Kiev’s Forces Are Primed For Attack If They Can Overcome Their Own Minefields

South Front

You can read this article in German. LINK

Open and wide-scale hostilities appear unavoidable in Eastern Ukraine.

Kiev is on the war path, with the “unwavering” support of the US and NATO.

Over April 5th, and going into April 6th, the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) continued their usual activities of deploying more troops to the demarcation line.

Russia is also transferring forces to the border with Ukraine and in the Crimea.

In total, over the last 24 hours 7 separate ceasefire violations were recorded, each including a high number of shots and shells.

Two UAF soldiers were killed.

Near the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), the UAF has several armored personnel carriers deployed at the village of Schstastye.

Still, the LPR said its militia was fully prepared to deal with any Ukrainian provocation, as according to them 60% of Kiev’s military hardware was entirely non-operational.

The Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) reported that its militia had thwarted an attempt by a Ukrainian sabotage group to conduct reconnaissance near the borders of the Republic in the area of the village of Shumy near Horlivka.

Incidents of Ukrainian servicemen being blown up by their own mines continue.

Russia, for its part, is making further deployments, as footage showed that Nona-S self-propelled howitzers were being delivered towards the potential frontline.

It is also deploying the units of the 76th Guards Air Assault Division, commonly known as the Pskov paratroopers.

Ukraine is continually blaming Russia for the concentration of forces, while it keeps shelling both the DPR and LPR.

It is negotiating with its allies, speaking with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and others.

NATO’s military attaché and its advisers are expected to arrive on the front line in Ukraine and provide their military expertise in the potential upcoming hostilities.

The active movement of military transport aircraft between NATO countries and the Ukraine continues.

The United States and its allies continue to saturate the Ukrainian army with military equipment, including UAVs, electronic warfare systems, anti-tank systems, MANPADS and other modern high-precision systems.

Meanwhile, the US carried out a typical diplomatic maneuver when a war may break out.

It said it would hold discussions with Moscow, as that is the precise form of support Kiev is likely to receive in the case that open hostilities take place.

The toolkit includes a willingness to partake in the discussion, and sending Washington’s hopes and prayers.

War between Russia and Ukraine seems to be highly likely.

Many military-political experts claim that the current situation can only be resolved by a military conflict.

Some of them declare a war now is preferable to a war later for Russia.



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UK’s Baroness Caroline Cox Slams the “Undeclared Economic War” on Syria

Transcript by Rawan Mahmasa

By Baroness Caroline Cox

Global Research, March 26, 2021

Mark Taliano 20 March 2021

All Global Research articles can be read in 27 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).

***

Caroline Cox Stock Photos, Editorial Images and Stock Pictures |  Shutterstock

Well, I’ve had personally the privilege of witnessing the poverty, the trauma, the displacement due to suffered by local communities in Damascus, Sydnaya, Latakia, Homs and at last of Aleppo, visited several times. And I continue to seek to raise the suffering of the people in parliament. Just as a reminder, over nine million Syrians are food insecure at the moment, and an estimated nine out of 10 live below the poverty line and million Syrians in parliament and the suffering of the people.

And in January this year, I sent a letter to the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, to urge the lifting of economic sanctions against Syria. The letter was signed by 80 other people, including many colleagues in the House of Lords, two former British ambassador to Syria, one of them, my friend Peter Ford, and other people from different arenas, George Tenet, the former chief of general staff of the British Army, north west of spitted former first sea lord and chief of naval staff.

And someone you heard earlier, of course, the right Reverend Dr Ted Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury and many other people. It was also signed by international diplomats, human rights experts and some of the most senior church leaders in the Middle East. They briefly on this is the prime minister for the call to the United Nations, special rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures. And they don’t do it. Who appealed at the end of December, the United States, to lift its complex web of economic sanctions that severely harm the people of Syria.

Sanctions that have not been approved by the UN Security Council. The special rapporteur stated that US sanctions, I quote, violate the human rights of Syrian people and also could exacerbate the already humanitarian situation in Syria, especially in the case of Covid-19 pandemic, end of quote. They suffer what they call suffering by blocking the aid, trade and investment necessary, the serious health system and economy to function. The special rapporteurs findings reflect a growing consensus within humanitarian aid and human rights communities that the sanctions are driving Syria into an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe. I could give a lot more details. You’ve had enough already, and I know speaking out of turn because of our network connections. But I would just highlight the sanctions cure just as surely as bombs dropped.

Bombs can be aimed at military targets and sometimes, unfortunately, civilian targets and the sanction regimes nearly everyone suffers from in Syria. Effects have been devastating. Millions of people out of work, skyrocketing prices and poverty, a crippled health care system and hunger and death for many of the most vulnerable. It is high time the undeclared economic war being waged against the Syrian people by the United States, United Kingdom, European Union and their allies to come to an end.

And I hope very much that the important conference will help to bring that around.

So moving from there tonight, from there, sorry, I move to what I should do, which is to have the great privilege of giving what I just like to offer a very profound vision thanks to all the distinguished people, because this is very, very important conflict.

We’ve been so fortunate to work with speakers from Syria, from the front line of faith and freedom and other experts from around the world, and most importantly, to hear voices in country who don’t hear enough of in Britain and to hear the heartbreaking realities that exist in Syria today and to hear the truths that are so often hidden in mainstream narratives.

And you have to just the BBC like I do, I’ve complained again and increased the coverage of Syria related to areas in the region.

So a huge many of those who face the pressure, so many people have a lot of pressure not to take part in such a conference.

They’ve had the courage to speak out and they will pay a high price. But we’re here because we believe we believe in the truth. We believe in the need because of the suffering. The people of the Syrian crisis began 10 years ago today. The suffering of the Syrian people has gone on, as we all know, to be here for far too long. And the current policies of the international community are only prolonging violence and instability in the country and compounding the profound suffering of millions of people, innocent people.

So I passionately hope that the voices today will promote. A path to stability and peace. And finally, of course, thank you so much, Dr. Makram and the European Center for the Study of Extreme Extremism. And disorganized, because I’ve been running around trying to get my network and organize this very important event, but seriously, I’m sure we all hope and pray that what we have heard today echoes in the corridors of power. And challenges the people to reflect on the too often unreported realities in this context.

And as I say, very, very biased reporting. I’m sure we’re all aware and to support Syria to decide its own future and to rebuild your magnificent country, its wonderful history in a way that is the wishes of the Syrian people and to bring hope, peace and freedom for your people. You’ve suffered for far too long without it. You’ve deserved it for a long time. And I’m sure everyone has taken part in this very, very important conference, which we do thank you very much for arranging, will agree that it is long overdue that the people of Syria are respected for wonderful history, respected for your civilization, and respected for the contribution you can make the world when countries such as the United States in my own country stop penalizing you and allow you to develop your own justice, peace, freedom and democracy.

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Carnage, corruption, and criminal negligence: The UK’s COVID legacy one year on

By VT Editors -March 25, 2021

By John Wight

(John Wight is an author and political commentator, based in Scotland.)

If history really is, as the 18th-century statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke declared, ‘a pact between the dead, the living, and the yet unborn,’ we the living in this accursed state known as the United Kingdom are — on the anniversary of Britain going into lockdown on March 23, 2020 — obligated to rage at a Tory machine responsible for one of the highest COVID death tolls in Europe and one of the highest per population globally.

To date, 126,000 people across the UK have died due to COVID-19. Just think about that for a moment! A hundred twenty six thousand and this government expects us to believe that it did everything possible to fight the virus. Its action and inaction at critical moments prove otherwise.

Whether the mad dalliance with herd immunity at the outset in March last year, conjured up in the diseased mind of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s then-chief adviser, the likewise mad Dominic Cummings; whether the failure to lock down until almost two weeks after the WHO declared COVID a global pandemic, allowing the annual Cheltenham Festival horse racing event to proceed as normal, along with the Champions League football match between Liverpool and Athletico Madrid at Anfield, thus proving the best friend COVID could have; whether the griveous lack of ventilators and sufficient PPE for the NHS at the start of the first wave; and finally, whether the huge government COVID contracts handed out to friends of government ministers in the private sector with no procurement or transparency involved, what we have is criminal negligence, corruption, and nepotism on a scale never before seen in a supposed democracy underpinned by the rule of law and accountability.

“A nation of sheep begets a government of wolves,” legendary US journalist Edward R Murrow reminds us, and in our time, it must be said that England, as opposed to Scotland, is today a nation of sheep, having elected this current government of wolves back in 2019 on the basis of nothing more substantive than retrograde ethno-nationalism and the misplaced sense of exceptionalism enshrined in Brexit.

You can only dine out on the myths surrounding the Second World War for so long, and while British obscurantism has no place at anytime, in the midst of a pandemic, it is death itself.

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And yet, despite his grievous and negligent leadership vis-à-vis COVID, Boris Johnson is still polling ahead of Labor’s Sir Keir Starmer. This, to my mind, tells us two things. The first is that, per Francisco Goya, the sleep of reason produces monsters. The second is that Keir Starmer’s Labor Party is part of the problem, not the solution.

The UK is a sinking ship of fools, of this there is now no doubt. Never has it been more divided across its regions and constituent nations. Never has its political class been more compromised by its lack of ability, probity, and integrity. And never has the UK’s mainstream media been more supine in its abject failure to hold the aforementioned to account.

A one-percent pay rise for NHS nurses, despite the literal carnage they’ve experienced over COVID this past year, despite hundreds of them perishing due to insufficient PPE, and despite the warm words of tribute to them that have been issued from the well-fed mouths of government ministers throughout, is rendered even more unjust by the pledge to increase the UK’s nuclear arsenal. If this does not constitute a provocation and insult to the intelligence of every right thinking person in Britain, nothing can or ever will.

Simon Bolivar was never more right than when he averred that, “An ignorant people is the blind instrument of its own destruction.” The extent to which they — meaning this Tory political machine and establishment — are able to beguile so many in the UK into loving the whip-lashing of their backs instead of ripping it out of their hands is a metric, surely, of the British public’s infantilization.

Boris Johnson and his Brexit gang have indeed, since coming to office, gone out of their way to peddle emotive paens to patriotism and British nationalist tropes. They’ve been successful in doing so on the back of a rising tide of nativism and xenophobia across large swathes of England. Such a rebartative dynamic becomes all the more grotesque when you factor in the indispensable role that ethnic minorities and migrants have and continue to occupy in the country’s National Health Service.

It is, with all the aforementioned in mind, long past time that this prolonged experiment in semi-feudalism at home and colonialism abroad was brought to an end. Thus, the knowledge that the train of Scottish independence has left the station and is hurtling down the track as these words are being written is the one ray of hope amid the grim reality of the UK after a year of COVID mayhem.

A hundred twenty six thousand dead people are 126,000 reasons to rage in Britain, not reason on this first anniversary of the UK going into lockdown.

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A Brief Examination of Some Facts Related to Mass Vaccination

 BY GILAD ATZMON

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By Gilad Atzmon

The case of Israel, leading the world by far in the mass vaccination contest, doesn’t leave much maneuvering room for skeptics. Since Israel launched its vast vaccination campaign in December, it has been witnessing an exponential rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths. By now, the British Mutant has become Israel’s dominant COVID strain. Israel’s health system is on the brink of collapse.

In my article Guinea Pigs United I pointed out that the rise in cases and deaths correlates with the distribution of vaccines. In Israel, the Orthodox Jewish communities that were vaccinated en masse saw COVID cases rise 16-fold, while Israeli Arabs who at large refrained from vaccination saw numbers of COVID cases dropping sharply.

But Israel is not alone. Some other states have followed a similar path and their situation is becoming as catastrophic as the crisis we witness in the Jewish State. 

I would have loved to believe that it is not too late for Britain to postpone the current mass vaccination campaign and closely examine the possible correlation between mass vaccination and mutants.  For those who wonder, I am not against vaccines or modern medical practices, but I do contend that before a nation decides to inject a new substance into its muscle, it may want to verify what this substance is and what are the exact implications involved. It is crucial to verify, for instance, whether the rise in lethal mutations that we have seen in Britain is related to mass vaccination and the vaccine trials that have been taking place in the kingdom since the summer.  The rapid change in the age of COVID-19 cases which we see in Israel and Britain also correlates with mass vaccination. Do we know what are the implications of vaccines on pregnant women or embryos?

It is hardly a secret that those who seem to be enthusiastic about the vaccines are also claiming to be in favour of ‘good science’ or even ‘real’ science as they often refer to it. The statistical facts that are related to mass vaccination are not very promising. Examining the situation in the countries that are engaged in mass vaccination such as Israel, Britain, the USA and the UAE reveal that these countries witnessed a clear decline in COVID cases and deaths during late November and early December. However, just a few days after those countries launched their vaccination campaigns, the numbers of COVID cases and consequently deaths went through the roof.

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 In comparison, you should also examine the case of Britain’s neighbours such as France, Belgium and Holland. Those countries are subject to similar climate, urban conditions, and demography, yet COVID’s curve in these countries is completely the opposite: COVID deaths and cases that were in decline since mid-November, early December are still dropping until now.  None of these countries saw a sharp rise in cases, let alone deaths, in the given period (December, January).

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 As I was writing these lines I was informed that Portugal is also facing a COVID crisis. A brief examination of its latest data reveals that its COVID curve is identical to Britain and Israel. I obviously assumed that the current sharp rise in COVID cases is somehow related to the vaccine. A quick internet check revealed that Portugal started its mass vaccination campaign on 27 December. As you can see in the graph below, until that date the numbers of COVID cases per day were in clear decline. Yet, 3 days after the mass vaccination campaign started the numbers of cases started to grow exponentially. Portugal’s health system is now on the verge of collapse. Its situation is identical with other countries that favoured the mass vaccination path. 

Portugal.png

On Optimism

 Both British and Israeli governments report almost once a day about some ‘positive signs’ that may suggest that the ‘end of the pandemic’ is just behind the corner. These news are usually supported by claims about a ‘decline in cases.’ Needless to mention that reports on the ground usually contradict these optimistic suggestions.  But since we are in a scientific mode, let’s examine the ‘statistics.’

 A quick glance at British and Israeli ‘numbers’ reveal that the numbers of new cases in late January are in sharp decline, and this seems to be positive news,  yet the number of daily deaths keep climbing. This is very worrying.

death cases.jpg

However, a quick examination of other European and Middle Eastern COVID statistics in countries such as Austria, France, Germany and Jordan reveals that the graphs representing numbers of new cases and daily deaths are almost identical in shape. How do we then explain the peculiar anomaly that is reported in Israel and Britain: a ‘decline’ in cases on the one hand, a sharp exponential rise in deaths on the other?

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 One (clumsy) possible explanation is that in the mass vaccinated countries less people are contracting COVID, yet for those who do the virus is far deadlier. This would mean that that if the vaccine is producing some positive results for the vaccinated (such as immunity), the general impact on the whole of society is pretty devastating, the number of deaths is growing rapidly.

 Another explanation which I believe is far more likely is that both the British and Israeli governments are conducting less tests. This obviously leads to a reduction in the number of new verified cases. It may look good in the Guardian or the Jewish Chronicle’s headlines but unfortunately it doesn’t stop the disease or its lethal impact.  

 In Israel, mass vaccination was Bibi’s genius political ploy, except that it didn’t work very well (so far). It is more than likely that Trump also gambled on a vaccine being approved ahead of the election.  As we know, Pfizer actually announced its ‘success’ very soon after the election. Needless to mention that Boris Johnson shares one or two features with Bibi and Trump.  It is more than likely that in the USA, Israel and Britain, mass vaccination was unleashed as a political tool. Peculiarly, it is the progressive and leftist crowds who are most enthusiastic about the vaccines delivered to them by the most outlandish right wing political icons of our time.

What is it that drives certain nations to morph into testing grounds with some possible grave implications? What is it that drives some nations to the vaccine yet pushes others to be vigilant and suspicious? I will try to address these crucial questions in my next paper.

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Guinea Pigs United

 BY GILAD ATZMON

Guinea Pig.jpg

By Gilad Atzmon

Not many countries are brave or reckless enough to execute a vast medical experiment on their entire population and put vulnerable people at risk. Britain and Israel did.

On December 8, Britain was the first Western country to start “immunising its population.” Two weeks later, just a few days before Christmas, Britain grasped that it was in serious trouble. Covid-19, the virus that was supposed to disappear from our lives, mutated into something else. On December 19, PM Boris Johnson admitted that British scientists had identified a new Covid-19 mutant that is ‘70% more transmissible’ than its ancestors. Britain introduced tighter local restrictions, yet despite these, along with the vast vaccination campaign, the numbers of Covid-19 cases, hospitalisations and deaths kept rising. They are escalating exponentially on a daily basis.

 Israel launched its mass vaccination campaign a few days after Britain. Within the next two weeks, Israel managed to vaccinate nearly 20% of its population. Israel is by far the world winner when it comes to the mass vaccination contest, but the country is also in big trouble. Like Britain, Israel is facing a huge Covid-19 surge. Its national health system is on the brink of collapse and the inevitable question is if these similar (if not identical) health crises are related to them both pioneering vast covid-19 vaccination campaigns.

Today, In the biggest Israeli news outlet News12, Israeli computer scientists revealed that the British Mutation is about to become the dominant Covid-19 strain in Israel. You may wonder how the British mutant strain managed to make Aliya and settle so comfortably in the Jewish State. The News 12 article may answer the question. “Cases in Israel aren’t rising uniformly: there is a significant slowdown in the (Israeli) Arab sector, which in the past was the main area of concern. On the other hand, there is a major outbreak in the (Jewish) ultra-Orthodox sector. This week 1.3% of all ultra-Orthodox came out verified, and the rate of increase in cases of children (63%) this week was almost double that of adults. Among the ultra-Orthodox sector, there was a 16-fold increase in the number of verified people within four weeks: this is a doubling every week – from 100 verified people per day (per million people) to 1,600 verified people, and all within a month. Such a growth rate is not seen throughout the plague and is probably due at least in part to the British mutant. It is estimated that the British mutant is about 20% of all ultra-Orthodox verified.”

This must raise eyebrows. Why would the British mutant strain spread so vastly amongst orthodox Jews? Why doesn’t it spread as quickly in the Arab population?

We may be able to stumble upon a very crucial piece of information here. Israeli Arabs may be doing better on the Covid-19 front because many of them seem to be reluctant about the vaccine. The Israeli Marker’s headline on 27 December stated: “A cause for concern: (Israeli) Arabs do not come to get vaccinated.” The Marker pointed out that Jewish citizens from all over Israel travel to Arab villages and cities to receive the vaccines that were designated to Arabs. According to a duty manager of a vaccination centre in Nazareth, 70-80% of the those who come to receive the vaccine were Jewish. Some of them travel as much as 50 km to do so.

But the story doesn’t end here. On January 3, the Israeli news website Walla reported that  “the  ultra-Orthodox are leading the population vaccination campaign.”  Walla confirmed that ‘the percentage of people vaccinated against corona among ultra-Orthodox society is higher than the rest of the population of all ages.’

It is beyond me why the Israelis decided to become guinea pigs in this reckless unscientific experiment in human lives. One option that can’t be dismissed is that Israel is once again heading towards an election and it is more than likely that Israel’s leaders believed that a mass vaccination campaign may translate into an electoral success.

As things stand at the moment, it is hard to deny the possibility of a correlation between mass vaccination and a sharp spike in Covid-19 cases in both Israel and Britain. It is hard to deny the fact that Israeli Arabs who at large avoid the vaccine are doing far better than the Jewish orthodox who seem to also believe in Pfizer. 

Alongside the revelations about the British strain, we also learned about a South African strain that is highly dangerous and possibly resistant to the current vaccines. It takes very little research to figure out that South Africa, together with Brazil and Britain, had been the testing ground for new vaccine trials since September. It is hardly a secret anymore that this was at roughly the same time that the new mutants were discovered in Britain at least.

I point here at the devastating possibility of a link between mass vaccinations and Covid-19 spikes. I am not qualified to support or explain the science that may cause this correlation. My facts are supported by data that is available to the wider public through mainstream news outlets. I am not an epidemiologist or a virologist and I really hope that people with the appropriate scientific training can refute the issues raised above. 

Sometimes I really wish to be wrong.   

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Britain’s Colonial Past and Brexit. The Real Link Which Remainers Can’t Deal With

Britain's Colonial Past and Brexit. The Real Link Which Remainers Can't  Deal With
Martin Jay is an award-winning British journalist based in Morocco where he is a correspondent for The Daily Mail (UK) who previously reported on the Arab Spring there for CNN, as well as Euronews. From 2012 to 2019 he was based in Beirut where he worked for a number of international media titles including BBC, Al Jazeera, RT, DW, as well as reporting on a freelance basis for the UK’s Daily Mail, The Sunday Times plus TRT World. His career has led him to work in almost 50 countries in Africa, The Middle East and Europe for a host of major media titles. He has lived and worked in Morocco, Belgium, Kenya and Lebanon.

Martin Jay

January 6, 2021

The Brexit deal snatched at the last minute by Boris Johnson is not the amazing coup, trumped by his media officials or the conservative press. But it is a good deal for the UK and a pretty good escape plan for the EU which was faced with a new battle in 2021: to deal with the political turmoil of Britain ‘going alone’. Given that the EU already has enough political tumult with Poland and Hungary blocking a 2 trillion dollar rescue package for countries hit hard by Covid, the last thing the EU needed was a new crisis of its own making.

Yet the deal is still controversial both in the UK and in Brussels as in many ways the real test will be in the coming years, whether EU giants like Germany and France chose to allow the UK to grow – thus becoming a bigger and bigger customer to the EU 27 – or for it to become a pariah which the EU punishes through its arbitration system, agreed in the fine print of the final draft. Some sceptics will argue that when Britain starts to grow in certain sectors, it will have its wings clipped by an overzealous EU which will cry foul play every time one EU member state complains that it can’t compete with British goods or services. This is the real heart of the deal: whether this part of the agreement will be exercised fairly.

But does the EU really do “fair”? One look at how it treats Iran within a human rights prism while not condemning Saudi Arabia’s appalling war in Yemen should tell you much. Or how it supports the repressive regimes of many North African countries who acknowledge its fake hegemony while signing up to training courses for its police forces in how to effectively spread fake news through social media platforms and carry out better “surveillance”. Or just the number of human rights scandals on home soil which dog the EU, as more and more debating chambers in the European Parliament are named after journalists murdered while uncovering graft – while the perpetrators remain free.

The EU doesn’t really do well when we examine it in this light. Fairness and equality are not really its traits. In fact, the quip from Vladimir Putin that the EU “can’t even create a single market in its energy sector” when complaining about market access in Germany is very true. The “level playing field” is very much just a buzz phrase in Brussels to distract the embedded journalist to not look too hard at how ineffective the EU is at playing on it. A sort of reverse theory of logic which dictates the more you talk about something the less likely you are to do anything about it. And there are too many examples of this doctrine. SMEs is another. “Small and medium-sized business” which we are told in tomes of EU reports provide the solution to unemployment as studies show that they are the ones who employ workers quickly. And yet, the EU does almost everything it can to destroy them in reality through allowing the European parliament to be an orgy scene of multinational companies – invariably non-EU ones – who use the lobbying system to ensure than new EU directives push them out of the market altogether.

There’s a lot of smoke and mirrors in Brussels and for remainers in the UK, who are still angry over Brexit now going though, much of their grief is really based on ideals built on the foundations supporting a pantheon of ignorance and mythology.

The EU doesn’t do fairness. It doesn’t even do democracy and in fact doesn’t even faintly pretend to. Yet it remains quiet when its millions of supporters harp on about how democratic it is, chiefly sighting the most useless and futile institution ever created: the European parliament. “Look, the EU is democratic. It has its own parliament!” people often say without taking stock of how the European parliament is probably the only assembly in the world which has no power whatsoever to propose draft legislation and is more or less run by powerful lobbying firms. For the EU itself, it is a farcical, last minute idea bolted on to allude to the idea of being democratic. But most portly MEPs who blow hundreds of millions of dollars each year travelling to Strasbourg every three weeks – burning a hole in the ozone layer the size of London – will tell you after two glasses of Chilean house red that they are nothing more than EU civil servants rubber stamping the important stuff that the adults do down the road in the European Commission. And that’s on a good day.

Yet fairness and its opaque interpretations is a big part of what Brexit is really all about. Certainly, the feral remainers in the UK who still dream of the deal being scuppered. Many are left-wing and believe naively that to belong to the EU assures Britain stays multicultural and will never fall victim to a rise of the far right – a desperate, yet equally hilarious notion, given that the EU itself is a white supremacist organisation essentially ran by white, middle aged men, many of whom are European freemasons whose delusion views about taking more power in Brussels is actually feeding the far right movement in Europe. The more the political crisis the EU finds itself in, the higher the number of far right seats in the European Parliament. It’s no longer a mystery or an enigma. Many top EU officials now admit that the EU has a real identity problem and are dumbfounded to see that its power grab is part of the solution.

But it’s also about how British people see themselves and how they cope with achievement. Winners and losers, if you like. Many remainers believe that any excursion to win in any given field should be discouraged and that being an EU member state was a perfect way of instilling this assiduous virtue which comes from the same loins as “it’s not the winning that matters, but the taking part”.

For 11 years I worked in Brussels as a journalist pouring over the texts of financial services directives, many hundreds of pages. A theme always became clear though in all of them which was that the City of London needed to “harmonize” its rules more in line with new rules which France and Germany wanted to introduce. The effect of this each and every time was to take away the business from London. And this is really the crux of Brexit. The EU has been trying to diminish the UK’s lead in many sectors through a disingenuous ruse which led Britain to believe that its membership was a genuinely fair and decent one. In reality it was entirely indecent and in the end enough people woke up and realised that EU membership really wasn’t worth much, given that it meant Britain handing over much of its gains from being a leader.

And what in God’s name is so wrong with leading? Remainers who pen clever op-eds now in the left-wing press are the real conservatives obsessed with Britain’s colonial past when they make the erroneous link with Britain’s pink history. It is just plain wrong to assume that British leadership at anything is colonial. Those same journalists fail to see that Britain’s colonial past was a failed venture and ended up almost bankrupting the country. Many, by contrast, who voted for Brexit see the UK embracing new relationships all over the world and signing trade deals with countries like Turkey, free now of the “colonialism” of old white men in Brussels who probably dance naked around trees once a year and have funny handshakes. Brexit is very much about an anticolonialism and yet many remainers are still joined at the hip with their khaki pasts. They are, by definition, conservative and racist as they equate anything to do with coming first with Britain’s war with the Mau Mau in the 1950s. They want Britain to be an “also ran” and dependent on Brussels for help tied to a colonial and abusive master who can’t look forward, is out of touch with reality and is racist to the core. If anything, Brexit is an end to colonialism and the embrace of a new set of economic ideals which places Britain as equal partners in trade with countries like India. If India can put aside its colonial past and wrongs by Britain, then why can’t remainers? The real link between Britain’s imperial past and Brexit is that the European Commission is still stuck with this model of governance itself, complete with the Brylcreem, the Sten and the khaki shorts. Remainers are not anti-imperialists at all. They are just anti-British imperialists who much prefer to be enslaved by Jean-Christophe, Luc or Hans in Brussels.

Corbyn and the Tyranny of Correctness

 BY GILAD ATZMON

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By Gilad Atzmon

Liberal film maker Michael Moore, who in 2016 predicted Donald Trump’s electoral victory, is again interfering with the premature celebration over Biden’s victory.

 Yesterday, just  five days before the election, Moore sounded the alarm, strongly suggesting that the polls showing Biden with a comfortable lead over Trump are not accurate. 

In a TV interview Moore said: “The Trump vote is always being undercounted. Pollsters- when they actually call the Trump voter, the Trump voter is very suspicious of the ‘Deep State’ calling them and asking them who they’re voting for.”

 Moore is devastated by the thought that Trump may continue residing at the same address for another four years, but that does not affect the acuity of his observation. In this peculiar world, a large proportion of Americans are reluctant to admit their support for the elected president. This is not just an American phenomenon. Many Brits won’t admit that they voted Brexit and would probably vote Brexit again. Many Brits wouldn’t admit that they supported the Tories but when they voted, they served up the Labour party its biggest blow in its electoral history. The same happened in Israel’s recent elections. Netanyahu performed far better on election day than in the pollsters’ predictions. The explanation given in Israel was that his voters do not tell the truth to pollsters.

History provides us with a manifold of occasions in which the masses pretended to support the regime, the ruling party or a tyrant. What we  see in the West currently is the opposite. A large segment of the public is actually fearful of the opposition, of those who are committed to ‘liberate’ them from their ‘crypto fascist’ rulers in the name of ‘liberal values’ and ‘freedom.’

Americans aren’t fearful of Trump, his party, the intelligence services, the NSA, the FBI or the CIA.  They are actually afraid of the ‘progressive’ social media giants and their ‘community standards’. In the USA much of the mainstream media  isn’t shy of being one sided and  blatantly conceals  news that may present the presidential challenger in a negative light. It is even more disturbing that many Americans appear to be fearful of the opposition and its powers over them. This suggests that America isn’t even remotely a free place. In America, as in Britain, the opposition has evolved into a dark, authoritarian force.

What is at the core of this authoritarian shift?  The so-called Left; ‘liberals’ and ‘progressives’ are totally removed from the cultural and political core values that made the Left into a meaningful argument. The level of detachment is so severe that most Leftists, progressives and liberals don’t even remember what those values are. The so-called Left has failed to adapt to the new reality. They, evidently,  seek political  power, but they fail to provide a plan that would make the world a slightly better place. It doesn’t take a genius to point at Trump’s dysfunctional operation as much as it is easy to point at Boris Johnson’s comical cabinet but what is it that the opposition offers instead? I would have liked to say ‘not a lot,’ but the answer is actually ‘nothing at all.’

The humiliating crash of Jeremy Corbyn is probably the most useful window into the evaporation of Left and progressive politics on both sides of the Atlantic. When Corbyn was elected to lead the Labour Party in September 2015, he was regarded as a principled Left ideological icon, a man who had supported the oppressed throughout his entire political career: even those who did not support him agreed that Corbyn was Britain’s leading anti racist. Within days of  Corbyn’s nomination as the Labour PM candidate, Corbyn displayed all the traits of a rock star. Millions of young Brits and others around the world saw him as a hero of justice and offered themselves as his avant-garde in his battle for justice and against austerity.

Yesterday, the same Corbyn was subject to the final humiliating blow. He was suspended from the party he led until a few months ago. What happened between 2015 and 2020?  

As soon as Corbyn assumed the lead of Labour both he and his party were subject to relentless attacks by the Israel Lobby and British Jewish Institutions. One after another, Corbyn’s closest allies were targeted. Corbyn didn’t stand up for any of them, or if he did, he made sure to conceal his intervention. Thousands of Labour members were suspended and expelled from the Party for criticising Israel, its lobby, or noting any exceptionalist aspects of Jewish political culture. But throughout the witch hunt, Corbyn remained silent. And when it came to politics, Corbyn couldn’t take a firm position on Brexit or any other matter. It took Corbyn only four years to waste the huge support he had initially  and to reduce his party into a tragic act. In those four years, the British Labour Party explored every authoritarian method. It harassed and collected private information about its members, it even spied on its members’ social media accounts.  It operated in concert with the police and the Israel lobby against its own precious members. During all that time while Corbyn was the leader of the party,  not once did he act as a  leader and stand  up and call for a stop to the madness.  

Corbyn was suspended yesterday following his reaction to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) verdict that Labour had broken the law in its handling of antisemitism complaints during the period when Mr Corbyn was in charge.

No one in the treacherous British press dared mention it, but the meaning of this suspension is that even the ex-leader of the Labour party, a person who was a PM candidate last December, is not allowed to express his personal views. All he is allowed to do is to follow the script. Clearly it isn’t just the masses who are terrorised by tyranny of correctness, even the Labour Party and its leadership are subject to the most authoritarian proscriptions. They are commanded to follow a script. The only question that remains open  is who writes the script and who translates it into English?

But the absurdity is even greater. The EHRC was formed by the Labour government back in 2007. Its non-official task was to tackle right wing racism in an attempt to interfere with the British National Front. From its inception, the EHRC was designed to police thought and speech. Looking at Corbyn and the damage the Labour party inflicted on itself, the chickens have come home to roost. Labour has been beaten by the dictatorial machine it invented to police its political enemies.

We do not yet know who is going to win the USA presidential election. But even if Biden wins, it is impossible to deny the fact that pretty much every second American voter believes that Trump is the better man to lead the country. The same applies in Britain, even if Labour had won the last election, every second Brit believes that Brexit is the right way forward.

I believe that if there is anything left out of the Athenian spirit and Christian ethos that made the West into a precious civilization that inspired others, it is that we must  ‘love our neighbour.’  In 2020 loving your neighbour means to agree to disagree, to see a human and humanity in each other. To love your neighbour is to search for that which unites us and to stand firm against those who break us into biological identitarian segments separated by gender, skin colour, sexual orientation etc. To love your neighbour in 2020 is to seek harmony.

The Left in its current authoritarian form cannot lead us towards this goal. It is an occupied zone. The Left needs a reset, it needs to delve into its metaphysical origin: into that unifying instinct that is also universal. Corbyn was a star when people believed that he really cared for ‘the many’ and not ‘the few.’ He evaporated as a political power when the many understood that he and his party were puppeteered by the very few.  

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The Question Concerning Covid-19 and Technology

 BY GILAD ATZMON

covid and Technology.jpg

By Gilad Atzmon

 At a time of health crisis one would expect to see an open global scholarly, multi disciplinary debate among scientists, scholars from different fields, politicians and finance experts. Not only does such a discourse not exist, what we have seen instead is a crude attempt to eradicate any such exchange. It isn’t our governments that interfere with this crucial discourse:  it isn’t Trump or the FBI that deleted seven million FB posts that didn’t agree with the World Health Organisation’s narrative. It wasn’t the Tories or Boris Johnson who erased thousands of salient videos from Youtube. It has been the work of the giant technology companies operating in concert to silence dissenting views.

 By now we are used to the idea that telling the truth about Israel and its lobby provokes severe authoritarian reactions, and it took us just a few days into the current Covid-19 pandemic to grasp that dissent from the official Corona virus narrative elicits similar drastic responses. One may want to question what Covid-19 and Israel have in common.

The outcome has been devastating. Six months into the ‘crisis,’ we still know very little about the virus we are told threatens us all.

 Not only may many people have died ‘with Covid-19,’ science itself has been murdered by a deadly virus.  What we have seen in the last six months is a complete eradication of the Western scientific and cultural ethos. 3000 years of Western tradition have been replaced by money driven culture that fakes images of scientific thought.

 Instead of asking what is it that endangers some segments of the population, our health institutions and corporations are concerned with one simple question:

         How do we translate Covid-19 into a cash machine?

 Instead of scientists debating the most crucial issues to do with a well-advertised global health hazard, start-ups are competing amongst themselves in a desperate vaccine contest, we see Wall Street rising by hundreds of billions exploiting the confusion. We witness Amazon extending its global monopoly while smaller retailers are falling like flies, and during this time, technology companies have shown us their true nature and purpose. The truth can’t be denied, Google is not a search engine, it is an Orwellian indoctrination apparatus, big brother 2020. FB, and Twitter are not social networks, they are actually anti-social filters. They gate-keep that which you are not allowed to say or think, but surely start to grasp.  

 Bizarrely enough, none of this is new. The warnings about this authoritarian shift were predicted by many including yours truly. Orwell saw it coming as early as 1948 or perhaps in 1936 while fighting in Catalonia.  But the context of this draconian twist was probably defined best decades ago by the great philosophers, Otto Weininger and Martin Heidegger.

In the early twentieth century, the Austrian philosopher Otto Weininger realised that medical science was about to lose its holistic understanding of the human body as an organism and had begun to see a collection of organs instead. Weininger saw that medical science was destined to morph into  “a matter of drugs, a mere administration of chemicals.” Weininger, Jewish by origin, was one of the most critical voices of Jewish culture and ideology. In his book, ‘Sex and Character,’ he unleashed an unprecedented attack on Jewish culture and its impact on medical science and scientific thought in general. I do not have any doubt that his words may offend some people however, it is clear that the non-organic, anti-holistic approach to medicine extends way beyond the limited realm of ‘Jewish doctors.’

 Weininger wrote the following in 1903:

 “The present turn of medical science is largely due to the influence of the Jews, who in such numbers have embraced the medical profession. From the earliest times, until the dominance of the Jews, medicine was closely allied with religion. But now they would make it a matter of drugs, a mere administration of chemicals. But it can never be that the organic will be explained by the inorganic. Fechner and Preyer were right when they said that death came from life, not life from death… We should return from this Judaistic science to the nobler conceptions of Copernicus and Galileo, Kepler and Euler, Newton and Linnceus, Lamarck and Faraday, Sprengel and Cuvier. The freethinkers of to-day, soulless and not believing in the soul, are incapable of filling the places of these great men and of reverently realising the presence of intrinsic secrets in nature.” (Sex and Character, Otto Weininger pg 315)

 Weininger didn’t pull his punches in his criticism of his fellow Jews. He wanted science to be emancipated from an emerging materialist paradigm that was hostile to his understanding of the meaning of being in the world. Otto Weininger, who was one of the most influential thinkers during the first half of the 20th century, is unknown to most contemporary thinkers. His genius, however controversial, has been largely eradicated by those who control our public discourse.

Heidegger’s lecture,  ‘The Question Concerning Technology’ (1954) was published five decades after Otto Weininger’s ‘Sex and Character’ saw daylight. In between the two literary events, the world experienced two world wars, a communist revolution, mass genocide campaigns that were technologically and industrially inspired and driven, the car was born as was aviation and the computer, the atomic bomb and a cold war. 

 Heidegger saw technology primarily as a mode of revelation. Through technology, things unveil themselves to us to the extent that we learn about the world around us, but also about our role, meaning, limitations and destiny in the world. Technology, as such, has made the world in which we live and provides a window into the meaning of Being.

 But modern technology, according to Heidegger, introduced a change in the duality between man and the universe. Rather than revealing and unveiling the world to us, technology has mutated into a mode of exploitation that sustains the world in being somehow inaccessible to us.

 Heidegger observed that because of technology, “all distances in time and space are shrinking…yet the hasty setting aside of all distances brings no nearness; for nearness does not consist in a small amount of distance.”

 Despite rapid advances in technology, we do not experience this ‘nearness,’ let alone understand it.  Instead of a gradual understanding as items manifest themselves to us as technological, we see them and treat them as what Heidegger calls a ‘standing reserve:’ supplies and exhibits in a showroom or a warehouse. The world is becoming a collection of technological items, gadgets, pieces of inventory to be ordered, conscripted, consumed, digested, uploaded, streamed, assembled and disassembled. Everything approaches us merely as a source of energy or as something we must organize or purchase. We treat even human capabilities and illnesses as though they were only the means for technological procedures and instruments for production.

 This is what Covid-19 is and this is exactly where we are with the ostensible health threat. Even before we could realise what covid-19 is, it was reduced into a technological asset, an Heideggerian ‘standing reserve’. Whether it is the mask debate, future vaccinations or ventilators, Covid 19 morphed into a ‘cash machine’ as much as a health risk.

 If Covid-19 and the technology involved is a mode of revelation, it reveals little about the health crisis, but tells a lot about us and what we are not willing to admit about ourselves. We are now, in fact, removed from the Western Athenian ethos that subscribes to pluralism, openness and, most important, a relentless and OPEN search for truth in wisdom. We seem pretty happily occupied by the so-called Jerusalem way of thinking. We are delighted to be fearful and accept being terrorised by repeated apocalyptic scenarios. We seem to follow anyone who strips us of our elementary rights.  We accept suppression of free thinking, until further notice, we prefer to follow laws, regulations and ‘mitzvoth.’* In such a world, Heidegger and Weininger are public enemies. Orwell and his prophecy are not going to be part of our Western education curriculum for much longer.

 Covid19 has revealed to us that we are not as free as we may have believed, and the only question left open is whether we, the people, can rise again, and when? 

—-

 *By ‘mitzvoth’ (plural) I refer to orders, rules, commandments that do not necessarily follow any scientific or rational reasoning. In Judaism mitzvah (singular) refers to a commandment ordered by God to be performed as a religious duty. As such, the purpose of any given Mitzvah cannot be challenged as it is grounded on a decree made by a higher order.

Masks Are All About the Economy Not Safety!

The Compulsory wearing of masks Law is nothing to do with safety or science and everything do with cash and PR.

If it’s necessary to wear a mask now, then surely it was even more necessary back on March 12 when the Deputy chief medical officer, Dr Jenny Harries stated “For the average member of the public walking down a street, it is not a good idea… in fact, you can actually trap the virus in the mask and start breathing it in.”

This was the same date that she also said that the Cheltenham Festival and other sporting events could continue and we all know what happened as a result of that ‘scientific’ advice.

However, now suddenly, with death figures tumbling we are told that face coverings in shops will be mandatory from July 24th and that cops will issue spot fines of £100 if we do not comply.

It’s the Economy, Stupid

I wonder why? You don’t think it has anything to do with the economy being in free fall, do you?!

Of course, it has. This new policy is ‘all about the economy stupid’ and nowt to do with the safety of us. We are being used as Lab Rats again. Wear a mask to be ‘safe’ and spend, spend, spend.

Having scared the nation to death for months, Boris now wants us back out on the streets and in the pubs and shops spending like that thick lottery winner in Norwich, who ended up skint after blowing his fortune. He now delivers coal.

The whole policy is rubbish. If it’s so important to wear a mask why are we having to wait until July 24 to implement this new law? Boris has stated that a cloth face covering is all that’s necessary, so if the threat is so real we don’t need any preparation time, do we?

Meanwhile, Government Minister George ‘Useless’ Eustice was on TV this morning saying that we need two weeks to organise a face covering for ourselves!

Then up popped London Mayor Sadiq ‘Khant’ who said the law would be impossible to enforce in London as it lacks clarity.

So, we have to wear a mask in a shop but not in a pub? Boris opening swimming pools and gyms but they’re mask free? Why don’t you have to wear a mask in a cinema which last time I looked is a confined space?

I could go on but seeking clarity in this government’s inept handling and policy decisions during this pandemic is as fruitless as finding the Holy Grail.

Incompetent Mob

Boris was elected on a tide of optimism and a promise of taking back control but his government has morphed into an incompetent mob who want to control us.

Boris, please tell me, how the hell are the cops meant to enforce this law?

They weren’t even allowed by their political masters and their politically correct Chief Constables to stop the Black Lives Matter protests and counter-protests from happening during the pandemic a few weeks ago.

The mob ruled and the coppers were either too busy bending a knee or scared to intervene as Churchill’s statue was vandalised and the cenotaph desecrated. The only time they moved and got off their knees was when they ran away from whichever mob was chasing them. Pathetic.

But, I guess that there has been a calculation that shoppers are an easy nick, so you watch as thousands of people are made into criminals by Boris’ Barmy edict.

To be fair, Boris played a blinder in getting us all to self-isolate and stay home but that was because we are a tolerant lot and realised that it was the best thing to do at that time. However, many of us also wanted a swifter and more draconian lockdown which should have included masks then but instead he opted for the so-called libertarian approach, instead of learning from Italy.

He was slow off the blocks then and he is still lagging behind the rest of the runners in this race to defeat coronavirus.

He decided to treat us as children by not telling us all the facts and he refused to actually confess when he got things wrong as Macron did in France. No, instead he had to keep ramping up the fear factor to warp factor 11.

Boris has consistently said that he is following the science and the scientific advice but it’s clear that either the scientific advice was poor or even wrong, or he is spinning us a line to deflect criticism away from himself.

Killing off the High Street

Now people are very concerned about going out again which is why pubs are not being besieged and are operating on at least 50 percent lower takings.

The same is happening on the High Street. Why would you go shopping in town when you have to queue to get into every shop and you’re treated like a leper by an assistant in a mask asking if you’ve hand-sanitized?

Then you can’t touch the clothes or even try the shoes on.

No wonder people are practising real social distancing and shopping from the safety of their own homes via the internet.

The high street and town centres were already dying before COVID but Boris’ mandatory face mask law will be the final death blow for our Town centres.

It will have the opposite effect to the one he intends; the shoppers will stay away and the economy will continue to collapse until he gets a grip, has realistic policies and most importantly a clear and consistent road map which we all understand and are willing to follow.


By Jon Gaunt
Source: Sputnik News

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.

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.

Kremlin Responds to Erdogan’s Request That Russia ‘Step Aside’ in Syria

Putin humiliated Erdogan and his entire entourage by making them ...
Putin humiliated Erdogan and his entire entourage by making them wait outside the door.

Sputnik

MIDDLE EAST 17:21 GMT 01.03.2020 (updated 17:48 GMT 01.03.2020)

On Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that he had asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to “get out of Turkey’s way” and to leave Ankara “face to face” with Damascus in the renegade Syrian province of Idlib.

Russia is the only country with a legitimate, internationally recognized right to station troops in Syria, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.

“Russia is the only country which has troops in Syria on a legal basis and at the request of the legitimate Syrian government,” Peskov said, ( Pescove Forgot that Axis of resistance is there at th2 request of Syria) speaking to Russia 1’s Moscow.Kremlin.Putin programme on Sunday when asked to comment on President Erdogan’s remarks about what “business” Russia has in Syria.

“All other military forces of other countries are in Syria in contravention of the norms and principles of international law,” Peskov added.

According to the Kremlin spokesman, all of the actions by the Syrian military in Idlib in recent days have been aimed at fighting terrorists. Turkey, on the other hand, has failed to meet its obligations under the Sochi agreements, he said.

“We know that under the Sochi agreements from a year ago, it was the Turkish side which was required to ensure a regime of inactivity by these terrorist elements. Unfortunately, Turkey has not fulfilled these obligations, and the terrorists went on the offensive against Syria’s armed forces,” Peskov said.

Peskov recalled that in addition to attacking the Syrian Army, the terrorists were also attacking Russian military units in the Arab Republic. “Therefore,” he noted, “regardless of any statements, the fight against these terrorist elements will continue.”

Meeting This Week

Peskov also confirmed that Presidents Putin and Erdogan would meet on March 5 or 6 in Moscow to discuss the Syrian crisis. According to Peskov, the meeting would not be an easy one. “This will undoubtedly be a difficult meeting, but the heads of state have nevertheless affirmed their focus on resolving the situation in Idlib and their adherence to the Sochi accords. This is important,” he said.

Putin and Erdogan spoke by telephone on Friday. On Saturday, Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul that he asked Putin about Russia’s “business” in Syria, adding that while Turkey didn’t mind if Russia established a base in the country, it should “get out of our way and leave us face to face with the [Syrian] regime.”

Russia established an airbase in Latakia, northwestern Syria in 2015 on the request of Syria’s internationally recognized government to assist the country in its fight against a broad array of foreign-backed terrorists.

Russia and Turkey reached an accord in Sochi in September 2018, allowing the Turkish military to establish observation posts in Idlib on the condition that terrorist groups be separated from other armed groups and expelled from the de-escalation zone. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has recently said that Ankara has failed to do so.

Tensions in Idlib escalated in February after Syrian artillery struck a Turkish observation post, killing eight Turkish troops and injuring several others. The situation has since turned into a shooting war between Syrian troops, Turkish forces and Ankara-backed militants. On Thursday, Syrian strikes killed at least 33 Turkish troops who were mixed in among jihadist militants, sparking off a Turkish response which included attacks on dozens of Syrian government targets in ‘Operation Spring Shield’. Syria initiated its Idlib operation in December, citing repeated terrorist attacks on army positions.

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

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

Spotnik

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, with over 1,270,000 confirmed cases across the world and at least 69,450 fatalities from the disease.
Nations affected by the coronavirus are introducing further measures to curb the spread and urging people to stay at home to be safe and also ease the pressure on healthcare systems amid the crisis.
The United States remains the country hardest hit by the pandemic with almost one-fourth of the world’s infected (at least 337,000), while Italy and Spain remain the main centre of the outbreak in Europe with the highest numbers of deaths (15,887 and 12,641 respectively).
Germany, in the meantime, is approaching 100,000 confirmed cases.
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    People walk on a temporarily closed section of the Grand Concourse during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Bronx borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 2, 2020

    COVID-19 Death Toll in US Rises Above 10,000 – Johns Hopkins University


    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The COVID-19 death toll in the United States has risen above 10,000, according to the latest data published by Johns Hopkins University at 1:25pm EST (17:25 GMT).
    READ MORE
  • 17:20

    Turkey’s Health Minister Reports 3,148 New COVID-19 Cases, 75 New Deaths in 24 Hours

    According to a graphic posted on Twitter by the health minister, the total number of cases reported in Turkey since the start of the outbreak is now 30,217, up 3,148 from Sunday. The COVID-19 death toll in the country currently stands at 649 after 75 new deaths were reported, according to Koca.
    A total of 1,326 people in Turkey have recovered after contracting the disease, an increase of 284 in the previous 24 hours, the minister said.
  • 16:30

    Russia’s Medical-Biological Agency Develops COVID-19 Treatment, Clinical Trials Starting

    Russia’s Federal Medical-Biological Agency (FMBA) says that is has developed a treatment for COVID-19 based on the drug Dalargin, and clinical trials of the treatment are getting underway, the agency’s press service stated on Monday.
    “The Federal Medical-Biological Agency has developed a treatment for severe forms of pneumonia that lead to respiratory failure caused by a coronavirus, based on … the synthetic hexapeptide Dalargin”, the agency said in a statement.
    Dalargin is already accredited in Russia as a treatment for trophic ulcers and protecting vital organs such as the lungs and liver, the agency noted.
    The new treatment has already been tested on animals, with success rates between 70 and 100 percent, the agency stated.
    “Given the high tolerance and safety of Dalargin, which has been proven in tests, the FMBA is today launching clinical trials of Dalargin for the treatment of severe pneumonia caused by the coronavirus, which is accompanied by respiratory failure and the risk of developing acute respiratory distress syndrome”, the agency’s head Veronika Skvortsova said in the statement. 
  • 16:20

    New York State Death Toll Reaches 4,758 – Government

    Healthcare worker outside Wyckoff Heights Medical Centre in the Brooklyn borough of NYC

    New York State Death Toll Reaches 4,758, Number of Cases Exceeds 130,600 – Government


    Last week, US President Donald Trump ordered to deploy 1,000 military personnel, consisting mostly of doctors, nurses, and healthcare specialists to New York City amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
    READ MORE
  • 16:19

    Italy Death Toll From COVID-19 Pandemic Rises by 636 to 16,523

    A man wearing a face mask walks past a graffiti

    Italy Death Toll From COVID-19 Pandemic Rises by 636 to 16,523


    Italy is the country hit third hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, with Lombardy being one of the main hotbeds of the disease in the nation.
    READ MORE
  • 16:10

    Number of Daily New COVID-19 Cases in Greece Falls Sharply From 62 to 20 – Health Ministry

    The daily rise in the number of new COVID-19 cases reported in Greece has fallen sharply, as 20 new cases of the disease were reported on Monday, compared to 62 new positive tests confirmed on Sunday, Health Ministry representative Sotirios Tsiodras said at a briefing.
    Greek medical authorities reported a record 129 new cases on Thursday, but the daily rise in the number of positive tests has since decreased.
    During the briefing, Tsiodras confirmed six new deaths as a result of the disease, raising the overall death toll since the start of the outbreak to 79. He stated that 90 people remained in intensive care and 269 people have been discharged from hospitals after contracting the disease.
    According to the deputy minister for civil protection Nikos Hardalias, the decline in new cases was an encouraging sign, but measures to curb the spread of the disease could not yet let be lifted.
  • 16:08

    Number of Novel Coronavirus Cases in US Military Soars by Nearly 50% in 3 Days – Pentagon

    Police and U.S. Military personnel work amid a line of cars of people arriving for testing at a new drive-thru coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing center in the Staten Island borough of New York City, New York, U.S., March 19, 2020

    Number of Novel Coronavirus Cases in US Military Soars by Nearly 50% in 3 Days – Pentagon


    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The US military has so far recorded 2,528 cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), a rise of around 800 since Friday, the Department of Defence announced on Monday.
    READ MORE
  • 15:32

    Boat Tour Around Empty Canals in Venice Amid COVID-19 Pandemic – Video

    A view of an empty Grand Canal on Palm Sunday, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Venice, Italy, April 5, 2020

    Boat Tour Around Empty Canals in Venice Amid COVID-19 Pandemic – Video


    Italy has the highest COVID-19 death toll in the world — 15,887 people have died from complications related to the coronavirus in the country.
    READ MORE
  • 15:22

    Russian Military Doctors Begin Receiving, Treating COVID-19 Patients in Italy’s Bergamo

    Russian military experts  prepare to carry out a complete sanitary disinfection treatment of the Martino Zanchi care home for the elderly in a suburb of Bergamo, Italy.

    Russian Military Doctors Begin Receiving, Treating COVID-19 Patients in Italy’s Bergamo


    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russian military doctors have begun providing 24-hour care at a field hospital in the Italian city of Bergamo for patients that have tested positive for COVID-19, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Monday.
    READ MORE
  • 15:10

    France Faces Worst Recession Since 1945 Due to COVID-19 – Finance Minister

    France Faces Worst Recession Since 1945 Due to COVID-19 – Finance Minister


    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Monday that the COVID-19 pandemic would cause an economic recession in the country in 2020, one worse than what France experienced at the end of World War II.
    READ MORE
  • 15:09

    US Military in South Korea Tests Guests for Coronavirus With… Apple Vinegar

    An US Air Force soldier patrol the perimetre around a F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter jet

    US Military in South Korea Tests Guests for Coronavirus With… Apple Vinegar


    The Daegu Garrison has introduced smell tests as an additional measure, apart from necessary gate checks for temperature and cough, as even those with mild symptoms have been found to showcase anosmia, or in other words, the loss of smell.
    READ MORE
  • 15:08

    Number of COVID-19 Cases in Indonesia Approaching 2,500 – Health Ministry

    The number of cases of the coronavirus in Indonesia has reached 2,491, with 218 of them being registered over the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Monday.
    According to the ministry, 11 new fatalities have been registered in the country, bringing the total death toll to 209. Meanwhile, a total of 192 patients have fully recovered.
    In late March, Indonesian President Joko Widodo declared a health emergency due to the spread of COVID-19. As a part of measures to curb the pandemic, the authorities have also temporarily banned entry and transit services for foreign nationals.
  • 15:05

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

    FIFA President Gianni Infantino gestures as he walks on the stage before the start of the 69th FIFA congress in Paris, Wednesday, June 5, 2019.

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


    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The world football governing body FIFA is planning to extend the 2019/20 season indefinitely, which will allow domestic leagues to decide how to conclude their seasons, the majority of which were initially scheduled to end in April and May but were disrupted due to the COVID-19 outbreak, The Athletic sports news portal reported.
    READ MORE
  • 15:04

    Swiss Health Ministry Reports Record-Low Daily Increase of 522 COVID-19 Cases

    The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health on Monday has confirmed 522 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest day-on-day increase over the past three weeks, raising the overall number of those infected to 21,652.
    According to the health authorities, 584 patients have died from the disease, with 25 of the fatalities being recorded over the past 24 hours.
  • 14:10

    Streets of Moscow Amid Self-Isolation Regime as World Battles COVID-19 Pandemic – Video

    Empty street in Moscow

    Streets of Moscow Amid Self-Isolation Regime as World Battles COVID-19 Pandemic – Video


    In a move to fight the spread of the coronavirus, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin earlier imposed tough restrictions on movement, prohibiting residents from leaving their homes except in cases of emergency, to seek medical help, or to do essential shopping.
    READ MORE
  • 14:09

    Ex-Special Branch Officer Becomes Oldest Briton to Recover From Coronavirus at 99

    Ex-Special Branch Officer Becomes Oldest Briton to Recover From Coronavirus at 99


    Pollock, who turns 100 in November, served for the UK’s national security police force in Kenya – while there, she suffered from Malaria twice, which she says was “probably a little worse than coronavirus”.
    READ MORE
  • 14:07

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

    Danish police (File)

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


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

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

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

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


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

    US Stocks Open Higher Amid COVID-19 Slowdown Hopes

  • 13:35

    New Delhi Receives 170,000 Medical Protection Suits From China

  • 13:26

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

  • 13:17

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

  • 12:47

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

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

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


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

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

  • 12:09

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

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

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


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

    Number of Infected in Netherlands Rises to 18,803

  • 11:26

    Street Outside Virchow Clinic in Berlin – Video

  • 11:22

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

  • 11:03

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

  • 10:58

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

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

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


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

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

  • 10:42

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

  • 10:38

    Putin and Netanyahu Agree on Coordinating Fight Against Coronavirus

  • 10:21

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

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

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

    Black leather wallet with money

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


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

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

  • 09:51

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

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


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

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

  • 09:48

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

  • 09:32

    Indian Airline Announces Resumption of Air Services Starting 15 April

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

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

  • 09:23

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

  • 09:10

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

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

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


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

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

  • 08:47

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

  • 08:17

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

  • 07:55

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

  • 07:37

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

  • 07:37

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

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


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

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

  • 06:37

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

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

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


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

    Number of Infected in Georgia Rises to 188

  • 05:10

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

  • 05:10

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

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

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

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

    Thailand Reports 51 New Coronavirus Cases and Three Fatalities

  • 04:43

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

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

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


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

Sick West Goes Viral

FINIAN CUNNINGHAM SATURDAY 4 APR 20

The world is in a sick place. We’re not just talking about the escalating coronavirus pandemic, serious though that is with global deaths doubling over the past week. What is also sick is the way gestures of solidarity are being cynically twisted.

Take the arrival of Russian medical aid to the US this week. That was promptly arranged after US President Donald Trump asked his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a phone call for help in coping with the coronavirus crisis. Even before the Antonov-124 cargo plane touched down at JFK airport certain US media outlets were labelling the gesture of solidarity as a “propaganda gimmick” by the Kremlin.

It was surmised that the Russian response to the US request for aid was “to push efforts for relief from sanctions” imposed by Washington. The cynical inference is that supposed Russian conniving and deceit knows no bounds in the black art of manipulation.

A Russian made Antonov An-124, one of the biggest cargo planes in the world, is pictured on May 29, 2019, on the tarmac of the airport in Brest, Western France.

© AFP 2020 / FRED TANNEAU

How about just simply acknowledging the evident fact that Russia is sending vital medical help to the US at a time of need motivating by no other sentiment than basic humanitarian compassion? The fact that Russia has been slapped with numerous US sanctions over recent years since the Ukraine crisis as well as stemming from bizarre claims of Moscow meddling in the 2016 US presidential election – only goes to show Russia’s capacity for magnanimity. Simple as that folks.

The same pathetic distortion was earlier voiced regarding Russian and Chinese aid to Italy and other European countries stricken with the deadly virus.

This week a European Union so-called media watchdog warned that Russia and China were engaged in a disinformation campaign to “undermine public trust in national health-care systems”.

There are also reports of claims by US intelligence and other officials that China is to blame for spreading the disease because it deliberately under-reported the outbreak that initially occurred in December, thereby allegedly leaving Western nations ill-prepared to withstand the pandemic.

Those claims are patently false. China had alerted the world to the seriousness of the disease as early as January when it was itself getting to grips with the uncertain public health crisis. Western nations had three months to learn from China’s experience, as well as from neighboring South Korea, where authorities clamped down on the epidemic. But Western governments for various reasons, no doubt primarily due to budgetary costs, chose instead to ignore the threat.

Trump and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson in particular showed stupendous nonchalance bordering on callous indifference. Both of them dismissed the looming Covid-19 crisis as a “passing flu”. Only last week Trump was touting the US “getting back to business by Easter”.

What is abundantly evident is that the US, Britain and other Western states are not prepared to deal with the present crisis because of their rundown public health services. That structural problem is a matter of government neglect over many years to ensure that their citizens are adequately protected in a time of crisis. And that neglect stems from deliberate policy choices, such as showering the rich with tax breaks and squandering trillions on militarism, while relentlessly cutting funds for public services.

In short, the coronavirus crisis is a reflection of a deeper crisis in the capitalist system that prevails among Western states, as American professor Richard Wolff explains. Societal human needs are always sacrificed on the altar of elite private profit.

Men wearing protective masks stand as people hike along a section of the Great Wall in Badaling in Beijing, on its first day of re-opening after the scenic site's coronavirus related closure, China, 24 March 2020.

© REUTERS / THOMAS PETER

The fact that in the US and Britain there is a paltry number of test kits for checking the disease and a dearth of vital protective equipment for medical staff is a national disgrace due to inherent political and economic reasons. That is what needs to be focused on. That is where the public anger should be directed. Why have citizens been so abjectly betrayed by their governments whose first duty of care should be to protect them?

It is absurd and contemptible for certain media and pundits to try to distract from the central issue of bankrupt democracy by seeking to disparage Russia over humanitarian aid or scapegoat China for the systemic failures of Western governments.

One senses, however, that the ploys of Russophobia and Chinaphobia have become hopelessly threadbare in credibility. In Britain, for example, normally Conservative-supporting media are asking angry questions on their front pages about government dereliction. Are we to believe that such anger is the result of Russia and China “sowing disinformation to undermine public trust”?

No, it is simply a case of citizens realizing – slowly and painfully – that their governments and society organized on capitalist priorities is a shambles unworthy of the name “democracy”.

The sickness of smearing and blaming others instead of dealing honestly with inherent problems will only embolden the public even more to exact retribution from their culpable authorities. As millions of workers and their families reap poverty and illness, one senses too that the pitchforks are being taken down from the barn roofs.

Sickness in the West is going viral, but maybe some lasting benefit may come from this crisis in the end, if societies are overhauled for the greater good of citizens.

Finian Cunningham

Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromising Integrity in Journalism (2019).

صراع القيَم حول العالم

سعادة مصطفى أرشيد

تعرّضت بلادنا منذ عقد من الزمن لحرب ضروس بيننا وبين الإرهاب المعولم والمؤدلج بـ «قيم» الفوضى الخلاقة للشر متخذاً من الدين وقيم الحرية والعدالة والديمقراطية قناعاً يخفي وراءه قباحته وشروره. هدفت الحرب إلى إعادة إنتاج الاتفاق الانجلو – الفرنسي (سايكس – بيكو) باتجاه ما هو أدهى وأمرّ بمزيد من التفتيت والشرذمة، وكان آخر ما حرّرته الجهات المعادية في دفترنا هو صفقة ترامب الأميركية (صفقة القرن). في غمرة تلك الأحداث المزدحمة داهمنا وباء كورونا سالباً منا الطمأنينة والصحة والسلامة وحاصداً آلاف الأرواح ومحاصراً ما يزيد عن مليار شخص في معازل صحية او منزلية، وكثير منهم من الذين لا يجد قوت يومه إلا بيوم عمله.

وإذا كان هذا الوباء يصيب الجهاز التنفسي للإنسان ويدمّره ويؤدّي إلى وفاته، فإنّ هذه الأزمة قد كشفت أنه يصيب بأعراضه النظم السياسية والاجتماعية والاقتصادية أيضاً، ويكشف ماهو منها زائف ومخادع وما هو منها يملك قيماً إنسانية راقية وأخلاقاً نبيلة. فقد تعرّت عورات أنظمة عديدة لطالما تغنّت بالديمقراطية وحقوق الإنسان، بالحريات والعدالة الاجتماعية، لا بل وزادت بأن أبدت اهتمامات بالطيور وهجراتها وقردة الباندا وإمكانيات انقراضها، وإذا بها تتهاوى وتتكشف على حقيقتها أمام هذا الوباء فأبدت لنا وجهها القبيح معلنة بصريح القول والعبارة درجة انحطاطها القيمي والأخلاقي بشكل غير مسبوق.

الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب لا يجد في موت آلاف البشر والذين من المرشح أن تتزايد أعدادهم بأصفار عديدة إلى يمين تلك الآلاف، إلا فرصة لتعزيز وضعه الانتخابي أمام الاستحقاق المقبل في تشرين الأول المقبل، ثم لتحقيق أرباح ومكاسب مادية من تجارة الأمصال والعلاجات المداوية له، لم يتوانَ أن يتخلى عن أصدقائه وحلفائه في الناتو من الأوروبيين، تاركاً لهم مهمة نزع أشواكهم بأيديهم. الأمر الذي دعا صحافية إيطالية شجاعة لأن تقدّم هدية لوزير خارجيته بومبيو وهي عبارة عن علبة طعام كلاب ليأكل منها هو ورئيسه وطاقم إدارته علهم يتعلمون من الكلاب بعض الوفاء، فيما نظيره وصديقه بوريس جونسون، أخذ ومستشاره الطبي بنظريات إسبارطية وبعض الأفكار الداروينية والتي ترى أنّ البقاء للأقوى أو فكرة مناعة القطيع، وبمعنى أوضح ليمت من يموت من كبار السن والضعفاء والمرضى بأمراض مزمنة ويرتاح جونسون من مصاريف رعايتهم الصحية والاجتماعية المرتفعة وليبقى الأصحاء فقط، ولم يعد عن ذلك إلا بعد تصاعد الاحتجاجات الشعبية والبرلمانية إثر التقارير الصادرة عن الامبيرال كولدج ذات المصداقية العالية ومركز الأوبئة التابع لها، الأمر الذي دعا جونسون ليخفف من صفاقة أقواله وليعود عن تجاهله لضرورات التصدي للوباء.

الثالث في حلقة الأصدقاء هو بن يامين نتنياهو، فحسب ما ذكرت القناة الثالثة عشرة العبرية أنّ خلافاً قد حصل بين وزير الصحة (الإسرائيلي) ونائبه وهو بروفيسور في علم الأوبئة وذلك في حضور نتنياهو، حيث قدّر البروفيسور أنّ عدد المصابين بالوباء يتجاوز عددهم خمسين ألفاً فيما التقارير الرسمية والإخبارية تتحدث عن إلفين، فيما قال الوزير إنّ الأرقام الحقيقية للمصابين أكبر من الأرقام المعلنة، ولكنها لا تصل إلى الرقم الذي ادّعاه البروفيسور، مع ذلك فما يشغل بال ووقت نتنياهو هو كيفية التهرّب من المحكمة وقضايا الفساد التي تلاحقه، كيف يستطيع البقاء في مقعد رئاسة الوزراء؟ كيف يستطيع أن يستغلّ الانشغال العالمي بالوباء لتنفيذ مخططاته الرامية لضمّ المستوطنات والأغوار ومناطق أخرى من الضفة الغربية؟

مقابل هذه البشاعة وهذا الانحطاط الذي يمارسه هؤلاء لا بحقّ الإنسانية فحسب، وإنما بحق شعوبهم وأهلهم وذويهم، نرى في الجانب المقابل لهذه الصورة البشعة أنّ الصين وهي أول من أصيب بالوباء، وأول من تصدّى له، ومع أنّ شعبها البالغ تعداده مليار ونصف مليار إنسان وأنّ اقتصادها عانى من التراجع أكثر من أيّ اقتصاد آخر، حيث توقفت كثير من صناعاتها عن الإنتاج وتجارتها وسلعها من التداول، مع ذلك كله نراها تحقق نجاحات نسبية في محاصرة الوباء ومكافحته، وتقدّم في الوقت ذاته أفضل ما لديها لخدمة شعبها وتمدّ يد العون والمساعدة لغيرها في مجالات الخبرة والمساعدة العينية، في حين دولة التشيك الصديقة الحميمة لدولة الاحتلال والولايات المتحدة تسرق ما يمرّ عبرها من مساعدات صينية كانت في طريقها إلى إيطاليا. إنه موقف أخلاقي يعبّر عن نبل الشرق وأخلاقة وفلسفاته الإنسانية ويعاكس المواقف والأفكار النيوليبرالية والرأسمالية المتوحشة والمتمثلة في الأميركان وتوابعهم. في المقام ذاته نرى كوبا برغم فقرها وهوانها على الناس في وقت تراجعت فيه قيم الحرية والكرامة والثورة، ها هي تقف بكلّ شجاعة بأطبائها ومعداتهم وأدويتهم، تطوّعاً لا مأجورة لإنقاذ من يفوقها قوة وثراء، ولكنه دونها كرماً وعطاء.

عودة إلى عالمنا العربي الذي يبدو عصياً عن سماع الأخبار (بالطبع بعضه لا كله)، غير مستجيب للمتغيّرات التي أحدثها الوباء، حيث يتحالف السياسي المفرط في قضايا شعبه وأهله مع رجل المال الفاسد والجشع في ثنائية شيطانيّة، الأول يريد أن يبقى جالساً على كرسيه وبالتالي الاستمرار في خدمة مشاريع أعداء بلده ويجد في هذا الوباء دثاراً له والثاني يجد في الوباء فرصة لتحقيق أرباح ومكاسب. لا يوجد ما يشير إلى أنّ تغيّراً في أخلاق وعقول ومسلكيات هؤلاء قد طرأ عليه أيّ تغيّر او تبديل، برغم انّ الموت يترصّد بالجميع حاكماً ومحكوماً، غنيّاً وفقيراً، وهو لا يجد فرقاً في مذاق رئتي الأمير تشارلز ورئتي أيّ مواطن صيني او إيطالي أو غيره، لا فرق أبداً في الطعم والمذاق.

الكورونا تفتك بالعالم، ولكن الحرب على اليمن وقد دخلت عامها السادس لا تزال تستعر وتزداد ضراوة ولا نية على ما يبدو لإيقافها، برغم انّ أكلافها قد تجاوزت نصف تريليون دولار، فهل مَن تحمّل هذه الأكلاف في هذه الحرب القذرة والظالمة يرغب او يقبل أن يدفع جزءاً ولو بسيط منها لإغاثة المليار محاصر في معزله الصحي أو بيته؟ أو لإنتاج أدوية ولقاحات لمعالجة المصابين؟ واليمن ليس إلا مثالاً لما يجري في فلسطين المحتلة وغزة المحاصرة وسورية وليبيا التي لا يزال الإنفاق على تدميرهما على أشدّه.

وإذا كان ما تقدّم عن أهل السياسة فماذا عن حلفائهم وشركائهم من وحوش المال؟ يتداول الناس مقارنة بين هؤلاء وبين مصمّم أزياء إيطالي تبرّع بمعظم ثروته لحكومته لإنقاذ أهله وشعبه فيما مواطنته ممثلة الأفلام الإباحية تتبرّع بستين مليون يورو للسبب ذاته. أثرياؤنا لم يتبرّعوا إلا بالفتات ولذرّ الرماد بالعيون، فكلّ ما سمعناه عن كرمهم وعطائهم في هذه الأزمة يقلّ كثيراً عما تبرّعت به مومس إيطالية تفوقهم شرفاً وعفة وكرماً وعطاء وانتماء لبلدها ولشعبها. لا يفكر هذا النوع إلا بكيفية الاستفادة من الأزمة ولتحقيق مزيد من الربح، ولنضرب مثلا أنّ إحدى شركات الخلوي في بلادنا والتي تحقق سنوياً أرباحاً خرافية، فبدل أن تقدّم يد العون أخذت ترسل رسائل sms لزبائنها للاشتراك في تطبيق مدفوع الثمن: اعرف آخر أخبار الكورونا.

هكذا يبدو العالم من حولنا… إفلاس وانكشاف أنظمة لطالما تغنّت بالقيم والمبادئ السامية، نراها بأمّ العين تتمرّغ قيمها المزعومة في أوحال الوباء بشكليه الفيروسي والقيمي، وفيما أنظمة لطالما اتهمت من قبل الفريق الأول بشموليتها وعدم احترامها للإنسان، نراها ترتقي وتسمو على آلامها وجراحها وتقدّم لشعوبها وللعالم خدماتها. وهكذا يبدو شرقنا الذي لم تصل إلى أسماع بعض قادته أخبار الوباء، فواصلوا حروبهم العبثية لقتل أهل فلسطين وسورية واليمن وليبيا تاركين للوباء مهمة قتل مَن لم يقتلوه بأيديهم وأسلحتهم.

*سياسيّ فلسطينيّ مقيم في الضفة الغربية.

US in panic to obtain the Coronavirus vaccine. Updated

US in panic to obtain the Coronavirus vaccine. Updated

March 25, 2020

The Saker by Ruslan Ostashko

Translated by Scott

Subtitled by Leo

Under the Coronavirus pressure, the myth of superiority of the Western hi-tech and bio-tech is disintegrating. In Russia, liberal creakles had faith in existence, somewhere in California, of a magic “fountain of youth” pill. No doubts, ever, existed in the American ability to manufacture a vaccine against Coronavirus. In reality, the US is in panic mode and trying to pull their favorite con on – to buy printed candy wrappers for real lifesaving technologies developed by someone else.

In March of 2019, I posted a video explaining why liberals in Russia worshiped so called “western investments.” Here it is in a nutshell: Anglo-Saxon thieves love the process of merger and acquisition. In reality it’s a simple two-step process. Some small company is developing a groundbreaking technology or a new product. A large American corporation simply buys this small company for billions, together with its innovation for a credit received at nearly 0% interest rate. After that, the American corporation declares this innovation as its own. For candy wrappers, or even for digital zeros in some bank software program, they obtain something real and valuable: products, knowhow, technologies, and such. That’s why during the trade war the US demanded from China to open its market for American investments. In the Russian language, it sounds like “give to con-artists the permission to buy Chinese businesses, because he who owns the printing press has more power.”

Now, let’s return to the current situation with the pandemic and look at the recent news.

Deutsche Welle: “Donald Trump tried to get his favorite ‘deal’ in spirit of the ‘America First.’ On Sunday and Monday, 15-16 of March, this story made lots of noise in German media and social media. This will most likely blow back politically. Dietmar Hopp, the owner of the software company SAP and the owner of the biotech firm CureVac stopped Washington from getting exclusive rights for the COVID-19 vaccine.”

To not get stuck on details, here’s the summary: On March 3rd, Trump met with the CEOs of pharmacological and biotech companies, the same ones that are claimed to be ahead of the rest of humanity. So basically, this meeting was attended by the American Big Pharma leaders on special pills, and also by the chief executive of the German firm CureVac, Daniel Menichella. In stark contrast to the American imitators, this company is really working to develop the vaccine against the Coronavirus. Deutsche Welle calls Coronavirus something different, but it’s the same thing, scared people of the world.

Deutsche Welle: “German biotech firm CureVac intensely works in developing a vaccine from the SARS-COV-2 virus. According to its own reports, the company will be able to start clinical testing this summer, for this much promised resource. With a favorable development of events, the vaccine might be ready for use this coming fall. Moreover, the company also reports owning some certified equipment in December 2019 to produce up to 10 million doses of the vaccine per production cycle.”

The White House in Washington made an offer to the American head of the German firm to organize the sale of this firm to the American company, for, reportedly, $1 billion. At the very least, American government wanted exclusive rights for the vaccine, it’s distribution and production. According to German media, Donald Trump wanted to buy exclusive access to a Coronavirus vaccine only for the USA.

Considering that the US Federal Reserve dropped the interest rates to near 0%, it’s surprising that Trump didn’t offer $10 billion. The chief executive of the German firm CureVac, Daniel Menichella, was hired to do this job. The mercenary worker doesn’t care if the vaccine is made under a German or an American flag. He just wants money. Trump wanted to show that America is ahead of everyone in the world, while the rest of humanity doesn’t matter to him. However, the owners of the German firm didn’t like the offer. Menichella was fired 8 days after meeting with Trump. His place was taken by the company’s founder, Ingmar Hoerr. His return was demanded by CureVac’s main investor Dietmar Hopp, a 79 year old German billionaire.

It’s not a fact that Germans will be able to create the vaccine first. Russian researchers were the first to decode full genome sequence of the novel Coronavirus. They have already begun testing prototypes of potential vaccines based on six different technological platforms.

RIA Novosti: “Rospotrebnadzor announced the start of the clinical trials of a vaccine over the new Coronavirus. It was expediently developed by the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology (VECTOR). The prototypes of potential vaccines are based on six different technological platforms.”

In the case of the German firm, something else is important. Berlin knows how the real progress differs from its imitation. Germany openly criticized the US for attempt to buy other nations inventions for its candy wrappers.

Kommersant: “The German authorities will not allow other countries to grant themselves exclusive rights over the work of German virologists, who are taking a leading role in developing the vaccine for the Coronavirus,” said their foreign minister Heiko Maas, after it became known of the attempt by the US government to buy out the German biopharmacological company ‘CureVac’. According to German MSM, the Trump administration wanted this company to create a vaccine exclusively for the USA.”

The scheme when the US creates money from the air and buys with them real assets has started malfunctioning. It doesn’t look like the US will be able to buy the vaccine somewhere else and to blackmail an entire world with it, as the US being blackmailed by the SoftBank and its Coronavirus test kits. I discussed with you the American imitative hi-tech in my previous videos.

In the condition when there is a real threat, a defense against it cannot be made on some block-chain or printed on a 3D printer. The world becomes increasingly intolerant to imitations. Even the head of the British government shows some signs of this. Even though he makes himself look like a clown, he still has brains left.

RuPosters: “Boris Johnson asked British manufacturers Rolls Royce and JCB to build thousands of ventilators as the country fights Coronavirus.”

Here are the comments of my IT colleague, Ruslan Karmanov:

VKontakte: “How clearly the whole thing is losing its luster. ‘We’re near the [new] industrial revolution, and all those production lines will disappear soon,’ as media for young bearded imbeciles promised for years. ‘Instead, everything will work on its own, robots will be everywhere, automation, 3D printers, people will be sitting in front of the computer screens and laughing while receiving money for it. Oh how amazing it will be, weeeee!’ However, when the SHTF situation appears, the British ‘leaders’ went not to Apple and Tesla Inc., neither did they ask Google about whether they will be able to help them out. They’re supposed to have fast-developed methods, as well as owning a lot of hi-tech. But instead, they went to their own local manufacturers which helped make real high-tech health equipment, including ventilators.”

Oh, horror! Boris Johnson doesn’t read the liberal media in Russia that every day writes about America being the most advanced nation in the world. And that we need to run there for help. Now, imagine how much emotional pain Coronavirus brings to the liberal creative class. The globalized world in its 80% has been made with the simulacres. Now, this house of cards comes crashing down. By the way, where are those who have been screaming that we don’t need to import substitution and that Russia is forever behind the “free world” and its technologies? Hello screamers, explain to us why Rospotrebnadzor needs their ears checked. Because the Vatniks can never create a vaccine. Maybe you can call the liberals and Ukrainians into our comments, our fellow subscribers? The comments would be interesting in this case.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty conducting a poll in Moscow: “Is it possible to place Russia on quarantine without destroying its economy?”

Young man: “How can we not ruin the economy if the industrial production stops and there will be no more products to sell, the money exchange will stop happening. So what economy can be talked about after that?”

Young man: “If we close everything right now, then of course there will be no production. That’s why I think that if we make a quarantine right now, the economy will blow up.”

Middle-aged man: “Any decision has its pros and cons. In my opinion, Russia’s economy is so destroyed, that a quarantine would have no impact on it.”

Young man: “I think that no, the economy will be ruined in any case.”

Man in sunglasses: “I just don’t know. I’m here in Moscow for two weeks, I have not noticed anything. No panic, No sick people. I’ve been to a lot of places, including the Big Theater. I don’t know why they need a quarantine. Maybe it’s just because it didn’t get to me. It’s not like the black plague where people are running around screaming. Moscow continues to live its own life.”

Man with Caucasus accent and mask: “I think no, because it will still affect the economy. If people will stay home in quarantine, it will be bad for the country. But for the regular people, it’ll still be better.”

Middle-aged woman: “It’s not possible anywhere. Not only in Russia, but in any other country. I think that it’s not possible without any damage to the economy. The quarantine and the economy are two things that are the complete opposite. Logically they don’t link together.”

Man with mask and a British accent: “If people don’t work, then I don’t understand how the economy will move forward. Which is why if we have a quarantine as in France and Spain, then there will be a huge downturn of the economy. That’s why we shouldn’t do anything in that regard. But, Russia is a country that survived a lot. I think that as a nation, Russia will survive this, also. It will be easier for you, Russians, than for us, the Europeans, because we didn’t have such extreme situations in Europe.”

Afterword of PolitRussia team:

Coronavirus – some people go to the stores and film empty shelves to put that in their stories. Somebody knits masks and creating anti-septics with their own hands. Somebody needs to take care of the kids, since their school is in quarantine. But the valorous team of PolitRussia continues to work. Our studio is working. We continue to make news reports. And right now we’ll see what the guys are doing.

Let’s not bother Boris, he is too busy today. Of course everybody was forced to change their plans. Andrei, tell to our subscribers how the Coronavirus affected your life?

– Well, we were forced to reschedule our wedding. Reschedule? – For one year. Oh, for a whole year? – For a year, or maybe two. Maybe we will cancel it altogether.

This is Oksana. Oksana, you must have a life-hack to fight the Coronavirus?

– I open doors with my elbows.

Got it. I actually started doing that too.

This is Boris. Boris, how did Coronavirus affect your life?

– I stopped riding the subway. I’m now very afraid to use the subway. That’s it.

It’s of course safer to be at home. But, there’s a catch: when we’re working from home we eat more. But there is also a positive, in nine months we might experience a baby boom. Which our country really needs. And this is Dmitry, by the way.

Well if you go outside, the formula for health is simple. We wash our hands more often and longer. We take care of our loved ones. We don’t hang out for too long. And most importantly, we replace anxiety with knowledge. Speaking of knowledge, the channel PolitRussia continues to share healthy and checked information, we welcome leading experts. And your support is very important and very valued, especially today. To help our channel, you can send links to us under each of our videos.

Scott Humor is the Director of Research and Development for The Saker
My tweeter account @ScottsHumor
My blog
Russian writer and journalist.

الصين العظيمة وروسيا العظمى

زياد حافظ

قد تكون المقارنة بين الصين العظيمة وروسيا العظمى نوعاً من السفسطة الكلامية غير أنّ دلالاتها معبّرة. فالطريقة التي عالجت بها الصين العدوان الجرثومي عليها عبر القرارات الواضحة والصارمة للحكومة والتعبئة الناجحة للشعب الصيني والانضباط اللافت للنظر لتعليمات الحكومة تدلّ على أنّ عظمة الصين هي في القدوة التي تمثلها والنموذج المختلف عن النموذج الغربي الذي حاول حكم العالم منذ الحرب العالمية الثانية. أما روسيا، فنعتها بالعظمى يعود إلى قدرتها على التأثير المباشر على العالم ونشر نفوذها دون مجهود يذكر، بل عبر استعمال قوّة خصومها ضدّهم كما في الفنون القتالية.

فبالنسبة للصين تعرّضت لوباء فيروس كورونا في مدينة وُهان الصينية منذ خريف 2019 وبالتحديد بعد الألعاب الأولمبية العسكرية التي أجريت في تلك المدينة. ويعتبر القادة الصينيون أنّ الوباء أدخل إلى الصين من قبل الوفد العسكري الأميركي المشارك في تلك الألعاب. قد يكون ذلك الإدخال صدفة بعد ما تمّت هندسة ذلك الفيروس في أحد المختبرات العسكرية الأميركية دون أخذ الاحتياطات الوقائية اللازمة وذلك إذا ما أرادت القيادة الصينية عدم افتراض سوء نيّة عند الأميركيين. وما يعزّز الادّعاء الصيني الاعتراف على لسان مسؤول مركز السيطرة على الأوبئة (سي دي سي) روبرت ردفريد أنه تمّ اكتشاف عدد من الإصابات في الولايات المتحدة قبل الانتشار في الصين. لكن هنا رواية أخرى تقول إنّ الفيروس من صنع فرنسي (صنع سنة 2003 مع دائه) وتمّ نقله إلى مختبر مشترك صيني فرنسي تمّ افتتاحه سنة 2017 في مدينة وُهان. تمّت التجارب على الخفافيش إلاّ أنّ أحد الخفافيش هرب من المختبر فكان الوباء. لكن بغضّ النظر عن الروايات ومدى دقّتها إلاّ انه بات واضحا أنّ الاحتمال الأكبر أنّ الفيروس هو من صنع الإنسان وليس من صنع الطبيعة، وبالتالي تفتح التساؤلات حول التجارب الجرثومية في المختبرات وجدواها واحتمال تحويلها إلى سلاح دمار شامل.

المهمّ هنا ليس في حيثيات الفيروس والملابسات حوله بل كيف تعاملت الدولة الصينية والمجتمع الصيني مع الوباء والدلالات الناتجة عن ذلك التعامل. فالدلالة الأولى هي أنّ الحكومة الصينية تعاملت بجدّية فائقة مع الوباء بينما نظيراتها الغربية الأوروبية والأميركية تعاملت بخفة وبتجاهل أبعاد الوباء خاصة في ما يتعلّق بالصحة العامة. فالاهتمام الأوروبي والأميركي في المرحلة الأولى كان حول الكلفة الاقتصادية والمالية التي ستتكبّدها من جرّاء الوباء وليس صحة المواطنين. فتصريحات الرئيس الفرنسي ورئيس الوزراء البريطاني والرئيس الأميركي تؤكّد أنّ القوّامة هي للمال وليس للإنسان.

الدلالة الثانية هي الجهود التي بذلتها الحكومة الصينية في إعداد التجهيزات والمستشفيات الميدانية كالمستشفى بألف سرير المجهّز كاملاً في مدة عشرة أيام فقط، فهي نوع من الإعجاز وبالتالي قدوة في التعامل مع وباء من هذا النوع. كما أنّ إجراءات الحجر على أكثر من 60 مليون مواطن صيني وحملات التطهير والتعقيم لكلّ شيء في المدن والطرقات والمباني وداخل المنازل دليل على جدّية في التعامل مع الوباء دون استهتار ومكابرة. كما أنّ تلك الإجراءات رافقتها إجراءات لتأمين الحاجيات الضرورية للمواطنين خلال فترة الحجر والمتوقفّين عن العمل وكسب العيش ما يدلّ على أولوية قيمة الإنسان عند السلطات الصينية في زمن المحن الكبرى. والدلالة الثالثة هي استجابة المجتمع الصيني بأكمله لتلك الإجراءات التي صدرت عن حكومة متهمة بالتسلّط والاستبداد للحرّيات العامة ما يطرح تساؤلا ت حول النموذج الصيني مقارنة مع النموذج الغربي الذي سنعالجه في فقرة لاحقة.

أما وقد اتخذت تلك الإجراءات ونُفّذت بحذافيرها استطاعت الصين الخروج من عمق الزجاجة المتمثّل في وتيرة ارتفاع الإصابات. تبيّن من تلك الإجراءات أنّ تلك الوتيرة استقرّت ثم بدأت بالتراجع وصولاً إلى إعلان الرئيس الصيني أنّ الصين قد انتصرت على الوباء وإنْ كانت بعض الإصابات موجودة هنا وهناك. وما يدعم ادّعاء الرئيس الصيني أنه لم يتمّ تسجيل إصابات جديدة منذ عدّة أيام. فمهلة 14 يوم دون تسجيل إصابات جديدة قد تكون المؤشر الفعلي لنهاية الأزمة علماً أنّ المراقبين يعتبرون أنّ الخروج التامّ من الوباء لن يتمّ قبل آخر الصيف ولكن عودة الحياة إلى طبيعتها لن تكون بعيدة بعد الآن.

وما يجب التأكيد عليه هو أنّ الصين لم تعتبر نفسها منفصلة عن العالم فقد عرضت المساعدة لمن يريد مواجهة الوباء بينما ردّة الفعل الغربية خاصة في الاتحاد الأوروبي والولايات المتحدة كانت سلبية ولا تخلو من العنصرية. وقرار الإدارة الأميركية معاقبة كلّ من يساهم ويقدّم المعونة للجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران الذي أصابها بقوّة وباء فيروس الكورونا خير دليل على عنصرة الإدارة والافتقار إلى الإنسانية. فكيف يمكن لمن يعتبرّه الغرب “أقلّ رقياً” منه يستطيع تقديم المساعدة لمن هو “أرقى” منه؟ هذا ما يؤكّد موقفنا من الغرب أنّ تقدّمه وتطوّره لم يكن بسبب “قيمه” ولا بسبب “التنوير” ولا بسبب التفوّق التكنولوجي، ولا بسبب تفوّق عرقي كما ادّعى البعض، ولا بسبب الثورات الزراعية والصناعية وفي ما بعد التكنولوجية، بل بسبب الاستعمار. فعرق، ودموع، ودماء أصحاب البشرة السمراء والسوداء والصفراء هي من ساهمت في رخاء الغرب. واليوم أصحاب البشرة السمراء والصفراء والسوداء يشهدون تقدّماً رغم العراقيل التي يضعها الغرب في مسيرتهم. الصين اليوم نهضت وتقوم بدورها الإنساني في العالم عبر تقديم تجربتها في مواجهة الوباء. ترحيب رئيس صربيا بالعرض الصيني كان مثيراً حيث اعتبر الصيني ليس صديقاً فحسب بل شقيقاً له! في المقابل ندّد بالاتحاد الأوروبي حيث التضامن الأوروبي لم يكن موجوداً بل العكس الذي اعترض على اللجوء إلى خارج الاتحاد الأوروبي لمواجهة الوباء.

هذا يأخذنا إلى مقارنة النموذج الصيني الذي يتمّ شيطنته يومياً في الإعلام الغربي وعلى لسان المسؤولين في الاتحاد الأوروبي وخاصة في الولايات المتحدة في الإدارة الحالية. فالنموذج الصيني اعتبر أنّ الإنسان قيمة يجب احترامها بينما في الغرب الذي ادّعى ذلك فإنّ الإنسان تحوّل إلى سلعة في الحدّ الأدنى ومستهلكاً (بكسر اللام) فقط في الحدّ الأقصى لا قيمة له الاّ بمقدار ما يساهم في إثراء النخب الحاكمة. فالنموذج النيوليبرالي كرّس سيادة السوق على الوطن وسيادة رأس المال على الإنسان بينما النموذج الصيني الذي يدمج بين حكومة مركزية قوّية إلى حدّ التسلّط وتخطّط للمستقبل لمصلحة الوطن والمواطنين وبين اقتصاد السوق الخاضع لضوابط الوطن والمواطن والحريص على السيادة قبل أيّ شيء. فالسيادة في الغرب في النموذج النيوليبرالي القائم أصبحت وجهة نظر تآكلت بالتقادم وفقاً لتصريحات الرئيس الفرنسي ماكرون وعدد من المسؤولين في الاتحاد الأوروبي بينما ما زالت السيادة قيمة حيّة في النموذج الصيني.

فكيف نفسّر الانضباط الصيني وتقبّل الإجراءات الوقاية الصارمة لولا الشعور بالكرامة الوطنية ولولا لمس المواطن حرص الحكومة على سلامته؟ في المقابل وجدنا مواقف المسؤولين في الغرب من الوباء في المرحلة الأولى تتراوح بين الإنكار والاستهتار والحرص فقط على التداعيات المالية والاقتصادية فأحجموا عن اتخاذ القرارات الصعبة كوقف العجلة الاقتصادية وفرض الحجر وحملات التطهير والتعقيم المكلفة وإعداد أدوات الاكتشاف والوقاية وثمة المعالجة. لم توّفر الحكومة الصينية المجهود في النفقات لمواجهة الوباء. في المقابل كان المجهود الأميركي لمواجهة التداعيات الاقتصادية والمالية في الأسواق من جرّاء الوباء. فالرئيس الأميركي يريد رصد ما يوازي 1،2 تريليون دولار لإنعاش الاقتصاد ودرء وصول معدّل البطالة إلى 20 بالمائة وذلك في سنة انتخابات رئاسية. في المقابل الإنفاق المقرّر على مواجهة الوباء من الناحية الصحية ما زال هزيلاً مقارنة مع ما يبذل على الصعيد الاقتصادي ومقارنة مع ما أقدمت عليه الصين. فالدافع سياسي أولاً وأخيراً كما كان استغلال الوباء سياسياً بامتياز عبر اتهام الصين بنشر الوباء والتهرّب من مسؤولية التقاعس في مواجهته.

شيطنة النموذج الصيني في وسائل الإعلام الغربية يدلّ فقط على حقد وحسد يسيطر على عقل المسؤولين. فالصين استطاعت أن تحقّق أرقاماً قياسية في النمو الاقتصادي خلال العقود الثلاثة الماضية، كما استطاعت أن ترفع 250 مليون مواطن صيني من مذلّة الفقر. الإنجازات الاجتماعية في الصحّة والتربية والتعليم والإسكان لا تُحصى، بينما نرى الترهّل في تقديم تلك الخدمات في الغرب. البنى التحتية التي شيّدتها الحكومة الصينية أصبحت النموذج الذي يُقتدى به بدءاً بالقطار السريع إلى الطرق العريضة إلى الجسور التي تحقّق أرقاماً قياسية في العلو والطول إلى الطريق الذي يربط الصين بسائر دول آسيا. وهذا النمو يعتبره الغرب هزيمة له وتهديداً لاستمرار هيمنته المتلاشية. فالغرب لا يسلّط الأضواء إلاّ على الاحتجاجات السياسية في هونغ كونغ مثلاً، أو على مصير سكّان مقاطعة التيبت في غرب الصين أو مصير الاوغيور. كما لا يستطيع الغرب أن يقبل بمساكنة نظام سياسي يقوده الحزب الشيوعي مع اقتصاد السوق. فكلّ سردية الغرب مبنية على عدم المساكنة وإذ نرى النموذج الصيني يدحض المزاعم الغربية ويحقق نجاحات لم يحقّقها الغرب حتى الآن. ومن ضمن تلك النجاحات التفوّق التكنولوجي في التواصل وحرب الـ “جي” 5 منها والذكاء الاصطناعي. فذلك التفوّق الاصطناعي كان حكراً على الغرب وإذ نرى الصين متقدّمة عليه بأشواط. فاقتصاد الغرب المرتبط عبر سلاسل العرض والتموين (supply chains) الصينية أصبح أكثر تبعية للصين بسبب التفوّق التكنولوجي وبسبب الإنتاج الصيني بحدّ ذاته. ربما لن يبقى للغرب وخاصة الولايات المتحدة إلاّ الحرب المدمّرة على الجميع لمحو التقدّم الصيني. فالغرب وأنظمته السياسية والاقتصادية لا يعرف إلاّ الحرب على الآخرين لحلّ مشكلاته البنيوية.

فأزمة فيروس كورونا كشفت الفرق في النظرة للإنسانية بين الغرب والصين. فمناقشات مجلس العموم الذي يسيطر عليه حزب المحافظين أثار النظرة الملتوسية للأزمة (أي نظرة روبرت ملتوس (1766-1834) الذي اعتبر زيادة السكّان في العالم أسرع من زيادة الموارد الغذائية بالتالي مستقبل البشرية مهدّد. فما جرى من مناقشات في مجلس العموم أفاد أنّ هناك من يعتبر وباء كورونا نعمة تخفّف من زيادة السكّان في العالم. وبما أنّ الصين هي أكثر الدول سكّاناً فتخفيف حجم السكان في الصين وفي العالم قد يكون عاملاً إيجابياً. هذه هي عنصرية بامتياز حيث حياة الرجل الأبيض أهمّ من حياة الرجل صاحب البشرة المختلفة.

كلّ ذلك لا يعني انّ النظام الصيني نظام مثالي وأن لا عيوب فيه. لكن شيطنة الصين عير مفيدة بل مغرضة لأنّ تجربة الصين جديرة بالدرس. النموذج الصيني قد يكون قدوة لدول العالم التي تريد الخروج من الهيمنة الغربية. فرفض النموذج الغربي قد يكون شرط ضرورة ولكنه ليس شرط كفاية. الصين تقدّم نموذجاً مختلفاً عن النموذج الغربي في تساكن سلطة مركزية قوية إلى حدّ التسلّط والاستبداد ولكن مكافحة للفساد، وقد يكون ذلك ضرورة وليس عائقاً لنهضة البلاد، وتفاعل مع اقتصاد السوق دون الوقوع في مطبّات اللامساواة والفساد الموجود في الغرب.

على صعيد آخر ذكرنا في مقال سابق أنّ روسيا دولة عظمى لأنها تستطيع ان تؤثّر بالعالم دون بذل أيّ مجهود يذكر. وفي قراراها بإغراق السوق النفطي لضرب قطاع النفط الصخري الأميركي الذي يشكّل ثلث الإنتاج الأميركي استطاعت روسيا أن توجّه ضربة موجعة جدّاً في فترة الحملة الانتخابية الرئاسية الأميركية إلى ذلك القطاع ومن وخلاله إلى مصدر القوّة الفعلي الأميركي أيّ التحكّم بأسواق المال. فتزامن أزمة فيروس كورونا كانت فرصة استغلّتها روسيا لتوجيه تلك الضربة التي أصبحت ضربة مزدوجة، مالية وصحيّة في آن واحد. هذا لا يعني أن روسيا بمنأى عن وباء كورونا لكنها على استعداد وتأهّب والاستفادة من شريكتها وحليفتها الصين لمواجهة الوباء ولمواجهة أيّ حماقة ممكنة أن تصدر عن الحكومات الغربية. فروسيا قدّمت للصين هدية ثمينة جدّاً وهي الحصول على كميات من النفط بأسعار منخفضة جدّاً ما يساعدها على استئناف مسيرتها المتقدّمة في النمو والتقدّم بينما تشهد الاقتصادات الغربية تراجعاً وانكماشا قد يصل إلى كساد كبير تعجز عن معالجته.

الصين العظيمة وروسيا العظمى يشكّلان محوراً يصعب اختراقه على الأقلّ في المدى المنظور لعدّة أسباب منها الترهلّ السياسي في دول الغرب، وخاصة في الولايات المتحدة، ومنها التراجع الاقتصادي حيث العالم بما فيه الغرب والولايات المتحدة أصبح بحاجة لما تنتجه الصين والمحور الذي تنتمي إليه تحت مسمّيات مختلفة كـ “بريكس” أو الكتلة الأوراسية. أخطأت الولايات المتحدة عندما اتخذت القرار في إعادة توطين قاعدتها الإنتاجية خارج حدودها وفي بلدان نامية لا قيود فيها على النشاط الاقتصادي من نظم وتشريعات في البيئية وحقوق العمل والعمّال. وسبب هذا الخطأ اعتقادها أنه بإمكانها السيطرة والهيمنة على اقتصادات العالم بسبب ما اعتبرته التحكّم بالنظم المالية وشرايين المال والتفوّق التكنولوجي الذي كان حكراً لها.

غير أنّ العالم رفض تلك الهيمنة وفي مقدمّته الصين التي استطاعت ان تحلّ مكان الولايات المتحدة في توريد السلع الصناعية للعالم وبالتالي أصبحت متحكّمة بسلاسل التموين والعرض. وفي التفوّق التكنولوجي لم تعد الولايات المتحدة المتقدّمة على سائر الدول فالصين قد تكون سبقتها في مجالات عديدة منها الذكاء الاصطناعي في ما يتعلّق بالتواصل. الحرب الأميركية على شركة هواوي دليل على عجز الولايات المتحدة في مواجهة التقدّم الصيني. أما على صعيد التحكّم في شرايين المال فكلّ من الصين وروسيا تعملان على التخلّص من هيمنة الدولار عبر خطّة محكمة تبدأ بتخفيف اللجوء إلى الدولار لتخفيف الطلب عليه للوصول إلى نظام مالي مواز للدولار ولا يعتمد على الدولار كوحدة قيمة أو تسعير. في التسعينات في ذروة الانفراد الأميركي في التحكّم بالعالم صرّحت وزيرة الخارجية الأميركية آنذاك مادلين اولبرايت أنّ الأمة الأميركية هي الأمة التي لا يمكن أن يستغنى عنها العالم (indispensable nation) لكن بعد ثلاث عقود تقريباً تكاد تصبح الولايات المتحدة الأمة التي لا تصل بعلاقة مع العالم (irrelevant nation) إذا ما استمرّت في سلوكها الحالي. هذا هو التحوّل المفصلي الذي حصل، هبوط الولايات المتحدة وصعود المحور الروسي الصيني. والنخب العربية مدعوة لإعادة نظر شاملة وجذرية بعلاقاتها مع الغرب والتوجّه بجدّية نحو الشرق. سورية قامت بتلك المراجعة فمتى تقوم جامعة الدول العربية بذلك وما تمثّله من نظام موروث من الحقبة الاستعمارية؟

*كاتب اقتصادي سياسي والأمين العام السابق للمؤتمر القومي العربي

A Lesson Coronavirus Is About to Teach the World

By Jonathan Cook

Global Research, March 19, 2020

If a disease can teach wisdom beyond our understanding of how precarious and precious life is, the coronavirus has offered two lessons.

The first is that in a globalised world our lives are so intertwined that the idea of viewing ourselves as islands – whether as individuals, communities, nations, or a uniquely privileged species – should be understood as evidence of false consciousness. In truth, we were always bound together, part of a miraculous web of life on our planet and, beyond it, stardust in an unfathomably large and complex universe. 

It is only an arrogance cultivated in us by those narcissists who have risen to power through their own destructive egotism that blinded us to the necessary mix of humility and awe we ought to feel as we watch a drop of rain on a leaf, or a baby struggle to crawl, or the night sky revealed in all its myriad glories away from city lights.

And now, as we start to enter periods of quarantine and self-isolation – as nations, communities and individuals – all that should be so much clearer. It has taken a virus to show us that only together are we at our strongest, most alive and most human.

In being stripped of what we need most by the threat of contagion, we are reminded of how much we have taken community for granted, abused it, hollowed it out. We are afraid because the services we need in times of collective difficulty and trauma have been turned into commodities that require payment, or treated as privileges to which access is now means-tested, rationed or is simply gone. That insecurity is at the root of the current urge to hoard.

When death stalks us it is not bankers we turn to, or corporate executives, or hedge fund managers. Nonetheless, those are the people our societies have best rewarded. They are the people who, if salaries are a measure of value, are the most prized.

But they are not the people we need, as individuals, as societies, as nations. Rather, it will be doctors, nurses, public health workers, care-givers and social workers who will be battling to save lives by risking their own.

During this health crisis we may indeed notice who and what is most important. But will we remember the sacrifice, their value after the virus is no longer headline news? Or will we go back to business as usual – until the next crisis – rewarding the arms manufacturers, the billionaire owners of the media, the fossil fuel company bosses, and the financial-services parasites feeding off other people’s money? 

‘Take it on the chin’ 

The second lesson follows from the first. Despite everything we have been told for four decades or more, western capitalist societies are far from the most efficient ways of organising ourselves. That will be laid bare as the coronavirus crisis deepens.

We are still very much immersed in the ideological universe of Thatcherism and Reaganism, when we were told quite literally: “There is no such thing as society.” How will that political mantra stand the test of the coming weeks and months? How much can we survive as individuals, even in quarantine, rather than as part of communities that care for all of us?Western leaders who champion neoliberalism, as they are required to do nowadays, have two choices to cope with coronavirus – and both will require a great deal of misdirection if we are not to see through their hypocrisy and deceptions.

Our leaders can let us “take it on the chin”, as the British prime minister Boris Johnson has phrased it. In practice, that will mean allowing what is effectively a cull of many of the poor and elderly – one that will relieve governments of the financial burden of underfunded pension schemes and welfare payments.

Such leaders will claim they are powerless to intervene or to ameliorate the crisis. Confronted with the contradictions inherent in their worldview, they will suddenly become fatalists, abandoning their belief in the efficacy and righteousness of the free market. They will say the virus was too contagious to contain, too robust for health services to cope, too lethal to save lives. They will evade all blame for the decades of health cuts and privatisations that made those services inefficient, inadequate, cumbersome and inflexible.

Or, by contrast, politicians will use their spin doctors and allies in the corporate media to obscure the fact that they are quietly and temporarily becoming socialists to deal with the emergency. They will change the welfare rules so that all those in the gig economy they created – employed on zero-hours contracts – do not spread the virus because they cannot afford to self-quarantine or take days’ off sick.

Or most likely our leaders will pursue both options.

Permanent crisis 

If acknowledged at all, the conclusion to be draw from the crisis – that we all matter equally, that we need to look after one another, that we sink or swim together – will be treated as no more than an isolated, fleeting lesson specific to this crisis. Our leaders will refuse to draw more general lessons – ones that might highlight their own culpability – about how sane, humane societies should function all the time. 

In fact, there is nothing unique about the coronavirus crisis. It is simply a heightened version of the less visible crisis we are now permanently mired in. As Britain sinks under floods each winter, as Australia burns each summer, as the southern states of the US are wrecked by hurricanes and its great plains become dustbowls, as the climate emergency becomes ever more tangible, we will learn this truth slowly and painfully. 

Those deeply invested in the current system – and those so brainwashed they cannot see its flaws – will defend it to the bitter end. They will learn nothing from the virus. They will point to authoritarian states and warn that things could be far worse. 

They will point a finger at Iran’s high death toll as confirmation that our profit-driven societies are better, while ignoring the terrible damage we have inflicted on Iran’s health services after years of sabotaging its economy through ferocious sanctions. We left Iran all the more vulnerable to coronavirus  because we wanted to engineer “regime change” – to interfere under the pretence of “humanitarian” concern – as we have sought to do in other countries whose resources we wished to control, from Iraq to Syria and Libya.

Iran will be held responsible for a crisis we willed, that our politicians intended (even if the speed and means came as a surprise), to overthrow its leaders. Iran’s failures will be cited as proof of our superior way of life, as we wail self-righteously about the outrage of a “Russian interference” whose contours we can barely articulate. 

Valuing the common good 

Those who defend our system, even as its internal logic collapses in the face of coronavirus and a climate emergency, will tell us how lucky we are to live in free societies where some – Amazon executives, home delivery services, pharmacies, toilet-paper manufacturers – can still make a quick buck from our panic and fear. As long as someone is exploiting us, as long as someone is growing fat and rich, we will be told the system works – and works better than anything else imaginable. 

But in fact, late-stage capitalist societies like the US and the UK will struggle to claim even the limited successes against coronavirus of authoritarian governments. Is Trump in the US or Johnson in the UK – exemplars of “the market knows best” capitalism – likely to do better than China at containing and dealing with the virus?

This lesson is not about authoritarian versus “free” societies. This is about societies that treasure the common wealth, that value the common good, above private greed and profit, above protecting the privileges of a wealth-elite.

In 2008, after decades of giving the banks what they wanted – free rein to make money by trading in hot air – the western economies all but imploded as an inflated bubble of empty liquidity burst. The banks and financial services were saved only by public bail-outs – tax payers’ money. We were given no choice: the banks, we were told, were “too big to fail”.We bought the banks with our common wealth. But because private wealth is our era’s guiding star, the public were not allowed to own the banks they bought. And once the banks had been bailed out by us – a perverse socialism for the rich – the banks went right back to making private money, enriching a tiny elite until the next crash.

Nowhere to fly to 

The naive may think this was a one-off. But the failings of capitalism are inherent and structural, as the virus is already demonstrating and the climate emergency will drive home with alarming ferocity in the coming years.

The shut-down of borders means the airlines are quickly going bust. They didn’t put money away for a rainy day, of course. They didn’t save, they weren’t prudent. They are in a cut-throat world where they need to compete with rivals, to drive them out of business and make as much money as they can for shareholders.

Now there is nowhere for the airlines to fly to – and they will have no visible means to make money for months on end. Like the banks, they are too big to fail – and like the banks they are demanding public money be spent to tide them over until they can once again rapaciously make profits for their shareholders. There will be many other corporations queuing up behind the airlines. 




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Sooner or later the public will be strong-armed once again to bail out these profit-driven corporations whose only efficiency is the central part they play in fuelling global warming and eradicating life on the planet. The airlines will be resuscitated until the inevitable next crisis arrives – one in which they are key players.

A boot stamping on a face

Capitalism is an efficient system for a tiny elite to make money at a terrible cost, and an increasingly untenable one, to wider society – and only until that system shows itself to be no longer efficient. Then wider society has to pick up the tab, and assist the wealth-elite so the cycle can be begun all over again. Like a boot stamping on a human face – forever, as George Orwell warned long ago.

But it is not just that capitalism is economically self-destructive; it is morally vacant too. Again, we should study the exemplars of neoliberal orthodoxy: the UK and the US.

In Britain, the National Health Service – once the envy of the world – is in terminal decline after decades of privatising and outsourcing its services. Now the same Conservative party that began the cannibalising of the NHS is pleading with businesses such as car makers to address a severe shortage of ventilators, which will soon be needed to assist coronavirus patients.

Once, in an emergency, western governments would have been able to direct resources, both public and private, to save lives. Factories could have been repurposed for the common good. Today, the government behaves as if all it can do is incentivise business, pinning hopes on the profit motive and selfishness driving these firms to enter the ventilator market, or to provide beds, in ways beneficial to public health.

The flaws in this approach should be glaring if we examine how a car manufacturer might respond to the request to adapt its factories to make ventilators.

If it is not persuaded that it can make easy money or if it thinks there are quicker or bigger profits to be made by continuing to make cars at a time when the public is frightened to use public transport, patients will die. If it holds back, waiting to see if there will be enough demand for ventilators to justify adapting its factories, patients will die. If it delays in the hope that ventilator shortages will drive up subsidies from a government fearful of the public backlash, patients will die. And if it makes ventilators on the cheap, to boost profits, without ensuring medical personnel oversee quality control, patients will die.

Survival rates will depend not on the common good, on our rallying to help those in need, on planning for the best outcome, but on the vagaries of the market. And not only on the market, but on faulty, human perceptions of what constitute market forces.

Survival of the fittest 

If this were not bad enough, Trump – in all his inflated vanity – is showing how that profit-motive can be extended from the business world he knows so intimately to the cynical political one he has been gradually mastering. According to reports, behind the scenes he has been chasing after a silver bullet. He is speaking to international pharmaceutical companies to find one close to developing a vaccine so the United States can buy exclusive rights to it.

Reports suggest that he wants to offer the vaccine exclusively to the US public, in what would amount to the ultimate vote-winner in a re-election year. This would be the nadir of the dog-eat-dog philosophy – the survival of the fittest, the market decides worldview – we have been encouraged to worship over the past four decades. It is how people behave when they are denied a wider society to which they are responsible and which is responsible for them.




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But even should Trump eventually deign to let other countries enjoy the benefits of his privatised vaccine, this will not be about helping mankind, about the greater good. It will be about Trump the businessman-president turning a tidy profit for the US on the back of other’s desperation and suffering, as well as marketing himself a political hero on the global stage.

Or, more likely, it will be yet another chance for the US to demonstrate its “humanitarian” credentials, rewarding “good” countries by giving them access to the vaccine, while denying “bad” countries like Russia the right to protect their citizens.

Obscenely stunted worldviewIt will be a perfect illustration on the global stage – and in bold technicolour – of how the American way of marketing health works. This is what happens when health is treated not as a public good but as a commodity to be bought, as a privilege to incentivise the workforce, as a measure of who is successful and who is unsuccessful.

The US, by far the richest country on the planet, has a dysfunctional health care system not because it cannot afford a good one, but because its political worldview is so obscenely stunted by the worship of wealth that it refuses to acknowledge the communal good, to respect the common wealth of a healthy society.

The US health system is by far the most expensive in the world, but also the most inefficient. The vast bulk of “health spending” does not contribute to healing the sick but enriches a health industry of pharmaceutical corporations and health insurance companies.

Analysts describe a third of all US health spending – $765 billion a year – as “wasted”. But “waste” is a euphemism. In fact, it is money stuffed into the pockets of corporations calling themselves the health industry as they defraud the common wealth of US citizens. And the fraudulence is all the greater because despite this enormous expenditure more than one in 10 US citizens has no meaningful health cover.

As never before, coronavirus will bring into focus the depraved inefficiency of this system – the model of profit-driven health care, of market forces that look out for the short-term interests of business, not the long-term interests of us all.

There are alternatives. Right now, Americans are being offered a choice between a democratic socialist, Bernie Sanders, who champions health care as a right because it is a common good, and a Democratic party boss, Joe Biden, who champions the business lobbies he depends on for funding and his political success. One is being marginalised and vilified as a threat to the American way of life by a handful of corporations that own the US media, while the other is being propelled towards the Democratic nomination by those same corporations.

Coronavirus has an important, urgent lesson to teach us. The question is: are we ready yet to listen?

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This essay first appeared on the author’s blog site, Jonathan Cook’s blog.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from Health.milThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Jonathan Cook, Global Research, 2020

Coronavirus Brings People to Consensus: We Do Not Trust The System

Coronavirus Brings People to Consensus: We Do Not Trust The System

By Nour Rida

Precautionary measure and quarantine are essential to slow the spreading of Coronavirus. Since its growth is exponential, it is directly related to the contact of the persons [quarantine, lockdown, social distancing] and the probability of infection [hand sanitizing, masks, gloves, etc]. It is also essential that governments take swift action to control the situation.

People across the world, for the first time in long decades suffer from the same calamity. They all have the same fear; facing an unknown virus that is taking away lives of people within days. Even though scientists and researchers have assured that 70 to 80 percent of those infected by the virus can recover by themselves, but a state of panic and alarm is prevailing. This state of panic and mistrust of the government is not in Iran, nor in countries like Lebanon, Bahrain, Iraq or in African countries that have concerns over the humble health system. It is people at the heart of Europe, Australia and the Americas freaking out. To this concern, al-Ahed news interviewed people from different countries to see what things are like on the ground.

Starting with the UK, Nadine said that the UK is very slow in taking measures. “Students are still regularly going to their schools and public areas are packed with people. During the coming two weeks or even months we will witness a peak in COVID-19 spread. There was only one late step came as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a quarantine for people older than 70 years.”

Nadine has been to the supermarket multiple times now to buy some food, tissue paper and essential goods but all she finds is empty shelves and people quarreling.

“It is crazy at supermarkets, so much hoarding on goods and people are literally getting into fights over tissue paper and other goods. The prices doubled and the shelves are empty even though the government claimed there will be no shortage. Every time I go to the supermarket I do not find anything to buy.”

It does not seem that the health care system is trustworthy. Nadine adds, “And then if you get sick and call 999 or 111 they ask you to stay home, there is no place at the hospitals. There are no real measures to contain the situation. Here people talk a lot about Johnson’s plan of herd immunity, and about the greed of the government which aims at preventing the health system from paying tremendous amounts of money. So the old and sick with no immune system can die and the rest will survive.”

Moving to the US, from Apex, North Carolina, Nancy who is a software engineer told al-Ahed news “I feel really afraid, capitalist countries like our country takes the lives of human beings for granted. Governments here evaluate us as potential for making money and to lift the economy.”

She said that hospitals are not carrying out tests for the virus unless the case is very severe. The performance of the government is terrible and the health sector is not ready to face such an epidemic. It is also scary to see people rush to the stores to pile goods at their homes and buy guns too.

Coronavirus Brings People to Consensus: We Do Not Trust The System
North Carolina

From Canada, Jaden, a university student from Montreal told the news website “It feels weird. For the first time in my life I feel like the globe is facing an eminent danger including everyone. There is a lot of tension in the air, and unfortunately we see greed and selfishness.

Feeling sad that people are so selfish and acting inhumane, he added “It is like everyone here is only concerned with their own lives. We see that in the quarrels taking place in the supermarkets over goods and how suddenly all the shelves are empty.”

Coronavirus Brings People to Consensus: We Do Not Trust The System
Montreal
Coronavirus Brings People to Consensus: We Do Not Trust The System

Ahmed, from Australia’s Sydney said he witnessed a quarrel of a few women over tissue paper and canned food. “As much hilarious as it was, it was painful and scary.”

“I think it is all about feeling like you are in control and that is because of mistrust of the government and the system. People are scared but they do not realize how they are affecting the society. It is selfishness and inhumanity that I see in these scenes.”

Asma from Germany says hundreds stand at the doors of hypermarkets and supermarkets and rush in to hoard goods in what seems to be like a famine is hitting the planet. Born to a German mother and originally an Iranian father, she said that there is no mercy among people and it is so scary to see Germany in that state of chaos.

“Like I could never imagine my country, Germany as such. There is so much greed in the air. I understand that people are afraid but why not help one another survive this crisis. But again, people do not trust the system here, they fear for their lives.”

After a long period of slow response, suddenly, Switzerland found itself in the middle of 4 seriously hit countries, Italy, France, Germany and to a lesser extent, Austria. There are a lot of cross-border workers from these countries to Switzerland. Italy and France are severely hit and the pandemic epicenter is shifting to Western Europe. These cross-border transported the virus to Switzerland much faster than previously thought or expected and now the situation became critical.

Karina, a Swiss citizen told al-Ahed news “After a relative period of calm and feeling of security, suddenly, the general public is facing soaring numbers of cases, drastic measures reaching total lockdown, airports closure, shops closure, etc. Obviously, this is creating a panic situation especially that the public was not well aware of the extent of the situation.”

She added “The actions taken by the government were a bit late. The situation is already out of control and the growth rate is enormous. Since Switzerland is a federal state, each canton decided to take measures according to its own institutions.”

Karina explained that in principle, goods availability is insured by a very strong public security system, however, people are panicking and stockpiling essential goods and food at home. “Supermarkets started to be overwhelmed by the number of clients but the situation is still controllable. However, people are very collaborative and respect the orders given by the authorities.”

Emilio, a Mexican engineer said his country has not taken efficient measures on time. “There are panic shopping in the markets but still there is no chaos so far.”

Asked on whether he trusts the health and political systems, he said “Honestly no. I think the answer of our government is being slow and not appropriate.”

At the time when it is important to stock up on some things while waiting out Covid-19 and being ready for maybe compulsory quarantine for two weeks or a few, hoarding unnecessary items can deplete the supply for everyone else. Yes, being prepared for a possible quarantine is smart but also being caring about other members of the society is an essential characteristic of being a human being. It remains a wonder to see people of the so-called “developed countries” [ruled by governments that see themselves superior in this world] witness such a state of mistrust and chaos.

British Election Heralds Collapse of United Kingdom

Image result for British Election Heralds Collapse of United Kingdom
Finian Cunningham
December 16, 2019

Boris Johnson is entitled to crack open a few bottles of champagne after being re-elected prime minister, with his Conservative party winning a landslide majority. But when the celebrations are over, Britain is facing a thumping hangover – from the inescapable fact that half of the United Kingdom is now on an irrevocable path of separatism and independence.

Johnson has won a decisive mandate to “get Brexit done”, at least from London’s perspective. His party now has a substantial parliamentary majority of 80 seats in the House of Commons which will ensure delivery on his promise to execute Britain’s departure from the European Union on January 31. The actual final severance will take another year or two to complete because of negotiations between London and Brussels to definitively hammer out divorce terms. But at least Johnson can claim that he has consummated the final journey to leave the EU on January 31, a journey which began over three years ago when Britons had originally voted for Brexit in the 2016 referendum.

However, crucially, the Conservative government’s mandate for Brexit only applies to England and Wales. It was in these two countries that saw the significant swing of voters from the opposition Labour party to Johnson’s Tories. Thus, in effect, his parliamentary majority stems from voters in England and Wales.

By total contrast, in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the other two regions which make up the United Kingdom, the voters resoundingly rejected Johnson’s Brexit plans and voted for parties wanting to remain in the European Union. The outcome is consistent with the 2016 referendum results when Scotland and Northern Ireland both voted against Brexit.

Moreover, the latest election results have reinforced the call for independence in both Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Scottish Nationalists swept the election to enhance their already existing majority. They now control nearly 90 per cent of all seats in Scotland. Party leader Nicola Sturgeon says there is an unquestionable mandate to hold a second referendum for Scottish independence. The previous independence referendum held in 2014 was defeated. But Scottish nationalists claim that popular support for their cause has surged since the Brexit referendum in 2016. The Scots, by and large, do not want to leave the EU. To remain in the EU therefore necessarily means separating from the United Kingdom and its central government in London.

Boris Johnson has so far rejected calls for holding a second Scottish independence referendum. But his position is untenable. Given the parliamentary numbers for separation stacking up in Scotland, he will have to relent. Nationalists there are demanding the holding of another plebiscite as early as next year.

In Northern Ireland, the election outcome is perhaps even more momentous. For the first time ever, nationalist parties have a majority over pro-British unionist parties. Mary Lou MacDonald, the leader of Sinn Fein, the main nationalist party, says that there is now a clear mandate for holding a referendum on the question of Northern Ireland leaving the United Kingdom. Given the breakthrough nationalist majority in the latest election, that would inevitably lead to a United Ireland, from the northern state joining with the existing southern state, the Republic of Ireland.

Nationalists in Northern Ireland have long-aspired for independence from Britain. Northern Ireland was created in 1921 from an audacious act of gerrymandering by the British government when it partitioned the island of Ireland into an independent southern state (which became the Republic of Ireland) and a small northern state (which became Northern Ireland). The latter remained under Britain’s jurisdiction. The arbitrary, imperialist act of partitioning Ireland was done in order to give the British authorities in London a mandate to rule over a portion of Irish territory because in newly created Northern Ireland the pro-British unionists were in a majority over nationalists. It was British establishment cynicism par excellence.

The present political structure of the United Kingdom of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is only a century old. (Before that, the UK included all of Irish territory, but London was forced to grant partial Irish independence due to an armed insurrection.)

In any case, nearly a century after the setting up of Northern Ireland the natural demographic changes in its population have now created a majority for nationalists. The outcome of the election on December 12 is an undeniably huge historic event. For the first time ever, the nationalist mandate has overcome the unionist vote. The historic violation by British gerrymandering against Irish nationalist rights to independence and self-determination has finally been reversed in terms of electoral ballot.

When the Northern Ireland peace deal known as the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998 to bring an end to nearly 30 years of armed conflict, enshrined in that treaty is the “principle of consent”. The British government is treaty-bound to abide by the electoral mandate of a majority in Northern Ireland wanting a United Ireland.

The threshold for triggering a referendum on Northern Ireland leaving British jurisdiction has now been reached. And nationalist parties are openly demanding that the legislative process to achieve that separation is now implemented.

Jonathan Powell, a seasoned British diplomat who oversaw the negotiations of the Good Friday Agreement, is not one for hyperbole. But in an interview with Matt Frei for Britain’s LBC Radio on December 14, Powell said he expected to see the “collapse of the United Kingdom” within the next decade, if not sooner. He was referring specifically to the electoral results in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Boris Johnson’s seeming victory in the British election is a double-edged sword. He may claim to have a mandate to cut off ties with the European Union. But the results also mean Scotland and Northern Ireland are empowered to now cut off their ties with the rest of Britain. The separation of those two states, leaving behind England and Wales, spells the end of the so-called United Kingdom.

Johnson’s election success is not “unleashing great potential” as he claims. Rather, it is unleashing an existential constitutional crisis for the British establishment.

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