covid sceptics

News Round-Up
Will Jones, Daily Sceptic, Oct 16 2021

Infection Rate in Vaccinated People in Their 40s Now More Than DOUBLE the Rate in Unvaccinated, PHE Data Shows, as Vaccine Effectiveness Hits Minus-109%
Will Jones, Daily Sceptic, Oct 15 2021

In the latest Vaccine Surveillance report from Public Health England (PHE) the infection rate in double-vaccinated people in their 40s went above 100% higher than in the unvaccinated for the first time, reaching 109%.

This translates to an unadjusted vaccine effectiveness of minus-109%. Vaccine effectiveness continues to drop fast in all over-18s (see chart at top), hitting minus-85% for those in their 50s, minus-88% for those in their 60s and minus-79% for those in their 70s. (For definitions and discussion of limitations see here.)

Vaccine effectiveness against hospitalisation and death continues to hold up in all age groups, though with some signs of decline, particularly among older people.

There is still nothing from Government sources acknowledging this failure of the vaccines against infection, its implications for policy and analysing what might be behind it.

rick rozoff

Erdoğan indicates Turkey will expand anti-Kurdish war throughout “entire Syria”
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Oct 15 2021

Turkey’s anti-terror fight in N Syria will continue “differently”: Erdoğan
Hurriyet, Oct 15 2021

Turkey will pursue a much more different struggle against the presence of the YPG/PKK terrorists in northern Syria due to the escalation of terrorist attacks in the region, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, repeating his criticisms against the United States for supporting the YPG/PKK. “The terrorists of the PKK, YPG and PYD are running wild in entire Syria, not only in the northern part. The leading supporters of them are the international coalition and the US. These groups are terrorizing with all kinds of weapons, ammunition and equipment they are given by them,” Erdoğan told reporters in Istanbul on Oct 15. Turkey will fight against the terror organizations and the Syrian regime forces, the president said, adding, “We are determined to do so.”

Saakashvili calls on emigrants to return to Georgia by the end of month “for a decisive battle”
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Oct 15 2021

Saakashvili calls on emigrants to return to Georgia by the end of month ‘for a decisive battle’, Oct 15 2021

Former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili has released a letter from Rustavi Prison #12 earlier today and asked emigrants to return to Georgia ‘for a week, by the end of the month’ to take part in a ‘decisive battle.’ Saakashvili says that ‘active public involvement is crucial’ for the United National Movement (UNM) to win the municipal election run-offs on Oct 30 and for his release from prison.

Gallery of Mikheil Saakashvili and friends:

30-year-old Azerbaijan has made 100 years of progress during 18-year reign of Genghis Aliyev
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Oct 15 2021

Under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan has undergone a century of development in 18 years
Azertag, Oct 15 2021

18 years have passed since the election of Ilham Aliyev, a prominent statesman and the new Leader of the new century [why not millennium? or Millennium?], as President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. On Oct 15 2003, Ilham Aliyev, a worthy successor of the political course of the great leader Heydar Aliyev, was elected President of Azerbaijan, gaining the trust of our people, and thus a new stage in the development of our country began. At the peak of 18 years, of course, there is the Patriotic War, which resulted in the liberation of our occupied lands and the restoration of our territorial integrity. The Karabakh Victory, won under the leadership of President, Supreme Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev, has been written in golden letters in the heroic history of our people. Azerbaijan has become a victorious country, our people have become a victorious people. Thanks to this victory, new realities have emerged in the region. If we look at the history, we can see that over the past 18 years, consistent measures have been taken to increase the combat capability of the Azerbaijani Army and strengthen the material and technical base of the Armed Forces. As a result, the Azerbaijani Army is among the 50 strongest armies in the world. It was this army, under the mighty command of its Supreme Commander-in-Chief, that on Sep 27 2020, launched a war of liberation and achieved astonishing military success. This war, which has a special place in the world military history, revealed another quality of President Ilham Aliyev, his commanding skills. Today, Azerbaijan, led by President Ilham Aliyev, is recognized in the world as the initiator and successful executor of many transnational projects, a reliable partner. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan main export oil pipeline, the Southern Gas Corridor to deliver Azerbaijani gas to Europe, the TAP project, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway connecting Europe with Asia, the East-West and North-South international transport corridors have turned our country into an energy and transport hub. [This is why the pan-Turkic megalomaniac is tolerated, even embraced, by most of the world.]

Casus belli: Grand, exalted, invincible Azeri emir accuses Iran, Armenia of drug trafficking in former “occupied territories”
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Oct 15 2021

President Ilham Aliyev: Armenia, in collusion with Iran, used the former occupied territories of Azerbaijan to carry out drug trafficking to Europe, Oct 15 2021

For about 30 years, Armenia, in collusion with Iran, has used the former occupied territories of Azerbaijan to carry out drug trafficking to Europe. President Ilham Aliyev said this during a speech at a meeting of the Council of CIS Heads of State held on Oct 15 in an online format. “The volume of heroin detained by us on other sections of the Azerbaijani-Iranian border has doubled compared to the same period of previous years. This suggests that for about 30 years, Armenia, in collusion with Iran, used the former occupied territories of Azerbaijan for drug trafficking to Europe,” the head of state emphasized.

Polish parliament approves EU/NATO-backed “permanent barrier”on border with Belarus; chargé d’affaires summoned
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Oct 15 2021

On the second story, please to recall that Poland, under NATO obligations, was one of the main troop contributing countries for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Polish MPs back plan to build wall on Belarus border
Polskie Radio, Oct 14 2021

The government this week adopted a bill to construct a “permanent barrier” along Poland’s eastern border with Belarus amid what officials said was a growing migrant surge. “Despite the deployment of additional personnel and assistance from soldiers and police, as well as the use of temporary installations, we have not seen a decrease in the number of attempts to cross the Polish-Belarusian border,” Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński said. Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak told public broadcaster Polish Radio on Tuesday that Poland would draw on the experience of Hungary, which constructed a permanent wall on its border with Serbia during a migrant crisis in 2015. Poland and the Baltic states have accused Belarus’ strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko of organising a wave of illegal migrants seeking to enter the bloc as part of what officials have called a “hybrid war.” The EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, visited Poland in late September, agreeing with Warsaw’s arguments that “firm steps” were needed against Belarus, according to officials.

Poland summons Belarusian charge d’affaires after body found near border: Reuters
Polskie Radio, Oct 14 2021

Poland’s foreign ministry summoned the Belarusian charge d’affaires on Thursday after Polish police found the body of a migrant near the border with Belarus. It was the second time in a week that Aleksandr Czasnouski had been called in to answer questions about the situation at the frontier, where Poland has imposed a state of emergency following a surge in migrants from countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq trying to enter the European Union country via Belarus.

Israel offers internships for Ukrainian military medics
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Oct 15 2021

Ambassador of Ukraine to Israel is working on organizing an internship for Ukrainian military medics at the Emek Medical Center in Israel
Interfax Ukraine, Oct 13 2021

The exchange of experience between Israeli and Ukrainian doctors, as well as the organization of internships for Ukrainian military medics were discussed during the visit of the Ambassador of Ukraine to Israel Yevhen Korniychuk to the largest medical institution in northeastern Israel – Emek Center (Afula). “During the conversation, great attention was paid to the establishment of cooperation in the exchange of experience and internships of Ukrainian doctors in this clinic, in particular Ukrainian military medics.”

Black Sea, Sea of Azov: Britain to boost Ukrainian naval, missile capabilities
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Oct 15 2021

Ukraine to buy British minesweepers, missile weapons – ambassador
UkrInform, Oct 15 2021

Ukraine will purchase two British minesweeping ships, missile weapons and modern technology to protect its coast. “Four areas that will strengthen the capacity of our navy will be implemented, and this will be made public soon. I am convinced that two ships will be purchased in the near future, and they will immediately join the Navy. Work will begin on the construction of two naval ports and on the construction of smaller ships in Ukraine and the UK,” Prystaiko said. According to the ambassador, the first warship for Ukraine will be built in Britain, with modern technologies to be transferred to Ukrainian shipyards. “It is very important that we will get missile weapons that will really strengthen our capabilities at sea,” he said.

One man’s itinerary: NATO’s expanding trans-Atlantic military network
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Oct 15 2021

Military Intelligence Committee Chair Visit
NATO ACT, Oct 15 2021

General Philippe Lavigne, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, met with Major General Ivica Kinder, the current NATO Military Intelligence Committee Chair, Oct 13 2021. Maj-Gen Kinder has already visited NATO’s Allied Command Operations in Mons, Belgium; the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Force in Sigonella Airbase, Italy; as well as the NATO Intelligence Fusion Centre and the Counter-Terrorism Centre in RAF Airbase Molesworth, UK, as part of the national Campaign plan in order to promote and facilitate the implementation of the Alliance’s Intelligence Strategy. The visit to NATO’s Allied Command Transformation represents a final endeavor of the Croatian Military Intelligence Committee Chairship, with the intention to expand NATO Intelligence perspective, and to actively include all the relevant strategic components of the Alliance in the ongoing intelligence efforts, in order to build up the capabilities for the efficient response to the contemporary global challenges imposed on the member states. Allied Command Transformation harnesses innovative principles to enhance NATO’s ability to respond to threats with a speedy and agile military instrument of power. It ensures that NATO’s war fighting capabilities remain relevant, provides an indispensable understanding of current and future security challenges, and contributes to the development of NATO doctrine, concepts and interoperability standards. The Command is also responsible for NATO’s training and education programmes.

Photo: NATO’s Allied Command Transformation

NATO’s new format for integrating 40 partners into global Strategic Concept
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Oct 15 2021

NATO Partners invited to discuss the upcoming Strategic Concept
NATO INT, Oct 14 2021

On Oct 14 2021, the NATO International Military Staff hosted Partner Nations for informal workshops to discuss a series of topics pertaining to NATO’s new Strategic Concept. This new format, to be held bi-annually, aims to improve the dialogue between NATO and Partners. Chair of the NATO Military Committee Adm Rob Bauer welcomed participants (and) thanked the Director General of the International Military Staff, Lt-Gen Hans-Werner Wiermann for initiating this new forum and Maj-Gen Francesco Diella, Director of the Cooperative Security Division and his staff for leading the charge. Maj-Gen Diella then invited Nations to break-out into smaller groups and join the topic-specific workshops. “We are organising these sessions to provide Partners for NATO missions and operations,” added the Cooperative Security Director. At the initiative of the NATO International Military Staff, this new meeting will be held bi-annually and provide an informal setting for a constructive dialogue on partnerships, military cooperation and other relevant topics.

down the tubes with WSWS

Why Taiwan is an explosive flashpoint for a US-China war
Peter Symonds, WSWS, Oct 16 2021

As the Biden administration ramps up its aggressive confrontation with China, Taiwan is rapidly becoming the most immediate and dangerous flashpoint for war between the world’s two largest economies, both armed with nuclear weapons. The status of Taiwan has long been highly contentious and potentially explosive. However, for four decades, after the US and China established diplomatic relations in 1979, tensions over Taiwan were largely managed and contained within the framework of delicately balanced arrangements. Beginning with the Trump administration, those agreements, diplomatic protocols and tacit understandings increasingly have been torn up, a process that Biden is accelerating. The most egregious step, so far, has been the provocative leak this month via the WSJ that US special forces have been on Taiwan training troops for more than a year. In 1979, the US, as part of its arrangements with China, withdrew all of its military forces from Taiwan, broke off diplomatic relations and ended its military treaty with Taipei. The stationing of US troops on Taiwan is a flagrant breach of what has been the status quo for decades and calls into question the basis for US-China diplomatic ties.

To understand the great dangers posed by the Biden administration’s deliberately inflammatory actions it is necessary to examine the historical background. To justify its menacing military build-up in the region and the inflaming of this sensitive flashpoint, the US portrays Taiwan as a thriving democracy confronted with a growing Chinese threat of aggression. In reality, US imperialism has never had the slightest concern for democracy on Taiwan or anywhere else in the region. Following Japan’s WW2 defeat in 1945, the US helped install the dictatorial Kuomintang (KMT) regime of Chiang Kai-shek as the government of China. In Oct 1945, the US Navy transported KMT troops to Taiwan, which had been a Japanese colony following China’s defeat in the 1895 Sino-Japanese war.

The brutal US-backed Kuomintang regime

The KMT administration under the governorship of General Chen Yi was brutal from the outset as a worsening economic crisis strained relations between local Taiwanese and newly-arrived Chinese from the mainland. The shooting of a civilian protestor on February 28, 1947 provoked island-wide unrest that was violently suppressed by the KMT military. Estimates of the number killed range from 18k to 30k. The savage repression in Taiwan was part of the broader crisis of the Chiang Kai-shek regime, which was riddled with corruption. It used police-state measures against rising opposition that included a strike movement in the working class and from 1947 reignited a civil war against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). In the wake of the CCP’s victory in 1949 and the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China, the KMT and its supporters fled to Taiwan.

Chiang Kai-shek reviewing troops in 1966

The mass exodus of some two million people included the KMT leadership, soldiers, officials and the wealthy business elites. China’s gold and foreign currency reserves, as well as many national cultural treasures, were carted off to Taiwan. The KMT government proclaimed Taipei the temporary capital of the Republic of China (ROC) and declared that its aim was to retake the mainland. Taiwan today, separate from China, is the creation of American imperialism. Following the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, then President Truman placed the island under the protection of the US Seventh Fleet. The KMT could only posture as a government-in-exile of all China with the backing of the US. With Washington’s backing, China’s seat on the UNSC was handed to the ROC and Taipei, not Beijing, was recognised as the capital of China. Just as it backed dictatorial and autocratic regimes throughout Asia, the US gave its full support to the KMT dictatorship, which imposed martial rule in May 1949 that continued for nearly four decades, until 1987. The KMT ruthlessly suppressed all political opposition, in what was known as the White Terror. According to one estimate, that involved the imprisonment or execution of 140k people for alleged anti-KMT or pro-Communist sentiments. KMT provocations against Beijing, with US backing, including an air and naval blockade of the Chinese coast, were a constant source of tension. Taipei controlled, and continues to control, a number of fortified islets just kilometres off the Chinese mainland and close to major Chinese cities.

Two major crises erupted in the 1950s. In August 1954, the KMT put tens of thousands of troops onto the islets of Matsu and Kinmen and began building military installations, to which the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) responded by shelling Kinmen. At the height of the crisis, the US Congress authorised the use of military force against China and the Pentagon advocated nuclear strikes. A second Taiwan Strait crisis erupted in Aug 1958 after the shelling of Matsu and Kinmen and clashes between KMT and PLA forces near Dongding Island. Air and sea engagements and artillery exchanges continued for three months, with losses amounting to hundreds dead on both sides. The US reinforced the KMT military, escorted KMT naval vessels to the beleaguered islets and the Pentagon again raised the necessity of using nuclear weapons. The hostile standoff between China and the KMT regime on Taiwan, backed militarily by the US continued throughout the 1960s.

Washington’s rapprochement with Beijing

US President Nixon’s visit to China in February 1972 marked a major shift in geo-political relations. The trip had been announced the previous year, based on secret talks that Nixon’s National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger had held with senior CCP leaders. Nixon and Kissinger calculated that the US could exploit the Sino-Soviet split of the early 1960s and the sharp tensions between Moscow and Beijing, which included border clashes, to forge a quasi-alliance with China against the Soviet Union. Nixon’s meeting with Chinese leader Mao Zedong and the release of the joint Shanghai Communiqué paved the way for the establishment of diplomatic relations. It was a reactionary partnership in which the CCP regime backed right-wing US allies such as the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile and the repressive Iranian regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The pact also opened the door for the reintegration of China into the world capitalist market as a cheap labour platform.

Mao Zedong with US President Richard Nixon in 1972

Washington’s abrupt about-face had far-reaching consequences for the KMT dictatorship on Taiwan. The status of Taiwan was a central issue in the protracted negotiations that eventually led to formal diplomatic ties between the US and China in 1979. The CCP insisted that the US recognise “One China” with Taiwan as part of China and end its military and diplomatic ties with Taipei. In the Shanghai Communiqué, the US acknowledged:

All Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The US Government does not challenge that position. It reaffirms its interest in a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question by the Chinese themselves.

Furthermore, it affirmed “the ultimate objective of the withdrawal of all US forces and military installations from Taiwan.” In 1979, when diplomatic ties were established, Washington broke diplomatic relations with Taipei, withdrew its forces and abrogated its military treaty—effectively, though not formally, acknowledging “One China” with the CCP regime in Beijing as the legitimate government. Taipei had already lost its seat in the UN in 1971 when Beijing took China’s position as a permanent member of the UNSC, a move that the US did not block. At the same time, the US Congress passed the Taiwan Relations Act, which opposed any attempt by Beijing to reunify Taiwan by force, authorised the sale of “defensive” military weapons to Taiwan and established the American Institute in Taiwan, through which unofficial ties could be maintained. Washington adopted a stance of “strategic ambiguity” toward a conflict between China and Taiwan. That is, it did not give a guarantee as to whether it would intervene. This was aimed at curbing both Chinese aggression and provocative actions by Taiwan.

The end of the KMT dictatorship

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the US assisted Taiwan economically with financial assistance, investment and access to the American market that assisted in its state-supported industrialisation. During the 1970s, Taiwan was the fastest growing economy in Asia after Japan. With the turn to globalised production from the late 1970s, Taiwan became one of the major cheap labour platforms in Asia. Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore, the four Asian Tigers, were held up as a new model for economic development. The KMT dictatorship was based on a nationally-regulated economy that was associated with corruption involving KMT cronies, “mainlanders,” at the expense of the indigenous Taiwanese elites. Under pressure from the US, the regime began to open up its economy in the 1980s, privatising state-owned corporations and eliminating state economic regulation, moves that led to a weakening of the KMT’s political base of support. Political opposition remained illegal under martial law but was increasingly voiced through protests against the regime’s anti-democratic measures. Taiwan’s rapid economic expansion also led to a huge growth of the working class that was increasingly militant and conducted a wave of strikes demanding improved wages and conditions.

In response, the KMT conceded a series of limited democratic reforms. The bourgeois political opposition led by indigenous Taiwanese elites was able to form the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in 1986 and the following year martial law was lifted on the main island of Taiwan. The main legislative bodies, the Legislative Yuan and National Assembly, had been stacked with unelected KMT representatives for provinces in mainland China on the basis of the fiction that the government still represented all of China. A full election for a reformed National Assembly was held in 1991 and a reformed Legislative Yuan in 1992. The first direct election for the president and vice-president was held in 1996. The status of Taiwan, which is inextricably intertwined with relations with mainland China, has increasingly dominated Taiwanese politics. President Lee Teng-hui, who initiated the limited democratic reforms, became the first Taiwanese-born president. Although a member of the KMT, he sought to promote a Taiwanese identity to counter the influence of the DPP and to project Taiwan on the international stage.

Lee challenged long-standing US diplomatic protocols against high-level visits by Taiwanese officials to the US by accepting an invitation in 1995 from Cornell University to deliver a speech on “Taiwan’s Democratisation Experience.” While the Clinton administration turned down his request for a visa, Congress supported the visit. It went ahead, provoking an angry reaction from Beijing, which denounced Lee as a “traitor” who was attempting to split China. For its part, the CCP regime under Deng Xiaoping pushed the reunification of Taiwan on the basis of the formula “One Country, Two Systems.” Taiwan would retain a significant degree of autonomy in politics, state structures and economy. Beijing was hostile to any suggestion that Taiwan could declare formal independence and regarded Lee’s visit to the US as a breach of undertakings given by Washington in 1979. The visit provoked the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis of 1995–96, underscoring the dangers of the current deliberate breaches by the US of its arrangements with China. Beijing announced missile tests and a build-up of military forces in Fujian—the Chinese province adjacent to Taiwan across the Taiwan Strait. The Clinton administration responded with the largest show of military might in Asia since the Vietnam War, dispatching two aircraft carrier battle groups to waters near Taiwan and sending one through the narrow Taiwan Strait. Beijing backed down.

The polarisation of Taiwanese politics between a pro-independence DPP and a KMT oriented toward China is rooted in the island’s economy. On the one hand, the lack of diplomatic recognition is a barrier to Taiwan’s entry into international bodies, including economic institutions, and makes economic and trade relations more difficult. The 2000 election of the first DPP President Chen Shui-bian, who promoted greater Taiwanese autonomy, heightened tensions with Beijing, which warned it would respond to any formal declaration of Taiwanese independence with force. On the other, capitalist restoration in China from 1978 onward opened up huge economic opportunities for Taiwanese corporations. Taiwanese businesses invested $118b in China between 1991 and early 2020 and the value of cross-strait trade in 2019 was $149.2b. The KMT has sought to facilitate relations with China. Under KMT President Ma Ying-jeou, who was elected in 2008, a trade agreement opened up direct flights and cargo shipments between Taiwan and China, and economic relations strengthened. In 2015, the first-ever meeting between Ma Ying-jeou and Xi Jinping took place in Singapore. They carefully stepped around any suggestion of two presidents of two countries by addressing each other as “Mr” and referring to “two coasts” rather than the PRC and the ROC. Both adhered to what is known as the 1992 consensus whereby the CCP and KMT agree that there is One China but still disagree as to who rules it.

US heightens tensions over Taiwan

The installation of Obama as president in 2009 marked a sharp turn toward confrontation with China, reflecting Democrat criticism of the previous Bush administration for ignoring Asia while prosecuting wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East. While the “pivot to Asia” was formally announced in 2011, the Obama administration initiated a wide-ranging offensive aimed at boosting the US position in Asia, undermining China economically and strengthening the US military presence and alliances throughout the region. By 2020, 60% of US naval and air assets were to be positioned in the Indo-Pacific, in line with the Pentagon’s AirSea Battle strategy for war with China. The Obama administration deliberately stoked up tensions in the South China Sea by declaring that it had a “national interest” in the low-key territorial disputes between China and its neighbours. It made no attempt to end festering tensions on the Korean Peninsula over North Korea’s nuclear programs. At the same time, however, Obama steered clear of destabilising the status quo over Taiwan, in recognition of its centrality to US relations with China and the potentially explosive consequences. Trump had no such qualms. Even before his formal inauguration, Trump provocatively took a phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen from the DPP who had taken office in mid-2016. While the phone call was nominally to congratulate Trump on winning the election, it breached established protocols.

Tsai Ing-wen speaking on the phone with Trump in Dec 2016

Trump also put Beijing on notice by publicly declaring in an interview with Fox News in December 2016: “I don’t know why we have to be bound by a One China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade.” The statement effectively transformed the “One China” policy from the basis for US-China relations to a bargaining chip in the trade and economic warfare Trump was to unleash. The Trump administration included a number of top officials who had longstanding ties to Taiwan and who were deeply hostile to China, including his initial chief of staff Reince Priebus and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro. Under Trump, the US ramped up arms sales to Taiwan, increased the number of US warships passing through the Taiwan Strait, backed Taiwanese President Tsai’s anti-China stance and boosted contact between US and Taiwanese officials—all despite Chinese objections. In August 2020, Secretary of Health Alex Azar became the highest-ranking US official to visit Taiwan since 1979.

Trump’s deliberate and provocative stoking of the issue of Taiwan greatly heightened the danger of war. While the American propaganda incessantly warns of potential “Chinese aggression,” a new book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa published earlier this year entitled ‘Peril’ revealed that General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was compelled to take extraordinary steps to counter Trump’s efforts to instigate a war with China as part of Trump’s attempt to overturn his election defeat. Far from attempting to mend relations with China, the Biden administration has further heightened tensions, including over Taiwan. Biden signalled his intentions to develop close relations with Taiwan by being the first president to invite the de facto Taiwanese ambassador to Washington Hsiao Bi-Khim to attend his inauguration. In the dying days of the Trump administration, Sec State Pompeo had announced he was ending all limitations on contact between US and Taiwanese officials, civilian and military, at every level. With minor modifications, the Biden administration has continued that policy. In June, with Biden’s blessing, a group of US senators visited Taiwan nominally to announce a donation of COVID-19 vaccines.

US military and economic threats

The dispute between China and the US over Taiwan is not simply about diplomatic protocols. The strengthening of US ties with Taiwan poses definite threats to China—strategically and economically. The secret deployment of US special forces trainers to Taiwan coincides with a more sinister possibility, revealed in the Japanese Nikkei news agency, that the US was considering the stationing of medium-range offensive missiles in Asia, including on Taiwan. The island of Taiwan is not only strategically located close to the Chinese mainland but forms part of the first island chain, stretching from Japan through to the Philippines, that US strategic planners regard as vital to hemming in Chinese naval forces in the event of war. During the Korean War, General Douglas MacArthur stated that Taiwan was “an unsinkable aircraft carrier” able to project American power along China’s coast in a containment strategy.

Economically, Taiwan is home to the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), which accounts for a 55% of international chip production and a massive 90% of the most advanced chips required both for industrial and military use. Trump has already dealt Chinese tech giant Huawei a huge blow by pressuring TSMC to stop supplying it chips. In US military circles an intense discussion is underway over the danger of war with China over Taiwan. In March, Admiral Phil Davidson, the outgoing head of INDOPACOM, which would be on the front line of any conflict with China, warned that the US could be at war with China in less than six years and called for a huge increase in his command’s budget. Pointing to Chinese advances in military technology, Davidson and others have called for the accelerated development of new weapons systems for use in a conflict with China.

Behind the war drive by US imperialism against China is both the fear in Washington it is being overtaken economically and the profound political and social crisis at home. Amid huge social tensions and mounting struggles of the American working class, the ruling class could resort to war as a means of turning social tensions outward against an external enemy and at the same time reversing its historic decline and reasserting the regional and global hegemony it obtained after WW2. For all the claims that China is considering an invasion of Taiwan, the US, by undermining the One China policy, step-by-step strengthening ties with Taipei and integrating it into US war plans, is goading Beijing toward making military moves. Any war between the world’s two largest economies, both nuclear-armed, would be catastrophic for the working class in China, Taiwan, the US and the world. The rising tensions over Taiwan must be taken as a serious call to action for workers and youth around the world to build an international anti-war movement of the working class based on a socialist perspective to put an end to the capitalist system that is the root cause of war.

Polish Constitutional Court ruling deepens EU crisis
Martin Nowak, Clara Weiss, WSWS, Oct 16 2021

Demonstration for the European Union in Warsaw

On Oct 7, the Polish Constitutional Court ruled that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has no right to make decisions about the Polish judiciary, effectively asserting Polish national law precedence over European law. The ruling, which was handed down by a vote of 10 to 2, has further exacerbated the political crisis in the European Union and also within Poland. Many observers interpret the ruling, which came at the request of the right-wing nationalist PiS [Law and Justice Party] government, as a step toward “Polexit,” even though the government itself denies seeking Poland’s exit from the EU. Since the ruling, there have been calls for the EU to cut its extensive subsidies to Poland.

The specific issue in the court case was whether provisions of the EU treaties that give the EU Commission a say in questions concerning the rule of law are compatible with the Polish constitution. The EU has long criticized the PiS for systematically subordinating the Polish judiciary, and, in particular, the Constitutional Court, to its political interests, and for undermining the principle of the separation of powers since coming to power in 2015. The Constitutional Court is now almost completely dominated by PiS. Presiding Judge Julia Przyłębska is considered to be PiS-affiliated and a close confidant of PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński. On Mar 2 of this year, the ECJ concluded that the PiS government’s controversial judicial reform could partially violate EU law. It found that EU law overrides individual provisions in national law and national constitutional law, and that it could therefore force Poland to repeal parts of the controversial judicial reform. The PiS government objected to this. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki personally appealed to the Polish Constitutional Court to review the ECJ’s decision. The court has now ruled in his favour and openly questioned the authority of the ECJ. Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro celebrated the ruling in blatantly nationalistic terms. He said it was a “very important decision” in a situation where Brussels and Berlin were “treating Poland like a quasi-colony.”

The Polish opposition, led by the liberal Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska, PO), which backs greater cooperation between Warsaw and the EU, and Berlin in particular, organized protests Sunday against the Constitutional Court’s ruling. Donald Tusk, the PO’s main leader, served five years as president of the European Council until 2019 and acquired a reputation for being close to German Chancellor Angela Merkel politically. Tens of thousands took part in protests in the capital, Warsaw, according to media reports. Protests also took place in other cities. However, the overall number of participants fell well short of the mass protests against the abortion law last year. The demonstrations were mainly supported by the middle-class layers that benefit economically from Poland’s EU integration and make up the PO’s social base. Former Solidarność leader Lech Wałęsa, who played a central role in the reintroduction of capitalism to Poland, supported the protests.

The Financial Times, the mouthpiece of British and European finance capital, was particularly strident in its opposition to the court decision. The newspaper called the ruling “a greater challenge to EU unity than Brexit.” It was “a direct attack on the EU’s legal order, the cement that holds the EU together,” the newspaper wrote. It went on to say it was “regrettable” that the EU had no mechanism to “exclude” members like Poland. The only way to respond, therefore, was to massively cut EU funds to Poland. As the largest net recipient, Poland receives about €12b/yr from the EU budget. The EU Commission is currently examining whether Poland’s €36b from the EU’s Coronavirus reconstruction fund can be cut. So far, it has been withholding these funds. Former Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski has publicly threatened that Poland would cancel an equally large portion of its EU contributions if this were to happen. EU Commission President and former German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said she was “deeply concerned” by the Polish Constitutional Court’s ruling. she declared:

EU law takes precedence over national law, including constitutional provisions. We will use all the powers we have under the treaties to ensure this.

Nevertheless, many media outlets and members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have criticized von der Leyen, who was elected Commission president thanks to the votes of Poland and Hungary, saying she remains largely passive. Some MEPs have even launched a failure to act case against the Commission to force faster action against Poland.

The conflict between the EU and Poland must be understood against the backdrop of the deep crisis of European capitalism, growing tensions with the US and preparations for war against Russia and China. Berlin has so far kept a relatively low profile not only because the PiS supported von der Leyen’s election, but also because German companies are among the main beneficiaries of massive EU subsidies to Poland. According to a report in business weekly WirtschaftsWoche, more and more German companies are closing their sites in Germany and relocating production to Poland, where they benefit both from EU subsidies and the extremely low wages of well-trained Polish workers. Among the 5,800 companies with subsidiaries in Poland are Lufthansa and Siemens. Economic ties between Poland and Germany have been growing steadily for years. Germany is by far the most important export and import trading partner for Poland, accounting for around 28% in each direction. Since 1990, German capital has invested around €40b in the neighbouring country. The chairman of the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations, Oliver Hermes, has warned against restricting EU payments to Poland or even Hungary. He wrote:

Delays in the allocation of EU funds also affect German companies in Poland and Hungary, because EU co-financed investments have been a key growth driver since 2004.

Poland is also of crucial geopolitical importance. It plays a key role in the expansion of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), as all direct land links to the three Baltic EU states, Ukraine and Russia run through Poland. The Polish government, which emerged from the restoration of capitalism, plays a key role in NATO’s war preparations against Russia. Most recently it has been at the centre of NATO manoeuvrers such as “Defender-Europe 20.”

Since 1989, the Polish bourgeoisie has been oriented primarily toward a military alliance with the United States. In contrast to the previous PO administration, the PiS government has refrained from closer military cooperation with Germany. Instead, it is seeking to build an alliance of Eastern European states along the lines of the “Intermarium,” directed against both Russia and Germany. Under Donald Trump, Washington openly supported this policy. The Biden administration’s growing focus on war preparations against China and its efforts to somewhat dampen the conflict with Russia, at least temporarily, may now undermine Warsaw’s adoption of this orientation. At the same time, there are discussions in Germany about whether the “Intermarium” strategy could be used in its own interests. A strategy paper by the pro-government Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (Science and Politics Foundation) argued that Berlin should “pursue a policy of interested and benevolent involvement” despite Polish resistance to admitting Germany in order to “position itself in the region as a geo-economic actor alongside the US as well as China and Russia.”

The conflicts within the Polish bourgeoisie, the dispute between the EU and Poland, and the growing threat of war are ultimately the result of the intensification of international conflicts and class tensions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. As in other Eastern European countries, the pandemic has claimed a particularly large number of lives in Poland, mainly as a result of the disastrous consequences of capitalist restoration 30 years ago, and it has exacerbated the political crisis of the PiS government, which is now rejected by more than two-thirds of the population. With its aggressive nationalist course, the PiS is trying, not least, to distract attention from the growing protests and strikes at home. On the basis of the struggle for a United Socialist States of Europe, the working class must formulate its own response to the crisis of European and world capitalism, independent of all factions of the ruling class.

UK-EU conflict over Northern Ireland Protocol amid spiralling national tensions
Thomas Scripps, WSWS, Oct 16 2021

Vehicles at the port of Larne, Northern Ireland, Feb 2 2021. (Photo: Peter Morrison/AP)

Political hostilities have erupted once again between Britain and the European Union over the Northern Ireland Protocol. Agreed as part of the Brexit deal done in early 2020, the protocol governs the passage of goods between the UK and EU economic areas, where a hard border, or extensive border infrastructure, between Northern Ireland and EU member state the Republic of Ireland would jeopardise the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which ended the decades-long armed conflict in the north. Under the agreement, Northern Ireland remains within the EU’s single market for goods which the rest of the UK has withdrawn from. EU product inspections and customs checks on goods travelling from the UK are conducted at ports in Northern Ireland immediately after crossing the Irish Sea and can then move freely through the entire island of Ireland. This prompted opposition from large sections of the Conservative party and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in Northern Ireland, who complained that a border was effectively set up in the Irish Sea. Prime Minister Boris Johnson endorsed the 2019 agreement in that year’s general election as a means of “getting Brexit done.” But antagonisms have rumbled on ever since, with the agreement threatened by both sides in the early part of this year and the EU briefly invoking Article 16, which allows one party to unilaterally suspend elements of the deal.

Talks to defuse the situation ever since have only highlighted the national tensions driving apart Britain and the EU, at a time of rising tensions within the European Union itself. The UK Brexit Minister, Lord Frost, has called for the protocol to be scrapped and the elimination of all customs checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, allowing goods to circulate freely if they conform to either UK or EU regulations. He also wants the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to be removed from the arbitration of future disputes over the agreement, demanding “international arbitration instead of a system of EU law ultimately policed in the court of one of the parties, the European Court of Justice.” On Wednesday, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Maroš Šefčovič offered a series of concessions to the UK’s position, including measures to reduce checks on British retail goods by 80%, halve customs paperwork, waive the requirement for medical manufacturers to move out of Northern Ireland into Britain, and streamline the certification process for road freight. He declared that the EU had “completely turned our rules upside down and inside out” to find agreement. He insisted:

It’s very clear that we cannot have access to the single market without the supervision of the ECJ.

Talks on the EU’s proposals will take place for a maximum of three weeks. Commentators have raised the adoption of a Swiss style treaty as a possible final compromise. Disputes between Switzerland and the EU are dealt with by an independent arbitration panel, although it must take into account the ECJ’s view on matters of EU law. But comments suggest that Britain will demand “the moon,” in the words of one EU diplomat speaking to the Financial Times (FT). On Wednesday, the day Šefčovič announced his proposals, Johnson’s former senior adviser and current political enemy Dominic Cummings tweeted that the government had signed the Brexit deal planning to “ditch bits we didn’t like after whacking Corbyn.” He continued:

Our priorities meant e.g getting Brexit done is 10000x more important than lawyers yapping re international law in negotiations with people who break law all the time.

Cummings’s account was then confirmed by leading DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr. He told BBC Newsnight:

Boris Johnson did tell me personally that he would, after agreeing to the protocol, he would sign up to changing that protocol and indeed tearing it up, that this was just for the semantics.

Frost has admitted, cryptically, that the UK only agreed to the ECJ’s oversight of the protocol “because of the very specific circumstances of that negotiation.” Preparations are already being made in Europe for a trade war should Britain reject the EU’s proposals and trigger Article 16. According to the FT, representatives from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain met with Šefčovič Monday to demand contingency plans including tariffs on British exports, restricting the UK’s access to Europe’s energy supplies and ending the trade agreement between the two parties. An EU diplomat told the FT:

Frost knows he’s playing with fire. But when you play with fire, you get burnt. The EU has a broad palette of options for hitting back at the UK.

Britain’s rationale for pushing a conflict with the EU is most openly expressed in the Daily Telegraph. Columnist Nick Timothy accuses the EU of “playing with fire on the Northern Ireland Protocol.” He writes:

The issue is… sovereignty. The Government cannot allow the continued jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice over the NI Protocol.

The UK government feels “sovereignty” is a stick it can successfully beat the EU with, in light of the ruling last week by Poland’s Constitutional Court that parts of EU law are “incompatible” with the Polish constitution, overturning the fundamental primacy of EU law within the union. Poland has been backed by Hungary, which has also been engaged in a long-running legal dispute with the EU over legislation linking European subsidies to respect for the rule of law. The Brexiteer press in the UK has also made much of recent statements by Michel Barnier, the EU’s former chief Brexit negotiator. Barnier is now running in the French Presidential race on a fiercely anti-migrant platform, calling for France to regain its “legal sovereignty” by casting off the threat of a “ruling or a condemnation at the level of the European Court of Justice or the European Convention on Human Rights.” Johnson gloated at last week’s Tory Party conference:

That is what happens if you spend a year trying to argue with Lord Frost.

These events are proof of the analysis made by the Socialist Equality Party of Brexit as “the most advanced expression of an escalating breakdown of the EU, under the pressure of mounting centrifugal forces that are intensifying conflicts not only with the US but between the European states.” The Johnson government identifies itself with this development. It hopes to use Brexit to place itself in pole position among European nations pursuing increasingly independent policies, either within or having broken loose from a paralysed EU. Leading Tory Brexiteer Sir Ian Duncan Smith MP cited Lord Palmerston in the Telegraph Thursday:

We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.

Central to this policy is the UK’s pitch to the US as its most slavishly dependable ally. But this course is fraught with uncertainty. The Brexit policy in the British ruling class was spurred by the presidency of Donald Trump, who made his hostility to the major European powers, Germany and France, plain. Under President Joe Biden, the US has adopted a subtler approach. September’s AUKUS military alliance between the UK, US and Australia, involving the repudiation of a submarine deal between Canberra and Paris, boosted Johnson’s standing in Washington. But Biden has consistently stated that his administration would respond severely over any move the UK makes jeopardising the Good Friday Agreement. He is also more determined than Trump to win the support of Europe in the escalating conflict with China. The outcome of the dispute over the Northern Ireland Protocol is therefore bound up with calculations made in the increasingly frenzied war drive in the Asia-Pacific. Combined, these geopolitical tensions threaten an explosion of trade and military conflicts. They can find no resolution within the framework of imperialist politics. They can only be combatted through the development of a unified socialist movement of the European and international working class against nationalism, war and the pursuit of profit over human need.

fuck this shit

Blaming Anyone Who Questions Covid-19 Policy for a New Wave of Terrorism
Iain Davis, UK Column, Oct 12 2021

Governments, their agencies and the mainstream media (MSM) appear to be engaged in a concerted propaganda campaign. The aim is to convince the public that elements within the anti-lockdown, pro-freedom movement are being radicalised towards violence. They suggest that these people suffer from a “lack of trust” in government and that it is this which singles them out as especially dangerous. In particular, a narrative is being created to lay blame upon the so-called “anti-vaxxers.” The evidence offered to substantiate this litany of allegations is weak to non-existent. The objective appears to be to raise the spectre of a terror threat that does not seem to be in evidence. This modus operandi looks similar to previous propaganda operations to create the public perception of a threat.

In the years preceding the 2003 illegal invasion of Iraq, MI6 was engaged in Operation Mass Appeal. The operational goal was to convince the public that they faced a threat from Saddam Hussein. Unconvincing intelligence reports were fed to the public by government propagandists posing as journalists. Recently, the BBC reported a “story” about razor blades purportedly fixed to the back of anti-vaxxer posters, the allegation being that this was done to deliberately harm people who take them down. This tale made no sense. The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) trade union had warned Transport for London (TfL) about this apparent danger. Despite these being “anti-mask” posters, a spokesman from the RMT said that “anti-vax conspiracy theorists” had resorted to this “disgusting practice.” Yet TfL stated that they had no knowledge of any such practices ever occurring. Referring to these alleged posters, a TfL spokesperson reportedly said:

None have been detected on our network and there have been very few instances of unauthorised adverts and materials relating to the pandemic.

There was no evidence to support the story. Even stranger, when the BBC first reported the mysterious non-event, their headline was London transport staff warned of anti-vaccination posters with razor blades, yet four hours later, the headline had changed to “London transport staff warned of anti-mask posters with razor blades.” Who knows why the BBC changed the title of their article? Whatever their reason, rather redolent of past blaming of Muslims for acts of alleged Islamist terrorism, the first headline enabled former UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock to tweet:

This is a new low even for anti-vaxxers. Anti-vax propaganda is bad enough. To put razor blades on anti-vax leaflets to harm people when removing them is horrific. I hope the police come down on these people with the full force of the law.

Hancock was seemingly creating a mythology. Suddenly, the posting of one poster, which didn’t even happen, had become the act of more than one person. Not only that, he blamed all people who question vaccine efficacy and safety for perpetrating this alleged horror. The apparent source for this story was a 22-year-old poster artist and LGBTQ+ activist. She claimed she had sustained an injury and reported it to Cardiff police in July, more than two months before the BBC reran essentially the same story, this time set on the London transport network.

Some research by a diligent citizen quickly revealed that the Welshwoman’s story was highly dubious. Not only did she have a history of making extraordinary claims; there was no logical rationale to explain how she had sustained the alleged injury. Further, the young woman had notable conflicts of both ideological and financial interests. Yet the BBC, with their multi-billion pound budget, couldn’t figure this out for themselves and were instead content to report apparent fake news, twice.

When we look at the steady drip-feed of such stories, introducing the novel concept of the anti-vaxxer terror threat or the violent anti-lockdown movement, we can see numerous parallels with other similar government propaganda operations in the past. Historically, these often presage terror campaigns or conflicts. In this model, the public is invited to believe the allegations simply because they supposedly come from an “authoritative source.” These propaganda campaigns typically rely upon unverified claims by intelligence experts, unnamed witnesses or anonymous “official sources.”

May 2019

In May 2019, the Guardian published the piece Anti-Vaxxers Are Taking Populism To a New Level. In it, the paper insinuated that aid workers in Pakistan had been attacked by “anti-vaxxers.” The article linked to a CNN story, Pakistan’s anti-vaccination movement leads to string of deadly attacks. These attacks were in reality perpetrated by the Pakistan Taliban, who were not attacking foreign aid workers because they were concerned about the safety and efficacy of vaccines they were distributing, but because they claimed they were a front for western and Pakistani intelligence agencies and were effective government outposts in territory they claimed as theirs.

The Guardian highlighted similar attacks carried out in Nigeria by Boko Haram, more or less for the same reasons. Both the Pakistan Taliban and Boko Haram are proscribed terrorist organisations and Islamist extremist groups. There is no connection whatsoever between them and people who question vaccine safety and efficacy. So we must ask why the “journalists” at the Guardian and CNN were trying to forge this absurd association in their readers’ imaginations. Perhaps they are just appalling journalists who haven’t got a clue what they are talking about. Perhaps they just wrote whatever they were ordered to write—or perhaps they knew precisely what they were doing.

July 2019

In Jul 2019, the Guardian followed up the anti-vaxxer terrorist stories with the headline Anti-extremism software to be used to tackle vaccine disinformation. The piece asserted:

Technology used to counter violent messages online from Islamic State and the far right is being adapted to counter the spread of “anti-vax” conspiracy theories.

Here we see the asserted statement, as if it were a fact, that questioning vaccine safety and efficacy is a “conspiracy theory.” In turn, this is presented as being indistinguishable from the activities of ISIS and neo-Nazis. It is just assumed, throughout the article, that questioning vaccines is “extremism” of this ilk. People asking questions about science and medical necessity online are forming “destructive communities.” There was no evidence offered in the piece to substantiate any of it: just a list of words, cobbled together to make an unhinged allegation seem plausible to the casual observer.

However, making up links between people labelled as anti-vaxxers and other people designated as “conspiracy theorists,” and then appending the label of ‘Islamist’ or ‘far right terrorist’ to it, had been a growing trend for some time. The article dovetailed neatly with the FBI bulletin Anti–Government, Identity-Based and Fringe Political Conspiracy Theories Very Likely Motivate Some Domestic Extremists To Commit Criminal, Sometimes Violent Activity. In this document, the FBI claimed that it was “very likely” that questioning the government would lead to criminal and violent acts. Not trusting the government, or opposing their policies, was called “conspiracy theory” in the memo.

This assessment was based upon the FBI’s assumption that some conspiracy theories tacitly support or legitimise violence, although they didn’t clarify the mechanism supposedly at work. The FBI then listed the activities of a couple of failed bomb plotters, people who carried out or attempted mass shootings, and a few others who committed deranged or generally unpleasant acts which the FBI had identified as especially significant. In the face of 434 mass shootings in 2019 in the US, this specific, tiny handful of lunatics was considered more dangerous than all the other types of perpetrator, due to their putative lack of trust in the government.

April 2020

By Apr 2020, the FBI was warning of the threat from anti-vaxxers. This time, they were working with the Kremlin, they claimed. Up to this point, the “anti-vaxxers” had allegedly perpetrated Islamist terrorism, far-right terrorism, and were dangerous conspiracy theorists; and now they were colluding with the Russians to destroy Western democratic values. A truly amazing global movement. Not a scrap of evidence, or even rational argument, had been offered to substantiate any of these frankly wacky “conspiracy theories.”

The Russian collusion theory, again reported in the UK by the Guardian, came from the analytical minds of the FBI’s private intelligence network called InfraGard. The MSM were sufficiently convinced by InfraGard’s report to run the story, claiming that the alleged anti-vaccine “movement” was a threat to US national security. They said this movement was connected to the Internet Research Agency (IRA), which was aligned with the Russian Government.

If such a thing as an “anti-vaxxer movement” even exists, then it is a movement without leaders. It has no stated ideology or political objective, and its alleged membership is the epitome of ethnic, religious, cultural, political and national diversity. It has no agreed or published mission statement, no philosophical or theological stance, and no policy agenda. It consists of people from every walk of life and every nation whose only unifying characteristic is that they each, to some degree, have safety and efficacy concerns about some vaccines. The InfraGard paper comically presented the “evidence” to support its allegations by using pseudo-academic footnoting for what turned out to be blog posts.

For example, to evidence its claim that people who question vaccine efficacy and safety are aligned to the “far right,” it portentously referenced (Weill, 2019). What is this tome of Weill’s, and what is the author’s university affiliation? It turns out to have been an article in The Daily Beast, penned by in-house blogger Kelly Weill, which presented no evidence that people who question vaccine efficacy and safety were members of any “far-right” groups or even expressed “far right” views, nor did she define what these ostensible “far-right anti-vaxxer” views were. She said so-called anti-vaxxers “rub shoulders” with “far-right” and “white supremacist” or “populist” communities online. Weill’s article is a word salad of innuendo, suggestions and assertions. There is no evidence in any of it for anything. Her piece ultimately contradicts itself entirely and states:

Most anti-vaxxers are not white supremacists, far from it. But the overlap can send some well-meaning parents down the rabbit hole.

In terms of verifiable evidence, this article is meaningless, and yet InfraGard cited this as US Government proof of an alleged anti-vaxxer threat. Consequently, their report, based almost entirely upon unsubstantiated opinion, is equally evidence-free. The Guardian then reported InfraGard’s baseless allegations to the general public. They lent it an unwarranted air of authority by calling InfraGard “an FBI-connected non-profit research group.” InfraGard’s research was undetectable. At one point, they declared that anti-vaxxers were aligned with the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA), who were “identified as responsible for interfering in the 2016 US presidential election.”

This was not true. There was never any evidence that the IRA had influenced the 2016 US election. The whole Russiagate scandal was nothing more than a politically-motivated witch-hunt. Some real intelligence analysis and cursory research would have revealed this. The inclusion of this unfounded theory suggests that InfraGard is also a politically-motivated outfit and lacks objectivity. People who are concerned about the safety and efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccines come from all walks of life. As the Canadian National Post noted:

It’s hard to come up with a clear profile. It’s a fairly diverse group that crosses income and education lines.

This diverse group includes scientists whose whole careers have been in the vaccine industry. Reuters ran a piece on Pfizer’s former allergy and respiratory research division vice-president, Dr Mike Yeadon, in which they revealed how Reuters’ own propaganda confined it to contradictory and asinine positions. Reuters started its attack on Yeadon with a falsehood. Reuters claimed he and other leading scientists had submitted a vaccine withdrawal petition to the European Medicines Agency, and that the petition was without evidence. The piece also asserted that the scientists in question had said that Covid vaccines could cause female infertility.

However, the petition said nothing of the sort. This undoubtedly explains why Reuters didn’t cite it in the article. Specifically, in relation to fertility, the scientists demonstrated that the clinical trials were not assessing whether the S-protein (spike protein) induced and formed by the vaccines would stop the formation of placentas. This was a known scientific possibility, and they referenced the genetic research which raised it. They did not claim that the vaccines would cause infertility, but rather that it was a potential risk factor that needed to be ruled out before giving the vaccines to women.

In other words, the clinical trials were not designed to answer either this or many other crucial questions about safety and efficacy. Yeadon and his esteemed colleagues provided a wealth of peer-reviewed and emerging, published scientific evidence to substantiate their expressed reasons for concern. Even so, as they were themselves highly-qualified scientists and doctors, their opinions alone should have been sufficient to prompt Reuters to take a closer look at the trials. Yet Reuters chose to deceive and mislead its global readership. The agency preferred to quote an anonymous British Government spokesman as saying:

These claims are false, dangerous and deeply irresponsible.

They thus suggested to Reuters readers that this was much closer to the truth than all the silly science and rational arguments presented by the scientists. Ultimately, Reuters’ obvious pro-vaccine propaganda led it into publishing abject nonsense. The piece continued:

Why Yeadon transformed from mainstream scientist to COVID-19 vaccine skeptic remains a mystery. Thousands of his tweets stretching back to the start of the pandemic document a dramatic shift in his views. Early on, he supported a vaccine strategy. But they offer few clues to explain his radical turnabout.

One clue might be the petition he co-signed and sent to the EMA outlining his scientific concerns. Perhaps other clues could have been found in the numerous interviews he had given, or perhaps Reuters could have glanced at the work he undertook with Doctors for Covid Ethics. In this single statement, Reuters personified the nonsensical vilification of the people that it, and other MSM organisations, are seemingly compelled to label as anti-vaxxers.

Dr Mike Yeadon is a scientist who believes in the scientific method. Therefore, his scientific opinion is dependent upon his understanding of the scientific evidence. It isn’t set in stone, for this reason. He clearly changed his view as new evidence emerged. Obviously, as a career scientist working in the vaccine industry, he is not opposed to vaccines in principle; but the evidence for the Covid-19 vaccines has convinced him to dispute their safety and efficacy. The propagandists can never admit that this evidence exists. They must deny it. They cannot question the Covid-19 vaccines because these are central to global government policy. Reuters’ role is to promote that policy and to attack anyone who could possibly undermine it; especially if they are highly-qualified, eminent scientists.

Yeadon’s reasoning remained “a mystery” to Reuters because Reuters had to exclude any reference to the scientific evidence from its report. This necessarily reduced the full extent of its investigation to trawling through his Twitter feed. Consequently, anyone who does highlight the scientific, medical or statistical evidence which casts doubt upon the Covid vaccines is, according to the propagandists and governments, an anti-vaxxer extremist.

September 2020

In Sep 2020, Tony Blair’s Institute for Global Change (IGC) ordered or paid the MSM to publish an incredible propaganda piece. Without bothering to provide any evidence, presumably because they didn’t have any, the article hammered home the idea of the anti-vaxxer extremist. According to the Blair IGC tirade, people who advocate scientific rigour were being led into a world of “xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism and hate.” The IGC lobbed in the Pakistan Taliban story, as a proven example of anti-vaxxer terror, before asserting, without evidence of course, that anti-vaxx extremism based upon “suspicion and fear of governments” was a sentiment that could be “weaponised.”

However, we might question whether it is not in fact the governments and the globalist think tanks who are fearful of the people. The same issue of the lack or loss of trust in government is a recurring theme in this propaganda. As, indeed, is the flat-out denial of evidence. The IGC, having just bemoaned that the anti-vaxxers had “long campaigned” against vaccines, concluded by contradicting themselves:

As anti-vaxx sentiment emerges from the fringes and enters the mainstream, coming out from the dark corners of the internet and on to our streets, the extremists who weaponise it create a clear threat to trust. Governments and the wider public should not dismiss the potential for extremists to put the lives and livelihoods of billions around the world at risk by spreading baseless conspiratorial angst at a time of global crisis.

It is evident that globalist think tanks, global health authorities and governments were by this time becoming increasingly concerned about people questioning their policies. This appears to indicate that they either have no comprehension of what democracy is or no intention of maintaining it. Many people were not convinced by the MSM campaigns to promote governments’ “build back better” reset agenda. Their “lack of trust” in their governments was not a sign that democracy was failing; it was a sign that it was working. Or at least it would have been, if people then had a realistic chance of removing the policy-makers they didn’t trust from power. As huge pro-freedom demonstrations started taking place across the world, with millions of protesters rejecting the proposed vaccine passports and questioning the Covid vaccines, the spectre of the anti-vaxxer terrorist suddenly became an alleged physical reality. The timing could not have been worse for the protesters, or more convenient for governments.

January 2021

The terrorist campaign started in Jan 2021 with a suspect package supposedly sent to an AstraZeneca plant in Wrexham. No-one knew much about the incident, other than the fact that bomb disposal experts were called as a precaution. Yet the Times ran with Anti-vaxxers suspected of sending hoax bomb to Covid vaccine bottling plant. The paper quoted an unnamed source who reportedly said:

Unfortunately there are anti-vaxxers out there, which is why security is being taken so seriously at this plant.

There was no basis for this statement. There was no known threat from anti-vaxxers, but this anonymous quotation was slipped into the Times article to give the impression that there was. Eventually, Anthony Collins was charged with sending the fake bomb. He was remanded in custody and later pleaded not guilty. There is no current record of a verdict. To this day, this man remains innocent until proven guilty. We don’t even know whether he did it, let alone what his motivations were. Yet the MSM made the claim regardless. Shortly after this incident, reports came out of the Netherlands of a vaccine centre being burned down by rioting youths. They were apparently enraged by a curfew that was imposed even as claimed Dutch Covid cases were declining. Clashes occurred across the Netherlands as police sought to enforce the curfew. Three teenagers were arrested in connection to the arson attack in Urk.

February 2021

In Feb 2021, the WaPo published an opinion piece titled Anti-vaccine extremism is akin to domestic terrorism. It was written by California State Senator Dr Richard Pan, who referred to anyone questioning the Covid-19 vaccines, and especially those protesting against the associated policies, as anti-vaxxer extremists. Taking his cue from the invitational Capitol Hill riots of Jan 6, Dr Pan said anti-vaccine extremists had “stormed” a vaccine centre. He said the extremists had been attempting to deny life-saving vaccines to those who wanted them. He spoke of their poisonous efforts, warning of potential violence if they were confronted, and spoke about how the “mob” had shut down the vaccine centre and were threatening people.

However, it seems the protesters didn’t shut down the vaccine centre. Nor was doing so their intention. When interviewed, one of the protesters, Jason Lefkowitz, spoke of his surprise when the entrance was blocked by the authorities and they locked the gates. Nor were the protesters seeking to deny anyone access to vaccines. They were protesting against business closures and the loss of civil liberties. These were peaceful protesters who hadn’t harmed or threatened anyone. For this heinous crime, Senator Pan likened them to terrorists.

Once again, the Guardian reported this incident, unquestioningly parroting Pan’s error-strewn accusations and highlighting the assault he had suffered at the hands of a so-called anti-vaxxer extremist. This assault, which occurred months earlier, was filmed by the assailant and then posted liberally online, and consisted of a shove in the back, as seen in the video. There is no excuse for this behaviour, but neither is there any reason to extrapolate from it, as Pan repeatedly does, that the broader swathe of people who question vaccine safety have any tendency towards violence or condone it. There is no justification for this allegation, yet the Guardian offered no qualification as they quoted Pan:

This is part of an escalation of violence that we’re seeing in the anti-vaccine movement, as they have continued to become more and more violent, they have suffered few consequences, and without consequences they will continue to increase their extremism and their violence.

March 2021

In Mar 2021, the British MSM reported a “huge blast” at a Covid test centre in Bovenkarspel, North Holland. Fortunately, no one was injured and only a few windows were broken in the massive pipe-bomb explosion. Later, a man was arrested for plotting bomb attacks. His motive for allegedly targeting vaccine facilities was, according to Dutch prosecutors, to disrupt “economic and social structures.” It is not clear whether this man had any link to the pipe-bomb explosion at the Bovenkarspel test site. However, the home-made firework bomb at Bovenkarspel was placed in the run-up to the Dutch elections, so a political motive can’t be ruled out for that attack. The accused man also claimed he was the target of a professional, intelligence-led entrapment operation. The defendant said that the planned bombings were a “joke that got out of hand.” Other than the conspicuous location, there was no evidence to suggest that the Bovenkarspel bomb was part of any anti-vaxxer terror plot, nor that the arrested man was involved. As yet, no-one has been arrested in direct connection to the Bovenkarspel incident.

May 2021

In May 2021, ABC News in Australia ran with AMA warns of anti-vaxxer ‘extremism’ upsurge as MP’s office vandalised amid coronavirus. An Australian Medical Association (AMA) spokesman said he was concerned about an up-swell in Covid conspiracy theories. Reports of “clashes with police” following demonstrations in Melbourne were used to bolster the central point of the article:

It’s very sad that individuals have to use aggressive or illegal means to make a point and impose their views in these sorts of situations. There has been somewhat of an upsurge in paranoid and sort of unhinged behaviours.

Dr Moy of the AMA said:

To damage an office to make a point is the sort of behaviour that is there from people who essentially are extremists.

The aggressive and illegal means which evidenced the paranoid, unhinged behaviour of these anti-vaxxer extremists, culminating in the act of wanton vandalism, turned out to be fly-posting a couple of A4 posters on the outside of an MP’s office windows. The posters read:

I nearly died after my last vaccines. But I still can’t get a medical exemption.

Sadly, it is a fact that the Covid-19 vaccines can kill. It is also a fact that the only previous vaccine adverse reaction that is allowed to exempt an Australian from subsequent mandatory Covid vaccination is diagnosed anaphylaxis (itchy rash, throat or tongue swelling, shortness of breath, vomiting, lightheadedness, low blood pressure). People who have previously suffered vaccine adverse drug reactions (ADRs), such as seizures or other neurological reactions, heart inflammation, nerve damage or sight loss (all indicated as adverse reactions to the Covid vaccines), are not exempt under Australian legislation.

It is obvious to anyone who reads the article that the headline is not supported by the content, other than the AMA’s and MP’s ludicrous allegations. Not only was the commentary on the poster accurate; no vandalism occurred. There was certainly extremism evidenced in the article, but it emanated from the political and medical establishment and from the MSM, not the unknown “anti-vaxxer.” The purpose of this type of propaganda is not to report reality or the news, but rather to foster the subconscious awareness of a myth which can then seep into the fabric of society to become an accepted “fact.” Again, we must ask why the MSM and establishment figures were so eager to peddle this fantasy.

June 2021

The BBC reported that its journalists had received death threats from anti-vaxxers. The BBC’s razor blade item is just one of literally thousands of fake news stories spewed out by the BBC over the years. Curiously enough, these have consistently supported the policies of the government of the day. It is not unreasonable to say that as a news organisation the BBC is wholly untrustworthy, and as a state broadcaster acts as an organisation of government propagandists. In short, there is little reason to believe the BBC. It is illegal in nearly every country (not to mention unlawful) to make threats to kill. In the UK, whether made in person or online, death threats are illegal under numerous Acts of Parliament and in case-law. Making a threat to kill, where the targeted person has reason to believe the menace is real, is a crime.

It is also a simple task, well within the capability of most law enforcement agencies, to track down the IP address of anyone who makes such a threat via the Internet, even if the culprit uses a proxy. Pretty much anyone, save for the most technologically gifted, who makes a threat to kill online can be arrested, tried and sentenced if found guilty. If there was any substance to the BBC claims that alleged anti-vaxxers had made online threats to kill their journalists, we could expect some arrests, or a police investigation at the very least. However, as reported by other MSM sources, nothing was apparently reported to the police and there was no investigation.

Wishing someone dead, on the other hand, or expressing the sentiment that they should be lynched, or calling someone a traitor or a liar, or even expressing an opinion that someone should be tracked down, does not, by any stretch of the imagination, constitute a threat to kill. Being in the same room, or chat room, as an extremist does not make you an extremist. Yet this was the “evidence” which the BBC reportedly provided to substantiate their allegation that “anti-vaxxers” had made these threats. The BBC offered nothing to back up their insinuation that people who question the safety and efficacy of vaccines posed a threat. But this was reported as if fact by MSM propagandists from both the left and the right of the supposed political divide.

Evidently, the BBC’s claims weren’t true. This explains why there was no apparent police investigation nor any arrests. Instead, the BBC played the victim of a non-existent crime and said it had been forced to offer its staff training on how to react to what it called “in-person attacks” (an illiterate or else deliberate misuse of the phrase ‘in person’, which of course invariably means ‘physically present’).

The BBC appears to have confused criticism with assault. They are not the same thing. Perhaps BBC staff need some training to understand the difference. To add some meat to the BBC’s fake claims, the MSM reported the opinions of Imran Ahmed, chief executive of the Centre for Countering Digital Hate. He ignored the fact that there was no substance to the BBC’s story and instead opined that anti-vaxxers had moved beyond disinformation to intimidation. Imran Ahmed is an anti-rationalist extremist who believes that people who question vaccine safety and efficacy should be incarcerated under anti-terror legislation. Promoting one of his organisation’s propaganda pamphlets in 2020, Ahmed said:

I would go beyond calling anti-vaxxers conspiracy theorists to say they are an extremist group that pose a national security risk.

July 2021

Following up on their make-believe, the BBC’s specialist disinformation reporter, Marianna Spring presented Where Is the Anti-Lockdown Movement Heading? The BBC and Spring concluded that it was being radicalised and there were signs that it would turn to violence. Her BBC Newsnight segment on this theme included edited clips from two interviews with anti-lockdown protesters. Neither of them made any threats or advocated any violence or lawlessness. Spring pointed out that neither of the protesters she interviewed condoned the “aggression shown to the BBC.” This aggression was evidenced in the segment by a clip of a man sarcastically waving bye-bye to the unwelcome BBC film crew.

The interviewed protesters spoke about their lack of trust in government and stated their belief that elected politicians were puppets of what they called global élites. The BBC, through their disinformation expert Spring, stated that there was no evidence to corroborate any of the protesters’ opinions. Having failed to provide any kind of logical argument or evidence to refute anything the protesters said, the BBC simply asserted that their accusations were false, before turning to an expert called Chloe Colliver from the Institute of Strategic Dialogue (ISD), whose published purpose reads:

We have innovated and scaled sector-leading policy and operational programmes on- and offline. ISD partners with governments, cities, businesses and communities, working to deliver solutions at all levels of society. ISD is uniquely able to turn research and analysis into evidence-based policy and action, and inform the training and policy advisory work we provide to central and local governments, civil society, front line practitioners and international organisations.

The ISD is funded by, among others, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Open Society Foundation, the Omidyar Group and the British Council. It is a privately-funded policy think tank. ISD policies are then fed to all levels of government and enacted by elected politicians on behalf of the multi-billionaire “philanthropists” who finance the ISD. No-one elects the ISD, nor is there any democratic process to remove it from power. While we continue to imagine that elected politicians make policy, its influence is permanent. It is one among numerous such institutions which have effectively usurped democracy. This is precisely the problem the protesters were trying to highlight. The ISD represents the interests of the people who fund it. Otherwise, they wouldn’t bother. These are the “global élites” the interviewees referred to. Yet, according to the BBC’s specialist investigative reporter, Marianna Spring, there is no evidence that the ISD exists. This rather raises the question of how she managed to include the opinions of one of the ISD’s trained “experts” in her “news” segment.

Chloe Colliver works for the ISD and advocates the policies that organisations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation want to see enacted. She said that the people who know what the ISD is and who understand its political function were trapped in communities built upon “disinformation.” Colliver concluded that those who opposed the ISD’s control of government policy were vulnerable to being radicalised towards violence. Her expressed “expert opinion” effectively encouraged the public to marginalise anyone who questions vaccines or lockdown policies as radicals and extremists. This was certainly in the interests of the ISD and, consequently, in the interests of Chloe Colliver.

August 2021

The US Dept of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin in which they stated:

Law enforcement have expressed concerns that the broader sharing of false narratives and conspiracy theories will gain traction in mainstream environments, resulting in individuals or small groups embracing violent tactics to achieve their desired objectives. Russian, Chinese and Iranian government-linked media outlets have repeatedly amplified conspiracy theories concerning the origins of COVID-19 and effectiveness of vaccines. DHS will continue to identify and evaluate calls for violence, including online activity associated with the spread of disinformation, conspiracy theories, and false narratives. DHS is also advancing authoritative sources of information to debunk and, when possible, preempt false narratives and intentional disinformation, to promote resilience to the risks associated with interacting with and spreading disinformation, conspiracy theories and false narratives.

It is clear from this bulletin that the DHS has become an arbiter of truth in the US. It knows all and can judge what constitutes disinformation and false narratives. These will be defined as being anything which is not from authoritative sources. The DHS definition of violence includes the spreading of whatever it itself deems to be disinformation, conspiracy theories and false narratives. Any questioning of the effectiveness of vaccines constitutes a violent act, as far as the DHS are concerned. The DHS weren’t alone in their assessment. In Switzerland, the Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) warned of imminent attacks on vaccine sites. They even predicted the scale of these likely attacks and the media response:

Attacks on such targets would both hit large crowds and generate intensive media coverage.

How could the FIS predict these attacks in such detail, or at all? They added that there were no tangible indications of planned attacks. Presumably, the evidence informing their prediction was intangible. At the start of August, the Polish authorities said that a fire at a mobile vaccination centre in the town of Zamość was an act of anti-vaxxer terror. Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said:

It was an act of terror, directed not only against employees of the vaccination centre and people who get vaccinated, but also against the state.

How could Niedzielski know this? The police didn’t know who started the fire and, unusually for terrorists trying to make a specific political point, no group or individual had made any announcement about why they did it. In the UK, the Sheffield Star claimed in an anonymous article that an anonymous reporter had infiltrated the “secret” Telegram channel of the group FreeNation Sheffield. The unknown undercover reporter then said that the group disseminated anti-Semitic, racist and Nazi material among its members and that this went unchallenged. The paper then revealed that these apparent fascists went as far as organising Sunday walks as an act of non-compliance. The unnamed investigative journalist relayed a conversation that he or she had had with an unnamed source who had discovered the group were furtively meeting in “abandoned steel mills” or behind closed curtains in people’s front rooms.

Quite why the group would go to all the trouble of meeting in “off-grid” clandestine locations and then follow that up with a gathering at someone’s house wasn’t explained. However, this group, who must collectively be insane, apparently believe that terrorist attacks are staged by paedophile cannibals. If so, basic fieldcraft probably isn’t their strong point. The evidence offered to back up this absurd tripe was a screenshot of a picnic invitation where the group intended to discuss reaching out to the local community to raise awareness of vaccine harm. To add impact, another picture, which was pixelled out because it was just too offensive to show, was also included.

From this, we can deduce that, on the spectrum between BBQ invites and rabid fascist sloganeering, there was nothing which better evidenced any of the claims made by the anonymous journalist and their anonymous source in the anonymous article. More to the point, there was nothing at all in this claim-jumble to explain why people who question vaccine safety and efficacy would have anything to do with any of it. Yet the article was titled “Inside the Sheffield anti-vaxxer group where anti-semitic, racist and nazi propaganda goes unchallenged.” Later in August, the Mail on Sunday ran a very similar story. This time, the anti-vaxxer terrorists were all battle-hardened, gun-obsessed veterans. Apparently, they were planning a series of “devastating anti-vaccine offensives.” This offensive was reportedly due to start with a peaceful protest march.

Rather like in the Sheffield article, here again there are lots of alleged quotes from alleged members but no evidence of anything in particular. It now seems we will never know what this army intended. No sooner had they appeared in the public’s imagination than they disappeared again. It seems this committed network of “cells” disbanded after the shock of being “exposed” by the Mail on Sunday. Again, the evidence to support any of these allegations consisted of some reported social media messages, photographs of people sitting in a pub garden, and a collection of air rifles. All of this was in the public domain, so if they were planning a campaign of “devastating anti-vaccine offensives,” announcing it on social media probably wasn’t a very smart idea. You would think ex-servicemen and women would know better. In fact, it is almost impossible to believe that they don’t.

September 2021

Only three weeks into Sep 2021, it already seemed the threat of anti-vaxxer terrorism had become a global phenomenon. Despite there being no evidence that it exists, it is everywhere. This was underlined in New Zealand by University of Waikato Professor of Law Alexander Gillespie, who said:

Although anti-vaccination terrorism is not a historical trend, there is the potential for this to grow. This will be especially so once some of the difficult decisions that have started to occur overseas, start to happen here.

Prominent anti-vaxxer social media star Karen Brewer was chastised for saying that the “penalty for treason is death.” Brewer was wrong about that, as the New Zealand death penalty for treason was rescinded in 1989. The MSM again insisted that this raised the spectre of anti-vaxxer terrorism. Yet when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the Christchurch gunman should be hanged, the New Zealand MSM did not predict war with Turkey. Police in Italy raided a student house after a group calling themselves The Warriors allegedly advocated violence at planned protest marches. As of the time of writing, none has been arrested or charged with any offences. All we have to go on are claims.

On Sep 18, a 20-year-old man working in a petrol station was murdered by a gunshot wound to the head fired by a 49-year-old man. The shooting occurred in the German city of Idar-Oberstein. There are a number of very strange aspects to this murder. The gunman appears first to have entered the store to buy beer at 19:45. Video footage shows he had a mask in the back pocket of his jeans, suggesting that he was not fiercely committed to not wearing one. The cashier asked the man to put his mask on. There was a brief, apparently heated, verbal exchange before the man stormed out of the shop without the beer. The man returned at around 21:25, wearing a mask, according to police reports. He then approached the counter, pulled down his mask and, when prompted to refit it by the 20-year-old cashier, shot him in the head with a pistol. It isn’t clear why this man, reported as an anti-masker, was (a) in possession of a Covid mask and then (b) wore it in the store before he apparently committed the murder.

The 49-year-old software developer, named by the Rhineland authorities as Mario N, handed himself to police the morning after the murder, and initial police statements said he had told them he had killed the cashier “out of anger.” Police apparently found a number of other weapons at his home address and stated he had obtained these illegally. Possibly, he obtained them from his father, who committed suicide in Mar 2020 after trying to murder his wife. Mario N had been the subject of monitoring undertaken by the CeMAS (Center für Monitoring, Analyse und Strategie) and the German MSM magazine Der Spiegel in 2019.

CeMAS is an “open source multi-disciplinary social media monitoring organisation that concerns itself with a claimed rise in disinformation. It primarily focuses upon the alleged increase in “right-wing” extremism and is funded almost entirely by the Alfred Landecker Foundation (ALF), which is the philanthropic arm of JAB Holdings, the multinational conglomerate owned by the Reimann Family. Ironically, the Reimann family were Nazis. They were unaware that they used to be Nazis until they commissioned academics to look into their family history. The Reimanns are staunch supporters of the European project and, following the shock of discovering that their own family were formerly card-carrying National Socialists, have dedicated themselves and ALF to combating anti-Semitism and the far right. As part of this effort, Der Spiegel and CeMAS (ALF) were monitoring Mario N’s communications in 2019. He had expressed violent ideation and seemingly wrote:

I’m looking forward to the next war. Yes, that may sound destructive now, but we just can’t get out of this spiral.

It isn’t really clear what Der Spiegel and CeMAS were gathering this information for. They supposedly didn’t pass anything on to the authorities. In regard to Mario N, Chief Public Prosecutor Kai Fuhrmann said he was completely unknown to the police. He wasn’t known to have even attended any pro-freedom (anti-lockdown) rallies, nor had he had any involvement with any protest “movements.” Criminal psychologist Rudolf Egg stated that Mario N’s apparent murderous behaviour could not be explained by a seemingly innocuous row over face masks:

Nobody who is even halfway sensible will shoot a young man who is completely unknown to him simply because he says: ‘You have to put on a mask now!’ That is nonsense to a criminal psychologist.

Egg added that commentators needed to be “very, very careful” about assuming what his motives or state of mind were when he seemingly carried out this lone-wolf act. He had been under surveillance by privately-funded intelligence agencies and the MSM for years, but they supposedly hadn’t shared any of this “intelligence” with the authorities. It seems he had recently suffered a family trauma, which suggests possible psychological disturbance, and that he had been vocal on social media, with some pretty far-out ideas. However, he wasn’t known to be involved with any groups or protest movements. The killing seems to have been an act of lunacy by one individual. The BBC led with “German cashier shooting linked to Covid-19 conspiracies.” The BBC told the British public:

Researchers believe the suspect, named only as Mario N, was a far-right supporter and Covid-denier.

These “researchers” were Der Spiegel and CeMAS. The BBC also reported the comments of Stephan Kramer, a German intelligence official, who said “the escalation of right-wing conspiracy fantasies among aggressive and violence-prone citizens has been obvious for months.” The BBC deduced from this that the shooting was linked to conspiracy theorists, and made more unsubstantiated allegations about threats to journalists and doctors. Tying the whole thing up in a big conspiratorial bow, they reported government appeals to protesters not to escalate the violence, although just what the protesters were supposed to be able to do about an apparent act of insanity wasn’t specified. At no point did the BBC bother reporting that the police and criminal psychologists didn’t know why Mario N. had seemingly embarked upon his disturbed course. Once again, we see the MSM’s determination to forge associations that are not at all evident.

On Sep 19, the British Government announced its plan to fortify flour destined for UK bakeries with folic acid. There was little, if any, reaction to this announcement. A cursory glance at social media revealed very little debate on the subject. There was no great reaction from so-called “anti-vaxxers.” Yet within a couple of days, this supposed reaction, which didn’t happen, formed a central theme in an article published by the Daily Mirror entitled “Anti-vaxxers want to kill your babies, stage a coup and cause another lockdown.” In 2019 the same Mirror journalist wrote an article calling for the imprisonment of people who question vaccines. She said they were “baby killers.” The cover image for that article was of a baby cradled in a medic’s arms. Someone had Photoshopped the image to add the appearance of measles on the baby’s skin. Whether that was the Mirror’s editorial team or not is unknown. Regardless, it was very easy to spot the fake image the Mirror had used to mislead the public. In her more recent attack on people who question the efficacy and safety of vaccines, the journalist alleged they were trying to attack democracy, were “thick knuckledraggers,” had a Messiah complex and mental health problems. She said they had caused the NHS to collapse, were behind the Capitol Hill débâcle, and were “nutters.” Rounding off her opening invective, she wrote:

No-one stops to think about how the Taliban, the IRA, Al Qaeda, neo-Nazis and ISIS were all just nutters, once, and mostly still are. Perhaps the difference is intent. The world’s terrorist organisations aim to create terror, whereas the anti-thinking brigade do it by accident.

Alleging, without reason, that the targets of her ire had overreacted to the folic acid announcement, she then spoke about the science behind folic acid supplements. It seems clear that the article was written in anticipation of a reaction that never surfaced. Other than the journalist’s vitriol, there was no substance to the piece. Just as we have seen with every “story” selling the myth of the anti-vaxxer terrorist, the journalist had nothing but vacuous allegations and smears to hang her words on. There was nothing she could point towards that evidenced anything she wrote. However, that wasn’t the point of the opinion piece. The objective was to stir up anger, resentment and hate. It was to blame the Other, to marginalise and persecute. It was typical fascist fare and it soon took a depressingly familiar turn:

If you talk about staging a coup, encourage birth defects, or lie about a lifesaving vaccine, you’re committing something terrifyingly close to murder, insurrection, and child abuse. Spreading lies that damage the NHS, downgrade democracy, or cause child deformities is a crime against all. Updating our laws to make the spreading of harmful conspiracy theories an act of treason, though, would mean that not only could the ringleaders be shut down, they also could be deradicalised, medicated and educated. They are terrorists, and should be treated as such.

Conclusion: Is An Anti-Lockdown Movement False Flag Imminent?

The dearth of evidence supporting the MSM stories and intelligence reports alleging the rise of anti-vaxxer terrorism is all the more odd when set against the sheer number of them. Somewhere within this extensive catalogue of accusations, there ought to be some firm, verifiable evidence of people who question vaccine safety and efficacy, or those who oppose Covid-19 policy responses, actually planning or committing terrorist acts. Yet there is not. Therefore, should a high-profile attack occur, to be blamed upon these groups, it should be acknowledged by everyone that, prior to MSM reports of the attack, there was no evidence of the existence of any such groups. Currently, we have nothing which substantiates this purported threat. Any future reports claiming that law enforcement and intelligence agencies have been warning of the “growing threat” will only be true to the extent that government agencies and the MSM have made these allegations. These allegations are without merit, and their warnings are hollow. If such an attack reportedly happens, it will have come out of nowhere. This is the context within which any such “news” reports should be viewed.

We should also be aware of the many examples of governments’ use of false-flag terrorism. It is a technique consistently perpetrated to advance government agendas. We also know that governments have infiltrated and often led protest movements to further their own objectives. In the UK, the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act is now in force. Government operatives have been given carte blanche to commit any crime deemed necessary for “national security.” No crimes are ruled out in the Act. Governments the world over have been eager to shut down what they call the “infodemic.” This neologism represents nothing more than people sharing information which challenges the policy response to the claimed Covid-19 pandemic. An attack blamed upon anti-vaxxers or anti-lockdownprotesters would benefit state interests more than it benefited any other party.

There is no doubt that a large minority of people are very angry about government policy responses to Covid-19. Recent violent clashes in Australia evidence the volatility of the situation. But the use of weaponry, armoured vehicles and extreme violence in Australia, just as we have also seen in France and elsewhere, was instigated by the state authorities. It is also true that people who question the Covid-19 policy response are vilified and attacked by the MSM and the politicians. They have been lambasted with derogatory labels persistently applied to them, such as “refusenik” (an obscene misapplication of a Soviet term that actually means ‘a Jew who has been refused permission to leave the country’), “anti-vaxxer,” “conspiracy theorist,” “Covid deniers” and “extremist.” The social media companies are working with government ministries and legislatures to censor any and all criticisms that sceptics make. Their opinions are being marginalised in what is clearly a coordinated effort to drive their views out of the mainstream discourse. They rarely, if ever, see their concerns fairly represented in the MSM. Perhaps most infuriatingly, the scientific, medical and statistical evidence they cite is scarcely acknowledged, let alone reasonably debated, in the public square.

This suppression of free speech and freedom of expression in our so-called Western democracies inevitably fuels anger and resentment. In such a febrile environment, it is possible that a tiny minority will react aggressively, even violently. All that matters is the evidence. The opinions expressed by the MSM, and equally those of the so-called alternative media, are irrelevant. Only the evidence can lead us towards the facts, and only the facts can reveal the truth. Before we believe what we are told, it is incumbent upon each of us to examine the evidence ourselves and not to leap to conclusions based upon stories.

We should carefully consider who benefits (cui bono) from any claimed anti-vaxxer or anti-lockdown terrorist attack. Any such attack will certainly be seized upon by governments to finally outlaw any questioning of vaccines or their policies. That is something they have consistently been working towards for decades. Most crucially, if an anti-vaxxer or anti-lockdown errorist attack occurs, whether the evidence indicates that it is a false flag or not, we must resist and refute any suggestion by anyone that the people who question vaccine safety and efficacy or question government policies are in any way responsible. The world’s Muslim population is not responsible for Islamist terrorism, and the Catholic population is not culpable for Irish nationalist terrorism. The section of society that questions the safety and efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccines, or those who oppose government policies to limit our freedoms, will not be complicit in any claimed anti-vaxxer terrorism or other criminal acts, regardless of what the politicians and the MSM want you to believe.

all the shit that wikileaks never stole

John Durham and the Amazing Disappearing DNC Hack.
George Parry, American Spectator, Oct 11 2021

Rep Chris Stewart (R-UT) in 2019 (YouTube screenshot)

This is the fifth in a series of articles analyzing the 27-page federal grand jury indictment charging lawyer Michael Sussmann with making a false statement to the FBI. As stated in the fourth article, when the FBI learned of the alleged hack of the DNC emails, it asked to examine the server. In fact, at the same time as the alleged DNC hack, there were similar reports regarding the DCCC server as well as DNC Chairman John Podesta’s personal email devices. In testimony before the Senate, FBI Director James Comey stated the following:

Q (by Senator Burr): Did the FBI request access to those devices [the servers and Podesta’s devices] to perform forensics on?
A: Yes, we did.
Q: And would that access have provided intelligence or information helpful to your investigation in possibly finding … including to the Intelligence Community Assessment?
A: Our forensics folks would always prefer to get access to the original device or server that’s involved. So, it’s the best evidence.
Q: Were you given access to do the forensics on those servers?
A: We were not. We were … a highly respected private company eventually got access and shared with us what they saw there.
Q: But is that typically the way the FBI would prefer to do the forensics or would your forensic unit rather see the servers and do the forensics themselves?
A: We always prefer to have access hands on ourselves, if that’s possible.
Q: Do you know why you were denied access to those servers?
A: I don’t know for sure. Um, I don’t know for sure.
Q: Was there one request or multiple requests?
A: Multiple requests at different levels and ultimately what was agreed to is that the private company would share with us what they saw.

So, instead of using a search warrant or some other legal process to perform a direct, hands on forensic examination of the DNC server, the FBI agreed to base its investigation on the findings of a private cybersecurity company. And, as discussed in the previous article, that company, CrowdStrike, was to do the investigation pursuant to its contract with Michael Sussmann of Perkins Coie, the law firm that represented Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Think about that. When presented with allegations of a devastating foreign cyber attack on one of the two major political parties, the FBI meekly agreed to allow CrowdStrike and Perkins Coie to do the forensic examination and, for all intents and purposes, run the investigation. Not even the lowliest local police department would agree to such an absurd arrangement.

What if this was a murder case? Would the Smallville PD allow a private investigator and lawyer hired by the murder victim’s family to process the crime scene, do the autopsy, and tell the police and district attorney what they supposedly found? Wouldn’t such findings be subject to attack in court as coming from sources that may have had an interest in shaping and tailoring the investigative results to suit the needs and desires of their client? Wouldn’t there be legal problems with the evidence’s provenance, chain of custody, and the reliability and comprehensiveness of the investigative work that supposedly produced it? Would the police and district attorney ever allow themselves to get roped into such a bizarre, ridiculous, nightmarish, and self-defeating arrangement? Of course not. No rational person or organization intent on conducting a serious investigation would. But that, in effect, is precisely what the FBI, the self-proclaimed greatest investigative agency in the world, did when faced with this purportedly monumental foreign attack on the Democrat Party apparatus.

Now keep Comey’s testimony in focus as we review the remarkable appearance of Shawn Henry, President of CrowdStrike Services, before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. HPSCI convened in closed executive session on Dec 5 2017. Present were Henry, the Committee members and staff, as well as a lawyer representing CrowdStrike and a lawyer from Perkins Coie. Under questioning, Henry confirmed that CrowdStrike’s examination of the DNC server was done pursuant to its contract with Michael Sussmann of Perkins Coie. Consequently, as explained by the Perkins Coie lawyer, CrowdStrike’s findings were protected by the attorney-client privilege. Therefore, it would be up to Perkins Coie, acting on behalf of the DNC, to decide what information Henry would be allowed to share with HPSCI. First up was Rep Chris Stewart (R-UT) who wanted to know why the FBI hadn’t taken “the lead in this investigation.” And that’s when the fun and games began. Once it was established that the FBI did not have access to the server, Stewart asked:

Could they conduct their own investigation in a thorough fashion without access to the actual hardware?

To that Henry went out on a limb and firmly replied, “Maybe.” Undeterred, Stewart asked:

Are you comfortable that someone could complete a thorough investigation, using other tools, without direct access to the hardware or equipment?

Up to the challenge, Henry proceeded to answer a question that wasn’t asked.

Could they come to a conclusion? You’re asking a nuanced question. And I’m not being cagey. I want to be clear, because this is an important point.

But would it be better if the FBI had access? Henry replied:

The more information you have access to, the better any investigation. But it doesn’t mean that a lack of a piece of information precludes you from coming to a conclusion.

The determined Stewart tried again. If you “could have a better investigation if you had access to all of the equipment or hardware” would there be “reasons for not making that available [to the FBI] that override the benefit of having a more conclusive investigation?” To which Henry replied:

You’re asking me to speculate. I don’t know the answer.

At which point, an exasperated Stewart said to the Perkins Coie lawyer:

By the way, you need to pay him well, because he’s obviously serving you well today as you guys have your conversations back and forth.

So just what evidence did CrowdStrike find on the DNC server? Over the course of the hearing, Henry grudgingly gave ground with answers such as these:

Counsel just reminded me that, as it relates to the DNC, we have indicators that data was exfiltrated. We did not have concrete evidence that data was exfiltrated from the DNC, but we have indicators that it was exfiltrated. There’s not evidence that they were actually exfiltrated. There’s circumstantial evidence … we didn’t have direct evidence. But we made a conclusion that data left the network.

Okay, there was no direct, concrete, or other proof that the emails were actually taken from the DNC computer. But what were these “indicators” that led CrowdStrike to conclude that the emails were hacked? According to Henry, CrowdStrike found “indicators of compromise, which are pieces of malware, et cetera.” He then explained that CrowdStrike’s investigative report states that the data were “staged for exfiltration” by the purported Russian hacker. He added:

There are times when we can see data exfiltrated, and we can say conclusively. But in this case, it appears that it was set up to be exfiltrated, but we just don’t have the evidence that says it actually left.

Got that? With no evidence that the emails were actually hacked, CrowdStrike nevertheless concluded that the Russians hacked the emails. Despite the spin, the whole DNC hack story had just flatlined. But there was one more issue to be addressed: exactly what evidence was shared with the FBI? I will spare you the tedious details of the interrogation. The questioners kept asking Henry what information CrowdStrike provided to the FBI, and he repeatedly said that they got whatever they asked for. But the problem with this line of questioning is that it failed to consider the fact that CrowdStrike was working for Perkins Coie. Consequently, the questions should have focused on what information Perkins Coie allowed to be transmitted to the FBI. The closest anyone came to getting at this issue was when Rep Mike Conaway (R-TX) asked:

Did the DNC restrict anything that you shared with the FBI or that the FBI asked for? Did they tell you ‘no’ at any point?

Henry replied:

No, I have no recollection. Again, I know that there are redacted reports and there was some restriction on the reports. That’s the only thing that I can recall.

Wait. What? Redacted? Restriction? Does this mean that the DNC withheld some of CrowdStrike’s findings and work product from the FBI? The answer to that question can be found lurking in the pre-trial pleadings in the case of US v Roger Stone. In an effort to debunk the DNC hack story, Stone’s lawyers requested that the DoJ produce the full, unredacted CrowdStrike investigative report. And that’s when the cowpie hit the fan. It turned out that, in addition to not examining the DNC server, neither the FBI nor the DOJ actually saw the full, final CrowdStrike report. The following is lifted directly from the prosecution’s response to Stone’s discovery request:

Ponder that carefully. The referenced “counsel for the DNC and DCCC” is Perkins Coie. The reports provided were marked “draft” and had redactions. But the FBI and DOJ had the assurances of Perkins Coie that the  drafts were, in fact, the last version of the report and “no redacted information concerned the attribution of the attack to Russian actors.” So, was there a hack of the DNC server? Don’t ask the FBI or the DOJ. They only know what Perkins Coie, which was representing a client that was heavily invested in spreading the Russian hack story, allowed them to know. But thanks to the release of Shawn Henry’s testimony before the HPSCI, what we now know is that CrowdStrike never found any “direct,” “concrete,” or other evidence that proves the DNC emails “actually left” the DNC server. Or, as we used to say in the old Justice Dept: turn out the lights, the party’s over. There’s more to come, but this article is already too long. So stay tuned for the next episode.

colonel cassad

Ukrainian question. Waiting for changes
Boris Rozhin, Analytical Service of Donbass, also Colonel Cassad, Oct 15 2021

The kidnapping of a Russian citizen who worked as an observer of the JCCC in the area of the disengagement of forces “Golden-5” was a clear illustration of the theses of Medvedev’s recent article that there is nothing to talk about with Ukraine in general. Not that Medvedev’s article contained some new things, on the contrary, it was a compilation of well-known theses that Ukraine has not determined its fate for a long time and does not have the proper subjectivity to determine it. And if so, it makes sense to talk to those who decide something in Ukraine, and there is nothing to talk about with those who decide nothing. The article appeared on the eve of negotiations with Nuland, which, despite sanctions, was allowed to enter Moscow, where Ukraine itself was also discussed without Ukraine itself.

Discussion of Ukraine and its future in the absence of Ukraine itself has long been a good tone reflecting Ukraine’s real place in the system of international relations. Therefore, in Moscow, this moment was once again purposefully articulated before negotiations with Nuland, and the US, despite the fact that they constantly declare in public rhetoric about the “right of Ukraine to determine its own fate,” in fact, as in the case of the discussion of Nord Stream 2 with Germany, are easily discussing the future of Ukraine with Russia. Of course, the US would be more profitable than a scheme where Russia negotiates with Ukraine, which the US is openly manipulating. But since this scheme did not pass, and the problems of relations with the Russian Federation require discussion, the US on its own initiative began to discuss the situation in Ukraine with the Russian Federation, although formally Washington did not depart from the original demands for Russia to surrender its positions in Ukraine and Crimea.

This does not mean that something has changed in the current strategic impasse. This only showed that the US will lead its line in Ukraine without taking into account Ukraine’s opinion. Not that it was a big secret, but the Biden administration has purposefully demonstrated it in recent months, neglecting Zelensky and periodically indicating him his real place. Since Kiev puppets fear that they may fall victim to some agreements in which they do not participate, they on the one hand try to please the current administration, and on the other hand reproduce primitive provocations in Donbass or on the border with Crimea in order to maintain the degree of conflict and attract attention. And now, against the background of the ongoing offshore scandal in Ukraine, Nazi rallies and marches and persecution of the opposition, Kiev saw that the US, for its reasons, is trying to agree on something with the Kremlin, without particularly caring about what it will look like in Ukraine. Therefore, during Nuland’s visit, shelling intensified on the front line, and then a Russian citizen was kidnapped. Of course, this does not bring Zelensky closer, but distances Zelensky from meeting with Putin.

Moreover, the day after the capture of the CCCC observer, it was stated that negotiations through the Normandy format foreign ministries had not led to success and there were no prerequisites for a meeting of the leaders of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine. Russia still reminds that the agreements of the 2019 summit have not yet been implemented (the only time Zelensky met with Putin, but reduced everything to the mythical kidnapping of toilets from Poroshenko’s “wolf pack” ships), and Ukraine has not fulfilled its obligations under Minsk-2, then there is no point in meeting for the second time. At the same time, Ukraine officially declares that it now considers only the “Normandy format” to be the only negotiating format. As you can guess, with this position, there will simply be no substantive negotiations, just as there will be no substantive negotiations between Ukraine and the LDPR. Only episodic meetings with a programmable outcome “agreed to negotiate further” will be possible.

Of course, if Russia and the US had concluded any deal on Ukraine, Washington has enough leverage to adjust Ukraine’s position in any direction convenient for them. But at the moment we are not talking about such deals between Moscow and Washington. Following Nuland’s visit, the parties restrainedly announced some progress that may result in some easing of diplomatic war and continuing contacts on a number of issues, such as “strategic stability,” “arms race” and “Chinese issue.” The position of both sides on Ukraine is well known, and it is unlikely that it can be resolved by any compromises purely on the Ukrainian issue, especially since the US, which controls most of Ukraine, does not consider it necessary to make serious concessions, but on the contrary, demand such concessions from Russia, which makes it difficult for any practical negotiations.

But if you move to the macro level, everything is getting more interesting here, as those circles in the American establishment are quite strong who believe that the US needs to focus on the conflict with China for world hegemony, and for this it is important to prevent the formation of a full-fledged Russian-Chinese military-political alliance, which, from the point of view of part And if so, it is necessary to freeze the conflict with Russia, including through the division of spheres of influence, where Ukraine is already considered as a bargaining item and a bargaining chip, among other issues that no longer look like a priority in terms of confrontation with China. Therefore, White House contacts with the Kremlin in Ukraine are constantly perceived as a potential risk of some behind-the-scenes transactions, where Ukraine is simply exchanged for something if the anti-Chinese course becomes pressure in American politics.

And in this regard, the weak resistance of the Biden administration to the completion of Nord Stream 2, similar to the escape from Afghanistan, the creation of an anti-Chinese alliance between the US, Britain and Australia, Biden’s disdain for negotiations with Zelensky, the publication of a compromise on Zelensky by Soros structures and, finally, Nuland’s visit to Moscow, all together looks quite alarming for the regime in Kiev. Therefore, they are trying not only to attract attention to the intensification of the war in Donbass or provocations on the border of Crimea, but also to give trump cards to those circles of the American establishment that believe that the US should not ease pressure on Russia, but on the contrary, to increase pressure on it to force Moscow to make peace in Ukraine on American terms, which the US has unsuccessfully sought for 7 years through sanctions and a diverse campaign of pressure on Russia.

Zelensky and Co here simply copy Poroshenko’s actions as part of the ongoing narrowing of the space of decisions, when, in addition to speculating on the war with Russia, it is impossible to explain to the narrowing electorate the failures in domestic and foreign policy and unfulfilled election promises. As a result, the degraded copy of Poroshenko faces growing internal problems, and on the other hand, he faces problems in the external control loop, which is increasingly concerned not with Ukraine, but about other cases. And since minor provocations such as shelling a kindergarten or interrupted water pipeline do not have the proper effect, you need blood (whether your own or someone else’s) or very impudent provocations, such as blowing up a gas pipeline in Crimea, breaking through the Kerch Strait or capturing a Russian observer, so that after a response (whatever it is) you cry out about Russian aggression again. In the case of a captured CCCC officer, they yelled about Russian aggression even before any official reaction, which clearly shows what propaganda campaign Zelensky’s gang plans to promote. Therefore, there is really nothing to talk to her (unlike the US), these are temporary workers who will act under the external control loop within the framework of the most hostile course for the Russian Federation, forming threats both for the Russian Federation as a whole and for individual Russian citizens in particular. And as practice shows, such problems are not solved by themselves, just as the problem of a stolen citizen of the Russian Federation will not be solved by itself. It’s not enough just to sit and wait, it is necessary to make certain efforts to eliminate the threat to Russia in general and to individual citizens of the Russian Federation in particular.

A look from Egypt at the Syrian situation and Russia’s role in Syrian affairs
Colonel Cassad, Oct 15 2021

How was Russia able to establish control over military and security forces in Syria?
Ali Fayyad,, Oct 15 2021

Russia uses Syria to restore its influence and position as a superpower in the international arena, which it lost after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. It is working to strengthen its position on the diplomatic world map, using her presence and influence in Syria as a lever of pressure on Western and U.S. countries during the discussion of controversial issues and in order to achieve international recognition of her global role. It is in this context that we consider the military and political support provided by the Russian regime to Assad, especially after Russia’s direct military intervention in Syria in 2015. Russia has launched a military campaign in Syria to achieve its regional and international strategic goals, not to realize the aspirations of the Syrians. Moscow had to tighten control over the security and military structures of the Syrian regime so that its military and political victories would serve Russian interests and plans for the future in the region. Russia made great efforts to restructure the army and security forces of the Syrian regime, took control of the training and equipment of most military formations, and also created new units directly related to it in order to subsequently fully control the decisions of the Syrian army.

Russian steps to dominate the army and law enforcement agencies

Russia worked to expand its influence in the military structures of the Syrian regime, attracting loyal Assad officers to it and strengthening their presence in important positions. It also initiated large-scale personnel changes in the country’s government and security forces, excluding persons associated with Iran in the light of competition between Tehran and Moscow for control over the military and security structures of the Syrian regime. In 2018, Ali Abdullah Ayub, who previously served as Chief of the General Staff, replaced Fahed Jasem Al-Frej as Syrian Defense Minister, leaving the post of Chief of the General Staff vacant – a precedent that has not been observed in the Syrian army since its inception in 1946. It should be noted that the head of the National Security Bureau, Major General Ali Mamluk, was also promoted at the request of the Russians. In addition, personnel changes affected the General Staff, the 1st Corps, the Air Force, military intelligence and several air defense units. Russia is trying to limit the influence of armed forces, which refuse to obey its demands. This mainly applies to pro-Iranian militias, namely the 4th Division, headed by Maher Assad. Several times it was reported that the conflict between the Russian military and Maher Assad had been escalated after he ignored Moscow’s demands for the withdrawal of 4th Division fighters from strongholds near the ports of Tartus and Latakia, as well as from checkpoints on the border with Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan.

In addition, she regularly conducts military exercises (air and ground) for officers and fighters of the Syrian regime, and also sends officers loyal to Russia to improve their skills. Russia is also making great efforts to control the situation with pro-Iranian militias. It includes them in the regular troops of the Syrian regime, trying to weaken Iran’s growing influence, and disbands pro-Iranian groups, such as the National Defense Forces. Moscow is expanding its influence in the conscription sector to attract young Syrians to the ranks of established and recently restored units, such as the 4th, 6th and 5th Corps, which are considered Russian armed forces in Syria. Several brigades supported by Russia were created with the permission of the Syrian Ministry of Defense. They are equipped with advanced equipment and weapons. According to a report published by Strategy Watch in 2018, Russia has implemented a number of measures to strengthen supervision of the restructuring process of the Syrian army, including the following:

  • Reorganization of the Organization and Management Division of the Department of Officers’ Affairs, which was renamed the Department of Human Resources.
  • Taking control of the conscription sector by establishing a Department for public conscription. Major General Sami Mahal was appointed head, whose main goal is to prevent attempts by the 4th Division and Iranian militia to recruit “youth for reconciliation.”
  • Rebuilding of the 1st Tank Division under the command of Major General Zuhair Assad.
  • The General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation approved a restructuring plan for the 3rd Division and other armored divisions.
  • Association of the “National Defense Forces” with the 4th Assault Corps.
  • Amendments to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and security services.
  • Strengthening Russian control over the Air Force and Air Defense.

The importance of controlling military structures

Russia sought to combine hostilities with the active search for a political settlement. After she managed to stabilize the Syrian regime’s position and prevent its military fall, she began to work to transform her military weight into a political one to promote her own vision and approach to the Syrian dossier. The establishment of control over the military and security structures of the Syrian regime, as well as their restructuring, seems to correspond to the Russian vision of a political solution. This is consistent with Russia’s tireless attempts to push the West to recognize its military and political achievements and ability to achieve long-term stability in Syria. Thanks to its influence on political and military decision-making, it will be able to strengthen its diplomatic presence in the regional and international arenas. On the other hand, the importance of restructuring the army and the dominance of Russians in military and law enforcement agencies is related to the nature of the Russian presence in Syria. Russia tried to use its army in Syria as little as possible, instead relying on the military structures and security services of the Assad regime in order to reduce the cost of participation in the Syrian war and avoid getting into the “Syrian swamp”. She also tried to block the way for active players, especially Iran, which is fighting Russia for influence in Syria.

Obstacles and difficulties

Russia faces many obstacles and difficulties, the most important of which are: the weakness of military and security structures, as well as their low technical and organizational level. The study entitled “Development of the Syrian Armed Forces: Main Trends and Problems”, prepared by the Russian Council for International Affairs (INF), states:

The Syrian Armed Forces lack discipline, centralization, technical and organizational modernization, authority, and they cannot be called a real army.

The Iran-Russian confrontation is gradually reaching new levels. It is a good excuse to strengthen Russia’s position in the military and security structures of the Syrian regime, but at the same time it hinders its efforts to restructure the Syrian army. Although countries continue coordination and cooperation in Syria, the number of their differences has increased markedly. This “hidden conflict” manifests itself most vividly in the military sphere. Tehran relies on its militias, which are engaged in spreading Iranian influence in the military and security structures of the Syrian regime. He introduces his militias into the ranks of government forces, strengthens relations with prominent military commanders such as Maher Assad, Talal Mahlouf, Jamil Hassan and others, using them as a lever of pressure on Russia. It should also be noted that the position of the Syrian regime represents a real obstacle to the realization of Russia’s “colonialist” ambitions. The Assad regime opposes Russia’s support for some Syrian figures, and it is also dissatisfied with its attempts to expand its influence in the country’s military and security structures. This, of course, affected relations between Russia and the Assad regime. In addition, the Syrian regime relies on its Iranian ally to balance Russia’s pressure and takes countermeasures in response to its actions. After all, despite all the above, Russia was able to expand its control over the military and security structures of the Syrian regime, which allowed it to control and guide their decisions in accordance with its strategic vision.


Comment by Colonel Cassad

It is worth noting that throughout the Syrian campaign, the existing objective friction in relations between the Russian Federation and Iran (and not only Syria) eventually given way to pragmatic cooperation on a number of other issues. And the collapse of the Russian-Iranian partnership so desired by the United States and Israel never happened, although back in 2017, the near-Pentagonian circles noted that the collapse of Russian-Iranian cooperation in Syria is one of the main goals of American policy in Syria. With regard to Assad, his balance between Russia and Iran shows that he is not a Russian or Iranian puppet, but having weak cards in his hands, maneuvers between the allies in the Syrian war in order to maintain his subjectivity, which Moscow and Tehran are forced to reckon with. Well, the restructuring and retrofitting of the Syrian army at the expense of Russia allowed to avoid a larger land participation of the Russian Armed Forces in the Syrian war, which fit into the concept of “reasonable sufficiency,” which the Russian Armed Forces have adhered to in Syria since 2015.

rick rozoff

Neo-Ottoman expansionism: when will Turkey annex Northern Syria?
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Oct 14 2021

Excerpts from a lengthy, detailed article in the current issue of the Middle East Quarterly. (The creation of Daniel Pipes, who decidedly has his own ax to grind.)

Turkish Imperialism: When Will Turkey Annex Northern Syria?
Rauf Baker, Middle East Quarterly, Fall 2021

During the past five years, Turkish forces launched four military operations that led to the establishment of four border zones under their control. Last year, the Turkish army launched Operation Spring Shield in the Idlib governorate following a military assault by the Syrian regime to regain control over vast areas in the northwest. That assault ended with a ceasefire agreement between Damascus’s ally Russia and Turkey in Idlib in Mar 2020. As a result of these actions, Turkey now controls more than 8k sq km in Syria, or nearly 4.9% of the war-torn country. Between 12k and 15k Turkish soldiers are stationed there. The major cities under Turkish control are Azaz, Marea, al- Bab, Jarabulus, Afrin, Ras al-Ayn (Serê Kaniyê), and the town of ar-Ra’i. Ankara has also formed affiliated Syrian militias of some 80,000 to 100,000 fighters. Most go by Turkish and Ottoman names, notably “Sultan Murad,” “Mehmed the Conqueror,” the “Samarkand Brigade,” and “Suleiman-Shah,” which yielded a group of youth fighters in April 2019 dubbed “Ertugrul’s Grandsons.” Turkey has various plans to achieve its scheme. Turkish military operations displaced between 300k and 350k Kurdish civilians from their towns and subsequently blocked them from returning. Ankara has used the Turkistan Islamic Party, a Uighur Islamic faction grouped in Idlib and considered a terrorist movement, to fight the Kurds and offered to compensate its members by settling them and their families in Syria.

Kosovo: NATO’s first full-fledged war, first military garrison state 22 years later
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Oct 14 2021

Ten Serbs, 10 policemen injured in Kosovo clashes
Reuters, Oct 13 2021

Kosovo police said officers met resistance with firearms and grenades in Mitrovica. Serbian state TV showed people in northern Mitrovica running away from tear gas and a car on fire. Similar clashes were reported in the nearby town of Zvecan. At an urgent meeting in Serbia’s border town of Raska, President Aleksandar Vucic, flanked by the defence and interior ministers and military commanders, sought to assure Serbs from northern Kosovo that Belgrade supported them. “In that struggle in which we have to protect the lives of our children … we will not only protect them, but we will win,” Vucic told emotional Serbs.

Russian Foreign Ministry condemns NATO pseudo-state Kosovo’s final solution in cleansing ethnic minorities
Rick Rozoff, Antibellum, Oct 14 2021

Not that one should expect Russia to do more here than it does in all other situations: talk.

Moscow condemns Pristina’s antics in northern Kosovo — statement
TASS, Oct 14 2021

Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: “We decisively condemn the antics of the Albanian Kosovan leaders who feel impunity and use any excuse to achieve a spike of Serbophobia in the local community ahead of the Oct 17 elections, and use this wave to ensure a superiority of ultra-nationalistic forces, incapable of negotiation. Pristina’s aggressive course with the connivance of Western countries only complicates the already problematic dialogue with Belgrade. Warning: this line of Pristina and the feeble reaction of its external ‘curators’ inevitably cause degradation to an open conflict and destroy the preconditions for the already stalling dialogue between the sides. The Kosovars demonstratively display their unwillingness to abolish their aggressive plans, aimed at cleansing the province of all non-Albanian residents by creating insufferable living conditions. We demand that the Kosovo Force fulfill its mandate in accordance with the UNSCR 1244 and quell the unhinged Albanian Kosovan radicals. We note that the NATO-led international contingent is fully responsible for ensuring peace and security in the region.”

That is, Moscow calls on NATO to correct the very crisis it created and has sustained for twenty-two years.

President: if NATO intervenes in Bosnian Serb Republic, friends will be called on to protect it from aggression
Rick Rozoff, Oct 14 2021

Dodik: if NATO intervenes on the territory of RS, we will call friends to protect us
Sarajevo Times, Oct 14 2021

BiH Presidency member Milorad Dodik said that he intends to fight for his goals politically, however, if there is a NATO reaction, he will invite friends who “will not leave them stranded.” The leader of the SNSD party believes that something like that would be considered aggression, and the Republika Srpska would then have the right to call on its friends to protect them. He added that RS will defend itself by passing regulations, such as the one on withdrawing consent for the BiH Armed Forces. “But, if necessary, we will defend ourselves with our forces. If they come to say that NATO will intervene, we will ask for the help of our friends who told us clearly and loudly that they never leave their friends stranded,” he said.

Turkey expands combat drone sales to Ethiopia and Morocco: report
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Oct 14 2021

Which have been used to murder people in Iraq, Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh, Syria and the Ukraine to date.

Turkey expands armed drone sales to Ethiopia and Morocco – sources
Reuters, Oct 14 2021

Turkey has expanded its exports of armed drones by negotiating sales deals with Morocco and Ethiopia after their successful use in international conflicts, according to four sources familiar with the agreements. Any drone shipments to Ethiopia risk stoking friction in already strained relations between Ankara and Cairo, which is at odds with Addis Ababa over a hydropower dam on the Blue Nile. Ukraine and Turkey’s NATO partner Poland have also ordered armed drones.

Turkey: Taliban foreign minister leads high-level delegation in first visit to NATO nation
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Oct 14 2021

Taliban pays first visit to Turkey after takeover of Afghanistan
Hurriyet, Oct 14 2021

A high-level delegation of Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers, led by the acting foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, has arrived in Ankara for meetings with Turkish officials, Foreign Ministry officials said on Oct 14. NATO member Turkey maintained its embassy in Afghanistan after Western countries withdrew following the Taliban takeover and has urged those countries to step up engagement. Ankara also said it will only work fully with the Taliban if they form a more inclusive administration. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Oct 13 said that he was planning to visit the Afghan capital Kabul with a group of counterparts.

Turkish, Azerbaijani land force commanders meet at NATO warfare center to plot “brotherly” war games
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Oct 14 2021

Azerbaijan’s Land Forces Commander meets his Turkish counterpart, Oct 14 2021

Commander of the Land Forces of Azerbaijan, Maj-Gen Enver Efendiyev, who is on a visit to Ankara, met with the Commander of the Land Forces of Turkey, General of the Army Musa Avsever at the “Day of High-Level Observers” event, organized within the framework of the ‘Avrasiya sülhü-2021’ exercise. The commanders noted the importance of joint exercises of the two fraternal countries from the point of view of exchange of experience and further strengthening of friendship and brotherhood.

Azerbaijan awards troops for serving NATO in Afghanistan
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Oct 14 2021

A group of servicemen who took part in the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan have been awarded
Azertag, Oct 14 2021

A group of Azerbaijani servicemen who took part in the “Resolute Support” mission in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan have been awarded by the order of the Minister of Defense. It should be noted that our servicemen who took part in the “Resolute Support” mission in Afghanistan were awarded the medals “For Courage” and “For Military Service” by the relevant order of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Oct 7 this year.

Ukraine’s first lady: women more eager than men to kill and die in Donbass war
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Oct 14 2021

President’s wife: More than 31,000 defendresses safeguarding peace in Ukraine
UkrInform, Oct 14 2021

“Today we celebrate the Day of Defenders and Defendresses of Ukraine for the first time! We have all long been accustomed to the fact that the role of defender is always confidently performed by men. Women get the roles of those who need to be defended. Earlier, women’s contribution to the defense of Ukraine took second place. And this, in my opinion, is unfair,” [President Volodymyr Zelensky’s wife Olena] Zelenska posted on Facebook.

Ukraine celebrates defenders, defendresses, Cossacks, Bandera against “Russia’s occupation of Crimea”
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Oct 14 2021

Day of Defenders and Defendresses of Ukraine celebrated today
UkrInform, Oct 14 2021

On Oct 14, on the Orthodox feast of the Intercession of the Theotokos, Ukrainians celebrate the Day of Defenders and Defendresses of Ukraine and the Day of Ukrainian Cossacks. The Day of Defenders and Defendresses of Ukraine is a public holiday celebrated on Oct 14. It was officially established on October 14 2014, by a presidential decree entitled “The Day of Defender of Ukraine.” On Jul 12 2021, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine renamed the holiday into the Day of Defenders and Defendresses of Ukraine. The urgent need for this national holiday became acute after the start of Russia’s occupation of Crimea and armed hostilities in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Already in the 20th century, the Cossack traditions of the struggle for independence of Ukraine were taken over by soldiers of the Army of the Ukrainian People’s Republic and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army.

Zelensky urges frontline military cadets to hasten day when “Donbas and Crimea are with us again”
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Oct 14 2021

Zelensky: war in Donbas is a challenge that must be overcome for sake of future peace
Interfax Ukraine, Oct 14 2021

The war in Donbass is a challenge that Ukraine needs to overcome for the sake of peace in the future, President Zelensky said addressing the cadets of the Luhansk military lyceum on the day of taking the oath on the island of Khortytsia (Zaporizhia region). Zelensky said that the temporary occupation of territories is “our challenge and we need to overcome it in order to finally say: peace has come, Donbas and Crimea are with us again.”

Pentagon’s Warfare Center “exercises its missile defense” with NATO in Europe
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Oct 14 2021

USAF Europe Warfare Center exercises its missile defense, European Test Bed 21-2
USAF, Oct 14 2021

USAF Brig-Gen Steven G Edwards, USAF Europe chief of staff, discusses the European Test Bed exercise specifics before participating with Maj Robert Matthews, 603rd Air Operations Center Combat Operations Division, and Matthew Langley, ballistic missile defense subject matter expert at Einsiedlerhof Air Station, Oct 6 2021. ETB is an event where military minds from the US and NATO gather to explore and experiment with new ways to defend Europe from air and missile attacks.

NATO chieftain: when 30 Allies agree that they are ready to join, Georgia and Ukraine will join the bloc
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Oct 14 2021

Georgia, Not Russia, to Decide Georgia’s NATO Membership – Stoltenberg, Oct 11 2021

Speaking at an event hosted by Brookings Institution and Georgetown University in Washington, Stoltenberg rebuffed on Oct 5 the notion that Russia’s small neighbors joining NATO would be a “provocation” to Moscow as “absolutely wrong.” He said: “The message that it would be provocative to Russia that Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic should join NATO just exemplifies that Russia wants a world order where they have a sphere of influence. That’s not the world I would like to live in, and actually I fight for decades to move away from that world. When the 30 Allies agree that they are ready to join, they will join.”

NATO PA: Bosnia, Georgia Ukraine in NATO, Russia out of Caucasus, Crimea, Donbass
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Oct 14 2021

Which is to say, reducing the demands to essential terms, war with Russia on multiple fronts.

Georgia in NATO Parliamentary Assembly Resolutions, Oct 12 2021

NATO Parliamentary Assembly adopted on Oct 11 two resolutions that, among others, reaffirmed support to Georgia’s territorial integrity and its Euro-Atlantic integration aspirations. Resolution 471, adopted during the Assembly’s 67th Annual Session in Lisbon, Portugal, called on governments and legislatures of the Allied states “to reaffirm their commitment to NATO’s Open Door policy and to step up support for Ukraine, Georgia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina and to help them accelerate their Euro-Atlantic integration.” Resolution 470, also adopted during the session, condemned “Russia’s ongoing violation of the territorial integrity of Georgia, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova,” and Moscow’s “persistent efforts to destabilize these countries, to derail their European and/or Euro-Atlantic integration, and to incite reckless and irresponsible escalations.” The Resolution also denounced Russia’s “illegal curtailing” of the freedom of navigation in the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. The Resolution urged NATO member states “to signal solidarity with Georgia and Ukraine through increased joint exercises and practical support to their ability to defend themselves.”

Pentagon chief’s visit to Georgia stark message to Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Russia
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Oct 14 2021

Georgia’s territorial integrity: “liberation” of Abkhazia and South Ossetia from “Russian occupation.”

Euro-Atlantic aspirations: Georgia joining NATO first, the European Union second (the sequence that all eleven nations that have joined both since the end of the Cold War proceeded through) Georgian and American soldiers have been standing side-by-side for years: Georgia was the third-largest troop contributor for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; during Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia and war with Russia in 2008 the US. flew all 2k Georgian troops in Iraq on military transport planes back to Georgia to join in the war.

Georgian FM: US Defence Secretary’s visit ‘historic’, reaffirms US’ strong support, Oct 13 2021

Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani says that the visit of US Sec Def Lloyd Austin to Georgia next week is ‘historic’ and reaffirms America’s strong support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and the country’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations. Zalkaliani said earlier today that the visit points to the ‘special attitude’ of the US to strategic partnership with Georgia, which is based on ‘common values, interests and goals.’ He stated that close Georgia-US cooperation in the defense field ‘plays a crucial role’ in bolstering Georgia’s compliance with NATO standards. Georgia is the US’ loyal ally and partner in the region, supporting the country’s efforts to strengthen international peace and security. Georgian and American soldiers have been standing side-by-side for years, including in NATO,” Zalkaliani said.

NATO, Pentagon use Adriatic Charter to complete full absorption of the Balkans
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Oct 14 2021

The Adriatic Charter was established in 2003 at the initiative of then Sec State Colin Powell to incorporate all the Balkans states into NATO. At that time no Balkans country belonged to the military bloc. The following year Bulgaria and Romania joined, and thereafter four members of the Adriatic Charter (Albania, Croatia, Macedonia and Montenegro) became NATO member states. Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo are slated to follow. Bosnia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia were NATO’s first-ever war zones. Troops from Adriatic Charter member states have served under NATO command in Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Afghanistan and Iraq among other conflict zones. Note that the Pentagon and NATO treat Kosovo as a sovereign nation; indeed one they spawned.

Allied Command Transformation Speaks at CSEL Course
SHAPE, Oct 14 2021

Allied Command Operations (ACO) Command Senior Enlisted Leader (CSEL) Command Sergeant Major (CSM) Siim Saliste visited the Croatian Armed Forces Military Academy’s CSEL Course on Oct 13 2021. During the visit CSM Saliste was welcomed by CSM Drazen Klanjec, CSEL of the Croatian Armed Forces, before speaking to senior enlisted leaders from nations represented in the Adriatic Charter including leaders from Allies Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia, the US and hosts Croatia, along with partner nations Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. The Adriatic Charter is an association formed by Albania, Croatia, North Macedonia and the US for the purpose of supporting their attempts to join NATO. Croatia joined NATO as a member in Apr 2009 and currently contributes to missions including the enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroups in both Poland and Lithuania, as well as Operation Sea Guardian (throughout the Mediterranean Sea) and Kosovo Force (KFOR).

covid sceptics

News Round-Up
Michael Curzon, Daily Sceptic, Oct 14 2021 interview dr robert malone (covid)

Public health response to Covid-19 lags behind data & doesn’t weigh real risks, vaccine researcher Robert Malone tells RT, Oct 14 2021

Mandates are actually fueling vaccine hesitancy in groups that need them the most, while public health responses always lag months behind the data instead of adapting to it, vaccine researcher Dr Robert Malone told RT in an interview on Thursday:

The same mistakes keep getting made again and again. The fundamental error is that the public health community is structured to make decisions by consensus, so it is slow to react to data and is always 4-6 months behind the curve, instead of looking forward and adapting based on new information. Public policy has also been distorted by the totally inappropriate involvement by wealthy sponsors such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Malone has been involved in vaccine development for decades, and was among the scientists who developed mRNA technology, which is now used by the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines in the US. He has run afoul of the medical establishment during the coronavirus pandemic, however, for looking at possible treatments and opposing vaccination mandates. He said:

I absolutely do not support vaccine mandates. I feel strongly from a bioethical position that this is wrong. It’s the obligation of the world health community to provide clear, transparent, compelling evidence in favor of the vaccine product uptake in the relevant groups. It’s not their job to provide mandates. Attempts to mandate the jabs are actually fueling vaccine hesitancy among the people in high-risk groups who need to take them. Traditionally, public health authorities in the US stratify the risk-benefit ratio by age groups and categories. That ratio currently does not support vaccination with mRNA jabs for young adults and children, because there’s no question that the vaccine has an association with myocarditis and pericarditis in adolescents, particularly in young men but also in young girls. The problem is that we’ve been told we’re all at high risk for the disease and death associated with this virus. There’s no gentle way to put it: That is a lie. Covid-19 most affects the elderly and the obese. There is compelling evidence that vaccination benefits the elderly, the morbidly obese, the immunocompromised and other high-risk categories. Emerging economies and African countries where obesity isn’t as widespread as in the industrialized nations of the West, have a lower incidence of severe cases and deaths.

Scientists have struggled to explain the data from Africa, suggesting lack of testing or increased immunity from other diseases as possible explanations. The vaccination rate on the continent was less than 2% as of Jul 2021, and while cases and deaths surged at the time, they still lag behind Western nations. Malone says he supports what the WHO and Western governments have termed ‘vaccine equity,’ in the sense that the elderly and the vulnerable need to be prioritized. Dr Malone said:

We should have more vaccine equity in terms of making products available to the elderly in particular. The elders are the institutional memory, essentially. They’re the memory and the wisdom in communities as small as local villages and up to national governments. I think it’s a travesty that these vaccines are not being made available. Instead, however, the governments around the world are trying to mandate vaccinations for everyone, including pregnant women. There is simply no data on the safety of this, one way or another. There was a recommendation made in the absence of data, and the studies to determine the data were launched after the CDC announcement, which as a scientist and a physician I find upside down.

The CDC recommendations from Aug 2021 cite a non-peer-reviewed study involving 2,456 “pregnant persons” enrolled in a “voluntary smartphone-based surveillance system,” who were vaccinated with mRNA vaccines. It found that the cumulative risk of miscarriage in that group was 12.8%, which the CDC said was “similar to the expected” 11-16% rate in the general population. Malone’s criticism of the government response to Covid-19 has made him a target of what he calls “character assassination,” with the media labeling him an ‘anti-vaxxer,’ a purveyor of ‘health misinformation’ and worse. He said:

This is a classic Western media strategy to delegitimize people that are not complying with the dominant narrative. I have consistently spoken in favor of vaccination of high-risk groups. I’ve never wavered from that position.

He also says he took the Moderna vaccine early on, after having ‘Long Covid,’ and has been frank about the side effects he suffered. He says:

There is a whole lot of media scare porn going on and misrepresentation and misbranding, and a lot of it is intentional.

WSWS on america, germany & afghanistan (still good tho they are certifiable clowns on covid)

Washington strangles Afghanistan’s economy as millions face starvation
Bill Van Auken, WSWS, Oct 15 2021

An internally displaced Afghan child looks for plastic and other items which can be used as a
replacement for firewood, at a garbage dump in Kabul, Dec 15 2019. (Photo: Altaf Qadri/AP)

Two months after the Aug 15 fall of Kabul to the Taliban and the ignominious end of Washington’s 20-year war and occupation in Afghanistan, the country is teetering on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe. Measures being taken by the Biden administration to strangle the country’s economy threaten to inflict the greatest crime against humanity committed in Afghanistan over the course of decades of US imperialist intervention. UN agencies are warning that over nine out of 10 Afghan families are already unable to obtain sufficient food and that over 1m children could face acute malnutrition and even death by starvation in the coming year. Already almost half the country’s children are malnourished, while there is a mounting danger of diseases like the measles and polio spreading throughout the population. Conditions were already dire before the final withdrawal of US troops and the collapse of the American puppet regime in Kabul, with Afghanistan ranking 169th out of 189 countries on the UN’s human development index. A drought has destroyed much of the wheat harvest and inflation has sent food prices soaring.

Since the consummation of the US debacle, however, the country has suffered two hammer blows. First, all foreign aid and development funds have been summarily cut off. While a large portion of this money went directly into the pockets of corrupt US-backed officials, it accounted for roughly 80 percent of the government’s budget and was the mainstay of the country’s economy, which in 20 years of US occupation never developed any significant industry.

Second, and even more devastating, the US has imposed unilateral sanctions against the Taliban-controlled government on the basis of having classified the former insurgent movement as a Specially Designated Terrorist Group (SDGT), making it a potential crime for anyone in the US—and given secondary sanctions, anyone in the world—from dealing with it.

The US, meanwhile, has frozen some $9.5b in Afghanistan government assets, most of it held by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Under pressure from the Biden administration, the IMF has also cut off Kabul’s access to hundreds of millions of dollars in emergency reserves. The cutoff of dollar assets to Afghanistan’s dollarized economy is bringing economic activity to a grinding halt, while depriving the government of cash to meet payrolls of teachers, health care professionals and other workers in vital public services, some of whom have already gone months without salaries. Non-governmental aid agencies are also unable to pay their employees or fund their operations. Also under US pressure, the World Bank cut off $600m in funding that underpins the country’s health care system. With NGOs responsible for much of the country’s health care also deprived of funds, some 2k hospitals and clinics, including those dedicated to treating COVID-19 patients, have been forced to shut down across Afghanistan, the Red Cross reports. Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, warned after a visit to Afghanistan last week:

Unless money starts flowing soon, a total economic collapse will plunge Afghans into a humanitarian catastrophe. We are currently unable to pay staff or suppliers in Afghanistan. Instead, we are forced to purchase tents, blankets and food in neighboring Pakistan. Now imagine this dilemma multiplied for every employer in Afghanistan.

The Biden administration’s policies represent an act of raw revenge for the debacle that ended the 20-year US war, an act of collective punishment against an entire population of 40 million people for failing to support US imperialism’s attempt to impose colonial-style rule. At the same time, they are driven by definite geostrategic considerations. Washington is opposed to the consolidation of any regime in Kabul that is not under its thumb, and particularly to a regime that would forge closer ties to China. It was in this context that the G20 countries met Tuesday to consider the crisis in Afghanistan. Divisions between the US, Europe and China over the issue were readily apparent. In advance of the meeting, the EU began the talks by announcing €1b “to avert a major humanitarian and socioeconomic collapse,” the EU’s chief Ursula von der Leyen said. The gesture no doubt expresses concerns in European capitals that the country’s economic collapse will trigger a refugee flow even greater than that of 2015. At the same time, however, there was much less than met the eye in the European package. It included €300 million already pledged, with an addition of just €250m for Afghanistan and the rest going to neighboring countries to manage refugee flows. Given that roughly 50% of aid money is spent on administrative costs, this means that little more than €125m will reach the starving Afghan people. This after a 20-year war in which Washington spent some $2 trillion and its European allies spent tens of billions of dollars. In a thinly veiled condemnation of US policy in Afghanistan, Angela Merkel told reporters covering the G20:

To stand by and watch 40 million people plunge into chaos because electricity can’t be supplied and no financial system exists, that cannot and should not be the goal of the international community.

Neither President Xi Jinping nor President Putin participated in the G20 virtual summit. Beijing is set to participate next week in a meeting in Moscow that will include Afghanistan’s neighboring countries as well as a large delegation from the Taliban. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, however, told a G20 foreign ministers meeting that sanctions against Afghanistan’s de facto government must be lifted and the country’s assets unfrozen. Participating in the virtual summit, he stressed that the countries that “caused the current predicament” had a responsibility to prevent a humanitarian disaster. Biden’s speech to the G20 leaders on Afghanistan mentioned humanitarian aid only as an afterthought, stressing:

We will continue to maintain a laser-focus on our enduring counter-terrorism efforts, including against threats from ISIS-K, and ensuring safe passage for those foreign nationals and Afghan partners with documentation seeking to depart Afghanistan.

For his part, State Dept spox Ned Price dodged a question about the US allowing Afghanistan access to its frozen assets, asserting that:

We intend to wait to see what the Taliban will do six weeks from now, six months from now, to determine what our set of incentives, sticks, carrots, everything in between, looks like with any future government of Afghanistan.

Washington has justified its policy of starving the Afghan population with references to “human rights” and by invoking the Taliban’s policies towards women. Answering this propaganda line, Taliban spokesperson Imanullah Samangani said:

If they ban our assets, 90% of the Afghan people will fall into poverty. Isn’t this also in contradiction with the principles of human rights?

There is no doubt that the homicidal US policy toward Afghanistan is driven in large measure by Washington’s ever more bellicose confrontation with China. The Taliban government has described China, with which Afghanistan shares a narrow border, as its “most important partner” and a “dependable friend.” Cut off from aid and the country’s reserves by Washington and its allies, the Taliban sees China as potentially filling the vacuum, including through investments connected to its Belt and Road Initiative. Chinese investment in the country increased by nearly 12% in 2020, and Beijing has interest in exploiting Afghanistan’s rare earth metals, estimated at between $1 trillion and $3 trillion in value. The Chinese media Wednesday attributed a fall in the price of stocks connected to lithium to the prospect that exploitation of Afghanistan’s lithium reserves, the largest in the world, would bring down the price of the mineral, which is key to the development of China’s electric car industry. After waging a two-decade dirty war that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives before ending in a debacle, Washington is embarked on policies that threaten to condemn millions of Afghans to starvation, while turning the ravaged country into a battlefield in a US war against China.

In the footsteps of the Wehrmacht: German ruling elite organises “Zapfenstreich” march to commemorate Afghanistan debacle
Johannes Stern, WSWS, Oct 14 2021

The Großer Zapfenstreich (“Grand Tattoo”) military ceremony in front of the Reichstag

The lesson drawn by the ruling class from the neo-colonial plundering of Afghanistan is: even more rearmament and war! The militaristic spectacle in the German capital on Wednesday left no doubt about that. The political and military elites spent almost the entire day publicly paying tribute to the Bundeswehr 20 years of service and glorifying war, combat and soldierhood as if the German crimes in two world wars never occurred. The official program began in the early afternoon with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Bundeswehr memorial in the Bendlerblock complex of the Ministry of Defence. In the afternoon, the “central closing roll call at the end of the Afghanistan mission” was held, followed by speeches by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Social Democrats) and Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (Christian Democrats). The “highlight” was a torchlight parade at Republic Square in the evening.

The scenery was eerie and reminiscent of the darkest times in German history. Hundreds of armed soldiers with steel helmets and torches marched in front of the spacious, cordoned off Reichstag building to celebrate the “Großer Zapfenstreich,” or grand tattoo, the most important ceremonial act executed by the German federal armed forces. Further torchbearers, the so-called “pearl necklaces,” lined the stairs of the Reichstag building. Military orders and military music rang out through the night. No military ceremony could make the tradition of the German army and its war missions clearer. The Grand “Zapfenstreich”—replete with torches and the playing of “Taps”—has its roots in Prussian militarism. It was celebrated in the Prussian army, the German army of the German Empire and the Reichswehr of the Weimar Republic before it reached its climax in the Wehrmacht of the Third Reich. Today, it is being used to further promote the return of German militarism. The spectacle was followed by all major media outlets and broadcast live on the ARD public television channel in prime time. Commentators explained changes that had been made to the organization of the Zapfenstreich. On the pedestal in front of which the soldiers marched, there were not, as usual, high-ranking state representatives or retiring generals, but two soldiers who were supposed to represent the more than 90k German soldiers who served in Afghanistan.

The message was clear and was repeated like a mantra: German soldiers fight and fall for their country and must therefore be “appreciated” and “honoured” by society. In fact, German troops waged a bloody imperialist war in the resource-rich and geostrategically important country from the start. The operation not only had fatal consequences for the German army (59 soldiers dead in total) but above all for the local civilian population, which was not even mentioned in the official propaganda. On the contrary, the same politicians and military personnel who are responsible for the crimes and debacle in Afghanistan are going on the offensive and demanding an even higher number of casualties in future conflicts. In her speech, Kramp-Karrenbauer asked menacingly:

How far are we really ready to go to strengthen, protect and defend our values and achievements? With what means and accepting what costs and sacrifices? We have to answer this question. The answers to that are the best memories we can have of those who were left behind on this mission. Afghanistan must continue to change us. We must equip those who are now deployed even better, and those who will be deployed in the future, to prepare them even better. We must better answer the question of the association between politics and the army, to keep the operations alive at the heart, not to push them away, not to give the feeling to those who are willing to put their necks on the line as if they are to blame and nobody in Germany cares about them.

Steinmeier, who as foreign minister played a key role in the return of German militarism, made a similar statement. He assured the army that the next federal government would accelerate and escalate Germany’s return to an aggressive foreign and great power policy. In a well-worn cynical manner, Steinmeier tried to sell the call for rearmament and great power politics as an answer to the Nazi crimes in WW2. He declared that the “correct lesson” from Afghanistan is to enforce the imperialist interests of Germany more effectively in the future. Steinmeier explained:

Soldiers: Germany deserves a security policy that draws lessons from twenty years of Afghanistan. This is a task that extends well beyond these weeks, it is a task for a new federal government and the new federal parliament, which will be constituted this month. The fall of Kabul is a turning point that forces us to rethink our responsibility in the world, our possibilities and its limits in a new and self-critical manner. However, resignation and withdrawal would be the wrong lesson. After all, Germany is not an island but the most populous country in the European Union and the fourth largest economy in the world. We have weight in this world. We have to expand our capabilities and better network our instruments—diplomatically, militarily, civilly, humanitarian, development and economic policy, and we have to become stronger in our capabilities, also in the military. In these unstable times, it is right that Germany invests more in its defence. The Bundeswehr requires good equipment and functioning structures because our country needs a functioning Bundeswehr. Yes, we know about the heavy burden of our history, and nobody knows it better than the soldiers of the Bundeswehr. Knowing about places like Babi Yar, about events there and in other places, especially in Eastern Europe, reminds us: The Wehrmacht under the Nazis did not establish any tradition that we can refer to.

The message could not be clearer. Steinmeier and the ruling class have a problem. It is now evident that the German elites are drawing on their fascistic traditions and reacting to the deep crisis of capitalism and the explosive conflicts between the great powers with militarism, war and fascism as they did in the 1930s. This is underscored not only by the Berlin commemoration and the war speeches by Steinmeier and Kramp-Karrenbauer but also by the entire foreign and domestic political developments in recent years. As foreign minister, Steinmeier made an open pact with fascist forces in Ukraine as early as 2014. During the putsch in Ukraine, which was supported by Berlin, he received Oleg Tyagnybok, the leader of the fascist Svoboda party, which until then had mainly acted as an ally of Germany’s neo-Nazi NPD, at the German embassy in Kiev. Tyagnybok refers positively to Nazi collaborators who were involved in the mass murder of thousands of Ukrainian Jews, including in the Babyn Yar massacre.

In Germany, the established parties made the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) the official opposition party in parliament, integrated the right-wing extremists into the political system and systematically pursued their agenda. This is currently shown by the essentially fascist “Profits before Life” policy in response to the pandemic, which has already cost the lives of more than 94k people in Germany alone. At the same time, right-wing terror networks operate largely unmolested in the police, secret services and the army. Just a few days ago, right-wing extremist networks in the guard battalion that provided troops for the Zapfenstreich formation on Wednesday became known.

All these developments and pictures of German soldiers marching in the middle of Berlin with weapons and torches have further fuelled the deeply rooted opposition to militarism and fascism among the population. Outrage erupted on social media over the event. Users repeatedly drew parallels to the Third Reich and castigated German militarism. This opposition needs clear political leadership and perspective. The Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (SGP, Socialist Equality Party) fights for the building of an anti-war movement of the German and international working class, which aims to abolish the root of war and fascism—capitalism—and to replace it with a global socialist society.

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