Israel’s COVID-19 vaccine being delayed by red tape, bio institute head laments

Israel’s domestically produced coronavirus vaccine will only be ready for distribution to the public in the summer of 2021, the head of the institute manufacturing it said Monday, complaining that over-regulation and lack of sufficient government support have caused significant delays in its trial process.

Some 15 million doses are being produced of the vaccine, called Brilife, which unlike those manufactured by international competitors Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca is given in a single dose, according to Prof. Shmuel Shapira, the director-general of the Defense Ministry’s Israel Institute for Biological Research.

Speaking at a meeting of the Knesset Science and Technology Committee, Shapira expressed rare criticism of the government for signing deals for millions of vaccines with non-Israeli firms, which are far ahead of the Israeli vaccine’s schedule.

“There is a tendency to give respect to companies whose mother tongue is English or sometimes Russian,” he said, also referring to a Russian vaccine that Israel has signed a deal to purchase, but which has faced concerns about its opaque trial and approval process.

“I think there is very good and responsible work being done, free of financial considerations, even though we are Hebrew-speakers,” Shapira told the committee. “We would be happy to get the same support as giant firms that make 30 times more than us.

“Had we not faced over-regulation, we would have made more progress,” he lamented.

“We were already supposed to be in the Phase III clinical trials, and now we will only reach them in April.”

He added that Phase III trials will be conducted outside Israel due to regulatory constraints.

“We have an effective and safe vaccine, and our intention is to make 15 million vaccines,” he said, adding that trying the vaccine on 80 people had revealed “very minor” side effects. He did not say what the side effects were.

“We ended Phase I trials five days ago and are planning to start Phase II within 10 days,” he added. “Our vaccine is a bird in the hand, not birds in the bush. I am confident that this will be the vaccine of Israel’s citizens.”

Brilife, a portmanteau of the Hebrew word for health — bri’ut — and life, has been described by officials as a backup plan to supplement vaccines purchased from pharmaceutical firms based abroad, which are planning to begin to distribute inoculations in the coming months or earlier.

The three-phase trial system used by the US Food and Drug Administration and adopted around the world is designed to test for the safety and efficacy of any potential vaccine. The process of developing and testing a therapy normally takes years, if not decades, and even an approval for summer 2021 rollout, some 18 months after the pandemic began, would be among the fastest in history.

The first phase of Brilife’s clinical trial involved some 80 volunteers ages 18 to 55. The second phase will test roughly 1,000 volunteers aged 18 to 85 at eight hospitals around the country. In this phase, volunteers with preexisting conditions will be allowed to participate.

If that larger group responds well to the vaccine, injections will then be given to some 30,000 people in April or May 2021. If the vaccine works well and there are no significant side effects, it will then be approved for full use in the general population.

Last month, the Defense Ministry announced that Israel had begun the process of mass-producing the potential coronavirus vaccine and plans to distribute it to both Israelis and Palestinians if it is approved for use.

The Institute for Biological Research, which operates under the auspices of the Defense Ministry on issues related to chemical and biological warfare, said it used state-of-the-art techniques to create its vaccine.

Israel has earmarked or spent around NIS 1 billion for the purchase of vaccines from abroad, according to reports.

As part of the country’s agreement with Pfizer, Israel is to receive 8 million doses of the vaccine, enough to inoculate 4 million Israelis. The deal with Moderna would see 2 million doses purchase, enough for another million. The country’s population is over 9 million.

On Monday, Moderna said it would ask US and European regulators to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine as new study results confirmed that the shots offer strong protection.

Israel is in the final stages of talks with British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca to purchase “millions” of doses of its vaccine, which is currently under trial, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Friday. However, that vaccine is facing delays after it admitted additional research was needed after mistakes were made in the trials.

A vaccine is seen as “the best hope to break the cycle of deadly virus surges and severe restrictions across much of the world since COVID-19 first emerged in China late last year and unleashed devastation on the global economy.”

“Infection levels in Israel are creeping back up as the nation gradually emerges from its second nationwide lockdown.”

Header: Vials of a potential coronavirus vaccine are seen on an assembly line in a photograph released by Israel’s Institute for Biological Research on October 25, 2020. (Defense Ministry)

Source: TOI

Israeli coronavirus vaccine to be available by summer of 2021

The Knesset’s Science and Technology Committee held a hearing Monday morning on efforts in Israel to develop a coronavirus vaccine.

The administrator of the Israel Institute for Biological Research, Prof. Shmuel Shapira, spoke at the hearing, telling lawmakers that Israel’s coronavirus vaccine would likely be ready towards the beginning of the next summer.

“We have the ability to manufacture 15 million doses for the benefit of Israeli citizens. And our ethical and professional obligations are very high.”

While Israel has also ordered millions of doses of coronavirus vaccines developed by foreign companies like Pfizer, the Israeli government has pushed for the parallel development of a domestic vaccine to ensure a secure supply.

“Our vaccine gives us a safe foot on the ground. We have no interest or economic considerations in vaccines, it’s only for the benefit of the people of Israel. The scientific truth will prevail.”

“People will understand that here there is a proper scientific interest, and people will believe in our vaccine. A lot of countries around the world are interested in joining our testing process.”

Source: Hezki Baruch – Arutz Sheva

Nuke chief killed with Israeli weapons controlled by satellite – Iranian report

The attack that killed the alleged architect of Iran’s nuclear weapons program on Friday was carried out using an Israeli-manufactured weapon controlled by satellite, Iranian news sites reported on Monday.

Just after the burial of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, state TV’s English-language Press TV reported a weapon recovered from the scene of the attack bore “the logo and specifications of the Israeli military industry.”

There were no images published of the alleged weapon in the report, which was attributed to “informed sources.”

Additionally, a report on the Arabic-language Al Alam news site, which is operated by the state-owned media corporation Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, said there was proof of Israel’s involvement in the killing. The report, which was attributed to a single anonymous source, offered no evidence for its claim.

Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of the country’s Supreme National Security Council, separately told state TV that Iran’s enemies had launched “a number of failed operations” against Fakhrizadeh in the past.

“This time, the enemy applied a completely new, professional and sophisticated method,” he said, without elaborating. “No individual was present at the site.”

Shamkhani also blamed the Iranian exile group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq as well for “having a role in this,” without elaborating. The MEK did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The highly public killing of Fakhrizadeh prompted widespread condemnation from Iran, which explicitly accused Israel of being responsible for the attack and threatened to exact revenge for it.

The reports came a day after the semi-officials Fars news site, a leading Iranian outlet, reported that Friday’s attack was carried out from afar using a remote-controlled machine gun attached to a car with no human agents on the scene, a significantly different description of the attack than had been previously presented.

The account was not attributed to official sources and was not immediately confirmed by Iran.

According to the outlet, the assault took place over the course of three minutes as Fakhrizadeh — a brigadier general in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and a key figure in the country’s military research-and-development program long regarded by Israel and the US as the head of its rogue nuclear weapons program — traveled with his wife toward the resort town of Absard, east of Tehran.

The operation kicked off when the lead car in Fakhrizadeh’s security detail traveled ahead to inspect his destination, the report said. At that point, a number of bullets were fired at Fakhrizadeh’s armored car, prompting him to exit the vehicle as he was apparently unaware that he was under attack, thinking that the sound was caused by an accident or some problem with the car, according to Fars news.

The outlet did not specify if those shots were fired from the remote-controlled machine gun or from a different source.

Once Fakhrizadeh exited the vehicle, the remote-controlled machine gun opened fire from roughly 150 meters (500 feet) away, striking him three times, twice in the side and once in his back, severing his spinal cord. Fakhrizadeh’s bodyguard was also hit by the gunfire. The attacking car, a Nissan, then exploded, the report said.

Fakhrizadeh was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His wife also appears to have been killed in the attack, according to Iranian media.

Photos and video shared online showed a sedan with bullet holes in the windshield and back window, blood pooled on the asphalt and debris scattered along a stretch of the road.

Initial reports from Iran had earlier indicated that an explosion occurred first, forcing Fakhrizadeh’s car to stop, at which point armed agents opened fire at him and his security detail, killing them, before fleeing the scene.

According to Fars news, Iranian authorities tracked down the owner of the Nissan, who left the country on October 29. The name of the owner was not included in the report.

A number of defense analysts cast doubts on the Fars report of remote-controlled shooting, noting that photographs of the scene showed what appeared to be precise gunfire aimed at Fakhrizadeh’s car, which better fits the initial descriptions of armed, trained operatives conducting the raid.

Other news outlets have also published contradictory accounts of the killing, including claims that dozens of Israeli operatives were involved.

An unnamed Western intelligence source told Channel 12 the killing of the nuclear physicist, described in the past as the “father” of Iran’s project to develop nuclear weapons, was the “pinnacle” of Israel’s long-term plans.

Tehran officially denies plans to develop atomic weapons, maintaining its nuclear program is for civilian purposes, though a trove of Iranian documents stolen from Tehran by the Mossad, which where revealed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2018, showed plans by Iran to attach a nuclear warhead to a ballistic missile.

Iran has suffered several devastating attacks this year, including the killing of top general Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike in January, and a mysterious explosion and fire that crippled an advanced centrifuge assembly plant at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, which is widely believed to have been an act of sabotage.

Header: Zgros Mountains, Iran – satellite image.

Source: Judah Ari Gross – TOI

Full Transparency for the Submarine Inquiry

Nothing could have been more predictable than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reaction to Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s announcement last week about the establishment of a commission of inquiry into the submarine affair.

“Gantz appointed a frame-up commission headed by someone who said the prime minister must resign,” Netanyahu told a Likud Knesset caucus meeting, adding sarcastically, “It’ll be very interesting to see his conclusion.”

He was referring to retired Judge Amnon Straschnov, who served as military advocate general and as a judge in the Tel Aviv District Court. Two years ago Straschnov published an opinion piece in Yedioth Ahronot in which he wrote: “If I were Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit … I would recommend, Mr. Prime Minister, that you quit your post as early as now.”

The commission’s first meeting, scheduled for Monday, has been postponed at Mendelblit’s request until the scope of its activity has been defined.

The commission is expected to submit a final report in about four months.

But that didn’t stop Netanyahu from quickly declaring that the panel’s purpose is “to reach a foregone conclusion.”

Netanyahu prepared the ground for a total rejection of the commission’s findings, should they include even the slightest flaw in his conduct in the purchase of submarines and patrol boats. That means that not only Netanyahu but also a large number of Israelis are likely to view the conclusions through the lens of their political affiliation, irrespective of the facts, the evidence and the explanations in the report.

In light of this situation and of Israel’s political polarization – between left and right and between supporters and opponents of Netanyahu – only maximum transparency regarding the commission’s work will lead the public to trust its conclusions. The problem is that in announcing the commission, Gantz only said that its conclusions would be transparent to the public.

Straschnov, however, has decided that the panel’s first meetings would be closed to the public, on the grounds of information security.

According to a Defense Ministry statement, later meetings that do not deal with classified topics will be open to the public and members of the media; the transcripts of all classified sessions will be distributed later on, after classified material is redacted.

It is not too late to fix this mistake. When one political camp is convinced that the opposition, the judicial system and the media have conspired against the prime minister in order to oust him, and the other is positive that the submarine affair is the most egregious corruption scandal in Israel’s history, it is imperative that nothing be left to the public’s imagination.

It is important that the sessions be open not on account of the public’s right to know, but rather because that is the only way the public can draw its own conclusions.

Gantz must quickly fix this.

It is not enough for the commission to get to the truth; it is no less important that its conclusions are granted public legitimacy.


The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.

Iran said distributing pictures of suspects in killing of nuclear chief

A London-based Iranian journalist claimed late Sunday that Iran has distributed pictures of four suspects in the killing of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. The claim, tweeted by Mohamed Ahwaze, also known as M Majed, was quickly picked up by Hebrew media, and was the lead item on the websites of Israel’s two main TV channels in the early hours of Monday morning.

According to the report Iranian intelligence agents were distributing the photos of the men at hotels across the country and asking hotel owners to immediately inform them if they had seen them.

Ahwaze also reported that Iranian forces had stepped up their presence and patrols near the border with Iraqi Kurdistan, anticipating that the suspects would use that route to try and flee the country.

The claims were made at the same time as the semi-official Fars news site quoted the Intelligence Ministry as saying it had clues to the identity of the attackers who killed Fakhrizadeh — a brigadier general in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and a key figure in the country’s military research-and-development program long regarded by Israel and the US as the head of its rogue nuclear weapons program — and would soon share the information with the public.

Earlier in the day Ahwaze tweeted a claim that 62 people were involved in Friday’s killing, including 12 people who took part in the actual assassination and a logistics team of some 50 others.

He claimed that the attackers first cut off electricity to the area, before detonating a car bomb and then opening fire. “According to Iranian leaks, the leader of the assassination team took Fakhrizadeh out of his car and shot him and made sure he was killed,” he tweeted.

That claim of a 62-person team was dismissed in a report by Israel’s Channel 12 on Sunday evening as an example of “disinformation” surrounding the attack.

None of the reports have been confirmed by Iran, and come after a leading Iranian news site reported Sunday that the attack was carried out from afar using a remote-controlled machine gun attached to a car.

According to Fars, the entire operation was conducted with no human agents whatsoever, a significantly different description of the attack than had previously been presented. The account was not attributed to official sources and was also not immediately confirmed by Iran.

According to the outlet, the assault took place over the course of three minutes as Fakhrizadeh traveled with his wife toward the resort town of Absard, east of Tehran.

The operation kicked off when the lead car in Fakhrizadeh’s security detail traveled ahead to inspect his destination, the report said.

At that point, a number of bullets were fired at Fakhrizadeh’s armored car, prompting him to exit the vehicle as he was apparently unaware that he was under attack, thinking that the sound was caused by an accident or some problem with the car, according to Fars news.

The outlet did not specify if those shots were fired from the remote-controlled machine gun or from a different source.

Once Fakhrizadeh exited the vehicle, the remote-controlled machine gun opened fire from roughly 150 meters (500 feet) away, striking him three times, twice in the side and once in his back, severing his spinal cord, the report said. Fakhrizadeh’s bodyguard was also hit by the gunfire. The attacking car, a Nissan, then exploded, the report said.

Fakhrizadeh was evacuated to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His wife also appears to have been killed in the attack, according to Iranian media.

Photos and video shared online showed a sedan with bullet holes in the windshield and back window, blood pooled on the asphalt and debris scattered along a stretch of the road.

Until now, reports from Iran indicated that an explosion occurred first, forcing Fakhrizadeh’s car to stop, at which point armed agents opened fire at him and his security detail, killing them, before fleeing the scene.

According to Fars news, Iranian authorities tracked down the owner of the Nissan, who left the country on October 29. The name of the owner was not included in the report.

A number of defense analysts cast doubts on the Fars report, noting that photographs of the scene showed what appeared to be precise gunfire aimed at Fakhrizadeh’s car, which a remote-controlled automatic weapon would be unlikely to produce and that better fits the initial descriptions of armed, trained operatives conducting the raid.

The highly public killing of Fakhrizadeh prompted widespread condemnation from Iran, which explicitly accused Israel of being responsible for the attack and threatened to exact revenge for it.

While Israel remained officially mum on the killing of Fakhrizadeh and its alleged role in it, an Israeli minister publicly praised the results of the operation.

“The assassination in Iran, whoever did it, it serves not only Israel, but the whole region and the world,” Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told the Kan public broadcaster on Sunday.

Iran has suffered several devastating attacks this year, including the killing of top general Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike in January, and a mysterious explosion and fire that crippled an advanced centrifuge assembly plant at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, which is widely believed to have been an act of sabotage.

Iran’s atomic program has continued its experiments and now enriches a growing uranium stockpile up to the level of 4.5 percent purity, following the US’s 2018 withdrawal from the nuclear deal. That is still far below weapons-grade levels of 90 percent, though experts warn Iran now has enough low-enriched uranium for at least two atomic bombs if it chose to pursue them.

Header: Persian House – Isahan, Iran. Iman Soleimany Zadeh

Source: Judah Ari Gross – TOI

Netanyahu’s lawyers to court: ‘The charges are fabricated; cancel them’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s defense attorneys on Sunday asked the Jerusalem District Court to throw out the criminal indictment against the premier, claiming law enforcement “invented” the corruption charges.

In their 200-page request, the prime minister’s lawyers alleged that police investigators used illegitimate means to secure evidence, thus disqualifying the criminal charges, and asked the Jerusalem District Court to throw out the case.

“The investigation materials reveal serious actions [by law enforcement] that require the indictment to be canceled — they did not investigate a crime, they invented a crime,” his lawyers alleged.

Among the allegations, the lawyers said they brought “dozens of examples of improper investigative methods, [including] intimidating witnesses, using their personal lives to interrogate them, silencing witnesses, selective enforcement, ignoring evidence favoring [Netanyahu], and additional irregular actions.”

“This is an unprecedented event,” the lawyers charged, asking the court to overturn the charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust against Netanyahu in a trio of criminal cases.

Netanyahu’s office, in a statement, charged that “illegal actions, on an unprecedented level,” were taken during the investigation.

In a statement, the state prosecution said it was familiar with the claims presented by Netanyahu’s defense team, adding that many of the accusations had been raised in the past. It said it would respond to the allegations in court.

The next hearing in Netanyahu’s trial that will deal with these claims is scheduled for December 6.

Last week, the Jerusalem District Court delayed the start of the evidentiary stage in Netanyahu’s trial until February. The court said witness testimony would be pushed off by a month, and that precise dates would be determined later.

The judges said Netanyahu will be required to attend a plea hearing on January 13.

The premier’s trial on charges of fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes opened in May. Though the prime minister attended the first hearing, he was granted an exemption from appearing at the largely procedural stages of the trial.

His lawyers have repeatedly moved to delay and discredit the proceedings, filing complaints against the prosecution, alleging “criminal tactics” against them, calling for changing the indictment against the prime minister, and arguing they have not received the full case files from the police and can therefore not properly prepare a defense.

The opening of the trial had been previously pushed back from March to May due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last Tuesday, prosecutors told the court they oppose changing the indictment.

“The indictment is explicit, clear and detailed, and is based on evidence that will be brought in the trial itself,” prosecutors were quoted as saying by the Walla news site.

Netanyahu’s attorneys submitted a request earlier this month for prosecutors to alter the indictment against him. In their letter, submitted to the Jerusalem District Court, lawyers Boaz Ben Tzur and Amit Hadad argued that the charge sheet was riddled with errors, which resulted from a “flawed and biased investigative procedure.”

The charges against the prime minister include accepting some $200,000 in gifts such as cigars and champagne from two billionaires, Hollywood-based Israeli movie mogul Arnon Milchan and Australian magnate James Packer. Netanyahu is also accused of advancing policy benefiting powerful Israeli media moguls in exchange for more positive coverage in their publications.

Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing and has railed against the courts, prosecution, and media for what he terms a “witch hunt.”

Header: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with his lawyers in the courtroom, as his corruption trial opens at the Jerusalem District Court, May 24, 2020. (Ronen Zvulun/ Pool Photo via AP)

Source: TOI

How Iranian nuclear scientist was murdered

Remarkable detail of the plot to kill an Iranian nuclear scientist emerged on Saturday, a day after the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh reverberated around the world.

Sixty two people were involved in the scheme, according to Mohamad Ahwaze, an Iranian journalist who exposed the extent of the COVID-19 pandemic in his country.

Ahwaze said he had obtained leaked Iranian information.

Iranian officials have blamed Israel’s Mossad for the assassination. One American official and two other intelligence officials also told the New York Times that Israel was behind the attack.

Ahwaze said that 12 members of the team, who he described as being highly trained and assisted by ‘security and intelligence services abroad’, were deployed to the city of Absard, 50 miles east of Tehran.

The mountain retreat of 10,000 people is where many Tehranis have second homes, and Fakhrizadeh, 59, had a villa there.

Another 50 people, Ahwaze said, helped with logistical support. He did not specify whether they were in Iran, or abroad.

The team had been watching Fakhrizadeh, and knew that he was going to be driving from Tehran to Absard on Friday.

They planned the attack for a roundabout in Absard, at the foot of a tree-lined boulevard which enters the city.

A Hyundai Santa Fe with four passengers, four motorcyles and two snipers were waiting for him at the scene of the ambush, along with a booby-trapped Nissan pickup.

Half an hour before Fakhrizadeh’s convoy of three bulletproof cars arrived, the electricity was cut off to the area, Ahwaze reported.

The team were in place when the first car passed the roundabout.

As the third car passes, the Nissan explodes, damaging electricity poles and transmitters, according to a state TV report from the area on Friday night.

The force of the explosion from the bomb hurled debris at least 300 meters, according to state television.

The second car, containing Fakhrizadeh, was then shot at by the 12 assassins, including two snipers.

The gunmen with the hit squad opened fire on the cars, and an intense gunfight ensued, according to Sepah Cybery, a social media channel affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

Ahwaze tweeted: ‘According to Iranian leaks, the leader of the assassination team took Fakhrizadeh out of his car and shot him and made sure he was killed.’

The hit squad then vanished, having sustained no losses to their team, Ahwaze reported.

Residents told state television that they heard the sound of a big explosion followed by intense machine gun fire as Fakhrizadeh’s bodyguards fought back.

They knew the man they were protecting had for years been Mossad’s number one target.

A police helicopter landed in the area to transport Fakhrizadeh and others to the hospital, according to a video posted by a resident who narrates the video saying ‘several people are dead.’

When members of Fakhrizadeh’s security detail arrived in hospital, they were surprised to find that there was no electricity, after the power had been cut. They are then transported to Tehran.

At 10:28am EST (7:30pm local time) on Friday, the Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif, said that ‘an eminent Iranian scientist’ had been killed, with the suspected aid of Israel.

Fakhrizadeh’s body lay in a flag-draped, open coffin at a mosque on Saturday in central Tehran, where Iran’s chief justice, Ebrahim Raisi, prayed over his body in a public spectacle of mourning.

His death sent tensions in the region skyrocketing as Iran accused Israel of trying to provoke a war by killing the scientist – who Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu once called out in a news conference saying: ‘Remember that name’.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday called Fakhrizadeh ‘the country’s prominent and distinguished nuclear and defensive scientist.’

Khamenei – who has the final say on all matters of state – said Iran’s first priority after the killing was the ‘definitive punishment of the perpetrators and those who ordered it.’ He did not elaborate.

And, in an intervention that risks inflaming conflict even further, a former head of the US’s Central Intelligence Agency labelled the assassination a ‘criminal’ act and branded it ‘highly reckless’.

John Brennan – who was director of the CIA from 2013 to 2017 under the administration of president Barack Obama – said he did not know who was to blame for the murder of Fakhrizadeh but labeled it a ‘criminal’ act.

President Hassan Rouhani said Israel was to blame in a televised speech on Saturday, and said Iran would retaliate for the killing of Fakhrizadeh at ‘the proper time’.

Rouhani said: ‘Our people are wiser than to fall in the trap of the Zionist regime (Israel).

‘Iran will surely respond to the martyrdom of our scientist at the proper time.’

In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the U.N. Security Council on Friday, Iranian envoy, Majid Takht Ravanchi wrote: ‘Warning against any adventuristic measures by the United States and Israel against my country, particularly during the remaining period of the current administration of the United States in office, the Islamic Republic of Iran reserves its rights to take all necessary measures to defend its people and secure its interests.’

Friday’s attack also came just days before the 10-year anniversary of the killing of Iranian nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari.

Tehran also blamed that attack on Israel, coming as it did at the height of Western fears over Iran’s nuclear program.

The United States military on Friday said it had deployed the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz to the Persian Gulf alongside other warships in order to provide ‘combat support and air cover’ for soldiers withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The decision to deploy the Nimitz to the Persian Gulf was reportedly made before the killing of Fakhrizadeh.

Israel has so far declined to comment on the death of Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi.

Israel has long been suspected of carrying out a series of targeted killings of Iranian nuclear scientists nearly a decade ago.

Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi was named in UN sanctions resolutions because of his work as head of Iran’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research group in 2007.

The US charges that the organization – known by its Farsi acronym SPND – oversees nuclear-relevant research for Iran and is active in the training of new scientists.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu named Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi as boss of the SPND during a news conference in 2018.

In 2007, he was revealed to be the chairman of the Field for the Expansion of Deployment of Advanced Technology (FEDAT) in a leaked Iranian document.

The FEDAT was the cover name for the organisation behind Iran’s nuclear weapons programme.

The leaked document purported to show the country’s four-year plan to develop a uranium deuteride neutron initiator.

Fakhrizadeh led Iran’s so-called ‘Amad,’ or ‘Hope’ program.

Israel and the West have alleged it was a military operation looking at the feasibility of building a nuclear weapon in Iran. Tehran long has maintained its nuclear program is peaceful.

The International Atomic Energy Agency says that ‘Amad’ program ended in the early 2000s. IAEA inspectors now monitor Iranian nuclear sites as part of Iran’s now-unraveling nuclear deal with world power.

Senior Israeli officials this week predicted ‘a very sensitive period’ in the coming weeks – ahead of President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

In a bid to be cautious, Israel is reportedly preparing for potential retaliation from Iran, Axios reports.

Earlier this month, Trump held an Oval Office meeting where he was ‘talked out of’ launching strikes on Iran after a previous UN report showed a massive increase in nuclear stockpiles in breach of the Obama-era pact which Trump abandoned in 2018.

Defence sources told The New York Times that Trump asked for options on a bombardment – likely to have targeted Iran’s foremost nuclear facility, Natanz.

And just last week, a report by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) showed Iran has fired up advanced uranium centrifuges installed at its underground Natanz site.

Tehran was revealed to be pumping nuclear fuel into high-tech IR-2m machines at Natanz, in contravention of an international deal to only use first generation IR-1 machines.

The assassination of Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi has lead many to speculate that he is ‘Iran’s nuclear Qassem Soleimani’.

Soleimani, a major general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was assassinated in a US drone strike in January this year.

A spokesperson for the Atomic Energy Organization in Iran stressed that no accident had occurred and all scientists were safe and well.

The deputy leader of Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement said on Friday that the response for the assassination of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was in Iran’s hands.

‘We condemn this heinous attack and see that the response to this crime is in the hands of those concerned in Iran,’ Sheikh Naim Qassem said in an interview with Al Manar television.

He said Fakhrizadeh was killed by ‘those sponsored by America and Israel’ and said the assassination was part of a war on Iran and the region. Iran pointed the finger at Israel after Fakhrizadeh was killed in an ambush near the Iranian capital Tehran on Friday. Israel declined to comment.

Header: Blue Tiles of Jame Mosque in Yazd, Iran – Mansour Kiaei


Coronavirus vaccine being flown in to the US en masse ahead of rollout

Pfizer is flying in doses of its newly developed coronavirus vaccine into the US on chartered flights, ahead of a critical Food and Drug Administration meeting which could determine the fate of the experimental vaccine.

According to a report Sunday by The Wall Street Journal, Pfizer has begun shipping in large quantities of the vaccine on chartered United Airlines flights, with the first flight arriving at Chicago this last Friday.

The vaccine, which was developed in Germany in conjunction with BioNTech, is up for emergency approval by the FDA, with a key FDA advisory committee set to meet on Thursday, December 10th to decide whether to recommend green-lighting the vaccine’s rapid rollout in the US.

While the vaccine has yet to be cleared for use in the US, Pfizer is wasting no time importing doses, with the goal of distributing some 6.4 million doses by mid-December, out of a total of 100 million doses ordered by the US.

The UK could approve use of the Pfizer vaccine even sooner, with a report by The Financial Times saying that health officials are poised to rule on approval for the vaccine next week, with the first doses to be administered as early as December 7th if approval is granted.

Britain has ordered some 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Source: Arutz Sheva

Israel’s gift to Joe Biden, 52 days before he even takes office: War with Iran

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was the shadowy father of Iran’s nuclear program; his existence, let alone his work, was barely acknowledged by Iran. A brigadier general with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Command, Fakhrizadeh was involved in the academic aspects of Iranian national security, eventually heading up the Physics Research Center, where he masterminded the design and material acquisition in support of Iran’s uranium enrichment effort.

In April 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu named Fakhrizadeh as the head of a covert military dimension to Iran’s nuclear program, something Iran has vociferously denied. On Friday, November 28, 2020, the 62-year-old scientist was assassinated just outside the Iranian capital of Tehran. While no one has taken credit for his murder, Iran has placed the blame for his death squarely on Israel.

At the time of his death, Fakhrizadeh was the head of the Research and Innovation Organization (RIO), part of the Iranian Defense Ministry. A June 2020 report on nonproliferation published by the US Department of State alleged that Fakhrizadeh used the RIO “to keep former weapons program scientists employed … on [nuclear] weaponization-relevant dual-use technical activities … to aid in any future nuclear weapons development work in the event that a decision were made to resume such work.”

This belief, when combined with Iran’s decision to cease abiding by the provisions of the landmark 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, better known as the Iran nuclear agreement) regarding the stockpiling of low-enriched uranium and the use of advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium, had the de facto effect of signing Fakhrizadeh’s death warrant.

The JCPOA-imposed restrictions were designed with a one-year ‘breakout’ scenario in mind – in short, the time it would take Iran to produce enough highly enriched uranium to create a single nuclear device once the decision was made to cease adhering to restrictions on the numbers and types of centrifuges it could operate, the level of enrichment permitted, and the amount of low-enriched uranium allowed to be stockpiled.

In May 2019 – one year after President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the JCPOA – Iran began pulling back from its commitments under the agreement, citing its right to do so under Articles 26 and 36 of the deal, which allow a party to the agreement to cease its obligations if another party is found to be in noncompliance; Iran maintains that the failure of Europe to live up to its economic commitments under the JCPOA constituted demonstrable noncompliance. The end result is that today the ‘breakout’ period has shrunk to a few weeks.

For the Trump administration, Iran’s noncompliance with the JCPOA had placed it in a quandary; the policy of sanctions-based ‘maximum pressure’ which had been instituted since 2018 was clearly not working when it came to the goal of compelling Iran to return to the negotiation table and hammer out a new, more restrictive nuclear deal.

Having gone on record regarding its belief that Iran continued to maintain covert nuclear weapons ambitions, the Trump administration was confronted with the reality that it had, according to its own beliefs, empowered Iran to produce a nuclear weapon in a time frame that posed a direct threat to the US and its regional allies, in particular Israel and Saudi Arabia. This concern was behind recent press reports that President Trump was considering military options against Iran’s nuclear program.

For Israel, the issues are even more acute; whereas Iran’s potential acquisition of a nuclear weapons capability would pose a policy conundrum for the US, for Israel an Iranian nuclear weapon would represent an existential threat. For this reason, Israel has historically pulled few punches when it comes to confronting even the possibility of an Iranian nuclear weapons capability.

While much of the intelligence underpinning the US and Israeli assessments regarding the existence of a nuclear weapons program are derived from sources of questionable provenance and are not conclusive, Israel has taken an absolutist posture; it’s given credence to sources that otherwise might be consigned to the bottom drawer.

In its effort to win support for this position, Israel has exaggerated – even fabricated – intelligence on Iran, undermining its credibility to such an extent that, when Israel reported that its intelligence stole a nuclear archive from Iran in early 2018, the veracity of this claim was called into question after documents previously held to have been forged were claimed to be part of the document trove.

Israel’s actions against Iran’s nuclear program have been anything but passive; in 2009-2010, Israel worked with US intelligence to launch a cyberattack using the Stuxnet virus to infect Iranian centrifuge operations at Natanz.

This was followed by a program of targeted assassinations which killed four Iranian nuclear scientists between 2010-2012 (a fifth attack narrowly missed killing the head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization).

Israeli intelligence is also said to be behind a series of mysterious explosions at Iranian nuclear-related facilities earlier this year which caused significant damage and disruption to Iran’s centrifuge program.

While Israel has not taken responsibility for the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, his murder can logically be viewed as a continuation of Israel’s efforts to degrade Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

Joe Biden is no stranger to the active measures taken by Israel in this regard. As vice president, he sat in on critical meetings regarding the deployment of the Stuxnet virus.

He was fully cognizant of the pressure being placed on President Obama regarding military action against Iran, and understood the role played by the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists in ratcheting this pressure up.

Jake Sullivan, who served as Biden’s national security advisor while he was vice president, played a critical role in the early negotiations with Iran that made the JCPOA possible. Biden knew full well that the JCPOA was a diplomatic off-ramp for a policy path that otherwise would have led to war. Biden is intimately familiar with the calculations behind the ‘breakout’ timelines, and the decision that was made to de-emphasize the concern over Iran’s alleged military interest in nuclear weapons.

The assassination of Fakhrizadeh is a calculated act on the part of Israel.

His death has no real impact on Iran’s nuclear activities – a new generation of Iranian scientists has long since been educated, trained and employed in a program that is far more advanced and mature than the one Fakhrizadeh started more than 20 years ago.

Psychologically, however, his murder – carried out in broad daylight in the heart of Iran – has dealt a psychological blow to Tehran’s leadership, once again proving that the long arm of Israeli intelligence can get to just about anyone.

But its most critical impact is the effect it will have on the national security team surrounding presumed President-elect Joe Biden. Biden and his team have been paying lip service to the notion of rejoining the JCPOA. However, the preconditions they have attached to such an action – Iran would have to return to full compliance first, and commit to immediate follow-on negotiations on a deal that would be more restrictive – were widely seen as a deal breaker. The fact is, many of Biden’s closest advisers – including Secretary of State-designee Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor-designee Jake Sullivan – have indicated that Biden may have no choice but to continue the Trump policy of sanctions-based ‘maximum pressure’.

For Israel, such a policy – while an improvement over rejoining the JCPOA – is not acceptable. From its perspective, ‘maximum pressure’ has not only failed to compel Iran to the negotiation table, but has also positioned Iran to be on the cusp of developing a nuclear weapons capability.

The assassination of Fakhrizadeh serves two main purposes.

First, it hardens the resolve of Iran when it comes to any potential flexibility it might have been prepared to have with Biden regarding a resolution to the nuclear standoff, with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei directing Iranian scientists “[t]o follow up Martyr Fakhrizadeh’s scientific and technical activities in all fields in which he was active.” The idea that Iran would seek to compromise with the US in the aftermath of Fakhrizadeh’s murder is, to put it bluntly, absurd.

But the most important purpose behind the killing of Fakhrizadeh is to create a fait accompli when it comes to policy options being considered by a future Biden administration. Rejoining the JCPOA is likely a non-starter – Iran will never agree to the many preconditions sought by Biden and his advisers.

Likewise, continuing Trump’s program of ‘maximum pressure’ is not a politically viable option, given the advanced state of the Iranian nuclear program and the impact this has on the all-important ‘breakout window’ that underpinned, from the US perspective, the legitimacy of the JCPOA. The same contingencies being confronted by the Trump administration regarding the possibility of US forces attacking Iran’s nuclear infrastructure will be confronted by President Biden on his first day in office.

By killing Fakhrizadeh, Israel is doing its best to ensure that, for Biden, that military action is the only viable option available.

Source: Scott Ritter – RT

1 In 13 of all US nursing home residents have died of COVID-19

As of the last week of November, Covid-19 has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people who live and work in long-term care facilities in the United States, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s latest analysis of state-reported data.

The following chart depicts the growth in COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents and staff in the U.S. since April.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), 40% of the nation’s Covid-19 deaths have occurred in long-term care facilities.

“While early action to prevent the spread of coronavirus in long-term care facilities led to strict protocols related to testing, personal protective equipment, and visitor restrictions,” KFF pointed out that “several of these measures have been reversed in recent months, and some long-term care facilities continue to report shortages of PPE and staff.”

According to physician and public health expert Michael Barnett, 7.7% of the nation’s nursing home residents, or one in 13, have now died as a result of COVID-19.

“Things have never really gotten better,” he tweeted. “Testing is a struggle, PPE and staff are daily challenges.”

Soon after reaching the “bleak milestone” of 100,000 pandemic deaths in long-term care facilities, which happened on Tuesday, the U.S. on Thursday experienced a new record-high number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations, as Common Dreams reported earlier Friday.

Millions of Americans have passed through airports in the past week, despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation against traveling for Thanksgiving. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, does not expect conditions to improve by Christmas and the New Year.

As KFF explained, the predicted “surge in cases after holiday gatherings and increased time indoors due to winter weather… will have ripple effects on hospitals and nursing homes, given the close relationship between community spread and cases in congregate care settings.”

The country’s COVID-19 death toll surpassed 264,000 on Friday. Meanwhile, Thanksgiving marked the 24th consecutive day of more than 100,000 new daily cases in the U.S.

Given the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on the high-risk populations who live and work in long-term care facilities, even more nursing home residents, employees, and their families are expected to be negatively affected by coronavirus as long as the number of infections continues to grow.

“Post-Thanksgiving surges in cases are unlikely to spare this community and will likely lead to an even higher death toll in long-term care facilities,” KFF said, “raising questions about whether nursing homes and other facilities are able to protect their residents and, if not, what actions can be taken to mitigate the threat posed by the virus.”

As the New York Times reported in June, when the COVID-19 death toll in long-term care facilities was just over 50,000, some critics have argued that the profit-driven nature of the private nursing home industry is the underlying problem, since treating elder care as a commodity rather than a public good can incentivize cost-cutting or money-making measures that put people in harm’s way.

An investigation of long-term care facilities in Connecticut, the results of which were published in August, lent credence to that hypothesis.

According to the study, “For-profit nursing homes had about 60% more cases and deaths per licensed bed than nonprofit ones,” while “larger facilities were hit harder than smaller ones, and… homes serving as part of a chain had worse outcomes,” as Reuters reported at the time.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) noted this week that he and Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) “have a bill to help nursing homes protect their residents and workers from COVID-19.” According to Whitehouse, “It’s time to pass it.”

Source: Kenny Stancil – Common Dreams

Close encounter: Russian, Indian satellites ‘dangerously approach’ each other in ‘crowded’ low orbit

The Indian CARTOSAT 2F satellite weighing over 700 kg dangerously approached the Russian Kanopus-V spacecraft,” Roscosmos said in a statement on Friday, citing data provided by its automatic warning system, designed to track potentially hazardous situations in near-Earth orbit.

The Russian space agency said that the distance between the two satellites was just 224 meters – quite close by space standards.

India’s Space Research Organization (ISRO), however, denied there was any reason to “go public” over the incident. The ISRO’s head, K. Sivan, told the Times of India, citing his agency’s own tracking data, that the distance between the two spacecraft was “about 420 meters,” adding that they would see a need for maneuver if it was “around 150 meters.” He said such incidents were “not uncommon.”

Both satellites were remote sensing devices. The most recent known satellite collision happened back in 2009, when a US commercial Iridium 33 satellite hit a defunct Russian ‘Cosmos-2251’ satellite. Still, the latest incident highlights the problem of Earth’s “overcrowded” orbit.

Between 2,000 and 3,000 satellites are currently orbiting our planet, according to various estimates, and some analysts expect this number to increase fivefold over the next ten years due to rapid communications development.

The satellites are not the only objects remaining in orbit. Scores of space junk, ranging from spent rocket stages to defunct satellites and various particles, occupy some space there as well. In October, Roscosmos warned about a defunct Soviet satellite potentially hitting a spent Chinese rocket stage. While both objects were out of commission, their collision could have created even more space debris.

Over 22,000 pieces of space junk larger than 10cm are orbiting Earth, according to NASA, while the number of smaller objects measuring around 1cm might exceed tens of millions.

Further accumulation of space junk in orbit could render any space activity almost impossible, scientists warn. They say it could lead to the Kessler syndrome, which would see the Earth’s orbit, or at least some parts of it, becoming so cluttered that the use of any satellites there – or even space launches – could become impossible, due to almost constant collisions between space objects.

“It is unclear, if we have already crossed that line, and if so, then where exactly,” Boris Shustov, the director of the Astronomy Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told Interfax. “One needs to take a very close look into it, since it is a critical moment for our space activities.”

Header: ZHELEZNOGORSK, RUSSIA. JANUARY 12, 2015. A transformable antenna with gilded grid at a workshop of the JSC Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems. Yevgeny Kurskov/TASS

Source: RT

Russia says International Space Station is falling apart & may have to be abandoned early, plans to go it alone on replacement

The proposed new Russian replacement is set to consist of between three and seven modules, with a crew of up to four people.

Moscow’s plans were revealed by Vladimir Solovyov, the first deputy designer general for RSC Energia, the company which operates the Russian segment of the ISS. In his opinion, several elements on the international station are already failing, and it will just get worse from 2025.

“Until 2025, Russia has obligations to participate in the ISS program,” Solovyov explained to the Russian Academy of Sciences.

“There are already a number of elements that have been seriously damaged and are out of service. Many of them are not replaceable. After 2025, we predict an avalanche-like failure of numerous elements onboard the ISS.”

The ISS regularly has problems. Last month, the Russian Zvezda module suffered a crack. At the time, former cosmonaut Ivan Vagner explained that it may have been caused by wear and tear.

“Twenty years is actually an absolute record for all space stations,” he explained.

As things stand, Russia has obligations to participate in the ISS program until 2025, and afterwards, the costs may be too prohibitive.

Writing on Twitter, the head of space agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, said that it was too early to decommission the international project but that some modules might have to be replaced.

“I think it’s too early to write off the station,” Rogozin wrote. “I see the great potential of the ISS for the development of space tourism and the participation of private space companies.”

Later, in a press release, Roscosmos clarified that Solovyov’s comments were of “an informational nature” and did not contain any “proposals for termination of participation in the ISS.”

The Russian-built proposed replacement for the ISS is currently in development and is planned for deployment after 2024.

The Russian Orbital Station will be able to run autonomously, and will be operated by a crew of two to four people.

In May, Rogozin explained that an ISS replacement was in the works, but it was not yet clear whether it would be visited or inhabited, national or international.

Source: RT

Participant in India’s AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial sues after experiencing ‘severe adverse effect’

The plaintiff, identified in media reports as a 40-year-old man from Chennai, is suing the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) for Rs 5 crore ($676,000 USD).

The individual alleges that he suffered serious neurological damage after taking part in the phase three trial of Covishield, the SII’s version of the COVID-19 jab being developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.

The man was purportedly told that the vaccine was safe and chose to participate in the program in “the spirit of public service.”

The lawsuit also demands that SII, AstraZeneca and the Oxford Vaccine Group immediately halt vaccine trials, in which some 1,600 volunteers are currently enrolled.

Ten days after receiving the shot, the man complained of a pounding headache and experienced vomiting, his wife told local media. He was bedridden and acting abnormally before being transferred to the emergency ward of the Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Hospital. A review by the hospital concluded that the medical problems were not linked to the vaccine, and a medical official cited by Indian media claimed that the patient was “now alright” and had not incurred any expenses stemming from the health episode.

The man’s discharge summary said he requested to leave the hospital and was recovering from “acute encephalopathy”.

He also suffered from deficiencies of Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D, and was suspected of having a “connective tissue disorder.”

However, the man’s wife insists that he has not fully recovered and is unable to work as before.

In September, SII briefly paused its clinical trials of Covishield after a recipient of the AstraZeneca jab showed adverse symptoms.

India has faced criticism for not being more transparent about its COVID-19 vaccine trials.

According to Science Magazine, SII is not using the same phase three testing protocol implemented by AstraZeneca, and has also declined to make its guidelines public.

Source: RT

Blind Samson

“A country cannot subsist well without liberty,

nor liberty without virtue,

nor virtue without citizens” – Rousseau

There were elections in two countries occurring almost simultaneously: in the USA and in the Republic of Moldova. As one might expect, the elections in Moldova were fair, transparent and open. And, in contrast, the elections in the USA were accompanied by numerous falsifications, fraud, manipulation, cooperation of one of the parties with criminal structures, and threats of mass pogroms in the event of an “unfavorable” outcome.

This is not a fantasy novel or a satirical pamphlet. This is a sad reality: the stronghold of liberal democracy has sunk to the level of …not even Russia or Belarus, but Venezuela, Zimbabwe and Kyrgyzstan.

No one can predict the development of events in the foreseeable future. But in any case, the main losers have already been identified – the democratic system, as it is, and the United States.

True democracy is based on the idea of the Social Contract. According to Rousseau, “Then from the public enlightenment results the union of the understanding and the will in the social body; and from that the close cooperation of the parts, and, lastly, the maximum power of the whole. Hence arises the need of a lawgiver”.

In my book ‘Agony of Hercules or a Farewell to Democracy (Notes of a Stranger)‘ I wrote that such “conception of the democracy formed the basis of the subsequent political philosophy: John Dewey’s idea of a fruitful and friendly competition between all citizens for the sake of the common wellbeing; Robert Dahl’s concept of the representative democracy as various social groups of population striving for a consensus; Peter Singer’s formula of the peaceful and fair compromise. Joshua Cohen believed that a well-reasoned dialogue can solve all the problems. Amartya Sen focused on striving and the need of law-abiding citizens to shape social values by sharing relevant information.”

Democracy, as Dahl argues quite reasonably, is by definition better than all other systems of government, because it gives a maximum freedom and extensive civil rights to an individual, imposing however a strong moral responsibility.

Let’s point out the common core aspect of all these theories: They emphasize the importance of “moral responsibility”.

People may differ in opinions on how to solve a particular problem, which problems are primary, and which of them are secondary. However, they should originally strive for a common prosperity, respect opinions of opponents, and follow decisions of the majority. Well-being of the state should be their ultimate common goal, and any deliberate attempt to damage it should be deemed as an obvious crime.

Take away the concept of “moral responsibility”, and democracy will turn into an ugly parody of itself. This is exactly what happened before our eyes.

Intimidation, falsification and fraud are inevitable parts of totalitarian regimes, but they are fatal to the very idea of democracy, because they inevitably turn democracy into kleptocracy. In such a case, the Social Contract becomes a fiction.

What is the point of going to the polling station, if your vote might be thrown into the trash or stolen? If state institutions are losing the trust of ordinary people, then what is their value in principle?

For the purpose of feeding a giant bureaucratic apparatus? If a debate turns into a power squabble between Big-Endians and Little-Endians, then do we really need these parties at all? The Constitution is turning into a meaningless word, civil rights – into a piece of paper. On paper, the Stalinist constitution was also the fairest in the world.

Personal responsibility of people, commitment all social groups and parties to freedom, honesty and transparency form a basis of a democratic system. Otherwise, democracy, as it is, turns into a decoration of totalitarian regimes with their pseudo-democratic institutions, which is exactly what happened in Russia, Turkey, Iran, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

Up until now, the American democracy was a role model for the world. Who,being of sound mind and firm memory, would want to imitate America today?

‘Democracy is when the Democrats win’, Russians joke today, about America.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to argue with that remark.

Up until now, the American democracy was a role model for the world. Even those who hated it were forced to reckon with it. In Belarus, Burma and Iran, masses of people believed in the “light from Potomac Hill”.

Who,being of sound mind and firm memory, would want to imitate America today? It turns out that the emperor had no clothes. And, on the contrary, authoritarian regimes received a gift that they could not have dreamed of in their most sanguine dreams: America, which always so intrusively taught them about democratic freedoms and human rights, has made a mockery of its own sacred values.

It is the same as if church clergy, led by the Pontiff, came to St. Peter’s Basilica to publicly desecrate it.

If the oldest and the most powerful democracy has failed, what can we expect from the relatively young and much weaker democracies in Europe, such as Germany, Italy or Spain, not to mention Latin America, Asia and Africa?

American globalists, neo-Marxists and progressives have devalued the very concept of democracy. And what is even sadder, they blew up the US as a state – from within.

The USA is a young country with a relatively short history. It was conceived and created by the Founding Fathers solely as the grandiose project of a free society that prioritizes equality, social success and civil rights.

The “American tree” does not have deep and branched roots, like the countries of Eurasia. It has no other dominant paradigm, except Democracy, freedom and equality, no other cultural or national epic, mythology and archetypes, from which one can draw strength at critical moments of history for the country.

America does not have a glorious past, like Italians or Greeks do. It had no magnificent empires, as Britain, France, Russia or Spain had, or triumphant breakthroughs in philosophy, such as British rationalism, the French Enlightenment, or the Italian Renaissance. America doesn’t possess the heritage of one of the greatest cultures, like Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic, or deep religious rootedness, as in Poland. Yes, today Swedish society looks helpless and confused, losing power in their own country. But behind the Swedes there are the mighty shadows of Odin, the Vikings, Gustav Adolphus and Charles XII, and they can breathe new strength into their tired nation.

Who could have imagined a hundred years ago that the persecuted, humiliated, deprived of all kinds of military skills, European and Mizrahi Jews would win victories over much stronger enemies and create one of the most successful states of our time? Who could imagine that a fragmented, poor China would become a superpower in just a couple of decades? Historical memory gives wings, hope and self-confidence, and, perhaps, the image of Joan of Arc will help even the French, who have been demoralized by postmodern culture, restore the faith in themselves.

Destroying the very idea of democracy, the globalists and progressives are depriving America of its origins of strength, leaving behind only a disoriented and fragmented consumer society.

Samson without his hair ceases to be Samson. Blinded and humiliated, left without its democratic core, America becomes an easy prey for the modern day Philistines. And this is the main goal of the current “dirty revolution”.

Header: Anton van Dyck – Samson and Delilah

Source: Alexander Maistrovoy – Arutz Sheva

America’s future is Liberal Fascism sporting a smiley shirt and armed with a syringe

The globalists responsible for engineering a medical tyranny across much of the Western world have something valuable to teach right-wing nationalists and would-be fascists, and that is you don’t sell your damaged product out of the barrel of a machine gun, but rather dripping from the end of a syringe that promises to end all pain and misery.

Patrick Henry, one of America’s more outspoken Founding Fathers, famously remarked “give me liberty or give me death” when the life of his nation was on the line.

Today, America’s famous battle cry has been replaced by a masked and muffled gasp that advises, without hope of a second opinion, “give me lockdowns and keep me safe.”

So terrified is the American public of catching a virus that comes with a 99 percent survival rate that they are willing to forego Thanksgiving, the great national holiday commemorating – with no loss of irony – their Pilgrim ancestors’ collective courage to overcome the wild, hostile conditions of their new land.

It must be said that no fascist party has ever been so adept when it came to sealing the collective fate of their people to a common enemy. That’s because the threat facing mankind today, or so we are told, is not some nefarious ideology, like communism, or even a terrorist organization that the masses can be rallied to fight. Rather, the threat is a microscopic contagion that is capable of invading every nook and cranny of our lives.

Already the age of manly handshakes is over, replaced by an emasculated majority, while an entire generation of youth now looks at their fellow human beings as infernal germ factories.

And unlike a traditional enemy that can be seen, attacked and eventually defeated, the coronavirus – we have been oddly forewarned – will make landfall again and again, while regularly morphing with comic book abilities into an increasingly deadlier villain. In this landless battle, only the medical authorities are decorated as heroes, while the people, lacking the professional credentials, are forced to be passive and helpless onlookers, their freedom of movement severely constrained.

More importantly, the forces of nationalism have become irrelevant; only a globalist, one-world-order response can defeat this pandemic.

There is very good reason to suspect, however, that either the science on all of this is half-baked, or we the people are being intentionally duped on a grand scale. In fact, it’s probably a little bit of both. First, relying on nothing more than empirical evidence, it does not seem unreasonable to suggest that there is no existential emergency confronting mankind. If there were, we would expect to see decomposing bodies piling up in the streets, like in the medieval times during the Black Plague. This would be especially the case among the homeless population, which is certainly not practicing social distancing etiquette as they pass around open containers on street corners.

Nor does there seem to be any massive queuing up at hospitals for emergency treatment. In fact, as early as April, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told President Trump that the Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort deployed to New York City by the federal government to help fight the coronavirus outbreak was “no longer needed”. Cuomo said the need for the support vessel “didn’t reach the levels that had been projected.” And I am certainly not the only one who has noticed that Covid cases seem to fluctuate curiously with the political climate.

Let’s not forget that the overwhelming majority of Covid ‘victims’ recover nicely at home, according to no less of an authority than Anthony Fauci. At the same time, many people who acquire the disease are asymptomatic and never even knew they were infected. Children, meanwhile, seem amazingly impervious to the virus. That is not to say that there has been no sign of a virus this winter season. Of course there has been, just like every year. But while Covid cases may be on the rise in some places, and invisible in others, the death rate from this illness remains low and tumbling, predominantly hitting elderly people already suffering from comorbidities.

There are other reasons to be suspicious that what we are dealing with is not a first-class medical emergency, but rather something much more sinister. Like maybe an excuse for rolling out a Western-made vaccine that carries a microchip implant with tracking technology? Such a claim will sound less fantastic when it is realized that it has already been developed.

It is no secret that just one month before COVID-19 made its dramatic landfall in the United States, purportedly from Wuhan, China, MIT researchers announced a new method for recording a patient’s vaccination history: storing the smartphone-readable data under the skin at the same time a vaccine is administered.

“By selectively loading microparticles into microneedles, the patches deliver a pattern in the skin that is invisible to the naked eye but can be scanned with a smartphone that has the infrared filter removed,” MIT News reported.

“The patch can be customized to imprint different patterns that correspond to the type of vaccine delivered.”

Would it surprise anyone to know that the research was funded largely by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the same family venture that now provides the bulk of funding to the World Health Organization?

Then, in September 2019, ID2020, a San Francisco-based biometric company that counts Microsoft as one of its founding members, announced a new project that involves the “exploration of multiple biometric identification technologies for infants” that is based on “infant immunization.”

We could continue here with a long list of other disturbing technologies that would effectively turn people into walking antennae for the rest of their lives, but the point is hopefully clear: although many people might be willing to accept a vaccine against COVID-19, they probably do not want the extra technological add-ons that people like Bill Gates, a man with zero medical qualifications, seem extremely anxious to include.

So what can Americans expect next? How about ‘Freedom Passes’ that Britons may need before they are able to return to some semblance of normalcy?

According to the Daily Mail, “Britons are set to be given Covid ‘freedom passes’ as long as they test negative for the virus twice in a week, it has been suggested…

To earn the freedom pass, people will need to be tested regularly and, provided the results come back negative, they will then be given a letter, card or document they can show to people as they move around.”

And this is what they call a “return to normalcy.”

Personally, I call those plans the approach of fascism.

And for those who doubt that it could not happen in America should heed the words of the late sagacious comedian George Carlin, who once quipped that “when fascism comes to America, it will not be in brown and black shirts. It will not be with jackboots. It will be Nike sneakers and smiley shirts.” Had Carlin been alive today to see the tremendous mess we’ve inherited, he would most likely have included a syringe in the neo-fascist’s toolkit.

Source: Robert Bridge – Strategic Culture Foundation

War ended, but Armenia still suffers losses. Azerbaijani troops enter largest Armenian gold mine

This week, the Armenian leadership has reached an unprecedented height in its state management achievements. Prime Minsiter Nikol Pashinayan and his government did not stop at the successful campaign to undermine the Armenian regional position and the epic loss in the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War.

Now, they are losing their largest gold mine, which was controlled by the Armenians for the last few decades.

On November 26, Azerbaijani troops entered the Sotk gold mine, which is located in the Gegharkunik province of Armenia, right on the border with the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The mine reserves are estimated at more than 130 tons.

GEOPROMINING GOLD, which operates this mine, is one of the largest taxpayers and employers in Armenia. According to Armenian sources, the company paid $34 million into the Armenian budget in the period just between January to September of 2020.

A total of over 80 Azerbaijani soldiers entered the gold mine and the nearby town, claiming that the area should be handed over to Baku and gave workers one hour to leave the mine.

For years, the Armenian state border with Azerbaijan in this area did not exist and there was no established border line since the fall of the USSR, Baku is now claiming that at least a half of the gold mine belongs to it.

On November 25, Armenian forces returned control of the district of Kalbajar bordering Gegharkunik to Azerbaijan as a part of the ongoing implementation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani ceasefire deal reached to end the hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh. Thus, the Azerbaijanis also obtained access to the Sotk mine.

The Armenian government tried to hide these developments from the public and the Defense Ministry even called reports about Azerbaijani troops in the Sotk area fake news.

However, later, it had to change the official version claiming that ‘parts’ of the mine appear to be on the Azerbaijani side of the border and Azerbaijani troops entered only their side of the mine. How this became possible without any monitoring by the Armenian military and why the Defense Ministry was not aware about Azerbaijani troop movements remain a big secret.

Now, Yerevan says that Azerbaijani forces established 3 posts near the gold mine, while the boundary settlement process is ongoing under the supervision of the Russians.

Armenia did not reveal who would operate the gold mine after this process, but according to claims of the Armenian General Staff the status of the mine is being settled in the Russian-Azerbaijani talks.

By these claims, the Pashinyan government likely tries to lay blame for the fact that they somehow forgot to secure its largest gold mine and guarantee Armenian interests on the process of the settlement of this question.

In the current conditions, Baku is likely considering to push even further in an attempt to establish control of the entire mine. And the only factor that is preventing it from doing this is the presence of the Russian forces and business interests in this area.