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Wed, 31 May 2023
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Pfizer, the EU, and disappearing ink

pfizer european union eu contract terms secret vaccine covid
© Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
The new deal cuts down the 450 million doses that were still due to be delivered in 2023
The European Commission has systematically blocked scrutiny of its COVID-19 vaccine deal with Pfizer. This week's update to the contract is no different.

It's as if Pfizer's massive COVID-19 vaccine deal with the European Commission were written with disappearing ink: the more time passes, the more details seem to vanish.

For a while now controversy has raged around the text messages supposedly exchanged between Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla in the run-up to the April 2021 deal for 1.1 billion doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine. The content and even existence of the messages has been shrouded in secrecy, with requests for clarification met with a fat "no comment."

On Friday, the Commission said it had reached a long sought-after deal with Pfizer to revise the terms of the contract. The new deal cuts down the 450 million doses that were still due to be delivered in 2023, and spreads them out over the next four years.

That's all the information you get. The Commission isn't revealing the new number of doses that member countries must buy, nor any of the financial terms of the amended contract.

Comment: Von der Leyen may not care. Word is that as of April 1, she's bucking for the top spot at NATO, as Stoltenberg seems to want out of that particular sh*tshow.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is "in the running" to replace Jens Stoltenberg, whose term as NATO secretary general expires in October, British newspaper The Sun reported on Friday, citing a diplomatic source.

According to the tabloid, "a number of NATO members" proposed von der Leyen's candidacy for the bloc's top job. However, the newspaper also cited UK sources as saying that London "would likely veto" the move because of "her poor track record in charge of Germany's Armed Forces" during her tenure as defense minister.


Von der Leyen was appointed as the EU's top executive in 2019. Her six years as Germany's defense minister was plagued by shortages and delays in the delivery of Bundeswehr equipment. "The army's readiness to deploy has not improved in recent years, but instead has got even worse," parliamentary armed forces commissioner Hans-Peter Bartels said in 2018.


Some facts for consideration

FACT: Things than can't go on forever, don't. Herb Stein's famous "rule" is good to remember in times like these - whether it is applied to Ukraine, the US debt and spending cycle, even this new US base being built in the territory another country where we have neither a treaty or permission to be there.

As an example of things that obviously can't go on forever - we could look at the mismatched US/NATO proxy war over Ukraine. On one hand, you have a patient, strategic, well-supplied and well-led Army and PMC contractors doing the bidding of a domestically popular political leadership that entered the war reservedly but with valid nationalist, security and moral reasons. On the other hand, you have a frenetic, confused, poorly-led and even less well-supplied and trained military, with an unpopular President who spends more time making demands than defending his people's interests. On the third hand, you have the US/NATO men in suits who, in true elite fashion, consist of non-warriors, death cultists, narcissists, and useful idiots.

Can the Ukraine/NATO/US conflict persist for decades, as Dimitry Medvedev stated this week? Medvedev linked his prediction to the persistence of Zelensky as the sitting head of the Ukrainian state, something that itself cannot go on for much longer.

This week, a US Senator claimed publicly with a smile that the billions of US wealth transferred to Ukraine is "the best money we ever spent" specifically, as Lindsay Graham stated, "[because] Russians are dying."


UAE reveals it withdrew from US-led maritime coalition 'months ago'

ship uae
The UAE also refuted western media reports that claim the country is 'frustrated' over Washington's weak response to Iran's seizure of oil tankers in Gulf waters
The UAE revealed on 31 May that it withdrew its forces from the US-led 'Combined Maritime Forces' two months ago after evaluating its security agreements.

"As a result of our ongoing evaluation of effective security cooperation with all partners, two months ago, the UAE withdrew its participation in the Combined Maritime Forces," the Emirati Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement carried by state-run news agency WAM.

Comment: It's telling that the US chose to make no announcement of the loss of this mechanism of control in the region.

The Combined Maritime Forces is a 34-nation task force headquartered in Bahrain, the home of the US Central Command (CENTCOM) and the US navy's Fifth Fleet.

Comment: This seems to be but one aspect of the Middle East's pivot East, ditching the US-led West in process: How the China-brokered Saudi-Iran deal will change the Middle East


Retired Mossad agent and two spies drown in suspicious incident on Italian lake

mossad boat sink
© PURICELLI/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Italian authorities work around the tourist boat that capsized and sank in Lake Maggiore two days earlier. Serving and ex-members of intelligence services were on board tourist boat that overturned in 'weather-related accident'.
A recently retired Mossad agent has died along with two Italian spies in a mysterious incident on Lake Maggiore in which a boat carrying dozens of intelligence officers capsized.

A total of four people died after the tourist boat overturned and sank on Sunday evening on Italy's Lake Maggiore, in what Italian officials believe was a weather-related accident, with no foul play suspected.

Another factor may have been overcrowding as the vessel, named the Gooduria, was said to be carrying eight more people than its 15-person limit at the time of the incident.

Comment: It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to conclude that these victims were killed intentionally, and most likely by the Mossad.

Notably, the number of seemingly targeted killings of agents, top businessmen and official, appears to be on the rise: Death of Russia's education minister on return from Cuba is latest suspicious death of high profile Russian citizen

No Entry

Blocked! French minister threatens to ban Twitter if it doesn't follow EU rules

Jean-Noël Barrot
© Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images
France's Digital Minister Jean-Noël Barrot
France's Digital Minister Jean-Noël Barrot waded into a growing tussle between the European Union and Elon Musk's Twitter on Monday, as he threatened the social media platform's access to the bloc.

In comments made on radio network France Info, the minister said that the U.S. company would be banned from the EU if it refused to follow the incoming European Digital Services Act, which goes into effect throughout the EU at the end of August.

"Disinformation is one of the gravest threats weighing on our democracies," said Barrot. "Twitter, if it repeatedly doesn't follow our rules, will be banned from the EU," the French minister added.

The remarks mark an escalation of an ongoing fight between European politicians and Twitter, which was bought last year by Elon Musk, the controversial billionaire who also controls Tesla and SpaceX.

Quenelle - Golden

China rejects US request for meeting between defense chiefs

Li Shangfu
© Sputnik/Pavel Bednyakov/Pool via REUTERS
Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu attends a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in Moscow, Russia, April 16, 2023.
China has declined a request from the United States for a meeting between their defense chiefs at an annual security forum in Singapore this weekend, media reported on Monday, a new sign of strain between the powers.

"Overnight, the PRC informed the U.S. that they have declined our early May invitation for Secretary (Lloyd) Austin to meet with PRC Minister of National Defense Li Shangfu in Singapore," the Pentagon said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal, referring to China by the initials of its official name, the People's Republic of China.

Li has been under U.S. sanctions since 2018 over the purchase of combat aircraft and equipment from Russia's main arms exporter, Rosoboronexport.

Comment: And this isn't the first time, because back in April China rejected a meeting with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. And just today: US releases footage of 'aggressive maneuver' by China during fighter jet intercept over South China Sea

Bad Guys

Largest ever Arctic Challenge NATO fighter aircraft exercise begins in Northern Europe

NATO Sweden Norway flag
Vast exercises involving around 150 fighter jets from Western countries, began on Monday in Finland, Sweden and Norway, the Finnish air force announced.

Participating countries include the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium and France,

The manoeuvres are due to last nearly two weeks, according to Finland, a brand new member of NATO, which is leading the 'Arctic Challenge' operation.

"The exercises have begun...Our first rotation is underway," Colonel Henrik Elo of the Finnish Air Force told French news agency AFP.

Comment: Just 5 days ago: The next escalation in the war against Russia: US sends largest warship ever constructed to Norway


Russian governor: Ukraine shells civilian shelter in Belgorod Region

ukraine shells shebekino belgorod russia
© Kanal13
Shebekino city in Russia's Belgorod region has come under fire, Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov announced on his Telegram channel
The shelling has left multiple civilians dead and injured, according to Vyacheslav Gladkov

The Ukrainian military has shelled a shelter for temporarily displaced people in Russia's western Belgorod Region, local governor Vyacheslav Gladkov has said.

The governor broke the news in a short video address posted to his Telegram channel on Tuesday, saying the attack left multiple civilians dead and injured. Gladkov did not provide an exact tally, stating only that he has been to the scene of the incident.

Unverified footage from the scene circulating online shows a projectile lodged deep into the surface of a road, as well as a parked car heavily battered by shrapnel.

According to local media reports, the attack left at least one civilian dead and two others injured. The shelter houses people evacuated from several locations across the Shebekino district, immediately bordering Ukraine.

Over the course of the ongoing conflict, Belgorod, as well as other Russian border regions, have been subjected to repeated artillery, rocket and drone attacks by Kiev's forces.

Comment: Local videos:


US releases footage of 'aggressive maneuver' by China during fighter jet intercept over South China Sea

J-17 fighter jet China
© Screenshot / Department of Defense
The US Indo-Pacific Command said on Tuesday that a Chinese J-16 fighter jet pilot performed an "'unnecessarily aggressive maneuver" while intercepting a US Air Force RC-135 aircraft over the South China Sea last week.

A release issued by the command states the Chinese fighter pilot "flew directly in front of the nose of the RC-135, forcing the US aircraft to fly through its wake turbulence."

"A People's Republic of China J-16 fighter pilot performed an unnecessarily aggressive maneuver during the intercept of a US Air Force RC-135 aircraft, May 26, 2023," the statement reads. "The RC-135 was conducting safe and routine operations over the South China Sea in international airspace, in accordance with international law."

Comment: It's possible that China is sending the US a message, meanwhile the US still can't quite believe that it is no longer able to provoke countries as it pleases.


The historical irony and tragedy of American revolutionism

© Julio Cortez/AP
Minneapolis protest • May 29, 2020
History is filled with irony. In the middle of the last century, German National Socialists hoped to establish a worldwide Reich ruled by the German master race. What they got instead was Germany left in ruins and half their country given over to the very communists they had sought to defeat.

Communism, for its part, aimed at creating a world-wide proletarian utopia. What it created instead was a series of dystopias which came close to completely destroying their inherited national cultures. Then, in a further irony, the revolutionary class ruling most of the communist regimes, whose mandate had included destroying the capitalist bourgeoisie, themselves became bourgeois, and were finally overthrown, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, by capitalist bourgeois revolutions.

The U.S. today is experiencing similar ironic twists of fate. It is well known that messianic democratic revolutionism was introduced into American political culture at the republic's birth. The Declaration of Independence, after all, was addressed not just to Americans but to all humankind:
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness — -That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government. [emphasis mine - GH]
Thus, the idea that all peoples had the right to overthrow their governments if the people saw them as being unjust -- what became today's 'color revolutionism' -- was woven into the fabric of America.

Comment: George Santayana: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."