Recognizing and Resisting the Hasbara Pandemic

March 27, 2020 Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

Robert Levinson, former FBI agent.

Steady media reports on the rising number of the novel Coronavirus infections and its human toll have contributed to a global psychology of fear where entire populations are succumbing their free will to those in positions of authority, elected and otherwise.   But while we try to keep ourselves safe during this pandemic, a deadlier and more destructive virus creeping in the shadows for years is also reaching its peak.  The virus is called hasbara or better understood as propaganda.

Lest you think it is not contagious or deadly, think Iraq.  The Iraq war alone cost the American taxpayers trillions of Dollars but the Iraqi population bore the brunt of the pain and suffering from America’s sanctioned terror attack and invasion with over one million souls lost and counting.  Just like COVID-19 which may be dismissed as a cold, the hasbara virus may be taken for the truth – and therein lies the threat.  As we surrender our will to the officials so that we can survive this pandemic, the spinners have upped their hasbara in order to coax us into embracing their terrorism, their wars, and their genocide.

Abandon your will, if you must, but not your common sense. As someone who has studied propaganda for fifteen years, I have never seen it so prevalent and so dangerous at a time when we are distracted by a viral disease.  Having allowed the hasbara virus to spread and go undetected for such a long time, we’ve lost all ability to recognize it. The spinners know this and are taking full advantage of it. Let me give you two examples from the last 24 hours alone.

First one is a heartwarming ‘news item’ – even benign.

How can the picture of this cute dog not touch your heart? More so when you read on that his owner is in quarantine in Mexico with the coronavirus.  His chips cravings prompt him to tie a note to the dog, send him to the store with a $20 bill and instructions to the shopkeeper to give the dog a bag of “Cheetos”.   Now didn’t that give you the warm fuzzies?  The story is shared over and over and the ‘news reporter’ gets a kudos from his boss for writing this sweet story which would no doubt increase circulation.  I loved it.

But then I had to ask myself why a man in Mexico would tie a 20 Dollar bill to his dog and not Pesos.  That is a lot of Mexican Pesos, and no change was returned.  I mean where would the poor dog keep the change, a lot of change, in Mexican Pesos.

I shared the story with many friends, some of whom included university professors.  None noted the oddness of the Dollar bill.    Even when I asked if they noted something strange about the story, they did not point to it until I told them.  The story was heartwarming and the incident was something they all wanted to accept – a feel good story.   Nothing else was noted.  We want to believe a story that appeals to our sense of reality, our values, no matter how unrealistic.

On the opposite side is the news story about a former FBI agent Robert Levinson.  Levinson disappeared in 2007 and the United States had accused Iran of holding him hostage.  Iran has no information about him.  Yesterday, out of nowhere, various hasbara outlets cited Levinson’s family releasing a statement citing that they recently received information from US officials that led them to conclude that “our wonderful husband and father died while in Iranian custody.”

Iran denied having held him in custody and the news of his death was news to them.  Why was this unbelievable?  After all, I have no way of knowing who is lying, the US or Iran.  Though one certainly may question the timing of this report.

But it was not just the timing that was odd.  It was the orange prison uniform.  Orange prison uniform is easy to process for Americans, and the West.  Images of prisoners wearing orange jumpsuit in Guantanamo are embedded in our minds.  More disturbing still are the images of prisoners captured by ISIS and wearing orange jumpsuits as they are being executed.   I always wondered where did ISIS get all the orange jumpsuits their prisoner wore.  But that is beside the point.  In Iran, prisoners do not wear orange.  The uniforms are different shades of blue depending on their status. Ordinary prisoners wear the striped while political prisoners the plain blue uniforms.

hasbara
Prison uniforms in Iran.

Aside from the wrong color uniform, I was struck by Levinson’s appearance as portrayed in Western media.  It was hard to process the tanned face which contrasted so sharply with his pale hands.   It didn’t make sense.  It is not clear to me as to why America would choose this moment to stage this death. I can only imagine that it is to present an image of a ruthless Iran in order to justify its terrorism by way of sanctions at a time when Iran, like the rest of the world, is fighting this pandemic.    But even the lies will not hide the shameless stain of America’s cruel madness. Hence, we must resist and fight the propaganda.

For decades, we have been victims of propaganda to the point that we are no longer aware of it.  In spite of it, we have not managed to build an immunity to the lies.  Quite the opposite — we have become more vulnerable as our resistance erodes with every shot of hasbara.  But we are not broken – not yet.  It can only affect us if left undetected.  Like COVID-19, the hasbara virus goes undetected until it’s tested for and discovered.  We must therefore learn to test for, detect, and reject it.  We can do this by refusing to abandon our critical thinking.  Pleasant or not, we cannot allow our underlying bias guide us and use commonsense. Don’t let the hasbara virus infect you — it is deadlier than you can imagine.

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is an independent researcher and writer with a focus on US foreign policy.

No! to Coronavirus; No! to Sanctions;

Image result for sunctions latuf iran corona


Coronavirus is a global threat and combating this global threat calls for world cooperation; US government’s extrajudicial sanctions against Iranian nation hinder international convergence to combat this global disaster.

Please Click here and sign the petition

Update

US Impedes Global Fight against Coronavirus: FM Zarif

Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the US hampers global fight against coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

While appreciating requests of the international community for lifting US sanctions imposed against Tehran, he considered Washington as a hurdle ahead of global combat against this fatal disease.

In his twitter account on Mon., Zarif wrote, “Iranian people appreciate the growing global campaign of government & civil society leaders calling for lifting of illegal US sanctions. US is NOT listening, impeding global fight against #COVID-19. The ONLY remedy: DEFY US mass punishment. MORAL & PRAGMATIC imperative.”

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in world countries and Iran especially in a recent month, a great number of world leaders including Turkey, Russia, Pakistan and China called for lifting US sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Meanwhile, US sanctions has created serious problem for sending medical equipment and supplies to Iran to confront coronavirus.

However, US President Donald Trump has recently announced that he is against lifting sanctions imposed on Iran. Despite the global demands for lifting sanctions, US government has imposed new sanctions on some Iranian entities and companies over the past few days.

According to the report, the death toll from the novel coronavirus outbreak, officially known as COVID-19, in Iran has risen to 1685 with 21,638 confirmed cases and 7,913 have been recovered.

Source: Iranian Agencies

Blockaded Gaza Looks Wryly On As World Isolates Itself

Blockaded Gaza Looks Wryly On As World Isolates Itself

By Nidal al-Mughrabi – Reuters

“Dear world, how is the lockdown? Gaza.”

A sly dig at the international community, this is just one among a torrent of social media posts that has emerged from the blockaded Gaza Strip in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The sight of a world locking itself down seems to have unleashed a wellspring of emotions in Gaza, from sardonic political commentary to schadenfreude, emerging from Palestinian denizens of the tiny coastal enclave that has for years lived with enforced isolation and confinement.

“Have you got bored with your quarantine, the closure of your crossings, your airports and your trade? We in Gaza have been living under this for 14 years,” one social media user posted this week.

“Oh world, welcome into our permanent reality,” he added.

Gaza, measuring 375 square kilometers is home to around two million Palestinians, more than half of them refugees.

Along 90% of its land and sea boundaries its access to the outside world is controlled by ‘Israel’, and by Egypt on its narrow southern border.

An ‘Israeli’-led blockade has put restrictions on the movement of people and goods for years, amid security concerns following the 2007 takeover of Gaza by Hamas, and three subsequent wars which killed thousands of Palestinians and around 100 ‘Israelis’.

The irony is not lost on Gazans that the restrictions they chafe against may also have contributed to slowing the entry of coronavirus, with no cases reported thus far in Gaza.

But prolonged closure and isolation have contributed to the crippling of Gaza’s economy, with unemployment at 52 percent and poverty levels of over 50 percent.

Standing in his empty metal factory in northern Gaza City, businessman Youssef Sharaf recalled the years when he used to be able to export electric heaters to ‘Israel’ and the West Bank.

“I had 70 people working here, today I only have one,” Sharaf told Reuters.

Although the underlying causes of his closure were man-made, he empathized with those facing shutdown because of disease.

“It is tough,” he said. “May God be with them.”

But in Gaza’s small but resilient high-tech sector, the obstacles that stop travel abroad also forced the early adoption of teleconferencing and other practices that world is now catching up with.

At Gaza Sky Geeks, an incubator for young entrepreneurs, computer programmers and web developers work remotely with international firms. “Because of the years-long blockade on us, Gaza people better understand the current situation in world countries,” said Angham Abu Abed, 24, a computer engineer who works with a software company in Britain.

“We hope the blockade on us will end, and we hope the virus will disappear from the world.”

COVID-19: Further Evidence that the Virus Originated in the US

By Larry Romanoff

Global Research, March 11, 2020

It would be useful to read this prior article for background:

China’s Coronavirus: A Shocking Update. Did The Virus Originate in the US?

By Larry Romanoff, March 04, 2020

***

As readers will recall from the earlier article (above), Japanese and Taiwanese epidemiologists and pharmacologists have determined that the new coronavirus almost certainly originated in the US since that country is the only one known to have all five types – from which all others must have descended. Wuhan in China has only one of those types, rendering it in analogy as a kind of “branch” which cannot exist by itself but must have grown from a “tree”.

The Taiwanese physician noted that in August of 2019 the US had a flurry of lung pneumonias or similar, which the Americans blamed on ‘vaping’ from e-cigarettes, but which, according to the scientist, the symptoms and conditions could not be explained by e-cigarettes. He said he wrote to the US officials telling them he suspected those deaths were likely due to the coronavirus. He claims his warnings were ignored.

Immediately prior to that, the CDC totally shut down the US Military’s main bio-lab at Fort Detrick, Maryland, due to an absence of safeguards against pathogen leakages, issuing a complete “cease and desist” order to the military. It was immediately after this event that the ‘e-cigarette’ epidemic arose.

Screenshot from The New York Times August 08, 2019

We also had the Japanese citizens infected in September of 2019, in Hawaii, people who had never been to China, these infections occurring on US soil long before the outbreak in Wuhan but only shortly after the locking down of Fort Detrick.

Then, on Chinese social media, another article appeared, aware of the above but presenting further details. It stated in part that five “foreign” athletes or other personnel visiting Wuhan for the World Military Games (October 18-27, 2019) were hospitalised in Wuhan for an undetermined infection.

The article explains more clearly that the Wuhan version of the virus could have come only from the US because it is what they call a “branch” which could not have been created first because it would have no ‘seed’. It would have to have been a new variety spun off the original ‘trunk’, and that trunk exists only in the US. (1)

There has been much public speculation that the coronavirus had been deliberately transmitted to China but, according to the Chinese article, a less sinister alternative is possible.

If some members of the US team at the World Military Games (18-27 October) had become infected by the virus from an accidental outbreak at Fort Detrick it is possible that, with a long initial incubation period, their symptoms might have been minor, and those individuals could easily have ‘toured’ the city of Wuhan during their stay, infecting potentially thousands of local residents in various locations, many of whom would later travel to the seafood market from which the virus would spread like wildfire  (as it did).

That would account also for the practical impossibility of locating the legendary “patient zero” – which in this case has never been found since there would have been many of them.

Next, Daniel Lucey, an infectious disease expert at Georgetown University in Washington, said in an article in Science magazine that the first human infection has been confirmed as occurring in November 2019, (not in Wuhan), suggesting the virus originated elsewhere and then spread to the seafood markets. “One group put the origin of the outbreak as early as 18 September 2019.” (2) (3)

Wuhan seafood market may not be source of novel virus spreading globally.

Description of earliest cases suggests outbreak began elsewhere.

The article states:

“As confirmed cases of a novel virus surge around the world with worrisome speed, all eyes have so far focused on a seafood market in Wuhan, China, as the origin of the outbreak. But a description of the first clinical cases published in The Lancet on Friday challenges that hypothesis.” (4) (5)

The paper, written by a large group of Chinese researchers from several institutions, offers details about the first 41 hospitalized patients who had confirmed infections with what has been dubbed 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

In the earliest case, the patient became ill on 1 December 2019 and had no reported link to the seafood market, the authors report. “No epidemiological link was found between the first patient and later cases”, they state. Their data also show that, in total, 13 of the 41 cases had no link to the marketplace. “That’s a big number, 13, with no link”, says Daniel Lucey . . . (6)

Earlier reports from Chinese health authorities and the World Health Organization had said the first patient had onset of symptoms on 8 December 2019 – and those reports simply said “most” cases had links to the seafood market, which was closed on 1 January. (7)

“Lucey says if the new data are accurate, the first human infections must have occurred in November 2019 – if not earlier – because there is an incubation time between infection and symptoms surfacing. If so, the virus possibly spread silently between people in Wuhan – and perhaps elsewhere – before the cluster of cases from the city’s now-infamous Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market was discovered in late December. “The virus came into that marketplace before it came out of that marketplace”, Lucey asserts.

“China must have realized the epidemic did not originate in that Wuhan Huanan seafood market”, Lucey told Science Insider. (8)

Kristian Andersen is an evolutionary biologist at the Scripps Research Institute who has analyzed sequences of 2019-nCoV to try to clarify its origin. He said the scenario was “entirely plausible” of infected persons bringing the virus into the seafood market from somewhere outside. According to the Science article,

“Andersen posted his analysis of 27 available genomes of 2019-nCoV on 25 January on a virology research website. It suggests they had a “most recent common ancestor” – meaning a common source – as early as 1 October 2019.” (9)

It was interesting that Lucey also noted that MERS was originally believed to have come from a patient in Saudi Arabia in June of 2012, but later and more thorough studies traced it back to an earlier hospital outbreak of unexplained pneumonia in Jordan in April of that year. Lucey said that from stored samples from people who died in Jordan, medical authorities confirmed they had been infected with the MERS virus. (10)

This would provide impetus for caution among the public in accepting the “official standard narrative” that the Western media are always so eager to provide – as they did with SARS, MERS, and ZIKA, all of which ‘official narratives’ were later proven to have been entirely wrong.

In this case, the Western media flooded their pages for months about the COVID-19 virus originating in the Wuhan seafood market, caused by people eating bats and wild animals. All of this has been proven wrong.

Not only did the virus not originate at the seafood market, it did not originate in Wuhan at all, and it has now been proven that it did not originate in China but was brought to China from another country. Part of the proof of this assertion is that the genome varieties of the virus in Iran and Italy have been sequenced and declared to have no part of the variety that infected China and must, by definition, have originated elsewhere.

It would seem the only possibility for origination is the US because only that country has the “tree trunk” of all the varieties. And it may therefore be true that the original source of the COVID-19 virus was the US military bio-warfare lab at Fort Detrick. This would not be a surprise, given that the CDC completely shut down Fort Detrick, but also because, as I related in an earlier article, between 2005 and 2012 the US had experienced 1,059 events where pathogens had been either stolen or escaped from American bio-labs during the prior ten years – an average of one every three days.

*

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Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He can be contacted at: 2186604556@qq.com. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

China’s New Coronavirus: An Examination of the Facts

Notes

(1) https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/CjGWaaDSKTyjWRMyQyGXUA

(2) https://science.sciencemag.org/content/367/6477/492.full

(3) Science; Jon Cohen; Jan. 26, 2020
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/01/wuhan-seafood-market-may-not-be-source-novel-virus-spreading-globally

(4) https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30183-5/fulltext

(5) https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30183-5/fulltext

(6) http://wjw.wuhan.gov.cn/front/web/showDetail/2020011109036

(7) http://wjw.wuhan.gov.cn/front/web/showDetail/2020011509040

(8) https://sciencespeaksblog.org/2020/01/25/wuhan-coronavirus-2019-ncov-qa-6-an-evidence-based-hypothesis/

(9) http://virological.org/t/clock-and-tmrca-based-on-27-genomes/347

(10) http://applications.emro.who.int/emhj/v19/Supp1/EMHJ_2013_19_Supp1_S12_S18.pdf

Featured image is from Health.milThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Larry Romanoff, Global Research, 2020


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China Does Not Rule Out US Role in Coronavirus Outbreak

By Staff, Agencies

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has not ruled out the possibility that the United States was to blame for the spread of the new coronavirus in the Asian country.

Geng Shuang, the ministry spokesman, sidestepped questions on Friday about whether Beijing viewed Washington as responsible for the deadly virus outbreak in China, a day after another spokesman suggested the US army could have engineered it.

Speaking at a news conference in the Chinese capital, Geng refused to directly comment when asked whether his colleague Zhao Lijian’s comments were consistent with Beijing’s official stance on the virus.

“In fact, the international community, including people within the US, have different opinions about the origin of the virus,” Geng told reporters at the presser.

“As I have been saying for a few days, China has always seen this as a matter of science, and scientific and professional opinions must be heard.”

Geng went on to say, “You’re very interested to know if Zhao Lijian’s views represent the views of the Chinese government.”

“I believe that perhaps you would be better off first asking whether or not recent comments from a number of senior US officials attacking or smearing China represent the US government’s position.”

In a strongly-worded tweet, written in English, Zhao blasted the US on Thursday for what he called lack of transparency in official reports regarding the coronavirus outbreak in the US.

He suggested that the US military might have brought the new coronavirus to the Chinese city of Wuhan, the birthplace of the current global pandemic.

“When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!” Zhao wrote.

The Chinese government had been criticized by Western media and particularly by US officials for what was alleged to be a slow response to the outbreak and of not being sufficiently transparent.

Beijing has, however, been taking strict measures since the outbreak began, including locking down Wuhan, a city of roughly 11 million people, which appears to have paid off.

The COVID-19 disease, caused by the new coronavirus, emerged in the provincial capital of Hubei late last year and is currently affecting 131 countries and territories across the globe. It has so far infected over 137,000 people and killed more than 5,000 others.

The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.

Suleimani Assassination Didn’t Affect IRGC Activities in Syria: Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth

March 8, 2020

Source: Al-Manar English Website

The Zionist newspaper, Yediot Ahronoth, warned that the Iranian activities in Syria has not been affected by the assassination of the former IRGC chief martyr General Qasem Suleimani, citing the continuous cooperation with the Syrian authorities.

General Suleimani embraced martyrdom in a US drone attack on his convoy at Baghdad airport on January 3, 2020, entailing an Iranian rocketry response as IRGC’s precision-guided missiles hit Ain Al-Asad US military base in Iraq five days later.

Yedioth Ahronoth said that ‘Israel’ expected that Iran would reconsider its policies in Syria and the region after the assassination of General Suleimani, considering that the new IRGC Chief Ismail Qaani would not have the same proficiency at activating the whole pro-Iranian structure in the Middle East.

The paper warned that the Israeli leadership that IRGC activities have continued to be as vigorous as they used to be during General Suleimani’s term, highlighting the cooperation with the Syrian President Bashar Assad in this regard.

Imam Khamenei Urges India to Stop Extremist Anti-Muslim Violence

By Staff, Agencies

Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei deplored the massacre of Muslims in India, calling on the New Delhi government to confront extremist Hindus.

In a post on Thursday, Imam Khamenei’s official Twitter account denounced the recent wave of violence against Muslims in India.

“The hearts of Muslims all over the world are grieving over the massacre of Muslims in India,” the post read.

“The govt of India should confront extremist Hindus & their parties & stop the massacre of Muslims in order to prevent India’s isolation from the world of Islam,” it added.

The post ended with the hashtag #IndianMuslimslnDanger.

Violence erupted in the Indian capital last week, leading to a three-day-long rampage, with Hindu mobs attacking Muslim homes, shops and mosques.

The attacks were carried out on protesters, who have been rallying against a new citizenship law, after the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP] leader Kapil Mishra threatened peaceful sit-ins would be removed from the streets.

The violence in Delhi killed scores of people.

It was the worst violence in Delhi since 1984, when more than 3,000 Sikh minority were killed following the assassination of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

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