An ongoing controversy over what constitutes virology research that is too dangerous to conduct—and whether the U.S government funded studies in China that violated a policy barring funding for such risky research—has taken a new turn. While denying once again it had helped create the virus that sparked the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) revealed in a letter sent yesterday to Republicans in Congress that experiments it funded through a U.S.-based nonprofit in 2018 and 2019 at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China had the “unexpected result” of creating a coronavirus that was more infectious in mice.
NIH says the organization holding the parent grant, the EcoHealth Alliance, failed to immediately report this result to the agency, as required. A newly released progress report on that grant also shows that EcoHealth and WIV conducted experiments changing the virus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which is raising additional questions.
NIH noted in its letter that when the agency reviewed the original EcoHealth grant proposal, it determined the proposed experiments—designed to determine whether certain bat coronaviruses might infect humans—did not meet its definition of so-called gain-of-function (GOF) experiments that can make pathogens more dangerous to humans.
Ishould not have been entirely surprised when I saw How to Read Donald Duck, a book I had written with the Belgian sociologist Armand Mattelart, being burned on TV by Chilean soldiers. It was mid-September 1973 and a military coup had just toppled Salvador Allende, the country’s president, terminating his remarkable experiment of building socialism through peaceful means.
I was in a safe house when I witnessed my book – along with hundreds of other subversive volumes – being consigned to the inquisitorial pyre. One of the reasons I had gone into hiding, besides my fervent participation in the revolutionary government that had just been overthrown, was the hatred the Donald Duck book had elicited among the new authorities of Chile and their rightwing civilian accomplices.
We had received death threats, an irate woman had tried to run me over and neighbours – accompanied by their children – had stoned the house where my wife, Angélica, and I lived in Santiago, shouting: “Long live Donald Duck!” It was later discovered that the 5,000 copies of the third printing of the book had been taken from a warehouse by the Chilean navy and cast into the bay of Valparaíso.
Policymakers in several states are looking to shore up the security of the electrical grid after a series of attacks at substations in recent months exposed vulnerabilities and knocked out power for thousands.
Over the last year, at least four states have reported deliberate attacks against electrical transmission facilities. The most significant outage occurred in early December, when a peak of over 45,000 utility customers in Moore County, North Carolina, were left without power after two substations were attacked with gunfire.
The group NorthAmericaRecovers.org — an umbrella organization consisting of 21 groups including Mothers Against Drug Addiction and Deaths — unveiled mobile digital ads in DC Monday with a photo of a mother of a homeless fentanyl addict saying, “Please Help My Son Escape Addiction the Way You Helped Hunter.”
The group said other cities such as Philadelphia are seeking federal waivers from federal prohibition to operate sanctioned drug use sites.
The ads are aimed at persuading Biden and his Justice Department to reject “supervised drug consumption sites,” where taxpayer-funded healthcare workers assist anyone over 18 to inject or smoke fentanyl and other hard drugs. The goal of the consumption sites is to prevent drug overdose deaths.
The city of Atlanta is facing a firestorm of criticism after a peaceful protest turned into a night of chaos and destruction in the wake of the death of 26-year-old environmental activist Manuel Esteban Paez Teran at the hands of police.
The protest began peacefully on Saturday with protesters carrying signs with the activist’s nickname, Tortuguita (“little turtle” in Spanish), and using they/it pronouns. However, as the night progressed, things quickly devolved into a scene of destruction as rioters set off fireworks, threw rocks at the Atlanta Police Foundation, and set a police car on fire.
“Atlanta is safe, and our police officers have resolved the disruptions downtown from earlier in the evening,” City of Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said Saturday evening. “The City of Atlanta and the Atlanta Police Department will continue to protect the right to peaceful protest. We will not tolerate violence or property destruction.”
Pentagon can’t account for $220 billion in gov’t property, fails fifth audit | 18 Jan 2023 | A Tuesday report by the Government Accountability Office revealed that the Department of Defense failed its fifth audit in a row after it could not account for at least 220 billion in government-furnished property, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported. The DOD has been mandated by federal law to complete audits since 1994; however, the mandate was ignored for decades due to the agency’s massive size, according to Military dot com. Since launching its first independent audit, in 2017 the Pentagon has never passed. The Pentagon failed its fifth audit in November after the agency could not prove expenditures for 61% of its 3.5 trillion in assets. To perform this year’s overall audit of the DOD, which was expected to cost 218 million, the agency aggregated 27 separate audits conducted by approximately 1,600 auditors. According to Military.com, the auditors performed 220 in-person site visits and 750 virtual site visits. https://www.theblaze.com/news/pentagon-can-t-account-for-220-billion-in-gov-t-property-fails-fifth-audit
Remember: on 9/11 whatever hit the Pentagon wiped out the documents and experts reviewing them looking for the missing $trillion. That was 22 years ago.
New York Times reports that the Biden administration now believes Kyiv may need to launch an offensive on the territory that Moscow has considered a part of the Russian Federation since 2014, "even if such a move increases the risk of escalation."
Citing unnamed US officials, The New York Times says "the Biden administration does not think that Ukraine can take Crimea militarily," but that "Russia needs to believe that Crimea is at risk, in part to strengthen Ukraine’s position in any future negotiations."
It's hard to imagine a full-scale assault on geostrategically crucial territory long considered a part of the Russian homeland not causing a major escalation. And as Antiwar's Dave DeCamp notes, smaller attacks on Crimea have indeed seen significant escalations from Moscow, contrary to claims laid out in the NYT article:
The New York Times report quoted Dara Massicot, a researcher from the RAND Corporation, who claimed that “Crimea has already been hit many times without a massive escalation from the Kremlin.” But Massicot’s claim is false as Russia began launching missile strikes on vital Ukrainian infrastructure in response to the October truck bombing of the Crimean Bridge.
The United Kingdom is presently calm, cloudy, and cold, leaving the burning of natural gas picking up the slack for becalmed ‘renewable’ generation, and even coal-fired power plants saved from being decommissioned this winter ordered back online to keep the lights on.
Three coal-fired power plants, two at Drax in Yorkshire and one at West Burton in Lincolnshire, were ordered to make themselves ready for use in the early hours of Sunday morning as a cold snap — predictable for winter, perhaps — combined with short cloudy days and very little wind sees solar and turbines producing little energy.
The National Grid made the announcement at gone four o’clock Sunday morning, saying warming up three “winter contingency coal units”, as they call them, “should give the public confidence in Monday’s energy supply”, strongly implying the Grid predicted possible shortages to come tomorrow had that extra capacity not be there to call upon.
On November 30, the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), an elite military think tank, and lobby group, with deep ties to the UK government, published a landmark report entitled 'Preliminary Lessons in Conventional Warfighting from Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine: February–July 2022'. While desperate to portray the operation as a failure, even the normally Russophobic RUSI can’t ignore Moscow’s total cyberwarfare dominance over Kiev.
Buried in the document is a long section on the electronic warfare aspect of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. It found that within weeks of February 24, Moscow’s forces quickly established total dominance in this sphere by deploying extensive jamming infrastructure. Once achieved, Kiev’s most sophisticated cyber systems were not only totally confused, but absolutely crippled.
Ukrainian forces are storing Western-supplied missiles and artillery shells in nuclear power plants, Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Director Sergey Naryshkin said on Monday. He claimed that Kiev has been using the plants as cover for ammunition stockpiles.
“There is credible information that Ukrainian troops are stockpiling the Western-supplied weapons and ammunition on the territory of nuclear power plants,” Naryshkin said, according to a statement on the intelligence service’s website. He added that the armaments include rockets for US-made HIMARS launchers and missiles used by foreign air defense systems, as well as “large-caliber artillery shells.”
March 20, 1945. With Berlin in critical danger, the Führer chooses General Gotthard Heinrici to replace Heinrich Himmler as chief of Army Group Vistula. Heinrici’s mission is to defend Berlin, which is now coming within striking distance of Red Army artillery fire, and to kick-start Zhukov’s retreat right back to Bakhmut, Moscow and Crimea, so as to give Hitler time to bring his wunderwaffe, his wonder weapons, into the fray.
Though Heinrici knows that these jet aircraft, together with the V1, V2 and V3 systems are too little and much too late, as a Prussian officer, he will do as commanded and try to forestall, for however long he can, Zhukov’s 1,500,000 troops with his 100,000,000 strong scratch army at the Seelow Heights. Heinrici, the Reich’s greatest defense tactician, has no illusions as to how either this battle or this war will end.
Late January, 2023. With the Ukrainian rump Reich in critical danger, Kiev’s comedy king orders his remaining troops to go on the offensive and kick Gerasimov out of Bakhmut and right back to Moscow and Crimea. Zelensky’s NATO buddies declare that wonder weapons are on the way, Bradley personnel carriers and advanced air defense systems that Zelensky’s child conscripts haven’t a clue how to operate or maintain.
Afghanistan is witnessing its coldest winter in 15 years, adding to the misery of millions who are already struggling with multiple crises.
Omar khan, a Kabul resident and a father of seven, lives in a cold shack. Two of his children are severely sick. Without a job and relief assistance, he has been unable to afford food, heating and medication for his family. The situation has triggered fears of human losses.
Meanwhile, the United Nations has put Afghanistan on its list of 11 crisis hotspots in 2023. The UN survey shows that two thirds of Afghanistan’s population – over 28 million people – need humanitarian aid.
Heads of households like Shah Gul say they can’t cope with the harsh winter alone.
British unions have warned that the UK steel industry, which supports around 35,000 jobs, is "a whisker away” from collapse as the country grapples with its biggest strike wave in decades amid global energy crisis.
The warning was made in a letter on Sunday to the British government from Unite, Community and GMB unions, which accused Business Secretary Grant Shapps of taking "little meaningful action" to aid the sector amid spiraling energy costs.
Unite's assistant general secretary Steve Turner wrote that the government’s inaction leaves the sector "at breaking point" and "a whisker away from collapse.”
Turner said the steel industry's current predicament was driven by "crippling energy costs, carbon taxes, lost markets, lower demand, and open market access for imported steel," among other issues.
"Endless sticking plaster solutions from the Conservatives have left our UK steel sector on the brink,” he added. "Instead of finding a long-term solution, successive Conservative governments have lurched from crisis and bailouts with no plan to keep UK steel internationally competitive or deliver a return on taxpayers investment."
The signing ceremony for Operational Memorandum of Understanding of the NATO-accredited Space Centre of Excellence recently took place at the French Ministry of Defence in Paris, France. This event is both the commencement of the NATO Space Centre of Excellence’s journey and the culmination of a joint effort led by 15 sponsoring nations, NATO representatives, and the French Establishment Team. The birth of this new actor in NATO’s wider framework is an essential milestone in the approach of NATO and the sponsoring nations to Space.
The Operational Memorandum of Understanding…will precede the signing of the Functional Memorandum of Understanding between the nations and NATO’s Allied Command Transformation, officially setting the Centre of Excellence as a NATO-accredited centre and full member of the NATO Centres of Excellence community.
British anti-monarchists say they have planned a protest for the day of King Charles' coronation, which is expected to take place amid much pomp and circumstance as the public continue to struggle with high inflation and an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis.
Campaign group Republic, which is a British republican group advocating the replacement of the United Kingdom's monarchy with a parliamentary republic, made the announcement on Sunday.
The group said it had notified London's police about its plans for a peaceful demonstration at Parliament Square, which is overlooked by Westminster Abbey where Charles III is to be crowned in May.
"The coronation is a celebration of hereditary power and privilege, it has no place in a modern society," said Republic's Chief Executive Graham Smith.
The USA will support the transfer of F-16 fighter jets by allies to Ukraine - the American ambassador to the OSCE. Michael Carpenter, confirmed today.
Washington will agree with the idea of partners to transfer F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.
Answering the question whether the administration of US President Joe Biden is ready to allow the Netherlands to supply Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets, the ambassador said: “We have long been of the opinion that what our allies supply is their business. And we support the countless contributions (to defense) that our allies have made for Ukraine.
This has been true from the very beginning of the war, when we discussed legacy Soviet systems, to the present period, when we discuss main battle tanks and more sophisticated air and missile defense capabilities and systems. And so I expect there will be broad support in the United States for our allies to continue to increase their contributions,” Carpenter said.
Reports are now coming in claiming Germany will ignore the Potsdam Agreement that ended World War 2, and allow German Leopard-2 Tanks to be transferred to Ukraine to fight Russia.
German Minister: Germany Won't Object To Poland Giving Ukraine Leopard Tanks: Russians Whine
Ukraine’s supporters pledged billions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine during a meeting at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Friday, though the new commitments were overshadowed by a failure to agree on Ukraine’s urgent request for German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks.
The issue appeared to move close to a resolution late Sunday when Germany’s top diplomat said her country would not object if Poland decided to send some of its Leopards to Ukraine.
The strategic plan of the United States against Russia was elaborated three years ago by the Rand Corporation (the manifesto, Rand Corp: how to bring down Russia, May 21, 2019). The Rand Corporation, headquartered in Washington, DC, is “a global research organization developing solutions to policy challenges”: it has an army of 1,800 researchers and other specialists recruited from 50 countries, speaking 75 languages, spread across offices and other locations in North America, Europe, Australia, and the Persian Gulf. Rand’s U.S. personnel live and work in more than 25 countries.
The Rand Corporation, which describes itself as a “nonprofit, nonpartisan organization,” is officially funded by the Pentagon, the U.S. Army and Air Force, national security agencies (CIA and others), agencies in other countries, and powerful non-governmental organizations.
The Rand Corp. prides itself on having helped devise the strategy that enabled the United States to emerge victorious from the Cold War, forcing the Soviet Union to consume its resources in a grueling military confrontation. This model has inspired the new plan elaborated in 2019: “Overextending and Unbalancing Russia”, i.e. forcing the adversary to overextend itself in order to unbalance and knock it down.
These are the main lines of attack outlined in the Rand plan, on which the United States has actually moved in recent years.
First of all – the plan establishes – Russia must be attacked on the most vulnerable side, that of its economy strongly dependent on gas and oil exports: for this purpose commercial and financial sanctions must be used and, at the same time, Europe must be made to decrease the importation of Russian natural gas, replacing it with US liquefied natural gas.
In the ideological and informational field, it is necessary to encourage internal protests and at the same time undermine the image of Russia outside.
In the military field, it is necessary to operate so that European NATO countries increase their forces in an anti-Russian function. The US can have high probability of success and high benefits with moderate risks by investing more in strategic bombers and long-range attack missiles directed against Russia. Deploying new intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe aimed at Russia assures them a high probability of success, but also carries high risks.
In January 2023, all masks were thrown off. The Euro-Atlantic elites, motivated after their meetings in Davos, realized that there was no more need to cover their true intentions with hypocritical appeals to “save the young Ukrainian democracy for the sake of world peace.” More and more representatives of the so-called “golden billion” from the West recognize the real goals of the bellicose policy that they have been waging against Russia for decades, namely, the destruction of the integrity of the Russian Federation as a state and the deprivation of the Russian people of statehood in order to gain control over huge resources that “for some historical injustice belong to the Russian barbarians.” The fate of the state of Ukraine and the lives of its population are of little interest to them, because in case of victory, its fertile territory will become a pleasant bonus.
Euro-Atlantic elites have unleashed and are waging an aggressive war against the Russian Federation in their personal interests. Moreover, the ongoing development of the military conflict, the lack of political will of the West to resolve it and the strengthening of bellicose rhetoric with the recognition of the true goals of the war indicate that these elites are ready to escalate the conflict up to the third world war, and even the nuclear threat will not stop them.