#Alms #Charity: #Zakāt – The Onus is on You to Ensure it is Spent in the Right Place!

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ZAKĀT – THE ONUS IS ON YOU TO ENSURE IT IS SPENT IN THE RIGHT PLACE | | 6 May 2020

 

giving

Zakāt is fundamental obligation – quite literally a pillar of Islam and a subject of detailed, intricate rulings. Given we are in the blessed month of Ramadān, this means that we are in a period where Muslims are more likely to give their Zakāt money. With predictions of global Zakāt funds reaching $600 billion each year and talk of it stimulating an economy in recession following a global pandemic, its use – and potential misuse – is the focus of many.

There are Muslim organisations – some doing amazing work in the service of Muslims – which will adopt fiqh approaches and views that open Zakāt categories. This allows them to cover any cost in the organisation. This situation is a travesty as it puts Muslims in a precarious position of condemning deformist approaches promoted by counter-extremists and traitors, which are then, at the level of usul, adopted by us. If an organisation adopts an approach to open the categories of Zakāt that leads to Zakāt money being spent on counter-extremists and deformists (see NZF, as an example, which has since made changes), we have little standing when we have contributed to its methodological normalisation in pursuit of our own causes and ends.

For further details on the problems such approaches result in, see the NZF article and the US situation elaborated by Ahmed Shaikh and Shaykh Osman Umarji.

Ramadān however is an opportunity for us to calibrate our comprehension of reality, which factors both the material and the unseen operative causes that envelope the believer. As Muslims we should adopt caution in a time of confusion against a backdrop of concerted efforts to destabilise our Dīn. It is through this caution, through consciousness of Allāh’s commands and prohibitions that we may be given a way out and the requisite resources.

“And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out. And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him.” [65:2-3]

Whilst this may be happening, the onus is on Zakāt-payers to go beyond organisations confirming they are “Zakāt eligible”. This is because *Zakāt payers are responsible* for ensuring that the Zakāt is spent on eligible avenues.

Some advice in this regard:

  1. Find out the orthodox position of your madhab concerning how Zakāt should be spent by speaking to your local scholars.
  2. Contact the organisation and confirm that their Zakāt policy on their website is still up to date.
  3. If they don’t have one, ask for one. If possible, obtain a breakdown of how the Zakāt money was used.
  4. Do not give your Zakāt money until you have confirmed whether it is used in accordance with the orthodox positions of your madhab. Again, confirm with ‘Ulamā if needed.

These steps are important. I am coming across cases where Zakāt payers have given their money on the claim by organisations that they are Zakāt eligible, without realising they are not eligible according to their own scholars. Organisations may be eligible according to opinions they adhere to, but this doesn’t translate into Zakāt eligibility for all Muslims.

The issue is severe when one considers the repercussions. In the above scenario, where Zakāt has already been paid to an ineligible organisation, it may be the case that the Zakāt will have to be repaid (again this should be confirmed with ulama of your understanding).

If you are paying zakat, it is imperative that you do the necessary due diligence to ensure it ends up in the right hands.

 


via Zakāt – The Onus is on You to Ensure it is Spent in the Right Place


ALSO SEE:

This Article Could be Zakat-Eligible | MUSLIM MATTERS | Co-written by Shaykh Osman Umarji

Who Accounts For This Pillar of Islam?

 

 

As writers on MuslimMatters, it came as a surprise when the website we write on marked itself zakat-eligible on its fundraiser for operations in Ramadan. This website has previously highlighted the misuse and abuse of zakat for vague and dodgy reasons, including instances of outright fraud by nonprofit corporations.  We have lamented the seemingly inexorable march from zakat being for living human beings in need to financial play-doh for nonprofit corporate boards.

Estimated global zakat is somewhere between $200 billion to $1 trillion.  Eliminating global poverty is estimated at $187 billion– not just for Muslims, but everyone.  There continue to be strong interests in favor of more putty-like zakat to benefit the interests of the organizations that are not focused on reducing poverty. Thus, in many ways, a sizeable chunk of zakat benefits the affluent rather than the needy. Zakat, rather than being a credit to the Muslim community, starts to look more like an indictment of it.

No, it’s not ikhtilaf

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The recent article on this website, Dr. Usama Al-Azmi seemed somewhat oblivious to the cavalier way the nonprofit corporate sector in the United States treats Zakat.  The article did not do justice to legitimate concerns about zakat distribution by dismissing the issue as one of “ikhtilaf,” or a reasonable difference of opinion, as it ignored the broader concern about forces working hard to make zakat a “wild west” act of worship where just about anything goes.

It’s essential to identify the crux of the problem. Zakat has eight categories of permissible beneficiaries in the Quran. 1 Two are various levels of poor, distribution overhead; then there are those whose hearts are to be inclined,  free captives, relieve indebtedness, the wayfarer, and the cause of Allah (fisabilillah). The category of fisabilillah, historically,  the majority of scholars have interpreted as the cost of jihad (like actual fighting). However, in recent times, Muslim nonprofit corporations, with support of learned Muslim leaders, have adopted an increasingly aggressive and vague posture that allows nearly any beneficial cause to get zakat.

The concerns about the abuse of zakat, and the self-serving desire by corporations to turn fisabilillah into a wastebasket Zakat category that could be “incredibly broad” has to do with far more than a difference of opinion (ikhtilaf ) about the eligibility of Dawah organizations. Let’s assume dawah and educational organizations are eligible to administer Zakat funds.  We need to know what that means in practice. What we have is a fundamental question the fisabilillah-can-mean-virtually-anything faction never manages to answer: are there any limits to zakat usage at all?

Show Your Work

We fully understand that in our religious practice, there is a set of rules.  In Islamic Inheritance for example, for example, we cannot cavalierly change the definition of what a “daughter” is to mean any girl you want to treat like a daughter. There is an established set of rules relating to acts of worship. For the third pillar of Islam, zakat, there seem to be no limits to the absurd-sounding questions we can ask that now seem plausible.

Unfortunately, we have too many folks who invoke “ikhtilaf” to justify adopting almost any opinion and not enough people who are willing to explain their positions. We need a better understanding of zakat and draw the lines on when nonprofit corporations are going too far.

You can be conservative and stand for zakat as an act of worship that contributes to social justice. You can have a more expansive interpretation friendly to the nonprofit corporate sector’s needs to include the revenue source. Wherever you stand, if you don’t provide evidence and develop detailed uniform and accepted principles and rules that protect those people zakat was meant to help, you are inviting abuse and at the very least, opening the door towards inequitable results. 2

Can you feed the needy lentils and rice for $100 a meal, with margins of $99 a meal going to pay salaries to provide these meals and fundraise for them?  Why or why not?

Can a Dawah organization purchase an $80 million jet for its CEO, who can use it to travel the world to do “dawah,” including places like Davos or various ski resorts?  What rules exist that would prevent something like this? As far as we know, nothing at all.

Bubble Charity

In the United States, demographic sorting is a common issue that affects all charitable giving, not just giving by Muslims. The most affluent live in neighborhoods with other people who are generally as prosperous as they are. Certain places seem almost perversely designed to allow wealthy residents to be oblivious to the challenges of the poor.  There are undeniable reasons why what counts as “charity” for the wealthy means giving money to the Opera, the Met Gala, and Stanford University.

The only real way affluent Muslims know they supposed to care about poor people is that maybe they have a Shaikh giving khutbas talking about the need to do so and their obligation of zakat once a year or so. That is now becoming a thing of the past. Now it is just care about fisabilillah- it means whatever your tender heart wants it to mean.

As zakat becomes less about the poor, appeals will be for other projects with a higher amount of visibility to the affluent.  Nonprofits now collect Zakat for galas with celebrities. Not fundraising at the gala dinner mind you, but merely serving dinner and entertaining rich people. Educational institutions and Masajid that have dawah activities (besides, everything a Masjid does is fisabilillah) can be quite expensive. Getting talent to run and teach in these institutions is also costly. Since many of the people running these institutions are public figures and charismatic speakers with easy access and credibility with the affluent. It is far easier for them to get Zakat funds for their projects.

People who benefit from these projects because they send their children to these institutions or attend lectures themselves will naturally feel an affinity for these institutions that they won’t have with the poor. Zakat will stay in their bubble.  Fisabilillah.

Dawa is the new Jihad

Jihad, as in war carried out by a Khalifah and paid for with zakat funds, is an expensive enterprise. But no society is in a permanent state of warfare, so they can work towards eliminating poverty during peacetime. Muslim communities have done this in the past.  Dawah is qualitatively different from jihad as it is permanent. There was never a period in Islamic history when there was no need to do dawah. Many times in history, nobody was fighting jihad. There was no period of Islamic history when there were there was never a need for money to educate people. Of course, earlier Muslims used zakat in education in limited, defined circumstances. It is not clear why limitations no longer apply.

Indeed dawah is a broad category.  For example, many people regard the Turkish costume drama “Diriliş: Ertuğrul” as dawah.  Fans of the show can’t stop talking about the positive effects it has had on their lives and their iman. What prevents zakat from funding future expensive television costume dramas? Nothing, as far as we can see.

No Standards or Accountability

Unfortunately, in the United States, there are no uniform, specific standards governing zakat. Anything goes now when previously in Islamic history, there were appropriate standards. Nonprofit corporations themselves decide if they are zakat-eligible or not. In some instances, they provide objectively comical explanations, which supporters within the corporation’s bubble pretty much always swallow whole. Corporations don’t have to segregate Zakat-eligible funds from general funds. When they do, they can make up their own rules for how and when they spend zakat. No rules make zakat indistinguishable from any other funding source since they can change their standards year after year depending on their funding needs (if they have rules at all) and nobody would be the wiser. It is exceedingly rare for these corporations to issue detailed reports on how they use zakat.

The Shift to Meaninglessness

Organizations with platforms (like the one that runs this website) are going to be eager to get on the zakat gravy train. There is no cost to slapping a “zakat-eligible” label on yourself, either financial or social. It seems like everyone does it now. Some Zakat collectors are conscientious and care about helping the poor, though they are starting to look a little old-fashioned. For them, it may make sense to certify Zakat administrators like halal butchers.

Zakat used to be about helping discrete categories of human beings that can benefit from it.  It can now mean anything you want it to mean. In the end, though, without real standards, it may mean nothing at all.

Footnotes:

  1. The sunnah also highlights the essence of zakah as tending to the needs of the poor. For example, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) commanded Muadh bin Jabal, when sending him to Yemen, to teach the people that Allah has obligated charity upon them to be taken from their rich and given to their poor (Sahih Muslim).
  2. In Islamic legal theory (usool al-fiqh), sadd al-dhariya is a principle that refers to blocking the means to evil before it can materialize. It is invoked when a seemingly permissible action may lead to unethical behavior. This principle is often employed in financial matters.

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#Scaremongering #Covid19: #Coronavirus: The only thing spreading “exponentially” is #fear!

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Coronavirus: The only thing spreading “exponentially” is fearFewer people are sick each day, and yet there’s no sign of panic abating | Kit Knightly | Off Guardian | 5 March 2020

Shall we start off this little overview with some cold hard facts? Not the ones about death rates, and the flu, and clinical diagnosis. We’ve done that. A lot.

No this is just simple maths; There are, according to official estimates, fewer people with coronavirus today, than yesterday.

That has been true every day since February 17th.

Here’s a graph showing global “active cases”:

Here’s a graph showing the number of daily new diagnoses with the number of daily recoveries:

Here’s a graph showing the daily change in death rate vs the daily change in recovery rate:

To sum up, according to official estimates, every day for over two weeks, fewer people have the disease, a smaller percentage of people are dying of the disease and MORE people are recovering from the disease.

Nobody in the media is talking about this.

Instead, we constantly see “coronavirus cases reach 95,000” in the headlines, without adding the corollary that 54,000 of those people are already better.

When the media aren’t ignoring the less-than-intimidating statistics, they’re trying to re-purpose them. The Atlantic recently published an article literally headlined Greece, where only 31 people have even been diagnosed (nobody has yet died).

California, ever a panic waiting to happen, is declaring a state of emergency over their 53 cases. One man has died, he was old and had “underlying health issues”. But still…emergency.

There’s money to be made in panic, of course. The IMF and World Bank, ever the harbingers or harmony and not at all opportunistic vultures, are ready to ride in on a white horse:

the International Monetary Fund and World Bank issued a joint statement saying they stood ready to help the worst affected countries by providing “emergency financing, policy advice, and technical assistance”.

Some good old “emergency finance” will help out any country that needs to protect itself from disease. Don’t worry, you’ll have it paid off in a few decades. Maybe.

In America, the same Senate so frequently asking Bernie Sanders how he intends to pay for his healthcare plans, just approved 8 BILLION dollars in emergency spending for the coronavirus. For those of you interested, that’s 56 million dollars per infected US citizen.

From what we know of bloated US government contracts, this money will be filed through lobbyists to medical supply and emergency measures companies, on whose board a surprising number of current and/or former senators sit.

In Italy, 7.5 billion Euros is being “made available” for “families and businesses” affected. The question of how much goes to families, and how much to businesses, is a key one. One the media will probably never answer.

And behind all of that, the authoritarians, mouths watering, drip poison into the public ear:

Harsh measures horrify civil libertarians, but they often save lives, especially when they are imposed in the early days.

That was in the New York Times.

Any coronavirus ‘lockdown’ would initially be voluntary

Adds The Guardian (they don’t say how long this “initial” voluntary period will last).

The Atlantic goes further, laying out plans to mitigate the “worst case scenario” covering information:

A single trusted source should inform the public what we know about COVID-19, what we don’t know, and what we’ll do to find out what we don’t know.

Emergency powers:

Congress must provide the FDA with the authority needed to prevent and mitigate medical supply-chain disruptions.

And quarantine:

Social distancing may become the norm, as governments and organizations close schools, halt mass transit, and cancel sports, entertainment, religious, and political gatherings. People could be quarantined in their homes, medical facilities, apartments, or dormitories.

It’s clear a certain type of person is in love with the world this lie-stoked fear will enable them to build. In some ways, they have already won.

The public is long past accepting social media companies will working hand-in-hand with the state to block “misinformation” and “boost” official sources.

Further, even if the virus continues to decline, the powers that be – and their talking heads – will simply claim (as many already are) that China’s total authoritarian control saved lives.

That’s the real campaign here. A power play for draconian social control in the name of public health. For now, as the Guardian helpfully reminds us, it’s voluntary. But the implied threat behind that is obvious: As things get more serious, that will change.

After all, this is just a virus – and a comparatively minor one – if we’re happy to see our governments take draconian measures to halt this…what about more significant threats?

Why don’t we treat the climate crisis with the same urgency as coronavirus?

…asks Owen Jones in today’s Guardian. He is not alone.

Well, maybe one day soon we will Owen. Won’t that be nice.

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Binra

If scrutinised, none of it holds up.
But people learn toto ‘see’ the emperor’s robes, as their life in the world demands it.
Surrogate power operates upon deceit
…and fear.
If you believe the protection then you have a vested interest in not seeing the racket.
Hysteria and panic are being induced by design.
The ability to choke back on life by threat, scarcity and control of ‘solutions’ is the nature of its game.
‘Control’, now consolidates globally to grip life so that it is effectively being paralysed. Progressively killed under systemic subjection to blind structures of ‘control’

Fear, conflict and control is the mindset of division that rules out health, but its toxic debt is concealed by repackaging in complex medical instruments. It is not open to being called to account – being ‘too big to fail’.

Systemic failure is the result of corruption.
Faulty decisions serving self-illusion in fear of exposure.
Blind to its own compulsion under the spell of its own spin.
When tempted by fear to deny truth – notice the crowing of cocks.

So yes, fear is the underlying contagion, and the testing, diagnosis and treatment parameters vary.
While I see that we all live and breath within a terrestrial Biome of Life-Support, that has genetic abilities of adaptation far greater than we recognise – especially as autonomous independent ‘control-minds’, I also see that in order to maintain the self-separateness of such a personal and collective social organisation, life has to be demonised so as to induce surrogate substitution.

But if you grew up believing in germs – it will not seem credible to you that they are serving the body ad not attacking it. IE” Toxicities can initiate a fever and inflammation as attempt to detoxification. Nursing is called for and yet flagging the fever as the disease is missing the underlying matrix of cause in toxic-exposures or ingestion – that are themselves part of a deeper collective breakdown of communication.
Why are pesticide and crop yield profits more valued than the lives of other human beings? Is that part of a covert war on global humanity by hegemonic monopoly?

Notice that organised crime is protected and integrated into the highest reaches of social organisation.
A revolving door.
You don’t need a disease once you can treat the ‘biological markers’.
Note that after what – 40 -50 years of bunkum science, it is being acknowledged that there is no scientific medical basis for the limiting intake of saturated fats. (nor for lowering cholesterol)
There is a lot of junk science – backed by Big Money and invested institutional identities – too big to fail…not!

Mucho
Mucho

I think it’s a bit suspicious how lots of new laws have all of a sudden been passed since this “outbreak”. It’s as if they were sat there ready to go and, boom, here they are and blimey, we had better sign off all this into law NOW, let’s get all these new laws passed NOW in this time of huge crisis…..saving the world making us all safe. You’re safer but…..whispering…..you’re less free now as well.
When these things happen, it’s always worth stepping back and looking at what they are doing in the situation. What are they actually doing here? They are passing new laws, they are conditioning the public to bow down to very harsh measures, they’re talking a lot about vaccines too, which is worrying. They are talking about the military being brought in to the NHS.
This is starting to look like a textbook, routine establishment dance of problem, reaction, solution.
I have no idea what is really going on here, but the way the authorities are acting, singing off the hymnsheet, combined with some strange and almost familiar anomolies, like the fact that in the BBC production “Contagion”, the first case occured in Haslemere and yes, you guessed it, the first mystery case of CV in the UK occured in…..Haslemere. Peter Power springs to mind instantly. Just bizarre. Could be coincedence, but when you keep getting coincedences and you know the track record of the source of the info…..
https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/haslemere-coronavirus-bbc-four-contagion-17844757

Max
Max

The number was consistently falling because China has completely halted its economy to control the spread of virus. Don’t expect anything like it anywhere else in the world, brace yourself for further surprises.

Simon Hodges

Interesting article. May not age well given the data coming out of Italy which is challenging the narrative output by the CCP Kit apparently puts so much faith in but can’t rationalise.

pasha
pasha

But . . . but . . . Panic! We need to panic! We’re afraid! Very afraid! Running out of loo roll and alcohol wipes! Milk! The stock market’s crashing! It’s the end of the world!

Emily Durron
Emily Durron

There’s more:

Under the new emergency plan, “both police and healthcare professionals will be able to detain people suspected of having the virus”

That’s lovely. You go down to see your GP because you’ve got a bit of a cough, and the doc says “We are detaining you under our emergency powers, and if you resist or fail to co-operate fully we will call the police for back up”.

Or you sneeze in the High Street, and a police snatch squad pile you into the back of their van to be held until further notice.

Is this for real? How much of this fucking Gestapo shit are people going to take before they say “We are not putting up with this bollocks anymore”?

Ieuan Einion
Ieuan Einion

In the UK, on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday morning Legal and General’s CEO Nigel Wilson was asked about the company’s latest profits (£1.8 billion including a premium of £155 million gained from people dying earlier than expected).

The interviewer saw the opportunity to bring up Coronavirus. Nothing to do with a one-off virus, retorted Wilson, it can only be put down to the worrying trend of the past 20 years that has seen life expectancy for poorer people in some of the bigger British cities dip to 58 whilst for for richer people it is 85.

I had four paying professional engagements in March (playing the violoncello in an orchestra in NW France). Now I have nothing as the epidemic of fear takes root, precaution becomes paranoia and my work is cancelled or postponed. I’m not going to be compensated and nor are the majority of the collateral victims of this situation.

As I understand it Covid19 kills up to 3.4% of sufferers. Virulent ‘flu’ epidemics can do the same and worse (Spanish ‘flu’ of 1918 e.g which killed 50 million). This season an estimated 31 million US citizens had ‘flu’ and an estimated 30,000 have died as a result (c. 0.1% by my calculation). In both cases, as has always been the case with viral epidemics, it is largely the aged and those with weakened immune systems who are the victims.

Just like the supposed virus of antisemitism (yes, the words virus, viral and plague are often used in this connection) there seem to be actors at work with a vested interest in making a mountain out of a molehill.

 

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via Coronavirus: The only thing spreading “exponentially” is fear — OffGuardian

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#BookReview: #SocialEngineering the #Masses! #Democracy #Family #Sovereignty #CriticalThinking #Propaganda

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Robert David Steele’s blog

TAVISTOCK INSTITUTE: Social Engineering the Masses by Daniel Estulin (Trine Day, 2015)

6 Stars – A Seminal Work Integrating Deep Looks from Others – A Mind-Altering Soul-Enhancing Book

Given the author’s past as a former Russian intelligence employee, I have considered the possibility that this book is an active disinformation treatise. While some of this information may be exaggerated or mis-interpreted, on balance I believe this to be a most valuable holistic perspective essential to taking down the Deep State.

My bottom line up front: the Deep State — the vestiges of the Black Nobility/Ceasar, the British Empire, the Vatican, the Zionists, and the Freemasons (33+ only – the rest can be saved) and their banking fronts including the Rothschilds and Central Banks — are the common enemies of America, China, and Russia as well as all other nation-states and cultural/ethnic/linguistic tribes. We are not doing well at collaborating against these common enemies.

This book floored me. Written in 2011 and republished in 2015, this book is one of three in the past ten years that have altered my perception of reality. The other two:

I thought I understood covert action and its subset propaganda. I did not. What this book makes clear, with meticulous naming of names (drawing on varied noted sources), is that virtually everything about our daily lives is propaganda, from church and school to the news to social media to government lies and “statistics.” I am a fan of Jon Rappoport’s work (The Matrix and his blog No More Fake News), I managed a false flag operation for the CIA, I have done a great deal to confront fake news, but this book leaves me almost breathless with disbelief. EVERYTHING is a programmed lie – I am reminded of Barbara Honegger’s IN THE ROOM recollection of William Casey telling Ronald Reagan:

“We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

Barbara Honegger, Quora, 25 November 2014

At the above link, do not miss Bill Bray, retired CIA scientist, on the fake news culture that CIA spawns.

The saddest and most troubling aspect of this book for me, as a former CIA operations officer, was its documentation of the degree to which CIA, in active collaboration with universities funded by the Rockefellers and other elites, deliberately created the drug culture in the 1960’s, liberally dispending LSD and other drugs, and in particularly, handing out 50,000 or so LSD tabs at Woodstock. The author is compelling in suggesting that the Grateful Dead (perhaps unwitting) were a covert operation by the CIA intended to introduce and then proliferate the drug and consciousness culture, reducing by a considerable number those able to reach adulthood without losing a substantial portion of their brain cells.

QUOTE (110): “At Woodstock,” writes journalist Donald Phau, “nearly half a million youth gathered to be drugged and brainwashed on a farm. The victims were isolated, immersed in filth, pumped with [free] psychedelic drugs, and kept awake continuously for three straight days, and all with the full complicity of the FBI and government officials.”

Decades later, and after Viet-Nam, we have the crack cocaine explosion at the intersection of the Nicaraguan contras, the US Marine Corps and El Toro, and the CIA.

Review: Dark Alliance–The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion

The second most troubling aspect of this book for me, as a lapsed Catholic and still Christian who believes strongly in the family unit as the foundation for national power (along with the education of its citizens in the art of critical reasoned thinking) was the documentation of how the pill was explicitly invented and popularized (along with Affirmative Action) in order to break up families and foster a libertine culture harmful to children, at the same time that television and Hollywood were used to dumb down the public and make all manner of perversions “normal.” Herbert Marcuse and others have defined “repressive tolerance” as the ultimate destroyer of family, community, and tribal values: when “anything goes,” which is the Democratic Party’s approach to life, then NOTHING is sacred.

Betty Boop: France Legalizes Pedophila — Any Child, Any Age UPDATE 1 Comment, Pedos are People Poster, Marcuse on “Repressive Tolerance”

Although the author relies heavily on one or two sources around which he builds a chapter, he has a gift for synthesis and a gift for narrative, and I have to say that this book is a capstone book – a book so important that if I had the money I would be handing out ten million copies tomorrow.

There is a Trumpian bottom line that I want to emphasize up front: the absolute worst nightmare for the Deep State and the 1% elite seeking to create a New World Order in which the 99% are dumbed down drugged up automatons, is a strong family unit and bottom up community ethos that values individual learning and independence of mind. We are at the tail end of fifty years of elite efforts to destroy our ability to think for ourselves while seeking to infect us with both physical and mental diseases, all the while carrying out eugenics and euthanasia programs ranging from vaccines that sterilize to wars based on 935 lies (Iraq).

Review: 935 Lies – The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity

We are in the midst of a moral and spiritual decline that has been deliberately contrived over the past seventy two years, since 1947 to be precise (the National Security Act and more). CIA was created by Wall Street to be its secret fixer and destabilizer not only abroad, but in the USA, establishing covert and controlled positions in every institution of significance including local law enforcement and of course state governments – Governor Jesse Ventura has spoken and written to this point.

Review: The Devil’s Chessboard – Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government

There are three targets that the Deep State – the New World Order elitists – desire to destroy:

  • the first is the individual, who cannot be allowed to be effectively armed, educated, and independent;
  • the second is the family, which Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew once called the bedrock of civilization and which others have said is the precise opposite of the industrial slavery model;
  • the second is the nation-state, that cannot be allowed to be effectively armed, educated, and independent.

The author, drawing on thin but balanced sources, excels at making it clear that all the chaos in the world is contrived – the whole point is to keep us all off balance and unable to realize that there is ample wealth for everyone if we simply come together with intelligence and integrity. We are being lied to, divided and conquered, drugged up, “herded,” and generally repressed mentally, spiritually, and physically. 600 lb people are not an accident – they are a symptom of a complete breakdown – BY DESIGN – of the cultural and social mores that characterize healthy people living in healthy communities.

The author excels at documenting – with the help of his few cited sources – the timeline from World War II to today – in which the psychological operations profession saw a marriage of the Nazis, the British, and the CIA, in service to the 1%, toward the end of asserting political control over everyone on the basis of driving everyone into a state of psychosis using programmed behavior modification.

The New World Order (One World Order) fascist corporate state demands the end of nationalism, the repression of languages and cultures and ethnic or cultural identities, the fragmentation of the family, and the dissolution of community. In other words, everything that we in “fly over” country or the rural heartland, believe is our essence. I cannot help but conclude that California and New York are now like the concentration camp or prison “trustees” of the neo-Nazi elitists, and this is one reason why the Electoral College is so important – to keep those two states populated by libertine morons from destroying America the Beautiful.

Early on the author talks about how the elites understand that local sheriffs loyal to their local communities are a major obstacle to the imposition of a “national” police regime, and I contemplate how we have since 9/11 – a false flag operation by the Zionists with the complicity of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld (and then the post-event obstruction of justice and complicity in murder after the fact of Robert Mueller) – militarized our police and turned the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) into a national Gestapo that specializes in false flag operations from Sandy Hook to the Boston Bombing to Orlando and beyond.

Memoranda for the President on 9/11: Time for the Truth — False Flag Deep State Truth! UPDATE 14: Spanish Translation

The author covers MKULTRA and mind-control to an extent, and between this book and other reading I am now persuaded that virtually every “active shooter” since 9/11 has been a mind-controlled individual explicitly activated to terrorize us and justify even more draconian police measures.

QUOTE (13): Deliberate and habitual falsification of the information is a way of creating desensitization effects in the mass population by causing socially-accredited interpretation of cause-effect relations to violate sensuous rational interpretation of experience.”

The author offers some provocative information about Vladimir Putin as a Freemason also subject to MI-6 mind-control who freed himself. All I know if how much I do not know but I pray that Xi Jinping, Donald Trump, and Vladimir Putin are all talking and in the process of cleansing the top ranks of the Freemasons what I am told is the Chinese objective: to place the Freemasons on the side of the 99% and the creation of a prosperous world at peace that works for all.

Elitist control of the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association (and follow ons, such as the morons who blessed water-boarding by the CIA) has been used to “game” mental health so that the dumbed-down obedient individual is considered “healthy” while the recalcitrant obstructionist is considered “unhealthy.” Control of these associations also enabled the repression of natural and alternative cures, substituting a panoply of drugs both legal and illegal, all intended to fragment and soften the mental and physical health of the population. Today just 1% of our youth are qualified for military service. The elite have been successful.

The authors adds to my knowledge of the breadth and depth of Nazi transplants to the CIA and to NASA, and the degree to which they were committed to mind-control, occult practices, and the liberal use of drugs to subjugate and enslave individuals. The point is made that over time research across America became so corrupted that only the collaborators survived – “honest academicians where generally weeded out and hounded into retirement.”

The central pivot in the book, from the theory to the practice to today, is chapter three, “Killing of the King,” which coherently, grippingly connects the assassination of John F. Kennedy (JFK) with all that followed including particularly the fragmentation and mind-fucking of America.

Although I have reviewed numerous books on the assassination of JFK, none have focused on Freemasons as much as this chapter does, drawing on other sources.

Reviews on Assassination of JFK

Although I have heard and read over the years of CIA and KGB Freemasons collaborating in betrayal of their countries and organizations by order of the Freemasons, this chapter more than anything I have seen before makes me wonder if we don’t need a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) scrub of the Freemasons – of course we would have to deal with the fact that the President and virtually everyone of consequence in Congress, Justice, and the FBI is a high-ranking Freemason – which brings in the Chinese Freemasons. I know one of their leaders. Could they be the ones who finally purge global Freemasonry at the top and redirect it toward its more benign avowed goals? Or will we simply get a Chinese version of the Deep State leveraging the Freemasons outside of China to do China’s bidding?

What this chapter does is place the assassination of JFK in the context of a much larger scheme to destroy the innocence and quest for excellence that he inspired and that was inherent in the USA as “the greatest generation” left war behind, created families, and prepared to go to the moon and beyond.

The chapter is a treatise in symbolism, occult machinations, and the alchemy of a hidden government using the assassination as a form of trauma that is then followed by an orchestrated combination of music, movies, television shows, and the creation of a drug culture such that civic consciousness could be said to have been assassinated as well.

The next chapter, “The Doors of Perception: The CIA’s Psychedelic Revolution,” deepens our understanding of how the public was drugged up and dumbed down in the aftermath of the JFK assassination….by design.

I knew the lyrist for the Grateful Dead John Perry Barlow (RIP) and this I found shocking because I have continued to be naïve:

“An FBI internal memo from 1968 mentions the employment of the Grateful Dead as an avenue to ‘channel youth dissent and rebellion into more benign and non-threatening directions.’ [They] performed a vital service in distracting many young persons into drugs and mysticism, rather than politics.” He cites Jim Keith’s Mind Control, World Control (Adventures Unlimited Press, 1998), no page number. I learn that Jim Keith is the author of two other books I have not read, Mass Control: Engineering Human Consciousness (Adventures Unlimited Press, 2003), and also Secret and Suppressed: Banned Ideas and Hidden History (Feral House, 1993).

The author draws on multiple sources to show that the CIA orchestrated drug proliferation experiments at over eighty US university campuses with the intent of popularizing LSD, creating a drug counterculture that took an entire generation – or multiple generations – out of civics, out of politics. The intent was to turn people away from God and man in God’s (good) image, and instead transform America into a perverse complex of dehumanizing drug abuse, sexual perversion, and the glorification of violence. At its most extreme, the intent was to create multiple generations of murderous pedophiles and necrophiliacs. It worked.

The dumbing down of education, turning it into a rote memorization process devoid of critical thinking, to include the teaching of agnosticism, the elimination of core values – ethics – the denial of the nobility of man and the unlimited potential of man for creating heaven on Earth, the denial of “soul,” were all focused on creating an autistic population living in a virtual concentration camp. Add to this vaccines actually creating a massive number of truly autistic children, and the opioid crisis our own President has condemned, and one begins to see that we are at the tail end of a half century of deliberate genocide and ecocide. Add to this 5G and the alienation and ignorance inherent in what I have termed #GoogleGestapo, and the death knell of civilization is sounded.

It has been my horrible mistake to presume, wrongly, that information pathologies such as I have itemized in various works but with the following specific reviews (one by a guest), were calculated betrayals of the public trust but somehow isolated, temporal, reversible. I have been reading individual trees and not seeing the forest.

I have been in denial. Even in the past two years, as I have taken an interest in 9/11 and a series of false flag events and mind-controlled active shooters across the USA, I have been in denial of the obscenely broad, calculated, deep, intended, persistent nature of this organized threat to society – a threat that includes rogue elements of academia, civil society (labor unions and religions particularly), commerce, government, law enforcement, media, military, and non-government or non-profit “foundations” that turn out to be the true centers of evil.

We are at war, and the two political parties in the USA represent Satan – the repressive tolerance (anything goes including pedophilia) and authoritarian façade that has been conducting mass surveillance, militarizing the police, using false flag operations to advance an anti-gun agenda, drugging us, lying to us, all of it is “the plan.” President Donald Trump may or may not be part of the plan, as I write this I pray that his “America First” NATIONALISM will triumph and his tongue-kissing of Benjamin Netanyahu is merely a temporary deception. #UNRIG, the unity for integrity electoral reform movement I founded, I can now see is half of the solution – the other solution is a completely independent Web 3.0 that cannot be censored, where individuals cannot be lied to and also digitally assassinated, as is the case today with Amazon, Facebook, Google, MeetUp, Twitter, and YouTube.

The “left” – and Noam Chomsky does not fare well in this chapter – was creating to pre-empt the radicalization of the growing middle class and college educated youth. I am reminded of the Great Depression, which was created by the banks, with the complicity of two Presidents, to destroy the middle class rising in political power while concentrating their own power over government and buying up land at depression level prices. That story is told by my friend and brilliant economist Wayne Jett.

Review: The Fruits of Graft

The chapter on “Television” is one of the longest and most valuable. Television is how everyone is “educated” to the same low level, homogenized, made politically correct, distracted, brainwashed, and turned against everything that is the opposite of television: civics, community, country, culture, ethics, family, and more. Television is about fostering apathy and ignorance. Among the author’s contributions are the naming of names. Television is the Deep State’s voice, and I am immediately reminded of Fareed Zakaria, the most elegant whore of the Deep State on the air today.

Included in this chapter is a most interesting section suggesting that Wikileaks is an intelligence operation that has received the directed support of TIME Magazine and the media outlets under the control of Robert Murdoch, whose own public relations person is on the board of Wikileaks. One does wonder.

Also in this chapter is a segment on language as the cornerstone of independence and the observation that languages created nations, not the other way around.

The chapter concludes most compellingly in suggesting that television as it is used in the USA today is nothing more of less than a Satanic indoctrination program justifying the complete moral collapse of the Republic, and the complete emptying of the public mind of any form of constructive thinking.

The chapter on cybernetics blends CIA MKULTRA mind control with #GoogleGestapo mind control, but I am surprised to find here information about how both contraceptives and Affirmative Action were devised by the Rockefeller and other foundation as very deliberate means of destroying families.

This chapter is helpful in making it clear that globalization and liberalism (anything goes repressive tolerance) are the opposite of nationalism and family values. The line is drawn and I dare say that 2020 is going to be a turning point in American history – either we continue the Trump Revolution and defeat the Deep State and Shadow Government seeking to undermine individual and state sovereignty, or we return to the original program of national debasement and devolution.

Mental health as defined by the authorities is totally centered on obedience and credulity to lies.

UNESCO and most medicine including vaccines is about eugenics – population control to the point of genocide and the deliberate eradication of entire cultures.

The enemy of the Deep State is humanity itself.

The final chapter on “Science Fiction and the Tavistock Institute” is a fitting conclusion to a book that has truly shocked me into thinking more deeply and more urgently about the challenges that face humanity in 2020 and beyond.

I am completely persuaded that saving the family, the community, the individual states and provinces and the larger nation-stations including particularly the United STATES of America (anyone calling for the end of the Electoral College is either an idiot or a traitor), is our millennial challenge.

I am persuaded that my concept for Open Source Everything Engineering (OSEE), including the truth & wisdom channel that cannot be censored in which individuals cannot be digitally assassinated, and the engineering revolution that restores power to the distributed public and ends the ability of banks and lawyers to impoverish the public (while achieving Buckminster Fuller’s concept of ephemeralism, doing more with less), is the other half of the solution (beyond #UNRIG). The human individual, optimized to exercise free will and independent discovery, is the opposite of the fascist corporate top-down controlled economy of, by, and for the Satanic elite. Open, not closed systems, are necessary to enable humanity to achieve its cosmic destiny.

I will end with three reviews I have done that make it clear that the future of humanity depends on localization, not globalization. I believe this strongly and I will spend the rest of my life fighting the Deep State and seeking to empower the individual, the family, the local community, and the sovereign state, in that order. Bottom up, not top down, must be our generative guiding principle.

Other recent reviews of possible interest to independent thinkers:

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PRINTABLE REVIEW: Review Tavistock Institute 2.1

 

truthaholics

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Social Engineering the Masses — ThereAreNoSunglasses


Also see various reviews:

Daniel Estulin was the author of the original exposé book on the Bilderberg Group. This was excellent investigative journalism and the author stuck to the facts without offering displays of his bizarre belief system. The Tavistock book, on the other hand, is a very odd mixture. He describes some of the history of the nefarious Tavistock Institute, along with MK-ULTRA and other related projects for brainwashing of citizenry. But, in equal measure, he puts forth an extremely narrow belief system, where anybody with spiritual beliefs or even anyone willing to contemplate questions beyond the scope of science textbooks is comprehensively rubbished. Estulin reveals himself to be primarily a “fellow traveler” of Wikipedia or Snopes, where anything with positive, uplifting aspirations is systematically belittled as being “unscientific.” Well folks, if this definition of science is that it is a tool to make sure humanity does not progress, then you should be proud of being “unscientific.”

First, most people have never heard of the Tavistock Institute. So the author should have had an initial chapter where he explains the “public” history of this entity, before getting into their dirty laundry. Second, the book is actually not about the Tavistock Institute per se, but rather about the whole 20th century history of efforts at brainwashing, mind control, and related efforts to create zombies or sleepers. This is a worthwhile topic for an in-depth investigation, but, as readers find out throughout the book, the Tavistock Institute may have been an A-list player here, but certainly there were many other equally dedicated black-hats, Stanford Research Institute being another notorious example. Along with unfortunately a number of other authors, Estulin is ready to slander the Theosophical Society without having done more than totally superficial investigation. Yes, Blavatsky and the other founders were controversial even in their day. But unlike the black-hat social engineers that Estulin focuses on, they were all truly lightworkers who were striving to make the world a better place. And their legacy remains, even though often unrecognized.

In America, the single largest segment of the population nowadays identifies themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” They can thank Blavatsky and the TS for this, even if they do not recognize the roots. Aleister Crowley of course became notorious for his teachings, but Estulin in horribly wrong in suggesting that he was somehow in a leadership position in the TS. Crowley was a Satanist black magician who borrowed some concepts from the TS, but no society can prevent some outside parties from borrowing from their teachings and perverting them to nefarious purposes.

In a similar vein, he endeavors to tar the IONS society by noting that the founder, Edgar Mitchell was friends with the Bush family. The early history of IONS is complex and I have not researched it. But what is important is that today, and for quite a few decades, IONS have been one of the few organizations anywhere in the world which endeavor to bring together science and metaphysics. Their conferences and events tend to draw some preeminent authors and speakers (e.g., Bruce Lipton, Rupert Sheldrake) which most of us consider to be of tremendous value to humanity. Mitchell himself stopped being actively involved with management of IONS many decades earlier. But, as emerges later in the book, Estulin’s attitude is not surprising since he simply loathes anything metaphysical.

Another horribly wrong interpretation of Estulin’s is that the hippie movement and the New Age movement were simply products of CIA mind control. While CIA undoubtedly enjoyed putting their finger into the pie there, both these movements were full of honest, decent, positive persons in no way affiliated or mind-controlled by the CIA. Who do you think had a more positive influence on humanity, hippies, or the greed-driven Wall Street banksters who subsequently became dominant on the social landscape?A long chapter near the very start of the book is devoted to an interpretation of the Kennedy assassination in Masonic symbolism terms. This is an interpretation of another author’s, James Downard’s, valuable book on the topic. Estulin does a good job of making a summary and acknowledges the source. But what the heck does this have to do with the Tavistock Institute?? All black-hats are not simply interchangeable entities, sorry folks. The JFK assassination, according to Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal, was orchestrated by the horrific J. Edgar Hoover, with support from Lyndon Johnson and a very long list of sociopaths of various stripes. Tavistock Institute is certainly rotten to the core, but it was not a player in that sordid tragedy. So why is this story in this book??

Also narrow-minded is Estulin’s take on World War II. Basically, he echoes here a simplistic civics class lesson that the Germans were all black-hats, while Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin were white-hats. Certainly the victors in any war like to put such notions into textbooks, but Estulin (who is undeniably smart) ought to see beyond such jingoism of the victors. He might start by asking, for both WW I and WW II, was it Germany who declared war on Britain, or Britain who declared war on Germany? (hint: correct answer is #2, not #1).Most distressingly, Estulin reveals himself to be a hardcore “Skeptic” in the modern, pejorative sense of the term. To him, anything beyond the 5 senses is misguided gibberish. As he explains, “the world of mysticism” is simply “irrationalism.” To each his own, but in my view, this is not the way to elevate mankind. Instead, it is a way to keep mankind shackled, which is the opposite of what he ostensibly claims should be done. Since some of the better-known metaphysical teachings have their origin in Hinduism, he then proceeds to slam Hinduism as it being “time that someone unmasked the idiocy.”

Very harsh and no perceptible loving kindness here. Of course not, science does not have anything to say about loving kindness, therefore it has to be a misguided foolishness. For good measure, remote viewing is lumped in with “witchcraft,” which you should stay away from, lest you be accused of being “unscientific.”Hippies and similar sensitive folks of the 60s are described “the Aquarian conspiracy, undermining of society through antiwar, environmentalist…movements.” Yes, Mr. Estulin, antiwar ideas and environmental concerns are certainly undermining society, if you view proper society as being government slaves. For good measure, he castigates those who are opposed to “nuclear energy.” Well then, Mr. Estulin, why don’t you move to the Fukushima Prefecture and start practicing what you preach!

Estulin documents that, these days, a large fraction of the population considers that extraterrestrials are indeed real, then proceeds to belittle those who have this viewpoint. In his view, the operative phrase is “UFO hoax.” One gets the clear idea that if an extraterrestrial vehicle crashed and landed on Mr. Estulin’s foot, he would proclaim that this is not real, since there is no scientific paper attesting to its truth.The conclusion has to be that I do not recommend the book. Yes, there are interesting, not well-known facts compiled about the Tavistock Institute and other brainwashing programs. But there is so much negativity towards targets that are actually decent people that the effort should not be supported. Do not buy the book and thereby support spreading of such negativity. Put your dollars towards more worthy authors.


If you have read Dr. John Coleman’s work revealing the Committee of 300, some of this will come as old news, but for many readers, this will be new information. And it is information that people certainly should get their hands on. If you cannot define and briefly explain what the Tavistock Institute is to someone else, then I’d say perhaps you should consider reading this book. If you understand that things are not always what they seem, this book will solidify your insights. For writing, editing, and formatting, it is a two-star effort. For instance, Estulin dutifully indexed numerous references to Tavistock; but in contrast, he often mentioned the Frankfurt school in the text, but failed to include it in the index. That is one of many oversights in the book. Some of his sentences lack grammatical fundamentals. Such omissions can sometimes be an effective writing strategy, making a statement more conversational. Like this. But sometimes, the reader must re-read what he wrote in order to make sense of the content. To be fair, English is not Mr Estulin’s first language, so perhaps it was translated and that is part of the issue. But overlook the numerous editing errors, and what’s left is a valuable resource that connects many of the dots that certain people would just as soon you never discover. Mention brainwashing techniques in any group of people, and usually someone will be dismissive of such a silly idea. But it won’t seem so silly after reading Estulin, and perhaps you know somebody who could benefit from hearing that. It is a serious topic, and Estulin has given the conspiracy historian (notice I did not say conspiracy theorist) another bullet in the knowledge-gun. This book is definitely worth getting.


Tavistock Institute, Social Engineering the Masses, is a chilling account of how a complex nexus of institutions spread and implement an agenda of social destruction through drug abuse, New Age mysticism and the occult, a brain washing mass media and a perverted Cybernetics programme. Tavistock itself was ‘Britain’s premier psychological warfare centre’, working in allegiance with some of ‘the world’s leading sociologists, psychiatrists and anthropologists, the so-called “psychiatric shock troops”’ of despair. There’s Nazi witch doctors, war, assassinations, a whacked out generation of hippies and now inter-generational drug abusers, the CIA and plenty of the cultured elite that go towards making up this hocus pocus. Daniel does a brilliant job in distilling the works of H G Wells, the Huxley brothers, Bertrand Russell and Carl Jung to name a few and that omnipresent family of evil doers masquerading as humanitarians, the Rockefellers, are never far away to offer an obliging sack full of cash. The aim? Global oligarchic rule of course! The means to that end? Undermine social progress and turn society against itself.As we watch the highly choreographed procession of Middle Eastern refugees – distressed and exhausted from NATO’s bombing campaigns- enter Europe; spare a thought for the Tavistock grin and those who made it possible.


If you are wondering where the current trend for questioning birth gender in western countries has come from all of a sudden, look no further. The Tavistock Institute is not beneficial to western societies rather it seeks to rot mainly white and mainly Christian western countries from within. Easy divorce, easy abortion, acceptance of LGBT and promotion of their views, transgenderism, acceptance of other religions with reduced importance of Christianity, pushing to sexualise the young including primary school children in western countries – they all started here in the Tavistock Institute. What next you may ask? Acceptance of Incest, Paedophilia and sex with animals making the acronym LGBTIPA. Stop them before it gets this far. Start by reading this excellent book.


Shocking stuff… Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 15, 2018


Sensationalist nonesense – Avoid Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 14, 2019


I was really disappointed I thought it might offer analysis into a fascinating and prescient topic – social control. Perhaps, I might gain insights into the double life of a respectable English psychological research centre. Sadly I was very, VERY mistaken. The quality of writing and the lack of ability to construct plausible arguments means that it is hard to place any trust in the author’s “research” Whether there is any truth in the Tavistock Institute having a sinister side or social engineering the masses you will never know. Not from this book.In the introduction Estulin starts by describing the Institute as the “The Juggernaut of evil” which is a lovely turn of phrase as is “jackboot of terror” and “painless concentration camp”. So you might have (a little) fun finding the ‘death metal lyrics’ in the text. You will read LOTS of unsubstantiated statements “Every aspect of the mental and psychological life of people on the planet was recorded”. Really? Ok, but how? What does ‘mental’ even mean in this context? Already, in the introduction, a lack of rigour becomes apparent. This continues apace, arguments are poorly explained and hard to follow, moving from Hitler to Huxley’s homosexual lover in almost the same breath! It really is so bad that the Tavistock Institute GAINS credibility. The book meanders on in a shouty angry lad style. It is complicated, but not complex. It sometimes feels like a parody with its references to “The Eye of Horus” and “the children of the sun”. It spends a lot of time dissecting minutae Eg of lyrics and videos of pop artists like Eminem and Rihanna but again arguments are weak and poorly constructed and as such have no credibility. Essentially it’s a collection of incoherent (internet?) conspiracies that presumably in Estulin’s head hang together powerfully. Unfortunately, arguments don’t back up the fire and brimstone language so ultimately the writing comes across as teenage. Needless to say I couldn’t finish it.


Jaw dropping brain changing compulsive reading. An absolute stunning insight into the movers makers and shakers that design and shape human understandings of the social world.

#Covid-19: Want a #Coronavirus #Vaccine, Fast? Incentivise with a cash prize!

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Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar sparked outrage last week when he said that the federal government could not guarantee that a potential vaccine for COVID-19, the coronavirus currently sweeping across the world, would be affordable. The government “can’t control” vaccine prices “because we need the private sector to invest,” Azar told lawmakers. But Azar’s economics are wrong: the federal government can ensure that a vaccine would be cheap—or even free—while giving the private sector powerful incentives to pour resources into vaccine research.

The solution? A large cash prize for any firm that develops a successful coronavirus vaccine. The prize would be payable only on the condition that the firm makes the vaccine available to patients at low or zero cost. If designed well, such a prize will assure private-sector enterprises that they will be financially rewarded for a coronavirus vaccine while also ensuring that individuals at all income levels will be able to afford immunization.

Bringing a COVID-19 vaccine to market will likely require the help of a private-sector pharmaceutical company with the capacity and experience to conduct costly clinical trials and then to manufacture millions of doses. Generating sufficient private-sector interest in vaccines for viral pandemics has proven difficult in the past. One concern facing pharmaceutical companies is that if they develop a vaccine, they will face overwhelming political pressure to make it available on the cheap.

Fortunately, the choice between incentives for innovation and affordability for patients is not either/or. Prizes can resolve the tension between innovation and affordability by accomplishing both. Committing to a substantial cash prize for a successful coronavirus vaccine will boost confidence among firms that their research efforts will be remunerated. And attaching the condition that the prizewinner must make its vaccine available to all at little or no cost will ensure that price is no barrier to immunity.

So-called “challenge prizes” have a long and storied history. Starting in the 1560s, various European countries—first Spain, then the Netherlands, then England—offered prizes to any inventor who could develop an accurate tool for measuring longitude. (English clockmaker John Harrison ultimately claimed his country’s longitude prize in the mid-18th century.) Napoleon Bonaparte awarded a 12,000-franc prize in 1810 to the French chef who came up with canning as a method of food preservation.

More recently, in 2010, the U.S. Congress passed a law establishing a framework for federal agencies to run prize competitions. Since then, more than 100 federal agencies have administered nearly 1,000 prize competitions involving over $300 million.

Perhaps the most successful modern-day prize effort is a partnership between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and several national governments around the world to incentivize the development and dissemination of a vaccine against pneumococcal disease. That alliance has resulted in the immunization of more than 183 million children across 59 countries, likely saving hundreds of thousands of lives.

The next natural target for a challenge prize is a safe vaccine that is effective in preventing COVID-19. Some of the specifics still need to be worked out—how safe is “safe,” how effective is “effective”—but those are the sorts of specifics that a prize committee can adjudicate. Implementing a coronavirus vaccine prize will also require a number of design choices. For example, o encourage dissemination, we suggest that payments be tied to the number of patients vaccinated—an approach that has succeeded in the case of the pneumococcal vaccine. Bonus payments could be offered for improved vaccines with greater efficacy or less frequent or severe side-effects.

The most challenging design question may be: How much money? Public health experts predict that a pandemic could infect 40% of the global population or more. The fatality rate outside of China’s Hubei province appears to be around 0.7%. Federal agencies assign a value of around $10 million to the saving of a life. Given all that, a fully effective vaccine would be worth $28,000 per person.

That’s high—though it helps to illustrate just how hugely valuable a coronavirus vaccine could be. We suggest a prize of $500 per vaccinated person, which would be more than double the price of any other major vaccine on the market today. If everyone in the U.S. took the vaccine, the total cost to the federal government would be about $165 billion, less than 3.5% of the federal budget.

If the U.S. federal government won’t step up to the plate, perhaps states and cities, other countries, philanthropists, or Corporate America will. Coronavirus fears have wiped more than $3 trillion in value from U.S. stock markets. The largest U.S. companies would be doing their shareholders a favor by funding a generous coronavirus vaccine prize.

If the effort to establish a coronavirus vaccine prize brings the pandemic to a quicker and less deadly end, then it will be a banner success. But it could do even more. It could demonstrate—dramatically—the potential role for prizes in and beyond the pharmaceutical sector. It could bring us closer to a model in which private-sector innovation and public access to essential medicines are not antonyms. To be sure, containing COVID-19 and saving lives are the most immediate objectives, but they are not the only goals. An outbreak, one might say, is a terrible thing to waste.

via Want a Coronavirus Vaccine, Fast? Here’s a Solution — TIME

Interim care order – revision to the separation test — suesspiciousminds

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The Court of Appeal have decided a case called Re C (A Child: Interim Separation) 2020 and this adds an additional component to the test for separation, so all child protection lawyers, social workers and Guardians need to be aware of it.

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2020/257.html

It builds upon another Court of Appeal case called Re C 2019 (I have not written about that one, because it was very difficult to ascertain whether it was intending to introduce new principles or was fact specific, this one is much clearer)

The test for interim separation (or continued separation) is now

“(1) An interim order is inevitably made at a stage when the evidence is incomplete. It should therefore only be made in order to regulate matters that cannot await the final hearing and it is not intended to place any party to the proceedings at an advantage or a disadvantage.

(2) The removal of a child from a parent is an interference with their right to respect for family life under Art. 8. Removal at an interim stage is a particularly sharp interference, which is compounded in the case of a baby when removal will affect the formation and development of the parent-child bond.

(3) Accordingly, in all cases an order for separation under an interim care order will only be justified where it is both necessary and proportionate. The lower (‘reasonable grounds’) threshold for an interim care order is not an invitation to make an order that does not satisfy these exacting criteria.

(4) A plan for immediate separation is therefore only to be sanctioned by the court where the child’s physical safety or psychological or emotional welfare demands it and where the length and likely consequences of the separation are a proportionate response to the risks that would arise if it did not occur.

(5) The high standard of justification that must be shown by a local authority seeking an order for separation requires it to inform the court of all available resources that might remove the need for separation.”

For the purposes of his decision in this case, the judge summarised it this way:

“The test is whether the child’s safety is at risk and, if so, any removal should be proportionate to the actual risks faced and in the knowledge of alternative arrangements which would not require separation.”

The 5th point is the new addition – that the LA must be able to set out to the Court what available resources could be put in place which might remove the need for separation.

It doesn’t need to be in a full-blown alternative care plan like full Care Orders and Neath Port Talbot, but I have found a useful approach to be

Imagine that the Court don’t grant removal and the child stays with the parent – what would that look like?  (TM my friend Becca Carr-Hopkins).  What would be your ingredients of the protection plan or written agreement or contract of expectations.  Then, in relation to those, what resources could the LA reasonably put in place to assist with each of these?  Having done that, the social worker, the lawyers, and the Judge can consider – would those manage the risks that are present, in full or in part? Would the parents realistically be able to comply with those requirements?

So it becomes not only a useful piece of information for the Court, but an actively useful analytical and decision-making tool for the Local Authority.  It helps hone down on ‘do we really need separation, or could we manage this risk another way?’

via Interim care order – revision to the separation test — suesspiciousminds

Response to #Protect’s proposed changes to #UK’s #whistleblowing law!

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Response to Protect’s proposed changes to UK whistleblowing law  | Alexander’s Excavations | 20 Dec 2019


Summary: UK whistleblowing law (the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 or PIDA) is very weak and in fact helps to crush whistleblowers. Radical reform is required to genuinely protect the public. The whistleblowing organisation Protect (formerly Public Concern at Work) was instrumental in introducing this flawed legislation. Protect remains upbeat about PIDA’s contribution, but now accepts that the law needs to change. The organisation has put forward a proposal to amend UK whistleblowing law. Whistleblower colleagues, Martin Morton and Clare Sardari and I have reviewed the proposal and provided a response as requested. We are concerned that the proposed amendments do not adequately address the crucial flaws in the UK legislation. In our view if Protect’s proposed changes are adopted, the key gaps in investigation of whistleblowers’ concerns, deterrence of reprisal and to a degree, pre-detriment protection, will remain. Our response is provided below. Our position is informed by the first hand experience of whistleblowers who have been failed by existing legislation.

Martin Morton tweets at @NitramNotrom

Clare Sardari tweets at @SardariClare

 

Protect’s view of PIDA:

Screenshot 2019-12-19 at 09.35.16.png

 

LETTER TO PROTECT:

BY EMAIL

Liz Gardiner

Acting CEO Protect

19 December 2019

Dear Liz,

Response to Protect’s proposed changes to UK whistleblowing law

Your predecessor invited comments on Protect’s proposed changes to UK whistleblowing law and accordingly we write in response.

We welcome in principle all efforts which recognise that current UK whistleblowing law is deficient and in need of reform. We agree that much more needs to be done to ensure that UK whistleblowers’ concerns are properly handled.

We also welcome the recognition in Protect’s proposals that family members can also be casualties of badly handled whistleblowing cases. We agree with the proposal to reverse the burden of proof.

However, as we understand it, Protect is proposing only amendments to what currently exists in UK employment law.

We feel that much more radical change is needed because the current law has totally failed whistleblowers and the public for twenty years and is very unsafe.

Protect in its previous iteration as Public Concern at Work was over-optimistic in its forecast that the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 would protect workers by providing a deterrent, because workers would be able to sue employers after suffering serious harm. The reality is that the inequality of arms and the powerless of workers is such that few can afford to contemplate litigation, and even fewer can see litigation through.

Your organisation’s predictions that PIDA would deliver accountability, in the absence of any provision by PIDA for real penalties for wrongdoers, have proved inaccurate.

The State’s failure to hold any individuals accountable for the unlawful killings at Hillsborough, and the lack so far of any prosecution for unlawful killings at Gosport War Memorial Hospitalafter whistleblower suppression, illustrate only too starkly how little accountability exists sometimes in the UK for serious crimes.

We feel that to now leave UK whistleblowing under the umbrella of employment law, as Protect proposes, sends the wrong message. It frames the issues wrongly as a dispute between whistleblowers and employers when rather, it is fundamentally an issue of public protection. That is what the law must address.

What is required is a complete overhaul and reframing of UK whistleblowing law. We feel the State should take much greater responsibility for protecting the public, and that new whistleblowing law is needed. It should be free standing and revolve around the proper resolution of whistleblowers’ concerns, not any secondary employment disputes.

We are also concerned that your proposed amendment still relies too heavily on litigation. Litigation is traumatic for whistleblowers, it comes too late in the whistleblowing journey to do much good for individuals and the reliance on litigation would continue to fuel the private industry of middlemen who currently benefit financially from PIDA’s inefficiency, at the expense of the public purse.

We feel that for sake of whistleblowers’ welfare  and in the public interest, the law should promote a leaner model of resolution with emphasis on both prevention, and earlier, leaner dispute resolution by ACAS and by a central whistleblowing agency.

We address below some specific points arising from your proposal, with the handling of whistleblowers’ concerns being our foremost concern. Without adequate legislation to ensure proper handling of concerns, all else falls.

Overall, we appreciate the effort to secure reform but cannot support Protect’s proposal as it stands. We hope you will consider the concerns that we raise.

When one of us, Martin Morton, contacted Public Concern at Work in 2008 for help as a whistleblower, the bald advice from your organisation was that Martin should resign. This implies that PCaW had very little confidence in the law to protect and resolve what has since been proven to be a very substantial whistleblower case involving serious harm to many highly vulnerable people, and the cover up of this harm.

So it would seem that Protect has known for over a decade that UK whistleblowing law was failing whistleblowers.

That being the case, it would have been good if PCaW had the courage at that point to speak up unequivocally about the fatal flaws in UK whistleblowing law.

Likewise, it would be good if Protect now shows the courage to call for the necessary level of reform as opposed to settling for compromises.

With best wishes,

Dr Minh Alexander

Martin Morton

Clare Sardari

 

Specific points arising from Protect’s proposals for changes to UK whistleblowing law

 

1) Investigation of concerns

Our reading of your proposed bill is that it does not compel the proper handling and investigation of whistleblowers’ concerns.

It only requires that employers have procedures in place to do so:

“(2) Employers procedures shall include: 

  1. a) channels for receiving the disclosures which are designed, set up and operated in a manner that ensures the confidentiality of the identity of the person making the disclosure and prevents access to non-authorised staff members; 
  2. b) the designation of a senior individual who has responsibility for the effectiveness of reporting channels and following up on disclosures 
  3. c) the designation of a person or department competent for following up on the disclosures; 
  4. d) diligent follow up to the disclosures by the designated person or department; 
  5. e) a reasonable timeframe, not exceeding three months following the disclosure, to provide feedback to the person making the disclosure about the follow-up to the report;” 

 

As you will be only too aware, employers who victimise whistleblowers will often have policies and procedures which say that they will not victimise whistleblowers, but to which they do not adhere.

The legal compulsion should focus on the required acts, not the procedures.

You may feel that your provision for a statutory code of practice will suffice:

“(5) The Secretary of State shall consult with interested parties and require ACAS to produce a statutory code of practice on receiving protected disclosures.”

However, we are concerned this is not strong enough provision. It also sends an unfortunate message. The proper handling of whistleblowers’ concerns should be the prime objective of any well drafted legislation, not material for footnotes.

 

2) Protect’s proposed duty of protection:

“(4) All employers shall be under a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent detrimental treatment by the employer, the employer’s officer or agent, or by any third party to someone who has made, or is believed to have made a protected disclosure.”

We are concerned that this is not specific or strong enough.

Perhaps Protect could consider strengthening this part of its bill. For example:

“(4) All employers shall be under a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent detrimental treatment by the employer, the employer’s officer or agent, or by any third party to someone who has made, or is believed to have made a protected disclosure, someone who proposes to make a disclosure, someone who is wrongly perceived or alleged to be a whistleblower or someone (work colleagues) who has assisted or associated with a whistleblower. This should include undertaking proactive risk assessments when any individual is identified as belonging to any of the above at risk groups.”

 

 

3) Deterrence of whistleblower reprisal

We feel that the lack of robust deterrence is a serious gap in Protect’s current proposal.

We are disappointed that Protect has elected not to call for criminal sanctions for whistleblower reprisal. This seems to us to signal ambivalence about the seriousness of what are sometimes clear crimes of Misconduct in Public Office with fatal consequences. After the Gosport whistleblowers were silenced, the unnatural deaths continued.

Equally, we are disappointed that Protect is not pressing the State to take responsibility for civil penalties against individuals who victimise whistleblowers.

Instead, Protect seeks to burden whistleblowers with the task of pursuing their persecutors under tort:

“(1) If a person causes detriment to another person because the other person or a third person made a protected disclosure, the person to whom the detriment is caused has a right of action in tort against the person by whom the detriment is caused.”

This again seems to us to trivialise what is serious misconduct against the public interest. It is also frankly, an unkindness against whistleblowers who are exhausted and battered, having already suffered serious detriment. Protect, of all organisations, should know what personal toll is exacted on whistleblowers.

The State should step in, protect and lift the burden away from people who have done their duty, and not prolong their ordeal.

Requiring whistleblowers to file tort actions will doubtless generate business for industry middlemen, but it is  not a prudent, just or compassionate way of dealing with harm and culpability.

Similarly of concern, Protect only proposes that a Whistleblowing Commission should impose fines on organisations. We do not see this as a serious deterrent to wrongdoing.

Organisations are used to paying their way out of trouble in whistleblowing cases.  Public bodies abuse the public purse all the time, and powerful private corporations similarly throw money at silencing whistleblowing cases.

What is needed is personal jeopardy for senior individuals.

There should be a central whistleblowing agency with the powers to

– fine individuals as well as organisations

– undertake criminal prosecutions

– refer criminal prosecutions to the CPS.

It has been argued that criminal sanctions would not actually need to be often used. They simply need to be available largely for the deterrent effect, and of course as a powerful statement of values. We strongly agree with this position.

 

4) The proposed Whistleblowing Commission and Penalties for whistleblower reprisal

 

  1. Location

We are concerned that Protect does not make a clear proposal on where the Whistleblowing Commission will sit and to whom it will answer.

Our concern is that the implication is that it will be beholden to the government via BEIS. If so, we believe this is unworkable and that the agency’s independence would be severely compromised by the government’s political self-interest.

  1. Threshold for disclosing to the Commission

We are very concerned that the threshold proposed by Protect for disclosing to the proposed national whistleblowing agency is too high and will advantage employers:

“(ii) that the information disclosed, and any allegation contained in it, are substantially true”

Inexperienced workers need to be able to disclose on lesser grounds in order to receive advice on what to do, without losing protection.

We strongly believe that Protect should withdraw the “substantially true” test, especially as workers may need to contact the national whistleblowing agency for general advice and information before formally whistleblowing.

The test should only be one of “reasonable belief” at most.

  1. Commission’s powers and penalties for whistleblower reprisal

We do not feel the range of powers proposed for the whistleblowing agency are sufficient.

Protect’s proposals do not give the Commission the necessary powers to intervene swiftly and resolve individual cases quickly to prevent irreparable harm to the public and to whistleblowers.

The Commission should have the powers to remedy detriment, both financial and in kind – for example, restoring lost seniority, removing unfair appraisals, ensuring safe redeployment or alternatively, reinstating etc…

It should also have the powers as described above to apply civil and criminal sanctions for whistleblower reprisal.

 

5) Protect’s proposals on Prescribed Persons

We are concerned that Protect’s proposals regarding Prescribed Persons do not go the heart of what is wrong with the Prescribed Person system, and do not add much value.

The proposals do not standardise what powers Prescribed Persons should have with respect to whistleblowing disclosures and importantly, they do not ensure that all Prescribe Persons have a duty and a power to investigate individual whistleblowers’ concerns. As we understand it, Protect’s proposals only require Prescribed Persons to set out their stalls:

“New Clause: Duties on prescribed persons to set standards on protected disclosures 

(1) The Secretary of State shall make regulations requiring all persons prescribed for the purposes of Section 43F to: 

a) establish independent and autonomous reporting channels, which are both secure and ensure confidentiality, for receiving and handling information provided by the person making a protected disclosure; 

b) keep records of all protected disclosures made to them; 

c) give feedback to the person making a protected disclosure about the follow-up of the disclosure within a reasonable timeframe not exceeding three months or six months in duly justified cases;  

d) follow up on disclosures by taking the necessary measures and investigate, as appropriate, the subject-matter of the concerns. Where the prescribed person is not competent to investigate, they shall inform the person making the protected disclosure of their intention to pass the concern to the appropriate body. 

e) where the prescribed person receives a disclosure from another body under (d) above, they shall take the necessary measures and investigate, as appropriate, the subject matter of the concerns. 

 

(2) The regulations must require a person prescribed for the purposes of Section 43F to publish on their websites in a separate, easily identifiable and accessible section at least the following information: 

 

a) the conditions under which persons making a protected disclosure qualify for protection under this Act; 

b) the communication channels for receiving and following-up disclosures; 

c) the confidentiality regime applicable to disclosures; 

 d) the nature of the follow-up to be given to reported concerns; 

 e) the remedies and procedures available against retaliation and possibilities to receive confidential advice for persons contemplating making a disclosure; 

 f) a statement clearly explaining that persons making information available to the competent authority in accordance with this Part are not considered to be infringing any restriction on disclosure of information imposed by contract or by any legislative, regulatory or administrative provision, and are not to be involved in liability of any kind related to such disclosure.”

 

The Prescribed Person system currently gives excessive false assurance because most whistleblowers reporting for the first time are given the impression that their disclosures will be investigated, when in many cases they will not.

It is the lack of investigation which needs to change, and Protect’s proposals do not address this.

 

6) Mobbing 

We suggest that Protect adopts and addresses the concept of mobbing, which is recognised under European law. The term “workplace mobbing” was coined by Leymann *, an occupational psychologist who investigated the psychology of workers who had suffered severe trauma. He observed that some of the most severe reactions were among workers who had been the target of “an impassioned collective campaign by coworkers to exclude, punish, or humiliate” them.

It is essentially a phenomenon of organisational conspiracy, harassment and an abuse of power. It features in many whistleblowing cases, as a mechanism by which a whistleblower’s exit is achieved.

Legislating against these specific acts and placing the emphasis on corporate responsibility would help to strengthen the legal protection for whistleblowers.

* Leymann, H Mobbing and and psychological  terror at work 1990

 

7) Types of protected disclosures

Protect’s proposal to extend protected disclosures to: “behaviour that harms or is likely to harm the reputation or financial wellbeing of the employer” 

This seems an incongruous suggestion and we do not understand what bearing this has on the public interest.

Protect may unwittingly be suggesting that people who “whistleblow” on whistleblowers who pose a threat to an organisation’s reputation should be protected.

 

8) Gags

 

Protect’s proposal on gags only introduces what currently exists in the NHS:

“Clause 4 – Contractual duties of confidentiality (Prohibition of “Gagging” clauses) In Section 43J omit subsection (1) and insert 

(1) No agreement made before, during or after employment between an individual and an employer may preclude that individual from making a protected disclosure.

 (2) Any settlement agreement must contain 

(a) a clear statement that nothing in the agreement affects the rights of an individual to make a protected disclosure and stipulate the types of disclosures that can be made and to which categories of authorities; and 

 (b) certification by the independent adviser that the effect of any requirements of confidentiality and the limitations on those requirements have been explained to the employee.”

 

The arrangement in the NHS  is entirely ineffectual. Staff are still effectively silenced  by the continuing use of confidentiality and non-disparagement clauses regardless of the addition of a clause which tells them they can whistleblow. This is because of uncertainty about what is be defined as whistleblowing.

Indeed when one of us, Clare Sardari, contacted PCaW for help in 2013, she was told that her now vindicated whistleblowing case was just an “HR matter”.

Moreover, current and ongoing FOI work shows that organisations simply flout the NHS rules by in some cases not inserting the required clause about whistleblowing. After all, when a worker is super-gagged, who would be able to tell?

We suggest that the law reform on gags needs to go further.

Super-gags which hide even the existence of settlement agreements should be banned entirely. They serve absolutely no purpose other than improper and oppressive secrecy.

Clauses which infringe basic rights such as prohibiting workers from making personal data requests or freedom of information requests should be outlawed.

A standardised, plain English clause explaining what cannot be gagged should be adopted.

This because currently, many are written in legalistic language that would mean nothing to the average worker.

We suggest there should be specific penalties associated with use of illegal gags which do not conform with whistleblowing standards.

END

 

RELATED ITEMS

Replacing the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA)

Whistleblowers in Their Own Words: What’s wrong with UK whistleblowing law and how it needs to change

What could a new whistleblowing law look like? A discussion document

This is a specific account of how whistleblowing was too weak to protect a social care whistleblower, Helen Rochester:

UK Whistleblowing Law is an Ass: Helen Rochester v Ingham House Ltd and the Complicit CQC

These are collated witness statements to the police about unnatural deaths at Gosport:

Witness statements about concerns at Gosport War Memorial Hospital

Whistleblowers’ concerns were suppressed, allowing further deaths to occur. The Gosport Independent Panel inquiry concluded that at least 456 patients had their lives “shortened”.

The public inquiry into the MidStaffs hospital deaths disaster recommended that whistleblower reprisal should be treated as a crime. The lawyer who chaired the inquiry, Robert Francis, later reneged on this position when he conducted the Freedom To Speak Up review into NHS whistleblowing:

Sir Robert’s Flip Flops

flip-flops-rf

In an unguarded moment, Robert Francis later stated that whistleblowing law needed “looking at”. Upon realising that there was an NHS whistleblower in the audience who was interested in this, he amended his comment to an assertion that the way in which the law was applied should be reviewed:

Sir Robert Francis and Reform of Whistleblowing Law


 

#PublicInterestDisclosureAct: Send this letter to your #MP to help protect #UK #Whistleblowers!

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Send this letter to your MP to help protect UK whistleblowers

By Minh Alexander and Clare Sardari @SardariClare, NHS whistleblowers, 18 May 2018

 

Whistleblowers speak up to protect other people’s rights and to prevent harm to the public.

It is up to parliament to pass good enough law to protect UK whistleblowers, and ensure that they are not silenced or victimised.

The current law, the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, has been in place for twenty years. It has failed to effectively protect whistleblowers. Whistleblowers are united in calling for the current law to be replaced

There many reasons why current whistleblowing law does not work, but here are three key changes that whistleblowers are asking for:

Screen Shot 2018-05-18 at 09.12.14

If a better law is passed, it should help discourage mistreatment of whistleblowers. This would help reduce the need for costly legal action, which in many cases involves a waste of public money by employers who try to cover up.

This is some of the campaign work that is taking place, and some more reasons why whistleblowers are asking for the law to be improved:

A Whistleblower-Led Event on UK Whistleblowing Law Reform: The Public Interest Disclosure Act Needs to be Replaced

This a short summary  by the European Centre for Whistleblower Rights of an extensive report by Blueprint for Free Speech, which shows how UK whistleblowing law has fallen behind that in other countries:

Protecting Whistleblowers in the UK: A New Blueprint

If you would like to help to protect whistleblowers, please take a few minutes to look at the following brief letter. If you agree, please email a copy to your member of parliament.

You can search for your MP by following this link: Find My MP

A Word version of the letter can be downloaded here.

Please copy your letter to the UK Law Commission, which is responsible for conducting reviews of flawed law. The Commission’s email address is email address communications@lawcommission.gsi.gov.uk

We’d love to know how you get on. It would be great if you could drop us a line through the contact page on this website.

Thank you!

Minh Alexander and Clare Sardari, NHS whistleblowers

 

LETTER TO MPs:Dear [INSERT MP’s NAME],

I write to ask if you will kindly support the introduction of better legislation to protect UK whistleblowers.

The current legislation, the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA) has failed to protect countless UK whistleblowers when they have protected others by bringing wrongdoing to light.

All that PIDA does is allow workers to sue for compensation after they have been seriously harmed as a result of whistleblowing. For example, if they are unfairly dismissed. That is too little too late, and most whistleblowers are unsuccessful when they attempt legal action under PIDA, because the Act is so weak and poorly written.

Our society should make it easier for citizens to act in the public interest without fear of victimisation. Whether it is about ensuring safer care in our hospitals, protecting vulnerable older people from abuse in care homes, exposing fraud or any other risks to the public, whistleblowers must be allowed to speak up. Many scandals would be hidden if were not for the actions of whistleblowers. They are essential to democracy.

For a fairer, more open society I ask you to support replacement of PIDA. Any new legislation should:

1)   Make it compulsory for whistleblower’s concerns to be investigated

2)   Ensure that there is a legal duty by employers and regulators to protect whistleblowers from the point at which they whistleblow

3)   Include meaningful penalties for individuals who victimise whistleblowers, including criminal sanctions for serious reprisal.

I would be grateful if you would raise this matter with the government by writing to the Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to champion the case for reforming UK whistleblowing law.

Yours sincerely,

[SIGNATURE]

 

cc Law Commission communications@lawcommission.gsi.gov.uk

 

via Send this letter to your MP to help protect UK whistleblowers

#Whistle-blower withdraws offer to help #police reopen probe into #autistic abuse scandal! #NAS #MendipHouse

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NAS-MENDIP HOUSE

“It appears, that unless it suits the government purpose, abuse in residential care will not be even revealed, let alone prosecuted and care provision ended.

See here how nothing happened and a whistleblower was silenced and abuse worse than Winterbourne and Whorlton Hall ignored by all in NAS MENDIP HOUSE

The abuse was in a home owned by NAS ‘the voice of autism’, paid at least £6,000 a week per resident, equal to 9,000 as tax free, for this abuse.

CQC ignored abuse, as did the local safeguarding authority for years.So there are no checks, no safeguarding and can be no whistleblowers.

The carer whistleblower will not now speak out to reopen the investigation for fear she will never work again.

So abuse can continue in NAS and everywhere with impunity, making huge profit out of public money, and this is the only funded care for life for our autistic and learning disabled.

They have been made cashcows without protection from anyone or state agency..”

via Whistle-blower withdraws offer to help police reopen probe into autistic abuse scandal  

#Xenophobia v #Multiculturalism: Archie #Windsor Isn’t the Symbol You Think He Is!

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ARGUMENT

Archie Windsor Isn’t the Symbol You Think He Is |  | Foreign Policy | 26 

The newest royal baby represents his country’s future identity: not multicultural, but overwhelmingly mixed-race and entirely British.

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, pose for a photo with their newborn baby son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle in Windsor, west of London on May 8, 2019.

Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, pose for a photo with their newborn baby son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, in St George’s Hall at Windsor Castle in Windsor, west of London on May 8, 2019. DOMINIC LIPINSKI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The recently arrived royal baby, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, is seventh in the line of succession to the British throne, but he is destined to earn more than the share of public attention that status would suggest. All royals serve as public symbols—it is, to some extent, their job—but especially so the son of Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, who is a mixed-race American. The problem is that this symbolism has been deeply misinterpreted.

Archie’s birth is considered a landmark occasion: the admittance of a person of color into the British royal club, a symbol of today’s increasingly diverse Britain. But this gets the royal baby’s significance backward. In reality, Archie represents the success of ethnic assimilation in Britain. He is destined to be an emblem of the United Kingdom’s future de-diversification, the emergence of a new mixed-race majority that closely identifies with its British ancestry.

The common interpretation is that Archie, like Meghan, whose mother is African American, represents multicultural Britain. This narrative holds that Archie’s arrival is of a piece with the rapid increase in the nonwhite British population of England since 1981, from 4 percent to over 15 percent. The royal couple’s wedding, which featured an African American gospel choir and preacher, fits the narrative of a radical break with the monocultural past.

Cultural narratives, however, tend to collapse unless they are supported by underlying societal trends, and Britain’s demography doesn’t indicate a grand narrative of an increasingly diversifying nation. Rather, Britain’s ethnic dynamics are developing in the direction of assimilation—a reduction of difference as newcomers melt into an existing ancestral memory. The English ethnic group is in the process of adapting its idea of who can be a member to encompass a wider range of colors, even as English memory and identity—like that of the royal line—largely remains the same.

Consider a few facts from the censuses of England and Wales (Scotland and Northern Ireland have separate surveys). First, almost half of people of Afro-Caribbean ethnicity form unions with white people. Second, nearly eight in 10 of their mixed-race offspring partner with white people and other mixed-race people. While marriage across racial lines is lower for South Asian groups, at current rates of intermarriage, the projections run by the demographer Edward Morgan for my book Whiteshift show that 30 percent of the country will be mixed-race by 2100, rising to nearly 75 percent by 2150. This is because the offspring of a mixed-race person can only be mixed-race, but the offspring of an “unmixed” person has a rising chance of being mixed-race. Why? Because the nonwhite share of the U.K. population is on the rise, increasing the chance that a partner of a white person will be nonwhite. Firing on both these cylinders, simple mathematics tells us that the mixed-race population will take off late this century.

Mixing also means that the not mixed-race nonwhite share of the population will peak sometime in the 2090s, when it will be overtaken by the surging mixed-race group. This is not speculation—demography is the most predictive of the social sciences. Unless social mores drastically shift against intermarriage (our projections assume interracial marriage continues at its current rate), it’s hard to envision any other outcome. Immigration levels make little difference to the long-term picture.

How will those of mixed-race identify? How will others see them? Scholarship tells us the two processes strongly influence each other, because identities are formed through social interaction, not just subjective choice. Unmixed whites are a clear majority in today’s Britain, so those of mixed-race see themselves—and are often considered by whites—to be minorities. Some may pass as white, such as the one-eighth Japanese former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith or the one-quarter African American Steven Woolfe, a former UK Independence Party Member of the European Parliament. Others may be viewed as distinctly mixed-race, such as the half Afro-Caribbean soccer legend Rio Ferdinand. The current English soccer team contains seven mixed-race players, some of whom are widely considered black, some white, and some mixed.

By the time Archie Mountbatten-Windsor reaches his grandparents’ age, however, not mixed-race white Brits will be a 40 percent minority of the nation’s population. Those under 20 will be overwhelmingly mixed. The changed racial context means that the rising mixed-race group is less likely to view itself, and be viewed, as a minority. The question this begs is how this new majority will identify, given the multiple ancestry lines it can select from.

Ethnicity is fundamentally about a subjective belief in common descent. Even if there are multiple bloodlines, people may exercise their ethnic option to focus on certain lines at the expense of others. As Britain’s mixed-race population becomes a majority it is likely to assign more importance to its European ancestry. In part, that’s because, as not mixed-race whites become a shrinking minority of both Western Europe and North America, European roots will cease to be a bland backdrop to the mixed-race identity. By abdicating its demographic hegemony, European ancestry will gain in cultural appeal and salience among those of mixed race.

The European lineage of the new mixed-race majority will also take on greater meaning than its polygenetic immigrant provenance because it will bind the community in ways that other identities cannot. English heritage will have longer historical roots and connections with founding moments in the collective memory of Britain’s new multiracial majority. (In the United States, this unifying identification with a founding group doesn’t apply because there are three founding groups with a long pedigree: American Indians, white Anglos, and African Americans. This makes a hybrid group, like Mexico’s mestizos, more likely.)

In adulthood, Archie may come to immediately identify with his English ancestry the way most Turks identify with their Central Asian Turkic ancestry (a minority of their DNA) or Jews focus on their maternal Israelite lineage despite centuries of demographic mixing. In the United States, most American Indians and Native Hawaiians similarly forget their considerable nonaboriginal genetic makeup to concentrate on their preferred indigenous roots.

That future is still some way off. Today, the British elite still views Archie through the lens of a majority-white society: as something exotic and different. Outlooks that stem from a period of overwhelming white dominance still hold sway. Thus the BBC Radio presenter Danny Baker tweeted an image of a couple holding hands with a well-dressed chimpanzee beneath the caption: “Royal baby leaves hospital.” Baker swiftly deleted the tweet, apologetically explaining that he was trying to lampoon privilege and the news cycle and did not intend to be racist—a claim that seems plausible given the fact the tweet had the predictable outcome of costing him his job. Either way, the furor reflects a sensibility that may not survive the large-scale race mixing destined to occur by the time Archie is an old man.

Without a dominant unmixed white group, and with a rising and confident mixed-race majority, today’s racial sensitivities will likely fade, and few will consider Archie anything other than a member of the English majority. In that case, Baker’s tweet would either pass without comment or never be written in the first place.

Trevor Phillips, the former head of Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission, who is of Afro-Guyanese descent, wrote an open letter to Archie describing him as the “poster boy for this new world.” He adds that, unlike when he was young, “I can’t see that anyone in your family is going to be in the least bit bothered about your colour,” and race is likely to lose its meaning in the future.

Phillips is almost certainly correct, which means the ethnic English—like other Western ethnic majorities—are likely to become multiracial, as are today’s Turkmen or Hawaiians. Far from heralding an era of multiculturalism, Archie’s birth points to the success of Britain’s melting pot. Indeed, he prefigures a long-term decline of the country’s ethnic diversity that will result, like his absorption into the royal line, in a renewed sense of genealogical and historic continuity.

Eric Kaufmann is a professor of politics at Birkbeck College, University of London, and the author of the forthcoming book Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration and the Future of White Majorities.

via Archie Windsor Isn’t the Symbol You Think He Is — Foreign Policy

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ALSO SEE: How Europeans evolved white skinAnn Gibbons

 

Common European traits like pale skin evolved relatively recently in central and southern Europe. 

BRUCE MCINTOSH/ISTOCKPHOTO

 

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI—Most of us think of Europe as the ancestral home of white people. But a new study shows that pale skin, as well as other traits such as tallness and the ability to digest milk as adults, arrived in most of the continent relatively recently. The work, presented here last week at the 84th annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, offers dramatic evidence of recent evolution in Europe and shows that most modern Europeans don’t look much like those of 8000 years ago.

The origins of Europeans have come into sharp focus in the past year as researchers have sequenced the genomes of ancient populations, rather than only a few individuals. By comparing key parts of the DNA across the genomes of 83 ancient individuals from archaeological sites throughout Europe, the international team of researchers reported earlier this year that Europeans today are a mix of the blending of at least three ancient populations of hunter-gatherers and farmers who moved into Europe in separate migrations over the past 8000 years. The study revealed that a massive migration of Yamnaya herders from the steppes north of the Black Sea may have brought Indo-European languages to Europe about 4500 years ago.

Now, a new study from the same team drills down further into that remarkable data to search for genes that were under strong natural selection—including traits so favorable that they spread rapidly throughout Europe in the past 8000 years. By comparing the ancient European genomes with those of recent ones from the 1000 Genomes Project, population geneticist Iain Mathieson, a postdoc in the Harvard University lab of population geneticist David Reich, found five genes associated with changes in diet and skin pigmentation that underwent strong natural selection.

First, the scientists confirmed an earlier report that the hunter-gatherers in Europe could not digest the sugars in milk 8000 years ago, according to a poster. They also noted an interesting twist: The first farmers also couldn’t digest milk. The farmers who came from the Near East about 7800 years ago and the Yamnaya pastoralists who came from the steppes 4800 years ago lacked the version of the LCT gene that allows adults to digest sugars in milk. It wasn’t until about 4300 years ago that lactose tolerance swept through Europe.

When it comes to skin color, the team found a patchwork of evolution in different places, and three separate genes that produce light skin, telling a complex story for how European’s skin evolved to be much lighter during the past 8000 years. The modern humans who came out of Africa to originally settle Europe about 40,000 years are presumed to have had dark skin, which is advantageous in sunny latitudes. And the new data confirm that about 8500 years ago, early hunter-gatherers in Spain, Luxembourg, and Hungary also had darker skin: They lacked versions of two genes—SLC24A5 and SLC45A2—that lead to depigmentation and, therefore, pale skin in Europeans today.

But in the far north—where low light levels would favor pale skin—the team found a different picture in hunter-gatherers: Seven people from the 7700-year-old Motala archaeological site in southern Sweden had both light skin gene variants, SLC24A5 and SLC45A2. They also had a third gene, HERC2/OCA2, which causes blue eyes and may also contribute to light skin and blond hair. Thus ancient hunter-gatherers of the far north were already pale and blue-eyed, but those of central and southern Europe had darker skin.

Then, the first farmers from the Near East arrived in Europe; they carried both genes for light skin. As they interbred with the indigenous hunter-gatherers, one of their light-skin genes swept through Europe, so that central and southern Europeans also began to have lighter skin. The other gene variant, SLC45A2, was at low levels until about 5800 years ago when it swept up to high frequency.

The team also tracked complex traits, such as height, which are the result of the interaction of many genes. They found that selection strongly favored several gene variants for tallness in northern and central Europeans, starting 8000 years ago, with a boost coming from the Yamnaya migration, starting 4800 years ago. The Yamnaya have the greatest genetic potential for being tall of any of the populations, which is consistent with measurements of their ancient skeletons. In contrast, selection favored shorter people in Italy and Spain starting 8000 years ago, according to the paper now posted on the bioRxiv preprint server. Spaniards, in particular, shrank in stature 6000 years ago, perhaps as a result of adapting to colder temperatures and a poor diet.

Surprisingly, the team found no immune genes under intense selection, which is counter to hypotheses that diseases would have increased after the development of agriculture.

The paper doesn’t specify why these genes might have been under such strong selection. But the likely explanation for the pigmentation genes is to maximize vitamin D synthesis, said paleoanthropologist Nina Jablonski of Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), University Park, as she looked at the poster’s results at the meeting. People living in northern latitudes often don’t get enough UV to synthesize vitamin D in their skin so natural selection has favored two genetic solutions to that problem—evolving pale skin that absorbs UV more efficiently or favoring lactose tolerance to be able to digest the sugars and vitamin D naturally found in milk. “What we thought was a fairly simple picture of the emergence of depigmented skin in Europe is an exciting patchwork of selection as populations disperse into northern latitudes,” Jablonski says. “This data is fun because it shows how much recent evolution has taken place.”

Anthropological geneticist George Perry, also of Penn State, notes that the work reveals how an individual’s genetic potential is shaped by their diet and adaptation to their habitat. “We’re getting a much more detailed picture now of how selection works.”

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ALSO SEE: New gene variants reveal the evolution of human skin colorAnnGibbons |  | 12 O

Most people associate Africans with dark skin. But different groups of people in Africa have almost every skin color on the planet, from deepest black in the Dinka of South Sudan to beige in the San of South Africa. Now, researchers have discovered a handful of new gene variants responsible for this palette of tones.

 

Researchers have identified genes that help create diverse skin tones, such as those seen in the Agaw (left) and Surma (right) peoples of Africa.

ALESSIA RANCIARO & DR. SIMON R. THOMPSON

 

The study, published online this week in Science, traces the evolution of these genes and how they traveled around the world. While the dark skin of some Pacific Islanders can be traced to Africa, gene variants from Eurasia also seem to have made their way back to Africa. And surprisingly, some of the mutations responsible for lighter skin in Europeans turn out to have an ancient African origin.

“This is really a landmark study of skin color diversity,” says geneticist Greg Barsh of the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Alabama.

Researchers agree that our early australopithecine ancestors in Africa probably had light skin beneath hairy pelts. “If you shave a chimpanzee, its skin is light,” says evolutionary geneticist Sarah Tishkoff of the University of Pennsylvania, the lead author of the new study. “If you have body hair, you don’t need dark skin to protect you from ultraviolet [UV] radiation.”

Until recently, researchers assumed that after human ancestors shed most body hair, sometime before 2 million years ago, they quickly evolved dark skin for protection from skin cancer and other harmful effects of UV radiation. Then, when humans migrated out of Africa and headed to the far north, they evolved lighter skin as an adaptation to limited sunlight. (Pale skin synthesizes more vitamin D when light is scarce.)

Previous research on skin-color genes fit that picture. For example, a “depigmentation gene” called SLC24A5 linked to pale skin swept through European populations in the past 6000 years. But Tishkoff ’s team found that the story of skin color evolution isn’t so black and white. Her team, including African researchers, used a light meter to measure skin reflectance in 2092 people in Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Botswana. They found the darkest skin in the Nilo-Saharan pastoralist populations of eastern Africa, such as the Mursi and Surma, and the lightest skin in the San of southern Africa, as well as many shades in between, as in the Agaw people of Ethiopia.

At the same time, they collected blood samples for genetic studies. They sequenced more than 4 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)—places where a single letter of the genetic code varies across the genomes of 1570 of these Africans. They found four key areas of the genome where specific SNPs correlate with skin color.

The first surprise was that SLC24A5, which swept Europe, is also common in East Africa—found in as many as half the members of some Ethiopian groups. This variant arose 30,000 years ago and was probably brought to eastern Africa by people migrating from the Middle East, Tishkoff says. But though many East Africans have this gene, they don’t have white skin, probably because it is just one of several genes that shape their skin color.

The team also found variants of two neighboring genes, HERC2 and OCA2, which are associated with light skin, eyes, and hair in Europeans but arose in Africa; these variants are ancient and common in the light-skinned San people. The team proposes that the variants arose in Africa as early as 1 million years ago and spread later to Europeans and Asians. “Many of the gene variants that cause light skin in Europe have origins in Africa,” Tishkoff says.

The most dramatic discovery concerned a gene known as MFSD12. Two mutations that decrease expression of this gene were found in high frequencies in people with the darkest skin. These variants arose about a half-million years ago, suggesting that human ancestors before that time may have had moderately dark skin, rather than the deep black hue created today by these mutations.

These same two variants are found in Melanesians, Australian Aborigines, and some Indians. These people may have inherited the variants from ancient migrants from Africa who followed a “southern route” out of East Africa, along the southern coast of India to Melanesia and Australia, Tishkoff says. That idea, however, counters three genetic studies that concluded last year that Australians, Melanesians, and Eurasians all descend from a single migration out of Africa. Alternatively, this great migration may have included people carrying variants for both light and dark skin, but the dark variants later were lost in Eurasians.

To understand how the MFSD12 mutations help make darker skin, the researchers reduced expression of the gene in cultured cells, mimicking the action of the variants in dark-skinned people. The cells produced more eumelanin, the pigment responsible for black and brown skin, hair, and eyes. The mutations may also change skin color by blocking yellow pigments: When the researchers knocked out MFSD12 in zebrafish and mice, red and yellow pigments were lost, and the mice’s light brown coats turned gray. “This new mechanism for producing intensely dark pigmentation is really the big story,” says Nina Jablonski, an anthropologist at Pennsylvania State University in State College.

The study adds to established research undercutting old notions of race. You can’t use skin color to classify humans, any more than you can use other complex traits like height, Tishkoff says. “There is so much diversity in Africans that there is no such thing as an African race.”

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The Western Media is Key to Syria Deception — Counter Information

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By Jonathan Cook May 25, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –

By any reckoning, the claim made this week by al-Qaeda-linked fighters that they were targeted with chemical weapons by the Syrian government in Idlib province – their final holdout in Syria – should have been treated by the western media with a high degree of scepticism.

That the US and other western governments enthusiastically picked up those claims should not have made them any more credible.

Scepticism was all the more warranted from the media given that no physical evidence has yet been produced to corroborate the jihadists’ claims. And the media should have been warier still given that the Syrian government was already poised to defeat these al-Qaeda groups without resort to chemical weapons – and without provoking the predictable ire (yet again) of the west.

But most of all scepticism was required because these latest claims arrive just as we have learnt that the last supposed major chemical attack – which took place in April 2018 and was, as ever, blamed by all western sources on Syria’s president, Bashar Assad – was very possibly staged, a false-flag operation by those very al-Qaeda groups now claiming the Syrian government has attacked them once again.

Addicted to incompetence

Most astounding in this week’s coverage of the claims made by al-Qaeda groups is the fact that the western media continues to refuse to learn any lessons, develop any critical distance from the sources it relies on, even as those sources are shown to have repeatedly deceived it.
It is bad enough that our governments and our expert institutions deceive and lie to us. But it is even worse that we have a corporate media addicted – at the most charitable interpretation – to its own incompetence. The evidence demonstrating that grows stronger by the day.This was true after the failure to find WMD in Iraq, and it is now even more true after the the international community’s monitoring body on chemical weapons, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), was exposed this month as deeply dishonest.

Unprovoked attack

In March the OPCW produced a report into a chemical weapons attack the Syrian government allegedly carried out in Douma in April last year. Several dozen civilians, many of them children, died apparently as a result of that attack.

The OPCW report concluded that there were “reasonable grounds” for believing a toxic form of chlorine had been used as a chemical weapon in Douma, and that the most likely method of delivery were two cylinders dropped from the air.

This as good as confirmed claims made by al-Qaeda groups, backed by western states, that the cylinders had been dropped by the Syrian military. Using dry technical language, the OPCW joined the US and Europe in pointing the finger squarely at Assad.

It was vitally important that the OPCW reached that conclusion not only because of the west’s overarching regime-change ambitions in Syria.

In response to the alleged Douma attack a year ago, the US fired a volley of Cruise missiles at Syrian army and government positions before there had been any investigation of who was responsible.

Those missiles were already a war crime – an unprovoked attack on another sovereign country. But without the OPCW’s implicit blessing, the US would have been deprived of even its flimsy, humanitarian pretext for launching the missiles.

Leaked document

Undoubtedly the OPCW was under huge political pressure to arrive at the “right” conclusion. But as a scientific body carrying out a forensic investigation surely it would not simply doctor the data.

Nonetheless, it seems that may well be precisely what it did. This month the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media – a group of academics who have grown increasingly sceptical of the western narratives told about Syria – published an internal, leaked OPCW document.

A few days later the OPCW reluctantly confirmed that the document was genuine, and that it would identify and deal with those responsible for the leak.

The document was an assessment overseen by Ian Henderson, a senior OPCW expert, of the engineering data gathered by the OPCW’s fact-finding mission that attended the scene of the Douma attack. Its findings fly in the face of the OPCW’s published report.

Erased from the record

The leaked document is deeply troubling for two reasons.

First, the assessment, based on the available technical data, contradicts the conclusion of the final OPCW report that the two chemical cylinders were dropped from the air and crashed through building roofs. It argues instead that the cylinders were more likely placed at the locations they were found.

If that is right, the most probable explanation is that the cylinders were put there by al-Qaeda groups – presumably in a last desperate effort to persuade the west to intervene and to prevent the jihadists being driven out of Douma.

But even more shocking is the fact that the expert assessment based on the data collected by the OPCW team is entirely unaddressed in the OPCW’s final report.

It is not that the final report discounts or rebuts the findings of its own experts. It simply ignores those findings; it pretends they don’t exist. The report blacks them out, erases them from the official record. In short, it perpetrates a massive deception.

Experts ignored

All of this would be headline news if we had a responsible media that cared about the truth and about keeping its readers informed.

We now know both that the US attacked Syria on entirely bogus grounds, and that the OPCW – one of the international community’s most respected and authoritative bodies – has been caught redhanded in an outrageous deception with grave geopolitical implications. (In fact, it is not the first time the OPCW has been caught doing this, as I have previously explained here.)

The fact that the OPCW ignored its own expert and its own team’s technical findings when they proved politically indigestible casts a dark shadow over all the OPCW’s work in Syria, and beyond. If it was prepared to perpetrate a deception on this occasion, why should we assume it did not do so on other occasions when it proved politically expedient?

Active combatants

The OPCW’s reports into other possible chemical attacks – assisting western efforts to implicate Assad – are now equally tainted. That is especially so given that in those other cases the OPCW violated its own procedures by drawing prejudicial conclusions without its experts being on the ground, at the site of the alleged attacks. Instead it received samples and photos via al-Qaeda groups, who could easily have tampered with the evidence.

And yet there has been not a peep from the corporate media about this exposure of the OPCW’s dishonesty, apart from commentary pieces from the only two maverick mainstream journalists in the UK – Peter Hitchens, a conservative but independent-minded columnist for the Mail on Sunday, and veteran war correspondent Robert Fisk, of the little-read Independent newspaper (more on his special involvement in Douma in a moment).

Just as the OPCW blanked the findings of its technical experts to avoid political discomfort, the media have chosen to stay silent on this new, politically sensitive information.

They have preferred to prop up the discredited narrative that our governments have been acting to protect the human rights of ordinary Syrians rather than the reality that they have been active combatants in the war, helping to destabilise a country in ways that have caused huge suffering and death in Syria.

Systematic failure

This isn’t a one-off failure. It’s part of a series of failures by the corporate media in its coverage of Douma.

They ignored very obvious grounds for caution at the time of the alleged attack. Award-winning reporter Robert Fisk was among the first journalists to enter Douma shortly after those events. He and a few independent reporters communicated eye-witness testimony that flatly contradicted the joint narrative promoted by al-Qaeda groups and western governments that Assad had bombed Douma with chemical weapons.

The corporate media also mocked a subsequent press conference at which many of the supposed victims of that alleged chemical attack made appearances to show that they were unharmed and spoke of how they had been coerced into play-acting their roles.

And now the western media has compounded that failure – revealing its systematic nature – by ignoring the leaked OPCW document too.

But it gets worse, far worse.

Al-Qaeda propaganda

This week the same al-Qaeda groups that were present in Douma – and may have staged that lethal attack – claimed that the Syrian government had again launched chemical weapons against them, this time on their final holdout in Idlib.

A responsible media, a media interested in the facts, in evidence, in truth-telling, in holding the powerful to account, would be duty bound to frame this latest, unsubstantiated claim in the context of the new doubts raised about the OPCW report into last year’s chemical attack blamed on Assad.

Given that the technical data suggest that al-Qaeda groups, and the White Helmets who work closely with them, were responsible for staging the attack – even possibly of murdering civilians to make the attack look more persuasive – the corporate media had a professional and moral obligation to raise the matter of the leaked document.

It is vital context as anyone tries to weigh up whether the latest al-Qaeda claims are likely to be true. To deprive readers of this information, this essential context would be to take a side, to propagandise on behalf not only of western governments but of al-Qaeda too.

And that is exactly what the corporate media have just done. All of them.

Media worthy of Stalin

It is clear how grave their dereliction of the most basic journalistic duty is if we consider the Guardian’s uncritical coverage of jihadist claims about the latest alleged chemical attack.

Like most other media, the Guardian article included two strange allusions – one by France, the other by the US – to the deception perpetrated by the OPCW in its recent Douma report. The Guardian reported these allusions even though it has never before uttered a word anywhere in its pages about that deception.

In other words, the corporate media are so committed to propagandising on behalf of the western powers that they have reported the denials of official wrongdoing even though they have never reported the actual wrongdoing. It is hard to imagine the Soviet media under Stalin behaving in such a craven and dishonest fashion.

The corporate media have given France and the US a platform to reject accusations against the OPCW that the media themselves have never publicly raised.

Doubts about OPCW

The following is a brief statement (unintelligible without the forgoing context) from France, reported by the Guardian in relation to the latest claim that Assad’s forces used chemical weapons this week: “We have full confidence in the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.”

But no one, except bloggers and academics ignored by the media and state authorities, has ever raised doubts about the OPCW. Why would the Guardian think these French comments worthy of reporting unless there were reasons to doubt the OPCW? And if there are such reasons for doubt, why has the Guardian not thought to make them public, to report them to its readers?

The US state department similarly came to the aid of the OPCW. In the same Guardian report, a US official was quoted saying that the OPCW was facing “a continuing disinformation campaign” from Syria and Russia, and that the campaign was designed “to create the false narrative that others [rather than Assad] are to blame for chemical weapons attacks”.

So Washington too was rejecting accusations against the OPCW that have never been reported by the state-corporate media.

Interestingly, in the case of US officials, they claim that Syria and Russia are behind the “disinformation campaign” against the OPCW, even though the OPCW has admitted that the leaked document discrediting its work is genuine and written by one of its experts.

The OPCW is discredited, of course, only because it sought to conceal evidence contained in the leaked document that might have exonerated Assad of last year’s chemical attack. It is hard to see how Syria or Russia can be blamed for this.

Colluding in deception

But more astounding still, while US and French officials have at least acknowledged that there are doubts about the OPCW’s role in Syria, even if they unjustifiably reject such doubts, the corporate media have simply ignored those doubts as though they don’t exist.

The continuing media blackout on the leaked OPCW document cannot be viewed as accidental. It has been systematic across the media.

That blackout has remained resolutely in place even after the OPCW admitted the leaked document discrediting it was genuine and even after western countries began alluding to the leaked document themselves.

The corporate media is actively colluding both in the original deception perpetrated by al-Qaeda groups and the western powers, and in the subsequent dishonesty of the OPCW. They have worked together to deceive western publics.

The question is, why are the media so obviously incompetent? Why are they so eager to keep themselves and their readers in the dark? Why are they so willing to advance credulous narratives on behalf of western governments that have been repeatedly shown to have lied to them?

Iran the real target

The reason is that the corporate media are not what they claim. They are not a watchdog on power, or a fourth estate.

The media are actually the public relations wing of a handful of giant corporations – and states – that are pursuing two key goals in the Middle East.

First, they want to control its oil. Helping al-Qaeda in Syria – including in its propaganda war – against the Assad government serves a broader western agenda. The US and NATO bloc are ultimately gunning for the leadership of Iran, the one major oil producer in the region not under the US imperial thumb.

Powerful Shia groups in the region – Assad in Syria, Hezbullah in Lebanon, and Iraqi leaders elevated by our invasion of that country in 2003 – are allies or potential allies of Iran. If they are in play, the US empire’s room for manoeuvre in taking on Iran is limited. Remove these smaller players and Iran stands isolated and vulnerable.

That is why Russia stepped in several years ago to save Assad, in a bid to stop the dominoes falling and the US engineering a third world war centred on the Middle East.

Second, with the Middle East awash with oil money, western corporations have a chance to sell more of the lucrative weapons that get used in overt and covert wars like the one raging in Syria for the past eight years.

What better profit-generator for these corporations than wasteful and pointless wars against manufactured bogeymen like Assad?

Like a death cult

From the outside, this looks and sounds like a conspiracy. But actually it is something worse – and far more difficult to overcome.

The corporations that run our media and our governments have simply conflated in their own minds – and ours – the idea that their narrow corporate interests are synonymous with “western interests”.

The false narratives they generate are there to serve a system of power, as I have explained in previous blogs. That system’s worldview and values are enforced by a charmed circle that includes politicians, military generals, scientists, journalists and others operating as if brainwashed by some kind of death cult. They see the world through a single prism: the system’s need to hold on to power. Everything else – truth, evidence, justice, human rights, love, compassion – must take a back seat.

It is this same system that paradoxically is determined to preserve itself even if it means destroying the planet, ravaging our economies, and starting and maintaining endlessly destructive wars. It is a system that will drag us all into the abyss, unless we stop it.

via The Western Media is Key to Syria Deception — Counter Information

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