- The Facts:
This article was written by a Whitney Webb, a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. It was originally published at Mintpressnews.com, posted here with permission.
- Reflect On:
Was Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual blackmail enterprise was an Israel intelligence operation run for the purpose o entrapping powerful individuals and politicians?
Since the apparent death by suicide of Jeffrey Epstein in a Manhattan prison, much has come to light about his depraved activities and methods used to sexually abuse underage girls and entrap the rich and powerful for the purposes of blackmail. Epstein’s ties to intelligence, described in-depth in a recent MintPress investigative series, have continued to receive minimal mainstream media coverage, which has essentially moved on from the Epstein scandal despite the fact that his many co-conspirators remain on the loose.
For those who have examined Epstein’s ties to intelligence, there are clear links to both U.S. intelligence and Israeli intelligence, leaving it somewhat open to debate as to which country’s intelligence apparatus was closest to Epstein and most involved in his blackmail/sex-trafficking activities. A recent interview given by a former high-ranking official in Israeli military intelligence has claimed that Epstein’s sexual blackmail enterprise was an Israel intelligence operation run for the purpose of entrapping powerful individuals and politicians in the United States and abroad.
In an interview with Zev Shalev, former CBS News executive producer and award-winning investigative journalist for Narativ, the former senior executive for Israel’s Directorate of Military Intelligence, Ari Ben-Menashe, claimed not only to have met Jeffrey Epstein and his alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell, back in the 1980s, but that both Epstein and Maxwell were already working with Israeli intelligence during that time period.
“They found a niche”
In an interview last week with the independent outlet Narativ, Ben-Menashe, who himself was involved in Iran-Contra arms deals, told his interviewer Zev Shalev that he had been introduced to Jeffrey Epstein by Robert Maxwell in the mid-1980s while Maxwell’s and Ben-Menashe’s involvement with Iran-Contra was ongoing. Ben-Menashe did not specify the year he met Epstein.
Ben-Menashe told Shalev that “he [Maxwell] wanted us to accept him [Epstein] as part of our group …. I’m not denying that we were at the time a group that it was Nick Davies [Foreign Editor of the Maxwell-Owned Daily Mirror], it was Maxwell, it was myself and our team from Israel, we were doing what we were doing.” Past reporting by Seymour Hersh and others revealed that Maxwell, Davies and Ben-Menashe were involved in the transfer and sale of military equipment and weapons from Israel to Iran on behalf of Israeli intelligence during this time period.
He then added that Maxwell had stated during the introduction that “your Israeli bosses have already approved” of Epstein. Shalev later noted that Maxwell “had an extensive network in Israel at the time, which included [the later Prime Minister] Ariel Sharon, according to Ben-Menashe.”
Ben-Menashe went on to say that he had “met him [Epstein] a few times in Maxwell’s office, that was it.” He also said he was not aware of Epstein being involved in arms deals for anyone else he knew at the time, but that Maxwell wanted to involve Epstein in the arms transfer in which he, Davies and Ben-Menashe were engaged on Israel’s behalf.
However, as MintPress reported in Part IV of the investigative series “Inside the Jeffrey Epstein Scandal: Too Big to Fail,” Epstein was involved with several arms dealers during this period of time, some of whom were directly involved in Iran-Contra arms deals between Israel and Iran. For instance, after leaving Bear Stearns in 1981, Epstein began working in the realms of shadow finance as a self-described “financial bounty hunter,” where he would both hunt down and hide money for powerful people. One of these powerful individuals was Adnan Khashoggi, a Saudi arms dealer with close ties to both Israeli and U.S. intelligence and one of the main brokers of Iran-Contra arms deals between Israel and Iran. Epstein would later forge a business relationship with a CIA front company involved in another aspect of Iran-Contra, the airline Southern Air Transport, on behalf of Leslie Wexner’s company, The Limited.
During this period, it is also known that Epstein became well acquainted with the British arms dealer Sir Douglas Leese, who collaborated with Khashoggi on at least one British-Saudi arms deal in the 1980s. Leese would later introduce Epstein to Steven Hoffenberg, calling Epstein a “genius” and describing his lack of morals during that introduction. Thus, there are indications that Epstein was involved with Middle Eastern arms deals, including some related to Iran-Contra, during this period. In addition, Epstein would later claim (and then subsequently deny) having worked for the CIA during this period.
After having been introduced to Epstein, Ben-Menashe claimed that neither he nor Davies were impressed with Epstein and considered him “not very competent.” He added that Ghislaine Maxwell had “fallen for” Epstein and that he believed that the romantic relationship between his daughter and Epstein led Robert Maxwell to work to bring the latter into the “family business” — i.e., Maxwell’s dealings with Israeli intelligence. This information is very revealing, given that the narrative, until now at least, has been that Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein did not meet and begin their relationship until after Robert Maxwell’s death in 1991, after which Ghislaine moved to New York.
Ben-Menashe says that well after the introduction, though again he does not specify what year, Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein began a sexual blackmail operation with the purpose of extorting U.S. political and public figures on behalf of Israeli military intelligence. He stated:
In this case what really happened, my take on it, in the later thing, is that these guys were seen as agents. They weren’t really competent to do very much. And so they found a niche for themselves — blackmailing American and other political figures.”
He then confirmed, when prompted, that they were blackmailing Americans on behalf of Israeli intelligence.
In response to his statement, Zev Shalev replied, “But, you know, for most people it’s hard for them to think of Israel as being … blackmailing their leaders in the United States, it’s a very …” at which point, Ben-Menashe interrupted and the following exchange took place:
Ari Ben-Menashe: You’re kidding? [laughs]…. It was quite their M.O. Sleeping around is not a crime, it may be embarrassing, but it’s not a crime, but sleeping with underage girls is a crime.
Shalev: It was a crime in 2000 as well, but they let him off that…
Ben-Menashe: And that it is [why] always so he [Epstein] made sure these girls were underage.
In addition, when Shalev asked Ben-Menashe about the relationship between Jeffrey Epstein and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Ben-Menashe stated “After a while, you know, what Mr. Epstein was doing was collecting intelligence on people in the United States. And so if you want to go to the U.S. if you’re a high-profile politician you want to know information about people.” Ben-Menashe subsequently stated that Barak was obtaining compromising information (i.e., blackmail) that Epstein had acquired on powerful people in the United States.
PROMIS, sex, and blackmail
If Robert Maxwell did recruit Epstein and bring him into the “family business” and the world of Israeli intelligence, as Ben-Menashe has claimed, it provides supporting evidence for information provided to MintPress by a former U.S. intelligence official, who chose to remain anonymous in light of the sensitivity of the claim.
This source, who has direct knowledge of the unauthorized use of PROMIS to support covert U.S. and Israeli intelligence projects, told MintPress that “some of the proceeds from the illicit sales of PROMIS were made available to Jeffrey Epstein for use in compromising targets of political blackmail.” As was noted in a Mintpress series on the Epstein scandal, much of Epstein’s funding also came from Ohio billionaire Leslie Wexner, who has documented ties to both organized crime and U.S. and Israeli intelligence.
After the PROMIS software was stolen from its rightful owner and developer, Inslaw Inc., through the collusion of both U.S. and Israeli officials, it was marketed mainly by two men: Earl Brian, a close aide to Ronald Reagan, later U.S. envoy to Iran and close friend of Israeli spymaster Rafi Eitan; and Robert Maxwell. Brian sold the bugged software through his company, Hadron Inc., while Maxwell sold it through an Israeli company he acquired called Degem. Before and following Maxwell’s acquisition of Degem, the company was a known front for Mossad operations and Mossad operatives in Latin America often posed as Degem employees.
With Maxwell — Epstein’s alleged recruiter and father of Epstein’s alleged madam — having been one of the main salespeople involved in selling PROMIS software on behalf of intelligence, he would have been in a key position to furnish Epstein’s nascent sexual blackmail operation with the proceeds from the sale of PROMIS.
This link between Epstein’s sexual blackmail operation and the PROMIS software scandal is notable given that the illicit use of PROMIS by U.S. and Israeli intelligence has been for blackmail purposes on U.S. public figures and politicians, as was described in a recent MintPress report.
Can an ex-spy be trusted?
When dealing in the world of deception and intrigue that defines intelligence operations, it is often difficult to determine whether any individual linked to an intelligence agency is telling the truth. Indeed, in the United States, there are examples of elected intelligence officials committing perjury and lying to Congress on several occasions with no consequences, and of intelligence officials feeding politically motivated and untrue information to agency assets in the media.
So, are Ari Ben-Menashe’s claims regarding Epstein and the Maxwells trustworthy? In addition to the aforementioned, corroborating information for his claims, a review of Ben-Menashe’s post-intelligence career suggests this is the case.
Prior to his arrest in November 1989, Ben-Menashe was a high-ranking officer in a special unit of Israeli military intelligence. He would later claim that his arrest for attempting to sell American-made weapons to Iran was politically motivated, as he had threatened to expose what the U.S. government had done with the stolen PROMIS software if the U.S. did not cease providing Saddam Hussein’s Iraq with chemical weapons. Ben-Menashe was later acquitted when a U.S. court determined that his involvement in the attempted sale of military equipment to Iran was done on behalf of the Israeli state.
After his arrest, Ben-Menashe was visited in prison by Robert Parry, the former Newsweek contributor and Associated Press reporter who would later found and run Consortium News until his recent passing last year. Parry remembered that, during that interview, “Ben-Menashe offered me startling new information about the Iran-Contra scandal, which I thought that I knew quite well.”
Israel’s government immediately began to attack Ben-Menashe’s credibility following his interview with Parry, and claimed that Ben-Menashe had never worked for Israeli intelligence. When Parry soon found evidence that Ben-Menashe had indeed served in Israeli military intelligence, Israel’s government was then forced to admit that he had worked for military intelligence, but only as a “low-level translator.” Yet, the documentation Parry had uncovered described Ben-Menashe as having served in “key positions” and performed “complex and sensitive assignments.”
A year later, Ben-Menashe would be interviewed by another journalist, Seymour Hersh. It would be Ben-Menashe who first revealed to Hersh secrets about Israel’s nuclear program and the fact that British media mogul Robert Maxwell was an Israeli spy, revelations that Hersh would not only independently corroborate but include in his book The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy. Hersh was then sued by Robert Maxwell and the Maxwell-owned Mirror Group for libel. The case was later settled in Hersh’s favor, as the claims Hersh had made were true and not libelous. As a result, the Mirror Group paid Hersh for damages, covered his legal costs, and issued him a formal apology.
After Ben-Menashe’s interviews by Hersh and Parry, Israel’s government was apparently concerned enough about what Ben-Menashe would tell congressional investigators that it attempted to kidnap him and bring him back to Israel to face state charges, much like Israeli intelligence had done to Israel’s nuclear-weapons whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu. The plan was foiled largely thanks to Parry.
Parry, who broke many key stories related to the Iran-Contra scandal in the 1980s and beyond, was tipped off by a U.S. intelligence source about a joint U.S.-Israel plan to have Ben-Menashe first be denied entry to the United States on his planned trip to give congressional testimony. Per the plan, Ben-Menashe would be denied entry to the U.S. in Los Angeles and then be deported to Israel, where he would have stood trial for “exposing state secrets.” Parry called Ben-Menashe and convinced him to delay his flight until he secured a guarantee for safe passage from the U.S. government.
Ben-Menashe subsequently gave a sworn statement to the House Judiciary Committee that mostly focused on U.S.-Israel collusion regarding the theft and creation of a “backdoor” into the PROMIS software. Ben-Menashe offered to name names and provide corroborating evidence for several of his claims if he was offered immunity by the committee, which, for whatever reason. declined that request.
Prior to the conclusion of the Hersh “libel” trial, which would later uphold Ben-Menashe’s claims regarding Robert Maxwell’s Mossad activities as true, there was a concerted effort in the U.S. press to downplay Ben-Menashe’s credibility. For instance, Newsweek — in an article on Ben-Menashe entitled “One Man, Many Tales” — claimed that “inconsistencies may undermine Ben-Menashe’s testimony in the British courtroom proceedings,” citing inconsistencies from sources in Israel’s government and Israeli intelligence as well as Ben-Menashe’s ex-wife and Israeli journalist Shmuel (or Samuel) Segev, a former IDF colonel. It goes without saying that such sources had much to gain from any effort to discredit Ben-Menashe’s claims.
According to Parry, this media campaign, which employed American journalists with close ties to Israel’s government and intelligence agencies, was very successful “in marginalizing Ben-Menashe by 1993, at least in the eyes of the Washington Establishment.” After a years-long media campaign to discredit Ben-Menashe, “the Israelis seemed to view him as a declining threat, best left alone. He was able to pick up the pieces of his life, creating a second act as an international political consultant and businessman arranging sales of grain.” The effort to marginalize Ben-Menashe has continued well into recent years, with mainstream news outlets still referring to him as a “self-described ex-Israeli spy” — despite the well-documented fact that Ben-Menashe worked for Israeli intelligence — as a means of downplaying his claims regarding his time in Israel’s intelligence service.
After the conclusion of the Hersh libel trial, Ben-Menashe became an international political consultant who “surrounded his far-flung business activities in secrecy and got involved with some controversial international figures, such as Zimbabwe’s leader Robert Mugabe,” and
“conducted his international consulting business … in a wide variety of global hotspots, including conflict zones,” according to Parry. In addition to Mugabe, Ben-Menashe has also recently come under fire for his consulting work on behalf of Sudan’s military junta and Venezuelan opposition politician Henri Falcón.
Ben-Menashe has also maintained ties to several different intelligence services and eventually became a controversial whistleblower whose information led to the arrest of the former head of Canada’s Security Intelligence Review Committee, Arthur Porter.
As far as his character is concerned, Parry noted that Ben-Menashe could often be “his own worst enemy” and that, even though Parry considered his information regarding Iran-Contra and PROMIS reliable and noted that much of it was later corroborated, he “often compound[ed] his media problem by treating journalists in a high-handed manner, either due to his suspicions of them or his arrogance.”
Bill Hamilton, the original developer of the PROMIS software and head of Inslaw Inc., also found Ben-Menashe’s claims regarding the illicit use of PROMIS by U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies to be credible, though he expressed doubts about Ben-Menashe’s character.
Hamilton told MintPress the following about Ben-Menashe:
Ari Ben Menashe was the first source to tell us reliable information about the role of Rafi Eitan and Israeli intelligence vis-a-vis PROMIS but, in the end, of course, he was a clandestine services-type guy whose official duties include the ability and willingness to lie, cheat, and steal.”
A threat revived
While Ben-Menashe may have been viewed as a “declining threat” after the early 1990s, his plans to meet with Robert Parry of Consortium News years later in 2012 to discuss Iran-Contra and other covert dealings of the 1980s appeared to change that. Right before he planned to travel from Canada to the United States to meet with Parry and “finally prove” the truthfulness of his past claims, a fire-bomb was thrown into his Montreal home, destroying it.
Though Canadian media referred to the incendiary device as a “molotov cocktail,” Consortium News reported that “the arson squad’s initial assessment is said to be that the flammable agent was beyond the sort of accelerant used by common criminals,” leading to speculation that the accelerant was military-grade.
Had it not been for the bomb, the origins of which Canadian police failed to determine, Ben-Menashe would have traveled to the U.S. alongside a “senior Israeli intelligence figure” to be interviewed by Parry. The other intelligence-linked individual, according to Parry, “concluded that the attack was meant as a message from Israeli authorities to stay silent about the historical events that he was expected to discuss.”
Though neither Ben-Menashe nor Parry directly blamed Israel’s government for the destruction of Ben-Menashe’s home, Parry noted that the bombing did succeed in “intimidating Ben-Menashe, shutting down possible new disclosures of Israeli misconduct from the other intelligence veteran, and destroying records that would have helped Ben-Menashe prove whatever statements he might make.”
While Ben-Menashe’s post-intelligence associations with controversial governments and individuals have given plenty of fodder to the still thriving media campaign to discredit his claims about covert U.S.-Israel operations in the 1980s, there remain troubling indications that the Israeli government sees his information on decades-old events as a threat.
Now, with the major efforts by powerful Americans and Israelis to distance themselves from Jeffrey Epstein and other figures associated with his depraved sex trafficking operation, Ben-Menashe may soon again find his reputation — and perhaps more — under fire.
Feature photo | Graphic by Claudio Cabrera
Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.
Spring Has Sprung In Sweden With No Coronavirus Quarantine Or Police Enforced Lockdown
- The Facts:
Sweden has not enforced a mandatory quarantine or police enforced lock-down, they are still experiencing deaths as well as infections, but have not enforced policies in place.
- Reflect On:
Just because many governments have taken an extreme approach to "flattening the curve" does not mean that this is the best approach. Sweden trusts it's citizens to make appropriate decisions for themselves and their families, why don't ours?
While the majority of rest of the world is under a state of quarantine and some places with a police enforced lockdown, the country of Sweden takes an entirely different approach. The Western approach has triggered mass panic, fear and confusion about what is going on and when and if they will ever get to go back to how things were. The Swedish government, on the other hand has a close bond with their citizens and they have developed a sense of trust over the years by treating the adults, as adults who are capable of making informed decisions and taking appropriate measures to keep themselves and their families safe.
Sweden Takes A More Relaxed Approach
Unlike most of their European neighbours, Sweden has not closed non-essential businesses, borders or schools. They also have not banned gatherings containing two or more people. Sweden’s response to the global pandemic is being overseen mostly by the country’s Public Health Agency, which by the way, is a separate entity from their government. Sweden puts the power in the hands of the people, trusting that they will voluntarily adopt the recommended measures to delay the spread of the virus. They are still encouraging those who are vulnerable to stay at home and practice social distancing, and those who are ill to do the same, but they are not using force, hysteria, fear and panic to do so.
But in view of the evident worsening of the situation, Lena Hallengren, Minister of Social Affairs and Health and Johan Carlson, Director General of the National Institute of Public Health, presented new guidelines and regulations to try to limit the damage caused by the Covid-19 virus.
The most important of these guidelines concerns the number of customers in shops and stores, public transport and the activities of the country’s sports clubs.
Johan Carlson said, “Everyone should avoid participating in large social events, such as baptisms, weddings and big parties.” (source)
Of course, considering the state of the rest of the world, Sweden has attracted a lot of criticism from within the country and outside of it. The leading epidemiologist for the Public Health Agency, Anders Tegnell told CNBC in an interview that although his country was attempting a different strategy to defeat the spread of the virus, their aim was the same, “My view is that basically all European countries are trying to do the same thing — we’re trying to slow down the spread as much as possible to keep healthcare and society working … and we have shown some different methods to slow down the spread. Sweden has gone mostly for voluntary measures because that’s how we’re used to working, and we have a long tradition that it works rather well.”
Prime Minister of Sweden, Stefan Lofven has announced that times will be tough and has put the responsibility on the individual Swedes rather than having governments enforce strict measures, saying, “We all, as individuals, have to take responsibility. We can’t legislate and ban everything.”
Is Sweden In Danger?
It is interesting to note that as of today (April 3rd) there have been only 6,131 cases of Covid19 reported in Sweden, this ranks Sweden as 19th on the worldmeters.info list. So, in comparison to 18 other countries Sweden is actually doing alright with the measures they have put in to place.
Only time will tell if the measures taken by Sweden were appropriate or not. If they are able to manage the problem and still effectively “flatten the curve” it may be upsetting to the all the countries that are currently being asked to stay inside at all costs. A positive aspect to Sweden’s approach is that they are not using fear tactics as a means to control their citizens, less fear/stress means stronger immune systems.
Imagine if your government trusted you as a citizen enough to make the best decisions for you and your family based off recommendations instead of enforcing measures to control its citizens. I mean, can we get a little credit here to make appropriate decisions on our own during times like these? Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi, a specialist in microbiology and one of the most cited research scientists in German history shared his thoughts on the measures that are being taken to combat the new coronavirus, he referred to them as “draconian.” You can see his statement and read more about that here.
According to 21stcenturywire.com,
Only time will tell what the best response to this year’s outbreak turns out to be, but for the moment Sweden’s more laissez-faire approach should be heartening to its population. The government entrusting its citizens to observe advice and adjust their behaviours accordingly without the threat of police intervention is something that should be applauded in a free society. It also maintains a higher level of trust going in the other direction, from the public to the government. On a practical level, not employing draconian measures immediately prevents hysteria from taking hold amongst the public and allows for a slower escalation of measures should they be needed.
Trust is an important factor in a democracy where a government rules by consent of the people. Public trust in Sweden is exceptionally high, with citizens having faith that their politicians are acting in the public interest. Their propensity to treat adults like adults is key to that trust remaining.”
Just because many governments worldwide have enforced these strict measures doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the only option we have and they are the only way to effectively stop the spread. There are a lot of points worth pondering when it comes to the approach taken by most of the western world and it’s important to always keep asking questions. Absolutely stay home if you’re sick or have a compromised immune system, but for those who aren’t don’t forget to get out in the sunshine, get some fresh air, go for walks in nature and try to mitigate some of the fear and stress you may be feeling.
We are all in this together.
Articles From Collective Evolution That Go Into More Detail About The New Coronavirus.
What Is Humanity Capable Of? This Man Got 152 Million Mangrove Trees Planted In 10 Years
- The Facts:
Haidar el Ali, who once served as Senegal's Minister of Environment, has led one of the largest reforestation projects the world has ever seen. The program that has successfully planted 152 million mangrove buds in the Casamance Delta, Senegal.
- Reflect On:
If one person can do this, why can't the 'global elite' who have access to tremendous resources do more of this type of thing? What's really on?
Haidar el Ali, who once served as Senegal’s Minister of Environment, led a program that has successfully planted 152 million mangrove buds in the Casamance Delta of souther Senegal over the past decade. This represents one of the largest reforestation projects the world has ever seen. He’s been planting since 2009, and the success of the project truly goes to show what the human race is capable of, let alone one person.
As most of you reading this know, forests are one of the most exploited habitats on our planet, and a number of industries are responsible for their rapid destruction. Animal agriculture, alone, for example, makes up the large majority of amazon deforestation. It’s linked to 75 percent of historic deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. Nearly a third of biodiversity loss to date has been linked to animal agriculture. According to some estimates, 27 per cent – more than a quarter – of the Amazon biome will be without trees by 2030 if the current rate of deforestation continues. (source)
To truly begin exploring how new ideas can be implemented practically, watch the following video we recently put out: Regenerate: beyond The CO2 Narrative
Deforestation is a tragedy that plagues our world, and it’s something that can be solved as we have the potential as one human race to initiate large scale tree planting and reforestation, and this example from Senegal is a great example of that.
In a video interview with BBC, Haidar described how the original mangrove forest in Southern Senegal was disrupted in the 80s and 90s as the nation began to build roads which diverted or ended the flow of rivers. “At the time there were no environmental impact studies, of course.” After this he described lumbermen who clear-cut the mangroves, and then goes on to explain that the salt from sea water ended up coming in as a result and poisoning nearby rice fields. This really got peoples attention to the point where they began thinking about replacing what had been lost.
The truth is, the human race has a tremendous amount of potential. All we hear from politicians and mainstream media seems to be nothing but talk, without the implementation of actual solutions. They’ve been doing this for years, yet you have people like Ali out there who are actually getting things done without access to the resources that the world’s elite have access to. If one man can do something as tremendous as this, imagine if the most wealthiest people in the world came together, pooled their resources and started something similar? It seems that ideas are always given, and conferences are always held and initiatives are always started, but nothing ever seems to get done when it comes to the political sphere. Countries agree to enter into certain accords that really do nothing for the planet, and crisis’ like climate change and pandemics, for example, always seem to be used for the elite to somehow profit off of them.
It’s time to ask the question, do our ‘leaders’ really have the intention to change our world for the better? Are our global organizations and politicians put in place to tackle these issues really making planet Earth a priority?
It’s hard to imagine that we couldn’t change this planet and clean it up in the blink of an eye if it actually were a priority.
If we can shut down the planet for months due to an outbreak, why can’t we do the same to make sure everybody is fed? Why can’t we do the same to spark a massive global reforestation campaign? Why are there so many barriers and obstacles to implementing solutions that can help change our world? The solutions are abundant and available, so one should ask themselves, if the solutions to our problems aren’t the issue, what is? Something to think about…
White House: Out of 327 Million Americans – Coronavirus May Kill Up To 200,000
- The Facts:
In the latest White House press conference regarding the novel coronavirus, President Trump and his team predicted that, with the current data available, between 100,000 and 200,000 may die from Coronavirus.
- Reflect On:
Are we doing the right thing here? How accurate is the date, do we have enough data? Why haven't we taken these measures before for previous outbreaks and already existing coronaviruses that infect millions of people every single year?
In one of Donald Trump’s latest press conferences, it was suggested that up to 200,000 American citizens will die from the new coronavirus. The briefing included projections between 100,000 and 200,000, as a possible best-case scenario, and indicated that they are working hard and that they can end up with a number below one hundred thousand if everything goes well. You may be thinking that one hundred thousand and two hundred thousand deaths out of three hundred and twenty seven million Americans is nothing, and in a sense, compared to other viruses and diseases that are circulating out there, you’re right. The difference with the coronavirus, however, is that the deaths are accumulating in such a short period of time.
That being said, the world, as well as America, has been through major pandemics before, with the last one receiving major media attention being the swine flu. This particular strain of the flu virus infected 1.4 billion people around the world, and in one year took approximately 60,000 American lives. The flu alone is responsible for up to 70,000 deaths every single year in America alone. In fact, a large portion of this with a flu virus, prior to the new coronavirus, already have some sort of coronavirus infection within them. (source)
Some doctors and scientists around the world are raising red flags and calling into question the measures that are being taken as a result of the new coronavirus. Claiming that there is unnecessary panic and hysteria going on. For example, Dr. Martin Dubravec, an allergist-immunologist, wrote an article for the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons published on March 29th, in it he states the following in an attempt to provide people with perspective.
Of all the deaths reported in the United States as of today, only 2 have been in patients under 18 years of age. Currently, our death rate (deaths/confirmed cases) has been as high as 2.3% and as low as 1.1% over the past 2 weeks. The President’s COVID-19 Taskforce estimated that as many at 1/1000 New Yorkers may have the virus. If this were projected to the entire United States (population 328,239,523), then the total number of COVID-19 would be approximately 328, 239 and deaths from COVID-19 (1.8% death rate) at 5,909. Even if this ends up being wrong by 1,000 percent, the death rate would still be 59,000, i.e., within range of the estimates for influenza deaths. You can look at it in another way. 98% of people who get COVID-19 fully recover!
As of today (March 29, 2020) there are 123,828 confirmed cases and 2229 deaths (1.8% death rate) from COVID-19 in the United States. Compare that with the influenza estimates so far this year: 29,000 deaths! And the flu season is not yet over, with the CDC estimating as many as 59,000 will die of influenza by May of this year.
The CDC estimates a death rate of 7.4% for influenza like illnesses and pneumonia this year. This death rate is similar to previous years. Who in the media is discussing this? (source)
Coronaviruses have been in existence for a number of years, they infect tens of millions of people every single year worldwide and also contribute to their deaths. It appears that the novel coronavirus will be no different, but I don’t have a crystal ball.
paper recently published in The International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents titled “SARS-CoV-2: fear versus data” claims that the problem of SARS-CoV-2 is probably being overestimated. (source)
In the recent White House briefing where the president provided the White House’s estimates, Dr. Deborah Leah Birx, an American physician and diplomat who specializes in HIV/AIDS immunology, vaccine research, and global health who is currently serving as the Coronavirus Response Coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, stated that there is not a shortage of ventilators in New York City, as claimed by multiple mainstream media outlets, like CNN. This is also confusing, to see these comments in a White House Press conference directly contradict what mainstream media outlets are reporting. Not to say hospitals are not overwhelmed right now, but mainstream media also using hospital footage from Italy and claiming it’s from New York further contributed to the distrust people have of mainstream media.
Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi, a specialist in microbiology and one of the most cited research scientists in German history recently shared his thoughts on the measures that are being taken to combat the new coronavirus. Bhakdi created a YouTube channel on March 18th, and has since posted four videos that have received more than one million views, total, in a very short span of time. Based on his reasoning, the current measures being put in by global governments are unnecessary and “draconian.” You can watch his last video, which was in the form of a letter written to the German Chancellor, here. If you can’t understand German, be sure to turn on the English subtitles.
Implementation of the current draconian measures that are so extremely restrict fundamental rights can only be justified if there is reason to fear that a truly, exceptionally dangerous virus is threatening us. Do any scientifically sound data exist to support this contention for COVID-19? I assert that the answer is simply, no.
Dr. Wolfgang Wodargm, a well known pulmonologist sharing his thoughts on the new coronavirus. In it, he questions the current lockdown measures being taken by governments worldwide. You can watch that video and read more about it here. Again, if you can’t understand German, be sure to turn on the English subtitles.
These sentiments also echo those of three Stanford professors of medicine who recently shared their expert opinion that extraordinary claims require extraordinary data. You can read more about that specifically, here.
Will Donald Trump and his staff be correct? Will the death toll in the United States be no higher than 200,000. We have yet to see. It should be noted that models are always very inaccurate, and new data is constantly coming in that are changing the projections.
For the most part, it seems that the measures we are taken and have may not be warranted, but is it better to be safe than sorry, or is something else going on here? Just simply suggesting that something else could be taking place will have ‘fact-checkers’ all over one’s platform, censoring it and also flagging it as ‘false news.’
According to Dr. Ron Paul. people should ask themselves whether the actual danger of the disease massively exaggerated by those who seek to profit – financially or politically – from the ensuing panic. He was flagged by fact-checkers for simply sharing his opinion.
Nonetheless, we have provided many tools to not only move beyond fear, but to increase your immune system with food, breathwork and quality supplements. We have also put out some of our latest content o help people shift conversations away from a far narrative and into one where we can question our reality and how we can effectively change it. See the links below for details.
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