René Magritte L’empire des lumières 1949
— Koen (@KoenSwinkels) March 15, 2022
PFIZER REMOVED FROM THE STOCK EXCHANGE – & THEIR HEADQUARTERS IS NOW ABANDONED !
“.. the biggest sticking point was Russia’s insistence that Ukraine recognises the annexation of Crimea and the independence of Luhansk and Donetsk.”
Volodymyr Zelensky has slapped down Russia’s 15-point peace plan by insisting Ukraine’s priorities include ‘restoring territorial integrity’. The Kremlin had drafted a proposed agreement with a list of 15 demands which insisted that Ukraine recognise the annexation of Crimea and the independence of Donbass. But Zelensky has seemingly rejected the proposals, despite Ukrainian cities continuing to be pummelled by Russian forces, with Mariupol’s theatre targeted in Putin’s latest savage attack. In a video shared on Telegram, Zelensky said: ‘The talks on Ukraine continue. My priorities at the talks are crystal clear: end of the war, security guarantees, sovereignty, restoring territorial integrity, real guarantees for our country, real protection of our country.’
Earlier, sources on both sides had signalled that progress had been made in talks that would secure a ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian troops. The provisions in the 15-point plan would mean Kyiv would agree to neutrality and accept limits on its military to stop the barbaric attacks against its civilians by Putin’s forces. It would also see Zelensky renounce his NATO ambitions and promise not to host Western military bases or weaponry in exchange for protection. Sources briefed on the talks told the Financial Times that another provision includes enshrining rights for the Russian language in Ukraine. But the biggest sticking point was Russia’s insistence that Ukraine recognises the annexation of Crimea and the independence of Luhansk and Donetsk.
Putin insists that the whole of the Donbass should split from Ukraine, and not just the parts occupied by pro-Moscow rebel forces before fighting broke out. Zelensky’s comments that Ukraine’s priorities include restoring Ukraine’s territory suggest the two sides are some way off finalising an agreement. The wartime leader again accused Putin of war crimes in his latest video address. He said: ‘Ukraine received powerful support of our American friends. I’m thankful to President Biden for it. I’m thankful for leadership that united the democratic world. ‘But the war doesn’t stop. Russian war crimes don’t stop. The Russian economy is still capable to feed their military machine.’
[..] Russia’s negotiator Medinsky echoed the line to reporters on Wednesday that talks were ‘slow and difficult’ but said the Kremlin wants peace, ‘as soon as possible’. He reiterated that the core issue at the talks is a ‘neutral’ Ukraine, citing the status of Austria and Sweden as possible examples to follow. It would mean Ukraine could retain its armed forces but that Kyiv would not be allowed to have any foreign bases, according to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov. ‘A whole range of issues tied with the size of Ukraine’s army is being discussed’, Medinsky said, having earlier mentioned the sides are discussing an idea for a future Ukraine with a smaller, non-aligned military.
“The lackadaisical U.S. “de-Nazification” of its sector of occupied Germany was accompanied by an organized brain drain of Germans who could be useful to the United States..”
It goes on and on. The “war to end war” of 1914-1918 led to the war of 1939-1945, known as World War II. And that one has never ended either, mainly because for Washington, it was the Good War, the war that made The American Century: why not the American Millenium? The conflict in Ukraine may be the spark that sets off what we already call World War III. But this is not a new war. It is the same old war, an extension of the one we call World War II, which was not the same war for all those who took part. The Russian war and the American war were very, very different.
Russia’s World War II For Russians, the war was an experience of massive suffering, grief and destruction. The Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union was utterly ruthless, propelled by a racist ideology of contempt for the Slavs and hatred of “Jewish Bolsheviks.” An estimated 27 million died, about two thirds of them civilians. Despite overwhelming losses and suffering, the Red Army succeeded in turning the Nazi tide of conquest that had subdued most of Europe. This gigantic struggle to drive the German invaders from their soil is known to Russians as the Great Patriotic War, nourishing a national pride that helped console the people for all they had been through. But whatever the pride in victory, the horrors of the war inspired a genuine desire for peace.
America’s World War II America’s World War II (like World War I) happened somewhere else. That is a very big difference. The war enabled the United States to emerge as the richest and most powerful nation on earth. Americans were taught never to compromise, neither to prevent war (“Munich”) nor to end one (“unconditional surrender” was the American way). Righteous intransigence was the fitting attitude of Good in its battle against Evil. The war economy brought the U.S. out of the depression. Military Keynesianism emerged as the key to prosperity. The Military-Industrial-Complex was born. To continue providing Pentagon contracts to every congressional constituency and guaranteed profits to Wall Street investors, it needed a new enemy. The Communist scare – the very same scare that had contributed to creating fascism – did the trick.
The Cold War: World War II Continued In short, after 1945, for Russia, World War II was over. For the United States, it was not. What we call the Cold War was its voluntary continuation by leaders in Washington. It was perpetuated by the theory that Russia’s defensive “Iron Curtain” constituted a military threat to the rest of Europe. At the end of the war, the main security concern of Stalin was to prevent such an invasion from ever happening again. Contrary to Western interpretations, Moscow’s ongoing control of Eastern European countries it had occupied on its way to victory in Berlin was not inspired so much by communist ideology as by determination to create a buffer zone as an obstacle to repeated invasion from the West.
Stalin respected the Yalta lines between East and West and declined to support the life and death struggle of Greek communists. Moscow cautioned leaders of large Western European Communist Parties to eschew revolution and play by the rules of bourgeois democracy. The Soviet occupation could be brutal but was resolutely defensive. Soviet sponsorship of peace movements was perfectly genuine. The formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the rearmament of Germany confirmed that for the United States, the war in Europe was not entirely over. The lackadaisical U.S. “de-Nazification” of its sector of occupied Germany was accompanied by an organized brain drain of Germans who could be useful to the United States in its rearmament and espionage (from Wernher von Braun to Reinhard Gehlen).
“The desperate effort to counter the steady loss of economic dominance by the U.S. will not be offset by military dominance.”
The Cold War, from 1945 to 1989, was a wild Bacchanalia for arms manufacturers, the Pentagon, the C.I.A., the diplomats who played one country off another on the world’s chess board, and the global corporations able to loot and pillage by equating predatory capitalism with freedom. In the name of national security, the Cold Warriors, many of them self-identified liberals, demonized labor, independent media, human rights organizations, and those who opposed the permanent war economy and the militarization of American society as soft on communism. That is why they have resurrected it.
The decision to spurn the possibility of peaceful coexistence with Russia at the end of the Cold War is one of the most egregious crimes of the late 20th century. The danger of provoking Russia was universally understood with the collapse of the Soviet Union, including by political elites as diverse as Henry Kissinger and George F. Kennan, who called the expansion of NATO into Central Europe “the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-Cold War era.” This provocation, a violation of a promise not to expand NATO beyond the borders of a unified Germany, has seen Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro and North Macedonia inducted into the Western military alliance.
This betrayal was compounded by a decision to station NATO troops, including thousands of U.S. troops, in Eastern Europe, another violation of an agreement made by Washington with Moscow. The Russian invasion of Ukraine, perhaps a cynical goal of the Western alliance, has now solidified an expanding and resurgent NATO and a rampant, uncontrollable militarism. The masters of war may be ecstatic, but the potential consequences, including a global conflagration, are terrifying. Peace has been sacrificed for U.S. global hegemony. It has been sacrificed for the billions in profits made by the arms industry. Peace could have seen state resources invested in people rather than systems of control. It could have allowed us to address the climate emergency. But we cry peace, peace, and there is no peace. Nations frantically rearm, threatening nuclear war. They prepare for the worst, ensuring that the worst will happen.
So, what if the Amazon is reaching its final tipping point where trees will soon begin to die off en masse? So what if land ice and ice shelves are melting from below at a much faster rate than predicted? So what if temperatures soar, monster hurricanes, floods, droughts, and wildfires devastate the earth? In the face of the gravest existential crisis to beset the human species, and most other species, the ruling elites stoke a conflict that is driving up the price of oil and turbocharging the fossil fuel extraction industry. It is collective madness.
The march towards protracted conflict with Russia and China will backfire. The desperate effort to counter the steady loss of economic dominance by the U.S. will not be offset by military dominance. If Russia and China can create an alternative global financial system, one that does not use the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency, it will signal the collapse of the American empire. The dollar will plummet in value. Treasury bonds, used to fund America’s massive debt, will become largely worthless. The financial sanctions used to cripple Russia will be, I expect, the mechanism that slays Americans, if not immolation in thermonuclear war.
“..and the strawman is selected as the new U.S. President.”
… When this scene is remade in the 2022 version, the media munchkins will grab clubs, beat Toto to death, pull the curtain back closed and throw a parade for the Wicked Witch. Dorothy then dies from a vaccine induced blood clot, the tin man is recycled by China, the cowardly lion becomes Senate majority leader, and the strawman is selected as the new U.S. President.
The materity ward didn’t work, the theater doesn’t appear to either.
But that’s not just Azov. Ukraine as a whole has a well-oiled information warfare division.
The Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) at Stanford University has collected quite a bit of information of the Azov battalion. “The Azov Battalion is an extreme-right nationalist paramilitary organization based in Ukraine. Founded in 2014, the group promotes Ukrainian nationalism and neo-Nazism through its National Militia paramilitary organization and National Corps political wing. It is notable for its recruitment of far-right foreign fighters from the U.S. and Europe as well as its extensive transnational ties with other far-right organizations. In 2022, the group came to prominence again for fighting against Russian forces in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Mariupol.
In 2014 Newsweek and others documented that Azov is a fascist organization: “Norwegian channel TV2 presented footage yesterday of the Azov battalion flying flags with the symbols of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi party – Patriot of Ukraine.” In 2016 Amnesty International accused the Azov battalion of “Enforced Disappearances, Arbitrary Detentions, and Torture”.
Since at least 2015 Ukrainian fascist formations like the Azov battalion have been trained by the CIA: “As the battle lines hardened in Donbas, a small, select group of veteran CIA paramilitaries made their first secret trips to the frontlines to meet with Ukrainian counterparts there, according to former U.S. officials … Until now, however, the details of the CIA’s paramilitary training program on Ukraine’s eastern frontlines have never been revealed. This initiative, say former agency officials, has helped battle-hardened Ukrainian special operations forces for the current Russian assault, which has plunged Europe into its worst conflict in decades.”
One of the aims of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine is to de-nazify the country. The elimination of the Azov battalion in Mariupol and similar groups elsewhere in Ukraine is certainly on their agenda. It is no wonder then that Azov is faking incidents to gain more ‘western’ support for its side.
Ramin Mazaheri at the Saker blog appears to suggest Putin must speak in terms the west understands. But why? If Russians have a different definition of nazis, isn’t that perhaps more relevant to him?
Many have heard of Godwin’s Law, or the rule of Nazi analogies: an Internet adage asserting that as an online discussion grows longer (regardless of topic or scope), the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Adolf Hitler approaches. However, an important corollary is that whenever someone compares someone or something to Nazism – that person has lost the argument and/or the argument is summarily over. Essentially, the world is to accept that all discussions of Western politics cannot discuss the anti-Western Liberalism ideology which was German Nazism.” Yes, Russia should have accepted that in February. Practically nobody west of the Oder River understood what Moscow meant by “denazification”, and they still don’t after a month of Russian explanations.
Russia’s military operation has made much harder by failing to recognise the iron Western cultural reality of Godwin’s Law, and the reality that the West only associates Nazis with anti-Semitism and – not at all! – with Russophobia, despite the 20+ million Russian deaths at the hands of the Germanic Nazis. This is how iron that law is: Political science PhD holders have responded to me with, “But… Ukraine’s president is Jewish – how can there be Nazis?” If you cannot even get Western political science PhD holders to see where you are coming from – even remotely – you have zero chance to get the average Westerner to understand you. Thus it’s a total, ongoing public relations catastrophe.
“The US dollar and imperial hegemony are facing stormy seas.”
It was a long time coming, but finally some key lineaments of the multipolar world’s new foundations are being revealed. On Friday, after a videoconference meeting, the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and China agreed to design the mechanism for an independent international monetary and financial system. The EAEU consists of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus and Armenia, is establishing free trade deals with other Eurasian nations, and is progressively interconnecting with the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). For all practical purposes, the idea comes from Sergei Glazyev, Russia’s foremost independent economist, a former adviser to President Vladimir Putin and the Minister for Integration and Macroeconomics of the Eurasia Economic Commission, the regulatory body of the EAEU.
Glazyev [..] saw the western financial squeeze on Moscow coming light-years before others. Quite diplomatically, Glazyev attributed the fruition of the idea to “the common challenges and risks associated with the global economic slowdown and restrictive measures against the EAEU states and China.” Translation: as China is as much a Eurasian power as Russia, they need to coordinate their strategies to bypass the US unipolar system. The Eurasian system will be based on “a new international currency,” most probably with the yuan as reference, calculated as an index of the national currencies of the participating countries, as well as commodity prices. The first draft will be already discussed by the end of the month.
The Eurasian system is bound to become a serious alternative to the US dollar, as the EAEU may attract not only nations that have joined BRI (Kazakhstan, for instance, is a member of both) but also the leading players in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as well as ASEAN. West Asian actors – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon – will be inevitably interested. In the medium to long term, the spread of the new system will translate into the weakening of the Bretton Woods system, which even serious US market players/strategists admit is rotten from the inside. The US dollar and imperial hegemony are facing stormy seas.
“..through company control of the research agenda and ghostwriting of medical journal articles and continuing medical education, academics become agents for the promotion of commercial products.”
The advent of evidence based medicine was a paradigm shift intended to provide a solid scientific foundation for medicine. The validity of this new paradigm, however, depends on reliable data from clinical trials, most of which are conducted by the pharmaceutical industry and reported in the names of senior academics. The release into the public domain of previously confidential pharmaceutical industry documents has given the medical community valuable insight into the degree to which industry sponsored clinical trials are misrepresented. Until this problem is corrected, evidence based medicine will remain an illusion.
The philosophy of critical rationalism, advanced by the philosopher Karl Popper, famously advocated for the integrity of science and its role in an open, democratic society. A science of real integrity would be one in which practitioners are careful not to cling to cherished hypotheses and take seriously the outcome of the most stringent experiments. This ideal is, however, threatened by corporations, in which financial interests trump the common good. Medicine is largely dominated by a small number of very large pharmaceutical companies that compete for market share, but are effectively united in their efforts to expanding that market. The short term stimulus to biomedical research because of privatisation has been celebrated by free market champions, but the unintended, long term consequences for medicine have been severe. Scientific progress is thwarted by the ownership of data and knowledge because industry suppresses negative trial results, fails to report adverse events, and does not share raw data with the academic research community. Patients die because of the adverse impact of commercial interests on the research agenda, universities, and regulators.
The pharmaceutical industry’s responsibility to its shareholders means that priority must be given to their hierarchical power structures, product loyalty, and public relations propaganda over scientific integrity. Although universities have always been elite institutions prone to influence through endowments, they have long laid claim to being guardians of truth and the moral conscience of society. But in the face of inadequate government funding, they have adopted a neo-liberal market approach, actively seeking pharmaceutical funding on commercial terms. As a result, university departments become instruments of industry: through company control of the research agenda and ghostwriting of medical journal articles and continuing medical education, academics become agents for the promotion of commercial products. When scandals involving industry-academe partnership are exposed in the mainstream media, trust in academic institutions is weakened and the vision of an open society is betrayed.
If they report on just 1 in a 1000 events, they will always appear to be rare. Win-win.
A mother died from a “catastrophic” bleed on the brain caused by a rare side-effect of the Covid-19 vaccine, a coroner has concluded. Kim Lockwood, 34, complained of an excruciating headache eight days after her AstraZeneca jab in March 2021. Her condition quickly deteriorated and she was pronounced dead 17 hours after being admitted to Rotherham Hospital. South Yorkshire Coroner Nicola Mundy said Mrs Lockwood had been “extremely unlucky”. At Doncaster Coroner’s court, she recorded the cause of death as Vaccine-Induced Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia (VITT) and returned a verdict of misadventure. Little was known about the link between the Covid-19 jab and VITT at the time of Mrs Lockwood’s death, the coroner said, but “medical advances” meant the condition was better-recognised since the initial vaccine rollout.
Government figures show the type of reaction Mrs Lockwood experienced is considered extremely rare. There have been 438 reported cases and 78 deaths after an estimated 24.9 million first doses and 24.2 million second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The inquest heard administrative secretary Mrs Lockwood first went to Rotherham Hospital’s A&E on 22 March but left without being seen after a long wait. She returned the next morning suffering from debilitating headaches, blurred vision and vomiting, and by midday could not speak in full sentences. By 02:00 on 24 March, the mother-of-two was unresponsive and her family was called to say their goodbyes. Ms Mundy said an MRI scan should have been arranged sooner, but this, combined with other measures such as a blood platelet transfusion and lumbar puncture would not have saved Mrs Lockwood due to the massive, “sudden and catastrophic” bleed on her brain.
“If either is seen to be less than optimal, a manageable epidemic could move toward catastrophe.”
Venkayya and his friends might have invented “pandemic planning” of this sort but it did not work. Instead it created mass suffering, demoralization, confusion, and public anger, not to mention having vastly expanded government power over the entire world. It is not an accident that censorship, ill-health, illiteracy, and now war are left in the wake of this fiasco. The lockdowns shattered what was called civilization, rooted in the rights and freedoms that “pandemic planning” reduced to nothingness. We should remember the man who called out this crazed ideology back in 2006. He is Donald A. Henderson, the world’s most important epidemiologist at the time. He had worked with the World Health Organization and is given primary credit for the eradication of smallpox. His book on the topic is a tour de force and a model of how a genuine public health official goes about his work.
His 2006 article provided a comprehensive critique of lockdown ideology. The title is “Disease Mitigation Measures in the Control of Pandemic Influenza.” He notes the new interest “in a range of disease mitigation measures. Possible measures that have been proposed include: isolation of sick people in hospital or at home, use of antiviral medications, hand-washing and respiratory etiquette, large-scale or home quarantine of people believed to have been exposed, travel restrictions, prohibition of social gatherings, school closures, maintaining personal distance, and the use of masks.” “We must ask,” he writes, “whether any or all of the proposed measures are epidemiologically sound, logistically feasible, and politically viable.
“It is also critically important to consider possible secondary social and economic impacts of various mitigation measures.” Coming under special scrutiny here was the neologism “social distancing.” He points out that it has been deployed to describe everything from simple actions to avoid exposure to covering full-scale closures and stay-at-home orders. He approves of course of hand-washing and using tissues but points out that while these practices have individual value, there is no evidence that making the practices widespread will somehow end a pandemic or even stop the spread of a virus. As for the other measures – travel restrictions, closures, stay-at-home orders, prohibition of gatherings, masking – he shoots them down one by one using logic, experience, and citations from literature.
While it is good to be prepared for a pandemic, we must remember that they do come and go. Wrecking society and rights achieves nothing. He saves the best as the final flourish. Read it and see his prophecy in action: “Experience has shown that communities faced with epidemics or other adverse events respond best and with the least anxiety when the normal social functioning of the community is least disrupted. Strong political and public health leadership to provide reassurance and to ensure that needed medical care services are provided are critical elements. If either is seen to be less than optimal, a manageable epidemic could move toward catastrophe.”
“..published OLC opinions that say senior presidential advisers are “absolutely immune” from compelled congressional testimony. ”
A federal judge has ordered the Justice Department to produce internal records related to its decision to prosecute Steve Bannon, a win for the former Trump adviser, who maintains that he had a sound legal basis for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the House’s Jan. 6 select committee. U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols said Bannon’s team should be provided with Justice Department “statements or writings” that square the decision to charge Bannon with contempt of Congress with long-standing department legal opinions that say former presidential advisers are largely immune from congressional subpoenas.
Prosecutors had argued during a two-hour hearing that the Justice Department’s legal guidance, reflected in opinions issued by its Office of Legal Counsel, were not relevant to whether Bannon actually committed the contempt-of-Congress crimes he’s charged with. But Bannon’s lawyers have emphasized that they advised him repeatedly not to comply with the congressional subpoena because the department’s policy rendered the subpoena invalid. Nichols raised a hypothetical scenario in which Congress subpoenaed Ron Klain, the chief of staff to President Joe Biden. Klain, he said, could refuse to appear, citing published OLC opinions that say senior presidential advisers are “absolutely immune” from compelled congressional testimony.
But under the Justice Department’s argument in the Bannon case he noted, Klain could be prosecuted anyway — creating a conflict between the department’s internal policies and its prosecution decisions. “Those two positions would be held at the same time,” said Nichols, an appointee of President Donald Trump. The documents the Justice Department provides could shed light on how it tried to square that inherent conflict, or whether it has issued subsequent, nonpublic legal guidance that would permit prosecuting Bannon for defying the select committee.
“..the Court is simply avoiding hot potatoes at present.”
It interested me in particular that the Supreme Court refused to hear Assange’s appeal on the basis that there was “no arguable point of law.” When the Supreme Court refused to hear my own appeal against imprisonment, they rather stated their alternative formulation, that there was “no arguable point of law of general public interest.” Meaning there was an arguable point of law, but it was merely an individual injustice, that did not matter to anybody except Craig Murray. My own view is that, with the Tory government very open about their desire to clip the wings of judges and reduce the reach of the Supreme Court in particular, the Court is simply avoiding hot potatoes at present. So the extradition now goes to Priti Patel, the home secretary, to decide whether to extradite. The defence has four weeks to make representations to Patel, which she must hear.
There are those on the libertarian right of the Tory party who oppose the extradition on freedom of speech grounds, but Patel has not a libertarian thought in her head and appears to revel in deportation, so personally I hold out no particular hope for this stage. Assuming Patel does authorise extradition, the matter returns to the original magistrate’s court and to Judge Vanessa Baraitser for execution. That is where this process takes a remarkable twist. The appeals process that has just concluded was the appeal initiated by the United States government, against Baraitser’s original ruling that the combination of Assange’s health and the conditions he would face in U.S. jails, meant that he could not be extradited. The United States government succeeded in this appeal at the High Court. Assange then tried to appeal against that High Court verdict to the Supreme Court, and was refused permission.
But Assange himself has not yet appealed to the High Court, and he can do so, once the matter has been sent back to Baraitser by Patel. His appeal will be against those grounds on which Baraitser initially found in favour of the United States. These are principally:
• the misuse of the extradition treaty which specifically prohibits political extradition;
• the breach of the UNCHR Article 10 right of freedom of speech;
• the misuse of the U.S. Espionage Act
• the use of tainted, paid evidence from a convicted fraudster who has since publicly admitted his evidence was false
• the lack of foundation to the hacking charge
None of these points have yet been considered by the High Court. It seems a remarkably strange procedure that having been through the appeals process once, the whole thing starts again after Priti Patel has made her decision, but that is the crazy game of snake and ladders the law puts us through. It is fine for the political establishment, of course, because it enables them to keep Assange locked up under maximum security in Belmarsh.
It’s a trap
He tells those coming to Ukraine to fight, not to come it's a trap. pic.twitter.com/bcKFId51E9
— TJ (@TJ0059) March 15, 2022
The New Hampshire House is misleading…
2019 interview of Oleksiy Arestovych (Zelensky’s presidential adviser) pic.twitter.com/U4UZhWwkmZ
— Wittgenstein (@backtolife_2022) March 16, 2022
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