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Prime Minister Trudeau heads to NATO summit, where leaders face critical decisions

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau departs Ottawa on Sunday, June 25, 2023, en route to Iceland. Trudeau is heading to the NATO leaders’ summit in Lithuania this week, where Canada is likely to play a larger-than-usual role in two critical discussions: the alliance’s expanding membership and its efforts to refocus on collective defence. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

By Sarah Ritchie in Ottawa

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is heading to the NATO leaders’ summit in Lithuania this week, where Canada is likely to play a larger-than-usual role in two critical discussions: the alliance’s expanding membership and its efforts to refocus on collective defence.

Trudeau is expected to depart for Riga, Latvia, from Ottawa on Sunday evening. He is due to meet with that country’s leaders on Monday before heading to the Lithuanian capital for the first day of the NATO summit on Tuesday.

At last year’s summit in Madrid, NATO leaders identified Russia as “the most significant and direct threat to allies’ security and to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area” in a strategic concept document that set out their intent to strengthen deterrence and defence in the region.

That came after a meeting in Brussels in March 2022, when leaders agreed to deploy four new multinational battle groups on the eastern flank in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, adding to those in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

The alliance has drafted a new defence plan that leaders will be asked to approve in Vilnius, one that is being described as a return to its Cold War stance.

“What we’re seeing now is really a return to NATO’s core business,” said Tim Sayle, a NATO historian and professor at the University of Toronto.

He said this likely also means a return to more challenging negotiations among members as they decide on defence policy and procurement, at the same time as they are debating whether to allow Sweden and Ukraine to join. And on both topics, he said, allies will be looking to Canada.

“Rarely are there summits where Canada would be a focus of any elements, but I do think (it) is here,” Sayle said.

“Canada has a decision to make about its role in the discussion about Ukraine, but it also has this decision to make about Canadian defence spending and just what kind of ally Canada is going to be.”

Adm. Rob Bauer, the chair of NATO’s military committee, told media at a July 3 briefing that the new defence plan is split into three parts: the southeast region including the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, the central region from the Baltics to the Alps and the High North and Atlantic region.

Once the plans are approved, the real work begins. “Then we have to go and do our work to reach the higher number of forces with a higher readiness, we need to exercise against the plans, we need to buy the capabilities that we require,” Bauer said.

That will require more money. Only about a third of NATO members are meeting the agreed-upon target of spending two per cent of their GDP on defence — which includes a pledge to dedicate one-fifth of that funding to equipment.

Bauer said he expects two per cent will be the spending floor, instead of the target, by the time the summit is over.

“There is perhaps a stronger link than ever before between the new defence plans, the new defence investment pledge and the NATO defence planning process,” NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu said at the July 3 briefing.

For the countries that are lagging behind, there will be increasing pressure to step up.

Canada spends about 1.3 per cent of its GDP on defence and has no public plan to get to the current target. Defence Minister Anita Anand has insisted that Canada’s contributions to the defence of Ukraine and its leadership in heading up a NATO battle group in Latvia are more important.

Before attending the NATO summit, Trudeau is set to participate in meetings Monday with Latvia’s president, Edgars Rinkēvičs, and its prime minister, Krišjānis Kariņš.

Trudeau is also expected to meet Canadian Armed Forces members who are part of the country’s largest overseas mission.

But even in Latvia, Canada seems to be lagging behind. It’s been more than a year since Anand pledged to expand the battle group to a combat-ready brigade, and detailed plans are still being negotiated. Battle groups typically have close to 1,000 troops, while military members in a brigade number about 3,000.

Canada has committed to sending a tank squadron with 15 Leopard 2 tanks and some 130 personnel to Latvia starting this fall, but it is unclear how many more troops will join the 800 Canadians already in place.

Other countries have gone further. Germany has pledged to station a 4,000-soldier brigade in Lithuania. The United Kingdom, which is leading a battle group in Estonia, and the United States, which leads another in Poland, tested their ability to quickly scale up to a brigade earlier this spring.

Leaders in Vilnius are also likely to focus on the status of Sweden and Ukraine, each of which has asked to join NATO.

Last-minute talks aimed at getting Turkiye and Hungary on side with allowing Sweden to become a member have not been successful. Its Nordic neighbour Finland joined most recently, in April.

If Sweden’s membership is approved, Bauer said it won’t take long to adapt the defence plans.

“Sweden is at the table in the military committee, in the North Atlantic Council every week. So they know basically everything already,” he said.

More contentious than that is the issue of when to admit Ukraine.

Some nations are pushing for immediate membership. U.K. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said last month that he hopes to see an expedited process.

Meanwhile, Trudeau has repeatedly stated that Canada supports Ukraine’s membership “when the conditions are right,” without defining what those conditions are.

Sayle said it’s likely that other countries will expect a clearer response this time given the magnitude of the decision: whether to admit a nation that is in the midst of an active invasion to an alliance focused on collective defence.

“I think that what NATO says about Ukrainian membership will impact both the Ukrainian and Russian strategic calculations in this war, and any peace that might follow,” Sayle said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2023.

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COVID-19

Large new study finds COVID jabs carry increased risks of heart, brain, blood diseases

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From LifeSiteNews

By Calvin Freiburger

The study of 99 million jabbed people found ‘significantly higher risks of myocarditis’ after mRNA COVID shots, as well as increased risks of pericarditis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and other diseases.

A new COVID-19 jab study being billed as the largest to date has found increased risks of rare heart, brain, and blood disorders, yet the organization behind the controversial shots continues to defend them.

The study, published this month in the journal Vaccine, looked for 13 neurological, blood, and heart related medical conditions in 99 million jabbed people across eight countries, according to a press release from the Global Vaccine Data Network (GVDN). It “confirmed pre-established safety signals for myocarditis, pericarditis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and cerebral venous sinus thrombosis,” as well as identifying “[o]ther potential safety signals that require further investigation.”

“[W]e observed significantly higher risks of myocarditis following the first, second and third doses of BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273” (both mRNA shots), the study says, “as well as pericarditis after the first and fourth dose of mRNA-1273, and third dose of ChAdOx1 [adenovirus-vector vaccines], in the 0–42 days risk period.”

“Another potential safety signal was identified for ADEM after the first dose of mRNA-1273 vaccine, with five more observed than expected events based on 1,035,871 person-years and 10.5 million doses administered,” it continued. ADEM stands for acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, an autoimmune disease that involves serious brain and spinal cord inflammation. “[H]owever, the number of cases of this rare event were small and the confidence interval wide, so results should be interpreted with caution and confirmed in future studies.”

The study also found a 2.5 times higher risk of the immune disorder Guillain-Barré syndrome associated with the AstraZeneca shot, as well as potential signs of increased risk of ​transverse myelitis, another type of spinal cord inflammation, associated with the viral-vector jabs.

It further noted that “[p]otential underreporting across countries may have led to an underestimation of the significance of potential safety signals. It is important to recognize the potential for false negatives, especially when detecting associations with lower confidence intervals below 1.5 that maintain statistical significance.”

Yet on February 12, GVDN also published a blog post doubling down on the dominant medical establishment positions that the COVID shots “reduce the incidence of infection,” despite the jabs’ failure to stop transmission, and that fears about dangers “are often based on misinterpretation of data, anecdotal evidence, or preliminary research that does not stand up to rigorous scientific scrutiny.” The author of the post, Helen Petousis-Harris, was one of 35 authors to whom the new study is credited.

The first in a series of reports by a Florida grand jury impaneled to investigate the COVID jabs recently concluded that COVID was “statistically almost harmless” to children and most adults and that it is “highly likely” that COVID hospitalization numbers were inflated, seriously undermining the presumed need for vaccines.

The federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) reports 37,100 deaths, 214,248 hospitalizations, 21,431 heart attacks, and 28,121 myocarditis and pericarditis cases as of January 26, among other ailments. An April 2022 study out of Israel indicates that COVID infection itself cannot fully account for the myocarditis numbers, despite common insistence to the contrary.

Jab defenders are quick to stress that reports submitted to VAERS are unconfirmed, as anyone can submit one, but U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) researchers have recognized a “high verification rate of reports of myocarditis to VAERS after mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccination,” leading to the conclusion that “under-reporting is more likely” than overreporting.

2010 report submitted to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS’s) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) warned that VAERS caught “fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events.” On the problem of underreporting, the VAERS website offers only that “more serious and unexpected medical events are probably more likely to be reported than minor ones” (emphasis added).

In 2021, Project Veritas shed light on some of the reasons for such underreporting with undercover video from inside Phoenix Indian Medical Center, a facility run under HHS’s Indian Health Service program, in which emergency room physician Dr. Maria Gonzales laments that myocarditis cases go unreported “because they want to shove it under the mat” and nurse Deanna Paris attests to seeing “a lot” of people who “got sick from the side effects” of the COVID shots but adds that “nobody” is reporting them to VAERS “because it takes over a half hour to write the d–mn thing.”

Further, VAERS is not the only data source containing red flags. Data from the Pentagon’s Defense Medical Epidemiology Database (DMED) shows that 2021 saw drastic spikes in a variety of diagnoses for serious medical issues over the previous five-year average, including hypertension (2,181%), neurological disorders (1,048%), multiple sclerosis (680%), Guillain-Barre syndrome (551%), breast cancer, (487%), female infertility (472%), pulmonary embolism (468%), migraines (452%), ovarian dysfunction (437%), testicular cancer (369%), and tachycardia (302%).

Leading COVID shot manufacturer Pfizer donated more than $8.5 million to political candidates, leadership PACs, trade associations, and party committees representing both parties last year, fueling suspicion as to why only a handful of nationally prominent GOP officeholders, such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Wisconsin’s Sen. Ron Johnson, are opposed to the company’s shot.

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COVID-19

DeSantis, medical experts review first Florida grand jury findings on COVID-19 policies

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From LifeSiteNews

By Calvin Freiburger

‘Spotlight needs to be shown on the federal agencies and their actions during the pandemic,’ Dr. Steven Templeton said. ‘That needs to come from the highest level possible, and that’s not happening.’

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis once again convened a panel of medical experts this month to dissect the failings of the medical establishment, this time in response to a Florida grand jury’s first batch of findings on the federal COVID-19 response.

In December 2022, the governor petitioned the Florida Supreme Court to approve a grand jury to investigate the manufacturing and rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines. On February 2, the grand jury released its first interim report, which determined that before assessing the vaccine it first had to understand the risk posed by COVID itself. To that end, the first report instead focused on a wealth of conclusions about the virus and the policies the medical establishment embraced ostensibly to stop it, namely lockdowns and mask mandates.

The first report concluded that lockdowns did more harm than good, that masks were ineffective at stopping COVID transmission, that COVID was “statistically almost harmless” to children and most adults, and that it is “highly likely” that COVID hospitalization numbers were inflated.

On February 9, DeSantis, the nation’s foremost opponent of the COVID establishment among elected officeholders, hosted a roundtable discussion with Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo and members of Florida’s Public Health Integrity Committee (PHIC) to discuss the report.

“During the pandemic, we threw away the basic principles of public health,” said Harvard epidemiologist and biostatistician Dr. Martin Kulldorff. He declared the “verdict is in” that “lockdowns were a huge mistake,” while noting that related abandonments of principle are ongoing, particularly in the medical establishment’s unwillingness to engage contrary views: “If a scientist is not willing to provide their views and debate other scientists or to provide their views to a grand jury, then I don’t think they have any credibility to say anything about public health.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) “and other bodies ignored basic science, used their power to silence scientists that didn’t agree with them, and subverted high-quality evidence to make decisions,” agreed Dr. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford, noting that the Biden administration in 2021 cut funding for monoclonal antibodies, which DeSantis had ordered for Floridians. “Now, I don’t know for sure, but it looked to me like one political party trying to hurt members of another political party.”

“There have been some accounting tricks used to make COVID-19 seem more dangerous than it really was,” concluded evolutionary biologist Dr. Bret Weinstein. “There is something odd that a fundamental principle of public health was thrown under the bus […] The normal systems of science and medicine and governance were all frustrated here by a process in which something dressed as public health was used to institute restrictions on people that were not based in science or proper thinking about personal health.”

He lamented that, despite how widely known it is that mistakes were made, “we’re not seeing a nation come together on what we did wrong,” and expressed hope that “the grand jury can offer our country guidance on how to organize our government and how to handle events like this in the future.”

Dr. Steven Templeton, a microbiologist and immunologist at Indiana University, was more pessimistic. “Spotlight needs to be shown on the federal agencies and their actions during the pandemic. That needs to come from the highest level possible, and that’s not happening,” he said. “I don’t think [the federal government] has an appetite right now to address these problems, and I don’t think there is going to be an appetite anytime soon for it.”

large body of evidence has found that mass restrictions on personal and economic activity undertaken in 2020 and part of 2021 caused far more harm than good, in terms of personal freedom and economics as well as public health, and that lives could have been saved through far less burdensome methods, such as the promotion of established therapeutic drugs, narrower protections focused on those most at risk (such as the elderly and infirm), and increasing vitamin D intake. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch has called America’s COVID response measures as “the greatest intrusions on civil liberties in the peacetime history of this country,” against which Congress, state legislatures, and courts alike were largely negligent to protect constitutional rights, personal liberty, and the rule of law.

Evidence has also shown that forcing Americans to wear face coverings in the presence of others was similarly ineffective. Among that evidence is the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s (CDC’s) September 2020 admission that masks cannot be counted on to keep out COVID when spending 15 minutes or longer within six feet of someone. All told, more than 170 studies have found that masks have been ineffective at stopping COVID while instead being harmful, especially to children, who evidence finds face little to no danger from COVID itself. By contrast, evidence suggests that ability to see faces is critical for early development.

As for the COVID vaccines, which were developed and reviewed in a fraction of the time vaccines usually take under former President (and likely 2024 Republican presidential nominee) Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed initiative, the public health establishment’s aversion to considering them anything but “safe and effective” has not dulled concerns that persist thanks to a large body of evidence affirming they carry significant health risks.

The federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) reports 37,100 deaths, 214,248 hospitalizations, 21,431 heart attacks, and 28,121 myocarditis and pericarditis cases as of January 26, among other ailments. Jab defenders are quick to stress that reports submitted to VAERS are unconfirmed, as anyone can submit one, but CDC researchers have recognized a “high verification rate of reports of myocarditis to VAERS after mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccination,” leading to the conclusion that “under-reporting is more likely” than overreporting.

Further, VAERS is not the only data source containing red flags. Data from the Pentagon’s Defense Medical Epidemiology Database (DMED) shows that 2021 saw drastic spikes in a variety of diagnoses for serious medical issues over the previous five-year average, including hypertension (2,181%), neurological disorders (1,048%), multiple sclerosis (680%), Guillain-Barre syndrome (551%), breast cancer, (487%), female infertility (472%), pulmonary embolism (468%), migraines (452%), ovarian dysfunction (437%), testicular cancer (369%), and tachycardia (302%).

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