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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Germ Warfare
Posted: March 26, 2020 at 6:46 am
The dying months of 2001 were bad for America and the world. Less than a month after Islamic terrorists crashed airplanes into the World Trade Center, 62-year-old photojournalist Bob Stevens was admitted in a Florida hospital on October 2, 2001. The initial diagnosis was meningitis but it was soon found to be poisoning by anthrax, a weapon of bioterrorism. A few days later, in India, the Postal Department received 17 suspicious letters believed to be infected with anthrax spores. Though many individuals and institutions received the envelopes with white powder, none of them tested positive. It was dismissed as a copycat hoax.
Biological attacks, both state-sponsored and otherwise, are a real threat despite the many treaties prohibiting them. Though the Indian Army is trained to prepare for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks, the programmes are on the back burner due to lack of resources, says Centre for Joint Warfare Studies Director Lieutenant General Vinod Bhatia (retired), who was previously Director General, Military Operations. India, with its vast disorganised population, dismal health facilities and poor connectivity, is sitting on a virus time bomb. Though the fatality, infection and recovery rate of Covid-19, as the novel coronavirus is called, is comparatively low, experts are not sure full data is available.
ANSWERING THE COVID QUESTION
The pandemic has sent countries and economies into a tailspin. As soon as the outbreak began from Wuhan in central China, conspiracy theorists warned that the virus had escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a military lab in the province which is dedicated to the study of deadly pathogens. According to Dany Shoham, Israeli biological warfare specialist and expert on Chinese biological warfare capabilities, the institute is part of Beijings secret bioweapons programme. In 2019, Canada expelled Chinese researcher Xiangguo Qiu who was working in a government-run lab, which studies numerous infectious diseases, including Ebola, to create vaccines and cures. She had previous experience working in Chinese labs dealing with lethally infectious diseases. China is currently building around five bio-facilities.
Beijing has blamed the US Army for bringing the virus to their country. Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian tweeted on March 12, When did patient zero begin in US? ...It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Tweeting sympathy for China, former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suggested that the #Corona lab-made virus was deliberately created as a biological weapon by Beijings enemies to halt the countrys progress. The US, Europe, Russia and Australia have around 50 functioning or under-construction maximum-security labs, according to news reports. Western intelligence suspects that Iran and North Korea also possess chemical weapon labs. The study of dangerous pathogens such as Ebola or Marburg cannot be conducted without importing the viruses into a country. All nations doing virology research have lab biosafety levels of (BSL-4) with 24/7 security with their own air supply and filters.
But in the face of Covid-19 crisis, US President Donald Trump plunged America into panic by dithering, dismissing the impact with outright falsehoods. Many political leaders are in quarantine indicating that nobody is safe. Whole cities and countries are in lockdown. Says a former Indian Air Force Commander-in-Chief of a key Air Command, The actions and capabilities required to tackle bioterrorism are identical to the ones required to contain coronavirus. Large medical facilities are needed to isolate, treat, and decontaminate patients before discharging them. You need special clothing for personnel operating in contaminated areas, not just masks. Two lethal non-conventional warfare threats haunt global security. Biological weapons manufactured by terrorists. Chemical agents used by totalitarian governments to kill dissidents at home and abroad.
NO PREVENTION FOR LONE WOLF ATTACKS
Currently, Japan is on a war footing to prevent bioterror attacks during the July-August Tokyo Olympics, which is expected to attract 600,000 visitors from abroad. For the first time, it has imported five types of live virusesEbola, Marburg, Lassa, Crimean-Congo and South American virusesto study detection and prevention measures. Bringing pathogens into a country is easy for terrorists, since virus sensors are largely ineffective. It is simple for a terrorist to unleash a contagiongerms can be mixed in powders and aerosol sprays. They can be sent by mail on infected envelopes or notepaper. They can be added to food or a citys water supply. They can be released into the wind from a truck, building, or plane. The modern terrorist is highly motivated and educated, and holds advanced science and IT degrees.
There is nothing toprevent a medical student in a private virology research lab from weaponising a tiny amount of smallpox pathogen from existing stocks. Or he can manufacture synthetic versions. Smallpox is difficult to detect and contain since it is extinct and doctors are unfamiliar with its symptoms, which show only two weeks after incubation. A drug named TPOXX has received FDA approval, but hasnt gone to the manufacturing stage since the disease is classified only a threat. All of us wish we did not live in a world where terrorists and hostile nation states aspire to kill millions with biological organisms. Twenty years ago, we found ourselves woefully unprepared for the 9/11. Three thousand Americans died as a result. Next time it may be a pandemic and entire cities decimated by disease, writes retired undercover CIA officer Charles Sam Faddis, who headed the agencys counterterrorism unit tracking weapons of mass destruction.
An important American counterterrorism official testified before the US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has high intentions to procure chemical weapons and biological devices, particularly in Pakistan and Yemen. According to an Indian Army officer monitoring the quarantine at Manesar in Haryana, the facility has treated several hundreds of travellers from abroad and the military is experienced in handling health emergency cases.
However, the officer, who has over 20 years of service, confided that the Army has not procured new equipment in the last two decades to counter nuclear, biological and chemical attacks, except for developing a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)-manufactured reconnaissance vehicle for NBC countermeasures in 2003. The Indian military currently deploys nuclear, biological and chemical countermeasures that include DRDOs domestically developed quarantine vehicles for battlefield decontamination efforts. It has brought Joint Service Lightweight Integrated Suit Technology from the US to help troopers wade through contaminated areas safely and conduct decontamination exercises. Security agencies fear Islamic State (IS) operatives or terrorists could detonate a dirty nuke; after the Pulwama strike-back, Pakistan had threatened nuclear retaliation.
DIRTY BOMB IS REAL
In 1995, Chechen militant leader Shamil Basayev buried a dirty bomb in a Moscow park, threatening to turn the city into an eternal desert. Though it turned out to be just a warning, the fear that a small motivated group can make an active dirty bomb became real to world intelligence. A non-nuclear dirty bomb will disperse radioactive materials to contaminate areas and kill thousands. Such explosive devices are easier for a homegrown radical to make in his garage. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), millions of radioactive sources have been distributed worldwide over the past 50 years in myriad commercial, industrial, medical and research sites in over 100 countries. Most of these facilities are poorly guarded, making them vulnerable to theft.
In 1987, two Brazilian men stole a teletherapy unit from an abandoned cancer clinic to sell for scrap. Fascinated by the sci-fi deep blue light pulsing through a small opening, they dissembled it. The glow was caused by caesium gamma radiation beams used in the treatment of malignant tumours. Both thieves were infected and died. They had given pieces of the suit to friends and relatives with fatal consequences. The government spent millions of dollars to decontaminate topsoil where the suit was discarded. Buildings were demolished. Locally produced goods were boycotted and prices dropped by 40 percent. Tourism collapsed. Ironically, the same isotopes, which are used to save lives, make ideal materials to produce a dirty bomb.
A malware attack on a nuclear plant could cause another Chernobyl: India has 22 functioning nuclear reactors in seven nuclear power plants with seven more reactors under construction. The world has 450 nuclear reactors in around 30 countries. According to Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) Index, a unique public assessment of the status of nuclear materials security conditions in 176 countries, many developing nations are highly vulnerable to sabotage because of poor protective measures.
Fortunately, the Global Threat Reduction Initiative has secured about 1,700 radiological sites around the world containing enough material to make tens of thousands of large dirty bombs. Counter-terrorism experts believe that US President Donald Trumps peace deal with the Taliban which imposes no restrictions on them could lead to the next 9/11 or worse. The impact of the Covid-19 tsunami will prod a rethink on conventional responses to unconventional weapons. Any anti-India group may be overtly or covertly contemplating a strike. By indoctrination and financial inducement, they could lure scientists and technicians working in biotech and cyber labs, says Major General Nilendra Kumar, who retired as the Judge Advocate General of the Indian Army a decade ago.
GOVERNMENTS AS CRIMINALS
Biological terrorism apart, countries at war have mercilessly unleashed chemical warfare on enemy combatants and their own citizens. The Russians and their Soviet forebears were masters at poisoning dissidents. On March 4, 2018, Russian spies smeared respiratory nerve agent Novichok on the doorknob of double agent Sergei Skripals home, contaminating him and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia. Once he recovered, MI6 paid for plastic surgery to alter his appearance and gave him a new identity. Previously in 2006, the assassination of former KGB and then FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko who defected to the UKby Russians, who covertly put polonium in his food, caused a major diplomatic row between London and Moscow.
In London in 1978, a Bulgarian communist agent using an umbrella gun fired a tiny bullet loaded with deadly ricin into defector Georgi Markovs leg. As is evident in the ongoing strife in Syria, the Assad regime has been using chemical weapons since 2012 on civilians. The devastating sarin gas attack in August 2013 killed over 1,400 non-combatants in Damascus. Ironically Syria is part of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) of 1997, which prohibits chemical weapons development, production and deployment and ordered that existing weapons must be destroyed; Assads violation of the agreement shows the weakness of enforcing policy.
A United Nations-sponsored organisation discovered that the IS used sulfur mustard gas in Syria against civilians for the first time. The Japanese Army killed tens of thousands of Chinese civilians in World War II using poison gas. The occupiers also poisoned over 1,000 water wells to study cholera and typhus outbreaks using villagers as human guinea pigs. The use of chemical agents against the Native American tribes is one of the most shameful incidents in British history: soldiers distributed blankets used by smallpox patients to infect them.
IS INDIA READY FOR GERM WARFARE?
As far back as in December 1998, India began to train its medical personnel to deal with the eventualities of bioterror attacks. Since it had ratified the 1972 United Nations Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, India has not executed a bioweapon programme. However, the Army does maintain defensive biological warfare equipment at protected sites. With extensive help from the advanced dual-use pharmaceutical industry and defence labs, the military is researching ways to counter germ warfare. India has the scientific capability to carry out a bio-offensive in case of a first strike, using delivery systems ranging from crop dusters to ballistic missiles.
India does not hold or believe in nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. However, the National Disaster Management Authority has resources and laboratories to counter bio-aggression by a hostile country. Selective attacks would catch the enemy by surprise, inflict a psychological blow and impose a drain on medical resources necessary to attend the victims, says Major General Kumar. Sources say that India has a sophisticated globally acknowledged biotechnology infrastructure, and sufficient well-trained and knowledgeable scientists, most of who are adequately experienced in handling epidemics. It has numerous pharma production facilities and biocontainment laboratories with Biosafety Levels 3 and 4, according to NTI, a Washington DC-based think-tank.
DRDO is India's biodefence industrys core, whose top laboratory is the Defence Research and Development Establishment (DRDE) located at Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh. It is Indias go-to institution for studies in toxicology, biochemical pharmacology and the development of antibodies against bacterial and viral agents. The DRDO works and focuses on countering biothreats such as anthrax, brucellosis, cholera, plague, smallpox, viral hemorrhage fever and botulism. Additionally, the government has established nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) warfare directorates in the armed forces, as well as an inter-services coordination committee to monitor their training and preparation. The military has set up an NBC cell at Army Headquarters as well.
However, DRDOs massive failures of its indigenous weapons programmes do not paint an inspiring picture. Says former Indian Air Force Group Captain Sandeep Mehta, Indias preparedness to tackle a bioterror attack ranges from poor to pathetic, and its capability is limited to helping relief providers who are then expected to deliver. The Biosafety Level 2 laboratory at the Institute of Preventive Medicine in Hyderabad provides guidance in preparing the government for a biological attack. However, Indian Armys Medical Corps specialists have publicly expressed reservations that Indian hospitals are inadequately prepared. CISF has been enabled to deploy specially trained first responders. In January 2003, the government announced changes in Indias nuclear use doctrine, which now retains the option of retaliating with nuclear weapons, after the discovery that al-Qaeda manuals taught the production and use of toxins.
After the December 2002 Parliament attack, an Indian parliamentary committee considered plans to make underground bunkers to protect MPs from nuclear and biological attacks. Then defence minister George Fernandes indicated that the government has initiated necessary steps to ensure protection from a nuclear and bio-attack. In an apparent follow-up in August 2004, the then Home Minister Shivraj Patil indicated that Indian scientists were formulating a response to potential biological, chemical, and other non-conventional forms of terrorism. India has stringent export control regulations outlined in the Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment, and Technologies (SCOMET) guidelines. Its national export product control list, which identifies goods, technologies and services are subject to dual-use licensing requirements.
However in 2003, the US sanctioned two Indian companies charged with violating government regulations by supplying dual-use plant equipment to the Saddam Hussein regime for its chemical and biological weapons programmes, the NTI website says. In June 2015, India and the US signed a 10-year defence framework agreement for cooperation in the development of defence capabilities, including a lightweight protective suit effective in chemical and biological hazard environments. In September last year, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh warned that bioterrorism is among the new threats facing the country and asked the Armed Forces Medical Services to find effective ways to deal with new threats posed by advancing battlefield technologies. Whether Covid-19 is a bioterror weapon which went awry or a virus that got away, the real threat of a humanity ending, manufactured contagion unleashed by hostile countries for world domination haunts governments, military leaders, scientists and security experts worldwide. In spite of sophisticated electronic surveillance, countermeasures, scientific research and human intelligence, the coronavirus proves that the bugs are never too far to arrive at a location near you soon.
Conspiracy theorists have warned that the novel coronavirus had escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a military lab dedicated to the study of deadly pathogens. According to an Israeli biological warfare specialist, the institute is part of Beijings secret bioweapons programme. China is currently building around five bio-facilities.
The US, Europe, Russia and Australia have around 50 functioning or under-construction maximum-security labs, according to news reports. Western intel suspects that Iran and North Korea also possess chemical weapon labs.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has high intentions to procure chemical weapons and biological devices, particularly in Pakistan and Yemen, states a testimony by a top US counterterrorism official.
Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad has used choking agents, such as chlorine gas and blister agents like sulphur mustard. The 2013 sarin gas attack killed over 1,400 non-combatants in Damascus. Ironically, Syria is part of the prohibitory Chemical Weapons Convention of 1997.
A UN-sponsored organisation has discovered that the IS used sulfur mustard gas in Syria against civiliansthe first time an Islamist group used bioweapons. Security agencies fear rogue IS operatives or terrorists could detonate a nuke.
IAEA says millions of radioactive sources have been distributed worldwide over the past 50 years in several commercial, industrial, medical and research sites in over 100 countries. Most of these are poorly guarded.
ALLEGATIONS DURING THE POST-WORLD WAR II PERIOD
HOW A TERRORIST CAN UNLEASH A CONTAGION
Viruses can be mixed in powdersand aerosol sprays.They can be sent by mail on infected enveloped or notepaper.They can be added to foodor a citys water supply.They can be released into the wind from a truck , building, or plane.A student in a private virology research lab can weaponise a tiny amount of smallpoxpathogen from the stocks.
Read this article:
Posted: at 6:46 am
Armed Conflicts, Featured, Global, Global Geopolitics, Global Governance, Headlines, IPS UN: Inside the Glasshouse, Peace, TerraViva United Nations
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 20 2020 (IPS) - The devastating spread of the deadly coronavirus across every continent with the exception of Antarctica has triggered a conspiracy theory on social media: what if the virus was really a biological weapon?
And more specifically, was it an experimental weapon that accidentally escaped from a laboratory in China?
Or as others contend, is it a weapon surreptitiously introduced to de-stabilize a country with more than 1.4 billion people and described as the worlds second largest economy, after the United States.
Both narratives are considered false, and probably part of a deliberate disinformation campaign, according to military experts.
Still, in the US, Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas has repeated the charge that the virus was a creation of the Chinese military while others source it to North Korea.
And US President Donald Trump has been roundly condemned for a racist remark after describing the deadly disease as a Chinese virus.
But one hard fact remains: the potentially destructive power of biological weapons, which were banned by an international convention, going back to 1975.
Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates predicted in a TED talk in 2015: If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it is likely to be a highly infectious virus, rather than a war.
They will not be missiles, he warned, but microbes.
And two years later, according to GeekWire, Gates repeated the same warning at a side event during the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos: Its pretty surprising how little preparedness there is for it, Gates was quoted as saying in 2017.
Addressing the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Seattle last month, Gates said the impact of COVID-19 could be very, very dramatic, particularly if it spreads to areas like sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia.
Meanwhile, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged about $100 million to fight the virus, as part of its broader efforts in global health.
Dr Filippa Lentzos
In theory, she pointed out, any virus could be used as a weapon, but historically some agents have been viewed as more effective than others, e.g. anthrax, brucellosis, Q fever, tularaemia, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, glanders, plague, Marburg virus disease and smallpox.
She pointed out that much will depend on what ends or purpose the weapons are being used for.
In terms of the coronavirus, there would no longer be a surprise factor, and resistance to the virus may in future have been built up, though the jury is still out on that one.
As of March 19, the coronavirus has accounted for over 208,000 positive cases worldwide and over 8,700 deathsand rising.
In the United States, there have been 49 deaths so far, and over 10,000 positive cases of the spreading virus.
The New York Times of March 18 cites a study by Imperial College, London, which estimates the virus can kill over 250,000 in the UK and more than a million in the US - unless officials took action to slow its spread.
Asked if there are any countries identified as still manufacturing or hoarding biological weapons despite their ban, Dr Lentzos said over the past 100 years, about 25 countries are believed to have possessed a biological weapons programme for some period of time.
Most programmes were of a short duration. They were small and developed limited, unsophisticated capabilities.
Credit: United Nations
Only two countries are known to have had sophisticated capabilities that could inflict mass casualties or extensive economic harm: the United States and the Soviet Union (now Russia), said Dr Lentzos, who is also a Senior Research Fellow at Kings College London and a biosecurity columnist at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
Today, she said, there is limited public information on possible illicit biological weapons activity. The main concern today is not really that countries have offensive biological warfare programmes, but that they are building dual use capabilities.
Asked about the use of biological weapons as part of germ warfare during World War I, she said there was some covert use by Germany during World War I to infect horses with biological agents to block their use by Allied military forces.
In World War II, there were substantial covert attacks on China by Japan, as well as some clandestine use in Europe against Germany. There has been very limited known use since 1945, said Dr Lentzos, who is also an Associate Editor of the journal BioSocieties, and the NGO Coordinator for the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.
According to the Washington-based Arms Control Association, the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) is a legally binding treaty that outlaw biological arms.
Opened for signature on April 10, 1972, the BWC entered into force on March 26, 1975. It currently has 182 states-parties. Ten states have neither signed nor ratified the BWC, including Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Israel, Kiribati, Micronesia, Namibia, South Sudan and Tuvalu.
*Thalif Deen is a former Director, Foreign Military Markets at Defense Marketing Services; Senior Defense Analyst at Forecast International; and military editor Middle East/Africa at Janes Information Group.
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Posted: at 6:46 am
Is America about to experience another radical change as in 9-11?
I speak of changes like the chipping away of personal liberties in travel, and the imposition of changes to disrupt the flow of public goods and services, and changes to our liberty habits in shopping, dining out, business practice, social gatherings, entertainment and other liberties we Americans expect.
I remind the Sampson Independent reader that Kim Jong-un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea, said in December 2019 that America was going to receive a Christmas present. Sure enough, in January 2020 the COVID-19 virus became known for the first time in America.
We also know this. The current Central Peoples Government of China, a Communistic regime and ultimate power of the state and North Korea are in bed together. They have been bosom partners as far back as the Korean War, 1950-1953. So, is there a correlation in COVID-19 and Americas Christmas present? Is germ warfare being carried out against the United States? You decide.
As a 36-year federal employee with the Department of Defense, and having served an additional 10-year stint for (DoD) as a consultant, I am aware of what germ warfare is.
Now, totality disconnected from the government and not knowing the current protocol for Situation Awareness (SA), Im no longer the expert I once was. (By the way, SA is the conscious perception of environmental events and other strange occurrences respecting time and space. It is used as a tool to serve management in a broad range of decision-making processes, including war.)
But I do know that President Trump was debriefed by then President Obama in November/December 2016 respecting the pressure points and other troublesome hot spots facing America. And I do know the new President was told by Obama that Kim Jong-un was intractable, and that war with him could erupt anytime, without notice.
So, having given my reader the immediate DoD backstory on Red China, and the tactics of North Korea, and the insidious germ called COVID-19; and too, knowing that Iran looks upon America as the devil, and possibly the third player to an axis of evil, what must a reasonable person conclude that these days are but the beginning of sorrows and sufferings?
Im just an ole country boy at heart that quit school in the third grade because I caught-up with my daddy and his class. It embarrassed me to be in the same homeroom with him, so I quit.
But one thing I know: I was born at night, but not last night.
Jack Dawsey can be reached at [emailprotected]
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Posted: at 6:46 am
A reporter wearing a latex glove raises his hand to ask President Trump a question during a coronavirus briefing at the White House on March 16. Win McNamee/Getty Images hide caption
A reporter wearing a latex glove raises his hand to ask President Trump a question during a coronavirus briefing at the White House on March 16.
Apocalyptic novelist Max Brooks is something of an expert on planning for pandemics and other disasters. The author, whose books include World War Z, Germ Warfare and the forthcoming Devolution, has toured the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and has reviewed government response plans related to various emergency situations all in the course of research.
"We have a network in place that we as taxpayers have been funding to get us ready for something just like this," Brooks says of the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But, he adds, "we have been disastrously slow and disorganized from Day 1."
Brooks says the notion that the U.S. government was blindsided by the pandemic is "an onion of layered lies."
"What could have happened when this virus exploded even when Wuhan was locked down is we could have put the word out," he says. "The government could have put the word out to ramp up emergency supplies to get them ready and then have an information strategy in place."
Instead, Brooks says, President Trump was slow to acknowledge the virus as a real threat. And thus far, the president has resisted using the Defense Production Act to force private companies to manufacture masks, gloves and other essential supplies in the fight against the coronavirus. Many government task forces that plan for disasters have yet to be activated in this crisis.
"One of the biggest problems we're facing now is panic. You see it in the stock market. You see it in panic buying," he says. "All of this panic could have been prevented. ... If the president had been working since January to get the organs of government ready for this, we as citizens could have been calmed down knowing that the people that we trust to protect us are doing that."
On the task forces that plan for situations like this
Max Brooks has researched disaster preparedness for his novels and has lectured on the subject at the U.S. Naval War College. He has also been a nonresident fellow at the Modern War Institute at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. His new book, Devolution, will be published May 2020. Michelle Kholos/Penguin Random House hide caption
Max Brooks has researched disaster preparedness for his novels and has lectured on the subject at the U.S. Naval War College. He has also been a nonresident fellow at the Modern War Institute at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. His new book, Devolution, will be published May 2020.
I can tell you that the federal government has multiple layers of disaster preparedness who are always training, always planning, always preparing, regardless of how much their budget gets cut. I have toured the CDC, and I've seen all their plans. I have witnessed what was called a "vibrant response." This is the homeland nuclear attack scenario, which was a coordination of FEMA, the Army, the National Guard, state and local officials, all working together in a massive war game to prepare us for a nuke. I have also witnessed what was called a "hurricane rehearsal of concept drill," where not only did the same players come in, but also bringing in our allies from Canada and Mexico. So I have seen that we have countless dedicated professionals who think about this constantly and they're ready to go. And they have not been activated.
On why these task forces haven't been activated yet
There is no excuse not to mobilize the full forces of the federal government right now and to centralize the response.
This all has to come from the federal government. This is why we have big government. Politically, you can argue about the role of big government in everyday society, but this is not every day. This is an emergency. The entire reason that we have these networks is when the bells start ringing and they have not been activated. I don't know. I'm not sitting in the White House. I don't know whether the president is being lied to, whether he is holding onto a political ideology. I honestly don't know. But there is no excuse not to mobilize the full forces of the federal government right now and to centralize the response.
On how the Defense Production Act works when mobilized properly
What is supposed to happen is the federal government has to activate the Defense Production Act immediately. Now, what Defense Production Act does is it allows the federal government to step in and aggressively force the private sector to produce what we need. And what is so critical in this is timing. Because you can't simply build factories from scratch; what you can do is identify a supply chain in order to make it work.
For example, if New York needs rubber gloves, New York cannot simply build rubber glove factories overnight. However, there might be a rubber glove factory in Ohio that could produce it, but they might not have the latex. So therefore, the Defense Production Act allows the federal government to go to the condom factory in Missouri and say, "Listen, you have barrels of latex we need. We are requisitioning those. We are giving them to the rubber glove factory in Ohio. And then we are transporting the finished rubber gloves to New York." That's how it is supposed to work.
On how Trump warns about nationalizing private industry but that's not how it works
President Trump is spinning some sort of tale about, I don't know, the federal government black helicopters coming in and taking over factories. That's not how it works at all. What happens is the federal government has the network to identify where the production chain is and how to help the private sector work through this, because the private sector doesn't know.
And as an example, I have a World War II rifle made by the Smith Corona typewriter company. Smith Corona worked with the federal government to then partner up with the Winchester company, to then share resources and to share tools and talent to then produce the rifles that we needed. That's how it works. It's not some sort of KGB coming in and taking over everything. It is guidance and streamlining. And only the federal government has the experience to know how to do that.
On what the U.S. military would do in a pandemic
I can tell you that the military has a vast transportation network here in the United States that is ready to go. We don't have to put truck drivers or private individuals at risk, because the military is already trained to do this. And I've watched them do this. The military spent years working out the legal framework of how to transport goods from one place to another around this country, because it's not like Afghanistan, where the army builds a road and then they own the road. The army has had to go through a tremendous amount of training and adaptation to work within state and local governments to make sure everything is done legally and safe without infringing on our rights. And they have done this. The Army's logistics corps can deliver anything that we need anywhere in this country within a matter of hours or days.
When it comes to sheer massive might, getting stuff done, getting stuff produced and getting stuff moved from Point A to Point B, there is no greater organ in the world than the United States military. We did it in World War II. We've done it all over the world. We can do this now. This is the thing the military is good at, and we need to let them do that.
On how the pandemic is revealing flaws in our social structure
I think there are massive gaps in our systems that are being exposed right now, which, by the way, this is not news to the experts. Anybody who works in these fields could have told you years ago that we were vulnerable to this. It's going to rip through our prisons. It's going to rip through our homeless population. God willing, it doesn't rip through our nursing homes. But what no one is talking about, what terrifies me, what keeps me up at night are the secondary casualties that will occur because of hospital overflow. What I mean is we're only talking about now how many people are going to die if the coronavirus really rips through our country. What is not being talked about enough or what needs to be talked about are the people who are still going to die of cancer, of accidents, of other diseases, because they simply can't get into the hospitals because the hospitals are choked with coronavirus patients.
On how we share some of the blame for this mismanagement as voters in a democracy
In China, every single death will be laid directly at the feet of the Chinese Communist Party. They have all the power; therefore, they take all the responsibility. When we look back at this, we all of us individual citizens are going to have to take a measure of personal responsibility, because we are the government. If we don't like our leaders, we shouldn't have put them there. And as much as we would love to blame this historically incompetent captain of our ship of state, we have allowed the ship to rust underneath us. It's not just President Trump's fault that institutions like the CDC have been defunded for years. It's not just President Trump's fault that we have allowed anti-vaxxers to spread misinformation throughout this country. It's not just President Trump's fault that we are continuing to build a society in support of a tech world that is based on comfort and not on resilience. We as voters and we as taxpayers must accept our share of the blame.
When this is all over, when the dead are buried and the sick are healed, there will be a reckoning.
There is a massive amount of blame that will be laid at the feet of Donald Trump and his enablers. And when this is all over, when the dead are buried and the sick are healed, there will be a reckoning. But there were systemic issues way before Donald Trump. When Donald Trump was a carnival barker on a reality show, we as a people, as a nation, were dismantling the systems that were put in place to keep us safe. And we need to look at that damage, because the one thing we don't want to do is assume that when Donald Trump goes away, that the problems will go with him.
On the difference between panic and preparation
Panic never helps. Panic implies that you lose your mind, and that in a war even a war against a microscopic enemy gives aid and comfort to the enemy. When you panic, you don't think rationally, and in times of crisis, rational thought is the greatest weapon you could possibly have. So preparing, No. 1, means clearing your mind and thinking about what you have to do. It means making a list of what you need to buy, prioritizing what needs to come first, thinking about how you're going to take care of the people around you. That is preparing. Panicking is freaking out and getting in a fistfight in the grocery store over bottled water when you don't even need the water, when the tap is already running. That's panic.
Right now we have to be so careful about who we listen to, because panic can spread much faster than a virus.
I think right now we have to be so careful about who we listen to, because panic can spread much faster than a virus. And I think in addition to social distancing, we have to practice good fact hygiene. What I mean is we have to be careful what we listen to, what we take in just as if it were a virus. And we have to be careful also what we put back out, as if we were spreading the virus. So we cannot pass along rumors. We cannot pass along misinformation. We must be critically careful not to scare people into doing irrational and dangerous things. So we need to listen to experts, the CDC, Dr. Fauci [director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases], the World Health Organization, our local public health officials. These are the front-line soldiers that are doing everything to keep us safe and are literally putting their lives on the line. These are the people we need to listen to. What we cannot listen to is random facts on the Internet supposedly, things that people are passing along to us, conspiracy theories. And I'm very sorry to say this, but I think that everything our president says at this point must be fact-checked.
Lauren Krenzel and Seth Kelley produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Bridget Bentz, Molly Seavy-Nesper and Meghan Sullivan adapted it for the Web.
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Neither were the physicians at first of any service, ignorant as they were of the proper way to treat it, but they died themselves the most thickly, as they visited the sick most often; nor did any human art succeed any better. Supplications in the temples, divinations, and so forth were found equally futile, till the overwhelming nature of the disaster at last put a stop to them altogether.
Such concludes the introduction to the Plague of Athens from Thucydides History of the Peloponnesian War. The historian, an Athenian general who lived through the events he described, captures the horror of life in an epidemic, and in isolation. The plague arrived with the Spartan invasion, but it mostly hit the civilian populations of the area in and around Athens, and so the plague brought by invaders became an unintentional ally in the fight. Estimates of deaths from the five-year period that the disease ravaged Athens sit between 75,000 to 100,000, or nearly a quarter of the city-states population at the time.
The specific disease that hit Athens during the siege remains a subject of medical debate. What is known is that the disease originated in Ethiopia, and then it spread through the Mediterranean. Its persistence and lethality are unusual features, even among the ancient world, with candidates including both the plague and smallpox.
For an epidemic to become an epidemic it has to remain deadly while traveling with humans, rather than just killing them outright. It takes a particular kind of connected world, and a particular kind of violence in that connection, to make such a disease stick around and fester, a wound in the body politic.
History is rich with the plagues that followed war. The movement of people and armies and the whole long trail of food and supplies that entails can serve as a vector for diseases that, left to their own locality and without interconnection, might simply have become a local tragedy. Disease spreads through the people doing the fighting, and it spreads among the civilians displaced.
It takes a particular kind of connected world, and a particular kind of violence in that connection, to make such a disease stick around and fester, a wound in the body politic.
When in Revelations John describes the biblical apocalypse as preceded by war, famine, pestilence, and death, he is merely casting the realities of armed conflict into, well, biblical proportions.
Germ theory is too modern a phenomenon to have been reliably incorporated into the strategies of ancient besieging forces, but disease has long been an incidental weapon of war. The most historically famous example is the Mongolian siege of the Genoese-settled city of Caffa on the Black Sea.
As the Mongols retreated in the face of an assault by a relieving force, a contemporary account recorded that the Mongols used their siege weapons to hurl diseased corpses over the city walls, spreading black death.
What seemed like mountains of dead were thrown into the city, and the Christians could not hide or flee or escape from them, although they dumped as many of the bodies as they could in the sea, wrote the Italian notary Gabriele de Mussi, likely based on eyewitness accounts. And soon the rotting corpses tainted the air and poisoned the water supply, and the stench was so overwhelming that hardly one in several thousand was in a position to flee the remains of the [Mongolian] army.
Mussis account of the end of the Siege of Caffa has long been cited as both an early incidence of deliberate biological warfare and a clue as to the route through which the black death made it to Europe, though both claims are contested. Regardless, the nature of a siege is to combine deprivation with density, and for the besiegers to trust that, on a long enough timeline, the people trapped inside, even if supplied by the sea, will succumb to the pressure.
Sieges, with defenders surrounded by hostile armed forces intending to wait them out, still happen in the modern world, much as they seem a fixture of a past era. These sieges, like those in antiquity, come with the diseases of deprivation, and the diseases that pass through populations thrown into violent conflict.
What is structurally different about sieges in modernity is that humans now have a scientific understanding of disease itself, and at least according to the conventions and treaties signed by nations, a humanitarian obligation to treat it. It was easy to see, in 2017 and 2018, an international condemnation of the siege tactics used by Bashar al Assad in Syria, tactics that brought deliberate suffering on civilian populations as a means of consolidating military rule.
It is somewhat harder, in the face of the international COVID-19 pandemic, to see where siege conditions are enforced to siege-like ends by means other than bullets and bombs.
International sanctions regimes, designed to allow primarily the United States to withhold access to the dollar as an international reserve currency from nations it views as acting against American interests, enable a sort of invisible siege. Enforcing second-order sanctions, whereby companies risk losing access to the US dollar if they also engage in business with the targeted country, serves as a way to effectively sever the targeted country from the vast majority of the international market.
By design, these sanctions inflict suffering primarily on civilians within the targeted country. As a coercive tool, the logic is that deliberately depriving the people in a country will make those same deprived people pressure their leaders. The ultimate end state is that, either from pressure below or to relieve suffering, the leaders of a sanctioned state change behavior more in line with US interest.
In a pandemic, these sanctions exacerbate deprivation into full-on crisis. While humanitarian goods nominally are allowed through sanctions, many banks refuse to process those transactions, afraid that doing so would expose them to penalties under second-order sanctions. The Geneva Conventions explicitly permit safe passage for food and medical supplies to physically besieged populations, but those rules do not apply to economic sanctions. While not formally cut off from aid, a global refusal to sell medical supplies under penalty of second-order sanctions can cause deprivation, much the same as an army camped outside the gates did in antiquity.
As reported by the New York Times on March 21st, Secretary of State Pompeo and Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell have made the case for exactly this ancient military application of disease and siege to the President.
Irans leaders have been harder hit by the coronavirus than almost any other country, and they have been hiding their infection from colleagues, according to intelligence reports heightening distrust and divisions in the government, reports the Times. Trump administration officials who advocate aggressive action have used those reports to press the case for escalating American military action against Iran.
What is happening in Iran is just one example of a multitude of economic sieges across the globe, maintained in the face of a truly international pandemic. To treat this crisis as wholly a public health event without acknowledging the context in which it takes place is to ignore the interrelated histories of war and disease. It is to treat the afflictions, as the ancient Athenians did, as a supernatural occurrence beyond anyones control.
To keep the siege in place is to look at the way it ravages thousands across the globe, and to turn away. It is a cold declaration on the side of cruelty. It is to say, simply, that epidemics are war by other means.
Kelsey D. Atherton is a defense technology journalist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His reporting has appeared in Popular Science, C4ISRNET, and The New York Times.
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MILLIONS were unwitting Guinea Pigs in biological weapon trials between 1940 and 1979 in which germs were released into the air, according to bombshell reports.
In 2002, amid the SARS outbreak, top-secret documents released revealed that the Ministry of Defence turned large parts of Britain in laboratories during WW2 up to 1979.
The government report revealed for the first time that the British Government conducted trials on its own people releasing toxic chemicals and micro-organisms into the air.
The Guardain reported: Many of these tests involved releasing potentially dangerous chemicals and micro-organisms over vast swaths of the population without the public being told.
While details of some secret trials have emerged in recent years, the 60-page report reveals new information about more than 100 covert experiments.
The report reveals that military personnel were briefed to tell any inquisitive inquirer the trials were part of research projects into weather and air pollution.
The tests, carried out by government scientists at Porton Down, were designed to help the MoD assess Britains vulnerability if the Russians were to have released clouds of deadly germs over the country.
In most cases, the trials did not use biological weapons but alternatives which scientists believed would mimic germ warfare and which the MoD claimed were harmless.
But families in certain areas of the country who have children with birth defects are demanding a public inquiry.
One chapter of the report, The Fluorescent Particle Trials, reveals how between 1955 and 1963 planes flew from north-east England to the tip of Cornwall along the south and west coasts, dropping huge amounts of zinc cadmium sulphide on the population.
The chemical drifted miles inland, its fluorescence allowing the spread to be monitored. In another trial using zinc cadmium sulphide, a generator was towed along a road near Frome in Somerset where it spewed the chemical for an hour.
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March 21 -- To the Editor:
Mr. Azzi, again, please stick to taking pictures. In your most recent column, you speak of Cotton Mather, someone called Onesimus, Harvard and someone cutting something and putting a drop in. Brilliant. After bloviating and introducing a number of useless facts, you make a point by stating all the good things that immigrants do. Here we agree just as long as the immigrants are legal immigrants. Simply put, if you are not here legally you dont belong here. Common sense, no?
Next point. You go on to say that people choose to be racists, xenophobic, conspiracy theorists and a bunch of other stuff. Granted, they exist. But then you go on to call half the nation ignorant because they believe in this president. Im quite surprised that you didnt use the word "deplorable" but then you must have remembered what that word did to Hillary. Thank God. In making that statement you have now become the judge and chief hypocrite. On your golden pedestal preaching down to the masses about how morally and politically insufficient they are. Look in the mirror, Mr Azzi, you speak of yourself.
Now, onto China. Heaven forbid we accuse the Chinese of anything, right? They unleashed a plague onto the world. It came from Wuhan, China so we will, to your great dissatisfaction, call it the Chinese or Wuhan virus. Now, how do you know it didnt come out of a Chinese germ warfare lab. You dont know. I will agree it is far-fetched that George Soros was its owner. How do you know the Chinese did not unleash this virus on purpose? If they did it was flawlessly executed causing great damage to world economies while limiting damage to their own. Of course, you would call this possibility a conspiracy theorists dream. You might see the world through rose colored glasses I see it for what it is and its not pretty. Like it or not, the Chinese are our enemy and they look upon us as being their enemy. We will leave it at that.
Of course, in one of your last paragraphs you wrap it up and bring it to a head. Your Trump Derangement Syndrome shines through here. Your goal achieved. You let it be known, again, how much you disdain this president. Maybe youre trying to reap discord in U.S. society. If not, understand we are going through tough times and give the guy a break. Just think you could have Hillary, Biden or Sanders working on this puzzle. A puzzle they would certainly never solve.
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In the midst of dispersal of COVID-19 in 196 countries in the world, Islamic State (IS) has published key three posts to encourage jihadists around the world to capitalize the pandemic situation to mount attacks against the Kafirs. Such propaganda depicts that extremists should not be taken out of the security equation during the pandemic situation, in fact they can be proactive, innovative and capitalize such volatile condition to achieve their goals.
Recently, a memo has been circulated by a Homeland Security Department to the law enforcement officials across United States of America (USA) warning that violent extremists would capitalize the unstable social phenomena due to COVID-19, to attack the USA. Even if the USA security agencies have emphasized a possible attack by the jihadist only to the USA, current pro IS propaganda has threatened the entire kafirs amidst rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic.
On 2nd March 2020 an IS aligned group shared a post in a pro IS social media platforms highlighting the incapability of kafir states to find a significant scientific solution to COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, on 12th March 2020, a similar post was circulated in a pro IS messaging platform describing the pandemic as a divine punishment to the enemies. It also emphasized harshly affected countries such as China, Iran and Italy are respectively can be categorized as countries with atheists, Shias and crusaders/Christians. As a result, they are severely punished by god. Further, on 19th March 2020 in the editorial of Naba 226, which is a pro-IS magazine, stated that jihadists should capitalize the current pandemic situation to launch attacks against the non-believers. It also emphasized the need of the lone-wolves to mobilize and capitalize the social fear rendering in the crusader countries due to COVID-19.
However, due to the swiftly spreading COVID-19 pandemic, within a short period of time the security concerns have changed from jihadism to bio-defence. Hence, it is important to calculate the expansion and possible transformation of modes operandi in jihad activities in a COVID-19 world.
COVID-19 pandemic has depicted that world can be shut down/locked down in few minutes of time due to a germ which is not even visible to the naked eye of the humans. As of 25th March 2020, one third of the world population is under lockdown and are under strict quarantine regulations imposed by the governments. The latest addition to the lockdown list was India which is also known as the worlds largest democracy. Yet again, the Indian government had to make a choice between democracy and human right over grater good for the greater number of people in a pandemic situation. Additionally, COVID 19 has also emphasized the fact that, from minimum effort, maximum damage can be caused to countries across the planet. According to the latest statistics nearly 446,699 COVID-19 cases are reported and 19,804 deaths have been recorded.
Not only human cost is a major concern of this pandemic, but also the economic loss to the entire international political system needs to be taken into consideration. Affected countries are heavily investing on containing the pandemic and due to the lockdown the business activities have halted. This phenomena depicts a simple germ can cause vital impact to human lifestyle and to the international system which is what the jihadists are searching for. With less amount of effort, jihadists want to gain the maximum impact which has now been depicted by a virus. This hints the idea that instead of using complicated machines and bombs similar impact can be obtained by a simple method. Also, such kind of virus or a germ can be developed under minimum supervision and resources. In fact in 2018, MI5 anticipated that returned British jihadists form the IS territory were trained in developing basic bio-weapons and they have the capacity to make ricin and anthrax.
Not only that, but also COVID-19 highlighted that such kind of virus or a germ can be commuted very easily to the community with minimum notice. Also the haulier will not be caught immediately and therefore, can be transported between borders with less security precautions. Also, a virus like COVID-19 can be easily used by the lone-wolves and the results are deadly and affect a larger community by a simple action. Therefore, COVID-19 provides a manual with innovative ideas to the jihadists on how to gain maximum with minimum effort and resources.
Within such context, it is evident that jihadi groups such as IS has comprehend the importance and the effectiveness of such a pandemic. Since, many countries are now locked down due to the spread of the virus, this explains the catastrophe which can be caused by a germ. As a result, due to its effects from minimal cost of compromise, germ warfare can be used by terrorists to further achieve their goals. Hence, it is important for the countries to expand research and development to understand the nature of bio-weapons and whether there is a possibility of such strategy to be used by violent non-state actors such as ISIS and Al Qaeda.
On the other hand, with the continuation of the release of foreign fighters from the prisons in Syria, Kurdistan and Turkey, it is important to secure the boarders since they can be the haulier of such bio-weapons intentionally or unintentionally. Moreover, intelligence agencies need to work round the clock to identify jihadists with the capacity on developing such kind of bio-weapons to achieve their goals. Also, these intelligence agencies need to be educated in bio-defence and warfare since COVID-19 has depicted the need of the hour for such capacity building.
Finally, in an emergency situation like COVID-19, governments should be cautious in surrogating the security priorities and rapidly substituting jihadism with a soon mushroomed apprehension, since there will be an imbalance in tackling both old and new security concerns. Hence, jihadism will flourish in the shadow of COVID-19 without notice and can take advantage of the situation to gain the jihadi goals.
*Sinduja Umandi Wickramasinghe Jayaratne is an Intelligence Analyst in a leading security related organization and a Visiting Lecturer in Bandaranaike International Diplomatic Training Institute in Sri Lanka.
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Is the Global Pandemic a Product of the Elite’s Malthusian Agenda and US Bio-warfare? – Dissident Voice
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On March 11th, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the ongoing outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to be a global pandemic, the first since the H1N1 swine flu in 2009. Initially reported in the city of Wuhan in Central China in December, just four months later there are now over 150,000 cases in more than 130 countries which has put many on total lockdown while the world economy has been brought to a virtual standstill. While the Peoples Republic of China was the first country to report COVID-19, there has been a widespread presumption that the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) must have emerged in the capital of Hubei province that has not been held under sufficient scrutiny by Western corporate media.
The question of whether the COVID-19 coronavirus could have come from the U.S. army was controversially raised by Chinas Foreign Ministry spokesman, Liljian Zhao, who tweetedan articlefrom the Center for Research on Globalization website which subsequently went viral. Feigning concern over the spread of disinformation, Western media coverage uniformly avoided sourcing the article Zhao had shared on social media while predictably dismissing the claim as a conspiracy theory. Meanwhile, Irans Civil Defense Chief alsosaidthe coronavirus could be a biological attack on China and Iran, as the Islamic Republic has been the third-most impacted nation with more than 12,000 cases including many at the highest levels of its government with multiple senior officials infected. Contrary to such mainstream media scaremongering, it is completely reasonable and should be permitted to speculate about the origins of the virus. That Zhaos posing of the theory received such a hostile response from the U.S. establishment is telling of how delicate their propaganda echo chamber is.
Although the disease is widely assumed to have been first transmitted through zoonosis because the earliest grouping of cases were linked to a Wuhan seafood market trading exotic wildlife in late December, the actual first known case was traced to the beginning of the month and may not have been originally passed through an animal. Many on the political right have even suggested the coronavirus is an effect of Chinese biological warfare which unexpectedly leaked from a lab in Wuhan, a theory disseminated in the pages of propaganda rags likeThe Washington Times, a newspaper owned by the founder of the right-wing Korean Unification Church cult, Sun Myung Moon, as well asThe Epoch Timesof the similarly fascistic religious sect of Chinese expatriates, the CIA-linked Falun Gong. In spite of that, it is true that the Wuhan Institute of Virology hasclose tiesto the Galveston National Laboratory in the University of Texas, one of the Pentagons largest biological defense lab programs. Whereas no evidence exists that the Chinese government is responsible for COVID-19, nor does the PRC have a history of engaging in bio-warfare, there is an abundance of proof that the U.S. government has long been involved in the manufacturing and use of biological weapons since the Korean war.
When the accusations were first made by North Korea and China that the U.S. was using biological and germ warfare in the 19501953 Korean War, they were rejected outright by Washington as a hoax and rebuffed by the Western-biased WHO. In the decades since, the U.S. has maintained its denial while scholarly debate on the subject isdivided. However, anunredacted reportfrom 1952 from an investigation sponsored by the World Peace Council and conducted by an International Scientific Commission headed by Sir Joseph Needham, a highly reputable British biochemist of his era, was unearthed in 2018 and presents ample substantiation of the allegations, including eyewitness testimony, photographic evidence and documented confessions by American POWs. More disturbingly, the investigation indicates direct links between the U.S. biological warfare program and the germ warfare program of Unit 731, a clandestine bio and chemical warfare unit of Imperial Japan during World War II. During the Cold War, the Japanese researchers were secretly given immunity and recruited by the U.S. in exchange for their knowledge in human experimentation, along with many former Nazi scientists in Operation Paperclip.
Unit 731 of the Japanese Imperial Army collected data not only through performing deadly experiments on humans but environmentally testing plague bombs by dropping them on Chinese cities to see whether they could start disease outbreaks. Many of these tactics were continued by the U.S. in the KoreanWar.According to Stephen Kinzer,journalist and author ofPoisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control, the CIAs Project MK-ULTRA which was coordinated with the U.S. Army Biological Warfare Laboratories was:
Essentially a continuation of work that began in Japanese and Nazi concentration camps. Not only was it roughly based on those experiments, but the CIA actually hired the vivisectionists and the torturers who had worked in Japan and in Nazi concentration camps to come and explain what they had found out so that we could build on their research.
Frank Olson,one of the biowarfare scientists and CIA employees in the program who died under mysterious circumstances in 1953, is the subject of the Netflix docu-drama seriesWormwood,directed by Errol Morris and featuring renowned journalist Seymour Hersh, which reveals Olson may have been a potential government whistleblower on the CIAs activities and U.S. bio-war crimes. It is worth noting that the usage of such agents in the Korean War included Chinese targets, the last and only major armed conflict between the U.S. and China, so if the COVID-19 pandemic were proven to be a product of U.S. biowarfare against Beijing, it would not be the first time.
Officially, the U.S. is said to have abandoned its bioweapons program in 1969, but its installation in Fort Detrick, Maryland, has continued conducting research into deadly pathogens and viruses on the stated purpose of bio-defense, as well as fighting disease outbreaks, developing vaccines, and other public health concerns. Yet just last year, research into fatal viruses and bioweapons were suspendedamid concerns they could be accidentally be released. The last time Fort Detricks germ warfare research was suspended was in 2009 after the Pentagon found discrepancies in the inventory of its infectious agents, the same year as the last pandemic of the H1N1 swine flu outbreak.
Fort Detrick has been under tighter restrictions since the 2001 anthrax attacks were traced to Bruce Ivins, a senior biodefense researcher at the facility. The suspected perpetrator and army biologist committed suicide in 2008 after learning the FBI was going to charge him with terrorism, which if proven to be true would mean that the Pentagons own biodefense research itself had led to rather than protected the American public from bioterrorism though there is plenty of evidence suggesting Ivins was framed by the feds. As journalist Whitney Webb uncovered, the U.S. Armys Medical Research branch headquartered in Maryland hascooperatedwith the Wuhan Institute of Virology mentioned previously for decades.
Toying around with organisms that can produce disease is a regular practice for the Pentagon. In 2005, U.S. scientists announced that they had even successfullyrecreated the avian influenza flu virusin a lab which killed at least 50 million people worldwide in 1918, widely known as the Spanish flu. The name is actually a misnomer, as it was disproportionately attributed to Spain which was neutral in World War I and was not subject to the same wartime censorship of the press to upkeep morale like in Germany, the UK, France and the U.S. whose media initially underreported the pandemics effects in their respective countries. The geographic source of the Spanish flu is still the subject of much debate, but the first observation of the disease was at a U.S. military installation in Fort Riley, Kansas in 1918. Needless to say, the risks involved with resurrecting a disease that wiped out more than a quarter of the worlds population are not trivial, but this did not prevent the U.S. Armed Forces Institute of Pathology from extracting the genetic coding of the Spanish flu from the exhumed corpse of a Native Alaskan woman frozen in the ground who died of the disease in an Inuit town in 1918.
There is no direct evidence showing that the 2009 swine flu said to have originated in Mexico through zoonosis from pigs was any leak of the restored Spanish flu, but the previous swine flu outbreak of 1976 began at a U.S. army base in Fort Dix, New Jersey, just like the Spanish flu of 1918. After the Gerald R. Ford administration jumped the gun and announced a flu epidemic was pending following the death of a single soldier, a subsequent mass immunization program without proper testing for side effects was administered to a staggering 45 million people, exactly a quarter of the entire U.S. population at the time, which ended up killing more Americans than the disease itself. The scandal forever sowed the seeds of public distrust regarding inoculation after more than 450 people developed Guillain-Barr Syndrome and 25 died from the immunization before it was halted.
If such a mandatory vaccination program were to be implemented again in the U.S. for COVID-19, the government would have to reassure the public its previous negligence of such side effects would not be repeated, an unlikely scenario after the corporate breach of trust exposed on Wall Street in recent years involving large pharmaceutical firms. Regardless, Big Pharma is alreadypartnering with the U.S. army to develop a vaccine for the coronaviruswhich would have to be tested and evaluated before licensing by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and recommended for use by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), both of which partner with the WHO whose largest financial contributor is the U.S. government.
One of the WHOs other largest benefactors is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with whom it has a partnership on vaccinations. The billionaire Microsoft Corporation founder has used his enormous wealth to dodge paying taxes under the guise of philanthropy and his charitable private ventures have mostly focused on producing vaccines for developing countries and purportedly tackling global poverty, especially in Africa. On the surface this may appear to be benevolent work, but like many so-called altruistic projects it is a scheme which allows ultra-wealthy plutocrats like Gates to influence global policy and obtain political power with no accountability by investing in fixing the social problems caused by the very system which made them rich, with the expansion of neoliberalism as their real agenda. The consequences of this can be seen with charitable projects involving Gates in the Congowhich forced its local agribusiness into using GMO seeds which only benefited private companies like Monsanto.
More disturbing is that in regards to environmental concerns about man-made climate change, Gates has made public his views on curbing human population growth as a solution. At a 2010 TED Conference, Gatesstated:
First we got population. The world today has 6.8 billion people. Thats headed up to about 9 billion. Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent.
To put it another way, one of the worlds wealthiest men admitted in public he believes vaccines should be used for depopulation, just as he is financially investing in both developing and delivering them to countries in the global south. The misanthropic myth of overpopulation pushed by Gates and the elite not only suggests that depopulation is a solution for slowing the warming of the climate but retains the logic of an essential component of eugenics with the implicit idea that the quality of life for the human species can be improved by discouraging human reproduction. Since developing countries have the highest child mortality rates, families are more likely to be larger because children are less likely to survive. Hence, the inherent racism and classism in such a misconception.
Given that the vast majority of carbon emissions are produced by ashort list of fossil fuel companiesand the worldslargest polluter is the U.S. military, promoting this dangerous fallacy is the perfect way for the ruling elite to shift the responsibility for climate change onto the worlds poor. Unfortunately, this dangerous falsehood has been popularized in the mainstream environmental movement and pseudo-left with examples such asBirthStrike, a group of mostly female activists protesting the lack of regulations on the ecological crisis by refusing to bear children that has been irresponsibly endorsed by popular progressive politicians such as U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). AOC is also the face of the Democratic Partys Green New Deal which has troubling ties to the United Nations Agenda 21 sustainable development program that calls for achieving a more sustainable population.
The false notion of overpopulation became a misguided cornerstone of the modern day environmental movement thanks to the publication of American scientist Paul Ehrlichs best-selling book The Population Bombin 1968,an alarmist diatribe that has in the years since become famous for its inaccurate doomsday predictions as a result of the mistaken belief which never came to fruition. Todays doom merchants regarding the climate, no doubt a serious issue, are in many respects channeling Ehrlichs false prophecies which are considered a modern rehash of the influential 18th century British economist and philosopher, Thomas Malthus. No single scholar was more loathed by Karl Marx and and the working class movement than Malthus, whose pseudo-scientific theories about demography were thought to have been intellectually defeated until they found new life in Ehrlichs eco-fascism. As much as todays population bombers like Bill Gates may shun the more explicitly racist Malthusian ideas that the global north should contain the population of developing countries, they still tacitly endorse them by arguing that the size of the population itself is a source a poverty and climate change.
Bill Gates has cited business tycoon John D. Rockefeller, the richest man in American history who had an even greater monopoly on the oil business as Gates had at one time on the computer industry, as an inspiration in using his wealth to invest in medical research as a focus of his philanthropy. However, Gates has something else in common with the Rockefeller family in his views on population, as the Rockefeller Foundation was the single largest donor to the American eugenics movement in the 1920s and 30s and helped establish its German branch, even subsidizing the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics that Nazi physician Josef Mengele worked in prior to his wartime experiments. Despite the fact that a line can be traced from the American eugenics movement to the Nazi regimes programs, which Nuremberg defendants even tried to use as justification for their atrocities in court, Rockefellers grandson John Rockefeller III continued the family legacy of interest in demography with the founding of the Population Council NGO which conducts research in reproductive health (sterilization) in developing countries. The Nazi government was also the first to ever pass legislation safeguarding the environment which they equated with German national identity, another unexpected intersection between brown and green politics.
In an astonishing coincidence, the Gates Foundation hosted an event just last October with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the World Economic Forum called Event 201, a pandemic simulation which gathered elite figures in government, business and health expertise to plan for the possibility of a worldwide outbreak. Gates himself has warned of pandemics for years and ominouslywrotethat the world should prepare for epidemics the way the military prepares for war. The Event 201 fictional scenario just so happened to be a coronavirus called CAPS from Brazilian pigs which infected people globally and after a year and half in the exercise causedtens of millions of deathsand set off a worldwide financial crash. Since the outset of the real COVID-19 coronavirus, Gates himself hasstepped down from Microsoftto focus on his philanthropy while his foundation isbusy working on a vaccine.
Many have observed that some characteristics of COVID-19 bear a resemblance to HIV that could not have happened organically. The recent documentaryCold Case Hammarskjld,which won an award at last years Sundance film festival,puts forth a chillingtheory that a South African white supremacist organizationdeliberately spread HIV/AIDS among black Africans through vaccines in previous decades. The film begins as an investigation of the mysterious plane crash in Northern Rhodesia which killed Swedish diplomat and United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjld in 1961. In 1998, a document authored by a shadowy paramilitary organization called the South African Institute for Maritime Research (SAIMR) was uncovered by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission justice assembly in post-apartheid South Africa which indicated that Hammarskjld was the victim of an assassination. Not only do the filmmakers discover in their inquiry the distinct likelihood that the plane was shot down by a Belgian mercenary employed by SAIMR which was operating under orders from MI6 and the CIA, but the more stunning revelation is arecorded confessionfrom a former SAIMR soldier to havingdeliberately spread HIV/AIDS to black Africansthrough immunization. If what is claimed about SAIMR is true and that they were connected with Western intelligence, that the COVID-19 virus could be something deliberately spread is not outside the realm of possibility.
Maybe it will prove to be the case that the yellow presss version of the coronavirus beginning with the zoonotic transfer of the disease after the consumption of a pangolin or wild bat by a patient zero in Wuhan is accurate. Nevertheless, the pandemic should be a chilling reminder of the elites eco-fascist agenda and the continuous danger that the military-industrial complex puts the worlds population in by continuing to conduct dangerous research into deadly pathogens where the risk vastly outweighs the benefits. If the outbreak has led many to be suspicious of the official story, it is exactly because of the history of U.S. biological warfare and the elites potentially genocidal and pessimistic worldview that the only way to prevent the demise of humanity is by thinning the herd.
This article was posted on Saturday, March 21st, 2020 at 7:20pm and is filed under China, COVID-19 (coronavirus), Disinformation, Health/Medical.
Posted: at 6:45 am
Emptying out of embassy and consulates has reduced opportunities to collaborate on coronavirus fight and maintain communication channels, wrote the Wall Street Journal on Saturday, referring to one of the largest evacuations of American diplomatic personnel in peacetime.
Washington closed its consulate in disease-ravaged Wuhan in late January. Beginning early February, as coronavirus spread across China, the U.S. began withdrawing diplomats and their families from that country.
Now, the U.S. is being blamed for tensions between Washington and Beijing. U.S. Drawdown of China Diplomats Cripples Ties at Critical Moment, is the title of the Wall Street Journal article. At a time when we should be building greater collaborative mechanisms to deal with the pandemicnever mind the other big issues like climate change and tradewere rupturing them across the board, said Orville Schell to the paper. In the Journals words, Schell, director of the Asia Societys Center on U.S.-China Relations, questioned Washingtons need to call back so many diplomats.
The sharp downturn in U.S.-China ties, however, is the result of a militant communist regime needing a foreign enemy, and the large number of U.S. diplomatic personnel on Chinese soil could be aggravatingnot helpingrelations between the two states.
Old ideologies die hard, but, as can be seen from Schells comments, none more so than engagement. The unshakable notion that guided American policy since the beginning of the 1970s was that the United States had to engage communist China, to bring it into the international system so that it would have a stake in the world. As a stakeholder, Beijing would see it to be in its interest to support multilateral institutions and enforce global rules and norms.
Unfortunately, Chinas regime became more belligerent as it grew stronger and more powerful. Inside the multilaterals, for instance, it weakened these institutions. In the case of the World Health Organization, it effectively made the body an arm of the Chinese Communist Party. Engagement theory should work and sounds good to the ear, but it has failed miserably.
Beijings behavior during the ongoing coronavirus epidemic is especially troubling. For instance, the Chinese military has been engaged in provocative maneuvers, particularly against Taiwan. In a recent incident, on the 16th of this month, more than ten Chinese speedboats rammed and otherwise harassed two of Taiwans coast guard vessels, severely damaging one of them. This was the second time this month that Chinas boats intruded into Taiwans territorial waters and caused an incident.
There have also been, in recent weeks, increased sea and air patrols by China in and around Japan.
Moreover, especially since the end of the first week of last month, the foreign ministry and the Communist Partys Global Times have been engaged in an inflammatory and dangerous disinformation campaign against America.
On March 12, China stated the origin of this disease was the United States and that the U.S. Army spread the coronavirus to Wuhan. These groundless and inflammatory claims, from foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, were made alongside other hostile pronouncements from him and his boss, like one accusing U.S. officials of immoral conduct.
The following day, the State Department called in Cui Tiankai, Chinas ambassador, to protest the grossly irresponsible charges, but since then Beijing, particularly through its ambassador to South Africa and state broadcaster China Central Television, has continued the campaign. Zhao also has not stopped his disingenuous campaign.
Why is this important? Because Chinas leaders, with their absurd theories, look like they are justifying in their own minds retaliation against the U.S. Zhao on the 12th intimated germ warfare against China.
In short, this would be an excellent time to deter Beijing. Beijing, however, has not been dissuaded by ordinary diplomatic tools. Whatever the reason for the especially hostile behavior, it is hard to see how the United States, even with a full complement of diplomats in China, could have in recent weeks coaxed the Chinese regime to better behavior.
So how does America dissuade China? We have to hit Chinese leaders with something that is contrary to what they expect us to do and which dislocates them psychologically, Arthur Waldron of the University of Pennsylvania told The National Interest on Saturday.
One way to do that would be to start expelling Chinese diplomats in the United States and perhaps closing their consulates. Beijing has to understand that the god of engagement ideology, at least in the American capital, is dead.
Moreover, given Beijings new xenophobia, it would be good to repatriate even more American diplomats from China. The last thing the U.S. should do is leave potential hostages in place. Beijing has been taking innocentssome of them Americanand there is no point keeping a store of them on hand for China to grab.
Of course, tit-for-tat expulsions could leave no diplomat on station, either in China or the United States. That might be okay with Beijing, however. From 1967 to 1969, China had only one ambassador abroadin Egyptand even he was almost recalled.
A lack of contact is not necessarily a bad thing for America. Moving to no in-country diplomats certainly qualifies as Waldrons psychological dislocation. The Chinese need to know that Americans no longer think that their regime is, in the scheme of things, that important. Unfortunately, American leaders have been feeding the already inflated egos of the Chinese by appearing desperate to communicate and maintaining in their country one of the largest U.S. diplomatic missions anywhere. Reducing diplomatic personnel, therefore, could have an immediate beneficial effect.
In any event, the two powers can maintain ties with zero Chinese diplomats in the U.S. and zero American ones in China. As Waldron, a China historian and holder of a chair in international relations, pointed out to me at the end of last week, All you really need is one phone line.
Gordon G. Chang is the author of The Coming Collapse of China. Follow him on Twitter @GordonGChang.
FILE PHOTO: Chinese Yuan banknotes are seen behind illuminated stock graph in this illustration taken February 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo.