Summary: The media obsess over the “who caused coronavirus” mystery, while a far more important question about a real bioattack is forgotten.
We are wearing the masks wrong.
The tabloids are aflame with clickbait stories about the Yellow Peril origin of coronavirus. Some say it was a bioattack (which they unleashed first on themselves, because mysterious orientals) or an accidental release of a bioweapon. Less attention is given to the large number of actual scientists dismiss the wild theories about the origin of coronavirus, as reported by the NYT, Asia Times, and WaPo. Plus several papers, such as this in Nature.
At an April 6 press briefing, a reported asked about any “information or any suspicion that this COVID-19 may have been the result of a bioweapons?” Joint Staff Surgeon Air Force Brigadier General Paul Friedrichs replied “No.” At a press briefing on April 14, Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Mille was more coy.
“There’s a lot of rumor and speculation in a wide variety of media, blog sites, etc. It should be no surprise to you that we have taken a keen interest in that, and we have had a lot of intelligence take a hard look at that. At this point it’s inconclusive, although the weight of evidence seems to indicate natural, but we do not know for sure.”
The intertubes went wild at this ABC News story: “Intelligence report warned of coronavirus crisis as early as November,” citing the usual anonymous sources. A source said that “analysts concluded it could be a cataclysmic event.” This provoked a rare denial by DoD.
“As a matter of practice, the National Center for Medical Intelligence does not comment publicly on specific intelligence matters. However, in the interest of transparency during this current public health crisis, we can confirm that media reporting about the existence/release of a National Center for Medical Intelligence Coronavirus-related product/assessment in November of 2019 is not correct,” said Col. R. Shane Day, the director of the NCMI. “No such NCMI product exists.”
This Yahoo news story has a good collection of the stories about the origins of coronavirus. Mostly hearsay and rumor, of course.
Problems at biolabs are commonplace. The US military’s biolab at Ft. Dietrick has had repeated incidents. The CDC finally ordered their operations to be closed in July 2019. They were fully reopened in April 2020.
Do not remember this incident!
What makes us such pleasant peasants is the ease with which our rulers direct our attention to useful ideas and distract us from upsetting information. Such as the anthrax attack on America in 2001. It has the form of a false flag attack: staged as the embers of the WTC cooled, letters claiming to be from Islamic terrorists, sent to high profile leaders for maximum publicity, but no elites killed – well-timed to push the Patriot Act (an Orwellian name) through on October 25. Senior US government officials confidently blamed al Qaeda.
To ensure that the investigation would be hampered, somebody ordered destruction on October 10 – 11 of the vast collection of anthrax spores at Iowa State University. It might have provided valuable genetic clues to the anthrax’s origin (details here).
The public was treated to years of misinformation and outright lies about the incident, generating confusion and probably apathy.
As evidence grew that the anthrax came from the US Army lab at Ft. Detrick, a new scapegoat was needed. The FBI framed Dr. Stephen Hatfill, with the standard enthusiastic support of the stenographers of the US press. He eventually accomplished the almost impossible, winning a $5.8 million settlement from the US government. The Courts denied his defamation suit against the NYT, since the NYT’s false stories made him a public figure – and hence ineligible for damages. Catch-22.
A new scapegoat was needed, and the vast resources of the government produced one: Bruce Edwards Ivins. The evidence against him was circumstantial, he had no visible motive, lacked the required skills, and experts at Ft. Detrick said it would have been impossible for him to have produced the spores. A 2011 report by the National Research Council disagreed with the FBI’s findings, saying “that the data did not rule out other possible sources.”
Starting in 2006 the FBI focused on him. They hounded him, and eventually broke him. He was found dead on 27 July 2008 of an apparent drug overdose. No autopsy was done on this major and mysterious public figure. Why? It might ruin the narrative.
The American public has no interest in these astounding and significant events which helped change the course of our history.
The intertubes overflow with fears that evil baddies of the other political tribe will end our democracy. I increasingly wonder if that is too optimistic. Perhaps the 1% are correct and we are no longer capable of self-government, lacking the necessary self-discipline and common sense.
But revival is an inherent capability of individuals and societies. We need only a love of liberty and willingness to risk our lives, fortunes, and honor to preserve it.
For More Information
We can fix America. See the suggestions in Reforming America: steps to a new politics.
- Important advice: Learning skepticism, an essential skill for citizenship in 21st century America. About “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof”.
- Important: Our leaders so often lie, but we still believe them.
- Swear allegiance to the truth as a step to reforming America.
- We live in an age of ignorance, but can decide to fix this – today.
- Ways to deal with those guilty of causing the fake news epidemic.
- The secret source of fake news. Its discovery will change America.
- We have been blind, but can learn to see.
- A new phase of the epidemic begins with propaganda.
Some books about critical thinking
One of the classics: How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff.
Thinking & Living Skills: General Semantics for Critical Thinking edited by Gregory Sawin.