70 Years Of NATO: Is It A High Time To Retire?

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70 Years Of NATO: Is It A High Time To Retire?

NATO is a military and political alliance, a security community that unites the largest number of States on both sides of the North Atlantic. During its existence, NATO has expanded 2.5 times. It accounts for 70% of global military spending. It is rightfully considered the most powerful military association of States in the entire history of mankind in terms of combined armed power and political influence. The fact that this year NATO turned 70 years old, which is more than the independent existence of some of its member States, proves an incredible success of this project. However, while the Alliance has successfully resisted external enemies in its history, today it is experiencing significant internal divisions that threaten its existence more than ever.

The founding date of NATO is April 4, 1949, the day 12 countries signed the Washington Treaty. NATO became a “transatlantic forum” for allied countries to consult on issues that affect the vital interests of participating countries. The organization’s primary goal was to deter any form of aggression against the territory of any member state, as well as to protect against these threats. The principle of collective defense, enshrined in article 5 of the Washington Treaty, implies that if one NATO member state is the victim of an armed attack, all other member States of the Alliance will consider this act of violence an armed attack on all NATO countries and will take actions that the organization deems necessary. At the end of the 20th century, the real threat to the West was the Soviet Union.

70 Years Of NATO: Is It A High Time To Retire?

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the question arose about the existence of NATO, as an Alliance created to protect against the Soviet threat. The disappearance of the external threat has led to a process of transformation that has been going on for 30 years. Each stage of transformation is directly related to the adaptation of the Alliance to certain changes taking place in the international arena and affecting the stability of the security system in the Euro-Atlantic and the world as a whole. In addition to the collapse of the Soviet Union, one of the key events that affected the development of the Alliance was the terrorist attack of 11.09.2001, which actually allowed the Alliance to be preserved, since then there was a common external threat to the member countries.

Traditionally, NATO’s transformations are considered in the following three areas: geographical changes, political transformations, and processes in the military-technical sphere.

Important political transformations are manifested in adapting to changes in the international arena, which are represented primarily by the disappearance of block opposition. The Alliance remains committed to the principle of collective defense, as set out in article 5 of the Washington Treaty. The main command structures also remain the same. The main transformations are expressed in the form of declarations of new NATO functions: maintaining peace and stability not only on the territory of the member States, but also outside the area of responsibility of the Alliance. The operations carried out in these territories are aimed at maintaining local and regional stability, eliminating ethnic and religious conflicts, maintaining respect for human rights and various national minorities, and, most importantly, fighting international terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The “new NATO” is being transformed from a regional organization into a guarantor of global stability, taking responsibility for stability in regions outside its own territories and in situations not covered by article 5 of the Washington Treaty. Assuming global responsibility, NATO is forced to maintain the necessary level of military power, participate in collective planning for the organization of nuclear forces and their deployment on its own territories. New threats encourage NATO to expand geographically.

The expansion of NATO, which implies the inclusion of former members of the Warsaw Pact And the full-scale advance of military infrastructure to the East, represents a change in geography.

Changes in the military-technical sphere imply a General reduction of the Alliance’s collective military forces, their relocation, etc. The main form of transformation of the armed forces was the transition from ” heavy ” military associations to more flexible and maneuverable groups in order to increase their effectiveness in the fight against new threats. The beginning of the economic crisis in autumn 2008 revealed the urgent need for reforms. Member States were forced to reduce their military budgets, which meant abandoning programs involving the development and purchase of precision weapons. In 2010 the plan of the NATO Secretary-General A. Rasmussen’s plan to optimize the budget, and in 2012, the Chicago summit adopted the “smart defense package”, which implies a parallel reduction of funds and increased efficiency.

However, despite all the reforms carried out within the Alliance, today the new missions do not have the same clarity as during the cold war. Options for the purpose of NATO’s existence after the collapse of the USSR vary: the fight against terrorism, assistance in the spread of democracy, nation-building, “world police”, the fight against “soft threats”, the fight against a resurgent Russia. But the main problem of the Organization is that none of the options is universal for all member countries. None of the considered “enemies” unites NATO.

After various stages of transformation, NATO turned out that the condition for its perfect functioning was precisely the situation of structured confrontation. The current unstructured confrontation, which implies that all member countries have different primary threats, makes it meaningless to have a cumbersome and generally rather inert organization.

70 Years Of NATO: Is It A High Time To Retire?
Illustrative Image

In 2014, NATO had another opportunity to create a common external enemy, the role of which was approached by Russia. The summit held in Wales in 2014 radically changed the agenda of the entire Alliance. The main topic of discussion was the Ukrainian crisis, which led to the conclusion about the need to contain Russia. The final Declaration of the summit notes that ” Russia’s aggressive actions against Ukraine have fundamentally called into question the vision of a whole, free and peaceful Europe”. “The illegal self-proclaimed annexation of Crimea and Russia’s aggressive actions in other regions of Ukraine” were highlighted as special threats among the spread of violence and extremist groups in North Africa and the Middle East.

The appearance of a ” dangerous external enemy ” entailed not only political transformations. There have also been reforms in the military sphere of NATO. Among the new security challenges were “hybrid wars”, that is, military actions involving an expanded range of military and civilian measures of an open or hidden nature. The adopted Action Plan, which includes the concept of “hybrid war”, was primarily aimed at countering the tactics of warfare used by Russia. Thus, a number of measures included in the Declaration were directed against Russia.

NATO was forced to return to the role of a guarantor against severe security threats, which significantly increased costs for the organization. At the 2016 NATO Warsaw summit, it was decided to further deploy 4 battalion tactical groups to existing military bases in Poland and the Baltic States. In addition, more than 550 tanks and an armored unit of the United States have been transferred to the region. These units are deployed on a rotational basis, which does not contradict the NATO-Russia Founding act of 1997. In the Declaration of the 2018 Brussels NATO summit it is recorded that the “enhanced presence in the forward area” of tactical groups includes a total of 4,500 military personnel, which is approximately equal to one brigade.

70 Years Of NATO: Is It A High Time To Retire?
Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP

At the same time, it is clear that Russia does not pose a real threat to NATO. Real foreign policy practice proves that Russia will not threaten Western countries in the next 50 years. The only point of instability today is the Ukrainian conflict, which had no preconditions until 2014, and was in turn artificially created by the American establishment in partnership with Brussels. Russia, for its part, even in this conflict does not seek to expand its influence, and also observes the Minsk agreements that are unfavorable to It.

“The main reason why the United States has assumed the role of arbiter of the fate of Ukraine and its citizens is the allegedly increasing threat from Russia not only to Kiev, but also to Europe and the rest of the world. And this is despite the fact that it was with the help of the United States that mass protests were organized and the elected government of Ukraine was overthrown in 2013-2014, which led to the war that has now unfolded in the heart of Eastern Europe,” writes geopolitical columnist Tony Kartaluchi in the new Eastern Outlook.

In 2016, the RAND organization conducted a study that showed that in the event of a Russian invasion of the Baltic States, Russian troops can be on the approaches to the capitals of Estonia and Latvia within sixty hours. The study showed that NATO forces are not sufficient to repel the Russian attack. In an interview, NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller said that the main goal of deploying additional forces in Eastern Europe and Poland is to demonstrate the unity of the Alliance, and to maintain its members ‘ commitment to article 5 of the Washington Treaty. Thus, NATO adheres to the policy of declarative deterrence of Russia, in fact, its forces are not enough to respond to a potential attack from Russia. The NATO administration is well aware that the likelihood of a military conflict with Russia is minimal, but it continues to maintain the image of Russia as an aggressor in order to unite the member countries.

70 Years Of NATO: Is It A High Time To Retire?
U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Poland’s President Andrzej Duda, leave at the end of a joint press conference in Warsaw, Poland, in June 2017. (Czarek Sokolowski/AP)

Moreover, maintaining the image of a dangerous enemy gives the United States the opportunity to promote its own interests in Europe and manipulate its “partners”.

On June 25, Donald Trump finally confirmed that part of the American military contingent in Germany would be transferred to Poland. In the end, the American contingent in Germany will be reduced from 52 thousand people to 25 thousand. According to official data, in Germany there are about 35 thousand US military personnel, 10 thousand civil servants of the Pentagon and about 2 thousand contract workers. Some of the US military will return to America, some will go to Poland to strengthen the deterrence of the “Russian threat”. In addition, according to media reports, Polish President Andrzej Duda and Donald Trump discussed the possibility of transferring 30 f-16 fighters.

“They [Germany] spend billions of dollars to buy Russian energy resources, and then we are supposed to protect them from Russia. It doesn’t work that way. I think this is very bad, ” said Donald trump, accusing Berlin of supporting the Nord Stream 2 project.

When asked whether the US administration is trying to send a signal to Russia, Donald Trump stressed that Moscow was receiving a “very clear signal”, but Washington still expected to normalize their relations. This only underscores the fact that the US is taking advantage of the perceived Russian threat to NATO.

The American leader, by undermining cooperation between Moscow and Berlin in the energy sphere, not only prevents Russia, as one of their enemies in the international arena, from developing a profitable project. The US is also interested in weakening the leading European industries, primarily Germany. The United States does not tolerate strong enemies, but it also does not accept strong allies. It is in the interests of the Americans to prevent the redevelopment of Europe as a self-sufficient and independent center of power in the international arena.

70 Years Of NATO: Is It A High Time To Retire?
Defense spendings in relation to GDP of NATO member countries

Therefore, Donald Trump is strongly calling on Germany to reimburse the billions of dollars it owes the White House. Trump is dissatisfied with the fact that Berlin does not comply with the promise made by all NATO members to increase defense spending to 2% of GDP. At the same time, Germany has already followed this path, increasing funding to 1.38%. In its turn, the US spends 3.4% of the state budget on the needs of the Alliance.

The problem of NATO funding is very often the main criticism of Berlin. However, in addition to this issue, new problems are emerging in US-German relations.

Washington is very dissatisfied with Berlin’s interaction with Beijing. The White House, which has strengthened the anti-Chinese vector of its policy, blaming the PRC for the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and accusing the Chinese side of “controlling” the World Health Organization (WHO), did not receive sufficient support in Europe, and Germany criticized.

Moreover, Berlin does not support Washington’s sanctions policy on Chinese Hong Kong, which Beijing allegedly takes away its independence from.

The US is particularly dissatisfied with the EU’s desire for a major investment agreement with China. Germany is the main ideologue of this process and seeks to close the deal during its six-month presidency of the EU Council.

70 Years Of NATO: Is It A High Time To Retire?
“One Belt, One Road” Initiative

China today, of course, is the main competitor of the United States in the struggle for world hegemony. China also raises considerable concerns among European countries, which is primarily due to economic expansion and the successful development of the large-scale Chinese initiative “One belt, one road”. European leaders are also competing with China for resources in third world countries in Africa and Southeast Asia. In addition, there are ideological differences between the two world regions. However, China does not currently pose a military threat to Europe, which does not allow the use of NATO forces against it.

While Western countries see Russia and China as the main threats, strategically they are primarily concerned about Iran and North Korea. These countries are also a threat primarily to the United States, but their European partners are not ready to conduct active military actions against them at the moment.

The only real dangerous factor that unites almost all NATO member countries remains international terrorism, in the fight against which Western countries act as a united front.70 Years Of NATO: Is It A High Time To Retire?

The current military and political course of the European Union is determined by the clear desire of its leadership to transform the military and political organization into one of the world’s leading centers of power. The aggravation of political and economic differences with the United States is the main incentive for the implementation of this goal. Thus, the EU’s focus on increasing independence in crisis management in the area of common European interests has had a decisive influence on the development of the common security and defense policy. In order to reduce dependence on the United States and NATO for conducting operations and missions within the framework of “force projection”, the leadership of the Association has stepped up activities to develop its own military component.

France and Germany are the main engines of this process, and are promoting the initiative to create the so-called European Defense Union. However, despite active efforts to expand military and military-technical cooperation within the EU, the declared goals of creating a “European army” with collective defense functions that duplicate the status and activities of NATO seem difficult to achieve in the foreseeable future. This situation is due to the reluctance of the majority of EU member States to transfer control over their armed forces to the supranational level. Moreover, the US opposition to the process of forming the European Defense Union and the limited resources available due to the absorption by NATO structures of the major part of the defense potential of European countries, most of which are simultaneously involved in two organizations, do not allow the full implementation of EU political decisions on military construction. In this regard, it is only possible to talk about giving a new impetus to military cooperation in order to increase the collective capacity to protect the territory and citizens of the States of the region.

Given the lack of forces and resources for conducting operations and missions, Brussels is interested in the practice of involving military formations of third countries in its anti-crisis actions on the basis of bilateral framework agreements. Currently, such agreements have been reached with Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and a number of other States.

Currently, the European Union conducts 16 military and mixed operations and missions in various regions of the world, involving about 4,500 people. The greatest attention is paid to the “zones of instability” in North and Central Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans and the post-Soviet space.

70 Years Of NATO: Is It A High Time To Retire?
NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg

Thus, NATO today has to do everything possible to support the unity and coherence of actions of all its member countries, which are more than ever under threat. The main European leaders are no longer ready to support US policy and continue to sacrifice their own national interests. If in the case of Germany, this is manifested primarily in support of the Nord stream 2 project, despite the threats of the United States. France today supports its own interests in Libya, which contradict the interests of other countries-members of the Alliance: Turkey and Italy. Certainly, Turkey and Italy have different positions and aspirations in Libya. Italy was previously a traditional ally of France and does not actively intervene in the military conflict. However, now, given the current predominance of Turkey in Libya, Italy is trying to sit on two chairs. On the one hand, Italy, while supporting Tripoli, does not actively help them. On the other hand, in political terms, it clearly stands on the side of Tripoli and Turkey, thereby trying to ensure its share of participation in the next division of Libyan natural resources after the supposed victory of the Turkish-Tripolitan Alliance.

Summing up, today the imaginary Russian threat no longer allows US to unite the Alliance members, but only serves as a method of implementing US interests. The White House, which has always played a leading role in NATO and retains it thanks to the largest percentage of investment in the Alliance, allows itself to more openly abuse its leading position and promote its own national interests and the interests of its elites through the North Atlantic Alliance to the detriment of the interests of partner countries. Thus, article 4 of the Washington Treaty, which implies decision-making by consensus and is the basis of NATO itself, is of less and less importance in practice. The United States cannot renounce its membership in NATO and is interested in preserving it, because it is the Western Alliance that allows the US to give at least a small share of legitimacy to its military actions. A kind of neo-colonial policy, that the United States is used to employ in relation to European countries, and the current significant shift in the political paradigm within the US itself do not allow us to hope that the American leadership will be able to strengthen its position in Europe in the coming years.

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Race, Economy and Viruses

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June 28, 2020

Race, Economy and Viruses

By Jimmy Moglia for the Saker Blog

Whatever busies the mind without corrupting it has at least this use, that it rescues the day from idleness, and he that is never idle will not often be vicious.

The previous unnecessary remark is intended as a pre-emptive application for absolution from the reader whose views expressed hereafter may not mirror his. We live in explosive times and some believe that diseases desperate grown should by desperate measures be relieved or not at all. Furthermore, historically, some of the deadliest conflicts centered on metaphysical disputes. And some of the current arguments may border, if not with metaphysics, at least with what is invisible to most of us.

An alleged pandemic affects, has affected and/or may continue to affect the world, from the most populous and largest countries to the remotest and tiniest, such as, for example, the Faroer Islands or St. Helena.

Not an exaggeration. A few weeks ago a plane flew from England to St. Helena, to drop a load of masks and swabs for her 4000 inhabitants. Who may be somewhat perplexed at how and when a virus (many millions of which are needed to make up an inch) could purposely drift or float or fly and reach unaided a faraway island in the middle of the South Atlantic. A proposition that, if not endorsed by theological medicine, would appear extravagantly fanciful and ineffably imaginative.

Overall I think we are living with a curious phenomenon that our calmer reason may style a pan-sociological experiment, involving a perplexing physical virus, now suddenly coexistent with a sudden, endemic and equally perplexing social virus, namely racism. But on this later.

I do not intend to tire the reader with disputes about the validity, let alone the accuracy of statistics on infections, deaths and survivors of the coronavirus. Suffice to say that the collective perception would probably change, if the grim and harsh statistics of death included the average age of the deceased, namely 80 years.

To be clear, this number only reflects what I could obtain from official statistics related to a country I followed (Italy). Though there is plausibly reliable and apparently consistent similar information regarding other countries.

It is uncontested, however, that mass information outlets have, since the inception of the pandemic, aimed heavily at inducing panic, hysteria and consternation among their audience.

Italy was the first country in the headlines as the European target of the virus, with the highest number of related deaths. In the city of Bergamo military trucks were repeatedly shown on TV carrying coffins away from the hospital as the local facilities were overwhelmed.

It now appears that the main hospital of the city became the collection point of all dead bodies from the surrounding districts, that funeral homes shut down due to panic, and that the hospital had minimal facilities for cremation. Added to this, the famous ventilators, early deemed instruments of salvation, actually contributed to the demise of the patient, for reasons that the interested reader can easily find online.

And one of the most eminent among the eminent specialists in infectious diseases said recently that the statistics provided by the media were/are “like the numbers of a lottery” and that, due to expediency or collective mesmerism many hospital deaths were summarily attributed to the coronavirus. A point broadly confirmed by the director of the main hospital of Milan.

All this proves that seemingly unquestionable medical authority can drive millions into the pale of questionable beliefs. And it is patently undeniable that medicine has since long contracted a dubious and unorthodox alliance with power, implicitly accepting the idolatrous monotheism of the market as the only allowed religion.

Not an exaggeration. Even the Pope has adopted the language of immunization and metaphysical vaccination. Here is one of his very recent tweets,

“The Lord knows that evil and sins are not our identity; they are illnesses, infectious diseases and He comes to cure them with the Eucharist, which contains antibodies for our memory sick of negativity. With Jesus we can immunize ourselves from sadness.”

Sometimes words say more than they appear to mean. Here they represent the latest of several instances, showing how the Church has surrendered to the new scientific and medical theology. A theology that, in the times of the coronavirus, has become a new doctrine, both therapeutically and politically correct.

Considering also that the Pope, against the will of the Episcopal Conference, has quietly accepted, in the name of the emergency, all the restrictive measures concerning the Catholic Mass and most other rites.

He says that Catholics must ‘obey’ the government – which, in the instance, means the suspension of the freedom of religion. There is/was online the video of a rebellious priest in Italy celebrating the Mass, with irrupting policemen halting the ceremony and taking him away.

Furthermore, ‘obeying’ is a revealing word, showing how the Church has essentially bowed to the relativistic nihilism of the victorious market civilization.

Bergoglio metabolizes the lexicon of medical theology, the syntax of a therapeutically correct world and the language of a new scientific theology. Today Capital accepts Christianity only if it becomes a religion of individual concern, a privatized cult practiced in one’s own private sphere. Or it is tolerated in the public domain if it renounces transcendence and becomes a simple secular agency for the administration of the world order.

Bergoglio’s words are interesting, for they reveal the metabolization by the Church of a new and therapeutically correct language. Sins become diseases and infections, the Eucharist becomes the equivalent of rescuing antibodies, and Jesus Christ becomes the great vaccine – a transfiguration of dubious taste, converting the Christian into a medical discourse.

A medical discourse supported, sponsored and promoted by power. But power does not believe the fables it spreads and defends. For it owns the instruments of fear and denies those of knowledge through an infernal noise inescapable by its victims and even by its perpetrators.

That the coronavirus has raised the prospect of a pecuniary bonanza for a few and of calamities for many others needs no demonstration. The few are those who will gain and are already gaining from the prospect of one or more coronavirus vaccines. The others are those, for example, who lost a job, a business or their livelihood.

Still, the fierce debates and confrontations among authorities in virology and related sciences may also prompt us to examine the very meaning of knowledge, somehow forgotten in the current disputes and diatribes among experts.

Knowledge is essentially the awareness of its boundaries. The phases of development in modern science reflect and correspond to the capability of questioning its limits. Whereas, during the primitive phases of human development man thought that magic explained the world, and that by explaining it he could control it.

The phenomenon is not new, though it appears in different disguises. Just think of the many officially approved and heavily promoted drugs, scientifically branded as salvific medicines and shown in proof but deadly poisons. The coronavirus pandemic has only raised the stakes to a new and higher level.

The sum of the preternaturally disturbing events that have accompanied the “pandemic” of the Covid/19, during this first half of 2020, must cause us to reflect on the origins, the unfolding and the end goal of this veritable “pandemonium.” In which, under the pretext of the physical health of man (that replaced the health of his mind and/or soul), we witnessed a real coup d’etat on a world scale, to establish an absolutist and totalitarian tyranny under therapeutic/eugenic disguises.

This coup attacks the very nature of man by limiting his freedom, which is his essential mark, and without which he ceases to be himself, as in Aristotle’s definition of a ‘rational and free creature.’ And by isolating him the coup renders man a-social, again quoting Aristotle’s words.

It represents the beginning of that New World Order that recently has been more openly spoken-of. For, with the compulsory delivery of vaccines and pandemic-monitoring APPs, the New World Order will remotely control, direct and dominate not only the public, but also the private life of humanity.

The 1968’s Cultural-Marxist upheaval had already revolutionized man’s mental interiority, especially the soul of the young, through drugs, psychedelic music and the Freudian unfettered freedom of passions. Yet they were phenomena still external to man, whom intelligence and free-will could save or preserve – at least those who did not buy into the tenets of the Frankfurt School.

The new world order, instead, wants to install into our body, brain and/or DNA sundry technological transmitters and markers that will force man to do what the Kalergian Owners of the World want him to do. All under the guise and objective of maintaining his bodily health.

The plan is diabolic and well planned. After all, already in 2012, Jacques Attali, hyper-Zionist and mentor of Manuel Macron of France said that, “A little pandemic will enable to install a World Government.” We now directly witness its progress, starting at the end of 2019 and especially with the beginning of 2020. Until a few months ago, nobody would have believed it.

From what I could gather, there are actually two competing factions in the rush to implement the Judaic-Masonic Globalist charter. One is the radical wing, trans-national and trans-religious. Names associated with the faction are Soros, Rothschild, Rockefeller, Gates, (the ‘Deep State’), and Pope Bergoglio (the ‘Deep Church’). This faction supports China, which is ultraliberal in economics and communist in politics.

The other faction is public, somewhat esoteric, political, national, parliamentary, democratic and moderate in a modern sense. It includes Trump, perhaps even Putin, and would support the North American nation, allied with Russia, in an anti-Chinese function.

Patently missing is a counter-revolutionary force, anti-Zionist and anti-masonic. This responsibility once fell on the Catholic hierarchy, now completely adrift, socially and theologically, after the second Vatican Council.

Ex US nuncio Cardinal Vigano’, – who represents the hub of the Catholic anti-Bergoglio opposition – recently wrote an open letter to Trump, from which I quote,

“In recent months we have been witnessing the formation of two opposing sides that I would call Biblical: the children of light and the children of darkness. The children of light constitute the most conspicuous part of humanity, while the children of darkness represent an absolute minority. And yet the former are the object of a sort of discrimination, which places them in a situation of moral inferiority with respect to their adversaries, who often hold strategic positions in government, in politics, in the economy and in the media. In an apparently inexplicable way, the good are held hostage by the wicked and by those who help them either out of self-interest or fearfulness.

These two sides, which have a Biblical nature, follow the clear separation between the offspring of the Woman and the offspring of the Serpent. On the one hand there are those who, although they have a thousand defects and weaknesses, are motivated by the desire to do good, to be honest, to raise a family, to engage in work, to give prosperity to their homeland, to help the needy, and, in obedience to the Law of God, to merit the Kingdom of Heaven. On the other hand, there are those who serve themselves, who do not hold any moral principles, who want to demolish the family and the nation, exploit workers to make themselves unduly wealthy, foment internal divisions and wars, and accumulate power and money: for them the fallacious illusion of temporal well-being will one day – if they do not repent – yield to the terrible fate that awaits them, far from God, in eternal damnation.

In society, Mr. President, these two opposing realities co-exist as eternal enemies, just as God and Satan are eternal enemies. And it appears that the children of darkness – whom we may easily identify with the deep state which you wisely oppose and which is fiercely waging war against you in these days – have decided to show their cards, so to speak, by now revealing their plans. They seem to be so certain of having already everything under control that they have laid aside the circumspection that until now had at least partially concealed their true intentions. The investigations already under way will reveal the true responsibility of those who managed the Covid emergency not only in the area of health care but also in politics, the economy, and the media. We will probably find that in this colossal operation of social engineering there are people who have decided the fate of humanity, arrogating to themselves the right to act against the will of citizens and their representatives in the governments of nations.

We will also discover that the riots in these days were provoked by those who, seeing that the virus is inevitably fading and that the social alarm of the pandemic is waning, necessarily have had to provoke civil disturbances, because they would be followed by repression, which, although legitimate, could be condemned as an unjustified aggression against the population. The same thing is also happening in Europe, in perfect synchrony.

…. it will not be surprising if, in a few months, we learn once again that hidden behind these acts of vandalism and violence there are those who hope to profit from the dissolution of the social order so as to build a world without freedom.

… Although it may seem disconcerting, the opposing alignments I have described are also found in religious circles. There are faithful Shepherds who care for the flock of Christ, but there are also mercenary infidels who seek to scatter the flock and hand the sheep over to be devoured by ravenous wolves. It is not surprising that these mercenaries are allies of the children of darkness and hate the children of light: just as there is a deep state, there is also a deep church that betrays its duties and forswears its proper commitments before God.”

end of quote

The reader may guess who are the “children of darkness holding strategic positions in government, in politics, in the economy and in the media,” the “offspring of the serpent,” the “ravenous wolves,” “those who serve themselves and do not hold any moral principles who have decided the fate of humanity,” and “those who hope to profit from the dissolution of the social order so as to build a world without freedom.”

The historian who will review with an impartial eye the events of Winter, Spring and Summer of 2020, may wonder in awe at the almost seamless transition and smooth blending between the viral pandemic – possibly questionable, at least in the eye of some – and the definitely questionable pandemic of destruction prompted by alleged racism. Even a Cardinal of the Catholic opposition sees a connection between the two phenomena. Which may prompt a reflection by those who brand interpretations of events not sanctioned by authorities as conspiracy theories or phantoms in the clouds.

The coronavirus has equally produced a worldwide economic pandemic, caused by measures that placed entire nations under house arrest. It has been (is) a global social earthquake aimed at destroying the middle class. For even in this we may note a continuity with the dominant lines of globalization, now advanced and accelerated thanks to the coronavirus.

We are dealing with an authoritarian turn that guarantees to the dominant class dominion without consent. A move that also accelerates the fusion of the shrinking middle class with the proletariat, into one amorphous social body, with limited rights and limited options for redress.

But even in these conditions, the signs of solicitude and of a struggle to escape are never completely absent. This new social body, however timidly and tentatively, is becoming aware of the global trick it has been the victim of – given also the hyperbolic inequality, the billionaires who idly prosper in the eye of wealth and the millions who struggle with distress in the elusive search for a decent life, or at least for some degree of economic safety.

This awareness would or could turn into a proper class struggle against the novel therapeutic and authoritarian capitalism – a capitalism that uses the coronavirus to create a new political model based on unquestionable and repressive authority.

The owners of the world are not exempt of fear. Fear produces vigilance and vigilance prudence. For revolts and revolutions are like a snow-ball on a deep slope. It is difficult to get it started, but when it does it cannot any longer be controlled.

To prevent being victims of an avalanche, the owners of the world have started and re-directed it. The controllers of the discourse, the administrators of the superstructures and the managers of consensus have launched and resorted to the well-tested, ever-ready and useful issue of racism.

And here the paradoxes pile on top of each other. The new ’anti-racists’ are the same that, as of yesterday, were the most racists (capitalist-wise) ever since man began to buy, sell and exploit.

And here is another paradox. This is what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – a US Congress representative and by ethnicity a natural member of the revolting minority – wrote in a recent tweet: “It’s critical that governors keep restrictions on businesses until after the November election, because the economic recovery will help re-elect Trump. Some closures or job losses are a small price to pay to be free from his presidency.”

“A small price to pay?” BS is a more decent rather than a less but more spontaneous response. It shows how those who most vocally claim that “black lives matter” couldn’t give a damn about the actual lives of blacks (and, by inference, of all the people that don’t count).

The Ocasio-Cortez(es) of this world are the voice of those who, overseas, do not hesitate to starve entire peoples to change regimes they don’t like. Power does not believe the fables it spreads and defends. For it owns the instruments of fear and denies those of knowledge via censorship applied to all popular means of communication. Indeed, the tweet fully exposes the gears of the media trick-machine and the undeclared intentions on which the pandemic narratives were built.

But the trick is/was useful and effective. Move the target of the struggle from the real problem – caused by the economic pandemic and by sanitary capitalism – to the problem of racism. Get the blacks to hate the white, particularly the less affluent or poor, so as to convert the class into a phony race struggle. In the end and in the current circumstances, racism is a permanent alibi for mass distraction from the class struggle.

Besides, most of us also would agree that racism is a convenient label for hiding true, serious problems left untouched and unspoken. Nor I intend to task any further the reader’s patience. But just to give some perspective and using the most recently available US statistics, in 2018 the number of crimes committed by black on whites were 547,948. The number of crimes by whites on blacks 59,778.

Can we explain all this concentrated defiance of logic, of numbers and of common sense? Probably not. For ours is the age of endless growth and triumphant turbo-capitalism. And though endless growth is physically impossible, the owners of the world disagree. Which means that turbo-capitalism represents the metaphysics of limitlessness, the idolatrous monotheism of the market, and the theology of the market economy as the only allowed religion.

But this extreme capitalism, unlike its previous externations, does not need stability. In order to survive and grow it needs rather a state of continuous crisis. Which, as it burns a bit of wealth to fuel the engine of speculation, it also prevents the coalescence of social forces to fight against the massacres of rights, of wages and of the future.

As of now, if there is a light at the end of the tunnel, I’d say it’s a train coming towards us. For we are still far away from learning to realign those elements in our human action that are most difficult to align: goodness without universal toleration, courage without fanaticism, intelligence without apathy, and hope without blindness.

Italy’s worst virus? Its ultracasta

Italy’s worst virus? Its ultracasta

June 02, 2020

by Postfataresurgo for the Saker Blog

Years ago, as Italy’s real estate market was spiraling upward after the euro came into effect, I strived to be of assistance to a couple of friends from the Bay Area who had set their minds on becoming home owners in Tuscany. After reading what had become a popular book among Tuscany cognoscenti about a lady who buys an abandoned home in southern Tuscany and embarks on the project of bringing it back to life, with all related challenges of living in a foreign country and dealing with the locals without speaking the language, my friends had at least half a dozen real estate agencies scouting all corners of Tuscany searching for the right place.

In the book eventually the lady succeeds in her project, despite the plethora of misunderstandings, setbacks and cultural differences. The property she had chosen had been neglected for many years because of a not so favorable position which made it rather unattractive at first sight. That was not the case for the property my friends fell in love with, a hilltop farmhouse with sweeping views of the Tuscan countryside plus several hectares of adjacent farmland. The property had been highly recommended by one real estate agency who claimed to have the exclusive right of sale by the owner, a Swiss who had owned it for only two years, started the restoration project, and then stopped altogether.

The asking price seemed to be reasonable, in fact so reasonable I volunteered to pay a visit and have a friendly chat with the agent before my friends would take the next flight to Tuscany to make a written offer. The real estate agency was in one of those quaint medieval Tuscan towns still avoided by throngs of gelato licking day tourists where locals know something about everybody else. The conversation with the agent only lasted a short time, as I sensed there was more to be told about this property from someone not directly involved in the sale. As for my direct question about the motives of the sale by the Swiss, the agent remained rather ambiguous and sibylline, as for a meaningless detail not even worth talking about: he had had some “health issues” that eventually prevented him to continue on his initial project of an upscale agriturismo.

I decided to have lunch in a local trattoria which appeared to be also the local hangout, and where I was sure I’d get some answers to my queries. Those answers came in the form of the sardonic looks the locals gave each other when they heard the property mentioned: “ nemmeno lo Svizzero ha resistito con quel vicino” quipped an older fellow. Even the Swiss didn’t make it with such a neighbor. So the Swiss was the last of a long list of owners who – over the years – had bought the property, started all kinds of restoration projects, and gave up, eventually losing a great deal of money.

So, who was this dreary neighbor who made it to turn away all who tried to live a peaceful and serene existence in quintessential Tuscany? It reminded me of the so called Innominato, a character from Alessandro Manzoni’s The Betrothed, who refers as to someone so powerful it could not even be called by his real name. The Innominato in this case was a powerful judge of Italy’s Supreme Court, who apparently had used his discreet power over the years for the very simple reason he didn’t want any ongoing restoration works to bother him when he would be present in his adjoining estate, about a kilometer away, much less other tourists to drive back and forth on the same dirt road he considered his own.

How did he use his power? Quite simply, having Italian notoriously mind boggling burocrazia to its fullest extent. When the hapless new owners started the lengthy and complicated process of applying for all necessary restoration and – in the case of the Swiss – agriturismo permits, they encountered all sorts of difficulties, inconveniences, delays, you name it. Especially in rural areas, unless you are a simple tourist, life in Italy can be complicated. Unless, of course, you know the right people, or strings to pull.

And strings to pull the powerful roman judge must have had quite a few, as no one succeeded in their projects, after seeing their requests turned down by unfathomable and incomprehensible technicalities, or countless inspections by all sorts of state and local agencies checking every potential irregularities with either the project or the workers present on the site, threatening both owner and contractors on site with stiff fines and/or immediate halting of the project altogether.

This anecdote is just a petty example of how ugly life can become if all of a sudden you are dealing – as a potential victim – with Italy’s judiciary system, in any of its forms, may that be, like in this case, a single judge. Anyone who has had anything to do with Italy’s courtrooms in search of “justice” will invariably dispense this lapidary comment: “stay away, period.”

A reliable edition of an English language dictionary quotes – among others – the meaning of the word caste as follows: “a division of society based on differences of wealth, inherited rank or privilege, profession or occupation “. No better word could describe Italy’s judicial system, or, better yet, the mother of all castes. A true state within the state, a formidable apparatus of power with no other apparatus able – or willing – to have any check or balance upon it. In Italy is absolutely irrelevant who wins the elections, as long as you can pull the strings of this ultracaste no one has ever been able to control, or bring down to reality.

Italy’s justice system has been repeatedly classified by international and reliable statistics as the least efficient and most expensive in the western world. In terms of efficiency it ranks along with sub-Saharan African countries. But in terms of costs and privileges to its members it is undoubtedly the best in the world, no questions asked. And the headquarters of this infamous system are to be found in its Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura, or CSM. You can be a popular elected politician elected with a wide mandate, but if you are on someone’s black list within the CSM your days are counted, and, just like a foreign homeowner in Tuscany, you will eventually throw up your arms and resign.

The CSM is, in short, the real power within Italy’s judiciary, and the last word should be a prerogative of the President of Italy, as per art. 104 of the Italian Constitution. The President should therefore be aware of what’s going on with Italy’s justice system, but obviously he’s too busy with all other state affairs to bother with such minor details such as the integrity of Italy’s judiciary, especially its absolute fairness.

These days Italy’s mainstream media is doing its best in downplaying – or not mentioning altogether – a story that would make headlines in any other (normal) country or have any law abiding citizen worried about the integrity of the country as a whole. The story is about a powerful magistrate – much like the Innominato – who has been wiretapped on his cell phone and appears to be the main character in a story that did make the headlines in the summer of 2018. Matteo Salvini, then Interior minister of Italy, is formally accused by Agrigento’s prosecutor Luigi Patronaggio for a variety of heinous crimes – including kidnapping of minors – because of his refusal to allow ashore “migrants rescued at sea” by one of the many vessels whose task is to ferry “migrants” from Libya to Italian shores, in this case the German NGO Seawatch, which was receiving orders nonetheless than from the German government, as admitted by a former director of German intelligence.

But this time the wiretapped Innominato has a name, and is widely recognized as a forefront mover and shaker within the apparatus, with a glamorous career and – most important – an impressive network of connections with politicians within the PD (Democratic Party): his name is Luca Palamara.

When Salvini in the summer of 2018 was becoming increasingly popular among Italians, Palamara is “assigned the task” of attacking him, no matter what. When another magistrate – in the wiretapped recordings – objects that Salvini is simply doing his job as minister of the interior, applying existing laws, therefore not breaking any of them, Palamara’s answer is: “I know that, but we have to do it anyway, we have to stop him”. Just imagine hell breaking loose if Salvini, or any politician for that matter, would have been caught making such remarks toward a judge. But that is but a tiny fraction of what emerges out of this story. The whole picture sounds like a tale in which even a child can easily perceive that Palamara feels nothing short than omnipotent, navigating between his wife, his mistress, other magistrates who ask him all kinds of favours and what not.

Technically, in a normal country, you’d expect a shred of official reaction – or actions – from Palamara’s direct superiors, namely the Ministry of Justice and the President of Italy. But that isn’t happening, as both of them seem to be interested in other matters. Italians would like to know – among many other things – who Palamara is referring to, when he says “we have to stop him”. Does the “we” in this case refer to magistrates affiliated to the PD (Democratic Party of Italy)?

Incidentally, three of the “migrants” allowed ashore and admitted as “asylum seekers” thanks to the services of German directed NGO Seawatch, have just been charged with a string of crimes such as conspiracy to smuggle and enslave human beings, rape, torture, murder. But the gracious German captain Carola Rackete was so busy in her noble endeavor to save lives and incidentally ram an Italian police vessel standing in her way, how could have she noticed such nice fellows?

If you think this is something new in Italy’s political scene, think again. As stated before, the real movers and shakers behind the curtains – external powers – know all too well who is to control in Italy. Even if a political movement temporarily seizes power toward a possible change, as long as Italy’s judiciary is on your side, nobody can beat you, no matter how popular. In countries like Italy, a politician’s fortune can change like the wind, as history repeatedly shows us.

Italy’s economy in the early 1990s was robust and growing, despite widespread corruption of its politicians, in fact so robust it must have become quite attractive to someone in the world. The complete annihilation of an entire generation of politicians was flawlessly executed by a team of incorruptibles, and the end of the so called Prima Repubblica was achieved. Ultimately, the master plan was to take possession, at sale price, of Italy’s state assets just like it was done with Yeltsin in post-soviet Russia, or with Menem in Argentina. Dèja-vu with Berlusconi who was finally forced to resign in 2011, after almost two decades of tireless attacks by the judiciary. When you have at your disposal an ultracaste of untouchables that is sure it won’t lose in any case its privileges and benefits no matter how much the country is suffering, you are sure to control Italy.

Corona Crisis: a Viral Episode or a Half-Life Nightmare*

 BY GILAD ATZMON

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By Gilad Atzmon

Herd Immunity Ratio

As an intellectual exercise let’s think of an imaginary state, “State A.” Our fictional State A is devastated that 100 of its citizens are infected with Covid-19. For this exercise, we accept that these 100 citizens are representative of State A‘s demography, classes, ethnicities and so on. Apparently, State A’s nightmare is just the beginning because out of its 100 Covid-19 carriers, not one survives the next three weeks.

Let’s now imagine another case, we will call “State B.” State B is similar to state A in terms of its size, population, geography, climate, culture, ethnicity, nutrition, etc. In State B 100 citizens also tested positive for Covid-19. Following the experience of State A, State B braces itself for the possibility that all its infected citizens may perish but then for reasons that are not yet clear to us, no one in state B dies. And if this is not different enough, hardly any of the 100 develop any symptoms.

The crude difference between State A and B may tell us something about the herd immunity in States A and B. It is easy to detect that the ratio created by the number of fatalities (F) divided by the number of those infected (I) is an indication of the level of immunity or ‘herd immunity’ in a given region or a state.

State A: F/I = 100/100=1
State B: F/I = 0/100=0

State A’s immunity ratio equals 1. This means that anyone who contracts the virus in State A will likely die. In state B, on the other hand, one is likely to survive the virus. In fact, they may, without knowing it, have already survived.

But let us now consider some more realistic cases. In “State C,” again, a state similar to A and B, out of 100 who tested Covid-19 positive, 10 people died within the next few weeks.

State C: F/I=10/100=0.1

The herd immunity ratio in State C is 0.1. In terms of herd immunity, State C is far better off than State A as a virally infected subject may benefit from a 0.9 chance to survive. But State C’s situation is not as good as in State B where no one is expected to die as the F/I ratio in State B is O. We can see that the smaller the F/I ratio is, the greater is the herd immunity in a given state or a region.

But let us look at another realistic case. In “State D” out of 100 patients only 1 died within a few weeks.

State D: F/I=1/100=0.01.

This means that in State D the herd immunity is close to perfect. Someone who contracts the Covid-19 virus has only a remote chance that he will lose his life. In other words, the survival rate is 0.99

State C and D are not completely imaginary cases. The F/I ratio in State C is a good representation of the numbers we saw in Northern Italy, NYC, Spain, UK and other vulnerable regions that have suffered heavily in the last few weeks. The ratio in State D is very similar to South Korea and Israel. Though many people are identified with Covid-19 in these two states alone, very few have died.

Such a methodical search for herd immunity ratio may help to identify the survival rate in different states, regions and cities. It may help us to determine policy; to decide who, what and how to lockdown or maybe not to lockdown at all. It can also help to locate the origin and the spreaders of the disease as we have a good reason to believe that the regions with the most immunity to a given viral infection have likely experienced the disease in the past and have developed some form of resistance.

In reality, this model is problematic for many reasons and can hardly be applied. As things stand (in reality), we are comparing data that was collected under different circumstances and using various procedures designed with completely different strategies and philosophies. Both Israel and South Korea, for instance, conducted testing on mass scale and hence, identified many more carriers. More crucially both Israel and S. Korea made a huge effort to identify super spreaders and applied strict isolation measures to those spreaders and those who were infected by them. Britain, USA and Italy on the other hand conducted limited testing and have generally tested those who developed symptoms or were suspected of being infected.

Dr. Erickson COVID-19 Briefing – “millions of cases, small amount of death, millions of cases, small amount of death..”

But there is a far greater problem with the above herd immunity ratio model. It assumes that we know what we are dealing with i.e., an infectious viral situation, while the evidence may point otherwise.


The Radioactive Clock

It has become clear that the health crisis we are facing isn’t consistent with anything we are familiar with. Those who predicted a colossally genocidal plague weren’t necessarily stupid or duplicitous. They assumed that they knew the root cause of the current crisis. They applied recognized models and algorithms associated with viral pandemics. They ended up eating their words, not because their models were wrong but because they applied their models to the wrong event. While no one can deny the alarming exponential growth of the disease, it is the unusual ‘premature’ curve-flattening point and then the rapid decline of infections which no one explained. In fact, some still prefer to deny it.

Many of us remember that our so-called ‘experts’ initially tended to accuse China of ‘hiding the real figures’ as no one could believe that the virus, all of a sudden, pretty much ran out of steam. Some also claimed that Iran was faking its figures to make its regime look better. Then came South Korea and the scientific community started to admit that despite its initial rapid exponential growth, for an unexplained reason, the ‘virus’ seems to run out of energy in an unpredictable fashion: the curve straightens out almost abruptly and starts to drop soon after, almost literally disappearing to the point where even a country as enormous as China passes days without diagnosing a single new Covid-19 carrier.

When Italy experienced its Corona carnage, every health ‘expert’ predicted that when the ‘virus’ slipped out of the rich Lombardy region and made it to the poor south, we would see real genocide. That didn’t happen.

Rarely we see scientists sticking their necks out telling the truth. This interview with Swedish Prof. Johan Giesecke is a must watch!

We have also started to notice that lockdowns have not necessarily saved the situation and that adopting relatively light ‘lockdown’ measures doesn’t translate into a total disaster as Sweden has managed to prove. The ‘virus,’ appears to stop spreading according to its own terms rather than the terms we impose upon it.

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Thinking about the anomalies to do with the virus in analytical mathematical terms, as opposed to seeing the virus in biological or medical terms, has made me believe that a paradigm shift may be inevitable. We seem to have been applying the wrong kind of science to a phenomenon that is not really clear to us. This may explain what led a British ‘scientist’ to reach a ludicrous and farfetched estimate that Britain could be heading towards an astronomic death figure of 510.000. Following the same flawed algorithm, Anthony Fauci advised the American president that America could see two million dead. Both scientists were wrong by a factor of 25-40 times. Such a mistake in scientific prediction should be unforgivable considering the damage it inflicted on the world’s economy and its future. One might say that the good news is that our governments are finally listening to scientists, the tragedy, however, is that they are listening to the most idiotic scientists around.

Looking at the tsunami of raw data regarding worldwide spread of Covid 19 reveals a lot, perhaps more than we are willing to admit at this stage. The numbers, the shape of the Corona growth curve and the manner in which it flattens and declines suggests to me that something different may be at play. It seems as if the disease is shaped by an autonomous internal clock that determines its time frame and that it is not impeded by any form of organic resistance such as antibodies or herd immunity. The curve’s rise toward that flattening instant is indeed characterized by consistent and exponential growth. But then, in a seemingly arbitrary manner, the disaster stops its increase and the numbers of those infected by Covid-19 starts to drop.

Looking for such a pattern that produces an exponential growth that comes to a sudden end calls to attention the concepts of radioactivity in general and of the half-life in particular.

Each radioactive isotope has its own decay pattern. The rate at which a radioactive isotope decays is measured in ‘half-life.’ The term half-life is defined as the time it takes for one-half of the atoms of a radioactive material to disintegrate. Radioactive decay is the disintegration of an unstable atom with an accompanying emission of radiation. The change from an unstable atom to a completely stable atom may require several disintegration steps and radiation will be given off at each step.

Half-life is a measurement of time (set by the radioactive isotope) that involves a repeated release of radiation. Each time radiation is released the radioactive isotope is splitting in half, this repeats until it either reaches stability or maybe becomes ineffective. If you bear the half-life dynamic in mind you can see how one person can ‘infect’ or shall I say, radiate an entire stadium a few times over during a two hour football match. All it takes is a radioisotope with a half-life cycle of a few seconds.

Once the atom reaches a stable configuration, no more radiation is given off. For this reason, radioactive sources become weaker with time, as more and more unstable atoms become stable atoms, less radiation is produced and eventually the material will become non-radioactive. I wonder whether this could provide an explanation for the abrupt curve flattening that is associated with Covid-19

What may be possible is that Covid 19 is not the root cause of the current disease, it may instead be a by-product of a radioactive interaction. I am not in any position to substantiate this theory. Instead, I offer an alternative way of thinking about the problem that may shed light on the situation. If Covid-19 is a by-product of radiation, then the sudden decrease in radioactivity due to the nature of half-life reactions can explain why the virus loses its growth energy when it seems as if it has become unstoppable.
If this theory has any merit, then we are misdiagnosing the Corona crisis, misapplying the science and implementing the wrong strategies. It may also indicate that herd immunity won’t work, as we are not dealing with a viral infection but instead becoming ourselves, a source of radiation.

This theory may help explain why Israel and South Korea (State D) were so successful in combating the crisis. It wasn’t the lockdown that saved these countries. It was their aggressive search for and quarantine of super spreaders and those who were potentially radiated by them. Consciously or not, rather than stopping the virus they isolated the catalysts that were leading to the creation of the virus.

Our world is in a grave crisis and could benefit from thinkers who are slightly more creative, sophisticated and responsible than the characters who currently occupy the World Health Organisation, the CDC and London’s Imperial College. But more than anything else, I reiterate once again: we need to escalate our response to the Corona crisis into a criminal investigation so we can figure out every possible error or malevolent act that led humanity into the current grim situation .

Source: https://www.unz.com/gatzmon/corona-crisis-a-viral-episode-or-a-half-time-nightmare/

Corona at a Time of War

Source

Wednesday, 22 April 2020 

In late January China sealed off Wuhan an industrial centre of about 11 million people . Though the Chinese government’s actions have been described as “Draconian” by some, with the passage of time they have also proven to be right.

As corona virus spread many countries tried to follow in China’s footsteps but were unable to and so the virus raged that the world might witness an immense corona virus explosion as reports indicate that in some poorer countries corona virus remains undetected or if detected has not been treated with the seriousness that it deserves.

The effects of the pandemic have not been limited to the health sector only but have had a volcanic effect on the world as we know it.

It revealed weaknesses in both countries and individuals  where so many countries hid behind the glamour of their state of the art technologies and their capitalist systems, corona came forcing them into the nude and depriving them of what they had thought of as “inalienable rights”. Maybe corona will change world order and countries that consider themselves in the lead will reconsider that claim. For to be in the lead is not only to have an abundance of guns and bombs, neither is it the ability to bully other countries into submissiveness but it is to have the backbone to stand straight in times of duress. It is never to forget our human compass, but foremost it is the ability to hold on to our principles, our ethics and our morals.

 With the rise of corona crime has in general plummeted. However, insecure and afraid people  have resorted to theft to secure their needs. Malls have been broken into and their goods stolen (Providence Mall, U.S.A. March23). Panic buying has led to many buying far more then their needs require, thus depriving others. But it is a more serious crime that should be looked into, for it seems that piracy has retuned to the forefront of the crime list. Countries have resorted to committing acts of piracy, stopping ships loaded with medical equipment and stealing what is on board. The U.S. was accused of diverting a shipment of masks intended for the German police. Others ships destined for particular countries never docked in the ports of these countries and their cargo was stolen.

Blame was distributed and distributed unjustly – China was blamed for the spread of corona when in reality the response of  European countries and the U.S.A was sluggish almost slow motion. Panic spread like wildfire and attacked health systems that were unprepared for the onslaught. The U.S. and the E.U. blamed each other and Trump’s decision to ban travel to the European Union (except for the UK, which has a rising number of infections) created an antagonistic atmosphere.

Bitterness spread amongst the countries of the E.U. Spain and Italy felt that they had been betrayed by the rest of the E.U. Italy witnessed the burning of EU flags on its streets, as well as Spain.

Russia and China however have rushed into help with China sending shipments of necessary medical supplies to European countries and even to the United States (though Trump has unceasingly referred to corona virus as the “Chinese Virus”).

The actions of both Russia and China have clearly portrayed to western countries that stereotyping is downright wrong and that they should, post corona, re think major aspects of intra European countries and should also specifically re think their strained relations with Russia and China. In this particular aspect capitalism has lost the war.

In the Middle East dealing with corona was never prioritized until late March. With so much fighting and confrontations going on, corona was dealt with as if it were a hazy danger one that couldn’t possibly be more threatening than all the shooting, killing and explosions that were already happening.  As a young reporter from Aleppo (Lama Al Khaly) put it “we have witnessed so much horror, seen so much bloodshed, prayed so much for our kidnapped ones and wept endlessly over our martyred loved ones that it has become so difficult to grapple with the idea of fighting an invisible enemy like the corona virus”. The idea of self isolation for Syrians who have lost their homes due to terrorism is sadly almost laughable. Many large families are cramped into one room with almost no help from UN humanitarian organizations and so the idea is simply not workable.

However the Syrian government took the necessary precautionary methods thus  reducing the risk of corona virus infections. It imposed a curfew, reduced the work load, banned all kinds of gatherings whether for joy or sorrow and suspended prayers. It will be a shy Ramadan this year for the Syrian lacking in its usual celebratory style. Even the ritual of Haj has been suspended this year (Haj is approximately two months and ten days after the end of Ramadan). Though banning Friday communal prayer and Sunday mass are thorny issues for most Syrians, they were accepted as they came within the package of precautionary measures in the fight against corona.

However for Syria the problem of fighting corona is for more complex and requires much more than imposing a curfew or a ban. Heavy sanctions imposed on Syria including ones in the pharmaceutical- field have led to shortages in many medicines (not forgetting that many factories that were specialized in the manufacture of medicines, mainly located in Aleppo were either dismantled and transported to Turkey or simply destroyed by the war. Syria prior to the war covered 97% of its own medical needs, even exporting to Arab and foreign countries). The U.S. and western medical sanctions on Syria have resulted in Syria having fewer ventilators then the bare minimum required- fewer raw medical supplies from which to produce effective medicine and fewer medical instrument. These sanctions are pointless as they have in no way affected the flow of the war but they have hit civilians hard-which makes them coercive and downright cruel. This collective punishment of a whole population during a pandemic is simply barbaric. Even the passage of aid ships to Syria has been forbidden.

There have been many calls made by Syria’s representative to the U.N to lift off international sanctions against Syria as they obstruct the country’s efforts to fight the corona virus.

Others joined in call for lifting the sanctions against Syria. Like Chine, Russia, the EU parliament and many other countries. The World Health Organization has also asked that sanctions be lifted off Syria. Up till now all these calls have fallen on deaf ears, as corona continues to spread worldwide.

Like all counties in the world the economy of Syria has been adversely affected. Many Syrians are day laborers and that pay has stopped with the current Corona. Businesses have shrunk and restaurateurs are out of work as all restaurants, coffee shops and eateries have been closed more than a month. Gingerly, Syria is reopening again, but the situation on the ground remains tense and Syrians are in need of a solution that is hard coming- a solution not only related to the corona virus but one that will ease their lives and allow them the medicaments they deserve to lighten the suffering of the ill.    

Editor in Chief

Reem Haddad                                   

كورونا والأزمة الكاشفة ….بقلم د بثينة شعبان

المصدر

أول ما يجب الاعتراف به في الحديث عن أزمة  كورونا العالمية هو أن هذه الأزمة كاشفة بامتياز، كاشفة لحقيقة قوّة البلدان وأولوياتها وقدرة القيادة في هذه البلدان وعلاقتها بالشعب الذي تحكمه، ومدى تجاوب هذا الشعب مع أوامر قيادته واقتناعه بها.

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 فقد قسّمت هذه الأزمة العالم وفق خطوط غير تقليدية أبداً وغير معروفة من قبل، وطرحت معادلاتٍ جديدة على الساحة الدولية، لا بدّ وأن تؤخذ بعين الاعتبار كي يتمّ إرساء الأسس السليمة للمرحلة المستقبلية المقبلة. فمن كنا نعتقد أنه قويّ أظهر علامات ضعف مؤكّدة لا جدال فيها، ومن كنّا نعتقد أن تصنيفه يأتي في آخر السلّم قفز إلى أعلى السلّم بقدراته التي لم نكن نعرف عنها شيئاً.
ولا شكّ في أنّ الإعلام الغربي المضلّل يتحمّل جزءاً كبيراً من مسؤولية هذه المفاجآت لأن الإعلام الغربيّ ما فتئ يكرّر مفاهيم لسنوات طوال حتى آمن الناس بأنّ هذه المفاهيم هي الحقائق بعينها إلى أن اصطدمت هذه المفاهيم اليوم بوقائع مغايرة تماماً على الأرض فتهشّمت. وهذا أيضاً مصدر أساسيّ من مصادر المفاجآت الكاشفة التي تتعرّض لها البشرية اليوم. فقد كان معظم البشر يعتقدون أنّ #الولايات المتحدة، والتي ما زالت البلد الأقوى عسكرياً واقتصادياً، هي الأقدر اليوم على مواجهة أيّ جائحة أو وباء، وأنّ مؤسساتها وأساليب عملها ستكون النموذج الأهمّ في العالم، ولكنّ الواقع الحقيقي أظهر أنّ هذه الدولة القويّة ذات القواعد العسكرية المنتشرة في العشرات من دول العالم لا تملك إلّا نسبة ضئيلة مما تحتاجه من الأقنعة #الطبية مثلاً، ولا تملك الألبسة الطبية لممرضيها، ولا اختبارات كافية لهذا الفيروس الذي ينتشر كالنار في الهشيم، فضلاً عن الأزمة الاقتصادية الخانقة التي سبّبها الحجر، وتسريح العمال والموظفين من أعمالهم، وتضخّم دائرة الفقر والعَوَز في بلد يعتبر من أغنى بلدان الأرض.

كما أنّ إيطاليا و إسبانيا قد فاجأتا العالم بعجز النظام الصحي في كلتيهما، وارتفاع نسبة الوفيات فيهما وفي الولايات المتحدة بشكل أثار دهشة العالم واستغرابه. بينما أبلت البرتغال واليونان مثلاً بلاءً ممتازاً نتيجة الإجراءات الاستباقية التي اتخذتاها، وتكاتف الحكومة والمجتمع لمواجهة هذا الخطر الداهم على الجميع.

وفي هذا المجال برهنت ألمانيا أيضاً اختلاف نظامها عن النظم الغربية من خلال تقديم الفحص مجاناً للجميع؛ الأمر الذي ساعدها على تخفيف حدّة الإصابات، واحتواء الجائحة إلى حدّ بعيد. ولكن ولا شكّ، فإنّ النموذج الأبرز والأهمّ في التصدّي لهذا الفيروس بخطوات متناسقة بين الحكومة والشعب والمؤسسات والعمل الطوعي هو الأنموذج الصينيّ، والذي أدهش العالم أولاً بحرص القيادة الصينية على وضع إنقاذ حياة البشر فوق كلّ اعتبار مهما كلّف ذلك الدولة من أعباء، كما أدهش العالم بالتقدم التكنولوجي الذي وصلت إليه  الصين، والذي تمّ استخدامه بذكاء ومهارة بالغَين لاكتشاف انتشار الفيروس وحصر الحالات وتضييق دائرة الانتشار.

كما أدهشت الصين العالم باستعداد شعبها للتطوّع والتضحية ووضع المصلحة العامة فوق كلّ اعتبار، وكذلك بتصرّفها المسؤول دولياً؛ بحيث وضعت نتائج أبحاثها في متابعة الأصول الجينية لهذا الفيروس في خدمة علماء العالم من أجل توفير الوقت واستكمال الأبحاث التي توصل العالم إلى اختراع اللقاح أو الدواء. وكانت الخطوات الصينية المتّخذة دائماً متاحة للجميع كي يتعلّموا منها، كما منعت السفر إطلاقاً خارج البلاد.

وحين انتشر الوباء في إيطاليا وإسبانيا وغيرها قدّمت الصين و روسيا و كوبا المساعدات السخية لهذه البلدان لمساعدتها على احتواء الجائحة والحدّ من انتشارها. لا شكّ في أنّ هذا المسار للأحداث قد كشف للعالم أجمع شخصية جمهورية الصين كبلد متقدّم حديث، ومع ذلك محافظ على إنسانيته وعلى دوره على الساحتين الإقليمية والدولية كعامل مساعد للأسرة الدولية وكعنصر فاعل فيها لمواجهة هذا الخطر القاتل.

ولا شكّ في أنّ الناس في كلّ أنحاء المعمورة بدأوا بإجراء المقارنات بين القوة العظمى، وهي الولايات المتحدة والتي تحاول دائماً تشويه صورة الصين، وبين الصين التي تظهر للمرّة الأولى على الساحة الدولية بكلّ مقدّراتها، ليس فقط الاقتصادية وإنما التعبوية والإنسانية والأخلاقية والقيمية التي تحكم كلّ تصرفاتها وأعمالها. بالمقابل، فإنّ الولايات المتحدة وإلى حدّ اليوم لم تستجب لنداءات العالم لرفع العقوبات عن الجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية، وعن الجمهورية العربية السورية، ودول أخرى أيضاً لتمكين هذه الدول من مواجهة هذا الوباء.

ومع أنّ المسؤولين في الولايات المتحدة يمارسون قوّتهم وسلطتهم لمنع الدواء عن هذه الدول، فهم لا يعلمون مدى خسارتهم الأخلاقية والقيمية، إذ لا يوجد عاقل في العالم يمكن أن يؤيدهم في استمرار هذه الإجراءات العقابية الظالمة أصلاً في الوقت الذي يعرفون فيه أنهم يسبّبون الموت لأناس أبرياء. وفي هذه الحال، وحالات لا تُحصى يُدرك الجميع في قرارة أنفسهم أنّ النظام الليبرالي يعيش أسوأ أزمات حياته وتاريخه، وأنّ الإعلام الغربي الذي كان يمجّد هذا النظام قبل كورونا لن يتمكّن من فعل ذلك بعد كورونا، وأنّ زمن كورونا قد يكون الإنذار الحقيقي لصلاحية الأنظمة الليبرالية، والتي برهنت خلال هذه الفترة أنها غير جديرة بأن تكون مؤتمنة على حياة البشر، وخاصةً الفقراء منهم.
ولعلّ إدراك مراكز الأبحاث الغربية لعمق هذه الحقيقة وأهميتها والتي ستزداد حضوراً في كلّ الساحات العالمية، هو الذي دفعها إلى تحويل الأنظار عمّا يجري في بلدانها، واختلاق التهم للصين، ورفع الدعاوى القضائية على الصين بذرائع وحجج واهية لا تصمد أبداً أمام المنطق السليم. وبدلاً من التركيز على نقاط ضعفها، والتي جعلت الولايات المتحدة الرقم الأول في عدد الوفيات، تلقي بأخطائها على الآخرين، وتحاول التعرّض للصين من خلال مسارين،الأوّل هو اتهام الصين بالمسؤولية عن انتشار الوباء، والثاني هو محاولة سحب الصناعات الأميركية من الصين كي يسهل استهدافها، وفي الحالتين وقبلهما بكثير، من الواضح أنّ مسؤولي الولايات المتحدة قلقون، وعلى مدى السنوات الأخيرة من التقدّم المطّرد الذي تحققه الصين في المجالات كافة، وخاصة في مجال التطوّر التكنولوجي والـ 5G على وجه التحديد. والسجالات الأميركية مليئة بمقولة: الصين هي العدوّ. وحتى حين تتمّ مقابلة مسؤول في  الكونغرس السؤال عن الصين هو سؤال أساسي لمعرفة موقفه من هذا الموضوع الأساسي الذي يشغل بالهم.

لا شكّ في أنّ البشرية اليوم على مفترق طرق، وفي الوقت الذي يصارع فيه معظم دول العالم للتخلّص من هذا الوباء، فإنّ الأمر الذي لا يقلّ أهمية هو إلى أين يتّجه العالم بعد القضاء على هذا الوباء؟ هل سيتّجه إلى الإفادة من الدروس التي وفّرتها هذه الأزمة، بحيث يعكف كلّ بلد أو طرف على معالجة نقاط ضعفه، وترميم جدرانه التي توشك على الانهيار؟ أم سيحاول إنكار الواقع والعودة إلى المكابرة والتضليل الإعلامي والذي دفعت البشرية ثمنه أرواحاً بريئة وفي أكثر من مكان، وإلقاء عبء المسؤولية على الآخرين، والدفع باتجاه حروب كي تغطّي نقاط الضعف هذه، وتشغل أذهان العالم بمعارك مصطنعة هدفها الهروب من الواقع وعدم مواجهته؟ إذا كانت المراجعة ضرورية في هذه المرحلة، فيجب أولاً مراجعة قرارات الحرب غير المشروعة، والتي دمّرت بلداناً بكاملها من أفغانستان إلى العراق وليبيا واليمن.

وإذا كان هناك من عدالة على الأرض، فيجب أن نرى هذه الشعوب البريئة والتي لم تقترفْ ذنباً تنال حقّها، كما يجب أن نرى وقف أسلوب العقوبات وتهديد سيادة الدول وسلامتها، سواء من خلال أدوات إرهابية مصطنعة، كما كانت الحال في سوريا وليبيا واليمن، أم من خلال التهديد المباشر لفنزويلا دولة وحكومة وشعباً اليوم، وللجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية أيضاً. وعلى الولايات المتحدة دفع تعويضات لضحايا حروبها الإرهابية والاقتصادية على سوريا والعراق وليبيا واليمن وكوبا وإيران وفنزويلا.

إذا كانت هناك دروس مستفادة يجب أن نستخلصها من أزمة كورونا الكاشفة، فهي أولاً وقبل كلّ شيء دروس يجب أن تعيد الاعتبار إلى كرامة الإنسان وإلى المنظومات القيمية والأخلاقية التي تعزّز سيادة الدول وكرامتها، وأن تُنتزع القدسيّة عن الإعلام الغربيّ الذي ينشر الأوهام عن النظم الليبرالية الغربية، والذي برهن خلال هذه المحنة أنه لا يتقن إلّا فنّ صناعة الثروات، وأنّ البشر والذين هم خلائف الله على الأرض يقعون في أدنى سلّم اهتماماته. في الوقت الذي أشرقت فيه شمس الصين على العالم من خلال هذه المحنة، وأظهرت التزاماً أخلاقياً ومجتمعيّاً، وتقدّماً مهنياً وتكنولوجياً، ومواكبة عراقة الحضارة لتسخير آخر مبتكرات الإنسان لإنقاذ حياة البشر وتأمين صحتهم وسلامتهم، لن يتمكّن أحد من إطفاء هذا الضوء الساطع. ومن العبث الانشغال بترّهات محاسبة أو محاولة تهميش ما أثبت الواقع أنّه حقيقة أكيدة ومقنعة، وفي هذا الإطار تبدو الحاجة ماسّة إلى تعاون دولي غير مسبوق يناقش كلّ هذه المعطيات والمستجدات، ويرسم خارطة طريق لتعاون دولي مستقبلي يستند إلى الرّكائز الواقعية التي أفرزها زمن كورونا بعيداً عن الإعلام الغربيّ المضلّل، وادّعاءات الديمقراطيات الليبرالية الغربيّة، التي استنزفت أسباب وجودها، وأصبحت الحاجة ملحّة اليوم إلى اجتراح نظام عالمي  جديد تسوده  الحكمة و  الإنسانية، وليس  المال والثروات المادّية.
 
   ( الاثنين 2020/04/13 SyriaNow)  

As Russia Sends Aid, US and NATO Sneer and Smear

Source

Once again NATO reveals itself as the architect of its own decline, missing a golden opportunity to help instead of hinder and harass. 
April 9, 2020 (Gunnar Ulson – NEO) – When Russian military planes and trucks arrived in Italy to provide relief for communities hit by the Covid-19 outbreak, the Italian government, elected into power by the Italian people, was thankful for the assistance offered by Moscow.

Named officials within the Italian government, including the foreign minister, the minister of defense and the governor of Apulia, Michele Emiliano, publically expressed thanks to Russia for the aid.

But finding any mention of this across the Western media is difficult, often buried deep within articles aimed entirely at smearing Russia for sending aid and depicting Italians as victims of a publicity stunt.

Reuters, in a smear piece published by the New York Times and aimed at vilifying Moscow, still had to admit regarding Russian aid that Italians were grateful, noting:

“There are no new geopolitical scenarios to trace, there is a country that needs help and other countries that are helping us,” Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio was quoted as saying by Italy’s Il Corriere della Sera newspaper on Thursday.

Despite Italy being capable of speaking for itself and bringing up any suspicions (if they had any), the West decided to step in and speak for Italy instead.

Sneering and Smearing 

Western headlines are flooded with scorn for both Russia and the aid they sent, completely indifferent to how Italians themselves perceived the gesture.

Articles like Bloomberg’s “Italy Questions Russians Over Their Goodwill Virus Gestures,” admit several paragraphs in that officially, Italy was grateful for the aid, noting:

“Our country can only be grateful” for the solidarity of many countries, including Russia, the Italian defense and foreign ministries said in a joint statement Friday.

Yet claims that “Italy questions Russia” suggest the entire nation is suspicious of the aid. Upon reading Bloomberg’s article, the only source cited is a single article in the Italian newspaper “La Stampa.” It is hard to believe an article in “La Stampa” constitutes all of “Italy.”

According to the pro-Western Moscow Times in their article, “80% of Russia’s Coronavirus Aid to Italy ‘Useless’ – La Stampa,” also entirely based on the La Stampa article, its admits La Stampa’s information came from an “unnamed source.” 

Other articles, like the BBC’s “Coronavirus: What does ‘from Russia with love’ really mean?,” Foreign Policy’s “Beware of Bad Samaritans,” and Forbes’ “From Russia With Love? Putin’s Medical Supplies Gift To Coronavirus-Hit Italy Raises Questions,” all used similarly disingenuous tactics to depict the Russian aid as somehow sinister and unwanted.

The Guardian in its article, “Coronavirus: Russia sends plane full of medical supplies to US,” explains:

Critics likely to claim Moscow will exploit goodwill gesture as public relations coup. 

France 24 in headline alone makes Western criticism even clearer, claiming, “Flying aid to virus-hit Italy, Moscow flexes soft power.

So by sending aid to Italy, Russia is somehow supposedly flexing its “soft power.”

So How is the West Using Its Soft Power? 

The West faced a collective decision. They could have used their own, very substantial soft power to one-up Russia by sending even more aid to Italy and other regions of the globe impacted by the spread of Covid-19.

Instead, they mobilized the entirety of their soft power to sneer and smear Russia’s efforts with Western-funded media fronts writing entire articles doing just that.

The West’s attempts to depict the Russian media reporting on the aid as also somehow sinister rather than simply telling the world what Russia is doing is also particularly surreal.

The Western media itself spends the summation of its own time and energy promoting what their respective governments are doing abroad which usually involves illegal invasions, wars, occupations and interventions… not sending aid.

A Missed Opportunity 
Because certain special interests in the West fear some Western governments growing closer to nations like Russia and China in the spirit of cooperation and mutual benefits and derailing the Washington-led “international order” that has prevailed post World War 2, resources have been committed to attacking any development that could spur this process further.

But because these resources have been invested into attacking, even when attacking is not the best option, that is all the West appears capable of doing.

The answer to Russian aid to Italy was Western aid to Italy. The benefit would have been a flood of resources sent to where it was needed and everyone involved enjoying the benefits of lending a helping hand to those who would be grateful in return.

Instead, the West appears to be throwing rocks at a time when others are coming together to help, and throwing those rocks at those who are helping.

Rather than teaching the Italians never to deal with Russia again, it is likely this process is going to remind Italians as to why they’ve diversified their foreign relations outside the West in the first place.

Gunnar Ulson, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Coronavirus Devastates Italy: Is It the Result of Globalism and Free Trade?

Philip Giraldi April 9, 2020

Coronavirus Devastates Italy: Is It the Result of Globalism and ...

The devastating impact of the coronavirus on Italy has sparked considerable speculation as to why the country appears to have suffered so disproportionately from the disease. Some initial theories suggested that the deaths might be due to lower standards and ill-advised practices in the Italian national health system, but the reality is that northern Italy, where the virus has struck hardest, has by most metrics better and more accessible health care than does the United States overall.

By one reckoning, the claimed number of dead is too high because anyone who tested positive and died had his or her death attributed to the virus even if it was actually due to other unrelated causes. And that argument has also been flipped on its head to demonstrate that the numbers are too low, using the fact that many Italians have not been tested for the virus to assert that many dead were actually caused by coronavirus. Since those dead were not medically confirmed positive for COVID-19, the deaths were erroneously attributed to other causes.

A third bit of somewhat more bizarre speculation centers on the fact that in September 2019 Italy made legal euthanasia for those with terminal illnesses seeking to end their suffering, a move strongly opposed by the Roman Catholic Church. Some of those weighing in on the number of deaths have claimed without evidence that a significant percentage of the dead were actually cases of euthanasia, i.e. implying that Italy has been deliberately killing off its elderly. Those seeking an explanation for such bizarre behavior by the national health service have suggested that it would be to ease pressure on the troubled Italian economy by eliminating old age pensions and medical costs.

Be that as it may, there is an interesting backstory developing in the Italian media about why Italy has been hit so hard by the “Chinese” virus in spite of the fact that it has been in lockdown for over one month. Italy’s ties with China, and with the city of Wuhan, where the virus may have originated, run deeper than with any other European country.

Last spring, when my wife and I were traveling in Northern Italy, we noticed the large numbers of Chinese, not only in tourism centers like Venice and Verona, but also in commercial and industrial areas. Italian shop holders we spoke with told us how the Chinese government and individual entrepreneurs were buying up businesses and properties at an alarming rate, penetrating the Italian economy at all levels. One gift shop proprietor in Venice described how even tourist items were increasingly being manufactured in China, a development which he described as “selling cheap junk.” He reached beneath his counter and produced a perfume bottle which looked like a local product but instead of being made in Murano it bore a tiny stamp “Made in China.”

A little less than a year ago Italy became the first G-7 country in Europe to sign a memorandum of understanding formalizing its membership in the Chinese Belt and Road project, part of the Silk Road scheme to create a vast linked commercial network across Asia and into Europe. Two of the main hubs being developed for the project are Genoa and Trieste. The Italian government, confronted with a struggling economy, based the move on “commercial reasons” and “economic advantages,” to include the investment being offered by Beijing, but Rome paid a price for the move with intense criticism coming from both Washington and Brussels. The Atlanticist crowd, which normally applauded a form of globalism and free trade, inevitably insisted that not only were the Chinese seeking to “destabilize” Europe, Beijing was also attempting to divide Europe politically and militarily from the United States.

One of the more interesting, and perhaps coincidental, aspects of the Chinese entry into Italy has been the particular connection between China and the northern Italian fashion houses, centered on Milan, that have shifted their production to Wuhan to take advantage of the cheap labor in China’s own textile industry, largely centered on the city. By all accounts, Chinese investors bought up factories in Northern Italy starting in the early 1990s. By 2016 many major brands had been completely acquired, to include Pinco Pallino, Miss Sixty, Sergio Tacchini, Roberta di Camerino and Mariella Burani while major shares of Salvatore Ferragamo and Caruso were also obtained.

The Chinese owners and investors replaced ageing machinery and brought in, often illegally, tens of thousands of skilled Chinese seamstresses as a labor force. By the end of last year when the virus first struck China, direct flights from Wuhan to Lombardy served the roughly 300,000 Chinese residents of Italy who mostly work in Chinese-owned factories producing Chinese inspired Made in Italy designs. It is widely believed, though not confirmed by the Rome government, that the first infections by coronavirus in Italy, attributed to visiting “tourists,” actually may have taken place in crowded dormitories where Chinese shift workers from Wuhan dined and slept.

In less than a year, however, Italians have come to realize that a tight economic embrace with Beijing also has a downside. Italy’s trade gap with China has gone up, not down and much promised investment in new enterprises has failed to materialize. But even as the dust cleared, the results derived from opening the door to China were not pretty. By 2016, Chinese acquisitions had exceeded 52 billion EUROS, giving them ownership of more than 300 companies representing 27% of major Italian corporations.

The Bank of China now owns five major banks in Italy as well as the major telecommunication corporation (Telecom) and the two top energy utilities (ENI and ENEL). China also has controlling interest in Fiat-Chrysler and Pirelli.

More recently, Italian government views on China’s human rights record in Hong Kong have hardened and the country’s legislature has rejected overtures by the Chinese telecommunications conglomerate Huawei to have a major role in developing the country’s new 5G technology. One might observe, however, that the barn door is being closed after the horse has already escaped.

To limit the damage, the Chinese have sweetened their economic expansion into Western Europe by carefully integrating trade with humanitarian initiatives to make the transformation palatable to the local populations. The Health Silk Road initiative is a major exercise of soft power which has, in the current crisis, provided various forms of emergency medical assistance to a number of European nations. In doing so, it has done more than the European Union or the United States. Italy currently has three Chinese medical teams assisting its doctors in and around Milan and has benefited from airlifted medical supplies to include millions of masks and testing kits.

China is not doing what it does for altruistic reasons. It sees itself as the major economic driver of a new globalism, displacing an increasingly foundering and incapable United States, which has dominated world finance and commerce since the Second World War. For China COVID-19 is seen as an opportunity to reconfigure the playing field in its favor.

The experience of Italy, which may have become an epicenter for the virus due to its close commercial and personal ties to China, is illustrative of how globalism and free trade being promoted by a number of engaged groups in many countries can be exploited to create a new reality. Beijing is shaping that reality while the U.S. and E.U. stand on the sideline and watch.

Unmasked: NATO’s Dog-Eat-Dog Pandemic Reaction

Finian CunninghamApril 10, 2020

Unmasked: NATO's Dog-Eat-Dog Pandemic Reaction - Islam Times

Despite its charter proclaiming mutual defense and security, the NATO military alliance is showing a rather unbecoming dog-eat-dog individualistic reaction in coping with the coronavirus pandemic.

The United States, the top dog in the 30-member pack of nations, is accused of “modern piracy” after it nabbed consignments of face masks which were bound for allies Canada, France and Germany to help those nations fight against soaring epidemics of the disease.

To think too that only last year, NATO celebrated the 70th anniversary of its founding in 1949 with lots of fanfare and vain self-congratulations of how noble the alliance is. Skeptics, though, see the bloc as a Cold War relic whose security claims are but empty Orwellian excuses for warmongering and propping up obscenely wasteful corporate militarism.

The latest incident involved the alleged commandeering of 200,000 anti-infection surgical masks by the US which had been originally ordered by German authorities for police officers in Berlin. The shipment was intercepted in Thailand and directed to the US instead.

It appears that the US firm, 3M, which sources the facial masks in China, was mandated by the Trump administration to increase its exports to the US due to the emergency circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic, thereby over-riding the transaction with Germany.

However, Berlin state minister Andreas Geisel condemned the US intervention as “modern day piracy”.

There have been similar reports of medical equipment bound for Canada and France also being intercepted by US authorities. Last week, a planeload of masks about to take off from Shanghai for France was bought up by American officials who turned up at the airport at the last minute wielding wads of cash.

Washington has denied the American actions are underhand. Well, maybe not underhand, but the Wild West-style capitalism of outbidding others with bigger bucks over life-saving medical material certainly seems unethical. And what about all that jive about mutual defense and security? Where’s the fraternal coordination in a crisis?

It’s not just the US which is seen as saving its own skin in a panic. Germany and France have also imposed export bans on their companies sending medical supplies to other European countries. That has led to grievances voiced by Serbian leader Alexander Vucic and others complaining that there is no European solidarity.

Even European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was obliged to rebuke EU states for not displaying sufficient solidarity and for closing off borders and supplies to others in need from the pandemic.

In Italy and Spain, where deaths have soared above 10,000 in recent weeks, there has been popular outrage over the lack of collective response from European and NATO allies.

Given the rapidly growing threat to public health from the Covid-19 pandemic it is understandable that nations are taking desperate measures. From an initial indifference towards the disease in the US, the authorities there are now increasingly fearful that the infections and death toll may spiral out of control.

Last week, the global infection number surpassed one million with more than a quarter of those being in the US. The American death toll may peak at multiples of what we have seen in China or Europe. This is especially because of the deprived social conditions of American workers and due to under-resourced for-profit public health services.

Coming in an election year, President Trump is seeing his reelection hopes potentially going up in smoke along with the economy hit by coronavirus. That no doubt compels his administration to pull out all the stops to contain the pandemic, which would explain the snatching of vital medical equipment from allies.

No doubt too that was why Trump gratefully accepted medical aid sent from Russia last week. The US has also received supplies from China. Which puts into perspective how tawdry are American sanctions on Moscow and Trump’s trade-war wrangling with Beijing is.

Russia and China have both despatched medical aid to Italy to help it cope with the crisis. The Italian government and public have acknowleged the show of solidarity with gratitude.

Ironically, and cheaply, some US media outlets and European parliamentarians have accused Russia and China of exploiting the pandemic for alleged propaganda purposes. It is claimed that Russian and Chinese media are spreading disinformation over Covid-19 with the objective of undermining NATO and the European Union. That’s just another iteration of the usual anti-Russia mentality which is fixated on the notion of a supposed Kremlin plot to “destroy Western democracies”.

NATO and the EU are doing a pretty fine job of undermining themselves, never mind purported input from Russia or China.

The only time NATO seems to show “solidarity” is when its member-nations attack and destroy weaker foreign countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Somalia – at the behest of top-dog USA. When the chips are down, however, and survival instincts kick in, then it’s dog-eat-dog with a snarling “Screw You!”

The saga of stealing masks from one another is surely truth-by-parody.

NWO, globalism and US “leadership” – RIP (UPDATED!)

THE SAKER • APRIL 7, 2020

NWO, globalism and US “leadership” – RIP (UPDATED!)

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And the unbelievers plotted and planned, and God too planned, and the best of planners is God
Quran, Sura Al-Imran (The Family of Imran) – 3:54

It has been pretty obvious for many years already that the AngloZionist Empire was not viable, that it had to tank sooner or later. There were two main scenarios which were typically considered for this collapse: an external crisis (typically a major military defeat) or an internal one (economic collapse). Personally, I always favored the first scenario (specifically, as described here). I even had a “favorite” location for such a catastrophic military defeat (for the US): Iran and the Middle-East. Irrespective of the scenario one preferred, this was obvious:

  1. The Empire was not viable
  2. The Empire was not reformable

The same is true of the US political system, by the way.

There was one huge problem, however. The quality and sheer size of the AngloZionist propaganda machine was very successful in keeping most of the people in the West in total ignorance of these realities. The faster the Empire was collapsing, the more Obama or Trump peppered their patriotic flag-waving ceremonies (aka “press conferences”) with references to an “indispensable nation” providing “vital leadership” thanks to its “the best economy in history”, the “best military in history” and even “unbelievable CEOs”, “incredible politicians” and even “incredible conversations”. The message was simple: we are the best, better than all the rest and we are invincible.

Then COVID19 happened.

The initial reaction in the US to the pandemic was to either dismiss this completely, or blame it on the Chinese. Another exceptionally dumb theory was that the virus only affected Asians. This one tanked pretty quickly. Other myths, and even outright lies, proved much more resilient, at least for a while.

Then “Italy” happened. Soon followed by Spain and France.

Some folks started to change their tune. Other still thought that the EU was not as “incredible” as the US.

Then “New York” happened and all hell broke loose for the “indispensable nation” and the “imperial parasite” this nation was hosting. Even the Idiot-in-Chief switched from “it will be over by Easter” to talk about saving “millions” of (US) “Americans” (the US does not care about non-Americans).

I predict that this process will now only accelerate.

Here are a few reasons for this conclusion:

First, the imperial propaganda machine is simply unable to conceal the magnitude of the disaster, even in countries like the US or the UK. Oh sure, initially doctors and even USN ship commanders were summarily fired for speaking the truth, but even those cases proved impossible to conceal and public opinion got even more suspicious of official assurances and statements. The truth is that most of the entire planet already realized that this is a huge crisis and that countries like Russia or China responded almost infinitely better than the US. The planet also knows that the US “health notcare” system is broke, corrupt, and mostly dysfunctional and that Trump’s initial optimism was based on nothing. BTW – Trump haters have immediately instrumentalized the crisis to bash Trump. The sad thing is that while they are no better (and most definitely not the braindead Uncle Joe), they are right about Trump being completely out of touch with reality. In the age of the Internet this is a reality which even the US propaganda machine is unable to conceal from the US public forever.

Second, and that is now quite obvious, it is becoming clear that the capitalist ideology of free markets, globalism, consumerism, extreme individualism and, above all, greed, is totally unable to cope with the crisis. Even more offensively to those who still believed in an ideology based on the assumption that the sum of our greeds will create an optimal society, countries with stronger collectivist traditions of solidarity (whether “enhanced” by Marxist or Socialist ideas or not) did much better. China for starters, but also Cuba and even Russia (which is neither Marxist nor Socialist, but which has very strong collectivist traditions) or South Korea or Singapore (both non-Marxists with strong collectivist traditions). Even tiny Venezuela, embattled and under siege by the Empire, managed to do much better than the US or the UK. Not only did these countries all fare much better than much richer, and putatively much “freer”, countries, they did so while under US sanctions. And, finally, just to add insult to injury, these supposedly “bad” countries proved much more generous than those incorporated into the Empire: they sent many tons of vitally needed equipment and hundred of specialized scientists and even military personnel to help those countries most in need (Italy, Spain, Serbia, etc.).

Eventually, even the US has to accept aid from Russia: the contents of two huge military AN-124 transporters:

The Russian military delivers aid to the “indispensable nation”

The Russian military delivers aid to the “indispensable nation”

Think of the irony! The country whose economy was supposed to be “in tatters” (Obama) delivers humanitarian aid to the “indispensable nation” (Obama again). Not only was this aid delivered from a country under US sanctions, the gear delivered was produced by a Russian company also under US sanctions. The “grateful” US media immediately declared that this was a Russian PR action, especially since 50% of the cargo was paid for by the US (the rest, including transportation costs, were paid by Russia).

At least in Italy questions began arising why the US, NATO or the EU did absolutely *nothing* to help them when they were in such dire need of help, and why countries which did generously help (Russia, China, Cuba) were all under sanctions, including Italian ones! Good questions indeed. It was answered by Serbian President Vucic who declared that European solidarity was a “fairy tale“. He is quite correct, of course.

Third, then we all saw the ugly sight of various western “democracies” literally stealing vital medical gear from each other, over and over again. In fact, under a purely capitalistic logic, this kind of “competition” was both inevitable (true) and even desirable (false): major Med & Pharma companies all have used this financial windfall to maximize their profits (which is, after all, what all corporations have to do in a capitalist system: get as much money as possible for their shareholders). Even states and countries are competing against each other for medical equipment now! As long as all was well and the West was free to plunder the rest of the planet, Capitalism could be seen as a promise of a better future (just like Communism was, by the way). But now that this big “propagandistic house of cards” is tumbling down and capitalism shows its true face (an ideology created by the rich to screw the poor), the comparison with (supposedly “backward”) collectivistic societies is most embarrassing yet inevitable.

Fourth, we also witness the raw nastiness of the imperial propaganda machine in articles about how “Russia sent useless gear to Italy”, that “Chinese equipment did not work” or about how all the countries which responded better and sooner were all lying about the real numbers (which is utter nonsense, the Chinese have been very open, as have the Russians: the truth is that in the early phases of a pandemic it is impossible to get real numbers, that can only be done much later). This is as false as the “Iraqi incubators”, “genocidal Serbs” or “Gaddafi’s Viagra” and time will prove it.

Fifth, then there is the issue of poverty. We see the first signs that this pandemic (like all pandemics) is affecting the poor much harder than the rich. Hardly a surprise… For example, in the US cities like New York, Chicago, Detroit, Miami or New Orleans have a lot of poor neighborhoods and that people there are getting hit very hard. But this is only the beginning, there are much bigger slums in other countries, including in Latin America and, even probably worse, Africa. Barring a miracle of some kind, the death-toll in the third world slums will be absolutely horrendous. And, you can be pretty sure that collectivistic poor countries will do much better than those in the grip of the delusions of the free market economy. Again, there will be major political consequences in all those countries: I predict that we will see some cases of regime change in the not too distant future.

Sixth, just like the Empire itself, NATO and the EU are also in free fall, both clueless as to what to do and in a panic about doing anything proactive. Besides the flag-waving Idiot-in-Chief, I also took the time to listen to both Macron and Merkel. They are both in a full-freak-out mode, Macron speaks over and over about a “war” while Merkel declared that the pandemic is the most serious challenge facing Germany since WWII! Still, the most amazing contrast to the US might well be Russia. Putin has made several special appeals to the Russian people, and his mood was both clearly determined and clearly somber. I took this screenshot of Putin’s latest message to the Russian people, and see his expression for yourself:

As for the main MD in charge of the COVID19 crisis in Moscow, he told Putin that Russia needs to prepare for what he called “the Italian scenario in order to avoid it”, even though at the time (March 30th) there were only 1,836 confirmed COVID19 cases in Russia, including 9 death and 66 recoveries. Let’s compare the three countries:

CountryCOVID cases detectedDeathsRecoveries
US161,8072,9785,644
Italy101,73911,59114,620
Russia1,836966

All the numbers above come from here: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html(as of March 30th!!)

Furthermore, the Russian special medical teams of the Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection Troops of the Russian Armed Forces are now on full alert and even though there is no shortage of specialized ABC/NBC medical gear in Russia, the Russian Armed Forces are now building 16 special hospitals in various locations in Russia. Russia is also almost completely shutting down internal air and rail traffic. A lot of that was predictable, since Moscow is much richer than any other Russian region, Moscow is doing fine, in spite of being a huge population (about 12 million in the city, plus another 7 or so in the Moscow Oblast’). Here are the official Russian numbers for the Moscow area: (also as of March 30th!!)

LocationInfectedDeathsRecovered% death
City of Moscow1’22611280.9%
Moscow Oblast1191140.85%

The source of these numbers is: https://coronavirus-monitor.ru/

Does it not strike you as very strange that a country like Russia, which clearly is faring much better than the US (even in per capita indicators) is preparing for the worst? What do the Russians know that the US leaders are not telling you?

Of course, the anti-Russian propaganda machine has an explanation. For example, it claims that the Russians are lying about everything. There is even a psyop going on with western agents of influence impersonating Russian MDs claiming that there are thousands of hidden deaths, that Russia has no equipment and that the Russians are clueless. One previously sober-minded analyst now even claims that “Putin is losing control“.

To be totally honest, I have never in my life seen such a tsunami of nonsense, false information, unfounded rumors, and, last but certainly not least, shameless clickbaiting. For some, this crisis is clearly a chance to regain some visibility. It is shameful, really, a total disgrace: just a new form of profiteering from a crisis.

I am not medical expert for sure. But I know the Russian government and its “body language” if you wish, and I can tell you that the Russians are preparing very, very seriously, for what might well become a huge crisis even for Russia(having the Ukraine and Belarus both sitting in deep denial will obviously not help!).

Seven, in the US, the contrast between the Federal government and the state authorities is quite startling. As much as the Federal government is terminally dysfunctional, state governors have often had to use a lot of out of the box thinking to get supplies and specialists. For example, the governor of FL, Ron DeSantis (R) had to call a friend of his in Israel to get the giant Israeli pharma company Teva Pharmaceuticals to send in desperately needed medical gear to Florida. Similar things are happening in other states I believe. This is one of the reasons why Americans are typically very suspicious of the Federal government but much more supportive of their local authorities (again, as a general rule, there are, of course, exceptions to this). There are many reasons for the contrast between the Federal and State authorities, including the fact that governors are much “closer” to their constituents on a local level than on the national one.

While not as dramatic as the contrast between societies based on pure greed and societies based on solidarity, this contrast between the local and national level will also contribute to the collapse of the imperial system, albeit more indirectly.

Conclusion: NWO, globalism and US “leadership”- RIP

The first (non-human) victim of this pandemic will be the so-called “New World Order” promised by several US presidents. The same goes for its underlying globalist ideology. If the putative “Illuminati world government” imagined by some really did trigger this pandemic, then it shot itself right in the foot and is now quickly bleeding out.

The US is now showing to the world that the so-called “US leadership” is nothing but a crude lie to conceal what I would describe as a the rule of one, single, narcissistic world hegemon who will screw over even its closest “allies” (really colonies) to get any advantage.

Right now most of what we see are only warning signs, say like the EU members closing their borders. But irrespective of how this pandemic progresses, what will happen next is a huge economic crisis which will dwarf both the Great Depression, the crash after 9/11 and 2008.

Of course, the world will, sooner or later, recover from this pandemic and economic collapse. But the kind of world which we will then see will be dramatically different from the one we have lived in until now.

For the time being, there are still observable manifestations of the “US leadership”: the US tries hard to rob medicine and medical gear from other countries, the US imposes sanctions on countries like Iran and Venezuela who desperately need meds, and the US re-plays the Noriega scenario with Maduro. This foreign policy of “US leadership” can be summed up in terms like evil, immoral, hypocritical, dysfunctional, narcissistic. etc. Whatever label one chooses to apply to it, it is always a morally repugnant and practically self-defeating policy.

Right now, after blaming China, Trump is now pointing fingers at the WHO. Truly, a noble soul and a brilliant, 5D, chess player…

There is no more hiding it. The SARS-COV-2 achieved that which even RT or PressTV could not: it put a bright spotlight on the true nature of the AngloZionist Empire.

As the Quran says, God is the better planner.

UPDATE: I was wrong, I admit it. The US government does not only think about itself. It CAN be very generous, but only in one special case. In fact, it appears that the US has send ONE MILLION masks to… … Israel, of course!

See for yourself: https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/04/08/622584/US-masks-Israel-coronavirus-covid19

This makes sense, after all – Israel is far, far more important to Trump and his gang than the first responders, doctors or suffering people of the USA.

‘Nabeel is Gone’: Italy Saddened by Death of Palestinian Doctor Fighting Coronavirus

April 8, 2020

Doctor Nabeel Khair, 62, died in the Italian town of Cagliari due to the COVID-19 disease caused by the Coronavirus. (Photo: Supplied)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

A well-known Palestinian doctor died in the Italian town of Cagliari on Wednesday, April 8, due to the COVID-19 disease caused by the Coronavirus. 

Nabeel Khair, 62, was one of the first doctors to take his place at the frontline in the fight against the deadly disease. 

Early March, Khair was tested positive for the novel Coronavirus.

بقلوب يعتصرها الآلام ننعى الأخ د. نبيل خير والذى توفاه الله صباح هذا اليوم، انا لله وانا اليه راجعون ، الدكتور نبيل من بين الأطباء الفلسطينيين الذين أصيبوا بفيروس كورونا وهو يمارس عمله . رحمك الله دكتورنا 🌷
È venuto a mancare il fratello Nabil Kheir a causa del covid 19, medico Palestinese in Sardegna ed era uno dei più attivi sulla questione Palestinese.
Riposa in pace fratello
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164
160

The Palestinian doctor was well-known in the Palestine community because of his active work within the organization Ponti non Muri, which aims at creating a “bridge between Sardinia and Palestine through universal languages such as music, culture, and sports”.

Thanks to the work of the organization, many Palestinian delegations, mostly of women athletes, came to Italy to participate in various sports events. 

Doctor Khair arrived in Tonara in February, “after a very long struggle by the community to have health care assistance,” the mayor of the town told Unione Sarda newspaper.

In a statement, the Ponti non Muri organization wrote on Facebook:

“Our friend Nabeel is gone. But the memory of his deep voice, his enthusiasm, his laughter, and his smile will stay with us forever; especially, we will not forget his proud and teary eyes whenever he spoke about his homeland, Palestine. 

Ci sono notizie che non vi avremmo mai voluto dare, come questa.
Il nostro amico Nabeel non c’è più.
Rimangono però il suo vocione, l’entusiasmo, la risata e i sorrisi che ha sempre condiviso con noi, ma anche e soprattutto gli occhi umidi e orgogliosi quando si parlava della sua terra, la Palestina.
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“We are sad and speechless now, but we will keep our promise, dear brother Nabeel: every single day, we will never stop talking about Palestine, about a free Palestine.”

(The Palestine Chronicle)

Live Updates: Russia Confirms 954 New Coronavirus Cases in 24 Hours Bringing Total to 6,343

A worker packs surgical masks on the production line in a factory in Taoyuan

Spotnik

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, with over 1,270,000 confirmed cases across the world and at least 69,450 fatalities from the disease.
Nations affected by the coronavirus are introducing further measures to curb the spread and urging people to stay at home to be safe and also ease the pressure on healthcare systems amid the crisis.
The United States remains the country hardest hit by the pandemic with almost one-fourth of the world’s infected (at least 337,000), while Italy and Spain remain the main centre of the outbreak in Europe with the highest numbers of deaths (15,887 and 12,641 respectively).
Germany, in the meantime, is approaching 100,000 confirmed cases.
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    Danish police (File)

    Danish Police Register Decline in Crime Across Country Amid COVID-19 Quarantine Measures


    STOCKHOLM (Sputnik) – A drop in crime has been observed across Denmark against the backdrop of the restrictive measures imposed by the government to curb the COVID-19 outbreak, the country’s police said.
    READ MORE
  • 14:04

    Outside of New York City Hospital as Doctors Join Efforts Against COVID-19 Pandemic – Video

    A woman walks by the Javits Convention Center as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues in New York, U.S., March 22, 2020

    Outside of New York City Hospital as Doctors Join Efforts Against COVID-19 Pandemic – Video


    Last week, US President Donald Trump ordered to deploy 1,000 military personnel, consisting mostly of doctors, nurses, and healthcare specialists to New York City amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
    READ MORE
  • 13:38

    US Stocks Open Higher Amid COVID-19 Slowdown Hopes

  • 13:35

    New Delhi Receives 170,000 Medical Protection Suits From China

  • 13:26

    Almost 300 New Cases Confirmed in Serbia, Total Rises to 2,200

  • 13:17

    Passengers Continue Disembarking From Coronavirus-Hit Ship Coral Princess in Miami – Video

  • 12:47

    Russia to Allocate $1 Million to WHO in 2020 to Fight COVID-19

    A logo is pictured on the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, November 22, 2017

    Russia to Allocate $1 Million to WHO in 2020 to Fight COVID-19


    Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko stated on Monday that most specialists believe that the coronavirus appeared naturally and not as a result of some experiment.
    READ MORE
  • 12:23

    FIFA Set to Extend Coronavirus-Disrupted 2019/20 Football Season Indefinitely – Reports

  • 12:09

    UK PM’s Spokesman Says Boris Johnson is Not on a Ventilator

    Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson appears on a monitor for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) meeting in London, Britain March 28, 2020

    UK PM’s Spokesman Says Boris Johnson is Not on a Ventilator


    The prime minister was admitted to a hospital on 5 April after his COVID-19-related symptoms failed to disappear over a week after being diagnosed with the infection.
    READ MORE
  • 11:34

    Number of Infected in Netherlands Rises to 18,803

  • 11:26

    Street Outside Virchow Clinic in Berlin – Video

  • 11:22

    COVID-19 Cases in Ukraine’s Kiev Up by 22 to 267

  • 11:03

    Oman’s COVID-19 Tally Rises by 33 to 331

  • 10:58

    Prime Minister Modi Urges ‘Digital Indians’ to Use Govt’s COVID-19 Detection App ‘Aarogya Setu’

    FILE- In this April 30, 2014 file photo, India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi holds his party's symbol and looks into his phone after casting his vote in Ahmadabad, India

    Prime Minister Modi Urges ‘Digital Indians’ to Use Govt’s COVID-19 Detection App ‘Aarogya Setu’


    New Delhi (Sputnik): Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, India’s federal government has launched a mobile application named Arogya Setu (literally Health Bridge) to enable people to self-assess the risk of catching the infection. The app also helps to find out whether the user has interacted with someone who could have tested positive for COVID-19.
    READ MORE
  • 10:52

    French Police Issue About 480,000 Fines Over COVID-19 Lockdown Violations

  • 10:42

    Switzerland Confirms 21,652 Cases, Death Toll Grows to 584

  • 10:38

    Putin and Netanyahu Agree on Coordinating Fight Against Coronavirus

  • 10:21

    Israeli Startup Using AI to Create App to Help Diagnose COVID-19 Via Voice Analysis

    “At the moment, Vocalis Health is working hard to create COVID-19 diagnostic technology. The company uses patented voice analytic solutions to find a way to distinguish between the voices of healthy and infected people. For this purpose artificial intelligence is used”, Kenes Rakishev, investor of Beyond Verbal, part of the Vocalis Health app said in a statement obtained by Sputnik.
  • 10:08

    Indian MPs, PM Modi, President Kovind Cut Their Salary by 30% for a Year to Support COVID-19 Fight

    Black leather wallet with money

    Indian MPs, PM Modi, President Kovind Cut Their Salary by 30% for a Year to Support COVID-19 Fight


    Earlier today, the Indian Health Ministry reported that the number of coronavirus-related deaths in India had reached 109, while 490 people had tested positive in the past 24 hours, bringing the total count to 4,067.
    READ MORE
  • 10:05

    COVID-19 Death Toll in Iran Grows to 3,739, Number of Infected Surpasses 60,500

  • 09:51

    Situation Outside London Hospital After PM Boris Johnson Was Admitted Over COVID-19 Symptoms – Video

    Situation Outside London Hospital After PM Boris Johnson Was Admitted Over COVID-19 Symptoms – Video


    On Sunday evening, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to a hospital for tests as he continued to display persistent symptoms of COVID-19.
    READ MORE
  • 09:51

    Moscow to Soon Start Testing Foreign Express COVID-19 Diagnostics Systems – Deputy Mayor

  • 09:48

    Number of Infected in Spain Surpasses 135,000, Death Toll is Over 13,000 Введите сообщение

  • 09:32

    Indian Airline Announces Resumption of Air Services Starting 15 April

    “GoAir is open for bookings from 15th April 2020 for its domestic flights. And the airline is open for bookings for international flights from 1st May 2020”, a spokesperson for the company said.
  • 09:25

    Iran Urges US to Remove Unilateral Sanctions on Tehran Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

  • 09:23

    Austria Prolongs Lockdown to End of April, No Mass Events Will be Held Until June – Chancellor Kurz

  • 09:10

    Japan’s PM Abe Proposes Stimulus Package Worth $1 Trillion as Part of COVID-19 Response

    Passersby wearing protective face masks, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), walk at Kabukicho entertainment and shopping district in Tokyo, Japan

    Japan’s Abe Proposes State of Emergency, Stimulus Package Worth $1 Trillion Due to COVID-19 Outbreak


    Earlier in the day, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is planning to declare a state of emergency in the country later this week in order to contain the rapid spread of COVID-19.
    READ MORE
  • 08:56

    Death Toll in Australia Reaches 220, Over 12,000 Infected

  • 08:47

    Philippines Reports 414 New Coronavirus Cases, Bringing Total to 3,660

  • 08:17

    Libya’s GNA Accuses LNA of Violating Peace Deal During COVID-19 Crisis

  • 07:55

    US Provides Almost $3 Bln in Aid for India to Curb Coronavirus

  • 07:37

    Russia Confirms 954 New COVID-19 Cases in 49 Regions Over 24 Hours

  • 07:37

    Russian Company Registers 40-Minute Express Test for COVID-19

    Russian Company Registers 40-Minute Express Test for COVID-19


    Numerous countries continue to research ways to introduce precise tests for the COVD-19 infection, as the pandemic has already claimed almost 70,000 lives. At present, over 1,270,000 people have been diagnosed with the disease worldwide.
    READ MORE
  • 07:26

    Polish Minister Rules Out Rescheduling May Presidential Election Due to COVID-19

  • 06:37

    UK Prime Minister Johnson Will Undergo Tests in Hospital Today, Housing Secretary Says

    Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits a laboratory at the Public Health England National Infection Service on 1 March 2020

    UK Prime Minister Johnson Will Undergo Tests in Hospital Today, Housing Secretary Says


    The head of the British government had to self-isolate at his residence on Downing Street back in March after he tested positive for the coronavirus. At the same time, Prince Charles and Health Minister Matt Hancock also stated they had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    READ MORE
  • 06:35

    Number of Infected in Georgia Rises to 188

  • 05:10

    Israel Reports Over 8,600 Infected, While Death Toll Rises to 51

  • 05:10

    Number of COVID-19-Related Deaths in India Exceeds 100

    NEW DELHI (Sputnik) – The number of coronavirus-related deaths in India has reached 109, while 490 people have tested positive in the past 24 hours, bringing the total count to 4,067, the country’s Health Ministry said on Monday.
    The previous data indicated that there were 3,577 COVID-19 active cases across the country.
    According to the Health Ministry, 291 people have recovered from the disease, and 109 have died.
    The western state of Maharashtra is the most affected by the virus — the state has 690 cases. The capital territory, Delhi, has 503 cases, and Tamil Nadu has so far confirmed 571 cases.
  • 04:47

    Number of COVID-19 Cases in Germany Exceeds 95,000, Death Toll Tops 1,434 – Koch Institute

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has jumped by 3,677 to 95,391, and the death toll has risen by 92 to 1,434 in the past 24 hours, the Robert Koch Institute said.
    According to the latest data, the majority of cases have been recorded in Bavaria (24,974), North Rhine-Westphalia (19,384), and Baden-Wurttemberg (19,395). Berlin has 3,670 cases.
    Germany remains the third most affected country in Europe after Spain and Italy in terms of the number of COVID-19 patients. There are over 620,000 cases throughout Europe.
  • 04:45

    Thailand Reports 51 New Coronavirus Cases and Three Fatalities

  • 04:43

    Japan’s Abe to Declare State of Emergency on 8 April Amid COVID-19 Pandemic – Reports

    Tourists wearing protective face masks, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), visit Asakusa neighbourhood in Tokyo, Japan March 8, 2020

    Japan’s Abe to Declare State of Emergency on 8 April Amid COVID-19 Pandemic – Reports


    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is planning to declare a state of emergency in the country on Wednesday to contain the rapid spread of COVID-19, the Kyodo news agency reported on Monday, citing a government official.
    READ MORE

Why the American Punditry Is Terrified of Russian Humanitarian Aid

Tim Kirby

April 4, 2020

It sure is a good thing that the Russians decided some ten years ago to fund a massive multi-lingual news network. It is also good that the Russian independent media pulls ten times their weight. Otherwise the fact that “poor backwards corrupt” Bearistan is now the one sending medical supplies to the U.S. would probably have been ignored.

A good example in the spin behind the story comes when we compare Fox’s and the Guardian’s take on it. They both ran very surprisingly neutral sounding headlines. “Russia sending plane filled with medical equipment to U.S. amid coronavirus pandemic“ and “Coronavirus: Russia sends plane full of medical supplies to U.S.” respectively. Although, the devil lies in the details of The Guardian’s subhead…

“Critics likely to claim Moscow will exploit goodwill gesture as public relations coup”.

This is a very odd statement to make as a news organization, for this is a vague prediction rather than news. Speculation about the future of the economy or an election cycle makes perfect sense, but trying to guess what opinions could be, makes it seem like the Guardian is trying to convince the reader of what they should be. And just who exactly are these critics and why do they matter? Movies have movie critics. Music has music critics. Does international humanitarian aid have its own form of critics? If so that would be by far the most boring content on YouTube.

The only real concrete criticism in the article came from a quoted Tweet from a member of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace…

“Hopefully someone will tell Trump that he’s playing right into a propaganda ploy”

Foreign Policy mirrored this attitude with their article…

“Beware of Bad Samaritans – China and Russia are sending medical aid to Italy and other coronavirus-stricken countries, but their motives aren’t so altruistic.”

Not surprisingly Russophobia’s shining light on a hill The Washington Post went with the headline…

“Trump called Russia’s coronavirus aid to the U.S. ‘very nice.’ Putin may use it as a propaganda coup.”

So ultimately as we sift through the Mainstream Media and their pundits’ reactions, we don’t see the old style Russia collusion narrative, but instead a new sort of warning to an ignorant orange skinned Trump about a “ploy” by Putin. After all, Russia’s willingness to help Italy deal with the Coronavirus situation in their country has allowed many impressive photos of Russian military transport and men seemingly moving about the boot-shaped peninsula freely. Other than for some sort of international military parade, it is hard to imagine Russia being able to get their “polite people” to do cooperative work deep in the historical heartland of NATO. But, the Coronavirus situation is a crisis, and any crisis can open up doors for change thought impossible just weeks before.

It must also be noted that the materials being delivered from Russia are commercial products produced within the countries that others could order/buy. The days of the Soviet Union are long gone and the supplies that Washington will receive come from Russia’s private sector but delivered on a government airplane.

Photo: This particular image of Russo-Italian cooperation quickly became iconic across the Russian internet. You can probably guess why.

Perhaps the Mainstream Media and punditry in the U.S. have become spooked by what is happening in Italy and subconsciously fear it could spread to America. This fear is probably doubled in the minds of those who are still convinced that Trump is a Manchurian candidate.

The likelihood of Russian green men being needed to “help out” on American soil is something we will probably never see in our lifetimes. And if you care about America’s national sovereignty you should hope it never happen at any point in the future. But what the punditry/geopolitics wonks really fear is that not only has Russia become an “unshuttable” countervoice in news media but Moscow is starting to take a segment of the humanitarian aid game that they will never give back.

Normally it is the exclusive unwritten right of the USA/West to be the ones to conduct Marshall Plans and send out all sorts of humanitarian aid with or without strings attached. In fact this is such a large part of U.S. foreign policy that we cannot forget that there is an entire official branch of the government that deals solely with it – USAID.

Photo: Washington decided to send humanitarian aid to Georgia right after their 2008 conflict with Russia. Is this pure philanthropy? And does Russia have the right to send aid to America’s unfavored nations?

In fact USAID is a very serious state organ and is funded to almost half of what the Russians pay for their entire military budget. The panicked punditry who are flipping out over Russian aid coming to America are probably afraid that the Russians can do more with less funding like they have done in the news media – budget-wise RT is completely outgunned and yet it is a smashing success that influences narratives even in the West.

There is one other factor that is creating a strong backlash from the mainstream punditry regarding assistance coming from Moscow – pure racism. The U.S. has used foreign aid and assistance to win favor (i.e. as propaganda “ploys”) for decades and this is perfectly reasonable. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the U.S. using its wealth to buy influence and positive views from across the world. This seems like a normal and natural thing to do that America just happens to be better at doing than pretty much anyone else. Good for America!

But, when Russians or the Chinese (or anyone Washington doesn’t like) tries to do exactly the same thing, now it is unacceptable. The logic looks something like “The Russians are sending humanitarian aid? It must be a ploy! They are inherently evil after all.” And this friends is the very definition of racism. Perhaps the geopolitics boys are just tweeting their basic primal fears that some other tribe is stomping on their territory.

What we are seeing in the Mainstream Media’s/Punditry’s reaction to Russian aid being sent to America:

They fear that Russia may shatter the virtual monopoly on foreign aid giving that the U.S./West possesses, in the same way they did in terms of news media.

The #Russiagate narrative is shifting from Trump being a Manchurian Candidate for Moscow to him being duped by Putin’s “ploys”. This leads one to believe #Russiagate may finally have died.

Automatically assuming that Russians providing foreign humanitarian aid is an evil scheme while the U.S. always does so altruistically is pure backwater hillbilly bigotry.

Fox and conservative media are less spooked and actually display tweets from the Russian side. This is another drop of evidence in the bucket, that for the near future the America Left will hate Russia and the American Right will hate China.

Russia was able to get their gesture into the public/media consciousness in the United States. Something that would have been unthinkable a decade ago.

Also see: Sick West Goes Viral

Italian Dr. Appeals to Lebanese People: ’Eat Bread and Olives, But Do Not Go Out’

Italian Dr. Appeals to Lebanese People: ’Eat Bread and Olives, But Do Not Go Out’

By Maysaa Mkaddem

Beirut – Italy currently has the highest death toll from COVID-19, registering more than 15,000 fatalities. As the world struggles to escape the corona disaster and its repercussions on all levels, doctors stand as brave officers in this battle armed with human values for which they are fighting.

Doctor Roberto Pitertiki is one of these doctors. Since the start of the crisis, he has been examining patients infected with the virus in northern Italy.

“The situation here is so tragic. It is indescribable,” Dr. Roberto tells Al-Ahed. One of the reasons that contributed to the severity of the crisis is that “the country was not prepared, and the people here did not take precautions.”

When it comes to prevention and the availability of protective equipment, he says “preventive measures were in place since the beginning of the crisis.”

“But today things are completely out of control due to the number of the cases. Therefore, prevention is not possible. There is also shortage in medical devices and equipment. In light of the very bad situation, I expect that Italy will continue to be gripped by this crisis for another 4 to 5 months.”

The doctor, born to a Lebanese mother, loves Lebanon. However, he refuses to return to Lebanon in the event that he is allowed to do so under these circumstances. He is after all on a “humanitarian mission.”

“I have patients to follow up on. I cannot abandon them during this ordeal. But after this crisis passes, I will be eager to visit Lebanon,” he adds.

A few days ago, Dr. Roberto was infected with the coronavirus. However, he continues to fully pursue his humanitarian and professional tasks while in his hospital clinic. He treats himself and follows up on his patients. The Italian doctor talks about six of his colleagues who died as a result of the virus with a lump in his throat.

From corona-hit Italy, Dr. Roberto uses al-Ahed website to appeal to the Lebanese people. “Stay home. Do not go out. It is not time for walks, socializing, or entertainment. The situation is dangerous, and it is not a game. Eat bread and olives but do not go out.”

Pitertiki praises the measures taken by the Lebanese government in terms of early preparations and the strict measures, which were not adopted by many developed countries in the world.

As for his loved ones and many of his Twitter followers, he sends his love, greetings, and thanks for their prayers, reassuring them that he is recovering from the malicious virus.

REAL NUMBER OF CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASES IN ITALY COULD BE 5,000,0000

South Front

The real number of COVID-19 cases in Intaly could be 5,000,0000, according to a study which polled people with symptoms who have not been tested, and up to 10,000,000 or even 20,0000,000 after taking into account asymptomatic cases, according to Carlo La Vecchia, a Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology at the Statale di Milano University.

This data confirms earlier reports that the real number of COVID-19 cases in the country as much higher than 119,827 confirmed COVID-19 cases (as of April 4). At the same the real death rate % is much lower.

Real Number Of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases In Italy Could Be 5,000,0000
Click to see the full-size image

According to reports, the real number of deaths in Italy could be around 60,000Thus, the mortality rate from COVID-19  would be much lower (around 25 times less) than the case fatality rate based solely on confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Pandemic Of Fear (28.03.2020):

The world is in panic over the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak Most of the states have imposed unprecedented measures, including locking down big cities and halting international flights, to contain the pandemic.

On March 28, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 ceases globaly reached 629,467. 28,963 people died from the desease, while 138,085 others recovered. These numbers show that about 4.6% of people with confirmed COVID-19 cases died, but the real death rate from the new coronavirus remains unclear. In many cases, people go through COVID-19 deasease without a real threat to their health and life like in the case of an acute respiratory viral infection. So, they are not tested for the COVID-19.

According to the study published on February 18 in the China CDC Weekly, the  death rate from COVID-19 is around 2.3% in mainland China. The New England Journal of Medicine published another study of about 1,100 hospitalized patients in China. It found that the overall death rate was slightly lower, around 1.4%.

Furthermore, the death rate for COVID-19 appears to vary by location and an individual’s age. For example, as of March 28 in Italy there were 86,498 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 9,134 people died. Therefore, the death rate there stands at about 10.55%. Such a high number is a result of the fact that many of COVID-19-infected people in Italy is older people (65yo+) that already have health issues and thus remain in the group of risk in the event of any new deasease.

For example, the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report study says that 45% of hospitalizations, 53% of admissions to the intensive care unit (ICU), and 80% of deaths associated with COVID-19 were among adults aged 65 years and older.

Real Number Of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases In Italy Could Be 5,000,0000
IMAGE: worldometers.info/coronavirus/

Igor Alekseevich Gundarov, a Doctor of Medicine, professor, member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, candidate of philosophical sciences, a specialist in the field of epidemiology and medical statistics, notes that the new coronavirus expansion may be linked with the previous successes in the field of combating the flue. The new virus just filled the created vacuum. According to him, the current crisis (and the panic) is a result of the specific media coverage and political-motivated decisions of particular actors.

As an example he provides the following numbers. In the 1990s, there were 4-7 million season flue in Russia every year. In the 2000s, the yearly number reuced to 400,000-50,000 cases. Gundarov added that 30,000-35,000 people die from the pneumonitis every year. However, nobody announced a national-wide emergency and locked down then country in the previous years.

The death toll from the COVID-19 is also a result of the pneumonitis, which it causes. Gundarov, says the death toll from the pneumonitis did not grow in 2020 despite the COVID-19 outbreak. Furthemore, 30,000-35,000 people dead in Russia from the pneumonitis every yar is higher than the total current global COVID-19 death toll.

Another Russian expert, Aleksand Evsinin notes that the chaos and administrative collapse because of the COVID-19 outbreak in some European countries and even the US is a result of the wrong organizational decisions (like attempts to move all ptients to a single hospital in the entire country) and the lack of propper anti-pandemic measures. For example, he claims that the concentration of all patients in a very few hospitals led to the expected lack of medical supplies and equipment in this particular area.

President Donald Trump signed an order allowing the Pentagon to call National Guard members and former troops back to active duty to fight the COVID-19 pandemic:

Real Number Of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases In Italy Could Be 5,000,0000
Click to see the full-size image
Real Number Of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases In Italy Could Be 5,000,0000
Click to see the full-size image
Real Number Of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases In Italy Could Be 5,000,0000
Click to see the full-size image

The COVID-19 outbreak is an apparent threat, which cannot be ignored. However, another threat, which could be even higher than the one from the COVID-19 desease, is the current pandemic of fear fueled and instigated by mainstream media and some governments. 

The modern informational society already evolved to the stage when our world turned into a kind of supernational neuronet. The topology of this is close to the human’s brain. If we build a rough model, it would look this way: neurons – personalities, signals – flows of information that pierce through the modern world, lipoid metabolism – the monetary system. And this supernational neuronet is currently paralyzed by the fear of the death because of the COVID-19 outbreak and the public hysteria over it. If the panic is not overcome and the situation develops in the current direction, it may lead to the irreparable harm to this globa neuronet and instigate the already existing negative tendencies (like the deterioration of the global security, the collapse of the system of international relations, the economic crisis, the threat of new wars). However, if some powers find resources and the political will to overcome the current crisis, they will find themselves on the leading position in the ‘post-COVID-19’ period.

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

AFTER THE EXPLOSION, A PREPARATION TO RETURN TO NORMALITY AND LIVE WITH COVID-19

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

No country in the world is expecting to be spared and every country except perhaps China, South Korea, and some Asian countries, is waiting to reach the “explosion” level, the peak which represents the highest death rate of COVID-19, known as Coronavirus, after which the curve of new casualties will start sliding down. This is when world leaders will have to make the decision for most societies to regain normality even though the virus will still be around for many months to come. Precautionary procedures of high sanitation standards and social distancing will always be advised, particularly among the elderly and the most affected people. Still, the economy needs to return to its ordinary course sooner or later, notwithstanding the enormous losses.

On the 10th of March, the Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the city of Wuhan, in the province of Hubei, the centre of the coronavirus outbreak and declared that the situation was under control: “success has been achieved in stabilising the situation and turning the tide in Hubei and Wuhan”, he said. The Chinese President never mentioned the virus was over but that COVID-19 was under control. China has accepted its casualties and will be able to deal with the flow of new cases and will no longer be subject to a flood of severe cases being rushed to hospitals and overwhelming medical staff.

In fact, this is what European leaders will have to decide between the month of May (for some businesses most crucial to the economy) and the month of June (for all others). It will depend on which countries reach the Coronavirus explosion level and start to come down the curve to reach a much lower level of dozens of casualties per day, rather than the hundreds and thousands, happening in the US and Europe right now.

Governments cannot afford irreparable damage to their domestic economies and will have to call for a return to productivity. The population can’t afford to be at home for so many regularly prolonged two-week quarantine periods. This is the period that was initially imposed on the community at the outset, and it seems it will be renewed regularly until casualties are reduced.

The loss of income to families and individuals is so far estimated at between $860 billion and $3.4 trillion worldwide. The losses to the travel industry are estimated at between $30 to $60 billion. Failure of trade in goods and services will amount to $320 billion per quarter of trade disruption. 

Many people relied on part-time earnings with little savings and were caught by surprise in this pandemic crisis. But societies will eventually be happy to return to work with COVID-19 around and live with it. The reason is simple: no medicine will be available before the end of the year 2020. Therefore, there would be no point in imposing an endless quarantine that lasts until a solution for the Coronavirus is found- particularly when most scientists estimate that COVID-19 may infect between 80% and 85% of the population but are either unaware or only showing mild symptoms. These have an immune system capable of fighting the virus and could return to be productive in their respective societies. Having faced and dealt with the tsunami of cases rushing to hospitals, the medical staff, after the slowing down of the number of cases, will be able to offer medical support to newly infected people. 

The elderly and the young, and persons with critical medical history (obesity, heart attacks, cholesterol, pulmonary infections, high blood pressure, and inadequate immune systems) will be still asked to minimise their movements. Their families and friends will also be recommended to take the necessary precautions when meeting each other and those prone to the virus in order to avoid being the contributor transmitting the virus to them. Governments will have the time to provide enough tests for the entire population and to improve their medical systems and equipment so as to avoid future flooding of hospitals and the exhaustion of the medical personnel (which is what is happening today in many countries reaching the explosion of the virus spread).

Distance learning and working from home will be developed: the world is quite likely to be exposed to other, future viruses or the return of the COVID-19 before an antidote is found. Imposing quarantine with every new virus would mean the population spending years at home: the economy would never recover. 

During the spread of the pandemic, people acknowledged that their dear ones were dying, or would die, and that little could be done to defeat this unknown virus. Also, due to their fear for their own lives, people were forced to accept the fact that their national medical system had failed them, even in the most advanced western societies (Europe, Canada, Australia and the United States of America) or on any other continent. The population faced the possibility of not being able to be present at funerals to mourn their relatives and bury them- for fear for their own lives. And President Donald Trump believes that the prospect of 200,000 Americans deceased from Coronavirus represents “a good job” for his administration in containing the pandemic. 

Once the storm has abated, people will want to question their leaders about their performance and the failure of planning to prevent the arrival of the worst-case scenario. Societies will criticise the reasons offered during the explosion of the pandemic why not enough tests were made available to all people to rapidly prevent the deterioration of all the individual cases. No country was indeed prepared for such a Tsunami: thousands of cases with weak immune systems being rushed simultaneously to hospitals.  Also, no hospital in the world could provide enough beds to accommodate the tens of thousands of cases. There was a shortage of respiratory systems to meet the numbers involved and save lives. 

These handicaps had to be accepted during the outbreak of the virus. However, many leaders will have to be held accountable, and even disappear, once the panic dissipates. It is just unacceptable that developed countries spend hundreds of billions of taxpayers’ money on warfare, waging wars overseas or investing in sending military troops abroad, but fail to equip, maintain and dynamise their national medical system. This “economic strategy” makes them responsible for the deaths of thousands of people. 

Europe is not finally expected to stay divided, but the virus has created collateral damage. A good lesson was learned by member countries of the EU like Italy, who can no longer see China and Russia as enemies. In moments of need, these countries, including Cuba, rushed to help Rome even though the Italian government had imposed sanctions on Moscow. The “most powerful nation,” the US, failed to fulfil its role and did not respond to the needs of its supposed allies on the European continents until very late. France and Germany waited for many weeks before supporting Italy, the country that was most hit after China and was left alone in the eye of the storm when most in need. The Italian President Sergio Mattarella asked the EU to correct its behaviour before irreparable damage occurred to the EU institution because Italy was left alone to face the explosion of the pandemic.

China and Russia are both coming out winners. A few Italians recorded themselves, raising the Chinese flag and lowering the European flag, but China is not offering itself as a substitute for US hegemony but as a strategic partner. Russia also, like China, aimed at the hearts of the population and apparently has no policy of dominance comparable to that of the US. The Kremlin offered its help (100 virologists and tons of medical supplies were offered to Italy) unconditionally, and Rome was not pressured to lift its sanctions. 

In contrast, the US refused to help Europe in the first weeks of the Coronavirus outbreak, imposing new sanctions on Iran amid the pandemic, offering a reward of $15 million for Venezuelan President Maduro and threatening to wage war on Iraqi security forces Kataeb Hezbollah. There was no human compassion from the US towards its opponents, like Iran, harshly hit by a pandemic. The current US warmongering administration is unable to change or to express empathy towards other human beings. They cannot see, understand, or adapt to the fact that this enemy is global and is making no distinctions within humankind.

A COVID-19 antidote will not be available soon. But there is little doubt that governments will take a different approach to medical readiness in the future. It is equally sure that allies will be reshuffled and that world dominance will no longer be the same when governments regain control after the pandemic. The world before COVID-19 will not be the same as that after COVID-19. The virus will be living among us and within us, waiting in silence for months and years to come.

Proofread by:  Maurice Brasher and C.G.B

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If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone

March 30, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone

By Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

Germany and their moral poses… a century of Europe cries, “Enough!”

It’s hard for those living outside of Europe to understand the resentment towards Germany; Germans themselves often seem totally oblivious – the “German professor” only ever sees bad, unruly students, after all.

When I first moved to Paris in 2009 I remarked how all the Germans I met were so very nice. I was told, “They have to be, after what they’ve done.”

Low blow?

Hardly. Ignoring history is not politeness or PC progress or evidence of forward-thinking: it’s denial, hysteria and illusory thinking.

To paraphrase Henny Youngman: Take my Mutti – please. Angela Merkel is my generation’s Margaret Thatcher. When Thatcher died there were street parties in the UK, which were brutally repressed by cops, but the billionaire-directed Western Mainstream Media ordered paeans to be penned instead.

For Merkel there has similarly never been anything but fawning coverage, as evidenced – aggravatingly – by this recent story from the Associated Press: Merkel shines in handling of Germany’s coronavirus crisis.

Why such love for an abusive mother? Because she certainly hasn’t abused the German 1%: under Merkel German corporations have re-colonised much of Central Europe, they have extracted as much wealth as possible from weaker Eurozone nations like Greece, and downward pressure on wages was maintained on the German post-Hartz Re(De)forms workforce via the importation of hundreds of thousands of skilled Syrians and detested “minijobs”.

On a pan-European level ever since 2008, and even in the heat of the 2012 European Sovereign Debt Crisis, we have Germany’s constant refusal for “more Europe”, which is the only possible way to save this (atrocious, anti-democratic, unaccountable, corrupt, American-penned, socialism-detesting) version of the pan-European project. Germany refuses to collateralise Eurozone debt, even though it is Germany who would collect as they are the debtors, because Germany doesn’t want mere dead gold but living debt slaves.

The Eurozone is simply so riddled with contradictions and stupidities it just defies journalistic explanation:

Germany just doesn’t get it – for every country with an export surplus, there simply has to be a country with a corresponding deficit. It was German (and French) banks who signed off on the bad loans to the “immoral” Greeks which precipitated the biggest Eurozone problems, and yet it is German banks who got bailed out, despite their errors; and yet it is German banks who got QE to loan; and yet it is German banks which didn’t loan a dime of QE, and certainly not to Greeks. Germany is the biggest recipient of the ECB bond-buying, even though they don’t need it, whereas Greece was excluded even though they need it?

Crazy, but let’s look at Germany’s explanation for all these selfish actions action: moral hazard. They simply cannot perpetuate immorality, and deficits (even if to pay for the elderly, the poor, health care, education, etc.) are immoral. Haven’t you read your Kant, and his OCD-morality? German absolutism is absolute; their personal conscience must be clean no matter how many murderers must be let in the door to commit murder.

So… explain your €822 billion bailout, Germany?

Wait – what? A bailout worth 22% of annual German GDP?

What happened to budget rigour and the moral imperative of balanced budgets? What happened to the total, facile nonsense that a national economy is simply a household writ large? What happened to Yanis Varoufakis recycling absurd stereotypes like “Teutonic discipline” (has he never seen an Oktoberfest?)?

Oh, I get it… Germany is in a crisis – EU deficit rules need to be relaxed.

However: Greece and others were in a crisis for years – why didn’t their crises matter?

(Millions starving in Yemen, millions dying of bad water globally, deaths from natural disasters – indeed, why does the Corona crisis matter so very, VERY much more than those crises? I just can’t comprehend the West’s crisis criterion.)

But it gets worse with Germany: Bailouts for Greece and other crisis-hit nations were contingent on forcing open their economies. German and Dutch companies gleefully bought up assets and market share, and forced in their products but now Germany Will Block Foreign Takeovers to Avoid Economy Sell-Out?

It’s disgusting, German hypocrisy.

But Europeans have been dealing with this for quite some time. In January I wrote this article to explain Europe’s perpetual stagnation and unrest: 1941, 1981, 2017 or today – it’s still Germany’s fault.

Need more? In 2017, foolishly assuming that QE would actually end, I wrote France’s historic effort for an anti-austerity Eurozone, which detailed the self-harming, wooing efforts from De Gaulle to Mitterrand to Hollande aimed at ending this historical trend: “France wanted to not be conquered by the US-German alliance, so they kept proposing a Franco-German (capitalist) alliance.”

Ramin, you seem rather anti-German. Are you a tribalist-racist?

No. What I am is a daily hard news journalist in the heart of Europe and I am fed up with reading lecture after lecture from Germany; hypocrisy after hypocrisy; duplicity upon duplicity.

Just tell me this: where is the “moral hazard” in the Corona crisis, Germany?

Shine a light on that for me, Mutti Merkel.

She cannot. There is none.

There are healthy companies – who have as much Teutonic economic discipline, intelligence and good DNA as a pure and spotless German – in places like Italy which are going to go under without something like Corona-bonds to provide financing wrought by the Marxist logic-defying Western shutdown.

Forget it – shot down already by Germany and their Dutch toadies. Same old story….

The corona overreaction defies Marxist logic and is economic suicide (socialist-inspired nations like China and Iran control their economies, so they can do things which the corporate-dominated West cannot) but yet another German refusal to help, to pool debt and risk, to show solidarity means Germany must leave the Eurozone.

Hell, we KNOW they have the money – while they have had their boots on the throats of people like the Greeks the Germans have also been assiduously picking their pockets. Germany can afford such a staggeringly huge bailout because of these incredibly immoral profits! Oh no Ramin, you’re wrong – they got those profits simply because German capitalists are so very moral. Sure, sure….

German bankers entrapped poorer Eurozone countries into debt slavery, and now that their slaves are sick Germany wants a quarantine?

You’ll never read such analyses in the West, that’s for sure, but what is absolutely, absolutely certain is that the average Eurozone citizen knows what I am talking about already. Anti-German sentiment is going to absolutely explode if Germany’s historical pattern – pro-US imperialism, anti-European project, self-interest above solidarity – continues.

Everybody in Europe (and the whole world) has seen how China, and not Germany, is the one sending supplies to corona-hit Italy. Yes, the Eurozone’s terrible structure means it is always fiddling while Rome burns, but I truly believe that German (capitalist-imperialist) leadership simply doesn’t care.

Of course there are good Germans who want Corona bonds, but the simplest solution to the Eurozone’s crisis has always been to expel Germany.

If Germany is unwilling to take the basic steps needed to improve the currency union, it should do the next best thing: Leave the eurozone.” That’s an assessment from Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz. Yes, I did write ‘The Euro’ by Stiglitz: Even fake leftists say ‘exit’, but the point is that only far-right neoliberals don’t see that a “Deutsch-parture” can painlessly end the Eurozone’s near-constant stagnation and dissension. The Netherlands can similarly be invited to leave as well.

Unless naked, would-be German emperors can finally get off their high horses and on board with morality and unity – via something like Corona bonds – a huge explosion of jingoism and neo-fascism in the Eurozone is around the corner.

Fine by me I guess – history shows that this is the last step before socialism because: how can fascism ever possibly succeed for the lower classes? It seems some Western nations need to go through this step (yet again) before accepting that the needs of workers, not bankers, and the poor must always be predominant in political policy.


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.

أسباب تفسّر اجتياح فيروس كورونا لإيطاليا والرئيس الإيطاليّ: نحتاج لمبادرات جديدة

البناء

أعلنت السلطات الصحية الإيطالية أمس، تسجيل 969 وفاة جديدة بفيروس كورونا المستجدّ، ليرتفع إجمالي الوفيات في البلاد إلى 9134 والإصابات إلى 86498. وكانت السلطات قد أعلنت أول أمس، عن تسجيل 662 حالة وفاة جديدة بفيروس كورونا.

وتعد هذه الزيادة اليومية هي الأكبر التي تشهدها إيطاليا منذ تفشي الفيروس، علماً أنّ الحصيلة الأعلى في يوم واحد كانت قد سجلت يوم 21 آذار عندما توفي 793 شخصاً.

وتعد إيطاليا أكثر البلدان تضرراً من الوباء، حيث سجلت 9134 وفاة تليها إسبانيا 4934، ثم الصين 3292.

وأصبحت إيطاليا الدولة التي يبلغ عدد سكانها نحو 60.5 مليون نسمة، نقطة محورية لتفشي الفيروس، وفي البحث عن أسباب تفشّي الفيروس بهذا الشكل «المرعب» في أنحاء إيطاليا أكد الخبراء في مجال الصحة أنّ الأسباب التي أدت لتفشي المرض فيها بهذه الصورة يعود إلى ما يلي:

أولاً: ظلت إيطاليا في حالة إنكار لوجود المرض، ولم تتحرّك بالسرعة الكافية للانخراط في تدابير الفصل الاجتماعي والحظر، وذكرت تقارير أن أجهزة المخابرات حذّرت السلطات من الوباء المحتمل لكنها لم تتخذ الإجراءات اللازمة.

ثانياً: أما الخطأ الثاني القاتل حينها، فهو عدم وضع العائدين من الصين إلى إيطاليا في الحجر الاحترازيّ، كما فعلت دول مثل فرنسا وألمانيا والمملكة المتحدة. وفي هذا الصّدد، ذكر خبير صحي مع بداية انتشار المرض في إيطاليا، أن «الخطأ الأول الذي اقترفته الحكومة الإيطالية كان أنها لم تمنع الرحلات المباشرة من الصين باتجاه إيطاليا»، وهذا مكّن ذلك دخول العديد من المسافرين المصابين العائدين من الصين إليها أو المارين بها عن طريق رحلات «الترانزيت» ونشر العدوى، من دون التمكّن من مراقبتها أو تتبعها وحصرها.

ثالثاً: ومن الأسباب أيضاً أن سياسيي الصف الأول في البلاد أظهروا جهلاً في التعامل مع خطورة الأمر، وظهرت بينهم مناكفات سياسية حول الإجراءات الواجب اتباعها في ظل هذه الظروف، وقد دعا بعضهم عبر شاشات التلفزيون المواطنين إلى ممارسة حياتهم بشكل اعتيادي، رغم بوادر تفشي المرض.

رابعاً: تخلّف الإيطاليون في إجراء فحص واختبار الفيروس التاجي على نطاق واسع، على الرغم من أنه أثبت فعاليته في مكافحة الانتشار.

خامساً: هاجمت طفرة هائلة ومفاجئة من المرض الأشخاص الذين يعانون من أمراض مزمنة في المستشفيات في المنطقة الشمالية، والتي لم يكن يتوفر فيها عدد كافٍ من أسرّة وحدات العناية المركزة أو أجهزة التنفس الصناعي.

سادساً: تعتبر إيطاليا واحدة من أعلى دول العالم في ارتفاع أعمار سكانها، إذ إن نحو 23.3% من مواطنيها فوق سن 65، وهو ما زاد من فرصة انتشار المرض بينهم.

سابعاً: عزا تقرير نشرته شبكة «فوكس نيوز» انتشار المرض إلى «الترابط العائلي والثقافة التي تحدد طريقة الحياة الإيطالية»، وقال إن «وجود أسر متعددة الأجيال لا تزال تعيش تحت سقف واحد وتحيي المناسبات بشكل عائلي، قد يكون من الأسباب التي أدت إلى تفاقم تفشي الفيروس».

ثامناً: وجمع تقرير بمجلة «ديموغرافيك ساينس» المعنية بدراسات السكان بين هاتين النقطتين، وقال إن «مشكلة إيطاليا مزدوجة؛ فمن جهة تعدّ الدولة الثانية من حيث نسبة السكان الكبار في السن، ومن جهة أخرى فإن الشباب فيها يختلطون دوماً بأقاربهم الأكبر سناً، مثل أجدادهم».

تاسعاً: وتذكر تقارير أن «من المحتمل أن يكون الفيروس قد انتشر من خلال أفراد شباب أصحاء لم تظهر عليهم أي أعراض أو ظهرت أعراض خفيفة جداً، ونقلوه لكبار السن».

فيما قال الرئيس الإيطالي، سيرجيو ماتريلا، أمس، إن «أوروبا تحتاج مبادرات جديدة»، مشيراً إلى أن «المقاربات القديمة يجب أن تسقط لأنها لم تنفع شيئاً مع الواقع الجديد»، حسب تعبيره.

وقال الرئيس الإيطالي إنه «كان يأمل في أن يتحرّك الكل قبل أن يواجه فيروس كورونا الجميع في أوروبا، بدل أن يتأخروا في ذلك».

Public Hysteria Vs. Scientific Thinking

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By Gilad Atzmon

The Corona crisis has exposed our political and media establishments as dysfunctional and possibly dangerous.  If the West was, until recently, associated with scientific, analytical, rational and methodical thinking, then  not much is left of that Athenian reasoning. Like houses of cards, most of our Western democracies have succumbed to populist decision making that is, by its nature, deeply unscientific. 

When I enrolled in university 35 years ago, scepticism and critical thinking were regarded as precious Western values. This approach has been discarded: skeptics are reduced into public enemies. They are scorned by the media and often smeared by their professional colleagues.

No one, I guess, doubts that the world is facing a hazardous health crisis, yet so many questions regarding the nature of this crisis, its origin, the virus at its centre and possible solutions  are brushed aside in a manner reminiscent of historical clerical witch hunts rather than treated with the kind of reasoning that should be ingrained in us by Western Liberal traditions.   

So far, only a few brave medical scholars and experts have dared to question  the general trend. Off Guardian produced a good summary of the arguments advanced by some of the scientists who are unimpressed by the current official narrative and the strategies applied by our so-called elected politicians:

German specialist in microbiology, Dr Sucharit Bhakdi  confirms that the Corona death rate is not a new phenomenon. “We are afraid that 1 million infections with the new virus will lead to 30 deaths per day over the next 100 days. But we do not realise that 20, 30, 40 or 100 patients positive for normal coronaviruses are already dying every day.”

German physician Dr Wolfgang Wodarg is not convinced that Corona is as dangerous as we have been told. He maintains that we should be asking questions like, “How did you find out this virus was dangerous?”, “How was it before?”, “Didn’t we have the same thing last year?”, “Is it even something new?”

Dr John Ioannidis is a Professor of Medicine, of Health Research and Policy and of Biomedical Data Science, at Stanford University School of Medicine.  Ioannidis posits that the cause of the current panic may have something to do with the new diagnosis of Covid 19 rather than with the general symptoms of the virus which aren’t new to us.  “If we had not known about a new virus out there, and had not checked individuals with PCR tests, the number of total deaths due to “influenza-like illness” would not seem unusual this year. At most, we might have casually noted that flu this season seems to be a bit worse than average.”

The Israeli doctor,  Yoram Lass, a public health specialist,  informs us that “Italy is known for its enormous morbidity in respiratory problems, more than three times any other European country…”

To this minority group of scientifically thinking medical experts we should add Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee, a Pulitzer prize winning author, who wrote a spectacular extended article for the New Yorker yesterday.

Mukherjee offers a different  perspective on Covid 19 and its dangers. He explains that the impact of viruses is often influenced by the dosage of the virus a patient is subjected to. Mukherjee writes “three questions deserve particular attention, because their answers could change the way we isolate, treat, and manage patients. First, what can we learn about the “dose-response curve” for the initial infection—that is, can we quantify the increase in the risk of infection as people are exposed to higher doses of the virus? Second, is there a relationship between that initial “dose” of virus and the severity of the disease—that is, does more exposure result in graver illness? And, third, are there quantitative measures of how the virus behaves in infected patients (e.g., the peak of your body’s viral load, the patterns of its rise and fall) that predict the severity of their illness and how infectious they are to others?”

Mukherjee notes that in the current crisis, “most epidemiologists, given the paucity of data, have been forced to model the spread of the new coronavirus as if it were a binary phenomenon: individuals are either exposed or unexposed, infected or uninfected, symptomatic patients or asymptomatic carriers.”  Mukherjee argues that viruses’ effects aren’t necessarily an on/off phenomenon. For instance, he compares Covid 19 to HIV. “People with a high set point [virus dose] tended to progress more rapidly to aids; people with a low set point frequently proved to be “slow progressors.” The viral load—a continuum, not a binary value—helped predict the nature, course, and transmissibility of the disease.” In many viral infection cases the more virus you shed, the more likely you are to infect others.”

The Russian immunologist Ilya Metchnikoff, working in the early nineteen-hundreds, described the phenomenon as “the struggle”—or Kampf, in German editions of his work. Metchnikoff imagined an ongoing battle between microbe and immunity. The Kampf was a matter of ground gained or lost. What was the total “force” of the microbial presence? What host factors—genetics, prior exposure, baseline immune competence—were limiting the microbial invasion? And then: was the initial equilibrium tipped toward the virus, or toward the host?

Mukherjee points out that in “a 2004 study of the coronavirus that causes sars, a cousin of the one that causes covid 19, a team from Hong Kong found that a higher initial load of virus—measured in the nasopharynx, the cavity in the deep part of your throat above your palate—was correlated with a more severe respiratory illness.”

This helps to explain the greater risks faced by front line health care personnel who are exposed to high dosages of Covid 19  on a daily basis and it also helps to explain why the hospital may be the most dangerous place to be. Those who have already developed symptoms who then enter emergency medical centres may well be exposed to even more serious or even fatal outcomes from the high dose of Covid19 and the many other diseases they can be exposed to. 

 This realisation adds to our understanding of the current tragedy in Northern Italy and Spain. It may even be that, as a general rule, the less you trust your public health system, the better your chances to survive Corona and other viruses. In Britain, for instance, the Government advised people who develop symptoms to self isolate and not to contact the NHS unless the respiratory situation seems to get out of control.

At a time of crisis and particularly at a time of a crisis of such magnitude, an open scientific debate of the Athenian Agora nature that includes the exchanges with qualified skeptics and critics  provide the only light at the end of the tunnel.

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Whither Coronavirus? When Will It End and What Will Happen Along the Way

Whither Coronavirus? When Will It End and What Will Happen Along ...

Philip Giraldi March 26, 2020

The coronavirus story has generated a number of major subplots. First is the origin of the virus. Did it occur naturally or was it created in a Chinese, American or Israeli weapons lab? If bioengineered, did it somehow escape or was it deliberately released? As the governments that might have been involved in the process have become very tight lipped and the mainstream media is reluctant to embrace conspiracy theories, we the public may never know the answer.

Second is the nature of the virus itself. There are inevitably skeptics who choose to compare the affliction to a common head cold or normal winter flu and are able to cherry pick so-called experts to support their case. Many Americans are unwilling to submit to a lockdown or isolation and are flaunting their willingness to go out in public and mix freely while others are claiming that the whole thing is a hoax designed to create a panic that will benefit certain constituencies. There are press reports of teenagers going to supermarkets and faking a sneeze or a cough in the produce section to show their indifference to the infection avoidance guidelines now being promoted by the media and government. Some critics have also commented regarding the deaths of hundreds of Italians daily, suggesting that in Italy’s health care system old people were deliberately being allowed to die.

The fact is that when critically ill people die in hospitals it is sometimes attributable to triage. Triage arises when there are only limited resources to treat the sick, as in the case recently in the Italian Lombard city of Bergamo where hospitals were overwhelmed. Doctors must make the decision to treat those who are ill who are likely to survive as a first priority, meaning that others will only receive limited treatment. Italy has roughly the same number of hospital beds as does the United States per capita and it has more ventilators capable of being used to treat the advanced stages of the virus. It also is receiving assistance from both China and Russia on testing supplies and additional ventilators and masks. Italy has conducted far more coronavirus tests than has the U.S. The northern Italian medical services system was up to European standards, better than what prevails in the U.S., but it has been broken by the virus. Spain is heading the same way and there are similar concerns about France.

In spite of all the ideologically driven background clutter, genuinely knowledgeable medical authorities come down overwhelmingly promoting the view that the virus is highly contagious and capable of spreading rapidly, making it a pandemic, and it can be exceptionally lethal to certain demographics, including the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. The way of combatting it also appears to be agreed upon by most genuine experts i.e. that testing must be widespread to determine who is infected and those individuals should be isolated from contact with others for at least two weeks to limit the spread of the contagion. For those whose conditions worsen, hospitalization and treatment for possible respiratory failure are warranted.

The third big issue is the apparently deliberate failure of the Trump Administration to respond proactively to limit the spread of the virus. Seeking to protect the stock market more than the American public, President Donald Trump initially downplayed the impact of the virus, even calling it a “hoax” during January and February when it first appeared on U.S. soil. It turned out that several institutes affiliated to the Center for Disease Control to deal with epidemics had been dismantled by the Administration and, in spite of the warning provided by what was occurring in Wuhan, the U.S. made no effort to increase its supply of testing kits, masks or ventilators. Meanwhile, congressmen were receiving dire warnings of what was coming from the intelligence community in private briefings, leading to a number of senators selling their stock in anticipation of a market collapse. That is something called insider trading and it is illegal. It is also a measure of the corruption of America’s ruling class.

The fourth major subplot relates to what will come out of the pandemic once it is over, if it is indeed defeated at all. Critics rightly observe that the government response both at federal and state levels might well be a major overreaction to a health crisis that could possibly be dealt with using a lighter hand. Donald Trump has now called himself a “wartime president,” a particularly odd conceit in that America’s chief executive officer dodged the Vietnam war draft.  Trump is now providing daily rambling briefings emphasizing that his administration deserves a “10 out or 10” for its yeoman’s work against coronavirus. The real story is that the president personally inhibited initial efforts to respond to the disease and he is now attempting to regain lost ground by supporting draconian measures to include cash payments to all American residents, even to people who do not need the money. The money itself will have to be borrowed or printed, putting the United States even deeper in debt.

Based on his wartime status, the president and his cabinet are poised to exploit Civil War and Korean War legislation to assume powers over the economy and will likely arrange bailouts of some industries that will then acquire the government as a partner. The now declared “national emergency” will undoubtedly come to include some forms of martial law to enforce the isolation of targeted populations and it is also being reported that the Justice Department has asked Congress to allow judges to detain people indefinitely without trial during the “emergency.” As we have learned from the Patriot Act, Military Commissions Act and the Authorization to Use Military Force, allegedly temporary powers acquired by the executive branch have frequently become permanent. Unrestrained power in the hands of a Trump or Biden should frighten anyone who is still interested in voting in November.

There is some speculation that Trump might well follow the example being set by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. Israel has banned foreign visitors, is under 24 hours curfew and is effectively in lockdown. It is using cell phone intercepts provided by the intelligence services to track the comings and goings of Israeli residents. The monitoring is being justified as a mechanism to create a record of who is meeting whom and where to support isolation and lockdown efforts. A similar program is already active in the suburbs around Washington. The National Security Agency (NSA) already has the technical ability in place that would permit monitoring of the movements of much of the U.S. population. It would be an intelligence community dream and would fit quite nicely with Congress’s recent efforts to re-authorization certain Patriot Act aspects of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Fifth and finally, there is the politicization aspect of coronavirus. The virus is being “blamed” on China, a global competitor of the United States. As is often the case, Trump has gotten the ball rolling through his usual verbal toxicity, calling the virus the Chinese Virus or Wuhan Virus. Other Republicans have picked up on the theme, leading to the inevitably Democratic progressive wing complaints that such language was “racist.” The fact it, there is no evidence whatsoever that China in any deliberate way either created or unleashed the virus.

And, of course, there is Russia. It would almost seem an old joke that is no longer amusing to blame something new and menacing on Moscow and congress has so far largely refrained from doing so. But that does not mean that the Deep State establishment is holding the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin blameless. The U.S. intelligence community, through its preferred propaganda sheet the New York Times, is now reporting that Russia is taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis to spread disinformation through Europe and also in the U.S. In particular, Putin has escalated a campaign-by-innuendo to reduce confidence in the outcome of the upcoming 2020 presidential election. In any event, the Russians are too late as the Democratic and Republican parties’ behavior has already convinced many Americans that voting in November will be a waste of time.

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