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Jonathan Cook – whose articles I think are of the best in general – disappoints in his latest article explaining his silence regarding COVID-19 and the anti-COVID-19 measures. Like many of the critical left Cook does not see the crisis worth speaking about except for a brief mention to then move back to business as usual (or, more appropriate, injustices world wide…).
To me, that is striking lack of realisation of the severity of the current crisis, not in medical terms but in opportunities for elite control and the continuation of the current neo-liberal and militaristic global system lead by the US. Class war demands constant propaganda to keep the masses »were they belong« as does the US militaristic foreign policy that needs »justification« for their interventions. The movements for more social justice before COVID-19 took over, i.e. more equal distribution of wealth and accountability of corporation especially in relation of climate change are a threat for the ruling class.
To keep the masses subservient the ruling class needs threats. The »war on terror« served that goal during the last 20 years, now it looks like that it is replaced or extended by COVID-19. That does not necessarily mean that some billionaires sat together in a dark room smoking fat cigars planning the whole thing for years to now play it out. It might well be that other factors that lead to the overreaction as we know it.2 But with the threat having been established, it is now used by governments all over the world to justify draconian reductions in constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. And like always, the bottom end of society is hit much harder than the top.
That the stars on the critical left do not speak out against these measures is – for me – disappointing. When Jonathan writes that they [those wishing he writes about COVID] think we can write about their concerns better than they can themselves he simply states a truism as he is a trained professional – in addition to the fact that his articles have a readership of a few 100k.
I expend my very limited resources and energies on trying to persuade readers of the very real and very visible conspiracies – structural conspiracies – perpetrated by our elites to maintain and expand their power. [emphasis added]
The corona measures are very real and very visible and they are used by our elites to maintain and expand their power, they caused tremendous harm already in developing countries3 and will do more harm in the near future4.
There are very explicit conspiracies that can be grasped with only a little critical thinking … such as … the five-year campaign to destroy the party’s former leader, Jeremy Corbyn, before he could reach a position where, it was feared, he would be able to disrupt the neoliberal status quo rapidly driving us towards extinction. That conspiracy embraced senior Labour party officials, leaked documents have shown.
A similar conspiracy by the Democratic leadership in the US to prevent Bernie Sanders becoming the party’s presidential candidate in 2016 was exposed in a leak of the DNC’s emails, though that, of course, has been largely plunged down the memory hole and replaced with a straightforward narrative about “Russian” malfeasance.
It is interesting to note that COVID-19 did disrupt Sanders campaign much more than those of his rivals. As the movement was in substantial part fuelled by people coming together – i.e. direct social contact – COVID-19 killed the movement. COVID-19 also killed the yellow west movement in France or at least delayed it substantially for a few months. COVID-19 then enabled governments to print money like in 2008 to extend the de facto bankrupt system. COVID-19 was therefore used against two »dangers«, that would be able to disrupt the neoliberal status quo rapidly, i.e. the Sanders movement and the looming collapse of the system itself. Both facts are very explicit and both can be grasped with only a little critical thinking …
COVID-19 does not appear to be one of those weak points in the western narrative, not least because it is very hard to discern any meaningful western narrative about the virus other than an agreement that it is a dangerous disease for some sections of the population and that its rapid spread could overwhelm most countries’ health services.
It is almost frightening to read that Jonathan ignored not only all non-mainstream information available on COVID-19 – information by luminaries in their field like Bhakdi, Ioannidis, Bhattacharya, Levitt and plenty of others – but ignores his own advice where he writes that there is a reason why overt conspiracies … are not instantly evident to a larger proportion of western publics: the coordinated efforts of corporate media … In an Orwellian double think, Jonathan not just believes the very same mainstream media he denounces just a few lines above but even states that there is no need to disbelieve them – even when they are controlled by the same billionaire donors that pursue narrow, self-destructive corporate interests for which they lobby for endless wars against an intangible “terror”. That “terror” might have now have been extended by “bioterror” i.e. COVID-19 does not occur to Jonathan at all.
To challenge and disrupt that narrative we need people on the left – the critical left – that use their fame to make people aware that, again – like in the case of previous lies –, the mainstream media is framing the discussion, discrediting those that do not believe what they serve us and dare to ask questions. People do not want to be locked up, writes Jonathan, but people do not want wars of aggression either – until you make them demand them. If the shepherd cries ‘wolf’ the sheep demand protection, if the government cries COVID-19, the people demand lock-down. Only if people like Jonathan were to speak out, raising the voice to heaven, then more people would question the narrative, overcome fear and demand appropriate measures instead of lock-down.
When Jonathan demands that exposing these conspiracies is the best hope of getting people to raise questions in their own minds what cold be a better exposé than the German government denouncing a few hundred thousands of peaceful protesters in Berlin as nazis, conspiracy nuts and anti-vaxxers but at the same time allowing a demonstration of Reichsbürger so close to a strangely unprotected Bundestag that its raid could just be expected, a raid that then dominated all the mainstream news and created the unshakable narrative that all those protesting were nazis.5
But sadly, in the case of COVID-19, Jonathan is part of the mainstream, shares the consensus of the western medical establishment without realizing the that medical establishment might be as well controlled by billionaire donors not even pursuing their own nation’s interests, let alone the interests of humankind and the planet.
COVID-19 measures are an inconvenient truth and if we as a society accept them because of bigger problems looming, a totalitarian society might be very likely as any pretext will be used by the ruling elite to justify the status quo (class war). If we were to accept such reasoning, even eco-fascism, a totalitarian society in the name of saving the planet from climate change, might emerge. Solving the world’s problem can only happen in democratic ways by inclusion of all people. We shall never accept a totalitarian society on the grounds of the greater good. This will almost always be a perverse lie to keep the elite in power.
We, who hoped for critical COVID-19 articles, will have accept that some of the left did not realize or do not want to realize the incredible framing and falsehood of the mainstream media in relation to COVID-19 reporting. But – in Caitlin Johnstone’s own words, another star of the critical left that remained mostly silent or did not give COVID-19 substantial importance –, «you wouldn’t have to knock these people off the pedestals you put them on if you hadn’t put them there in the first place.»
People have limits and keep silent sometimes for whatever reasons.
So «don’t plant fishes in the fields» and «don’t ask Chomsky about 9/11».
2Non-linear fluctuation amplifying where media, business (pharma), doctors obsessed by carrier and fame, etc. amplify rather harmless events until it becomes a global pandemic might be an explanation.
3India alone had an exess death toll due to corona measures of about 500’000, https://scroll.in/article/962147/stronger-health-system-could-have-averted-500000-non-covid-deaths-in-india-in-early-lockdown-period
4100 million expected to fall into poverty, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/22/world/africa/coronavirus-hunger-crisis.html
5Meanwhile official media stated the number of participants as 37’000, a little research makes it obvious that at least a few hundred thousand people participated. Judging from the video streams they were from all parts of society. Reichsbürger and Nazis were marginal (<1%). However, that the Berlin government officially allowed a demonstration of Nazis to take place in an area that is usually restricted and that even when hundreds of police men were on duty only three were guarding the Reichstag should be more than strange for a critical observer.
The Financial Times reports that «in many countries, these excess deaths exceed reported numbers of Covid-19 deaths by large margins» and shows graphs with peaks ways above the normal. However, putting this in proper context, changes the picture entirely.
I checked the data for Switzerland where FT states that the excess mortality is 27% above normal.
To put this data in perspective, we look at the graphs from the Federal Statistical Office depicting total deaths for the years 2020 and 2015.
An overlay using GIMP gives us this graph.
- Mortality in the COVID year 2020 was lower than in 2015 (1054 vs, 1322).
- Only one short peak with more than 1600 dead exceeds the year 2015
- We do have excess deaths compared to the average.
- We do not have an excess compared to regular 5-year peaks.
- We do only have a few % of excess mortality over the entire year (if it stays)
In other words: we have a classical peak that occurs during a strong influenza wave. Such peaks are a normal phenomenon every few years:
Using weekly excess mortality instead of the excess mortality over the entire year is misleading. Every few years there are «excesses» as we can see in the graph above. This is a normal pattern. For a single week, we can measure an excess of 27%, 61% or even 451% above average but just a few weeks later the numbers come down. Over the year there will only be a marginal increase of a few percentages, e.g. in 2015 the total number of deaths was only 5.4% higher than in 2014 or 4.4% higher than in 2016. In a graph, the change in mortality rate is hardly visible.
Media reporting is in the full sense of the word out of proportion.
What a horrible country!
Every year the people celebrate their bloody uprising that replaced the ruling class but left thousands dead. With this revolution a reign of terror was unleashed. In trials that can only be described as mocking justice within a year more than 17’000 people had been executed.
But people are brainwashed and do not want to question the official doctrine. They identify with and believe that the event was their liberation and brought them an equal society. It is difficult to comprehend that such a doctrine is accepted by the masses when the privileged have everything but the poor do not know how to make ends meet.
Of course, there is a part of society that can be labeled middle class but the ideals that the state worships as credo is by far not met. Some few do have plenty and a growing underclass is simply poor. That does not reflect the promoted doctrine.
About 50 years a demonstration of a minority group was brutally shattered with hundreds (!) killed. The river of the capital is said to have been filled with corpses on that day. But the public is not aware of such incidents. What does not fit the grid of idealistic superiority is overlooked, suppressed, ignored. And so is its partially aggressive foreign policy and agitation in other counties with serious human rights violations mostly unknown.
Freedom of speech has its limitation, too. Dissident opinion became more and more difficult in recent years with teenagers being arrested for posting ironic comments on a social media platforms! Freedom of expression is just granted when it does not conflict with state-doctrine.
Uff. I reach Paris Charles-de-Gaulle airport where I will take my plane to North Korea leaving France behind me. I really hope people will become aware of their history and that liberté, égalité, fraternité will be put into practice at all the levels of this society …
- From the beginning of 1793 to the Thermidorean Reaction, 17,000 people were sentenced and beheaded by some form of revolutionary court in France (in Paris or in the provinces), in addition to some 25,000 others who were summarily executed in the September Massacres, retributions in the War in the Vendée and elsewhere. The Paris Revolutionary Tribunal was responsible for 16% of all death sentences. [wiki]
- The Paris massacre of 1961 was a massacre in Paris on 17 October 1961, during the Algerian War (1954–62). Under orders from the head of the Parisian police, Maurice Papon, the French National Police attacked a forbidden demonstration of some 30,000 pro-National Liberation Front (FLN) Algerians …
- It may sound like an ironic joke, but it isn’t. Less than a week after the massive rallies in defense of “free expression,” following the murders of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, French authorities have jailed a youth for irony. …
The Guardian’s Vilification of Julian Assange
RT brought a story about a new entry on medium.com called “International Assadists References Directory” listing alleged ‘Assadist’, i.e. people that whitewashed or defended Bashar Al-Assads regime or actions in any way.
Apart from the fact that the page contained factual errors, the page labels anyone an ‘Assadist’ that dares to say that the Syrian conflict is not black and white and sees faults and responsibility for the conflict not only by Assad alone.
I came in contact with Kester Radcliff, the creator of the article, about two years ago. We were friends on facebook where he spilled his propaganda blaming Assad and Assad alone for the situation in Syria. When I pointed out that the reality was not so black&white as he portrayed it and posted a link to an article by Robert Fisk, he got wild. After a few exchanges of arguments – if I can call his answers arguments – he blocked me from his fb page and cancelled the friendship. No more dialogue.
Kester Radcliff is a good example of what I would call Anti-Assad-Propagandist (AAP). The characteristics of how these AAP behave and ‘argue’ is as follows:
- put all the blame on Assad
- propagate that view emotionally (i.e. use expressions like “the worst mass murderer of the last 65 years”, “genocide”, etc.
- don’t tolerate other views. If someone disagrees, get as much angry as possible and discredit the person for even thinking outside of the above parameter.
- do not argue on an intellectual level. Just use emotions to discredit the other. “You want to defend the worst mass murderer …”, “how dare you to say … when 500’00 people have been massacred.”,
- do not accept the standpoint ‘neutral’
As it was rather difficult to get trustworthy information about Syria and the Western media – as usual – favoured the NATO view, contradicting someone that and calls himself a “human rights activist”, holds a seemingly rock-solid opinion and passionately defends it, is not so easy. Especially when you are part of the “volunteering family” you will not want to loose your community. I guess many agree therefore or at least do not oppose the view as they want to save the friendship and not end up as an “outcast”.
Kester Radcliff is not the only one. There were other people I met on facebook behaving similarly. A woman deleted all posts critical to her original posts that tried to whitewash the “White helmets”. First she retorted in short phrases like “Educate yourself before you comment please”, then she had to enter the discussion as the poster showed that he was educated. But a day later only the reaffirming posts remained on the page. See the page before and after. (At least she had a discussion even when deleting it after.)
The question is not about political opinion. The question is that a some people are trying to suppress any meaningful discussion before it even starts and demand loyalty. By bullying people into adopting an emotion-based opinion that is entirely black&white and refusing to acknowledge the existence of – fact-based – other perspectives is not at all in accordance with the alleged ideals of liberal Western democracies this people claim to represent. On the contrary, their behaviour resembles – in essence – much more those authoritarian dictatorships where censorship is standard and deviation from doctrine is forbidden. A free society where plurality of opinion is honoured and welcomed would neither bully nor censor. Welcome to Western hypocrisy.
But anyhow, as Eva Barlett wrote:
“In fact, instead of successfully smearing us, Kester has compiled a go-to list of people to follow for original and truthful content on important international issues today, particularly Syria, Palestine, and Yemen,”
So, Kester, put me on that list, too. I would be an honour!
The whole Russia hysteria that storms through the Western world (Swiss newspapers are full of Anti-Russia rhetoric) is at the bottom line a big Anti-Sanders campaign. The Democrats to not want to acknowledge the epic failure of their neo-liberal candidate Hillary Clinton so they do everything to invent and pad out Trump as a “Manchurian candidate” that was voted in by fraud and manipulation by a foreign power. This focus on Russia’s alleged interference will allow to keep Trump’s neo-liberal achievements and continue on that path but present an illusion of change to the public — especially to the liberal-left — when Trump is gone. The Russia hype is a (desperate) smoke screen to hide the failures of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party on one side and prevent focusing on Trump’s real sins: dismantling of environmental regulatory bodies, tax cuts for the rich, increased military spending … i.e. the full spectrum of Trump’s hard-core neo-liberal policies. Focusing on real issues would demand that the Democrats would reverse such decisions once in power.
Hillary Clinton’s loss against one of the weakest opponents in history and Sanders popularity in addition clearly demands that the Democrats nominate Sanders in 2020—or at least correct their party program massively to the left. Such a step would be the most logical conclusion. But the Democrats showed soon signs that a correction of the neo-liberal path was not a goal. Favouring Tom Perez over Keith Ellison was a clear indicator that the Dems did not have any aspiration to change the elite-run party to more grass-root participation. In other words, the «consultant-ocracy»*, making sure that the interests of the 0.1% of society always come first, was not challenged.
With the Russia frenzy occupying the minds of the public the Democrats have a useful alibi to not take steps to move the party line to the left and address real issues like environment, climate change, demilitarisation, education, poverty and all other topics that demand a clear rejection of neo-liberalism.
I repost here a text that was posted on fb. After commenting it briefly, I was – as expected – blocked by the other original poster. Those who reduce the crisis to Assad only, do not tolerate different opinions.
1. Assad continues to commit genocide, bombing his people daily. He has murdered half a million people. If you’ve ever wondered what you would’ve done during the Holocaust, you’re doing it now.
The term genocide is not appropriate even with all the war crimes committed by the Al-Assad regime. It is a civil war fuelled and prolonged by outside powers. Those that supported militant groups have at least the same responsibility. The US funded, trained and armed militant groups with $ 7 billion.
2. The world together agreed that using chemical weapons is one of the most heinous acts you can commit. It is strictly outlawed internationally. Assad is responsible for 214 chemical attacks (SNHR).
These are not unverified or false flags. Aside from our timelines filled with endless videos of children frothing at the mouth and dying the most agonising death imaginable, independent bodies like WHO confirm these attacks are without question.
It is without question true that chemical weapon attacks are one of most heinous crimes and that chemical weapons are banned. But it is a very different question to proof who used it. The situation is not as clear. Further, the only body that is entitled to decide about military actions in case of violations against the ban of chemical weapons is the UN. Unilateral strikes are forbidden (a war crime) and undermine the authority of the UN.
3. Strikes from the UK, USA and France isn’t ‘war’. It isn’t ‘bombing’ as the term is usually used either. Technology has moved on a great deal. Taking out Assad’s chemical and airforce capacity is the only way to stop his daily attacks.
Such statements should hardly be necessary to comment. To say our bombs are not bombs but love is sheer cynicism. These strikes were not legalized by the UN and are therefore a clear act of aggression. Such actions undermine the authority of the UN and weaken international law in future.
4. In this type of action a few people might get hurt. But tens of thousands more may be rescued. There are no reported casualties from the night before last.
History shows that acts like those committed by US/GB/FR hardly save people. It increases aggression and leads to more victims. The strike is therefore counterproductive.
5. There is no evidence that this action would escalate into war, just as it didn’t several times recently.
First, this action does not escalate INTO war it IS an act of war. Secondly, there is evidence in history that Russia was wise enough to save the world and de-escalate situations in the past like during the 1963 Cuba crisis when Kennedy risked the lives of 600 million people. We can only hope that Russia does not strike back. The provocation was surely there.
6. What is being proposed is vastly different to what happened with Iraq, Libya and so on. It’s pointless to compare this situation with those. Avoid ‘whataboutery’.
Ignoring history is a decent way to obscure likely outcomes and push people into emotional decisions without reflections about the consequences. In other words: stop thinking, let’s follow emotions … That is propaganda, pure and simple!
7. Yes, Trump and May no doubt have many other horrible reasons for this action. Yes they ignore Syrian refugees. Yes we sell arms. Yes we ignore other similar situations elsewhere. But in the face of a cowardly world, this action is all we currently have.
No, we have plenty more. Refugees can be given asylum and cared for. Turkey and Saudi-Arabia pressured not to support militant groups; diplomacy on a realistic level can be resumed. But it means that the US has to stop aiming at regime change. As long as the main objective is the weakening or removal of Assad, there is no change of truce and peace.
8. Assad has blocked all other types of diplomacy. Again and again and again. Russia vetoed peace talks eight times. The situation has continued for many years. This is a last resort, not a reactive impulse.
This is propaganda. The diplomacy of the US always intended to make Russia cast a veto. Preconditions like Assads removal were made clearly anticipating a rejection and failure of the talks so war could be sold as the ‘last resort’.
9. The current actions won’t end Assad’s regime or the war, nor are they intended to.
What is the intention then? Only the UN has the legal position and the authority to call for a military strike to punish an actor that used chemical weapons. A «punishment» by the US/GB/FR is just a provocation that will most likely lead to heaver conventional bombing. The people will pay the price.
Articles like this seem to have to only goal of fomenting hatred against Assad and reduce the crisis to a single cause. Simple problem – simple solution. The removal of a dictator, however, does hardly change a country into democracy – Libya and Iraq the recent examples.
If the militant, Islamist groups win, Syria will deteriorate into chaos were competing war lords will be fighting for power leading to a second Libya or Afghanistan in the 1990.
If the US enters with troops on the ground (unlikely), we can expected an Iraqi scenario.
If the Syrian government recaptures Syria, the chance for a lasting truce is real. Fighting and bloodshed will end.
Over a period of 20 years a transition to democracy might then be possible.
It should be the headlines of all major newspaper but the news is only found on usual suspects: Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh published a new article – arguably his potentially most explosive– about the alleged Sarin Gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun last April and US President Donald Trump’s military air strike following it in the German newspaper Die Welt.
Hersh convincingly explains that the incident was most likely the result of a weapons depot and storage room hit by aerial bombing as “range of symptoms [are] consistent with the release of a mixture of chemicals […] which can cause neurotoxic effects similar to those of sarin”. But the article also points out that President Trump is “risking triggering a World War III with Russia based upon his own rash decision, over the objections and to the dismay of his own military and intelligence advisers”.
Apart that the “Salafists and jihadists got everything they wanted out of their hyped-up Syrian nerve gas ploy”, the question remains if the attack – that was praised in all major newspapers – was part of a larger anti-Russian campaign as it portrayed Russian complicity: “How many more children have to die before Russia cares?”, asked Ambassador Nikki Haley at the UN a day after the incident and New York Times run an article headlined “White House Accuses Russia of Cover-Up in Syria Chemical Attack”.
If Trump was just responding to disturbing emotions ignoring fact-based intelligence reportsor if he was blackmailed by some power group that wanted Syria bombed for whatever reason, is one thing. Fact is that the US is acting irresponsible or with a hidden agenda – an agenda most likely not aimed at the benefit of the people in the region.
The alleged world policeman is rather an unpredictable world gangster that should not be trusted.
6 Even if you are deeply moved by dead children and feel an urge to retaliate, no sane person would ignore expert opinion about the perpetrator and just aim bombs at someone that was not responsible. If you want to punish the guilty, you don’t bomb a third-party – not even Trump. The explanation that Trump sent missiles because of some dead children is of little credibility.
Of course, we have to support French presidential candidate Emmanuel Marcron against the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen but with the strongest possible emphasis of against. Emmanuel Macron is a thoroughly neo-liberal candidate, endorsed by German Federal Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble, “the high priest of neo-liberal orthodoxy and austerity policy”.
Macron stands even more radical than Hollande for the “Third Way” of neo-liberal belief in progress, which has already led the US Democrats and the European Social Democrats to the brink of the abyss.
The slogan «Macron 2017 = Le Pen 2022» contains definitely some truth: The frustrated unemployed, “the angry whites”, those who brought Trump to power, are a consequence of 40 years of neo-liberal agenda. The disenfranchisement of large parts of the population for the financial benefits of a tiny minority (0.1%) is the central reason for this frustration. Continuing on the neo-liberal path means preparing the ground for Le Pen 2022.
There is therefore an inherent danger in voting for Marcon. Meanwhile we have to endorse him against Le Pen, we have to point out at the same time that we reject any neo-liberal policy that will increase the conditions that breed right wing extremism.«Marcron against Le Pen» but with the strongest possible emphasis of against.
To express this standpoint and ensure that it will not be forgotten as soon as Macron is elected, I suggest a dedicated website that will watch every step that Macron is taking. This website, let’s call it “macron-watch.org”, will monitor all of Macron’s decisions scrupulously and immediately call out in case of danger. The site will assess the policy in relation to possible Le Pen empowerment, post articles and send out warnings (tweets). And most important, people, i.e. voters (!), can register to get immediate updates and react with a shitstorm in case Macron goes too far. The platform should be a tool for all those on the left that do oppose neo-liberal policy.
The proposed site allows for the voter to register on the site, vote for Macron and then watch out for the alerts.
Because after election is before election!
1 «Hohepriester der neoliberalen Orthodoxie und der Austeritätspolitik», WOZ, https://www.woz.ch/1717/frankreich-vor-der-stichwahl/das-uebel-des-kleineren-uebels
2 Serge Halimi, Le Monde Diplomatique, “Noch radikaler als Hollande steht Macron für den „Dritten Weg“ des neoliberalen Fortschrittsglaubens, der schon die US-Demokraten und die europäischen Sozialdemokraten an den Rand des Abgrunds geführt hat.”, April 2017