Why Are Effective and Inexpensive Chinese and Russian Vaccines Unavailable in Much of the West?

By Kim Petersen

Source

Sputnik V vaccine 673c9

In 2016, I attended an information session about First Nations in Lax Kxeen (colonial designation Prince Rupert), [1] “BC.” During a break, I conversed with some fellow attendees. They expressed skepticism to colonial provincial authorities being behind the intentional spreading of smallpox among First Nations people [2] and that a vaccine was withheld from infected Indigenous individuals. The attendees insisted that there was no vaccine at that time for smallpox.

Yet, the English doctor Edward Jenner is celebrated for having discovered the smallpox vaccine in 1796. This is the predominant western account on the origin of the smallpox vaccination.

It is also recorded that inoculation against smallpox was already being practiced in Sichuan province by Taoist alchemists in the 10th century CE. [3] The Chinese inoculators administered dead or attenuated smallpox collected from less virulent scabs, which were inserted into the nose on a plug of cotton. Inoculation may also have been practiced much earlier by the Chinese — some sources cite dates as early as 200 BCE.

China obviously has a historical background in strengthening the immune response of people. Yet, in the western media, one seldom reads or hears about the Chinese COVID-19 vaccines. Neither were we well informed about the effectiveness of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine — that was until recently, when some western nations have been coming up short on vaccine supplies. The Canadian government has been scrambling to meet the demand for vaccines since Pfizer shipments were held up. The focus of western state and corporate media seemed clearly on procuring supplies of the Pfizer (US), Moderna (US), and AstraZeneca (UK-Sweden) vaccines. This is despite  effective, but less heralded, Russian and Chinese vaccines being available and at a more affordable price. South Korea’s Arirang News reported Russian test results that “its second COVID-19 vaccine is 100% effective.” CBC.ca found this success problematic; it depicted a political quandary in considering a Russian vaccine: “At first dismissed and ridiculed by Western countries, Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine has not only been rehabilitated; it’s emerging as a powerful tool of influence abroad for President Vladimir Putin.” France 24 concurred, hailing it as “a scientific and political victory for Vladimir Putin’s Russia.”

Would Canada refuse to consider securing vaccines from Russia to safeguard the health of Canadians to avoid granting Putin, derided by Canadian magazine Macleans as a “new Stalin,” a political victory? Why shouldn’t Russia be lauded for coming up first with a working and effective vaccine? What does it matter if the leader of that country receives recognition? Shouldn’t the national priority be obtaining the best vaccine to protect the health of citizens?

Medical data aside, western mass media has, apparently, been effective in stirring up a distrust of COVID-19 vaccines from China and Russia in comparison to western vaccines, as revealed in a YouGov poll of almost 19,000 people worldwide.

Hungary has been mildly criticized for going its own way in ordering the Russian vaccine. Hungary’s foreign minister, Péter Szijjártó, had no qualms and defended Budapest’s decision to buy two million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.

The Czech Republic is also considering following Hungary in using Russian and Chinese vaccines that are still pending approval by the European Union.

Huge Potential Profits in Vaccines

Investigative journalist Matt Tabibi pointed out,

What Americans need to understand about the race to find vaccines and treatments for Covid-19 is that in the U.S., … the production of pharmaceutical drugs is still a nearly riskless, subsidy-laden scam.

The World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus strongly criticized big pharma for profiteering and vaccine inequalities. Adhanom charged that younger, healthier adults in wealthy countries were being prioritized for vaccination against COVID-19 before older people or health care workers in poorer countries and that markets were sought to maximize profitability.

In chapter VII of the e-book The 2020 Worldwide Corona Crisis: Destroying Civil Society, Engineered Economic Depression, Global Coup d’État and the “Great Reset” (December 2020, revised January 2021), professor Michel Chossudovsky writes:

The plan to develop the Covid-19 vaccine is profit driven.

The US government had already ordered 100 million doses back in July 2020 and the EU is to purchase 300 million doses. It’s Big Money for Big Pharma, generous payoffs to corrupt politicians, at the expense of tax payers.

The objective is ultimately to make money, by vaccinating the entire planet of 7.8 billion people for SARS-CoV-2….

The Covid vaccine is a multibillion dollar Big Pharma operation which will contribute to increasing the public debt of more than 150 national governments.

Imagine, if those thousands of people stay home, reduce contact with others, they may have survived the pandemic. [4]

Chossudovsky also questions the safety of the rushed testing and the need for a vaccine given that the WHO and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) both confirmed that Covid-19 is “similar to seasonal influenza.” [5]

Some Safety Concerns about Vaccines

A report raised alarm about at least 36 people who developed a rare, lethal blood disorder, called thrombocytopenia, after receiving either of the two approved COVID-19 vaccines in the US. A Miami obstetrician, Gregory Michael, just 56, died of a brain hemorrhage just 16 days after receiving a Pfizer vaccination. His thrombocytopenia had caused his platelets to drop to virtually zero.

A Johns Hopkins University expert on blood disorders, Jerry L. Spivak, who was uninvolved in Michael’s care, said that based on Michael’s wife’s description: “I think it is a medical certainty that the vaccine was related [to Michael’s death].”

In Israel, at least three people suffered Bell’s palsy, facial paralysis, after receiving the vaccine. Data from Pfizer and Moderna vaccine trials revealed seven COVID-19 participants had experienced Bell’s palsy in the weeks following vaccination.

In Norway, at least 23 people who received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine died. According to authorities, thirteen of the fatalities were associated to the vaccine’s side effects. In addition, 10 deaths shortly following vaccination were being probed in Germany.

Pfizer and Moderna use a novel vaccine based on mRNA. Following the deaths in Norway, Chinese health experts called for caution and the suspension of mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines, especially for elderly people.

Regarding the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, the CDC reported the administration of over 41 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the US from 14 December 2020 through 7 February 2021. During this time, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System received 1,170 reports of death (0.003%) among people vaccinated for COVID-19. Based on the extremely low figure, the CDC advised people that “COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective” and “to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you are eligible.”

Yet, it seems some Europeans distrust their own government-approved Covid-19 vaccines. A black market has arisen; two doses of unapproved Chinese vaccines have reportedly sold for as high as 7,000 yuan (£800) — almost 20 times the reported usual price.

Vaccine makers, Sinopharm and Sinovac, cautioned the public not to buy the vaccines online.

Chinese Vaccines and Profit-seeking

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has been magnanimous with what could be an extremely profitable property. Said Xi, “China is willing to strengthen cooperation with other countries in the research and development, production, and distribution of vaccines,”

“We will fulfill our commitments, offer help and support to other developing countries, and work hard to make vaccines a public good that citizens of all countries can use and can afford.”

Imagine that: making an in-demand product available as a “pubic good” instead of taking advantage of a seemingly dire situation to rake in huge profits. Africa, for one, is benefiting.

Back in October 2020, Fortune.com proclaimed in its headline: “World’s vaccine testing ground deems Chinese COVID candidate ‘the safest, most promising.’” The tests conducted in Brazil were large, human trials of the COVID-19 vaccines that included Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and China’s Sinovac and Sinopharm.

São Paulo Governor João Doria said,

The first results of the clinical study conducted in Brazil prove that among all the vaccines tested in the country, CoronaVac from Chinese developer Sinovacis the safest, the one with the best and most promising rates.

On 3 February 2021, the peer-review medical journal, The Lancet, published a study by Wu et al. who spoke to the urgent need for a vaccine against COVID-19 for the elderly. Their study found that the Chinese CoronaVac, containing inactivated SARS-CoV-2, is safe and well tolerated by the elderly.

Journalist Wei Ling Chua, who follows closely how events involving China are portrayed and perceived elsewhere, asked in an email on 12 February 2021:

1) till this date, there is no report of a single death or hospitalisation after taking China vaccine

2) unlike the capitalist west, China vaccine companies did not require nations to excuse them from legal liability from side effects.

Despite, western nations acknowledging many having died soon after taking the vaccine, they all claim that after investigation the cause of death not related to vaccine. But, why does death happen so soon after taking the vaccine?

Why following administration of a Chinese vaccine are there no reports of people dying soon afterwards?

Closing Comments

This essay does not explore the necessity for vaccination against COVID-19. Indeed, there are grounds to be skeptical of the necessity for all people to be vaccinated. However, if COVID-19 is genuinely an urgent health issue, [6] then why would governments play politics with the health of their populace?

*(Top image: Russia’s Coronavirus Vaccine rollout. Credit: Marco Verch Professional Photographer/ Flickr)

ENDNOTES

  1. The city’s name is an eponym for Prince Rupert of the Rhine, a European elitist who never set foot on the Pacific coast. For the Ts’msyen: “Place names are usually rooted in the natural world and the land they refer to.” See Kenneth Campbell, Persistence and Change: A History of the Ts’msyen Nation (Prince Rupert, [sic] BC: First Nation Educational Council, 2005): 10. Author Kenneth Campbell commented, “By writing and saying the name name in Sm’algyax [the Ts’msyen language], both the language and the people are honored.” (p. 10)
  2. Tom Swanky, The Great Darkening: The True Story of Canada’s “War” of Extermination on the Pacific plus The Tsilhqot’in and other First Nations Resistance (Burnaby, BC: Dragon Heart Enterprises, 2012). See also an interview with Tom Swanky.
  3. Robert Temple, The Genius of China: 3,000 Years of Science, Discovery and Invention (London: Prion Books, 2002): 135-137.
  4. Click on the following link to access the complete E-book consisting of a Preface, Highlights and Nine Chapters.
  5. For more on “the absolute and relative ‘flu-like’ risk of death from a SARS-CoV-2 infection” see “Review of calculated SARS-CoV-2 infection fatality rates: Good CDC science versus dubious CDC science, the actual risk that does not justify the ‘cure’ – By Prof Joseph Audie,” ResearchGate.
  6. Even about this be skeptical; research and inform yourself; and draw your own conclusions.

Our Children, Lockdowns, And The Great Reset

By Kevin Smith

Source

Our Children, Lockdowns, And The Great Reset

Over recent years, I’ve found that relying on life experience, critical thinking and instinct has served me well. I feel I can now think on so many levels than before. Children have this in abundance which we need to learn from. But too much academic learning at an early age often means they leave school with their critical thinking abilities seriously impaired by a system designed to turn out compliant robots.

Many of us will by now have heard of ‘The Great Reset’ and considered how this could affect the future of their children.

I’m sure most parents can recall big or important events and fond memories of their children growing up. My most vivid memories are the funny ones.

These are true stories.

In 1998, my son at the age of 5 was knocked down by a car. He broke his femur bone but had no other injuries.

He had just weeks earlier started school. His teacher at the time described him as ‘chatterbox’ but an intelligent one.

Yet, following the accident, for 6 weeks his leg had to remain in traction in hospital. My wife and I had to spend alternative nights sleeping there beside him.

When it was my turn, after my wife went home, I recall my son shared my love of the Simpsons and Bruce Lee movies, which we watched on TV in the evening.

Due to the time he was in hospital, he was assigned a personal tutor.

Generally, he responded well to probably what was better teaching than he would receive in his class of 30.

But I will never forget one scene in the hospital. My family were all there, including my 3-year old younger son, who permanently wore a Fireman Sam outfit with the helmet.

That day the teacher told my son off for being a chatterbox. She turned her back for a moment and my son took his willy out of his pants and waved it around in defiance. Not appropriate behaviour for this day and age, but he was just 5, it was over 20 years ago – and the teacher didn’t see it.

Watching this scene and of Fireman Sam bursting into hysterical fits of laughter remains with me to this day.

Another funny memory was not long after when he was back home. I used to spend a lot of time watching films with my older son. I remember we sat together for 90 minutes watching the cartoon type version of ‘Hercules’. We were both engrossed throughout.

As the credits rolled, he turned me yawning and said “Dad, what the hell was that all about?”

That same Christmas my mum recalls saying to him, “What do you think Father Christmas will bring you this year”? He turned to her with a look of amazement and said “I’m sorry to tell you Nanna, but Father Christmas doesn’t exist”

At 10, my younger son wanted to play football. He was very tall and quite big for his age and a little clumsy but loved to play sports.

Anyway, I signed him up to Saturday football. With all the smaller, fast and nimble footballers on the field, he rarely saw sight of the ball. The other kids gave him a hard time but he never complained or retaliated.

But the best and most comical moment was when one Saturday the ball was amazingly passed to him. He took it with skill.

He was immediately surrounded by about 3 or 4 of the nimble kids who like skittles at the same moment, fell in a heap, claiming a foul. There was some contact, but not much. My son scored and the goal stood.

I’m so proud that for his perseverance against these smaller bullies, he won ‘most improved footballer of the year award’. He could easily have given up.

Just recently I’ve been picking up my 13-year niece from school. She has an amazing, enquiring mind but is clearly bored with school.

So, I try and draw out her strengths and every day I’d explain the meaning of a new word or provide some wisdom. For example, recently I explained to her what the word ‘discerning’ meant and the importance of keeping an open mind.

The other day I explained about the word ‘incentive’. I explained it as positivity as I could and in terms of well-earned bonuses I received at work. Her response “Uncle Kevin, that rather sounds like bribery.”

My elder niece now has children of her own, but I still regard her from the same generation. Her message to her children is if the school try to jab them with Covid-19 vaccine to refuse and ‘punch the lights out’ of anyone approaching with a needle.

I’m sure many readers will relate to the above stories.

Parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents will always relate to the funny, innocent and incredible insight and resolve of their young relatives.

Our children are special. Right now, there are things we should learn from them. But it’s also our responsibility to wake up and think how we can shield them from the on-going madness.

I read a quote somewhere that children are so bright because they have not yet learnt. That is so true and why we need to protect them in these times.

To some extent, many children are shielded by their parents from the fallout of Covid-19 and lockdowns.

Yet children aren’t being shielded enough from the general madness being inflicted on us all. The madness that affects them directly such as the fear of passing Covid-19 to granny, mask-wearing and school closures. Mental health concerns all of a sudden swept aside during lockdowns.

Most children have spent much of the last year home schooling, away from that all important social interaction, vital for their development. Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are going through the roof.

As we’ve all discussed here, adults in general have retreated into a shell. They’ve stopped thinking, and when I venture out on to the streets of suburbia, they resemble a kind of zombie-land.

Ivor Cummins summed it up well in several interviews when asked why he continues his fight to bring out the truth about Covid-19. He gave two reasons. One, the fight for science. But first and foremost, to protect the future of his 5 children.

So, what can we take from the memories described above and similar experiences all parents have of their children? And positively apply these to life now to fight the reset agenda? Perhaps quite a bit.

Learning From Our Children

Be sceptical and question everything

Like my 5-year old son, raising grave doubts about Father Christmas and my niece’s insightful interpretation, as adults we need to raise our game. In a way, Covid-19 is like Father Christmas. Yes, contrary to my son’s scepticism, he may exist, but he’s not a big threat to young children.

But seriously, history is littered with examples of where being lazy and complacent in our thinking ends badly.

Be a bit rebellious and draw your red line.

I don’t suggest waving one’s willy around the place or to punch anyone’s lights out, although it might come to that one day. But there are various ways of making a stand My red line is when they make masks mandatory outdoors. For now, I’ll go along with indoor wearing pointless masks in shops as for certain personal reasons, it’s just not worth the bother. Find your red line and fight tooth and nail when it’s breached.

Always stand up to bullies

This is something I learned, too late in life.

My older niece is an example of someone who won’t compromise on her core beliefs. Perhaps this a result of having a more difficult childhood. Nevertheless, we should instil values in our children to fight for our beliefs on the main matters.

The imminent threat is one of tyranny with the Great Reset which threatens all our futures. There are various ways of standing up to bullying, as my younger son discovered.

He fought from within and become a better person by participating and refusing to be side-lined.

In terms of modern-day challenges, adults are often forced to take on a more outside activist role. Either way, history always rewards those who resolve to remain independent and determined. Such people will determine our future rather than those who simply follow the crowd.

Instinct, creativity and education.

Over recent years, I’ve found that relying on life experience, critical thinking and instinct has served me well. I feel I can now think on so many levels than before.

Children have this in abundance which we need to learn from. But too much academic learning at an early age often means they leave school with their critical thinking abilities seriously impaired by a system designed to turn out compliant robots.

Occasionally when I’m stuck with a problem or idea, I ask my young niece what she would do. More often than not she comes back with an instant solution or a great idea, something I’d never thought of.

Parents need to balance the value of qualifications against drawing out their natural strengths to produce well rounded, creative children with a good overall understanding of the core subjects and life.

This is possibly a good example of the creative approach my young relatives then or a child now might take to solving a problem. This is an exchange of readers on the site ‘Off Guardian’ recently. The replies put the entire onus on an employer proposing a ridiculous request of their employees, and in my experience is an effective strategy.

Protecting our children.

Above all, we need to put concern about our kids as our top priority. Although this is obvious, I think in the present climate of fear our priorities have not always focused on this. So, it’s about creating a new sense of self-awareness.

I suppose at this stage we can only protect our children if we learn a few lessons from them. And wake up to the potential nightmare which threatens their future.

One lesson I learned, and everyone will have experienced, is being in a bad situation and wondering how you will recover. My son being in the hospital took me down that road. Yet 6 weeks later, he was better, and I now have nothing but lovely memories of that time. Things usually get better if you take things one day at a time.

But we must not be complacent. Major life-changing events, wars, etc., always happen in a lifetime. We can’t assume we can permanently carry on as usual as there’s always a threat to deal with.

To fight we have to realise that we are in a fight and that’s the challenge right now. Realisation of the reset agenda is the first goal. Then the fight starts and we have tools at our disposal.

And during these times, we need to draw upon the type of memories of children as I’ve mentioned.

Innocence, honesty, being inquisitive, humour, rebelliousness, determination and creative thinking. All things if you look at in your children today, or in the memories of the past, you will find in plentiful supply. We need to defend these things like mad to deal with all the imminent challenges now facing us.

Behind the Masquerade

By David Macilwain

Source

Masquerade f5c01

Since the beginning of this year – of infernal subterfuge and chaotic transformation of civilised society – one of the few ways to assess the truth of what is happening, what is being done and by whom, is in a resort to “science”. While science in its broader sense merely means “knowledge”, I’m restricting my assessment to strictly scientific matters where there is only one truth.

I have long believed in such a scientific principle, that despite varying and opposing views on a certain matter, there can only be one single objective truth; black cannot be white, even though it may be subjectively perceived as it. We do not live in a “post-truth world”- at least where physical, chemical and biological sciences are concerned.

While all “scientists” should subscribe to this principle, and must do so if scientific truth is to have any meaning at all, it is self-evident that a range of interpretations can be applied to a single issue. Statistics is notorious for such variations, despite its ability to draw definitive conclusions from a mass of data. The conclusion that something is “beyond reasonable doubt” is hard to argue with, though some unreasonable people will always maintain that the 0.1% of doubt remaining cannot be dismissed. Media somehow also have a habit of focusing excessively on these exceptions that prove the rule, magnifying them out of all proportion in the minds of their audiences.

One could cite many cases of this phenomenon in the general presentation of the Coronavirus epidemic, but one stands out – the claim that catching the virus does not make you immune to catching it again. For months this claim was based on the reporting of one person who had allegedly caught it twice, but just recently I heard it said that there were five cases of apparent re-infection recorded. Out of 35 million cases around the world, that equates to a chance of one in seven million of suffering re-infection.

This may seem like an idiotic abstraction, but its seriousness is in the way it has worked to twist the whole narrative about the development of natural immunity following infection with Sars-CoV-2. In any discussion about immunity to the virus, doubts are raised about whether such immunity is actually created by infection, based entirely on these alleged cases of re-infection. Scientifically there is little reason to suppose that this virus would not produce an immune response, and that consequently a vaccine would not work. The clinical effects of the immune over-reaction or cytokine storm are all too well documented.

The issue is not straightforward however, even if an incredible amount is known about the mechanisms of immunity and the genetics and properties of the virus. Similarly it may be difficult to prove the case on infection-fatality rates when comparing the novel Coronavirus with other respiratory illnesses, and when assessing the seriousness of the current “second wave” in Europe, which is quite evidently far less lethal than the initial epidemic. 

So while the political manipulation of statistics on infections and deaths leads the way in spreading fear and false narratives about the danger of the SARS-2 virus, prosecuting a clear scientific case on the true situation facing us is not straightforward. Better to do so on an issue where the science is straightforward and clear-cut, and where governments’ dishonesty and misrepresentation of that science can be exposed as a pointer to its overall credibility and possible hidden agendas. And it is the issue of masking that defines this scientific credibility gap as clearly as any.

Simply put, the pure science on masks is clear cut, putting them on the front line in the Coronavirus disinformation war. That the cartoon heading this article was pulled from the relatively liberal Melbourne Age illustrates how this issue has created new fault lines that cut across the normal political divide. This is also evident in the way that masking is now being put at the forefront of “messaging” about controlling the virus in countries around the world, and none more so than here in Victoria, Australia.

As noted before, Australia has functioned as something of a test case for the Coronavirus epidemic, taking measures to control and prevent its spread way beyond the apparent necessity. Those measures bore fruit in the recent budget, which forecast a breathtaking $1.2 Trillion of debt and a deficit of several hundred billions. It is an indication of the extraordinary times we live in that the announcement of this economic apocalypse barely caused a ripple on share markets, nor induced the expected apoplexy amongst economists.

The Coronavirus epidemic is pretty well over here, as Melbourne’s “second wave” that led the world slowly peters out. It seems especially perverse that just at this point we should be told (in Victoria) we must wear masks, and no longer – from this week – just any old mask, scarf or bandanna. Those who won’t or can’t will be fined, or will be victims of vigilante actions from indignant members of the public, who believe that their three months of penitence will be squandered by the “selfish and stupid” actions of the “law breakers”. We must do this because otherwise the Virus will come back, and all our sacrifices will be for nothing.

As we see the introduction of mandatory mask wearing in countries around Europe now purportedly suffering “second waves” like Victoria, and the public’s acceptance of it, it becomes harder than ever to persuade people that this is all a masquerade. The recent declaration from the head of the US CDC that masks may be even more effective than vaccines in controlling the Virus is so extreme and such complete nonsense that it should have broken the spell. Instead most media have picked on Donald Trump’s antics as further confirmation that his disdain for masks was why he caught the virus.

But the science is clear – masks don’t work, because they can’t; if you can breathe through a mask then virus particles can pass through it too. Amongst the many “Emperor’s New Clothes” events of recent years this must be the most extravagant, as in some strange act of mass global hypnosis leaders and people around the world mandate and adopt mask-wearing in an imaginary fight against the virus.

People who were only recently railing against the veil and the niqab for denying the rights of women, or rallying under the banner of “I can’t breathe” for Black Lives Matter, now voluntarily muzzle and asphyxiate themselves in the name of “law-abiding citizens”, and turn on dissenters as if they were the plague.

It seems almost too late to change now; the science has been rendered meaningless in the face of false belief and fear, sentiments beautifully encapsulated by Michael Leunig in several cartoons illustrating his disdain for masks and the effect they have on social relations. That his acute social commentary on such an apparently apolitical matter has drawn abuse and censorship simply confirms the message, and the belief that “masking” is a political tool unrelated to infection control.

The science of respiratory protection was brilliantly explained recently by two American Occupational Health and Safety specialists, interviewed by an independent TV host Del Bigtree after a short video the women posted on social media went viral. They have become concerned at the increasing recommendation and mandating of masks not simply because they see them as ineffective against airborne viruses, but because wearing masks is actually a health hazard.

Even lightweight masks restrict your breathing, causing a rapid build-up of carbon dioxide and reduction of oxygen in the air under the mask, which leads to headaches, tiredness and other serious effects, particularly if worn for longer periods. These effects are well known and included in advice for workers using masks against dust and allergens, but are equally applicable to healthcare workers’ protection against infective organisms.

Compounding the danger, masks not only fail to protect the wearer or those around from airborne virus, but also reduce their resistance to infection. Should you be in an environment where virus particles are actually present in the air, conditions inside the mask will increase your susceptibility to infection.

Given the simple science on the physics of mask materials, and their demonstrable inability to stop virus particles and droplets from being breathed in or out by the wearer, we must ask why scientific and health advisors have recommended their use, and why occupational health and safety specialists have not questioned this potentially damaging recommendation. As I have observed before, some experts actually have done so – none more so than Raina Macintyre, who studied the efficacy of surgical masks amongst health workers during the flu season in Beijing and found them of no use whatsoever in preventing infection. It is astonishing that Macintyre seems to have forgotten this research and now helps to promote mask wearing by both public and health-care workers.

But Macintyre’s change of heart echoes that of the WHO, which now seems to recommend mask wearing by the public – as described by its new “special envoy” David Nabarro in a recent interview. Earlier in the year the WHO was less equivocal, and advised against the wearing of masks by the public:

 “In guidance issued on 6 April,5 WHO said that medical masks should be reserved for health workers. Most spread of the covid-19 virus is from known cases and requires contact with droplets from a cough or sneeze or infected surfaces. It said that “there is currently no evidence that wearing a mask (whether medical or other types) by healthy persons in the wider community setting, including universal community masking, can prevent them from infection with respiratory viruses, including covid-19.” Wearing masks in the community can also give people a false sense of security, it said, and lead to them neglecting other measures, such as hand hygiene and physical distancing.”

What the WHO failed to say, then and now, is that wearing masks makes normal friendly human relations impossible, and should be adopted only in the most extreme of situations – and where masks actually work, such as in a bushfire to prevent inhalation of burning particles. The science of behavioural psychology may not be as precise or certain as simple physics, but we should hardly dismiss this vital aspect of mandatory masking. While the effects of COVID19 infection are limited and mostly minimal for children, the psychological effects of growing up in a world without “face to face” contact may be devastating and long lasting.   Just ask the specialists from “SPI-B” who advised the UK government on how to use the “fear factor” to encourage public compliance.

But for a less scientific and more human look at the psychology of health and immunity, advice from the holistic health centre associated with the Marseilles Infection unit of Prof Raoult inspires us to realise we can fight this masquerade, without masks and without fear. (Sadly just in French)

WHO’s Conflict of Interest?

By David Macailwain

Source

Pompeo Meets Ghebreyesus 2e5bb

Last week the French National Assembly convened an inquiry into the “genealogy and chronology”  of the Coronavirus crisis to examine the evident failures in its handling and will interview government ministers, experts and health advisors over the next six months. While we in the English-speaking world may have heard endless arguments over the failures of the UK or US governments to properly prepare for and cope with the health-care emergency, the crisis and problems in the French health system and bureaucracy have been similar and equally serious. Given the global cooperation and collaboration of health authorities and industry, the inquiry has global significance.

Judging by the attention paid by French media to the inquiry, which comes just as France is loosening the lock-downs and restarting normal government activities, it is set to be controversial and upsetting, exposing both incompetence and corruption.

Leading the criticism of the Macron government’s handling of the crisis are the most serious accusations that its prohibition of an effective drug treatment has cost many lives, a criticism put directly to the inquiry by Professor Didier Raoult, the most vocal proponent of the drug – Hydroxychloroquine. At his institute in Marseilles, early treatment with the drug of people infected with Sars-CoV-2 has been conclusively demonstrated to reduce hospitalization rates and shorten recovery times when given along with the antibiotic Azithromycin, and consequently to cut death rates by at least half.

Raoult has pointed to the low death rate in the Marseilles region of 140 per million inhabitants compared with that in Paris of 759 per million as at least partly due to the very different treatment of the epidemic in Marseilles under his instruction. The policies pursued by local health services there included early widespread testing for the virus and isolation and quarantining of cases, aimed both at protecting those in aged care and in keeping people from needing hospitalization with the help of drug treatments.

It incidentally seems quite bizarre that some countries – notably the US, UK and Australia, are only now embarking on large testing programs – and claiming a “second wave” in cases – which Raoult calls a “fantasme journalistique”. The consequent reimposition of severe lock-downs in some suburbs of Melbourne, and in Leicester in the UK is a very worrying development.

The efficacy of HCQ and Azithromycin is well illustrated – one should say proven – by this most recent review of its use on 3120 out of a total of 3700 patients treated at the Marseilles hospitals during March, April and the first half of May. Unlike the fraudulent study published and then retracted by the Lancet in May, the analysis in this review is exemplary, along with the battery of tests performed on patients to determine the exact nature of their infection and estimate the effectiveness of the drug treatment. The overall final mortality rate of 1.1% obscures the huge discrepancy in numbers between treated and untreated patients. Hospitalization, ICU, and death rates averaged five times greater in those receiving the “other” treatment – being normal care without HCQ-AZM treatment – equivalent to a placebo.

The IHU Marseilles study and its discussion points deserve close scrutiny, because they cannot be dismissed as unsubstantiated or biased, or somehow political, just because Professor Raoult is a “controversial figure”. There is a controversy, and it was well expressed by Raoult in his three hour presentation to the inquiry. His criticisms of health advisors to government include conflicts of interest and policy driven by politics rather than science. Raoult has been vindicated in his success, and can now say to those health authorities “if you had accepted my advice and approved this drug treatment, thousands of lives would have been saved.”

This is quite unlike similar statements in the UK and elsewhere, where claims an earlier imposition of lock-down would have cut the death toll in half are entirely hypothetical. As Prof. Raoult has also observed, the progress of this epidemic of a new and unknown virus was quite speculative, and its handling by authorities has failed to reflect that. In fact, one feels more and more that the “response” of governments all around the world has followed a strangely similar and inappropriately rigid scheme, of which certain aspects were de rigueur, particularly “social distancing”.

There seems little evidence that would justify this most damaging and extreme of measures to control an epidemic whose seriousness could be ameliorated by other measures – such as those advocated by Raoult’s Institute – which would have avoided the devastating “collateral damage” inflicted on the economy and society in the name of “staying safe”.

Prof. Raoult’s vocal and consistent criticism of the political manipulation of the Coronavirus crisis is hardly trivial however, to be finally excused as a “failure”- to impose lockdowns sooner, to have sufficient supplies of masks or ventilators, or to use more testing and effective contact tracing. What lies beneath appears to be, for want of a better word, a conspiracy.

As previously and famously noted by Pepe Escobar, French officials seemed to have foresight on the potential use of Hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 infection, with its cheapness and availability being a likely hindrance to pharmaceutical companies looking to make big profits from new drug treatments or vaccines. Of even greater significance perhaps, was the possibility – or danger – that the vast bulk of the population might become infected with the virus and recover quickly with the help of this cheap drug treatment, while bypassing the need, and possibly interminable wait for a vaccine.

Now it can be seen that in Western countries the demand for a vaccine is acute, and the market cut-throat, despite assurances from many quarters that “vaccines must be available to all” and that “manufacturers won’t seek to profit” from their winning product. (the profit will naturally be included in what their governments choose to pay them) The clear conflicts of interest between health officials, public and private interests make such brave pronouncements particularly hollow. Just one case is sufficient to illustrate this, as despite its unconvincing performance in combatting the novel Coronavirus, the drug developed and promoted by Dr Anthony Fauci and company Gilead, Remdesevir, was rapidly approved for use following a research trial sponsored by the White House.

More concerning however is what appears to be a conflict of interest in the WHO itself, possibly related to the WHO’s largest source of funding in the Gates organization. While the WHO has not actively opposed the use of Hydroxychloroquine against the virus infection for most of the pandemic, neither has it voiced any support for its use, such as might be suggested by its obvious benefits, and particularly in countries with poor health facilities and resources.

Had the WHO taken at least a mildly supportive role, acknowledging that the drug was already in widespread use and there was little to lose from trying it against COVID-19, then it is hard to imagine that those behind the recent fabricated Lancet paper would have pursued such a project. Without claiming that the WHO had some hand in the alleged study that set out to debunk HCQ treatment, it should be noted that the WHO was very quick to jump on the non-peer-reviewed “results” and to declare a world-wide cancellation of its research projects on the drug. And while it had to rescind this direction shortly afterward when the fraud was exposed, the dog now has a bad name – as apparently intended.

This stands in sharp contrast to the WHO’s sudden enthusiasm for the steroidal drug Dexamethasone, recently discovered by a UK research team to have had a mildly positive benefit on seriously ill COVID19 patients:

“The World Health Organization (WHO) plans to update its guidelines on treating people stricken with coronavirus to reflect results of a clinical trial that showed a cheap, common steroid could help save critically ill patients.

The benefit was only seen in patients seriously ill with COVID-19 and was not observed in patients with milder disease, the WHO said in a statement late Tuesday.

British researchers estimated 5,000 lives could have been saved had the drug been used to treat patients in the United Kingdom at the start of the pandemic.

“This is great news and I congratulate the government of the UK, the University of Oxford, and the many hospitals and patients in the UK who have contributed to this lifesaving scientific breakthrough,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in the press release.”

There is something more than ironic in the WHO’s interest in a different cheap and available drug that has also been widely used for decades, but which is no use in protecting those people in the target market for the vaccine. To me, and surely to Professor Raoult and his colleagues, this looks more like protecting ones business interests and investor profits, at the expense of public health and lives.

Postscript:

It has just been announced that GILEAD will start charging for its drug Remdesevir from next week at $US 2340 for a five-day course, or $US 4860 for private patients. Generic equivalents manufactured in poorer countries will sell for $US 934 per treatment course. Announcing the prices, chief executive Dan O’Day noted that the drug was priced “to ensure wide access rather than based solely on the value to patients”.

It seems hardly worth pointing out that six days treatment with Hydroxychloroquine costs around $US 7, so for the same cost as treating one patient with Remdesevir, roughly four hundred could be given Hydroxychloroquine. If this is compounded by the effective cure rate, Remdesevir treatment costs closer to one thousand times that of HCQ. The addition of Azithromycin and Zinc doubles the cost of HCQ treatment, but also increases its efficacy considerably.

The Elite’s COVID-19 Coup Against a Terrified Humanity: Resisting Powerfully

By Robert J. Burrowes

Source

 

I have previously explained how the COVID-19 infection is being used to frighten us into submitting powerlessly to the global elite’s latest move to take much greater control of our lives and how those who can perceive this, and wish to resist it, can do so effectively. See ‘Observing Elites Manipulate Our Fear: COVID-19, Propaganda and Knowledge’ and ‘Defending Humanity Against the Elite Coup’.

In this article I want to document a sample of the rapidly increasing evidence of how this coup is taking shape and to reiterate a strategy for defeating it.

The coup was designed to take immediate measures to ensure that fundamental rights and freedoms, only ‘won’ (in name at least) after many centuries of struggle, were stripped away from us and to do it in such a way that people would fearfully accept it.

This is why the idea of a virus ‘pandemic’ was quite clever.

Because the fear of contracting the virus (and its possibly deadly consequences) could be grotesquely magnified by inflating the figures, constant harping on it by the World Health Organization, the medical industry (in league with the pharmaceutical industry) and governments, and then magnified by the corporate media – with one outlet laughably suggesting COVID-19 could be worse than the flu outbreak in 1918 (falsely attributed to Spain): see ‘COVID-19 has the potential to become as severe as the Spanish flu’– it made virtually all people submissive to any measure taken, or order given, ostensibly to prevent the spread of the virus.

Fear manipulated by propaganda defeats knowledge and evidence every time, as history has endlessly demonstrated. Just ask Joseph Goebbels how they did it in Nazi Germany. Play on the fear, play on the fear….

But if you are not too scared to seek out the evidence, you get an utterly different picture of what is taking place.

So, for example, US physician Dr. Annie Bukacek observes that (image right)

‘The real number of COVID-19 deaths are not what most people are told and what they then think. How many people actually died from COVID-19 is anyone’s guess. … Based on inaccurate, incomplete data, people are being terrorized by fear-mongers into relinquishing freedoms.’

See ‘Montana physician Dr. Annie Bukacek discusses how COVID 19 death certificates are being manipulated’.


If you would like to read a wider sample of the literature and videos discussing how the infection and death rates from COVID-19 have been deliberately misinterpreted, inflated and presented in a way that induces fear, and hence willing submission to elite control, see the daily updates on

‘A Swiss Doctor on Covid-19’and the articles/videos

‘Corona: creating the illusion of a pandemic through diagnostic tests’,

‘12 Experts Questioning the Coronavirus Panic’,

‘Can We Trust the WHO?’,

‘How deadly is the coronavirus? It’s still far from clear’,

‘Perspectives on the Pandemic II: A Conversation with Dr. Knut Wittkowski’,

‘Never Has So Little Done So Much Harm to So Many:

The Latest Coronavirus Attack Is A Cover for Restricting Our Health Freedoms’,

‘Covid19 Death Figures “A Substantial Over-Estimate”’  and

‘Dr Scott Jensen Reveals “Ridiculous” Covid19 Guidance’.


As a result of this pandemic of fear, the human rights to privacy (Article 12), freedom of movement (Article 13.1) and freedom of assembly (Article 20.1), for example, which are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (but not necessarily legislated into law by individual countries and routinely violated by governments in any case) have now been publicly and completely eviscerated in one fell swoop with bans on gatherings, legal requirements for ‘social distancing’ and even greater surveillance of our private activities with barely a murmur of protest.

For a comprehensive global summary, which monitors individual government responses to the pandemic that affect civic freedoms and human rights focusing on emergency laws, see the ‘COVID-19 Civic Freedom Tracker’.

Denied these fundamental rights, others – including those preventing arbitrary arrest or detention (Article 9), entitlement to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal in response to any criminal charge (Article 10), to make a living in the manner of our choosing (Article 23), to adequate healthcare irrespective of personal circumstances (Article 25.1) and to have some say in how we are governed (Article 21) – have, if they previously existed in practice, largely disappeared as many governments around the world have used a variety of illegal and sometimes unconstitutional measures – ranging from ‘lockdowns’ and curfews to martial law and suspensions of parliaments in favour of dictatorships – to usurp more complete control of national societies.


For just a brief taste of what is taking place in some countries, see

‘Denmark rushes through emergency coronavirus law’,

‘DOJ seeks new emergency powers amid coronavirus pandemic’,

For Autocrats, and Others, Coronavirus Is a Chance to Grab Even More Power’,

‘Suspending the Constitution: Police State Uses Crises to Expand Its Lockdown Powers’,

‘Hungary’s Leader Grabbed Powers to Fight the Virus. Some Fear Other Motives’,

‘Americans Beware: Trump Could Emulate Netanyahu’s Coronavirus Coup’

‘The Coronavirus State: New Zealand and Authoritarian Rumblings’.


In addition, by deliberately crashing national economies it was easy to conceal the fact that they were on the brink of crashing anyway. In the words of Scott C. Tips:

‘As the American and other economies falter from major structural problems, out-of-control debt, reckless spending, and government stupidity in shuttering businesses, the blame for markets crashing and economies tanking is borne by the conveniently available COVID-19 disease.’ See ‘Never Has So Little Done So Much Harm to So Many: The Latest Coronavirus Attack Is A Cover for Restricting Our Health Freedoms’.

In this way, the elite has rapidly and vastly expanded the number of people who live a precarious economic existence, due to the exploitative functioning of the global economy – see ‘Who Profits From the Pandemic?’– while also giving vast sums of money to wealthy corporations via government bailouts. See ‘Trump Signs Corporate Bailout Bill: A Measure That Will Live in Infamy’.

Moreover, adverse outcomes from the use of COVID-19 to wreak this economic destruction will multiply rapidly but the underlying corporate dysfunctionality will now escape the blame from most observers just as COVID-19 will help to obscure the elite’s true purpose in precipitating this crisis.


See, for example, ‘Coronavirus pandemic will inevitably cause food crisis’,‘10 Signs the U.S. Is Heading for a Depression’,

‘After the Lockdown: A Global Coronavirus Vaccination Program…’,

‘COVID-19. The Unspoken Truth. The Most Serious Global Crisis in Modern History’,

‘The worst economic collapse ever?’and

‘Coronavirus – The Aftermath. A Coming Mega-Depression…’.


But apart from these more obvious encroachments on our rights, freedoms and economic well-being, there is a vast range of encroachments happening either outside or on the periphery of public view, given the phenomenal corporate media attention focused on COVID-19 to distract us.

Talking about US government surveillance in 2014, former Technical Director of the NSA, William ‘Bill’ Binney, explained that the NSA sought ‘total population control’. See ‘Whistleblower: NSA Goal Is “Total Population Control”’.

Six years later it is clear that the global elite is now making another push in its ongoing and longstanding effort to achieve total control. Will this be the final push?

As you consider this question, here is another small sample of those encroachments and devastating impacts that are happening while our attention is elsewhere:

  1. The public acceptance of surveillance technology to spy on us in the interests of our ‘health’ is facilitating elite efforts to rapidly expand its monitoring capacities in this regard. See, for example, ‘To Track Coronavirus, Israel Moves to Tap Secret Trove of Cellphone Data’ and ‘For Autocrats, and Others, Coronavirus Is a Chance to Grab Even More Power’.
  2. The deluge of propaganda is convincing us that compulsory vaccination will be necessary to ensure our ‘health and well-being’. However, apart from the conclusively and extensively documented harm from vaccinations – for one brief article just touching on this, see ‘Vaccines and the Liberal Mind’– there is extensive evidence that any such vaccination program will be the trojan horse for implementing an electronic identification program that uses generalized vaccination as a platform for launching a scheme to give everyone ‘a portable and persistent biometrically-linked digital identity’. See ‘The Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic: The Real Danger is “Agenda ID2020”’‘After the Lockdown: A Global Coronavirus Vaccination Program…’,‘Coronavirus: Biometric IDs could be “gamechanger” for tests, vaccines’ and ‘COVID-19: Perfect Cover for Mandatory Biometric ID’.

If you think this is fairyland stuff, check out the website of the elite agents advocating it: ‘The need for good digital ID is universal: The ability to prove who you are is a fundamental and universal human right. Because we live in a digital era, we need a trusted and reliable way to do that both in the physical world and online.’ See ‘The Need for Good Digital ID is Universal’.

Without thinking too hard, I can list a few ‘fundamental and universal human rights’ that I would nominate before I got too excited about my digital identity. I wonder if these people are concerned about whether I have enough to eat, whether I am clothed and housed…. Of course, I know they have no interest in my privacy given that digital ID and the surveillance that goes with it will make that non-existent.

  1. The deployment of the highly dangerous 5G which, under the guise of improving internet speed and capacity, will vastly expand everyone’s exposure to electromagnetic radiation with its long list of seriously adverse health impacts. For a taste of the extensive documentation on this point, see the ‘International Appeal to Stop 5G on Earth and in Space’.
  2. A dramatic increase in the violence inflicted within the family home, especially by men and women against children – see ‘Why Violence?’– and by the more usually acknowledged men against women, during the lockdown. See ‘UN chief calls for domestic violence “ceasefire” amid “horrifying global surge”’.
  3. Intensified efforts to overthrow governments in Iran and Venezuela. See ‘COVID-19: Cover for Military Attack on Iran and Iraq? Trump ignores Iraqi demand US occupation forces leave the country’‘Not letting Covid-19 crisis go to waste? US ramps up war on drugs… focusing on Venezuela’s Maduro’‘Trump sends gun boats to Venezuela while the world partners to fight a deadly pandemic’ and ‘NATO in Arms to “Fight Coronavirus”’.

The background framework to what is happening regarding Venezuela has been exposed by its President Nicolás Maduro. See ‘Letter from President Nicolás Maduro to the People of the United States’.

  1. No end to the many ongoing wars involving the United States – see, for example, ‘U.S. Confirms Deployment Of Patriot Missiles In Iraq. Iran Prepares For Conflict In Straight Of Hormuz’ and ‘US Empire Exploits COVID-19 For More War’– although a pause in some wars in which the US is not a party – for an overview, see ‘UN Ceasefire Defines War As a Non-Essential Activity’– as a result of an appeal by the UN Secretary-General for warring nations to desist until the effort to contain COVID-19 is won. See ‘The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war’.

Unfortunately, this appeal, unlike the Secretary-General’s appeal for a ceasefire on domestic violence which attracted no significant public endorsement, quickly drew in many others equally devoid of any analysis of what is actually taking place and thus happy to help distract people from the core issue. See, for example, ‘COVID-19: Sign the Call for Global Ceasefire!’‘Global Ceasefire: Running List of Countries Committed’ and ‘Global Ceasefire Now!’

Obviously, I am heartily in favour of ending war. But this is only going to happen when we campaign strategically to do so and provided we have sufficient political freedom to do it. See ‘Strategic Aims’ (for ending war).

As an aside and displaying its usual projected fear of threats, when some US military personnel became infected with COVID-19 – see ‘Request for Assistance in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic’– the Pentagon issued a suppression order on further reporting of COVID-19 in the US military. See ‘Pentagon orders all installations to stop reporting COVID-19 infections and deaths’.

  1. Ongoing economic sanctions by the United States directed against a variety of countries, notably including Iran and Venezuela, are complicating efforts to address COVID-19 effectively. In contrast, countries such as Cuba, China and Russia are leading the international effort to support other countries dealing with a higher level of infection. See ‘US Continues Sanctions Against Venezuela And Cuba During COVID-19 Pandemic – Analysis’ and ‘Expert: US sanctions on Iran, Venezuela during pandemic could be genocidal’.
  2. A variety of actions, including legal manoeuvres and false flag attacks, undertaken to inflict greater repression in some contexts, particularly against indigenous peoples and those engaged in national liberation struggles. See ‘Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Threatened with Land Disestablishment, Tribal Leaders Step in to Address Ongoing Land Issues and Threats to Sovereignty’‘Media advisory notice on alleged shooting near Freeport mine in Timika’ and ‘During the Coronavirus crisis, Israel confiscates tents designated for clinic in the Northern West Bank’.
  3. Dramatic increases in absolute impoverishment among marginalized individuals and communities throughout the Global South who barely survive day-to-day under their usual, difficult economic circumstances. As one Asian NGO network, engaged in attempting to secure emergency relief to assist those most adversely impacted, has just reported: ‘We are receiving alarming reports that ADB and AIIB project-affected communities across Asia, especially South Asia and South East Asia are in an absolute state of crisis. Due to the enforced lockdown, they have no work or access to sanitizers and food supplies. Leaving them completely exposed and vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. The state responses are slow and in some cases non-existent.’ See ‘COVID-19 Community Emergency Fund’.

And Arundhati Roy wrote an evocative account of how the Indian government’s lockdown exposed the ‘brutal, structural, social and economic inequality’ in that country and the government’s ‘callous indifference to suffering’ as the lockdown caused employers and landlords in cities and towns to drive out millions of impoverished, homeless and hungry workers to walk the hundreds of kilometres to their villages. Many have died along the way, but not of COVID-19. See ‘Social Devastation and Despair. How Coronavirus Threatens India’.

  1. No pause in the economic exploitation of countries in the Global South with, for example, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) quick to offer ‘emergency finance’ to some 80 of these countries that have requested it. See ‘IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva’s Statement Following a G20 Ministerial Call on the Coronavirus Emergency’.

What Ms. Georgieva didn’t mention is that these loans will no doubt be done on the usual highly conditional and exploitative basis for which the IMF has built its reputation for destroying the lives of ordinary local people by opening the door for corrupt or naive governments to accept corporate exploitation of their people and natural resources while building unsustainable levels of national debt trying to pay back the loans and interest to the IMF. For more detail on how this exploitation works, see the many Global Justice Now reports on the IMF and the book The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.

In contrast, World Bank President David Malpass was not so coy, clearly declaring that COVID-19 would be used to further exploit poorer countries by making any funding conditional on a willingness to make such exploitation easier in future: ‘Countries will need to implement structural reforms to help shorten the time to recovery and create confidence that the recovery can be strong. For those countries that have excessive regulations, subsidies, licensing regimes, trade protection or litigiousness as obstacles, we will work with them to foster markets, choice and faster growth prospects during the recovery.’ See ‘Remarks by World Bank Group President David Malpass on G20 Finance Ministers Conference Call on COVID-19’.

To reiterate: The World Bank will help existing heavily exploited countries with some funding for short-term health measures directed at containing COVID-19 provided the country removes laws that would make it difficult to exploit it indefinitely thereafter.

  1. No pause in environmentally destructive activities, ranging from the ongoing use of health-destroying poisons, such as glyphosate, used to contaminate our food – see ‘Locked Down and Locking in the New Global Order’– which cause vastly more deaths than COVID-19 will cause, to the ongoing destruction of pristine rainforests to create, among other possibilities, more palm oil plantations. See ‘New player starts clearing rainforest in world’s biggest oil palm project’.

And while there has been a short-term reduced negative impact on the climate as a result of the slowdown in industrial activity and the use of fossil fuel-powered vehicles, the ongoing COVID-19 coup has been used to destroy whatever momentum has been achieved by the climate and environment movements in recent years.

  1. While COVID-19 is causing problems for the 100,000 skilled technicians responsible for controlling, maintaining and fuel loading/unloading of the 96 remaining nuclear power plants in the USA, given the confined space in which the technicians work which make ‘social distancing’ virtually impossible, ‘The industry is now using the Coronavirus Pandemic to rush through a wide range of deregulation demands. Among them is a move to allow radioactive waste to be dumped into municipal landfills.’ See ‘Terrified Atomic Workers Warn That the COVID-19 Pandemic May Threaten Nuclear Reactor Disaster’.
  2. Long intent on dominating Space both militarily and industrially – see the US Space Command’s ‘Vision for 2020’– in violation of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 which declared ‘The exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries… and shall be the province of all mankind’ – see ‘Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies’– US president Trump has just signed an executive order to allow corporations and ‘citizens’ (that is, billionaires) to begin mining the moon. The elite also wants to use nuclear reactors to fuel spacecraft so they can mine Mars in the future. See ‘Trump Signs Executive Order to Mine the Moon’.

If you are a US citizen and wondering how the ‘largest industrial project in the history of the planet’ will be financed, look in your own purse or wallet and wonder how much more will be taken from you so that, as usual, you pay the upfront costs associated with the vast profits they plan to make. Of course, you will also pay with budget cuts to health, education and social security funding.

The 13-point list above is actually very short – and confined to readily observable ‘moves’ – but, hopefully, it gives you some idea of what is taking place behind the elite’s barrage of COVID-19 fear-mongering. Needless to say, it is the ‘moves’ that we do not know about that are, no doubt, even more troubling.

So what can we do in response to this fear-mongering and the coup it is being used to disguise?

Resisting the Elite Coup Powerfully

I have previously outlined this nonviolent strategy, identifying its political purpose – obviously ‘To defend humanity against a political/military coup conducted by the global elite’– and I have set out a basic list of 26 strategic goals, of which eleven are as follows:

(1) To cause people and groups all around the world to join the resistance strategy by wearing a global symbol of human solidarity, such as an image of several people of different genders/races/religions/abilities/classes holding hands.

(2) To cause people and groups all around the world to join the resistance strategy by boycotting all corporate media outlets (television, radio, newspapers, Facebook, Twitter…) and by seeking news from progressive news outlets committed to telling the truth.

(3) To cause people and groups all around the world to join the resistance strategy by withdrawing all funds from the corporate banks that are supporting the coup and to deposit their money in local community banks or credit unions.

(4) To cause people and groups all around the world to join the resistance strategy by boycotting the medical and pharmaceutical industries – including by conscientiously refusing to submit to vaccination – and by seeking health advice and treatment from natural therapists. (If you are unfamiliar with the different philosophies underpinning these approaches, and hence why many natural therapies are so much more effective, there is a straightforward explanation here: ‘Pasteur vs. Bechamp: An Alternative View of Infectious Disease’.)

(5) To cause people and groups all around the world to join the resistance strategy by boycotting corporate supermarkets and by supporting small and family businesses, and local markets.

(6) To cause people and groups all around the world to join the resistance strategy by participating in other locally relevant nonviolent action(s)/campaign(s) and/or constructive program activities. For this item and many subsequent, see the list of possible nonviolent actions in the document ‘198 Tactics of Nonviolent Action’.

(7) To cause the workers [in trade unions or labor organizations T1, T2, T…] all around the world to join the resistance strategy by participating in locally relevant nonviolent action(s)/campaign(s) and/or constructive program activities. For example, this might include withdrawing labor from an elite-controlled bank, media, pharmaceutical or other corporation operating in your country.

(8) To cause the small farmers and farmworkers [in organizations F1, F2, F…] all around the world to join the resistance strategy by participating in locally relevant nonviolent action(s)/campaign(s) and/or constructive program activities. For example, this might include distributing farm produce through (existing or created) grassroots networks to small and family businesses as well as local markets rather than through corporate supply chains.

(9) To cause the indigenous peoples [in organizations IP1,IP2, IP…] all around the world to join the resistance strategy by participating in locally relevant nonviolent action(s)/campaign(s) and/or constructive program activities. For example, this might include utilizing indigenous knowledge to improve local self-reliance in food production and in other ways.

(10) To cause the soldiers and military police [in army units AU1, AU2, AU… and MP1, MP2, MP…], wherever stationed around the world, to refuse to obey orders from the global elite and its agents to arrest, assault, torture and shoot nonviolent activists and the other citizens of [your country].

(11) To cause the police [in police units P1, P2, P…], wherever stationed around the world, to refuse to obey orders from the global elite and its agents to arrest, assault, torture and shoot nonviolent activists and the other citizens of [your country].

Rather than detail all 26 strategic goals here, you can read the ‘Strategic goals for defeating a political/military coup conducted by the global elite against humanity’ by scrolling down the page at ‘Strategic Aims’.

Remaining pages on the website fully explain the twelve components of the strategy, as illustrated by the Nonviolent Strategy Wheel. These include the need to provide leadership and mutual aid at local levels, which are already happening in many places, as part of the overall effort.

The website also has articles and videos explaining all of the vital points of strategy and tactics, including articles to help you understand ‘Nonviolent Action: Why and How it Works’, the difference between ‘The Political Objective and Strategic Goal of Nonviolent Actions’ and how to prepare, frame and conduct any nonviolent action to minimize the risk of violent repression. See ‘Nonviolent Action: Minimizing the Risk of Violent Repression’.

It is worth emphasizing that, in some contexts, there is a place for large public nonviolent actions for those who are inclined to plan and conduct them. And the article just referenced will assist you to conduct them with minimal risk of violent repression. However, because the bans on public gatherings are being implemented widely, I have concentrated on providing tactical options in the examples above that do not depend on gathering in one place.

Nevertheless, as more people become aware of the coup and the energy to resist it gathers pace, it will be worthwhile to choose a locally significant date on which as many people who are willing to do so act to ‘End the Lockdown’ in that country. Using a locally relevant focus, or perhaps several, for which many people would traditionally be together – a cultural or sporting event, a community activity such as working to establish a community garden to increase local self-reliance, a birthday celebration and/or a return to work – we can mobilize people to collectively resist the coup that is taking place. Because the actions taken will be dispersed with large numbers of people responding in a vast number of locations, it will be impossible for police and military forces to inflict violent repression against everyone, particularly if local organizers have implemented the points in ‘Nonviolent Action: Minimizing the Risk of Violent Repression’.

Equally importantly to any of the points above, particularly given the pressing threat of human extinction – see ‘Human Extinction Now Imminent and Inevitable? A Report on the State of Planet Earth’– but also because becoming more self-reliant is vital to our ongoing capacity to resist elite encroachments on our rights, freedom and economic security, consider joining those participating in ‘The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth’. This project also explains how to take full advantage of non-monetary forms of community where goods and services are exchanged directly, without money as a medium of exchange. Money only has value in certain types of economy and these types of economy must be superseded if humans are to survive.

And given the enormous pressure on children at the moment, as their lives are upended, it would be useful to spend time listening to them. Of course, if you know an adult who is having trouble coping, it will help them enormously as well if you listen while giving them the opportunity to talk about, and focus on feeling, their own emotional reactions to what is taking place. See ‘Nisteling: The Art of Deep Listening’. If you do not have anyone who can listen to you, try ‘Putting Feelings First’.

Moreover, because the foundation of this entire elite-controlled world, and the coup it is now implementing, is the submissively obedient individual, the world can only be rebuilt as we might like it if we stop terrorizing children into being submissive. So I would start by parenting and educating children so that they become powerful. See ‘My Promise to Children’ and ‘Do We Want School or Education?’

In addition, if you would like to better understand the origin, identity and behaviour of the global elite and why it is insane, see the section headed ‘How the World Works’ in ‘Why Activists Fail’ and the articles ‘Exposing the Giants: The Global Power Elite’ and ‘The Global Elite is Insane Revisited’ and the many references cited in these documents. For a deeper understanding of why elite and other human violence is so pervasive, see ‘Why Violence?’ and ‘Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice’.

Finally, as touched on above, apart from the ongoing elite coup the Earth is under siege from our assaults on a vast range of fronts. See ‘Human Extinction Now Imminent and Inevitable? A Report on the State of Planet Earth’. So if we are serious about tackling this crisis too, we must be willing to consider committing to:

Conclusion

Given that the statistics clearly show that the COVID-19 ‘pandemic’ is already fading in most places where it previously had serious impact, it is possible that the global elite will not complete its execution of this coup against humanity in the near future. It will be content with the demonstration of its phenomenal power to manipulate populations into passively submitting to its bidding and defer its final putsch for a short time.

If that is the case, the damage wrought by this socalled pandemic – on our rights, freedoms, economic security, opportunities, democratic governance, the global economy and the environment – will be irreparable and it would take many years to even restore a partial version of what we thought we had while knowing that they can be taken away, again, at any time just as they were on this occasion.

But, quite frankly, if I was a member of the global elite and had witnessed the remarkably submissive manner in which even activists were deceived by the COVID-19 coup, I would advocate for completing the coup now and lock us down, force-vaccinate us with our own unique digital ID and surveillance chip, and promptly implement all of the measures necessary to take final control of the prison planet previously known as Earth.

However, because I am not a member of the global elite, I will continue to draw attention to what is taking place and encourage people to resist in the strategic ways I have outlined above.

And then do what I can to ensure that as many people as possible, who are powerful enough to do so, respond before it is too late.

I would rather act sooner, while we still have some room to move, rather than later, when we might have much less.

العرب في زمن الكورونا غافلون داخل الكهف

د. وفيق إبراهيم

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is n1586075909.jpg

تكشف جائحة الكورونا مدى ابتعاد العرب عن هذا العصر والتصاقهم بفكر توكّليّ يتبين بعد المعاينة الدقيقة ان علاقته بالدين الفعلي سطحية لا يريد منها، الا فرض الانصياع على الناس لصالح ما يسميه زوراً «ولي الأمر» الى ان يتبين ان هذا «الولي» هو السلطات الحاكمة الفاسدة في الملكيّات والجمهوريّات.

وهذا واضح من خلال تطور الجائحة المميتة، ففيما تتسارع المختبرات الطبية في العالم لإنتاج علاجات ولقاحات مضادة له على مستوى الانتشار والاصابة، لا تتحرك عشرات المختبرات في الدول العربية لفعل أي شيء سوى اطلاق إرشادات إعلامية مقتبسة عن الاعلام الدولي علماً ان كلفة انشاء هذه المختبرات ترقى الى مليارات الدولارات ذهب معظمها الى جيوب الفاسدين وهي غير صالحة حتى لأداء مهام طبية، لأن ظروف تشكيلها استجابت فقط لحاجات الانظمة. إلى التوظيف وانتحال صفات الدول المؤيدة للعلم على مستوى تشكلات والا كيف يصدق المتابعون ان واحداً وعشرين بلداً عربياً ينتشرون في الشرق الاوسط وشمال افريقيا منفصلون عن هذا العصر على مستوى الحضارة والرقي والعلم، لكنهم يشكلون جزءاً منه في الانتساب الزمني الى القرن الحادي والعشرين انما بعقليات من القرون الوسطى وسلطات تعتقد أن البلاد ملك صرف لها بالأرض والنفط والسياسة والناس.

الآن ايضاً في زمن الكورونا لم يتبين لمجلس التعاون الخليجي اي ضرورة للقاء لربما يعتقد ان رعاته الدوليين في الولايات المتحدة الاميركية يعملون بكدّ واصلين الليل بالنهار لاكتشاف اللقاءاحات المناسبة.

وعندما ينتجونها تسارع الدول الخليجية لشرائها بأثمان عالية كما يجري دائماً.

هذه هي العقلية الريعية التي تحكم انظمة عربية تعرف ان انتقال دولها الى نظام إنتاجي يتطلب نشراً علمياً فعلياً يؤدي الى نشر الوعي، وهذا ما تخشاه هذه الانظمة لانها تدرك انه المنطلق الى إسقاط بنى سياسية وتأييد انظمة ديموقراطية على حساب انهيار الفكر القرون أوسطي.

هذا هو الكهف المتخلف الذي تضع فيه انظمة العرب شعوبها وتسجنها بعيداً من التنور والتطور والحداثة. فأين يمكن ايجاد بلد في العالم يرفع انتاجه النفطي بمعدل 40 في المئة دافعاً البلدان الأخرى الى منافسته برفع الإنتاج ما ادى الى انهيار أسعار البرميل من 45 دولاراً الى 23 فقط؟

هذا ما فعلته السعودية منذ اشهر عدة وتبين انه لخدمة مساعي الرئيس الاميركي ترامب في التجديد له في الانتخابات الرئاسية المقبلة، فأراد تقديم مشتقات نفطية رخيصة السعر للطبقات الشعبية الاميركية فتنتخبه كما انه أراد مضايقة الروس بإجبارهم على خفض أسعار نفطهم.

لكن الكورونا فاجأت كل الأطراف واصبح من مصلحة ترامب ان يعاود رفع اسعار البترول في محاولة لكسب شركات النفط الصخري الاميركي التي تؤثر في القرار السياسي العام الاميركي، وهناك محاولات لإرجاء الانتخابات الاميركية على اساس ابقاء ترامب رئيساً لمرحلة جديدة ومن دون انتخابات. فعادت السعودية لخدمته بالموافقة على خفض الانتاج.

بذلك تخسر السعودية في شهرين فقط نحو خمسة مليارات دولار تكفي لتأسيس عشرات المختبرات الصحية للتعامل مع كل انواع الأوبئة وذلك في اطار من التنسيق بين الامكانات الطبية العربية.

بما يدل على ان الانظمة السياسية هي التي تضع العرب في سبات أهل الكهف، وتسجنهم، لكنهم لن يمكثوا طويلاً في هذا الوضع ويتهيأوا لتفجير الكهف على اصحابه من الأنظمة وحماتها الأميركيين.

البناء

The Bigger Picture Is Hiding Behind a Virus

By Jonathan Cook

Source

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

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

Still feel that way?

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

The bigger picture

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

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

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

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

A critical perspective 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crowded out by detail 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Distracted by the virus 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Being in the Age of Corona

BY GILAD ATZMON

the monk and the Corona.jpg

By Gilad Atzmon

In its war against the terror of the Corona virus, the world has united in its determination to lock down its human inhabitants, hoping that Covid-19 will show some empathy and voluntarily evaporate.

We have been trained to think that winning a war entails killing the enemy but most scientists admit that Corona isn’t exactly a new Hitler or Bin Laden. Though viruses carry genetic material: they reproduce and evolve evolutionary, they lack some key characteristics typical of life organisms such as cell structure. Most biologists consider viruses as ‘organisms at the edge of life’ as opposed to ‘live organisms.’ Accordingly, our new little global enemy can’t be ‘killed’ for the simple reason that it isn’t alive. 

It is reasonable to believe that the battle with viruses and with Covid-19 in particular, is a struggle inflicted on us and that humans cannot escape the battlefield.  We may prolong the battle by locking ourselves down. We may even produce a vaccination or find a cocktail of available medicines that successfully tackle severe respiratory symptoms, but the grim fact is: Corona is not going to give up. It will continue to be  waiting for us behind some corner. This is the law of nature, and as far as Corona is concerned we, despite our incredible technological achievements, are still part of nature.

Two existential realisations are crucial in light of the above: 1. Many things, including life itself, are inflicted on us. We do not choose to be in the world, we do not choose who we are; our genes, DNA, the list of gifts and faults that make us into what we are, are in most cases imposed on us by the act of birth. We are often locked into situations that are basically forced on us. This includes being thrown into the world as well as being taken away. We may as well be upset by the fact that the sun rises in the east or by the shortening days of the winter. Being in the world is a form of acceptance or even surrender. 

2. If Being in the world is a form of acceptance, we may have to accept that Covid-19 has become an integral part of our lives, we cannot kill it, we cannot win it over:  we might have to accept it and learn to live with it.

The question that this raises is how to live with a persistent biological agent that insists upon killing some of us and that we cannot really fight back?

 The most obvious place to look is at similar battles in the past.

The Spanish Flu pandemic that spread throughout the world in 1918 and killed between 17 to 100 million people is a natural place to start our query. The H1N1 virus that presumptively caused the Spanish flu influenza wasn’t really defeated. It wasn’t ‘killed’ so to say.  It was actually we who managed to survive it, at least for a few decades till it mutated into a new strain around 2009 and was known as the Swine Flu. It is estimated that between 157.000 to 575.000 died in the 2009 Swine Flu crisis. Again, we humans learned to live with Swine Flu. Many of us experienced the menace of this vile disease, but survived. Most of us who survived the Swine Flu pandemic have developed the necessary biological means to cope with the current strain of H1N1 until  further notice.

The Swine Flu pandemic spread death at a frightening exponential rate until it reached a magical point where the curve suddenly started to flatten. When the curve changes in the right direction we are relieved to discover that the biology that sustains our existence has found the means to defy the threat. We are, in short, subject to this war rather than active players.

Covid 19 may be ten times as deadly as the seasonal flu but there is little we can do to defeat it. We can use different strategies that may slow the epidemic and lessen the pressure on our front line medical services. We can shield, as we should, our elders and most vulnerable. But this virus will stay with us forever and maybe it is time for us to learn to accept that this state of affairs is the law of nature and we, despite our technology and brilliance, aren’t just part of nature, we are also subject to nature.

When we are released from our current lockdown imprisonment we will meet a very different world. It will be a hesitant universe. Our confidence in our science, politics, technology is going to be shaken. Every aspect of life is going to be changed. Many of us will continue to work from home. Many of us won’t work at all and may never work again. Public transport and civil aviation will change radically. We will have to accept that more and more violent viruses are waiting to inflict pain on us.

The only way to cope with this nightmarish transition as a human species is to accept viruses, to accept that we are each merely a piece of biology. We are thrown into the world for a limited time, we may have to have the modesty to respect the fact that this world is far greater than we are. It was there before us and it will stay long after we are gone.

Donate

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

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

March 25, 2020

By Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

The Chicago Tribune – seemingly the only major newspaper which did not endorse Hillary Clinton in 2016 (they endorsed Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson) – has reported that price gouging in Chicago has skyrocketed a spectacular 9,000% since March 1.

What’s worse, that figure only includes complaints to the city’s Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Department from March 1, excluding the first two months of 2020.

From some it’s a dagger in the heart of perceptions of superior codes of polite conduct in the Midwest. For others it’s verification of all the worst accusations of moral, and especially financial, corruption in the city forever linked in the global imagination with gangster Al Capone.

Now… this is all entirely accurate. I have even presented it with hallowed (and phony/naive) “objectivity”. Nobody can sue me for anything.

But it’s terrible journalism.

It’s eye-catching, newspaper-selling, ratings-grabbing, if-it-bleeds-it-leads journalism. It’s journalism designed to grab eyeballs by inciting panic… and panic is what the West is doing very, very well during the Corona crisis.

The City of Chicago received 175 price gouging complaints so far this month – there were only 2 such complaints all of last year, per The Chicago Tribune. The newspaper’s journalists handled the story ok: only got quotes from the government – nothing from victims, grassroots groups or even vox pops – but it’s not terrible.

Now my headline was rather click bait-y and terrible – irresponsible/negligent use of a colon, certainly. See what I can do if I decide to use my powers for evil rather than good?

Was there an 8,650% increase? Yes. I can say I was, “Just reporting the facts,” which is the ultimate journalistic cop-out. This was exactly the defense used by the reporter in Clint Eastwood’s fine new movie on Atlanta Olympics non-bomber Richard Jewell when confronted by Jewell and his lawyer. MSMers would do the same if you questioned their constant, provoking “Corona death toll reaches ___” headlines.

But even The Chicago Tribune knew better than to phrase this trend that way. Is price gouging a real concern? Yes, and more to me than The Chicago Tribune, judging by the space they gave the story.

But it probably won’t be a concern at all to MSNBC because Illinois is a solidly Democratic state which has no chance of flipping to Trump, and Illinois also has a (billionaire, aristocratic) Democratic governor. The hyper-partisan channel is happy to excuse in Democrats what they shame Republicans for; their editorial line is – ignore blue state malfeasances, attack red states.

(FYI, my headline’s colon is negligent because MSNBC has not reported on this story, and the colon implies that. Should have been a comma.)

I like to read the business sections of the world’s top papers and media when I can – you often find the most serious hard news there – and certainly we all have time off now. I figure it’s either do that or panic. That’s how I found this price gouging story.

I also had time to check out fake-leftist darling/rightly-guided prophet Rachel Maddow’s latest show: she opened with the Spanish ice rink converted to a morgue story, which was the most eye-catching, panic-inducing, if-it-bleeds-it-leads choice possible to start her show.

That was terrible journalism.

In my first article on the corona crisis I quickly got to the point: “The problem in the West is that those in power during the corona crisis should not be in power.”

Maddow, incredibly, has become the Walter Cronkite of seemingly one-third of the US despite constantly evincing atrocious and sensationalistic journalism standards.

In 2018, for fun while on vacation, I wrote a minute-by-minute analysis of one of her shows, which just happened to be about (of course) her one-woman Russophobia campaign: “This was supposed to be a funny article, but when you diagram it out…I rather feel like I just watched Joseph McCarthy at work.”

Why would we assume that instead of McCarthyist red-baiting (and I have more red in my pinky toenail clippings than Maddow has in her whole body) or Russophobia-baiting or Trump-baiting, Maddow isn’t now fine with corona-baiting? Her viewers do not seem to ever ask themselves this fundamental question.

Of course, as many foreigners know: in the US there is no such thing as “propaganda” – that only exists in other countries.

Kudos to Maddow for being a Rhodes Scholar, but that does not make her qualified to be a journalist, and certainly not one holding such a vital position.

Journalists, of course, need no official qualifications. It’s a craft and not a profession – there is no single code of conduct, nor any board to revoke your license as no such license exists. A journalism degree is a nice way to start learning the craft but not necessary (Maddow does not have one), and who on earth would waste their time getting a Master’s in Journalism (except journalism professors)? The US public airwaves are not nationalised, and nearly all privately-owned, so forget about governmental review boards for civil servant journalists.

My irresponsible/negligent use of colons is thus no problem: my colon, my business. And that’s no matter how much confusion I sow. And maybe this is all a problem? But in the “free speech” loving West such ideas are verboten.

From what I can gather Maddow’s only serious daily journalism job was as a local morning radio talk show host. FYI – US morning talk radio is about as serious as the regular flu (although that may now be upgraded to semi-pandemic status). Then she was tapped for hosting a show with a US rapper. I simply don’t observe in her work any solid grounding in the craft of journalism and the importance of its social responsibilities. As I wrote in that article: “As a journalist you can’t make an unproven claim just because you hope the future proves you right.”

CNN’s Anderson Cooper may be a scion of the oligarch Vanderbilt family, and while he did admit to working for the CIA for two summers he has way, way more serious journalistic experience than Maddow: He waited 10-15 minutes before running the Spanish ice morgue story on his show last night.

Not such good politicians, not such good governors, not such good journalists = a really good response to the Corona crisis? That’s pretty funny math.

What’s stunning as well is to see how – even amid what they are telling us is a huge global pandemic which rivals the Spanish Flu of 1918 (even though it clearly does not) – the Western MSM continues to obsess with degrading Donald Trump: in their broadcast media it’s still taking up a huge proportion of their coverage. But how can a daily habit dating from November 2016 be shut off so easily?

Well, journalist, it’s your job to roll with the punches, eh? You should be able to easily transition from a pandemic story to a cat-in-the-tree-rescue story to covering the local high school football game. This is what good journalists can do.

But the MSM doesn’t want good journalists, especially in front of the camera or at the editor’s desk; you do get good journalists writing columns. Newspapers, after all, are a whole different kettle of fish than TV, radio and internet journalism.

There has been a long-running trend in Western journalism: I call it the “sports-journalization of news journalism”. Everything is presented as a dramatic game, or a “war”; statistics (minus analysis and discernment) are paramount; incredibly juvenile attitudes and behaviors are not just considered normal, but expected.

Have you ever dealt with any sports journalists? I have: they are by far the most juvenile, emotionally-stunted people in any newsroom.

They often are gamblers and drunks – how else can you possibly get excited about covering a local high school football game time after time? Of course they are emotionally-stunted: they are covering something which can be fairly called more juvenile than the fashion or (what they used to call the) society pages, and how juvenile are those sections? These guys hope to make it to the big time one day: to stand next to the used jock strap laundry basket while naked men answer questions about why the ball bounced funny that one time.

Don’t give me anecdotal evidence – I know sports journalists who are intelligent, artistic, suave, upstanding people, sure. But if I had a daughter who said she was marrying a sports journalist I’d think: “Well, I should get some free tickets, which are so expensive now due to inflation… but I can’t talk about inflation with this guy: This guy probably only wants to talk about stuff 8-year olds excitedly discuss.”

My point is: in broadcast journalism the journalists who get promoted in the West best apply the absurd, childish dramatics of sports journalism into hard news issues, and especially in the US. France’s media isn’t nearly as bad: they have far more newspapers; they actually have normal-looking people as anchors on the top channels; they have far more state-run channels; they have state subsidies for media to provide some stable revenue. The UK is, of course, terrible and tabloid, but at least they are hilarious.

So of course the US is hyper-partisan, hyper-panicked, hyper-dramatic and hyper-susceptible to things which adults should not be. A sign of adulthood is putting away childish things and acting responsibly on serious issues.

Sports is the ultimate reality TV – yes, we men grasped that first! – but who doesn’t know it’s only an empty-calorie diversion? The sports-journalization of US media, contrarily, has made their hard news an empty-calorie diversion, and this trend diverts the public’s attention into the worst, bloodiest, scariest aspects of the Corona virus situation.

This article from the great website CounterPunch is an extension of my first article on Corona: Starvation, bad water, urban violence, imperialist war – these, and others, kill far, far more innocents annually than Corona: Where has been the panic for those?

Such things often don’t come near to touching the White fake-leftist class in America, which slavishly follows MSNBC. However, Corona might touch them – thus the panic and, above all with them: outrage, outrage, outrage.

If we judge by the Western MSM sports scoreboard (and what’s more capitalist-imperialist than competition?): Western good sense is getting its butt kicked during the Corona crisis.


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

Big Banks Call for Wall Street Deregulation to “Fight Corona virus”

By Alan Macleod

Source

As coronavirus panic hits the U.S., a financial lobbying group is attempting to use the crisis to push through the deregulation of its industry. The Bank Policy Institute (BPI), a Washington-based lobbying organization representing many of the nation’s largest banks, released a set of proposals this week, the most important of which recommends that the Federal Reserve lower capital requirements to zero. This would mean banks could lend an unlimited amount without having any assets or wealth to back it up. It also advocated relaxing the so-called “stress tests” that force banks to show that they can withstand economic shocks. This, it claims, would help America fight the COVID-19 virus. The report’s lead author was BPI CEO Greg Baer, former Managing Director of JP Morgan Chase.

The recommendations have been condemned as incoherent and “transparently opportunistic” by Jeremy Krass of the University of Michigan School of Business. “The whole idea of capital requirements and stress-testing banks is to make sure they have enough cushion to absorb losses” in a period of economic crisis, Kress told the Washington Post. Now that the economy has gone into a sudden shock, Wall Street wants those regulations lifted.

The government itself is also trying to force through measures that it dubiously claims would help fight the coronavirus. Earlier this week President Trump called on Congress to enact a large tax cut and pushed Democrats to support it.

These efforts perfectly encapsulate the idea of the “Shock Doctrine” that author Naomi Klein laid out in her 2007 book of the same name. Klein argued that the wealthy elite use the confusion caused by economic and other disasters to quickly force through pro-free-market legislation that would otherwise meet with widespread and coordinated opposition. As she said, “the idea of exploiting crisis and disaster has been the modus operandi of [economist] Milton Friedman’s movement from the very beginning – this fundamentalist form of capitalism has always needed disasters to advance.”

“Some of the most infamous human rights violations of this era, which have tended to be viewed as sadistic acts carried out by antidemocratic regimes, were in fact either committed with the deliberate intent of terrorizing the public or actively harnessed to prepare the ground for the introduction of radical free-market ‘reforms,’” she explained.

Klein cites Hurricane Katrina – where the Bush administration rushed through privatization and charter school bills for New Orleans while residents were reeling from the devastation – as a perfect example. Going further back, Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet used his coup against President Salvador Allende to turn Chile into a free-market, neoliberal experiment almost overnight, over the protestations of ordinary Chileans, whom he suppressed with overwhelming force.

Dean Baker@DeanBaker13

There are many things to worry about with the corinavirus, but a plunging stock market is not one of them, unless you are one of the minority who owns a large amount of stock https://cepr.net/coronavirus-the-stock-market-and-the-economy/ 

Coronavirus, the Stock Market, and the Economy – Center for Economic and Policy Research

Many people have become very concerned about the economy because of the stock market’s plunge in the last two weeks. While the spread of the coronavirus gives us very good reason to worry about the…

The stock market is in serious decline amid fears that the coronavirus will disrupt international supply chains; the Dow Jones index plummeted nearly 1,000 points yesterday. Yet, as the Center for Economic Policy Research’s Dean Baker has noted, the stock market is a very poor indicator of the economy’s current and future health. It is, however, a great gauge on how the top one percent are faring. Stocks also tend to surge after natural disasters (like the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami) or when conservatives win elections (in December, British banks and weapons manufacturers’ share prices jumped after Boris Johnson beat Jeremy Corbyn). This is because corporations, ignoring the devastation, expect big orders to rebuild or to destroy.

Existential Comics@existentialcoms

– a minimum wage increase is struck down
– employees are prevented from unionizing
– corporate taxes are reduced
– labor laws are relaxed

The stock market is not the economy, it’s an estimate of how much wealth can be extracted from workers.

Today the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide reached 100,000, with 3,461 recorded deaths. In response, the Himalayan nation of Bhutan closed its doors to tourists altogether, Starbucks announced it would no longer allow customers to use their own cups due to concern about contagion, and the world’s smallest country, the Vatican, recorded its first case of coronavirus. In the U.S., 259 people have been infected, and 14 have died.

While emergency funding to combat the virus will be passed today, the American response has not been swift. Workers have not been guaranteed full sick pay while quarantining, leading to a situation where many poorer citizens will have to choose between doing the right thing and going broke. A Miami resident returning from China was presented with a $3,500 bill after reporting his flu-like symptoms to medical staff, leading to fears that a lack of universal healthcare will help the virus spread. Analysts, however, appear more concerned about the health of stock prices than the health of the nation. CNBC’s Rick Santelli suggested infecting the entire population with COVID-19 so nobody would have an excuse to miss work, thus effectively sacrificing the country for the sake of the economy. While there are many economic steps the United States could take to help the situation, deregulating Wall Street might not be the most necessary.

Who Made Coronavirus? Was It the U.S., Israel or China Itself?

By Philip Giraldi

Source

coronavirus 4833645 1280 59ffb

The most commonly reported mainstream media account of the creation of the Coronavirus suggests that it was derived from an animal borne microorganism found in a wild bat that was consumed by an ethnic Chinese resident of Wuhan. But there appears to be some evidence to dispute that in that adjacent provinces in China, where wild bats are more numerous, have not experienced major outbreaks of the disease. Because of that and other factors, there has also been considerable speculation that the Coronavirus did not occur naturally through mutation but rather was produced in a laboratory, possibly as a biological warfare agent.

Several reports suggest that there are components of the virus that are related to HIV that could not have occurred naturally. If it is correct that the virus had either been developed or even produced to be weaponized it would further suggest that its escape from the Wuhan Institute of Virology Lab and into the animal and human population could have been accidental. Technicians who work in such environments are aware that “leaks” from laboratories occur frequently.

There is, of course and inevitably, another theory. There has been some speculation that as the Trump Administration has been constantly raising the issue of growing Chinese global competitiveness as a direct threat to American national security and economic dominance, it must might be possible that Washington has created and unleashed the virus in a bid to bring Beijing’s growing economy and military might down a few notches. It is, to be sure, hard to believe that even the Trump White House would do something so reckless, but there are precedents for that type of behavior. In 2005-9 the American and Israeli governments secretly developed a computer virus called Stuxnet, which was intended to damage the control and operating systems of Iranian computers being used in that country’s nuclear research program. Admittedly Stuxnet was intended to damage computers, not to infect or kill human beings, but concerns that it would propagate and move to infect computers outside Iran proved to be accurate as it spread to thousands of PCs outside Iran, in countries as far flung as China, Germany, Kazakhstan and Indonesia.

Inevitably there is an Israeli story that just might shed some light on what has been going on in China. Scientists at Israel’s Galilee Research Institute are now claiming that they will have a vaccine against coronavirus in a few weeks which will be ready for distribution and use within 90 days. The institute is claiming that it has been engaged in four years of research on avian coronavirus funded by Israel’s Ministries of Science & Technology and Agriculture. They are claiming that the virus is similar to the version that has infected humans, which has led to breakthroughs in development through genetic manipulation, but some scientists are skeptical that a new vaccine could be produced so quickly to prevent a virus that existed only recently. They also have warned that even if a vaccine is developed it would normally have to be tested for side effects, a process that normally takes over a year and includes using it on infected humans.

If one even considers it possible that the United States had a hand in creating the coronavirus at what remains of its once extensive biological weapons research center in Ft Detrick Maryland, it is very likely that Israel was a partner in the project. Helping to develop the virus would also explain how Israeli scientists have been able to claim success at creating a vaccine so quickly, possibly because the virus and a treatment for it were developed simultaneously.

In any event, there are definite political ramifications to the appearance of the coronavirus, and not only in China. In the United States President Donald Trump is already being blamed for lying about the virus and there are various scenarios in mainstream publications speculating over the possible impact on the election in 2020. If the economy sinks together with the stock market, it will reflect badly on Trump whether or not he is actually at fault. If containment and treatment of the disease itself in the United States does not go well, there could also be a considerable backlash, particularly as the Democrats have been promoting improving health care. One pundit argues, however, that disease and a sinking economy will not matter as long as there is a turnaround before the election, but a lot can happen in the next eight months.

And then there is the national security/foreign policy issue as seen from both Jerusalem and Washington. It is difficult to explain why coronavirus has hit one country in particular other than China very severely. That country is Iran, the often-cited enemy of both the U.S. and Israel. The number of Iran’s coronavirus cases continues to increase, with more positive tests confirmed among government officials last Saturday. There were 205 new coronavirus cases, bringing the government claimed total to 593 with 43 fatalities, though unofficial hospital reports suggest that the deaths are actually well over 100. That’s the highest number of deaths from the virus outside of China.

No less than five Iranian Members of Parliament have also tested positive amid a growing number of officials that have contracted the disease. Iran’s vice president Masoumeh Ebtekar and deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi had also previously been confirmed with the virus.

The usual suspects in the United States are delighted to learn of the Iranian deaths. Mark Dubowitz, Executive Director of the Washington-based but Israeli government connected Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) boasted on twitter Tuesday that “Coronavirus has done what American economic sanctions could not: shut down non-oil exports.” An Iranian government spokesman responded that “It’s shameful and downright inhuman to cheer for a deadly Virus to spread – and enjoy seeing people suffer for it…” Dubowitz followed up with an additional taunt, that Tehran has “spread terrorism” in the Middle East and “now it’s spreading the coronavirus.”

So, you have your choice. Coronavirus occurred naturally, or it came out of a lab in China itself or even from Israel or the United States. If one suspects Israel and/or the United States, the intent clearly would have been to create a biological weapon that would damage two nations that have been designated as enemies. But the coronavirus cannot be contained easily and it is clear that many thousands of people will die from it. Unfortunately, as with Stuxnet, once the genie is out of the bottle it is devilishly hard to induce it to go back in.

The Winter of Old Animosities and Novelties with a Direct Message by nCoronaVirus to the People of Iran

March 02, 2020

by Mansoureh Tajik for The Saker Blog

Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim, “In the Name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.”

Novel Corona virus, nicknamed 2019-nCoV, is the latest global celebrity puffed up and propped to exact fear in some, to divert attention from others, to settle a few economic and political scores among adversaries, and to make a few bucks selling diverse prophylaxes along the way. Mainstream and alternative media, social network bazaars, and idea salesmen, too, have been busy haggling and peddling creative theories and analyses from varieties of angles that deal with this latest celebrity. The vendees, as well, have had their own colorful twists and takes to contribute. One wonders how much more currency could be milked out of a tiny nucleotide during whatever time is left of this winter season. Not much, I suppose. Spring and summer have their own fashions and trends.

Meanwhile, it is a good habit to remind ourselves of important truths and core values even if the excuse is nothing but a minuscule virus. I would like to use the essay before you as a reminder of some things that are paramount to life on this earth by discussing two different aspects of this “pathogenoid”, or “weaponoid”, or “whatever-elseoid” anyone prefers to label that is commensurate with his/her already established mindset. The first aspect is the biological, individual and public health components of the narratives surrounding the virus (and others like it), and the second is the psycho-social and political aspects related to Iran and the Iranian people.

First the biological and health aspect. In general, all living and non-living agents, be they natural or anthropogenic in origin, must be able to interact biologically with human body systems in order to have the potential to produce diseases and be classified as toxins and/or pathogens. In addition, the right internal conditions (inside human body systems) and external conditions (environment) must be provided for long enough time duration for those toxins and pathogens to produce diseases and/or biological death.

With that framework in mind, let us put nCoV and its colleagues in their proper and reasonable place. The most complex, the deadliest, and the scariest pathogens that are created by human beings anytime and anywhere on earth as bioweapons or as anything else are not, cannot be, and will never be anything but clumsy, crude, synthetic, and cheap imitations of what exists already in an all-encompassing natural/biological systems. Full stop. Therefore, neither our current celebrity virus, nCoV, nor any other fabricated and engineered pathogen for that matter, can enjoy an exceptionally more perilous status than what is allowed by laws of nature. By the same token, human beings, as part of this natural biological system, are already endowed with numerous and diverse natural defense mechanisms to deal with whatever potentially novel and/or antiquated pathogenic agents are thrown at them both at the individual level and the population level until whenever.

For those of us who genuinely believe in God that whenever is ultimately and in truth rooted in the fact that God Almighty, our Creator, has created us and these natural systems in a purposeful and rather fool-proof way for a specific period of time until I-Sa’atathe Hour. [1] For others into whose calculus God’s Will and plan for humanity do not enter, I present examples of scientific evidence as mental toys with which they could play until whenever.

nCoV is an influenza virus. Like all viruses, it is not a living being and does not have the cellular structure to survive and propagate. It needs specific bacteria or live human and/or animal cells into which to inject its genetic material and in essences hijack them to replicate itself and propagate. On most surfaces, coronaviruses can maintain their infectivity from 2 hours to 9 days[2] depending on temperature and relative humidity of the environment, surface type, and other factors. These viruses are single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) type and are the type most vulnerable to sunlight. Exposure to direct sunlight (depending on location and duration) could effectively cause structural and functional inactivation of these viruses in a relatively short period of time and render them harmless and/or induce dramatic reduction in their infectivity or harmfulness.[3,4,5,6]

Here, I would like to open a paragraph-long parenthesis and remind people of some key points that might be useful as good health practices anyway. Sit, walk, play, pray, work, type, eat, and rest under the sunlight wherever you are and whatever the season to harvest the benefits of sun.[7] It is the best natural viricide free and available to rich and poor. Basic hygiene, proper and adequate hand washing habits are good. However, excessive hand washing and use of chemical disinfectants and antiseptic solutions are not healthy (unless you are in a hospital operating room). Doing so strips the skin from its natural flora and good bacteria that actually fight harmful viruses and other pathogens and one might end up with a host of chronic skin disorders. Also, these chemicals get into the wastewater systems and come right back to our breakfast, lunch, and dinner tables through water and food cycles. Reduced and regulated hand-to-mouth movements (i.e. refraining from non-stop munching and drinking in between main meals) are both a good health habit and a good preventive measure. Strengthening the immune system, anti-inflammatory nutrition, and healthy lifestyle are extremely helpful in warding off viral infections and acquiring immunity. As for the rest, do your best and put yourself in God’s Hand and do not worry too much. When your time is up, your time is up. For those who do not believe in God, put yourselves in all else’s hand and hope that a few more miles is still left in that which you call <i>me.</i> Close parenthesis.

In terms of epidemic dangers of nCoV and to put it in a proper perspective, it would be helpful to look at some general statistics for other influenza epidemics first. According to US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been from 140,000 to 810,000 hospitalizations due to seasonal influenza and from 12,000 to 61,000 deaths each year since 2010.”[8] A quick calculation of fatalities based on deaths over number of hospital admissions due to seasonal influenza yields the following results from 2010 to 2018:

2010-2011 – 37,000 deaths/290,000 hospitalized >12.8%

2011-2012 – 12,000 deaths/140,000 hospitalized > 8.8%

2012-2013 – 43,000 deaths/570,000 hospitalized >7.5%

2013-2014 – 38,000 deaths/350,000 hospitalized >10.9%

2014-2015 – 51,000 deaths/590,000 hospitalized >8.6%

2015-2016 – 23,000 deaths/280,000 hospitalized >8.2%

2016-2017 – 38,000 deaths/497,000 hospitalized >7.6%

2017-2018 – 61,000 deaths/810,000 hospitalized >7.5%

(Note: Use of hospital admissions as denominators are better than estimated total number of people contracting the flu. One reason is that the former provides a more accurate and systematic estimate of morbidity and mortality but the latter relies on estimates and extrapolations using indirect data, surrogates, proxies, recall methods, and more for data collection.)

A systematic and comprehensive worldwide and/or country-based data collection, analysis, and publication regarding nCoV-2019 cases does not exist so that we could have a solid comparison with annual seasonal flu mortality rates in the US and elsewhere. However, searching reliable publications that are made available online so far, we could get some sense for a reasonable range for mortality rates reported for this virus. Case fatality rates range from 2.08% (362 deaths out of 17,391 confirmed cases reported to WHO)[9], to 3.36% reported by the Chinese government and 4.3% reported for severe cases. These rates are still much lower than that of another two widely contagious zoonotic coronavirus diseases, SARS (with 9.6% infection mortality rate) and MERS (with 35% infection mortality rate).[10,11]

In Iran, the latest report from the Center for Public Relation of the Ministry of Health, by noon on Saturday, Feb. 29, there were 593 confirmed cases of which 43 had died.[12] This put the rate at about 7.3% mortality. On Sunday, the number of confirmed cases 978 and the number of dead were at 54[13] (5.5%). Both these rates appear to be much higher than any other rates reported anywhere else in the world. There is no valid evidence showing why the mortality rate for the Iranian population would be so different with the global rate. I suspect the number of deaths reported for nCoV in Iran is an overestimation. My suspicion is based on public proclamations by some ministry of health officials and informal statements made by specific hospital staff. For example, one hospital (in Qom) in particular (based on personal communication) prepared its first few death reports based on high probability and suspicion of nCoV infection rather than definitive diagnoses two days after the patients had died and prior to any confirmed Corona cases in Iran.

Ali Rabi’ee, the spokesperson for the government, in a note clarifying issues related to the closure of various schools and universities also responded to questions regarding statistical discrepancies that exist between Iran’s and global mortality rates as follows: “The denominator for Iran does not include cases who contracted the virus but were not in critical condition.” And regarding conflicting reports by one of the members of the parliament, he said, “He was stating the total number of deaths that included non-corona related deaths as well.”[14]

As the nCoV kits produced in Iran increase, the kits arriving from China get distributed widely, and the quality control of tests and reports become more systematic and accurate, then we could take another look at the rates and get a more realistic and correct assessment of definitive cases and mortality rates for Iran.

Nevertheless, based on the information we have so far, both locally and globally, about the infectivity and mortality rates associated with this virus, it just seems the response to the threats and dangers of this virus is disproportionately above and beyond what this epidemic warrants. It is not difficult to see why the US and the West are inflating this epidemic and maximally exploiting it but China’s and Iran’s internal measures and responses seem oddly over-exaggerated and disproportionate. That is unless they have used this as a drill, or a practice run, for a sudden hazard response at nation-wide population level in order to prepare for a much greater biological hazard they are anticipating to come. This is just a guess and I have no evidence to support it.

In terms of response, multiple measures are taken in Iran. All universities and schools are closed and television channels are conducting video classes and lessons for all elementary, middle, and high school grad levels. Regular announcements encourage people to stay at home, restrict their travels to a minimum, and postpone any sort of gathering (be it weddings or funerals). Normally, this month is the busiest month in Iran since it is right before the Iranian New Year (the first day of spring). Unlike China which seemed to have had a more military style public health approach with forced quarantines and travel restrictions, Iran’s approach has been based on voluntary restrictions, individual and family self-regulation of movements and travels, health education, and public mobilization. Still, the usual hustle and bustle for this time of the year is not felt.

One can find a range of reactions from the people here. Some are fearful and crowd-shy; some are indifferent and shrug their shoulders and carry on with their work as usual; many students are happy with no school and no midterms; and some exchange jokes and information via social media. While we weather this latest storm, I will end this piece with a transcript of a direct message by Novel Corona Virus to the People of Iran that is translated just for you and posted below:

 “Iranian People, Salaam. I hope you are not scared by the fact that I am introducing myself to you. I am Corona. I was busy traveling and making my way through different countries and getting them involved. Then I thought why not pay you a visit as well while I’m at it. But, to tell you the truth, I am regretting my decision. I did not know I would be wreaking such havoc on you. The way you have treated me, I thought I was Plague, Cholera, or Ebola. I searched the net and discovered that all this time, I had not killed but a couple of thousands all over the world. Do you know how much more death is caused by regular influenza compared to me?! World Health Organization estimates an annual death between 290,000 to 650,000. Am I more dangerous than that?! In all fairness, I do not say you shouldn’t take precautions but let me be frank with you, if you continue like this, 2000 of you will die just out of sheer panic. Besides, you produce 40 to 50 dead people every day with your traffic accidents. I should be the one to fear you not the other way around. Now, I, the Corona, have come and will extract a low percentage of death from you like all other places. Death is an inevitable truth and just end. I and automobiles (Pride) are just tools and means. Then, why so much self-harm and stress?! Is that your habit?! Do you enjoy doing that?! Why do you act in a way that I, the Corona itself, feel compelled to calm you down? Urgh.”[15]


References

[1] «وَأَنَّ السَّاعَةَ آتِيَةٌ لَّا رَيْبَ فِيهَا وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ يَبْعَثُ مَن فِي الْقُبُورِ» “And indeed that the Hour is coming – no doubt about it – and that Allah will resurrect anyone who is in the graves.” Holy Quran, Chapter 22 (I-hajj), Verse 7.

[2] Kampf G et al., Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and their inactivation with biocidal agents, Journal of Hospital Infectionhttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhin.2020.01.02https://www.journalofhospitalinfection.com/article/S0195-6701(20)30046-3/pdf

[3]Nelson KL et al (2018). “Sunlight-mediated inactivation of health-relevant microorganisms in water: a review of mechanisms and modeling approaches.” Environmental Sciences Processes Impacts, No 20, Pages 1089–1122. Available online at: https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlepdf/2018/em/c8em00047f

[4] Lytle CD & Sagripanti JL (2005). “Predicted Inactivation of Viruses of Relevance to Biodefense by Solar Radiation.” Journal of Virology, 79(22):14244–14252. doi:10.1128/JVI.79.22.14244–14252.2005

[5] Chun-Chieh Tseng & Chih-Shan Li (2007). “Inactivation of Virus-Containing Aerosols by Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation.” Aerosol Science and Technology, 39:12, 1136-1142, DOI: 10.1080/02786820500428575.

[6] Schuit M et al (2020). “The Influence of Simulated Sunlight on the Inactivation of Influenza Virus in Aerosols.” The Journal of Infectious Diseases, Volume 221(3):372–378, https://doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiz582

[7] Mead MN (2008). “Benefits of Sunlight: A Bright Spot for Human Health.” Environmental Health Perspective, 116(4):A161-167. Available online at: https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/pdf/10.1289/ehp.116-a160.

[8] CDC -Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2020). “Estimated Range of Annual Burden of Flu United States, 2010-11 through 2017-18 Influenza Seasons.” Available online at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html

[9] Zumla A et al (2020). “Reducing mortality from 2019-nCoV: host-directed therapies should be an option.” The Lancet, Vol 395, Pages e35-36. Available online at: https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S0140-6736%2820%2930305-6

[10] Sun P et al (2020). “Clinical characteristics of 50466 patients with 2019-nCoV infection.” MedRxiv, BMJ Yale, doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.02.18.20024539.

[11] Kaiyuan Sun, Jenny Chen, & Cécile Viboud (2020). “Early epidemiological analysis of the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak based on crowd sourced data: a population-level observational study.” Lancet Digital Health 2020. Published Online February 20, 2020 https://doi.org/10.1016/S2589-7500(20)30026-1

[12] Mehrnews, “The Announcement for Newest Statistics for Corona in Iran/593 got infected.” Online Mehr News Agency, Health Section, 10th Esfand, 1398, @13:24. News Code: 4865337.

[13] Mehrnews, “New Statistics for Corona in Iran was announced.” Online Mehr News Agency, Health Section, 11th Esfand, 1398, @14:23. News Code: 4866827.

[14] Mehrnews, “The Government’s Spokesperson’s Explanations regarding Rohani’s Statements regarding Corona.” Online Mehr News Agency, Politics Section, 10th Esfand, 1398, @12:05. News Code: 4865746.

[15] Corona, “Take precautions but don’t over-react.” Transcription from Farsi, Video available online at: https://www.aparat.com/v/xEfgk

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: