Friday, September 23, 2022

The United Nations and #ThinkBeforeSharing - Guardians of the Truth and Destroyers of Conspiracy Theories

The United Nations through its agency, UNESCO which, ironically has the mantra "Building peace in the minds of men and women" has anointed itself as the great protector of the narrative through its new "#ThinkBeforeSharing" campaign.  Let's look at how the future global government sees its role in the new, disinformation-free world.


Here is the UNESCO's #ThinkBeforeSharing start webpage:


UNESCO claims the following with my bold:


"The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a worrying rise in disinformation and conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories can be dangerous: they often target and discriminate against vulnerable groups, ignore scientific evidence and polarize society with serious consequences. This needs to stop."


Those are big words from an agency that is relatively meaningless in the grand scheme of least until the United Nations takes over as the world's sole government (another conspiracy theory unless you dig a bit below the surface?).


UNESCO's Director-General, Audrey Azoulay:


...who has this background:



...has this to say about "conspiracy theories":


"Conspiracy theories cause real harm to people, to their health, and also to their physical safety. They amplify and legitimize misconceptions about the pandemic, and reinforce stereotypes which can fuel violence and violent extremist ideologies."


The "#ThinkBeforeSharing" campaign is being implemented jointly with the European Commission, Twitter and the World Jewish Congress.  The purpose of the campaign is as follows:


"A new campaign helps you learn how to identify, debunk, react to and report on conspiracy theories to prevent their spread. Check out the infographics and social media pack below and help spread the word that facts matter and no one is to blame. Thinking critically and being informed about conspiracy theories is key to challenging them."


I like the part about "thinking critically" which, is in fact, what the campaign does NOT want us to do, rather, it prefer that we just accept its definition of conspiracy theories rather than using our own minds to distinguish truth from disinformation, no matter the source.


UNESCO is so kind as to provide us with several infographic pertinent to the "ThinkBeforeSharing ".  A line in the first one caught my attention because it seems very self-serving given that the United Nations is behind the campaign:



Here's the key line which defines conspiracy theories according to UNESCO and its partners:


"The belief that events are secretly manipulated behind the scenes by powerful forces with negative intent."


One word - irony.


Here's another infographic which will help the intellectually challenged serf class to determine what is and what is not a conspiracy theory:


Here's an infographic showing how conspiracy theories are dangerous:



Apparently conspiracy theories can result in "mistrust of public institutions which can lead to political apathy or radicalization".  Of course, this mistrust wouldn't be in anyway created by the kakistocratic nature of the political class in today's world, would it?


Here is an infographic showing the link between conspiracy theories and antisemitism which explains the participation of the World Jewish Congress in this campaign:


Noting the mention of George Soros, it would be interesting to know how much he has invested in this campaign.  It also bears noting that Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of UNESCO, was born into a Moroccan Jewish family.


While there are additional infographics, the subject matter of this one caught my attention:


You've got to feel sorry for those poor folks caught in a spiderweb of conspiracy theories.


Let's close this posting with one thought that some of have learned over the past two and a half years:


"The difference between conspiracy theories and reality is about six months."


Perhaps if governments spent less time and energy by repeatedly lying to and trying to hide things from voters, the formation of conspiracy theories would subside.


If you have a couple of hours to spare and you wish to learn more about the "#ThinkBeforeSharing" campaign and how conspiracy theories can be addressed though education, you might want to watch this video of a symposium held on June 27, 2022 regarding the issue:


Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Ukraine - War Crimes and Its Civilian Population

While the Western media's narrative on Ukraine has strictly followed the "if anything bad happens to civilians in Ukraine (including both Donetsk and Luhansk), the Russians are to blame" mantra, a recent press release from Amnesty International suggests that this is not completely accurate.  Let's look at some of the highlights which show that the Ukrainians are not completely blame free as shown in the release:



As background, under international law, all parties to a conflict must avoid, wherever possible, locating military objectives near densely populated areas and are obliged to protect civilians from the effects of attacks including moving civilians from the vicinity of military operations and giving warnings to civilians if attacks could result in danger.


Here are some quotes from the International Committee of the Red Cross on international humanitarian law which falls under the Fourth Geneva Convention (aka the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of August 12, 1949) which has sections that apply directly to the protection of civilians:

"During the past 60 years the main victims of war have been civilians. The protection of civilians during armed conflict is therefore a cornerstone of international humanitarian law. This protection extends to their public and private property. IHL also identifies and protects particularly vulnerable civilian groups such as women, children and the displaced.


During World War II, and in many of the conflicts since, civilians have been the main victims of armed conflict. Civilians have always suffered in war, but the brutal impact of World War II, which included mass extermination, indiscriminate attacks, deportations, hostage taking, pillage and internment, took a high toll of civilian life. The response of the international community was the Fourth Geneva Convention adopted in 1949."


Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, we find the following articles which relate to the treatment of civilians in time of war:


Articles 13 and 32


Civilians are to be protected from murder, torture or brutality, and from discrimination on the basis of race, nationality, religion or political opinion.


Article 14


Hospital and safety zones may be established for the wounded, sick, and aged, children under 15, expectant mothers and mothers of children under seven.


Article 18


Civilian hospitals and their staff are to be protected.


Articles. 24 and 25


This Convention provides for the care of children who are orphaned or separated from their families. The ICRC’s Central Tracing and Protection Agency is also authorized to transmit family news and assist with family reunifications, with the help of Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies.


Article 27


The safety, honor, family rights, religious practices, manners and customs of civilians are to be respected.


Articles 33 and 34


Pillage, reprisals, indiscriminate destruction of property and the taking of hostages are prohibited.


Let's go back to the Amnesty International press release.  The press release opens with this:


"The Ukrainian military has endangered Ukrainian civilians by establishing bases and operating weapons systems in residential areas - including in schools and hospitals - as it has sought to repel the Russian invasion, Amnesty International said today.


Ukraine’s tactics have violated international humanitarian law as they’ve turned civilian objects into military targets. The ensuing Russian strikes in populated areas have killed civilians and destroyed civilian infrastructure."


Between April and July, Amnesty staff spent time investigating Russian strikes in Kharkiv, Donbas and Mykolaiv regions, interviewing survivors, relatives of attack victims and witnesses of attacks along with performing remote-sensing (including satellite imagery) and weapons analysis.  They found evidence that Ukrainian forces were launching strikes from within civilian areas and infrastructure (i.e. using civilians as human shields) in 19 towns and villages in the aforementioned regions.  They noted that Ukrainian soldiers located themselves in civilian areas that were miles from the front lines and that alternative locations could have been used which would not have endangered civilian lives including military bases and heavily wooded areas.


Here is an example provided by the mother of a 50-year-old man who was killed in a rocket attack in a village located to the south of Mykolaiv on June 10, 2022:


The military were staying in a house next to our home and my son often took food to the soldiers. I begged him several times to stay away from there because I was afraid for his safety. That afternoon, when the strike happened, my son was in the courtyard of our home and I was in the house. He was killed on the spot. His body was ripped to shreds. Our home was partially destroyed.” 


Other witnesses in Donbas reported that Ukrainian military were located in their neighbourhoods with Amnesty staff witnessing Ukrainian soldiers using a residential building that was located 20 yards from the entry to an underground shelter.  Witnesses also noted that outgoing Ukrainian arms fire is followed by incoming fire.  In another attack, on May 18, 2022, a Russian missile struck the front of a residential high-rise building resulting in significant damage to it and several surrounding buildings; witnesses reported to Amnesty staff that Ukrainian forces had been using a building across the street.  Amnesty staff found sandbags, plastic sheeting covering the windows and American-made first-aid equipment both inside and outside the building.


This press release from Amnesty International is the first hint from a Western-based organization which suggests that all war crimes being committed during the conflict in Ukraine cannot be blamed on Russia, totally contrasting the Western narrative.


Let's close with this quote from a Ukrainian civilian whose home was damaged during a strike:


"We have no say in what the military does, but we pay the price."


It's obvious that the current conflict in Ukraine is not a black and white issue.  Both sides have been involved in what can only be termed crimes against civilians and one has to be very cautious about believing the narratives being promoted by governments who have their own best interests at heart as the West uses Ukraine and its beleaguered civilian population to fight a proxy war with Russia.  We also have to consider the fact that tens of billions of dollars worth of arms have been supplied to Ukraine's military without any official tracking system to ensure that this materiel doesn't end up in the hands of black marketeers and other entities that may ultimately use them for nefarious purposes should Ukraine end up being a failed state.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Iran and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization - Blunting the West's Sanctions Environment

While it was much ignored, recent news from Iran is a fascinating development in our ever-changing, multipolar world.


Here is how the development was reported in the Tehran Times on September 11, 2022:


...and on September 15, 2022:


Here is a quote from the September 15, 2022 article in Tehran Times:


"Tonight, in the historical city of Samarkand, I signed the memorandum of commitments of the Islamic Republic of Iran's permanent membership at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, with the secretary-general," Amir Abdollahian tweeted.


"Now, we have entered a new stage of diverse economic, commercial, transit, energy, and… cooperation," he added.


The SCO secretary general praised Iran’s steps to join the bloc, saying, “Today is an important and determining day for the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, thereby I congratulate Iranian friends and colleagues and also my colleagues in the organization.”


Zhang added Iran as a stable, secure and powerful country is important for the SCO. He also said Iran’s accession to the SCO will strengthen the organization....


Iran and the organization started a formal process for Tehran’s accession to the bloc in March. Iran's membership in the body was later approved by the Iranian administration. On Wednesday, government spokesman Ali Bahadori Jahromi said the draft legislation outlining Iran's membership in the organization had been submitted to the Iranian parliament for approval."


Here's how the news was reported by China's Global Times in an editorial dated September 15, 2022:



Here is a quote from the Global Times editorial with my bolds:


"As the world's largest and most populous regional organization, the SCO has a prominent feature: openness and inclusiveness. The second round of SCO expansion is one of the core agendas of the Samarkand Summit. As the current members, observers and dialogue partners of the SCO are all non-Western countries, some of which are being sanctioned by the US and the West, such as Russia, Iran and Belarus, the SCO has attracted some suspicions from American and Western public opinion. They describe the SCO's exploration of new multilateral cooperation mechanisms as wanting to "compete" with the West or "against the West."


The SCO summit, held in the context of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, was even described by some Western media as creating an "anti-Western front." If there is a Chinese proverb to comment on this, it is "ask not the sparrow how the eagle soars." They can only understand and speculate about the SCO's concepts with their own narrow cognition. The minds of American and Western elites are full of domineering and paranoid confrontational thinking."


...and here is a key quote:


"... In the 21 years since its establishment, the SCO, which has been "bad-mouthed" by the US and the West, has not broken up, but instead has shown vigorous vitality and attractiveness. Ten countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, all hope to join the SCO. Differences in the political system, history, and culture of the SCO member states, and even territorial disputes and ideological differences have not become obstacles to the development of the SCO. It explored a path beyond the Cold War mentality in a world with increasing diversity and differences."


Not to be ignored, Russia's TASS news service reported the development here:


The formation of the intergovernmental international organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization or SCO, was announced on June 15, 2001 when Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan agreed to its formation.  The SCO Charter was signed at a meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia in June 2002 and was entered into force on September 19, 2003.  Since its formation, the SCO has added Pakistan, Uzbekistan and India as well as four observer states that are interested in acceding to full membership including Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia and six dialogue partners which includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey.  In 2021, Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia were added to the list of dialogue partners.


The main goals of the SCO are as follows:



Members of the SCO will adhere to the following principles:



Since its foundation, Memoranda of Understanding have been signed with the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, The Economic Cooperation Organization, the United Nations, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia and the International Committee of the Red Cross.  In 2004, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution which provide the SCO with observer status in the UNGA.  


Since its inception, the SCO has focused mainly on regional development and economic cooperation through its Business Council as well as security issues including the fight against regional terrorism, ethnic separatism and religious extremism through its Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS).  In 2005, the SCO Interbank Consortium was established to provide funding and bank services for investment projects that are sponsored by SCO member states.  Here is a quote from SCO's website which explains the organization's priority areas of cooperation:


"1.) providing funding for projects that focus on the infrastructure, basic industries, high-tech industries, export-oriented sectors, and social projects


2.) issuing and making loans based on the generally accepted international banking practices


3.) organising pre-export financing to stimulate trade and economic cooperation between the SCO Member States, and other areas of common interest.


It's obvious that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization has grown into a highly influential and powerful entity since its inception two decades ago.


While Washington spends its energy criticizing, threatening and sanctioning some of the partners in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, this group is making significant advances toward complete independence from any need to trade or cooperate with the United States and its allies in Europe.  According to the Global Times, in 2021, the combined GDP of SCO members reached $23.3 trillion, accounting for nearly 25 percent of global GDP, an increase of 1300 percent since the group's founding in 2001.  With Iran joining the group, four members including Russia, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan will have control of a significant portion of the world's energy supplies, leaving the West highly vulnerable to additional supply interruptions as are currently being experienced in Europe.  As well, given that SCO member states basically border each other, they can avoid the European Union and the United States in terms of transportation and settlements which will be settle in yuan, blunting the negative impact of EU/US sanctions against any member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.


Friday, September 16, 2022

Denmark vs. Canada - The Inconsistent COVID-19 Vaccine Science

Recently, Justin Trudeau commented on the necessity for Canadians to "vax up" during the fall of 2022 to ensure that the government isn't forced to reinstate its heavy-handed policies of the past two years.  As you will see in this posting, this "science" flies right in the face of the pandemic response recently announced by one nation in Europe.


Here is Justin Trudeau giving a press conference in Manitoba on September 1, 2022 with his English comments on COVID-19 starting at the 10 minute and 48 second mark:


Here's the key quote with my bolds:


"I think one of the most important things to remember is COVID's not done with us yet.  We might want to be done with it but it's still around and yes, we have a lot more tools, a lot more understanding, a lot more knowledge on how to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe that have allowed us to get back to regular life in a lot of ways for a whole bunch of people but we also know that as winter comes and as people get pushed back indoors, there is a real risk of another serious wave of COVID. One of the best things we can do to prevent that wave, prevent the pressure on our health-care system, prevent provinces from having to take decisions around restrictions and mandates, is to ensure that everyone is up to date in their vaccinations.  The recommendation is, you know, you should be up-to-date in your vaccinations if you have had a dose within six months.  Everyone who has been a while since their vaccination...should look at the fact that we have new vaccines coming out this month that are tailored against Omicron that will provide better protection and everyone should get out and get vaccinated.  If we are able to hit that 80, 85, 90 percent of Canadians up to date in their vaccinations, we'll have a much better winter with much less need for the kinds of restrictions and rules that were so problematic for everyone over the past years but every step of the way government's responsibility is to keep people safe, to prevent our health care systems from getting overwhelmed.  That's where individuals choosing to make sure they're up to date in their vaccinations with these new vaccines is going to help us all get through it, and keep life open and free the way we want it to be."


I'm ignoring the fact that he's fully vaccinated and has still had COVID-19 twice, the very definition of irony impaired and the fact that Canadians now have to "earn their freedom"  this fall by succumbing to the will of the Trudeau government when it comes to personal health decisions.  Not to mention the fact that Canada's health care system has been strained for decades because of government underfunding and mismanagement.


Now, as promised, let's look at how one European nation is managing its COVID-19 vaccinations.  Here is a recent posting on the Danish Health Authority's website:



In sharp contrast to Canada's "health experts" who recently approved COVID-19 vaccinations using both the Moderna vaccine (July 14, 2022) and Pfizer vaccine (September 9, 2022) for children down to the age of 6 months as shown here:

...and here:

and here:


...for some reason, it appears that the "science" is different in Denmark where their health experts have concluded that COVID-19 is of relatively little risk to Danes under the age of 50, thus negating the need for vaccination for the most part.


But, then again, I guess that we have to assume that Justin Trudeau has a much deeper understanding of the mRNA vaccines than the experts in Denmark.  Either that or he has fallen in love with his newfound powers to restrict the freedom of Canadians (the misogynists and racists) who have made a health choice that he finds unacceptable.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

The Trudeau Government's Fear of Pierre Poilievre's Populism and How the Canadian Media is Propagating That Message

With Pierre Poilievre's recent win as the populist/libertarian leader of Canada's Conservative opposition party, the Canadian mainstream media has ramped up the fear factor.  Let's look at some of the recent headlines that are being used to convince Canadians that this Conservative party of Canada leader is dangerous to Canada's future.  As you will see in this posting, Canada's bought and paid for mainstream media seems to be doing its very best to convince Canadians that Pierre Poilievre is Canada's very own Donald Trump.


A.) Pre-selection as leader:


1.) Saltwire February 25, 2022:



2.) Toronto Sun May 14, 2022:


3) National Observer May 27, 2022:



4.) Toronto Star June 29, 2022:


5.) The Tyee August 12, 2022:


6.) The Toronto Star September 1, 2022:


7.) The Toronto Star September 8, 2022:



8.) The Tyee September 9, 2022:


Even the leftist American mainstream media weighed back in April 2022 in as though it was any of their business:


B.) Post selection as leader:


1.) The Toronto Star September 11, 2022:


2.) The Globe and Mail September 11, 2022:


3.) Yahoo News September 13, 2022:


None of this media-sourced vitriol should come as a surprise given the Trudeau/Freeland government's massive donations (taxpayers' dollars) to fund Canada's mainstream media over the past three years as shown here in an article which provides a list of which media outlets benefitted:


...and here:


...and here:



Let's close with comments about Pierre Poilievre from two of Canada's high profile Liberals who are essentially providing Canada's dinosaur media with their approved talking points:

1.) Justin Trudeau:


2.) Melanie Joly:


Either one of three things can be said about these comments given Trudeau's attitude toward  unvaccinated Canadians and those involved in the February 2022 Truckers' Protest:


1.) They are irony impaired.


2.) They have no sense of self-awareness.  


3.) They are both irony impaired and self-unaware.

...or just plain, ordinary cognitively challenged.

For some reason, the political left in Canada (and the United States for that matter) are deathly afraid of populism.  They would much prefer to identify with the global ruling class (World Economic Forum types) than to identify with working class/blue collar Canadians which are showing a clear preference for the Conservative Party of Canada and its new leader who actually has roots in the working class.