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December 11, 2021
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Wars and Rumors of Wars

December 11, 2021
What You Need To Know

While this has been one of the rare weeks where no SMS alerts have been issued by the AlertsUSA service, there are developing situations that should be on everyone's radar, particularly with the approach of the end-of-year holidays.

Up first, there are two places in the world where an authoritarian power is threatening to invade a small nearby democracy. That would be Russia on Ukraine and China on Taiwan.

For the second time in a year, Russia has conducted a large-scale military mobilization along Ukraine’s borders, deploying as many as 175,000 Russian troops, along with all manner of tanks, artillery, air defense systems, field hospitals, transport aircraft, and every other type tool and implement needed to conduct an invasion.

Most of Ukraine fell to the Russian Empire under the reign of Catherine the Great (1762-1796) before becoming a Soviet republic in 1937. Ukraine gained independence in 1991 with the break up of the Soviet Union.

Since that time, most of the population of the country has leaned away from Russian influence and more towards the West, including the overthrow of a pro-Russia Putin-backed leader in 2014 and aspirations to join NATO.

Putin has made clear this would cross a red line, as have plans by some NATO members to set up military training centers in Ukraine.

Last week, Putin emphasized that Russia will seek "reliable and long-term security guarantees" from the U.S. and its allies "that would exclude any further NATO moves eastward and the deployment of weapons systems that threaten them in close vicinity to Russian territory."

Amid the flurry of diplomatic efforts and tepid conversations between different leaders, there are threats being thrown around, including one U.S. senator talking about leaving all options on the table in response to an invasion, including the use of nuclear weapons.


On Wednesday, senior Biden administration officials told Congress that China’s military is actively preparing for a potential attack against Taiwan and the Pentagon is working closely with the island’s military to deter a direct assault and develop asymmetric weapons to fight off Beijing.

According to Ely Ratner, assistant defense secretary for Indo-Pacific security affairs, amid growing military coercion toward Taiwan, China is preparing to "unify Taiwan with the PRC by force while simultaneously attempting to deter, delay or deny third-party intervention on Taiwan’s behalf."

This week the Global Times newspaper, a mouthpiece for China's Communist rulers, said Chinese troops will attack any US forces sent to defend Taiwan in the event a war over the island breaks out.

The threat was issued after national security adviser Jake Sullivan vowed that Washington will 'never allow' a Chinese invasion to take place. The Global Times responded by saying such threats are not credible because the US 'cannot afford' the cost of defending Taiwan, and urged Sullivan to shut his 'big mouth' and avoid 'creating more embarrassment for your country'.

As if to underline the threat, China on Friday sent 13 warplanes to menace Taiwan's airspace, including eight fighters and two nuclear-capable bombers.

In order to tie these two geopolitical hotspots together, consider the following:

If you were a foreign leader hostile to the United States, how would you view the U.S. today?

You would know that the U.S. on the backside of two disastrous wars, you know the U.S. civilian leadership is unpopular and weak, you know that the military is undergoing dramatic social change, and you know that the public is deeply polarized, distracted by a weakening economy, and unlikely to support any new military conflicts.

Perhaps most important, you know that big changes are coming with America's mid-term elections, and more so, with the next presidential race.

Both China and Russia are keenly aware there is a narrow window in which to achieve any expansionist goals before strong leadership returns to the U.S. And that window is closing.

AlertsUSA continues to monitor the domestic and international threat environment around the clock and will immediately notify service subscribers, via SMS messages to their mobile devices, of new alerts, warnings and advisories or any developments which signal a change the overall threat picture for American citizens as events warrant.

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Colorized scanning electron micrograph of CCL-81 cells (purple) infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus particles (yellow), isolated from a patient sample. The tentacle-like protrusions from the cells are filapodia, which extend from infected cells, attach to neighboring cells, and promote viral infection as a transport system for virus particles. Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Credit: NIAID - ALLOW IMAGES

Coronavirus Quick Hits

December 11, 2021


According to data provided by the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, as of Friday evening there have been more than 796,000 total deaths in the U.S. attributed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.


COVID-19 infections are increasing in Canada. There have been more than 29,800 coronavirus-related deaths reported in the country since the pandemic began.


Mexico leads the region in new reported COVID-19 deaths, followed by Brazil and Columbia. Across the region, more than 1,549,000 deaths have been attributed to the virus.


Russia still leads the European region in COVID-related fatalities, followed by Poland, Ukraine and Germany. As of December 5, the country has reported over 585,000 deaths.


28X increase in stillbirths (in vaccinated women) in Canada?

New study suggests natural immunity is more protective over time
US expands Pfizer COVID boosters, opens extra dose to age 16
Pentagon looking to mandate booster shots for military personnel
Seven young Germans infected South Africa despite a third-party vaccination
CDC: Omicron is ‘mild’ as early data comes in on US spread of variant
Claim: 1 in 10 Americans say the vax conflicts with their religious beliefs
Explosion in new heart conditions explained as “post pandemic stress disorder”
Vaccine makers racing to update COVID shots, just in case
For NYC businesses, vaccine mandates put damper on holiday
Austrians who flout vaccine mandate face fines up to $4,000
SA Scientists: Omicron Isn't Causing Spike In Deaths
WHO: Omicron could be milder than Delta


97.8% Adolescents and Young Adults with Myocarditis had an mRNA vax

World Health Organization
Centers for Disease Control (U.S.)
Johns Hopkins CSSE (Interactive map)


According to the CDC's Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) between mid-December 2020 and December 3 of this year, more than 946,000 adverse events have been reported following COVID19 vaccinations. As it is estimated that only 1% of adverse events are recorded into the system, these numbers could be significantly higher.

Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem.

Current VAERS reports (U.S. only) related to COVID-19 vaccines incl:

Deaths: 9,136
Hospitalizations: 43,208
Urgent Care: 85,047
Anaphylaxis: 2,185
Bell's Palsy: 2,846
Miscarriages: 1,444
Heart Attacks: 4,541
Myo/Pericarditis: 4,146

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Commentary / Analysis / Research

December 11, 2021

Facts Regarding COVID Vaccination of Children

On Oct 29, the Food and Drug Administration extended its Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to include the vaccination of children aged 5–11. Naturally, parents are concerned and will have many questions. In the winter issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Steven Hatfill, M.D., reviews the most relevant medical literature and presents the possible effects of vaccinating young children aged 5-11.


A Porcupine Strategy for Taiwan

As China’s rhetoric about “reunification” with Taiwan and the military’s gray-zone activities intensify, Taiwan should adopt a strategy that includes a large number of small things in order to leverage Taiwan’s geographic and technological advantages, exploit the People’s Liberation Army’s vulnerabilities, and help to deter an attempt to take the island by force.


How American Tech Aids China's Global Ambitions

US technology has enabled China to build and successfully test an advanced nuclear-capable hypersonic missile that experts and politicians fear could evade US missile-defense systems, and succeed in striking the US mainland.

"The People's Liberation Army now has an increasingly credible capability to undermine our missile defenses and threaten the American homeland with both conventional and nuclear strikes," said Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), member of the House Armed Services Committee. "Even more disturbing is the fact that American technology has contributed to the PLA's hypersonic missile program."


Fleet and Marine Tracker Map as of Dec 6, 2021  - ALLOW IMAGES
USNI Fleet and Marine Tracker
December 11, 2021

These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy’s deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of Dec 6, 2021 based on U.S. Navy, public data provided by the U.S. Naval Institute, and open source reporting. In cases where a CSG or ARG is conducting disaggregated operations, the chart reflects the location of the capital ship.

An MV-22 Osprey prepares for takeoff during a joint training exercise at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, Hawaii, Nov. 30, 2021. - ALLOW IMAGES
World News Roundup
December 11, 2021


Senator suggests US could nuke Russia over Ukraine invasion
Biden says U.S. won’t send troops unilaterally to Ukraine
US sets 1-week deadline to see if Iran talks advance
Canadian ISIS fighter who narrated violent videos pleads guilty in US court
CIA wants to recruit more scientists and Mandarin speakers
IMF, 10 countries simulate cyberattack on global financial system
Air Force Secretary reveals two new secret combat drones
General Atomics' rough field-capable Mojave drone breaks cover
Kamikaze drones: A new weapon brings power and peril to the U.S. military
SEAL Team 8 CO dies in East Coast training incident
The CIA is deep into cryptocurrency, Director reveals
How the US military could mobilize if Russia invades Ukraine
Space Force launches secret payload atop NASA's Atlas V rocket
NYC grants non-citizens voting rights


Russia demands Nato retract pledge to admit Ukraine and Georgia
Russia and Ukraine trade blame as ceasefire push breaks down
Bolton: NATO should put troops in Ukraine on rotational basis
Biden infuriates eastern NATO allies with outreach to Russia
Why Biden's Russia talk makes NATO allies nervous
Ukraine Commanders say a Russian invasion would overwhelm them
Russia military chief warns Ukraine against attacking rebels
Biden, Ukraine’s Zelensky talk tensions with Russia amid war fears
Biden sounds alarm at virtual summit about global democracy
Olaf Scholz formally sworn in as German chancellor
Wreck of crashed British F-35 has been recovered from the Med


U.S., Israel to discuss military drills for Iran scenario - U.S. official
Israel to launch major exercise this spring simulating strike on Iran
US seizes Iranian weapons and oil worth millions in Arabian Gulf
US sells Iranian crude seized on the high seas
Anti-IS coalition 'combat mission' finished: Iraq official
General says the US will keep 2,500 troops in Iraq for foreseeable future
Fearing misuse, Israel tightens supervision of cyber exports
Suspected Islamists kill 16 people in eastern Congo
Dozens die and thousands flee in West Darfur tribal fighting
30,000 flee to Chad after Cameroon violence, says UN


China vows to open fire on US troops that come to Taiwan’s aid
U.S. defense official says boosting Taiwan's defenses an 'urgent task'
China warns nations will 'pay price' for Olympic boycott
NZ defense forces warn of rising threat from China in Indo-Pacific
List of diplomatic boycotts grow for Beijing Winter Olympics
Chinese property giant Evergrande defaults on $300billion debt
Pakistani Taliban declares end to month-long ceasefire
Cambodian PM orders US weapons destroyed after arms embargo

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Book - Three Seconds Until Midnight by Dr. Steven Hatfill et al..

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Travel Security Resources

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The U.S. Dept. of State Travel Website is the authoritative federal source for information on the security situation at travel destinations worldwide. With tensions rapidly increasing in most regions, readers planning international travel, even to such common destinations as Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean Islands, are strongly encouraged to research on the security situation at your destination prior to departure.

Active USGOV Travel Notices
Worldwide Caution

Active USGOV Travel Advisories
Alphabetical Country List
Dynamic Map

Other USGOV Travel Resources
Traveler's Checklist
Smart Traveler Enrollment Prog (STEP)
Travelers with Special Considerations
Travel to High-Risk Areas
Faith-Based Travel Information
Information for Women Travelers
Cruise Ship Passengers
Students Abroad
Your Health Abroad
Driving and Road Safety Abroad

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The Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) provides a variety of resources to enhance the safety and security of the U.S. private sector businesses and organizations operating abroad.


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website is the authoritative federal source for information on current health issues related to specific destinations worldwide. These issues may arise from disease outbreaks, special events or gatherings, natural disasters, or other conditions that may affect travelers’ health.

Foreign Sources of Travel Guidance

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