A Foretaste of the Horror of Biological Warfare

By Eric Margolis

Source

coronavirus 4981983 640 b6205

The world is getting sick from the spreading COVID-19 virus. North Americans and Europeans are now as horrified as Chinese by the invisible killer that has put their hospitals under siege.

They are also getting a grim foretaste of what biological warfare would be like. Those not cowering in terror in their homes would likely be amazed to learn that some of their governments are still churning out highly toxic chemical and biological agents in hidden factories.

But surely our lily white democracies don’t stoop to making poison gas and germs?

Back in 1990-91, I was based in Baghdad covering the first of the Gulf Wars. The US was threatening to attack Iraq for daring to invade oil-rich Kuwait, which used to be part of Iraq until ‘detached’ by the British Empire. At the same time, the eight-year Iran-Iraq War had just ended in a bloody stalemate. The US and Britain had pressed Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to invade Iran, seize its oil wealthy and overthrow the Islamic government in Tehran.

Facing a US-British invasion, Saddam Hussein ordered all foreigners in Iraq rounded up and confined to tourist hotels. Among the foreigners, I discovered four British scientific technicians who had been sent, or ‘seconded,’ to a newly built biowarfare chemical complex south of Baghdad at Salman Pak. They were then trucked to Baghdad as hostages against a US attack.

I managed to slip into the compound that held them and talked for hours over mugs of tea. The British tech team told me they had been secretly sent to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq by Britain’s Ministry of Defense and Britain’s MI6 Secret Intelligence Service to help Iraq’s military develop and deploy biological weapons for use against numerically superior Iranian forces on the Central Front, Al-Faw Peninsula, and again Kurdish rebels in the north.

The bio weapons included Anthrax, botulism, Q fever and tularemia that attacks the eyes, throat, skin and lymph nodes. Salman Pak also produced quantities of nerve and mustard gasses used against Iranian infantry formations.

Most raw materials for the germ and gas came from Europe. Feeder stocks for the germ/poison gas weapons came from the main UC chemical warfare plans at Ft. Detrick, Maryland.

A popular joke among western journalists in Baghdad went, ‘of course Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction. We have the delivery receipts.’

The times Iraq deployed its chemical/bio weapons against Iran, the results were nightmarish: blinded soldiers choking to death, unable to unable to breathe; soldiers with their skin peeling off; dead mothers holding babies in their arms. Many of these attacks were targeted by US satellites positioned over Iraq. US Air Force officers worked closely with their military counterparts Iraq.

To this day, there remain tens of thousands of maimed, blinded, crippled Iraqi soldiers. It was Iraq’s version of World War I, cheerfully financed by the US, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Iraq’s once thriving economy is mostly in ruins. US and British bombing even destroyed most of Iraq’s sewage systems, water reserves, hospitals and bridges. Contaminated water alone killed 500,000 Iraqi children, according to the UN, a price ‘worth paying’ said US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

The moral of this terrible story, and the current worldwide epidemic, is to immediately ban all chemical and biological weapons everywhere. Destroy all chem/bio warfare plants everywhere, including the US, Russa, China, India and Israel.

The COVID-19 virus is merely a taste of what a real biological war would be like. Many around the world who bear us ill cannot help but take notice how the world’s richest, mightiest nation can be brought to its knees by some invisible bugs.

When President Trump fulminates against China over COVID-19, he should be advised that the anthrax and other germ weapons used against Iraq in 1990 originated at Fort Detrick, just 50 miles NW of the White House, a mere one hour drive if traffic is not too heavy.

Indian troops martyr four Kashmiri youth in Kulgam

Source

India’s new domicile law evokes more condemnation

0101-300x171

Srinagar, April 04 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, Indian troops in their fresh act of state terrorism martyred four Kashmiri youth in Kulgam district, today.

The troops martyred the youth identified as Sadam Malik, Aijaz Ahmed Naikoo, Shahid Sadiq Malik and Waqar Ahmed during a cordon and search operation in Hardmanguri area of the district. Earlier, three Indian troops were injured in an attack in the same area. The troops also destroyed three residential houses in the area with explosive material.

Meanwhile, senior APHC leader and President of Jammu and Kashmir Anjuman Sharie Shian, Agha Syed Hassan Al-Moosvi Al-Safvi, in a statement issued in Srinagar condemned the new domicile law enforced by India in occupied Kashmir to convert the Muslim majority of Kashmir into minority by settling non-Muslim Indians in the territory. He deplored that such decisions were being taken unilaterally by India at a time when the Kashmiris were fighting with the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

The occupation authorities have extended ban on high-speed internet service till 15th April. An order to this effect was issued by Principal Secretary of occupied Kashmir’s Home Department, Shaleen Kabra.

Indian police arrested over 40 people including shopkeepers from different areas of the Kashmir Valley for alleged violation of prohibitory orders imposed to contain coronavirus.

Three more persons were tested positive for the coronavirus in Udhampur, today, raising the number of such patients to 92 in the occupied territory. Two of those persons diagnosed with the COVID-19 have died so far, in the occupied territory.

On the other hand, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference Azad Jammu and Kashmir at a meeting in Islamabad said that the new domicile law imposed by the Indian government in occupied Kashmir was violation of the UN resolutions, Geneva Convention and international law. APHC AJK leaders, Ishtiyaq Hameed and Zahid Ashraf, in their statements in Islamabad also denounced India’s nefarious move aimed at altering the Muslim majority character of occupied Kashmir.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission in a tweet in Jeddah denounced the new domicile law introduced by India in occupied Kashmir. The commission in the tweet said that the move by India is an attempt to alter demographic and geographic status of occupied Kashmir.

Already Faced with Famine and War, Yemenis Fear Saudi Arabia is Weaponizing COVID-19

By Ahmed Abdulkareem

Source

SANA’A, YEMEN — The war in Yemen began in earnest on Mar. 26, 2015, but it is about to take on another complex dimension as that country grapples with a collapsed healthcare system and a new Saudi military escalation amid the looming threat of a coronavirus outbreak. That outbreak threatens a population already struggling against an unprecedented explosion of famine, epidemics and disease.

On Monday, the Saudi-led coalition announced a new military operation targeting three major Yemeni cities, including Sana’a, Hodeida, and Sadaa. In Sana’a, More than ten airstrikes struck a farm that bred Arabian horses in southeast Sana’a, killing 70 horses and injuring many more. A number of horse breeders were also killed or wounded in the attack. Saudi airstrikes also targeted the populated Attan neighborhood and the Sana’a International Airport.

In Hodeida, Saudi warplanes bombed a quarantine center that had been prepared to treat coronavirus patients. Saudi airstrikes also destroyed water wells on Kamran Island, which was reportedly struck with three U.S.-made bombs. The wells provided clean water to more than 10,000 people. The airstrikes also targeted civilian facilities in the al-Jah and al-Saleif districts. Those attacks claimed a yet confirmed number of casualties and destroyed civilian infrastructure that had been rebuilt following prior Saudi attacks.

Ansar Allah, the political wing of Yemen’s Houthis, the primary force fighting to repel Saudi forces from Yemen, vowed a “painful response” and said that the Saudi raids are a dangerous escalation that would be met with the bombing of vital facilities deep inside Saudi Arabia, including sensitive economic targets. On Sunday, Yemen’s Houthi-allied Army targeted what they called strategic and sensitive sites in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, Najran, and Jizan using a squadron of domestically-manufactured combat drones and ballistic missiles in retaliation for Saudi airstrikes that targeted al-Jawf, Marib, and Sadaa last week.

In addition to the ongoing Saudi airstrikes and blockade on the country, epidemics such as diphtheria, cholera, dengue fever, swine flu, and malaria are still sweeping the nation, making it nearly impossible for Yemenis to effectively face the coming novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which is sweeping the world. To Yemenis, who have little to no access to healthcare, a pandemic like this is an added worry to their already troubled lives.

To tackle COVID-19, the Houthis welcomed a call by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a ceasefire in the war-ridden country. “We welcome the UN Secretary-General’s call for ceasefire… we reaffirmed our readiness to deal with all peace initiatives to achieve a comprehensive political solution,” said Mahdi al-Mashat, the president of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council said. Al-Mashat went to say, “We are ready to cooperate to move from war stage to peace.”

On Wednesday, Guterres urged Yemen’s rival parties to work with his Special Envoy Martin Griffiths to achieve a nationwide de-escalation, saying, “a political solution is the only way to a comprehensive and sustainable resolution of the conflict in Yemen.”

Although Turki al-Maliki, spokesperson for the Saudi-led coalition, stated that the coalition supported Griffiths’ efforts in Yemen, Saudi warplanes launched over 100 airstrikes since Guterres’ statement was made. The airstrikes targeted populated areas in al-Jawf, Marib, and Yemeni border districts.

Weaponizing COVID-19

Moreover, authorities in the Sana’a Health Ministry accused Saudi Arabia of trying to spread the coronavirus intentionally. On Monday, Saudi warplanes dropped boxes containing face masks in the al-Ahli district in Hodeida province and Bani Sa’ad and al-Taweilah in the al-Mahwit governorate as well as Nugom in Sana’a. The number of masks was insignificant and dropped into densely populated areas causing a predictably frenzied panic among desperate citizens who all stormed the locations to retrieve what protection they could. Authorities accuse the Saudi government of intentionally causing panic among Yemenis in order to encourage them to break social distancing guidelines and expedite the spread of COVID-19. If Saudi officials genuinely wanted to provide aid to Yemeni civilians, they say, they could do so through official UN channels. Some residents told MintPress that they also fear the masks could be contaminated with the coronavirus, and Yemeni officials have warned residents to be cautious of free equipment offered by the Saudi Coalition.

The Ministry of Health said Saudi Arabia is also trying to spread COVID-19 by deporting Yemenis from Saudi Arabia in large numbers, a practice they say began last month when the pandemic was already well underway.

In addition, the Saudi-led coalition allowed four passenger aircraft to land in Yemen last week with a total of 1,000 passengers on board; this at a time when most countries have suspended inbound flights in an effort to contain the pandemic. The coalition has near complete control of Yemen’s airspace.

Yemen coronavirus

Ansar Allah said that the Saudi-led coalition — which has imposed an all-out blockade on the country — will be responsible for a possible spread of the coronavirus to Yemen. Houthi leader Mohammed al-Houthi said on Twitter that “those who have been killing the Yemenis with their weapons would not hesitate to take their lives through less costly means.” Many Yemenis believe that the Saudi-led coalition would not hesitate to intentionally spread coronavirus in Yemen, especially after their bloody five-year-old military campaign has achieved so little.

The United States, for its part, is not making the dire situation facing Yemenis any easier. The country, a primary backer of Saudi Arabia in its war on Yemen, is decreasing aid to relief workers, according to Yemeni officials and political parties leaders who spoke to MintPress. Human rights activists say that if humanitarian and medical assistance does not reach Yemen soon, and in large quantities, the spread of COVID-19 in the country will be swift and deadly.

U.S. President Donald Trump recently slashed aid to Yemen, halting some $70 million used to fund healthcare programs in the country despite calls from NGOs, humanitarian groups, and even members of Congress, to delay the decision while the country prepares to battle the coronavirus outbreak.

Is Yemen already infected?

Thus far, there are no officially confirmed cases of the COVID-19 in Yemen; however, Ansar Allah officials told MintPress that they have recorded cases near the Saudi border and in southern Yemen, however, MintPress was not able to verify those claims independently. According to Ansar Allah, at least ten Saudi-backed militants in the Medi front near Hajjah have been infected with coronavirus, but those numbers have yet to be officially confirmed by medical bodies.

Although Yemen’s authorities have already taken pre-emptive measures by closing the ports under their control and preventing public gatherings, they would likely quickly be overwhelmed should there be an outbreak of coronavirus as they are already struggling to maintain essential services amid the ongoing Saudi siege and relentless attacks over the past five years.

Sana’a, in particular, where four million people live, including 1.5 million internally displaced people, is particularly susceptible to an outbreak. The city is overcrowded, suffering from an acute lack of sanitation and civilian infrastructure that has been all but decimated from five years of war.

More than 100,000 people have been killed in Yemen since January 2016, according to a report by the Armed Conflict and Location Event Data Project (ACLED). Yemeni doctors fear that if COVID-19 cannot be contained, that number could be dwarfed in a matter of days.

With the world preoccupied with the number of global cases and deaths that the virus has claimed, in Yemen, over 100,00 people die every year as a result of disease and epidemics like cholera and dengue fever, most of them children. If one is able to dodge death by war or disease, they now face the prospect of catching COVID-19 in a country where 19.7 million people are in need of the most basic health care, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

A healthcare system crippled by years of war

Countries with robust health care systems may be able to resist the virus, at least to some extent, but the ongoing blockade and bombing of civilian infrastructure, particularly hospitals, have crippled Yemen’s health system, leaving it unable to deal with even the most basic public health needs. Furthermore, medical treatment and supplies, including respirators, medical sterilizers, and cleaning tools, have become difficult to come by since the Saudi-led coalition forced the closure of the Sana’a International Airport in August 2016.

The Saudi blockade on what is already one of the poorest countries on earth entails tight control over all aspects of life in Yemen. The blockade also restricts movement to the country, meaning that access to medical supplies and entry for emergency medical personnel are all determined by Saudi Arabia. In fact, the reality of life under siege means that for Yemen’s people, their fate lies almost entirely in the hands of Saudi Arabia.

While most of the health services around the world are being overwhelmed by the coronavirus, the deliberate targeting, and attacks on the country’s healthcare facilities over the past five years will make matters worse. The Saudi-led coalition has destroyed 385 hospitals and health facilities. Most of the country’s estimated 300 remaining facilities are either closed or barely functioning. International organizations, already overwhelmed with the pandemic, have done little to provide the necessary medicine and medical supplies to help Yemen face COVID-19.

coronavirus Yemen

More than 250,000 Saudi-led airstrikes have also destroyed 8,610 service facilities, including 15 airports, 6,404 transportation-related targets, 866 food stores, 387 fuel stations, 668 markets, and 736 food trucks, according to Yemen’s Eye of Humanity Center for Human Rights and Development. The report from the center, issued on the fifth anniversary of the war, also reported that 16 ports, 297 electrical stations and generators, 1,990 reservoirs and water networks, and 1,953 government facilities have been bombed. Moreover, at least 458,061 houses have been destroyed or damaged.

First famine, now a pandemic

According to the UN, those facing malnourishment are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, and Yemen is in the midst of the world’s worst famine. The UN has said that 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million that are threatened immediately by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in over 100 years as a result of the Saudi-led war backed by the United States.

The Saudi-led coalition has targeted Yemen’s urban and rural livelihood alike, bombing farms, food systems, markets, water facilities, transportation infrastructure, and even agricultural extension offices. In coastal areas, fishing boats and food processing and storage facilities have been targeted, undermining livelihoods, disrupting local food production, and forcing residents to flee to the city.

Now, Yemen’s nationwide level of household food insecurity hovers at over 70 percent. Fifty percent of rural households and 20 percent of urban households are now food insecure. Almost one-third of Yemenis do not have enough food to satisfy basic nutritional needs. Underweight and stunted children have become a regular sight, especially amongst the holdouts in rural areas.

High precision U.S. bombs dropped by Saudi-led coalition warplanes have destroyed at least 1,834 irrigation pumps, 109 artesian and surface wells, 1,170 modern irrigation networks, 33 solar irrigation units, 12 diggers, 750 pieces of agricultural equipment, 940,400 farms, 7,531 agricultural reserves, 30 productive nurseries, 182 poultry farms, and 359,944 beehives.

Attacks have completely destroyed at least 45 water installations (dams, barriers, reservoirs) and partially destroyed at least 488, including the ancient Marib Dam. As of Mar. 20, 2020, every fish off-loading port in Yemen had been targeted by Saudi attacks. At least 220 fishing boats have been destroyed, 222 fishermen have been killed, and 40,000 fishermen have lost their only source of income. According to Yemen’s Ministry of Fishing Wealth, this affects the lives of more than two million people living in coastal cities and villages.

Moreover, the war, which has wreaked havoc on Yemen’s already fragile economy, has caused thousands in Yemen to lose their jobs. Many local and foreign companies have ceased operations in the country. According to Yemen’s Ministry of Social Affairs, over 5 million workers are without jobs. So far, Salaries for public-sector workers have not been paid regularly since the war began, and Saudi Arabia seized control of Yemen’s Central Bank, leaving vulnerable populations at risk of falling victim to epidemics.

It’s true that the United States and many other countries, including Britain and France, think of their own citizens first, their problems and their challenges. Yet these countries provide support to Saudi Arabia at all levels, allowing it to collapse Yemen’s health sector amid the worst pandemic in recent history.

US Leads Global Wave of Nations Stealing, Seizing and Diverting Coronavirus Equipment

By Alan Macleod

Source

There were dramatic scenes at an airport in Shanghai, China, as U.S. agents hijacked a plane full of lifesaving equipment, including 60 million masks, bound for coronavirus-stricken France. While the plane was on the tarmac, American agents managed to bribe locals into diverting the plane to the United States, plying them with cash.

The story was revealed by the president of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region, Renaud Muselier, who noted that he had already paid in full for the cargo. “The Americans pay double – in cash – before they even see the goods!” he told French newspaper Libération, worrying now that his country is engaged in “a race against the clock” to secure and distribute masks amid the pandemic. PACA is situated in the southeast of France, bordering Italy. The first case in PACA was confirmed on February 28 in the famous seaside resort town of Cannes; a young woman traveling back from Milan – an epicenter of the virus – was infected. Muselier’s story was backed up by Jean Rottner, president of the Grand Est region. “On the tarmac, they arrive, get the cash out… so we really have to fight,” he said.

This appears not to be an isolated incident. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed that he had received similar reports of goods being seized and taken to the United States. “We need to make sure that equipment that is destined for Canada gets to and stays in Canada, and I’ve asked ministers to follow up on these particular reports,” he said yesterday. Brazil, one of the U.S.’ most loyal allies, also broke with convention to criticize the Trump administration’s pandemic gangsterism. “Today the US sent 23 of their biggest cargo planes to China to pick up the material they had acquired. Many of our purchases, which we had hoped to confirm in order to supply [our country], fell through,” said the country’s health minister, Luiz Herique Mandetta. “The whole world wants [supplies] too. There is a problem of hyper-demand.”

France has been hit hard by the coronavirus; 59,929 people have officially tested positive, but 5,398 have died already, the nine percent death rate suggesting that the country has not tested enough of its citizens. Both local and national governments have been criticized for their slow response to the pandemic, failing to shut down public events like markets. The famous Paris-Nice bicycle race, which finishes in PACA, was one of the last professional sporting events still running in Europe. Today the French service sector officially plunged into the deepest recession in its history. With tourism and transport halted, the government is using the high-speed TGV train service to ferry patients around the country at up to 357 mph to hospitals with free beds.

If the initial French response lacked zeal, the U.S. was even slower. President Trump spent weeks claiming the virus was a liberal “hoax” intended to dent his credibility, then downplaying the seriousness of the problem, before changing tack and blaming China for the thousands of dead. This week he declared that if 200,000 Americans die, that would be a great victory for his administration. Over 6,000 have already died, with the tally of confirmed cases almost certain to rise above a quarter-million today. The Trump administration has used the virus to impose further sanctions on Iran and Venezuela, in an attempt to overthrow their governments. It also tried to compel a German pharmaceutical corporation to move production to the U.S., in order to make sure that America alone had access to and control of any coronavirus vaccine it might produce. He reportedly wished to ensure that it would only be available on a for-profit basis. “Germany is not for sale,” the country’s furious economy minister replied. The U.S. also managed to fly out half a million test kits on a military plane from Lombardy, Italy, the epicenter of the Italian outbreak.

Other countries, too, have made highly questionable decisions. Czech authorities seized Chinese medical supplies bound for Italy when a plane refueled there, the country keeping the equipment for itself. Meanwhile, Turkey has not only banned the export of protective gear but is also reportedly reneging on shipments that other countries have already paid for.

The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic appears to be bringing out both the best and worst in human nature. With these latest U.S. moves, seizing and diverting lifesaving equipment from other countries, it seems there has also been a serious outbreak in gangster capitalism.

US Knew of a Novel Coronavirus Threat, Failed to Prepare

By Stephen Lendman

Source

According to a Nation magazine report, Trump deceived the public by falsely claiming the emergence and spread of COVID-19 was “unforeseen,” that it “came out of nowhere.”

The Nation obtained a 2017 Pentagon draft report that refutes his Big Lie.

Saying “(t)he most likely and significant threat is a novel respiratory disease, particularly a novel influenza disease” should have alerted Trump regime policymakers to prepare for outbreaks to be ready to respond as needed when they occurred.

They slept instead, leaving the nation and its people unprepared to deal with what’s happening and worsening daily. More on this below.

There are six known coronavirus strains that can infect humans. Most people contract one or more strains in their lifetimes.

They cause mild to moderate to more serious upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a novel/highly contagious strain.

According to the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases, coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s.

They’re “closely monitored by public health officials” because strains can exist anywhere.

Novel COVID-19 isn’t new. It infected animals for some time. The virus is able to spread to humans or the other way around.

Viruses can mutate into new forms. According to Science Magazine, the US leads in COVID-19 cases but trails many other nations in its response.

“America is first, and not in a good way,” it reported, adding:

The Trump regime’s response is “fragmented, chaotic, and plagued by con­tradictory messaging from political lead­ers.” 

Epidemiologist Michael Osterholm lamented that “(w)e don’t have a national plan. We are going from press conference to press conference and crisis to crisis…trying to understand our response.”

Citing 12 mathematical models produced by infectious diseases scientists, Science Magazine said they concluded that the US could have “millions of (COVID-19) infected people” without a large-scale national program to contain outbreaks.

Instead of conflicting messages from Trump and others around him, political scientist Scott Greer stressed that “(r)ule one of communication (at a time like now is to) have a message and stick to it.”

Instead Trump, state, and local officials are sending mixed messages, ranging from “indifference to alarm.”

Biologist Carl Bergstrom gave an example, saying: “Yesterday, I was supposed to be in church on Easter, and now all of a sudden New York’s under quarantine.”

Lack of clarity, focus, and maximum effort on the problem is “hemorrhaging” public trust.

Lack of national leadership and coordination has states and communities going their own way.

The Trump regime “signaled it will let governors make their own decisions” instead of directing a national effort to combat the virus, said Science Magazine.

According to epidemiologist William Hanage, “(t)he closest comparison here, in terms of national mobilization, is a war. And there is no way the United States would fight a war as 50 separate states.”

Nation magazine explained that the Pentagon plan about foreknowledge of a serious coronavirus outbreak was dated January 6, 2017, days before Trump took office. It’s titled: 

“USNORTHCOM Branch Plan 3560: Pandemic Influenza and Infectious Disease Response”

The Nation got the plan from a Pentagon official who remains anonymous to avoid possible punitive action for releasing it.

Former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Infectious Diseases and Countermeasures Division Denis Kaufman said the following:

“The Intelligence Community has warned about the threat from highly pathogenic influenza viruses for two decades at least. They have warned about coronaviruses for at least five years,” adding:

“There have been recent pronouncements that the coronavirus pandemic represents an intelligence failure…It’s letting people who ignored intelligence warnings off the hook.”

The Pentagon predicted large-scale outbreaks and shortages of critical personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical staff and the public.

The Pentagon report states the following:

“Competition for, and scarcity of resources will include…non-pharmaceutical MCM (Medical Countermeasures) (e.g., ventilators, devices, personal protective equipment such as face masks and gloves), medical equipment, and logistical support. This will have a significant impact on the availability of the global workforce.”

It explains how outbreaks of infectious disease can rapidly spread.

It warned that supplies of ventilators, face masks, gloves, and other protective equipment are nearly depleted.

It explained that US medical facilities will be unable to handle the volume of coronavirus patients needing treatment.

They lack enough hospital beds, equipment, drugs, and related supplies if outbreaks reach epidemic levels.

Scarcity worldwide will cause competition among nations to get as much of what they need as possible.

The Nation said the “Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.”

Its report includes the full draft Pentagon report, labelled “Unclassified/For Official Use Only.”

 

Hollywood Celebrities Are Psyops Wrapped In Human Skin

By Caitlin Johnstone

Source

Sean Penn 82411

CNN recently trotted out Hollywood actor Sean Penn to give the nation expert advice on how to deal with a novel virus pandemic.

Did they do this because we live in a meaningless, godless universe where madness reigns and everything is chaos? Close, but no. They wanted Penn to explain to the public that it would be wonderful if the US military were deployed inside US borders to deal with the pandemic, because the US military is the greatest humanitarian force on planet Earth.

“There is no greater humanitarian force on the planet than the United States military,” Penn said. “The logistical skills, commitment to service, their care for the people. It’s really time to give the military the full breadth command and control of this operation. I wouldn’t blink, I would have put command and control in their hands a month ago, certainly today.”

Anderson Cooper 360°

@AC360

“There is no greater humanitarian force on the planet than the United States military… it’s really time to give the military the full breadth and control of this operation.”

– Actor and activist Sean Penn on battling coronavirushttps://cnn.it/2U3aFx2 

The US military is in fact one of the least humanitarian forces on this planet, second only to malaria-laden mosquitos (and even that’s debatable). No other force is circling the globe murdering people in countless undeclared military entanglements and bullying the world into complying with the interests of a nationless alliance of plutocrats and opaque government agencies at the expense of ordinary humans everywhere. They are the exact opposite of a humanitarian force on this planet.

Medical staff are a force for humanitarianism on this planet right now. Grocery store clerks are a force for humanitarianism on this planet. The US military are the armed thugs of a metastatic globe-sprawling empire run by sociopaths.

Don’t say “Thank you for your service” to veterans whose only contribution to humanity has been helping to murder people for imperialist fossil fuel control agendas and Raytheon profit margins. Say “Thank you for your service” to your local cashier. To do the former is to participate in a cruel collective propaganda operation which only encourages more young people to hurl their bodies into the gears of the US war machine in search of the respect and honor you’re displaying, while to do the latter is to thank someone for actually providing a crucial service to human beings.

The malfunction in Penn’s mind is the result of many malignant factors, but among them is the fact that people who rise to fame and fortune naturally experience a gravitational pull toward elitist echo chambers which cultivate narratives that favor the status quo which gave rise to their fame and fortune. You have a hard time hanging out with normal people because most of them don’t treat you normally anymore, so you find yourself spending time with other rich and famous people, and with people who have a vested interest in the rich and famous.

This dynamic naturally fosters an environment where celebrities are eager to believe positive stories about the system which favors them, and where narrative managers are eager to circulate those stories among influential voices. This is why, with very few exceptions, the closest you’ll ever get to seeing a Hollywood celebrity express an anti-establishment opinion is one of them saying “Fuck Trump” at the Tony Awards. It’s also why every few weeks you’ll see some celebrity tweet something disgusting and then go into a meltdown when thousands of ordinary people react with revulsion; they don’t have ordinary people in their lives giving them feedback on what’s normal anymore, all they have is the elitist echo chamber.

This echo chamber is what led a group of self-quarantining celebrities to believe it would be an awesome idea to share a video compilation where they all badly sing lines from John Lennon’s “Imagine” from inside their mansions with a world full of people who’ve been laid off from their jobs and are terrified for their futures. The figuratively and literally tone-deaf video was universally panned and people have been mocking it on social media ever since its release, which probably would have come as a surprise to the celebrities themselves since nothing in their insulated day-to-day lives would have told them they could all be collectively rejected with such disgust.

The celebrity “Imagine” project was spearheaded by Israeli actress Gal Gadot, who as an IDF veteran would not have required any Hollywood echo chambering to have undergone deep psychological programming in favor of the empire. Gadot, who famously came under fire for publicly cheerleading the 2014 Gaza massacre, first shared the video on Instagram with the caption “We are in this together, we will get through it together. Let’s imagine together. Sing with us.”

Memesters have of course been having fun with this.

Then you’ve got celebrities like Rob Reiner, who just tweeted“No more fucking around. We’re standing on a precipice. Time to consider a Federal lockdown.”

Reiner is one of the more ham-fisted of the right-wing Democrats who we first saw promoting Russia hysteria, then working against the Sanders campaign, and are now promoting drastic totalitarian measures from their high-profile platforms. If you still hadn’t seen these people for what they are yet, you should definitely be seeing them now.

It is an absolute guarantee that powerful people will use this pandemic to advance authoritarian measures which they have no intention of rolling back once the pandemic is over. They are working to do this currently. This is not a possibility, this is an absolute certainty.

Rob Reiner

@robreiner

While it does appear necessary to collectively use self-quarantining and social distancing to avoid crashing our healthcare systems and needlessly killing millions of people, we need to make sure we slam on the brakes long before we yield any more ground to the authoritarians than they’ve already shored up over the years. And we need to loudly shout down any celebrities who try to tell us otherwise.

Hollywood is a giant propaganda mill which when it isn’t cranking out movies which are literally funded and controlled by the US war machine is putting on spectacular ninety-minute “The imperialist world order is perfectly sane and capitalism is totally working” infomercial presentations. It is an arm of cultural control which is unrivaled by anything else in this world, so of course it has powerful forces at work within it ensuring status quo loyalism.

Whoever controls the narrative controls the world, and Hollywood celebrities are psyops wrapped in human skin. May our collective disgust with them continue to grow.

The Bigger Picture Is Hiding Behind a Virus

By Jonathan Cook

Source

Things often look the way they do because someone claiming authority tells us they look that way. If that sounds too cynical, pause for a moment and reflect on what seemed most important to you just a year ago, or even a few weeks ago. 

Then, you may have been thinking that Russian interference in western politics was a vitally important issue, and something that we needed to invest much of our emotional and political energy in countering. Or maybe a few weeks ago you felt that everything would be fine if we could just get Donald Trump out of the White House. Or maybe you imagined that Brexit was the panacea to Britain’s problems – or, conversely, that it would bring about the UK’s downfall.

Still feel that way?

After all, much as we might want to (and doubtless some will try), we can’t really blame Vladimir Putin, or Russian troll farms spending a few thousand dollars on Facebook advertising, for the coronavirus pandemic. Much as we might want to, we can’t really blame Trump for the catastrophic condition of the privatised American health care system, totally ill-equipped and unprepared for a nationwide health emergency. And as tempting as it is for some of us, we can’t really blame Europe’s soft borders and immigrants for the rising death toll in the UK. It was the global economy and cheap travel that brought the virus into Britain, and it was the Brexit-loving prime minister Boris Johnson who dithered as the epidemic took hold.

The bigger picture

Is it possible that only a few weeks ago our priorities were just a little divorced from a bigger reality? That what appeared to be the big picture was not actually big enough? That maybe we should have been thinking about even more important, pressing matters – systemic ones like the threat of a pandemic of the very kind we are currently enduring.

Because while we were all thinking about Russiagate or Trump or Brexit, there were lots of experts – even the Pentagon, it seems – warning of just such a terrible calamity and urging that preparations be made to avoid it. We are in the current mess precisely because those warnings were ignored or given no attention – not because the science was doubted, but because there was no will to do something to avert the threat.

If we reflect, it is possible to get a sense of two things. First, that our attention rarely belongs to us; it is the plaything of others. And second, that the “real world”, as it is presented to us, rarely reflects anything we might usefully be able to label as objective reality. It is a set of political, economic and social priorities that have been manufactured for us.

Agents outside our control with their own vested interests – politicians, the media, business – construct reality, much as a film-maker designs a movie. They guide our gaze in certain directions and not others.

A critical perspective 

At a moment like this of real crisis, one that overshadows all else, we have a chance – though only a chance – to recognise this truth and develop our own critical perspective. A perspective that truly belongs to us, and not to others.

Think back to the old you, the pre-coronavirus you. Were your priorities the same as your current ones?

This is not to say that the things you prioritise now – in this crisis – are necessarily any more “yours” than the old set of priorities.

If you’re watching the TV or reading newspapers – and who isn’t – you’re probably feeling scared, either for yourself or for your loved ones. All you can think about is the coronavirus. Nothing else really seems that important by comparison. And all you can hope for is the moment when the lockdowns are over and life returns to normal.

But that’s not objectively the “real world” either. Terrible as the coronavirus is, and as right as anyone is to be afraid of the threat it poses, those “agents of authority” are again directing and controlling our gaze, though at least this time those in authority include doctors and scientists. And they are guiding our attention in ways that serve their interests – for good or bad.

Endless tallies of infections and deaths, rocketing graphs, stories of young people, along with the elderly, battling for survival serve a purpose: to make sure we stick to the lockdown, that we maintain social distancing, that we don’t get complacent and spread the disease.

Here our interests – survival, preventing hospitals from being overwhelmed – coincide with those of the establishment, the “agents of authority”. We want to live and prosper, and they need to maintain order, to demonstrate their competence, to prevent dissatisfaction bubbling up into anger or open revolt.

Crowded out by detail 

But again the object of our attention is not as much ours as we may believe. While we focus on graphs, while we twitch the curtains to see if neighbours are going for a second run or whether families are out in the garden celebrating a birthday distant from an elderly parent, we are much less likely to be thinking about how well the crisis is being handled. The detail, the mundane is again crowding out the important, the big picture.

Our current fear is an enemy to our developing and maintaining a critical perspective. The more we are frightened by graphs, by deaths, the more we are likely to submit to whatever we are told will keep us safe.

Under cover of the public’s fear, and of justified concerns about the state of the economy and future employment, countries like the US are transferring huge sums of public money to the biggest corporations. Politicians controlled by big business and media owned by big business are pushing through this corporate robbery without scrutiny – and for reasons that should be self-explanatory. They know our attention is too overwhelmed by the virus for us to assess intentionally mystifying arguments about the supposed economic benefits, about yet more illusory trickle-down.

There are many other dramatic changes being introduced, almost too many and too rapidly for us to follow them properly. Bans on movementIntensified surveillanceCensorship. The transfer of draconian powers to the police, and preparations for the deployment of soldiers on streets. Detention without trialMartial law. Measures that might have terrified us when Trump was our main worry, or Brexit, or Russia, may now seem a price worth paying for a “return to normality”.

Paradoxically, a craving for the old-normal may mean we are prepared to submit to a new-normal that could permanently deny us any chance of returning to the old-normal.

The point is not just that things are far more provisional than most of us are ready to contemplate; it’s that our window on what we think of as “the real world”, as “normal”, is almost entirely manufactured for us.

Distracted by the virus 

Strange as this may sound right now, in the midst of our fear and suffering, the pandemic is not really the big picture either. Our attention is consumed by the virus, but it is, in a truly awful sense, a distraction too.

In a few more years, maybe sooner than we imagine, we will look back on the virus – with the benefit of distance and hindsight – and feel the same way about it we do now about Putin, or Trump, or Brexit.

It will feel part of our old selves, our old priorities, a small part of a much bigger picture, a clue to where we were heading, a portent we did not pay attention to when it mattered most.

The virus is one small warning – one among many – that we have been living out of sync with the natural world we share with other life. Our need to control and dominate, our need to acquire, our need for security, our need to conquer death – they have crowded out all else. We have followed those who promised quick, easy solutions, those who refused to compromise, those who conveyed authority, those who spread fear, those who hated.

If only we could redirect our gaze, if we could seize back control of our attention for a moment, we might understand that we are being plagued not just by a virus but by our fear, our hate, our hunger, our selfishness. The evidence is there in the fires, the floods and the disease, in the insects that have disappeared, in the polluted seas, in the stripping of the planet’s ancient lungs, its forests, in the melting ice-caps.

The big picture is hiding in plain sight, no longer obscured by issues like Russia and Brexit but now only by the most microscopic germ, marking the thin boundary between life and death.

%d bloggers like this: