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Bring All the Troops Home: Stop Policing the Globe and Put an End to Endless Wars | John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead

By John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead | The Rutherford Institute 

“Let us resolve that never again will we send the precious young blood of this country to die trying to prop up a corrupt military dictatorship abroad. This is also the time to turn away from excessive preoccupation overseas to the rebuilding of our own nation. America must be restored to a proper role in the world. But we can do that only through the recovery of confidence in ourselves…. together we will call America home to the ideals that nourished us from the beginning.”—George S. McGovern, former Senator and presidential candidate

It’s time to bring all our troops home.

Bring them home from Somalia, Iraq, and Syria. Bring them home from Germany, South Korea, and Japan. Bring them home from Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Oman. Bring them home from Niger, Chad, and Mali. Bring them home from Turkey, the Philippines, and northern Australia.

It’s not enough to pull American troops out of Afghanistan, America’s longest, bloodiest, and most expensive war to date.

It’s time that we stop policing the globe, stop occupying other countries, and stop waging endless wars.

That’s not what’s going to happen, of course.

The U.S. military reportedly has more than 1.3 million men and women on active duty, with more than 200,000 of them stationed overseas in nearly every country in the world.

Those numbers are likely significantly higher in keeping with the Pentagon’s policy of not fully disclosing where and how many troops are deployed for the sake of “operational security and denying the enemy any advantage.” As investigative journalist David Vine explains, “Although few Americans realize it, the United States likely has more bases in foreign lands than any other people, nation, or empire in history.”

Don’t fall for the propaganda, though.

America’s military forces aren’t being deployed abroad to protect our freedoms here at home. Rather, they’re being used to guard oil fields, build foreign infrastructure and protect the financial interests of the corporate elite. In fact, the United States military spends about $81 billion a year just to protect oil supplies around the world.

The reach of America’s military empire includes close to 800 bases in as many as 160 countries, operated at a cost of more than $156 billion annually. As Vine reports, “Even US military resorts and recreation areas in places like the Bavarian Alps and Seoul, South Korea, are bases of a kind. Worldwide, the military runs more than 170 golf courses.”

This is how a military empire occupies the globe.

After 20 years of propping up Afghanistan to the tune of trillions of dollars and thousands of lives lost, the U.S. military may have finally been forced out, but those troops represent just a fraction of our military presence worldwide.

In an ongoing effort to police the globe, American military service people continue to be deployed to far-flung places in the Middle East and elsewhere.

This is how the military-industrial complex, aided and abetted by the likes of Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and others, continues to get rich at taxpayer expense.

Yet while the rationale may keep changing for why American military forces are policing the globe, these wars abroad aren’t making America—or the rest of the world—any safer, are certainly not making America great again, and are undeniably digging the U.S. deeper into debt.

War spending is bankrupting America.

Although the U.S. constitutes only 5% of the world’s population, America boasts almost 50% of the world’s total military expenditure, spending more on the military than the next 19 biggest spending nations combined.

In fact, the Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety.

The American military-industrial complex has erected an empire unsurpassed in history in its breadth and scope, one dedicated to conducting perpetual warfare throughout the earth.

Since 2001, the U.S. government has spent more than $4.7 trillion waging its endless wars.

Having been co-opted by greedy defense contractors, corrupt politicians, and incompetent government officials, America’s expanding military empire is bleeding the country dry at a rate of more than $32 million per hour.

In fact, the U.S. government has spent more money every five seconds in Iraq than the average American earns in a year.

Future wars and military exercises waged around the globe are expected to push the total bill upwards of $12 trillion by 2053.

Talk about fiscally irresponsible: the U.S. government is spending money it doesn’t have on a military empire it can’t afford.

As investigative journalist Uri Friedman puts it, for more than 15 years now, the United States has been fighting terrorism with a credit card, “essentially bankrolling the wars with debt, in the form of purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds by U.S.-based entities like pension funds and state and local governments, and by countries like China and Japan.”

War is not cheap, but it becomes outrageously costly when you factor in government incompetence, fraud, and greedy contractors. Indeed, a leading accounting firm concluded that one of the Pentagon’s largest agencies “can’t account for hundreds of millions of dollars worth of spending.”

Unfortunately, the outlook isn’t much better for the spending that can be tracked.

A government audit found that defense contractor Boeing has been massively overcharging taxpayers for mundane parts, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in overspending. As the report noted, the American taxpayer paid:

$71 for a metal pin that should cost just 4 cents; $644.75 for a small gear smaller than a dime that sells for $12.51: more than a 5,100 percent increase in price. $1,678.61 for another tiny part, also smaller than a dime, that could have been bought within DoD for $7.71: a 21,000 percent increase. $71.01 for a straight, thin metal pin that DoD had on hand, unused by the tens of thousands, for 4 cents: an increase of over 177,000 percent.

That price gouging has become an accepted form of corruption within the American military empire is a sad statement on how little control “we the people” have over our runaway government.

Mind you, this isn’t just corrupt behavior. It’s deadly, downright immoral behavior.

Americans have thus far allowed themselves to be spoon-fed a steady diet of pro-war propaganda that keeps them content to wave flags with patriotic fervor and less inclined to look too closely at the mounting body counts, the ruined lives, the ravaged countries, the blowback arising from ill-advised targeted-drone killings and bombing campaigns in foreign lands, or the transformation of our own homeland into a warzone.

That needs to change.

The U.S. government is not making the world any safer. It’s making the world more dangerous. It is estimated that the U.S. military drops a bomb somewhere in the world every 12 minutes. Since 9/11, the United States government has directly contributed to the deaths of around 500,000 human beings. Every one of those deaths was paid for with taxpayer funds.

The U.S. government is not making America any safer. It’s exposing American citizens to alarming levels of blowback, a CIA term referring to the unintended consequences of the U.S. government’s international activities. Chalmers Johnson, a former CIA consultant, repeatedly warned that America’s use of its military to gain power over the global economy would result in devastating blowback.

The 9/11 attacks were blowback. The Boston Marathon Bombing was blowback. The attempted Times Square bomber was blowback. The Fort Hood shooter, a major in the U.S. Army, was blowback.

The U.S. military’s ongoing drone strikes will, I fear, spur yet more blowback against the American people. The latest drone strike reportedly killed seven children, ages 2 to 10, in Afghanistan.

The war hawks’ militarization of America—bringing home the spoils of war (the military tanks, grenade launchers, Kevlar helmets, assault rifles, gas masks, ammunition, battering rams, night vision binoculars, etc.) and handing them over to local police, thereby turning America into a battlefield—is also blowback.

James Madison was right: “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” As Madison explained, “Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes… known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.”

We are seeing this play out before our eyes.

The government is destabilizing the economy, destroying the national infrastructure through neglect and a lack of resources, and turning taxpayer dollars into blood money with its endless wars, drone strikes, and mounting death tolls.

Clearly, our national priorities are in desperate need of overhauling.

At the height of its power, even the mighty Roman Empire could not stare down a collapsing economy and a burgeoning military. Prolonged periods of war and false economic prosperity largely led to its demise. As historian Chalmers Johnson predicts:

The fate of previous democratic empires suggests that such a conflict is unsustainable and will be resolved in one of two ways. Rome attempted to keep its empire and lost its democracy. Britain chose to remain democratic and in the process let go its empire. Intentionally or not, the people of the United States already are well embarked upon the course of non-democratic empire.

This is the “unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex” that President Dwight Eisenhower warned us more than 50 years ago not to let endanger our liberties or democratic processes.

Eisenhower, who served as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe during World War II, was alarmed by the rise of the profit-driven war machine that emerged following the war—one that, in order to perpetuate itself, would have to keep waging war.

We failed to heed his warning.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, there’s not much time left before we reach zero hours.

It’s time to stop policing the globe, end these wars without end, and bring the troops home.

ABOUT JOHN W. WHITEHEAD

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is the founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His books Battlefield America: The War on the American People and A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State are available at www.amazon.com. He can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org. Nisha Whitehead is the Executive Director of The Rutherford Institute. Information about The Rutherford Institute is available at www.rutherford.org.




The Taliban Surrendered in 2001

George W. Bush speaking at Rotary Club, Portsmouth, NH in 2000. (Photo: americanspirit/123RF.com)

By Richard W. Behan | Common Dreams

At a U.S. Special Forces camp near Kandahar, Afghanistan, on December 5, 2001, the Taliban offered an unconditional surrender. Furthermore, they would disband and disarm: a military force would no longer exist.

George W. Bush ignored the offer and continued attacking the Taliban until the end of his term. If only in self-defense the Taliban fought back, eventually regaining the battlefield initiative. Barack Obama fought the Taliban for eight years more. Donald Trump did so for the next four.

George Bush launched a war for oil and empire, invading two sovereign nations without provocation. He violated international law.

Twenty years later, after the squandering of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars, President Biden withdrew American troops from Afghanistan—and drew angry criticism for the chaotic exit that followed.

How perverse we have become. We chastise President Biden for a messy ending of the war in Afghanistan and fail to indict George Bush for its illegal beginning.

George Bush launched a war for oil and empire, invading two sovereign nations without provocation. He violated international law.

Within ten days of taking office, the Bush Administration formalized a decision to invade Iraq. Long before 9/11, the attack on Afghanistan was scheduled. Neither proposed incursion had the slightest thing to do with terrorism: the objectives were preemptive access to Iraqi oil and a pipeline right-of-way across Afghanistan for the Unocal Corporation. 9/11 offered a spectacular and fortuitous covering alibi; President Bush declared a “war on terrorism” and launched his premeditated wars.

Osama bin Laden was portrayed as an iconic terrorist, to be apprehended for his orchestration of 9/11. But George Bush from his first day in office, January 20, 2001, could have negotiated with the Taliban to assassinate Osama bin Laden or to surrender him into U.S. custody. That was the standing offer the Taliban tendered in late 2000, seeking to retain U.S. favor after bin Laden bombed the U.S.S. Cole. The Bush  Administration refused the offer, four times prior to 9/11 and once more five days later.

Saddam Hussein was said to be an intolerable terrorist threat, too. “Regime change” was necessary to remove him from power. In February of 2003, Saddam Hussein offered to enter voluntary exile in Turkey, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia. Here was “regime change” handed on a platter to George Bush, but a peaceful one. The offer was brushed aside.

George Bush needed terrorists, alive, at large, and in residence in Afghanistan and Iraq, to make his “war on terrorism” credible.

The pipeline project was the first order of business. On October 7, 2001, the invasion of Afghanistan was underway, but the billions of barrels of Iraqi oil were never far from mind. Seven weeks later, on November 27, 2001, the President ordered his Defense Department to plan the invasion of Iraq. (That was eleven months before Congress would authorize it.)

The aggressions were titanic failures. Yes, a few American oil companies operating in Iraq today, but they are barely visible among scores of other firms from Egypt, Italy, Japan, France, Austria, the UK, Canada, Hungary, India, Norway, and the holders of the largest contracts by far, Russia and China.

Afghanistan lies in a state of seething chaos. There will be no American pipeline across the country: twenty years of staggering costs in lives and treasure for nothing. Those costs might have been avoided: violence in Afghanistan could have ended two months after George Bush turned it loose.

Anand Gopal, an American journalist, tells the story with unusual authority. He moved to Afghanistan in 2008, learned the language, and for four years he traveled the country freely.

His book appeared in 2014: No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes.

It relates to the Taliban’s surrender:

His back to the wall, Mullah Omar [leader of the Taliban] drew up a letter to Hamid Karzai, acknowledging his selection as interim president. The letter also granted Omar’s ministers, deputies, and aides the right to surrender.

On December 5 [2001] a Taliban delegation arrived at the US special forces camp north of  Kandahar city to officially relinquish power…[The Taliban]…pledged to retire from politics and return to their home villages. Crucially, they also agreed that their movement would surrender arms, effectively ensuring the Taliban could no longer function as a military entity. There would be no jihad, no resistance from the Taliban to the new order.

Another description of the surrender, differing little, appeared seven years later:

It took barely two months after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 for the United States mission to point itself toward defeat.

“Tomorrow the Taliban will start surrendering their weapons,” the Taliban’s spokesman Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef announced on December 7, 2001. “I think we should go home.” But the United States refused the group’s surrender, vowing to fight on to shatter the Taliban’s influence in every corner of the country.

Accepting the surrender would have denoted a great victory in the “war on terrorism.” But George Bush was fighting a war for oil and empire, and victory would pose a huge tactical difficulty: with no enemy to fight he would have to demobilize his forces in the Mideast and bring them home. That he could not tolerate: the great prize, the Iraqi oil, had yet to be won, so the fighting in the Mideast would have to be sustained—as a “war on terrorism”—until the invasion of Iraq could be planned, authorized by Congress, and sold to the American people. The Taliban’s offer was simply dismissed, and the fighting continued—for twenty years.

And now President Biden has called a halt in Afghanistan, in humiliating defeat. The Taliban, who once offered to disarm and disband, have taken control of Afghanistan. The national media acknowledge the defeat, but trumpet “the end of America’s longest war” as recompense. That is grossly misleading: American military violence rages on in the “war on terrorism.” U.S. combat troops remain stationed in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Kenya, Somalia, Yemen, Jordan, Kuwait, Djibouti, Qatar, the UAE, Turkey, the  Philippines, and Cyprus, and we conduct counterterrorism operations in 61 additional countries around the world.

This madness is the legacy of the Bush Administration, and successive presidents have done nothing to end it. Withdrawing troops from Afghanistan is a no-brainer tactical retreat, but George Bush’s bogus war plunges mindlessly ahead.

President Biden, carpe diem. Call the “war on terrorism” for the fraud it is and end it. Bring all the troops home, from everywhere.


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Richard W. Behan

Richard W. Behan

Richard W. Behan is a retired professor of natural resource policy at the University of Montana.. Through 2009 he contributed 40-some essays to various internet websites, critical of the Bush Administration’s criminality. The nature of George Bush’s wars has become a political issue once more, prompting him to take to the keyboard again. He can be reached at rwbehan@comcast.net




Afghanistan Only the Latest US War To Be Driven By Deceit and Delusion

Afghans were trapped by the sudden Taliban takeover. AJ+/Twitter

In Afghanistan, American hubris – the United States’ capacity for self-delusion and official lying – has struck once again, as it has repeatedly for the last 60 years.

This weakness-masquerading-as-strength has repeatedly led the country into failed foreign interventions. The pattern first became clear to me when I learned on Nov. 11, 1963, that the U.S. embassy and intelligence agencies had been directly involved in planning a coup to depose the president of South Vietnam and his brother, leading to their executions.

I was a Fulbright Fellow, starting a long career in national security policymaking and teaching, studying in Europe. On that day, I was in a bus on a tour of the battlefields of Ypres, Belgium, led by a French history professor.

As I watched the grave markers sweep by, I was reading a report in Le Monde exposing this U.S. effort to overthrow another government and I thought, “This is a bad idea; my country should not be doing this.” And the war, in which the U.S. was directly involved for 20 years, marched on.

The American people were told we had no hand in that coup. We did not know that was a lie until The New York Times and Washington Post published the Pentagon Papers in 1971. By then, 58,000 Americans and possibly as many as 3.5 million Vietnamese soldiers and civilians had died – and the goal of preventing the unification of Vietnam had died as well.

For 15 years, the American foreign policy establishment struggled to overcome what it called the “Vietnam Syndrome” – the rational reluctance of the American people to invade and try to remake another country.

American hubris reemerged, this time as “the global war on terror.” Afghanistan is now the poster child for the sense that the U.S. can remake the world.

‘A sea of righteous retribution’

Osama bin Laden gave American interventionists eager for the next fight a huge justification – an attack on the U.S., which washed the Vietnam Syndrome away in a sea of righteous retribution against al-Qaida.

The al-Qaida attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon also gave interventionists the opening to invade Iraq, as an extension of the war on terror. We built on the terrorism lie – Saddam Hussein was no friend of the 9/11 terrorists – by arguing that he had weapons of mass destruction. American hubris ran the full course as we invaded another country, overthrew its government and aimed to build a new nation, all of which have kept American troops in a dysfunctional Iraq for 18 years.

And the truth, which insisted on penetrating the American delusion, was that the war meant the deaths of 8,500 American troops and civilians and at least 300,000 Iraqis as well. No modern, rebuilt Iraqi nation has emerged.

And now the country faces the dark at the end of the tunnel in Afghanistan, where lying and self-delusion have continued for 20 years.

An initial mission intended to remove the Taliban and close the al-Qaida training camps succeeded, though Osama bin Laden slipped away for another 10 years. But hubris kept the U.S. from stopping there.

The mission expanded: create a modern democracy, a modern society and, above all, a modern military in a country with little history of any of those things.

A new generation of U.S. officials in uniform and policymaker suits and dresses fooled the American people and themselves by lying about how well the effort was going.

The failure was actually there to see, this time, well documented by the systematic auditing and reporting of the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, John Sopko. But government officials and the media blew by those truths, giving voice instead to the lies out of more visible officials’ mouths. The human price tag of hubris grew – 6,300 U.S. military and civilian deaths, and an understated estimate of 100,000 Afghan deaths.

Three strikes and you’re out

Three times now this country has been lied to and the media deluded as America marched stolidly over the cliff into failure.

Recriminations are flying back and forth – who lost Afghanistan is the latest version of who lost Vietnam, Iraq and, for those with long memories, all the way back to 1949 and “who lost China.” What America has lost is, I believe, the capacity to learn, to learn from history and from our own experience.

I’d argue that no one who was paying attention should be surprised that the Taliban swept back into Kabul in a nanosecond. Or that a failed enterprise like the Afghan national army collapsed. Army and special operator trainers who went there could see the corruption, the personnel who left in the night and the disdain for corrupt political authorities in that army.

Many brave, honorable Afghans fought there, but the cohesion and commitment, the belief in their mission, was not there.

By contrast, the Taliban were organized, dedicated and coherent, and armed and trained for the actual combat taking place, not for European-style trench and tank warfare. The Taliban clearly had a plan that worked for that country, as the speed of the takeover shows. It succeeded; the U.S. and the Kabul regime failed in what became mission impossible.

The fall of Kabul was inevitable. Washington, once again, deluded itself into thinking otherwise. The secretary of state said, “This is not Saigon.”

It is Saigon. It is Baghdad. It is Kabul.

Gordon Adams, Professor Emeritus, American University School of International Service

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.




Australia: Military to Enforce Lockdown, and Outrageous Fines Proposed to Stop Protests.

Source: Need To Know

Mainstream media claimed a Delta outbreak that began in June has produced nearly 3,000 infections and led to nine deaths. Since only 17% of Australia’s adult population has been vaccinated, Australian soldiers will begin patrols in Sydney, the country’s largest city, to enforce the lockdown that bars people from leaving their home except for essential exercise, shopping, and caregiving. Lawmakers in New South Wales have proposed imposing fines of $20,000 on protest organizers, $5,500 against people who attend the protests, and $11,000 fines against “people sharing information on social media about illegal rallies and inciting others to illegally attend”. Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott bragged that more than 15,000 calls had been received from people snitching on others for attending “illegal” protests. A pregnant woman was arrested in her own home for planning a protest on Facebook, while the state gave itself the power to seize children from their parents and enter homes without a warrant under COVID-19 rules. -GEG

Australia has deployed hundreds of soldiers to Sydney to help enforce a Covid lockdown.

A Delta outbreak that began in June has produced nearly 3,000 infections and led to nine deaths.

Australian Defence Force soldiers will undergo training on the weekend before beginning unarmed patrols on Monday.

But many have questioned whether the military intervention is necessary, calling it heavy-handed.

The lockdown – in place until at least 28 August – bars people from leaving their homes except for essential exercise, shopping, caregiving, and other reasons.

Despite five weeks of lockdown, infections in the nation’s largest city continue to spread. Officials recorded 170 new cases on Friday.

Soldiers will join police in virus hotspots to ensure people are following the rules, which include a 10km (6.2 miles) travel limit.

Read the full article here…




‘Epic Failure of Humanity’: Global Displaced Population Hits All-Time High

By Jake Johnson | Common Dreams

A report released Friday by the United Nations Refugee Agency finds that more than 82 million people across the globe were forcibly displaced by war, persecution, the climate crisis, and other factors by the end of 2020, a record high that one international aid group called “an epic failure of humanity.”

“Behind each number is a person forced from their home and a story of displacement, dispossession, and suffering.”
—Filippo Grandi, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees

The U.N.’s annual Global Trends in Forced Displacement (pdf) assessment estimates that girls and boys under the age of 18 account for 42% of the 82.4 million people who have fled their homes in search of safety and basic human dignity. Nearly a million children were born as refugees between 2018 and 2020, the report shows.

“Behind each number is a person forced from their home and a story of displacement, dispossession, and suffering. They merit our attention and support not just with humanitarian aid, but in finding solutions to their plight,” said Filippo Grandi, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR). “The tragedy of so many children being born into exile should be reason enough to make far greater efforts to prevent and end conflict and violence.”

Though the deadly coronavirus pandemic led countries around the world to close off their borders to refugees and asylum-seekers, many people still fled across national lines in 2020, the ninth consecutive year in which the number of forcibly displaced people has reached a record high.

According to the new U.N. report, 26.4 million people were living as refugees in 2020, and more than two-thirds of those who fled abroad came from just five countries: Syria (6.7 million), Venezuela (4 million), Afghanistan (2.6 million), South Sudan (2.2 million) and Myanmar (1.1 million).

The U.N. figures show that in addition to those who were forced by circumstance to leave their home countries, 48 million people were internally displaced by the end of last year, up from 45.7 million in 2019.

“Climate change is driving displacement and increasing the vulnerability of those already forced to flee,” the report states. “Forcibly displaced and stateless people are on the front lines of the climate emergency. Many are living in climate ‘hotspots’ where they typically lack the resources to adapt to an increasingly inhospitable environment. The dynamics of poverty, food insecurity, climate change, conflict, and displacement are increasingly interconnected and mutually reinforcing, driving more and more people to search for safety and security.”

Jan Egeland, secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said in a statement that “despite the staggering statistics, world leaders have been inept to resolve the greatest emergency of our generation.”

“Far more people are on the move today than any time during World War II, yet we say we live in an unprecedented era of global peacetime,” Egeland added. “We need to rewrite tomorrow’s history books to reflect today’s reality, that we live in an unprecedented era of persecution and suffering.”

Absent dramatic action from the international community to end conflicts, combat the climate crisis, and mitigate other major factors driving forced displacement, the U.N. report warns that “forecasts for 2021 are equally worrying, with some of the world’s worst food crises—including in displacement-affected countries such as South Sudan, Syria, and the Central African Republic—at risk of turning into famine.”

“The question is no longer if forced displacement will exceed 100 million people—but rather when,” the report states. “Clearly, the need for preventing conflicts and ensuring that displaced people have access to solutions has never been more pressing than now.”


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Former Military Intelligence Official Says Gov’t Preparing For Huge UFO Reveal

“I think the government has acknowledged the reality of [unidentified aerial phenomena.]”

First Contact

The government could release evidence and reports about unidentified aerial phenomena as soon as this June, according to a Pentagon whistleblower.

Luis Elizondo, who ran the Pentagon’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, a now-shuttered initiative to study and explain unidentified flying objects or phenomena, told the New York Post that the government is planning to release documentation of the “reality” of UFOs. The upcoming report, which has garnered a great deal of media attention, is expected to reveal what the military knows about unexplained aircraft spotted around its installations and could help demystify a great deal of the bizarre sightings that have been reported — or, of course, it could be an underwhelming cache of things that turned out to be balloons and optical illusions.

For the rest of this article please go to the source link below.

By Dan Robitzski | Futurism

Staff Reporter at @futurism Covering Science and Tech. Freelancer Elsewhere. MA in Science Journalism at NYU SHERP 35.

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The US Did Not Bring Peace, Democracy, or Freedom to Afghanistan

U.S. troops patrol near Forward Operating Base Baylough in Zabul province, Afghanistan. (Photo: U.S. Army/Public Domain)

By Mary Hladky | Common Dreams

As the mother of an Army infantry officer who served for 13 months during former President Barack Obama’s Afghanistan surge, in the Zhari District of the Kandahar Province, I feel tremendous relief that President Joe Biden is calling the troops home from Afghanistan. I also feel an overwhelming sadness for the men and women who served in Afghanistan, especially for those who did not come home, were injured (physically or mentally), or committed suicide.  I also feel great sadness for the huge losses and suffering the Afghan people endured and will continue to endure in their homeland, destroyed by 20 years of war.

This is shameful, very painful, and must never happen again.

As the Afghanistan Papers confirmed, the military and the U.S. government knew early on that the Afghanistan War was a debacle and could not be won. Leadership did not understand Afghanistan; it did not have a strategy, nor could it define what winning meant. Yet our government and military were unwilling to admit the Afghanistan war could not be won, damn the consequences. These tragic decisions have destroyed people on all sides.

So what exactly did the Afghanistan war accomplish? The government has spent over $2 trillion dollars on a war that has brought us the death of 2,378 U.S. military men and women, plus more than 20,000 injured, which does not include those suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and moral injury, and those who committed suicide. Add the deaths and injuries of our allied troops and military contractors. Also, we must not forget the untold numbers of civilians who died or were injured, and the millions of Afghan refugees and internally displaced Afghans.

The U.S. government will leave Afghanistan in the hands of a corrupt and inept government, which the U.S. backed for almost 20 years, as well as in the hands of the Taliban, which currently controls over half the country. Without an effective U.N.-negotiated peace plan for power-sharing, it is very likely that the Afghanistan government will collapse, leading to much more internal violence. Twenty years of war and U.S. interference have brought no long-term, positive gains in Afghanistan.

We did not bring peace, democracy, or freedom. Afghanistan’s elections were flagrantly fraudulent. We did not improve the lives of the Afghan people. The necessities of life are in short supply—water, electricity, healthcare, education. And there are no jobs other than the opium trade, which supplies 90% of the world’s opium—a big contributor to the opioid epidemic.

This is shameful, very painful, and must never happen again. Our government needs to find a way to make this right. No more funds to the corrupt Afghanistan government. At the very least, the U.S. needs to find a way to provide real support to the Afghan people, ensuring they have water, electricity, basic healthcare, housing, and educational opportunities.

What we do know is: War is not the answer.  Not in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Syria. When will we learn that war and violence are not the paths to a better world? Peace must be our demand. We need to invest our time, intelligence, and money in diplomacy, bringing people together to solve the world’s problems so we can all live in a flourishing world.

Mary Hladky

Mary Hladky is a long-time member of Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) which is a UFPJ member group. She began her work with United for Peace & Justice in 2010 as a member of the Afghanistan Working Group and been a member of the UFPJ Administrative Committee since 2012.




‘Highly Probable’ Military Developed COVID, Leaked From Lab

By Dr. Joseph Mercola | mercola.com

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • According to David Asher, former lead investigator for the U.S. State Department’s task force that looked into the origins of COVID-19, the data “made us feel the Wuhan Institute was highly probably the source of the COVID pandemic”
  • Asher also admits there is evidence in the genetic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 suggesting it’s been synthetically altered
  • An assessment report by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency states SARS-CoV-2 was likely an accidental release from an infectious diseases laboratory. The intentional release was ruled out
  • The Chinese tried to remove viral sequencing data from a European database. The sequences included adenovirus, a vaccine vector, which could indicate that SARS-CoV-2 is part of a vaccine program. Such a vaccine would likely be the antidote to a biological weapon
  • There’s evidence the Wuhan Institute of Virology worked on classified military programs, and since the NIH has funded gain-of-function research on coronaviruses at the WIV, this could mean the U.S. funded research that ended up being used in a Chinese military bioweapons program

It typically takes a lot longer for the truth to become public knowledge than the finely orchestrated propaganda we are all exposed to on a daily basis, but eventually, the truth tends to rise to the surface.

This appears to be the case with the origin of SARS-CoV-2 as well, as we’re now starting to see more mainstream media reporting what alternative media have been saying for months, which is that the most likely origin of the virus is a laboratory.

I first mentioned that the outbreak had the hallmarks of a laboratory escape in my February 4, 2020, article, “Novel Coronavirus — The Latest Pandemic Scare.” Currently, the mainstream narrative is that while it may indeed have been a lab creation, after all, it’s certainly not part of a bioweapons project.

Well, at least that brings us halfway, and this is good news. Personally, I wouldn’t dismiss the bioweapon’s angle just yet, though. In the end, we may well find that this pandemic was the result of a bioweapon program after all, which is precisely why I believe we need to permanently ban gain-of-function research. The risks to public health are simply too great.

As noted by investigative journalist Alison Young in a recent USA Today op-ed, in which she details a number of hair-raising near-misses involving extremely lethal pathogens that could have led to unmitigated disaster were it not for sheer luck:1

“The risk that a laboratory-released virus — carried into the community by a worker who didn’t know they were infected or through the leak of infectious waste — could cause a deadly outbreak has been a growing concern for many years.

In America, scientists and members of Congress … and the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office have expressed concerns for years. In reports and hearings, they’ve worried that the proliferation of laboratories working with high-risk pathogens is increasing the aggregate threat of a deliberate or accidental lab release causing a catastrophic outbreak …

If the COVID-19 pandemic were found to have been caused by a lab accident, it would have far-reaching implications for the fragmented and secretive oversight of biological research in the United States and worldwide that currently relies heavily on the scientific community to police itself.”

US State Department Suspects Lab Leak

In a March 21, 2021, interview with Sky News Australia2 (video above), David Asher, former lead investigator for the U.S. State Department’s task force that looked into the origins of COVID-19, said the data they collected “made us feel the Wuhan Institute was highly probably the source of the COVID pandemic.”

According to Asher, three workers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) who worked with the RatG13 coronavirus — the closest relative to SARS-CoV-2 identified to date — appear to have been the first cluster of cases of COVID-19. They fell ill with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 as early as October 2019. At least one of the workers required hospitalization.

He also points out there is evidence in the genetic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 suggesting it’s been synthetically altered. It has the backbone of a bat coronavirus, combined with a pangolin receptor and “some sort of humanized mice transceptor.” “These things don’t naturally make sense,” Asher says, adding that experts around the world agree that the odds of this configuration occurring naturally is “very low.”

Another troubling indicator that something was amiss at the WIV was the Chinese government’s taking down of a WIV database in September 2019. According to the Chinese, this was done because of “thousands of hacking attempts.”

However, Asher points out many other databases were taken offline around the same time as well.3 The Chinese also tried to remove data posted in a European database containing viral sequencing from patients exhibiting COVID-19-related symptoms.

SARS-CoV-2, a Suspected Bioweapon Vector

Interestingly, the sequences posted in the European database included adenovirus, which is a vaccine vector. This, Asher says, could indicate that SARS-CoV-2 is part of a vaccine program.

Now, it doesn’t make sense to create a vaccine for just any virus that they happen to be working on. It is, however, consistent with a biological weapons program. Meaning, first a biological weapon is created, and then an antidote, such as a vaccine, is developed to defend your own population and your allies.

In an earlier article4 by The Sun, Asher is quoted saying the WIV “was operating a secret, classified program,” and that “In my view … it was a biological weapons program.” He stops short of accusing China of intentional release, however, which also would not make sense from a bioweapon point of view. Instead, he said he believes it was a weapon vector that, during development, “somehow leaked.”5

This falls in line with a March 27, 2020, assessment report by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, which stated that SARS-CoV-2 was likely an accidental release from an infectious diseases laboratory. According to Newsweek,6 “The classified report, titled ‘China: Origins of COVID-19 Outbreak Remain Unknown,’ ruled out that the disease was genetically engineered or released intentionally as a biological weapon.”

On March 8, 2021, Politico article,7 columnist Josh Rogin also pointed out that “just months into the pandemic, a large swath of the government already believed the virus had escaped from the WIV lab, rather than having leaped from an animal to a human …”

Hallmarks of Guilt

Asher also told Sky News8 he’s never seen a more systematic cover-up, and The Sun9 quotes him as saying that “Motive, cover-up, conspiracy, all the hallmarks of guilt are associated with this.”

Regardless of how the virus came about, Asher is unequivocal about China’s behavior resulting in a global pandemic, as they delayed border closings and even claimed the virus didn’t appear to spread from human to human, even though there were clear indications that it did. Indeed, people were secretly complaining about China’s lack of transparency from the earliest days of the pandemic. As reported by RTE:10

“China insists that it was transparent during the early outbreak, delivering ‘timely’ information to the WHO. Indeed, the WHO publicly praised China for its openness and cooperation. Yet behind the scenes, the Irishman leading the emergency response complained they weren’t getting the information or access they needed.

In leaked recordings obtained by Prime Time, Dr. Michael Ryan is heard comparing it to China’s cover-up during the SARS outbreak in 2003. ‘This is exactly the same scenario, endlessly trying to get updates from China about what was going on in Guangdong and then, bang,’ he said.

‘The WHO barely got out of that one with its neck intact given the issues that arose around transparency in southern China … We do need to shift gears here.

‘There’s been no evidence of human-to-human transmission’ is not good enough,’ Dr. Ryan is heard saying in the recordings … ‘We need to see the data, we need to be able to determine for ourselves the geographic distribution, the timeline, the epicurve and all of that,’ he said.”

Chinese Researchers Sought to Distance China From the Virus

In a March 22, 2021, article,11 The Sun also reported that emails from Dr. Shi Zhengli at WIV, obtained by U.S. Right to Know (USRTK) via freedom of information act requests, “shows how Chinese scientists fought to shift blame” for the pandemic away from China and Wuhan.

To distance themselves from the virus, they initially tried to get it renamed, as SARS-CoV-2 links it to the Chinese SARS outbreak of 2003. Shi suggested the virus be called TARS-CoV or HARS-CoV, to clearly differentiate it from the Chinese SARS outbreak.

They also feared the virus might become known as the “Wuhan coronavirus” or “Wuhan pneumonia.” The scientists’ effort to change the scientific name “shows their conscription into political processes,” Gary Ruskin, executive director of USRTK said, adding that “The power to name is the power to define.”

Congress Demands Information From the NIH

Other good news includes March 18, 2021, letter12 from the U.S. Congressional Committee on Energy and Commerce to the director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, requesting “information, assistance and needed-leadership” from the agency “to advance an independent scientific investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In the letter, they quote Stanford professor David Relman, who in a November 2020 commentary in the journal PNAS stated that:

“A more complete understanding of the origins of COVID-19 clearly serves the interests of every person in every country on this planet. It will limit further recriminations and diminish the likelihood of conflict; it will lead to more effective responses to this pandemic, as well as efforts to anticipate and prevent the next one.

It will also advance our discussions about risky science. And it will do something else: Delineating COVID-19’s origin story will help elucidate the nature of our very precarious coexistence within the biosphere.”

The Committee also stresses that while the WHO attempted to investigate the origins of the virus and had vowed to be guided by science and not exclude any hypothesis, they failed to live up to this promise, as China “did not provide complete access or independence” for the team.

Without conducting a thorough investigation, but rather relying on information provided by the Chinese, the team roundly dismissed the lab-origin theory and announced it would no longer be part of their investigation.

Within days, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus walked back the team’s outright dismissal saying “I want to clarify that all hypotheses remain open and require further study.”13 Perhaps he realized the WHO was about to make a public relations mistake so severe it would never recover.

China Cites ‘Privacy Laws’ to Avoid Crucial Data Sharing

In response to questions as to why China refused to share original patient data with the WHO’s investigative team, the Chinese head of the WHO joint team claims such data cannot be copied and shared due to patient privacy and data protection laws.14

As noted by OneShared.World founder Jamie Metzl in a Tweet,15 this sounds like a dubious justification considering the Chinese government is “forcibly extracting genetic samples from Uighurs [and] Tibetans,” a practice reported by The New York Times in June 2020.16 Besides, Metzl notes, “If anonymized data can be shared safely in democracies, it can be shared safely everywhere.”

WHO Investigation Was Tainted From the Start

Lastly, while not discussed in the Congressional Committee on Energy and Commerce’s letter, the WHO’s investigative team was also severely biased from the start, thanks to the inclusion of Peter Daszak, Ph.D., president of EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit organization focused on pandemic prevention that worked closely with bat coronavirus researchers at the WIV, including Shi.

Daszak was also found to have played a central role in the early plot to obscure the lab origin of SARS-CoV-2 by crafting a scientific statement condemning such inquiries as “conspiracy theory.”17,18 Mainstream media have been referring to and relying on this manufactured “consensus” statement ever since to “debunk” counternarratives.

Was US-Funded Research Used in Chinese Bioweapons Program?

The Committee on Energy and Commerce does raise the issue of the U.S. having potentially funded the research that resulted in SARS-CoV-2, and that the Chinese military may have been involved as well. According to letter,19 the U.S. government has “determined that the WIV has collaborated on projects with China’s military,” and “engaged in classified research … on behalf of the Chinese military since at least 2017.”

Disturbingly, since the NIH has funded gain-of-function research on coronaviruses at the WIV through grants to the EcoHealth Alliance, this could mean the U.S. actually funded research that ended up being used in a Chinese military bioweapons program.

“Accordingly, it is imperative to determine not only where SARS-CoV-2 originated, but also how and if NIH’s funding and research to projects at the WIV could have contributed to SARS CoV-2,” the letter states.20

The letter includes a long list of information requests, including:

  • All information the NIH has about laboratory accidents at the WIV since January 2015.
  • Any communication between NIH staff, grantees, subgrantees, contractors, and subcontractors with the China-based NIH, the Chinese National Science Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Chinese CDC, regarding events at the WIV between August 2019 and the present.
  • Whether the WIV invited researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston (UTMBG), as indicated in an April 2018 State Department cable, whether any UTMBG researchers ended up conducting research there, and any documents relating to that research.
  • All correspondence between the NIH and EcoHealth Alliance since January 1, 2020, related to funding involving the WIV.
  • The sources for its April 2020 communication with EcoHealth Alliance, in which the NIH stated it had “received reports” that the WIV “has been conducting research … that pose serious biosafety concerns.”

Scientists Also Call for Independent Investigation

Two dozen scientists and policy experts have also signed an open letter21 calling for an independent investigation into the virus’ origin,22 listings a number of flaws in the joint WHO-China inquiry, including the universal absence of evidence demonstrating a wholly natural origin of SARS-CoV-2. If the virus was truly natural, surely, we’d have some evidence of its evolution at this point, yet we have nothing.

In addition to the shortcomings of the WHO’s investigative commission, the letter also details what a full and independent investigation “should look like,” starting with the creation of a multidisciplinary team, whose members have “no unresolved conflicts of interest and no full or partial control by any specific agenda or country.”

They also recommend “considering all possible scenarios for each pathway,” and then following standard forensic approaches, which include securing full access to all relevant sites, records, logs, databases, and samples.

Gain-of-Function Research Must Be Banned

I firmly believe we need to ban gain-of-function research across the world. As noted by Marc Lipsitch in his 2018 review, “Why Do Exceptionally Dangerous Gain-of-Function Experiments in Influenza?”:23

“This is a question of intense debate … Experiments to create potential pandemic pathogens (PPPs) are nearly unique in that they present biosafety risks that extend well beyond the experimenter or laboratory performing them; an accidental release could, as the name suggests, lead to global spread of a virulent virus, a biosafety incident on a scale never before seen …

While there are indisputably certain questions that can be answered only by gain-of-function experiments in highly pathogenic strains, these questions are narrow and unlikely to meaningfully advance public health goals such as vaccine production and pandemic prediction.

Alternative approaches to experimental influenza virology and characterization of existing strains are in general completely safe, higher throughput, more generalizable, and less costly than creation of PPP in the laboratory and can thereby better inform public health. Indeed, virtually every finding of recent PPP experiments that has been cited for its public health value was predated by similar findings using safe methodologies.”

While the origin of SARS-CoV-2 remains to be conclusively proven, a paper24 published in Nature in 2015 discussed how a “lab-made coronavirus related to SARS” capable of infecting human cells had stirred up debate as to whether or not this kind of research is worth the risks:

“Although the extent of any risk is difficult to assess, Simon Wain-Hobson, a virologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, points out that the researchers have created a novel virus that ‘grows remarkably well’ in human cells. ‘If the virus escaped, nobody could predict the trajectory,’ he says.”

With 20/20 hindsight, we now have a much clearer idea of what the release of such a virus can do. We may chalk it up to luck that SARS-CoV-2 turned out to be orders of magnitude less lethal than initially suspected, although government containment measures have turned out to be devastating and deadly as well. If this kind of research is allowed to continue, the next time there’s a leak, we may not be nearly as lucky.




As Millions Face Eviction, Senate Proposes Nearly $700 Billion for Pentagon

US Pentagon Military
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

By John Vibes | The Mind Unleashed

As millions face eviction and line up at food banks throughout the country, waiting for another stimulus payment that will seemingly never come, the Senate Appropriations Committee is proposing a $696 billion Pentagon spending bill for the upcoming fiscal year.

According to The Hill, The Senate’s version of the fiscal 2021 Pentagon spending bill was released Tuesday along with 11 other annual appropriations bills.

Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have said they want to pass an omnibus spending bill, and they will likely agree on the military budget, as Democrats overwhelmingly vote in favor of military spending when they have the opportunity, just as Republicans do.

In July, the House passed a $694.6 billion bill for Pentagon spending in July. The Senate version released this week includes $627.2 billion for the base defense budget and $68.7 billion for a war fund known as the Overseas Contingency Operations account, and also includes a 3% pay raise for troops.

However, the final Senate version of the bill left out a few causes that were championed by progressive Democrats, including the renaming of military bases that are named after Confederate leaders, and measures that were intended to block defense funds from being used on the border wall.

The Senate’s bill would also fund 96 F-35 fighter jets, which is an increase over the original bill and over the administration’s initial request. In addition to the fighter jets, the bill also gives the Pentagon $21.35 billion to build nine new battle force ships.

Meanwhile, millions of Americans are unemployed and many are now starting to get evicted. According to the most recent numbers there are 6.8 million, and this only accounts for the people officially collecting unemployment, this does not include the number of people who are not qualified for unemployment, or people who have been out of the work force for an extended length of time. The unemployment rate dropped slightly over the past two months, but is still at record highs.

According to estimates by the Princeton University Eviction Lab, 3.6 million people face eviction cases in a typical year. This year, up to 8 million people could be facing eviction, according to a tracking tool developed by the global advisory firm Stout Risius and Ross, which works with the nonprofit National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel.

It is also estimated that up to $32 billion in back rent will be due for tenants across the US once bans on evictions are lifted. Despite bans on evictions, many landlords in the US are still kicking people out of their homes, and in some cases, they have even challenged the eviction bans in court.

The people who are struggling financially in the US can’t count on much help from the government. Even the prospects of a new stimulus check are uncertain, and a payment will not be coming until next year at the very earliest, if it comes at all. Yet, the Pentagon is still able to claim nearly $700 billion in taxpayer money.

About The Author

John Vibes is an author, researcher, and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war.

 

 




Microchips, Nanotechnology and Implanted Biosensors: The New Normal?

nanotechnology

[Image courtesy of @alipazani | Pexels.com ]

By Pam Long | Children’s Health Defense

U.S. military personnel will be the first subjects in nanotechnology trials in the pursuit of optimizing health and early detection of disease outbreaks. Profusa has research contracts for bio-integrated sensors with the U.S. Department of Defense and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), pending U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in early 2021.

Health technology undermines freedom and privacy

Profusa’s promotional video shows how the bio-integrated sensor enables a soldier to be tracked by remote computers using GPS in addition to monitoring real-time biomarkers, such as oxygen levels and heart rate. While this biotechnology is portrayed as potentially lifesaving to a soldier on the battlefield, the implications of GPS tracking individuals is a terrifying step towards a surveillance state in the general population. Furthermore, tracking people in stages of sickness can only result in medical tyranny in the hands of any government. The Profusa influenza study requires patients to wear the wearable version of the reader 24 hours a day, with continuous biomarker information collection into a database, and aims to detect four stages of infection: healthy, infected, asymptomatic and recovery stage. These unreliable detection stages could become the criteria for different levels of individual participation in society as experienced in the unsustainable COVID-19 state-level lockdowns for the masses.

Can it be reversed? Can it be refused?

This Profusa nanotechnology has three components: an inserted sensor called hydrogel, a light-emitting fluorescent sensor reader on the surface of the skin and an electronic software component that transmits to an online database. The SARS-CoV-2 vaccine plans to incorporate this technology and there is no information on how the technology could be removed, if at all. “Tiny biosensors that become one with the body” could imply a lifetime commitment.

The nanotechnology research at DARPA is very controversial and aims to create “super soldiers” with artificial intelligence that gives enhanced capabilities to humans such as heightened senses, tenfold vision and extraordinary strength. According to a statement from DARPA, the program, known as the Neural Engineering System Design, “aims to develop an implantable neural interface able to provide advanced signal resolution and data-transfer bandwidth between the brain and electronics.” Would these “super powers” and any side effects be permanent or life-limiting? The webpage of DARPA’s program notes that “the most effective, state-of-the-art neural interfaces require surgery to implant electrodes into the brain.”

Is it ethical to require a soldier to implant nanotechnology as mission essential or for force protection? Can military personnel refuse nanotechnology embedded in a vaccine mandate or health order from the chain of command? Informed and uncoerced consent is the foundation of medical ethics.

Vaccines: the trojan horse for worldwide adoption of nanotechnology?

The Institute for Soldiers Nanotechnologies at MIT and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases are researching the use of nanotechnology based adjuvants in new vaccines for the military against malaria, tuberculosis, HIV and Ebola.

According to this document, “Project 1.6 proposes to develop two platform technologies that safely and efficiently promote immune responses in the vaccination and therapeutic settings: lymph node targeting amphiphile-adjuvants and immune-targeting amphiphilic ligand-coated metal nanoparticles. These two approaches are ideally suited to targeting adjuvant compounds to lymphoid tissues and immunomodulators to immune cells during infection, respectively.”

In addition to the concerns of experimental vaccines for military personnel, civilians will likely follow in vaccine mandates with nanotechnology. Tracking individual location and personal metabolic data is far too much power for any government or health department. And moreover, if the technology can send biochemistry signals from the person to the government, then likely the technology has capability to also send biochemistry altering signals from the government to the person. What are the limitations and safeguards for the government’s remote ability to affect or control a person’s thoughts, emotions and vital functioning? Nanotechnology could give data-based omnipotence to the controllers and create an oppressive world of governance in the guise of public health.

What you can do? Become more empowered to advocate for your health by registering for the Protecting Health and Autonomy in the 21st Century online conference Oct. 16-18 with 40 speakers, including Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

© [October 1, 2020] Children’s Health Defense, Inc. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of Children’s Health Defense, Inc. Want to learn more from Children’s Health Defense? Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. Your donation will help to support us in our efforts.




Report Finds So-Called US War on Terror Has Displaced as Many as 59 Million People

AZEZ, SYRIA – MAY 19: Refugee camp for Syrian people on May 19, 2019, in Azez, Syria.

By Jake Johnson | Common Dreams

The ongoing U.S. “war on terror” has forcibly displaced as many as 59 million people from just eight countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia since 2001, according to a new report published Tuesday by Brown University’s Costs of War Project.

“U.S. involvement in these countries has been horrifically catastrophic, horrifically damaging in ways that I don’t think that most people in the United States have grappled with or reckoned within even the slightest terms.”
—David Vine, American University

Titled “Creating Refugees: Displacement Caused by the United States’ Post-9/11 Wars” (pdf), the new report conservatively estimates that at least 37 million people have “fled their homes in the eight most violent wars the U.S. military has launched or participated in since 2001.”

The latest figure represents a dramatic increase from the Costs of War Project’s 2019 report, which estimated that 21 million people had been displaced internally or forced to flee their home countries due to violence inflicted or unleashed by U.S.-led wars over the past two decades. That report also put the death toll of the so-called war on terror at 801,000 and the price tag at $6.4 trillion.

The new report argues that “wartime displacement (alongside war deaths and injuries) must be central to any analysis of the post-9/11 wars and their short- and long-term consequences.”

“Displacement also must be central to any possible consideration of the future use of military force by the United States or others,” the report states. “Ultimately, displacing 37 million—and perhaps as many as 59 million—raises the question of who bears responsibility for repairing the damage inflicted on those displaced.”

In addition to the tens of millions displaced by U.S. military actions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya, and Syria, the report notes that millions more have been displaced by “smaller combat operations, including in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Niger, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia.”

“To put these figures in perspective, displacing 37 million people is equivalent to removing nearly all the residents of the state of California or all the people in Texas and Virginia combined,” the report says. “The figure is almost as large as the population of Canada. In historical terms, 37 million displaced is more than those displaced by any other war or disaster since at least the start of the 20th century with the sole exception of World War II.”

David Vine, professor of anthropology at American University and the lead author of the new report, told the New York Times that the findings show “U.S. involvement in these countries has been horrifically catastrophic, horrifically damaging in ways that I don’t think that most people in the United States, in many ways myself included, have grappled with or reckoned within even the slightest terms.”

Matt Duss, the foreign policy adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), demanded such a reckoning in a tweet responding to the Costs of War Project’s latest findings.

“The scale of the disaster the United States has inflicted on the world—through three war on terror presidencies—is staggering,” wrote Duss. “We need a reckoning. We can’t simply move on.”

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share it widely.

RELATED ARTICLE: 

9/11 MUST SEE: “I can prove that it was NOT an airplane” that Hit the Pentagon – Major General Albert N. Stubblebine




ANTIFA – Infiltrated and Exposed From Within

By James O’Keefe |  Nexus Newsfeed

Project Veritas has been investigating a Big Tech giant for months.

However, in light of the facts facing our country, we are postponing our Big Tech release temporarily to expose the domestic terrorist organization known as antifa.

A Veritas journalist infiltrated and recorded Antifa members.

After going through a detailed approval process to be accepted into the secretive radical group, our journalist recorded Antifa members describing just how violent they are.

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump announced he is designating Antifa as a terrorist organization.

Following the president’s tweet, Attorney General William Barr said: “The violence instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly.”

A few statements made by radical Antifa members to our undercover journalist in their secretive meetings illustrate the group’s willingness and desire to engage in violent activity:

Nicholas Cifuni, Antifa Member: “Practice things like an eye gouge, it takes very little pressure to injure someone’s eyes.”

Nicholas Cifuni, Antifa Member: “Police are going to be like: ‘Perfect, we can prosecute these [Antifa] f**kers, look how violent they are.’ And not that we [Antifa] aren’t, but we need to f**king hide that sh*t.”

Nicholas Cifuni, Antifa Member: “Consider like, destroying your enemy. Not like delivering a really awesome right hand, right eye, left eye blow you know. It’s not boxing, it’s not kickboxing, it’s like destroying your enemy.”

Ashes, Antifa Member: “The whole goal of this, right, is to get out there and do dangerous things as safely as possible.”

Antifa is an organized and well-funded group that is attempting to sow chaos in American cities. As patriotic citizen journalists, we must expose them for who they really are.

While these events continue to unfold in our cities, Project Veritas will push forward with investigations into these radical fringe groups across our country, and we will expose the chaos they intend to unleash.

[Read more here]

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield, Massachusetts and New England (USA) & “virtually” the world. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.




This Is Not a Revolution. It’s a Blueprint for Locking Down the Nation

George Floyd protests in Washington DC, Lafayette Square. (Image source: commons.wikimedia.org)

By John W. Whitehead | The Rutherford Institute

“When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game. The establishment will irritate you—pull your beard, flick your face—to make you fight. Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you.”—John Lennon

Brace yourselves.

There is something being concocted in the dens of power, far beyond the public eye, and it doesn’t bode well for the future of this country.

Anytime you have an entire nation so mesmerized by political theater and public spectacle that they are oblivious to all else, you’d better beware.

Anytime you have a government that operates in the shadows, speaks in a language of force, and rules by fiat, you’d better beware.

And anytime you have a government so far removed from its people as to ensure that they are never seen, heard or heeded by those elected to represent them, you’d better beware.

What is unfolding before us is not a revolution.

The looting, the burning, the rioting, the violence: this is an anti-revolution.

The protesters are playing right into the government’s hands because the powers-that-be want this. They want an excuse to lockdown the nation and throw the switch to all-out martial law. They want a reason to make the police state stronger.

It’s happening faster than we can keep up.

The Justice Department is deploying federal prison riot teams to various cities. More than half of the nation’s governors are calling on the National Guard to quell civil unrest. Growing numbers of cities, having just barely emerged from a coronavirus lockdown, are once again being locked down, this time in response to the growing upheaval.

This is how it begins.

It’s that dystopian 2030 Pentagon training video all over again, which anticipates the need for the government to institute martial law (use armed forces to solve domestic political and social problems) in order to navigate a world bedeviled by “criminal networks,” “substandard infrastructure,” “religious and ethnic tensions,” “impoverishment, slums,” “open landfills, over-burdened sewers,” a “growing mass of unemployed,” and an urban landscape in which the prosperous economic elite must be protected from the impoverishment of the have nots.

We’re way ahead of schedule.

The architects of the police state have us exactly where they want us: under their stamping boot, gasping for breath, desperate for freedom, grappling for some semblance of a future that does not resemble the totalitarian prison being erected around us.

This way lies certain tyranny.

For just one fleeting moment, “we the people” seemed united in our outrage over this latest killing of an unarmed man by a cop hyped up on his own authority and the power of his uniform.

That unity didn’t last.

Indeed, it didn’t take long—no surprise there—for us to quickly become divided again, polarized by the misguided fury and senseless violence of mobs taking to the streets, reeking of madness and mayhem.

Deliberately or not, the rioters have directed our attention away from the government’s crimes and onto their own.

This is a distraction.

Don’t allow yourself to be so distracted.

Let’s not lose sight of what started all of this in the first place: the U.S. government.

More than terrorism, more than domestic extremism, more than gun violence and organized crime, the systemic violence being perpetrated by agents of the government constitutes a greater menace to the life, liberty, and property of its citizens than any of the so-called dangers from which the government claims to protect us.

Case in point: George Floyd died at the hands of the American police state.

The callous, cold-blooded murder of the unarmed, 46-year-old black man by police is nothing new: for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, police knelt on Floyd’s neck while the man pleaded for his life, struggled to breathe, cried out for his dead mother, and finally passed out and died.

Floyd is yet another victim of a broken system of policing that has placed “we the people” at the mercy of militarized cops who have almost absolute discretion to decide who is a threat, what constitutes resistance, and how harshly they can deal with the citizens they were appointed to “serve and protect.”

Daily, Americans are being shot, stripped, searched, choked, beaten and tasered by police for little more than daring to frown, smile, question, challenge an order, or just exist.

I’m talking about the growing numbers of unarmed people are who is shot and killed for just standing a certain way, or moving a certain way, or holding something—anything—that police could misinterpret to be a gun or igniting some trigger-centric fear in a police officer’s mind that has nothing to do with an actual threat to their safety.

Killed by police for standing in a “shooting stance.” Killed for holding a cell phone. Killed for holding a baseball bat. Killed for opening the front door. Killed for being a child in a car pursued by police. Killed for approaching police while holding a metal spoon. Killed for running in an aggressive manner while holding a tree branch. Killed for crawling around naked. Killed for hunching over in a defensive posture. Killed because a police officer accidentally fired his gun instead of his taser. Killed for wearing dark pants and a basketball jersey. Killed for reaching for his license and registration during a traffic stop. Killed for driving while deaf. Killed for being homeless. Killed for brandishing a shoehorn. Killed for peeing outdoors. Killed for having his car break down on the road. Killed for holding a garden hose.

Now you can make all kinds of excuses to justify these shootings, and in fact, that’s exactly what you’ll hear from politicians, police unions, law enforcement officials, and individuals who are more than happy to march in lockstep with the police. However, as these incidents make clear, the only truly compliant, submissive, and obedient citizen in a police state is a dead one.

Sad, isn’t it, how quickly we have gone from a nation of laws—where the least among us had just as much right to be treated with dignity and respect as the next person (in principle, at least)—to a nation of law enforcers (revenue collectors with weapons) who treat us all like suspects and criminals?

This is not how you keep the peace.

This is not justice. This is not even law and order.

This is certainly not freedom. This is the illusion of freedom.

Unfortunately, we are now being ruled by a government of psychopaths, scoundrels, spies, thugs, thieves, gangsters, ruffians, rapists, extortionists, bounty hunters, battle-ready warriors and cold-blooded killers who communicate using a language of force and oppression.

The facts speak for themselves.

We’re being ravaged by a government of ruffians, rapists, and killers. It’s not just the police shootings of unarmed citizens that are worrisome. It’s the SWAT team raids gone wrong that are leaving innocent citizens wounded, children terrorized and family pets killed. It’s the roadside strip searches—in some cases, cavity searches of men and women alike carried out in full view of the public—in pursuit of drugs that are never found. It’s the potentially lethal—and unwarranted—use of so-called “nonlethal” weapons such as tasers on children for “mouthing off to a police officer. For trying to run from the principal’s office. For, at the age of 12, getting into a fight with another girl.”

We’re being held at gunpoint by a government of soldiers—a standing army. While Americans are being made to jump through an increasing number of hoops in order to exercise their Second Amendment right to own a gun, the government is arming its own civilian employees to the hilt with guns, ammunition and military-style equipment, authorizing them to make arrests, and training them in military tactics. Among the agencies being supplied with night-vision equipment, body armor, hollow-point bullets, shotguns, drones, assault rifles, and LP gas cannons are the Smithsonian, U.S. Mint, Health and Human Services, IRS, FDA, Small Business Administration, Social Security Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Education Department, Energy Department, Bureau of Engraving and Printing and an assortment of public universities. There are now reportedly more bureaucratic (non-military) government civilians armed with high-tech, deadly weapons than U.S. Marines. That doesn’t even begin to touch on the government’s arsenal, the transformation of local police into extensions of the military, and the speed with which the nation could be locked down under martial law depending on the circumstances. Clearly, the government is preparing for war—and civil war, at that—and “we the people” are the perceived enemy.

We’re being taken advantage of by a government of scoundrels, idiots, and cowards. American satirist H.L. Mencken calculated that “Congress consists of one-third, more or less, scoundrels; two-thirds, more or less, idiots; and three-thirds, more or less, poltroons.” By and large, Americans seem to agree. When you’ve got government representatives who spend a large chunk of their work hours fundraising, being feted by lobbyists, shuffling through a lucrative revolving door between public service and lobbying, and making themselves available to anyone with enough money to secure access to a congressional office, you’re in the clutches of a corrupt oligarchy. Mind you, these same elected officials rarely read the legislation they’re enacting, nor do they seem capable of enacting much legislation that actually helps rather than hinders the plight of the American citizen.

We’re being locked up by a government of greedy jailers. We have become a carceral state, spending three times more on our prisons than on our schools and imprisoning close to a quarter of the world’s prisoners, despite the fact that crime is at an all-time low and the U.S. makes up only 5% of the world’s population. The rise of overcriminalization and profit-driven private prisons provides even greater incentives for locking up American citizens for such non-violent “crimes” as having an overgrown lawn.  As the Boston Review points out, “America’s contemporary system of policing, courts, imprisonment, and parole … makes money through asset forfeiture, lucrative public contracts from private service providers, and by directly extracting revenue and unpaid labor from populations of color and the poor. In states and municipalities throughout the country, the criminal justice system defrays costs by forcing prisoners and their families to pay for punishment. It also allows private service providers to charge outrageous fees for everyday needs such as telephone calls. As a result, people facing even minor criminal charges can easily find themselves trapped in a self-perpetuating cycle of debt, criminalization, and incarceration.”

We’re being spied on by a government of Peeping Toms. The government, aided by its corporate allies, is watching everything you do, reading everything you write, listening to everything you say, and monitoring everything you spend. Omnipresent surveillance is paving the way for government programs that profile citizens, document their behavior, and attempt to predict what they might do in the future, whether it’s what they might buy, what politician they might support, or what kinds of crimes they might commit. The impact of this far-reaching surveillance, according to Psychology Today, is “reduced trust, increased conformity, and even diminished civic participation.” As technology analyst Jillian C. York concludes, “Mass surveillance without due process—whether undertaken by the government of Bahrain, Russia, the US, or anywhere in between—threatens to stifle and smother that dissent, leaving in its wake a populace cowed by fear.”

We’re being forced to surrender our freedoms—and those of our children—to a government of extortionists, money launderers, and professional pirates. The American people have been repeatedly selling a bill of goods about how the government needs more money, more expansive powers, and more secrecy (secret courts, secret budgets, secret military campaigns, secret surveillance) in order to keep us safe. Under the guise of fighting its wars on terror, drugs, domestic extremism, pandemics, and civil unrest, the government has spent billions in taxpayer dollars on endless wars that have sown the seeds of blowback, surveillance programs that have subjected all Americans to a surveillance society, and militarized police that has turned communities into warzones.

We’re being robbed blind by a government of thieves. Americans no longer have any real protection against government agents empowered to seize private property at will. For instance, police agencies under the guise of asset forfeiture laws are taking property based on little more than a suspicion of criminal activity.

And we’re being forced to live in a perpetual state of emergency. From 9/11 through the COVID-19 lockdowns and now the threat of martial law in the face of growing civil unrest, we have witnessed the rise of an “emergency state” that justifies all manner of government tyranny and power grabs in the so-called name of national security.

Whatever else it may be—a danger, a menace, a threat—the U.S. government is certainly not looking out for our best interests, nor is it in any way a friend to freedom.

When the government views itself as superior to the citizenry when it no longer operates for the benefit of the people when the people are no longer able to peacefully reform their government when government officials cease to act as public servants when elected officials no longer represent the will of the people, when the government routinely violates the rights of the people and perpetrates more violence against the citizenry than the criminal class, when government spending is unaccountable and unaccounted for, when the judiciary act as courts of order rather than justice, and when the government is no longer bound by the laws of the Constitution, then you no longer have a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

What we have is a government of wolves.

Our backs are against the proverbial wall.

The government and its cohorts have conspired to ensure that the only real recourse the American people have to express their displeasure with the government is through voting, which is no real recourse at all.

The penalties for civil disobedience, whistleblowing, and rebellion are severe. If you refuse to pay taxes for government programs you believe to be immoral or illegal, you will go to jail. If you attempt to overthrow the government—or any agency thereof—because you believe it has overstepped its reach, you will go to jail. If you attempt to blow the whistle on government misconduct, there’s a pretty good chance you will go to jail.

For too long, the American people have obeyed the government’s dictates, no matter how extreme. We have paid its taxes, penalties, and fines, no matter how outrageous. We have tolerated its indignities, insults, and abuses, no matter how egregious. We have turned a blind eye to its indiscretions and incompetence, no matter how imprudent. We have held our silence in the face of its lawlessness, licentiousness, and corruption, no matter how illicit.

We have suffered.

How long we will continue to suffer depends on how much we’re willing to give up for the sake of freedom.

America’s founders provided us with a very specific explanation about the purpose of government and a roadmap for what to do when the government abuses its authority, ignores our objections, and establishes itself as a tyrant.

We must choose between peaceful slavery (in other words, maintaining the status quo in servitude to the police state) and dangerous freedom. That will mean carving out a path in which we begin to take ownership of our government, starting at the local level, challenging the status quo, and raising hell—nonviolently—whenever a government official steps out of line.

We can no longer maintain the illusion of freedom.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we are at our most vulnerable right now.

WC: 2624

ABOUT JOHN W. WHITEHEAD

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People  is available at www.amazon.com. Whitehead can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org.

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As Global Military Spending Hits Nearly $2 Trillion, These Weapons Are Useless Against Biggest Threats We Face

The U.S. military cannot fight a pandemic. It is not a war, it’s a public health crisis. And this isn’t the only threat that has a global scope. Our federal budget priorities need to reflect that reality by investing in the agencies and programs that can actually help keep us healthy and safe. (Photo: ACLU) 

By Tori Bateman | Common Dreams

The priorities of entire generations are often shaped by the monumental events of their childhoods. For me, that event was 9/11 and the resulting national obsession with the “War on Terror.” For my younger brother, that experience will likely be a global pandemic.

In many ways, the misguided priorities that arose after 9/11—which led to a dramatic increase in already astronomically high military spending—set the stage for the U.S.’s devastatingly inadequate response to the virus that shapes the experiences of this generation.

Rather than preparing for public health crises like COVID-19, governments around the world spent a combined $1.917 trillion on weapons, maintaining their militaries, and fighting wars in 2019.

This new data, released this week by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, highlights the devastating scale of misspent global resources. The United States leads the pack – our military spending accounted for over 38% of the total.

Congress only invested about 1.5% of what they spend on preparing for war on preparing for public health crises like COVID-19.

Compare those military spending numbers to the World Health Organization’s revenue in 2018/2019, which comes in at only $5.6 billion.

Our national health agencies aren’t faring any better than the global ones. In 2020, the Pentagon was given over $738 billion by Congress. In comparison, programs for “Public Health, Prevention, Surveillance, and Preparedness received 10.8 billion. This means that Congress only invested about 1.5% of what they spend on preparing for war on preparing for public health crises like COVID-19.

In our new pandemic reality, pleas for resources, funding, and infrastructure from hospitals and healthcare workers have become ubiquitous. Our health system was already desperately underfunded. Rural hospitals are closing at accelerating rates, and over the last decade, the public health workforce has shrunk by about 56,000 positions. Now, more than 55 thousand people in the U.S. have died from the virus, many because they lacked access to adequate health care.

The U.S. military cannot fight a pandemic. It is not a war, it’s a public health crisis. And this isn’t the only threat that has a global scope. Our federal budget priorities need to reflect that reality by investing in the agencies and programs that can actually help keep us healthy and safe.

The costs of U.S. and global military spending aren’t only economic. The human and environmental costs are staggering, too. According to the Costs of War Project, the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Pakistan have directly killed at least 800,000 people. Millions more have been wounded or displaced due to violent conflict. And since 9/11, the Pentagon has emitted over 1.2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, contributing to climate change and exacerbating one of the largest threats to humanity.

The pandemic has taught us a lot about the possibilities for a post-COVID world. People and governments have come together to respond to the common threat, sharing resources, knowledge, and action plans. Climate change, poverty, diseases, and injustice all require the global community to come together in creative ways to care for one another and create a better world.

Investment in people—including public health and global cooperation—is infinitely more important than propping up the military-industrial complex. It’s time for the global community to come together in the realization that weapons don’t make us safer. Investment in people—including public health and global cooperation—is infinitely more important than propping up the military-industrial complex.

Fortunately, advocacy and community groups across the world are already mobilizing for change. Even during a time of social distancing, people are finding ways to come together and demand better from our governments.

As the leading military spender, the U.S. has an important leadership role to play in transitioning the world away from military spending and towards spending public funds on things that actually build more resilient communities.

If we’re successful, the next generation will get to experience well-funded public health systems, peaceful societies, and the many benefits that come along with investing in people rather than the Pentagon.

Tori Bateman is the Policy Advocacy Coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share it widely.




UN Chief Calls for Global Ceasefire Amid “Absolutely Devastating” Pandemic

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

(TMU) — The head of the United Nations has issued a passionate appeal for a global ceasefire to take effect across the world that would give authorities and medical professionals alike the ability to focus exclusively on defeating the coronavirus pandemic.

In the appeal issued on Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres demanded that the global truce be adopted for the sake of defeating the threat of CoViD-19 to all of humankind and especially the vulnerable—women and children, the disabled, marginalized, displaced and refugees.

In his address, which was delivered to reporters via live video feed in consideration of social distancing guidelines, Guterres said:

“The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war.

That is why today, I am calling for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world. It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives.” 

The comments come as Syria reported its very first confirmed case of CoViD-19, signaling an ugly turn for a country already ripped apart after a decade of war, while other cases continue to emerge in military flashpoints like Afghanistan, the Gaza Strip, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The U.N. chief stressed that the coronavirus doesn’t discriminate on a basis of “nationality or ethnicity, faction or faith.” Instead, “it attacks all, relentlessly.” However, the most vulnerable—those in war zones—would likely face “devastating losses” from the disease due to being caught between a war and a devastating pandemic.

Additionally, those health systems in countries devastated by war have already been either destroyed or reached the verge of total collapse, ensuring that those health workers brave enough to venture into the field are often placed directly in the line of fire or into the crosshairs of warring parties.

Addressing warfighters across the globe, Guterres said:

“Pull back from hostilities. Put aside mistrust and animosity. Silence the guns; stop the artillery; end the airstrikes.

This is crucial… To help create corridors for life-saving aid. To open precious windows for diplomacy. To bring hope to places among the most vulnerable to COVID-19.”

Continuing, he stressed:

“End the sickness of war and fight the disease that is ravaging our world. It starts by stopping the fighting everywhere. Now. That is what our human family needs, now more than ever.

… If the fighting goes on, we might have an absolutely devastating spreading of the epidemic.”

The U.N. secretary-general has been calling for a global response to the pandemic which he has said places the lives of “millions at risk.” The United Nations will soon unveil a detailed humanitarian relief plan that would be worldwide in scope.

During a question-and-answer session with reporters at the “virtual” press conference, Guterres expressed that he felt “strongly determined” to make the most of the U.N.’s mandate despite the organization’s existing duties in the humanitarian, peacekeeping, diplomatic, cultural, and other fields.

He explained:

“It’s a moment in which the U.N. must be able to address the peoples of the world and appeal for a massive mobilization and for a massive pressure on governments to make sure that we are able to respond to this crisis, not to mitigate it but to suppress it, to suppress the disease and to address the dramatic economic and social impacts of the disease.

And we can only do it if we do it together, if we do in a coordinated way, if we do it with intense solidarity and cooperation, and that is the raison d’etre of the United Nations itself.”