The Center for Intelligence Studies
ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK
The 1981 movie of that title featured Manhattan Island surrounded by a 50-foot wall and lethal booby traps to serve as a free range maximum security prison. Kurt Russell starred as a convict and ex-soldier sent into the prison to rescue the President of the United States, who was taken hostage by a gang leader there after being forced to eject from Air Force One to escape terrorists. Despite the contrived setup, the movie was well received at the box office and became a science fiction cult classic. The conditions inside the prison were a dystopian, post-apocalyptic nightmare – precisely what one would expect in a society of thugs.
It’s often said that art imitates life, but it’s equally true that life imitates art this time in current day Manhattan – which is starting to look like the gutted wasteland in the movie. When the Covid lockdowns last March forced businesses to close, large companies switched to working remotely and discovered they could operate just fine without the expensive downtown offices while many – perhaps most – small businesses that were forced to shut down may never reopen. At least half the restaurants tracked by the Yelp review website are now permanently out of businesses and theaters and museums are expected to remain closed until sometime next year. The city has had its share of Black Lives Matter protests, some peaceful while others degenerated into riots and looting sprees. In response to Leftist demands Mayor de Blasio slashed a billion dollars from the police budget even as crime skyrocketed – and now plans to lay off police officers, teachers, trash collectors, and emergency workers. High income residents are fleeing in droves.
The American Conservative reports that as of May the wealthiest residential areas have seen their populations decrease by at least 40%. More people have left since then, and they are unlikely to return. They are finding that life outside New York in areas with less crime and lower taxes suits them just fine. Governor Andrew Cuomo is practically begging them to return because the city and state desperately need the tax revenue. The top 1% of New York City taxpayers pay nearly 50% of personal income taxes collected -- and personal income tax accounts for 59% of all revenue. Mayor Bill de Blasio doesn’t appear to have gotten the memo as he’s calling for higher taxes on fewer and fewer people, which will likely spur the exodus even more. The people remaining are increasingly those who don’t have the means to leave. New York City has the largest homeless population of any American city, while the number of New Yorkers living below the poverty line would form America’s 7th largest city. More than 400,000 people live in public housing, and another 235,000 receive rent assistance. How New York will deal with its budget shortfall remains to be seen. More riots are a safe bet – not about alleged police brutality, but slashed welfare benefits instead.
And it’s not just New York. It’s widely reported that people are also fleeing California, Illinois and other Blue States and jurisdictions. Reasons cited include astronomical housing costs, high taxes, and out of control left-wing politics. California has seen more people move out of the state than move in for eight years in a row; the total population has not yet dropped because so far the birth rate has made up the difference. Top destinations for these refugees are Florida and Texas – both states that do not have personal income tax.
During the 1960s much ink was spilled pondering the traits of successful presidents. Political scientists initially focused on “Presidential Character,” i.e., the need for Presidents to have both a clear vision of what they wanted to accomplish and the skill and determination to pursue their goals – but that was before Watergate brought moral and character to the fore. Although close observers will rightfully object that Nixon’s fall from grace was orchestrated by Mark Felt – the Acting FBI Director who went rogue after being passed over for the top FBI slot – yet the fact remains that Felt succeeded in deposing Nixon by exploiting his flaws.
By any measure, Joe Biden fails the Presidential Character test miserably on both counts. The vision that Biden’s campaign presents to voters is largely dictated by what his handlers think is popular with voters. For example, Biden initially supported the allegedly peaceful protests, ignoring Antifa terrorists while supporting Black Lives Matter. But that was until polls showed that his support for Antifa and BLM was hurting his election prospects: When the polls showed a majority of Americans wanted the rioting to stop and opposed defunding funding police departments, though with better accountability, Biden did an abrupt about face. An ongoing poll by Civiqs shows that net public support for Black Lives Matter peaked on June 4th and has fallen ever since, will doubtless dampen Biden’s previous enthusiasm for BLM even further.
Interestingly, the Black Lives Matter organization’s Marxist foundation – discussed in last month’s Nightwatch – doesn’t appear to bother Biden or his handlers. It’s the dismal poll numbers they find alarming.
As for Biden’s moral flaws, whispers of sexual perversion that have recently seeped out beyond the Beltway have dogged Biden in DC for decades. Videos of Biden sniffing and groping women – and prepubescent girls – now litter the Internet. One of Biden’s own staffers accused him of digitally raping her in his Senate office building in 1993. Complaints that Biden delights in sexually harassing female Secret Service agents assigned to his protective detail were made public in 2014 when Ronald Kessler published The First Family Detail. The online news site Gateway Pundit reported that a Secret Service agent was suspended for a week in 2009 for shoving the Vice President after Biden “cupped his girlfriend’s breast while the couple was taking a photo with him, and that other agents had to step in “to prevent the agent from hitting the then-Vice President.” Judicial Watch now reports that the Secret Service appears to have indirectly confirmed the incident: Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act request for information on the incident was denied on the grounds that the relevant file had been destroyed in accordance with document retention standards. The Secret Service did not deny the incident happened; it simply claims to no longer have documentation of it.
That said, many might consider Biden’s character a moot point due to his obvious cognitive decline. Washington Free Beacon reports that in recent interviews Biden appears to have read his answers from a teleprompter, including instructions such as “end quote” and “topline message.” This comes after a series of appearances in which Biden has appeared to lose his train of thought and struggled to finish sentences. A former White House stenographer who worked with Biden from 2011 to 2017 says Biden “doesn’t seem to have the same mental acuity as he did four years ago” and is “a different guy” – even his pace of speaking has changed. While Biden has always had a tendency to ramble a bit and go off script in public, he used to have a knack for connecting with his audience and speaking from the hip that is no longer evident. Clearly Joe Biden will not be able to handle the demands of the Presidency.
If the Democrats win the election, either Biden will be eased out of office under the 25th Amendment – and replaced as President by Kamala Harris – or as with President Wilson after suffering a stroke in 1919, unknown handlers will make all the decisions for him.
That the Democrats would insist on running a candidate so obviously unfit for office is more than mind boggling. The fact that they’re willing to entrust America’s 6000 or so nuclear weapons to a pervert struggling with senility is incomprehensible.
EVER GROWING CHALLENGES IN THE ARCTIC
The frozen Arctic rarely comes up in everyday conversation, but its importance to the world’s security is increasing steadily. The Arctic Institute and High North News report that Russia, China, and the US are all eager to exploit Arctic resources and are rapidly increasing their infrastructure there to do so.
Russia’s coastline spans about half the Arctic Circle. As the ice in the Circle lessens, the Northern Sea Route’s importance for cargo shipping increases, as it will permit merchant ships to cut at least ten days off the voyage between Europe and Asia – and for that reason, Russia is expanding its commercial and military infrastructure along the Arctic coastline. The US has raised concerns about the increased military fortifications, especially with regard to new air defense bases and missile systems, but so far the level of military activity there appears lower than it was during the Cold War. In the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse, Russia allowed military activities there to lapse, probably from a lack of resources. Part of the reason the for now-resumed build up is that much of Russia’s oil and natural gas production is within the Arctic, but the greater reason is probably Putin’s ongoing effort to modernize his country’s defense capabilities. It’s worth noting from a security viewpoint that Russia previously carried out many far north military exercises with Norway, France, the UK, and the US that enhanced cooperation between Russia and NATO; unfortunately those exercises have been on hold since the Ukraine crisis in 2014. Nonetheless, the US does recognize that Russia has legitimate interests in the region and does appreciate Russia’s cooperation in the Arctic Council on pollution and oil spill response issues.
Since China’s closest territory to the Arctic is actually about 900 miles away from it, China has literally bought influence there by investing in other countries’ infrastructure. It began with joint research stations and moved into commercial ventures. Because US sanctions caused Western companies to bail out of partnerships with Russian companies, China has stepped up to partner with Russia on Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) projects and pipelines as well as financing some of the new Russian ports along the NSR. China has also invested in an LNG Canada project in Northern British Columbia as well as a nickel mine in northern Quebec. A Hong Kong company has taken over an iron ore mine in Greenland, while a Chinese company experienced in mountainous terrain is involved with bridge projects in central and Northern Norway. Another Chinese company is working with an Icelandic company to explore for oil off Iceland’s northeast coast, and Chinese shipbuilders are now marketing heavy polar icebreakers – the design developed with a Finnish company – and China has 2 icebreakers of its own conducting research in the Arctic. These are only a few examples.
Although Denmark has expressed concern that some Chinese communications and space observation research have dual civilian and military applications, Europeans seem to view China as a valuable trading partner. President Trump was ridiculed in 2019 for (perhaps jokingly) suggesting the US should purchase Greenland from Denmark, but it’s all right for China to purchase critical infrastructure piecemeal. China’s declaration of itself as a “Near-Arctic State” raises eyebrows, but its economic power has brought it Observer status in the Arctic Council since 2013.
In contrast, American Arctic policy appears to be more of a reaction to the other countries instead of crafting a new vision. Russia has 38 active icebreakers, so the US wants to develop a fleet of polar icebreakers by 2029.
The US currently has 2 – one heavy and one medium. A third icebreaker is under construction, but it won’t be ready for service until 2025. Russia’s new icebreaker, the Ivan Papanin, is designed to carry cruise missiles, so the US wants to “adequately arm” its future icebreakers. Russia has nuclear icebreakers escorting commercial ships along the Northern Sea Route, so the US wants nuclear icebreakers too – apparently for no other reason than the Russians have them. Canada, Japan, Sweden, Norway, and Finland have their own icebreakers and are not requesting assistance here.
The US has had a presence in the Kingdom of Denmark’s frozen territory since the end of World War 2, but China’s acquisition of a mine in Greenland – and attempts to acquire other properties there – prompted the US to offer a $12.1 million aid package to Denmark’s autonomous territory and to reopen the consulate in Greenland’s capital. The aid package will fund energy and resource development and rural sustainable development – and the consulate will no doubt help US intelligence keep an eye on the Chinese there. The US hopes the aid will “jumpstart” a new beginning for the US to “become the partner of choice for Arctic states.” From the look of things, the US has a lot of catching up to do.
RUSSIA/CHINA WAR GAMES
Nikkei Asian Review reports that as tension grows between the US and its two rivals, Russia and China are increasing their joint military exercises. The latest is this year’s International Army Games, an annual contest organized by the Russian Defense Ministry that will include about 30 countries and combines traditional military drills with competitions, e.g., a tank biathlon. Russia and China have conducted multiple joint naval drills every year since 2012 and initiated strategic bomber patrols in July 2019. China is also participating more in Russia’s annual strategic exercises. These war games allow China to learn from Russia’s greater combat experience while Russia learns about Chinese military technology – China has surpassed Russia in several areas, such as long-range unmanned aerial drones. The exercises also help personnel get used to working with each other on the battlefield. Although both countries are members of the eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization – a quasi military alliance – Russia and China have not yet entered into a formal bilateral military pact, but it’s more than plausible to assume the two countries will one day want or need to conduct a joint military operation. The example offered to the reporter was that of a conflict in Central Asia threatening the interests of both Russia and China, but it doesn’t take much imagination to think of other scenarios targeting an overextended and outdated US military. Although President Trump made a determined effort to lure Russia away from China, it’s by now apparent that his gambit failed. Our two main rivals are moving closer rather than apart – and that’s bad news for the United States.
IRAN UNDER ATTACK?
The Times of Israel and the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis (MECRA) report that Iran suffered fifteen explosions and fires between June 26th and July 19th. Locations include industrial complexes, power plants, petrochemical plants, a medical center, a possible missile production site and a nuclear enrichment facility. A few might be accidents – Iranian infrastructure is under severe pressure from US sanctions, and a power plant fire was plausibly blamed on an exploding transformer – but others are suspected acts of sabotage or cyberattack. It is not publicly known who is responsible, although there is widespread speculation that Israel is behind them – possible retaliation for a May cyberattack on its water system that tried to increase the level of chlorine or other chemicals in the water. Israel blamed Iran for that – and had it succeeded, hundreds of people would have been sickened and/or thousands would have been left without water during a heat wave due to a safety shut off. The Israelis regarded the cyberattack as a significant escalation, because it targeted civilian infrastructure – something both Iran and Israel have previously avoided. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz responded to the speculation by saying, “Not every event that happens in Iran is connected to us,” but added that he did “not refer to any individual event.” Other media outlets cited unnamed sources claiming that while Israel was not responsible for all the incidents, it was responsible for the explosion at the Natanz nuclear enrichment site that destroyed some centrifuges. An Iranian news outlet has since announced that the Natanz explosion was caused by a bomb planted by a contractor named Ershad Karimi; the motive was not given, and cynics might be forgiven for considering him a fall guy to save face for the authorities.
While blaming Israel seems to be the default reaction in the Middle East, it’s not without reason. The 2010 Stuxnet worm that caused considerable damage to Iran’s nuclear program is thought by malware experts to be a joint project between the US and Israel. Other nation states with the resources to conduct such attacks would include Russia and China, but both of those countries have been working with Iran on trade and development deals. It’s not likely they would sabotage an ally in their efforts to undermine the US.
Interestingly, there is also speculation that some of the sabotage is a domestic attempt to tarnish President Rouhani’s public image, citing hundreds of fires across the country since March. There has been a great deal of tension in the Iranian Parliament between Rouhani’s moderate reformist group and the more conservative members on how to deal with the pandemic and with severe economic problems as well. There has even been an attempt to pass a no confidence motion. Curiously, once Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei blocked the motion the number of fires and explosions fell off significantly.
Coincidence? The next presidential election is scheduled in May 2021 – so we shall see if the explosions and fires resume then.
MULTICULTURALISM: NORMALIZING RAPE
Nightwatch readers have probably already heard claims by the extreme Left that it’s impossible for Whites to be victimized by minorities. Gatestone Institute reports that blaming women – White women, that is – for being raped is now suddenly back in style across the West. In Europe, White women who report rape by Muslims to the police are often accused of being racists both by the police and by “Progressives” in their communities. Britain has gotten the most publicity since the exposure of Pakistani grooming gangs in Rotherham, but it’s also happening in Germany, Austria, Norway and Sweden – all countries that have accepted large numbers of Muslim migrants for humanitarian reasons, but have since allowed the criminals among them to run wild. Unni Wikan, a female professor of social anthropology at the University of Oslo, has been quoted as saying, “Women must take their share of responsibility for these rapes” because Muslim men find their clothes provocative. She also said, “Norwegian women must realize that we live in a Multicultural society and adapt themselves to it.” Over and over again rape victims have been told to not go out alone, to dress less provocatively, to dye their blonde hair a darker color. In other words, Western women should be dressing and behaving like Muslim women from the stricter sects. In the past immigrants were expected to adapt to their new culture; now the West is telling its citizenry to adapt to the immigrants instead.
A Multicultural society that adapts itself to Muslim newcomers will not remain Multicultural for long. It will – in effect, if not in belief – become an extension of the Muslim culture. Any Westerners expecting Muslim immigrants to adapt to the West are deluding themselves. As Nightwatch discussed in April 2019, Prof. Ruud Koopmans of the Berlin Social Science Center concluded after twenty years of studying assimilation that Muslim migrants are far more resistant to integration than other migrant groups due to the fundamentalist interpretation of Islam prevalent among them. Koopmans acknowledged there were Muslim individuals who had integrated into Western society, but his study showed these individuals were unusual. The greater the number of Muslim migrants in an area, the more the Muslims clung to their traditional attitudes. Unfortunately, this includes the attitude that non-Muslim women are whores who can be abused without repercussion.
It should be noted that moderate Muslims have issued similar warnings. Breitbart reported in 2016 and in 2017 that Dr. Bassam Tibi – a Syrian Muslim who moved to Germany at the age of 18 and later became a German citizen – roundly criticized the German government for its handling of the migrant crisis. Dr. Tibi said that the West needs to be more careful which migrants it admits to avoid “economic migrants” forming “parallel societies” in large cities. Some migrants come to the West expecting to be given luxurious lifestyles at taxpayer expense – and when the reality doesn’t meet their expectations, they lash out. Dr. Tibi stated the obvious, observing that rape is a weapon of war and of vengeance. In his view the Muslim migrants raping German women do so to not only humiliate the women but also the German men who have failed to protect them. Dr. Tibi contends that the German police’s “fear of the racist accusation” is greater than their fear of a decline in public order or safety – which leads migrants to view police as wimps. His comments about the German police can also be said about the police in other Western countries as well – the police who refuse to circulate descriptions of rapists, who tell women not to go out alone, and who tell blonde women to dye their hair are either unable or unwilling to protect female citizens from attack. Their unwillingness to protect the public encourages the perpetrators to commit more attacks – especially since many of these rapes were coordinated attacks by gangs, not random crimes of opportunity.
It should be obvious that changing a non-Muslim Western woman’s clothes doesn’t change the fact that she is a non-Muslim Westerner. Dr.Tibi’s description of rape as a weapon of war is true around the world and throughout history. From the very beginning of militant Islam, Muslim warriors have been allowed to attack infidels and to keep captured goods, women, and children as their own property. This is in fact the religious justification that the Islamic State used to keep Yazidi women and girls as sex slaves and that its West African offshoot Boko Haram used to kidnap Nigerian Christian girls. The fundamentalist Muslim rapists see themselves as honorable men taking what is their due. The Western authorities who shrug it off and blame the victims are throwing women’s hard won rights under the bus – surrendering not to Muslim migrants, but to Muslim colonists instead.
The appalling reality is that European political leaders have deliberately and self-consciously chosen to sacrifice their women and surrender their countries to sustain their Multiculturalist Delusion.
When rioters set fire to St. John’s Episcopal Church on May 31st, it made headlines because of the church’s proximity to the White House. Other church burnings since then have received little attention in the Mainstream Media (MSM). Daily Wire and The Federalist report that on the July 11th weekend at least four Catholic churches in four states were vandalized and burned. In addition there have been other incidents in which statues of the Virgin Mary and saints have been vandalized. When activists such as Shaun King called for the destruction of all art depicting Jesus and Mary as White Europeans on the grounds that the art is a tool of white supremacy and oppression, it was all but certain that rioters already toppling statues deemed racist would move on to desecrate churches. King – who is White, but spent decades passing as Black – is apparently fine with African, Asian, and Indian art depicting Jesus as a member of those respective ethnic groups; it’s only the depiction of a White Jesus that he has a problem with.
And then on August 1st, videos and photos began circulating on social media of rioters in Portland, Oregon burning a stack of Bibles in front of the federal courthouse. This wanton act of blasphemy was ignored by the Mainstream Media, which is still peddling the narrative that the rioters are merely peaceful protesters demanding racial justice. The reality is that the Black Lives Matter and Antifa groups are attacking American society itself, including its Christian foundations. Gatestone Institute reports that a recent survey shows over two-thirds of Americans support the Black Lives Matter movement – which raises serious questions of how much Americans know about the organization. Two of the three BLM founders are self-proclaimed “trained Marxists.”
BLM began in 2013, ostensibly as an effort to seek justice for Blacks. It now has nearly forty chapters and thousands of activists in the US, Canada, and Great Britain. In BLM’s view, Blacks are permanent victims of systemic racism, so the only way to fix that is to completely dismantle American society – and presumably also Canadian and British societies – and replace it with a Marxist one.
The “Western-prescribed nuclear family structure” is to be replaced with villages “that collectively care for one another”. The police and prisons are to be abolished because policing supposedly began as slave patrols. Heterosexual privilege is to be dismantled in order to uplift Black transgender people. Capitalism is to be abolished because it is supposedly inherently racist or “patriarchal” and replaced with a Marxist conomy and collective ownership. And of course Christianity is “a tool of oppression” – a modern rewording of Marx’s “opiate of the masses.”
As for equality and racial justice, what BLM actually promotes is Black Supremacy. The plan is to exacerbate racial tensions because inner city Blacks are a “natural force” of rebellion to lead the fight against capitalism. The fight is literal as well as figurative: The leader of the Greater New York chapter has informed the media that BLM is developing a trained militia modeled on the Black Panthers. Ironically, the Marxist organizer widely credited as the “grandfather” of BLM and the mentor of BLM founder Patrice Cullors is none other than Eric Mann, a former member of the Weather Underground. Mann knew perfectly well what he was starting and actively encouraged it. The only thing that stopped him from starting BLM himself was his race: Mann is White.
A BARELY ACKNOWLEDGED THREAT
Forbes reports that China has developed the ability to conduct a first-strike Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) attack on the US – and the ability to withstand an in-kind retaliatory strike. The EMP Task Force on National and Homeland Security says that China used stolen US technology to develop a network of satellites, high-speed missiles, and super-EMP weapons capable of taking down America’s electric grid, frying communications, and even destroying aircraft carriers. Chinese military doctrine has already incorporated scenarios using high altitude weapons to conduct a surprise EMP attack on the US. It should be noted that Russia, North Korea, and Iran can also carry out less sophisticated but nonetheless devastating EMP attacks.
The EMP Task Force emphasizes the danger from China because it appears to have a system already in place and because China is becoming more aggressive globally. The June border clashes in the Himalayas between China and India were quickly dropped by the media, but the region is still a powder keg and has been since the 1962 Sino-Indian War when China successfully seized the Aksai Chin region from India. The media similarly downplays China’s territory grabbing in the South China Sea. Crippling the US would remove the largest impediment to China’s ambitions, so any Americans scoffing at the notion of China taking down the US – such as Joe Biden – need a serious wake up call. China spends about the same percentage of its GDP on its military as the US does and has impressive results to show for it, e.g. a new generation of nuclear subs, the DF-21 missile that can take out satellites as well as ships, and rocket launch vehicles capable of carrying twenty warheads.
The stark reality is that a single small, high altitude EMP burst could knock out the power grid for approximately half the US; two would thrust the entire country back to, roughly, 1850 – but without the steam infrastructure of that era. According to experts, if that were to happen an estimated 90 percent of the population would die within the first year from starvation and disease.
The dangers posed by an EMP attack have been well known since at least the 1980s, but little effort has been made to harden the power grid against it. President Trump did sign an executive order last year, instructing federal agencies to identify needed measures and to implement them.
But that’s just a start. There’s still a long, long way to go.
Although no one seems willing to address the issue, the frustration and anger resulting from the months-long Covid-19 lockdown unquestionably contributed to the explosive protests and riots that rocked the nation after the death of George Floyd. Had The Powers That Be been paying attention, they would have noticed the peaceful but escalating protests on the Internet. One of them was the proliferation of female nudity.
Female nudity as a form of protest has a long and colorful history. According to legend, the 11th century Lady Godiva rode naked through the streets of Coventry to protest a burdensome tax levied by her husband, the Earl of Mercia. She asked her husband several times to lift the tax, but he refused until one day – annoyed by her repeated requests – he challenged her to ride through the town unclothed. She called his bluff and made the ride, so he granted the people tax relief. Many historians consider the tale apocryphal because the oldest known written account was made two centuries after the event was supposed to have taken place by a suspect chronicler, but Lady Godiva was an historical figure known for her charitable acts. Whether she actually made her famous ride or not, breaking the taboo of public nudity has since become firmly established as a means of feminine protest.
Men also violate the taboo occasionally and often more aggressively. The New York Post reported last April that a tip hotline set up for New York City residents to turn each other in for social distancing violations was flooded with photos of extended middle fingers and male genitalia. The hotline had to be shut down briefly to clear out these photos along with texts of profane suggestions and memes depicting Mayor de Blasio as Hitler; the restored hotline still required vetting procedures before tips could be passed on to local police departments.
But public nudity as a means of protest is occasionally both tasteful and strikingly effective. The New York Post also reported that German and French healthcare workers posted nude photos of themselves on the internet – using strategically placed medical equipment or books – to protest the lack of masks and other proper personal protection gear. Reuters reported that Russian restaurant and bar workers have posted similar nude photos to protest their loss of employment during the lockdown while supermarkets were allowed to remain open; as of June 1st Russian restaurants are still closed even though hair salons and shopping malls are reopening. Closer to home, the online Reddit community of Nude Selfies – created for women with exhibitionist tendencies in 2016 – was briefly flooded with posts captioned by often caustic banners protesting the virus lockdown. Interestingly, the protest photographs were often more artful and skillfully done than others posted for prurient reasons alone.
AND THE MORE VIOLENT SORT
Links between sex and violence are well established but not well understood. In his book Civilization and its Discontents, Sigmund Freud controversially theorized that civilization required its members to repress their sexual and aggressive instincts to maintain social order, and that those repressed instincts could cause neuroses. In his view, psychotherapy should help poorly adapted neurotics develop more effective means of dealing with the demands society placed upon them.
Though doubtless true in part, Freud’s work was later misrepresented during the ‘50s and ‘60s to present sex as the solution to all the world’s problems. Peace activists popularized the slogan “Make Love Not War” in the misguided belief that aggression could be defused by freely available and uninhibited sex. The smarter activists probably knew better, and were exploiting a distorted version of Freud to undermine Western civilization by liberating sex from traditional legal, moral and even biological restrictions through birth control. In the process, they turned Freud’s theory on its head: Rather than helping the maladapted to better adjust to the demands of society, they sought to change society to accommodate the maladapted.
The reality is that sex, the threat of violence, and actual violence often go hand in hand. The nude Covid-19 protests were soon followed by in person gatherings with armed protesters, as it became clear the US death tolls were a fraction of what had been predicted – due to faulty prediction models, not to the efficacy of social distancing and lockdowns. Michigan in particular made international news on April 30th when armed protesters gathered inside the Michigan Capitol building while the legislature was in session. Per the Guardian, police allowed them in because it is legal to openly carry firearms in the state Capitol. The Michigan lockdown was acknowledged as the most severe in the country, and protesters claimed with good reason that it violated their constitutional rights. No shots were fired, but the implicit threat ruffled a lot of leftwing feathers. Despite the wide reporting about the faulty Covid-19 models, the Left continued to insist that the frustrated people who wanted to end the lockdowns and go back to work were selfish grandma killers.
Then on May 25th, a Black man named George Floyd died while after being restrained by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota for allegedly trying to pass a counterfeit bill. The White officer filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes has been charged with second degree murder – i.e., not premeditated – while the other three officers involved have been charged with aiding and abetting the same.
The subsequent Black Lives Matter protests were at first peaceful, echoing the “I can’t breathe” chants after the 2014 death of Eric Garner in custody of New York police. They were quickly followed by vandalism and riots in Minneapolis, which were soon followed by violent upheavals in other major US cities, including Washington, DC. Several states called out National Guard units, and President Trump asked Defense Secretary Mark Esper for plans to deploy military police if needed. The same Leftists calling for continued virus lockdowns suddenly decided it was all right to leave home to protest; apparently it’s okay to kill Grandma if it furthers a Leftist cause. Having gutted or looted hundreds of businesses – many and perhaps most of which were minority-owned – the protesters in Minneapolis are now calling to defund police departments.
What looks like a chaotic burst of insanity has components that should be picked out and analyzed.
The Black Lives Matter protests allow Blacks and Guilty White Liberals to vent, but they are done in a way that divides the public and ensures that nothing will be done to improve conditions. The protests focus on Black victims of police brutality while ignoring victims of other races. People who want to address police excesses across the board are quickly sidelined and ignored in favor of the BLM narrative and claims that White Supremacy’s at fault. Nothing changes, outrages still occur from time to time and nationwide street protests follow.
In Minneapolis the BLM protests were quickly hijacked by often well organized vandals, looters, and arsonists. Andy Ngo and other independent journalists reported this pattern was repeated in the other cities: Whites clad in black began smashing storefront windows and encouraged bystanders to do the same. After the crowd smashed and looted the businesses, the mysterious black clad provocateurs started fires with chemical accelerants in what appeared to be professionally executed arson attacks, and in some cities they identified as Antifa – militant Communist thugs dedicated to what they euphemistically call “direct action.”
As noted above, the burnt out businesses included small proprietorships owned by Blacks as well as others owned by major chains such as Target and Walmart. Residents of the worst hit neighborhoods now have nowhere to buy groceries and other supplies, a fact that has caused them additional hardship. The ease with which the crowds were incited to riot and loot suggests a great deal of pent up frustration with both the virus lockdowns and police misconduct, while credible intelligence sources also report that Russia, China, and Iran ramped up their cyber ops during this period with fake social media accounts that amplified calls for violence and insurrection; it’s a safe bet these countries are also helping fund the provocateurs as part of their continuing efforts to destabilize the US. That rioters in DC attacked the Supreme Court and Treasury buildings and menaced the White House was hardly coincidental.
At the time of this writing, the organized provocateurs apparently chose to leave rather than square off against National Guardsmen. Demonstrations continue with some police – and even FBI – units kneeling in solidarity with the protesters. Such submissiveness might help calm the immediate situation, but it makes the authorities look weak and undoubtedly emboldens future protesters. Photos circulating on social media of Guilty White Liberals prostrating themselves before Black protesters are widening the racial divide, not narrowing it. The situation remains volatile as the states are only now coming out of lockdown, with record unemployment combined with record business bankruptcies – not to mention the miserable condition of the poor souls whose lives and livelihoods were destroyed by the lockdowns or the riots.
And criminals that looted their own neighborhood businesses and twerked in front of the burning buildings are still there, waiting for the next spark.
CHINESE PROPAGANDA IN AMERICA: BUYING THE MSM
Chinese propaganda is not limited to social media. Daily Caller reports that China has paid American newspapers nearly $19 million over the past four years to publish an inserted supplement called “China Watch” written by China Daily, an English language newspaper controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. The supplement is designed to look like regular news, but it’s written with such a strong pro-Beijing slant that it is indeed propaganda. For example, one piece claimed that US tariffs on Chinese lumber would raise the cost of building homes in the US, clearly an attempt to turn the public against the Trump Administration’s tariffs. The newspapers paid by China Daily include Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Chicago Tribune, Houston Chronicle, and Boston Globe. The Justice Department has long required China Daily to file Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) reports. The most recent filing on June 1st is the first to detail payments to American papers and covers the period between November 2016 and April 2020, but it’s not known how accurate the numbers really are. They appear to indicate that advertising expenditures have slowed since last December.
But Chinese propaganda isn’t limited to print alone. Daily Caller also reports that PBS affiliates are airing a documentary produced in conjunction with CGTN, another Chinese state-controlled media outlet that is registered as a foreign agent with the Justice Department. The documentary, “Voices from the Frontline: China’s War on Poverty,” praises President Xi Jinping and claims that China’s economic development over the last forty years has lifted more than 700 million people out of poverty. The credits show it was produced by “The Kuhn Foundation and PBS SoCal in association with CGTN,” but the program does not mention that CGTN is controlled by the Chinese government or that producer Robert Lawrence Kuhn has worked with Chinese leaders for over thirty years – or that Kuhn has been awarded the China Reform Friendship Medal for his efforts. He recently appeared on CGTN to praise China’s handling of the Covid-19 outbreak for its transparency and success in containing new diseases – a view decidedly not shared by the health experts and government officials around the world, who have roundly criticized China for providing false information about the outbreak and allowing it to spread to other countries. Other PBS affiliates have either shown the documentary or plan to do so soon. PBS SoCal provided Daily Caller with a press release for the documentary but did not respond to a list of questions. It’s worth noting that PBS SoCal received over $5 million in federal funding last year – which means that US tax dollars were spent, directly or indirectly, in support of Chinese propaganda. This type of malfeasance is but one of many reasons conservatives want to end government funding for the PBS corporation.
MALTA: A BASE FOR CHINESE ESPIONAGE?
The Guardian reports there are suspicions that China is using Malta to spy on Belgium and the European Union. China has been pursuing various cooperation agreements with Malta for several years. One such agreement led to China donating furniture and equipment to the Maltese embassy in Brussels in 2007. Belgium’s internal security service later confirmed it had investigated the possibility that the furniture had been bugged for espionage purposes, but insisted that no evidence of espionage activity had been found. The Maltese government stated the furniture had been scanned before installation and that 80% of it has since been replaced anyway. There are, however, other concerns: In 2014 Malta became the first European country to sign a memorandum of understanding with China on its Belt and Road Initiative, and the state-owned Shanghai Electric Power soon bought a 33% stake in Enemalta, a Maltese energy company. As Nightwatch has previously discussed, China is using such investments to gain financial control over smaller countries, so Malta’s days as a fully independent nation might soon be over. Wealthy Chinese citizens have also been taking advantage of Malta’s golden visa program, which confers Maltese residency in exchange for investing in Maltese government bonds. The residency allows the holder to travel freely throughout the EU’s Schengen Area. Given the Chinese propensity for using its nationals to collect information on their travels, this travel privilege provides a significant advantage to its “citizen spies.” Although the EU has reportedly complained to Malta that it needs guard against the abuse of the golden visa program, Malta has yet to make any changes.
FLYNN WAS SET UP
Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to making false statements to the FBI about contacts with the Russian ambassador prior to President Trump’s inauguration. The Federalist explains that his sentencing was delayed as then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller said he was cooperating with the commission. After the Special Counsel’s office was closed, however, Flynn fired his Covington & Burling attorneys and replaced them with Sidney Powell, a critic of the Mueller investigation. Powell filed motions seeking dismissal of the indictment for prosecutorial misconduct and seeking documents the government had improperly withheld. Judge Sullivan denied the motions and set a new sentencing date. The prosecutor then filed a supplemental sentencing memorandum to reverse the government’s recommendation for a reduced sentence -- apparently because Flynn refused to testify at a former business partner’s trial that he knew their FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act) filing was inaccurate or fraudulent. Powell promptly filed three motions to withdraw Flynn’s guilty plea based on the government’s breach of the plea agreement, on prosecutorial misconduct, and on claims that Flynn’s Covington attorneys had provided him with ineffective counsel due to a conflict of interest. Judge Sullivan delayed sentencing again and directed Covington to provide material related to the ineffective counsel claims. Soon after this Attorney General William Barr appointed the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, Jeffrey Jensen, to review the government’s handling of Flynn’s prosecution.
Now Just the News reports that the review has produced new evidence showing Flynn was indeed set up by the FBI. Memos and text messages reveal the FBI had “no derogatory” evidence against Flynn and planned to close the case with a briefing. Peter Strzok intervened, telling the case manager to keep it open. Strzok and another agent interviewed Flynn on January 24, 2017, and that interview is what the government used against Flynn to obtain his guilty plea. Notes written by Strzok’s supervisor William Priestap express concerns by Priestap that the FBI was approaching Flynn too aggressively and would be seen by the White House as “playing games.” Priestap’s notes even ask, “What is our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?” Text messages between Strzok and Lisa Page show that Priestap went to then-Director James Comey and then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe with his concerns, but Comey and McCabe wanted the interview to proceed. It’s worth noting that Strzok did not show Flynn any transcripts to refresh his memory and that Strzok downplayed the nature of the interview to Flynn so Flynn would not think it necessary to have an attorney present. This was at best an entrapment scheme and the case against Flynn should be thrown out of court. As to why the FBI targeted Flynn, there has been widespread speculation that’s it’s either revenge because Flynn antagonized the Obama Administration by opposing their policies – such as the Iran nuclear deal – or because they wanted to sabotage President Trump by depriving him of an experienced National Security Advisor who would help him get the DC agencies back in line and reverse disastrous Obama Administration policies – such as the Iran nuclear deal. The reality is the FBI considers itself to be the Praetorian Guard, whose primary mission is to protect the Establishment rather than the nation.
Update: On May 7th it was widely reported that the Department of Justice had decided to drop the case against Flynn. US Attorney Jensen concluded “the proper and just course was to dismiss the case” because the FBI had no “legitimate investigative basis” to conduct the January 2017 interview. Attorney General Barr agreed with the recommendation, and a motion was accordingly filed to dismiss the case with prejudice. At the time of this writing, Judge Sullivan has not yet ruled on the motion. In fact he has taken the unusual step of appointing an amicus curiae to present arguments in opposition to the government’s motion to dismiss. Evidently His Honor is irritated by the DOJ’s behavior and intends to put them through the wringer for it. Interestingly, lead prosecutor Brandon Van Grack has withdrawn from the case; he did not give a reason, but prosecutors have withdrawn from cases before to protest actions of their superiors. On top of all that nearly 2000 former DOJ employees have signed a petition circulated by the Leftist nonprofit Protect Democracy calling for Barr’s resignation, and high profile Democrats are having meltdowns on social media, declaring that the Rule of Law is dead if Flynn doesn’t go to jail.
BUT HILLARY GOT A FREE PASS
During the 2016 election the FBI conducted an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private, unsecured server for her government emails. Then-Director James Comey held a press conference in July 2016 in which he criticized Clinton and her staff for their carelessness with classified information, but he also recommended that no charges should be brought against her.
Leftist public figures had no complaints about Clinton being allowed to skate despite her blatant disregard of security procedures and strong evidence that her server had been hacked by Chinese operatives and perhaps four other intelligence services as well. In fact Democrats criticized Comey for holding the press conference because they thought giving public attention to Clinton’s misdeeds would hurt her chances in the election. The Bureau also ignored the Rule of Law: Trending Politics reports that then-FBI General Counsel James Baker has admitted that the FBI had enough evidence to convict Clinton, but they chose not to indict her because they thought she would win the election. Baker placed their decision within the context of a dilemma: Ignoring the law was bad, but indicting an elected President before she took office was “not a good place for the country.”
Baker’s claim was disingenuous at best: The FBI had ample evidence to indict Hillary well before the election. And while that would have forced the Democrats to field a different candidate with a lesser chance of success, it wouldn’t have torn the country apart the way the Bureau’s phony counterintelligence operation against President Trump did.
Despite high profile and heavily publicized criminal arrests, the FBI is not and perhaps never has been a law enforcement agency. It is the Establishment’s Praetorian Guard; unreformed and unreformable, it poses a clear and present danger to the Republic.
COVID-19: MALPRACTICE AND FRAUD IN NY?
News Corp Australia reports that some doctors and nurses are speaking out against inappropriate medical procedures for COVID-19 patients in New York City: Specifically, the intubating of patients and placing them on closed system ventilators. The ventilators are high pressure and cause even more damage to the lungs than the virus already has, which is why so few patients survive it. It is supposed to be a last resort, yet one nurse said she saw patients who were mentally alert and able to speak coherently being intubated – in other words, patients she thought were not ill enough to warrant such a desperate measure and who might have lived if they had been given different treatment. That nurse actually used the word “murder” to describe the situation. Patients are consenting to the procedure because they don’t know any better, and they are not allowed visits under quarantine from relatives who might otherwise have been able to advocate for them. She also said patients were being left “to rot and die” because medical staff are not entering the rooms to visually assess patients and frequently make no attempt to resuscitate patients whose hearts stop working. One doctor who tried to get his hospital to change procedures was transferred out of the Intensive Care Unit to the Emergency Room. One nurse practitioner said that she had spoken to friends and colleagues in other cities; the same inappropriate treatment is happening elsewhere though apparently not on as large a scale as in New York.
It should be noted there are plenty of other treatments being discussed both through professional medical channels and through social media. Elon Musk was widely criticized in Mainstream Media for donating noninvasive CPAP and BiPAP breathing machines to New York hospitals, but he did so because the Chinese doctors he consulted told him the noninvasive equipment had yielded much better results in their experience. Use of the high pressure ventilators is being justified with the claim that the noninvasive machines might be more likely to spread the virus because they are not closed systems. Critics point out that CPAP machines cost only $500 compared to the $25,000 to $50,000 cost for ventilators -- insurance payments to the hospitals are accordingly much higher for the ventilators, raising questions about whether hospitals are pushing patients onto ventilators simply to get more money. Many doctors report they are getting excellent results with Vitamin C and cocktails of antimalarial and antiviral drugs for moderate cases. For severe cases, there is a growing consensus that death is caused by hyper-inflammation and blood clotting leading to organ failure, so corticosteroids and blood thinners are recommended additions to the treatment mix.
Project Veritas reports that New York City is also padding the COVID-19 death rates. According to one theory, they’re inflating the numbers to get more federal funding. Another theory is that medical examiners are overworked and are simply assigning COVID-19 as the cause of death when they’re too busy to do proper investigations. The experience of a woman in New York supports the latter: She convinced a state Supreme Court justice to order an autopsy for her sister because she knew her sister had died from Alzheimer’s complications and was not treated for COVID-19; the autopsy verified that COVID-19 was not involved. As a result of institutional fudging or exhausted medical examiners, it’s simply not possible to know the actual COVID-19 death rate for other similarly afflicted cities. This does not mean that COVID-19 is a hoax, but it does obscure the true scope of the problem.
New York and other hot spots aren’t the only problem: There have been widespread complaints across the US and in Italy that people dying with COVID-19 in their system are assumed to have died from it no matter what other medical conditions they also had. Off-Guardian reports that Italy’s National Institute of Health took a closer look at that country’s statistics and found that only 12% of the death certificates citing COVID-19 attributed direct causality to the virus. The other 88% of the COVID-19 deaths had at least one other pre-morbidity – e.g., cancer or heart disease – and many patients had two or three. It’s distinctly possible that these people died from those other conditions and would have done so even without the presence of the virus.
CHINESE PROPAGANDA IN OVERDRIVE
Since the coronavirus outbreak in China was first reported by international news outlets, China has fought to maintain its image. When censoring failed to hide the problem, the Chinese press emphasized the speedy construction of new hospitals devoted to COVID-19 patients. China didn’t have enough personal protection equipment for its own medical personnel at the onset, but since ending its lockdown it’s been shipping supplies around the world – on the condition that officials in recipient nations publicly praise China. Axios reports that Italy, Serbia, Mexico, and Poland all effusively thanked China in the media because they felt they wouldn’t get the supplies otherwise. In contrast, similar shipments from Germany, France, and the EU have received little publicity. China is reportedly being so pushy it might be backfiring, alienating officials who had initially welcomed the idea of working with China in a unified global response to the pandemic.
This is, of course, on top of the continuing efforts to cast doubt on Chinese origin of the coronavirus, and outrageously false claims that China bought the rest of the world time to prepare. The latter claim is an amazing act of rewriting history, considering how heavily China censored coverage in an attempt to make the situation appear normal – or at least under control – and allowed large numbers of infected people to travel to other countries and spread the virus. Instead of being praised China deserves widespread condemnation for its deceit. China’s efforts to cloud the origins of the virus go beyond talking. AFP and Yahoo News report that China has suspended beef imports from four major Australian suppliers in retaliation for Australia calling for an independent inquiry into the virus. The Chinese ambassador to Australia has told the press that it likely won’t stop there, suggesting that the Chinese public might stop buying other Australian products as well and might choose to vacation elsewhere -- in countries friendlier to China. Perhaps China is protesting too much...
The New York Post reports that China is also attempting to burnish its image abroad by officially reclassifying dogs as pets rather than livestock and by banning the breeding, trading, and consumption of wild animals. The Humane Society International praised the legislation, hoping it signaled “a game-changer moment for animal protection in China,” but the reality is that the controversial wet markets reopened after the lockdowns were lifted. As ADVChina has explained several times, local officials selectively – and often whimsically – enforce laws and regulations.
As a result, practices that are integral to Chinese life rarely change: The annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival is reportedly scheduled to begin June 21st this year – on the summer solstice as usual. The announcement of the new regulations, however, gives the appearance to the rest of the world that China is seeking to improve treatment of animals and market sanitation, and that is what most of the public will remember. Unfortunately the Humane Society’s praise reinforces the false image.
At the time of this writing, most of the US is under either a Stay-at-home or a Shelter-in-Place order. Large gatherings have been banned to stop the spread of the coronavirus – including church services. Some states have granted religious exceptions, but many local authorities claim the implementation guidelines are not clear and have therefore ordered churches to close anyway. Some churches have been holding services online, but this option is not available to everyone: One Texas pastor told ProPublica that half of his parishioners do not have internet access at home. Many pastors also say there is no substitute for in-person worship, especially in a crisis. Churches remaining open often hand out disposable gloves and encourage worshipers to sit as far apart as possible, but critics want all churches closed regardless. Louisville’s Courier Journal reported a federal judge there ordered police not to interfere with churches offering drive-in services, in which churchgoers remain in their cars and listen to the service over loudspeakers in the parking lot, but Kentucky state police recorded license plates and issued quarantine notices at Maryville Baptist Church, which defied the governor’s order and held an in-person service. Courier Journal did not know what the police planned to actually do with the license plate numbers, but those who assume this is temporary might wish to think again. The Mainstream Media has been repeating ad nauseam that Covid-19 has changed the world forever, that the world will never return to the way it was before, and that everyone needs to get used to the new normal. In other words, if Progressives and the Technocrats have their way, large group gatherings – and in-person church services – will be a thing of the past.
But Islam has apparently been given a pass. The Muslim holy month of Ramadan began April 23rd, but to date the CFIS has not seen a single press report about governors or local authorities closing mosques or limiting Muslim religious services – a fact that has led President Trump to publicly wonder if anti-Christian bigotry hasn’t played a part in the church closings.
But no worries: The liquor stores are still open, and the mosques will probably be as well – and for Blue State officials, that’s what really counts.
IS IT REALLY ABOUT PUBLIC HEALTH?
More than a few people believe it’s really about control, incompetence, graft, and attempts to cover it up. Last month Nightwatch mentioned that the US has a dire shortage of N95 respirator masks and that the CDC was falsely advising that most people didn’t need masks in order to keep available stocks for healthcare workers. Washington Examiner reports the shortage dates back to the Obama Administration: In 2009 the H1N1 outbreak hit the US, causing a similar mask shortage and a 2 to 3 year backlog of N95 orders. During that crisis the Strategic National Stockpile, which is administered by the Health and Human Services Department, distributed 100 million masks or about three-fourths of its inventory but failed to replenish its stockpile The HHS Secretary reported the SNS had only 12 million masks available – while the healthcare system needed an estimated 3.5 billion. The Trump Administration is now scrambling to bridge the gap. The Defense Department is expected to provide 5 million masks, and construction companies have been asked to donate their N95 masks to local hospitals. Unfortunately, as Los Angeles Times reports, the Feds are also seizing and redirecting supplies ordered by hospitals and not giving any explanation as to where they are being sent. A FEMA representative claimed the supplies were being distributed according to population size and outbreak severity, but the agency refuses to explain how the determinations are made or which places have received supplies. Low priority hospitals are frustrated by not being able to get their orders and are struggling to continue operating.
Obviously there is still a mask shortage, and the public has been left out in the cold. Fortunately there are still Americans capable of thinking for themselves with a DIY attitude. As Dr. Chris Martenson explained to the Peak Prosperity audience, everyone wearing a mask is an important key to cutting down virus transmission, and even a homemade cloth mask is better than no mask at all. Although commonly available fabrics can’t completely block viruses, they do stop some of the airborne particles released by coughs and sneezing and lower the viral load inhaled by others. Many people have shared mask tutorials on social media and have made masks for themselves, friends, and relatives. Some groups have even made masks to donate to local hospitals. The CDC has since realized that the jig is up and has reversed its position and in an effort to restore its damaged credibility is now advising people to use some sort of fabric face covering when out in public.
Another example is the widely reported dispute over Covid-19 treatments. President Trump has added the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to the Strategic National Stockpile based on early observational reports indicating the drug’s usefulness in treating Covid-19 patients. It’s not known how many US doctors are trying it, but there have been scattered reports of patients – mainly celebrities and political figures – crediting the drug with their recoveries. Due to its side effects, it’s not suitable for everyone, but formal clinical studies are underway to evaluate its effectiveness along with several other drugs and vitamin C. The dispute over hydroxychloroquine is driven in part by those who are heavily invested in developing a new vaccine and for that reason downplay treatments that are already available. Bill Gates has been highly vocal in touting a to-be-developed mandatory vaccine, complete with microchips verifying the recipient has been immunized and can therefore be released from quarantine or social distancing procedures. Per Washington Times, this is part of the Global Vaccine Action Plan – a collaboration between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. That last organization is directed by the same Dr. Anthony Fauci who is on President Trump’s coronavirus task force and who has been publicly downplaying hydroxychloroquine successes as mere anecdotes; since the task force was formed, Dr. Fauci has urged that the entire US should remain on lockdown until a vaccine is developed but Dr. Fauci has a clear conflict of interest here. It’s worth noting that New York Post reports the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding a hydroxychloroquine study that appears to be fundamentally flawed because the comparative placebo is a vitamin C pill. While the pill likely does not reach the doses used in the clinical studies of vitamin C’s effectiveness as a treatment, it still seems a bizarre choice because a placebo is supposed to be of no therapeutic value. For that reason, some believe the study is actually an attempt to discredit hydroxychloroquine and promote a vaccine that Peak Prosperity reports will take at least a year to develop if, in fact, it is even possible to do so. Compounding the problem, a disturbing number of people who initially recovered from Covid-19 have been reinfected, with their second bout being worse than the first – which suggests that exposure does not confer immunity. This same problem was noted in the 2003 SARS outbreak.
Adding insult to injury, some local authorities making the lockdown decisions don’t even have all the facts available. When Georgia Governor Brian Kemp upgraded his state’s Stay-at-Home order to Shelter-in- Place, he explained that he’d not done it sooner because it had only become known in the previous 24 hours that people without symptoms could still spread the coronavirus. A day later New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio gave the same excuse even though it was reported in January that asymptomatic carriers were fueling the pandemic – which was precisely why everyone should have masks. The sad fact is that most of the governors and mayors are imitating each other or taking cues from the Feds. Kudos should go to Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem for refusing to shut down her low population density state and for upholding citizens’ constitutional rights. Per True Pundit, she acknowledged it might be necessary in some states but said that following a herd mentality was not leadership.
CHINA THREATENING US SHIPS AGAIN
China is now claiming to have Covid-19 under control and is easing restrictions on its populace. Their claimed infection statistics look sketchier than ever, but the country is getting back to normal – and per Washington Times, that includes asserting their claim to 90% of the South China Sea despite international court rulings that the sea is an international waterway. The same day – March 17th – that the Pacific Fleet announced on Twitter that US ships were conducting training exercises in the area, a CCP-affiliated publication called for the use of nonlethal electromagnetic and laser weapons to drive US ships away. Such weapons can jam electronics but are less likely to trigger a conflict than firing conventional weapons or attempting to ram the ships. A laser was actually used Feb. 17th on a US Navy P-8A patrol aircraft near Guam, and analysts expect China will attempt more provocative actions in the South China Sea.
DOJ OFFICIALS: GET OUT OF JAIL FREE CARD
RealClearInvestigations reports that what many people suspected is true: “The Justice Department regularly declines to prosecute high-ranking current and former department officials, even when its Office of Inspector General provides the grounds for it.” In 2019 the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General issued 27 reports of alleged wrongdoing – ranging from nepotism in hiring to sexual assault – but prosecution was declined in at least 12 of those cases that were criminal in nature. Many of the 27 cases were considered resolved by the resignations of the officials, which is evidently becoming increasingly common in government circles. Although this does remove offenders from office, it allows them to not only escape accountability but to use their DoJ credentials and connections to gain employment in the private sector. Most of the alleged wrongdoers are also not publicly named; former FBI Director James Comey and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe are notable exceptions because they both made headlines, but even they have not been prosecuted – much to the outrage of patriots who believe the conspirators who staged the failed coup against President Trump should be punished.
What’s notable about this story is that the DOJ does not extend these privileges to officials in other departments. In 2019 press releases about indictments and convictions included cases of bribery at HUD and espionage at both State and Defense. And of course Gen. Michael Flynn was charged in 2017 with making false statements to FBI agents while Andrew McCabe was not, even though the latter’s “lack of candor” was the same offense by a different name.
That Flynn was charged and McCabe was not is nakedly political – “justice” in America, as it is euphemistically called, is now selective and politically driven.
Joe Biden is also getting a free pass: His grossly inappropriate behavior with children has been ignored by the Mainstream Media for decades, despite irrefutable evidence and extensive reporting abroad. Photos and videos of Biden nuzzling young girls, sniffing their hair, and even groping them have been circulating for years. The same MSM that virulently attacked the then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh over an unsubstantiated accusation of sexual assault – made by a woman unable to provide the place or the time of the alleged assault and whose four claimed witnesses denied being present – have turned a blind eye to Joe Biden. He is, after all, a Democrat – and despite his growing incoherence, their presumptive presidential nominee.
Over the past few years more reports indicate that Biden is creepy to grown women too. Ronald Kessler’s 2014 book, The First Family Detail, revealed that then-Vice President Biden liked to swim naked in front of female Secret Service agents at both his home in Delaware and the VP’s official residence in DC – but only when his wife was away. Gateway Pundit reported in 2017 that no woman was safe in Biden’s presence because he would grope them. Male agents tried to protect the female agents by standing between them and Biden or by making up reasons for the women to leave the room. They even canceled the annual Christmas party for Secret Service agents and Navy personnel assigned to protect the Biden family because Biden would grope all the women present, including the wives and girlfriends of agents. Aside from Hillary Clinton’s detail, Biden’s was considered the worst assignment an agent could draw.
Now one of Biden’s former staffers has formally accused him of sexually assaulting her in his Senate office in 1993 and filed a criminal complaint with the Washington, DC police. The staffer said that Biden touched her, kissed her, and penetrated her with his fingers – all without her consent. MSM has been virtually silent on this accusation, noting in passing that Biden’s campaign staff told Daily Caller that the accusation was false. The denial creates an interesting dichotomy because during the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing in 2018, when Biden declared that all women who claim to be sexual assault victims should be believed – but as it turns out, he meant only the women who accuse Republicans should be believed. Celebrities who supported #BelieveAllWomen on social media during the Kavanaugh hearing are now dismissing the accusation against Biden as a partisan smear.
But perhaps the strangest part of the story is that the Democrats still seem to believe that their best shot at defeating President Trump in the November election is a corrupt pervert and accused sex offender who also happens to be in obvious and stark cognitive decline – which means, a vote for Joe Biden is actually a vote for… whoever is chosen as his running mate.
Pictures of bare American store shelves are now circulating on social media. Part of it is due to panicked shoppers descending en masse to stock up on toilet paper, cold remedies, and so forth, but there are other reasons. YouTuber Serpentza reports that “Daigou” traders are buying huge quantities of home medical and hygiene supplies in Western countries to resell to people in China. The Daigou post ads on WeChat showing their daily hauls of thermometers, hand sanitizer, and so forth – the genuine American articles fetch premium prices from customers who have been burned in the past by poor Chinese quality control. One of Serpentza’s commenters added that stores in Sydney, Australia have put a strict limit on how many infant formula tins a customer can buy each day because Daigou were clearing the shelves too quickly for the stores to keep up. Whether or not American stores consider following suit, the fact remains that even at the best of times stores typically carry only a three day supply of food and basic items. People who choose to rely on quick shipping – rather than a well stocked pantry – can find themselves empty handed in the current emergency because the supply chain cannot cope with the sudden surge in demand.
Another reason will soon impact American drugstore shelves. Last month Nightwatch discussed China’s control of raw ingredients to manufacture generic drugs and some vitamins – and the fact that most of these drugs are no longer manufactured in the US. Peak Prosperity reports that on March 3rd the Indian government announced export restrictions on 26 active pharmaceutical ingredients and formulations containing them. Indian manufacturers are having trouble getting needed ingredients from China, so the government wants to keep these products in India to ensure a supply for its own people. The restricted items include Vitamins B1, B6, and B12 as well as progesterone, the antibiotic clindamycin and the common painkiller paracetamol. If the international supply chain is not restored soon, the American public will quickly face higher prices for dwindling supplies.
Equally concerning is the shortage of medical masks around the world, which is so severe that the Mainstream Media is now pleading with the public to stop buying them because there aren’t enough for healthcare workers. Peak Prosperity reports that some regional health officials are also giving erroneous guidance to the public, e.g., that masks do not give protection from viruses and that people without symptoms cannot spread the virus. While it is true that people who do not wear the masks correctly are not properly protected, health officials should try to educate them instead of telling them to go without. Pathologist Dr. Chris Martenson, for example, encourages everyone to wear a mask whether they are infected or not. It is glaringly obvious that American public health officials at all levels are unprepared to deal with the pandemic; the true number of cases will never be known because many medical centers are presumptively diagnosing based on symptoms instead of testing for Covid-19 for want of testing kits. The policy failure is staggering, and it is fueling public suspicion that the government is more interested in Medical Security Theater than in actual medical care.
At the time of this writing, it is being widely reported that hospitals in Italy have become overwhelmed with Covid-19 cases – and that outbreaks in the US resemble the situation in that country about two weeks ago. There elderly patients are being ignored, and patients suffering strokes are not receiving proper care due to lack of resources. It is likely the US will soon face the same shortages of ICU beds, ventilators, and staff. Larger American hospitals are already discussing triage guidelines, and people with pre-existing conditions will probably find themselves denied care.
Mainstream Media is also warning people that our way of life might need to change – a warning that large public events will have to be cancelled, that neighborhood lockdowns might be coming, that schools will have to conduct all classes online, and that all payments should be digital because physical money can carry viruses. The latter is deeply satisfying to the Financial Elite, which has been promoting a cashless society for many years.
Simply put, governments at the local, state or the federal level cannot handle the problem without imposing draconian restrictions on groups and individuals irrespective of the larger public interest – and to hide that fact, governments at all levels are trying to censor or discredit alternative news sources. YouTube has demonetized all videos related to Covid-19 or coronaviruses to discourage such videos from being made. Facebook and Twitter are reportedly banning or suspending users and removing related posts under the guise of fighting the spread of misinformation; as is usual in such censorship, the gatekeepers are banning first and only checking facts later if there is enough public outcry. On that basis alone, a reasonable person might think the gatekeepers are trying to maintain a shortage of accurate and actionable information for the public in order to manipulate them. For over a month, senior American officials insisted that everything was normal and that there was no need to prepare, robbing people of valuable time to collect supplies needed to ride out shortages and quarantine periods. If officials were trying to avoid a panic, they merely postponed it – and made it worse.
A NUCLEAR ARMS REDUX
The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War led many to believe the nuclear arms race was a thing of the past. Although modern nukes are so destructive that a nuclear war would almost certainly mean the end of civilization, superpowers nonetheless need them for deterrence and sovereign defense: The threat of massive retaliation reinforces strategic stability, and possession of even a small number of nukes effectively rules out the threat of ground invasion. Unfortunately Russia and China also see nukes as a useful tool to counter conventional US forces. Russia has explicitly established an “escalate to de-escalate” strategy based on the ability to deploy small tactical or low-yield nukes in a region before the US is able to respond – without a similar arsenal of “mini-nukes,” the US would be forced to either stand down or retaliate with much larger nukes and run the risk that the conflict will spiral out of control. Washington Times reports that the Pentagon has responded by arming US submarines with new low-yield missiles designed to counter Russian mini nukes, so that the US will be able to “credibly and decisively respond to any threat scenario.”
The deployment of American low yield nukes should also strengthen the Trump Administration’s negotiating position for a new Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). President Trump withdrew from the prior treaty in response to evidence of Russian violations – and the realization that bilateral arms control treaties with Russia are both obsolete and dangerous because they do not include China. The President insists that all future nuclear arms treaties must include that country in order to be effective.
The Times (England) reports that Ireland is regarded as a soft intelligence target for Russia because of its limited counterintelligence capability. The Irish police services have reason to suspect Russia is spying on Dublin tech companies and using Ireland as a base to gather intelligence on targets in Britain and Europe. Ireland is also the landing point for undersea cables carrying internet traffic between the US, Britain, and Europe – and Russian agents have been observed mapping Dublin Port and the locations of the internet cables. Tapping these cables would certainly give Russia a treasure trove of data, while cutting or otherwise damaging them would wreak havoc on transatlantic communication.
Russian interest in the transatlantic cables isn’t new. In 2015 the US military found Russian submarines and naval vessels operating in areas where the cables are laid, and the FBI has since found Russian agents trying to access the cables stateside. This coincides with Russia’s naval build up, a greater Russian presence in both the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, and a more strident Russian call for a multipolar world rather than one in which a single superpower – the US – dominates.
If this story about undersea cables sounds familiar to the attentive public, it’s because it periodically resurfaces along with renewed calls for NATO to secure the transatlantic cables. Evidently not much progress is being made in this area despite the West’s dependence on the internet in daily life. It’s also odd that Ireland hasn’t beefed up its counterintelligence, given that it has been making a determined effort to attract tech companies to its shores with lower taxes, a well educated English speaking workforce, and a lower cost of living than other technology hubs have. Given Ireland’s vulnerability, it’s a safe bet the Russians aren’t the only ones looting their tech secrets.
BIGGER THREAT THAN JIHADIS
Foreign Policy reports that France is finally waking up to the threat posed by Political Islam, be it violent or otherwise. The Muslim Brotherhood and the Saudi-funded Salafists both promote forms of Islamist separatism and a rejection of French society. These groups are gaining more and more influence as they push Muslims in local communities to reject mainstream society and join their insular alternatives for legal, educational, and social systems – resulting in the “lost territories of the Republic,” areas where government control is weak and residents are, for all practical purposes, trying to secede from France and create a borderless Muslim state-within-a-state in that country.
These concerns have been expressed by the Right for years, but they are finally being discussed across the whole political spectrum. A country that allows communities to ignore the nation’s laws – and allows them to grow unhindered – will be whittled away bit by bit. The French government is taking a closer look at mosques funded by foreign money and replacing foreign clerics with clerics trained in France. Sadly this is a feeble attempt to improve integration with French society, and much more is needed to educate the young. Foreign Policy, however, considers it the beginning of a trend as other European countries are slowly following suit in deporting radicals, limiting or banning foreign funding for places of worship, and cutting public funding to organizations connected to Islamist separatist networks. The Center for Intelligence Studies does not share this optimism: As CFIS Chairman Charles S. Viar observed, “Sweden is lost, Germany has passed the point of no return, France is teetering on the brink and the rest of Western Europe has chosen to commit suicide on the installment plan.”
President Macron may be talking a good line, but his proposals are too little and too late. His call for the unity of the Republic also rings hollow for the French people who are protesting his taxes and globalist economic policies. March 7th marked the 69th consecutive week of the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) protests. Largely ignored by the Mainstream Media in the US, peaceful protesters are being tear gassed and brutally beaten by French riot police week after week. One cynical – and probably correct – interpretation is that Macron is simply trying to take talking points away from Marine Le Pen and the National Rally, a right-wing populist and nationalist party that has staunchly opposed the Islamization of France.
In 2008 a Homeland Security employee identified hundreds of immigrants who had been given legal status in the US even though they had been the subject of deportation orders, and hundreds more were later identified. The problem stemmed from the immigrants’ fingerprints not being entered into an electronic database used for screening. Although efforts were made to go through thousands of paper files, digitize the fingerprints, and check how many people had filed fraudulent applications for naturalization, a report by the Homeland Security Department Inspector General found that at least 858 people had slipped through the cracks because they had been using a different identity when ordered out of the country. The Washington Times reported in January 2018 that the first denaturalization from this effort had finally been ordered by a federal court. In order to pick up the pace, the Trump Administration created a new office within the US Citizenship and Immigration Services for the specific purpose of reviewing cases and making referrals to the Justice Department.
Now Fox News reports that the Trump Administration has established a new section in the Justice Department itself to handle denaturalization cases because case referrals have increased by over 600% in the past three years. This new section focuses on fraud committed by failing to disclose past convictions for serious crimes on their applications. Recent cases cited by Fox include people convicted of terrorist activities, Bosnian war crimes, and sex offenses. Once again some of these people had been previously deported but succeeded in re-entering the US under a different identity. To be clear, this is not about stripping citizenship from people who commit crimes after naturalization: The crimes in question were committed before the citizenship application and not disclosed on the appropriate forms. People who are stripped of citizenship revert to permanent residency status and can then be deported and/or barred from re-entering the US. This is a welcome development as these people should never have received American citizenship in the first place, and removing them contributes to public safety.
Last December a new coronavirus turned up in Wuhan, which is located in the Hubei Province of China. It has since been designated as Covid-19 and is considered a member of the same virus family as SARS, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome that appeared in November 2002 and was spread worldwide by travelers in just a few months. Most coronaviruses are relatively harmless, causing colds or mild flu, but this one is causing a large number of fatalities in China and is spreading rapidly throughout the world. Mainstream media, alternative media, and social media have seized upon the crisis and flooded the airwaves and Internet with contradictory reports, rumors, and outright falsehoods. One of the few things known with certainty is that Chinese authorities are trying to cover up the true scale of the outbreak.
When the first cases appeared, Chinese physicians sent the people home with medication, apparently not stressing the need to isolate themselves – and as a result, the infection spread rapidly. The current official story is that the virus came from a wet market, an open air market where the animals are killed and butchered on the spot for customers and where wild game is often sold alongside domesticated animals. The virus is said to have originated in bats, then transferred to snakes, and then transferred from snakes to humans and is now being spread from person to person. When hospitals became overwhelmed with cases, the Chinese authorities belatedly began scanning travelers for signs of illnesses and issuing travel restrictions. But as the number of cases continued to climb, the authorities began quarantining the worst hit cities. School terms were ordered delayed, and some factories have been closed. People have been told not to go outside unless absolutely necessary. Funerals have been banned, and the dead are promptly cremated. Discussion of the virus has been heavily censored in China from the beginning; bloggers and medical personnel spreading warnings and personal videos have been arrested and accused of rumor-mongering. The official case statistics are absurdly low, or such draconian measures would not be necessary. Nor would the crash program for building new medical facilities have been required either: The state media proudly boasted of the construction of a new 1000 bed hospital for coronavirus patients in a mere nine days, but reports leaked from the area indicate the facility has no medications and is less of a hospital than a warehouse for the sick and dying. There are also reports of crematoriums that used to operate about four hours a day are now operating around the clock. At the time of this writing, per Zerohedge, 3 provinces, 60 cities, and 400 million people in China are now under mandatory lockdown with limited permission to leave home only to buy essential supplies.
It’s possible Covid-19 is hitting China so hard because of conditions within that country. Unsanitary conditions at markets and poor hygiene certainly contribute to the spread of illnesses, as do overwhelmed hospitals, the shortage of beds and the lack of medications. Independent journalist Jon Rappoport also points out that Wuhan and some other cities on lockdown have dangerous levels of air pollutants known to be damaging to the human respiratory system. Since these pollutants are known to increase the risk of asthma and strokes, it’s possible the pollutants are also weakening people’s resistance to the coronavirus. Whether that’s true or not, air quality has become so bad in recent years that residents have taken to the streets in protest, which is a dangerous thing to do in authoritarian China.
The reticence of the Chinese government has contributed to the phenomenal number of false claims circulating in the West. One example is a claim that Chinese scientists who were fired last year from the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg, Canada smuggled a virus from Canada to Wuhan, where it was enhanced and released. Canada’s CBC News reported that the lab did fire Chinese scientists for a “policy breach” but that no virus samples left the lab; any theft that may have happened would have been the theft of intellectual property, for which China is notorious.
More plausible is a report published by The Daily Mail in the UK on February 16, which claimed scientists at the South China University of Technology concluded the virus probably originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology – located just 300 yards from the seafood market that was originally believed to be the point of origin.
Unfortunately, official statements by Western researchers have proved only slightly better than Internet conspiracy theories. Perhaps spurred by the chance of free publicity, researchers are releasing papers online that have not been peer reviewed and that contradict each other. One such paper claimed that Covid-19 contained genetic sequences found in the AIDS or HIV virus, which the author said proved the virus had been weaponized in a lab. This was quickly countered by another paper claiming the shared sequences are common in viruses, including cold viruses, which proves no weaponization. And now early claims that both treatments and vaccines would be ready within 90 days have since been dialed back to a less ambitious hope that a vaccine might be ready in a year or so.
Coronavirus cases have now spread to 25 other countries. The World Health Organization has declared it a global health emergency, but it is not yet a pandemic. Nonetheless, sensible precaution are in order: The standard health advice of frequent hand washing with soap is well worth following, and pathologist Chris Martenson, PhD, has advised his Peak Prosperity audience to stockpile a minimum of two weeks’ worth of food, water and electrolytes as well as over the counter meds or home remedies that have worked in the past for regular flu. He also suggested people obtain N95 respirator type masks as they offer better protection to the wearer than the surgical or dental style masks often shown in the news because a properly fitting N95 has a much closer seal around the mouth and nose. Unfortunately N95 masks are not available in children’s sizes, and even the larger sizes have become difficult to find, in part because Chinese visitors and expatriates in the United States are snapping them up and sending them home to friends and relatives. And since simple bleach and chlorine-based cleaners appear able to kill Coronavirus particles that can survive on surfaces for 5-9 days within a minute or so, Dr. Martenson recommends stocking up on those cleaners as well. He’s also warned against being lulled into a false sense of security by Western media downplaying the seriousness of Covid-19. This virus is highly transmissible with each person infecting at least three others – and as already indicated, the Chinese authorities are not releasing the true numbers.
Most of the mainstream media messaging appears aimed at keeping people calm. Part of that is to prevent public panic, but it also reflects the grave concern of governments that the crisis might derail national economies and perhaps even the global economy as well. Thus far there are no authoritative estimates of the economic losses the virus has so far inflicted, but economists are unanimous in their belief that it has already dealt a major blow to China’s economy and may similarly impact on other countries as well.
The fear of weaponized viruses is not unfounded. Long before germs were understood, biological weapons were used in warfare. Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Persians were all said to have contaminated their enemies’ water wells with feces and animal carcasses, and as soon as the catapult was invented they were used to hurl dead bodies and animal carcasses – and big rocks – over enemy cities in Estonia, and somewhat later the British deliberately gave Native Americans blankets contaminated with smallpox. Although the transmission of smallpox between colonists and natives was largely accidental, the disease proved to be a devastating weapon.
The confusion between naturally occurring infections and deliberate disease transmission has continued to the present day. World War I saw both accidental infections of soldiers with anthrax via horse hair shaving brushes as well as deliberate attempts by Germany to infect animals sold to the Allies by neutral trading partners. In 1925 the Geneva Protocol for the Prevention of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases and Bacteriological Methods of Warfare was signed by 108 countries; however, it did not establish a mechanism for addressing compliance issues, and many countries continued their research.
In World War II most of the belligerents avoided using chemical and biological weapons for fear of retaliation. The major powers all had research programs with varying degrees of offensive capability, but they had no defense against such attacks. One country did use biological weapons: Japan. The target was China, which had a population far greater than Japan’s and no biological retaliatory capability. Japanese planes dropped paper bags across several Chinese provinces containing fleas, wheat, rice, and cotton that had been infected or impregnated with anthrax, glanders, bubonic plague, and other diseases. At least half a million Chinese died in the attacks, and the germs remained active after the war ended, causing sporadic outbreaks and additional deaths. No mention was made of this at the Tokyo war crimes tribunal because the scientists attached to the Japanese biological warfare unit – located in Manchuria – surrendered to American forces rather than the Soviets and turned over all of their research in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Designated Unit 731, the Japanese bio warfare organization conducted experiments on living prisoners that were just as ghastly as those of the Nazis yet remained shrouded in secrecy for decades.
Given China’s experience in World War II, it should come as no surprise that its modernization plans included setting up its own programs for chemical and biological weapons. China signed the Geneva Protocol in 1952 and the Biological Weapons Convention in 1985, but according to the Washington Times research on deadly viruses continues at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products. Although their work has legitimate medical value, it is “dual use” science, i.e., science that can be used for both civilian and military purposes – thus the speculation that Covid-19 accidentally leaked from one of these labs which, as noted above, are proximate to the outbreak’s epicenter. Here it’s worth noting that such leaks from high security labs have occurred in the past: In April of 1979, anthrax spores were accidentally released through a faulty air filter from a Soviet research facility near the city of Sverdlovsk, resulting in approximately 100 deaths. Interestingly, there are also reports of rumors circulating in China that the epidemic there resulted from a virus that the US unleashed upon that country to sabotage its economy – a rumor that was probably started by the Chinese government to shift blame away from its poor handling of the outbreak.
THE CHINA SHUTDOWN AND US SHORTAGES
The quarantined Chinese cities include major manufacturing and technology hubs. There is no telling how long the lockdowns will last, and China is now indefinitely closed for business. The US has made great strides in energy independence, but it is shockingly dependent on China for other essentials: The American Conservative reports that China provides 80% of the core components in generic medications – and generics are 90% of the meds Americans take.
It’s widely known that China became a manufacturing leader in several industries because of lower labor costs and weaker environmental regulations. But rarely discussed is the fact that China has deliberately targeted advanced industries in the West for takeover. For example in the late 1980s the US had plenty of antibiotic manufacturing plants; those plants have all been driven out of business. The last penicillin plant closed in 2004 after China dumped material to make penicillin on the global market at below market prices and kept it artificially low for four years. China has also crowded out US and European producers of ascorbic acid – the core ingredient in vitamin C supplements. The coordinated efforts of Chinese companies to fix prices and control supplies are illegal in the US under the Sherman Antitrust Act, but that hasn’t had any impact on China’s move to dominate actual drug manufacturing as well; to cite but one example, heparin, a blood thinner used in surgeries, is now largely controlled by Chinese cartels.
Given the trade war and political friction between the US and China, it is foolish to allow China to hold American health care hostage. If the health crisis in China is not resolved soon, American pharmacies could face severe drug shortages. It’s past time for the US government to move against the Chinese cartels and bring drug manufacturing back to the States.
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
“Bond. James Bond” has been the iconic introduction of Agent 007, the fictional British MI6 officer who somehow managed to operate unrecognized even though he traveled the world under his own name.
Bond dominated the spy genre for decades, but it appears his era is coming to a close: Yahoo News reports that Big Brother surveillance has not only shredded the privacy of ordinary citizens but is causing problems for spies as well. Data breaches – such as the Chinese hack of the Office of Personnel Management, which resulted in the compromise of nearly 22 million American civil servants in 2014 – are an obvious problem, but there are others as well. Unlike Bond, intelligence officers rarely used their own names while operating abroad, but the proliferation of biometrics – fingerprints, facial recognition technology, and iris scans at airports – and widespread surveillance cameras have made it almost impossible for intelligence officers to operate even under aliases. Russian and Chinese operatives appear to have given up on secrecy altogether and are now working more or less openly under their true identities, and there are “about 30 countries” in which CIA officers are no longer trailed because the electronic surveillance is so pervasive that the local governments simply rely on that instead. The CIA even had to discontinue some operations in Singapore after that government developed a database that used real-time flight, customs, taxi, and hotel data; if someone took too long to reach their hotel from the airport, it triggered a security alert, and the hotel room would be monitored through the TVs and phones.
That’s bad. But far worse occurred when Iranian intelligence discovered the CIA’s web-based covert communication system: CIA sources around the world were exposed, the Agency’s entire network in China was rolled up and many were killed.
One option for coping with intensive surveillance is to expand programs hiring actual businessmen and technical workers as contractors, but such people have to be trained in secret and away from the usual facilities, and they often don’t speak the languages of the countries they’re expected to operate in. It’s also difficult to convince companies to let their employees function as spies, not to mention the risk of putting innocent civilians in danger because the opposition presumes everyone in a given profession is likely spying. Some former officials are pessimistic about the future of undercover work because actual and even assumed identities can’t be protected anymore.
But you had a good run, Mr. Bond. Thanks for the memories
IRAN: THE SHADOW WAR
In the early morning of January 3rd, an American drone strike killed General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the elite Quds Force. Soleimani had openly traveled to Baghdad on a commercial airline to meet with Iraqi militia leaders and possibly with Iraqi government officials. AP News reports that also killed in the strike was Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, founder of the Kataeb Hezbollah -- the group blamed for a rocket attack in northern Iraq the previous week that killed an American contractor. There was an immediate outcry from Democrat politicians and other public figures that this “escalation” was an act of war that would set World War III in motion. Some were grandstanding, but many others simply cannot grasp that modern warfare, relies more heavily on novel tactics and cyber capabilities rather than kinetic weapons, in part to minimize the possibility that a limited conflict might escalate into a major war.
The US-Iran conflict can be traced back to 1953 when the CIA helped Britain’s MI6 instigate a military coup against Iran’s Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh. The British had already established themselves in Iran in the nineteenth century by effectively suborning the ruling monarchy to secure the rights to operate Iran’s banks and manage Iran’s natural resources. Oil became an important part of the British portfolio in 1908 with the establishment of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company – later British Petroleum, or BP – and became even more important after Britain switched its navy from coal to oil.
But popular resentment of excessive foreign influence forced the Shah to establish an elected parliament. Weak at first, the parliament slowly grew in power, and in 1951 under Mossadegh’s leadership it voted to nationalize the Iranian oil industry. Britain responded by blockading Iranian ports and would have invaded to overthrow the government and seize the oil fields if then-President Truman hadn’t warned them against it. However, US opposition waned with the 1952 election of Dwight Eisenhower to the presidency. A career soldier who had commanded Allied forces in Western Europe during World War II, Eisenhower was acutely conscious of a wartime Pentagon study that predicted the US would hit “peak oil” in or about 1965. As a practical matter, that meant the US would not be able to fight another global war without guaranteed access to Mid East oil. Further alarmed by Soviet designs on Iran – the northern part of which the Red Army had occupied during the war – and sympathetic to the British argument that Mossadegh was a Communist sympathizer who might invite the Soviets to return, the new Administration agreed to support a coup d’etat.
As a result of the coup, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was able to consolidate and centralize power in his own hands. That proved a boon over the next twenty years as he modernized Iranian society and oversaw astonishing economic growth, but it proved to be his undoing twenty years later when he developed cancer. He was treated in secret by French doctors with medications that prolonged his life but clouded his judgment and wreaked havoc upon his moods. Never known for decisive leadership and afflicted by grandiose tendencies, the Shah experienced alternating bouts of stupor and a state that has been described as manic. The result was erratic, on-and-off government as the country slowly spun out of control.
Tragedy followed. As Iran entered the 1970s the economy was flourishing, women had achieved the right to vote and a degree of freedom comparable to European and American women, religious minorities flourished and many economists predicted Iran’s standard of living would soon equal that in Europe. But most of the gains achieved under the Shah were swept away by the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
There was a dark side, too: the Shah’s security service exiled some dissidents and subjected others to brutal torture. Despite reports of machinations by National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the US government denies abandoning the Shah to the Islamic Revolution of Ayatollah Khomeini, but public source reports have repeatedly challenged that claim: The Guardian and BBC reported in 2016 that Khomeini had in 1963 conveyed a message to the US government that he was not opposed to American interests in Iran and that there were “extensive contacts” between Khomeini and the Carter administration in the weeks ahead of the Islamic Revolution. The New American reported in 2009 that the Carter administration sent an Air Force general to threaten Iranian generals with a cutoff of weapons if they fought in support of the Shah; that same general also held meetings with revolutionary leaders during his visit. Other US officials pressured the Shah directly to step down and go into exile. The New American also points out that in the early ’70s Iran finally gained management of its oil industry, which they assume alienated Washington.
Perhaps all true, but beside the point: One of the principle tasks of the US intelligence community is to quietly maintain contact with groups opposing friendly governments – and should they fall, to facilitate the rise of the best available option. In this case, the Carter Administration concluded Khomeini was the only alternative to an eventual Soviet take-over.
It would have been far better if the US had acted earlier and persuaded the Shah to establish a military regency for his son, then abdicate to seek medical treatment abroad. That didn’t happen, but successive American interventions did alienate both pro and anti-Shah public opinion: In November 1979 anti-Shah Iranian “students” overran the US embassy in Tehran and took the embassy staff hostage – and the United States and Iran have been locked in a simmering conflict ever since. That the US initially backed Iraq after Saddam Hussein invaded Iran the following year didn’t help matters, nor did subsequent revelations that the US also transferred arms to Iran via Israel in what came to be known as the Iran-Contra Affair.
Iran began funding and providing other support for Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shiite militant group, in 1982; Hezbollah bombed a US Marine Corps barracks in Beirut in 1983, killing 241 US military personnel, and with Iranian support continues to engage in terrorist activities to the present day. More deadly still, Iran has provided training, IED expertise and weapons to forces fighting Americans in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Fast forward to the Obama Administration’s 2015 nuclear deal, which eased sanctions against Iran in exchange for that country’s promise to limit nuclear research to civilian applications. That deal is often considered an attempt at a truce, but it was plagued with problems from the start. The agreement was so badly flawed that Obama knew it would be rejected by the Senate if cast in treaty form, and President Trump withdrew from it altogether in 2018. Tensions and US economic sanctions have escalated ever since: The Iranian regime regards the sanctions as acts of war, and have retaliated with attacks against oil tankers in international waters and oil fields in Saudi Arabia. Then in late December a rocket attack staged by a pro-Iranian militia group against a military base near Kirkuk, Iraq killed a US defense contractor and wounded several American and Iraqi troops. The US retaliated with airstrikes that killed dozens of fighters affiliated with Kataeb Hezbollah, an Iraqi militant group. Violent protesters converged on the US embassy in Baghdad in response, but they didn’t get past the perimeter thanks to Iraqi security forces, US helicopter gunships and a Marine combat team sent to protect the embassy staff.
This brings us back to the US drone attack on Soleimani. There are conflicting reports on whether he was in Iraq to orchestrate attacks against Americans or to meet with Iraqi officials to negotiate a de-escalation agreement with Iraq and Saudi Arabia, but given Soleimani’s history it’s quite possible he was there for both. The man’s death has brought both celebration and condemnation: The celebration extended into Iran where dissidents saw it as a blow to the hated regime; the condemnation extended into the US and even to some Trump supporters, who feared the attack was part of a Neo Con plot to derail his effort to extract us from the Mid East quagmire.
In what may have been an effort to obscure their role, the Neocon propaganda machine went into overdrive by enumerating Soleimani’s crimes, both real and imagined. They were correct in claiming that he had orchestrated Iran’s strategies in Syria, Iraq, and other countries and was known for his brutal tactics. But it remains unclear if he was directly involved in a plot to “murder of the Saudi ambassador on US soil” As they claimed – two Quds operatives did attempt to hire a professional killer for that purpose, but it turned out the hitter was actually a federal agent and the Saudi ambassador was not harmed. The White House also fumbled their effort to explain the drone strike’s timing when the “rock solid evidence” that some sort of attack on Americans was “imminent” turned out not so solid after all. As of this writing, much remains unclear but it seem possible that the real target might have been al-Muhandis and Soleimani was collateral damage – and even more likely the call was made an American intelligence or military officer acting under new and far less restrictive rules of engagement.
Whatever the actual case, Iran responded by firing a series of ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq, causing damage to buildings but no loss of American lives. President Trump announced he would not retaliate for the strikes, but he also warned he would not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. But this is obviously not the end of the matter: As Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) pointed out, “Iranians are experts at surrogate warfare…They’re experts at creating chaos.”
Given the fact that Iranian and Hezbollah operatives have been caught within the US before, it’s entirely plausible that they may create that chaos right here.
AN ISRAELI ASSET?
When Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his jail cell last August, few people believed the official story that he had killed himself. Even 60 Minutes reported that the mark on Epstein’s neck and his broken hyoid neck bone were more consistent with murder by electrical cord than suicide by bed sheet noose. There has also been a great deal of post-mortem speculation as to where Epstein’s wealth really came from, which politicians may have participated in reported orgies on his private island, and exactly what connections enabled Epstein to get off so lightly in his 2008 plea deal in Florida for soliciting sex from minors -- especially after the US Attorney who negotiated the plea deal claimed he had been told Epstein “belonged to intelligence” and to back off.
MintPress reports that Epstein’s financial clients in the early 1980s included Adnan Khashoggi, a Saudi arms dealer linked to both the CIA and Mossad and a middleman in the Iran-Contra Affair (and Jamal Khashoggi’s uncle -- the same families show up over and over again in these matters). Epstein was also known to be on close terms with other arms dealers, and this could explain why his supposed hedge fund was so mysterious. Epstein reportedly told friends at the time that he was a “financial bounty hunter” who helped governments track down money stolen by corrupt officials. MintPress also reports that Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell worked for Israeli military intelligence to entrap and blackmail politicians and other public figures. One of the sources who confirmed this is himself a former Israeli intelligence official; another source worked for US intelligence. Epstein was allegedly recruited by Ghislaine Maxwell’s father, media baron and Israeli operative Robert Maxwell, after Epstein and Ghislaine began their romantic relationship. Ghislaine was said to have already been involved with her father’s clandestine activities, although it’s not clear to what extent. When their romantic relationship ended, Ghislaine and Epstein remained friends and business partners; Ghislaine reportedly managed Epstein’s household, procured young girls for the operation, and trained them in sexual techniques.
Sexual blackmail is a standard tactic for intelligence agencies, and Epstein’s guests were the sort of people targeted as agents of influence. That Israel would target its ally and protector the US is no surprise to anyone familiar with such matters. Jonathan Pollard’s 1987 espionage case was unusual because he was arrested and convicted: Israeli intelligence officers and their agents are usually handled differently.
CFIS Chairman Charles S. Viar is familiar with the way Israeli espionage cases are normally handled. Israeli intelligence officers caught spying in the US are routinely “bounced,” but their agents – frequently Jewish Americans – are handled differently from other US citizens caught spying for foreign governments. Mr. Viar declined to elaborate on that difference, as he believes it may still be classified. However, he did say “They don’t get off lightly.”
Newsweek reported in 2014 that Israel is “unrivaled” in its aggression and brazenness pursuing US military, scientific, and industrial secrets and that it is well protected by the powerful “Israeli lobby,” i.e., those in Congress, government administration, and industry who are quick to either play the anti-Semitism card when the Israelis are caught spying or to downplay the damage done by saying Israel is an ally. The problem with that, however, is that once Israeli obtains US classified information, we can no longer control it – and the Soviets – and presumably now the Russians – successfully penetrated the Israeli intelligence services on an almost routine basis. That problem was so severe that until 1975 the CIA’s Counterintelligence Staff handled the “Israeli Account.” Newsweek’s warning has been repeated many times by other outlets, yet it doesn’t appear to have penetrated the public’s consciousness.
The damage caused by Epstein’s operation is thus far unknown, but potentially huge. One example may have been his relationship with the Clintons, said to have been undertaken at the behest of the Israelis. MintPress reports that Israeli intelligence recorded phone conversations between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky before their affair became public knowledge. If so, Israeli blackmail may account for President Clinton’s puzzling lack of interest in White House security: During his tenure the FBI suspected his Administration had been penetrated at the highest levels by an Israeli agent codenamed MEGA, but they were never able to uncover the traitor – allegedly due to a lack of White House cooperation. It’s also known that Clinton succumbed to pressure from the Israeli lobby to pardon Marc Rich, the financier indicted in 1983 for tax evasion, wire fraud, racketeering, trading with Iran during an oil embargo, and other charges. At the time the media made much of political contributions by Rich’s wife to the Clintons and Democrats, but little or nothing was said about the Rich’s connections with the Epstein’s operation – which would have given Israeli intelligence an added treasure trove of blackmail material to suborn high ranking American and foreign officials.
THE END OF AN ERA
Yahoo News reports that besides shredding the privacy of citizens, Big Brother surveillance is also causing problems for spies around the world. Data breaches – such as the Chinese hack of the Office of Personnel Management, which resulted in the compromise of nearly 22 million American civil servants in 2014 – are an obvious problem but there are others as well. The proliferation of biometrics -- fingerprints, facial recognition technology, and iris scans at airports -- combined with widespread surveillance cameras have made it increasingly difficult for intelligence officers to travel under aliases. Russian and Chinese operatives have begun traveling and working under their true identities and there are “about 30 countries” in which CIA officers are no longer trailed because the electronic surveillance there is so pervasive that the local governments simply rely on that instead. The CIA even had to discontinue some operations in Singapore after that government developed a database that used real-time flight, customs, taxi, and hotel data; if someone took too long to reach their hotel from the airport, it triggered a security alert, and the hotel room would be monitored through the TVs and phones.
Far worse occurred when Iranian intelligence discovered the CIA’s web-based covert communication system: CIA sources around the world were exposed, the Agency’s entire network in China was rolled up and many local assets were killed. Some advocate returning to low tech methods, e.g., brush passes in public places or dead drops in the woods. Others want to expand programs hiring actual businessmen and technical workers as contractors, but such people have to be trained secretly away from the usual facilities, and they often don’t speak the languages of the countries they’re expected to operate in. It’s also difficult to convince companies to let some of their employees function as spies, not to mention the risk of putting innocent people in danger because the opposition assumes everyone in a given profession might be collecting intelligence. Some former officials are pessimistic about the future of undercover work because identities simply can’t be protected anymore.
One of them is CFIS Chairman Charles S. Viar, who speculates that intelligence services may resort to “throw aways” – that is, self-selected, self-directed amateurs who will more likely than not be eaten alive by hostile security services. “Pity the fools and adventurers who think espionage is a lark.”
THE COAST GUARD: RAMPING UP IN PACIFIC
When Americans think of foreign aid programs, they typically think of the US sending money to developing countries or perhaps shipping them food and medical supplies to help cope with disasters. South China Morning Post reports on a practical method of aid that has received little attention: The US Coast Guard is increasing its assistance to Pacific Island nations to combat illegal activities such as drug and human trafficking, piracy, terrorism, and illegal fishing. These nations are also under heavy pressure from China to drop their diplomatic recognition of Taiwan and submit to Chinese domination. Some have already done so. The Solomon Islands switched its allegiance in September and granted the China Sam Enterprise Group the rights to develop the entire capital island of its Central Province. The development sounds like a full-blown takeover with the granted rights including “investment, trade, infrastructure, agriculture, fishery, communication, tourism, and other fields.” It’s likely China will also add a military base as it did in what was disputed territory in the Spratly Islands. Six other island nations have borrowed so much money from China under its Belt and Road Initiative to develop infrastructure that concerns have been raised they will not be able to pay it back and will eventually be forced to turn their ports and other assets over to China. This form of financial colonialism will sound familiar to anyone who’s read John Perkins’ description of Western practices in his book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. As an overextended America unwinds its foreign entanglements, China is stepping in to expand its own.
The Coast Guard’s focus in the Pacific is to provide assistance to the small island countries there, to help them withstand Chinese encroachment. Fishing rights in particular are becoming increasingly important in the area as China has overfished its own waters and is operating in others’ territories. The mere presence of Coast Guard ships deters China from claiming international waters or disputed areas as its own. Unfortunately the Coast Guard is stretched to its limit as its funding has not kept pace with its expanded mission; moreover, the Coast Guard has been given these tasks because the US Navy has been stretched to its limit as well. Although both services coordinate closely with the Japanese, Australian, and New Zealand navies, China appears to be gaining the upper hand.
CHINA’S GROWING NETWORK
In addition to encroaching on small nations, China is nurturing alliances with larger countries. Strategic Culture Foundation reports that China and Russia are setting up the China-Russia Arctic Research Center as a joint venture and that the two countries will work together to develop Russia’s Far East and Arctic Region. This includes developing new technologies, e.g. building on permafrost and creating more durable icebreakers, as well as infrastructure projects such as a natural gas pipeline from Siberia to China that will soon become China’s primary energy supplier. Russia’s Northeast Passage in the Arctic is also being linked with China’s shipping routes – a move expected to cut the transport time between China and Europe by ten days, boosting trade and cutting costs despite the need for specially constructed ships to handle the colder temperatures. India has also joined the Far East development with a $1 billion investment, adding to the $7 billion already invested in Russian oil and gas by Indian firms. When one considers that China has already committed to road and rail projects in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor – including links to Iran, Afghanistan, India, and other nations in the region – the scope of the Eurasian alliance is breathtaking.
It’s also an alliance the US has long feared. Former President Nixon opened trade negotiations with China in 1971 in part to play China against the Soviet Union; more recently, the Neoconservative/Neoliberal doctrine of Full Spectrum Dominance by the US has sought to prevent such a Eurasian alliance through wars of regime change and economic sanctions against countries refusing to support US policies. The real point of America’s post-Cold War foreign policy was not to make the world safe for democracy but rather to support and enable the Financial Elite’s plan for global government – or the New World Order, as it is often called. This was never a realistic goal as it required Russian and Chinese assent. But apparently blinded by greed, the Financial Elite tried it anyway – provoking or persuading the Russians and the Chinese defend their sovereignty by forming their own systems outside of US control.
Thus while the US has pursued a perpetual War on Terror since 9/11, China and Russia have been wooing allies with talk of “similar civilizational values” and strengthening “the efforts of human welfare in the Far East” and the world. Offering ways to raise people’s standard of living makes for good public relations now and provides an opening for encouraging authoritarian controls later.
Having squandered its once formidable moral authority, the US is now faced with serious adversaries offering an alternative vision through the Great Eurasian Partnership that begins with increased prosperity and extends to cooperative research agreements for artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, aerospace technology, and space exploration – not to mention the latest police state technologies to ensure that cooperative regimes stay in power.
IMPORTING CHINESE VALUES
As incredible as it might sound, China is also wielding heavy influence within the US. Last month Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets, made a single post on Twitter supporting the Hong Kong protesters. The resulting furor has been widely reported. Morey deleted the tweet and posted an apology after the Chinese Basketball Association and the Chinese Consulate-General in Houston demanded he correct his error. NBA officials and the Rockets’ owner quickly issued statements that Morey did not speak for them, that they had great respect for China’s history and culture, and that they absolutely regretted any offense taken by Chinese fans.
All the NBA’s Chinese partner companies suspended their relationships anyway. Functions for several teams were canceled while Lakers star LeBron James criticized Morey for not thinking through possible consequences of his statement. The most chilling result, however, was that fans who attended NBA games in Philadelphia and Washington, DC had their “Free Hong Kong” and “Google Uyghurs” signs confiscated. Videos posted to social media show these people standing quietly with their signs, not creating a disturbance. Fans who actually chanted “Free Hong Kong” were ordered by security to either be quiet or be escorted out. Thus were American citizens attending basketball games in American cities silenced by American corporate minions to avoid further offending China – and the loss of revenue that would entail.
This is not an isolated incident. Mashable published a partial list of major companies that have also kowtowed to China. Some of the actions taken might sound minor, but the cumulative effect is that Chinese officials are calling the shots. Here are some examples: Activision Blizzard suspended a professional game player after he stated support for the Hong Kong protesters, American Airlines and Delta Airlines list Taiwan and Tibet as part of China instead of as the separate countries they actually are, Apple removed an app from its store that helped Hong Kong protesters track police and also removed the Taiwan flag emoji from Hong Kong iPhones, Gap removed a shirt with a China map graphic from its store because the image did not include Taiwan and Tibet, Mercedes-Benz deleted an Instagram post that included a quote from the Dalai Lama, and Tiffany & Co. deleted a Twitter ad campaign over concerns that a model’s gesture resembled one made by Hong Kong protestors.
Clearly everyone’s following China’s version of the Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.
For decades the underlying assumption of America’s China policy was that trade would either collapse the Communist party-state or promote its evolution into a more benign, quasi-democratic socialist system acceptable to the West. The thinking paralleled that of former President Lyndon Johnson, who said of a rival: “It’s better to have him inside the tent spitting out, than outside the tent spitting in.” It was hoped that opening the World Trade Organization tent to China in 2001 – and then adding the yuan (renminbi) to the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Right basket of currencies in 2016 – would encourage China’s political evolution, but that hasn’t happened: When China switched from a centrally planned, Communist economy to a hybrid, the party-state strengthened its authoritarian grip instead. President Xi is now president for life and has no intention of easing police state controls and is actively encouraging, enticing or coercing other governments to emulate its example.
NEW DIGITAL CURRENCY
Reuters and CNBC report that China is preparing to issue its new Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP). The DCEP is partly powered by blockchain technology, but it will not be mined the way cryptocurrencies are. Instead it will be issued by the People’s Bank of China to commercial banks that will then issue it to the general public. The DCEP is a substitute for physical money and can be sent anywhere over the internet outside of the West’s SWIFT payment system. The technology allows China total control of how the currency is used without interference from other countries, placing it in direct competition with the US dollar as a reserve currency. If the DCEP works as planned and is adopted by other countries in the Great Eurasian Partnership, it will eliminate America’s ability to punish countries by cutting them off from SWIFT. One could argue using the DCEP simply puts a country or entity at the mercy of China instead of the US, but it does provide an alternative for those chafing under American restrictions – and for the very clever, an opportunity to play China off against the United States.
The US has greatly benefited over the years from its reserve currency status. Firstly, the cost of international trade is lower because it doesn’t have the expense involved in exchanging dollars for other currencies or the risk from exchange rate fluctuations. Secondly, dollar dominance has allowed the US government to borrow money at reduced rates of interest. And thirdly, the almost unlimited demand for dollars abroad – the result of a series of agreements negotiated with Saudi Arabia in the mid-1970s, in which the US exchanged a promise of unlimited military support for the Saudi regime in exchange for the Saudis using their dominant position in OPEC to require that all international oil sales be paid for in US dollars.
Because the demand for oil is essentially unlimited, that requirement has enabled Washington to print endless numbers of dollars and fight endless “credit card wars” in the Middle East. But if other countries abandon the dollar – or simply reduce their use of the dollar – the US would quickly face a brutal choice: Either default on the national debt or massively increase taxes to cover soaring interest rates. Default would destroy America’s credit abroad and end America’s superpower status; massive tax hikes would tank the economy and likely generate serious domestic unrest.
It is for this reason the United States ruthlessly deals with those who seek to undermine the dollar-oil link. Saddam Hussein publicly threatened to sell Iraqi oil for Euros and gold, prompting the administration of George W. Bush to topple him from power – ostensibly to stop his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. Similarly, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and assassinated with NATO support only after he tried to persuade African nations to adopt a gold-backed currency instead of dollars.
CHINA STEPS UP PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS
The Mainstream Media has widely reported that China has been sending Falun Gong members and Uighur Muslims to re-education camps – or, more accurately, concentration camps. Besides being forced to perform manual labor, detainees have been sterilized without their knowledge or consent and have also been used for organ harvesting. But the same media advocating for the Muslims has largely ignored the plight of Chinese Buddhists and Christians. The Guardian reports that Chinese persecution of Christians is the worst since Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Unlike Mao, President Xi isn’t trying to wipe out Christianity, but to control it instead. Churches are required to register with the government; unregistered house churches have been shut down and members arrested, and publicly visible Christian symbols systematically destroyed. The registered churches must hang Chinese flags and sing patriotic songs during worship services, and minors have been barred from attending. The Chinese government is even “retranslating and annotating” the Bible to establish a “correct understanding” of it – an understanding that emphasizes harmony with Chinese Communism.
In a truly awful pun, China experts have dubbed the new Bible the Qing James Version. But dark humor aside, the Chinese government has genuine cause for concern. It’s estimated there are at least 60 million Christians in China, and despite the crackdown that number is growing along with a nascent civil rights movement. Several of China’s most active human rights lawyers are Christians, and many pastors see their role as a catalyst for social change. Some unregistered churches have gone underground, using encrypted communication platforms to send daily scripture lessons and even to hold online services. Ironically, the growth of Christianity is being fed by the increasing numbers of Chinese exposed to Christianity while posted or traveling abroad. Those who convert establish ties with foreign churches and bring the gospel back to China with them – hence the need for the government to fabricate a “Chinese Christianity.” That’s the same approach other dictatorial regimes have employed: The Nazis promoted a “German Christianity” to lure people away from established churches, and after a period of extreme persecution the Soviet Union tolerated – and occasionally embraced – a tightly controlled Russian Orthodox Church.
TERRORISTS AT MEXICAN BORDER
It has been widely reported over the past several years that the Islamic State regularly sends fighters to infiltrate Europe by salting groups of economic migrants and Syrian war refugees. Now Homeland Security Today reports the Islamic State is attempting to salt migrants crossing the US border from Mexico. A Canadian detained in Syria claims that he had refused to take part in such a mission, which was said to have been planned by someone in New Jersey. English-speaking fighters were to be sent to Puerto Rico, where they would then take a boat to Mexico and be smuggled across the border with migrants into the US. The Canadian thought the plan was to bomb New York financial system targets, but he insisted he was not given the full details. This particular mission was not carried out, but it is not publicly known how many other attempts have been made. The White House issued a statement last January that 4,000 known or suspected terrorists had been stopped at the Mexican border, but that number primarily refers to security stops at airports. Credible intelligence sources tell Nightwatch that since 9/11 about 100 terrorists have been killed while trying to cross the border. Judicial Watch and Christian Science Monitor have previously reported other cases of terrorists being taken alive at the border or arrested later in the US.
It should be noted that although the US media focuses on Central American migrants fleeing poverty, people from all over the world are now being smuggled into the US from Mexico because of how porous the border is. Judicial Watch reported last year a steady rise of illegal aliens from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh – all countries saturated with terrorist activity. Judicial Watch has also reported on Mexican drug cartels helping Islamist terrorists training at camps in Mexico cross back and forth to explore possible American targets; State Department documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act indicate this has been happening for well over a decade, and the Obama Administration was fully aware of it. Yet Congressional Democrats still refuse to fund President Trump’s border wall or other measures to improve border security or even deal with the apprehended migrants.
ILHAN OMAR: ALLEGATIONS OF FRAUD
There are also issues with legal immigrants, most notably assimilation. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), for example, is a first generation immigrant from Somalia who has come under fire for making anti-Semitic comments in her official capacity as a Congressional Representative. But curiously, most media outlets have demonstrated a stunning lack of interest in allegations that she may have committed immigration fraud, student loan fraud, tax fraud, perjury, and campaign spending violations. Reports by Twin Cities Pioneer Press and by PJ Media reveal some tangles in Omar’s marriages. In 2002 Omar married a man named Ahmed Hirsi in a Muslim religious ceremony, but they did not obtain a civil marriage certificate. Omar claims they ended their relationship in 2008 with a religious divorce, but this has not been substantiated with documentation. In 2009 Omar legally married a British citizen named Ahmed Nur Said Elmi with a civil marriage certificate; however, address records show that Omar and both men lived at the same address while Omar and Elmi were enrolled at North Dakota State University between 2009 and 2011. Omar claims her marriage to Elmi ended in 2011, but records show they did not file for divorce until 2017. In 2012 Omar officially reunited with Hirsi, and the couple filed joint tax returns in both 2014 and 2015 even though Omar was still legally married to Elmi. In 2018 Omar legally married Hirsi a month after her divorce from Elmi was finalized, and she was elected to Congress later that year.
Clearly Omar believed her Islamic religious marriage took precedence over her legal union, and filed joint tax returns with the wrong man at least twice. She has been accused of marrying Elmi for two reasons: to help his immigration status and to help them both get more favorable treatment on their federal student aid applications. There are also accusations based on Elmi’s high school address records that he is actually her brother, which Omar denies. Omar claims that she is unable to produce birth certificates or other proof of her siblings’ identities due to the documents having been destroyed in Somalia. Whether Elmi is her brother or not, it’s notable that she only bothered to legally register a marriage – and to legally divorce – when she saw legal and financial benefits to do so. She also had three children with Hirsi during their religious marriage and none with Elmi. The perjury accusation stems from claims Omar made in her divorce proceedings that she had had no contact with Elmi in years despite social media posts that appear to show the two of them together during that period. As for the campaign spending violations, the Minnesota Finance and Public Disclosure Board fined her $500 and ordered her to reimburse her campaign committee nearly $3500, mostly for personal travel. Omar agreed to the reimbursement, but her standard response to the other issues is that people are only bringing them up because she is a Black Muslim woman who wears a hijab (head covering). In other words, wanting to hold her accountable for her alleged fraud is racist and Islamophobic.
On top of everything else, PJ Media reports that Omar has personal connections to Somalia’s government that should cause concern, given her seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. In 2016 Omar was elected to the Minnesota state legislature; her role as the first Somali-American legislator brought a measure of fame and influence in Somalia. Omar visited Mogadishu shortly before the February 2017 national election there. She reportedly met both then-President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and the eventual winner, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed. The New York Times deemed the election “one of the most fraudulent political events in Somalia’s history” – which is pretty amazing considering that Somalia is so saturated with corruption that Transparency International has placed Somalia dead last in its annual Corruption Perceptions Index for eleven consecutive years. The new president promptly nominated Hassan Ali Khayre as prime minister despite – or perhaps because of – suspicions that Khayre used his connections with Al-Shabaab terrorists to benefit his company.
Back in Minneapolis at a community celebration, Omar and her “cultural husband” Hirsi enthusiastically praised the new Somali government and mentioned Khayre by name. A few days later Khayre was confirmed by Parliament as prime minister – and two days after that Omar’s brother-in-law Mohamed Keynan became permanent secretary to Prime Minister Khayre. Many government employees would be stripped of their security clearances for having similar connections if, in the words of a directive from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, “that contact creates a heightened risk of foreign exploitation, inducement, manipulation, pressure, or coercion,” but as an elected member of Congress Rep. Omar gets a free pass.
LARGEST KNOWN DATA THEFT IN SENATE HISTORY
Speaking of Congress, Daily Caller reports that former Democratic IT aide Jackson Cosko has been sentenced to four years for hacking the office computer system of Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and publishing the home addresses and phone numbers for five Republican senators during the confirmation hearings for now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Doxxing – the slang term for publicizing a person’s name and contact information – has become a favored tactic of the Left: The information is posted on the Internet to make the person a target for harassment or even violence. Prosecutors hoped to make an example of Cosko to deter others engaging in similar, politically motivated crimes.
Cosko’s hack constitutes the largest known Senate data theft to date, as he apparently siphoned off everything stored on Sen. Hassan’s computers – including the Social Security numbers and other personal information of constituents who had asked Hassan for assistance in dealing with government agencies. Hassan’s office does not appear to have notified her constituents of the breach even though Hassan has advocated for legislation requiring companies to give such notifications.
Hassan talks a good line in public, but in private she has shown a shocking disregard for security. When Hassan hired Cosko in 2017 as computer systems administrator, he was already a convicted felon and drug addict. Cosko was terminated in May 2018 for performance issues that Hassan has declined to explain to the press. Amazingly, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) soon gave Cosko an unpaid internship, apparently without calling Hassan’s office for references. Following his dismissal, Cosko broke into Hassan’s office with help from another Hassan staffer at least four times to steal data and to install keyloggers on several computers to transmit even more data to him. He originally intended to use the data to blackmail staffers, but after becoming angry over Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings he doxxed the Republican senators instead, using a computer in Jackson Lee’s office. Although Cosko was spotted during his last burglary attempt and reported to the Capitol police, his keyloggers remained undetected until he decided to cooperate with law enforcement. Hassan’s disregard for elementary security procedures is such that no one, apparently, bothered to run a thorough check on her office computers. The Capitol Hill police seem to be similarly inept at conducting investigations, as Cosko and his lawyers had to send them back to his home a second time because they failed to look where they had been told for evidence.
Disturbingly this is not a one off. Long-time Nightwatch readers may remember our coverage last year of the Awan brothers, Pakistani IT aides to several House Democrats, who stole equipment and data from House servers. Investigations after the Awans were fired revealed a host of problems with cybersecurity, including improper vetting of IT employees, lack of supervision, use of unauthorized equipment, and use of non-approved software or cloud services. Congress’s solution was to require IT employees to sign a form in which they agreed to follow the rules. Unsurprisingly rule-breaking continued, and 45 percent of the employees didn’t even bother to sign the form.
Leftists continue to deplatform people who disagree with them. Nightwatch has previously discussed social media giants Facebook and Twitter suspending accounts as well as using algorithms to hide activity by accounts that are supposed to be active. Now Project Veritas reports that the social media platform Pinterest is censoring Christian content in three ways. The first method is that terms such as “Christian” and “Bible verses” have been placed on a Sensitive Terms List to prevent them coming up in the site’s search bar. This list is normally reserved for pornographic terms or hate speech to prevent them from spreading on the site and offending the unsuspecting. Since the search bar has no trouble suggesting results for “Muslim” or “Jewish”, it is clearly targeting Christians. People can still pin or share this material on their own boards (pages), but the material will not be shown to other users in searches – which defeats many people’s purpose of pinning it. The second method is that the pro-life advocacy group Live Action and other non-Leftist sites such as zerohedge.com, teaparty.org, and pjmedia.com were placed on a list of blocked pornographic sites, and that stops material from those sites being posted to Pinterest at all. The person attempting to post from those sites receives a response that looks like a technical glitch occurred; the true reason is not explained. The third method is that Pinterest also maintains a list of “conspiracy theories” that are ranked for harmfulness: The more harmful Pinterest deems the conspiracy, the more it is suppressed in search results and prevented from appearing in trending or recommended feeds. Pinterest ranks Flat Earth material as less harmful than undercover videotapes made inside Planned Parenthood facilities. The Veritas source stressed that these lists are compiled manually by Pinterest employees, so the blocks are deliberate and not the result of computer error or faulty algorithms.
It seems that Pinterest considers Christians and pro-life advocates enemies of society – or at least enemies of the society Pinterest wants to encourage.
Christians and pro-life advocacy have also been targeted by YouTube, a video sharing platform that is a subsidiary of Google. Breitbart and Project Veritas report that YouTube blacklisted 120 entries on May 17, 2018 – seven days before Ireland’s referendum to decriminalize abortion, which was won by the pro-abortion side. The blacklisted terms include “abortion is wrong” and “abortion and the Catholic Church” amongst others. Google claims to be a trustworthy source of information that does not favor political ideology in its search results, but that claim was refuted by Dr. Robert Epstein’s study of what he called the Search Engine Manipulation Effect. Epstein did not accuse Google of deliberately tweaking results, but insiders told Breitbart and Project Veritas that Google and YouTube are indeed tweaking, blacklisting, and censoring.
Censorship is an old fashioned form of thought control. Preventing people from discussing certain topics keeps them from propagating and thereby limits public discourse: Islam is acceptable to technocrats, but Christianity is not. Leftwing extremists – including those who advocate violence – are acceptable, but even peaceful Conservatives are not. Abortion is acceptable, but pro-life advocacy is not.
As President Trump has often complained, the system is rigged. But there are some grounds for hope: For while Congressional Conservatives are ideologically averse to regulation, even those with a Libertarian bent have come to recognize the danger of letting high tech giants run wild and – surprisingly – even some of the Liberal legislators who benefit from high tech bias have come to recognize the threat as well.
Regulation of some sort is coming. The only questions are when and what kind.
NEW TRADE ROUTES & BATTLEGROUNDS
There are some things climate change activists don’t like to talk about. One of them is the fact that the Earth runs through a freeze-thaw cycle of roughly 1000 years. A sudden onset of cold appears to have contributed to the collapse of Mycenaean Era, while a gradual warming led to the Glory of Greece and the rise of Rome five centuries later. The return of cold around 200 AD seems to have caused or contributed to the economic stagnation that afflicted the late Empire, and the onset of the Mediaeval Warm Period contributed to the revival of European civilization. That was followed approximately 500 years later by the Little Ice Age, and then the gradual warming that began – roughly – at the close of the 19th Century.
That thaw and modern GPS navigation systems are slowly opening Arctic seaways that were almost impossible for cargo ships before. The Northwest Passage – the route through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago to the Pacific Ocean – is especially important because that route reduces transit times from the Europe to Asia by approximately 20 days. Bloomberg reports the Northern Sea Route – which follows Russia’s Arctic coastline between the Bering Strait and the Barents Sea – is also being eyed as a way to cut transit times by 10 to 20 days compared to shipping through the Suez Canal. Long utilized in inter-coastal trade, Russia has been busy opening military bases along the Northern Sea Route and building a new fleet of icebreakers in the hope of making sea-to-sea passage possible year-round. If the Arctic continues to warm those icebreakers may not be needed for more than a decade or so, but the Russians want to establish control of the trade route now in anticipation of a four-fold increase in shipping traffic over the next five years. That trade route could also help Russia bring China into closer partnership against the US, as China is eager to add a Polar Silk Road to its One Belt One Road trade initiative.
In contrast Europe, Canada, and the US are bickering over climate change agreements and territorial claims instead of building Arctic infrastructure. Europe still maintains the pretense that global climate change is driven by human activity and can therefore be reversed if everyone accepts the lower standard of living offered by their socialist but environmentally friendly New World Order. But building Arctic infrastructure to take advantage of the diminishing ice to improve trade would get in the way of their lofty goals.
Canada’s National Post reports that while US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned against Russian and Chinese activity at the May meeting of the Arctic Council,* he also re-opened a rift by calling Canada’s claim to the Northwest Passage “illegitimate.” Canada has long claimed the Northwest Passage as internal waters because the passages run through Canadian islands, whereas the US regards it as an international waterway with Canadian territory nearby. Pompeo did try to walk it back somewhat by saying the US was more concerned about Russia and China than Canada, but his comments are still being interpreted as an attack on a 1988 agreement that allowed the US and Canada to agree to disagree on the sovereignty issue, while cooperating on navigation and research projects. Also offended was the Canadian branch of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, which interpreted Pompeo’s remarks as an effort to internationalize their ancestral homeland.
Sending US ships into the Passage without first notifying Canada could prove both foolish and expensive: Arctic Today reports that the US Coast Guard doesn’t have the budget or the ships to handle its new Arctic Strategic Outlook. Not only is its single operational heavy icebreaker used in both the Arctic and Antarctic, that ship is barely being kept afloat by the crew’s ingenuity. A contract was awarded in April for a new heavy icebreaker – the first in 4 decades – but it will take 4 years to build, and there are serious questions if the old one will last that long. Even though the ice is slowly diminishing, specially constructed ships are still needed to withstand Arctic conditions, and the Guard’s medium icebreakers are not up to the job. More heavy icebreakers are planned, but the Coast Guard’s budget is being hit both by inflation and by the Administration’s effort to reprogram interdiction funds to support the border wall with Mexico. The reality is that Arctic cooperation with Canada is a practical necessity: An Arctic Today photo of a Canadian icebreaker clearing a path for an American ship speaks volumes.
To further complicate matters, Maritime Executive reports a possible third route across the North Pole that only China seems to be planning for. The Transpolar or Central Passage could save even more time and might eventually make both the Northern Sea Route and the Northwest Passage obsolete. Apparently the West remains locked in a mental image of a permanent polar ice cap. A Soviet nuclear icebreaker named the Arktika reached the North Pole in 1977 – when only 0.2% of the area was ice-free – and by 2009 it had become clear that Arctic routes might open for more than a couple months each year. Current projections expect the polar ice cap to be gone in summer by 2050, and some experts predict it might even happen by 2030. Once the permanent ice cap is gone, any water that refreezes in winter would form a much thinner and more navigable ice. It may become possible for ordinary cargo ships to get through year round, rather than the specially built ice-resistant ships currently needed in the Arctic winter.
China released an Arctic Policy in January 2018 that nonchalantly describes all three of these possible trade routes and plans a Polar Silk Road to unite them. It’s worth noting that China also signed a free trade agreement with Iceland in 2013 and last year opened the China-Iceland Arctic Science Observatory outside Akureyri. Iceland has also signed a contract with a German company to construct a deepwater port in northeast Iceland that could be used for the Transpolar Passage, yet neither Iceland nor any other member of the Arctic Council mention that route in their Arctic policies.
Unless there’s secret planning underway for a major Western initiative, it now seems likely that China will control the most profitable trade route of the future.
*Established in 1996. Member states include the US, Canada, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.
CHINA’S PAY TO PLAY
Last month Nightwatch discussed how then-Vice President Joe Biden and other members of the Obama Administration pressured Ukraine into dropping an investigation of possible improper money transfers by a company of which Biden’s son, Hunter, is reportedly a paid member of the board. New York Post reports that Hunter Biden has also had amazing business success in China – in 2010 the younger Biden and his partners in a private equity firm received a “warm welcome” from top Chinese officials to “explore the possibility of commercial cooperation and opportunity” within hours of the elder Biden meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Washington during the Nuclear Security Summit. Then in 2013 Hunter tagged along with his father on Air Force Two to China; less than two weeks later his company signed a $1 billion deal with the Bank of China to create an investment fund named Bohai Harvest RST (or BHR).
Here it’s worth noting that foreigners are not normally allowed to do this – much larger and better known financial institutions have been denied permission to start Chinese investment funds, yet the Vice President’s son was given unprecedented access. Small wonder that Joe Biden on the 2019 campaign trail insists that China is no threat to the US.
People not on China’s payroll disagree. In 2014 BHR invested in the IPO of China General Nuclear Power Corp. (CGN), a state-owned energy company – and two years later, the US Justice Department charged CGN with stealing nuclear secrets from the US, including a component used by US nuclear submarines. In 2015 BHR partnered with a subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned military contractor Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) to buy American parts manufacturer Henniges. AVIC is said to have a long history of stealing Western technology to include in the military aircraft, transports, and drones it sells in direct competition with the US. Henniges is a leader in anti-vibration technology that happens to be on the restricted export control list because of military applications. The BHR and AVIC purchase of Henniges thus required the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which included representatives from several government agencies and John Kerry’s State Department. The deal was approved – and the fact that one of Hunter Biden’s business partners was Chris Heinz, John Kerry’s stepson, probably didn’t hurt matters.
NEW ZEALAND: A CHINESE TAKEOVER
New Zealand Herald reports that Chinese government backed organizations have become big political donors in New Zealand – and generous in offering high ranking business positions, such as bank directorships, to former NZ government officials and their relatives. China has been busy cultivating influence all over the world, but New Zealand is of special interest because of its membership in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, its stake in Antarctica, its agricultural land, and its usefulness for near-space research. Sometimes these interests overlap: Dairy farms owned by Chinese companies have been used for near-space balloon launches, testing technology that might be used in advanced missiles. There is even a member of parliament who reportedly spent fifteen years studying and working with Chinese military intelligence before he became a New Zealand citizen. But oddly enough, top government leaders insist China isn’t a problem.
SPYGATE: THE ITALIAN CONNECTION
Nightwatch has previously discussed how US intelligence agencies illegally wiretapped Trump campaign insiders both before and after the 2016 election, using British GCHQ personnel to sidestep laws that prohibit them from spying on American citizens. The coup plotters also tried to entrap campaign aide George Papadopoulos with Stefan Halper and Joseph Mifsud, both academics linked to British intelligence who disappeared when their roles became public knowledge. The plotters later reached out to Ukrainian contacts to bolster the phony Steele dossier, which was used to fraudulently obtain a FISA warrant to surveil Trump and his inner circle – and now it appears the putschists also had help from their Italian counterparts.
La Repubblica reported in May that Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte fired six directors and deputy directors from the three Italian intelligence agencies. Conte’s opponents tried to paint it as the new regime playing political games, but the cat was soon out of the bag. Brad Johnson, retired CIA Station Chief and counterintelligence expert, explained that the firings happened after President Trump called Conte to inquire about Mifsud, who had been discovered in April living in a Rome apartment owned by Link International – the company that controls Link Campus, a Rome university known to work closely with Western intelligence agencies. The six fired directors have since been arrested and are under investigation by Italian authorities. The story being pieced together is that Mifsud – now known as an informant for several intelligence agencies, not just the Brits – wore a wire when he met with Papadopoulos, and the Italians provided transcripts to the American FBI. The FBI was unable to frame Papadopoulos for Russian collusion, but they did succeed in pressuring him to plead guilty in October 2017 of making false statements to FBI agents – the same legal trap the FBI used to ensnare Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s initial national security adviser. Recently declassified documents will provide more information on his targeting, and hopefully the full story will come to light. But even more importantly, the growing number of international connections has made it all but certain that former CIA Director John Brennan and former President Obama were both deeply involved in the coup attempt.
Daily Caller reports that Barr has appointed US Attorney John Durham to take over the surveillance investigation from John Huber. Huber has been so quiet since former AG Jeff Sessions appointed him in March 2018 that many have questioned what he was actually doing. Barr explained that Huber is wrapping up an investigation pertaining to Hillary Clinton and has not been involved with Russiagate/Spygate for several months.
DID GOOGLE INFLUENCE 2018 MIDTERM ELECTIONS?
After two years of media hysterics claiming Russia hacked, meddled with, or somehow influenced the 2016 US presidential election, Dr. Robert Epstein of the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology says Google’s biased search algorithm flipped three 2018 California House races from Republican to Democrat and is even influencing elections globally. Epstein explained to RT that field agents in a study searched about 500 terms related to issues in those House districts. Google’s search results showed a “significant liberal bias” that likely influenced undecided voters. After six years of studying the Search Engine Manipulation Effect, Epstein says between 20 to 80 percent of undecided voters can be swayed, depending on the issue and demographic group, which can make it a deciding factor in close races. Having examined elections around the world, Epstein also says that at least 25 percent of national elections are being decided by Google. There are other search engines available that yield more neutral results, but Google has the lion’s share of the market – in the US, 90 percent. Since most users falsely assume that search results generated by a computer are objective, they’re more trusting and more open to changing their minds. Google insists they have never re-ranked search results “to manipulate political sentiment” and that they do not tweak rankings specific to elections or political candidates. Epstein says he’s not accusing them of re-ranking or tweaking, only that their search results consistently favor liberals and liberal news sources. Bing and Yahoo search results did not, but their market share is tiny in comparison.
FRANCE: A LOW GRADE INSURGENCY
French President Emmanuel Macron has spent years denying the existence of French culture in order to promote Multiculturalism and Globalism. But in what amounts to a public admission that the former has proven to be a disastrous failure, Breitbart reports that Macron now wants France to rediscover “the art of being French.” Macron is careful about his wording, asserting the problem is political Islam – not Islam in general, but only political Islam – which has encouraged the rise of pocket communities that want to secede from the French Republic. This problematic “communitarianism” is a direct result of Turkey and Saudi Arabia funding French mosques and clerics to spread more radical strains of Islam. Even bookshops and online information forums are now so dominated by Salafist literature that it’s difficult to find information on more moderate versions of that faith. A study conducted last year advised blocking foreign funding and setting up a neutral Muslim organization to take over the training of French clerics.
One might ask why such measures weren’t taken sooner. Islamist terrorism did not end with the Charlie Hebdo magazine and the Bataclan theater massacres in 2015; since then there have been multiple attacks on policemen and soldiers as well as more than 2,000 “anti-Christian” acts in 2017 and 2018. Anti-Christian incidents have continued climbing this year – and then there was the devastating fire at Notre Dame.
The reality is that France is facing a low-grade Islamic insurgency that the government is presently unwilling to admit. For that reason French authorities immediately declared the Notre Dame fire accidental, even though all evidence points to the contrary: To acknowledge the obvious would be to risk turning a low grade Muslim insurgency into bloody, nation-wide insurrection.
But Muslim insurgents aren’t Macron’s only problem: Six months on, the Gilets Jaunes – or Yellow Vests – are still protesting despite an astonishing degree of police violence and the use of non-lethal chemical weapons against them. At the same press conference where Macron decried political Islam, he also outlined a series of proposals intended to mollify the Yellow Vests. But the vapid measures he proposed only inflamed the situation – two days later, the Yellow Vests tried to storm the European Parliament building in Strasbourg but were repulsed by barricades, tear gas, and more police brutality.
Macron is owned and operated by the European Financial Elite and for that reason has little interest in protecting France or the French people. But since the Islamist insurgency and the Yellow Vest movement both stem from the same cause – that is, the Elite’s single minded pursuit of its own interests at the expense of France and its people – it’s remotely possible that Macron’s call to recall “the art of being French” may be the first, hesitant step toward addressing the disaster the Ruling Elite has inflicted upon France with Political Correctness, Multiculturalism and Globalism.
CHRISTIANITY UNDER ATTACK
The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was badly damaged by fire in April at the beginning of Holy Week. The French government ruled out arson before an investigation was even conducted. Daily Caller reports that such conduct is typical of the French Ministry of the Interior, which deliberately muddles the sort of “anti-Christian” crimes mentioned above because the Ministry does not want to provide details lest they be “manipulated.” The crimes include violent acts against individuals as well as vandalism of Christian churches, cemeteries, and other religious sites. National Catholic Reporter attempted a more in-depth look and found the attacks appear to come from numerous directions. Thieves steal valuable art and objects but don’t touch anything else. Some fires might have been started accidentally by homeless people trying to keep warm. But vandalism specifically directed at sacred symbols such as statues and crucifixes are indisputably anti-Christian acts. Gatestone Institute describes hundreds of such attacks on churches in Germany and across Europe and notes they are now everyday occurrences. Not surprisingly, those areas with the highest populations of Muslim migrants tend to have the most trouble.
But Muslims aren’t the only problem: It’s important to understand that anti-Christian violence is rising throughout the world. The magnitude is difficult to determine because the Mainstream Media downplays it, preferring to focus instead on attacks against Muslims and – more rarely – Jews. The terrorist bombings on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka that killed more than 300 Catholics were barely reported by the MSM and murders of Christians in Egypt, Pakistan, India, Nigeria, Eritrea, The Congo, Sudan, Kenya, Somalia, and other countries are studiously ignored. Daily Caller reports that British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt blames “political correctness” for governments – and, presumably the MSM – ignoring the persecution of Christians. A report commissioned by Hunt last December is still in progress, but the released interim report shows that about one-third of the world’s population suffers from religious persecution in varying forms, with Christians being the most persecuted group. Christianity is even in serious danger of being wiped out in its birthplace of the Middle East. In Palestine Christians are now less than 1.5% of the population.
The US is not immune either. Fox News reports that two days after the Notre Dame fire a man with gas cans and lighter fluid was arrested at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City; that man had also been arrested a few days earlier at a cathedral in Newark, New Jersey. A Catholic church on Maui, Hawaii was reported by a local news station as having been vandalized on Easter, and its Our Lady of Lourdes statue was destroyed along with some pictures. Patient work with a search engine reveals many other incidents across the country; some vandalized churches have graffiti praising Satan or Allah and Mohammed. As in France, the attacks are coming from many directions, which makes it easier for authorities to downplay or dismiss the attacks as being the work of just a few mentally disturbed individuals. Christians of all denominations are urged to be on their guard, to help secure their places of worship and fellowship, and to hold local authorities and local media accountable for their handling of any attacks in their area.
UKRAINE COLLUSION: OBAMA & BIDEN
Nightwatch has previously discussed how Fusion GPS used Ukrainian politicians as sources for the phony Steele dossier that was fraudulently used to obtain a FISA surveillance warrant against Trump. Now The Hill reports the Ukrainian collusion went far deeper. In January 2016 the Obama White House brought Ukrainian corruption investigators to DC for meetings with members of Obama’s National Security Council, FBI, State Department, and Department of Justice. The meetings were ostensibly for training and coordination, but the Americans were interested in only two cases: an old investigation regarding payments made by the party of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to a lobbying firm owned by Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, and an open investigation of a Ukrainian energy company for improper foreign money transfers. By strange coincidence, Manafort and Stone were staunch Trump supporters and Hunter Biden – the Vice President’s son – was both a paid board member of, and consultant to, the energy company under scrutiny. FBI agents had interviewed Manafort in 2014 about whether he had engaged in improper foreign lobbying and received undeclared payments, but the FBI shut down the case without charging Manafort. Ukraine had evidence that other Westerners, including former Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig, had also received payments from Yanukovych’s Party of Regions, but the Obama Administration wasn’t interested. They only wanted information on Manafort – which by another strange coincidence magically appeared in the form of a secret ledger showing undeclared payments to Manafort ten days after he was appointed Trump’s campaign manager in May of 2016. Forced to resign from the campaign in August 2016, Manafort was convicted last year on eight counts of filing false tax returns, bank fraud, and failing to disclose a foreign bank account. Even though President Trump was not involved in these dealings, Democrats and the Establishment media used the case to smear Trump with guilt by association. Last December a Ukrainian court called the ledger’s release an illegal attempt to influence the US election.
In stark contrast, the Obama Administration wanted the case involving Hunter Biden dropped and pressured Ukraine to fire the prosecutor investigating it. Then-Vice President Joe Biden even bragged about threatening to pull $1 billion in US loan guarantees, which could have pushed Ukraine into insolvency. Bank records show that Hunter Biden’s company, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, received regular money transfers from the energy company in question during 2014-2015 when Joe Biden was the main US official dealing with Ukraine and its difficult relations with Russia. Ukrainian files identify Hunter Biden, his business partner Devon Archer, and their company Rosemont Seneca Partners as potential recipients of the money. Clearly, the Obama Administration was only interested in fighting corruption when they could weaponize it against their opponents. As Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Fox News, “From their point of view the rule of law is a tool to get an outcome.”
SAUDIS EVADING US JUSTICE
Democrats aren’t the only ones with a Get Out of Jail Free card. The Oregonian reports that for decades Saudi consular officials have been helping Saudi nationals facing charges in the US escape back to their own country while US federal officials turn a blind eye. The Oregonian first noticed the phenomenon when five young Saudi men studying at Oregon universities disappeared after being released on bail. Two of the suspects were accused of rape, two were accused of hit and run driving offenses – including one that was fatal – and one was accused of possessing child pornography on his computer. All five were recipients of scholarships and stipends from the Saudi government and in at least four of the five cases the Saudi government hired a lawyer for the defendants and provided bail money. Some of the disappeared students later resurfaced in Saudi Arabia despite having surrendered their passports after their arrests, raising suspicions that consular officials had either provided new passports or arranged for private jet trips home. Upon investigation The Oregonian found similar cases in seven other states and Canada – which turned out to be the tip of an iceberg.
The Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission in DC keeps tabs on students – and other Saudis visiting the US – with help from student associations on college campuses. Those who criticize the Kingdom, engage in other frowned upon political activities or run into trouble with the law are whisked home by Saudi operatives. The FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and other federal agencies have long known this but Republican and Democratic administrations alike have avoided confronting the Saudi’s for fear of jeopardizing Saudi cooperation in counterterrorism and other issues – even when the vanished Saudi subjects were being investigated for connections to extremists and terrorists. The State Department has repeatedly declined to intervene in these cases, citing the lack of an extradition treaty with the Kingdom. A reasonable person might expect that a true ally would cooperate in matters of criminal activity and public safety, but that has not been the case. On the plus side, the accused offender has been removed from the community; the downside is they may or may not be held accountable once they’re back in the Kingdom, so in at least some instances the offender is free to travel and commit crimes elsewhere. In fact one of the students first noticed by The Oregonian was spotted posting social media comments about the weather and food – in France.
DEMOCRATS: NEW VOTERS
2020 presidential election has become the Mainstream Media’s new grand obsession. Those who would carry the Democrat standard are swarming out of the woodwork to offer the usual promises of government controlled healthcare and ever greater handouts for the public. But this year they’re also offering new proposals designed to swell the ranks of registered voters. One proposal is to lower the voting age to 16: The Federalist reports that Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) has actually introduced a bill in the House for this and that 236 Democrats have signed on as co-sponsors. No one has suggested lowering the age for other adult responsibilities, e.g. full time work, military service, signing contracts, and aside from Nancy Pelosi’s claim that high school students are politically “engaged” no one has offered a plausible argument for why 16 year-olds are qualified to assume the serious responsibility of voting.
The real reason for the Democrat’s interest in lowering the voting age is support for expanding government is highest with the younger generation, whereas older generations favor limiting it. In various guises, the wry observation, incorrectly attributed to Churchill, that “If you aren’t a liberal at 20, you have no heart, and if you aren’t a conservative at 40, you have no head” has been bandied about since at least 1875.
Another proposal is to restore the right to vote to all felons. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ website, 48 states currently restrict voting by felons. Maine and Vermont are the only two that do not. In 14 states and the District of Columbia, felons lose their voting rights while incarcerated, but their rights are automatically restored upon their release. In 22 states felons lose their voting rights while incarcerated and for a set period after their release. In 12 states, felons can lose their voting rights indefinitely for some crimes or require a governor’s pardon for their rights to be restored.
Leading Democrats are proposing to federally mandate that all felons retain the right to vote even while incarcerated. The only explanation offered for why people who have been deemed a menace to society should be allowed to vote is a vague platitude about voting being a basic universal human right – which would have amazed the Founding Fathers, who did set eligibility requirements. The exception is Pete Buttigieg,* who says that felons should not vote while incarcerated but should still have the right restored upon release. As with teen voting, the real reason once again is the presumption that felons with restored voting rights would vote Democrat.
A STEELE DOSSIER REDUX
The notorious Steele dossier, used by the FBI to fraudulently obtain a FISA warrant first to surveil the Trump campaign, and then in a seditious attempt to force a duly elected president from office, has been the subject of so many media reports that one might wonder what could possibly be left to say about it. But new sources for the phony dossier have been uncovered: It was originally reported that Christopher Steele’s informants were Russian insiders who claimed their government had compromising material on Trump, but One America News (OAN) reports that the dossier was actually a jumble of at least sixteen reports collected by Fusion GPS from multiple sources, including Ukrainian politicians and political consultants. Serhiy Leshchenko, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament, was revealed as a source last year and in March OAN revealed another name: Vasyl Filipchuk, a Ukrainian diplomat and a board member of the International Centre for Policy Studies (ICPS). It should be noted that neither man appears to be pro-Russian, but they are – or were – pro-Clinton, so when Fusion GPS reached out to them, they agreed to provide anti-Trump material to help Hillary. Fusion GPS made no attempt to verify any of the material and reportedly even encouraged sources to “just make up something.” Mr. Filipchuk’s involvement is particularly interesting because of his position with the ICPS, a Ukrainian think tank founded “upon the initiative” of the Open Society Institute – which was created by Leftist billionaire George Soros.
And there is yet another link to Soros as well: Daily Caller reports The Democracy Integrity Project (TDIP) is partially funded by Soros. TDIP was founded in January 2017 by Daniel Jones, a former staffer for Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and has been described by Jones as a “shadow media organization helping the government” by working with a “network of experienced organizations and individuals to gather information on foreign actors’ efforts to interfere in democratic elections around the world” – or more specifically, the 2016 US presidential election. Jones claims to have received $50 million from an as yet unidentified “group of Silicon Valley billionaires” and George Soros. TDIP paid $3.3 million to Bean LLC, the holding company that controls Fusion GPS, and $250,000 to Walsingham Partners Ltd., a London-based firm owned by Christopher Steele and a partner named Christopher Burrows. TDIP also paid nearly $130,000 to Edward Austin Ltd., a London-based consultancy run by a Fusion GPS contractor named Edward Baumgartner, and $148,000 to Zuckerman Spaeder, a law firm that has represented Fusion GPS in some legal matters pertaining to the dossier.
In short: TDIP funneled money from Leftist billionaires to Fusion GPS, and Fusion contractors, for them to provide anti-Trump material to US government agencies and to the media – and it was far more money than the Perkins Coie law firm paid Fusion on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. What began as opposition research for a candidate morphed into a sustained, well-funded operation by the Establishment Left to overturn the 2016 election.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller finally concluded his investigation with a statement that there was no evidence the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. It’s now time for Attorney General Barr to investigate the very real attempted coup d’état by the Left and to hold the conspirators accountable to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA
An eerie feature of the attempted Russiagate coup was the way the Mainstream Media (MSM) ignored objective reality and endlessly repeated the Left’s fantasy that President Trump was a Russian agent who would soon be arrested. It was almost as though they were all reading from the same script. Blogger Caitlin Johnstone published an insightful article on her website last December that cuts to the heart of the matter: The West claims to have a free press, yet the MSM acts as agents of the Establishment by viciously attacking those who dare to disagree with the Establishment’s line. Indeed, the MSM’s attempts to impose opinion is often indistinguishable from the behavior of state-run propaganda outlets. The most important reason for this is media outlets are no longer independent – they’re either owned by corporations or, like The Washington Post, by the billionaire owners of corporations. Even the smaller, locally owned suburban news outlets are a thing of the past; almost all are now owned by nationwide conglomerates. Wealthy media owners invest a great deal of money and effort in influencing government policy in order to ensure the growth of their financial interests – so naturally they’re not going to encourage reporting that would undercut their efforts. Noam Chomsky’s 1996 rejoinder to a BBC reporter who insisted that he [the reporter] did not self-censor is telling: “I’m sure you believe everything you’re saying. But what I’m saying is that if you believed something different, you wouldn’t be sitting where you’re sitting.”
This is, of course, why so many reporters for state-run outlets abroad insist that they are not pressured by their bosses and claim they’re reporting honestly: If they held opposing beliefs, they would not have those jobs. In the West, the selection process is done through peer pressure and withholding or granting access. Reporters who want well-paid jobs and successful careers quickly learn how to get ahead by publishing carefully crafted “insider” reports that support the Establishment Line. Those who don’t learn – or who refuse to follow the herd – are left behind in obscurity. The growing trend of former government officials joining media payrolls as analysts brings the partnership between government and plutocrats into the open. The framers of the US Constitution expected, or at least hoped, the press would help check the power of government by remaining independent and informing the American people. Today the MSM tell the public a mix of truths, half-truths, and outright lies to manipulate the public into cooperating with the shared government-plutocrat agenda – just as the state-run propaganda outlets do overseas.
During the Cold War, CFIS Chairman Charles S. Viar read the “Moscow Funnies” every morning – that is, Pravda and Izvestia – before turning to the American press. In his words, “Aside from The New York Times – an unreformed Stalinist Disinformation rag – the American press tilted to the left during that era, but was generally factual. But these days their style, content and factual accuracy has become eerily similar to the old Soviet press – but without the wickedly funny humor that occasionally crept into its pages.”
The silver lining in all this is the Mainstream media’s manipulation and deceit have become too blatant to ignore. At long last, large numbers of the public have tuned out the MSM and turned instead to alternative media sources that provide more objective reporting.
ASSIMILATION IN DOUBT
This is not just opinion. Sputnik reports that professor of sociology Ruud Koopmans has concluded after twenty years of studying assimilation at the Berlin Social Science Center that Muslims are far more resistant to integration than other migrant groups. Koopmans blames a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam that is prevalent among Muslim migrants. This fundamentalism encourages Muslims to remain separate from other groups and avoid broader interaction with them. In fact around 65% of Turkish and Moroccan Muslims in six European countries consider religious laws more important than the laws of the country they live in. Almost 60% rejected the idea of friendships with homosexuals, and 45% rejected the idea of friendships with Jews. Other migrant groups progress in assimilation from one generation to the next, but in Muslims this change is far slower. There are certainly individual Muslims who have integrated into their new countries, but Koopmans stresses that these individuals are exceptions and that the overall trend suggests no Western country has yet managed to truly integrate Muslims.
Koopmans also paints a gloomy picture of the Muslim world in general. He concluded that the 47 Muslim-majority countries studied lag behind the rest of the world in democracy, human rights, political development, and economic development – and the lag is getting worse, not better, due to growing fundamentalism and sectarian conflict.
In Germany Koopmans is seen as a controversial figure for criticizing Chancellor Merkel’s immigration policies even though his arguments are solidly based on evidence. His critics frequently make personal attacks but refuse to discuss his studies on the dubious grounds that discussion plays into the hands of right wing populists who want to stop immigration altogether. Refusing to discuss the facts, however, will not make them go away. Those who insist Europe must continue accepting Muslim migrants – and who even insist Europeans must adapt to the Muslims instead of vice versa – are willfully hastening Europe’s cultural suicide. What’s happening there should be a warning to Americans of what will happen here if the Left’s political correctness is not checked.
ISLAMIST TAKEOVER SETBACK
Clarion Project reports a major win in turning back the Islamist effort to subvert American education: A federal court has ordered the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) out of the San Diego Unified School District. The Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF) brought a lawsuit on the grounds that the school district allowed CAIR to run a discriminatory, unconstitutional propaganda program in the schools. The program began in April 2017 and was based on false claims that Muslim students were being bullied by Islamophobes after President Trump’s election; state records do not show any evidence of such bullying. The program gave Muslim students special privileges and allowed CAIR officials to teach about Islam, changing the curriculum and using biased videos to persuade students and teachers to look more favorably upon that faith. The court found the program violated the First Amendment by favoring one religious group over another and mixing government with religion. The San Diego school district was ordered to end the program, to stop the pro-Muslim student bias, to keep educational materials on religious subjects neutral instead of promoting one religion over another, and to treat each religion with equal respect “with the time and attention spent discussing each religion being proportionate to its impact on history.” It also ordered the district not to allow guest speakers from religious organizations to give students presentations on religious topics. FCDF spokesmen say other school districts should take the settlement as a warning against similar partnerships with CAIR and identified four other districts that are running such programs.
This victory is even more important when one realizes that CAIR has been credibly accused of helping finance Hamas and other terrorist groups – the FBI and the Justice Department have both banned CAIR as a community outreach partner for this reason. That school districts would allow such influence on their students underscores the need for parents to remain vigilant over their children’s education and not let alleged experts have free rein. CAIR had hoped this program would lead to a nationwide rollout and will probably continue the battle despite this setback. Parents are accordingly urged to become more involved with their local school boards and pressure them to take the First Amendment Establishment Clause seriously.
NORTH KOREAN EMBASSY RAID
On February 22nd, North Korea’s embassy in Madrid, Spain was briefly seized by ten intruders. Reuters and the BBC report that it was carried out by the Cheollima Civil Defense, also known as Free Joseon, a group dedicated to overthrowing Kim Jong-un. Spanish authorities described the attack as well planned as if by a “military cell” and identified three suspects: Adrian Hong Chang, a Mexican citizen and US resident; Sam Ryu, an American citizen; and Woo Ran Lee, a South Korean citizen.
Mr. Hong Chang gained access to the embassy by asking to see the commercial attaché about some business matters; once he was inside, his accomplices burst in. The group reportedly interrogated the attaché and tried to persuade him to defect. Embassy staff were held prisoner for several hours. One woman managed to escape through a window, and local police were called. When the police arrived, they were greeted by Mr. Hong Chang, who pretended to be a diplomat and assured them nothing was wrong. It is not clear in the reports if the police took his word for it and left. The intruders then split into four groups and left the embassy in stolen diplomatic vehicles, taking computers and – presumably – other exceptionally valuable items such as code books and encryption machines. The group reportedly contacted the FBI at some point to pass on information about the raid, and Spanish authorities suspect US intelligence agencies could have been involved in planning the attack. They believe the three named suspects all travelled to the US after the raid and plan to seek their extradition.
Spokesmen for the US State Department and the FBI have denied any involvement in the raid, but other elements of the US Intelligence Community have not. Given that the raid occurred shortly before President Trump’s summit in Hanoi with Kim Jong-un, some have speculated the raiders may have been looking for information on Kim Hyok-chol, North Korea’s former ambassador to Spain who is described by the BBC as now “a key envoy” in North Korean talks with the US. But more experienced observers have dismissed that as a likely diversion – the computers would have almost certainly contained diplomatic communications which, when combined code books and encryption machines, would have made it possible to read North Korean diplomatic cables up to that date with certainty. Assuming American code breakers hadn’t already cracked North Korea’s diplomatic ciphers, the data gleaned from North Korean cables would have been of great value to President Trump.
That said, it’s entirely plausible that US intelligence was shutting down a code breaking operation that had long since cracked North Korean communications, and were laying down a false trail intended to confuse their North Korean adversaries as to when and how the US had penetrated their ciphers.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING: SOUTHERN BORDER UPDATE
Washington Times reports members of the Aryan Brotherhood are now working with Mexican cartels to smuggle illegal aliens into the US. The Aryan Brotherhood, also known as the AB, began as a white-only prison gang and has since become a full-fledged organized crime syndicate. The name suggests white supremacist ideology, but their main motivation now appears to be money – hence the partnership with Mexican cartels. But the smuggling isn’t confined to people, and the traffic runs both ways: Guns are taken south to Mexico, and Mexican meth is brought north to the US.
As Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies pointed out, “Alien smuggling is not a humanitarian enterprise. It is a criminal enterprise run by dangerous people. As long as the border is not well-secured, it will continue to be a crime zone that attracts the worst elements of society and degrades the quality of life for the law-abiding people who live there. As long as illegal immigration is tolerated…people will keep trying to come illegally, and criminals will keep profiting from it.”
Organized human trafficking is lucrative: Illegal immigrants typically pay between $10,000 and $20,000 apiece to be smuggled across the border. But it isn’t confined to paying adults: The Washington Times reported in a separate story that some children smuggled over the border had been kidnapped by sex traffickers. A five-year-old boy kidnapped in Mexicali was rescued when his kidnapper was forced to bring him through a port of entry due to the border wall in that sector. Authorities discovered the kidnapper ran a child porn ring in San Bernardino, California, which led to the rescue of 12 other children. These activities are downplayed by Liberals, who ignore the fact that human trafficking is an organized criminal activity and continue to insist that the trafficked individuals are harmless refugees in search of asylum.
Although a small percent of those smuggled into the country may have a valid claim for asylum, most are simply looking for better jobs and some are criminals. Los Angeles Times reported that a Mexican who fired at a Napa County sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop last month had previously been deported three times and was back in the US illegally. Since his last deportation, he had been arrested several times on charges that include battery on a peace officer, selling liquor to a minor, driving under the influence, and probation violations. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials had issued four detainer requests to local authorities, but each one was denied. Fortunately the Napa County deputy was not injured and returned fire; the man died at the scene. Newman Police Cpl. Ronil Singh was not as fortunate. Last December he stopped a driver on suspicion of DUI and was shot to death by that driver, a Mexican national in the US illegally. As Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said in a news conference after the shooter’s arraignment, “Border security goes hand in hand with national security, goes hand in hand with public safety, goes hand in hand with the safety of our community.” But Liberals and Globalists have no interest in public safety. Their only concern is to dissolve the nation’s borders.
PERIODIC HACKING REMINDER
The latest security fail is Nest, a home security system owned by Google. Daily Mail reports that users have discovered strangers talking to their infant children through their baby monitors, and hackers have also used Nest security cameras to spy on residents and hurl insults or threats at them. One user even found that Nest had raised his thermostat to a level potentially hazardous for babies, the elderly and anyone else susceptible to heat stroke. Users who own both Nest and Amazon’s Alexa have found Nest hackers instructing Alexa to play music and perform other Alexa tasks. Google insists the problems are due to customers using weak or repeated passwords and not to any security breach by Google. While the reported hacks mostly sound like harmless pranks, it takes little wit to recognize that thieves, stalkers, or kidnappers might use one’s security system against them. Or the FBI…
It’s worth reiterating that any connected or wireless device can be hacked and used to spy on its owner. An example frequently given in the media is the new generation of sex robots enhanced with artificial intelligence to hold conversations and learn from its user, but The Mind Unleashed reports that much simpler ordinary sex toys designed to be operated with Bluetooth can also be hacked and controlled remotely. People who wish to keep their intimate life private would be well advised to avoid devices that are programmable or remote controlled. They might also want to consider what they’re really gaining by using Google Assistant, Alexa, smart tvs, or other electronic devices, and compare that to the loss of privacy and security.
BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING – REALLY
It’s also important to understand that much of the spying today is done by businesses. By now most people have heard about Facebook giving users’ data to companies. Anyone congratulating themselves on having never signed up for Facebook, however, need to take a close look at their phones. The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook routinely collects personal data from some smartphone apps, even if the user has never had a Facebook account. The apps often do not tell the users about the data sharing, much less how to stop it. The data transfer mechanism is an analytics tool developed by Facebook called App Events, and one of the events that can be programmed is to target the user with relevant advertising. However, there is nothing to stop these companies from using the personal data in any way they choose – and any collected data is potentially available to the government.
Many users shrug off such surveillance, rationalizing that’s the price they pay for the convenience of the apps’ services or the special discounts offered by store loyalty program cards. Little thought is given to how digital systems can be turned against them. Project Veritas reports that Facebook has been policing political speech on its platform despite Mark Zuckerberg’s denials in testimony to the Senate. The Sigma AI system originally developed to block potentially suicidal posts has been broadened to suppress posts by disruptive users known as trolls. The list of keywords searched by Sigma include terms used predominantly by Independents and Conservatives, e.g., SJW (Social Justice Warrior) and MSM (Mainstream Media). In other words, Conservative lingo is considered hate speech. The AI does not notify the users that their content is being suppressed, so there is no route to appeal the action. Facebook internal documents obtained by Project Veritas discuss other possible ways to interfere with trolls: failure to upload posts, auto-logouts, and auto-direct to home page every few minutes – things that might be passed off as software glitches or problems with the users’ devices. A particularly disturbing suggestion is that such measures be employed before important elections. Whether or not Facebook intends to manipulate elections is not clear at this time, but suppressing Conservative content would have that effect even if unintended. Another suggestion is to notify a user’s Friend Network when his account is suspended or terminated in the hopes of intimidating others into changing their own behavior. It should be noted that accounts known to have been suppressed include the Daily Caller news outlet and independent filmmaker Mike Cernovich.
Such attempts to influence the public’s behavior are reminiscent of the Chinese social credit system discussed in the November/December 2018 issue of Nightwatch. The Chinese are at least open about it, so their people know what to expect. But American corporate monitoring is hidden or downplayed; anyone expressing misgivings is either given false assurances or mocked. Even when the monitoring is acknowledged, the standard response is that monitoring by private companies is acceptable because they are not the government and because the monitoring facilitates delivering their services to the consumer. Anyone who doesn’t like being monitored should simply not do business with that company – but the reality is that unplugged options are rapidly being left behind in today’s world.
Another reality is that these private companies do receive funding and/or subsidies from the government. Good Jobs First reported in 2015 that Facebook had received over $330 million in federal, state, and local subsidies. It’s also been widely reported that one of the organizations advising Facebook’s efforts to combat hate speech is none other than the Atlantic Council – a Globalist think tank whose donors include the US State Department, US Army, US Air Force, US Marines, and the US Chamber of Commerce. Facebook is indeed part of the Establishment even though it pretends to be just another private company.
Outsourcing surveillance to the private sector does not make it acceptable, but it does make it easier for the public to pretend it doesn’t exist – and therein lies the rub. It has often been said over the years that the Devil’s best trick is to convince people he doesn’t exist. Readers familiar with C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters might recall Screwtape advising the inexperienced tempter Wormwood to keep his charge distracted from such concerns with the minutiae of daily life. If his charge did start wondering about the Devil, Wormwood was to remind him of the comical figure in red tights: Since his target wouldn’t believe such a ludicrous image was real, he’d be inclined to believe Satan’s helpers weren’t real either. Similarly the Establishment works hard to persuade the public that government surveillance – or surveillance by its private sector proxies – is the stuff of nutjob conspiracy theories or paranoids with something to hide. Mockery keeps the nightmarish reality at bay.
AT LONG LAST:
AN APP TO KEEP ’EM BAREFOOT AND PREGNANT – AND IN THE COUNTRY!
There appears to be a phone app for everything. This is Insider reports that Saudi Arabia even has a phone app called Absher that allows a man to handle online government functions such as paying parking fines, renewing a driver’s license – and granting or revoking travel permission for the women in his family. The app even gives notifications when the woman uses her passport at a border crossing or airport.
There’s nothing hidden about this. Before Absher women seeking to escape an abusive husband or father had to find a forger to dummy a written authorization from their guardians that would convince Saudi border authorities to let them pass. But Absher has changed all that – a Saudi woman planning to make a run for it now has to steal her guardian’s phone, reset the app password, grant themselves travel permission in his name, and then hope he doesn’t check her status in time to stop her. Insider estimates that roughly a thousand women try to flee the Kingdom each year – and not all of them make it.
Those that are caught are often never seen again, and according to rumor at least some have been killed because the Saudis consider it shameful for a woman to run away from her family. Interestingly, Absher is available in both the Apple and Google app stores – the same stores that refused to carry the Gab social network app because of Gab’s commitment to free speech.
The harsh reality is that Big Tech has no problem helping governments monitor and oppress their citizens, and it’s foolish to pretend otherwise. Anyone remembering Google’s “Don’t Be Evil” motto should be aware Google officially dropped it in 2015 when it reorganized itself as a subsidiary of Alphabet. Per Fortune, the replacement credo is “Do the right thing – follow the law, act honorably, and treat each other with respect.” To some the shift in tone might sound more mature, but as cynics have been quick to note, that formulation is reassuring to the Chinese Communist regime – which, by strange coincidence, is a huge market – and to other brutal dictatorships.
CHINA’S GREEN TECH SCAM
China has never been a democracy. Throughout its long history, it has been ruled by dictatorships of one sort or another. But lately, the Communist Party state has been trying to burnish its image with propaganda and the exercise of soft power in an effort to assert global leadership. One approach has been to tout initiatives to address their horrible pollution, another to become a green technology innovator.
But ADVChina reports that it’s all lies. China is actually building more dirty coal power plants, not fewer, and a new hole in the ozone layer has been traced back to unlicensed factories using illegal chemicals to manufacture home insulation deep in the Chinese interior. Rural villagers suffer from cancer because factory pollutants are allowed to escape into the groundwater and air. The city of Shenzhen once installed phony solar panels and wind turbines on street light posts to give the appearance of self-sustaining lights – but tore them down after word got out they actually used power to make the wind turbines turn. China has also overfished its own territorial waters and now encroaches on the waters of other countries. The list of environmental degradation issues goes on and on. Money allocated by the government to clean up problems either disappears or is squandered on less important projects. The deception is a bit puzzling because China does have great technical capabilities. Evidently the real problem is how China sets its priorities: Its social credit system that rewards or punishes citizens for their behavior requires massive surveillance of said citizens. Chinese surveillance technology works fine, but measures that would actually improve the environment and the lives of its citizens do not.
The public isn’t trying to hold business and the government accountable as they generate huge amounts of needless waste themselves. For example electric bikes are popular, but most people don’t bother to maintain them; they simply ride the bikes until they break and then throw them away instead of repairing them.
And why not? If the government doesn’t care, why should the people?
US IMMIGRATION APPROVES CHILD MARRIAGES
Human civilization can be defined and dated in different ways. Archeological finds in southern Africa suggest that a civilization of sorts emerged around 20,000 BC, but the first city-states and written records date only to around 3000 BC. Neither appear to have done much for longevity: During the Roman Empire, historians estimate the lifespan of an average Roman citizen to have been no more than 28 years. Due to dramatic but largely unheralded technological advances during the early Middle Ages, historians believe that life expectancy in Europe crept up to perhaps 35. The horse collar, the horse saddle, radically redesigned water mills, windmills, and crop rotation all contributed to that.
But infant mortality remained phenomenally high. During the Medieval Era an estimated one third of all children died before their fifth birthday, and only one in five made it to twenty. The death toll among infants, children and what we now call young adults had an enormous impact on marriage, families and population. Prior to 1900, there was no such thing as a teenager: Girls became women when they began menstruating, and boys became men when their facial hair began to grow. As a result, child marriages were common, especially for females: In an era when turning 15 marked Middle Age, women who wanted to see a child live to adulthood had to become sexually active as early as possible.
Child marriages have all but vanished in the developed countries – though still permitted in some American states – but the practice remains routine in many areas of the world. The Daily Caller and Chicago Tribune both report that between 2007 and 2017 US immigration authorities approved 5,556 requests by men to bring child or adolescent wives to the US and 2,926 requests by underage girls to bring their older husbands to the US. The majority of requests came from Mexico, followed by Pakistan, Jordan, the Dominican Republic, and Yemen; the largest percentage of requests by ethnic group came from Middle Eastern nationals, and in 149 of these cases the adult was over the age of 40. The approvals are legal because the Immigration and Nationality Act does not limit the ages of spouses and because immigration authorities base their approval on whether or not the marriage is 1) legal in the immigrants’ home countries and 2) lawful in the state where the petitioner resides.
That may make sense from a legal perspective, but ignores the fact that many of the girls were coerced into marriage and are often physically, sexually, and mentally abused by their older spouses. In the cases of young girls filing to bring their husbands to the US, those marriages were sometimes contracted specifically to gain immigration and citizenship for the husband. One such case that has gotten national attention is that of Naila Amin, a girl with dual Pakistani and US citizenship, whose parents flew her to Pakistan at the age of 15 to be married to her 28-year-old cousin. She endured months of rapes and beatings before running away and being placed in foster care in the US.
The data cited above was compiled in a report for the Senate Homeland Security Committee, and senators have expressed concern both for closing immigration loopholes and for immigration law shielding the abuse of women and children. It must be noted, however, these marriages are often legal in the US: Most states allow minors aged 16 and 17 to marry with parental consent, and many states allow children under 16 to marry with court permission. Nightwatch readers may remember a time when pregnant teen girls were expected to marry their boyfriends and raise their children with help from one or both families – but this is by no means the only scenario: Many child molesters have avoided jail by marrying their victims; some parents have allowed these marriages to avoid the stigma attached to out of wedlock rape and pregnancy or to avoid the police and court system.
There have also been cases of parents selling their young daughters to abusive older men: The activist organization Unchained at Last told Reuters that about three-fourths of the American child marriage licenses they examined between 2007 and 2017 were for underage girls – some as young as 10 years old – marrying adult men. These girls are effectively trapped because minors cannot file for divorce, and many women’s shelters will not take minors. Girls have even been returned to their abusive husbands by the police after they were reported as runaways. This is happening all across the country and across all ethnic groups although underage marriage does tend to be higher in southern, rural states with prevalent poverty and religious conservatism, as well as among Orthodox Jews, Mormons, Muslims, Sikhs, and Hmongs.
It is ironic, to say the least, that Americans continue to allow child marriage in the US while criticizing it in other countries. Legislators have expressed reluctance to bar minors from marrying because shotgun marriages are a preferable alternative to out of wedlock births or abortion, or because of a deep reluctance to restrict religious practices. But it’s difficult to see how marrying a rapist could be in an 11-year-old girl’s best interest – which is exactly what happened to Sherry Johnson in Tampa, Florida. As a result Johnson had six children with her pedophile husband by the time she was 17 and was forced to drop out of school after ninth grade to care for them. After becoming a legal adult, she obtained a divorce with help from her local Legal Aid office and now campaigns against child marriage.
Laws and customs have not kept pace with extended human lifespans. It’s very hard to understand how someone who is prohibited from driving, drinking, voting, or entering into legal contracts can yet be deemed old enough to enter into a marriage, but perhaps that’s deliberate: Given the numbers of sexual predators in high places, the reluctance to ban child marriage may be an effort to preserve and protect what has in modern times become a form of institutionalized pedophilia.
DEMS STILL CLING TO RUSSIAGATE
Democrats are still accusing President Trump of collusion with Russia even though Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation has yet to turn up any evidence of it; if anything, the investigation keeps proving the accusations to be false. Daily Caller reports the Senate Intelligence Committee has obtained phone records showing that calls placed by Donald Trump Jr. before the June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower were in fact to business associates and not to his father as alleged. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and other Democrats have repeatedly theorized the calls were between father and son to discuss the meeting. President Trump maintains he was unaware of the meeting, and those who were there have called it a waste of time because it produced no useful information. Schiff is now calling for Mueller to examine Trump Jr.’s testimony to the House Intelligence Committee for possible perjury prosecution. Now that Schiff is the head of the House Intelligence Committee, he is determined to use his position against Trump instead of actually guarding national security. He has publicly stated his intention to investigate Trump’s business operations, lenders, and business partners in the hopes of finding evidence of Russia-related money laundering.
Hurling threats and accusations in the news media – and on social media – is irresponsible, at best, but it does keep Schiff’s name in the news. Last month Nightwatch discussed how Schiff’s anti-Russia hysteria brings in major campaign contributions from companies holding defense contracts. Now even some of Schiff’s supporters are wondering if he’s maintaining high public visibility to enable a 2020 presidential run. Although he told that media outlet he has no presidential plans, his behavior suggests otherwise: He’s scheduled to headline the February Politics and Eggs breakfast at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire which, according to The Daily Beast, is “a rite of passage for would-be presidential contenders.” That publication quoted several people urging Schiff to cancel the New Hampshire trip and focus on Russiagate instead: They practically begged Schiff to be more careful with his optics and get back to work on the coup against Trump. The optics in question, of course, is the appearance of a House committee chair using his position to investigate and threaten a political opponent he’s apparently running against. That’s not how things are supposed to work in the US – but then again, House committee chairmen aren’t supposed to be owned by defense lobbyists, either.
EMP BURSTS NOW MILITARY DOCTRINE
The Russian hysteria propagated by Democrats and Neo Cons has made it all but impossible to discuss actual threats to our national security. The Washington Free Beacon reports that electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks have been incorporated into the military doctrines of China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran. Much of the public still thinks of nuclear weapons in terms of blast, firestorms and radiation, but as ghastly as these are the devastation caused by EMPs could be far worse. Compounding an already bad situation, new “specialty nukes” can cause destruction over much larger areas, as they’re designed to produce a super-EMP pulse that can fry all electronics in a radius of 1,500 miles from the detonation point. Since the effectiveness of an EMP attack depends on the warhead’s yield and the altitude at which it’s detonated, it’s now possible for a single high altitude blast to permanently black out all of North America – thrusting the US back into the 1850’s without the horse and steam infrastructure of the day. Experts calculate that 90 percent of the US population would die within a year from starvation and hunger-driven epidemics.
Alternatively, detonating a nuke at lower altitudes restricts the damage to a smaller area: In one scenario China could black out Taiwan and disable American aircraft carrier groups in the area to prevent them from going to Taiwan’s aid. Super-EMP bombs do not require the same accuracy as traditional nukes and can be delivered by a variety of unconventional methods, including civilian cargo aircraft and even meteorological balloons. Such versatility raises the specter of terrorists obtaining and using one – and North Korea has publicly threatened the US with an EMP attack.
The EMP threat is deadly serious. But so far, the US has apparently done nothing to protect against it.
INF TREATY WITHDRAWAL
In addition to super-EMP bombs, The Guardian reports that Russia has also been violating the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with a new ground-launched cruise missile. After denying for several years that the missile existed, Russia recently acknowledged it while still denying that its range violates the treaty. As a result, President Trump has announced that the US will suspend its own compliance with the treaty and will withdraw altogether in six months unless Russia destroys all its illicit missiles, launchers, and associated equipment within that time frame. Trump also warned, “We will move forward with developing our own military response options and will work with NATO and our other allies and partners to deny Russia any military advantage from its unlawful conduct.” Predictably Europe and anti-Trumpers are in an uproar about a possible new arms race and a return to the tense atmosphere of the 1980s. But as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointed out, “Russia has jeopardized the United States’ security interests, and we can no longer be restricted by the treaty while Russia shamelessly violates it.”
There is a second treaty in danger as well. The 2010 New Start treaty set a limit of 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear warheads. Both the US and Russia have abided by the limit, but that treaty expires in 2021, and neither Trump nor Pompeo indicated in their statements whether the Administration would agree to an extension.
It should also be noted, as Washington Free Beacon reports, that China refuses to join the INF treaty to avoid limiting its own arsenal. This has not stopped China from criticizing the US withdrawal. China is at least as big a threat to the US as Russia is, and China doesn’t try to hide it. In fact China publicly announced in January the deployment of nuclear-capable intermediate-range missiles in response to a US Navy ship passing near disputed islands in the South China Sea. China’s arsenal of ground-launched missiles is thought to be the largest in the world – and about 95% of them would violate the INF treaty if China were a signatory. The world has changed radically since the first nuclear arms control agreements were negotiated, and follow-on treaties need to include both China and Russia if they are to contribute to a stable and peaceful world. The US simply cannot afford to hobble its own capabilities while China and Russia do as they please. Those who fear a new arms race need to realize that it’s already happening with or without the US joining.
UPDATE ON SOUTHERN BORDER
Another security threat to the US is the porous border with Mexico. The Mainstream Media (MSM) tries to portray everyone crossing illegally as poor refugees from Latin America searching for better lives, but a closer look by Washington Examiner at the people being caught crossing through Arizona and New Mexico reveals they come from all over the world. Apparently, human trafficking organizations – run by or affiliated with the drug cartels – have expanded their operations worldwide. People classified as Other Than Mexicans have increased over the past two years and especially over the past six months. Nationalities include: Chinese, German, Czech, Philippine, Indian, Russian, and unspecified Middle Easterners.
Government data indicates six known or suspected terrorists were caught between Oct. 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018 and these are probably a mere drop in the bucket. Since 9-11, over 1000 known or suspected terrorists have been apprehended attempting to cross the southern border and Administration officials have stated on several occasions that 3,700 people from “countries with terrorism problems” have been caught crossing the Mexican border as well.
No one knows how many have crossed successfully, but in the words of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, “To pretend there’s not a danger on an unsecured border, on an open border, is just ridiculous. It belies common sense.” Yet the Democrats continue to refuse funding requested by Trump for a border wall and increased security. Even Democrats who supported increased border security in the past now ridicule it to spite Trump.
REAL CLIMATE SCIENTISTS FIGHT BACK
Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.
Eric Hoffer’s incisive observation is immediately relevant to climate change, which is now being used to shake down oil companies in lawsuits. Local communities in California, Maryland, and Rhode Island want billions of dollars for damages from coastal flooding blamed on carbon dioxide emissions. However, as Dr. Judith Curry explained to The Washington Times, in most of these cases sea-level rise is actually due to the land sinking from problems associated with groundwater withdrawal, landfills on wetlands, and other geologic processes. The flooding scenarios of five to ten feet by the end of this century hawked by the global warming crowd are based on emission forecasts that are so extreme they are – to put it politely – implausible. Dr. Curry’s studies show that mean sea level has risen seven to eight inches since 1900 and that the rise from 1920 to 1950 (before the notorious climb in carbon dioxide emissions) is comparable to the recent rise. She estimates the rise between now and the end of this century will be between six inches and five feet, adding that anything over two feet is “increasingly weakly justified.”
A former Georgia Tech professor, Dr. Curry left academia in 2017, partly because of the “craziness” associated with climate change politics. She now heads the Climate Forecast Applications Network, which provides forecasts for the agricultural and energy sectors, but she is still one of the biggest names calling for sanity and actual evidence in the climate change debates. Unfortunately, the global warming hawks don’t want to listen to real scientists; they want political activism to bring about the (green) New World Order. Some lawsuits filed in state courts have been dismissed on the grounds the cases belong in federal courts, but cases filed in federal courts are still ongoing, and it is expected that more suits will be filed.
VIVE LA FRANCE!
France’s attempt to hasten the (green) New World Order with a tax hike on gasoline and diesel fuel was met with widespread protests dubbed the gilets jaunes or Yellow Vest movement, named after the fluorescent yellow safety vests worn by the protesters. Astonishingly, protesters come from across the political spectrum, unifying anarchists and nationalists with white working class people who don’t normally join riots. As independent journalist Tim Pool points out, protests and riots are common in France, but these three groups fighting together against the Establishment is not. Mainstream media have tried to downplay the story, but Smartphone videos circulating on social media and reports by alternative media show the violence (originally instigated by the police) and the depth of public outrage – an outrage that has not been mollified by the government’s offer to cancel the gas tax hike and to slightly increase the minimum wage.
The Saker connects the Yellow Vests with the first anti-austerity protests in 2010 against the government raising the retirement age. Since then inflation has risen about 14%, basically a silent wage cut because people’s purchasing ability has decreased. A far more apparent wage reduction has been imposed by the government’s ever rising taxes on individuals; in 2018 the average French worker didn’t reach Tax Freedom Day until July 27th. By comparison, the Tax Foundation calculated Americans’ Tax Freedom Day as April 19th. Adding insult to injury, the French government has been cutting social services at the same time, closing schools and clinics outside the larger cities. People interviewed by alternative media outlets say again and again that they cannot make ends meet and that the government is ignoring them. Tellingly, one of the Yellow Vests’ demands is to enact a referendum initiative that would give the public more say in government by allowing them to dismiss laws and politicians viewed as harming the nation. Many protesters also carry signs calling for French President Macron to resign. Macron’s approval rating is down to a mere 19%, and he is increasingly criticized for being an out of touch Elitist technocrat concerned only with helping the rich. The Saker even goes a step further to question how much independent thought Macron is capable of: Besides being a former investment banker at Rothschild & Cie Banque, many believe his wife to be his puppet master. Twenty-four years his senior, the chocolate heiress/failed politician/and now First Lady of France first met Macron while teaching high school drama.
The relationship was questionable from the beginning – she was married with children and he was 15 or 16 at the time. In any event, it’s unusual for men to marry women older than themselves, the age gap is significant and it may be that Madame Macron is in fact pulling her husband’s strings. But in fairness, Benjamin Disraeli – considered one of Britain’s greatest prime ministers – freely admitted that he had married a wealthy widow 12 years his senior to finance his political career. To everyone’s amazement, their marriage of convenience grew into one of history’s great love affairs.
As of this writing, Reuters reports that Macron is still determined to cut thousands of public sector jobs and tighten unemployment benefits. A reasonable person might expect that combination to swell the ranks of protesters, but Macron’s still trying to play the rioters-are-attacking-the-Republic card. Given the fact that the Fifth Republic arose from a military coup d’état in May of 1958, that’s a dangerous game: A recent open letter written by French General Antoine Martinez and signed by ten other general officers, an admiral, a colonel and a former Minister of Defense, accused Macron of treason.
Reuters has also reported that Yellow Vest protests have spread to Belgium, Portugal, and the Netherlands. Although smaller in scale, protesters in these countries voice similar complaints about taxes, the high cost of living, and being ignored by corrupt technocrats. On a related note, merchants in Cairo, Egypt say the authorities there have ordered them not to sell any yellow safety vests until after January 25th – the anniversary of Egypt’s 2011 uprising; a human rights lawyer photographed wearing a yellow vest in solidarity with French protesters has been detained. 2019 will be an interesting year as Globalist Technocrats try to stuff this genie back in its bottle.
POPULISTS VS. THE ELITES
Just as the French Yellow Vests have united protesters without regard to Right or Left, populists elsewhere are coming to regard Right and Left as a sham, seeing the Elites united in an Establishment that is out of touch with – and contemptuous of – the general public. The American Conservative notes this was described by historian Christopher Lasch in his 1995 book The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy. Progressives initially sought, in their view, to make American society more inclusive and fair, yet they wound up abandoning the common man to pursue diversity, secularism, and cultural revolution.
The common man and his cherished institutions of family and church came to be despised because progressives came to believe they stood in the way of progress. Elites decided they knew best and demanded absolute obedience to their precepts; their embrace of multiculturalism led to their becoming global citizens disdainful of national borders. Lasch argued the new Elites “retained many of the vices of aristocracy without its virtues” because their rootlessness led to them to reject the “obligations of place” felt by most citizens who live in defined physical communities. The Elites are, of course, protected from the consequences of their decisions because they have the money and assets to shelter themselves. The scorned masses are left behind, increasingly unable to support themselves both physically and spiritually. It’s worth noting that Lasch himself was a Leftist from a Leftist family who often identified himself as a neo-Marxist or as a socialist. His criticism stemmed from his conviction that radicals had given up their commitment to economic justice that would minimize class-based differences. One can see this in American politics today: The handouts given to the underclass are structured to keep the recipients dependent on government rather than lifting them out of poverty – which makes it possible to ignore problems associated with class and focus public attention focused on “diversity” instead.
The scorned masses are now demanding to be heard, but it may be too late. Russian philosopher Aleksandr Dugin warned independent journalist Lauren Southern that Millennials might be the last fully human generation with free will and self-determination, because the Elites have two waves of replacements planned. The first wave is the mass migration currently overwhelming Europe and the US and destroying the local cultures. The second wave is the approaching “Singularity,” when much of the day to day work will be handled by artificial intelligence and robots and the remaining human population will “upgrade” by implanting intelligence-boosting silicon chips in their brains – transforming themselves into cyborgs.
That technology will dramatically augment human capabilities – and give those controlling it the ability to modify human behavior as they see fit. Even if some humans do not become physical cyborgs, their lives will still be governed by the technocrats, supposedly for the greater benefit of all. The technocrats’ track record so far, however, does not inspire confidence.
It’s also worth noting that Dugin isn’t what most Americans would consider a conservative either. He’s best known for his book The Fourth Political Theory in which he argues that because Liberalism, Socialism, and Fascism have all failed, a new ideology is needed – one that will incorporate the best elements of the previous three. He does call for rediscovering Tradition and the soul or Logos of civilization, but he recognizes a pre-Christian spiritual influence as well as the Christian one. He hasn’t actually formulated a Fourth Way, calling upon others instead to develop one as an antidote for the problems caused by Liberalism and Modernity. Dugin’s influence on Putin and other Russian decision-makers remains unclear, but he has called in the past for the destruction of the American empire and for the genocide of Ukrainians. Although both are appalling, he has nonetheless demonstrated an uncanny aptitude for identifying emergent social ills, and American Conservatives would do well to take his criticisms of ideology seriously. If they don’t, the bizarre phenomenon of Liberal-inspired High Tech Totalitarianism will win by default.
ESTABLISHMENT VS. TRUMP
Populists succeeded in electing President Trump, but the Establishment is still fighting back. Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) has been one of the most vocal opponents, disparaging the validity of the 2016 election and demanding endless investigations into imagined Russian collusion. Schiff’s hysterics have been so over the top – he has even claimed that Second Amendment advocacy is a Russian plot to encourage Americans to kill each other – that some have questioned whether he is a recruited Russian agent, an Agent-of-Influence, a Fellow Traveler or merely a useful idiot. Close, but not quite a cigar: The Duran and The Observer make a good case that Schiff’s paranoia is at least partially bought and paid for by Ukrainian, Hollywood and corporate money. In 2013 one of his fundraising events was a dinner hosted by Igor Pasternak at Pasternak’s home with suggested contributions of $2,500 for sponsors and $1,000 for guests; another was a Beyonce concert sponsored by the Raytheon PAC (Political Action Committee) with a suggested contribution of $2,500 for one ticket or $4,000 for two tickets. The PAC is a registered lobbyist for the well-known defense contractor; Beyonce a leftwing entertainer for hire, and Pasternak is a Ukrainian who immigrated to the US and started an airship company that holds Pentagon contracts.
Pasternak personally works to educate Congressional members on Ukraine’s importance to US geostrategic security, and that has led to deals in which the US helped Ukraine buy airships from Pasternak’s company for use in border surveillance. Funding anti-Putin Congressmen is clearly good for business: Schiff not only pushed to arm Ukrainian rebels, he even pressed the Obama administration to take a more aggressive approach with Russia instead of pursuing serious diplomacy. Politicians like Schiff who profit from fueling the New Cold War will continue to do so, despite the knowledge that it could turn hot in the blink of an eye. Incredibly, Schiff and his fellow war hawks believe the United States can fight and win a war against a nuclear superpower.
DEMOCRATS: BLAME IT ON THE BOTS
Another reason for politicians to revive the Cold War is that Russia makes a convenient villain. Fox News reports that Democratic operatives created thousands of fake Russian accounts on Facebook and Twitter to give the impression the Russian government supported Republican Roy Moore in the 2017 special election. Local and national news media noticed the bot activity, but they didn’t realize it was a false flag operation. Moore lost, and Doug Jones became Alabama’s first Democratic senator in over twenty years. The project’s $100,000 budget was reportedly donated by Reid Hoffman, a liberal billionaire and co-founder of the LinkedIn business social network. One alleged participant in the project insisted the project was a cybersecurity experiment to study the tactics of social media disinformation, not an attempt to support the Jones campaign. His statement is ludicrous at best. Targeting a candidate in an actual election couldn’t avoid influencing it, given the circus the Mainstream Media has manufactured over supposed Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.