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6 Americans, 2 other service members killed in Egypt helicopter crash

A helicopter crash in the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula took the lives of eight Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) peacekeepers, the MFO stated on Thursday.

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A helicopter crash in the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula took the lives of eight Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) peacekeepers, the MFO stated on Thursday.

The crash occurred Thursday morning in the southern part of the peninsula near the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh and took the lives of six Americans, as well as one French and one Czech national. All of these fatalities were military service members. One American peacekeeper survived the crash and has been transported to a hospital in Israel, the Israeli military stated according to Reuters.

The helicopter involved in the incident was a Black Hawk that was on a supplying mission. The Czech Defense Ministry said that the crash was “caused by technical issues,” multiple outlets have reported, including Reuters and CNN.

The Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller in a statement tweeted out Thursday by the Department of Defense expressed his sadness at the loss of these service members and offered his condolences to the members’ friends, families, and colleagues.

“We are saddened by the loss of 6 US and 2 partner nation service members in a helicopter crash in the Sinai Peninsula operating with the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO),” he said.

With Veterans Day having happened on Wednesday, Miller added: “Yesterday we recognized the sacrifice of millions who have defended our nation, and today we are reminded of the last full measure our warriors may pay for their service. I extend @DeptofDefense’s condolences to the families, friends, and teammates of these service members.”

The 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace accord saw the demilitarization of the peninsula and placed the U.S.-led MFO in charge of monitoring that process. Israeli forces had occupied the peninsula after capturing it from Egypt during the 1967 Six-Day War but left after the 1979 U.S.-brokered treaty.

Reuters’ Dan Williams notes that the size of the MFO in Sinai has decreased over the years as the countries next door have bolstered their cooperation in defeating Islamist militants on the peninsula. The U.S. has been wanting to reduce its involvement in the MFO, which Egypt and Israel have historically opposed since a large portion of MFO personnel are American and, in the case of Egypt, has brought in billions of dollars in U.S. defense aid.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Shanghai: China’s Potemkin Village

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Following a recent outbreak of COVID-19, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has imposed a month-long draconian lockdown on the residents of Shanghai. The CCP has used the outbreak to persecute its own citizens, including through forced evictions and quarantines, and placing alarms on doors to prevent COVID-19 people from leaving their homes. The harsh measures have resulted in food and healthcare shortages and separation of families.

But of course, we wouldn’t know that by reading the CCP-run press readily available in the United States. Instead of presenting the facts, the CCP engages in a comprehensive propaganda campaign that props up Shanghai as a Chinese Potemkin village. The CCP media asserts that China’s actions in Shanghai are benevolent and wise, while Western criticism is a product of malice. Chinese state-run media also insists that the Shanghai lockdown promotes economic stability in China and the world.

Claim 1: China Has the Best Policy for Combating COVID-19

The CCP media portray the Shanghai lockdown as the best and ideal policy. As cited by a XinhuaNet editorial, “China’s dynamic zero-COVID approach” is “the best option to save lives,” according to a “Rwandan researcher and publisher,” “…a miracle for us to learn,” according to a Kenyan scholar, and “a very ideal response,” according to Ethiopia’s National COVID-19 Response Task Force Coordinator. According to CCP media, Chinese citizens have greeted the Shanghai lockdown warmly, even with “[a] mixed sense of intensity, unity and hopefulness,” according to China Daily.

Claim 2: The West Hypocritically Defames China

The CCP press also accuses the West of lying about the Shanghai lockdown, and using COVID policies for nefarious ends. According to XinhuaNet, “Shanghai…has never imposed what Western media described as a ‘lockdown.’” Other CCP editorials actually accuse the West of malice. One Global Times editorial claims that the lockdown “has been deliberately exaggerated by the West.” Another Global Times editorial asserts that the Western approach of “coexisting with the virus” amounts to a way “…to drive out a large number of the vulnerable people with low immunity,” and a form of “cruel social Darwinism.”

Claim 3: China’s COVID Policies Result in an Economic Windfall to China and the World

The CCP also portrays the lockdown as necessary to achieve great economic growth in China and beyond. One Global Times editorial, while conceding that the lockdown amounted to a “sealing-off,” it is “a temporary measure to better resume work and production and to make the economy and society function more effectively. Its effectiveness has been proven.” According to another Global Times editorial, China’s policy is “widely considered to be the best strategy…to both contain the epidemic and ensure stable economic development.”

In an Orwellian fashion, Chinese press claims that China is solving, not causing, the world’s economic problems. According to XinhuaNet, “China has played a decisive role in stabilizing the global economy and resuming the supply chain disrupted by COVID-19.” Citing a Bloomberg article, the same XinhuaNet editorial claims that China “has prevented a huge number of deaths at home and ensured that everything from iPhones and Teslas to fertilizer and car parts continues to flow to the rest of the world.” Chinese citizens, of course, are collateral damage: Ji Qiwei, vice-general manager of SAIC Motor Passenger Vehicle, stated that “The domestic market may be impacted a little by the COVID-19 outbreak this year, but our export market will continue to see strong growth,” according to China Daily.

While the world continues to suffer economic and human damage as a result of COVID-19, China continues to revise history regarding its role. Through its propaganda in its English publications of Xinhua, China Daily, and Global Times, China seeks to portray itself as a benevolent force in the fight against the virus.

You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic

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