Death Penalty: A Tool of Vengeance in Bahrain

Death Penalty: A Tool of Vengeance in Bahrain

By Sondos al-Assad

Lebanon – Since 2017, Bahrain has executed five political prisoners by firing squad instead of launching a political dialogue and national reconciliation that ease the prolonged crisis. The execution of those detainees has been part of a broad repressive trend sweeping the tiny Gulf Kingdom since February 2011.

Meanwhile, there are 12 death row detainees who are on death row, all of them are victims of severe and inhumane treatment, 10 could be executed at any moment, without warning, in case the verdicts were ratified by the monarch.

Those victims of torture have convicted based on confessions that they had retracted in court because they were extracted under pressure and torture.

So, the king’s signature is now all that stands between those victims of torture and their execution.

According to rights groups, Manama pays less and less attention to the question of civil liberties and rights in its attempts to tamp down on peaceful dissents. Hence, the trend of Death Penalty has sharply exacerbated in the recent years amid the absence of censure from Western allies, namely Washington and London, whose priority is security and oil not human rights.

Annually, the UK spends $1.59 million on supporting Bahrain’s Special Investigation Unit [SIU] and the Ombudsman who are accused of violating their international and domestic human rights commitments.

Those so-called oversight bodies have failed to investigate torture allegations against two death row inmates Mohamed Ramadan and Hussain Moussa.

“I’d been taken in handcuffs to village of Al-Deir to act out a murder I didn’t commit… It terrifies me to think there is only one chapter left,” says sentenced to death Hussain Musa.

Besides, the authorities is accused of using the terrorism charge to retaliate against number of conscience activists and social justice seekers, a crime which is deemed to be an extrajudicial killing which results of unfair trials.

Bahrain uses the “Anti-Terrorism Act” as pretext to justify illegal sentences against its peaceful citizens only because they exercise their rights for freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, which are guaranteed not only by international covenants but supposedly by the Bahraini constitution.

Amid the absence of fair judicial transparency, perpetrators of human rights violations are not held accountable in a blatant attack against the minimum standards of human rights stipulated in international conventions.

Ali Al-Arab, Ahamd Al-Malali, Abbas Al-Samei, Sami Mushaima and Ali Al-Signace are the 5 inmates who have been sentenced to death so far.

They were arbitrarily executed by firing squads after allegations of their unjust trial, inhumane torture, sexual assault and medical negligence.

Prior to their execution, they met their families; however they hadn’t even known about the visit that was scheduled based on an ambiguous call from the prison’s administration as part of psychological intimidation. Furthermore, while their last visit, their families noticed that the searching measures were specific, exceptional and humiliating.

Currently and before it’s too late, Bahrain must be pressured to immediately commute the death sentences and establish an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.

The king must not ratify but urgently quash these death sentences which are a result of sham court proceedings that brazenly flout international fair trial standards.

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UK denying Maduro access to Venezuelan gold is not only THEFT, it’s MURDER of London’s reputation as trusted financial center

Source

George Galloway

George Gallowaywas a member of the British Parliament for nearly 30 years.

He presents TV and radio shows (including on RT). He is a film-maker, writer and a renowned orator. Follow him on Twitter @georgegalloway

©  Getty Images / Vitoria Holdings LLC

The standards are poor at the Bank of England these days, I don’t know why anyone would want to do business with them. George Galloway gives British banking, and justice, a triple-fail rating.

It used to be “a thing” when I was growing up. “As safe as the Bank of England” was the acme of trustworthiness and security. But as Venezuela – and any other Global South country foolish enough to entrust the British with their sovereign wealth just found out in the High Court in London – the Bank of England isn’t any longer safe at all.

Almost a billion dollars worth of Venzuelan gold bullion has just been stolen by the British government, theft has just been legalized, and the thieves didn’t even bother to wear a mask.

The gold was deposited in London by the then internationally recognized government of Venezuela. But the now internationally recognized government of Nicolas Maduro has been refused permission to have its value transferred to the United Nations in New York for work they wish the UN Development Program to conduct against the coronavirus pandemic.

READ MORE

Venezuela in legal battle to get its gold back from Bank of England

Venezuela in legal battle to get its gold back from Bank of England

Instead, a man off the street in Caracas by the name of Juan Guaido – who has not only never been elected to power in Venezuela, he’s no longer even elected as the leader of the opposition – is the legal owner of the gold, says Justice Alice-in-Wonderland. After all, words mean whatever the British government wants them to mean.

The elected president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, is recognized by the great majority of countries in the world. More importantly, his government is recognized at the United Nations. It is not true, as the British government told the High Court, that they “do not recognize” the Maduro government – they recognize it every day at the UN, in discussions in the canteen as well as in the chamber.

Moreover, it is the principle of British diplomacy that they “recognize” whomsoever is in effective control of a territory – whether they like them or not. Though, come to think of it, they did breach that “principle” once before – when they continued to recognize the Cambodian genocidal murderer Pol Pot  and insist that Comrade Number 1 remains in his seat in New York long after he was actually overthrown and while the mountain of corpses in Cambodia were being counted.

By any standards, Maduro is in effective control of Venezuela and Juan Guaido is not. Maduro controls every square inch of Venezuela, is the elected president, is recognized by the United Nations and by most countries in the world. Guaido is not elected, is not recognized by the United Nations, nor by most countries in the world and doesn’t control one single inch of Venezuelan territory. But he is now the proud owner of the gold in the Bank of England. It makes the Great Train Robbery look like a mere bagatelle, Guaido makes the Thief of Baghdad look like an amateur. It is the greatest single act of theft ever to take place on British soil. And that’s saying something.

ALSO ON RT.COMMystery of the Venezuelan gold: Bank of England is independent of UK govt – but not of foreign govt

But away from the scene of the crime, away from Venezuela, British officials in their ivory tower should take note. It wasn’t just theft which took place in the Strand this week – it was murder. The murder of London’s reputation as a financial center you can trust.

Certainly, any sovereign government which has invested its sovereign wealth in London should examine their head if not the current state of their balance. This decision has given a green light to the Pirates of the Caribbean, and you could be next. Fall out with the British government and they can now hand all your country’s wealth they can grab, over to your opposition, however discredited.

Quite a day’s work in financial standards, a triple-A fail.

If I ever won the National Lottery (which I don’t enter) the last place on Earth that I would deposit my millions would be in London. Standards here just went down the rabbit-hole and will never re-emerge. The City of London has fallen.

When I was young I told my Irish grandfather that the teacher had told me that the British had an empire so vast that the Sun never set upon it. He answered “that’s because God would never trust the British in the dark.” I knew he was telling the truth. And now so does Venezuela.

©  Getty Images / Vitoria Holdings LLC

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/493718-uk-maduro-venezuela-gold/

Meng, Huawei and Canadian Law: Soap, Rinse and Dry-Laundered

By Harry Glasbeek

Global Research, June 25, 2020

The Bullet

Prologue

One of the graver risks for big-time criminals is that investigators will be able to identify them and their deeds by ‘following the money’. The criminals have to hide the proceeds of their crimes. This is done by depositing their monies into legitimate finance houses and businesses. It often requires some fancy book-keeping tricks and intricate transactions. This is called layering by the afficionados of this dark art. Once it is done, the criminals can draw on the accounts created and mix the ill-gotten gains with legally garnered capital. The term for this is ‘integration’ and it makes the investigators’ tasks much harder. The rotten fruit of crime will have been laundered.,

Extradition

For some time now, Hong Kong has seen massive street protests as many people want more of a say for themselves in governance and less of a say for Beijing. In the midst of the chaos, Hong Kong’s legislators proposed to ink an extradition agreement to which China would be the other signatory.

Extradition treaties are arrangements whereby a nation state agrees to return to its partner-nation to the treaty people alleged to have committed criminal acts against that other nation’s laws. It is meant to prevent alleged criminals from avoiding the consequences for their misconduct by escaping to another jurisdiction. When a request for extradition by a signatory to a treaty is received, a court there is to determine whether the application should succeed. It is not its task to question whether the person actually committed a crime. It merely has to determine whether it is the kind of crime which could lead to prosecution if the conduct had occurred in its jurisdiction. This gives the process its legitimacy because it gives effect to legal values shared by both parties to the extradition treaty. The court considering the request has no interest in whether the conduct actually amounted to a crime, either in the applicant nation or in its own. It assumes the facts as alleged by the applicant nation and then determines whether that conduct would amount to a violation of its own laws if it occurred in its jurisdiction.

It is, then, a judicial exercise which is purely formal. It does not make any findings about the issues between the applicant for extradition and the person resisting extradition.

Although this was the essential nature of the Hong Kong Bill, it met with fierce resistance: huge marches, physical fights in the legislature. The protests added fuel to the already widely burning fires of dissent and the Hong Kong government withdrew the Bill. In addition to the upheaval and violence in the streets, the government was likely somewhat influenced by the great show of support for the anti-Extradition Bill movement in countries such as the UK, the US and Canada. This anti-extradition stance by these nations seemed to sit uneasily alongside the fact that they had signed on to many similar extradition treaties themselves. But, they bought into the argument made by the Hong Kong dissidents. This was that, even though an extradition request made by China would be vetted by Hong Kong courts steeped in the principles and values of English common law, the proposed treaty would allow China to use extradition requests for crass political purposes, to help it chase down political opponents and agitators. It would lead to attacks on precious freedoms. Even though the proposed treaty ‘looked’ much like any other, it was likely to be used for unacceptable purposes. This sort of thing would never occur in the UK the US or Canada because, unlike China, they respected and lived by the Rule of Law.

The Lore and Lure of the Rule of Law

Canada’s legal system presents itself as embodying society’s shared values and norms. They are embodied in principles and the instrumental rules devised to give these fundamental principles life. This presupposes that the basic principles can be found and defined and that the rules will be appropriately fashioned and applied. The conventional view is that the judiciary is an independent institution and can be trusted to go about the finding of principles and the interpretation and application of rules in a non-partisan, in a non-political, manner.

Courts will treat all private individuals, whatever their social or economic circumstances, as legal equals whose disputes must be settled by the application of known, rational criteria. Rationality, of the legal kind, is to replace political and economic power, that is, irrational power.

The courts abide by generalizing principles and specific rules. The rules have to be spelled out clearly; citizens are to know of the existence of those rules; new rules should not apply retroactively. The principles and rules are to be applied even-handedly, regardless of status and class. The access to this justice system should be equally available to one and all. These are some of the ingredients of what is so often termed the Rule of Law. It is an attractive system because it suggests that everyone is subject to the same laws and requirements, that political or economic power is not allowed to deny anyone their entitlements or rights established in law. The UK, US and Canadian view is that it, or any equivalent, regime does not exist in China. But, while the idea of it certainly exists in our rather self-satisfied Anglo-American settings, its implementation may leave something to be desired.

While our courts are punctilious about following the procedural safeguards which make up the Rule of Law, they have an enormous amount of leeway when determining how substantive principles and rules are to be interpreted and applied. They are in a position to launder otherwise politically troubling, anti-liberal, anti-democratic, policies and decisions. What happens is a mixing of the adherence to procedural formalities which abjure bias and prejudice with the manipulation of substantive laws which incorporate bias and prejudice. The integrated outcome is analogous to the consequence of the criminals’ mixing suspect monies with legally acquired assets. It makes it hard to see whether there was a political wrong in the first place. It is a form of laundering, legalized laundering.1

The recent proceedings in Canada dealing with the US demand that the Chief Financial officer of Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, be extradited to the US brings some of this into the open. The Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled that Meng’s argument that there was no legal basis for extradition was rejected. Canada’s talking heads and chattering class sighed with relief. The self-proclaimed liberal Toronto Star’s editors welcomed and characterized the virtue of the decision: “Beijing must understand: out courts don’t serve the government… It’s called ‘rule of law,’ a concept foreign to China’s Communist Party and its mouthpieces.” Apart from their evident cold war genre chauvinism, the editors undoubtedly were glad to have any doubts about the Trudeau government’s and Canada’s allegiance to the Rule of Law stilled.

The recent embarrassment caused by the tawdry behaviour of almost every cog in the ruling class’s legal engine room during the SNC-Lavalin scandal which involved the government forcing its own Minister of Justice to resign because she wanted to act independently and deny a flagrantly wrongdoing corporation any kind of soft landing, now could be pushed aside as an uncharacteristic violation of Canada’s basic principles. To them, the Meng ruling signified that, once again, Canada was entitled to be smug, to assert that it was to be envied because of its stout adherence to an unalloyed good, the Rule of Law.

The Ruling in the Meng Case

It all began with a warrant issued by a New York court for Meng Wanzhou’s arrest in August 2018. She was not there. On December 1, 2018, after an extradition request from the US, Meng was arrested by Canadian authorities when she landed in Vancouver. On 28 January 2019, formal charges were laid by the US Department of Justice, accusing Meng’s employer, Huawei, of misrepresentations about its corporate organization which had enabled it to circumvent laws that imposed economic sanctions on Iran. Huawei was also charged with stealing technology and trade secrets from T-Mobile USA. Meng, the Chief Financial Officer of Huawei, was charged with fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud. Huawei pled not guilty to the charges of violating the Iran sanction provisions in a New York court and not guilty to the stealing charges in a Seattle court. After a number of preliminary legal skirmishes, the extradition hearings against Meng began in 2020. Associate Justice Holmes issued her ruling on 27 May, 2020. Law takes its time.

Meng had told HSBC officials who met with her in the back of a Hong Kong restaurant in 2013 that, despite the allegations in a newspaper article, Huawei had not made improper use of a closely associated firm, named Skycom Tech, to supply US materiel to Iran. The reason she had made this statement to HSBC, it was alleged, was that Huawei used HSBC as a banker when transacting business. If Huawei, as alleged, was implicated in violations of the Iran sanction laws, HSBC might well be held to be complicit in such crimes. The US alleged that Meng’s representations to HSBC constituted fraud under its law.

Meng Wanzhou argued that, for a case of fraud to be made out, in both the US and Canada, it was necessary for the prosecution to prove that the fraud materially contributed to a tangible loss. This could not be made out here. For Meng’s deception of HSBC to cause it a tangible loss in the US, it was necessary for US prosecutors to invoke the impact of another law, the Iranian sanction law. Without it there would not be any harm and, therefore, no fraud in the US. As Canada did not have any such sanction provisions in place, Meng’s deception would not have led to any tangible loss in Canada and there would have been no fraud committed in Canada. This argument that the basic requirement for extradition – mirroring laws – had not been met, was rejected by Associate Chief Justice Holmes.

She deployed standard legal reasoning that is, she looked for previous holdings and used the imprecisions she found in them and in the wording of the legislation she was interpreting. Holmes found that previous decisions had held that, in order to determine whether the conduct in the applicant jurisdiction created an offence, it was necessary to assess the essential nature of that conduct. That meant evaluating the foreign conduct in its context, in its legal environment. Meng argued that looking at the legal environment required taking a foreign law, one distinct from the laws being compared, into account, something which should not be done under the Extradition Law.

The presiding judge responded that only some aspects of the legal environment, constituted by that other law, had to be taken into account, not all of it. It was her job to say which aspects could be so used. Holmes admitted that she was going out on a limb because the distinction between looking at some aspects of a foreign law and taking the actual law into consideration is fraught, both as a matter of logic and of established law. She wrote that “the issue is at what level of abstraction… the essence … of the conduct is to be described… there is little authority or precisely what may be included in ‘imported legal environment’.”

Undeterred by the lack of any known criteria (remember the Rule of Law!), she used what she likely calls her common sense and what Meng’s supporters probably think was her unconscious bias. Associate Justice Holmes decided that, in this case, it was appropriate, when looking for the essential nature of the foreign conduct, to look at the effects of that US law, the Iran sanction law. As its effects made Meng’s deceiving conduct fraudulent in the US, and as deception is the core of fraud in Canada, the essential/contextualized nature of Meng’s conduct satisfied the essence of fraud as defined under Canada’s Criminal Code. Lawyers call this sort of finessing good lawyering; in the wider community it is seen as legal chicanery. Holmes ruled that Canada was free to extradite Meng.

Laundered

All that effort to put Wanzhou Meng’s fraud into legal context and not a scintilla of regard for the political, social and economic context of the case!

Everyone, literally everyone, knew what had led the US to charge Huawei and its CFO. It was to obtain bargaining chips in its fight with China. It was to persuade its citizens that it was right for the government to deny them access to cheaper goods and a better 5G system because China would abuse its growing economic influence and enhance its spying potential. It was to make China more pliable when the US demanded better trade terms and more protection for its intellectual property, etc. There was no attempt to hide any of this.

Did the Canadian government understand this? Of course. Did it feel it had to allow the US to use Canada’s supposedly neutral legal machinery to further its political project? Of course. Could the Canadian government have said “no” and simply turned a blind eye when Wanzhou Meng landed in Vancouver? Of course.

Was Associate Justice Holmes, at the very least, in a position to guess all of this? Of course.

The Supreme Court of British Columbia had the timelines of the saga before it. All the events that led to the fraud charges occurred years before the tug-of-war between the US and China turned into a full blown version of a new cold war. Meng’s alleged misrepresentations to HSBC occurred in August 2013, several months after Reuters had published its report on the links between Huawei and Skycom Tech. that supposedly led to Iran being supplied with US materiel.

It took five years for the US to charge Huawei and Meng. It took five years for its righteous indignation about Huawei’s and Meng’s violations to reach fever pitch. It took five years for the US to decide that a deception of one set of private entrepreneurs by other private entrepreneurs ( a garden variety event in an aggressive competitive milieu), a deception which took place in a far away jurisdiction, presented a danger to the integrity of the US justice system. That integrity had not been seen as severely threatened when the masters of the universe deceived millions of people during the subprime mortgage scandals, at least not sufficiently to charge any of the more senior perpetrators. None of this was of any concern to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The court was only concerned with the narrowest of decontextualized legal issues before it. Its certainty that its only responsibility was to the Rule of Law signified to it that it should not be troubled by the possibility that it might be used as a pawn, by either the US or the Canadian government or both.

Nor was this lack of concern shaken by President Trump’s highly publicized statement to Reuters (the outfit which had written the report which started the ball rolling), made just after Wanzhou Meng was released on bail. Trump said that he would certainly intervene in her case “if I thought it necessary” to help forge a trade deal with China. Undoubtedly some people (especially lawyers) might think it right and proper for a court to ignore a blatant admission by a craven politician that the supposedly independent system of law of both the US and Canada was being used for partisan political purposes. After all, the statement had been made extrajudicially and had not been put before the court. While the judge might have known about the Trump intervention, much as she knew that the US and China were having a political tug-of-war and that Canada had been drawn into it, the wilful blindness demanded by the Rule of Law demanded that she make no reference to any off this knowledge.

This reasoning makes no sense to anyone not held in rapture by the Rule of Law fantasy. Immediately after Trump made his provocative statement, Trudeau realized that the public might draw the inference that Canada was just bowing to its Big Brother ally and permitting it to abuse the Canadian justice system. It evoked the notion that the US and Canada were just one country with two systems. He was forced to respond.

Trudeau issued the following statement: “Regardless of what goes on in other countries, Canada is and will always remain a country of the rule of law.” The message was clear: we, the elected government and its executive have nothing to do with any of this; we rule an independent country; we have an independent legal system and it makes these kinds of decisions. We respect this and abide by the results. When it comes to the extradition of Meng, we, the politicians, like Pontius Pilate, wash our hands off the whole mess. It has nothing to do with us. It is not a political matter.

This is why the editors of the Toronto Star and all other opinion moulders greeted the ruling in the Meng case with such acclaim. By ignoring all the real facts underlying the dispute, the court had given support to the Canadian government’s pretence that the Meng case had not raised questions about its participation in a complex set of political, economic and ideological controversies. Their role had been laundered. If the outcome suited the US in its struggle with China, this was incidental; Canada’s government had not pushed for such an outcome because it believed in the Rule of Law. These cheerleaders pointed out that, if Canada had interfered with the judiciary’s operations, it would certainly have pushed for a different result.

As it was, the judicial ruling could only strain relations between Canada and China, a most undesirable state of affairs as Canada hoped to have China release two Canadians accused of committing serious offences in China; more Canada had no interest in imperilling important trade relations with China, as the judicial ruling might well do. That is, the result may be a political win for Trump, but a loss for Trudeau, two Canadian citizens and, likely, some farmers and manufacturers if China uses its economic clout to punish Canada.

So viewed, the judicial outcome gives the impression that the government had not played any part in the decision-making. It should, therefore, not be held politically responsible for the consequences. The government had acted righteously, it had been true to the Rule of Law. Its conduct had been sanitized, laundered.

Of course this argument is not as strong if the judicial outcome is not seen as inimical to the government. What did Canada actually want? We can only guess. But it is to be remembered that the government did detain Wanzhou Meng; if it had not done so, the worst that would have happened is that the US might have been annoyed. Assuming, as it makes sense to do, that Canadian officials understood full well what the US was up to, the detention suggests, although it does not prove, that the government was not opposed to the obvious political and economic goals of the US. More strongly, it indicated that it was willing to support those goals. After all, it knew the risks it was taking. The headline in the Ottawa Citizen on 15 December, 2018, read: “Abelev: In the Huawei case, Trump has enlisted in a game Canada can’t win.”

Another glimpse of the Canadian government’s thinking is provided by Prime Minister’s request that John McCallum resign from his post as Ambassador to China after he had made public statements which indicated that he thought the case against Meng was trumped up and, therefore, should lead the government to reject the extradition request. This would help Canada in its negotiations with China which, in apparent retaliation, had jailed two Canadian citizens.

Implicit in McCallum’s intervention was a reference to a legal power that Canada has reserved for itself over extradition processes. The Minister for Justice can, at any moment after a request for extradition is received, abort the process. In Trudeau’s angry reaction to McCallum, he made no reference to this, pretending political interference with the judicial system was to be eschewed.2 While to some people, then, Trudeau’s publicized disapproval of McCallum’s views (and of similar ones by former Prime Minister Jean Chretien a little later), did dovetail with the claim that the government should not take a position on matters to be determined by a judge, it also suggested that the government would not object too much if the ruling went against Meng, regardless of what it might mean for Huawei, Meng and the prisoners. After all, the justification for the hands-off the justice system proffered by Trudeau should not have been given too much credence.

At that time a full-blown scandal was raging over the SNC-Lavalin affair. Trudeau was brazenly trying to get rid of an independent Minister of Justice precisely because she was thwarting his enactment of a law which was to apply retroactively (remember the Rule of Law!) to save a serial wrongdoing corporation. A curious symmetry weirdly surfaces. The Trudeau government was trying to give its rogue actor, SNC-Lavalin, the kind of gentle treatment the US had given HSBC by giving it access to a deferred prosecution agreement of the kind that the US had given that deviant bank.

There were many polluting particles in the ambient air as the Meng case was processed in the supposedly politically unpolluted atmosphere of law. Undoubtedly, Associate Justice Holmes did her best to blow all these toxic particles out of her mind, as all judges claim to do. But this does not mean that they did not influence her mind-set. We will never know. That is how laundering works: if the dirt which soiled the cloth is rinsed out, all that one is left with is clean cloth. Just what the government needed.

Epilogue

The legal processes have not ended. Meng may appeal the ruling on double criminality handed down by the Supreme Court of British Columbia, arguing the Holmes’ reading of how the essential nature of conduct in a foreign state was to be found was erroneous. Her lawyers do have some plausible arguments to proffer on this issue. Before that will take place, a hearing will be held into Meng’s allegation that, when she was detained in Vancouver, prior to being turned over to the RCMP, the border official obtained Meng’s telephone numbers and passwords and then passed these on to the RCMP. She was detained and questioned for three hours before she was told of her arrest. She claims her constitutional rights were violated and that the RCMP and Canada’s Border Services Agency acted, improperly, as US agents.

This is a claim that procedural safeguards essential to the proper operation of the Rule of Law had been breached. If successful it would make the arrest wrongful and mean that the committal process which led to Holmes’ ruling should be voided. The result of the adjudication on this action by Meng can also be the basis for an appeal. If all of it, the denial of proper process and the Supreme Court of British Columbia’s ruling on double criminality, are settled in favour of Canada, the extradition process can continue, although, as seen, the Minister for Justice can always set the whole thing aside.

There are many other hurdles to clear. The Trump Administration may be replaced, the Trudeau government (in a minority position) may fall before all this is over. It is also difficult to know what steps China will take and how this will influence political minds in Washington and Ottawa. These unknowns highlight how artificial it is to pretend that a request for extradition is a legal, non-political, struggle based on rational aseptic criteria.

To underscore this point, note that, on 4 June, 2020, the US State Department issued a threat. It will reassess its sharing of intelligence with Canada (a member of the so-called Five Eye intelligence network) if Canada chooses to let Huawei market its 5G technology in Canada. This makes it clear that the extradition case was never about a fraudulent misrepresentation to a ‘vulnerable’ foreign bank, but about furthering US efforts to ward-off the danger of an economic and political threat posed by China.

Law and its Rule of Law are convenient tools, no more no less. They should not be granted too much respect. Certainly they should not permit our governments to present themselves as unsullied, as if they have come out of the washing machine, smelling fragrantly.

And, oh yes, after its agreement with the US Department of Justice, HSBC had made much of its new approach and had spent money on better systems to inhibit wrongdoing. On 8 April, 2020, it was reported that HSBC had admitted it had engaged in money laundering in Australia. Maybe it does not require Huawei or Meng to engage in fraud to get HSBC to participate in criminality.

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Harry Glasbeek is a Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. His latest books are Class Privilege: How law shelters shareholders and coddles capitalism (2017) and the follow-up, Capitalism: a crime story (2018) both published by Between the Lines, Toronto.

Notes

  1. ‘The legalization of politics’ is the name given by Harry Glasbeek and Michael Mandel, “The Legalization of Politics in Advanced Capitalism: The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms” (1984), Socialist Studies, 2:84, and by Michael Mandel, The Charter of Rights and the Legalization of Politics in Canada, rev. ed., Toronto; Thompson Educational, 1994, to a process which removes class and history from political discourse and consciousness.
  2. As well, there is a rarely used law on the books, the Foreign Extra Territorial Measures Act, that the Attorney-General can deploy to repulse measures of a foreign state that are likely to significantly affect Canadian interests. This is the legislation used to allow Canada not to comply with the US sanctions on Cuba. Arguably, but not certainly, it could be used to block the extradition of Meng.

Featured image is from The BulletThe original source of this article is The BulletCopyright © Harry GlasbeekThe Bullet, 2020

Do Palestinians’ Lives Matter?

By Stuart Littlewood

Source

Not according to the UK Government which continues to cuddle and slobber over the rogue regime that terrorizes, dispossesses and slaughters them.

Palestinian Lives Matter e2524

Lately, anti-racism activists and their fellow-travelers have been vandalizing statues in the UK, including a memorial to Winston Churchill. Even Nelson is threatened. And Robert Peel, like Churchill, has been boarded up for protection from the loonies. Incredibly Robert the Bruce, king of Scotland 1306-1329, hero of Bannockburn and bringer of independence, has been branded a racist by graffiti scribblers. Bruce (or de Brus), Earl of Carrick and 7th Lord of Annandale, was of Norman descent I believe. So, is our entire medieval history and culture – 1066 and all that – condemned? If it’s the feudal system and the struggle between mighty lords and their lowly vassals that bothers today’s hypersensitive agitators, most of our history books will have to be taken off the shelves and our monarchs consigned to the dustbin in order to appease them.

Why don’t these firebrands look for modern-day racists to complain about? In which case they might focus on “Israel’s knee-on-the-neck occupation of Palestine”, as Leslie Bravery describes it. This snarling, brutal entity illegally occupies Palestine and part of Syria and is stuffed with baddies with no redeeming features whatsoever. They have been busy ethnically cleansing the native Palestinians and stealing their lands for seven decades.  And what of their many supporters in high places? What should we call people who defend the indefensible… who admire the despicable… who applaud the expulsion at gunpoint of peaceable civilians and the confiscation of their homes?

Being a Friend of Israel – like most of the Conservative Party at Westminster – means embracing the terror and racism on which the state of Israel was built. It means embracing the dispossession of the innocent and oppression of the powerless. It means embracing the discriminatory laws against those who stubbornly remain in their homeland. It means embracing the jackboot gangsterdom that abducts civilians — including children — and imprisons and tortures them without trial. It means embracing the theft and annexation of Palestinian lands and water resources, the imposition of hundreds of military checkpoints, the severe restrictions on the movement of people and goods, and maximum interference with Palestinian life at every level.

It means not minding the bloodbaths inflicted by Israel on Gaza and feeling not too bothered about blowing hundreds of children to smithereens, maiming thousands more, trashing vital infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, power plants and clean water supplies, and causing $billions of devastation that will take 20 years to rebuild. And where is the money coming from? That’s right – from you and me.

It means turning a blind eye to the strangulation of the West Bank’s economy and the cruel 14-year blockade on Gaza. It means endorsing the denial of Palestinians’ right to self-determination and return to their homes. It means shrugging off the religious war that humiliates Muslims and Christians and prevents them visiting their holy places. It means meekly accepting a situation in which hard-pressed American and British taxpayers are having to subsidize Israel’s illegal occupation of the Holy Land.

And if, after all that, you are still Israel’s special friend, where is your self-respect?

Pandering to Israel has been immensely costly in blood and treasure and stupidly damaging to our reputation. Is it not ludicrous that a foreign military power which has no regard for international law and rejects weapons conventions and safeguards can exert such influence on foreign policy in the US and UK?

Everyone outside the Westminster/Washington bubble knows perfectly well that there can be no peace in the Holy Land without justice. In other words no peace until the occupation ends. Everyone knows that international law and countless UN resolutions still wait to be enforced. Everyone knows that Israel won’t comply unless sanctions are imposed. Everyone knows that the siege on Gaza won’t be lifted until warships are sent.

What’s more, everyone now knows that the US is not an honest broker, that Israel wants to keep the pot boiling and that justice won’t come from more sham ‘negotiations’. Nor will peace. Everyone knows who is the real cause of turmoil in the Middle East. And everyone knows that Her Majesty’s Government’s hand-wringing and empty words of ‘concern’ serve no purpose except to prolong the daily misery for Palestinians and buy time for Israel to complete its criminal scheme to make the occupation permanent.

And that is about to happen.

Can’t breathe!

For the last year Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been saying he’ll “extend sovereignty on all the settlements” including sites that have security importance or are important to Israel’s heritage. And that will include Hebron, Jericho and the Jordan Valley.

The move would be another major step in the fulfillment of the long-running Plan Dalet (otherwise known as Plan D) which was the Zionists’ blueprint for the violent takeover of the Palestinian homeland as a prelude to declaring Israeli statehood – which they did in May 1948. It was drawn up by the Jewish underground militia, the Haganah, at the behest of David Ben-Gurion, then boss of the Jewish Agency.

Plan D’s intention was not only to gain control of the areas of the Jewish state and defend its borders but also to control the areas of Jewish presence outside those borders and ensure “freedom of military and economic activity” by occupying important high-ground positions on a number of transport routes.

“Outside the borders of the state” was a curious thing to say when nobody would admit to where Israel’s borders actually ran, but the aim was to steal land that wasn’t allocated to Israel but was reserved for a Palestinian state on the 1947 UN Partition Plan map. Since then Israel has purposely kept its borders fluid in order to accommodate the Zionists’ perpetual lust for expansion into Palestinian and Syrian territory and eventual takeover.

No doubt with this in mind the Israeli government has confirmed the appointment of the pro-annexation Settlements Minister Tzipi Hotovely as Israel’s next ambassador to the UK. Hotovely is a religious-nationalist extremist committed to the ‘Greater Israel’ project.  As Minister of Settlement Affairs in the Israeli government many here will regard her as a war criminal. All Israeli settlements (a more appropriate word would be ‘squats’) in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and are considered illegal under international law. And many see Israel’s long-running squatter policy as a war crime for the simple reason that Article 8(2) of the Rome Statute defines “the transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory” as such “when committed as part of a plan or policy or as part of a large-scale commission of such crimes”.

Hotovely tends to run off at the mouth having criticised American Jews for not understanding the complexities of the region because “they never send their children to fight for their country, most of the Jews don’t have children serving as soldiers”. She herself slid out of compulsory military service by becoming an educational guide in Jerusalem and an emissary of the Jewish Agency in the United States.

She’s also keen to re-write New Israel’s sordid history: “We need to delete the word ‘occupation’ and we need to redefine the term ‘refugee’….” Hotovely rejects Palestinians’ hopes for statehood and instead dreams of a Greater Israel spanning the length and breadth of current Israel plus the Palestinian territories, saying “We need to return to the basic truth of our rights to this country…. This land is ours. All of it is ours. We did not come here to apologise for that.”

But what is the basic truth of her right to the land? She came there from the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic so a question that immediately springs to mind is: “What ancestral links does she have with the Holy Land? Has she had a DNA check-up? And what exactly gives her and her kind the right to lord it over the Palestinians who have been there all the time?”

In London she’ll replace Mark Regev, former Netanyahu spokesman and mastermind behind Israel’s propaganda programme of disinformation and dirty tricks. Under Regev’s watch in January 2017 a senior political officer at the Israeli embassy in London, Shai Masot, plotted with stooges among British MPs and other maggots in the rotting political woodwork to “take down” senior government figures including Boris Johnson’s deputy at the Foreign Office, Sir Alan Duncan.

Masot was almost certainly a Mossad asset. His hostile activities were revealed not, as one would have wished, by Britain’s own security services and media but an Al Jazeera undercover news team. Her Majesty’s Government’s response? “The UK has a strong relationship with Israel and we consider the matter closed.”

At a Labour Party conference fringe meeting Israel insider Miko Peled warned that “they are going to pull all the stops, they are going to smear, they are going to try anything they can to stop Corbyn…. the reason anti-Semitism is used is because they [the Israelis] have no argument….”

And that’s exactly what happened. Corbyn, a perceived threat to Israel’s cosy relationship with the UK, is now relegated to the sidelines.

Regev came to help silence criticism of the Israeli regime. Why the switch to lovely Tzipi? I’d say she’s here to smooth ruffled feelings caused by Israel’s latest planned land grab in the creeping annexation of the West Bank. And Regev, mission accomplished in the UK, is needed in Tel Aviv to defend Netanyahu from the ensuing flak if he goes ahead with annexation.

EU’s shame

Where does the EU stand in all this? A year ago one hundred and fifty-five European researchers and academics delivered a stinging rebuke to Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, and Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Science, Research & Innovation.

Their letter expressed the outrage felt throughout the world, and especially in European countries including the UK, at the EU’s policy of endlessly rewarding the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel. Perversely each new act of unspeakable brutality, each new onslaught of disproportionate force against civilians had brought fresh privileges, fresh co-operation, fresh embraces from an enthusiastic EU élite. The letter said among other things:

“In spite of continual and serious breaches of international law and violation of human rights, and regardless of the commitment for upholding human rights of European countries, Israel enjoys an exceptionally privileged status in dealing with Europe also through the Association Agreement and has been receiving grants from the European Commission in the area of research and innovation (FP7 and its successor Horizon 2020).

“Funds are granted even to Israeli arms producers such as Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd, the producers of lethal drones that were used in the Gaza military assaults against civilians, together with numerous academic institutions that have close ties with Israeli military industry.

“We appeal to the European Union to impose a comprehensive military embargo on Israel, as long as Israel continues to blatantly violate human rights. We are deeply disturbed that public funds contributed by European tax payers are channeled to a country that not only disregards human rights but also uses most advanced knowledge and technology for the very violation of human rights.”

The EU-Israel Association Agreement has a lot to answer for. It came into force in 2000 for the purpose of promoting (1) peace and security, (2) shared prosperity through, for example, the creation of a free trade zone, and (3) cross-cultural rapprochement. It governs not only EU-Israel relations but Israel’s relations with the EU’s other Mediterranean partners, including the Palestinian National Authority. To enjoy the Association’s privileges Israel undertook to show “respect for human rights and democratic principles” as set out as a general condition in Article 2, which says:

“Relations between the Parties, as well as all the provisions of the Agreement itself, shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which guides their internal and international policy and constitutes an essential element of this Agreement.”

Essential being the operative word.

Respecting human rights and democratic principles is not optional. Article 2 allows steps to be taken to enforce the contractual obligations regarding human rights and to dissuade partners from pursuing policies and practices that disrespect those rights. The Agreement also requires respect for self-determination of peoples and fundamental freedoms for all. Given Israel’s contempt for such principles the EU, had it been an honorable group, would have enforced Article 2 and not let matters slide. They would have suspended Israel’s membership until the regime fully complied. Israel relies heavily on exports to Europe so the EU could by now have forced an end to the brutal occupation of the Holy Land.

Rewarding annexation

Questions in the House of Commons last week revealed that the Government plans to host a UK-Israel trade and investment conference in London. One such question advertised the fact that “Israeli exports to the UK grew by 286% over the last decade, and bilateral trade levels are at a record high”. The Minister, Conor Burns, announced: “We strongly value our trading relationship with the State of Israel and are working closely with the Israeli government to implement the UK-Israel trade and partnership agreement.… We are working with the Israeli counterparts to host a UK-Israel trade and investment conference in London, which will have its primary focus on scoping out and identifying new opportunities and collaboration between Israel and the United Kingdom.”

Then Andrew Percy MP, a notorious stooge for Israel, asked the Secretary of State for International Trade what recent discussions she’d had with her counterpart in the Israeli government on a UK-Israel free trade deal. Ranil Jayawardena, answering for the Secretary of State, said that the UK-Israel Trade and Partnership Agreement, signed in February 2019, will enter into force at the end of the Transition Period in January 2021. It will allow businesses to trade as freely as they do now, without additional tariffs or barriers. “Total trade between the United Kingdom and Israel increased by 15 percent in 2019 to £5.1bn. We value this trade relationship and are committed to strengthening it, so we will seek to work with counterparts in the new Israeli government to host a bilateral trade and investment summit in London.”

So there’s still a desire at the heart of UK government to reward racist Israel, not only for its knee-on-the-neck brutality but even for a crime of such enormity as can’t-breathe annexation.

Questions to do with Erasing the History of Slavery and Colonial Abuse

 BY GILAD ATZMON

questions.jpg

Raised by Gilad Atzmon

Are the young Brits and Americans who genuinely feel guilty about the colonial and racist crimes of their white ancestors also willing to be subject to a special whites-only tax allocating a significant portion of their incomes to Black organizations so justice can, finally, prevail? Will these young White revolutionary spirits support, for instance,  a bill that prevents White people (including their parents of course) from passing their wealth to their offspring  so justice can be done and Black people can be  compensated for centuries of racist abuse?  I really am trying to figure out the true meaning of ‘White guilt,’ does it carry personal consequences? 

Since the history of the British Empire’s criminality is vast, I find myself wondering whether our guilt-ridden revolutionary youngsters also feel responsible for the situation in Palestine?  Are they going to push the British Government to put to an end to its ties with Israel until justice is restored in Palestine and the indigenous people of the land are invited to return to their villages and cities? Are those young British anti racists willing to come forward and apologise to the people of Pakistan or Ireland? And what about the people of Dresden? In short, I would like to know what, exactly, are the boundaries of this British post-colonial ‘ethical awakening’? 

I wonder whether those who insist upon toppling Churchill’s monuments are willing to accept the possibility that David Irving  might have been right all along in his reading of the British leader? 

Since the Left has fought an intensive and relentless battle against the notion of ‘historical revisionism,’ I wonder whether those who currently insist upon ‘setting the record straight’ understand that what they do de facto is revise the past. Is it possible that the Left has finally accepted that revisionism is the true meaning of historical thinking? 

Finally, are the youngsters who adhere to left and progressive values and insist  upon a better, more diverse and anti racist future willing to admit that there are a few Black slaves under the monopoly board? I ask because to date, not one Left or Progressive voice has come forward to state that this Mural is all about Black slavery and capitalists.

Global Capitalism, “World Government” and the Corona Crisis

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, June 03, 2020

Global Research 1 May 2020

When the Lie Becomes the Truth There is No Moving Backwards

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.

The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. (President Dwight D. Eisenhower, January 17, 1961)

***

The World is being misled concerning the causes and consequences of the corona crisis.

The COVID-19 crisis is marked by a public health “emergency” under WHO auspices which is being used as a pretext and a  justification to triggering a Worldwide process of economic, social and political restructuring. 

Social engineering is being applied. Governments are pressured into extending the lockdown, despite its devastating economic and social consequences.

What is happening is unprecedented in World history. 

Prominent scientists support the lockdown without batting an eyelid, as a “solution” to a global health emergency.

Amply documented, the estimates of the COVID-19 disease including mortality are grossly manipulated. 

In turn, people are obeying their governments. Why? Because they are afraid? 

Causes versus solutions?

The closing down of national economies applied Worldwide will inevitably result in poverty, mass unemployment and an increase in mortality. It’s an act of economic warfare. 

Stage One: Trade War against China

On January  30, 2020 the WHO Director General determined that the coronavirus outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The decision was taken on the basis of 150 confirmed cases outside China, First cases of person to person transmission: 6 cases in the US, 3 cases in Canada, 2 in the UK.

The WHO Director General had the backing of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Big Pharma and the World Economic Forum (WEF). The decision for the WHO to declare a Global Emergency was taken on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland  (January 21-24).

One day later (January 31) following the launch of the WHO Global Emergency, The Trump administration announced that it will deny entry to foreign nationals “who have traveled in China in the last 14 days”. This immediately triggered a crisis in air transportation, China-US trade as well as the tourism industry. Italy followed suit, cancelling all flights to China on January 31.

The first stage was accompanied by the disruption of trade relations with China as well as a partial closedown of export manufacturing sector.

A campaign was immediately launched against China as well ethnic Chinese. The Economist reported that

“The coronavirus spreads racism against and among ethnic Chinese”

“Britain’s Chinese community faces racism over coronavirus outbreak”

According to the SCMP:

“Chinese communities overseas are increasingly facing racist abuse and discrimination amid the coronavirus outbreak. Some ethnic Chinese people living in the UK say they experienced growing hostility because of the deadly virus that originated in China.”

And this phenomenon is happening all over the U.S.

Stage Two: The Financial Crash Spearheaded by Fear and Stock Market Manipulation

A global financial crisis unfolded in the course of the month of February culminating in a dramatic collapse of stock market values as well as a major decline in the value of crude oil.

This collapse was manipulated. It was the object of insider trading and foreknowledge. The fear campaign played a key role in the implementation of the stock market crash. In February, roughly $6 trillion have been wiped off the value of stock markets Worldwide. Massive losses of personal savings (e.g. of average Americans) have occurred not to mention corporate failures and bankruptcies. It was a bonanza for institutional speculators including corporate hedge funds. The financial meltdown has led to sizeable transfers of money wealth into the pockets of a handful of financial institutions.

Stage Three: Lockdown, Confinement, Closing Down of  the Global Economy

The financial crash in February was immediately followed by the lockdown in early March. The lockdown and confinement supported by social engineering was instrumental in the restructuring of the global economy. Applied almost simultaneously in a large number countries, the lockdown has triggered the closing down of the national economy, coupled with the destabilization of trade, transport and investment activities.

The pandemic constitutes an act of economic warfare against humanity which has resulted in global poverty and mass unemployment.

Politicians are lying. Neither the lockdown nor the closing down of national economies constitute a solution to the public health crisis.

Who Controls the Politicians?

Why are politicians lying?

They are the political instruments of the financial establishment including the “Ultra-rich philanthropists”. Their task is to carry out the global economic restructuring project which consists in freezing economic activity Worldwide.

In the case of the Democrats in the US, they are largely concerned in opposing the reopening of the US economy as part of the 2020 election campaign. This opposition to reopening the national and global economies is supported by “Big Money”.

Is it opportunism or stupidity. In all major regions of the World, politicians have been instructed by powerful financial interests to retain the lockdown and prevent the re-opening of the national economy.

The fear campaign prevails. Social distancing is enforced. The economy is closed down.  Totalitarian measures are being imposed. According to Dr. Pascal Sacré

… in some countries, patients can leave hospital by agreeing to wear an electronic bracelet. This is only a sample of all the totalitarian measures planned or even already decided by our governments in favor of the coronavirus crisis. It goes much further, it’s limitless and it affects a good part of the world, if not the whole world.
.

The “Herding Instincts” of Politicians

Are corrupt governments acting like “police dogs” with “herding instincts” going after their sheep.

Is “the herd” too scared to go after their “government”?

The analogy may be simplistic but nonetheless considered relevant by psychologists.

“Some breeds of dogs [corrupt politicians] have herding instincts that can be brought out with the right training and encouragement [bribes]. …. teach your dog [political proxy] basic obedience and see if it [he, she] displays herding tendencies. … Always look for a trainer who uses reward-based training methods [bribes, personal gain, political support, accession to high office]” (How to Teach Your Dog to Herd)

But there is another dimension. Politicians in high office responsible for “convincing their herd” actually believe the lies which are being imposed upon them by higher authority.

The lie becomes the truth. Politicians endorse the consensus, they enforce “social engineering”, they believe in their own lies.

It’s Not an Epidemic, It’s An Operation

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo  (slip of the tongue) tacitly admits in a somewhat contradictory statement that the COVID-19 is a “Live Exercise”, an “Operation”:

“This is not about retribution,… This matter is going forward — we are in a live exercise here to get this right.”

To which president Trump retorted “you should have told us”.

Those words will go down in history.

Geopolitics

Let us be under no illusions, this is a carefully planned operation. There is nothing spontaneous or accidental. Economic recession is engineered at national and global levels. In turn, this crisis is also integrated into US-NATO military and intelligence planning. It is intent not only upon weakening China, Russia and Iran, it also consists in destabilizing the economic fabric of the European Union (EU).

“Global Governance”

A new stage in the evolution of global capitalism is unfolding. A system of  “Global Governance” controlled by powerful financial interests including corporate foundations and Washington think tanks oversees decision-making at both the national and global levels. National governments become subordinate to “Global Governance”. The concept of World Government was raised by the late David Rockefeller at the Bilderberger Meeting, Baden Germany, June 1991: “We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost 40 years. … It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.” (quoted by Aspen Times, August 15, 2011, emphasis added) .In his Memoirs David Rockefeller states: .“Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure, one world if you will. If that is the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.” (Ibid) .The Global Governance scenario imposes a totalitarian agenda of social engineering and economic compliance. It constitutes an extension of the neoliberal policy framework imposed on both developing and developed countries. It consists in scrapping “national autodetermination” and constructing a Worldwide nexus of pro-US proxy regimes controlled by a “supranational sovereignty” (World Government) composed of leading financial institutions, billionaires and their philanthropic foundations. .The 2010 Rockefeller Foundation’s  “Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development Area” produced together with Global Business Monitoring Network, GBN) had already outlined the features of  Global Governance and the actions to be taken in relation to a Worldwide Pandemic.  The Rockefeller Foundation proposes the use of scenario planning as a means to carry out “global governance”..

The Report envisages (p 18) a simulation of a Lock Step scenario including a global virulent influenza strain:

.

“LOCK STEP: A world of tighter top-down government control and more authoritarian leadership, with limited innovation and growing citizen pushback In 2012, the pandemic that the world had been anticipating for years finally hit. Unlike 2009’s H1N1, this new influenza strain—originating from wild geese—was extremely virulent and deadly. Even the most pandemic-prepared nations were quickly overwhelmed when the virus streaked around the world, infecting nearly 20 percent of the global population and killing. 8 million in just seven months”

It is worth noting that this simulation was envisaged in the year following the 2009 H1N1 Swine flu Pandemic, which was revealed to be a totally corrupt endeavor under the auspices of the WHO in liaison the Big Pharma which developed a multibillion dollar vaccine program.


Remember the “Fake” 2009 H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic: Manipulating the Data to Justify a Worldwide Public Health Emergency

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, May 02, 2020 


“World Government”

Instructions are transmitted to national governments worldwide.  The fear campaign plays a crucial role in building acceptance and social submission to this “supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and bankers”..Global governance establishes a consensus which is then imposed on “sovereign” national governments Worldwide, described by David Rockefeller as “national auto-determination practiced in past centuries”.  Essentially, this is an extended form of “regime change”..Thousands of politicians and officials must be convinced and/or bribed for this operation to succeed. It’s an unsubtle form of “political arm twisting” (while respecting “social distancing”)..The decision to close down the global economy with a view to “saving lives” has not only been accepted as a means to combating the virus, it has been sustained by media disinformation and the fear campaign.

People do not question the consensus, a consensus which borders on the absurd.

.

Global Capitalism and “The Economic Landscape”

The crisis redefines the structure of the global economic landscape. It destabilizes small and medium sized enterprises Worldwide, it  precipitates entire sectors of the global economy including air travel, tourism, retail trade, manufacturing, etc. into bankruptcy.  The lockdown creates famine in developing countries. It has geopolitical implications.

The Pentagon and US intelligence are involved. The corona crisis affects to conduct of US-NATO led wars in the Middle East including Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and Yemen. It is also used to target specific countries including Iran and Venezuela.

This engineered crisis is unprecedented in world history. It is an act of war.

The lockdown triggers a process of disengagement of human and material resources from the productive process. The real economy is brought to a standstill. Curtailing economic activity undermines the “reproduction of real life”. This not only pertains to the actual production of the “necessities of life” (food, health, education, housing) it also pertains to the “reproduction” of  social relations, political institutions, culture, national identity. At the time of writing, the lockdown is not only triggering an economic crisis, it is also undermining and destroying the very fabric of civil society not to mention the nature of government and the institutions of the state (crippled by mounting debts), which will eventually be privatized under the supervision of Big Money creditors.

There are conflicts within the capitalist system which are rarely addressed by the mainstream media. Billionaires, powerful banking and financial institutions (which are creditors of both governments and corporations) are waging an undeclared war against the real economy. Whereas the Big Money financial and banking establishment are “creditors”, the  corporate entities of the real economy which are being destabilized and driven into bankruptcy are “debtors”.

Bankruptcies

This diabolical process is not limited to wiping out small and medium sized enterprises. Big Money is also the creditor of  large corporations (including airlines, hotel chains, hi tech labs, retailers, import-export firms, etc.) which are now on the verge of bankruptcy.

The global financial establishment is not monolithic. It is marked by divisions and rivalry. The dominant Big Money faction seeks to destabilize its competitors from within. The results of which would be a string of  bankruptcies of regional and national banking institutions as well as a process of global financial consolidation.

In the US, numerous retailers, airlines, restaurant and hotel chains filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February. But this is just the beginning. The big gush of bankruptcies will occur in the wake of the lockdown (“The New Normal”). And at the time of writing, the financial establishment is relentlessly pressuring (corrupt) national governments to postpone the lifting of the lockdown. And the governments are telling us that this is to “protect people against the virus”.

Canada’s province of Alberta which is largely dependent on oil revenues is bankrupt.

“Countries that represent over 50 per cent of the world’s global GDP are closed for business. Economists looking for historical comparisons mention the 1929 stock crash, the 1974 economic crisis or the 2008 recession. But they admit that these all fall short of the toll that this pandemic could have.” (Wired News UK, April 29, 2020

In Britain, recent reports state (It’s very British”) “we do not know how many have gone bankrupt”.

A chunk of Britain’s business landscape may have already been permanently erased, as some 21,000 more UK businesses collapsed in March alone than the same month a year ago, according to data gathered by the Enterprise Research Centre, a group of university researchers.

What these reports fail to mention are the unspoken causes: a fear campaign on behalf of the creditors, instructions by corrupt governments to close down the economy, allegedly to “save lives”, which is a big lie. Lives are not being saved, and they know it.

The coronavirus crisis “has ground U.S. business to a halt”. National economies are destabilized. The objective of Big Money is to weaken their competitors, “pick up the pieces” and eventually buy out or eliminate bankrupt corporations. And there are many to choose from.

Global Finance Capitalism

The interests of Big Money (global financial interests) overlap with those of Big Pharma, Big Oil, the Defense contractors, etc. Major banking institutions in the US including JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, State Street Co. and Goldman Sachs, are investing in the war economy including the development of nuclear weapons under Trump’s 1.2 trillion dollar nuclear weapons program (first established under Obama). 

The ultimate objective of “Big Money” is to transform nation states (with their own institutions and a national economy) into “open economic territories”. That was the fate of Iraq and Afghanistan. But now you can do it without sending in troops, by simply ordering subservient proxy governments integrated by corrupt politicians to close down their economy on humanitarian grounds, the so-called “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) without the need for military intervention.

Impossible to estimate or evaluate. More than half the global economy is disrupted or at a standstill.

Let’s be clear. This is an imperial agenda. What do the global financial elites want? To privatize the State? To own and privatize the entire planet?

The tendency is towards the centralization and concentration of economic power. Heavily indebted national governments are instruments of Big Money. They are proxies. Key political appointments are controlled by lobby groups representing Wall Street, The Military Industrial Complex, Big Pharma, Big Oil, the Corporate Media and the Digital Communications Giants, etc.

Big Money in Europe and America (through Washington Lobby groups) seek to control national governments.

In what direction are we going? What is the future of humanity? The current corona crisis is a sophisticated imperial project, which consists in Worldwide domination by a handful of multibillion dollar conglomerates. Is this World War III? Global capitalism is destroying national capitalism.

The unspoken intent of global capitalism is the destruction of the nation state and its institutions leading to global poverty on an unprecedented scale.

The following citation by Lenin dated December 1915 at the height of the First World War pointed with foresight to some of the contradictions which we are presently facing. On the other hand, we should understand that there are no easy solutions and that this crisis is intended to reinforce imperialism and the clutch of global capitalism:

“There is no doubt that the development is going in the direction of a single World trust which will swallow up all enterprises and all states without exception. But the development in this direction is proceeding under such stress, with such a tempo, with such contradictions, conflicts and convulsions not only economical, but political national, etc. etc — that before a single world trust will be reached, before the respective financial national capitals will have formed a “World Union” of ultra imperialism, imperialism will explode and capitalism will turn into its opposite.

(V. I. Lenin, Introduction to Imperialism and World Economy by N, Bukharin, Martin Lawrence, London, printed in the US, Russian Edition, November 1917)

How to reverse the tide. The first priority is to repeal the lie.

In this regard, it is unfortunate that many people who are “progressive” (including prominent Left intellectuals) are –despite the lies–  supportive of the lockdown and closing down of the economy as a solution to the public health emergency. That’s the stance of the Democratic Party in the US, which goes against common sense.

Truth is a powerful weapon for repealing the lies of the corporate media and the governments.

When the Lie Becomes the Truth There is No Moving Backwards

Without the fear campaign and media propaganda, the actions taken by our governments would not have a leg to stand on.

“Social Distancing” does not prevent the financial elites from providing instructions to corrupt politicians.

On the other hand, “social distancing” combined with confinement is being used as a means of social subordination. It prevents people from meeting as well as protesting this so-called New World Order.

Organization, Truth and Solidarity are essential to reversing the tide. The first step of a worldwide movement is “counter-propaganda”.


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2009 H1N1 Vaccine Caused Brain Damage in Children. Dr. Anthony Fauci on “Vaccine Safety” Issues

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, May 03, 2020

After the Lockdown: A Global Coronavirus Vaccination Program…

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, April 25, 2020The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2020

Professor Sunetra Gupta: ‘COVID Epidemic on Its Way Out’

Source

UnHerd: Sunetra Gupta, Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology at the University of Oxford and head of the team that released a study in March which speculated that as much as 50% of the population may already have been infected and the true Infection Fatality Rate could be as low as 0.1%. In her first major interview since the Oxford study was published, she goes further by arguing that Covid-19 has already passed through the population and is now on its way out. She said:

On antibodies:
• Many of the antibody tests are “extremely unreliable”
• They do not indicate the true level of exposure or level of immunity
• “Different countries have had different lockdown policies, and yet what we’ve observed is almost a uniform pattern of behaviour”
• “Much of the driving force was due to the build-up of immunity”

On IFR:
• “Infection Fatality Rate is less than 1 in 1000 and probably closer to 1 in 10,000.”
• That would be somewhere between 0.1% and 0.01%

On lock-down policy:
• Referring to the Imperial model: “Should we act on a possible worst case scenario, given the costs of lockdown? It seems to me that given that the costs of lockdown are mounting that case is becoming more and more fragile”
• Recommends “a more rapid exit from lockdown based more on certain heuristics, like who is dying and what is happening to the death rates”

On the UK Government response:
• “We might have done better by doing nothing at all, or at least by doing something different, which would have been to pay attention to protecting the vulnerable” On the R rate:
• It is “principally dependent on how many people are immune” and we don’t have that information.
• Deaths are the only reliable measure.

On New York:
• “When you have pockets of vulnerable people it might rip through those pockets in a way that it wouldn’t if the vulnerable people were more scattered within the general population.” On social distancing:
• “Remaining in a state of lockdown is extremely dangerous”
• “We used to live in a state approximating lockdown 100 years ago, and that was what created the conditions for the Spanish Flu to come in and kill 50m people.”

On next steps:
• “It is very dangerous to talk about lockdown without recognising the enormous costs that it has on other vulnerable sectors in the population”
• It is a “strong possibility” that if we return to full normal tomorrow — pubs, nightclubs, festivals — we would be fine.

On the politics of Covid:
• “There is a sort of libertarian argument for the release of lockdown, and I think it is unfortunate that those of us who feel we should think differently about lockdown”
• “The truth is that lockdown is a luxury, and it’s a luxury that the middle classes are enjoying and higher income countries are enjoying at the expense of the poor, the vulnerable and less developed countries.”

Watch this highly informative discussion with UnHerd host Freddie Sayer and Dr Gupta on the current status of the COVID-19 epidemic:

 

Amb. Jaafari to UNSC COVID Meeting: Stop Terror Virus against Syria

May 16, 2020 Miri Wood

unsc meeting covid 19 - Syria

Syria’s Ambassador Bashar al Jaafari addressed the UNSC ‘humanitarian bastards‘ meeting, 29 April, calling on the NATO P3 al Qaeda supporters to end savage unilateral economic coercion and reminding them that their terror virus needed more attention than their cover story of COVID concern.

Given a lengthy bathetic title, the meeting was held via video conference, reputedly as a precaution against contagion, though anonymous sources have the UN building had been completely sanitized by the numerous time it was flooded with the crocodile tears wept by the countries which have armed the criminally insane terrorists in Syria.

Leading with their bathetically artificial concern for COVID in Syria, the tripartite aggressors added neocolonial demands for compelled reopening of the al Yarubiyah crossing, lamentations over hospitals that do not exist, and ceasefire to their collective howling.

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NATO stenography media pretend this is normal.
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UN unindicted war criminals lead in coronavirus statistics, 15 May. Syria’s death total remains at 3.
Physician, heal thyself should come to mind.

As every honest diplomat knows, there can be no ceasefire without a formal declaration of war. In the unique situation of Syria — in which the filthiest of the filth, those countries which have dumped their human garbage into Syria, which have armed their human garbage in Syria, and whose media have written odes to the human garbage dumped into Syria and armed — there can only be a cessation of hostilities. Translating their Newspeak into reality-based language, the mobster gang demands that Syria cease protecting its citizens against NATO supported al Qaeda factions and cease to think of liberating up to three million Syrians entrapped in al-Qaeda’s last strong haven in the Idlib province by the Turkish madman Erdogan’s army and terrorists.

Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, His Excellency Vasily Nebenzya drolly explained to the NATO klan its collective error in use of “ceasefire.”
UNSC Video meeting on COVID 19 and sanctions against the Syrian people
A partial break from the P3’s Greek Chorus came via the Representative of Saint Vincent & the Grenadines [second from top, right] who called for the removal of unilateral coercive measures imposed on the SAR. She stopped short of reminding her colleagues that these are a breach of the UN Charter because a Security Council Resolution for sanctions is required to starve a member country.

One upon another, all of the P3 NATO klan and their tap-dancing House Servants functioned as hired mourners, in wailing, in gnashing of their teeth, and in rending their garments whilst suffering intractable grief for the Afrin carnage one day earlier, the spread of COVID — including the donning of the white man’s burden garb to rescue the Arab country, while their own are destroyed by the virus — and Syria’s “war-ravaged health care system.”

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Reported oil tanker detonation near Afrin market has killed & injured dozens in fire.

The NATO klansmen outed themselves as “the grandsons of Sykes-Picot who want to redo what their grandfathers did and divide further what was already divided and tear apart further what they can tear apart.

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Syria before the Roman occupiers began the carving. The last major imperial hacking was by the Sykes-Picot vermin, but their NATO grandsons want more.
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The proud, imperial, UN P3 grandsons want to further carve off more chunks of Syria, today. This time they use their fake concern for COVID.

Not one of the P3 klansmen, nor any of their underlings, mentioned that Afrin, Syria, has been under NATO Madman Erdogan’s troops and assorted al Qaeda mercenary occupation, which is a breach of International Law and of the UN Charter; the NATO tribesmen flout both during their every important anti-Syria Security Council event.

Syria News reminds our readers that when the P3 criminals against humanity mention hospitals and health care, they do not include actual hospitals and clinics, They have never held emergency Security Council meetings to condemn the terrorist destruction of al Kindi University Cancer Hospital, nor the FSA bombings of al Watan Hospital, nor the partial destruction of the Jisr al Shughur National Hospital.

US-sponsored terrorists bombed al-Kindi Hospital in Aleppo December 2013
US-sponsored terrorists bombed al-Kindi Hospital in Aleppo December 2013

When the world leaders in war crimes– France, US, UK — occupying the UNSC say “hospital,” they actually mean unhospitalUnhospitals are any places — stolen homes, tunnels, caves, abandoned buildings, ancient ruins, CGI’s — that al Qaeda savages, illegals (including Mengele-types bragging about practicing medicine without licensure, and surgeries without anesthesia) and assorted human detritus claim to be medical facilities, and it is about these that the UN fake humanitarians criminally identify as “health care” facilities.

Ancient ruin declared a bombed hospital by NATO media.

The US, UK, and French unindicted war criminals did not mention that Syria is war-ravaged because they have dumped their human pathogens into the Levantine republic, and armed them with NATO weapons, and fueled their depraved, joint, psychosis with Captagon. Nor did they mention that they, the humanitarian bastards have also created the humanitarian crisis in Syria, with their illicit, draconian, economic terrorism they call sanctions which actually require a UN Security Council Resolution, which means these criminals are in breach of the UN Charter to which they are signatories.

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These terrorists left their flags outside, not wanting to soil them with the blood of the Syrian women they slaughtered.

While flooding the building with crocodile tears under the white man’s burden of protecting Syrian Arabs from COVID, the Axis of Evil P3 Devil’s Ambassadors — and their tap-dancing, Greek Chorus House Servants — renewed their paraphilia-like obsessive demands for the imperialists’ forced opening of the Yarubiyeh crossing from Iraq, under the scam of providing humanitarian aid for Syrians whose country has been destroyed by these same imperial NATO thugs.

As memories have been intentionally shrunk by the onslaught of NATO stenography journalists who got perfect scores their Operation Mockingbird course, we must refresh the human mind with reality dating way back to July 2014, in order to expose the ongoing Goebbels Lie regarding the continuing paraphiliac obsession and fake COVID – related need to crush Syria’s sovereignty by opening its borders to the rat pack.

We offer two screengrabs from the same Reuters writer – the Reuters that was established before the births of most of the great-grandparents of our readership — flouting liarship impunity. On 22 February, Reuters pimped the P3 demand to reopen the al Yaarubiyah crossing from Iraq, and arrogantly lied that “Russia and China blocked the world body from using a crossing point on the Iraqi border to provide help.”

Reuters implementation of the Goebbels Big Lie, 22 February.

UNSCR 2504 was passed on 10 January, in what may be the largest Pontius Pilate abstention votes in the history of the United Nations: The US, UK, Russia, and China all withheld their votes. At the UN, abstentions are counted as “yes” votes.

This vote predated the COVID pandemic in NATO countries.

Reuters re-ran its lie to coincide with the 29 April NATO humanitarian bastards flooding the building with their crocodile tears and their colonial cross-bearing to fraudulently protect Syrians against COVID in the SAR, while their own people suffer under draconian lockdown, food shortages, criminally enforced isolation — which can quickly become desolation — shortages of PPE, destruction of health care infrastructure.

Reuters repeated its lie when reporting on the invisible WHO report that has not been made available to us mere mortals. This service, by the way, appears to occasionally put spies on its payroll.

The Pontius Pilate passage of UNSCR 2504 (2020) was a colonial compromise, both a watered-down version of UNSCR 2165 (2014) and a six-month extension given to NATO supported terrorists in Idlib.

Thought the UN Charter is clear on the inviolability of sovereign rights of member states, UNSCR 2165 (2014) and extensions UNSCR 2393 (2017), UNSCR 2449 (2018) all violated Syria’s territorial integrity.

Beginning with 2165, these resolutions permitting breach of Syrian sovereignty have provided terrorists with weapons — including of a chemical nature — finance, and the ability to smuggle out Syrian oil, artifacts, and property; Jabhat al Nusra terrorists occupying Idlib, have received their life line from Turkey, especially.

Not long after the passage of UNSCR 2165 (2014), Turkey celebrated the breach of Syria’s territorial rights by transporting poisoned measles vaccines to human garbage in Idlib — via the Bab al Hawa fake humanitarian corridor — which were used to murder approximately fifty Syrian children. Bab al Hawa is the Turkish route that Press TV journalist Serena Shim reported used for transporting weapons and terrorists in convoys covered by the World Food ProgrammeShim subsequently was killed in a convenient vehicular accident.

A conspicuous section of UNSCR 2165 (2014) shows the affinity to Yaarubiyah crossing pre-dates the phony COVID concerns by almost six years.

The author provides another four maps to explain that the spawns of Beelzebub paraphilia to Yarubiyah has nothing to do with COVID, but everything to do with Sykes-Picot idolatry.

From the still opened Bab al Hawa crossing, Madman Erdogan can continue to transport weapons and terrorists into Idlib, and into Aleppo countryside. The caliph-wannabe launched aerial and ground bombings of Hasakah governate in early October, all of which were either ignored or cheered by the NATO klan mob at the UN. Similarly, the phony Trump haters have been struck dumb over his ongoing military incursions into Qamishli since 7 August.

The illicit Erdogan regime troops have criminally occupied part of al Hasakah post-October bombings. The illicit Trump regime troops come and go as they please (except when chased by very tall Syrians who tear the criminal flags from the criminal tanks).

These maps are provided to show the malignant intention of the UN NATO club plot to hack off another chunk of the Levantine republic, so that Madman Erdogan might get his criminal annexation. The creative chaos of the phony Trump betrayal of traitor/separatist/Obama-created SDF Kurds and Erdogan’s hatred of the separatist Kurds is more readily grasped in the study of these maps which demonstrate how the two unindicted war criminal regimes are working for the same Sykes-Picot updated for the neo-imperialists.

In the early days of the foreign war of terror against Syria, the Obama State Department gave frequent press conferences in which the criminal attacks against the State by the YPG would be cheered. Given the YPG is ‘military arm’ of the PKK which is actually on the US terror list, United States Special Forces Commander Gen. Raymond A. Thomas declared the name change was required (the various flags of the many armed terrorists against Syria, here. They include photos of US-approved terrorists with US-unapproved terrorists.)

The re-marketed, YPG-cum-SDF Obama regime creation was such a hit with western colonial serfs that they missed the fact that Obama actually put together a NATO wetworker run SDF — advertised as a ‘minority’ fighting against the also the US – created ISIS terrorists.

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Bab al Hawi humanitarian bastards corridor.
Note the colonial appropriation of the map-maker: Ain al Arab is the Syrian town in which the German “Kobane” company built a station.
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Al Walid crossing used by Trump regime troops to illegally enter the Syrian Arab Republic, in military convoys.
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Al Yaarubiyah crossing that every rabid dog of war in the UN has screamed to reopen, since it was closed by UNSCR 2504 (2020). How many foreign PMC’s are in Erbil?
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Trump regime illegal American troops have used al Walid crossing for entry into Qamishli since 7 August 2019.
Turkish madman and caliph wannabe Erdogan
Erdogan holding his annexation map at the recent UNGA meeting. There were no complaints from the west on this plan to breach international law.

The audio for the video conference on the phony concern for COVID in Syria was inconsistent in volume, a problem exacerbated by the struggle to understand enough of the non-native English speakers to have wished that French were still the lingua franca of diplomacy.

The involvement of the draconian Treaty of Versailles in diplomatic language was a painfully ironic coincidence, given that Germany has become one of those House Servants against Syria. For those needing a reminder in Germany’s unindicted war crimes against Syria, see here, & here.

There is an expression about being able to trust a thief, but not a liar, which is an appropriate introduction for Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, and first to address the most recent cover story of the NATO gang for humanitarian excuses, COVID. As he has been previously exposed before the Council as a liar, there is no need to discuss the liar’s COVID concerns.

Syria UN Jaafari Humanitarian Aid Delivered by SARC Syrian Arab Red Crescent - السفير بشار الجعفري حول المساعدات الإنسانية المقدمة من الهلال الأحمر العربي السوري - مجلس الأمن الدولي
Addressing Mark Lowcock’s “falsified” stats at UNSC, Ambassador Jaafari shows documentation for SARC convoys in 2018. [Archive]

The UN Spec Envoy, Norwegian Geir O. Pedersen, affixed to Syria via some preposition (on? above? around? at?) remained stoic whilst claiming that COVID 19 and its ramifications will become a multiplier of humanitarian needs in Syria. Essentially his speech was the same as the one he gave in March, when the UN held a tutorial on applying the philosophy of Goebbels to re-colonizing Syria. Norway continues its draconian lockdown of its citizenry and of its borders while audaciously declaring its self-appointed right to enter the Syrian Arab Republic.

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Syria’s COVID statistics 28 April.

The 29 April anti-Syria Sykes-Picot Award should go to Estonia’s deputy diplomat, Gert Auväärt. Perhaps he should also receive the Aesop’s Fable The Young Crab & His Mother Award for smarmy hypocrisy. Despite Auväärt’s Estonia — population a tiny 1.328 million — not doing too well in the COVID battle, sealing off its borders, and imposing a draconian lockdown on its people, this gentleman did not choke on his demands that Syria opens its borders, and its jails, on account of COVID.

Estonia, by the way, is in the bottom rungs of the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development, which should not come as a shock, given the income disparity in his little forest, where the top 20% of the most affluent make five times more than the bottom 20% of the least affluent. It is not, therefore, a surprise that this deputy diplomat stated his satisfaction with the illicit economic terrorism against Syria.

Those countries that break out from the former eastern block become more radical in their enmity to their former allies in order to submit their papers of acceptance to the new club: NATO, EU, the U.S.F.S.: United States Faithful Servants, and the International Monetary Funds slaves.

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has officially (and wrongfully) called for a ceasefire in Syria, and has officially complained that the al Yaarubiya crossing was closed. He has not condemned the war crimes against Syria by NATO countries. This photographs show his moral character.

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Guterres with Tony Blair at the 1999 Socialist International conference.

Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, H.E. Bashar al Jaafari addressed the NATO clan’s “pretentious care and lethal affection” regarding the artificial concern for COVID in the SAR, while engaged in a “sinful war against my country.”

— Miri Wood

It’s No Accident Britain And America Are the World’s Biggest Coronavirus Losers

It’s No Accident Britain And America Are the World’s Biggest Coronavirus Losers

By Nesrine Malik – The Guardian

There’s something profound about the irony. The world’s highest coronavirus death tolls belong to two countries whose leaders came to power promising the restoration of greatness and control – the United States and Great Britain. Neither can claim to have been caught by surprise: both nations had the benefit of time, ample scientific warnings, and the cautionary examples of China and Italy.

The similarities are striking, the conclusions unavoidable. Here in the UK, we comforted ourselves with the belief that while our own buffoonish rightwing leader had his faults, at least he was no Donald Trump. But in the end, Boris Johnson has managed to stumble over even this lowest of hurdles. The UK government’s response to the crisis has turned out to be nearly as flippant and ill-prepared as the US’s.

Two nations that prided themselves on their extraordinary economic, historical and political status have been brought to their knees. Their fall from grace is the outcome of a damaged political culture and distinct form of Anglo-American capitalism.

Over the past four years, reckless political decisions were justified by subordinating reality to rhetoric. The cost of leaving the EU would be “virtually nil”, with a free trade agreement that would be one of the “easiest in human history”. Imaginary enemies were erected and fake fights confected as both countries pugnaciously went about severing their ties with other nations and international institutions.

Political discourse focused on grand abstract notions of rebirth and restoration, in a way that required few concrete deliverables. All the Tory government needed to do was Get Brexit Done, no matter how slapdash the job. In the US, all Trump needed to do to maintain his supporters’ loyalty was bark about a wall with Mexico every now and then, pass a racist travel ban, and savage various public figures for sport.

This is corrosive stuff – not only to the quality of public debate, but to the caliber of politicians. When the business of government becomes limited to populist set pieces, its ranks are purged of doers and populated instead with cheerleaders. This is how we ended up with the current cast of dazed-in-headlights Tory cabinet members. In the US, the very notion of an “administration” has been worn away. As the New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen puts it, “There is no White House. Not in the sense that journalists have always used that term. It’s just Trump – and people who work in the building.”

By the time Covid-19 hit their shores, the UK and US were lacking not just the politicians but the bureaucracies required to respond effectively. Prior to the crisis, Trump repeatedly attempted to defund the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]. In the UK, the pandemic inconvenienced a Tory cabinet embroiled in a feud with its own civil service. The intellectual and practical infrastructure to deal with facts had been vandalized.

But there is a longer, non-partisan history that rendered both nations incapable of an adequate response to the pandemic. The special relationship is not just one of linguistic and cultural proximity, but an ideological partnership forged in the post-second world war era. Anglo-American capitalism, pursued by both right and center-left parties, rooted in small government and powered by exceptionalism, had dismantled the state. No notice or warning could have refashioned the machinery of government quickly enough to save lives. An economic and political model that hinges on privatization, liberalization and the withdrawal of labor rights created a system prone to regular crises, despite such shocks being framed as one-offs.

The economic and regulatory kinship was strengthened by the transformation of Britain’s quaint and mercantile financial sector into a replica of the US’s aggressive markets. The City caught up with Wall Street.

An interventionist foreign policy – publicly moralistic but privately cynical – gave the model an expansionist edge, which helped both nations project power abroad and defend their own financial and political interests. But the wars led to quagmires, and the rapidly expanding financial sectors to economic near-death experiences. Neither triggered significant rethinking or reflection. After the 2008 financial crisis, when this system came within “48 hours” of the “apocalypse”, two center-left leaders, Barack Obama and Gordon Brown, chose to shore up the infrastructure that had brought their economies to the brink, recapitalizing the banks and revitalizing the markets, opting for more regulation rather than fundamental reform.

Just as the financial crash was treated as the malfunctioning of a particular unsupervised bug in the system rather than as a feature of it, so is the failure to grapple with the pandemic being cast as an unforeseen, exogenous event, rather than a result of an ideology that enables the state to scramble unprecedented resources to save banks but not lives. A nurse will wear a bin liner as PPE in the US for longer than a failing bank can go unfinanced.

Hollow triumphalism about making America great again and Britain taking back control becomes more and more likely in such a system. Trump and the Tories alighted on this formula not entirely out of mendacity or ideology. Without radically challenging Anglo-American capitalism, they have nothing else to offer their voters. And so they must separate economic suffering from politics, and attempt to blame it on immigrants and outsiders. They must blame other countries and international institutions – the EU, WHO, NATO – for the feelings of helplessness experienced by their own citizens. The swagger is a facade. Behind it hides a rotting national landscape.

As the bodies pile up, the failure of the US and the UK will be somehow spun into victory. The triumphalism will intensify; that is certain. The only question now is how many will continue to believe it.

SCIENTIST BEHIND “LOCKDOWN” DOESN’T ACTUALLY BELIEVE IN, OR ABIDE BY, HIS OWN FEAR PORN ADVICE

Source

Eva Bartlett

Scientist who promoted the lockdown doesn’t actually believe in the need for physical distancing. Shocker

Alrighty. If lockdowns are soooo necessary to save the world from Covid, why did the man behind the UK lockdown hypocritically violate it (for sex, okay, urges, we get it)?For people who are unwillingly imprisoned in their homes, doesn’t this piss you right off?

Double-standards. And he isn’t the only one. Canada’s Trudeau violated his own “stay home” warning, saying “enough is enough! Go home and stay home!”

Justin Trudeau’s a ‘giant hypocrite’ for going to the cottage after saying physical-distancing rules are for everyone:

“Trudeau also crossed provincial boundaries. (Harrington Lake is in Quebec.) Another no-no.

And he brought with him his security detail and serving staff — an entire royal entourage — which means he brought with him more than a dozen potentially infected people.

Public health officials in Ottawa — Trudeau’s home base — are threatening to crack down on driveway parties and over-the-fence conversations while Trudeau galivants about having Easter egg hunts and posting charming photos to social media…”

Corbett:

“This is about the person–one of the key architects of this lockdown madness that has spread around much of the world–it shows by his actions, not what he says but by his actions, shows that this is nonsense, that he doesn’t believe these things that he is preaching. That is the important part of this.

It’s about the fact that they lied to you, this person is outright lying to you he shows by his actions that this is not necessary, but he’s telling you to do it now. You guys should do this I’m not gonna do it but you guys should do it because you guys it’s very important that you guys do it…

So he’s showing by his actions that this is a lie.

There are many many examples that are popping up of politicians and health experts and all of these people who are telling you to lock down who are not socially distancing and doing all the rules that they’re telling you to do…”

When is enough enough? What is your line in the sand, as people around the world actually starve, suffer, get depressed, have their immune systems suppressed…and much more under lockdowns? Further, as I’ve written a lot by now, Syria did not choose to lock down. Yes a partial curfew, 7:30 pm to 6 am, but otherwise, no enforced physical distancing, to the contrary, markets are crowded, people kissing cheeks in greeting, friends hugging…normality and healthy interactions.

My thoughts on Syria’s response to Covid19:–Syria is not under lockdown, is not the dystopian society of war propagandistsDamascus walks, April 26-28, Stores Re-Opened, Life in Streets

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OPCW head falsely describes Syria whistleblower to discredit them: Greyzone

By News Desk -2020-05-07

New documents leaked from the global chemical watchdog show that two inspectors blowing the whistle about the 2018 Douma incident in Syria were right, and the director seeking to discredit them was wrong.

Two inspectors with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have challenged the organization’s final report on the April 2018 incident, which they say was altered to dismiss their findings and validate after the fact the US, UK and French missile strikes against the government in Damascus.

OPCW Director General Fernando Arias responded earlier this year by describing them as “rogue” inspectors who weren’t even members of the mission. Documents obtained by investigative journalist Aaron Mate at Greyzone, however, show that Arias’ statements were false or misleading.

Arias claimed that South African inspector Ian Henderson was “not a member” of the fact-finding mission (FFM) dispatched to Douma, and that he had played a “minor supporting role.”

However, the documents from April 2018 obtained by the Grayzone show that OPCW directors were “happy” to have Henderson lead the visits to the most important locations in Douma: the hospital and the sites of alleged chlorine cylinder impact, for instance.

Another document, described as a sensitive security-planning memorandum known as CONOPS, lists Henderson as part of the FFM under the section “Mission Personnel.”

Last, but not least, the “F038” memorandum to the Syrian government lists Henderson as “part of the team conducting the technical secretariat visits,” notifying Damascus of his role. Henderson has previously explained publicly that he was on a mission in Nepal, and was assigned to Douma immediately upon his return.

Moreover, another OPCW document shows that Henderson took over the OPCW Damascus command post on May 3, 2018 – two days after returning from Douma.

This goes directly against Arias’ version of events, according to which Henderson was already in Damascus, happened to play a minor role in the Douma mission, and then went “rogue” to sabotage the organization for reasons unknown.

Henderson and another whistleblower inspector – who remains anonymous – have said for months that they had not gone rogue, but were sidelined by OPCW because they produced evidence suggesting the Douma incident had been staged by the Army of Islam militants who controlled the area at the time.

The final OPCW report, they contend, was doctored to retroactively justify the US, UK and French missile strikes and enable them to blame Damascus.

The OPCW responded to their revelations by painting them as disgruntled employees who breached confidentiality and lacked expertise and access to all the evidence. Their own documents now clearly show those statements to be false.

Source: RT

See also

Is Imperial College still Open for Business?

 BY GILAD ATZMON

Imperial College_edited-1.jpg

By Gilad Atzmon 

Back in the 1960s, the British academic establishment was rather excited about the work of Karl Popper, the philosopher who developed the concept of empirical falsification.  Popper was keen to define the demarcation between the scientific and that which only mimics empiricism and scientism. A theory, according to Popper, can be considered scientific if, and only if, it is potentially falsifiable by experiments or its predictions.  Popper attempted to create criteria that would deny psychoanalysis, Marxism and astrology any scientific status based on the fact that these theories are not falsifiable.

One may wonder what Popper would have to say about the ‘science’ of Neil Ferguson, the man who predicted up to 550.000 Coronavirus dead in the UK and 2.2 million dead in the USA.

On 29 April, Off-Guardian published what I believe to be the most insightful criticism of the lockdown policy so far. In the article Iain Davis digs into the work or shall we say, blunders, he attributes to Ferguson.   Davis writes, “both Public Health England (PHE) and the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) were satisfied that COVID-19 (C19) presented a ‘low risk’ of mortality and downgraded it from the status of a High Consequence Infectious Disease (HCID) on March 19th. The ACDP board members include Professor Neil Ferguson from Imperial College. Presumably Prof. Ferguson was among the dissenting voices on the ACDP board as he completely ignored the majority opinion of his scientific colleagues.”

There is nothing wrong in holding a dissenting scientific view, however, this specific  ‘dissenting view’ and the way it was implemented by the UK and the USA governments appears to have led America, Britain and the rest of the world to respond in a way that created a catastrophe of a previously unknown scale.  

“In an interview on 13th February, widely reported by the mainstream media ,” Davis writes, “he (Ferguson) stated his predictive models were ‘not absurd.’ He said that infection rates of 60% of the population with a 1% mortality rate were possible. Standing by his prediction of 400,000 C19 deaths in the UK. The Imperial College computer model report was released to the public on 16th March, predicting huge numbers of deaths from C19. By the 19th March Prof. Ferguson must have known a majority of his peers disagreed with him.”

Davis points out that Ferguson failed to implement the most basic of scientific procedures, namely allowing a peer review of his ‘predictions,’ making sure that one or more people with similar competence in epidemiology evaluate what we now know to have been the grossly exaggerated Imperial College models and predictions.

Watch what  Swedish expert Prof. Johan Giesecke has to say about Britain’s favourite epidemiologist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfN2JWifLCY&feature=emb_title

Davis reveals that “when it comes to wildly inaccurate predictions Prof. Ferguson’s work at Imperial College has a long and distinguished history. In 2002, he said that (up to) 50,000 people in the UK would die from ‘mad cow disease’, to date less than 200 have passed away; he predicted 200 million global deaths from the H5N1 bird flu. Currently it is a suspected factor in the deaths of 455 people world wide; in 2009 he told the UK Government that 65,000 could die from swine flu in the UK and worked with the World Health Organisation to predict millions of deaths from the H1N1 global flu pandemic*.”

You may ask what kind of scientists are mistaken in their predictions by factors of  200 or more?  What kind of an academic institution would provide such a scientist with a platform, let alone having him lead a department? And the questions go far deeper. Davis writes, “while Prof. Ferguson and his Imperial College colleagues have been consistently wrong they have also been unquestioningly believed by governments and intergovernmental bodies on every occasion. Seemingly without reservation. Despite the clear evidence to the contrary, policy makers from all political parties have shown tremendous loyalty to Imperial College’s silly data models. In doing so, they have not only ignored the researchers’ woeful history of failed predictions but have also denied the scientific evidence which usually contradicts them.”

 Davis is not alone. On April 28th  F. William Engdahl expressed very similar concerns re Neil Ferguson, his reputation and his past ‘models.’ “In 2005,” Engdahl writes,  “Ferguson claimed that up to 200 million (!) people worldwide would be killed by bird-flu or H5N1. By early 2006, the WHO had only linked 78 deaths to the virus.”

I am not in any position to assess the true danger to us of C19 or our response to it. But simple common sense tells us that the only reliable scientific fact about our British leading epidemiologist team is the uncomfortable fact that it has often been wrong and by a huge margin.

In an unreserved manner Engdahl suggests that, “the same Ferguson group at Imperial College, with WHO endorsement, was behind the panic numbers that triggered a UK government lockdown. Ferguson was also the source of the wild ‘prediction’ that 2.2 million Americans would likely die if immediate lockdown of the US economy did not occur. Based on the Ferguson model, Dr Anthony Fauci of NIAID reportedly confronted President Trump and pressured him to declare a national health emergency. Much as in the UK, once the damage to the economy was begun, Ferguson’s model later drastically lowered the US fatality estimates to between 100,000 to 200,000 deaths. In both US and UK cases Neil Ferguson relied on data from the Chinese government, data which has been shown as unreliable.

 How would Neil Ferguson and his Imperial College group score on Popper’s falsifiability test? Not well.

 In Popperian terms, what Ferguson and his Imperial College team produce has little to do with science, as it does not even attempt to produce a clear criteria for falsification. ‘Predictions’ of ‘possible’ death that fluctuate widely from 50-200.000 in the case of Mad Cow Disease or from 20.000 -500.000 in the case of C19 cannot be considered ‘falsifiable’ scientifically as the range is too broad to validate one theoretical calculative model over another. The models at play, so it seems, include too many ‘if’ variables, possibly to cover their author’s reputation rather than to produce something that resembles a verifiable prediction.

The next question is why anyone in Britain or the USA  takes such ‘science’ seriously. One wonders what is it that has led Britain and its academia to lose touch with the core scientific ethos?   

As upsetting as it may be for some progressives, even Donald Trump/White House’s  Corona model is more reliable and scientific than the numerical exercise produced by Britain’s most prestigious academic institute.

Yet despite the fact that Imperial College and Ferguson have apparently  pulled Britain and the USA into total financial chaos and of a humongous magnitude, Imperial College is still open for business. In spite of the disaster it inflicted on the world it still describes itself as “a global top ten university with a world-class reputation in science, engineering, business and medicine.” I believe that not many academic institutes could compete with Imperial College in inflicting global scientific disasters. To the best of my knowledge, Imperial College’s epidemiology team has yet to be questioned by law enforcement about the theoretical grounds and the evidence at the core of its phantasmic predictions.

Engdahl reports that “Neil Ferguson and his modelling group at Imperial College, in addition to being backed by WHO, receive millions from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Ferguson heads the Vaccine Impact Modelling Consortium at Imperial College which lists as its funders the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Gates-backed GAVI-the vaccine alliance. From 2006 through 2018 the Gates Foundation has invested an impressive $184,872,226.99** into Ferguson’s Imperial College modelling operations.”

Let’s learn from Neil Ferguson about Imperial College’s partnership with the Gates Foundation and Governments around the world: https://youtu.be/e7Xwlv_wZwU?t=199

In 2002, Arnold S. Relman, then a professor of medicine at Harvard University suggested that  ‘’the medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country [USA]  are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful.’’

Maybe, judging Ferguson, Imperial College or any other ‘scientific’ institution in Popperian terms  misses the point. What  matters to such academic institutions is the amount they can amass from oligarchs, industries, bankers and corporations.  This raises the question, what do they give in return? We are basically dealing with Western civilization prostituting its prime intellectual asset, namely its scientific ethos. 

If there is a lesson to be drawn from the C19 crisis at this stage, it is that universities, academia and science must be separated from all forms of mammon and mammonites. The word ‘university’ is derived from the Latin word universitas meaning: the whole, total, the universe, the world.  Universitas  were initially communities of teachers and scholars committed to knowledge and its seeking rather than an extended apparatus attached to pharmaceutical conglomerates, food chains, bankers  and other symptoms of the capitalist universe. 

For  Western civilization to survive it must reinstate its Athenian roots and its commitment to truth seeking.  We should, once again learn to differentiate and understand the crude tension between science and technology, between those who unveil the concealed and those who act to appropriate nature and turn every possible occurrence, including corona virus, into a money making machine.

 One great philosopher put a lot of work into the understanding of the tension between science and technology or shall we say, between truth and its instrumentalization. I am referring to Martin Heidegger, the philosopher the Guardians of Judea do not think you should pay any attention to.

 In my next article I will examine the role of Imperial College and its  C19 ‘epidemiology’ in light of the prophecy left to us by Heidegger’s legacy.

 *To read another detail account of Neil Ferguson’s prediction history read The Ferguson Effect by Scott Johnson

 ** GA: though I have seen references to this sum repeatedly mentioned on different outlets, I see the need to mention that I myself didn’t see any official reference that indicates that this number is actually genuine.

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ألمانيا فعلتها: فمَن بعدَها!

د. عدنان منصور

لم يكن القرار الألمانيّ المنحاز، يوم 30 نيسان 2020، القاضي بوضع الجناح السياسي لحزب الله على لائحة الإرهاب، بعد أن اقتصر التصنيف في السابق على الجناح العسكري للحزب، مفاجئاً لمن يتتبع تطوّرات وملابسات هذا القرار الظالم، بحق حزب مقاوم للاحتلال والإرهاب. إلا انّ القرار الألماني يثير ويطرح بشكل مباشر وغير مباشر أموراً عدة، لا بدّ من تسليط الضوء عليها وأبرزها:

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ـ مما لا شكّ فيه، أنّ الضغوط المتواصلة، الأميركية والإسرائيلية، واللوبيات الصهيونية العاملة بكلّ قوة داخل ألمانيا، ودول الاتحاد الأوروبي، لم تتوقف يوماً، ومنذ سنوات، من أجل حمل ألمانيا على اتخاذ إجراء صارم ضدّ حزب الله. فاليمين المتطرف المتمثل بنواب، وأحزاب، وسياسيين، وإعلاميين، كان يدفع باتجاه قرار كهذا. كانت الأجواء في الداخل الألماني، مهيّأة لتصبّ في هذا الإطار، خاصة أنه سبقت القرار مناقشة البوندستاغ ـ البرلمان الألمانيّ ـ للمرة الأولى، يوم 6 حزيران 2019، لمقترح تقدّم به حزب «البديل لأجل ألمانيا»، يطلب فيه فرض حظر على حزب الله اللبناني. أحال الحزب الطلب، الى لجنة الشؤون الداخلية والوطنية في البرلمان، لمزيد من النقاش وإبداء الرأي. وقد استند الحزب في طلبه، الى «أنّ حزب الله حزب شيعي إسلامي لبناني، يرفض حق إسرائيل في الوجود»، وأنه «ينشط في قتال مسلح إرهابي ضدّ إسرائيل»، وأنه «يشكل تهديداً للنظام الدستوري لألمانيا»، طالباً من الحكومة الاتحادية، إصدار الحظر وتنفيذه فوراً.

تجدر الإشارة، الى انّ وزير الدولة الألماني فيلز اينان، أعلن في شهر آذار عام 2019، لمجلة «دير شبيغل»، انّ حزب الله لا يزال مكوناً أساسياً في المجتمع اللبناني، وعبّر عن رفض ألمانيا إدراج الحزب في قائمة المنظمات المحظورة، ولو انّ الاتحاد الأوروبي وضع الجناح العسكري للحزب عام 2013 على لائحة المنظمات المحظورة.

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ـ سبق لبريطانيا التي صنّفت الجناح العسكري لحزب الله، عام 2001 و2008 على لائحة المنظمات الإرهابية. ونتيجة لضغوط الولايات المتحدة و«إسرائيل» واللوبي الصهيوني عليها، اعتبر وزير الداخلية البريطانية، ساجيد جافيد، النائب عن حزب المحافظين الحاكم، وهو من أبرز وأشدّ داعمي وناشطي اللوبي اليهودي المعروف بـ «أصدقاء إسرائيل» (CFI)، ويكنّ عداء مكشوفاً ومطلقاً تجاه إيران وسورية وحزب الله، حيث كال في بيان صحافي له، اتهامات لحزب الله، بأنه يزعزع استقرار الوضع الهشّ في الشرق الأوسط، وأنه يصعب التفريق بين الجناح العسكري والجناح السياسي للحزب، لذلك اتخذ قراراً بحظر المجموعة كلها.

القرار البريطاني هذا، دفع بوزير الخارجية الأميركي مايك بومبيو في شهر أيار، ليحثّ ألمانيا كي تحذو حذو بريطانيا في هذا المجال.

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ـ تعوّل الولايات المتحدة، ومعها «إسرائيل» واللوبيات اليهودية في دول أوروبا، على تفكيك القرار الأوروبي الموحّد، الذي أدرج فقط الجناح العسكري لحزب الله على لائحة الإرهاب، مستثنياً الجناح السياسي للحزب. فالضغوط ستمارس بشدة، بعد القرارين البريطاني والألماني، على دول فاعلة ومؤثرة داخل الاتحاد الأوروبي، كفرنسا وإسبانيا وإيطاليا وبلجيكا وبولونيا، بحيث إنّ لحاق هذه الدول، بركب أميركا وكندا وهولندا، وأستراليا ونيوزيلاندا، وبريطانيا وألمانيا، في إدراج الحزب كله على لائحة الإرهاب، سيتيح الفرصة في نهاية الأمر للدول الأعضاء في الاتحاد الأوروبي، كي تتبع السلوك البريطاني والألماني حيال الحزب، مما سيتيح المجال مستقبلاً للاتحاد الأوروبي، بأن يتخذ قراراً موحّداً وحاسماً في إدراج حزب الله كله بجناحيه العسكري والسياسي على لائحة الإرهاب. بذلك تكون الولايات المتحدة ومعها «إسرائيل»، قد حققت ما سعت إليه منذ سنوات.

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ـ هناك موجة سياسية أوروبية عارمة، دأبت على إظهار تعاطفها مع «إسرائيل»، وعدائها المكشوف، حيال دول مشرقيّة مقاومة ورافضة لقوى الهيمنة، مركزة هجومها الدائم على إيران وسورية وحزب الله، وهي تهدف من وراء ذلك، إلى انتزاع قرارات حاسمة ضدّ هذا المحور، تحت غطاء ما يمكن للاتحاد الأوروبي ان يقوم به، من أجل تخفيض التصعيد والتوتر في الشرق الأوسط، وما يستطيع أن يفعله لتحقيق هذا الهدف.

في هذا الإطار، نظم مركز بروكسل الدولي، يوم 11 كانون الأول عام 2019، مع كتلة حزب الشعب الأوروبي، الداعم والمؤيد للكيان الصهيوني، ندوة سياسية في البرلمان الأوروبي، تطرّقت الى أبرز أزمات الشرق الأوسط، وتدخلات الدول الأجنبية فيها. علماً انّ مراكز الأبحاث والدراسات والمنظمات غير الحكومية، داخل البرلمان الأوروبي، لا تقتصر على تبادل المعلومات فقط، وإنما لتكون هذه المعلومات، أساساً لسياسات ومواقف يبلورها مستقبلاً البرلمان الأوروبي بقرارات يتخذها على المستويين الرسمي والسياسي.

كان من بين الحضور في الندوة، Marc Otte، رئيس مركز بروكسل الدولي للدراسات، والسفير الخاص لبلجيكا حول سورية، ودانيال كراندلر من مركز الدراسات في باريس، وغيرهم من الباحثين المختصّين في الشؤون الإيرانية والشرق الأوسط، وشمال أفريقيا، وشؤون شبه الجزيرة العربية والعراق ومنطقة الخليج. وكانت هناك مداخلة للنائبة اللبنانية بولا يعقوبيان، عبر السكايب، بصفتها نائبة في البرلمان اللبناني، وصحافية، وعضواً ضمن الفريق الاستشاري الخارجي للبنك الدولي حول التنوّع والإدماج. ترأس الندوة النمساوي Lukas Mandl، الذي بدأ كلمته مطالباً الاتحاد الأوروبي بحماية وتعزيز أمن «إسرائيل»، معتبراً أنها الدولة الديمقراطية الوحيدة في الشرق الأوسط، وأنّ أمنها امتداد لأمن الاتحاد الأوروبي!

رأت النائبة يعقوبيان أنّ لبنان كان مسرحاً للقوى الإقليمية، وهناك أفرقاء يتصرّفون بالإنابة عن هذه القوى. ومنذ فترة وجيزة، شهدنا كيف انطفأ الدور السعودي في لبنان، وكيف أصبح لإيران تأثير أكبر في السياسة اللبنانية، وكيف أصبح لحزب الله سلطة أكبر في السياسة الداخلية. في السابق كانت سورية تتولى الشؤون السياسية الداخلية في لبنان، أما إيران فكانت تتطلع للقضايا الأكبر كالحرب مع «إسرائيل». أما اليوم، فـ إيران تتدخّل في الشؤون السياسية اليومية عبر حزب الله، الحزب الأكثر قوة على الساحة… ورداً على سؤال حول إمكانية تغيير النظام الطائفي، أجابت يعقوبيان: من الضروري كخطوة أولى، وقف النزاعات الطائفية في المنطقة التي تغذيها بعض الدول التي تتدخل في شؤون الدول العربية، ونذكر هنا إيران وتركيا. وأضافت، انّ «إسرائيل» تلعب اللعبة ذاتها. واعتبرت أنّ سياسات هذه الدول تنافي المصالح الوطنية الأوروبية والقيم الإنسانية، وتؤدّي الى تدمير العالم!

دانيال كراندلر، بدأ كلمته بتوجيه تحية الى النائبة يعقوبيان، على جرأتها في أن تكون موجودة في بيروت، وتتكلم علناً عن حزب الله، معتبراً أنّ مداخلتها سهّلت عليهم، وهم داخل الاتحاد الأوروبي، في قلب أوروبا، والحال ليس كما هو عندما تتحدث من بيروت.

من جهته، اتهم كراندلر إيران بإعادة تسليح حزب الله، في خرق واضح للقرار 1701، واعتبر أنه يستحيل إيجاد السلام، طالما إيران تلعب دور المفسِد من خلال دعمها لحزب الله وحماس والجهاد الإسلامي. واذا أردنا احتواء الحرب، فيجب احتواء إيران. لأنّ سياسة الاتحاد الأوروبي، الذي يتعاطى بليونة حيال الاتفاق النووي مع إيران غير مقبولة. كما دعا الاتحاد الى احتواء سياسة إيران وأذرعها، خاصة حزب الله الذي يهدّد بصواريخه المسيّرة «إسرائيل»، واعتماد ضربة استباقية تفضي لإدانة حزب الله على انتهاكاته الدائمة لحقوق الإنسان، وتدخله في الحرب في سورية، وتكديسه السلاح، تحضيراً لاستخدامه في ايّ حرب مقبلة مع «إسرائيل».

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ـ انّ العمل على اتخاذ قرار موحد من قبل الاتحاد الأوروبي، تجاه حزب الله، سيوسّع مستقبلاً مروحة الدول المتربّصة بمحور المقاومة في المنطقة، وبالذات حزب الله. إذ سينضمّ الاتحاد الأوروبي، بعد ان تتهافت دوله على وضع الحزب كله على لائحة الإرهاب، الى مجموعة الدول التي سبق ذكرها، والتي سبقت بريطانيا وألمانيا في تصنيف الحزب، مما سيقوّي النزعة العدوانية للكيان الإسرائيلي، ويعطيه الضوء الأخضر للقيام بعدوان عسكري على لبنان، للاقتصاص من المقاومة، في ظلّ غطاء أميركي أوروبي واسع، مدعوم من دول حليفة وصديقة، بعد أن يستند فيها الجميع الى «شرعية القرار» الذي سبق للمجموعة الدولية ان اعتمدته، والذي يعتبر حزب الله إرهابياً، ويجب القضاء عليه، وإنهاء وجوده.

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ـ ألمانيا التي كانت وسيطاً فاعلاً وموثوقاً في ملفات مهمة ومعقدة، وأبرزها ملف تبادل الأسرى مع العدو الصهيوني، نجدها اليوم بعد تصنيفها لحزب الله بالإرهاب، تزيل عنها صفة الحيادية والصدقية، وستربك العلاقات الثنائية اللبنانية الألمانية. إذ كيف ستتعاطى ألمانيا مع الدولة اللبنانية، بعد القرار المنحاز، وفي داخل حكومتها وزراء يمثلون الحزب الذي تعتبره إرهابياً؟! وهل ستكون الحكومة مطعّمة بالإرهاب وفقاً للمنظور الألماني؟! وهل سينظر إليها على أنها داعمة «للإرهاب» وراضية بوجوده ومنسِّقة معه؟! إنّ القرار الألماني الذي يصنف حزباً يحارب قوى الإرهاب في الداخل وفي المنطقة، ووضعه على لائحة الإرهاب، انما يخدم بصورة مباشرة وغير مباشرة، قوى الإرهاب الحقيقية ورعاتها وداعميها، والتي لقيت وتلقى الدعم المتواصل من دول غربية، تريد تفتيت دول المنطقة المقاومة للاحتلال الإسرائيلي، والمتصدّية لنفوذ قوى الهيمنة والتسلط.

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ـ إزاء القرارات المتتابعة ضدّ حزب الله، لا يمكن للدولة اللبنانية بعد اليوم أن تظلّ مكتوفة الأيدي، وتكتفي بتصريح من هنا، أو بأسف من هناك. لأنّ الحزب ركن أساسي، ومكوّن هام من مكوّنات الحياة السياسية اللبنانية، وهو إحدى الركائز الضامنة لاستقرار لبنان وسيادته. لذلك انّ القرار الألماني الأخير، له تداعيات سلبية على لبنان ودول في المنطقة، وتأثيره المباشر على الداخل اللبناني، وعلى العلاقات الثنائية بين البلدين، وأيضاً، على العلاقات الألمانية ـ العربية في المنطقة المشرقية، نظراً لما يمثله حزب الله من انتشار ومكانة كبيرة في المنطقة. ولدى شريحة واسعة من الشعب اللبناني، ودوره الرئيس في محاربته ومقاومته لقوى الإرهاب في الداخل والمحيط، ووقوفه بجانب الجيش في الدفاع عن لبنان وسيادته. لذلك، إنّ القرار الألماني لا يمسّ الحزب وحده، إنما يمسّ بالصميم الشعب اللبناني والدولة كلها، حيث حزب الله جزء لا يتجزأ منها، وكرامته من كرامتها، ولا يمكن فصله عنها في الأوقات الحرجة.

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ـ لبنان، الذي هو أمام قرارات تطاله من خلال مكوّن أساسي من مكونات الدولة، لا بدّ له أن يقف وقفته الشجاعة. فإما أن يرضخ ويقبل بالقرارات الغربية المنحازة ومفاعيلها، وإما أن يبحث عما يحفظ ماء وجهه وكرامته وسيادته. فإذا كان يتوجّس خيفة من التداعيات والخسائر، فإنه لم يبق لديه ما يخسره. فالأبواب كثيرة، والأصدقاء كثر، إذ بإمكانه إقامة نوع من التوازنات والمعادلات في تعاطيه في علاقاته مع دول العالم الصديقة، بدلاً من اعتماده ورهانه على جهة واحدة، تريد ابتزازه، وممارسة الضغوط عليه، للسير في مشاريع سياسية ومالية واقتصادية وقانونية، تصبّ في نهاية المطاف، في صالح العدو «الإسرائيلي»، وصالح رعاته وداعميه.

فهل باستطاعة لبنان، اتخاذ قرار شجاع يحصّن من خلاله وحدة شعبه، ويجنّبه المزيد من الابتزاز والضغوط والتسلّط، أم اننا بانتظار قرارات أخرى مماثلة، تصدر لاحقاً عن دول تمرّ على اللبنانيين ودولتهم مرور الكرام!

*وزير الخارجيّة الأسبق.

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More than 100 British MPs Press for Sanctioning “Israel” over West Bank Annexations

More than 100 British MPs Press for Sanctioning “Israel” over West Bank Annexations

By Staff, Agencies 

Nearly 130 British parliamentarians, including former Conservative cabinet ministers, have written to Boris Johnson urging him to impose economic sanctions against the apartheid “Israeli” entity if Benjamin Netanyahu’s new coalition government goes ahead with its threat to annex parts of the West Bank.

The letter, signed by the former Tory chairman Lord Patten and the former international development secretary Andrew Mitchell, says annexation would be clearly illegal under international law.

The signatories, which also include diplomats and prominent campaigners against antisemitism in the Labour party such as Margaret Hodge, point out that the UK did not hesitate to sanction Russia after the annexation of Crimea, confirming that any move in the West Bank would warrant a similar response.

Britain joined a diplomatic démarche by 10 EU diplomats in a Zoom call this week warning the “Israeli” foreign ministry against annexation, but the imposition of sanctions as opposed to condemnation would be unprecedented.

In the letter, organized by the Council for Arab British Understanding [Caabu], the signatories express outrage at the new “Israeli” government’s declared plan to annex areas of territories it occupied in June 1967, describing the move “as a mortal blow to the chances of peace between Israelis and Palestinians based on any viable two-state solution”.

They confirm that it is clear that the “Israeli” government is using “the cover of the Covid-19 pandemic to seek to implement this egregious plan. It is vital that the UK does everything in its power to prevent this.”

They add: “international law is crystal clear. The acquisition of territory through war is prohibited. The Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 is a recent example where Britain quite properly opposed such acts with appropriate measures, including robust sanctions.

“Our government has stated that any annexation ‘cannot go unchallenged. The government must now make clear publicly to “Israel” that any annexation will have severe consequences including sanctions. Words are not enough: Prime Minister Netanyahu has ignored our words. We need to prevent his government from setting this alarmingly dangerous precedent in international relations.”

In a joint statement in September last year by the UK government, together with France, Germany, Italy and Spain, the UK warned any unilateral annexation of any part of the West Bank would be “a serious breach of international law”.

David Jones, the chair of Caabu, said he regretfully thought Netanyahu would only listen to threats. Crispin Blunt, one of the signatories and the former chair of the foreign affairs select committee, said the issue was a massive test for the UK that he hoped his country would pass. He said he hoped Britain would take a stand by saying international law does stand for something, and bullying does not pay.

Two Labour frontbenchers, Stephen Kinnock and Seema Malhotra, have signed the letter in a personal capacity, while the shadow foreign secretary, Lisa Nandy, has already written to the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, asking him to oppose annexation.

OPCW’s Own Scientists Say OPCW Is Now Just a U.S.-Propaganda Agency

OPCW’s Own Scientists Say OPCW Is Now Just a U.S.-Propaganda Agency

April 29, 2020

by Eric Zuesse for the Saker Blog

The formerly respected global authority on whether or not a chemical-weapons attack has occurred, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, or OPCW, has now so continuously ignored its own hired expert investigators, so that in an April 28th news-report, at “The Gray Zone” investigative-news site, anonymous “OPCW Insiders” have issued a public statement saying that:

A number of impartial and principled professionals no longer wish to be associated with the politically motivated reports being issued by the OPCW FFM  [Fact-Finding Mission] and now the IIT [Investigation and Identification Team]. Many consider this work and these reports to be procedurally and scientifically flawed. Some of us believe they should not be seen as representing the work of OPCW inspectors at all.

The recent publication of the IIT report into alleged chemical attacks at Ltamenah [in Syria — a country whose non-sectarian Government the U.S. regime has been trying since 2009 to overthrow and replace by a fundamentalist-Sunni government that would be controlled by the Saudson March 24, 25 and 30 2017, has highlighted again the misuse of the OPCW by influential state parties to further their political and foreign affairs objectives.

The news-reports that are listed below provide the essential background to this, indicating that the “influential state parties” which are being referred-to are the U.S. and its allied regimes (such as UK).

If the quoted statement is, in fact, a leak by “OPCW Insiders,” as “The Gray Zone” alleges, then it’s yet another nail in the coffin of the OPCW’s international credibility. Coming after a lengthy string of such OPCW scandals as are documented in the below-listed articles, all international funding organizations will then cancel their commitments to OPCW, except for organizations that represent the U.S. regime; and, then, the only international organizations that will continue to publicize the ‘findings’ from the OPCW will be organizations that themselves are agencies of the U.S. regime.

In that case, of course, no national delegations to the United Nations, except ones that represent regimes which themselves likewise front for (are vassals of) the U.S. regime, will continue to cite OPCW ‘findings’, in any other way than to deny the credibility of OPCW reports.

The background on all of this, including an explanation of what the main objectives of the U.S. regime are in Syria — what the purposes of this OPCW propaganda against Syria’s Government are — is provided here.

And, now, following, are the news-reports that describe the events building up to the “OPCW Insiders” statement, that “Some of us believe they should not be seen as representing the work of OPCW inspectors at all” (these events will be listed starting with the latest, and working backwards in time, to the earliest):

“As an employee of the OPCW I was horrified” 12 March 2020

“Deluge Of New Leaks Further Shreds The Establishment Syria Narrative” 15 December 2019

“Fresh Evidence that UN Watchdog Suppressed Evidence Casting Doubt on Assad Gas Attack” 15 December 2019

“New WikiLeaks Bombshell: 20 Inspectors Dissent From Syria Chemical Attack Narrative” 14 December 2019

“Newsweek reporter resigns after accusing outlet of SUPPRESSING story about OPCW leak that undermines Syria ‘gas attack’ narrative” 8 December 2019

“Second whistleblower exposes cover-up at OPCW & Syria chemical weapons report (Video)” 16 November 2019

“SUPPRESSED OPCW FINDING: War-Crime Likely Perpetrated by U.S. Against Syria on 14 April 2018 (Update)” 19 May 2019

“A memo from a member of the OPCW’s Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) in Douma to the OPCW Director General Fernando Arais” 14 March 2019

“Douma Videos and Photos” 24 April 2018

“Did Al Qaeda Dupe Trump on Syrian Attack?” 9 November 2017

“The Trumped-Up Syria-Sarin Case” 4 November 2017

“UN On Khan Sheikhoun – Victims Hospitalized BEFORE Claimed Incident Happened” 29 October 2017

“The Red Line and the Rat Line: Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels” 17 April 2014

“Possible Implications of Faulty US Technical Intelligence in the Damascus Nerve Agent Attack of August 21, 2013” 14 January 2014

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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

America’s enemy is England, not Russia. Historically, Russia has been perhaps America’s main Ally; England remains America’s top enemy, just as during the American Revolution

APRIL 27, 2020

America’s enemy is England, not Russia. Historically, Russia has been perhaps America’s main Ally; England remains America’s top enemy, just as during the American Revolution

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

America’s sole enemy during the Revolutionary War (1775-1783) was England. Ever since being defeated in that war, England (controlled by the British aristocracy) has tried various ways to regain its control over America. The British aristocracy’s latest attempt to regain control over America started in 1877, and continues today, as the two countries’ “Deep State” — comprising not only the lying CIA and the lying MI6, but the entire joint operation of the united aristocracies of Britain and the U.S. These two aristocracies actually constitute the Deep State, and control the top levels of both intelligence agencies, and of both Governments, and prevent democracy in both countries. The aristocracy rules each of them. The 1877 plan was for a unification of the two aristocracies, and for the then-rising new world power, American industry, and its Government, to become controlled by the wealthiest individuals in both countries. Franklin Delano Roosevelt had tried to break the back of that intended global-imperialist combine, but he tragically died before he achieved this goal.

America’s second war against a foreign power was the War of 1812 (1812-1815), in which the U.S.A., so soon after its own victorious Revolution to free itself from Britain, tried to go even further, and to remove Britain altogether from North America. There still remained, among Americans, some fear that England might try to retake the U.S.A. The historian, Don Hickey, wrote that “In North America, the United States was the only belligerent that could lose the war and still retain its independence. Since Great Britain’s independence was at stake in the Napoleonic Wars, one might argue that the United States was the only belligerent on either side of the Atlantic in the War of 1812 that had nothing to fear for its independence.” Because King George III was still hated by many Americans, the U.S. aimed to free from Britain’s control the British colonies that remained to the north of America’s border, present-day Canada. Most of the residents there, however, continued to think of themselves as subjects of the King, and so the U.S. effort failed. Furthermore, British soldiers, coming down from what now is Canada, actually did manage to to jeopardize America’s independence: they burned down Washington. It wasn’t the King’s subjects north of America’s border who did this; it was British troops. The King’s army did it. Americans did have real reason to fear King George III. America’s continuing independence was, indeed, at stake in that war. That wasn’t merely the perception of the Democratic-Republicans (Jefferson’s Party); there was reality to it.

During a 25 May 2018 phone-call between the Presidents of America and Canada, America’s ignoramus President — Donald Trump — justified tariffs against Canada partially by saying “Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?” However, King George III’s troops had actually done that, on 24 August 1814 (and destroyed the Capitol building on the same day); and not only did Canada not yet exist at that time, but the King’s troops had done this in retaliation for a successful American invasion into the King’s northern territory — which territory was subsequently to win its own partial independence (after the unsuccessful rebellions of 1837-1838, by the King’s subjects there). Though the U.S. won the War of 1812, in the sense of not losing its independence to England, it failed to free Canada. However, two years after America’s own Civil War (1860-1865), Canada finally won a messy partial independence in 1867.

The rebuilding of the British-destroyed U.S. White House was completed in 1817; that of the British-destroyed U.S. Capitol was completed in 1826.

The most celebrated battle in the War of 1812 was at Baltimore’s Fort McHenry, on 13 September 1814, where America’s soldiers hoisted in victory the U.S. flag, which inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner”. That ode was celebrating what became considered by Americans to have been their country’s second victory against Britain’s imperial tyranny.

England’s next big attempt to conquer the U.S. was during the Civil War, when England was supporting the Southerners’ right to continue enslaving Blacks and to break away from the federal Union for that purpose (to perpetuate slavery). If the South had won, this would not only have considerably weakened the U.S.A., but it would have placed to America’s south a new nation which would be allied with America’s enemy, Britain, the Southern Confederacy.

By contrast against England’s support for slavery, and for the breakup of the United States, Russia was a leading global supporter of the U.S., and of its movement to abolish slavery. Under Tsar Alexander II, the Russian Government opposed not only slavery but also serfdom, and thus became immortalized amongst Russians as “The Great Liberator,” for his ending serfdom, which was, for Russia, what slavery was for America — a repudiated relic of a former monarchic absolutism (that Tsar’s predecessors). When the erudite Cynthia Chung headlined on 16 October 2019, “Russia and the United States: The Forgotten History of a Brotherhood” and wrote there about “Cassius Clay,” she wasn’t mistakenly referring to the famous American boxer Muhammad Ali (1942-2016), but instead, quite correctly, to the individual who is far less well-known today but in whose honor that renowned boxer had originally been named, Cassius Marcellus Clay. The namesake for that boxer was quite reasonably referred-to by Chung as having been “possibly the greatest US Ambassador to Russia (1861-1862 and 1863-1869).” This “Cassius Clay” was, indeed, one of America’s unsung historical heroes, not only because this Kentuckian “Cassius Clay” was an extremely courageous champion of outlawing slavery, but also because he became a great asset to his friend Abraham Lincoln’s war to achieve the goal of emancipating America’s slaves. As Wikipedia’s article “Cassius Marcellus Clay (politician)” says, when describing Clay’s role in the “Civil War and Minister to Russia”:

President Lincoln appointed Clay to the post of Minister to the Russian court at St. Petersburg on March 28, 1861. The Civil War started before he departed and, as there were no Federal troops in Washington at the time, Clay organized a group of 300 volunteers to protect the White House and US Naval Yard from a possible Confederate attack. These men became known as Cassius M. Clay’s Washington Guards. President Lincoln gave Clay a presentation Colt revolver in recognition. When Federal troops arrived, Clay and his family embarked for Russia.[10]

As Minister to Russia, Clay witnessed the Tsar’s emancipation edict. Recalled to the United States in 1862 to accept a commission from Lincoln as a major general with the Union Army, Clay publicly refused to accept it unless Lincoln would agree to emancipate slaves under Confederate control. Lincoln sent Clay to Kentucky to assess the mood for emancipation there and in the other border states. Following Clay’s return to Washington, DC, Lincoln issued the proclamation in late 1862, to take effect in January 1863.[11]

Clay resigned his commission in March 1863 and returned to Russia, where he served until 1869. [3] He was influential in the negotiations for the purchase of Alaska.[12

Thus, this friend of both “The Great Liberator” and “The Great Emancipator” helped them both. As Blake Stillwell well summarized in his 16 October 2015 article “How Russia guaranteed a Union victory in the Civil War”, Ambassador Clay knew and personally shared the deeply shared values between the heads-of-state in both the U.S. and Russia, and he thereby persuaded Tsar Alexander II to commit to join the U.S. in a war to conquer England if England would overtly and actively join the U.S. South’s war against the United States. Tsar Alexander II thus stationed Russian warships in New York City and San Francisco during the Civil War, so as to block England from actively supporting the Southern Confederacy, which England had been planning to do. Probably no single country was as helpful to the Union cause as was Russia, and this was not merely for purposes of power-politics, but very much for democratic and progressive principles, both Lincoln’s and that Tsar’s — their shared Enlightenment goals for the world’s future.

Imperialistic England’s imperialistic foe France was also pro-slavery, but not as big a threat to the U.S. as England was. The way that Michael O’Neill phrased this in his 10 May 2019 “France’s Involvement in the U.S. Civil War” was: “The French government certainly had sympathies for the Confederacy because both regimes were aristocratic, while the North had a more democratic social and economic system that wasn’t as rigidly hierarchical. France’s trade prospects were also hurt because of Northern blockades of Southern ports. France wanted to intervene in order to ensure the trade of cotton, wine, brandy and silk.” This was an instance where the English and French empires were on the same side — against democracy, and for slavery. Every aristocracy is driven by unlimited greed, and this greed drove the French and English aristocracies together, regarding America’s Civil War. Tsar Alexander II was an extremely rare progressive aristocrat — like U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt subsequently also was.

As Chung’s article also noted, the friendly relations between Russia and the United States had started at the time of the American Revolution, and Benjamin Franklin (who then was America’s Ambassador to France) was key to that.

In 1877, the future British diamond-magnate Cecil Rhodes came up with his lifelong plan, to unite the aristocracies of Britain and the U.S. so as to ultimately conquer the entire world. His plan was to be activated upon his death, which occurred in 1902, when the Rhodes Trust began and created the core of a spreading movement at the top levels of finance in both countries, including the Royal Institute of Foreign Affairs, a.k.a., Chatham House, in London, and then the Council on Foreign Relations in NYC (RIFA’s U.S. branch), both of which institutions became united with the European aristocracies in the Bilderberg group, which started in 1954, and which was initiated by the ‘former’ Nazi Prince Bernhard of Netherlands, and David Rockefeller of U.S.; and, then, finally, the Trilateral Commission, bringing Japan’s aristocrats into the Rhodesian fold, in 1973, under the aegis of David Rockefeller’s agent and chief anti-Russian strategist, Zbigniew Brzezinski. (Nelson Rockefeller’s chief anti-Russian strategist was Henry Kissinger.)

There are also other significant offshoots from the Rhodes Trust — it’s the trunk of the tree, and Cecil Rhodes seems to have been its seed.

Then, during World War I, the U.S. and Russia were, yet again, crucial allies, but this time England was with us, not against us, because Britain’s aristocracy were competing against Germany’s. The Marxist Revolution in Russia in 1917 terrified all of the world’s super-rich, much as they had been terrified by America’s enemy is England, not Russia. Historically, Russia has been perhaps America’s main Ally; England remains America’s top enemy, just as during the American Revolution.the failed revolutions in Europe during 1848, but this in Russia was a revolution for a dictatorship by workers against the middle class (“the bourgeoisie”) and not only against the aristocracy; and, so, it was no Enlightenment project, and it certainly wasn’t at all democratic. Furthermore, Germany during World War I was even more dictatorial than was England. Indeed: Kaiser Wilhelm II initiated the World War in order to maintain and continue the ancient tradition of the divine right of kings — hereditary monarchy (the most retrogressive of all forms of governmental rule, hereditary rule). And Germany was threatening America’s ships, whereas England was not.

At the Versaille Peace Conference after WW I, four influential leaders of the U.S. delegation were intensely pro-British: the extremely conservative pro-aristocracy Democrat and U.S. Secretary of State Robert Lansing, and his two nephews, the extremely conservative devoutly Christian pro-aristocracy Republicans John Foster Dulles, and his brother Allen Dulles, and the devoutly Christian partner of J.P. Morgan, Thomas Lamont. All four supported an obligation by Germany’s taxpayers to pay reparations to French taxpayers so large as to destitute the newly established democratic Weimar German Government. This destitution of Germans — approved by the U.S. delegation — helped to cause the extremist conservative right-wing-populist Nazi Party to come into power against the democratic Weimar Government. The Dulles brothers had many friends amongst the aristocracies of both England and Germany, and became two leaders of the war to conquer Russia, under U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower. Whereas U.S. President Harry S. Truman had sought to “contain” the Soviet Union, the Dulles brothers sought instead to “conquer” it. Both of them had a visceral hatred of Russia — not only of communism. It was a hatred which was widely shared amongst the aristocracies of all empires, especially England, U.S., Germany, and Japan.

U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was an exception to the almost universal hatred of Russia amongst U.S.-and-allied aristocracies: he recognized and acknowledged that though Joseph Stalin was a barbaric dictator, Stalin was a deeply committed anti-imperialist like FDR himself was, because Stalin led the Communist Party’s anti-imperialist wing, against Trotsky’s imperialist wing. Stalin advocated passionately for “communism in one country” — the doctrine that the Soviet Union must first clearly establish a thriving economy within the country and thereby serve as a model which would inspire the masses in capitalist nations to rise up against their oppressors; and that only after such a communist model of success becomes established can communism naturally spread to other countries. FDR was absolutely opposed to any sort of imperialism, and he had passionate private arguments against Winston Churchill about it, because Churchill said, “There can be no tampering with the Empire’s economic agreements,” in reply to FDR’s “I can’t believe that we can fight a war against fascist slavery, and at the same time not work to free people all over the world from a backward colonial policy.” And, afterwards, FDR said privately to his son Elliott, contemptuously against Churchill, “A real old Tory, isn’t he? A real old Tory, of the old school.” FDR’s post-war vision was for a United Nations which would possess all nuclear and all other strategic weapons, and which would control all aspects of international law, and nothing of intranational law (except perhaps if the Security Council is unanimous, but only as being exceptions). Each of the major powers would be allowed to intervene intranationally into their bordering nations, but only so as to prevent any inimical major power from gaining a foothold next door — purely defensive, nothing else. This would have been very different from what the U.N. became. It’s something that the gullible Truman (who knew and understood none of that) was able to be deceived about by Churchill, and, even more so, by the then-General, Dwight Eisenhower, because both of them were committed imperialists and aimed to conquer Russia — and not only to end its communism. The crucial date was 26 July 1945, when Eisenhower convinced Truman to start the Cold War. Then, on 24 February 1990, U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush established the policy of the U.S. since then: that when the Soviet Union would end its communism in 1991, the U.S. and its allies would secretly continue the Cold War against Russia, until Russia becomes conquered so as to be part of the U.S. empire, no longer an independent nation. This is continuation of Cecil Rhodes’s plan: the U.S. doing the British aristocracy’s bidding to lead in conquering the entire world.

On 14 August 1941, at the time when FDR and Churchill formed the Atlantic Charter and were planning for a joint war against Hitler, they agreed to form the “UKUSA Agreement”, a “secret treaty” between those two countries, which became formalized on 17 May 1943 as the “BRUSA Agreement” and then on 5 March 1946 under President Truman became officially signed, and its contents finally became public on 25 June 2010. It was/is the basis of what is more commonly know as “the Five Eyes” of the Cecil-Rhodes-derived (though they don’t mention that) foreign-intelligence operations, uniting UK and U.S. intelligence as the core, but also including the intelligence-operations of the other Anglo-Saxon English-speaking colonies: Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. India and other ‘inferior races’ of English-speaking countries (as Rhodes and Winston Churchill viewed them) weren’t included. For examples: the UK/USA joint effort to produce the death of Julian Assange (and seem likely to succeed soon in doing that) became part of this UK/USA working-together, as have also been the UK/USA sanctions against Russia regarding the trumped-up cases and sanctions against Russia concerning Sergei Magnitsky in 2012 and Sergei Skripal and the “Russiagate” charges against Donald Trump in 2018. This full flowering of the Rhodesian plan is also publicly known as “the Special Relationship” and as “the Anglosphere”.

It’s the U.S. and UK aristocracies, against their own nations — against their own people — but for the essential imperial operations by both U.S. and UK international corporations, which those billionaires control.

This is why all sanctions against Russia are based on lies. Certainly, it doesn’t happen by accident. At each step, in virtually each instance, the U.S. and UK aristocracies are working together on these libels — libels against the actual main foreign ally of the U.S. (UK’s aristocracy has always been the main enemy of the UK’s public, and also against Russia — and against the American people. This is entirely consistent with Rhodes’s plan, which was to use the U.S. in order to expand Britain’s Empire. That is the history of our times.)

This is the ultimate success of King George III’s plan, and it is a profound betrayal of the intentions of America’s Founders, who were passionate anti-imperialists. And so too was FDR. But right after WW II, the imperialists (run by America’s billionaires) took over.
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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Iran More Successful In Coronavirus Fight than UK – London Mayor

Iran More Successful In Coronavirus Fight than UK - London Mayor

By Staff, Agencies

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan hailed the Islamic Republic of Iran’s endeavor in the containment of the deadly coronavirus pandemic despite Washington’s cruel sanctions, saying Tehran has even been more successful than Britain in this regard.

Speaking in a video conversation with Tehran’s Mayor Pirouz Hanachi on Friday, Khan said most of the required measures taken in London are similar to those employed in Iran.

He added that London has set strict quarantine regulations since March 23 and people were just allowed to leave their houses for buying food, going to the doctor, conducting sports exercises only once a day, and going to special jobs.

Pointing on public transportation in London, Khan noted that the Underground only transfers five percent of passengers and 15 percent of people take the bus.

The London mayor also elaborated on the efforts made by British scientists to treat the novel coronavirus and said a new vaccine recently made by the Oxford University would be tested soon.

Britain is also testing a kind of antibody taken from coronavirus-infected patients who have recovered, he said, adding that an ultimate outcome remains far.

He further vowed to hold talks with British officials about problems caused in the way of Iran’s fight due to the sanctions, expressing hope that the bans would be lifted as soon as possible.

Iran has been doing its utmost to contain the respiratory disease caused by COVID-19 despite the hardships caused by the sanctions.

Tehran has repeatedly said it does not want Washington’s help in the fight but wants the White House to lift the illegal economic sanctions so that Iran could mobilize its own resources to tackle the pandemic.

The Trump administration has not only defied international calls on Washington in recent weeks to halt the draconian sanctions but has even slapped more such restrictive measures on the Islamic Republic.

Washington re-imposed its sanctions on Iran in May 2018 after unilaterally leaving a historic nuclear accord with the Islamic Republic and other countries that has been endorsed by the UN Security Council.

British-made Bombs Could Make Yemen’s COVID Crisis Even Worse

British-made Bombs Could Make Yemen’s COVID Crisis Even Worse

Source

By Andrew Smith – Left Foot Forward

Millions of people across the world are worried and concerned about food security and the state of their health infrastructure and ability to cope with the extra demand brought on by the COVID-19 crisis.

However, for all of the rhetoric about the virus being an “equalizer” there is no doubt that some systems are starting from a more vulnerable position than others.

This past weekend saw the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Yemen. Over the last five years, Yemen has endured a brutal war, and a terrible Saudi-led bombardment.

The conflict has created the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, with 100,000 people dying as a result. With the healthcare system on the verge of collapse, the World Health Organization has warned that Yemen could face an “explosion” in cases of the deadly virus.

Despite ongoing efforts to deliver much-needed personal protective equipment and testing kits, after five years of war, a lot of damage has already been done. Only half of Yemen’s medical facilities are fully functioning, and there are only 700 intensive care beds and 500 ventilators for the population of 30 million people.

It is not just the healthcare system that is in urgent need of aid. The threat is exacerbated further by severe food shortages and the breakdown of sanitation infrastructure and facilities, with 19 million people lacking access to clean water.

Oxfam is warning that the months ahead could also see a further spreading of cholera, a deadly, and preventable disease that has already infected 2.3 million people over recent years.

The scale of the crisis is horrific, and it is a man-made crisis. The war is one part of it, but another is the Saudi-imposed blockade, which has stopped vital medicine and aid from reaching people that need it.

As analysis from Yemeni-based Mwatana for Human Rights shows: “This state of affairs is not an arbitrary consequence of war. It is the direct result of how the conflict has been prosecuted by warring parties: with utter disregard for international law and humanitarian norms.”

It is a crisis that UK arms companies and the UK government have fueled and played a central role in enabling. Right from the start of the war, Saudi-led forces have used UK-made fighter jets to drop UK-made bombs and fire UK-made missiles. Many of the pilots flying the aircraft have been trained by UK forces and their jets will have been maintained by UK staff and personnel.

The war is only possible because of this kind of political and military support from arms dealing governments. As one former BAE Systems technician based in Saudi Arabia told Channel 4 last year “If we weren’t there, in seven to 14 days there wouldn’t be a jet in the sky.”

At least £6.3 billion worth of UK-made arms have been licensed to the Saudi-led coalition since the bombing began.  Last year the Court of Appeal confirmed that these weapons were sold illegally.

Unfortunately that hasn’t stopped arms and other military equipment from being transferred under existing licenses, and not has it stopped the staggering levels of sycophantic political support.

Over the last five years, government ministers have pulled out all stops to praise and pander to the regime while cozying up to its authoritarian leadership.

Last year, the then Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, went as far as saying that he thought it would be “morally bankrupt” to stop arming Saudi forces, and unfortunately his sentiments seem to be shared by Boris Johnson and his colleagues who have made no effort to change policy despite the international blow back that followed the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, or the worsening situation in Yemen.

If the virus is to be contained and a full outbreak is to be prevented, then the war must be stopped. Last week the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator Lise Grande warned of the “catastrophe” Yemen was facing and called on all parties in the conflict to “stop fighting each other and start fighting COVID.”

It is a call that has been boosted by the announcement of a two-week ceasefire by Saudi forces. With a backdrop of speculation that Saudi forces are looking to exit the conflict, we have to hope this ceasefire will prove more durable than the many false dawns and broken promises that have occurred throughout this war. For it to last it will need a far greater and more sustained political will and support from all sides.

At this time it is more vital than ever that international governments and groups with an influence use it wisely and in the pursuit of peace. The focus of politicians and the media may be on what is happening here in the UK, but, after five years of conflict and suffering, decisions being made in Whitehall could play an important role in ending the “forgotten war” in Yemen.

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage?

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage?

April 12, 2020

By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

In just 24 hours the UK saw nearly a half-million people volunteer to deliver food and medicine to the nation’s 1.5 million elderly and vulnerable people. Nearly 750,000 signed up, so many that they had to turn people away.

In the US the situation is the opposite: there are no shortage of stories such as NPR’s, Coronavirus Drives Away Volunteers Just As They’re Needed Most. But it’s not just the local holy-rolling church and the local food bank – the professional charity services have seemingly turned tail and ran away even though soldiering through a crisis is their job. In an “only in America” type of headline – The Peace Corps isn’t just bringing home 7,300 volunteers because of the coronavirus. It’s firing them.

With 17 million made jobless in 15 days, but with no government aid system to help them permitted to exist under US neoliberalism, food banks are not only increasingly short on food but short on people to hand out what little food they have left. Their malnutrition situation is so very dangerous that The New York Times reported that, “Uniformed (national) guardsmen help ‘take the edge off’ at increasingly tense distributions of (food) boxes,” and without even commenting on what an abnormal “edge” that is to have.

Doesn’t that all seem very American?

But in the UK national solidarity is now off the charts, and it’s not of the fundamentally conservative, nonsensical “Keep calm and carry on” variety from 2008: commentators say that the volunteer wave is healing the divide caused by Brexit, as well as erasing generation gaps because WWII-era Brits are seeing what their youth can and will do in a crisis.

How can we explain this disparity?

I think I should relate that to an Iranian this disparity is especially perplexing.

After all, “Marg bar (down with) England” is always right up there with, “Marg bar the United States”. Those two comprise 40% of the reliably unholy pentagon of your standard “Marg bar …!” chant, along with Israel, the MKO/MEK hypocrites, and those who oppose the guardianship of the Islamic jurist principle.

But look at all those volunteers – has England changed drastically and grown a conscience? Has Iran got it wrong? Are we supposed to stop marg bar-ing them now?

What?! Have you lost your head during this corona crisis?! If anything, we should be adding marg bars, not reducing marg bars! For example: why not “Marg bar Wales”? Don’t you think they feel left out often enough? And why are we leaving Scotland off the hook?

So the very notion of not marg bar-ing England practically makes me want to add a, “Marg bar you!”

But I get carried away easily, so I think it’s time for a marg bar on jokes in this article.

The reason for the difference is quite simple, but very sad

Are all of America’s healthy men and women aged 20-40, who have a statistically infinitesimal chance of dying from coronavirus, too busy to volunteer? Of course not – they’re mostly on lockdown now.

Are they too self-centred to volunteer? Is this more out-of-control Western individualism? Are they too lazy? Have they been scared into submission by an atrocious and irresponsible national media?

I honestly don’t think it’s anything like that: I think it’s that Americans are scared of the health care costs they might incur if they got sick while volunteering. Contrarily, able-bodied, young, patriotic Britishers have the National Health Service.

It’s really that simple: young Americans want to help their elder class, but they can’t go (even deeper) into debt to do so.

And that is really a sad, sad commentary on “Capitalism with American characteristics”, isn’t it?

I’m sure we can all immediately perceive how so very many negative, anti-social, self-defeating, wasteful and truly lamentable cycles of all sorts are kept in constant motion by the atrocious neoliberal principles which have been foisted on the US populace since 1980.

(Similarly, the US food bank charity is a recent development that exploded beginning in the Reagan era.)

Think of all the helplessness, hopelessness, anomie, anger, bitterness and (that old American standby) rage which could have been alleviated in America by both the act of volunteering and the benefits volunteering would bring, but which cannot even be attempted due to the incredibly difficulty of mere self-preservation in the US?

In their article To Fight Coronavirus, U.K. Asked for Some Volunteers. It Got an Army The New York Times does not mention this obvious explanation for the difference between these two across-the-Atlantic brothers. They either cannot put two and two together, or they refuse to broach the simple fact that the UK can marshal such a force because their youth class has no reason to fear indebtedness due to volunteering.

This disparity – and the explanation is hardly complex, although the ramifications are embarrassing for the US to honestly discuss – is precisely the kind of issue which fake-leftist media similar to The New York Times are steadfastly not discussing in favor of obsessive Trump-bashing and corona “deathboard-watching”.

Because fake-leftists in the US are so prone to turning their rage into false righteousness – this is not a problem caused by Trump: Obama made huge cuts to food stamps for a million households in 2014, which increased the number of people forced to rely on food bank charity, and his health care reform was a pathetic capitulation to the health care corporations and their medical lobbyists. The problem is not Republicans – Democrats are just as rabidly anti-socialist and pro-neoliberalism.

But in a pandemic any nation is necessarily going to live and die on the strength of its existing health care system. The US has to go on lockdown (they say) because their terrible health care system cannot bear even a moderate strain; the same rationale also silently explains why the average American cannot dare to attempt to humanely alleviate the ramifications of such a drastic, anti-lower-class measure.

I’m sure that many American readers are no doubt feeling quite mixed feelings about how such a simple thing – a promise of merely decent health care – could have made such a huge cultural difference during this time of huge cultural upheaval. America has just as many cultural divides to heal as Britain… but they are forced to remain alone, helpless, scared, hungry, untreated and debt-fearful.

One often has to laugh to keep from crying, so permit me one last marg bar – for those who are obsessively making every waking moment and every tiny thing about one subject and one subject only: marg bar religious corona fundamentalism.

The corona fundamentalists in the US could instead spare some time to wonder why it’s too expensive to volunteer for charity work.

***********************************

Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media – March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? – March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020


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

Public Health, COVID-19 and Recovery

By Tim Anderson

Source

1918 influenza pandemic db399

In all epidemics, there are some principles which determine how well communities and nations will respond, how long the crisis will last and how soon there will be recovery. We can already draw some lessons from the very big differences between particular countries in the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular why some wealthy nations like the UK and the USA are amongst the hardest hit. Although the numbers infected are still rising and the impact has not yet peaked, in most countries, we are entitled to ask: why have some countries controlled infections and minimized deaths better than others? This question, I suggest, leads us to consider principles of public health systems, of health planning and of broader social coherence. In particular, we should observe renewed evidence which affirms that public health systems are best able to develop the planning, prevention measures and coordination necessary to deal with epidemics.

The year 2020 saw the rise of a global epidemic (a pandemic) with a new variety of coronavirus which attacks human respiratory systems. This virus is highly infectious, if not highly fatal, compared to the recent epidemics of SARS-1 and MERS. COVID-19 seems deadly mainly to the elderly and the unwell (Doherty 2020). Extremely restrictive measures have been applied across much of the globe, while health systems try to contain the crisis and work out how best to prevent and treat it.

Nevertheless, extraordinary levels of skepticism about the state in western societies have aggravated reactions to severe quarantine measures, leading some to question whether the epidemic even merits emergency attention. This is while we see reports of more than a thousand deaths every day in the USA, China’s recovery after its extreme ‘lockdown’ measures, the scandal of dead bodies on the streets of Guayaquil in Ecuador (Gallón 2020), and while Cuban doctors help deal with the crisis in many countries (AP 2020). Skepticism has become cynicism in many western countries, due to a deep distrust of governments and their corporate partners. Undoubtedly powerful opportunists will exploit this crisis. Large corporations will automate and shed labor, some local authorities will extend arbitrary powers and Washington will persist with its economic and ‘regime change’ wars, using COVID-19 rationales where possible.

But this is a real public health crisis and it would be a mistake to ignore the fact that public health is, in itself, a central battleground. The same financial oligarchies that drive war and corporate privilege also block or colonize public health systems, which they see as multi-billion dollar milk cows. If individual liberties remain the central focus of critique, without recognition of the role of health systems, neoliberal ideologies will simply respond, as usual, on the ‘individual right’ to choose health insurance and to avoid ‘authoritarian’ public health systems. In the current crisis the principal alternatives we see to rapid response, protective public health measures is a neoliberal state which prevaricates, then resorts to heavy-handed policing and its armed forces for social control (Haynes 2020; Browne 2020), when the crisis is undeniable and there is no adequate health workforce.

This is a comparative study of the COVID19 phenomenon, drawing on established principles of public health and epidemic control and making use of the best available epidemiological evidence. It aims to identify and articulate lessons about health systems. Key examples used are the USA and the UK, contrasted with China and South Korea. The Anglo-American duo have stressed more privatized health systems in recent decades, while both China and South Korea have moved from private insurance-based systems to near-universal coverage systems with national planning bodies and increased public investment in their health systems (Dai 2009, Qingyue, Hongwei, Wen, Qiang and Xiaoyun 2015; Kwon, Lee and Kim 2015). The comparison is not, therefore, between capitalist and ‘socialist’ or non-capitalist systems, but rather between systems which have weakened or reinforced their universal health guarantees and health planning commitments.

After some comments on the origins of COVID-19, and on general principles of epidemic control, I examine the interim evidence of differential impact in several countries. The conclusions are over which systems are best prepared, which will minimize casualties and which will recover sooner. These understandings deserve consideration in their own right.

1. The Origins of COVID-19

Much is still unknown about the origin of the new coronavirus, and many of the early claims seem unfounded. A necessary agnosticism should accompany any honest study of this question of origin. COVID-19 (also called SARS-CoV-2) is the latest in the family of RNA coronaviruses, and at least 58 haplotypes (genetic varieties) have been identified, half from inside China and half from outside (Yu, Tang and Corlett 2020). China sequenced and published the virus genome in mid-January (Cohen 2020a) and since then Italian studies isolated and have been sequencing the genome of the Italian virus, showing a particular strain, slightly distinct from the Chinese varieties (Bergna 2020). Many new flu viruses come from animals, and COVID-19 has a possible link to coronavirus haplotypes found in bats (Yu, Tang and Corlett 2020). The first recorded mass outbreak of infections came from the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan city, China.

However, notice the difference between ‘first recorded outbreak’ and ‘the origin’. There are several now which suggest that COVID-19 did not have its origins in Wuhan. This parallels the terrible ‘Spanish Flu’ epidemic of 1918-19, which is now generally thought to have not come from Spain. In that pandemic, where millions died, the flu was traced back to migrant workers from France, making it “unlikely” that the 1918 A(H1N1) influenza virus originated in Spain (Trilla, Trilla and Daer 2008). John M. Barry, in the Journal of Transnational Medicine, reviewed the literature on the origins of the 1918 pandemic and, drawing on US, British and Australian studies, concluded that “the most likely site of origin was Haskell County, Kansas”. This county, an isolated area with many farm animals, had an outbreak of a virulent flu in January 1918, a flu which killed healthy young men. That flu spread to an army camp at Funston, and from there was carried to the war fields in France (Barry 2004). Australian Nobel laureate MacFarlane Burnet wrote that the evidence was “strongly suggestive” that the disease started in the United States and spread with “the arrival of American troops in France” (Burnet and Clark 1942). Barry concludes by saying “the fact that the 1918 pandemic likely began in the United States matters because it tells investigators where to look for a new virus. They must look everywhere” (Barry 2004).

An early Chinese genetic study suspected that COVID-19 came to Wuhan from elsewhere. This analysis suggested that the virus “was potentially imported from elsewhere; the crowded market then boosted SARS-CoV-2 circulation” (Yu, Tang and Corlett 2020). Another Chinese study of the first 41 patients admitted to hospital and diagnosed with COVID-19, observed that 27 (66%) “had been exposed to Huanan seafood market” (Huang et al 2020), but 13 (33%) had not. “That’s a big number, 13 , with no link” said infectious disease specialist Daniel Lucey of Georgetown University (Cohen 2020). Professor Robert Garry, from the University of Tulane in New Orleans, also pointed out “our analyses, and others too, point to an earlier origin than [Wuhan]. There were definitely cases there, but that wasn’t the origin of the virus” (Holland 2020). Then a British study, looking at 160 varieties and combining them in three groups, with A as the ancestral strain, found that most of the COVID19 varieties from Wuhan and from east Asia were Type B and non-ancestral (Forster, Forster, Renfrew and Forster 2020).

The transmission path was not well anticipated. Later genomic studies showed that most cases of the outbreak in New York came from Europe; these cases were detected late, due to a lack of testing. Presidents Trump’s 31 January entry ban on people from China had no impact on this source of infection (Zimmer 2020). Later links were found to US warships and US military bases (Arkin 2020).

Many new viruses come from animals, and COVID-19 may have an ancestral link with coronavirus strains found in bats; however no definite link of this sort has been established with the Wuhan outbreak. Nevertheless, western media showed video of a Chinese woman eating a cooked bat, suggesting a Chinese origin. The BBC has pointed out this was from a 2016 travel show, shot on the Pacific island of Palau (BBC 2020).

Importantly, there are reports of earlier cases in both Italy and the USA. In northern Italy local doctors remember “a very strange pneumonia, very severe, particularly in old people” in November and December of 2019. That may mean that “the virus was circulating [there] … before we were aware of this outbreak occurring in China” (Poggioli 2020). The first cases in the USA have also been linked to the many flu deaths throughout 2019. When Centre for Disease Control (CDC) Director Robert Redfield was asked whether some of the US ‘flu deaths’ might have been COVID19, and wrongly diagnosed, he replied “some cases actually have been diagnosed [that way] in the US to date” (New China TV 2020). This raised the possibility of 2019 cases in the USA, perhaps before Wuhan’s December 2019 outbreak. That admission led Chinese official Lijian Zhao to demand ‘transparency’ from the US: “When did patient zero begin in the US? How many people are infected … be transparent! Make public your data! US owes us an explanation” (Zhao 2020). The CDC’s acknowledgement of early and perhaps widespread infections in the USA was reinforced by estimates from the Director of the Department of Health in the state of Ohio, Amy Acton. She was reported as saying that “the fact of community spread says that at least 1 percent … is carrying this virus in Ohio today … over 100,000” (Sullivan 2020). However the matter of 2019 infections and deaths in Italy and the USA is as yet unresolved.

There have also been suggestions that the virus may have come the biological warfare laboratories of the US military. Suspicions were aroused by the sudden closure of the US army’s bioweapons research centre at Fort Detrick in Maryland, in August 2019. This closure was due to fears that “contaminated waste” or agents such as Ebola, smallpox and anthrax could leak from the facility (Wyatt 2020). There was also the presence of US soldiers at the Military World Games in Wuhan in October 2019, just before the Wuhan outbreak. Both issues create grounds for suspicion, yet no direct link has as yet been established. One group of mostly US-based scientists, looking at the characteristics of the virus, have asserted that SARS CoV-2 was “not a laboratory construct” but had natural origins (Anderson, Rambaut, Lipkin, Holmes and Garry). However the better view of their report – hedged with “likely”, “probably”, “not been described” (i.e. no evidence) and “we do not believe” qualifiers – is that they could find ‘no evidence’ of a laboratory origin. So evidence on this matter also remains unresolved.

Overall, there are several sources of evidence that suggest COVID-19 did not originate in Wuhan, nor its seafood market, although that was the first recorded largescale outbreak. Politicised talk of a ‘Chinese virus’ parallels the misnaming of the 1918 pandemic as ‘Spanish Flu’. Most other claims are not well founded. In these circumstances an agnostic approach, open to new evidence, is necessary if we want to really understand the origin of COVID19.

2. Principles of epidemic control

In 2018 the WHO, writing of ‘challenges and risk factors’ for epidemics, spelt out some contemporary risk factors and emphasised key features of an effective response. Current risk factors are aggravated by greater international travel, growing peri-urban areas which have contact with animals, the massive displacement of people by wars and disasters, the overuse of antibiotics which has created microbial resistance, new hazardous agricultural practices and “poor health care systems that have inadequate infection prevention and control practices” (WHO 2018: 25-26). Effective responses to an epidemic require early detection, then containment measures followed by control and mitigation then, if possible, elimination or eradication (WHO 2018: 28-30)

Health researchers have repeatedly argued that “to accurately predict, plan, and respond to current and future influenza pandemics, we must first better understand the events and experiences of 1918 … we must remain vigilant and use the knowledge we have gained from 1918 and other influenza pandemics to direct targeted research and pandemic influenza preparedness planning, emphasizing prevention, containment, and treatment.” (Morens, Taubenberger, Harvey and Memoli 2010). Of course, planning and prevention are notable features of public health systems, but quite scarce in systems that rely on private health care (Anderson 2007).

Nevertheless, even in the USA which have never had a well-developed public health system, components of a pandemic plan were utilized during the 1918–1919 flu crisis. There was “coordination between different levels and branches of government, improved communications … mass dispensing of vaccines, guidelines for infection control, containment measures including case isolation and closures of public places, and disease surveillance”, which were employed “with varying degrees of success” (Ott, Shaw, Danila and Lynfield 2007). Today the US maintains a Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but it lacks a universal health guarantee and carries the burden of corporatized ‘managed care’ (Sekhri 2000).

There are some important lessons from the US experience in 1918-1919. Strochlic and Champine (2020) stress the danger of relaxing restrictive quarantine measures too soon – those US cities that kept social closures for some weeks after the peak of casualties avoided a second ‘spike’ and had the lowest overall death rates. Unlike New York today under COVID-19, a city with the highest rates of infection, New York City in 1918 began its quarantine measures early and kept them for four weeks after the spike in deaths. It then had “the lowest death rate of the eastern seaboard”. San Francisco, St Louis and some other cities, which ended their quarantine measures earlier, had a second round of deaths and a second round of quarantine restrictions (Strochlic and Champine 2020). See Graphic 1 below. So the lesson here is to implement quarantine measures (1) early and (2) keep them going for some weeks after the peak in deaths.

Graphic 1: 1918 restrictions in US cities (Strochlic and Champine 2020)
1918 restrictions in US cities c2b91

 

In Spain, the epidemic was first widely reported in late May 1918. Rates of death from influenza shot up, but the first epidemic seemed to have ended in 2 months. However, a second epidemic began slowly in September, peaking in October. No antibiotics were then available for pneumonia, which was usually the final killer. A third and final period of the epidemic was from January to June 1919. Deaths were more common amongst babies and young people and more than 260,000 (1% of the Spanish population) died (Trilla, Trilla and Daer 2008).

So the current pandemic restrictive measures are not new: quarantine regimes including distancing and the wearing of masks, while treatments are developed and a vaccine to accelerate social immunity is found. Isolation measures, closures of social facilities and social distancing must be developed according to local circumstances, preferably with popular education and broad social consent. Such measures are particularly important to slow the epidemic, especially when there is limited knowledge of how to treat and contain it.

There is a consensus on this across many different countries. George Gao, head of the Chinese CDC says “social distancing is the essential strategy for the control of any infectious diseases, especially if they are respiratory infections”. “Non-drug measures” are particularly important, especially without clear knowledge of the appropriate drugs. This social distancing generally includes isolating those with the infection, quarantining their close contacts, suspending social gatherings and restricting movement, if not complete lockdowns (Cohen 2020). It has been suggested that, with general quarantine measures “compliance of below 70% is unlikely to succeed for any duration of social distancing, while a compliance at the 90% level is likely to control the disease within 13–14 weeks, when coupled with effective case isolation and international travel restrictions” (Chang, Harding, Zachreson, Cliff and Prokopenko 2020). More targeted quarantine measures would require large scale testing.

The phenomenon of ‘herd immunity’ can occur in two ways, (1) by ‘natural selection’, where largescale death will claim many and only those able to develop auto-immunity survive; or (2) by an accelerated method where a vaccine is given to rapidly increase the numbers of those with antibodies for the particular virus. This both slows down transmission and protects those with transmitted immunity (Regalado 2020). The wide use of mass vaccines across the 20th century saved millions of lives, from diseases such as smallpox, polio, cholera and measles. At least 16 vaccines for COVID-19 are under testing at the time of writing (Akst 2020), and estimates of availability range from two to eighteen months.

3. Differential impact

Even as COVID19 infection rates remain high in much of Europe and the USA, we can see important differences across countries in the impact, management, and recovery from the virus. Interpreting interim data is difficult but necessary, if we are to learn contemporary lessons. The first obstacles to reading the data are that there is under-reporting and low levels of testing. Problems for learning also come from the commitment, in many countries, to highly privatized health systems. These are notoriously weak in preventive health and crisis management, There is also a great resistance in western societies to learning from other cultures. For example, it has been pointed out that when China was in the midst of its crisis, with hundreds dying, this was cited in western circles as “proof their government was incompetent”; yet when China’s infection rates fell this was said to be “proof they were lying about numbers” (Mastracci 2020). Not so many were ready to learn from China.

We have to recognize some caveats about the use of contemporary, interim data. Although the WorldOmeter site collates COVID19 data from governments and seems to do this fairly reliably, the state reports do vary considerably. Yet it is easy to check, for example, the published government data from (e.g.) the UK, South Korea and the USA (GOV.UK 2020, KCDC 2020 and CDC 2020) against that collated at WorldOmeter. Nevertheless, this raw data has to be treated with caution. Some useful caveats on using this epidemic data were spelled out in an article on the BBC. Henriques (2020) pointed out that the varied scale of testing will have a great impact on cited infections, suggesting that the “lack of widespread, systematic in most countries is probably the main source of discrepancies in death rates internationally” (Henriques 2020). As it happens, information on the level of testing in many countries has since become available. Henriques also points out the difference between ‘dying with’ and ‘dying from’ the disease, including the fact that the reasons for medical registration of death vary between countries. The H1N1 epidemic of 2009 also showed wide cross-country variation in death rates, and some of the higher rates were later revised downwards when better information was available (Vaillant, La Ruche, Tarantola and Barboza 2009). Conversely, deaths may also be underestimated, as many are never tested. Most likely, infection rates are more unreliable than the death rates, due to under-reporting and lack of testing. Finally, levels of bacterial resistance (important in the case of pneumonia, a major cause of COVID19 related death) may vary between countries. Differing demographics are also important. For example, there are said to be proportionally twice as many Italians over 65 years of age as there are Chinese (Henriques 2020). These are important factors to bear in mind, but should not deter us from making use of the best available evidence. Commentary without evidence is guesswork.

It is important to discuss, in particular, why the UK and US reactions and disease control seem to have been so poor. The Anglo-American duo has been presented, by UK and US agencies, as at the peak of “international preparedness for epidemics and pandemics” in measures of ‘Global Health Security’ (IPT 2020). Yet virtually none of the impact data supports that claim. Daily deaths from COVID19 in China began to fall in late February, to just a handful each day in the first week of April. In that same first week of April, the USA was suffering more than one thousand deaths every day and the UK around 500 or more deaths every day (WorldOmeter 2020). Why did these two wealthy countries fare so badly?

The UK and USA reacted very slowly to the pandemic and, by early April when cases and deaths had fallen in China and South Korea, and were peaking in much of Europe (by late March in Italy and Spain), US and UK rates were still rising (Burn-Murdoch 2020). On 10 April COVID19 linked deaths were 4 times (in the USA) and 9 times (in the UK) the global average (WorldOmeter 2020). By that time the rate of testing in both countries was comparable and relatively high. Table 1 below shows testing in the UK rising strongly only in early April. This table has no data for China, but we have other sources which show that Chinese testing was intense, at least in the affected provinces.

Table 1: COVID19 tests per million population
5 April 10 April
USA 5,306 7,167
UK 2,880 4,392
Netherlands 4,401 5,926
South Korea 8,996 9,310
France 3,436 5,114
Italy 11,436 14,114
Spain 7,593 7,593
China na na
Source: WorldOmeter 2020

Guangdong province “did more than 320 000 RT-PCR tests on those who had attended fever clinics and hospitals over 30 days between January and February 2020”. This was “about ten times the baseline testing capacity for routine influenza-like illness surveillance during the influenza season of 2018” (Forster, Forster, Renfrew and Forster 2020). Indeed, the Chinese were the first to sequence and publish the genome of the virus, in mid-January, and to develop tests (Cohen 2020a). At the time of writing, “of 202 companies around the world producing commercialized Covid-19 test kits, 92 are from China” (Cookson and Hodgson 2020). WHO official Bruce Aylward pointed out that China had to innovate to stop the first largescale outbreak of the virus, and to isolate and quarantine those found to be infected. That meant testing. Yet as late as mid-March the UK government announced that it would only test for COVID-19 among people admitted to hospital and that people with mild symptoms wouldn’t be tested but should simply stay at home for seven days” (Hamzelou 2020).

By way of contrast, according to the WHO, South Korea was “pretty rigorous about testing all the suspect cases and finding all the contacts … [and so] they seem to have turned a corner” (Hamzelou 2020). The much lower death rate in South Korea tends to bear that out. The contrast with an indecisive UK approach was noted.

“In contrast with the early stages in the UK – where Boris Johnson said coronavirus was likely to “spread a bit more”, South Korean health officials quickly learned the lessons from Wuhan … [they] prioritized identifying and isolating people testing positive for the disease, and developed capacity to run about 15,000 diagnostic tests a day” (Beaumont 2020).

Other sources noted the early high levels of testing in China and South Korea, including many who had no symptoms of illness. “Widespread testing” in China, Iceland and South Korea “identified a high proportion of infections in people without discernible symptoms” (Gale 2020). The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention developed the earliest tests and “details of it were posted on the World Health Organization website on 24 January, just after the Wuhan lockdown was announced”. By late March China had conducted “well over 320,000 tests” (Beaumont 2020). Cookson and Hodgson (2020) wrote that “Germany and South Korea have led the way in rolling out tests on a large scale, but the UK and US have been laggards”.

It has emerged that US military bases and some warships have become strong sources of infection and likely also international transmission (Arkin 2020), as indeed they were a century ago, with the so-called ‘Spanish flu’. That remains an as-yet unaddressed threat to the US population and the international community,  given that the US has nearly 800 military bases around the world (Vine 2015). Crowded prisons have become an additional hotbed of COVID19 infection, and the US has the biggest prison system and the highest imprisonment rate on earth (Wagner and Sawyer 2018). This threatens the lives of prisoners and staff (Yan 2020) and creates a hotline of community transmission because, contrary to popular belief, there is constant high-level traffic between prisons and wider communities. There is little sign that either the US military or prison authorities have a plan to deal with these threats.

In the absence of a vaccine, drug treatments varied considerably, although similar drugs were potentially available. One large survey of more than 6,000 physicians from 30 countries sheds some light on the disparity. Substantial differences can be seen between the US and Chinese doctors. The survey question was “of the medications you have personally prescribed or have seen used, please indicate which ones are most effective”. The results are shown in Table 2 below.

Table 2: Medications used for COVID19 and thought to be “most effective”
Hydroxychlor. or Chloroquine Nothing Anti-viral/ immunotherapy Antibiotics Analgesics Plasma
USA 23% 51% 1% – 10% 18% 21% 48%
China 44% 4% 35% – 42% 33% 20% 3%
Source: Sermo 2020. (1) Plasma used was from recovered patients, a sort of pre-vaccine. (2) The antiviral-immunotherapy drugs included Lopinavir, Ritonavir, Remdisivir, Oseltamivir and Interferon-beta.

The most striking differences are that very many US doctors often regarded no medication as the best option, while Chinese doctors made far greater use of anti-viral or immunotherapy drugs, and a type of pre-vaccine treatment of plasma from recovered patients. In early February the Cuban interferon variant (Interferon Alpha-2B Recombinant: IFNrec) was also being used in China, in combination with the anti-virals (Telesur 2020; O’Connor 2020). The top “more information topic” all doctors requested was more on “the efficacy of existing medicines” (Sermo 2020: 19). Clearly there was uncertainty, but Chinese doctors were using more sophisticated medication. Why were US doctors more reluctant to use anti-virals? First, they could not use the Cuban version of interferon because of the economic blockade imposed by their government against Cuban products (O’Connor 2020). Second, it seems likely that the medical consensus in the USA – dominated as it is by large private health corporations, managed care and expensive patented medicines – would not easily countenance the provisional use of unproven and expensive antivirals. In China, on the other hand, the antivirals were likely much more affordable.

Western scientists have acknowledged that the speed in vaccine development “is thanks in large part to early Chinese efforts to sequence the genetic material of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. China shared that sequence in mid-January (Spinney 2020; Cohen 2020a). By early April, vaccines in development were said to include two “frontrunners” in the US, one in China and one in the UK, all of which had clinical trials underway. Another 11 were in development (Akst 2020). In addition, the Hong Kong listed CanSino Biologics has a vaccine project with the Chinese military (Bloomberg 2020) and the UK giant GlaxoSmithKline has a collaborative vaccine project with China’s Xiamen Innovax Biotech (Taylor 2020). There is clearly a race to produce first and to be recognized as safe and effective. Billions of dollars are at stake, as well as many thousands of lives. No doubt there will be a war of words when the first vaccines emerge. Estimates of vaccine readiness vary from two months to 18 months. However, it seems likely that the Chinese companies, in particular, will fast track their process.

With the uncertainty about treatment and in the absence of a vaccine, ‘non-pharmaceutical’ means of containing the spread of the virus became important. That meant quarantine measures and limits on movement and association, to prevent an escalation of contagion. These measures must necessarily be tailored to particular circumstances and, to justify any curtailment of civil liberties, should be ‘proportionate’ to the particular threat posed. The UN Human Rights Committee’s General Comment on Article 12 (‘Freedom of Movement’) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, explains proportionality in this way:

“Restrictive measures must conform to the principle of proportionality; they must be appropriate to achieve their protective function; they must be the least intrusive instrument amongst those which might achieve the desired result; and they must be proportionate to the interest to be protected.” (HRC 1999: 14)

In this sense, restrictive measures during the pandemic must relate to the threat and should be relaxed when the threat has diminished. Since a wide variety of restrictive measures have been imposed across a large range of countries, it necessarily falls to citizens of those places to demand accountability, full explanations and the best targeted and “least intrusive” measures. Nevertheless, as mentioned above, during the 1918 epidemic in the USA, the cities that relaxed too soon were hit by a second wave (Strochlic and Champine 2020). That potential threat is a relevant consideration. So the public health and civil rights logic are for gradual relaxation which allows for control of transmission, until proper treatment is found. A Chinese study on preventing a second wave of infections was widely misreported as saying that “lockdowns shouldn’t be fully lifted until coronavirus vaccine found” (Reynolds 2020). In fact that study calls for a gradual response, with vigilance to “allow policymakers to tune relaxation decisions to maintain [low] transmissibility” (Leung, Wu, Liu and Leung 2020).

On quarantine, once again, we see big differences between China and the USA. In Wuhan, once the new virus was detected, there was an early and severe lockdown of the city and to some extent Hubei province, to prevent it from spreading to the rest of the country. That was only relaxed after 76 days, several weeks after new infections had peaked and fallen (CGTN 2020). In the US the restrictions were at first aimed at the supposed source in China, then others were imposed quite late. The US national health system, such as it is, was poorly equipped to manage the process. Washington moved slowly and indecisively, with a series of complacent and repeated assurances throughout February from President Trump, that “we have it very well under control” (Brewster 2020; Guerra 2020). Similarly, British leader Boris Johnson was accused of complacency, being “slow to act” and even suggesting that some natural “herd immunity” might be necessary. This sounded like the UK government “was deliberately aiming for 60 percent of the populace to fall ill” (Stewart, Weaver and Proctor 2020; Yong 2020). Without vaccine assisted “herd immunity”, such an approach would mean tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands could die. As it turned out, Johnson himself contracted the virus and was hospitalized.

The rapid and strict Chinese measures seemed to contain the spread of the virus in Wuhan and some contiguous central provinces, while other provinces were less unaffected (Fan et al 2020). Another study showed a similar pattern, with western, northern and some of the eastern provinces relatively unaffected (Guan et al 2020). China’s prompt and comprehensive measures (early detection, massive localized testing including temperature monitoring, treating, contact tracing and quarantine) allowed the hardest hit area, Wuhan, to gradually emerge from severe quarantine restrictions after 76 days. That city now has a color-coded, graduated system to allow progressively greater freedom to move around (Galindo 2020). In the USA the ‘hot spots’ have been New York and New Jersey, but very quickly high levels of infection, including community transmission, were reported on the west coast (California, Washington), in the great lakes area (Illinois, Michigan) and in the southeast (Louisiana, Florida) (CDC 2020). By 9 April twelve US states had death rates of 35 per million, more three times the reported global average (WorldOmeter 2020).

Amongst the many institutional failures has been the failure to predict better ‘preparedness’ for such an epidemic. The crisis poses a great challenge to US ideology, based as it has been on corporate privilege and a belief in US technological superiority. In the past this neo-colonial approach was linked to the rationale of ‘market solutions’. For example, in late 2019 an Anglo-American group created a ‘Global Health Security Index’ which ranked the USA at the top of countries able to deal with “infectious disease outbreaks that can lead to international epidemics and pandemics”; the UK was number two (IPT 2020). Yet after three months of the COVID-19 pandemic many of the GHS rankings seem absurd, with the top three (USA, UK and The Netherlands) showing significantly worse than world average fatality rates from COVID-19. Of the highly ranked GHS countries, only South Korea showed some consistency between GHS ranking and superior performance. See Table 3 below.

Table 3: GHS rankings vs. COVID-19 death rates
GHS rank / 195 COVID-19 deaths / million **
USA 1 50
UK 2 118
Netherlands 3 140
WORLD 12.3
South Korea 9 4
China 51 2
Column 1: IPT 2020 (Top GHS rankings means those countries “most prepared” for an epidemic); Columns 2 & 3: WorldOmeter 2020, data at 10 April 2020;

Since all the above states, by early April, had fairly high and comparable levels of testing (4,400 to 9,300 per million), and as death rates are more reliable than infection rates, we are entitled to use death rates as a rough inverse measure of epidemic preparedness. That is, unless we assume that the full extent of the virus has not yet been measured, or that the virus may be about to recur in China or Korea. There is not much reason, at this stage, to imagine that under-reporting of death is better or worse in any of those states.

Indeed South Korea, with an early and strong testing regime (KCDC 2020), was able to carry out more selective quarantine measures, “to make tactical decisions regarding schools … movements … to move forward without some of the draconian measures”, and this allowed it to keep many factories, shopping malls and restaurants open (Beaubien 2020).

This brings us to the ‘anti-authoritarian’ argument, used by the Anglo-American duo. Both the US and the UK have either rejected a full, well-coordinated public health system (the US) or undermined it (in the UK) on the grounds of ‘liberty’ and the ‘authoritarian’ nature of large, well-resourced public health systems. Yet both, once they realized the scale of the epidemic, resorted to their police and armed forces to control civilian populations, recognizing that such measures were beyond the capacity of their health workforce (Haynes 2020; Browne 2020). Where restrictive measures are imposed early by local health authorities, there is more likely to be understanding and compliance.

4. Lessons

There is also the question of culture and broader social cohesion. It has been suggested that eastern countries like South Korea and China have done better because of the “deep divisions and poor leadership in the west”, and that “the trust that citizens must have in governments is low in the west and that has hurt its ability to mobilize people in a time of grave peril” (Chaulia 2020). The cynical reactions to the erratic behavior of the UK and US leaders lend some support to this claim. The western stereotype is often that “authoritarian” systems fail from suppressing information and communications (Gebrekidan 2020). But the suggested authoritarian-liberal dichotomy is a false one, because the late entry of the US and UK to quarantine restrictions was accompanied by severe policing, severe penalties, the use of police drone surveillance and the domestic deployment of armed forces (Castle 2020; Haynes 2020; Browne 2020). All public health systems are paternalistic, or maternalistic, but the use of armed forces due to incapacity in the public health system is a serious failing.

There are important lessons from China, as from principles drawn from past epidemic management, and the crisis has exposed weaknesses in the US and UK systems. The social mobilization in Wuhan, organized by local authorities and backed by the central government, certainly helped early recovery from what could have been an even more devastating epidemic (Leung, Wu, Liu and Leung 2020). Other countries cannot copy that experience, but they can observe and draw lessons (CGTN 2020).

Early restrictive and quarantine measures were in principle justified, but by international law they should be ‘proportionate’ to the particular threat posed and employing the ‘least restrictive’ measures possible. Public health logic accepts that restrictions on movement and association should be relaxed as the infection rates abate, in coordination with an epidemiological vigilance to ensure that a second wave of infections does not arise (Leung, Wu, Liu and Leung 2020; EurekAlert 2020). Time frames should reassure populations that there is some end in sight to restrictive measures, and that relaxation can begin even before vaccines are available, when the disease is controlled.

It seems likely that greater experimentation with the use of anti-viral and immunotherapy drugs helped treatment in China, but this was impeded in the USA, where strong patent laws and corporate management make the newer forms of such drugs expensive. There is now strong competition to produce the first vaccine, and for that reason level some availability seems likely within two months. However, we can expect to see a war of words between the companies involved, over questions of safety and efficacy.

Overall, countries such as the US and the UK, which had weak or run down public health systems, failed their own peoples by predictable deficits in preparedness, health workforces, protective equipment, preventive capacity, early detection and swift responses. When they did respond they tended to draw on security forces in lieu of an effective health workforce. Death rates were far higher than average and recovery may take longer. In the case of the US, the deficit is compounded by serious infection in the 150 military bases at home and the 800 US military bases abroad. Those pose a risk to the US population and to the many host countries. China and South Korea did better through their universal health cover, greater investment in health systems and greater commitment to health crisis planning.

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