Zelensky Critic Arrested in Spain on Orders of Ukrainian Government

A popular YouTuber and critic of President Zelensky was arrested in Spain at the behest of the Ukrainian government on charges of treason and faces extradition, despite publicly condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Yes, really.

Anatoly Shariy, who has almost 3 million YouTuber subscribers, was detained on an international arrest warrant in a joint operation by Spanish and Ukrainian police, as well as international “partners,” according to the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU).

They claim that Shariy has been acting on behalf of “foreign” forces by infringing Ukraine’s national security via his media commentary on the war and engaging in “incitement of hatred.”

Shariy’s arrest “is more proof that every traitor of Ukraine will sooner or later receive his well-deserved punishment. It is inevitable,” the SBU asserted.

The blogger had previously been granted asylum by the EU in 2012 after fleeing persecution by the government of Viktor Yanukovich, who was pro-Russian.

Despite condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Shariy’s criticism of Zelensky’s response was apparently enough for him to be targeted by Ukrainian authorities.

Having had his passport seized, Shariy is now in Barcelona under a travel ban until a decision on his extradition to Ukraine is made. President Zelensky’s representative at the Constitutional Court said Shariy will “face a Ukrainian court and will be held liable in line with Ukrainian laws.”

In response to his arrest, Shariy posted a picture of his wife feeding parrots in Barcelona, commenting, “This really is a comedy.”

Shariy’s arrest once again puts to bed the idea that Ukraine is some kind of beacon of democracy, when its authorities treat dissidents exactly the same way dissidents are treated in Russia.

Last month, footage was released of Associated Press accompanying armed men from the Ukraine Security Service as they kidnapped and arrested dissidents from their own homes.

Point: There’s No Evidence That Masks Work

Joe Biden proclaimed, “Wearing masks is not a political statement, it is a scientific imperative.” He was wrong. There is little evidence supporting generalized use of masks.

A pre-COVID systemic review of interventions to combat the spread of respiratory viral diseases by the highly regarded Cochrane Library found that medical/surgical mask wearing makes little or no difference to the outcome of influenza or influenza-like illnesses compared to not wearing a mask.

A recent review of the literature reported two randomized controlled clinical trials of the effectiveness of masking in COVID-19. One failed to demonstrate a statistically significant benefit. The second found small, marginally statistically significant reductions in viral transmission for surgical masks but not for cloth masks. Thirteen of 14 tests assessing mask-wearing in non-COVID respiratory infections failed to find a statistically significant benefit for masks.

Randomized controlled clinical trials are the gold standard in medical research because randomization minimizes the effect of unmeasured confounding variables and researcher bias that can occur in observational studies.

Early in the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, British health authorities, and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control all refrained from recommending widespread mask usage, often discouraging it. Dr. Anthony Fauci emailed in February 2020 that the typical mask “is not really effective in keeping out virus, which is small enough to pass through the material.” In a March 8 interview on “60 Minutes” he said that “there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.”

Nevertheless, the CDC in April 2020 began recommending mask wearing, including cloth masks. A CDC Science Brief relied on observational masking studies where the evidence suggested benefit, while highlighting the limitations rather than outcomes of studies that suggested the absence of benefit or even harm.

Endorsing cloth masks was disconcerting since an RCT of hospital workers showed far higher infection rates with cloth masks than medical masks.

The CDC repeatedly highlighted an observational study of two COVID-19 positive hair stylists in Missouri who were masked and provided services for several days after developing COVID-19 symptoms to 139 customers, who were mostly masked. Sixty-seven customers who were tested were negative and none of the remaining 72 reported symptoms.

Yet, no one knows if any of the 72, untested, asymptomatic customers were actually infected. Half of COVID-19 infected people are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. In addition, viral shedding and infectiousness is highest in the two to three days before symptom onset, which is before these symptomatic hairdressers encountered the study customers. Finally, there was no control group to show how many customers would be infected by COVID-19 positive hairdressers who did not wear masks.

Similarly, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky has repeatedly cited an observational Arizona study claiming that school districts without mask mandates were 3.5 times more likely to have COVID outbreaks than districts that required masks. The study is an outlier in the literature and, as David Zweig showed in the Atlantic, has multiple methodological problems rendering its conclusions worthless.

The CDC’s about-face on masks for general use appeared to be a demonstration it is doing something. Following the recent court decision striking down the federal transportation mask mandate, the agency still insists masks are needed. But the CDC’s failure to seek a stay pending appeal suggests the agency doesn’t really believe masks are beneficial.

Generalized mask mandates had little benefit. A study of infection rates with mask mandates and rates of mask use in all 50 states during the first year of the pandemic concluded that “mask mandates and use are not associated with slower state-level COVID-19 spread during COVID-19 growth surges.” Ian Miller’s “Unmasked: The Global Failure of COVID Mask Mandates” shows that infection rates and deaths were no different in the 39 states that imposed mandates and the 11 states that did not. There was also little difference between countries that imposed mandates and those that did not.

While there is little evidence for generalized use, masks should be used in specific circumstances. People with an active infection should mask since the evidence for mask efficacy is strongest as a means of source control rather than as protection against infections.

People who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 such as the elderly, the immunocompromised and those with multiple medical problems should consider masking indoors since whatever small, uncertain benefit masking provides will be especially valuable for them. Medical personnel with access to high-quality, properly fitted masks should also mask when in patient contact.

Generalized mask mandates should not be imposed without evidence. And that, despite the president’s assurance, does not exist.

This article originally appeared on The Record: Point: There’s No Evidence That Masks Work


Former staffer fired after convoy donation sues Ford government, media

A former senior Ontario government spokeswoman said she was fired from her job within minutes of being outed as a convoy protest donor, even though she was a loyal soldier for the government.

Marion Isabeau Ringuette claims she was wrongfully axed as director of communications for Ontario’s solicitor general for Premier Doug Ford’s “personal political gain” — allowing him to show public opposition to the convoy — in a lawsuit against Ford, his chief of staff, the Ontario government, Toronto Star Newspapers Limited and two journalists.

In her statement of claim, Ringuette says she was promoted to her job in February 2020 and was a rarity in Ford’s government: a fully bilingual political staffer.

None of the allegations in the statement of claim have been tested in court.

She said she followed government directives, including canceling travel plans to visit family in Texas for the 2021 Christmas holidays in keeping with Ford’s policy against travel during COVID-19 restrictions.

On Feb. 5, Ringuette donated $100 to the protest, called the Freedom Convoy, after a group of truckers and others opposed to vaccine mandates and other grievances rolled into Ottawa the week before. The protest became increasingly controversial during its occupation of city streets.

Her lawsuit says her donation was made when there was no government policy against the protest and a day before the city of Ottawa declared a state of emergency. The province didn’t take a position against the convoy protest until Feb. 10, making her private donation legal and not against government policy, according to her claim.

“Ms. Ringuette had every expectation that her donation would be private and confidential,” her suit says.

GiveSendGo began hosting the protest’s fundraising after it was banned from the more mainstream site GoFundMe. The GiveSendGo site was hacked on Feb. 13.

The hack was openly declared as an activist attack and a database of information entered by donors was made publicly available.

It included information on 92,844 donations totalling more than $8.4 million, such as the name, email address, amount given, postal code, country, and Internet Protocol address of the donor, and how the payment was made. The leaked data did not include credit card numbers.


Top Western media outlet deletes video critical of Ukraine

Germany’s Der Spiegel removes clip in which Azovstal evacuee criticized Ukraine

Citing “discrepancies in content,” the German magazine Der Spiegel has removed a video showing the testimony of an evacuee from Mariupol’s ‘Azovstal’ factory, a stronghold of the neo-Nazi Azov militants and other Ukrainian fighters.

The woman in the video had revealed that her family were basically being lied to, held hostage, and used as human shields by the Ukrainian militants.

Another German outlet, Junge Welt, noticed the deletion on Thursday evening. According to JW, Der Spiegel published the three-minute video on Monday. It featured Natalia Usmanova, who had worked at Azovstal before the conflict and sheltered there with her husband and children. 

In the recording, Usmanova tells reporters that Azov militants “kept us in the bunker” for two months and did not allow her family to leave using the humanitarian corridors established by Russian troops. 

“They hid behind the fact that they are supposedly concerned about our safety,” Usmanova said, according to a German translation, adding that her family was repeatedly yelled at to “Go back to the bunker!” 

“Ukraine has died for me as a state,” Usmanova said at the end of her testimony.

Der Spiegel said it had obtained the video from Reuters, and that it was temporarily taken down “because of discrepancies in content that were subsequently discovered.” Asked to specify the alleged discrepancies by RIA Novosti, Der Spiegel said they were “still in the process of clarifying this issue.”

The video published by Reuters is only a minute long, however, and has Usmanova talking about the intensity of artillery fire and the difficult life inside the bunker. Both videos come from the same interview with multiple press outlets – including RIA Novosti, which has confirmed the authenticity of Usmanova’s remarks from the now-deleted Spiegel clip.

Instead of the video, the German magazine now features a photo of Usmanova in a bus with other civilians, taken by a RIA Novosti photographer on May 1. 

Usmanova’s testimony directly contradicts claims by Azov militants and the government in Kiev that Russia is preventing the evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal complex. Moscow has repeatedly opened humanitarian corridors from the area. The UN announced that another 500 civilians have been evacuated from the plant in the night between Thursday and Friday. 

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

Imagine going out to eat and get charged for Nazi controlled Ukraine.