Masks and Medical Supplies
First, let’s accept that the need in March, April and May of 2020 for face masks, respirators and ventilators was urgent and real in every nation, so much so that the US was experiencing enormous blowback from the medical community. There were too many media reports to list, of health care workers refusing to accept shifts without Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), and of many being fired for doing so. Health care workers staged multiple strikes and protests, many after-hours so as to not affect patient care. On May 1, nearly 100,000 nurses staged a protest at nearly 150 hospitals,https://www.veteranstoday.com/2020/04/30/nationwide-...rkers/ and this was only one of many such events in response to health care workers being denied compensation or safety leave, being refused protection equipment, and even being forced to work after testing positive for COVID-19. NNU Executive Director Bonnie Castillo said “Nurses signed up to care for their patients. They did not sign up to sacrifice their lives on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.” In reality, the needs for medical supplies, especially in poorer countries, were so desperate that young girls in Afghanistan were scrounging pieces from junk yards, attempting to make ventilators from used car parts, the girls saying “If we even save one life with our device, we will be proud.”https://www.msn.com/en-xl/asia/afghanistan/ventilato...12RuXC
On April 20, ABC ran a story titled, “How did the US come up so short on PPE?”,https://abcnews.go.com/Health/us-short-ppe/story?id=...093430 claiming experts blamed “the supply chain”, but there were literally hundreds of media reports across the US stating that the government simply “wasted two months”, waiting until the medical system was breaking before thinking of ordering the supplies that would become so necessary. Of course, much of blame fell on China because factories couldn’t manufacture during the outbreak (although they could, and were). And the blame that didn’t fall onto China was ladled onto “history”, since SARS didn’t migrate well to the US and, by extension, COVID-19 should also have stayed in China where it belonged. Politico published an excellent summary titled “Trump called PPE shortages “fake news”https://www.politico.com/amp/news/2020/04/26/trump-p...207523, that demands reading.
We had President Trump opening his news briefings by dismissing mask and equipment shortages because “Now we’re loaded up. And we also loaded up these hospitals.” This, in spite of the fact that by April, the CDC reported nearly 10,000 medical workers ill and scores of deaths that were certainly an undercount.https://www.politico.com/amp/news/2020/04/26/trump-p...207523 Trump also dismissed NY Governor Cuomo (on Twitter, of all places), saying “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators”. According to Mr. Trump, hospitals normally have only a few that are not being used, and suddenly they want 30,000.https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-hannity-coronavir...30000/ In this same report (and in many others) Mr. Trump also exemplified the astonishing lack of leadership that today appears endemic to the US, saying the US government is “the second line of attack. The first line of attack is supposed to be the hospitals and the local government and the states, the states themselves.” In other words, do it yourself.
There was something surreal about the claims being made of “millions of pieces” of medical equipment supplies being distributed, or about to be distributed, or having already been distributed, with absolutely no evidence of such distribution ever actually having taken place. Mr. Trump, Jared Kushner, Mike Pompeo, FEMA and others stated dozens of times in so many press conferences and media reports that many millions of everything were being delivered to hospitals but with no public confirmation ever emerging from the supposed recipients.https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-scien...y.html
It was a surprise to the world that Mr. Trump placed FEMA in charge of supply procurement and distribution, the same FEMA that, when confronted with handling the disaster of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, eventually did more damage to Louisiana from its incompetence than did the hurricane itself. Peter Gaynor, the Emergency Manager at FEMA, “a Marine who has never stopped serving our country”, when asked specifically about supplies, said “I mean, it is hundreds of thousands of millions of things that we’re shipping from the stockpile. I can’t give you the details about what every single state or what every single city is doing, but I’m telling you that we are shipping from our national stockpile, we’re shipping from vendors, we’re shipping from donations. It is happening.”https://abcnews.go.com/Health/fema-chief-prepared-co...761673http://abcnewsradioonline.com/politics-news/femas-c...p.html
Hundreds of thousands of millions? President Trump was also riding this wagon, literally dozens of times stating that “millions” of masks or test kits or respirators were being shipped or had already been distributed, but with no later evidence of any such shipments having occurred. The epicenter of this vast but seemingly imaginary trove of supplies was something called “Project Airbridge”,https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-what-is-pro...ridge/ the point man being Mr. Trump’s son-in-law Kushner, supported by FEMA’s (non-existent) air force and the State Department, with no indication why the State Department would be involved in transportation of supplies, although this may become more clear as we read on. Nevertheless, Mr. Kushner effused that “At President Trump’s direction we formed an unprecedented historic public-private partnership to ensure that massive amounts of masks, gear and other PPE will be brought to the United States.”https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-update...e-says
This was much more curious than first appeared. According to ABC News,http://abcnewsradioonline.com/politics-news/femas-c...p.html “FEMA says it has worked to secure PPE from wherever it can find it, both domestically and abroad . . . nearly 70 Project Air Bridge flights have landed, transporting 760,000 N-95 respirators, 44 million surgical masks, and 7 million gowns from multiple overseas origins. Another 50 flights are scheduled in the coming month.” According to this report, FEMA arranged for a shipment of nearly 6 million surgical masks that “had just traveled the 7,000-mile journey from Shanghai, the masks offloaded from the aircraft and “allocated to FEMA designated hot-spots” or “infused back into the U.S. supply chain”, FEMA declining to say exactly where the supplies were actually “infused”, and no actual evidence they were infused anywhere, at least not in the US. In fact, the only real evidence was of some states receiving – within 24 hours – small shipments of supplies apparently only “when the request has been made publicly from his political allies.” Colorado Democrat Rep. Diana DeGette said she was “totally outraged” by the political way the federal government was prioritising requests.https://abcnews.go.com/Health/ventilator-stockpile-i...091008
In this context, it becomes difficult to fathom how one might categorise American society, and the relationship of the federal government (if any) to its people. President Trump dismissed the process of the procurement of vital medical supplies, saying the States “should have been building their stockpiles” that saving lives was “their problem, and they have to work that out” by offering competing bids for medical equipment against each other – but also against FEMA – competing with their own federal government for medical supplies.https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-task-force-...04-02/ It seems that FEMA’s supplies, wherever obtained, were not being directly delivered to hospitals or the states but instead inserted into “commercial channels” (i.e. friends of the Administration) where individual hospitals or states would have to bid on them. Rear Adm. John Polowczyk, leader of the coronavirus Supply Chain Stabilization Task Force, said “that’s normally how things work”, strongly defending the federal government’s decision to send medical supplies needed in coronavirus relief efforts to the private sector, saying he was “not here to disrupt a supply chain.”https://www.msnbc.com/andrea-mitchell-reports/watch/...069633https://www.cbsnews.com/video/states-forced-into-bid...pment/
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo repeatedly criticised the system used to procure PPE, calling it “eBay” with all the states, “and then FEMA gets involved and FEMA starts bidding.” Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker told the president in a video conference on March 19 that he tried to place “three big orders” for PPE, but lost to the federal government. FEMA’s response was to say “if a company decides to cancel on a state contract in favor of [a] federal one, FEMA will work with the company and the state to resolve the matter in a way that best serves their people.” But they didn’t. There were many such tales reported in local American media, with cities and states bitterly complaining they were all being forced to bid against each other and against their own federal government for vitally-needed medical supplies – and losing.https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/articles/202...avirushttps://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/09/why-states-and-the-f...e.htmlhttps://www.forbes.com/sites/claryestes/2020/03/28/s...virus/https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/coronavirus/us-st...43674/
Cuomo said his efforts to stem the virus hadn’t worked because of the federal government. Cuomo said FEMA offered to send 400 ventilators to NYC when he needed 30,000, saying in a press briefing, “What am I going to do with 400 ventilators? When I need 30,000. You pick the 26,000 people who are going to die because you only sent 400 ventilators.”https://www.cbsnews.com/news/andrew-cuomo-says-trump...03-24/ President Trump responded to Cuomo’s criticism by saying the governor should have ordered the ventilators himself, five years ago. Mr. Trump then claimed Cuomo “had a chance to buy, in 2015, 16,000 ventilators at a very low price and he turned it down”, a claim that proved to be untrue.
There was another medical sourcing issue, this being the matter of widespread seizures of medical equipment and supplies from state warehouses and directly from hospitals, by FEMA or some other agency of the federal government.
Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts said a shipment of 3 million masks was confiscated by FEMA at the Port of New York. Facing that kind of brutal competition from his own federal government, Baker made a complicated arrangement with the New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Chinese Ambassador Huang Ping to bring a ‘donation’ of masks directly from China to Mass., using the Patriot’s private 767 for transport. This shipment couldn’t be confiscated by FEMA because the aircraft was met at the airport by the Massachusetts National Guard and transported to safety.https://www.wcvb.com/article/3-million-masks-ordered...021700https://www.lawenforcementtoday.com/ma-ordered-3-mil...e-day/https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/03/31/nation/warren...plies/ A state representative said, “They take whatever we order.”
In early April, the LA Times ran a story revealing that a great many hospitals were claiming “feds are seizing masks and other coronavirus supplies without a word”.https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-04-07/ho...pplies According to the Times, “the federal government is quietly seizing orders, leaving medical providers across the country in the dark about where the material is going and how they can get what they need to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.” The article reported on interviews with hospital officials in seven states, describing the seizures, FEMA apparently not publicly reporting the seizures nor where it reroutes them. Hospitals claim they received neither information about the disposition of their medical supplies nor whether they would have later access to them.
In Florida, a large medical system saw an order for thermometers taken away. And officials at a system in Massachusetts were unable to determine where its order of masks went. A California hospital official said, “We can’t get any answers”. “Are they stockpiling this stuff? Are they distributing it? We don’t know.” A hospital system in three states prepared an elaborate virus testing program only to have FEMA seize their entire shipment of testing supplies. Mr. Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner insisted he was using “a data-driven approach to procure supplies and direct them where they are most needed”. FEMA claimed the agency had “developed a system for identifying needed supplies from vendors and distributing them equitably”, but refused to provide any details about the seizures or their disposition.https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-04-07/ho...pplies
At the end of April, a shipment of 1 million face masks for Florida firemen was confiscated by the federal government.https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/feds-confiscate-...23847/ WLRN in Florida reported that many other shipments of masks meant for municipalities were also confiscated by the federal government. FEMA’s inexplicable response was that “bringing too much personal protective equipment into coronavirus hotspots can have the “unintended consequence” of disrupting supply chains deliveries to other areas of the country. Officials say they don’t know what happened to the order or where the masks went.
Also near the end of April, a Delaware supplier said FEMA seized 400,000 N95 respirator masks without reimbursing him, leaving him with a 4 million dollar loss and no idea about the eventual disposition. A company executive claims two shipments were simply seized by FEMA without a word of explanation, and it was only after he hired lawyers to pursue the matter, did the agency respond with an after-the-fact demand, a written order from FEMA, directing him to turn over to the federal government “all filtering facepiece respirators, including the N95 respirators contained within shipment number 8994645378 that arrived at JFK Airport” on April 6. FEMA issued a kind of blanket denial, stating that seized supplies were being distributed internally and therefore not ‘seized’, FEMA’s Peter Gaynor saying the agency needed to “bust myths” about seizures of medical equipment, an effort which would appear to have poor chances of success. FEMA refused to respond further.https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/04/2...56001/
In contrast to China’s assistance of medical experts and equipment to more than 100 countries, along with assistance given by Russia and Cuba to a smaller number, the United States spent much of its time stealing medical shipments bound for other countries.https://www.rt.com/news/484743-cuba-covid19-us-blockade/ Germany, France, Canada, Cuba, Brazil, and other nations complained bitterly about “American piracy”. The US even went so far as to confiscate charitable donations of medical supplies destined for other countries that were passing through the US. As one example, a planeload of crucial medical equipment donated by the Jack Ma Foundation was cancelled by its carrier at the last minute due to barbaric US sanctions against Cuba.https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/17/opinion/cuba-coro...p.htmlhttps://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/cuba-u-s-e...881479https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/02/global...-tests
On April 3, 2020, Germany accused the US of seizing several hundred thousand face masks that Berlin had already paid for, calling it “an act of modern piracy”. Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcaster, reported that the masks were made in China but the Americans intercepted the shipment in Bangkok and confiscated it. Berlin’s parliamentary chairman called the act “illegal” and demanded the German Federal Government investigate.https://germany.timesofnews.com/breaking-news/us-acc...canada
French politicians similarly accused the US of buying up medical protective gear including face masks in China that had been meant for France. According to AFP, a French government official said a shipment of protective masks was snatched at the last minute at the airport by “Americans who made a higher bid”. “The Americans pay cash sight unseen, which obviously can be more tempting for people just looking to make money off the entire world’s distress”.https://dnyuz.com/2020/04/03/us-accused-of-seizing-f...anada/ Several French regional officials related similar stories, of Americans paying cash on airport tarmacs for masks meant to be shipped to France from China. “On the tarmac, the Americans arrive, take out cash, and pay three or four times more for the orders we have made, so we really have to fight,” Grand Est president Jean Rottner told RTL, a French radio broadcaster.https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-works-assure-alli...019576 In France they are calling it the “guerre des masques” – the war of the masks – with one French official saying the Americans were on a “global treasure hunt”, and many governments have said the prices being offered are exorbitant.https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/04/europe/coronaviru...x.html
The French Publication Le Figaro wrote, “In crises as in wars, when masks fall, arises the true face of states and individuals . . . the knife in the back is planted by neighbors or friends. This week, the stabbing was by the Americans, who hijacked orders of masks for France by buying them, for much more money, on the tarmac of a Chinese airport.”https://www.rtl.fr/actu/debats-societe/masques-detou...346680 It appears that in total, France lost 60 million masks from China, had been hijacked by Americans with cash on the tarmac of a Chinese airport.https://www.lefigaro.fr/international/coronavirus-l-...200402 US media were well aware of the multiple similar circumstances, but few reports. The French edition of the Huffington Post published a story,https://www.huffingtonpost.fr/entry/coronavirus-des-...47271a in the US as well as in France.https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/coronavirus-medi...1ccebd
Neither the French nor the Germans will soon forget America’s “every man for himself” approach. Of course, President Trump dismissed all the reports as “fake news”, and a State Department spokesperson told ABC News the U.S. is “working in solidarity with our partners and allies” and blamed “unsourced, unattributed disinformation campaigns” for “pervasive attempts to divide international efforts.”https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-works-assure-alli...019576 Another State Department spokesman said the US was “working through appropriate channels to purchase “excess supplies” from other nations to meet our needs”, and denied any US knowledge of shipments to Germany or France.
The Brazilian government also claimed that US cash was vacuuming up available supplies. Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta said, “Our purchases [of respirator masks], that we expected to complete so that we could re-supply, a lot of them fell through.” He added that the US was sending large cargo planes to China to bring Brazil’s protective medical equipment to the US. “The same thing happened with respirators,” Mandetta said. “We had bought them, they delivered the first part. The second, even with a contract, everything signed, with the money ready to pay, they said they no longer had them: ‘We can’t make that delivery’.”https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/04/europe/coronaviru...x.html Brazil had other problems too. In early April, a shipment of ventilators destined for Bahia State through an American dealer was intercepted by FEMA at the Miami airport, Brazil being told the shipment had been “diverted”.https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1185063.shtml Some Brazilians blamed China, but a New York buyer offered higher prices than Brazil, then resold the machines in the US.
Then, there were strange reports of empty Canadian planes flying back from China without their expected load of medical supplies. The Canadian CBC, always ready to forgive the US at China’s expense, attributed these empty flights to “ground congestion at Shanghai Pudong International Airport”,https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1186406.shtml a nonsense statement if ever one existed since departing flights can always remain on the tarmac until loaded. My contacts informed me that the hundreds of tonnes of medical supplies intended for Canada were purchased by the Americans on the airport tarmac, leaving the Canadian planes to return home empty. The Canadians, thanks in large part to their child-Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, appear now as dirty and dishonest as do the Americans. The Chinese government was very angry about these claims, stating firmly that the aircraft could have parked indefinitely at the Pudong airport if supplies were not ready. The reason the aircraft returned home empty is because the Americans and Israelis had hijacked the shipments.
Readers may recall the event in May of 2019 when US-based FedEx was exposed in intelligence-gathering efforts for the NSA by diverting Huawei shipments.https://www.reuters.com/article/us-huawei-tech-fedex...1SX1RZ Two such shipments – these of Huawei confidential corporate documents – were being sent by FedEx from Vietnam to Huawei’s head office in Shenzhen, China. A Huawei manager happened to check the shipment tracking and discovered the documents had been rerouted to the US – and not to Huawei in the US but to FedEx’s head office in Memphis. He was able to retrieve them in time. FedEx said the packages “were misrouted accidentally”, by “a sorting error”, but it was apparent from the bills of lading that the shipments had been physically pulled from the chain and re-labeled, actions that could not possibly have been accidental. Huawei had two identical incidents with FedEx in Japan. The internet strangely seems to contain no Chinese media references on these incidents, but only US media whitewashing reports.
I mention this because it appears that DHL would appear to be as much in the thrall of US authority as is FedEx, in this case with shipments of medical supplies. In early April of 2020, a shipment of 10 million KN95 masks ordered by the Quebec government from China arrived at the DHL center in St. Lambert, Quebec, but then was suddenly reloaded and diverted to the DHL center in Cincinnati.https://www.journaldemontreal.com/2020/04/03/des-mas...ournes The health authorities apparently tried in vain to get an explanation from DHL, claiming “Communication with DHL failed twice today.”
In Canada, Dr. Elaine Chin and Manny Kapur wanted to buy masks from China for Canadian doctors and patients. An importer said he could obtain the masks but the minimum order was high – 5 million. Chin and Kapur borrowed money from friends, tapped their personal lines of credit, and paid a deposit of US$500,000 for five million N95-equivalent masks. Their order was confirmed and delivered to Shanghai’s Pudong airport for loading on a flight to Canada. That was the last they saw of it. Their shipment was once again hijacked on the tarmac by the usual suspects willing to pay four times the price. “It was all working out just fine. Then it all blew up in the ether. It turns out we were suddenly outbid. It was heartbreaking. It’s like somebody pulled up with a truck, picked up our pallets and put them on a different plane and it disappeared and nobody will know because it was just cash changing hands.”https://nationalpost.com/news/what-happened-when-fiv...y=true
In another instance, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau felt “concerned” when a mask order arrived “smaller than expected” (90% smaller) the majority of it having been hijacked by “a higher bidder”.https://dnyuz.com/2020/04/03/us-accused-of-seizing-f...anada/ Trudeau lamely said, “We understand that the needs in the US are very extensive, but it’s the same in Canada”. It’s not easy dealing with the neighborhood bully.
In another instance, a Canadian government order for three million masks from 3M was confiscated at the border, with Prime Minister Trudeau equally lamely saying, “It would be a mistake to create blockages or reduce the amount of back-and-forth trade of essential goods and services, including medical goods, across our border, and that is the point we’re making very clearly to the American administration right now.”https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-works-assure-alli...019576 For all the good that would do. But happily, a “compromise” was reached between Mike Pompeo and Canada’s Foreign Minister, Canada accepting a token of 500,000 masks, but describing the transaction as “productive and positive.”
It wasn’t widely known, but Turkey was one of the main suppliers of some kinds of protective medical equipment and also a main manufacturer of the blown mesh needed for masks and respirators. And, with the political pressure from the US, the Turkish government seemed to have been involved in disputes with many countries about the release of medical equipment from April onward.
In early April, Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya said an order for ventilators that had already been paid for had been impounded in Turkey.https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/04/europe/coronaviru...x.html The suggestion was that the country needed the supplies for itself, but the disposition was by no means clear, and with a vague commitment to perhaps provide some supplies to Spain within some weeks. CNN requested comment from the Turkish government, but apparently without response. Then there was a very curious episode on April 4, 2020, involving nearly 100 tonnes of medical supplies destined for the UK,https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/04/19/flight-c...urkey/https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/04/18/mini...rtage/ which was suddenly impounded by the Turkish government. In this case, the shipment was released but then turned into a farce. According to the Telegraph, “Every one of the 400,000 gowns brought back from Turkey last month has been impounded in a warehouse outside Heathrow Airport after inspectors found the gear was “useless” and fell short of UK standards.”https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/05/06/exclusiv...iling/
By the end of April, the subterfuge was disappearing with evidence Turkey had finally capitulated in fear of further and more ominous US sanctions, with the media reporting that Turkey was rerouting multiple shipments of medical supplies to the US. On April 28, the US Embassy in Ankara tweeted happily on its official Twitter account, “Wheels up! We are deeply grateful” for a widely-publicised “donation” of a planeload of medical supplies to the US.https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/04/t...n.html Ambassador David Satterfield said, “As this delivery indicates, the US-Turkey relationship is strong and one of our most important alliances, NATO solidarity during this pandemic highlights the strength of our transatlantic bond. According to Satterfield, the supplies would be “received and managed” (and disappeared) by FEMA. https://apnews.com/b940aca2ab2d0c31af2826da9c30d222 And Kay Bailey Hutchinson, the US ambassador to NATO, tweeted “A very big thank you people of Turkey”. Not all nations were equally grateful. Until early April, Turkey had sent medical shipments to more than 50 countries, these drying up in favor of the new “transatlantic bond” with the US, presumably the same ‘bond’ that convinced Turkey to place its new Russian S-400 anti-US-aircraft missiles into storage rather than deployment.
As noted earlier, the LA Times reported that the US government had been “quietly seizing orders, leaving medical providers across the country in the dark about where the material is going . . .” There had been much speculation (in the non-Western media) that large amounts of American medical supplies were going to Israel. OpEd News wrote an article titled “Did the Face Masks the Feds Stole from US Hospitals Go To Israel?”,https://www.opednews.com/articles/Are-the-Face-Masks...8.html a question justified by a few interesting events.
“When US healthcare workers are risking their lives without proper protective gear to try to save patients with COVID-19, and Americans are being asked to fashion masks out of scarves, coffee filters and old t-shirts, why would the US send precious supplies to the Israeli military? Any US role in supplying the masks to Israel would be all the more notable given that the US has blocked the export of protective equipment to other countries, including Canada.” On April 5, Newsweek reported that the US military had told its personnel to make their own masks from T-shirts or other material, an article Newsweek has since removed, but MSN reported on thishttps://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/not-an-ideal-solut...12eKEL as did the Army Times.https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2020/04/24/...o-far/
On April 8, 2020, the Jerusalem Post ran a story with the headline “US Department of Defense gives 1 million masks to IDF for coronavirus use”, stating further “A plane carrying over a million surgical masks for the IDF landed in Ben Gurion airport Tuesday night, in an operation run by the US Department of Defense’s Delegation of Procurement Authority.” The article definitely suggested the US was diverting seized medical supplies from American hospitals to the Israelis. It was also tweeted by Israeli army radio journalist Tsahi Dabush, saying “Credit to US Department of Defense procurement delegates,” and an Israeli military reporter posted images on his Twitter page of the shipment of masks as they arrived.https://twitter.com/TsahiDabush/status/1247601103006502914 Iranian Press TV covered the story at the time, stating further that “The Pentagon has confirmed the shipment saying it had purchased and flown to Israel tens of thousands of swabs, masks and protective suits in the past two weeks.”https://urmedium.com/c/presstv/12226
After the story received a small storm of outrage, including by Palestinian journalist Ali Abunimah While American health workers beg for PPE, Trump just shipped a million masks to the Israeli army. https://t.co/2sVFLMteo9 — Ali Abunimah (@AliAbunimah) April 8, 2020, the Jerusalem Post altered their headline and content, erasing all mention of US involvement.https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/US-Department-of-D...623976 The revised article headline: “Israel brings 1 million masks from China for IDF soldiers”, stating “The masks were procured from China and shipped to Israel in order that the IDF can begin using them within days.” No explanation was given by the JPost for the change, but the original headline is still visible in the article’s hyperlink (read the words in note 2) and on Twitter posts, and Tsahi Dabush‘s tweet remains, suggesting the original story was accurate. One group later claimed the original story’s reference to the US was merely “an erroneous translation”, suggesting the JPost staff mistranslated their own Hebrew, and carelessly inserted English references to the US DoD where no reference whatever to Americans existed in the original.
The same article quoted Limor Kolishevsky, head of the Israeli’s New York Purchasing and Logistics Division, as saying, “In the past two weeks, we have purchased and flown to Israel tens of thousands of swabs, masks, protective suits for medical staff and more”, claiming other supplies having been “procured in China [and] quickly flown to Israel”. All this was occurring during the spate of US hijackings referred to above. These facts, apparently disconnected at first glance, raise questions about the US hijacking of medical supplies on airport tarmacs in China and other countries, as well as the disposition of seizures occurring in the US, especially considering FEMA’s extreme secrecy as to the disposition of said seizures. Even more disturbing is the lack of what should be voluminous documented evidence of deliveries to thousands of hospitals across the US, but instead we have only claims of this, while voluminous documented evidence of supplies being seized from hospitals across the US.
There was another related matter. Global Security statedhttps://www.globalsecurity.org/security/library/news...01.htm that the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, had been “running clandestine operations to sneak the medical supplies ordered by countries fighting the coronavirus outbreak into the occupied territories”, the head of Mossad’s technology department saying Tel Aviv had ordered Mossad to procure up to 130,000 objects related to fight the COVID-19 outbreak in Israel, ranging from protective gear to test kits, medicine, and ventilators. He said, “I have overseen many operations in my life, and I’ve never dealt with such a complex operation”, claiming “countries are locked in a covert battle to take control of a limited supply of ventilators needed amid the coronavirus pandemic”.
Following on this, the Jerusalem Post published an article on March 30, 2020,https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Mossad-bought-10-m...622890 stating that Mossad obtained another 10 million protective masks for Israel, in addition to ventilators and test kits, and expected to produce much more. The JPost said, “Due to the sensitivity of the information, the Post could not report it until they arrived in Israel on Monday. But it did note . . . that significant new acquisitions were on the way.” According to the article, Mossad director Yossi Cohen was tasked by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to taking over the country’s efforts “to purchase medical equipment from abroad”. More curiously, the JPost said “The kits were obtained from countries with which Israel does not have diplomatic relations”, and quoted an al Jazeera report that these countries “were in the Persian Gulf”, claims that make no sense whatever. For one, Israel has no friends in the Persian Gulf and, with school girls in Afghanistan attempting to make functioning ventilators from used auto parts, no regional country would sacrifice the lives of their own citizens by selling their pitiful quantities of desperately-needed medical supplies to Israel. Wherever Mossad and the IDF obtained those medical supplies, it wasn’t in the Persian Gulf. It is difficult to draw firm conclusions without documented links, but the only theory that fits all the known facts would connect the Americans and Mossad to all the medical equipment airport hijackings as well as to FEMA’s secretive hospital seizures. It would seem that America, thanks to the devoted loyalty of Kushner, the blind instrumentation of the marionette Pompeo, and the narcissist stupidity of Donald Trump, is an “Israel-first” country in more ways than one.
Let’s return for a moment to Kushner, FEMA, and our hundreds of thousands of millions of medical supplies that apparently arrived on at least 150 flights, mostly from Shanghai, then somehow evaporated. In an ABC News report on how the “shortage of PPE” happened,https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/fema-relied-inexperi...519484 we’re told FEMA relied on inexperienced volunteers to find this protective equipment. “A federal effort to obtain protective gear for health care workers has relied in part on volunteers from private equity and consulting firms who [had] little to no experience in health care, government or procurement . . .” Additionally, “volunteers [were] told to prioritise procurement leads from “conservative media personalities identified as part of a VIP list”. Whose “leads” apparently were mostly a waste of time, at least according to the Washington Posthttps://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/kushner-coro...y.html (who may well have been included in the ‘VIP list of conservative media personalities’). Does this make any sense? Of course not.
First of all, the Project Airbridge spearheaded by Kushner was intended to use taxpayer dollars to fly medical supplies from overseas on behalf of industry who would resell to the highest bidders – a kind of welfare program for medical supply companies,https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/fema-relied-inexperi...519484 Kushner stating, “This is an effort where the government is doing things that the government doesn’t normally do . . .” Good thing, too, but that doesn’t explain the continued shortages. Sens. Warren and Blumenthal wrote in a letter, “We are concerned by the Trump Administration’s process which appears to be . . . driven by politics rather than public health, and delegates decisions about distribution to private companies with little to no transparency about how distribution . . . decisions are made.”
ABC ran another story wondering why Kushner’s program of chartering perhaps hundreds of flights at government expense left “hospitals still facing shortages”, and the so-called national stockpile still with only 1% of the supplies it needed.https://abcnews.go.com/Health/us-short-ppe/story?id=...093430 It seems that while the government was paying around $800,000 per flight, the cargo was delivered not to hospitals but to Medline, the largest medical supply company, who alone decided on the eventual distribution.https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/kushner-backed-progr...291872 Kushner said his mandate was to “break down barriers for FEMA”, without specifying what were those barriers or the results of their removal, and the commercial invoices for all flights remain classified and secret, even from the US Congress.
Then, in the first week of May, 2020, ABC and the NYT reported that the White House was winding down the coronavirus task forcehttps://abcnews.go.com/Politics/white-house-wind-cor...518706 even as the numbers of new cases were still rising by about 30,000 per day, though, due to a huge outcry, this was later partly walked back to “not dismantling, just refocusing”.https://apnews.com/8cd84c260cb6d951ac57a6248542a44f This was not an apparent loss since the task force’s only visible act was its daily press briefings complimenting Trump, Kushner and Pompeo while discrediting others. What wasn’t mentioned was that Project Airbridge had also been disbanded – again, while the nation was still experiencing shortages of such magnitude that exports were forbidden even to friends like Canada, General Motors threatened with eternal damnation for lack of ventilator production, and most hospitals crying for help.
How do we explain all of this? How do we account for the hundreds of tonnes of medical supplies either purchased or hijacked by Mossad and FEMA, the additional apparent hundreds of tonnes seized by FEMA from hospitals throughout the US, yet extreme shortages of the same throughout the country and an apparently empty national stockpile? How do we explain the JPost‘s boasting of huge volumes of supplies arriving courtesy of the US government? Perhaps Mr. Trump cannot be personally blamed for some of this since, while he was certainly aware of the events, it is reasonable to assume he was taking direction from Messrs. Pompeo and Kushner, who were in turn receiving their instructions from the powers behind the throne.
These events, apparently disconnected when considered in isolation, make complete sense when placed in context, and raise questions about the US hijacking of medical supplies on airport tarmacs in China and other countries, as well as the disposition of seizures occurring in the US, especially considering the extreme secrecy of every portion of this adventure. If Americans need impetus and justification for a final American Revolution, this outrageous treason by their own government would seem to qualify.