Ambassadors “Persona Non-Grata”: Turkey’s National Interests, Foreign Policy or Political Considerations?

Source: Al Mayadeen

26 OCTOBER 2021

Ruqiya Anwar

Turkish businessman Kavala has been in prison for four years for his suspected role in the Gezi Park protests and his involvement in a failed coup attempt in 2016.

Osman Kavala

This research note discusses that the Turkish businessman Kavala has been in prison for four years for his suspected role in the Gezi Park protests and his involvement in a failed coup attempt in 2016. Kavala is one of Turkey’s most well-known civil society figures. Since the early 1980s, the billionaire has helped to establish multiple publishing enterprises in Turkey, and a decade later, he has supported numerous civil society organizations. 

Osman Kavala was one of Turkey’s most prominent activists. He has been held in pre-trial imprisonment in Silivri Prison since October 2017. Authorities in Turkey accuse him of initiating the Gezi Park demonstrations in 2013.

Significantly, President Erdogan has accused him of being the Turkish leg of billionaire US philanthropist George Soros, whom he claims is behind insurgencies in several nations. He has been held in detention pending the outcome of his latest trial, and he has rejected the charges. 

Whereas, the indictment of September 2020, according to Kavala’s lawyers, was nothing more than a presumed fantasy based on no real evidence. Human rights organizations around the world have slammed Kavala’s arrest, claiming the charges are politically motivated. Additionally, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) found that Kavala’s arrest was politically motivated and it was carried out with the goal of “bringing other human rights defenders, to the political prisoners.” (DW, 2021).

Following a similar line, the Council of Europe has given a warning to Turkey to comply with a European Court of Human Rights ruling to free Kavala pending trial, which was issued in 2019. Otherwise, it will file an infringement complaint against Turkey.

The ambassadors of the ten nations issued a unified statement urging Turkey to abide by the Council of Europe’s judgments. Germany, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and the United States all requested a “fair and swift” settlement to Kavala’s case (DW, 2021).

They further stressed, “The ongoing delays in Kaval’s trial, which include the merging of many cases and the establishment of new ones following a prior acquittal, throw a pall over Turkish court respect for democracy, the rule of law, and transparency. In light of the European Court of Human Rights’ judgment, they requested Turkey to release it as soon as possible. These ambassadors  demanded a fair and expeditious settlement to his case under Turkey’s international responsibilities and domestic legislation.”

Most importantly, Kavala who has been imprisoned since 2017, has been frequently demanded their release by international observers and human rights organizations. They claim that the detention is due to political concerns. While the officials deny the allegations and maintain that Turkish courts are independent.

While the Turkish government views the ambassadors’ declaration as direct involvement in domestic politics. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the diplomats’ behavior and threatened to expel them from the country. In an intensifying disagreement with the countries, who intervened in the case of a detained businessman by demanding his release.

After their statement demanding the release of Osman Kavala, President Erdogan authorized the Turkish foreign minister to proclaim the ambassadors of ten nations to Turkey “persona non grata”. Notably, when a diplomat is declared persona non grata, they are banned in their host country and they are now just one step away from expulsion.

In a speech, Erdogan remarked, “I have directed our foreign minister to expedite the declaration of these ten ambassadors,” These ten ambassadors must be declared persona non grata. They will be familiar with and understand Turkey”. He went on to say that these ambassadors would not release “terrorists” in their nations if they did not know and understand them (Arab News, 2021).

For this reason, tensions between Ankara and the United States, Canada, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, and New Zealand soared over  Turkey’s president proclaimed the envoys “persona non grata.”

Moreover, the ambassadors had been instructed to “keep within the responsibilities of their duties after an insincere and double-standard approach and It was highlighted in our constitution that Turkey is a democratic state of law that protects human rights, and it was reminded that such reckless utterances would not affect the Turkish court”.

The government further noted that the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) judgments are frequently disregarded and not followed, claiming that focusing solely on Turkish cases to keep the Kavala case on the table at all times is ineffective (DW, 2021).

Whereas, former Turkish ambassador to Azerbaijan and senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington, Alper Coskun, tweeted, “Expelling ambassadors is not a good strategy to protect national interests. Turkey’s isolation has been exacerbated by its rash foreign policy aimed at domestic politics” (Arab News, 2021).The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Turkey’s Planned Expulsion Of 10 Western Ambassadors Is A Huge Diplomatic Move

25 OCTOBER 2021

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Turkey

Simply denouncing them but declining to take any tangible action would have made President Erdogan look weak in everyone’s eyes unless they recanted their joint statement and apologized. He couldn’t afford to do that even though he must also have expected that Western pressure against him personally and his country more broadly will soon intensify as a result.

Turkish President Erdogan announced over the weekend that he instructed his Foreign Minister to declare 10 Western ambassadors persona non grata after they meddled in his country’s foreign affairs by releasing a joint statement demanding the release of a jailed businessman who they consider to be a “political prisoner”. This is a huge diplomatic move that will reverberate for some time to come. It shows that Turkey has zero tolerance for such high-profile foreign meddling and is ready to accept the potential political consequences for expelling the Canadian, Danish, Dutch, Finish, French, German, New Zealander, Norwegian, Swedish, and US Ambassadors.

Those diplomats must have predicted that the Turkish President would react in a similar way to how he ultimately did. This implies that they planned their joint statement as a political provocation intended to catalyze a self-sustaining cycle of escalations between their countries and Turkey. The purpose of doing so is to prompt the pretext for intensifying their information warfare against him and potentially threatening sanctions, whether on that basis or a different one.

Those diplomats’ countries probably also wanted to manipulate their people’s perceptions about Turkey by making it seem like it’s “anti-Western” and “despotic”. The planned expulsion of so many ambassadors of such influential countries will certainly provoke a diplomatic crisis. It’ll likely generate incredibly hostile coverage by the Western Mainstream Media too. In other words, all of this is part of the US-led Hybrid War on Turkey which aims to punish the country for its increasingly independent foreign policy in recent years.

From the Turkish perspective, it’s unacceptable to let those diplomats meddle in such a blatant way, especially regarding a jailed figure who they consider to be a “political prisoner”. Simply denouncing them but declining to take any tangible action would have made President Erdogan look weak in everyone’s eyes unless they recanted their joint statement and apologized. He couldn’t afford to do that even though he must also have expected that Western pressure against him personally and his country more broadly will soon intensify as a result.

From a larger viewpoint, Turkey is setting an example for other non-Western nations to follow. Not all of them are as confident as that country is nor might they have the “Democratic Security” capabilities to adequately defend themselves from the predicted intensification of US-led Hybrid Wars against them under such pretexts, but they might still be inspired by this huge diplomatic move. After all, a pivotal pillar of Turkish foreign policy is to present itself as a model for others to emulate, especially in the Global South and most recently in Africa.

Looking forward, Turkish-Western relations will likely continue to deteriorate. There’s a chance that the ambassadors who Turkey plans to expel might eventually return or be replaced after some time, but that probably won’t happen in the near future if the country does indeed go through with what its leader just threatened. The overall impact of this trend will be to accelerate Turkey’s proactive engagement with its new non-Western partners, with a priority given to Russia and China.

That development could be manipulated through information warfare means to reinforce the false narrative that Turkey is “anti-Western” even though it would just be pragmatically reacting to Western political provocations. Nevertheless, closer Turkish ties with Russia and China could fuel the intensification of the US-led Hybrid War against it through geopolitical fearmongering about that country’s grand strategic intentions. For this reason, Ankara must brace itself for myriad destabilization attempts ahead of the summer 2023 elections.

It’s impossible to predict the exact forms that they could take at this moment, but they’ll likely be comprehensive and thus involve economic, information, political, and perhaps even security plots. President Erdogan is increasingly portrayed by the Western Mainstream Media as a so-called “rogue” leader, the misleading perception of which will be exploited to intensify the US-led Hybrid War. He’s unlikely to capitulate to their political demands related to his foreign policy but he’s likely still interested in bargaining with them.

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A COLD, COLD WINTER IS COMING TO EUROPE (AND THE WORLD)

 06.10.2021

South Front

A Cold, Cold Winter Is Coming To Europe (And The World)

The current situation in the energy market is quite worrisome. Europe is taking the brunt of it, and is concerned that a long and cold winter could send it off the edge into an economic crisis, as natural gas prices are soaring to never-before-seen heights.

The Asian market, which is the largest in the world is also in a tattered state, with China already feeling the consequences of reducing dependency on coal and lack of energy resources.

This all is a result of several factors that have led to the present reality of events and the exacerbating situation.

The spot price for natural gas continues breaking records, by reaching $1,600 per 1,000 cubic meters before dropping back to $1,400 on October 6th.

Spot is initially a high-risk market; it is based on the sellers of the product that create an artificial surplus or lack of said product. If the product was deficient by definition, for example there’s not enough of it to begin with, then buyers could potentially control the market, but this is a different story.

Furthermore, gas prices are much less controlled compared to oil prices, which fluctuated rapidly in 2020. Various energy resources’ prices depend on their own specifics, but it is an obvious fact that these prices connected.

The market is concerned about energy supply this winter and shrugged off October 4th’s news from Nord Stream 2 AG, the operator of the controversial Russia-led gas pipeline, which started filling the first string of the pipeline with gas to get ready for the moment that German authorities grant it an operational license.

While gas prices are soaring, US oil prices rose for the fifth day in a row to levels not seen since 2014, amid global concerns about energy supply due to signs of tension in the oil, natural gas and coal markets.

Brent prices also rose due to concerns about supplies, especially after OPEC+ decided to stick to the planned increase in production. To put it simply, there might be an artificial deficiency which causes an increase in price.

Following a short meeting on October 4th, the OPEC+ ministers approved an increase in production by 400 thousand barrels per day in November, after which the price of oil on the New York Stock Exchange reached its highest in almost seven years. On the eve of the talks, speculation spread that the cartel and its allies could increase production by 800 thousand barrels per day in November, but, according to delegates, such a proposal was not announced.

According to Amrita Sen, a leading oil analyst and co-founder of Energy Aspects, Saudi Arabia seeks to make as few changes as possible to the current OPEC+ agreement on monthly production increases.

Instead of pushing for increased production and lowered prices, the United States appeared satisfied with Riyadh’s plan and hasn’t exerted any political pressure to change the situation.

The American Petroleum Institute reported that oil reserves in the United States increased by 951 thousand barrels in the week of October 1st.

Despite increasing prices, the United States is increasing its reserves in the face of the potential increase in prices even further.

The biggest “victim” is the European consumer.

Europe is already feeling the pressure, as natural gas is incredibly important to industry, increasing oil prices complicate the situation even further.

Not only does industry need to use a lot of natural gas, but some part of it also needs to be distributed to households, and the colder the weather gets, the more gas is required. Civilian infrastructure, as well as households needing increasing amounts of natural gas led to a higher deficiency in industry, which could itself lead to an increase in the price of various products, as well as many businesses straight up closing.

Northern Europe is already feeling the strain, as the depletion of reservoirs hinders the production of hydroelectric power.

The water level in Norwegian hydroelectric power plants for this time of year is at a minimum level. This is a concern just a few weeks before the reduction of reservoirs in late autumn. There is not enough water for export to the continent and to the UK.

Ireland and the UK are the hardest hit by the global gas shortage and are experiencing a shortage of electricity.

In Asia, which is the trade center of LNG, the situation is also quite difficult.

LNG-AS spot prices reached a record high, approximately 100% higher than one month ago, and 500% higher year over year.

A standard LNG cargo of 3.4 trillion BTU (British Thermal Units) now costs $100-120 million, while at the end of February its cost was less than $20 million.

It is not clear if any buyer is capable of actually paying for the LNG they’ve bought, as such sellers are requesting letters of credit, guaranteeing that there will be solvency when the time to pay comes.

India following China is on the verge of an energy crisis as coal reserves have reached a critical level.

According to the Ministry of Energy of India, 135 thermal power plants in the country on average had coal reserves for only four days. The shortage of electricity has already begun to affect the economy of neighboring China, where last month the manufacturing sector experienced the first decline in indicators since the beginning of the pandemic.

What could be the reason for all of this?

Notably, the renewable energy agenda, launched in the early 2000s in conjunction with the shale production program in the United States.

Both of these were ways in which the West reduced its energy dependence on exports.

It was necessary to minimize the impact of the inevitable price spike by the time the global gas market was created.

Each acceleration of new mining projects was accompanied by an increase in prices, which provided an investment flow into more expensive production.

However, the renewable energy program structurally failed. To put it simply: the United States’ ambition fell apart, as the largest gas resources are located in Russia and Iran, and both are countries that Washington has little, if any, influence over. Qatar and Australia are not enough to turn the tide.

In this strategy of reducing energy dependence at the time of the formation of the global gas market, Europe relied on renewable energy, and the United States – on shale.

The share of renewable energy in the total energy balance of the USA does not exceed 8%, in Europe it is approximately 20%, and globally it sits around 5%, in the area of statistical mistake.

In accordance with the shares of renewable energy, we are seeing a gas price boom today. The United States, with the help of shale, forced not only OPEC and Russia, but also Europe and Japan to pay for the new market structure. It’s just like in 1973, when the spot-exchange oil market was created.

The current natural gas market is in shambles, as it suffered a terrible combination of circumstances.

Fuel reserves in Europe were reduced in the face of the very real possibility of a prolonged winter, a decrease in supplies from Russia and an increase in demand for LNG in Asia, which prevented the restoration of reserves in the summer.

This was joined by a decline in production in the North Sea, due to a maintenance that was delayed because of the pandemic.

This is all exacerbated by the hasty transition towards renewable energy sources without the necessary technology to adequately do so.

A surprising factor is also the fact that prices were also affected by a decrease in the average wind speed to the lowest since the 1960s, interruptions in the operation of nuclear power plants and a fire on an underwater power cable connecting the UK and France.

To put it in simple terms, the “Green Deal” is motivated not by a scientific or economic approach, but by populism aimed at voters: pseudo-leftists and neo-liberals.

This is in addition to the hesitancy of multi-national corporations to invest in infrastructure, fixed assets and production. It is much more preferable to fix the profit margin and distribute funds among shareholders and management.

Finally, Hurricane Ida was a sort of jump-start of the energy crisis, as it led to the shutdown of production of massive amounts of energy in the Gulf of Mexico.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Protection, as of September 12th, 48.6% of oil production and 54.4% of gas production in the Gulf of Mexico were still stopped.

Due to the hurricane, more than 40 million barrels of refined fuel were lost and slightly fewer were lost in blocked production.

Exporters were forced to redistribute trade flows around the Atlantic and America to ensure supplies.

All of these factors combined are promising a very cold winter, and a very bleak, and extremely expensive future, compared to which the 2008 financial crisis may seem like a minor inconvenience.

As a consequence, industry will suffer, but the final consumer will suffer the most.

The rise in gas and electricity prices in Europe sends a powerful signal to manufacturers to consider temporarily closing factories, and to owners of homes and offices to turn off thermostats to prevent stocks from falling to a critical minimum and depletion of fuel reserves this winter.

For manufacturers, a short-term closure has a double benefit: a reduction in electricity costs, as well as an increase in prices for their products, which helps protect profits from rising electricity and gas prices. Still, a balance needs to be found as a business cannot remain closed indefinitely.

After a sufficient number of reliable plant closures and other energy-saving measures are announced, futures prices are likely to decline, as there will not be enough buyers, regardless of the price.

The supply chain will be disrupted if factories close, and this brings along its own set of problems.

If the upcoming winter does not turn out to be mild, rising prices and physical shortages of gas, coal and electricity are unlikely to remain limited to energy markets, and this will affect the rest of the economy, as is already happening in China.

Separately, this is a wake-up call that climate change is rapidly turning into a direct factor influencing asset allocation decisions for investors. It used to be a fringe possibility, somewhere in the background.

Investors can no longer afford to ignore the disasters befalling the world, because all of these result in rising prices for natural gas and other commodities.

The centralized EU policy to achieve zero emissions by 2050, significantly aggravated and accelerated the development of the crisis. It promises to become even worse as Germany promises to close down nuclear power plants by the end of 2021. Berling stop supplying electricity to the very European networks that have taken the brunt of the crisis. The resulting gap will be felt by the whole of Europe.

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The Nobel Foundation Must Act Against The Power of the Norwegian Parliament

About me
Lawrence Davidson is a retired professor of history from West Chester University in West Chester PA. His academic research focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He taught courses in Middle East history, the history of science and modern European intellectual history.

Source

Posted by Lawrence Davidson 

The essay appearing below is posted here as a companion piece to Lawrence Davidson’s analysis, dated 16 September 2019, entitled “The Sorry State of the Nobel Peace Prize.”

“The Nobel Foundation must act against the power of the Stortinget (Parliament) over the Peace Prize” (22 July 2021) by Fredrik S Heffermehl

Argument: The Peace Prize must be awarded in accordance with the inventor Alfred Nobel’s will. In this context, the Swedish Nobel Foundation is superior to the Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget), and must therefore act to ensure that the Peace Prize in future goes to people who actively work for disarmament. 

Again, there is wrangling/tussle/strife around the Nobel Peace Prize. Now about money. The Norwegian committee for the peace prize is housed in a beautiful historic building in Oslo that is so expensive to maintain that the Nobel Foundation plans to sell it. This would be a great loss and the Norwegian committee has called on the Parliament of Norway, to pick up the bill and claims that the independence of the prize will not be harmed.

But it’s not at all that simple. According to my studies, the Stortinget’s relationship to the Peace Prize is a dark story of fraud. The award was never independent of the Stortinget. An annual appropriation would increase dependence.

As always, the starting point should be Alfred Nobel’s intention with the prize. The new CEO of the Nobel Foundation, the Norwegian lawyer Vidar Helgesen, emphasized in a recent radio interview the essence of all Nobel prizes: Alfred Nobel wished to change the world. In the nuclear age ending all wars is more imperative than ever, but how well does the Nobel Foundation maintain this essence of inventor Nobel peace vision?

He wanted to end all wars through global cooperation and disarmament based on international law. The core of the inventor’s peace innovation, global demilitarization, is explicitly mentioned in the will.

In his will Nobel entrusted Stortinget with appointing a committee of five, the Norwegian Nobel Committee, supposed to use the annual election of prize winners to promote the Nobel vision of how to create peace. But that never happened. The Peace Prize has been awarded in all directions and has become a general prize for goodness without a distinct idea or clear goals. The Stortinget should have appointed supporters of Nobel’s peace idea to committee members, but has instead chosen its own and used the prize for its own purposes.

That is a main conclusion in my recent book “Behind the medals”. The most obvious measure to fulfill Nobel’s last will would be to examine what his will really was and then

make it widely known. Instead, the leadership of the Stortinget decided in 1897 to quietly ignore the clear words of the will about the reduction or abolition of the military.

The will was put aside and never interpreted professionally. Instead, the Nobel Committee interpreted its own, self-chosen and diffuse concepts, such as “peace” and “peace work”, and took with it in practice freedom to do as it wished with the prize.

As a result the award never actively promoted the Nobel idea. Even if using entrusted funds for one’s own purposes must legally be regarded as embezzlement or infidelity to the testator, this has continued since I discovered, 15 years ago, that Nobel’s original intention with the prize had been ignored. Lawmakers violating the laws and refusing to adhere to criticism is a legal and democratic problem.

While working on the book, I gained access to the Nobel Committee’s internal archives – except the last 50 years that remain off-limits/secret. I have reviewed all 131 Peace Prizes over 120 years (1901–2020). My conclusion is that only 25 percent of them fulfill the purpose. The most interesting result of my review, however, was to get a picture of those who should have won, what the prize should have been, what it could have done for world peace if Nobel´s visionary idea had been respected.

The internal reports the committee received about the candidates reveal disdain and outright contempt for the idea and the people that Nobel intended his prize to support. I found 114 of them hidden/tucked away and forgotten in the Nobel Archives. Taken together these people are/constitute an important history of ideas. The sad fact is that the people Nobel wanted to support have throughout the years been ignored and suppressed by all of society, including the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

How could this happen? During the first ten years after Nobel’s death in 1896, the wish to be free from the union with Sweden dominated Norwegian politics. As King Oscar feared, the Peace Prize became a tool in the Norwegian freedom struggle. This caused permanent damage, Norwegian politicians got used to seeing the prize as their own. They elected themselves to the coveted committee seats. The committee was composed of members of the Stortinget and the government. In reality they developed an entirely Norwegian Peace Prize in the name of Nobel.

The first chairman of the committee in 1897 was a well-known lawyer who emphasized the importance of independence and distance from the Storting. He died in 1901 and was succeeded by Jørgen Løvland, leader of the Norwegian independence struggle, who wanted to link the peace prize as closely as possible to the Stortinget. He used the staff of the Nobel Institute in the struggle for national independence. When independence was won in 1905, the Nobel chairperson was also the Minister of Foreign Affairs. In the first ten months the ministry had no employees and the Nobel Institute functioned as Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Norwegian committee has never followed up on its main task: to promote the Nobel Prize for a geopolitical U-turn and universal cooperation on global peace. The prize, inspired by Bertha von Suttner’s novel “Down with the Weapons!” (1889), should have been called the Nobel Disarmament Prize. Only twice has the Committee stated the true purpose of the prize: in the speech for Bertha von Suttner as prize winner in 1905 and for the International Peace Bureau in 1910. The Norwegian administrators of the Nobel Prize are willing to discuss economic issues and everything else, except my analysis of Nobel’s intention. Such criticism is taboo and has been ignored.

Last year, the situation became really untenable. The entire Stortinget, with the exception of two members, voted against taking the Nobel will into account. Doing so, the Stortinget openly took over and rejected serving the inventor’s own idea. This is an open mutiny that forces the Nobel Foundation to intervene. As manager of Nobel’s bequeathed money the foundation bears superior responsibility for implementing Nobel’s intentions. It cannot accept a subcommittee that ignores the idea of the prize.

In an investigation of the Peace Prize in 2012, the County Administrative Board of Stockholm, which is the supervisory authority for foundations, stated that both the Norwegian Parliament and Nobel Committee are sub-bodies of the Nobel Foundation. The public supervisory board decided that the Nobel Foundation is obliged to examine Nobel´s intention with the peace prize, give the necessary instructions to the Norwegian bodies, and check that their decisions serve the purpose of the prize.

The truth is that the Storting stole the Nobel Peace Prize as early as in 1897. Norwegian society keeps totally silent about this. My criticism of the prize is extremely unpopular in Norway, but for me the world and peace have to be more important. As we face the threats of global warming, mega-fires, sea level rise, pandemics, famine, refugee flows, we are all in the same very unsafe boat and simply have to co-operate for our common survival. All countries must stand together or we shall all perish. We cannot afford the continuing military arms races that only increase the risk of us being annihilated. To break the vicious circle of militarism, the world needs Nobel’s visionary idea of world peace through cooperation. The Nobel Foundation took responsibility when, in 2017, the Board, building on my legal advice, intervened against the administrators of the literature prize. The Storting’s mutiny against Nobel is much more serious. According to the law, the Nobel Foundation has an obligation to act against the Stortinget, which in this context – unbelievably – is a body subordinate to the board of a private Swedish foundation. By law the Board of the Nobel Foundation has the right and obligation to instruct the Stortinget. The important thing now is not to increase financial dependence on the Stortinget. Instead the Foundation has to intervene and demand that the Stortinget as soon as possible appoints a prize committee that will loyally promote the peace vision of Nobel – or find other ways to ensure that the Nobel Peace Vision is realized.

Fredrik S Heffermehl is a lawyer and author, editor of nobelwill.orghttps://www.dn.se/debatt/nobelstiftelsen-maste-agera-mot-stortingets-makt-over-fredspriset

Fearmongering?! Norway Links 13 Deaths to Pfizer Vaccine

Fearmongering?! Norway Links 13 Deaths to Pfizer Vaccine

By Staff, Agencies 

Inoculation with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine began four days before New Year’s Eve in Norway. Since Svein Andersen [67] at the Ellingsrudhjemmet elderly home became the first Norwegian to take the jab, over 33,000 Norwegians have received the vaccine in the subsequent weeks.

It was announced in advance that the vaccine may cause side effects of varying severity, and now the Norwegian Medicines Agency has mapped which ones have occurred in the country. A total of 29 side effects were reported, yet with an alarming share of deaths.

“Of these, there are 13 deaths, nine serious side effects and seven less serious side effects”, medical director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency Steinar Madsen told national broadcaster NRK.

A total of 23 deaths have been reported by the Norwegian Medicines Agency in connection with the vaccination. However, only 13 of these have been assessed so far.

All the surveyed deaths have occurred among frail, elderly patients in nursing homes. All of the dead are over 80 years old and some of them are even over 90.

“It seems that some of these patients get such severe side effects in the form of fever and malaise that it can lead to a very serious illness even, an more serious one, which may lead to death”, Madsen said.

At the same time, Madsen emphasised that these cases are rare and that many thousands of frail people have been vaccinated without a fatal outcome. “Frail” means patients with advanced heart conditions, dementia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other serious diseases.

Madsen said his authority is not worried about the extent of side effects confirmed so far.

“We are not alarmed by this. It is quite clear that these vaccines have very little risk, with a small exception for the most frail patients”, Madsen said.

The nine patients who have had serious side effects complained of allergic reactions, strong malaise and severe fever. The seven less serious side effects included severe pain at the injection site.

Still, the Norwegian Medicines Agency cautioned the authorities to carefully consider the order of vaccination.

“Doctors must now carefully consider who should be vaccinated. Those who are very frail and at the very end of life can be vaccinated after an individual assessment”, Madsen said.

This is in line with the recommendations realeased by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health earlier this week.

Previously, six people died during the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine trials, but only two of them were actually given the vaccine. The other four were given a safe placebo solution of salt and water.

Norway has seen over 57,000 cases of COVID-19 and over 500 deaths.

Two clicks to midnight

Two clicks to midnight

Two clicks to midnight[1]

by Ken Leslie for The Saker Blog

While I was absent from this esteemed blog focusing on other things, an extremely dangerous situation started to develop and I found myself reaching for the keyboard again. If some of my previous writings were a bit alarmist, the tone was motivated by a genuine angst before an unfeeling and unstoppable machine of conquest and destruction the likes of which the world had never seen. And angst it is—anybody with an ounce of common sense can see that the World is hurtling towards some kind of catastrophe. Whether this occurs in a year or five is less relevant. The point is that we are witnessing a process of rapid implosion of the current global system and are not able to see what will replace it. There is no compelling vision of the future—a universal vessel of hope that would transport us across the turbulent waters of fundamental change. This time I am not anxious but resigned. Resignation does not imply learned helplessness—unlike most people around me I am grateful for the ability to be aware of the danger and to articulate what I see as the truth without fear or self-censorship.

Oh, and if the post sounds like a rant, that’s because it is one.

Some academics (ideologues?) such as Steven Pinker have argued that things are much better than they were a 100 years ago—at least in terms of deaths caused by wars and other hard indicators of well-being. Although it pains me to say that Pinker could be correct, this essay is not about “progress” but about the approach of the ultimate regress—the unavoidable and ultimately catastrophic clash between the “West” and the “East”. A couple of months ago I was writing about the danger of NATO hordes closing in on Moscow from the Ukraine, Poland and the Baltics only to realize that unless a miracle happens, in a few months, Russia will be completely surrounded by enemies. The only exceptions—Norway at the extreme North and Azerbaijan at the extreme South are less relevant at the moment but as we have seen recently, these countries too are being subjected to accelerated weaponization—just yesterday, a Russian diplomat was detained in Norway and Azerbaijan is involved in a tense standoff with a (supposed) ally of Russia.

The fracturing and occupation of the post-Soviet space that began in 1991 is almost complete. More or less willingly, the former Warsaw pact and buffer states of Eastern Europe joined the criminal alliance that is NATO and over the last 30 years gradually prepared for the coming war against Russia. When did it all begin? The blueprint for the current mechanism was established by the Nazi Germany which narrowed the distance between itself and the Soviet Union over a few years. Moreover, the political mechanism behind the new Drang (the European Union) was designed in 1944 by Hitler’s economic experts (and put into practice by the founder of the CIA, William Donovan). It should be noted that on his way to the USSR, Hitler had to “pacify” a few countries including Poland, France, Yugoslavia and Greece. This time around, the whole West is united in its enmity towards Russia (economic links notwithstanding) and ALL European countries with the exception of Serbia and Byelorussia have placed themselves willingly in the anti-Russian camp. This is not to say that the majority of people in those countries hate Russia (in many they do) but that the governing cliques and military juntas inside various NATO satrapies are ready to contribute to the “joint effort to bring freedom and democracy” to the “benighted Rus”.

Of these two pariahs, the Serbs, despite their love of Russia are doomed by geography and by the privilege of being the only nation to have a piece of their country (Kosovo and Metohija) taken away, of being bombed by the combined forces of the West for 78 days and having a quarter of a million of their number cruelly expelled from their homeland in Srpska Krajina (currently occupied by Croatia). Exhausted and surrounded by enemies, the Serbs can do little to stop the clock ticking towards the Armageddon. This leaves Byelorussia, the only post-Soviet country that has not flirted with overt Russophobia and whose president showed many signs of real independence of mind vis-à-vis the West. Alexander Lukashenko’s personal bravery is not in question. In the midst of the NATO bombing in 1999, he visited Belgrade and declared himself openly pro-Serb. He signed the accession to the Union State between his country and Russia that same year.[2] He was somebody who wanted to preserve the positive legacy of the Soviet Union and his unwillingness to toe the EU line (pro-German “democracy” at home and anti-Russian posture abroad) earned him the sobriquet of the “last European dictator”.

But then, things started to go wrong, especially after the Nazi takeover of the Ukraine in 2014. Lukashenko might have started to feel isolated and between Western pressure and ossification of his quasi-socialist system (nothing wrong with it in principle), he began to turn against his only genuine ally—Russia. The reasons for this U turn are complex but at this moment also irrelevant. Whatever the cause of the cooling of the relations between Russia and Byelorussia, the consequences are dire and are fast becoming catastrophic. To understand the gravity of the situation, we should be able to see the “Gestalt”—the whole of the current geopolitical situation and its trends. That a global conflict between the West and the East is in the offing there is no doubt. Not only has Russia been targeted since the mid-1990s, but the total war on China and Iran declared by Trump and his Jesuitical agents provocateurs confirms absolutely that we are facing something unprecedented. I need to remind the reader that nothing like this was even remotely possible only 30 years ago. The brazenness and sheer bloodthirst of the new Operation Barbarossa with its global ambitions dwarfs any conquests known to history. What boggles the mind is how successful it has been.

No bromides about how strong Russia is, how well it’s coping (I repeat—coping) with the cruel sanctions by the West will suffice this time. No empty hope that somehow the miserable quisling statelets from the Balkans to the Baltics will experience a Zen-like enlightenment and disobey their Western masters. No false hope that the push towards Russia’s borders can somehow be reversed and no end in sight to the total war waged by the combined “West” (a dire temporary reconciliation of a resurgent Roman Catholicism, neutered Protestantism and newly respectable Zionism). From this point on, there is no going back. The distance between Moscow and the closest point in the Ukraine is 440 km (as crow flies). In the case of Byelorussia, it is 410 km. Although symbolic, this advance would be hugely important for the would-be conquerors as it is for Russia. Starting with Orsha in Byelorussia, the path to Moscow leads through Smolensk, Vyazma and Mozhaysk—towns that experienced so much suffering in WWII because they were on the road to Moscow. But what about the suffering of Byelorussia? It was probably the worst-suffering Soviet republic with an unknown number of people killed or sent of to Germany as slave labour and uncountable number of villages and towns destroyed.

None of this matters in the upside-down Western world view in which black is white and white is black. It is a world in which the close descendants of the worst war criminals in history are now the unofficial rulers of Europe together with their Gallic poodles and Anglo-Saxon frenemies, while the nation which bore the brunt of the cruellest genocide ever is being attacked by those same criminals again—as if two Vernichtungskriege in 30 years weren’t enough.

Many will point out that we are already at war and this would be true. The threat of a nuclear conflict has prompted Western strategists to think of alternative ways of destroying their opponents. We are talking about a broad-spectrum effort which includes political, economic, intelligence, cultural, psychological, religious and military components. By weaving these different strands into a single coordinated strategy, the West is hoping (and succeeding) in getting closer to Moscow every day without igniting a global nuclear war. This time however, it is different. Not only has the West crossed Russia’s geopolitical red lines, it has given notice that it will stop at nothing until Russia is defeated and destroyed. They are skilfully neutralising Russia’s nuclear deterrent by inflicting a thousand cuts from all sides without suffering any harm themselves. Two days ago, a Russian major general was killed by America’s proxies in Syria while delivering food to the people of Idlib. Today, Alexey Navalny is in a coma after an alleged poisoning attempt. The quickening is palpable but no event demonstrates the current danger better than the attempted colour revolution in Byelorussia which is unfolding as we speak.

The genius of the Western destruction-mongers lies not in their ingenuity and creativity but in their understanding of the lower reaches of human nature (in this respect they have no peer). They know how to exploit weaknesses such as greed, envy and ego and especially people’s susceptibility to vices. Moreover, these agents of darkness know that most people are frightened, helpless, largely ignorant and easily swayed and distracted. With this knowledge and an inexhaustible source of money, the West has settled on a winning scheme of “peaceful” conquest which has brought it all the way from the Atlantic coast to the gates of Moscow after 30 years of colour revolutions, coups and open war. I need to stress the importance and success of this “boiling frog” strategy.[3] There is nothing new or surprising in their latest move on Lukashenko—the same combination of underground CIA-funded networks from Poland, Ukraine and the Baltics and incompetent opposition which is transformed into a “plausible democratic alternative” overnight. Nazi-linked symbols, Russophobic vultures such as the buzzard-faced Bernard Henri-Levi circling above the scene, invented ancient roots… It’s all there.

But that is not why I’m writing. Throughout my years as a keen observer of the latest (and last) Drang, I have been fascinated by the patterns of behaviour (on a geopolitical level) which seem to come straight out of a history book to describe the period circa 1940. While the Western juggernaut hurtles through space, the decorum of “partnership” is maintained to the very last moment. Even though a few lonely voices are screaming that the war is inevitable and that Russia must neutralise any further advances by the new Nazis, most people are distracted by COVID, Joe Biden’s dementia and other nonsense. This could be cowardice but could also be wisdom in the face of an inevitable tragedy.

Even the tone of the Russian diplomacy is slowly changing—as it did in the autumn of 1940 following the cooling of German-Soviet relations. The ever measured and moderate Sergei Lavrov (like Vyacheslav Molotov before him) has started describing the international situation in more realistic terms using noticeably harsher language. Nevertheless, unless Russia does something very quickly, it will find itself completely surrounded and unable to defend itself as it did in 1941—hypersonic weapons notwithstanding.

However, the most fascinating aspect of this latest escalation is the fact that another colour revolution could be attempted at all and that Russia is still unable to assert itself in its neighbourhood, if only in order to save itself. “Unable” is perhaps too strong a word. What I mean is that unlike the West which is achieving its geopolitical goals without shedding blood and even without suffering any significant economic damage (no, Russian countersanctions have not crippled Germany or France), the Russians know that any attempts to stop and reverse the Western push will cost them dearly—primarily in terms of further isolation from all Western countries (already, Russian diplomats are being detained and expelled throughout the EU, as if in anticipation of the Byelorussian endgame). [4]The Western planners know that Russia can survive on its own but they also know that it can’t survive for long if deprived of the oxygen of international exchange—the feeling that it belongs to the family of European nations. No Eurasian ideology can ever replace the esteem in which Europe has been held by Russian intellectuals. While I see this pronounced inferiority complex as Russia’s curse, I have to acknowledge it in order to explain president Putin’s attempts to get various EU countries on his side.

It is not so much about economy but about Russia’s eternal yearning to prove itself worthy of “European standards” despite the fact that it was Europe that has been attacking Russia relentlessly and is guilty of crippling it possibly beyond healing. Hope springs eternal. And yet, president Putin must be aware of the dirty double-dealing game the EU is playing (I am giving the villain du jour a miss this time) by leaning on the United States to re-establish its hegemony over the Eurasian, African and Middle-Eastern space while lecturing Putin and Lukashenko on the merits of democracy. There is something deeply hypocritical—not to say Jesuitical—about EUs posture. It is doing everything in its power to isolate and weaken Russia while offering carrots such as Nord stream 2. This is much more pernicious than the open enmity of Trump and his crude supremacism because it offers the deeply unpleasant EU block an opportunity to play a good cop towards Russia at no cost to itself. Compared with the US’s Berserker-like attack on anything and everything, the EU appears “reasonable” and ready for a compromise by comparison—but this is only a dangerous illusion.

While the EU is wholeheartedly supporting the new Maidan (relying on the nazified pockets in the West of Byelorussia and the usual pro-Western suspects), it has the temerity to issue warnings to Putin not to “meddle” and to Lukashenko not to “oppress”. This coming from a president who has been perpetrating mass violence on the peaceful demonstrators in the centre of Paris for over a year. Even worse, Angela Merkel who is initiating a more muscular foreign policy under the guidance of expansionist hawks who are champing at the bit to replace her (Annegret whatever and Ursula I don’t care) dares lecture Russia on interfering in other countries’ affairs—after her illustrious predecessors. the CDU crypto-Nazis Kohl, Kinkel and Genscher destroyed Yugoslavia (only for Russian top partnyor Gerhardt Schröder to finish the job by sending German bombers, spies and military trainers to Serbia in 1999). And yet, all Russia can do is appeal meekly to the EU in the hope that the Ukrainian scenario will not recur. Promises of military help given to Lukashenko are almost worthless in the light of the cumulative EUs response—which would be nothing short of traumatic. The proof of this is the complete support by Germany for the Ukrainian regime notwithstanding its dirty role in overthrowing Yanukovich and undermining the Minsk accords.

So, what am I trying to say? The moment of reckoning has arrived. Despite the heroic battle by President Putin and his comrades to buy time and delay the inevitable, the time for procrastination and appeasement has passed. Russia must choose between a difficult but sustainable future and no future at all. The Western offensive has destroyed all buffers between Russia and its enemies and although this might not mean much militarily, it has a vast symbolic value.[5] If Byelorussia goes, Russia remains geopolitically isolated like never before. Furthermore, its enemies, far from collapsing as many have been predicting, are strong and more united than ever despite various internecine squabbles.[6] This is not to say that Russia is at the death’s door. On the contrary, it is precisely because it is so resilient and forward-looking that its enemies are compelled to ramp up the pressure.

Even if Lukashenko survives the current jeopardy, he will cease to be a relevant political factor in years to come. The weakening of his rule (however clumsy and obsolescent) can mean only one thing—the infiltration of the Byelorussian political life by various pro-Western agents of influence who will find it easy to corrupt and disrupt by dipping into NED’s and USAID’s seemingly inexhaustible coffers. The moment Russia intervenes in the affairs of Minsk in any detectable way, it will be subjected to a barrage of hatred, military threats and punitive measures that have not been seen before. President Putin has an unenviable choice—act sub rosa (like he has been doing in the Donbass) and watch Byelorussia slowly descend into an orgy of anti-Russian madness or intervene openly and risk alienating the EU further, at a time when the fate of the lifeline pipeline crucially depends on EUs goodwill and willingness to antagonise Trump (a perfect good cop, bad cop scenario played by the USA and EU).

All of this is clear to president Putin and his cabinet and I have no doubt that they are burning midnight oil trying to think of the best ways to counter the Western aggression. Yet, history still holds valuable lessons. Stung by what he saw as the betrayal by the British and the French, Joseph Stalin signed a non-aggression treaty with Hitler in order to delay the inevitable. The period of collaboration involved the USSR shipping oil to Germany, oil which would later power German tanks on the road to Stalingrad. Although he did buy enough time to execute some important war preparations, Stalin waited far too long. Months after having received reports of German reconnaissance planes overflying Byelorussia and Ukraine, Stalin refused to believe that Hitler would betray him and ascribed the “anti-German” panic to the agents of Winston Churchill. Yet, this time he was horribly wrong and his error cost the USSR millions of lives and billions in damage. None of the subsequent amazing victories of the Soviet arms would quite wash away the bitter taste of Stalin’s epic blunder of 1941.

The historical lesson I was alluding to is simple yet devilishly hard to implement because it is “two-tailed”. In other words, the possibility of a deadly miscalculation stretches equally in both temporal directions away from the point that represents a timely decision. In other words, given the huge stakes that are involved, making a correct decision is well-nigh impossible. And although the choice can be defended post-hoc, especially if it results in a victory, we can never know if a better decision could not have been made. Like Stalin, Putin is facing the Scylla and Charybdis of time, only I would argue that he is facing an even more difficult decision. For all its weaknesses, the Soviet Union was much larger than its successor state and possessed by far the largest armed forces in the world (to say nothing about the reserves of raw materials and workforce). The factor that probably decided its fate was a relative weakness of the fifth column inside the country and the ability of the security services to neutralise pro-German networks operating inside the country. President Putin has entered the twilight zone in which the smallest mistake can cost him everything. I don’t envy him but pray for his wisdom and Russia’s preparedness.

Of course, circumstances have changed dramatically and today’s warfare bears scant resemblance to the mass movement of army fronts across thousands of kilometres of chernozem and steppe. These days, the crude manoeuvring of armoured columns has been replaced by silent software attacks on a state’s currency system and infrastructure, covert takeovers and sabotage of its assets, denial of open and free intercourse with other countries, replacement of the indigenous values and goals by the foreign dogma and suborning of its institutions to will of the Empire. This new form of warfare requires sophistication and intercontinental co-ordination. Occasionally, we are made aware of the bloopers of the Western intelligence services and their silly attempts to blame Russia for all their ills, but make no mistake! The cumulative effect of their misdeeds has been a complete homogenisation of the European space along the Russophobic lines prescribed by the behind-the-scene bosses. Let me put it this way: If tomorrow the USA and the EU were to declare a war on Russia, do you believe that any of the Slav vassals would openly defy the clarion call? Again, let me give you a couple of examples from history.

When NATO bombed Serbia, not a single country refused to participate in this egregious war crime and the honour of defying the black criminal cabal of Brussels belongs to a few heroic soldiers from Greece, Spain and France. With Iraq it was different in that Germany and France did not feel sufficiently incentivised to participate in what they saw as a neocon-inspired Anglo-Saxon adventure (for which they have been lauded no end). To pre-empt the possibility of future betrayal by its vassals, the US has shifted to a new strategy which seeks to weaken Russia (or China) without having to mobilise military “coalitions of the willing”. The war is being fought in small, almost invisible increments which do not require absolute allegiance to the cause and payment in blood.

The new army consists of spies, computer and finance specialists, thinktank ideologues, NGO “activists”, “security experts” and other assorted ghouls whose victories are not measured in square kilometres of conquered territory or body counts but in fractions of a percent of damage caused to the currency, prestige or freedom of action of the enemy. This leaves a lot of space for “plausible deniability” and the maintenance of the “business as usual” posture while the deadly blows are administered below the waterline. It also bamboozles the ordinary people into thinking that the war could never happen. It can and it will.

Another consequence will be accelerated squeezing and neutralisation of the semi-impotent Serbia and the final Gleichschaltung of the Eastern wing of NATO in preparation for a more muscular phase of the war. This will involve transferring more troops and missiles to the East (but always under the retaliation threshold), closing down of Russia’s embassies and consulates in Europe while pretending to oppose the United States, closing down financing channels and media outlets, making life miserable for Russian citizens and businessmen abroad plus hundreds more nasty tricks. In many ways, the strategy of sustained pressure is more dangerous than open conflict because it sucks out hope from the people of the affected country—the hope that they will be treated as equals by the “cultured” West. A similar tactic has been used against China but China is in a much better economic position to withstand such pressures.

The fall of Lukashenko and “old Byelorussia” can mean only one thing—an intensified total war which Russia will have to face totally isolated. If Russia’s last real ally (yes, that’s what he is) can be removed with such ease, Russia cannot hope to attract and keep long-term allies and neutral partners. This is only partly Russia’s fault. The power aligned against it is unprecedented in history and I am praying that Russia will be able to overcome the forces of evil again.

One piece of good news though—the dissolute Jesuitical warmonger Bannon has been arrested for fraud—finally showing the Chinese the fruits of a “Christian” education.

Notes:

  1. The illustration has been borrowed from the irreplaceable Colonel Cassad (Boris Rozhin) whose blog most of us visit regularly. The link is: https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/6110832.html 
  2. Generally, I agree with the Saker that Byelorussia should not exist as an independent state. Nor should the Ukraine for that matter, apart from the Uniate appendage of Galicia. 
  3. From Wikipedia: “The boiling frog is a fable describing a frog being slowly boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is put in tepid water which is then brought to a boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to or be aware of sinister threats that arise gradually rather than suddenly.” 
  4. A recent episode has infuriated me no end. After helping Italy to stem the spread of COVID in a gesture of friendship and good will, the Russian air force has had to chase an Italian military aeroplane that was approaching the Russian Black Sea coast. Even if this was an attempt by the Americans to poison the relations between the two nations, it is inexcusable and leaves another stain of dishonour on the standard of the much abused battle standard of Italy. 
  5. Actually, it does mean a lot militarily because it allows for all kinds of fast aggressive moves for which Russia cannot find timely countermeasures. In today’s world of nanosecond processing, 10 km is a huge distance. 
  6. If you think that Brexit and Greek-Turkish tensions prove me wrong, remember that modern European history was a never-ending saga of bloody and destructive wars. 

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

 BY GILAD ATZMON

radioctive CV19.jpg

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.

dailyincreaseGA.jpg

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/

Germany is reluctant to fight the war against Russia with the rest of NATO, by Ruslan Ostashko

 

Translated and subtitles by Scott Humor.

We have received an interesting data in regard with the saber-rattling NATO drill in Norway.

German army admits most of its newly acquired military hardware is faulty & unfit for service.

Why would it be so?

The Western Media headlines are screaming that NATO has never hold military exercise on the scale of the Trident Juncture. Under the aegis of a “unifyed 3-prong pitchfork” NATO has gathered servicemen from 29 countries members of the alliance plus formally non-NATO members Finland and Sweden. I think you have seen the numbers.

An active phase of this military excise will take part in Norway and the North Atlantic regions, in the Baltic Sea near Denmark and in the airspace of Finland and Sweden.  Some 50,000 troops from 31 countries, about 10,000 combat vehicles, 65 ships and some 250 aircraft are taking part in the drills that kicked off last week and will go on till November 7.

The showoff of strength? Without a doubt. I am sure this show will make pro-American Eastern European stooges very happy. “Look at our overlords,” they might say. “They are the strongest in the world. They will bend you over, damn Moscals, with one left hand. Piu-piu” … And so on.

But all this is on a surface level. Let’s look what exactly is gong on with one of the NATO’s members, Germany.

“Out of 97 pieces of military equipment delivered to the Armed Forces in 2017, only 38 are fully operational, the German Defense Ministry acknowledged, in response to a parliamentary inquiry. The proportion of working equipment works out at about 39 percent.”

Oi! Wait a minute. If the liberals to be believed it’s Russia where everything is rusty and wooden and German machinery is the coolest, per default. Germany builds its own weapons. Could it be that good German Bürgers are selling junk to the state?

“The ministry hopes to boost these figures to 70 percent. The cutting-edge Puma Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) and the Airbus A400M military transport aircraft is what concerns the German military the most. The quality of new military equipment “still needs further improvements,” said the Parliamentary State Secretary for the Ministry of Defense Peter Tauber.”

“Only 27 out of 71 Puma IFVs delivered to the army in 2017 were actually combat-ready. Out of eight A400M aircraft delivered to the German Armed Forces, only 4 turned out to be ready for deployment. Only two out of seven ‘Tiger’ strike helicopters are ready for service; in the case of the NH90 transport copters, it’s four out of seven.”

Remember how in 1990s, there was a trend in Russia to label “Euro” everything to stress the exceptional quality of merchandise. We had “euro-house repairs,” “euro-fighters,” “euro-copters.” And here we see that 3 out of 4 or 70% of new fighter jets delivered to the troops are found to be not combat-ready. This is in a country with an annual defense budget in 37 billion Euros or $45 billion, which is on the fifth place in defense spending in the world.

So, what’s going on?

I have an idea.

Let’s set aside a working version that Europe is also a subject to a trivial theft from the state coffers. We are being left with only one possibility.

Germans are watching NATO’s military buildup on Russia’s border and understand that NATO, with the US at its helm, capable to start a war against Russia. Germans had already fought against Russia, and they really don’t need this. Let’s assume that the Deputy Federal Minister for Defence of Germany gets the defense manufacturers in his office and tells them something like that:

“So, meine Herren, let’s be frank, we are not ready to fight a war against Russians.”

“How exactly not ready are we?” ask disciplined manufacturers.

“We are not ready at all,” says the deputy minister. “We have only 39% of all new equipment functioning.”

“But we had at least 80% of equipment functioning,” the manufacturers try to correct him.

“No, you have an outdated data,” the deputy cuts them off. “We looked closely and realized that it’s only 39%, verstehen?”

“Jawohl! Herr gruppenfuhrer! Or, not a “gruppenfuhrer,” but still “Jawohl”

And the army keeps receiving faulty machinery.

“If tomorrow is a war against Russia, no one is ready due to some circumstances absolutely beyond our control, Mr. President of the Unites States.”

“Our Infantry Fighting Vehicles failed to start, and our fighter jets are not flightworthy. The reason, we suspect, are the Russian hackers. We manufacture the most advance technologies and they are very crafty. We wish you all the cheers, successful occupation of Moscow, without us, and a festive mood. We are right behind you, if we fix our equipment. Unfortunately, we have a shortage of mechanics, because our youth prefers to major in the Gender Studies and not engineering. Hello? … Hello? …  What’s going on? Oh, Putin got back to you? Tell him, if you can, that we weren’t a part of it.”

How do you like my version of events, my friends?

It’s either that, or we have to assume that the famous German quality is a myth and that they also steal from the state budget.

But, that’s impossible, isn’t it?


P.S.   Russian Bear bomber gate crashes NATO’s largest drill since Cold War (PHOTOS)

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P_Deshayes

@P_Deshayes

Et soudain, un Tupolev au-dessus du navire-amiral de l’: la Russie s’invite dans les grandes manoeuvres (photos exclusives de @jnackstrand) http://u.afp.com/oKR3 

They didn’t see Russians coming.

Making a Massacre into a Lesson

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22 July is among the most interesting films in recent years. It is a dramatisation of the 2011 attacks in Norway that were committed by lone terrorist Anders Behring Breivik against the government and a Workers’ Youth League Student summer camp. The title comes from the day Breivik murdered 77 people and injured hundreds more.

Paul Greengrass wrote, directed and produced the film and he presents a unique perspective on objectivism. Instead of the usual banal presentation of a killer as a psychotic character removed from any recognisable human path, we meet Breivik, a cold, calculating person who is fully aware of his actions. Motivated by a political call, he takes the lives of dozens. The film examines the logos behind the deadliest attack in Europe since World War II by giving us an intimate look into the mind of an ideological cold blooded mass murderer and exploring his political mantra.

In this profound effort at cinematic objectivism, Greengrass breaks out of the clichéd liberal universe that is limited to a regime of correctness and obscene name-calling. The film invites us to look closely at Breivik’s universe: to examine his logic, to face his lethal boldness, to be horrified by his inhumanity but also to accept that he could easily be our next door neighbour. In his introductory  meeting with his lawyer Geir Lippestad, the latter asks Breivik to  explain his actions. In the coldest possible manner, Breivik answers,

“I have started a war to take control of Norway and the West.”

Of the innocent kids that were massacred by him Breivik says,

“they were traitors, children of the elite, leaders of tomorrow…”

Later, facing a detective investigation, Breivik says it as he sees it.

“We want Islam out of Europe.”

Breivik never shows remorse. To the question ‘why kids?’ Breivik answers

“I wanted to hit them (the liberals, the elite, etc.) where it hurts the most.”

Breivik doesn’t feel sorry for his victims, he sees himself as a freedom fighter.  For him it is a war of life or death. He insists upon defending his actions in court despite the fact that his lawyer suggested that he might be able to use an ‘insanity defense’  to be institutionalised instead of imprisoned.

We live in a world in which mass shooting are daily news. They are not just an American symptom associated with the availability of ‘automatic weapons;’ political terror is at least as common.  Such killings mark a new development that must be related to a significant global cultural shift. This is not merely an anecdotal battle over the 2nd Amendment, it demands a profound study of the transition in our human conditions that has made mass killings everyday events. I believe the shift has something to do with people growing up in a universe with no prospect of a future. It has something to do with the reduction of the working class into a workless mass. It has a lot to do with the collapse of the family and the war against family values. It has a lot to do with the war against the church. It may also have something to do with the fact that our governments are wiping out countries and people in the name of immoral interventionism and Ziocon interests.  And of course, it has a lot to do with the internet and game culture. If people do not go to work, they must be kept busy, and this is done by the internet, computer games and free drugs.

22 July is a crucial document because Breivik is not alone. In fact, Breiviks have won many battles since  2011. They won the Brexit referendum, they won the election in the USA and Breivik’s mantra (as opposed to his actions) has transformed into a popular political stand that is winning ground in the West and for a reason.

To cure our society and to save the West is to roll back time to identify where we lost our ability to listen, to be compassionate, to care for each other and to understand the crucial role of the church and the family. Unfortunately, so-called liberals and the new left aren’t helpful in this goal. Instead, they separate us into self centred identitarian factions dominated by a strict Jerusalemite regime of correctness and righteousness. What we must do is to reinstate the Athenian ethos of true pluralism, governed by the search for truth, beauty, ethics and the universal.

Related

Norway didn’t know much about Libya yet helped bomb it into chaos, state report finds

Norway pleads ignorance: ‘didn’t know much about Libya’ yet helped bomb it into chaos

Norway didn’t know much about Libya yet helped bomb it into chaos, state report finds

Onboard Eye-Witness Describes Hateful Act of Piracy by israel (apartheid state) Against Norwegian Boat on Mercy Mission

Source

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Malaysian-born Swee Ang is the first female Orthopaedic Consultant appointed to St Bartholomew (‘Barts’) and the Royal London Hospitals.

In the 1980s and 1990s she worked as trauma and orthopaedics consultant in the refugee camps of Lebanon and later for the United Nations in Gaza, and the World Health Organisation in the West Bank and Gaza. She is Founder and Patron of the British charity Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP).

She also treated the victims of the Pakistan (Kashmir) earthquake, and as consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeon operated on and looked after the victims of the 7 July 2005 suicide bombs in the Royal London Hospital.

Dr Ang is the co-author of War Surgery and Acute Care of the War Wounded, and also wrote From Beirut to Jerusalem documenting her experience in the Palestinian Refugee Camps in Lebanon and Gaza.

She was aboard the Al-Awda sailing for Gaza with urgently needed medical supplies when the vessel was violently assaulted and hijacked in international waters a week ago and taken to an Israeli port. Passengers and crew were roughed up (some seriously injured) and abused, thrown in an Israeli jail and had their possessions and money stolen.

This is Dr Swee’s account, word for word.

Events from 29 July when the Israeli Navy stormed the Freedom Flotilla al-Awda hijacked and diverted it from its intended course to Gaza to Israel.

By Dr Swee Ang, medical doctor on board the al-Awda, 4 August 2018

The last leg of the journey of al-Awda (the boat of return) was scheduled to reach Gaza on 29 July 2018. We were on target to reach Gaza that evening. There are 22 on board including crew with US$ 15,000 of antibiotics and bandages for Gaza. At 12.31 pm we received a missed call from a number beginning with +81… Mikkel was steering the boat at that time. The phone rang again with the message that we were trespassing into Israeli waters. Mikkel replied that we were in International waters and had right of innocent passage according to maritime laws. The accusation of trespassing was repeated again and again with Mikkel repeating the message that we were sailing in international waters. This carried on for about half an hour, while Awda was 42 nautical miles from the coast of Gaza.

Prior to the beginning of this last leg, we had spent 2 days learning non-violent actions and had prepared ourselves in anticipation of Israeli invasion of our boat. Vulnerable individuals especially those with medical conditions were to sit at the rear of the top deck with their hands on the deck table. The leader of this group was Gerd, a 75 year old elite Norwegian athlete and she had the help of Lucia a Spanish nurse in her group.

The people who were to provide non-violent barrier to the Israelis coming on deck and taking over the boat formed 3 rows – two rows of threes and the third row of 2 persons blocking the wheel house door to protect the wheel house for as long as possible. There were runners between the wheel house and the rear of the deck. The leader of the boat Zohar and I were at the two ends of the toilets corridor where we looked out at the horizon and inform all of any sightings of armed boats. I laughed at Zohar and said we are the Toilet Brigade, but I think Zohar did not find it very funny. It was probably bad taste under the circumstances. I also would be able to help as a runner and will have accessibility to all parts of the deck in view of being the doctor on board.

Soon we saw at least three large Israeli warships on the horizon with 5 or more speed boats (zodiacs) zooming towards us. As the Zodiacs approached I saw that they carried soldiers with machine guns and there was on board the boats large machine guns mounted on a stand pointing at our boat. From my lookout point the first Israeli soldier climbed on board to the cabin level and climbed up the boat ladder to the top deck. His face was masked with a white cloth and following him were many others, all masked. They were all armed with machine guns and small cameras on their chests.

They immediately made to the wheel house overcoming the first row by twisting the arms of the participants, lifting Sarah up and throwing her away. Joergen the chef was large to be manhandled so he was tasered before being lifted up. They attacked the second row by picking on Emelia the Spanish nurse and removed her thus breaking the line. They then approach the door of the wheel house and tasered Charlie the first mate and Mike Treen who were obstructing their entry to the wheel house. Charlie was beaten up as well. Mike did not give way with being tasered in his lower limbs so he was tasered in his neck and face. Later on I saw bleeding on the left side of Mike’s face. He was semi-conscious when I examined him.

They broke into the wheel house by cutting the lock, forced the engine to be switched off and took down the Palestine flag before taking down the Norwegian flag and trampling on it.

They then cleared all people from the front half of the boat around the wheel house and moved them by force and coercion, throwing them to the rear of the deck. All were forced to sit on the floor at the back, except Gerd, Lucy and the vulnerable people who were seated around the table on wooden benches around her. Israeli soldiers then formed a line sealing off people from the back and preventing them from coming to the front of the boat again.

As we entered the back of the deck we were all body searched and ordered to surrender our mobile phones or else they will take it by force. This part of search and confiscation was under the command of a woman soldier. Apart from mobile phones – medicines and wallets were also removed. No one as of today (4 August 2018) got our mobile phones back.

I went to examine Mike and Charlie. Charlie had recovered consciousness and his wrists were tied together with plastic cable ties. Mike was bleeding from the side of his face, still not fully conscious. His hands were very tightly tied together with cable ties and the circulation to his fingers was cut off and his fingers and palm were beginning to swell. At this stage the entire people seated on the floor shouted demanding that the cable ties be cut. It was about half an hour later before the ties were finally cut off from both of them.

Around this time Charlie the first mate received the Norwegian flag. He was visibly upset telling all of us that the Norwegian flag had been trampled on. Charlie reacted more to the trampling of the Norwegian flag than to his own being beaten and tasered.

The soldiers then started asking for the captain of the boat. The boys then started to reply that they were all the captain. Eventually the Israelis figured out that Herman was the captain and demanded to take him to the wheel house. Herman asked for someone to come with him, and I offered to do so. But as we approached the wheel house, I was pushed away and Herman forced into the wheel house on his own. Divina, the well known Swedish singer, had meanwhile broken free from the back and went to the front to look through the window of the wheel house. She started to shout and cry “Stop –stop they are beating Herman, they are hurting him”. We could not see what Divina saw, but knew that it was something very disturbing. Later on, when Divina and I were sharing a prison cell, she told me they were throwing Herman against the wall of the wheel house and punching his chest. Divina was forcibly removed and her neck was twisted by the soldiers who took her back to the rear of the deck.

I was pushed back to the rear of the boat again. After a while the boat engine started. I was told later by Gerd who was able to hear Herman tell the story to the Norwegian Consul in prison that the Israelis wanted Herman to start the engine, and threatened to kill him if he would not do so. But what they did not understand was that with this boat, once the engine stopped it can only be restarted manually in the engine room in the cabin level below. Arne the engineer refused to restart the engine, so the Israelis brought Herman down and hit him in front of Arne making it clear that they will continue to hit Herman if Arne would not start the engine. Arne is 70 years old, and when he saw Herman’s face went ash colour, he gave in and started the engine manually. Gerd broke into tears when she was narrating this part of the story. The Israelis then took charge of the boat and drove it to Ashdod.

Once the boat was on course, the Israeli soldiers brought Herman to the medical desk. I looked at Herman and saw that he was in great pain, silent but conscious, breathing spontaneously but shallow breathing. The Israeli Army doctor was trying to persuade Herman to take some medicine for pain. Herman was refusing the medicine. The Israeli doctor explained to me that what he was offering Herman was not army medicine but his personal medicine. He gave me the medicine from his hand so that I could check it. It was a small brown glass bottle and I figured that it was some kind of liquid morphine preparation probably the equivalent of oromorph or fentanyl. I asked Herman to take it and the doctor asked him to take 12 drops after which Herman was carried off and slumped on a mattress at the back of the deck. He was watched over by people around him and fell asleep. From my station I saw he was breathing better.

With Herman settled I concentrated on Larry Commodore, the Native American leader and an environmental activist. He had been voted Chief of his tribe twice. Larry has labile asthma and with the stress all around my fear was that he might get a nasty attack, and needed adrenaline injection. I was taking Larry through deep breathing exercises. However Larry was not heading for an asthmatic attack, but was engaging an Israeli who covered his face with a black cloth in conversation. This man was obviously in charge.

I asked for the Israeli man with black mask his name and he called himself Field Marshall Ro…..Larry misheard him and jumped to conclusion that he called himself Field Marshall Rommel and shouted how can he an Israeli take a Nazi name. Field Marshall objected and introduced himself as Field Marshall ? Ronan. As I spelt out Ronan he quickly corrected me that his name is Ronen, and he Field Marshall Ronen was in charge.

The Israeli soldiers all wore body cameras and were filming us all the time. A box of sandwiches and pears were brought on deck for us. None of us took any of their food as we had decided we do not accept Israeli hypocrisy and charity. Our chef Joergen had already prepared high calorie high protein delicious brownie with nuts and chocolate, wrapped up in tin foil to be consume when captured, as we know it was going to be a long day and night. Joergen called it food for the journey. Unfortunately when I needed it most, the Israelis took away my food and threw it away. They just told me ”It is forbidden” I had nothing to eat for 24 hours, refusing Israeli Army food and had no food of my own.

As we sailed towards Israel we could see the coast of Gaza in total darkness. There were 3 oil /gas rigs in the northern sea of Gaza. The brightly burning oil flames contrasted with the total darkness the owners of the fuel were forced to live in. Just off the shore of Gaza are the largest deposit of natural gas ever discovered and the natural gas belonging to the Palestinians were already being siphoned off by Israel.

As we approached Israel, Zohar our boat leader suggested that we should start saying goodbye to each other. We were probably 2-3 hours from Ashdod. We thanked our boat leader, our Captain, the crew, our dear chef, and encouraged each other that we will continue to do all we can to free Gaza and also bring justice to Palestine. Herman our Captain, who managed to sit up now, gave a most moving talk and some of us were in tears.

We knew that in Ashdod there will be the Israeli media and film crews. We will not enter Ashdod as a people who had lost hope as we were taken captive. So we came off the boat chanting “Free Free Palestine” all the way as we came off. Mike Treen the union man had by then recovered from his heavy tasering and led the chanting with his mega-voice and we filled the night sky of Israel with Free Free Palestine as we approached. We did this the whole way down the boat into Ashdod.

We came directly into a closed military zone in Ashdod. It was a sealed off area with many stations. It was specially prepared for the 22 of us. It began with a security x-ray area. I did not realise they retained my money belt as I came out of the x-ray station. The next station was strip search, and it was when I was gathering up my belongings after being stripped when I realised my money belt was no longer with me. I knew I had about a couple hundred Euros and they were trying to steal it. I demanded its return and refused to leave the station until it was produced. I was shouting for the first time. I was glad I did that as some other people were parted from their cash. The journalist from Al Jazeera Abdul had all his credit cards and USD 1,800 taken from him, as well as his watch, satellite phone, his personal mobile, his ID. He thought his possessions were kept with his passport but when he was released for deportation he learnt bitterly that he only got his passport back. All cash and valuables were never found. They simply vanished.

We were passed from station to station in this closed military zone, stripped searched several times, possessions taken away until in the end all we had was the clothes we were wearing with nothing else except a wrist band with a number on it. All shoe laces were removed as well. Some of us were given receipts for items taken away, but I had no receipts for anything. We were photographed several times and saw two doctors. At this point I learnt that Larry was pushed down the gangway and injured his foot and sent off to Israeli hospital for check-up. His blood was on the floor.

I was cold and hungry, wearing only one teeshirt and pants by the time they were through with me. My food was taken away; water was taken away, all belongings including reading glasses taken away. My bladder was about to explode but I am not allowed to go to the toilet. In this state I was brought out to two vehicles – Black Maria painted gray. On the ground next to it were a great heap of ruqsacks and suit cases. I found mine and was horrified that they had broken into my baggage and took almost everything from it – all clothes clean and dirty, my camera, my second mobile, my books, my Bible, all the medicines I brought for the participants and myself, my toiletries. The suitcase was partially broken. My ruqsack was completely empty too. I got back two empty cases except for two dirty large man size teeshirts which obviously belonged to someone else. They also left my Freedom Flotilla teeshirt. I figured out that they did not steal the Flotilla teeshirt as they thought no Israeli would want to wear that teeshirt in Israel. They had not met Zohar and Yonatan who were proudly wearing theirs. That was a shock as I was not expecting the Israeli Army to be petty thieves as well. So what had become the glorious Israeli Army of the Six Day War which the world so admired?

I was still not allowed to go to the toilet, but was pushed into the Maria van, joined by Lucia the Spanish nurse and after some wait taken to Givon Prison. I could feel myself shivering uncontrollably on the journey.

The first thing our guards did in Givon Prison was to order me to go to the toilet to relieve myself. It was interesting to see that they knew I needed to go desperately but had prevented me for hours to! By the time we were re-x-rayed and searched again it must be about 5 – 6 am. Lucia and I were then put in a cell where Gerd, Divina, Sarah and Emelia were already asleep. There were three double decker bunk beds – all rusty and dusty.

Divina did not get the proper dose of her medicines; Lucia was refused her own medicine and given an Israeli substitute which she refused to take. Divina and Emelia went straight on to hunger strike. The jailors were very hostile using simple things like refusal of toilet paper and constant slamming of the prison iron door, keeping the light of the cell permanently on, and forcing us to drink rusty water from the tap, screaming and shouting at us constantly to vent their anger at us.

The guards addressed me as “China” and treated me with utter contempt. On the morning of 30 July 2018, the British Vice Consul visited me. Some kind person had called them about my whereabouts. That was a blessing as after that I was called “England” and there was a massive improvement in the way England was treated compared to the way China was treated. It crossed my mind that “Palestine” would be trampled over, and probably killed.

At 6.30am 31 July 2018, we heard Larry yelling from the men’s cell across the corridor that he needed a doctor. He was obviously in great pain and crying. We women responded by asking the wardens to allow me to go across to see Larry as I might be able to help. We shouted “We have a doctor” and used our metal spoons to hit the iron cell gate get their attention. They lied and said their doctor will be over in an hour. We did not believe them and started again. The doctor actually turned up at 4 pm, about 10 hours later and Larry was sent straight to hospital.

Meanwhile to punish the women for supporting Larry’s demand, they brought hand cuffs for Sarah and took Divina and me to another cell to separate us from the rest. We were told we were not going to be allowed out for our 30 minutes fresh air break and a drink of clean water in the yard. I heard Gerd saying “Big deal”

Suddenly Divina was taken out with me to the courtyard and Divina given 4 cigarettes at which point she broke down and cried. Divina had worked long hours at the wheel house steering the boat. She had seen what happened to Herman. The prison had refused to give her one of her medicines and given her only half the dose of the other. She was still on hunger strike to protest our kidnapping in international waters. It was heart-breaking to see Divina cry. One of the wardens who called himself Michael started talking to us about how he will have to protect his family against those who want to drive the Israelis out. And how the Palestinians did not want to live in peace…and it was not Israel’s fault. But things suddenly changed with the arrival of an Israeli Judge and we were all treated with some decency even though he only saw a few of us personally. His job was to tell us that a Tribunal will be convened the following day and each prisoner had been allocated a time to appear, and we must have our lawyer with us when we appear.

Divina by the end of the day became very giddy and very unwell so I persuaded her to come out of hunger strike, and also she agreed to sign a deportation order. Shortly after that possibly at 6 pm since we had no watches and mobile phones, we were told Lucia, Joergen, Herman, Arne, Abdul from Al Jazeera and I would be deported within 24 hours and we would be taken to be imprisoned in the deportation prison in Ramle near Ben Gurion airport immediately to wait there. It was going to be the same Ramle Prison from which I was deported in 2014. I saw the same five strong old palm trees still standing up proud and tall. They are the only survivors of the Palestinian village destroyed in 1948.

When we arrived at Ramle prison Abdul found to his horror that he his money, his credit cards, his watch, his satellite phone, his own mobile phone, his ID card were all missing – he was entirely destitute. We had a whip round and raised around a hundred Euros as a contribution towards his taxi fare from the airport to home. How can the Israeli Army be so corrupt and heartless to rob someone of everything?

Conclusion

We, the six women on board al-Awda had learnt that they tried to completely humiliate and dehumanise us in every way possible. We were also shocked at the behaviour of the Israeli Army especially petty theft and their treatment of international women prisoners. Men jailors regularly entered the women’s cell without giving us decent notice to put our clothes on.

They also tried to remind us of our vulnerability at every stage. We know they would have preferred to kill us but of course the publicity incurred in so doing might be unfavourable to the international image of Israel.

If we were Palestinians it would be much worse with physical assaults and probably loss of lives. The situation is therefore dire for the Palestinians.

As to international waters, it looks as though there is no such thing for the Israeli Navy. They can hijack and abduct boats and persons in international water and get away with it. They acted as though they own the Mediterranean Sea. They can abduct any boat and kidnap any passengers, put them in prison and criminalise them.

We cannot accept this. We have to speak up, stand up against this lawlessness, oppression and brutality. We were completely unarmed. Our only crime according to them is we are friends of the Palestinians and wanted to bring medical aid to them. We wanted to brave the military blockade to do this. This is not a crime. In the week we were sailing to Gaza, they had shot dead 7 Palestinians and wounded more than 90 with live bullets in Gaza. They had further shut down fuel and food to Gaza. Two million Palestinians in Gaza live without clean water, with only 2-4 hours of electricity, in homes destroyed by Israeli bombs, in a prison blockaded by land, air and sea for 12 years.

The hospitals of Gaza since the 30 March had treated more than 9,071 wounded persons, 4,348 shot by machine guns from a hundred Israeli snipers while they were mounting peaceful demonstrations inside the borders of Gaza on their own land. Most of the gun-shot wounds were to the lower limbs and with depleted treatment facilities the limbs will suffer amputation. In this period more than 165 Palestinians had been shot dead by the same snipers, including medics and journalists, children and women. The chronic military blockade of Gaza has depleted the hospitals of all surgical and medical supplies. This massive attack on an unarmed Freedom Flotilla bringing friends and some medical relief is an attempt to crush all hope for Gaza. As I write I learnt that our sister Flotilla, Freedom, has also been kidnapped by the Israeli Navy while in international waters.

BUT we will not stop, we must continue to be strong to bring hope and justice to the Palestinians and be prepared to pay the price, and to be worthy of the Palestinians. As long as I survive I will exist to resist. To do less will be a crime.

*(Ang Swee Chai at TEDxUCLWomen Image credit: TEDxUCLWomen/ flickr)

While US Backs Carnage, Norway Cites Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen and Halts Weapons Sales

While US Backs Carnage, Norway Cites Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen and Halts Weapons Sales

Source: Julia Conley @ Common Dreams

Citing grave concerns over the humanitarian crisis that’s exploded in Yemen as a result of the U.S.-backed war in the impoverished country, Norway has taken action to curb its support of the violence and carnage.

The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Wednesday that the country would stop supplying weapons and ammunition to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is part of the Saudi-led coalition that has been carrying out airstrikes in Yemen for nearly three years.

“The armed conflict is serious and there is great concern about the humanitarian situation,” said the ministry in a statement.

The Saudis’ war against Houthi rebels has killed more than 10,000 civilians according to U.N. estimates, left three million displaced, and has set off a cholera epidemic that’s affected more than a million people and killed more than 2,000. More than eight million Yemenis are “a step away” from famine due to a number of blockades imposed by the Saudis.

Norway exported nearly $10 million worth of weapons and ammunition to the UAE, which is part of the Saudi-led coalition, in 2016.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has garnered global condemnation for continuing to supply the Saudis with billions of dollars worth of weapons and ammunition while also providing logistical military support for their assault on Yemen.

“Countries such as the USA, UK and France, which continue to supply coalition members with arms, are allowing Saudi Arabia and its allies to flagrantly flout international law and risk being complicit in grave violations, including war crimes,” said Amnesty International in November.

On social media, critics urged the countries supporting the Saudis to take direct action to end their complicity, as Norway has.

 

 

 

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Saudi Wahhabi Kingdom of Terror

Source

NOVANEWS
Former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Says ‘Kingdom of Terror’ Spreading Islamism in Europe
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
Norway’s former ambassador to Saudi Arabia claims the Gulf kingdom has had “a tremendous influence on the spread of the Islamist ideology”, but fears that the West is turning a blind eye.

“That Saudi Arabia has had a tremendous influence on the spread of the Islamist ideology is quite clear,” said Carl Schiøtz Wibye, speaking to the Norwegian daily newspaper Aftenposten. “But apparently very few want to talk about it.”

In a new book, Kingdom of Terror, the diplomat claims that the Saudi state religion “is not even a religion, but a cult built on fanatical fantasies of a power-hungry desert preacher in the 1700s”.

The preacher in question is Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahab, founder of the Wahhabi branch of Salafi Islam. Salafism calls on Muslims to emulate the first three generations of believers, known as the salaf, who rode with Mohammed and conquered Jerusalem, Persia, and Spain.

Wibye alleges the Saudis have used their oil wealth to fund the spread of Wahhabism worldwide and argues that Norway must tackle it head on.

He suggests that one method of checking extremism might be to revive a Progress Party proposal to ban regimes which do not subscribe to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights from funding religious and political institutions.

“To block the influence of Wahhabism, we must provide an overview of this ideology and weed out local influence wherever it comes from, be it through financial support, literature or videos by preachers who say terrible things online,” he said.

“In addition, we require that all imams should speak Norwegian, so we can better understand what is happening in the Muslim community in Norway.”

Wibye would not speculate on whether Saudi Arabia also funds Islamic State, as former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton alleged in a leaked 2014 email, saying that the theocracy’s “transactions are hidden”.

He also called for a ban on full-face veils in Norway. “The niqab is not part of Islam,” he claimed. “It is an interpretation that emerged in recent years … to keep women in their place.”

‘Arrest Kissinger’: War Criminal to Talk at Nobel Peace Forum

‘Arrest Kissinger’: War Criminal to Talk at Nobel Peace Forum

A petition asks why Norway is still punishing Edward Snowden for leaking revealing security documents while letting a war criminal scot free.

Thousands are demanding Henry Kissinger’s arrest in Norway after the Nobel Peace Prize Committee announced the former U.S. Secretary of State and alleged war criminal will deliver a speech on peace.

Nobel Peace Prize Watch partnered with progressive group RootsAction to launch a petition Tuesday for the arrest of Kissinger, who “is complicit or a main actor in many violations of the Genocide Convention and of the Geneva Conventions,” says the petition, already signed by over 5,000.

Kissinger himself was awarded the prize in 1973 alongside his Vietnamese counterpart, Le Duc Tho, for negotiating a cease-fire between the countries, which was ultimately ignored.

Duc Tho rejected the prize, stating that peace had not yet been established, and that the U.S. was in violation of the Paris Peace Accord. After collecting his own prize, Kissinger continued to bomb North Vietnamese capital Saigon, and by the end of 1975 more than 3 million Vietnamese, two-thirds of them civilians, were killed

“ If Kissinger will enjoy automatic impunity it stands out in shameful contrast with denying protection to whistleblower Edward Snowden for a stay of two days to receive the Ossietzky prize from Norwegian PEN,” wrote Jan Oberg of the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research. “Can Norway really have offered protection to one who has committed the most serious international crimes and at the same time denied it to one who has exposed grave crimes against the U.S. Constitution?”

Kissinger was also behind Operation Condor , the U.S.-orchestrated campaign of murder, torture, and disappearances in Latin America. Most notably, he provided pivotal support to the military coup that ousted Chile’s socialist President Salvador Allende and extended massive U.S. support to Argentina’s right-wing military, which in March of 1976 launched the “Dirty War,” a massacre against leftists that left as many as 30,000 dead and disappeared.

In Cambodia, Kissinger’s carpet-bombing led directly to the takeover of Pol Pot’s genocidal Khmer Rouge regime. Documents released in 2014 revealed that in 1976, Kissinger also planned to launch airstrikes against Havana, strike ports and military installations in Cuba and send Marine battalions to the U.S. Naval Base at Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay.

The committee also invited former National Security Advisor under Jimmy Carter Zbigniew Brzezinski, who unrepentantly bolstered Islamic fighters to take down the Soviet Union, to speak at the same Oslo conference.

The Nobel Peace Prize has often propped up architects of war. It was once awarded to Elihu Root, who brutally repressed the Philippines’ independence movement and Barack Obama, whose use of drones has killed thousands of innocents. This year, the award was given to Juan Manuel Santos, who served as Colombia’s defense minister when high-ranking military commanders routinely executed civilians in efforts to inflate body counts in exchange for recognition and military promotions.

 

Now Obama starts talking rubbish, “UK should be like Norway”. Norway’s only export of note depends on oil tankers

Now Obama tells Britain it should be like Norway

  • Obama says ‘hysteria’ over Britain’s leaving the European Union is unwarranted. ‘The average person is not going to notice a big change’
  • Norway is not in the EU, and yet it is one of America’s closest allies, the U.S. president said
  • Obama came up on the losing side of the battle after he aligned himself with Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron
  • Donald Trump hopes to ride the same populist wave to victory in the US
  • Both movements ‘tap into a fear that people may have about losing control, to offer some sort of vague nostalgic feelings,’ Obama said
  • ‘And the subtext for that is…a bunch of foreigners and funny-looking people are coming in here and changing the basic character of the nation’

International Military Review – Syria, June 23, 2016

 

The ISIS terrorist group has regained control of the al-Zakia Junction and al-Zayn Hills in the southeastern part of Raqqa province after the Syrian Arab Army withdrew to Ithriyah. Pro-government sources argue that this was a tactical move and no heavy clashes have been observed, recently.

Ground sources provide different reasons of the recent setbacks, but the most important of them are:

  • surprise vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) attacks;

  • a lack of the air support from the Russian air grouping located in Syria.

While the effectively of countering VBIED attacks lays in in the sphere of tactical measures implemented on the ground, the location of the Russian airbase in Latakia complicates significantly close air support because a big flying time to the target doesn’t allow to hit evading targets that move fast in the desert. Information of forward air controllers becomes outdated very fast. This is why the main striking force of the Russian military grouping in Syria – warplanes – is focused on stationary targets in different regions of Syria.

The SAA grouping at the border of Raqqa province is receiving reinforcements in order to counter-attack ISIS units in the area. Recently, a convoy of the Desert Hawks Brigade has arrived to the east Hama countryside in order to participate in the SAA’s advance on the Tabaqa military airport.

Meanwhile, Russian warplanes and helicopters raided the areas of T3-Airbase and Arak near Palmyra that had been seized by ISIS militants. Now, SAA units are deployed at the al-Talilah crossroad, east to the ancient city, preparing for fresh offensive operations.

Norway might deploy its troops and speical operation forces in Syria, the government said on June 22, following the authorization of the move by the country’s parliament. Norway is going to send some 60 troops to Jordan this summer. They will train and support “Syrian opposition “fighting the ISIS terrorist group. Most likely, this Syrian opposition is the so-called New Syrian Army.

Europe’s foreign policy being determined by the USA controlled NATO wild card

NATO and the Bananazation of Western Europe

By Joan Roelofs | CounterPunch | February 19, 2016

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The wars of NATO are well-publicized but NATO as an institution remains in the shadows. Does NATO aspire to be a world government? Why did Western European countries join and why have they remained part of the alliance? It is not an egalitarian organization. The United States dominates every aspect of it. Are these supposedly social democratic countries really democracies, or are they banana republics? The traditional banana republic has democratic institutions, but is controlled by military and financial elites which are vassals of the United States.

Why NATO was formed is controversial. The official US justification was fear of an invasion by the Soviet Union to promote communism in Western Europe. There was never any evidence that this might happen, but then anything is possible.

There is evidence that other motives were more important. One was to facilitate the re-arming of Germany by embedding it in a larger military grouping. Western European countries were wary of an independent German military establishment. Another was the desire of pro-capitalist elites to prevent domestic socialist or communist electoral or revolutionary victories. This was much more of a threat than a Soviet invasion.

The founding treaty clearly states:

The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.

The operative part is Article 5:

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Members are not required to respond with military force; they can decide how far they want to go.

NATO, formed in 1949, now has twenty-eight full members: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

However, NATO is a vast empire with an expanding group of full members, plus networks, partnerships, associates, and guests. The Partnership for Peace includes: Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Montenegro, Malta, Moldova, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan. These nations choose from a “menu” how far they want to go with NATO. Options include joint missions, combating terrorism, crisis response in the NATO Reaction Force (NRF), controlling mines and small arms, disaster rescue, war games, and scientific cooperation.

PfP members aspiring to full membership must have: weapons interoperability (e.g., Eastern Europe countries had to get rid of Russian and old Warsaw Pact arms in favor of Western ones), increase military spending to 2% of the GDP, purgepolitically unreliable” personnel from military, defense and security posts, train abroad in NATO military academies, host military exercises, and instruct the officer corps in English for joint overseas operations.

Other NATO associates are the Mediterranean Dialogue countries: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia; and the Gulf Cooperation Council: Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates. Also, there are cooperating members: Afghanistan, Australia, Iraq, Japan, Pakistan, Republic of Korea. New Zealand, Mongolia. Informally cooperating are Colombia, Honduras, and El Salvador.

NATO’s aggressive “out of area” operations, have been multilateral, with willing participation of NATO members. The official military operations have been in Bosnia (1992-1994), Serbia and Kosovo (1999-present), Afghanistan (2001-present), counter piracy off Somalia coast (2008-present), Libya (2011), Turkey defense (2012-present).

NATO created a global army; the war in Afghanistan was fought by the largest military coalition in history. Finnish and Swedish troops (not full members) have died there; their countries are considering joining NATO. The defeated countries of World War II, which had constitutional provisions and laws against offensive military activity, including sending troops abroad, were also there. Italy and Germany sent troops and Japan provided support services.

NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg said last December:

NATO is playing a key role in the fight against ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) . . . All NATO allies are part of the coalition, the anti-ISIL coalition, and I think it’s of great importance for the coalition that both NATO allies but also many NATO partners are part of the coalition and they can take advantage of the interoperability that we have developed, our ability to work together which we have developed over many years through NATO military operations but also through NATO exercises. So the backbone of the forces in the coalition is provided by NATO and NATO partners.

NATO downplays its military nature and claims that it is simply the “premier organization of democratic nations.” This claim was part of the inducement for Eastern European countries to join. The new idea of both the US military and NATO is that security is no longer a territorial issue­–everything is relevant to it. Any policy of any nation anywhere in the world, concerning economics, human rights, the environment, secession movements, etc., may be a cause of terrorism or create an external threat that needs to be thwarted in advance, by NATO.

NATO is closely connected to military, political, scientific, and corporate elites. Europe now has a huge military-industrial complex. BAE Systems, the largest military firm, is British owned, and has factories in New Hampshire, US, and many other places. The major Italian arms manufacturer, Finmeccanica, and French, Thales, are heavily government supported. EADS is a conglomerate headquartered in the Netherlands, with main subsidiaries in France, Germany and Spain. The Netherlands has recently announced a purchase of 37 F-35 fighter planes; some part of it is made there. Sweden also has a significant very high tech military industry.

The European Union is closely enmeshed with NATO. During its formative period, the original nations sent NATO ambassadors to Paris, its early headquarters. They developed a pro-NATO view which often differed from their governments. Currently, the EU executive and NATO both have headquarters in Brussels.

When information came out about the secret “Gladio” armies, about the thousands of nuclear weapons formerly and some still in Europe, nuclear waste dumps, and testing and use of DU weapons, it became clear that crucial NATO activities are unknown not only to the ordinary citizen, but also to parliamentary representatives and even prime ministers if they are not part of the inner circle. Denmark’s constitution and laws ban nuclear weapons, but they were in Greenland. The complicity of 14 European governments (East and West) in recent renditions of “suspects” was also a surprise to citizens of the greatest democracies. Sweden, not a member (but now a partner), has been secretly aiding NATO since the beginning.

NATO is building a massive new headquarters suitable for a global empire. Among its diverse activities are grants for many types of science research. Ukraine is now a major grantee in its science program, where a multinational capacity for disaster response is being developed. The multinational telemedicine system can be used for both civilian and military applications.

Another project studies images and perceptions of NATO among the five Global Partners in the Asia-Pacific region: Australia, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea. “The project will conduct comprehensive comparative research of elite perceptions and media images of NATO as a global security actor to identify, measure, and raise global awareness, as well as extend knowledge of NATO in the region.”

The 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to a Turkish NATO funded researcher, Aziz Sancar, who studied the mechanism of DNA repair. Now that everything affects security, NATO sponsors research in women’s reproductive choices, sustainable development, leather tanning effluent toxicity, landscape architecture, and stained glass preservation. Many projects are conducted jointly by teams including NATO member and PfP nationals, facilitating the mentoring of initiates.

Economic, political, educational, and social activities give NATO a friendly face. Internships at its Brussels headquarters are offered to students of political science, international relations, security studies, economics, engineering, human resources, information technology, library science, aeronautics, and journalism. It gives grants to environmental and other organizations just like a philanthropic foundation. On the other hand, citizens who protest the “out of area” aggressions are often branded as extremists or simply ignored.

NATO training includes massive war games, in which all members and many partners participate. For example, in 2013, “Steadfast Jazz,” a live-fire exercise, included partners Ukraine, Finland, and Sweden.

A network of training institutions exists in Europe, and NATO members are also trained in US military colleges and our great universities. The Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Germany provides combat training, and links European forces with US National Guard units. The Marshall Center for Security Studies, also in Germany, features university-type military training, and like many of the war colleges, educates civilian leaders and potential leaders as well as military personnel.

Military training throughout the world is an important part of the US empire. The US Department of Defense/State Department joint report to Congress for 2014 states that 52,600 people from 155 nations were trained—but this does not include NATO members, Australia, Japan, or New Zealand, because they are not required for the report. All arms sales are accompanied by training.

The relationships acquired through training, conferences, seminars, and joint exercises are a source of considerable power, as these experiences help younger people to move up the ladder to civilian and military leadership in their countries.

Bases are also a source of influence. At one time there were more than 800 in Europe; now it is estimated that there are about 350. Originally, there were hundreds in Germany. Everywhere bases generate economic activity and also enable surveillance and influence, as explained in the fine study by Catherine Lutz, The Bases of Empire.

Why did Western European nations join and now remain in NATO?

There was the idea promoted that the Soviet Union was poised to invade Western Europe. Its dissemination was aided by close links among the CIA, FBI, and foreign intelligence agencies. The foreign press was complicit, and in addition, the CIA and private foundations created new publications, such as Encounter in London, and others in France, Italy, Germany and elsewhere. Conferences, such as those of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, were held to lure European intellectuals away from socialist and pacifist ideologies.

Christian Democratic parties—bulwarks against communism and prime advocates of the “Atlantic alliance”—suddenly sprang up in many countries. They had been small entities before World War II; now they became governing parties, with an especially strong hold in Italy. The massive CIA funding to defeat the Italian Communist Party is well documented; there is evidence that similar activities were in place elsewhere in Europe. The NATO countries in turn financed Christian Democratic parties throughout Latin America.

Occupied Italy and Germany eventually joined NATO; they were already under the influence. In addition, some in those countries regarded membership as a sign of their conversion and redemption: they were with the “democratic” West. Spain, Portugal, Greece and Turkey were fascist countries, so militarism and anti-communism were natural for them.

But why the social democratic countries?

There was fear that Germany might develop an independent military, so embedding any future German army in a US led coalition was reassuring. Besides, the economic costs of each country creating its own high tech military seemed daunting. The UN Charter, which outlawed war, did not forbid national armies or regional alliances. In addition, the officials in the defense ministries of otherwise progressive countries tended to be conservative and believers in armed preparedness. The NATO alliance appeared especially useful in controlling socialist and communist parties within their countries. Those parties generally opposed NATO so had to be countered on that ground alone.

Ongoing support for NATO had the help of the Bilderberg group. This conspiratorial elite first met in the Netherlands in 1954, and consists of the power elite and potential leaders of North America and Western Europe. The group was especially concerned with the threat of socialism or communism from whatever source and was strongly oriented toward the Atlantic alliance. No formal resolutions are made or policies adopted. It is assumed that the members will apply the sense of the meeting in their exalted positions.

Public opinion in war-torn and impoverished Europe was influenced by Marshall Plan aid, which warmed up attitudes toward the US. A spinoff of the loan program was the repayment in local currency. These funds enabled the US to covertly or sometimes overtly subsidize center and right-wing citizen organizations, political parties, and unions

One example is the Labour Party of Britain, which was a double threat. Clause 4 of its constitution called for nationalization of major industries, and its mainstream supported the post-war Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and opposed NATO. Secretly, the CIA lavishly funded and promoted a small conservative group in the party, organized around the Socialist Commentary journal. This group believed the Atlantic alliance was needed to forestall a Soviet invasion, and also held that given the “welfare state,” nationalization was no longer required. Those of this persuasion gradually moved into the party leadership.

Sweden, a neutral country and still not a full NATO member, nevertheless covertly collaborated with the US during World War II. It established a resistance army, to combat a possible Nazi invasion. This was a model for the secret “fall-back” armies which NATO later created throughout Western Europe, including in neutral Sweden and Switzerland.

Known as the “Gladio” project, the name of the Italian branch, they were presumably to offer resistance to a Soviet invasion. However, later government investigations, in Belgium, Italy, and Switzerland, found them complicit in domestic terrorism, political manipulations, and neo-Nazi activities. The existence of these armies was not known to the public, journalists, or most European politicians until after 1990.

Sweden cooperated with NATO all along, even though policies enacted during the administration of Prime Minister Olaf Palme forbade any war planning with NATO. The Swedish Security Service, military and intelligence agencies collaborated with the US, and their strong connections in the public broadcasting system gave them great influence over public opinion. Furthermore, the very important Swedish defense industry is intertwined with US military technology, and contrary to public policy, was sending weapons to the US for use in its war against Iraq. In 2009, war games “Loyal Arrow” were conducted by 10 countries in Northern Sweden, as a preliminary move to extend US and NATO military presence into Arctic regions—and confronting Russia in that area.

Norway would have preferred a Scandinavian alliance, but when this didn’t happen, it joined NATO, and this influenced Denmark and Iceland to follow. The (conservative) Icelandic Foreign Minister had been part of secret talks with the US regarding landing rights and hoped that a NATO installation would dampen the strong communist and socialist movements. Pressure was put on the reluctant public by suggesting that the Soviet fishing fleet near Iceland was really a military force that would occupy Iceland along with a “fifth column” of Icelandic socialists.

Denmark was reluctant to join NATO, but was persuaded. However, the public and even most political leaders were unaware of the plans for nuclear installations in Greenland that were part of secret agreements. These were illegal and unconstitutional in Denmark.

The French and Dutch joined, although there was much dissent. Under the leadership of DeGaulle, France opted out of the central command in 1966 and removed foreign occupation of military bases. However, it had its own nuclear armed military, and secret agreements to fight with NATO if trouble came. In 2009, France agreed to resume full membership.

The Dutch have been particularly unhappy about nuclear weapons, which are still present in Italy, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and Turkey. Belgium was particularly hard hit economically by postwar developments, so the location of NATO headquarters in Brussels helped to cement attachment.

With the transformation and dissolution of the Soviet Union, many thought NATO was obsolete. However, the attacks of 9-11 created more enthusiasm. This was dampened by the invasion of Iraq (not an official NATO action) and Afghanistan, which invoked Article 5 on shaky grounds. Nevertheless, 50 nations participated in the Afghan attack, including, as mentioned previously, neutral Sweden and demilitarized Japan. More recent terrorism has revived support for NATO in Europe; France has drawn much closer.

Some believe that NATO’s activities and its very existence conflict with the spirit of the UN, while others maintain that NATO is an essential operating arm of UN collective security, with knowhow and extensive high-tech weaponry.

In the classical “banana republic,” the United States controls crucial foreign and/or domestic policies of another nation through ties with its military and intelligence institutions. Only now, there is resistance in the lands where bananas grow, while “social democratic,” “neutral,” and reputedly “pacifist” countries of Western Europe are slipping into bananazation. Ordinary citizens have strong anti-war feelings and continue protesting, yet the military, political, and corporate elites of Europe have increasingly become dependents or confederates of the US military-industrial complex.

President Assad: Terrorism Has No Borders, Will “Bite” its Backers

Al-Assad: Wahhabism Foundation for Every Terrorism

Local Editor

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad described in an interview with the Swedish Expressen Newspaper the outcomes of Moscow talks as a breakthrough. He further stated that the UN envoy’s Aleppo plan, which is supported by the government, was spoiled by external intervention, renewing his warning that the terrorism imported to Syria will “bite” its backers whenever it has the chance.

He also called on Sweden to influence the EU to lift the economic sanctions imposed on the Syrian people.

“Terrorism is serious and dangerous because it doesn’t have borders, it doesn’t have limits. It could hit anywhere, it’s not a domestic issue. It’s not even regional; it’s global, that’s why it’s always dangerous.”

Al-Assad further mentioned that

“in our case, it’s more dangerous, let’s say, the situation is worse because this time it was having a political umbrella by many countries, many leaders, many officials, but mainly in the West.”

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and that depends on many criteria, some of them related to domestic, internal and military criteria, or factors, let’s say, which is more precise.”

On this level, the head of the Syrian state said:

“Al-Nusra Front which is part of al-Qaeda, and the Turkish government or institutions or intelligence, were like one army in that battle, so it doesn’t depend on the weakening of our army. It depended more on how much support the terrorists have from Turkey.”

On Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, he added:

“They’re not independent countries, so they won’t have their own agenda. Sometimes they have their own narrow-minded behavior or vengeful behavior or hateful behavior that’s been used by others’ agenda, let’s be frank here, sometimes the United States. So, we cannot say that they have their own agenda, but they haven’t changed. They still support the same terrorists, because this behavior is not related to the crisis in Syria. They supported the terrorists in Afghanistan, they supported the Wahhabi ideology, the extremism that led to terrorism recently in Europe, for decades, and now they are supporting the same ideology and the same factions under different labels and names in Syria. So, there’s nothing to change because this is their natural behavior.”

“The Wahhabi ideology, which forms the foundation for every terrorism in the world. No terrorist acts for the last decades in the Middle East and in the world happened without this ideology. Every terrorist bases his doctrine on the Wahhabi ideology.”

According to al-Assad:

“The United States in the 1980s called the same groups of al-Qaeda and Taliban, in Afghanistan, they called them holy fighters, and that’s what president Bush described them as, holy fighters. And then, after the 11th of September 2001, they called them terrorists. The problem with the United States and of course some Western officials is that they think you can use terrorism as a card in your pocket, as a political card. Actually, terrorism is like a scorpion; whenever it has the chance, it will bite. So, they know, but they didn’t estimate how dangerous terrorism is to be used as a political card.”

On the results of Moscow talks, al-Assad said:

“This meeting was the first time to reach – because you know we had many dialogues before – this is the first time to reach an agreement upon some of the principles that could make the foundation for the next dialogue between the Syrians. We haven’t finalized it yet, because the schedule of that meeting was very comprehensive, so four days wasn’t enough. Because when you have a breakthrough, even if it’s a partial breakthrough, it means that the next meeting will be promising in reaching a full agreement about what are the principles of Syrian dialogue that will bring a Syrian, let’s say, solution to the conflict.”

Al-Assad has blamed Norway and other Scandinavian countries for producing “the most dangerous leaders of Isis in our region”, in a video interview with Sweden’s Expressen newspaper.

He said countries like Norway had only themselves to blame for their homegrown “ISIL” fighters, as “European officials” had for years been “selling their values and allowing the Wahhabi dark ideology to infiltrate and be instilled in some communities”, in exchange for money from “countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar”.


“The most dangerous leaders of “ISIL” in our region are Scandinavian…that’s what we have as information,” he added.

Al-Assad said that he had warned at the start of Syria’s civil war that it would ultimately lead to terror attacks in Europe and beyond. 

“They didn’t listen, so what happened was warned of before, and what we saw in France, in Charlie Hebdo, the suicide attempts in Copenhagen, in London, in Spain, ten years ago, this is only the tip of the iceberg.” 

“You have ups and down, you have wins you have losses and that depends on many criteria,” al-Assad said. “We are still running the country.” 

Regarding Hizbullah’s presence in Syria, al-Assad clarified:

“For example, we had cooperation between the Syrians and the Iraqis even before the rise of “ISIL” recently during the summer of last year in Mosul. Before that we had good cooperation, intelligence and even military, for one reason; because the Iraqis were aware that the terrorism in Syria could spill over to Iraq, and that’s what happened in Mosul. The same is with the Lebanese. So, Hizbullah is aware that terrorism in Syria means terrorism in Lebanon. Chaos here means chaos there, so this kind of regional cooperation is very important for all of us.”


Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team 

Local Editor

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that terrorism has no borders, stressing that it will hit back at its backers.

In an interview with the Swedish Expressen Newspaper, President Assad Terrorism is serious and dangerous because it doesn’t have borders and limits.

“It could hit anywhere; it’s not a domestic issue. It’s not even regional; it’s global.”

President Assad during interview with Swedish newspaper

The Syrian leader noted that the seriousness of terrorism is because it has “political umbrella by many countries, many leaders, many officials, but mainly in the West.”

“It’s more dangerous this time because we don’t have international law, and you don’t have the effective international organization that would protect a country from another country that uses the terrorists as a proxy to destroy another country. That’s what’s happening in Syria.”

Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Are Not Independent Countries

While talking about the terrorism’s backers, President Assad stressed that Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are not independent countries, “so they won’t have their own agenda.”

“Sometimes they have their own narrow-minded behavior or vengeful behavior or hateful behavior that’s been used by others’ agenda, let’s be frank here, sometimes the United States,” Assad told the Swedish newspaper, SANA news agency reported.

“We cannot say that they have their own agenda, but they haven’t changed. They still support the same terrorists, because this behavior is not related to the crisis in Syria. They supported the terrorists in Afghanistan, they supported the Wahhabi ideology, the extremism that led to terrorism recently in Europe, for decades, and now they are supporting the same ideology and the same factions under different labels and names in Syria. So, there’s nothing to change because this is their natural behavior.”

When asked whether there were effective results of the meeting which took place recently between the Syrian government and opposition on Moscow, President Assad said “yes.”

“It was first time to reach an agreement upon some of the principles that could make the foundation for the next dialogue between the Syrians.”

“The schedule of that meeting was very comprehensive. It wasn’t enough to finalize the agreement, but because when you have a breakthrough, even if it’s a partial breakthrough, it means that the next meeting will be promising in reaching a full agreement about what are the principles of Syrian dialogue that will bring a Syrian, let’s say, solution to the conflict.”

Source: Agencies

17-04-2015 – 14:50 Last updated 17-04-2015 – 14:50

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BDS direct action Norway Oslo

On March 30th 2015 BDS Norway conducted a war-stunt in front of the Norwegian Parliament

BDS Norway calls upon the government and Norwegian arms manufacturers to end all military trade and cooperation with Israel.

BDS Norway has previously held actions against the Norwegian weaponry producers, Nammo at their headquarters in Raufoss, and Chemring Nobel in Hurum.

We know that Norwegian weapons have been used against thousands of civilians in Gaza.

An end-user declaration on weaponry is an easy way to prevent this from happening.

We as Norwegian citizens and stockowners of Nammo require that the necessary steps be taken to guarantee that we are not contributing to violations of international law in Palestine.

We also demand that Norway ends all military trade with Israel until it complies with international law.

BDS Norway plans to continue with similar actions until we see change in the current Norwegian practice.

For more info, contact us: bdsnorge@gmail.com or
visit our Facebook/Twitter accounts: BDS Norway

Secret Dialogue Between Syrian Regime and Opposition in Beirut

Negotiators attend a talks between representatives of the Syrian government and the Syrian opposition in Moscow on January 28, 2015. AFP/Vasily Maximov

Published Thursday, February 5, 2015


Beirut has now joined the list of cities where meetings between the Syrian government and opposition have taken place. In an effort to find a political solution out of the Syrian predicament, the Norwegian government is sponsoring an intra-Syrian dialogue in Lebanon under the supervision of Reverend Dr. Riad Jarjour. Will they remain low-level meetings or will we witness a ‘Beirut I’ conference on Syria?


Beirut joined other Arab, regional and international cities, such as Cairo and Moscow, as the site of meetings between representatives of the Syrian regime and of the opposition to discuss Syria’s future.

Al-Akhbar discovered that secret meetings were held in the Lebanese capital — under official Norwegian sponsorship — that included loyalist and opposition Syrian figures. Sources said that among those figures are clerics, intellectuals and politicians close to the regime and the former head of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, Moaz al-Khatib. They added that these figures included individuals living in and outside Syria.

These meetings are held far from the media’s prying eyes and only a few people, who arrange them, are of their occurence. The sources say that these negotiations, which are supposed to be announced in a few weeks, “were focusing on a number of issues, including breaking the ice between the parties to the conflict and establishing a foundation for a dialogue between figures who hold no official position, in the hope of moving to higher-level negotiations if they succeed in bringing closer the various viewpoints around a political solution out of the Syrian predicament.”

Sources indicate that Norway delegated the Reverend Dr. Riad Jarjour — the general secretary of the Arab Group for Muslim-Christian Dialogue — to be in charge of these meetings.

In an interview with Al-Akhbar, Jarjour did not deny holding these meetings, but he refused to discuss the details, saying only that they are between “clerics who do not identify themselves as either opposition or regime loyalists, rather it is an intra-Syrian dialogue.”

He added that these meetings are “discussing a working paper about creating a civil engagement project.”

However, Al-Akhbar’s sources stressed that “the meetings include political figures” but have not disclosed their names “because of the sensitivity of their positions and fear of any security threat.”

The sources pointed out that “the reason behind Norway’s initiative to bring Syrians together in Lebanon was due to the failure of conferences, from Geneva to Moscow.”

The sources stressed that the negotiations are not restricted to merely a civil engagement project, but entail “a comprehensive agenda” that includes “the most salient points of contention between Syrians — and there are many — such as amending the constitution, rejecting foreign intervention and the shape of Syria after the war.”

The sources also pointed out that Lebanon was chosen for holding these meetings because “high-level Lebanese officials facilitated the entry and exit of Syrian figures and because in Lebanon there are parties that support the Syrian regime and others that support the opposition.”

Furthermore, sources noted that “countries like Austria and Norway, which believe only a political solution is capable of ending this crisis, are playing a distinct role from that of other European countries.”

According to these sources, “the meetings, which are part of a series of meetings taking place outside Lebanon as well,” began a short while back but were hindered by the Arab pressures, specifically, by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. However, “the death of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz created a more relaxed atmosphere, removed the element of personal hatred towards Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from the equation and helped speed up Norwegian efforts.”

The sources also stressed that “the current Norwegian effort has nothing to do with the Oslo Forum in which Assad’s media advisor, Dr. Buthaina Shaaban, participated last June at the invitation of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue.”

The sources attributed this mediation efforts as being motivated by growing Norwegian concerns from the threat that terrorist organizations pose to Norway and international security.

The sources said that about a year ago the Norwegian foreign intelligence service warned that there are reports indicating “the terrorist threat will increase as dozens of Norwegian citizens join the Syrian war.” The agency revealed that there are “between 40 to 50 Norwegians fighting in Syria who might return after gaining combat expertise.” They also pointed out that Moscow is not unaware of this initiative. The Norwegian Foreign Affairs Minister Børge Brende visited the Russian capital last January and met his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov and a number of high-ranking Russian officials.

This visit, according to the sources, “laid the ground for the Norwegian government to play a mediation role in an attempt to provide an alternative to the Moscow negotiations in case they do not deliver positive results.”

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Secret Dialogue Between Syrian Regime and Opposition in Beirut | Al Akhbar English

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What the Fake Syria Sniper Boy Video Tell Us About Media Experts

News | 27.11.2014 | 14:40

Many mainstream media websites helped a fake video go viral this month. The video showing a young Syrian boy running through sniper fire to save a little girl, was exposed as a fake when the Norwegian producer Lars Klevberg made the fact public. One of the stated aims of the Norwegian film makers was to “see how the media would respond to a fake video.” This article examines how that experiment went.

The western press very quickly accepted the video as real and used it to support the US administration’s narrative on Syria. Many top US news sources began to spread the story. Even though the producer said he explicitly added big hints that the video was fake, like the children surviving multiple gun shots.

Propagating false stories on Syria, is nothing new for the western press. In the lead up to the conflict many stories were exposed as frauds, such as the Anti-government activist “Gay Girl in Damascus” which turned out to be a middle-aged American man in Scotland. Syrian Danny Abdul Dayem which was frequently interviewed by CNN was using fake gun fire and flames in his interviews.

The fake sniper video wasn’t enough to support US government narratives by itself, as the now deleted original upload didn’t suggest the identity of the snipers. So the west’s media suggested that it was Syrian military snipers that were targeting the children without any evidence. Journalists failed to mention how they reached the conclusion that an actor in Malta was shot by the Syrian military. It may be that the western press is quick to trust pro-rebel sources, as the video was uploaded by the pro-rebel Sham Times along with their own twist.

The Guardian’s headline for the video was “Syrian boy ‘saves girl from army sniper’” and the Telegraph delicately suggested the Syrian military was responsible for the fake bullets. The International Business (IB) times stated, “the snipers, who reportedly are said to be the government forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.” IB Times never explicitly mentioned who reported this information. They then took it a step further and concluded the article with “the incident certainly is not the first time that Pro-Assad gunmen have targeted children”. Well it is at least not the first time the mainstream media has presented false reports as fact. In 2012, CNN claimed a bullet that killed a four year old girl in Aleppo was shot by government snipers even whilst admitting the bullet came from rebel held buildings.

Other journalists took to Twitter to make unfounded claims about army snipers targeting the boy. Vinnie O’Dowd who has done work for Channel 4 and Al Jazeera tweeted “Syrian Regime Targets kids. Liz Sly of the Washington Post tweeted incredulously that “Soldiers kept shooting” at children.

These tweets were inline with an official State Department Twitter account @ThinkAgain_DOS which blamed Assad for the fictitious bullets in the film. This casts doubt on how deeply the US administration scrutinizes information it bases it’s policy on. In 2013 they relied heavily on video footage provided by rebels to support its planned attack on Syria in the wake the Ghouta chemical attack.

Scrutinising the Scrutinisers (Experts)

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But it isn’t just the mainstream media that was easily duped by the convenient propaganda film. The video experts that were asked to scrutinise the video, failed to recognise that the video was a fraud. The Telegraph stated that upon enquiry ‘experts told them they had no reason to doubt that the video is real”. International Business Times went a step further spinning the statement to “experts told The Telegraph that they have no doubts on the authenticity of the footage.”

This is very strange since both children in the film walk away after being directly and repeatedly hit by bullets. The creators of the film said he purposely scripted this as a big hint that the video is fake. The lack of scrutiny the media experts employed suggests incompetence or the same level of bias as the media that employs them .

Heather Saul of the Independent wrote that one of the ‘Middle East experts” she showed the video to was from Human Rights Watch. Indeed, Human Rights Watch European Media Director Andrew Stroehlein, showed no doubt on the authenticity of the film when he tweeted it out to his followers. The New York based human rights organisation is not new at tweeting false information, last month they used an image of the Odessa fire, where US-backed militia’s burned thirty two people to death, as an example of ‘Putin’s repressive policies’. In 2008 Venezuela expelled two HRW staff members accused of “anti-state activities” after producing a report against the Chavez government. Guardian journalist Hugh O’Shaughnessy accused HRW of using false and misleading information in the report, as well as pro-Washington bias. In 2009 HRW received financial donations from the Saudi government which may, in part, explain the anti-Syrian slant.

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HRW employed so called video expert Eliot Higgins and his colleague Daniel Kaszeta to investigate the August 21 chemical attack in Ghouta, and quickly reached the conclusion the Syrian government was behind the attack. Daniel Kaszeta was referred to as a fraud by prominent physicist and MIT Professor Theodore Postol. HRW’s CEO Kenneth Roth recently used a report by Eliot Higgins to make unfounded claims about Ukrainian rebels shooting down Malaysian flight MH17. Heather Saul did not respond to questions on whether Eliot Higgins was one of the expert she asked for advice. However the mainstream media’s most often quoted video expert, did not recognise that the video was a fraud, tweeting cautiously that he wasn’t sure if it was authentic but gave the video a reaction non the less.

However many viewers who aren’t referred to as video or Middle East experts, immediately recognised the video was a fraud and flooded social media sites Twitter and Youtube with doubts on its authenticity. If Heather Saul had used these individuals as experts rather than HRW, she would have reached the correct conclusion about the video. But perhaps it is this unbias eye that the mainstream media avoids. The vast majority of Higgin’s conclusions support US government narratives and agendas, and that’s the kind of bias the mainstream media prefers.

Blaming the Producer

Instead of humbly accepting blame for spreading disinformation, many western journalists and their experts reacted by blaming the producer of the film. The collective rage of the entire mainstream media forced the film’s producer to delete any trace of this 30,000 dollar experiment. Some journalists took to Twitter to express their rage at being exposed as easily duped by convenient propaganda.

The experts that were fooled by the video also strongly protested. HRW posted a complaint that the fake video “eroded the public trust in war reporting’, in other words blind trust in HRW analysis and war propaganda. Eliot Higgins posted an open letter to the producer of the film on his website Bellingcat, condemning the film.

GlobalPost referred to the film as ‘irresponsible and dangerous’ but not because it could be used to promote wars and make false accusations. What the real danger to the mainstream media and their experts seems to be, is that as a result of the films exposure as a fraud, future video claims may now have to be properly scrutinized and the public may not be so unquestioning in future. However it is the journalists’ lack of scrutiny that is truly what is irresponsible and dangerous. Had the director not admitted the film was fake, these journalists more than likely would have kept promoting the story as an example of Syrian Army war crimes.

Maram Susli also known as “Syrian Girl,” is an activist-journalist and social commentator covering Syria and the wider topic of geopolitics

online magazine New Eastern Outlook.

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

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