Remarks by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

May 07, 2021

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Remarks by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Remarks at the meeting of the UN Security Council, “Maintenance of international peace and security: Upholding multilateralism and the United Nations-centred international system,” held via videoconference, Moscow, May 7, 2021

First of all, let me thank Mr Wang Yi, State Councillor and Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China, for organising today’s debates. Maintaining multilateralism and the UN-centred international system is as topical as ever and demands the UN Security Council’s constant attention.

Today the world finds itself in a critical stage of development. The coronavirus pandemic has posed a grave challenge to everyone without exception. Normal life has been completely upended. It is difficult to predict the long-term or deferred consequences of the crisis, although we can see some positive trends thanks to the massive deployment of coronavirus vaccines.

The pandemic broke out in a world that was already far from perfect. In recent years, we have seen growing international tensions, as well as escalating regional conflicts and cross-border challenges and threats. The entire architecture of global governance created after the Second World War is being tested.

It is clear that the prospects of the international community’s sustainable and predictable development are directly connected with our ability to find effective solutions to common problems and our readiness to exercise collective leadership in order for true multilateralism to prevail.

Russia, like the majority of countries, is convinced that such work must be carried out solely on the basis of universally recognised norms of international law. The United Nations must serve as the key platform for coordinating efforts: it is the backbone of the modern global order, where all independent states are represented. Today, its unique legitimacy and unique capabilities are especially needed.

The core tenets of international law enshrined in the UN Charter have withstood the test of time. Russia calls on all states to unconditionally follow the purposes and principles of the Charter as they chart their foreign policies, respecting the sovereign equality of states, not interfering in their internal affairs, settling disputes by political and diplomatic means, and renouncing the threat or use of force. This is especially important at the current stage in the difficult process of forming an international multipolar system. At a time when new centres of economic growth, financial and political influence are gaining strength, it is necessary to preserve the internationally recognised legal basis for building a stable balance of interests that meets the new realities.

Unfortunately, not all of our partners are driven by the imperative to work in good faith to promote comprehensive multilateral cooperation. Realising that it is impossible to impose their unilateral or bloc priorities on other states within the framework of the UN, the leading Western countries have tried to reverse the process of forming a polycentric world and slow down the course of history.

Toward this end, the concept of the rules-based order is advanced as a substitute for international law. It should be noted that international law already is a body of rules, but rules agreed at universal platforms and reflecting consensus or broad agreement. The West’s goal is to oppose the collective efforts of all members of the world community with other rules developed in closed, non-inclusive formats, and then imposed on everyone else. We only see harm in such actions that bypass the UN and seek to usurp the only decision-making process that can claim global relevance.

The well-known idea to convene a Summit for Democracy proposed by the US Administration is in the same vein. The establishment of a new club based on interests, with a clearly ideological nature, has the potential to further inflame international tensions and deepen dividing lines in a world that needs a unifying agenda more than ever. Of course, the list of democracies to be invited to the summit will be determined by the United States.

Another initiative with the goal of global leadership that bypasses the UN is the French and German idea to create an Alliance for Multilateralism. What could be more natural then discussing the tasks of strengthening multilateralism at the UN? However, Berlin and Paris think differently and issue joint documents declaring that “the European Union is the cornerstone of the multilateral international system” and promote the conclusions of the Council of the European Union under the title “The central role of the European Union and European institutions in promoting multilateralism.” Presumptuous, you might say. The EU does not think so and declares its own exceptionalism despite all its invocations of equality and brotherhood.

By the way, as soon as we suggest discussing the current state of democracy not just within states but on the international stage with our Western colleagues, they lose interest in the conversation.

New ambitious initiatives to create narrow partnerships are emerging all the time within the Alliance for Multilateralism, on issues that are already being discussed at the UN or its specialised agencies, for example, on cyber security (with 65 member countries), respect for the international humanitarian law (43 member countries), the Information and Democracy Partnership (over 30 countries), etc.

This also reveals the West’s true attitude toward multilateralism and the UN, which they do not regard as a universal format for developing solutions acceptable to everyone, but in the context of their claims to superiority over everyone else, who must accept what is required of them.

Another example of the dictatorial methods introduced by the West is the practice of imposing unilateral sanctions without any international and legal grounds, with the sole purpose of punishing “undesirable regimes” or sidelining competitors. During the pandemic, such restrictions have limited the capacity of a whole range of developing countries to counter the spread of the infection. Despite UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s call to suspend such unilateral sanctions during the pandemic, we mostly see them becoming harsher.

We believe such efforts to impose totalitarianism in global affairs to be unacceptable, yet we see it more and more from our Western colleagues, above all the United States, the European Union and other allies, who reject all principles of democracy and multilateralism on the global stage. As if to say, either it’s our way, or there will be repercussions.

It is striking that Western leaders, while openly undermining international law, do not hesitate to argue that the main task of world politics should be to counter the attempts of Russia and China to “change the rules-based order.” Such statements were made the other day following the G7 ministerial meeting in London. In other words, there has already been a substitution of concepts: the West is no longer concerned with the norms of international law and now requires everyone to follow its rules and observe its order. What’s more, US representatives freely admit that the USA and Great Britain have had the biggest hand in shaping these rules.

I am not saying all of this to ratchet up the confrontational rhetoric or advance an accusatory agenda. I am simply stating facts. But if we all support multilateralism in word, let us honestly search for ways to ensure that there is fairness in deed, without attempts to prove one’s superiority or infringe on another’s rights. I hope that this approach to maintaining multilateralism and the UN-centred system will guide the activities of the UN Secretary-General and his team.

I am convinced that the time has come to do away with medieval and colonial habits and recognise the reality of today’s interconnected and interdependent world. Honest and mutually respectful cooperation based on equal partnership between all states, guided by pragmatism and devoid of any ideology or politicisation, is what is needed now. It is the only way to improve the atmosphere in the world and ensure predictability in the advancement of the human race. That is especially true of such global challenges as the threat of terrorism and the proliferation of WMDs, climate change, new infectious diseases, and protecting human rights, starting with the most important one – the right to life.

I agree with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken who stressed recently that no country can overcome such global threats to the lives of our citizens alone, not even the United States.

The permanent members of the UN Security Council are called on to play a key role in fostering open and direct dialogue about the most pressing problems of our time. According to the UN Charter, they bear special responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. President of Russia Vladimir Putin proposed convening a summit with the leaders of the five permanent members. We hope to make this idea a reality once the epidemiological situation in the world stabilises.

In conclusion I would like to emphasise that the UN, as the main multilateral platform, must keep pace with changes on the global stage. The organisation must constantly adapt to ever-changing conditions, while continuing to fully respect the division of labour between the main UN Charter bodies and maintaining the support of all the member states. At every stage of change, our actions must be measured by the improvements made to the United Nations’ real-world effectiveness.

Russia stands ready to continue working constructively with all partners who share these approaches in order to bolster the authority and fully unlock the potential of the UN as the true centre of multilateralism.

Thank you for your attention.

“What Will We Lose?”

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April 30, 2021

moi

This article is by my brother Alex Bartlett and was first published at Off Guardian.

What have we lost? ____ What are we losing?
What will we lose?

This is the question is it not? Even though tens of thousands of experts, thousands of skeptics and all of the rest of us have been consumed over the last year debating, questioning, arguing and worst of all, just listening to endless stream of covid coverage it really comes down to this.

After sifting through all of the science-sourced “facts”, claims, death statistics, cases updates (so many, many cases) and the dire, ever grim projections from our modern-day high priests with their computer models it really just comes down to this question.

What will we lose?

For many reasons I am reluctant to write about this subject. I know nothing of epidemiology or virology or public health. I really have no business writing about loss due to covid 19, my profession is in high demand for the moment, my wife is gainfully employed and recently promoted and our living situation is quite good.

I will not dare pretend that I can speak about real hardship or suffering due to covid compared to what small business owners would be going through or what the working poor have had to endure but at the same time, only a complete fool would suggest that they have not lost anything in the past year.

With this in mind, at the same time, I cannot fully ever hope to comprehend all that I, no, all that we have lost and all of the ways this has happened. The sheer magnitude of these changes, almost all entirely some kind of loss for the vast majority of us is truly staggering. Perhaps for the 1st time in a very long time, perhaps ever, the other majority, the world’s poorest citizens will finally see the rest of us experience real empathy, a genuine understanding of some of the challenges and daily injustices they have been forced to accept as a normal way of living.

The worst aspect of my personal situation so far is that my elderly mother has been basically imprisoned in a care facility for over a year, unable to see any family save for myself and my brother who have been permitted to be designated “essential caregivers” so that she may have a few visitors.

So far with this measure, our Ontario Government has not been heartless enough just yet to completely isolate the elderly but all other friends and family are forbidden to visit. The last time she was allowed outside, almost 8 months ago, she was in the presence of a “minder” who kept us 6 feet apart, masked and who afforded us no privacy. I will lose my mom soon, she may die alone, forcibly confined with simple pleasures like walks in a park, the chaotic, non-judgemental love of grandchildren with their extra exuberance on holidays and birthdays all but eliminated.

My children are also no longer allowed in school even though kids are not and never were at risk and at the moment, over 75% of our schools in Ontario did not even have a single “case” when last in session. They are not only losing education but also social skills, study skills, valuable daily interactions and life lessons as well as exercise and fresh air and tragically, a large portion of that small, finite amount of time where they could just simply be kids.

I feel despair most days when I see my daughter, perched at the dining room table in front of a laptop ready to sign into virtual school, on her own and alone. Our wonderful, neighbourhood school sits shuttered while my daughter emulates the routine of an office worker at the age of 8. At the end of the day we can sometimes catch ourselves almost berating her like low level managerial assholes for not paying attention and fooling around during the day with the computer. For Christ sakes, what have we become as parents?

My 5 years old son cannot even last a 20 minute lesson online by himself. I initially felt frustrated that he could not persist in the same fashion the other young innocents can in these disembodied zoom classes but now I could be more accepting of this except that we both have to work during this “school time” and we need him to be occupied. Maybe this lack of digital “focus” speaks to how little screen time he had prior to this abomination of online “learning” or maybe it is simply because he is just 5 years old and he has no business being treated like this.

Am I surprised at how easily I just became a jaded, middle aged man who mostly complains to like minded friends and who wears himself and others out with the same impotent questions about “why and “how” could this happen? I did try emailing almost anyone in authority to question the safety and efficacy of the school mask mandate but this effort soon failed after so many “cut and paste”, formulaic responses from the bureaucratic minders along with their links on “community spread” and “how to safely wear a mask.”

It would have been nice to actually have been able to talk to school staff about my concerns in person but parents have not been permitted inside the school for over a year now. Will we ever be allowed back inside our schools or will there be new measures, new “threats” to keep us outside or have we simply just lost this ability to view and interact with this critically formative environment we immerse our children into?

I have not had a haircut since November 2020. “Unsafe” they say while putting all hairdressers on welfare for the better part of a year and also while making “working from home” just that much more undignified. Dogs have actually been permitted more frequent access to professional grooming than adults have here in Ontario in the last year.

Perhaps this is why booze, marijuana and fast food have always been available during this pandemic. I guess they know that as long as we remain in a well-fed stupor with Netflix porting us from reality, there will be no real angst or frustration on the streets.

For a brief moment last week, when announcing our latest stay at home order due to our hypersensitive, 47 cycle PCR test cases (approximately 1 case for every 4,500 residents here in Ontario mind you), our bumbling high school educated Premier tried to impose a quasi-martial law edict. The police would have been able to stop you and question your intent if you ventured outside of you home. I found it laughable that you could legally comply by saying you were “off to buy booze, weed or fast food” and these would all be valid, essential destinations for such an excursion. Meeting a friend for a walk in the park though, this is not safe, nor recommended or even permitted!

Luckily, they pulled back from this stance, the lawyers probably said it was unlawful, the police probably said that they did not want to enforce this heavy handed stance and perhaps the weary, bleary eyed, stumbling public would have probably, finally, maybe have said “enough”.

At this point, I think only the naïve believe that our old lives are coming back. Perhaps that is why they are so willing, so adamant to get the jab. It is not really to save the lives of others or prevent the scourge of an infectious disease but because it mainly seems like most people just want to travel again or to have the chance to no longer have to hear or worry about covid constantly.

Once again, I realize I have no business writing about loss. My friends are still all employed, I really do not know anyone who runs a small shop or a restaurant. I have no idea what it would be like to watch your business disintegrate, the debts pile up and the financial vultures start circling around you. I do understand why these small business owners and employees would be so motivated for everyone to get vaccinated so that they can finally open up and claw their way out of this deep covid hole they have been plunged into with the other end of their government issued loan lifelines handed to the big banks as a financial noose around their necks that will continually tighten in the months and years to come.

For the moment the rest of us are all still shielded by this work from home employment model that has not had any significant layoffs due to a massive, unchecked national Government wage subsidy program that even pays a 70% wage subsidy to large, significantly profitable corporations that are still paying dividends to shareholders. This white-collar job market stability is still further enhanced here in Canada by the re-bounding stock market that keeps rising to ever record heights thanks to the government debt printing machines.

So, how much will they really take from us in the months and years to come?

Let’s forget about PCR testing cycles, what constitutes a “case” vs. a clinical case, vaccine trials, if masks work or if lockdowns really achieve anything. These are all unnecessarily divisive discussions that, in the absence of any real or honest mainstream journalism, will never be permitted to be resolved in the public forum.

What we should really care about is that our children have been forbidden to interact with each other, to pursue hobbies, musical lessons, school clubs or just simple play-time with their peers. They are sent to school, when deemed “safe” based on the computer models, bound and gagged as invalids for up to 8 hours a day. Lunchtimes and playtimes are truncated, discouraged and replaced with silent lunches in front of a screen and ”socially distanced” outdoor play during shortened recess periods.

What will school look like in the years to come? What kind of digital ID’s will our children be forced to carry with them at all times and which big Tech conglomerate will collect, curate, market and disseminate all of their medical, scholarly and personal data?

What will replace all of the small restaurants, pubs and shops that have gone under? Will all of these beautiful brick and mortar establishments be bought up on the cheap by a large private equity firm that will offer the least equitable employment terms to desperate applicants?

At the moment I am not supposed to leave my neighbourhood limits. When will I be able to travel internationally and what risks must I accept with new vaccines and boosters to qualify to come and go and what private information must I sacrifice upon request to comply?

I feel that most of the online world I encounter is awash in mis-information, how soon will it be before the small and beleaguered sources of genuine information that I can find online are completely demonetized, de-linked, banned or de-platformed from the internet? The access to content and commenting that we have lost in the last year alone would have been incomprehensible to almost all of us just a few years ago, now the most “liberal democrats” are braying for big tech and the regulators to do more, to take more stringent actions. Soon we may experience a very harsh and unforgiving internet, one that reports us for straying outside of the ever-narrowing community guidelines.

What about my freedom, my right to refuse a hastily developed medical technology, one that has not been thoroughly tested but is still supposed to, guaranteed to (almost) provoke the appropriate immune response to a virus that poses almost no harm to me whatsoever?

What about unintended consequences? What happens to me if I suddenly develop any number of rare or debilitating health conditions in the future? My chances of catching covid-19 or experiencing ill effects from it are quite low so why can’t I be allowed to take this risk without being judged for doing so?

What happened to our acquired knowledge as a society as to how to behave when sick? This has served us well for thousands of years. When our amazing immune systems were fighting a significant illness, it was almost always obvious that the sick individual should be cared for but isolated and kept from others.

Why have we lost this trust in ourselves and in our own judgement? We are still permitted to raise our children (for now) but we are unable to properly assess our own health and infectivity as it may pertain to others at work or at school? Exercising our own good judgement is a critical aspect of a well functioning, civil society. Removing this right, this freedom of choice will only lead to a punitive, dystopian type of society, one that eagerly turns on each other rather than to help one another.

The optimists, those that believe in the system, the same system that has half the planet living in poverty mind you but don’t worry about that, just a minor flaw, they believe this fabulous system of democracy and commerce will deliver us the health outcome we all deserve. It will protect us and our weakest and all we need to do is take a shot, or two or three, every year and don’t mind the costs or how or to whom the money was distributed, it was necessary, it will be worth it.

Once this happens, once we reach the now newly re-defined as solely vaccine derived “herd immunity” then life is back! School, travel, friends and family. You can have it all but you may need a mask for just a bit longer, maybe two masks actually.

The rest of us, a small vocal minority or perhaps, hopefully a larger, mostly silent and dumbfounded mass of citizens will finally start taking stock of what we have lost and what we are truly at risk of losing.

It is hard to do. I still want the others to be right. I want the vaccine to be safe and effective. I want the sacrifice to be worth it. I want to travel and do all the things I imagined I would do with friends and family and at work. I want my kids to have these same options that I had. I want to believe that my government and our health officials are working with our best interests in mind while unaffected by conflicts of interest.

But the data says otherwise. This data that has always been there. That data that shows us that Covid is neither dangerous or all that contagious to anyone under the age of 70. The historical data that tells us that Influenza A and B and all the other sub-types could not possibly just disappear worldwide in the last twelve months. The data, all the data, these recent 12 months of newly acquired covid raw numbers from all over the world that does not lie

So, the media does.

So do almost all Governments as well.

They have the full cooperation of all of the big tech companies for maximum efficacy. Information has never been more widely available but then immediately censored or “fact” checked. Prominent voices of reason, objectivity and truth are shadow banned or de-platformed. Even the miniscule, insignificant frustrated comments I make against my better judgement on our national news website are quickly and automatically deactivated within minutes of posting. I should know better than to waste the pixels, however temporary they might be.

What can be done? Not much on our own but then quite a lot if we all do something. Close to a half a million marched in London on April 24th. It was wonderful to see. How many more will march in May? I hope at least twice as many will next time and that they will persist, and persist and persist. I hope that as the weather warms, more and more people will see that it is possible to be outside and inside, to be together and to celebrate our lives, our professions and our passions together without shame or fear.

What else do we have to lose?

*

His previous article: Together But Falling Apart

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US vaccine profits over lives | On The News Line

Pressure is mounting on the United States to lift a patent-related restriction, allowing other nations access to develop Covid-19 vaccines and treatments for the respiratory disease. It comes down to the priorities: saving lives, or making a profit? So far, the US has opted to make profits at the expense of innocent lives, while hoarding the vaccine for its own citizens.

The Israeli People Committee’s April Report on the lethal impact of vaccinations

 BY GILAD ATZMON

israel covid.jpg

by Gilad Atzmon

The Israeli People Committee (IPC), a civilian body made of leading Israeli health experts, has published its April report into the Pfizer vaccine’s side effects.* The findings are catastrophic on every possible level.

Their verdict is that “there has never been a vaccine that has harmed as many people.”  The report is long and detailed. I will outline just some of the most devastating findings presented in the report.

“We received 288 death reports in proximity to vaccination (90% up to 10 days after the vaccination), 64% of those were men.” Yet the report states, “according to data provided by the Ministry of Health, only 45 deaths in Israel were vaccine related.” If the numbers above are sincere then Israel, which claimed to conduct a world experiment, failed to genuinely report on its experiment’s results. We often hear about blood clots caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine. For instance, we learned this morning about 300 cases of blood clots in of Europe. However, if the IPC’s findings are genuine, then in Israel alone the Pfizer vaccine may be associated with more deaths than AstraZeneca’s in the whole of Europe.   

“According to Central Bureau of Statistics data during January-February 2021, at the peak of the Israeli mass vaccination campaign, there was a 22% increase in overall mortality in Israel compared with the previous year. In fact, January-February 2021 have been the deadliest months in the last decade, with the highest overall mortality rates compared to corresponding months in the last 10 years.”

The IPC finds that “amongst the 20-29 age group the increase in overall mortality has been most dramatic. In this age group, we detect an increase of 32% in overall mortality in comparison with previous year.”

“Statistical analysis of information from the Central Bureau of Statistics, combined with information from the Ministry of Health, leads to the conclusion that the mortality rate amongst the vaccinated is estimated at about 1: 5000 (1: 13000 at ages 20-49, 1: 6000 at ages 50-69, 1: 1600 at ages 70+). According to this estimate, it is possible to estimate the number of deaths in Israel in proximity of the vaccine, as of today, at about 1000-1100 people.”

Again, if this statistical analysis is correct then the numbers reported by the Israeli health authorities are misleading by more than 22-fold.

Those who follow my writing are aware of my work on the undeniable correlation between vaccination, Covid-19 cases, deaths and the spread of mutant strains. The IPC confirms my observation, providing more crucial information regarding age groups. “There is a high correlation between the number of people vaccinated per day and the number of deaths per day, in the range of up to 10 days, in all age groups. Ages 20-49 – a range of 9 days from the date of vaccination to mortality, ages 50-69 – 5 days from the date of vaccination to mortality, ages 70 and up – 3 days from the date of vaccination to mortality.”

The IPC also reveals that the “the risk of mortality after the second vaccine is higher than the risk of mortality after the first vaccine.”

 But death isn’t the only risk to do with vaccination. The IPC reveals that “as of the date of publication of the report, 2066 reports of side effects have accumulated in the Civil Investigation Committee and the data continue to come in. These reports indicate damage to almost every system in the human body.…Our analysis found a relatively high rate of heart-related injuries, 26% of all cardiac events occurred in young people up to the age of 40, with the most common diagnosis in these cases being Myositis or Pericarditis. Also, a high rate of massive vaginal bleeding, neurological damage, and damage to the skeletal and skin systems has been observed. It should be noted that a significant number of reports of side effects are related, directly or indirectly, to Hypercoagulability (infarction),  Myocardial infarction, stroke, miscarriages, impaired blood flow to the limbs, pulmonary embolism.”  

In Israel, the government is desperate to vaccinate children. The IPC stresses that such a move can be disastrous.  “In light of the extent and severity of side effects, we would like to express the committee’s position that vaccinating children may also lead to side effects in them, as observed in adults, including the death of completely healthy children. Since the coronavirus does not endanger children at all, the committee believes that the Israeli government’s intention to vaccinate the children endangers their lives, health and their future development.”

The IPC stresses that “there has never been a vaccine that has affected so many people! The American VARES system presents 2204 mortality reports of vaccinated people in the United States in the first quarter of 2021, a figure that reflects an increase of thousands of percent from the annual average, which stood at 108 reports per year.”

I should mention that there has been very little coverage of the IPC’s work in the Israeli press. Those health experts are engaged in brave work, knowing that their license to work in the medical profession and livelihoods are at severe risk.  

To read the report in Hebrew click here

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False Flag Weekly News Censored by Youtube…for Attacking Censorship!

WATCH FALSE FLAG WEEKLY NEWS 

By Kevin BarrettVeterans Today Editor

FROM MY FORTHCOMING ARTICLE FOR AMERICAN FREE PRESS:

The problem of censors who don’t know fact from opinion struck home this Sunday when YouTube froze my channel for two weeks due to two strikes for what they call “medical misinformation.” My weekly news roundup show False Flag Weekly News has covered a wide range of medical and scientific experts’ views about COVID-19 related issues, including the safety and efficacy of vaccines. YouTube’s censors apparently didn’t like some of those views. They explained: “YouTube doesn’t allow claims about COVID-19 vaccinations that contradict expert consensus from local health authorities or the World Health Organization (WHO).”

On the show, I made no such claims. Instead I simply reported on the claims that various experts had made, without endorsing any of them. In fact, I was quite skeptical towards many of the alarmist claims of anti-vaccine scientists.

The fact that scientific experts like Geert Vanden Bossche, Mike YeadonReiner Fuellmich, and Sucharit Bhakdi are saying alarming things about COVID vaccines is…well, a fact, and a newsworthy one. The draconian censorship of such facts, and of the experts’ interpretations, suggests very strongly that the elites pushing the COVID party line have something to hide.

TRANSCRIPT OF THE OPENING OF THE CENSORED EPISODE:

FFWN_210424-audio.m4a

Kevin Barrett: Welcome to False Flag Weekly News, the weekly news show where we question everything, especially public myths of the kind described by Philip Zelikow. I’m Kevin Barrett with Lucy Morgan Edwards this week. Welcome back, Lucy. Great to have you.

Lucy Morgan Edwards: Good to be back, Kevin.

Kevin Barrett: All right. So you’re the author of The Afghan Solution. You were a political adviser to the E.U. in Kabul, Afghanistan. And we will get to some some Afghan stories as we continue. But first, the obligatory disclaimers. Let’s let’s read those disclaimers. OK, first, this could be very disturbing to people who feel an emotional attachment to conventional wisdom as expressed in the mainstream media or from the mouths of politicians. So if you can’t handle questioning that stuff change the channel. Also, we are not a medical advice outfit. I am a doctor of literature, not medicine. So if I tell you to take three pills and call me in the morning, tell me to shove off. So we’re doing political commentary and analysis here, not medicine. No medical advice, no medical information, misinformation, nothing like that. All right. Here we are with our lead story: Philip Zelikow, the self-described expert in the creation and maintenance of public myths, who operates out of the University of Virginia. He not only wrote the script for 9/11 — or many people suspect as much — and then was called on to turn it into a bestselling novel called the 9/11 Commission report. He not only controlled that investigation completely, he wrote the entire report in chapter by chapter outline before the Commission even convened, and he probably wrote it from the script for the actual event that he co-wrote before 9/11. But now here he is back doing the same thing with COVID-19. He’s setting up what he hopes will become a COVID-19 Commission to tell the official public myth of COVID-19c. Lucy, would you say that this guy has chutzpah or something which requires a more obscene expression?

Lucy Morgan Edwards: Well, he surely does. There’s a comment from another academic colleague that that his appointment to do this is a rare public admission that this COVID project is set to run into the long term, maybe for the next 20 years, in the same way that the war on terror has run based on his his myth that has, of course, underpinned it.

Kevin Barrett: And so Zelikow says that “this is the greatest crisis suffered by America, if not the world, since 1945. Scholars and journalists will do their jobs. But there is also a role for the kind of massive investigation and research effort that only a large scale commission can provide.” So here comes the National COVID Commission, chaired by Philip Zelikow. I can’t even imagine what that big lie is going to sound like.

Lucy Morgan Edwards: And together with the censorship from mainstream media, that is becoming increasingly prevalent, that will be the official narrative. And we’re all going to have to follow it because we’re going to be canceled or censored if we don’t, doubtless.

Kevin Barrett: And he’s using a war metaphor, just like he did with the “war on terror” that was scripted before they blew up the Twin Towers and flew remote controlled airplanes into targets and stuff like that. So now apparently he’s saying this is a war, too. He says we have to win the war globally, not just nationally. It’s a world war. So once again, a war metaphor — against a virus.

Lucy Morgan Edwards: OK, so I feel that this is a clue that the same group that were behind 9/11 are behind the current situation. Rolling him out is a huge, clear clue.

Kevin Barrett: They’re not even trying to hide it. They’re actually basically telling us what they’re doing. And there’s a whole theory that Satanists have some kind of metaphysical duty to tell their dupes what they’re doing, because then the bad karma is on the dupes instead of on them. I don’t know if that’s true, but sometimes they act like it.

Lucy Morgan Edwards: That’s the modus operandi, isn’t it?

Kevin Barrett: Indeed. OK, let’s get into our “vaxxed” news. Let’s see…So Alan didn’t flash the the medical advice disclaimer. I can’t believe it. He Usually flashes it about every third story that has anything to do with COVID. OK, so here’s our nonmedical advice about Biden and his two hundred million COVID-19 vaccinations. He said his goal was 100 million. And they’ve shot Americans two hundred million times so far. Half of Americans now have been shot, and they’re still walking around. They’re still alive. And I hope that they will be for a while. Allen, our producer, of course, is a vaccine enthusiast and he’s still doing just fine. So, Lucy, your take on Biden’s heroic triumphalism around his two hundred million shots?

Lucy Morgan Edwards: Well, I mean, who knows if those figures are correct? I’m not sure what they’re based on. It does say in the piece that the government’s planning to incentivize people to take the vaccinations with bonuses, paid leave, gift cards and so on, so that they’re obviously going all in and are very keen to get everyone vaxxed. One could also say, why don’t they get rid of McDonald’s, given that most people die of obesity? So that raises more questions about what’s really going on with these so-called vaccinations, which some people, some eminent epidemiologists, are saying aren’t vaccines at all because they haven’t been fully tested while we’re in the third stage trial, which people are unaware of. And some are actually raising questions as to whether these really are actually vaccinations or just injections of something else.

Kevin Barrett: Oh, but you’re not allowed to say things like that. “That’s medical misinformation!” No, it’s not, because we’re not giving medical advice. We’re simply speculating. (And reporting what others have said.)

So in our next story, we see that the censorship axe is coming down with unprecedented ferocity on anybody who expresses any opinions on any of this stuff that deviate one iota from the official party line as created by the WHO and Faucci and Bill Gates and all their friends. And here’s Senator Klobuchar telling us that they’ve got to start seriously censoring the vaccine skeptics, the super-spreaders of misinformation. So if you express an unorthodox opinion now, you’re the equivalent of somebody who’s killing people by spreading an evil virus. And in this climate…The problem with this, it seems to me, Lucy, is that how can we believe the Orthodox party line when anybody who expresses anything else is axed and destroyed and censored and suppressed? There’s no robust free debate. And so God knows how many experts are out there (who dissent but are afraid to go public.)

Lucy Morgan Edwards: In the UK, it’s worse than that. So they’re going to be seeking to criminalize anyone who expresses opinions that don’t conform to the big tech big pharma view of COVID and what’s going on. There was a very good piece yesterday on UK Column News that went through the development of this increasing censorship and deplatforming. And the drive by the British government just to shut down any alternative viewpoints, any discussion, any academic discussion and so on, and that started really with David Cameron’s speech to the U.N., I think it was in 2013, where he laid out really what they were going to do, and the the non-tolerance for any alternative viewpoints. It was it was a real whoring of his position, actually. I felt it was absolutely disgraceful speech. And of course, the British government operates through Ofcom, which is a quasi governmental organisation, which is pretty totalitarian and is involved in the development of 5G and holds licenses and is therefore profiting from the development of 5G, which they’re, of course, trying to put in in tandem with all of this censorship that’s going on in order to suck up our data and surveil us increasingly.

Kevin Barrett: And so who knows how many experts are out there who actually agree with the skeptics but are afraid to say anything because they’re afraid that they’ll be deplatformed or fired or have their careers or reputations ruined. And that means it’s very hard for us to know what the truth is because it could easily be the majority of the experts that deviate from the party line in the privacy of their own minds, but are afraid to say anything. So in this kind of atmosphere of ferocious, hysterical censorship, it’s impossible to get at the truth. And so anybody who wants to genuinely convince us that the Orthodox line is correct should not be doing this! They should be encouraging free and fearless debate. And then we’ll see how many experts really think this and how many experts really think that. But as it stands right now, we can’t possibly know.

BIOGRAPHYKevin BarrettDr. Kevin Barrett, a Ph.D. Arabist-Islamologist, is one of America’s best-known critics of the War on Terror.

He is host of TRUTH JIHAD RADIO; a hard driving weekly radio show funded by listener donations at Patreon.com and FALSE FLAG WEEKLY NEWS (FFWN); a audio-video show produced by Tony Hall, Allan Reese, and Kevin himself. FFWN is funded through FundRazr.

He also has appeared many times on Fox, CNN, PBS and other broadcast outlets, and has inspired feature stories and op-eds in the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Chicago Tribune, and other leading publications.

Dr. Barrett has taught at colleges and universities in San Francisco, Paris, and Wisconsin; where he ran for Congress in 2008. He currently works as a nonprofit organizer, author, and talk radio host.http://www.truthjihad.comtruthjihad@gmail.com

The Gibraltar Massacre

BY GILAD ATZMON

Massacre 2.jpg

By Gilad Atzmon


Gibraltar currently has the world’s worst Covid-19 death rate per capita (2791 per million at time of publication). The disaster started on December 12, when an unprecedented surge in cases was witnessed (see graph below). Until that point in time, like in other European countries, Covid cases had been in constant decline for a while. In Gibraltar, numbers of cases had been dropping for almost a month since November 13.  

Gibraltar 11 December.png

What people do not know is that just a few days before Gibraltar morphed into a Covid killing zone, 273 Spanish key healthcare workers involved with Gibraltar’s elderly and vulnerable populations were reportedly inoculated with the Pfizer vaccine.

 

Gibraltar Bay radio reported on 7 December 2020, that “More than 9,200 Spanish nationals cross the Gibraltar border to work. Vaccination plans are still being drawn up, but around 273 workers working in care agencies looking after the elderly could become the first Spanish nationals to receive the Pfizer vaccine.“

The Spanish El Pais quotes Antonio Sánchez, a Spanish national and carer for two children with autism at a youth care centre who knew that he would be the amongst the first to receive the vaccine. “I am one of the first. The subcontractor company that I work for has told us that it’s very likely that they will begin vaccinating us next week [the week starting December 7].”

On 8 December elperiodico.com announced that  “the Spanish workers in the health and care sector in Gibraltar will be the first in the country to be vaccinated from Tuesday (8 December)  against coronavirus, under the Gibraltar Government vaccination program.”

Until now we have looked at Israel as the ultimate testing ground for the Pfizer experiment. As I have been reporting since the beginning of January, the outcome of the Israel/Pfizer experiment has been pretty devastating. Israel’s Covid deaths doubled in just 2 months of vaccinations. Cases of newborn Covid grew by 1600%, hospitalisations doubled and so on. 

In Britain we saw a similar surge in Covid deaths soon after the vaccination campaign was launched. In nearly every country that used the Pfizer vaccine around that time amongst other vaccines, the British mutant was blamed for the rise in cases and consequent deaths. Considering that air traffic almost ground to a halt by late December, it was already hard then to understand how the British mutant managed to spread so vastly. How, for instance, did it make Aliya to Israel to become the dominant Covid strain? How did it make it to Gibraltar, where it also became the dominant strain by late December? One possible and unfortunately obvious answer is that, unlike people, vaccines did travel in the air and all around the world.   

I do understand that the British and Israeli governments are reluctant to investigate the obvious correlation between vaccinations, cases, deaths and possibly the British mutant’s spread. An investigation into those questions may reveal that some facts related to the British mutant were known in advance.  For instance, we learned that the British mutant was identified in the UK as early as September. One may wonder, weren’t our British scientists alarmed by the possibility that the new variant may be related to vaccine trials that were taking place in the kingdom since the late summer?

Examining the most conservative Covid data available to us through the WHO and other international institutions, it is easy to study the close correlation between vaccination, cases, deaths and the spread of specific mutants (British, Brazilian, South African etc.):

In the graphs below you can easily notice that cases and deaths start to rise exponentially in shocking proximity to the launch of vaccine mass distribution campaigns.

3.vcd.jpg

 Yet, far more interesting is to try to understand the close relationship between vaccination and the so called ‘defeat of the virus.’ We should ask accordingly, how many people would be inoculated in a given society before we start to see a drop in Covid cases? I examined this question using the most conservative and widely circulated statistics:

Looking at Israel reveals that 30.6% of the population was rapidly vaccinated back in December before we saw a drop in cases. This intense action clearly resulted in Israel doubling its number of deaths and its health system nearly collapsing.

4. Israel drops 30%.06.png

The case of the United Arab Emirates is almost identical. The rapid vaccination campaign was followed by an immediate surge in cases and deaths, it then took 31% of the population being vaccinated to see the first drop in numbers. 

5. UAE cases drop 31%.png

In the UK, which was inefficient in its early mass vaccination campaign, the situation is much better. In Britain it took just 15% of the population being partly vaccinated (1 dose instead of 2) to see a clear sharp drop in cases. Despite that, the numbers of Covid death during mass vaccination surged by about 50%. We are talking about tens of thousands of people who perished.

6. UK Death drops 15%.png


I was therefore shocked to find already in early March that in Portugal it took just 3% of the population to be vaccinated mass vaccination to defeat Covid and see the numbers drop! 

This can be explained. If the presumably vaccine-induced mutant is twice as infectious than its ancestor and it is distributed initially through the medical system by means of shots rather than social contact, then making 3% of the population into super-spreaders may be enough to infect an entire society with a resistant mutant.

7.Portugal 3%.png

 In the cases I reviewed above, many people died and only an investigation of a criminal nature could indicate what level of consciousness, negligence or clumsiness were involved in the considerations and decisions behind mass vaccination in those relevant countries. What did our decision makers know in advance about the vaccine and possible mutants that it may induce? What have they realised along the campaign? What were the considerations and who exactly took the decisions?

Yet, the situation isn’t totally bleak as it also reasonable to assume that the unvaccinated who survived the British mutant probably bought themselves the best possible natural resilience to Covid-19 and its future mutants, something that we can’t say, unfortunately, about the vaccinated: Pfizer’s CEO admitted yesterday that the vaccinated are “likely” to be inoculated again within the next 6-12 month. Their immune systems are now dependent on Pharma’s constant supply of mRNA substances. 

 But the story of carnage in Gibraltar may provide us with a final validation of the above musings.

 33, 000 Brits live in Gibraltar. The official vaccination of the Colony didn’t start until the January 10, yet the reported Pfizer vaccinations of just 273 key health workers (less than 1% of the population) from 7 December,  if true, was enough to start a huge surge of Covid cases followed by an unprecedented spike in deaths.  Like in Israel, the UK, the UAE and many other countries, Covid vaccination was followed by a sharp rise in Covid cases.  Shockingly, the numbers of Covid cases in Gibraltar  started to drop on January 7, three days before Gibraltar started to vaccinate its entire British population.

Gibraltar 7 jan.png

 

 One may challenge my reading of the Gibraltar situation and wonder, ‘if the vaccines induce mutants, as you say, why didn’t the number of cases rise once vast vaccination was launched?’ A possible answer is that by January 7, 3 days before the launch of the mass vaccination campaign, Gibraltar already enjoyed strong herd immunity. Enough members of the British territory were exposed to the mutant, those who survived were immune. If I am correct here, then less than 1% of the population being vaccinated was enough to infect the entire colony with the British mutant and to buy it total herd Immunity.

I often ask myself why me, a jazz saxophonist, has to deliver analysis validated by mainstream conservative statistics and data.  Isn’t it the role of academics, health experts, the media, virologists, epidemiologists, the opposition party and the ‘Left’?

Gibraltar, like Israel, was a unique testing ground and the outcome is devastating but conclusive. But the most tormenting news is that we, the people, are betrayed in broad daylight by a united league that has drifted very far away from the Athenian ethos of science, pluralism and ethics. For me, this is certainly the scariest lesson from this so-called pandemic.

What about the deescalation in the Donbass? (OPEN THREAD #17)

What about the deescalation in the Donbass? (OPEN THREAD #17)

April 23, 2021

The Saker

There is, amongst some, a strong sense of relief: Defense Minister Shoigu has declared that the formations deployed by Russia to western Russia will now return to their regular bases.  Of course, the Ukrainians claim that they “deterred a Russian attack” while the Russians say that “the West got the message”.  Is that so and, if yes, who is right?

Well, I think that we can dismiss the Ukie nonsense out of hand.  Nobody out there, except the Ukrainians themselves, seriously believe that Russia “blinked”, if only because destroying the entire Ukrainian military would take Russia less than a week.  In fact, the Ukrainians know that very well, they just won’t admit it.

Notice that while the Ukrainians claim that they deterred Russia, Russia does not claim to have deterred the Ukrainians, instead Russia declared that the Russian bear roared loud enough to deter the united West.  Right there we have an important clue as to what has really happened.

I, however, submit that the causes which triggered the initial Ukrainian move to bring a large armored force right to the line of contact are still here.  In other words, nothing has been resolved.

What happened is this: in response to the threat from both the Ukrainians and US/NATO, Russia simply demonstrated her ability to quickly concentrate a truly huge force (2 Armies and 2 Airborne Divisions) along her border.  She also redeployed the Caspian Flotilla into the Black Sea, brought in large landing ships and, generally, “flexed her military muscles” in order to convey a clear message to the Ukrainians, the Europeans and the US:

  • To the Ukrainians: attack the Donbass and you will die, as for the Ukraine, it will break apart into several new successor states.
  • To the EU: if a war starts, you will even lose the very little agency you have left and your economy will not be competitive against the USA.
  • To the USA: if a war starts, you will face a stark choice: lose face or start a full-scale war against Russia.

Yes, so far, this strategy has proved very effective.  The Ukrainians were clearly terrified and the EU showed no enthusiasm for that war (except the UK, which risks very little, and the Poles who specialize in stupid historical decisions).  As for “Biden”, he realized that a full scale war against Russia was suicidal.

So are we now out of the danger zone?

Absolutely not.  There is still one thing the West is determined to achieve: to fight Russia down to the last Ukrainian.  For the US Neocons, to see the two Slavic brothers kill each other is old dream come true.  Furthermore, the US still needs to bring the EU down to its economic knees to force it to buy energy, services and goods from the USA.  Last, but not least, the Ukraine has lost any appeal it might have had for the USA: the only thing which the Ukraine can still offer is to be a thorn in Russia’s side.

And then, there is the “Ze” regime in Kiev: not viable, not reformable, the Ukraine is has been comprehensively deindustrialized and now the Ukrainians are dying in huge numbers from the COVID pandemic: Banderastan is the ultimate failed state, worse than many African ones, in fact.

Yes, “Ze” was told by his masters to “cool it” and, so far, he has obeyed, but that solves exactly none of his problems.  Worse, there are a lot of well-armed Ukronazi deathsquads who still have the means to create some kind of incident which would reignite the whole thing again.  Also, it is worth remembering that the Brits and the Ukies both have a proven record of successful covert operations, which by definition include false flags.

In other words, nothing has really changed.  Yes, right now, Uncle Shmuel is trying to find out what his options are, and he will come up with a corrected plan (remember, Neocons are stupid, yes, but they are also clever in a short term, “horizontal” way).  Right now “Biden” is licking his wounds from the embarrassing faceplant with the attempt to kill Lukashenko and the (frankly silly) nonsense coming out of the Czech Republic.  There are some signs that at least the Germans realize what is really going on and who is truly trying to screw them over (while most of the German political class is corrupt to the bone, some German politicians are sensitive to the mood of the German business community).

Simply put: all we are observing today is a short term reprieve, nothing more.

The Russians know that, and it is safe to say that while some of their forces will demonstratively retreat, others will stay.  More importantly, now that this operational redeployment of key formations has been rehearsed, very publicly, the Russians have shown the US/NATO that Russia can deal with any military threat (in contrast, it would take NATO months to bring a big enough force to eastern Europe to represent a credible threat).

Finally, Ze has made a rather ridiculous speech telling Putin that they should meet.  Putin’s response was perfect: you want to meet with me to discuss our bilateral relations (which, incidentally, you have destroyed) – sure.  No problem.  But if you want to discuss the Donbass, you have to engage in direct talks with the LDNR, as the Minsk Agreement and the Steinmeier formula, which you have signed, stipulate.  In other words, back to square one.

This is a situation of not one, but two “thorns”: the Ukronazi Banderastan is definitely a thorn in the side of Russia, while the LDNR is a thorn in the side of Banderastan.  Make a guess, which side can put up with its thorn longer than the other side?

Many have forgotten it, but in a moment of anger, Poroshenko did tell Putin “take the Donbass if you want it!”, and Putin declined.  Since then, the Russians have shown over and over again that they do NOT want the Donbass.  At most, they might have to take it to save it from genocide, but even in this case the Russians have no intentions of invading the rest of the Ukraine only to have to deal with 1) Ukronazi insurgencies and 2) rebuilding this failed state from its current zero all the way back.  And that is the worst Russian threat not only for the Ukraine, but for all of Europe: Russia does NOT want, or need, the Ukraine and Russia won’t take it over, even in case of a full-scale war.  At most, Russia will repeat what she did in the 08.08.08 war: defang the Nazi regime by obliterating the Ukrainian military, and then let the regime naturally collapse.

Anyway, I will write a more detailed analysis of this situation next week, but right now I submit that all that is happened is a limited and temporary deescalation, not any kind of return to even semi-normality (and the Ukies are still murdering LDNR civilians every day, including with heavy weapons).

So, what do you think?  Back to sanity, or only a reprieve?

The Saker

Putin delivers annual address to Federal Assembly

 Source

Putin delivers annual address to Federal Assembly

April 21, 2021

Putin’s speech comes amid a period of diplomatic confrontation with Western nations and a stand-off over the situation in Ukraine and Russian troop movements.

The address to the Federal Assembly is often used to announce major changes in Russian domestic and foreign policy.

This is the current live stream.

The full and complete transcript is now posted.

Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly

The President of Russia delivered the Address to the Federal Assembly. The ceremony took place at the Manezh Central Exhibition Hall.

April 21, 202113:20

Moscow

The ceremony was attended by members of the Federation CouncilState Duma deputies, members of the Government, the heads of the Constitutional and Supreme courts, regional governors, speakers of regional legislatures, the heads of traditional religious denominations and public activists.

* *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Members of the Federation Council, State Duma deputies,

Citizens of Russia,

Today’s Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly will be dedicated mostly to internal issues. These include, naturally, healthcare, social policy and the economy. Of course, I will say a few words about external affairs and literally a few words about security issues.

It stands to reason that I will begin with last year’s events, when our country and, actually, the entire world faced a new, previously unknown and extremely dangerous infection.

It that period, including during our meetings with experts and conversations with the leaders of many states, I often heard the following description of the situation: we are faced with total uncertainty. And this is how it really was.

I could see this from the information I received from the regions. The number of people who contracted the disease and needed to be rushed to hospital kept growing. Actually, all of you are very well aware of this. Many hospitals were filled to capacity and reported that they could run out of oxygen soon, including in intensive care units. Ventilators, protective masks and PPE were actually distributed by the piece. Shops were running out of basic products, such as cereals, butter and sugar, due to increased demand.

The epidemic was on the offensive. But although there was great concern, I personally had no doubt that we would pull through.

Citizens, society and the state acted responsibly and in unison. We rallied, managed to take preventive action, to create conditions that would reduce the risk of infection, and to provide medical personnel and citizens with personal protective equipment. We increased the number of hospital beds for coronavirus patients more than five times over, to 280,000 beds.

The brief outline of measures conceals the tremendous and intensive work of millions of people in all regions of the Russian Federation. I would like to cordially thank all of you for this. Everyone worked quickly, efficiently and conscientiously.

At that time and later on, we were analysing the situation practically non-stop. I recall vividly my visit to the hospital in Kommunarka. It was necessary to experience, to see at first hand the danger facing us and to assess the working conditions of medical specialists. They immediately found themselves in the thick of events and fought for every life, while risking their own.

Today, doctors, paramedics, medical nurses and members of ambulance teams are sitting here in this hall. Once again my heartfelt thanks to you and your colleagues from all the Russian regions.

Russian researchers made a real breakthrough, and Russia now has three reliable coronavirus vaccines. These and many other achievements of the past few years highlight the country’s growing science and technological potential.

I would like to thank everyone, every person who contributed to the fight against infection, including the workers at the plants manufacturing medications, medical equipment, personal protective equipment, and enterprises working 24 hours a day, housing and utility agencies, trade companies, the Russian business community that quickly converted entire sectors so that they could manufacture essential goods, civilian and military builders, agriculture workers who gathered a record-breaking harvest, one of the biggest in the country’s history, that is, over 130 million tonnes.

The personnel of law enforcement agencies and the special services continued to carry out their duty, and the Russian Armed Forces reliably ensured our country’s security.

I would like to underscore the selfless behaviour of people working for social services, orphanages, boarding schools, retirement homes and hospices who stayed and who continue to stay with their charges. You will certainly agree with me that, while analysing developments at these institutions, one feels proud of people who are carrying out their duty there in such a responsible manner. It could move you to tears. I would like to thank them once again.

I would also like to convey my sincere gratitude to school teachers and the lecturers at universities and other education institutions. You did everything possible to enable your students and pupils to gain knowledge and successfully pass their exams, with the involvement and support of their parents.

Russia’s cultural life continued unabated. Theatres, museums and concert halls remained open to audiences online thanks to modern technology. Everyone who works in this crucial sphere rose to the occasion.

Our people showed discipline and managed to observe, let’s face it, quite exhausting, but vital precautions. Thus, acting together, we have put up an effective barrier to the pandemic.

The people’s solidarity showed in concrete actions, in caring for the loved ones and in willingness to help people in need. Millions became volunteers and engaged in building person-to-person help routes. The nationwide We Are Together campaign brought together people from different walks of life and ages. As always during challenging times, our traditional religions stepped up to provide spiritual support to the society. I see the leaders of our religions here and I would like to bow deeply to you, thank you very much

Throughout history, our people have come out victorious and overcome trials thanks to unity. Today, family, friendship, mutual assistance, graciousness and unity have come to the fore as well.

Spiritual and moral values, which are already being forgotten in some countries, have, on the contrary, made us stronger. And we will always uphold and defend these values.

Colleagues,

The pandemic broke out at a time when the aftermath of the demographic shocks of the 1940s and 1990s converged. We realise that the current demographic situation is an emergency. Unfortunately, this is how things are. We must accept and admit it and do something about it based on our understanding of this situation.

Saving the people of Russia is our top national priority. This priority underlies the stipulations of the updated Constitution concerning the protection of the family, the important role parents play in bringing up their children, strengthening social guarantees, and further developing the economy, education and culture.

Our strategy is to return to sustainable population growth to make sure that the average life expectancy in Russia increases to 78 years in 2030.

Unfortunately, the statistics show us sad and disappointing numbers. We are even seeing a certain decline. It is clear what is happening because of the pandemic, but we will keep our strategic goals in this critical sphere unchanged.

I fully realise that this is no small feat, the more so as the coronavirus has not yet been completely defeated and remains a direct threat. We see the dramatic developments in many countries where the cases of infection continue to grow. We need to keep in check the defence barriers designed to slow down the spread of the virus along our external borders and within our country.

I would like to address all citizens of Russia once again. Friends, please stay alert. I am asking you to take care of yourselves and your loved ones and to comply with the doctors’ and sanitary services’ recommendations as closely as possible.

Vaccination is of crucial importance. I would like to ask the Government, the Healthcare Ministry and the heads of the regions to monitor this process on a daily basis. The opportunity to take the jab must be available everywhere, so that we achieve the so-called herd immunity by the autumn.

The attainment of this goal depends on everyone, on all our citizens. Please, I am asking all citizens of Russia once again to get vaccinated. This is the only way to stop this deadly epidemic. There is no alternative. The other choice is much worse: to contract the disease with unpredictable consequences.

I would like to say once again that the disease is still with us. But we must start thinking already now about healing the wounds it has inflicted and restoring people’s health.

During the peak periods, our hospitals and outpatient clinics had to reduce or even suspend scheduled visits. This increased the risk of the aggravation of chronic illnesses or the risk of missing the first signs of or correctly diagnosing new illnesses.

I would like to ask the Government, the Healthcare Ministry and the constituent entities of the Russian Federation to expand the system of medical check-ups and periodic screenings, taking into account the current epidemiological situation, and to relaunch them in full measure on July 1, 2021 for people of all ages. They must involve the largest number of people possible. This is why we will increase the supply of mobile medical diagnostic systems to the regions in the near future.

One of the targets of the coronavirus is the cardiovascular system. These diseases have always been the leading cause of death. Therefore, special attention during periodic screenings must be given to people with cardiovascular diseases. I would like to instruct the Government to take additional measures to prevent the diseases that are the main causes of premature death. As I have already mentioned, these are cardiovascular diseases plus malignant tumours and respiratory system diseases.

Hepatitis C claims many young lives. Decisions must be made to reduce this threat to the health of the nation to a minimum within 10 years.

To ensure that as many people as possible can restore their health at sanatoriums and health resorts, I propose that the 20 percent rebate programme for domestic travel is extended at least until the end of the year.

Children’s health is our special priority. Indeed, the foundation for good health for many years to come is laid during childhood. Children’s rest and recreation activities must be made as affordable as possible. In this regard, this year, I propose reimbursing half of what parents spend on their children’s summer camps.

In addition, we need to expand opportunities for student tourism. Already this year, we must launch several pilot projects, including accommodation on university campuses and in dormitories in other regions for students who travel around the country during the summer.

And, of course, we must reward the young people who have done well in academic competitions and in volunteer and creative initiatives as well as the projects operated by the Russia – Land of Opportunity platform. For them, the partial reimbursement programme for tourist vouchers will remain valid during the holidays, aka the high season. This is a ground-breaking decision.

I wish to thank all the parliamentary groups which supported the decision on the taxation of high incomes, or rather, a portion of high incomes. These proceeds will go to the dedicated Circle of Kindness fund and have already been released to help children affected by rare and serious diseases, to purchase expensive medicines and medical equipment, and to cover the costs of surgeries.

On April 28, we will celebrate Ambulance Worker Day which was established as a show of respect to those who arrive first to save lives. These specialists must be provided with all necessary supplies. Within the next three years, we will make another 5,000 new ambulances available to rural communities, urban-type localities and small towns, which will replace the ambulance fleet almost in full.

I want to emphasise that public healthcare authorities in many leading countries – we are well aware of it and, in fact, they themselves are saying so – were unable to deal with the challenges of the pandemic as effectively as we did in Russia. At the same time, global health care is on the cusp of a genuine revolution. This must be recognised and clearly seen. We cannot miss it.

The pandemic has exponentially sped up the introduction of telemedicine, artificial intelligence and new approaches in diagnostics, surgery, rehabilitation and the production of medicines everywhere. We must put these technologies at the service of the people of our country.

We must build our healthcare system around this ground-breaking technology, and keep an eye on pressing everyday problems in the process. As we are all aware, they abound, mostly in primary care. There must be no such thing as waiting lines, no hassle making a diagnostics appointment or a specialist doctor appointment, or obtaining prescriptions and sick leaves, for that matter. This has often come up in our discussions lately. The funds have been set side and allocated. It is time to move quickly and efficiently to make it happen.

We have a backlog to deal with in healthcare and other social sectors, including many technical, financial and managerial challenges. However, what people need is qualified and timely medical help. I propose reviewing public healthcare problems from this perspective at an expanded meeting of the State Council some time soon. We will prepare for it and hold it shortly.

I repeat: we have gained some fundamentally new experience in fulfilling our social commitments. During the pandemic, we made direct payments to families bringing up almost 28 million children, and they received their benefits without any unnecessary paperwork or other kinds of red tape – they got the money they needed and were entitled to automatically. I know Government members have been working on this, focusing deliberately, not without some failures, but they have made every effort to accomplish this task, and coped with it. This is great, this is a good example. This approach should become the norm at all levels of government.

This is the essence of the National Social Initiative, which was discussed at a recent joint meeting of the State Council Presidium and the Agency for Strategic Initiatives.

I am calling on the regional governors: it is your direct responsibility to organise the work of local clinics, daycare nurseries and schools, and employment centres, based on the daily needs of families, of each and every person. In many regions, I have seen with my own eyes that such work has already been launched in certain areas. This needs to be done everywhere and in all social sectors.

As soon as in 2022, we must introduce the ‘social treasury’ principles. This means that all federal benefits, pensions and other social payments and services will be provided and paid in a one-stop mode, without having to visit dozens of different agencies, but simply upon marriage, the birth of a child, retirement or other life milestones. Within three years, the vast majority of public and municipal services should be provided to Russian citizens remotely, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, that is, on an ongoing basis.

Separately, we will have to discuss child-support payments, which are a sensitive topic for many families. Unfortunately, this is a problem in our country. This procedure should not be humiliating for anyone. Most issues here need to be resolved remotely and, most importantly, in the interests of the affected party. A mother with a child should not have to camp on the doorstep of various authorities to collect official documents, carrying her baby in her arms, and this is what usually happens. A system of interagency communication needs to be built, with banks included, in such a way as to ensure the unconditional execution of court decisions on the recovery of child-support payments. The state is obliged to protect the rights of the child; this is what we are talking about. I will return to this topic again later.

Colleagues,

We understand the heavy toll that the pandemic has taken on people’s welfare. Statistics show the aggravating effects of this outbreak on social inequality and poverty. It has been a challenge for all countries around the world – remember, all countries, not only Russia, are experiencing the same consequences. Certainly, we should be primarily concerned about the situation in our own country.

We are now facing price hikes that are undercutting people’s incomes. Some urgent decisions have been made, of course, but we cannot solely rely on targeted and essentially directive measures. We remember potential outcomes. Back in the late 1980s and the 1990s in the Soviet Union, they resulted in empty store shelves. But today, even when the pandemic was at its worst, we did not allow the same thing to happen.

The Government’s goal is to create conditions that will be long-term and which, I want to stress this part, colleagues, can, thanks to market mechanisms (which we have), guarantee the predictability of prices and quality replenishment of the domestic market. Nobody is saying that we will be setting prices from the top. There’s no need to muddy the waters and scare people. There are market regulatory mechanisms and they must be employed – promptly and to the extent required and appropriate to a specific situation in the economy and social sphere. We need to stimulate investment activity by reducing business risks. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Surely, the main goal right now is to ensure that people’s real incomes grow – that is, to restore them and secure their further growth. As I said, we need tangible changes in our fight against poverty.

Before anything else, the Government must provide direct support to families with children who are experiencing hardships. This has been our consistent policy and we will continue to pursue it.

We already have a system of benefits paid to parents of one or two children from the time the children are born and until they reach the age of three. Families with incomes below two subsistence minimums per family member are entitled to such benefits. The average monthly amount paid across the country is 11,300 rubles per child. Seventy-eight Russian regions pay benefits for the third child, also 11,300 rubles on average.

Please note that we are making consistent progress in this area, step by step. Last year, we introduced benefits for children aged three to seven. They range from 5,650 to 11,300 rubles per month depending on the region.

I instruct the Government to develop, by July 1, a comprehensive system of support for families with children. Our goal is to minimise the risk of poverty for such families.

But a number of new decisions need to be taken immediately, already today. It is always difficult for a single parent to raise a child. There are plenty of reasons for that. And this is not about the reasons but about supporting children. It is particularly difficult when a single-parent family is having financial problems, especially when children start going to school and family expenses objectively rise.

In particular, we must support single-parent families, where a mother or a father is bringing up a child alone, and only one of the parents is registered on the birth certificate – sorry to be speaking of such mundane things, but this is a fact of life – or the parents have divorced and one of them has the right to child-support payments. Therefore, as of July 1 this year, all children in such families aged between 8 and 16, inclusively, will receive a benefit. The national average of such benefit will be 5,650 rubles.

Of course, we must also help women who are expecting a baby and who have financial problems. It is extremely important for a mother-to-be to get support from the state and society, so that they can keep their pregnancy and know that they will receive help in raising and bringing up their child.

I propose approving a monthly subsidy for women who register at a maternity centre during early pregnancy and who have financial problems. The average subsidy for them will be 6,350 rubles a month.

Next, the sick pay for taking care of a child who falls ill depends on the employment record, which is correct, on the whole, and fair. However, young women receive much smaller sick leave payments. We have discussed this issue at the State Council, and it has been raised by the United Russia. We need to adopt legal decisions on this matter without delay, so that payments for taking care of a sick child aged up to 7 years inclusively are approved at 100 percent of the parent’s salary as soon as this year.

You understand what this means. The majority of those in this room know that the longer the employment record the larger the sick pay. Women who have a long work record usually receive full sick pay, but they usually do not have children at their age. Those who have children do not receive full pay. We must definitely help those who are expecting a baby.

I would also like to remind you that we have expanded and extended the maternity capital programme up until 2026. This benefit will now be paid already for the first child. We could not afford this before. The maternity capital has been adjusted to inflation and is almost 640,000 rubles

Free hot meals for all primary school children were approved as of January 1, 2020, and this measure has become a great help for families.

I would like to point out that all our decisions were designed to support our people. I know that many and very many people have financial problems now. The labour market and real disposable income of the people will be certainly restored, and we will move on. This has not happened yet. Therefore, I suggest approving one more one-off payment for the families that have school children, namely, 10,000 rubles per schoolchild. Moreover, this payment will also be made for the children who will only start school this year. We will transfer the money in mid-August, so that parents can get their children ready for school.

The updated Constitution of Russia includes clauses on demographic development, and protection of the family and childhood. They should be implemented in practice at all levels of government. I propose including a section aimed at supporting young people in each national project.

Friends,

During the pandemic, many young doctors and nurses, recent graduates as well as residents and students of medical universities worked courageously in the so-called red zones, joining their senior colleagues. In that extraordinary situation, teachers, schoolchildren, college and university students continued to teach and study, to have exams. Young family members supported their parents and older relatives. The youth of Russia proved to be extremely worthy during that period of trials. We can be proud of them.

We will do everything to open up as many life opportunities as possible for the younger generation. Their journey certainly begins at school, and I am sure that school will always be a second home for children; a new home, comfortable and modern.

Under the existing federal programme and with additional resources provided by the VEB Development Bank, we will build at least 1,300 new schools for more than a million children by the end of 2024. We will also purchase at least 16,000 school buses over the next four years. All school buses must be modern and safe.

Classroom teachers have been receiving a monthly addition to their salaries since last year. A very necessary and, I am sure, fair decision. I remember how we held discussions on this matter last year.

However, I have received requests, letters from teachers in secondary vocational institutions who say they have been forgotten. This is actually true. Justice must be restored. We have to fix this and establish the same additional payment of 5,000 rubles for supervisors of educational groups at technical schools and colleges.

I propose allocating an additional 10 billion rubles in the next two years for major repairs and technical equipment of our pedagogical universities. I ask the Government to pay close attention to up-to-date training of future teachers. The future of Russia largely depends on them.

Furthermore, school teaching teams should be expanded with teaching assistants, mentors and counsellors, whose job will be to organise exciting projects for children at schools.

It is very important that our young people should look to and be inspired by the achievements and victories of our outstanding ancestors and contemporaries, by their love for our Motherland and aspiration to make a personal contribution to its development. Children should have the opportunity to explore the national history and the multinational culture, our achievements in science and technology, literature and art in advanced formats. You know, I still open certain school textbooks occasionally and am surprised at what I see there – as if what is written there has nothing to do with us at all. Who writes such textbooks? Who approves them? It is unbelievable. They mention everything, the ‘second front’ and a lot of other facts, but not the Battle of Stalingrad – how is that possible? Amazing! I do not even want to comment.

I propose allocating an additional 24 billion rubles within the next three years to renovate cultural centres, libraries and museums in rural areas and small historical towns. This is another crucial area.

It is important to resume the activities of the Knowledge Society – we all remember well what it is – based on a modern digital platform. It seems to have been operational lately, but no one seems to notice it is there, either. Also, in order to support projects in culture, art and creative activities, we will set up a Presidential fund for cultural initiatives. Already this year, we will use its competitive grants to finance over 1,500 creative teams.

Colleagues,

A month from now, 11th grade students will be taking exams. Based on the results, most of them, about 60 percent, will enrol in universities and have their tuition covered from the budget. It can be safely stated that practically no country in the world apart from Russia has this kind of broad and free access to higher education.

In the next two years, we will make an additional 45,000 state-funded places available at our universities. At least 70 percent of them will go to the regions which need university graduates.

Starting this year, at least 100 universities in the constituent entities of our Federation will receive grants in the amount of 100 million rubles or more for opening student technoparks and business incubators, upgrading academic and laboratory facilities, and running training programmes. All state universities will be eligible for this support, including the ones that train future teachers, medical doctors, transport and culture workers. I am confident that the young generation of Russians, Russian scientists, will make their names known in the meaningful research projects that are yet to come.

This year was declared Science and Technology Year in our country. We realise that science is absolutely key in the modern world. Until 2024, Russia will allocate 1.63 trillion rubles from the federal budget alone for civil, including fundamental, research. But that is not all.

We are about to launch ground-breaking programmes in areas that are critical to our country. They will be given the status of nationwide projects. I would like to discuss some of them separately just to give you a sense.

First, we must have a solid and reliable shield to give us sanitary and biological safety. We now understand what it is about. It is imperative to ensure Russia’s independence in the production of the entire range of vaccines and pharmaceutical substances, including medications against infections that are resistant to the current generation of antibiotics. Importantly, this must be achieved with the maximum engagement of Russian-made equipment and domestic components.

In the event of an infection as dangerous as the coronavirus, or, God forbid, even more dangerous, Russia must be prepared to develop its own test systems within four days, precisely four days, and to create an efficacious domestic vaccine and start its mass production as soon as possible. These are the goals that we are setting for ourselves. The timeframe for achieving these goals is 2030. But the sooner we get there, the better.

Second, we need new comprehensive approaches to the development of our energy sector, including new solutions for nuclear generation in the promising areas of hydrogen energy and energy storage.

Third, we must find answers to the climate change challenges, adjust our agriculture, industry, the housing and utilities sector and the entire infrastructure to them, create a carbon utilisation sector, bring down emissions and introduce strict control and monitoring measures.

Over the next 30 years, the cumulative emissions in Russia must be smaller than in the EU. It is an ambitious goal, considering the size of our country and the specific features of its geography, climate and economic structure. However, I have no doubt whatsoever that it is a perfectly realistic goal in light of our research and technological potential.

Our new energy and pharmaceutical sectors and the solution of climate problems must provide a powerful boost to a comprehensive modernisation of all economic sectors and the social sphere. It is a direct path to the creation of modern and well-paid jobs.

The efforts taken by each level of government, business, development institutions and the Russian Academy of Sciences must have in view the main, central task: to improve the quality of life for our people. I would like to point out that our position on environmental protection is a matter of principle in this respect, and it will definitely remain unchanged.

The dangers of the alternative position have been recently exemplified by the events in Norilsk, Usolye-Sibirskoye and several other places. We will certainly help the people who live there, but we must also preclude a repetition of such environmental disasters.

I would like to ask those responsible to accelerate the adoption of a law on the financial responsibility of enterprise owners for clearing up the accumulated pollution and for the reclamation of industrial sites. This is a very simple approach. Here it is: if you have benefited from polluting the environment, clean up after yourself. We must act harshly. Rosprirodnadoz [the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources] and other regulatory authorities must do their jobs.

I would like to add that the “polluter pays” principle must also be employed in full in the waste disposal sector to ensure transition to the so-called closed-loop economy. With this aim in view, we must launch a mechanism of extended producers and importers’ responsibility for the management of products and packaging wastes as soon as this year.

I also propose marking environmental payments to the federal budget. I know that experts and financial specialists do not like such special marks, but I see this as a vital sphere of our activity. We can make an exception in this case, and invest these funds in clearing up accumulated pollution and improving the environment.

Also, as I said, the amount of hazardous emissions in Russia’s 12 largest industrial centres must be reduced by 20 percent by 2024. We have already discussed this. Obviously, this goal must be accomplished through a comprehensive modernisation of the industrial sector, the housing and utilities sector, transport and energy.

Moreover, I propose expanding the emission quota system to all Russian cities with major air quality problems and introduce strict liability for non-compliance with environmental regulations. Of course, this requires transparent monitoring.

We will definitely support the efforts of businesses to upgrade their facilities up to current environmental standards. For example, upgrading will begin this year at aluminium plants in Bratsk, Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk and Novokuznetsk based on the state guarantee mechanism. I will later name other cities and towns in other contexts but it does not mean that our work is limited to those areas. They only serve as examples.

Colleagues,

Last year, we allocated unprecedented resources for supporting the economy. Among other things, we managed to preserve over 5 million jobs through subsidised loans for wage payments. I want to stress that this programme succeeded but it succeeded precisely because businesses acted responsibly and did everything they could to keep their employees. We could see that.

Unfortunately, it was not possible to prevent layoffs completely. I understand how hard it is for those who lost their jobs. The Government was instructed to ensure that the labour market recovers by the end of the year. Still, this problem must be solved sooner so that people can have a stable income again. The Government will be encouraging entrepreneurial initiatives and stimulate private investments that create new jobs.

As you know, last year, social insurance contributions for small and medium-sized businesses were reduced by half, from 30 to 15 percent. This decision will remain in force permanently and is not subject to review.

I instruct the Government to present, within the next month, additional proposals on supporting small and medium-sized businesses, such as tax incentives, accessible loans and expanding product distribution and sales, including to major state-run companies.

As for other decisions in the economic sphere, I would like to mention the following.

First, we have already scrapped many archaic norms and requirements in construction and other fields and discontinued many unnecessary control inspections, but we also need to increase the momentum to achieve substantive, clear and tangible results in improving the business climate. For example, building a turnkey factory in Russia should be faster, more economically efficient and easier than in other regions of the world, including countries with developed economies.

Furthermore, we need to simplify the working conditions for non-commodity exporters. We have certainly been pursuing this policy line for a few years now, but we still need to remove all excessive restrictions in forex control for these exporters. This is one of the problems. The new procedure should start functioning in July. We have discussed this matter more than once. All amendments to the legislation must be adopted as quickly as possible during the spring session.

Secondly, the talent of an entrepreneur is primarily the talent of a creator, an aspiration to change life for the better, to create new jobs. The state will definitely support this attitude.

In the modern world where the market situation sometimes changes almost every day, businesses have to deal with high risks, especially when investing in long-term projects. To address this, we will be adjusting the entire private investment support system. We will evaluate how effective the projects are by the new products, services, and technologies they provide people with and how they improve the potential of Russia and each individual region.

The Special Investment Contract mechanism has already been improved; we have implemented a new instrument – Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements. We have consolidated development institutions on the basis of VEB. Their job is to reduce the risks for investing private capital, to help in the creation of new markets and investment mechanisms, the same as with the Project Finance Factory mechanism already in place. It is currently supporting more than 40 commercial projects with a total investment of 3 trillion rubles.

I am waiting for proposals from the Government on the implementation of the ideas proposed in March at a meeting with Russian businesses. Colleagues, you are well aware of this.

Third, we are making all major decisions concerning the economy through a dialogue with the business community. This is the practice established over many years. Of course, we have the right to expect that the auxiliary financial instruments and support mechanisms will bring the most desired result, which is converting profit into investment and development.

There is an important thing I want to say although it is nothing new to businesses. They know it already. The corporate sector is expected to make a record profit this year, despite all the problems that we are dealing with. Despite these problems, this is the real picture. We will take note of how this profit will be used and, based on the annual results, we may decide to calibrate the tax legislation. I want to see specific proposals from the Government. Off the record, I should note: some withdraw dividends while others invest in the development of their companies and entire industries. We will be encouraging those who invest.

Last year, we substantially increased budget expenditure while managing to maintain the stability of state finances. The Government and the Central Bank must continue to pursue a responsible financial policy. Ensuring macroeconomic stability and containing inflation within set parameters is an extremely important task. I assume that it will definitely be accomplished.

At the same time, thanks to our budget capacity and our reserves, we can allocate more funds to support investment in infrastructure and provide regions with new development instruments. Launching these instruments will require the law to be amended. I expect that all parliamentary parties – A Just Russia, the Liberal Democratic Party, the Communist Party and United Russia – will uphold these amendments.

In this regard, I want to thank all constructive public forces in the country for their responsible and patriotic attitude during this difficult epidemic. These are not just meaningless words because it was this attitude and its practical significance that helped all of us preserve the balance and stability of Russia’s government and political system. This is always important but it is especially relevant because we are preparing for the elections to the State Duma and other government bodies, considering the extensive work we will have to carry out. I hope that this competitive mindset that unites us in the face of common goals will persist.

Colleagues,

The country is developing and moving forward, but this is only taking place when the regions of the Russian Federation are developing. A striving of the heads of constituent entities to make their regions successful and self-sufficient must be and will be encouraged in every way.

We will support those who assume responsibility and launch constructive projects. I am confident that every Russian region has huge potential. To help make positive and productive use of this potential, what must we reduce first of all? The governors know what I am referring to: we must reduce the debt burden. These topics must be thoroughly discussed once again.

I ask the Government to submit by June 1 the proposals on ensuring long-term stability of regional and municipal finance and on increasing the regions’ self-sufficiency. We will discuss them in summer at a State Council meeting, and we will do so with due regard for the priority decisions about which I will tell you now.

First of all, we must help regions with large commercial debts. Here is what I suggest: the amount of a region’s commercial debt that exceeds 25 percent of the given region’s own revenues will be replaced with budgetary loans that will mature in 2029.

In addition, I propose restructuring the budgetary loans, yes, budgetary loans that were issued to the regions last year for taking measures to combat the pandemic. I believe that this would be fair. I would like to remind everyone that these loans will mature in two months, on July 1. I suggest extending them to 2029 as well.

I would like to emphasise that the restructuring of accumulated debts should be used as a mechanism of increasing the self-sufficiency of regional economies, especially considering that we will be offering a fundamentally new development tool to our constituent entities. I am referring to the so-called budgetary infrastructure loans with an interest rate of not more than 3 percent per annum and with maturity in 15 years. We intend to allocate a total of at least 0.5 trillion rubles, that is, 500 billion rubles of such infrastructure loans by the end of 2023.

Regional debt restructuring must be based on the concept of justice, which has always been the case, actually. Some constituent entities have large accumulated commercial debts, while other entities did not take out many loans. The latter may feel neglected in this case. This will not do, and we will not permit this. We will support those who have always pursued and continue to pursue a balanced financial policy. The principle of the distribution of infrastructure loans will be as follows: the fewer debts a region had, the more it will be able to receive in infrastructure loans.

We are one country. All levels of government and business must work to one end. Debt restructuring and an innovative investment resource in the form of infrastructure loans will allow us to expand the planning horizon and to launch new solutions that are tied in with the implementation of national projects, sector-specific strategies and a comprehensive plan for upgrading the backbone infrastructure.

Federal infrastructure loans are a powerful resource, but whether they will help us get ahead or attract private investment hugely depends on what regional management teams do and on their ability to conduct an open and candid dialogue with businesses, investors, and, of course, primarily, individuals.

The infrastructure projects in the regions must be implemented, primarily, in the interests of the people, and serve as investment in the creation of new jobs and in promoting the well-being of millions of Russian households and securing the future of our children. The priorities will be building motorways and bypasses in urban areas, upgrading the housing and utilities sector infrastructure and the public transport system, as well as conducting integrated development of territories and building tourist facilities.

Please note that the infrastructure and budget loans will be fully under the control of the Federal Treasury and will be provided exclusively for specific projects that have been thoroughly analysed by experts at the federal level. While we are at it, I would like to say something to regional leaders and the Government: listen, let’s work in a rhythmic and business-like manner. I do not want to use harsh or rude language at this rostrum, but things must be done on time and projects must be prepared, not just pictures shown to the Government. In turn, the Government must quickly process the projects and help the regions deal with things they have problems dealing with. You must help your colleagues, you understand that? Not trash what they have brought to you and say they did a bad job. Some of them are unable to do what you ask of them. Help them, and then things will be on the path forwards.

The scale of the projects may vary, but most importantly, as I said, they must benefit our people and open up new opportunities. For example, in conjunction with our major companies and using the proposed mechanism, the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area will begin the construction of the Northern Latitudinal Railway. This is the railway that will spur the development of the richest resources of the Arctic. This project has been in the works for a long time now, and it’s time to launch it, since we can do so now. For example, as a result, Nizhny Novgorod will be able to continue building the metro and to start renovating the city centre. Chelyabinsk, another city with a million-plus residents, will also have the opportunity to upgrade its transport system through a long-standing metro construction project. I am aware of other similar projects in Krasnoyarsk and other regions.

And, of course, the construction of new facilities must be at a qualitatively higher level. I want the Government to draft a clear step-by-step plan for the end-to-end and widespread use of digital design, and the production and introduction of cutting-edge energy-efficient materials. This is also important if we want to tackle the climate and environmental challenges.

Large-scale infrastructure development sets fundamentally new tasks before the construction industry. In the difficult past year, it worked smoothly and built over 80 million square metres of housing. This is a good result. The more we build, the more affordable housing will there be for Russian families.

Therefore, we have an ambitious goal. We have already discussed it as well and this ambitious goal has not disappeared– we plan to build 120 million square metres of housing every year. That said, we must certainly envisage a special mechanism for supporting private housing construction.

As for large-scale construction, the DOM.RF development institute will attract financial resources through the placement of bonds. This is a tried and tested mechanism that generally works well. These resources must go to developers as targeted loans.

I would like to emphasise that federal budget subsidies will allow DOM.RF to issue loans to developers at a minimal annual rate of about 3–4 percent. The construction of residential neighbourhoods in Tula, Tyumen, the Sakhalin Region and Kuzbass will be pilot projects for developing this model.

Improvement of cities and towns and housing construction growth play a major role in the development of the regions. We must take care of the urgent, daily problems of local residents. Quite a few Russian families live in areas connected to gas networks but their homes still have no access to gas for some reason. It seems the pipe is there but there is no gas at home.

I would like to ask the Government to work out, in cooperation with the regions, a clear-cut plan for bringing gas to such households. In this context, I support United Russia’s initiative, notably, that people do not have to pay for laying gas pipes directly to the border of their land plots in a residential area.

As I have already said, the Government must analyse all details in cooperation with Gazprom and other companies and agencies that work in this area to prevent any setbacks. Otherwise, I will say something from this rostrum and people will be waiting for it but because you don’t put some squiggles or commas in the right place everything will get bogged down again. This is unacceptable, and I will check on it myself, so please pay attention. Mosoblgaz and other companies must understand what they must do, in what timeframe and how much money they have at their disposal.

The goal is certainly more extensive. We must offer every region our solutions on public access to reliable and clean energy sources. This may be electricity, including from renewable sources, or environmentally friendly use of coal, which is also an option in the modern world, pipeline or liquefied gas. I instruct the regional heads to prepare, in coordination with the Government, detailed plans of action and start implementing them next year.

For example, in Kamchatka we must envisage the creation of local gas-receiving infrastructure to ensure reliable long-term gas supplies to the residents and companies of the Kamchatka Territory.

Colleagues,

We will not only give fundamentally new development tools to the regions, but will also directly invest federal resources into the settlement of the worst systemic problems, which will have a compound effect on boosting the regions’ growth and improving the quality of people’s lives.

We will begin with allocations from the National Welfare Fund for building mainline motorways. First of all, we should finance the ongoing construction of the Moscow-Kazan high-speed road and, more than that, extend it all the way to Yekaterinburg, completing this project within three years.

This way, together with the existing Moscow-St Petersburg high-speed road and the Central Ring Road, this will ensure safe high-speed motorway transit across the entire European part of Russia, from the Baltic Sea to the Urals, by 2024.

However, it is not enough to simply connect the end-of-line destinations. What good will this do, if it does not change anything about life in villages or small towns but only gives the people there an opportunity to watch high-speed trains and vehicles rush past? The backbone infrastructure must definitely lead to the development of all the territories where it has been built, giving rise to the development of a modern regional network.

The constituent entities will now be able to use infrastructure loans to speed up the implementation of these construction projects. But in their development plans, our colleagues should remember and take into account that the federal and regional mainlines must function as a unified system in the interests of our citizens, businesses and regions. In this way, the infrastructure loans and the resources of the National Welfare Fund will be working for the benefit of all Russian regions.

The same goes for our new national project in the tourist sphere. A programme of easy loans will be launched soon to finance the construction and renovation of hotels and other tourist infrastructure. The interest rate on these loans will be 3–5 percent as well, and the loans will mature in 15 years.

There are many other pilot projects. I will only mention some of them: the development of Sheregesh, the leading mountain ski resort in Kuzbass; the creation of a yachting resort in the Bay of Balaklava in Sevastopol; and the development of the tourist industry on the Altai and in the Kaliningrad Region.

The infrastructure loans project will give a new impetus to entire tourist clusters. In particular, several regions in Central Russia will be able to modernise and expand the Golden Ring route at a fundamentally new level, realising the tourist potential of small towns such as Tarusa, Palekh, Murom, Gorokhovets, Tutayev and Borovsk. Development projects will be launched in the Volga Region cities, the Crimean resorts, the Black Sea and Pacific coast areas, as well as in our resort towns such as Staraya Russa in the Novgorod Region and Kavkazskiye Mineralnye Vody in the Caucasus, including its gem, Kislovodsk.

Russia is a hospitable country that is open to its good friends. You surely remember what happened during the 2018 football championships. As soon as the epidemiological situation allows, we will lift the remaining restrictions and millions of tourists from all over the world will come to Russia again. We have a practical task at hand: to ensure that e-visas for travel to Russia are available remotely and without undue formalities within a matter of four days in the majority of countries.

Colleagues,

The meaning and purpose of Russia’s policy in the international arena – I will just say a few words about this to conclude my address – is to ensure peace and security for the well-being of our citizens, for the stable development of our country. Russia certainly has its own interests we defend and will continue to defend within the framework of international law, as all other states do. And if someone refuses to understand this obvious thing or does not want to conduct a dialogue and chooses a selfish and arrogant tone with us, Russia will always find a way to defend its stance.

At the same time, unfortunately, everyone in the world seems to be used to the practice of politically motivated, illegal economic sanctions and to certain actors’ brutal attempts to impose their will on others by force. But today, this practice is degenerating into something even more dangerous – I am referring to the recently exposed direct interference in Belarus in an attempt to orchestrate a coup d’état and assassinate the President of that country. At the same time, it is typical that even such flagrant actions have not been condemned by the so-called collective West. Nobody seemed to notice. Everyone pretends nothing is happening.

But listen, you can think whatever you like of, say, Ukrainian President [Viktor] Yanukovych or [Nicolas] Maduro in Venezuela. I repeat, you can like or dislike them, including Yanukovych who almost got killed, too, and removed from power via an armed coup. You can have your own opinion of President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko’s policy. But the practice of staging coups d’état and planning political assassinations, including those of high-ranking officials – well, this goes too far. This is beyond any limits.

Suffice it to mention the admission made by the detained participants in the conspiracy about a planned siege of Minsk, including plans to block the city infrastructure and communications, and a complete shutdown of the entire power system in the capital of Belarus! This actually means they were preparing a massive cyberattack. What else could it be? You know, you cannot just do it all with one switch.

Clearly, there is a reason why our Western colleagues have been stubbornly rejecting Russia’s numerous proposals to establish an international dialogue on information and cyber security. We have come up with these proposals many times. They avoid even discussing this matter.

What if there had been a real attempt at a coup d’état in Belarus? After all, this was the ultimate goal. How many people would have been hurt? What would have become of Belarus? Nobody is thinking about this.

Just as no one was thinking about the future of Ukraine during the coup in that country.

All the while, unfriendly moves towards Russia have also continued unabated. Some countries have taken up an unseemly routine where they pick on Russia for any reason, most often, for no reason at all. It is some kind of new sport of who shouts the loudest.

In this regard, we behave in an extremely restrained manner, I would even say, modestly, and I am saying this without irony. Often, we prefer not to respond at all, not just to unfriendly moves, but even to outright rudeness. We want to maintain good relations with everyone who participates in the international dialogue. But we see what is happening in real life. As I said, every now and then they are picking on Russia, for no reason. And of course, all sorts of petty Tabaquis are running around them like Tabaqui ran around Shere Khan – everything is like in Kipling’s book – howling along in order to make their sovereign happy. Kipling was a great writer.

We really want to maintain good relations with all those engaged in international communication, including, by the way, those with whom we have not been getting along lately, to put it mildly. We really do not want to burn bridges. But if someone mistakes our good intentions for indifference or weakness and intends to burn or even blow up these bridges, they must know that Russia’s response will be asymmetrical, swift and tough.

Those behind provocations that threaten the core interests of our security will regret what they have done in a way they have not regretted anything for a long time.

At the same time, I just have to make it clear, we have enough patience, responsibility, professionalism, self-confidence and certainty in our cause, as well as common sense, when making a decision of any kind. But I hope that no one will think about crossing the “red line” with regard to Russia. We ourselves will determine in each specific case where it will be drawn.

I will now say, just as I always do during the annual addresses to the Federal Assembly, that the improvement and qualitative strengthening of Russia’s Armed Forces continues on a regular basis. In particular, special attention will be given to the development of military education both at military school and academies and at military training centres at civilian universities.

By 2024, the share of modern weapons and military equipment in the armed forces will reach nearly 76 percent, which is a very good indicator. This share in the nuclear triad will be over 88 percent before this year is out.

Standing on combat duty are the latest Avangard hypersonic intercontinental missile systems and the Peresvet combat laser systems, and the first regiment armed with Sarmat super-heavy intercontinental ballistic missiles is scheduled to go on combat duty in late 2022.

The number of combat air systems with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles, and warships armed with precision hypersonic weapons such as Kinzhal that I mentioned, and with the Kalibr missiles, is increasing. The Tsirkon hypersonic missiles will be put on combat duty soon. Work is underway on other modern combat systems, including Poseidon and Burevestnik, in accordance with the development plans of the Armed Forces.

As the leader in the creation of new-generation combat systems and in the development of modern nuclear forces, Russia is urging its partners once again to discuss the issues related to strategic armaments and to ensuring global stability. The subject matter and the goal of these talks could be the creation of an environment for a conflict-free coexistence based on the security equation, which would include not only the traditional strategic armaments, such as intercontinental ballistic missiles, heavy bombers and submarines, but – I would like to emphasise this – all offensive and defensive systems capable of attaining strategic goals regardless of the armament.

The five nuclear countries bear special responsibility. I hope that the initiative on a personal meeting of the heads of state of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, which we proposed last year, will materialise and will be held as soon as the epidemiological situation allows.

Russia is always open to broad international cooperation. We have consistently advocated the preservation and strengthening of the key role of the United Nations in international affairs, and we try to provide assistance to the settlement of regional conflicts and have already done a great deal to stabilise the situation in Syria and to launch a political dialogue in Libya. As you know, Russia played the main role in stopping the armed conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.

It is on the basis of mutual respect that we are building relations with the absolute majority of the world’s countries: in Asia, Latin America, Africa and many European countries. We are consistently expanding as a priority contacts with our closest partners in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, BRICS, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and our allies in the Collective Security Treaty Organisation.

Our common projects in the Eurasian Economic Union are aimed at ensuring economic growth and the wellbeing of our people. There are new, interesting projects here, such as the development of transport-and-logistics corridors. I am sure they will become a reliable infrastructure backbone for large-scale Eurasian partnership. The Russian ideas of this broad, open association are already being put into practice, in part, via alignment with other integration processes.

All these projects are not just geopolitical ideas but strictly practical instruments for resolving national development tasks.

Colleagues,

I began today’s Address with urgent healthcare issues, and concluding it, I would like to say the following. Nobody in the world knew what misfortune we would have to face. However, we, citizens of Russia, have already done much and will do all we can to counter the threat of the epidemic. Our country has reliable resources for this. We created them in healthcare, science, education and industry in previous years.

However, we must definitely move forward. We have mapped out national development tasks. Naturally, the challenge of the epidemic has made objective adjustments to our work. Today’s Address contains instructions on demography and family support, as well as on efforts to fight poverty, increase incomes, create jobs, improve the business environment and raise state management to a new level.

I would like to ask the Government to focus on these tasks in preparing new initiatives on Russia’s socioeconomic development and instruct it to present them by July 1 of this year.

What do I have in mind? Doing everyday work, we must certainly not forget about our strategic development goals and our national development goals, and we must improve the mechanisms for reaching them.

We will discuss the Government’s proposals with the participation of the relevant State Council commissions, our business associations, experts and the Civic Chamber. Following such a broad discussion, we will make final decisions on further financial and organisational actions at the meeting of the Council for Strategic Development and National Projects.

Now I would like to address all citizens of Russia once again to say that we will do everything in our power to achieve the goals set. I am sure we will move forward together and accomplish all the tasks that we have set for ourselves.

Thank you very much for your attention.

The National Anthem of the Russian Federation is played.

A Palestinian Prayer for Ramadan: May the Voices of the Oppressed Be Heard

April 21, 2021

Palestinian Muslims performing prayers and reading Quran in the Great Al-Omari Mosque in the early days of the holy month of Ramadan. (Photo: Fawzi Mahmoud, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Ramzy Baroud

COVID-19 cases in Palestine, especially in Gaza, have reached record highs, largely due to the arrival of a greatly contagious coronavirus variant which was first identified in Britain.

Gaza has always been vulnerable to the deadly pandemic. Under a hermetic Israeli blockade since 2006, the densely populated Gaza Strip lacks basic services like clean water, electricity, or minimally-equipped hospitals. Therefore, long before COVID-19 ravaged many parts of the world, Palestinians in Gaza were dying as a result of easily treatable diseases such as diarrhea, salmonella and typhoid fever.

Needless to say, Gaza’s cancer patients have little fighting chance, as the besieged Strip is left without many life-saving medications. Many Palestinian cancer patients continue to cling to the hope that Israel’s military authorities will allow them access to the better equipped Palestinian West Bank hospitals. Alas, quite often, death arrives before the long-awaited Israeli permit does.

The tragedy in Gaza – in fact in all of occupied Palestine – is long and painful. Still, it ought not to be classified as another sad occasion that invokes much despair but little action.

In fact, the struggle of the Palestinians is integral to a larger struggle for fundamental human rights that can be witnessed throughout the Middle East which, according to a recent Carnegie Corporation report, is one of the most economically unequal regions in the world.

From war-torn Libya to war-torn Syria, to Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan and many parts of the Arab and Muslim world, the dual tragedy of war and want is a scathing reminder of the price ordinary people pay for frivolous power struggles that yield nothing but more uncertainty and achieve nothing but more hatred.

Once more, the holy month of Ramadan visits the Muslim Ummah while its tragedies are still festering – new conflicts, unfinished wars, an ever-expanding death toll and a never-ending stream of refugees. Sadly, not even Ramadan, a month associated with peace, mercy and unity, is enough to bring about however fleeting moments of tranquility, or a respite from hunger and war for numerous Muslim communities around the world.

In Palestine, the Israeli occupation often takes even more sinister turns during this month, as if to intentionally compound the suffering felt by Palestinians. On April 14, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and preacher of Al-Aqsa Mosque called on Arabs and Muslims to intervene so that Israel may cease its harassment of Palestinians at the holy shrines of Al Quds – occupied East Jerusalem.

Aside from the increased attacks by Jewish extremists, who are now storming Al-Aqsa Mosque at a significantly higher rate than ever before, the Israeli occupation authorities have “removed the doors of the Mosque’s minarets, cut the electrical wires of loudspeakers to prevent the Adhan (call to prayer) and seized (Ramadan) iftar meals, in addition to threatening to storm the Mosque on the final days of the holy month of Ramadan,” Sheikh Hussein said in a statement.

Israel fully comprehends the spiritual connection that Palestinians, whether Muslims or Christians, have to their religious symbols. For Muslims, this rapport is further accentuated during the holy month of Ramadan. Severing this connection is equal to breaking the collective spirit of the Palestinian people.

These are only a few examples of a multifaceted and deeply rooted tragedy felt by most Palestinians. Numerous similar stories, though of different political and spatial contexts, are communicated every day throughout the Muslim world. Yet, there is no meaningful discussion of a collective remedy, of a strategy, of a thoughtful answer.

Ramadan is intended to be a time when Muslims are united on the basis of a wholly different criterion: where political and ideological differences disappear in favor of spiritual unity which is expressed in fasting, prayer, charity and kindness. Unfortunately, what we are witnessing is not Ramadan as it was intended to be, but different manifestations of the holy month, each catering to a different class – a painful but true expression of the disunity and inequality that have afflicted the Muslim Ummah.

There is the Ramadan of boundless wealth, finely catered iftar meals, coupled with endless, cheap entertainment. In this Ramadan, platitudes are often offered about charity and the poor, but little is delivered.

There is also the Ramadan of Palestine, Sudan and Yemen, of the Syrian refugee camps and of little dinghies dotting the Mediterranean, carrying thousands of desperate families, holding little but their hope of a better future beyond some horizon. For them, Ramadan is a stream of prayers that the world, especially their Muslim brethren, may come to their rescue. For them, there is little entertainment because there is no electricity and there are no massive iftar feasts because there is no money.

“Dua” is Arabic for supplication. For the oppressed, dua is the last resort; at times, even a weapon against oppression in all of its forms. This is why we often see bereaved Muslims raising their open palms to the sky whenever tragedy has befallen them. Ramadan is the month where the poor, destitute and oppressed raise their hands to Heaven, beseeching God in various accents and languages to hear their prayers.

They are reassured by such hadiths – sayings of Prophet Mohammed – as this: “The supplications of three persons are never turned away: a fasting person until he breaks his fast, a just ruler and the supplication of the oppressed which is raised by Allah above the clouds, the gates of Heaven are opened for it, and the Lord says: By my might, I will help you in due time.”

There has never been a more critical time for the Ummah to work together, to heal its collective wound, to uplift its down-trodden, to care for its poor, to embrace its refugees and to fight for its oppressed. Many Muslim communities around the world are aching and their pain is unbearable. Perhaps this Ramadan can serve as the opportunity for social justice to be finally enacted and for the oppressed to be heard so that their hymn of torment and hope may rise above the clouds.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and also at the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

Gilad Atzmon on Israel’s Pandemic at Keep Talking Meeting (London)

Gilad Atzmon on Israel's Pandemic at Keep Talking Meeting (London) — Gilad  Atzmon thoughts and music

 BY GILAD ATZMON

Ian Fantom writes: Israel had gone farther than any other country in mass vaccination and the introduction of vaccination passports. Atzmon queried how the ‘British variant’ of COVID-19 could have reached Israel, when international travel had virtually come to a stop. Then, in a series of statistical analyses he shows how the occurrence of the ‘British variant’ increases in the countries where mass vaccinations have taken place. That suggests that the spread of the ‘British variant’ is associated with the vaccinations rather than with the spread of a virus. During the Q&A session the question arose of just how it could be possible for the public to be so accepting. One person talked of the ‘hijacking’ of various organisations and movements. Gilad answered in some detail with his observations of how the Left had largely abandoned its original values and was now more interested in woke issues, and was now even supporting the Right on the issue of COVID.

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Continued lockdowns are a ticking time bomb that will cause a global health crisis in the near future

moi

April 14, 2021, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

By continuing to push for lockdowns to ‘protect hospitals’, authorities worldwide are denying millions of cancer sufferers and other seriously ill people essential treatment. This will lead to many unnecessary deaths.

It is shocking that in 2021, surgeries for cancer and other critical ailments are being delayed. But thanks to the hysteria over overcrowded ICUs, staggering numbers of patients are being denied life-saving treatments for up to one year.

UK media recently reported a drop of around 350,000 urgent cancer referrals between March last year and January this year, compared to the same period in the previous 12 months. A researcher described the situation as a “ticking time bomb.” There has also been a decrease in surgeries and chemotherapy and radiology treatments, “with 44,000 fewer patients diagnosed with cancer starting treatment.”

This problem is not unique to Britain. Canadian provinces face similarly unacceptable numbers of delayed surgeries and treatments. As of April, Ontario has a backlog of 245,367 “medically necessary procedures.” A 60% drop in cancer surgeries was reported when the pandemic struck last March , leaving over 36,000 Ontario cancer patients in agonizing limbo.

During stay-at-home orders in 2020, some patients chose to avoid hospitals, either out of worry about becoming ill or through fear of being forcibly estranged from family and loved ones. But also, then and now, elective surgeries and treatments have been halted under the premise that ICUs are overwhelmed.

Ontario recently went into a new lockdown, and with it we saw an increase in alarmist reports of ICUs being crowded. And so elective surgeries have been stopped again. It’s worth bearing in mind that these are not necessarily cosmetic or trivial procedures, but refer to surgeries scheduled in advance, including those to treat cancer.

However, some Ontario doctors are now speaking out, providing anecdotal evidence that there are plenty of ICU doctors, and even that most are “underemployed.”

As I wrote last week, every year in flu season, we’ve had reports of overcrowding in hospitals, with some bursting at the seams.

But Ontario politicians and medical officers continue to claim that locking down is necessary to allow hospitals to cope with the influx of Covid patients.

Even if the figure of 109 new ICU hospitalizations of Covid cases between April 4 and 10 is correct, it’s worth pointing that Ontario’s population is just under 15 million. The province is locked down and surgeries are being halted because of a rise in ICU hospitalizations that equates to 0.007% of the population.

And while the media makes constant reference to the number of Covid cases, if you look at deaths attributed to the virus, the number is actually very low. As of April 13, Health Canada lists that number (for the last 14 days) as two in Ontario.

In my opinion, the reason for stopping elective surgeries has more to do with the ensuring the incessant alarmism around “rising cases” continues. Talk of “cases” is meaningless, as I’ve written about before, noting that the testing gives false positives. This was demonstrated by Tanzania’s late president when fruit he had tested for Covid came back positive.

A climate of fear also helps with the vaccine rollout and persuading the public into accepting rushed, potentially dangerous vaccines so that life can “go back to normal” and people can have the life-saving surgeries they are otherwise being denied.

On top of all this, there are also suggestions that the lockdowns are actually causing health issues. Common sense dictates that the lack of exercise and sunshine people have experienced, plus the increased stress and anxiety, despair, and loneliness, will affect their health and immune systems.

But there’s more.

In a tragic irony, some of the globally pushed measures to fight Covid have been shown to be dangerous. In addition to other negative results of prolonged mask wearing, there are types of face covering that potentially cause lung cancer. Canada’s state media highlighted the danger of some, noting: “One model of mask distributed to Quebec schools and daycares may be dangerous for the lungs as they could contain a potentially toxic material, according to a directive sent out by the provincial government.

“Health Canada conducted a preliminary risk assessment which revealed a potential for early lung damage associated with inhalation of microscopic graphene particles.”

Further, the goop people have been obsessively slathering on their hands can be toxic, containing cancer-causing benzene.

A recent Newsweek article spoke of “dangerous levels of benzene in 21 of 260 batches of hand sanitizer.” It stated, “In the case of hand sanitizers, benzene can enter the body through inhalation or absorption through the skin and is known to cause blood cancers such as leukemia.

This is hugely concerning when you consider that, among the disturbing measures children were forced to follow when at school this past year, they were made to regularly cover their hands in sanitizer.

Is all this really what we want? I can’t imagine the physical pain and psychological torture patients and loved ones are enduring, knowing that treatable cancer is spreading and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Or that patients with heart conditions will just have to hang in there until the powers that be decide there is no ICU crisis.

It’s a very twisted reality we live in, where cancer surgery and operations needed to stay alive are now deemed surgeries that will just have to wait. It doesn’t need to be this way – and the ultimate irony is that it’s being done in the name of ‘public safety’.

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Everything You Need to Know about Israel and its Mass Vaccination Campaign

 BY GILAD ATZMON

https://youtu.be/Iv9f66TSJkk or https://www.bitchute.com/video/misK9o18fpzD/

In this interview with Piero San Giorgio I delve into the most problematic aspects of Israel’s mass vaccination campaign and the authoritarian nature of the new Covid religion. I examine the correlation between vaccinations, mutants and death. I explain why Britain, Israel and other Vaxi-nations are desperate to vaccinate their entire populations. These countries are basically attempting to eradicate the control group (Control group is the standard to which comparisons are made in an experiment e.g. comparison between the vaccinated and the non-vaccinated). I attempt to analyse the current deadly chaos in post political terms as both Left and Right ideologies have collapsed long time ago.

Following are the graphs I mention in the interview:

Graph 1.

1. EXPONENTIAL RISE.28.png

Graph 2

2. DROP IN MUMBERS.43.png

Graph 3

3.vcd.jpg

Graph 4

4. Israel drops 30%.06.png

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The Coming Antibiotic-Resistance Pandemic that Could Make COVID Look Like the Flu

By Alan Macleaod

Source

While the Global South overprescribes antibiotics, in the West farm animals are pumped full of them, farmers even giving them to healthy animals so they can be packed tighter in ever-increasing herd sizes.

GENEVA — Big pharmaceutical companies have not come out of COVID-19 looking like model global citizens. Pfizer has been accused of bullying South American governments after demanding they put up military bases as collateral in exchange for vaccines. Meanwhile, Bill Gates persuaded Oxford University to sign an exclusive deal with AstraZeneca for its new offering, rather than allow it to be copied freely by all. The British/Swedish multinational quickly announced it would fall 50 million vaccines short on its first shipment to the European Union.

But what if there were a looming health crisis that could make COVID look almost minor in comparison? The World Health Organization (WHO) has been warning of just such a case for some time now, predicting that antimicrobial resistance will kill up to 10 million people every year by 2050 — almost four times as many as the coronavirus has killed in the past 12 months.

“Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today,” they write, noting that without effective antibiotics all manner of conditions — including pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhea, and salmonellosis — could become far more deadly. Drug companies are making this situation worse by encouraging the overuse of our precious stores of antibiotics, particularly in the Global South and also by refusing to invest enough resources into creating new ones.

Global overuse

The more antibiotics are used, the more resistant bacteria become to them, meaning that humanity must guard its reserves and slow down the pathogens’ adaptive evolution by using them only when necessary. Between 2000 and 2015, antibiotic consumption decreased by 4% in rich nations but increased by 77% in developing ones, and their overuse has become rampant across the world. The poorer enforcement of medical laws in these countries leads manufacturers to “adopt unethical marketing approaches and develop creative ways to incentivize prescribing among healthcare providers,” in the words of Dr. Giorgia Sulis, an infectious disease physician and epidemiologist at McGill University, Quebec.

As Sulis explained to MintPress:

India is perhaps the best example in this regard, due to its large pharmaceutical market and the predominant role of the private sector in healthcare delivery. A private sector that is highly fragmented and largely unregulated, where a substantial proportion of providers lack any sort of formal medical training, is extremely vulnerable to [these kinds] of bad business strategies.”

Superbugs already kill an estimated 58,000 babies inside the country each year.

While India does have a national healthcare system, it is chronically understaffed and underequipped, leaving most of the population to rely on one of the millions of informal providers — health workers who have no official qualifications. Informal providers vastly outnumber trained professionals.

“There is a very haphazardly integrated type of medicine, which is practiced all over India. We have a professionalized modern healthcare system with regulations. But it is a system that is limited” in its size and scope, explained the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’s Meenakshi Gautham, an expert on antibiotic use in South Asia. “Informal providers or para-health workers are the ones who continue to meet the healthcare needs of millions of people who don’t have access to the formal health system.”

India Antibiotics
A man sorts through a bag of expired and partially used medication in New Delhi. Saurabh Das | AP

These informal providers are a goldmine of profits for big pharma. A 2019 study by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found that a host of drug companies ply them with cash incentives, gift cards, medical equipment, vacations, televisions, free samples, and discounts on bulk purchases — all of which were intended to increase antibiotic use, thereby risking overprescription. Some salesmen admitted to undercover reporters that they knew the drugs were being misused, but that they were motivated purely by profit. They also revealed that they would promote drugs to informal providers based on their profitability, not their efficacy.

These informal workers are commonly written off derisively as “quacks” who give out treatments mindlessly. While Dr. Gautham’s work found that they often do have major holes in their medical understanding, she defended them as a vital part of a healthcare system under which seeing a qualified doctor is beyond the financial means of millions. “You might assume that they are illiterate and they are quacks and they do not know what they are doing but that is not true. What we found was that about 30% may even be graduates or postgraduates,” she said, adding that most had worked as doctors’ assistants and continued to be mentored by them.

Informal practitioners are usually respected and important members of their communities and, when in doubt, often consult qualified doctors on the best course of action. Dr. Gautham’s study also found that they did not prescribe any “reserve” antibiotics — powerful medications considered a last resort and therefore used in hospitals as sparingly as possible.

Unfortunately, informal practitioners routinely prescribe less than full courses of antibiotics, despite the fact that this is a huge driver of resistance. This is not done out of ignorance, but rather because India is such an unequal society that poor patients simply cannot afford long courses of antibiotics. “Packages are customized based on patients’ paying capacity. If the patient cannot afford a full course, then they will be given two or three days of antibiotics — or even less,” Dr. Gautham noted. The effect of this is that bacterial infections become stronger and more resistant to treatment with antibiotics. And bacteria do not respect borders. Consequently, the extreme inequality in much of the Global South is a direct threat to human survival elsewhere.

Thus, any top down approach simply banning informal practitioners from handing out antibiotics would surely do more harm than good, given the huge shortage of qualified doctors. Furthermore, Dr. Sulis’s study found that qualified practitioners were actually more likely to prescribe antibiotics than the so-called “quacks.” This could be because licensed professionals are subject to exactly the same incentives and financial rewards that their unlicensed peers are under — a system that also prevails across the United States.

In 2019, ProPublica found more than 700 American doctors who had received more than $1 million each from drug and medical device companies. It is commonplace for U.S. doctors to receive financial and other rewards for prescribing certain drugs, a system that undermines their neutrality. Across the world, big pharma wines and dines medical professionals in expensive resorts, claiming these events are educational conferences. But the line between informative events and expense-paid vacations is not always easy to distinguish.

Making a big problem bigger

A second way in which giant pharmaceutical corporations are aiding the spread of resistance is their refusal to devote the necessary resources towards replenishing stores of new antibiotics. Investment in the area has rapidly dwindled. “The big problem is that we do not have any novel antibiotics in the pipeline that we can expect to see in the near future… So we really have to protect those that we do have,” Dr. Gautham told MintPress.

And while the Global South overprescribes antibiotics, in the West farm animals are pumped full of them, farmers even giving them to healthy animals so they can be packed tighter in ever-increasing herd sizes. The WHO notes that in many countries, 80% of medically important antibiotic consumption goes to farm animals and has strongly recommended a wholesale reduction of the practice.

factory farm
Herds of cattle at a factory farm in Coalinga, California. Gary Kazanjian | AP

Antibiotics used in farms spill over into the surrounding environment through run-off and waste, creating resistance to drugs and endangering human health. Unfortunately, the for-profit corporate agriculture sector has little regard for the consequences. As one paper in the British Journal of General Practice noted,

In animals and fish, antibiotics are used as a substitute for good hygiene, with little understanding of how this might impact on antimicrobial resistance in humans. As a society we must urgently reconsider how we use antimicrobials to preserve this valuable resource for future generations.”

The hyper-exploitation of animals is also leading to dangerous outbreaks of zoonotic (animal to human) diseases.

Ultimately, the problem of antibiotic overprescription is structural in nature, and there is little end to it in sight. As Dr. Sulis told MintPress: “The industry has no interest at all in raising awareness on the importance of using antibiotics wisely and the potential implications of inappropriate use, including overprescription,” although she noted that it was difficult to accurately weigh up the proportion of blame they deserved and to disentangle their role from other key drivers of the crisis.

Nothing to see here, just a looming disaster

The negative effects of this looming scenario are profound. Since the adoption of penicillin in the 1940s, the widespread use of antibiotics is estimated to have extended average life expectancy by 20 years. Dr. Gautham noted that “as antibiotic overuse keeps increasing, then all those antibiotics that we have today will slowly become ineffective against even the most common infections.”

Thus the conditions of the past will become the maladies of the future. Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, cesarean sections, and other common surgeries will be in major jeopardy, as they require antibiotics to prevent any post-surgical and opportunistic infections. Healthcare costs will spike as conditions that were treatable in a few days will draw on for weeks, and some cases may not be recoverable. As Dr. Sulis warned:

The consequences ultimately affect everyone on the planet. We are already facing a dramatic increase in incidence of multi-drug- and extremely drug-resistant infections, but we are running out of effective therapeutic options. This scenario is bound to get worse over the next few years and, in the absence of countermeasures, it will have an impact on healthcare as a whole, not to mention the economic losses.”

For such a profound problem, which threatens the very foundation of modern medicine, the story is receiving barely any attention in the media. Indeed, so uninterested is the press in pharmaceutical profiteering accelerating superbugs that media-literacy group Project Censored chose it as one of their top 25 most censored stories of 2019-2020. The only substantial corporate reporting on the unethical sale of antibiotics, their research showed, was a single 2016 investigation by The New York Times.

Unlike with COVID, there is still time to prevent mass suffering. And yet this systemic problem appears to be getting worse, not better, as we move closer towards it. If the past year has taught humanity anything, it is that bugs do not respect borders and increased global planning and cooperation are vital to meet the planet’s most pressing problems head-on. Unfortunately, it seems we are sleepwalking into another preventable catastrophe. And few are even talking about it.

Large-Scale Covid Outbreaks in Michigan: The NYT Suppresses. Why?

About me - Stephen Lendman

By Stephen Lendman

Source

According to the Times, (seasonal flu-renamed covid) outbreaks rose sharply in Michigan in greater numbers than elsewhere nationwide.

Instead of earlier lockdowns that caused infinitely greater harm than any combination of serious diseases, Governor Gretchen Whitmer chose not to once again mandate draconian measures ordered earlier, saying:

“Policy change alone won’t change the tide,” adding:

“We need everyone to step up and to take personal responsibility here.”

Instead of truth and full disclosure, the Times falsely said there’s “no single reason Michigan has been hit so hard in recent weeks (sic),” adding:

“Recent infections suggest that (removing restrictions to) social gatherings (are) driving case increases (sic).

“Children are also accounting for a higher percentage of cases, with spring break trips and youth sporting events emerging as points of concern.”

The main, perhaps only, reason for increased outbreaks in the state has nothing to do with the above claims.

Independent medical professionals and scientists unconnected to government and/or Pharma know that vaxxing and covid jabs increase numbers of diseases they’re supposed to protect against but don’t.

Outbreaks of seasonal flu now called covid are greatly increasing in Michigan because the state leads the nation in complying with mass-jabbing with experimental covid drugs that don’t protect and risk possible irreversible harm to health when taken as directed.

Defying reality Michigan Health and Human Services Department spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin falsely claimed that many new covid outbreaks may be from viral infections before individuals were jabbed, adding:

“These cases are undergoing further review to determine if they meet other CDC criteria for determination of potential breakthrough, including the absence of a positive antigen or (meaningless) PCR test less than 45 days prior to the post-vaccination positive test (sic).” 

“(T)hese persons have been more likely to be asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic compared with vaccinated persons (sic).”

The above is pseudo-science analysis, not the real thing.

Increasing numbers of covid outbreaks in Michigan are directly related to large-scale mass-jabbing.

They don’t protect, risk serious harm to health, and increase the chance of contracting seasonal flu now called covid.

Everything recommended or mandated in the US and West is harmful to health, not the other way around.

It’s no surprise that Michigan leads the nation in covid mass-jabbing compliance and percent of its population contracting the viral disease.

The way to reduce outbreaks and help state residents overall is by halting covid jabs entirely and restoring normality as existed pre-2020.

Instead, Whitmer called for voluntary compliance with greatly restricted public activities, continued mask-wearing, social distancing, and use of PCR tests not designed to diagnose viral infections so don’t work as falsely claimed.

She also wants greater mass-jabbing with harmful drugs, calling on the Biden regime to supply what’ll increase outbreaks, not reduce them.

She claimed that Washington has a covid strategy and it’s “working (sic).”

She’s right. The strategy is all about harming public health and sustaining protracted Main Street Depression so privileged interests can benefit from what’s harming most people.

The newest toxic drug to join the mass-covid jabbing sweepstakes for maximum profits at the expense of human health is causing large numbers of adverse events, including deaths.

According to Health Impact News, Colorado and North Carolina suspended mass-jabbing with J & J’s experimental covid vaccine because of disturbing numbers of blood clots and other adverse events.

On Friday, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said it’s investigating numbers of blood clots following jabs with J & J’s high-risk experimental covid vaccine.

Through April 1, reported numbers of US adverse events from covid jabs totalled nearly 57,000, along with almost 2,800 deaths.

The EMA reported nearly 239,000 injuries and almost 5,400 deaths.

The above figures are a minute snapshot of far greater numbers of harmed individuals in the West from toxic covid drugs no one should touch — covering nearly a four-month period since December.

Yet Western governments and their media press agents continue urging everyone to be jabbed with what won’t protect and may irreversibly harm health.

Step one to protect what’s too precious to lose is halting covid jabbing altogether.

Step two is removing all covid related mandates, fully restoring free and open access to public places.

As long as mass-jabbing continues and restrictions prevent restoration of normality, conditions will worsen, not improve.

That’s what diabolical dark forces in Washington and elsewhere in the West intend — while pretending otherwise.

Going along with them risks far greater harm to public health and well-being than already — including exponentially greater numbers of adverse events and deaths.

RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN WAR: TRAGEDY FOR PEOPLE, CHANCE FOR ELITES

10.04.2021 

South Front

Russian-Ukrainian War: Tragedy For People, Chance For Elites
Illustrative Image

Against the backdrop of ongoing political provocations and bellicose rhetoric from all parties involved in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, military escalation is constantly growing. Local forces, as well as the OSCE observers, report about more and more ceasefire violations in the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. There are daily statements on casualties on both sides of the conflict among the military and local civilians.

Now, when all the global media are closely following the situation in the eastern regions of Ukraine, the international community is wondering whether Donbass will become the point of the next military conflict, and what its scale will be. The main question is “Cui Prodest”?

The answer is unambiguous: the administration of Ukrainian President is a real stakeholder in the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine. In the current Ukrainian reality, there are plenty of circumstances that determine the pattern of conduct of Volodimir Zelensky.

First, the current economic situation in Ukraine is disastrous. The Ukrainian state is on the way to lose the ability to fulfill its social obligations. According to the data for 2020, its GDP in real terms suffered about 4% drop. According to the IMF, this drop will be at least 7%. If for the United States, China or Russia, a 4% drop in GDP is a big problem, for Ukraine it is almost a disaster, as GDP indicators were low even before the crisis.

Secondly, the economic situation in Ukraine was aggravated by the coronacrisis. The number of those contaminated by COVID-19 per day there is one of the biggest among the European countries, and even in the whole world. The death rate is also disproportionately high. The country’s economy is suffering, as most regions are still under lockdown, and since April 5, restrictions have been tightened again.

The fall in national budget income was caused by a complex of reasons, including pure management of national economy and the extremely high level of corruption that caused the destruction of the industrial complex, drop in already low per capita income, accompanied by a decreasing revenue gained from gas and cargo transit from East to West.

Third, the Zelensky administration is now facing a rapid decrease in people’s support. The national disappointment in his political program is caused by the rejection of his campaign promises to stop the war in Donbass.

Fourthly, it is increasingly difficult for NATO allies to fuel Kiev’s anti-Russian hysteria in the absence of any actual changes of the issue. The military conflict in the Eastern Ukraine is already 7 years old, and the only alarming statements no longer contribute to the increase in financial support from the US and its allies.

The last but not least is a political request from a part of the American elite, who are interested in various forms of pressuring Russia. They support blocking of the Nord Stream 2 project by any means; destruction of bilateral relations between Russia and leading European countries, up to war outbreak along its borders.

On the other hand, such a policy of the United States does not fully coincide with the national interests of leading European countries. However, new war in Eastern Ukraine would define Russian status as enemy for years while the US will strengthen its weight in European security.

The position of the Zelensky administration and the interests of the United States represent sufficient set of reasons to outbreak war in Eastern Ukraine.

Indeed, official Kiev does not need to care about the actual result of the conflict, but its very existence.

There are only 3 scenarios of the military conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

  • The Ukrainian army wholly or partially occupies the territory of the DLPR.
  • The forces of both sides remain in their current positions.
  • The DLPR forces, with Russian support, advance on the Ukrainian territory for several dozens of miles.

There is almost a zero probability that Ukraine will suffer a crushing defeat and the DLPR forces will occupy the territory to the Dnieper River. Russia now has neither the strength nor the ability to gain control over such a vast territory, and the collective West, in its turn, would not let this happen.

If any of the above scenarios are implemented, Zelensky and his supporters among the US elites will benefit.

For many years, the US and European media have shaped Russia as the aggressor, the enemy of democratic values and the authoritarian tyrannical regime that must be contained. The idea of an external military threat, which being sequentially built up by the West, serves as a pretext for its increasing military funding both in defense industry and army itself amid inevitable unification under the US leadership.

In its turn, Ukraine, positioning itself as the Eastern European Shield against “Asian Barbarians”, receives significant and steadily growing support from NATO countries, gaining momentum to development and further nazi-like ideology originally rooted in Western Ukraine.

Unleashing the war, Zelensky has a chance to reclaim his status as the national leader. In case of the conquest of the self-proclaimed republics, or the preservation of the current troops’ positions, he will become a hero who saved Ukraine from “evil Russians”.

Even after having lost the war, he would claim that the entire country was saved with little blood and only a small piece of land that was temporary lost, taking on the role of a good strategist who defended the sovereignty in the furious fighting shoulder to shoulder with his NATO allies.

Zelensky’s policy can only fail if Russia captures half of Ukraine, which de facto is not possible.

Thus, almost whatever may happen during the conflict, Ukraine can be sure that it will receive stable financial flows from its Western allies for years ahead. Having become a “real” Eastern Shield of Europe, Ukraine may finally get the coveted NATO membership.

Finally yet importantly – the hot military conflict will undoubtedly divert public attention from the economic problems inside the country.

Unleashing a war in Donbass will allow Zelensky to solve his main problems, albeit at the cost of lives of thousands of Ukrainians.

Today, many analysts assure that there will not be a full-scale war, since Ukraine is weak, and Zelensky must assess country’s military strength in front of the Russian power. Let’s hope this is the case, while remembering who the beneficiary of the conflict is.

In its turn, the United States, at the cost of Ukrainian soldiers’ lives, can resolve a good part of its problems in the European region, while Russia seems to lose strategically in any of these war scenarios.

Definitely, the war in Ukraine will lead to the closure of the Nord Stream 2 project, which is already at the final stage of construction. Key contacts between Russia and NATO countries will be frozen, no more significant bilateral cooperation in economy will be possible.

A new war near the Russian borders that involves national armed forces will have an important impact on the internal situation in the country. It is not clear to what extent the Russian society, which has suffered the break of economic relations with Western countries and numerous sanctions, is ready to support the struggle for Donbass.

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Palestinian sisters face challenges of daily life in West Bank village under threat

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Surrounded by Israeli settlements in southern Hebron, the Abu Kabbash family remain determined to fight for their dreams and land

Zeina Abu Kabbash, 15, and her younger siblings have been missing online classes due to lack of the internet and electricity in their village (MEE/Shatha Hammad)

Published date: 10 April 2021 08:59 UTC

On a sunny spring morning in the occupied West Bank village of Khirbet al-Radhim, Zeina Abu Kabbash goes about her day, looking after crops and feeding the cows on her family’s land.

‘Life here is very hard, very different from that of my friends who enjoy a comfortable and luxurious existence’

–  Zeina Abu Kabbash, 15

The 15-year-old should be attending online lessons, as are her schoolmates. But since her village in the southern governorate of Hebron has no electricity or internet, she has been missing classes ever since her school moved to virtual lessons following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Zeina has been warned by her teacher that, if she continues to miss online classes, she will have to repeat the grade next year.

“Life here is very hard, very different from that of my friends who enjoy a comfortable and luxurious existence,” she tells Middle East Eye while picking beans in the field. “I miss school very much. I need it… But what should I do? I only have a humble, broken mobile phone.”

The Abu Kabbashes are one of seven families still living in Khirbet al-Radhim, the last Palestinian village in the far south of the occupied West Bank. They have no access to electricity, water or internet, and the call connection services remain poor.

Despite the lack of modern necessities, the village’s residents refuse to leave their homes and ancestral lands, which have been surrounded by illegal Israeli settlements since the 1980s and face the constant threat of demolition.

Last village standing

The Abu Kabbash family lives in a cave and has an additional room constructed with zinc sheets on their 150-dunam (15-hectare) plot of land. The family of 11 depends on its crops, beekeeping and honey production for a living.

The head of the household is 74-year-old Issa Safi Abu Kabbash. He says that although his land is large, he can barely make ends meet for his wife, eight daughters and one son.

Issa Abu Kabbash with his daughters (from left) Narmin, Eman and Maram outside their home (MEE/Shatha Hammad)
Issa Safi Abu Kabbash with daughters (from left) Narmin, Eman and Maram outside their home (MEE/Shatha Hammad)

“Our land is not fertile. If the soil is fertile one year, it won’t be in the following five years,” he says, adding that this was due to a lack of water in the area.

Water shortages have been exacerbated by the fact that the Israeli Civil Administration, the military body that rules over the 60 percent of the West Bank known as Area C, has refused to give him a permit to dig a well. There hasn’t been much help or compensation coming from the Palestinian Authority either, he adds.

Issa inherited his land from his father and grandparents, and possesses property ownership documents dating back to the Ottoman era. But Israeli authorities do not recognise his ownership papers, and have issued demolition orders on his home.

“With this military force that besieges and haunts us every day, we have no choice but to sacrifice our comfort and dreams to stay here, to continue cultivating our land and live in it,” he says.

One of Zeina's daily duties is to feed her family's cows (MEE/Shatha Hammad)
One of Zeina’s daily duties is to feed the family’s cows (MEE/Shatha Hammad)

However, the threat of demolition hasn’t stopped him from continuing to plough the land every morning to prepare it for his wife and eight daughters to plant the seeds.

Pointing at the peak of a mountain near his field, he says: “This one settler moved there two years ago. Since then, he has constantly released his animals onto our lands. So far [his animals have] destroyed around 20 dunams of our crops.”

Dangerous neighbours

Since the 1980s, Israeli settlements, which violate international law, have expanded across the West Bank, notably in the southern Hebron governorate, where dozens have sprouted on hilltops and mountains, and lands confiscated from Palestinians living in the area.

Three settlements – Asael, Shama and Otniel – surround Khirbet al-Radhim, as well as the outpost whose animals have destroyed the Abu Kabbashes’ crops. While outposts are also deemed illegal under Israeli law, in effect they are tolerated by Israeli authorities, and many are legalised retroactively. 

“Since 1984, Israel has used the military force to impose settlements. It destroyed us, confiscated our lands, and besieged what had remained,” Issa explains as he rolls a cigarette. “Nowadays, Israel does not only target our homes. It targets us [the residents], because it considers us an obstacle to its settlement expansion. It does not want us here.”

‘I continue to dream of dogs chasing me. I wake up terrified’

– Eight-year-old Maram

The settlers have not treated the villagers kindly, according to the Abu Kabbash sisters.

Before the pandemic, Zeina and her eight-year-old sister Maram used to walk one kilometre every morning to catch the bus to school in the village of Khirbet al-Shweika.

“The journey [to school] is hard, and we are always worried and afraid of shepherd settlers. They would block our path, scare and threaten us, and even set their dogs on us,” Zeina recalls.

Maram was once attacked by settlers dogs and still has nightmares about the incident.

“I continue to dream of dogs chasing me. I wake up terrified,” she tells MEE.

Maram, 8, poses in front of a colourful wall inside her family's home painted by her sister Rania (MEE/Shatha Hammad)
Maram, eight, poses in front of a colourful wall inside her family’s home, painted by her sister Rania (MEE/Shatha Hammad)

Zeina just wants the settlers to “get out” of the area so villagers can feel “safe and never fear displacement at any moment”.

“This is my land that the [Israeli] settlers covet and wish to take,” the teenager says, vowing never to leave her village in order to protect her family’s claim to the land.

‘Painting our destiny’

Zeina’s older sister, Rania, is responsible for preparing lunch for the family while others work in the field. An aspiring illustrator, the 20-year-old has stayed at home after graduating from high school because a university education is out of her reach.

“I wish to continue my studies and learn more about art, but all the universities are very far from our home, and my family wouldn’t be able to afford my university expenses,” she says.

She wakes up early each morning to feed the sheep and cultivate the land. Whenever she finds spare time, she uses it to practise her self-taught anime drawing techniques.

“I need to improve my skills and acquire new ones. Although I spend a lot of time on housework and helping my family in the field, I always find some time to train myself on drawing,” she says.

Rania, 20, prepares lunch for her family (MEE/Shatha Hammad)
Rania, 20, prepares lunch for her family (MEE/Shatha Hammad)

Rania has turned the walls of her family’s humble home into works of art, with colourful murals inspired by her thoughts and emotions, including one depicting birds flying out of cages.

“I think of our destiny all the time. What would happen to us if they demolished our home or evicted us from our land?” she asks. “This fear never leaves my mind.”

Faced with obstacles outside their control, the Abu Kabbash sisters nonetheless never stop harbouring dreams of their own.

Zeina wants to become the first nurse in Khirbet al-Radhim, in order to provide healthcare for its 70 residents. Currently, villagers need to travel 45 minutes by car to seek medical care in the closest village, Samu, or more than an hour to the nearest hospital.

As for Maram, who often speaks with a shy, closed-lipped smile, her aspiration is to become a dentist so she can treat children in her village with poor teeth, just like herself.

Raging Twenties Book Review – Pepe Escobar – the philosopher, the court jester, the mystic, the historian.

Raging Twenties Book Review – Pepe Escobar – the philosopher, the court jester, the mystic, the historian.

April 08, 2021

By Larchmonter445 for the Saker Blog

Early on in the introduction to “Raging Twenties”, Pepe Escobar points to the change, the disruption that confronts the Established Elites who for 30 years ruled the globe with a free hand: “The Empire we have been taught to accept as a fact of life is irretrievably losing its leadership position—and will have to deal with much pain implicit in the acceptance of an increasingly multipolar world.”

Escobar’s concept from “Raging Twenties” that impressed is: “We are all being carried forward through the tides by a harpooned whale, with no idea how, where, or when our journey ends. Like Melville’s Ishmael, we’ve got to stay cool as we relentlessly fight the winds of fallacy, fiction, fraud and farce that the expiring system manipulates non-stop.”

This is the vision of Pepe’s book “Raging Twenties”, a volume of works dedicated to the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on people, governments and world affairs, especially the macro world economy.

Escobar is a man of many journeys, an adventurer, explorer, mapper and story-teller. For decades he has traveled the capitals of the globe and trekked the backroads of the third and fourth worlds more than any writer in our lifetime.

His professional vocation is understanding the human condition and transmitting via his writings that understanding of facts, people, events and situations. He has a unique quality to absorb information he personally gathers, demonstrating his grasp of geopolitical, philosophical and historical context, from ancient to modern.

Focusing on this decade, the “Raging Twenties”, a collection of Pepe’s definitive prose, is a “voice-over” that narrates the change in our world from a single-polar hegemon to a multi-polar world order in the time of a pandemic. He teases apart the complexities that often are unknown, misunderstood or misconstrued. His “voice” is pleasing though authoritative, yet instantly familiar. Writing that talks, as if it were an audio track, is his style.

“For the first time in two millennia, China is able to combine the dynamism of political and economic expansion both on the continental and maritime realms, something that the civilization-state did not experience since the short expeditionary stretch led by Admiral Zheng He in the Indian Ocean in the early 15th century. Eurasia, in the recent past, was under Western and Soviet colonization. Now it’s going all-out multipolar—a series of complex, evolving permutations led by Russia-China-Iran-Turkey-India-Pakistan-Kazakhstan.”

Escobar is a man comfortable in any of the five civilizations on Earth. He moves easily in the West, China, Russia, India or Iran, and most parts neighboring these giant cultures. He presents his narratives, tales of his travels and meetings in differing performances. Escobar has mastered four story-telling voices–philosopher, court jester, mystic, historian. He moves through these presenters seamlessly, embellishing his writing with intellectual depth and artful illumination.

In Chapter 8, “How the Riddler may teach us to fight a disease”, we perceive the Philosopher investigating the nature of our universe through the eyes of Heraclitus, the Riddler. “In his heart of hearts a contemptuous aristocrat, this master of paradox despised all so-called wise men and the mobs that adored them. Heraclitus was the definitive precursor of social distancing.”

“Heraclitus was a Taoist and a Buddhist. If opposites are ultimately the same, this implies the unity of all things. Heraclitus even foresaw the reaction we should have towards COVID-19: ‘It is disease that makes health sweet and good, hunger satiety, weariness rest.’ The Tao would approve it. In the Heraclitus framework of serial cosmic recycling, disease gives health its full significance.”

The Court Jester authors Chapter 5, entitled “We are all Stoics now”. Imagine a Court Jester flowing with Stoicism as pop culture in Ancient Greece. Pepe brings it to you. Escobar marks the first punk in History, Diogenes the Cynic. “It’s enlightening to know that the upper classes of the Roman empire, their 1%, regarded Zeno’s insights as quite solid, while—predictably—deriding the first punk in History, Diogenes the Cynic, who masturbated in the public square and carried a lantern trying to find a real man.”

He follows the transition from Greece to Rome as the ideas of the Stoics migrate over the centuries and better suit the Roman minds of Seneca, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, the trio we view as role models of Stoicism.

“The Stoics were very big on ataraxia (freedom of disturbance) as the ideal state of our mind. The wise man cannot possibly be troubled because the key to wisdom is knowing what not to care about.”

Have you ever read such a ‘take’ on Stoics, Cynics, Epicureans, Humanists, and Skeptics? Pepe ties it into the impact of the pandemic.

“Perhaps the ultimate Stoic secret is the distinction by Epictetus between things that are under our control—our thoughts and desires—and what is not: our bodies, our families, our property, our lot in life, all elements that the expansion of COVID-19 now put in check.”

“What the postmodern world retains from the Stoics is the notion of resigned acceptance—which makes total sense if the world really works according to their insights. If Fate—once again, Zeus, not the Christian God—rules the world, and practically everything that happens is out of our hands, then realpolitik means to accept “everything to happen as it actually does happen”, in the immortal words of Epictetus. Thus, it’s pointless to get excited about stuff we cannot change. And it’s pointless to be attached to things that we will eventually lose. But try selling this notion to the Masters of the Universe of financial capitalism.” You can hear Pepe’s laughter.

“So, The Way—according to the Stoics—is to own only the essentials, and to travel light. Lao Tzu would approve it. After all, anything we may lose is more or less gone already—thus we are already protected from the worst blows in life.”

As with each of the personas of Pepe we perceive in his collected work, he changes from one to another in mid-flight. The Court Jester can be seen and felt throughout “Raging Twenties”. Just take a tour of the Chapter Headings and the section sub-headings. Pepe does floor gymnastics, handstands and backflips, cartwheels and tumblesaults with terminology and labels. That big Escobar smile and hearty chest laugh abound: “Remember Pax Mongolica”, “The Sirens and La Dolce Vita”, “The Westlessness Myth”, “East is East, West is More”, “Barbarism With A Human Face”, “Enter The Triad”, “The City In A Time of Plague”, “Show Me Your Fragility”, “Barbarism Begins At Home”, “Flying Dragon, Crashing Eagle”, “Blake Meet Burroughs”.

The modern Mystic is with us in Chapter 10, “How Confucious, Buddha and The Tao Are Winning This War”, as well as the anchor chapter, “Eurasia, The Hegemon and the Three Sovereigns”. The Mystic appears most definitely in Chapter 25, a retrospective column Pepe chose to explore the digital ether that has wrapped around our brains. “Kim No-Vax Does Darpa” is a trip back into the early days of AI,3 research financed by Darpa, the teat that nearly all US computer scientists sought to suck. Reading this nostalgia spotlights the many dead-ends of US technology that generated the perverse present High-Tech Silicon Valley feudalism.

Travel with the Mystic to Venice, Chapter 3, “The Sirens and La Dolce Vita”. Pepe floats in Venice waterways to retrace selected steps with Ezra Pound. In “The Cantos”, we find The Sirens, sculptures that represent to Pound the beautiful culture, a time and place of the best which preceded a time (the present) of tawdry cheapness. The Mystic smoothly elides into “La Dolce Vita”, the Fellini film, that epitomizes the glitzy ugliness oncoming in the sixties. A period of trash culture that now envelopes the globe, foretold by Pound, embossed by Fellini and absorbed by us.

Pepe the Historian appears nearly everywhere in the pages of “Raging Twenties”. In a most clever Chapter 13, “Siren Call of A ‘System Leader’”, Pepe wends through the Mongol age of Genghis Khan, to the death of Kublai Khan and the end of that Empire right into the 21st Century where the USA Empire, like the last great Khan, faces China. However, China is a part of Eurasia, the vast resource of the multi-polar sovereigns China, Russia, Iran, India, their neighbors and friends, arrayed ready to construct a new world based on four civilizations, not an ideology like the failed Empire of the USA.

The Historian gathers from Thucydides and others regarding plagues. Pertinently, Escobar delivers the connection of the fall of empires and plagues as cause. “Predictably eyeing the Decline and Fall of the American Empire, a serious academic debate is raging around the working hypothesis of historian Kyle Harper, according to whom viruses and pandemics—especially the Justinian plague in the 6th century—led to the end of the Roman Empire.”

Escobar’s journalistic roots remain in real politic while consistently pointing out the gap between the twisted souls that feel the need to lie, cheat and murder to achieve their ends. With acerbic ink, he writes: “Those were the days when NATO, with full impunity, could bomb Serbia, miserably lose a war on Afghanistan, turn Libya into a militia hell and plot myriad interventions across the Global South. And of course, none of that had any connection whatsoever with the bombed and the invaded forced into becoming refugees in Europe.”

Pepe’s economic interest in Belt and Road and the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era opens our eyes to the real geo-political shifts. The pandemic has fractured world trade. “Soon we will be facing three major, interlocking debates: the management of the crisis, in many cases appalling; the search for future models; and the reconfiguration of the world-system.”

Peering over our Covid masks, we read Chapter 12, “How To Think Post-Planet Lockdown”. Pepe’s main insight remains valid: the state of exception has been completely normalized. And it gets worse: “A new despotism, which in terms of pervasive controls and cessation of every political activity, will be worse that the totalitarianisms we have known so far.”

“As dystopia and mass paranoia seem to be the law of the (bewildered) land, Michel Foucault’s analyses of biopolitics have never been so timely, as states across the world take over biopower—the control of people’s life and bodies.”

Pepe gives us, among many, Giorgio Agamben, who redoubles his analyses of science as the religion of our time: “The analogy with religion is taken literally; theologians declared that they could not clearly define what is God, but in his name they dictated rules of conduct to men and did not hesitate to burn heretics. Virologists admit they don’t know exactly what is a virus, but in its name they pretend to decide how human beings shall live.”

In the section, “Enter the triad”, Chapter 10, Pepe postulates: “I offer as a working hypothesis that the Asia triad of Confucius, Buddha and Lao Tzu has been absolutely essential in shaping the perception and serene response of hundreds of millions of people across various Asian nations to COVID-19—compared to the being is the greatest joy.” It also helps to know that “life is a series of natural and spontaneous choices. Don’t resist them—that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” Buddhism runs in parallel to the Tao: “All conditioned things are impermanent—when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering.” And to keep our vicissitudes in perspective, it helps to know that, “better it is to live one day seeing the rise and fall of things than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the rise and fall of things.”

Quo Vadis. Where are you marching?

Pepe shows us the way, the paths we are on. He offers, too, a pantheon of “travelers” who opine from the high clouds of history, from books on dusty shelves of libraries, from blogs and videos on digital platforms, all snatched by his rapier mind to weave affirmation into his ideas and analysis. In sum, a feast awaits the reader, taken as a banquet or a serial read chapter by chapter. Enjoy.

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Where you can buy RAGING TWENTIES by Pepe Escobar

Bahrain’s “Jaw” and Saudi’s “Haer” Prisons: Coronavirus Threatens Detainees

8/4/2021

Bahrain’s “Jaw” and Saudi’s “Haer” Prisons: Coronavirus Threatens Detainees

By Staff

What is happening inside Saudi prisons is the same scenario Bahraini detainees are suffering from inside their county’s notorious “Jaw” Prisone due to the authorities’ negligence and denial of medical treatment while the Coronavirus spreads behind bars.

Political prisoners in Saudi Arabia’s “Haer” Prison, in the capital Riyadh, are suffering from Coronavirus symptoms while the prison’s administration denies them medical care.

In this regard, ‘al-Qist’ rights group pointed to reports about the Coronavirus outbreak in the section of political prisoners in “Haer” Prison, relating the reason behind the outbreak in the political section to denying vaccination to the detainees.

The group called on the Saudi regime authorities to guarantee the basic rights of political prisoners and providing them with healthcare, in addition to releasing them.

Earlier in August, a Twitter account belonging to “Political Prisoners” had reported the spread on the virus also inside the Dammam Political Prison.

In parallel, another rights campaign was launched on social media to release political prisoners inside the kingdom amid the outbreak, including the hashtag #BeforeTheCatastrophe, in an effort to rescue them and save their lives.

The campaign also aimed at pressuring for releasing all those who were arbitrarily detained before it is too late when the virus spreads inside cells.

Relatively, rights groups campaigned under another hashtag #DetaineesUnderCoronaDanger to demand the release of all political prisoners.

Dealing With Demons

Dealing With Demons

April 06, 2021

By Larry Romanoff for the Saker Blog

The Lockdown

At the outbreak of the epidemic, China implemented the most comprehensive and rigorous measures ever taken. Wuhan was locked down on Jan. 23, with several other cities in Hubei Province quickly thereafter, then the entire province. (1) All public transportation was suspended. Airports, train stations, bus depots, boat and ferry docks were closed, all toll highways shut down and most roads blocked. All The subways and buses stopped running, and all people were to remain in their homes. The initial lockdown in late January involved about 20 million people, extending to about 60 million within a month, this at a time when China had only about 500 infections. The move, unprecedented in modern times and undoubtedly a difficult decision, spoke volumes about the gravity of the situation and the seriousness with which the government viewed the public health threat. China’s President Xi issued a rather stern warning at the time, that “Governments of all levels are obliged to resolutely take all preemptive measures to rein in the fast spread of the virus and be completely transparent about their local situation so that the country can unite to fight the pandemic together, and ensure that the world has a true picture of the situation. As Xi made clear, the mistakes of the past must not be repeated.”

All the evidence suggests the Chinese authorities acted effectively as soon as they realised the danger they might be facing.

Remembering the SARS troubles, they did much more. In most large centers in the country, all sports venues, theaters, museums, tourist attractions, all locations that attract crowds, were closed, as were all schools. All group tours were cancelled. Not only the city of Wuhan but virtually the entire province of Hubei was locked down, with all trains, aircraft, buses, subways, ferries, grounded and all major highways and toll booths closed. Thousands of flights and train trips were cancelled until further notice. Some cities like Shanghai and Beijing were conducting temperature tests on all roadways leading into the cities. In addition, Wuhan was building two portable hospitals of 25,000 square meters each to handle infected patients. As well, Wuhan has asked citizens to neither leave nor enter the city without a compelling reason, and all were wearing face masks.

The scale of the challenge of implementing such a blockade was immense, comparable to closing down all transport links for a city 5 times the size of Toronto or Chicago, two days before Christmas. These decisions were unprecedented, but testified to the determination of the authorities to limit the spread and damage of this new pathogen. They not only addressed the gravity of the situation but also the seriousness of consideration for the public health, unfortunate and difficult decisions since the holiday was destroyed for hundreds of millions of people. Most public entertainment was cancelled, as were tours, and many weddings as well. The damage to the economy during this most festive of all periods, was enormous. Hong Kong will suffer severely in addition to all its other troubles, since visits from Mainland Chinese typically support much of its retail economy during this period.

And already the Western media were in full China-bashing mode, (2) some claiming that lockdowns and quarantines were “a violation of human rights” and were in any case ineffective, with Mr. Pompeo of the US State Department already lamenting the “lack of transparency” in the Chinese government, and London’s Imperial College claiming infections in China were understated by a factor of ten. (3) And of course China’s friends in Langley, Virginia, were busy making posts on Weibo claiming this was “the end of the world” with everyone “on the verge of tears”, while the UK Guardian claimed “panic was spreading” in China. (4)

Within a week of Wuhan being locked down, virtually all rail and air traffic in China had been suspended, to deny the virus a means of travel. This was of course, the most awkward of times, with much of the population on the verge of traveling home for the Chinese New Year holiday. All mass-gathering areas were closed. Restaurants, shopping malls, cinemas, museums, markets, tourist resorts and many similar places were shut down to prevent gatherings, and many factories were seriously challenged by unexpected difficulties in operation due to the quarantines. The strong measures, effective though they were, inevitably inflicted pain on some parts of the Chinese economy and certainly caused inconvenience and some hardship in people’s daily lives, but the unprecedented moves yielded positive results, with new infections quickly dropping.

Using Shanghai as an example, by the end of February the city subjected all travelers from severely-affected countries to medical examination at the city’s airports to prevent imported infections. All incoming passengers who had lived or traveled in the hardest-hit countries were automatically subjected to a 14-day quarantine at home or at designated hotels. (5) (6) These passengers were not permitted to take taxis or public transport but instead were driven to designated quarantine locations by customs authorities, where community workers would be waiting for them with a team of neighborhood officials, and a doctor and a police officer would guide them to home quarantine. This large group consisted of volunteers who lived temporarily in nearby hotels, avoiding their own homes due to the risk of spreading the virus. (7)

Foreign nationals were considered in advance, and offered necessary assistance from the communities where they lived to solve their difficulties after entering the city. (8) By early March China put major restrictions on inbound air travel and effectively closed off the borders. Those without a place of residence and a permanent job in Shanghai were not permitted to enter the city by road, except for medical reasons. (9) The Central Government temporarily suspended entry into the country of foreign passport holders even with valid visas or residence permits, which was an unprecedented but necessary step to prevent imported infections. (10) (11)

Residential areas in most Chinese cities are comprised of communities that are largely self-contained, similar in some ways to gated communities in the West, making isolation and quarantine certainly easier and more effective than in the sprawling suburbs of North America. In my community in Shanghai as an example, the road leading to the community was blocked, meaning no one left and no one entered. Special permits were available for some kinds of official travel or medical needs, but in practice these were few. All businesses in the community were temporarily shuttered as were schools and gathering places. Everyone mostly remained in their homes and, when brief excursions were necessary, masks were always worn and proximity to other persons avoided.

But there was much more leadership and planning that were not visible. Immediately upon executing the community quarantine, local officials contracted with a major food supplier to continue provisions. An online mobile phone APP was designed overnight, which was used to place orders for all foods, fresh vegetables and meat. Every two or three days a delivery truck would clear the barriers and enter the community, the drivers prohibited from human contact. Each order was bagged and sealed separately and set out at the community center office where residents could collect them and pay online after delivery. A similar system was arranged for the regular supply of medications. Courier deliveries were deposited at the road barrier where residents could come one by one to collect their packages. Nothing was overlooked, and dutiful participation was more or less total. It was seen as a civic duty for community residents to remain at home, protect each other, and prevent any spreading of the virus. The local security guards proved extremely helpful. They were well-informed on all procedures, competent to take temperatures and able to make decisions. We had not a single infection.

With most residents remaining secluded in their homes, online ordering and delivery demands surged by a factor of perhaps ten, Shanghai’s supermarkets and e-commerce platforms working intensely to ensure adequate food supplies during the lockdown. (12) The surge in demand posed challenges because many food suppliers and logistics firms had already halted work during the Spring Festival, but China’s domestic supply chains are exceptional, far beyond that existing in any other nation. Each of the large suppliers quickly arranged distribution of between five and ten times their normal daily amounts, each bringing in hundreds of tonnes of food and organising community distributions. At the same time, many e-commerce platforms quickly arranged programs with manufacturers to source urgent medical supplies including masks, disinfectant and protective clothing. Most created special areas on their mobile phone APPs to enable residents to easily purchase all necessary items.

Leadership

One reason the Chinese were able to deal with the epidemic while the UK and USA stumbled in the dark is that the Chinese think, with considerable justification, that they have been under biological attack, on and off since c.1950, and were therefore prepared with well-laid plans and competent organisers to respond to such an event. As soon as the central government learned the specific nature of the outbreak, it responded massively and to a very large extent the population understood the necessity of what was asked of them and cooperated.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said “The Coronavirus is a Demon, and we cannot let this demon hide.” (13) He said China was “faced with the grave situation of an accelerating spread” of the virus, that “The Chinese people are engaging in a serious battle against the outbreak of the new coronavirus pneumonia. People’s lives and health are always the first priority for the Chinese government, and the prevention and control of the epidemic is the most important task at present, so I have been directing and deploying the works myself.”

Mr. Xi gave this battle the highest priority, personally chairing a meeting of the Standing Committee where he listened to all the reports and decided immediately to set up a CPC Central Committee group to oversee the national effort, and also to send a high-level planning group to Hubei to direct the work on the ground. (14) Soon after the outbreak occurred and the pathogen identified, a Central Guiding Group appeared in Wuhan to oversee all COVID-19 efforts, to free the medical staff from administration and planning responsibilities and to ensure they were provided with all necessities. (15)

From this leadership, Wuhan’s available hospital beds increased from 5,000 to about 25,000 within ten days. It was from this that hundreds of medical teams and about 50,000 physicians were dispatched from all across China to Hubei Province. It was from this leadership that the lockdowns and quarantines emerged, and it was from this leadership that China’s fatalities were limited to little more than 4,000, most of those in Wuhan with the entire rest of the nation of 1.4 billion people being spared.

How did China do it? It wasn’t “China”. It was the Chinese people, their civilisation and culture. All of Chinese society was mobilised, not only the Central Government or the medical officials in Hubei, but all citizens, corporations, SOEs, foundations, instantly assessed their abilities to assist, and then acted. (16) Wuhan received timely full-scale support from the entire nation, not only to fight the battle but to recover from the effects of the war. It wasn’t only lockdowns and quarantines to cut off channels of escape for the virus. Hundreds of millions of Chinese sacrificed something of their normal lives to contain the spread of the virus, acting in unison and working together in a collective response. Westerners will never understand this.

The US media were busily trashing China for a “sluggish response” to the virus (while conveniently ignoring the three wasted months in their own country), but Americans understand only dimly (if at all) the Chinese ability for rapid execution which, to the chagrin of all Americans everywhere, is due primarily to two things – China’s political system and the socialism embedded in Chinese cultural DNA. While the English-speaking West is very much an “every man for himself” culture, the Chinese are a civilisation and act in unison as such, with the result that virtually everyone is onside in things of importance to the nation. Thus, in the absence of competing private and selfish interests, a nationwide plan can be conceived, examined, discussed, approved, and executed in a much shorter time than in a country like the US – and with full public cooperation and approval.

China’s political system is much more unified than in the West, making local governments accountable to the central government whereas in Western nations the local authorities are largely autonomous, making cooperation almost impossible. Thus, in times of emergency, bureaucratic blockage simply evaporates, and the country’s massive labor force makes speed of execution possible with no sacrifice in quality. And, with the general population widely sharing the nation’s objectives, courses of action which might be resisted in the West, are widely approved in China. Due to China’s excellent organisation, the central government has the ability to rapidly mobilise any resources it needs. Building a new hospital in ten days or a new high-speed railway in one or two years is a government-led mobilisation of Chinese society. Because China has only one political party and a complete absence of partisan infighting, the government acts as a unit with the population and, once a clear and resolute course of action is determined, virtually the entire Chinese civilisation is not only eager to participate but willing to sacrifice in order to do so, something very difficult for Westerners to imagine. Many workers interviewed on CGTN were proud to say they slept only two hours in three days on construction of the new hospitals. (17)

Martin Jacques said, “The capacity of China to deal with emergencies of this kind is far more developed and far more capable than could be achieved by any Western government. The Chinese system, the Chinese government, is superior to other governments in handling big challenges like this. And there are two reasons: First of all, the Chinese state is a very effective institution, able to think strategically and mobilise society. And the other reason is that the Chinese expect the government to take leadership on these kinds of questions and they will follow that leadership.” (18)

As the numbers of infections rose beyond the capacity of local hospitals, reaching 15,000 new patients per day at the peak, the planning group directed their attention first to the provision of additional hospital capacity, (19) so they planned, designed, and built two large new hospitals. These were not “flimsy bare-bones barracks” as described in the Western media; viewed from the interior, their appearance was identical to any fully-equipped modern hospitals. (20) (21) They were modular concrete units designed for rapid assembly, in a manner similar to setting shipping containers side by side, with full accommodation for A/C, heating, ventilation, negative pressure, abundant electricity, and more. Once assembled, these units function as a whole, and are a regular hospital with all the equipment and facilities one would normally see in any hospital. The first was built in ten days by 16,000 men, the shifts working 24 hours a day. The second hospital was larger, and completed in only 6 days. (22) To clear and level the site and lay the substructure, there were 240 pieces of construction equipment working on the same site at the same time – also 24 hours per day. The Chinese media posted time-lapse videos of the construction process, which were astonishing to watch. Such hospitals were built in several cities in Hubei Province.

Immediately upon completion of the first hospital, more than 3,000 doctors and nurses from about 300 hospitals around the country were sent to staff it. The group did much more than build hospitals. A total of 16 temporary hospitals were created by converting public venues, several existing hospitals were renovated to cater exclusively to COVID-19 patients, and more than 500 hotels, training centers and sanitaria were converted into quarantine sites. (23) One makeshift hospital in Wuhan was transformed from a sports center into a TCM treatment clinic, while many exhibition centers and gymnasiums were converted into temporary hospitals for those with mild symptoms but still requiring quarantine. (24) This Central Guiding Group played an irreplaceable role in Wuhan’s anti-virus battle.

What the world apparently fails to notice is that of China’s total deaths of 4,600, 4,500 of those (98%) were in Hubei Province. If China’s leaders had not immediately locked down the city of Wuhan and then quarantined the entire province, the death toll might well have been in the hundreds of thousands. According to a paper published in late March in the journal Science, (1) co-author Christopher Dye said, “Our analysis suggests that without the Wuhan travel ban and the national emergency response there would have been more than 700,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases outside of Wuhan by [February]. (25) China’s control measures appear to have worked by successfully breaking the chain of transmission.”

Most Asian countries followed China’s example, with similar results. The US refused to do so, permitting the virus to spread freely by avoiding lockdowns and quarantines and, at the time of writing appears headed for at least 100,000 (mostly) unnecessary deaths. The American way of dealing with the epidemic was to do nothing, and throw stones at China. (26) Canada was the same: Shanghai is only two hours from Wuhan and had no time to prepare or plan, yet it had only a few hundred infections and only 7 deaths. Canada, with a population similar to Shanghai, 10,000 kms from Wuhan and with months to prepare, had more infections and fatalities than all of China combined.

Of course, it wasn’t perfect. Let’s accept that a few local officials in Wuhan were reluctant to face the possibility of a major epidemic at such a crucial time and were hesitant to publicise the fact that deaths were already occurring. While that was indeed an embarrassment for China, it can be easily demonstrated that the net effect was zero because the medical detective work continued unabated and, as soon as the new pathogen was discovered, that information was made public to China and to the world. The reluctance of a few local officials to publicise a new illness caused no delay of any kind either in China or internationally, because until that point there was no information to communicate other than the fact that a few dozen people had become ill with an unusual respiratory infection. All the accusations toward China of causing the US to lose two or three months of preparation time were merely juvenile political smoke, because the Chinese authorities communicated everything they knew as soon as they knew it.

For the West, this brief hesitation was a great positive because it provided unlimited (and apparently interminable) opportunities for gleeful China-bashing, political opportunism at its finest. By contrast, the displeasure inside China was real, for both the public and the central government – who immediately fired or replaced those same local officials. As a country, China faces its mistakes openly with the public and takes immediate action. Compare this to the discovery in the US of the CIA operating the largest network of torture prisons in the history of the world. What happened? Much media whining, a fraudulent Congressional hearing, most information classified and suppressed, and the entire matter swept under the rug, removed from the media radar, and quickly forgotten. The torture prisons are still open today and only one minor person paid a trivial penalty. All involved still retained their positions, and nothing changed.

To a foreigner watching from the inside, the Chinese government and the Chinese people were courageous as they took on this formidable task. From the very beginning they put people’s lives and health first. The Central Government mobilised the entire nation, organised massive control and treatment mechanisms, and acted with openness and transparency, with most of the population making significant sacrifices without complaint.

National cohesion and coordination were admirable. All of the 50,000 front-line medical staff and many others who went to Wuhan were volunteers, 90% of them Party members who had sworn to “bear the people’s burden first and enjoy their pleasures last”. To a Western ear, that sounds suspiciously like idle propaganda, but many of these front-line staff died in that battle. It wasn’t propaganda to them. Zhang Wenhong, a prominent Party member and Director of the Department of Infectious Diseases at Shanghai’s Huashan Hospital, said, “When we joined the Party, we vowed that we would always prioritise people’s interests and press forward in the face of difficulties. This is the moment we live up to the pledge. All CPC members must rush to the front line. I don’t care what you were actually thinking when you joined the party. Now it’s time to live up to what you promised. I don’t care if you personally agree or not: it’s non-negotiable.” (1) That may sound harshly authoritarian to a Westerner, but there was much compassion behind the words. Zhang said later, “The first-aid team put themselves in great danger. They are tired and need to rest. We shouldn’t take advantage of good people.” At that point, he replaced almost all the front-line medics with members from different sectors.

We Westerners cannot understand that China’s society and culture are much more compassionate than ours. The Chinese place a much higher value on the elderly than do we. In China (as in Italy), grandparents and the elderly live with the family, never tossed out into nursing homes to live and die more or less alone. When it was realised that the elderly primarily were threatened with premature and painful deaths, the Chinese put their entire economy on hold to save these people.

Dr Bruce Aylward, head of the WHO International Mission said, “In the face of a previously unknown disease, China has taken one of the most ancient approaches for infectious disease control and rolled out probably the most ambitious, and I would say, agile and aggressive disease containment effort in history. China took old-fashioned measures like the national approach to hand-washing, the mask-wearing, the social distancing, the universal temperature monitoring. But then very quickly, as it started to evolve, the response started to change . . . So they refined the strategy as they moved forward, and this is an important aspect as we look to how we might use this going forward. WHO has been here from the start of this crisis, an epidemic, working every single day with the government of China… WHO was here from the beginning and never left.” He said further, “What struck me most was that every Chinese had a strong sense of responsibility and dedication to contribute to the fight against the epidemic.” WHO Director-General Tan Desai commented, “China’s speed and scale of action is rare … This is the advantage of China’s system, and the relevant experience is worthy of other countries to learn from.”

The Global Times published an editorial titled: “China’s miracles are beyond biased Western understanding”, from which I will quote here:

“The rhetoric accusing China of hiding the truth has already become a cliché. These so-called experts in the US always presume that China is wrong or unreliable, and then try hard to prove the presupposed conclusion with ambiguous evidence and perverted logic. They are used to pinning their eyes on fictional stories about China, but few are willing to learn about what is really happening in the country. For a country which has let the epidemic spin out of control despite clear warnings sent by China, China’s anti-virus fight is indeed a miracle. But for China itself, the outcome appears absolutely normal and deserved in view of the government’s strong sense of responsibility for people’s lives, the governing system’s great ability of mobilization and the Chinese people’s firm willingness to support all containment measures. Nowhere could this work as it works in China and so applying any country’s models to China makes no sense. China has been working miracles over the past decades thanks to the tremendous efforts of both the government and the people. Since reform and opening-up, China has grown to become the world’s second largest economy rapidly and lifted hundreds of millions of people out of extreme poverty. (27)

The Lancet published an article stating that “China deserves gratitude, not criticism over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic”. Lancet’s editor, Richard Horton, said Chinese researchers were providing crucial information but no one in the West was listening, and they failed to prepare. In January, The Lancet published five papers that “tell the story of what has unfolded in the Western world in the recent months. They showed a deadly virus had emerged that had no treatment and could be passed between people. We knew all of this in the last week of January but most Western countries and the United States of America wasted the whole of February and early March before they acted. That is the human tragedy of COVID-19. Thanks to the work of Chinese doctors and scientists working in international collaborations, all of this info was known in January but for reasons that are difficult to understand, the world did not pay attention. Thousands died unnecessarily as a result.” (28) Horton said further that the attacks on China made by [American] politicians were unwarranted. “I want to be on the record and thank my friends and colleagues who work in medicine and medical science in China for what they have done. As I have said, I think we owe them a great deal… they do not deserve criticism, they deserve our gratitude.” And there was more: On May 15, 2020, the Lancet published a scathing assessment of the Trump administration’s handling of the virus epidemic in which it urged all Americans to vote President Trump out of office [for his incompetence]. “Americans must put a president in the White House come January, 2021, who will understand that public health should not be guided by partisan politics. (29)

The main objective of China’s Government is the rejuvenation of China, in part demonstrably evidenced by the determined efforts made for the betterment and the well-being of its population, which is reflected in the credibility and high level of trust the Chinese people place in their government. These concepts don’t exist in the west. In the US, the “world’s model for everything”, a virus epidemic is seen through lenses of profiteering by large corporations, sick people not being humans in need of assistance but merely a new lucrative “market” – for those with money to pay. An American hospital is not a place for healing the sick but a kind of barnyard filled with cash cows to milk. This is one fundamental reason underlying America’s chaotic and hopeless approach to dealing with the epidemic. The Trump administration failed to help itself and refused to help even its friends, on the one hand ignoring the suffering and extreme difficulties in China and wasting its time scoring cheap political points on the world stage, happy with the loss of life and the economic damage China was suffering.

Socialism at its Finest

On April 4, China held a three-minute nationwide moment of reflection to honor those who died in the coronavirus outbreak, especially the medical staff now seen as “martyrs” who fell while fighting what has become a global pandemic. (30) Commemorations took place in all major cities, but were particularly poignant in Wuhan, and occurring on the traditional Qingming festival, when Chinese visit the graves of their ancestors. China’s State Council ordered that national flags be flown at half-staff around the country and at Chinese embassies and consulates abroad.

It was heartwarming that during the epidemic, privately-owned Chinese hotels in Wuhan voluntarily provided free rooms for medical staff needing rest. Xiao Yaxing, the private owner of a four-star hotel in the city, opened a discussion group on WeChat where he appealed to his peers from more than 40 hotels to offer rooms for doctors and nurses who were working day and night to save lives. He said that since nearly all transportation had ceased in the large city, it was difficult for the medical staff to get to hospitals from home and needed rest places and, as he said, “Many hotels in Wuhan are shut down for travelers, leaving a lot of empty rooms that we can offer for free.” (31) Yi Qingyan, a regional manager of Feizhu’s hotel business in Central China’s Hubei province, said when she heard about Xiao’s group, she asked hotel managers she knew to provide rooms for medical staff. (32)

In March, the Communist Party of China donated 5.3 billion RMB (US$750 million) to be used to “extend solicitude” to the frontline medics, those serving the worst-hit Hubei Province to be favored. (33) The money was delivered to the Ministry of Finance which was entrusted with distribution, with a stipulation that families of medical workers who died on the front line would be eligible recipients, and also that some grassroots-level officials, public security officers, community workers, volunteers and frontline journalists could have access to the funds. Further, nearly 80 million Communist Party of China members across the country donated more than 8 billion RMB for the coronavirus effort, and donations were still arriving at the time of writing. Wouldn’t it have been nice if the Republican or Democrat parties and party members had done that for New York?

Being a socially-oriented society, China also has charities but these are very different animals than those existing in the West, most especially those in North America. Chinese charities don’t spend 80% of collected funds on operating expenses and executive perquisites. In fact they normally don’t collect money at all, but instead real goods that are distributed to the beneficiaries. As one example, when Wuhan hospitals put out a call for help, the Hubei Charity Federation received more than 1 million masks and other medical supplies which were immediately distributed to the hospitals. (34) In this case, they also raised 30 million RMB in cash from the community and from citizens in other provinces, which money was immediately spent on the purchase of more supplies. Moreover, in China the public can supervise the distribution and usage of donated materials and, in the case of COVID-19, the provincial medical headquarters was available to unify the organisation and allocation of the materials to hospitals and medical treatment centers, as well as guaranteeing speedy transportation and delivery.

All of China, in many ways we would never expect, strove to express their gratitude to the medical workers whom they feel saved their nation from catastrophe. As one example, more than 500 tourist areas in China announced free admission for all medical workers during the remainder of 2020, as a way to express local citizens’ sincere gratitude to medical workers’ commitment during the outbreak. (35) Given that the virus epidemic severely damaged China’s internal tourism industry, at least for the short term, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences conducted a poll asking citizens about their travel intentions for the remainder of 2020. According to their report, Wuhan was at the top of the list for Chinese travelers, all of whom said they wanted to contribute to the economic recovery of Wuhan and Hubei following the epidemic. (36)

From late January until April, the streets of Wuhan were deserted with the entire Province of Hubei not much better, but by late May the story was very different, with people around the country emptying supermarket shelves of everything Hubei had to offer – local delicacies, noodles, ducks, crayfish, fruits, manufactured goods of every kind – all with the intention of lifting Hubei’s economy to its former level. “Buying Hubei” became a nationwide campaign with participation from ordinary citizens, officials, celebrities and corporations. (37) Hundreds of companies began live-streaming online broadcasts of Hubei products and hundreds of millions of Chinese were spending money, “not for self-indulgence, but to extend a helping hand to their fellow countrymen in hardship. The result: Tens of millions of dollars were added to the local economy; tens of thousands of businesses and jobs were saved.”

In one instance, a popular live-streaming hostess sold 150,000 lipstick sets within five minutes. In another, two TV celebrities attracted 122 million viewers and sold more than 40 million RMB of Hubei products in a two-hour program. In another session, two celebrities drew 127 million viewers and sold 61 million RMB of Hubei goods, the province’s entire supply of popular duck snacks emptied within seconds. In another livestreaming instance, 6,000 tons of crayfish, worth 220 million yuan, disappeared within minutes, and one company manager said his daily production of 20,000 packages of crayfish snacks cleared out within seconds every day. He said, “The orders just exploded”, adding that he’d never seen anything like it. (38) Alibaba sold 20 million Kgs of Hubei agricultural products to date and reportedly procured 1 billion yuan worth of crayfish and 50 million yuan worth of local oranges to sell on its platforms. (39) JD.com sold 1,400 tonnes in the first week of April alone and vowed to sell 6 billion yuan worth of Hubei products. Boosting consumption became a primary cure to resurrect the virus-hit economy in Hubei.

Many Chinese citizens said they hadn’t any medical skills to help Wuhan during the epidemic, but they could at least show their support by placing orders. That sentiment resonated so broadly across China that millions promised to “gain three jin (1.5 Kg.) of weight” for Hubei. (40) One online hostess said, “Many have described our cooperation as a show of our moral principles and sense of duty. But that is over the top. I am just doing what I’m good at to help Wuhan, to help local companies open the market with livestreaming promotion and to help them resume work quickly.”

A local Party Chief in Hubei said, “I was completely moved and warmed by the active response from consumers all over the country in placing orders for Hubei products to support us, which fully reflects our valued Chinese tradition: When one falls into difficulty, all other parties come to help.” Unfortunately, no other country could replicate this economic model since they haven’t the infrastructure or the market for something of this magnitude, and few nations have the sense of civilisation and the deep social and cultural cohesion which is the enabling force.

As well, many of China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) mobilised to combat the epidemic, from emergency communications installations to providing funds to the hardest-hit areas. (41) These massive Chinese corporations are exemplary in their sense of social responsibility, some constructing low-cost housing apartment communities which they sell at cost or below, many building and supporting local schools and universities, and some providing cash to help eliminate the last traces of poverty in the country. In 2020, these firms are providing more than 3 billion RMB (about $500 million) to the poorest places and many have donated massive medical supplies and funds to these same areas. (42)

Medical Supply

When China experiences a serious public health or similar emergency, the framework exists for immediate supply for all necessities that include personnel, goods and materials, transport vehicles, to be delivered to the site. The Ministry of Transport arranged an absolute prioritisation of the transport of emergency supplies and medical staff to Wuhan, while national medical authorities coordinated the efforts of all medical supply manufacturers to identify and increase the supply of the most urgent and necessary items. (43) When Wuhan appealed to the central government for assistance and supplies, hundreds of tonnes of medical supplies were delivered each week, as were tens of thousands of additional medical staff during the crisis. (44)

Well before the end of January, extensive planning had been done to greatly increase the number of hospital beds for patients with either mild or severe symptoms and for those requiring quarantine and intensive care. The local medical authorities requisitioned and transformed 24 local hospitals into COVID-19 units. Seven hospitals were designated exclusively for COVID-19 patients with fevers higher than 37°C. The National Health Commission said, “Wuhan is actually a city with rich medical resources, having many public hospitals each with more than 3,000 beds. When we requisitioned those hospitals, they complied unconditionally.” (45) Also, the Chinese government requisitioned exhibition centers and stadiums and quickly turned them into temporary hospitals for COVID-19 patients with light symptoms, quarantining them separately from patients in more severe condition. At the same time, the planning and oversight group prepared and released a medical guide to help physicians quickly diagnose conditions and design treatments, this designed specifically to contain the virus locally and prevent spreading to other parts of China or overseas. (46)

At the same time, the Ministry of Commerce was occupied in coordinating the production and supply of all other daily necessities for the residents of Wuhan and Hubei. Many food items like eggs, fish, beef and pork, were released from national reserves and arrangements were made for the increased production and distribution of fresh vegetables specifically for Wuhan, along with oversight to ensure prices remained stable or dropping rather than increasing. (47) Profiteering was virtually absent in China, with the notable exception of a few foreign firms. The MOC also ensured top priority for all vehicles carrying supplies to Wuhan, and all supply firms including even restaurants were encouraged to provide home delivery to help maintain the quarantine with a minimum of inconvenience.

The latter part of January was the most difficult time for the hospitals and medical staff in Wuhan, receiving some 15,000 new fever patients per day, with all resources stretched to the limit and overworked medical staff struggling to save patients’ lives when the mortality rate was initially around 10%, truly a dark moment. “It was only when the entire country mobilised all possible medical resources to aid Wuhan that the grim situation was turned and the mortality rate began to drop.” (48) But, unlike most other nations, China “has unique institutional advantages when it comes to social mobilization”. One of these advantages enabled the national health authorities to organise, collect, and send altogether nearly 50,000 medical staff from all over the country to Wuhan, while other medical officials oversaw the organisational tasks of converting public hospitals into designated COVID-19 units to greatly expand the availability of necessary hospital beds. (49)

The pressure for urgent treatment was such that it was only on February 15 that the world’s first autopsy on a COVID-19 patient was conducted, six weeks after the pathogen was first identified. It was then that the doctors discovered that the virus attacked not only the lungs, but also other organs such as the heart and kidneys as well as the circulatory system, thus altering the treatment methods but also inflicting even more pressure on the overworked medical staff. Still, it was then that Chinese physicians began the use of blood plasma from recovered patients as well as the nearly universal application of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It was these discoveries and treatments that almost instantly halved the mortality rate, especially from the more severe infections, and speeded up the recovery time. The Western media completely ignored this aspect, but it was widely proven that TCM was perhaps the primary factor in reducing the mortality rate by boosting the patients’ immune systems.

By the end of March, the crisis in Wuhan was abating while the demand for medical supplies was increasing exponentially worldwide, with most relevant factories in China running 24 hours a day while simultaneously trying to maintain quality and source raw materials internationally. There was a great deal of organisation behind the scenes to coordinate the manufacture as well as to expand domestic and international transport channels which were greatly suffering due to the collapse of the airline transport industry and the resultant lack of cargo space. The logistical hurdles were enormous in all categories, and a great part of China’s commercial society leaped into the fray in a sincere effort to assist what was now a worldwide pandemic. Chinese auto manufacturers, idle due to the pandemic, retooled within a week and began manufacturing masks, hazmat suits and other supplies by the billions. The international demand was such that more than 12,000 companies in China began producing masks and ventilators, bringing the total to well over 50,000 such firms with about one-third of them being certified exporters. (50)

Thanks to their media who were too busy bashing China to understand the events unfolding, Westerners hadn’t a clue about either the overwhelming demand for medical supplies nor the urgency of those demands. One company alone, Beijing Aeonmed, which makes ventilators, were kept running 24\7 but were overwhelmed by tens of thousands of simultaneous overseas orders from nearly 50 countries. (51) And they weren’t alone, which accounts for the large number of other manufacturers retooling in an attempt to assist other nations then living Wuhan’s experience, in many cases, such as the US, with little or no central government support.

The situation was so dire that many countries, notably Italy, and many cities, notably New York, were so lacking in supplies they were openly stating their medical staff were every day being forced to decide who would live and who would die. It was in this context that Chinese firms, entirely on their own initiative, absorbed the expense of retooling, of arranging specially-chartered aircraft and trains to bring back their staff, of sourcing raw materials, then diving head-first into a new industry to help combat a worldwide pandemic the extent and mortality of which were still largely unknown. And it was in this context that the US media spent all their time denigrating “China” for “sluggish and insufficient” effort, for the usual “lack of transparency”, and blowing out of all proportion the few complaints of unsatisfactory quality. In this context where auto manufacturers and packagers of canned salmon are suddenly manufacturing surgical masks and hazmat suits, we can be genuinely astonished the quality was as good as it was.

While China was still not out of the woods, the Chinese government was doing its best to donate supplies to needy countries all around the world, but local demand was still high and commercial export demand was rising exponentially, far more than China’s combined potential supply. As an example, on one weekend alone, France ordered one billion masks which required 56 cargo flights to transport them, to say nothing of the manufacturing logistics. Part of the problem was that the majority of air cargo is carried in scheduled flights on passenger planes but, with the collapse of the airline industry, there were no passenger planes. In order to accommodate the dire international need, China Eastern Airlines stripped overnight all the seats from their passenger aircraft and loaded them with N95 masks for France – as they did for other nations.

This kind of adjustment to circumstances, to my best knowledge, occurs in no other country on earth. The Chinese, being faced with apparently impossible demands, simply rise to the challenge, find a solution, and immediately execute it. “Just like the response to the epidemic itself, China is really making a nationwide effort to ensure medical supplies to support in the global battle against the coronavirus pandemic.” SF Express, one of China’s prominent express firms, opened new routes including to New York, and delivered nearly 1,000 tonnes of medical supplies to more than 50 countries, with many other Chinese airlines and express firms doing about the same. (52)

There was yet more to the leadership, planning and organising that were not apparent to anyone in the West. The Chinese government, while dealing with all other domestic and international pressures from the pandemic, also remembered its students who were studying abroad and distributed over 11 million face masks and 500,000 health kits with disinfection supplies and health protection manuals, to Chinese students studying abroad. (53) These shipments bypassed the local governments, being delivered to the Chinese embassies and consulates for distribution directly to the students.

It wasn’t only medical supplies but also medical staff transfers that were arranged by China’s central government, to help the country deal with the epidemic. One of the government’s first acts was to select about 500 of the top experts from the military’s medical universities, those with prior experience with SARS and MERS, and with Ebola, and send them to Wuhan to help lead the battle. There were many other such teams, composed of experts in respiratory health, infectious diseases, hospital infection control and the establishing and managing of intensive care units, who were dispatched to the Wuhan hospitals with large numbers of virus-related pneumonia patients. Zhou Xianzhi, President of Air Force Medical University, said “We sent our best staff in various clinical departments. They have rich experience in battling contagious diseases. Some of them took part in major missions such as the battle against SARS and the fight against Ebola in Africa, as well as earthquake rescues.” These were volunteers who canceled their plan to spend the Chinese Lunar New Year with their families, most saying they felt “extremely honored” to join this national mission. (54) As well, immediately upon the discovery of the effectiveness of TCM’s ability to moderate serious infections, a team of 122 TCM specialists was sent to Wuhan from Shanghai with treatment plans already prepared for the combined application of Western and Chinese medicines. (55)

Quality Concerns

“As China mounted a nationwide effort to produce desperately needed medical supplies, concerns over the quality of some Chinese-made equipment have been raised, and some foreign media outlets and politicians have even attempted to hype up recent incidents to smear China’s manufacturing sector and its intention to help other countries.” (56) The Financial Times cited examples of the Netherlands, Spain and Turkey “rejecting” Chinese-made face masks and testing kits, others going so far as to claim Chinese masks could make people sick and even kill them.

There were a few instances of unsuitable products having been sold but, on examination of the eventual details, it appears the media reports were consciously hyped and much overblown, in every case blaming “China” for the products of one manufacturer and the actions a few incompetent or unscrupulous agents, most of whom were not Chinese. The overall quality environment was actually much too complicated to permit understanding within the scope of brief media sound bytes. While there were risks of quality issues in manufacturing, the use of improper procurement channels and fluctuating foreign regulations and standards were responsible for much of the trouble. A further issue was that in two or three prominent cases the purchasers had no experience in applying delicate medical tests or even in the storage and handling of such. To compound the problem even further, the virus proved to lend itself more readily to testing at later stages of progression.

China’s Global Times did a creditable job of investigating the entire medical supply process, interviewing manufacturers and distributors, industry insiders and end users, and concluded that the vast majority of Chinese-made medical equipment was well up to standard, with most of the noise resulting primarily from the US heavily politicising China’s role in the supply process and secondly from much deliberate misinformation on the part of the American media.

In one publicised case, Dutch authorities ordered a recall of 600,000 face masks (57) for lack of ability to filter out a full 95% of airborne particles. An executive at the Chinese manufacturer stated that the world experienced such a shortage of appropriate meltblown fabric that it had become increasingly difficult to exceed 70% (instead of 95%), almost all of this fabric being imported from Switzerland and Turkey. The fault, such as it was, was not due to low-quality manufacturing in China but to degraded production ability of companies in Switzerland and Turkey who provided the raw materials. Nevertheless, “China” took the full blame on the chin. The mask quality issue became even more preposterous since the Netherlands and Belgium had already made clear that those China-made masks obtained by local agents were “commercial products made for non-medical use”, in other words sanding or paint-spraying masks and such. (58)

Having said that, it is true Chinese authorities discovered some companies engaged in the illegal production and sale of masks and other medical products and, though they did respond with an immediate and aggressive crack-down, some of that product did indeed reach foreign markets. The government conducted more than a dozen sweeps throughout the nation and heavily publicised the product confiscations and fines issued to deter such practices.

But the issues were much wider-ranging than this. China’s national government established lists of companies qualified to manufacture various medical supplies for use against the coronavirus, and strongly recommended purchases be made from only those firms and only through officially-recommended channels. However, from the urgency of need and occasional panic, many agents, buyers, and foreign end users ignored the Chinese government with predictable results in quality standards. As well, the EU generally was so eager for supplies they waived formal requirements and permitted the importation of products prior to those gaining regulatory approval. As the Global Times noted in their report, the Dutch officials in the above example “refused to disclose the source or channel” of the masks they later deemed unsuitable, many such purchases having been made through channels unauthorised and unverified by the Chinese government. But “China” still took the blame.

The Global Times reported, “Though local medical authorities and Chinese embassies have explained the misunderstanding and misuse of the test kits, media coverage of life-saving Chinese products has turned a blind eye to these clarifications, revealing some countries’ unfriendly motives. I think the quality issue reported by some media has been politicized. They can’t prove the reported testing kits have quality issues, because the use and transport [of the kits] may influence their stability and sensitivity,” an employee at test kit provider Beijing Beier Bioengineering told the Global Times. Medical workers unfamiliar with the products may have some difficulties, which could affect the accuracy of their results. The Beier employee added that Chinese medical staff also had issues when using the test kits in the early stages of the outbreak and any confusion was resolved after technical training.” (59)

There were also instances of testing kits facing claims of insensitivity or inaccuracy. Spain withdrew about 8,000 such tests, and the Western media created much noise about claims from the Czech Republic of inaccurate or insensitive tests. However, in the Czech case, their officials simply had no understanding of proper methods of application. The manufacturer finally prepared instruction videos illustrating and explaining the precise methods of administering the tests, after which the results were perfectly acceptable. This occurred more than once, and even test kits manufactured by companies not yet on the approved list had the same successful result when proper methods were employed. It occurred surprisingly often in Western countries that the medical staff eventually admitted they had never administered such tests and had no clear idea of proper procedure, and in many cases simply did not follow the instructions.

A major part of the overall quality problem was that foreign companies and governments were too eager to fill their large and increasing demand for supplies and, rather than wait in a queue at a recognised factory, would hire their own private agents in attempts to short-circuit the process, agents who, to satisfy their anxious customers, would often resort to unapproved manufacturers in the hope their actions would not later be discovered. The result was that “China” took this blame on the chin as well, with the great assistance of the politicised Western media.

As one illustrative example of the media presentation of issues with medical supplies, a UK Telegraph article said “Government seeks refund for millions of coronavirus antibody tests”, (60) stating they were “too unreliable to be used by the public.” According to the Telegraph, the UK government ordered 3.5 million such tests “mainly from Chinese manufacturers”, then noting that an additional 17.5 million had been purchased from firms in the US and UK, with none being found sufficiently reliable. But by that time, China’s 10% of the purchases had taken the media hit for the entire lot. But once the media smoke cleared and “China” had sufficiently been tarred and denigrated yet again, the UK government health officials admitted that the tests developed in China were created and designed primarily for use with patients “with a very large viral load”, in other words those more severely infected, and not intended for patients suffering only mild symptoms from minor infections. The difficulty with the UK tests was not a quality problem from “China” but UK physicians hoping for tests with a wider detection range. This was a bit like purchasing a “vehicle” then being disappointed it was unable to function as both sports car and dump truck, hardly the fault of the manufacturer. And finally, in the article’s penultimate paragraph, the Telegraph remembered to report that the UK government was not actually demanding refunds but was negotiating with the manufacturers to increase the sensitivity of the tests. In the end, much ado about nothing.

Fox News joined the parade by yelling “CHINA CASHES IN OFF CORONAVIRUS, SELLING SPAIN $467 MILLION IN SUPPLIES, SOME OF THEM SUBSTANDARD”. Spain purchased 950 ventilators, 5.5 million test kits, 11 million gloves and 500 million masks. The ‘substandard’ part was 9,000 quick-test kits (out of 5.5 million) that lacked the sensitivity Spain wanted. (61)

White House trade advisor Peter Navarro accused China of shipping “low-quality and even counterfeit” antibody testing kits to the US and of “profiteering” from the outbreak. (62) The Chinese Foreign Ministry responded that Navarro’s remarks were “groundless and extremely irresponsible,” stating that China had exported tens of millions of COVID-19 tests, which had won wide acclaim from the international community, and the country had not received any feedback from the US purchasers and users on quality problems. (63) (64)

By the end of April of 2020, Chinese firms had exported tens of millions of testing kits in addition to billions of masks and thousands of tonnes of other supplies to nearly 200 countries, all of which were widely praised by the international community. Barbara Woodward, British ambassador to China, expressed her deep appreciation and satisfaction with the products and speed of response, and many other nations were effuse in their gratitude for both commercial shipments and donations from China. (65) Chinese firms shipped enormous volumes of all nature of medical supplies to the US with not a word of complaint from US purchasers or users regarding the quality of test kits and other products. But also not a single word of praise or appreciation from the Americans. Instead, the US hospitals were silent while the US government and the media were replete with non-stop smears for months.

In all the confusion, the US media failed to notice that the US itself led the world competition for defective medical products. As of the middle of February, 2020, AFP was reporting that even small countries like South Korea had performed hundreds of thousands of tests while the US was below about 8,000, the reason being that all the tests produced by the CDC and American companies were flawed and useless. (66) (67) (68) The kits would produce opposite results on the same patient at the same time, or clearly miss serious infections while declaring infections in clean patients. The CDC eventually had to instruct all hospitals and clinics to discard the tests as unusable. (69) Again, in early to mid-April, the US media were reporting the CDC was still unable to produce usable tests, this time because the test kits themselves were contaminated with the coronavirus for which they were to be testing. This was attributed to “a glaring scientific breakdown” at the CDC’s central lab. (70) (71)

To make matters worse, the CDC shipped those faulty tests not only across the country but sold them to 34 countries around the world, and no evidence emerged anywhere to suggest the CDC informed those other nations of the uselessness of their tests. To my knowledge, the UK was the only nation to discover this – at their own expense. (72) To say that the exported CDC tests were unusable would be quite an understatement. President John Magufuli of Tanzania complained that various fruits, a goat and a quail tested positive for coronavirus using the American tests. (73)

It appears the US ‘national stockpile’ was not an improvement on the CDC. (74) In early April, the media were reporting that many states received medical masks that were rotten, with an expiry date in 2010, and that 150 ventilators (at $30,000 each) sent to Los Angeles were broken, defective, and missing parts. (75) (76) (77) But, no problem. ABC News and other US media including US military channels ran dozens of articles titled, “Have a clean T-shirt? That’s all you need to make this mask.” (78)

And in late April, the UK Telegraph was reporting that the UK NHS staff “had been given flawed coronavirus tests” but, kindly, no mention that the US CDC had supplied them. (79) And even the criticism was muted: the tests were described as “less reliable than first thought because of ‘degraded’ performance”, and that they produced “discordant results”, and “have been found to be flawed and should no longer be relied on”. (80) Health Minister Helen Whately admitted “Some of the early tests were evaluated and the evaluation was that they weren’t effective enough” saying that all patients would be called in for a second test, and that this was a “normal process” when testing for a new illness. (81) No slander, no vitriol, no condemnation. Instead, the Brits and their media were quick to note that all tests have a margin of error accuracy which depends on the skill with which they are administered – among other factors. If only they had been so kind and understanding to China.

Shanghai Dasheng is one of the world’s largest manufacturers (and the world gold standard) of N95 face masks and one of the few certified to make US NIOSH-approved N95s. The company deals directly with medical purchasers only, and states on its website: “We do not have any distributors, dealers or branch factories. Beware of counterfeits.” But some masks (that were clearly fake since they were models the company did not export) bearing this company’s name appeared in the US, apparently purchased through unknown third parties. (82) This was interesting. When someone illegally copies an American product, the culprits (usually purported to be Chinese) are roundly condemned for violating a chastely innocent American company and at least six of the Ten Commandments. But then this is China and things are apparently different here. In the above news report, the American Press wrote: “AP could not independently verify if [Dasheng] are making their own counterfeits”. Charming.

Let’s Look at Death Rates

At the end of the epidemic, China reported 4,645 coronavirus deaths while the US total of 90,000 fatalities was still climbing rapidly. The death rates per 100,000 of population were 26.0 for the US and 0.33 for China. We can legitimately ask why China’s numbers appear so much lower than those of the US and of much of Europe, but we don’t need to follow US President Trump’s approach to repeatedly ask on national television, “Does anybody really believe these figures?”, (83) insinuating that China deliberately underreported its fatalities.

There are many reasons for China’s relatively low infection and death rates. First, if two countries have the same death toll, the death per 100,000 people for the country with a larger population will be lower; China’s population is nearly four times that of the US. Secondly, due to the immediate lockdown of Wuhan and Hubei, almost all of China’s fatalities were restricted to that one area: of China’s 4,645 deaths, 4512 (97%) were in Hubei with the entire remainder of the country having little more than 100 deaths. The statistical result was that Wuhan’s rate was 35.2, Hubei’s 7.6, and China’s 0.33, comparable to 26 for the US. Further, all provinces and major cities executed their own version of lockdown and quarantine, literally preventing the virus from entering even if it should escape Hubei. China’s measures broke the transmission chain and contained the contagion within Hubei Province. The tough measures in Wuhan bought the rest of China time to prepare and execute their own restrictions, and China bought the rest of the world at least two and probably three months in which to prepare for the epidemic. Looking at the statistics below, you can see which countries followed China’s example and which did not.

Still on the above scale for the US, New York was at 140.0, New Jersey at 107.0, Connecticut at 85 and Massachusetts at 75, while some states were near zero. (84) Comparably within China, and due to the aggressive quarantines, Shanghai was at 0.02 and Beijing similar. Turning to Europe (on the same scale of death rate per 100,000), Belgium was hit very hard with 76, with Spain, Italy, the UK, France, Sweden and the Netherlands ranging down from around 60.0 to about 35.0. (85)

The TV presentation made by Mr. Trump and Dr. Brix selected a metric that placed the US well down on the fatality list and displayed a carefully-selected list of countries that appeared to place China on Mars. A lie of omission is still a lie, but this disparity requires context for understanding, so let’s look at Asia.

First, here is the original list presented by Trump and Brix, updated to the date of writing:

COVID-USA Mortality per 100,000 population

Belgium – 76.2

Spain – 59.7

UK – 51.2

Italy – 49.9

France – 42.3

Sweden – 37.7

Netherlands – 32.7

USA – 27.8

Switzerland – 21.9

Canada – 16.1

China – 0.33

Now, let’s look at Asia:

Philippines – 0.83

Japan – 0.61

South Korea – 0.52

Indonesia – 0.44

Australia – 0.40

Malaysia – 0.40

Singapore – 0.38

China – 0.33

Hong Kong – 0.06

Taiwan – 0.03

Macao – 0.00

India – 0.23

Bangladesh – 0.21

Thailand – 0.08

Myanmar – 0.01

Vietnam – 0.00

It should be clear from this that there is nothing unusual in China’s numbers, and thus it would seem if China were lying as Mr. Trump suggested, that would mean all of Asia was lying. In fact, there was no evidence of any sort to suggest countries were deliberately understating infections or fatalities – except for the US itself.

Foreign Help

When COVID-19 first erupted in China, several countries immediately came to China’s aid with scarce and badly-needed medical supplies. South Korea was one example, and in return, as the situation worsened in South Korea, the Chinese government sent large amounts of medical supplies and more than 20 local governments in China donated masks, protective clothing, goggles, test kits, thermometers and other materials. The situation was similar with Pakistan, who sent aircraft loaded with medical supplies, the Chinese government later returning the favor with large volumes of supplies and assistance in building a quarantine hospital. (86) Many provinces and cities in China independently donated masks to Islamabad and Karachi.

China was sending supplies and assistance to other countries long before it fully recovered from its own difficulties. President Xi Jinping stressed on multiple occasions that public health security was a common challenge faced by humanity, and all countries should join hands to tackle it. China saw itself as perhaps the only country in the world able to help smaller nations in various states of medical emergency. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed her gratitude in a videotaped speech broadcast throughout Europe, and Chinese citizens abroad had sound reason to be proud of their nation. Zhang Yujie, a Chinese student in France, said, “The rescue efforts of our motherland make me want to cry”. (87)

As soon as circumstances at home permitted, China began shipping its medical supplies all over the world. This was not so easy as might appear, since much global air cargo is carried on scheduled passenger flights but, since the airline industry collapsed due to the virus, these flights all but disappeared. (88) China Southern Airlines, the country’s largest air carrier, quickly converted hundreds of passenger aircraft to freight usage and, by late April, was sending nearly 200 international cargo flights weekly to support the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic. (89)

China also shared hundreds of documents on the prevention and control of COVID-19 and its diagnosis and treatment, with groups in more than 100 countries, followed by multiple technical exchanges that included personal discussions and teleconferencing. (90) In a short space of time, China released seven different editions of a guideline on diagnosis and treatment of the disease and six editions of a prevention and control plan for the disease, both of which have been translated into dozens of languages.

China’s telecom giant Huawei donated countless millions of masks and other items to most countries where it has staff and does business. When the US cancelled all medical supply exports to Canada in April, the country’s supply shortage became desperate so Huawei quietly shipped millions of masks, plus goggles, gloves, and other protective equipment to Canada to help front-line medical workers to cope. (91) But Canada refused to publicly acknowledge the gifts. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau merely told the media that Canada would be receiving a shipment of millions of masks from “unnamed countries and companies”, and the British Columbia government who were the prime beneficiary of the supplies were so mean-spirited as to tell the Canadian media, “The province has many supply sources . . . We don’t share details about our suppliers.” Others in Canada went so far as to accuse Huawei of “political generosity”, and Trudeau even made a point of saying that donations of medical supplies from foreign companies “will not change how the government views those companies going forward”. Touching.

China’s Fosun Group donated a large batch of medical supplies to Portugal, including 1 million face masks and 200,000 test kits, as did many other Chinese companies. The Fosun Foundation in Shanghai donated large batches of face masks hospitals in Italy, and coordinated with other companies and foundations in more than 10 shipments of medical supplies to countries that included Italy, Japan, Britain and France. (92) The Chinese automaker Geely donated large amounts of medical supplies to 14 countries including Sweden, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belarus and Britain. Chinese privately-owned firms and SOEs built and supplied complete COVID-19 testing labs, constructed or renovated hospitals in many countries. China’s BGI Group built two testing labs in Serbia – in 12 days, and donated all the core equipment and instruments. (93) China State Construction Engineering offered free renovation service for a hospital in Ethiopia, transforming regular wards into virus facilities. (94) (95)

Many Chinese foundations donated medical supplies to support smaller countries. The Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Foundation donated 7.5 million face masks, 485,000 test kits and 100,000 sets of protective clothing, as well as ventilators and thermometers to 23 countries that included Azerbaijan, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. (96) The Jack Ma Foundation also donated a large amount of medical supplies to 54 African countries. (97) China’s northwest Gansu Province, probably China’s poorest province, donated two consignments including tens of thousands of face masks and protective suits to Zimbabwe, added to large donations of medical supplies from other Chinese foundations. (98) Various entities in China, including corporations, social agencies and the Chinese government, donated many air shipments of supplies to Iran, including test kits and respirators, these being especially important since US economic sanctions prevented Iran from possessing the foreign currency to purchase medical supplies abroad. (99) China also sent several teams of medical experts to Iran, to help assess the situation and provide guidance and assistance.

Even small Chinese associations were active in their assistance. Chinese Community Groups in the UK raised money and collected medical supplies from more than 100 local Chinese communities and Chinese people in the UK, donating tens of thousands of medical gowns, surgical masks, and other items. The China Chamber of Commerce in the UK and the Bank of China donated 20 ventilators and nearly 2 million pieces of PPE to local English hospitals. (100) (101)

In March, when the virus was abating in China but increasing in Italy, China sent large teams of medical experts from many provinces and hospitals as well as China’s CDC on specially-chartered flights, with specialists in respiratory, intensive care, infectious disease, hospital infection control, traditional Chinese medicine and nursing. (102) Donated medical supplies included test kits, masks, protective clothing and ventilators. Chinese medical specialists shared China’s diagnosis and treatment plans with countries around the world, held video conferences with health experts from many countries and international organisations, and dispatched medical expert groups to Iran, Iraq, and Italy. (103) By early April, China had already sent more than 300 charter flights carrying medical professionals and emergency supplies to support global anti-epidemic efforts, the flights carrying more than 110 medical specialists, and nearly 5,000 tonnes of medical supplies to about 50 countries, as well as a special flight to Ghana carrying nearly 40 tonnes of medical supplies for Africa. (104) These supplies include ventilators, N95 face masks, protective clothing, gloves and other medical devices and protective equipment.

Altogether, the Chinese government and various states, local governments, corporations and foundations made many hundreds of chartered mercy flights. Several dozen countries after declaring a state of emergency, contacted China with urgent requests for medical supplies, testing equipment and protective gear, China responding in each case even when it was still under immense pressure to contain the epidemic at home and medical materials were still in short supply. These nations included the Philippines, (105) Greece, (106) (107) (108) Serbia, Iran, Kuwait and Cambodia, Japan, South Korea, Italy, (109) the Philippines, Serbia, France, Spain (110), Greece, Peru, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Bosnian Serb Republic, Iran, Spain, Britain, Hungary, Zimbabwe, Czech Republic. (111) The EU President and their European Commissioner for Crisis Management said, The EU and China have been working together since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. We are grateful for China’s support and we need each other’s support in times of need.” In many cases, smaller nations had no idea of the procurement process for medical supplies, and the Chinese national government lent assistance to assure proper purchase and timely delivery.

China also provided an enormous amount of assistance to the US, all of which also went unnoticed by the America press. Zhong Nanshan, China’s top respiratory scientist, held multiple video-link teaching sessions with intensive care specialists from Harvard’s Medical School, explaining the clinical manifestations and difficulties involved in treating severe and critical novel coronavirus patients. (112) As well, the nation’s leading Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) experts shared with US counterparts their diagnosis and treatment experience that proved effective in Wuhan. (113) The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine said Chinese experts “spared no effort to share their experience”.

In response to a US government cry for assistance in March, China airlifted a massive amount of vital medical supplies from Shanghai to the US, including 12 million gloves, 130,000 N-95 masks, 1.7 million surgical masks, 50,000 gowns, 130,000 hand sanitizer units and 36,000 thermometers. (114) The assistance increased rapidly. In one week of April alone, there were 75 cargo flights from Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen to New York and Los Angeles, each carrying around 80 tonnes of supplies. By the middle of April, China had provided the US with more than 2.5 billion masks plus nearly 5,000 ventilators and many other needed items. While the US government and media were busy stigmatising China with unreasonable and unjustified accusations, Beijing was taking practical steps to help the US fight its epidemic. (115)

There were also a great many private donations made directly to US hospitals or states by various Chinese companies, foundations, provinces, and social groups. The Wanxiang Group, a Chinese multinational manufacturer in Hangzhou, donated 1.1 million face masks and 50,000 protective masks to 12 US states. (116) China’s Fujian Province, which was Oregon’s sister state, donated 50,000 medical face masks for distribution to frontline workers, in addition to 12,000 masks provided personally by Ambassador Wang Donghua, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in San Francisco, as a gift to the people of Oregon. (117)

However, the treatment of China in the US Media was nothing short of reprehensible, the press and airwaves filled for months with a ceaseless flood of denigrating rubbish with the result that Pew polls showed that more than two-thirds of Americans held a negative or strongly negative view of China – which was unquestionably the intent of the media assault. Martin Jacques said in a live interview in Beijing that the American behavior was “Absolutely disgraceful.” He said, “Too many Western politicians and the Western media responded to what was a grave medical health crisis in China in a way that was completely lacking in compassion and simply used as a stick to beat China. And in doing so also explicitly or implicitly, they encouraged a certain kind of racism against the Chinese, not just the Chinese in China, but Chinese everywhere.” (118)

Some in the West, led by the US, heavily politicised China’s assistance to other nations, claiming China’s acts were done with murky motives and sinister geopolitical intent. The efforts of the Chinese government to help others were categorised as attempts to vie for global influence by vacuuming up America’s allies with bribes. And, since the global pandemic was “all China’s fault”, those donations were merely gestures of atonement camouflaged as charity, and thus should be taken “without appreciation or even acknowledgement” – which is what the US and Canada managed to do. “Unfortunately, even as COVID-19 accelerates inside our country, the Trump administration seems to view diplomacy as a bludgeon to score points against adversaries and alienate friends rather than an essential tool for helping to protect Americans,” wrote Brett McGurk, a senior diplomat. (119)

The Chinese people generally were not very sympathetic to the US, many comparing America’s confused and corrupted efforts with China’s leadership. One post that received hundreds of millions of views said, “It took China two months to defeat the coronavirus, while it took the coronavirus two months to defeat the US.” Another comment read, “US President Donald Trump said the number will go down to zero. Trump is right. The number will go down to zero when all people die.” (120) Similar topics equally drew 250 or 300 million views. One Weibo post received 150 million views almost immediately when suggesting President Trump responded only after 1 million citizens became infected.

Today’s urban Chinese are much less naive about international affairs, and were quite aware of the Zionist-American hate propaganda that was filling Western airwaves and sheets of print, and of the resulting racism and hatred being generated toward China and the Chinese people, many of them having been victims of abuse in the US. They were also aware of the vast efforts made by their own nation to not only protect the lives of Chinese citizens but of the truly enormous contributions their government, corporations and societies had made to helping other nations while the US helped no one and even denied vital supplies to other countries. (121)

From this, Chinese public sentiment toward the US was by no means as light-hearted or gentle as the comments above might suggest. The enormity of anti-China hate literature during the past decade was producing sentiments suggesting, “Send the supplies to Iran, Venezuela and Cuba, and let the Americans learn a lesson.” I had a long conversation with a senior Chinese executive who told me of operating his factory 24/7 and pushing his staff to work 12-hour days to produce vital medical supplies for the US while partially sacrificing his commitments to China. After being exposed to the outrageous denigration of China in the US media, he said he would never again take any action to assist Americans. His final comment to me: “After this, I wouldn’t cross the road to piss on the US if it were on fire.”


Notes

(1) https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202001/24/WS5e2a0374a310128217273141.html

(2)https://guardian.ng/news/china-locks-down-two-cities-to-curb-virus-outbreak/

(3) https://news.yahoo.com/china-warns-virus-could-mutate-spread-death-toll-030352863.html

(4) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/23/coronavirus-panic-spreads-in-china-with-three-cities-in-lockdown

(5) https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202003/10/WS5e66fd23a31012821727dcaf.html

(6) https://www.shine.cn/news/nation/2003043372/

(7) https://www.shine.cn/news/metro/2001260649/

(8) https://www.shine.cn/news/metro/2003124131/

(9) https://www.shine.cn/news/metro/2002192363/

(10) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202003/28/WS5e7e9310a310128217282a28.html

(11) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1183923.shtml

(12) https://www.shine.cn/biz/economy/2001300922/

(13) https://www.rt.com/news/479403-china-xi-coronavirus-demon/

(14) http://www.qstheory.cn/zhuanqu/bkjx/2020-04/28/c_1125917119.htm

(15) https://www.shine.cn/news/nation/2004297248/

(16) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0420/c90000-9681452.html

(17) https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-01-23/Wuhan-to-build-special-hospital-in-six-days-to-receive-patients-NuQ9ulvAo8/index.html

(18) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202003/19/WS5e72d148a31012821728052b.html

(19) https://www.chinadailyhk.com/article/129477#Medical-leader-calls-makeshift-hospitals-a-success

(20) https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/jan/24/chinese-city-wuhan-plans-to-build-coronavirus-hospital-in-six-days

(21) https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/china-s-coronavirus-hospital-built-10-days-opens-its-doors-n1128531

(22)https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-china-can-build-a-coronavirus-hospital-in-10-days-11580397751

(23) https://www.shine.cn/news/nation/2004287119/

(24) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0311/c90000-9666866.html

(25) http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-04/25/c_139005866.htm

(26) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0428/c90000-9684857.html

(27) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1185403.shtml

(28) https://newseu.cgtn.com/news/2020-05-02/West-suffering-because-it-failed-to-listen-to-China-Lancet-editor-Q9g3yHGFfq/index.html

(29) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/05/15/medical-journal-lancet-urges-americans-vote-trump-coronavirus/

(30) https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/china-honors-virus-victims-minutes-reflection-69972806

(31) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0125/c90000-9651777.html

(32) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202001/25/WS5e2bb430a310128217273341.html

(33) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1184030.shtml

(34) https://www.chinadailyhk.com/article/119530

(35) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202002/17/WS5e4a3f38a3101282172781a9.html

(36) https://www.chinadailyhk.com/article/129138#Wuhan-tops-travelers’-wish-lists-in-2020

(37) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1185879.shtml

(38) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1185879.shtml

(39) http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1185533.shtml

(40) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1185879.shtml

(41) http://english.www.gov.cn/news/topnews/202003/07/content_WS5e6338a8c6d0c201c2cbdbce.html

(42) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202001/25/WS5e2b76faa3101282172732ab.html

(43) http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-01/26/c_138733811.htm

(44) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1177867.shtml

(45) http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-01/26/c_138734351.htm

(46) https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202001/24/WS5e2a0374a310128217273141.html

(47) https://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202001/25/WS5e2b8102a3101282172732c0.html

(48) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0506/c90000-9687191.html

(49) http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-02/16/c_138789227.htm

(50) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1184127.shtml

(51) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1184127.shtml

(52) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1184127.shtml

(53) http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-04/02/c_138941573.htm

(54) https://www.shine.cn/news/nation/2001250569/

(55)https://www.shine.cn/news/metro/2002152114/

(56) http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1184245.shtml

(57) http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1184245.shtml

(58) https://www.chinadailyhk.com/article/126796#China-bashing-syndrome-makes-coronavirus-pandemic-deadlier

(59) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1184530.shtml

(60) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/04/06/government-seeks-refund-millions-coronavirus-antibody-tests/

(61) https://www.foxnews.com/world/netherlands-becomes-latest-country-to-reject-china-made-coronavirus-test-kits-gear

(62) http://www.china.org.cn/china/Off_the_Wire/2020-04/29/content_75987996.htm

(63) https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-china-idUSKCN2292S8

(64) https://www.chinadailyhk.com/article/129146

(65) https://peoplesdaily.pdnews.cn/2020/04/30/world/washington-rebuked-for-smear-over-testing-kits-148227.html

(66) https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/12/health/coronavirus-test-kits-cdc.html

(67) https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/coronavirus-tests-new-york-us-cases-kits-trump-cdc-results-a9365921.html

(68) https://news.yahoo.com/us-health-authority-shipped-faulty-coronavirus-test-kits-205948746.html

(69) https://www.globalresearch.ca/us-health-authority-shipped-faulty-coronavirus-test-kits-across-country-official/5703909

(70) https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/18/coronavirus-tests-delayed-by-covid-19-contamination-at-cdc-lab.html

(71) https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/contamination-at-cdc-lab-delayed-rollout-of-coronavirus-tests/2020/04/18/fd7d3824-7139-11ea-aa80-c2470c6b2034_story.html

(72) https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/covid19-coronavirus-united-states-faulty-test-kits-12429566

(73) https://www.msn.com/en-za/news/africa/covid-19-pawpaw-and-goat-test-positive-for-virus-president-magufuli/ar-BB13AJWO

(74) https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/governors-plead-for-medical-equipment-from-federal-stockpile-plagued-by-shortages-and-confusion/2020/03/31/18aadda0-728d-11ea-87da-77a8136c1a6d_story.html

(75) https://nypost.com/2020/04/04/states-receive-masks-with-dry-rot-broken-ventilators/

(76) https://apnews.com/2b1c7d508dbee187aba31b675f8c5685

(77) https://www.cbsnews.com/news/california-received-broken-ventilators-from-federal-government-governor-gavin-newsom-says/

(78) https://abcnews.go.com/

(79) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/04/21/public-health-england-admits-coronavirus-tests-used-send-nhs/

(80) https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/coronavirus/nhs-staff-offered-new-covid-19-tests-after-initial-checks-found-to-be-flawed/ar-BB131rbF

(81) https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/breaking-coronavirus-nhs-staff-called-21905571

(82) https://apnews.com/850d9e6834fc71967af6d3dda65ad874

(83) http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-04/25/c_139005866.htm

(84) https://www.statista.com/statistics/1109011/coronavirus-covid19-death-rates-us-by-state/

(85) https://www.shine.cn/news/world/2003124144/

(86) https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-03-20/China-announces-to-help-82-countries-fight-COVID-19-P1hcQcQKe4/index.html

(87) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0325/c90000-9672307.html

(88) https://www.msn.com/en-xl/news/other/update-china-southern-sends-185-cargo-flights-weekly-to-support-global-covid-19-fight/ar-BB13df1B

(89) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1186745.shtml

(90) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0325/c90000-9672307.html

(91) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202004/09/WS5e8e772ba310e232631a4e08.html

(92) http://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202005/08/WS5eb4d906a310a8b24115437d.html

(93) https://www.globalsecurity.org/security/library/news/2020/04/sec-200422-pdo07.htm

(94) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0428/c90000-9684957.html

(95) https://newsghana.com.gh/chinese-enterprises-lend-a-big-hand-to-africa-to-combat-covid-19/

(96) https://www.shine.cn/news/world/2003295304/

(97) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0325/c90000-9672307.html

(98) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0507/c90000-9687490.html

(99) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0321/c90000-9670897.html

(100) http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1186348.shtml

(101) https://times-publications.com/2020/04/22/2333/uk-trade-and-business/

(102) https://www.shine.cn/news/nation/2003255022/

(103) https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-03-20/China-announces-to-help-82-countries-fight-COVID-19-P1hcQcQKe4/index.html

(104) http://www.china.org.cn/china/Off_the_Wire/2020-04/07/content_75903130.htm

(105) http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-03/21/c_138901763.htm

(106) http://china.org.cn/world/2020-03/22/content_75844594.htm

(107) http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-03/22/c_138904576.htm

(108) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1183326.shtml

(109) http://www.ecns.cn/news/society/2020-04-07/detail-ifzvcazm8251455.shtml

(110) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0504/c90000-9686744.html

(111) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0325/c90000-9672307.html

(112) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0325/c90000-9672307.html

(113) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202003/20/WS5e740a2ca31012821728094e.html

(114) https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-03-30/First-aircraft-carrying-medical-supplies-from-China-arrives-in-U-S–Ph2wcnA0Ok/index.html

(115) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1186786.shtml

(116) http://www.china.org.cn/world/2020-05/06/content_76010588.htm

(117) http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0429/c90000-9685576.html

(118) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202003/19/WS5e72d148a31012821728052b.html

(119) https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/calls-global-cooperation-us-china-fight-leading-coronavirus/story?id=69898820

(120) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1187121.shtml

(121) The US government (primarily FEMA and/or the CIA, in conjunction with Israel’s Mossad) were widely accused by France, Germany, and other nations of repeatedly hijacking – on airport tarmacs – shipments of medical supplies destined for other countries. These actions were simultaneous with FEMA’s seizures of medical supplies from hospitals and importers all across the US, and there appeared to be substantial evidence much of these supplies were sent to Israel – while US hospitals were bleeding. There isn’t space to follow the story here, but you can follow this set of links below to research the subject.


(1) https://www.rt.com/news/484743-cuba-covid19-us-blockade/

(2) https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/17/opinion/cuba-coronavirus-trump.html

(3) https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/cuba-u-s-embargo-blocks-coronavirus-aid-shipment-from-asia-1.4881479

(4) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/02/global-battle-coronavirus-equipment-masks-tests

(5) https://germany.timesofnews.com/breaking-news/us-accused-of-seizing-face-mask-shipments-bound-for-europe-canada

(6) https://dnyuz.com/2020/04/03/us-accused-of-seizing-face-mask-shipments-bound-for-europe-canada/

(7) https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-works-assure-allies-deny-allegations-seizing-supplies/story?id=70019576

(8) https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/04/europe/coronavirus-masks-war-intl/index.html

(9) https://www.rtl.fr/actu/debats-societe/masques-detournes-les-americains-sortent-le-cash-il-faut-se-battre-dit-jean-rottner-sur-rtl-7800346680

(10) https://www.lefigaro.fr/international/coronavirus-l-amerique-relance-la-guerre-des-masques-20200402

(11) https://www.huffingtonpost.fr/entry/coronavirus-des-masques-commandes-par-la-france-detournes-par-des-americains-des-masques-commandes-par-la-france-detournes-par-des-americains_fr_5e84eb13c5b6f55ebf47271a

(12)https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/coronavirus-medical-supplies-countries_in_5e873034c5b63e06281ccebd

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-works-assure-allies-deny-allegations-seizing-supplies/story?id=70019576

(13) https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/04/europe/coronavirus-masks-war-intl/index.html

(14) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1185063.shtml

(15) https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1186406.shtml

(16) https://www.reuters.com/article/us-huawei-tech-fedex-exclusive-idUSKCN1SX1RZ

(17) https://www.journaldemontreal.com/2020/04/03/des-masques-pour-le-quebec-detournes

(18) https://nationalpost.com/news/what-happened-when-five-million-medical-masks-for-canadas-covid-19-fight-were-hijacked-at-an-airport-in-china?video_autoplay=true

(19)https://dnyuz.com/2020/04/03/us-accused-of-seizing-face-mask-shipments-bound-for-europe-canada/

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-works-assure-allies-deny-allegations-seizing-supplies/story?id=70019576

(20) https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/04/europe/coronavirus-masks-war-intl/index.html

(21) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/04/19/flight-carrying-vital-ppe-supplies-nhs-delayed-turkey/

(22) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/04/18/ministers-plead-overseas-counterparts-allow-shipments-ppe-shortage/

(23) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/05/06/exclusive-gowns-delayed-ppe-shipment-turkey-impounded-failing/

(24) https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/04/turkey-aid-covid19-coronavirus-erdogan-satterfield-sweden.html

(25) https://apnews.com/b940aca2ab2d0c31af2826da9c30d222

(26) https://www.opednews.com/articles/Are-the-Face-Masks-Stolen-by-Meryl-Ann-Butler-Corona-Virus-Coronavirus-Covid-19-200410-528.html

(27) https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/not-an-ideal-solution-maryland-national-guard-members-advised-to-make-their-own-cloth-masks/ar-BB12eKEL

(28) https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2020/04/24/army-researchers-say-this-is-the-best-material-for-a-homemade-face-mask-theyve-found-so-far/

(29) https://twitter.com/TsahiDabush/status/1247601103006502914

(30) https://urmedium.com/c/presstv/12226

(31) While American health workers beg for PPE, Trump just shipped a million masks to the Israeli army. https://t.co/2sVFLMteo9 — Ali Abunimah (@AliAbunimah) April 8, 2020

(32) https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/US-Department-of-Defense-give-1-million-masks-to-IDF-for-coronavirus-use-623976

(33) https://www.globalsecurity.org/security/library/news/2020/04/sec-200408-presstv01.htm

(34) https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Mossad-bought-10-million-coronavirus-masks-last-week-622890

(35) https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/fema-relied-inexperienced-volunteers-find-coronavirus-protective-equipment/story?id=70519484

(36) https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/kushner-coronavirus-effort-said-to-be-hampered-by-inexperienced-volunteers/2020/05/05/6166ef0c-8e1c-11ea-9e23-6914ee410a5f_story.html

(37) https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/fema-relied-inexperienced-volunteers-find-coronavirus-protective-equipment/story?id=70519484

(38) https://abcnews.go.com/Health/us-short-ppe/story?id=70093430

(39) https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/kushner-backed-program-charters-flights-medical-supplies-behalf/story?id=70291872

(40) https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/white-house-wind-coronavirus-task-force-trump-shifts/story?id=70518706

(41)https://apnews.com/8cd84c260cb6d951ac57a6248542a44f


PT — PT — LARRY ROMANOFF — LIDAR COM DEMÓNIOS — April 03, 2021 (bluemoonofshanghai.com)SP — SP — LARRY ROMANOFF — TRATAR CON DEMONIOS — December 03, 2020 (bluemoonofshanghai.com)

The Brazilian fracture between the Expanding Universe and the new imperialist competition in South America

The Brazilian fracture between the Expanding Universe and the new imperialist competition in South America
Fabio Reis Vianna, lives in Rio de Janeiro, is a bachelor of laws (LL.B), MA student in International Relations at the University of Évora (Portugal), writer and geopolitical analyst. He currently maintains a column on international politics at the centennial Brazilian newspaper Monitor Mercantil.

April 05, 2021

By Fabio Reis Vianna for The Saker Blog

In an article published in Foreign Affairs magazine – one of the most prominent mouthpieces of US imperialism – , and signed by, among others, Marcus Hicks, former commander of the US Special Operations Command in Africa during the period 2017-2019, defends the idea that the increased competition between the great powers ignites a red alert that the United States should turn its attention to the African continent.

The main motivator of this concern would be the urgent need to limit the “malign influence” of the hegemon’s two major strategic rivals: Russia and China.

Citing the increased Sino-Russian presence on the African continent, in which Russia alone would have already established military agreements with at least 19 countries, and China, installed in 2017 its first international military base in Djibout.

It is worth noting, that although the Foreign Affairs article mentions that there was an ebb in the American presence during Donald Trump’s administration, in reality, and in a long-term look, since 2001 American foreign policy has turned more aggressively to Africa, and this posture has even been an incentive for a greater presence of other actors of the interstate system in that continent.

The American presence in Africa, justified by the excuse of fighting transnational terrorism, was therefore the trigger for an increase in the presence of other interstate actors, and consequently, of the imperialist competition that in this pandemic 2021 gains even more dramatic contours.

Although this article is specifically a defense of the American presence in Africa, it serves as a warning of how the American establishment is positioning itself in face of a phenomenon that has deepened considerably in recent years: the new imperialist race.

Therefore, it is of utmost importance to understand the role of South America in this complex power game.

Taking into consideration that the increase in competitive pressure in the world system has been accelerating considerably since the collapse of the Soviet Union, has gained imperial contours after September 11, and has unveiled itself as, in fact, in a scenario of almost war with the advent of the pandemic, it is possible to deduce that the recent events in certain parts of South America definitely place it as a battleground of the current powers’ wider dispute for global hegemony.

Symptoms of this competitive phenomenon could be seen recently in insinuations that the Chinese are carrying out naval maneuvers in Argentinean waters (when in fact it was the Americans who in fact carried out exercises near the Brazilian coast), as well as in the intensification of the diplomatic crisis between Venezuela and Guyana.

There are many fracture points in South America, and perhaps the most visible and dangerous one lies over the Esequibo zone, a Guyanese territory of 159,000 square kilometers never recognized by Caracas.

In early March, Guyana accused Venezuela of having violated its airspace with the use of two Sukhoi SU 30 drones, of Russian origin. Caracas promptly refuted the accusations as false.

Repudiated by the Secretary of State for Falklands, Antarctica and the South Atlantic, Daniel Filmus, more recently, the publication of the new British defense plan – ratifying the decision to maintain a permanent military presence in the Falkland Islands – brought concerns to Buenos Aires.

The presence of foreign powers in South American territory is clear, and in light of the significant increase of competitive pressure in the world system – which has been gradually taking place since the disproportionate display of American military power against a defenseless Iraq in 1991 – the theory of the Expanding Universe is confirmed year after year, and in an increasingly dramatic way.

Contradicting the idea that a unipolar system, and therefore led and conducted by a single hegemon, would lead to Kant’s “perpetual peace,” the theory of the Expanding Universe supports the thesis that the global power game tends to reproduce itself ad infinitum as a continuously expanding, anarchic, and directionless universe.

Thus, it doesn’t matter whether the dispute is bipolar or multipolar: whoever is at the top of the system tends to expand his power even further – even if he is not necessarily being challenged at the moment, as is the case in the period right after the Soviet collapse, when the United States reigned absolute over the rest of the world.

The factual (and cruel) reality that comes to confirm the theory of the Expanding Universe could not fit into a more appropriate outfit than that of the present moment.

Just as 9/11 served as the perfect excuse for the expansion of the United States’ global power (in this specific case against an imaginary enemy – since the usual enemy, Russia, was temporarily out of the game), the Covid-19 pandemic serves today as a ladder for an unprecedented increase in competitive pressure in the interstate system.

Following this reasoning, and contrary to what Atlanticist analysts are saying, the pandemic crisis would be favoring only one country: the United States of America.

Not only because Silicon Valley technology companies have never profited as much as they do now, but the awakening of sovereigntist and militarist instincts brought about by the pandemic chaos has made possible the realization of the only fundamental and untouchable consensus of the currently divided US elites: the permanent and continuous reproduction and expansion of their military industrial complex. This expansion would be nothing more than the viability of the so-called Full Spectrum Dominance contained in the DOD Joint Vision 2020, published in the year 2000.

In this context, South America comes to play a new role in the global geopolitical chessboard, a role that the long period as a zone of peace under Anglo-Saxon influence would have softened.

With the increased competitive pressure caused by the pandemic event, which in other terms could be seen as the hegemon’s reaction to the entrance of new competitors in the system, came an increase or shock in the demand for energy resources.

In this scenario, we could exemplify the perspective of an expressive growth in the global demand for oil for the next 30 years, with China and India alone representing approximately 50% of all demand.

Considering that South America today can be considered the region with the largest oil (Venezuela) and Lithium (Bolivia) reserves on the planet – not to mention the Amazon forest and fresh water reserves (Brazil) – and in light of this global energy order in formation and dispute, it would not be an exaggeration to say that the new imperialist race between the great powers in the beginning of this century would be gradually turning to the region.

This situation is a wake-up call for a country in the region that is currently experiencing the greatest identity crisis in its entire history: Brazil.

Fractured internally since before the pandemic, the South American giant has never found itself so pressured and isolated internationally.

The systemic chaos that began with the Color Revolution of June 2013, and which has been deepening year after year until culminating in the election of Jair Bolsonaro (puppet president emerging from the white coup orchestrated by the consortium between the Armed Forces High Command and the U.S. government), finally goes into full short circuit after the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic.

Since then the growing discontent of sectors of the local economic elites with the disastrous management of the health crisis by the current government ruled by the military junta is visible.

Threatened by external sanctions from all sides, the country that has surpassed the mark of 300,000 deaths, is experiencing an internal fracture unprecedented in its history.

Something little remembered, but already in October 2019, Portuguese-speaking writers Mia Couto and José Eduardo Agualusa, on a visit to Brazil, said they were impressed by the climate of local political animosity, comparing the South American giant to African countries like Mozambique and Angola during the pre-civil war period.

At the same time that military police officers in Rio de Janeiro organize marches dressed in suggestive black shirts in defense of President Jair Bolsonaro, military police officers in the state of Bahia are threatening to cause chaos with a riot against the local governor (Rui Costa, from the Workers’ Party, an opponent of Bolsonaro).

Amid escalating tensions, the arm-wrestling between government and parliament is intensifying, and in particular with regard to two issues of geopolitical relevance: 5G and the Sputnik V vaccine.

Even if it is not clear from the stories reported by the hegemonic Brazilian press, it is visible that the Bolsonaro government deliberately acts as a representative of US interests in Brazil.

The difficulties created for the approval of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, and the constant threat of exclusion of the Chinese technology giant Huawei from the great 5G auction in the country, reflect the current role of Brazil as a battleground of the great expansionist dispute of the world system in this beginning of the century.

The social fracture, and the deepening divide within the local elites expose the serious risk of a country that could spiral out of control at any moment.

The news that the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) has sent a letter to Mr. Joe Biden, and to his Special Climate Secretary John Kerry, requesting a direct channel of communication – and away from the Brazilian government – to deal with issues related to the Amazon, opens a very serious alert about something that, for those who know history, would not be new.

Bearing in mind that geopolitical competition between the great powers is usually concentrated in fracture zones of the world system, history teaches us that fractured societies – and weakened states – tend to become the object of divisive games in the hands of the great powers.

With all due respect to the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil – so mistreated and threatened by the current government – but the moment calls for a deep reflection on this.

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