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offsite link US Officials Must Be Prosecuted for Yeme... Sat Sep 26, 2020 07:16 | Doug Bandow

offsite link MORE QUACKERY: Finland Now ‘Testing fo... Fri Sep 25, 2020 21:06 | Elian Peltier

offsite link UK Vaccine Trials to Inject Volunteers W... Fri Sep 25, 2020 12:07 | Clive Cookson

offsite link Ex-Chief Science Officer for Pfizer: “... Fri Sep 25, 2020 09:59 | Ralph Lopez

offsite link The War on Populism Is Building Toward a... Thu Sep 24, 2020 15:41 | CJ Hopkins

Anti-Empire >>

The Saker
A bird's eye view of the vineyard

offsite link The world has gone absolutely insane! Fri Sep 25, 2020 22:36 | The Saker
[this column was written for the Unz Review] We all know that we are living in crazy, and dangerous, times, yet I can?t help being awed at what the imperial

offsite link Why the Middle East ?peace agreements? will fail to achieve their purpose Fri Sep 25, 2020 17:43 | amarynth
By Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog This week, a third Arab country has reportedly agreed to submit to Washington’s pressure to normalize relations with the Zionist state. This was

offsite link The Sheep of the Apocalypse Fri Sep 25, 2020 17:36 | amarynth
By Jimmie Moglia for the Saker Blog There is a history in all men?s lives, and in the history of their lives men often meet with mysteries, meaning events inexplicable

offsite link Iran Says Houthis Use Its Military Know-How In Battle Against Saudi Arabia Wed Sep 23, 2020 23:41 | amarynth
South Front Iran has supplied Ansar Allah (also known as the Houthis) with technical expertise and know-how, a spokesman for the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi said on

offsite link Sinophobia, Lies and Hybrid War Wed Sep 23, 2020 19:15 | amarynth
by Pepe Escobar and with permission cross-posted with Asia Times It took one minute for President Trump to introduce a virus at the virtual 75th UN General Assembly, blasting ?the

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Public Inquiry
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005

offsite link Sarah McInerney and political impartiality

offsite link Did RTE journalists collude against Sinn Fein? Anthony

offsite link Irish Examiner bias Anthony

offsite link RTE: Propaganda ambush of Sinn Fein Anthony

offsite link Hong Kong and democracy Anthony

Public Inquiry >>

Human Rights in Ireland
A Blog About Human Rights

offsite link Right to Water Mon Aug 03, 2020 19:13 | Human Rights

offsite link Human Rights Fri Mar 20, 2020 16:33 | Human Rights

offsite link Turkish President Calls On Greece To Comply With Human Rights on Syrian Refugee Issues Wed Mar 04, 2020 17:58 | Human Rights

offsite link US Holds China To Account For Human Rights Violations Sun Oct 13, 2019 19:12 | Human Rights

offsite link UN Human Rights Council Should Address Human Rights Crisis in Cambodia Sat Aug 31, 2019 13:41 | Human Rights

Human Rights in Ireland >>

Doug Bandow - Sat Sep 26, 2020 07:16

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recently announced that it was providing $204 million in aid for the impoverished and war-ravaged country of Yemen. That sounds generous, but it’s the Saudi royals themselves who are responsible for most of the death, destruction, starvation, and disease in Yemen, in which 80 percent of the population, some 24 million, need outside assistance.

Riyadh has spent more than five years conducting a brutal air campaign intended to restore a pliant regime to power. The claim that the Kingdom is generously helping the needy is a bit like a man murdering his parents only to throw himself on the court’s mercy since he is an orphan. If Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wanted to help the Yemeni people, he would simply end the war.

But he won’t, at least in part because the Trump administration is underwriting the Saudi government’s murderous campaign. Why is the president forcing Americans to assist the Saudi royals, who respect no political or religious liberty and kidnap, imprison, and murder their critics? President Donald Trump appears to be almost bewitched by the licentious and corrupt Saudis.

Washington sold Saudi Arabia planes and munitions used to kill thousands of Yemeni civilians. American personnel serviced and refueled the same planes, as well as providing intelligence to assist in targeting Saudi strikes. That makes U.S. officials complicit in war crimes committed day in and day out for more than five years. [Most crucially it is helping the Saudis in maintaining a naval blockade.]

This is not the conclusion of a group of radical activists or Marxist professors. Rather it comes from the State Department. Reports the New York Times:

The civilian death toll from Saudi Arabia’s disastrous air war over Yemen was steadily rising in 2016 when the State Department’s legal office in the Obama administration reached a startling conclusion: Top American officials could be charged with war crimes for approving bomb sales to the Saudis and their partners. Four years later, more than a dozen current and former U.S. officials say the legal risks have only grown as President Trump has made selling weapons in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other Middle East nations a cornerstone of his foreign policy.

The administration’s willingness to enthusiastically aid and abet the slaughter of innocent people to enhance the profits of the fabled merchants of death is a moral outrage. Indeed, the State Department’s Inspector General reported that it “found that the department did not fully assess risks and implement mitigation measures to reduce civilian casualties and legal concern associated with the transfer” of precision-guided bombs used against the Yemenis. The administration also misused its power to avoid congressional review of arms sales by claiming an “emergency.” That was simply a lie, used to shield administration dealings with the murderous Saudi royals from public scrutiny.

A new United Nations assessment of Yemen offers a devastating description of the war. According to the latest Comprehensive Report of the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen, there are no good guys in the fight. Explained the study: “The Group of Experts finds that the parties to the conflict continue to show no regard for international law or the lives, dignity, and rights of people in Yemen, while third states have helped to perpetuate the conflict by continuing to supply the parties with weapons.”

The most important of those third states is America. [Actually given its role the US is better described as a participant to the conflict, rather than a third state.]

Political spectators could use a primer on Yemeni internal politics, which has been unstable and violent for most of the country’s (and countries’, since there originally were two Yemens) existence. In early 2015, incumbent President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi was ousted by an alliance between his predecessor, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and Ansar Allah (Supporters of God), or the Houthi movement. The fight mattered little to Riyadh, which preferred Hadi but had long dealt with Saleh. The Houthis were focused on winning internal control and had no external ambitions.

Nevertheless, the Saudi-led Coalition attacked, expecting victory within a few weeks. The experts panel observed: “After six unremitting years of armed conflict in Yemen, the multi-party war continues with no end in sight for the suffering of millions caught in its grip. …Yemen remains a tortured land, with its people ravaged in ways that should shock the conscience of humanity.”

The Yemeni Houthis are guilty of criminal conduct, including indiscriminate artillery and mortar strikes. However, their cruelty pales in comparison to that of the much better armed Coalition. For instance, noted Alex de Waal of the World Peace Foundation:

The fact that the Houthis have stolen, taxed, and diverted food for their own political ends, and, on at least one occasion, also used starvation tactically to military ends (in the siege of Ta’izz) does not detract from the criminality of the Saudi and Emirati campaign. Yemen was already a poor and food insecure country, with a long-standing water scarcity. This would have been well-known to those who planned and administered the starvation of Yemen. If they knew that Yemenis were vulnerable to starvation, was it not particularly reprehensible for them to fight a war of starvation in that country?

Saudi and Emirati air attacks routinely hit civilians. Explained the report: “In its previous mandates, the Group of Experts analyzed a number of coalition airstrikes given their apparently disproportionate impact on civilians. It raised concerns with coalition processes for target selection and execution of airstrikes, and noted a consistent pattern of harm to civilians. During this mandate, the Group verified a further four airstrikes or series of airstrikes involving similar failures to take all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian objects.”

The Coalition also blockaded Yemen, with predictably horrid consequences. Stated the UN panel: “the continuous deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Yemen is directly attributable to the conduct of the parties to the conflict. In its previous reports, the Group of Experts has documented the disproportionate effects on the civilian population of the de facto blockade and access restrictions, including the closure of Sana’a airport, imposed by the coalition and Government of Yemen.”

All parties, including Washington’s allies, made arbitrary arrests and tortured prisoners:

The Group of Experts continued to investigate arbitrary detention and torture, including sexual violence against men and boys, perpetrated by United Arab Emirates forces prior to their withdrawal from Yemen in mid-2019, at the secret detention facility in Al-Buraiqeh coalition Base, Aden. The Group verified two further cases from that period in which members of the forces raped one man and subjected one boy to another form of sexual violence.

Moreover:

The Group of Experts has reasonable grounds to believe that the Governments of Yemen, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the Southern Transitional Council, to the extent they exercise jurisdiction, and as applicable to each party, are responsible for human rights violations including arbitrary deprivation of life, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, gender-based violence, including sexual violence, torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, the recruitment and use in hostilities of children, the denial of fair trial rights, violations of fundamental freedoms, and economic, social and cultural rights.

The panel cited many other possible war crimes. For instance, “Individuals in the coalition, in particular Saudi Arabia, may have conducted airstrikes in violation of the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution.” Moreover, “Individuals in the coalition have conducted indiscriminate attacks using indirect-fire weapons.” Yemeni government officials “have conducted indiscriminate attacks using indirect-fire weapons and used anti-personnel landmines.”

It is bad enough that perpetrators of these barbarities are routinely feted by the White House. It’s far worse that American officials in both the Obama and Trump administrations are directly complicit in these war crimes. The perpetrators should all be prosecuted. Best would be in individual national courts, as the U.S. should have done with Bush administration officials who tortured prisoners. Doing so would have helped atone for Washington’s atrocious behavior and regain global credibility.

Another option would be the International Criminal Court. However, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Yemen all reject the ICC’s jurisdiction; Iran and the UAE have signed but not ratified the Rome Statute. In contrast, Canada, France, and the United Kingdom, also cited by the experts group, have accepted the ICC’s jurisdiction. Their officials could be charged. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened to sanction any members of its staff who investigated U.S. personnel but so far has made no similar effort to cover up related crimes by other nations. In any case, the panel could share the results of its investigation with any country courageous enough to prosecute.

As a last resort, other nations could assert universal jurisdiction over war crimes suspects. Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain all have brought or could bring charges of that sort. Given Washington’s sanctions on Germany’s Nord Stream 2 natural gas project with Russia, Berlin’s prosecution of Trump administration officials for aiding war crimes in Yemen would seem particularly appropriate.

Admittedly, such extraterritoriality is far from ideal, but so long as America did not extradite its citizens—which is unlikely politically—the primary impact would be to sully reputations and discourage international travel. Although minimal penalties, they would still highlight Washington’s criminal responsibility. The target should be civilian policymakers rather than uniformed personnel carrying out the former’s instructions—perversely pitched in the U.S. as helping to reduce casualties.

The war in Yemen is an embarrassment to America, an act of blatant aggression by brutal dictatorships that pretend to be close U.S. allies. Sharing responsibility for this crime are former President Barack Obama and perhaps former Vice President Joe Biden. A couple dozen former Obama staffers published an open letter two years ago admitting: “We did not intend U.S. support to the coalition to become a blank check.” So far no one from the Trump administration has expressed similar regrets.

The Saudi/Emirati aggression against Yemen is almost one continuous war crime. The perpetrators should be prosecuted. The time for immunity is over. The time for imposing responsibility is now.

Source: The American Conservative

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recently announced that it was providing $204 million in aid for the impoverished and war-ravaged country of Yemen. That sounds generous, but it’s the Saudi royals themselves who are responsible for most of the death, destruction, starvation, and disease in Yemen, in which 80 percent of the population, some 24 million, need outside assistance. Riyadh has spent more than five years conducting a brutal air campaign intended to restore a pliant regime to power. The claim that the Kingdom is generously helping the needy is a bit like a man murdering his parents only to throw himself on the court’s mercy since he is an orphan. If Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wanted to help the Yemeni people, he would simply end the war. But he won’t, at least in part because the Trump administration is underwriting the Saudi government’s murderous campaign. Why is the president forcing Americans to assist the Saudi royals, who respect no political or religious liberty and kidnap, imprison, and murder their critics? President Donald Trump appears to be almost bewitched by the licentious and corrupt Saudis. Washington sold Saudi Arabia planes and munitions used to kill thousands of Yemeni civilians. American personnel serviced and refueled the same planes, as well as providing intelligence to assist in targeting Saudi strikes. That makes U.S. officials complicit in war crimes committed day in and day out for more than five years. [Most crucially it is helping the Saudis in maintaining a naval blockade.] This is not the conclusion of a group of radical activists or Marxist professors. Rather it comes from the State Department. Reports the New York Times:
The civilian death toll from Saudi Arabia’s disastrous air war over Yemen was steadily rising in 2016 when the State Department’s legal office in the Obama administration reached a startling conclusion: Top American officials could be charged with war crimes for approving bomb sales to the Saudis and their partners. Four years later, more than a dozen current and former U.S. officials say the legal risks have only grown as President Trump has made selling weapons in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other Middle East nations a cornerstone of his foreign policy.
The administration’s willingness to enthusiastically aid and abet the slaughter of innocent people to enhance the profits of the fabled merchants of death is a moral outrage. Indeed, the State Department’s Inspector General reported that it “found that the department did not fully assess risks and implement mitigation measures to reduce civilian casualties and legal concern associated with the transfer” of precision-guided bombs used against the Yemenis. The administration also misused its power to avoid congressional review of arms sales by claiming an “emergency.” That was simply a lie, used to shield administration dealings with the murderous Saudi royals from public scrutiny. A new United Nations assessment of Yemen offers a devastating description of the war. According to the latest Comprehensive Report of the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen, there are no good guys in the fight. Explained the study: “The Group of Experts finds that the parties to the conflict continue to show no regard for international law or the lives, dignity, and rights of people in Yemen, while third states have helped to perpetuate the conflict by continuing to supply the parties with weapons.” The most important of those third states is America. [Actually given its role the US is better described as a participant to the conflict, rather than a third state.] Political spectators could use a primer on Yemeni internal politics, which has been unstable and violent for most of the country’s (and countries’, since there originally were two Yemens) existence. In early 2015, incumbent President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi was ousted by an alliance between his predecessor, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and Ansar Allah (Supporters of God), or the Houthi movement. The fight mattered little to Riyadh, which preferred Hadi but had long dealt with Saleh. The Houthis were focused on winning internal control and had no external ambitions. Nevertheless, the Saudi-led Coalition attacked, expecting victory within a few weeks. The experts panel observed: “After six unremitting years of armed conflict in Yemen, the multi-party war continues with no end in sight for the suffering of millions caught in its grip. …Yemen remains a tortured land, with its people ravaged in ways that should shock the conscience of humanity.” The Yemeni Houthis are guilty of criminal conduct, including indiscriminate artillery and mortar strikes. However, their cruelty pales in comparison to that of the much better armed Coalition. For instance, noted Alex de Waal of the World Peace Foundation:
The fact that the Houthis have stolen, taxed, and diverted food for their own political ends, and, on at least one occasion, also used starvation tactically to military ends (in the siege of Ta’izz) does not detract from the criminality of the Saudi and Emirati campaign. Yemen was already a poor and food insecure country, with a long-standing water scarcity. This would have been well-known to those who planned and administered the starvation of Yemen. If they knew that Yemenis were vulnerable to starvation, was it not particularly reprehensible for them to fight a war of starvation in that country?
Saudi and Emirati air attacks routinely hit civilians. Explained the report: “In its previous mandates, the Group of Experts analyzed a number of coalition airstrikes given their apparently disproportionate impact on civilians. It raised concerns with coalition processes for target selection and execution of airstrikes, and noted a consistent pattern of harm to civilians. During this mandate, the Group verified a further four airstrikes or series of airstrikes involving similar failures to take all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian objects.” The Coalition also blockaded Yemen, with predictably horrid consequences. Stated the UN panel: “the continuous deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Yemen is directly attributable to the conduct of the parties to the conflict. In its previous reports, the Group of Experts has documented the disproportionate effects on the civilian population of the de facto blockade and access restrictions, including the closure of Sana’a airport, imposed by the coalition and Government of Yemen.” All parties, including Washington’s allies, made arbitrary arrests and tortured prisoners:
The Group of Experts continued to investigate arbitrary detention and torture, including sexual violence against men and boys, perpetrated by United Arab Emirates forces prior to their withdrawal from Yemen in mid-2019, at the secret detention facility in Al-Buraiqeh coalition Base, Aden. The Group verified two further cases from that period in which members of the forces raped one man and subjected one boy to another form of sexual violence.
Moreover:
The Group of Experts has reasonable grounds to believe that the Governments of Yemen, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the Southern Transitional Council, to the extent they exercise jurisdiction, and as applicable to each party, are responsible for human rights violations including arbitrary deprivation of life, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, gender-based violence, including sexual violence, torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, the recruitment and use in hostilities of children, the denial of fair trial rights, violations of fundamental freedoms, and economic, social and cultural rights.
The panel cited many other possible war crimes. For instance, “Individuals in the coalition, in particular Saudi Arabia, may have conducted airstrikes in violation of the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution.” Moreover, “Individuals in the coalition have conducted indiscriminate attacks using indirect-fire weapons.” Yemeni government officials “have conducted indiscriminate attacks using indirect-fire weapons and used anti-personnel landmines.” It is bad enough that perpetrators of these barbarities are routinely feted by the White House. It’s far worse that American officials in both the Obama and Trump administrations are directly complicit in these war crimes. The perpetrators should all be prosecuted. Best would be in individual national courts, as the U.S. should have done with Bush administration officials who tortured prisoners. Doing so would have helped atone for Washington’s atrocious behavior and regain global credibility. Another option would be the International Criminal Court. However, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Yemen all reject the ICC’s jurisdiction; Iran and the UAE have signed but not ratified the Rome Statute. In contrast, Canada, France, and the United Kingdom, also cited by the experts group, have accepted the ICC’s jurisdiction. Their officials could be charged. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened to sanction any members of its staff who investigated U.S. personnel but so far has made no similar effort to cover up related crimes by other nations. In any case, the panel could share the results of its investigation with any country courageous enough to prosecute. As a last resort, other nations could assert universal jurisdiction over war crimes suspects. Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain all have brought or could bring charges of that sort. Given Washington’s sanctions on Germany’s Nord Stream 2 natural gas project with Russia, Berlin’s prosecution of Trump administration officials for aiding war crimes in Yemen would seem particularly appropriate. Admittedly, such extraterritoriality is far from ideal, but so long as America did not extradite its citizens—which is unlikely politically—the primary impact would be to sully reputations and discourage international travel. Although minimal penalties, they would still highlight Washington’s criminal responsibility. The target should be civilian policymakers rather than uniformed personnel carrying out the former’s instructions—perversely pitched in the U.S. as helping to reduce casualties. The war in Yemen is an embarrassment to America, an act of blatant aggression by brutal dictatorships that pretend to be close U.S. allies. Sharing responsibility for this crime are former President Barack Obama and perhaps former Vice President Joe Biden. A couple dozen former Obama staffers published an open letter two years ago admitting: “We did not intend U.S. support to the coalition to become a blank check.” So far no one from the Trump administration has expressed similar regrets. The Saudi/Emirati aggression against Yemen is almost one continuous war crime. The perpetrators should be prosecuted. The time for immunity is over. The time for imposing responsibility is now. Source: The American Conservative
Elian Peltier - Fri Sep 25, 2020 21:06

Travelers arriving at Helsinki’s airport are being offered a voluntary coronavirus test that takes 10 seconds with no uncomfortable nasal swab needed. And the test is done by a dog.

A couple of coronavirus-sniffing canines began work at the Finnish airport on Wednesday as part of a pilot program that aims to detect infections using the sweat collected on wipes from arriving passengers.

Over the past months, international airports have brought in various methods to detect the virus in travelers, including saliva screenings, temperature checks and nasal swabs. But researchers in Finland say that using dogs could prove cheaper, faster and more effective.

After passengers arriving from abroad have collected their luggage, they are invited to wipe their necks to collect sweat samples and leave the wipes in a box. Behind a wall, a dog trainer puts the box beside cans containing different scents, and a dog gets to work.

The dogs can detect a coronavirus-infected patient in 10 seconds, and the entire process takes a minute to complete, researchers say. If the dog signals a positive result, the passenger is directed to the airport’s health center for a free virus test.

Why dogs?

Dogs have a particularly sharp sense of smell and have long been used in airports to sniff out bombs, drugs and other contraband in luggage.

They have also been able to detect illnesses such as cancer and malaria. So in the middle of a pandemic, training dogs to detect Covid-19 became an obvious choice, said Anna Hielm-Bjorkman, a researcher at the University of Helsinki who is monitoring the trial

And they seem to be doing the job, she said. In the first stage of the trial, the dogs could sniff out the virus in a person who is asymptomatic, or before the symptoms appear. They detected it at an earlier stage than a PCR test, the most widely used diagnostic tool for the new coronavirus.

In July, researchers at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover in Germany also found that with a week of training, dogs were able to distinguish saliva samples of people infected with the coronavirus from noninfected samples with a 94 percent success rate[Great. Welcome airport detention thanks to a dog that's even less reliable than the notorious PCR.]

Dogs seem to not be easily infected with the coronavirus, although they appear to have been in a few instances. Other animals like cats appear to be much more susceptible. There is no evidence that dogs develop any symptoms or that they can pass the virus on to people or other animals.

How do they do it?

The sniffer dogs, who are trained to recognize the virus’s scent, detect it by smelling urine or sweat samples, according to the University of Helsinki’s veterinary faculty.

Ms. Hielm-Bjorkman said she and her team had trained the dogs by making a specific sound as soon as the dogs indicate a positive sample — “and yes, a treat, too,” she said. When the dogs smell a negative sample, nothing happens, and they move on to the next.

Wise Nose, a Finnish organization that specializes in scent detection, partnered with the faculty to train 16 dogs, four of which are starting work at the airport this week. Six are still in training, and the others were unable to work in a noisy environment.

“All dogs can be trained to smell the coronavirus, but they are individuals and not all of them can work in an airport,” said Virpi Perala, a representative of Evidensia, a network of hospitals and veterinary clinics that funded the trial’s first stage.

Does this mean the coronavirus has a scent?

This is what researchers believe. But what exactly the dogs detect when they sniff out the virus is the million-dollar question, Ms. Hielm-Bjorkman said.

“We know how dogs detect it — by smell — but we have no clue what they detect yet,” she said. “If we find this out, we can train thousands of dogs across the world.”

Scientists in the United States are investigating whether an infected person secretes a chemical that dogs can smell. And a French study published in June found “very high evidence” that the odor of an infected person’s sweat was different in a way that dogs could sense. [That's nice, but is there evidence the smell is unique to COVID and not produced by dozens of other conditions and infections?]

Could this become a thing?

The pilot program in Finland is the first to be used at an airport. Susanna Paavilainen, the managing director of Wise Nose, said she aimed to have 10 dogs working at the airport by the end of November, and Ms. Hielm-Bjorkman of the University of Helsinki said she would collect data until the end of the year.

More such programs could also be on the way. In recent months, trials conducted in Britain, France, Germany and the United States have assessed how dogs could detect the coronavirus.

In Finland, researchers say that if the pilot programs prove effective, dogs could be used in retirement homes to screen residents or in hospitals to avoid unnecessary quarantines for health care professionals.

But scaling up such programs could be tricky: Dogs need to be trained and then assisted by their trainers once they can work outside laboratories.

At the Helsinki airport, two dogs worked simultaneously on Wednesday while two others rested.

Ms. Hielm-Bjorkman acknowledged that the resources were modest — at least for now. The program will try to assess how long dogs can work in a day and whether the same animals can be used to detect substances like drugs.

Ms. Perala, of the Evidensia network, said that Finland would need 700 to 1,000 coronavirus-sniffing dogs to cover schools, malls and retirement homes, but that more trained animals — and trainers — would be required for even broader coverage.

“We could keep our country open if we had enough dogs,” she said.

Source: The New York Times


And it's an official, state-funded thing, The Guardian:

Four Covid-19 sniffer dogs have begun work at Helsinki airport in a state-funded pilot scheme that Finnish researchers hope will provide a cheap, fast and effective alternative method of testing people for the virus.

Travelers arriving at Helsinki’s airport are being offered a voluntary coronavirus test that takes 10 seconds with no uncomfortable nasal swab needed. And the test is done by a dog. A couple of coronavirus-sniffing canines began work at the Finnish airport on Wednesday as part of a pilot program that aims to detect infections using the sweat collected on wipes from arriving passengers. Over the past months, international airports have brought in various methods to detect the virus in travelers, including saliva screenings, temperature checks and nasal swabs. But researchers in Finland say that using dogs could prove cheaper, faster and more effective. After passengers arriving from abroad have collected their luggage, they are invited to wipe their necks to collect sweat samples and leave the wipes in a box. Behind a wall, a dog trainer puts the box beside cans containing different scents, and a dog gets to work. The dogs can detect a coronavirus-infected patient in 10 seconds, and the entire process takes a minute to complete, researchers say. If the dog signals a positive result, the passenger is directed to the airport’s health center for a free virus test.

Why dogs?

Dogs have a particularly sharp sense of smell and have long been used in airports to sniff out bombs, drugs and other contraband in luggage. They have also been able to detect illnesses such as cancer and malaria. So in the middle of a pandemic, training dogs to detect Covid-19 became an obvious choice, said Anna Hielm-Bjorkman, a researcher at the University of Helsinki who is monitoring the trial And they seem to be doing the job, she said. In the first stage of the trial, the dogs could sniff out the virus in a person who is asymptomatic, or before the symptoms appear. They detected it at an earlier stage than a PCR test, the most widely used diagnostic tool for the new coronavirus. In July, researchers at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover in Germany also found that with a week of training, dogs were able to distinguish saliva samples of people infected with the coronavirus from noninfected samples with a 94 percent success rate[Great. Welcome airport detention thanks to a dog that's even less reliable than the notorious PCR.] Dogs seem to not be easily infected with the coronavirus, although they appear to have been in a few instances. Other animals like cats appear to be much more susceptible. There is no evidence that dogs develop any symptoms or that they can pass the virus on to people or other animals.

How do they do it?

The sniffer dogs, who are trained to recognize the virus’s scent, detect it by smelling urine or sweat samples, according to the University of Helsinki’s veterinary faculty. Ms. Hielm-Bjorkman said she and her team had trained the dogs by making a specific sound as soon as the dogs indicate a positive sample — “and yes, a treat, too,” she said. When the dogs smell a negative sample, nothing happens, and they move on to the next. Wise Nose, a Finnish organization that specializes in scent detection, partnered with the faculty to train 16 dogs, four of which are starting work at the airport this week. Six are still in training, and the others were unable to work in a noisy environment. “All dogs can be trained to smell the coronavirus, but they are individuals and not all of them can work in an airport,” said Virpi Perala, a representative of Evidensia, a network of hospitals and veterinary clinics that funded the trial’s first stage.

Does this mean the coronavirus has a scent?

This is what researchers believe. But what exactly the dogs detect when they sniff out the virus is the million-dollar question, Ms. Hielm-Bjorkman said. “We know how dogs detect it — by smell — but we have no clue what they detect yet,” she said. “If we find this out, we can train thousands of dogs across the world.” Scientists in the United States are investigating whether an infected person secretes a chemical that dogs can smell. And a French study published in June found “very high evidence” that the odor of an infected person’s sweat was different in a way that dogs could sense. [That's nice, but is there evidence the smell is unique to COVID and not produced by dozens of other conditions and infections?]

Could this become a thing?

The pilot program in Finland is the first to be used at an airport. Susanna Paavilainen, the managing director of Wise Nose, said she aimed to have 10 dogs working at the airport by the end of November, and Ms. Hielm-Bjorkman of the University of Helsinki said she would collect data until the end of the year. More such programs could also be on the way. In recent months, trials conducted in Britain, France, Germany and the United States have assessed how dogs could detect the coronavirus. In Finland, researchers say that if the pilot programs prove effective, dogs could be used in retirement homes to screen residents or in hospitals to avoid unnecessary quarantines for health care professionals. But scaling up such programs could be tricky: Dogs need to be trained and then assisted by their trainers once they can work outside laboratories. At the Helsinki airport, two dogs worked simultaneously on Wednesday while two others rested. Ms. Hielm-Bjorkman acknowledged that the resources were modest — at least for now. The program will try to assess how long dogs can work in a day and whether the same animals can be used to detect substances like drugs. Ms. Perala, of the Evidensia network, said that Finland would need 700 to 1,000 coronavirus-sniffing dogs to cover schools, malls and retirement homes, but that more trained animals — and trainers — would be required for even broader coverage. “We could keep our country open if we had enough dogs,” she said. Source: The New York Times
And it's an official, state-funded thing, The Guardian:
Four Covid-19 sniffer dogs have begun work at Helsinki airport in a state-funded pilot scheme that Finnish researchers hope will provide a cheap, fast and effective alternative method of testing people for the virus.
Clive Cookson - Fri Sep 25, 2020 12:07

Editor's note: Would you ever test a vaccine for, say, the 2002 SARS in this way? Of course not. And the only reason they're resorting to this is that there isn't enough virus out there to make conventional trials useful. In other words, because a vaccine is no longer even necessary.


London is to host the world’s first Covid-19 human challenge trials — in which healthy volunteers are deliberately infected with coronavirus to assess the effectiveness of experimental vaccines.

The UK government-funded studies are expected to begin in January at a secure quarantine facility in east London, according to several people involved in the project, which will be announced next week.

The researchers, who did not want to comment publicly ahead of the launch, said the trials would play a vital role in narrowing the large field of promising Covid-19 vaccines likely to move into clinical testing early next year.

Volunteers will be inoculated with a vaccine and a month or so later receive a “challenge” dose of Sars-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, under controlled conditions.

About 2,000 potential volunteers have signed up for challenge studies in the UK through the US-based advocacy group 1Day Sooner, which campaigns for Covid-19 infection trials and has enlisted 37,000 people worldwide. Traditional clinical trials need tens of thousands of participants and researchers would struggle to attract enough for multiple vaccine studies.

Challenge trials have a long history dating back to 1796, when the vaccine pioneer Edward Jenner inoculated eight-year-old James Phipps with live cowpox virus. More recently, they have been instrumental in developing vaccines and treatments for typhoid, cholera and malaria and in understanding how the immune system responds to flu and other viruses.

1Day Sooner is launching a UK campaign this week with a petition to parliament asking for public funding of a biocontainment facility with enough capacity to quarantine 100 to 200 participants.

The project’s academic leader is Imperial College London, and it will be run by hVivo, a spinout from Queen Mary University of London that was bought earlier this year by Open Orphan, a Dublin-based pharmaceutical research organisation.

A final decision about the site of the initial challenge trials has not been made. It may be at hVivo’s 24-bed quarantine clinic in Whitechapel, London, or at another larger location nearby.

Dominic Wilkinson, professor of medical ethics at Oxford university, is one of several prominent ethicists in the UK who have signed the 1Day Sooner petition.

“When we are facing an unprecedented global threat from Covid, it is an ethical imperative to carry out well-controlled challenge studies to help develop a vaccine and then to identify the best vaccines,” said Prof Wilkinson. “The ones emerging first from clinical trials are unlikely to be the best.”

Any Covid-19 challenge trial will need to be approved by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and an independent research ethics committee.

“Human challenge trials can be helpful for the development of vaccines and can provide early evidence of clinical efficacy, particularly when there are low rates of infection of the virus in the population,” said the MHRA.

“The safety of trial participants is our top priority and any proposal from a developer to include a human infection challenge as part of a clinical trial for development of a vaccine would be considered on a benefit-risk basis, with risks monitored for and minimised in the proposed trial design.”

The petition organiser of 1Day Sooner in the UK is 18-year-old Alastair Fraser-Urquhart who is devoting his time to the campaign before going to University College London to study cancer biology next year.

“By exposing just a few hundred carefully selected young, healthy people to coronavirus — a virus which for this group is far less deadly than routine procedures such as a live kidney donation — we can test a huge range of vaccines very quickly,” said Mr Fraser-Urquhart.

One crucial aspect of challenge trials is to select and purify an appropriate strain of the virus that is genetically representative of Sars-Cov-2 currently circulating in the population, and choose doses that will infect volunteers without overloading their immune system.

It is also essential to have a “rescue remedy” on hand to prevent serious illness in participants. The London trial will initially use remdesivir, the only antiviral drug so far proven to work against Covid-19.

Volunteers who take part in hVivo’s influenza challenge studies receive up to £3,750 compensation. The payment for Covid-19 trials is likely to be somewhat higher because the isolation will last longer — potentially as long as a month. [Cheap considering this is THE BLACK DEATH.]

The hVivo facility could be divided into three zones of eight beds each, to test three different vaccines at the same time. There is likely to be intense demand for its services and larger facilities may be opened later.

In the US, the National Institutes of Health has awarded Colorado State University a contract worth at least $3.6m to support the manufacturing of two viral strains that could be used for human challenge studies. It is preparing the manufacturing process for one of the strains. NIH is also investigating the technical and ethical requirements for challenge trials.

But Nadine Rouphael, a leading vaccine researcher at Emory University in Atlanta and one of several scientists who are keen to carry out challenge studies in the US, said: “There is no urgency at NIH. The UK is well ahead — and that’s great.”

Source: Financial Times

[caption id="attachment_35596" align="alignnone" width="710"] So now that it's convenient the risks to healthy,young people are next to non-existent[/caption] Editor's note: Would you ever test a vaccine for, say, the 2002 SARS in this way? Of course not. And the only reason they're resorting to this is that there isn't enough virus out there to make conventional trials useful. In other words, because a vaccine is no longer even necessary.
London is to host the world’s first Covid-19 human challenge trials — in which healthy volunteers are deliberately infected with coronavirus to assess the effectiveness of experimental vaccines. The UK government-funded studies are expected to begin in January at a secure quarantine facility in east London, according to several people involved in the project, which will be announced next week. The researchers, who did not want to comment publicly ahead of the launch, said the trials would play a vital role in narrowing the large field of promising Covid-19 vaccines likely to move into clinical testing early next year. Volunteers will be inoculated with a vaccine and a month or so later receive a “challenge” dose of Sars-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, under controlled conditions. About 2,000 potential volunteers have signed up for challenge studies in the UK through the US-based advocacy group 1Day Sooner, which campaigns for Covid-19 infection trials and has enlisted 37,000 people worldwide. Traditional clinical trials need tens of thousands of participants and researchers would struggle to attract enough for multiple vaccine studies. Challenge trials have a long history dating back to 1796, when the vaccine pioneer Edward Jenner inoculated eight-year-old James Phipps with live cowpox virus. More recently, they have been instrumental in developing vaccines and treatments for typhoid, cholera and malaria and in understanding how the immune system responds to flu and other viruses. 1Day Sooner is launching a UK campaign this week with a petition to parliament asking for public funding of a biocontainment facility with enough capacity to quarantine 100 to 200 participants. The project’s academic leader is Imperial College London, and it will be run by hVivo, a spinout from Queen Mary University of London that was bought earlier this year by Open Orphan, a Dublin-based pharmaceutical research organisation. A final decision about the site of the initial challenge trials has not been made. It may be at hVivo’s 24-bed quarantine clinic in Whitechapel, London, or at another larger location nearby. Dominic Wilkinson, professor of medical ethics at Oxford university, is one of several prominent ethicists in the UK who have signed the 1Day Sooner petition. “When we are facing an unprecedented global threat from Covid, it is an ethical imperative to carry out well-controlled challenge studies to help develop a vaccine and then to identify the best vaccines,” said Prof Wilkinson. “The ones emerging first from clinical trials are unlikely to be the best.” Any Covid-19 challenge trial will need to be approved by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and an independent research ethics committee. “Human challenge trials can be helpful for the development of vaccines and can provide early evidence of clinical efficacy, particularly when there are low rates of infection of the virus in the population,” said the MHRA. “The safety of trial participants is our top priority and any proposal from a developer to include a human infection challenge as part of a clinical trial for development of a vaccine would be considered on a benefit-risk basis, with risks monitored for and minimised in the proposed trial design.” The petition organiser of 1Day Sooner in the UK is 18-year-old Alastair Fraser-Urquhart who is devoting his time to the campaign before going to University College London to study cancer biology next year. “By exposing just a few hundred carefully selected young, healthy people to coronavirus — a virus which for this group is far less deadly than routine procedures such as a live kidney donation — we can test a huge range of vaccines very quickly,” said Mr Fraser-Urquhart. One crucial aspect of challenge trials is to select and purify an appropriate strain of the virus that is genetically representative of Sars-Cov-2 currently circulating in the population, and choose doses that will infect volunteers without overloading their immune system. It is also essential to have a “rescue remedy” on hand to prevent serious illness in participants. The London trial will initially use remdesivir, the only antiviral drug so far proven to work against Covid-19. Volunteers who take part in hVivo’s influenza challenge studies receive up to £3,750 compensation. The payment for Covid-19 trials is likely to be somewhat higher because the isolation will last longer — potentially as long as a month. [Cheap considering this is THE BLACK DEATH.] The hVivo facility could be divided into three zones of eight beds each, to test three different vaccines at the same time. There is likely to be intense demand for its services and larger facilities may be opened later. In the US, the National Institutes of Health has awarded Colorado State University a contract worth at least $3.6m to support the manufacturing of two viral strains that could be used for human challenge studies. It is preparing the manufacturing process for one of the strains. NIH is also investigating the technical and ethical requirements for challenge trials. But Nadine Rouphael, a leading vaccine researcher at Emory University in Atlanta and one of several scientists who are keen to carry out challenge studies in the US, said: “There is no urgency at NIH. The UK is well ahead — and that’s great.” Source: Financial Times
Ralph Lopez - Fri Sep 25, 2020 09:59

Related:

In a stunning development, a former Chief Science Officer for the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer says "there is no science to suggest a second wave should happen." The "Big Pharma" insider asserts that false positive results from inherently unreliable COVID tests are being used to manufacture a "second wave" based on "new cases."

Dr. Mike Yeadon, a former Vice President and Chief Science Officer for Pfizer for 16 years, says that half or even "almost all" of tests for COVID are false positives. Dr. Yeadon also argues that the threshold for herd immunity may be much lower than previously thought, and may have been reached in many countries already.

In an interview last week Dr. Yeadon was asked:

"we are basing a government policy, an economic policy, a civil liberties policy, in terms of limiting people to six people in a meeting...all based on, what may well be, completely fake data on this coronavirus?"

Dr. Yeadon answered with a simple "yes."

Dr. Yeadon said in the interview that, given the "shape" of all important indicators in a worldwide pandemic, such as hospitalizations, ICU utilization, and deaths, "the pandemic is fundamentally over."

Yeadon said in the interview:

"Were it not for the test data that you get from the TV all the time, you would rightly conclude that the pandemic was over, as nothing much has happened. Of course people go to the hospital, moving into the autumn flu season...but there is no science to suggest a second wave should happen."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ch7wze46md0

In a paper published this month, which was co-authored by Yeadon and two of his colleagues, "How Likely is a Second Wave?", the scientists write:

"It has widely been observed that in all heavily infected countries in Europe and several of the US states likewise, that the shape of the daily deaths vs. time curves is similar to ours in the UK. Many of these curves are not just similar, but almost super imposable."

In the data for UK, Sweden, the US, and the world, it can be seen that in all cases, deaths were on the rise in March through mid or late April, then began tapering off in a smooth slope which flattened around the end of June and continues to today. The case rates however, based on testing, rise and swing upwards and downwards wildly.

Media messaging in the US is already ramping up expectations of a "second wave."

https://twitter.com/MichaelYeadon3/status/1302725167588798467

Survival Rate of COVID Now Estimated to be 99.8%, Similar to Flu, Prior T-Cell Immunity

The survival rate of COVID-19 has been upgraded since May to 99.8% of infections. This comes close to ordinary flu, the survival rate of which is 99.9%. Although COVID can have serious after-effects, so can flu or any respiratory illness. The present survival rate is far higher than initial grim guesses in March and April, cited by Dr. Anthony Fauci, of 94%, or 20 to 30 times deadlier. The Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) value accepted by Yeadon et al in the paper is .26%. The survival rate of a disease is 100% minus the IFR.

Dr. Yeadon pointed out that the "novel" COVID-19 contagion is novel only in the sense that it is a new type of coronavirus. But, he said, there are presently four strains which circulate freely throughout the population, most often linked to the common cold.

In the scientific paper, Yeadon et al write:

"There are at least four well characterised family members (229E, NL63, OC43 and HKU1) which are endemic and cause some of the common colds we experience, especially in winter. They all have striking sequence similarity to the new coronavirus."

The scientists argue that much of the population already has, if not antibodies to COVID, some level of "T-cell" immunity from exposure to other related coronaviruses, which have been circulating long before COVID-19.

The scientists write:

"A major component our immune systems is the group of white blood cells called T-cells whose job it is to memorise a short piece of whatever virus we were infected with so the right cell types can multiply rapidly and protect us if we get a related infection. Responses to COVID-19 have been shown in dozens of blood samples taken from donors before the new virus arrived."

Introducing the idea that some prior immunity to COVID-19 already existed, the authors of "How Likely is a Second Wave?" write:

"It is now established that at least 30% of our population already had immunological recognition of this new virus, before it even arrived...COVID-19 is new, but coronaviruses are not."

They go on to say that, because of this prior resistance, only 15-25% of a population being infected may be sufficient to reach herd immunity:

"...epidemiological studies show that, with the extent of prior immunity that we can now reasonably assume to be the case, only 15-25% of the population being infected is sufficient to bring the spread of the virus to a halt..."

In the US, accepting a death toll of 200,000, and an infection fatality rate of 99.8%, this would mean for every person who has died, there would be about 400 people who had been infected, and lived. This would translate to around 80 million Americans, or 27% of the population. This touches Yeadon's and his colleagues' threshold for herd immunity.

The authors say:

"current literature finds that between 20% and 50% of the population display this pre-pandemic T-cell responsiveness, meaning we could adopt an initially susceptible population value from 80% to 50%. The lower the real initial susceptibility, the more secure we are in our contention that a herd immunity threshold (HIT) has been reached."

The False Positive Second Wave

Of the PCR test, the prevalent COVID test used around the world, the authors write:

"more than half of the positives are likely to be false, potentially all of them."

The authors explain that what the PCR test actually measures is "simply the presence of partial RNA sequences present in the intact virus," which could be a piece of dead virus which cannot make the subject sick, and cannot be transmitted, and cannot make anyone else sick.

"...a true positive does not necessarily indicate the presence of viable virus. In limited studies to date, many researchers have shown that some subjects remain PCR-positive long after the ability to culture virus from swabs has disappeared. We term this a ‘cold positive’ (to distinguish it from a ‘hot positive’, someone actually infected with intact virus). The key point about ‘cold positives’ is that they are not ill, not symptomatic, not going to become symptomatic and, furthermore, are unable to infect others."

Overall, Dr. Yeadon builds the case that any "second wave" of COVID, and any government case for lockdowns, given the well-known principles of epidemiology, will be entirely manufactured.

In Boston this month, a lab suspended doing coronavirus testing after 400 false positives were discovered.

An analysis of PCR-based tests at medical website medrxiv.org states:

"data on PCR-based tests for similar viruses show that PCR-based testing produces enough false positive results to make positive results highly unreliable over a broad range of real-world scenarios."

University of Oxford Professor Carl Heneghan, Director of Oxford's Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, writes in a July article "How Many COVID Diagnoses Are False Positives?":

"going off current testing practices and results, Covid-19 might never be shown to disappear."

Of course, the most famous incidence of PCR test unreliability was when the President of Tanzania revealed to the world that he had covertly sent samples from a goat, a sheep, and a pawpaw fruit to a COVID testing lab. They all came back positive for COVID.

Made in China

In August, the government of Sweden discovered 3700 false COVID positives from test kits made by China's BGI Genomics. The kits were approved in March by the FDA for use in the US.

Second Waves of Coronaviruses Not Normal

Dr. Yeadon challenged the idea that all pandemics take place in subsequent waves, citing two other coronavirus outbreaks, the SARS virus in 2003, and MERS in 2012. What may seem like two waves can actually be two single waves occurring in different geographical regions. They say data gathered from the relatively recent SARS 2003 and the MERS outbreaks support their contention.

In the case of the MERS:

"it is actually multiple single waves affecting geographically distinct populations at different times as the disease spreads. In this case the first major peak was seen in Saudi Arabia with a second peak some months later in the Republic of Korea. Analysed individually, each area followed a typical single event..."

In the interview, when questioned about the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918, which came in successive waves during World War I, Yeadon pointed out that this was an entirely different kind of virus, not in the coronavirus family. Others have blamed general early century malnutrition and unsanitary conditions. World War I soldiers, hard hit, lived in cold mud and conditions the worst imaginable for immune resistance.

Lockdowns Don't Work

Another argument made by Yeadon et al in their September paper is that there has been no difference in outcomes related to lockdowns.

They say:

"The shape of the deaths vs. time curve implies a natural process and not one resulting mainly from human interventions...Famously, Sweden has adopted an almost laissez faire approach, with qualified advice given, but no generalised lockdowns. Yet its profile and that of the UK’s is very similar."

Mild-Mannered Yeadon Demolishes Man Who Started It All, Professor Neil Ferguson

The former Pfizer executive and scientist singles out one former colleague for withering rebuke for his role in the pandemic, Professor Neil Ferguson. Ferguson taught at Imperial College while Yeadon was affiliated. Ferguson's computer model provided the rationale for governments to launch draconian orders which turned free societies into virtual prisons overnight. Over what is now estimated by the CDC to be a 99.8% survival rate virus.

Dr. Yeardon said in the interview that "no serious scientist gives any validity" to Ferguson's model.

Speaking with thinly-veiled contempt for Ferguson, Dr. Yeardon took special pains to point out to his interviewer:

"It's important that you know most scientists don't accept that it [Ferguson's model] was even faintly right...but the government is still wedded to the model."

Yeardon joins other scientists in castigating governments for following Ferguson's model, the assumptions of which all worldwide lockdowns are based on. One of these scientists is Dr. Johan Giesecke, former chief scientist for the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention, who called Ferguson’s model “the most influential scientific paper” in memory, and also “one of the most wrong.”

It was Ferguson's model which held that "mitigation" measures were necessary, i.e. social distancing and business closures, in order to prevent, for example, over 2.2 million people dying from COVID in the US.

Ferguson predicted that Sweden would pay a terrible price for no lockdown, with 40,000 COVID deaths by May 1, and 100,000 by June. Sweden's death count is now 5800. Although initially higher, Sweden now has a lower death rate per-capita than the US, which it achieved without the terrific economic damage still ongoing in the US. Sweden never closed restaurants, bars, sports, most schools, or movie theaters. The government never ordered people to wear masks.

Dr. Yeadon speaks bitterly of the lives lost as a result of lockdown policies, and of the "savable" countless lives which will be further lost, from important surgeries and other healthcare deferred, should lockdowns be reimposed, .

Yeardon is a successful entrepreneur, the founder of a biotech company which was acquired by Novartis, another pharmaceutical giant. Yeadon's unit at Pfizer was the Asthma and Respiratory Research Unit. (Yeadon, partial list of publications.)

Why is All This Happening? US Congressman Says He is Convinced of "Government Plan" to Continue Lockdowns Until a Mandatory Vaccine. Conspiracy Theories?

The list of news items grows which reflects unfavorably upon the narrative being played out on the major television networks, of a mysterious, "novel" virus which has been controlled only by an unprecedented assault on individual rights and liberties, now ready to pounce again, on already suffering populations with no choice but to submit to further government orders.

Governors have quietly extended their powers indefinitely by shifting the goalpost, without saying so, from "flattening the curve" to ease the strain on hospitals, to "no new cases." From "pandemic," to "case-demic."

In Germany, an organization of 500 German doctors and scientists has formed, who say that government response to the COVID virus has been vastly out of proportion to the actual severity of the disease.

Evidence of chicanery mounts. Both the CDC, and US Coronavirus Task Force headed by Dr. Deborah Birx, are candid that the definition of death-by-COVID has been flexible, and that the rules favor calling it COVID whenever possible. This opens the possibility of a vastly inflated death count. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration is under federal investigation for all but signing the death warrants for thousands of nursing home elderly, when the state sent COVID patients into the nursing homes, over the helpless objections of nursing home executives and staff.

Why are the major media ignoring what would seem to be an eminently newsworthy item, an industry rockstar like Yeadon, calling out the biggest guns in the public health world? Would not the Sunday talk shows, the Chris Wallaces and Meet the Press, want to grill such a man for record audiences?

Here the talk may turn to dark agendas, and not just mere incompetence, obtuseness, and stupidity.

One opinion was put forth by US Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) when he said on the Tom Woods Show on August 16th:

“The secret the government is keeping from you is that they plan to keep us shut down until there is some kind of vaccine, and then whether it’s compulsory at the federal level, or the state level, or maybe they persuade your employers though another PPP program that you won’t qualify for unless you make your employees get the vaccine, I think that’s their plan. Somebody convince me that’s not their plan, because there is no logical ending to this other than that.”

Another theory is that the COVID crisis is being used consolidate never-before-imaged levels of control over individuals and society by elites. This is put forth by the nephew of the slain president, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., son of also-assassinated Bobby Kennedy. In a speech at a massive anti-lockdown, anti-mandatory COVID vaccination rally in Germany, Bobby Jr. warned of the existence of a:

“bio-security agenda, the rise of the authoritarian surveillance state and the Big Pharma sponsored coup d’etat against liberal democracy...The pandemic is a crisis of convenience for the elite who are dictating these policies,”

In a lawsuit, Kennedy Jr.'s medical witnesses warn that mandatory flu shots may make many children more susceptible to COVID.

The warnings of dire intentions of Kennedy's "elite" are coming from more mainstream sources. Dr. Joseph Mercola, of the highly trusted, mega-traffic medical information site Mercola.com, has penned a careful review of one doctor's claims of genetics-altering vaccines coming our way.

And it does not assuage fears that a defense establishment website, Defense One, reports that permanent under-the skin biochips, injectable by the same syringe that holds a vaccine, may soon be approved by the FDA. It does not help the anti-conspiracy theory cause that, according to Newsweek, Dr. Anthony Fauci actually did give NIH funding to the Chinese Wuhan lab, for bat coronavirus research so dangerous it was opposed on record by 200 scientists, and banned in the US.

In 1957, a pandemic hit, the H2N2 Asian Flu with a .7% Infection Fatality Rate, which killed as many people per capita in the US as the COVID has claimed now. [In a younger population.] There was never a single mention of it in the news at the time, never mind the extraordinary upheaval that we see now. In 1968 the Hong Kong Flu hit the US (.5% IFR,) taking 100,000 people when the US had a markedly lower population. Not single alarm was raised, not a single store closed nor even a network news story. The following summer the largest gathering in US history took place, Woodstock.

Mass hysteria is never accidental, but benefits someone. The only question left to answer is, whom?

Source: Hub Pages

Related: In a stunning development, a former Chief Science Officer for the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer says "there is no science to suggest a second wave should happen." The "Big Pharma" insider asserts that false positive results from inherently unreliable COVID tests are being used to manufacture a "second wave" based on "new cases." Dr. Mike Yeadon, a former Vice President and Chief Science Officer for Pfizer for 16 years, says that half or even "almost all" of tests for COVID are false positives. Dr. Yeadon also argues that the threshold for herd immunity may be much lower than previously thought, and may have been reached in many countries already. In an interview last week Dr. Yeadon was asked:
"we are basing a government policy, an economic policy, a civil liberties policy, in terms of limiting people to six people in a meeting...all based on, what may well be, completely fake data on this coronavirus?"
Dr. Yeadon answered with a simple "yes." Dr. Yeadon said in the interview that, given the "shape" of all important indicators in a worldwide pandemic, such as hospitalizations, ICU utilization, and deaths, "the pandemic is fundamentally over." Yeadon said in the interview:
"Were it not for the test data that you get from the TV all the time, you would rightly conclude that the pandemic was over, as nothing much has happened. Of course people go to the hospital, moving into the autumn flu season...but there is no science to suggest a second wave should happen."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ch7wze46md0 In a paper published this month, which was co-authored by Yeadon and two of his colleagues, "How Likely is a Second Wave?", the scientists write:
"It has widely been observed that in all heavily infected countries in Europe and several of the US states likewise, that the shape of the daily deaths vs. time curves is similar to ours in the UK. Many of these curves are not just similar, but almost super imposable."
In the data for UK, Sweden, the US, and the world, it can be seen that in all cases, deaths were on the rise in March through mid or late April, then began tapering off in a smooth slope which flattened around the end of June and continues to today. The case rates however, based on testing, rise and swing upwards and downwards wildly. Media messaging in the US is already ramping up expectations of a "second wave." https://twitter.com/MichaelYeadon3/status/1302725167588798467

Survival Rate of COVID Now Estimated to be 99.8%, Similar to Flu, Prior T-Cell Immunity

The survival rate of COVID-19 has been upgraded since May to 99.8% of infections. This comes close to ordinary flu, the survival rate of which is 99.9%. Although COVID can have serious after-effects, so can flu or any respiratory illness. The present survival rate is far higher than initial grim guesses in March and April, cited by Dr. Anthony Fauci, of 94%, or 20 to 30 times deadlier. The Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) value accepted by Yeadon et al in the paper is .26%. The survival rate of a disease is 100% minus the IFR. Dr. Yeadon pointed out that the "novel" COVID-19 contagion is novel only in the sense that it is a new type of coronavirus. But, he said, there are presently four strains which circulate freely throughout the population, most often linked to the common cold. In the scientific paper, Yeadon et al write:
"There are at least four well characterised family members (229E, NL63, OC43 and HKU1) which are endemic and cause some of the common colds we experience, especially in winter. They all have striking sequence similarity to the new coronavirus."
The scientists argue that much of the population already has, if not antibodies to COVID, some level of "T-cell" immunity from exposure to other related coronaviruses, which have been circulating long before COVID-19. The scientists write:
"A major component our immune systems is the group of white blood cells called T-cells whose job it is to memorise a short piece of whatever virus we were infected with so the right cell types can multiply rapidly and protect us if we get a related infection. Responses to COVID-19 have been shown in dozens of blood samples taken from donors before the new virus arrived."
Introducing the idea that some prior immunity to COVID-19 already existed, the authors of "How Likely is a Second Wave?" write:
"It is now established that at least 30% of our population already had immunological recognition of this new virus, before it even arrived...COVID-19 is new, but coronaviruses are not."
They go on to say that, because of this prior resistance, only 15-25% of a population being infected may be sufficient to reach herd immunity:
"...epidemiological studies show that, with the extent of prior immunity that we can now reasonably assume to be the case, only 15-25% of the population being infected is sufficient to bring the spread of the virus to a halt..."
In the US, accepting a death toll of 200,000, and an infection fatality rate of 99.8%, this would mean for every person who has died, there would be about 400 people who had been infected, and lived. This would translate to around 80 million Americans, or 27% of the population. This touches Yeadon's and his colleagues' threshold for herd immunity. The authors say:
"current literature finds that between 20% and 50% of the population display this pre-pandemic T-cell responsiveness, meaning we could adopt an initially susceptible population value from 80% to 50%. The lower the real initial susceptibility, the more secure we are in our contention that a herd immunity threshold (HIT) has been reached."

The False Positive Second Wave

Of the PCR test, the prevalent COVID test used around the world, the authors write:
"more than half of the positives are likely to be false, potentially all of them."
The authors explain that what the PCR test actually measures is "simply the presence of partial RNA sequences present in the intact virus," which could be a piece of dead virus which cannot make the subject sick, and cannot be transmitted, and cannot make anyone else sick.
"...a true positive does not necessarily indicate the presence of viable virus. In limited studies to date, many researchers have shown that some subjects remain PCR-positive long after the ability to culture virus from swabs has disappeared. We term this a ‘cold positive’ (to distinguish it from a ‘hot positive’, someone actually infected with intact virus). The key point about ‘cold positives’ is that they are not ill, not symptomatic, not going to become symptomatic and, furthermore, are unable to infect others."
Overall, Dr. Yeadon builds the case that any "second wave" of COVID, and any government case for lockdowns, given the well-known principles of epidemiology, will be entirely manufactured. In Boston this month, a lab suspended doing coronavirus testing after 400 false positives were discovered. An analysis of PCR-based tests at medical website medrxiv.org states:
"data on PCR-based tests for similar viruses show that PCR-based testing produces enough false positive results to make positive results highly unreliable over a broad range of real-world scenarios."
University of Oxford Professor Carl Heneghan, Director of Oxford's Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, writes in a July article "How Many COVID Diagnoses Are False Positives?":
"going off current testing practices and results, Covid-19 might never be shown to disappear."
Of course, the most famous incidence of PCR test unreliability was when the President of Tanzania revealed to the world that he had covertly sent samples from a goat, a sheep, and a pawpaw fruit to a COVID testing lab. They all came back positive for COVID.

Made in China

In August, the government of Sweden discovered 3700 false COVID positives from test kits made by China's BGI Genomics. The kits were approved in March by the FDA for use in the US.

Second Waves of Coronaviruses Not Normal

Dr. Yeadon challenged the idea that all pandemics take place in subsequent waves, citing two other coronavirus outbreaks, the SARS virus in 2003, and MERS in 2012. What may seem like two waves can actually be two single waves occurring in different geographical regions. They say data gathered from the relatively recent SARS 2003 and the MERS outbreaks support their contention. In the case of the MERS:
"it is actually multiple single waves affecting geographically distinct populations at different times as the disease spreads. In this case the first major peak was seen in Saudi Arabia with a second peak some months later in the Republic of Korea. Analysed individually, each area followed a typical single event..."
In the interview, when questioned about the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918, which came in successive waves during World War I, Yeadon pointed out that this was an entirely different kind of virus, not in the coronavirus family. Others have blamed general early century malnutrition and unsanitary conditions. World War I soldiers, hard hit, lived in cold mud and conditions the worst imaginable for immune resistance.

Lockdowns Don't Work

Another argument made by Yeadon et al in their September paper is that there has been no difference in outcomes related to lockdowns. They say:
"The shape of the deaths vs. time curve implies a natural process and not one resulting mainly from human interventions...Famously, Sweden has adopted an almost laissez faire approach, with qualified advice given, but no generalised lockdowns. Yet its profile and that of the UK’s is very similar."

Mild-Mannered Yeadon Demolishes Man Who Started It All, Professor Neil Ferguson

The former Pfizer executive and scientist singles out one former colleague for withering rebuke for his role in the pandemic, Professor Neil Ferguson. Ferguson taught at Imperial College while Yeadon was affiliated. Ferguson's computer model provided the rationale for governments to launch draconian orders which turned free societies into virtual prisons overnight. Over what is now estimated by the CDC to be a 99.8% survival rate virus. Dr. Yeardon said in the interview that "no serious scientist gives any validity" to Ferguson's model. Speaking with thinly-veiled contempt for Ferguson, Dr. Yeardon took special pains to point out to his interviewer:
"It's important that you know most scientists don't accept that it [Ferguson's model] was even faintly right...but the government is still wedded to the model."
Yeardon joins other scientists in castigating governments for following Ferguson's model, the assumptions of which all worldwide lockdowns are based on. One of these scientists is Dr. Johan Giesecke, former chief scientist for the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention, who called Ferguson’s model “the most influential scientific paper” in memory, and also “one of the most wrong.” It was Ferguson's model which held that "mitigation" measures were necessary, i.e. social distancing and business closures, in order to prevent, for example, over 2.2 million people dying from COVID in the US. Ferguson predicted that Sweden would pay a terrible price for no lockdown, with 40,000 COVID deaths by May 1, and 100,000 by June. Sweden's death count is now 5800. Although initially higher, Sweden now has a lower death rate per-capita than the US, which it achieved without the terrific economic damage still ongoing in the US. Sweden never closed restaurants, bars, sports, most schools, or movie theaters. The government never ordered people to wear masks. Dr. Yeadon speaks bitterly of the lives lost as a result of lockdown policies, and of the "savable" countless lives which will be further lost, from important surgeries and other healthcare deferred, should lockdowns be reimposed, . Yeardon is a successful entrepreneur, the founder of a biotech company which was acquired by Novartis, another pharmaceutical giant. Yeadon's unit at Pfizer was the Asthma and Respiratory Research Unit. (Yeadon, partial list of publications.)

Why is All This Happening? US Congressman Says He is Convinced of "Government Plan" to Continue Lockdowns Until a Mandatory Vaccine. Conspiracy Theories?

The list of news items grows which reflects unfavorably upon the narrative being played out on the major television networks, of a mysterious, "novel" virus which has been controlled only by an unprecedented assault on individual rights and liberties, now ready to pounce again, on already suffering populations with no choice but to submit to further government orders. Governors have quietly extended their powers indefinitely by shifting the goalpost, without saying so, from "flattening the curve" to ease the strain on hospitals, to "no new cases." From "pandemic," to "case-demic." In Germany, an organization of 500 German doctors and scientists has formed, who say that government response to the COVID virus has been vastly out of proportion to the actual severity of the disease. Evidence of chicanery mounts. Both the CDC, and US Coronavirus Task Force headed by Dr. Deborah Birx, are candid that the definition of death-by-COVID has been flexible, and that the rules favor calling it COVID whenever possible. This opens the possibility of a vastly inflated death count. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration is under federal investigation for all but signing the death warrants for thousands of nursing home elderly, when the state sent COVID patients into the nursing homes, over the helpless objections of nursing home executives and staff. Why are the major media ignoring what would seem to be an eminently newsworthy item, an industry rockstar like Yeadon, calling out the biggest guns in the public health world? Would not the Sunday talk shows, the Chris Wallaces and Meet the Press, want to grill such a man for record audiences? Here the talk may turn to dark agendas, and not just mere incompetence, obtuseness, and stupidity. One opinion was put forth by US Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) when he said on the Tom Woods Show on August 16th:
“The secret the government is keeping from you is that they plan to keep us shut down until there is some kind of vaccine, and then whether it’s compulsory at the federal level, or the state level, or maybe they persuade your employers though another PPP program that you won’t qualify for unless you make your employees get the vaccine, I think that’s their plan. Somebody convince me that’s not their plan, because there is no logical ending to this other than that.”
Another theory is that the COVID crisis is being used consolidate never-before-imaged levels of control over individuals and society by elites. This is put forth by the nephew of the slain president, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., son of also-assassinated Bobby Kennedy. In a speech at a massive anti-lockdown, anti-mandatory COVID vaccination rally in Germany, Bobby Jr. warned of the existence of a:
“bio-security agenda, the rise of the authoritarian surveillance state and the Big Pharma sponsored coup d’etat against liberal democracy...The pandemic is a crisis of convenience for the elite who are dictating these policies,”
In a lawsuit, Kennedy Jr.'s medical witnesses warn that mandatory flu shots may make many children more susceptible to COVID. The warnings of dire intentions of Kennedy's "elite" are coming from more mainstream sources. Dr. Joseph Mercola, of the highly trusted, mega-traffic medical information site Mercola.com, has penned a careful review of one doctor's claims of genetics-altering vaccines coming our way. And it does not assuage fears that a defense establishment website, Defense One, reports that permanent under-the skin biochips, injectable by the same syringe that holds a vaccine, may soon be approved by the FDA. It does not help the anti-conspiracy theory cause that, according to Newsweek, Dr. Anthony Fauci actually did give NIH funding to the Chinese Wuhan lab, for bat coronavirus research so dangerous it was opposed on record by 200 scientists, and banned in the US. In 1957, a pandemic hit, the H2N2 Asian Flu with a .7% Infection Fatality Rate, which killed as many people per capita in the US as the COVID has claimed now. [In a younger population.] There was never a single mention of it in the news at the time, never mind the extraordinary upheaval that we see now. In 1968 the Hong Kong Flu hit the US (.5% IFR,) taking 100,000 people when the US had a markedly lower population. Not single alarm was raised, not a single store closed nor even a network news story. The following summer the largest gathering in US history took place, Woodstock. Mass hysteria is never accidental, but benefits someone. The only question left to answer is, whom? Source: Hub Pages
CJ Hopkins - Thu Sep 24, 2020 15:41

So, it appears the War on Populism is building toward an exciting climax. All the proper pieces are in place for a Class-A GloboCap color revolution, and maybe even civil war. You got your unauthorized Putin-Nazi president, your imaginary apocalyptic pandemic, your violent identitarian civil unrest, your heavily-armed politically-polarized populace, your ominous rumblings from military quarters … you couldn’t really ask for much more.

OK, the plot is pretty obvious by now (as it is in all big-budget action spectacles, which is essentially what color revolutions are), but that won’t spoil our viewing experience. The fun isn’t in guessing what is going to happen. Everybody knows what’s going to happen. The fun is in watching Bruce, or Sigourney, or “the moderate rebels,” or the GloboCap “Resistance,” take down the monster, or the terrorists, or Hitler, and save the world, or democracy, or whatever.

https://twitter.com/consent_factory/status/1309118747131760648

The show-runners at GloboCap understand this, and they are sticking to the classic Act III formula (i.e., the one they teach in all those scriptwriting seminars, which, full disclosure, I teach a few of those). They’ve been running the War on Populism by the numbers since the very beginning. I’m going to break that down in just a moment, act by act, plot point by plot point, but, first, let’s quickly cover the basics.

The first thing every big Hollywood action picture (or GloboCap color revolution) needs is a solid logline to build the plot around. The logline shows us: (1) our protagonist, (2) what our protagonist is trying to do, and (3) our antagonist or antagonistic force.

For example, here’s one everyone will recognize:

“A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.”

In our case, the logline writes itself:

“After America is taken over by a Russian-backed Hitlerian dictator, the forces of democracy unite to depose the tyrant and save the free world.”

Donald Trump is our antagonist, of course. And what an antagonist he has been! As the deep-state spooks and the corporate media have been relentlessly repeating for the last four years, the man is both a Russian-backed traitor and literally the resurrection of Hitler! In terms of baddies, it doesn’t get any better.

It goes without saying that our protagonist is GloboCap (i.e., the global capitalist empire), or “democracy,” as it is known in the entertainment business.

Now, we’re in the middle of Act III already, and, as in every big-budget action movie, our protagonist suffered a series of mounting losses all throughout Act II, and the baddie was mostly driving the action. Now it’s time for the Final Push, but, before all the action gets underway, here’s a quick recap of those previous acts. Ready? All right, here we go …

Act I

(status quo/inciting incident)

There democracy (i.e., GloboCap) was, peacefully operating its de facto global capitalist empire like a normal global hegemon (i.e., destabilizing, restructuring, and privatizing everything it hadn’t already destabilized and privatized, and OK, occasionally murdering, torturing, and otherwise mercilessly oppressing people), when out of nowhere it was viciously attacked by Donald Trump and his Putin-Nazi “populists,” who stole the 2016 election from Clinton with those insidious Facebook ads. (For you writers, this was the Inciting Incident.)

(new situation/predicament/lock-in)

GloboCap did not take this well. The deep state and the corporate media started shrieking about a coming “Age of Darkness,” “The death of globalization at the hands of white supremacy,” “racial Orwellianism,” “Zionist anti-Semitism,” the “Bottomless Pit of Fascism,” and so on. Liberals festooned themselves with safety pins and went out looking for minorities to hide in their attics throughout the occupation. According to GloboCap, every “populist” that voted for Trump (or just refused to vote for Clinton) was a genocidal white supremacist undeserving of either empathy or mercy. Somewhere in there, the “Resistance” was born. (This is the plot point known as the Lock-In, where the protagonist commits to the struggle ahead.)

Act II (a)

(progress/obstacles)

As is traditional at the opening of Act II, things were looking promising for GloboCap. The “Resistance” staged those pink pussyhat protests, and the corporate media were pumping out Russia and Hitler propaganda like a Goebbelsian piano. Yes, there were obstacles, but the “Resistance” was growing. And then, in May of 2017, special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed, and “Russiagate” was officially launched. It appeared that Donald Trump’s days were numbered!

(rising action/first culmination)

But, no, it was never going to be that easy. (If it was, feature films would be less than an hour long, not to mention incredibly boring.) There was plenty of action (and an endless series of “bombshells”) throughout the ensuing two years, but by the end of March 2019, “Russiagate” had blown up in GloboCap’s face. “Populism” was still on the rise! It was time for GloboCap to get serious. (This was the classic first culmination, sometimes known as The Point of No Return.)

Act II (b)

(complications/subplots/higher stakes)

In the aftermath of the “Russiagate” fiasco, the GloboCap “Resistance” flailed around for a while. An assortment of ridiculous subplots unfolded … Obstructiongate, Ukrainegate, Pornstargate (and I’m probably forgetting some “gates”), white-supremacist non-terrorist terrorism, brain-devouring Russian-Cubano crickets, Russian spy whales, and other such nonsense. Meanwhile, the forces of “populism” were running amok all across the planet. The gilets jaunes were on the verge of taking down Macron in France, and gangs of neo-nationalist boneheads had launched a series of frontal assaults on Portlandia, GloboCap Anti-Fascist HQ, which Antifa was barely holding off.

(second culmination/major setback)

All wasn’t totally lost, however. GloboCap sprang back into action, successfully Hitlerizing Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of leftist “populism,” and thus preventing the mass exdodus of Jews from Great Britain. And the US elections were on the horizon. Trump was still Russian-agent Hitler, after all, so he wasn’t going to be too hard to beat. All that GloboCap had to do was put forth a viable Democratic candidate, then let the corporate media do their thing. OK, first, they had to do Bernie Sanders (because he was another “populist” figurehead, and the point of the entire War on Populism has been to crush the “populist” resistance to global capitalism from both the Left and the Right), but the DNC made short work of that.

So, everything was looking hunky-dory until — and you screenwriters saw this coming, didn’t you? — the pivotal plot-point at the end of Act II, The Major Setback, or The Dark Night of the Soul, when all seems lost for our protagonist.

Yes, implausible as it probably still seems, the Democratic Party nominated Joe Biden, a clearly cognitively-compromised person who literally sucked his wife’s fingers on camera and who can’t get through a two-minute speech without totally losing his train of thought and babbling non-sequiturial gibberish. Exactly why they did this will be debated forever, but, obviously, Biden was not GloboCap’s first choice. The man is as inspiring as a head of lettuce. (There is an actual campaign group called “Settle for Biden!”) GloboCap was now staring down the barrel of certain swing-voter death. And as if things weren’t already dire enough, the “populists” rolled out a catchy new slogan … “TRUMP 2020, BECAUSE FUCK YOU AGAIN!”

Act III

So, all right, this is part where Neo orders up “guns … lots of guns.” Which is exactly what our friends at GloboCap did. The time for playing grab-ass was over. Faced with four more years of Trump and this “populist” rebellion against global capitalism and its increasingly insufferable woke ideology, the entire global capitalist machine went full-totalitarian all at once. Suddenly, a rather undeadly virus (as far as deadly pestilences go) became the excuse for GloboCap to lock down most of humanity for months, destroy the economy, unleash the goon squads, terrorize everyone with hysterical propaganda, and otherwise remake society into a global totalitarian police state.

And that wasn’t all … no, far from it. GloboCap was just getting started. Having terrorized the masses into a state of anus-puckering paranoia over an imaginary apocalyptic plague and forced everyone to perform a variety of humiliating ideological-compliance ritualsthey unleashed the identitarian civil unrest. Because what would a color revolution be without rioting, looting, wanton destruction, clouds of tear gas, robocops, and GloboCap-sponsored “moderate rebels” and “pro-regime forces” shooting each other down in the streets on television? (In an homage to Orwell’s Ministry of Truth, the corporate media, with totally straight faces, have been describing this rioting as “mostly peaceful.”)

*

That brings us up to speed, I think. The rest of Act III should be pretty exciting, despite the fact that the outcome is certain. One way or another, Trump is history. Or do you seriously believe that GloboCap is going to allow him to serve another four years? Not that Trump is an actual threat to them. As I have said repeatedly over the past four years, Donald Trump is not a populist. Donald Trump is a narcissistic ass clown who is playing president to feed his ego. He is not a threat to global capitalism, but the people who elected him president are. In order to teach these people a lesson, GloboCap needs to make an example of Trump. Odds are, it’s not going to be pretty.

See, they have him between a rock and a hard place. As CNN’s Fareed Zakaria explains, on election night, Trump will appear to have won (because the Democrats will all be mailing in their votes due to the apocalyptic plague), but later, once the mail-in votes are all counted, which may take weeks or even months, it will turn out that Biden really won. But, by then, it won’t matter who really won, because one of two scenarios will have already played out.

In Scenario Number One, Trump declares victory before the mail-in votes have been tallied and is “removed from office” for “attempting a coup.” In Scenario Number Two, he doesn’t declare victory, and the country enters a state of limbo, which the Democrats will prolong as long as possible. Either way, rioting breaks out. Serious rioting … not “peaceful” rioting. Rioting that makes the “BLM protests” we have witnessed so far look like a game of touch football.

And this is where the US military (or the military-industrial complex) comes in. I’ll leave you with just a few of the many ominous headlines that GloboCap has been generating:

“This Election Has Become Dangerous for the U.S. Military” Foreign Policy

“Al Gore suggests military will remove Trump from office if he won’t concede on election night” — Fox News

“Former ambassador warns of election violence” — The Guardian

“All Enemies, Foreign and Domestic”: An Open Letter to Gen. Milley (“If the commander in chief attempts to ignore the election’s results, you will face a choice.)” — Defense One

“Is Trump Planning a Coup d’État?” — The Nation

“Trump could refuse to concede” — Washington Post

“What happens if Trump loses but refuses to concede?” — Financial Times

“White Supremacists, Domestic Terrorists Pose Biggest Threat Of ‘Lethal Violence’ This Election, DHS Assessment Finds” — Forbes

“Trump’s Attacks Put Military In Presidential Campaign Minefield” — NPR

“Trump’s Election Delay Threat Is a Coup in the Making” — Common Dreams

“What If Trump Won’t Leave?” — The Intercept

“How to Plan a Coup” — Bill Moyers on Democracy

“It can happen here: A Trump election coup?” — Wall Street International Magazine

“Whose America Is It?” — The New York Times

Does it sound like GloboCap is bluffing? Because it doesn’t sound like that to me. I could be totally wrong, of course, and just letting my imagination run away with itself, but if I were back home in the USA, instead of here in Berlin, I wouldn’t bet on it.

In any event, whatever is coming, whether this is the end of the War on Populism or just the beginning of a new, more dramatic phase of it, the next two months are going to be exciting. So, go grab your popcorn, or your AR-15, and your mask, or full-body anti-virus bubble suit (which you might want to have retrofitted with Kevlar), and sit back and enjoy the show!

Source: Consent Factory

So, it appears the War on Populism is building toward an exciting climax. All the proper pieces are in place for a Class-A GloboCap color revolution, and maybe even civil war. You got your unauthorized Putin-Nazi president, your imaginary apocalyptic pandemic, your violent identitarian civil unrest, your heavily-armed politically-polarized populace, your ominous rumblings from military quarters … you couldn’t really ask for much more. OK, the plot is pretty obvious by now (as it is in all big-budget action spectacles, which is essentially what color revolutions are), but that won’t spoil our viewing experience. The fun isn’t in guessing what is going to happen. Everybody knows what’s going to happen. The fun is in watching Bruce, or Sigourney, or “the moderate rebels,” or the GloboCap “Resistance,” take down the monster, or the terrorists, or Hitler, and save the world, or democracy, or whatever. https://twitter.com/consent_factory/status/1309118747131760648 The show-runners at GloboCap understand this, and they are sticking to the classic Act III formula (i.e., the one they teach in all those scriptwriting seminars, which, full disclosure, I teach a few of those). They’ve been running the War on Populism by the numbers since the very beginning. I’m going to break that down in just a moment, act by act, plot point by plot point, but, first, let’s quickly cover the basics. The first thing every big Hollywood action picture (or GloboCap color revolution) needs is a solid logline to build the plot around. The logline shows us: (1) our protagonist, (2) what our protagonist is trying to do, and (3) our antagonist or antagonistic force. For example, here’s one everyone will recognize:
“A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.”
In our case, the logline writes itself:
“After America is taken over by a Russian-backed Hitlerian dictator, the forces of democracy unite to depose the tyrant and save the free world.”
Donald Trump is our antagonist, of course. And what an antagonist he has been! As the deep-state spooks and the corporate media have been relentlessly repeating for the last four years, the man is both a Russian-backed traitor and literally the resurrection of Hitler! In terms of baddies, it doesn’t get any better. It goes without saying that our protagonist is GloboCap (i.e., the global capitalist empire), or “democracy,” as it is known in the entertainment business. Now, we’re in the middle of Act III already, and, as in every big-budget action movie, our protagonist suffered a series of mounting losses all throughout Act II, and the baddie was mostly driving the action. Now it’s time for the Final Push, but, before all the action gets underway, here’s a quick recap of those previous acts. Ready? All right, here we go …

Act I

(status quo/inciting incident)

There democracy (i.e., GloboCap) was, peacefully operating its de facto global capitalist empire like a normal global hegemon (i.e., destabilizing, restructuring, and privatizing everything it hadn’t already destabilized and privatized, and OK, occasionally murdering, torturing, and otherwise mercilessly oppressing people), when out of nowhere it was viciously attacked by Donald Trump and his Putin-Nazi “populists,” who stole the 2016 election from Clinton with those insidious Facebook ads. (For you writers, this was the Inciting Incident.)

(new situation/predicament/lock-in)

GloboCap did not take this well. The deep state and the corporate media started shrieking about a coming “Age of Darkness,” “The death of globalization at the hands of white supremacy,” “racial Orwellianism,” “Zionist anti-Semitism,” the “Bottomless Pit of Fascism,” and so on. Liberals festooned themselves with safety pins and went out looking for minorities to hide in their attics throughout the occupation. According to GloboCap, every “populist” that voted for Trump (or just refused to vote for Clinton) was a genocidal white supremacist undeserving of either empathy or mercy. Somewhere in there, the “Resistance” was born. (This is the plot point known as the Lock-In, where the protagonist commits to the struggle ahead.)

Act II (a)

(progress/obstacles)

As is traditional at the opening of Act II, things were looking promising for GloboCap. The “Resistance” staged those pink pussyhat protests, and the corporate media were pumping out Russia and Hitler propaganda like a Goebbelsian piano. Yes, there were obstacles, but the “Resistance” was growing. And then, in May of 2017, special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed, and “Russiagate” was officially launched. It appeared that Donald Trump’s days were numbered!

(rising action/first culmination)

But, no, it was never going to be that easy. (If it was, feature films would be less than an hour long, not to mention incredibly boring.) There was plenty of action (and an endless series of “bombshells”) throughout the ensuing two years, but by the end of March 2019, “Russiagate” had blown up in GloboCap’s face. “Populism” was still on the rise! It was time for GloboCap to get serious. (This was the classic first culmination, sometimes known as The Point of No Return.)

Act II (b)

(complications/subplots/higher stakes)

In the aftermath of the “Russiagate” fiasco, the GloboCap “Resistance” flailed around for a while. An assortment of ridiculous subplots unfolded … Obstructiongate, Ukrainegate, Pornstargate (and I’m probably forgetting some “gates”), white-supremacist non-terrorist terrorism, brain-devouring Russian-Cubano crickets, Russian spy whales, and other such nonsense. Meanwhile, the forces of “populism” were running amok all across the planet. The gilets jaunes were on the verge of taking down Macron in France, and gangs of neo-nationalist boneheads had launched a series of frontal assaults on Portlandia, GloboCap Anti-Fascist HQ, which Antifa was barely holding off.

(second culmination/major setback)

All wasn’t totally lost, however. GloboCap sprang back into action, successfully Hitlerizing Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of leftist “populism,” and thus preventing the mass exdodus of Jews from Great Britain. And the US elections were on the horizon. Trump was still Russian-agent Hitler, after all, so he wasn’t going to be too hard to beat. All that GloboCap had to do was put forth a viable Democratic candidate, then let the corporate media do their thing. OK, first, they had to do Bernie Sanders (because he was another “populist” figurehead, and the point of the entire War on Populism has been to crush the “populist” resistance to global capitalism from both the Left and the Right), but the DNC made short work of that. So, everything was looking hunky-dory until — and you screenwriters saw this coming, didn’t you? — the pivotal plot-point at the end of Act II, The Major Setback, or The Dark Night of the Soul, when all seems lost for our protagonist. Yes, implausible as it probably still seems, the Democratic Party nominated Joe Biden, a clearly cognitively-compromised person who literally sucked his wife’s fingers on camera and who can’t get through a two-minute speech without totally losing his train of thought and babbling non-sequiturial gibberish. Exactly why they did this will be debated forever, but, obviously, Biden was not GloboCap’s first choice. The man is as inspiring as a head of lettuce. (There is an actual campaign group called “Settle for Biden!”) GloboCap was now staring down the barrel of certain swing-voter death. And as if things weren’t already dire enough, the “populists” rolled out a catchy new slogan … “TRUMP 2020, BECAUSE FUCK YOU AGAIN!”

Act III

So, all right, this is part where Neo orders up “guns … lots of guns.” Which is exactly what our friends at GloboCap did. The time for playing grab-ass was over. Faced with four more years of Trump and this “populist” rebellion against global capitalism and its increasingly insufferable woke ideology, the entire global capitalist machine went full-totalitarian all at once. Suddenly, a rather undeadly virus (as far as deadly pestilences go) became the excuse for GloboCap to lock down most of humanity for months, destroy the economy, unleash the goon squads, terrorize everyone with hysterical propaganda, and otherwise remake society into a global totalitarian police state. And that wasn’t all … no, far from it. GloboCap was just getting started. Having terrorized the masses into a state of anus-puckering paranoia over an imaginary apocalyptic plague and forced everyone to perform a variety of humiliating ideological-compliance ritualsthey unleashed the identitarian civil unrest. Because what would a color revolution be without rioting, looting, wanton destruction, clouds of tear gas, robocops, and GloboCap-sponsored “moderate rebels” and “pro-regime forces” shooting each other down in the streets on television? (In an homage to Orwell’s Ministry of Truth, the corporate media, with totally straight faces, have been describing this rioting as “mostly peaceful.”)

*

That brings us up to speed, I think. The rest of Act III should be pretty exciting, despite the fact that the outcome is certain. One way or another, Trump is history. Or do you seriously believe that GloboCap is going to allow him to serve another four years? Not that Trump is an actual threat to them. As I have said repeatedly over the past four years, Donald Trump is not a populist. Donald Trump is a narcissistic ass clown who is playing president to feed his ego. He is not a threat to global capitalism, but the people who elected him president are. In order to teach these people a lesson, GloboCap needs to make an example of Trump. Odds are, it’s not going to be pretty. See, they have him between a rock and a hard place. As CNN’s Fareed Zakaria explains, on election night, Trump will appear to have won (because the Democrats will all be mailing in their votes due to the apocalyptic plague), but later, once the mail-in votes are all counted, which may take weeks or even months, it will turn out that Biden really won. But, by then, it won’t matter who really won, because one of two scenarios will have already played out. In Scenario Number One, Trump declares victory before the mail-in votes have been tallied and is “removed from office” for “attempting a coup.” In Scenario Number Two, he doesn’t declare victory, and the country enters a state of limbo, which the Democrats will prolong as long as possible. Either way, rioting breaks out. Serious rioting … not “peaceful” rioting. Rioting that makes the “BLM protests” we have witnessed so far look like a game of touch football. And this is where the US military (or the military-industrial complex) comes in. I’ll leave you with just a few of the many ominous headlines that GloboCap has been generating:
“This Election Has Become Dangerous for the U.S. Military” Foreign Policy “Al Gore suggests military will remove Trump from office if he won’t concede on election night” — Fox News “Former ambassador warns of election violence” — The Guardian “All Enemies, Foreign and Domestic”: An Open Letter to Gen. Milley (“If the commander in chief attempts to ignore the election’s results, you will face a choice.)” — Defense One “Is Trump Planning a Coup d’État?” — The Nation “Trump could refuse to concede” — Washington Post “What happens if Trump loses but refuses to concede?” — Financial Times “White Supremacists, Domestic Terrorists Pose Biggest Threat Of ‘Lethal Violence’ This Election, DHS Assessment Finds” — Forbes “Trump’s Attacks Put Military In Presidential Campaign Minefield” — NPR “Trump’s Election Delay Threat Is a Coup in the Making” — Common Dreams “What If Trump Won’t Leave?” — The Intercept “How to Plan a Coup” — Bill Moyers on Democracy “It can happen here: A Trump election coup?” — Wall Street International Magazine “Whose America Is It?” — The New York Times
Does it sound like GloboCap is bluffing? Because it doesn’t sound like that to me. I could be totally wrong, of course, and just letting my imagination run away with itself, but if I were back home in the USA, instead of here in Berlin, I wouldn’t bet on it. In any event, whatever is coming, whether this is the end of the War on Populism or just the beginning of a new, more dramatic phase of it, the next two months are going to be exciting. So, go grab your popcorn, or your AR-15, and your mask, or full-body anti-virus bubble suit (which you might want to have retrofitted with Kevlar), and sit back and enjoy the show! Source: Consent Factory
Bernadette Hogan - Thu Sep 24, 2020 14:25

Nearly 90 percent of New York City bar and restaurant owners couldn’t pay their rent in August, heightening the continued crush the coronavirus shutdown has inflicted on Gotham’s economy.

Eighty-seven percent of bars, restaurants, nightclubs and event spaces in the five boroughs could not pay their full August rent, according to data from 457 businesses surveyed between Aug. 25 and Sept. 11, in a new study released Monday by the nonprofit NYC Hospitality Alliance.

It’s a 7 percentage-point increase from June and a four-point jump from July, darkening the dire picture for eateries desperately seeking relief following six months of partial — and in some cases total — closure due to COVID-19 shutdowns.

Some 34 percent of this group said they could not pay rent at all last month, and only 12.9 percent were able to meet full payments.

“Restaurants, bars and nightlife venues have been financially devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said alliance executive director Andrew Rigie.

“Even before the pandemic when operating at 100 percent occupancy, these small businesses were struggling to stay open. Now we’re seeing widespread closures, approximately 150,000 industry workers are still out of their jobs, and the overwhelming majority of these remaining small businesses cannot afford to pay rent.

“The hospitality industry is essential to New York’s economic and social fabric, and to ensure the survival of these vital small businesses and jobs, we urgently need rent relief, an indefinite extension of outdoor dining, a roadmap for expanded indoor dining, covered business interruption insurance and immediate passage of the Restaurants Act by Congress,” he added.

When asked if landlords were waiving rent in relation to COVID-19 hardships, just 40 percent of businesses responded in the affirmative — 28.5 percent said less than 50 percent of their rental obligations were waived in August, 43 percent said 50 percent and 28.5 percent said they were given a break on more than 50 percent of their rental fees.

Meanwhile, 90 percent reported they have been trying to negotiate their leases, but their landlords wouldn’t budge.

The study also comes ahead of the long-awaited partial reopening of New York City’s indoor dining slated for Sept. 30 at 25 percent capacity.

New York City will be the last region in the state — and also a month behind neighboring New Jersey — to get the green light for the practice, despite a majority of the Empire State’s 57 counties outside the five boroughs being approved for the practice since June.

“I’m not really surprised because the industry is devastated by this pandemic,” said David Rosen, owner of several eateries including Williamsburg’s the Breakers. He is also co-founder of the Brooklyn Allied Bars and Restaurants and a member of the New York City Nightlife Advisory Board.

“The analysis around why folks are not able to get firm relief from their landlord, or renegotiate around long-term lease agreements or changes, is interesting because the narrative for the past few months has generally trended in a positive direction,” said Rosen.

“I can understand why landlords have been reticent to renegotiate because people have been under the impression that we would reopen or get back to normal,” he added, saying he, too, is in different stages of ongoing discussions with his landlords and doesn’t expect to fully reopen his venues until at least next spring.

“What’s concerning about this report is I would assume given the past two months and with outdoor dining unfortunately will be peak revenue season during this pandemic for restaurants. As we head into the winter, even with indoor dining on the horizon, I don’t think that 25 percent indoor will exceed what exists already outside. This ‘inability to pay rent’ trend will continue, if not worsen,” he said.

“We understand the difficulties facing restaurants, which is why we’re protecting commercial establishments from eviction, allowing bars to sell cocktails via take-out and delivery, and cutting red tape so restaurants can easily expand outdoor dining,” said Jack Sterne, a spokesman for Gov. Cuomo.

Guidelines will be reassessed by Nov. 1 and restaurants may be allowed to increase to 50 percent capacity depending on positive compliance and infection data, according to state officials.

The Empire State has also recorded several months’ worth of less than a 1 percent positive COVID-19 infection rate statewide.

Source: The New York Post

Nearly 90 percent of New York City bar and restaurant owners couldn’t pay their rent in August, heightening the continued crush the coronavirus shutdown has inflicted on Gotham’s economy. Eighty-seven percent of bars, restaurants, nightclubs and event spaces in the five boroughs could not pay their full August rent, according to data from 457 businesses surveyed between Aug. 25 and Sept. 11, in a new study released Monday by the nonprofit NYC Hospitality Alliance. It’s a 7 percentage-point increase from June and a four-point jump from July, darkening the dire picture for eateries desperately seeking relief following six months of partial — and in some cases total — closure due to COVID-19 shutdowns. Some 34 percent of this group said they could not pay rent at all last month, and only 12.9 percent were able to meet full payments. “Restaurants, bars and nightlife venues have been financially devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said alliance executive director Andrew Rigie. “Even before the pandemic when operating at 100 percent occupancy, these small businesses were struggling to stay open. Now we’re seeing widespread closures, approximately 150,000 industry workers are still out of their jobs, and the overwhelming majority of these remaining small businesses cannot afford to pay rent. “The hospitality industry is essential to New York’s economic and social fabric, and to ensure the survival of these vital small businesses and jobs, we urgently need rent relief, an indefinite extension of outdoor dining, a roadmap for expanded indoor dining, covered business interruption insurance and immediate passage of the Restaurants Act by Congress,” he added. When asked if landlords were waiving rent in relation to COVID-19 hardships, just 40 percent of businesses responded in the affirmative — 28.5 percent said less than 50 percent of their rental obligations were waived in August, 43 percent said 50 percent and 28.5 percent said they were given a break on more than 50 percent of their rental fees. Meanwhile, 90 percent reported they have been trying to negotiate their leases, but their landlords wouldn’t budge. The study also comes ahead of the long-awaited partial reopening of New York City’s indoor dining slated for Sept. 30 at 25 percent capacity. New York City will be the last region in the state — and also a month behind neighboring New Jersey — to get the green light for the practice, despite a majority of the Empire State’s 57 counties outside the five boroughs being approved for the practice since June. “I’m not really surprised because the industry is devastated by this pandemic,” said David Rosen, owner of several eateries including Williamsburg’s the Breakers. He is also co-founder of the Brooklyn Allied Bars and Restaurants and a member of the New York City Nightlife Advisory Board. “The analysis around why folks are not able to get firm relief from their landlord, or renegotiate around long-term lease agreements or changes, is interesting because the narrative for the past few months has generally trended in a positive direction,” said Rosen. “I can understand why landlords have been reticent to renegotiate because people have been under the impression that we would reopen or get back to normal,” he added, saying he, too, is in different stages of ongoing discussions with his landlords and doesn’t expect to fully reopen his venues until at least next spring. “What’s concerning about this report is I would assume given the past two months and with outdoor dining unfortunately will be peak revenue season during this pandemic for restaurants. As we head into the winter, even with indoor dining on the horizon, I don’t think that 25 percent indoor will exceed what exists already outside. This ‘inability to pay rent’ trend will continue, if not worsen,” he said. “We understand the difficulties facing restaurants, which is why we’re protecting commercial establishments from eviction, allowing bars to sell cocktails via take-out and delivery, and cutting red tape so restaurants can easily expand outdoor dining,” said Jack Sterne, a spokesman for Gov. Cuomo. Guidelines will be reassessed by Nov. 1 and restaurants may be allowed to increase to 50 percent capacity depending on positive compliance and infection data, according to state officials. The Empire State has also recorded several months’ worth of less than a 1 percent positive COVID-19 infection rate statewide. Source: The New York Post
DW - Thu Sep 24, 2020 13:23

Editor's note: Interesting insight into the minds of the Western-backed liberal opposition. They oppose broad Western sanctions on Russia. So far so good. You'd think it would be because they don't want unnecessary hardship imposed on their people. But no, it turns out their actual and only rationale is that such sanctions would be an "enormous opportunity for the Kremlin", the 145 million of their countrymen aren't even part of the calculation.


Untargeted sanctions against Russia from the West over the poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny would be, paradoxically, an "enormous opportunity" for Moscow, a top aide to the politician said Tuesday.

"Any time a huge round of sectoral sanctions is adopted somewhere in Europe, they open a big box of champagne in the Kremlin," Leonid Volkov told DW's Konstantin Eggertin in an interview in Berlin.

Germany is considering broad sanctions against Russia in response to the near-fatal poisoning of Kremlin critic Navalny last month. His aides have accused the Russian government of ordering his poisoning, an accusation Moscow has denied.

"[Russian leadership is] very happy because every round of wide sanctions gives enormous opportunity for the Kremlin propaganda to support its narrative, like: 'the whole West is against us,” Volkov said.

Better to target corrupt elite

The West should instead consider sanctions against individuals that would target Russian President Vladimir Putin's lieutenants and inner circle, Volkov said.

"Billions of dollars stolen from Russian taxpayers are converted to luxury homes in London, hotels in Austria, chateaus in France, etc., etc …” Volkov said. "This is all dirty money, laundering money that corrupts European politicians, but that also corrupts European political institutions. And at some point, this has to be stopped."

German threats to respond by cancelling the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline deal with Russia appear "artificial,” the aide said, cautioning against the move.

"I know there is already a debate [about the gas project] in Germany ... on the fate of Nord Stream 2,” Volkov said.

"When they try to connect it with the use of chemical weapons, it sounds like — for Putin and his propaganda, also — it sounds like they are being opportunistic.”

Navalny has been recovering in Berlin and said he intends to return to Russia.

Putin sees West as 'hypocrites'

Volkov, who has worked alongside Navalny for years, said he hopes the poisoning will change the way Germany interacts with Russia.

The "bridge-building strategy” Germany has employed for years with Russia is something Putin always considered a weakness, he said.

"When people try to approach [Putin] and try to discuss something ... he was always thinking of his counterparts as hypocrites," Volkov said. "Talking liberal values, talking freedoms, but actually they need [him]."

"'Whatever I do, they will always again approach me because they are hypocrites and cowards,'" Volkov said, attributing the thought to the Russian president.

"That is the only outcome of all the attempts to build bridges with Putin."

Source: Deutsche Welle

Editor's note: Interesting insight into the minds of the Western-backed liberal opposition. They oppose broad Western sanctions on Russia. So far so good. You'd think it would be because they don't want unnecessary hardship imposed on their people. But no, it turns out their actual and only rationale is that such sanctions would be an "enormous opportunity for the Kremlin", the 145 million of their countrymen aren't even part of the calculation.
Untargeted sanctions against Russia from the West over the poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny would be, paradoxically, an "enormous opportunity" for Moscow, a top aide to the politician said Tuesday. "Any time a huge round of sectoral sanctions is adopted somewhere in Europe, they open a big box of champagne in the Kremlin," Leonid Volkov told DW's Konstantin Eggertin in an interview in Berlin. Germany is considering broad sanctions against Russia in response to the near-fatal poisoning of Kremlin critic Navalny last month. His aides have accused the Russian government of ordering his poisoning, an accusation Moscow has denied. "[Russian leadership is] very happy because every round of wide sanctions gives enormous opportunity for the Kremlin propaganda to support its narrative, like: 'the whole West is against us,” Volkov said.

Better to target corrupt elite

The West should instead consider sanctions against individuals that would target Russian President Vladimir Putin's lieutenants and inner circle, Volkov said. "Billions of dollars stolen from Russian taxpayers are converted to luxury homes in London, hotels in Austria, chateaus in France, etc., etc …” Volkov said. "This is all dirty money, laundering money that corrupts European politicians, but that also corrupts European political institutions. And at some point, this has to be stopped." German threats to respond by cancelling the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline deal with Russia appear "artificial,” the aide said, cautioning against the move. "I know there is already a debate [about the gas project] in Germany ... on the fate of Nord Stream 2,” Volkov said. "When they try to connect it with the use of chemical weapons, it sounds like — for Putin and his propaganda, also — it sounds like they are being opportunistic.” Navalny has been recovering in Berlin and said he intends to return to Russia.

Putin sees West as 'hypocrites'

Volkov, who has worked alongside Navalny for years, said he hopes the poisoning will change the way Germany interacts with Russia. The "bridge-building strategy” Germany has employed for years with Russia is something Putin always considered a weakness, he said. "When people try to approach [Putin] and try to discuss something ... he was always thinking of his counterparts as hypocrites," Volkov said. "Talking liberal values, talking freedoms, but actually they need [him]." "'Whatever I do, they will always again approach me because they are hypocrites and cowards,'" Volkov said, attributing the thought to the Russian president. "That is the only outcome of all the attempts to build bridges with Putin." Source: Deutsche Welle
Paul McLeary - Thu Sep 24, 2020 11:43

The Marine Corps is moving quickly to develop a new kind of infantry unit to challenge Chinese claims on small islands in the Pacific, while the Navy is developing new and smaller ships to move and supply them once they deploy.

The new Littoral Regiments won’t be fully fleshed out for several years, but Marine Corps leaders said today they will be bolstered by logistics and air defense battalions once they’re ready to go.

The Corps is wargaming “what assets would we be able to place in that battle space that are very low signature and that give us the firepower that we need to be a relevant force that provides consequences, should we get past the deterrence phase,”  Maj. Gen. Kevin Iiams, assistant deputy commandant of Combat Development, told reporters at the virtual Modern Day Marine event today.

The Corps envisions three new regiments, with two based in Japan and one in Guam.

Plans call for the regiment to undergo wargames and experimentation for about three years until a unit is fleshed out and ready to actually deploy.

“Much like our [Marine air-ground task forces] that we have now, there are support elements to it,” Iiams said. “So, we’ll have a littoral combat team; we’ll have a littoral logistics battalion; and we’ll have an anti-air battalion,” Iiams added.

The units are part of the Corps’ effort to move toward building a fast-moving, hard to detect “inside force” that can operate within range of Chinese and Russian weapons ranges while packing a potent offensive punch.

Over the summer, the Navy met with shipbuilders to talk about plans for a new class of logistics ship that can operate under fire and resupply Marines deep within the range of enemy precision weapons. The Next Generation Medium Logistics Ship would resupply both ships at sea, as well as small, ad hoc bases ashore.

There is also the Light Amphibious Warship, or LAW, which the Navy is working to define, which will be able to carry Marines as well as fuel and supplies — but also have the capability to share information with other parts of the fleet hundreds of miles away. “I see these LAWs as part of Marine organizations,” Marine Maj. Gen. Tracy King said last month, adding, “and those larger Marine organizations being part of an Expeditionary Strike Group — that’s a little bit new. We’re evolving not only the stuff that we’re acquiring, but the way in which we’re going to use it and the way in which we’re going to fight it.”

The Navy and Marines eventually hope to build over twenty LAWs, if the designs and cost per ship works out.

Source: Breaking Defense

The Marine Corps is moving quickly to develop a new kind of infantry unit to challenge Chinese claims on small islands in the Pacific, while the Navy is developing new and smaller ships to move and supply them once they deploy. The new Littoral Regiments won’t be fully fleshed out for several years, but Marine Corps leaders said today they will be bolstered by logistics and air defense battalions once they’re ready to go. The Corps is wargaming “what assets would we be able to place in that battle space that are very low signature and that give us the firepower that we need to be a relevant force that provides consequences, should we get past the deterrence phase,”  Maj. Gen. Kevin Iiams, assistant deputy commandant of Combat Development, told reporters at the virtual Modern Day Marine event today. The Corps envisions three new regiments, with two based in Japan and one in Guam. Plans call for the regiment to undergo wargames and experimentation for about three years until a unit is fleshed out and ready to actually deploy. “Much like our [Marine air-ground task forces] that we have now, there are support elements to it,” Iiams said. “So, we’ll have a littoral combat team; we’ll have a littoral logistics battalion; and we’ll have an anti-air battalion,” Iiams added. The units are part of the Corps’ effort to move toward building a fast-moving, hard to detect “inside force” that can operate within range of Chinese and Russian weapons ranges while packing a potent offensive punch. Over the summer, the Navy met with shipbuilders to talk about plans for a new class of logistics ship that can operate under fire and resupply Marines deep within the range of enemy precision weapons. The Next Generation Medium Logistics Ship would resupply both ships at sea, as well as small, ad hoc bases ashore. There is also the Light Amphibious Warship, or LAW, which the Navy is working to define, which will be able to carry Marines as well as fuel and supplies — but also have the capability to share information with other parts of the fleet hundreds of miles away. “I see these LAWs as part of Marine organizations,” Marine Maj. Gen. Tracy King said last month, adding, “and those larger Marine organizations being part of an Expeditionary Strike Group — that’s a little bit new. We’re evolving not only the stuff that we’re acquiring, but the way in which we’re going to use it and the way in which we’re going to fight it.” The Navy and Marines eventually hope to build over twenty LAWs, if the designs and cost per ship works out. Source: Breaking Defense
Anti-Empire - Thu Sep 24, 2020 09:49

What an inspired choice for White House COVID advisor. There are other experts who could point out the same facts, but probably very few who could handle the press zombies in such a capable way.

Thank god for FOX and Tucker Carlson for exposing the nincompoop Trump to Dr. Atlas.

https://twitter.com/justin_hart/status/1308904131130781697

What an inspired choice for White House COVID advisor. There are other experts who could point out the same facts, but probably very few who could handle the press zombies in such a capable way. Thank god for FOX and Tucker Carlson for exposing the nincompoop Trump to Dr. Atlas. https://twitter.com/justin_hart/status/1308904131130781697
Medea Benjamin - Thu Sep 24, 2020 08:42

If the Democrats manage to push Joe Biden over the finish line in November’s election, he will find himself presiding over a decadent, declining empire. He will either continue the policies that have led the American empire to decadence and decline, or seize the moment to move our nation into a new phase: a transition to a peaceful and sustainable post-imperial future.

The foreign policy team Biden assembles will be key, including his choice for Secretary of Defense. But Biden’s rumored favorite, Michele Flournoy, is not the gal for this historic moment. Yes, she would break the glass ceiling as the first female Secretary of Defense, but, as one of the architects of our endless wars and record military budgets, she would only help to steer the American empire farther down its current path of lost wars, corrupt militarism and terminal decline.

In 1976, General John Glubb, the retired British commander of Jordan’s Arab Legion, wrote a little booklet titled The Fate of Empires. Glubb observed how each of the world’s empires evolved through six stages, which he called: the Age of Pioneers; the Age of Conquests; the Age of Commerce; the Age of Affluence; the Age of Intellect; and the Age of Decadence and Decline. Despite enormous differences in technology, politics and culture between empires and eras, from the Assyrians (859-612 B.C.) to the British (1700-1950 C.E.), the whole process in each and every case took about 250 years.

Americans can count the years from 1776, and few of us would deny that the American empire is in its Age of Decadence and Decline, riven by the very traits that Glubb identified for this stage, including systemic, normalized corruption, internal political hatreds, and a fascination with celebrity for its own sake.

The decline of an empire is rarely peaceful, but it does not always involve the invasion, destruction or collapse of the imperial heartland, as long as its leaders eventually face up to reality and manage the transition wisely. So it is tragic that the 2020 presidential election offers us a choice between two major party candidates uniquely unqualified to manage America’s post-imperial transition, both making vain promises to restore mythical versions of America’s past, instead of drawing up serious plans for a peaceful, sustainable and broadly prosperous post-imperial future.

Trump and his "Make America Great Again" represent the epitome of imperial hubris, while Biden pushes the time-worn idea that America should be "back at the head of the table" internationally, as if America’s neocolonial empire was still in its prime. With enough pressure from the public, Biden might be persuaded to start cutting the imperial military budget to invest in our real needs, from Medicare For All to a Green New Deal. But that’s unlikely if he picks Michele Flournoy, a die-hard militarist who has played instrumental roles in America’s failed wars and catastrophic imperial adventures since the 1990s.

Let’s look at her record:

As Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy under President Clinton, Flournoy was the principal author of the May 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), which laid the ideological foundation for the endless wars that followed. Under "Defense Strategy," the QDR effectively announced that the United States would no longer be bound by the UN Charter’s prohibition against the threat or use of military force. It declared that, "when the interests at stake are vital, …we should do whatever it takes to defend them, including, when necessary, the unilateral use of military power."

The QDR defined U.S. vital interests to include "preventing the emergence of a hostile regional coalition" anywhere on Earth and "ensuring uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies and strategic resources." By framing the unilateral and illegal use of military force all over the world as "defending vital interests," the QDR presented what international law defines as aggression, the "supreme international crime" according to the judges at Nuremberg, as a form of "defense."

Flournoy’s career has been marked by the unethical spinning of revolving doors between the Pentagon, consulting firms helping businesses procure Pentagon contracts, and military-industrial think tanks like the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), which she co-founded in 2007.

In 2009, she joined the Obama administration as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, where she helped engineer political and humanitarian disasters in Libya and Syria and a new escalation of the endless war in Afghanistan before resigning in 2012. From 2013-2016, she joined Boston Consulting, trading on her Pentagon connections to boost the firm’s military contracts from $1.6 million in 2013 to $32 million in 2016. By 2017, Flournoy herself was raking in $452,000 a year.

In 2017, Flournoy and Obama’s Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken founded their own corporate consulting business, WestExec Advisors, where Flournoy continued to cash in on her contacts by helping companies successfully navigate the complex bureaucracy of winning enormous Pentagon contracts.

She obviously has no compunction about enriching herself off of taxpayer money, but what about her actual foreign policy positions? Given that her jobs in the Clinton and Obama administrations were behind-the-scenes strategy and policy positions, she is not widely blamed for specific military disasters.

But the articles, papers and reports that Flournoy and CNAS have published for two decades reveal that she suffers from the same chronic malady as the rest of the Washington foreign policy "blob." She pays lip service to diplomacy and multilateralism, but when she has to recommend a policy for a specific problem, she consistently supports the uses of military force that she set out to politically legitimize in the 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). When the chips are down, she is one more military-industrial hammer-banger to whom every problem looks like a nail waiting to be whacked by a trillion-dollar, high-tech hammer.

In June 2002, as Bush and his gang threatened aggression against Iraq, Flournoy told the Washington Post that the United States would "need to strike preemptively before a crisis erupts to destroy an adversary’s weapons stockpile" before it "could erect defenses to protect those weapons, or simply disperse them." When Bush unveiled his official "doctrine of preemption" a few months later, Senator Edward Kennedy wisely condemned it as "unilateralism run amok" and "a call for 21st century American imperialism that no other country can or should accept."

In 2003, as the ugly reality of "preemptive war" plunged Iraq into intractable violence and chaos, Flournoy and a team of Democratic hawks co-authored a paper titled "Progressive Internationalism" to define a "smarter and better" brand of militarism for the Democratic Party for the 2004 election. While portrayed as a path between the neo-imperial right and the non-interventionist left, it asserted that "Democrats will maintain the world’s most capable and technologically advanced military, and we will not flinch from using it to defend our interests anywhere in the world."

In January 2005, as the violence and chaos of the hostile military occupation of Iraq spun farther out of control, Flournoy signed onto a letter from the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) asking Congress to "increase substantially the size of the active duty Army and Marine Corps (by) at least 25,000 troops each year over the next several years." In 2007, Flournoy supported keeping a "residual force" of 60,000 US troops in Iraq, and in 2008, she co-authored a paper proposing a policy of "Conditional Engagement" in Iraq, which Brian Katulis at the Center for American Progress dubbed "an excuse to stay in Iraq" that "poses as an exit strategy."

As Obama’s Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, she was a hawkish voice for escalation in Afghanistan and war on Libya. She resigned in February 2012, leaving others to clean up the mess. In February 2013, when Obama brought in Chuck Hagel as a relatively dovish reformer to replace Leon Panetta as Defense Secretary, right-wing figures opposed to his planned reforms, including Paul Wolfowitz and William Kristol, backed Flournoy as a hawkish alternative.

In 2016, Flournoy was tipped as Hillary Clinton’s choice for Secretary of Defense, and she co-authored a CNAS report titled "Expanding American Power" with a team of hawks that included former Cheney aide Eric Edelman, PNAC co-founder Robert Kagan and Bush’s National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. The report was seen as a view of how Clinton’s foreign policy would differ from Obama’s, with calls for higher military spending, arms shipments to Ukraine, renewed military threats against Iran, more aggressive military action in Syria and Iraq, and further increases to domestic oil and gas production—all of which Trump has adopted.

In 2019, four years into the catastrophic war in Yemen when Congress was trying to stop US participation and halt weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, Flournoy argued against a weapons ban.

Flournoy’s hawkish views are particularly worrisome when it comes to China. In June 2020, she wrote an article in Foreign Affairs in which she spun an absurd argument that an even more aggressive US military presence in the seas and skies around China would make war less rather than more likely by intimidating China into limiting its military presence in its own backyard. Her article simply recycles the tired old device of framing every US military action as "deterrence" and every enemy action as "aggression."

Flournoy claims that "Washington has not delivered on its promised ‘pivot’ to Asia," and that US troop levels in the region remain similar to what they were a decade ago. But this obscures the fact that US troops in East Asia have increased by 9,600 since 2010, from 96,000 to 105,600. Total US troop deployments abroad have shrunk from 450,000 to 224,000 during this time, so the proportion of US overseas forces allocated to East Asia has in fact increased from 21% to 47%.

Flournoy also neglects to mention that Trump has already increased the number of US troops in East Asia by over 23,000 since 2016. So, just as she did in 2004, 2008 and 2016, Flournoy is simply repackaging neoconservative and Republican policies to sell to the Democrats, to ensure that a new Democratic president keeps the United States wedded to war, militarism and endless profits for the military-industrial complex.

So it is no surprise that Flournoy’s solution to what she presents as a growing threat from China is to invest in a new generation of weapons, including hypersonic and long-range precision missiles and more high-tech unmanned systems. She even suggests that the US goal in this budget-busting arms race could be to invent, produce and deploy currently nonexistent weapons to sink China’s entire navy and civilian merchant fleet (a flagrant war crime) in the first 72 hours of a war.

This is only one part of Flournoy’s larger plan for transforming the US military through trillion-dollar long-term investments in new weapons technology, building on Trump’s already huge increase in Pentagon R & D spending.

In a September 10th interview with the Stars and Stripes military website, Joe Biden appeared to have already swallowed heavy doses of Flournoy’s Kool-Aid to wash down Trump’s Cold War. Biden said he does not foresee major reductions in the military budget "as the military refocuses its attention to potential threats from ‘near-peer’ powers such as China and Russia."

Biden added, "I’ve met with a number of my advisors and some have suggested in certain areas the (military) budget is going to have to be increased." We would remind Biden that he hired these unnamed advisors to advise him, not to predetermine the decisions of a candidate who still has to convince the American public he is the leader we need at this difficult time in our history.

Picking Michelle Flournoy to lead the Pentagon would be a tragic indication that Biden is truly hell-bent on squandering America’s future on a debilitating arms race with China and Russia and a futile, potentially catastrophic bid to resurrect America’s declining imperial power.

With our economy – and our lives – devastated by a pandemic, with climate chaos and nuclear war threatening the future of human life on this planet, we are in desperate need of real leaders to navigate and guide America through a difficult transition to a peaceful, prosperous post-imperial future. Michele Flournoy is not one of them.

Source: Antiwar.com

If the Democrats manage to push Joe Biden over the finish line in November’s election, he will find himself presiding over a decadent, declining empire. He will either continue the policies that have led the American empire to decadence and decline, or seize the moment to move our nation into a new phase: a transition to a peaceful and sustainable post-imperial future. The foreign policy team Biden assembles will be key, including his choice for Secretary of Defense. But Biden’s rumored favorite, Michele Flournoy, is not the gal for this historic moment. Yes, she would break the glass ceiling as the first female Secretary of Defense, but, as one of the architects of our endless wars and record military budgets, she would only help to steer the American empire farther down its current path of lost wars, corrupt militarism and terminal decline. In 1976, General John Glubb, the retired British commander of Jordan’s Arab Legion, wrote a little booklet titled The Fate of Empires. Glubb observed how each of the world’s empires evolved through six stages, which he called: the Age of Pioneers; the Age of Conquests; the Age of Commerce; the Age of Affluence; the Age of Intellect; and the Age of Decadence and Decline. Despite enormous differences in technology, politics and culture between empires and eras, from the Assyrians (859-612 B.C.) to the British (1700-1950 C.E.), the whole process in each and every case took about 250 years. Americans can count the years from 1776, and few of us would deny that the American empire is in its Age of Decadence and Decline, riven by the very traits that Glubb identified for this stage, including systemic, normalized corruption, internal political hatreds, and a fascination with celebrity for its own sake. The decline of an empire is rarely peaceful, but it does not always involve the invasion, destruction or collapse of the imperial heartland, as long as its leaders eventually face up to reality and manage the transition wisely. So it is tragic that the 2020 presidential election offers us a choice between two major party candidates uniquely unqualified to manage America’s post-imperial transition, both making vain promises to restore mythical versions of America’s past, instead of drawing up serious plans for a peaceful, sustainable and broadly prosperous post-imperial future. Trump and his "Make America Great Again" represent the epitome of imperial hubris, while Biden pushes the time-worn idea that America should be "back at the head of the table" internationally, as if America’s neocolonial empire was still in its prime. With enough pressure from the public, Biden might be persuaded to start cutting the imperial military budget to invest in our real needs, from Medicare For All to a Green New Deal. But that’s unlikely if he picks Michele Flournoy, a die-hard militarist who has played instrumental roles in America’s failed wars and catastrophic imperial adventures since the 1990s. Let’s look at her record: As Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy under President Clinton, Flournoy was the principal author of the May 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), which laid the ideological foundation for the endless wars that followed. Under "Defense Strategy," the QDR effectively announced that the United States would no longer be bound by the UN Charter’s prohibition against the threat or use of military force. It declared that, "when the interests at stake are vital, …we should do whatever it takes to defend them, including, when necessary, the unilateral use of military power." The QDR defined U.S. vital interests to include "preventing the emergence of a hostile regional coalition" anywhere on Earth and "ensuring uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies and strategic resources." By framing the unilateral and illegal use of military force all over the world as "defending vital interests," the QDR presented what international law defines as aggression, the "supreme international crime" according to the judges at Nuremberg, as a form of "defense." Flournoy’s career has been marked by the unethical spinning of revolving doors between the Pentagon, consulting firms helping businesses procure Pentagon contracts, and military-industrial think tanks like the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), which she co-founded in 2007. In 2009, she joined the Obama administration as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, where she helped engineer political and humanitarian disasters in Libya and Syria and a new escalation of the endless war in Afghanistan before resigning in 2012. From 2013-2016, she joined Boston Consulting, trading on her Pentagon connections to boost the firm’s military contracts from $1.6 million in 2013 to $32 million in 2016. By 2017, Flournoy herself was raking in $452,000 a year. In 2017, Flournoy and Obama’s Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken founded their own corporate consulting business, WestExec Advisors, where Flournoy continued to cash in on her contacts by helping companies successfully navigate the complex bureaucracy of winning enormous Pentagon contracts. She obviously has no compunction about enriching herself off of taxpayer money, but what about her actual foreign policy positions? Given that her jobs in the Clinton and Obama administrations were behind-the-scenes strategy and policy positions, she is not widely blamed for specific military disasters. But the articles, papers and reports that Flournoy and CNAS have published for two decades reveal that she suffers from the same chronic malady as the rest of the Washington foreign policy "blob." She pays lip service to diplomacy and multilateralism, but when she has to recommend a policy for a specific problem, she consistently supports the uses of military force that she set out to politically legitimize in the 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). When the chips are down, she is one more military-industrial hammer-banger to whom every problem looks like a nail waiting to be whacked by a trillion-dollar, high-tech hammer. In June 2002, as Bush and his gang threatened aggression against Iraq, Flournoy told the Washington Post that the United States would "need to strike preemptively before a crisis erupts to destroy an adversary’s weapons stockpile" before it "could erect defenses to protect those weapons, or simply disperse them." When Bush unveiled his official "doctrine of preemption" a few months later, Senator Edward Kennedy wisely condemned it as "unilateralism run amok" and "a call for 21st century American imperialism that no other country can or should accept." In 2003, as the ugly reality of "preemptive war" plunged Iraq into intractable violence and chaos, Flournoy and a team of Democratic hawks co-authored a paper titled "Progressive Internationalism" to define a "smarter and better" brand of militarism for the Democratic Party for the 2004 election. While portrayed as a path between the neo-imperial right and the non-interventionist left, it asserted that "Democrats will maintain the world’s most capable and technologically advanced military, and we will not flinch from using it to defend our interests anywhere in the world." In January 2005, as the violence and chaos of the hostile military occupation of Iraq spun farther out of control, Flournoy signed onto a letter from the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) asking Congress to "increase substantially the size of the active duty Army and Marine Corps (by) at least 25,000 troops each year over the next several years." In 2007, Flournoy supported keeping a "residual force" of 60,000 US troops in Iraq, and in 2008, she co-authored a paper proposing a policy of "Conditional Engagement" in Iraq, which Brian Katulis at the Center for American Progress dubbed "an excuse to stay in Iraq" that "poses as an exit strategy." As Obama’s Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, she was a hawkish voice for escalation in Afghanistan and war on Libya. She resigned in February 2012, leaving others to clean up the mess. In February 2013, when Obama brought in Chuck Hagel as a relatively dovish reformer to replace Leon Panetta as Defense Secretary, right-wing figures opposed to his planned reforms, including Paul Wolfowitz and William Kristol, backed Flournoy as a hawkish alternative. In 2016, Flournoy was tipped as Hillary Clinton’s choice for Secretary of Defense, and she co-authored a CNAS report titled "Expanding American Power" with a team of hawks that included former Cheney aide Eric Edelman, PNAC co-founder Robert Kagan and Bush’s National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. The report was seen as a view of how Clinton’s foreign policy would differ from Obama’s, with calls for higher military spending, arms shipments to Ukraine, renewed military threats against Iran, more aggressive military action in Syria and Iraq, and further increases to domestic oil and gas production—all of which Trump has adopted. In 2019, four years into the catastrophic war in Yemen when Congress was trying to stop US participation and halt weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, Flournoy argued against a weapons ban. Flournoy’s hawkish views are particularly worrisome when it comes to China. In June 2020, she wrote an article in Foreign Affairs in which she spun an absurd argument that an even more aggressive US military presence in the seas and skies around China would make war less rather than more likely by intimidating China into limiting its military presence in its own backyard. Her article simply recycles the tired old device of framing every US military action as "deterrence" and every enemy action as "aggression." Flournoy claims that "Washington has not delivered on its promised ‘pivot’ to Asia," and that US troop levels in the region remain similar to what they were a decade ago. But this obscures the fact that US troops in East Asia have increased by 9,600 since 2010, from 96,000 to 105,600. Total US troop deployments abroad have shrunk from 450,000 to 224,000 during this time, so the proportion of US overseas forces allocated to East Asia has in fact increased from 21% to 47%. Flournoy also neglects to mention that Trump has already increased the number of US troops in East Asia by over 23,000 since 2016. So, just as she did in 2004, 2008 and 2016, Flournoy is simply repackaging neoconservative and Republican policies to sell to the Democrats, to ensure that a new Democratic president keeps the United States wedded to war, militarism and endless profits for the military-industrial complex. So it is no surprise that Flournoy’s solution to what she presents as a growing threat from China is to invest in a new generation of weapons, including hypersonic and long-range precision missiles and more high-tech unmanned systems. She even suggests that the US goal in this budget-busting arms race could be to invent, produce and deploy currently nonexistent weapons to sink China’s entire navy and civilian merchant fleet (a flagrant war crime) in the first 72 hours of a war. This is only one part of Flournoy’s larger plan for transforming the US military through trillion-dollar long-term investments in new weapons technology, building on Trump’s already huge increase in Pentagon R & D spending. In a September 10th interview with the Stars and Stripes military website, Joe Biden appeared to have already swallowed heavy doses of Flournoy’s Kool-Aid to wash down Trump’s Cold War. Biden said he does not foresee major reductions in the military budget "as the military refocuses its attention to potential threats from ‘near-peer’ powers such as China and Russia." Biden added, "I’ve met with a number of my advisors and some have suggested in certain areas the (military) budget is going to have to be increased." We would remind Biden that he hired these unnamed advisors to advise him, not to predetermine the decisions of a candidate who still has to convince the American public he is the leader we need at this difficult time in our history. Picking Michelle Flournoy to lead the Pentagon would be a tragic indication that Biden is truly hell-bent on squandering America’s future on a debilitating arms race with China and Russia and a futile, potentially catastrophic bid to resurrect America’s declining imperial power. With our economy – and our lives – devastated by a pandemic, with climate chaos and nuclear war threatening the future of human life on this planet, we are in desperate need of real leaders to navigate and guide America through a difficult transition to a peaceful, prosperous post-imperial future. Michele Flournoy is not one of them. Source: Antiwar.com

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