Alaskan Fishermen Find Suspected Spy Balloon

Alaskan Fishermen Find Suspected Spy Balloon

A US official confirmed to CBS News on Friday night that fishermen off the coast of Alaska have found what appears to be a “pretty big balloon.” Speaking with government sources, other corporate media outlets said the debris could be a Chinese spy balloon.

The crew of the commercial fishing vessel managed to lift the debris out of the water and is hauling it back to a port in Alaska sometime this weekend

Sources tell CNN that FBI agents will meet the vessel when it arrives at port. Agents will then load the debris into a plane, where it will be analyzed at the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia. This is the same lab that has analyzed other Chinese surveillance balloons. 

“The fishermen shared photographs of the object with law enforcement upon encountering it,” the sources said.

CNN pointed out: 

All three sources emphasized that it wasn’t clear exactly what the object was and that it may not be a balloon at all — but that the FBI determined that it was similar enough in appearance to a foreign-government-owned surveillance balloon that it warranted further investigation.

The FBI acknowledged the debris in a statement last night:

We are aware of debris found off the coast of Alaska by a commercial fishing vessel. We will work with our partners to assist with the logistics of the debris recovery.”

This comes one week after a mysterious high-altitude balloon was intercepted by NORAD fighter jets over Utah – and one year after a Chinese surveillance balloon was shot down off the coast of South Carolina.  

Tyler Durden
Sat, 03/02/2024 – 08:45

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden

London Theatre Bans White People For ‘Black Only’ Slave-Play Nights

London Theatre Bans White People For ‘Black Only’ Slave-Play Nights

Authored by Steve Watson via,

A theatre in the West End of London has received fierce criticism for planning to host two nights of a play where white people will not be welcome, in a so called “Black Out”.

The production of Slave Play, which will star the Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington, will run at the Noël Coward theatre, with dates on 17 July and 17 September, only being open to an ‘all-Black identifying audience’.

The theatre describes the events, claiming “Black Out nights are the purposeful creation of an environment in which all-Black identifying audience can experience and discuss an event in the performing arts, film, athletic and cultural spaces – free from the white gaze.”

Jeremy O Harris, the playwright of Slave Play, which tells the story of three interracial couples role-playing while on a plantation, told the BBC “I think that one of the things we have to remember is that people have to be radically invited to a space to know that they belong there. In most places in the West, poor people and black people have been told they do not belong inside in a theatre.”

Exactly who is telling black people that now in 2024 in London isn’t explained.

He continues, “There are a litany of places in all of our countries that are generally inhabited by only white people. No one is saying by inviting black audiences here you are uninvited. The idea of a Black Out night is to say this is a night where we are specifically inviting black people to fill up this space and feel safe.”

It really does sound a lot like the production has decided to make a point of ‘uninviting’ white people from attending the two shows, or banning them more accurately.

Commenting on the move, co-founder of the Conservatives Against Racism for Equality Albie Amankona urged “Disgraceful, a British theatre banning native Brits. We should not import American style race relations to the UK. ‘Black people & poor people’ have never been told ‘you do not belong in Theatres’ Americans should keep their reverse Jim Crow crap to themselves.”

Amy Gallagher, the Mayoral candidate for London’s Social Democratic Party, told The Telegraph that the move is “definitely racist,” adding “excluding anyone on the basis of skin colour in this way is racist.”

“They seem to be reverting to a critical race theory definition of racism whereby, according to Ibram X. Kendi, we need present discrimination, against white people, to make up for past discrimination,” Gallagher further noted.

“They say they want to be free from the “white gaze” which, of course, means white people, but they will not go as far to say white people as it would be illegal,” Gallagher urged.

Nickie Aiken, Conservative MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, has written to Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer about the theatre performances, noting “At a time when we see domestic racial tensions running high, why a west end theatre thinks it is acceptable to encourage racial segregation is beyond me.”

A spokesperson for the British Prime Minister told The London Evening Standard that the actions of the production are “concerning,” adding “clearly restricting audiences on the basis of race would be wrong and divisive.”

Harris issued a bizarre response stating “Hey 10 Downing Street and Rishi Sunak… there’s literally a war going on…maybe the death of thousands of Palestinian children should be more “concerning” than a playwright attempting to make the West End more inclusive to those who aren’t historically invited there.” 

Empire Street, the production company behind the London stretch of the play, also issued a statement, refuting the suggestion that white people will be banned, stating “As the producers of Slave Play in the West End, our intent is to celebrate the play with the widest possible audience. We want to increase accessibility to theatre for everyone.”

“The Broadway production conceived of black out nights and we are carefully considering how to incorporate this endeavour as part of two performances in our 13-week run. We will release further details soon. To be absolutely clear, no-one will be prevented or precluded from attending any performance of Slave Play,”  the statement also claimed.

It is illegal in the UK to turn anyone away from an event such as a play in a theatre based on the colour of their skin.

Hence that statement, but everyone knows what the real intention behind such ‘black out’ nights, which have previously been implemented before in London and New York, and have even spread to places like Canada.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden
Sat, 03/02/2024 – 08:10

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden

Map Shows West Coast Has A Headquarters Bubble

Map Shows West Coast Has A Headquarters Bubble

In the latest client note, “The Flow Show: $1 Trillion Every 100 Days,” Bank of America Analyst Michael Hartnett points out how headquarters locations of mega-corporations have shifted around the country over the last three decades.

Hartnett first shows a map of the US resized by the market cap of the largest 100 companies in 1994. Notice how most of the companies were based out of New York, Texas, and California. 

Three decades later, the wealth concentration of mega-corporations has ballooned on the West Coast (not surprising), with California number one and Washington number two. Meanwhile, New York dropped to number three. 

The current distribution of wealth concentration of mega corporations on the West Coast is a bubble. This is because companies are fleeing progressive states, plagued with high taxes and violent crime, for ones like Texas, Arizona, Georgia, and Florida. 

“You have a number of companies recently that have relocated to Texas because it’s supposed to be a friendlier climate for business. And it’s suddenly not as friendly as it was,” Anthony Johndrow, cofounder and CEO of consultancy Reputation Economy Advisors, told Fortune in a separate report. 

The latest Fortune 500 companies that have moved their headquarters to Texas include:

  • NRG Energy – moved from Princeton, New Jersey, to Houston
  • Tesla – moved from Palo Alto, California, to Austin
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise – moved from San Jose, California, to Spring
  • Oracle – moved from Redwood City, California, to Austin
  • Charles Schwab – moved from San Francisco, California, to Westlake
  • Caterpillar – moved from Deerfield, Illinois, to Irving
  • AECOM – moved from Los Angeles, California, to Dallas
  • CBRE – moved from Los Angeles, California, to Dallas

We anticipate that the West Coast bubble will continue to deflate in the coming years, with Red states such as Texas and Florida attracting more companies and people due to their safer cities and friendlier business environments.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 03/02/2024 – 07:35

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden

The Ukrainian Intelligence Committee Is Preparing For The Worst-Case Scenario

The Ukrainian Intelligence Committee Is Preparing For The Worst-Case Scenario

Authored by Andrew Korybko via Substack,

The Ukrainian Intelligence Committee warned in a Telegram post about the worst-case scenario that could happen by June whereby a Russian breakthrough across the Line of Contact (LOC) merges with protests over conscription and Zelensky’s illegitimacy to deal a deathblow to the state. They predictably claimed that those protests, along with claims of growing fatigue inside Western and Ukrainian societies plus civil-military tensions in Kiev, are just “Russian disinformation” even though they all veritably exist.

Zelensky Is Desperate To Preemptively Discredit Potentially Forthcoming Protests Against Him” and that’s why he claimed in late November that Russia is conspiring to orchestrate a so-called “Maidan 3” against him, which is what the Intelligence Committee explicitly referred to in their post. Their warning also came as Ukrainian media reported that Zelensky plans to ask the Constitutional Court to rule on holding elections during martial law in order to retain legitimacy after his term expires on May 20.

The preceding hyperlinked report from Turkish media also mentions how “opposition party leaders Petro Poroshenko and Yulia Tymoshenko proposed forming a coalition government to avoid a crisis of legitimacy” but were rebuked by National Security Council chief Danilov. What’s so interesting about this proposal is that it was first tabled by an expert from the powerful Atlantic Council think tank in an article that they published in Politico in mid-December in order to serve that exact same purpose.

This reminder and the subsequent proposal by those two opposition party leaders debunks the notion that questions about Zelensky’s legitimacy are solely the result of “Russian disinformation” just like a top European think tank’s latest poll from January debunks the same about fatigue over this conflict. The European Council on Foreign Relations, which can’t credibly be described as “pro-Russian”, found that only 10% of Europeans think that Ukraine will defeat Russia.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the Congressional deadlock over more Ukraine aid proves that such sentiments are shared in the halls of power, and those who hold these views understandably don’t want to continue throwing hard-earn taxpayer funds into a doomed-to-fail proxy war. Western leaders as a whole, however, are clearly panicking over the latest military-strategic dynamics that followed the failure of Kiev’s counteroffensive last summer and Russia’s recent victory in Avdeevka.

That’s why many of them debated whether to conventionally intervene in Ukraine during Monday’s meeting in Paris that was attended by over 20 European leaders. French President Macron said that this can’t be ruled out despite there being no consensus on the issue, which his Polish counterpart confirmed was the most heated part of their discussions that day. This prompted strong denials from all other Western leaders who claimed that they’ll never authorize this, but their words can’t be taken seriously.

After all, the worst-case scenario that the Ukrainian Intelligence Committee warned about and is actively trying to discredit as supposedly being driven solely by “Russian disinformation” could push them to conventionally intervene in order to avert the state’s collapse and an Afghan-like disaster in Europe. NATO is unlikely to sit idly on the sidelines if Russia steamrolls through the ruins after breaking through the LOC by sometime this summer, hence why a conventional intervention truly can’t be ruled out.

It would be very unpopular in the West as proven by the previously mentioned think tank’s latest poll and the ongoing Congressional deadlock over Ukraine aid, but that doesn’t mean that the elite won’t do it since they don’t take public opinion into consideration when formulating foreign and military policy. Even so, the large-scale protests that could follow in Europe are something that the elite want to avoid, but they might still risk them in order for their geopolitical project in Ukraine not to be totally for naught.

Average folks outside of Ukraine can’t shape the course of events, but those in that country could play an historical role if they revolted with the support of friendly elements in the military-intelligence services like those that surround former Commander-in-Chief Zaluzhny. They’d be putting their lives on the line since the SBU abuses, jails, and kills dissidents, but enough of them are evidently ready to do so as suggested by the Ukrainian Intelligence Committee’s frantic efforts to discredit them.

It’s too early to predict whether they’ll revolt, let alone at the scale and for the duration that’s required to depose Zelensky with a view towards immediately resuming peace talks since the CIA-backed SBU could scuttle their plans by arresting their leaders (especially those in the military-intelligence services). If they do and this coincides with Russia breakthrough through the LOC, however, then it could swiftly bring an end to this proxy war provided that there are friendly elites willing to risk their lives as well.

Considering the global significance of this conflict, what’s regarded as the worst-case scenario from the perspective of the ruling Ukrainian elite and their Western masters is therefore the best-case scenario for the rest of the world. In the event that Zelensky is deposed and peace talks immediately resume right as Russia breaks through the LOC, then NATO might not feel as pressured by its security dilemma with Russia to conventionally intervene in Ukraine, thus reducing the risk of World War III by miscalculation.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 03/02/2024 – 07:00

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‘A Rocky Road To De-Dollarization’ – Pepe Escobar Interviews Sergei Glazyev

‘A Rocky Road To De-Dollarization’ – Pepe Escobar Interviews Sergei Glazyev

Authored by Pepe Escobar,

Very few people in Russia and across the Global South are as qualified as Sergei Glazyev, the Minister for Integration and Macroeconomics of the Eurasia Economic Commission (EEC), the policy arm of the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), to speak about the drive, the challenges and the pitfalls in the road towards de-dollarization.

As the Global South issues widespread calls for real financial stability; India inside the BRICS 10 makes it clear that everyone needs to think seriously about the toxic effects of unilateral sanctions; and Professor Michael Hudson keeps reiterating current policies are not sustainable anymore, Glazyev graciously received me at his office at the EEC for an exclusive, extensive conversation, including fascinating off the record odds and ends.

These are the highlights – as Glazyev’s ideas are being re-examined, and there’s huge expectation for the green light from the Russian government for a new trade settlement model – which for the moment is in the final stages of fine-tuning.

Glazyev explained how his main idea was “elaborated a long time ago. The basic idea is that a new currency should be first of all introduced on the basis of international law, signed by the countries which are interested in the production of this new currency. Not via some kind of conference, like Bretton Woods, with no legitimacy. At the first stage, not all countries would be included. BRICS nations will be enough – plus the SCO. In Russia, we already have our own SWIFT – the SPFS. We have our currency exchange, we have correspondent relations between banks, consultation between Central Banks, here we are absolutely self-sufficient.”

All that leads to adopting a new international currency: “We don’t really need to go large scale. BRICS is enough. The idea of the currency is that there are two baskets: one basket is national currencies of all countries involved in the process, like the SDR, but with more clear, understandable criteria. The second basket are commodities. If you have two baskets, and we create the new currency as an index of commodities and national currencies, and we have a mechanism for reserves, according to the mathematical model that will be very stable. Stable and convenient.”

Then it’s up to feasibility: “To introduce this currency as an instrument for transactions would not be too difficult. With good infrastructure, and all Central Banks approving it, then it’s up to businesses to use this currency. It should be in digital form – which means it can be used without the banking system, so it will be at least ten times cheaper than present transactions through banks and currency exchanges.”

That Thorny Central Bank Question

“Have you presented this idea to the Chinese?”

“We presented it to Chinese experts, our partners at Renmin University. We had good feedback – but I did not have the opportunity to present it on a political level. Here in Russia we promote the discussion via papers, conferences, seminars, but there’s still no political decision on introducing this mechanism even on the BRICS agenda. The proposal by our team of experts is to include it in the agenda of the BRICS summit next October in Kazan. The problem is the Russian Central Bank is not enthusiastic. The BRICS have only decided on an operating plan to use national currencies – which is also a quite clear idea, as national currencies are already used in our trade. Russian ruble is the main currency in the EAEU, trade with China is conducted in rubles and renminbi, trade with India and Iran and Turkiye also switched to national currencies. Each country has the infrastructure for it. If Central Banks introduce digital national currencies and allow them to be used in international trade, it’s also a good model. In this case crypto exchanges can easily balance payments – and it’s a very cheap mechanism. What is needed is an agreement from Central Banks to allow a certain amount of national currencies in digital form to participate in international transactions.”

“Would that be feasible already in 2024, if there is political will?”

“There are some start-ups already. By the way, they are in the West, and the digitalization is conducted by private companies, not Central Banks. So the demand is there. Our Central Bank needs to elaborate a proposal for the summit in Kazan. But this is only one part of the story. The second part is price. For the moment price is determined by Western speculation. We produce these commodities, we consume them, but we do not have our own price mechanism, which will balance supply and demand. During the Covid panic, the price for oil fell to nearly zero. It’s impossible to make any strategic planning for economic development if you do not control prices of basic commodities. Price formation with this new currency should get rid of Western exchanges of commodities. My idea is based on a mechanism that existed in the Soviet Union, in the Comecon. In that period we had long-term agreements not only with socialist countries, but also with Austria, and other Western countries, to supply gas for 10 years, 20 years, the basis of this price formula was the price for oil, and the price for gas.”

So what stands out is the effectiveness of a long-term, long view policy: “We did create a long-term pattern. Here in the EEC we are looking at the idea of a common exchange market. We already prepared a draft, with some experiments. The first step is the creation of an information network, exchanges in different countries. It was rather successful. The second step will be to set up online communication between exchanges, and finally we move to a common mechanism of price formation, and open this mechanism for all other countries. The main problem is that the major producers of commodities, first of all the oil companies, they don’t like to trade through exchanges. They like to trade personally, so you need a political decision to make sure that at least half of production of commodities should go through exchanges. A mechanism where supply and demand balance each other. For the moment the price of oil in foreign markets is ‘secret’. It’s some type of colonial times thinking. ‘How to cheat’. We must create legislation to open all this information to the public.”

The NDB in Need of a Shake-up

Glazyev offered an extensive analysis of the BRICS universe, based on how the BRICS Business Council had its first meeting on financial services in early February. They agreed on a working plan; there was a first session of fintech experts; and during this week a breakthrough meeting may lead to a new formulation – for the moment not made public – to be put into the BRICS agenda for the October summit.

“What are the main challenges within the BRICS structure in this next stage of trying to bypass the US dollar?”

“BRICS in fact is a club which doesn’t have a secretariat. I can tell it, from a person that has some experience in integration. We discussed the idea of a customs union here, on the post-Soviet territory, immediately after the collapse. We had a lot of declarations, even some agreements signed by heads of state, over a common economic space. But only after the establishment of a commission the real work stated, in the year 2008. After 20 years of papers, conferences, nothing was done. You need someone who’s responsible. In BRICS there is such an organization – the NDB [New Development Bank]. If the heads of state decide to appoint the NDB as an institution which will elaborate the new model, the new currency, organize an international conference with the draft of an international treaty, this can work. The problem is that the NDB works according to the dollar charter. They have to reorganize this institution in order to make it workable. Now it works like an ordinary international development bank under the American framework. The second option would be to do it without this bank, but that would be much more difficult. This bank has enough expertise.”

“Could an internal shake-up of the NDB be proposed by the Russian presidency of BRICS this year?”

“We are doing our best. I’m not sure the Ministry of Finance understands how serious this is. The President understands. I personally promoted this idea to him. But the chairman of the Central Bank, and ministers are still thinking in the old IMF paradigm.”

‘Religious Sects Don’t Create Innovation’

Glazyev had a serious discussion on sanctions with the NDB:

“I discussed this issue with Mrs. Rousseff [the former Brazilian President, currently presiding the NDB) at the St. Petersburg Forum. I gave her a paper about it. She was rather enthusiastic and invited us to come to the NDB. But afterwards there was no follow-up. Last year everything was very difficult.”

On BRICS, “the financial services working group is discussing reinsurance, credit rating, new currencies in fintech. That’s what should be in the agenda of the NDB. The best possibility would be a meeting in Moscow in March or April, to discuss in depth the whole range of issues of BRICS settlement mechanism, from most sophisticated to least sophisticated. It would be great if the NDB sign up for it, but as it stands there is a de facto gulf between the BRICS and the NDB.”

The key point, insists Glazyev, is that “Dilma should find time to organize these discussions at a high level. A political decision is needed.”

“But wouldn’t that decision have to come from Putin himself?”

“It’s not so easy. We heard statements by at least three heads of the state: Russia, South Africa and Brazil. They publicly said ‘this is a good idea’. The problem, once again, is there is no task force yet. My idea, which we proposed before the BRICS summit in Johannesburg, is to create an international working group – to prepare in the next sessions the model, or the draft, of the treaty. How to switch to national currencies. That’s the official agenda now. And they have to report about that in Kazan [for the BRICS annual summit]. There are some consultations between the Central Banks and Ministers of Finance.”

Glazyev cut to the chase when it comes to the inertia of the system: “The main problem for bureaucrats and experts is ‘why they don’t have ideas?’ Because they assume the current status quo is the best one. If there are no sanctions, everything will be good. The international financial architecture that was created by the United States and Europe is convenient. Everyone knows how to work in the system. So it’s impossible to move from this system to another system. For businesses it will be very difficult. For banks it will be difficult. People have been educated in the paradigm of financial equilibrium, totally libertarian. They don’t care that prices are manipulated by speculators, they don’t care about volatility of national currencies, They think it’s natural (…) It’s a kind of religious sect. Religious sects don’t create innovation.”

Now Get on That Hypersonic Bicycle

We’re back to the crucial issue of national currencies: “Even five years ago, when I spoke about national currencies in trade, everybody said it was completely impossible. We have long-term contracts in dollars and euro. We have an established culture of transactions. When I was Minister of Foreign Trade, 30 years ago, at the time I tried to push all our trade in commodities into rubles. I argued with Yeltsin and others, ‘we have to trade in rubles, not in dollars’. That would automatically make the ruble a reserve currency. When Europe moved to the euro, I had a meeting with Mr. Prodi, and we agreed, ‘we will use euro as your currency, and you will use rubles’. Then Prodi came to me after consultations and said, ‘I talked to Mr. Kudrin [former Russian Finance Minister, 2000-2011], he didn’t ask me to make the ruble a reserve currency’. That was sabotage. It was stupidity.”

The problems actually run deep – and keep running: “The problem was our regulators, educated by the IMF, and the second problem was corruption. If you trade oil and gas in dollars, a large part of profits is stolen, there are a lot of intermediate companies which manipulate prices. Prices are only the first step. The price for natural gas in the first deal is about 10 times less than the final demand. There are institutional barriers. A majority of countries do not allow our companies to sell oil and gas to the final customer. Like you cannot sell gas to households. Nevertheless, even in the open market, quite competitive, we have intermediates between producer and consumer – at least half of the revenues are stolen from government control. They don’t pay taxes.”

Yet fast solutions do exist: “When we were sanctioned two years ago, transfer from US dollar and euro to national currencies took only a few months. It was very quick.”

On investments, Glazyev stressed success in localized trade, but capital flows are still not there: “The Central Banks are not doing their job. The ruble-renminbi exchange is working well. But the ruble-rupee exchange doesn’t work. The banks that keep these rupees, they have a lot of money, accrue interest rates on these rupees, and they can play with them. I don’t know who’s responsible for this, our Central Bank or the Indian Central Bank.”

The succinct, key takeaway of Glazyev’s serious warnings is that it would be up to the NDB – prodded by the leadership of BRICS – to organize a conference of global experts and open it for public discussion. Glazyev evoked the metaphor of a bicycle that keeps rolling along – so why invent a new bicycle? Well, the – multipolar – time has come for a new hypersonic bicycle.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 03/01/2024 – 23:40

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden

The State Of Global Fertility

The State Of Global Fertility

South Korea broke its own record when it announced this week that as of 2023, its fertility rate had fallen to just 0.72 births per woman.

The rate at which a population replaces itself between generations without migration stands at around 2.1.

As Statista’s Katharina Buchholz reports, the following map with comparable data between countries from 2021, shows that even then South Korea was one of only a few places in the world with a fertility rate below 1.

Infographic: The State of Global Fertility | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

In Japan, which on Tuesday announced a 5 percent decline in births to a record low of 758,631, the birth rate remained at 1.26. This places the country among the approximately 90 in the world where populations are not growing independent of immigration. Also in this group are many nations from Europe, the Americas and Southeast Asia. Most of the countries losing fertility are better developed and reasons for the trend include greater access to contraception and more women being educated and heading to work.

The story is different in the developing world where higher rates of fertility are fueling continued global population growth. The West African country of Niger had a fertility rate of 6.8 in 2021, the highest in the world listed by the World Bank, followed by Somalia, Chad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Out of the 33 countries in the world where women had 4 or more children on average, 31 were in Africa that year.

On average, women in 1963 were having 5.3 children in their lifetime and by 2021, that had more than halved to 2.3. During the same period, the global population rose by around 150 percent from 3.2 billion to 7.9 billion. The fact that populations kept (and keep) growing despite falling global fertility is tied to longer life expectancy and lower childhood mortality.

The UN expects global fertility to reach the minumum replacement level of 2.1 by the middle of the century while global population is expected to start falling towards the end of it.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 03/01/2024 – 23:20

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Sen. Johnson’s Senate Panel On The Vaccines Is The Red Pill We’ve All Been Waiting For

Sen. Johnson’s Senate Panel On The Vaccines Is The Red Pill We’ve All Been Waiting For

Authored by ‘A Midwestern Doctor’ via ‘The Forgotten Side Of Medicine’ substack,

This excellent presentation meticulously breaks down exactly what went awry throughout COVID-19. What everyone needs to know is summarized below…

Ron Johnson has gradually become one of my favorite senators in American history. In 2020, he repeatedly advocated for early COVID-19 treatments to be made available to Americans (which had they been made available would have ended the pandemic).

Throughout 2021, he spoke out against the vaccine mandates and in November hosted a panel at the Senate which scrutinized the federal vaccine mandates and exposed how poorly those who experienced severe COVID-19 vaccine injuries were being treated. In January 2022, he hosted a panel which scrutinized the entire COVID-19 response, and in December of 2022, he hosted a panel focusing on everything we now know about the vaccines.

Being one of the most outspoken critics of the vaccination program in American history got him a lot of pushback, and in 2022, he decided to postpone his retirement to go through a grueling re-election campaign so there would be someone in the government who could advocate for everyone whose lives had been ruined by the COVID vaccines.

Despite being public enemy number one of the pharmaceutical industry, Johnson narrowly won, becoming the first politician in America’s history to run on the vaccine safety issue and win. Since then Johnson has kept his promise and fought for the vaccine injured (along with taking a variety of other difficult but important positions such as giving one of the most poignant speeches I’ve heard on the Ukraine War when he tried to block the Senate from continuing to fund it).

A lot of work has gone into producing each of the vaccine panels he’s hosted. On Monday, he hosted “Federal Health Agencies and the COVID Cartel: What Are They Hiding?” When it was all said and done, I believe this panel was the most effective presentation I have seen for explaining what happened throughout COVID-19 and waking people up to how much they have been lied to. Because of this I strongly encourage you to watch or share his presentation with people who you think might be open to understanding exactly what was done to all of us. This article will begin with his entire panel:

Note: I have been struggling to find the best term for these criminals. The four I’ve used are listed below; I would appreciate knowing what you think is the best one.

What’s the best term for the COVID criminals?

  • The COVID Cartel

  • The Pandemic Profiteers

  • The Pandemic Industrial Complex

  • The Biosecurity Agenda

Lastly, for those who prefer to read, a transcript of Johnson’s symposium can be found here.

Note: for each of the videos embedded within this article, I (or the Vigilant Fox) edited them down to their most important parts. A lot of time was put into this article because of the importance of what was presented.

Federal Health Agencies and the COVID Cartel: What Are They Hiding?

Since the entire panel was 4 hours long, I recognize that many of you will not be able to watch all of it. For that reason, I tried to highlight what I felt were it’s most important parts.

First, in Johnson’s opening statement, he discusses just how hard it has been over the last three years to get any of the information his office is legally entitled to from the government. For example with (Fauci’s) NIH:

We are down to the last 50 pages [of the 4000 he originally requested]. They will not release these. It’s been now going close to 2 years. This is what has been provided to us. Do you think there might be some incriminating information in this?

Likewise, these agencies have completely brushed off all evidence something is wrong. For example, with the NIH:

Just like former NIH director Francis Collins Collins told me when I asked about all the deaths being reported on VAERS, [he said], “Senator, people die.” The fact that both of these statements are as true as they are callous highlights the challenge we face in exposing the truth.

While with the FDA:

I’ve written 4 [letters on hot-lots] starting in December of 2021. The first letter compared 25,000 lots of COVID vaccine to 22,000 lots of flu vaccine. One COVID lot had 5,297 adverse reactions associated with it. The worst flu lot had a 137. So 5,300 versus 137.

365 COVID lots had more than 100 adverse events. Only 10 flu lots had more than 100. And 80% of the serious adverse events, those with emergency room visits, hospitalization, or death were associated with only 5% of the lots. So, again, to me, I’m from manufacturing. That shows to me a manufacturing process out of control.

[It] took us a year to get some kind of response and, basically, response from the agencies was, “we don’t see any variation in lots.”

Johnson then illustrates how the current political climate has undermined everything science once stood for:

Vaccine injuries are rare.” “The benefits outweigh the risk and that the science is clear and overwhelming.” “And anyone challenging this narrative is an is an anti science conspiracy theorist.” In other words, second opinions are not allowed. To me, this attitude is the antithesis of science.

I am amazed at the knowledge mankind has obtained over the millennia. But I would argue that what we don’t know vastly exceeds what we do know. So as we pursue truth, we must pursue it with the humility that that reality demands.

Johnson’s opening statement was then followed by Robert Malone:

I’ll be succinct. The SARS CoV 2 modified mRNA based vaccine products were deployed via emergency use authorization without adequate nonclinical and clinical testing and without full disclosure of known patient risk and efficacy data. This violated well established legislatively mandated patient informed consent requirements. The FDA and HHS justified these actions as necessary due to reliance on deeply flawed modeling data indicating that SARS CoV 2 was associated with an infection fatality rate of 3.4%.

Note: the IFR was subsequently shown to average between 0.018%-0.03% for everyone under 60 and was approximately 0.506% for those between 60-69 years of age.

Subsequent clinical research experience has revealed a number of problems with the genetic vaccine technology based SARS COV 2 products, which have been marketed as vaccines. In most cases, there has been an effort to obscure or deny facts in public communication by government and pharmaceutical industry representatives.

Malone then listed the key issues with the vaccines, to which Johnson replied:

Doctor Malone, I think one of the things that always bothers me is [that] so much of what we’re learning in terms of harms of these vaccine was clearly known before they were rolled out.

Jessica Rose spoke next. After concisely summarizing all of the issues that had been found within VAERS, she concluded with:

Standard operating procedures for analysis of safety signals emergent from VAERS when utilized reveal causal links between the COVID 19 injectable products and the adverse events investigated. Standard operating procedures are not being followed by the owners of the data, namely CDC, HHS, and FDA, and this equates to hiding the millions of people reporting not only adverse events but injuries in the context of the COVID 19 injectable products.

Note: Rose also reviews the science behind why vaccinated individuals keep on catching COVID-19.

Edward Dowd then concisely presented the years of work his team has done to quantify just how devastating the vaccines have been for the world.

To quote part of Dowd’s testimony:

When analyzing the excess death human cost…in 2020, there were approximately 458,000 excess deaths, of which 73% were aged 65 and older and 15 to 64 comprising just 27%. However, in 2021, with the rollout of the “safe and effective vaccine,” there were approximately another 500,000 excess deaths, but a mix shift had occurred from older to younger. In 2021, the 65 plus age category was [only] 57…while the 15 to 64 cohort increased to 43%.

The absolute excess death increase from 2020 to 2021 for the productive working age 15 to 64 was 73% [124,000 to 215,000].

The total excess death since the rollout of the vaccine in the US, including 21, 22, and 23 is approximately 1,100,000. We estimate the economic cost, productive working age people dying at $15,600,000,000 When analyzing disabilities, it’s interesting to note that there were no excess disabilities in 2020.

Using the civilian labor force, we have calculated an increase of 2,300,000 individuals with disabilities costing the economy an estimated $77,000,000,000. When analyzing lost work time, which we call injuries, we estimate 28,400,000 individuals are chronically absent resulting in an estimated economic cost of a $135,000,000,000 since 2021…Obviously, the policy cure was undeniably worse than the illness.

Kevin McKernan then discussed his groundbreaking discovery that there was widespread DNA plasmid contamination of the COVID vaccines and how horrendously the drug regulators have responded to that discovery.

This work has been replicated by many labs around the world, and now the FDA, the EMA, and even Health Canada, have admitted to this. The regulatory agents have admitted that Pfizer also omitted the SV40 sequences that are in their vaccine. They’ve deemed this contamination to be of little consequence, claiming the DNA is of too little concentration to matter or to be containing DNA of no functional consequence. These statements are false and are not supported by any independent testing by these regulators.

After the regulators have admitted to being deceived, they asked the opinion of the party that deceived them how bad was the deception. They shockingly believe the answer they were given, which is that these sequences have no relevance to plasmid manufacturing. As someone who has worked on the Human Genome Project manufacturing millions of plasmids, I can assure you that this is an overt lie. DNA contamination can lead to insertional mutagenesis. This is actually declared in Moderna’s own patent regarding the mRNA vaccines.

This is also supported by Lim et al, which speaks to the rate of spontaneous integration in the genome during transfection. We are using transfection after all with LMPs. The SV40 DNA is in fact functional. It is published as a potent gene therapy tool in a nuclear targeting sequence as described by David Dean et al.

The SV40 promoter DNA is also known to bind to the tumor suppressor gene known as p53.

Note: p53 defects are commonly linked to cancers.

We’ve applied these vaccine system cancer cell lines and have evidence that it enters the cell and can survive several cell divisions. We have preliminary evidence, although this requires replication in other labs, that this DNA can integrate into the genome. We found 2 spike sequence integration events in ovarian cancer cell lines of CAR 3 into chromosome 12 and 19 very recently. Since these vaccines were expected to only contain mRNA, they were never assessed for genotoxicity studies. These studies were therefore being conducted as guinea pig US citizens as we witnessed an unprecedented rise in cancer drug sales since the vaccines rolled out.

It is time for our representatives to repeal or review the PDUFA Act of 1992.  This act allows regulators to defray the cost of regulation by accepting payments directly from the companies they regulate. Over half of the FDA’s budget is sourced through this act.

Note: I discussed the significance of the vaccine plasmid contamination in more detail here.

Dr. David Gortler (who previously served as a senior advisor at the FDA) then explains why the contamination and widespread variability we are seeing in the vaccines (e.g., the hot lots) being completely ignored is so unprecedented:

Federal rules requiring ingredient transparency date all the way back, believe it or not, to 1862 [and] it’s the whole reason the FDA was started in 1906. Prior to COVIDsRNA injections, the FDA had approved 4 different RNA based products. Onpattro, shown here, was the 1st RNA product approved back in 2018…as you can see by looking at this label, Onpattro prominently details the exact structure, milligram strength, and molecular weight. Highlighted in green at the very top, you’ll see it specifies [what its] lipid nanoparticles are engineered for.

In contrast to the previous labels I’ve shown, here is the official FDA label for COVID RNA injections. As you can see just looking at it, it details a lot less information. We don’t [even] have the structure.

Of note, in pharmacology, even very minor deviations in any molecular structure can mean the difference between a drug and a poison…The lack of transparency means that scientists can’t use modeling to test lipid nanoparticles for safety receptor specificity or analyze inequality [in batches of those products].

Unfortunately, around 70% of the 127 page document that explains the methodology to perform quality control on RNA injections are redacted much like the document I’ve shown here.

Next Dr. Harvey Risch discusses the “crushingly obsessive push to COVID vaccinate every living person on the planet” and provides a concise overview of the horrific bioweapons industry which gave birth to COVID-19 and then tried to pivot to vaccinating everyone rather than accept responsibility for what it had done.

Note: This catastrophic industry is discussed in more detail here (e.g., I highlighted how numerous modern diseases are the results of lab leaks).

Next, Barbara Loe Fisher, an activist who has spent decades fighting for vaccine safety shared the broader context of what we are now dealing with.

I worked with parents in congress to secure safety and informed consent provisions in the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. It was an historic law, the first official acknowledgment by government that federally licensed and state mandated vaccines can and do injure and kill some children. In January, my eyewitness perspective of how and why child vaccine victims and their parents were betrayed after that law was passed 38 years ago, was featured in a 2 hour conversation I had on the Highwire.

I encourage everyone to watch it and learn how parents trusted that the 5 years of work we put into that 1986 act to successfully secure life saving, informing, recording, reporting, and research provisions in it, and to protect the legal right of vaccine victims to sue vaccine manufacturers for product design defects, and to sue negligent doctors for medical malpractice, and to create an expedited, more just, less traumatic federal vaccine injury compensation system alternative to a lawsuit were all destroyed by congressional amendments, by federal health agencies, and the US Supreme Court after that law was passed. Following that betrayal of trust, Congress directed federal agencies to create lucrative public private business partnerships with the pharmaceutical industry, a business deal that has broken America’s public health system.

Note: I previously wrote about how the 1986 Vaccine Injury Act forced the government to create VAERS (as parents had no way to report vaccine injuries) and ever since that time, the government has done everything it could to undermine VAERS.

Johnson then shares a poignant observation with Fisher that illustrates how effectively the pharmaceutical industry has bought out our media:

By the way,I became aware of you from that excellent documentary which I would also recommend. What struck me about [it] is back then in 1982 through 1986, you could talk about these things. You could advocate for your child who’s vaccine injured.  You weren’t ostracized. You were actually welcomed here in the senate by people like Senator Hatch and Senator Kennedy and you got this [law] signed by Ronald Reagan.

To which Fisher replies:

I never imagined when I began this work in 1982 that the day would come when I would not be able to exercise freedom of thought and conscience in the country I love. And I thank you for allowing me to exercise that right today.

Next, Bryan Hooker, the parent of a severely vaccine injured adult son shares his 23 years of work (e.g., 15 peer-reviewed papers) to get the data on vaccine injury the CDC has been hiding for decades.

In 1962, children received 5 vaccine doses, and in 1986, the schedule expanded to 25 doses of 5 different vaccine formulations. Shortly after the passage of the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, the law was amended to essentially erect a liability shield protecting vaccine manufacturers, and the schedule expanded dramatically. By 2023, 73 doses of 16 different vaccine formulations were given to children up to age 18. [As we discovered through lawsuits] the FDA approved these formulations individually only with minimal and inadequate safety testing, and the CDC has never tested the cumulative effect of the vaccine schedule on childhood health outcomes.

Since [proper trials] are really the only way to establish that a pharmaceutical product is safe, it is misinformation to state that the vaccines are safe.

However, independent researchers have assessed the outcomes of vaccinated versus unvaccinated children.

This [study] demonstrates that vaccinated children were at least twice as likely to be diagnosed with developmental delays, ear infections, and gastrointestinal disorders.

[In this study] a control group of over 1800 unvaccinated children recruited from 46 different states in the US were compared to the national average rates of the listed disorders…For each of the autoimmune, neurodevelopmental, and other disorders considered, the unvaccinated group fares much better with incidence rates between 4-20 times lower than their vaccinated counterparts.

The CDC has a database called the vaccine safety data link. It’s over 10,000,000 individuals with 2,000,000 children from 10 participating HMOs.  I would say that within that database, there were at least 10,000 unvaccinated children that can be studied.

Neither do they they publish the results [discovered from that data], nor do they let any independent scientist in to look at that information. [That’s] because [they know] the bloated vaccination schedule is responsible is in part responsible for the epidemic of chronic disorders that we see in children in the United States.

Note: Hooker also discusses the evidence the COVID-19 vaccine harms children (e.g., that it appears to kill 30 children for each child it saves from COVID and has given many of our children myocarditis).

Next, Del Bigtree discusses the decade of work he and the non-profit ICAN have conducted to get that data from the government:

In his talk, he puts the results of a recent study which monitored 99 million people for 45 days post vaccination into context. It found that their risk for a variety of severe conditions increased by 2-7 times, something which quickly adds up as you when consider how many of those “rare” conditions exist (that often take more than 45 days to appear) and how many vaccines they’ve received. These results is turn sheds a light on exactly what’s been happening to our children.

Every one of the childhood vaccines has a similar [lengthy] list of [severe] side effects. Though they are considered rare, how rare is it when you multiply roughly 50 potential side effects 72 times, which is the total number of doses given to a child by the time they’re 18. The revelations from the recent study of the COVID vaccine explains what we have been saying for years. Vaccines are not completely safe, and [though] those side effects are rare. What happens when you add them altogether?

Bigtree then shows this slide (which references this study and this study):

Next, Dr. Sabine Hazan shared how her [self-funded] research to evaluate the use of existing therapies to treat COVID-19 was blocked by the FDA, her discovery that the severity of COVID-19 was directly linked to a loss of bifidobacteria in the gut and that the vaccine also caused a loss of bifidobacteria in the gut.  She then contrasted this to how previous research she did (which supported the pharmaceutical industry) never ran into similar road blocks.
Note: I synopsized that research here.

Pierre Kory then discussed the lengthy number of mechanisms which are in place to ensure that repurposed (off-patent) drugs can never have enough evidence to be acknowledged as treatments for a disease someone is profiting off of.

Note: this talk has already been seen by over 1.6 million people on Twitter.

Next, Christian Perron MD PhD (former chairman of the WHO’s committee on vaccines and communicable diseases) recounted how early in the pandemic, he completed a study which showed hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin dramatically lowered the death rate from COVID-19. A political backlash forced the withdraw of his study and he was fired from his 26 year professorship.

Before long France then banned the use of hydroxychloroquine and began enacting harsher and harsher sanctions against French dissidents like Perron who tried to tell the truth—eventually forcing Perron to publish in a French newspaper which had originally been created to defy the Nazis (as every other publication censored him).

Perron was followed by Raphael Lataster PhD, who is one of the leading researchers working with the BMJ (one of the top 5 medical journals) to expose the fraud within the COVID vaccine trials:

These [abhorrent] policies [e.g., the vaccine mandates] were justified via claims about the vaccine’s effectiveness and safety. Now recent research published in major medical journals reveals that these claims were highly exaggerated…we have found in the studies varying definitions of fully vaccinated and unvaccinated. And, generally, what we find with the term fully vaccinated is that they are ignoring COVID cases, COVID infections, in the partially vaccinated…that effect was found to be up to 48% using data from Pfizer’s trial as an example.

We can’t be sure what the actual exaggeration is because we aren’t supplied with all the data. So it’s impossible to actually know. But it looks like there are huge exaggerations of effectiveness because of what you could call manipulation of the data. So if these [omitted COVID cases] were included, or if even just some of these were included, we could have an effectiveness of the vaccines of around 10%…[which]is well below the 50% required for approval. Furthermore, looking to safety in the clinical trials, adverse effect counting windows are again incredibly short.

Note: Lataster also discusses many of the safety issues with the vaccines that were demonstrated within the trial data but hidden from the public (e.g., that the vaccines have a significant risk of myocarditis) and states “now Pfizer also admits that they’re still trying, this is a quote ‘to determine if Cominati is safe and effective and if there is a myocarditispericarditis association that should be noted’. That’s on still right now. They’re trying to find out if it’s safe and effective right now.”

Award winning investigative journalist Lara Logan then provides a poignant summary of how her profession has been hijacked by the government and how a variety of shadowy organizations now enforce this vast propaganda apparatus.  This was the most compelling part of her talk:

Note: Her testimony was followed by one from Jason Christoff, a propaganda expert, who explained why flooding the population with a single narrative and way of thinking has caused many people to adopt completely dysfunctional beliefs at odds with everything they’d held dear

They were then followed by Rodney Palmer, who was a Canadian journalist for 20 years, sharing his perspectives on the current state of the media.

If the news reporters did their jobs instead of reporting propaganda, this fraud would have been exposed from the outset.

Censorship is what actually caused these deaths. It was the lie that assured us it was safe when it wasn’t, and it still isn’t

In America, it’s much worse. The vaccine companies are allowed to sponsor the news directly…To a visiting Canadian, the news here looks like one big ad for pharmaceutical products. It’s a bit of a culture shock when you turn on the TV. There wouldn’t even be a US newscast without Pharma ads. So the reporters on your newscasts are all conflicted.

They can’t bite the hand that feeds them. They can’t possibly investigate the most important stories of our time.

It appears that the reporters are actually colluding with their sponsors to break FDA advertising laws.  FDA law requires them to conspicuously describe the known risks of any pharmaceutical product [which news anchors promoting vaccines never do.

The good news is no one believes the TV news anymore. Only 15% of Canadians, 15%, are getting the boosters.

[The media has] now canceled lunchtime news hours. It’s canceled weekend newscasts. After these reporters are laid off, we’ll only be left with the trusted favor of the trusted faces of our favorite news anchors, delivering the propaganda of the day, instead of the news of the day. But when those trusted faces are telling us lies, they’re like a super weapon aimed directly at us. The news anchors are now the finger on the trigger in that game of Russian roulette.

When the news is poisoned, so is Democracy…most every other country is letting this happen, but where goes America, so goes the world. You have a unique role in setting the moral tone for Western democracies.

So I respectfully recommend that the senate investigate the role of American television news networks, including with pharmaceutical advertisers to skirt the FDA laws that require them to declare the known risks of a pharmaceutical product. This investigation should extend to any reporters, news anchors, editors, and executives who lied to their audience about the safety of the COVID vaccines.

Note: Palmer also describes how he gradually saw the corrupting influence of the pharmaceutical industry enter Canada’s media over the last decade. One of the most compelling observations he shared was that during the pandemic, the doctors who spoke on television didn’t talk like doctors but instead appeared to have corporate media training, which he took as an early sign a lengthy PR campaign was being enacted to sell as many vaccines as possible.

Next, Matthias Desmet provided a concise summary of the crowd psychology which explained how it was possible for so many people to refuse to see what was being hidden from them, even thing after thing happened which made it clear we were all being lied to:

Note: I recently completed an article relating Desmet’s work on crowd psychology to how individuals commonly become trapped in cults and dangerous spiritual practices.

Brett Weinstein then describes the institutional breakdown gripping our society and the malicious forces which are taking away each thing we had previously depended upon for truth and justice (e.g., our premier scientific apparatus).  I wanted to quote one exchange he had with Johnson:

[Johnson] Now I kind of want to ask you, I describe my eyes being opened up, certainly during COVID to a number of things…Can you just describe your [red pill] journey here?

[Weinstein] Well, I think we are all on a similar journey. I did not think that I was naive 7 years ago, and then I learned that I had been very naive and I keep learning that lesson. Each new discovery reveals that I was missing something that was right in front of me, and I think that’s actually the hallmark of the exact pattern I’m describing.

Canadian Randy Hillier served in Ontario’s parliament for 15 years and was the first member to publicly oppose his government’s response to COVID. Like Canada’s citizens, Hillier was targeted by the government for doing so, and argues we are at the tip of a slippery slope with this.  In this part of his testimony, he shares how Ontario’s leadership told him they made the decision to continually coverup the damage of the COVID policies because they felt the political consequences would be too severe if they admitted their mistakes:

Next, Dr. Sorin Titus Muncaciu shared his experience as a Romanian member of parliament who watched the central authorities use every tool at their disposal to forcefully vaccinate Romania.

We are a party having probably 10% of the votes we got in the parliament in 2020, and we, from the very beginning of this pandemic, we decided that the rights of the people to decide if they accept, or [do not accept receiving] an experimental drug should be respected.

When the European Union started behaving like the USSR with those commissars coming to us and mister Barnier came to Romania. This gentleman was the commissioner for internal affairs of the European Union and pushed us, pushed the Romanian parliament to vote [for COVID vaccine mandates].

But in Romania the problem they face is that we are 40 years after a communist dictatorship, 30, 34 years after a communist dictatorship. And it’s in our genes to distrust the government because we knew every time a communist government is saying anything or is directing anything, we knew that’s a lie, that’s something that we should not trust or we should not follow.

We did everything in the book that we could to stop that and we stopped it. And, as a consequence to that, the Romanian rate of vaccination was probably less than half of what the other European countries experienced or United States, Canada and Australia [experienced]. And, therefore we can compare now the low rate and the excess mortality. And that’s the best proof I can bring to the table is the fact that having a relationship between a low rate of vaccination and low excess mortality, which is right there you see it on the, Romania is the last country on the right which means we have negative excess mortality while all the other countries in Europe have positive excess mortality.

Rob Roos (a European member of Parliament) and Phillip Kruse (a lawyer) then discussed who actually funds the WHO and the disastrous treaty it is trying to sneak through which will force everyone to comply with the pandemic cartel and silence anyone who challenges their next pandemic response.

Note: I discussed this treaty and the grass roots effort to stop it in more detail here. I consider that article to be one of the most important articles I’ve published on Substack.

Finally, Ryan Cole concluded the talk by discussing how he was punished for speaking out, how everything which happened throughout the pandemic has violated our fundamental constitutional rights and how critical it is for us to reclaim what our Founding Fathers fought for.

Note: for anyone considering being a whistleblower, Johnson requested for you to contact his office here.


Since Johnson packed this presentation with so many impactful points, it was quite hard to decide which was the best one to conclude it with. Eventually however, I settled on this one, which while brief, I believe is the critically important message all Americans can agree with:

It is remarkable how much each successive panel Johnson has hosted has improved upon the one which preceded it. I consider this to be both a product of how dedicated each participant has been to fixing this mess and how much the alternative media has facilitated the production of high quality information that has rapidly unravelled the immensely complex web we were trapped within.

Without each of your supporting the wonderful community of dissident authors on Substack, much of this would likely have never happened, and I thank each of you from the bottom of my heart for giving me the opportunity to be part of it.

Lastly, if you have anyone close to you who is on the fence about the vaccines, please consider sharing this article or a video of Johnson’s panel with them; it’s something than can persuade people who are at last beginning to become open to hearing the truth and we have reached the moment where it is critical for the truth to reach as many people as possible.

The Forgotten Side of Medicine is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, please consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 03/01/2024 – 23:00

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden

Details Of ‘Sabotaged’ Russia-Ukraine Peace Deal In First Months Of War Revealed

Details Of ‘Sabotaged’ Russia-Ukraine Peace Deal In First Months Of War Revealed

The Wall Street says it has gotten its hands on a secretive document revealing the details of a failed Ukraine-Russia peace deal that was on the table within the opening months of the war. Since then there have been several reports, including from Foreign Affairs which said the UK at the time sought to sabotage the deal.

The draft peace treaty was drawn up by negotiators from both sides in April 2022, and reveals the thinking and objectives of Moscow at the time. The 17-page document has never been made public, with the WSJ for the first time on Friday divulging key sections and points.

Dated April 15, 2022, the document is said to lay out an agreement that turns Ukraine into a “permanently neutral state that doesn’t participate in military blocs”. It further stipulated that Ukraine must not build up its military using Western support and that Crimea must remain under Russian control.

Back when negotiations were taking place during the opening six weeks of the war, via AP

The WSJ analysis admits that there were some deep concessions on the table from the Ukraine side, and further underscores many of these things would likely remain in place in any future deal where Ukraine would no doubt be inflicted with even more compromises given its forces are currently being rolled back by superior Russian military might.

“The draft treaty states that Ukraine, while being allowed to pursue European Union membership, wouldn’t be allowed to join military alliances such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization,” according to the report. “No foreign weapons would be allowed on Ukrainian soil.”

And importantly, “Ukraine’s military would be pared down to a specific size.” The proposed deal even sought to impose permanent limitations on the Ukraine armed forces’ troop numbers: “Russia sought to limit everything from the number of troops and tanks to the maximum firing range of Ukrainian missiles.”

Another key point dealt with the role of the Russian language in Ukrainian society. Some two-thirds of the country at least knows Russian, while much of the eastern portion that includes the Donbas speaks Russian as their first language. The document reportedly sought to ensure the Russian language had an equal status in Ukrainian government ministries and in courts. The Zelensky government has since the war’s start sought to aggressively limit and even stamp out Russian in the public sphere.

According to more context of the draft deal from the WSJ:

The future of the area of eastern Ukraine covertly invaded and occupied by Russia in 2014, wasn’t included in the draft, leaving it up to Putin and Zelensky to complete in face-to-face talks. That meeting never took place.

The treaty was to be guaranteed by foreign powers, which are listed on the document as including the U.S., U.K, China, France and Russia. Those countries would be given the responsibility to defend Ukraine’s neutrality if the treaty were violated. But while the treaty held, guarantors would be required to “terminate international treaties and agreements incompatible with the permanent neutrality of Ukraine” including any promises of bilateral military aid. The international security guarantees wouldn’t apply to Crimea and Sevastopol.

Negotiations stopped completely by June of that year, and there were widespread reports months after indicating that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson encouraged Zelensky not to make a deal with Moscow.

Meanwhile, entering the third year of this horrific and tragic conflict which has taken countless lives:

Hundreds of billions in arms and funding have since been poured into Kiev and its war effort, and tragically likely hundreds of thousands have died. So much death and destruction could have been averted if an early deal had been reached and held, and backed by external powers.

The WSJ gives specifics on troop limitations from the 17-page document in the following

The draft treaty with Ukraine included banning foreign weapons, “including missile weapons of any type, armed forces and formations.” Moscow wanted Ukraine’s armed forces capped at 85,000 troops, 342 tanks and 519 artillery pieces. Ukrainian negotiators wanted 250,000 troops, 800 tanks and 1,900 artillery pieces, according to the document. Russia wanted to have the range of Ukrainian missiles capped at 40 kilometers (about 25 miles)

But Ukraine is now likely in for more severe restrictions on any future Ukrainian state and military, should there ever be a negotiation for the end of the war reached (assuming Moscow and NATO don’t stumble into direct war by then).

Bloomberg on Thursday issued a report predicting total collapse of the Ukrainian front lines by summer, as the headline suggests (Ukraine Sees Risk of Russia Breaking Through Defenses by Summer): “Ukrainian officials are concerned that Russian advances could gain significant momentum by the summer unless their allies can increase the supply of ammunition, according to a person familiar with their analysis,” the report said. Will peace settlement talks begin at that point, or will the West intervene even more forcefully

Tyler Durden
Fri, 03/01/2024 – 22:40

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden

Third-Party Candidates Will Swing The Election

Third-Party Candidates Will Swing The Election

Authored by James Rickards via,

Although my focus is on markets rather than politics, it’s impossible to forecast markets without understanding what’s going on in the political realm. While there are important Senate and House races this year, all eyes are focused on the presidential race likely (as of now) to be between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

A Trump vs. Biden (if he makes it) replay of the 2020 election could be close and is difficult to predict this far in advance. But we can say that the simple narrative of Trump vs. Biden does not come close to capturing the complexities of what’s ahead.

In the first place, Biden may not even be the Democratic nominee because of his obvious physical and mental disabilities. I’ll save the Biden story for another day. For now, let’s look at the other wild card affecting the 2024 election — the role of third parties.

Most observers disregard third-party candidates. They typically get 1–2% of the vote, don’t come close to winning individual states and have no impact on the final electoral results. That’s true, but there are some important historical exceptions.

To understand the potential impact of third parties and get a preview of what might happen this year, we need to look at three critical elections. In reverse chronological order, they are 1992, 1968 and 1912.

In 1992, Ross Perot won about 19% of the popular vote (that’s huge for a third-party candidate) but he won no states. Still, his impact on the final result was enormous. Perot was an early version of “America First.” He leaned conservative, although he had unconventional views on a number of policy issues. On balance, he took more votes from George H.W. Bush than he did from Bill Clinton.

In the end, Clinton won with 43% of the vote and carried 32 states (plus D.C.) compared to 37.5% of the vote and 18 states for George H.W. Bush. But if Perot’s 18.9% of the vote were divided two-thirds for Bush and one-third for Clinton (as some analysts suggest), Bush might easily have won several more states.

Moving those electoral votes from the Clinton column to the Bush column would have changed the outcome of the election. Perot marked the downfall of Bush’s chances for a second term.

In 1968, George Wallace as a third-party candidate actually did win five states (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia) and got 46 electoral votes. But that was not enough to stop Nixon, who won 32 states and got 301 electoral votes.

The key to Nixon’s victory was the dismal performance of Hubert Humphrey, who won only 13 states (plus D.C.) and got 191 electoral votes. The popular vote was much closer, 43.4% for Nixon and 42.7% for Humphrey, but the popular vote doesn’t count; it’s the electoral vote that decides elections. The lesson of 1968 is that even when a third-party wins states, it does not necessarily stop a major party candidate from winning the election outright.

An even more interesting case is 1912. This election involved Woodrow Wilson (Democrat), William Taft (Republican) and Teddy Roosevelt (Bull Moose). Roosevelt had been president from 1901–1909 but stepped aside in 1909 to allow Taft to succeed him.

In 1912, Roosevelt challenged Taft for the Republican nomination but lost. At that point, Roosevelt formed his new Bull Moose third party and ran in the general election.

Wilson got 40 states and 435 electoral votes, a landslide. Roosevelt actually ran ahead of Taft. TR got six states and 88 electoral votes. Taft finished third with two states and 8 electoral votes. (A fourth candidate, Eugene V. Debs, got 6% of the vote and no states running as a socialist.)

The dynamic was also interesting. Roosevelt and Taft split the Republican vote about evenly, 27.4% for TR and 23.2% for Taft. Together, the Republicans had 50.6% of the vote, probably enough to win.

Wilson got only 41.8% of the popular vote, but that was way ahead of TR and Taft when taken individually, so he won 40 states. The lesson of that election is when a major party feuds with itself, the other party wins big.

So 1968 and 1912 are both cases in which a third party won a number of states (five for Wallace, six for Roosevelt), but still not enough to prevent a major party candidate from getting to 270 (depending on the year) electoral votes or much higher (Nixon was 301 and Wilson was 435). The 1992 election was one where the third party (Perot) won no states, but probably did change the outcome of the election in favor of Clinton.

The 2024 election with third-party candidates looks like a blend of all three elections: 1992, 1968 and 1912.

The third-party candidates running (so far) include Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Cornel West and Jill Stein.

RFK Jr. is attempting to get on the ballot in key states on his own but may abandon that effort and become the Libertarian Party candidate. The Libertarian Party is already on the ballot in almost every state. The candidate and the party are in discussions and an announcement is expected in March.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is being attacked by the media as a “fringe” candidate. In fact, he is one of the most thoughtful and truthful voices in politics today. Those qualities may transcend voter disagreement with particular policies.

Jill Stein is running as the Green Party candidate and will be on the ballot in almost every state. She is not expected to win more than about 2% of the vote, but in certain states, 2% is enough to tip the election if the Green vote comes from Biden. This happened in 2016 when the Jill Stein vote in Wisconsin may have cost Hillary Clinton that state in a contest decided by less than 1% of the vote.

Cornel West has not set up his own party yet but is endeavoring to get on the ballot in key states as RFK Jr. is. West is a socialist but is highly articulate and charismatic and will make a strong candidate. His efforts would also cost Biden votes in some key states.

Finally, there is the No Labels Party. They have been spending millions of dollars to get on the ballot in all 50 states. They have not announced a candidate yet, but they are in discussions about a fusion ticket that would include Democrat Joe Manchin and Republican Jon Huntsman (though Manchin has announced he won’t run).

The idea would be to run down the middle that considers Trump too radical and Biden too senile. I don’t expect No Labels to win any states, but they will peel votes away from Biden, handing states to Trump. That could form the basis for a Trump electoral vote landslide similar to Wilson’s in 1912.

The third parties combined — No Labels, RFK Jr., Libertarian, Cornel West and Jill Stein — could collectively take upwards of 20% of the vote like Perot in 1992. But they will principally take votes from the Democrats, the reverse of what TR did to Taft in 1912.

This would guarantee a landslide victory for Trump like Nixon in 1968.

It’s impossible to predict exactly how events will unfold. But it’s not difficult to see a wild election season with six credible parties fighting state-by-state and confounding the customary polls and pundits.

Prepare for electoral and market volatility ahead.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 03/01/2024 – 22:20

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden

Why Are We Still Reliant On China For Our Biosecurity?

Why Are We Still Reliant On China For Our Biosecurity?

Authored by Matthew Turpin via RealClear Wire,

The reports out of China arrived just before Thanksgiving. A surge in respiratory infections among children in the northern part of the country triggered a sense of foreboding — and Deja-vu. Meetings between the World Health Organization and Chinese officials quickly followed.

The WHO’s conclusions brought some relief. The surge was caused by an “immunity gap” in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, wherein children had few defenses against influenza and other respiratory infections after years of quarantine.

This episode should be a wake-up call for the U.S. national security establishment. We remain reliant on other nations, including countries of concern, like China, for critical intelligence needed to defend against biological dangers — whether naturally occurring, mistakenly released, or purposefully engineered. 

That needs to change. It starts with expanded investment in the technological infrastructure that can monitor for and detect dangerous pathogens that could devastate our nation and economy.

Since COVID-19, we’ve all become familiar with the risk posed by novel infectious diseases with pandemic potential. Just 30,000 base pairs of RNA — roughly one one-hundred-thousandth as many as the human genome contains — managed to shut down our planet.  

And, as we know from our experience with the last pandemic, time is essential to stopping the spread and minimizing danger to people. We need a strategy for the rapid identification and understanding of emerging threats, as well as timely countermeasures once a threat has been intercepted.

A sophisticated bio surveillance or “bio radar” network would include collection points where pathogens are most at risk of emerging or being identified as threats — including airports, borders, conflict zones, labs, and farms. Once bio radar systems leveraging DNA sequencing have detected a threat, we can create a digital fingerprint of the suspect pathogen’s genetic material and begin analyzing the level of risk and mitigation options. This creates true bio intelligence, or BIOINT.

Artificial intelligence tuned to biological information like this can quickly begin analyzing the data collected from bio radar systems. And by learning to “speak DNA” the way chatbots can speak English, AI has the potential to identify anomalies and quickly inform development of genomic-informed countermeasures.

Today, nodes in this bio radar network are already at work. We just need to connect the dots of this biosecurity infrastructure and expand its scale.

Take the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Traveler-based Genomic Surveillance program, which swabs international travelers arriving at various international airports. In August 2023, the Dulles International Airport location outside Washington D.C. flagged a sample from a U.S. resident returning from a multi-week trip to Japan. Analysis revealed that the traveler was carrying a new SARS-CoV-2 variant. After sequencing the variant, American authorities notified their counterparts in Japan.

This same program identified the Omicron variant when it first arrived in the United States 43 days before it showed up in a clinical setting. 

In other words, existing bio surveillance tools can find dangerous or novel pathogens before we would otherwise know they exist.

Acting on that information in a timely fashion could help save lives — or even eliminate outbreaks or biological threats. Despite the lag in receiving information on SARS-CoV-2 from China, it didn’t take long for scientists to develop mRNA vaccine candidates against COVID-19 that proved effective.

In its 2023 Biodefense Posture Review, the U.S. Department of Defense singles out four nations — North Korea, Russia, Iran, and the People’s Republic of China — as either having active offensive bioweapons programs or developing concerning dual-use capabilities in this area.

We should assume that countries the United States considers adversaries are already at work on genetically engineered pathogens and other violations of the Biological Weapons Convention. 

And yet, public health experts have consistently downplayed biothreats. The United Nations characterizes COVID-19 as a “once-in-a-lifetime pandemic”and the New England Journal of Medicine labels it a “once-in-a-century” event.

Biothreats are a much more immediate danger. They’re potentially more catastrophic than most other risks. We build early-warning systems for hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. We build them for missile launches and the transport of nuclear material. The public and private sectors spend billions each year on cybersecurity. Why isn’t there a similar urgency about biosecurity?

There’s no time to waste in addressing this truly neglected dimension of global security. We should be building a sophisticated bio radar, bio intelligence, and biosecurity system now before the next pandemic — engineered or otherwise — is at our doorstep.

Matthew Turpin is a senior counselor at Palantir Technologies and a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution specializing in U.S. policy towards the People’s Republic of China. From 2018 to 2019, Turpin served as the U.S. National Security Council’s Director for China and the Senior Advisor on China to the Secretary of Commerce.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 03/01/2024 – 21:40

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden