The Health Risks of Excessive Earwax

By Dr. Mercola

Earwax, technically known as cerumen, is produced by glands inside your ear canal. It may be a gray, orange or yellow waxy substance, and is designed to protect, clean and lubricate the ear canal. It also provides protection against insects, water and bacteria.

The wax consists of dead skin cells, hair and secretions from glands in the outer ear canal. Other substances include lysozyme, an antibacterial enzyme, fatty acids, alcohols and cholesterol. In fact, earwax really isn’t wax at all, but a mixture of water soluble, self-cleaning agents with protective, lubricating and antibacterial properties.

Excess earwax normally makes its way slowly out of the ear canal, carrying with it dirt, dust and other small particles. According to guidelines issued by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation, up to two-thirds of people in nursing homes may suffer from a condition in which the wax collects to a point where it can completely block the ear canal.1

Earwax Buildup in the Elderly Increases Other Health Risks

When a buildup goes unrecognized in the elderly it can pose serious problems. Normally, the earwax is part of a self-cleaning process, but in 10 percent of young children, 20 percent of adults and more than 30 percent of the elderly, the wax collects and is not expelled.2 In 2016, the U.S. federal Medicare program paid for nearly 1.7 million earwax removal services. Dr. Seth Schwartz, Seattle otolaryngologist who was instrumental in updating the recent guidelines, said:3

“In elderly patients, it’s fairly common. It seems like such a basic thing, but it’s one of the most common reasons people present for hearing-related problems.”

Excessive earwax is responsible for nearly 12 million visits to a health care provider each year, including 8 million who require removal in the office.4 Schwartz advises the best way to control earwax is to leave it alone. However, this can backfire when the ears of senior citizens in residential care go unchecked.

A blocked ear canal will not be visible from the outside, but requires a professional with an otoscope to tell if cerumen is blocking the canal. The effects of removal maybe immediate, especially in an elderly population.5 A small study6 found significant improvements in hearing and cognitive performance in those with memory disorders when an impacted ear canal was cleared.

Julie Brown, assistant director of nursing in the memory support unit at Silver Ridge Assisted Living, reports impacted earwax is particularly problematic for those with dementia, as it exacerbates hearing loss, which then impedes communication and increases aggression and other difficult behavior.7

Brown finds as soon as the wax is cleared, even behavior improves quickly. When the ear canal is impacted with earwax it can trigger ear aches, infections and other problems. When it’s lodged in a specific way, the wax may trigger a branch of the vagus nerve supplying the outer ear, stimulating cough.8

Hearing Loss Related to Cognitive Decline

According to Jackie Clark, board certified audiologist and president of the American Academy of Audiology:9

“The excessive amount of earwax can cause hearing loss or ringing in your ears. Some people experience vertigo, which increases the risk of falling. Right now, we see some correlation between hearing loss and cognitive decline.”

Hearing loss occurs in nearly 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 and in nearly 50 percent of those over 75. This statistic makes hearing loss one of the most common conditions affecting older adults, which is significant, as hearing health is important to communication and overall quality of life.

In a study10 funded by the National Institute on Aging, research data indicated hearing loss can impact cognition and dementia risk in older adults. Another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association11 found hearing loss is independently associated with accelerated cognitive decline in community-dwelling older adults.

Yet another study from Johns Hopkins University12 found older adults with hearing loss are more likely to develop problems thinking and remembering than those with normal hearing. In this study, volunteers with hearing loss underwent repeated cognitive testing over six years.

The data demonstrated up to 40 percent faster cognitive decline in the hearing impaired than those whose hearing was normal. The levels of declining function were directly related to the percentage of hearing loss. Lead author, Dr. Frank Lin, commented:13

“Our results show that hearing loss should not be considered an inconsequential part of aging, because it may come with some serious long-term consequences to healthy brain functioning.

Our findings emphasize just how important it is for physicians to discuss hearing with their patients and to be proactive in addressing any hearing declines over time.”

Why Ears Need Healthy Amounts of Wax

Your ears produce earwax constantly, so ideally you maintain the right amount in your ear canals. It’s best to leave your wax alone and not try to remove it with cotton swabs or other devices. In fact, too little earwax in your ear canal can leave your ears feeling dry and itchy.

Earwax functions to protect your ears and provides lubrication. The compound prevents dust, bacteria and other germs from entering and damaging your ear, traps dirt and slow the growth of bacteria. There are two types of earwax: wet, which is sticky and yellow or brown color, and dry, which is crumbly and lighter colored gray or tan.

You have a single gene that determines the type of earwax you have. Dry earwax is more common in individuals from East Asian countries, while wet earwax dominates in African and European populations. Interestingly, the same gene that determines dry earwax is also responsible for reduced underarm body odor in individuals from China, Japan and Korea.14

The movement of earwax through your ear canal is aided by movements of your jaw, such as talking or chewing. Once it reaches the outer ear it simply falls out or is removed during a shower. Symptoms indicating you have an excess of earwax buildup include:15

Noticeable wax accumulation

Tinnitus or ringing in your ears

Foul odor coming from your ears

Severe itching

Frequent earaches

Partial hearing loss

A sensation your ears are plugged

Feeling of fullness in your ears

Discharge from your ears

Omega-3 Deficiency May Be the Issue

If you have trouble clearing wax, consider increasing your intake of omega-3 fats, as frequent excess buildup of earwax may be traced back to an omega-3 deficiency. The remedy is simple: Eat more omega-3-rich fish or take a high-quality, animal-based omega-3 supplement like krill oil.

Animal-based omega-3 fats consist of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Good dietary sources include sardines, anchovies, mackerel, herring and wild-caught Alaskan salmon. Omega-3 deficiency is common in a western diet, and the problem is worsened by the fact that most processed foods are high in omega-6 fats. This further increases the imbalance between omega-3 and omega-6 fats.

Your brain, bones and mental health are all impacted by omega-3 fats. How much you require depends on your body size, age, health status and the type of omega-3 fat you’re consuming. While there is no set recommended standard dose, some health organizations recommend a daily dose of 250 to 500 mg of EPA and DHA for healthy adults.

It’s important to remember this applies to animal-based EPA and DHA and not ALA found in plant-based omega-3 fat. To learn more about the differences between plant- and animal-based omega-3, and why you cannot use them interchangeably, see “The Critical Differences Between Omega-3 Fats [and] Plants and Marine Animals.”

Research funded by the National Institutes of Health16 highlights the value of adequate levels of EPA and DHA omega-3 fats in assessing your risk for developing certain diseases. Increased levels of omega-3 reduced cardiovascular disease risk, and a strong association was found between low levels of omega-3 and death from all other causes.

The Dos and Don’ts of Cleaning Your Ears

Cotton swabs are not meant to be inserted into your ears, and doing so may damage your eardrum, skin or the tiny ossicle bones critical to hearing. In fact, inserting any object larger than your elbow could damage your skin and push the wax deeper, blocking the ear canal completely, and may lead to hearing loss, dizziness, ringing and other symptoms of ear injury.

Another dangerous practice is the use of ear candles. These have been used as far back as 2500 B.C. when ancient cultures made reference to the use of candling in parchment scrolls discovered in the Orient.17

Also known as ear coning, studies18,19 have demonstrated injury to the ear during the process, including the deposit of candle wax within the ear canals, external burns and perforated eardrums without successfully removing earwax.

If you have excess earwax, there are a few things you can do to help encourage the wax to move out. If you are otherwise healthy, do not have ear tubes or an eardrum perforation, and do not have diabetes, you can safely attempt to clear excess wax from your own ears.

The simplest way is to first soften the wax by putting a few drops of olive oil, coconut oil or normal saline in your ear. Then, pour a capful of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide into the ear to flush the wax out. You will hear some bubbling, which is completely normal, and may possibly feel a stinging sensation. Once the wax is softened it often moves out of the ear canal on its own.

Using hydrogen peroxide in your ears may also help improve respiratory infections, such as colds and flu. If the wax is troublesome, you may need to see your physician for irrigation of the ear canal with a syringe, or removal with appropriate instruments. This should be limited to a professional since, if done improperly, it can damage your eardrum.

Diabetes Meds Are Infecting Genitals With Flesh-Eating Bacteria

By Dr. Mercola

The number of individuals suffering from diabetes continues to rise. In 2012, 20 million Americans had diabetes or prediabetes.1 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),2 the number is now over 30 million. This includes 23.1 million diagnosed and 7.2 million who are unaware of their condition.

Statistics also indicate there are 84.1 million adults with prediabetes. Interestingly, the estimated percentage of those with Type 1 diabetes has remained stable at 5 percent.3 Total medical costs and lost work and wages are estimated at $245 billion, and the risk of death for adults with diabetes is 50 percent higher than for nondiabetic adults.4

The rapid rise in prevalence strongly suggests Type 2 diabetes is not due to genetics. Insulin and leptin resistance are the foundational causes of diabetes. High blood sugar is merely a symptom thereof.

It is essential to make a point of discussing this condition frequently, as it is one of the greatest health threats facing much of the world, while also being one of the easiest to treat with simple lifestyle strategies.

However, while many physicians recommend dietary modifications, most individuals begin using oral and injectable hypoglycemic drugs to control blood sugar without addressing the underlying cause. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently warned that a class of oral medications increases a diabetic’s risk of a rare but life-threatening bacterial infection.5

FDA Warns Diabetes Drug May Be Linked to Serious Genital Infection

The infection, called Fournier’s gangrene, occurs in the genital area of men and women. The bacteria usually enter the body through a cut and quickly spread. A diagnosis of diabetes is a risk factor for developing Fournier’s gangrene. The class of medication associated with an increased risk are sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors.

The infection causes necrotizing fasciitis, or flesh eating disease, of the vaginal area in women and the area between the scrotum and anus in men. The FDA warns patients to seek immediate medical attention if they experience any symptoms of tenderness, redness or swelling or have a fever above 100.4 Fahrenheit (F). The symptoms worsen quickly, so it is vital to seek immediate treatment.

In the five years between March 2013 and May 2018, the FDA identified 12 cases of patients taking the medication who developed the infection. They acknowledge these numbers only include reports submitted to the FDA and found in the medical literature. The real number may be higher. According to the FDA:6 

“[T]here may be additional cases about which we are unaware. In 2017, an estimated 1.7 million patients received a dispensed prescription for an SGLT-2 inhibitor from U.S. outpatient retail pharmacies. Although most cases of Fournier’s gangrene have previously been reported in men, our 12 cases included seven men and five women.

Fournier’s gangrene developed within several months of the patients starting an SGLT-2 inhibitor and the drug was stopped in most cases. All 12 patients were hospitalized and required surgery.”

The FDA found one patient had died and others required multiple disfiguring surgeries to stem the infection.7 As diabetes increases the risk of Fournier’s gangrene, the data were analyzed for patients who were taking glucose-lowering agents.8 The infection is more typically found in men ages 50 to 60.9 

The SGLT-2 inhibitors are a class of hypoglycemic drugs designed to work against SGLT-2, a low affinity, high capacity transporter protein found in the kidneys.

This class of medication was approved as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in Type 2 diabetes and not for use in Type 1 diabetes. These are the brand name and generic names of the drugs currently on the market:10,11

Canagliflozin (Invokana)

Dapagliflozin (Farxiga)

Empagliflozin (Jardiance)

Empagliflozin/linagliptin (Glyxambi)

Empagliflozin/metformin (Synjardy)

Dapagliflozin/metformin (Xigduo XR)

Ertugliflozin (Steglatro)

Infection Is Not the Only Concern With SGLT2 Inhibitors

Besides several safety communications that included concerns about increased risks of leg and foot amputations,12 this was the second safety warning the FDA issued against SGLT-2 inhibitors. May 15, 2015,13 the FDA issued a warning the drugs may lead to ketoacidosis, a condition in which the body produces high levels of acids often requiring emergency care or hospitalization for treatment.

In a search of the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS), they identified 20 cases of diabetic ketoacidosis associated with the medications. Each patient required an emergency room visit or hospitalization for treatment. The FDA recommended discontinuing the drug if acidosis was confirmed, and instituting supportive medical care.14

The FDA found triggering factors in some cases included acute illnesses, such as urinary tract infections, gastroenteritis or the flu.15 Other patients found a reduced caloric or fluid intake and reduced insulin dosing could trigger diabetic ketoacidosis while taking the medication.

One month after the FDA announcement, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) also announced an investigation into the risk of diabetic ketoacidosis with SGLT-2 inhibitors.16 Health Canada quickly followed.

The EMA decision was prompted by their adverse events reporting database indicating more than 100 people suffered from diabetic ketoacidosis while using SGLT-2 inhibitors, serious enough to require hospitalization.

By the end of the year the FDA safety review prompted the addition of printed warnings on all labeling regarding the risk. They also included risks regarding life-threatening blood infections (sepsis) and kidney infections that began as urinary tract infections in people taking SGLT2 inhibitors.17

Diabetes Drugs Affect More Than Blood Sugar

There are nine classes of oral diabetes drugs, all of which differ in their side effect profiles. Some of the other known side effects of SGLT-2 inhibitors include vaginal yeast infections and yeast infections of the penis, upper respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections and changes in patterns of urination. Others have reported hypotension, kidney dysfunction, bladder cancer and hypersensitivity reactions.18

The surge in new drug classes to treat Type 2 diabetes has been fueled by the rising number of individuals suffering from the disease. Drug companies are quick to step in and fill a growing desire for quick treatments, often leaving consumers to experience the side effects of taking a pill rather than changing their diet and lifestyle.

Many of these drugs also interfere with other medications you may be taking, including several heart medications and antibiotics. Injectable insulin plays a unique role in the exacerbation of diabetes, which I discuss in a previous article, “How to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes, Why Insulin May Actually Accelerate Death, and Other Ignored Facts.” Potential side effects from various oral medications include the following:19 

Thiazolidinediones — Liver disease, fluid retention, weight gain and increased risk for fractures and bladder cancer

DPP-4 inhibitors — Hypoglycemia, fluid retention, hives, urinary tract infection and facial swelling

Biguanides — Stomach discomfort, diarrhea, decreased appetite, interference with B12 absorption and exercise-induced hypoglycemia

Sulfonylureas — Skin rashes, reduced red blood cell count, liver disease and upset stomach

A-glucosidase — Gas, bloating and diarrhea

Bile acid sequestrants — Stomach discomfort or pain, constipation and heartburn

Bromocriptine mesylate — Nausea, headache, weakness, dizziness, sinusitis and constipation

Diabetes Triggers Long-Term Damage to Organ Systems

In the long term, high glucose levels, which are the result of insulin resistance, damage large and small blood vessels, ultimately leading to an increased risk for heart attack and stroke, as well as problems with the kidneys, eyes, feet and neurological systems.20

It is also possible to experience nerve damage to internal organs, such as the stomach, intestines, bladder and genitals. These may result in digestive issues, urinary tract conditions and sexual dysfunction.21 Damage to small blood vessels also increases the risk of frequent infections and problems with wounds that will not heal.

Nerve damage in the hands, feet or arms, called diabetic neuropathy, affects nearly half of those with diabetes and is more common in those who have had the disease for a number of years. Symptoms range from pain and numbness in the feet or hands to problems with function with internal organs, such as your heart and bladder.22

Autonomic neuropathy damages nerves controlling your internal organs, while focal neuropathy typically damages a single nerve, often in your hand, head or leg. Proximal neuropathy is rare and disabling, causing nerve damage to your hip or thigh and often affecting only one side of your body. The good news is the risk of these kinds of complications can be reduced by making lifestyle changes to improve your insulin and leptin sensitivity.

Medical Treatments Don’t Treat the Condition

Conventional medicine has pegged Type 2 diabetes as a problem with blood sugar control, and the medical goal of treatment is to reduce blood glucose levels in order to prevent blood vessel damage. However, as diabetes is primarily triggered by a seriously flawed diet and lack of physical activity, prescriptions to address blood sugar levels fail to address the root cause.

In other words, the medical community’s approach is to treat the symptom of elevated blood sugar and not the condition of malfunctioning insulin and leptin signaling, and to use medications that come with their own long list of side effects that impact a number of bodily systems.

Lifestyle Strategies That Address the Root Cause of Diabetes

You do not have to become a part of the diabetes epidemic taking place in the world today. You merely have to be mindful of your everyday habits. Your body is a complex combination of chemicals, enzymes and hormones and, while it may be tempting to believe one hormone controls an entire system, the reality is far more intricate.

There is no question that regularly consuming excessive amounts of net carbs dramatically increases your risk, and consuming too much processed fructose will inevitably wreak havoc on your body’s ability to regulate proper insulin levels. Although refined fructose initially has a relatively “low glycemic” profile, it leads to chronic insulin resistance and elevated blood sugar long-term.

So, while you may not notice a steep rise in blood sugar immediately following fructose consumption, it is likely changing your endocrine system’s ability to function properly behind the scenes. Here are several simple and effective choices to naturally help your body control insulin resistance and sensitivity.

Increase your fiber intake — Include both soluble and insoluble fiber in your daily diet. Grains, even organic ones, are not an ideal source of fiber. Instead, eat more organic whole, unsweetened husk psyllium, chia seeds, sprouts and vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Aim to include 50 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories you eat daily.

Reduce net carbs — A low-net carbohydrate diet reduces inflammation and the amount insulin required to use the energy from the food you eat. Aim for 50 grams of net carbs per day. 

This number is calculated by taking the grams of carbs you’ve eaten and subtracting the number of grams of fiber. In this way a high-fiber diet also helps you to lower the amount of insulin you need to utilize your food for fuel.

Increase high-quality fats — When you reduce carbohydrates, your best alternative to replace them is high-quality, healthy fats necessary for keeping your heart healthy, feeding your brain, modulating genetic regulation and prevent cancer. Healthy fat sources include:

  • Avocados
  • Coconut and olive oil
  • Organic, grass fed meat and dairy products such as butter
  • Organic raw nuts

Exercise — Exercise is a diabetic’s best ally, and can produce rather rapid results. Research23 published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found, for example, that a single session of moderate exercise can improve the way your body regulates glucose and reduces the spikes in blood sugar that occur after a meal (elevations in these spikes, known as postprandial glucose, or PPG, are associated with Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and death).

When you exercise for diabetes prevention or treatment, intensity is key. A slow walk around the block, while better than watching TV on the couch, is not likely to cut it (although if you’re morbidly obese and very out of shape this is a good way to start).

Instead, high-intensity interval training, which is a core component of my Peak Fitness program, should ideally be included in your fitness program to achieve optimal results.

Hydration — As you become dehydrated, your liver secretes a hormone that increases your blood sugar.24 As you hydrate, blood sugar levels lower naturally. To stay well-hydrated drink enough to maintain your urine color straw yellow throughout the day.

Reduce stress — Stress increases the secretion of cortisol and glucagon, both of which affect your blood sugar levels.25,26 Control your stress levels using exercise, meditation, yoga, prayer or Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT).

Sleep — Getting enough quality sleep is necessary to feel good and experience good health. Poor sleeping habits may reduce insulin sensitivity and promote weight gain.27,28

Insect-Borne Chagas Disease Becoming More Prevalent in the US

By Dr. Mercola

Triatomines, affectionately known as “kissing bugs,” have made headlines lately. According to U.S. health officials, disease caused by these insects is on the rise, and in the long term can be quite serious. Known as Chagas disease,1,2 the infection is contracted through a bite from a triatomine, a nocturnal insect that crawls around on your face while you’re sleeping.

It will typically bite around the lips or eyes — hence the nickname “kissing bug.” Most people report they did not feel the bite. Like other bloodsucking insects, the triatomine sucks your blood. It then deposits parasite-infested feces near or into the open wound.

The parasite responsible for the disease, Trypanosoma cruzi, lives in the bug’s digestive system, and researchers have found between 503 and 64 percent4 of triatomines tested are infected with this parasite.

Chagas Prevalence on the Rise

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 300,000 Americans have Chagas disease,5 including 40,000 pregnant women,6 and prevalence is believed to be on the rise. The disease was initially reported in Texas in 2010, but has since been identified in 28 states.7

Chagas disease has also been identified in Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland, Australia, Japan and the U.K.8 Bolivia is thought to have the highest Chagas prevalence in the world.9 Globally, Chagas disease is thought to be responsible for 10,000 deaths each year.

In South and Central America — where Chagas disease is most prevalent — an estimated 12 million people are infected,10 and while it is not transmissible via person-to-person contact, you can contract it via blood transfusion, organ transplantation and/or eating food in which the insect has defecated.

Disturbingly, a 2014 study revealed 1 in 6,500 blood donors tested positive for Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite responsible for Chagas. In April 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved two screening tests to screen blood, tissue and organ donations for the presence of Trypanosoma cruzi antibodies11 to prevent the spread of the disease.

An infected mother can also transmit Chagas to her unborn child. As reported by The Charlotte Observer:12

“Chagas often has no symptoms at first, according to the CDC, but it can lurk in the body for years and eventually cause serious problems such as an enlarged heart, enlarged colon, heart attacks and more …

‘Chagas disease causes early mortality and substantial disability, which often occurs in the most productive population, young adults, (and) results in a significant economic loss,’ a medical representative from the American Heart Association said …”

What to Do if You Find a Kissing Bug or Believe You’ve Been Bitten by One

So far, 11 species of triatomines have been identified in the U.S.13 The most common are Triatoma sanguisuga and Triatoma gerstaeckeri, both of which measure about 1 inch in length. You can find photos to help with identification on the Texas A&M University website.14

Should you find a bug suspected of being a triatomine, you can send it to the Texas A&M University research team for inspection. The form and instructions can be found here. Details you need to provide include:

  • The location of where it was found
  • The date and time of day you found the bug
  • Whether the bug was alive or dead when you found it
  • What the bug was doing when you found it

The bug tends to hide out in crevices in the home during the day and only come out at night. If traveling, avoid sleeping in rooms with unplastered adobe walls, as this provides an excellent hiding place for the little critters.

If you believe you’ve been bitten by a kissing bug, whether you’ve found the bug or not, seek medical attention and let them know you suspect having been bitten by a triatomine.

If your health provider is unfamiliar with Chagas, they should contact their state health department and/or CDC.15 Treatment, which involves unapproved experimental drugs to kill the parasitic infection (which is why you can only receive treatment after approval by the CDC), is most effective when implemented during the early, acute phase.

The antiparasitic drugs used are not harmless, however. As so many others, they come with a list of side effects, ranging from insomnia and nausea to peripheral neuropathy and anorexia.16

At present, there is no known effective treatment for the later stages of the disease. In one study,17 treatment with the antiparasitic benznidazole had no impact on reducing cardiac complications from Chagas, even though the medication lowered levels of the parasite in the patients’ blood.

Acute and Chronic Phases of Chagas

Triatomines can spread Chagas disease to humans and animals alike. In humans, the disease has two manifestation phases: an acute phase, which can last for a few weeks or months, and a chronic phase, which can manifest up to two decades later. While many have no symptoms at all during the acute phase, some may experience:

Fever

Fatigue

Body aches

Headache

Skin rash

Loss of appetite

Diarrhea

Vomiting

Mild liver or spleen enlargement

Swollen glands

Local swelling

Romana’s sign (swelling on the eyelid near the bite, or where fecal matter was rubbed into your eye)

As for the chronic phase, Texas A&M explains:

“Of those who are infected with the parasite, approximately 30 percent are at risk of developing chronic Chagas disease. Chronic Chagas disease includes cardiac complications and/or intestinal complications, and these signs may not be apparent until decades after the initial infection.

Cardiac signs include enlarged heart, heart failure, altered heart rate, and/or cardiac arrest. Intestinal signs include an enlarged esophagus or colon, which can cause difficulties with digestion.

Concerned individuals should discuss testing options with their physicians. Treatment of Chagas disease can be difficult, and drugs are available only through the CDC after consultation with a physician.”

Lyme Disease Is a Much Greater Concern

While all of this may sound disconcerting, Chagas disease is not as common as Lyme disease, with which 300,000 Americans are diagnosed each year.18,19 This disease, originally identified in Lyme, Connecticut, in 1975, has now spread across every state in the U.S.20

The black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis, also known as the deer tick) was linked to transmission of the disease in 1977, and while some still attribute transmission exclusively to ticks, the bacteria can also be spread by other insects, including mosquitoes, spiders, fleas and mites.

In 1982, Willy Burgdorfer, Ph.D., identified the bacterium responsible for the infection: Borrelia burgdorferi21 — a cousin to the spirochete bacterium that causes syphilis. Since then, five subspecies and 300 strains of B. burgdorferi have been identified, many of which have developed resistance to our various antibiotics.

Like Chagas, symptoms of Lyme disease often start with unrelenting fatigue, recurring fever, headaches and achy muscles or joints. Over time, these symptoms may progress to muscle spasms, loss of motor coordination and/or intermittent paralysis, meningitis or heart problems.22,23

Diseases such as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, cardiomyopathy, gastritis and chronic fatigue may also be expressions of chronic Lyme disease. Unfortunately, there’s no simple way to diagnose Lyme.

It’s also known as “the great imitator,”24 due to its ability to mimic many other disorders, including multiple sclerosis, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, ALS, ADHD and Alzheimer’s disease. As a result, misdiagnosis is very common. Negative test results are also more the norm than the exception when you have Lyme, as the spirochete has the ability to infect your white blood cells.

Diagnosing and Treating Lyme Disease

The reason blood tests are so unreliable for diagnosing Lyme is because the tests rely on the normal function of white cells, but when these cells are infected with Lyme, they lose the ability to produce antibodies. Hence, nothing shows up on the test. This is known as the “Lyme paradox,” and necessitates putting treatment before diagnosis.

The idea is that by treating the infection, your white blood cells will regain their ability to mount a normal immune response, which can then be picked up by blood tests. For more in-depth information about Lyme disease and its treatment, I recommend listening to my previous interview with Lyme expert Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt.

According to Klinghardt, the IGeneX Lab in Palo Alto is the gold standard for Lyme testing, as they use two different antigens in their testing. There’s also a useful indirect test called the CD57 test.

“CD-57” is a specific group of natural killer cells that are particularly damaged by the Lyme spirochetes. Therefore, if your numbers drop to a certain level, it is an indirect indicator that you may have Lyme disease, because the only known infection to suppress CD57 is that of B. burgdorferi.

Lyme and Chagas Prevention Tips

Whether we’re talking about Chagas or Lyme, prevention is key, considering the difficulty of treatment. As mentioned, triatomine bites typically occur at night, while you’re sleeping, and the bug gains access to your body at night by hiding in crevices in the walls.

Adobe-style walls are known to be more likely to harbor the insect. Sleeping outdoors in a tent or rustic accommodations may also raise your risk of being bitten. Lyme-bearing tick bites, on the other hand, typically occur outdoors, so commonsense prevention strategies for Lyme disease include:25

  • Avoid tick-infested areas such as leaf piles around trees. Walk in the middle of trails and avoid brushing against long grasses on path edgings. Don’t sit on logs or wooden stumps, and avoid setting up camp or pitching a tent in areas covered with leaves
  • Wear light-colored long pants and long sleeves to make it easier to see the ticks. Tuck your pants into socks and wear closed shoes and a hat, especially if venturing out into wooded areas. Also tuck your shirt into your pants, and wear gardening gloves when gardening or working in the brush
  • Ticks, especially nymphal ticks, are very tiny. You want to find and remove them before they bite, so do a thorough tick check upon returning inside, and keep checking for several days following exposure. Also check your bedding for several days following exposure
  • If you find that a tick has latched onto you, it’s very important to remove it properly. For detailed instructions, please see Lymedisease.org’s Tick Removal page.26 Once removed, make sure you save the tick so that it can be tested for presence of pathogenic organisms
  • Your pets can become a host for ticks and may also become infected with Lyme disease, so be sure to check their fur and collars

Essential Oils May be a Safer Bet for Lyme and Chagas Vectors Alike Than Toxic Insect Repellents

As for using chemical repellents for either of these bugs, I do not recommend using them directly on your skin as this will introduce toxins directly into your body. If you use them, spray them on the outside of your clothes, taking care to avoid inhaling the spray fumes. I recommend avoiding insect repellant containing N,N-Diethyl-m-toluamide, also known as DEET, as it is a known neurotoxin.

According to a study27 published in February 2018, essential oils from the South American plants Azorella trifurcata,28 Senecio oreophyton J. Remy29 and Senecio pogonias Cabrera30 effectively repelled the Chagas vector Triatoma infestans.31 All three essential oils provided between 60 and 70 percent protection at 24 hours compared to DEET.

Similarly, oil of lemon eucalyptus has been found to keep ticks and mosquitoes at bay for at least seven hours. You can read more about this in “This Natural Bug Repellent Works Better Than DEET.”

Humans: the real threat to life on Earth

If population levels continue to rise at the current rate, our grandchildren will see the Earth plunged into an unprecedented environmental crisis, argues computational scientist Stephen Emmott in this extract from his book Ten Billion

Earth is home to millions of species. Just one dominates it. Us. Our cleverness, our inventiveness and our activities have modified almost every part of our planet. In fact, we are having a profound impact on it. Indeed, our cleverness, our inventiveness and our activities are now the drivers of every global problem we face. And every one of these problems is accelerating as we continue to grow towards a global population of 10 billion. In fact, I believe we can rightly call the situation we’re in right now an emergency – an unprecedented planetary emergency.

We humans emerged as a species about 200,000 years ago. In geological time, that is really incredibly recent. Just 10,000 years ago, there were one million of us. By 1800, just over 200 years ago, there were 1 billion of us. By 1960, 50 years ago, there were 3 billion of us. There are now over 7 billion of us. By 2050, your children, or your children’s children, will be living on a planet with at least 9 billion other people. Some time towards the end of this century, there will be at least 10 billion of us. Possibly more.

We got to where we are now through a number of civilisation- and society-shaping “events”, most notably the agricultural revolution, the scientific revolution, the industrial revolution and – in the West – the public-health revolution. By 1980, there were 4 billion of us on the planet. Just 10 years later, in 1990, there were 5 billion of us. By this point initial signs of the consequences of our growth were starting to show. Not the least of these was on water. Our demand for water – not just the water we drank but the water we needed for food production and to make all the stuff we were consuming – was going through the roof. But something was starting to happen to water.

By 2000 there were 6 billion of us. It was becoming clear to the world’s scientific community that the accumulation of CO2, methane and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere – as a result of increasing agriculture, land use and the production, processing and transportation of everything we were consuming – was changing the climate. And that, as a result, we had a serious problem on our hands; 1998 had been the warmest year on record. The 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1998.

We hear the term “climate” every day, so it is worth thinking about what we actually mean by it. Obviously, “climate” is not the same as weather. The climate is one of the Earth’s fundamental life support systems, one that determines whether or not we humans are able to live on this planet. It is generated by four components: the atmosphere (the air we breathe); the hydrosphere (the planet’s water); the cryosphere (the ice sheets and glaciers); the biosphere (the planet’s plants and animals). By now, our activities had started to modify every one of these components.

Our emissions of CO2 modify our atmosphere. Our increasing water use had started to modify our hydrosphere. Rising atmospheric and sea-surface temperature had started to modify the cryosphere, most notably in the unexpected shrinking of the Arctic and Greenland ice sheets. Our increasing use of land, for agriculture, cities, roads, mining – as well as all the pollution we were creating – had started to modify our biosphere. Or, to put it another way: we had started to change our climate.

There are now more than 7 billion of us on Earth. As our numbers continue to grow, we continue to increase our need for far more water, far more food, far more land, far more transport and far more energy. As a result, we are accelerating the rate at which we’re changing our climate. In fact, our activities are not only completely interconnected with but now also interact with, the complex system we live on: Earth. It is important to understand how all this is connected.

Let’s take one important, yet little known, aspect of increasing water use: “hidden water”. Hidden water is water used to produce things we consume but typically do not think of as containing water. Such things include chicken, beef, cotton, cars, chocolate and mobile phones. For example: it takes around 3,000 litres of water to produce a burger. In 2012 around five billion burgers were consumed in the UK alone. That’s 15 trillion litres of water – on burgers. Just in the UK. Something like 14 billion burgers were consumed in the United States in 2012. That’s around 42 trillion litres of water. To produce burgers in the US. In one year. It takes around 9,000 litres of water to produce a chicken. In the UK alone we consumed around one billion chickens in 2012. It takes around 27,000 litres of water to produce one kilogram of chocolate. That’s roughly 2,700 litres of water per bar of chocolate. This should surely be something to think about while you’re curled up on the sofa eating it in your pyjamas.

But I have bad news about pyjamas. Because I’m afraid your cotton pyjamas take 9,000 litres of water to produce. And it takes 100 litres of water to produce a cup of coffee. And that’s before any water has actually been added to your coffee. We probably drank about 20 billion cups of coffee last year in the UK. And – irony of ironies – it takes something like four litres of water to produce a one-litre plastic bottle of water. Last year, in the UK alone, we bought, drank and threw away nine  billion plastic water bottles. That is 36 billion litres of water, used completely unnecessarily. Water wasted to produce bottles – for water. And it takes around 72,000 litres of water to produce one of the ‘chips’ that typically powers your laptop, Sat Nav, phone, iPad and your car. There were over two billion such chips produced in 2012. That is at least 145 trillion litres of water. On semiconductor chips. In short, we’re consuming water, like food, at a rate that is completely unsustainable.

Demand for land for food is going to double – at least – by 2050, and triple – at least – by the end of this century. This means that pressure to clear many of the world’s remaining tropical rainforests for human use is going to intensify every decade, because this is predominantly the only available land that is left for expanding agriculture at scale. Unless Siberia thaws out before we finish deforestation. By 2050, 1bn hectares of land is likely to be cleared to meet rising food demands from a growing population. This is an area greater than the US. And accompanying this will be three gigatons per year extra CO2 emissions.If Siberia does thaw out before we finish our deforestation, it would result in a vast amount of new land being available for agriculture, as well as opening up a very rich source of minerals, metals, oil and gas. In the process this would almost certainly completely change global geopolitics. Siberia thawing would turn Russia into a remarkable economic and political force this century because of its newly uncovered mineral, agricultural and energy resources. It would also inevitably be accompanied by vast stores of methane – currently sealed under the Siberian permafrost tundra – being released, greatly accelerating our climate problem even further.

Amazon rainforest cleared for cattle pasture
 Amazon rainforest smoulders after being cleared for cattle pasture in Brazil. Photograph: Michael Nichols/Getty Images

Meanwhile, another 3 billion people are going to need somewhere to live. By 2050, 70% of us are going to be living in cities. This century will see the rapid expansion of cities, as well as the emergence of entirely new cities that do not yet exist. It’s worth mentioning that of the 19 Brazilian cities that have doubled in population in the past decade, 10 are in the Amazon. All this is going to use yet more land.

We currently have no known means of being able to feed 10 billion of us at our current rate of consumption and with our current agricultural system. Indeed, simply to feed ourselves in the next 40 years, we will need to produce more food than the entire agricultural output of the past 10,000 years combined. Yet food productivity is set to decline, possibly very sharply, over the coming decades due to: climate change; soil degradation and desertification – both of which are increasing rapidly in many parts of the world; and water stress. By the end of this century, large parts of the planet will not have any usable water.

At the same time, the global shipping and airline sectors are projected to continue to expand rapidly every year, transporting more of us, and more of the stuff we want to consume, around the planet year on year. That is going to cause enormous problems for us in terms of more CO2 emissions, more black carbon, and more pollution from mining and processing to make all this stuff.

But think about this. In transporting us and our stuff all over the planet, we are also creating a highly efficient network for the global spread of potentially catastrophic diseases. There was a global pandemic just 95 years ago – the Spanish flu pandemic, which is now estimated to have killed up to 100 million people. And that’s before one of our more questionable innovations – the budget airline – was invented. The combination of millions of people travelling around the world every day, plus millions more people living in extremely close proximity to pigs and poultry – often in the same room, making a new virus jumping the species barrier more likely – means we are increasing, significantly, the probability of a new global pandemic. So no wonder then that epidemiologists increasingly agree that a new global pandemic is now a matter of “when” not “if”.

We are going to have to triple – at least – energy production by the end of this century to meet expected demand. To meet that demand, we will need to build, roughly speaking, something like: 1,800 of the world’s largest dams, or 23,000 nuclear power stations, 14m wind turbines, 36bn solar panels, or just keep going with predominantly oil, coal and gas – and build the 36,000 new power stations that means we will need.Our existing oil, coal and gas reserves alone are worth trillions of dollars. Are governments and the world’s major oil, coal and gas companies – some of the most influential corporations on Earth – really going to decide to leave the money in the ground, as demand for energy increases relentlessly? I doubt it.

Meanwhile the emerging climate problem is on an entirely different scale. The problem is that we may well be heading towards a number of critical “tipping points” in the global climate system. There is a politically agreed global target – driven by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – to limit the global average temperature rise to 2C. The rationale for this target is that a rise above 2C carries a significant risk of catastrophic climate change that would almost certainly lead to irreversible planetary “tipping points”, caused by events such as the melting of the Greenland ice shelf, the release of frozen methane deposits from Arctic tundra, or dieback of the Amazon. In fact, the first two are happening now – at below the 2C threshold.

As for the third, we’re not waiting for climate change to do this: we’re doing it right now through deforestation. And recent research shows that we look certain to be heading for a larger rise in global average temperatures than 2C – a far larger rise. It is now very likely that we are looking at a future global average rise of 4C – and we can’t rule out a rise of 6C. This will be absolutely catastrophic. It will lead to runaway climate change, capable of tipping the planet into an entirely different state, rapidly. Earth will become a hellhole. In the decades along the way, we will witness unprecedented extremes in weather, fires, floods, heatwaves, loss of crops and forests, water stress and catastrophic sea-level rises. Large parts of Africa will become permanent disaster areas. The Amazon could be turned into savannah or even desert. And the entire agricultural system will be faced with an unprecedented threat.

More “fortunate” countries, such as the UK, the US and most of Europe, may well look like something approaching militarised countries, with heavily defended border controls designed to prevent millions of people from entering, people who are on the move because their own country is no longer habitable, or has insufficient water or food, or is experiencing conflict over increasingly scarce resources. These people will be “climate migrants”. The term “climate migrants” is one we will increasingly have to get used to. Indeed, anyone who thinks that the emerging global state of affairs does not have great potential for civil and international conflict is deluding themselves. It is no coincidence that almost every scientific conference that I go to about climate change now has a new type of attendee: the military.

Every which way you look at it, a planet of 10 billion looks like a nightmare. What, then, are our options?

The only solution left to us is to change our behaviour, radically and globally, on every level. In short, we urgently need to consume less. A lot less. Radically less. And we need to conserve more. A lot more. To accomplish such a radical change in behaviour would also need radical government action. But as far as this kind of change is concerned, politicians are currently part of the problem, not part of the solution, because the decisions that need to be taken to implement significant behaviour change inevitably make politicians very unpopular – as they are all too aware.

So what politicians have opted for instead is failed diplomacy. For example: The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, whose job it has been for 20 years to ensure the stabilisation of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere: Failed. The UN Convention to Combat Desertification, whose job it’s been for 20 years to stop land degrading and becoming desert: Failed. The Convention on Biological Diversity, whose job it’s been for 20 years to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss: Failed. Those are only three examples of failed global initiatives. The list is a depressingly long one. And the way governments justify this level of inaction is by exploiting public opinion and scientific uncertainty. It used to be a case of, “We need to wait for science to prove climate change is happening”. This is now beyond doubt. So now it’s, “We need to wait for scientists to be able to tell us what the impact will be and the costs”. And, “We need to wait for public opinion to get behind action”. But climate models will never be free from uncertainties. And as for public opinion, politicians feel remarkably free to ignore it when it suits them – wars, bankers’ bonuses and healthcare reforms, to give just three examples.

What politicians and governments say about their commitment to tackling climate change is completely different from what they are doing about it.

What about business? In 2008 a group of highly respected economists and scientists led by Pavan Sukhdev, then a senior Deutsche Bank economist, conducted an authoritative economic analysis of the value of biodiversity. Their conclusion? The cost of the business activities of the world’s 3,000 largest corporations in loss or damage to nature and the environment now stands at $2.2tn per year. And rising. These costs will have to be paid for in the future. By your children and your grandchildren. To quote Sukhdev: “The rules of business urgently need to be changed, so corporations compete on the basis of innovation, resource conservation and satisfaction of multiple stakeholder demands, rather than on the basis of who is most effective in influencing government regulation, avoiding taxes and obtaining subsidies for harmful activities to maximise the return for shareholders.” Do I think that will happen? No. What about us?

I confess I used to find it amusing, but I am now sick of reading in the weekend papers about some celebrity saying, “I gave up my 4×4 and now I’ve bought a Prius. Aren’t I doing my bit for the environment?” They are not doing their bit for the environment. But it’s not their fault. The fact is that they – we – are not being well informed. And that’s part of the problem. We’re not getting the information we need. The scale and the nature of the problem is simply not being communicated to us. And when we are advised to do something, it barely makes a dent in the problem. Here are some of the changes we’ve been asked to make recently, by celebrities who like to pronounce on this sort of thing, and by governments, who should know better than to give out this kind of nonsense as ‘solutions’: Switch off your mobile phone charger; wee in the shower (my favourite); buy an electric car (no, don’t); use two sheets of loo roll rather than three. All of these are token gestures that miss the fundamental fact that the scale and nature of the problems we face are immense, unprecedented and possibly unsolvable.

The behavioural changes that are required of us are so fundamental that no one wants to make them. What are they? We need to consume less. A lot less. Less food, less energy, less stuff. Fewer cars, electric cars, cotton T-shirts, laptops, mobile phone upgrades. Far fewer.And here it is worth pointing out that “we” refers to the people who live in the west and the north of the globe. There are currently almost 3 billion people in the world who urgently need to consume more: more water, more food, more energy. Saying “Don’t have children” is utterly ridiculous. It contradicts every genetically coded piece of information we contain, and one of the most important (and fun) impulses we have. That said, the worst thing we can continue to do – globally – is have children at the current rate. If the current global rate of reproduction continues, by the end of this century there will not be 10 billion of us. According to the United Nations, Zambia’s population is projected to increase by 941% by the end of this century. The population of Nigeria is projected to grow by 349% – to 730 million people.

Afghanistan by 242%.

Democratic Republic of Congo 213%.

Gambia by 242%.

Guatemala by 369%.

Iraq by 344%.

Kenya by 284%.

Liberia by 300%.

Malawi by 741%.

Mali by 408%.

Niger by 766%.

Somalia by 663%.

Uganda by 396%.

Yemen by 299%.

Even the United States’ population is projected to grow by 54% by 2100, from 315 million in 2012 to 478 million. I do just want to point out that if the current global rate of reproduction continues, by the end of this century there will not be 10 billion of us – there will be 28 billion of us.

Where does this leave us? Let’s look at it like this. If we discovered tomorrow that there was an asteroid on a collision course with Earth and – because physics is a fairly simple science – we were able to calculate that it was going to hit Earth on 3 June 2072, and we knew that its impact was going to wipe out 70% of all life on Earth, governments worldwide would marshal the entire planet into unprecedented action. Every scientist, engineer, university and business would be enlisted: half to find a way of stopping it, the other half to find a way for our species to survive and rebuild if the first option proved unsuccessful. We are in almost precisely that situation now, except that there isn’t a specific date and there isn’t an asteroid. The problem is us. Why are we not doing more about the situation we’re in – given the scale of the problem and the urgency needed – I simply cannot understand. We’re spending €8bn at Cern to discover evidence of a particle called the Higgs boson, which may or may not eventually explain mass and provide a partial thumbs-up for the standard model of particle physics. And Cern’s physicists are keen to tell us it is the biggest, most important experiment on Earth. It isn’t. The biggest and most important experiment on Earth is the one we’re all conducting, right now, on Earth itself. Only an idiot would deny that there is a limit to how many people our Earth can support. The question is, is it seven billion (our current population), 10 billion or 28 billion? I think we’ve already gone past it. Well past it.

Science is essentially organised scepticism. I spend my life trying to prove my work wrong or look for alternative explanations for my results. It’s called the Popperian condition of falsifiability. I hope I’m wrong. But the science points to my not being wrong. We can rightly call the situation we’re in an unprecedented emergency. We urgently need to do – and I mean actually do – something radical to avert a global catastrophe. But I don’t think we will. I think we’re fucked. I asked one of the most rational, brightest scientists I know – a scientist working in this area, a young scientist, a scientist in my lab – if there was just one thing he had to do about the situation we face, what would it be? His reply? “Teach my son how to use a gun.”

Source: https://www.theguardian.com

 

#QAnon #Q posts #2153-2160 (9-11-18)… “Panic in DC”

I’m not saying anything about these, but clearly things are “going on” which is panicking the deep state.

By the way, things are going on with some of the sites. I’m finding QAnon.app redirects to QAnon.pub. And that one seems to have lag time in showing the most recent posts.

So currently I’m using https://qntmpkts.keybase.pub// which appears to be showing up Q posts immediately.

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2153-2160 (texts only)

  1. Panic in DC. [RR] req meeting w/ POTUS DECLINED.
  2. Panic in DC. King & Spalding hired [last week] to represent Sally Yates?
  3. Panic in DC. Comey in communication w/ McCabe re: ‘testimony’ ‘story’?
  4. Panic in DC. James Baker testifying against Comey?
  5. Panic in DC. Lisa Page testifying against Peter Strzok?
  6. Panic in DC. Bruce Ohr [in effort to save Nellie Ohr] testifying against Rosenstein, Yates, Lynch, and Comey?
  7. Panic in DC. Steele req non_extradition to U.S? UK-US extradition treaty 2003.
  8. Rats running. Timing is everything. Enjoy the show.

From GaiaPortal… “ÉirePort Group Message 9-11-18… ‘The 9-11 Portal of Illumination and Ascension’”

The last time the ÉirePort Group posted (related Kp blog post), their name was “ÉirePort Alliance”. In any event, this is a fascinating message.

“…the times of “massive apocalypse” are upon us, and this date in particular was chosen for our group message, as it represents a collapse of the illusory 3D ways and the rising of the Ascension Pillars of Light… within the planet, within communities, and within each and every individual being of the planet.

“Now you enter the “9-11 Portal of Illumination and Ascension”. Remain open to your Ascension process, and follow the “Twin Towers” of Divine Masculine and Feminine Illumination.”

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ÉirePort Group Message 9-11-18… “The 9-11 Portal of Illumination and Ascension”

The ÉirePort group, operating as it does from the so-called “Land of Éire”, is essentially a spiritual group entity with a mission to enlighten and illuminate the beings of Ascending planet Earth (Gaia). We point out that the “Land of Éire” is not represented properly by the 3D entity called “Éire”, rather is a Higher Dimensional encompassing “place” within each and every human and earth-based being.

We bring this message to all of the planet that the times of “massive apocalypse” are upon us, and this date in particular was chosen for our group message, as it represents a collapse of the illusory 3D ways and the rising of the Ascension Pillars of Light… within the planet, within communities, and within each and every individual being of the planet. It is symbolically represented very nicely by the “Twin Towers” of Light, which replaced the former 3D “Twin Towers” of “financial illusion” in the town called, “New York City”.

Cosmic Energies have incessantly poured into your world, on all dimensions, since the events of 9-11-01Now you enter the “9-11 Portal of Illumination and Ascension”.

Remain open to your Ascension process, and follow the “Twin Towers” of Divine Masculine and Feminine Illumination.

That is all for this moment.

ÉirePort Group

Science Study: Rising CO2 Producing ‘Miracle’ Re-greening Effects Across the Planet

Climate change myth pushers are scientifically illiterate propagandists who have brainwashed themselves against all scientific reality to somehow believe that carbon dioxide is a poison to plants.

In truth, it’s the “greening” molecule for the planet, as I’ve repeatedly explained in multiple climate videos, podcasts and climate articles.

Now, new science published in Nature demonstrates that global tree cover is rapidly expanding across the planet as CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere rise to healthier, pro-tree levels that support forest growth and health.

Yes, you read that correctly: Forestation coverage of planet Earth is expanding, not shrinking as we’re all told by the lying globalist media on a daily basis. (The same dishonest media that claimed New York City would now be under water from an apocalypse of melting ice caps… go figure.)

Read Entire Article »

17 years after 9/11, Al-Qaeda rebranded by US government & media as besieged rebels

As somber newspaper headlines mark the anniversary of the devastating attacks, some commentators have pointed out that the terrorist group accused of murdering 3,000 Americans seventeen years ago is now occupying northeastern Syria – with the US threatening to take military action if the “rebels” are evicted from the region by the Syrian army and its allies.

The United States has spent an estimated $1.5 trillion on its Global War Against Terrorism, launched in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, but the United States now seems to find itself providing diplomatic cover – not to mention excellent press – to the terrorists that it once vowed to eradicate.

The majority of Syria’s Idlib province is controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a State Department-designated terrorist group that is regarded as indistinguishable from Al-Qaeda. But the US has signaled that it will respond militarily to any efforts by Damascus to evict the internationally-recognized terrorist group from its last stronghold in Syria, with the New York Times even fawning over the jihadists as “a de facto governmental authority, facilitating trade across the long border with Turkey and organizing aid deliveries.” What happened?

Never forget?

Even as social media fills up with maudlin GIFs vowing to “Never Forget” the September 11 attacks, one of the reasons that Al-Qaeda has been able to remain in Idlib is because Americans have actually “forgotten,” analysts say.

“A lot of time has passed since 9/11. They got Osama bin Laden and people have moved on, and they have other issues that they’re focusing on,” former Pentagon official Michael Maloof told RT. According to Maloof, many Americans are now preoccupied with domestic scandals like “Russian collusion,” and they’re “not focused on the extent to which the Trump administration is providing backing and support to Al-Qaeda today in Syria. And it’s really tragic.”

However, those who are paying attention are “tired of the lies,” Willy Wimmer, a former state secretary to the German defense minister, told RT.

“I think the public in the West is tired of the lies of their own government concerning Al-Qaeda, or other terrorists groups.” He noted that it’s an open secret that the US, UK, France, Saudi Arabia and Gulf states provide direct and indirect support to “rebel” groups that under normal circumstances would be considered terrorists.

What’s the endgame?

But what does the United States hope to gain from deterring an attack on Al-Qaeda’s last enclave in Syria?

Washington’s threats of military action are a way of preserving a “modicum of influence” in Syria, Maloof said. “The US is looking at Idlib and support for Al-Qaeda to maintain influence and try to deflect attention away from domestic problems.” He added that the US is using the excuses of “humanitarian disaster and chemical weapons” to justify its military activity in the country.

“They’re going to go kinetic if there’s an attack in Idlib,” Maloof predicted.

Wimmer warned against trying to overthink Washington’s shocking change of heart concerning Al-Qaeda. “You can’t look at US foreign policy under logical terms,” he said.

“These groups are used to topple whole regions, not only Syria but also other countries, and at the end we fight against a threat that was organized by our own governments. And I think people are tired of this.”

He noted that the US has “danced on its own argument” by accusing Russia of using anti-terrorism operations as a false pretext for getting militarily involved in Syria, adding that unlike Russia and Iran’s presence in the country, “under all legal terms, there is no justification for a US presence in Syria under international law.”