The Palestinians are again fighting for their lives, refusing to live in the prison known…
Western Press Are Playing Down The Far-Right Issue.
The same Western media that once documented and decried Ukraine’s far right is now playing it down and even rehabilitating its leaders — including actual Nazis.
Such apologetics aren’t doing any favours for Ukrainians or their fight against Russia’s aggression.
Since Russian president Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, something curious has happened with Western media coverage of the country’s far right.
Amid the global wave of indignation at Russia’s war of aggression, which Moscow has justified on the pretext of “denazification,” the Western press — fixated for the last five years on the prospect of fascism and the far right at home — have begun playing the issue down.
The Ukrainian far right, we’re now told, is negligible, no different or more influential than its counterparts in the West and irrelevant thanks to its lack of electoral success.
Any claim to the contrary is mere Putinite propaganda.
How could it not be, when the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is himself Jewish?
As for the movement’s most famous name — the neo-Nazi Azov Regiment that was officially incorporated into Ukraine’s National Guard in 2014 — well, Azov, we’re told, is not really even far right anymore.
The most audacious part of this campaign of counter-propaganda is a push to whitewash the Azov Regiment, for many years virtually synonymous with Ukraine’s entire far right.
Now, we’re being told, it is nothing of the sort.
( Branko Marcetic, 07.04.2022 ) .. jacobin.co
UK Imports Sewage Sludge Containing Human Waste From The Netherlands.
The UK is importing 27,500 tonnes of sewage sludge containing human waste from the Netherlands for agricultural purposes, despite concerns over its toxicity for human health and the environment.
A permit for 15 shipments was issued in February 2020 by the UK’s Environment Agency.
The Netherlands has banned the spreading of sludge on farmland since 1995 but has been looking for new disposal destinations after a crisis at an Amsterdam waste incineration company.
Investigators commissioned by the UK’s Environment Agency uncovered that sewage waste was contaminated with “persistent organic pollutants” or microplastics and still tested positive for salmonella or “high concentrations of e-coli”.
In their report, they had warned UK authorities that the routine spread of sludge as fertiliser may ultimately leave soil “unsuitable for agriculture” and pose a serious risk to human health.
Greenpeace UK’s executive director, John Sauven, said: “The sludge that is spread onto our farms and fields has become such a toxic cocktail of plastics, chemicals and bacteria. Add waste from the Netherlands into the mix and the risk of further contamination is only going to skyrocket”.
( Mathieu Pollet, 07.09.2020 ) .. euronews.com
UK MP Exposed As Standing To Profit From Russian Oil.
UK Tory MP Marcus Fysh, who called for the strictest sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s regime is exposed as standing to profit from Russian oil.
The world’s largest oilfield services company Schlumberger Ltd which operates in Russia is just one of 38 firms that Fysh declares he has “a beneficial interest” in.
Yet on February 24th the Yeovil, Somerset MP tweeted: “Sanctions must include complete bans on dealing with Russia including any Russian banks and commodity producers or their counterparts.
( Nigel Nelson, 07.05.2022 ) .. mirror.co.uk
U.S. Bio-Lab Program In Ukraine.
Leaked documents give new information about the Pentagon program in bio-laboratories in Ukraine.
According to internal documents, Pentagon contractors were given full access to all Ukrainian bio-laboratories while independent experts were denied even a visit.
The new revelations challenge the U.S. government statement that the Pentagon just funded bio-laboratories in Ukraine but had nothing to do with them.
U.S. Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland confirmed that “Ukraine has biological research facilities” and the U.S. is worried that “those research materials” may fall into the Russian hands.
What “research materials” were studied in these bio-laboratories and why are U.S. officials so worried that they may fall into Russian hands?
The Pentagon activities in Ukrainian bio-labs were funded by the Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA).
DTRA allocated $80million for biological research in Ukraine as of 30 July 2020, according to information obtained from the U.S. Federal contracts registry.
The U.S. company Black & Veatch Special Projects Corp. was tasked with the program.
Another DTRA contractor that operated in Ukraine was CH2M Hill.
The American company was awarded a $22.8million contract (2020-2023) for the reconstruction and equipment of two new bio-laboratories: the State Scientific Research Institute of Laboratory Diagnostics and Veterinary-Sanitary Expertise (Kyiv ILD) and the State Service of Ukraine for Food Safety and Consumer Protection Regional Diagnostic Laboratory (Odesa RDL).
According to leaked documents, CH2MHill was tasked with an $11.6million program “Countering Especially Dangerous Pathogen Threats in Ukraine”.
( Dilyana Gaytandzhieva, 16.03.2022 ) .. thealtworld.com
Ice Fills Tory Hearts And Nothing Will Melt It.
What do they know of need, these Tories bloated with greed?
They don’t care.
They don’t know how to.
Ice fills their hearts.
Labour MP Zarah Sultana tweeted: “Tories don’t have a clue what life is like for ordinary people.”
Adults and children are having to go without regular meals.
Eddie Crouch, chairman of the British Dental Association, warns that people are pulling out their own teeth because the number of NHS dentists has plummeted.
A group of more than 550 food banks across Britain has warned PM Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak that they are close to “breaking point”.
The numbers using some food banks has doubled since last year.
Many users are the working poor.
And yet ignorant Tory MP Lee Anderson says that food banks would not be needed if the poor learned to cook and budget properly. The Tories have been raised to disdain poverty and look after the rich.
Our taxes pay their heating costs, hospitality bills, taxi fares, and any coffee or croissant they may have while carrying out their parliamentary duties.
Not one of them has said they will stop taking these expenses when so many are struggling.
( Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, 13.05.2022 ) .. mirror.co.uk
Biological Research On Dangerous Pathogens In Birds.
German and Ukrainian scientists conducted biological research on especially dangerous pathogens in birds (2019-2020).
The project was implemented by the Institute of Experimental and Clinical Veterinary Medicine (Kharkov) and the Friedrich Lerfler Institute (Greifswatd, Germany).
According to the project’s description, the main goal of this project was to carry out sequencing of orthomyxoviruses (causative agents of avian flu) genomes, as well to discover new viruses in birds.
According to the Russian Ministry of Defence, the U.S. Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) funded a similar project in Ukraine in 2020.
The project’s goal was to research the potential of especially dangerous pathogens to be transmitted via migratory birds, including the highly pathogenic H5N1 flu, whose lethality for humans can reach 50%, as well as Newcastle disease.
The use of migratory birds for possible delivery of pathogens was a major research program between Smithsonian Institute and the U.S. Department of Defence in the past.
( Dilyana Gaytandzhieva, 16.03.2022, a Bulgarian investigative journalist, Middle East correspondent and Arms Watch founder.)
UK Chancellor Spending Taxpayers’ Cash On Spin And Self-Promotion.
UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak spent £250,000 of taxpayers’ cash on focus groups in a single year – and more than half of them took place in Tory target seats.
Freedom of Information reveals 16 out of 28 focus groups took place in the North East, North West, Midlands and Scotland.
Four sessions took place in Scotland and only one in Wales.
A further four were held in the East Midlands, two in West Midlands – but only one in London.
PR firm Hanbury Strategy – co-founded by Paul Stephenson, who worked alongside Dominic Cummings as the director of communications for the 2016 Vote Leave campaign – was drafted in to run the sessions.
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said: “Rishi Sunak has been splashing taxpayers’ cash on his own spin and self-promotion yet is refusing to help people right now with the cost-of-living crisis. Labour will treat taxpayer’s money with the respect it deserves.”
( Mikey Smith, 14.05.2022 ) .. mirror.co.uk
Biological Experiments On Soldiers In Georgia And Ukraine.
While the U.S. is planning to increase its military presence in Eastern Europe to “protect its allies against Russia”, internal documents show what American “protection” in practical terms means.
The Pentagon has conducted biological experiments with a potentially lethal outcome on 4,400 soldiers in Ukraine and 1,000 soldiers in Georgia.
According to leaked documents, all volunteer deaths should be reported within 24 hours in Ukraine and 48 hours in Georgia.
Both countries are considered the most loyal U.S. partners in the region with a number of Pentagon programs being implemented in their territory.
One of them is the $2.5billion Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) Biological engagement program which includes research on bio agents, deadly viruses and antibiotic-resistant bacteria being studied on the local population.
The Pentagon has launched a 5-year long project with a possible extension of up to 3 years code-named GG-21: “Arthropod-borne and zoonotic infections among military personnel in Georgia”.
According to the project’s description, blood samples will be obtained from 1,000 military recruits at the time of their military registration physical exam at the Georgian military hospital located in Gori.
The samples will be tested for antibodies against fourteen pathogens.
The soldiers’ blood samples will be stored and further tested at the Lugar Centre, a $180million Pentagon-funded facility in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi.
The Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has funded a similar project involving soldiers in Ukraine code-named UP-8: The spread of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus and hantaviruses in Ukraine and the potential need for differential diagnosis in patients with suspected leptospirosis.
The project started in 2017 and was extended a few times until 2020, internal documents show.
According to the project’s description, blood samples will be collected from 4,400 healthy soldiers in Lviv, Kharkov, Odesa and Kyiv.
4,000 of these samples will be tested for antibodies against hantaviruses, and 400 of them – for the presence of antibodies against Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus.
The results of the blood testing will not be provided to the study participants.
The DTRA activities in Georgia and Ukraine fall under the protection of special bilateral agreements.
According to these agreements, Georgia and Ukraine shall hold harmless, bring no legal proceedings and indemnify the United States and its personnel, contractors and contractors’ personnel, for damage to property, or death or injury to any persons in Georgia and Ukraine, arising out of activities under this Agreement.
If DTRA-sponsored scientists cause deaths or injuries to the local population they cannot be held to account.
( Dilyana Gaytandzhieva, 24.01.2022 ) .. thealtworld.com
UK Chancellor Accused Of Spending Taxpayers’ Money On A Vanity Exercise.
UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has signed off a taxpayer-funded contract worth half a million pounds for focus groups and online polls.
Researchers Deltapoll have been brought in to carry out two targeted focus groups and one national online poll each week until February 2023 under the Treasury’s direction – at a rate of £9,805 per week.
Labour accused Rishi Sunak of spending taxpayers’ money on “a vanity exercise for a Chancellor desperate to repair his image.”
It will take the Treasury’s total spending on private focus groups and opinion polls since June 2020 to more than £1.35million – or £41,000 per month.
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “At a time when Rishi Sunak has told the British people he has no money to ease the cost of living crisis, and that cutting their energy bills would be ‘silly’, it is simply staggering that he has ordered half a million more of taxpayer’s money to be spent on private focus groups and opinion polls.
The Government apparently has half a million to spend on spin-doctors while Jacob Rees-Mogg is threatening to axe thousands of civil service jobs in the name of cost saving, throwing working people under the bus once again.”
( Mikey Smith, 21.05.2022 ) .. mirror.co.uk
On The Eve Of The Invasion Zelensky’s Approval Rating Had Sunk.
A comedic actor who rose to the country’s highest office in 2019, Volodymyr Zelensky was virtually unknown to the average American, except perhaps as a bit player in the Trump impeachment theatre.
But when Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Zelensky was suddenly transformed to an A-list celebrity in U.S. media.
American news consumers were bombarded with images of a man who appeared to be overcome by the tragic events, possibly in over his head, but ultimately sympathetic.
It didn’t take long for that image to evolve into the khaki-clad, tireless hero governing over a scrappy little democracy and single-handedly staving off the barbarians of autocracy from the east.
But beyond that carefully crafted Western media image is something much more complicated and less flattering.
Zelensky was elected by 73% of the vote on a promise to pursue peace while the rest of his platform was vague.
On the eve of the invasion, however, his approval rating had sunk to 31% due to the pursuit of deeply unpopular policies.
( Natylie Baldwin, 28.04.2022 ) .. thegrayzone.com
A Hostile Environment With Scores Of Unlawful Deportations.
Ten years ago, Home Secretary Theresa May said in an interview: “The aim is to create here in Britain a really hostile environment for illegal migration.”
This was the first time the term “hostile environment” was ever used and it came just weeks before the London Olympics showcased a very different Britain.
People seeking sanctuary would be denied access to work, housing, services, bank accounts and shelter.
This change in approach led to “Go Home” vans on the streets.
It led to the betrayal of the Windrush generation – and to scores of unlawful deportations.
It led to the scandals at Napier and Penally Barracks, and to Home Secretary Priti Patel’s extremist Rwanda deportation policy.
And it leads inextricably to the deaths of people in the Channel, for whom almost every legal route to reaching UK shores has now been closed.
Proving her hard right credentials, the Hostile Environment was Theresa May’s springboard to Downing Street, and is now Downing Street’s distraction from its abject moral and economic failures.
Meanwhile, for thousands of vulnerable people, it has been utterly devastating.
( Ros Wynne, Claire Donnelly and Maryam Qaiser, 27.05.2022 ) .. mirror.co.uk
Ukrainian People Realised They Were Duped Once Again.
What about neoliberal reforms initiated by Zelensky?
You can judge on their popularity by opinion polls – up to 72% of Ukrainians did not support his land reform, the flagship of Zelensky’s neoliberal program.
After his party approved it despite people’s indignation, Zelensky’s rating fell from 73% in Spring 2019 to 23% in January 2022.
The reason is simple: a deep sense of betrayal.
In his unofficial election platform — the show “Servant of the People” — Zelesnky-Holoborodko (Holoborodko was Zelensky’s character in the television show) promised that if he could rule the country for just one week, he would “make the teacher live as the president, and the president live as the teacher.”
To put it mildly, this promise was not fulfilled.
People realised that they were duped once again — the reforms have been carried out in the interests of not Ukrainians but global capital.
Zelensky’s election promises, made on the fringes of the virtual and the real, were predominantly about Ukraine’s “progress,” understood as “modernisation,” “Westernisation,” “civilisation,” and “normalisation.”
It is this progressive modernising discourse that allowed Zelensky to camouflage his plans for neoliberal reforms, launched just three days after the new government came to power.
Throughout the campaign, the idea of “progress” highlighted by Zelensky was never linked to privatisation, land sales, budget cuts, etc.
Only after Zelensky had consolidated his presidential power by establishing full control over the legislative and executive branches of power did he make it clear that the “normalisation” and “civilisation” of Ukraine meant the privatisation of land and state/public property, the deregulation of labour relations, a reduction of power for trade unions, an increase in utility tariffs, and so on.
In early February 2021, three opposition television channels — NewsOne, Zik, and 112 Ukraine — were shut down.
Another opposition channel Nash was banned in the beginning of 2022, before the beginning of the war.
After the war broke out, in March, dozens of independent journalists, bloggers, and analysts were arrested; most of them are of leftist views.
In April, television channels of right-wing leaning — Channel 5 and Pryamiy — were shut down as well.
Moreover, Zelensky signed a decree obliging all Ukrainian channels to broadcast a single telethon, presenting only one pro-governmental view on the war.
Zelensky only uses this war to strengthen dictatorial tendencies within his regime of government, which started being formed right after Zelensky came to power — when he created a party machine to control the parliament and rubber-stamp neoliberal reforms without regard to public mood.
( Olga Baysha, Ukrainian academic, 28.04.2022 ) .. thegrayzone.com