All posts by Colin Todhunter

Smashing The Heads of Farmers: A Global Struggle Against Tyranny

According to Reuters, more than 500,000 farmers attended a rally in the city of Muzaffarnagar in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on 5 September. Hundreds of thousands more turned out for other rallies in the state.

Rakesh Tikait, a prominent farmers’ leader, said this would breathe fresh life into the Indian farmers’ protest movement.

He added:

We will intensify our protest by going to every single city and town of Uttar Pradesh to convey the message that Modi’s government is anti-farmer.

Tikait is a leader of the protest movement and a spokesperson of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Indian Farmers’ Union).

Since November 2020, tens of thousands of farmers have been encamped on the outskirts of Delhi in protest against three new farm laws that will effectively hand over the agrifood sector to corporates and place India at the mercy of international commodity and financial markets for its food security.

Aside from the rallies in Uttar Pradesh, thousands more farmers recently gathered in Karnal in the state of Haryana to continue to pressurise the Modi-led government to repeal the laws. This particular protest was also in response to police violence during another demonstration, also in Karnal (200 km north of Delhi), during late August when farmers had been blocking a highway. The police Lathi-charged them and at least 10 people were injured and one person died from a heart attack a day later.

A video that appeared on social media showed Ayush Sinha, a top government official, encouraging officers to “smash the heads of farmers” if they broke through the barricades placed on the highway.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar criticised the choice of words but said that “strictness had to be maintained to ensure law and order”.

But that is not quite true. “Strictness” – outright brutality – must be imposed to placate the scavengers abroad who are circling overhead with India’s agrifood sector firmly in their sights. As much as the authorities try to distance themselves from such language – ‘smashing heads’ is precisely what India’s rulers and the billionaire owners of foreign agrifood corporations require.

The government has to demonstrate to global agricapital that it is being tough on farmers in order to maintain ‘market confidence’ and attract foreign direct investment in the sector (aka the takeover of the sector).

The farmers’ protest in India represents a struggle for the heart and soul of the country: a conflict between the local and the global. Large-scale international agribusiness, retailers, traders and e-commerce companies are trying to displace small- and medium-size indigenous producers and enterprises and restructure the entire agrifood sector in their own image.

By capitulating to the needs of foreign agrifood conglomerates – which is what the three agriculture laws represent – India will be compelled to eradicate its buffer food stocks. It would then bid for them with borrowed funds on the open market or with its foreign reserves.

This approach is symptomatic of what has been happening since the 1990s, when India was compelled to embrace neoliberal economics. The country has become increasingly dependent on inflows of foreign capital. Policies are being governed by the drive to attract and retain foreign investment and maintain ‘market confidence’ by ceding to the demands of international capital which rides roughshod over democratic principles and the needs of hundreds of millions of ordinary people.

The authorities know they must be seen to be acting tough on farmers, thereby demonstrating a steely resolve to foreign agribusiness and investors in general.

The Indian government’s willingness to cede control of its agrifood sector would appear to represent a victory for US foreign policy.

Economist Prof Michael Hudson stated in 2014:

American foreign policy has almost always been based on agricultural exports… It’s by agriculture and control of the food supply that American diplomacy has been able to control most of the Third World. The World Bank’s geopolitical lending strategy has been to turn countries into food deficit areas by convincing them to grow cash crops – plantation export crops – not to feed themselves with their own food crops.

On the back of India’s foreign exchange crisis in the 1990s, the IMF and World Bank wanted India to shift hundreds of millions out of agriculture. In return for up to more than $120 billion in loans at the time, India was directed to dismantle its state-owned seed supply system, reduce subsidies, run down public agriculture institutions and offer incentives for the growing of cash crops to earn foreign exchange.

The drive is to drastically dilute the role of the public sector in agriculture, reducing it to a facilitator of private capital and leading to the entrenchment of industrial farming and the replacement of small-scale farms.

Smashing protesters’ heads

A December 2020 photograph published by the Press Trust of India defines the Indian government’s approach to protesting farmers. It shows a security official in paramilitary garb raising a lathi. An elder from the Sikh farming community was about to feel its full force.

But “smashing the heads of farmers” is symbolic of how near-totalitarian ‘liberal democracies’ the world over now regard many within their own populations.

The right to protest and gather in public as well as the right of free speech has been suspended in Australia, which currently resembles a giant penal colony as officials pursue a nonsensical ‘zero-COVID’ policy. Across Europe and in the US and Israel, unnecessary and discriminatory ‘COVID passports’ are being rolled out to restrict freedom of movement and access to services. And those who protest against any of this are often confronted by a massive, intimidating police presence (or actual police violence) and media smear campaigns.

Again, governments must demonstrate resolve to their billionaire masters in Big Finance, the Gates and Rockefeller Foundations, the World Economic Forum and the entire gamut of forces in the military-financial industrial complex behind the ‘Great Reset’, ‘4th Industrial Revolution, ‘New Normal’ or whichever other benign-sounding term its political and media lackeys use to disguise the restructuring of capitalism and the brutal impacts on ordinary people.

This too, like the restructuring of Indian agriculture – which will affect India’s entire 1.3-billion-plus population – is also part of a US foreign policy agenda that serves the interests of the Anglo-US elite.

COVID has ensured that trillions of dollars have been handed over to elite interests, while lockdowns and restrictions have been imposed on ordinary people and small businesses. The winners have been the likes of Amazon, Big Pharma and the tech giants. The losers have been small enterprises and the bulk of the population, deprived of their right to work and the entire panoply of civil rights their ancestors struggled and often died for. If a masterplan is required to deliver a knockout blow to small enterprises for the benefit of global players, then this is it.

Professor Michel Cossudovsky of the Centre for Research on Globalization says:

The Global Money financial institutions are the ‘creditors’ of the real economy which is in crisis. The closure of the global economy has triggered a process of global indebtedness. Unprecedented in World history, a multi-trillion bonanza of dollar denominated debts is hitting simultaneously the national economies of 193 countries.

In August 2020, a report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) stated:

The COVID-19 crisis has severely disrupted economies and labour markets in all world regions, with estimated losses of working hours equivalent to nearly 400 million full-time jobs in the second quarter of 2020, most of which are in emerging and developing countries.

Among the most vulnerable are the 1.6 billion informal economy workers, representing half of the global workforce, who are working in sectors experiencing major job losses or have seen their incomes seriously affected by lockdowns. Most of the workers affected (1.25 billion) are in retail, accommodation and food services and manufacturing. And most of these are self-employed and in low-income jobs in the informal sector.

India was especially affected in this respect when the government imposed a lockdown. The policy ended up pushing 230 million into poverty and wrecked the lives and livelihoods of many. A May 2021 report prepared by the Centre for Sustainable Employment at Azim Premji University (APU) has highlighted how employment and income had not recovered to pre-pandemic levels even by late 2020.

The report, ‘State of Working India 2021 – One year of Covid-19’ highlights how almost half of formal salaried workers moved into the informal sector and that 230 million people fell below the national minimum wage poverty line.

Even before COVID, India was experiencing its longest economic slowdown since 1991 with weak employment generation, uneven development and a largely informal economy. A recent article by the Research Unit for Political Economy highlights the structural weaknesses of the economy and the often desperate plight of ordinary people.

To survive Modi’s lockdown, the poorest 25% of households borrowed 3.8 times their median income, as against 1.4 times for the top 25%. The study noted the implications for debt traps.

Six months later, it was also noted that food intake was still at lockdown levels for 20% of vulnerable households.

Meanwhile, the rich were well taken care of. According to Left Voice:

The Modi government has handled the pandemic by prioritising the profits of big business and protecting the fortunes of billionaires over protecting the lives and livelihoods of workers.

Michel Chossudovsky says that governments are now under the control of global creditors and that the post-Covid era will see massive austerity measures, including the cancellation of workers’ benefits and social safety nets. An unpayable multi-trillion dollar public debt is unfolding: the creditors of the state are Big Money, which calls the shots in a process that will lead to the privatisation of the state.

Between April and July 2020, the total wealth held by billionaires around the world has grown from $8 trillion to more than $10 trillion. Chossudovsky says a new generation of billionaire innovators looks set to play a critical role in repairing the damage by using the growing repertoire of emerging technologies. He adds that tomorrow’s innovators will digitise, refresh and revolutionise the economy: but, as he notes, let us be under no illusions these corrupt billionaires are impoverishers.

With this in mind, a recent piece on the US Right To Know website exposes the Gates-led agenda for the future of food based on the programming of biology to produce synthetic and genetically engineered substances. The thinking reflects the programming of computers in the information economy. Of course, Gates and his ilk have patented, or are patenting, the processes and products involved.

For example, Ginkgo Bioworks, a Gates-backed start-up that makes ‘custom organisms’, recently went public in a $17.5 billion deal. It uses ‘cell programming’ technology to genetically engineer flavours and scents into commercial strains of engineered yeast and bacteria to create ‘natural’ ingredients, including vitamins, amino acids, enzymes and flavours for ultra-processed foods.

Ginkgo plans to create up to 20,000 engineered ‘cell programs’ (it now has five) for food products and many other uses. It plans to charge customers to use its ‘biological platform’. Its customers are not consumers or farmers but the world’s largest chemical, food and pharmaceutical companies.

Gates pushes fake food by way of his greenwash agenda. If he really is interested in avoiding ‘climate catastrophe’, helping farmers or producing enough food, instead of cementing the power and the control of corporations over our food, he should be facilitating community-based and lead agroecological approaches.

But he will not because there is no scope for patents, external proprietary inputs, commodification and dependency on global corporations which Gates sees as the answer to all of humanity’s problems in his quest to bypass democratic processes and roll out his agenda.

India should take heed because this is the future of ‘food’. If the farmers fail to get the farm bills repealed, India will again become dependent on food imports or on foreign food manufacturers and lab-made ‘food’. Fake food will displace traditional diets and cultivation methods will be driven by drones, genetically engineered seeds and farms without farmers, devastating the livelihoods (and health) of hundreds of millions.

This is a vision of the future courtesy of Klaus Schwab’s (of the elitist World Economic Forum) dystopic transhumanism and the Rockefellers’ 2010 lockstep scenario: genetically engineered food and genetically engineered people controlled by a technocratic elite whose plans are implemented through tighter top-down government control and more authoritarian leadership.

Since March 2020, we have seen the structural adjustment of the global capitalist system and labour’s relationship to it and an attempted adjustment of people’s thinking via endless government and media propaganda.

Whether it involves India’s farmers or the frequent rallies and marches against restrictions and COVID passports across the world, there is a common enemy. And there is also a common goal: liberty.

The post Smashing The Heads of Farmers: A Global Struggle Against Tyranny first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Amazon: “Economic Terrorism” and the Destruction of Competition and Livelihoods

Global corporations are colonising India’s retail space through e-commerce and destroying small-scale physical retail and millions of livelihoods.

Walmart entered into India in 2016 with a US$3.3 billion take-over of the online retail start-up Jet.com. This was followed in 2018 with a US$16 billion take-over of India’s largest online retail platform, Flipkart. Today, Walmart and Amazon control almost two thirds of India’s digital retail sector.

Amazon and Walmart have a record of using predatory pricing, deep discounts and other unfair business practices to attract customers to their online platforms. A couple of years ago, those two companies generated sales of over US$3 billion in just six days during Diwali. India’s small retailers reacted by calling for a boycott of online shopping.

If you want to know the eventual fate of India’s local markets and small retailers, look no further than what US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in 2019. He stated that Amazon had “destroyed the retail industry across the United States.”

Amazon’s corporate practices

In the US, an investigation by the House Judiciary Committee concluded that Amazon exerts monopoly power over many small- and medium-size businesses. It called for breaking up the company and regulating its online marketplace to ensure that sellers are treated fairly.

Amazon has spied on sellers and appropriated data about their sales, costs and suppliers. It has then used this information to create its own competing versions of their products, often giving its versions superior placement in the search results on its platform.

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) published a revealing document on Amazon in June 2021 that discussed these issues. It also notes that Amazon has been caught using its venture capital fund to invest in start-ups only to steal their ideas and create rival products and services. Moreover, Amazon’s dominance allows it to function as a gatekeeper: retailers and brands must sell on its site to reach much of the online market and changes to Amazon’s search algorithms or selling terms can cause their sales to evaporate overnight.

Amazon also makes it hard for sellers to reduce their dependence on its platform by making their brand identity almost invisible to shoppers and preventing them from building relationships with their customers. The company strictly limits contact between sellers and customers.

According to the ILSR, Amazon compels sellers to buy its warehousing and shipping services, even though many would get a better deal from other providers, and it blocks independent businesses from offering lower prices on other sites. The company also routinely suspends sellers’ accounts and seizes inventories and cash balances.

The Joint Action Committee against Foreign Retail and E-commerce (JACAFRE) was formed to resist the entry of foreign corporations like Walmart and Amazon into India’s e-commerce market. Its members represent more than 100 national groups, including major trade, workers’ and farmers’ organisations.

JACAFRE issued a statement in 2018 on Walmart’s acquisition of Flipkart, arguing that it undermines India’s economic and digital sovereignty and the livelihoods of millions in India. The committee said the deal would lead to Walmart and Amazon dominating India’s e-retail sector. It would also allow them to own India’s key consumer and other economic data, making them the country’s digital overlords, joining the ranks of Google and Facebook.

In January 2021, JACAFRE published an open letter saying that the three new farm laws, passed by parliament in September 2020, centre on enabling and facilitating the unregulated corporatisation of agriculture value chains. This will effectively make farmers and small traders of agricultural produce become subservient to the interests of a few agrifood and e-commerce giants or will eradicate them completely.

Although there was strong resistance to Walmart entering India with its physical stores, online and offline worlds are now merged: e-commerce companies not only control data about consumption but also control data on production and logistics. Through this control, e-commerce platforms can shape much of the physical economy.

What we are witnessing is the deliberate eradication of markets in favour of monopolistic platforms.

Bezos not welcome

Amazon’s move into India encapsulates the unfair fight for space between local and global markets. There is a relative handful of multi-billionaires who own the corporations and platforms. And there are the interests of hundreds of millions of vendors and various small-scale enterprises who are regarded by these rich individuals as mere collateral damage to be displaced in their quest for ever greater profit.

Thanks to the helping hand of various COVID-related lockdowns which devastated small businesses, the wealth of the world’s billionaires increased by $3.9tn (trillion) between 18 March and 31 December 2020. In September 2020, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s executive chairman, could have paid all 876,000 Amazon employees a $105,000 bonus and still be as wealthy as he was before COVID. Jeff Bezos – his fortune constructed on unprincipled methods that have been well documented in recent years – increased his net wealth by $78.2bn during this period.

Bezos’s plan is clear: the plunder of India and the eradication of millions of small traders and retailers and neighbourhood mom and pop shops.

This is a man with few scruples. After returning from a brief flight to space in July, in a rocket built by his private space company, Bezos said during a news conference:

I also want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all of this.

In response, US congresswoman Nydia Velazquez wrote on Twitter:

While Jeff Bezos is all over the news for paying to go to space, let’s not forget the reality he has created here on Earth.

She added the hashtag #WealthTaxNow in reference to Amazon’s tax dodging, revealed in numerous reports, not least the May 2021 study ‘The Amazon Method: How to take advantage of the international state system to avoid paying tax’ by Richard Phillips, Senior Research Fellow, Jenaline Pyle, PhD Candidate, and Ronen Palan, Professor of International Political Economy, all based at the University of London.

Little wonder that when Bezos visited India in January 2020, he was hardly welcomed with open arms.

Bezos praised India on Twitter by posting:

“Dynamism. Energy. Democracy. #IndianCentury.”

The ruling party’s top man in the BJP foreign affairs department hit back with:

Please tell this to your employees in Washington DC. Otherwise, your charm offensive is likely to be waste of time and money.

A fitting response, albeit perplexing given the current administration’s proposed sanctioning of the foreign takeover of the economy, not least by the unscrupulous interests that will benefit from the recent farm legislation.

Bezos landed in India on the back of the country’s antitrust regulator initiating a formal investigation of Amazon and with small store owners demonstrating in the streets. The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) announced that members of its affiliate bodies across the country would stage sit-ins and public rallies in 300 cities in protest.

In a letter to PM Modi, prior to the visit of Bezos, the secretary of the CAIT, General Praveen Khandelwal, claimed that Amazon, like Walmart-owned Flipkart, was an “economic terrorist” due to its predatory pricing that “compelled the closure of thousands of small traders.”

In 2020, Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh (DVM) filed a complaint against Amazon and Flipkart alleging that they favoured certain sellers over others on their platforms by offering them discounted fees and preferential listing. The DVM lobbies to promote the interests of small traders. It also raised concerns about Amazon and Flipkart entering into tie-ups with mobile phone manufacturers to sell phones exclusively on their platforms.

It was argued by DVM that this was anti-competitive behaviour as smaller traders could not purchase and sell these devices. Concerns were also raised over the flash sales and deep discounts offered by e-commerce companies, which could not be matched by small traders.

The CAIT estimates that in 2019 upwards of 50,000 mobile phone retailers were forced out of business by large e-commerce firms.

Amazon’s internal documents, as revealed by Reuters, indicated that Amazon had an indirect ownership stake in a handful of sellers who made up most of the sales on its Indian platform. This is an issue because in India Amazon and Flipkart are legally allowed to function only as neutral platforms that facilitate transactions between third-party sellers and buyers for a fee.

Under investigation

The upshot is that India’s Supreme Court recently ruled that Amazon must face investigation by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for alleged anti-competitive business practices. The CCI said it would probe the deep discounts, preferential listings and exclusionary tactics that Amazon and Flipkart are alleged to have used to destroy competition.

However, there are powerful forces that have been sitting on their hands as these companies have been running amok.

In August 2021, the CAIT attacked the NITI Aayog (the influential policy commission think tank of the Government of India) for interfering in e-commerce rules proposed by the Consumer Affairs Ministry.

The CAIT said that the think tank clearly seems to be under the pressure and influence of the foreign e-commerce giants.

The president of CAIT, BC Bhartia, stated that it is deeply shocking to see such a callous and indifferent attitude of the NITI Aayog whch have remained a silent spectator for so many years when:

… the foreign e-commerce giants have circumvented every rule of the FDI policy and blatantly violated and destroyed the retail and e-commerce landscape of the country but have suddenly decided to open their mouth at a time when the proposed e-commerce rules will potentially end the malpractices of the e-commerce companies.

Of course, money talks and buys influence. In addition to tens of billions of US dollars invested in India by Walmart and Amazon, Facebook invested US$5.5 billion last year in Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Platforms (e-commerce retail). Google has also invested US$4.5 billion.

Since the early 1990s, when India opened up to neoliberal economics, the country has become increasingly dependent on inflows of foreign capital. Policies are being governed by the drive to attract and retain foreign investment and maintain ‘market confidence’ by ceding to the demands of international capital which ride roughshod over democratic principles and the needs of hundreds of millions of ordinary people. ‘Foreign direct investment’ has thus become the holy grail of the Modi-led administration and the NITI Aayog.

The CAIT has urged the Consumer Affairs Ministry to implement the draft consumer protection e-commerce rules at the earliest as they are in the best interest of the consumers as well as the traders of the country.

Meanwhile, the CCI will probably complete its investigation within two months.

The post Amazon: “Economic Terrorism” and the Destruction of Competition and Livelihoods first appeared on Dissident Voice.

A Message to the EU: Address the Real Public Health Crisis by Banning Glyphosate (Part One)

The herbicide glyphosate – the most widely used herbicide on the planet – is authorised for use in the EU until December 2022. The EU is currently assessing whether its licence should be renewed.

Environmentalist and campaigner Dr Rosemary Mason has just written an open letter to the head of the Pesticides Unit at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Jose Tarazona.

Mason wrote to Tarazona  because the Rapporteur Member States (France, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden) tasked with risk assessing glyphosate and appointed by the European Commission in 2019, said on 21 June 2021 that there was no problem with glyphosate-based herbicides.

A tireless campaigner against glyphosate, Mason has produced dozens of lengthy reports over the last decade documenting how her former nature reserve in South Wales was destroyed by glyphosate used on adjoining areas and how that substance is a major contributory factor in spiralling rates of disease – a ‘silent’ public health crisis; silent only because the media and officials fail to acknowledge or report on it.

Indeed, to explain away the huge increases in various cancers and neurological disorders, officials cite ‘lifestyle behaviour’, poor diets or lack of exercise to divert attention from the elephant in the room and government collusion with the agrochemical sector.

Drawing on hundreds of peer reviewed papers and official reports over the years, Mason has described in detail the devastating health and environmental impacts of glyphosate as well as the malfeasance and corruption that has led to this state of affairs.

Mason informs Tarazona that the European Commission has colluded with the US Environmental Protection Agency to allow Bayer to keep glyphosate on the market.

To support her claims, she enclosed a 5,900-word report with her letter informing Tarazona of the environmental devastation and severe public health crisis. Her report brings together recent research and analyses into the toxicity of glyphosate and industry dominance over regulatory processes.

What appears below is the first part of a two-part article based on Mason’s report. This first part briefly highlights aspects of the public health crisis resulting from the use of glyphosate-based herbicides. The second part will argue that glyphosate remains in use due to industry influence over regulatory processes.

Toxic Legacy

Dr Stephanie Seneff, a US scientist who works at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has just published the book Toxic Legacy: How the Weedkiller Glyphosate is Destroying Our Health and the Environment.  She has written an article on her family background and why she wrote the book.

Seneff says:

This organic chemical compound, C3H8NO5P, is much more toxic to life forms than we have been led to believe. Glyphosate’s mechanism of toxicity is unique and diabolical. It is a slow killer, slowly robbing you of your good health over time, until you finally succumb to incapacitating or life-threatening disease.

Dr Don Huber, emeritus professor of plant pathophysiology at Purdue University, who has been studying glyphosate for 40 years and genetically modified (GM) Roundup-ready crops for 25 years, said some years ago:

Future historians may well look back upon our time and write, not about how many pounds of pesticide we did or didn’t apply, but how willing we are to sacrifice our children and future generations for this massive genetic engineering experiment that is based on flawed science and failed promises just to benefit the bottom line of commercial enterprise.

When UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was elected in 2019, he stood outside Downing Street and committed himself to:

… liberate the UK’s extraordinary bioscience sector from anti-genetic modification rules.

Mason notes that the Department for Envionment & Rural Affairs authorises farmers to use all forms of Roundup (Monsanto’s – now Bayer – proprietary glyphosate-based herbicide) on crops in the UK. Many farmers in the UK claim they cannot do without it and are keen to start using GM Roundup-ready crops post-Brexit.

There is strong pressure on the European Commission from the Glyphosate Renewal Group, a group of manufacturers of glyphosate, who have asked for the licence for glyphosate to be renewed for 15 years from December 2022.

In June 2021, the Rapporteur Member States from France, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden apparently gave the green light. They see no signs that glyphosate can cause cancer or any other issue. But evidence is emerging that they used flawed industry science (to be described in part two of this article).

Devastating health impacts

In August 2018, samples of four oat-based UK cereals were sent to the Health Research Institute Laboratories in the US following a newspaper report about US children eating weedkiller in their oat-based cereals.

Dr John Fagan, the director of the lab, said:

These results are consistently concerning. The levels consumed in a single daily helping of any one of these cereals, even the one with the lowest level of contamination, is sufficient to put the person’s glyphosate levels above the levels that cause fatty liver disease in rats (and likely in people).

Washington State University (WSU) researchers have found a variety of diseases and other health problems in the second- and third-generation offspring of rats exposed to glyphosate. In the first study of its kind, the researchers saw descendants of exposed rats developing prostate, kidney and ovarian diseases, obesity and birth abnormalities.

Michael Skinner, a WSU professor of biological sciences, and his colleagues exposed pregnant rats to the herbicide between their eighth and 14th days of gestation. The dose – half the amount expected to show no adverse effect – produced no apparent ill effects on either the parents or the first generation of offspring.

But, writing in the journal Scientific Reports, the researchers say they saw “dramatic increases” in several pathologies affecting the second and third generations. The second generation had ‘significant increases’ in testis, ovary and mammary gland diseases as well as obesity. In third-generation males, the researchers saw a 30% increase in prostate disease – three times that of a control population. The third generation of females had a 40% increase in kidney disease or four times that of the controls.

More than one-third of the second-generation mothers had unsuccessful pregnancies, with most of those affected dying. Two out of five males and females in the third generation were obese.

Skinner and his colleagues call this phenomenon generational toxicology and they have seen it over the years in fungicides, pesticides, jet fuel, the plastics compound bisphenol A, the insect repellent DEET and the herbicide atrazine. At work are epigenetic changes that turn genes on and off, often because of environmental influences.

Roundup kills bumble bees

Although Mason mainly discusses the health impacts of glyphosate in her report to Tarazona, she did mention at least one disturbing environmental impact. In April 2021, the Journal of Applied Ecology published an article ‘Roundup causes high levels of mortality following contact exposure in bumble bees.’

The article’s abstract stated that pollinators underpin global food production but are suffering significant declines across the world.

It went on to say:

Pesticides are thought to be important drivers of these declines. Herbicides are the most widely applied type of pesticides and are broadly considered ‘bee safe’ by regulatory bodies who explicitly allow their application directly onto foraging bees. We aimed to test the mortality effects of spraying the world’s most popular herbicide brand (Roundup) directly onto bumble bees (Bombus terrestris audax).

The authors argue that Roundup products pose a significant hazard to bees, in both agricultural and urban systems and exposure of bees to them should be limited. They added that surfactants, or other co‐formulants, in herbicides and other pesticides may contribute to global bee declines.

They called for pesticide companies to release the full list of ingredients for each pesticide formulation, as lack of access to this information hampers research to determine safe exposure levels for beneficial insects in agro‐ecosystems.

Bayer’s multi-million-dollar headache

Mason asks Tarazona whether he has been following the trials against Monsanto in the US for concealing that its herbicide Roundup caused non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

She explains to him that three cases have been won against Monsanto/Bayer (Bayer bought Monsanto in 2018) and in 2021 there are thousands more awaiting to have their cases heard in court.

Attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr said in 2018 that Bayer needs more than an aspirin to cure its Monsanto-sized headache.

Kennedy has been involved with some of these cases and has read enough of the scientific literature on glyphosate to conclude that there is cascading scientific evidence linking glyphosate to a constellation of other injuries that have become prevalent since its introduction, including obesity, depression, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, autism, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, kidney and inflammatory bowel disease, brain, breast and prostate cancer, miscarriage, birth defects and declining sperm counts.

He added that strong science suggests glyphosate is the culprit in the exploding epidemics of celiac disease, colitis, gluten sensitivities, diabetes and non-alcoholic liver cancer which, for the first time, is attacking children as young as 10.

As if that is not worrying enough, Kennedy noted that researchers peg glyphosate as a potent endocrine disruptor, which interferes with sexual development in children. It is also a chelator that removes important minerals from the body and disrupts the microbiome, destroying beneficial bacteria in the human gut and triggering brain inflammation and other ill effects.

Although a Monsanto scientist claimed that glyphosate is excreted unchanged from the body, Mason cites a study by Ridley & Mirly (1988) which found bioaccumulation of glyphosate in bone, marrow, blood and glands (including thyroid, testes and ovaries) and major organs (heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, spleen and stomach). The paper was commissioned by Monsanto but was not published.

In a 1990 study conducted by Monsanto between 1987 and 1989 (again unpublished), glyphosate was found to induce a statistically-significant cataractous formation in the eyes of rats. Over the course of the study, cataract lens changes were seen in the low-, mid- and high dose groups in both male and female rats. The pathologist concluded that there was a glyphosate-treated related response for lens changes to the eyes.

Mason notes that the Assessment by the Rapporteur Member States tasked with risk assessing glyphosate have concluded that, based on the available ecotoxicological information glyphosate the current classification “Toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects” should be retained and the current classification as “causes serious eye damage” (H318) should be retained.”

She therefore asks: how can a chemical like glyphosate still be on the market?

Mason states that, according to the UN’s Global Chemicals Outlook II, glyphosate was at the top of the top ten products used on major crops in the United States, by volume, in 2016. Clothianidin (also manufactured by Bayer) is number ten.

She says:

No wonder Bayer doesn’t want to lose its licence for glyphosate or for clothianidin, a long-acting neonicotinoid insecticide that is very persistent in the soil. Both chemicals are on the market illegally thanks to the corrupt EU and US regulatory authorities.

And that is an issue which Mason draws Tarazona’s attention to and will be touched on in the second part of this article.

•  Readers can access Rosemary Mason’s new report, with all relevant references, here.

•  Recommended reading for Jose Tarazona and readers who want to dig deeper into the issues: all of Rosemary Mason’s previous reports can be accessed here.

The post A Message to the EU: Address the Real Public Health Crisis by Banning Glyphosate (Part One) first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Science, Salvation and Heretics: From Monsanto to Pfizer, Same Old Playbook

Why are numerous ‘independent alternative’ media outlets and writers not questioning the COVID-19 vaccine rollout? If anything, they are promoting it without even considering the serious concerns being voiced by top scientists.

When there are experts like cardiologist and epidemiologist Professor Peter McCullough, Dr Robert Malone (credited with inventing mRNA vaccine technology), former vice president of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Dr Michael Yeadon, vaccine researcher and immunologist Dr Byram Bridle, world-renowned microbiologist Dr Sucharit Bhakti and hundreds of other respected scientists, immunologists and virologists expressing serious concerns or even calling for a halt to the rollout, surely their views must be given space.

However, from the outset, these self-proclaimed ‘anti-establishment’ platforms and journalists threw their hand in with the official COVID-19 narrative. They are now supporting the vaccine rollouts and by implication the entities pushing the vaccines – governments, mainstream media, the Gates and Rockefeller Foundations, Big Pharma and Silicon Valley and its bedfellow, the US military.

In effect, the full weight of the establishment has been brought to bear on pushing the COVID narrative and the vaccines. The very establishment that these ‘independent’ media outlets have previously challenged over the devastating ‘humanitarian’ conflicts in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria.

To show such contempt for human life (civilian ‘collateral damage’) via geopolitical and resource-grabbing wars sold under the thin veneer of ‘the war on terror’ or ‘humanitarian intervention’ but then feel a need to save humanity from the ‘deadly’ virus must make some of those supporters of the official line on COVID just a little suspicious of the motives.

As critical care physician Dr Pascal Sacre recently wrote:

If people want trustworthy rulers, honest politicians, they should always judge rulers, financial elites and politicians by their actions rather than by their words.

By not giving space to top scientists in the field of vaccine technology, immunology or virology who express deep concerns, these outlets are, in fact, engaging in censorship as much as the mainstream media, Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube.

Science involves open debate and transparency, not censorship.

Same old playbook

There are strong similarities between the issue of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in agriculture and the COVID ‘pandemic’ in terms of the framing of debates in both fields: a type of ‘the science is decided’ mentality and a smearing of critics in an attempt to demonise and close down debate.

Some years ago, Robert T Fraley, Monsanto’s former vice president and chief technology officer, asked on Twitter: “Why do people doubt science?”

Accompanying his question was a link to an article that implied people who are suspicious of vaccines, GMOs, climate change or fluoridated water are confused, adhere to conspiracy theories, are motivated by ideology or are simply misinformed.

But science is not the giver of ‘absolute truth’. That, in itself, should allow us to develop a healthy scepticism towards it. Scientific knowledge is built on shaky stilts that rest on shifting foundations. Science historian Thomas Kuhn wrote about the revolutionary paradigm shifts in scientific thought, whereby established theoretical perspectives can reinforce prevailing paradigms and serve as a barrier to the advancement of knowledge, until the weight of evidence and pressure from proponents of a new theoretical outlook is overwhelming. The old faith then gives way and the new ‘truth’ changes.

The manufacture of scientific knowledge involves a process driven by various sociological, methodological and epistemological conflicts and compromises, both inside the laboratory and beyond.

Why do people doubt science? Not because they are ill-informed or have read Kuhn or some sociology journal, but because they can see how science is used, corrupted and manipulated by powerful corporations and governments to serve their own ends.

Take US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, for instance. He once called for “sound science” to underpin food trade that involves GMOs. Despite what Vilsack would have us believe – that there are no concerns about GMOs – many studies show that they present risks to human health and are having serious environmental, social and economic consequences.

Sound science and the GMO agritech sector are too often perfect strangers. The industry carries out inadequate, short-term studies and conceals the data produced by its research under the guise of ‘commercial confidentiality’, while independent research highlights the dangers of its products. It has in the past also engaged in fakery in India, bribery in Indonesia and smears and intimidation against those who challenge its interests as well as the distortion and the censorship of scientific findings that undermine its agenda.

In the US, policy makers released GM food onto the commercial market without proper long-term tests, citing the belief that it is ‘substantially equivalent’ to ordinary food. But foreign genes are being inserted into organisms that studies show make them substantially non-equivalent. Substantial equivalence is a trade strategy on behalf of the GMO sector that neatly serves to bypass science by removing its GMOs from the type of scrutiny usually applied to potentially toxic or harmful substances.

Ultimately, it is not science, itself, that people have doubts about but science that is pressed into the service of immensely powerful private corporations and regulatory bodies that are effectively co-opted and adopt a ‘don’t look, don’t find’ approach’ to studies and products.

There is a tendency to label anyone who opposes GMO as anti-science, not least because they are arguing against a supposed ‘scientific consensus’ in favour of GMOs. But this ‘consensus’ is nothing but a fiction of the collective imagination of the pro-GMO lobby.

The first rule of risk-taking is to not cross the street blindfolded, which is what the GMO and COVID-19 vaccine lobbies would like us all to do, even though there are serious risks associated with these technologies. Furthermore, based on the work of US lawyer Steven Druker, we can see that the processes involved in getting GMO crop technology onto the commercial market were fraudulent and there has not been a single independent long-term epidemiological study on GMOs. With clinical trials still ongoing, similar concerns dog the ‘emergency use authorisation’ experimental COVID-19 vaccines.

The ‘technological salvation’ argument being put forward in favour of the vaccines is also present with GMOs: the technology is needed to ‘feed the hungry’ or ‘save dying children’. When an argument cannot be won using rational debate and science, we usually see the emotional blackmail fallback position and ad hominems against critics.

Whether it is GMO crop technology or COVID vaccines, we are seeing a huge unscientific experiment using people as human guinea pigs to rake in massive profits. In the case of the vaccines, there is also a wider agenda involving a ‘great reset’ of the economy and labour’s relationship to an increasingly authoritarian state whose role is to produce the conditions that will subordinate ordinary people to the ‘new normal’ required by private capital: mass surveillance, worklessness and the eradication of civil and political rights in favour of technocratic rule. In fact, genetically engineered food and crops are an integral part of this reset.

Part of the vaccine rollout involves accusing critics and the unvaccinated of being irresponsible and dangerous fearmongers. There is a huge government-media campaign to marginalise and demonise those who question the vaccines or refuse to take them due to valid concerns.

Instead of indulging in smear campaigns and censorship, what society should be facilitating is open debate and taking very seriously what critics are saying. When people engage in the former and run from the latter, it indicates that their arguments will not and do not withstand scrutiny.

Vaccine billionaires

In finishing, let us return to the world of Robert T Fraley and Monsanto and the type of ‘science’ he pushes. Bayer, which took over Monsanto in 2018, has just lost another appeals court decision in the US regarding its glyphosate-based herbicide, Roundup, often used with GMO ‘roundup ready’ seeds and thus a key component of the GMO agenda. It faces tens of thousands of claims alleging that this herbicide causes cancer.

In a recent decision by a court of appeal in California, it was stated:

Monsanto’s conduct evidenced reckless disregard of the health and safety of the multitude of unsuspecting consumers it kept in the dark. This was not an isolated incident; Monsanto’s conduct involved repeated actions over a period of many years motivated by the desire for sales and profit.

There is a clear lesson here with regard to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Unlike Monsanto, however, Pfizer and the other vaccine manufacturers have received indemnities against the costs of compensation for adverse effects that might come from their COVID vaccines.

A shrewd business move considering Pfizer’s corporate rap sheet which does nothing to inspire trust in that company. Its track record includes product safety, pricing, advertising and marketing, environment, human rights, labour, worker safety and tax and subsidy crimes and scandals.

It is also claimed by the UK-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism that Pfizer bullied governments to put up federal bank reserves, embassy buildings or military bases as a guarantee against the cost of future legal cases stemming from the adverse effects of its COVID-19 vaccine. This would mean that governments rather than the company would shoulder any legal costs.

Vaccine manufacturers might well face bankruptcy sooner rather than later given the rising numbers of deaths and serious adverse effects being reported. But shielded from liability, the new vaccine billionaires, among them Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel and Ugur Sahin, the CEO of BioNTech, which has produced a vaccine with Pfizer, will be able to hold onto their loot.

Although nothing will bring back those who succumbed to the deadly effects of glyphosate, at least Monsanto (via Bayer) is now in the dock and has already been forced to shell out hundreds of millions of dollars to its victims or their families.

Through these legal cases involving glyphosate, it has been made clear just how powerful corporations can and do corrupt science for their own ends.

Robert F Kennedy Jr, one of the attorney’s fighting Bayer-Monsanto in the US courts, has explained that for four decades Monsanto manoeuvred to conceal Roundup’s carcinogenicity.

He also says that Monsanto faces cascading scientific evidence linking glyphosate to a constellation of other injuries that have become prevalent since its introduction, including obesity, depression, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, autism, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, kidney disease, inflammatory bowel disease, brain, breast and prostate cancer, miscarriage, birth defects and declining sperm counts.

This is what smearing and ignoring critics, malfeasance in public office, the capturing of regulatory agencies and scientific fraud leads to.

It is interesting that governments and public officials sat on their hands and facilitated the rollout of glyphosate and other toxic agrochemicals and watched what is now a major public health crisis spiral out of control. They prioritised the needs of the agrochemical sector ahead of public health and side-lined science that challenged the adverse effects of its products.

But governments are now suddenly expressing great concern for everyone’s well-being by locking them down, waging a fear campaign and cajoling and bribing people to take risky vaccines with dubious efficacy and which are arguably not needed. So, whose needs are they prioritising this time around?

Although we are still in the relative early days of the COVID-19 vaccine rollouts, disturbing evidence is mounting of the actual harm resulting from these poorly tested vaccines and the potential risks (infertility, cognitive, cancer, cardiovascular, etc) that lie in store. Dr J Patrick Whelan, a paediatric rheumatologist, warned the US Food and Drug Administration in late 2020 that mRNA vaccines could cause microvascular injury to the brain, heart, liver and kidneys in ways not assessed in safety trials.

This is deeply concerning.

But not for some. Not least the nine new vaccine billionaires worth a combined $19.3 billion courtesy of COVID-19 vaccines that were largely funded with billions of dollars from the public purse.

The post Science, Salvation and Heretics: From Monsanto to Pfizer, Same Old Playbook first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Mobilising Against the Corporate Hijack of Agriculture and the UN Food Systems Summit

The UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS), including a ‘pre-summit’, will take place in September 2021 in New York. The Italian government is hosting the pre-summit in Rome from 26–28 July. The UNFSS claims it aims to deliver the latest evidence-based, scientific approaches from around the world, launch a set of fresh commitments through coalitions of action and mobilise new financing and partnerships.

Despite claims of being a ‘people’s summit’ and a ‘solutions’ summit, the UNFSS is facilitating greater corporate concentration, unsustainable globalised value chains and agribusiness leverage over public institutions. As a result, more than 300 global organisations of small-scale food producers, researchers and indigenous peoples will gather online from 25-28 July to mobilise against the pre-summit.

The Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism (CSM) for relations with the United Nations Committee on World Food Security is working to eradicate food insecurity and malnutrition. According to the CMS, the UNFSS – founded on a partnership between the UN and the World Economic Forum (WEF) – is disproportionately influenced by corporate actors, lacks transparency and accountability and diverts energy and financial resources away from the real solutions needed to tackle the multiple hunger, climate and health crises.

The CMS argues that the UNFSS is not building on the legacy of past world food summits, which resulted in the creation of innovative, inclusive and participatory global food governance mechanisms anchored in human rights, such as the reformed UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS).

Promoting industrial agriculture

It seems the UNFSS is now dominated by corporate front groups and corporate-driven platforms, including the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the International Agri-Food Network, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the EAT Forum as well as the Rockefeller Foundation and the Gates Foundation. The President of AGRA, Agnes Kalibata, was even appointed as UN Special Envoy for the summit.

According to the CMS, those being granted a pivotal role at the UNFSS support industrial food systems that promote ultra-processed foods, deforestation, industrial livestock production, intensive pesticide use and commodity crop monocultures, all of which cause soil deterioration, water contamination and irreversible impacts on biodiversity and human health.

The industrialised food system that these corporations fuel does not even feed the world, despite corporate claims to the contrary. For example, the 2021 UN Report on the State of Food Security and Nutrition indicates that the number of chronically undernourished people has risen to 811 million, while almost a third of the world’s population has no access to adequate food. Furthermore, the Global South is still reeling from Covid-19 related policies which have laid bare the inherent fragility and injustices of the prevailing food system.

Those who contribute most to world food security, smallholder producers, are the most threatened and affected by the corporate concentration of land, seeds, natural and financial resources and the related privatisation of the commons and public goods.

And these processes are accelerating: the high-tech/data conglomerates, including Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Google, have joined traditional agribusiness giants in a quest to impose a one size fits all type of agriculture and food production on the world. Digitalisation, artificial intelligence and other technologies are serving to promote a new wave of resource grabbing and the restructuring of food systems towards a total concentration of power.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is also heavily involved, whether through buying up huge tracts of farmland, funding and promoting a much-heralded (but failed) ‘green revolution’ for Africa, pushing biosynthetic food and new genetic engineering technologies or more generally facilitating the aims of the mega agrifood corporations.

Under the guise of saving the planet with ‘climate-friendly solutions’, helping farmers and feeding the world, what Gates and his corporate associates are really doing is desperately trying to repackage the dispossessive strategies of imperialism wrapped in the language of ‘sustainability’ and ‘inclusivity’.

Through various aspects of data control pertaining to soil quality, consumer preferences, weather, and land use, for example, and e-commerce monopolies, corporate land ownership, seed biopiracy, patents, synthetic food and the undermining of the public sector’s role in ensuring food security and national food sovereignty, global agricapital seeks to gain full control over the world’s food system.

Smallholder peasant farming is under threat as the big-tech giants and agribusiness impose lab-grown food, genetically engineered (GE) soil microbes, data harvesting tools and drones and other ‘disruptive’ technologies. The model being promoted desires farmerless industrial-scale farms being manned by driverless machines, monitored by drones and doused with chemicals to produce commodity crops from patented GE seeds for industrial ‘biomatter’ to be processed and constituted into something resembling food.

The CMS notes that these are false ‘solutions’ that seek to bypass and undermine the peasant food web which currently produces up to 70% of the world’s food, working with only 25% of the resources. Moreover, these false solutions do not address structural injustices such as land and resource grabbing, corporate abuse of power and economic inequality. They merely reinforce them.

Towards food sovereignty

More than 380 million people belong to the movements protesting against the UNFSS. They are demanding a radical transformation of corporate food regimes towards a just and truly sustainable food system. They are also demanding increased participation in existing democratic food governance models, such as the UN Committee for World Food Security (CFS) and its High-Level Panel of Experts. The UNFSS threatens to undermine CFS, which is the foremost inclusive intergovernmental international policy-making arena.

There is an intensifying fight for space between local markets and global markets. The former are the domain of independent producers and small-scale enterprises, whereas global markets are dominated by increasing monopolistic large-scale international retailers, traders and the rapidly growing influential e-commerce companies.

It is therefore essential to protect and strengthen local markets and indigenous, independent small-scale producers and enterprises to ensure community control over food systems, economic independence and local food sovereignty. With this in mind, the CMS is calling for a radical agroecological transformation of food systems based on food sovereignty, gender justice and economic and social justice.

Agroecology is practised throughout the world. As numerous high-level (UN) reports have argued over the years, this approach improves nutrition, reduces poverty, contributes to gender justice, combats climate change and enriches farmland. With no need to purchase proprietary inputs (chemicals, seeds, etc) and its outperforming of industrial agriculture, agroecology represents a shift towards genuine food sovereignty and thus a direct threat to corporate agribusiness.

During the online mobilisation against the pre-summit, participants will share small-scale food producers and workers’ realities and their visions for a human rights-based and agroecological transformation of food systems. In doing so, they will highlight the importance of food sovereignty, small-scale sustainable agriculture, traditional knowledge, rights to natural resources and the rights of workers, indigenous peoples, women and future generations.

More information about the online mobilisation from 25-28 July can be found on the FoodSystems4People website .

The post Mobilising Against the Corporate Hijack of Agriculture and the UN Food Systems Summit first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Urgent Plea by Doctors to India’s PM: Halt Roll-Out of COVID-19 Vaccines Now

Indian Doctors for Truth (IDT) have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressing the importance of an urgent need to stop the overzealous universal vaccination drive against COVID-19.

Twenty doctors have signed the letter and highlight numerous scientific data about immunity achieved by the Indian population among both adults and children in light of the latest sero-survey done by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi along with the World Health Organization.

Based on the evidence, IDT urges the PM to immediately stop the drive for vaccination of the entire population and limit it to voluntary vaccination of only those above 60 years and/or people with severe degree of comorbidity.

The letter itself runs to five pages but the signatories enclosed 21 pages of references and evidence in support of their claims. What is presented below is a summary of some of the key points made in the five-page letter. The full letter and list of signatories can be read on the Awaken India Movement website.

The doctors argue that the first principle of medicine is to do no harm and to benefit patients. They point out that the vaccination drive is doing more harm than any good for the people of India and present the PM with scientific facts about SARS-CoV-2 related immunity and vaccination.

Those who have recovered from COVID-19 develop robust and long-lasting immunity against SARS-CoV-2, even after mild or asymptomatic infections. The chances of reinfection among these people, including from the emerging variants of the same virus, are extremely rare or non-existent. The WHO in its interim guidance released on 2 July 2021 has also recognised the fact of acquired immunity in all those who have had previous infection with SARS-CoV-2.

There is no evidence to show that those who have recovered from the infection will get any additional benefit from vaccination.

The epidemiology of COVID-19 in India is very different from other countries and varies much within the country itself: there are differences between urban and rural communities and between socioeconomic strata. There is therefore a need for policies that address prevention of COVID-19, including the policy on vaccination, which account for the situation in India.

According to available reports, the percentage of the population infected in the US, UK and similar countries is at 1-23%. In India, recent sero-surveys at Delhi and Mumbai have reported a positivity of 50-70%, indicating that a significant proportion of Indians have already been infected and will therefore not need the vaccine.

A number of reports have been published stressing that India has already achieved herd immunity. Mathematical models have explained what percentage of a population is required to be infected and varies for different populations: the disease-induced herd immunity level can be as low as 43%.

The case fatality rate (CFR) is usually reported by the government: the number of deaths per 100 confirmed cases as detected by antigen or rt-PCR test. But as renowned epidemiologist Dr John Ioannidis shows, the proper way of counting death rate in diseases with a CFR less than five is infection mortality rate.

Therefore, considering the fact of high level of infections in India, near herd immunity and very low levels of infection fatality rates, vaccinating the entire population will not serve any purpose. Moreover, given the negligible risk to children from COVID-19, trial of the vaccines for them or even consideration of approval is highly unethical.

Four recent studies indicate that almost 99.9% of the population have immune system memory from previous coronavirus infections and that, whether the actual coronavirus infection or the vaccine, the immune system gets activated and vaccines, in fact, can be more harmful in an already immune population.

Rapid and efficient memory-type immune responses occur reliably in virtually all unvaccinated individuals who are exposed to SARS-CoV-2. The effectiveness of further boosting the immune response through vaccination is therefore highly doubtful. Vaccination may instead aggravate disease through antibody-dependent enhancement.

The Indian government’s own operative guidelines have mentioned that “COVID-19 vaccines have limited safety data”. Moreover, adverse effects of the vaccine are found the world over. For example, as per the EUDRA report dated June 19, more than 1.3 million people in EU countries have had vaccine adverse effects and 13,867 people have died following vaccination. Furthermore, as in many countries, in India also, the death rate from COVID-19 seems to have increased with the increase in the vaccination drive.

The number of deaths per thousand population did not increase much, if at all, in most countries in 2020. Even in India, deaths per thousand increased 0.5% in 2019 but 0.49% in 2020. However, they seem to have increased after the vaccine drive.

Considering all the above, IDT strongly urge that the overzealous universal vaccination drive, with widespread incidences of coercion and vaccination being made mandatory for jobs and student exams, must be stopped immediately.

The doctors also call on the government to offer people above the age of 60 and those with severe comorbidities vaccination on a voluntary basis with full disclosure of warnings about side effects and the lack of safety data – as mentioned in the government’s operative guidelines for COVID-19.

They call for a stop on all trials on children for the vaccine and urge the government to institute detailed studies to analyse the observation that there has been a surge in cases and deaths due to COVID-19 in India since March-April 2021, coinciding with the roll out of the vaccination drive.

A glaring omission from the IDT letter is any focus on vaccinating pregnant women. This, too, should be addressed.

The post Urgent Plea by Doctors to India’s PM: Halt Roll-Out of COVID-19 Vaccines Now first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Vaccine Billionaires and Human Guinea Pigs

How do you make a potentially dangerous and ineffective drug appear like a miracle of modern science? You could, for instance, enrol only certain people in clinical trials and exclude others or bring the study to a close as soon as you see a spike in the data that implies evidence of effectiveness.

There are many ways to do it.

According to health practitioner and writer Craig Stellpflug in his article ‘Big Pharma: Getting away with murder’ (2012), the strategy is to get in quick, design the study to get the result you want, get out fast and make lots of money.

Stellpflug says:

If a study comes up negative for your favorite drug, just don’t publish it! 68 per cent of all drug studies are swept under the carpet to keep those pesky side effects from being reported. Only 32 per cent of studies come up positive and a lot of those studies are ‘shortened’ to limit the long-term findings. Studies cut short were found to overestimate the study drug’s effectiveness and miss dangerous side effects and complications by an average of 30 per cent. This would explain the amazing 85 per cent drug study success rate in the hands of Big Pharma according to the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Of course, it helps to get the regulatory agencies on board and to convince the media and health officials of the need for your wonder product and its efficacy and safety. In the process, well-paid career scientists and ‘science’ effectively become shaped and led by corporate profit margins and political processes.

And what better way to make a financial killing than by making a mountain out of a molehill and calling it a ‘pandemic’?

COVID-19 vaccine concerns

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article by two health professors who said politics — not science — is behind the failure of health officials and the media to fully inform the public about the potential risks associated with COVID vaccines.

Although the article is available in full to subscribers only, the Children’s Health Defense (CHD) website provides an informative summary.

The CHD notes that Dr Joseph A Ladapo, associate professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine, and Dr Harvey A Risch, professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health, wrote that while prominent scientists have raised concerns that the safety risks of Covid-19 vaccines have been underestimated, the politics of vaccination has relegated their concerns to the outskirts of scientific thinking.

The two professors noted that clinical studies do not always tell the full story about the safety of medications and that the health effects often remain unknown until the medicine is rolled out to the general public. Examples include Vioxx, a pain reliever that increased the risk of heart attack and stroke; antidepressants that appeared to increase suicide attempts among young adults; and an influenza vaccine used in the 2009-10 swine flu epidemic that was suspected of causing febrile convulsions and narcolepsy in children.

The authors added that clinical trials often enroll patients who are not representative of the general population and more is learnt about drug safety from real-world evidence. With this in mind, they said the large clustering of side effects following COVID vaccines is concerning as is the silence around these potential signals of harm.

Serious adverse events reported by the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System include low platelets, heart inflammation, deep-vein thrombosis and death. However, the two scientists argue this is likely to be a fraction of the total number of adverse events.

They criticise the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for ignoring the reported serious COVID vaccine side effects.

The authors acknowledge the risks of COVID vaccines in certain populations, not least children, may outweigh the benefits. They also state that not a single published study has demonstrated that patients with a prior infection benefit from COVID-19 vaccination. Something which is not readily acknowledged by the CDC or Anthony Fauci, an indication, according to the authors, of how deeply entangled pandemic politics is in science.

They conclude that public health authorities are making a mistake and risking public erosion of trust by not being forthcoming about the possibility of harm from the vaccines.

Merck and Vioxx

It is revealing that the two scientists refer to Vioxx, which was once popular for treating the symptoms of arthritis. It was removed from the market in 2004 after concerns that it may have injured hundreds of thousands of patients, while possibly killing tens of thousands in the US.

Dr David Graham, whistleblower and senior FDA investigator, criticised the FDA’s approval process of Vioxx (rofecoxib), an anti-inflammatory drug administered orally. In various interviews and congressional hearings, he described the outcome of Vioxx as disastrous and unparalleled in the history of the US. He added that the saga surrounding Vioxx had constituted an unprecedented failure of the nation’s system of drug approval and oversight.

In 2004, Graham argued that the painkiller had caused 88,000 to 139,000 heart attacks in the US – 30-40 per cent of which were fatal – over the previous five years. Nevertheless, manufactured by Monsanto (a company with a proven track record of corrupt practices) and co-marketed by Merck, Vioxx became a leading drug in providing pain relief from the symptoms of various forms of arthritis.

Research presented to the FDA in early 2001 showed that patients taking Vioxx had a higher risk of heart attack compared to those taking some of the older alternatives.

However, the real game-changer came in 2004 when Dr Graham released the findings that found Vioxx increased the chance of heart attack and death from cardiac arrest significantly more than its biggest rival on the market. Dosages of Vioxx in excess of the recommended daily dose of 25 milligrams were also found to more than triple a patient’s risk compared to those who had not taken painkillers.

In September 2004, Vioxx was pulled from the market. But in 2006, more damning findings were revealed by a study that showed that some patients had likely suffered from a heart attack much sooner after starting treatment with Vioxx. Appearing in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the study showed that 25 per cent of the patients who had heart attacks while taking Vioxx did so within two weeks of starting the drug. This indicated that Vioxx-related cardiovascular risks may occur much earlier than previously thought.

The FDA was criticised for its close relationship with Merck and witnesses at a senate finance committee hearing described how danger signals of Vioxx went ignored. Indeed, a 2007 article published by the National Institutes of Health alleged that even though scientists at Merck knew that the drug might adversely affect the cardiovascular system, none of the intervention studies submitted to the FDA in 1998 were designed to evaluate such risk.

Robber barons and guinea pigs

Merck reported over $11 billion in Vioxx sales during the five years the drug was on the market. To date, the company has paid nearly $6 billion in litigation settlements and criminal fines over Vioxx. Still, in hard-nosed commercial terms, it was a massive success, resulting in a $5 billion gain for the company.

In May 2021, it was reported that Covid-19 vaccines had created at least nine new billionaires. According to research by the People’s Vaccine Alliance, the new billionaires included Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel and Ugur Sahin, the CEO of BioNTech, which has produced a vaccine with Pfizer. Both CEOs were then worth around $4 billion. Senior executives from China’s CanSino Biologics and early investors in Moderna have also become billionaires.

Although the nine new billionaires are worth a combined $19.3 billion, the vaccines were largely funded by public money. For instance, according to a May 2021 report by CNN, BioNTech received €325 million from the German government for the development of the vaccine. The company made a net profit of €1.1 billion in the first three months of the year, largely thanks to its share of sales from the Covid-19 vaccine, compared with a loss of €53.4 million for the same period last year.

Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine sales reached $1.7 billion in the first three months of this year and it had its first profitable quarter ever. Moderna is expected to make $13.2 billion in Covid-19 vaccine revenue in 2021. The company received billions of dollars in funding from the US government for development of its vaccine.

Big Pharma has every reason to perpetuate the notion of a deadly global pandemic and to inflate the efficacy of and need for its vaccines. And it, along with its associates in government and at the WHO, has every reason to discredit alternative and arguably more effective treatments like Ivermectin (see the online article ‘The Campaign against Ivermectin: WHO’s Chief Scientist Served with Legal Notice for Disinformation and Suppression of Evidence‘).

There is no need to cover ground here that has been covered extensively elsewhere but it is now abundantly clear that many continue to question the overall official COVID-19 narrative, the fear propaganda, the specific data, the PCR testing protocols, the apparent conflicts of interest and vaccine efficacy.

Moreover, a group of 57 leading scientists, doctors and policy experts recently released a report calling in to question the safety and efficacy of the current Covid-19 vaccines. They are calling for an immediate end to all vaccine programmes.

There are hundreds of scientists who have questioned government and WHO strategy and who have brought attention to the extremely low risks posed by COVID to the bulk of the population as well as the destructive (ineffective) policies and decisions pertaining to lockdowns and other restrictions.

There are many other top scientists who are questioning the need for mass vaccination and who have also pointed out credible and extremely disturbing side effects (real and potential) of such a strategy, not least Dr Robert Malone, credited with developing mRNA vaccine technology, Dr Byram Bridle, a viral immunologist, and Dr Geert Vanden Bossche, a prominent virologist and vaccine expert.

Unlike Merck and Vioxx, it will be governments (the public) that foot any future indemnity costs of these experimental vaccines that have escaped proper (long-term) testing. And given the scale of the rollout, the damage caused could make the adverse effects of Vioxx seem a mere blip.

Vaccines that were brought to market via emergency authorisation use for an ‘emergency’ constructed on the basis of deaths so often wrongly attributed to COVID-19.  Brought to market on the basis of flawed PCR test protocols with magnification cycles primed to create a ‘casedemic’.

To borrow from Dr David Graham: are we currently witnessing something more disastrous and unparalleled in the history of the world, let alone the US: an unprecedented failure of global drug approval and oversight?

In the meantime, while billions of vaccinated people serve as human guinea pigs, the newly crowned vaccine kings will make hay while the sun shines (and the fear continues).

The post Vaccine Billionaires and Human Guinea Pigs first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Toxic Corporations Are Destroying the Planet’s Soil

A newly published analysis in the journal Frontiers in Environmental Science argues that a toxic soup of insecticides, herbicides and fungicides is causing havoc beneath fields covered in corn, soybeans, wheat and other monoculture crops. The research is the most comprehensive review ever conducted on how pesticides affect soil health.

The study is discussed by two of the report’s authors, Nathan Donley and Tari Gunstone, in a recent article appearing on the Scientific American website. The authors state that the findings should bring about immediate changes in how regulatory agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assess the risks posed by the nearly 850 pesticide ingredients approved for use in the USA.

Conducted by the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth and the University of Maryland, the research looked at almost 400 published studies that together had carried out more than 2800 experiments on how pesticides affect soil organisms. The review encompassed 275 unique species or types of soil organisms and 284 different pesticides or pesticide mixtures.

Pesticides were found to harm organisms that are critical to maintaining healthy soils in over 70 per cent of cases. But Donley and Gunstone say this type of harm is not considered in the EPA’s safety reviews, which ignore pesticide harm to earthworms, springtails, beetles and thousands of other subterranean species. The EPA uses a single test species to estimate risk to all soil organisms, the European honeybee, which spends its entire life above ground in artificial boxes. But 50-100 per cent of all pesticides end up in soil.

The researchers conclude that the ongoing escalation of pesticide-intensive agriculture and pollution are major driving factors in the decline of soil organisms. By carrying out wholly inadequate reviews, the regulatory system serves to protect the pesticide industry.

The study comes in the wake of other recent findings that indicate high levels of the weedkiller chemical glyphosate and its toxic breakdown product AMPA have been found in topsoil samples from no-till fields in Brazil.

Writing on the GMWatch website, Claire Robinson and Jonathan Matthews note that, despite  this, the agrochemical companies seeking the renewal of the authorisation of glyphosate by the European Union in 2022 are saying that one of the greatest benefits of glyphosate is its ability to foster healthier soils by reducing the need for tillage (or ploughing).

This in itself is misleading because farmers are resorting to ploughing given increasing weed resistance to glyphosate and organic agriculture also incorporates no till methods. At the same time, proponents of glyphosate conveniently ignore or deny its toxicity to soils, water, humans and wildlife. With that in mind, it is noteworthy that GMWatch also refers to another recent study which says that glyphosate is responsible for a five per cent increase in infant mortality in Brazil.

The new study, ‘Pesticides in a case study on no-tillage farming systems and surrounding forest patches in Brazil’ in the journal Scientific Reports, leads the researchers to conclude that glyphosate-contaminated soil can adversely impact food quality and human health and ecological processes for ecosystem services maintenance. They argue that glyphosate and AMPA presence in soil may promote toxicity to key species for biodiversity conservation, which are fundamental for maintaining functioning ecological systems.

These studies reiterate the need to shift away from increasingly discredited ‘green revolution’ ideology and practices. This chemical-intensive model has helped the drive towards greater monocropping and has resulted in less diverse diets and less nutritious foods. Its long-term impact has led to soil degradation and mineral imbalances, which in turn have adversely affected human health.

If we turn to India, for instance, that country is losing 5334 million tonnes of soil every year due to soil erosion and degradation, much of which is attributed to the indiscreet and excessive use of synthetic agrochemicals. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research reports that soil is becoming deficient in nutrients and fertility.

India is not unique in this respect. Maria-Helena Semedo of the Food and Agriculture Organization stated back in 2014 that if current rates of degradation continue all of the world’s topsoil could be gone within 60 years. She noted that about a third of the world’s soil had already been degraded. There is general agreement that chemical-heavy farming techniques are a major cause.

It can take 500 years to generate an inch of soil yet just a few generations to destroy. When you drench soil with proprietary synthetic agrochemicals as part of a model of chemical-dependent farming, you harm essential micro-organisms and end up feeding soil a limited doughnut diet of toxic inputs.

Armed with their multi-billion-dollar money-spinning synthetic biocides, this is what the agrochemical companies have been doing for decades. In their arrogance, these companies claim to have knowledge that they do not possess and then attempt to get the public and co-opted agencies and politicians to bow before the altar of corporate ‘science’ and its bought-and-paid-for scientific priesthood.

The damaging impacts of their products on health and the environment have been widely reported for decades, starting with Rachel Carson’s ground-breaking 1962 book Silent Spring.

These latest studies underscore the need to shift towards organic farming and agroecology and invest in indigenous models of agriculture – as has been consistently advocated by various high-level international agencies, not least the United Nations, and numerous official reports.

The post Toxic Corporations Are Destroying the Planet’s Soil first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Ivermectin: WHO’s Chief Scientist Served with Legal Notice for Disinformation and Suppression of Evidence

On 25 May 2021, the Indian Bar Association (IBA) served a 51-page legal notice on Dr Soumya Swaminathan, the Chief Scientist at the World Health Organisation (WHO), for “her act of spreading disinformation and misguiding the people of India, in order to fulfil her agenda.”

The Mumbai-based IBA is an association of lawyers who strive to bring transparency and accountability to the Indian justice system. It is actively involved in the dissemination of legal knowledge and provides guidance and support to advocates and ordinary people in their fight for justice.

The legal notice says Dr Swaminathan has been:

Running a disinformation campaign against Ivermectin by deliberate suppression of effectiveness of drug Ivermectin as prophylaxis and for treatment of COVID-19, despite the existence of large amounts of clinical data compiled and presented by esteemed, highly qualified, experienced medical doctors and scientists.

and

Issuing statements in social media and mainstream media, thereby influencing the public against the use of Ivermectin and attacking the credibility of acclaimed bodies/institutes like ICMR and AIIMS, Delhi, which have included ‘Ivermectin’ in the ‘National Guidelines for COVID-19 management’.

The IBA states that legal action is being taken against Dr Swaminathan in order to stop her from causing further damage to the lives of citizens of India.

The notice is based on the research and clinical trials carried out by the ‘Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance’ (FLCCC) and the British Ivermectin Recommendation Development (BIRD) Panel. These organisations have presented an enormous amount of data that strengthen the case for recommending Ivermectin for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

The IBA says that Dr Swaminathan has ignored these studies and reports and has deliberately suppressed the data regarding the effectiveness of Ivermectin, with an intent to dissuade the people of India from using it.

However, two key medical bodies, the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Delhi, have refused to accept her stand and have retained the recommendation for Ivermectin, under a ‘May Do’ category, for patients with mild symptoms and those in home isolation, as stated in ‘The National Guidelines for COVID-19 management’.

It is interesting to note that the content of several web links to news articles and reports included in the notice served upon Dr Swaminathan, which was visible before issuing the notice, has either been removed or deleted.

It seems that the vaccine manufacturers and many governments are desperate to protect their pro-vaccine agenda and will attempt to censor information and news regarding the efficacy of Ivermectin.

The legal notice can be read in full on the website of the India Bar Association.

Readers are also urged to look at the article ‘COVID Deaths Plunge after Major World City Introduces Ivermectin’, which recently appeared on the World Net Daily News Center website.

The article  ‘COVID Vaccines: A Faltering Framework’ on the OffGuardian’ website is also recommended. The author argues that for the Pfizer vaccine, 119 people must be injected for it to reduce a ‘COVID case’ in one person; the other 118 receive no benefit whatsoever but placed themselves at genuine (potential) risk from the vaccine itself. The Lancet suggests that 119 number might be even higher.

The post Ivermectin: WHO’s Chief Scientist Served with Legal Notice for Disinformation and Suppression of Evidence first appeared on Dissident Voice.

From 1980s Neoliberalism to the ‘New Normal’ 

Sold under the pretence of a quest for optimising well-being and ‘happiness’, capitalism thrives on the exploitation of peoples and the environment. What really matters is the strive to maintain viable profit margins. The prevailing economic system demands ever-increasing levels of extraction, production and consumption and needs a certain level of annual GDP growth for large firms to make sufficient profit.

But at some point, markets become saturated, demand rates fall and overproduction and overaccumulation of capital becomes a problem. In response, we have seen credit markets expand and personal debt increase to maintain consumer demand as workers’ wages have been squeezed, financial and real estate speculation rise (new investment markets), stock buy backs and massive bail outs and subsidies (public money to maintain the viability of private capital) and an expansion of militarism (a major driving force for many sectors of the economy).

We have also witnessed systems of production abroad being displaced for global corporations to then capture and expand markets in foreign countries.

The old normal

Much of what is outlined above is inherent to capitalism. But the 1980s was a crucial period that helped set the framework for where we find ourselves today.

Remember when the cult of the individual was centre stage? It formed part of the Reagan-Thatcher rhetoric of the ‘new normal’ of 1980s neoliberalism.

In the UK, the running down of welfare provision was justified by government-media rhetoric about ‘individual responsibility’, reducing the role of the state and the need to ‘stand on your own two feet’. The selling off of public assets to profiteering corporations was sold to the masses on the basis of market efficiency and ‘freedom of choice’.

The state provision of welfare, education, health services and the role of the public sector was relentlessly undermined by neoliberal dogma and the creed that the market (global corporations) constituted the best method for supplying human needs.

Thatcher’s stated mission was to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit by rolling back the ‘nanny state’. She wasted little time in crushing the power of the trade unions and privatising key state assets.

Despite her rhetoric, she did not actually reduce the role of the state. She used its machinery differently, on behalf of business. Neither did she unleash the ‘spirit of entrepreneurialism’. Economic growth rates under her were similar as in the 1970s, but a concentration of ownership occurred and levels of inequality rocketed.

Margaret Thatcher was well trained in perception management, manipulating certain strands of latent populist sentiment and prejudice. Her free market, anti-big-government platitudes were passed off to a section of the public that was all too eager to embrace them as a proxy for remedying all that was wrong with Britain. For many, what were once regarded as the extreme social and economic policies of the right became entrenched as the common sense of the age.

Thatcher’s policies destroyed a fifth of Britain’s industrial base in just two years alone. The service sector, finance and banking were heralded as the new drivers of the economy, as much of Britain’s manufacturing sector was out-sourced to cheap labour economies.

Under Thatcher, employees’ share of national income was slashed from 65% to 53%. Long gone are many of the relatively well-paid manufacturing jobs that helped build and sustain the economy. In their place, the country has witnessed the imposition of a low taxation regime and low-paid and insecure ‘service sector’ jobs (no-contract work, macjobs, call centre jobs – many of which soon went abroad) as well as a real estate bubble, credit card debt and student debt, which helped to keep the economy afloat.

However, ultimately, what Thatcher did was – despite her rhetoric of helping small-scale businesses and wrapping herself in the national flag – facilitate the globalisation process by opening the British economy to international capital flows and allowing free rein for global finance and transnational corporations.

Referring to the beginning of this article, it is clear whose happiness and well-being counts most and whose does not matter at all as detailed by David Rothkopf in his 2008 book Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making. Members of the superclass belong to the megacorporation-interlocked, policy-building elites of the world and come from the highest echelons of finance, industry, the military, government and other shadow elites. These are the people whose interests Margaret Thatcher was serving.

These people set the agendas at the Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg, G-7, G-20, NATO, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization.

And let us not forget the various key think tanks and policy making arenas like the Council on Foreign Relations, the Brookings Institute and Chatham House as well as the World Economic Forum (WEF), where sections of the global elite forge policies and strategies and pass them to their political handmaidens.

Driven by the vision of its influential executive chairman Klaus Schwab, the WEF is a major driving force for the dystopian ‘great reset’, a tectonic shift that intends to change how we live, work and interact with each other.

The new normal

The great reset envisages a transformation of capitalism, resulting in permanent restrictions on fundamental liberties and mass surveillance as livelihoods and entire sectors are sacrificed to boost the monopoly and hegemony of pharmaceutical corporations, high-tech/big data giants, Amazon, Google, major global chains, the digital payments sector, biotech concerns, etc.

Under the cover of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, the great reset is being rolled out under the guise of a ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ in which smaller enterprises are to be driven to bankruptcy or bought up by monopolies. Economies are being ‘restructured’ and many jobs and roles will be carried out by AI-driven technology.

The WEF says the public will ‘rent’ everything they require: stripping the right of ownership under the guise of a ‘green economy’ underpinned by the rhetoric of ‘sustainable consumption’ and ‘climate emergency’.

At the same time new (‘green product’) markets are being created and, on the back of COVID, fresh opportunities for profit extraction are opening up abroad. For instance, World Bank Group President David Malpass has stated that poorer countries will be ‘helped’ to get back on their feet after the various lockdowns that have been implemented in response to the Covid-19 crisis. This ‘help’ will be on condition that neoliberal reforms and the undermining of public services are implemented and become further embedded.

Just a month into the COVID crisis, the IMF and World Bank were already facing a deluge of aid requests from developing countries. Scores of countries were asking for bailouts and loans. Ideal cover for rebooting the global economy via a debt crisis and the subsequent privatisation of national assets and the further ‘structural adjustment’ of economies.

Many people waste no time in referring to this as  some kind of ‘Marxist’ or ‘communist’ takeover of the planet because a tiny elite will be dictating policies. This has nothing to do with Marxism. An authoritarian capitalist elite – supported by their political technocrats – aims to secure even greater control of the global economy. It will no longer be a (loosely labelled) ‘capitalism’ based on ‘free’ markets and competition (not that those concepts ever really withstood proper scrutiny). Economies will be monopolised by global players, not least e-commerce platforms run by the likes of Amazon, Walmart, Facebook and Google and their multi-billionaire owners.

Essential (for capitalism) new markets will also be created through the ‘financialisation’ and ownership of all aspects of nature, which is to be colonised, commodified and traded under the fraudulent notion of protecting the environment.

The so-called ‘green economy’ will fit in with the notion of ‘sustainable consumption’ and ‘climate emergency’. A bunch of billionaires and their platforms will control every aspect of the value chain. Of course, they themselves will not reduce their own consumption or get rid of their personal jets, expensive vehicles, numerous exclusive homes or ditch their resource gobbling lifestyles. Reduced consumption is meant only for the masses.

They will not only control and own data about consumption but also control and own data on production, logistics, who needs what, when they need it, who should produce it, who should move it and when it should be moved. Independent enterprises will disappear or become incorporated into the platforms acting as subservient cogs. Elected representatives will be mere technocratic overseers of these platforms and the artificial intelligence tools that plan and determine all of the above.

The lockdowns and restrictions we have seen since March 2020 have helped boost the bottom line of global chains and the e-commerce giants and have cemented their dominance. Many small and medium-size independent enterprises have been pushed towards bankruptcy. At the same time, fundamental rights have been eradicated under COVID19 government measures.

Politicians in countries throughout the world have been using the rhetoric of the WEF’s great reset, talking of the need to ‘build back better’ for the ‘new normal’. They are all on point. Hardly a coincidence. Essential to this ‘new normal’ is the compulsion to remove individual liberties and personal freedoms given that, in the ‘green new normal’, unfettered consumption will no longer be an option for the bulk of the population.

It has long been the case that a significant part of the working class has been deemed ‘surplus to requirements’ – three decades ago, such people were sacrificed on the altar of neo-liberalism. They lost their jobs due to automation and offshoring. They have had to rely on meagre state welfare and run-down public services.

But what we are now seeing is the possibility of hundreds of millions around the world being robbed of their livelihoods. Forget about the benign sounding ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ and its promised techno-utopia. What we are witnessing right now seems to be a major restructuring of capitalist economies.

With AI and advanced automation of production, distribution and service provision (3D printing/manufacturing, drone technology, driverless vehicles, lab grown food, farmerless farms, robotics, etc), a mass labour force – and therefore mass education, mass welfare, mass healthcare provision and entire systems that were in place to reproduce labour for capitalist economic activity – will no longer be required. As economic activity is restructured, labour’s relationship to capital is being transformed.

In a reorganised system that no longer needs to sell the virtues of excessive individualism (consumerism), the levels of political and civil rights and freedoms we have been used to will not be tolerated.

Neoliberalism might have reached its logical conclusion (for now). Making trade unions toothless, beating down wages to create unimaginable levels of inequality and (via the dismantling of Bretton Woods) affording private capital so much freedom to secure profit and political clout under the guise of ‘globalisation’ would inevitably lead to one outcome.

A concentration of wealth, power, ownership and control at the top with large sections of the population on state-controlled universal basic income and everyone subjected to the discipline of an emerging biosecurity surveillance state designed to curtail liberties ranging from freedom of movement and assembly to political protest and free speech.

Perception management is, of course, vital for pushing through all of this. Rhetoric about ‘liberty’ and ‘individual responsibility’ worked a treat in the 1980s to help bring about a massive heist of wealth. This time, it is a public health scare and ‘collective responsibility’ as part of a strategy to help move towards near-monopolistic control over economies by a handful of global players.  

And the perception of freedom is also being managed. Once vaccinated many will begin to feel free. Freer than under lockdown. But not really free at all.

The post From 1980s Neoliberalism to the ‘New Normal’  first appeared on Dissident Voice.