Advertisement

At a time when the news is full of speculation about what will happen when we take the first “baby steps” towards opening the American economy, an intriguing article appeared about a study on infection rates around the world that our epidemiologists might want to take into account.

Professor Yitzhak Ben Israel of Tel Aviv University did a study of new coronavirus infection rates in the US, UK, Sweden, Israel, Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany and Spain. What he found is is very...well, it’s hard to know what to make of it.

When he compared a quarantined nation such as Israel with a business-pretty-much-as-usual nation such as Sweden, the coronavirus peaked and subsided in exactly the same way. And ALL the graphs looked the same.

"His graphs show that all countries experienced seemingly identical coronavirus infection patterns,” reports Marina Medvin in her piece for TOWNHALL, “with the number of infections peaking in the sixth week and rapidly subsiding by the eighth week.” The Wuhan virus follows its own fixed infection pattern, the professor suggested, that is not dependent on freedom or quarantine. In other words, even if people are having contact with each other, there is a natural decline in the number of infections.

"Expansion begins exponentially but fades quickly after about eight weeks,” he said. He doesn’t know why this happens, but speculates that it’s climate-related or is just the life cycle of the virus. (I would add that if it's climate-related, we would likely have a "second wave" in the fall and winter. But maybe by then we'd have a much better idea of how to treat it.)


Commentary continues below advertisement


The professor even has a possible explanation for Italy’s staggering 12 percent mortality rate: the health care system there. “The health care system in Italy has its own problems,” he said. “It has nothing to do with coronavirus. In 2017 it also collapsed because of the flu.” And Italy does have high flu mortality rates as well, especially compared with a country such as Germany, which has low coronavirus infections and mortality rates and also low flu rates. (I'm no epidemiologist, but I would add that Italy also has a population that skews very old.)

Although he does recommend moderate social distancing, Prof. Ben Israel says his data from the past 50 days do not support the quarantine or the economic shut-down. He calls the reaction in Israel “mass hysteria,” saying, “I have no other way to describe it...4,500 people die each year from the flu in Israel because of complications, so, close a country because of that? No. I don’t see a reason to do that because of a lower-risk epidemic.”

Of course, he has the benefit of hindsight, as well as the data he’s collected over the past 50 days. At the start of this, there was no way to plot the “life cycle” of the virus on a graph. For all we knew, the infection rate would increase exponentially and then just continue...exponentially. The British computer model used by Dr. Fauci was developed by a researcher named Professor Neil Ferguson, who reportedly has a history of wildly overestimating mortality rates. It was his model that predicted we’d have 2.2 million deaths in the United States and 500,000 deaths in the U.K. Both those figures have been revised very dramatically downward.

Certainly we had to err on the side of caution rather than risk millions of deaths. But this professor's research should be weighed now in any decision on when and how to start living our lives.

Here is his original interview with the Israeli news outlet Mako.

If you’re like me, you get an initial impression of a story but then, after thinking about it for another day or so, you sometimes realize there are even more far-reaching implications than anyone is talking about. Such was the case for me and my research staff after reading about the newly declassified footnotes from the IG report on the FBI’s FISA warrant applications.

Yes, we know that Russia might have been running a disinformation campaign on Christopher Steele. (This could be true even though we have reason to believe that a lot of it actually came from Glenn Simpson with Steele’s name attached.)  We know the Russians had information by summer of 2016 that he was working for Fusion GPS to help Hillary.

Yes, we know that the FBI knew about this possible Russian involvement --- BEFORE the FISA warrant application was renewed to spy on Carter Page and before the Mueller special counsel had been appointed. (I believe they were duty-bound to alert the FISA Court of any problem with information in their original application, but they ignored that and blithely went on to renew it three more times.)

But there’s something MORE we know: that, contrary to what the FBI said and the Intelligence Community concluded in their January 2017 report, Russia was NOT doing this to help Trump. They weren’t even doing it just to “create chaos,” although that was a plus.


Commentary continues below advertisement


So what was their actual goal? Well, class, if they were doing it to help Trump, if they were “colluding” with Trump to win the election, wouldn't they have been spreading damaging stories about HILLARY?  Why would they be spreading phony stories like the one about Trump attorney Michael Cohen going on a suspicious trip to Prague (he never went), or the one about Trump frolicking with incontinent hookers in a Moscow hotel (it didn’t happen)? These are two examples of stories, as revealed in the IG footnotes, that the FBI thought might have come from a Russian disinformation campaign. Who does that kind of story help? I’ll give you a hint: not Trump.

And why would Christopher Steele’s sub-source be a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton, as is revealed in the footnotes? Who would his information be intended to help? Hint: Not Trump.

Why would Steele himself, an ardent Clinton supporter who was hired by Hillary and the DNC, who was “desperate” to make sure Trump didn’t win and who had a deadline of Election Day to get his anti-Trump “dossier” out, be doing this project in the first place? Who was he trying to help? Not Trump.

So where does anyone get the idea that the Russians were trying to hurt Hillary and help Trump?

That was the FBI’s narrative in the summer of 2016 and onward, and it led to years of ridiculous investigation, but the truth was actually just the opposite. Everyone connected with this scheme --- Steele, his sources and sub-sources, Glenn Simpson and Fusion GPS, the Democratic National Committee, Hillary’s lawyers, the top echelon of the FBI, the director of the CIA, the special counsel team, Democrats on the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, allies at the DOJ and State Department, and, obviously, RUSSIA --- was aligned with Hillary. They were all trying to hurt Donald Trump and help Hillary Clinton, whom they surely believed would be the next U.S. President. This isn’t a wild conspiracy theory; with all we know now, any other conclusion defies logic.


RELATED READING:  More IG footnotes show the FBI was NOT "duped" by Russia


I would add that with a group of this size, power and scope aligned with Hillary, the then-President of the United States was aware of their activities. Hard to prove, but, again, it defies reason to think he wasn't informed about a lot of it. As Lisa Page texted to Peter Strzok in September 2016: “POTUS wants to know everything we’re doing.”

Here’s a concise report on what the footnotes, just released by acting Director of National intelligence Richard Grenell, reveal:

It was so important for the FBI and whoever else was working with them to “get” Trump that they violated the rights of innocent Americans such as Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, who were literally caught in the “Crossfire.” Papadopoulos even got jail time. 

And speaking of George Papadopoulos, Lindsay Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has just declassified and released documents and transcripts relating to him and the FBI’s targeting of him. The material he released falls into three categories:

1) Declassified information related to “Crossfire Hurricane.”

2) Timeline of correspondence sent and received by the Committee regarding FISA abuse investigation.

3) Corrective action taken by the DOJ and FISA Court as a result of FISA abuse investigation.

We learn from the correspondence that the DOJ has produced the following documents:

–- Transcript of conversation between Papadopoulos and the FBI confidential human source (CHS, or “SPY”).

–- Another transcript of conversation between Papadopoulos and the aforementioned SPY.

--- The original FISA warrant application to spy on Carter Page.

--- Renewals one, two and three of the original Carter Page application (written AFTER the FBI knew of the problems with the “dossier” used therein).

--- A July 2018 letter from the DOJ to the FISA Court alerting them to some of the errors and omissions in the Carter Page application.

You can read the transcript of the conversation between George Papadopoulos and the SPY here, at the link.

When Papadopoulos was informed that this material had been declassified, he had an interesting reaction. A big question, of course, is who sent Hillary supporter and Australian diplomat Alexander Downer to London to meet with Papadopoulos in the spring of 2016? Recall that the FBI said their conversation, in which Papadopoulos reportedly said the Russians had damaging information about Hillary (which appears to have been fed to him by another CHS), is what sparked the opening of “Crossfire Hurricane.” Here’s what Papadopoulos tweeted on Thursday evening:

"Senator Graham in his letter to Australia made it clear that Alexander Downer was instructed to meet with me. Mueller’s team acknowledged he was recording me after I reported him to them (the irony). The key question is, who put the Clinton errand boy up to it? DURHAM KNOWS.” (Emphasis mine.

Papadopoulos Reacts to Declassification of Spygate Transcripts: "Durham Knows" Who Sent Clinton Errand Boy to Meet with Me in London

So we can add Alexander Downer --- and whoever sent him to London --- to the massive column of Spygate characters who were out to HELP HILLARY WIN. And, yes, we can add Russia, too.  Much more to come, because Durham knows.

 

But wait, there’s more! In my recent commentary on revelations in newly declassified footnotes from the Horowitz report, I said the FBI would try to claim they were duped by the Russians but that they actually weren’t. As of yesterday, we have hard evidence that if the Russians were getting in on the act and supplying disinformation to Steele, FBI agents KNEW IT.

In other words, there was no “duping” going on. Well, maybe of Steele, but not of the FBI.

As Chuck Ross at the DAILY CALLER reports, Russian intelligence knew during the 2016 campaign that Christopher Steele was investigating Trump’s campaign. Just-declassified footnotes from the IG report show not only that Russian intelligence might have been collecting information on Steele’s firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, but that in January of 2017, a member of the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” team had evidence of this.


Commentary continues below advertisement


Recall that Steele started working for Fusion GPS on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee in June of 2016. There’s a footnote in the IG report that says a June, 2017, intel report “indicated that two persons affiliated with RIS [Russian Intelligence Service] were aware of Steele’s election investigation in early July 2016.”

So the Russians knew he was doing this almost from the beginning and very likely were feeding him disinformation; this would certainly help explain the many inaccuracies.

But, to me, this isn’t the most important part of the story. It was almost a given that the Russians would have known what Steele was up to and would have tried to create a little chaos. (It’s what they do.) The really important part is that the FBI agents KNEW about this. Information released on Wednesday, in the form of these declassified footnotes, shows that the FBI found out on January 12, 2017, two days after BUZZFEED published the “dossier.” At that point, they knew, for example, that the fake story Steele had provided about Michael Cohen going to Prague in August of 2016 was likely Russian disinformation.

Oh, and the fake story about Trump and the hookers in the Moscow hotel? On February 27, 2017, the FBI found out that might have been Russian disinformation, too.

In fact, the FBI had been questioning Steele’s value as a source since 2015 because of his multiple contacts with Russian oligarchs and/or their intermediaries.

There were problems with the sub-source, too (the person who passed information to Steele), and the agents knew about that, too, as of early June 2017. According to these footnotes, the sub-source (not identified) had contacts with an individual in the Russian presidential administration in June/July of 2016. Also, the sub-source had voiced “strong support” for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign. (I would add that Steele had, too.)

So, once the FBI agents involved in “Crossfire Hurricane” knew that Russians might have compromised Steele’s information, did they go to the FISA Court and say, “Um, we see that there might be a problem with some of the information in our original warrant application...”? Heck, no, they just kept right on renewing the application and continuing their spying. Why spoil a good thing? And did they go to BUZZFEED and say, “You know that Trump ‘dossier’ you published a couple of days ago? There’s some false information in there that we are pretty sure was planted by the Russians.” Again, heck no.

As Chuck Ross reports, “The lead supervisory intelligence analyst on the FBI investigation told the IG’s office he did not know as of June 2017 that Steele’s source network “had been penetrated or compromised.”

Read the full report here.

On Wednesday’s HANNITY show, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes said, “...You’re beginning to see what we wanted you to see all along….Here’s the problem that we have with the dirty cops at the FBI and DOJ and elsewhere: ...House Republicans were running an investigation, starting in 2017, on everything ‘Russia,’ remember? Well, here, the whole time, who had this information? The FBI knew that Steele could be compromised.”

"I hope,” he said, “that---there better be people who are charged with lying and obstructing a congressional investigation, because we should have been given this information.”

Nunes also noted that in the Intel Community Report on Russia –- the one that concluded Russia had interfered in our election to help Trump –- Steele’s phony “dossier” had been used. (I would add that both John Brennan and James Comey were pushing hard for it to be included in that report.) “Now, if that is all of the information that we have from all of our intelligence assets, where was the information that we now learn from the Horowitz report? Why was that not in the ICA?”

House Judiciary Committee member Matt Gaetz added that when he questioned Robert Mueller directly, asking if the Steele “dossier” was part of the Russian disinformation campaign, he said, “That’s not my purview.” I would observe that if he really didn’t know the answer to this most basic of questions, then he couldn’t possibly have been in charge of the special counsel investigation into Trump/Russia “collusion” (as if we didn't already have plenty of reason to conclude that), and that makes the Mueller probe a big fraud. And if he did know, then he was lying his head off, which also makes the Mueller probe a big fraud and Mueller himself guilty of lying before Congress.

It’s all becoming clearer by the day. Lying (both to Congress and the FISA Court) and obstruction of a congressional investigation --- those are crimes, the sort of thing U.S. Attorney John Durham has been looking into and (let's hope) making a case. Attorney General Bill Barr had good reason to say that what happened to President Trump was “a travesty.”

Here's another excellent report on the story, from Law Enforcement Today.

Declassified Report: FBI knew Steele Dossier against Trump had ‘Russian disinformation’

Bergen-Belsen Anniversary

April 16, 2020

Wednesday, Germany observed a national moment of silence in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on April 15, 1945. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus shutdown, the memorial was closed, survivors who had planned to attend were forced to stay home, and events to mark the date had to be postponed to 2021.

Bergen-Belsen was one of the first camps to be liberated by the Allies. It’s estimated that more than 50,000 people died there. British troops found it riddled with disease and more than 13,000 unburied corpses. They freed about 60,000 prisoners who were in shockingly bad condition, sick and starving and in desperate need of medical care. The victims included Anne Frank and her sister Margot, who are now believed to have died of typhus about two months before the Allied troops arrived.

Even though current circumstances have forced the official commemoration to be postponed, you can learn more about this horrific chapter in history online at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum site. Once you read the story of Bergen-Belson, and the other concentration camps, you’ll understand why we must pass it on to future generations so that it is never forgotten and never allowed to happen again.