Fourth Reich? Mass-Tracking COVI-PASS Immunity Passports Slated to Roll Out in 15 Countries

By Raul Diego

Source

COVI-PASS will determine whether you can go to a restaurant, if you need a medical test, or are due for a talking-to by authorities in a post-COVID world. Consent is voluntary, but enforcement will be compulsory.

Through the magic of Internet meme culture, most Millennials will be familiar with the famous opening scene of the 1942 film, “Casablanca,” where two policemen stop a civilian in the “old Moorish section” of Nazi-occupied French Morocco and ask him for his “papers.” The subject is taken away at once after failing to produce the required documents. The cinematic exchange has been used ever since as a popular reference to the ever-encroaching hand of the state, which is now on the verge of attaining a level of control over people’s movements that puts the crude Nazi methods to shame.

A British cybersecurity company, in partnership with several tech firms, is rolling out the COVI-PASS in 15 countries across the world; a “digital health passport” that will contain your COVID-19 test history and other “relevant health information.” According to the company website, the passport’s objective is “to safely return to work” and resume “social interactions” by providing authorities with “up-to-date and authenticated health information.”

These objectives mirror those that Bill Gates has been promoting since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown. In an essay written by Gates in April, the software geek-cum-philanthropist lays out his support for the draconian measures taken in response to the virus and, like an old-timey mob boss, suggests the solutions to this deliberately imposed problem. Ironically, Gates begins to make his case for the adoption of mass tracking and surveillance technology in the U.S. by saying that “For now, the United States can follow Germany’s example”; He then touts the advantages of the “voluntary adoption of digital tools” so we can “remember where [we] have been” and can “choose to share it with whoever comes to interview you about your contacts.”

COVI-Pass APP

Gates goes on to predict that the ability to attend public events in the near future will depend on the discovery of an effective treatment. But he remains pessimistic that any such cure will be good enough in the short term to make people “feel safe to go out again.” These warnings by the multi-billionaire dovetail perfectly with the stated purposes of the aforementioned COVI-PASS, whose development is also being carried out in partnership with Redstrike Group – a sports marketing consultancy firm that is working with England’s Premier League and their Project Restart to parse ticket sales and only make them available to people who have tested negative for the virus.

VST Enterprises goes viral

VST Enterprises Ltd (VSTE) is led by 31-year old entrepreneur, Louis-James Davis, who very recently stepped down from a “science & technology ambassadorship” in the African nation of Zimbabwe to focus on the company’s role in the UN’s SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Collaboratory initiative, comprising a series of “cyber technology projects across all 193 member states of the United Nations.”

These will use the same proprietary VCode and VPlatform technologies underpinning the COVI-PASS that will reportedly tackle issues such as illegal mining and counterfeiting. This “third generation” barcode technology overcomes the limitations of older “second generation” versions like QR-codes, according to Davis. “Data and sensitive information scanned or stored in either a QR code and barcode can be hacked and are inherently insecure,” Davis claims, “leaving data and personal details to be compromised.” These, and other flaws of the prevailing “proximity apps” were exploited by VST Enterprises to position itself to land large government and private sector contracts.

By all measures, the strategy has proven wildly successful and VST now enjoys strong favor in the highest circles of the UK government as evidenced by the ringing endorsement of former Prime Minister Theresa May, prominently displayed on the COVI-PASS website. More practically, VST now has a direct partnership with the UK government and has secured contracts to deploy its technology in 15 countries, including Italy, Portugal, France, India, the US, Canada, Sweden, Spain, South Africa, Mexico, United Arab Emirates and the Netherlands.

In May, VST signed a deal with international digital health technology firm and owner of COVI-PASS, Circle Pass Enterprises (CPE) to integrate VST’s VCode into the biometric RFID-enabled “passports” which can be accessed via mobile phone or a key fob will flash colored lights to denote if an individual has tested negative, positive or is to be denied entry to public locations. Awarded the ‘Seal of Excellence’ by the EU, VCode® technology will ensure that all of our most sensitive personal and health information can be accessed by authorities at a distance, dispensing with messy and potentially dangerous face-to-face encounters with police or other enforcement personnel.

Infusing the narrative

So far, the concerns over the digital health passport’s threat to freedom and privacy have been lukewarm at best and it seems as if the world has already accepted that full-fledged population control methods such as these will simply be a fact of life. While the coronavirus pandemic has certainly done much to bring the public over to this way of thinking, the campaign to normalize this sort of Orwellian power-grab has been ongoing for many years and Bill Gates – who many media outlets have whitewashed out of stories related to these measures – has been at the forefront of its promotion.

The Innovation for Uptake, Scale and Equity in Immunisation (INFUSE) project was launched in Davos, Switzerland in 2016. The program was developed by an organization funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation called GAVI (The Vaccine Alliance), which has been calling for a digital health ID for children along with partners in the broader !D2020 initiative like the Rockefeller Foundation and Microsoft.

In a recent interview, the deputy director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Hassan Damluji, derided the idea that the COVID-19 pandemic was in any way subsiding and even warned that, far from receding, the pandemic was “deep into wave three.” His remarks were specifically targeted to the very regions he oversees for the foundation, which include the Middle East and parts of Asia, which he stressed would be the focus of the next wave. Damluji was “most recently involved in a five-year fundraising cycle for GAVI,” an effort led by Saudi Arabia, whose investment he praised as a powerful “signal [that] others had an obligation to follow.”

Gates concludes his editorial with a comparison to World War II, stating that said conflict was a “defining moment of our parents’ generation” as the COVID-19 pandemic is to ours, implying that the changes taking place now are akin to the Allied forces’ defeat of the Third Reich. Except, of course, that immunity passports or digital health certificates sound exactly like what Hitler wished for the most. After all, wasn’t the idea of a superior race based on considerations of superior health and vitality over the ostensibly sick and unfit? Hard to argue against the idea that a universal health passport is nothing less than the ultimate fulfillment of that dystopian nightmare.

Sanctioned Countries Are Now Leading the World in the Fight Against Coronavirus

By Alan Macleod

Source

Countries currently facing US sanctions, around a quarter of the world’s population, are faring far better than the United States and leading the global fight against COVID-19.

After weeks of dismissing it as a liberal “hoax” designed to unseat the president, brushing the virus off as no big deal and under control, the Trump administration is clearly floundering in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite weeks of warning where it could have taken precautionary steps, the United States currently has four times the confirmed cases and twice the deaths of any other country. At the same time, the countries it is currently placing under economic siege, totaling around a quarter of the world’s population, are faring far better and leading the global fight against the coronavirus.

China, for instance, the first epicenter of the outbreak, has managed to slow its new COVID-19 cases to a trickle, reopening for business after losing 4,632 people – a number that, in the context of a stark April reality, appears impressively low. Although much of the discourse in the West condemns the Chinese government’s supposedly incompetent or slow response to COVID-19, the reality is that Beijing alerted the World Health Organization on December 31, when just 27 cases (and no deaths) had been identified, with authorities not yet even aware that the condition was a coronavirus.

The country is at the forefront of the production and distribution of protective and medical equipment throughout the world and, along with Russia (another sanctioned state) is one of the few nations to fly medical personnel around the world to help other countries. Russia even sent a planeload of cargo to the United States, despite the American sanctions hurting its economy. While their actions have been presented in corporate media as cynically trying to “curry favor” abroad, the aid has been much appreciated in countries suffering under the pandemic. In contrast, the U.S. has led the world in stealing or requisitioning supplies destined for other nations.

Another sanctioned state exporting doctors across the world during the pandemic is Cuba, the island nation is sending medical staff to neighbors like Haiti, Venezuela, Suriname and Jamaica and also further afield to Italy. “This is a global battle and we have to fight it together,” said nurse Carlos Armando Garcia Hernandez, capturing the medical internationalist spirit of Cuban medicine pioneered by Che Guevara, who quipped that, “The life of a single human being is worth a million times more than all the property of the richest man on earth.” A Cuban antiviral drug, Interferon Alpha 2b, has also proved successful in boosting patients’ immune systems, helping them fight off the coronavirus, and is now being used worldwide.

Venezuela, meanwhile, struggling under crippling U.S. sanctions that have claimed the lives of at least 100,000 people according to an American UN Special Rapporteur, has mobilized to fight the virus head on. The country has conducted twice as many tests as any other South American nation, but only 288 COVID-19 cases have been found, leading to only 10 deaths. Even before any cases were confirmed, President Maduro declared a health emergency, quickly closing public buildings like theaters and restaurants. His administration rapidly organized a huge online database where citizens could inform authorities of their symptoms. Medical professionals visited tens of thousands of people in their own homes, distributing test kits and advice. Maduro decreed the suspension of all rent and utility bills during the crisis, also banning the firing of workers.

A testament to the country’s efforts is that thousands of Venezuelan expats in the U.S., at least 92 percent of whom voted against Maduro in the 2013 elections, came back to the country during the pandemic, suggesting they are far more confident in Venezuela’s handling of the crisis.

Meanwhile, Vietnam, a country not currently sanctioned but having faced Washington’s wrath for decades, surely earns the top prize in handling the virus. Despite recording its first positive case just two days after the first American one, authorities have managed to limit the outbreak to just 268 cases and zero deaths. This is not because they are not testing, far from it. In fact, the country has designed, developed and mass produced multiple test kits all costing less than $20 each and giving dependable results in less than 90 minutes.

Those arriving from abroad are quarantined for two weeks while anyone coming to a major city or building has their temperature checked. Whole villages and towns have been fenced off due to one positive test. There is certainly an authoritarian element to their response; those lying about their past whereabouts or found to be spreading false information about the pandemic can face charges. However, the response has hinged upon the strong collective solidarity of the Vietnamese people, many of whom have likened the present events to the Tet Offensive, where millions united in secret to drive the American invaders back in a surprise attack.

In Iran, one of the first global hotspots and a country that planners in the U.S. were gleefully predicting would fall in on itself under the strain, has managed to get to grips with the pandemic. The number of new daily cases of COVID-19 has been falling day-on-day since March 30.

Ironically, Mohammad Morandi, a professor at the University of Tehran, claims the crippling sanctions that blocked Iranian oil exports have inadvertently better prepared them to deal with the total collapse in global oil prices than U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia, the UAE or Qatar.

Seyed Mohammad Marandi@s_m_marandi

Trump blocked Iranian oil exports & inadvertently prepared Iran for the collapse of the oil market.

Are others prepared? Will the Saudi regime survive? UAE? Kuwait? Qatar? US shale? What will happen to the US banking sector & oil industry?

The balance of power is shifting.

While the sanctioned countries vary greatly in their level of human development and the democratic credentials of their governments, they all share one thing in common: they have refused to buy into a U.S.-led neoliberal economic order that appears totally unprepared and unable to come to terms with a globalized pandemic. Countries that have been the most enthusiastic adopters of neoliberalism have, not coincidentally, found their individualistic ideology that promotes greed and discourages collective solutions sorely lacking in tackling a public health crisis that threatens the entire world.

China’s Covid-19 Reporting Is Truthful, Birx and Trump Demonstrate-Unwittingly

By John V. Walsh

Source

 

At President Trump’s April 18 press briefing on the Covid-19 Pandemic, Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the US response to the outbreak, criticized China’s reports on the Covid-19 data.  

She did so by showing a chart with data from the following countries.  (I have updated the chart with data[1] from the New York Times of April 19, but the two data sets differ by only a small and negligible amount.)

Mortality, Deaths per 100,000 population

  • Belgium: 49.8
  • Spain: 43.8
  • Italy: 39.2
  • France: 29.4
  • UK: 24.2
  • Netherlands: 21.4
  • USA: 10.9
  • Iran: 6.3
  • Germany: 5.2
  • China: 0.3

Dr. Birx called China’s low number “unrealistic,” saying, “I put China on there so you could see how basically unrealistic this could be.”  That was after President Trump pointed at China’s number and interrupted Birx to ask rhetorically, “Excuse me. Does anybody really believe this number? Does anybody really believe this number?”  (Transcript here; see minute 37:08 and following.)

The argument that Blix and Trump were making was clear.  China’s number was way out of line with the others, lower by more than a factor of 10.  Therefore, China’s report was a lie.

But in her chart Dr. Birx omitted data coming from countries of East Asia and nearby which have been praised by the US media for their performance and whose data are unquestioned in the West.  Here are some relevant omitted data, taken again from the New York Times of April 19, with China included again for comparison

Deaths per 100,000 population

  • South Korea: 0.5
  • Japan: 0.5
  • Australia: 0.3
  • China: 0.3
  • Singapore: 0.2
  • Taiwan: <0.1
  • Hong Kong: <0.1

China’s number falls right into line with that of neighboring countries!  Birx’s exercise in fact is a classic example of lying by omission, a half truth being a full lie.

Either Dr. Birx was aware of this data and dishonestly withheld it, or she was not aware of it and she is incompetent.  Neither conclusion is very comforting.  Trump is to be criticized both for his jumping in to bash China and for tolerating someone like Birx with the direction of the government’s response to the pandemic.

These data make it quite clear that countries of East Asia and Australia have performed better than the US and Europe.  Why is this?  Two categories of explanation suggest themselves.  First different strains of the virus may differ in lethality. There is no proof for this, but there is some suggestion of it in laboratory tests.

A second reason for the better performance of East Asian countries and Australia is that they paid attention to what China was doing, perhaps because they are neighbors and better informed of what was going on in China.  Much news about China is simply not reported by the mainstream media in the US and among US “allies.”  In this case, however, concern about a developing pandemic right next door may have lofted news from China over information blockade.  These countries may have seen that China had accumulated considerable experience with the virus and at great cost in life and suffering was having success in stopping its spread.  As a result, they followed what China did in many respects.

But no matter the reason, China’s data fall right in line with many of its neighbors. That is the main point. The bottom line is that these data provide us with no reason to doubt China’s reporting. And the correspondence between the data China released and other regional data is consistent with the fact that China reported Covid-19 deaths accurately.

Since so much attention is devoted to fact checking Trump’s press conferences, I thought surely the press would have picked up on this obvious manipulation of data.  I checked on the fact check of the press conference by CNN, no friend of the Trump administration, and there was no mention of this lie by omission.  Next, I checked PBS, a pillar of probity and respectability and also no friend of Trump.  PBS does a brief online look at each press conference with anchor Hari Sreenivasan and Zachary Green.  They showed Birx’s chart and noted Trump’s comments but made no criticism of the omitted data.  A check of the NYT, another arch-foe of Trump, on the following day disclosed no mention of the Birx-Trump deceit.

How can this be explained?  One cannot help but feel that the idea of Chinese malfeasance in all things has become so deeply embedded in the body politic that to challenge charges made against China is now beyond the pale.  No charge, no matter how unfounded or contrary to actual fact, is too brazen to report without a moment’s consideration.  In fact, to tell the truth in such a situation may damage the career of a rising journalistic “star.”

Why are we to be concerned about this matter? Because China’s experience has had much to teach us.  And since China is now emerging from the recession caused by the pandemic, it may have more to teach us as we move to economic recovery.  For example, to get back to normalcy, China has now rolled out large scale testing on a territory roughly the size of the US.  How is that working and how might it be improved?  To ignore China’s experience without careful evaluation at a time like this could well end up as a self-destructive act.

But there is an even bigger danger here.  There has been a growing antagonism between China and the US since Obama’s ill-advised “Pivot” against China followed by Trump’s equally ill-advised trade war.  Now we find Trump and Biden competing to be the number one China basher.  The press conference of April 18 falls into this pattern, allowing Trump to parade as tough on China and escape from a thrashing by a China-hostile media for his earlier praise of Xi and China for their response to Covid-19. To take the route of hostility to China can lead to a clash between two economic giants and nuclear powers, which could lead to a disaster for all humanity.  As Henry Kissinger reminded us some time back, armed conflict between the two giants could bring the same level of devastation to all the world that WWI brought to Europe.  And that is likely to be an underestimate. Let us step back from this path before it is too late.

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