We can’t defeat our foes because we cannot see them

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.

Man covers his eyes with a medical face mask.
By vlarvix. AdobeStock-334019147

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.

Man watching Phoenix rising over the landscape.
By grandfailure. AdobeStock – 268857877

For More Information

Ideas! For some holiday shopping ideas, see my recommended books and films at Amazon. Also, see a powerful and disturbing story about “Birth of a Man of Steel …for the Soviet Union.

We can fix America. See the suggestions in Reforming America: steps to a new politics.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about the importance of clear vision, and especially these…

  1. Important advice: Learning skepticism, an essential skill for citizenship in 21st century America. About “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof”.
  2. Important: Our leaders so often lie, but we still believe them.
  3. Swear allegiance to the truth as a step to reforming America.
  4. We live in an age of ignorance, but can decide to fix this – today.
  5. Ways to deal with those guilty of causing the fake news epidemic.
  6. The secret source of fake news. Its discovery will change America.
  7. We have been blind, but can learn to see.
  8. 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.

How to Lie with Statistics
Available at Amazon.
Thinking & Living Skills: General Semantics for Critical Thinking
Available at Amazon.


9 thoughts on “We can’t defeat our foes because we cannot see them”

  1. This “it’s China’s fault” campaign is eerily similar to the hysteria whipped up – manufactured – by the US government against Iraq before the 2003 invasion. The Right and great Middle went along with it. Much of the Left did as well.

    The press were uncritical cheerleaders, stenographers printing what they were told.

    We became an easily led, ignorant mob in 2003. As we are again today. Can a people so easily manipulated and so unwilling to learn from experience govern themselves?

  2. Its a common reaction. Syphilis is referred to in Shakespeare as the French Pox, the Neapolitan Bone Ache, and so on. In parts of Europe it was referred to as an English disease.

    I don’t know whether Covid originated as claimed by the Chinese Government and WHO in the Wuhan wet market, or in the Wuhan lab as rumoured in various disreputable places.

    But the question would be: after citing lots of cases in which the US Government has been at least misleading in its information, and arguably worse than that, why would you trust the Chinese government’s accounts? The Chinese regime has within living memory presided over atrocities which dwarf the Holocaust. It has prior form on concealing an epidemic.

    It may be that its account is correct on this occasion, but treat what it says with at least the same skepticism with which you treat our own government. And more.

    Does it matter? Yes.

    Not because it matters where the disease originated in itself. But because if there really was a lab origin and subsequent deliberate cover up and obfuscation, that tells us something very important about contemporary China. And how China is, the nature of the regime now, that really matters.

      1. John F Pittman

        Thanks Randolorian. I needed a laugh this morning. Just love spraying my keyboard with my mornring cup of tea. Again, Thanks!

      2. Randolorian,

        Feeble but typical. For centuries the cry was “it’s the Jews fault.”

        For a while there was a dream that we were rising above abject stupidity. Recent events are making me a pessimist.

    1. Henrik,

      Among the many goofy theories I’ve heard as the West has lost its mind during the epidemic, the “weight veracity by the speakers’ moral worth” argument is among the goofiest.

      There is good reason that Courts and intelligence agencies don’t do that, instead looking for the story’s internal consistency and coherence vs know facts. China’s timeline meets those criteria quite well. Their response is unusually rapid after the usual botched start in the first few weeks. They look like a nation of Einstein’s compared to the US govt’s response. One ZeroHedge story (a major engine of ignorance in the US) complained about the two weeks it took China to mobilize – ignoring that it took the US two months to do so (despite have much clearer warnings).

      The origin of the virus remains uncertain. That’s not something that can be easily determined at this point. Trump’s mad politicization of the subject probably makes it impossible (part of his desperate attempt to turn public attention from his ignorant statements (and outright lies) during the epidemic and his Administration’s incompetent handling of it).

      Also – Your “moral meter” is operationally useless at best – and probably bogus. The US government’s history is as stained as most others, including attempted genocide of the Native Americans, slavery plus a century of oppression of African-Americans, up to ugly deeds in mad wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan (all begun with lies). Many major philosophers were terrible people (eg, Rousseau dumping his kids in the poorhouse). The Pope blames COVID-19 on climate change while leading an organization that has conducted systematic abuse of children. Etc, etc.

      Are all debates about facts to begin with endless and futile debate about each side’s moral worth and history?

      1. I have figured that the difference is, to paraphrase Frank Wilhoit, that mainland China is in a group that the moral rules must bind, but not protect; and Donald Trump’s administration is in a group that the moral rules must protect, but not bind.

        Now the question of why he in particular is so deserving of such (rhetorical) protection is beyond me. Even if you like the guy it doesn’t seem to do much wash right now.

      2. “Are all debates about facts to begin with endless and futile debate about each side’s moral worth and history?”

        No, of course not, and that is not what I suggested. I do not think, and didn’t suggest, that we should ‘weight veracity by speakers’ moral worth’.

        Taking into account recent veracity is not weighting by moral worth.

        I think we should treat statements by the Chinese Government with at least the same skepticism with which we treat those by Western governments, and probably, given their recent track record, more.

        I agree that statements by people or governments in general stand or fall on their intrinsic credibility. But I think that recent track record is important. Not moral worth, but track record on veracity.

        So, evidently, do you. You repeatedly cite instances where our own governments have misled, and conclude from that behaviour that skepticism is in order. Well, exactly the same thing applies to other governments. In spades to the Chinese one.

        You rightly draw attention to the fact that America is strongly subject to waves of propaganda, and to its negative effects. There probably never has been a regime in history more intensely managed by mass propaganda than the current Chinese one. This is an important fact to consider when evaluating their statements. Not the only one, not a substitute for critical examination of them on a standalone basis, but an important one.

  3. John F Pittman

    Let’s let the facts rule that need not be verified at this point by looking at something general about CoVid19.

    Chinese response time about two weeks for a similar 2 month response by USA. China had little to go on when the disease hit their population; the US had 2 months of data from WHO. Korea and Japan showed the Chinese, actually ancient disease control, worked, while Italy showed what didn’t. The US was more like Italy than Korea or Japan.

    We do not need to ascertain the level of lying to make a judgement as to the general effectiveness of actions. Just as current numbers indicate that the US strategy of using ancient disease control is more effective than not.

    Because of asymptomatic carriers, misdiagnosis, lack of testing materials, etc. the exact number of infected and deaths will not be known. But this is also true for the annual influenza outbreaks. Mankind is still able to agree and coordinate its efforts about flu despite the lying nature of the governments involved, and the uncertainties that apply not just to CoVid19 but to influenza as well.

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