Presented as an independent voice for “unbiased” scientific advice, iSAGE provided a channel for media spinmeisters, spies and psy-op specialists to influence Britain’s pandemic policy without accountability. Leaked internal emails show members fretting over its unethical methods.
But these are just a small taste of the military-grade arsenal that law enforcement officers have at their disposal – with the military handing them hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of equipment, from mine-resistant vehicles and airplanes, to grenade launchers and rifles.
Since 1997, the US Department of Defense has transferred more than $7.2bn in military equipment to law enforcement agencies.
This is through the 1033 programme, which funnels excess military equipment to police forces for a fraction of the original cost.
Government’s Cobra emergency committee to meet
The government’s emergency response committee Cobra will meet this afternoon to discuss the response to Storm Eunice, No 10 has confirmed.
The Home Office minister Damian Hinds said the military was being readied to help if required. He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain:
Cobra have been convened about making sure the readiness is in place for this storm. Obviously it comes right on the back of Storm Dudley.
“We have had to learn a lot of lessons from previous events like Storm Arwen and others.
“There are troops as you know at readiness if needed, if military assistance is called for, the Environment Agency are of course on the ground, the network operators themselves are also in readiness.”
Published 6 June 2000
Nato’s bombing of Kosovo [in 1999] was illegal under international law, the Labour-controlled foreign affairs select committee is expected to report today.
After an inquiry into the foreign policy implications of the Kosovo crisis, the select committee has concluded that Nato is a defensive alliance and has no powers under its treaty to conduct a humanitarian operations war without the specific authority of the United Nations.
Russia repeatedly promised to use its veto to prevent the UN backing military action.
The analysis identified 72 studies that might potentially have provided evidence on the effectiveness of masks, social distancing and hand washing. Of those, just six (not eight, 30 or 72) were sufficiently relevant — and of sufficient quality — that they could provide any useful information on mask efficacy. And how reliable were the six? Four were assessed to have a moderate risk of bias, and two to have a serious or critical risk.
The Gates Foundation money going towards media programs has been split up into a number of sections, presented in descending numerical order, and includes a link to the relevant grant on the organization’s website.
…Together, these donations total $166,216,526. The money is generally directed towards issues close to the Gateses hearts. For example, the $3.6 million CNN grant went towards “report[ing] on gender equality with a particular focus on least developed countries, producing journalism on the everyday inequalities endured by women and girls across the world,” while the Texas Tribune received millions to “to increase public awareness and engagement of education reform issues in Texas.” Given that Bill is one of the charter schools’ most fervent supporters, a cynic might interpret this as planting pro-corporate charter school propaganda into the media, disguised as objective news reporting.
A blueprint to change public behaviour to cut carbon emissions, which includes levies on high-carbon food and a reduction in frequent flying, was published alongside the government’s net zero strategy on Tuesday, before being withdrawn within a few hours.
Private hospitals treated a total of just eight Covid patients a day during the pandemic despite a multi-billion pound deal with the government to help stop the NHS being overwhelmed, a report reveals.
And they also performed far fewer operations on NHS-funded patients than usual, even though hospitals has suspended much non-Covid care, according to research by a thinktank.
The Treasury agreed in March 2020 to pay for a deal to block-book the entire capacity of all 7,956 beds in England’s 187 private hospitals along with their almost 20,000 staff to help supplement the NHS’s efforts to cope with the unfolding pandemic. It is believed to have cost £400m a month.
However, the Centre for Health and the Public Interest’s report (Pdf) says that on 39% of days between March 2020 and March this year, private hospitals treated no Covid patients at all and on a further 20% of days they cared for only one person. Overall, they provided only 3,000 of the 3.6m Covid bed days in those 13 months – just 0.08% of the total.
Published 13 Oct 2009
History remembers Benito Mussolini as a founder member of the original Axis of Evil, the Italian dictator who ruled his country with fear and forged a disastrous alliance with Nazi Germany. But a previously unknown area of Il Duce’s CV has come to light: his brief career as a British agent.
Archived documents have revealed that Mussolini got his start in politics in 1917 with the help of a £100 weekly wage from MI5.
For the British intelligence agency, it must have seemed like a good investment. Mussolini, then a 34-year-old journalist, was not just willing to ensure Italy continued to fight alongside the allies in the first world war by publishing propaganda in his paper. He was also willing to send in the boys to “persuade” peace protesters to stay at home.
Mussolini’s payments were authorised by Sir Samuel Hoare, an MP and MI5’s man in Rome, who ran a staff of 100 British intelligence officers in Italy at the time.
So, it seems that Long Covid is not as widespread as we were told it was. More importantly – and, yes, this is the more difficult thing to discuss – maybe Long Covid is not as real as we were told it was, either. Maybe the fairly typical problems that a minority of people experience after a virus were, in this case, unjustifiably blown up into a whole new sickness. Alongside examining the measurable, physical prevalence of long-lasting symptoms in people who have been infected with Covid – something it is very important for society to do – we must also analyse the cultural components to Long Covid. How much did the culture of fear around Long Covid help to convince people that they had it? And did a broader culture of victimhood likewise help to coax people to self-identify as suffering from this new, seemingly fascinating ailment, and even to embrace Long Covid as a kind of identity?
Published 10th September 2014
“I have nothing against Russian nationalists, or a great Russia,” said Dmitry, as we sped through the dark Mariupol night in a pickup truck, a machine gunner positioned in the back. “But Putin’s not even a Russian. Putin’s a Jew.”
Dmitry – which he said is not his real name – is a native of east Ukraine and a member of the Azov battalion, a volunteer grouping that has been doing much of the frontline fighting in Ukraine’s war with pro-Russia separatists. The Azov, one of many volunteer brigades to fight alongside the Ukrainian army in the east of the country, has developed a reputation for fearlessness in battle.
But there is an increasing worry that while the Azov and other volunteer battalions might be Ukraine’s most potent and reliable force on the battlefield against the separatists, they also pose the most serious threat to the Ukrainian government, and perhaps even the state, when the conflict in the east is over. The Azov causes particular concern due to the far right, even neo-Nazi, leanings of many of its members.
A tight-knight case of characters has sought to destabilize the Syrian government by convincing Syrians, Western citizens, foreign states, and international bodies that the CIA-backed Free Syrian Army is a legitimate, “moderate” alternative, while flooding news across the globe with opposition propaganda.
Article from 24 Mar 2016
Researchers in the United States have developed a new method for controlling the brain circuits associated with complex animal behaviours, using genetic engineering to create a magnetised protein that activates specific groups of nerve cells from a distance.
Epidemiologist and public health professor Michael Baker used the metaphor of forest brushfires: if a year or two have passed without fire, there is more fuel on the ground to feed the flames. When a fire finally comes, it burns much more fiercely. “What we’re seeing now is we’ve accumulated a whole lot of susceptible children that have missed out on exposure – so now they’re seeing it for the first time,” Baker said.
…“The lack of immune stimulation… induced an “immunity debt” which could have negative consequences when the pandemic is under control and [public health intervientions] are lifted,” the doctors wrote. “The longer these periods of ‘viral or bacterial low-exposure’ are, the greater the likelihood of future epidemics.”
Drug companies are giving groups of MPs and peers that campaign on health issues hundreds of thousands of pounds a year in “hidden” funding that could hand them “undue influence”, research has found.
The pharmaceutical industry has built up a “hidden web of policy influence” over dozens of all-party parliamentary groups (APPGs) at Westminster by making hundreds of “non-transparent” payments to them, as part of the industry’s wider effort to lobby those in power, researchers claim.
16 health-related APPGs received 168 payments from 35 drug firms worth £1.2m in 2012-18 – one-sixth of their total funding
Two APPGs, on health and cancer, accepted more than £600,000 in that time
50 health-focused APPGs received almost another £1m in 304 payments from patient organisations or health charities, which themselves take sums of money from big pharma
Innova tests’ performance not proven and they should be returned to manufacturer or thrown in bin, says FDA
The US Food and Drug Agency (FDA) has raised significant concerns about the rapid Covid test on which the UK government has based its multibillion-pound mass testing programme.
In a scathing review, the US health agency suggested the performance of the test had not been established, presenting a risk to health, and that the tests should be thrown in the bin or returned to the California-based manufacturer Innova.
…In its report, the agency accused the company of “false or misleading” estimates of the clinical performance of certain configurations of the test, saying the estimates did not accurately reflect the performance of the diagnostic devices during clinical studies.
A pilot universal basic income (UBI) scheme is to be launched in Wales, the first minister, Mark Drakeford, has revealed.
Published 17 August 2011
Many scientists believe the remarkable properties of graphene could lead to the development of technology such as super-fast computers, flexible mobile phones and even transparent planes among other things. But will the nanomaterial live up to the hype?
…Why all the excitement? When graphite is broken down into graphene, the ultra-thin flakes take on unusual and exciting new properties. Three million of these sheets stacked on top of one another would stand just one millimetre high, and yet graphene is the strongest material ever measured, some 200 times stronger than steel. It is also the most conductive. At the atomic level, it resembles a chicken wire lattice of carbon molecules that is so fine that not even a hydrogen molecule can pass through it.
Senior government officials have raised “urgent” concerns about the mass expansion of rapid coronavirus testing, estimating that as few as 2% to 10% of positive results may be accurate in places with low Covid rates, such as London.
…However, leaked emails seen by the Guardian show that senior officials are now considering scaling back the widespread testing of people without symptoms, due to a growing number of false positives.
…On 9 April, the day everyone in England was able to order twice-weekly lateral flow device (LFD) tests, Dyson wrote: “As of today, someone who gets a positive LFD result in (say) London has at best a 25% chance of it being a true positive, but if it is a self-reported test potentially as low as 10% (on an optimistic assumption about specificity) or as low as 2% (on a more pessimistic assumption).”
With many primary school pupils learning at home, and toddlers missing out on critical social interactions with their peers,parents of young children have concerns about the long-term impact of long periods spent at home.