Connect with us

Alternative News

How To Deal With ISIS: Fighting Fire With A Fire Extinguisher

Avatar

Published

on

Before you begin...

Coherent icon

Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

My heart goes out to the victims of ISIS in the Paris attacks, in the Beirut attacks, and in the bombing of a Russian jet liner filled with over 200 vacationing Russians leaving Egypt. ISIS is indeed a clear and present danger and unrivaled since the 9/11 attacks in terms of its barbarous methods and willingness to kill innocent civilians in terror attacks.

advertisement - learn more

As tempting and visceral as it is to fight fire with fire in responding to ISIS’ barbarity, it is counter-productive to simply up the ante and bomb more of ISIS’ facilities in Syria and Iraq, or for the U.S. or France or Russia to send ground troops into Syria. We are already seeing predictable reports of civilian casualties from these massive bombardments of Raqqa, a Syrian city of 350,000, by France, Russia and the U.S.

--> Our latest podcast episode: Were humans created by extraterrestrials? Joe sits down with Bruce Fenton, multidisciplinary researcher and author to explore the fascinating evidence behind this question. Click here to listen!

We need a different approach.

We now have a clear record of U.S. and European military ‘solutions’ in the Middle East and Afghanistan in the last decade and a half: 1) we bombed and invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and that country is a mess with the Taliban now surging again; 2) we bombed and invaded Iraq in 2003, taking out Saddam and also countless civilians in the process, creating a power vacuum that allowed Al Qaeda in Iraq to flourish, leaving that country in a mess; 3) we bombed Libya in 2011, taking out Qaddafi and leaving that country in a mess with no viable power structure or functioning economy and we are now seeing ISIS spring up there as well as in nearby Mali; 4) we are now bombing Syria and Iraq (again) and exacerbating the mess that Syria already was in before we began bombing it.

These four countries are now major sources of instability and havens for groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda. Perhaps there’s a lesson here. Maybe military solutions aren’t actually solutions. Perhaps the kneejerk “I’ll hit you harder than you hit me and make you regret ever hitting me” approach isn’t the smart approach when it comes to fighting terrorism.

The hydra was a many-headed sea beast that guarded the entrance to the underworld in ancient Greek mythology. Hercules, the archetypal hero, was tasked with killing the hydra but he found upon cutting off one of its many heads that two heads grew back immediately where there had been one before, frustrating his efforts.

advertisement - learn more

The moral of the story: be careful how you attack one’s enemies because your tactics may breed more enemies.

The Origins of ISIS

It’s important, if we are to pursue more effective solutions to major problems like ISIS today, to look at how ISIS came into being and not repeat those mistakes. It turns out that we can trace the origins of ISIS directly to many U.S., Saudi, and European over-reaches and in some cases active efforts to support the most radical Islamist elements under the philosophy that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

This is a complex debate, to be sure, but what is pretty clear is that the U.S. and our allies have time and again projected power and given billions of dollars in support without thinking through the consequences of our actions, including the possibility of “blowback”: when our former allies or partners in arms turn their sights on us.

There are three main events that led to ISIS becoming so strong, which I’ll focus on in this column: 1) U.S. support for radical Islamic groups in Afghanistan in the 1970s and 1980s; 2) the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003; and 3) U.S. support for moderate and radical groups in Syria in the last few years. Other key factors that I won’t go into include U.S. support for various Arab dictators in recent decades and the resentment that has caused; the Israeli/Palestinian conflict; and, of course, the ongoing struggle between Shi’a and Sunni branches of Islam.

U.S. Support for Islamic Radicals in Afghanistan Led Directly to Al Qaeda’s Empowerment

It is little known but now widely accepted, based on declassified records and the statements of high-level officials in various administrations, that the U.S. actively supported radical Islamists (“mujahidin,” or those who fight in jihad, holy war) in Afghanistan before and after Russia invaded that country in 1979, under the philosophy that supporting such elements would help to tilt the pro-Soviet Afghan government away from the Soviet sphere of influence and would embroil the Soviets in a Vietnam-like quagmire.

Pres. Carter’s National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, stated in a 1998 interview published in the French newspaper Le Nouvel Observateur:

According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise. Indeed, it was July 3, 1979, that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

Lo and behold, there was a Soviet military invasion. The interview continued as follows, somewhat shockingly from today’s vantage point of a world in which Al Qaeda and ISIS have made regular headlines over the last 14 years:

Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?

B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

B: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

Q: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.

B: Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn’t a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.

The CIA funneled billions of dollars (with a “b”) in aid to mujahidin in Afghanistan, from 1979 to 1989, as part of Operation Cyclone, through its partner, the Pakistani intelligence agency known as the ISI. The U.S. spent about $20 billion in total to fund the mujahadin in Afghanistan and related funding to Pakistan, as part of what came to be known as the Reagan Doctrine: the commitment to fund anti-Soviet groups around the world with little regard for the unintended consequences. This history is detailed in the 2015 book by Michael Springmann, Visas for Al Qaeda: CIA Handouts That Rocked the World: An Insider’s View and Peter Bergen’s 2001 book, Holy War Inc.

Charles G. Cogan, the C.I.A.’s operations chief for the Near East and South Asia from 1979 to 1984, stated in a 1994 interview with the New York Times after the 1993 World Trade Center bombings: “It’s quite a shock. The hypothesis that the mujahedeen would come to the United States and commit terrorist actions did not enter into our universe of thinking at the time. We were totally preoccupied with the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. It is a significant unintended consequence.”

Part of the U.S. program involved the active training of mujahidin from Afghanistan. Springmann recounts (p. 79) how over 10,000 fighters were trained in U.S. facilities during the decade of support for the most radical elements in Afghanistan. So not only did we provide billions of dollars in funding, we also actively trained mujahidin in the arts of war and insurgency/terrorism.

There is no evidence that Osama Bin Laden received direct funding from the CIA or Pakistan’s ISI during this period, but it is apparent that he benefited directly from U.S. support and training for various mujahidin in Afghanistan during this time. Bin Laden created Al Qaeda, which is Arabic for “the database,” which, according to Robin Cook writing for The Guardian, originally referred to a list of mujahidin that the CIA supported and trained in Afghanistan.

The founder of ISIS, Abu al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian, set up a mujahidin training camp in Afghanistan with Al Qaeda funding in 1999 —a precursor to far more dangerous activities today in Syria and Iraq.

It is clear, then, that we have had a long history of fomenting and supporting radical Islamist efforts, based on the view that the benefits of the mujahidin on our side fighting the Soviets outweighed the potential downsides of such support.

The road from U.S. support of the mujahidin to the creation of Al Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks is fairly straightforward, but not of course the only factor, by far. Saudi Arabia’s support for mujahidin alongside U.S. support was also a large factor.

The U.S. Invasion of Iraq in 2003

The bigger mistake and tragedy was the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. Former President Bush gave the order to invade Iraq in 2003, a country that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Much of the world strongly opposed the invasion even though over time the coalition of countries, the “coalition of the willing,” involved militarily in Iraq grew to number in the dozens.

tamhunt-solarThe active war period and the toppling of Hussein was fairly brief, but the war to squelch remaining opposition in Iraq and to unite the major factions into a working government took many years. The widely-held view today is that the U.S. won the war but lost the peace by having no coherent plan to replace the power vacuum left by toppling the iron fist that was Hussein—our guy in that part of the world, until he wasn’t.

Many analyses, including records kept by the Pentagon, show that at least hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians were killed in the Iraqi war, and possibly over a million. Half a million Iraqis was at that time about two percent of the population, equivalent to over six million Americans being killed in terms of the equivalent percent of the U.S. population.

Al Qaeda in Iraq didn’t exist before the 2003 invasion. Zarqawi’s new group in Iraq, Monotheism and Jihad, joined Al Qaeda in 2004 and became “Al Qaeda in Iraq” or AQI. The marriage didn’t last long, however, and Zarqawi’s group split from Al Qaeda in 2006, shortly after Zarqawi’s death, due to many differences of opinion over strategy and tactics. This was the beginning of ISIS, the Islamic State. The two groups still communicated regularly, however, from 2006 until 2014, when the split became final, public and personal.

This history is recounted in William McCants’ 2015 book, The ISIS Apocalypse. ISIS distinguished itself in Iraq and Syria by being even more brutal than AQI and, as a consequence, seemed to attract even more eager martyrs to its battles in the Middle East.

It is also clear, then, that the misguided and illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a major factor in the creation and empowerment of ISIS.

Did the U.S. or its Allies Support Creation of the Islamic State in Syria?

The view of many commentators with respect to the situation in Syria is that the U.S. has been slow and cautious in taking action to quell the civil war that has been ongoing for four years now, with large parts of the Syrian population bearing the brunt for our inaction or cautious action. I suggest here that this view is way off. Rather, the U.S. and its allies have been actively involved in the Syrian civil war from the outset and have been supporting many opposition groups, including both moderate groups and radical groups.

A leaked 2012 memo from the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s own intelligence agency, stated in all capital letters: “THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME…”

The supporting powers are identified in the memo as the U.S., the Gulf States, and Turkey. ISIS, the Islamic State, is of course a Salafist state. Salafism is the hard-line version of Sunni Islam that ISIS follows, also known as Wahhabism, and also the variety of Islam that Saudi Arabia, a major U.S. ally, follows and actively exports where it can.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Major General Michael Flynn, head of the DIA when this memo was written, stated that the rise of ISIS was, in his opinion, a “willful decision” by the Obama administration:

Hasan: You are basically saying that even in government at the time you knew these groups were around, you saw this analysis, and you were arguing against it, but who wasn’t listening?

Flynn: I think the administration.

Hasan: So the administration turned a blind eye to your analysis?

Flynn: I don’t know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision.

Hasan: A willful decision to support an insurgency that had Salafists, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood?

Flynn: It was a willful decision to do what they’re doing.

I’ve had an interesting dialogue with Juan Cole, a Middle East expert at the University of Michigan, about what this memo really means. His view is that the U.S. never actually supported ISIS or the creation of a Salafist state, partly because the same memo warns about the consequences of this occurrence in terms of a possible breakup of Iraq. Rather, Cole’s view is that it was primarily a Saudi decision to support the Salafist state that became ISIS.

I agree that the memo is ambiguous and sketchy but it would not have been at all difficult for the memo to make the distinction that Cole believes is the reality about the supporting states’ support for ISIS. If it was mainly Saudi Arabia that supported the Islamic State’s creation as a bulwark against Assad, why wouldn’t the classified memo simply state this and explicitly warn against it?

Anyway, while it’s not clear at this time how much direct or indirect support the U.S. and its allies provided ISIS before it became ISIS, it is clear that at least some U.S. allies supported creation of a Salafist state in Syria as a bulwark against Assad (including in similar arguments put forward this week the neocon John Bolton, who wrote in the New York Times about his recommendations for the creation of a Sunni state in territory currently held by ISIS). That policy has now backfired in spectacular fashion.

These three sets of events—support for radical Islamists in Afghanistan in the 1970s and 1980s, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and support for moderate and radical Islamists in Syria against Assad—are direct links in the chain that led to the Paris attacks, the Beirut attacks, and the bombing of the Russian jetliner in Egypt.

So before France, the U.S., and Russia go all-in in Syria, guns blazing, perhaps we need to have a larger discussion about how we got to the present mess.

Obama, to his credit, has thus far not given in to the kneejerk reaction to escalate the U.S. war in Syria and Iraq even further. He has resisted calls for boots on the ground and continues to maintain that the bombing campaign and covert actions on the ground are the best way to degrade and defeat ISIS. He said shortly after the Paris attacks: “The strategy that we are putting forward is the strategy that ultimately is going to work. It’s going to take time.”

So What Should We Be Doing?

A few words of caution are due in any attempt to interpret the abundance of information about large-scale world events and trends: one can, of course, find information to support many different stories about the rise of ISIS. I’ve tried to be objective in my analysis here but space prevents me from including the caveats that should accompany almost every conclusion about causal chains, and relevant links in those chains.

That said, my key point is that the U.S. and its allies have pursued a singularly militaristic focus over the last few decades, and at the same time a foolish long-time trend of supporting the most virulent Islamic groups when it was convenient to do so, ignoring the potential for blowback that is now quite predictable from such actions. Many aspects of this history are surely debatable, but this general pattern emerges quite clearly from any objective analysis of these events.

It’s time for a very different approach to combatting terrorism, one that leads with strong defense at home, accurate education about our history in the Middle East, a more humble foreign policy, and active efforts to put fires out rather than to strengthen existing fires in volatile regions of the world.

This means being diligent about security in our homelands, using a scalpel to remove the most dangerous elements in unstable regions like Syria and Iraq rather than massive military force, and doing what we can to slowly reduce and transform the radical ideologies that the U.S. and allies like Saudi Arabia have supported in various ways now for decades.

Hercules finally defeated the hydra not only by cutting off its heads but cauterizing the wounds so that no new heads could grow back. The non-military solutions I’m advocating here are our means for cauterizing the terrorist heads of ISIS and similar groups. And, better yet, we should focus on eliminating the conditions that have allowed extremist Islamic groups to flourish, stopping the hydra from rearing its ugly heads in the first place.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

Advertisement
advertisement - learn more

Alternative News

World’s Ten Richest People See Wealth Increase By Half A Trillion Dollars Since Beginning of COVID

Avatar

Published

on

By

CE Staff Writer 9 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A recent report by Oxfam is one of many to explain how the world's wealthiest people have seen their wealth grow substantially since the beginning of the pandemic, while most others have suffered greatly as a result of the pandemic.

  • Reflect On:

    Why is money always presented as a problem or a solution? Does humanity have the potential to move beyond such a system and thrive? Do we have solutions to our issues? Is the problem that many solutions threaten government/corporate greed/control?

Before you begin...

Coherent icon

Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

A recent report by Oxfam shows that “the world’s ten richest men have seen their combined wealth increase by half a trillion dollars since the pandemic began.” On the other hand, the majority of people have been ushered into “the worst jobs crisis in over 90 years with hundreds of millions of people now underemployed or out of work.” The report was titled “The Inequality Virus” and was published on the opening day of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) ‘Davos Agenda.’

The WEF has been both praised and criticized by many academics, politicians and journalists for their “Great Reset” initiative. An initiative that intends to rollout,and currently is rolling out, a number of large changes here on planet Earth as a response to various, according to them, crisis’ we face such as climate change, terrorism, and of course the covid pandemic. The criticism comes from the idea that ‘the powers that be’ are using, and have used global crises’ to put more money, power and control over the human race into hands of the very few, all under the guise of good will and necessity. Measures being proposed include many things like the implementation of 5G, digital ID’s, digital currency, universal income, the abolishment of privately owned property, mandatory vaccination, increased surveillance  measures like tracking,  facial recognition and much more. This comes along with a ‘ministry of truth’ that seems to be “fact-checking” information that pertains to these topics. The censorship of alternative media and scientists who share information that counters what we hear in the mainstream during this pandemic has been unprecedented.

The idea that these are some sort of ‘nefarious’ measures being taken is usually presented as a “conspiracy theory” within the mainstream media. Unfortunately, big media continues to fail at having appropriate conversations around controversial topics. Furthermore, these implementations continue to rollout against the will of many people. That in itself has many people quite disturbed and asking the question, do we really live in a democracy, or is an authoritarian oligarchy type of government operating under the guise of a democracy?

According to Oxfam,

The report shows that COVID-19 has the potential to increase economic inequality in almost every country at once, the first time this has happened since records began over a century ago. Rising inequality means it could take at least 14 times longer for the number of people living in poverty to return to pre-pandemic levels than it took for the fortunes of the top 1,000, mostly White male, billionaires to bounce back. 

A new global survey of 295 economists from 79 countries, commissioned by Oxfam, reveals that 87 percent of respondents, including Jeffrey Sachs, Jayati Ghosh and Gabriel Zucman, expect an ‘increase’ or a ‘major increase’ in income inequality in their country as a result of the pandemic.

Oxfam’s report shows how the rigged economic system is enabling a super-rich elite to amass wealth in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression while billions of people are struggling to make ends meet. It reveals how the pandemic is deepening long-standing economic, racial and gender divides.

A lot of these issues come as a result of the measures taken to combat covid, which have come under fire by many scientists, academics, doctors and journalists. Again,  information, evidence, data and opinions of these people has been completely silenced. Professor Anna-Mia Ekström and Professor Stefan Swartling Peterson, for example, have gone through the data from UNICEF and UNAIDS, and came to the conclusion that at least as many people have died as a result of the restrictions to fight covid as have died of covid. A group of doctors and scientists published an essay for the American Institute for Economic Research explaining and presenting the data as to why they believe lockdowns are not only harmful, but useless to combat COVID. These are two of many examples.

Lack of access to health care,  economic implications and more have experts suggesting that lockdown measures will kill well over one hundred million people and push even more to the brink of starvation. According to Oxfam, the pandemic has ushered in the worst job crisis in over 90 years with hundreds of millions of people now underemployed or unemployed.

Billionaires fortunes rebounded as stock markets recovered despite continued recession in the real economy. Their total wealth hit $11.95 trillion in December 2020, equivalent to G20 governments’ total COVID-19 recovery spending. The road to recovery will be much longer for people who were already struggling pre-COVID-19. When the virus struck over half of workers in poor countries were living in poverty, and three-quarters of workers globally had no access to social protections like sick pay or unemployment benefits.

The report does mention the benefits of vaccines, and that the covid vaccines are not being fairly distributed. It speaks of the vaccine as a life saving intervention, but does not mention that fact that this is a virus with a 99.95 percent survival rate in people under the age of 70, and that other interventions like vitamin C, Zinc, Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin have shown great success and efficacy. Vaccine hesitancy, especially with regards to the covid vaccines, is on a sharp rise among people, doctors and scientists. Again, the mainstream doesn’t seem to do an adequate job of covering information like this. Big Tech fact checkers censor any type of information that doesn’t paint vaccines in a positive light, and all those who raise concerns, no matter how legitimate, seem to be labelled as “anti-vax conspiracy theorists” and are constantly ridiculed. It would be great if the mainstream actually brought these concerns to light and addressed them in a civil manner.

Early on in the pandemic a report from the Institute for Policy Studies found that, while tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, America’s ultra-wealthy elite have seen their net worth surge by $282 billion in just 23 days. This is despite the fact that the economy is expected to contract by 40 percent this quarter. In turns they were correct.

The Institute for Policy Studies’ report shows something nothing short of a modern day oligarchy, where the super-rich have captured so much power and control, including controlling what laws are passed. These are the “decision-makers” of our world while we all are glued to to the T.V. see what they “command” next, not realizing that we the people have the most “power.” “Their” power comes from our compliance, and our compliance comes from their ability to shape our perception of this issue. The report discusses what it labels a new “wealth defense industry” – where “billionaires are paying millions to dodge billions in taxes,” with teams of accountants, lawyers, lobbyists and asset managers helping them conceal their vast fortunes in tax havens and so-called charitable trusts. The result has been crippled social programs and a decrease in living standards and even sustained drop in life expectancy – something rarely seen in history outside of major wars or famines.

The Takeaway: It can be frustrating observing the human experience knowing that we are nothing but infinite potentiality. The human race has huge potential and we have more than enough solutions and technological developments to start co-existing with mother Earth in a more harmonious way, one that provides abundance to all people. Many of these technologies and solutions “never see the light of day” (Dr. Brian O’Leary, NASA astronaut ex-Princeton physics professor). Why was electric car technology invented decades ago but not put into mass production? My point is, again, that solutions exist, that’s not the problem, the issue seems to be the prevention of solutions from making their way into the public due to corporate and government interests being threatened. Is this really the kind of world we want to live in? Despite all this, we continue to operate under the assumption that “this is the way it is” and the idea of a “utopian” society is unachievable.

This goes to shows that it’s not really the “solutions” that will change our world, it’s the consciousness that humanity operates from. It’s the consciousness behind these “solutions” that determine what direction humanity takes.

When it comes to mandating certain health measures, and other things, do we really want to live in a world where we give so much power to governments to the point where they can dictate our actions, and control our thoughts and perceptions regarding certain global events? Do we want to allow them to restrict access to certain rights and freedoms simply for non-compliance of certain measures, like getting vaccinated, for example? Should freedom of choice not always remain? Should governments and private institutions simply be making recommendations?

What about the “new normal”?

This is an important question at the moment, and we are seeing it in everything from alternative media to mainstream media. As we saw with Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, even politicians are warning their citizens that what you see happening now will be the ‘new normal’ to some extent. What do they mean by this? Should we want things to go back to how they were prior to this pandemic? Do we have a future of even more restrictions in sight?

From my perspective, I don’t want things to go back to ‘normal’. Why do I say this? Because I ask myself the question: was life prior to, and even during this pandemic, truly allowing humanity to thrive? Was it anywhere even close to what humanity is capable of? Or is it a society and world designed out of programming that has convinced us to accept basic survival as being how we should live… as normal?

This can be a question for everyone no matter where you live on this planet. Whether the weekly rat race is reality or whether having to worry about whether you will get your next meal is your reality, is this truly how we want to live and what humanity is capable of?

If not, then how can we shift the conversation to begin exploring how we might change the way we live in our society?

Read more here.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

Continue Reading

Alternative News

New Lancet Article Suggests 50-75% of “Positive” PCR Tests Are Not Infectious People

Avatar

Published

on

By

CE Staff Writer 12 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A recent article published in The Lancet medical journal explains that PCR tests can be "positive" for up to five times longer than the time an infected person is actually infectious.

  • Reflect On:

    Why are certain viewpoints, opinions, studies, scientists and doctors being censored and/or ignored for presenting data that completely contradicts what we are receiving from government health authorities.

Before you begin...

Coherent icon

Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

PCR testing (polymerase chain reaction testing) has come under fire from numerous doctors, scientists, politicians and journalists since the beginning of this pandemic. Not everyone would know this if their only source of information was mainstream media however, as they’ve chosen not to cover the controversy surrounding it. This is not to say that PCR testing hasn’t been praised as a useful tool to determine a covid infection, but again, there are great causes for concern that aren’t really being addressed.

As far back as 2007, Gina Kolata published an article in the New York Times about how declaring pandemics based on PCR testing can end in a disaster. The article was titled Faith in Quick Test Leads to Epidemic That Wasn’t.  In July, professor Carl Heneghan, director for the centre of evidence-based medicine at Oxford University, an outspoken critic of the current UK response to the pandemic, wrote a piece titled “How many Covid diagnoses are false positives?” He has argued that the proportion of positive tests that are false in the UK could also be as high as 50%.

The Deputy Medical Officer of Ontario, Canada, Dr. Barbara Yaffe recently stated that COVID-19 testing may yield at least 50 percent false positives. This means that people who test positive for COVID may not actually have it. Former scientific advisor at Pfizer, Dr. Mike Yeadon,  argued that the proportion of positive tests that are false may actually be as high as 90%.

Furthermore, 22 researchers have put out a paper explaining why, according to them, it’s clear that the PCR test is not effective in identifying COVID-19 cases, and that as a result we may be seeing a significant amount of false positives. You can read more about that here.

These are simply a few of many examples from the recent past, and it’s concerning because lockdown measures and more are based on supposed positive “cases.”

Another concern recently raised comes from an article  published in The Lancet medical journal titled “Clarifying the evidence of SARS-CoC-2 antigen rapid tests in public health responses to COVID-19.”

In it, the authors explain that most people infected with COVID are contagious for approximately one week, and that “specimens are generally not found to contain culture-positive (potentially contagious) virus beyond day 9 after the onset of symptoms, with most transmission occurring before day 5.” They go on to explain:

This timing fits with the observed patterns of virus transmission (usually 2 days before to 5 days after symptom onset), which led public health agencies to recommend a 10-day isolation period. The sort window of transmissibility contrasts with a median 22-33 days of PCR positivity (longer with severe infections and someone shorter among asymptomatic individuals). This suggests that 50-75% of the time an individual is PCR positive, they are likely to be post-infectious.

Once SARS-CoV-2 replication has been controlled by the immune system, RNA levels detectable by PCR on respiratory secretions fall to very low levels when individuals are much less likely to infect others. The remaining RNA copies can take weeks, or occasionally months, to clear, during which time PCR remains positive.

They explain:

However, for public health measures, another approach is needed. Testing to help slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2 asks not whether someone has RNA in their nose from earlier infection, but whether they are infectious today. It is a net loss to the health, social, and economic wellbeing of communities if post-infectious individuals test positive and isolate for 10 days. In our view, current PCR testing is therefore not the appropriate gold standard for evaluating a SARS-CoV-2 public health test.

An article published in the British Medical Journal explains:

It’s also unclear to what extent people with no symptoms transmit SARS-CoV-2. The only test for live virus is viral culture. PCR and lateral flow tests do not distinguish live virus. No test of infection or infectiousness is currently available for routine use. As things stand, a person who tests positive with any kind of test may or may not have an active infection with live virus, and may or may not be infectious.

The relations between viral load, viral shedding, infection, infectiousness, and duration of infectiousness are not well understood. In a recent systematic review, no study was able to culture live virus from symptomatic participants after the ninth day of illness, despite persistently high viral loads in quantitative PCR diagnostic tests. However, cycle threshold (Ct) values from PCR tests are not direct measures of viral load and are subject to error.

Searching for people who are asymptomatic yet infectious is like searching for needles that appear and reappear transiently in haystacks, particularly when rates are falling. Mass testing risks the harmful diversion of scarce resources. A further concern is the use of inadequately evaluated tests as screening tools in healthy populations.

The UK’s testing strategy needs to be reset in line with the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies’ recommendation that “Prioritizing rapid testing of symptomatic people is likely to have a greater impact on identifying positive cases and reducing transmission than frequent testing of asymptomatic people in an outbreak area.”

The academics who published this paper are one of many explaining how another approach is needed, given the fact that PCR tests are the basis of lockdowns that might have already, and will kill more people than COVID itself, all for a virus with a 99.95% recovery rate for people under the age of 70. Many are in fact calling for the end of testing for asymptomatic people.

Michael Levitt, a medical professor at Stanford University and a Nobel Laureate for chemistry is one of many who has been emphasizing this:

“Getting tested right to avoid making more mistakes going forward [is crucial].” He writes, “very disturbing that PCR test can be positive for up to FIVE times longer than the time an infected person is actually infectious. Many implications.”

Rosamond A K Jones, a retired consultant paediatrician, and part of the Health Advisory & Recovery Team (HART) in Slough, UK, writes with regards to testing in UK schools:

If testing 5 million secondary school pupils twice a week, those 10 million tests would be expected to generate 30,000 false positives. These children would presumably all be sent home from school, with their 30 classmates, leading to almost a million children incorrectly out of school each week.

According to an article written by Robert Hagen MD, who recently retired from Lafayette Orthopaedic Clinic in Indiana:

By base rate fallacy/false positive paradox, if the specificity of a test is 95%, when used in a population with a 2% incidence of disease — such as healthy college students and staff — there will be 5 false positives for every 2 true positives. (The actual incidence of active COVID-19 in college age students is not known but estimated to be less than 0.6% by Indiana University/Fairbanks data. Even using a test with 99% specificity with a 1% population incidence generates 10 false positives for every 9 true positives.

Using the same test on patients with COVID-19 symptoms, because their incidence of disease is 50% or greater, the test does not have to be perfect. Even using a test with only 90% specificity, the number of false positives will be much less significant.

Another issue is with PCR testing is the cycle threshold. PCR seeks the genetic code of the virus from nose or throat swabs and amplifies it over 30–40 cycles, doubling each cycle, enabling even minuscule, potentially single, copies to be detected. I first learned about this when Elon Musk revealed he had completed four rounds of COVID-19 testing, tweeting that something “bogus” is going on because two of the tests came back false, and the other two came back positive.

He also mentioned he was “doing tests from several different labs, same time of day, administered by RN & am requesting N1 gene PCR cycle threshold. There is no official standard for PCR testing. Not sure people realize this.”

And therein lies the problem, something that the World Health Organization finally addressed recently. On January 13th the WHO published a memo regarding the problem of asymptomatic cases being discovered by PCR tests, and suggesting any asymptomatic positive tests be repeated. This followed up their previous memo, instructing labs around the world to use lower cycle thresholds (CT values) for PCR tests. The higher the cycle threshold the greater the chance for false positive rates.

Is this why case rates around the world have started to decline? It seems plausible since the same time cases dropped the WHO told labs to monitor the cycle thresholds which means false positives would reduce.

A Portuguese court has determined that the PCR tests used to detect COVID-19 are not able to prove an infection beyond a reasonable doubt, and thus determined that the detainment of four individuals was unlawful and illegal. In the Portuguese appeal hearing, Jaafar et al. (2020) was cited, explaining how a high CT is correlated with low viral loads.

“If someone is testing by PCR as positive when a threshold of 35 cycles or higher is used (as is the rule in most laboratories in Europe and the US), the probability that said person is infected is  <3%, and the probability that said result is a false positive is 97%.” (source)

The court further noted that the cycle threshold used for the PCR tests currently being made in Portugal is unknown. You can read more about that story here.

“Cases” Are The Basis of Lockdowns 

The information above is indeed telling, because PCR tests are being used to justify lockdown measures and yet there is a huge amount of controversy and inaccuracy with them.

Professor Anna-Mia Ekström and Professor Stefan Swartling Peterson have gone through the data from UNICEF and UNAIDS, and came to the conclusion that at least as many people have died as a result of the restrictions to fight covid as have died of covid.

study published by four medical professors from Stanford University has failed to find evidence supporting the use of what they call “Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions” (NPIs) like lockdowns, social-distancing, business closures and stay at home orders. According to the study, these measures have not been sufficient and are not sufficient to stop the spread of COVID and therefore are not necessary to combat the spread of the virus.

A group of doctors and scientists published an essay for the American Institute for Economic Research explaining and presenting the data as to why they believe lockdowns are not only harmful, but useless to combat COVID. In the essay they present a multitude of studies supporting the same conclusions found in the Stanford study cited above. You can read that here.

Lockdown harms were pondered early on in the pandemic, a report published in the British Medical Journal titled Covid-19: “Staggering number” of extra deaths in community is not explained by covid-19″  has suggested that quarantine measures in the United Kingdom as a result of the new coronavirus may have already killed more UK seniors than the coronavirus has during the months of April and May .

Bhattacharya, MD, PhD wrote an article  for The Hill titled “Facts, not fear, will stop the pandemic.” In it he points out a number of facts regarding the implications of lockdown measures, which also include that fact that:

Internationally, the lockdowns have placed 130 million people on the brink of starvation, 80 million children at risk for diphtheria, measles and polio, and 1.8 million patients at risk of death from tuberculosis. The lockdowns in developed countries have devastated the poor in poor countries. The World Economic Forum estimates that the lockdowns will cause an additional 150 million people to fall into extreme poverty, 125 times as many people as have died from COVID.

Is a Great Reset Really required? Or should we just go back to normal?  Even if we weren’t in a lockdown, should we still be questioning how we feel about our “normal.” You can dive into a deeper discussion about that here.

The Takeaway 

The one thing that has many more people questioning their government with regards to COVID seems to be the fact that countless amounts of scientists, doctors, journalists and more are being heavily censored for sharing their information, data, research and opinions about COVID when they don’t fit within the accepted framework of mainstream culture.

For example, the Swedish government has said that it will strengthen laws on academic freedom after a leading Swedish academic announced that he was quitting his work on COVID-19 because of an onslaught of intimidating comments from people who disagreed or disliked his research findings. (source)  This is one of many examples, you can see more here.

 Dr. Kamran Abbasi, former (recent) executive editor of the prestigious British Medical Journal, editor of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, and a consultant editor for PLOS Medicine. He is editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine and JRSM Open recently published a piece in the BMJ, titled “Covid-19: politicisation, “corruption,” and suppression of science.” I reference this quite a bit in many of my articles so I apologize if you’ve come across it already.

Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. Covid-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health. Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement. So too are scientists and health experts. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency—a time when it is even more important to safeguard science. –

I say it in almost every article I write about COVID, should we not have the right to examine information openly and transparently and determine for ourselves what is and what isn’t? Why is it that someone like Dr. Anthony Fauci gets to make an appearance on television with instant virality anytime he desires, while other experts presenting opposing viewpoints are completely ignored? Can the mainstream media make the “consensus” or the majority seem like the minority and the minority seem like the majority?

How are we going to make sense of what is going on and make effective decisions about it all if we are not allowed to talk about certain ideas?

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

Continue Reading

Alternative News

Texas & Mississippi Both Lift Mask Mandates & Some Business Restrictions

Avatar

Published

on

By

CE Staff Writer 4 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Texas and Mississippi have both lifted many COVID-19 restrictions, including the removal of mandated face masks. Some restrictions will come off by March 10th, others starting tomorrow.

  • Reflect On:

    Regardless of what we think the causes are for why case numbers rise or drop, why are we seeing only a small handful of people given a chance to speak while other credible individuals are sidelined and ridiculed for having a different perspective?

Before you begin...

Coherent icon

Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

This will feel like good news to many, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has just lifted many of the Covid-19 restrictions in his state. Businesses will be allowed to operate at 100% capacity starting March 10th, and citizens will no longer be required to wear face masks.

The news was given during a speech to the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce on March 2nd, letting small businesses and community leaders know that a path towards rebuilding their livelihood is being paved.

The governor also added these words with regards to still abiding by certain safety practices instilled since COVID began:

Following Texas’ announcement, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said he plans to end the state’s mask mandate and end all COVID related business restrictions as well. The Governor feels that improved case and hospitalization numbers are a sign that things are ready to return to normal.

Mississippi Governor Reeves feels his latest order “will be one of my last executive orders regarding Covid-19.” The new order replaced the current restrictions with much milder ones that are considered to now be recommendations starting on march 3. There will still be a rule limiting indoor arenas to 50-percent capacity, as well as restrictions on K-12 schools.

Governor Reeves does still remind people that maintaining proper social distancing and other basic safety guidelines is a good idea.

Are we about to see a wave of more states opening up? Might this spread to other countries around the world? We shall see. But the sort of openness and enthusiasm seen by the Governors of Texas and Mississippi is not shared by all, and other health officials feel now is not the time to consider easing restrictions.

Both governor’s stand in stark contrast to that of President Joe Biden, who believes the idea of masks is crucial in stopping the spread of COVID-19. Biden also expects all Americans will remain obedient and in support of masks until at least 2022 and plans to have enough Covid-19 vaccines to vaccinate every citizen the around May of 2021.

Why Have Case Counts Dropped?

Answering this questions is very difficult, and this has been the issue with COVID since the start. If you take an honest look at multiple sources, you will see that no one can agree on why anything is happening the way it is. Further to that, open inquiry and proper scientific dialogue is not allowed nor happening. We’ve seen the greatest crisis in collective sense-making I can recall.

Are cases dropping because the WHO updated their instructions for medical professionals in determine what a ‘positive’ result from a PCR test is? A move that would inevitably remove thousands upon thousands of false positives?

Is it because of masks? Some believe so, while other papers show they have no effect. (Additional resource)

Is it because of the lockdowns? Again, some believe they are effective, while other studies show a completely opposite perspective.

You will hear arguments stated assertively from many different camps, but the truth is, no one really knows all that firmly why cases dropped, and to some extent this is normal in a new and developing scientific story.

But all that aside, one thing we do know is that anyone who disagrees with the way COVID is being handled is not allowed to have a platform to speak. What does that tell us? You decide.

Click here to check out a recent podcast interview with Charles Eisenstein where we spoke about the current sensemaking crisis with COVID as well as how it’s affecting our everyday culture.

Click here for more of our COVID-19 coverage.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

Continue Reading
advertisement - learn more
advertisement - learn more

Video

Elevate your inbox and get conscious articles sent directly to your inbox!

Choose your topics of interest below:

You have Successfully Subscribed!