The NHS Just Edited Their Monkeypox Page… To Make It Scarier

The NHS Just Edited Their Monkeypox Page… To Make It Scarier

Via Off-Guardian.org,

A few days ago the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) edited their Monkeypox page to alter the narrative in a few key ways.

Firstly, they removed a paragraph from the “How do you get Monkeypox?” section.

Up until a few days ago, according to archived links, the Monkeypox page said this, regarding person-to-person tranmission [emphasis added]:

It’s very uncommon to get monkeypox from a person with the infection because it does not spread easily between people.

…this has now been totally removed.

Secondly, they’ve removed this paragraph, which was present up until at least November of 2021 (and maybe much more recently, there are no archives between November and May) [emphasis added]:

[Monkeypox] is usually a mild illness that will get better on its own without treatment. Some people can develop more serious symptoms, so patients with monkeypox in the UK are cared for in specialist hospitals.

The new “treatment” paragraph reads [again, emphasis added]…

Treatment for monkeypox aims to relieve symptoms. The illness is usually mild and most people recover in 2 to 4 weeks […] You may need to stay in a specialist hospital, so your symptoms can be treated and to prevent the infection spreading to other people.

So, they remove that it will “get better on its own”, and again reinforce the idea of spreading the disease despite this being described as “very uncommon” as recently as last week.

They even add a line about self-isolating, which was never mentioned before:

as monkeypox can spread if there is close contact, you will need to be isolated if you’re diagnosed with it.

Finally, they now include a warning you can get Monkeypox by eating undercooked meat, which will doubtless feed into the anti-meat narrative too (oh, wait, it already is).

To sum up, history is being re-written a little here.

Before, monkeypox “did not spread easily between people”. Now it does.

Before, monkeypox would “get better on its own without treatment”. Now it won’t.

It’s early days to say that Monkeypox is going to be the “new Covid”, and maybe this rollout will stall and be forgotten in a couple of weeks, but there’s no doubt they are taking some tips from the Covid playbook so far.

Tyler Durden
Thu, 05/26/2022 – 03:30

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/QJCbcGZ Tyler Durden

Putin Authorizes ‘Fast-Tracked’ Russian Citizenship For Occupied Ukrainian Territories

Putin Authorizes ‘Fast-Tracked’ Russian Citizenship For Occupied Ukrainian Territories

In the biggest indicator thus far in the over three-month long war in Ukraine that Russia intends to likely fully annex territory in the East and South, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday signed a decree which allows residents of Russian-occupied Kherson and Zaporizhzhia to gain fast-tracked Russian citizenship.

Already the same policy is currently in effect for the breakaway eastern republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, the latter which is now reported to be almost completely in Russian forces’ control, as final battles with Ukrainian fighters are centered in the Luhansk cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk.

Woman with dual passports in Simferopol, Crimea. Via Reuters

Since 2019 an estimated 200,000 people in the two far eastern regions have gained Russian passports through the policy, which is now being extended to the Russian-controlled southern cities.

“Citizens of Ukraine, the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), or the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR), permanently residing in the territory of the DNR, LNR, the Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine or the Kherson region of Ukraine, have the right to apply for citizenship of the Russian Federation in a simplified manner,” the decree reads.

Ukraine was swift to condemn the move as a violation of its sovereignty and of international law and norms. Its foreign ministry said, “The illegal issuing of passports… is a flagrant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as norms and principles of international humanitarian law.”

Meanwhile also on Wednesday Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky slammed the door on the idea of making territorial concessions for the sake of ending the war.

“It’s possible if Russia shows at least something. When I say at least something, I mean pulling back troops to where they were before Feb. 24,” which marked the start of the invasion. He even said on Tuesday that Russia must hand back Crimea as well. He put the ball in Moscow’s court, saying it must “shift from the bloody war to diplomacy” if it hopes for the war to end.

Meanwhile, concerning its standoff with Washington and the West on the question of making sovereign debt payments with the ruble, the Bank of Russia according to Bloomberg “moved up its next interest-rate meeting by more than two weeks to Thursday as currency controls and high commodity prices have fueled the ruble’s surge against the dollar.”

Per the report it’s expected that “Moscow may make foreign debt payments in local currency after the US Treasury Department let a waiver expire, pushing Russia closer to a default.”

Tyler Durden
Thu, 05/26/2022 – 02:45

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/F1ozVyR Tyler Durden

Escobar: NATO vs Russia – What Happens Next

Escobar: NATO vs Russia – What Happens Next

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Cradle,

In Davos and beyond, NATO’s upbeat narrative plays like a broken record, while on the ground, Russia is stacking up wins that could sink the Atlantic order…

Three months after the start of Russia’s Operation Z in Ukraine, the battle of The West (12 percent) against The Rest (88 percent) keeps metastasizing. Yet the narrative – oddly – remains the same.

On Monday, from Davos, World Economic Forum Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab introduced Ukrainian comedian-cum-President Volodymyr Zelensky, on the latest leg of his weapons-solicitation-tour, with a glowing tribute. Herr Schwab stressed that an actor impersonating a president defending neo-Nazis is supported by “all of Europe and the international order.”

He means, of course, everyone except the 88 percent of the planet that subscribes to the Rule of Law – instead of the faux construct the west calls a ‘rules-based international order.’

Back in the real world, Russia, slowly but surely has been rewriting the Art of Hybrid War. Yet within the carnival of NATO psyops, aggressive cognitive infiltration, and stunning media sycophancy, much is being made of the new $40 billion US ‘aid’ package to Ukraine, deemed capable of becoming a game-changer in the war.

This ‘game-changing’ narrative comes courtesy of the same people who burned though trillions of dollars to secure Afghanistan and Iraq. And we saw how that went down.

Ukraine is the Holy Grail of international corruption. That $40 billion can be a game-changer for only two classes of people: First, the US military-industrial complex, and second, a bunch of Ukrainian oligarchs and neo-connish NGOs, that will corner the black market for weapons and humanitarian aid, and then launder the profits in the Cayman Islands.

A quick breakdown of the $40 billion reveals $8.7 billion will go to replenish the US weapons stockpile (thus not going to Ukraine at all); $3.9 billion for USEUCOM (the ‘office’ that dictates military tactics to Kiev); $5 billion for a fuzzy, unspecified “global food supply chain”; $6 billion for actual weapons and “training” to Ukraine; $9 billion in “economic assistance” (which will disappear into selected pockets); and $0.9 billion for refugees.

US risk agencies have downgraded Kiev to the dumpster of non-reimbursing-loan entities, so large American investment funds are ditching Ukraine, leaving the European Union (EU) and its member-states as the country’s only option.

Few of those countries, apart from Russophobic entities such as Poland, can justify to their own populations sending huge sums of direct aid to a failed state. So it will fall to the Brussels-based EU machine to do just enough to maintain Ukraine in an economic coma – independent from any input from member-states and institutions.

These EU ‘loans’ – mostly in the form of weapons shipments – can always be reimbursed by Kiev’s wheat exports. This is already happening on a small scale via the port of Constanta in Romania, where Ukrainian wheat arrives in barges over the Danube and is loaded into dozens of cargo ships everyday. Or, via convoys of trucks rolling with the weapons-for-wheat racket. However, Ukrainian wheat will keep feeding the wealthy west, not impoverished Ukrainians.

Moreover, expect NATO this summer to come up with another monster psyop to defend its divine (not legal) right to enter the Black Sea with warships to escort Ukrainian vessels transporting wheat. Pro-NATO media will spin it as the west being ‘saved’ from the global food crisis – which happens to be directly caused by serial, hysterical packages of western sanctions.

Poland goes for soft annexation

NATO is indeed massively ramping up its ‘support’ to Ukraine via the western border with Poland. That’s in synch with Washington’s two overarching targets: First, a ‘long war,’ insurgency-style, just like Afghanistan in the 1980s, with jihadis replaced by mercenaries and neo-Nazis.  Second, the sanctions instrumentalized to “weaken” Russia, militarily and economically.

Other targets remain unchanged, but are subordinate to the Top Two: make sure that the Democrats are re-elected in the mid-terms (that’s not going to happen); irrigate the industrial-military complex with funds that are recycled back as kickbacks (already happening); and keep the hegemony of the US dollar by all means (tricky: the multipolar world is getting its act together).

A key target being met with astonishing ease is the destruction of the German – and consequently the EU’s – economy, with a great deal of the surviving companies to be eventually sold off to American interests.

Take, for instance, BMW board member Milan Nedeljkovic telling Reuters that “our industry accounts for about 37 percent of natural gas consumption in Germany” which will sink without Russian gas supplies.

Washington’s plan is to keep the new ‘long war’ going at a not-too-incandescent level – think Syria during the 2010s – fueled by rows of mercenaries, and featuring periodic NATO escalations by anyone from Poland and the Baltic midgets to Germany.

Last week, that pitiful Eurocrat posing as High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, gave away the game when previewing the upcoming meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council.

Borrell admitted that “the conflict will be long” and “the priority of the EU member states” in Ukraine “consists in the supply of heavy weapons.”

Then Polish President Andrzej Duda met with Zelensky in Kiev. The slew of agreements the two signed indicate that Warsaw intends to profit handsomely from the war to enhance its politico-military, economic, and cultural influence in western Ukraine. Polish nationals will be allowed to be elected to Ukrainian government bodies and even aim to become constitutional judges.

In practice, that means Kiev is all but transferring management of the Ukrainian failed state to Poland. Warsaw won’t even have to send troops. Call it a soft annexation.

The steamroller on the move

As it stands, the situation on the battlefield can be examined in this map. Intercepted communications from the Ukrainian command reveal their aim to build a layered defense from Poltava through Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhia, Krivoy Rog, and Nikolaev – which happens to be a shield for the already fortified Odessa. None of that guarantees success against the incoming Russian onslaught.

It’s always important to remember that Operation Z started on February 24 with around 150,000 or so fighters – and definitely not Russia’s elite forces. And yet they liberated Mariupol and destroyed the elite neo-Nazi Azov batallion in a matter of only fifty days, cleaning up a city of 400,000 people with minimal casualties.

While fighting a real war on the ground – not those indiscriminate US bombings from the air – in a huge country against a large army, facing multiple technical, financial and logistical challenges, the Russians also managed to liberate Kherson, Zaporizhia and virtually the whole area of the ‘baby twins,’ the popular republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Russia’s ground forces commander, General Aleksandr Dvornikov, has turbo-charged missile, artillery and air strikes to a pace five times faster than during the first phase of Operation Z, while the Ukrainians, overall, are low or very low on fuel, ammo for artillery, trained specialists, drones, and radars.

What American armchair and TV generals simply cannot comprehend is that in Russia’s view of this war – which military expert Andrei Martyanov defines as a “combined arms and police operation” – the two top targets are the destruction of all military assets of the enemy while preserving the life of its own soldiers.

So while losing tanks is not a big deal for Moscow, losing lives is. And that accounts for those massive Russian bombings; each military target must be conclusively destroyed. Precision strikes are crucial.

There is a raging debate among Russian military experts on why the Ministry of Defense does not go for a fast strategic victory. They could have reduced Ukraine to rubble – American style – in no time. That’s not going to happen. The Russians prefer to advance slowly and surely, in a sort of steamroller pattern. They only advance after sappers have fully surveilled the terrain; after all there are mines everywhere.

The overall pattern is unmistakable, whatever the NATO spin barrage. Ukrainian losses are becoming exponential – as many as 1,500 killed or wounded each day, everyday. If there are 50,000 Ukrainians in the several Donbass cauldrons, they will be gone by the end of June.

Ukraine must have lost as many as 20,000 soldiers in and around Mariupol alone. That’s a massive military defeat, largely surpassing Debaltsevo in 2015 and previously Ilovaisk in 2014. The losses near Izyum may be even higher than in Mariupol. And now come the losses in the Severodonetsk corner.

We’re talking here about the best Ukrainian forces. It doesn’t even matter that only 70 percent of Western weapons sent by NATO ever make it to the battlefield: the major problem is that the best soldiers are going…going…gone, and won’t be replaced. Azov neo-Nazis, the 24th Brigade, the 36th Brigade, various Air Assault brigades – they all suffered losses of 60+ percent or have been completely demolished.

So the key question, as several Russian military experts have stressed, is not when Kiev will ‘lose’ as a point of no return; it is how many soldiers Moscow is prepared to lose to get to this point.

The entire Ukrainian defense is based on artillery. So the key battles ahead involve long-range artillery. There will be problems, because the US is about to deliver M270 MLRS systems with precision-guided ammunition, capable of hitting targets at a distance of up to 70 kilometers or more.

Russia, though, has a counterpunch: the Hermes Small Operational-Tactical Complex, using high precision munitions, possibility of laser guidance, and a range of more than 100 kilometers. And they can work in conjunction with the already mass-produced Pantsir air defense systems.

The sinking ship

Ukraine, within its current borders, is already a thing of the past. Georgy Muradov, permanent representative of Crimea to the President of Russia and Deputy Prime Minister of the Crimean government, is adamant: “Ukraine in the form in which it was, I think, will no longer remain. This is already the former Ukraine.”

The Sea of ​​Azov has now become a “sea of ​​joint use” by Russia and the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), as confirmed by Muradov.

Mariupol will be restored. Russia has had plenty of experience in this business in both Grozny and Crimea. The Russia-Crimea land corridor is on. Four hospitals among five in Mariupol have already reopened and public transportation is back, as well as three gas stations.

The imminent loss of Severodonetsk and Lysichansk will ring serious alarm bells in Washington and Brussels, because that will represent the beginning of the end of the current regime in Kiev. And that, for all practical purposes – and beyond all the lofty rhetoric of “the west stands with you” – means heavy players won’t be exactly encouraged to bet on a sinking ship.

On the sanctions front, Moscow knows exactly what to expect, as detailed by Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov: “Russia proceeds from the fact that sanctions against it are a rather long-term trend, and from the fact that the pivot to Asia, the acceleration of reorientation to eastern markets, to Asian markets is a strategic direction for Russia. We will make every effort to integrate into value chains precisely together with Asian countries, together with Arab countries, together with South America.”

On efforts to “intimidate Russia,” players would be wise to listen to the hypersonic sound of 50 Sarmat state-of-the-art missiles ready for combat this autumn, as explained by Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin.

This week’s meetings in Davos brings to light another alignment forming in the world’s overarching unipolar vs. multipolar battle. Russia, the baby twins, Chechnya and allies such as Belarus are now pitted against ‘Davos leaders’ – in other words, the combined western elite, with a few exceptions like Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Zelensky will be fine. He’s protected by British and American special forces. The family is reportedly living in an $8 million mansion in Israel. He owns a $34 million villa in Miami Beach, and another in Tuscany. Average Ukrainians were lied to, robbed, and in many cases, murdered, by the Kiev gang he presides over – oligarchs, security service (SBU) fanatics, neo-Nazis. And those Ukrainians that remain (10 million have already fled) will continue to be treated as expendable.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir “the new Hitler” Putin is in absolutely no hurry to end this larger than life drama that is ruining and rotting the already decaying west to its core. Why should he? He tried everything, since 2007, on the “why can’t we get along” front. Putin was totally rejected. So now it’s time to sit back, relax, and watch the Decline of the West.

Tyler Durden
Thu, 05/26/2022 – 02:00

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/qDIjJ3k Tyler Durden

Gun Rights Are More Important Than False Security And Appeasing Leftists

Gun Rights Are More Important Than False Security And Appeasing Leftists

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.us,

If there is one Holy Grail target that the political left obsesses over more that anything else, it is getting their hands on the 2nd Amendment and molding it to their will or erasing it forever.

The pursuit of American gun rights is paramount to them, beyond critical race theory, beyond gender politics, even beyond the abortion debate. The problem for them is that ever since the Obama era they have consistently hit a brick wall in terms of convincing the general public to give another inch of ground when it comes to gun control.

To be sure, there are many reasons for this that coincide.

First, the credit crash of 2008 opened many people’s eyes to the possibility that the economic systems we take for granted today could disappear tomorrow. Gun rights were no longer a matter of “tradition,” but a matter of necessity.

If the system breaks down and emergency services are overwhelmed or disappear then the only person you can rely on to protect your family is you. Mortal realities always win over emotional and reactionary demands. In other words, the benefits of individual self protection greatly outweigh any potential risks of criminality or abuse.

Second, the advent of the covid mandates, lockdowns and the blatant attempts to implement vaccine passport tyranny upon half the population of this country yet again reinforced the idea that gun rights are more important than ever. Without the unified refusal to comply by conservatives and some moderate Americans, it is highly likely that our nation would be in the same situation as China is right now – A pointless cycle of lockdowns, authoritarian denial of basic services for people that refuse to submit to a highly experimental mRNA vaccine, and even worse supply chain disruptions and financial instability than we already have.

Make no mistake, the reason the US is mostly free from these draconian conditions today is because of the continued existence of the 2nd Amendment and an armed citizenry. Without these things, there is no longer any obstacle to enforcing whatever unconstitutional provisions the establishment wants.

Third, with the advent of the BLM riots, inflationary pressures and rising crime rates, there has been a renewed interest in gun ownership in the US among normies. It’s not just a conservative trend, many democrats have suddenly taken an interest also.

There is very little chance that increased gun restrictions are going to happen with the approval of the public. The only way it could even be attempted is through executive order, and many millions of Americans will simply say ‘no’, just as they did with the vaccine passports.

And, let’s be clear about what is really going on: The intention of political elites and the left is not “reasonable gun control.” Their purpose is indeed confiscation.

Incrementalism is the name of the game. Lets not forget what we saw with the covid passports – At first they claimed that there were no plans to institute anything like a vaccine passport system. They said this was “conspiracy theory.” Then, not more than a year later Biden tried to enforce proof of vaccination through executive order. Suddenly, it wasn’t conspiracy theory anymore.

The same strategy has been attempted with gun rights in the past, and they will try to do it again. As with every other Western nation that has restricted gun ownership down to almost nothing, they start with the “scary” semi-auto weapons and work their way down until you have nothing left. Or, until only people with considerable money have the ability to purchase a firearm (which is the case through most of Europe).

I suspect that leftists are not fully opposed to the idea of gun ownership as they often pretend to be. I think they would actually like to retain their own guns if possible, they just don’t want people like you and I to have them. Selective gun confiscation would be their ideal, which is the same exact strategy used by the Nazis, who selectively outlawed gun ownership for Jewish citizens and anyone politically opposed to the Third Reich but let all other Germans keep their weapons.

I would note that whenever gun crimes and mass murders are committed by people that are ideologically opposed to conservatives, the media and leftists often conveniently stop caring about taking action. They only seem to care when the crime can be associated with their political enemies.

We all know that leftists constantly argue that conservatives are inherently dangerous. It only takes one more step for them to claim that conservative thought is in itself a “mental illness” and that our guns should be taken by default. But let’s talk about REAL mental illness for a moment, shall we?

Let’s talk about recent active shooters like Payton Gendron with bizarre political and ideological beliefs that have nothing to do with conservative principles. Democrats like AOC and Chuck Schumer immediately tried to link Gendron, the Buffalo grocery store shooter, to conservatives and the Republican party. Yet, in only a few days time they were suddenly silent about the whole event and the media was oddly quiet. But why?

As it turns out, Gendron’s philosophies were entirely socialist, with tinges of fascism and communism within the same framework. In fact, Gendron stated on multiple occasions that he hated conservatives and identified himself as an “eco-fascist.” He also had a history of reports concerning his mental health and safety. The media’s focus on “replacement theory” was a clear distraction from the real issue at hand. Their assertion was that if you are critical of illegal immigration, then you are automatically a racist and share an ideological boat with people like Payton Gendron. But then, their narrative fell apart when it became obvious that Gendron was actually anti-conservative.

In the case of Salvador Ramos, details are still emerging about the Texas school shooter and his affiliations, but some information has been leaked despite the media’s quick move to control the narrative. For example, Ramos is not the white conservative monster the leftists need to fulfill their narrative requirements. Photos are also in circulation allegedly taken from his social media accounts which suggest he was transgendered and identified as “they/them.” I’ll stress here though that his social media accounts have been completely scrubbed and right now there is no way to confirm that this claim is true. Why his accounts were removed so quickly is not clear, but surely we will know more in the next couple of days.

Leftists are swiftly moving to refute any possibility that Ramos was transgendered; maybe they are right, maybe not. They were also very quick to deny that Darrell Brooks Jr., the mass killer that ran down a parade of people with his car in Waukesha, WI, was a supporter of BLM. But, as it turned out initial reports by internet sleuths were correct. Suddenly, leftists were fielding arguments that he was “pushed” to commit the crime by “institutional racism.”

If it turns out that Ramos did in fact identify as trans, then the media message will surely change once again. I have no doubt there will be a move to defend Ramos as a tragic figure, rather than a monster, and the blame will be placed on the state of Texas and their legislative actions to stop transgender policies from invading their public school system.

The point is, there is no connection between gun rights supporters or conservatives and gun crime as leftists often claim. I can find just as many if not more incidences of mass murder perpetrated by leftists.

The common thread between all of these killers and events is not guns or gun rights. Rather, it is blatant signs of mental illness and ideological zealotry. The media will not address this issue, and political puppets like Joe Biden will not address it either. Remember, the goal is gun confiscation, not public safety. If they actually cared about public safety then the mental illness connection would not be ignored.

It is also important to point out that such tragedies are not limited to the US as some gun grabbers would like you to believe. Numerous mass murder incidences have taken place in Europe and Asia despite strict gun control. Many people have forgotten the mass murder of French citizens in Paris in November of 2015 by Islamic militants with AK47s. Or, how about the mass killing of Spanish citizens by Muslim terrorists in Barcelona in 2017 using a moving truck?

Another factor which is almost always present during mass murder events is that most of them occur in gun free zones; places where carrying by law abiding citizens is denied or frowned upon. If we are going to address the issue of mass murder, we cannot ignore the commonalities of mental illness and gun free areas. The existence of guns in civilian hands is not the problem, if it were then mass murders would be a daily occurrence in every community in the country. However, this does not stop leftists from trying to exploit every tragedy as an opportunity to attack gun rights.

They don’t care about nuance or honest solutions, they just want guns out of the hands of people they don’t like. The establishment also wants guns out of public hands for obvious reasons; it makes it much easier to erode other parts of the constitution when the 2nd Amendment is no longer a deterrent. Joe Biden argues that Americans “need to stand up to the gun lobby” in the wake of the Texas shooting, but the gun lobby has nothing to do with these events either. The biggest gun lobby in the US is the American people standing in defense of their freedoms, and they have committed no crime.

At bottom, no gun owner or gun rights advocate is to blame for what happened in New York or Texas this past week. We didn’t commit the crimes, but the assertion is that we should be punished anyway. Well, I’m not going to allow that, and millions of conservatives and liberty minded people are not going to allow it. The appeal for new gun control measures and confiscation is aimed at the political left, and it is designed to make them feel better about the reality of tragedy. It’s a false silver bullet solution (no pun intended). It doesn’t address the real causes of mass violence, it only makes us more vulnerable to it.

Frankly, I don’t care if leftists feel better, or feel like they accomplished something when they did not. I also know that increased gun control is exciting to many of them simply because it goes against the values of people they hate – i.e. conservatives. The fact is this: No matter what tragedy arises, our right to self defense overall is more important than appeasing the emotions of the moment. We won’t be giving up our guns. It’s not going to happen. They think we will capitulate given enough threats or enough pressure, and they are wrong. It will not end well for them.

Other solutions need to be explored because the path to a revision or erasure of the 2nd Amendment, whether by legislation or by executive order, is nothing more than a path to civil war. It’s time to move on from the foolish notion that taking away guns from everyone (or just the people we disagree with politically) solves the underlying causes of mass murder. It doesn’t remove the motivation, nor does it even remove the means, it only sets the stage for a conflict that leftists will find impossible to win.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden
Wed, 05/25/2022 – 23:40

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/diSVB2F Tyler Durden

China Builds World’s First AI-Powered Drone Carrier For Maritime Operations 

China Builds World’s First AI-Powered Drone Carrier For Maritime Operations 

The latest observation of how China aims to use artificial intelligence to conquer the Pacific is the launching of the world’s first autonomous drone carrier. 

According to the South China Morning Post, the intelligent, unmanned 88-meter drone carrier named Zhu Hai Yun will bring revolutionary changes to ocean surveillance, deploying a swarm of aerial, sea, and or submersible drones. 

The Zhu Hai Yun is powered by an artificial intelligence system called the Intelligent Mobile Ocean Stereo Observing System (IMOSOS). The vessel can navigate autonomously in open water and or be controlled remotely while releasing various types of drones. 

“The intelligent, unmanned ship is a beautiful, new ‘marine species’ that will bring revolutionary changes for ocean observation,” Chen Dake, director of the laboratory responsible for the ship, was quoted as saying by the Science and Technology Daily in 2021 when the shipbuilding began. 

The ship was built by Guangzhou of the Huangpu Wenchong Shipyard, a subsidiary of China’s top shipbuilding company, the China State Shipbuilding Corporation. Sea trials will happen in the second half of the year. 

Aside from these civilian uses, the drone carrier could be used for military operations. 

Suppose the autonomous drone carrier is transferred to the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). In that case, it could be used as a surveillance craft to patrol the country’s militarized islands in the South China Sea.

China’s primary strategy is to defeat the US by expanding its artificial intelligence military capabilities. So this could be the beginning of the world’s second-largest superpower building out a fleet of intelligent drone carriers to patrol highly contested waters. 

Meanwhile, the US Navy has piloted drone ships in the Pacific, though only equipped for anti-submarine warfare

Tyler Durden
Wed, 05/25/2022 – 23:20

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/F4HV1y3 Tyler Durden

Nuland-Pyatt Ukraine Coup Tape Removed From YouTube After 8 Years

Nuland-Pyatt Ukraine Coup Tape Removed From YouTube After 8 Years

Authored by Joe Lauria via Consortium News,

The smoking gun proving US involvement in the 2014 coup in Kiev has been removed from YouTube after eight years. It was the most complete version of the intercepted and leaked conversation between then Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt, the then US ambassador to Ukraine, in which the two discuss who will make up the new government weeks before democratically-elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown in a violent coup on Feb. 21, 2014. 

The US State Department never denied the authenticity of the video, and even issued an apology to the European Union after Nuland is heard on the tape saying, “Fuck the E.U.” Mainstream media at the time focused almost exclusively on that off-color remark, ignoring the greater significance of U.S. interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs. 

Consortium News has numerous times embedded the YouTube video in articles about the overthrow of Yanukovych. CN successfully embedded it earlier this week in an article now being written, but on Wednesday the video suddenly appeared this way in the draft article: 

This is a screenshot taken earlier from the video that has now been removed. 

Nuland in screenshot from now removed YouTube video.

Timing of Removal

The removal of a video that had existed online for eight years raises major questions as it comes during the war in Ukraine. Corporate media has studiously avoided mentioning the causes of the current conflict, including NATO eastward expansion, the rejected Moscow treaty proposals in December, the civil war in Donbass and the 2014 coup in Kiev that led to the Donbass uprising and violent repression by the coup government. 

The coup in 2014 is the starting point that led to all these events culminating in Russia’s invasion in February. Removing the video would be consistent with the suppression of any information that falls outside the enforced narrative of events in Ukraine, including whitewashing any mention of the U.S.-backed coup. 

It was the original, most complete, and widely viewed recording of the call on YouTube:

Transcript Still Online

The BBC on Feb. 7, 2014 — 14 days before Yanukovych was toppled- — published a transcript of the Nuland-Pyatt conversation. Consortium News is republishing the transcript here, lest it be removed from the internet as well:

* * *

Voice thought to be Nuland’s: What do you think?

Voice thought to be Pyatt’s: I think we’re in play. The Klitschko [Vitaly Klitschko, one of three main opposition leaders] piece is obviously the complicated electron here. Especially the announcement of him as deputy prime minister and you’ve seen some of my notes on the troubles in the marriage right now so we’re trying to get a read really fast on where he is on this stuff. But I think your argument to him, which you’ll need to make, I think that’s the next phone call you want to set up, is exactly the one you made to Yats [Arseniy Yatseniuk, another opposition leader]. And I’m glad you sort of put him on the spot on where he fits in this scenario. And I’m very glad that he said what he said in response.

Nuland: Good. I don’t think Klitsch should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea.

Pyatt: Yeah. I guess… in terms of him not going into the government, just let him stay out and do his political homework and stuff. I’m just thinking in terms of sort of the process moving ahead we want to keep the moderate democrats together. The problem is going to be Tyahnybok [Oleh Tyahnybok, the other opposition leader] and his guys and I’m sure that’s part of what [President Viktor] Yanukovych is calculating on all this.

Nuland: [Breaks in] I think Yats is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the… what he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week, you know. I just think Klitsch going in… he’s going to be at that level working for Yatseniuk, it’s just not going to work.

Pyatt: Yeah, no, I think that’s right. OK. Good. Do you want us to set up a call with him as the next step?

Nuland: My understanding from that call – but you tell me – was that the big three were going into their own meeting and that Yats was going to offer in that context a… three-plus-one conversation or three-plus-two with you. Is that not how you understood it?

Pyatt: No. I think… I mean that’s what he proposed but I think, just knowing the dynamic that’s been with them where Klitschko has been the top dog, he’s going to take a while to show up for whatever meeting they’ve got and he’s probably talking to his guys at this point, so I think you reaching out directly to him helps with the personality management among the three and it gives you also a chance to move fast on all this stuff and put us behind it before they all sit down and he explains why he doesn’t like it.

Nuland: OK, good. I’m happy. Why don’t you reach out to him and see if he wants to talk before or after.

Pyatt: OK, will do. Thanks.

Nuland: OK… one more wrinkle for you Geoff. [A click can be heard] I can’t remember if I told you this, or if I only told Washington this, that when I talked to Jeff Feltman [United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs] this morning, he had a new name for the UN guy Robert Serry did I write you that this morning?

Pyatt: Yeah I saw that.

Nuland: OK. He’s now gotten both Serry and [UN Secretary General] Ban Ki-moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday. So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and to have the UN help glue it and, you know, Fuck the EU.

Pyatt: No, exactly. And I think we’ve got to do something to make it stick together because you can be pretty sure that if it does start to gain altitude, that the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it. And again the fact that this is out there right now, I’m still trying to figure out in my mind why Yanukovych (garbled) that. In the meantime there’s a Party of Regions faction meeting going on right now and I’m sure there’s a lively argument going on in that group at this point. But anyway we could land jelly side up on this one if we move fast. So let me work on Klitschko and if you can just keep… we want to try to get somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing. The other issue is some kind of outreach to Yanukovych but we probably regroup on that tomorrow as we see how things start to fall into place.

Nuland: So on that piece Geoff, when I wrote the note [US vice-president’s national security adviser Jake] Sullivan’s come back to me VFR [direct to me], saying you need [US Vice-President Joe] Biden and I said probably tomorrow for an atta-boy and to get the deets [details] to stick. So Biden’s willing.

Pyatt: OK. Great. Thanks.

Tyler Durden
Wed, 05/25/2022 – 23:00

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/0toVrBS Tyler Durden

10,000 Truck Drivers Taken Off The Road Due To Marijuana Violations

10,000 Truck Drivers Taken Off The Road Due To Marijuana Violations

Five years ago in 2017, when the US labor shortage was in its nascent stages and when the US was years away from a wage-price spiral, the Fed’s Beige Book surveys of economic activity across the country in April, May and July all noted the inability of employers to find workers able to pass drug screenings: “It’s not just a matter of labor participation; there is also a lot of collateral economic damage,” said Alan B. Krueger, a Princeton economist who wrote a widely discussed paper on the subject last year. In other words, too many people were high 24/7 to be gainfully employed.

Well, fast forward to today when with the US in the depth of the biggest labor crisis in history, when there are almost two job openings for every unemployed worker (according to the latest JOLTs report), we learn that just marijuana violations have taken over 10,000 truck drivers off the road this year, adding more to unprecedented supply chain disruptions.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has been the catalyst for a myriad of supply-chain challenges, including delayed packages, bare grocery store shelves, and inflated prices, there are other bottlenecks also causing supply chain issues, including a lack of truck drivers to transport goods from one place to another. In late 2021, the American Trucking Associations reported that the driver shortage had risen to an all-time high of 80,000, partly due to the aging population and shrinking wages.

In response, the Biden administration vowed in December to get more truck drivers on the road by boosting recruitment efforts and expediting the issuing of commercial licenses. However, that won’t have an effect on another hurdle: disparate marijuana laws across the U.S. that are contributing to an increase in violations. According to KPLC News, in 2022, a growing number of truckers are being taken off the job, which could soon worsen the already suffering supply chain.

As more states legalize recreational marijuana—four of which did so in the past year and three more are expected to by the end of 2022—more truck drivers have tested positive for the substance. As of April 1, 2022, 10,276 commercial vehicle drivers have tested positive for marijuana use. By the same time in 2021, there had been 7,750 violations. That’s a 32.6% increase year over year.

Truck drivers who travel cross-country face inconsistent state regulations as 19 states have legalized recreational marijuana and 37 states permit it for medicinal purposes. But even if a driver used marijuana or hemp-based products like CBD while off duty in a state where those substances are legal, they could still be faced with a violation due to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) zero-tolerance policy at the federal level.

“While states may allow medical use of marijuana, federal laws and policy do not recognize any legitimate medical use of marijuana,” a DOT handbook for commercial vehicle drivers reads. “Even if a state allows the use of marijuana, DOT regulations treat its use as the same as the use of any other illicit drug.”

Stacker looked at what’s causing thousands of truckers to be removed from their jobs, and the looming domino effect of the continued supply chain disruptions.

Under regulations set forth by the DOT, truck drivers are tested for drug use—including marijuana—prior to starting a new job. They can also be tested at random, as well as after accidents. In January 2020, the DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also upped the random drug testing rate from 25% of the average number of driver positions to 50%. Truck drivers are mainly screened for drug use via urinalysis, but there are now new saliva tests being proposed as well.

At worst, if a driver fails just one drug test, that can be grounds for termination under DOT regulations. At best, they are temporarily taken off the road and required to complete an evaluation with a substance misuse professional who determines their rehabilitation process, which can sometimes take months.

As of January 2020, employers are also required to list commercial drivers who fail a drug test in the FMCSA’s Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse. These violations remain searchable for five years. Potential employers are also required to check the Clearinghouse to see if a commercial driver had any previous violations, which would prevent them from being hired.

In recent years, more states have legalized both recreational and medical marijuana, making it more widely available and used. However, marijuana use is still prohibited for commercial truck drivers, state laws and medical prescriptions aside. According to the FMCSA, “a driver may not use marijuana even if [it] is recommended by a licensed medical practitioner.” The DOT has maintained its zero-tolerance stance for marijuana use even as it’s become legalized, saying, “Legalization of marijuana use by States and other jurisdictions also has not modified the application of U.S. Department of Transportation drug testing regulations.”

A commercial driver could use marijuana while off-duty, not driving, and in a state where marijuana is legal, but still test positive for the substance for up to a month later and be taken off the road. The American Addiction Centers says for infrequent marijuana users—meaning those who use the substance less than two times a week—it can show up in their urine for up to three days. Someone who uses marijuana several times a week can test positive for up to three weeks, and those who use marijuana even more frequently can “test positive for a month or longer.”

Meanwhile, shortages, factory closures, and goods waiting to be unloaded at ports are just some of the current issues affecting the supply chain across America. Trucking transports 72% of products within the U.S., according to a report from the White House, but a growing number of commercial drivers are sidelined for marijuana use.

The return-to-duty process that commercial vehicle drivers must undergo once faced with a marijuana violation can keep them from returning to work at all. According to the FMCSA’s monthly report, 89,650 commercial drivers are currently in prohibited status as of April 1, 2022, but 67,368 of them have not begun the RTD process.

If violations continue at the current rate, the truck driver shortage will further disrupt the supply chain, which means higher prices not just for commodities but the cost of living at large.

Tyler Durden
Wed, 05/25/2022 – 22:40

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/EchoQKj Tyler Durden

Report Shows FBI Spied On 3.3 Million Americans Without A Warrant, GOP Demands Answers

Report Shows FBI Spied On 3.3 Million Americans Without A Warrant, GOP Demands Answers

Authored by Joseph Lord via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Top House Republicans are demanding answers from the FBI after court-ordered information came to light showing that the federal agency had collected the information of over 3 million Americans without a warrant.

Republican Representative from Ohio Jim Jordan speaks during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Policing Practices and Law Enforcement Accountability at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on June 10, 2020. (Michael Reynolds/Pool/Getty Images)

In a May 25 letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Mike Turner (R-Ohio) asked Wray to explain why his agency had wiretapped and gathered personal information on over 3.3 million Americans without a warrant (pdf).

Limited authority to gather foreign intelligence information is granted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Specifically, section 702 of the bill says: “the Attorney General (AG) and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) may jointly authorize the targeting of (i) non-U.S. persons (ii) who are reasonably believed to be outside of the United States (iii) to acquire foreign intelligence information.”

However, this power can grant an expanding circle of possible searches to the FBI and other intel agencies, who can use the same power against American citizens who had any interaction with targeted foreigners.

Historically, insight into how FISA has been used against American citizens has been limited and hidden behind classified reports.

However, a November 2020 decision by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC)—which serves as a watchdog for U.S. intelligence agencies—required that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) report “the number of U.S. person queries run by the FBI against Section 702-acquired information.”

In accordance with these new requirements, ODNI’s recently-released Annual Statistical Transparency Report included data on how often the FBI gathered information on American citizens using section 702 in 2021.

In total, queries against U.S. citizens came out to a jaw-dropping 3,394,053 searches. By comparison, only 1,324,057 such queries were made in 2020, representing around a 250 percent increase during President Joe Biden’s first year in office.

According to ODNI more than half of these queries—approximately 1.9 million—were part of the larger investigation of alleged Russian attempts to target or weaken U.S. critical infrastructure.

The ODNI report also admitted that on at least four occasions, the FBI failed to get FISC approval before accessing the contents of information collected under section 702.

This is not the first time the FBI has been caught red-handed overstepping its legal authority under section 702.

In November 2020, the FISC announced that “the government … reported numerous incidents” in which the FBI reviewed information gathered under section 702 without obtaining proper permission from the court.

On other occasions, the FISC noted, the FBI used section 702 for issues entirely unrelated to foreign intelligence. These included queries for criminal investigations about healthcare fraud, transnational organized crime, violent gangs, domestic terrorism involving racially motivated violent extremists, as well as investigations relating to public corruption and bribery.”

“None of these queries was related to national security, and they returned numerous Section 702-acquired products in response,” the FISC noted.

“Rigorous Congressional oversight of the FBI’s Section 702-related activities is essential given FBI’s track record utilizing its FISA authorities,” Jordan and Turner ruled in view of the FBI’s past overreach.

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, in Washington, on March 2, 2021. (Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images)

In their letter to Wray, Jordan and Turner laid out a laundry list of questions about the report, demanding further transparency and explanations on the revelation that the FBI has often overstepped its legal authority to spy on American citizens.

Among other questions, they requested a full accounting of all 3,394,053 citizens who showed up in FBI queries and “[the] number of preliminary or full investigations into any U.S. citizens the FBI has initiated as a result of information obtained through any of these U.S. person queries, and the nature of the predication for each such investigation.”

They also asked for information on the 1.9 million Americans queried over alleged Russian efforts to compromise U.S. critical infrastructure. Specifically, they asked for, “The rationale for why these queries were found to be compliant with the FBI’s Section 702 querying procedures [and the] total number of U.S. citizens the FBI identified as victims of these compromises(s) pursuant to these queries.”

In addition, they demanded “A detailed statement about the FBI’s investigation, including the status of the investigation and any information uncovered about the identity of the Russian actors and their involvement with or connection to the Russian government, if any.”

Additionally, they asked for information gathered under FISA rules in the years between 2015 and 2020, as well as for an explanation of the FBI’s overreach of authority on various occasions.

The letter demands that Wray provide a written response by no later than 5 p.m. on June 7.

FISA Section 702 was last authorized by Congress for a six-year period in 2018 and will be up for reauthorization in 2024.

The FBI could not be immediately reached for comment.

Tyler Durden
Wed, 05/25/2022 – 22:20

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/4jrV1ZL Tyler Durden