Vincent van Gogh Field with Flowers near Arles 1888
BREAKING: Joe Biden was taking calls from the NORAD Santa tracking program and a dad ended the call with "Merry Christmas, and Let's Go Brandon."
Biden replied with: "Let's Go Brandon, I agree" pic.twitter.com/Hc0pLWGRx1
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) December 24, 2021
The study we discussed yesterday, updated.
• Vaccines Must Be Given Monthly To Be Effective Against Omicron (Kirsch)
I want to tell you what this really means and how it is being attacked. This paper means we will need to inject people every 30 days if we want to “protect” them. Based on what the vaccines do to our immune system, it’s likely that the needed interval will shorten with each booster. If people don’t get boosted as required, they will be MORE vulnerable to Delta and Omicron than if they weren’t vaccinated. That’s what NEGATIVE vaccine efficacy means. It doesn’t mean the protection wears off (like we were told). It means the OPPOSITE of what you were told: it means the vaccines helps the virus to infect you (by suppressing your immune system, probably permanently each time we are injected according to Dr. Ryan Cole). It means we were lied to.
In short, the vaccine is like a heroin addiction: once you’ve had a taste of it, you are hooked: you have to continue it for life if you want protection. If you stop it, you’re a sitting duck for the virus. What’s worse is our government is mandating this now. In light of this paper, they will change the vaccine mandates to force you to get vaccinated every month or you will be fired from your job. Their next move could well be to make it illegal not to be vaccinated. This seems like where things are headed based on what is happening in other countries where they are quickly stripping away your rights to do anything without a vaccination. And we have no clue what monthly (and later weekly) vaccination will do to your body. This has never been tested. My advice is simple. If you have been vaccinated, you need to stop now. Do not get the booster.
[..] Negative VE means the vaccine is helping the virus, not you. So at 60 days, the protection is close to zero, so if you want to maintain protection, getting vaccinated every 30 days is required. This isn’t a vaccine at all. This is basically stimulating your immune system so it is already “geared up” to fight the virus. That’s not what a vaccine is supposed to do. Furthermore, the negative VE after 90 days means you are hooked for life and I would guess (based on the mechanism of action), that we will need shorter and shorter dosing intervals for every booster you get (since it kills off your immune system every time). So it could very well be monthly boosters after the 2nd dose, weekly boosters after the 3rd dose, and perhaps daily boosters after the 4th dose to maintain your “immunity.” You can’t stop after that because if you stop, you’re in worse shape than if you never started.
Dr. Paul Alexander about the same study.
• Vaccine Effectiveness Against Infection With Omicron Or Delta (Alexander)
The key statement is: “VE against Omicron was 55.2% initially following primary BNT162b2 vaccination, but waned quickly thereafter. Although estimated with less precision, VE against Omicron after primary mRNA-1273 vaccination similarly indicated a rapid decline in protection. By comparison, both vaccines showed higher, longer-lasting protection against Delta.”
This is a devastating finding…in other words, the vaccine that has failed against Delta is even far worse for Omicron…see table and see figure below table…see where the green dot is (Omicron variant) in the vertical lines (blue is Delta) and the 2 edges of the bars (upper and lower lips) 91 days out for Omicron (3 months)….both Pfizer and Moderna show negative efficacy for Omicron…both below the ‘line of no effect’ or ‘0’…a devastating blow for both but catastrophic for Omicron…
The performance in this paper would get another vaccine pulled for the threshold efficacy was 50%…again, something other than science is at play with all things COVID and these vaccines. Moreover, despite these catastrophic results, they call for more failed vaccine, “In light of the exponential rise in Omicron cases, these findings highlight the need for massive rollout of vaccinations and booster vaccinations.” I need to pinch myself sometimes.
“..the US HHS and other western regulatory authorities have succumbed to regulatory capture by Big Pharma.”
• Resist. The Time is Now. (Malone)
If there has been one constant throughout these last two years, it has been the gross mismanagement and incompetence of government officials tasked with the public health response. How can we trust them to make intelligent, data-based decisions in the future? How can you trust them to decide what is best for your children? No, you have to personally own these decisions now. They will not be there to help if you or your child are damaged by these vaccines. And you will get no legal or financial relief. Both Pfizer and governments have been absolved of all legal accountability. You will have to bear that burden, financially and psychologically, for the rest of your life and that of your child.
In short, the issues here are much larger than just the specific examples of data manipulation, propaganda, censorship, advanced character assassination techniques, misrepresentation of the safety and effectiveness of these genetic vaccines, and suppression of the early treatment protocols empirically developed and tested by front line physicians from all over the world. Among the many unanticipated blowbacks will be lasting damage, not just to overall public trust in government, but to the pharmaceutical industry in the United States. What will happen is that the world will turn to India and China for pharmaceuticals and vaccines. Because the US HHS and other western regulatory authorities have succumbed to regulatory capture by Big Pharma.
What were previously globally trusted regulatory organizations have been corrupted due to the undue influence of the pharmaceutical industry that they were designed and intended to both promote and to regulate. The growing pharmaceutical industries of India and China have cost and performance advantages relative to the United States, UK and Europe, and will now be able to legitimately claim equivalence or superiority in quality and safety. But from the point of view of globalized transnational capital, this is largely irrelevant. Because the concept of nation-state is considered by those who manage these large pools of capital to be outdated, antiquated, and inefficient. This works just fine for Big Capital, because migration of the pharmaceutical industry to India and China will enable the transnational funds to extract more profit, and a greater return on investment.
“..for 220M fully vaccinated, it’s 10,000 lives saved, but 150,000 or more people killed. So we kill 15 people to save 1. And we mandate it to boot.”
• Over 150,000 Americans Killed By The Covid Vaccines (Kirsch)
A new independent study using analysis of excess deaths showed that our estimate of the number of excess deaths was consistent with what they found. Here are some quotes from the paper:
1/ Results from fitted regression slopes (p<0.05 FDR corrected) suggest a US national average VFR of 0.04% and higher VFR with age (VFR=0.004% in ages 0-17 increasing to 0.06% in ages >75 years), and 146K to 187K vaccine-associated US deaths between February and August, 2021.
2/ Comparing our estimate with the CDC-reported VFR (0.002%) suggests VAERS deaths are underreported by a factor of 20, consistent with known VAERS under-ascertainment bias
3/ Comparing our age-stratified VFRs with published age-stratified coronavirus infection fatality rates (IFR) suggests the risks of COVID vaccines and boosters outweigh the benefits in children, young adults and older adults with low occupational risk or previous coronavirus exposure.
4/ Interestingly, our estimates of 133K to 187K vaccine-related deaths are very similar to recent, independent estimates based off of US VAERS data through August 28th, 2021 by Rose and Crawford (11).
In other words, these researchers found numbers similar to what we found, within a factor of 2. They agree that over 150,000 people have been killed by the vaccines so far. This is more than 3 times the number killed in combat in the Vietnam war; a war which lasted for nearly 20 years. However, there is no stopping condition for these vaccines and no member of Congress or the CDC is willing to draw a line in the sand and say, “The US government should halt the vaccines after X number of Americans have been killed.” A reasonable stopping condition is 32 people. In 1976 we stopped the H1N1 vaccine after just 32 deaths.
Today, the number of deaths allowed is unlimited. And there is no liability for the manufacturers. And there have been no payouts at all to the hundreds of thousands of vaccine injured. Zero. Zip. Nada. Nobody in Congress (or the mainstream media) seems troubled by the fact that the vaccines kill more people than they save. The Pfizer Phase 3 trial saved 1 life from COVID for every 22,000 people vaccinated. So for 220M fully vaccinated, it’s 10,000 lives saved, but 150,000 or more people killed. So we kill 15 people to save 1. And we mandate it to boot. Maybe someday, we’ll find one member of Congress who will actually pay attention to what the data says and say two words, “I object.”
“..the Supreme Court is preparing to give “JB” his second colonoscopy of the season when they reconvene after New Year’s..”
There is also the shell game currently being played by Pfizer and its two “vaccines” — the one still under an emergency use authorization called BioNTech, and Pfizer’s replacement for that, Comirnaty, which has received an FDA approval under shady circumstances. The catch is, Pfizer refuses to release Comirnaty in the USA because approved drugs do not enjoy that shield against liability. Pfizer’s BioNTech vaxx has injured and killed many thousands of people the past year. If the two vaxxes are the same, you can expect Comirnaty to kill and injure plenty of victims, and Pfizer will be sued up its pfizoo. Therefore, Pfizer is also working hard to confuse the public about whether the two drugs are actually the same or not.
Ohio University tried to pull a switcheroo with its vaxx mandate, saying they’d made Comirnaty available to students, which is obviously untrue, since Pfizer won’t release it. They are using the unapproved BioNTech. Ohio law (HB 244, in effect this past October) prevents Ohio public schools from mandating vaccines not approved by the FDA. Hence, students at Ohio University are suing the school over its vaccine mandate. Alas, the Omicron variant has turned into the Grinch that is stealing their Christmas. Omicron is so mild an illness that there has been perhaps one death from it in America — and who knows how chronically ill that patient was? (They won’t say, of course.) All week long, as it became increasingly evident Omicron was nothing to get worked-up about, the “Joe Biden” regime went into overdrive trying to cow the nation into another round of submission and more booster shots.
On Tuesday, the worked-up so-called president rolled out the phony trope that this latest act in the melodrama is a “crisis of the unvaccinated” — despite the fact that both vaxxed and unvaxxed are equally susceptible to Omicron, and the additional fact that Omicron spreads so effectively that in just a month it is displacing all the previous and more deadly Covid variants. Notice, though, that “Joe Biden” didn’t dare lay any lockdowns on the country, while the Supreme Court is preparing to give “JB” his second colonoscopy of the season when they reconvene after New Year’s to hear the cases against his vaxx mandate. You can infer that this might mean the end of the Covid 19 pandemic extravaganza that has so benefited the party in power.
It has given them free rein to the only policy exercise they know: pushing people around. If there’s any lesson that Americans need to draw about the Democratic Party’s motives during this two-year Covid horror show it is that “progressives” are determined to punish, coerce, and persecute the people of this land, while stealing as much of their wealth as possible, and driving our culture into a ditch. So, with Omicron on the scene like an unexpected reality-test, the Democrats may be fresh out of monsters to terrify the populace. As the horror movie ends and the screen fades to black, the audience is apt to walk out from under that mass formation spell into the winter sunlight, blinking and gasping at the insane ordeal they’ve been subjected to. It’s already happening in a bunch of blue cities whose Democratic bosses have discovered that de-funding the police was a shuck-and-jive they now have to answer for.
[..] This Christmas Eve, we can’t omit great thanks to some of the other brave medical researchers and doctors across the country who have sacrificed livelihoods to fight both for the peoples’ health and against the torrents of bad faith and dishonesty spewed out against the people of this land by their own government and its propaganda legions. Kudos to Dr. Robert Malone, Dr. Peter McCollough, Dr. Pierre Kory, Dr. Scott Atlas, Dr. Chris Martenson, Dr. David Martin, Dr. Steve Kirsch, Dr. Bret Weinstein, Dale Bigtree, Alex Berenson, Joe Rogan, Tucker Carlson, Glenn Greenwald, and many many others who are standing up against tyranny and coercion.
Today’s hospitalization stats (“like when Pfizer says: 90 percent reduction!”) are based on a 2013 paper written by Big Pharma.
• Lies Damn Lies and Hospitalisation Statistics (Bendell)
I know that most of us who are not specialists in this topic do not have time to look into the statistics or at who produces them. Also, when some of us do make the time, we invite being shamed for moving outside ‘our lane’ or ‘disrespecting experts’. Therefore, as a Professor with a specialism in methodology but absolutely no medical science training, I decided to write up my journey of discovery as I tried to understand the processes behind those big claims on reductions of hospitalisation. The process was frustrating. For the first days I kept discovering a lack of explanation about how the statistics on big reductions in hospitalisation had been produced. For instance, the UK report #50 does not say anything about how it calculates the figures of over 90 percent reductions in hospitalisation. Nothing!
I had to go back months to find some references to the methodology – which I found in report #17. However, the report did not explain it either and cited another paper for the methodology. I found that study and read it, only to find that it did not explain the methodology and referenced yet another paper for the explanation. As an academic I know this is not uncommon – nearly everyone can be a bit sloppy with their references and provide a reference to a study which does not fully explain what one is asserting. However, as this was a government report to inform and justify policy on a pandemic that is affecting everyone’s lives, I expected better than what I get from my students. I continued on my quest for the elusive source of the method for producing the statistics on the wonderful vaccine effectiveness.
Upon reading that next paper, I found it offered no explanation of rationale for the method! I will say more about each paper and link to them later. But first I want to tell you why this matters… After following a trail of references cited by each paper, I arrived at an explanation for the statistical method on reduced hospitalisation, from 2013. That paper was the main source for the idea that this particular method gives us credible statistics on vaccine effectiveness. Guess what? No, I am not a conspiracy theorist. I often demonstrate in my research how the power of capital influences much in our lives. So it was not a surprise to me to read that this paper was written by members of the pharmaceutical industry. It proposed and defended a method for calculating vaccination effectiveness that would inevitably “prove” vaccination effectiveness.
I concluded that the exciting claims that there are over 90 percent reductions in hospitalisation due to vaccination are actually instances of our medical authorities misleading the public by using dubious statistical methods from the pharmaceutical industry to prove the effectiveness of their vaccines. Furthermore, without needing the clinical trials that the medical establishment typically require. If you read on, I will explain how it works. I invite you to investigate it yourself. Or you could decide not to bother and instead just think I should have ‘stayed in my lane’ so you can go back to pretending that pharmaceutical companies care for us, the medical bureaucrats they have trained are critical thinkers defending the public, and that the politicians know what they are doing.
Left out here: Molnupiravir changes the virus genome. What are the odds it can change yours as well?
• Molnupiravir Is Good At One Thing — And That’s What Makes It Scary (WaPo)
On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration made what may be the most momentous drug-approval decision in its history: It granted emergency-use authorization for Merck’s molnupiravir to treat covid-19. This approval is significant not because molnupiravir is an especially good drug, but because it is a rather ineffective and dangerous one. In particular, molnupiravir might create new variants of SARS-CoV-2 that evade immunity and prolong the pandemic. The problem with molnupiravir lies in its mechanism of action. Unlike any previous antiviral drug, molnupiravir does only one thing: It introduces mutations into the viral genome. We are already familiar with the fact that viruses naturally mutate to evade immunity; the many mutations of the spike protein in omicron, for example, allow it to evade the antibodies created by prior infections or vaccines.
Molnupiravir relies on inducing even more mutations so that eventually the virus’s proteins are damaged beyond function. That molnupiravir can mutate SARS-CoV-2 to death has been demonstrated in the controlled conditions of a petri dish and lab animal cages, leading Merck to test it in covid-19 patients in clinical trials. But people are not petri dishes or lab animals, and while molnupiravir works to some extent, it has not worked very well in covid-19 patients. Specifically, molnupiravir reduced hospitalizations by only 30 percent. In contrast, Pfizer’s antiviral drug Paxlovid, which works by a different mechanism and was also approved this week by the FDA, reduced hospitalization by 89 percent. (My lab does research on drugs using the same mechanism as Paxlovid — inhibition of the viral protease enzyme — independently of any company affiliations.)
This means that most of the time that molnupiravir was given the opportunity, it failed to inhibit viral replication enough to allow the patient to avoid hospitalization. Merck’s own research, published Thursday, explains why. It found that viable virus can still be detected in some patients on the third day of treatment with the drug. That means that for at least several days, the drug is in the body mutating the virus — but not all virus genomes have picked up enough mutations to die off. For those initial few days, then, the patient is a breeding ground for viable mutated viruses. The first days of molnupiravir treatment present a clear opportunity for mutant viruses to be transmitted to family members or caregivers.
Viral evolution is a process of selecting for rare mutations that are beneficial to the virus. It doesn’t matter if just one out of the billions of copies of viruses in an infected individual mutates to a higher level of fitness. That single copy, either by evading existing antibodies or replicating to yet higher levels of fitness, will become amplified either in that patient or in the next person infected. The worst-case scenario is worrisome. As long as molnupiravir is in use somewhere in the world, it could generate repeated cycles of new variants, with people desperately taking the drug to fight the new variants it spawns, creating a vicious positive feedback loop while causing more suffering and deaths.
Google translate from Holland. They lost it. Completely.
• Stricter Guidelines: Housemates, Young Children In Quarantine For 10 Days (AD)
Until today, people who have already had corona or were vaccinated did not have to quarantine if a roommate tested positive. They only had to be tested at the GGD on day five. Children from 0 to 4 years old were also excluded. The RIVM is now tightening the isolation and quarantine guidelines because of the advance of the omikron variant. Housemates and close contacts of an infected person are also not allowed to come into large groups or in crowded places for the first ten days after the last contact and must avoid contact with vulnerable people. However, the quarantine may be ended in the event of a negative test at the GGD, on day five after the last contact with the infected person.
Anyone who has tested positive once in the last eight weeks does not need to be quarantined or tested. According to the RIVM, they probably still have enough antibodies in their bodies. The stricter guideline does not apply to healthcare workers who have worked with protective equipment. Crew members of international flights are allowed to quarantine after day five. The isolation rules are aligned. From now on, everyone who has tested positive, with and without complaints, is advised to go into isolation for seven days after a positive test. People without complaints who still develop complaints during the isolation must then be in isolation again for seven days.
“Perhaps the most pernicious of all is the asymptomatic transmission hypothesis. It is this, more than any other, that has driven most of the absurdity and tyranny.”
• There Are So Many Elephants In The Room (Rigger)
The problem I have, with the “official” version of the covid narrative, is that it is not internally self-consistent and there are more elephants in the room than there is space. These are not subtle buggers at all. They’re not hiding behind the sofa – there’s at least 20 of them sitting on the thing, drinking tea and smoking weed, whilst discussing the finer points of Wittgenstein. If I tried to list all the problems I have with the official version of all things covid I would probably be here until next Christmas. I had a chat with two of the elephants sitting on my sofa. They’re on their 10th cup of tea and quite animated. Having torn Wittgenstein apart they’re laying into covid now.
One of them, Nelly, had had enough and was packing her trunk – she wanted to say goodbye to the covid circus. What you stupid humans have forgotten, she said, is to follow the scientific method. You just can’t see what’s right there in front of your pitifully small noses. It works like this, she said. You formulate hypotheses, your best guesses as to what’s happening. You then test those hypotheses against what you observe. If you’d done that with covid, you wouldn’t now be up Loxodonta Creek without a paddle. If you frame all-things-covid in terms of hypotheses, instead of scientific “fact” it becomes much clearer.
• Asymptomatic transmission is a significant driver : hypothesis
• Lockdowns significantly slow down transmission and/or save lives : hypothesis
• Masks have a significant effect on transmission : hypothesis
• Keeping 6ft away from people reduces transmission : hypothesis
• The only way out of this is vaccination : hypothesis
• Surfaces are a significant source of infection : hypothesis
These are just some of the hypotheses we have been treated to. They are NOT facts. They are “guesses” which need to be checked against observation. Instead, they’ve been adopted like some kind of Holy Writ. In the process we’ve adopted all sorts of bizarre behaviours in pursuit of an illusory “safety”. None of those hypotheses listed above have successfully passed the test of experiment. Perhaps the most pernicious of all is the asymptomatic transmission hypothesis. It is this, more than any other, that has driven most of the absurdity and tyranny.
Curiously, though, we might have actually made this one come true to some extent. If you have a medical product that doesn’t stop the virus replicating, but does stop your body from producing the usual symptoms of infection, it seems at least plausible that you have a situation where use of this product turns you into a genuine asymptomatic transmitter. But like any other hypothesis, this needs testing too.
“I want people to look at what is happening in football, have a proper investigation, and give us some answers as to why so many sportspeople are suffering from heart issues. It’s not difficult.”
• Football Icon Accused Of ‘Encouraging Vaccine Suspicion’ Over Heart-scare Cases (RT)
The English Premier League recently revealed that 77% of its stars are fully vaccinated against Covid while 84% are on “the vaccination journey” – meaning they have had at least one jab. That rate lags someway behind other top leagues in Europe, with Italy’s Serie A, the German Bundesliga and Spain’s La Liga all reporting full vaccination rates of over 90% among players. The Premier League has seen a surge of cancelations in recent weeks as Covid outbreaks have struck teams across the league, with some suggesting the blame lies with unvaccinated stars. According to a report in the New York Times, which looked at the reasons behind vaccine reluctance, medics at some clubs cited the likes of former England internationals Matt Le Tissier and Trevor Sinclair as “encouraging suspicion” of Covid jabs by referring to on-field heart scares.
Football has seen several high-profile cases of players suffering heart problems in recent months, including the shocking collapse of Denmark star Christian Eriksen at Euro 2020 and the retirement of Barcelona forward Sergio Aguero. Ex-West Ham and Manchester City player Sinclair – who became a TV pundit after his retirement – posted a controversial tweet in November in which he pondered: “Everyone I speak to about these heart problems suffered by footballers (which worryingly seem to be happening more regularly) are they linked to covid vaccines or not??” Elsewhere, Southampton legend Le Tissier – known as one of the most skillful stars of his generation – has been a vocal critic of vaccine mandates.
Appearing on GB News earlier this month, he demanded an inquiry into the series of players who have suffered heart scares, which was added to by Manchester United’s Victor Lindelof in his team’s most recent match against Norwich City. “It’s been very concerning for me, watching the sport that I love and that I played for 17 years,” said Le Tissier, 53. “And it’s been very concerning to me that in all that time I never once saw any footballer leave the pitch because of heart issues. “Now I’m sorry, but if anybody can look at what is happening now in the world of sport and say it’s normal for all of these people to be having heart issues in football matches, cricket matches, basketball matches, any sport you wish. “The amount of people that are suffering is going through the roof. And I would call for an investigation because it might not be to do with the vaccines. “But let’s have an investigation to find out what it is. But even saying that deems you to be some kind of anti-vaxxer.
“I want people to look at what is happening in football, have a proper investigation, and give us some answers as to why so many sportspeople are suffering from heart issues. It’s not difficult.” Doctors such as Professor Sanjay Sharma, the UK’s leading sports cardiologist, have been adamant that the jab is not to blame, telling the Daily Mail that “my feeling is that this is probably a statistical cluster rather than something on the rise.” Sharma said the cases involving Eriksen and Aguero, among others, “were nothing to do with Covid or the vaccine.” After Eriksen’s collapse in the summer, officials at his former club Inter Milan also moved to quell speculation by stating that he had not been vaccinated. Some have pointed to the increased intensity of the game as a potential cause of heart issues in players, or the fact that cases tend to be amplified now because of increased media scrutiny and through social media.
“.. it will occur gradually and unevenly as societies cease to be all consumed by the pandemic’s shocking metrics.”
”..the covid-19 pandemic will be over when we turn off our screens and decide that other issues are once again worthy of our attention.”
• The End of The Pandemic Will Not Be Televised (BMJ)
While visual depictions of epidemics have existed for centuries, covid-19 is the first one in which real time dashboards have saturated and structured the public’s experience. Some historians have observed that pandemics do not conclude when disease transmission ends “but rather when, in the attention of the general public and in the judgment of certain media and political elites who shape that attention, the disease ceases to be newsworthy.”8 Pandemic dashboards provide endless fuel, ensuring the constant newsworthiness of the covid-19 pandemic, even when the threat is low. In doing so, they might prolong the pandemic by curtailing a sense of closure or a return to pre-pandemic life.
Deactivating or disconnecting ourselves from the dashboards may be the single most powerful action towards ending the pandemic. This is not burying one’s head in the sand. Rather, it is recognising that no single or joint set of dashboard metrics can tell us when the pandemic is over. History suggests that the end of the pandemic will not simply follow the attainment of herd immunity or an official declaration, but rather it will occur gradually and unevenly as societies cease to be all consumed by the pandemic’s shocking metrics. Pandemic ending is more of a question of lived experience, and thus is more of a sociological phenomenon than a biological one. And thus dashboards—which do not measure mental health, educational impact, and the denial of close social bonds—are not the tool that will tell us when the pandemic will end.
Indeed, considering how societies have come to use dashboards, they may be a tool that helps prevent a return to normal. Pandemics—at least respiratory viral pandemics—simply do not end in a manner amenable to being displayed on dashboards. Far from a dramatic “end,” pandemics gradually fade as society adjusts to living with the new disease agent and social life returns to normal. As an extraordinary period in which social life was upturned, the covid-19 pandemic will be over when we turn off our screens and decide that other issues are once again worthy of our attention. Unlike its beginning, the end of the pandemic will not be televised.
Kiriakou is ex-CIA.
• Those Nasty Russians (John Kiriakou)
The New York Times reported this week that Russia is preparing its public for potential war with the United States. Moscow is “promoting patriotism” by training high school students in history and military history, according to the Times, and that Russian media outlets are saying that the country considers itself to be “surrounded by enemies” and may be forced to defend itself “as it did against the Nazis.” Going even further, the Times added that Russia had already “massed troops on the border with Ukraine,” a lie that has been perpetuated in the mainstream media all across the United States. Where do we even begin to pick this story apart? I’m not a Russia expert. But if I learned anything at the C.I.A., it was critical thinking and the necessity for basing my conclusions on facts.
First, every country teaches its children history, including military history. Indeed, education in the United States is rich in military history. Every student learns about the the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the Iran War, and Afghanistan, to name just a few of our “glorious campaigns.” (I put myself through graduate school by teaching high school history for two years.)
Second, anybody who has paid any attention to the news over the past five years knows that the U.S. media have accused Russia of all sorts of misdeeds without a lot of proof. It was Russia that “stole” the election in 2016 from Hillary Clinton through Wikileaks. It was Russia that pitted Americans against each other through social media advertising during the 2020 election. It was Russia that “invaded and occupied Ukraine” in violation of international law.
Third, according to the Times and other outlets, Russian troops are massed on the Ukraine border ready to invade at the drop of a hat. That’s simply not true. There are between 70,000 and 90,000 Russian troops on the border, the same number that have been there for the past eight years. An “invasion” would require at least 300,000 troops, according to military analysts. Around 100,000 Russian troops are in Yelnya, Russia, which is 160 miles from the Ukraine border and is closer to Belarus than it is to Ukraine. There is no imminent threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Fourth, the Russians actually are surrounded by enemies. Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Romania, and Poland, all former Soviet Russian allies, are all now members of NATO. Ukraine is begging to join NATO and is the recipient of millions of dollars in U.S. military aid. Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan, also former Soviet republics, all host U.S. military bases. It should be no surprise to anybody that the Russians feel threatened militarily (after also being sanctioned and threatened constantly with “serious consequences.”)
“What will be the State Department’s response when the Republic of Iran demands the extradition of New York Times reporters for violating Iran’s secrecy laws?”
• Bad Faith, Worse News, and Julian Assange (Snowden)
I agree with my friends (and lawyers) at the ACLU: the US government’s indictment of Assange amounts to the criminalization of investigative journalism. And I agree with myriad friends (and lawyers) throughout the world that at the core of this criminalization is a cruel and unsual paradox: namely, the fact that many of the activities that the US government would rather hush up are perpetrated in foreign countries, whose journalism will now be answerable to the US court system. And the precedent established here will be exploited by all manner of authoritarian leaders across the globe. What will be the State Department’s response when the Republic of Iran demands the extradition of New York Times reporters for violating Iran’s secrecy laws?
How will the United Kingdom respond when Viktor Orban or Recep Erdogan seeks the extradition of Guardian reporters? The point is not that the U.S. or U.K would ever comply with those demands — of course they wouldn’t — but that they would lack any principled basis for their refusals. The U.S. attempts to distinguish Assange’s conduct from that of more mainstream journalism by characterizing it as a “conspiracy.” But what does that even mean in this context? Does it mean encouraging someone to uncover information (which is something done every day by the editors who work for Wikileaks’ old partners, The New York Times and The Guardian)? Or does it mean giving someone the tools and techniques to uncover that information (which, depending on the tools and techniques involved, can also be construed as a typical part of an editor’s job)?
The truth is that all national security investigative journalism can be branded a conspiracy: the whole point of the enterprise is for journalists to persuade sources to violate the law in the public interest. And insisting that Assange is somehow “not a journalist” does nothing to take the teeth out of this precedent when the activities for which he’s been charged are indistinguishable from the activities that our most decorated investigative journalists routinely engage in.
Why I Don’t Want to Show my Vaccine Passport
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