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Wed, 08 Apr 2020
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World is "sleepwalking into surveillance state" as COVID-19 crackdowns escalate

covid-19 surveillance
All across the world, starting with China, the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed for the proliferation of the surveillance state.

More than 100 rights groups are warning that governments and corporations are partnering as a collaborative force to employ big data and increase widespread surveillance that threatens freedoms and privacy, reported Reuters.

At the moment, the surveillance tools are being used to mitigate the spread of the virus, tracing infections back to patient zero, monitoring social distancing, and enforcing lockdowns. However, the virus is likely a cover for pervasive snooping.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Privacy International said without appropriate safeguards, surveillance tools could remain in place even after the virus has been eradicated, which would erode people's freedoms on a long enough timeline.

"An increase in state digital surveillance powers, such as obtaining access to mobile phone location data, threatens privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of association," the groups said.

Comment: See also:


Assange's life in grave danger as first Covid-19 death confirmed in Belmarsh prison — Wikileaks editor-in-chief

Belmarsh prison protest
© Reuters / Hannah Mckay
Conditions in Belmarsh prison, where Julian Assange is held, might be worse than London is willing to admit, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson told RT, adding that Covid-19 could swiftly tear through the facility.

A prison environment is "like a Petri dish" for a virus, Hrafnsson explained, particularly such a highly infectious one as the novel coronavirus, which has already struck more than 1 million people around the world. The max security Belmarsh prison, where the WikiLeaks founder is being kept pending extradition to the US, has just reported its first death from the disease. According to Hrafnsson, there are other worrying signs too.

"We have prison guards going in and out. A third of them at least are not showing up to work either because they have the virus or because they are in isolation."

Comment: The PTB would be overjoyed if Assange died behind bars, something it seems like they appear to have been attempting to bring about ever since he was locked up. While the average healthy person has little to worry about contracting COVID-19, people with compromised health are indeed quite vulnerable. Considering the worries about the health of Assange that have been expressed by those who have seen him first-hand over the last year, he is likely extremely vulnerable.

See also:


Group wants anti-trust probe against Amazon and Flipkart to be reopened

© AP Photo / Ross D Franklin
The current year began on a rough note for e-commerce giants Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart even before the coronavirus pandemic engulfed India. The online marketplaces were accused of indulging in unethical business practices that resulted in an anti-trust probe against them.

Now, amid an existing economic and delivery crisis these platforms are facing when India is under a strict lockdown until 14 April, a fresh request for an investigation into their business ethics have reached legal authorities, the media reported on Tuesday.

A group of traders from the national capital called "Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh" has reached out to a court to re-visit the anti-trust probe on Amazon and Flipkart. The trader group believes that a flawed judgment followed after India's anti-trust watchdog called the Competition Commission of India (CCI) reviewed the first evidence in January.

Red Flag

As a GP, I fear our Covid-19 lockdown will result in significantly more deaths than we are trying to prevent

Medical staff
© REUTERS/Hannah McKay
We are paying too high a price to try to combat Covid-19. Not just in terms of the £350 billion ($430 billion) bill, but also in the health costs our actions are causing.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought a very thorny issue to the forefront. How much money can we, as a society, spend on keeping people healthy or alive? No one has ever fully got to grips with this question, but it has never been more important than now.

America has set aside $2 trillion to deal with the crisis, and Britain £350 billion - which is almost three times the current yearly budget for the entire NHS. Is this a price worth paying?

Cloud Grey

10 Signs the US is heading for an economic depression

soup kitchen
1- Unemployment is off-the-charts

Thursday's jobless claims leave no doubt that the country is in the grips of another severe recession. More than 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance in the last week. That number exceeds the gloomiest prediction of more than 40 economists and pushes the two-week total to an eye-watering 10 million claims.

According to CNBC:
"Those at the lower end of the wage scale have been especially hard-hit during a crisis that has seen businesses either cut staff outright or at best freeze any new hiring until there's more visibility about how efforts to contain the coronavirus will work.

"We've lived through the recession and 9/11. What we're seeing with this decline is actually worse than both of those events," said Irina Novoselsky, CEO of online jobs marketplace CareerBuilder." (CNBC)

Heart - Black

EMS crews won't take flatlining cardiac patients to hospital under new NYC coronavirus rules

© Theodore Parisienne/for New York Daily News
Cardiac patients who flatline will not be taken to area hospitals for further care, according to a new directive handed down as the city battles the rise in coronavirus cases.

The new orders from the Regional Emergency Medical Services Council of New York City say that "no adult non-traumatic or blunt traumatic cardiac arrest is to be transported to a hospital with manual or mechanical compressions in progress" unless the person's heart restarts at the scene.

The council — which sets policies followed by private and government EMS crews in the five boroughs — issued the order to free up emergency room space for the continuing onslaught of COVID-19 cases.

Comment: Isn't there some medical negligence involved here? Not to mention the fact that there empty hospitals all across the country.

"In the event a resuscitation is terminated, and the body is in public view, the body can be left in the custody of the NYPD," the directive notes.


Govt. models overestimated hospitalizations by 8 times; ICU beds by 6.4 times; ventilators needed by 40.5 times

Covid-19 ward
This is quite stunning.

The government models used to predict the extent of the coronavirus pandemic are off by huge margins in the latest coronavirus tracking numbers.

The current government predictions reported by Covid Tracking (https://covidtracking.com/data/ ) for Apr 5th show:

- All beds needed: 179,267
- ICU beds needed: 33,176
- Invasive ventilators: 26,544

Comment: See also:

Arrow Up

Scientists lead unprecedented collaboration efforts towards Covid-19 research while government's enforce draconian lockdown


(L) Researchers work on a vaccine against the new coronavirus COVID-19 at the Copenhagen’s University research lab in Copenhagen, Denmark AFP/Thibault Savary; (R) A military police officer patrols the deserted Heroes’ Square in Budapest, Hungary REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo
Two opposing dynamics have emerged in the global race for a coronavirus vaccine: unprecedented scientific collaboration on the one hand; and a worrying strengthening of national autarky on the other.

The contrast between the world of politics and governments with that of science could never be starker. While governments have been quick to close their borders and imprison their citizens, the fiercely competitive scientific community has shattered theirs to create unprecedented collaboration and freedom of information-sharing.

The cooperation among the global scientific communities is an inspiration at a time of a grave health crisis. Never before have so many experts in so many countries focused simultaneously on a single topic and with such urgency. Nearly all other research has ground to a halt.

Comment: Except the coronavirus is less 'grave' than the seasonal flu.


More people died of suicide last week In Tennessee than COVID-19, mayor speaks out

Mayor Glenn Jacobs

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs
As we previously warned, this pandemic will bankrupt and kill more people from suicide than the virus will. When you sacrifice people's livelihoods, you create a difficult situation of desperation for many who will see no other way out.

We are about to have a mental health crisis during an economic depression that will be tough to live through. The virus is no longer the problem. The government's reaction has been the problem and even some politicians have figured it out. Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs revealed in a weekly update that our solution to this pandemic has not been a good one. "Thus far, our reaction to COVID-19 has been to sacrifice the global economy," said Jacobs. "The truth is: a sick economy produces sick people."

Most people don't want to hear the truth, unfortunately, and the longer state governments insist on businesses being closed and an economy shut down to combat what's looking like a fairly insignificant virus for most of the population, the aftermath will worsen. Each day that drags on will make the next few years more difficult.

Comment: See also:

Eye 1

The lockdown was supposed to protect the most vulnerable & the elderly but the result is precisely the opposite

© Getty images / Matthew Horwood
An elderly man pushes a mobility walker in front of a closed down shop in Cardiff City centre on March 17, 2020 in Cardiff, Wales.
Putting old people under virtual house arrest at home or in their care homes, denying them proper medical care, destroying the value of their pensions - how are these devastating measures supposed to be helping them?

Covid-19 is a disease that is disproportionately dangerous to older people and those with serious underlying health conditions. The most frightening figures from the overall death toll attributable to the disease arise where health services are overwhelmed and cannot cope with large numbers of elderly people who have contracted it. In short, the lockdowns that we are seeing around the world should be largely justified by saving the lives of older people.

The trouble is that stories are also emerging which suggest that older people are not being protected anywhere near as well as we might expect. This first became apparent in Italy. Even as early as mid-March, there were reports that Piedmont had put in place guidelines to refuse intensive care for the over-80s if resources became too stretched.