Category Archives: Science/Technology

Methanol for the CoV2 Hypodermic Chemical Experiment

“There you have it — At-will, AKA at the beckon call, beckon abuse, beckon exploitation, beckon denigration, beckon injurious behavior and workplace environment. These employers are thugs, and from the top down, with their lawyers and MBAs and institutional misleadership yahoos at the executive level, the worker is doomed by this sick system. Forced vaccinations for schools, colleges, workplaces. The systems need to burn!”

Of course, I am asked not to identify the person who wrote this to me. We all are being surveilled by these Stasi folk, whether we work for a governmental agency, school systems, private college, for-profit business, mom and pop lowbrow joint, nonprofit, you name it.

They (bosses, agencies, pre-employment interviewers) sign up for Google search notifications — any time their company is named in the media or on digital platforms, they get notifications. They track what’s said about their business, corporation, nonprofit, agency, school. That is also for anyone they want to put into the Google-Palantir search engine, for a price, monthly rate, be it a person’s name. Like mine, hmm.

This is what these Stasi Americans want in their lives — complete control. Damage control against the truth-sayers speaking truth to power. Damage the messenger, or kill him or her with constant threats of litigation, fines, subpoenas, more. Imagine one writer, me, getting hooked into the Google Gulag, but then, what about anyone with my name? Hmm, children, siblings, spouses? This is how they play their mole game.

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Below, an example of the blithe and dangerous bullshit fake journalism of the mainstream imbeciles. That the State of Oregon can force vaccinations onto people really is the issue: the state just pushes that onto the overlords running businesses or nonprofits. That’s it, no argument, hands down the policy of the land, man.

The news (sic) story below will not contain push back,  and it will be vacant of civil rights thinkers/libertarians cited, will allude to no one pushing back on these Draconian measures. In fact, the story will not frame these measures as Draconian. The journalist from the Oregon paper of record (Oregonian) is already colonized and co-opted. Then you get some “law” professor (sic) from a for-profit private university pulled into the article, to come on board to yammer on. This is the new normal that’s been pretty old normal — mainstream media faking it, looking like it’s in the hunt for balance, when it’s all false balance, false and manufactured consent. The goal is to question the prevailing party-bureaucratic-company line, and question all governments’ actions. Read here:

“I think ultimately most employers would be able to require it,” said Henry Drummonds, a Lewis & Clark Law School professor specializing in labor and employment law. “But I think most employers probably wouldn’t want to require it. I think employers could first encourage and educate employees about the safety of the vaccine and the desirability of it in terms of protecting yourself and your coworkers.”

Drummonds said that at-will employment standards allow private businesses to dictate and change the terms of employment at any time and fire employees for any reason, as long as they don’t discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age or any other protected category.

In practice, this means that employers probably could require employees to receive the vaccine to remain employed or return to the office. Both the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries have released guidance stating that employers can mandate that employees get vaccinated.

 

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Already, idiocy prevails: just recently, I witnessed a manager of a nonprofit ask her employee in front of another employee in a public place within lots of people’s earshot: “Well, Rick, got his vaccination. So did I. Most everyone in the company has. But John hasn’t.”

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I knew this was a nonprofit this manager was a member of because I was within earshot. I offered an unsolicited response, trying to equate calling someone out in public for not having this experimental and not FDA-approved chemical shot. “How’s your BMI? You looking overweight? How’s your hypertension? You looking pink in the face? How’s your probable lung cancer? You just finished off a cigarette. Come on, shaming people for not agreeing to an untested chemical compound with that jab in the arm is unethical, and in public so I can hear your conversation?” She just clammed up and scooted her two employees away.

Imagine, fewer and fewer tough guys and gals can actually make it in USA (elsewhere too) with the power of what they can and cannot decide upon, that is, what they either want to and do not want to be injected into their bodies. Mind you, the jury is far from out on these chemical shots —

On February 27, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it had “issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the third vaccine for the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19),” the Janssen (Johnson&Johnson) Covid-19 vaccine.

This announcement is virtually identical to the EUAs previously issued for Covid-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer-Biontech and Moderna.

In each of the EUAs, the FDA has been careful to avoid any claim that the vaccines provide protection against infection or transmission of the virus. Similarly, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have each publicly stated that the vaccines have NOT been shown to prevent infection or transmission.

All of their regulatory documents and commentary addressing the issue state clearly that there is no evidence that the vaccines affect either infection with or transmission of the virus, nor do they prevent symptoms of Covid-19 from appearing.

— Source:  “Covid Vaccine Nonsense” [US-based human rights lawyer breaks down the contradictory claims of “effectiveness”, the incomplete studies and legal minefield of forced use of experimental vaccines] JP Jerome

 

Let’s shift to some compare and contrast between vaccine makers and cigarette makers. I  just read a short but cogent article on the menthol marketing, how 45,000 black Americans die each year from tobacco related illnesses (mostly throat, tongue, and lung cancer). Talk about cool — mentholated cigarettes’ make the poisons go down easier. Everything goes down smoother with a little bit of throat deadening. And this is legal stuff. No massive “take all the cigarettes’ and Juul’s and pipes and cigars and chew cans away.”  “Menthol Marketing Exposes Institutional Racism” by Michael Schwalbe, Counterpunch.

But forced vaccinations, and then this pact with  the devil — at-will, zero protection: screw up and you get the pink slip bullshit about American capitalism. Sort of buyer beware, user beware, consumer beware, worker beware.

In the long run, the solution to the ongoing global pandemic of tobacco-related disease is to abolish tobacco companies. Short of that, we now have an opportunity to significantly curtail the industry’s ability to profit from the destruction of Black lives. If Black lives matter, we must not let the opportunity pass.

— Michael Schwalbe, professor of sociology at North Carolina State University Source.

Low income, lots of working class people, workers in the developing world. Slick multimillion dollar a year ad campaigns: Slick, and Scientific (sic). Data driven.  Imagine, tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year. Of these deaths, 1.2 million are caused by secondhand smoke exposure. Talk about an epidemic, pandemic. You know that every rotting Southern pol and every single tobacco lobbyist and every grower and CEO, they pooh-pooh these stats. “Prove it. If it’s that deadly, then why’s it legal?”

The internet seems great at scrubbing information, but the reality is that when Ray-Gun left his criminal enterprise throne, he did some hucksterism stuff for the tobacco industry. He and Edwin Meese did a talking tour overseas to push cancer sticks.

Talk about killing people from his cold-ass grave, Reagan and the long arm of his contra mentality, still with us:

But the industry did not launch its campaign for new overseas markets alone. The Reagan and Bush administrations used their economic and political clout to pry open markets in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and China for American cigarettes. At a time when one arm of the government was warning Americans about the dangers of smoking, another was helping the industry recruit a new generation of smokers abroad.

Asia is where tobacco’s search for new horizons began and where the industry came to rely most on Washington’s help. U.S. officials in effect became the industry’s lawyers, agents and collaborators. Prominent politicians such as Robert J. Dole, Jesse Helms, Dan Quayle and Al Gore played a role. “No matter how this process spins itself out,” George Griffin, commercial counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, told Matthew N. Winokur, public affairs manager of Philip Morris Asia, in a “Dear Matt” letter in January 1986, “I want to emphasize that the embassy and the various U.S. government agencies in Washington will keep the interests of Philip Morris and the other American cigarette manufacturers in the forefront of our daily concerns.”  Source.

Why the harangue by yours truly against tobacco in a piece about how rotting the at-will mentality of big, small and loser companies run by bigger losers than anyone following the Peter Principle 2.0 [well, Peter Principle update: the worse you are as a human, with no ethics, no character, well, you go up the ladder, food chain, corporate manure pile!] can imagine forcing vaccines onto workers?

Think hard about an experimental mRNA chemical put into a syringe and then forcefully delivered to the global population. Hmm, would this have been acceptable in 2019? 2001? 1990? The year I was born, 1957?

Of course not, and yet, this is it, with people being shamed or called out for reluctance on an experimental, emergency authorized, untested chemical and DNA morphing drug being forcefully put into one’s body. Not once, but with a booster, and then, now, as the world burns, yearly or bi-yearly boosters for the “new” variants of a corona cold virus.

Here, this is science and capitalism, science/capitalism/politics, like leprosery and it’s host —

One way the tobacco industry has manipulated cigarettes to increase addictiveness is by loading cigarettes with chemical compounds. Bronchodilators were added so that tobacco smoke can more easily enter the lungs. Sugars, flavors and menthol were increased to dull the harshness of smoke and make it easier to inhale. Ammonia was added so that nicotine travels to the brain faster.

Specifically, increasing the amount of nicotine was of paramount importance to tobacco company executives. Experts found that Big Tobacco companies genetically engineered their tobacco crops to contain two times the amount of nicotine and adjusted their cigarette design so that the nicotine delivered to smokers increased by 14.5 percent. As Phillip Morris Principal Scientist W.L. Dunn said in 1972, “No one has ever become a cigarette smoker by smoking cigarettes without nicotine.”  — Source

Bronchodilators and ammonia added? Come on, my students at UTEP were finding more dirt on big tobacco and the collusion with the FDA, keeping secret under governmental lock and key all the ingredients they sprayed on tobacco before becoming the stuff of rolled cigs, cigars, pipe filler and chew. Think of secret doses of anti-convulsant drugs, since the higher nicotine content and the other burning chemicals cause many people to get ticks, minor tremors; i.e., seizures. Best keep the seizures down and the sales up.

Shoot, this is just the minor list of smoke by-products — Nicotine (the addictive drug that produces the effects in the brain that people are looking for), Hydrogen cyanide, Formaldehyde, Lead, Arsenic, Ammonia, Radioactive elements, such as polonium-210, Benzene, Carbon monoxide, Tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs), Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

These Satan’s, these big and little Eichmann types, these Mad Men, these PR spinners, these profiteers and cancer mercenaries, come on, the story is bigger — 600 ingredients can be used in cigarettes, but the actual combustion of the cig produces over 4,000 chemical compounds. And, when burned, these cigarette ingredients mix together and create deadly substances, 69 of which are carcinogenic.

Yeah, how’s that pandemic and pandemic and pandemic on the horizon. SARS-CoV2, 3, 5? Remember, there is no outright statement that declares cigarette smoking causes cancers or any number of other co-occurring diseases or terminal cancers.

So, if Big Tobacco and Gore and Reagan and Clinton and Trump, et al can stump just for this singular felonious Mafia outfit, what do you think might be happening behind closed doors and inside labs and at the top of the heap tied to exactly what this experimental vaccine’s (sic) side effects might do today, next month, a year from now, etc.?

For the good of the world? The economies? For life saving ethos? You got the memo yet? You want life saving? Shit, one product, tobacco, done with, hmm, what’s that life saving factor? Banned from planet earth, more or less. And how much for all the lost labor of huffing and puffing cig smokers . . .  all the flagging physiologies, all the damage, slow and fast, caused by cigs, et al? Ya think there will be a ban tomorrow?

Hmm, NEVER. Now, multiply that a million fold with all the deadly chemicals and toxins and fumigants and fungicides and off-gassing crap in all manner of clothes, combustible materials, food, drinks, drugs. Then multiple one times two, and then factor up. How do these work, hmm, twelve together, the impossibility of really studying the synergistic effects of one chemical interacting with another, or a dozen or 4,000? Hmm, those 4,000 chemicals in one good Marlboro man drag, what’s the toll?

You think there are governmental and private financed studies on that? Think.

According to comments from vaccine scientists in September 2020 (prior to the Covid-19 EUA issuances), no vaccine had ever before been distributed on an EUA basis.

“We don’t do EUAs for vaccines,” [Dr. Peter] Hotez said, “It’s a lesser review, it’s a lower-quality review, and when you’re talking about vaccinating a large chunk of the American population, that’s not acceptable.”

Three months later, the FDA issued EUAs for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, but with explicit guidance that the vaccine “has not undergone the same type of review as an FDA- approved or cleared product.”

The idea is that if there are injuries and deaths because of the experimental and untested drugs-chemicals in these shots, well, who foots the bill? Who is responsible? Hmm, in the USA, it’s the US taxpayer.

I have a friend whose niece would not take “death by any other means” as the last answer. She is pushing for an investigation into her father’s death after the vaccine was given to him. He was 74, healthy, but he did have aging issues, like we all do. Blood clots occurred rapidly, hmm, and, then he checked out in a stroke like manner. This is after, right after, vaccination. The county coroner will not do an autopsy, and alas, there are no watchdog agencies in our corner. A simple autopsy would be $6,000. This is a suspicious vaccine-related death, and she has now gone on-line and gotten more people to email her about similar deaths after vaccination. She can’t put it on Facebook, too long or too detailed like, so she is getting contacted through GoFundMe. She’s doing this surreptitiously.  There will be no Ralph Nader’s or RFK, Jr.’s coming to her family’s aid.

Just like you can’t sue successfully the big tobacco and their technicians and chemists and MD’s and lawyers and CEO’s and the politicians and marketers for selling a dangerous product to a billion people, let alone the second and third hand smoke of these cancer sticks.

The post Methanol for the CoV2 Hypodermic Chemical Experiment first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Innovation Slaves and Lurking Technoplutocorporatism

Company Blockchains LLC, co-owned by a millionaire Jeffrey Berns, bought over 67,000 acres in Northern Nevada in 2018. The plan is to build infrastructure including hotels, truck stops, and housing according to the latest technological achievements. This purchase is part of the project Innovation Zones. It aims at providing a space for innovation by employing advanced technology in real life. It wants to implement such solutions as “blockchain, autonomous technology, the internet of things, robotics, artificial intelligence, wireless technology, biometrics and renewable resource technology.”

Such projects may appear as lofty fantasies. It echoes projects of the past, which have not been well-received despite the promise of technological advancement. A nineteenth-century Illinois-located town built from scratch by an investor, George Pullman, did not appeal to the inhabitants despite being at the top of infrastructure innovation for that time. Many people moved out because they did not find activities and spaces resonating with their needs. The fact that they could not own property was also a disturbance.

The landlord business was criticized by activists. The President of the American Railway Union said in 1894 speech: “I believe a rich plunderer like Pullman is a greater felon than a poor thief, and it has become no small part of the duty of this organization to strip the mask of hypocrisy from the pretended philanthropist and show him to the world as an oppressor of labor…The paternalism of the Pullman is the same as the interest of a slaveholder in his human chattels. You are striking to avert slavery and degradation.”

Sidewalk Labs, a Google subsidiary, failed to implement its “smart city,” also called “Google city” in Toronto. The fears around privacy generated a backlash. The company withdrew abruptly in 2020.

Nevada project illustrates that technological elites’ appetite for control is growing. It seems that their increasing power makes them more audacious in their demands. Jeffrey Berns has contributed over 100,000 dollars to back the current Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and its partisan family, the Democrats. An unprecedented proposal by the incumbent governor followed in February 2021. Sisolak proposed a bill that would cede much autonomy to investors who buy at least 50,000 acres and commit to spending one billion dollars on the project. In exchange, they would have a say in appointing a supervisory board over the territory and be given “the same authority as a county, including the ability to impose taxes, form school districts and justice courts and provide government services, to name a few duties.”

Past attempts may not have been successful because the affected citizens had too much autonomy. Accumulating control over this particular juridic zone’s residents may foster the dystopian agenda of the technological elites. COVID-19 has brought favorable conditions for such a plan. The recent pandemic has enabled even more concentration of capital. The dispossession and the spike of evictions among the vulnerable part of the population may lure them towards such projects as the antidote to homelessness. Technological unemployment deprives them of the power to withdraw labor to have a say over living conditions. A corporation possessing judicial authority may easily strip the residents of legal protections.

David Graeber wrote that society was at the brink of the end of capitalism. The new system may be worse than the current one, about which we tend to complain. I call this new system that is unfolding in front of us technoplutocorporatism. My book Imagine a Sane Society juxtaposes two kinds of utopias, driven either by the technological elites or citizen self-organization. The former type, such as the Innovation Zones project, may become laboratories filled with human guinea pigs. Without monetary exchanges, property rights, and the need to be employed, residents’ status may shift to innovation slave. They would not work as we conceive work in the employment system. However, they may be owned by the corporation.

With the advancement of research and innovation, laboratory rats and monkeys lose their utility for the furtherance of technology. The temptation to replace them with humans may become irresistible. Power corrupts. We can imagine that inhabitants immersed in controlled living conditions would bring opportunities to undertake studies impossible to implement before. Following the research methodology developed with animals, a corporation may manipulate the outer stimuli to conduct experiments and measure reactions. Data camps may emerge. They will constitute a new venue of post-capitalist exploitation and extractivism.

  • Image credit: Softpanorama
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    Sanitized Tyranny: The Weaponization of Truth


    On Jan. 8, 2021, two days after the Capitol Hill “insurrection”, the Parler social media app was the number #1 most downloaded app in the Apple App Store. On “January 10, 2021, Parler CEO John Matze announced the company had been ‘dropped by virtually all of its business alliances after Amazon, Apple and Google ended their agreements … Every vendor from text message services to email providers to our lawyers all ditched us too on the same day.’” By Jan. 11, Apple, Google, and Amazon had successfully colluded to destroy the capacity of one of the most popular apps on the web to operate.

    It was a blatant violation of antitrust laws during a period in which Big Tech has been repeatedly investigated and accused of similar infractions. In October 2020 top Democratic congressional lawmakers reported that “… Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google engage in a range of anti-competitive behavior, and antitrust laws need an overhaul to allow for more competition in the US internet economy.” The report recommended new legislation that could lead to the breakup of tech giants such as Facebook and Google.

    Yet the overnight shutdown of Parler was accompanied by deafening cheers from the media and politicians across the country. While the elimination of a rising competitor no doubt played a significant role in the takedown, ensuring coordinated messaging across the major social media platforms was likely the deciding factor in Parler’s demise. The same journalists and politicians applauded the heroic tech titans just as loudly when Twitter suppressed evidence of Hunter Biden’s corrupt dealings three weeks before the election and when Trump was permanently banned from Facebook.

    Parler’s targeted takedown by a conspiracy of tech giants signaled a new phase in the war for strategic reality control. The narrative managers find it quite inconvenient that the pandemic propaganda campaign has not gone completely according to plan. Resistance to the mainstream covid story has turned out to be more widespread than expected. There was a whiff of desperation about this open crushing of a rival platform.

    Parler’s real offense was to offer a media delivery system designed to foster free speech. Their service was a reaction against the rapidly multiplying and often inscrutable rules about what speech is allowed and what forbidden on the major platforms. Unlike Facebook and Google, Parler’s users choose what they want to see and are allowed to express their beliefs without the risk of being booted off the service for inadequate doublethink.

    Parler was not shut down because it allowed violent postings. Calls for violence were far more prevalent on Facebook and Twitter during the Capital Hill “coup attempt.” Its real crime was to provide a platform where users could express ideas that undercut the dominant narrative without fear of censorship. Its brutal shutdown sent a stark warning to potential competitors who might be similarly tempted to open their platforms to free speech.

    Domestic Netwar

    Since the beginning of the 2020 U.S. election cycle, the tech giants have unleashed multiple large-scale crackdowns on the content that challenges elite narratives. To understand the scale of the current censorship drive, consider a few of the major actions by Facebook and Twitter:

    • (10/14/2020) The New York Post, which has the 4th largest distribution rank of all newspapers in the U.S., published an article about Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, claiming that he traded on his father’s position to obtain a seat worth $50,000 a month on the Board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma. Two hours after the story broke, Facebook announced that it was “’… reducing [the article’s] distribution on our platform’: in other words, tinkering with its own algorithms to suppress the ability of users to discuss or share the news article.” This was done before the article had been fact-checked. Shortly after this, Twitter banned “… entirely all users’ ability to share the Post article — not just on their public timeline but even using the platform’s private Direct Messaging feature.” Twitter users who tried to link to the New York Post article received an error message explaining that such linking was disabled due to the potentially harmful nature of the content. Shortly after, Twitter prevented the New York Post from posting any content, though later it was allowed to resume posting. It was a blatant act of censorship designed to influence the election.
    • (1/7/2021) Facebook bans the sitting President of the United States from further Facebook posting due to events that, according to Mark Zuckerberg, “… clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden.” Note that Zuckerberg directly accuses Trump of planning to impede his lawfully elected successor from assuming power with minimal evidence.
    • (1/8/2021) Twitter permanently removes Trump’s account, “After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account … we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” Once again, a social media giant accuses the President of inciting violence on the basis of weak evidence.
    • (1/19/2021) Facebook announced that “As of January 12, 2021, we have identified over 890 militarized social movements to date and in total, removed about 3,400 Pages, 19,500 groups, 120 events, 25,300 Facebook profiles and 7500 Instagram accounts. We’ve also removed about 3,300 Pages, 10,500 groups, 510 events, 18,300 Facebook profiles and 27,300 Instagram accounts for violating our policy against QAnon.”
    • (2/8/2021) Facebook reported that, “Today … we are expanding the list of false claims we will remove to include additional debunked claims about the coronavirus and vaccines. This includes claims such as:
      • COVID-19 is man-made or manufactured
      • Vaccines are not effective at preventing the disease they are meant to protect against
      • It’s safer to get the disease than to get the vaccine
      • Vaccines are toxic, dangerous or cause autism”

    In each case, the de facto union formed between media outlets and the tech giants initiated a massive censorship campaign without provoking the journalistic outrage that would have erupted a few years ago. Open censorship is now not only accepted by mainstream media but celebrated in the post-pandemic world as a much needed “weaponization of truth.”

    Accompanying this unprecedented wave of repression is a new subgenre of journalism which Glenn Greenwald describes as “… an unholy mix of junior high hall-monitor tattling and Stasi-like citizen surveillance. Its primary objectives are control, censorship, and the destruction of reputations for fun and power.” These journalists rationalize their sanitized tyranny as “working in the disinformation space” where their job is to identify offensive memes and shame those responsible for them.

    One reason the tech giants have recently abandoned their earlier restraint in eliminating dissident perspectives is that they are now being ridiculed by the world’s most influential media organizations whenever they fail to suppress so-called “fake news” with sufficient zeal. But the more significant reason is that mainstream media outlets are an organic extension of the intelligence apparatus that helped build Google, Facebook, and several other tech giants. These companies supply the tools to detect, demote, and remove content when it threatens their control over internet information.

    The attitude of many mainstream journalists is encapsulated in the recent recommendation by a New York Times reporter who called on the Biden administration to, “… put together a cross-agency task force to tackle disinformation and domestic extremism, which would be led by something like a ‘reality czar.’” This cross-agency task force leader “… would allow platforms to share data about QAnon and other conspiracy theory communities with researchers and government agencies without running afoul of privacy laws … it could become the tip of the spear for the federal government’s response to the reality crisis.” This task force would coordinate the forces required for strikes against those found guilty of offering alternative accounts to officially defined reality.

    A Wilderness of Mirrors

    “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they’ve been fooled.” – Unknown.

    According to his press, Tristan Harris is the trusted voice of the technological conscience. He co-founded the Center for Humane Technology (CHT) to drive a shift toward technology that operationalizes our informational well-being. The top priority in the site’s “Ledger of Harms” is social media users’ rampant addiction to disinformation.

    The CHT cites a finding from a recent scientific study that false news “… spreads six times faster than true news. According to researchers, this is because … fake news items usually have a higher emotional content and contain unexpected information which inevitably means that they will be shared and reposted more often.” This finding was based on the work of six fact-checking organizations.

    Unfortunately for Tristan, there is a fundamental deception lurking behind the “fake news” meme. Whenever we hear the term it evokes a conditioned reflex that tends to short-circuit any reflection on its actual meaning. “Fake news” is intended to signify falsehoods that qualified information professionals are able to refute based on careful research. This is the rarely questioned myth behind “fact-checking.” However, it is more accurately understood as an ideological trap intended to inculcate a reductive concept of truth that can be easily manipulated to advance elite agendas.

    How reliable is the “fact-checking”, the mechanism used by the major platforms to find and remove false news? A few months ago, OffGuardian published an article titled “WHO (Accidentally) Confirms Covid is No More Dangerous Than Flu.” According to a follow-up article, “… the WHO’s Dr Michale Ryan claimed ‘about 10%’ of the global population had been infected with Sars-Cov-2. With an alleged death toll of roughly 1 million, that puts the infection-fatality ratio at roughly 0.14%.” 0.14% is 24 times lower than WHO’s “provisional figure” of 3.4% which was used to justify the lockdowns that devastated the world economy. That would put the IFR rate for covid right in line with the seasonal flu, which has a mortality rate of about 0.1 percent.

    However, the fact-checking organization known as Health Feedback claimed the following statement to be false, “The coronavirus is no more deadly or dangerous than seasonal flu.” Health Feedback is a member of the WHO-led project Vaccine Safety Net (VSN) which claims that each reviewer “… contributing to our analyses holds a Ph.D. and has recently published articles in top-tier peer-reviewed science journals.” Their parent organization Science Feedback works with Facebook as part of its fact-checking program.

    Close analysis of the article indicates that the fact-checkers lied about Dr. Ryan’s actual claims. The lie was this: “Ryan said that, according to the WHO’s best estimates, the virus that causes COVID-19 could have infected up to 10% of the global population.” In fact, Ryan stated that “about 10%” was infected, not “up to 10%.” By reducing the size of the infected population, the IFR rate for covid can be bloated to the pandemic proportions needed to drive the elite agenda. To camouflage their mendacity, the fact-checker found a way to avoid directly quoting Dr. Ryan’s actual words by linking to Zero Hedge’s reblog of the article which provides a summary of his statements without quoting them directly.

    This egregious example is only one of many that demonstrate how fact-checkers squeeze the facts into the straitjacket of official truth. Since fact-checking is the central pillar of disinformation detection, its failure to stand up to analysis means that the entire superstructure behind the disinformation purge falls apart. As one fact-checking critic put it, “… this is what is known as a ‘wilderness of mirrors’ – a chaotic information environment that so perfectly blends truth, half-truth and fiction that even the best can no longer tell what’s real and what’s not.” Propaganda can be much amplified by technology, but it is the believability of its stories that drives the strategic reality operation. Its goal is to bury the text of truth under a scaffolding of interpretive lies.

    A Bodyguard of Lies

    “In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” – Winston Churchill

    In the eyes of the elite, it is not the COVID-19 disease that is the existential threat to humanity, but alternative viewpoints about it. The “Doomsday Clock” released by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists on Jan. 27, 2021 highlighted three existential threats to humanity “… a resurgent nuclear arms race, climate change, and online misinformation about the Covid-19 epidemic.” The key question is whose existence is being threatened by covid misinformation – the planetary population or the great resetters who unleashed it? This could be a sign that the covid propaganda campaign has not lived up to elite expectations.

    It’s clear that in the last several months the elite have felt compelled to pursue a much more aggressive disinformation campaign. Facebook recently decided to prohibit all COVID-19 or vaccine-related posts that contain erroneous claims as defined in the “COVID-19 and Vaccine Policy Updates & Protections” posting. The new rule is that any claim that calls into question information provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) or other reliable health sources will be removed.

    While Mark Zuckerberg constantly invokes AI as the ultimate solution to fake news, research shows that it can support, but not solve the problem of finding and suppressing news stories that undermine dominant narratives. Evaluating the threat, a story might pose depends on awareness of its social and political context. Yet even the most advanced natural language processing (NLP) algorithms are currently incapable of identifying such contexts. Therefore AI-based content analysis does not yet provide reliable methods for the initial identification of misinformation except in straightforward scenarios such as detecting duplicates of previously debunked stories. Automation can speed up the work of professional fact-checkers, but at this time it can’t replace them.

    However, some advanced AI-based approaches have shown promise in the initial detection of dangerous postings. One method is to use AI to detect a story’s pattern of propagation. Since, according to the scientific study by the CHT previously cited, “fake news spreads six times faster than true news”, by scanning for stories with rapid spread patterns, researchers believe that AI might automatically detect information that could endanger official narratives. Using this method, fact-checkers can rapidly sift through a much greater volume of material to uncover offensive memes. The tech giants never seem to consider the possibility that the rapid spread pattern might in some cases be driven by a massive unsatisfied hunger for truth.

    Once a story has been tagged as disinformation, both defensive and offensive options need to be evaluated. If it is posted on a controlled social media platform such as Facebook or Twitter, the platform can reduce its distribution, label it, or directly remove it. If it is on a platform that permits free speech such as Parler, the platform itself can be targeted by removing its hosting service in the way Amazon did in the wake of the “violent insurrection” on Capitol Hill.

    In the case of websites not hosted on an elite-controlled platform, these can be deplatformed by removing its domain name from the centralized DNS (Domain Name System) that controls access to web sites through its registered name. Since DNS is a centralised system, legal pressure from law enforcement agencies can force the domain name to be deleted so that the website becomes inaccessible. From 2018 to 2019, several police agencies seized 30,500 domain names in 20 different countries.

    Further steps may be needed in some cases. In November 2020, “… the national-security states of the U.S. and UK have discreetly let it be known that the cyber tools and online tactics previously designed for use in the post-9/11 ‘war on terror’ are now being repurposed for use against information sources promoting ‘vaccine hesitancy’ and information related to COVID-19 that runs counter to their state narratives.” Journalists who raise unwelcome concerns about covid vaccines can be de-platformed and where feasible, their stories algorithmically erased from the internet.

    The UK signal intelligence agency, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has been assigned the task of targeting websites that raise concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine. GHCQ’s cyberwar will not only take down anti-vaccine propaganda but will also seek to “… disrupt the operations of the cyber-actors responsible for it, including encrypting their data so they cannot access it and blocking their communications with each other.’” These targeted strikes against information terrorists will be coordinated through the “Five Eyes” alliance of intelligence agencies (U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Canada).

    Resisting the Reality Engineers

    An alliance of intelligence agencies, fact-checkers, and think tanks have decided that the world population must be electronically immunized against information which undermines approved biosecurity narratives. Their tactical strikes against “disinformation” cloaks an attack on our capacity for independent thought. The algorithms used by the social media giants to generate obsessive user engagement transform us into easily manipulated slaves of semiconscious emotional stimuli. They are not protecting us from “fake news”, but from our own collective powers of discernment.

    Yet the current hysteria about “disinformation” is also a tacit admission that mainstream media has lost so much credibility that it has to resort to increasingly harsh censorship to force their former audience to listen to them. An effective resistance strategy must include developing the tools of critical thinking such as the ability to detect logical fallacies. Only by keeping our powers of discernment switched on at all times can we retain both our freedom of thought and the sane vision of the world that it empowers.

    Despite the social unrest that false news stories could and did cause, the founding fathers of the United States thought, in the words of Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, that those “… who won our independence believed that the final end of the State was to make men free to develop their faculties … They valued liberty both as an end, and as a means. They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness, and courage to be the secret of liberty. They believed that freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth …”1 In their minds, part of being an adult was the often-difficult art of distinguishing true from false information. The founders believed that truth is only accessible to free minds and that any attempt to curtail freedom weakens our access to truth.

  • Image credit: MSNBC
    1. Wu, Tim. 2016. The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads. Kindle Edition. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 49.
    The post Sanitized Tyranny: The Weaponization of Truth first appeared on Dissident Voice.

    History Shows Privatized Space Colonization Will Be Disastrous

    Elon Musk and his company SpaceX have become a regular feature in news cycles. SpaceX succeeded in landing a team of astronauts on the International Space Station in November 2020, in partnership with NASA. The next month, the company lost a rocket in an explosion while attempting to land after a test flight. Another rocket exploded during landing in early February. In mid-February, SpaceX launched sixty satellites as part of the Starlink program to provide broadband internet access to the globe, and is now working to double the speed of this internet service and extend it to most of the planet by the end of 2021. Additional crewed missions to the International Space Station are planned for the coming months, as is a four-person civilian-only space voyage.

    These accomplishments and setbacks from SpaceX and the world’s richest man are the most recent in a long series of launches by the first private company to engage in spaceflight. SpaceX is pushing many new boundaries to popular acclaim, but they are also simply the most recent continuation of a decades-long effort to privatize space travel, albeit an effort that is accelerating in recent years.

    Yet, while SpaceX may be developing beneficial new technologies and finding ways to lower the costs of space travel, their free-market perspective on space exploration will not provide the benefits they claim. Such privatization will only reproduce the Earth’s current exploitative economy and environmental destruction in outer space.

    Our climate and economic crises today are not inevitable outcomes of human existence, or of human population growth as other space-obsessed technocrats like Jeff Bezos have argued. They are instead the result of a particular set of social and economic forces, mostly arising during the last five centuries, which constitute capitalism. Capitalism requires the exploitation of both nature and people, leads to outward expansion and colonization, and is really the root cause of climate change.

    Yet instead of working to develop new social and economic structures here on Earth, Elon Musk is planning the colonization of Mars explicitly as a backup plan for Earth. He is not alone, as Jeff Bezos’ own aerospace company, Blue Origin, operates with the long-term goal of outsourcing destructive manufacturing to space in order to save Earth by shifting the exploitation of nature and people into orbit. With plans such as these, SpaceX and related companies are advocating escapism instead of dealing with the reality of deteriorating conditions on our own planet. By failing to acknowledge that privatizing industry and taking advantage of workers and the environment are the true causes of these Earthly crises, SpaceX will inadvertently reproduce the same conditions that are destroying the Earth in space.

    We need not engage in speculation informed by science-fiction to know this, either. History is full of examples of privatized, for-profit exploration and colonization that have caused more harm than good. For some of the clearest lessons, we can look to the colonization of what is now the United States, just a few hundred years ago.

    *****

    This past autumn marked the four hundredth anniversary of the Mayflower landing on the shores of what is now Massachusetts. Stories of this ship and its Pilgrim passengers are familiar to many people who were educated in the American school system. As the common narrative goes, these Puritan settlers sought freedom from religious persecution in England, and thus set sail to the “New World.” The Mayflower arrived in North America, and finding the land beautiful and productive, the Pilgrims “fell upon their knees and blessed the God of Heaven” for delivering them to safety and freedom.

    Yet key details of this story were not emphasized in our elementary school educations, such as the motivations behind the actual owners of the Mayflower. The Pilgrims did not own the ship they sailed upon, nor could they have afforded the voyage on their own. They needed investors, and the financial backers of this journey were not religious separatists seeking freedom, but some of the modern world’s first international venture capitalists. They funded the Pilgrims in the hope that they could reap the rewards of a profitable colony in North America capable of yielding cheap goods for European markets: largely fish, timber, and furs. The Pilgrims who established a colony at Plymouth may have been seeking liberty, but the financiers who backed them hardly cared. They were just in it for the money, and there was a lot to be made.

    There was also a lot of damage to be done. Within fifteen years of the Mayflower making landfall, epidemic disease had decimated the Indigenous population of New England. Wars and genocide followed, with Indigenous peoples being killed and enslaved across the continent, before largely being forced onto reservations which still experience shockingly poor conditions today.

    All the while, the land of New England was gradually being divided into privately owned parcels of land in a process known as enclosure. When European colonists arrived in New England, they entered into a variety of agreements with Native peoples pertaining to land rights. European settlers often paid Indigenous tribes or leaders for the right to limited use of tribal land, but the colonists often interpreted these transactions as wholesale, permanent purchase of land. These lands which were often communally owned by the tribe and managed as a “commons” – land or resources collectively owned by a community – were slowly carved up into privately owned parcels over the course of the 17th and 18th centuries.

    This privatization of land ownership and the incorporation of colonial New England into a globalized market economy led to profound environmental destruction nearly immediately. Settlers cleared forests for timber and farmland, nearly deforesting much of New England by the early 20th century. Beaver and deer were all but exterminated in the region by the 19th century, hunted for their pelts which were sold for profit in European markets. As early as 1646, Portsmouth, Rhode Island established the first prohibitions on hunting deer out of season, recognizing that the species’ population was dwindling. All of this local extirpation and deforestation occurred within a few decades of European arrival in New England, while the Indigenous peoples of the region had hunted deer and beaver and managed their forests sustainably for millennia prior.

    Exploitation of labor arose alongside this exploitation of nature. European settlers in 17th century New England exploited Indigenous hunters to acquire beaver furs, obtaining these pelts at little cost to themselves through the exchange of cheap cloth, metal trinkets, and shell beads. Merchants then in turn exploited these European settlers, paying only a small fraction of what these furs would be worth, and manufacturers back in Europe exploited their workers, paying them less than their labor was worth to produce products like fashionable felt hats for sale to the high-society aristocrats of the time.

    This exploitation of nature and labor is not a bug, but a feature of privatized, for-profit capitalist ventures. It is inherent in a capitalist economic model, as history has shown time and again. If profit maximization for the benefit of investors and owners is the goal, as it was for the owners of the Mayflower and as it is for SpaceX, the necessary materials and labor must be cheaply obtained. If they are not cheap, earnings will suffer.

    Colonization is a short-sighted solution to this problem. Colonialist companies and nations incorporate peripheral locations into their global economic system, where resources and labor can be cheaply obtained. The mercantile capitalism of the 17th century Atlantic world reflected this economic structure, with abundant timber, furs, and fish being obtained at low costs in New England and returned to European markets where they had greater value. Whether in the form of colonialist extraction of raw materials or the contemporary outsourcing of jobs, this search for cheap labor and resources is necessary for the perpetuation of capitalism, and remains the structuring force behind the global economy to this day.

    This same outward expansion in search of cheap raw materials and labor is exactly what will end up driving the colonization of space. The Moon, Mars, and even asteroids may all become the peripheral, privatized, and exploited locations that permit corporations on Earth to profit. Similar to Indigenous understandings of certain land rights in precolonial New England, space is currently viewed as a global commons. This means that all people have rights to it and none should be able to claim exclusive rights over it. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 prevents any nation from claiming territory in space, although the treaty is known to be vague concerning the power of corporations in space and will certainly be challenged legally in the coming years. The enclosure and privatization of space may therefore lead not only to the direct and immediate exploitation of the environment and of people, but may also lay the groundwork for long-term systems of exploitation and dispossession.

    *****

    Elon Musk intends to colonize Mars as soon as possible. Thankfully, there is no potential for genocide of indigenous Martians as there was for Indigenous “Americans” and other Indigenous peoples around the world under European colonialism. Yet because the endeavor is privatized and operating under centuries-old colonialist mindsets, exploitation and destruction will assuredly manifest in other ways.

    Mining and resource extraction is one avenue for profit, although Musk acknowledges that it is unclear if the natural resources on Mars could be extracted for the profit of companies on Earth. Even if the costs of transporting raw materials back to Earth are too great, natural resources extracted in space could be manufactured in space and shipped to Earth. Colonization of Mars may therefore differ slightly from cases of colonization on Earth, but the fundamental exploitative relationship remains.

    Plus, there are other ways to profit besides the extraction of raw materials. Space tourism by wealthy thrill-seekers is poised to be a cash cow for companies, and a relatively autonomous SpaceX colony on Mars could also have a potentially great degree of freedom to profit from all sorts of business ventures, especially if they are legally independent of the United States government as has been hinted. Musk has also alluded to other “extraordinary entrepreneurial opportunity” on Mars, ranging from manufacturing to restaurants to tourism. However, it remains to be seen just how the financing, ownership, and taxation of these enterprises will be handled in what may be a semi-autonomous colony. In the case of English colonists arriving in North America, it was often the case that the company financing the colony claimed ownership over all property and all economic products of the settlers for a set number of years. Any colonists on a settled Mars will certainly be exploited as well, in one form or another, for the profit of shareholders and company executives. More than a colony of Earth, Mars may become a colony of SpaceX, and this is a troubling thought.

    Resisting exploitation is exceedingly difficult in a privately funded, owned, and operated colony because such a colony is, by its very nature, undemocratic. Private companies like SpaceX are not democracies. CEOs are not elected representatives of the employees and business decisions are not voted upon by all workers. Thus, with a corporation calling the shots, settlers on Mars may have disturbingly little input in decision-making processes concerning their businesses and lives.

    Fundamentally, the privatization of space exploration is not the beneficial solution that many think it is. It will simply result in a continuation of the colonial exploitation of nature and people as our capitalist global economy transcends our own atmosphere. Exploitation is an inherent part of such for-profit ventures in a capitalist system, and this will carry over into space. Privatized exploration of our solar system will be biased towards profitable ventures instead of those with public benefits and will certainly have numerous detrimental environmental impacts.

    As private corporations begin to stake claims and enclose the commons of space, the rest of us lose our rights to it. We must avoid this outcome at all costs. Studying the repercussions of historical and contemporary colonialism on Earth permits us to engage with questions of space exploration from a decolonial and democratic perspective. Space cannot be privatized or exploited for profit, but must remain a commons for the benefit of all humanity.

  • Image credit: Memory-alpha
  • The post History Shows Privatized Space Colonization Will Be Disastrous first appeared on Dissident Voice.

    Why Politicians and Doctors Keep Ignoring the Medical Research on Vitamin D and Covid

    It is probably not a good idea to write while in the grip of anger. But I am struggling to suppress my emotions about a wasted year, during which politicians and many doctors have ignored a growing body of evidence suggesting that Vitamin D can play a critically important role in the prevention and treatment of Covid-19.

    It is time to speak out forcefully now that a new, large-scale Spanish study demonstrates not a just a correlation but a causal relationship between high-dose Vitamin D treatment of hospitalised Covid patients and significantly improved outcomes for their health.

    The pre-print paper in the Lancet shows there was an 80 per cent reduction in admission to intensive care units among hospitalised patients who were treated with large doses of Vitamin D, and a 64 per cent reduction in death. The possibility of these being chance findings are infinitesimally small, note the researchers. And to boot, the study found no side-effects even when these mega-doses were given short term to the hospitalised patients.

    Those are astounding figures that deserve to be on front pages, especially at a time when politicians and doctors are uncertain whether they can ever find a single magic-bullet vaccine against Covid as new variants pop up like spring daffodils.

    If Vitamin D can approximate a cure for many of those hospitalised with Covid, one can infer that it should prove even more effective when used as a prophylactic. Most people in northern latitudes ought to be taking Vitamin D through much of the year in significant doses – well above the current, outdated 400IU recommended by governments like the UK’s.

    Knee-jerk dismissals

    This new study ought to finally silence the naysayers, though doubtless it won’t. So far it has attracted little media attention. What has been most troubling over the past year is that every time I and others have gently drawn attention to each new study that demonstrated the dramatic benefits of Vitamin D, we were greeted with knee-jerk dismissals that the studies showed only a correlation, not a causal link.

    That was a deeply irresponsible response, especially in the midst of a global pandemic for which effective treatments are urgently needed. The never-satisfied have engaged in the worst kind of blame-shifting, implicitly maligning medical researchers for the fact that they could only organise small-scale, improvised studies because governments were not supporting and funding the larger-scale research needed to prove conclusively whether Vitamin D was effective.

    Further, the naysayers wilfully ignored the fact that all the separate studies showed very similar correlations, as well as the fact that hospitalised patients were invariably deficient, or very deficient, in Vitamin D. The cumulative effect of those studies should have been persuasive in themselves. And more to the point, they should have led to a concerted campaign pressuring governments to fund the necessary research. Instead much of the medical community has wasted valuable time either ignoring the research or nitpicking it into oblivion.

    There should have come a point – especially when a treatment like Vitamin D is very cheap and almost entirely safe – at which the precautionary principle kicked in. It was not only foolhardy but criminally negligent to be demanding 100 per cent proof before approving the use of Vitamin D on seriously ill patients. There was no risk in treating them with Vitamin D, unlike most other proposed drugs, and potentially much to gain.

    Stuck in old paradigm

    Already the usual voices have dismissed the new Barcelona study, saying it has yet to be peer-reviewed. That ignores the fact that it is an expansion on, and confirmation of, an earlier, much smaller study in Cordoba that has been peer-reviewed and that similarly showed dramatic, beneficial outcomes for patients.

    In addition to the earlier studies and the new one showing a causal link, there is plenty of circumstantial evidence to bolster the case for using Vitamin D against Covid.

    For many years, limited studies – ones that Big Pharma showed no interest in expanding – had indicated that Vitamin D was useful both in warding off respiratory infections and in treating a wide variety of chronic auto-immune diseases such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis by damping down inflammatory responses of the kind that often overwhelm hospitalised Covid patients.

    But many doctors and politicians were stuck in an old paradigm – one rooted in the 1950s that viewed Vitamin D exclusively in terms of bone health.

    The role of Vitamin D – produced in the skin by sunlight – should have been at the forefront of medical research for Covid anyway, given that the prevalence of the disease, as with other respiratory infections, appears to slump through the sunny, summer months, and spikes in the winter.

    And while the media preferred to focus exclusively on poverty and racism as “correlative” explanations for the disproportionate number of deaths among BAME doctors and members of the public, Vitamin D seemed an equally, if not more plausible, candidate. Dark skins in cloud-covered northern latitudes make production of Vitamin D harder and deficiency more likely.

    Magic bullet preferred

    We should not be surprised that Big Pharma had no interest in promoting a vitamin freely available through much of the year and one they cannot license. They would, of course, rather patent an expensive magic bullet that offers the hope of enriching company directors and shareholders.

    But that is why we have governments, isn’t it? They could have stepped in to pick up the bill for the research after profit-motivated firms had refused to do so – if not to safeguard the health of their populations, at least to keep their health budgets under control. Most developed countries, even those with lots of sunshine, have large sections of their population that are Vitamin D deficient, especially among the elderly and housebound, the very groups most affected by Covid.

    But governments shirked their responsibility too. Most have not offered supplements beyond measly and largely useless 400IU tablets to the elderly, and they have failed to fortify foods. Those taking small doses are unlikely to significantly and quickly address any deficiency they have or maximise their resistance to Covid.

    To give a sense of what was potentially at stake, consider the findings of one of last year’s correlative studies, done by a team in Heidelberg. Their work implied that, had the UK ensured its population was not widely Vitamin D deficient, many tens of thousands of lives might have been saved.

    Science not ‘followed’

    There are lessons – ones we seem very reluctant to learn – from the catastrophic failures of the past year. And they aren’t just lessons for the politicians.

    If doctors and medical organisations had really been “following the science”, they would have led the clamour both for properly funded Vitamin D research and for its early use, if only on the precautionary principle. The reality is that very few did. In the UK it was left to MP David Davis, who trained as a molecular scientist, to take up the cause of Vitamin D and badger a government that has shown no inclination to listen.

    Instead, “follow the science” became a simple-minded mantra that allowed scientists to ignore the medical science when it did not lead them in the direction they had been trained to expect. “The science” told us to stay indoors, to minimise our contact with daylight, to limit our exposure to fresh air and exercise. We were required to abandon all traditional wisdom about our health.

    If one wants to understand at least some of the resistance to lockdowns, it might be worth examining that instinct and how deeply – and rightly – ingrained it is in us.

    Scientific arrogance

    If we learn anything from the past year it should be that the current, dominant, mechanistic view of medical science – one that too often disregards the natural world or even holds it in contempt – is deeply corrupting and dangerous.

    This is not intended as a rant against science. After all, the mass production of Vitamin D – in the absence of useful sunshine in northern latitudes for much of the year – depends on scientific procedures.

    Rather it is a rant against a blinkered science that has come to dominate western societies. Put simply, most experts – scientists and doctors – have not taken Vitamin D seriously, despite the growing evidence, because it is made in the mystical touch of sun on skin rather than by white-coated technicians in a laboratory.

    Just as most army generals are invested in war more than in peace because they would be out of job if we all chose to love one another, most scientists have been successfully trained to see the natural world as something to be interfered with, to be tamed, to be dissected, to be reassembled, to be improved. Like the rest of us, they have a need – a very unscientific one – to feel special, to believe that they are indispensable. But that arrogance comes at a cost.

    Unhealthy lifestyles

    The default assumption of many medical scientists was that any claim for Vitamin D – sunlight – having curative or protective properties against Covid-19 needed not urgent, further investigation but dismissal as quackery, as snake oil. How could nature possibly offer a Covid solution that scientists could not improve on?

    Unpopular as it may be to say it, that arrogance continues with the exclusive focus on vaccines. They will prove part of the way we emerge from the Covid winter. But we will be foolish indeed if we rely on them alone. We need to think about the way our societies are structured and the resulting unhealthy habits cultivated in us: the sedentary lifestyles many of us lead, the lack of exposure to nature and to sunshine, the gratuitous consumption on which our economies depend, and the advertiser-driven urge for instant gratification that has led to a plague of obesity.

    There is no vaccine for any of that yet.

    Already we are being forced into what are deeply troubling political debates – not scientific ones – around vaccines. Should vaccinations be made compulsory, or the vaccination-hesitant shamed into compliance? Should those who have received the vaccine be given special privileges through an immunity passport?

    The reality is that whenever we try to “defeat” nature, as if our scientists were military generals waging war on the natural world, we are forced on to new and difficult ethical terrain. As we seek to “improve on” the natural world, we must also remake our social worlds in ways that invariably move us further from lifestyles that we have evolved to need, both physically and emotionally.

    Magic of the stars

    This is not a call to ignore science or reject Covid emergency measures. But it is a call to show a lot more humility and caution as we ponder our place in the natural world – as well as our constant urge to “fix” what the rest of the planet does not regard as broken. A year of Covid has shown how disruptive our meddling can be and how fragile the systems of progress we think we have permanently created really are.

    When our politicians and regulators agitate for tough new restrictions on the public’s right to free speech, claiming fake news and misinformation about Covid, maybe they should remember that trust has to be earnt, not mandated through laws. A world in which profit and power rule is also one in which the likely response from those who are ruled is doubt, scepticism or cynicism.

    Maybe I should not have written this while I was so angry. Or maybe others ought to be angry too – angry about the fact that many, many lives were almost certainly lost unnecessarily, and may continue to be lost, because those who profit from disease have no incentive to protect health.

    We ought to be angry too about how in a better-ordered, more caring society, we might have found ways to avoid the worst excesses of lockdowns that have deprived our children of an education, of friendships, of play, of life in all its variety and excitement, and of sunshine. They lost all that while our politicians and their scientist enablers poured huge sums into labs, into test-tubes and into man-made magic bullets while contemptuously ignoring sunlight because it is free and everywhere and because it is a different kind of magic – the magic of the stars.

    UPDATE:

    There has been the expected social media backlash from some quarters against this post. I even appear to have angered the odd white-coated lab technician! Some doubtless did not actually read beyond the soundbite I offered on social media. But sadly, others seem to be highly invested in deflecting from the central argument I am making. So here it is in a nutshell:

    The only sane response to the Vitamin D medical studies showing dramatic benefits for those hospitalised with Covid is to demand urgent government funding of further research to test those findings and to use Vitamin D in hospitals in the meantime on the precautionary principle, given that it is very cheap and has proven to be completely safe.

    If you are trying to obscure that point, you should do so only if you are absolutely certain that these medical studies are wrong. Otherwise your behaviour is, on the best interpretation, shamefully irresponsible.

    The post Why Politicians and Doctors Keep Ignoring the Medical Research on Vitamin D and Covid first appeared on Dissident Voice.

    Liberation by Unplugging?

    Two dangerous things are happening simultaneously.

    First, the official COVID narratives are mutating in ways that threaten to make it a forever phenomenon—unsurprisingly to anyone who’s been paying attention. Second, the titans of Hi-Tech, in league with the Deep State and its political lapdogs—are hell-bent on eliminating voices of dissent on various Internet platforms.

    It seems to me that we have to fight extreme with extreme. But our extreme might be simple. Hard, yes, but a very direct action. Might we, for instance, begin our resistance by ditching our smartphones? In the one’s and two’s? Or in rallies where we dump them en masse? Might this make the agenda of the corporate and political elite harder to implement, particularly all the surveillance apps supposedly for our health?

    While we’re at it, can we consider that the digital world in general has now reached the point (perhaps long past the point) where it serves the oppressors far more than it serves us? Has our habit of evaluating the benefits of technology in strictly personal terms been trumped by its use by empire for economic, political, social and militarized rule?

    Can we overcome the feeling that high tech is a runaway juggernaut we’re helpless to control?  Re-imagine an old normal independent of behemoths like Facebook, Google, Amazon and Twitter, free from the tyranny of algorithms, our self-worth measured in digital likes and shares?

    When does acceptance become surrender?

    I realize, of course, that because of COVID, millions of people are now more dependent on the Internet and apps like Zoom for their bread-and-butter, and only for the grace does my income situation enable me to opt-out. Nevertheless, it’s a real question: Is our being forced to spend more time online potentially another health hazard?  To quote that 1985 Aretha Franklin song: “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?”

    It could very well be that the Luddite Might-Wannabe inside me has fed over the years by my job at Op Cit Bookshop in Taos, New Mexico. Formerly known as Moby Dickens, the store has been operating in the same location for over 30 years as a time machine to the past, some might say an ancient past.

    Our Point of Sales (POS) system still runs on MS-Dos, the precursor to Windows built-in 1977 and too old to be linked to the Internet. The computer monitor is a CRT with green lettering and the keyboard functions with F keys. We also use an Okidata Dot Matrix Printer. The only thing missing is Pong.

    Alas, we do have a laptop with a Wi-Fi connection, which allows us to order inventory from distributors like Ingram, as well as checking emails and doing research on bookstore-related news. But by and large Op Cit operates very old school. We even use index cards and scrap paper to take special orders and leave each other notes.

    When customers, a steady mix of locals and tourists, discover how low-tech we are, they invariably respond with something like, “Oh my God, that’s so awesome!” Many of them, youth in particular, wonder how such an old operating system could have lasted this long. We wonder the same thing.

    Personally, the Op Cit experience has caused me to examine just what it is that I truly need. As science author Nicholas Carr wrote in The Glass Cage: Automation and Us (W.W. Norton, 1994): “We assume that anyone who rejects a new tool in favor of an older one is guilty of nostalgia, of making choices sentimentally rather than rationally. But the real sentimental fallacy is the assumption that the new thing is always better. What makes a one tool superior to another has nothing to do with how new it is. What matters is how it enlarges or diminishes us, how it shapes our experiences with nature and culture and one another.”

    Writer and reporter David Sax makes a similar point in The Revenge of Analog (Public Affairs 2016), a detailed book that shows how youth are at the forefront of getting unplugged from a relentlessly digitized world. Sax writes: “There’s an argument that the world has fundamentally changed and we should just get used to it. That the amount of time spent on computers, smartphones and so forth is because the young love it, it’s their way of communication. To deny that is to deny reality. Moreover, the technology is good; it is liberating and has opened vast new frontiers.”

    The book shows how it’s the exact opposite. It is the younger generation that has become less enamored with digital technology, and warier of its effects. Sax explains: “These were the teenagers and twentysomethings out buying turntables, film cameras, and novels in paperback. They were the students who told me how they would rather be constrained by the borders of a page than the limits of word processors.”

    Good to know, right?

    Hey, I totally get the challenges. The Internet is a vast resource with enormous benefits. This very article for this very website demonstrates its use value, and I’ve been clicking and scrolling for decades. Still, I can’t shake the feeling that perhaps we’ve reached a crossroad, maybe gone past it. That digital addiction has become the real lockdown, hiding in plain sight, weaponized on behalf of the ruling class. And as I stated in the beginning, their agenda relies heavily on pumping up the drug.

    So, might our ultimate liberation depend on getting unplugged, or at least moving in that direction? Extreme measures that lead us back to community and love?

    The post Liberation by Unplugging? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

    Liberation by Unplugging?

    Two dangerous things are happening simultaneously.

    First, the official COVID narratives are mutating in ways that threaten to make it a forever phenomenon—unsurprisingly to anyone who’s been paying attention. Second, the titans of Hi-Tech, in league with the Deep State and its political lapdogs—are hell-bent on eliminating voices of dissent on various Internet platforms.

    It seems to me that we have to fight extreme with extreme. But our extreme might be simple. Hard, yes, but a very direct action. Might we, for instance, begin our resistance by ditching our smartphones? In the one’s and two’s? Or in rallies where we dump them en masse? Might this make the agenda of the corporate and political elite harder to implement, particularly all the surveillance apps supposedly for our health?

    While we’re at it, can we consider that the digital world in general has now reached the point (perhaps long past the point) where it serves the oppressors far more than it serves us? Has our habit of evaluating the benefits of technology in strictly personal terms been trumped by its use by empire for economic, political, social and militarized rule?

    Can we overcome the feeling that high tech is a runaway juggernaut we’re helpless to control?  Re-imagine an old normal independent of behemoths like Facebook, Google, Amazon and Twitter, free from the tyranny of algorithms, our self-worth measured in digital likes and shares?

    When does acceptance become surrender?

    I realize, of course, that because of COVID, millions of people are now more dependent on the Internet and apps like Zoom for their bread-and-butter, and only for the grace does my income situation enable me to opt-out. Nevertheless, it’s a real question: Is our being forced to spend more time online potentially another health hazard?  To quote that 1985 Aretha Franklin song: “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?”

    It could very well be that the Luddite Might-Wannabe inside me has fed over the years by my job at Op Cit Bookshop in Taos, New Mexico. Formerly known as Moby Dickens, the store has been operating in the same location for over 30 years as a time machine to the past, some might say an ancient past.

    Our Point of Sales (POS) system still runs on MS-Dos, the precursor to Windows built-in 1977 and too old to be linked to the Internet. The computer monitor is a CRT with green lettering and the keyboard functions with F keys. We also use an Okidata Dot Matrix Printer. The only thing missing is Pong.

    Alas, we do have a laptop with a Wi-Fi connection, which allows us to order inventory from distributors like Ingram, as well as checking emails and doing research on bookstore-related news. But by and large Op Cit operates very old school. We even use index cards and scrap paper to take special orders and leave each other notes.

    When customers, a steady mix of locals and tourists, discover how low-tech we are, they invariably respond with something like, “Oh my God, that’s so awesome!” Many of them, youth in particular, wonder how such an old operating system could have lasted this long. We wonder the same thing.

    Personally, the Op Cit experience has caused me to examine just what it is that I truly need. As science author Nicholas Carr wrote in The Glass Cage: Automation and Us (W.W. Norton, 1994): “We assume that anyone who rejects a new tool in favor of an older one is guilty of nostalgia, of making choices sentimentally rather than rationally. But the real sentimental fallacy is the assumption that the new thing is always better. What makes a one tool superior to another has nothing to do with how new it is. What matters is how it enlarges or diminishes us, how it shapes our experiences with nature and culture and one another.”

    Writer and reporter David Sax makes a similar point in The Revenge of Analog (Public Affairs 2016), a detailed book that shows how youth are at the forefront of getting unplugged from a relentlessly digitized world. Sax writes: “There’s an argument that the world has fundamentally changed and we should just get used to it. That the amount of time spent on computers, smartphones and so forth is because the young love it, it’s their way of communication. To deny that is to deny reality. Moreover, the technology is good; it is liberating and has opened vast new frontiers.”

    The book shows how it’s the exact opposite. It is the younger generation that has become less enamored with digital technology, and warier of its effects. Sax explains: “These were the teenagers and twentysomethings out buying turntables, film cameras, and novels in paperback. They were the students who told me how they would rather be constrained by the borders of a page than the limits of word processors.”

    Good to know, right?

    Hey, I totally get the challenges. The Internet is a vast resource with enormous benefits. This very article for this very website demonstrates its use value, and I’ve been clicking and scrolling for decades. Still, I can’t shake the feeling that perhaps we’ve reached a crossroad, maybe gone past it. That digital addiction has become the real lockdown, hiding in plain sight, weaponized on behalf of the ruling class. And as I stated in the beginning, their agenda relies heavily on pumping up the drug.

    So, might our ultimate liberation depend on getting unplugged, or at least moving in that direction? Extreme measures that lead us back to community and love?

    The post Liberation by Unplugging? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

    Liberation by Unplugging?

    Two dangerous things are happening simultaneously.

    First, the official COVID narratives are mutating in ways that threaten to make it a forever phenomenon—unsurprisingly to anyone who’s been paying attention. Second, the titans of Hi-Tech, in league with the Deep State and its political lapdogs—are hell-bent on eliminating voices of dissent on various Internet platforms.

    It seems to me that we have to fight extreme with extreme. But our extreme might be simple. Hard, yes, but a very direct action. Might we, for instance, begin our resistance by ditching our smartphones? In the one’s and two’s? Or in rallies where we dump them en masse? Might this make the agenda of the corporate and political elite harder to implement, particularly all the surveillance apps supposedly for our health?

    While we’re at it, can we consider that the digital world in general has now reached the point (perhaps long past the point) where it serves the oppressors far more than it serves us? Has our habit of evaluating the benefits of technology in strictly personal terms been trumped by its use by empire for economic, political, social and militarized rule?

    Can we overcome the feeling that high tech is a runaway juggernaut we’re helpless to control?  Re-imagine an old normal independent of behemoths like Facebook, Google, Amazon and Twitter, free from the tyranny of algorithms, our self-worth measured in digital likes and shares?

    When does acceptance become surrender?

    I realize, of course, that because of COVID, millions of people are now more dependent on the Internet and apps like Zoom for their bread-and-butter, and only for the grace does my income situation enable me to opt-out. Nevertheless, it’s a real question: Is our being forced to spend more time online potentially another health hazard?  To quote that 1985 Aretha Franklin song: “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?”

    It could very well be that the Luddite Might-Wannabe inside me has fed over the years by my job at Op Cit Bookshop in Taos, New Mexico. Formerly known as Moby Dickens, the store has been operating in the same location for over 30 years as a time machine to the past, some might say an ancient past.

    Our Point of Sales (POS) system still runs on MS-Dos, the precursor to Windows built-in 1977 and too old to be linked to the Internet. The computer monitor is a CRT with green lettering and the keyboard functions with F keys. We also use an Okidata Dot Matrix Printer. The only thing missing is Pong.

    Alas, we do have a laptop with a Wi-Fi connection, which allows us to order inventory from distributors like Ingram, as well as checking emails and doing research on bookstore-related news. But by and large Op Cit operates very old school. We even use index cards and scrap paper to take special orders and leave each other notes.

    When customers, a steady mix of locals and tourists, discover how low-tech we are, they invariably respond with something like, “Oh my God, that’s so awesome!” Many of them, youth in particular, wonder how such an old operating system could have lasted this long. We wonder the same thing.

    Personally, the Op Cit experience has caused me to examine just what it is that I truly need. As science author Nicholas Carr wrote in The Glass Cage: Automation and Us (W.W. Norton, 1994): “We assume that anyone who rejects a new tool in favor of an older one is guilty of nostalgia, of making choices sentimentally rather than rationally. But the real sentimental fallacy is the assumption that the new thing is always better. What makes a one tool superior to another has nothing to do with how new it is. What matters is how it enlarges or diminishes us, how it shapes our experiences with nature and culture and one another.”

    Writer and reporter David Sax makes a similar point in The Revenge of Analog (Public Affairs 2016), a detailed book that shows how youth are at the forefront of getting unplugged from a relentlessly digitized world. Sax writes: “There’s an argument that the world has fundamentally changed and we should just get used to it. That the amount of time spent on computers, smartphones and so forth is because the young love it, it’s their way of communication. To deny that is to deny reality. Moreover, the technology is good; it is liberating and has opened vast new frontiers.”

    The book shows how it’s the exact opposite. It is the younger generation that has become less enamored with digital technology, and warier of its effects. Sax explains: “These were the teenagers and twentysomethings out buying turntables, film cameras, and novels in paperback. They were the students who told me how they would rather be constrained by the borders of a page than the limits of word processors.”

    Good to know, right?

    Hey, I totally get the challenges. The Internet is a vast resource with enormous benefits. This very article for this very website demonstrates its use value, and I’ve been clicking and scrolling for decades. Still, I can’t shake the feeling that perhaps we’ve reached a crossroad, maybe gone past it. That digital addiction has become the real lockdown, hiding in plain sight, weaponized on behalf of the ruling class. And as I stated in the beginning, their agenda relies heavily on pumping up the drug.

    So, might our ultimate liberation depend on getting unplugged, or at least moving in that direction? Extreme measures that lead us back to community and love?

    The post Liberation by Unplugging? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

    Liberation by Unplugging?

    Two dangerous things are happening simultaneously.

    First, the official COVID narratives are mutating in ways that threaten to make it a forever phenomenon—unsurprisingly to anyone who’s been paying attention. Second, the titans of Hi-Tech, in league with the Deep State and its political lapdogs—are hell-bent on eliminating voices of dissent on various Internet platforms.

    It seems to me that we have to fight extreme with extreme. But our extreme might be simple. Hard, yes, but a very direct action. Might we, for instance, begin our resistance by ditching our smartphones? In the one’s and two’s? Or in rallies where we dump them en masse? Might this make the agenda of the corporate and political elite harder to implement, particularly all the surveillance apps supposedly for our health?

    While we’re at it, can we consider that the digital world in general has now reached the point (perhaps long past the point) where it serves the oppressors far more than it serves us? Has our habit of evaluating the benefits of technology in strictly personal terms been trumped by its use by empire for economic, political, social and militarized rule?

    Can we overcome the feeling that high tech is a runaway juggernaut we’re helpless to control?  Re-imagine an old normal independent of behemoths like Facebook, Google, Amazon and Twitter, free from the tyranny of algorithms, our self-worth measured in digital likes and shares?

    When does acceptance become surrender?

    I realize, of course, that because of COVID, millions of people are now more dependent on the Internet and apps like Zoom for their bread-and-butter, and only for the grace does my income situation enable me to opt-out. Nevertheless, it’s a real question: Is our being forced to spend more time online potentially another health hazard?  To quote that 1985 Aretha Franklin song: “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?”

    It could very well be that the Luddite Might-Wannabe inside me has fed over the years by my job at Op Cit Bookshop in Taos, New Mexico. Formerly known as Moby Dickens, the store has been operating in the same location for over 30 years as a time machine to the past, some might say an ancient past.

    Our Point of Sales (POS) system still runs on MS-Dos, the precursor to Windows built-in 1977 and too old to be linked to the Internet. The computer monitor is a CRT with green lettering and the keyboard functions with F keys. We also use an Okidata Dot Matrix Printer. The only thing missing is Pong.

    Alas, we do have a laptop with a Wi-Fi connection, which allows us to order inventory from distributors like Ingram, as well as checking emails and doing research on bookstore-related news. But by and large Op Cit operates very old school. We even use index cards and scrap paper to take special orders and leave each other notes.

    When customers, a steady mix of locals and tourists, discover how low-tech we are, they invariably respond with something like, “Oh my God, that’s so awesome!” Many of them, youth in particular, wonder how such an old operating system could have lasted this long. We wonder the same thing.

    Personally, the Op Cit experience has caused me to examine just what it is that I truly need. As science author Nicholas Carr wrote in The Glass Cage: Automation and Us (W.W. Norton, 1994): “We assume that anyone who rejects a new tool in favor of an older one is guilty of nostalgia, of making choices sentimentally rather than rationally. But the real sentimental fallacy is the assumption that the new thing is always better. What makes a one tool superior to another has nothing to do with how new it is. What matters is how it enlarges or diminishes us, how it shapes our experiences with nature and culture and one another.”

    Writer and reporter David Sax makes a similar point in The Revenge of Analog (Public Affairs 2016), a detailed book that shows how youth are at the forefront of getting unplugged from a relentlessly digitized world. Sax writes: “There’s an argument that the world has fundamentally changed and we should just get used to it. That the amount of time spent on computers, smartphones and so forth is because the young love it, it’s their way of communication. To deny that is to deny reality. Moreover, the technology is good; it is liberating and has opened vast new frontiers.”

    The book shows how it’s the exact opposite. It is the younger generation that has become less enamored with digital technology, and warier of its effects. Sax explains: “These were the teenagers and twentysomethings out buying turntables, film cameras, and novels in paperback. They were the students who told me how they would rather be constrained by the borders of a page than the limits of word processors.”

    Good to know, right?

    Hey, I totally get the challenges. The Internet is a vast resource with enormous benefits. This very article for this very website demonstrates its use value, and I’ve been clicking and scrolling for decades. Still, I can’t shake the feeling that perhaps we’ve reached a crossroad, maybe gone past it. That digital addiction has become the real lockdown, hiding in plain sight, weaponized on behalf of the ruling class. And as I stated in the beginning, their agenda relies heavily on pumping up the drug.

    So, might our ultimate liberation depend on getting unplugged, or at least moving in that direction? Extreme measures that lead us back to community and love?

    The post Liberation by Unplugging? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

    Genetic Engineering, Agriculture and Brexit: Treachery in Our Midst

    The UK government has launched its public consultation on the deregulation of gene editing in England. To kick things off, somewhat predictably Environment Secretary George Eustice recently spun a staunch pro-industry line at the Oxford Farming Conference by stating:

    Gene editing has the ability to harness the genetic resources that Mother Nature has provided in order to tackle the challenges of our age. This includes breeding crops that perform better, reducing costs to farmers and impacts on the environment and helping us all adapt to the challenges of climate change.

    In the wake of Brexit, he attacked the EU’s stance on genetic engineering in agriculture by saying:

    Its potential was blocked by a European Court of Justice ruling in 2018, which is flawed and stifling to scientific progress. Now that we have left the EU, we are free to make coherent policy decisions based on science and evidence. That begins with this consultation.

    Eustice’s statements form part of a long-term pro-genetic engineering-deregulation propaganda campaign. It follows on from Boris Johnson’s first speech to parliament as prime minister in 2019 in which he proclaimed:

    Let’s start now to liberate the UK’s extraordinary bioscience sector from anti-genetic modification rules and let’s develop the blight-resistant crops that will feed the world.

    The type of ‘liberation’ Johnson advocates forms part of the usual neoliberal evangelism which this time revolves around the adoption of unassessed genetically engineered crops and food, while overseeing the gutting of food safety and environmental standards, especially in light of a potential post-Brexit trade deal with the US.

    It is no secret that various Conservative-led administrations have wanted to break free from the EU regulatory framework on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for some time. In 2014, Genewatch exposed collusion between the government and global agribusiness giants to force GMOs into Britain above the heads of a highly sceptical public.

    In response to Eustice’s comments, GMWatch stated on its website that deregulation would result in no or few safety checks and probably no labelling for gene-edited products. This is despite dozens of top scientists having warned that they could be dangerous for human health and the environment in a 2017 Statement on New Genetic Modification Techniques.

    Commenting on the government’s recent press release sent out to journalists to publicise the consultation process, the Beyond GM campaign group said:

    … the mendacious propaganda material on the benefits of genome editing… which was sent to journalists throughout the country… will be widely taken up as fact, preventing any intelligent public debate during the consultation period.

    The press release is in GMWatch’s view “a pack of lies from beginning to end” based on unsubstantiated ‘jam tomorrow’ claims that gene editing has the potential to protect the nation’s environment, pollinators and wildlife. These claims ignore the reality that the first gene-edited crop to be commercialised (Cibus’s SU canola) is gene edited to survive being sprayed with toxic herbicides. GMWatch argues that there is no gene-edited crop available anywhere in the world that offers environmental benefits.

    It is telling that all the claimed advantages of gene-edited crops of the future are already available in the form of agroecological farming methods and high-performing conventionally bred crops. Agroecology offers system-wide solutions that tackle the now well-documented system-wide health, nutrition, social and environmental problems inherent in the model of industrial agriculture supported by corporations behind the genetic engineering project.

    However, the UK government shows no interest in these solutions.

    GMWatch notes that the government press release claims that gene editing is not genetic modification. The industry has put much effort into spinning this next generation of genetically engineered crops in this way. It wants at all costs to avoid the bad press and negative public perception that has surrounded the first generation of transgenic GMOs by avoiding the GMO tag.

    However, gene editing most certainly falls within the definitions of GMOs from technical, scientific and legal (in the EU) standpoints. In fact, the EU and existing UK definition of a GMO does not depend on whether it contains foreign DNA. EU law defines a GMO as an organism in which “the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination”. Regardless of what the government says, gene-edited organisms fall under this definition.

    Moreover, the government is wrong to claim that gene-edited organisms do not contain foreign DNA. This can happen intentionally (in the case of certain types of gene-edited organism) and unintentionally, as a result of the inherent inaccuracy and imprecision of gene-editing procedures. To support this claim, a compilation of peer reviewed evidence has been posted on the GMWatch website in the article ‘Science supports need to subject gene-edited plants to strict safety assessments’.

    As for the government’s claim that gene-edited organisms only contain “changes that could be made more slowly using traditional breeding methods”, GMWatch says:

    We look forward to their proof that the unintended outcomes of gene editing could happen in traditional breeding. They include large deletions, insertions and rearrangements of DNA, as well as unintended incorporation of foreign DNA and entire genes.

    Long-time campaigner Jim McNulty of the Genetic Engineering Network is scathing in his assessment of how the UK government is currently acting. He says:

    When we look at this administration, filled to the roof with fraud, corruption and cronyism, we now have Boris Johnson trying to make or break the rules on new gene-editing techniques.

    He adds that the Brexiteers in government wasted no time in setting their pro-GMO agenda:

    Within a week of leaving the EU, the UK moved quickly to challenge and compete with our former European partners. The US is refusing to regulate the new genetic engineering techniques, just like they did with the first wave of transgenic GMOs. We in Europe, in the mid-90s, were faced with untested, unstable and unregulated GMOs in soy and maize going into two thirds of EU food products.

    It was a mammoth task to bring politicians, supermarkets and all government bodies on board to regulate the original wave of GMOs.

    McNulty explains:

    We succeeded because in the UK, Germany and France campaigners and activists demanded action. The media, retailers and politicians buckled under the massive pressure of public opinion that we created to bring that about.

    The US also felt the pressure:

    Because the EU and its markets were the prize and there was so much anti-GM sentiment, GMOs were driven out and EU lawmakers have never changed their position. Science and public opinion won.

    McNulty argues that we now see treachery in our midst: a former member state has seen fit to bury 25 years of evolving laws and regulations founded on a science-based approach and the precautionary principle.

    The consultation will close on Wednesday, 17 March at 23:59 and can be accessed here.

    The post Genetic Engineering, Agriculture and Brexit: Treachery in Our Midst first appeared on Dissident Voice.