To ask whether the United States, the world’s dominant military power, is ‘a failing state’ should cause worldwide anxiety. Such a state, analogous to a wounded animal, is a global menace of unprecedented proportions in the nuclear age. Its political leadership is exhibiting a reckless tendency of combining incompetence with extremism. It is also crucial to ascertain at what point a failing state should be written off as ‘a failed state’ for which there is no longer a clear path to redemption. The November elections in the United States will send a strong signal as to whether the United States is failing or has failed.
Even raising these issues suggests how far the United States has fallen during the Trump years, despite already being in sharp decline internationally ever since the Vietnam War, and continuing, despite a few redemptive moves (now renounced), during the Obama presidency. The responses of the Trump presidency to the two great crises of 2020 were helpful in solidifying the image of the world’s #1 state as truly failing, and not just sour grapes taking the form of an expression of partisan frustration with an appalling leadership. It was appalling because it was affirming the most regressive features of the American past while unconvincingly claiming credit for the stock market rise and low unemployment. The COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter campaign against systemic racism gave Trump the opportunity to exhibit his lethally systemic incompetence as a crisis manager producing thousands of deaths among his own countrymen. He also seized the occasion to show the world his seemingly genuine racist solidarity with the Confederate spirit of the American South that tried to split the country and preserve its barbaric slave economy and supportive culture in the American Civil War 150 years ago, and has been a sore loser ever since.
With these clarifying developments, it no longer captures the full reality of this downward trend to be with content by calling attention to America’s ‘imperial decline.’ In the present setting, it seems more relevant to insist on describing America as ‘a failing state,’ and try to understand what that means for the country and the world. To make the contention more precise, it is instructive to realize that the United States is not only a failing state, but the first instance ever of a failing global state, which takes due account of its multi-dimensional hegemonic status as concretized by the planetary projection of its military might to air, land, and sea, to space and cyber space, as well as by its influence on the operation of the world economy and the character of popular culture whether expressed by music or cuisine.
There are several measures of a failing state that cast light on the American reality:
functional failures: inability to respond adequately to challenges threatening the security of the society and its population against threats posed by internal and external hostile political actors, as well as by ecological instabilities, by widespread extreme poverty and hunger, and by a deficient health and disaster response system;
normative failures: refusal to abide by systemic rules internationally as embedded in international law and the UN Charter, claiming impunity and acting on the basis of double standards to carry out its geopolitical encroachments on the wellbeing of others and its disregard of ecological dangers; patterns of normative failures include endorsements of policies and practices giving rise to genocide and ecocide, constituting the most basic violations of international criminal law and the sovereign rights of foreign countries; the wrongs are too numerous to delimit, including severe and systemic denials of human rights in domestic governance; economic and social structures that inevitably generate acute socio-economic inequalities on the basis of class, race, and gender.
Some additional considerations accentuate the failing state reality of the U.S. due to the extensive extraterritorial dimensions that accompany the process of becoming ‘a failing global state.’ This new type of transnational political creature should be categorized as the first historical example of a ‘geopolitical superpower.’ Such a political actor is neither separate from nor entirely subject to the state-centric system of world order that evolved from the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, and became universalized in the decades following World War II. Although lacking a true antecedent, the role of European ‘great powers’ or ‘colonial empires’ give clues as to the evaluation of the U.S. as a global state or geopolitical superpower;
effectiveness: the loss of effectiveness by a failing state is disclosed by its inability to maintain and exert control over challenges to its supremacy. Such an assessment if vindicated by failed military operations (regime-changing interventions) and the inability to learn from and overcome past mistakes, disclosures of vulnerability to homeland security (9/11 attacks) and overly costly and destructive responses (9/12 launching of ‘war on terror’; declining respect and trust by secondary political actors, including close allies, in the context of global policy forming arenas, including the United Nations; as a further reflection of this failing dynamic of lost control is the pattern of withdrawal from arenas that can no longer be controlled (Human Rights Council, WHO) and the rejection of agreements that appear beneficial to the world as a whole (Paris Climate Change Agreement and Iran Nuclear Program Agreement-JCPOA;
legitimacy: the legitimacy of a global state, which by its nature potentially compromises the political sovereignty and independence of all other states, reflects above all else, on its usefulness as a source of problem-solving authority, especially in war/peace and global economic recession settings; the degree of legitimacy also depends on perceptions by political elites and public opinion that the assertions of global leadership are in general beneficial for the system as a whole, and as particularly helpful to states that are vulnerable due to acute security and development challenges; in this regard, the U.S. enjoyed a high degree of legitimacy after the end of World War II, as a source of security, and even guidance, for many governments in most regions of the world throughout the Cold War, and was also appreciated as the architect of a rule-governed liberal economic order operating with the framework of the Bretton Woods institutions charged with avoiding recurrences of the Great Depression that undermined stability and economic wellbeing during the 1930s, developments that then contributed to the rise of fascism and the outbreak of a systemic war costing upwards of 50 million lives. The American leadership role was also prominent in achieving global public order in such settings as the management of the oceans, avoiding conflict in Antarctica and Outer Space, establishing international human rights standards, and promoting liberal internationalism as a way to enhance global cooperative approaches to shared problems.
As suggested, the United States as a failing state has been graphically revealed as such by its response to the COVID-19 pandemic: refusal to heed early warnings; unacceptable shortages of equipment for health personnel and insufficient hospital capacity; premature economic openings of restaurants, bars, stores; contradictory standards of guidance from health experts and from political leaders, including falsehoods and fake news embraced by the American president in the midst of the health emergency. Beyond this, Trump adopted an inappropriate nationalist and commodifying approach to the search for a vaccine capable of conferring immunity from the disease, while at the same time immobilizing the UN, and especially the WHO, as an indispensable venue for dealing with epidemics of global scope, including its role in dispensing vital assistance to the most disadvantaged countries. These failings have shockingly resulted in the United States recording more infected persons than any country in the world, as well as having the highest incidence of fatalities attributable to the disease.
In contrast, has been the responses of several far less developed and affluent countries that effectively contained the disease without incurring much loss of life or severe economic damage by way of lost jobs and diminished economic performance. Judged from the perspective of health such societies are success stories, and instructively, their ideological identity spans the political spectrum, including state socialist Vietnam to market-driven countries such as Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. Such results parallel the finding of Deepak Nayyar who reports in his breakthrough book, The Asian Resurgence (2019), that the remarkable growth experience of the 14 Asian societies that he empirically assesses, supports the conclusion that ideological orientation is not an economistic indicator of success or failure. Such findings are relevant in refuting the triumphalist claims of the West that the Soviet collapse demonstrated the superiority of capitalism as compared to socialism. The crucial factor when it comes to economistic success is the skilled management of state/society relations whether in relation to investment of savings in prioritizing development projects or seeking to impose a lockdown to curtail the spread of a deadly infectious disease.
Yet, there is a normative side of response patterns as suggested above. China treats the desperate search for a workable vaccine as a sharable public good, while the United States under Trump maintains its standard transactional approach despite issues of affordability for many countries in the South, as well as the poor in the North. From a 21stcentury perspective, the ethos of being all in this together is the only foundation for grappling with the increasingly challenging dilemmas of world order. It is a sign of a failing state, whatever its capabilities and status, to use its leverage to gain national and geopolitical advantages. Along this line, as well, is the normative disgrace of refusing to suspend unilateral sanctions imposed on countries such as Iran and Venezuala, already stressed, for at least the duration of the pandemic in response to widespread humanitarian appeals from civil society actors and international institutions.
A final observation as to whether the U.S. vector points toward a failed or redemptive future. If Trump loses the election and gives up the White House to his opponent the prospects for reversing the failing trend improve, while if Trump is reelected in November or succeeds in cancelling the electoral outcome then the U.S, will have moved closer to being a failed state as the citizenry would have endorsed failure or the constitutional order shown to be enfeebled, insufficiently resilient to reject failure. Even if Trump is replaced and Trumpism subsides, the momentum behind predatory capitalism and global militarism will be difficult to curtail without a revolutionary push that rejects the bipartisan consensus on such matters and challenges the sufficiency of procedural democracy centered upon the role of political parties and elections. Only a progressive movement from below will shatter that consensus, ending laments about the U.S. being in transition from failing to failed. Whether the BLM leadership of a movement alternative is robust and comprehensive enough to end American freefall will become clearer in coming months.
Last August, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Zarif, paid a visit to his China counterpart, Wang Li, to present a roadmap on a comprehensive 25-year China-Iran strategic partnership that built upon a previous agreement signed in 2016. Many of the key specifics of the updated agreement were not released to the public at the time but were uncovered by OilPrice.com at the time. Last week, at a meeting in Gilan province, former Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad alluded to some of the secret parts of this deal in public for the first time, stating that:
“It is not valid to enter into a secret agreement with foreign parties without considering the will of the Iranian nation and against the interests of the country and the nation, and the Iranian nation will not recognize it.”
According to the same senior sources closely connected to Iran’s Petroleum Ministry who originally outlined the secret element of the 25-year deal, not only is the secret element of that deal going ahead but China has also added in a new military element, with enormous global security implications.
One of the secret elements of the deal signed last year is that China will invest US$280 billion in developing Iran’s oil, gas, and petrochemicals sectors. This amount will be front-loaded into the first five-year period of the new 25-year deal, and the understanding is that further amounts will be available in each subsequent five year period, provided that both parties agree. There will be another US$120 billion of investment, which again can be front-loaded into the first five-year period, for upgrading Iran’s transport and manufacturing infrastructure, and again subject to increase in each subsequent period should both parties agree. In exchange for this, to begin with, Chinese companies will be given the first option to bid on any new – or stalled or uncompleted – oil, gas, and petrochemicals projects in Iran. China will also be able to buy any and all oil, gas, and petchems products at a minimum guaranteed discount of 12 per cent to the six-month rolling mean average price of comparable benchmark products, plus another 6 to 8 per cent of that metric for risk-adjusted compensation. Additionally, China will be granted the right to delay payment for up to two years and, significantly, it will be able to pay in soft currencies that it has accrued from doing business in Africa and the Former Soviet Union states. “Given the exchange rates involved in converting these soft currencies into hard currencies that Iran can obtain from its friendly Western banks, China is looking at another 8 to 12 per cent discount, which means a total discount of around 32 per cent for China on all oil gas, and petchems purchases,” one of the Iran sources underlined.
Another key part of the secret element to the 25-year deal is that China will be integrally involved in the build-out of Iran’s core infrastructure, which will be in absolute alignment with China’s key geopolitical multi-generational project, ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR). To begin with, China intends to utilise the currently cheap labour available in Iran to build factories that will be financed, designed, and overseen by big Chinese manufacturing companies with identical specifications and operations to those in China. The final manufactured products will then be able to access Western markets through new transport links, also planned, financed, and managed by China.
In this vein, around the same time as the draft new 25-year deal was presented last year by Iran’s Vice President, Eshaq Jahangiri (and senior figures from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and intelligence agencies) to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, Jahangiri announced that Iran had signed a contract with China to implement a project to electrify the main 900 kilometre railway connecting Tehran to the north-eastern city of Mashhad. Jahangiri added that there are also plans to establish a Tehran-Qom-Isfahan high-speed train line and to extend this upgraded network up to the north-west through Tabriz. Tabriz, home to a number of key sites relating to oil, gas, and petrochemicals, and the starting point for the Tabriz-Ankara gas pipeline, will be a pivot point of the 2,300 kilometre New Silk Road that links Urumqi (the capital of China’s western Xinjiang Province) to Tehran, and connecting Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan along the way, and then via Turkey into Europe.
Now, though, another element that will change the entire balance of geopolitical power in the Middle East has been added to the deal.
“Last week, the Supreme Leader [Ali Khamenei] agreed to the extension of the existing deal to include new military elements that were proposed by the same senior figures in the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] and the intelligence services that proposed the original deal, and this will involve complete aerial and naval military co-operation between Iran and China, with Russia also taking a key role,” one of the Iran sources told OilPrice.com last week. “There is a meeting scheduled in the second week of August between the same Iranian group, and their Chinese and Russian counterparts, that will agree the remaining details but, provided that goes as planned, then as of 9 November, Sino-Russian bombers, fighters, and transport planes will have unrestricted access to Iranian air bases,” he said.
“This process will begin with purpose-built dual-use facilities next to the existing airports at Hamedan, Bandar Abbas, Chabhar, and Abadan,” he said.
OilPrice.com understands from the Iranian sources that the bombers to be deployed will be China-modified versions of the long-range Russian Tupolev Tu-22M3s, with a manufacturing specification range of 6,800 kilometres (2,410 km with a typical weapons load), and the fighters will be the all-weather supersonic medium-range fighter bomber/strike Sukhoi Su-34, plus the newer single-seat stealth attack Sukhoi-57. It is apposite to note that in August 2016, Russia used the Hamedan airbase to launch attacks on targets in Syria using both Tupolev-22M3 long-range bombers and Sukhoi-34 strike fighters. At the same time, Chinese and Russian military vessels will be able to use newly-created dual-use facilities at Iran’s key ports at Chabahar, Bandar-e-Bushehr, and Bandar Abbas, constructed by Chinese companies.
These deployments will be accompanied by the roll-out of Chinese and Russian electronic warfare (EW) capabilities, according to the Iran sources. This would encompass each of the three key EW areas – electronic support (including early warning of enemy weapons use) plus electronic attack (including jamming systems) plus electronic protection (including of enemy jamming). Based originally around neutralising NATO’s C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) systems, part of the new roll-out of software and hardware from China and Russia in Iran, according to the Iran sources, would be the Russian S-400 anti-missile air defence system: “To counter U.S. and/or Israeli attacks.” The Krasukha-2 and -4 systems are also likely to feature in the overall EW architecture, as they proved their effectiveness in Syria in countering the radars of attack, reconnaissance and unmanned aircraft. The Krasukha-2 can jam Airborne Warning And Control Systems (AWACS) at up to 250 km, and other airborne radars such as guided missiles, whilst the Krasukha-4 is a multi-functional jamming system that not only counters AWACS but also ground-based radars, with both being highly mobile.
It is again apposite to note here that an entire EW company (encompassing the three core elements of EW) can consist of as little as 100 men and, according to the Iran sources, part of the new military co-operation includes an exchange of personnel between Iran and China and Russia, with up to 110 senior Iranian IRGC men going for training every year in Beijing and Moscow and 110 Chinese and Russians going to Tehran for their training. It is also apposite to note that Iran’s EW system can easily be tied in to Russia’s Southern Joint Strategic Command 19th EW Brigade (Rassvet) near Rostov-on-Don, which links into the corollary Chinese systems. “One of the Russian air jamming systems is going to be based in Chabahar and will capable of completely disabling the UAE’s and Saudi Arabia’s air defences, to the extent that they would only have around two minutes of warning for a missile or drone attack from Iran,” one of the Iran sources told OilPrice.com last week.
An indication of what Iran hopes to receive in return its co-operation with China, and Russia, came last week when Zhang Jun, China’s permanent United Nations (U.N.) representative, in a statement to the Security Council, told the U.S.: “To stop its illegal unilateral sanctions on Iran… The root cause of the current crisis is the U.S.’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018 and the re-imposition of unilateral sanctions against Iran.” He also opposed the U.S.’s push for the extension of the U.N. arms embargo on Iran, which expires in October. “This has again undermined the joint efforts to preserve the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action],” Zhang said, and added: “The [JCPOA] agreement was endorsed by the U.N. Security Council [UNSC] and is legally binding.”
“We urge the U.S. to stop its illegal unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction, and return to the right track of observing the JCPOA and Resolution 2231 [of the UNSC].”
Securing China’s support was a key reason for the original secret part of the deal agreed last year, along with that of Russia, as the two countries have two-fifths of the total Permanent Member votes on the UNSC, with the others being the U.S., the U.K., and France. Aside from this support and the US$400 billion+ of investments pledged by China, the other reason that Iran has agreed to such Chinese (and Russian) influence in its country going forward is that China has guaranteed that it will continue to take all of the oil, gas, and petchems that Iran requires.
There is an ongoing battle to suppress Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), a cheap and effective drug for the treatment of Covid-19. The campaign against HCQ is carried out through slanderous political statements, media smears, not to mention an authoritative peer reviewed “evaluation” published on May 22nd by The Lancet, which was based on fake figures and test trials.
The study was allegedly based on data analysis of 96,032 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 between Dec 20, 2019, and April 14, 2020 from 671 hospitals Worldwide. The database had been fabricated. The objective was to kill the Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) cure on behalf of Big Pharma.
While The Lancetarticle was retracted, the media casually blamed “a tiny US based company” named Surgisphere whose employees included “a sci-fi writer and adult content model” for spreading “flawed data” (Guardian). This Chicago based outfit was accused of having misled both the WHO and national governments, inciting them to ban HCQ. None of those trial tests actually took place.
While the blame was placed on Surgisphere, the unspoken truth (which neither the scientific community nor the media have acknowledged) is that the study was coordinated by Harvard professor Mandeep Mehra under the auspices of Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) which is a partner of the Harvard Medical School.
When the scam was revealed, Dr. Mandeep Mehra who holds the Harvey Distinguished Chair of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital apologized:
I have always performed my research in accordance with the highest ethical and professional guidelines. However, we can never forget the responsibility we have as researchers to scrupulously ensure that we rely on data sources that adhere to our high standards.
It is now clear to me that in my hope to contribute this research during a time of great need, I did not do enough to ensure that the data source was appropriate for this use. For that, and for all the disruptions – both directly and indirectly – I am truly sorry. (emphasis added)
Brigham and Women’s Hospital began enrolling patients in two clinical trials for Gilead’s antiviral medication remdesivir. The Brigham is one of multiple clinical trial sites for a Gilead-initiated study of the drug in 600 participants with moderate coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and a Gilead-initiated study of 400 participants with severe COVID-19.
… If the results are promising, this could lead to FDA approval, and if they aren’t, it gives us critical information in the fight against COVID-19 and allows us to move on to other therapies.”
While Dr. Mandeep Mehra was not directly involved in the Gilead Remdesevir BWH study under the supervision of his colleague Dr. Francisco Marty, he nonetheless had contacts with Gilead Sciences Inc: “He participated in a conference sponsored by Gilead in early April 2020 as part of the Covid-19 debate” (France Soir, May 23, 2020)
What was the intent of his (failed) study? To undermine the legitimacy of Hydroxychloroquine?
According to France Soir, in a report published after The Lancet Retraction:
The often evasive answers produced by Dr Mandeep R. Mehra, … professor at Harvard Medical School, did not produce confidence, fueling doubt instead about the integrity of this retrospective study and its results. (France Soir, June 5, 2020)
Was Dr. Mandeep Mehra in conflict of interest? (That is a matter for BWH and the Harvard Medical School to decide upon).
Who are the Main Actors?
Dr. Anthony Fauci, advisor to Donald Trump, portrayed as “America’s top infectious disease expert” has played a key role in smearing the HCQ cure which had been approved years earlier by the CDC as well as providing legitimacy to Gilead’s Remdesivir.
Dr. Fauci has been the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since the Reagan administration. He is known to act as a mouthpiece for Big Pharma.
Dr. Fauci launched Remdesivir in late June (see details below). According to Fauci, Remdesevir is the “corona wonder drug” developed by Gilead Science Inc. It’s a $1.6 billion dollar bonanza.
Gilead Sciences Inc: History
Gilead Sciences Inc is a Multibillion dollar bio-pharmaceutical company which is now involved in developing and marketing Remdesivir. Gilead has a long history. It has the backing of major investment conglomerates including the Vanguard Group and Capital Research & Management Co, among others. It has developed ties with the US Government.
In 1999 Gilead Sciences Inc, developed Tamiflu (used as a treatment of seasonal influenza and bird flu). At the time, Gilead Sciences Inc was headed by Donald Rumsfeld (1997-2001), who later joined the George W. Bush administration as Secretary of Defense (2001-2006). Rumsfeld was responsible for coordinating the illegal and criminal wars on Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003).
Rumsfeld maintained his links to Gilead Sciences Inc throughout his tenure as Secretary of Defense (2001-2006). According to CNN Money (2005): “The prospect of a bird flu outbreak … was very good news for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld [who still owned Gilead stocks] and other politically connected investors in Gilead Sciences”.
Anthony Fauci has been in charge of the NIAID since 1984, using his position as “a go between” the US government and Big Pharma. During Rumsfeld’s tenure as Secretary of Defense, the budget allocated to bio-terrorism increased substantially, involving contracts with Big Pharma including Gilead Sciences Inc. Anthony Fauci considered that the money allocated to bio-terrorism in early 2002 would:
“accelerate our understanding of the biology and pathogenesis of microbes that can be used in attacks, and the biology of the microbes’ hosts — human beings and their immune systems. One result should be more effective vaccines with less toxicity.” (WPo report)
In 2008, Dr. Anthony Fauci was granted the Presidential Medal of Freedom by president George W. Bush “for his determined and aggressive efforts to help others live longer and healthier lives.”
The 2020 Gilead Sciences Inc Remdesivir Project
We will be focussing on key documents (and events)
February 21: Initial Release pertaining to NIH-NIAID Remdesivir placebo test trial
Gilead Sciences Inc. funded the study which included several staff members as co-authors.
The testing included a total of 61 patients [who] received at least one dose of remdesivir on or before March 7, 2020; 8 of these patients were excluded because of missing postbaseline information (7 patients) and an erroneous remdesivir start date (1 patient) … Of the 53 remaining patients included in this analysis, 40 (75%) received the full 10-day course of remdesivir, 10 (19%) received 5 to 9 days of treatment, and 3 (6%) fewer than 5 days of treatment.
The NEJM article states that “Gilead Sciences Inc began accepting requests from clinicians for compassionate use of remdesivir on January 25, 2020”. From whom, From Where? According to the WHO (January 30, 2020) there were 82 cases in 18 countries outside China of which 5 were in the US, 5 in France and 3 in Canada.
Below we provide excerpts of scientific statements on the Gilead NEJM project (Science Media Centre emphasis added) published immediately following the release of the NEJM article:
“‘Compassionate use’ is better described as using an unlicensed therapy to treat a patient because there are no other treatments available. Research based on this kind of use should be treated with extreme caution because there is no control group or randomisation, which are some of the hallmarks of good practice in clinical trials. Prof Duncan Richard, Clinical Therapeutics, University of Oxford.
“It is critical not to over-interpret this study. Most importantly, it is impossible to know the outcome for this relatively small group of patients had they not received remdesivir. Dr Stephen Griffin, Associate Professor, School of Medicine, University of Leeds.
“The research is interesting but doesn’t prove anything at this point: the data are from a small and uncontrolled study. Simon Maxwell, Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and Prescribing, University of Edinburgh.
“The data from this paper are almost uninterpretable. It is very surprising, perhaps even unethical, that the New England Journal of Medicine has published it. It would be more appropriate to publish the data on the website of the pharmaceutical company that has sponsored and written up the study. At least Gilead have been clear that this has not been done in the way that a high quality scientific paper would be written. Prof Stephen Evans, Professor of Pharmacoepidemiology, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
“It’s very hard to draw useful conclusions from uncontrolled studies like this particularly with a new disease where we really don’t know what to expect and with wide variations in outcomes between places and over time. One really has to question the ethics of failing to do randomisation – this study really represents more than anything else, a missed opportunity.” Prof Adam Finn, Professor of Paediatrics, University of Bristol.
An independent data and safety monitoring board (DSMB) overseeing the trial met on April 27 to review data and shared their interim analysis with the study team. Based upon their review of the data, they noted that remdesivir was better than placebo from the perspective of the primary endpoint, time to recovery, a metric often used in influenza trials. Recovery in this study was defined as being well enough for hospital discharge or returning to normal activity level.
Preliminary results indicate that patients who received remdesivir had a 31% faster time to recovery than those who received placebo (p<0.001). Specifically, the median time to recovery was 11 days for patients treated with remdesivir compared with 15 days for those who received placebo. Results also suggested a survival benefit, with a mortality rate of 8.0% for the group receiving remdesivir versus 11.6% for the placebo group (p=0.059). (emphasis added)
In the NIH’s earlier February 21, 2020 report (released at the outset of the study), the methodology was described as follows:
… A randomized, controlled clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the investigational antiviral remdesivir in hospitalized adults diagnosed with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) …
Numbers. Where? When?
The February 21 report confirmed that the first trial participant was “an American who was repatriated after being quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship” that docked in Yokohama (Japanese Territorial Waters). “Thirteen people repatriated by the U.S. State Department from the Diamond Princess cruise ship” were selected as patients for the placebo trial test. Ironically, at the outset of the study, 58.7% of the “confirmed cases” Worldwide (542 cases out of 924) (outside China), were on the Diamond Cruise Princess from which the initial trial placebo patients were selected.
Where and When: The trial test in the 68 selected sites? That came at a later date because on February 19th (WHO data), the US had recorded only 15 positive cases (see Table Below).
“A total of 68 sites ultimately joined the study—47 in the United States and 21 in countries in Europe and Asia.” (emphasis added)
There were 60 trial sites and 13 subsites in the United States (45 sites), Denmark (8), the United Kingdom (5), Greece (4), Germany (3), Korea (2), Mexico (2), Spain (2), Japan (1), and Singapore (1). Eligible patients were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive either remdesivir or placebo. Randomization was stratified by study site and disease severity at enrollment
“The preliminary results, disclosed at the White House by Anthony S. Fauci, … fall short of the magic bullet or cure… But with no approved treatments for Covid-19,[Lie] Fauci said, it will become the standard of care for hospitalized patients …The data shows that remdisivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery,” Fauci said.
The government’s first rigorous clinical trial of the experimental drug remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment delivered mixed results to the medical community Wednesday — but rallied stock markets and raised hopes that an early weapon to help some patients was at hand.
The preliminary results, disclosed at the White House by Anthony Fauci, chief of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which led the placebo-controlled trial found that the drug accelerated the recovery of hospitalized patients but had only a marginal benefit in the rate of death.
… Fauci’s remarks boosted speculation that the Food and Drug Administration would seek emergency use authorization that would permit doctors to prescribe the drug.
In addition to clinical trials, remdesivir has been given to more than 1,000 patients under compassionate use. [also refers to the Gilead study published on April 10 in the NEJM]
The study, involving [more than] 1,000 patients at 68 sites in the United States and around the world (??), offers the first evidence (??) from a large (??), randomized (??) clinical study of remdesivir’s effectiveness against COVID-19.
The NIH placebo test study provided “preliminary results”. While the placebo trial test was “randomized”, the overall selection of patients at the 68 sites was not fully randomized. See the full report.
May 22: The Fake Lancet Report on Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)
Immediately folllowing its publication, the media went into high gear, smearing the HCQ cure, while applauding the NIH-NIASD report released on the same day.
Remdesivir, the only drug cleared to treat Covid-19, sped the recovery time of patients with the disease, … “It’s a very safe and effective drug,” said Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute. “We now have a definite first efficacious drug for Covid-19, which is a major step forward and will be built upon with other drugs, [and drug] combinations.”
When the Lancet HCQ article by Bingham-Harvard was retracted on June 5, it was too late, it received minimal media coverage. Despite the Retraction, the HCQ cure “had been killed”.
June 29: Fauci Greenlight. The $1.6 Billion Remdesivir Contract with Gilead Sciences Inc
Dr. Anthony Fauci granted the “Greenlight” to Gilead Sciences Inc. on June 29, 2020.
The earlier Gilead study based on scanty test results published in the NEJM (April 10), of 53 cases (and 56 co-authors) was not highlighted. The results of this study had been questioned by several prominent physicians and scientists.
Who will be able to afford Remdisivir? 500,000 doses of Remdesivir are envisaged at $3,200 per patient, namely $1.6 billion
If this contract is implemented as planned, it represents for Gilead Science Inc. and the recipient US private hospitals and clinics a colossal amount of money.
[error in above title according to HHS: $3200]
According to The Trump Administration’s HHS Secretary Alex Azar (June 29, 2020):
“To the extent possible, we want to ensure that any American patient who needs remdesivir can get it. [at $3200] The Trump Administration is doing everything in our power to learn more about life-saving therapeutics for COVID-19 and secure access to these options for the American people.”
Remdesivir versus Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)
The Lancet study (published on May 22) was intended to undermine the legitimacy of Hydroxychloroquine as an effective cure to Covid-19, with a view to sustaining the $1.6 billion agreement between the HHS and Gilead Sciences Inc. on June 29th. The legitmacy of this agreement rested on the May 22 NIH-NIAID study in the NEJM which was considered “preliminary”.
What Dr. Fauci failed to acknowledge is that Chloroquine had been “studied” and tested fifteen years ago by the CDC as a drug to be used against coronavirus infections. And that Hydroxychloroquine has been used recently in the treatment of Covid-19 in several countries.
According to the Virology Journal (2005) “Chloroquine is a potent inhibitor of SARS coronavirus infection and spread”. It was used in the SARS-1 outbreak in 2002. It had the endorsement of the CDC.
HCQ is not only effective, it is “inexpensive” when compared to Remdesivir, at an estimated “$3120 for a US Patient with private insurance”.
Below are excerpts of an interview of Harvard’s Professor Mehra (who undertook the May 22 Lancet study) with France Soir published immediately following the publication of the Lancet report (prior to its Retraction).
Dr. Mandeep Mehra: In our study, it is fairly obvious that the lack of benefit and the risk of toxicity observed for hydroxychloroquine are fairly reliable. [referring to the May 22 Lancet study]
France Soir: Do you have the data for Remdesivir?
MM: Yes, we have the data, but the number of patients is too small for us to be able to conclude in one way or another.
FS: As you know, in France, there is a pros and cons battle over hydroxychloroquine which has turned into a public health issue even involving the financial lobbying of pharmaceutical companies. Why not measure the effect of one against the other to put an end to all speculation? …
MM: In fact, there is no rational basis for testing Remdesivir versus hydroxychloroquine. On the one hand, Remdesivir has shown that there is no risk of mortality and that there is a reduction in recovery time. On the other hand, for hydroxychloroquine it is the opposite: it has never been shown any advantage and most studies are small or inconclusive In addition, our study shows that there are harmful effects.
It would therefore be difficult and probably unethical to compare a drug with demonstrated harmfulness to a drug with at least a glimmer of hope.
FS: You said that there is no basis for testing or comparing Remdesivir with hydroxychloroquine, do you think you have done everything to conclude that hydroxychloroquine is dangerous?
MM: Exactly. …
All we are saying is that once you have been infected (5 to 7 days after) to the point of having to be hospitalized with a severe viral load, the use of hydroxychloroquine and its derivative is not effective.
The damage from the virus is already there and the situation is beyond repair. With this treatment [HCQ] it can generate more complications
FS Mandeep Mehra declared that he had no conflict of interest with the laboratories and that this study was financed from the endowment funds of the professor’s chair.
He participated in a conference sponsored by Gilead in early April 2020 as part of the Covid-19 debate.
France Soir, translated by the author, emphasis added, May 23, 2020)
In Annex, see the followup article by France Soir published after the scam surrounding the data base of Dr. Mehra’s Lancet report was revealed.
Lies and Corruption to the nth Degree involving Dr. Anthony Fauci, “The Boston Connection” and Gilead Sciences Inc.
The Gilead Sciences Inc. Remdesivir study (50+ authors) was published in the New England Journal of Medicine (April 10, 2020).
Harvard Medical School and the BWH bear responsibility for having hosted and financed the fake Lancet report on HCQ coordinated by Dr. Mandeep Mehra.
Is there conflict of interest? BWH was simultaneously involved in a study on Remdesivir in contract with Gilead Sciences, Inc.
While the Lancet report coordinated by Harvard’s Dr. Mehra was retracted, it nonetheless served the interests of Gilead Sciences Inc.
It is important that an independent scientific and medical assessment be undertaken, respectively of the Gilead Sciences Inc New England Journal of Medicine (NEMJ) peer reviewed study (April 10, 2020) as well as the NIH-NIAID study also published in the NEJM (May 22, 2020).
Retraction by France Soir
The fraud concerning the Lancet Report was revealed in early June. France Soirin a subsequent article (June 5, 2020) points to the Boston Connection: La connexion de Boston, namely the insiduous relationship between Gilead Sciences Inc and Professor Mehra, Harvard Medical School as well as the two related Boston based hospitals involved.
The often evasive answers produced by Dr Mandeep R. Mehra, a physician specializing in cardiovascular surgery and professor at Harvard Medical School, did not produce confidence, fueling doubt instead about the integrity of this retrospective study and its results.
… However, the reported information that Dr. Mehra had attended a conference sponsored by Gilead – producer of remdesivir, a drug in direct competition with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) – early in April called for further investigation
It is important to keep in mind that Dr. Mandeep Mehra has a practice at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in Boston.
That study relied on the shared medical records of 8,910 patients in 169 hospitals around the world, also by Surgisphere.
Funding for the study was “Supported by the William Harvey Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The development and maintenance of the collaborative surgical outcomes database was funded by Surgisphere.”
The study published on May 22 sought to evaluate the efficacy or otherwise of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, alone or in combination with a macrolide antibiotic. …
It is therefore noteworthy that within 3 weeks, 2 large observational retrospective studies on large populations – 96,032 and 8,910 patients – spread around the world were published in two different journals by Dr. Mehra, Dr. Desai and other co-authors using the database of Surgisphere, Dr. Desai’s company.
These two practising physicians and surgeons seem to have an exceptional working capacity associated with the gift of ubiquity.
The date of May 22 is also noteworthy because on the very same day, the date of the publication in The Lancet of the highly accusatory study against HCQ, another study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine concerning the results of a clinical trial of…remdesivir.
In the conclusion of this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, “remdesivir was superior to placebo in shortening the time to recovery in adults hospitalized with Covid-19 and evidence of lower respiratory tract infection.”
Concretely: on the same day, May 22nd, one study demeaned HCQ in one journal while another claimed evidence of attenuation on some patients through remdesivir in another journal.
It should be noted that one of the main co-authors, Elizabeth “Libby”* Hohmann, represents one of the participating hospitals, the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, also affiliated with Harvard Medical School, as is the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where Dr. Mandeep Mehra practices.
Upon further investigation, we discovered that the first 3 major clinical trials on Gilead’s remdesivir were conducted by these two hospitals:
“While COVID-19 continues to circle the globe with scientists following on its trail, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) are leading the search for effective treatment.
“Both hospitals are conducting clinical trials of remdesivir.”
MGH has joined what the National Institute of Health (NIH) describe as the first clinical trial in the United States of an experimental treatment for COVID-19, sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of NIH. MGH is currently the only hospital in New England to participate in this trial, according to a list of sites shared by the hospital.
” It’s a gigantic undertaking, with patients registered in some 50 sites across the country, getting better.
“The NIH trial, which can be adapted to evaluate other treatments, aims to determine whether the drug relieves the respiratory problems and other symptoms of COVID-19, helping patients leave hospital earlier.**
As a reminder, the NIAID/NIH is led by Antony Fauci, a staunch opponent of HCQ.
“At the Brigham, two additional trials initiated by Gilead, the drug developer, will determine whether it alleviates symptoms in patients with moderate to severe illness over five- and ten-days courses. These trials will also be randomized, but not placebo controlled, and will include 1,000 patients at sites worldwide. Those patients, noted Francisco Marty, MD, Brigham physician and study co-investigator, will likely be recruited at an unsettlingly rapid clip.”
As a result, the first major clinical trials on remdesivir launched on March 20, whose results are highly important for Gilead, are being led by the MGH and BWH in Boston, precisely where Dr. Mehra, the main author of the May 22nd HCQ trial, is practising.
Small world! Coincidence, again, probably.
Dr. Marty at BWH expected to have results two months later. Indeed, in recent days, several US media outlets have reported Gilead’s announcements of positive results from the remdesivir clinical trials in Boston.:
“Encouraging results from a new study published Wednesday on remdesivir for the treatment of patients with COVID-19.**
Brigham and Dr. Francisco Marty worked on this study, and he says the results show that there is no major difference between treating a patient with a five-day versus a 10-day regimen.
…”Gilead Announces Results of Phase 3 Remdesivir Trial in Patients with Moderate COVID-19
– One study shows that the 5-day treatment of remdesivir resulted in significantly greater clinical improvement compared to treatment with the standard of care alone
– The data come on top of the body of evidence from previous studies demonstrating the benefits of remdesivir in hospitalized patients with IDVOC-19
“We now have three randomized controlled trials demonstrating that remdesivir improved clinical outcomes by several different measures,” Gilead plans to submit the complete data for publication in a peer-reviewed journal in the coming weeks.
These results announced by Gilead a few days after the May 22 publication of the study in the Lancet demolishing HCQ, a study whose main author is Dr. Mehra, are probably again a coincidence.
So many coincidences adds up to coincidences? Really ?
“With American lives on the line, the question now is whether members of the Republican Party will continue to stand by in silence as the President peddles fiction about a deadly virus.”
Public health advocates pleaded for federal action as the U.S. recorded its 27th straight day of record high seven-day-average of coronavirus cases Sunday, another grim milestone as the pandemic continues to sweep across the country and governmental responses are increasingly seen as insufficient.
“We went through hell,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy told Meet the Press Sunday. “We cannot afford to go through hell again.”
The country recorded 43,347 new cases Sunday. Thirteen states including West Virginia, Tennessee, and Montana saw their highest cases to date as hospitalizations in Florida and Texas—two states now considered major epicenters of the nation’s pandemic—spiked.
Data obtained via a lawsuit from the Centers of Disease Control by the New York Timesshows that Black and Latin Americans are around three times as likely as whites to contract the disease.
The somber numbers have caused frustration among local leaders, who say they have had to grapple with conflicting orders regarding the pandemic and frequently changing guidelines from governors and the White House as they try to curb sharply rising infections.
President Donald Trump lied over the weekend during two July 4th speeches by falsely claiming that the virus is safe for 99% of those who catch it. The White House is reportedly planning on taking a sanguine approach to the ongoing outbreak and presenting it to the American people as something the country just has to “live with.”
At the crux of the message, officials said, is a recognition by the White House that the virus is not going away any time soon—and will be around through the November election.
As a result, President Donald Trump’s top advisers plan to argue, the country must figure out how to press forward despite it. Therapeutic drugs will be showcased as a key component for doing that and the White House will increasingly emphasize the relatively low risk most Americans have of dying from the virus, officials said.
CNN‘s Maeve Reston opined that the political consequences of the president’s rhetoric versus the reality of the outbreak could be dire for Republicans.
“With many Americans flouting public health guidelines during the holiday weekend, Trump’s conduct is creating an inflection point for the GOP at a time when his poll numbers have tumbled,” wrote Reston. “With American lives on the line, the question now is whether members of the Republican Party will continue to stand by in silence as the President peddles fiction about a deadly virus, and if so, will they pay a price at the ballot box in November.”
A Chinese state-controlled newspaper has blamed the Trump administration’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic to cause the spread of the virus to go “completely out of control.”
Describing the disease as a “U.S. epidemic”, the paper warned that the administration’s failure poses a threat to the rest of the world. “Lies are dominating US society’s recognition of the epidemic,” the Global Times wrote.
The dramatic spike in the numbers of US COVID-19 infections continues this weekend. New coronavirus cases in Florida on Sunday exceeded 10,000 in a day for the third time in the past week, after the state posted a record high of 11,458 the previous day. And Texas on Saturday reported 5,815 more coronavirus cases, the state’s sixth straight day above 5,000
In a Friday, July 3, 2020, editorial titled, “Rampant US epidemic to hurt the world” China’s Global Timeswrote:
The US set another record for novel coronavirus cases on Thursday. Reuters reported that the country confirmed more than 55,000 new COVID-19 cases that day, which is “a new daily global record” for the pandemic.
Earlier this week, US epidemiologist Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that the US may soon see as many as 100,000 new cases of COVID-19 a day if the current trajectory of the outbreak is not changed.
Scott Gottlieb, a former commissioner for the US Food and Drug Administration, even suggested the true number of US daily infections is between 400,000 and 500,000, though there is not enough testing to find them all.
The current epidemic in the US is completely out of control. However, the US federal government still insists that the rapid increase in infection figures is due to more testing. Data released by the US Labor Department on Thursday showed the country added 4.8 million jobs in June. The White House soon boasted about its economic achievements. But people doubt whether the US government is making utmost efforts to rein in the virus and save more American lives.
Lies are dominating US society’s recognition of the epidemic. Political parties have put their interests in campaigning in the first place, which has distorted the society’s attention and allocation of resources. The US fight against the virus is paralyzed. There is no national strategy to alleviate the epidemic. Political calculations have stunted the battle against COVID-19.
Americans are not willing to temporarily sacrifice their freedom for the fight against the virus. The federal government has not corrected the attitude. Worse, it used the sentiment to promote the resumption of economic activities in a risky manner. It is making ordinary people responsible for the out-of-control epidemic.
The US economy has slightly recovered, yet the price it is paying is too high. It will surely become a burden for the US’ future economic development. The US government’s approach seems to be shaping US society’s greater tolerance toward the virus, making people less afraid of being infected.
As the only superpower, the US can shape global public opinion as it wishes. The country has manipulated the understanding over the novel coronavirus in many societies worldwide. It has not contributed to the global fight against the crisis. On the contrary, it is setting a terrible example.
No matter how the virus surfaced, the US plays the most negative role in making sure the novel coronavirus spreads fast across the globe, and we are far from ending it.
Can anyone in the world recall of outstanding contributions the US has made to the global efforts against COVID-19? The only thing people can remember is the US’ repeated accusations against China, apart from its astonishingly large number of infections and deaths. Washington has distracted the world’s attention.
The US is supposed to lead the world in establishing a global anti-pandemic front. But it continued to criticize the World Health Organization (WHO), and announced it would sever ties with the body.
As long as its epidemic continues to spread, the global anti-virus fight can hardly take a fundamental turn for the better.
In the coming fall and winter, the US epidemic will likely run rampant, and more countries and regions will be forced to suffer because of the US.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s top trade adviser Peter Navarro pushed several COVID-19 conspiracy theories on MSNBC Friday. Navarro said China deliberately allowed hundreds of thousands of people infected with coronavirus to leave the country “to seed and spread the virus” abroad.
At one point in the interview, MSNBC’s Ali Velshi had to ask, “What are you talking about?”
“They spawned the virus, they hid virus, they sent hundreds of thousands of Chinese nationalists over here to seed and spread the virus before we knew,” Navarro said. He claimed the virus “probably” came from a Chinese lab and argued, “this looks like a weaponized virus” and that the “Chinese communist party” is responsible for forcing Americans to “stay locked in our homes and lose our jobs.”
In another shameful decision by the US Department of Justice, earlier this month federal prosecutors reached a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with UK banking giant HSBC, Europe’s largest bank.
Shameful perhaps, but entirely predictable. After all, in an era characterized by economic collapse owing to gross criminality by leading financial actors, policy decisions and the legal environment framing those decisions have been shaped by oligarchs who quite literally have “captured” the state.
Founded in 1865 by flush-with-cash opium merchants after the British Crown seized Hong Kong from China in the aftermath of the First Opium War, HSBC has been a permanent fixture on the radar of US law enforcement and regulatory agencies for more than a decade.
Not that anything so trifling as terrorist financing or global narcotrafficking mattered much to the Obama administration.
As I previously reported, (here, here, here and here), when the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations issued their mammoth 335-page report, “U.S. Vulnerabilities to Money Laundering, Drugs, and Terrorist Financing: HSBC Case History,” we learned that amongst the “services” offered by HSBC subsidiaries and correspondent banks were sweet deals, to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, with financial entities with ties to international terrorism and the grisly drug trade.
Charged with multiple violations of the Bank Secrecy Act for their role in laundering blood money for Mexican and Colombian drug cartels, as a sideline HSBC’s Canary Wharf masters conducted a highly profitable business with the alleged financiers of the 9/11 attacks who washed funds through Saudi Arabia’s Al Rajhi Bank.
While the media breathlessly reported that the DPA will levy fines totaling some $1.92 billion (£1.2bn) which includes $655 million (£408m) in civil penalties, the largest penalty of its kind ever levied against a bank, under terms of the agreement not a single senior officer will be criminally charged. In fact, those fines will be paid by shareholders which include municipal investors, pension funds and the public at large.
With some 7,200 offices in more than 80 countries and 2011 profits topping $22 billion (£13.6bn), Senate investigators found that HSBC’s web of 1,200 correspondent banks provided drug traffickers, other organized crime groups and terrorists with “U.S. dollar services, including services to move funds, exchange currencies, cash monetary instruments, and carry out other financial transactions. Correspondent banking can become a major conduit for illicit money flows unless U.S. laws to prevent money laundering are followed.” They weren’t and as a result the bank’s balance sheets were inflated with illicit proceeds from terrorists and drug gangsters.
Revelations of widespread institutional criminality are hardly a recent phenomenon. More than a decade ago journalist Stephen Bender published a Z Magazine piece which found that “99.9 percent of the laundered criminal money that is presented for deposit in the United States gets comfortably into secure accounts.”
According to Bender: “The key institution in the enabling of money laundering is the ‘private bank,’ a subdivision of every major US financial institution. Private banks exclusively seek out a wealthy clientele, the threshold often being an annual income in excess of $1 million. With the prerogatives of wealth comes a certain regulatory deference.”
Such “regulatory deference” in the era of “too big to fail” and its corollary, “too big to prosecute,” is a signal characteristic as noted above, of state capture by criminal financial elites.
Indeed, HSBC’s private banking arm, HSBC Private Bank is the principal private banking business of the HSBC Group. A holding company wholly owned by HSBC Bank Plc, its subsidiaries include HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA, HSBC Private Bank (UK) Limited, HSBC Private Bank (CI) Limited, HSBC Private Bank (Luxembourg) SA, HSBC Private Bank (Monaco) SA and HSBC Financial Services (Cayman) Limited. All of these entities featured prominently in money laundering and tax evasion schemes uncovered by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee in their report. Combined client assets have been estimated by regulators to top $352 billion (£217.68).
According to Senate investigators, HSBC Financial Services (Cayman) was the principle conduit through which drug money laundered through HSBC Mexico (HBMX) flowed. “This branch,” Senate staff averred, “is a shell operation with no physical presence in the Caymans, and is managed by HBMX personnel in Mexico City who allow Cayman accounts to be opened by any HBMX branch across Mexico.”
“Total assets in the Cayman accounts peaked at $2.1 billion in 2008. Internal documents show that the Cayman accounts had operated for years with deficient AML [anti-money laundering] and KYC [know your client] controls and information. An estimated 15% of the accounts had no KYC information at all, which meant that HBMX had no idea who was behind them, while other accounts were, in the words of one HBMX compliance officer, misused by ‘organized crime’.”
In fact, the “normal” business model employed by HSBC and other entities bailed out by Western governments fully conform to the “control fraud” model first described by financial crime expert William K. Black.
According to Black, a control fraud occurs when a CEO and other senior managers remove checks and balances that prevent criminal behaviors, thus subverting regulatory requirements that prevent things like money laundering, shortfalls due to bad investments or the sale of toxic financial instruments.
In The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One, Black informed us: “A control fraud is a company run by a criminal who uses it as a weapon and shield to defraud others and makes it difficult to detect and punish the fraud.”
“Control frauds,” Black reported, “are financial superpredators that cause vastly larger losses than blue-collar thieves. They cause catastrophic business failures. Control frauds can occur in waves that imperil the general economy. The savings and loan (S&L) debacle was one such wave.”
Indeed, “control frauds” like HSBC “create a ‘fraud friendly’ corporate culture by hiring yes-men. They combine excessive pay, ego strokes (e.g., calling the employees ‘geniuses’) and terror to get employees who will not cross the CEO.” In such a “criminogenic” environment, the CEO (paging Lord Green!) “optimizes the firm as a fraud vehicle and can optimize the regulatory environment.”
In their press release, the Department of Justice announced that HSBC Group “have agreed to forfeit $1.256 billion and enter into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department for HSBC’s violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA).”
“According to court documents,” the DOJ’s Office of Public Affairs informed us, “HSBC Bank USA violated the BSA by failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program and to conduct appropriate due diligence on its foreign correspondent account holders.”
The DOJ goes on to state, “A four-count felony criminal information was filed today in federal court in the Eastern District of New York charging HSBC with willfully failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering (AML) program, willfully failing to conduct due diligence on its foreign correspondent affiliates, violating IEEPA and violating TWEA.”
However, “HSBC has waived federal indictment, agreed to the filing of the information, and has accepted responsibility for its criminal conduct and that of its employees.”
In other words, because they accepted “responsibility” for acts that would land the average citizen in the slammer for decades, those guilty of “palling around with terrorists” or smoothing the way as billionaire drug traffickers hid their loot in the so-called “legitimate economy,” got a free pass. In fact, under terms of the agreement DOJ’s “deferred prosecution” will be “deferred” alright, like forever!
Why might that be the case?
The New York Times informed us that state and federal officials, eager beavers when it comes to protecting the integrity of a system lacking all integrity, “decided against indicting HSBC in a money-laundering case over concerns that criminal charges could jeopardize one of the world’s largest banks and ultimately destabilize the global financial system.”
Keep in mind this is a “system” which former United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime director Antonio Maria Costa told The Observer thrives on illicit money flows. In 2009, Costa told the London broadsheet that “in many instances, the money from drugs was the only liquid investment capital. In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system’s main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor.” Costa said that “a majority of the $352bn (£216bn) of drugs profits was absorbed into the economic system as a result.”
Glossing over these facts, Times’ stenographers Ben Protess and Jessica Silver-Greenberg, cautioned that “four years after the failure of Lehman Brothers nearly toppled the financial system,” federal regulators “are still wary that a single institution could undermine the recovery of the industry and the economy.”
“Given the extent of the evidence against HSBC, some prosecutors saw the charge as a healthy compromise between a settlement and a harsher money-laundering indictment. While the charge would most likely tarnish the bank’s reputation, some officials argued that it would not set off a series of devastating consequences.”
Devastating to whom one might ask? The 100,000 Mexicans brutally murdered by drug gangsters, corrupt police and Mexican Army soldiers whose scorched-earth campaign kills off the competition on behalf of Mexico’s largest narcotics organization, the Sinaloa Cartel run by fugitive billionaire drug lord Chapo Guzmán?
“A money-laundering indictment, or a guilty plea over such charges,” the Times averred, “would essentially be a death sentence for the bank. Such actions could cut off the bank from certain investors like pension funds and ultimately cost it its charter to operate in the United States, officials said.”
Many of the same lame excuses for prosecutorial inaction were also prominent features in the British press.
The Daily Telegraph reported that the “largest banks have become too big to prosecute because of the impact criminal charges would have on confidence in them, Britain’s most senior bank regulator has admitted.”
“In a variant of the ‘too big to fail’ problem, Andrew Bailey, chief executive designate of the Prudential Regulation Authority, said bringing a legal action against a major financial institution raised ‘very difficult questions’.”
“‘Because of the confidence issue with banks, a major criminal indictment, which we haven’t seen and I’m not saying we are going to see… this is not an ordinary criminal indictment’,” Bailey told the Telegraph.
Echoing Bailey, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said the decision not to prosecute HSBC was made because “in this day and age we have to evaluate that innocent people will face very big consequences if you make a decision.”
This from an administration that continues to prosecute–and jail–low-level drug offenders at record rates!
“Breuer’s argument is facially absurd,” according to William K. Black. In a piece published by New Economic Perspectives, Black argues:
Prosecuting HSBC’s fraudulent controlling managers would not harm anyone innocent other than their families–and virtually all prosecutions hurt some family members. Breuer claims that virtually all of HSBC’s senior officers have been removed, so his argument is doubly absurd. Mostly, however, Breuer ignores all of the innocents harmed by the control frauds. SDIs [systemically dangerous institutions] that are control frauds are weapons of mass economic destruction that drive global crises and are the greatest enemy of ‘free’ markets. They are also the greatest threat to democracy, for they create crony capitalism. We are all innocent victims of these control frauds–and the Obama and Cameron governments are allowing them to commit their frauds with impunity from criminal prosecutions. The controlling officers get wealthy without fear of prosecution. The SDIs controlled by fraudulent officers have to purchase an indulgence, but the price of the indulgence is capped by the ‘too big to prosecute’ doctrine at a level that will not cause it any real distress. Breuer’s and Bailey’s embrace of too big to prosecute should have led to their immediate dismissals. Obama and Cameron should either fire them or announce that they stand with the criminal enterprises and their fraudulent controlling officers against their citizens.
As Rowan Bosworth-Davies, a former financial crimes specialist with London’s Metropolitan Police observed on his web site, “When you get a bank which admits, like HSBC has just done, that it is nothing more than a low-life money launderer for Mexican drug kingpins, and when it serves powerful vested interests to get round internationally-ratified sanctions against rogue nations, what possible benefit is achieved by trying to pretend that they cannot be prosecuted and charged with criminal offences?”
“Oh, excuse me,” Bosworth-Davies wrote, “it might impact the confidence they enjoy? Whose confidence, their Mexican drug traffickers, their international sanctions breakers, their global tax evaders, or the ordinary, law-abiding clients who are entitled to assume that their bank will obey the laws imposed on them and will provide a safe place of deposit?”
“Confidence,” the former Met detective averred, “what bloody confidence can anyone have when they know their bank is an admitted criminal? When their money is deposited with a bank that breaks the criminal law at every possible opportunity, which cheats them at every turn, sells them fraudulent products, launders drug money, evades international sanctions, moves foreign oligarchs’ tax evasion, safeguards the deposit accounts of Third World dictators and their families, then what is that confidence worth?”
Instead, as with the 2010 deal with Wachovia Bank, federal prosecutors cobbled together a DPA that levied a “fine” of $160 million (£99.2m) on laundered drug profits that topped $378 billion (£234.5bn).
Although top Justice Department officials charged that HSBC laundered upwards of $881 million (£546.5m) on behalf of the Sinaloa and Colombia’s Norte del Valle drug cartels, federal prosecutors investigating the bank told Reuters in September that this was merely the “tip of the iceberg.”
In fact, as Senate investigators discovered during their probe, the bank failed to monitor more than $670 billion (£415.6bn) in wire transfers from HSBC Mexico (HBMX) between 2006 and 2009, and failed to adequately monitor over $9.4 billion (£5.83bn) in purchases of physical U.S. dollars from HBMX during the same period.
Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, said in prepared remarks announcing the DPA that “traffickers didn’t have to try very hard” when it came to laundering drug cash. “They would sometimes deposit hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, in a single day, into a single account,” Breuer said, “using boxes designed to fit the precise dimensions of the teller windows in HSBC Mexico’s branches.”
While Breuer’s dramatic account of the money laundering process may have offered a gullible financial press corps a breathless moment or two, a closer look at Breuer’s CV offer hints as to why he chose not to criminally charge the bank.
A corporatist insider, after representing President Bill Clinton during ginned-up impeachment hearings, Breuer became a partner in the white shoe Washington, DC law firm Covington & Burling. From his perch, he represented Moody’s Investor Service in the wake of Enron’s ignominious collapse and Dick Cheney’s old firm Halliburton/KBR during Bush regime scandals. Talk about “safe hands”!
Appointed as the head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division by Obama in 2009, Breuer presided over the prosecution/persecution of NSA whistleblower Thomas A. Drake on charges that he violated the Espionage Act of 1917 for disclosing massive contractor fraud at NSA to The Baltimore Sun.
More recently, along with 14 other officials Breuer was recommended for potential “disciplinary action” by the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General over the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal which put some 2,000 firearms into the hands of cartel killers in Mexico.
“A Justice official said Breuer has been ‘admonished’” by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, “but will not be disciplined,” The Washington Post reported.
Breuer had the temerity to claim that deferred prosecution agreements “have the same punitive, deterrent, and rehabilitative effect as a guilty plea.”
“When a company enters into a deferred prosecution agreement with the government, or an non prosecution agreement for that matter,” Breuer asserted, “it almost always must acknowledge wrongdoing, agree to cooperate with the government’s investigation, pay a fine, agree to improve its compliance program, and agree to face prosecution if it fails to satisfy the terms of the agreement.”
As is evident from this brief synopsis, when it came to holding HSBC to account, the fix was already in even before a single signature was affixed to the DPA.
Without batting an eyelash, Breuer informed us that HSBC has “committed” to undertake “enhanced AML and other compliance obligations and structural changes within its entire global operations to prevent a repeat of the conduct that led to this prosecution.”
“HSBC has replaced almost all of its senior management, ‘clawed back’ deferred compensation bonuses given to its most senior AML and compliance officers, and has agreed to partially defer bonus compensation for its most senior executives–its group general managers and group managing directors–during the period of the five-year DPA.”
Yes, you read that correctly. Despite charges that would land the average citizen in a federal gulag for decades, senior managers have “agreed” to “partially defer bonus compensation” for the length of the DPA!
“Wow. So the executives who spent a decade laundering billions of dollars will have to partially defer their bonuses during the five-year deferred prosecution agreement? Are you fucking kidding me? That’s the punishment? The government’s negotiators couldn’t hold firm on forcing HSBC officials to completely wait to receive their ill-gotten bonuses? They had to settle on making them ‘partially’ wait? Every honest prosecutor in America has to be puking his guts out at such bargaining tactics. What was the Justice Department’s opening offer–asking executives to restrict their Caribbean vacation time to nine weeks a year?”
“So you might ask,” Taibbi writes,
“what’s the appropriate penalty for a bank in HSBC’s position? Exactly how much money should one extract from a firm that has been shamelessly profiting from business with criminals for years and years? Remember, we’re talking about a company that has admitted to a smorgasbord of serious banking crimes. If you’re the prosecutor, you’ve got this bank by the balls. So how much money should you take?”
“How about all of it? How about every last dollar the bank has made since it started its illegal activity? How about you dive into every bank account of every single executive involved in this mess and take every last bonus dollar they’ve ever earned? Then take their houses, their cars, the paintings they bought at Sotheby’s auctions, the clothes in their closets, the loose change in the jars on their kitchen counters, every last freaking thing. Take it all and don’t think twice. And then throw them in jail.”
But there’s the rub and the proverbial fly in the ointment. The government can’t and won’t take such measures. Far from being impartial arbiters sworn to defend us from financial predators, speculators, drug lords, terrorists, warmongers and out-of-control corporate vultures hiding trillions of taxable dollars offshore, officials of this criminalized state are hand picked servants of a thoroughly debauched ruling class.
Writing for the World Socialist Web Site, Barry Grey observed: HSBC “was allowed to pay a token fine–less than 10 percent of its profits for 2011 and a fraction of the money it made laundering the drug bosses’ blood money. Meanwhile, small-time drug dealers and users, often among the most impoverished and oppressed sections of the population, are routinely arrested and locked up for years in the American prison gulag.”
“The financial parasites who keep the global drug trade churning and make the lion’s share of money from the social devastation it wreaks are above the law,” Grey noted.
“Here, in a nutshell,” Grey wrote, “is the modern-day aristocratic principle that prevails behind the threadbare trappings of ‘democracy.’ The financial robber barons of today are a law unto themselves. They can steal, plunder, even murder at will, without fear of being called to account. They devote a portion of their fabulous wealth to bribing politicians, regulators, judges and police–from the heights of power in Washington down to the local police precinct–to make sure their wealth is protected and they remain immune from criminal prosecution.”
When queried why he argued that the “war on drugs is no failure at all, but a success,” Villar noted: “I come to that conclusion because what do we know so far about the war on drugs? Well, the US has spent about US$1 trillion throughout the globe. Can we simply say it has failed? Has it failed the drug money-laundering banks? No. Has it failed the key Western financial centers? No. Has it failed the narco-bourgeoisie in Colombia–or in Afghanistan, where we can see similar patterns emerging? No. Is it a success in maintaining that political economy? Absolutely.”
Equally important, what does the impunity shamelessly enjoyed by such loathsome parasites say about us?
Have we become so indifferent to officially sanctioned crime and corruption, the myriad petty tyrannies and tyrants, from the boardroom to the security checkpoint to the job, not to mention murderous state policies that have transformed so-called “advanced” democracies into hated and loathed pariah states, who we really are?
As the late author J. G. Ballard pointed out in his masterful novel Kingdom Come, “Consumer fascism provides its own ideology, no one needs to sit down and dictate Mein Kampf. Evil and psychopathy have been reconfigured into lifestyle statements.”
Paranoid fantasy? Wake up and smell the corporatized police state.
“What’s been most striking to me is just how one-sided the rules are when Americans take on their own government…. It has been dismaying to learn the extent to which rules and laws shield the government from accountability for its abuses—or even lawbreaking…. It’s been a long and frightening lesson…. The rules seem rigged to protect government lawlessness, and the playing field is uneven. Too many processes favor the government. The deck is still stacked.” — Journalist Sharyl Attkisson
The system is rigged.
The system is rigged, the government is corrupt, and “we the people” continue to waste our strength by fighting each other rather than standing against the tyrant in our midst.
Because the system is rigged, because the government is corrupt, and because “we the people” remain polarized and divided, the police state will keep winning and “we the people” will keep losing.
Because the system is rigged and the U.S. Supreme Court—the so-called “people’s court”—has exchanged its appointed role as a gatekeeper of justice for its new role as maintainer of the status quo, there will be little if no consequences for the cops who brutalize and no justice for the victims of police brutality.
Because the system is rigged, there will be no consequences for police who destroyed a private home by bombarding it with tear gas grenades during a SWAT team raid gone awry, or for the cop who mistakenly shot a 10-year-old boy after aiming for and missing the non-threatening family dog, or for the arresting officer who sicced a police dog on a suspect who had already surrendered.
This is how unarmed Americans keep dying at the hands of militarized police.
By refusing to accept any of the eight or so qualified immunity cases before it this term that strove to hold police accountable for official misconduct, the Supreme Court delivered a chilling reminder that in the American police state, ‘we the people’ are at the mercy of law enforcement officers 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.”
This is how qualified immunity keeps the police state in power.
Lawyers tend to offer a lot of complicated, convoluted explanations for the doctrine of qualified immunity, which was intended to insulate government officials from frivolous lawsuits, but the real purpose of qualified immunity is to rig the system, ensuring that abusive agents of the government almost always win and the victims of government abuse almost always lose.
How else do you explain a doctrine that requires victims of police violence to prove that their abusers knew their behavior was illegal because it had been deemed so in a nearly identical case at some prior time: it’s a setup for failure.
Do you know how many different ways a cop can kill, maim, torture and abuse someone without being held liable?
The cops know: in large part due to training classes that drill them on the art of sidestepping the Fourth Amendment, which protects us from being bullied, badgered, beaten, broken and spied on by government agents.
This is how “we the people” keep losing.
Although the U.S. Supreme Court recognized in Harlow v. Fitzgerald (1982) that suing government officials for monetary damages is “the only realistic avenue” of holding them accountable for abusing their offices and violating the Constitution, it has ostensibly given the police and other government agents a green light to shoot first and ask questions later, as well as to probe, poke, pinch, taser, search, seize, strip and generally manhandle anyone they see fit in almost any circumstance, all with the general blessing of the courts.
Whether it’s police officers breaking through people’s front doors and shooting them dead in their homes or strip searching motorists on the side of the road, these instances of abuse are continually validated by a judicial system that kowtows to virtually every police demand, no matter how unjust, no matter how in opposition to the Constitution.
These are the hallmarks of a police state: where police officers, no longer mere servants of the people entrusted with keeping the peace, are part of an elite ruling class dependent on keeping the masses corralled, under control, and treated like suspects and enemies rather than citizens.
Unfortunately, we’ve been traveling this dangerous road for a long time now.
A review of critical court rulings over the past several decades, including rulings affirming qualified immunity protections for government agents by the U.S. Supreme Court, reveals a startling and steady trend towards pro-police state rulings by an institution concerned more with establishing order, protecting the ruling class, and insulating government agents from charges of wrongdoing than with upholding the rights enshrined in the Constitution.
Police can claim qualified immunity for warrantless searches. In Anderson v. Creighton, the Supreme Court ruled that FBI and state law enforcement agents were entitled to qualified immunity protections after they were sued for raiding a private home without a warrant and holding family members at gunpoint, all in a search for a suspected bank robber who was not in the house.
Police can claim qualified immunity for warrantless arrests based on mere suspicion. In Hunter v. Bryant, the Court ruled that police acted reasonably in arresting James Bryant without a warrant in order to protect the president. Bryant had allegedly written a letter that referenced a third-party plot to assassinate President Ronald Reagan, but police had no proof that he intended to harm Reagan beyond a mere suspicion. The charges against Bryant were eventually dropped.
Police can claim qualified immunity for using excessive force against protesters. In Saucier v. Katz, the Court ruled in favor of federal law enforcement agents who forcefully tackled a protester as he attempted to unfurl a banner at Vice President Gore’s political rally. The Court reasoned that the officers acted reasonably given the urgency of protecting the vice president.
Police can claim qualified immunity for shooting a fleeing suspect in the back. In Brosseau v. Haugen, the Court dismissed a lawsuit against a police officer who shot Kenneth Haugen in the back as he entered his car in order to flee from police. The Court ruled that in light of existing case law, the cop’s conduct fell in the “hazy border between excessive and acceptable force” and so she did not violate clearly established law.
Police can claim qualified immunity for shooting a mentally impaired person. In City of San Francisco v. Sheehan, the Court ruled in favor of police who repeatedly shot Teresa Sheehan during the course of a mental health welfare check. The Court ruled that it was not unreasonable for police to pepper spray and shoot Sheehan multiple times after entering her room without a warrant and encountering her holding a knife.
Americans have no protection against mandatory breathalyzer tests at a police checkpoint, although mandatory blood draws violate the Fourth Amendment (Birchfield v. North Dakota). Police can also conduct sobriety and “information-seeking” checkpoints (Illinois v. Lidster and Mich. Dep’t of State Police v. Sitz).
Police can forcibly take your DNA, whether or not you’ve been convicted of a crime. In Maryland v. King, a divided U.S. Supreme Court determined that a person arrested for a crime who is supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty must submit to forcible extraction of their DNA. Once again the Court sided with the guardians of the police state over the defenders of individual liberty in determining that DNA samples may be extracted from people arrested for “serious” offenses. The end result of the ruling paves the way for a nationwide dragnet of suspects targeted via DNA sampling.
Police can subject Americans to strip searches, no matter the “offense.” A divided U.S. Supreme Court actually prioritized making life easier for overworked jail officials over the basic right of Americans to be free from debasing strip searches. In its 5-4 ruling in Florence v. Burlington, the Court declared that any person who is arrested and processed at a jail house, regardless of the severity of his or her offense (i.e., they can be guilty of nothing more than a minor traffic offense), can be subjected to a strip search by police or jail officials, which involves exposing the genitals and the buttocks. This “license to probe” is now being extended to roadside stops, as police officers throughout the country have begun performing roadside strip searches—some involving anal and vaginal probes—without any evidence of wrongdoing and without a warrant.
Police can break into homes without a warrant, even if it’s the wrong home. In an 8-1 ruling in Kentucky v. King, the U.S. Supreme Court placed their trust in the discretion of police officers, rather than in the dictates of the Constitution, when they gave police greater leeway to break into homes or apartments without a warrant. Despite the fact that the police in question ended up pursuing the wrong suspect, invaded the wrong apartment and violated just about every tenet that stands between us and a police state, the Court sanctioned the warrantless raid, leaving Americans with little real protection in the face of all manner of abuses by police.
Police can use knock-and-talk tactics as a means of sidestepping the Fourth Amendment. Aggressive “knock and talk” practices have become thinly veiled, warrantless exercises by which citizens are coerced and intimidated into “talking” with heavily armed police who “knock” on their doors in the middle of the night. Andrew Scott didn’t even get a chance to say no to such a heavy-handed request before he was gunned down by police who pounded aggressively on the wrong door at 1:30 a.m., failed to identify themselves as police, and then repeatedly shot and killed the man when he answered the door while holding a gun in self-defense.
Police can carry out no-knock raids if they believe announcing themselves would be dangerous. Police can perform a “no-knock” raid as long as they have a reasonable suspicion that knocking and announcing their presence, under the particular circumstances, would be dangerous or futile or give occupants a chance to destroy evidence of a crime (Richards v. Wisconsin). Legal ownership of a firearm is also enough to justify a no-knock raid by police (Quinn v. Texas). For instance, a Texas man had his home subject to a no-knock, SWAT-team style forceful entry and raid based solely on the suspicion that there were legally-owned firearms in his household. The homeowner was actually shot by police through his closed bedroom door.
Police can recklessly open fire on anyone that might be “armed.” Philando Castile was shot and killed during a routine traffic stop allegedly over a broken tail light merely for telling police he had a conceal-and-carry permit. That’s all it took for police to shoot Castile four times in the presence of his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter. A unanimous Supreme Court declared in County of Los Angeles vs. Mendez that police should not be held liable for recklessly firing 15 times into a shack where a homeless couple had been sleeping because the grabbed his BB gun in defense, fearing they were being attacked.
Police can suffocate someone, deliberately or inadvertently, in the process of subduing them. “I can’t breathe” has become a rallying cry following the deaths of Eric Garner and George Floyd, both of whom died after being placed in a chokehold by police. Dozens more have died in similar circumstances at the hands of police who have faced little repercussions for these deaths.
So what’s the answer to reforming a system that is clearly self-serving and corrupt?
Abolishing the police is not the answer: that will inevitably lead to outright anarchy, which will give the police state and those law-and-order zealots all the incentive it needs to declare martial law.
Looting and violence are not the answer: As Martin Luther King Jr. recognized, “A riot merely intensifies the fears of the white community while relieving the guilt.” Using the looting and riots as justification for supporting police brutality is also not the answer: As King recognized, “It is not enough … to condemn riots… without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.”
Police reform is necessary and unavoidable if we are to have any hope of living in an America in which freedom means something more than the right to stay alive, but how we reform the system is just as important as getting it done.
We don’t need to wait for nine members of a ruling aristocracy who primarily come from privileged backgrounds and who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo to fix what’s broken in America.
Nor do we need to wait for 535 highly paid politicians to do something about these injustices only when it suits their political ambitions
And we certainly don’t need to wait for a president with a taste for totalitarian tactics to throw a few crumbs our way.
This is as much a local problem as it is a national one.
Be fair. Be nonviolent. Be relentless in your pursuit of justice for all.
The contact-tracing platforms – both digital and human-based – being rolled out around the world have their philosophical roots in religious rites of confession, cross-bred with the police-state logic of the National Security Agency (“if you haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to fear”) and coupled with the religious notion of an all-seeing, all-knowing deity.
All deviation from lockdown dogma is logged and reported, including consorting with known heretics, and this Panopticon – attacked when it debuted in China allegedly as totalitarian police-state control – is now being embraced in western media as the work of benevolent governments concerned with citizen welfare. While this transformation was laid out chillingly in ‘Lock Step,’ a hypothetical future outlined in 2010 in the Rockefeller Foundation and Global Business Network’s “Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development,” any discussion of predictive programming is off-limits.
Indeed, Corona Cultists are encouraged to cut off their “conspiracy theorist” relatives, because, in the words of Canadian broadcaster CBC, “conspiracies can be just as infectious, just as dangerous as a virus – so you have to guard against them.”
Parents in Wales are being warned that conspiracy theorists are a greater threat than pedophiles on the internet. Compounding the seriousness of wrongthink, the WHO has popularized the term “infodemic” – implying ideas are as dangerous to one’s health as pathogens – and recommended a “vaccine for misinformation.”
Soon, the Corona Cultist will no longer have to self-report their symptoms on a Facebook survey or confess their sins to a contact-tracer. Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed clothing with embedded sensors to monitor the wearer’s vital signs. Enabled by the 5G networks being fast-tracked while any potential opposition is locked down, these sensors will communicate in real time with surveillance smart grids, pinpointing the offender and alerting others to give them a wide berth, refuse to serve them, and eventually have them “neutralized.”
Their bank account may be frozen until they return home, or even debited a certain fine based on the degree of disobedience (“that’ll be 20 Hail Bills…or $20 per minute outside the home, your choice”).
Eventually, these sensors will be implanted inside the body – in what sounds like the plot of a science fiction dystopia, Microsoft secured a patent in March for a system that mines cryptocurrency based on physiological signals, theoretically permitting the corporation to ‘reward’ users based on desirable responses to certain stimuli. While the example they gave was banal – a reward for watching an advertisement – it’s no great leap to imagine equivalent punishments for those who respond with disgust to the ruling class’ propaganda.
The all-knowing, all-seeing God micromanaging His followers, a religious trope that has been used to keep large populations in line for millennia, has finally been realized in the form of the Covid-19 police state. Big Brother wields technology as both carrot – gently shepherding His flock toward transhumanist perfection by offering a facsimile of freedom in return for downloading an app, accepting a “quantum dot tattoo,” or showing a “certificate of immunity” on demand – and stick, digitally and literally imprisoning those who deviate from His shining future.
A breathtakingly wealthy coalition of billionaires and their pet statesmen have seized their own slice of the divine by appointing themselves Big Brother’s agents on earth. From the messianic glow of European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen as she solicits money from cash-strapped European nations, to the aforementioned sweater-vested Gates channelling Nostradamus with predictions of “Pandemic Two,” to second-generation New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (whose PR people have laid it on thick with hashtags like #Cuomosexual and #CuomoForPresident even as his state leads the world in infections and deaths and his policies of mandating nursing homes accept Covid-19-positive patients literally “kill Grandma”) epitomizing “New York Tough” by acting out #resistance to Trump even as his brother was supposedly laid low by the virus, there’s no end of ruling-class Heroes™ basking in the admiration of the Corona Cultists, who offer up their (and everyone else’s) rights on a silver platter, never to be seen again.
Can constant surveillance stop the virus?
There’s nothing wrong with clinging to ritual in a time of uncertainty – certainly hand-washing doesn’t have a downside, presuming one stops short of wearing the skin off one’s hands. But when that ritual harms others, it must be questioned. Covid-19 zealots would argue that they have science on their side, but the science is far from settled on the effectiveness of social distancing and sweeping economic shutdowns.
Pseudoscience on a rampage
As social media censors tighten the screws on what information is permitted to enter the public sphere, it becomes increasingly difficult to pretend the Cult of Corona is based on science.
Actual science relies upon constant inquiry, testing, and hypothesizing, and even those claims generally attested to by its practitioners are considered “theories” as opposed to unchangeable truths. Science-as-religion, on the other hand, denounces those who put forth dissenting theories as heretics, using slurs like “quack,” “charlatan,” and “anti-vaxxer” to marginalize, for example, medical practitioners who heal people without the use of pharmaceutical drugs.
The social media platforms’ decision to unilaterally deplatform content that contradicts the WHO’s narrative is anti-scientific in the extreme, sacrificing the spirit of inquiry for the strictures of groupthink. It’s rendered even more Kafkaesque due to continuing shifts in the WHO’s own narrative, which has changed as more is learned about the virus (as scientific understanding tends to do).
The idea that YouTube’s content moderators know better than a medical doctor how to treat Covid-19 would have been considered laughable just six months ago, yet Google’s video platform has repeatedly removed videos of licensed, practicing clinicians discussing their experiences.
A pair of “rogue” doctors in Bakersfield, California who held a lengthy press conference laying out their findings and questioning the wisdom of prolonged lockdowns – broadcast on a local network TV station – went viral, only for YouTube to remove nearly every copy while pundits denounced the pair as “coronavirus truthers.” Their video did not attempt to project their own experiences onto the world – indeed, where they did cite statistics outside of Bakersfield, they used “official” statistics from health authorities, in Sweden and elsewhere, to support their claim that the fatality rate was being significantly overestimated because most cases were asymptomatic. Their video was literally broadcast on “mainstream media,” an “authoritative source” in the eyes of YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki. But its incompatibility with prevailing coronavirus dogma meant it had to be destroyed.
The orthodox narrative also jettisons long-accepted science about immunity. Vitamin D – obtained from sunlight absorbed through the skin – has been proven in study after study to be integral to a healthy immune system, and several recent studies have demonstrated its importance in surviving Covid-19 infection. Likewise, loneliness has been linked to diminished immune function and poor health in general, especially in elderly people (i.e. those most susceptible to Covid-19), and even those who are quite content with being alone are experiencing diminished immune stimulation due to not interacting with other people.
The link between isolation and ill health is so strong that even the media establishment has quietly acknowledged it, and solitary confinement is considered cruel and unusual punishment in many countries. No less than the World Economic Forum, co-organizer of the notorious Event 201 simulation that served as a dress rehearsal for Covid-19 itself, has calledthe stay-at-home orders that have confined more than half the world’s population to their homes “the world’s biggest psychological experiment.” The ruling-class conclave warned “we will pay the price” in a secondary mental-illness epidemic, one which its members – heavily invested in the pharmaceutical companies that are among the biggest winners of the pandemic – are no doubt poised to cash in on with antidepressants, benzodiazepines and antipsychotics aplenty. Nevertheless, questioning the wisdom of prolonged isolation in the form of extended lockdowns is still seen as anathema.
To begin to free humanity from the influence of the Corona Cult, it’s important to understand how its programming took hold. Guilt – environmental guilt, racial guilt, class-based guilt – is the primary route of attack. The media establishment initiallyattempted to link the coronavirus outbreak to climate change, with even the Pope climbing on board the narrative, though no scientific basis exists to support it and it has since been somewhat de-emphasized. Heretics are repeatedly accused of prioritizing their own convenience over the health of society, especially its most vulnerable members – the elderly, the sick, even poor and non-white populations. Depending on the target audience, anti-lockdown heretics are said to be scientifically-illiterate “covidiots” or heartless monsters consigning the disadvantaged to die for capitalism. Guilt and shame are powerful conversion tools, and even those who remain unconverted are likely to hold their tongues in a sociological phenomenon known as the spiral of silence.
At the same time, humanity’s innate religious tendencies (present in even atheists – millennia of programming don’t vanish just because a person comes to the realization they live in a godless universe) – have been hijacked. It’s no coincidence that governments imposing lockdowns have singled out places of worship for particular animus – anyone attending religious services is presumably content enough with their god(s) that they’re unlikely to ditch their faith for a virus-venerating cult-come-lately. Constantly bombarded with messages of uncertainty and kept from communing with their usual faith, even people normally secure in their religion will reach for the stability the Corona Police State provides – authoritarianism’s flip side is paternalism, and comfort is found in the arms of Big Brother. Among the non-religious, liberal and libertarian populations alike are targeted with the weaponization of medical jargon – a simple “what’s the matter, you don’t believe in science?” sends weak-willed groupthinkers into shameful silence while their freedoms are methodically amputated.
It is supremely ironic that in this Inquisition, the “real” church has been sidelined. Aside from the Pope, who has wholeheartedly embraced the New Normal, a group of Catholic leaders recently issued a statement calling out governments, the media, and public health experts, denouncing the Covid-19 narrative as cover for “infringing on the rights of millions of people around the world.”
Cynical scholars of religious history might suggest they’re motivated by jealousy – “stop using dogma to control people, that’s our job!” – but their concerns are no less valid, and the feeling of envy cuts both ways. The single-minded determination of police to break up even those church services scrupulously observing social distancing with worshipers sitting isolated in their cars can only be explained by eschatological jealousy. To truly force the Cult of Corona down the throats of the people, the competition must be eliminated, whether it’s “traditional” religion or logic, reason and the (real) scientific method.
Deprogramming the world from the Cult of Corona cannot be done by force – its backers have too much power, including total control of both establishment and social media. It must be approached strategically. Just as traditional “deprogrammers” will isolate a cult member from the group, reasoning there’s a much better chance of re-awakening the original personality when the person is not experiencing the pressures of groupthink, deprogramming Corona Cultists is best done one-on-one, keeping in mind that cultists will ferociously defend their dogma with thought-stopping techniques which can be extremely irritating to outsiders trying to convey dissenting information. Former “Moonie” Steven Hassan’s BITE model (above) describes how cults exert undue influence and is useful in approaching deprogramming.
The notion of deprogramming entire societies may seem daunting, but it is the only chance humanity has to retain some semblance of freedom and turn back from the dark path down which our species is heading. The ruling class is imposing a comprehensive, multilayered control grid that has been in the works for decades, and when it is complete, revolution will not be an option. Such a future must be avoided at all costs.
The physical book has 300 pages, with 3 colored pictures for every plant and for every medicine.It was written by Claude Davis, whose grandfather was one of the greatest healers in America. Claude took his grandfather’s lifelong plant journal, which he used to treat thousands of people, and adapted it into this book.
The Rockefeller Foundation has presented the “National Covid-19 Testing Action Plan”, indicating the “pragmatic steps to reopen our workplaces and our communities”. However, it is not simply a matter of health measures as it appears from the title.
The Plan – that some of the most prestigious universities have contributed to (Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins and others) – prefigures a real hierarchical and militarized social model.
At the top, the “Pandemic Testing Board (PTB), akin to the War Production Board that the United States created in World War II“. The Pandemic Testing Board would “consist of leaders from business, government and academia” (government representatives would not in the first row, but finance and economic representatives being listed in order of importance).
This Supreme Council would have the power to decide productions and services with an authority similar to that conferred to the President of the United States in wartime by the Defense Production Act.
The plan calls for 3 million US citizens to be Covid-19 tested weekly, and the number should be raised to 30 million per week within six months. The goal is to achieve the ability to Covid-19 test 30 million people a day, which is to be realized within a year.
For each test, “a fair market reimbursement (e.g. $100) for all Covid-19 assays” is expected. Thus, billions of dollars a month of public money will be needed.
The Rockefeller Foundation and its financial partners will help create a network for the provision of credit guarantees and the signing of contracts with suppliers, that is large companies that manufacture drugs and medical equipment.
According to the Plan, the “Pandemic Control Council” is also authorized to create a “Pandemic Response Corps”: a special force (not surprisingly called “Corps” like the Marine Corps) with a staff of 100 to 300 thousand components.
They would be recruited among Peace Corps and Americorps volunteers (officially created by the US government to “help developing countries”) and among National Guard military personnel. The members of the “Pandemic Response Corps” would receive an average gross wage of $40,000 per year, a State expenditure of $4-12 billion a year is expected for it.
The “pandemic response body” would above all have the task of controlling the population with military-like techniques, through digital tracking and identification systems, in work and study places, in residential areas, in public places and when travelling. Systems of this type – the Rockefeller Foundation recalls – are made by Apple, Google and Facebook.
According to the Plan, information on individuals relating to their state of health and their activities would remain confidential “whenever possible”. However, they would all be centralized in a digital platform co-managed by the Federal State and private companies. According to data provided by the “Pandemic Control Council”, it would be decided from time to time which area should be subject to lockdown and for how long.
This, in summary, is the plan the Rockefeller Foundation wants to implement in the United States and beyond. If it were even partially implemented, there would be further concentration of economic and political power in the hands of an even narrower elite sector to the detriment of a growing majority that would be deprived of fundamental democratic rights.
The operation is carried out in the name of “Covid-19 control”, whose mortality rate has so far been less than 0.03% of the US population according to official data. In the Rockefeller Foundation Plan the virus is used as a real weapon, more dangerous than Covid-19 itself.
There is only one solution for the insane mess that goes under the name of ‘democracy’ to day, and that is to return to human scale largely self governing communities.
This was the great cry that went up in 1381 as the farmer revolutionary Wat Tyler jumped up onto a hay cart to denounce the despotic power mongering of the barons operating under the mantle of King Richard II. It was the pronouncement that sparked the ‘peasants revolt’.
Wat and his loyal army of peasants struck a highly resonant chord amongst the down-trodden countryside community of that time. Communities forced to pay poverty inducing tithes to the despotic barons while struggling to feed their families on the meagre acreage accorded to them.
If that sounds familiar, it’s hardly surprising. Just substitute ‘government’ for barons and ‘taxation’ for tithes and one immediately sees how the top down grip over working people has failed to change over the past six hundred or so years.
Keeping that fact in mind, now add the more recent historical advent of big banking, big pharma, monopolised media, global surveillance systems, the military industrial complex and the political/corporate centralisation of power – and you will have in front of you the main new tools of oppression we are faced with today.
The tools may be different but the repression is the same. What is missing is the revolt.
Now when one stops to really consider this situation, we are ready for such a revolt. We are done with fake democracy and undisguised top-down exploitation. The fact that it is tolerated is more a reflection of a lethargic and lack-lustre state of mind, than the fact that to be a slave is a tolerable condition. It isn’t and will never be.
There is an earthy, honest element within the family of man, that has not given-in to the seduction of ‘convenience’ and the shallow narcissistic materialism on display to day. There is an element capable of recognising that, thanks to the increasingly despotic powers of central control, centuries of hard fought gains in justice and dignity now hang by a perilous thread.
Some inspired counterforce needs to rise-up to reinstate them. A Wat Tyler; a people’s revolt; the revival of truth over the lie.
England is a country with a reputation for standing-up for the rights of the individual. For freedom.
So where are these qualities hiding today?
In 2020, with this country half way out of the vampiric clutches of the European Union and half way through a grim story of government imposed home imprisonment, insane ‘social distancing, mad masks and the promise of a completely useless CV-19 testing programme – what are the prospects for the future of the good people of this notorious island?
How can the citizens of 21st century Britain break free?
Wat Tyler is our clue “England should be a nation of self governing communities” declared Tyler as the answer to the relentless top down repression exerted by the arrogant barons.
The peasants revolt, fought with pitchforks, machetes and whatever other weapons could be fashioned out of farmyard tools, took on their oppressors and gave them a good hiding, until the farmer’s hero was publicly knifed in the back in front of the crowd at Smithfield in London, while meeting in open air debate with King Richard II, to negotiate the future of the farming community he had so bravely led out of slavery.
There is unfinished business to be addressed here. Too many times the tyrannical forces of Westminster have pretended to negotiate a better deal for the electorate they are supposed to represent. Too many times they have deceived and betrayed their constituents. Too many times they have sold-out to the forces of greed, power and arrogance. Too many times.
We have now arrived at the point of no return. The madmen and women of Westminster are mocking their electorate with complete disdain. Disdain for the basic needs and rights of all citizens. They are marionettes of the swingeing banking moguls corporate giants and multi billionaire families who between them dictate the agenda for the greater part of the world. The man on the street and in the field is simply a pawn in a calculated, preplanned attempt to enslave humanity.
It’s past time to follow Wat’s proclamation. It’s time to break-out of the centralised control system once and for all and to re-establish ourselves in human scale communities, with human scale technologies and human scale farming practices.
We need to ditch government and become “self governing” so as to run our own lives on our own terms and at our own discretion.