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Public Inquiry
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005

offsite link Irish media mote in the eye

offsite link King Hammurabi: Builders law Anthony

offsite link Michael Clifford: low standards in journalism Anthony

offsite link Are the wheels of justice creaking into action? Anthony

offsite link Middle class revolution Anthony

Public Inquiry >>

Human Rights in Ireland
A Blog About Human Rights

offsite link UN human rights chief calls for priority action ahead of climate summit Sat Oct 30, 2021 17:18 | Human Rights

offsite link 5 Year Anniversary Of Kem Ley?s Death Sun Jul 11, 2021 12:34 | Human Rights

offsite link Poor Living Conditions for Migrants in Southern Italy Mon Jan 18, 2021 10:14 | Human Rights

offsite link Right to Water Mon Aug 03, 2020 19:13 | Human Rights

offsite link Human Rights Fri Mar 20, 2020 16:33 | Human Rights

Human Rights in Ireland >>

Lockdown Skeptics

The Daily Sceptic

offsite link Coronavirus is Nowhere Near Endemic, Says WHO Tue Jan 11, 2022 15:46 | Will Jones
The coronavirus is "nowhere near" endemic, the World Health Organisation has said, while Pfizer's CEO says an Omicron vaccine is on its way and admits two doses no longer work. Some people don't want this to end.
The post Coronavirus is Nowhere Near Endemic, Says WHO appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link One in 12 Teachers Absent in First Week of Term as Class Sizes Reach 120 Tue Jan 11, 2022 13:24 | Will Jones
One in 12 teachers was absent from schools in England during the first week of term, according to the latest data, as some class sizes hit 120. Time to end mass testing?
The post One in 12 Teachers Absent in First Week of Term as Class Sizes Reach 120 appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link Supreme Leader Nic Sturge-on Tells Scots They May Have to Wear Masks For Years Tue Jan 11, 2022 11:05 | Toby Young
People in Scotland may have to wear masks in public places for years to come, Nicola Sturgeon has warned. This is in spite of masked-up Scotland having a higher number of Covid cases per 100,000 than England.
The post Supreme Leader Nic Sturge-on Tells Scots They May Have to Wear Masks For Years appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link Some Healthcare Workers Have Pre-existing Immunity to Covid, Study Finds Tue Jan 11, 2022 08:58 | Noah Carl
Researchers identified a group of healthcare workers who did not become infected during the first wave. They found evidence of pre-existing T-cell immunity, suggesting that not everyone is equally susceptible to Covid.
The post Some Healthcare Workers Have Pre-existing Immunity to Covid, Study Finds appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link How?s He Going to Get Out of This One? Fresh Allegations Emerge That Boris Attended Drinks in the No... Tue Jan 11, 2022 07:00 | Will Jones
Fresh allegations have emerged that Boris Johnson attended a social gathering during the first lockdown, described in an email from his PPS as "socially distanced drinks in the No 10 garden... bring your own booze!?
The post How’s He Going to Get Out of This One? Fresh Allegations Emerge That Boris Attended Drinks in the No. 10 Garden During Lockdown appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

Lockdown Skeptics >>

Voltaire Network
Voltaire, international edition

offsite link US bombings in Syria and Iraq violate US Constitution Thu Jan 20, 2022 08:28 | en

offsite link Hillary's comeback? Thu Jan 20, 2022 07:56 | en

offsite link NATO expands its membership unwittingly (Ben Wallace) Thu Jan 20, 2022 06:52 | en

offsite link In the 1980s, the Pentagon was preparing a nuclear war in Iran Wed Jan 19, 2022 17:06 | en

offsite link Iran reopens office at OIC Headquarters afer 6 years Wed Jan 19, 2022 08:51 | en

Voltaire Network >>

Julian E. Barnes - Sun Jan 23, 2022 15:47

The C.I.A. has found that most cases of the mysterious ailments known as Havana syndrome are unlikely to have been caused by Russia or another foreign adversary, agency officials said, a conclusion that angered victims [hypochondriac conspiracy theorists].

A majority of the 1,000 cases reported to the government can be explained by environmental causes [crickets], undiagnosed medical conditions or stress, rather than a sustained global campaign by a foreign power, C.I.A. officials said, describing the interim findings of a comprehensive study.

The C.I.A. is continuing its investigation into two dozen cases that remain unexplained. [24 out of 1000.] Those cases, said a U.S. official briefed on the findings, offer the greatest chance of yielding clues to whether a foreign power is responsible for some of the unexplained health incidents that have plagued American diplomats and C.I.A. personnel in Havana and Vienna, among other cities.

In addition to those two dozen cases, a significant number of others remain unexplained, the official said.

The idea [conspiracy theory] that Russia, China or Cuba was responsible for attacking hundreds of diplomats around the world was never backed up by any evidence that the Biden administration could unearth. But the F.B.I., the Pentagon and others continue to investigate whether a foreign power was involved in a smaller number of incidents, the U.S. official said. Clusters of incidents [delusional episodes] in Havana beginning in 2016 and some in Vienna in 2021, along with other individual incidents, remain a focus of such investigations.

The interim findings left many victims dissatisfied, particularly current and former officials who have been battling chronic ailments for years without being given a clear explanation. In a statement, a group of victims [narcissist conspiracy theorists] said the C.I.A. interim findings “cannot and must not be the final word on the matter.” The release of the findings, the victims said, was a breach of faith. [What a bunch of cry-babies.]

“The C.I.A.’s newly issued report may be labeled ‘interim’ and it may leave open the door for some alternative explanation in some cases, but to scores of dedicated public servants, their families and their colleagues, it has a ring of finality and repudiation,” the statement said.

William J. Burns, the director of the C.I.A., said the agency was pursuing a complex issue with “analytic rigor, sound tradecraft and compassion,” emphasizing that agency officers have experienced real symptoms.

“While we have reached some significant interim findings, we are not done,” Mr. Burns said in a statement. “We will continue the mission to investigate these incidents and provide access to world-class care for those who need it.”

The agency has never accused Russia or another power of being responsible, but some officials, particularly in the Pentagon, said they believed there was evidence of the involvement of Moscow’s spy agencies, and many victims concurred. When Mr. Burns traveled to Moscow in December to warn Russia against invading Ukraine, he raised the issue of the health incidents and said if Russia was found responsible, there would be consequences.

Marc Polymeropoulos, a former C.I.A. officer who suffered Havana syndrome symptoms on a trip to Moscow in 2017, said it was critical to continue to investigate the cases that remain unexplained. Praising Mr. Burns’s efforts to improve care for injured officers, he added that the C.I.A. should not revert to a culture where victims were denigrated and dismissed.

“It took us 10 years to find Osama bin Laden,” [And 19 years and running to find Iraqi WMDs.] Mr. Polymeropoulos said. “I would just urge patience and continued investigation by the intelligence community and the Department of Defense.”

Another victim, who asked that his name not be used because of his work for the agency, said the government had erred by pushing for more people to report ill health or unexplained symptoms. That brought in thousands of extraneous cases, the victim said, making it harder for the agency’s analysts to focus on the real cases.

The government official briefed on the findings said the effort to bring in large numbers of reports was not a mistake because it allowed the United States to speed up treatment for people suffering from symptoms. The effort also helped provide needed treatment to people with previously undiagnosed conditions, officials said.

C.I.A. officials said there was agreement within the intelligence community about the finding that the majority of Havana syndrome incidents were not the work of an adversarial power conducting a sustained campaign around the globe. Still, confidence in that assessment ranged from low to high across various intelligence agencies.

In addition to the C.I.A., an expert panel has been looking at classified information about the incidents. The panel, which has provided its findings to the government but is still finishing its report, explored technologies that could result, at least theoretically, in the symptoms being reported.

When made public, that report is expected to provide information on whether directed energy or microwaves could account for some of the unexplained incidents.

A directed energy weapon remains the hypothesis that a number of victims who have studied the incidents believe is most likely. Some of these current or retired officials believe government investigators have dismissed evidence they have collected of strange sounds or electromagnetic readings.

But late last year, officials said the C.I.A. had been unable to find any evidence that a directed energy device was responsible, neither intercepting communications from a foreign government that suggested the use of such a device or readings showing the presence of microwaves at the location of an incident.

Asked if directed energy or microwaves remain a leading theory for the cases still being investigated, an agency official said no potential explanation was being eliminated.

Of the cases that have been resolved, some had medical explanations, including previously undiagnosed conditions, while others were said to have had environmental causes, though C.I.A. officials did not offer examples. Some of the cases, officials said, were potentially related to the high stress of working at the C.I.A.

Some outside experts believe that stress has contributed to psychosomatic reactions or so-called functional illness. Many victims ["victims"] have found those explanations for chronic headaches and nausea offensive.

Last year, Congress passed a law compensating victims of Havana syndrome, and giving the government until April to devise a payment plan. It is not clear how the interim findings could affect that process. C.I.A. officials would say only that they were working on implementing the law, that their decisions were not yet due and that they were mindful of congressional intent to support officers reporting symptoms.

The statement by the victims said they hoped the interim report was not motivated by a desire on the government’s part to deny claims made under the act.

While some former officials said cases of similar injuries stretch back decades, the most recent spate of ailments [delusions] began at the end of 2016, when C.I.A. officers and diplomats working in the U.S. Embassy in Havana reported strange sounds [crickets], pressure and then various ailments including nausea and debilitating migraine headaches.

Those incidents were followed by multitudes of reports in China, then in Vienna. Other reports have come in from around the world, including Russia, India and Vietnam.

review released in 2020 by a team from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that targeted microwaves were the most likely cause of the injuries. Victims of the attacks had frequently pointed to various reports over the years about Russian research into directed energy weapons and the capacity of microwaves to cause brain injuries. But critics said that effort was incomplete because the Trump administration had not given the team access to classified information.

Many senior Trump administration officials, including leaders at the C.I.A., viewed the incidents skeptically, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to conclude that the mysterious incidents were attacks or that Russia was behind them. Some of those officials were influenced by an F.B.I. report that concluded the ailments were a kind of functional illness or stress-induced psychosomatic response.

The Biden administration took office with Mr. Burns and others pledging to get better treatment for victims for what they called the anomalous health incidents. They also started new efforts to study what had happened. They formed a new scientific review panel, led by the intelligence agencies, to examine all of the evidence, classified and unclassified. The C.I.A. formed a new cell, led by a veteran of the effort to find bin Laden, to figure out what happened. [And even they couldn't find evidence it was Vladimir Putin.]

Last year, Mr. Burns and other officials said the agency was focused on some 200 cases that remained unexplained.

The agency is now focused on two dozen.

Source: The New York Times

The C.I.A. has found that most cases of the mysterious ailments known as Havana syndrome are unlikely to have been caused by Russia or another foreign adversary, agency officials said, a conclusion that angered victims [hypochondriac conspiracy theorists].

A majority of the 1,000 cases reported to the government can be explained by environmental causes [crickets], undiagnosed medical conditions or stress, rather than a sustained global campaign by a foreign power, C.I.A. officials said, describing the interim findings of a comprehensive study.

The C.I.A. is continuing its investigation into two dozen cases that remain unexplained. [24 out of 1000.] Those cases, said a U.S. official briefed on the findings, offer the greatest chance of yielding clues to whether a foreign power is responsible for some of the unexplained health incidents that have plagued American diplomats and C.I.A. personnel in Havana and Vienna, among other cities.

In addition to those two dozen cases, a significant number of others remain unexplained, the official said.

The idea [conspiracy theory] that Russia, China or Cuba was responsible for attacking hundreds of diplomats around the world was never backed up by any evidence that the Biden administration could unearth. But the F.B.I., the Pentagon and others continue to investigate whether a foreign power was involved in a smaller number of incidents, the U.S. official said. Clusters of incidents [delusional episodes] in Havana beginning in 2016 and some in Vienna in 2021, along with other individual incidents, remain a focus of such investigations.

The interim findings left many victims dissatisfied, particularly current and former officials who have been battling chronic ailments for years without being given a clear explanation. In a statement, a group of victims [narcissist conspiracy theorists] said the C.I.A. interim findings “cannot and must not be the final word on the matter.” The release of the findings, the victims said, was a breach of faith. [What a bunch of cry-babies.]

“The C.I.A.’s newly issued report may be labeled ‘interim’ and it may leave open the door for some alternative explanation in some cases, but to scores of dedicated public servants, their families and their colleagues, it has a ring of finality and repudiation,” the statement said.

William J. Burns, the director of the C.I.A., said the agency was pursuing a complex issue with “analytic rigor, sound tradecraft and compassion,” emphasizing that agency officers have experienced real symptoms.

“While we have reached some significant interim findings, we are not done,” Mr. Burns said in a statement. “We will continue the mission to investigate these incidents and provide access to world-class care for those who need it.”

The agency has never accused Russia or another power of being responsible, but some officials, particularly in the Pentagon, said they believed there was evidence of the involvement of Moscow’s spy agencies, and many victims concurred. When Mr. Burns traveled to Moscow in December to warn Russia against invading Ukraine, he raised the issue of the health incidents and said if Russia was found responsible, there would be consequences.

Marc Polymeropoulos, a former C.I.A. officer who suffered Havana syndrome symptoms on a trip to Moscow in 2017, said it was critical to continue to investigate the cases that remain unexplained. Praising Mr. Burns’s efforts to improve care for injured officers, he added that the C.I.A. should not revert to a culture where victims were denigrated and dismissed.

“It took us 10 years to find Osama bin Laden,” [And 19 years and running to find Iraqi WMDs.] Mr. Polymeropoulos said. “I would just urge patience and continued investigation by the intelligence community and the Department of Defense.”

Another victim, who asked that his name not be used because of his work for the agency, said the government had erred by pushing for more people to report ill health or unexplained symptoms. That brought in thousands of extraneous cases, the victim said, making it harder for the agency’s analysts to focus on the real cases.

The government official briefed on the findings said the effort to bring in large numbers of reports was not a mistake because it allowed the United States to speed up treatment for people suffering from symptoms. The effort also helped provide needed treatment to people with previously undiagnosed conditions, officials said.

C.I.A. officials said there was agreement within the intelligence community about the finding that the majority of Havana syndrome incidents were not the work of an adversarial power conducting a sustained campaign around the globe. Still, confidence in that assessment ranged from low to high across various intelligence agencies.

In addition to the C.I.A., an expert panel has been looking at classified information about the incidents. The panel, which has provided its findings to the government but is still finishing its report, explored technologies that could result, at least theoretically, in the symptoms being reported.

When made public, that report is expected to provide information on whether directed energy or microwaves could account for some of the unexplained incidents.

A directed energy weapon remains the hypothesis that a number of victims who have studied the incidents believe is most likely. Some of these current or retired officials believe government investigators have dismissed evidence they have collected of strange sounds or electromagnetic readings.

But late last year, officials said the C.I.A. had been unable to find any evidence that a directed energy device was responsible, neither intercepting communications from a foreign government that suggested the use of such a device or readings showing the presence of microwaves at the location of an incident.

Asked if directed energy or microwaves remain a leading theory for the cases still being investigated, an agency official said no potential explanation was being eliminated.

Of the cases that have been resolved, some had medical explanations, including previously undiagnosed conditions, while others were said to have had environmental causes, though C.I.A. officials did not offer examples. Some of the cases, officials said, were potentially related to the high stress of working at the C.I.A.

Some outside experts believe that stress has contributed to psychosomatic reactions or so-called functional illness. Many victims ["victims"] have found those explanations for chronic headaches and nausea offensive.

Last year, Congress passed a law compensating victims of Havana syndrome, and giving the government until April to devise a payment plan. It is not clear how the interim findings could affect that process. C.I.A. officials would say only that they were working on implementing the law, that their decisions were not yet due and that they were mindful of congressional intent to support officers reporting symptoms.

The statement by the victims said they hoped the interim report was not motivated by a desire on the government’s part to deny claims made under the act.

While some former officials said cases of similar injuries stretch back decades, the most recent spate of ailments [delusions] began at the end of 2016, when C.I.A. officers and diplomats working in the U.S. Embassy in Havana reported strange sounds [crickets], pressure and then various ailments including nausea and debilitating migraine headaches.

Those incidents were followed by multitudes of reports in China, then in Vienna. Other reports have come in from around the world, including Russia, India and Vietnam.

review released in 2020 by a team from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that targeted microwaves were the most likely cause of the injuries. Victims of the attacks had frequently pointed to various reports over the years about Russian research into directed energy weapons and the capacity of microwaves to cause brain injuries. But critics said that effort was incomplete because the Trump administration had not given the team access to classified information.

Many senior Trump administration officials, including leaders at the C.I.A., viewed the incidents skeptically, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to conclude that the mysterious incidents were attacks or that Russia was behind them. Some of those officials were influenced by an F.B.I. report that concluded the ailments were a kind of functional illness or stress-induced psychosomatic response.

The Biden administration took office with Mr. Burns and others pledging to get better treatment for victims for what they called the anomalous health incidents. They also started new efforts to study what had happened. They formed a new scientific review panel, led by the intelligence agencies, to examine all of the evidence, classified and unclassified. The C.I.A. formed a new cell, led by a veteran of the effort to find bin Laden, to figure out what happened. [And even they couldn't find evidence it was Vladimir Putin.]

Last year, Mr. Burns and other officials said the agency was focused on some 200 cases that remained unexplained.

The agency is now focused on two dozen.

Source: The New York Times

Alex Story - Sun Jan 23, 2022 12:42

Across Austria, the streets are alive with the sounds of drums and cow bells. Ever since the Austrian government announced a vaccine mandate in November 2021, with vaccine refuseniks set to face fines, potential bankruptcies and possible prison sentences from February this year, demonstrations against the proposed measures have not ceased.

You can see why their fears are justified. Just a few days before the vaccine mandate was revealed, the authorities also stepped up their war on the unvaccinated by announcing that a new lockdown would be introduced – but that it would only apply to partially vaccinated and unvaccinated people. While these measures only lasted a short time before Omicron entered the stage and the entire country was plunged into its fourth lockdown, in mid-December the government announced that restrictions would be lifted, but only for the fully unvaccinated again.

While the ‘vaccine mandate’ sword hangs precariously over their heads before the measure is introduced in February, Austria’s large minority of unvaccinated people are essentially unable to participate in society. While the vaccinated are free to roam as they please, albeit with the proper paperwork, the only physical businesses the unvaccinated can visit are banks, food shops and pharmacies.

They barred from all other shops, businesses, theatres, restaurants, bar, museums. The list as long as it is depressing. Every shop window now has a sign warning those who haven’t had the jab to stay out. Some shops redouble the humiliation by inviting ‘unvaccinated’ clients to ring a bell and wait until they can be served – outside – in Austria, in winter.

Looking at international tables, it is not obvious why the leaders of Austria have chosen these extreme measures now. The country is doing neither better nor worse than its neighbours in terms of the percentage of fully vaccinated or deaths per 100,000 people. The EU average for full vaccine uptake is 69 per cent; for Austria it is 70 per cent according to the European Centre for Disease Control.

But in the meantime, the machinery of state steadily grinds on. In a novel Keynesian twist, the government is planning to open the spending spigots to ensure that the vaccine mandate plan goes ahead. And hundreds of new positions in the civil service are being created to man this new apparatus.

As Die Krone Zeitung, a national daily, explains, ‘there will be a lot of work for all of them’ and over the next two years ‘considerably more staff will be needed’ – with the government expecting to issue 1.8 million penalty orders to the unvaccinated in 2022 alone.

When you exclude the under 14s, who are legally excluded from being fined, the Austrian authorities will have to fine a substantial proportion of the country’s population who are not fully vaccinated. The fines start at €600 but will rise to €3,600. The government has said that the fines should not be considered a one off and may continue to be applied to individuals who do not comply.

The nine regional states that make up the Austrian Federal Republic are also recruiting ahead of the vaccine mandate roll-out. For instance, the Salzburger Nachrichten, a regional newspaper, reports that its regional government wants to ‘recruit retired police officers for Covid controls’. The criteria: applicants should not be older than 70 and should have been previously active in the field. In an aging country, it seems as though politicians have found a clever way to pay their voting base to harass the young.

Perhaps to make the whole thing less distasteful, the administration is promising that at the moment ‘physical coercion is not envisaged, and that the fines will not ‘be converted into a custodial sentence’, having said the opposite just a few weeks ago.

But in a surprising escalation, the Socialist Party of Austria (SPO), one of the country’s two major parties, is calling for the unvaccinated to lose their jobs as well as their entitlement to unemployment benefits and social assistance in Vienna. In short, there are plenty of calls for the government to revisit the idea of imprisoning those unable or unwilling to pay.

As each day takes Austria closer to the February 1 vaccination mandate deadline, murmurs of hope tinged with despair gallop through the lines of irredentists. An expert here says that Omicron might make the mandate unnecessary; a report there tells of technical difficulties that might delay the stay of execution. In no time, though, politicians rise up to crush these hopes. Nothing will come in the way of the mandate.

The exceptionally large demonstrations now regularly meandering through the ancient city streets of Austria’s state capitals will not stop the mandate. Nor the staggering and growing number (currently over 108,000) of individual messages written by concerned citizens to their parliamentarians; nor the admission from the Constitutional Minister Karoline Edtstadler that the introduction ‘of general compulsory vaccination naturally encroaches on fundamental rights.’

Already in Austria an individual must show his ‘papers’ to anyone who demands them either in shops, theatres, restaurants, bars, and much more regardless of his vaccination status. Every interaction with a third party is now official.

The state is imposing itself on both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated whilst the freedoms of both are trampled underfoot. Compliance is now the only game in town.

Source: The Spectator, hat tip to Fourth World

Across Austria, the streets are alive with the sounds of drums and cow bells. Ever since the Austrian government announced a vaccine mandate in November 2021, with vaccine refuseniks set to face fines, potential bankruptcies and possible prison sentences from February this year, demonstrations against the proposed measures have not ceased.

You can see why their fears are justified. Just a few days before the vaccine mandate was revealed, the authorities also stepped up their war on the unvaccinated by announcing that a new lockdown would be introduced – but that it would only apply to partially vaccinated and unvaccinated people. While these measures only lasted a short time before Omicron entered the stage and the entire country was plunged into its fourth lockdown, in mid-December the government announced that restrictions would be lifted, but only for the fully unvaccinated again.

While the ‘vaccine mandate’ sword hangs precariously over their heads before the measure is introduced in February, Austria’s large minority of unvaccinated people are essentially unable to participate in society. While the vaccinated are free to roam as they please, albeit with the proper paperwork, the only physical businesses the unvaccinated can visit are banks, food shops and pharmacies.

They barred from all other shops, businesses, theatres, restaurants, bar, museums. The list as long as it is depressing. Every shop window now has a sign warning those who haven’t had the jab to stay out. Some shops redouble the humiliation by inviting ‘unvaccinated’ clients to ring a bell and wait until they can be served – outside – in Austria, in winter.

Looking at international tables, it is not obvious why the leaders of Austria have chosen these extreme measures now. The country is doing neither better nor worse than its neighbours in terms of the percentage of fully vaccinated or deaths per 100,000 people. The EU average for full vaccine uptake is 69 per cent; for Austria it is 70 per cent according to the European Centre for Disease Control.

But in the meantime, the machinery of state steadily grinds on. In a novel Keynesian twist, the government is planning to open the spending spigots to ensure that the vaccine mandate plan goes ahead. And hundreds of new positions in the civil service are being created to man this new apparatus.

As Die Krone Zeitung, a national daily, explains, ‘there will be a lot of work for all of them’ and over the next two years ‘considerably more staff will be needed’ – with the government expecting to issue 1.8 million penalty orders to the unvaccinated in 2022 alone.

When you exclude the under 14s, who are legally excluded from being fined, the Austrian authorities will have to fine a substantial proportion of the country’s population who are not fully vaccinated. The fines start at €600 but will rise to €3,600. The government has said that the fines should not be considered a one off and may continue to be applied to individuals who do not comply.

The nine regional states that make up the Austrian Federal Republic are also recruiting ahead of the vaccine mandate roll-out. For instance, the Salzburger Nachrichten, a regional newspaper, reports that its regional government wants to ‘recruit retired police officers for Covid controls’. The criteria: applicants should not be older than 70 and should have been previously active in the field. In an aging country, it seems as though politicians have found a clever way to pay their voting base to harass the young.

Perhaps to make the whole thing less distasteful, the administration is promising that at the moment ‘physical coercion is not envisaged, and that the fines will not ‘be converted into a custodial sentence’, having said the opposite just a few weeks ago.

But in a surprising escalation, the Socialist Party of Austria (SPO), one of the country’s two major parties, is calling for the unvaccinated to lose their jobs as well as their entitlement to unemployment benefits and social assistance in Vienna. In short, there are plenty of calls for the government to revisit the idea of imprisoning those unable or unwilling to pay.

As each day takes Austria closer to the February 1 vaccination mandate deadline, murmurs of hope tinged with despair gallop through the lines of irredentists. An expert here says that Omicron might make the mandate unnecessary; a report there tells of technical difficulties that might delay the stay of execution. In no time, though, politicians rise up to crush these hopes. Nothing will come in the way of the mandate.

The exceptionally large demonstrations now regularly meandering through the ancient city streets of Austria’s state capitals will not stop the mandate. Nor the staggering and growing number (currently over 108,000) of individual messages written by concerned citizens to their parliamentarians; nor the admission from the Constitutional Minister Karoline Edtstadler that the introduction ‘of general compulsory vaccination naturally encroaches on fundamental rights.’

Already in Austria an individual must show his ‘papers’ to anyone who demands them either in shops, theatres, restaurants, bars, and much more regardless of his vaccination status. Every interaction with a third party is now official.

The state is imposing itself on both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated whilst the freedoms of both are trampled underfoot. Compliance is now the only game in town.

Source: The Spectator, hat tip to Fourth World

Ashley K. Fernandes - Sun Jan 23, 2022 10:24

This essay is written from the point of view of a physician, medical educator, and bioethicist who sees the deplorable fact of physician involvement in the Shoah as an opportunity to highlight enduring moral lessons for the medical professions. Medicine and law are intimately connected to one another, and, since the professionalization of medicine in the United States and Europe in the latter half of the 19th century, even more so. One discipline that connects both is moral philosophy; for both law and medicine involve reason and the will, directed toward the good of the person. Thus, the story of the Holocaust is a tragedy that unfolded because of the corruption of moral philosophy first, and medicine and law second.

Why is this important? The reason is that there are those who argue against the contemporary application of lessons learned from the horrors of Nazi medicine. Some say that “Nazi medicine” was not real medicine or science: We cannot even call what the Nazis did “medicine,” since medicine contains within it an assumption of rigor and beneficence. This is an objection I hear from medical scientists, who point to safeguards such as the Nuremberg Code (1947), the Declaration of Helsinki (1964), and the Belmont Report (1978) as proof of the radically different nature of science today. But this argument is circular. It defines science as “good science,” (relegating anything unethical to “bad science” or “pseudoscience”) when in fact these very safeguards were born out of abuses from what was then the most scientifically advanced country in the world. Medicine then, as now, is not somehow immune from this abuse, as the horrific postwar abuses at Tuskegee and elsewhere make clear.

Other scholars have suggested that the real cause of the Holocaust was an economic, political, or racial one—not a moral one—and that, since the United States has a radically different political, economic, and cultural system, the use of the “Nazi analogy” should be restricted. Medical abuses today are somehow less likely because economic, political, and cultural considerations are highly specific. One prominent bioethicist, for example, noted:

A key component of Nazi thought was to rid Germany … of those deemed economic drains on the state … a fear rooted in the bitter economic experience after the First World War. … [These themes] have little to do with contemporary debates about science, medicine, or technology.

While I agree that the so-called “Nazi analogy” has been misused and even abused, and therefore should be used with restraint and precision, denying the risk of backsliding steps too far. It may be falsely reassuring to suggest that the Holocaust was “merely” politically motivated. Even granting the (disputable) claim that the primary motivation for the Holocaust was economic or political, the Nazis somehow made the leap from identifying persons as “economic drains” to becoming completely and utterly disposable.

Finally, it should be noted that just as philosophy has a decisive impact on both medicine and law, medicine and law exert important effects on one another. The Nazi sterilization laws, Nuremberg marriage laws, and euthanasia directives all changed irrevocably the nature of the physician-patient or physician-subject relationship and gave license and purpose to craven ideas that hitherto were discussed but not technically allowed.

It is worthy of emphasis that although many professions (including law) were “taken in” by Nazi philosophy, doctors and nurses had a peculiarly strong attraction to it. Robert N. Proctor (1988) notes that physicians joined the Nazi party in droves (nearly 50% by 1945), much higher than any other profession.

Physicians were seven times more likely to join the SS than other employed German males. Nurses were also major collaborators. The Holocaust should be studied by every health care professional as a reminder of how sacred the substance of our craft is, and what the consequences may be if we forget the dignity of persons again.

Between 1933 and 1945, the Nazis established a “biocracy,” which ultimately murdered millions of innocent persons. The notion that doctors were somehow “forced” to participate has been shattered as myth; Proctor’s (1988) unparalleled volume makes this vividly clear; Robert J. Lifton’s The Nazi Doctors (2000) meticulously traces both the medicalization of death, from eugenics to euthanasia to Auschwitz, and the stories of physicians who perpetrated genocide, were subjected to it, and resisted it. Thus, with a wealth of historical research on the subject, a full accounting of this progression from trusted healers to state-sanctioned killers is beyond the scope of this essay.

In 1859, Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species. This scientific theory elucidated the theory of evolution in a pre-genetic era but made no broad claims about philosophical anthropology. Darwin’s work was decidedly descriptive, not prescriptive. Later, Francis Galton coined the term “eugenics” in his work Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development (1883), and the application of “evolution” on a societal level was born. Social Darwinists such as Charles B. Davenport in the USA and Karl Pearson in England, for example, made the case, in different ways and utilizing the “language of science,” that the genes of the “fit” should be promoted, and the genes of the “unfit” discouraged. Daniel J. Kevles (1995) traces the origins of the eugenics movement through Europe and the United States, and the powerful influence on social policy in the prewar era, including resistance to it, notably from the Catholic Church and its intellectuals (such as G.K. Chesterton), as well as a minority of brilliant secular scientists.

Still, German eugenicists took “discouragement of the unfit” further, cooperating eagerly with the Nazi party—as they were willing to support forced sterilization of the “unfit.” More than a decade before the Nazis, Alfred Hoche and Karl Binding (1920) published their influential book, Die Freigabe der Vernichtung lebensunwerten Lebens (The Authorization of the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Life). The book had spoken of the “incurable feebleminded” who should be killed—but for now, sterilization was a good start.

Most know how the tragic story unfolded from here: The Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, through a democratic process, and that same year, laws for compulsory sterilization of the mentally ill were passed. The Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring was based on American laws passed in the 1920s, and required 50,000 sterilizations annually. By 1939, 350,000 persons had been sterilized against their will. In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws were passed, forbidding sexual relations and intermarriage between Germans and Jews and establishing “genetic health courts.” The sterilization laws led to rapid advancement in the science and technology of sterilization, as well as a major financial gain for many German physicians—racial hygiene had become a veritable cottage industry.

For Hitler and the Nazi physicians, the state was analogous to a living organism– a supreme political vitalism. In fact, it was much more than an analogy. Nazi doctors and scientists, in conceiving the biological metaphor, created a powerful, easily understood concept for the general populace: The German Reich is a body; whatever contributed to the health and well-being of the racial state was to be preserved, that which did not could be labelled a “disease.” The Jews are a disease; disease must be completely cut out (not merely suppressed), for it will otherwise poison and kill the body.

Thus, sterilization would never be enough. Suppression of a disease is inferior to ridding the body of it. In October 1939, Hitler authorized euthanasia of the “incurably sick.” The right to life now had to be “justified” under a Nazi program to euthanize “lives not worth living.” The program began secretly with disabled children, and between 1937 and 1945, the Nazi physicians organized and implemented more than 30 euthanasia centers for children. The history of the move to euthanasia from sterilization, its cruelty and efficiency, and its impact on the progression to the Holocaust is well documented in Michael Burleigh’s dense and disturbing book, Death and Deliverance (1994).

The Nazi euthanasia campaign was publicly justified with four main arguments. First, ridding Germany of the unfit was simply “good science.” Who better to determine what constituted good science than German physicians, who were already the best in the world? The experts knew what was best for the German body.

Second, euthanasia was deemed humane. Since it was supported and implemented by a profession with a long tradition of healing and caring, the argument was even more persuasive. Pediatric euthanasia was often supported by many parents of disabled children for this reason; yet, with mixed motivation, for many wanted to avoid the strong stigma of having a disabled child. This conflict of interest shows how medical culture can influence the ethics of both individuals and society at large.

Karl Brandt, the infamous Nazi doctor, gave this worryingly persuasive defense at Nuremberg—a defense I still challenge my students and faculty with:

The human beings who cannot help themselves and whose tests show a life of suffering are to be given aid. This consideration is not inhuman. I never felt that it was not ethical or was not moral. But one thing seems necessary to me—that if anybody wants to judge the question of euthanasia he must go into an insane asylum and he should stay there with the sick people for a few days. Then we can ask him two questions: the first would be whether he himself would like to live like that, and the second, whether he would ask one of his relatives to live that way—perhaps his child or his parents.

This was no “monster’s defense.” But if Brandt’s words are persuasive, we must have a remedy—both intellectual and experiential—to rebut it.

Still, Dr. Brandt’s challenge combines the “humaneness” justification with a third. Especially in the case of children and the mentally disabled, euthanasia was deemed “rational,” that is, if they could only choose it themselves under “a veil of ignorance,” to reference the terminology of one postwar moral philosopher, they would. It should be noted that physicians at the time were more concerned about the “legality,” not the morality of euthanasia, and many insisted that euthanasia was a “private matter” between patients and doctors.

Finally, killing through euthanasia was justified independently on the premise that it was good for the racial state. That “good” eclipsed the good of this individual being. It should be fairly obvious that there are strong parallels between these reasons and contemporary arguments in favor of euthanasia today. While a full accounting of these parallels is beyond the scope of this essay, readers should note professor Peter Singer’s justifications for euthanasia, and Michael Burleigh’s sharply critical response in Death and Deliverance.

By the end of the “T4” program to euthanize disabled adults and children, between 70,000 and 100,000 persons had lost their lives; stigma against the vulnerable in attitude and language had become codified in law. According to Proctor, these three programs—forced sterilization of the “unfit,” the Nuremberg Laws, and the euthanasia laws—were the primary means the Nazi physicians and scientists used to accomplish “racial hygiene,” and led directly to the technological and medical surge responsible for genocide at the death camps.

But degradation and death was not limited to the clinical aspect of medicine. Research abuses by physicians and scientists, conducted in hospitals as well as in the camps, ranged from the scientifically frivolous (injecting prisoners with typhus) to the malevolent (amputation of limbs and “transplantation” onto other bodies), and are well documented elsewhere. Physicians were held in such high esteem, and thought to be of such high moral character, that experimentation was justified in that it benefited society, added to a burgeoning body of knowledge (a good in itself), and often (but not always) benefited the patient. It should come as no surprise that other populations (such as African-Americans in the USA, and prisoners of war in Japan) were also subjected to grotesque and unethical human experimentation during this period, and beyond.

In 1942, and as a direct result of a deep-seated tradition of anti-Semitism within the German medical community, the Christian churches, and Europe in general, the “Final Solution” was proposed—the murder of the entire European Jewish population. Nazi medicine, through what can only be called, in modern terms, “advocacy,” had a profoundly negative effect on culture. Physicians, dressed in white coats, gave the imprimatur that indeed, those that were to be gassed were not human persons at all:

At every turn, the annihilation procedures were supervised—and, in a perverse sense, dignified—through the presence of medical staff. … We may say the doctor standing at the ramp represented a kind of omega point, a mythical gatekeeper between the worlds of the dead and the living, a final common pathway of the Nazi vision of therapy via mass murder.

The killing of 6 million Jewish persons and 9 million “others”—could only have been accomplished through a buy-in into a twisted philosophical anthropology. Science alone could not accomplish this destruction, because science never stands alone. So, although we may not kill persons, we may kill animals, vegetables, and subhumans. What the Nazis needed was a philosophy to define out of lives inconvenient to the goals of the Race, and then science to do the killing. This is why the Holocaust can be deemed a “bioethical assault” on human personhood.

Nearly two decades ago, the late Edmund Pellegrino, M.D., one of the fathers of modern bioethics and my own mentor, gave us a starting point for procuring valuable, enduring lessons after Nuremberg:

We see here the initial premises that law takes precedence over ethics, that the good of the many is more important than the good of the few ... The lesson [from the Holocaust] is that moral premises must be valid if morally valid conclusions are to be drawn. A morally repulsive conclusion stems from a morally inadmissible premise. Perhaps, above all, we must learn that some things should never be done.

Pellegrino was correct. The Holocaust is not merely a lesson in history, it is an enduring lesson in philosophical ethics. These lessons are perhaps more important to remember today, as personal memories of the Shoah fade, survivors and liberators themselves become a part of history, and young physicians graduate medical school with less empathy and moral resilience than when they began.

The physicians who actively aided the Holocaust believed that they were practicing “good science.” But scientific truth alone does not “grasp” the reality of life, and if we believe it so, we are further on the road to what the late Jean Bethke-Elshtain called “scientific fundamentalism.” Physicians and health care professionals must, therefore, remember the Holocaust, but remember, as Pope John Paul II said on his visit to Yad Vashem, to “remember with a purpose.” I will briefly articulate five lessons of the tragedy of Nazi medicine that we must remember and integrate into our medical practice, if medicine is to survive as a profession of healing.

First, and perhaps most fundamentally, we must affirm a strong personalism. This anthropology has been described briefly above, and extensively elsewhere, by Maritain, but it also has adherents as diverse and important as Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr.,and the late philosopher Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II). Personalism posits the ultimate unit of value of human life is the individual person herself. Society is and ought to be built around this value. In short, society is created for the person, not the person for society, and hence the dignity and integrity of the person and her freedom cannot be sacrificed for the sake of society. No contingent factor—race, religion, economic status, disability, or actions of the past, present or future—can rob a person the dignity she is owed. Integrating this kind of rigorous, universal philosophical anthropology is an antidote to the corruption of medicine, and vital for the prevention of future genocides.

However, disturbing parallels in our contemporary medical, academic, and social culture now argue, for example, for abortion as a form of eugenics and crime reduction; the coerced sterilization of prisoners; pre-implantation genetic diagnosis as a way of promulgating “good genes”; and tours of Auschwitz as a “learning experience” for supporters of euthanasia. Targeted abortion for unborn children with genetic conditions such as trisomy 21 and cystic fibrosis have reduced populations by more than 90%, and are justified on utilitarian grounds. But if a person is the fundamental unit of value of our society, then no “other good” can eclipse her. Politically, legally, and medically, this would mean an expansive and firm definition of person, for it is a far smaller risk to give protection to an entity where personhood is possible, than to destroy the life a person who in the end deserved our protection. Practically, this must mean the end of physician involvement in state-sponsored torture, capital punishment, euthanasia, and eugenically motivated sterilization and artificial reproductive technologies.

Second, we must have rigorous conscience protection for physicians and health care providers. Contemporary literature in bioethics favors the removal of conscience protection laws particularly on “hot button issues” such as abortion, contraception, sterilization, and now euthanasia. Yet, a physician’s oath to her patient is only as strong as her conscience; allow (or even force) her to break it, and we have forgotten: One day, it may be our turn to stand against the tide. On this issue of conscience protection in medicine, of which volumes have been written, eloquent defenses (while still in the minority) made by Dan Sulmasy and others make clear the point that conscience is an active, driving force that is part of who we are as persons, and warn of the danger of a positivistic bioethics.

A medical student once asked me what was the most important lesson I wanted them to know. My answer was this: Between good and evil, there is no “safe space” to stand. There is no neutral void from which a physician can escape his ethical duties, referring it to another. In the time of the Nazis, courageous leaders from opposite ends of the spectrum—Cardinal von Galen, Dietrich Bonheoffer (tortured and murdered), and the Association of Socialist Physicians (whose leaders were arrested or exiled in 1933, and many murdered in Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938)—would not stay silent. Bonheoffer’s words still challenge us today:

We have been silent witnesses of evil deeds: we have been drenched by many storms; we have learnt the arts of equivocation and pretence; experience has made us suspicious of others and kept us from being truthful and open; intolerable conflicts have worn us down and even made us cynical. Are we still of any use? What we shall need is not geniuses, or cynics, or misanthropes, or clever tacticians, but plain, honest, straightforward men. Will our inward power of resistance be strong enough, and our honesty with ourselves remorseless enough, for us to find our way back to simplicity and straightforwardness?

If morality does not assert its dominion over the law, the reverse shall happen, and radical positivism, with its morally inadmissible premises, will reach its equally inadmissible conclusions.

The third lesson to be learned from the study of medicine and the Holocaust is this: Science is not a “god.” Science relies on hypothesis, experiment, and validation or falsification of the hypothesis to progress. But it is science’s own methodology that also highlights its limitations. Science cannot answer of itself—using its own empirical methodology—whether a particular medical practice is morally good. It must rely on philosophy to do so. Moral philosophy extracts truths from reality based on reason and “lived experience.” The ethical enterprise is therefore both objective (rational) and subjective (experiential). Albert Einstein once said that:

And certainly we should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality. It cannot lead, it can only serve; and it is not fastidious in its choices of a leader. This characteristic is reflected in the qualities of its priests, the intellectuals. The intellect has a sharp eye for methods and tools, but is blind to ends and values. So it is no wonder that this fatal blindness is handed from old to young and today involves a whole generation.

Fourth, as physicians and health professionals we must resist the desensitization to dehumanization that is so prevalent in medicine’s culture. Every clinician can tell you about the terms used to describe patients behind closed doors: “vegetable” (comatose); “P.O.S.” (piece of sh*t); “squirrel farm” (neonatal intensive care unit); “breeder” (a woman with more than 2-3 children); “useless”; “parasite”—the list could go on. For it is far easier to kill a “vegetable” than a human person; to not resuscitate a “squirrel” than a little baby; to feel no pang of conscience for disrespecting a “P.O.S.” or a “parasite” than a poor drug addicted person.

The medical literature supports these widespread anecdotal references. Omar Haque and Adam Waytz (2012) discuss causes of dehumanization alluded to previously: empathetic erosion and moral disengagement in training and practice. There is also another that particularly rings true: dissimilarity between physician and patient. Dissimilarity “manifests in three primary ways. First is through dissimilarity in illness—patients, by their very nature of being ill, become less similar to one’s prototypical concept of human. Second is the labeling of the patient as an illness, rather than as a person who has a particular illness.

Whatever the reason—dissimilarity or something more sinister—language alters perception, and perception affects our ethical calculus. For example, to build support for euthanasia of the disabled, Nazi filmmakers deliberately altered lighting on the faces of the disabled, to make them more “inhuman” in their appearance. Purposeful and dramatic dehumanization has the same ultimate outcome on our perception as slow, chronic dehumanization. Simple gestures—such as standing up against such language publicly when people dehumanize or showing personalistic leadership through examples of patience and even tenderness at the bedside—will do much to begin reversing this narrative.

Finally, a fifth lesson to be learned is that, as a physician, you must serve the patient exclusively—not some abstracted idea of “society.” Physicians and health professionals in the Holocaust decided that the good of the racial state took precedence over the good of individual persons. “Nazi doctors hailed a move ‘from the doctor of the individual to the doctor of the nation.’” The justification for the euthanasia program, in large part, was couched in economic terms—a cost-saving measure for society in a time of scarcity.

Today, we seem to be losing more of our commitment to the individual patient—for there are other “gods” in medicine. “Quality of life,” “public health,” or even “patient satisfaction” have become ends in themselves, not a means to an end. Physicians and mental health professionals in this century have (and continue to be) complicit in torture, in racial discrimination, and in capital punishment. In all of these examples, the physician obscures the value and dignity of the person for some other goal—some even laudable ones, perhaps (security, order, public health, etc.) Yet, the power of the “white coat” demands, if we are to fulfill our obligations of trust, that we do not serve the state (and its economic interests), nor the patient’s family (however compassionate our motivations), nor any other “just cause” or goal, including our own.

The white coat derived its significance in the last century from the physician as laboratory scientist, surgeon, and hospital doctor—but ultimately, its power rests in its symbolic value of the physician as healer. As black’s opposite, which often signified darkness and death, the white coat conveys the pull towards light, and life. This is not to ignore the controversies surrounding the white coat and its contemporary use, misuse, or disuse; it is only to point to a reality of the physician: that our profession was meant to always uphold the life and dignity of the human person, even if we could not preserve it.

Source: Tablet Magazine

This essay is written from the point of view of a physician, medical educator, and bioethicist who sees the deplorable fact of physician involvement in the Shoah as an opportunity to highlight enduring moral lessons for the medical professions. Medicine and law are intimately connected to one another, and, since the professionalization of medicine in the United States and Europe in the latter half of the 19th century, even more so. One discipline that connects both is moral philosophy; for both law and medicine involve reason and the will, directed toward the good of the person. Thus, the story of the Holocaust is a tragedy that unfolded because of the corruption of moral philosophy first, and medicine and law second.

Why is this important? The reason is that there are those who argue against the contemporary application of lessons learned from the horrors of Nazi medicine. Some say that “Nazi medicine” was not real medicine or science: We cannot even call what the Nazis did “medicine,” since medicine contains within it an assumption of rigor and beneficence. This is an objection I hear from medical scientists, who point to safeguards such as the Nuremberg Code (1947), the Declaration of Helsinki (1964), and the Belmont Report (1978) as proof of the radically different nature of science today. But this argument is circular. It defines science as “good science,” (relegating anything unethical to “bad science” or “pseudoscience”) when in fact these very safeguards were born out of abuses from what was then the most scientifically advanced country in the world. Medicine then, as now, is not somehow immune from this abuse, as the horrific postwar abuses at Tuskegee and elsewhere make clear.

Other scholars have suggested that the real cause of the Holocaust was an economic, political, or racial one—not a moral one—and that, since the United States has a radically different political, economic, and cultural system, the use of the “Nazi analogy” should be restricted. Medical abuses today are somehow less likely because economic, political, and cultural considerations are highly specific. One prominent bioethicist, for example, noted:

A key component of Nazi thought was to rid Germany … of those deemed economic drains on the state … a fear rooted in the bitter economic experience after the First World War. … [These themes] have little to do with contemporary debates about science, medicine, or technology.

While I agree that the so-called “Nazi analogy” has been misused and even abused, and therefore should be used with restraint and precision, denying the risk of backsliding steps too far. It may be falsely reassuring to suggest that the Holocaust was “merely” politically motivated. Even granting the (disputable) claim that the primary motivation for the Holocaust was economic or political, the Nazis somehow made the leap from identifying persons as “economic drains” to becoming completely and utterly disposable.

Finally, it should be noted that just as philosophy has a decisive impact on both medicine and law, medicine and law exert important effects on one another. The Nazi sterilization laws, Nuremberg marriage laws, and euthanasia directives all changed irrevocably the nature of the physician-patient or physician-subject relationship and gave license and purpose to craven ideas that hitherto were discussed but not technically allowed.

It is worthy of emphasis that although many professions (including law) were “taken in” by Nazi philosophy, doctors and nurses had a peculiarly strong attraction to it. Robert N. Proctor (1988) notes that physicians joined the Nazi party in droves (nearly 50% by 1945), much higher than any other profession.

Physicians were seven times more likely to join the SS than other employed German males. Nurses were also major collaborators. The Holocaust should be studied by every health care professional as a reminder of how sacred the substance of our craft is, and what the consequences may be if we forget the dignity of persons again.

Between 1933 and 1945, the Nazis established a “biocracy,” which ultimately murdered millions of innocent persons. The notion that doctors were somehow “forced” to participate has been shattered as myth; Proctor’s (1988) unparalleled volume makes this vividly clear; Robert J. Lifton’s The Nazi Doctors (2000) meticulously traces both the medicalization of death, from eugenics to euthanasia to Auschwitz, and the stories of physicians who perpetrated genocide, were subjected to it, and resisted it. Thus, with a wealth of historical research on the subject, a full accounting of this progression from trusted healers to state-sanctioned killers is beyond the scope of this essay.

In 1859, Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species. This scientific theory elucidated the theory of evolution in a pre-genetic era but made no broad claims about philosophical anthropology. Darwin’s work was decidedly descriptive, not prescriptive. Later, Francis Galton coined the term “eugenics” in his work Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development (1883), and the application of “evolution” on a societal level was born. Social Darwinists such as Charles B. Davenport in the USA and Karl Pearson in England, for example, made the case, in different ways and utilizing the “language of science,” that the genes of the “fit” should be promoted, and the genes of the “unfit” discouraged. Daniel J. Kevles (1995) traces the origins of the eugenics movement through Europe and the United States, and the powerful influence on social policy in the prewar era, including resistance to it, notably from the Catholic Church and its intellectuals (such as G.K. Chesterton), as well as a minority of brilliant secular scientists.

Still, German eugenicists took “discouragement of the unfit” further, cooperating eagerly with the Nazi party—as they were willing to support forced sterilization of the “unfit.” More than a decade before the Nazis, Alfred Hoche and Karl Binding (1920) published their influential book, Die Freigabe der Vernichtung lebensunwerten Lebens (The Authorization of the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Life). The book had spoken of the “incurable feebleminded” who should be killed—but for now, sterilization was a good start.

Most know how the tragic story unfolded from here: The Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, through a democratic process, and that same year, laws for compulsory sterilization of the mentally ill were passed. The Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring was based on American laws passed in the 1920s, and required 50,000 sterilizations annually. By 1939, 350,000 persons had been sterilized against their will. In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws were passed, forbidding sexual relations and intermarriage between Germans and Jews and establishing “genetic health courts.” The sterilization laws led to rapid advancement in the science and technology of sterilization, as well as a major financial gain for many German physicians—racial hygiene had become a veritable cottage industry.

For Hitler and the Nazi physicians, the state was analogous to a living organism– a supreme political vitalism. In fact, it was much more than an analogy. Nazi doctors and scientists, in conceiving the biological metaphor, created a powerful, easily understood concept for the general populace: The German Reich is a body; whatever contributed to the health and well-being of the racial state was to be preserved, that which did not could be labelled a “disease.” The Jews are a disease; disease must be completely cut out (not merely suppressed), for it will otherwise poison and kill the body.

Thus, sterilization would never be enough. Suppression of a disease is inferior to ridding the body of it. In October 1939, Hitler authorized euthanasia of the “incurably sick.” The right to life now had to be “justified” under a Nazi program to euthanize “lives not worth living.” The program began secretly with disabled children, and between 1937 and 1945, the Nazi physicians organized and implemented more than 30 euthanasia centers for children. The history of the move to euthanasia from sterilization, its cruelty and efficiency, and its impact on the progression to the Holocaust is well documented in Michael Burleigh’s dense and disturbing book, Death and Deliverance (1994).

The Nazi euthanasia campaign was publicly justified with four main arguments. First, ridding Germany of the unfit was simply “good science.” Who better to determine what constituted good science than German physicians, who were already the best in the world? The experts knew what was best for the German body.

Second, euthanasia was deemed humane. Since it was supported and implemented by a profession with a long tradition of healing and caring, the argument was even more persuasive. Pediatric euthanasia was often supported by many parents of disabled children for this reason; yet, with mixed motivation, for many wanted to avoid the strong stigma of having a disabled child. This conflict of interest shows how medical culture can influence the ethics of both individuals and society at large.

Karl Brandt, the infamous Nazi doctor, gave this worryingly persuasive defense at Nuremberg—a defense I still challenge my students and faculty with:

The human beings who cannot help themselves and whose tests show a life of suffering are to be given aid. This consideration is not inhuman. I never felt that it was not ethical or was not moral. But one thing seems necessary to me—that if anybody wants to judge the question of euthanasia he must go into an insane asylum and he should stay there with the sick people for a few days. Then we can ask him two questions: the first would be whether he himself would like to live like that, and the second, whether he would ask one of his relatives to live that way—perhaps his child or his parents.

This was no “monster’s defense.” But if Brandt’s words are persuasive, we must have a remedy—both intellectual and experiential—to rebut it.

Still, Dr. Brandt’s challenge combines the “humaneness” justification with a third. Especially in the case of children and the mentally disabled, euthanasia was deemed “rational,” that is, if they could only choose it themselves under “a veil of ignorance,” to reference the terminology of one postwar moral philosopher, they would. It should be noted that physicians at the time were more concerned about the “legality,” not the morality of euthanasia, and many insisted that euthanasia was a “private matter” between patients and doctors.

Finally, killing through euthanasia was justified independently on the premise that it was good for the racial state. That “good” eclipsed the good of this individual being. It should be fairly obvious that there are strong parallels between these reasons and contemporary arguments in favor of euthanasia today. While a full accounting of these parallels is beyond the scope of this essay, readers should note professor Peter Singer’s justifications for euthanasia, and Michael Burleigh’s sharply critical response in Death and Deliverance.

By the end of the “T4” program to euthanize disabled adults and children, between 70,000 and 100,000 persons had lost their lives; stigma against the vulnerable in attitude and language had become codified in law. According to Proctor, these three programs—forced sterilization of the “unfit,” the Nuremberg Laws, and the euthanasia laws—were the primary means the Nazi physicians and scientists used to accomplish “racial hygiene,” and led directly to the technological and medical surge responsible for genocide at the death camps.

But degradation and death was not limited to the clinical aspect of medicine. Research abuses by physicians and scientists, conducted in hospitals as well as in the camps, ranged from the scientifically frivolous (injecting prisoners with typhus) to the malevolent (amputation of limbs and “transplantation” onto other bodies), and are well documented elsewhere. Physicians were held in such high esteem, and thought to be of such high moral character, that experimentation was justified in that it benefited society, added to a burgeoning body of knowledge (a good in itself), and often (but not always) benefited the patient. It should come as no surprise that other populations (such as African-Americans in the USA, and prisoners of war in Japan) were also subjected to grotesque and unethical human experimentation during this period, and beyond.

In 1942, and as a direct result of a deep-seated tradition of anti-Semitism within the German medical community, the Christian churches, and Europe in general, the “Final Solution” was proposed—the murder of the entire European Jewish population. Nazi medicine, through what can only be called, in modern terms, “advocacy,” had a profoundly negative effect on culture. Physicians, dressed in white coats, gave the imprimatur that indeed, those that were to be gassed were not human persons at all:

At every turn, the annihilation procedures were supervised—and, in a perverse sense, dignified—through the presence of medical staff. … We may say the doctor standing at the ramp represented a kind of omega point, a mythical gatekeeper between the worlds of the dead and the living, a final common pathway of the Nazi vision of therapy via mass murder.

The killing of 6 million Jewish persons and 9 million “others”—could only have been accomplished through a buy-in into a twisted philosophical anthropology. Science alone could not accomplish this destruction, because science never stands alone. So, although we may not kill persons, we may kill animals, vegetables, and subhumans. What the Nazis needed was a philosophy to define out of lives inconvenient to the goals of the Race, and then science to do the killing. This is why the Holocaust can be deemed a “bioethical assault” on human personhood.

Nearly two decades ago, the late Edmund Pellegrino, M.D., one of the fathers of modern bioethics and my own mentor, gave us a starting point for procuring valuable, enduring lessons after Nuremberg:

We see here the initial premises that law takes precedence over ethics, that the good of the many is more important than the good of the few ... The lesson [from the Holocaust] is that moral premises must be valid if morally valid conclusions are to be drawn. A morally repulsive conclusion stems from a morally inadmissible premise. Perhaps, above all, we must learn that some things should never be done.

Pellegrino was correct. The Holocaust is not merely a lesson in history, it is an enduring lesson in philosophical ethics. These lessons are perhaps more important to remember today, as personal memories of the Shoah fade, survivors and liberators themselves become a part of history, and young physicians graduate medical school with less empathy and moral resilience than when they began.

The physicians who actively aided the Holocaust believed that they were practicing “good science.” But scientific truth alone does not “grasp” the reality of life, and if we believe it so, we are further on the road to what the late Jean Bethke-Elshtain called “scientific fundamentalism.” Physicians and health care professionals must, therefore, remember the Holocaust, but remember, as Pope John Paul II said on his visit to Yad Vashem, to “remember with a purpose.” I will briefly articulate five lessons of the tragedy of Nazi medicine that we must remember and integrate into our medical practice, if medicine is to survive as a profession of healing.

First, and perhaps most fundamentally, we must affirm a strong personalism. This anthropology has been described briefly above, and extensively elsewhere, by Maritain, but it also has adherents as diverse and important as Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr.,and the late philosopher Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II). Personalism posits the ultimate unit of value of human life is the individual person herself. Society is and ought to be built around this value. In short, society is created for the person, not the person for society, and hence the dignity and integrity of the person and her freedom cannot be sacrificed for the sake of society. No contingent factor—race, religion, economic status, disability, or actions of the past, present or future—can rob a person the dignity she is owed. Integrating this kind of rigorous, universal philosophical anthropology is an antidote to the corruption of medicine, and vital for the prevention of future genocides.

However, disturbing parallels in our contemporary medical, academic, and social culture now argue, for example, for abortion as a form of eugenics and crime reduction; the coerced sterilization of prisoners; pre-implantation genetic diagnosis as a way of promulgating “good genes”; and tours of Auschwitz as a “learning experience” for supporters of euthanasia. Targeted abortion for unborn children with genetic conditions such as trisomy 21 and cystic fibrosis have reduced populations by more than 90%, and are justified on utilitarian grounds. But if a person is the fundamental unit of value of our society, then no “other good” can eclipse her. Politically, legally, and medically, this would mean an expansive and firm definition of person, for it is a far smaller risk to give protection to an entity where personhood is possible, than to destroy the life a person who in the end deserved our protection. Practically, this must mean the end of physician involvement in state-sponsored torture, capital punishment, euthanasia, and eugenically motivated sterilization and artificial reproductive technologies.

Second, we must have rigorous conscience protection for physicians and health care providers. Contemporary literature in bioethics favors the removal of conscience protection laws particularly on “hot button issues” such as abortion, contraception, sterilization, and now euthanasia. Yet, a physician’s oath to her patient is only as strong as her conscience; allow (or even force) her to break it, and we have forgotten: One day, it may be our turn to stand against the tide. On this issue of conscience protection in medicine, of which volumes have been written, eloquent defenses (while still in the minority) made by Dan Sulmasy and others make clear the point that conscience is an active, driving force that is part of who we are as persons, and warn of the danger of a positivistic bioethics.

A medical student once asked me what was the most important lesson I wanted them to know. My answer was this: Between good and evil, there is no “safe space” to stand. There is no neutral void from which a physician can escape his ethical duties, referring it to another. In the time of the Nazis, courageous leaders from opposite ends of the spectrum—Cardinal von Galen, Dietrich Bonheoffer (tortured and murdered), and the Association of Socialist Physicians (whose leaders were arrested or exiled in 1933, and many murdered in Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938)—would not stay silent. Bonheoffer’s words still challenge us today:

We have been silent witnesses of evil deeds: we have been drenched by many storms; we have learnt the arts of equivocation and pretence; experience has made us suspicious of others and kept us from being truthful and open; intolerable conflicts have worn us down and even made us cynical. Are we still of any use? What we shall need is not geniuses, or cynics, or misanthropes, or clever tacticians, but plain, honest, straightforward men. Will our inward power of resistance be strong enough, and our honesty with ourselves remorseless enough, for us to find our way back to simplicity and straightforwardness?

If morality does not assert its dominion over the law, the reverse shall happen, and radical positivism, with its morally inadmissible premises, will reach its equally inadmissible conclusions.

The third lesson to be learned from the study of medicine and the Holocaust is this: Science is not a “god.” Science relies on hypothesis, experiment, and validation or falsification of the hypothesis to progress. But it is science’s own methodology that also highlights its limitations. Science cannot answer of itself—using its own empirical methodology—whether a particular medical practice is morally good. It must rely on philosophy to do so. Moral philosophy extracts truths from reality based on reason and “lived experience.” The ethical enterprise is therefore both objective (rational) and subjective (experiential). Albert Einstein once said that:

And certainly we should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality. It cannot lead, it can only serve; and it is not fastidious in its choices of a leader. This characteristic is reflected in the qualities of its priests, the intellectuals. The intellect has a sharp eye for methods and tools, but is blind to ends and values. So it is no wonder that this fatal blindness is handed from old to young and today involves a whole generation.

Fourth, as physicians and health professionals we must resist the desensitization to dehumanization that is so prevalent in medicine’s culture. Every clinician can tell you about the terms used to describe patients behind closed doors: “vegetable” (comatose); “P.O.S.” (piece of sh*t); “squirrel farm” (neonatal intensive care unit); “breeder” (a woman with more than 2-3 children); “useless”; “parasite”—the list could go on. For it is far easier to kill a “vegetable” than a human person; to not resuscitate a “squirrel” than a little baby; to feel no pang of conscience for disrespecting a “P.O.S.” or a “parasite” than a poor drug addicted person.

The medical literature supports these widespread anecdotal references. Omar Haque and Adam Waytz (2012) discuss causes of dehumanization alluded to previously: empathetic erosion and moral disengagement in training and practice. There is also another that particularly rings true: dissimilarity between physician and patient. Dissimilarity “manifests in three primary ways. First is through dissimilarity in illness—patients, by their very nature of being ill, become less similar to one’s prototypical concept of human. Second is the labeling of the patient as an illness, rather than as a person who has a particular illness.

Whatever the reason—dissimilarity or something more sinister—language alters perception, and perception affects our ethical calculus. For example, to build support for euthanasia of the disabled, Nazi filmmakers deliberately altered lighting on the faces of the disabled, to make them more “inhuman” in their appearance. Purposeful and dramatic dehumanization has the same ultimate outcome on our perception as slow, chronic dehumanization. Simple gestures—such as standing up against such language publicly when people dehumanize or showing personalistic leadership through examples of patience and even tenderness at the bedside—will do much to begin reversing this narrative.

Finally, a fifth lesson to be learned is that, as a physician, you must serve the patient exclusively—not some abstracted idea of “society.” Physicians and health professionals in the Holocaust decided that the good of the racial state took precedence over the good of individual persons. “Nazi doctors hailed a move ‘from the doctor of the individual to the doctor of the nation.’” The justification for the euthanasia program, in large part, was couched in economic terms—a cost-saving measure for society in a time of scarcity.

Today, we seem to be losing more of our commitment to the individual patient—for there are other “gods” in medicine. “Quality of life,” “public health,” or even “patient satisfaction” have become ends in themselves, not a means to an end. Physicians and mental health professionals in this century have (and continue to be) complicit in torture, in racial discrimination, and in capital punishment. In all of these examples, the physician obscures the value and dignity of the person for some other goal—some even laudable ones, perhaps (security, order, public health, etc.) Yet, the power of the “white coat” demands, if we are to fulfill our obligations of trust, that we do not serve the state (and its economic interests), nor the patient’s family (however compassionate our motivations), nor any other “just cause” or goal, including our own.

The white coat derived its significance in the last century from the physician as laboratory scientist, surgeon, and hospital doctor—but ultimately, its power rests in its symbolic value of the physician as healer. As black’s opposite, which often signified darkness and death, the white coat conveys the pull towards light, and life. This is not to ignore the controversies surrounding the white coat and its contemporary use, misuse, or disuse; it is only to point to a reality of the physician: that our profession was meant to always uphold the life and dignity of the human person, even if we could not preserve it.

Source: Tablet Magazine

Raymond Wolfe - Sun Jan 23, 2022 08:54

Editor's note: Argentina has been vaxxing 3-year-olds since October.


A three-year-old girl in Argentina died of a heart attack the day after receiving a COVID vaccine required for her to enter kindergarten, her mother said.

Speaking with Telefe Tucumán, Miryam Suárez said the vaccine and government mandate killed her daughter, Ámbar, who had been healthy and “full of life.”

“I pre-enrolled her in school so that next year [2022] she would enter kindergarten, because now they force you when it comes to the vaccine,” Suárez said. “She was healthy. She was fine. She was not ill and didn’t have COVID.”

Suárez took her daughter to get vaccinated on December 16. Ámbar passed away the next day after collapsing while playing with her friends. “She just collapsed and fell. I cannot believe it,” Suárez said.

The government “demands so much that they get the vaccine, and I know that the vaccine killed my three-year-old daughter,” the devastated mother continued. “She was fine. She did not have any health issues, nor was she a sick child. She was healthy, full of life.”

“This government that forces you [to get the vaccine] killed my three-year-old baby.”

Ámbar received the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine, which Argentina approved for children between the ages of three and 11 in October.

The Ministry of Public Health of Tucumán issued a statement on December 17 regarding Ámbar’s death, noting that police have launched an investigation into the incident:

On Thursday, December 16th 2021, at 12:00 pm, a three-year-old patient in cardiorespiratory arrest entered the Emergency Room of Hospital del Niño Jesús. Advanced resuscitation was performed and, when there was no response, [Ámbar Suárez’] death was declared. She has a history of taking the first dose of the Sinopharm vaccine the day before. Following protocol, police and judicial personnel have intervened and have ordered her autopsy. Considering the history of COVID vaccination, contact with family members has been initiated to gather pertinent information, evaluate other background information, and initiate an investigation of this unfortunate episode.

Argentina moved aggressively last year to vaccinate every child over the age of three by the end of 2021. “Argentina will finish 2021 with the full coverage and protection of people aged over 3 years,” health minister Carla Vizzotti vowed in October.

Children and teenagers face virtually no risk of death or serious illness from COVID-19. Between 0-0.03 percent of COVID cases in the United States under age 18 have resulted in death, according to the American Pediatric Association. The survival rate for coronavirus has been estimated at no lower than 99.7 percent for all age groups under 60 years old.

Numerous deaths and serious injuries, including heart inflammation and other cardiac issues, have been reported in children soon after a COVID jab. VAERS, the vaccine injury tracking system of the U.S. government, has reported dozens of cases of children dying within days of vaccination.

A 15-year-old boy in California with no underlying health conditions died of stress cardiomyopathy last year, two days after his second Pfizer injection, mirroring a similar incident in Michigan. In Texas, a 16-year-old died five days after his first dose of the Pfizer shot in April, suffering from an enlarged heart double its normal size, his father said.

Source: LifesiteNews hat tip to Fourth World

Editor's note: Argentina has been vaxxing 3-year-olds since October.


A three-year-old girl in Argentina died of a heart attack the day after receiving a COVID vaccine required for her to enter kindergarten, her mother said.

Speaking with Telefe Tucumán, Miryam Suárez said the vaccine and government mandate killed her daughter, Ámbar, who had been healthy and “full of life.”

“I pre-enrolled her in school so that next year [2022] she would enter kindergarten, because now they force you when it comes to the vaccine,” Suárez said. “She was healthy. She was fine. She was not ill and didn’t have COVID.”

Suárez took her daughter to get vaccinated on December 16. Ámbar passed away the next day after collapsing while playing with her friends. “She just collapsed and fell. I cannot believe it,” Suárez said.

The government “demands so much that they get the vaccine, and I know that the vaccine killed my three-year-old daughter,” the devastated mother continued. “She was fine. She did not have any health issues, nor was she a sick child. She was healthy, full of life.”

“This government that forces you [to get the vaccine] killed my three-year-old baby.”

Ámbar received the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine, which Argentina approved for children between the ages of three and 11 in October.

The Ministry of Public Health of Tucumán issued a statement on December 17 regarding Ámbar’s death, noting that police have launched an investigation into the incident:

On Thursday, December 16th 2021, at 12:00 pm, a three-year-old patient in cardiorespiratory arrest entered the Emergency Room of Hospital del Niño Jesús. Advanced resuscitation was performed and, when there was no response, [Ámbar Suárez’] death was declared. She has a history of taking the first dose of the Sinopharm vaccine the day before. Following protocol, police and judicial personnel have intervened and have ordered her autopsy. Considering the history of COVID vaccination, contact with family members has been initiated to gather pertinent information, evaluate other background information, and initiate an investigation of this unfortunate episode.

Argentina moved aggressively last year to vaccinate every child over the age of three by the end of 2021. “Argentina will finish 2021 with the full coverage and protection of people aged over 3 years,” health minister Carla Vizzotti vowed in October.

Children and teenagers face virtually no risk of death or serious illness from COVID-19. Between 0-0.03 percent of COVID cases in the United States under age 18 have resulted in death, according to the American Pediatric Association. The survival rate for coronavirus has been estimated at no lower than 99.7 percent for all age groups under 60 years old.

Numerous deaths and serious injuries, including heart inflammation and other cardiac issues, have been reported in children soon after a COVID jab. VAERS, the vaccine injury tracking system of the U.S. government, has reported dozens of cases of children dying within days of vaccination.

A 15-year-old boy in California with no underlying health conditions died of stress cardiomyopathy last year, two days after his second Pfizer injection, mirroring a similar incident in Michigan. In Texas, a 16-year-old died five days after his first dose of the Pfizer shot in April, suffering from an enlarged heart double its normal size, his father said.

Source: LifesiteNews hat tip to Fourth World

Jennifer Jacobs - Sun Jan 23, 2022 06:39

Editor's note: In other news: The US evacuating Embassy families from Ukraine.


Biden administration officials have been talking with Qatar about possibly supplying Europe with liquefied natural gas if a Russian invasion of Ukraine leads to shortages, according to people familiar with the matter.

President Joe Biden plans to ask the Persian Gulf nation’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to visit the White House, possibly as soon as later this month, two of the people said on Friday. The meeting between Biden and the emir has been in the works for some time, a White House official said Friday night.

Some European nations have expressed fears that punishing Russia with harsh sanctions over the Ukraine crisis could wind up damaging their economies and prompt Russian President Vladimir Putin to cut off or scale back gas supplies in the middle of the winter. [Doubtful. More likely the US would press Europeans to stop imports.]

Europe gets more than 40% of its natural gas from Russia, and about a third of Russian gas flowing to Europe passes through Ukraine.

Qatar is one of the world’s biggest producers of LNG, with about three-quarters of the fuel sold to energy-poor Asian countries such as Japan and Korea. Qatar provides about 5% of Europe’s natural gas. [US LNG is also mostly going to East Asia because Asians are willing to pay more than Europeans who have access to cheap Russian piped gas.]

The Qatari embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In Europe, shifting to [far pricier] LNG is critical for countries such as Lithuania and Poland that are looking to escape the pipeline politics involved in buying gas from Russia.

U.S. officials want to help ease Europeans’ concerns about how they’ll heat their homes this winter, according to people familiar with the private discussions, who spoke on condition of anonymity. [Where are the US "freedom molecules"?]

The U.S. has been stepping up pressure on the Europeans to agree on a package of sanctions, showing signs of frustration at the pace of negotiations with and within the European Union despite weeks of talks.

Putin has denied that he plans to invade, but is demanding concessions and security guarantees from NATO that the military alliance says it cannot provide.

Europe’s stockpiles of natural gas are low as the continent grapples with a supply crunch. Moscow’s increased leverage over its neighbors became apparent last winter, an unusually cold and long one, that depleted Europe’s inventories of gas just as its economies were emerging from the pandemic-induced recession. Over the summer, Russian state-controlled Gazprom PJSC began capping flows to the continent, aggravating shortages.

White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese has said the administration is working with partners to step up fuel supplies to Europe.

“In the very immediate term, the focus is on how we can make sure that European countries have sufficient access to natural gas to get through the winter months, but also to alleviate pressures in the spring,” Deese said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “And very specifically, what that means is working with our allies and partners, particularly gas producing countries to understand what additional capacity exists and how we could move and extend that capacity into the region.”

Deese on Thursday said the U.S. itself doesn’t have much to send. “With respect to natural gas, our export capacity, we are at close to maximum export capacity. So what we can principally do is work with allies and try to identify and arrange ways to move more product in other ways.”

Biden has hosted several leaders from the Middle East, including Iraq’s prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, King Abdullah II of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

Source: Bloomberg

Editor's note: In other news: The US evacuating Embassy families from Ukraine.


Biden administration officials have been talking with Qatar about possibly supplying Europe with liquefied natural gas if a Russian invasion of Ukraine leads to shortages, according to people familiar with the matter.

President Joe Biden plans to ask the Persian Gulf nation’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to visit the White House, possibly as soon as later this month, two of the people said on Friday. The meeting between Biden and the emir has been in the works for some time, a White House official said Friday night.

Some European nations have expressed fears that punishing Russia with harsh sanctions over the Ukraine crisis could wind up damaging their economies and prompt Russian President Vladimir Putin to cut off or scale back gas supplies in the middle of the winter. [Doubtful. More likely the US would press Europeans to stop imports.]

Europe gets more than 40% of its natural gas from Russia, and about a third of Russian gas flowing to Europe passes through Ukraine.

Qatar is one of the world’s biggest producers of LNG, with about three-quarters of the fuel sold to energy-poor Asian countries such as Japan and Korea. Qatar provides about 5% of Europe’s natural gas. [US LNG is also mostly going to East Asia because Asians are willing to pay more than Europeans who have access to cheap Russian piped gas.]

The Qatari embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In Europe, shifting to [far pricier] LNG is critical for countries such as Lithuania and Poland that are looking to escape the pipeline politics involved in buying gas from Russia.

U.S. officials want to help ease Europeans’ concerns about how they’ll heat their homes this winter, according to people familiar with the private discussions, who spoke on condition of anonymity. [Where are the US "freedom molecules"?]

The U.S. has been stepping up pressure on the Europeans to agree on a package of sanctions, showing signs of frustration at the pace of negotiations with and within the European Union despite weeks of talks.

Putin has denied that he plans to invade, but is demanding concessions and security guarantees from NATO that the military alliance says it cannot provide.

Europe’s stockpiles of natural gas are low as the continent grapples with a supply crunch. Moscow’s increased leverage over its neighbors became apparent last winter, an unusually cold and long one, that depleted Europe’s inventories of gas just as its economies were emerging from the pandemic-induced recession. Over the summer, Russian state-controlled Gazprom PJSC began capping flows to the continent, aggravating shortages.

White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese has said the administration is working with partners to step up fuel supplies to Europe.

“In the very immediate term, the focus is on how we can make sure that European countries have sufficient access to natural gas to get through the winter months, but also to alleviate pressures in the spring,” Deese said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “And very specifically, what that means is working with our allies and partners, particularly gas producing countries to understand what additional capacity exists and how we could move and extend that capacity into the region.”

Deese on Thursday said the U.S. itself doesn’t have much to send. “With respect to natural gas, our export capacity, we are at close to maximum export capacity. So what we can principally do is work with allies and try to identify and arrange ways to move more product in other ways.”

Biden has hosted several leaders from the Middle East, including Iraq’s prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, King Abdullah II of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

Source: Bloomberg

Exavier Saskagoochie - Sun Jan 23, 2022 05:33

Pope Francis has proclaimed that all Catholics worldwide will now need a booster baptism to be considered fully baptized.

“We have seen that being baptized doesn’t offer the universal washing away of original sin that we thought it did,” Pope Francis said in a press conference. “Therefore, we will now require a booster baptism once, maybe twice a year to make sure everyone is protected.”

As of the time of publishing, there are no fully baptized Catholics on the planet.

The booster baptisms will be administered in churches or participating Pauline bookstores.

Expert theologians are mixed on the topic.

“Right now, the definition for ‘fully baptized’ is having received one baptism by a priest, and … we don’t anticipate a —it doesn’t make sense to require a booster,” Fr. Tommy Aquino said. “We’re using those definitions and we’re asking people to come to go and get their booster baptism if they’re eligible to improve or increase that level of protection that you get from the baptism.”

But Church officials say the booster baptism is now doctrine.

“You can’t disobey this and still call yourself a Catholic,” Pope Francis spokesman Lou Sypher said.

Source: Genesius Times

Text may contain traces of satire.

Pope Francis has proclaimed that all Catholics worldwide will now need a booster baptism to be considered fully baptized.

“We have seen that being baptized doesn’t offer the universal washing away of original sin that we thought it did,” Pope Francis said in a press conference. “Therefore, we will now require a booster baptism once, maybe twice a year to make sure everyone is protected.”

As of the time of publishing, there are no fully baptized Catholics on the planet.

The booster baptisms will be administered in churches or participating Pauline bookstores.

Expert theologians are mixed on the topic.

“Right now, the definition for ‘fully baptized’ is having received one baptism by a priest, and … we don’t anticipate a —it doesn’t make sense to require a booster,” Fr. Tommy Aquino said. “We’re using those definitions and we’re asking people to come to go and get their booster baptism if they’re eligible to improve or increase that level of protection that you get from the baptism.”

But Church officials say the booster baptism is now doctrine.

“You can’t disobey this and still call yourself a Catholic,” Pope Francis spokesman Lou Sypher said.

Source: Genesius Times

Text may contain traces of satire.

Stacey Rudin - Sat Jan 22, 2022 23:44

Defending Australian Open Champion Novak Djokovic was deported from Australia, the day before commencement of 2022 tournament play. He entered the country on a visa including a medical exemption based on recent Covid infection. Due to public outry over “special treatment,” his visa was revoked upon arrival in the country, only to be reinstated by a court. It was later revoked by an immigration minister, whose decision was upheld by another court, sending Djokovic packing — potentially for three years.

This draconian act puts Djokovic at a serious disadvantage in his Grand Slam rivalry with Rafael Nadal, who is competing in Australia this year after vocally supporting vaccines. Both champions, along with Roger Federer, currently hold 20 Grand Slam titles. Djokovic was favored to be the first to reach 21, but his decision to remain unvaccinated leaves Nadal alone with that opportunity for now. (Federer is out recovering from surgery.)

Djokovic was technically deported for not being vaccinated, but the decision lacks even a superficial “health and safety” justification. Djokovic already had Covid twice, once in early 2020 and again in December 2021. At the time of his deportation, he had been in Australia for ten days, and tested negative. He’s as healthy as a human being can be — you don’t earn “GOAT’ status in the difficult sport of tennis any other way.

Further proof that Djokovic poses no disease threat to anyone is the fact that this tournament was safely played in January 2021, before vaccines were available for any player or guest. Even if Djokovic had taken the vaccine, he’d be no “safer” in terms of his ability to transmit the virus, as the 100,000 daily cases in highly-vaccinated Australia attest.

Even the government that deported Djokovic didn’t try very hard to frame its decision as the elimination of a health threat. Rather, it stated that Novak could become an “icon of free choice” if allowed to stay. Ironically, he will undoubtedly become that now that he’s made the supreme sacrifice of forfeiting his chance to play in order to openly oppose mandatory vaccination.

It’s not a good look for the Covid Regime if an avowed “anti-vaxxer” dominates the sport. The world audience might start thinking about the relative health status of “unvaccinated” people, particularly since athletes have been experiencing heart trouble all over the world — several alreadyat the Australian Open practice courts.

As it stands, Millions of Australians and others who have already taken the vaccine applaud the government’s decision. They can’t get the vaccine out of their bodies, so the next best thing is to make sure that everyone else has to put themselves into the same spot. 

Nevermind the precedent it sets to allow a government to force people to choose between their health and their career. Such Sophie’s choices are normal these days.

The Regime would not have minded Djokovic playing in an unvaccinated state so long as he publicly expressed support for mandatory universal vaccination. He could have easily done this — a hero in Serbia, the wealthy star could have tapped any number of doctors to provide fake certification of vaccination. But that would have violated his principles.

In 2010, an “unwell” Djokovic was collapsing at tournaments, unable to complete strenuous matches. A doctor witnessing his condition on TV got in touch with the athlete, recommending that he eliminate gluten, dairy and processed sugar from his diet. Novak thought it sounded strange but agreed to try, and it’s hard to argue with his results. His 2011 season was one of the best in men’s tennis history. On his new fuel, he was unstoppable. He ended the season with an unbelievable 10–1 record against Nadal and Federer, and compiled a 41-match winning streak.

This experience changed not only the tennis player. It fundamentally changed the man, as Djokovic explains in his book “Serve to Win”:

When it’s not being cared for, your body will send you signals: fatigue, insomnia, cramps, flus, colds, allergies. When that happens, will you ask yourself the questions that matter? Will you answer honestly and with an open mind?

Open-minded people radiate positive energy. Closed-minded people radiate negativity. Eastern medicine teaches you to align mind, body, and soul. If you have positive feelings in your mind — love, joy, happiness — they affect your body…But a lot of people, especially closed-minded people, are led by fear. That and anger are the most negative energies we have. What are closed-minded people afraid of? It could be many things: Fear that they are wrong, fear that someone might have a better way, fear that something has to change. Fear limits your ability to live your life.

Some people at the top feed off of negativity. The way I see it, pharmaceutical and food companies want people to feel fear. They want people to be sick. How many TV ads are for fast foods and medicines? And what’s at the root of those messages? We’ll make you feel better with our products. But even deeper down: We’ll make you fear that you don’t have enough of the things we say you need. It’s crazy — even when you’re completely healthy, they say you need [products] to stay that way.

Here’s a pattern I’d rather embrace: good food, exercise, openness, positive energy, great results. I’ve been living that pattern for several years now. It works better than the alternative.

Djokovic rejects Big food, Big Ag, Big Chemical, and Big Pharma. He doesn’t need them. His practices allow him to be healthy without any of their products — in fact, he’s achieved an elite level of health by actively avoiding their products. 

There is no greater threat to the bottom line of these companies than people like Novak Djokovic. He is not scared, he is not anxious, so he can’t be manipulated or sold an easy fix. He can see the path to health takes hard work, and he’s willing to put it in. When they tell him that he can’t be healthy without a vaccine, he laughs in their faces. They can send him packing, but they can never take away his integrity and self-worth.

Novak Djokovic doesn’t want to lie to the public, making it appear as if he agrees with The System’s “path to health.” If he did that, he would get to play his tournament, but he would have millions of lives on his conscience. He’d rather give up his career’s crowning achievement in order to stand in truth. To send people the message: you CAN reject this tyranny. You do NOT have to comply. You can SAY NO, and you will be okay.

It’s easier for him, yes, with his millions of dollars. Healthcare workers on a middle-class salary will have a harder go of it. Military members faced with dishonorable discharge absent vaccination have it worse. But Djokovic has made it easier, at least, for everyone to publicly reject vaccination. If Novak openly rejects this vaccine, they can too, without shame. His very public deportation will hopefully get many people thinking about his approach to health, which if widely understood and adopted, will finally burn the Covid Regime to the ground — once and for all.

Source: Brownstone Institute

Defending Australian Open Champion Novak Djokovic was deported from Australia, the day before commencement of 2022 tournament play. He entered the country on a visa including a medical exemption based on recent Covid infection. Due to public outry over “special treatment,” his visa was revoked upon arrival in the country, only to be reinstated by a court. It was later revoked by an immigration minister, whose decision was upheld by another court, sending Djokovic packing — potentially for three years.

This draconian act puts Djokovic at a serious disadvantage in his Grand Slam rivalry with Rafael Nadal, who is competing in Australia this year after vocally supporting vaccines. Both champions, along with Roger Federer, currently hold 20 Grand Slam titles. Djokovic was favored to be the first to reach 21, but his decision to remain unvaccinated leaves Nadal alone with that opportunity for now. (Federer is out recovering from surgery.)

Djokovic was technically deported for not being vaccinated, but the decision lacks even a superficial “health and safety” justification. Djokovic already had Covid twice, once in early 2020 and again in December 2021. At the time of his deportation, he had been in Australia for ten days, and tested negative. He’s as healthy as a human being can be — you don’t earn “GOAT’ status in the difficult sport of tennis any other way.

Further proof that Djokovic poses no disease threat to anyone is the fact that this tournament was safely played in January 2021, before vaccines were available for any player or guest. Even if Djokovic had taken the vaccine, he’d be no “safer” in terms of his ability to transmit the virus, as the 100,000 daily cases in highly-vaccinated Australia attest.

Even the government that deported Djokovic didn’t try very hard to frame its decision as the elimination of a health threat. Rather, it stated that Novak could become an “icon of free choice” if allowed to stay. Ironically, he will undoubtedly become that now that he’s made the supreme sacrifice of forfeiting his chance to play in order to openly oppose mandatory vaccination.

It’s not a good look for the Covid Regime if an avowed “anti-vaxxer” dominates the sport. The world audience might start thinking about the relative health status of “unvaccinated” people, particularly since athletes have been experiencing heart trouble all over the world — several alreadyat the Australian Open practice courts.

As it stands, Millions of Australians and others who have already taken the vaccine applaud the government’s decision. They can’t get the vaccine out of their bodies, so the next best thing is to make sure that everyone else has to put themselves into the same spot. 

Nevermind the precedent it sets to allow a government to force people to choose between their health and their career. Such Sophie’s choices are normal these days.

The Regime would not have minded Djokovic playing in an unvaccinated state so long as he publicly expressed support for mandatory universal vaccination. He could have easily done this — a hero in Serbia, the wealthy star could have tapped any number of doctors to provide fake certification of vaccination. But that would have violated his principles.

In 2010, an “unwell” Djokovic was collapsing at tournaments, unable to complete strenuous matches. A doctor witnessing his condition on TV got in touch with the athlete, recommending that he eliminate gluten, dairy and processed sugar from his diet. Novak thought it sounded strange but agreed to try, and it’s hard to argue with his results. His 2011 season was one of the best in men’s tennis history. On his new fuel, he was unstoppable. He ended the season with an unbelievable 10–1 record against Nadal and Federer, and compiled a 41-match winning streak.

This experience changed not only the tennis player. It fundamentally changed the man, as Djokovic explains in his book “Serve to Win”:

When it’s not being cared for, your body will send you signals: fatigue, insomnia, cramps, flus, colds, allergies. When that happens, will you ask yourself the questions that matter? Will you answer honestly and with an open mind?

Open-minded people radiate positive energy. Closed-minded people radiate negativity. Eastern medicine teaches you to align mind, body, and soul. If you have positive feelings in your mind — love, joy, happiness — they affect your body…But a lot of people, especially closed-minded people, are led by fear. That and anger are the most negative energies we have. What are closed-minded people afraid of? It could be many things: Fear that they are wrong, fear that someone might have a better way, fear that something has to change. Fear limits your ability to live your life.

Some people at the top feed off of negativity. The way I see it, pharmaceutical and food companies want people to feel fear. They want people to be sick. How many TV ads are for fast foods and medicines? And what’s at the root of those messages? We’ll make you feel better with our products. But even deeper down: We’ll make you fear that you don’t have enough of the things we say you need. It’s crazy — even when you’re completely healthy, they say you need [products] to stay that way.

Here’s a pattern I’d rather embrace: good food, exercise, openness, positive energy, great results. I’ve been living that pattern for several years now. It works better than the alternative.

Djokovic rejects Big food, Big Ag, Big Chemical, and Big Pharma. He doesn’t need them. His practices allow him to be healthy without any of their products — in fact, he’s achieved an elite level of health by actively avoiding their products. 

There is no greater threat to the bottom line of these companies than people like Novak Djokovic. He is not scared, he is not anxious, so he can’t be manipulated or sold an easy fix. He can see the path to health takes hard work, and he’s willing to put it in. When they tell him that he can’t be healthy without a vaccine, he laughs in their faces. They can send him packing, but they can never take away his integrity and self-worth.

Novak Djokovic doesn’t want to lie to the public, making it appear as if he agrees with The System’s “path to health.” If he did that, he would get to play his tournament, but he would have millions of lives on his conscience. He’d rather give up his career’s crowning achievement in order to stand in truth. To send people the message: you CAN reject this tyranny. You do NOT have to comply. You can SAY NO, and you will be okay.

It’s easier for him, yes, with his millions of dollars. Healthcare workers on a middle-class salary will have a harder go of it. Military members faced with dishonorable discharge absent vaccination have it worse. But Djokovic has made it easier, at least, for everyone to publicly reject vaccination. If Novak openly rejects this vaccine, they can too, without shame. His very public deportation will hopefully get many people thinking about his approach to health, which if widely understood and adopted, will finally burn the Covid Regime to the ground — once and for all.

Source: Brownstone Institute

Marko Marjanović - Sat Jan 22, 2022 08:30

Related: A constipated control freak is tormenting St. Petersburg

Apparently, QR codes are "dead in Russia". Yeah really. Apparently, they only ever existed in Moscow and Tatarstan, so now that the national QR code legislation has been pulled the danger of nationwide QR-coded occupation has been averted:

The QR madness in Moscow/Tatarstan from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok would have been vastly more devastating than all of Washington’s sanctions packages combined. Perhaps it was a wise choice for a certain President to keep this a “States’ Rights” issue and repeatedly reaffirm that vaccination is a personal choice.

To test this alleged news I performed a simple experiment. I visited the central COVID information portal of the Russian government, StopKoronavirus.rf, which lists COVID-fighting measures of every region. Then I checked the COVID measures still on the books in Russia's six most remote regions with the lowest population densities.

What did I learn? Every single one of these regions with a population density under 1 person per km2 still subjects its people to QR codes. Additionally, all except Chukotka have mandatory COVID vaccinations for workers in certain sectors (catering, hospitality, services, leisure, tourism, government...).

4 out of 6 regions also ban those over 60 (or over 55) from working, except remotely, or if they are vaccinated. (AKA it's a work ban on the unvaccinated over 60s.) In 1 region there is also a blanket ban on offering those 65 and older any services. AKA you can't give a 65-year old a haircut because the "authorities" feel he should be isolating 24/7 anyway. The same region also has mandatory vaccination for over 60s.

I didn't check the regime in every of Russia's 85 regions but if the 6 most remote ones all have QR codes (and 5 out of 6 have mandatory vaccinations) it is safe to say that nearly all do.

So it turns out that far from being dead QR codes in Russia are in fact omnipresent.

Magadan (140,000 people on 460,000 km2 (larger than Germany) population density 0.3 per km2)::

  • "Mask-glove regime" and maks on public transport.
  • Catering establishments, shopping centers, service establishments (eg hair and beauty saloons), public events, and tourist accommodations only with a QR health pass (vax, negative PCR, or recent Covid illness)
  • No unaccompanied minors under 18 in catering establishments, shopping centers, public events, hair and beauty saloons, and tourist accommodations. (Ergo the unvaxxed can't send their teen to pick something from the mall from them, and children of unvaxxed parents can't get a haircut.)
  • Curfew for bars, restaurants and events
  • Over 60s may only work from home.
  • Mandatory vaccination for employees in certain sectors.

Kamchatka Krai (315,000 people on 470,000 km2 (larger than Germany) population density 0.7 per km2):

  • "Mask-glove regime" and maks on public transport.
  • Hotel room only with a certificate of vaccination.
  • Catering establishments and government offices only with a QR health pass.
  • No unaccompanied minors under 18 in shopping centers.
  • No events over 100 people. 50% capacity limit for events under 100.
  • No entertainment at night.
  • Hair and beauty saloons only by appointment.
  • Over 60s may only work from home.
  • Mandatory vaccination for employees in certain sectors.

Chukotka Autonomous District (50,000 people on 700,000 km2 (larger than Ukraine or Texas), population density 0.07 per km2):

  • "Mask-glove regime" and maks on public transport.
  • Events only with a QR health pass, regulators must be notified a week ahead. 70% capacity limit for establishments.
  • Arrivals from outside the region only with a QR health pass, or will be subject to antigen test.

Yakutia (Republic of Sakha) (900,000 people on 3,000,000 km2 (slightly smaller than India), population density 0.3 per km2):

  • "Mask-glove regime" and maks on public transport.
  • All mass events and gatherings are prohibited.
  • Banquet services for more than 10 people are prohibited.
  • Government offices, catering establishments, cultural and leisure institutions, shopping centers, service establishments, tourism and recreation centers only with a QR health pass.
  • 1AM curfew on catering establishments.
  • Capacity limits of 50% or 100 people.
  • Children in remote learning and preschoolers are forbidden to visit children's centers and playrooms
  • Sports events without spectators.
  • Over 60s may only work from home.
  • Mandatory vaccination for employees in certain sectors.

Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District (550,000 people on 770,000 km2 (larger than Ukraine or Texas), population density 0.7 per km2):

  • "Mask-glove regime" and maks on public transport.
  • Catering establishments, shopping centers, service establishments, hotels, events, institutions of culture, leisure and sports only with a QR health pass.
  • Mandatory vaccination for employees in certain sectors.

Nenets Autonomous District (40,000 people on 170,000 km2 (larger than Greece), population density 0.25 per km2):

  • "Mask-glove regime" and maks on public transport.
  • Catering establishments, service establishments, hotels, events only with a QR health pass.
  • Mass events banned, occupancy limits on service establishments and cultural institutions.
  • Ban on services to persons 65 years and older. (Aka lockdown of the 65 and over.)
  • No personal reception of citizens in offices of the authorities.
  • Checkpoints on the border, arrivals without a QR code are written down for 14-day self-isolation.
  • The unvaccinated over 55 can't work except from home.
  • Mandatory vaccination for employees in certain sectors, persons over 60, persons with chronic diseases, and persons living in social service organizations.

The alleged "news" continues:

"There is now a major nation that has essentially given up on anti-Covid measures. It is also a global player with some significant media and internet presence that can advertise this fact."

What is this utter trash and nonsense? Russia has given up nothing. An attempted escalation of COVID derangement by backing the QR codes with national legislation has been given up. However, in every other way, Moscow's COVID derangement war continues unabated.

There won't be legitimization for the already existing regime by a vote in the national parliament. But as a de facto reality nationwide QR code requirements already exist, courtesy of gubernatorial regional decrees.

"The problem is that to understand today’s Russia you simply cannot think of the state as a monolithic block. There is no Putin dictatorship under a crushing cult of personality with all roads to power leading to an often shirtless God-Emperor. Russia is not the Borg Cube."

"There has been a massive unseen war going on behind the walls of government.."

This is beyond idiotic and just plain false. Putin is not an absolute ruler in relation to his citizens, but within the Russian state apparatus he is the Alpha and Omega. That doesn't mean that every single initiative comes from him but he does have the standing, the influence, and the power to crush every single one of them, and to dictate policy direction on anything he gets involved in. The idea that Putin can't clap his fingers tomorrow and have every single COVID measure dropped within a week is a filthy lie — just as it is a filthy lie that he has been seriously advocating for vaccines as a "personal choice".

There is no "unseen war behind the walls of government". A more cowed, vapid, empty, cowardly, and downright sycophantic state-political apparatus than the one in Russia could scarcely be imagined. It is so cowed even the leadership (unlike the rank-and-file) of the two major opposition parties are Putin toadies eager to win his favor and do his work for him (including by backstabbing and sidelining true oppositionists from their organizations).

Entire United Russia (who are detested nobodies) and all the regional governors (who are detested nobodies) hinge on his every signal and word, trying to figure out how to best please him or at least not stand out and keep him appeased. The reason the regional governors have gone insane with COVID war derangement is that that has been precisely the signal from the center. For six months now his very own spokesman has been calling the unvaxxed "dangerous", "irresponsible", and "idiots". Is this "unseen war" so fierce that Putin isn't able to control the words of his own spokesman? Is that really the suggestion here? That Putin is so weak that he can't help it if his own spokesman is declaring open season on the unvaxxed?

Putin is on the record as backing nation-wide regionally-decreed mandatory vaccination as lawful, prudent and unproblematic:

At the same time, he recalled that, in accordance with the current law, regional authorities have the right to introduce compulsory vaccination in connection with the growth of the epidemic, on the recommendations of chief doctors in relation to certain categories of citizens.

Of course, he would have the back of regional compulsory vaccinations since they went up after he sent a signal from the center that they should. When mandatory vax went up in Moscow (as a Sobyanin initiative) the eyes of all regional governors were directed at the Kremlin to see what the response would be. Would there be a rebuke, or praise and encouragement? There was the latter. In days and weeks to come all other regions followed suit. That signals were coming largely from Peskov rather from Putin told the governors one thing and one thing only: Putin can't be too forthright on this one so he will be even more appreciative if you get the message anyway, and get your hands dirty so that he doesn't have to.

Of course, with time the Kremlin became very, very forthright, with Peskov firing off incendiary nonsense that would make Fauci blush, and that would cause a revolution in the US if uttered by Jen Psaki. (Apparently, it's not really mandatory vaccination because you can always get another job.) Eventually, Putin's mouthpiece sent the signal of all signals: there is no such thing as a measure that “encourages” vaccine uptake that is a bad measure:

“All measures are good. Any measures that can encourage more people to get vaccinated are good. And only vaccination saves you from death.”

Translated: in getting jabs into arms you can't possibly go too far. The only political error possible is on the side of reluctance and moderation.

It's not just Peskov. When Putin's mouthpiece says something like this numerous other favor-seeking sycophants like Zhirinovsky, Kiselyov, and Simonyan receive and decode the signal that it is their job (if they want continued favor) to amplify that message and to shift the Overton window further to the right, and to go into territory that the Kremlin can not. This is exactly what we have been seeing on vaccines and QR codes in Russia the whole year. It has been an establishment and state-propaganda lockstep. One that would be impossible if Putin, of all people, was opposed to the COVID derangement regime.

When are you going to resign yourself to the fact that Putin isn't on your side? He is a COVID normie and a chronic middle-of-the-roader. He is nothing like you. He is a Russian liberal statist who spent 15 years attending the G8, and 30 years attending Davos. He is not your ideological or culture-war fellow traveler. Every aspect of his policies where he differs from the West or is opposed to the West is a consequence, not of him being Vladimir Putin, but of him being the leader of Russia. More than anything his anti-Western or independent-of-the-West course was forced onto him by his failure to integrate Russia with the West ("Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok") on non-humiliating terms. A project he had expended far more energies on than the average Russian would have.

Stop projecting your personality and your worldview on Putin. He is just a normie. Except he is the normie in charge of Russia and that is eventually going to exert a certain amount of influence. Both from below, and even more so from outside, from being shunned and besieged by the West.

If you want a Russian that is like you look up Dr. Alexander Redko. It is utterly bizarre that dissident personalities in the West are identifying with the Russian President rather than people fighting their same fight in Russia, including against COVID Vladimir.

Yes, the weight of COVID derangement in Russia is made lighter by lax enforcement. The latter is how the middle management (the regions) squares the circle. They commit Draconian measures to paper to signal loyalty and impress the Kremlin, but skimp on execution so as to not cause catastrophic unrest or bankrupt themselves. But this fraud perpetrated against the center (which has been a feature of Russia even before the Soviet era) tells you precisely that the Kremlin is on the side of the Draconian measures, not on the side of the lax enforcement.

To talk of "states rights" in the Russian context where until recently governors were appointed, and where virtually all are from United Russia is bizarre. If Russia was an actual "states rights" system then among the 85 federal subjects of wildly different sizes, ethnic mixes, and local circumstances, and all populated by very red-pilled people you would expect to find at least a few anti-derangement Ron DeSantises and Kristi Noems. You don't because Russia isn't a real federation.* For one thing, there are no primaries. Who runs (and wins) is at the sole discretion of United Russia.

The autonomy of regions extends only to execution. They may do like Chukotka and decree some rather meaningless and symbolic QR requirements just to show they too were taking COVID "seriously" and to not stand out and single themselves out for repercussions. (QR codes for "events" for a frozen region of 50,000 people is a delicious joke. What events could they possibly have? And who actually believes anyone will be turned back if they do?) Or they can do like the Nenets governor who seems to want to get on the center's radar as an especially zealous and dutiful executioner of the party line, a true Sobyanin of the north. (Wonder what promotion he's angling for?)

 


*Communists didn't style Russia a "federation" because its regions were to have "state's rights". They styled it a federation because it included many Autonomous Republics populated by non-Russian peoples. However, its Russian-populated regions were not thought to have any "state's rights". They are no more than French departments. To think of Russian regions as equivalents to American (or Brazilian) states is wrong. It's not a federation of its 85 regions. It's a union of the autonomous ethnic regions federated to the entirety of the Russian area as a whole.

Related: A constipated control freak is tormenting St. Petersburg

Apparently, QR codes are "dead in Russia". Yeah really. Apparently, they only ever existed in Moscow and Tatarstan, so now that the national QR code legislation has been pulled the danger of nationwide QR-coded occupation has been averted:

The QR madness in Moscow/Tatarstan from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok would have been vastly more devastating than all of Washington’s sanctions packages combined. Perhaps it was a wise choice for a certain President to keep this a “States’ Rights” issue and repeatedly reaffirm that vaccination is a personal choice.

To test this alleged news I performed a simple experiment. I visited the central COVID information portal of the Russian government, StopKoronavirus.rf, which lists COVID-fighting measures of every region. Then I checked the COVID measures still on the books in Russia's six most remote regions with the lowest population densities.

What did I learn? Every single one of these regions with a population density under 1 person per km2 still subjects its people to QR codes. Additionally, all except Chukotka have mandatory COVID vaccinations for workers in certain sectors (catering, hospitality, services, leisure, tourism, government...).

4 out of 6 regions also ban those over 60 (or over 55) from working, except remotely, or if they are vaccinated. (AKA it's a work ban on the unvaccinated over 60s.) In 1 region there is also a blanket ban on offering those 65 and older any services. AKA you can't give a 65-year old a haircut because the "authorities" feel he should be isolating 24/7 anyway. The same region also has mandatory vaccination for over 60s.

I didn't check the regime in every of Russia's 85 regions but if the 6 most remote ones all have QR codes (and 5 out of 6 have mandatory vaccinations) it is safe to say that nearly all do.

So it turns out that far from being dead QR codes in Russia are in fact omnipresent.

Magadan (140,000 people on 460,000 km2 (larger than Germany) population density 0.3 per km2)::

  • "Mask-glove regime" and maks on public transport.
  • Catering establishments, shopping centers, service establishments (eg hair and beauty saloons), public events, and tourist accommodations only with a QR health pass (vax, negative PCR, or recent Covid illness)
  • No unaccompanied minors under 18 in catering establishments, shopping centers, public events, hair and beauty saloons, and tourist accommodations. (Ergo the unvaxxed can't send their teen to pick something from the mall from them, and children of unvaxxed parents can't get a haircut.)
  • Curfew for bars, restaurants and events
  • Over 60s may only work from home.
  • Mandatory vaccination for employees in certain sectors.

Kamchatka Krai (315,000 people on 470,000 km2 (larger than Germany) population density 0.7 per km2):

  • "Mask-glove regime" and maks on public transport.
  • Hotel room only with a certificate of vaccination.
  • Catering establishments and government offices only with a QR health pass.
  • No unaccompanied minors under 18 in shopping centers.
  • No events over 100 people. 50% capacity limit for events under 100.
  • No entertainment at night.
  • Hair and beauty saloons only by appointment.
  • Over 60s may only work from home.
  • Mandatory vaccination for employees in certain sectors.

Chukotka Autonomous District (50,000 people on 700,000 km2 (larger than Ukraine or Texas), population density 0.07 per km2):

  • "Mask-glove regime" and maks on public transport.
  • Events only with a QR health pass, regulators must be notified a week ahead. 70% capacity limit for establishments.
  • Arrivals from outside the region only with a QR health pass, or will be subject to antigen test.

Yakutia (Republic of Sakha) (900,000 people on 3,000,000 km2 (slightly smaller than India), population density 0.3 per km2):

  • "Mask-glove regime" and maks on public transport.
  • All mass events and gatherings are prohibited.
  • Banquet services for more than 10 people are prohibited.
  • Government offices, catering establishments, cultural and leisure institutions, shopping centers, service establishments, tourism and recreation centers only with a QR health pass.
  • 1AM curfew on catering establishments.
  • Capacity limits of 50% or 100 people.
  • Children in remote learning and preschoolers are forbidden to visit children's centers and playrooms
  • Sports events without spectators.
  • Over 60s may only work from home.
  • Mandatory vaccination for employees in certain sectors.

Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District (550,000 people on 770,000 km2 (larger than Ukraine or Texas), population density 0.7 per km2):

  • "Mask-glove regime" and maks on public transport.
  • Catering establishments, shopping centers, service establishments, hotels, events, institutions of culture, leisure and sports only with a QR health pass.
  • Mandatory vaccination for employees in certain sectors.

Nenets Autonomous District (40,000 people on 170,000 km2 (larger than Greece), population density 0.25 per km2):

  • "Mask-glove regime" and maks on public transport.
  • Catering establishments, service establishments, hotels, events only with a QR health pass.
  • Mass events banned, occupancy limits on service establishments and cultural institutions.
  • Ban on services to persons 65 years and older. (Aka lockdown of the 65 and over.)
  • No personal reception of citizens in offices of the authorities.
  • Checkpoints on the border, arrivals without a QR code are written down for 14-day self-isolation.
  • The unvaccinated over 55 can't work except from home.
  • Mandatory vaccination for employees in certain sectors, persons over 60, persons with chronic diseases, and persons living in social service organizations.

The alleged "news" continues:

"There is now a major nation that has essentially given up on anti-Covid measures. It is also a global player with some significant media and internet presence that can advertise this fact."

What is this utter trash and nonsense? Russia has given up nothing. An attempted escalation of COVID derangement by backing the QR codes with national legislation has been given up. However, in every other way, Moscow's COVID derangement war continues unabated.

There won't be legitimization for the already existing regime by a vote in the national parliament. But as a de facto reality nationwide QR code requirements already exist, courtesy of gubernatorial regional decrees.

"The problem is that to understand today’s Russia you simply cannot think of the state as a monolithic block. There is no Putin dictatorship under a crushing cult of personality with all roads to power leading to an often shirtless God-Emperor. Russia is not the Borg Cube."

"There has been a massive unseen war going on behind the walls of government.."

This is beyond idiotic and just plain false. Putin is not an absolute ruler in relation to his citizens, but within the Russian state apparatus he is the Alpha and Omega. That doesn't mean that every single initiative comes from him but he does have the standing, the influence, and the power to crush every single one of them, and to dictate policy direction on anything he gets involved in. The idea that Putin can't clap his fingers tomorrow and have every single COVID measure dropped within a week is a filthy lie — just as it is a filthy lie that he has been seriously advocating for vaccines as a "personal choice".

There is no "unseen war behind the walls of government". A more cowed, vapid, empty, cowardly, and downright sycophantic state-political apparatus than the one in Russia could scarcely be imagined. It is so cowed even the leadership (unlike the rank-and-file) of the two major opposition parties are Putin toadies eager to win his favor and do his work for him (including by backstabbing and sidelining true oppositionists from their organizations).

Entire United Russia (who are detested nobodies) and all the regional governors (who are detested nobodies) hinge on his every signal and word, trying to figure out how to best please him or at least not stand out and keep him appeased. The reason the regional governors have gone insane with COVID war derangement is that that has been precisely the signal from the center. For six months now his very own spokesman has been calling the unvaxxed "dangerous", "irresponsible", and "idiots". Is this "unseen war" so fierce that Putin isn't able to control the words of his own spokesman? Is that really the suggestion here? That Putin is so weak that he can't help it if his own spokesman is declaring open season on the unvaxxed?

Putin is on the record as backing nation-wide regionally-decreed mandatory vaccination as lawful, prudent and unproblematic:

At the same time, he recalled that, in accordance with the current law, regional authorities have the right to introduce compulsory vaccination in connection with the growth of the epidemic, on the recommendations of chief doctors in relation to certain categories of citizens.

Of course, he would have the back of regional compulsory vaccinations since they went up after he sent a signal from the center that they should. When mandatory vax went up in Moscow (as a Sobyanin initiative) the eyes of all regional governors were directed at the Kremlin to see what the response would be. Would there be a rebuke, or praise and encouragement? There was the latter. In days and weeks to come all other regions followed suit. That signals were coming largely from Peskov rather from Putin told the governors one thing and one thing only: Putin can't be too forthright on this one so he will be even more appreciative if you get the message anyway, and get your hands dirty so that he doesn't have to.

Of course, with time the Kremlin became very, very forthright, with Peskov firing off incendiary nonsense that would make Fauci blush, and that would cause a revolution in the US if uttered by Jen Psaki. (Apparently, it's not really mandatory vaccination because you can always get another job.) Eventually, Putin's mouthpiece sent the signal of all signals: there is no such thing as a measure that “encourages” vaccine uptake that is a bad measure:

“All measures are good. Any measures that can encourage more people to get vaccinated are good. And only vaccination saves you from death.”

Translated: in getting jabs into arms you can't possibly go too far. The only political error possible is on the side of reluctance and moderation.

It's not just Peskov. When Putin's mouthpiece says something like this numerous other favor-seeking sycophants like Zhirinovsky, Kiselyov, and Simonyan receive and decode the signal that it is their job (if they want continued favor) to amplify that message and to shift the Overton window further to the right, and to go into territory that the Kremlin can not. This is exactly what we have been seeing on vaccines and QR codes in Russia the whole year. It has been an establishment and state-propaganda lockstep. One that would be impossible if Putin, of all people, was opposed to the COVID derangement regime.

When are you going to resign yourself to the fact that Putin isn't on your side? He is a COVID normie and a chronic middle-of-the-roader. He is nothing like you. He is a Russian liberal statist who spent 15 years attending the G8, and 30 years attending Davos. He is not your ideological or culture-war fellow traveler. Every aspect of his policies where he differs from the West or is opposed to the West is a consequence, not of him being Vladimir Putin, but of him being the leader of Russia. More than anything his anti-Western or independent-of-the-West course was forced onto him by his failure to integrate Russia with the West ("Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok") on non-humiliating terms. A project he had expended far more energies on than the average Russian would have.

Stop projecting your personality and your worldview on Putin. He is just a normie. Except he is the normie in charge of Russia and that is eventually going to exert a certain amount of influence. Both from below, and even more so from outside, from being shunned and besieged by the West.

If you want a Russian that is like you look up Dr. Alexander Redko. It is utterly bizarre that dissident personalities in the West are identifying with the Russian President rather than people fighting their same fight in Russia, including against COVID Vladimir.

Yes, the weight of COVID derangement in Russia is made lighter by lax enforcement. The latter is how the middle management (the regions) squares the circle. They commit Draconian measures to paper to signal loyalty and impress the Kremlin, but skimp on execution so as to not cause catastrophic unrest or bankrupt themselves. But this fraud perpetrated against the center (which has been a feature of Russia even before the Soviet era) tells you precisely that the Kremlin is on the side of the Draconian measures, not on the side of the lax enforcement.

To talk of "states rights" in the Russian context where until recently governors were appointed, and where virtually all are from United Russia is bizarre. If Russia was an actual "states rights" system then among the 85 federal subjects of wildly different sizes, ethnic mixes, and local circumstances, and all populated by very red-pilled people you would expect to find at least a few anti-derangement Ron DeSantises and Kristi Noems. You don't because Russia isn't a real federation.* For one thing, there are no primaries. Who runs (and wins) is at the sole discretion of United Russia.

The autonomy of regions extends only to execution. They may do like Chukotka and decree some rather meaningless and symbolic QR requirements just to show they too were taking COVID "seriously" and to not stand out and single themselves out for repercussions. (QR codes for "events" for a frozen region of 50,000 people is a delicious joke. What events could they possibly have? And who actually believes anyone will be turned back if they do?) Or they can do like the Nenets governor who seems to want to get on the center's radar as an especially zealous and dutiful executioner of the party line, a true Sobyanin of the north. (Wonder what promotion he's angling for?)

 


*Communists didn't style Russia a "federation" because its regions were to have "state's rights". They styled it a federation because it included many Autonomous Republics populated by non-Russian peoples. However, its Russian-populated regions were not thought to have any "state's rights". They are no more than French departments. To think of Russian regions as equivalents to American (or Brazilian) states is wrong. It's not a federation of its 85 regions. It's a union of the autonomous ethnic regions federated to the entirety of the Russian area as a whole.

Edward Slavsquat - Fri Jan 21, 2022 06:31

Related: Terrific Article Praises Covid Freedoms of Belarus but Accidentally Spells the Country ‘Russia’


For the last nine months or so, “alternative” media outlets have been stubbornly claiming Vladimir Putin karate-chopped compulsory vaccination and that Russia is a beacon of clot shot-free sanity. None of this is true of course but why let the truth get in the way of some easy rubles? We respect the hustle.

Coincidentally, there is a Russian-speaking country where the Virus Scam and coercive injections have not fared particularly well.

It’s called Belarus and it’s run by this guy:

Our ongoing discussion about whether Russia is a safe haven from Schwab and his merry band of bug-eaters has sparked a lively debate (which is wonderful) and also filled our email inbox with a colorful assortment of testimonials and comments.

“Hi. I live in Belarus,” read one message we received.

Is this the blog post you’ve been dreaming of? Are you finally going to read firsthand accounts of what life is like in Belarus? Yes.


NAME: “Len”

LOCATION: Minsk, Belarus

OCCUPATION: N/A (full-time Edward Slavsquat reader)

Edward: Hi Len. So, first question: WHAT IS ACTUALLY GOING ON IN BELARUS WITH COVID-RELATED STUFF? Is Belarus the “real” Russia?

Len: An interesting observation, that Belarus is more ‘Russia’ than Russia itself right now.

Life goes on pretty much as normal. The government-owned media never ran the fear porn it did in other countries, so the majority aren't scared shitless as they would be in Australia for example.

There was an incident last year where some businesses in Bobruisk (Mogilevskaya Oblast) took the initiative of implementing some vax pass system, but the central government struck them down. I don't remember exactly how it happened, but there was a video of some kind last year with Lukashenko and a whole bunch of ministers in a room, he had steam coming out of his ears saying that he specifically demanded no vax passes be implemented anywhere in the country. [Lukashenko Publicly Dresses Down Ministers for Hounding Belarusians With Virus Cult Maosim]

There was however, a blanket mask mandate, that was in place from Dec 2020, and lifted in Nov 2021. Lukashenko was critical of the transport minister, saying that masks should be voluntary. Shortly after the video's public release (probably on the Belta youtube channel) the mask mandates were dropped in the whole country. Some signs are still up, but enforcement is gone. The only trouble I personally had even while the mandate was enforced, were ‘Karens’ at supermarkets who would refuse to scan my food at the cash register. I just walked out of there leaving everything behind. No drama in the metro, for example. The blokes who stand there at the turnstile don't get paid enough to care.

In terms of compulsory vaccination, I'm not aware of any needle mandates for specific industries. Lukashenko has spoken out against mandatory/coercive policies, however he hasn't come out against the idea of vaxxing, as in this article.

Perhaps just a few kopecks from [Sputnik V big-brain Alexander] Gintsburg are flowing his way, but luckily he puts minimal effort into marketing their product.

Cattle tags, well nothing notable. No ‘check-in’ or ‘contact surveillance’ like in other places.

I believe a certain element of this comes from the fact that Belarus is an outsider country. Even with it's union state with Russia, Belarus still more or less does it's own thing. The government here is most definitely anti-everyone (including Russia), so they pursue a more independent policy. Moreover, there was that colour revolution attempt back in August 2020 (sheilas with flowers etc.). The government struck it down, but allegedly lost the trust of large swathes of the population, therefore for Lukashenko, not implementing any coercive measures is perhaps a good way of showing to the public that he isn't a WEF suckhole.

Belarus is a bit of a boring country from my perspective, but boring and free is better than shackled and jabbed in my book. Australia and Belarus are amazing contrasts.

Edward: If someone told you they wanted to move to Belarus to escape the Virus Scam, what would you tell them?

Len: If they were coming from a neighbouring country, such as Russia or the Baltics, then give it a go. It's not worth traveling from a different continent, I don't believe. Perhaps a young single lad that works from his laptop would find some future here. But to close up shop and move from the American continent, well that would be too ambitious. The job market here isn't kind to foreigners but I think it's the same in Russia. You need permanent residence to work for most local companies, and learning Russian is also a prerequisite. I'm sure we can relate in that learning Russian becomes a massive headache once you get to the verbs of motion, along with certain aspects of grammar. Yankee types wouldn't have the attention span necessary, but maybe the dirt cheap government-brewed alcohol makes up for it? Very interesting that some of the biggest distilleries and (I believe) tobacco companies in Belarus are government-owned.

Edward: There is a tendency among “anti-Empire” westerners to view Putin as the living embodiment of state sovereignty. Do you think, at least in the Virus Scam sense, that Luka is actually more ‘Putin’ than Putin? In other words, people who feel let down by Putin—is Luka a solid alternative if they want to idolize someone? Or maybe it's time to drop all that stuff and just recognize they're all a bit suspect? Your thoughts on these matters would be greatly appreciated!

Len: Lukashenko definitely fits the western image of Putin more than Putin himself. No politician deserves idolization, Lukashenko has done some shady things in the past such as the highly suspicious Minsk metro bombing, which led them to install metal detectors at all metro stations. Psyop if you ask me, maybe the Israeli company that produces the scanners offered him a sweet package deal and he needed somewhere to install the equipment?

There's that bloke on YouTube who always says to go where you're treated best, and right now for most of Europe, Belarus is the freest country. If that changes, then we'll be looking elsewhere. Reading the tea leaves, as long as Lukashenko wears the pants, Belarus will likely remain a cattletag-less utopia.


NAME: “Daniel Altreides”

LOCATION: Somewhere in Belarus

OCCUPATION: NEET aristocrat-extraordinaire

Edward: Hi Daniel, can you please help us understand what the heck is going on in Belarus?

Daniel: And so, life in Belarus goes on, very much as it has this past age… full of its own comings and goings, with change coming slowly, if it comes at all. Luka remains in power, although he certainly had a close shave. Meanwhile, civil society continues to lurch ever more leftward as the influence of the professorati class and western media continues to circulate unopposed. The government, concerned only with the pensioner voting block, focuses on maintaining control of Channel 1 and a few radio stations and not much else. They can't be bothered to do much to pull their own asses out of the fire until the situation is literally “do or die” as the recent protests last year proved.

Vegan/Hipster bars and cafes continue to metastasize like cancer all over Minsk and even smaller towns in the country, lovingly adorned with POC portraits and hipster minimalist art. Normal, patriotic conservatives are stuck at home, listening to grandpa rant about defeating the Fascists in a war he was too young to have participated in.

All the same, Luka deserves credit for refusing to cave on the Corona hoax. This has probably something to do with him being the autocrat of Belarus and therefore invested with actual political power, unlike the puppets supposedly in “power” all over the rest of the world. If the example of Belarus isn't the most resounding argument for Authoritarianism, I don't know what is.

Big business, the media, and liberal activists marched on the government demanding that they be locked down harder, but Luka held firm and told them to shove it. He then followed through with a decree ordering the police to stop harassing people without masks and threatening businesses with fines for demanding that customers wear cuck-muzzles while doing their shopping.

Once again, credit where credit is due—Luka has held the ground against the Branch Covidians in Belarus insisting that exercise and good diet and maybe a trip to the sauna is the best defense against Covid. He did this despite risking alienation of the “Boomer Bloc” of elderly hypochondriacs. The city administration of Minsk has backed of as well, and no longer spams people's phones with vaccination reminders.

In many ways, Belarus is in a better situation vis a vis lockdown measures and mandatory vaccines than it was even half a year ago.


Thank you to our intel operatives on the ground in Belarus!

Related: Terrific Article Praises Covid Freedoms of Belarus but Accidentally Spells the Country ‘Russia’


For the last nine months or so, “alternative” media outlets have been stubbornly claiming Vladimir Putin karate-chopped compulsory vaccination and that Russia is a beacon of clot shot-free sanity. None of this is true of course but why let the truth get in the way of some easy rubles? We respect the hustle.

Coincidentally, there is a Russian-speaking country where the Virus Scam and coercive injections have not fared particularly well.

It’s called Belarus and it’s run by this guy:

Our ongoing discussion about whether Russia is a safe haven from Schwab and his merry band of bug-eaters has sparked a lively debate (which is wonderful) and also filled our email inbox with a colorful assortment of testimonials and comments.

“Hi. I live in Belarus,” read one message we received.

Is this the blog post you’ve been dreaming of? Are you finally going to read firsthand accounts of what life is like in Belarus? Yes.


NAME: “Len”

LOCATION: Minsk, Belarus

OCCUPATION: N/A (full-time Edward Slavsquat reader)

Edward: Hi Len. So, first question: WHAT IS ACTUALLY GOING ON IN BELARUS WITH COVID-RELATED STUFF? Is Belarus the “real” Russia?

Len: An interesting observation, that Belarus is more ‘Russia’ than Russia itself right now.

Life goes on pretty much as normal. The government-owned media never ran the fear porn it did in other countries, so the majority aren't scared shitless as they would be in Australia for example.

There was an incident last year where some businesses in Bobruisk (Mogilevskaya Oblast) took the initiative of implementing some vax pass system, but the central government struck them down. I don't remember exactly how it happened, but there was a video of some kind last year with Lukashenko and a whole bunch of ministers in a room, he had steam coming out of his ears saying that he specifically demanded no vax passes be implemented anywhere in the country. [Lukashenko Publicly Dresses Down Ministers for Hounding Belarusians With Virus Cult Maosim]

There was however, a blanket mask mandate, that was in place from Dec 2020, and lifted in Nov 2021. Lukashenko was critical of the transport minister, saying that masks should be voluntary. Shortly after the video's public release (probably on the Belta youtube channel) the mask mandates were dropped in the whole country. Some signs are still up, but enforcement is gone. The only trouble I personally had even while the mandate was enforced, were ‘Karens’ at supermarkets who would refuse to scan my food at the cash register. I just walked out of there leaving everything behind. No drama in the metro, for example. The blokes who stand there at the turnstile don't get paid enough to care.

In terms of compulsory vaccination, I'm not aware of any needle mandates for specific industries. Lukashenko has spoken out against mandatory/coercive policies, however he hasn't come out against the idea of vaxxing, as in this article.

Perhaps just a few kopecks from [Sputnik V big-brain Alexander] Gintsburg are flowing his way, but luckily he puts minimal effort into marketing their product.

Cattle tags, well nothing notable. No ‘check-in’ or ‘contact surveillance’ like in other places.

I believe a certain element of this comes from the fact that Belarus is an outsider country. Even with it's union state with Russia, Belarus still more or less does it's own thing. The government here is most definitely anti-everyone (including Russia), so they pursue a more independent policy. Moreover, there was that colour revolution attempt back in August 2020 (sheilas with flowers etc.). The government struck it down, but allegedly lost the trust of large swathes of the population, therefore for Lukashenko, not implementing any coercive measures is perhaps a good way of showing to the public that he isn't a WEF suckhole.

Belarus is a bit of a boring country from my perspective, but boring and free is better than shackled and jabbed in my book. Australia and Belarus are amazing contrasts.

Edward: If someone told you they wanted to move to Belarus to escape the Virus Scam, what would you tell them?

Len: If they were coming from a neighbouring country, such as Russia or the Baltics, then give it a go. It's not worth traveling from a different continent, I don't believe. Perhaps a young single lad that works from his laptop would find some future here. But to close up shop and move from the American continent, well that would be too ambitious. The job market here isn't kind to foreigners but I think it's the same in Russia. You need permanent residence to work for most local companies, and learning Russian is also a prerequisite. I'm sure we can relate in that learning Russian becomes a massive headache once you get to the verbs of motion, along with certain aspects of grammar. Yankee types wouldn't have the attention span necessary, but maybe the dirt cheap government-brewed alcohol makes up for it? Very interesting that some of the biggest distilleries and (I believe) tobacco companies in Belarus are government-owned.

Edward: There is a tendency among “anti-Empire” westerners to view Putin as the living embodiment of state sovereignty. Do you think, at least in the Virus Scam sense, that Luka is actually more ‘Putin’ than Putin? In other words, people who feel let down by Putin—is Luka a solid alternative if they want to idolize someone? Or maybe it's time to drop all that stuff and just recognize they're all a bit suspect? Your thoughts on these matters would be greatly appreciated!

Len: Lukashenko definitely fits the western image of Putin more than Putin himself. No politician deserves idolization, Lukashenko has done some shady things in the past such as the highly suspicious Minsk metro bombing, which led them to install metal detectors at all metro stations. Psyop if you ask me, maybe the Israeli company that produces the scanners offered him a sweet package deal and he needed somewhere to install the equipment?

There's that bloke on YouTube who always says to go where you're treated best, and right now for most of Europe, Belarus is the freest country. If that changes, then we'll be looking elsewhere. Reading the tea leaves, as long as Lukashenko wears the pants, Belarus will likely remain a cattletag-less utopia.


NAME: “Daniel Altreides”

LOCATION: Somewhere in Belarus

OCCUPATION: NEET aristocrat-extraordinaire

Edward: Hi Daniel, can you please help us understand what the heck is going on in Belarus?

Daniel: And so, life in Belarus goes on, very much as it has this past age… full of its own comings and goings, with change coming slowly, if it comes at all. Luka remains in power, although he certainly had a close shave. Meanwhile, civil society continues to lurch ever more leftward as the influence of the professorati class and western media continues to circulate unopposed. The government, concerned only with the pensioner voting block, focuses on maintaining control of Channel 1 and a few radio stations and not much else. They can't be bothered to do much to pull their own asses out of the fire until the situation is literally “do or die” as the recent protests last year proved.

Vegan/Hipster bars and cafes continue to metastasize like cancer all over Minsk and even smaller towns in the country, lovingly adorned with POC portraits and hipster minimalist art. Normal, patriotic conservatives are stuck at home, listening to grandpa rant about defeating the Fascists in a war he was too young to have participated in.

All the same, Luka deserves credit for refusing to cave on the Corona hoax. This has probably something to do with him being the autocrat of Belarus and therefore invested with actual political power, unlike the puppets supposedly in “power” all over the rest of the world. If the example of Belarus isn't the most resounding argument for Authoritarianism, I don't know what is.

Big business, the media, and liberal activists marched on the government demanding that they be locked down harder, but Luka held firm and told them to shove it. He then followed through with a decree ordering the police to stop harassing people without masks and threatening businesses with fines for demanding that customers wear cuck-muzzles while doing their shopping.

Once again, credit where credit is due—Luka has held the ground against the Branch Covidians in Belarus insisting that exercise and good diet and maybe a trip to the sauna is the best defense against Covid. He did this despite risking alienation of the “Boomer Bloc” of elderly hypochondriacs. The city administration of Minsk has backed of as well, and no longer spams people's phones with vaccination reminders.

In many ways, Belarus is in a better situation vis a vis lockdown measures and mandatory vaccines than it was even half a year ago.


Thank you to our intel operatives on the ground in Belarus!

Justin Bronk - Fri Jan 21, 2022 04:45

Editor's note: The caveat is that Russia does not intend to fight pure air vs air battles. Russian doctrine envisages fighters and ground anti-air working together as a part of a whole. Nonetheless, purely looking at fighters China is now in the lead. Russia is still a little ahead in engines, but China has more advanced radars and better munitions. [— Russia still hasn't managed to field an AESA radar.]

The old formulation that in the Sino-Russian alliance the Chinese are the economic superpower and the Russians the military superpower is one that will increasingly have to be amended. The Chinese are already the equals in military tech and may eventually pull ahead.

The text below is an abstract. For the entire 60-page report click here: Link.


The Soviet Union, and latterly Russia, have been the source of both aerial and ground-based pacing threats to Western airpower since the end of the Second World War. However, from a position of dependency on Russian aircraft and weapons, China has developed an advanced indigenous combat aircraft, sensor and weapons industry that is outstripping Russia’s. As a result, for the first time since 1945, the likely source of the most significant aerial threats to Western air capabilities is shifting.

Modern air combat is primarily decided by the balance of advantage in situational awareness. Given broadly comparable numbers, the force which can provide its aircrew with superior awareness of enemy position, track and identity will have a major advantage in any clash. In scenarios where situational awareness is relatively equal, missile reach and seeker performance, crew experience, aircraft performance, electronic warfare (EW) and countermeasures systems all contribute to the likely outcome.

Russia and China currently field superficially similar combat aircraft fleets. Both rely heavily on the Su-27/30 ‘Flanker’ family of combat aircraft and their various derivatives. They have also both pursued a fighter with low-observable (LO) – also known as stealthy – features, alongside increased multirole capability for their main fighter fleets. However, a clear Chinese lead is now emerging over Russia in most technical aspects of combat aircraft development.

The Flanker family of combat aircraft share: a large radar, optical and heat signature; potent kinematic performance; a relatively long range on internal fuel; and the ability to carry heavy ordinance loads of air-to-air or air-to-ground weapons. This makes them comparatively easy to detect and, in the case of Russian Flanker types, the lack of a modern active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar restricts them to relatively ‘brute force’ tactics using powerful but easy-to-detect radars and missiles which are outranged by their Western counterparts.

China has developed J-11 and J-16 series Flanker derivatives featuring AESA radars, new datalinks, improved EW systems and increased use of composites, which give them a superior level of overall combat capability to the latest Russian Flanker, the Su-35S. 

This advantage is increased by Chinese advances in both within-visual-range (WVR) and beyond-visual-range (BVR) air-to-air missiles. Unlike the latest Russian R-73M, the PL-10 features an imaging infrared seeker, improving resistance to countermeasures. More significantly, the PL-15 features a miniature AESA seeker head and outranges the US-made AIM-120C/D AMRAAM series. China is also testing a very-long-range air-to-air missile, known as PL-X or PL-17, which has a 400-km class range, multimode seeker and appears to have been designed to attack US big-wing ISTAR and tanker aircraft.

China has developed and introduced into service the first credible non-US-made LO, or fifth-generation, fighter in the form of the J-20A ‘Mighty Dragon’. Subsequent developments are likely to increase its LO characteristics and sensor capabilities, as well as engine performance, with construction of the first production prototypes of the J-20B having begun in 2020.

Overall, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and People’s Liberation Army Navy are rapidly improving their combat air capabilities, including a focus on the sensors, platforms, network connectivity and weapons needed to compete with the US in cutting-edge, predominantly passive-sensor air combat tactics.

The Russian Su-57 Felon is assessed as not yet having matured into a credible frontline weapons system, and as lacking the basic design features required for true LO signature. However, it does offer the potential to correct many of the Flanker family weaknesses with greatly reduced signature and an AESA radar, while improving the already superb agility and performance of the Flanker series. [The Su-57 doesn't need to be as stealthy from the side and rear because unlike the Chinese very-long-range J-20 it's not supposed to venture outside the air defense bubble. That said it is true that so far the Chinese have demonstrated more "stealth" tech than the Russians — and in much greater numbers.]

The Russian Air Force (VKS) does not currently field targeting pods for its ground-attack and multirole fleets. This limits the ground-attack aircraft to internal equivalents with inferior field of view and tactical flexibility, and the multirole fighters to reliance on either pre-briefed GPS/GLONASS target coordinates, radar-guided weapons or target acquisition using fixed seekers on the weapons themselves. This limits VKS fixed-wing capabilities against dynamic battlefield targets compared to Western or Chinese equivalents.

China is actively pursuing unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) designs with multiple programmes at various stages of development. Detailed assessment is hindered by tight control of information leaks by the Chinese Communist Party. Of those known to be in development, the GJ-11 subsonic attack UCAV appears the most advanced.

Russia is also pursuing UCAV-style technologies and has produced the Su-70 ‘Okhotnik-B’ technology demonstrator. However, it is not yet clear what degree of practical operational capability the Russian aircraft industry will be able to develop through the Su-70, especially given the demands for significant levels of in-flight autonomy inherent in UCAVs designed for state-on-state warfare in heavy EW conditions.

China’s advanced and efficient Flanker derivatives, as well as lightweight multirole fighters in the shape of the J-10B/C series and potentially a developmental FC-31 LO fighter programme, are likely to provide the leading source of non-Western combat aircraft from the mid-2020s onwards. Likewise, their air-launched munitions will increasingly outcompete Russian equivalents on the export market. As such, the development of Chinese capabilities should be closely monitored even by air forces which do not include the PLAAF in their direct threat assessments.

The possibility of technology transfer from China to Russia in the combat air domain could potentially increase the threat level posed to NATO by Russian airpower in the longer term, should such a dynamic emerge.

Source: The Royal United Services Institute

Editor's note: The caveat is that Russia does not intend to fight pure air vs air battles. Russian doctrine envisages fighters and ground anti-air working together as a part of a whole. Nonetheless, purely looking at fighters China is now in the lead. Russia is still a little ahead in engines, but China has more advanced radars and better munitions. [— Russia still hasn't managed to field an AESA radar.]

The old formulation that in the Sino-Russian alliance the Chinese are the economic superpower and the Russians the military superpower is one that will increasingly have to be amended. The Chinese are already the equals in military tech and may eventually pull ahead.

The text below is an abstract. For the entire 60-page report click here: Link.


The Soviet Union, and latterly Russia, have been the source of both aerial and ground-based pacing threats to Western airpower since the end of the Second World War. However, from a position of dependency on Russian aircraft and weapons, China has developed an advanced indigenous combat aircraft, sensor and weapons industry that is outstripping Russia’s. As a result, for the first time since 1945, the likely source of the most significant aerial threats to Western air capabilities is shifting.

Modern air combat is primarily decided by the balance of advantage in situational awareness. Given broadly comparable numbers, the force which can provide its aircrew with superior awareness of enemy position, track and identity will have a major advantage in any clash. In scenarios where situational awareness is relatively equal, missile reach and seeker performance, crew experience, aircraft performance, electronic warfare (EW) and countermeasures systems all contribute to the likely outcome.

Russia and China currently field superficially similar combat aircraft fleets. Both rely heavily on the Su-27/30 ‘Flanker’ family of combat aircraft and their various derivatives. They have also both pursued a fighter with low-observable (LO) – also known as stealthy – features, alongside increased multirole capability for their main fighter fleets. However, a clear Chinese lead is now emerging over Russia in most technical aspects of combat aircraft development.

The Flanker family of combat aircraft share: a large radar, optical and heat signature; potent kinematic performance; a relatively long range on internal fuel; and the ability to carry heavy ordinance loads of air-to-air or air-to-ground weapons. This makes them comparatively easy to detect and, in the case of Russian Flanker types, the lack of a modern active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar restricts them to relatively ‘brute force’ tactics using powerful but easy-to-detect radars and missiles which are outranged by their Western counterparts.

China has developed J-11 and J-16 series Flanker derivatives featuring AESA radars, new datalinks, improved EW systems and increased use of composites, which give them a superior level of overall combat capability to the latest Russian Flanker, the Su-35S. 

This advantage is increased by Chinese advances in both within-visual-range (WVR) and beyond-visual-range (BVR) air-to-air missiles. Unlike the latest Russian R-73M, the PL-10 features an imaging infrared seeker, improving resistance to countermeasures. More significantly, the PL-15 features a miniature AESA seeker head and outranges the US-made AIM-120C/D AMRAAM series. China is also testing a very-long-range air-to-air missile, known as PL-X or PL-17, which has a 400-km class range, multimode seeker and appears to have been designed to attack US big-wing ISTAR and tanker aircraft.

China has developed and introduced into service the first credible non-US-made LO, or fifth-generation, fighter in the form of the J-20A ‘Mighty Dragon’. Subsequent developments are likely to increase its LO characteristics and sensor capabilities, as well as engine performance, with construction of the first production prototypes of the J-20B having begun in 2020.

Overall, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and People’s Liberation Army Navy are rapidly improving their combat air capabilities, including a focus on the sensors, platforms, network connectivity and weapons needed to compete with the US in cutting-edge, predominantly passive-sensor air combat tactics.

The Russian Su-57 Felon is assessed as not yet having matured into a credible frontline weapons system, and as lacking the basic design features required for true LO signature. However, it does offer the potential to correct many of the Flanker family weaknesses with greatly reduced signature and an AESA radar, while improving the already superb agility and performance of the Flanker series. [The Su-57 doesn't need to be as stealthy from the side and rear because unlike the Chinese very-long-range J-20 it's not supposed to venture outside the air defense bubble. That said it is true that so far the Chinese have demonstrated more "stealth" tech than the Russians — and in much greater numbers.]

The Russian Air Force (VKS) does not currently field targeting pods for its ground-attack and multirole fleets. This limits the ground-attack aircraft to internal equivalents with inferior field of view and tactical flexibility, and the multirole fighters to reliance on either pre-briefed GPS/GLONASS target coordinates, radar-guided weapons or target acquisition using fixed seekers on the weapons themselves. This limits VKS fixed-wing capabilities against dynamic battlefield targets compared to Western or Chinese equivalents.

China is actively pursuing unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) designs with multiple programmes at various stages of development. Detailed assessment is hindered by tight control of information leaks by the Chinese Communist Party. Of those known to be in development, the GJ-11 subsonic attack UCAV appears the most advanced.

Russia is also pursuing UCAV-style technologies and has produced the Su-70 ‘Okhotnik-B’ technology demonstrator. However, it is not yet clear what degree of practical operational capability the Russian aircraft industry will be able to develop through the Su-70, especially given the demands for significant levels of in-flight autonomy inherent in UCAVs designed for state-on-state warfare in heavy EW conditions.

China’s advanced and efficient Flanker derivatives, as well as lightweight multirole fighters in the shape of the J-10B/C series and potentially a developmental FC-31 LO fighter programme, are likely to provide the leading source of non-Western combat aircraft from the mid-2020s onwards. Likewise, their air-launched munitions will increasingly outcompete Russian equivalents on the export market. As such, the development of Chinese capabilities should be closely monitored even by air forces which do not include the PLAAF in their direct threat assessments.

The possibility of technology transfer from China to Russia in the combat air domain could potentially increase the threat level posed to NATO by Russian airpower in the longer term, should such a dynamic emerge.

Source: The Royal United Services Institute

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