately the same number of soldiers in the theater that they started with (175k – 200k).
So I leave the reader to judge the facts of the matter in terms of Russian military ineptitude and massive logistical failures.
And with that preface, let’s turn to the primary question: could NATO fight and win a war against the Russians on this same battlefield?
My answer is an emphatic NO – for three distinct but equally disqualifying reasons:
1) There is zero persuasive evidence that NATO soldiers, weaponry, training, logistics, and command are superior to that of the Russians.
2) Sufficient NATO forces could NEVER be assembled, equipped, and sustained to defeat the Russians in their own backyard.
3) The very attempt to concentrate sufficient US forces in the region in order to take on the Russians would very likely result in the disintegration of the global American Empire and its massive network of overseas bases – thereby rapidly accelerating the already-in-progress transition to a multipolar world.
As to point #1 above, it bears repeating what I have argued multiple times in recent weeks: this war has seen the Russian military quickly evolve into a battle-hardened and quick-to-adapt fighting force. The US has not faced such a force since World War II.
Many believe the US is a “battle-hardened” force. This is utter nonsense. Of the many thousands of troops currently manning US combat units, only a minute fraction has experienced ANY battle whatsoever, and NONE have experienced high-intensity conflict such as is taking place in Ukraine.
Indeed, I submit that one of the inadvertent and unforeseen byproducts of this war is that, even as the NATO-trained and equipped Ukrainian army has been devastated, the Russian army has been transformed into the single most experienced army on the planet.
Needless to say, this is NOT what US/NATO strategists intended to achieve. But it does explain why we now see them doubling-down on efforts to prolong this war – both to (hopefully) degrade Russian capabilities, and to buy time for themselves to determine what to do next.
You see, if NATO had to go to war today against Russia, and all their troops and equipment could be magically teleported to the battlefield, they simply could not sustain high-intensity conflict for more than about a month, as this excellent analysis persuasively argues: The Return of Industrial Warfare.
The zealous disciples of indisputable American military supremacy will undoubtedly reply:
“Overwhelming American air power alone would devastate Russian military capabilities in a matter of days; a couple weeks at most.”
The average Call of Duty warrior believes such nonsense, but I’m confident very few in the Pentagon harbor such delusions.
To the contrary, they understand perfectly well that Russian best-in-class air defenses would shred attempted US/NATO airstrikes. It would be a stunning massacre, the results of which after even the first 48 hours would see wiser heads calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities.
Not only that, but even attempted, but catastrophically failed NATO airstrikes against Russia would result in a massive series of counterstrikes against NATO bases and warships at distances never seen in previous wars. It would be a no-holds-barred affair.
Staging areas in Poland and Romania would be hit first and hardest, but strikes would very likely range over all of Europe and the Mediterranean. Russian missiles and submarines would sink several ships within hours, including, almost certainly, a US carrier.
This, of course, is the nightmare scenario – one which very conceivably risks an escalation to nuclear war.
But it also assumes that Russia would stand by idly as NATO concentrated forces in the region sufficient to launch a war in the first place.
In my estimation, the Russians would NOT sit back and watch the US/NATO methodically conduct a Desert Storm-style buildup over the course of a year (or more) – which is how long it would take to assemble a force large enough to launch a war against Russia.
Just as they preempted Ukrainian designs to retake the Donbass and Crimea, they would likewise strike NATO forces long before they reached a level of strength sufficient to conduct operations against Russia.
One final observation on this whole notion of the US/NATO making war against Russia:
People neglect to consider the fact that US forces are dispersed all around the world, in over 750 foreign bases of varying sizes and strategic importance.
US Overseas Military Bases
In other words, most fail to appreciate the fact that US military might is highly diluted, and the only way to possibly concentrate a force sufficient to take on the Russians would be to literally evacuate almost every significant US base on the planet.
Japan, Korea, Guam, Syria, Turkey, multiple African nations, etc. A massive power vacuum would be created all around the world, and would constitute an irresistible temptation for “hostile powers” to exploit.
It would spell the end of American global empire and hegemony.
Posted by William Schryver
Chinese and Russian nuclear bombers fly over Sea of Japan as Biden visits Tokyo Japan condemns joint exercise as ‘provocative’ and ‘unacceptable’ Russian and Chinese bombers pictured by Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force on Tuesday © Defense Ministry of Japan/Reuters
China and Russia sent jets over the seas in northeast Asia on Tuesday in what Japan’s defense minister called a “provocative” and “unacceptable” move as President Biden was visiting the region, a senior administration official confirmed to Axios.
Driving the news: Japan says it scrambled jets as Chinese and Russian planes neared the country’s airspace while Tokyo was hosting the leaders of the Quad group that includes the U.S., Reuters reports.
- Biden was meeting with the prime ministers of Australia, Japan and India, which along with the U.S. make up the Quad.
- The exercise shows that China is continuing its military cooperation with Russia in the Indo-Pacific, the official told Axios.
What they’re saying: “We believe the fact that this action was taken during the Quad summit makes it more provocative than in the past,” Japan’s Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said during a news conference that was broadcast online,” per Reuters.
- The Pentagon and State Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The big picture: The military activity signals that the partnership between China and Russia remains intact even as the war in Ukraine continues, the New York Times notes.
- Bomber exercises such as this one are likely planned well in advance by both countries, per the official.
[The US GOV already controls the Internet through its domination of all English-speaking corporate news sources throughout the US and the world, either through actual CIA penetration of their news bureaus, or the habitual American mainstream news tendency to “self-censor”, in order to comply with anticipated GOV narratives and desires. Now, it seems, any “foreign news” will be automatically censored by the new entity, in order to eliminate or discredit opinions or news counter to the GOV narrative. Following this mainstream news tendency to please their overlords, it is easy to see the inherent danger as a result, reflected in the current Ukraine war where years of denying and suppressing Russian warnings about implied NATO threats and encroachment upon Russian borders led directly to this conflict. Calling the Ukraine invasion “unprovoked” is lying, considering the fact that the Western side has been trying to provoke this war for several years.]
Washington has no right to tell its citizens what the truth is, Rand Paul claims
Due to its long track record of disinformation, the US government has no right to tell the American people what the truth is, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has stated. He went to list a number of examples of where Washington had lied to its own people, and the rest of the world.
During a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Paul grilled Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas over the so-called ‘Disinformation Governance Board’ his agency has announced to supposedly help social media platforms filter out ‘fake news.’
“Here’s the problem: we can’t even agree what disinformation is,” the Republican Senator pointed out. “You can’t even agree if it was disinformation that the Russians fed information to the Steele dossier.”
He was referring to the controversial and largely discredited report that relied on info from anonymous sources to allege collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and Moscow ahead of the 2016 presidential election in the US.
“If you can’t agree to that, how are we ever going to come to an agreement on what is disinformation, so that you can police it on social media?” Paul wondered.
“Do you know who the greatest propagator of disinformation in the history of the world is? The US government!” he insisted.
In order to back his claim, the Senator mentioned several examples of false information being deliberately spread by Washington over the past decades.
Among them were the so-called Pentagon Papers, which revealed that the US government had been misinforming the public about the scale of its military operations during the Vietnam War. The documents were officially declassified in 2011, but the media had been reporting on them since 1971.
Paul also mentioned “George W. Bush and the weapons of mass destruction,” referring to American claims that Saddam Hussein’s regime had been in possession of WMD, claims that were used by the US to justify the invasion of Iraq in 2003, but were never confirmed by findings on the grounds.
His other example was the Iran–Contra affair, which saw top US officials secretly organizing the sale of weapons to Iran in violation of an arms embargo between 1981 and 1986 in order to obtain money to fund the Contras insurgent group in Nicaragua.
“I mean, think over all the debates and disputes we’ve had over the last 50 years in our country. We work them out by debating them. We don’t work them out by the government being the arbiter,” the Senator said.
“I want you to have nothing to do with speech… You think the American people are so stupid they need you to tell them what the truth is?” Paul added.
The creation of the Disinformation Governance Board was announced in late April. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the new body would help counter disinformation, which is being spread by “foreign states such as Russia, China and Iran,” and by human traffickers operating on the US-Mexico border, among others.
The DHS gave assurances that it won’t be targeting US citizens. But critics were quick to nickname the board ‘The Ministry of Truth,’ after a fictional organization from George Orwell’s iconic dystopian novel ‘1984’.
[After 8 years of low-grade civil war between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists in Novorussia (Donbass Region), Ukraine unilaterally escalated the war along the Donbass front in late February]
Map showing Ukrainian troops concentrations on Eastern Ukraine’s border on eve of Russian invasion of February 24th, 2022. According to the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Ukraine had massed 122,000 troops on the border with Donbass. The Duma furthermore has claimed to have intelligence indicating that these troops were planning an offensive into Donbass, which the Russian invasion preempted. [Source: consortiumnews.com]
Guest Post by Pepe Escobar
By now it’s abundantly clear that the neo-Orwellian “Two Minute Hate” Russophobic campaign launched by the Empire of Lies after the start of Operation Z is actually “24/7 Hate”.
Vast swathes of NATOstan have been corralled into behaving like a Russophobic lynch mob. No dissent is tolerated. The full psyops has de facto upgraded the Empire of Lies to the status of Empire of Hate in a Total War – hybrid and otherwise – to cancel Russia.
Hate, after all, packs way more punch than mere lies, which are now veering into abject ridiculousness, as in U.S. “intelligence” resorting to – what else – lies to fight the info war against Russia.
If the propaganda overdrive has been lethally effective amidst the zombified Western masses – call it a “win” in the P.R. war – in the front where it really matters, inside Russia, it’s a major fail.
Public opinion support for both Operation Z and President Putin is unprecedented. After videos of torture of Russian POWs that caused widespread revulsion, Russian civil society is even bracing for a “Long War” lasting months, not weeks, as long as the targets of the Russian High Command – actually a military secret – are met.
The stated aims are “demilitarization” and “denazification” of a future neutral Ukraine – but geopolitically reach way beyond: the aim is to turn the post-1945 European collective security arrangement upside down, forcing NATO to understand and come to terms with the concept of “indivisible security”. This is an extremely complex process that will reach the next decade.
The NATOstan sphere simply cannot admit in public a series of facts that a military analyst of the caliber of Andrei Martyanov has been explaining for years. And that adds to their collective pain.
Russia can take on NATO and smash it to bits in 48 hours. It may employ advanced strategic deterrence systems unmatched across the West. Its southern axis – from the Caucasus and West Asia to Central Asia – is fully stabilized. And if the going gets really tough, Mr. Zircon can deliver his hypersonic nuclear business card with the other side not even knowing what hit it.
“Europe has chosen its fate”
It may be enlightening to see how these complex processes are interpreted by Russians – whose points of view are now completely blocked across NATOstan.
Let’s take two examples. The first is Lieutenant General L.P. Reshetnikov, in an analytical note examining facts of the ground war.
Some key takeaways:
– “Over Romania and Poland there are airborne early warning aircraft of NATO with experienced crews, there are U.S. intelligence satellites in the sky all the time. I remind you that just in terms of budgets for our Roscosmos we allocated $2.5 billion a year, the civil budget of NASA is $25 billion, the civil budget of SpaceX alone is equal to Roscosmos – and that is not counting the tens of billions of dollars annually for the entire U.S. feverishly unfolding the control system of the entire planet.”
– The war is unfolding according to “NATO’s eyes and brains. The Ukronazis are nothing but free controlled zombies. And the Ukrainian army is a remotely controlled zombie organism.”
– “The tactics and strategy of this war will be the subject of textbooks for military academies around the world. Once again: the Russian army is smashing a Nazi zombie organism, fully integrated with the eyes and brain of NATO.”
Now let’s switch to Oleg Makarenko, who focuses on the Big Picture.
– “The West considers itself ‘the whole world’ only because it has not yet received a sufficiently sensitive punch on the nose. It just so happened that Russia is now giving him this click: with the rear support of Asia, Africa and Latin America. And the West can do absolutely nothing with us, since it also lags behind us in terms of the number of nuclear warheads.”
– “Europe has chosen its fate. And chose fate for Russia. What you are seeing now is the death of Europe. Even if it does not come to nuclear strikes on industrial centers, Europe is doomed. In a situation where European industry is left without cheap Russian energy sources and raw materials – and China will begin to receive these same energy carriers and raw materials at a discount, there can be no talk of any real competition with China from Europe. As a result, literally everything will collapse there – after industry, agriculture will collapse, welfare and social security will collapse, hunger, banditry and chaos will begin.”
It’s fair to consider Reshetnikov and Makarenko as faithfully representing the overall Russian sentiment, which interprets the crude Bucha false flag as a cover to obscure the Ukrainian army torture of Russian POWs.
And, deeper still, Bucha allowed the disappearance of Pentagon bioweapon labs from the Western mediasphere, complete with its ramifications: evidence of a concerted American drive to ultimately deploy real weapons of mass destruction against Russia.
The multi-level Bucha hoax had to include the Brit presidency of the UN Security Council actually blocking a serious discussion, a day before the Russian Ministry of Defense struggled to present to the UN – predictably minus the U.S. and the UK – all the bioweapon facts they have unearthed in Ukraine. The Chinese were horrified by the findings.
The Russian Investigative Committee at least persists in its work, with 100 researchers unearthing evidence of war crimes across Donbass to be presented at a tribunal in the near future, most probably set up in Donetsk.
And that brings us back to the facts on the ground. There’s a lot of analytical discussion on the possible endgame of Operation Z. A fair assessment would include the liberation of all of Novorossiya and total control of the Black Sea coastline that currently is part of Ukraine.
“Ukraine” in fact was never a state; it was always an annex to another state or empire such as Poland, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and crucially Russia.
The landmark Russian state was Kievan Rus. “Ukraine”, in old Russian, means “border region”. In the past, it referred to the westernmost regions of the Russian Empire. When the Empire started expanding south, the new regions annexed mostly from Turkish rule were called Novorossiya (“New Russia”) and the northeastern regions, Malorossiya (“Little Russia”).
It was up to the USSR in the early 1920s to jumble it all together and name it “Ukraine” – adding Galicia in the west, which was historically non-Russian.
Yet the key development is when the USSR broke up in 1991. As the Empire of Lies de facto controlled post-Soviet Russia, they could never have possibly allowed the real Russian regions of the USSR – that is, Novorossiya and Malorossiya – to be again incorporated to the Russian Federation.
Russia is now re-incorporating them – in an “I Did It, My Way” manner.
Vamos a bailar in European Puerto Rico
By now it’s also quite clear to any serious geopolitical analysis that Operation Z opened a Pandora’s box. And the supreme historical victim of all the toxicity finally let loose is bound to be Europe.
The indispensable Michael Hudson, in a new essay on the U.S. dollar devouring the euro, argues half in jest that Europe might as well surrender its currency, and go on like “a somewhat larger version of Puerto Rico.”
After all, Europe “has pretty much ceased to be a politically independent state, it is beginning to look more like Panama and Liberia – ‘flag of convenience’ offshore banking centers that are not real ‘states’ because they don’t issue their own currency, but use the U.S. dollar.”
In synch with quite a few Russian, Chinese and Iranian analysts, Hudson advances that the war in Ukraine – actually in its “full-blown version as the New Cold War” – is likely to last “at least a decade, perhaps two as the U.S. extends the fight between neoliberalism and socialism [meaning the Chinese system] to encompass a worldwide conflict.”
What may be seriously in dispute is whether the U.S., after “the economic conquest of Europe”, will be able to “lock in African, South American and Asian countries”. The Eurasia integration process, rolling in earnest for 10 years now, conducted by the Russia-China strategic partnership and expanding to most of the Global South, will go no holds barred to prevent it.
There’s no question, as Hudson states, that “the world economy is being enflamed” – with the U.S. weaponizing trade. Yet on the Right Side of History we have the Rublegas, the petroyuan, the new monetary/financial system being designed in a partnership between the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) and China.
And that’s something no puny Cancel Culture War can erase.
The unaccountable coterie of neocons and liberal interventionists who orchestrated two decades of military fiascos in the Middle East are now stoking a suicidal war with Russia.
The same cabal of warmongering pundits, foreign policy specialists and government officials, year after year, debacle after debacle, smugly dodge responsibility for the military fiascos they orchestrate. They are protean, shifting adroitly with the political winds, moving from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party and then back again, mutating from cold warriors to neocons to liberal interventionists. Pseudo intellectuals, they exude a cloying Ivy League snobbery as they sell perpetual fear, perpetual war and a racist worldview, where the lesser breeds of the earth only understand violence.
They are pimps of war, puppets of the Pentagon, a state within a state, and the defense contractors who lavishly fund their think tanks — Project for the New American Century, American Enterprise Institute, Foreign Policy Initiative, Institute for the Study of War, Atlantic Council and Brookings Institute. Like some mutant strain of an antibiotic-resistant bacteria, they cannot be vanquished. It does not matter how wrong they are, how absurd their theories, how many times they lie or denigrate other cultures and societies as uncivilized or how many murderous military interventions go bad. They are immovable props, the parasitic mandarins of power that are vomited up in the dying days of any empire, including that of the U.S., leaping from one self-defeating catastrophe to the next.
I spent 20 years as a foreign correspondent reporting on the suffering, misery, and murderous rampages these shills for war engineered and funded. My first encounter with them was in Central America. Elliot Abrams — convicted of providing misleading testimony to Congress on the Iran-Contra Affair and later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush so he could return to government to sell us the Iraq War — and Robert Kagan, director of the State Department’s public diplomacy office for Latin America — were propagandists for the brutal military regimes in El Salvador and Guatemala, as well as the rapists and homicidal thugs that made up the rogue Contra forces fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, which they illegally funded. Their job was to discredit our reporting.
“Like some mutant strain of an antibiotic-resistant bacteria, they cannot be vanquished.”
They, and their coterie of fellow war lovers, went on to push for the expansion of NATO in Central and Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall, violating an agreement not to extend NATO beyond the borders of a unified Germany and recklessly antagonizing Russia. They were and are cheerleaders for the apartheid state of Israel, justifying its war crimes against Palestinians and myopically conflating Israel’s interests with those of the U.S. They advocated for air strikes in Serbia, calling for the U.S. to “take out” Slobodan Milosevic. They were the authors of the policy to invade Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya. Robert Kagan and William Kristol, with their typical cluelessness, wrote in April 2002 that “the road that leads to real security and peace” is “the road that runs through Baghdad.”
We saw how that worked out. That road led to the dissolution of Iraq, the destruction of its civilian infrastructure, including the obliteration of 18 of 20 electricity-generating plants and nearly all the water-pumping and sanitation systems during a 43-day period when 90,000 tons of bombs were rained down on the country, the rise of radical jihadist groups throughout the region, and failed states.
The war in Iraq, along with the humiliating defeat in Afghanistan, shredded the illusion of U.S. military and global hegemony. It also inflicted on Iraqis, who had nothing to do with the attacks of 9/11, the widespread killing of civilians, the torture and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners, and the ascendancy of Iran as the preeminent power in the region.
Push for War & Overthrows
They continue to call for a war with Iran, with Fred Kagan stating that “there is nothing we can do short of attacking to force Iran to give up its nuclear weapons.” They pushed for the overthrow of President Nicholas Maduro, after trying to do the same to Hugo Chavez, in Venezuela. They have targeted Daniel Ortega, their old nemesis in Nicaragua.
They embrace a purblind nationalism that prohibits them from seeing the world from any perspective other than their own. They know nothing about the machinery of war, its consequences, or its inevitable blowback. They know nothing about the peoples and cultures they target for violent regeneration. They believe in their divine right to impose their “values” on others by force. Fiasco after fiasco. Now they are stoking a war with Russia.
“The nationalist is by definition an ignoramus,” Yugoslav writer Danilo Kiš observed.
“Nationalism is the line of least resistance, the easy way. The nationalist is untroubled, he knows or thinks he knows what his values are, his, that’s to say national, that’s to say the values of the nation he belongs to, ethical and political; he is not interested in others, they are no concern of his, hell — it’s other people (other nations, another tribe). They don’t even need investigating. The nationalist sees other people in his own images — as nationalists.”
The Biden administration is filled with these ignoramuses, including Joe Biden. Victoria Nuland, the wife of Robert Kagan, serves as Biden’s undersecretary of state for political affairs. Antony Blinken is secretary of state. Jake Sullivan is national security adviser.
They come from this cabal of moral and intellectual trolls that includes Kimberly Kagan, the wife of Fred Kagan, who founded The Institute for the Study of War, William Kristol, Max Boot, John Podhoretz, Gary Schmitt, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Frum and others. Many were once staunch Republicans or, like Nuland, served in Republican and Democratic administrations. Nuland was the principal deputy foreign policy adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney.
They are united by the demand for larger and larger defense budgets and an ever-expanding military. Julian Benda called these courtiers to power “the self-made barbarians of the intelligentsia.”
They once railed against liberal weakness and appeasement. But they swiftly migrated to the Democratic Party rather than support Donald Trump, who showed no desire to start a conflict with Russia and who called the invasion of Iraq a “big, fat mistake.” Besides, as they correctly pointed out, Hillary Clinton was a fellow neocon. And liberals wonder why nearly half the electorate, who revile these arrogant unelected power brokers, as they should, voted for Trump.
These ideologues did not see the corpses of their victims. I did. Including children. Every dead body I stood over in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Gaza, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen or Kosovo, month after month, year after year, exposed their moral bankruptcy, their intellectual dishonesty and their sick bloodlust.
They did not serve in the military. Their children do not serve in the military. But they eagerly ship young American men and women off to fight and die for their self-delusional dreams of empire and American hegemony. Or, as in Ukraine, they provide hundreds of millions of dollars in weaponry and logistical support to sustain long and bloody proxy wars.
Historical time stopped for them with the end of World War II. The overthrow of democratically elected governments by the U.S. during the Cold War in Indonesia, Guatemala, the Congo, Iran and Chile (where the C.I.A. oversaw the assassination of the commander-in-chief of the army, General René Schneider, and President Salvador Allende); the Bay of Pigs; the atrocities and war crimes that defined the wars in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos; even the disasters they manufactured in the Middle East, have disappeared into the black hole of their collective historical amnesia.
“Julian Benda called these courtiers to power ‘the self-made barbarians of the intelligentsia.’ ”
American global domination, they claim, is benign, a force for good, “benevolent hegemony.” The world, Charles Krauthammer insisted, welcomes “our power.” All enemies, from Saddam Hussein to Vladimir Putin, are the new Hitler. All U.S. interventions are a fight for freedom that make the world a safer place. All refusals to bomb and occupy another country are a 1938 Munich moment, a pathetic retreat from confronting evil by the new Neville Chamberlain. We do have enemies abroad. But our most dangerous enemy is within.
The warmongers build a campaign against a country such as Iraq or Russia and then wait for a crisis — they call it the next Pearl Harbor — to justify the unjustifiable.
In 1998, William Kristol and Robert Kagan, along with a dozen other prominent neoconservatives, wrote an open letter to President Bill Clinton denouncing his policy of containment of Iraq as a failure and demanding that he go to war to overthrow Saddam Hussein. To continue the “course of weakness and drift,” they warned, was to “put our interests and our future at risk.”
Huge majorities in Congress, Republican and Democrat, rushed to pass the Iraq Liberation Act. Few Democrats or Republicans dared be seen as soft on national security. The act stated that the United States government would work to “remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein” and authorized $99 million towards that goal, some of it being used to fund Ahmed Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress that would become instrumental in disseminating the fabrications and lies used to justify the Iraq war during the administration of George W. Bush.
The attacks of 9/11 gave the war party its opening, first with Afghanistan, then Iraq. Krauthammer, who knew nothing about the Muslim world, wrote that:
“the way to tame the Arab street is not with appeasement and sweet sensitivity but with raw power and victory…The elementary truth that seems to elude the experts again and again…is that power is its own reward. Victory changes everything, psychologically above all. The psychology in the [Middle East] is now one of fear and deep respect for American power. Now is the time to use it.”
Removing Saddam Hussein from power, Kristol crowed, would “transform the political landscape of the Middle East.”
It did, of course, but not in ways that benefited the U.S.
“Historical time stopped for them
with the end of World War II.”
They lust for apocalyptic global war. Fred Kagan, the brother of Robert, a military historian, wrote in 1999 that “America must be able to fight Iraq and North Korea, and also be able to fight genocide in the Balkans and elsewhere without compromising its ability to fight two major regional conflicts. And it must be able to contemplate war with China or Russia some considerable (but not infinite) time from now [author’s emphasis].”
They believe violence magically solves all disputes, even the Israeli-Palestinian morass. In a bizarre interview immediately after 9/11, Donald Kagan, the Yale classicist and rightwing ideologue who was the father of Robert and Fred, called, along with his son Fred, for the deployment of U.S. troops in Gaza so we could “take the war to these people.”
They have long demanded the stationing of NATO troops in Ukraine, with Robert Kagan saying that “we need to not worry that the problem is our encirclement rather than Russian ambitions.” His wife, Victoria Nuland, was outed in a leaked phone conversation in 2014 with the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, disparaging the EU and plotting to remove the lawfully elected President Viktor Yanukovych and install compliant Ukrainian politicians in power, most of whom did eventually take power.
They lobbied for U.S. troops to be sent to Syria to assist “moderate” rebels seeking to overthrow Basha al-Assad. Instead, the intervention spawned the Caliphate. The U.S. ended up bombing the very forces they had armed, becoming Assad’s de facto air force.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine, like the attacks of 9/11, is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Putin, like everyone else they target, only understands force. We can, they assure us, militarily bend Russia to our will.
“It is true that acting firmly in 2008 or 2014 would have meant risking conflict,” Robert Kagan wrote in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, lamenting our refusal to militarily confront Russia earlier. He wrote:
“But Washington is risking conflict now; Russia’s ambitions have created an inherently dangerous situation. It is better for the United States to risk confrontation with belligerent powers when they are in the early stages of ambition and expansion, not after they have already consolidated substantial gains. Russia may possess a fearful nuclear arsenal, but the risk of Moscow using it is not higher now than it would have been in 2008 or 2014, if the West had intervened then. And it has always been extraordinarily small: Putin was never going to obtain his objectives by destroying himself and his country, along with much of the rest of the world.”
In short, don’t worry about going to war with Russia, Putin won’t use the bomb.
I do not know if these people are stupid or cynical or both. They are lavishly funded by the war industry. They are never dropped from the networks for their repeated idiocy. They rotate in and out of power, parked in places like The Council on Foreign Relations or The Brookings Institute, before being called back into government. They are as welcome in the Obama or Biden White House as the Bush White House.
The Cold War, for them, never ended. The world remains binary, us and them, good and evil. They are never held accountable. When one military intervention goes up in flames, they are ready to promote the next. These Dr. Strangeloves, if we don’t stop them, will terminate life as we know it on the planet.
Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for 15 years for The New York Times
Believe it or not, this is the Ukrainian President’s Previous Job…
Zelenskyy 2nd from left
Forget the tactical nuke gap. The West’s readiness gap is a far bigger deal.
War is creeping closer to NATO’s borders. On Sunday, a Ukrainian base just 11 miles from Poland was struck by Russian rockets. It seems like a warning. If one of those missiles had traveled just a few seconds farther west, NATO — and therefore the United States — and Russia could be on the verge of war.
While we can hope that cooler heads would prevail in case of such an accident or “accident,” that’s by no means guaranteed. So, if the occasion arose, could NATO pull the trigger on a full-scale war against Russia right this moment?
The short answer is “no,” and it’s time for both armchair military strategists and lawmakers calling for escalation to realize it.
“We’re in a reassurance posture, for our allies. We’re showing we’re in the game and our commitment is still strong,” David Shlapak of the Rand Corporation, told The Week in a recent interview. “We’re not in a deterrence posture. We’re not in a credible warfighting posture.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for a no-fly zone (NFZ) many times, and there are plenty of people in the foreign policy establishment and even Congress who want to give it to him. NATO isn’t ready to do that either.
To set up a no-fly zone, the United States would have to move hundreds of planes from bases around the world. It would take weeks to set up and couldn’t be done under cloak of darkness. The Russians would know NATO was coming, and if you knew NATO was coming, wouldn’t you take countermeasures? Wouldn’t you see an act of war on the horizon?
Even if NATO got around Russia’s plans, enforcing the NFZ would mean shooting down Russian planes. It would also mean taking out Russian anti-aircraft defenses so NATO warplanes could fly safely, according to experts who spoke with The Week. Those, of course, are on the ground, many of them inside Russian and Belarusian borders. Taking them out would involve NATO in a ground war, and the West is even less ready for that.
There are 74,000 U.S. military personnel in Europe, including the United Kingdom, Italy, France, and Spain, with the largest number (36,000) in Germany. Not all these people are front-line fighters. Many are involved in logistics, maintenance, and other tasks. There is a broader, 40,000-strong NATO response force, too, and some thousands of these troops are in the front-line Baltic nations of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania. All told, fewer than 100,000 NATO forces in Europe are even close to being ready to fight.
Could NATO bring a larger force to bear? You bet. But it would take months, according to Shlapak.
For NATO to truly be ready to face down Russia, at least 100,000 more troops would have to be transported to Europe from the United States, Mark Cancian, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told The Week. Weapons, equipment, and logistics would all have to be scaled up accordingly.
Once preparations were made on the U.S. side of the Atlantic, ships would have to make the 3,000-mile trip to bases in Europe like Bremerhaven, Germany, and from there they would have to be deployed wherever they were needed most.
All of this would take between two and three months, Cancian and Shlapak agreed. All of it would be visible by satellite and in every other way imaginable. Getting ready for war is loud.
When the coalition of the willing went into Iraq in 2003, it took months to build up forces on Iraq’s borders. It was obvious — everyone knew the war was coming — but the foe was so inferior, all they could do was dig in and hope the U.S. would lose interest in fighting.
That is not the case with Russia. As NATO planes approach Ukrainian borders with hostile intent, Russia’s forces can meet them, and what are the chances Russia wouldn’t strike first? If you were Russian President Vladimir Putin, would you wait for warplanes to attack you before you attacked them?
Similarly, ships crossing the Atlantic have been sunk before, and all parties have spent 80 since World War II improving their technique. Russia and NATO regularly patrol each other’s shores, ready for war — waiting for provocation. It’s fair to say hundreds of ships steaming toward Europe for a fight might be considered a provocation.
Of course, the ultimate provocation is declaring war on a sovereign and Western-friendly nation, so perhaps anything NATO and the West do is justified. And there are precedents for arming our enemy’s enemy without full-scale war breaking out (for example, the delivery of Stinger missiles to the mujahideen fighting Russia in Afghanistan in the 1980s).
But there have already been a series of provocations by the West, including sending Javelin anti-tank weapons into Ukraine by the hundreds. From the most extreme Russian point of view, this is basically NATO saying, “We are supplying weapons to kill your children.” And if, as many observers have pointed out, the Russian military isn’t living up to tactical and strategic expectations and can’t actually capture the Baltics before the U.S. can blink, Putin still has the option of going nuclear, even if it’s just on the tactical scale.
Nobody knows where the world goes from there. But with Putin becoming more bellicose every day, Russian forces ratcheting up brutality against civilians in Ukraine, and with the fighting coming to NATO’s very doorstep, there is every chance that we are on the verge of a true world war.
It doesn’t look like NATO is ready to fight it.
[First Biden removes the “terrorist” designation from the Colombian FARC terrorist group, clearing the way to openly embrace the group for some future American-sponsored terror campaign, much like the Obama/Biden creation of ISIS in Iraq and Syria (What Is The Truth About ISIS?). Qatar and Saudi Arabia built ISIS for Obama from the remains of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, in order to create a terrorist jihadi army, for the purpose of overthrowing Bashar Assad. ISIS was created to fight the wars started by Obama, Biden and Hillary inside Syria and Libya, serving as another CIA-created terrorist Islamist army, just like their Al-Qaeda predecessors.
Biden then designates the Colombian narco-state as a major non-NATO ally, even though it is home to hordes of “rehabilitated” FARC terrorists, in addition to all the Colombian cocaine cartel/mafias, not to mention all of those former American-trained military “death squads”. He chooses the Colombian mercenaries/terrorists for the mission in Ukraine because these same killers have been killing for Western interests all over the globe for the past decade. Russia understands that the Colombian terrorists are the NEW ISIS.]
“In politics, the only true thing is what is not seen”, José Martí.
1. The geopolitical consequences of the NATO-Russia confrontation impact Our America. The implications of the military conflict in Europe will be capital for the continent. This will increase the struggle of China, Russia and the United States for political influence and markets in America. Latin America and the Caribbean will be a key territory in the global dispute, a fundamental geo-strategic space.
2. Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua constitute important States for the current geopolitical confrontation between the great powers of the world. Additionally, history shows that the Latin American and Caribbean region is considered by the world’s elites as a reservoir of raw materials. The foreign policy of imperialism, and particularly of the United States, confirms such an assertion. The armed confrontation in Europe, the consequences derived from the imposition of unilateral coercive measures against the Russian Federation, the international prices of hydrocarbons, the European energy dependency and the global problem of supply chains, place the United States and the European Union in a true energy emergency with serious economic consequences.
3. The “Provisional National Security Strategic Guide” approved by Biden defines Venezuela as a relevant State for US Military Doctrine. Venezuela’s energy potential, among other things, places the country in the order of priorities that the US has in the region. Consequently, after the conflict between NATO and Russia, Venezuela will be the center of gravity of Washington’s military planning. The official public agenda of the Biden-Duque meeting contains as topics to be discussed, among others, the “promotion of democracy and security.” Hidden under this diplomatic euphemism is the approach to the Pentagon’s military design for the region, the regional efforts against the Russian-Chinese alliance, and especially the new roadmap to end the Bolivarian Revolution. In that geo-strategic design,
4. It should be noted that Colombia joined NATO in 2018. The Armed Forces. Colombian companies have already adopted the NATO Doctrine, standardized their procedures and pursue interoperability through a “capability and training portfolio” provided by the Organization. The possible scenario assessed by the Pentagon consists of using Colombia to attack Venezuela, an issue that would allow it to take advantage of its status as a global partner of NATO, to invoke Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. The Principle of Collective Security contained in this article obliges NATO Member States to carry out military operations in the face of any attack on a State of the Organization. Consequently, a possible inter-state armed confrontation between Colombia and Venezuela would attempt to cover up US aggression. and NATO against Venezuela. This would mean a change in military tactics that could consist, instead of resorting exclusively to outsourcing the war through paramilitaries and mercenaries as has been happening in Apure, generating a casus belli with the Colombian State that allows NATO to carry out military operations against Venezuela. . In this scenario, Colombia would carry out the aggression, the border states governed by the opposition would be the first territories to join the plan, and NATO would serve to stop the military support of the allied powers of Venezuela. generate a casus belli with the Colombian State that allows NATO to carry out military operations against Venezuela. In this scenario, Colombia would carry out the aggression, the border states governed by the opposition would be the first territories to join the plan, and NATO would serve to stop the military support of the allied powers of Venezuela. generate a casus belli with the Colombian State that allows NATO to carry out military operations against Venezuela. In this scenario, Colombia would carry out the aggression, the border states governed by the opposition would be the first territories to join the plan, and NATO would serve to stop the military support of the allied powers of Venezuela.
5. Preparations for War? In keeping with NATO guidelines, the Damascus Doctrine, officially assumed since 2016, intends to prepare Colombia for a regular war. This supposes a hypothesis of armed conflict that places Venezuela as its main enemy. Indeed, Colombia is already organizing its Armed Forces. in a versatile way, it prepares them for multiple missions, it organizes Task Forces according to the peculiarity of military challenges, it structures its Joint Commands and equips them with new armored units as well as it seeks to obtain state-of-the-art combat aircraft to achieve supremacy. air, among other things. Joint military exercises, close military cooperation with the Pentagon, the US military bases around Venezuela and the deployment of its Security Assistance Brigade in New Granadan territory are part of the indications of the scenario that has been taking shape. Biden has already extended Executive Order 13962 of March 2015 where they describe Venezuela as a threat to their national security. This means that against Venezuela all options are on the table.
[The Israeli gas is 4 miles down, high-pressure, high-heat, high sulfur content…Israel isn’t even using it, at the time.]
Israel is having problems trying to profit from the Mediterranean gas field that it has been trying to steal from some of its neighbors. Drilling has been stopped since May 3, 2012 (SEE: Leviathan Oil Well Drilling Postponed) by Noble Energy’s “Homer Ferrington” rig, which had been working in the Leviathan gas field. Drilling stopped because of the unexpected high gas pressures encountered at the greatest depths.
Development of high-pressure gas, or “sour gas” (high sulfur content plus high pressure) requires deeper wells (new deep-drilling rig has been held-up in S. Korea until late next year) and extra facilities for reducing the pressure and lowering the sulfur content of the gas, in addition to the missing infrastructure that will be needed to be built for moving the gas from the Mediterranean to Israel, or to LP gas facilities, for shipping the product elsewhere.
As things now stand, Israel will “face a natural gas shortage from 2015.”
In addition to the drilling problems, there have also been legal hang-ups (court challenge to monopoly ownership of Leviathan), as well as financing difficulties in acquiring partners. The major oil companies are afraid to invest in Israel, for fear of pissing-off the Arabs. Even companies like Dutch giant Shell will only consider investing in gas and oil exploration through third party partners, like Woodside Petroleum (Shell holds 23% of Woodside stock), which is allegedly a conglomerate composed of Chinese, Texas and Australian interests, in order to have deniability about any investment which might develop.
According to this interview in MoneyWeek, with Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers, he claimed in 2006 that he “owned Woodside Petroleum,” The Woodside Energy company is currently at the center of an international spy scandal after having just acquired drilling rights off East Timor. That acquisition is at the center of an international stink storm that is now being generated by govt. leakers. A cloud of suspicion hangs over the drilling contract which may have relied upon insider information, obtained through espionage conducted by Australian spy agency ASIS, Australian Secret Intelligence Service (SEE: Australia’s Timor Spying Scandal. More Whistleblowers Emerge).
Here we have a very clear example of a national spy agency serving the interests of the corporations, confirming the evidence that Steve Kangas died for to bring it to the Internet. Steve died of a gunshot wound to the head in the home offices of conservative leader Richard Mellon Scaife. Mr. Scaife was Kangas’ favorite research subject (SEE: The Origins of the Overclass). His focus was upon exposing the nexus between the CIA and the rich and powerful and the corporations which they owned.
Are NSA spies acting as mentors to other intelligence agencies, manipulating them to align their interests with theirs, to facilitate their search for insider information for the big oil companies and corporations?
[Strangulating the Russian economy is clearly an act of war!]
[The rapid escalation of events and counter-actions will quickly push the situation to a point of no return.]
“The argument made by several recent US administrations that NATO expansion does not pose a threat to Russian security doesn’t pass the sniff test. It assumes that US attitudes toward Russia are benign. They are not and haven’t been for decades. It assumes further that Moscow has no interests except as permitted by the United States. No responsible government will allow an adversary to determine its hierarchy of interests.
By casually meddling in Ukrainian politics in recent years, the United States has effectively incited Russia to undertake its reckless invasion. Putin richly deserves the opprobrium currently being heaped on him. But US policy has been both careless and irresponsible.”
The conflict renders a judgment on post-Cold War US policy. That policy has now culminated in a massive diplomatic failure.
For the media and for members of the public more generally, the eruption of war creates an urgent need to affix blame and identify villains. Rendering such judgments helps make sense of an otherwise inexplicable event. It offers assurance that the moral universe remains intact, with a bright line separating good and evil.
That rule certainly applies to the case of the invasion of Ukraine. Russia is the aggressor and President Vladimir Putin a bad guy straight out of central casting: On that point, opinion in the United States and Europe is nearly unanimous. Even in a secular age, we know whose side God is on.
Yet such snap judgments rarely stand the test of history. With the passage of time, moral clarity gives way to ambiguity. Clear-cut narratives take on hitherto unrecognized complexity. Bright lines blur.
World War I illustrates the point. The conflict began with the German Army invading France. When the war finally ended, the victorious Allies charged Germany with “war guilt,” a judgment that accomplished little apart from setting the stage for an even more disastrous conflict two decades later. It turned out that in 1914 there had been plenty of guilt to go around. Among the several nations that participated in that war, none could claim innocence.
A similar rush to judgment regarding Ukraine will inevitably inhibit our understanding of the war’s origins and implications, with potentially dangerous consequences. Yes, Russian aggression deserves widespread condemnation. Yet the United States cannot absolve itself of responsibility for this catastrophe. Indeed, the conflict renders a judgment on post-Cold War US policy. That policy has now culminated in a massive diplomatic failure.
The failure stemmed from two defects that permeate contemporary American statecraft. The first involves hypocrisy and the second a penchant for overreaching.
Condemnations of Putin emphasize his disregard for what US officials like to call a “rules-based international order.” Russia’s invasion of Ukraine violates ostensibly sacrosanct “norms” that prohibit military aggression and demand respect for national sovereignty.
This is rather rich coming from the United States, to put it mildly. During the post-9/11 war on terror, successive administrations made their own rules and established their own norms — for example, embarking on preventive war in defiance of international opinion. If Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a crime — as I believe it to be ― then how should we classify the US invasion of Iraq in 2003?
Putin appears intent on using violence to impose “regime change” in Kyiv, installing his own preferred leadership there. Biden administration officials express outrage at that prospect, and rightly so. Yet coercive regime change undertaken in total disregard of international law has been central to the American playbook in recent decades. Whatever Washington’s professed intentions, democracy, liberal values, and human rights have not prospered, whether in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, or Libya.
Perhaps we should not be surprised at such inconsistencies. After all, hypocrisy is endemic to politics, both domestic and international. More troubling is the difficulty US policy makers apparently have in accurately gauging US interests and comparing them with the interests of others. This is where the overreaching occurs.
Consider this simple definition of the phrase “vital interest”: a place or issue worth fighting for. Putin has repeatedly identified Ukraine as a vital Russian interest, and not without reason.
President Biden has been equally clear in indicating that he does not consider Ukraine worth fighting for. That is, it does not qualify as a vital US interest. At the same time, he has refused to concede the legitimacy of Russia’s claim. In concrete terms, he has rejected Putin’s demand that NATO’s eastward march, adding to its ranks various former Soviet republics and allies, should cease without incorporating Ukraine, which Russia deems an essential buffer.
The argument made by several recent US administrations that NATO expansion does not pose a threat to Russian security doesn’t pass the sniff test. It assumes that US attitudes toward Russia are benign. They are not and haven’t been for decades. It assumes further that Moscow has no interests except as permitted by the United States. No responsible government will allow an adversary to determine its hierarchy of interests.
By casually meddling in Ukrainian politics in recent years, the United States has effectively incited Russia to undertake its reckless invasion. Putin richly deserves the opprobrium currently being heaped on him. But US policy has been both careless and irresponsible.
As is so often the case, this is an unnecessary war. But the United States is no more an innocent party than the European countries that in 1914 stumbled into war.
Andrew Bacevich is president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.
[From partners in the original war on terrorism, to the enemies that we appear to be today, what went wrong with the US/Russian era of cooperation? We went our separate ways in 2003, when Bush began his vendetta against Saddam Hussain and “Seven countries”, former client states of the Soviet Union in the Middle East. Next, came the first anti-Russian “color revolution” in Ukraine in 2004, followed by a 2nd color revolution in 2014-15…all elements of an economic war against the Russian oil/gas industry (Gazprom), intended to bankrupt Russia by surgically removing key state Ukraine from that supply system, thereby destroying the heart of the Russian economy. “Independent Ukraine” has always been a pauper state, dependent on the generosity of Russia to furnish the base energy needs of its own people, choosing instead, to act as an nonpaying parasite on the Russian suppliers, as the price for allowing Russia to transit gas through Ukraine to the rest of Europe, or else to shut-down.
When Russia chose to pipe its energy around Ukraine in new pipelines, the US waged further economic warfare against every project, promising Europe non-existent American LP Gas to replace the missing fuel. With the American-induced cancellation of both Northstream and Turkstream projects, Russia (Gazprom) had to retrench in Ukraine to continue to service Europe. Further U.S. attempts to strangulate the Russian economy and to isolate Putin run great risk of bringing about world war.]
As the battle of wills and might between Russia and the west over the fate of Ukraine unfolds, there is one key fact to bear in mind: Vladimir Putin has never lost a war. During past conflicts in Chechnya, Georgia, Syria and Crimea over his two decades in power, Putin succeeded by giving his armed forces clear, achievable military objectives that would allow him to declare victory, credibly, in the eyes of the Russian people and a wary, watching world. His latest initiative in Ukraine is unlikely to be any different.
Despite months of military build-up along Ukraine’s borders and repeated warnings from the Biden administration that an incursion could happen at any time, the February 24 pre-dawn bombing campaign that kicked off Europe’s first land war in decades seemed to come as a surprise to many Ukrainians. In major cities across a country the size of the state of Texas, stunned citizens, lulled into complacency by their president’s repeated reassurances that Russia would not invade, watched and listened to the sound of thunderous explosions targeting Ukrainian military bases, airports and command and control centers. Within 24 hours, the conflict spread rapidly, with Russian tanks and troops moving swiftly toward Kyiv, the capital, and fighting around Chernobyl, the site of the disastrous 1986 nuclear reactor meltdown. Shock and awe, Russian style.
In an instant, Russian President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine destroyed the post Cold War security order in Europe—one centered, to Russia’s fury, by an often-expanding NATO alliance. Analysts expect that, once Kyiv falls, the military aggression will give way to a political settlement that puts a Russia-friendly government in place. By February 25, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was considering an invitation from Moscow to hold “neutrality” talks in neighboring Belarus. If those talks happen, Putin will then be able to pull back troops and end the conflict—while having dealt the West a humiliating blow.
And that, military and Russia experts agree, may be the real point.
Ukraine, of course, is not a NATO member; the possibility that it might join the Alliance some day, as other countries that were once part of the old Soviet bloc have done, is a key issue in the current conflict. Putin’s actions, a brazen defiance in the face of repeated warnings and threats of sanctions from U.S. President Joe Biden and western allies, now make it a certainty, if it wasn’t before, that membership will never happen. Putin’s aggression will also serve as a stark warning to countries formerly part of the Soviet Union of the possible repercussions of getting too cozy with the West.
The post Soviet status quo in Eastern Europe was one “that [Putin] never accepted,” says Fyodor Lukyanov, editor in chief of Russia in Global Affairs, a Moscow-based foreign policy journal. “It ate at him. He believes Russia was treated [by the West] as a second class citizen after the Soviet Union fell.”
Now, western diplomats and intelligence officials believe, Putin seeks to decapitate the western-leaning leadership in Kyiv headed by Zelensky and replace it with a government that will be loyal to “the new Tsar,” as former Estonian President Toomas Ilves calls Putin. That could happen, U.S. intelligence officials tell Newsweek, within days. Putin does not want, nor does he need, to occupy the entire country to accomplish his greater goals, intelligence analysts and officials say. As Ilves puts it, “He wants a puppet state like Belarus,” another former Soviet province just north of Ukraine, and from which troops poured into Ukraine as the Russian bombing ramped up. With a new reality on the ground in Eastern Europe, Ilves continues, “Putin then wants to rewrite the security rules of the road between him and NATO.”
Ukraine itself appears to share at least part of that view. A statement from Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukraine’s presidential chief of staff, and shared with Newsweek by Ukraine’s embassy in Washington, outlined what Kyiv suspected were Moscow’s goals. “The Office of the President of Ukraine believes the Russian federation has two tactical goals—to seize territories and attack the legitimate political leadership of Ukraine in order to spread chaos and [to] install a marionette government that would sign a peace deal on bilateral relations with Russia,” Podolyak said.
A United States that thought it was pivoting to Asia, and focusing on China—a country that is its preeminent rival going forward—has now been dragged back to Eastern Europe, where for centuries so much blood has been spilled. Putin now has the world’s full, undivided attention, in the same way that every Secretary General in the Soviet era did. In chilling televised remarks after the invasion had begun, Putin said, “whoever tries to interfere [in Ukraine] should know that Russia’s response will be immediate, and will lead to such consequences that you have never experienced in your history.”
Russia is now back in the limelight, a nation that is demonstrating, with a display of military might, that it remains a Great Power. Which is precisely where Putin wants his nation to be. He believes Russia should at all times command respect from the rest of the world, “and when it doesn’t command respect, it should command fear,” as Lukyanov of Russia in Global Affairs puts it.
Mission accomplished. As Rose Gottemoeller, former deputy secretary general of NATO and a long time Russia watcher characterized it recently on the CBS podcast Intelligence Matters, “This is [Putin’s] ‘look at me’ moment.”
The West Responds
Within hours of the invasion, the United States and its allies responded by sharply ratcheting up economic sanctions but it’s unclear whether the moves will deter the Russian leader. In a speech announcing the response, Biden said more than half of the West’s high tech exports to Russia would be slashed, “degrading their industrial capacity,” and hurting industries like aerospace and shipbuilding. He’s also freezing the U.S. assets of four additional Russian banks, including VTB, the country’s second largest financial institution, whose CEO is very close to Putin. “This is going to impose severe costs on the Russian economy, both immediately and over time,” Biden said.
The following day, the White House announced it would join the European Union in implementing sanctions against Putin personally. The Russian President is widely thought to be one of the world’s richest men, allegedly hiding much of his wealth in shell companies in various tax havens throughout the world.
How effective the sanctions will be is unclear. Putin, for his part, believes he has effectively made his country sanctions-proof. Russia has over $630 billion in hard currency reserves, and rakes in $14 billion per month in oil and gas exports. As Russia’s ambassador to Sweden, Viktor Tatarintsev, told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet days before the invasion began, when the West ramped up threats of financial penalties in a futile effort to prevent military action, “Excuse my language, but we don’t give a shit about your sanctions.”
Biden, in his remarks the day the invasion began, said he believes Putin may have brought himself a world of trouble by invading Ukraine. “History has shown time and again how swift gains in territory give way to grinding occupation, acts of mass civil disobedience and strategic dead ends,” he said. And in fact, thousands of Ukrainian civilians have been training as part of newly formed “territorial defense organizations” set up in order to resist the Russians.
But U.S. intelligence officials privately do not share Biden’s optimism about “mass disobedience.” One official who spoke to Newsweek on background because he is not authorized to speak on the record said, “After the government in Kyiv is dismantled, there will be no opposition within Ukraine for us to support militarily.”
His pessimism is rooted in Putin’s past behavior, most notably when he presided over a scorched earth campaign to brutally put down an insurgency in Chechnya more than 20 years ago. He says, “It’s not realistic to mount an opposition campaign. [Putin] does not value human life the same way that the free world does, hence [Russian troops] will eradicate any opposition en masse.”
Indeed, Putin’s history as a commander in chief of Russia’s military shows that there may be reason to doubt Biden’s optimism that Ukraine will turn into a quagmire for Moscow. Beyond the ruthless campaign to put down Muslim rebels in Chechnya, he hived off the two sections of the former Soviet state of Georgia that he wanted to control in 2008. Then in 2014 he took back Crimea in Ukraine, and set up separatist movements in two heavily Russian provinces in the east, Donetsk and Luhansk. (The day before the February 24th invasion, Putin declared those two provinces were now “independent republics.” )
And on the complex battlefield in Syria, where the U.S. and Russians risked conflict, former President Barack Obama funded opposition rebel groups, including some tied to Al Qaeda, then failed to enforce his own red line after President Basar Al Assad used poison gas on his enemies. Putin sent Russian troops in with one goal: that Assad maintain his grip on power. He remains in office to this day.
The Ultimate Goal
What is Putin’s endgame now? The Russian leader is fueled by rage and seeks revenge against the West for his homeland’s perceived mistreatment, says Peter Rough, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank based in Washington. The country Putin grew up in, and the one he served as a KGB officer, dissolved in 1991. In its stead came chaos at home, and, in Putin’s view, betrayal from abroad.
The demise of the Soviet Union, he has famously said, “was the most catastrophic geopolitical event of the 20th century” (worse, even, than World War II, in which 20 million Soviet citizens were killed). His resentment over what happened to his country, particularly in the immediate aftermath of the Soviet collapse, is more widely shared by Russians than many in the West appreciate.
As the Moscow bureau chief for this magazine in the early 2000s, I saw organized crime take over businesses large and small; the country’s finances were in shambles. The government was unable to pay the salaries of a once proud military. I interviewed an Army colonel stationed on the Kamchatka Peninsula, in Russia’s far east, who wept as he confessed he wasn’t able to buy his wife a birthday present a few weeks earlier because he had not been paid his wages in months.
Boris Yeltsin, once the democratic hero who helped bring down the Soviet Union, had turned into a drunken mess as the first freely elected president of Russia; his inner circle was corrupt, enriching themselves as ordinary citizens struggled amidst the post Soviet chaos. On New Year’s Day, at the dawn of the new millennium, Yeltsin stepped down. He was replaced by the man he had named Prime Minister months earlier, Vladimir Putin.
Twenty-two years later, in an extraordinary 55-minute speech to his country on Monday February 21, Putin aired many of his grievances in a way he rarely had publicly before, as a prelude to war. In it, he said, “Ukraine is not a separate country,” and that “Ukrainians and Russians were brethren, one and the same.” Kyiv, in his view, had been ripped unceremoniously from Mother Russia when the Soviet Union dissolved. He then recounted the West’s early promise not to expand NATO.
He recalled how coldly then President Bill Clinton responded to his query, not long after he became President of Russia in 2000, about whether Moscow could ever be a member of NATO. He recalled, bitterly, how he was assured that NATO’s expansion eastward—to include countries that had been members of the Warsaw Pact, Moscow’s former client states—would “only improve their relations with us, even create a belt of states friendly to Russia.
Everything,” Putin said, “turned out exactly the opposite. They were just words.”
How does Putin seek revenge for this betrayal? To the extent he can, he wants to piece together a new Russian Empire. Not necessarily every province of the former Soviet Union, but those parts of the pre-Soviet empire, established by the Tsars, who were largely Russian speaking, orthodox Christian and who looked first to Kyiv, and then later to Moscow, as the political, cultural and spiritual center of the world.
Putin is a nationalist first and foremost. Ukraine, plainly, is central to this vision. But it also includes the countries—former Soviet provinces—that are now effectively Russian client states (Belarus), as well as those Moscow wishes to control yet again: the Baltic states of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia (the latter three are now members of NATO, for whom the alliance is obligated to fight in the event one of them is attacked.) Putin in his pre-invasion speech said it was “madness” that the Baltics were ever allowed to leave the USSR. He has demanded—preposterously—that the Alliance pull back to its 1997 stance, when there were just 16 members, as opposed to 30 today.
It is for that reason that Biden is moving more NATO troops and materiel into the Baltics. On February 25, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the Alliance would for the first time dispatch troops from the Spearhead Unit of its so-called Response Force—formed in 2014—to member states along the eastern front. NATO describes the Response Force as ”highly ready and technologically advanced.” It consists of 40,000 troops from a variety of NATO countries. Stoltenberg declined to say precisely how many troops would be deployed now.
More deployments are likely in the months ahead. President Biden vowed in no uncertain terms that an attack on a NATO member would trigger Article 5, the provision that maintains any armed attack against one country in the Alliance is considered an attack against all. If Putin moves on the Baltics, or on any NATO members who formerly were part of the Warsaw Pact—like Poland, Romania or Bulgaria, all of which border Ukraine—then Moscow will be at war with NATO.
With the invasion of Ukraine, analysts believe, Putin hoped to shake NATO. He wanted, says Douglas Wise, a former CIA officer and deputy director at the Defense Intelligence Agency, “to further divide our allies, and cement existing fissures and disunity within [the Alliance] and the EU. He also believes he can benefit by humiliating the Western leaders and institutions when they fail to develop credible and practical options to counter his aggression.”
Whether Putin benefits at home for his audacious attack on Ukraine is not yet clear. (There were small protests in major Russian cities in the immediate aftermath of the invasion.) But if creating more stress on NATO was one of his goals, that failed.
The Germans were widely viewed as the weakest link when it came to Russia, because of the two countries’ significant trade ties. And at the outset of the crisis, that skepticism seemed justified. Early on, for example, Estonia wanted to send a batch of old howitizers in its possession to Kyiv. But NATO regulations say that any weaponry given or sold to a non-NATO member must be approved by the country of origin. In this case, that country did not exist: The howitzers had been in possession of the old East Germany. Upon unification, Germany took control of them and ultimately passed them on to Finland, who eventually gave them to Estonia. When Tallinn wanted to send them on to Ukraine, to do its bit to help shore up Kyiv’s defenses, Germany—astonishingly—declined to approve the transfer.
That was followed by Berlin’s deep reluctance to stop the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline linking Germany and Russia, despite pressure to do so from its own ambassador to the U.S., Emily Haber. Following the refusal, Haber wrote a widely publicized cable to new Chancellor Olaf Scholz, saying that the country was gaining a reputation as a bad ally.
To Putin, this must have indicated that his gas-politik was paying huge dividends. But it didn’t last long. Scholz visited Washington in early February and, in a post meeting press conference with Biden, stood by meekly as the president asserted that Nord Stream 2 was dead if Moscow took military action against Ukraine. On cue, hours after the invasion began last month, Germany halted certification of the $11 billion project.
In fact, far from deepening fissures within the alliance, Putin’s Ukraine gambit has had the opposite effect. Former CIA Director and Army General David Petraeus, upon returning from the Munich Security Conference shortly before the invasion, said he had never seen the Alliance so unified since the days when he served at NATO headquarters during the Cold War.
The evident unity among the members of what Biden accurately called the most powerful military alliance in history, has only made the plight of Ukraine more poignant. As the invasion unfolded, a member of the Ukrainian parliament in Kyiv, Alexey Goncharenko, begged NATO to impose a no-fly zone, to allow his countrymen to have a fairer fight on the ground. There was zero chance of that happening, because Kyiv wasn’t in the club.
Soon now, its desire to be part of the West will be moot, as Putin’s Russia takes control—little more than 24 hours after the invasion began, Russian forces were already entering the the capital and Kyiv was hit with Russian “cruise or ballistic missiles.” Success is inevitable because Biden and the allies have made it clear that Moscow will not meet military resistance from the West. Over and over Biden has told the American people the U.S. will not fight on the ground in Ukraine. He knows the public has no stomach for it.
If events play out as military analysts now expect, the conflict will end relatively quickly with a negotiated settlement that may cede some territory to Russia, the installation of a new Russia-friendly regime in Kyiv and a partial withdrawal of troops that allows Putin to avoid the quagmire the West so badly wants him sucked into. In doing so, Putin will be able to claim that he dealt a devastating setback to NATO, the main goal of his aggression.
For Putin, the sack of Ukraine will likely mark the endgame in his desire to restore the empire. If it doesn’t, it will mean at some point the world’s two largest nuclear powers will be in a shooting war, with all the risk that entails. With his words and more importantly his actions, Biden is frantically signaling to Putin: this far, but no further. An anxious world hopes the Russian leader, satisfied with victory in Ukraine, will get the message.
In Joe Biden‘s America, attempting to cancel Joe Rogan is just counter-terror policy.
This is because our ruling class—in the name of “defending democracy”—classifies those who question the regime on any matter of consequence as a threat to the homeland, and pledges to pursue them accordingly.
As part of this effort, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently issued a speech-chilling National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin. It claims the United States is in a “heightened threat environment fueled by several factors, including an online environment filled with false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories, and other forms of mis- dis- and mal-information.”
It would appear the Biden administration considers the ivermectin-hocking, tequila-swigging, Bernie Sanders-supporting Rogan to be public enemy number one on this issue.
Shortly after hosting dissenters from COVID orthodoxy including Drs. Peter McCullough and the then-recently deplatformed Robert Malone on his podcast, Rogan found himself the subject of a cancel campaign contrived by washed-up musicians, non-medical doctors and corporate media whose ratings he has crushed.
But it wasn’t just these parties out for blood.
This effort was, to put it mildly, disingenuous. We know how seriously to take the administration’s views on COVID “misinformation and disinformation” because by its own standards the White House, and its media mouthpieces, have been the most powerful and prolific purveyors of “misinformation.”
The administration has flip-flopped on virtually every aspect of the coronavirus to positions that its social media adjuncts used to ban people over. It did so not because “the science” has changed, but because the politics have changed.
Biden’s White House says its critics are dangerous—not to the public, but to its rule, as if that rule is equivalent to America or democracy itself, as Dr. Anthony Fauci is to science.
As the DHS bulletin notes, the first key driver of the “heightened threat environment” is the “proliferation of false or misleading narratives, which sow discord or undermine public trust in U.S. government institutions.”
It’s the critics, the dissenters—those with no monopoly on force or multi-trillion-dollar budgets—who are the real scourge.
The bulletin lists as another potential threat “false or misleading narratives regarding unsubstantiated widespread election fraud”—perpetuating the narrative of “insurrection” so central to the effort to persecute wrongthinkers, while eliding that Democrats‘ own election integrity-eroding measures destroyed confidence in the system.
Previous Biden-era bulletins similarly focused on COVID-19 and election integrity, but the latest one—in a new twist—also claims that calls for violence have been tied to anger over “the evacuation and resettlement of Afghan nationals following the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan.”
So it’s not just questioning the merits of mask and vaccine mandates, or skepticism over the security of mass mail-in elections, but doubts about the wisdom of dropping unvetted refugees from a terror-dominated backwater into the middle of your town that could get you in trouble with the security state.
This threat bulletin, like its no less disturbing predecessors, flows naturally from the Biden administration’s first-of-its-kind National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism.
That strategy calls for confronting long-term contributors to domestic terrorism, including:
enhancing faith in government and addressing the extreme polarization, fueled by a crisis of disinformation and misinformation…. We will work toward finding ways to counter the influence and impact of dangerous conspiracy theories that can provide a gateway to terrorist violence.
Linking speech that does not comport with regime orthodoxy to terror, and using that pretext to police thought—with an armed Ministry of Truth operating out of our national security and law enforcement apparatus—therefore manifestly is “counter-terror” policy.
Casting critics as terrorists and threatening to sic the most powerful, pervasive and sophisticated security state in the history of the world on them is of course not about defending democracy or protecting the truth, but intimidating democratic opposition into silence and submission to an official narrative.
The regime evidently believes it must maintain a monopoly over the American mind to maintain a monopoly on power.
Joe Rogan threatened that power, and therefore constituted a danger. The threat was that he elicited insights from guests who challenged the regime’s credibility on all manner of issues related to COVID, and millions of people heard it.
Trump and his allies likewise threatened that power, and therefore constituted a danger. They were—and continue to be—pursued like terrorists, as the House January 6 Committee wields the full force of the federal government to investigate them, surveil their communications and audit their dealings. Why? Trump and his allies called the regime a failure, stated undeniable truths that resonated with Americans to justify that view and supported policies aimed at rectifying said failures that would disempower the ruling elites.
The most meek and unthreatening of January 6 defendants now face extreme, hyper-political prosecutions. They are being made an example of not because they ever posed a credible threat to the regime’s power, but as a signal to the millions of peaceful, patriotic Americans who might—through their collective speech, advocacy and voting.
The same goes for the parents outraged over anti-scientific and detrimental COVID-19 policies, and over critical race theory indoctrination in schools. The Department of Justice threatened to pursue them like jihadists—not because they are jihadists, but because parents awakened to the regime’s corrupt monopoly on the all-important institution of education could break that monopoly and end the careers of the politicians who support it. They must therefore be chilled.
The war on wrongthink is not about left or right. It’s about who rules: a sovereign people or the elites who deign to lord over us.
The ruling class—the “defenders of democracy”—sees citizens on the left and right opposed to its agenda and refuses to address their concerns peaceably. Instead, it calls them terror threats and pursues them using the full power of the public and like-minded private sectors.
The ruling class does not fear misinformation and disinformation. It fears truth, particularly the truth about its own rot, corruption and incompetence, which calls into question its authority.
This leaves us with a question: when everyone, from unorthodox presidents to curious podcasters to caring parents are deemed existential threats to the regime, how strong is the regime?
Ben Weingarten is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, fellow at the Claremont Institute and senior contributor to The Federalist. He is the author of American Ingrate: Ilhan Omar and the Progressive-Islamist Takeover of the Democratic Party (Bombardier, 2020). Ben is the founder and CEO of ChangeUp Media LLC, a media consulting and production company. Subscribe to his newsletter at bit.ly/bhwnews, and follow him on Twitter: @bhweingarten.
The Coming Coup?
Democrats are laying the groundwork for revolution right in front of our eyes.
Adriana Cohen: Donna Brazile, Liz Warren say DNC, Hillary Clinton worked to sabotage Bernie Sanders Hillary Clinton says Biden should not concede the election ‘under any circumstances’
[The Democrats want total control politically, to carry-out the same old radical left, politically correct agenda, but they often overlook the fact that everything political is reactionary, having more impact through reactions to PC support of the philosophy. Trump’s secret to power has always been his ability to provoke reactions to obvious political outrage, hence, the more radical steps that the liberals take, the more intense the opposition to them becomes. This is seen in the liberal reaction to the Freedom Convoy which advocates violent sabotage of the trucks. The Democrats scream for “Democracy,” on the one hand and advocate brainwashing, rehabilitation even expulsion to any who oppose their political dictates. Consider that there were more adult Americans who didn’t vote, in protest, than either party obtained in the big election. Which side will end up saving our Democratic-Republic?]
Jesse Watters said the Freedom Convoy and other grassroots conservative movements show that the “great awakening is happening all across North America” in Friday’s opening monologue of “Jesse Watters Primetime.”
“The establishment is scared,” he said. “Moms have turned against them, Hispanics are turning against them, now blue-collar workers are turning against them. The great awakening is happening all across North America.”
“The continent’s best and brightest aren’t walking through the halls of Washington or Ottawa,” he continued. “It’s like comedian George Burns once said: ‘Too bad all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxis and cutting hair.’”
“Or maybe, they’re driving trucks.”
Watters compared the left’s leadership to a bad boss in the workplace, warning that “the people will revolt” if poor leadership affects everyday life.
Powerful liberals attempt to discredit the truckers’ message rather than listen to them, he noted. A CNN analyst tweeted to her followers, “Slash the tires, empty gas tanks, arrest the drivers, and move the trucks[.]”
The left’s fear stems from what truckers represent: “a threat to their power dynamic,” which Watters dubbed “their biggest fear.”
“Dozens of lives were lost in the chaos,” he added.
“The Democrats and the media are fine letting the cartels run wild as they ship poison into the neighborhood here, killing our kids and bringing death and destruction to town. But if you drive a big rig or care about your children’s education, they’re coming for you.”
The Enemy Within–(State and local Republican parties have been taken over by white supremacists, conspiracy mongers, and insurrectionists.)
“According to a 2020 poll from the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute, 64% of Democrats see Republican policies as so misguided that they pose a serious threat to the country. Among Republicans, 75% believe Democratic Party policies are so misguided that they pose a serious threat to the country.”—CNN
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A “realistic” guerrilla war will be fought across two dozen North Carolina counties in the coming weeks, with young soldiers battling seasoned “freedom fighters,” according to the U.S. Army.
The two-week “unconventional warfare exercise” will be staged Jan. 22-Feb. 4 on privately owned land. And it will be realistic enough to include the sounds of gunfire (blanks) and flares, the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School said in a news release.
Exact times, locations and exercise specifics were not provided.
However, advance publicity is intended to make sure civilians — including law enforcement officers — don’t mistake the fighting for terrorism or criminal activity, which has happened in the past.
“Residents may hear blank gunfire and see occasional flares. Controls are in place to ensure there is no risk to persons or property,” the warfare center said.
“Residents with concerns should contact local law enforcement officials, who will immediately contact exercise control officials. … For the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, safety is always the command’s top priority during all training events.”
Called Robin Sage, the exercise serves as a final test for Special Forces Qualification Course training and it places candidates in a politically unstable country known as Pineland.
The candidates face off against seasoned service members from units across Fort Bragg, as well as specially trained civilians, officials said. The setting is “characterized by armed conflict,” forcing the students to solve problems in a real world setting, the center says.
“These military members act as realistic opposing forces and guerrilla freedom fighters, also known as Pineland resistance movement,” the center said.
“To add realism of the exercise, civilian volunteers throughout the state act as role players. Participation by these volunteers is crucial to the success of this training, and past trainees attest to the realism they add to the exercise.
Advance public notice of “the U.S. military’s premiere unconventional warfare exercise” became a priority in 2002, after one soldier was killed and another wounded when a Moore County sheriff’s deputy mistook Robin Sage exercises for criminal activity.
Pineland covers counties primarily in southeastern North Carolina, as well as Chesterfield, Dillon and Marlboro counties in South Carolina.
The full list in North Carolina: “Alamance, Anson, Bladen, Brunswick, Cabarrus, Chatham, Columbus, Cumberland, Davidson, Guilford, Harnett, Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, New Hanover, Randolph, Richmond, Robeson, Rowan, Sampson, Scotland, Stanly, Union, and Wake.”
“All Robin Sage movements and events have been coordinated with public safety officials throughout and within the towns and counties hosting the training,” officials said.
Among the safety protocols implemented:
— “Formal written notification to the chiefs of law enforcement agencies in the affected counties, with a follow-up visit from a unit representative.
— All civilian and non-student military participants are briefed on procedures to follow if there is contact with law enforcement officials.
— Students will only wear civilian clothes if the situation warrants, as determined by the instructors, and will wear a distinctive brown armband during these instances.
— Training areas and vehicles used during exercises are clearly labeled.”
[They are having a hard time scaring the sheep with this Omicron Perseid variety, since it is so mild, resistant to vaccine and supposedly no one is dying from it yet…if it gives you the antibodies, then that sounds like a good way to innoculate the masses without more shots, kinda like when Moms get their kids chicken pox.]
- While Omicron can evade some antibodies, after two weeks of getting symptoms, immunity to subsequent infections from the strain rose 14-fold
- ‘If we are lucky, Omicron is less pathogenic, and this immunity will help push Delta out,’ says author of small study
Infection with the Omicron coronavirus variant can also strengthen immunity against the earlier Delta strain, reducing the risk of severe disease, according to a paper released by South African scientists.
While Omicron has been shown to be highly transmissible and can evade some antibodies, after two weeks of getting symptoms, immunity to subsequent infections from the strain rose 14-fold, according to the authors led by Alex Sigal and Khadija Khan of the Durban, South Africa-based Africa Health Research Institute. A smaller improvement was found against Delta, they said.
“If we are lucky, Omicron is less pathogenic, and this immunity will help push Delta out,” said Sigal, who has previously found a two-dose course of Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE’s Covid-19 shot as well as a previous infection may give stronger protection against Omicron.
The latest findings suggest the likelihood of someone infected with Omicron being reinfected by Delta is limited, reducing the presence of the latter strain. Omicron is the dominant variant in South Africa’s fourth wave of infections, delivering record case numbers, and is fast becoming the dominant strain globally.
Delta ripped through the country in July and August, leading to record hospitalisation figures. Omicron has not yet had such an impact on health services.
Since the participants had probably suffered previous Covid-19 infections and were largely vaccinated, it’s not clear if the results show the impact on Delta by Omicron-elicited antibodies or the activation of antibodies, the authors said.
The WHO warned Tuesday that the Omicron coronavirus variant could lead to overwhelmed health care systems even though early studies suggest it leads to milder disease, as Germany and China brought back tough restrictions to stamp out new infection surges.
Despite facing a much smaller outbreak compared with global virus hotspots, China has not relaxed its “zero Covid” strategy, imposing stay-at-home orders in many parts of the city of Yan’an. The hundreds of thousands of affected residents there joined the 13 million people in the city of Xi’an, who entered a sixth day of home confinement as China battled its highest daily case numbers in 21 months.
“A rapid growth of Omicron … even if combined with a slightly milder disease, will still result in large numbers of hospitalisations, particularly among unvaccinated groups, and cause widespread disruption to health systems and other critical services,” warned WHO Europe’s Covid Incident Manager Catherine Smallwood.
To hold back the tide, European nations brought back curbs with painful economic and social consequences. Facing record-high infections, France stopped short of issuing a stay-at-home order but called on employers to make staff work from home three days a week where possible.
Beyond social strife, the pandemic has been punishing economically, in particular for sectors like travel.
In an effort to prevent mass labour shortages during the surge, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday cut the isolation period for asymptomatic cases from 10 to five days.
The US is the nation hit hardest by the pandemic, and is closing in on its daily high of 250,000 cases recorded last January.
Brazil has emerged as a surprise winner in the vaccination race, despite patchy health services and lower income levels than in Europe or the United States.
Europe comes in second with 60.7 per cent. In Africa, just 8.8 per cent of the population has completed a full vaccination regimen.
Infection and death rates have plummeted compared to the middle of the year when Latin America and the Caribbean accounted for almost half of global deaths and infections. Now it is Europe where – due to the spread of the Omicron variant – contagion is rebounding.
In some major cities, including Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, over 99 per cent of the adult population has received at least one dose, authorities say. Brazilians commonly claim with pride that the nation has a “cultura de vacinacao,” or “vaccine culture.”
The same can be said for several other nations in the region, which have previously launched expansive inoculation campaigns after traumatic infectious disease outbreaks in recent decades.
The region, however, is far from out of the woods, particularly as the Omicron variant spreads across the globe.
Tougher restrictions designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus come into force on Tuesday in several German states yet to enforce new measures to quell a fifth wave of infections.
People living in the states of Bavaria, Berlin, Hesse, North Rhine Westphalia, Saarland, Saxony, Schleswig Holstein and Thuringia will all face new contact restrictions.
In many places, the measures limit to 10 the number of people who can meet in one place for private gatherings, even if they are vaccinated. This excludes children under 14 years old.
If there are unvaccinated people present, the limit is one household and maximum two people from another household.
Similar measures are already in place in much of the rest of the country, as health authorities seek to prevent the spread of the new and more transmissible Omicron variant of Covid-19.
Federal and state leaders agreed to impose further restrictions by December 28, with the states individually responsible for implementing the new regulations. Nightclubs are shutting nationwide from Tuesday.
Even if most infections are still caused by the Delta variant, the number of Omicron cases has increased significantly in recent weeks, according to Germany’s national disease control body, the Robert Koch Institute.
Meanwhile the government announced on Tuesday that it would buy one million packs of the drug Paxlovid from the US company Pfizer to prevent severe cases of Covid-19.
Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said that the first deliveries were expected before the end of January.
“The drug is extremely promising because it can significantly weaken a severe case of Covid-19 when administered early. I expect that we will be able to prevent numerous severe cases in intensive care units with it.”
Reporting by Bloomberg, Reuters, AFP, dpa.
What is Lebanon today? Put in a blender a self-serving ruling elite, along with a helpless people down on their luck and a prostrate nation withering on the vine, mix well, and you’ll have made yourself a modern-day Lebanon — a polity in free fall inexorably descending into political, economic and institutional collapse, ruled by freewheeling factions, topped by the likes of Hezbollah, whose loyalties are more in thrall to a foreign power than tied to their own country’s national interest.
This unconscionable fate that has befallen Lebanon is of great concern to the entire Arab world, given the fact that what happens in one country does not stay in that country, much in the manner that, as the saying has it, what happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas.
Rather, the travails of one Arab country almost always have ripple effects, becoming part of the pan-Arab public debate and at times creating diplomatic strains and geopolitical shifts in the entire region.
Last Friday, Saudi Arabia gave the Lebanese ambassador 48 hours to leave the country.
The foreign ministry in Riyadh cited the reason as being comments by Lebanon’s Information Minister George Kordahi. The remark touches on cumulative acts of malfeasance by the various sectarian factions that make up the ruling class in Lebanon, acts that go all the way from calculatedly blocking reform to openly engaging in drug trafficking.
[Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi said Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen were
“defending themselves… against an external aggression,”
These factions in today’s Lebanon are running amuck, imbued with the feeling that they are untouchable, outside the reach of the laws of the land.
Consider this. You and I, along with everybody and his uncle, know what happened in Beirut on Aug. 4, 2020, when around 2750 tons of ammonium nitrate, mindlessly stored at the city’s port since 2014, within a block or two of densely populated neighbourhoods, exploded into an inferno that killed 225 people, injured 225, left hundreds of thousands homeless and around 86,000 homes destroyed.
Apocalypse allowed to happen
Well, you would imagine that a probe into how that apocalypse was allowed to happen — a probe owed the Lebanese people by their government — would’ve long been concluded by now. It is not. And it is not because these same factions have blocked it lest their complicity in the tragedy be exposed. As simple as that, my dear Watson.
On Saturday, in a lengthy article about how corruption has ruined Lebanon, the New York Times Beirut correspondent, Rania Abouzeid, wrote of what the prominent Lebanese investigative journalist Riad Kobassi saw while he looked into why no probe into the disaster was ever concluded and why no one person was ever indicted.
“Over the years”, wrote Abouzeid, “Kobassi and his colleagues have revealed how, for the right price, shipping containers [at the port] entered or exited the country without proper inspection. Containers were stolen and passed through security checkpoints. Of the 25 customs officials at the port responsible for inspecting containers, 16 were caught in footage taking bribes that Kobassi broadcast. All kept their jobs, even after eight were prosecuted and some were imprisoned. ‘Till now, till now, they are still serving in their positions at the Beirut harbour. Till now! You’re asking me how there was an explosion at the port? This is how’.”
A basket case
It was, incidentally, in these very containers, marked as agricultural products, that Lebanese drug kingpins, operating in cahoots with these factions — political blocks, like Hezbollah, smuggled tens of millions of emphetamine pills into Saudi Arabia that the authorities discovered last year. (In April, Riyadh in a predictable retaliatory move, the kingdom banned any further Lebanese agricultural products from entering the kingdom.)
Ironically, it was Saudi Arabia, along with the other Gulf states, that was key in efforts to fund the rebuilding of Lebanon, in particular its national capital, in the wake of the crushing 15-year civil war that ended in 1990, and that went on to become the country’s largest export market. Billions of dollars were invested in the nation’s economy and its infrastructure. Yet today, more than three decades after the fact, Lebanon is a basket case, with its currency virtually worthless and its people pitiably destitute.
So is there a heavy-duty crisis, or a crisis of any kind, between Lebanon and the Gulf states?
Asked about that by CNBC last Saturday while he was in Rome, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal Bin Farhan, said: “I don’t think I would call it a crisis. I think we simply have come to the conclusion that dealing with Lebanon and its current government is not productive … with Hezbollah’s continuing dominance of the political scene, and with what we perceive as a continuing reluctance by the government and Lebanon’s political leaders to enact the necessary reforms … in order to push the country in the direction of real change. We have decided that engagement at this point is not productive or useful, and it’s not really in our interests”.
We can also look at it this way: when an ambassador to your country has nothing credible left to say about the incredible political system in the nation he represents, it is time for that ambassador to be told that he should lift anchor and sail away.
— Fawaz Turki is a journalist, academic and author based in Washington. He is the author of The Disinherited: Journal of a Palestinian Exile
In the fight over if and when a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill would take place and whether it would be tied to a vote on President Joe Biden’s broader economic agenda, one fact was overlooked: House Democrats passed their own infrastructure bill in July. The reason you haven’t heard much about that measure is that the House acquiesced to the Senate’s demand that it vote on the Senate’s bill without amendment. In doing this, the House accepted a bill that not only omitted many progressive priorities but also had no input from its members.
If the irrelevance of the House in this negotiation were an unusual case, it may not be cause for concern. But this is the way most major laws have been made for the past decade: They are products of the Senate with little or no House involvement. This is because the House—whether controlled by Democrats or Republicans—now acts as if it were a unicameral legislature in a parliamentary system, rather than acknowledging that it is only one of two legislative chambers in a presidential system. It routinely passes partisan legislation that cannot pass in the Senate, because it is too far out of the American ideological center. The result is a House of Representatives that now serves only to either block or—in the case of “must pass” legislation—rubber-stamp Senate bills on major issues. Members of the House have largely given up their power, and thus their constituents’ power, to create legislation that addresses our nation’s biggest problems.
This state of affairs is not what the Founders intended. Two of the main reasons the Framers of the Constitution created two chambers of Congress were to provide Americans with multiple access points to the lawmaking process, and to force representatives and senators to deliberate and compromise. They believed that this would not only produce the best laws but also promote the legitimacy of these laws, because the manifold voices in our nation would have the potential to be heard through their representatives as well as their senators.
As I wrote in a chapter of Under the Iron Dome, a recently published anthology, members of the House now mainly represent their party and its platform rather than their constituents’ diverse views. Through changes in the rules, members have relinquished much of their individual power and disempowered committees in order to give their party leaders the ability to shape legislation for the purpose of pursuing the party’s goals. In formulating legislation, party leaders cater to interest groups, activists, and donors aligned with the party to build electoral support. These supporters tend to be further toward the ideological extremes. Little to no effort is expended to pick up votes from the other party in the legislative process. This may be a reasonable way to legislate in a single-chamber parliamentary system, but the House is only one half of one branch in the American lawmaking process.
The problem with the House legislating in this manner is compounded by the prevalence of divided government, where control of the White House, the House, and the Senate is split between the parties. Divided government has occurred more than 30 out of the past 41 years, or 40 out of 41 when considering the need for 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster. During these periods, only bipartisan bills can become law, and partisan House legislating only contributes to gridlock. Sometimes, however, a consensus emerges that legislation must be passed to address a particular issue. When this has occurred in the past decade, the necessary bipartisan compromise bill has been written in the Senate and passed without changes by the House. This happened in October 2013 and January 2018, when Republicans controlled the House and a compromise was needed to end a government shutdown. But it also happens when the House is in Democratic hands. In 2019, when there was a humanitarian crisis at the southern border, a bipartisan bill produced in the Republican Senate became law, because the bill passed by House Democrats could not pass in the Senate.
When one of the two chambers of Congress is not contributing to lawmaking on the most important issues facing our country, our democracy is not healthy. It is especially troublesome when the weak link is the House, because that chamber was intended to play a preeminent role in ensuring the people’s democratic control of the republic. The House has always been considered the bulwark of American democracy.
Could we solve this problem by eliminating the Senate filibuster? Perhaps. But divided government is now prevalent. And even when Republicans had unified control in 2017 and 2018, and used the budget-reconciliation process to skirt the filibuster in their attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and enact big tax cuts, the Senate still largely determined the outcome on both bills. The Build Back Better reconciliation bill will again test whether the House can generate leverage vis-à-vis the Senate even without the filibuster.
Another option to make the House more effective at legislating, and to open up the possibility of more voices being heard in the lawmaking process, would be to change the chamber’s rules to re-empower individual members and committees, thus providing more opportunities for bipartisan legislating to occur in the House. The bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus, of which I was a member, attempted to do this in 2018, when it endorsed a package of rule changes. Leveraging our votes in the January 2019 speaker-of-the-House election enabled us to win a few changes. A new speaker will be elected in the next Congress (assuming that Nancy Pelosi keeps her pledge to step down or Republicans become the majority), presenting another opportunity to secure rule reforms. But if nothing changes, “the people’s House” will continue to produce more theatrics than solutions, failing the people and our democracy.
[search for “medical dictatorship“]
The drug in question only costs $17.74 to produce. Unfortunately, this type of behaviour is widespread in US pharma
Last week, we learned that Merck is planning to charge Americans 40 times its cost for a Covid drug whose development was subsidized by the American government. The situation spotlights two sets of facts that have gone largely unmentioned in the legislative debate over whether to let Medicare negotiate for lower drug prices.
Fact one: Americans are facing not merely expensive drugs but prices that are examples of outright profiteering.
Fact two: in many cases, the medicines we are being gouged on are those that we the public already paid for.
These facts show us that pharma-bankrolled Democrats trying to kill drug pricing measures aren’t just bought and paid for in this particular skirmish – they are foot soldiers in the pharmaceutical industry’s larger multi-decade campaign to seal off and rig America’s alleged “free market”.
First, there’s the price point of drugs. It’s not merely that Americans are paying the world’s highest prices for pharmaceuticals, it’s that in many cases, we are paying prices that aren’t even close to what consumers in other countries pay.
A new Public Citizen analysis shows that the 20 top-selling medicines generated almost twice as much pharmaceutical industry revenue in the United States as in every other country combined. Sure, compared with others, Americans may buy a lot of prescription drugs, but this study reflects something much bigger at play: pharma-sculpted public policies that allow drug price levels to go beyond profits and into profiteering.
That term “profiteering” is important here because drugmakers aren’t losing lots of money in other countries where they sell medicines at lower prices.
Let’s remember: pharmaceutical companies aren’t altruistic charities that offer their products abroad at a loss. On the contrary, they are still making healthy profits at lower world-market prices – and as the Intercept’s Lee Fang notes, they are making those healthy profits while boasting of innovation and job growth in countries that have allowed their governments to use bulk purchasing power to negotiate lower prices.
The same arrangement could happen in the United States. We could significantly reduce medicine prices, which would save Medicare and individual consumers hundreds of billions of dollars, and in the process we would do little to significantly reduce pharmaceutical innovation. Indeed, a recent Congressional Budget Office study projected that even if profits on top drugs decreased by a whopping 25%, it would only result in a 0.5% average annual reduction in the number of new drugs entering the market over the next decade.
The reason that reduction in new drugs would be so small gets to the other inconvenient fact being left out of the conversation in Congress right now: for all the pharmaceutical industry’s self-congratulatory rhetoric about its own innovations, the federal government uses your tax dollars to fund a lot of that innovation, research and development.
A study from the National Academy of Sciences tells that story: the federal government spent $100bn to subsidize the research on every single one of the 200-plus drugs approved for sale in the United States between 2010 and 2016.
Because we the public invested early in these medicines, we reduced the R&D costs for pharmaceutical companies. Therefore, on the back end, the public should have received some sort of return in the form of affordable prices. After all, we took the initial risk, and we lowered the overhead costs that the drug companies might need to recoup through higher prices. In business terms, the public is the early venture investor in these products, and we deserve a share of the returns when the product proves valuable.
However, in the mid-1990s, that business axiom was tossed out when drug lobbyists persuaded the Clinton administration to repeal rules that allowed federal officials to require government-subsidized drugs to be offered to Americans at a “reasonable price”.
A few years later, Congress – with then-Senator Joe Biden’s help – voted down legislation to reinstate these rules, and later the Obama administration rejected House Democrats’ request that federal officials at least provide guidelines to government agencies about how they can exercise their remaining powers to combat drug price gouging.
The result: we now routinely face immoral situations like last week’s news that pharmaceutical giant Merck is planning to charge Americans $712 for a Covid drug that cost only $17.74 to produce and whose development was subsidized by the American government.
That’s just the latest example of the absurd paradigm: we take the risk of investing early in the product, but instead of that investment reaping us something valuable like affordable prices, we are rewarded with price gouging by the drugmakers that bankroll the lawmakers who’ve rigged the rules – and aim to keep them rigged.
All of this underscores how corrupt and insane the current conversation in Congress really is – and in truth, it’s way more corrupt than it even seems on the surface.
We aren’t merely watching pharma-bankrolled lawmakers try to stop Medicare from negotiating lower prices for drugs – they are trying to stop the government from negotiating lower prices for medicines that the government already paid for, and that we are being charged the world’s highest prices for.
This opposition is just the latest crusade to keep the American market walled off for maximum manipulation. Laws written by drug lobbyists prohibit wholesalers from importing lower-priced medicines from other countries, give drug companies 20-year patents on government-subsidized medicine, prevent the government from requiring reasonable prices for drugs the government pays for and block Medicare from using its bulk purchasing power to negotiate lower prices.
That’s not a “free market”. It is a top-down command economy perfectly calibrated for price gouging, and the pharmaceutical industry and its puppet politicians want to keep it that way.
- David Sirota is a Guardian US columnist and an award-winning investigative journalist. He is an editor-at-large at Jacobin, and the founder of the Daily Poster. He served as Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign speechwriter
- This article was originally published in the Daily Poster, a grassroots-funded investigative news outlet
[ISIS-K consists of mercenary “Islamists”, mostly ex-TTP, who have been hired by ISIS in Syria to create the impression of a growing worldwide “Caliphate”. Originally recruited from anti-Shiite/Hazara mass-murderers in Pakistan and Afghanistan, to come to Syria and continue their work there. After being run-out of Pakistan by Pak Zarb-i-Azb military offensive, the TTP, soon to be ISIS-K, were sheltered for several years in Afghanistan by local Pushtuns and the Afghan secret services until they became useful. The Afghan Govt supported a Khorasani offensive against the Afghan Taliban, until they were severely beaten by the Talib and thereafter kept penned-up in and around Nangarhar (Afghan Taliban Keep ISIS Penned-Up In The Wilderness of Nangarhar ). After the Taliban victory, Taliban found them useful, using them to attack the Americans and the airport, making new American media disinformation (Trusting the Taliban to Fight Islamic State ) seem probable, allowing the CIA to continue and to expand Afghan operations under the watchful Taliban eye.
Kabul explosion signals opening of jihadi civil war in Afghanistan
The top US commander in Afghanistan General John Nicholson has said roughly 70 per cent of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group loyalists fighting in Afghanistan are the members of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.
“In the case of Islamic State Khorasan province, the majority of the members are from the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).”
Smashing Greater Central Asia—Part II Risking the World
Mullah Baradar… (click on Baradar, 106 posts)
central terrorist leader at the center of CIA/ISI Psyop, deception operation
By: Peter Chamberlin
The multitude of theories on the reasons for the arrests are divided between cooperation and confrontation theories, either it is explained by mutual interests or by rivalries. In my opinion, it is both.
Researchers and analysts are banging their heads against many walls, searching for meaning in reports of multiple arrests of Taliban, by the Pakistani government. Speculation is running rampant, that Pakistan has finally “seen the light,” that it represents a “split” within the Taliban, or that Pakistan has arrested Taliban who have been negotiating with Brits or Americans. In my opinion, the arrests began as a clean-up operation to remove links to the intelligence being revealed in British courts, but it turned into a tit-for-tat series of paybacks between the ISI and the CIA.
The true meaning of the arrests can be ascertained from the timing of the events. It may have been primarily an American/Pakistani operation to isolate Taliban leaders who had either negotiated with the British, or had been held at Guantanamo. British courts had taken up the case of Binyam Mohamed and American officials publicly stated that disclosing classified information about US abuse of this detainee would damage intelligence cooperation between the agencies of the two nations.
The first arrest, of Taliban number two, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, was on, or about Feb. 7. Multiple news reports have tied Baradar to ongoing negotiations to identify and isolate “reconcilable” Taliban. These attempts at negotiating have all come from the British or Afghan sides, with the US supposedly prepared to take advantage of any breakthroughs.
“A British court has ordered the government to disclose classified information about the treatment of a former Guantanamo Bay…It was released after judges at an appeals court on Wednesday rejected the UK government’s claim that disclosing the information would damage intelligence co-operation with US agencies.”
In the days that followed, the western media was abuzz with more reports that Pakistan had made multiple “arrests” of the Taliban’s leadership. It is impossible to know how many of these names obtained from the Western media are correct, but some of them had also been tied to the British negotiations, while at least two of them were former inmates of Guantanamo.
Mullah Abdul Qayoum Zakir GUANTANAMO around 2006, then transferred to Afghanistan government custody in late 2007, eventually released around May 2008. American officials won’t say why he was let go and have not released a photograph of him.
Mullah Abdul Salam is unidentifiable, at this point, whether he is the governor of Kunduz, or the former Taliban who was involved with British diplomat Michael Semple and EU diplomat Mervyn Patterson, or still other candidates, such as former inmate of Guantanamo Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, or Mullah Abdul Salaam Rocketi.
Mullah Muhammad Hassan
Mullah Muhammad Younis. who is also known as Akhunzada Popalzai
Mullah Ahmed Jan Akhunzada (could be Akhunzada Popalzai)
Maulavi Abdul Kabir, aka Mullah Abdul Kahir Osmani
Mohtasim Agha Jan, son-in-law of Mullah Omer
Do the arrests mean that Pakistan has embraced the American mission in the war on terror?
The following timetable relates the arrests to the rest of the unfolding understory.
1/28- London conference
2/2-4- India/Iran development conference, topic opening Afghan route
2/8- Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar
2/13- Operation Moshtarak offensive begins
2/17- Mullah Abdul Salam
2/18- Car-bomb targeting Mangal Bagh mosque, blamed on Berelvi “Ansar al-Islam”
2/18- Mohammed Haqqani killed in Predator attack
2/20- Two Sipah e-Sahaba militants killed Faisalbad
2/20- Pak Army adds 26 posts to border, Balochistan
2/23- Rigi arrested
2/23- Pak announces new naval base near Gwadar
2/24- Qari Zafar killed Predator
2/25- India/Pakistan talks
2/26- Kabul bomb targets Indian doctors
2/26- Khalid Khwaja petitions Lahore High Court to block deportation of Taliban.
2/27- Intra-Sunni battles Faisalbad (revival of Sipah e-Sahaba attacks on Berelvi)
2/27- Hafiz Saeed, “India will have to fight if it will not talk.” Silence on Taliban arrests
If you look at the timetable to understand whether or not Pakistan and the US are on the same page you see some clear evidence of a joint US/Pakistan mission to eliminate the Taliban leadership, but more than that, you see specific acts of resistance on Pakistan’s part.
There is one inescapable reality–the Pakistani Army will never truly turn on the Taliban, who represent their last line of defense, as well as their first option, in any contest with India. The historical relationship between the military and the militants has been one where the government has used sectarian terror groups (and even created them) to keep the tribes, sects and political groups in line. Keep these things in mind, as you consider the events.
In addition to the arrests, the timetable details American predator strikes which have eliminated some of the Army’s protected militants, in particular, Mohammed Haqqani and Qari Zafar. In between those two American assassinations, you have the arrest of American asset against Iran, Abdolmalek Rigi, thanks to Pakistan’s ISI. Between the Haqqani hit and the Rigi arrest, Pakistan set-up 26 border posts to block US hot pursuit into Balochistan. Long dormant Sipah e-Sahaba started anti-Berelvi rioting in Faisalbad. After the Rigi arrest, Pakistan announced plans for a new naval base near the Chinese-constructed port at Gawadar.
After the Predator killed Qari, the India/Pakistan talks started and quickly ended, followed by the bombing of the Indians living in Kabul. This was followed by Khalid Khwaja (of Daniel Pearl fame) interceding at the Lahore High Court to block extradition of the Taliban. But this does not leave us with a clear-cut case of Pakistan blocking American moves and supporting militants for political terrorism, but a record that speaks of both the United States and Pakistan together using militant Islamists and gangs for terrorism.
The Rigi case was a concrete example of the US supporting groups who are committing terror attacks, just like the case of Pakistan and the Taliban. Pakistan handing him to Iran is a clear sign of resistance to American plans, but it should probably be understood as retribution for the killing of Mohammed Haqqani. But in spite of all this, there have been new signs since all of this has transpired that points to a new direction for the CIA/ISI partnership that leads where all parties have always wanted to go—central Asia.
A new war drama has emerged in Baghlan province, the former domain of “shadow” governor, Mulla Mir Mohammad; there, the forces of ISI friend Gubuddin Hekmatyar (former CIA friend) have attacked the local Taliban who are hosting IMU terrorists (Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan). This marks a new direction for a joint CIA/ISI mission. Together, Pakistan and the US will back Heckmatyar as the northern front is expanded (with the “discovery” of many new Uzbek militants) and moves to secure the new supply line.
Today’s news reports that Hekmatyar’s forces have surrendered to the Karzai (Northern Alliance) government. This opens the door to Pakistani-backed militants becoming part of the “reconciliation” program. This will allow the US to buy its way out of Afghanistan in such a way as to set-up the movement of US forces northward toward the hydrocarbon deposits of Central Asia.
Until this new level of cooperation was brought together, Pakistan and the US have been on a collision course over disagreements on the mission of the terror war, which began in the confrontations between Bush and Musharraf over the war in Waziristan. That period was marked by US and British efforts to penetrate the veil of secrecy that shrouded South Waziristan, as well as the North. One of the most effective of these intrusions was by the British through their agent Michael Semple and his efforts to find “reconcilables” and convert them to an anti-Taliban mission.
The Semple mission through Mansoor Dadullah penetrated the S. Waziristan cloak of secrecy, where it exposed another covert mission, a joint American/Israeli/Indian mission, known as the “Pakistani Taliban” (TTP), run by Mansoor’s big brother (Mullah Dadullah). Upon this discovery, the British mission was exposed and shut down by the American government (SEE: Dissecting the Anti-Pakistan Psyop).
The TTP project continued to rain havoc upon Pakistan, forcing the Army to finally take action, even though the local tribes had opposed past military offensives. The TTP would rain such hell down upon the heads of the innocent people of FATA and the NWFP that they would welcome the Army with open arms and even accept an American drone war in their midst. Anything, as long as someone got rid of those pesky militants!
After the Obama Administration took over, CIA sources were tricked into targeting the head of the TTP, Baitullah Mehsud, despite countless attempts to avoid him in the past, because he had become such a thorn in Pakistan’s side. His successor, Hakeemullah, was an even bigger pain, as he escalated the terror attacks upon both government and sectarian targets until he foolishly went too far, seeking revenge upon the CIA for Baitullah, leading to his own demise.
The killing of Hakeemullah’s mentor, Qari Zafar, and the subsequent elimination of the rest of the TTP leadership has eliminated the hierarchy that was carefully cultivated over many years by the consortium of spy agencies. The same airborne strategy that has eliminated former American assets like the Mehsuds through a succession of decapitation strikes, was also responsible for elevating them into their leadership positions in the first place.
The tricks of the trade that have been utilized to develop and control agents of influence in S. Waziristan, like Baitullah and Tahir Yuldashev (and especially their former mentor, Guantanamo inmate Abdullah Mehsud) are from the CIA’s deepest bag of dirty tricks. From what we know today, these “high-value” militants were subjected to military mind-control science, as the agency and the military pulled-out all stops in breaking these guys at Guantanamo and Bagram. Even more severe measures were used in Uzbekistan, where Yuldashev and others were persuaded to embrace our line of thinking. In addition to the various modes of torture employed at Guantanamo, we can safely assume that darker methods like psychotropic drugs and electroshock were also used on these reconditioned “Islamist” leaders, when we have already used them on our own troops.
American attempts to block the British court ruling that would open the door to public discussion of the secret illegal methods used upon the inmates of Guantanamo is the reason for the breakdown of communications between CIA and MI6. It would make perfect “Imperial” sense to have Pakistan round-up and hold all the Taliban leaders who possessed first-hand experiences of the Guantanamo brainwashing process or those who had been exposed to the British negotiations which uncovered the actions of some of the brainwashed leaders in S. Waziristan.
In S. Waziristan, around the town of Wana, the graduates of the various CIA/military torture/brainwashing programs convened to create both the TTP and Jundullah, Rigi’s group. Abdullah Mehsud had come to Wana after leaving Gitmo, along with Tahir Yuldashev, forming the base of the “Pakistani Taliban.” There they agitated and terrorized the tribal region to accept Wahabbi “Shariah.” They were reinforced in 2007 by Mullah Dadullah Akhund, after he was released from his year studying at another American “Islamist university”, probably at Baghram.
Near Wana, the group hosted trainers from Lashkar e-taiba and Lashkar e-Jhangvi to turn-out the large number of TTP fighters who have plagued Pakistan’s Swat region. To this deadly mix, a radical Wahabbi preacher named Haji Namdar was exported to Bara in Khyber, from Saudi Arabia, where he had been radicalizing for the previous six years. Namdar was like all of the aforementioned Taliban leaders who had been taken earlier in the war and were in American hands in Guantanamo or Afghanistan for long periods of time, or they were indoctrinated in countries dominated by US forces, such as Saudi Arabia, in preparation for their return to Pakistan and the planned destabilization mission.
The same irregular warfare tactics that US forces and the CIA were employing in Pakistan were used in Afghanistan, as well. The same pattern of aerial decapitation inspired leadership changes, involving former Guantanamo prisoners, was followed in Afghanistan. Next in line to Mullah Omar, Mullah Akhtar Usmani, was killed by airstrike, after a phone call was intercepted by British drone. He was replaced by Mullah Baradar, who allegedly may be replaced by possible Guantanamo alumnus Mullah Zakir, although some reports have listed him among the recently captured. Zakir’s second in command is another Guantanamo parolee, Mullah Abdul Raouf.
The more we learn about the alleged “differences” between the missions of the Pakistani and the US military, the more we learn that they may not be that far apart on many issues. Most of the drama we have become accustomed to has been no more than political theater, designed to alter the opinions of the people of both America and Pakistan so that they would embrace the never-ending war of terror.
When you look closely at the conflict that has been generated in S. Waziristan and NWFP by the TTP terrorist strikes, it becomes apparent that that was all just more consensual drama, as well—all designed to deceive the people into allowing it to happen in Pakistan and allowing it to spread forth from there, like a plague upon all mankind.
By Peter Chamberlin
In the complicated calculus of the men who would plan our destinies for us, if we would only let them, it is often hard to fathom which line of reasoning represents their dominant thinking on any strategic subject. In Afghanistan and in Pakistan, it is getting harder to distinguish between the minimum acceptable goals for the Empire and less-desirable, though ultimately acceptable conditions for ending the war. In particular, thinking of the “pipeline wars” (which American corporations seem to be losing, badly), if America is projected to fail miserably in its plans for Central and South Asia, then what secondary objectives is the Empire preparing for the region?
Could it be possible that the rationale for the US terror war is falling apart so quickly since the big production in Abbottabad, that the secondary objective of playing spoiler for the winners in the energy war is replacing the primary mission of Central Asian energy-looting as America’s military solution for economic salvation? The war itself is unsustainable, absent the collective will of the American people to wage this war without a valid reason, or foreseeable end, the 911 attacks having been replaced long ago with whatever excuse Obama wanted to use as justification. On top of this, the bin Laden psyop is having the unintended consequence of undermining support for continuing the war and increasing the public uproar to find an end to this war that now has no adversary, in the absence of a terrorist mastermind. It is slowly winding-down to total defeat for the United States, absent another earth-shattering unifying, “Pearl Harbor-like event” in the near future. What will the American administration do to sustain this unpopular war? How far will they go to keep the Afghan/Pakistan war going?
The NATO side is currently still pursuing a policy of faking negotiations with old acquaintances of Mullah Omar, like Tayyab Aga, allegedly discussing reconciliation efforts for harmless “Taliban” (those who are not veteran Taliban fighters). These fighters are expected to turn-in their weapons for cash, even though the actual Taliban spokesmen for Mullah Omar insist that there will be no negotiations as long as occupation forces remain in Afghanistan. The US has staked-out the position that those who fought against the coalition government cannot be “reconciled,” meaning that all those who have fought against the American occupation have no other choices but to keep fighting until they die in combat, or turn themselves in for arrest. The Taliban still insist that there is nothing to talk about as long as the occupation continues. Mullah Omar has issued hand-written warning notes to local mosques stating that those who negotiate with the Americans are marked for death. There is no room for compromise there for either side. So what good will it do for US/British negotiators to talk to second or third level Taliban who have no sway with high command? It is more than likely that all of this reconciliation talk is merely for public entertainment purposes, maintaining popular support for the war and Obama, by pretending that Obama is getting it right and peace may be just around the corner.
It is becoming clear to those who care to look for the truth about the war, that the US never intended to leave Afghanistan, it has always planned to use Afghanistan and Pakistan as a military beachhead into Central Asia (SEE: Neutral Afghanistan serves regional stability). Every American
spokesperson who has publicly denied these now obvious facts, has been consciously lying to the world, in order to advance this mass deception as far as possible before the American people wake-up. Researchers and analysts are breaking through the carefully constructed wall of American deception to understand just how cynically American leaders have manipulated Pakistan and India, playing them off against one another in a dangerous game of brinkmanship designed to serve only Imperial ends.
Indian and Pakistani writers have to dig deeper to understand the psyops that are still playing-out along the Durand Line. They must ask: How deep does the American deception go, or is everything about this war a deception? Only then can it become apparent the defensive actions that each nation must take, perhaps in a united action against the Imperial designs.
Indian writer M K Bhadrakumar reports on American attempts to sideline both Afghan and Pakistani governments from any negotiations with the Afghan Taliban (SEE: CIA instigating mutiny in the Pakistani army), in order to buy time to force an American compromise. His article offers the following novel explanation of why American leaders would intentionally engineer a risky potential “colonel’s coup” to unseat Gen. Kayani:
“The only way is to set the army’s house on fire so that the generals get distracted by the fire-dousing and the massive repair work and housecleaning that they will be called upon to undertake as top priority for months if not years to come.”
In the opinion of this former Indian diplomat, Washington was actively destabilizing Islamabad, and it was endangering the entire region in order to do it. A destabilized nuclear sub-continent has always been the implied result of these American machinations. It is only logical to ask whether this has always been the plan, and for what conceivable reasons? Did they really believe that they could force both Afghans and Pakistanis to follow orders that would harm their own countrymen, or that their plans would succeed even if they got everything that they wanted from them? What could American leaders hope to get out of this planned conflagration that they probably could have achieved by less violent, more honorable means? There is nothing “honorable” about this ongoing thirty-year war. Our “upstanding” national leaders have always planned to use American military muscle to protect their great redistribution of wealth (the exact opposite of the Marxist concept, the rich get everything), as they looted, raped and plundered the entire world, even our allies. It is only now, in the end game, when these things are being made clear to all who care to see.
The plan has always been to use American military muscle to create for themselves the power to dictate a political/military solution to the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, by sidelining all the valid neighborhood players, even the Afghan “straw man” government itself, much as it has already done for itself in Iraq. They have even applied the same time-tested formula for destabilization which was used in Iraq, but without the same results. The US is no more in position to dictate terms to Afghanistan today than it was ten years ago. Unlike Iraq, where the “Anbar solution” of tribal militias was field-tested, there are no major differences between Afghans to exploit. Iraq is nothing like Afghanistan or Pakistan. Different solutions were required, even though Pentagon and CIA geniuses only knew the one song of divide and conquer. That is why they have failed so miserably in the Far Eastern war theater.
Since they had only one song and dance routine, the CIA and their ISI counterparts have kept playing on the same theme, in their little war games, intended to hold the attention of patriotic Americans and Pakistanis. In Afghanistan, Western powers have manipulated the tribal and national differences by developing the Northern Alliance coalition of Hamid Karzai, which is mostly comprised of Uzbeks, Tajiks and Hazara Shia, as a counterfoil to mostly Pashtun Taliban forces. The anti-Taliban coalition efforts of a massive nationwide propaganda effort, supplemented with an equally massive program of enormous pay-offs, backed-up by NATO firepower have failed to buy or intimidate loyalty from local warlords or join their forces to the Karzai/Northern Alliance government.
Since Karzai’s reelection, the Western media, politicians and generals have been steadily undermining the support Karzai did have, undercutting his efforts to create a High Peace Council, probably well on their way to grooming his replacement, someone like former Afghan spymaster, Amrullah Saleh, who is already a long-term CIA asset, besides being Karzai’s exact opposite. Saleh is one of those selected individuals, unfortunate enough to be native to a CIA-targeted country, who was sent to America before 2001, for specialized training by the CIA. As a top junior aid to legendary Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, he was there in Takhar Province, serving as the CIA liason, when the “Lion of Panjshir” was assassinated on September 9, 2001. He has been a favorite of the spooks since then, especially after the FBI forced him on Karzai as his new spy chief in Feb. 2004, coincidentally, just one month before Pakistani Taliban founder Abdullah Mehsud was released from two and one-half years at Guantanamo “brainwashing academy” into his custody as Afghan intelligence chief. The story of the Tehreek e-Taliban Pakistan that he helped to inspire is a tale of grief and double-crossing. They are the “poison” that was introduced into the Pakistani soil, which Saleh so colorfully described.
The Americans are hedging their bets in Afghanistan, like always, fronting two streams of the Afghan political spectrum at once. The Karzai/Rabbani alliance is backing the reconciliation talks with the Taliban that could lead to the partitioning of Afghanistan, split between the Northern Alliance and the Taliban in control of the south, in order to facilitate pipeline and development plans for the north. This is the State Dept. best solution. This position is allegedly unacceptable to Northern Alliance candidate Saleh, who advocates carpet-bombing Pakistan and night-time Special Forces decapitation raids all the way from Balochistan to Bajaur. His position is that there can never be victory in the war against the Taliban until their support lines to the Pak Army are cut. He represents the most radical factions of the CIA, who advocate total war with Pakistan.
In order to dissuade the Pak Army from continuing to support the Afghan Taliban, the CIA master-plotters have created their own versions of “lashkars,” such as the fake Pakistani Taliban, to battle and terrorize the Army and the people of Pakistan. Since 2003, Musharraf’s generals have been helping him and his successor Gen. Kayani, to revive the defeated Taliban movement as a substitute for concerted, decisive military action against the remnants of “al-Qaeda” and the Afghan Taliban leadership, who had all been allowed to regroup in Waziristan and Balochistan by both the ISI and the CIA. They originally relocated there from northern Afghanistan in the infamous “Kunduz airlift,” where they were spared from certain annihilation at the hands of Uzbek Gen. Dostum and the Northern Alliance forces. Once they were flown there, they began to reoccupy the old CIA/ISI training camps there which had formerly been vacated after they were used to drive-out the Soviets. The IMU terrorists of Tahir Yuldeshev, who were brought across the border with Abdullah Mehsud in his instant army of fake Taliban (composed of Northern Alliance fighters), ran the camps and shared their military expertise with the new Taliban recruits being readied to keep the Afghan conflict going.
Abdullah brought his Uzbek and Chechen fighters to Wana, where they joined-up with Nek Mohammed. This was long before the Pakistani Taliban began their waves of Pakistani terrorism, when they still had the trust of the real Afghan Taliban. Because of his trust for new militant leader Baitullah Mehsud, as well as his initial distrust of Abdullah Mehsud, because of the Guantanamo years, Mullah Omar sent his hand-picked emissary, celebrated veteran commander Mullah Dadullah, to bless the Pakistani Taliban union and name Baitullah as its head. Dadullah oversaw the effort in S. Waziristan, where he had been working closely with Nek Mohammed and his successors, Abdullah and Baitullah Mehsud to develop a formidable new Taliban army of 20,000 fighters or more, including a suicide-bomber academy. After Dadullah shepherded the Waziri Accord peace treaty between the Pakistani Taliban and the Army on orders from Mullah Omar himself, Dadullah was also targeted for drone assassination, just like Nek before him (even though British Special Forces claim the kill).
Under the command of Baitullah, the Pakistani Taliban (now called Tehreek e-Taliban Pakistan, TTP) unleashed a wave of terror upon tribal leaders, government forces and the mosques of the unbelievers. At first, this terror was blamed upon the IMU terrorists who had been given shelter by the Mehsud leadership, providing an opening for the Pak Army to introduce a counter-insurgency, in the form of aggressive tribal lashkars of their own.
Local Ahmadzai Wazir militant leader Maulvi Nazir created a lashkar army of 900 heavily armed men, who proceeded to run the IMU terrorists out of his territory around Wana, S. Waziristan. The Army then began to replicate the lashkar-building process in other towns, hoping to enlist the tribals in a massive show of force to evict the “bad Taliban” and those labeled as “al-Qaeda” from Pakistan. Nothing much came from the effort, except for a bunch of dead lashkar militiamen.
Needing a concrete strategy to counter US destabilization plans and demands for total war in the Tribal Regions, Pakistan has continued to sell the “good/bad Taliban” theme as a path to eventual “reconciliation,” putting distance between the two groups, so that heavy force could then be used to eliminate the criminal Taliban in successive operations. But each time that Pakistan made a little headway, lashkar leaders would be eliminated in car-bomb attacks, or by the occasional Predator drone.
Beginning with the massive drone assault in Bajaur, on October 30, 2006, which killed 80 religious students, drone attacks have become the favorite weapon for radicalizing locals and driving them into the eager arms of the Taliban. This is one of the reasons for believing that American leaders have always secretly supported the formation of militant armies, in order to have someone to fight and to provide valid-seeming reasons for prolonging the war. Everything they do creates more resistance.
The complex CIA schemes have forced Pakistan to develop its own ISI counter-schemes as a matter of self-defense against American demands to wreck the country and force the Pakistani people into open rebellion against their elected government. The ten-year deception in Pakistan has gone through many stages, fronted by many separate players, all of them having some stake in the Empire winning the contest. Today in Afghanistan we have an ongoing war, fueled by a series of major deceptions. The more obvious it becomes that the war is being lost, the more the deceptions will fall apart. At some point, the lies will fall apart faster than they can be reconstructed in a new form.
In Pakistan, we see at least ten times the number of major deceptions which we can see unwinding across the border. I guess that this is what they mean by an “intelligence driven war.” Every interested great power has a game at play now in Pakistan; every interested great power is double-gaming someone else, partners are being made to be cashed-in later, when it will bring the greatest advantage. Pakistan’s military, the “Establishment” and every one of the many “mafias” (land mafia, gas mafia, etc.) have their own separate games going on, all of them game off each other. Seeing daylight through this morass of webs of intrigue is almost an impossibility. It is not surprising that the game-players are having such a difficult time controlling the eventual outcome of this soon to be exploding psychological warfare experiment.
American mind-benders have playing their usual games and inventing a few new ones in their careful efforts to destabilize Pakistan without really upsetting the apple cart, losing control of the situation. It suits CIA and American military purposes to give the ISI enough rope to hang itself. This explains why they seem to go along with Pakistan’s generals, even when they are obviously lying or playing games to avoid causing a rupture in relations. In their international media campaign to embarrass the Pak Army and government, the media-masters are careful to go just so far in slandering them, but not far enough to force negative international reactions. US leaders understand the close relationship between the ISI and certain militant groups, but, until recently never charged the Army with supporting militants in public. Since open psychological war broke-out between the two sides in 2008 (SEE: US/Pakistan Showdown/Throwdown July12), they have maintained a love/hate relationship, creating difficult circumstances for fulfilling contracts and such. As far as the United States is concerned, Pakistan has a contractual obligation to help eliminate the “al-Qaeda” militants that the US and Pakistan have created together.
For these reasons, the CIA lets the ISI have its Lashkars and its “strategic depth” militants, preferring to seize the opportunity to use the controlled media to weave stories about the Wana battles into tales of “al-Qaeda,” the mythical international terrorist network. Beginning with the story about Mullah Nazir and his battle against the IMU terrorists of Abdullah and Baitullah Mehsud, CIA-sponsored Pakistani and Western reporters have invented stories of “good Taliban” turning against “al-Qaeda.” (The most reliable of these al-Qaeda story creators was Asia Times reporter Syed Saleem Shazad, the author of the Al-Qaeda/Taliban split story. Syed worked tirelessly, over several years to weave a tapestry out of whole cloth about the “al-Qaeda” monolith that stood astride the Durand Line, threatening the entire world with “Islamist terrorism.”).
Since its inception, the concept of “good Taliban vs bad Taliban has been fully implemented by both sides, although neither side could agree on whether the “bad Taliban” were those who attacked only Pakistan, or those who attacked only Afghan coalition targets. It seems that most of the time, there has been no Taliban who attacked both sides, except when the Pak Army gave in to American demands and turned its guns upon its friends. By cultivating peace treaties and non-aggression agreements with individual tribal groups, Pakistan had developed an equilibrium with the militants, and for short intervals, terror attacks seemed to have almost come to an end—until the Predator assassination campaign began, ultimately destroying any trust, driving tribal fighters by the thousands into the arms of the Taliban.
American drones have consistently targeted those militant leaders and outfits that the Pak Army has chosen to protect under the wing of its “strategic depth” concept. Both militant and lashkar leaders have fallen prey to drone missiles—the majority of them friends of the Army. The CIA has intensified the drone attacks as the administration upped the ante, demanding more and more that Pakistan dare not give, since national suicide is out of the question.
The big question then becomes then: Is Obama willing to accept a partial non-Haqqani offensive against the TTP, the mad dog killers of Col. Imam and Khalid Khawaja, in N. Waziristan, in place of an anti-Haqqani offensive? Of all the militant groups, the criminal gangs who have attached themselves to the psychopathic killer Hakeemullah Mehsud, heir to all that Baitullah stood for, are by far the most dangerous. The only explanation for such a grouping of monsters who have never attacked American or NATO troops, is that they consider them to be allies, or at least employers. If the US would support the elimination of these killers first, as a favor to our struggling ally, then perhaps Pakistan’s influence upon such “Taliban” as Haqqani can help bring the Afghan war to a resolution, if that is what Obama really wants.
If events follow the time-tested patterns of previous Pakistani offensives, then an operation in N. Waziristan would mean another flushing of refugees onto the roadways and trails of neighboring provinces (overwhelming limited social services wherever they come to rest, Pakistan already has more refugees than any other country). This will once again demonstrate Pakistan’s basic inability to carry-out the total war actions that the US is demanding from them. Pakistan doesn’t have either the manpower or the equipment needed to meet national disasters (just like most other nations), nor the capabilities required to eliminate an entrenched heavily armed insurgency. Will Obama accept this excuse for doing half of what he has demanded, just as Bush eventually did in the past?
The basis of the new great Show seems to be the “Waziristan Accords,” agreements between the Army and the Ahmadzai Wazirs of Mullah Nazir of the South and Uthmanzai Waziris in the North, led by Gul Bahadur. The agreement allegedly binds the tribes to police their own areas against Mehsuds or foreign terrorists. The antecedent to this Wazir option is the creation of multiple lashkars amongst the other tribes, even among the Mehsuds, if that is possible, considering the fate of the previous anti-Mehsud Mehsud leader, Qari Zainuddin Mehsud, that might prove to be impossible.
Pak plans to rope in tribals to take on al-Qaeda, according to the Indian press. If the plan really is to rebrand the Tehreek e-Taliban Pakistan as the new “al-Qaeda,” as the IMU Uzbeks once were, then this might put Pakistan’s generals and American generals on the same page. Once the offensive actually gets underway it will become obvious exactly who is on what page. Until then, we will have to get by on the delicious clues given us in Pakistan news leaks, or the latest militant attacks, to try to understand the mindset of the generals on both sides, who continue to run the show.
In light of recent events in S. Waziristan that are described below, it is possible to project the shape of the upcoming offensive: The Army goes after Hakeemullah Mehsud and the foreign terrorists under his protection, demanding from Haqqani lieutenant and local Wazir tribal leader Gul Bahadar that he fulfill his treaty commitments under the Waziristan Accords and actively suppress foreign terrorists, as well as the criminal Mehsuds, if they violate his territory, thus limiting the operating range of fleeing TTP militants (SEE: Pakistan Using Wazir Tribe of Mullah Nazir to Set-Up Next Psyop):
“The alleged 2007 agreement referred to in [that] report, between Nazir and the govt., allows the Army to wash its hands of the Wana region, making the tribes responsible for keeping-out Uzbeks, Mehsuds, Al-Qaeda and other foreign militants, an impossible task for the outgunned tribes.”
But this plan too, is being undermined by the government leaks that “telegraph” their next moves to the militants, raising lashkars for what is coming next, giving their friends there plenty of time to either prepare or relocate. It might be that the Army telegraphing its next moves gives Hakeemullah the same opportunity to flee the area before the battle, that it gives to Haqqani. It is here where the Army will rely upon the new Kurram Treaty to bring Haqqani into action against Hakeemullah in Kurram and perhaps in Hangu, Hakeemullah’s home turf, as well. We are already seeing an impending confrontation between the two groups over continued TTP attacks upon Shia, in spite of having signed the truce, thus endangering the fragile peace (SEE: Kurram Agency: Haqqani warns Hakimullah not to ‘sabotage’ peace deal):
“Things have now reached a very awkward point … Haqqani has said some very strong words to Hakimullah: ‘Stop it yourself or my men will make you stop it’.”
It may be that Haqqani also has a personal grudge to settle with Mehsud, over the murder of Col. Imam and Khalid Khawaja, who was highly respected by his father Jalaluddin and by all Afghan Taliban, since Mehsud refused to spare the old jihadi teacher’s life. If that is the case, then he may be more than willing to help-out the ISI clean-up the mess.
The timing of the events around Col. Tarar’s kidnapping and murder nearly one year later, help to confirm the “rogue” out of control status of Hakeemullah Mehsud, when compared to the Haqqanis. Ignoring all Haqqani, ISI, or Afghan Taliban pleas, Hakeemullah Mehsud gave the order to kill Col. Imam, which can be seen on YouTube.
His body was then dumped in the Danday Darpakhel area of Miramshah on January 23, 2011. This was clearly intended to serve as a challenge to Haqqani’s authority. On Jan. 27, CIA agent Raymond Davis shot two ISI agents dead in Lahore. The Haqqani-backed Kurram peace deal between the Turi tribe and Shia was struck ten days later, on February 3.
On Feb.7, 2010, top Taliban leaders were placed under protective custody (or arrest) in Pakistan, beginning with Taliban number two, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. As far as can be ascertained, the Mullahs were arrested to stop the previous attempt to initiate secret American/Taliban negotiations—that time they were with Mullah Omar’s actual second in command.
On 2/26/2010, Khalid Khwaja petitioned the Lahore High Court to block US efforts to have the arrested Taliban extradited to Afghanistan and into US custody.
One month later, 03/25/2010, former ISI agent Khwaja was abducted, along with Col. Imam and the British journalist Asad Qureshi, in North Waziristan. They were allegedly in Waziristan at the insistence of retired generals Beg and Gul, trying to interview Sirajuddin Haqqani and Wali-ur Rahman Mehsud.
“The Asian Tiger organization… offered to release them in exchange for three important Afghan Taliban figures — Mulla Abdul Ghani Biradar, Mulla Abdul Kabir and Mansoor Dadullah — presently ‘in the custody of the Pakistan government’. The group didn’t even know that Kabir wasn’t, in fact, in detention in Pakistan.”
Khalid Khwaja was found dead in Miranshah on April 30, 2010. Qureshi was ransomed.
The Murder of Col Imam was a turning point for several parties, in many areas of their relationships. The fact that Hakeemullah ignored pleas from fellow Islamist Sirahuddin Haqqani, as well as the ISI, confirms the split between the Pakistani Taliban group and the ISI-supported Afghan Taliban. Hakeemullah Mehsud and his TTP followers, especially the IMU Uzbeks and the just as radical Punjabi recruits of the Lashkar e-Jhangvi are a criminal/terrorist menace and must be eliminated from Pakistan. The US military has no intention of helping the Pak Army with this formidable task, such as focusing drone attacks first upon this criminal network, even though it would be a simple task, even considered as an obligation to help an ally and old friend. The American military is only interested in those fighters in Pakistan who wage war on NATO, not those who choose to fight against Pakistan. Reciprocity might be the better choice over issuing demands and making ultimatums to Pakistan’s generals.
Col Imam was a bitter critic of the United States which, he said, had left the Afghan mujahideen in the lurch after the defeat of the Soviet forces in the late 1980s. The CIA hated Imam and the Pakistani Taliban hated him. When he went to N. Waziristan he was carrying a list of 14 Taliban leaders who worked for India and probably the US. That list ended-up in Hakeemullah’s hands. His name was alleged at the top of the list. Perhaps that was why he had to die.
From the Pakistani press comes the claim that Col. Imam and Khalid Khawaja may have been killed by Ilyas Kashmiri, as revenge for his being tortured by the Army in 2003 for trying to kill Musharraf. Other elements of the national press claim that the pair were killed for calling the Afghan Taliban mujahedeen and the Pakistani Taliban criminals.
If that was the case then it would justify Pakistan setting Kashmiri up for a drone kill in Wana on June 3. Unlike the surreptitious drone whacking of Baitullah Mehsud (where ISI allegedly tricked the CIA into striking Baitullah), it appears that a potential joint effort to get Kashmiri may have been conceivable, considering Headley’s testimony about Kashmiri’s connections to the Mumbai attack, made Ilyas Kashmiri an embarrassment for both sides. Like always, in this tortuously slow dance between Pakistani and American leaders, that has been grinding-on for decades now, at times it is impossible to tell whether the two sides are in almost perfect step with each other, whether they are hopelessly out of sync, or even at times, whether they are moving at all. Judging by today’s deadly drone strike on Haqqani forces in Kurram, it seems like they might be at odds with each others plans. Recent reports have revealed that the US is attempting to draw Ibrahim Haqqani into negotiations, even though US drones continue to strike Haqqani targets in Kurram Agency.
Can the Obama team accept Pakistan’s revised game plan and spin it in an effective manner, so that it will fool the yokels back home, even after all the yelling that they have done over North Waziristan? Or is the great game suddenly no longer about maintaining the illusion? Has the American/NATO position deteriorated so far down that they must force a “game-changer” upon us all? Have run up against so many walls that we have given-up entirely upon the American vision for Afghanistan and Pakistan as the new international strategic corridor, the new “Silk Road” to Central Asia? Is the new intent to simply so destabilize the region that no one else can reap the economic rewards?
There are many good questions here that no one wants to touch, or to see answered. The questions will answer themselves in short order, whenever it becomes apparent whether Obama opts for Pakistan’s pacification or for its destabilization. Will he maintain and escalate the state of confrontation until it leads to widespread violence between two old allies, or will he choose to calm things down in Pakistan, even as he risks revealing the American hand and long-term plans for moving into Central Asia?
Perhaps the most important part of this whole new (recycled) psyop is that the Tehreek e-Taliban Pakistan will now play the role of “Al-Qaeda” (SEE: The CIA/ISI Soap Opera In South Waziristan) for the remainder of this drama.
The Epsilon and Lambda variants of COVID-19 are “variants of interest,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and early studies show they have developed a resistance to vaccines.
Japanese researchers found the Lambda variant, which was initially discovered in Peru and is now spreading throughout South America, is highly transmissible and more resistant to vaccines than the initial COVID-19 strain.
The researchers warned in a paper posted July 28 that has yet to be peer reviewed that Lambda’s label as a “variant of interest” instead of a “variant of concern” might downplay the growing threat of the strain.
Meanwhile, the Epsilon variant that was initially discovered in California in 2020 is spreading in Pakistan and is proving to be resistant to vaccines, according to researchers.
Health authorities issued an alert after they discovered five cases of the Epsilon variant in Lahore, Pakistan. Medical experts there believe the vaccine-resistant strain is putting vaccinated people as well as unvaccinated people at risk, adding that the strain is just as transmissible as the Delta variant.
Despite these early studies, previous studies have shown vaccines, including those available in the United States, work against “variants of concern,” such as the Delta variant. The vaccines also prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death in most breakthrough cases where a fully vaccinated person tests positive for the coronavirus.
For example, a U.K. study published in May showed two doses of the Pfizer vaccine were 88% effective at preventing against symptomatic infection of the Delta variant and 96% effective against preventing hospitalization.
Donkey video bombs the white tiger with awesome smile.
Biden administration officials are suddenly everywhere in the news, warning that the origins of the COVID-19 virus may remain shrouded in mystery for all time.
This curious effort to lower expectations comes as our spy agencies are halfway through the 90-day review that Joe Biden loudly and publicly “ordered” them to conduct back on May 26.
May 26 was, as it happens, the very same day we learned that, a few weeks earlier, Biden had secretly canceled an investigation launched by the Trump administration into exactly the same question.
Damage control? You may draw your own conclusions.
In announcing the probe, the present occupant of the Oval Office tried to frame the “origins” issue by claiming that the virus “either emerged from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident.”
Wrong, and wrong again. It wasn’t an innocent bat or a lab “accident” that produced the deadly virus, but highly classified gain-of-function research carried out under the direction of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The only thing that remains a mystery is how it made its way out of the lab. I was among the first to question China’s original cover story — that someone had gotten a bad bowl of bat soup in something called the Wuhan Wet Market — in my Post article of February 22, 2020.
In my article, “Don’t buy China’s story: The coronavirus may have leaked from a lab,” I marshaled several plausible pieces of evidence — all of which pointed to the lab:
- China had only one Level 4 lab that can “handle deadly coronaviruses,” and that lab just happened to be located in Wuhan at the very “epicenter of the epidemic.”
- Underlining China’s shoddy lab-safety record, Xi Jinping himself had, in the early days of the crisis, warned about “lab safety” as a national-security priority.
- Following Xi’s guidance, “the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology released a new directive titled: ‘Instructions on strengthening biosecurity management in microbiology labs that handle advanced viruses like the novel coronavirus.’ ”
- As soon as the outbreak began, China’s military was put in charge, with the PLA’s top biowar expert, General Chen Wei, dispatched to Wuhan to deal with it.
Even at the time there was other evidence available, which likewise pointed to the lab — and to the PLA’s involvement:
- The authorities ordered all of the early samples of the coronavirus collected by private and university labs in China — vital for tracing the origin and early spread of the disease — to be destroyed.
- China’s civilian Center for Disease Control was completely shut out of the picture in favor of the PLA, suggesting a classified military program was involved.
- Military academies and installations in and around Wuhan were closed around January 1, well before the Chinese public was notified that there was a problem.
- China lied about human-to-human transmission, leaving the US and other countries unprepared for the rapid spread of the virus, ensuring that more lives would be lost.
The evidence was circumstantial, to be sure, but I was fairly certain by that point that I could have convinced a jury of China’s culpability. Even so, while I waited for more facts to surface, I was careful to call the “lab origin” just a possibility.
Facebook, however, didn’t wait. It quickly moved to suppress the column as “False Information,” refusing to unblock it until April 17. The mainstream media likewise piled on, slamming The Post for publishing the writings of a “conspiracy theorist.” Others who raised questions about the pandemic’s origins were heavily censored as well — if not “canceled” entirely.
China locked down the Wuhan lab, and the US virology establishment closed ranks, both denying that gain-of-function research — or a PLA bioweapons research program — had anything to do with the pandemic.
It has taken over a year, but the attempted cover-ups on both sides of the Pacific have gradually unraveled.
During that time China has burned through a half-dozen increasingly implausible cover stories. After the collapse of the Wuhan Wet Market fable, China tried to pin the blame on a wild succession of animals — bats and pangolins and raccoon-dogs, oh my! — for harboring the virus. We seem now to be back to bats, and are being told that many years ago, in a cave far away from the Wuhan lab, minors fell ill from being peed upon, pooped upon, and even bitten by those same nasty, virus-harboring creatures.
But the wildest tale by far being bandied about by the Chinese authorities is that CoV-2 was a US bioweapon, created in the U. Army’s research labs in Fort Detrick, Maryland. As to how the “American Virus” — as they unabashedly call it — got to China, they have an answer for that too: it was secretly released on the unsuspecting Chinese population of Wuhan by the American soldier-athletes who participated in the October 2019 Military World Games in that city.
Who makes up such bat-sh*t crazy stories about secret bioweapons and superspreading soldiers? The same people, it seems, whose fever dream for decades has been to do exactly the same thing. There are numerous scientific publications that prove Chinese labs were engaged in dangerous gain-of-function research, along with new evidence that these techniques were being used in an active bioweapons program that included the Wuhan lab. As China defector Dr. Yan Limeng has taught us, the PLA itself isolated the original bat coronavirus that served as the “backbone” or “template” for CoV-2. Additional genetic material was then spliced into this virus to make it more infectious and deadly to humans. This is not speculation.
Those doing the splicing left “signatures” behind in the genome itself. To boost a virus’ lethality, for example, those doing gain-of-function research customarily insert a snippet of RNA that codes for two arginine amino acids. This snippet — called double CGG — has never been found in any other coronaviruses, but is present in CoV-2. Besides this damning evidence, there are other indications of tampering as well.
The dwindling ranks of lab “deniers” continue to insist that the vast laboratory of nature is capable of infinite surprises. Of course that’s true. And it’s also true that if you have enough monkeys typing the four DNA bases A, C, G, and T on enough computer keyboards they will eventually produce a complete and accurate copy of the human genome, which is 6.4 billion such bases long. But what are the odds?
And what are the odds that the virus passed naturally from animals to humans?
Dr. David Asher, who headed the now-canceled State Department investigation, put that very question to a biostatistician, and was told that the odds were roughly … 1 in 13 billion. In the face of that vanishingly small probability, Asher remarked, “to say this came out of a zoonotic situation is sort of ridiculous.”
What we do know, as former Deputy National Security Advisor (DNSA) Mathew Pottinger pointed out in a February interview, is that the PLA had been “doing secret classified animal experiments in that same laboratory [Wuhan Institute of Virology]” as early as 2017. While the Wuhan lab poses as a “civilian institution,” Pottinger said, US intelligence has determined that the lab has collaborated with China’s military on publications and secret bioweapons projects.
That’s David Asher’s opinion as well. “The Wuhan Institute of Virology is not the National Institute of Health,” he says. “It was operating a secret, classified program. In my view, and I’m just one person, my view is it was a biological weapons program.”
A Chinese book that recently fell into the hands of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) further confirms that Chinese military scientists have been focused on what they called the “new era of genetic weapons” since at least 2015. They begin by asserting that World War III would be fought with biological weapons, and go on to describe how viruses can be collected from nature and “artificially manipulated into an emerging human disease virus, then weaponized and unleashed.”
In fact, the scientists even singled out coronaviruses as a class of viruses that can be readily weaponized, and they suggest that the ideal candidate for a bioweapon would be something like the coronavirus that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS. It is worth noting that the virus that causes COVID-19 is a type of SARS virus, which is why the World Health Organization insists that we call it SARS-CoV-2. As in, the “second” SARS virus.
Peter Jennings, the executive director of ASPI, said the new document “clearly shows that Chinese scientists were thinking about military application for different strains of the coronavirus and thinking about how it could be deployed. It begins to firm up the possibility that what we have here is the accidental release of a pathogen for military use.”
The document, he went on to say, is the closest thing to a “smoking gun as we’ve got.”
Is it really that surprising that the same murderous regime that has brought us forced abortion and sterilization, forced organ harvesting, and genocide in real time would also be developing deadly bioweapons to release upon the world?
China had both the intention and the capability to take a harmless bat virus, turn it into a deadly pathogen, and then release it upon the world. And the evidence suggests that it did just that.
More than half of all Americans — including 59 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of Democrats — now believe the virus was made in a lab and released either accidentally or intentionally. Indeed, there has been a massive hardening of public opinion against the communist giant across the board, with 89 percent of adults now seeing the country as hostile or dangerous.
By killing 600,000 Americans, China has proven that it is both.
But whether the Biden administration makes China pay for its crimes is another question.
Steven W. Mosher is the author of the forthcoming “Politically Incorrect Guide to Pandemics” (Regnery Press).
MELBOURNE (Reuters) -Australia’s New South Wales logged its second-highest daily increase of the year in locally acquired COVID-19 cases on Sunday amid fears of a wave of new infections after thousands of people joined an anti-lockdown protest.
“In relation to yesterday’s protests, can I say how absolutely disgusted I was. It broke my heart,” Gladys Berejiklian, the premier of the country’s most populous state, told reporters.
“I hope it won’t be a setback, but it could be,” she said.
There were 141 COVID-19 cases reported, down from 163 a day earlier. The outbreak, which began in June, is being driven by the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus, and has now infected 2,081 people in New South Wales. There are 43 people in intensive care, up from 37 a day earlier.
Under fire for a slow vaccine rollout, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said more vaccine supply was not going to ensure New South Wales gets out of lockdown, but what was needed was an effective, properly enforced lockdown.
“Let me be clear – there’s not an alternative to the lockdown in New South Wales to get this under control. There is no other magic bullet that’s going to do that,” Morrison told reporters at a televised media conference.
He called the anti-lockdown protests in Sydney reckless and self-defeating.
While Berejiklian and other state leaders have blamed Canberra for the slow vaccine rollout, critics have said NSW did not enforce its stay-at-home orders, which has led to Delta variant leaks to other states.
At least 38 of the new cases in NSW had spent time in the community while infectious, state health authorities said. Numbers of such cases have stayed stubbornly high even after four weeks of lockdown in Sydney, now expected to be extended beyond July 30.
The state reported two deaths overnight, including a woman in her 30s with no pre-existing conditions.
Despite its struggle with spikes of infections, Australia has managed to keep its epidemic largely under control with a total of about 32,600 cases and 918 deaths.
To help speed up vaccinations in Sydney, the government’s official adviser, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), on Saturday changed its advice on the AstraZeneca vaccine, urging anyone in the city under the age of 60 to strongly consider getting vaccinated with it.
ATAGI had previously advised against the AstraZeneca vaccine for people under 60 due to concerns about blood clots.
“In the context of the current risk of COVID-19 in NSW and with the ongoing constraints on Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine supplies, all adults in greater Sydney should strongly consider the benefits of earlier protection with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca rather than waiting for alternative vaccines,” ATAGI said in a statement.
Morrison said on Sunday the government has secured an additional 85 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, but they will only be delivered in 2022 and 2023.
“To have those booster shots pre-ordered means we can go into 2022 with confidence,” he said.
Australia’s Victoria state reported 11 locally acquired COVID-19 cases on Sunday, down from 12 a day earlier, raising hopes the state will end a hard lockdown imposed 10 days ago.
State Premier Daniel Andrews said it was too early to say whether restrictions will be eased on Tuesday, but: “At this stage, though, things are going well.”
All of the cases were linked to the current outbreak clusters and all of them were in isolation throughout their infectious period, the state’s health department said.
South Australia reported three new cases on Sunday.
(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Christian Schmollinger)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Rand Paul and Dr. Anthony Fauci are at it again.
Following Tuesday’s heated exchange during a Senate hearing over the origin of the coronavirus, Paul, the Republican U.S. senator from Kentucky, took his gripe onto FOX’s “Hannity” program with host Sean Hannity.
“I will be sending a letter to Department of Justice asking for a criminal referral because he has lied to Congress,” Paul told Hannity on the show Tuesday night. “We have scientists that were lined up by the dozens to say that the research he was funding was gain-of-function,” the practice of enhancing a virus in a lab to study its potential impact in the real world, according to the Associated Press.
The AP reported Tuesday that Fauci denied Paul’s accusations that Fauci is lying, and turned the claims around on the senator.
“I have not lied before Congress,” Fauci said. “I have never lied. Certainly not before Congress. Case closed … Senator Paul, you do not know what you’re talking about, quite frankly. And I want to say that officially. You do not know what you’re talking about.”
Paul said Fauci was “dancing around” the meaning of gain-of-function research in order to “obscure responsibility for 4 million people dying around the world from a pandemic,” but added that he wasn’t trying to lay all the blame on Fauci, according to an article on foxnews.com.
Democrats are pushing to include amnesty for illegal immigrants as part of $3.5 trillion infrastructure spending but Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told “Hannity” on Tuesday he won’t let the “dumbest idea” in Washington happen.
SEN. GRAHAM: If you have policies that incentivize illegal immigration, you’ll get more of it. If it’s policies that deter illegal immigration, you’ll get less. The dumbest idea in all of Washington would be to grant amnesty in an infrastructure bill without first securing the border. You would have an invasion beyond what you have today. If we legalized 100,000 people or a million people in the infrastructure bill, there would be a run on our border because everybody would get the message: They’re legalizing people in America. Let’s go and let’s go now. You have to secure the border before you grant one person legal status. If you don’t, you will lose control of America, of our sovereignty.
If they put amnesty into a $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill — that’s got nothing to do with infrastructure, it’s big government, higher taxes — but if they put amnesty in that bill, I would try to deny them a quorum to pass that bill… To my Republican colleagues, what are we going to do if they load up the $3.5 trillion, really $5 trillion infrastructure bill with mail-in voting and with amnesty? What is our response? If you don’t like my idea, come up with one of your own. If we don’t fight back as hard as we can, they’re destroying the Senate as I speak. They’re going to lead to an illegal immigrant invasion like we’ve never seen in the history of the country. So my idea is do anything and everything possible to stop this before it happens. Let the Democrats know that if you put legalizing illegal immigrants in the reconciliation bill, then we as Republicans will use everything available to us, including denying your quorum.
[None of Moise’s security detail were wounded or injured, did the guards invite the Colombian mercenaries inside? The President was allegedly already dead when the commandoes arrived, did the guards kill him? The Colombian squad was reportedly recruited for their mission to Haiti for an operation to protect Moise from the Mafia and the armed gangs, just as a previous squad of Colombians and Americans were arrested in 2019 after slipping into Haiti to protect the President’s embezzling of $80 million from the Petrocaribe investment fund.]
Dimitri Hérard, who is also being investigated for arms trafficking, made several trips with stops in Colombia and Ecuador.
Dimitri Hérard and Jean Laguel Civil, security officials of President Jovenel Moïse, under investigation
“I gave the Central Directorate of the Judicial Police (DCPJ) delegation of power to hear all the security agents close to President Jovenel Moïse. I also issued two invitations on Tuesday July 13 and Wednesday July 14 to hear the divisional commissioner Jean Laguel Civil, security coordinator of President Jovenel Moïse and Dimitri Hérard, head of the General Security Unit of the National Palace (USGPN ) ”, Confided Thursday to the Nouvelliste the commissioner of the government of Port-au-Prince, Me Bed-Ford Claude.
“They are responsible for the security of the president. With the justice of the peace, I spent a day in the president’s residence. I did not see any police victim, except the president and his wife. If you are responsible for the President’s security, where have you been? What did you do to avoid this fate for the president? ”, The government commissioner wants answers to these questions.
Me Bed-Ford Claude pointed out to Le Nouvelliste that during a visit to the President’s residence after the assassination, he found Commissioner Jean Laguel Civil on the scene. At that time, Dimitri Hérard was in front of the Pétion-Ville police station accompanied by some USGPN agents.
“Since yesterday (Editor’s note: Wednesday July 7, 2021), I asked Commissioner Jean Laguel Civil for the list of all the security agents present in the president’s residence. So far, he hasn’t sent it to me yet. I must have it. They must tell me where they were, ”demands the chief prosecutor of Port-au-Prince.
The prosecution of Port-au-Prince gave a delegation of power to the DCPJ for 15 days to investigate the assassination of President of the Republic Jovenel Moïse in his residence on the night of Tuesday July 6 to Wednesday July 7, 2021.
Me Bed-Ford also asked the Inspectorate General of the Police to make available to justice, on Tuesday July 13, Inspector Paul Eddy Amazan, head of the Cat Team, and Commissioner Léandre Pierre Osman, head of of the Palace Security Unit (USP).
“During the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, a commando burst into the private residence of the President of the Republic. The members of the commando opened fire and killed the President of the Republic. His wife was injured ”, according to Prime Minister ai Claude Joseph.
“According to the first elements of information, it is about a group of people who spoke in English and in Spanish armed with weapons of war which killed the President of the Republic”, confirmed the Prime Minister ai
[Mainstream media exposing this explosive story after Joe Biden has been elected king of the Empire, after ignoring or suppressing it for so long, is HARD PROOF that there was political collusion, a.k.a., “A CONSPIRACY” among Democrats/mainstream media/intelligence hacks colluded to derail the 2020 election and hand the office to Biden. This is the real plot to steal the election, NOT the many local voting discrepancies. Biden must be removed from office and the election done over.]
The problem isn’t Hunter Biden—it’s Joe—as major media outlets may be discovering, sort of, with the White House’s absurd intervention in the younger Mr. Biden’s latest career as a budding Van Gogh.
In fact, the intervention smells like a scheme dreamed up by Hunter himself, designed to call attention to his connection to the president, advertise it and enable it, while pretending to do the opposite.
For details, see a long account on the front page of Friday’s Washington Post. Under the plan, a New York gallery will keep secret the identities of those paying up to $500,000 for his novice pieces, but of course this wouldn’t stop the buyer from letting Hunter know who just bought his art or from turning up later as Hunter’s guest at a White House event.
All of this is magnificently obvious on its own terms, but even more so in light of the ludicrously detailed, well-documented revelations from the Hunter Biden laptop published over the last nine months by the New York Post and Britain’s Daily Mail.
Study suggests shutdowns cannot be the treatment of choice
A little-noticed study says government orders to “shelter in place” during the COVID-19 fight did not save lives and spurred an uptick in excess deaths in some places, especially overseas.
Researchers from the RAND Corporation and the University of Southern California studied excess mortality from all causes, the virus or otherwise, in 43 countries and the 50 U.S. states that imposed shelter-in-place, or “SIP,” policies.
In short, the orders didn’t work.
“We fail to find that SIP policies saved lives. To the contrary, we find a positive association between SIP policies and excess deaths. We find that following the implementation of SIP policies, excess mortality increases,” the researchers said in a working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).
The increase was statistically significant in other countries in the weeks following the imposition of shelter-in-place orders. In the U.S., excess deaths rose in the weeks following the order before subsiding 20 weeks later under the orders.
The findings undercut blue states that relied on stay-at-home methods as the treatment of choice throughout the pandemic, while providing a measure of vindication for GOP leaders who said they were harmful and that constituents could protect themselves.
Former President Trump told Americans to stay home to slow the spread in March 2020 but criticized ongoing shutdowns as counterproductive overreach throughout 2020.
“Jovenel Moïse, as head of state, is not his own master. He cannot rule as he pleases, and must respond to the needs and demands of the mafioso ruling class. The eye of the mafia is far-sighted, and it exerts a great deal of power over the institutions and economy of the country. If Jovenel Moïse fails to manage political power effectively until the time comes to pass it to the next stooge designated by the mafia, he could see himself and his whole family disappear.”–Socialism or barbarism: where is Haiti going?
Two American ‘mercenaries’ arrested alongside 15 Colombians for ‘assassinating’ Haiti president Jovenel Moïse as cops hunt 8 suspects still on the run
- Police say the gang that killed Haiti’s president included 26 Colombians and two Haitian Americans
- Haitian police identified James Solages and Joseph Vincent as two US citizens suspected in assassination plot
- Both are of Haitian descent and they are among 17 suspects detained in the killing of President Jovenel Moïse
- The rest of the detained, dead and at-large suspects, are Colombian nationals, according to police officials
- After saying seven died, police now say three other suspects were killed by cops and eight are on the run
- Solages is the president of the board of directors of Jacmel First, a charity founded in south Florida in 2019
- The charity focuses on ending childhood hunger in Haiti including through education, its website reads
- Solages’ bio describes him as ex-guard for Canadian embassy in Haiti, and a ‘certified diplomatic agent’
- At least two of the men brought in alive were found hiding in bushes by a mob of civilians who attacked them
- Moïse was shot 12 times in Wednesday’s early morning raid on his mansion in the hills above Port-au-Prince
Haitian police now say that two US citizens are among 17 alleged ‘foreign mercenaries’ who have been arrested in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.
James Solages, 35, and Joseph Vincent, both US citizens of Haitian descent, were arrested along with 15 Colombian nationals over Wednesday’s brazen raid on Moïse’s mansion in the hills above Port-au-Prince, according to Haitian police.
Solanges, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, is the president of a charity based in south Florida and claims to be a former bodyguard at Canada’s embassy in Haiti. Vincent lives in the Miami area. Both men were born in Haiti, officials said.
‘Foreigners came to our country to kill the president,’ Charles said. ‘There were … 26 Colombians, identified by their passports … and two Haitian Americans as well.’
‘We are going to bring them to justice,’ he said as the 17 suspects sat handcuffed on the floor during a press conference on Thursday night, where a variety of weapons and Colombian passports were arrayed on a table.
The U.S. State Department said it was aware of reports that Haitian Americans were in custody but could not confirm or comment.
Haitian authorities have still not revealed a motive for the killing, what evidence led them to the suspects, or who they believe masterminded the plot — and skepticism is growing among the Haitian public over the government’s account of the assassination.
Meanwhile, Interim President Claude Joseph tightened his grip on sole power in Haiti, despite the lack of legal framework for succession and a dispute with his replacement, whom Moïse named just a day before his assassination.
James Solages, 35, (left) and Joseph Vincent (right) are both US citizens of Haitian descent, and were arrested along with 15 Colombian nationals over Wednesday’s brazen assassination of President Moïse’s mansion in the hills above Port-au-Prince
Interim President Claude Joseph, center, speaks to journalists during a press conference to show the captured suspects. Joseph tightened his grip on sole power in Haiti Thursday, despite the lack of legal framework for succession
Police lined up the 17 assassination suspects, including two American citizens and 15 Columbians, behind a table displaying an array of firearms, machetes, sledgehammers and several Colombian passports
The motely assortment of weapons included rusty machetes, shotguns, high-powered rifles and handguns
- 4,115 people have been hospitalized or died with Covid-19 despite being fully vaccinated.
- The total number of individuals who died after contracting Covid-19 despite vaccination is 750.
- 76% of hospitalizations and deaths from breakthrough cases occurred in people over the age of 65.
More than 4,100 people have been hospitalized or died with Covid-19 in the U.S. even though they’ve been fully vaccinated, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
So far, at least 750 fully vaccinated people have died after contracting Covid, but the CDC noted that 142 of those fatalities were asymptomatic or unrelated to Covid-19, according to data as of Monday that was released Friday.
The CDC received 3,907 reports of people who have been hospitalized with breakthrough Covid infections, despite being fully vaccinated. Of those, more than 1,000 of those patients were asymptomatic or their hospitalizations weren’t related to Covid-19, the CDC said.
“To be expected,” Dr. Paul Offit, a top advisor to the Food and Drug Administration on children’s vaccines told CNBC. “The vaccines aren’t 100% effective, even against severe disease. Very small percentage of the 600,000 deaths.”
Breakthrough cases are Covid-19 infections that bypass vaccine protection. They are very rare and many are asymptomatic. The vaccines are highly effective but don’t block every infection. Pfizer and Moderna’s phase three clinical studies found that their two-dose regimens were 95% and 94% effective at blocking Covid-19, respectively, while Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine was found to be 66% effective in its studies. All three, however, have been found to be extremely effective in preventing people from getting severely sick from Covid.
The CDC doesn’t count every breakthrough case. It stopped counting all breakthrough cases May 1 and now only tallies those that lead to hospitalization or death, a move the agency was criticized for by health experts.
Most Americans have received at least one shot of the two currently authorized mRNA vaccines. The U.S. has administered 178.3 million shots and fully vaccinated 46% of its population.
“You are just as likely to be killed by a meteorite as die from Covid after a vaccine,” Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease expert at the University of California San Francisco, told CNBC. “In the big scheme of things, the vaccines are tremendously powerful.”
Efficacy rates decrease slightly for variants like alpha and delta, with studies indicating 88% efficacy against the delta strain after two doses of the Pfizer vaccine. It was unclear if any of the reported breakthrough cases were caused by variants.
In Israel and the United Kingdom, concerns about the delta variant are rising after growing reports of breakthrough infections.
Even with 80% of adults vaccinated, Chezy Levy, director-general of Israel’s Health Ministry, said the delta variant is responsible for 70% of new infections in the country. Levy also said that one-third of those new infections were in vaccinated individuals.
In the U.K., Public Health England released a report that found 26 out of 73 deaths caused by the delta variant occurred in fully vaccinated people from June 8 to June 14. Most of the deaths occurred in unvaccinated individuals.
“Determination of whether hospitalizations and deaths are more represented in immunocompromised patients and the type of vaccine received will be important for future guidance,” Chin-Hong said.
On June 7, the CDC received reports of 3,459 breakthrough cases that led to hospitalization or death. On June 18, that number was updated to 3,729, an increase of 270 cases. Today, the number stands at 4,115.
An overwhelming majority, 76%, of the hospitalizations and deaths from breakthrough cases occurred in people over the age of 65.
″We do not have the years and years of data we have for vaccines against other airborne pathogens — and therefore it is really essential that the CDC provides up to date reporting on breakthrough cases,” David Edwards, aerosol scientist and Harvard University professor, told CNBC.
The CDC says its numbers are “likely an undercount” of all Covid infections in vaccinated people because the data relies on passive and voluntary reporting.
— CNBC’s Berkeley Lovelace Jr. contributed to this report.
Biden met with state and local leaders and law enforcement officials ahead of his remarks to talk crime prevention strategy, amid a surge in violence in cities across the U.S.
Both Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland, who spoke before him, pointed to a historic rise in crime in the summertime, and said that rise “may be more pronounced” as the nation comes out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Talk to most responsible gun owners they’ll tell you there’s no possible justification for having 100 rounds in a magazine,” Biden said.
Biden also took aim at an argument used by Second Amendment advocates, that the right to self-defense needed to protect against potential government tyranny.
“Those who say the blood of Patriots, you know, and all the stuff about how we’re gonna have to move against the government,” Biden said. “If you think you need to have weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons.”
“We’re not changing the Constitution. We’re enforcing it,” the president continued.
Biden touted “zero tolerance” for gun dealers who willfully violate the law, and claimed that 90% of illegal guns found at crime scenes were traced back to 5% of gun dealers.
The “zero-tolerance” policy targets federally licensed firearms dealers who “willfully” transfer a weapon to someone prohibited from owning one or ignore a tracing request from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The ATF would seek to revoke the dealer’s license after the first offense, a senior White House official said.
“If you willfully sell a gun to someone who’s prohibited from possessing it, if you willfully fail to run a background check, if you willfully falsify a record … my message to you is this: We’ll find you and we will seek your license to sell guns,” Biden said.
“This is a political red herring aimed at hiding the real and abysmal failures of the Biden administration,” NRS spokeswoman Amy Hunter told Fox News. “Crime rates are high because of the efforts to defund the police and a failure to prosecute career criminals. The simple fact is strict enforcement of existing laws – including gun laws – coupled with support of law enforcement and prosecutors to do their jobs would result in a dramatic decrease in crime. But, the president would rather play politics than make Americans safer.”
Biden also boasted of “historic funding for crime prevention” in the $350 billion for state and local governments, from the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, that can be used by cities to hire law enforcement officers, pay overtime, prosecute gun traffickers and invest in technology to make law enforcement more efficient. Officials said the Biden administration hoped cities would choose to use the money for alternatives to policing, too, and to invest in community policing models.
The administration has also taken aim at “ghost guns” and modified firearms, which are homemade firearms without serial numbers that can be used to trace them, making it difficult for law enforcement to determine where, by whom, or when they were manufactured and to whom they were sold.
The Justice Department’s ATF last month sought to update the legal definition of “firearm” in an effort to crack down on ghost guns.
Biden also pushed hiring programs to keep young people busy and off the streets during the summer months, as they’re often both the target and perpetrators of such violence. Biden said such programs encouraged youth to “pick up a paycheck instead of a pistol.”
[The White House on Tuesday released a report that designates the Jan. 6 Capitol riot a “domestic terrorist attack” and endorses an internet purge of “extremist” content–NY POST]
Domestic terrorism – driven by hate, bigotry, and other forms of extremism— is a stain on the soul of America. It goes against everything our country strives for and it poses a direct challenge to our national security, democracy, and unity.
To meet this serious and growing threat, on my first day in office I directed my national security team to confront the rise in domestic terrorism with the necessary resources and resolve. Today, I am releasing the first-ever National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism. It lays out a comprehensive approach to protecting our nation from domestic terrorism while safeguarding our bedrock civil rights and civil liberties – values that make us who we are as Americans. We have to take both short-term steps to counter the very real threats of today and longer-term measures to diminish the drivers that will contribute to this ongoing challenge to our democracy.
This is a project that should unite all Americans. Together we must affirm that domestic terrorism has no place in our society. We must work to root out the hatreds that can too often drive violence. And we must recommit to defending and protecting our basic freedoms, which belong to all Americans in equal measure, and which are not only the foundation of our democracy – they are our enduring advantage in the world.
- 1Department of Chemistry, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, United States
- 2Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
- 3A.N. Nesmeyanov Institute of Organoelement Compounds, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia
Targeted delivery of anticancer drugs is considered to be one of the pillars of cancer treatment as it could allow for a better treatment efficiency and less adverse effects. A promising drug delivery approach is magnetic drug targeting which can be realized if a drug delivery vehicle possesses a strong magnetic moment. Here, we discuss different types of magnetic nanomaterials which can be used as magnetic drug delivery vehicles, approaches to magnetic targeted delivery as well as promising strategies for the enhancement of the imaging-guided delivery and the therapeutic action.
The majority of anticancer drugs are delivered intravenously and accumulated in tumors containing the abundance of leaking blood vessels. However, this affects healthy tissue and causes numerous side effects. The more efficient approach is realized when drug nanocarriers are functionalized with target molecules [for example, folate (FA) groups], which interact with specific receptors located in certain tumors, allowing for the attachment of the drug delivery vehicles solely to the tumor (Fernandez et al., 2018; Rosiere et al., 2018; Sun, Q. et al., 2018; Sun, W. et al., 2018). This approach allows for a significant decrease of side effects caused by chemotherapy agents (Li et al., 2017; Peng et al., 2017; Sun, W. et al., 2018). Another drug delivery approach which can be used for many types of tumors is magnetic drug targeting which can be achieved if a drug delivery vehicle possesses a strong magnetic moment and can be manipulated by a magnetic field (Lee et al., 2017; Luong et al., 2017; Wei et al., 2017).
Magnetic drug delivery was first introduced in the 80’s (Widder et al., 1980; Kost and Langer, 1986) but in the last decade the interest to magnetic targeting soared due to the development of stronger magnets and higher sophistication magnetic probes with multiple functions, i.e., theranostic probes (Nan et al., 2017; Sun, Q. et al., 2018; Tang et al., 2018). Such probes allow for a combination of diagnostics (magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or magnetic particle imaging), and therapeutics, which could include hyperthermia and drug release as well as targeted drug delivery (for example, with an applied magnetic field).
A substantial number of reviews has been published on magnetic drug delivery (Kost and Langer, 1986; Lubbe et al., 2001; Duran et al., 2008; Herrmann et al., 2009; Williams et al., 2009; Foy and Labhasetwar, 2011; Tietze et al., 2012, 2015; Mody et al., 2014; Lyer et al., 2015; Mitra et al., 2015; Shapiro et al., 2015), the latest of which appeared as recently as 2016–2017 (Ulbrich et al., 2016; Grillone and Ciofani, 2017; Kralj et al., 2017; Mosayebi et al., 2017). However, the explosive development of this field in the last two years reveals the need in reviewing recent findings and better understanding of the major trends and shortcomings.
Development of Magnetic Drug Delivery Probes
Currently, there are many different types of magnetic bioprobes which are being explored for magnetic targeting. In this review, we will focus on the most promising bioprobes from the viewpoint of magnetic manipulation and loading/release of specific drugs.
Magnetic microspheres were developed to overcome two major issues that are present with non-magnetic microcarriers: reticuloendothelial system clearance and poor site specificity (Kakar et al., 2013). One of the approaches is to develop porous or hollow/porous microspheres from magnetic spinel ferrites MxFe3−xO4 (M = Fe, Zn). Their high magnetism means the microspheres can be easily manipulated by a magnet within the vascular system and, more specifically, remain in the target organ capillaries. Chen et al. utilized a hollow nanoparticle (NP) with a mesoporous shell which creates a higher surface area and a large cavity where drug can be encapsulated in both the mesopores and the cavities (Chen et al., 2017). Additionally, MxFe3−xO4 (M = Fe, Zn) produce more heat under microwave irradiation which allows easier release of the loaded drug. However, doping of iron oxide causes the decrease of the saturation magnetization which diminishes the microsphere potential for magnetic targeting (Chen et al., 2017).
Another approach to synthesizing microspheres is the combination of a polymer with inorganic NPs. Wang et al. utilized poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) to encapsulate both Fe3O4 NPs and the anti-cancer drug, doxorubicin hydrochloride (DOX) (Wang, G. et al., 2018). The superparamagnetic composite microspheres showed a high drug loading and a quick magnetic response. The drug release was shown to be pH-sensitive with a high initial release and sustained release over many days.
Microparticles of dry powder chemotherapeutic containing iron oxide NPs (called nano-in-microparticles, NIMs) were used for magnetic delivery into lungs with an applied magnetic field (Price et al., 2017). Mice were endotracheally administered fluorescently labeled NIMs as a dry powder in the presence of an external magnet placed over one lung. It was demonstrated that in the magnetically activated lung, DOX loaded NIMs were therapeutically efficient, thus allowing for a targeted delivery.
Specific gene delivery has been realized with biomimetic magnetic microparticles (magnetosomes) synthesized utilizing magnetic nanocluster (MNC) core and Arg–Gly–Asp (RGD) decorated macrophage shell (Zhang et al., 2018). The magnetosome synthesis was accomplished via several steps including MNC preparation, azide-membrane engineering, electrostatic assembly, and click chemistry. This complex approach to magnetosomes is well-justified, allowing for high-performance siRNA delivery through a superior stealth effect, MRI, magnetic accumulation via an external magnetic field, RGD targeting, and favorable cytoplasm trafficking.
Drug-loaded microparticles prepared by layer-by-layer (LbL) deposition of polyelectrolytes with embedded magnetic NPs were attached to Escherichia coli bacteria, creating stochastic “microswimmers” which moved at average speeds of up to 22.5 μm/s (Park et al., 2017). These “microswimmers” displayed biased and directional motion under a chemoattractant gradient and a magnetic field, respectively. This work demonstrates that multifunctional bacteria-driven magnetic bioprobes can be used for targeted drug delivery with significantly enhanced drug transfer in comparison to passive microparticles. Another interesting example of “microswimmers” was reported in (Stanton et al., 2017). The non-pathogenic magnetotactic bacteria Magnetosopirrillum gryphiswalense (MSR-1) was combined with antibiotic loaded mesoporous silica microtubes for targeting an infectious biofilm. Combining magnetic guidance property and swimming power of the MSR-1 cells, the biocomposite particles have been delivered to the matured E. coli (E. coli) biofilm followed by the antibiotic release and the biofilm disruption, revealing a potential for antibiofilm applications.
Xu et al. reported the development of an unprecedented sperm-hybrid micromotor for targeted drug delivery (Xu et al., 2018). This micromotor consists of a motile sperm cell which is both a propulsion source and a drug carrier (Figure 1). The other component is a 3D-printed magnetic tubular microstructure (called “tetrapod”) made of a polymer and coated with 10 nm Fe and 2 nm Ti (to protect Fe from oxidation). The tetrapod contains four arms which release the sperm cell in situ when they are pushed into a tumor. A magnetic field allows for controllable magnetic guidance as well as release, allowing drug delivery to tumor cells without damaging the healthy tissue. This system combines high drug loading capacity, self-propulsion, in situ mechanical trigger release of the drug-loaded sperm, sperm penetration ability, and improved drug availability.
Figure 1. (A) SEM images of an array of printed tetrapod microstructures. (B) Schematic illustrating the mechanical release mechanism. (C) Track (red line) of a sperm-hybrid motor under magnetic guidance in the horizontal and vertical planes. (D) Image sequence of a sperm release process when the arms hit the corner of a polydimethylsiloxane wall. Blue arrows point at the sperm head. Time lapse in min:s (Xu et al., 2018). Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder [American Chemical Society].
In order to develop multifunctional NPs combining a near-infrared (NIR) plasmonic response with magnetic targeting, Tsai et al. deposited a double layer of Au/Ag alloy on the surface of truncated octahedral iron oxide NPs (Tsai et al., 2018). The rattle-shaped nanostructures exhibited a response for photothermal therapy (PTT) and magnetic guidance for hyperthermia and MRI as well as accumulation of the probes using an external magnetic field. The distance between the layers was controlled for maximum NIR absorption. These probes do not require a drug for chemotherapy as a dual action is already realized with PTT and hyperthermia.
One of the primary issues with using superparamagnetic iron oxide NPs is that the individual NPs do not display high magnetization which is unfavorable for guiding them through the body (Kralj et al., 2017). A way to overcome this problem is clustering of NPs to increase their overall magnetic response. Zheng et al. synthesized copolymers of hyaluronic acid (HA) and C16 micelles using peptide formation followed by encapsulation of docetaxel (DTX, an anti-cancer agent) and NPs to develop multifunctional micelles (Zheng et al., 2018). HA is especially attractive because it binds to the CD-44 receptor which is overexpressed in various types of cancer in addition to its biocompatibility and biodegradability (Lee et al., 2012). Cellular uptake occurred via CD-44 receptor-mediated endocytosis and was enhanced by the presence of a magnetic field. This uptake method increases the amount of micelles in the tumor tissues compared to the normal tissues that creates a favorable contrast in MR images. Furthermore, drug release was triggered by NIR irradiation.
Assembly of iron oxide NPs on polydopamine (PDA) NPs allowed for an enhanced magnetic response and stimuli-controlled drug release for in vivo cancer theranostics (Ao et al., 2018). The high reactivity of the PDA surface furnishes a possibility for reduction-responsive prodrugs, while poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) chains allow for in vivo cancer therapy. Due to a combination of MRI/photoacoustic dual-modal tumor imaging and controlled magnetic drug targeting, the effective tumor obliteration was accomplished via synergy of NIR photothermal ablation (due to PDA) and anticancer drug magnetic delivery.
Iron oxide NPs with the grafted poly(styrene)-b-poly(acrylic acid) (PS-b-PAA) block copolymer were self-assembled into multilayer magneto-vesicles (MVs) and utilized for incorporation of drugs in the hollow cavity (Yang et al., 2018). High packing density of iron oxide NPs in MVs allowed for the high magnetization and transverse relaxivity rate (r2) in MRI. When injected, DOX-loaded MVs conjugated with RGD peptides were efficiently accumulated in tumor cells due to magnetic targeting.
Innovative magnetic drug delivery vehicles were developed based on magnetite NP clusters (Wang, Y. et al., 2018). Two shells were built on the NP cluster surface: an inner shell of PDA with attached triphenylphosphonium (TPP) and an outer shell of methoxy PEG (mPEG) linked to PDA by disulfide bonds. At the first stage of targeting, the magnetic NP clusters allow for the bioprobe accumulation at the tumor site using an external magnetic field. At the second stage, mitochondrial targeting takes place as the mPEG shell is removed from the NPs by a redox reaction to expose TPP. Upon NIR irradiation at the tumor site, a photothermal effect is produced from the PDA photosensitizer, resulting in a strong decrease in mitochondrial membrane potential. At the same time, DOX is released, leading to the damage of mitochondrial DNA and cell death. Thus, photothermal therapy and chemotherapy are combined with magnetic drug delivery resulting in an enhancement of the DOX performance.
Image-guided and targeted modulation of drug delivery by external physical triggers at the site of pathology has been promising for drug targeting (Vlaskou et al., 2010; Cai et al., 2012). Magnetic microbubbles (MagMB) that are responsive to magnetic and acoustic field changes and visible to ultrasonography were suggested for magnetic drug targeting. Recently, MagMB were prepared by mixing the suspension of protamine-functionalized microbubbles (MB-Prot) with the suspension of the heparinized NPs (Chertok and Langer, 2018). MagMB were gathered in tumor by magnetic targeting and observed by ultrasonography. Using focused ultrasound, MagMB were collapsed when necessary to release a drug. The authors demonstrated drug delivery to tumors could be enhanced by optimizing magnetic and acoustic fields, using ultrasonographic monitoring of MagMB in real-time.
Tang et al. synthesized multifunctional MagMB utilizing poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA), FA, perofluorohexane (PFH), Fe3O4, and DOX (Tang et al., 2018). These nanocomposites are able to move intravenously due to their initial nanometer-range size. However, when high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is used, PFH is transformed from the liquid to the gas phase due to an increase in temperature. The PFH gas forms microbubbles which enhance the ultrasound image. Fe3O4 allows for the nanocomposite to be efficiently targeted through MRI guidance. Additionally, the FA ligands on the surface of the nanocomposites specifically target the tumor cells via conjugation. The DOX release is triggered by HIFU exposure, and the release is accelerated due to the tumor-acidic microenvironment. Finally, Fe3O4 NPs enhance the sensitivity of the tumor via the hyperthermia effect (Moroz et al., 2001). This nanocomposite is an efficient and comprehensive theranostics probe.
Another multifunctional MagMB are based on magnetic liposomes (Liu et al., 2017a). Liposomes range in size from 50 to 1,000 nm and are biocompatible. Both water-soluble and water-insoluble drugs/NPs can be loaded into the core while maintaining high MRI contrast (Liu et al., 2017a). In magnetic liposomes synthesized by Yang et al. γ-Fe2O3 were encapsulated by liposomes doped with anethole ditholethione (Liu et al., 2017b). MR imaging was used to follow the accumulation of the magnetic liposomes in the tumor. Additionally, ultrasound was used to produce microbubbles (H2S) in order to ablate the tumor tissue via an increase in size (Liu et al., 2017b).
Magnetic multilayer microcapsules composed of poly(allylamine hydrochloride) and poly(sodium 4-styrenesulfonate) and prepared by LbL deposition were utilized as magnetic delivery vehicles in vitro and in vivo (Voronin et al., 2017) in vivo experiments performed on mesenteric vessels of white mongrel rats reveal that capsules can be successfully trapped by the magnetic field and even stay there after the magnetic field is turned off. This work validates the effective control of microcapsules in a blood flow, making them promising drug delivery systems with remote navigation by the external magnetic field.
Microcapsules called iMushbots and prepared from mesoporous mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) fragments coated with magnetite NPs showed promising properties for targeted delivery (Bhuyan et al., 2017). The magnetite NPs played two roles (i) helping to pH-induced chemotaxis via the heterogeneous catalytic decomposition of the peroxide fuel in the presence of iron oxide and (ii) allowing a remote magnetic control of the iMushbot movement. The iMushbots also demonstrated higher drug retaining ability inside alkaline pH regions (human blood) and easy drug release in acidic medium (cancerous tissue) (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Schematic representation of the iMushbot action (Bhuyan et al., 2017). It is being reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder [American Chemical Society].
Polyvinyl alcohol fibers filled with magnetite NPs were synthesized via infusion gyration and studied as biocompatible magnetically triggered drug delivery vehicles (Perera et al., 2018). The authors demonstrated that acetaminophen (model drug) uploaded via impregnation can be controllably released by magnetic actuation. Moreover, upon creating a magnetic field 90% cumulative release was observed in 15 min which was much higher than that without magnetic field. These results demonstrate a potential for remote delivery of drugs or other substances.
Uptake of drugs in magnetic drug delivery vehicles is carried out similar to non-magnetic carriers via conjugation (Chaudhary et al., 2015; Pourmanouchehri et al., 2018), hydrophobic interactions (Cho et al., 2018), absorption within porous structures (Kakar et al., 2013), etc. The drug release can be triggered by pH changes in the microenvironment (Wang et al., 2017; Wei et al., 2017; Wang, G. et al., 2018), by mechanical forces (Xu et al., 2018), NIR irradiation (Wang, Y. et al., 2018; Zheng et al., 2018), chemical reduction (Ao et al., 2018), HIFU (Moroz et al., 2001), and magnetic hyperthermia (Cho et al., 2018).
Cytotoxity of DOX bearing magnetic bioprobes has been discussed in a number of publications both for cancer cells and for healthy tissues (Lee et al., 2017; Ao et al., 2018; Sun, Q. et al., 2018). Cytotoxicity toward healthy cells is limited because most systems are localized and made biocompatible. It is demonstrated that the bioprobes without DOX do not kill cancer cells (Ao et al., 2018), while efficacy of magnetic bioprobes with DOX is comparable to that of free DOX (Ao et al., 2018). Cytotoxicity also increases with increasing amounts of DOX and/or upon NIR irradiation (Sun, Q. et al., 2018).
Approaches to Magnetic Drug Targeting
External Magnetic Field
In the majority of cases, the magnetic drug targeting/delivery is realized upon the application of an external magnetic field from electromagnetic coils (Hoshiar et al., 2017) or various types of permanent magnets (Carenza et al., 2014; Price et al., 2017; Shaw et al., 2017; Venugopal et al., 2017; Voronin et al., 2017; Shamsi et al., 2018). It was demonstrated that magnet geometry and tumor-magnet distance can be of crucial importance for the effective magnetic drug delivery (Shamsi et al., 2018; Wang, X. et al., 2018).
Delivery Deep Inside the Body
Utilizing stationary external magnets to attract the magnetic drug carriers, it is difficult to target areas below 5 cm under the skin. A dynamic control of magnets to focus magnetic carriers to deep tissue targets has been proposed (Shapiro, 2009). Using first-principles magneto-statics and ferrofluid transport model, the author demonstrated that a sequence of actuations can push magnetic NPs through a center region, thus generating a focus at a deep target. In the other theoretical work, by rotating the magnet and setting a central axis to the target part, ferromagnetic drugs were accumulated in the target (Chuzawa et al., 2013). However, to the best of our knowledge no experimental studies have confirmed the conclusions of the theoretical work.
Instead of using an external magnetic field which could be problematic in the case of delivery to some organs, magnetic implants seem to be a viable alternative. Ge et al. reported targeted drug delivery to a biocompatible magnetic implant scaffold made of a magnetite/poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) nanocomposite (Ge et al., 2017). In this case, a drug was attached to magnetic NPs to create a driving force for delivery. Such magnetic implants can be promising for a bone cancer, providing a precise cancer treatment. Magnetic implants can be imbedded in a fatty tissue to treat obesity (Saatchi et al., 2017) and in the inner ear to treat deafness (Le et al., 2017).
Summary and Outlook
In summary, we can identify several essential rules which need to be followed for the development of successful magnetic drug delivery vehicles. The magnetic bioprobes need to be sufficiently large to possess high magnetization for efficient magnetic targeting. They have to allow for controlled drug uptake and release mechanisms to make them efficient delivery systems. Finally, they have to possess theranostic features (both diagnostic and therapeutic) to enhance the delivery and the drug action. The other key feature of promising magnetic drug delivery vehicles is long-circulating, stealthy systems which will not be cleared by a phagocyte system (Zhang et al., 2017, 2018). This can be realized by a combination of peptides and polymers in the particle outer shells. It is worth noting, however, that the degree of bioprobe sophistication is only warranted by the wealth of properties it delivers, as sometimes simpler systems can be quite satisfactory and less expensive.
It is worth noting that despite FDA approval and commercialization of iron oxide based bioprobes for MRI and hyperthermia, clinical trials of magnetic drug delivery received less attention. To the best of our knowledge, there were several small clinical trials (even in Phase III), but none resulted in FDA approval or commercialization (Wang et al., 2013; Min et al., 2015; Ulbrich et al., 2016).
We believe that the major unsolved problem in magnetic drug delivery is the absence of mechanisms for delivery into the depth of the body. The recent strategy of magnetic or magnetiziable implants seems to be promising but it requires a surgical intervention and in some cases cannot be implemented. Currently, efforts from physicists and engineers are required to move this field forward to real life applications.
PP carried out analysis of the literature and wrote a part on magnetic bioprobe synthesis. WM collected the literature and wrote the rest of the discussion on magnetic bioprobes. AA-G wrote part on approaches to magnetic targeting. LB wrote all other sections and oversaw the project.
Conflict of Interest Statement
The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
Ao, L., Wu, C., Liu, K., Wang, W., Fang, L., Huang, L., et al. (2018). Polydopamine-derivated hierarchical nanoplatforms for efficient dual-modal imaging-guided combination in vivo cancer therapy. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 10, 12544–12552. doi: 10.1021/acsami.8b02973
[Forcing a global tax of 15%, in addition to regular national income taxes…ask Biden (Who will ask Obama). ]
- Under the agreement, G-7 nations will back a global minimum corporate tax of at least 15%, U.K. Finance Minister Rishi Sunak announced in a series of tweets.
- The reforms will affect the largest companies in the world with profit margins of at least 10%.
- U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who is in London for the face-to-face meeting, hailed the move as significant and unprecedented.
LONDON — The finance ministers of the most advanced economies, known as the Group of Seven, have backed a U.S. proposal that calls for corporations around the world to pay at least a 15% tax on earnings.
“G-7 finance ministers today, after years of discussions, have reached a historic agreement to reform the global tax system, to make it fit for the global digital age — and crucially to make sure that it’s fair so that the right companies pay the right tax in the right places,” U.K. Finance Minister Rishi Sunak announced in a video statement on Saturday.
If finalized, it would represent a significant development in global taxation. Members of the G-7, which include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S., will convene for a summit in Cornwall, U.K., next week.
An agreement among this group would provide needed momentum for upcoming talks planned with 135 countries in Paris. Finance ministers from the Group of 20 are also expected to meet in Venice in July.
“We commit to reaching an equitable solution on the allocation of taxing rights, with market countries awarded taxing rights on at least 20% of profit exceeding a 10% margin for the largest and most profitable multinational enterprises,” according to a statement from the G-7 finance ministers.
“We will provide for appropriate coordination between the application of the new international tax rules and the removal of all Digital Services Taxes, and other relevant similar measures, on all companies,” it said.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who is in London for the face-to-face meeting, hailed the move as significant and unprecedented.
“That global minimum tax would end the race-to-the-bottom in corporate taxation, and ensure fairness for the middle class and working people in the U.S. and around the world,” she tweeted.
President Joe Biden and his administration had initially suggested a minimum global tax rate of 21% in an attempt to prevent countries luring international businesses with low or zero taxes. However, after tough negotiations, a compromise was reached to set the bar at 15%.
A global deal in this field would be good news for cash-strapped nations, who are trying to rebuild their economies after the coronavirus crisis.
But Biden’s idea had not been received with the same level of excitement across the world. The U.K., for example, did not immediately voice its support for the proposal.
The issue can be contentious within the European Union as well, where various member states charge different corporate tax rates and can attract big-name firms by doing so. Ireland’s tax rate, for example, is 12.5%, while France’s can be as high as 31%.
Speaking in April, Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said smaller nations should be allowed to have lower tax rates given that they don’t have the same capacity for scale as the larger economies do, the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper reported.
The world’s most powerful economies have been at odds over taxation for some time, in particular in the wake of plans to tax digital giants more.
The U.S., under former President Donald Trump, vehemently opposed digital tax initiatives in different countries and threatened to impose trade tariffs against countries that would plan on taxing U.S. tech companies.
Some major firms across the world reacted positively the agreement on Saturday. Nick Clegg, vice president of global affairs at Facebook, wrote in a tweet that the company welcomed the G-7 tax rule.
“We want the international tax reform process to succeed and recognize this could mean Facebook paying more tax, and in different places,” Clegg wrote.
Google spokesman Jose Castaneda told CNBC in a statement that the company supports efforts to update international tax rules. “We hope countries continue to work together to ensure a balanced and durable agreement will be finalized soon,” he said.
“That is an extraordinarily damning admission. Health experts who understood all along that it was entirely possible that the virus emerged from a lab simply refused to examine the hypothesis because it had become associated with the likes of Donald Trump.”
As we sift through the lab-leak debacle, the good news is that the healthy antibodies in the system are still strong enough to overcome the groupthink that produced the original error. News media are investigating a hypothesis they once dismissed, and the government has announced an investigation to find the truth.
The bad news is that the problem is turning out to be worse than it initially seemed — and worse still, the source of the failure is not going away. The implications of this episode are much broader than understanding the source of the pandemic. It is a question about whether institutions like the media and government can withstand the pressure of ideological conformity.
A recent Washington Post story, looking back at the government’s response to virus’s origination, reported that many officials refused to explore the lab-leak hypothesis because it was associated with right-wing politics. “For some of the officials who were privately suspicious of the Wuhan lab, Trump’s and Navarro’s comments turned the lab-leak scenario into a fringe conspiracy theory,” the Post found, “It became nearly impossible to generate interest among health experts in a hypothesis that Trump had turned into a political weapon, they said.”
That is an extraordinarily damning admission. Health experts who understood all along that it was entirely possible that the virus emerged from a lab simply refused to examine the hypothesis because it had become associated with the likes of Donald Trump.
Katherine Eban, writing in Vanity Fair, has written a lengthy exposé drawing out the failure in detail. One State Department official wrote that his team was warned not to investigate the origins of the pandemic because it would “open a can of worms.” Miles Yu, the State Department’s principal China strategist, tells Eban, “Anyone who dares speak out would be ostracized.” After former CDC head Robert Redfield said he believed the virus originated in a lab, he tells Eban “I was threatened and ostracized because I proposed another hypothesis.”
In retrospect, the error is clear enough all along. The origins of the pandemic were always murky, and the strongest reason to dismiss lab-leak out of hand — that the Wuhan lab supposedly had airtight security protocols — was more rumor than fact. What’s more, the notion that the theory was “racist” was always transparently dubious. A story in which the virus emerged from failed safety protocols at the Wuhan lab is not inherently more racist than a theory in which it emerged from a wet market. (If anything, blaming the pandemic on China’s people for eating bats lends itself much more easily to racism than blaming China’s government for lax security at its research labs.)
Journalists make mistakes, especially operating in a chaotic atmosphere dominated by the ceaseless jabberings of a pathological liar with a giant megaphone. What’s concerning is that, even faced with undeniable proof of the error, many people still refuse to concede it.
An article in Nature warns against a a “divisive” investigation into the virus’s origins. Remarkably enough, given that it comes from a scientific journal, the article does not directly question the possibility that COVID did escape from a lab. Instead, it warns that the investigation is “fueling online bullying of scientists and anti-Asian harassment in the United States, as well as offending researchers and authorities in China whose cooperation is needed.” One scientist who reports this “bullying” is Canadian virologist Angela Rasmussen, who in 2020 had developed a high-profile Twitter presence laced with confident dismissals of lab-leak hypothesis as a “conspiracy theory” that was “steeped in racist stereotypes.”
When scientists are openly arguing against the study of a scientific hypothesis, for non-scientific reasons, something has gone haywire. In this case, that something seems to be a hothouse atmosphere centered around social media, that has cultivated an ethos of moral fervor and political homogeneity.
“Personally I think that when a public figure is a known racist liar it’s fine to treat their evidence-free statements as racist lies,” insisted podcaster Michael Hobbes. “If David Duke gives a speech about rising urban crime rates it’s not the media’s job to report the most plausible version of his argument.” Writer and University of Minnesota Law School fellow Will Stancil called renewed attention to the lab-leak hypothesis “the latest example of hybridization between the right-wing fever swamps and the white guys who run journalism.”
The notable aspect of these statements is not the conclusion but the logic that produced it. That journalists dismissed a plausible theory, because they associated it with people who have noxious beliefs, does not strike them as a problem, but a correct epistemological model.
Jonathan Last, an apostate conservative writing for the Bulwark (a new magazine that serves as a kind of refuge for Republican and conservative intellectuals unable to stomach Donald Trump), recently made an observation about conservatives taunting the mainstream media for dismissing the lab-leak hypothesis. Yes, Last allowed, many outlets got the story wrong by describing the hypothesis that COVID-19 escaped from the lab in Wuhan, rather than the nearby wet market, as a false, racist conspiracy theory, when in truth they never really knew the virus’s origins. But most of those outlets have since corrected their error and treated the issue as a live scientific mystery. When has conservative media ever engaged in anything like this sort of self-correction? Is Fox News running self-flagellating segments questioning, say, the network’s promotion of hydroxychloroquine as a proven COVID treatment? The very thought is a punchline.
This asymmetry between the mainstream news media and the conservative media that was created to oppose it has long been a source of satisfaction for we liberals. Modern journalism, like think tanks and the bureaucracy, grew out of a Progressive Era belief in disinterested expertise. Guided by the principles of scientific inquiry, these institutions would follow the truth wherever it led.
The conservative movement built a counter-Establishment to oppose this network, but the alt-institutions of the right mimicked the hallowed liberal Establishment only in form. The Heritage Institution, the Washington Times, and Fox News were not mirror images of Brookings, the New York Times, and CBS News — they were parodies of them. Liberals had a phrase to describe this imbalance: the hack gap. The Republican Party had an army of partisans at its disposal, unburdened by any fealty to any scientific or professional norms save the advancement of the conservative movement. The liberal media might make mistakes, and bureaucracies may produce wrong conclusions, but at least they aspire to norms of fairness and impartiality that the right-wing counterparts merely sneer at.
Openness to evidence is the historical strength of American liberalism. This is why, for all the errors liberals have committed since the Progressive Era, a capacity for self-correction has given continued vitality to their — our — creed. The lab-leak fiasco ought to be a warning sign of what happens if the urge to not be defeated or manipulated by the right turns into an emulation of its methods. The only thing worse than having a hack gap would be not having one.
[“W” is back from obscurity to defend the Old Boy’s Club, a.k.a., the “Democratic-Republican Party” to fight against the Old Republican Party which has been radicalized against the old bipartisan politics which has run and ruined this country since WWII. Since Reagan inspired the New Republican right wing, giving life to their anti-Communist, anti-liberal cause, there has been civil war within the party. The New Right came into existence to fight against both “political correctness” and the radical liberalism (Marxism) which brought it into being. Trump was the first American president since Reagan willing to take a stand against the destructive policies of the Liberal Democrats and the national news media which clearly served their interests, while squelching the opposing views.
“W” was born and raised within the Good Old Boys network of his father, never straying from their domination. As President, he followed policies which were no different from his Democrat predecessor or his successor. For all intents and purposes, America has been and still is dominated by one “uniparty“, the same bipartisan clique, from Clinton, to Bush, to Obama…until Trump came along. Little Bush thinks that he was reborn to take back the Republican Party and hand it to Biden.
He comes out preaching the religion of the redeeming immigrants (SEE: Camp of the Saints), while peddling his extremely primitive paintings of immigrants, hoping that his clumsy attempts to appear as a folksy “everyman” will allow him public space to again deceive the American people, while evading long overdue criticism of his countless mistakes as President. Bush is guilty of killing thousands of innocent Iraqis and Afghanis, as well as Pakistanis. Whatever else Trump did, he tried to wind down Bush and Obama’s wars, with plans to end Bush/Obama’s forever wars. ]
The Democratic Party is actively trying to start a race war in the United States, and George Bush thinks it’s Republican voters who need lessons in humanity and fellowship.
Bush is on the media circuit these days pushing amnesty (while calling it anything but!) for millions of foreign nationals who have entered the country illegally; lecturing Republican voters on being “more respectful about the immigrant”; and trying desperately to reclaim the Republican Party as the slightly less socialist wing of the Uniparty where neoconservative, offshoring, job-destroying, globalist-advancing, Chamber of Commerce–approved, multinationals-funded, (secret) limousine liberal, military-adventuring, surveillance state, Big Government devotees who follow in the footsteps of Nelson Rockefeller while feigning allegiance to President Reagan’s “revolution” can offer Americans the opportunity of voting against Democratic Party by pushing a platform identical to the Democrats’ own policies ten years earlier. Go Jeb!
“Isolationist,” “protectionist,” and “nativist” are the three adjectives Bush has for the energized and expanded Republican Party refashioned by the MAGA coalition of voters who finally found their voices after thirty years in the wilderness and a worthy champion in President Trump.
– “Isolationist” because American soldiers who were led into war twenty years ago under the guise of fighting Islamic terrorism, protecting American freedom at home, and seeking a little payback for 9/11 instead found themselves used as nation-builders, police forces for occupied territories, and political pawns sent to combat “extremism,” and many Republicans now question the wisdom of engaging in forever-wars without clear operational goals.
– “Protectionist” because once those soldiers returned home, they discovered that the ravages of NAFTA and trade normalization with China had crushed Middle America’s manufacturing and industrial workforces and condemned their hometowns to slow economic deaths.
– And “nativist” because the last thing paycheck-to-paycheck Americans needed while trying to support their own families was a constant flood of both legal (many coming as refugees from the same areas of the world where Americans have been engaged in combat for two decades) and illegal aliens competing for their jobs and balkanizing tens of thousands of small towns across the United States by transforming them from low-crime, highly integrated communities where people lived, worked, and prayed together as extended families into unrecognizable multicultural and multilingual enclaves upending town culture and destroying tight-knit generational bonds.
Imagine sending warriors off to fight and die overseas for causes that almost immediately became tragically politicized and undermined and then chastising the survivors and their families as being “nativist” for simply wanting to live and work in peace and choosing to prioritize America’s future over that of other nations.
What unbelievable nerve from a guy who can’t be bothered in retirement to fight the full-Marxist takeover of the government, the socialists’ racial indoctrination programs meant to brainwash children into hating America’s history and foundations, or the Democratic-Bolsheviks’ habitual, decades-long weaponization of racial divide-and-conquer tactics (including against the “Katrina” president himself) in their vulgar conquests to amass power and silence dissent. Remaining quiet while the Democrats intentionally provoke racial tensions in America today is inexcusable. Talk about the “soft bigotry of low expectations”!
Ordinary Republicans stood by “W” while Al Gore and Democrat operatives tried to steal his presidency in 2000 (back when it was both “necessary” and “patriotic” to audit the vote); they answered his call for warriors to stand up, say goodbye to their families and friends, grab their rifles, and head off to fight two simultaneous wars on the other side of the world in the aftermath of 9/11; and they defended Bush from the onslaught of a corporate media and Democratic Party tag team that relentlessly slandered him each day of his presidency while he did little to defend himself — and this is how the “compassionate conservative” thanks Republicans for their loyalty and service.
It’s the kind of nonchalant betrayal that makes me furious because it is so unbelievably common among the Republican Establishment Class while so unbelievably rare among actual Republican voters. Democrats and the Democrat-controlled media spend all day long calling rank-and-file Republicans the most vile, insulting names possible. They wound freedom-minded Americans by striking them repeatedly where it hurts most — their honor and virtue, sense of right and wrong, and respect for truth. And each and every time the media propagandists finish slicing up Republican voters as no-good racists who deserve to be doxxed, threatened, and attacked, there’s always a George Bush or Liz Cheney or John Boehner or Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney or Ben Sasse with a fistful of Epsom salt and a sadist desire to rub it in the wounds of the people he purportedly “represents.”
Bush can become best friends with Michelle Obama after her husband spent a decade blaming him for every problem in America; he can embrace “credibly accused” rapist Bill Clinton as a brother and “congenital liar” Hillary Clinton as a sister; but he is incapable of demonstrating empathy for the struggling, salt-of-the-earth Americans who not only elected him to office but also defended his presidency relentlessly. What kind of twisted loyalty is that?
It’s sick and abusive. Republican voters must stop pretending the Brahmin Class Republicans who spend more time bashing their own party’s faithful than fighting the evil authoritarianism in full bloom on the other side are anything other than double-agents trying to demoralize and fatigue the only Americans principled enough to resist.
My goodness, George, the Marxists have corrupted everything from kindergarten to the military. They’re suckling the little ones on a steady diet of “systemic racism” and “white supremacy” while pushing “woke” trans troops as the future standard for American combat forces. The Supreme Court is too contemptibly craven and compromised by the political left to protect Americans from the harms of lawless “sanctuary cities,” the unconstitutional mandates of municipal tyrants, or the repercussions of fraudulent elections. The Federal Reserve has stolen Americans’ savings and entered into a suicide pact with the Treasury Department to spend the nation into financial collapse on “the road to serfdom.” And most of the Republican Party’s top political consultants and conservative “intellectuals” for the past thirty years have “come out of the closet” to reveal — surprise, surprise! — that they’ve been, not just Democrats, but actual authoritarian socialists all along.
There is no American institution not directly or indirectly controlled by the same cabal of corporate fascists and Big Government disciples who daily insist on scapegoating patriotic grandparents and observant Christians as the nation’s true security threats. There is nothing of institutional value left to “conserve.” The only fight left is for liberty. And if George Bush can’t see how hardened those battle lines now are, well, then he needs to get out of the damn bunker, cross the no-man’s-land to the Democrats’ side, and hide behind the Antifa and BLM shock troops hurling projectiles at police officers; intimidating juries; and already locking arms with Biden, Schumer, and Pelosi while pushing permanent one-party control!
At this point, anybody who believes that it is more important to save the Republican Party from the influences of President Trump than to save the United States from the influence of the Democrats is so out of touch with Americans’ disintegrating society and America’s escalating police state as to have become an entirely useless “useful idiot.” And anybody who still thinks it wise to continue “democracy-building” abroad while America’s own health wanes is too blind to see reality, too lost to lead anybody to safety, or too brainwashed to be of any remaining service to our country.
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“There is a real double standard at work. It is a glaring one, not the one President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris claim exists but, rather, the one they want to gaslight us into accepting.”
he bar for calling something “racist” in the United States has apparently dropped so low that it is now okay to concoct an utterly topsy-turvy narrative in order to call out an allegedly racist double standard in the way the Capitol Riots vs. the #BLM riots have been treated by the powers-that-be.
Although I, like many of us by this point, have become so numb to the incoherent shrieks of “racism” echoing out in every direction that I am quite comfortable dismissing nearly all of them as vacuous posturing by celebrities and social media influencers, virtue-signaling by white elites and woke corporations, or cynical profiteering by the outrage-clickbait-peddling media, this one still threw me for a loop: I could hardly believe my ears when I heard President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, parroted by the usual organs of the mainstream media, cry racism in characterizing the reaction of authorities to incensed supporters of President Donald Trump storming the United States Capitol on January 6th.
“No one can tell me that if that had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they wouldn’t have been treated very, very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol,” President-elect Biden said. “We have witnessed two systems of justice: one that let extremists storm the U.S. Capitol yesterday, and another that released tear gas on peaceful protestors last summer. It’s simply unacceptable,” Vice President-elect Harris tweeted.
Yes, the law enforcement response to the Capitol Riots was unquestionably a failure on every level. But racism? All I could think was how dumb do these people think we are? Do they really think we have forgotten the actual events of this summer so soon?
Do they think those like me who witnessed the #BLM riots with their own eyes in New York City (or in the many other cities across the nation shaken by #BLM’s violence this summer) have already forgotten how roving bands of almost exclusively black teens and twenty-somethings rioted and looted, breaking into high-end SoHo boutiques and struggling small businesses already ravaged by the Coronavirus (COVID-19), absconding with millions in merchandise and causing billions in damage, while our spineless leaders stood by doing nothing and left those businesses to board up and fend for themselves for days on end?
Do they think we have forgotten how those few looters and rioters who were arrested were let go, with all charges against them dropped? Does anyone believe that the Capitol Rioters currently being identified and hunted down across the nation will be met with similar lenity?
Do they think we have forgotten how prominent #BLM leaders defended this summer’s looting or labeled it “reparations,” while establishment media outlets—the same ones that had no problem referring to the Trump supporters in Washington on January 6th as a “mob” of “rioters”—had continued to insist back in June, against the evidence of our own senses and the empirical findings showing a trail of violence across the country brought by the #BLM mob, that we were watching “peaceful protests”? NPR even gave a platform to someone hawking a book entitled In Defense of Looting.
CNN, New York Times and Washington Post online headlines on January 6th, when these outlets suddenly had no problem calling things by their true names.
Do they think we have forgotten how newly woke corporations fearful of #BLM shakedowns donated to the cause, coming forward with statements of full-throated support and new diversity and hiring policies, while pretending that the hateful anti-cop, anti-white, anti-American rhetoric we were hearing (and the crude graffiti and retrograde violence we were seeing) in previously sacrosanct public spaces was somehow a progressive accomplishment, even as the media did its darndest to sell us on an empirically unsupportable narrative that the freak incident in which one bad cop in Minneapolis unjustifiably killed the career criminal George Floyd was a commonplace occurrence representative of ubiquitous “systemic racism”?
The graffiti defacing New York’s City Hall left untouched for weeks on end:
Do they think we have forgotten how the same Big Tech monopolies that were so quick to shut down President Trump’s social media accounts when his supporters came to riot had wholeheartedly embraced the #BLM cause and continued to let their platforms be used by #BLM and Antifa to organize disruptive protests, riots, and territorial occupations for weeks on end?
Do they think we have forgotten how people—from social media influencers to politicians like our incoming Vice President nominated for her race after #BLM—elevated their careers championing #BLM while, today, we are seeing people losing their jobs for joining (or persecuted for donating to) the pro-Trump assault on the Capitol?
No, we have not forgotten, and we will not forget. There is a real double standard at work. It is a glaring one, not the one President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris claim exists but, rather, the one they want to gaslight us into accepting. That double standard being perpetuated by all the organs of the elite media, Big Tech, woke capital, the celebrity class, and the political class is precisely what has led to so many of President Trump’s supporters resorting to violence; they and their concerns are not being heard. Their anger, like #BLM’s anger, is no excuse for violence. I believe in a single standard for everyone, and that those who break the law in the name of any cause should be held to account. For reasons I have previously explained, I voted for President Trump in 2020 despite his many flaws, and yet I think his behavior since the election has been childish, irresponsible, dangerous, and unbecoming of the Presidency. I will make no excuses for him or for his more intemperate supporters. But as long as one side of the equation—with its angry, racially divisive rhetoric and its violent actions to undermine law and order and shake America to its foundations—keeps getting a free pass, the other side of the equation will never add up, and the delicate balance between them will never amount to a functional democracy that works for everyone.
Alexander Zubatov is a lawyer in New York, as well as an essayist and poet.
In February 2020, Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton asked a provocative question: Was there some relationship between COVID-19 emerging in the Chinese city of Wuhan and the fact that there’s a biochemical lab in the city that specializes in studying coronaviruses? Was it possible that this lab was studying an animal who carried the virus and failed to properly secure it?
“We don’t have evidence that this disease originated there,” Cotton said of the lab, “but because of China’s duplicity and dishonesty from the beginning, we need to at least ask the question to see what the evidence says, and China right now is not giving evidence on that question at all.”
Cotton’s comments were nuanced: He wasn’t certain that COVID-19 had leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, but he considered it to be a possibility, and he was troubled that the Chinese government was failing to offer the transparency necessary to prove it one way or another.
But how could the theory possibly have been debunked? There is no official consensus on where COVID-19 first emerged, and as Cotton pointed out, China’s government made it basically impossible for outside observers to investigate the origins of the virus.
Yet for most of the past year, the mainstream media’s consensus was that the lab leak hypothesis was just a fringe theory promoted by hawkish parts of the right. Facebook, which has increasingly appointed itself the arbiter of global speech, had a policy of taking down posts claiming that Covid-19 was man-made or manufactured.
In recent weeks, that has slowly started to change. Top scientists are calling for a more serious probe into the origins of the virus, including the lab leak theory. President Biden is ordering our intelligence agencies to do a 90-day investigation into the question of where the virus came from. And Facebook recently lifted its ban on posts that claim that COVID-19 was manufactured.
It appears that for the past year, our media seemed to lock arms in shielding the Chinese government from the scrutiny it deserved for failing to control COVID-19. Whether or not the lab leak hypothesis bears out, it is clear that our nation’s journalists did not approach this question with an open mind.
In a Tweet that she later deleted, Apoorva Mandavilli, a New York Times science reporter who has been on the coronavirus beat, offered a window into the mindset of much of the media: “Someday we will stop talking about the lab leak theory and maybe even admit its racist roots. But alas, that day is not yet here,” she said.
Is it really supposed to be “racist” to consider the possibility that the Chinese government failed to prevent COVID-19 from escaping from a government lab? The other leading origin theory, that the virus emerged from China’s lightly regulated wet markets, would place more of blame on local culture than the lab leak hypothesis, which only directly implicates the government.
Perhaps Mandavilli’s revealing Tweet is emblematic of a wider mindset among American journalists, many of whom saw their mission as simply opposing any stance taken by the Trump administration—former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has long suspected that COVID-19 leaked from the lab in Wuhan—while also burnishing their anti-racist and anti-imperialist credentials by refusing to blame a foreign government for the pandemic.
But the goal of journalism shouldn’t be to craft the most culturally sensitive or partisan narrative. The goal of journalism is to seek the truth. The consequences of telling the truth should be secondary to getting the truth out there in the first place, even if it makes the Trump administration or Republican Senators look good or the Chinese government look bad.
To be clear, there have always been partisan or ideological journalists who openly take sides in social or political disputes. But until very recently, we could at least expect that the mainstream media would make a legitimate effort to seek the facts and report fairly, rather than dismissing stories that could make their favored political faction look unfavorable or boost the prospects of their political opponents.
Increasingly, the space for nonpartisan journalism that aggressively seeks the truth is shrinking.
It should hardly be a surprise that Americans are rapidly losing faith in the media. As the story of the lab leak hypothesis shows, too many in our current news media environment are quick to politicize their coverage and seek the truth only when it’s convenient for their faction. Ultimately, this will only continue to degrade the credibility of the American press, which may benefit forces like the Chinese Communist Party in more ways than one.
Zaid Jilani is a journalist who hails from Atlanta, Georgia. He has previously worked as a reporter-blogger for ThinkProgress, United Republic, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, and Alternet. He is the cohost of the podcast “Extremely Offline.”
[The following post from Asia Times is actually old news, rehashing theories on Covid origin which were all over the Internet early last year, including this website, but due to social media and other sources of censorship, most of these reports have seemed to disappear. Most every post on No Sunglasses pertaining to origin of Covid19, particularly concerning Ft. Detrick, 2019 Chinese Military Games and speculative posts on “patient zero” have been erased from ThereAreNoSunglasses. Shocked to see the following report on scrubbing reports which openly seeks help to suppress reports on the China games which took place Oct. 2019 in Wuhan which speculated on “patient zero”, alleged to be an American bicyclist (SEE: Maatje Benassi Defamation Fund).]
The Joe Biden administration closed the US State Department’s investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But as the pandemic recedes in the United States, there is renewed interest by the scientific and journalistic communities about the origins of the virus and whether it could have escaped from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). So, a day later, the president opened a new investigation.
The flip-flop came amid Senator Rand Paul’s claim at a Senate committee hearing on the Covid-19 pandemic that the US collaborated with the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China to make a more deadly, transmittable coronavirus. That’s putting the Chinese lab leak theory, which Beijing vigorously denies, back at the forefront of the Covid-19 origin debate.
Based on papers published by WIV on the scientific work of Dr Shi Zhengli, the US government investigators have some catching up to do. In 2015, Dr Shi – popularly known as the “bat lady” – published a paper entitled “A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses show potential for human emergence.”
Her colleagues on the study included American researchers associated with the University of North Carolina’s Department of Cell Biology and may be related to work funded by the US government.
It is possible, although we don’t know, that Dr Shi and her team successfully converted a coronavirus, specifically SARS-like virus SHCO14-CoV, from bats to other animals and not only mice. It is also possible, but not proven, that the new virus quickly spread to other animals and then to lab workers, three of whom became sick in November 2019, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.
This is known as “gain of function” research, which is considered by the US to very dangerous. Between 2014 and 2017, gain of function research, which had been actively subsidized by The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other agencies, was suspended in the US.
Slightly later, in 2019, the US temporarily closed some laboratories, including the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Maryland, over safety issues.
Mistakes and errors in labs
According to the CDC: “The two breaches [at Fort Detrick] reported by USAMRIID to the CDC demonstrated a failure of the Army laboratory to ‘implement and maintain containment procedures sufficient to contain select agents or toxins’ that were made by operations in biosafety Level 3 and 4 laboratories …”
Level 4 is, in theory, the most secure type of laboratory known today; China’s WIV is also a Level 4 lab. But not all the Wuhan laboratory followed Level 4 standards and there are, as Fort Detrick shows, lapses that need to be accounted for.
In fact, the same kind of lapses that happened at Fort Detrick, which centered on waste treatment, also happened at the Wuhan lab.
Furthermore, Fort Detrick was working with other American and foreign labs, which may have included Chinese facilities. For example, Fort Detrick was connected to Canada’s National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg, which was thoroughly penetrated by the Chinese, including at least one known member of China’s biowarfare community.
According to Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper: “One of the Chinese researchers, Feihu Yan, from the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Academy of Military Medical Sciences, worked for a period of time at the Winnipeg lab, a Level 4 facility equipped to handle some of the world’s deadliest diseases.”
There were at least seven Chinese scientists at the lab. Two of them, “Xiangguo Qiu and her biologist husband, Keding Cheng, were fired in January (2021) after the Canadian Security Intelligence Service … recommended that their security clearances be removed on national security grounds,” (allegedly for sending samples of deadly viruses to the Wuhan lab).
On at least one occasion, Qiu, and probably others, visited the Fort Detrick Laboratory. The details are not known, but it can be reasonably surmised that the Winnipeg Lab and Fort Detrick were cooperating, and this cooperation might have included Wuhan.
Was Canada a weak link?
Given Fort Detrick’s security level, further investigation is essential.
It also begs the question of Canada giving Chinese scientists, including at least one from the PLA’s Academy of Military Sciences, top secret clearances.
The US and Canada, as part of the North American Defense Sharing Agreement, share classified information, which means there is a strong possibility that some classified American information made its way to Winnipeg and then to Wuhan or elsewhere in China.
Not only does WIV need further investigation, but so do American institutions including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the CDC and Fort Detrick.
In 2017 and 2018, the US did at least two inspections of the Wuhan Laboratory. That raises the question of why did a US inspection team gain entry multiple times to a sensitive Chinese laboratory?
The answer seems to be that the Americans had special status because of high-level, top-secret cooperation between the US, China and other partners (eg, Canada).
Top US infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci has said it would have been “almost a dereliction of our duty” if the NIH had not worked with China to study coronaviruses and “collaborate” with “very respectable Chinese scientists.”
“Respectable scientists” working for the Chinese government. That’s another avenue for investigation.
International collaboration suggests the US may have halted gain of function research because it was easier and less politically risky to let China do it. China has lower legal standards – try litigating in China if you have any doubt – and, as Fauci said, the US government funded Chinese labs and happily published papers by Chinese scientists.
Those papers today give us a partial record of what the Chinese with the CDC and NIH – and perhaps even the US Army – were up to.
The CIA changes course
The US intelligence community had to know all of this, and a lot more.
But the CIA and other senior American officials, including James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence, insisted that Covid-19 did not come from the Wuhan Laboratory but was zoonotic, namely that it was transmitted in nature by animals.
Today the CIA appears to have tentatively reversed course as American scientists press for more information.
A proper investigation would have to ask why the US would trust China, knowing how sloppy the Chinese are about food and safety standards. The faulty ventilators, Covid-19 test kits and N-95 masks for physicians and health workers that were sent abroad by China after the outbreak of the epidemic illustrated this clearly for the world to see.
But beyond sloppiness, it seems the US decided to fund and shift dangerous research to Chinese labs run by the Chinese state. The Biden administration erred in closing the investigation and is right to have opened a new one.
Attacks on synagogues and archeological sites inside Israel are rooted in Palestinian citizens’ experience of weaponized ‘development’ for Jews only.
Last weekend Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu described as “terrorists” those Palestinian citizens who have been protesting decades of state-sponsored discrimination. Vowing that “anyone who acts like a terrorist will be handled like one”, he said: “Arab law-breakers are attacking Jews, burning synagogues and Jewish homes.”
Netanyahu has been far from alone in his denunciations of nearly two weeks of protests inside Israel by the fifth of Israel’s population who are Palestinian by origin. They are the remnants of the Palestinian people, most of whom were ethnically cleansed at Israel’s founding in 1948.
Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, who is usually seen as far more moderate than Netanyahu, has called Palestinian protesters inside Israel a “bloodthirsty Arab mob” and described their actions as a “pogrom” against the Jewish community.
Both have remained largely silent about the wave of even greater violence against Israel’s Palestinian minority, both from the police and armed Jewish far-right gangs.
On Tuesday the Palestinian minority observed a general strike in protest at the wave of violence being directed at Palestinians in the region, most especially in Gaza. There, more than 200 people – and more than 60 children – have been killed by Israeli airstrikes.
At the same time, the minority’s main political body, the Follow-Up Committee, called on international organizations to protect Israel’s 1.8 million Palestinian citizens from the combined – and seemingly coordinated – backlash by Israel police and mob Jewish mobs.
Adalah, a leading legal organization for the minority, echoed the Follow-Up Committee, saying the Israeli government was “giving a free hand to racist and violent oppression… Arab citizens have been left with no alternative except to appeal to the nations of the world to force Israel to protect them”.
In the main sites of confrontation, in a handful of what Israel misleadingly terms “mixed cities”, it is Palestinian citizens who have been paying the steepest price.
These cities, several of them close to Tel Aviv, are historic Palestinian communities most of whose inhabitants were expelled in 1948. Even since, the small ghettoized Palestinian populations left behind have been aggressively “Judaized” – in what amounts to a long-term process of Jewish ethnic and religious gentrification to erase their presence.
Danger of pogroms
The first death from the clashes in the “mixed cities” was a Palestinian citizen who was shot in Lod, near Tel Aviv, by a group of Jewish residents. All the suspects in the murder are reported to have been released after the police minister, Amir Ohana, was among the senior politicians expressing outrage at the arrests.
Another early incident involved a Palestinian taxi driver being dragged from his car south of Tel Aviv by hordes of masked Jews who beat him savagely in front of Israeli TV cameras and hundreds of onlookers, with police nowhere in sight. Earlier, the same mob rampaged through the town of Bat Yam smashing any stores that looked like they were owned by Palestinian citizens.
Despite Netanyahu and Rivlin’s claims, it is Palestinian communities inside Israel that have been in far more danger of pogroms than the Jewish majority.
In the balance of power, the state’s security forces are tribally Jewish, the government and policy-makers are all Jews, a large proportion of the Jewish citizenry own weapons, and the media speaks for its Jewish population, not its 1.8 million Palestinians.
In a sign of the growing dangers, the Israeli media reported this week that applications for gun licenses – usually available only to Jewish citizens – had risen seven-fold.
Ohana, the police minister, has suggested Jewish citizens act as a “force multiplier” for the police – that is, they should be allowed to take the law into their own hands. And footage has shown police and armed far-right Jewish gangs cooperating in attacks on Palestinian communities in the mixed cities, even as those cities were supposed to be under curfew.
‘Reload the gun magazine’
Like Netanyahu, leading Israeli media figures have been openly inciting vigilante-style violence against Israel’s Palestinian minority.
In one example, a senior TV anchor, Dov Gil-Har, equated the protests by Palestinian citizens against state-sponsored discrimination with historic pogroms against Jews. Earlier, he had suggested to his Jewish viewers – 80 per cent of the country’s population – that the solution to the protests was to “reload the gun magazines”. When challenged by a Palestinian interviewee, he added that he might use his own weapon on the protesters.
The constant message to the Jewish majority has been the Palestinian public are a menace and that it may be necessary for Jews to take the law into their own hands.
And this has been happening just after the violent far-right – Jewish fascists – made unprecedented ground in March’s election, securing six seats in the 120-member parliament and possibly a place in government if Netanyahu can engineer a coalition.
But worrying as the direct incitement by Israeli politicians and the media against the Palestinian minority is, it is being strongly reinforced by a much more subtle “othering” by Israeli Jewish liberals. They have masked their own incitement in the more refined language of archeological preservation, Jewish-Arab coexistence, and religious tolerance.
In official Israeli discourse, the “mixed cities” – with Haifa the showroom – have long been presented as rare places where Jewish and Palestinian citizens live in close proximity, offering a potential model for greater understanding and cooperation between the two populations.
The flip side is less often highlighted: the “mixed cities” are just about the only communities where Jewish and Palestinian citizens have some sort of daily interaction.
In the rest of the country, Israel has imposed strict residential segregation. Palestinian citizens are confined to some 120 overcrowded, communities where they are starved of land, planning permits, industrial areas and classrooms for their children.
But even in the “mixed cities”, there is no real mixing.
Before Israel’s creation on the ruins of the Palestinians’ homeland in 1948, cities like Haifa, Acre, Jaffa, Lod (Lydd), and Ramle were some of the most important in Palestine.
Israel’s leaders made it a priority to drive almost all of the Palestinian residents out of these cities during the Nakba and into exile, as part of a policy of making sure there was no educated, urban elite to organise political or diplomatic resistance to its ethnic cleansing campaign.
Today, most of the Palestinians in the “mixed cities” are descended not from the original families living there but from refugees who got trapped in them as they were trying to flee to safety in 1948. The Israeli army often herded the refugees together into the poorest areas of these historic Palestinian cities – neighborhoods Jews did not want to inhabit – while Israel decided what to do with them.
The descendants of the refugees still live in these deprived neighborhoods, typically renting from Amidar, a Israeli state-run property company. For decades, Amidar has denied them permission to renovate or improve their homes. It is usually only too ready to evict them if a state agency or Jewish investors decide these Palestinian families are in the way of a “Judaization” project.
Which is the necessary background for understanding the way the Israeli media, including a respected liberal newspaper like Haaretz, has been engaging in its own covert incitement when covering the latest events in the “mixed cities”.
Much attention has been given to the torching by Palestinian protesters of synagogues and yeshivas, or Jewish seminaries. The sight of Torah scrolls being evacuated from charred buildings has encouraged the Jewish public to conclude that these attacks were driven by antisemitism – a variation of the fear that Palestinians want to push the Jews into the sea.
Preposterously, Lod’s mayor compared these scenes to Kristallnacht – the notorious night of Nazi pogroms against German Jews in 1938 – as if Israel’s Jewish majority were not protected by one of the strongest armies in the world.
But there are practical, far more mundane reasons why synagogues and yeshivas were among the first buildings attacked in Lod.
Settler outposts in Israel
Over the past three decades, Israel’s main effort to “Judaize” the “mixed cities” has been waged through a religious war of attrition. A section of the settler population has been encouraged to “redirect” their attention from the West Bank and East Jerusalem to Israel. They have slowly encroached into the “mixed cities” as local municipalities and state agencies have lured them with special funding for their extremist seminaries and synagogues.
Homes and land are being taken over in Palestinian neighborhoods to house these new fanatical outposts of the main West Bank settlements inside Israel.
That has had very damaging consequences. The religious extremists have tried to whip up more nationalist sentiments among the local Jewish population of the mixed cities, increasing tensions with Palestinian neighbors. Just as is happening in East Jerusalem’s Old City, these Jewish religious fanatics are seeking to drive Palestinian families out of their own communities.
For years there has been especial anger in Jaffa about the takeover by Jewish religious extremists of the Palestinian parts of the city. That culminated weeks before the current clashes with an attack by two brothers on the head of a yeshiva there.
Even the Israeli court that examined the indictment against the brothers ultimately rejected police claims that the attack was antisemitic. Like many other families, the brothers have been fighting eviction from their home by a government agency. The attack reflected their anger that religious extremists are seeking out, and being offered, new properties in their neighborhood.
Following the incident, Palestinian families held a demonstration chanting: “Jaffa for Jaffans, settlers out.”
The huge resentment among Palestinians in the “mixed cities” towards these new religious occupiers can be explained by the urgent desire for self-preservation, not antisemitism.
‘Barbarians at the gate’
Similarly, the Israeli media have been aghast at the attacks on important archeological sites in places like Acre and Lod. The media’s barely veiled thesis is that these attacks have revealed Palestinian citizens to be, as Israeli Jews long suspected, barbarians at the gate. The impression has been cultivated that the minority’s behavior is little different from the Taliban blowing up the Buddhist Bamiyan statues.
Last week the Israel Antiquities Authority’s chief scientist, Gideon Avni, told Haaretz: “In Acre, an entire life’s work, meant to capture world attention through its archaeological value, went down the drain. In Lod, they [Palestinian residents] tried to destroy the attempt to empower and lift up the city as a center of antiquities.”
But again, there are good practical reasons why Palestinian residents of the “mixed cities”, especially in Lod and Acre, would be targeting archeological sites.
The Palestinian cities now defined as “mixed” are mostly located next to or over Roman, Crusader and Mumlak ruins.
Israel destroyed the Palestinian character of these communities from 1948 onward by expelling most of the Palestinian population, and then gradually Judaizing them as public spaces. Archeology, like religion, has been weaponized against the Palestinian inhabitants of the “mixed cities” to assist in their erasure.
Archeology theme parks
Israel’s politicization of archeology has focused on layers of history unrelated to, and meant to overshadow, its recent Arab Palestinian past. Further, archeological preservation and related tourism ventures have become the pretext for yet again ethnically cleansing Palestinians from their historic cities.
The clearest example has occurred in occupied East Jerusalem, where the Israel Antiquities Authority has allied with a settler organization, Elad. Together, using highly dubious archeological evidence, they have been creating a Disney-style “Kingdom of David” theme park within and below a Palestinian neighborhood called Silwan.
The City of David site has been expanding for more than three decades, aided by the government and Jerusalem municipality. Dozens of armed Jewish settler families have moved into the neighborhood in violation of international law.
In the latest development, Israel is preparing to evict many dozens of Palestinians in the coming weeks as it expands the City of David.
It was these moves that in part fueled the tensions that sparked the current Palestinian protests inside Israel and the rocket fire from Gaza.
Lod mosaic attacked
Watching Silwan’s long-running oppression through archeology, Palestinians in the “mixed cities” have seen a strong echo of their own experiences. The main difference is that the archeological assault inside Israel focuses not only on Jewish history but embraces any historical period that distracts from Palestinian heritage.
Israel has misleadingly sold these archeological projects as “tourism development” and “urban renewal”, often claiming they are designed to improve “Jewish-Arab relations”.
One of the targets of the current protests was a soon-to-be-opened museum for the Lod Mosaic, a world-renowned, almost complete Roman mosaic found in 1996. It had been traveling the world until belated funding meant it could be housed in a poor Palestinian-majority neighborhood next to the old city where it was unearthed.
Although the mosaic was unharmed in last week’s attack, the new building’s glass frontage was smashed.
The residents’ resentment towards the new Lod Museum needs to be understood in two contexts: decades of obscuring the Palestinian heritage of Lod, as well as the visibility of its current Palestinian population; and the investment by Israeli authorities in projects to bring tourists to Lod, even as they continue to neglect local Palestinian residents, who suffer from high levels of poverty.
Lod’s old city was mostly destroyed in the 1950s to erase its Palestinian character. The streets, even in Palestinian neighborhoods, have been given Hebrew names.
Lod municipality recently unveiled plans to renovate another historic site, a Mamluk khan that was used as the city’s main market until 1948. Over the heads of the local population, it is due to be turned into a Judaized cultural space, housing cafes and arts and crafts shops.
And as with Silwan, Lod is developing local tour programs – sometimes in coordination with incoming settler populations – that highlight an ancient Jewish heritage and ignore the city’s Palestinian past and present.
Or as a report from Emek Shaveh, an Israeli organization of dissident archeologists, recently concluded: “The city of Lod thus erases once again the city’s glorious heritage and views its Arab residents as a nuisance.”
Families face eviction
In Acre, archeology has become an even more overt weapon to be used against the local Palestinian population. Since 1948, they have been largely confined to the seafront old city, where they were long ignored and mired in poverty.
But while the United Nations’ decision to designate the old city a World Heritage Site 20 years ago came to the rescue of the ancient buildings there, it did little to help the local inhabitants. In fact, their situation has become even more precarious as Israel, Jewish investors and foreign countries have poured money into the old city’s “development”.
Overseeing these projects are the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Acre Development Corporation, neither of which have consulted with the local or national Palestinian leaderships in Israel.
Gideon Avni, of the Antiquities Authority, told the Haaretz newspaper: “These symbols [in Acre] are being destroyed in front of our eyes.” Another unnamed expert echoed him: “Gangs of looters have systematically destroyed property after property.”
One of the main targets in Acre was the Antiquities Authority’s conservation center, supported by the Italian government.
The old city of Acre was built in the 18th century by a Palestinian ruler, Daher el-Omar, atop the ruins of an earlier Crusader city. But the Israeli authorities have been sidelining this important Palestinian layer – just as it has excluded the local Palestinian population – to encourage tourists to head into the underground, Crusader Acre.
Even when Palestinian heritage is being preserved in Acre, it has been repackaged as “Ottoman” – presented to Israeli Jews and tourists as a legacy of Turkish colonial influence rather than as the cultural and architectural artifacts of local Palestinians who lived under Ottoman rule.
One of the most visible Palestinian buildings is the well-preserved Khan al-Umdan, once the city’s main market, located in the harbor.
It has been sealed off for years as the Development Corporation has been finding investors to turn it into a luxury hotel. Palestinian families living in the warrens of alleys around the khan are facing eviction so as not to detract from the new ambience the Israeli authorities hope to create for tourists.
Disneyfication of Acre
Aiding this process have been wealthy Jewish investors, such as Uri Jeremias. They have been the driving force behind the gentrification of Acre’s old city above ground to take advantage of the new tourism. Jeremias’s small empire started with a fish restaurant on the seafront and has expanded to include a popular ice cream parlor and an ambitious hotel called the Efendi.
As the name suggests, the Efendi has contributed to the Disneyfication of Acre, remaking some of the old city’s most impressive Palestinian buildings into a hotel where tourists can experience generic “Ottoman” splendor, shielded from the poverty outside and from any trace of meaningful Palestinian heritage.
It is not surprising that Jeremias’s properties were also attacked, as was another hotel, the Arabesque.
In a fawning portrait in the Haaretz newspaper, Evan Fallenberg, owner of the Arabesque, was able to present his hotel as simply a site of cultural and economic renewal, and a symbol of “Jewish-Arab coexistence”. He called it “a labor of love shared by Muslims, Jews and Christians alike”.
Referring to his assumptions about Acre as a “model of successful coexistence”, Fallenberg added: “What gave me hope over the past few years is that this was some kind of microcosm of what could happen in this country, and it’s in danger of being lost now.”
Illusion of coexistence
But that coexistence model in the “mixed cities” was always an illusion, one that the protests finally served to smash. Coexistence worked for only one ethnic group only, Jews.
But that coexistence model in the “mixed cities” was always an illusion, one that the protests finally served to smash. Coexistence worked for only one ethnic group only, Jews. It was built on the continuing Judaization of these historic Palestinian communities to erase their Palestinian heritage and drive out their Palestinian populations.
Tourism and archeological preservation were simply more convenient, image-conscious ways to go about Judaization in the 21st century. They attracted less attention and international opposition than Israel’s ethnic cleansing operations and wholesale community demolitions of the previous century.
By stripping out this context – of Israel’s ongoing Judaization of Palestinian communities inside Israel – Israeli liberals have only deepened the incitement against Palestinian citizens. They have confirmed the picture presented by the right, whether it be President Rivlin’s “bloodthirsty mob”, Netanyahu’s “terrorists”, or the mayor of Lod’s “Kristallnacht”.
In doing so, Israeli liberals have offered their own form of legitimacy to the rationalizations by Jewish far-right gangs for their violence against Palestinian citizens: that they are protecting Jews and Jewish honor, that they are averting pogroms.
In defense of a non-existent coexistence, Israeli liberals have thrown their hand in with the far-right, exposing the Palestinian minority to the very real threat of Jewish pogroms.
“My party still supports Israel,” Biden said. “Until the region says unequivocally they acknowledge the right of Israel to exist as an independent Jewish state, there will be no peace.”
President Biden said that there has been “no shift” in his commitment to Israel and that the Democratic Party still supports the Jewish state, despite heated and sometimes vitriolic criticism of Israel over the past ten days by progressives.
Biden was asked in a news conference Friday with South Korean President Moon Jae-In what his “message to Democrats who want you to be more confrontational with Israel.”
“My party still supports Israel,” Biden said. “Until the region says unequivocally they acknowledge the right of Israel to exist as an independent Jewish state, there will be no peace.”
He again called for a two-state solution in the region. “There is no shift in my commitment to the security of Israel. Period. No shift, not at all. But I’ll tell you what there is a shift in. The shift is that, we still need a two-state solution. It is the only answer. The only answer.”
Press secretary Jen Psaki had offered a similar sentiment hours earlier. She said the White House has “no plans” to alter security assistance to Israel, as progressives came down hard against a $735 million arms sale to the Jewish state and the billions allotted in foreign aid each year.
Biden recently approved the arms sale to Israel. He has repeatedly stressed Israel’s right to defend itself and reiterated that Hamas is a terrorist organization. But he has also pressured Israel to accept a cease-fire.
Israel and Hamas signed a cease-fire Thursday night after 11 days of fighting, where a dozen Israelis and over 230 Palestinians lost their lives.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., introduced a resolution Thursday to force a vote on whether to block the weapons sale to Israel. Progressive “Squad” members Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., introduced similar legislation in the House. “We must also take a hard look at nearly $4 billion a year in military aid to Israel,” Sanders wrote in a tweet.
Black Lives Matter declared “solidarity with Palestinians” this week.
“Black Lives Matter stands in solidarity with Palestinians,” the group tweeted. “We are a movement committed to ending settler colonialism in all forms and will continue to advocate for Palestinian liberation. ( always have. And always will be ). #freepalestine.”
The Democratic Socialists of America issued a statement of support for Palestinians last week, condemning the “ongoing ethnic cleansing” it suggests Israel is engaged in.
The leading Black Lives Matter organization declared “solidarity with Palestinians” Monday, a week after Hamas terrorists in Gaza began firing a relentless barrage of rockets into Israel, indiscriminately shelling civilian targets as well as dropping some missiles short and blowing up buildings within its territory.
“Black Lives Matter stands in solidarity with Palestinians,” the group tweeted. “We are a movement committed to ending settler colonialism in all forms and will continue to advocate for Palestinian liberation. ( always have. And always will be ). #freepalestine.”
The announcement prompted a “thank you” tweet from the controversial Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, or BDS, which has for years called for an economic embargo of Israel.
“Thank you for your solidarity,” the left-wing group tweeted in response. “From Ferguson to Palestine, our struggles against racism, white supremacy and for a just world are united!”
The tweet came as pro-Palestinian protesters gathered in the U.S. and other Western countries to call for a cease-fire in the region.
Amid the ongoing battle between Israel and Hamas militants, at least 12 Israelis and 213 Palestinians have been killed over the past eight days, including 61 children and 36 women. More than 100 Israelis and 1,400 Palestinians had been wounded as of Tuesday evening.
The military conflict escalated dramatically on May 10 when Hamas began firing rocket after rocket at Jerusalem following a violent clash between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters at the Al-Aqsa mosque, a sacred site for both Jews and Muslims. Despite hundreds of Israeli counterattacks and its Iron Dome defense system, the rockets have continued to fly.
But left-wing groups, and progressive lawmakers, have blamed Israel for the violence, describing it as an “apartheid state” committing “war crimes” and other atrocities on Palestinian civilians, who Hamas frequently treats like human shields, attracting airstrikes on high-rise buildings that share space with civilians.
The Israeli Defense Forces say they warn civilians ahead of strikes on such locations, giving them time to run for safety before leveling Hamas facilities.
“Israel fights to protect its civilians,” the IDF tweeted Tuesday. “Hamas uses civilians to protect itself.”
On September 13, 2020, Al-Jazeera Network (Qatar) aired a documentary about the Hamas missile manufacturing industry. The reporter explained how Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades have been reclaiming unexploded Israeli munitions from 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, metal water pipes left behind by Israel when it withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, and cannon shells from the wrecks of British warships that sank near Gaza during World War I. The documentary featured interviews with the commanders of the Al-Qassam Brigades’ Military Production Units, Engineering Corps, Artillery Corps, and Frogmen Unit, who described the process of reclaiming these munitions and turning them into functional missiles.
The report also showed exclusive footage of this process, including footage of divers retrieving underwater shells, of metals being processed, of explosives being prepared, and of missiles being tested. Furthermore, the reporter and the interviewees explained that Iran has been shipping Kornet anti-tank missiles and Fajr missiles to Gaza by land and by sea. Abu Ibrahim, the Commander of the Military Productions Unit, said that Hamas has hundreds of warheads, dozens of tons of explosives and propellants, and enough metal water pipes to produce thousands of rockets.
To view the clip of the Al-Jazeera documentary on MEMRI TV, click here or below.
“Various Types Of Weapons Have Arrived To Gaza From Iran… Other Countries, like Syria And Sudan, Have Also Played A Role In Arming The Resistance”
Narrator: “In this footage, which is being shown for the first time, members of the Al-Qassam Brigades can be seen reassembling the parts of a Fajr missile that arrived in a new shipment of long range Iranian missiles. The resistance in Gaza [received] them despite the tightening of the siege. In these exclusive images, Kornet anti-tank missiles can be seen.”
Abu Ibrahim, Commander from the Military Production Unit of the Al-Qassam Brigades: “The weapons came to us, by land and by sea, from hundreds and thousands of kilometers away.
“Various types of weapons have arrived to Gaza from Iran. The resistance fighters in Gaza were in dire need of these weapons, such as the Kornet and Fajr missiles, and many other types of modern weapons, which are still very much in use on the battlefield.
“Other countries, like Syria and Sudan, have also played a role in arming the resistance.”
“Under This Rubble, There Are Unexploded Israeli Missiles And Shells[;] They Have Become A New Source For The Weapons Of The Resistance”
Narrator: “Under this rubble, there are unexploded Israeli missiles and shells. They have become a new source for the weapons of the resistance. The Al-Qassam Brigades are revealing a multi-phase project to transform the remnants of the Israeli war into modern missiles.”
Abu Ibrahim: “At the beginning, we decided to collect those munitions from the ruined houses and fields, because they constituted a direct threat to the lives of the inhabitants and the farmers. During the process of removing [these duds], large and diverse quantities of munitions were accumulated by our brothers in the Engineering Corps.”
Abu Salman, Commander of the Engineering Corps of the Al-Qassam Brigades: “After the 2014 war, the Engineering Corps dealt with many munitions throughout the Gaza Strip: bombs, mines, explosive devices and 155mm Howitzer shells. There were also hundreds of MK 84 bombs, each of which contains 470 kilograms of tritonal, a highly explosive material that is more powerful than TNT.
“We started by surveying all the unexploded munitions. We established a committee of specialized engineers. Our strategy was to recycle these munitions and make optimal use of all their parts. Our idea was to turn this crisis into an opportunity.”
“We Dug Into The Ground And Pulled Out The Pipes, So That They Could Be Used In Our Military Industries”
Narrator: “The reclamation of the unexploded Israeli shells was not an easy task. There were several martyrs in this complicated production project. One of the pioneers and supervisors of this project, Ibrahim Abu Al-Naja, was one of the most prominent martyrs. While the plan to reuse the explosives in the Israeli shells was moving ahead, long water pipelines were found buried in the areas of the settlements from which Israel withdrew in 2005.
“This discovery turned out to be a qualitative leap. These pipes, which stretched from the liberated settlements in the west across the Israeli border to the east, had been hidden from the eye. For years, they served Israel in its theft of Palestinian water.”
Abu Ibrahim: “In the belly of the Earth, we found large quantities of thick metal pipes. It was part of a network that had been used to steal Gaza’s groundwater and pump it into the occupied lands. We discovered the plans for that network, and then we dug into the ground and pulled out the pipes, so that they could be used in our military industries.”
Narrator: “In this documentary, we obtained exclusive footage from one of the workshops producing the long range Qassam missiles. These missiles have made distinct developments in their range, precision, and destructive power. These images show modern missiles being produced by recycling the unexploded Israeli shells, as well as the explosives they contained and the water pipes that were found.”
Abu Ibrahim: “We managed to use these caches to double our missile force despite the siege. This enabled us to maintain continuous fire in keeping with the needs of the battle.”
Narrator: “The Al-Qassam Brigades reveal for the first time that this cluster of missiles that were launched toward Israeli targets in the round of escalation witnessed by Gaza in May 2019, had been missiles produced from the remnants of Israeli shells from the 2014 war.
Abu Saad: “The most salient usage of these missiles was in the May 2019 missile strike against the occupation’s security and military posts that were in and around the city of Ashkelon.”
“Al-Qassam Brigades’s Frogmen Unit Found The Wrecks Of Two [British] Warships That Sank In The Sea Of Gaza [During WWI)… They Found Large Quantities Of Sunken Shells”
Narrator: “The sea concealed in its depths what the resistance called ‘a precious military treasure.’ In an unexpected place, men from the Al-Qassam Brigades’ frogmen unit found the wrecks of two [British] warships that sank in the sea of Gaza [during WWI). It took a lot of effort, but they managed to get inside, where they found large quantities of sunken shells.”
Abu Musa: “We found a large metal structure with several types of cannons attached to it. It turned out these were the wrecks of a military ship. A professional committee was formed to investigate the matter and unearth the secrets around this discovery. We decided to expand the search perimeter around that ship. That is when we found another, smaller, ship approximately 800 meters away. On these two ships, we found rooms filled with cannon shells. In keeping with the instructions of our brothers, we began to extract those shells. The shells were secured and had no detonators. This made it easier for us to extract them from the wrecked ships. But since there were so many shells and they weighed so much, extracting them took us a lot of time and required a lot of effort.”
Narrator: “This footage, which is being revealed for the first time, shows part of the operation to reach the two ships and the efforts to extract the shells safely and bring them to shore. All the steps of this complex security and military operation in the sea of Gaza were completed successfully.”
Abu Salman, Commander of the Engineering Corps of the Al-Qassam Brigades: “The British ships were equipped with several types of cannons. The biggest one was a 233 mm cannon. It had steel shells that weighed 138 kilograms. These cannons were used to shell targets on the shore. Each shell was 60 mm thick and made of iron. These shells were made in Britain to be shot from cannons, and they are unique in that they have steel casings. Because of the siege, it is impossible to find steel in Gaza.”
Narrator: “In this workshop, the men of the engineering and production unit of the Al-Qassam Brigades worked to prepare the British shells to be used in new missiles. There were hundreds of such missiles. The discovery of the British shells was a great achievement in light of Israel’s ban that prevents iron and steel from entering Gaza.”
Abu Salman, Commander of the Engineering Corps of the Al-Qassam Brigades: “We tested their ability to penetrate and destroy the enemy’s reinforced concrete fortifications. We made an experiment on a 40-cm-thick concrete roof that had been left behind by the enemy when it withdrew from Gaza in 2005. The target was completely destroyed. The shells from the British destroyed were transformed into warheads for the Sejjil-40 and the Sejjil-50 missiles.”
Abu Ibrahim: “As a result of the ceaseless search efforts at land and at sea, we have accumulated hundreds of munitions and warheads, and dozens of tons of explosives and propellants. We have enough pipes to produce thousands of rocket engines.”
Israel incurs heavy costs intercepting Hamas rockets
—–Iron Dome interceptor– $50,000 and $100,000/missile
[Hamas surely realizes that ten-thousand Kalishnikovs firing into the air at once, would probably be deadlier than 1,000 unguided Qassams fired through the Israeli Iron Dome network.]
How does Tasnim report on the impact of resistance missile power on the Israeli defense structure / Hamas rockets passing through the Iron Dome?
By studying the strengths and weaknesses of Israeli defense systems, Palestinian resistance groups have challenged their capabilities and shifted the balance of power in their favor.
Tasnim News Agency Defense Group – Seyed Mohammad Taheri:
A few days have passed since the beginning of a new round of clashes between the Zionist army and Palestinian resistance groups, and what is in the spotlight more than anything else is the high power of the resistance groups’ rockets and the firing of large volumes of these rockets into the depths of the occupied territories and air defense systems. The Israeli army is with them.
Since the beginning of the conflict, there have been various comments about the capability of the Israeli army’s defense systems, to the extent that some have assessed their capability as positive and some as lacking the capability to counter Palestinian rockets.
To take a closer look at the Israeli army’s air defense capabilities, we must first become familiar with the regime’s structure, organization, and air defense equipment, and then look at their strengths and weaknesses.
Since 2006, after the 33-day war, as well as three subsequent wars with Palestinian factions, the Israeli army has realized that it will now face far-reaching threats aimed at threatening the depths of the occupied territories. Therefore, the commanders of the regime’s army had to make fundamental changes in the structure and organization of the regime’s air defense.
With the introduction of the Iron Dome defense system into the air defense structure of the Israeli army in 2011, the theory of multi-layered air defense was introduced and this theory became operational in the second half of 2016.
In this regard, the name of “Anti-Aircraft Organization” was changed to “Air Defense Organization” and “Missile Defense Organization” was merged in its heart. According to this theory, the regional defense (northern, central, southern front) of the airspace of the occupied territories was also abolished and replaced by an integrated defense system.
In the new theory, a center called the “National Center for Ballistic Image Management or Mentao” was created, which is responsible for issuing national warnings and managing operations to detect, intercept and destroy all types of air targets.
Headquartered in Tel Aviv, the facility is responsible for centralized conflict management with all types of air threats, taking over all reconnaissance, intelligence, radar and defense systems throughout the Occupied Territories.
Other changes in the defense structure of the Israeli army, based on the theory of multi-layered defense, are the dissolution of defense regiments and the creation of battalions of defense systems. Each battalion, depending on the type of defense system, consists of several firearms that can be increased in emergencies. has it.
The defense systems of the Zionist Army are organized in such a way that the Iron Dome systems, which are organized in the form of two battalions, 137 and 947, are responsible for dealing with low-altitude targets. Subsequently, the 138th and 139th Battalions of the Patriot System and the 66th Battalion of the Falcon David System are tasked with engaging medium-altitude targets, and the 136th Battalion Megan Battalion, consisting of the Peykan 2 and Peykan 3 systems, has been deployed to counter high-altitude threats and ballistic missiles.
Among the IDF defense systems, the Iron Dome is the only system that changes positions according to the geographical scope of the threats, and the regime’s other defense systems are permanently stationed at their bases.
The Iron Dome system was designed in 2011 with the aim of countering threats at low altitudes with a range of 4 to 70 km and with the aim of protecting the regime’s settlements and sensitive areas.
Each Iron Dome system includes an EL / M2084 radar, a command and control center, and three launchers, each capable of carrying and firing 20 Tamir missiles. A total of 12 iron dome systems are used to defend the skies of the occupied territories.
Launcher launch of standard missiles of Falcon David Defense System
The Falcon David system, which entered service in 2016, is responsible for countering threats from a range of 70 to 300 kilometers. David’s slingshot also uses an EL / M2084 radar, and each of its firearms has six 12-missile firing platforms that use the Stander missile defense. At present, 3 systems of David’s slingshot are deployed in the occupied territories in the form of a defense battalion.
Arrow 2 and 3 missile defense systems
Megan Hirf Unit, which consists of three Heath 2 systems and one Heath 3 system, also has the task of engaging with high-altitude and high-range targets with GreenPine radar. In fact, these two systems are designed to deal with Iranian ballistic missiles.
So far, we have a brief overview of the Israeli army’s air defense structure, as well as its defense systems. It is important to note that, contrary to popular belief, the Iron Dome refers to the entire structure of Israel’s defense. The Iron Dome is one of the Zionist army’s defense systems, which has been widely used because of its many uses.
In view of the above, and despite the fact that the Zionist regime has made serious changes in the structure of its air defense since the 2006 war, we still see that the regime’s air defense organization is not able to fully protect itself against rocket attacks by resistance groups.
More recently, a missile strike near the Dimona nuclear power plant has cast serious doubt on the organization’s ability to defend the skies over the occupied territories.
On the other hand, the only Israeli defense system that has been active in recent years is the Iron Dome system, and other defense systems of the regime army, except for a few cases, have not yet entered into a serious conflict, and therefore the correctness of their operation is questionable.
Rocket Launchers Repair Iron Dome Defense System
The Iron Dome system also has several weaknesses. First, the number of existing systems is not able to cover all the occupied territories, and therefore in the event of a multi-front war, this system will not be able to respond to rocket and missile attacks, and the air defense of the Israeli low altitude will be extremely vulnerable.
How the Iron Dome defense system works
The system is also unable to intercept missiles and rockets fired from a distance of less than 4 km due to lack of time to detect and intercept the target, and the proliferation of resistance rocket launchers at this distance is a serious threat to the system.
On the other hand, the Iron Dome system can not track targets that have high speed and flight time of less than 28 seconds.
Iron Dome Defense System Repair Missile
Also, the warheads of the repair missiles used in this system are equipped with an adjacent fuse, which is the best condition for destroying the target when it is targeted at a distance of one meter, otherwise the possibility of its fragments penetrating the target body and destroying it is reduced.
Image of the confrontation of the Iron Dome system with resistance rockets
On the other hand, one of the weaknesses of this system is its inability to deal with large volumes of fire; This is an issue that the resistance groups have also realized, and this is one of the reasons why these groups fired rockets at high volumes.
The high price of missiles for repairing the Iron Dome system versus the low price of missiles of resistance groups is something that will greatly increase the cost of the battle for the Zionists.
According to published information, each Iron Dome repair missile costs between 40 and 100 thousand dollars. This is if the price of each rocket fired by Palestinian groups is between one thousand and five thousand dollars.
On the other hand, the type of rockets used by resistance groups in previous years had a lower speed, accuracy and volume of destruction than the rockets used by these groups in recent wars.
An example of a rocket fired by the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas
Palestinian groups used rockets in the recent war that, in addition to better range and volume of destruction, have higher speeds and accuracy, making the Iron Dome system much more difficult than in the past.
The increasing power of the resistance rockets has caused the scope of the war, which was once limited to the borders of the Gaza Strip, to extend deep into the occupied territories; In addition to endangering the security of the regime’s sensitive and security centers, this has disrupted the daily lives of the inhabitants of the occupied territories and has increased dissatisfaction with the government and the army of this regime.
Fighters of Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades load rockets in launchers to fire on occupied territories
This shows that the resistance groups have gradually increased the quality of their rockets and missiles by carefully studying the strengths and weaknesses of the Zionist Army Air Defense Organization and especially its Iron Dome system, and so far they have been able to balance the acceptable power with the Zionist regime. Establish; If this continues, it will lead the resistance groups to acquire more advanced weapons than today and to inflict heavier blows on the Zionist regime.