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In fulfillment of his solemn, constitutionally-enshrined obligation, the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush, on January 28, 2003, stood before the rostrum in the chambers of the United States Congress and addressed the American people.

“Mr. Speaker,” the President began, “Vice President Cheney, members of Congress, distinguished citizens and fellow citizens, every year, by law and by custom, we meet here to consider the state of the union. This year,” he intoned gravely, “we gather in this chamber deeply aware of decisive days that lie ahead.” The “decisive days” Bush spoke of dealt with the decision he had already made to invade Iraq, in violation of international law, for the purpose of removing the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, from power.

Regime change had been the cornerstone policy of the United States toward Iraq ever since Bush 43’s father, Bush 41 (George H. W. Bush) compared Saddam Hussein to Adolf Hitler and demanded Nuremberg-like justice for the crime of invading Kuwait. “Hitler revisited,” the elder Bush told a crowd at a Republican fundraiser in Dallas, Texas. “But remember: When Hitler’s war ended, there were the Nuremberg trials.”

American politicians, especially presidents seeking to take their country into war, cannot simply walk away from such statements. As such, even after driving the Iraqi Army out of Kuwait in February 1991, Bush could not rest so long as Saddam Hussein remained in power–the Middle East equivalent of Adolf Hitler had to go.

The Bush 41 administration put in place UN-backed sanctions on Iraq designed to strangle the nation’s economy and promote regime change from within. These sanctions were linked to Iraq’s obligation to be disarmed of its weapons of mass destruction capabilities, including long-range missiles and chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs. Until Iraq was certified as being disarmed by UN weapons inspectors, the sanctions would remain in place. But as Bush’s Secretary of State, James Baker, made clear, these sanctions would never be lifted until Saddam Hussein was removed from power. “We are not interested,” Baker said on May 20, 1991, “in seeing a relaxation of sanctions as long as Saddam Hussein is in power.”

Despite the sanctions, Saddam Hussein outlasted the administration of Bush 41. Bush’s successor, Bill Clinton, continued the policy of sanctioning Iraq, combining them with UN weapons inspections to undermine Saddam Hussein. In June 1996, the Clinton administration used the UN weapons inspections process as a front to mount a coup against Saddam. The effort failed, but not the policy. In 1998, Clinton signed the Iraqi Liberation Act, making regime change in Iraq an official policy of the United States.

Saddam outlasted the Clinton administration as well. But, when it came to implementing US regime change plans in Iraq, the third time proved to be the charm–Saddam’s fate was sealed when Bush 41’s son, George W. Bush, was elected president in 2001. While Clinton had failed to remove Saddam Hussein from power, he did succeed in killing the UN inspection effort to oversee the disarmament of Iraq, allowing the US to continue to claim Iraq was not complying with its obligation to disarm, and therefore justify the continuation of economic sanctions.

This is where the issue becomes personal. From 1991 until 1998, I served as one of the senior UN weapons inspectors in Iraq, overseeing Iraq’s disarmament. It was my inspection team that the CIA tried to use, in June 1996, to help launch a coup against Saddam, and it was the continued interference of the US in the work of my inspections teams that prompted my resignation from the UN in August 1998. A few months after I departed, the Clinton administration ordered UN weapons inspectors out of Iraq before initiating a bombing campaign, Operation Desert Fox.

“Most of the targets bombed during Operation Desert Fox had nothing to do with weapons manufacturing,” I wrote in my book, Frontier Justice, published in 2003. “Ninety-seven ‘strategic’ targets were struck during the seventy-two hour campaign; eighty-six were solely related to the security of Saddam Hussein–palaces, military barracks, security installations, intelligence schools, and headquarters. Without exception, every one of these sites had been subjected to UNSCOM inspectors (most of these inspections had been led by me), and their activities were well-known and certified as not being related to UNSCOM.”

I concluded by noting that “The purpose of Operation Desert Fox was clear to all familiar with these sites: Saddam Hussein, not Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, was the target.” Following these air strikes, the Iraqis kicked the UN inspectors out for good.

This, of course, was the goal of the US all along. Now, with a new administration in power, the US was seeking to use the uncertainty about the status of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs as leverage with the American people, and the world, in order to justify an invasion of Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power once and for all. By the fall of 2002, it was clear we were a nation heading for war.

I took this personally and decided to take action to prevent it. I went to Congress and tried to get the Senate Intelligence and Foreign Relations Committees to hold genuine hearings about Iraq. They refused. The only way to prevent the invasion was to get the inspectors back in to Iraq so they could demonstrate that the country was not a threat worthy of war, but the Iraqis were putting up so many preconditions that it just wasn’t going to happen.

I then decided to intervene as a private citizen. I met with Tariq Aziz, Saddam’s advisor and former Foreign Minister, in South Africa, and told him I needed to speak to Iraq’s National Assembly publicly, without my words being edited or vetted. That was the only way to have them let the inspectors back in. At first, Aziz said I was crazy. After two days of discussion, he agreed.

I spoke to the Iraqi National Assembly. For that alone, people have accused me of treason, even though in that speech, I cut the Iraqis no slack and held them accountable for the crimes they had committed. I warned them that they were about to be invaded and that their only option was to let the inspectors back in.

Having broadcast that, the Iraqi government had to deal with me. I met with the vice president, the foreign minister, the oil minister, and the president’s science advisor. Five days later, they convinced Saddam Hussein to let weapons inspectors back into Iraq without preconditions. I count this as one of the highlights of my life.

Unfortunately, it was not to be. Yes, UN inspectors returned, but their work was undermined at every turn by the US, which sought to discredit their findings. Now, on that fateful evening on January 28, 2003, the President stepped forward to complete the mission–to make a case for war on the basis of the threat posed by Iraq and its unaccounted-for WMD.

This was not a new debate. In fact, I had been trying to debunk this sort of argument ever since the US ordered UN weapons inspectors out of Iraq in December 1998. In June 2000, at the behest of Senator John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, and a critical member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I had put my case down in writing, publishing a long article in Arms Control Today which was then distributed to every member of Congress. In 2001, I had made a documentary film, In Shifting Sands, in an effort to reach out to the American public about the truth regarding Iraqi WMD, the status of their disarmament, and the inadequacy of the US case for war.

Nonetheless, here was the President of the United States, taking advantage of his Constitutional obligation to inform Congress, promulgating a case for war built on a foundation of lies.

“Almost three months ago,” Bush declared, “the United Nations Security Council gave Saddam Hussein his final chance to disarm [note: this is after I helped convince Iraq to allow UN weapons inspectors to return without precondition]. He has shown instead utter contempt for the United Nations and for the opinion of the world.” Bush observed that Iraq had failed to cooperate with UN weapons inspectors, noting that “it was up to Iraq to show exactly where it is hiding its banned weapons, lay those weapons out for the world to see and destroy them as directed. Nothing like this has happened.”

Iraq had declared that it had no WMD left, and as such was in no position to show anyone where it was hiding non-existent weapons. In fact, the UN weapons inspectors, working in full cooperation with the Iraqi government, had debunked the intelligence provided by the US alleging Iraqi non-compliance. The US was operating on principles dating back to James Baker’s May 1991 declaration that sanctions would not be lifted until Saddam Hussein was removed from power.

The President went on to articulate specific claims about unaccounted-for anthrax and botulinum toxin biological agents. He made similar claims about Sarin, mustard and VX chemical weapons. “The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon and was working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb,” the President said.

This was true – I was one of the inspectors at the center of tracking down Iraq’s nuclear weapons ambition. But then the President went on to utter 16 words that would go down in infamy: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

CIA Director George Tenet was later compelled to admit before Congress that “[t]hese 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the president.” As Tenet later noted, while the assertion regarding the existence of British intelligence was correct, the CIA itself did not have confidence in the report. “This [the existence of British intelligence] did not rise to the level of certainty which should be required for presidential speeches,” Tenet said, “and the CIA should have ensured that it was removed.”

RT

The fact of the matter is that the entire case made by President Bush about Iraq was a lie, and the CIA was complicit in helping the President promulgate that lie. The sole purpose of this lie was to engender fear among Congress and the American people that Iraq, and especially its leader, Saddam Hussein, was a threat worthy of war.

“Year after year,” Bush intoned, “Saddam Hussein has gone to elaborate lengths, spent enormous sums, taken great risks to build and keep weapons of mass destruction. But why? The only possible explanation,” Bush said, answering his own question, “the only possible use he could have for those weapons, is to dominate, intimidate or attack.”

With nuclear arms or a full arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, Saddam Hussein could resume his ambitions of conquest in the Middle East and create deadly havoc in that region.

And this Congress and the American people must recognize another threat. Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of Al Qaeda. Secretly, and without fingerprints, he could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own.

Before September the 11th, many in the world believed that Saddam Hussein could be contained. But chemical agents, lethal viruses and shadowy terrorist networks are not easily contained.

Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons and other plans, this time armed by Saddam Hussein. It would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known.

We will do everything in our power, to make sure that that day never comes.”

The President then got down to the crux of his presentation on Iraq. “The United States will ask the UN Security Council to convene on February the 5th [2003] to consider the facts of Iraq’s ongoing defiance of the world. Secretary of State [Colin] Powell will present information and intelligence about Iraq’s illegal weapons programs, its attempts to hide those weapons from inspectors and its links to terrorist groups.”

The President stared into the camera, addressing the American people directly. “We will consult,” he said, “but let there be no misunderstanding: If Saddam Hussein does not fully disarm for the safety of our people, and for the peace of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him.”

I stared back at the television screen, sick to my stomach. The President’s speech was composed of lies. All lies.

I had expended every ounce of my energy trying in vain to debunk these lies, but to no avail. My country was on the verge of going to war on the basis of words I knew to be false, and there was nothing more I could do to prevent it.

Source: rt.com

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Interference in other countries' affairs via private contractors has long been a staple of US influence operations. Now, Washington is trying to accuse Russia of doing the same, and it's suddenly a bad thing.

First off the mark doesn’t always win the race. Does anyone remember when BlackBerry mobile devices were everywhere and barely anyone had heard of an iPhone, for example? Well, the US created the BlackBerry of private military/security contractors – Blackwater – after decades of outsourcing military and intelligence operations through various front companies. And now they’re so preoccupied with the new iPhone equivalent – Russia’s Wagner Group – that Washington is tracking its activities (including unconfirmed ops) in Ukraine, Syria, across Africa, and Serbia, according to cables obtained by POLITICO

“The US government is concerned about the extent to which Wagner is interfering in sovereign countries’ internal politics, violating human rights, and robbing them of their mineral wealth,” according to a “senior administration official” cited in the report. Leaving aside Washington’s newfound concern for developing countries’ sovereignty over their mineral wealth when that’s often the main underlying reason why they’re typically targeted by the US for some freedom and democracy through firepower in the first place, it’s hard to ignore that the presence of the Wagner Group seems to be concentrated in locations already known for being targeted by clandestine US and allied activities. 

Last year, for example, Mali chose the Wagner Group for a new partnership after kicking out French forces whose efforts to secure the country were so spectacular that there were two coups d’etat in as many years. Wagner Group’s possible presence in Serbia is now being widely discussed. The PMC has allegedly established itself in a “cultural centerin Belgrade, but these claims, initially sourced from a Telegram post, have been denied both by Wagner head Evgeny Prigozhin and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who also recently criticized Serbian-language Wagner recruitment ads that appeared on social media.

If these claims do turn out to be true down the line, it sounds like Serbia was looking for some hired help to prevent the country from becoming a flophouse for Western-backed regime-change chancers targeting Moscow and its top ally, Belgrade. And the presence of Western private military contractors in Ukraine has been well-established, with job offers reportedly popping up right from the outset of the conflict. “Wanted: multilingual former soldiers willing to covertly head into Ukraine for the handsome sum of up to $2,000 per day – plus bonus – to help rescue families from an increasingly grim conflict,” read one. Beyond this covert security role, one would have to be pretty naive to think that, under the cover of the fog of war, a little mission creep towards kinetic operations isn’t tempting. 

It was the US government that created the blueprint for modern day defense contracting when a certain Erik Prince – a son of the car vanity mirror inventor, Edgar Prince, one of the Republican Party’s top donors at the time and a pal of former US defense secretary (and later vice president) Dick Cheney – created Blackwater, which went on to obtain lucrative no-bid security contracts for the US government in Iraq and Afghanistan during Washington’s global war on terrorism. The company started to resemble a retirement home for officials and executives from the CIA and the Pentagon, who conveniently slid over to Blackwater to enjoy a lucrative payday. And despite the company developing a cowboy reputation from incidents like when Blackwater personnel opened fire and killed 14 civilians in Iraq’s Nisour Square in 2007, the US private security model has thrived under subsequent US administrations. 

Blackwater brought to light the kind of covert operations that had long been outsourced by Washington for reasons of plausible deniability. The firm itself “created a web of more than 30 shell companies or subsidiaries in part to obtain millions of dollars in American government contracts after the security company came under intense criticism for reckless conduct in Iraq,” according to the New York Times. The company worked for foreign governments like Jordan to trainhelicopter pilots with US government funding, trained Canadian special forces for two years, and worked directly with the CIA in what the New York Times has described as a “secret program to track and assassinate senior Al-Qaeda figures.”  So despite its rather benign-seeming official US government contracts for the protection of American personnel in conflict zones, it nonetheless served as a direct extension of Washington’s defense, intelligence, and foreign policy interests in the same way as others also funded by the CIA through aid programs.  

In one such program, dating back to 2010, private contractors were hired with USAID money to execute influence operations in Cuba through the creation of a Twitter-like social media network called ZunZuneo. The idea was to reel in unsuspecting Cubans through “non-controversial content,” only to ultimately usher the mob towards civil unrest.  

At the height of the Cold War, the CIA fundedjournalist and feminist activist Gloria Steinem’s work under the “Independent Research Service,” a front group that organizedinternational youth festivals with the objective of influencing youth from around the world presenting a more attractive alternative to Soviet revolutionism.  

Air America infamously provided a covert front for the CIA and Pentagon to provide critical support for US military and intelligence operations in theaters across the world, ranging from the war in Vietnam to the botched Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, before being disbanded in 1974

These examples that have made it out into the public domain are just the tip of the iceberg.

The real problem with the Wagner Group for the US and its allies is that it competes with Western counterparts and could serve to protect the interests of clients that depart from the Western agenda. If the US government has a problem with that now, they might do well to remember that they were the ones who set that particular ball rolling in the first place.

Source:rt.com

Added a post 

In a groundbreaking ruling, the New York State Supreme Court on Jan. 13 struck down the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, declaring it “null, void, and of no effect” and holding that the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) lacked the authority to impose the mandate.

Moreover, the court ruled that the state’s mandate was “arbitrary and capricious” on the basis that COVID-19 vaccines do not stop transmission of the virus, thereby eliminating any rational basis for such a policy.

The lawsuit challenging the mandate was filed Oct. 20, 2022, by Medical Professionals for Informed Consent — a group of medical practitioners impacted by the mandate — and additional plaintiffs who were specifically named, including two doctors, a nurse, a radiologic technologist and a medical laboratory specialist.

Defendants named in the lawsuit included the NYSDOH, New York Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul and Mary T. Bassett, the state’s health commissioner.

The lawsuit alleged the plaintiffs had lost — or were at imminent risk of losing — their jobs, and that several of them had religious objections to receiving the vaccine, but the mandate did not recognize those exemptions.

Judge Gerard Neri of the New York State Supreme Court in Onondaga County heard oral arguments in the case on Jan. 5 in Syracuse, New York.

Children’s Health Defense (CHD) financed the lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiffs. In a press release issued after the ruling, lead attorney Sujata Gibson stated:

“This is a huge win for New York healthcare workers, who have been deprived of their livelihoods for more than a year.

“This is also a huge win for all New Yorkers, who are facing dangerous and unprecedented healthcare worker shortages throughout New York State.”

In the same press release, Mary Holland, president and general counsel of CHD, said:

“We are thrilled by this critical win against a COVID vaccine mandate, correctly finding that any such mandate at this stage, given current knowledge, is arbitrary.

“We hope that this decision will continue the trend towards lifting these dangerous and unwarranted vaccine mandates throughout the country.”

Holland told The Defender:

“I think there was never a time when an experimental, under the Nuremberg Codeand under state and federal law, mandate should have been permissible.

“And so, I’m really glad that Judge Neri really socked it to the NYSDOH and said not only do they not have the competence, but what they’re talking about is just Orwellian, it’s completely arbitrary and capricious.”

Ruling doesn’t restore health workers’ jobs, but could influence mandate decisions nationwide

Gibson noted that while the decision represents a significant victory against the vaccine mandates, it does not, on its own, restore the positions of healthcare workers who lost their jobs as a result of the mandate — but they can now reapply for those positions.

“Individuals will have to reapply to their old jobs or new jobs at other facilities,” said Gibson. “What this decision does do, however, is take away the barrier of the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.”

She added:

“The damage done to New York’s healthcare workers and to all New York residents is irreparable. Thousands of people lost their jobs. Countless had to cash out their retirement accounts to feed their families, many lost their homes. Far too many left the state. Meanwhile, thousands of patients were deprived of critical care due to the staffing shortages this mandate caused.

“This lawsuit doesn’t fix those serious harms, but it does allow healthcare workers to go back to work without compromising their religious beliefs, and it does mean that we have protection from similar unauthorized administrative overreach next time.”

Moreover, the ruling may impact other similar cases nationwide, according to Gibson:

“The judge struck down the mandate for two reasons. The first basis, that the NYSDOH lacks authority to issue any vaccine mandates under the state constitution and state public health law, is precedential mostly in New York State.

“The second basis, however, is applicable nationwide. That is, that it is irrational, arbitrary and capricious to mandate a vaccine that cannot stop people from getting infected and spreading COVID-19.”

In an interview today on “Good Morning CHD,” Gibson said the ruling shows that the “tide is turning.” She reiterated that there is “no credible basis to say that mandates are legally justified. No credible basis to argue that they can meaningfully stop the spread of COVID … if they can’t stop the spread of COVID, then it’s just arbitrary and irrational.”

Gibson also told The Defender the state said it is “exploring its options” following the ruling. She said she can’t predict what the state will do, but it would be a poor decision to file an appeal:

“It would be highly irresponsible to try to drag this out. We are in the middle of an unprecedented staffing crisis in New York’s healthcare facilities.

“Meanwhile, we have thousands of doctors, nurses and other experienced and dedicated healthcare workers ready and willing to come back to work without this senseless mandate.”

Holland agreed. “They really don’t have good grounds,” she said, as four sections of state law hold that only the legislature can enact vaccine mandates. With “a big freshman class of legislators,” state lawmakers “would be asking for trouble” if they attempted to introduce such mandates.

Holland noted that the ruling came just as a three-day strike by thousands of nurses at two New York City hospitals ended Jan. 12. One of their demands was more staffing.

Gov. Hochul greeted nurses returning to work before dawn that morning. It would be difficult for her to justify an appeal after she supported the striking nurses, Holland said.

Lawsuit questioned mandate’s legality, referenced healthcare worker shortage

The lawsuit questioned several aspects of the legality of New York’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers and illustrated the harm caused by the mandate in the context of an ongoing shortage of healthcare workers in the state.

The plaintiffs argued, “There is no rational basis for the Mandate when Respondent DOH acknowledges the mandated vaccine fails to accomplish its stated goal, i.e., prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

The lawsuit also pointed out that the governor’s emergency powers were rescinded on June 24, 2021, but the state’s health commissioner, on June 22, 2022, nevertheless made the mandate a permanent regulation, in violation of sections 206, 613, 2164 and 2165of New York’s Public Health Law.

Section 206 states that the state’s health commissioner may:

“(l) establish and operate such adult and child immunization programs are as necessary to prevent or minimize the spread of disease and to protect the public health. …

“Nothing in this paragraph shall authorize mandatory immunization of adults or children [except in limited circumstances outlined in sections 2164 and 2165].”

The plaintiffs argued that by enacting the mandate, the NYSDOH violated the separation of power doctrine, by usurping the authority of the New York State Assembly.

Moreover, by accommodating only medical exemptions but not religious exemptions, the mandate violated the state’s Human Rights Law, the lawsuit claimed.

The lawsuit also referenced the acute healthcare worker shortage in New York, stating:

“Because of the Mandate, thousands of healthcare professionals, including Petitioners, are unable to work in their field anywhere in New York State.

“The decision to take thousands of frontline workers out of the field at a time when there was already a labor shortage in the healthcare field has caused tremendous public outcry, even among very pro-vaccine leaders in the healthcare industry.”

According to the lawsuit, Gov. Hochul recognized the mandate was exacerbating the healthcare worker shortage:

“Governor Hochul admitted that her Mandate was causing a crisis, preemptively declaring a ‘state of emergency’ (and with that invoking emergency powers) the night before it took effect due to the healthcare worker shortage that she and the other Respondents caused.

“Despite calling in the National Guard, the crisis has only deepened since last year, and the Governor has continuously renewed these ‘state of emergency’ declarations on the grounds that the state faces a staffing crisis in healthcare.”

The lawsuit referenced news articles from as early as September 2021, wherein even pro-vaccine healthcare executives went on record questioning the mandate in light of the ongoing healthcare worker shortage.

Tom Quatroche, president of the Erie County Medical Center, on Sept. 24, 2021, told The New York Times the mandate had caused an “unprecedented crisis” and that even though “for all the right reasons, the vaccine mandate was put in place … the reality is it is creating a public health crisis in hospitals, with nobody to care for our patients.”

The lawsuit cited the state’s Syracuse region, where the healthcare worker shortageresulted in a 20% decline in available hospital beds, leading in some cases to patients being sent to hospitals hundreds of miles away.

In the midst of the mandate, a similar percentage (17%) of doctor and registered nurse positions throughout upstate New York were vacant, according to September 2022 statistics from the Iroquois Healthcare Association.

One Sept. 10, 2021, news story referenced in the lawsuit reported that some hospitals stopped delivering babies as maternity workers resigned due to the vaccine mandate.

In letters sent to Gov. Hochul and other state officials in late 2021 and early 2022, state lawmakers raised concerns about the usurpation of the State Assembly’s authority and the contribution of the vaccine mandate to the healthcare worker shortage.

The court generally agreed with the plaintiffs’ arguments, finding the defendants “acted outside of their legislative grant of authority” and “are clearly prohibited from mandating any vaccination outside of those specifically authorized by the Legislature.”

As a result, wrote the court, “The Mandate … is beyond the scope of Respondents’ authority and is therefore null, void, and of no effect, and Respondents, their agents, officers, and employees are prohibited from implementing or enforcing the Mandate.”

Significantly, the court noted the mandate did not draw upon “special expertise in the field,” finding that “it is clear such expertise was not utilized as the COVID-19 shots do not prevent transmission,” while the term “fully vaccinated” within the mandate, was “defined at the whim” of the state and was therefore “arbitrary and capricious.”

Source: the defender children health defense news and views 

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Unfounded accusations that Iraq might be developing weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) became the main pretext for the invasion which started on March 20. Less than a year later, Washington admitted that it had been a false threat, but there was no turning back — Hussein was deposed and then executed. And the US occupied Iraq, plunging the country into chaos it is still struggling to overcome to this day.

So, whats the difference?”

– was how Bush reacted in December of 2003 to a remark that pointed out that WMDs had not been found in Iraq.

According to Pentagon data from 2019, total losses of American servicemen during the entire Iraqi war amounted to 4,487 people. While the exact number of civilian deaths is incalculable, it is definitely measured in the hundreds of thousands.

This war has dealt a huge reputational blow to the United States. All their opponents now use this as an example of how its possible to bypass international law to carry out interventions in other countries without reason or pretext. It has also complicated the United Statesrelations with its European allies and damaged Washingtons reputation in many non-Western countries around the world,” Malek Dudakov,a political scientist specializing in the US, said, explaining the consequences of the decision taken in March of 2003.

My Enemys Enemy is My Friend

America’s accusations against Hussein fell on fertile ground – and by the beginning of 2003, the Iraqi leader’s reputation had already been hopelessly damaged by his behavior in previous conflicts. During the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-1988, a gas attack carried out by the Iraqi army in the city of Halabja killed up to 5,000 people, mainly Kurds. During the eight years of the war, Iran’s direct losses from chemical weapons alone amounted to at least 20,000 people. That number increased significantly after the hostilities ended, as the long-term effects of the chemical reagent took their toll.

However, at that time, the United States turned a blind eye to Hussein’s atrocities, to put it mildly, since Washington recognized Iran, where the Islamic Revolution had taken place in 1979, as a much more dangerous enemy. Therefore, fully aware that the attack had been carried out by Iraq, the United States chose to lay blame on the Iranians for the tragedy in Halabja, as Joost Hilterman pointed out in anarticle for the New York Times.

RT

In the early years of that war, Washington generally acted as a full-fledged ally of Baghdad. Citing intelligence officials and the State Department, the New York Timesreported that Ronald Reagan’s administration had secretly provided Iraq with highly classified intelligence data in the spring of 1982, and had also allowed US allies to sell American weapons to help Hussein.

Washington’s attitude towards the Iraqi dictator changed because of the Gulf War, which began with Iraq’s invasion of oil-rich Kuwait in August of 1990. On November 29 of that year, after numerous attempts failed to persuade Baghdad to settle the crisis peacefully, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution No. 678, which gave Hussein’s government a month and a half to end the occupation. When he refused to do so, the US-led Multinational Forces Coalition (MNF) conducted Operation Desert Storm, which liberated Kuwait after a long air offensive. It is noteworthy that this conflict was the first after the end of the Cold War in which the Soviet Union diplomatically supported the United States.

Interestingly, in 1991, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin Powell, argued with the head of the Pentagon, Dick Cheney, whose associates were already calling for the overthrow of Hussein. However, President George H.W. Bush did not dare embark on such an adventure at that time.

After the conclusion of Desert Storm, the UN demanded that Iraq destroy its stocks of weapons of mass destruction, as well as their production programs, and provide proof that it had done so to its inspectors. Though Baghdad accepted these resolutions, it did not fulfill all of their requirements in practice. In 1998, Saddam Hussein completely closed inspectors’ access to the country, accusing them of ‘espionage’.

However, in 2002, under pressure from the UN and Western countries, the President of Iraq unexpectedly agreed to an inspection. The report from the head of the IAEA, Mohammed ElBaradei, concluded that no signs of prohibited activities or any evidence of Baghdad’s resumption of a nuclear weapons program had been found during inspections at Iraqi facilities. The head of the commission, Hans Blix, expressed less confidence in this findings, but could provide no proof to contradict it. In fact, the only infraction was noted in a document on the Iraqi Air Force, which stated that Iraq had failed to destroy about 6,000 chemical rockets.

The conclusions of international inspections did not matter much to the United States, led by President George W. Bush.

RT

The US Operates According to Its Own Agenda

The first alarm bell sounded for Iraq in the state of the union address to Congress on January 28, 2002, when the American president branded it as part of an “axis of evil,” along with Iran and North Korea. However, at that time, the American leader devoted only one paragraph to Iraq.

Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror.  The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade. This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens – leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime that agreed to international inspections – then kicked out the inspectors, Bush said.

In October of 2002, Congress gave the president the green light to use armed forces in Iraq. Here, in addition to arguments concerning biological weapons, accounts of the Iraqi regime’s crackdowns came in very handy. Allegations that Hussein allegedly maintained close ties with Al-Qaeda also came into play, though the latest data from US authorities found no proof of this.

As Malek Dudakov noted in a conversation with RT, by that time, the American establishment viewed Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi government as an absolute evil. The Iraqi leader was repeatedly compared to Hitler, and there were multiple leaks to the press alleging that he had weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.

The presidential administration actively promoted all these fears, trying to maintain Bushs approval ratings, as well as the patriotic fervor that had been prevalent since September 11. After those terrorist attacks, America needed some obvious opponent, as the concept of international terrorism” seemed somehow abstract and incomprehensible. Plus, the early successes in the Afghan operation may have gone to the White Houses head. It seemed to them that they could quickly and bloodlessly carry out the Iraqi campaign, overthrow Hussein, and reformat the Middle East for themselves. This would weaken Irans position, while simultaneously giving them control over oil reserves that were of no small importance to the United States. Taken together, all these reasons compelled Washington to get involved in this adventure,” Dudakov says.

The aforementioned Dick Cheney, who served as vice president in the administration of President G.W. Bush, is believed to have been one of the main shadow architects of the war in Iraq. In between working in government positions, he had served as Chief Executive Officer of the Halliburton oilfield services company, which later received the first contract for restoring and developing oil fields in occupied Iraq.

RT

Hes Got Something to Hide

In January 2003, the US President made it clear in an address to Congress that he was going to use the power it had granted to him to invade:

We will consult, but let there be no misunderstanding: If Saddam Hussein does not fully disarm for the safety of our people, and for the peace of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him.”

The White House probably still expected to receive UN approval at that time, since one of its arguments was that Hussein had demonstrated “utter contempt for the United Nations and for the opinion of the world,” and therefore must answer for that.

Bush claimed that Saddam Hussein was engaged in developing chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, even as international inspectors were working in his country. Allusions to the UN were spun to fit the American administration’s agenda – the emphasis was put on the doubts that Blix had voiced, and, in essence, Hussein was already presumed guilty. “He has given no evidence that he has destroyed it [weapons of mass destruction],” Bush said several times.

The president cited US intelligence data, according to which Saddam Hussein had up to 30,000 munitions capable of using chemical reagents. Shortly before that, experts had only discovered 16, and Bush claimed, Iraq “has not accounted for the remaining 29,984 of these prohibited munitions.”

In making his accusations, the American leader also referred to the British government, according to which Iraq was searching for uranium in Africa, as well as three Iraqi defectors who alleged that the government had several mobile biological weapons in the late 1990s.

Bush also referred to UN Security Council Resolution 1441 of 2002, which he said had provided Iraq with “the last opportunity to fulfill its disarmament obligations.” Though this document specified no automatic consequences for its non-fulfillment, the White House nevertheless had high hopes for the UN Security Council meeting that Bush announced, at which Secretary of State Colin Powell was set to speak. Subsequently, it was learned that, five days earlier, Bush had held a meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, where he said that the US was ready to “twist the UN’s arm” to get a resolution approved to launch an invasion.

RT

Powell’s Test Tube

At a special meeting of the UN Security Council on February 5, Secretary of State Powell spent an hour and a half presenting “irrefutable evidence” of the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Baghdad. This included satellite images, as well as information from radio intercepts and interrogations of Iraqi defectors. However, the main thing Powell focused on was not the current situation, but namely Hussein’s bad reputation.

The US Secretary of State pointed out that Iraq had acknowledged that it had biological weapons only four years after the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) had begun to carry out inspections. And, according to Powell, the 8,500 liters of anthrax that Baghdad had admitted to possessing in 1995 was a gross underestimate.

To hammer home the danger posed by Hussein’s regime, Powell showed his colleagues a test tube containing a white powder. While he didn’t claim that this substance was dangerous, he said that he wanted to show the quantity of anthrax spores mailed to two senators in 2001, which had been enough to shut down Congress.

The Iraqis have never accounted for all of the biological weapons they admitted they had, and we know they had... In fact, they can produce enough dry biological agent in a single month to kill thousands upon thousands of people. And dry agent of this type is the most lethal form for human beings, the head of the State Department stated, trying his best to scare all those present.

As it turned out after the invasion, the CIA’s intelligence on the presence of mobile manufacturing labs for biological weapons in pre-war Iraq was false. After this was made public, Powell said several times that he regretted that speech, but did not feel guilty.

I was secretary of state, not the director of intelligence,” he explained in an interview in 2005, a few months after he was asked to leave the administration of George W. Bush.

Yuri Rogulev, director of the Franklin Roosevelt Foundation for the Study of the USA at Moscow State University, noted in a comment to RT that the false assurances given by Americans regarding the state of affairs in Iraq was far from the first such case in history.

RT

I wouldnt consider this speech a milestone moment. For example, there was the invented second incident in the Gulf of Tonkin, after which the Vietnam War began, and the United States has invaded Panama, Grenada, and other countries under various pretexts. The only thing that was unique in the run up to the invasion of Iraq was the accusations about weapons of mass destruction. The fact that the US made a unilateral decision on Iraq was hugely significant for the world order in many respects. Although Congress gave its permission, there was strong opposition even inside the United States. The UN had not granted the US permission to invade Iraq. Even Americas closest NATO allies, Germany and France, opposed. But the United States took this step anyway, openly demonstrating that they were ready to do as they saw fit, regardless of other opinions,” Rogulev concluded.

Last Attempt

On the eve of the UN Security Council meeting on March 10, it became clear that the majority of its members still opposed any resolution leading to war. But this could not stop Washington. Russia nevertheless made one last desperate attempt to prevent the war.

On March 18, 2003, State Duma deputy and former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov urgently flew to Baghdad by order of President Vladimir Putin. He offered Hussein the opportunity to voluntarily resign from the post of president, explaining that, otherwise, a catastrophe was inevitable.

I told him [Hussein] the following: If you love your country and your people, if you want to protect your people from becoming inevitable victims, you must resign as president of Iraq,’”Primakov told journalists. In response, the Iraqi leader said that he’d also been persuaded to resign during the first Gulf War, but the war turned out to be inevitable anyway. After that, he patted me on the shoulder and left,” Primakov said. Russia’s representative also stressed that Iraq “needs to do everything to facilitate the work of international inspectors.” According to Primakov, after this conversation, Iraq really began to destroy the banned missiles that it had previously refused to eliminate.

But on March 20, without the sanction of the UN Security Council, the Americans began, as Bush put it, a military operation to disarm Iraq, liberate the Iraqi people, and protect the whole world from serious danger.” The operation began with air strikes on Baghdad. The fate of the country was sealed: the Iraqi army was defeated in three weeks, Hussein was overthrown, but there were no real winners.

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In a live television appearance today on the BBC, cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra took the network by surprise when he made the “unprompted” suggestion that mRNA vaccines, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, pose a cardiovascular risk.

Malhotra later tweeted the video from his BBC appearance, accompanied by the celebratory message, “We broke mainstream broadcast media,” generating instant controversy in the Twittersphere and elsewhere — ranging from triumphant tweets by those skeptical of mRNA vaccines, to calls for Malhotra to be “canceled” and questioning his claims.

Malhotra’s father, Dr. Kailash Chand — a prominent general practitioner who was formerly deputy chair of the British Medical Association — died in July 2021.

In an October 2022 interview with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., chairman and chief litigation counsel for Children’s Health Defense (CHD), Malhotra shared how he was one of the first to take the Pfizer vaccine and how he publicly promoted the vaccines on TV. But that was before he thoroughly reviewed the scientific safety data, which convinced him the vaccines pose unprecedented harm.

Malhotra told Kennedy he was prompted to look into the safety data on the COVID-19vaccine when his father — “a very eminent doctor in the U.K., considered one of the most prolific advocates for the National Health Service” — suffered an unexplained sudden cardiac death in July after getting an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

Malhotra has since publicly suggested that mRNA vaccines were a contributing factor in his death.

According to his online biography, Malhotra is a cardiologist and Visiting Professor of Evidence-Based Medicine at the Bahiana School of Medicine and Public Health in Brazil. He is also an honorary council member of the Stanford University School of Medicine’s Metabolic Psychiatry Clinic and cardiology examiner at the U.K.’s University of Hertfordshire.

Malhotra: ‘mRNA vaccines carry a cardiovascular link’

Malhotra appeared on the BBC today to discuss a recent change in policy by the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) that loosened restrictions on prescribing statins — medications that reduce cholesterol in the blood — allowing general practitioners to prescribe them to anyone who wants them.

However, several minutes into his live appearance, in the context of a discussion of cardiovascular risk, he pivoted and addressed his views on mRNA vaccines. He said:

“What is almost certain — if I can just say this — my own research has found, and this is something that is probably a likely contributing factor, is that the COVID mRNA vaccines do carry a cardiovascular risk.

“And I’ve actually called for the suspension of this pending an inquiry, because there’s a lot of uncertainty at the moment over what’s causing the excess deaths.”

Malhotra’s remarks caught the network — and presenter Lukwesa Burak — off guard. Visibly uncomfortable, Burak followed up by stating, “So what you’re saying in terms of the mRNA link to cardiovascular risk is that that’s been proven medically, scientifically?”

According to the U.K.’s Press Gazette, a BBC spokesperson later issued a response to the incident, stating:

“Dr Aseem Malhotra was invited on to the BBC News Channel to talk about the latest NICE [National Institute for Health and Care Excellence] recommendations on statins. During the discussion he made unprompted claims about the COVID mRNA vaccine.

“We then asked Professor Peter Openshaw, who represents the overwhelming scientific consensus on the vaccine, to be interviewed on air on this topic and he challenged and rebutted the claims that had been made.”

Openshaw is a professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, the same institution that developed “models” predicting large numbers of infections and deaths if severe COVID-19 countermeasures, such as lockdowns and social distancing, were not imposed.

Many people responded positively to Malhotra’s tweet and video.

Emma Kenny, a British psychologist and television presenter, tweeted:

A tweet stated “WOW! Truthbombing on the BBC! Well done Sir.”

Another tweet read:

“Good job Aseem!! The interviewer was completely thrown and tried to challenge your statement regarding MRNA [vaccine] by suggesting your assertions unproven— but as soon as she realized she couldn’t, she quickly changed the subject. Doubt you’ll be invited back on the BBC anytime soon!”

Another Twitter user noticed that a copy of Kennedy’s “The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health,” was visible behind Malhotra:

Another tweeted:

“Excellent. You came across very well and put the point about the vax link in a balanced and reasonable way.”

Some other Twitter users were less pleased. One user openly asked Ofcom, Britain’s telecommunications regulator, why the “disgraced, lying fraud” Malhotra was “allowed to do this” on the BBC.

Deborah Elaine tweeted a message about the BBC broadcast to Timothy Caulfield, a professor of law at the University of Alberta in Canada and host of a television program known as “A User’s Guide for Cheating Death.”

Caulfield later followed this up with an enraged tweet asking:

“What the HELL is the @BBCNews doing giving a notorious & discredited anti-vaxxer THIS platform???

“NO evidence to support his claims. He published his ‘analysis’ in a vanity journal that he edits. Etc.

“Pls, get it together, @BBCBreaking @BBChealth! So much damage with this BS!”

Some establishment media also criticized Malhotra. One Yahoo! News headline, for instance, reads “BBC Gives Unchallenged Platform to Anti-Vaxxer.”

The Press Gazette claimed “the overwhelming bulk of peer-reviewed literature suggests that mRNA vaccines are safe.”

Notably, the article was written by Bron Maher, whose Press Gazette bio states he previously worked for NewsGuard, a “fact-checking” firm that closely collaborates with the WHO and social media platforms, as previously reported by The Defender.

Malhotra previously published a peer-reviewed article in the Journal of Insulin Resistance, “Curing the pandemic of misinformation on COVID-19 mRNA vaccines through real evidence-based medicine.”

In July 2021, when his father died, Malhotra tweeted:

Malhotra said delays in an ambulance being dispatched by the U.K.’s beleaguered NHS to transport his father after suffering cardiac arrest also appears to have contributed to his death.

More and more studies demonstrating link between mRNA vaccines, cardiac problems

In a recent video, New Orleans-based emergency medicine physician Dr. Joseph Fraiman also called for the immediate suspension of the administration of mRNA vaccines.

Fraiman co-authored a peer-reviewed article, “Serious adverse events of special interest following mRNA COVID-19 vaccination in randomized trials in adults,” published in August 2022 in Vaccine.

In his video, Fraiman stated:

“I was the lead author of a peer-reviewed study that reanalyzed the original Pfizer and the Moderna clinical trials for the messenger RNA COVID-19 vaccines. We found the vaccine increased serious adverse events at a rate of one in 800.

“At the time of publication, my co-authors and I did not believe our single study warranted the withdrawal of the messenger RNA vaccines from the market. However, since its publication, multiple new pieces of evidence have come to light, and this has caused me to reevaluate my position.

“An article published in The BMJ regarding the FDA’s [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] own observational surveillance data found the messenger RNAs were associated with multiple of the exact same serious adverse events identified in our original study. But the FDA had failed to inform the public of these findings.

“In addition, now we have multipleautopsy studies that find essentially conclusive evidence that the vaccines are inducing sudden cardiac deaths. Yet the rate of these vaccine-induced deaths remains unknown.

“I believe, given the information, the messenger RNA vaccines need to be withdrawn from the market until new randomized controlled trials can clearly demonstrate the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the serious harm now we know the vaccines are causing.”

Malhotra re-tweeted Fraiman’s video, remarking “This is huge.”

Earlier this week, Andrew Bridgen, a member of Parliament with the U.K.’s ruling Conservative Party, had his whip removed — meaning he was suspended by his party pending “formal investigation” — for tweetingthat COVID-19 vaccines are “causing serious harms” and repeating a quote from a cardiologist who told ZeroHedge the COVID-19 vaccination campaign is “the biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust.”

Numerous U.K. politicians, including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, quickly condemned Bridgen’s remarks. Bridgen is known for being outspoken regarding his views on COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccines, including during parliamentary speeches.

On Jan. 10, Kennedy, CHD and others sued the BBC, the Associated Press, Reuters and The Washington Post, which are all members of the Trusted News Initiative (TNI), a partnership spearheaded by the BBC.

The plaintiffs allege TNI members colluded with Big Tech to censor and de-platform voices questioning official COVID-19 and 2020 U.S. presidential election narratives.

Source: the defender children health defense news and views 

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Story at a glance:

  • The notion that the COVID-19 shots are a form of gene therapy is so risky for Big Pharma’s bottom line, they’re going to great lengths to make sure people don’t think of them that way.
  • The Associated Press (AP) published a “fact check” in which they argued that COVID-19 shots are not gene therapy because they do not alter your genes.
  • The AP misled readers by focusing on just one part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) definition of gene therapy — the part about modifying the expression of a gene. But the full definition also includes the words “or to alter the biological properties of living cells,” which is precisely what the COVID-19 shots do.
  • When the mRNA shots were rolled out in 2021, they did not meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) definition of a vaccine. They only met the FDA’s definition of gene therapy.
  • The only reason COVID-19 shots meet the CDC’s definition of a vaccine now is because they changed the definition to prevent “COVID-19 deniers” from saying that “COVID-19 vaccines are not vaccines per CDC’s own definition.”

While the COVID-19 shots are referred to as “vaccines,” they do not meet the classical definition of a vaccine. Health authorities actually had to change the definition to accommodate the COVID-19 shots and shut down the argument that, as experimental gene therapies, they may be riskier than traditional vaccines.

Meanwhile, based on the FDA’s definition of “gene therapy” they’re clearly gene therapies, and both Moderna and BioNTech acknowledge this.

Despite that, the notion that the COVID-19shots are a form of gene therapy is so risky for Big Pharma‘s bottom line, they’re going to great lengths to make sure people don’t think of them that way.

Most recently, the AP tried to debunk the idea that COVID-19 shots are gene therapy, but as you’ll see, it’s either lying to protect the industry or has gotten so inept it doesn’t know how to do investigative journalism anymore.

Either way, it doesn’t reflect well on its credibility.

AP lies about COVID shots not being gene therapy

The AP, at the end of December 2022, published a “fact check” titled “No, COVID-19 Vaccines Aren’t Gene Therapy,” in which they argued:

“The COVID-19 vaccines do not change a person’s genes, as gene therapy does … The shots from Pfizer and Moderna use messenger RNA, or mRNA, to instruct the body to create a protein from the coronavirus. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, meanwhile, uses a modified adenovirus to trigger an immune response. …

“In recent days, social media posts have shared a claim that the vaccines are ‘gene therapy‘ — which involves modifying a person’s genes to treat or cure a disease, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.”

The definition of gene therapy

The FDA defined gene therapy in July 2018 and has not changed it since. Per the FDA’s website as of this writing:

“Human gene therapy seeks to modify or manipulate the expression of a gene or to alter the biological properties of living cells for therapeutic use. Gene therapy is a technique that modifies a person’s genes to treat or cure disease.”

Here’s where the AP went wrong. They only used ONE part of the FDA’s definition of gene therapy — the part about modifying the expression of a gene — in its debunking attempt. But the full definition also includes the words “or to alter the biological properties of living cells,” which is precisely what the COVID-19 shots do.

The mRNA in the COVID-19 jab are molecules that contain genetic instructions for making various proteins. mRNA COVID-19 shots deliver synthetic mRNA with a genetic code that instructs your cells to produce a modified form of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

In other words, they “alter the biological properties of living cells for therapeutic use.” Whether they modify your DNA is irrelevant. Note the word “or” in the FDA’s definition. It means it can be one OR the other. They don’t have to alter gene expression in order to still qualify as gene therapy, at least not per the FDA’s definition.

Yes, the COVID jabs are gene therapies per definition

Moderna’s November 2018 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registration statement also confirms that its mRNA injections are defined as gene therapy, clearly stating that “mRNA is considered a gene therapy product by the FDA.”

The September 2019 SEC filing for BioNTech(its mRNA technology is used in the Pfizer vaccine) is equally clear, stating on page 21:

“In the United States, and in the European Union, mRNA therapies have been classified as gene therapy medicinal products.”

So, in the U.S. and Europe, mRNA therapies, as a group, are classified as “gene therapy medicinal products.” There’s simply no way around this. Yet to this day, mainstream media tries to “debunk” the reality of the COVID-19 jab.

Definition of vaccine was changed to fool you

In 2018, Moderna acknowledged that mRNA technology was of a “novel and unprecedented nature,” yet for the past three years, we’ve been told that it’s just a newer, faster way to make vaccines.

The fact of the matter is that when the mRNA shots were rolled out in early 2021, they didn’t meet the CDC’s definition of a vaccine. They only met the FDA’s definition of gene therapy. And the only reason they meet the CDC’s definition of a vaccine now is because the CDC changed its definition.

All the way up until the end of October 2021, the CDC defined a vaccine as “a product that stimulates a person’s immune system to produce immunity to a specific disease, protecting the person from that disease.”

Immunity, in turn, was defined as “Protection from an infectious disease,” meaning that “If you are immune to a disease, you can be exposed to it without becoming infected.”

The new definition of “vaccine” is:

“A preparation that is used to stimulate the body’s immune response against diseases.”

So, a “vaccine” went from being something that produces protective immunity to simply stimulating an immune response. The key words “to produce immunity” were eliminated from the equation.

This makes the COVID-19 shots fit the description, as they do not make you immune against COVID-19 and weren’t designed to prevent infection in the first place.

Internal CDC correspondence obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests also conclusively prove the reason for the change was simply to shut down arguments by “right-wing COVID-19 deniers” that “COVID-19 vaccines are not vaccines per CDC’s own definition.”

FDA knew COVID jabs were risky territory

The FDA’s guidance for the human gene therapy products industry, published in January 2020, also classified mRNA injections as gene therapy.

Importantly, in this document the FDA stressed that gene therapy products that carry microRNA or cytokines can have “unknown pleotropic effects, including altered expression of host (human) genes that could result in unpredictable and undesirable outcomes.”

While the COVID-19 jab certainly produces undesirable outcomes, negative consequences were not unpredicted.

Early on, a number of scientists who had looked into the shots’ mechanisms of action warned about the possibility of severe adverse outcomes, including impairment of the immune system, neurological dysfunction and cancer. Today, a wide array of data and statistics prove those early concerns were valid.

Risk-benefit analysis decimates safety claims

For example, a risk-benefit analysis looking at the impact of booster mandates for university students concluded that between 22,000 and 30,000 previously uninfected adults (aged 18 to 29) must be boosted to prevent one COVID-19 hospitalization.

Meanwhile, for each hospitalization prevented, the jab will cause 18 to 98 serious adverse events, including 1.7 to 3 “booster-associated myocarditis cases in males, and 1,373 to 3,234 cases of grade ≥3 reactogenicity which interferes with daily activities.”

According to the authors, mandating a third COVID-19 shot for university students will result in “a net expected harm.”

The authors also stress that “Given the high prevalence of post-infection immunity, this risk-benefit profile is even less favorable.” They go on to state that “University booster mandates are unethical because”:

1) no formal risk-benefit assessment exists for this age group;

2) vaccine mandates may result in a net expected harm to individual young people;

3) mandates are not proportionate: expected harms are not outweighed by public health benefits given the modest and transient effectiveness of vaccines against transmission;

4) U.S. mandates violate the reciprocity principle because rare serious vaccine-related harms will not be reliably compensated due to gaps in current vaccine injury schemes; and

5) mandates create wider social harms. We consider counter-arguments such as a desire for socialization and safety and show that such arguments lack scientific and/or ethical support.

Government study also highlights COVID jab problems

A small observational study led by neurology researchers at the National Institutes of Health(NIH) brought equally bad news, as they found “a variety of neuropathic symptoms” occurring within three to four weeks of COVID-19 injection:

“We studied 23 patients (92% female; median age 40 years) reporting new neuropathic symptoms beginning within 1 month after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. 100% reported sensory symptoms comprising severe face and/or limb paresthesias, and 61% had orthostasis, heat intolerance and palpitations. …

“Together, 52% (12/23) of patients had objective evidence of small-fiber peripheral neuropathy. … This observational study suggests that a variety of neuropathic symptoms may manifest after SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations and in some patients might be an immune-mediated process.”

FDA and CDC refuse to release key safety analyses

Isn’t it curious that the FDA, CDC, NIH and mainstream media refuse to admit there are risks, even though the NIH’s own research shows it? In all likelihood, the FDA and CDC’s data collection on the shots also reveal there are significant problems, as both agencies are stonewalling attempts to get key safety analyses released.

As reported by The Epoch Times back in the summer of 2022:

“According to operating procedures laid out by the agency and its partner in January 2021 and February 2022, the FDA would perform data mining ‘at least biweekly’ to identify adverse events ‘reported more frequently than expected following vaccination with COVID-19 vaccines.’

“The agency would perform the mining on data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

“In a recent response, the FDA records office told The Epoch Times that it would not provide any of the analyses, even in redacted form.

“The agency cited an exemption to the Freedom of Information Act that lets the government withhold inter-agency and intra-agency memorandums and letters ‘that would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with the agency.’

“The agency also pointed to the Code of Federal Regulations, which says that ‘all communications within the Executive Branch of the Federal government which are in written form or which are subsequently reduced to writing may be withheld from public disclosure except that factual information which is reasonably segregable …’

“It’s not clear why the FDA could not produce copies of the analyses with non-factual information redacted.”

According to the VAERS standard operating procedures cited above, the CDC is also required to perform data mining analyses using Proportional Reporting Ratio (PRR) data mining. PRR measures how common an adverse event is for a specific drug compared to all the other drugs in the database.

When The Epoch Times asked the CDC to release its results, it too refused. According to The Epoch Times, the CDC “has also twice provided false information when responding to questions.” First, they claimed that no PRR analyses were done and that data mining was outside its purview.

Sometime later, they admitted the agency did perform PRRs starting in February 2021, only to later backtrack, saying they only started doing PRRs in March 2022. The Epoch Times cites several papers in which the FDA and/or CDC claim their data mining efforts have come up empty-handed.

But if that’s true, why the reluctance to release the data? Don’t they want us to be reassured that these shots are as safe as they claim them to be? Why sit on exculpatory evidence? Unless, of course, the data proves the FDA and CDC are lying.

Was no-test drug approval the plan all along?

While I cannot prove it, I suspect Operation Warp Speed — devised in the spring of 2020 by a dozen top officials from then-President Trump’s health and defense departments to expedite the development of a COVID-19 vaccine — may have been intended to normalize the approval of gene therapy drugs without the proper testing.

Before the COVID-19 shots were given emergency use authorization, no mRNA gene therapy had ever made it to market, despite more than 20 years’ worth of research and development. That tells you something about how difficult it is to get these products right, to make sure they work and are safe.

With the FDA’s implementation of a “Future Framework” scheme in June 2022 to speed up the delivery of COVID-19 boosters, the regulatory obstacles for gene therapies, especially the stringent safety requirements, were brushed aside. Now, the FDA can and will authorize reformulated COVID-19 shotswithout human trials.

The FDA basically rewrote the rules on the fly, deciding that mRNA gene therapies are equivalent to conventional influenza vaccines and can be updated and released without testing.

The idea is that the safety of the mRNA COVID-19 shots has already been proven by the original shots, which they claim have harmed or killed no one. Hence, safety is a given, and the effectiveness of reformulated boosters can be assessed simply by checking the antibody levels in a few mice, which is what Pfizer and Moderna did.

In reality, however, millions of people around the world have been harmed and killed by the original shots, the human trials for those shotswere riddled with fraud, antibody levels tell us nothing about the jab’s ability to protect against infection and the two technologies (conventional flu vaccines and mRNA gene therapy) have no common ground.

Beware of future mRNA injections

I have no doubt this “Future Framework” will also, over time, be widened to include other vaccines and drugs that drugmakers may want to tinker with.

Already, there are mRNA shots in the pipeline against herpes, malaria, influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, sickle cell disease, HIV, Epstein-Barr and cancer, and vaccine makers have received fast-track approval designation for at least some of these shots.

Eventually, this fast-tracking trend may even lower standards for drug trials in general, which historically have required at least 10 years of multiphase testing. The dangers of this trend really cannot be overstated — especially when we’re talking about gene-based products.

So, to circle back to where we started, hopefully, you can now see how the AP and other media are misleading you in their “fact checks” by focusing on just one aspect of the FDA’s gene therapy definition (the DNA-altering part) while ignoring the fact that COVID-19 shots DO meet the complete definition, and ARE classified as gene therapy, as acknowledged by BioNTech and Moderna in their SEC filings.

Source: the defender children health defense news and views 

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As the World Economic Forum (WEF) today wrapped up its weeklong annual meeting of nearly 3,000 political, business, media and academic elites, mainstream media largely continued to sing the meeting’s praises, while independent media outlets took aim at the WEF’s agenda and its promoters.

The Associated Press (AP) described the meetings in Davos, Switzerland, as taking on the “pressing global issues” while simultaneously being the “target of bizarre claims from a growing chorus who believe it involves a group of elites manipulating events for their own benefit.”

Among those critics was Twitter owner and CEO Elon Musk, who responded to a tweet: “WEF is increasingly becoming an unelected world government that the people never asked for and don’t want.”

Musk posted an online poll — that generated 2.42 million votes — where he asked whether “The World Economic Forum should control the world.” Eighty-six percent of respondents said “no.”

The Defender on Wednesday reported on the first few days of meetings. This article lists eight key takeaways from Davos — and why they matter.

Global elites really want vaccine passports

One of the proposals that generated the most attention at this year’s WEF meeting came from embattled former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, now executive chairman of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.

Blair proposed the development of a “national digital infrastructure,” stating, “We should be helping countries to develop a national digital infrastructure which they will need with these new vaccines” — a statement that strongly suggested “new vaccines” are coming and we will “need” them.

Blair also said:

“You need to know who’s been vaccinated and who hasn’t been. Some of the vaccines that will come down the line, there will be multiple shots.

“So [for vaccines] you’ve got to have — for reasons to do with healthcare more generally but certainly for pandemics — a proper digital infrastructure and most countries don’t have that.”

As previously reported by The Defender, Blair endorsed the “Good Health Pass,” a digital vaccine passport launched by ID2020, a collaborative effort between Mastercard, the International Chamber of Commerce and the WEF.

Members of the Good Health Pass Collaborative include Accenture, Deloitte and IBM, while general partners of ID2020 include Facebook and Mastercard.

ID2020’s founding partners include Microsoft, the Rockefeller Foundation, Accenture, GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance (a core partner of the World Health Organization, or WHO), UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank.

Global ‘leaders’ appear to be clairvoyant

On the disease front, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that “a resurgence of tuberculosis may be coming … sooner or later.”

Statements like Tedros’ appear to belie a knowledge of future developments. This has been the norm at previous WEF meetings — and it was the case again this year.

Investigative journalist Jordan Schachtelpointed out that “Event 201, the pre-pandemic coronavirus simulation, was announced at a Davos WEF conference in 2019.”

Similarly, this year, Lawrence “Larry” Summers, who served as U.S. secretary of the treasury between 1999 and 2001 and director of the National Economic Council from 2009 to 2010, said “the odds in my view are better than 50-50” that “there will be a COVID-scale problem within the next 15 years.”

Summers made these remarks as part of a panel, “Global Economic Outlook: Is this the End of an Era?” whose panelists included International Monetary Fund (IMF) Director Kristalina Georgieva and former IMF managing director and current president of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde.

During a press conference, officials presented the WEF’s “Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2023” report, predicting a “catastrophic cyber event” said to be “likely in the next two years.”

These are people who think very highly of themselves

Statements by WEF’s Founder and Executive Chair Klaus Schwab and WEF meeting participants also revealed how the “elite” meeting participants appear to believe they are the self-anointed saviors — or rulers — of the world.

In an interview with India Today, which sent two attendees to this year’s WEF meeting, Schwab said the world will soon no longer be run by superpowers such as the U.S., but instead by WEF “stakeholders,” such as BlackRock and Bill Gates.

During another session, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, foreign affairs minister of Pakistan whose mother, Benazir Bhutto, was formerly the country’s prime minister, talked about a “new world order” that is being stymied by “hyper-partisan[ship].”

Also during the same panel, Slovenian Foreign Minister Tanja Falon, said, “We have countries that are respecting their national interest going beyond the rules,” referring to “global rules,” adding that “we have to take into consideration The World Order.”

And Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry told meeting attendees, “We are a select group of human beings” who “sit in a room and come together and actually talk about saving the planet.”

WEF Participants make decisions in ‘lock step’ — no debate, please

Schachtel noted that at the WEF meetings, “conformity is required and debate is a cancel-worthy sin.”

He elaborated on this point in a recent blog post, describing the WEF meetings as “a reinforced echo chamber in which there is one problem, one objective, and only one solution,” instead of being “a place for a healthy, robust debate.”

Schachtel wrote:

“Regardless of who populates these panels and speeches, whether it’s invited corporate media, governmental officials, and/or business executives, there’s never any apparent dissent or difference of opinion expressed.

“The truth of the matter is that the WEF and its leaders prefer conformity to debate. In fact, debate is actively discouraged, and stepping out of line — via a narrative violation — is grounds for permanent removal from Club Davos.”

Journalist and author Walter Kirn tweeted similar sentiments:

Journalist Jack Pobosiec said the “WEF/WHO and the Davos mindsets are essential to understand [because] this is the mindset that governs our world here in the West. Vast amounts of our leaders, even down to lower levels, ascribe to the globally homogenized and technocratic vision of the world. Do not overlook this.”

They want you to believe there’s a digital solution for (almost) every problem

The annual WEF meetings are renowned for their promotion of technocracy, and this year’s meeting continued that trend.

An example of this was a session titled “Improving Livelihoods with Digital ID,” which promoted “an international ID policy to realize financial, social and health equity through digital identification.”

According to journalist Andrew Lawton, this panel “was not streamed and was not open to the press.” The panel included participants from the Global Digital Policy Incubator, Hedera, the Dubai Future Foundation and DataKind.

During another session, panelists predicted “humans will soon embrace implanted brain technology so they ‘can decode complex thought,’” adding that “neurosignals can be used for biometrics” and that the more widely adopted neurotechnology becomes, the more data can be gathered on humans.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdulla Al-Swahatold attendees in Davos his country is “embracing metaverse technology [which] has already shown its environmental benefits with the planning and development of some of the Kingdom’s biggest projects.”

The WEF is a proponent of the metaverse, as previously reported by The Defender.

They want to change what you think, and how you live

Many of the proposals presented this week will necessarily involve large-scale changes to people’s livelihoods and habits.

In an example of the behavioral psychology concept of “nudging,” Cepsa CEO Maarten Wetselaar advocated in favor of “much higher carbon prices,” in order to “make what you try to avoid expensive and subsidize the thing that you try to build.” He called this a “very capitalist intervention.”

Lawton noted that while it may seem odd for an oil and gas executive “to be so enthusiastic about transitioning away from oil and gas,” Cepsa “is also involved in green hydrogen and clearly sees the writing on the wall and wants some of those subsidies Wetselaar is calling for.”

Australian mining executive Andrew Forrestspoke in favor of “zero emissions, not just net-zero emissions,” saying this can be done using existing technology: “solar, wind, batteries, green hydrogen.”

The “15-minute city” concept, where people will be car-less, was also touted, while a member of Switzerland’s Green Party called for “punishing businesses that don’t adhere to climate agreements.” Indeed, a “5-minute city” proposal was also put forth, that would be “100% solar and wind-powered.”

Meat — or discouraging its consumption — was also on the agenda. Jim Hagemann Snabe, chairman of Siemens, said, “If a billion people stop eating meat, I tell you, it has a big impact. Not only does it have a big impact on the current food system, but it will also inspire innovation of food systems.” Snabe also advocated for synthetic meat.

Source: the defender children health defense news and views 
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A mass shooting occurred during Lunar New Year celebrations in Monterey Park in California on Saturday night. Local authorities said that ten people had been killed, with at least ten others injured.

Speaking to reporters, Captain Andrew Meyer of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said local emergency services pronounced ten victims dead at the scene. “There are at least ten additional victims transported to local hospitals,” he said, adding that their condition varies from stable to critical.

He also said that the suspect, who carried a firearm, had fled the scene and remained at large, and that it was too early to guess the shooter’s motivation.

In an earlier statement on Sunday, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Information Bureau said that the tragedy took place after 10:00 pm at 100 West Garvey Avenue. It also identified the shooter as a male, without providing any further detail.

Several witnesses claimed that the shooting took place at a dance studio on Garvey Avenue, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Video on social media shows first responders rushing to the area as well as several people being taken to hospitals.

One local business owner told The Los Angeles Times that after the gunfire erupted, three people rushed into his restaurant and told him to lock the doors. They said the suspect was a man with what looked like a semi-automatic weapon.

A local resident also told LA Times that a friend of his was in the club’s bathroom when the suspect opened fire. According to his friend, the shooter was armed with a long gun and there were at least three bodies lying on the ground, one of whom apparently was the boss of the club.

The tragedy took place as tens of thousands of people gathered in the afternoon for a two day festival to mark Chinese New Year.

Source: rt.com

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The US has been reaching out to armed groups that oppose the Taliban and secretly giving money to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), Zamir Kabulov, Russia’s presidential envoy for Afghanistan, has said.

When asked if the US is in contact with the Afghan opposition in an interview with Russia 24 TV on Friday, Kabulov said, “Yes, there is such data.”

The Americans have been acting this way“because they really want to avenge their shameful military-political defeat in Afghanistan, and in retaliation they do everything so that peace isn’t established in this troubled land,” he claimed.

“But worst of all is that, in addition to contacts with the armed opposition in Afghanistan, the Anglo-Saxons are covertly sponsoring Islamic State, who are aimed at undermining not only the stability of our Central Asian partners… but also the security of Russia,” Kabulov added.

The US and its allies pulled out of Afghanistan in August 2021 after a two-decade intervention. The chaotic withdrawal, which saw billions of dollars’ worth of American military equipment left behind, was carried out after the Taliban swept through the country and captured the capital, Kabul in a matter of weeks, facing little resistance from the Afghan military – which US forces had trained to resist the militants.

The sanctions and the withdrawal of US and other foreign aid to Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover have further deepened the humanitarian crisis in the country. Under previous US-backed administrations, this aid accounted for around 75% of the Afghan budget. According to the UN, around 24.4 million people, or more than half of the country’s population, are currently in need of humanitarian assistance.

In December, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken defended the Biden administration’s decision to leave Afghanistan, saying that if the American forces remained there, “it would have, I think, made much more complicated the support that we’ve been able to give and that others have been able to give Ukraine”amid the conflict with Russia.

The US-based Brown University estimated that the invasion of Afghanistan cost Washington more than $2.1 trillion overall. The US Department of Defense said on Thursday that military aid provided to Kiev since the start of the conflict with Moscow last February has surpassed $26.7 billion.

Source: rt.com

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Rabat - A one-year suspended prison sentence and a €15,000 (MAD 164,000) fine have been requested against French journalists Catherine Graciet and Eric Laurent for their attempt to blackmail King Mohammed VI.

The decision will be made by the courts on March 14.

Back in 2015, the pair threatened to publish a book about the Moroccan King unless they were paid €2 million (MAD 21 million), making international headlines and being arrested for extortion.

Laurent, who is 75, admitted before the court that he made “an ethical error,” but has refused to take responsibility for a criminal offense, alleging that the proposal for a financial arrangement came from Morocco.

Graciet, the author of books on the Maghreb and Libya, said the same, accusing a Moroccan emissary of having proposed the arrangement, French outlet Liberation reported.

On the other hand, Ralph Boussier, one of the lawyers for Morocco maintains that it was Laurent who evoked the arrangement, adding that Morocco filed a complaint after the first meeting with the journalists.

During the trial, Graciet and Laurent requested that recordings of their meeting with King Mohammed VI’s lawyer not be admitted in court, claiming they they were “illegal.”

According to reporting from Le Monde, the two journalists met with the King’s personal lawyer Hicham Naciri in a Paris hotel bar on August 11, 2015.

Naciri recorded the conversation with the pair, the French outlet reported, before they were arrested by police on August 27, with €80,000 in cash in their possession at the time of the arrest.

Laurent had admitted in 2015 to calling the Moroccan royal cabinet and demanding a huge sum of money to not publish a book that contains “damaging revelations.”

Source: Morocco World News

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Rabat - Morocco’s national carrier Royal Air Maroc has canceled flights scheduled for January 19-20 from and to Paris.

“Due to the public service strike notice, we are forced to cancel some flights on January 19 and 20 from and to Paris,” Royal Air Maroc announced on Wednesday night.

The carrier emphasized that it provides an option to reschedule postponed flights on its website.

Royal Air Maroc’s decision comes after the announcement of a national strike in France on Thursday, January 19.

The strike is in response to France’s intention to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.

The strike is affecting several services in France.

Air Traffic Controllers will only provide minimum services, which will affect flights to, from, and within France.

National carrier Air France also issued a press release, indicating that all airlines are set to reduce their flight schedule to and from Paris Orly by 20%.

Media outlet France 24 said that the strikes affected several other services, including schools and businesses.

“Trains ground to a halt in France on Thursday, schools were shut and businesses disrupted as workers walked [out of] their jobs in an attempt to derail a planned pension reform that would see the retirement age pushed up by two years to 64,” the news outlet said.

Public figures and celebrities joined the chorus to denounce Macron’s reforms.

The celebrities signed an appeal launched by French news outlet Politics against the “archaic and terribly unequal” reform project.

“For six years, Emmanuel Macron has been determined to impose on the country a pension reform that the French do not want,” the news outlet said.

Over a hundred French personalities have signed the appeal.

Source: Morocco World News.

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Former President Donald Trump is already planning his first tweet since his Twitter account was reinstated by Elon Musk, while his campaign filed a petition with Meta this week aimed at unblocking his Facebook and Instagram accounts, NBC News reported on Wednesday.

“We believe that the ban on President Trump’s account on Facebook has dramatically distorted and inhibited the public discourse,”Trump’s campaign wrote to Meta on Tuesday, in a letter seen by NBC.

The letter asked Meta – the parent company of Facebook and Instagram – for “a meeting to discuss President Trump’s prompt reinstatement to the platform.”

Trump utilized his Twitter and Facebook accounts to bypass the legacy media and ride a wave of populist support to the White House in 2016. He used Twitter to feud with his political rivals and announce major policy decisions while in office, and to publicly accuse the Democratic Party of “rigging” the 2020 election for President Joe Biden.

Trump was suspended from both platforms and others after his supporters rioted on Capitol Hill in January 2021. Although he had his Twitter account reinstated in November by new owner and CEO Elon Musk, Meta has not yet made a ruling on giving him back control of his Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Meta imposed a two-year ban on Trump’s accounts in 2021, which has now elapsed. The social media giant told NBC that it “will announce a decision in the coming weeks in line with the process we laid out.”

Trump has yet to issue a single tweet since Musk unbanned his account, although his aides and allies believe it’s only a matter of time. “He’s been talking about it for weeks, but Trump speaks for Trump, so it’s anyone’s guess what he’ll do or say or when,” a Republican source told NBC. An anonymous confidant of the former president added that Trump’s campaign advisers have been working on ideas for his first tweet.

However, Musk suggested on Wednesday that the return of Trump could prompt the Biden administration to “weaponize federal agencies against Twitter.” Biden previously said Musk’s acquisition of the platform was “being looked at” by his government. 

Source: rt.com

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China has blasted the United States for its “banditry” in Syria, claiming that Washington’s years-long military occupation and the “plundering” of Syrian resources have placed the country on the brink of a “humanitarian disaster.”

Addressing reporters during a press briefingon Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin was asked to comment on recent reports in Syrian media that US forces had transported a large quantity of “looted oil” from Syria to Iraq earlier this month. 

“We are struck by the blatancy and egregiousness of the US’s plundering of Syria… Such banditry is aggravating the energy crisis and humanitarian disaster in Syria,” he said, citing Syrian government statistics purporting that “over 80% of Syria’s daily oil output was smuggled out of the country by US occupation troops” in the first half of 2022.

The level of US greed in stealing resources from Syria is as striking as its “generosity” in giving out military aid often in the amount of billions or even tens of billions dollars.

“Whether the US gives or takes, it plunges other countries into turmoil and disaster, and the US gets to reap the benefits for its hegemony and other interests,” he added. “This is the result of the US’s so-called “rules-based order.””

On January 14, Damascus’ state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that “a convoy consisting of 53 tanks loaded with stolen Syrian oil” were brought from the country’s Hasakah province to US “bases in Iraqi territory,” noting the operation was carried out alongside local Kurdish militants which have long received American backing. The outlet also stated that 60 additional trucks smuggled stolen oil and wheat into Iraq earlier this month.

“The Syrian people’s right to life is being ruthlessly trampled on by the US. With little oil and food to go by, the Syrian people are struggling even harder to get through the bitter winter,” Wang added, demanding that “the US must answer for its oil theft.”

US forces were first sent to Syria in 2014, beginning with a contingent of special operators followed by more conventional ground troops the next year, most embedded with Kurdish fighters in the country’s oil-rich northeast. Though then-President Barack Obama maintained the deployment was focused only on combating Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists, Washington had long intervened in Syria’s war against jihadist groups, sending and overseeing countless arms shipments to rebels seeking to overthrow the government in Damascus beginning as early as 2013.

Though American involvement in the conflict slowed under the next administration, in 2019 President Donald Trump said some US troops would remain in Syria “for the oil,” openly suggesting Washington would simply “keep”the energy resources. 

Subsequent reporting in 2020 would later reveal that the Trump administration had approved a deal between a US energy firm and Kurdish authorities controlling northeast Syria to “develop and export the region’s crude oil” – a contract immediately condemned as “illegal” by Damascus. However, while that particular deal would later fall through after President Joe Biden took office, Syrian authorities have continued to accuse Washington of plundering its resources and some 900 US troops remain in the country illegally.

Source: rt.com

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Geoff Young won the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives in Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District on May 17, 2022. He will face the incumbent, Republican Andy Barr, in the general election on November 8, 2022. His platform calls for abolishing the CIA, cutting the military budget, ending U.S. support for AFRICOM and taxing the rich more.

Unsurprisingly, Kentucky’s Democratic Party establishment says it won’t support Young in the general election against his Republican opponent.

Kentucky Primary 2019: Geoff Young, The Perennial Candidate | WKMS Geoff Young [Source: wkms.org]

A leader of the Kentucky Democratic Party said: “The party cannot actively support a candidate that engages in countless frivolous lawsuits against the party, its officers and virtually every elected official over the past decade.”

However, contrary to the entrenched party leadership, rank-and-file party voters seem to like what Geoff Young is doing and saying just fine, since they nominated him as their party’s candidate.

This week Young has called for the impeachment of President Joe Biden. Young wrote the following:

Each of the following actions, failures to act, and refusals to act constitutes an impeachable offense. Taken together, they justify President Biden’s impeachment by the full U.S. House of Representatives as soon as possible and his conviction by the U.S. Senate soon afterwards. The first item is the most immediate and urgent one.

1. Reckless, hostile and aggressive provocations against China

On June 24, 2022, a U.S. spy plane provocatively flew over the Taiwan Strait. The next day, the U.S. Navy sent a warship, the USS Benfold, to the South China Sea. According to CovertAction Magazine editor Jeremy Kuzmarov, sending U.S. warships into the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait violated international law, specifically the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Image Satellite image of USS Benfold entering South China Sea on June 25 through Verde Island passage. [Source: twitter.com]

Senior Colonel Shi Yi, spokesperson of the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command, slammed the spy plane’s flight path as being “intentional,” whose purpose was to “disrupt the regional situation and endanger the cross-Straits peace and stability. We firmly oppose this,” she said.

When President Biden made a commitment in October 2021 to back Taiwan militarily, he effectively overturned the One China Policy—established when the U.S. resumed diplomatic relations with China in 1979—that recognized Beijing to be the legitimate government of all China, including Taiwan.

According to Kuzmarov, “Under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which China has ratified but the U.S. has not, nations are entitled to territorial waters stretching 12 nautical miles (22 km) from their coast. They may also claim an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) stretching another 200 nautical miles—beyond that are the high seas. At its widest, the Taiwan Strait spans about 220 nautical miles; however, at its narrowest, it is 70 nautical miles—meaning recent U.S. actions are illegal.”

Biden's Asia trip to promote IPEF will fizzle out, as Washington cannot  offer more market opening steps - Global Times [Source: globaltimes.cn]

If China had decided to shoot down the U.S. plane or sink the warship, it would arguably have had the legal right to do so under the UN Charter, which has been the foundation of international law since the UN was founded in 1945. What would the Biden administration have done next? Launched missiles at China or its warships? The conflict could quickly have escalated into a full-scale nuclear war that might kill every person on Earth.

To provoke a military conflict with China, Russia, or any other country is an impeachable offense.

2. Turning the United States into a co-belligerent with Ukraine against Russia

On April 19, 2022, James W. Carden, a former adviser to the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission at the U.S. Department of State, wrote an article in which he concluded that “the U.S. is, and has been for some time, a co-belligerent in the war.”

A picture containing ground, indoor, cooking, grill    Description automatically generated U.S. airman Olabode Ingandan prepares ammunition, weapons, and other equipment bound for Ukraine at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. [Source: asiatimes.com]

Carden continued:

“Bruce Fein, a constitutional expert and former associate attorney general in the Ronald Reagan administration, told me this week that in his view, ‘the United States and several NATO members have become co-belligerents with Ukraine against Russia by systematic and massive assistance to its military forces to defeat Russia.’ According to Fein, the U.S. and its NATO allies are now vulnerable to attack by ‘an enemy belligerent,’ meaning Russia, because of their ‘systematic or substantial violations of a neutral’s duties of impartiality and non-participation in the conflict.’”

To violate America’s duties of impartiality and non-participation in the Ukraine conflict is an impeachable offense.

3. Rejecting Russia’s reasonable peace proposal in December 2021

On December 17, 2021, Russia published a draft agreement on peace and mutual security with the United States. It contained eight articles, each of which would have led to reductions in U.S.-Russian tensions and reduced the likelihood of armed conflicts in Europe and the rest of the world.

Some of the articles were:

A) The Parties, Russia and the USA, “shall not implement security measures adopted by each Party individually or in the framework of an international organization, military alliance or coalition that could undermine core security interests of the other Party”…

B) “The Parties shall not use the territories of other States with a view to preparing or carrying out an armed attack against the other Party or other actions affecting core security interests of the other Party.”

C) “The United States of America shall undertake to prevent further eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and deny accession to the Alliance to the States of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics”…

More irrational NATO expansion to come - Global Times [Source: globaltimes.cn]

D) “The Parties shall refrain from deploying nuclear weapons outside their national territories and return such weapons already deployed outside their national territories at the time of the entry into force of the Treaty to their national territories”…

The Biden administration’s flat refusal to enter into serious negotiations leading to a peace agreement with Russia, based on Russia’s proposal, led directly to the current military conflict in Ukraine and constitutes an impeachable offense.

4. Helping Saudi Arabia massacre and starve millions of civilians in Yemen

Saudi Arabia has been waging a murderous, illegal war of aggression against Yemen since 2015. The United States has been helping its ally, Saudi Arabia, for the last seven years.

Every U.S. president who served during that period—Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden—has been a war criminal for helping Saudi Arabia commit international aggression, which is “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole,” according to the judgment of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg after World War Two.

A group of people holding signs    Description automatically generated Yemeni youth demand end to criminal war of aggression on their country. [Source: coastaldigest.com]

After taking the oath of office in January 2021, President Biden was legally obligated to end that war of aggression. He should have used his influence over the Government of Saudi Arabia to compel them to end their aggression. If they had refused, he should have stopped all cooperation with the Saudi dictatorship (except the purchase of oil from Saudi Arabia by private oil companies), including stopping all weapons exports, military training missions, intelligence cooperation, and all other forms of government-to-government cooperation.

In October 2021, the Biden administration signed a $500 million contract “to support the Royal Saudi Land Forces Aviation Command’s fleet of Apache helicopters, Blackhawks, and a future fleet of Chinook helicopters.” The contract included training and the service of 350 U.S. contractors for the next two years, as well as two U.S. government” employees.

The White House had tried to make a distinction between offensive and defensive weapons, but maintaining military helicopters for the Saudi government constitutes aid to a military that is waging a genocidal war of aggression and is therefore illegal regardless of which adjective might be applied.

President Biden’s continues to help to the Saudi dictatorship as it wages a genocidal war of aggression against Yemen constitutes an impeachable offense.

President Biden meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on July 15, 2022, despite both the Saudi’s illegal and genocidal war against Yemen and after a U.S. intelligence report released last year concluded that the crown prince had “approved” the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. [Source: washingtonpost.com]

5. Illegally keeping U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria

In 2003, the U.S. illegally invaded Iraq, which constituted a massive war crime. Every U.S. president since 2003 has been a war criminal, and every newly elected president should have ended that illegal, unjust war soon after taking the oath of office. President Biden failed to order all of our troops, mercenaries and intelligence operatives out of Iraq, and that failure constitutes an impeachable offense.

A picture containing person, person, suit Description automatically generated President Joe Biden shakes hands with Iraq Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in July 2021. [Source: thehindu.com]

In 2011, the U.S., Turkey, Israel and other countries committed illegal aggression against Syria by supporting terrorist groups including al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, and later ISIS in their campaign to overthrow the Government of Syria.

Russua Foreign ministry, Maria Zakharova, US airstrikes in Syria, Joe Biden, US airstrikes, US-Syria, US military, SYrian backed military, world news, Indian express U.S. bombing on Iraq-Syria border in February 2021. [Source: indianexpress.com]

Everything the U.S. has done in Syria since 2011 has constituted a massive war crime.

An article published in The Times of Israel on June 17, 2022, noted that Israel coordinates with and gets approval from the U.S. military on some of its air strikes in Syria. According to The Wall Street Journal, the process is meant to ensure that Israeli attacks on [alleged] Iranian targets do not interfere with American operations in eastern Syria. 

Satellite firm releases pics of Syria site bombed in strike attributed to  Israel | The Times of Israel Satellite images of Israeli air strikes on Syria carried out with Biden administration assistance. [Source: timesofisrael.com]

Every U.S. president since 2011 has been a war criminal for committing international aggression against Syria, and every newly elected president should have ended that illegal, unjust war soon after taking the oath of office. President Biden failed to order all of our troops, mercenaries and intelligence operatives out of Syria, and that failure constitutes an impeachable offense.

 

Source: covertactionmagazine.

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The US is expected to reach a statutory debt ceiling next week, which could see the country defaulting on its obligations unless preventative steps are taken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned on Friday in a letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Once the limit is reached, Treasury will need to start taking certain extraordinary measures to prevent the United States from defaulting on its obligations,” Yellen wrote. She noted, however, that these measures will only go as far as to give the Congress time to negotiate and pass a debt limit hike, most likely until early June.

The use of extraordinary measures enables the government to meet its obligations for only a limited amount of time…It is therefore critical that Congress act in a timely manner to increase or suspend the debt limit. Failure to meet the government’s obligations would cause irreparable harm to the US economy, the livelihoods of all Americans, and global financial stability,” the secretary stated.

The US debt is currently capped at $31.4 trillion. The ceiling was last lifted in December 2021.

There are concerns that the process of hiking the limit may be drawn out, as there are disputes over the move between the Republican and Democratic parties. However, following Yellen's letter, the White House said it would support an increase and urged Congress to act in a prompt and bipartisan way.

We believe when it comes to the debt limit, it has been done in a bipartisan way over the years and decades, and it should be done, and it should be done without conditions… There’s going to be no negotiation over it,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday.

Source: rt.com

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The period of relative calm in the global economy has ended and what lies ahead is an era of stagflation, meaning a time of slow growth coinciding with higher unemployment and rising inflation, renowned economist and New York University professor Nouriel Roubini said on Friday.

According to Roubini, who was among the first to predict the 2008 financial crisis, today’s situation may be even worse given the host of risks and “mega-threats” the world is facing.

“In the short term, there are [risks] related to the war in Ukraine, of course, to inflation and to the specter of a financial crisis which could arise in the next few months or in the next two or three years. Added to this are mega-threats likely to materialize more or less severely in the long term… starting with climate change… geopolitical tensions which could degenerate into nuclear war between great powers, and socio-political instability,” he said in an interview with the French news outlet Le Monde.

Roubini, dubbed ‘Doctor Doom’ by Wall Street, argued that the general consensus that inflationary pressures are temporary and that raising rates will temper soaring prices and provide for a “soft landing” of the economy is wrong.

I think the landing will not be soft but harsh, and associated with financial stress. Raising interest rates while the economy is losing momentum, with an overall level of debt much higher than in the 1970s, could cause a collapse in stock and bond markets, which could deepen the recession,” he stated.

According to the economist, “part of the solution will necessarily involve inflation, which reduces the debt burden.”

“I'm not saying inflation is desirable, but I don't see how to avoid it. The era of the great moderation is over, we are entering the great stagflation.”

Roubini also warned of a potential trade war between the West “and a group of revisionist powers,” namely Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, “which could lead to a fragmentation of globalization and a re-localization of production chains, increasing global insecurity.

The economist urged the global community to learn from history and mobilize forces to prevent a further worsening of the crisis.

We lived like zombies who go back to sleep despite the alarm ringing, and who have forgotten that history is not linear… The creation of major international institutions enabled us to reconnect with a period of relative peace and prosperity. But believing that such an era can last is a mistake… The main stages of grief are denial, anger, depression and acceptance. If we look our problems squarely in the face, we can wake up and start mobilizing, but we're still stuck somewhere between denial and anger.

Source: rt.com

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A Russian Soyuz MS-23 craft will travel to the International Space Station (ISS) without a crew so it can be used to evacuate Russian cosmonauts Dmitry Petelin and Sergey Prokopyev, as well as NASA astronaut Frank Rubio from orbit, Roscosmos chief Yury Borisov said on Wednesday.

Petelin, Prokopyev and Rubio, who have been at the station since September, were unable to return home as scheduled because of a coolant leak discovered weeks ago on the Soyuz MS-22 ship. The rising temperatures aboard the spacecraft, docked to the ISS, were quickly stabilized by the crew but the ship was still deemed unsafe to carry the trio back to Earth.

“The State Commission decided to launch the Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft on February 20, 2023 in unmanned mode,” Borisov announced, adding that the ship would still be delivering its intended cargo to orbit.

This means that the launch of Soyuz MS-23, which was scheduled to begin its 188-day mission in March, is being moved to an earlier date.

A plan to send at least one crew member aboard the ship had been discussed but ultimately was abandoned, as it would’ve taken longer to prepare due to the need to provide additional training to the cosmonaut and to make modifications to the ship, the space-agency chief explained.

As for the Soyuz MS-22, the experts have resolved that it’s going to make its way back to Earth in unmanned mode, he revealed.

However, this is not going to happen before the arrival of Soyuz MS-23 to the station, Borisov continued, as the damaged Soyuz MS-22 craft may still be needed to evacuate the crew in case of a “specially critical situation” at the station.

In order for Petelin, Prokopyev and Rubio to fly home aboard the Soyuz MS-22, Borisov said, their mission at the ISS would have to be prolonged.

US space agency NASA "has agreed with the conclusions of the [Russian] commission and confirmed their readiness to provide the necessary assistance,” he added.

The Roscosmos head also pointed out that studies by Russian experts revealed that the leak at the Soyuz MS-22 had nothing to do with faulty parts, but became a result of “a collision with [an] element of space debris of up to one millimeter in size at the speed of 7,000 meters per second.”

Source: rt.com

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The Satanic Temple group has announced on social media that SatanCon 2023 will take place at the end of April in Boston, Massachusetts. Dubbed the “largest Satanic gathering in history,” this year’s convention will celebrate the Temple’s tenth anniversary.

Those who show up to the ‘Hexennacht in Boston’ on April 28, will have to wear “an N-95, KN-95, or disposable surgical mask,”according to the convention website. Other details, such as the exact venue in the “historic downtown,” the schedule of events, or names of speakers, have yet to be provided.

After holding the first-ever SatanCon last year in Arizona, The Satanic Temple (TST) is moving the event closer to its international headquarters in nearby Salem, known for its “witch trials” in the late 1600s. The Temple claims it has around 2,500 members in the Boston area. 

The group insists it doesn’t actually believe in the devil, and its official mission is to “to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits.” 

They have also declared abortion a fundamental religious right, and argued that any state laws restricting the practice are unfairly discriminating against their members. After coming into the national spotlight due to that advocacy in 2020, the actual Church of Satan denounced TST as “a political activist group who uses scandalous language to get press attention.”

The Temple is best known for filing lawsuits against local and state authorities, claiming infringement of religious freedoms when their demands to deliver satanic invocations or display satanic statues on public property are rejected. In July 2021, it petitioned Boston to fly a flag outside the city hall for “Satan Appreciation Week,” but was turned down. The city went on to change its flag policy in October that year. 

Boston and the Massachusetts colony were originally founded by the Puritans, an austere Protestant sect that believed the Church of England was too similar to the Roman Catholic Church it had separated from.

Source: rt.com 

 

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The California Legislative Women’s Caucus rights group has called for UFC president Dana White’s resignation in an open letteraddressed to UFC parent company Endeavor after the release of a video which showed him striking his wife at a nightclub in Mexico on New Year’s Eve.

The letter, which is directed to Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel, calls for the “immediate removal of Mr. White as President of the UFC” and is co-signed by 18 state senators and 33 assemblywomen who comprise the political women’s advocacy group.

The head of a major sporting organization cannot claim to be for the safety of women while a video of him striking his wife continues to circulate online without a response from you,” the letter states.

“The hypocrisy is astounding. Enough is enough.”

The brief video clip which was originally published online by TMZ shows White, 53, engaged in a heated discussion before his wife, Anne, slaps him.

White immediately retaliates and slaps her back before the two are separated by bystanders.

Addressing the incident shortly afterwards to TMZ, White admitted that the two were heavily intoxicated and apologized for his actions, saying that there are “no excuses” for his role in the incident.

His wife Anne also told TMZ in a separate statement that the incident was an isolated one and that White has not acted in this manner previously.

Endeavor, as well as UFC broadcast partner ESPN, have yet to formally address the footage, with the California Legislative Women's Caucus describing their lack of comment as being “piercing and troubling.”

White, meanwhile, has recently been promoting the launch of a new show, Dana White’s Power Slap League, which broadcaster TBS has pushed back to a January 18 launch date from its originally intended debut on January 11.

Source: rt.com

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Washington is profiteering from the “economic war” against Moscow, Pierre de Gaulle has said

By fueling the Ukraine conflict and waging a pre-planned economic war against Russia, the US is making Europeans suffer, Pierre de Gaulle, the grandson of former French President Charles de Gaulle, has said.

After leading the French resistance against Nazi occupation during World War II, Charles de Gaulle founded the modern French political system and served as president from 1959 to 1969. His grandson, a strategy and corporate finance consultant, said he believes that the Ukraine conflict was incited by the West.

“I revolt and protest this intellectual dishonesty in the Ukraine crisis because the triggers of the war are the Americans and NATO,” Pierre de Gaulle told the Franco-Russian Dialogue Association last week.

“The United States, unfortunately, continues the military escalation, making not only the Ukrainian population suffer, but the European population as well.” 

The scale and the number of sanctions show that all of this was organized a long time in advance. It is an economic war, from which the Americans are the beneficiaries. The Americans sell their gas to Europeans for a price four to seven times higher than they do in their own country. 

The Western sanctions imposed on Russian fossil fuel exports have exacerbated the financial and energy crisis in Europe, making “everyone suffer in their daily lives,” de Gaulle said.

The Western sanctions imposed on Russian fossil fuel exports have exacerbated the financial and energy crisis in Europe, making “everyone suffer in their daily lives,” de Gaulle said.

He also accused former German Chancellor Angela Merkel of “knowingly contributing” to the conflict by “authorizing the Ukrainian nationalist expansion,” which came after the 2014 pro-Western coup in Kiev. The government that came to power that year sought to “annihilate Russian culture… and the ability to speak Russian” in the largely Russophone Donbass, he said.

The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) broke away from Ukraine following the 2014 coup. The 2014-15 Minsk accords, brokered by Germany, France, and Russia, were designed to provide a peaceful reintegration of the rebellious territories into Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin cited the need to protect the people of Donbass and Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk peace accords as reasons for launching the military operation in Ukraine in late February. The DPR and LPR, along with two other former Ukrainian territories, joined Russia after voting overwhelmingly in favor of the move in September.

Merkel, as well as former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko, stated last year that Kiev had used the accords to buy time in order to rebuild its military and economy.

Ukraine has adopted several laws since 2014 that restrict the use of the Russian language in the public sphere, including education and the media.

Source: rt.com

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Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates have admitted that Ukraine’s economy and military are almost completely reliant on bailouts from the West, and barring a dramatic turnaround, its chances of victory are slipping away.

Ukraine’s “economy is in a shambles,” the ex-diplomat and former Pentagon chief wrote in the Washington Post on Saturday.

The country’s “military capability and economy are now dependent almost entirely on lifelines from the West,” they continued, arguing that should Ukraine fail to mount a successful offensive in the near future, President Vladimir Zelensky will be pressured by the West to negotiate a ceasefire with Russian President Vladimir Putin – something the Ukrainian leader has repeatedly refused to consider.

With the frontline relatively static since autumn, Russian forces have ground down their Ukrainian opponents in fierce fighting near Bakhmut/Artyomovsk, with an American mercenary commander recently acknowledging that Ukraine is suffering “extraordinarily high casualties” in that sector, and Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada, Vadim Pristaiko, describing his side’s casualties as “huge” and “indigestible.”

Kiev has publicly proclaimed that it plans a major offensive in the spring, but Rice and Gates wrote that Ukraine may have “weeks, not months” to stay in the fight.

To that end, they advocated sending the country more and heavier weapons. Although the US has already allocated more than $110 billion in military and economic aid to Ukraine since February, they said Washington won’t send heavy tanks. Germany “and other allies”should fill this need instead, they argued.

The Biden administration announced on Friday that it would give Ukraine 50 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles – the most modern armor sent to Kiev so far – as part of a $3 billion weapons package. France also pledged a number of wheeled ‘light tanks’, and Germany promised 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles.

Nevertheless, Kiev says it needs more. In an interview with The Economist last month, Ukrainian general Valery Zaluzhny said he would need 300 more tanks, up to 700 infantry fighting vehicles, and 500 howitzers to conduct offensive operations. This is more than the number of such vehicles in the entire British or German inventory.

Russia, meanwhile, has repeatedly insisted that “pumping” Ukraine with weapons will ultimately have no effect on the outcome of the conflict and will only serve to prolong the hostilities and lead to more bloodshed.  
Source: rt.com

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Cristiano Ronaldo made a slip of the tongue as he was presented to the media by new team Al Nassr, saying he was in South Africa rather than Saudi Arabia.  

Ronaldo was unveiled at a glitzy ceremony in Riyadh on Tuesday, where he dismissed claims that heading to the Saudi league was a significant decline for a man who has insisted he is still capable of playing at the very top level.   

But while defending his Saudi move, Ronaldo appeared to confuse where he had landed, mistakenly telling the media: “It’s not the end of my career to come to South Africa.”

Apart from the geographical mishap, Ronaldo argued that he was as motivated as ever to be joining Al Nassr on a “unique” deal   

“In Europe my work is done. I won everything and played for the most important clubs in Europe. This is a new challenge,” said the five-time Ballon d’Or winner as he was presented at the Mrsool Park stadium.

Ronaldo has moved to the Middle East after his contract at Manchester United was terminated in November as the result of an explosive interview with UK television personality Piers Morgan.

The Portuguese star’s two-and-a-half-year deal with Al Nassr is said to be worth up to €200 million ($212 million) a season when commercial agreements are factored in – a sum believed to be a record for a footballer.

“I beat all the records there [in Europe]. I want to beat a few records here. This contract is unique but I’m a unique player, so for me it’s normal,” said Ronaldo.

“I really don’t worry about what people say. I am really, really happy to be here. I know the [Saudi] league is very competitive.”

Ronaldo claimed he had “given his word” to sign for Al Nassr despite supposedly receiving offers from elsewhere.

“Nobody knows this, but I had many opportunities in Europe, Brazil, Australia, America, Portugal, many clubs tried to sign me,” said the forward.

“I gave my word to this club. I want to give a different vision of this country and football. This is why I took this opportunity.”

Ronaldo concluded his deal with Al Nassr amid a split with longtime super-agent Jorge Mendes, according to reports in Portugal.  

The pair are said to have disagreed over the football star’s decision to go ahead with his incendiary interview with Morgan, which precipitated Ronaldo’s exit from Manchester United on the eve of the World Cup.

Portugal’s campaign in Qatar ended at the quarterfinal stage against Morocco, with Ronaldo leaving the pitch in tears and scoring just once at the tournament as he ended up being shunted to the sidelines by manager Fernando Santos.

Compounding matters, generational rival Lionel Messi went on to lead Argentina to their first World Cup success in 36 years.

In Riyadh on Tuesday, Ronaldo was greeted by his image adorning a multitude of billboards in the yellow and blue colors of nine-time Saudi Pro League winners Al Nassr.

Ronaldo has already trained with his new teammates ahead of the next game for Rudi Garcia’s men against Al Ta’ee on Thursday at the 25,000-seater Mrsool Park.

Source:rt.com

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Rabat - Morocco’s Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita met the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell on Thursday, as the two affirmed their intentions to up cooperation in 2023.

“This is a visit that paves the way for a year of very dense, very rich cooperation between Morocco and the European Union,” Bourita said during a joint press conference.

Morocco received a large number of EU officials throughout 2022, indicating that Rabat and Brussels have strengthened their agreements in all sectors, especially immigration and economic development.

Bourita described the EU as a “first choice” strategic partner for Morocco, adding that his discussion with Borrell included ways to “enrich” the partnership.

He specified that they looked into ways to reinforce political dialogue, security cooperation, and trilateral cooperation with Africa and the Middle East.

For his part, Borrell stressed the importance of the relations between the EU and Morocco, specifying that with over 5 million Moroccans living in Europe, the North African country is one of their most “dynamic” partners.

The EU Chief diplomat added that he and Bourita discussed geopolitical issues and conflicts, focusing on the effect that Russia’s military action in Ukraine has had on Europe and the world and stressing that Morocco remains an important partner for the EU on those matters.

“We have a lot of subjects to explore,” Borrellconcluded. “Allow me to underline once more that we should focus on common gains to explore a more amicable future.”

The EU has long been one of Morocco’s biggest trade and security partners, thanks in part to the geographic proximity between the two.

Trade between Brussels and Rabat has tripled over the past 10 years, Morocco’s Head of Government Aziz Akhannouch said on Thursday.

Source: moroccoworldnews 

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Mikhail Podoliak, the top aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, has urged Israel to overtly side with Kiev after the new foreign minister said he would “talk less” about the conflict and held a phone call with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.

“You can talk less, but the main thing is to take the right side,” Podoliak told Israeli outlet i24on Thursday, insisting that Russia “started the war on its own initiative and without provocation.”

“We need to talk a lot about this kind of war, because it is a genocidal war,” Podoliak also said, seemingly contradicting his own argument.

Zelensky’s outspoken adviser was reacting to remarks by Eli Cohen, Israel’s new foreign minister, who said on Tuesday that the Jewish state intends to continue sending “significant humanitarian aid” to Ukraine but “talk less” in public about the “Russia-Ukraine issue.”

Kiev’s ambassador in Tel Aviv, Evgeny Korniychuk, swiftly complained about the perceived change in Israeli policy, pointing out that Cohen took a call from Lavrov while his predecessor had refused to do so. 

“Israel is unique in terms of our partners. It remains silent,” he told local media, asking for a direct condemnation of alleged Russian actions.

Podoliak took a different tack from the ambassador, complementing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a potential go-between in eventual peace talks between Ukraine and Russia.

“I have no doubt that Netanyahu can be an effective mediator since he understands precisely what modern wars are and what is the essence of mediation under these conditions,” Zelensky’s adviser told i24.

“Israel, which is constantly in a state of war from various entities, has the basic principles of protecting its territory, its right, and its freedom. Therefore, it would be desirable to focus on supplying aid to Ukraine,” he added.

He also argued that “it is not desirable” for Israel “to have relations with Russia with its current regime,” both from the historical standpoint “and the point of view of the country’s development in the future.”

Ukraine has attempted for months to pressure Israel into sending it weapons, most of all the Iron Dome air defense system. In October, Korniychuk enlisted US assistance in the effort, but to little avail. The previous government said Israel simply doesn’t have the industrial capability to do so. 

Source: rt.com

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