Welcome to Sott.net
Tue, 11 Aug 2020
The World for People who Think

Society's Child


Ex-US Marine Whelan, convicted of espionage in Russia, changes jails as US is 'not interested' in swap

Paul Whelan
© Sputnik/Kirill Kallinikov
Paul Whelan in the Lefortovo court in Moscow
Paul Whelan, imprisoned in Russia on spy charges, will serve his sentence in Russia's Republic of Mordovia, about 500km east of Moscow. It had been rumored he was likely to be swapped with the US for Russians.

The convicted spy, who holds American, British, Canadian, and Irish passports, was found guilty in June by a Moscow court on charges of espionage and was sentenced to 16 years in prison. He was arrested in December 2018 after receiving a USB device from an undercover FSB officer, containing sensitive information. Whelan maintains that he was set up, and thought the memory stick contained photos of a tourist trip.

According to Russia's Federal Penitentiary Service, the former Marine is being moved on a prison train from Moscow's Lefortovo detention center to prison IK-17 - a seven-hour drive from Moscow. Despite being convicted almost two months ago, he was not immediately transported out of pre-trial detention.

Comment: Having not appealed his verdict, Whelan must now decide if he will ask for clemency:
"We just visited Paul (on Tuesday morning) at the Lefortovo pre-trial detention center (in Moscow), where he made the final decision not to appeal his sentence and wrote a statement," his attorney Olga Karlova told news agency TASS. Karlova added that her client does not trust the Russian justice system and believes another trial is pointless.

US authorities have insisted the ex-Marine is not spy. Whelan has described himself as "more like Mr Bean, than James Bond."

Last week, US ambassador to Russia John Sullivan said that the US was not looking for an exchange, but rather "justice" for Whelan.

A notable feature of the saga has been restrained reporting from the US press, which typically would give a case of this nature massive coverage. This has raised eyebrows in Moscow media circles. As for 4pm Moscow time Moscow on Tuesday, neither CNN nor The New York Times carried the story on their website front pages.
See also:


Survey finds nearly half of Germans in favor of US military withdrawal

ramstein air base germany
© Reuters/K. Pfaffenbach
Ramstein, located in Germany is the largest U.S. military base in the world
People in Germany are largely in favor of US troops withdrawing from their country, a recent survey has revealed. The data showed that voters and politicians tend to disagree on the matter.

Nearly half of people in Germany are in favor of a US plan to withdraw nearly 12,000 of its troops from the European country, according to a representative survey by the research institute YouGov shared Tuesday.

Some 47% of survey respondents said they supported reducing the number of US soldiers in Germany. One in four was in favor of all US soldiers leaving.

Just 28% thought the number of US troops should remain the same and only 4% were in favor of increasing their numbers. Another 21% declined to answer.

Chart Bar

Tests reveal 2.5% of Italians had COVID-19, far more in the north

covid test
© AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca
Antibody testing in Italy indicates that nearly 1.5 million people, or about 2.5% of the population, have had the coronavirus. But officials said Monday that huge geographic variations in the results confirmed a nationwide lockdown was "absolutely crucial" to preventing the country's south from getting slammed as badly as its north.

Comment: Nonsense. There's no data suggesting lockdowns were effective at anything.

The Health Ministry and the national statistics agency based their assessment on tests performed May 25-July 15 on a sample of nearly 65,000 Italians selected for their location, age and type of work. The government carried out the testing to understand how widely the virus circulated in the first country in the West to be overwhelmed by COVID-19, given that the bulk of confirmed cases and deaths occurred in northern Italy.

The sampling indicated that 1.482 million Italians nationwide had come into contact with the virus and developed an immunological response to it, six times more than Italy's reported number of confirmed cases, said Linda Laura Sabbadini, a director at the Italian National Institute of Statistics, or ISTAT.

Comment: And the true number is probably 4-8x higher than that, given natural immunity. It wasn't the lockdown, it was that the herd immunity threshold was reached.

But there were significant geographic disparities: An estimated 7.5% of the Lombardy region's residents had virus antibodies versus 1.9% in neighboring Veneto. Within Lombardy, sharp differences also emerged from province to province: Some 24% of Bergamo residents developed virus antibodies, but only 5.1% of residents did a few provinces over in Pavia.


Chicago state rep wants history classes abolished since they 'lead to white privilege and a racist society'

Rep LaShawn K. Ford
Democratic state Rep. LaShawn K. Ford said history classes in Illinois public schools lead to "white privilege and a racist society" — and he wants them ended until the state can come up with a history curriculum that better represents the contributions of minorities and women, WLS-TV reported.

"I'm calling for the abolishment of history classes in Illinois," Ford said at an Evanston news conference Sunday with other leaders, the station noted. "We're concerned that current school history teachings lead to white privilege and a racist society."

What are the details?


Singapore to tag visitors with electronic monitoring devices to ensure Covid-19 quarantine compliance

man sitting on bench, facemask, social distancing
© Reuters / Edgar Su
New arrivals to Singapore won't necessarily have to quarantine at a government facility during the pandemic - some, including residents, will receive an electronic monitoring device that will alert authorities if they leave home.

Singapore announced on Monday that it will track incoming travelers coming from a select group of countries - including residents and citizens - with electronic monitoring devices, starting on August 11.

Authorities framed the trackers as a positive for travelers, noting they would allow recipients to self-isolate at home instead of quarantining in a government facility. New arrivals will be ordered to activate the devices upon reaching home, at which point they are programmed to alert the authorities should the user try to leave or tamper with the device.

Comment: This is literally putting people under house arrest for traveling. Sure, it's better than being thrown in a prison for the same 'offence', but tyranny-lite is still tyranny.

Comment: This is totally out of proportion to the "threat" and goes to show that none of this actually has anything to do with the virus.

Stock Up

School and church closings, anti-police movement blow up US homicide rate

baltimore street crime
© AP Photo/Steve Ruark
Homicide rates have exploded by double digits and experts blame school and church closings alongside the anti-police movement, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The Wall Street Journal looked at America's 50 biggest cities and found homicides are up an average of a whopping 24 percent across the board.

It is also worth noting, although the Journal tries to spin this as a bipartisan problem, that Democrats (including the "progressive" mayor of San Antonio who identifies as Independent) run seven of the top ten cities with the biggest jump in homicide rates.

Comment: Is anyone actually surprised by this? Insane lockdown measures + decreased police presence = more murder. It's not rocket science.

See also:


Stephen Hawking named in Epstein files as court asks for photos, videos with Virginia Giuffre

stephen hawking
© Sion Touhig/Getty Images
Physicist Stephen Hawking smiles at a symposium to honor his birthday at the Center for Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge January 11, 2002 in Cambridge, England.
Stephen Hawking has been named in recently unsealed court documents involving disgraced child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein and his alleged collaborator Ghislaine Maxwell.

The files were unveiled as part of the civil litigation against Maxwell who faces charges of aiding Epstein's sexual abuse of young girls.

They stem from a 2015 civil action brought against Maxwell by Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre who has claimed she was lured by Maxwell at age 15 into becoming involved with the alleged sex ring.

Comment: See also:


'We are a cancer and there is no cure': MSNBC producer Ariana Pekary on why she's quitting network broadcast news

james baldwin quote
"Just quit."

That's the advice Alec gave a year and a half ago when I expressed concerns about my job.

"You just quit. It's that simple."

"Stay at MSNBC at least until the midterms," Jeffrey said a couple years back. He advised to watch and see what happens.

Comment: See also: Bari Weiss' resignation letter from the New York Times: Says Twitter is its ultimate editor

Bad Guys

Coronavirus crisis: Obey the rules or risk another national lockdown, Boris Johnson warns

Boris Johnson
© Djordje Kojadinovic / Reuters
Boris Johnson
The PM said he was "squeezing the brake pedal" because the number of cases has begun to accelerate across the country.

He vowed not to stand by and allow the virus to "cause more pain and heartache".

Comment: Empty words.

Mr Johnson stopped short of enforcing tighter restrictions but hinted he could do so, a move he had previously likened to using a nuclear deterrent, if infections continue to rise.

He said: "At this stage, we are not changing the rules on social contact nationally.

Comment: See also:


LSU linebacker Soni Fonua says he 'Can't f**king breathe' with a coronavirus shield on his helmet

soni fonua
© Screenshot/Twitter Video
LSU linebacker Soni Fonua isn't a fan of wearing a face shield on his helmet.

Football helmets are being outfitted with shields over the mouth section during the 2020 season to help limit the risk of coronavirus.

Fonua posted a video of himself wearing his and said that he "can't f**king breathe under this thing!" Watch the video below.

Comment: See also: