Zelensky’s adviser lashes out at Merkel

Kiev has criticized claims by Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor from 2005 to 2021, who said this week that she’d “tried with what was at my disposal to prevent” the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The top adviser to Zelensky, Mikhail Podolyak, accused Merkel of “making excuses” for her own policy failures.

  • “Former Chancellor Merkel, who has made Europe totally dependent on Russian energy, makes excuses: ‘I did everything possible to prevent Russia from starting a war, and that is why I got… Russian cheap gas.’ Fantastic. After all, the war did not start, right?” Podolyak wrote on Twitter.
  • The purported desire of Merkel to obtain said “cheap Russian gas” has ultimately resulted in “destroyed Ukrainian territories and hundreds of thousands of innocent Ukrainian lives,” Podolyak went on. “If you cannot correct the mistakes of the past, just stop making excuses and encouraging the aggressor,” he added.

The remarks from Zelensky’s top adviser come in response to Merkel’s interview with Die Zeit, published on Saturday. In the interview, the ex-Chancellor claimed she has been supporting the Minsk process – an international effort to end the conflict in then-Ukrainian Donbass – in good faith. Merkel insisted that she had “tried with what was at my disposal to prevent” the ongoing hostilities, and even if the effort ultimately failed, she still believed that “diplomacy is a necessity.”

The remarks appeared to contradict the revelations made by Merkel in an interview with the same newspaper last December, when she admitted that the Minsk protocol had been an “attempt to give Ukraine time,” to help it “become stronger” – and the plan succeeded.

At the time, it was “clear to all of us that the conflict was frozen, that the problem had not been solved, but that gave Ukraine valuable time,” she stated back then.

  • Similar revelations about the Minsk negotiations being merely a ruse to buy time for arming Ukraine had been made previously by the country’s ex-President Pyotr Poroshenko, as well as the former President of France, and another original signee of the accords, Francois Hollande.

Source: RT

Merkel contradicts herself on Ukraine peace deal

Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor from 2005 to 2021, claimed this week that she did all she could to prevent the conflict in Ukraine.

  • The veteran politician stands by her efforts to broker the 2014-2015 ceasefire accords, saying they were agreed in good faith. Months prior to this week’s interview, however, she suggested that the accords were merely a ploy to help Ukraine buy time.

In an interview with Die Zeit’s Chief Editor Giovanni di Lorenzo on Saturday, Merkel said that she’d “tried with what was at my disposal to prevent” the current Ukraine conflict. Just because these efforts eventually failed does not mean they were misguided, the ex-chancellor insisted, adding that “diplomacy is a necessity.”

The politician defended the Minsk peace process, which was designed to end fighting and progress talks between Kiev and rebels in Donbass, who were among the Ukrainians who rejected the outcome of the 2014 coup in the capital.

In the interview, Merkel also lamented the fact that, at the time, few European nations other than Germany and France were interested in those diplomatic endeavors.

The ex-chancellor also claimed that the accords had been drawn up in good faith.

However, in an interview published last December in Die Zeit she acknowledged that, in reality, the Minsk protocol had been an “attempt to give Ukraine time,” which it availed of to “become stronger,” as evidenced on the battlefield now.

  • In late 2022, Merkel said that it was “clear to all of us that the conflict was frozen, that the problem had not been solved, but that gave Ukraine valuable time.”

In this week’s interview, Merkel also recounted how “President Zelensky was very critical of the Minsk agreement, and he had said that since his election campaign.”

Despite differences of opinion on the matter she still trusted the Ukrainian head of state, the former German official noted.

  • According to the ex-chancellor, the broad consensus among Ukrainian politicians was that the Minsk agreement was not popular in the country.
  • Explaining the need to launch a military operation against Ukraine last February, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Kiev, among other things, of having failed to honor the terms of the agreement. Under Minsk I and II, Ukraine was supposed to enact constitutional reform and to grant autonomy to the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

Source: RT

US Source: Administration examining Saudi demands for normalization with Israel

Despite the recent rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Washington is examining Riyadh’s demands for a potential normalization with Israel, an American official told Israel Hayom.

Last week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis visited Israel. During an address to the Jerusalem Post conference on Thursday, DeSantis accused the Biden Administration of wasting the opportunity to expand the Abraham Accords which were achieved under the Trump Administration and of pushing Saudi Arabia away from normalization with Israel.

  • “The Biden Administration worked overtime to alienate Saudi Arabia making it more difficult for Israel to forge a normalization deal with Saud Arabia,” DeSantis said. “I think, with a proper policy and proper relations, you could see Saudi Arabia recognize the existence of Israel.”

In Israel, it is hoped that despite Saudi Arabia’s growing ties with China, which brokered the rapprochement with Iran, the kingdom will attempt to maintain a balance with the global superpowers and therefore seek to improve its relationship with the US as well, which have frayed under the Biden Administration.

According to US media, Saudi Arabia has presented in the last year four demands the US must fulfill if the Kingdom is to agree to normalize its relations with Israel.

The demands include the right to a civilian nuclear program in light of Iran’s nuclear program, the expansion of defensive ties with the US, the expansion of trade with the US, and an end to US criticism of Saudi Arabia over the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, who serves as a mediator between the two parties, visited Riyadh and Jerusalem two weeks ago. While in Israel, Senator Graham stated that if the Biden Administration pursued normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, he would wholeheartedly support the administration’s efforts despite belonging to the opposing political party.

Senator Graham said:

  • “I told Saudi Arabia I’d like to upgrade our relationship. We have to do it in a way that would be reassuring to our friends in Israel. I want to help President Biden. I told the Crown Prince that the best time to upgrade our relationship is now, that President Biden is very interested in normalizing relationships with Saudi Arabia and in turn, Saudi Arabia recognizing the one and only Jewish state. To the extent I can help make that happen, I will do it.”

“I believe that the Republican Party, writ large, would be glad to work with President Biden to change the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, that eventually could result in the recognition of Israel by the Saudi government. That is why I’m here. It will take a lot of effort, but it is worth trying.”

The US official said that the US was examining the Saudi demands, the most difficult of which is the demand for a nuclear program. The Israeli government’s position on the issue is unknown.

  • US President Joe Biden is expected to face criticism from the progressive wing of his own Democratic party if he moves to improve America’s relations with Saudi Arabia, as the kingdom has fallen out of favor with much of the party in recent years, particularly following the murder of Khashoggi.

Source: Arutz Sheva

Ex-Russian president calls for ‘complete’ dismantling of ‘Kiev regime’

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has called for the “complete dismantling” of the “Kiev regime,” as well as for inflicting “mass destruction” on the country’s military personnel and hardware.

Medvedev, who currently serves as deputy chair of Russia’s National Security Council, made the remarks in a Telegram post on Friday, commenting on an interview Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky recently gave to several Nordic media outlets. He summarized Zelensky’s comments as consisting of demands for more weapons from Kiev’s Western backers and promises of a successful counteroffensive, including an attack on Crimea, while also warning that the conflict may drag on for “decades.”

While the interview appeared to be “contradictory” and “delusional,” even such statements should not be underestimated, Medvedev warned.

  • “One should not underestimate even delusional speeches. This is a hysterical manifesto of the Kiev regime, which is seeking to consolidate its Nazi elites, maintain the morale of the troops and receive additional support from its sponsors.”

To successfully foil Kiev’s plans, Russia must inflict “mass destruction of personnel and military equipment” during the much-hyped Ukrainian counteroffensive and inflict a “maximum military defeat” on Kiev’s military, Medvedev said.

Ultimately, the “Nazi regime in Kiev” must be “completely dismantled” and demilitarized throughout the entire territory of “former Ukraine,” he added.

Apart from that, Russia must pursue those who manage to flee, and seek “retribution” against the “key figures of the Nazi regime, regardless of their location and without statute of limitations,” Medvedev stressed. Anything short of that would not suffice, the ex-president believes.

“Otherwise, they will not calm down, and the drug-addled nonsense can turn into reality and the war will drag on for a long time. Our country does not need that,” Medvedev said.

The ex-president has repeatedly warned Kiev against any attempts to seize the Crimean peninsula, which broke away from Ukraine in the aftermath of the 2014 Maidan coup and joined Russia after locals overwhelmingly supported such a move during a referendum.

  • Last month, Medvedev issued a nuclear warning to Kiev, cautioning that any attempt at a “serious offensive” targeting the peninsula would be “the basis for the use of all means of protection, including those provided for by the fundamentals of the Doctrine of Nuclear Deterrence.”

Source: RT

Fitch downgrades France’s credit rating

Rating agency Fitch has downgraded France’s sovereign credit rating, warning that public resistance to a recent pension reform could take a toll on the economy.

The agency lowered the rating from “AA” to “AA-,” with a stable outlook. The downgrade means France is considered a more risky venture for investors, which could lead to higher borrowing costs.

“Fitch believes that social and political pressures illustrated by the protests against the pension reform will complicate fiscal consolidation,” the agency wrote. It added that the government’s decision to bypass a parliamentary vote to push through the pension reform will “likely further strengthen radical and anti-establishment forces.”

“Political deadlock and (sometimes violent) social movements pose a risk to Macron’s reform agenda and could create pressures for a more expansionary fiscal policy or a reversal of previous reforms,” Fitch warned.

  • French President Emmanuel Macron signed the unpopular pension reform into law in mid-April, despite months of nationwide protests and resistance in parliament.

The measure raised the retirement age from 62 to 64. Following its enactment, the political opposition and unions vowed to continue contesting the move. Analysts have warned that as the president’s party does not have a parliamentary majority, it may be difficult for it to deliver on other reforms due to the public unrest.

  • French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, however, pledged that Paris will continue structural reforms despite Fitch’s warnings.

“I believe that the facts invalidate the assessment by the Fitch agency… We are able to implement structural reforms and we will continue to implement structural reforms for the country,” Le Maire told AFP on Saturday. The official vowed to accelerate the country’s debt reduction, to restore the public finances, reduce deficits and make faster cuts to public expenditure.

Source: RT

A Review of The Real Anthony Fauci

No single work has influenced the American alt-Covid discussion as much as Robert F. Kennedy’s The Real Anthony Fauci, an extended attack on the medical-industrial complex and its purported kingpin, recently-retired National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci.

Across 450 pages of narrow margins and densely-set type, Kennedy argues that the entire COVID pandemic unfolded as a second act to the AIDS scare from the 1980s and 1990s.

In Kennedy’s view, Fauci played a key role managing both pandemics, to steer massive profits into the coffers of corrupt pharmaceutical companies by pushing harmful proprietary drugs over vastly less profitable but more effective remedies, leading in both cases to untold unnecessary mortality.

  • Kennedy’s discussion of COVID is split between the opening and the concluding sections of his long book. Chapter 1 on ‘Mismanaging a Pandemic’ – at 100 pages, a small monograph unto itself – argues that most if not all of American COVID mortality arises from Fauci’s cynical suppression of early treatments like Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine.

The final two chapters expand the narrow focus of this opening barrage, by tracing the history of “phony epidemics” like the 2009 Swine Flu that have occurred under Fauci’s watch (Chapter 11), as well as the strange tradition of pandemic wargaming, from Dark Winter to Event 201 (Chapter 12).

The middle chapters are wholly different. They draw on long-standing progressive critiques of Fauci’s role in the AIDS pandemic, particularly his promotion of expensive and dangerous antiviral drugs like AZT over much cheaper and more readily available treatments (Chapters 2-4); his alleged role in cementing the scientific orthodoxy of HIV as the cause of AIDS over the views of “heretics” like Peter Duesberg (Chapters 5–6); ethical scandals surrounding AIDS drug trials (Chapter 7); and the campaign to reduce the maternal transmission of AIDS in Africa with Nevirapine, which culminated in the firing of key AIDS Division policy director Jonathan M. Fishbein (Chapter 8). Thereafter the focus shifts to the “Philanthrocapitalism” of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Africa (Chapter 9) and the questionable success of and controversies plaguing Gates-supported vaccination initiatives there (Chapter 10).

There’s a reason this review has been much announced and much delayed: While Kennedy’s book is highly readable, it covers a great deal of ground, and presents a complex series of arguments that it’s taken me two readings to understand fully. This has been worthwhile, insofar as it’s improved my perspective on the broader COVID debate in America, and the leading dissident voices there. A recurring thesis of the plague chronicle, is that Europe – and specifically Italy – is ground zero for Corona in the West. The American response happened somewhat later and from its earliest moments was much more deeply politicised, and this has inevitably left its mark on TRAF, in ways that are sometimes salutary, but sometimes also limiting.

Because much of what follows will be devoted to exploring my disagreements with Kennedy’s thesis, I will open with words of praise:

Above all, the focus that Kennedy brings to bureaucratic actors like Fauci is absolutely correct and vitally important. All of our countries spent years subject to the tyranny of an arbitrary gaggle of Corona tsars, unelected and very often unofficial advisors who became the public face of pandemic policies and the incarnation of The Science for hysterical journalists and terrified television-bound Covidians sheltering at home. This phenomenon arises from the fact that the pandemic represented in almost all of our countries a kind of bureaucratic coup, as the institutional apparatus seized the initiative from the political arm of the state. While this isn’t exactly the argument that Kennedy makes, his focus is in exactly the right place, and TRAF includes excellent discussions of the dynamics at work, alongside good, detailed and heavily-cited accounts of how bureaucratic actors like Fauci amassed their power in the first place.

Second, Kennedy is absolutely right to point out that pandemic policies involved an enormous amount of dishonesty, scientific fraud, and misrepresentation, none of it redounding to the health or well-being of anybody.

While I differ on the details and the purpose of this massive exercise in deception and medical malpractice, one of the most vital things to understand about the pandemic (and pandemicism in general) is that it’s not about human health. It’s a bunch of antisocial, fundamentally unhealthy, illogical and insane policies that never had any hope of suppressing a virus. These policies were defended and implemented via the authority of avatars for The Science like Fauci, who “encouraged his own canonisation and the disturbing inquisition against his blasphemous critics,” and at one point even famously declared that “‘Attacks on me… quite frankly, are attacks on the science’” (xvii).

Third and finally, TRAF is best seen as an attempt to revive an older, increasingly forgotten progressive tradition of regime-critical activism and thought. It is one massive reminder, page after page, that many of the very same left-leaning Americans currently worshipping at the altar of St. Fauci were, not that long ago, openly opposed to the machinations of public health bureaucrats and deeply sceptical of heavily promoted proprietary pharmaceuticals.

They were some of the first to complain about things like regulatory capture and exorbitant pharma profits. The entire Western world has undergone a massive political since 2020, one which has conveniently aligned compromised regulators, powerful corporations, and their erstwhile leftist critics, and Kennedy is one of very few left-leaning progressives to have taken notice.

But this is also where my praise must end, because I think there are important limitations to Kennedy’s perspective here, and that this is a strength that also entails some substantial weaknesses.

TRAF was not the book I expected. On first reading, I was surprised to find that key pandemic policies such as lockdowns and mask mandates play such a small part in his account, as do the misuse of propagandised disease statistics to terrorise the populace, gain-of-function research and the origins of SARS-2, the failed predictions of virus modellers, the overuse of ventilators and many other themes in this vein. To be sure, Kennedy acknowledges and condemns all of this, but the bulk of his analysis is focused elsewhere.

I was also surprised to find that such a well-known vaccine sceptic should have so little to say about the COVID vaccines, confined mostly to a brief discussion of pathogenic priming.

In many ways, those chapters that Kennedy devotes to Corona are his least impressive and original. His argument here is heavily indebted to American critics of pandemic policy like Pierre Kory, Ryan Cole and especially Peter McCullough, who are quoted in extenso to make the case for early treatment and the dire consequences of its suppression. Kennedy is at his strongest in the middle sections of TRAF, on Fauci’s role in the AIDS crisis. Here citations to contemporary reporting abound, and while he covers controversial ground – like Duesberg’s thesis that HIV is not the cause of AIDS – his approach is entertaining and also in many ways careful and sensitive to a broad range of possibilities.

  • Kennedy shares the view of many gay activists that much early AIDS mortality is to be laid at the feat of public health managers like Fauci, who were more interested in promoting expensive proprietary antivirals than saving lives, leaving the gay community to fend for itself (149f.):

[B]ustling networks of community-based AIDS doctors mushrooming in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Dallas [became] specialists in treating the symptoms of AIDS. As Dr. Fauci swung for the fences – the miraculous new antiviral ‘cure’ for AIDS – these community doctors were achieving promising results with off-label therapeutic drugs that seemed effective against the constellation of symptoms that actually killed and tormented people with AIDS. These included off-the-shelf remedies like ribavirin, alpha interferon, DHPG, Peptide D, and Foscarnet for retinal herpes; and Bactrim, Septra and aerosol pentamidine for AIDS-related pneumonias.
The toxic Fauci-promoted antiviral azidothymidine, or AZT – which HIV sceptics like Duesberg invoke to explain early AIDS mortality – becomes in Kennedy’s telling a direct precedent for the failed and toxic antiviral Remdesivir, which Fauci and others promoted as a COVID treatment according to the very same “worn rabbit-eared playbook” (67) from the AIDS era. In this analysis, ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine are cast accordingly as the 21st-century counterparts to the off-the-shelf drugs procured for informal AIDS treatment by the buyers’ clubs of activist legend.

This brings me to the most serious disagreement I have with my many American readers. Just as I’m very sceptical that the COVID vaccines were any kind of success, I am also unconvinced that early treatments could have significantly ameliorated or stopped the pandemic. This doesn’t mean I’m happy with their suppression; doctors should be given wide latitude to treat diseases as they see fit. But, I don’t believe that this is the central knot in the pandemic tapestry, and I cannot bring myself to believe, like many of Kennedy’s informants, that any of these proposed treatments are likely to be “miraculous”. Kennedy is surely right in suspecting that attacks on ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine were related in part to the heedless promotion of Remdesivir, but I also can’t buy the associated thesis of regulatory wrangling to pave the way for vaccine emergency use authorisations.

The pandemicists violated all kinds of laws and rules in their eccentric three-year crusade, and fudging an EUA would rank among their lesser offences. I’d also suggest that respiratory viruses like SARS-2 and influenza are an old, pervasive phenomenon, which also afflict livestock as well as humans and against which we don’t have any very effective remedies despite a century of obsessive research. I know there are studies that show the opposite, but there are also studies that show the vaccines are safe and effective. Because COVID isn’t actually that dangerous and wasn’t even that transmissible before Omicron, a lot of remedies, from masks to lockdowns, will at times seem to work, and I have no trouble believing that doctors who eschewed first-wave over-ventilation of patients saw substantially better results for that reason alone.

But the empirical question, of what we can reasonably hope that any specific drug will achieve, is for me almost a side issue. Far graver is the framing that the entire discourse on early treatments assumes. The advocates whom Kennedy quotes and people like Fauci appear to be in agreement not only that Covid presented a serious danger, but that it was a problem to solve. They differ merely on the solutions, with public health technocrats on the side of lockdowns, masks, vaccines and remdesivir; and early treatment advocates on the side of ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine. This has uncomfortable consequences, as when Kennedy uncritically cites Covid mortality statistics to demonstrate Fauci’s failure in pandemic management, or when he attributes falling mortality to things like the authorisation of hydroxychloroquine. This is exactly how pandemic managers themselves argued, and I submit this entire ideological system around viruses as a thing to prevent and manage – whether via ivermectin or masks or anything else – is the root of all evil. This is a natural blindspot for progressive critics of pandemic policy like Kennedy, who generally support the mission of modern bureaucratised liberal democracies; it’s why he laments the “global war on … public health” in his subtitle. After the hell of the past three years, I think there are few things we ought to welcome more enthusiastically than a war on public health, which is no longer by or for the public and no longer about health.

As I said above, TRAF includes some excellent discussions of the malign public health bureaucracy that rules us. The managers who dominate our institutions are manifestly not selected for their vision, their compassion or their scientific knowledge, but rather for their abilities to ascend byzantine bureaucratic hierarchies and defend their positions in them. Thus we read (132) that:

[Fauci’s] gifts were his aptitude for bureaucratic infighting; a fiery temper; an inclination for flattering and soft-soaping powerful superiors; a vindictive and domineering nature towards subordinates and rivals who dissented; his ravenous appetite for the spotlight; and finally, his silver tongue and skilled tailor.
Kennedy also provides a wealth of apposite remarks on what he calls the “medical cartel,” namely the complex and intertwined system of “pharmaceutical companies, hospital systems, HMOs and insurers, the medical journals, and public health regulators” (135), along with a detailed and well-cited analyses of how this system works (120):

Dr. Fauci’s drug development enterprise is rife with …corrupting conflicts. Most Americans would be surprised to learn, for example, that pharmaceutical companies routinely pay extravagant royalties to Dr. Fauci and his employees and to NIAID itself. Here’s how the royalty system works: Instead of researching the causes of the mushrooming epidemics of allergic and autoimmune diseases … Dr. Fauci funnels the bulk of his $6 billion budget to the research and development of new drugs. He often begins the process of funding initial mechanistic studies of promising molecules in NIAID’s own laboratories before farming the clinical trials out to an old boys’ network of some 1,300 academic “principle investigators” … who conduct human trials at university affiliated research centers and training hospitals, as well as foreign research sites. After these NIAID-funded researchers develop a potential new drug, NIAID transfers some or all of its share of the intellectual property to private pharmaceutical companies, through HHS’s Office of Technology Transfer. The University and its PIs can also claim their share of patent and royalty rights, cementing the loyalty of academic medicine to Dr. Fauci.

He also rehearses standard and useful left-leaning critiques of major philanthropists like Bill Gates, with an equal awareness of the broader system in which they participate and the dividends their apparently charitable activity pays them (291):

Gates strategically targets [the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s] charitable gifts to give him control of the international health and agricultural agencies and the media, allowing him to dictate global health and food policies so as to increase profitability of the large multinationals in which he and his foundation hold large investment positions.

Following such tactics, the Gates Foundation has given away some $54.8 billion since 1994, but instead of depleting his wealth, those strategic gifts have magnified it. Strategic philanthropizing increased the Gates Foundation’s capital corpus to $49.8 billion by 2019. Moreover, Gates’s personal net worth grew from $63 billion in 2000 to 133.6 billion today. Gates’s wealth expanded by $23 billion just during the 2020 lockdowns that he and Dr. Fauci played key roles in orchestrating. …

In 2017, the Huffington Post observed that the Gates Foundation blurs “the boundaries between philanthropy, business and nonprofits” and cautions that calling Gates’s investment strategy “philanthropy” was causing “the rapid deconstruction of the accepted term.

These are, again, attacks from a forthrightly progressive perspective, which is fine and in view of Kennedy’s audience maybe even a strength, but I see these matters in broader terms.

What we have before us are not so much hierarchies, with managers like Fauci at the top commanding an army of loyal principal investigators in the trenches, as they are complex densely interconnected networks of personal and institutional relationships and loyalties, which extend beyond the institutional confines of government agencies to embrace broad swathes of academia, NGOs, pharmaceuticals, and philanthropists. When money flows in one direction across a given node, power very often flows in the other direction. NIAID grants are a way of extending the institutional influence of the public health institutions to academia, while academics and pharmaceuticals are in turn increasingly important in often informal and difficult-to-assess roles in formulating policy. This is one instance of a pervasive phenomenon I have returned to many times, namely the diffusion of political power downwards, out of the bureaucratic institutions and into an ever wider range of corporate, university and media actors.

It is a complicated system, not a fiefdom managed by any single person, and while I accept that there may rhetorical or advantages in focusing critique on a single actor like Fauci, there is also a cost in a tendency to overstate his importance. The “quarantine of the healthy” which “would kill far more people than COVID” can’t be laid entirely or even primarily at Fauci’s feet; nor was he alone responsible for “obliterat[ing] the economy, plung[ing] millions into poverty…. and grievously wound[ing] constitutional democracy globally” (xviii). Fauci is one face of a widely distributed bureaucratic consensus, and his personal significance, while surely substantial, is also often obscure.

To take one of many possible examples, it wasn’t Fauci who “dispatched the handpicked elite of virology’s officer corps to draft and sign the consequential editorials published in Nature and The Lancet … assuring the world that the lab leak hypothesis was a ‘crackpot’ conspiracy” (297). As later emails leaks (not available to Kennedy at the time of writing) seem to suggest, he was merely one participant in a broader discussion involving Jeremy Farrar and key virologists, and far from the most active contributor. From the partial view that we have, it seems that Christian Drosten, not Fauci, was the most strident voice in favour of natural origins early on. Relatedly and in another connection, I find the oft-repeated thesis – hardly original to Kennedy – that “Gates controls the WHO” (300) or that he exercises “dictatorial authority” (302) over the global vaccinator cabal known as GAVI far too limited. Gates’s agenda with respect to third-world medical interventions and vaccines is not even all that original. This is an agenda he supports to transform some of his wealth into social and cultural regard. Gates is a follower even more than he is a leader.

One cost of this focus, is the fact it sidelines a lot of key actors whose motivations to this day await adequate explanation. This is especially the case with Neil Ferguson at Imperial College, who is cast in his all-too-brief cameo here as a mere agent of Farrar and Bill Gates (361f.). Ferguson’s role in promoting virus panic over decades is a crucial one, and that it’s probably not a good idea to discount him as the mere agent of other, bigger men.

Summing up, I would say there’s a narrowness in the approach that TRAF takes to the pandemic, which is easy to miss because Kennedy’s scope is so broad in other respects. The final chapters on “Hyping Phony Epidemics” and “Germ Games” read like efforts to include topics otherwise excluded by the internal logic of Kennedy’s argument. It’s absolutely right and necessary to draw attention to the failed panic mongering of the pandemic establishment, and there’s a particularly valuable account here of the overhyped 1976 Swine flu panic, which all too many (including myself) have neglected. Far more important for understanding Corona, however, are very real outbreaks like SARS-1 in Asia from 2003/4 and Ebola in West Africa from 2014. These events drew vast funding and attention to the pandemicist programme and made their virus apocalypse scenarios much more credible in the eyes of the public. The most proper precedents and parallels to the 2020 COVID response lie here, rather than with the AIDS crisis that first brought Fauci to prominence

In Kennedy’s final chapter, meanwhile, Fauci all but disappears in favour of new personalities like Peter Daszak and Robert Kadlec. Here, the civilian bureaucrat responsible for organising the catastrophic pandemic response is displaced by much different theses about the biosecurity aspects of pandemic wargaming and Covid as “a military project” (from 433). I find that the book is at its weakest in these pages. Particularly the discussion of pandemic wargaming is too superficial; as I’ve said many times, what’s significant about these exercises is not that they planned mass containment policies in advance, but precisely that overtly coercive virus suppression is missing from them. They often toy with the prospect of authoritarian measures, it is true, but a sensitive reading shows that they do so largely to provoke handwringing histrionic discussions about the importance of civil liberties. Mass containment was not Fauci’s invention, but an insanely repressive and largely theatrical exercise in virus suppression that originated in China, to which Fauci was a relatively late convert.

Because these matters are fairly far from Kennedy’s most central concerns, I don’t want to press too hard here; and to those readers who are irritated, I’ll extend at the end of this review the concession that has been implicit throughout: Kennedy is a long-time political activist, and it’s probably true that his approach has important tactical advantages. My concerns are much more empirical. I want to understand the pandemic response, how it arose and how it persisted for so long. It’s up to other people to find the most effect ways to discredit pandemic policies before the voting public.

There is one point that I won’t concede, though, and that the plague chronicle will insist upon so long as there are still bits flowing through the internet. This is that the overgrown overcomplicated self-serving bureaucracies of Western states must be kept, in future, as far as possible from preventing or mitigating virus outbreaks. The problem is not that they alighted upon the wrong solution in this case; it is that they assumed the project of solving pervasive seasonal respiratory viruses in the first place. Even if ivermectin worked as well as its advocates argue, the technocratic leviathan would hardly be satisfied with that, and the reason is not merely pharmaceutical profits. It’s the predilection of our institutions for intractable problems and highly complicated solutions via which they justify their own existence and ensure their propagation and the expansion of their jurisdiction. Once they get ahold of something like a virus, which spreads via social contact, you will seeing nothing but the proliferation and brutal enforcement of anti-social anti-human policies again and again.

Source: EUGYPPIUS – Daily Sceptic

  • This review originally appeared on Eugyppius’s Substack newsletter.

British Jewish children perform ‘Adon Olam’ to honor new king

  1. Among the many honors accruing to King Charles III in advance of his coronation next week: a new version of a traditional prayer performed by a British-Jewish children’s choir.
  • United Synagogue, the union of British Orthodox synagogues, commissioned a new recording of “Adon Olam,” a prayer perhaps most recognizable as the conclusion of Shabbat (Sabbath) services, and dedicated it to the new king.

The rendition was composed by a British-Jewish musician who teaches at a Jewish school and was arranged by the brothers in the indie rock due Portnoy, according to the Jewish Chronicle, a British Jewish newspaper. The choir includes children from five Jewish schools who are accompanied by musicians from Ukraine. Everyone involved is wearing a shirt for the coronation, planned for May 6, in a “We are the World“-style video released Friday.

The recording is part of a passel of celebrations that British communities are undertaking as they prepare to crown a new monarch for the first time in more than 70 years. Charles’ mother, Queen Elizabeth II, died in September after taking the throne in 1952.

“King Charles III has always been a stalwart personal friend to the Jewish community,” said Anthony Broza, chief executive of a music distributor company called Wienerworld that participated in the project. “We hope that this new recording of Adon Olam will act as further recognition of the community’s affection for the Royal Family and our gratitude that Jews can observe their customs and traditions safely and openly in the UK.”

England’s chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, is reportedly sleeping at the king’s residence the night before the coronation so that he can attend without violating Shabbat.

The coronation will take place at Westminster Abbey, a royal church; while many Orthodox interpretations of Jewish law hold that Jews should not enter churches, London’s top rabbinical court ruled in the 1970s that chief rabbis may do so if their presence is requested by the monarch.

Source: Philissa Kramer =JTA via Arutz Sheva

Indian banker describes dollar as ‘financial terrorist’

The US dollar has too much power as a reserve currency and the world desperately needs an alternative, billionaire investor and CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank, Uday Kotak, said on Friday.

Speaking at the Economic Times Awards for Corporate Excellence 2023, the banker described the dollar as “the biggest financial terrorist in the world.” As most global assets are held in dollars in so-called nostro accounts with US banks, they are entirely dependent on decisions made by American bankers and authorities, he explained.

  • “Somebody in the US can say: You cannot withdraw [this money] from tomorrow morning – and you are stuck. That is the power of the reserve currency,” Kotak added.

The world is therefore “desperately looking for an alternative reserve currency,” he continued, suggesting that India should seize the opportunity to make its own currency, the rupee, the reserve.

  • “It is our time for making a shot at it, which will take us probably 10 years,” he stated.

In order to achieve this goal, India must earn the trust of other global players by building strong financial institutions and a strong framework “that is not dependent on the whims and fancies of anyone.” Kotak added that he does not see other strong contenders for the role.

  • “I don’t think Europe can [make their currency the reserve], because its states are disunited. I don’t think the UK or Japan have the heft to be taking that position, though both the British pound and the yen are free currencies. China, I think, has a major issue of trust with many countries around the world,” he said.

In a tweet on Saturday, Kotak tried to further clarify his comments on the US dollar, explaining that he was referring to the overabundance of power that a reserve currency holds. This status gives such currency an ability to control global transactions, leading to situations where other countries may become dependent on it.

  • “In a recent discussion on [the] US dollar I inadvertently used [the] words ‘financial terrorist’ which I would like to correct. What I meant was that a reserve currency has disproportionate power, whether it is nostro account, 500 basis points rate increase, or emerging countries holding dollars for liquidity,” he wrote.

Source: RT

Moscow reacts to Russian school seizure in Poland

Poland will face consequences for seizing a school operated by the Russian embassy in Warsaw, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

  • “We view these new hostile actions of the Polish authorities as a flagrant violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and an attempt against Russian diplomatic real estate in Poland,” the ministry said in a statement on its website.

“This outrageous move that falls outside of the boundaries of civilized communication between the states will not be left without a firm response and consequences for the Polish authorities and Poland’s interests in Russia,” the statement continued.

ON SATURDAY, POLISH OFFICIALS, ACCOMPANIED BY POLICE, ENTERED THE SCHOOL’S PREMISES AFTER OPENING THE FRONT GATE WITH A CROWBAR. RIA Novosti reported that school staff were told to vacate the building by 6pm local time.

  • Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Lukasz Jasina said authorities were enforcing a court ruling regarding the building that has been “illegally leased by the Russian embassy for years.”

He argued that the school did not have diplomatic status and was not protected under the Vienna Convention.

Like other NATO members, Poland imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia in response to Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine that was launched in February 2022. Last year, Polish authorities froze the Russian embassy’s bank accounts. Moscow has slammed the sanctions as illegal under international law.

  • This week, Russian envoy Sergey Andreyev said that prosecutors seized outright the bank accounts of the embassy and Russia’s trade mission.

Source: RT


Header: The Russian Foreign Ministry building in Moscow ©  Sputnik / Evgeny Odinokov

Poland ‘had no right’ to seize Russian school – ambassador to RT

Poland “had no right” to seize a school operated by the Russian embassy in Warsaw and any dispute over the property should have been resolved through dialogue, Russian Ambassador to Warsaw Sergey Andreyev has told RT. He argued that, under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, diplomatic buildings “under no circumstances can be subjected to break-ins and seizures.”

Polish officials, accompanied by police, entered the school on Saturday after forcing open the front gate. The authorities insisted the building had no diplomatic protection because Russia had been using it “illegally for years,” and that the officers were enforcing a court order.

The Russian ambassador said that Moscow had been in talks with Warsaw about the case until communication was interrupted by the Ukraine crisis. Like many other NATO members, Poland imposed sanctions on Russia and froze the embassy’s bank accounts last year.

“We believe these issues can be resolved exclusively through intergovernmental bilateral agreements, and not through court rulings,” Andreyev said, slamming the decision to refer the argument to the courts as “completely unlawful.”

  • “There is a special kind of cynicism [in Poland’s actions] because we are talking about a school, about children. It’s the end of the school year, and exams are coming soon.”

Andreyev explained that Poland granted the building in question to the embassy in 1953, when Russia was part of the Soviet Union and Poland was ruled by a socialist government. Warsaw has only been demanding the building’s return “for the last 10-15 years,” he added.

The Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement, vowing to retaliate and warning Poland of “consequences.” Andreyev said Moscow would respond to the school seizure in due time.

  • “Naturally, we will do it without unnecessary haste and emotions, after a thorough analysis of the context of our relations,” the diplomat said.

Source: RT

Biden unlikely to last through second term – GOP candidate

US President Joe Biden stands little chance of remaining in office until the end of his second term should he be reelected next year, Republican presidential contender Nikki Haley has claimed.

She warned that widely unpopular Vice President Kamala Harris could end up at the helm.

  • Speaking to Fox News on Thursday, Haley, formerly the US’ envoy to the UN and an ex-governor of South Carolina, said that “if you vote for Joe Biden you really are counting on a President Harris, because the idea that he would make it until 86 years old is not something that I think is likely.”

Harris does not enjoy particularly strong popular support. A study published by Statista last week indicated that nearly half of Americans view her performance as vice president either somewhat or very unfavorably.

  • In an interview with Fox News Digital on Wednesday, former Democratic congresswoman-turned-independent Tulsi Gabbard stated her view that “Kamala Harris is clearly unqualified to be the commander-in-chief.”
  • “The consequences of President Kamala Harris at the helm would be dangerous and catastrophic for the American people and our nation,” Gabbard warned.

In a video statement released on Tuesday, four years to the day after the launch of his previous presidential campaign, the 80-year-old Biden officially announced that he would run for a second term in 2024.

Harris will remain on the ticket as his vice president for this run as well.

Biden is already the oldest serving president in US history, with critics claiming that he no longer possesses the mental acuity to lead the nation.

  • A recent poll published by NBC News revealed that 70% of Americans and 51% of Democratic Party voters did not want Biden to seek re-election.

Another survey by the Associated Press yielded identical results.

In both polls, respondents cited Biden’s advanced age as the main reason for wanting to see someone else vying for the country’s top job.

Source: RT

Suspected drone hits oil terminal in Sevastopol – governor

An oil storage facility in the city of Sevastopol was targeted by an unmanned aerial vehicle on Saturday morning, according to preliminary information shared by local governor Mikhail Razvozhayev.

  • “All security and rescue services are on the scene. The area of the fire is about 1,000 square meters,” Razvozhayev wrote on Telegram around 5am local time, blaming a suspected UAV strike.

Multiple videos shared by eyewitnesses showed a massive fire lighting up the night sky. Other footage taken after dawn showed a column of black smoke covering the sky above the city.

“There is no threat to civilian infrastructure,” the governor later added from the scene, confirming there were no casualties or injuries. Authorities urged people to remain calm as at least 60 firefighters, 18 engines and a fire train worked to tackle the blaze.

  • Earlier this week, the city was targeted by two naval drones, one which was destroyed by the Russian forces, while the other self-detonated in the outer harbor, with none of the facilities in Sevastopol suffering damage.

Located on the southwest coast of Crimea, which joined Russia following a referendum in 2014, the strategic port city is home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and has been targeted by drone strikes on numerous occasions since Moscow launched its military campaign in Ukraine last February.

  • Russian authorities have blamed the attacks on Ukraine, which considers Crimea to be an inalienable part of its territory that is “temporarily occupied” by Russia. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has repeatedly vowed to retake the peninsula by any means necessary.

Source: RT

Trump unveils fresh nickname for Biden

Former US President Donald Trump unveiled a new nickname for his chief Democratic rival during a campaign event in New Hampshire on Thursday, dubbing the incumbent “Crooked Joe” days after US President Joe Biden officially announced his reelection campaign.

Explaining he was relieving his 2016 Democratic nemesis Hillary Clinton of her “Crooked Hillary” moniker, Trump declared, “I’m going to retire the name ‘Crooked’ so that we can use the name for Joe Biden, because he’ll be known from now on as Crooked Joe Biden.”

  • “There’s never been anyone in the history of American politics so crooked or dishonest as Joe Biden,” the Republican presidential hopeful concluded.

The 2024 frontrunner joked that Clinton was “out there some place celebrating” having been relieved of the epithet he’d tagged her with seven years ago, teasing the audience that he’d rename his one-time enemy “Lovely Hillary, or Beautiful Hillary.”

Trump told the audience that a Biden rematch gave voters the chance to choose between “strength and weakness, success or failure, safety or anarchy, peace or conflict, and prosperity or catastrophe.”

  • “We are living in a catastrophe,” he lamented, denouncing his rival as a “threat to democracy” who “doesn’t have a clue” and vowing to “settle our unfinished business.”

Trump has never stopped claiming he won the 2020 election, dismissing the official totals as “rigged.”

While Trump lost New Hampshire in the 2016 and 2020 general elections, he won the state’s Republican presidential primary in 2016 and held that lead through the convention, shocking establishment favorites such as former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

While he remains the clear front-runner in the Republican field, leading his strongest challenger, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, by 32 points, DeSantis – or “DeSanctus” as Trump has nicknamed him – has not officially announced his candidacy yet. Trump dismissed the notion of debating his lesser rivals, including former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, suggesting it was beneath him.

The first former president ever to be indicted, Trump faces 34 felony counts in New York over his alleged payments of hush money to a porn star seven years ago.

The candidate and his supporters have denounced the charges as politically motivated persecution, and his campaign took in millions in first-time donations in the 48 hours following the indictment.

Source: RT

European state bans symbol of WW2 victory over Nazis

Those who wear St. George’s ribbons, a hallmark of WWII victory celebrations in Russia, will face fines in Moldova, the nation’s prime minister, Dorin Recean, warned on Thursday. His comments came following a controversial Moldovan Constitutional Court ruling on the issue.

“The decision of the Constitutional Court changes absolutely nothing compared to May 9, 2022,” Recean told journalists, referring to the annual Victory Day celebrations held on May 9 in Russia and most other former Soviet republics.

“These symbols are prohibited,” he added, referring to the orange and black St. George’s ribbon, as well as the letters ‘V’ and ‘Z’, which are now closely associated with the ongoing Russian military campaign in Ukraine.

The Moldovan parliament banned the symbols last April as promoting what it called “Russian aggression.” According to Recean, the nation’s Interior Ministry and the national police were “preparing all necessary regulations” to allow law enforcement to record “violations” of the law and punish those defying the rules.

Neither the exact measures nor the amounts those found in violation would have to pay have been announced yet. Recean’s comments came some two weeks after the Moldovan Constitutional Court ruled that it first must be established that the symbols in question were used for the purpose of justifying or glorifying “the actions of military aggression” before a person can be fined.

  • Some public figures, including members of the opposition Socialist Party, interpreted the court’s decision as lifting the ban on the ribbon of St. George and other symbols, the Moldovan media reported, adding that such an interpretation sparked confusion and prompted the authorities to intervene.
  • The court issued a clarification a day after publishing its decision, saying that it “did not ‘reinstate’ or ‘legalize’ the wearing of the orange-and-black ribbon and other symbols.” The judges ruled that “banning the use of these symbols is constitutional,” it added.

Under the law signed last year, an individual found in violation of the ban could face a fine of up to 9,000 lei ($2,009). An entity would have to pay up to 30,000 lei ($6,696) for the offense, while a public official would face a fine of up to 18,000 lei ($ 4,018). According to the Moldovan media, more than 300 people were fined for wearing the ribbon last year.

Moldova is a former Soviet republic of 2.6 million that is sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania.

The country has charted an increasingly pro-EU course since President Maia Sandu came to power in 2020.

  • In December 2022, she called for a probe into a concert that featured children singing Soviet songs from World War II, calling it a “threat to national security.”

Source: RT

Serbian president denies ill-health reports

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has denied suffering health problems, after reports claimed that he had been rushed to the hospital overnight.

“I am fine. I am going on a tour today starting at noon,” the Serbian leader told the local branch of the Russian news network Sputnik on Friday morning.

Vucic is scheduled to visit the city of Zajecar in eastern Serbia later in the day and then deliver a speech in the nearby Sokobanja municipality.

Some news outlets in Serbia claimed that the president had been admitted to hospital overnight for emergency treatment.

The rumor apparently started on social media and also claimed that Vucic had not been taken to a military medical facility where senior government officials are normally treated.

  • On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had to cut short a live interview after feeling ill. The episode sparked speculation that he was suffering from a heart condition.
  • The politician said he had a relatively minor infection and that doctors had advised him to stay at home for one day. He subsequently took part in the opening ceremony of Türkiye’s first nuclear power plant on Thursday via a video link.

Source: RT

Lightning strikes disrupt SpaceX launch plans

SpaceX has postponed the launch of its Falcon Heavy spacecraft after lightning struck the launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

  • The American aerospace manufacturer said it would conduct another attempt on Friday evening.
  • In a message posted on Twitter on Thursday, SpaceX announced that “due to unfavorable weather, the team is standing down from tonight’s Falcon Heavy launch of @ViasatInc’s ViaSat-3 Americas mission.”

Rain and strong winds were reported in eastern Florida during the day, with the US National Weather Service issuing a tornado warning.

Footage shared online showed multiple lightning bolts striking the launchpad and the surrounding area on Thursday.

  1. On board Falcon Heavy are several commercial satellites which it is expected to take into orbit.

The delay follows a failure last Thursday when SpaceX’s Starship exploded just minutes after liftoff.

The spacecraft failed to separate from the booster rocket and began to fall from the sky.

The flight termination system, which is essentially a self-destruct mechanism, “was commanded on both the booster and ship,” SpaceX later explained.

The launch had been put off earlier that week and was almost aborted during the countdown.

  • “With a test like this, success comes from what we learn, and today’s test will help us improve Starship’s reliability as SpaceX seeks to make life multi-planetary,” the company said in a statement.

Source: RT