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December 04, 2020

DNI Ratcliff - China Is Copying U.S. Plan To Create 'Kill-proof' Soldiers

The U.S. government likes to accuse adversaries of nefarious behavior or deeds.

It often turns out that such accusations have little base in reality except in that they describe stuff the U.S. is doing itself.

Here is a recent example:

China conducting biological tests to create super soldiers, US spy chief says

China has conducted testing on its army in the hope of creating biologically enhanced soldiers, according to the top intelligence official in the US.

John Ratcliffe, who has served as Donald Trump’s director of national intelligence since May, made the claims in a newspaper editorial, where he warned that China “poses the greatest threat to America today”.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Ratcliffe said: “The intelligence is clear: Beijing intends to dominate the US and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically. Many of China’s major public initiatives and prominent companies offer only a layer of camouflage to the activities of the Chinese Communist Party.”

Ratcliffe said China had gone to extraordinary lengths to achieve its goal.

“US intelligence shows that China has even conducted human testing on members of the People’s Liberation Army in hope of developing soldiers with biologically enhanced capabilities,” Ratcliffe wrote. “There are no ethical boundaries to Beijing’s pursuit of power.”

Does that mean that any country which hopes to develop soldiers with biologically enhanced capabilities intends to dominate the whole planet?

Then how about this:

“Kill-Proofing” the Soldier: Environmental Threats, Anticipation, and US Military Biomedical Armor Programs

Cont. reading: DNI Ratcliff - China Is Copying U.S. Plan To Create 'Kill-proof' Soldiers

Posted by b at 17:43 UTC | Comments (99)

December 03, 2020

Open Thread 2020-95

News & views ...

Posted by b at 16:15 UTC | Comments (298)

December 02, 2020

Iran's Parliament Is Helping Joe Biden To Rejoin The Nuclear Deal

President elect Joe Biden plans to renew the U.S. participation in the nuclear agreement with Iran. Trump had left the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which Iran and six other nations had signed. 

Biden is under pressure to attach preconditions for a U.S. return to the deal which Iran would not accept:

Biden and his team have been paying lip service to the notion of rejoining the JCPOA. However, the preconditions they have attached to such an action – Iran would have to return to full compliance first, and commit to immediate follow-on negotiations on a deal that would be more restrictive – were widely seen as a deal-breaker. The fact is, many of Biden’s closest advisers – including Secretary of State-designee Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor-designee Jake Sullivan – have indicated that Biden may have no choice but to continue the Trump policy of sanctions-based ‘maximum pressure’.

So far Biden himself had been somewhat ambivalent about the issue. But in a recent interview with New York Times columnist Tom Friedman he seems to reject the use of preconditions for a JCPOA return to get to a bigger deal:

The view of Biden and his national security team is that once the deal is restored by both sides, there will have to be, in very short order, a round of negotiations to seek to lengthen the duration of the restrictions on Iran’s production of fissile material that could be used to make a bomb — originally 15 years — as well as to address Iran’s malign regional activities, through its proxies in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

Ideally, the Biden team would like to see that follow-on negotiation include not only the original signatories to the deal — Iran, the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, Germany and the European Union — but also Iran’s Arab neighbors, particularly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Earlier this week, I wrote a column arguing that it would be unwise for the United States to give up the leverage of the Trump-imposed oil sanctions just to resume the nuclear deal where it left off. We should use that leverage to also get Iran to curb its exports of precision-guided missiles to its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq, where they threaten Israel and several Arab states. I still believe that.

Biden’s team is aware of that argument, and does not think it is crazy — but for now they insist that America’s overwhelming national interest is to get Iran’s nuclear program back under control and fully inspected.
In their view, Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon poses a direct national security threat to the United States and to the global nuclear weapons control regime, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

“Look, there’s a lot of talk about precision missiles and all range of other things that are destabilizing the region,” Biden said. But the fact is, “the best way to achieve getting some stability in the region” is to deal “with the nuclear program.”
Then, Biden said, “in consultation with our allies and partners, we’re going to engage in negotiations and follow-on agreements to tighten and lengthen Iran’s nuclear constraints, as well as address the missile program.” The U.S. always has the option to snap back sanctions if need be, and Iran knows that, he added.

That is still a bit murky. Lift the sanctions that were put onto Iran by Trump to get back to the JCPOA but then introduce new sanctions on Iran for its non-nuclear missile program? That is NOT going to work.

Biden will have little time to make up his mind and to return to the deal. In response to the Israeli murder of Iran's top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fahrizade the Iranian parliament has taken steps to leave the limits of the nuclear deal unless the U.S. returns to it as soon as Biden is in office:

Cont. reading: Iran's Parliament Is Helping Joe Biden To Rejoin The Nuclear Deal

Posted by b at 17:20 UTC | Comments (210)

December 01, 2020

CNN's 'Blame China' Document Leak Shows That China Did Nothing Wrong

The Trump administration has tried to blame China for the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

U.S. agencies have invested some efforts to obtain documents from China that might provide proof for that.

At least some of those documents were now leaked to CNN which has published them as The Wuhan Files.

But the documents do not show any malfeasance from China's side. They do show a health system and bureaucracy under stress while they have trouble to get an outbreak of a previously unknown infectious disease under control.

This is the most incriminating issue CNN could find in the papers:

In a report marked "internal document, please keep confidential," local health authorities in the province of Hubei, where the virus was first detected, list a total of 5,918 newly detected cases on February 10, more than double the official public number of confirmed cases, breaking down the total into a variety of subcategories. This larger figure was never fully revealed at that time, as China's accounting system seemed, in the tumult of the early weeks of the pandemic, to downplay the severity of the outbreak.
The Chinese government has steadfastly rejected accusations made by the United States and other Western governments that it deliberately concealed information relating to the virus, maintaining that it has been upfront since the beginning of the outbreak. However, though the documents provide no evidence of a deliberate attempt to obfuscate findings, they do reveal numerous inconsistencies in what authorities believed to be happening and what was revealed to the public.

Further down in the piece it becomes clear that the differences in reporting case numbers and the 'numerous inconsistencies' were based on the use of multiple categories:

On February 10, when China reported 2,478 new confirmed cases nationwide, the documents show Hubei actually circulated a different total of 5,918 newly reported cases. The internal number is divided into subcategories, providing an insight into the full scope of Hubei's diagnosis methodology at the time.

"Confirmed cases" number 2,345, "clinically diagnosed cases" 1,772, and "suspected cases" 1,796.

So China's central health service reported 2,478 confirmed cases for all of China while Hubei province reported 2,345 confirmed cases. How is that supposed to be a significant difference?

In early February China still had problems to sufficiently test for Covid-19 infections. It took time to confirm new cases. The tests were also not yet reliable. The category 'clinical diagnosed cases' was for those who had tested negative with a still faulty test but showed signs of acute pneumonia - i.e. 'ground-glass opacity' on CT chest scans. After the testing problems were resolved the category was eliminated:

Cont. reading: CNN's 'Blame China' Document Leak Shows That China Did Nothing Wrong

Posted by b at 19:26 UTC | Comments (131)

November 30, 2020

Brexit Promoters Lament Predictable Brexit Results

It is only one month until the United Kingdom of Britain leaves the European Union. There is still no deal about the future relations between the two entities and the time is running out. But even if a deal about the economic issues is finalized and signed there will still be many changes and inconveniences.

One argument with which the British government promoted Brexit was the "end of free movement". Most people who voted for Brexit probably thought that this would mean the closing of a one-way street that only affects migrants to Britain from lower tier countries. Now they are waking up to the fact that Brexit is closing down a two way road.

Furious British expats blast EU's new post-Brexit travel rules which will ban them from spending more than three months at a time at their holiday home from January
  • Travel rules will change after end of the post-Brexit 'standstill' transition period 
  • After January 1 UK tourists visiting EU countries will be restricted to 90 day stays
  • The rules have prompted a backlash from Britons who own holiday home in EU 

These are not 'new' EU rules. Starting January 1 Britons will be allowed on vacation in the EU for a maximum of 90 days in every six month period. These are the long existing rules for non-EU citizens if their country has no agreement for bilateral free movement with the EU.

The Daily Mail, which now laments the issue, campaigned for years for the UK to become one of those countries. It is now outraged about the consequences.

There will be more such 'surprises' which Brexit promoters will lament about even when these were utterly predictable.

Now, as Brexit becomes reality, people are finally waking up to the myriad of problems it will create for UK car maker, farmers, logistics and everyone:

Cont. reading: Brexit Promoters Lament Predictable Brexit Results

Posted by b at 16:19 UTC | Comments (142)

November 29, 2020

The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2020-94

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2020-94

Posted by b at 13:59 UTC | Comments (202)

November 27, 2020

Iran's Top Nuclear Scientist Assassinated As Israel Tries To Provoke War

Today the top Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fahrizade was assassinated in a complex terror attack while driving on a highway in Absard, a small city just east of Tehran. An explosion stopped his car. Then shots were fired at him from two directions.


Between 2010 and 2012 four other nuclear scientist in Iran were assassinated in similar ways.

There is little doubt about who is responsible for this attack:

Fakhrizadeh was named by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2018 as the director of Iran’s nuclear weapons project.

When Netanyahu revealed then that Israel had removed from a warehouse in Tehran a vast archive of Iran’s own material detailing with its nuclear weapons program, he said: “Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh.”


According to the IAEA Iran did not and does not have a nuclear weapons program. More than 20 years back some Iranian scientists did an organizational study about what they would have to do to create a nuclear weapons program. But politics intervened and the program was never launched.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has since its establishment rejected all weapons of mass destruction out of religious reasons. Its leader Ayatollah Khamenei has issued a fatwa the prohibits any attempts to develop, produce or otherwise introduce such weapons.

While a terror attack against its top nuclear scientist can be seen as an act of war Iran is unlikely to openly take revenge for it. Doing such would only play into Netanyahoo's hands as he attempts to goad the U.S. into an attack on Iran.

The assassination of Mohsen Fahrizade does not aim at Iran's nuclear program. Its purpose is to assassinate the nuclear deal with Iran before president elect Joe Biden comes into office.

There are expectations, which I don't have, that Biden will rejoin the nuclear deal with Iran. The Trump administration had left the deal and had re-introduced severe sanctions against the country. President Trump retweeted news of today's assassination. If Biden really wants to revive the deal he should immediately condemn today's assassination. Obama did similar when the other scientist were killed.

There are still 55 days until Trump leaves the office. Netanyahoo will use that time to launch more provocation.

Posted by b at 17:16 UTC | Comments (328)

The Vaccine Competition Will Be Ruthless

Debs is dead writes:

[T]he pushback against AstraZeneca including the latest link which is all speculation mixed with the same trash talk wall st analysts have been making, is a blatant move by big pharma to edge AstraZeneca out of the market.

There is more testing to be done on the AstraZeneca vaccine. Yes the discovery of a half dose followed by a full dose seeming to be more efficacious was the result of a distribution accident in one particular cohort comprised of Englanders under 55, AstraZeneca have realised that and have undertaken to extend the 50/100 trial across all age groups and ethnicities in the next testing round.

Also despite the fact that the big pharma mRNA vaccines have published no peer reviewed results, AstraZeneca report that they have sent a peer reviewed study of their complete test results thus far, to the Lancet and they expect these to be published in the next edition of the journal - likely within the next few days.

However many people whine, bitch about all others, then salute the results of Russian & Chinese vaccines the simple fact is a great many communities will be denied access to Russian or Chinese vaccines - that is a reality. Some of these states are in no shape to subscribe to the mRNA vaccines without 'aid' (i.e. ripoff loans) because their health budgets are still having to cover the double Tamiflu scam (they had to sign contracts to replace 'expired' Tamiflu stocks used or not after 3 years) and the more recent Remdesivir scam, all perpetrated by Gilead.

In the real world that means if the AstraZeneca vaccine is more than 60% efficacious (which is better than any flu vaccine - 95% is new big pharma BS IMO) and has no major side effects (one case of MS tells us nothing for the reason I outlined above), then it will be that or nothing for a sizeable slab of the world's population.

If everyone falls for big pharma's transparent attempt to stop this possible vaccine in its tracks, prior to testing completion, then that will mean no vaccine for billions of our fellow humans, so rather than joining in the big pharma sabotage, it makes better sense to consider that vaccine more objectively than de Noli, that Harvard minion of corporations seems to do.

Of course for some theoretical Marxist whose crazed ramblings remind me of the immature garbage one could hear around any Lisbon praça, circa 1975, that will mean little. As the humans of Mozambique, Angola and in particular since I lost friends there , Timor Leste, discovered to their cost.

I agree with the above.

Sure, AstraZeneca has not communicated well. They should have published their trial protocols. They should have been more explicit about their dosing 'mistake'. But the results of their trials are encouraging and the explanation for the higher efficacy with a lower first dose, see below, makes sense.

Cont. reading: The Vaccine Competition Will Be Ruthless

Posted by b at 11:18 UTC | Comments (138)

November 26, 2020

Open Thread 2020-93

News & views ...

Posted by b at 15:19 UTC | Comments (159)

November 25, 2020

Israel Is (Again) Pushing For War On Iran

There is a campaign to push U.S. president Donald Trump into attacking Iran before he leaves his office. It is likely that Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahoo, with the help of Secretary of State Mike Pompous, is the brain behind it.

The campaign started on November 16 with a New York Times piece which claimed that Trump had asked for options to bomb Iran:

President Trump asked senior advisers in an Oval Office meeting on Thursday whether he had options to take action against Iran’s main nuclear site in the coming weeks. The meeting occurred a day after international inspectors reported a significant increase in the country’s stockpile of nuclear material, four current and former U.S. officials said on Monday.

A range of senior advisers dissuaded the president from moving ahead with a military strike. The advisers — including Vice President Mike Pence; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Christopher C. Miller, the acting defense secretary; and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — warned that a strike against Iran’s facilities could easily escalate into a broader conflict in the last weeks of Mr. Trump’s presidency.

It is unlikely that Trump will want to ruin his legacy by launching another war in the Middle East. He will want to run again for president in 2024. 'America first', avoiding wars that are of no value for the U.S., was and is one of his major selling points.

There is precedence for such an Israeli campaign. Back in 2008 Netanyahoo had also tried to push the outgoing Bush administration towards a war on Iran:

During the last days of the Bush administration in 2008, Israeli officials, concerned that the incoming Obama administration would seek to block it from striking Iran’s nuclear facilities, sought bunker-busting bombs, bombers and intelligence assistance from the United States for an Israeli-led strike.

Vice President Dick Cheney later wrote in his memoir that he supported the idea. President George W. Bush did not, ...

While Israel has the capabilities to attack Iran it would never dare to do so without explicit U.S. backing.

Mike Pompous, the Cheney in the current attempt to drag the U.S. along, also wants to run for president - if not in 2024 then later. He is 56 years old and can wait a few more years. He is currently trying to catch the Evangelical vote and Zionist campaign support by pleasing Israel as much as possible:

Cont. reading: Israel Is (Again) Pushing For War On Iran

Posted by b at 18:08 UTC | Comments (130)