Why does the public tolerate its biological warfare?

Why does the public tolerate its biological warfare?

June 10, 2020

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

As Jeffrey A. Lockwood recounted in his 2008 book Six-Legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War, the first four nations that pioneered biological warfare were during the 1930s — Hitler’s Germany, Hirohito’s Japan, and Churchill’s England and Canada. However, under U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1940s, a biowarfare R&D program, “Operation Capricious,” was created in 1943 so secretly that though it operated under William J. “Wild Bill” Donovan, who headed the OSS predecessor to the CIA, it was hidden even from Donovan himself. The way it was hidden is that it was being described to higher-ups as purely defensive, R&D against insect pests that enemy nations might use against America by bombing America with germ-infected insects. It was placed under the direction of George W. Merck, the hereditary President of the pharmaceutical giant, Merck & Co. This newly formed U.S. biological warfare program, that he headed, produced and stockpiled bacillus anthracis (anthrax), clostridium botulinum (botulism), and other deadly bacteria. However, starting under U.S. President Harry S. Truman, the actually aggressive program was finally approved and operationalized by the U.S. military in 1952 against North Korea and parts of China, but it was crude and unsuccessful, like all prior biowarfare efforts had been.

No biological warfare program has ever been strategically successful, because the really effective pathogens, such as viruses or the plague, simply cannot be successfully targeted — they are too contagious — and no weapon that can’t be targeted can be of use either tactically or strategically. However, the United States today has a vast network of biological-warfare laboratories, by far the world’s largest, many of them located in foreign countries.

As Major Leon A. Fox, who was the chief of the Medical Section for the U.S. Army’s Chemical Warfare Service, was the first to point out, in 1932, which then became published in the journal The Military Surgeon, v. 72, #3, in 1933, and republished in the Veterinary Bulletin, v. 28, pages 79-100:

Bacterial warfare is one of the recent scare-heads that are being served by the pseudo-scientists. … 

How are these agents to be introduced into the bodies of the enemy to produce casualties? … Certainly at the present time we know of no disease-producing micro-organisms that will respect uniform or insignia. … The use of bubonic plague today against a field force, when the forces are actually in combat, is unthinkable for the simple reason that the epidemic could not be controlled. …

Many are now associating chemical warfare and bacterial warfare, with the result that in the resolution of adjournment, voted by the General Commission of the Disarmament Conference on July 23, 1932, at Geneva, we find chemical, bacteriological, and incendiary warfare grouped for consideration. …

Certainly at the present time, practically insurmountable difficulties prevent the use of biologic agents as effective weapons.

So, although the U.S. Government, ever since at least 1952, has tried to use bacteria and viruses as weapons, the result has always been failure, for two reasons:

1: Such ‘weapons’ didn’t behave as they had been hoped to behave — they’re uncontrollable (just as Dr. Fox had predicted), and no uncontrollable thing can be effectively used as a weapon.

2: Even if they were to have behaved as they had been hoped to, they cannot be effectively targeted (which again is what Fox had predicted): they would have endangered not only the targeted country but the entire world, even if they worked, since all of us are humans, and since biological ‘weapons’ work only if they’re extremely contagious and thus pose an extreme danger to the entire human species.

Consequently: all of that public expenditure (maybe in the trillions of dollars) is sheer waste, in terms of national defense. But it’s even worse than waste, because it poses extreme danger to ANY nation, including to the one that develops the given ‘weapon’.

And Fox was likewise correct that grouping “chemical and biological weapons” together is plain stupid. Perhaps it works as propaganda, but it certainly is false as science, and as military strategy and tactics. This fact, too, is hidden from the public, instead of published to the public.

The U.S. Arms Control Association, which is secretive but was founded by major figures in America’s military-industrial complex and is charitably funded by U.S. billionaires, has squibs on 16 countries as currently having real or alleged “Chemical and Biological Weapons”, and this ‘charitable’ Association groups together those two types of ‘weapons’, so as to hide the obvious fact that ‘biological weapons’ cannot really exist, as a practical matter, since we all are humans (not only a given targeted country are), and therefore those fake ‘weapons’ are certainly not rationally to be discussed in the same category along with chemical weapons, which — like nuclear weapons — can be targeted, and therefore can and do actually exist as weapons, so that “nuclear weapons and chemical weapons” might be rationally discussed together, but “chemical and biological weapons” cannot (since there are no actual ‘biological weapons’). The ONLY reason why “chemical and biological weapons” are discussed together is that this enables the U.S. military contractors, who derive profits from selling to the United States Government, to continue their “socialism-for-the-rich” gravy train, by treating germs and viruses (which are contagious) as if they were merely chemicals (which are not contagious). For example: On 24 January 2008, Barton J. Bernstein’s article in the Journal of Strategic Studies“America’s biological warfare program in the Second World War” described U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s unsuccessful attempt, on 14 July 1943, to find out “Why is it so confidential to destroy insect pests?” And it’s why that Deep State program was headed by George Merck, who “led the War Research Service, which initiated the U.S. biological weapons program with Frank Olson.”

Nonetheless, as Whitney Webb well documented in her 30 January 2020 “Bats, Gene Editing and Bioweapons: Recent DARPA Experiments Raise Concerns Amid Coronavirus Outbreak”, the Pentagon currently has an extensive program of R&D into even just specifically bat-based biological ‘weapons’, and China has cooperated with the Pentagon in that research. Why would China be cooperating with America in order to develop unnaturally deadly — human-created — human pathogens? Whereas America’s funding of this ‘research’ is open, publicly acknowledged (even though the ‘weapons’ that might result from it would be international war-crimes to use), China’s Government claims to have no biological-warfare program. Who, then was funding such useless ‘research’ at the Wuhan lab?

The basic question here, however, is “Why does the public tolerate its biological warfare?” and one possible reason why they tolerate it might be that they are propagandized by the media of the billionaires who benefit from bioweapons R&D — profit from it — and who (like the Arms Control Association, and like the also billionaires-owned-and-

Who profits from biowarfare R&D? Who are the people that have been behind this?

The laboratories, that do it, receive some, but not all, of their funding from the governments (the taxpayers) in all nations that perform this research — mainly the U.S., but also including China, Canada, and perhaps a few others.

Here are the top 100 U.S. corporations that profit from warfare — invading and militarily occupying and subduing foreign countries (since all actual dangers to U.S. national security that haven’t been “false-flag” events such as 9/11, ended when World War II ended, and were produced in order to increase U.S. military expenditures, not actually in order to protect Americans or anyone else). Other than some universities, such as (in 2015) #56 Johns Hopkins, and #82 Johns Hopkins Health Sys Corp., and drugmankers, like #89 GlaxoSmithKline, few of them seem even possibly to be receiving federal money for the deveopment of biological ‘weapons’. However, if some of them are owned or controlled by the same people who own or control Merck or other drug companies that might be profiting from this, then control of the military contractors could be boosting those drug companies’ stock values. And the ownership and control of virtually all major corporations is hidden by many devices, both legal and illegal. What exists in such a situation is secret government, not even possibly a democratic government.

Regarding specifically China: Are some Chinese profiting from this research; and, if so, which ones? And why isn’t the Chinese Government publicly exposing them, legally trying them in entirely public proceedings, and executing them if clear evidence is presented to the public that they had been doing this illegal research for private profit? Because, if the Chinese Government won’t do that, then it’s not really illegal in China.

All the while, the nation that has by far the largest biological-warfare program, the U.S., continues to expand it, instead of bans it — as international law would require, if the U.S. Government even paid attention to international law, which it doesn’t. (This U.S. flouting of international law is endorsed by both of America’s political Parties; it is bipartisan in the U.S.)

If the public will no longer tolerate its funding biological warfare, then when will the massive public demonstrations be organized throughout the world condemning the U.S., China, and other governments, that either participate in this R&D or else tolerate instead of clearly outlawing it — punish everyone in the given nation who participates in it?

Why haven’t these massive public demonstrations, against this R&D, already occurred?

If this won’t happen, then there is no public demand for accountability, and then this purely destructive R&D will continue, and it will continue to be publicly funded, though it benefits only some stockholders and corporate executives, and causes massive global harm — perhaps including the coronavirus-19 pandemic.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

AMERICAN PRAVDA: OUR CORONAVIRUS CATASTROPHE AS BIOWARFARE BLOWBACK?

A

Opinion

Nearly 30,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus during the last two weeks, and by some estimates this is a substantial under-count, while the death-toll continues to rapidly mount. Meanwhile, measures to control the spread of this deadly infection have already cost 22 million Americans their jobs, an unprecedented economic collapse that has pushed our unemployment rates to Great Depression levels. Our country is facing a crisis as grave as almost any in our national history.

For many weeks President Trump and his political allies had regularly dismissed or minimized this terrible health threat, and suddenly now faced with such a manifest disaster, they have naturally begun seeking other culprits to blame.

The obvious choice is China, where the global outbreak first began in late 2019. Over the last week or two our media has been increasingly filled with accusations that the dishonesty and incompetence of the Chinese government played a major role in producing our own health catastrophe.

Even more serious charges are also being raised, with senior government officials informing the media that they suspect that the Covid-19 virus was developed in a Chinese laboratory in Wuhan and then carelessly released upon a vulnerable world. Such “conspiracy theories” were once confined to the extreme political fringe of the Internet, but they are now found in the respectable pages of my morning New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

Whether plausible or not, such accusations carry the gravest international implications, and there are growing demands that China financially compensate our country for its trillions of dollars in economic losses. A new global Cold War along both political and economic lines may rapidly be approaching.

I have no personal expertise in biowarfare technology, nor access to the secret American intelligence reports that seem to have been taken seriously by our most elite national newspapers. But I do think that a careful exploration of previous Sino-American clashes over the last couple of decades may provide some useful insight into the relative credibility of those two governments as well as that of our own media.

During the late 1990s, America seemed to reach the peak of its global power and prosperity, basking in the aftermath of its historic victory in the long Cold War, while ordinary Americans greatly benefited from the record-long economic expansion of that decade. A huge Tech Boom was at its height, and Islamic terrorism seemed a vague and distant thing, almost entirely confined to Hollywood movies. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the possibility of large scale war seemed to have dissipated so political leaders boasted of the “peace dividend” that citizens were starting to enjoy as our huge military forces, built up over nearly a half-century, were downsized amid sweeping cuts in the bloated defense budget. America was finally returning to a regular peacetime economy, with the benefits apparent to the everyone.

At the time, I was overwhelmingly focused on domestic political issues, so I only paid slight attention to our one small military operation of those years, the 1999 NATO air war against Serbia, intended to safeguard the Kosovar Muslims from ethnic cleansing and massacre, a Clinton Administration project that I fully endorsed.

Although our limited bombing campaign seemed quite successful and soon forced the Serbs to the bargaining table, the short war did include one very embarrassing episode. The use of old maps had led to a targeting error that caused one of our smart bombs to accidentally strike the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, killing three members of its delegation and wounding dozens more. The Chinese were outraged by this incident, and their propaganda organs began claiming that the attack had been deliberate, a reckless accusation that obviously made no logical sense.

In those days I watched the PBS Newshour every night, and was I shocked to see their U.S. Ambassador raise those absurd charges with host Jim Lehrer, whose disbelief matched my own. But when I considered that the Chinese government was still stubbornly denying the reality of its massacre of the protesting students in Tiananmen Square a decade earlier, I concluded that unreasonable behavior by PRC officials was only to be expected. Indeed, there was even some speculation that China was cynically milking the unfortunate accident for domestic reasons, hoping to ignite the sort of jingoist anti-Americanism among the Chinese people that would finally help bind the social wounds of that 1989 outrage.

Such at least were my thoughts on that matter more than two decades ago. But in the years that followed, my understanding of the world and of many pivotal events of modern history underwent the sweeping transformations that I have described in my American Pravda series. And some of my 1990s assumptions were among them.

Consider, for example, the Tiananmen Square Massacre, which every June 6th still evokes an annual wave of harsh condemnations in the news and opinion pages of our leading national newspapers. I had never originally doubted those facts, but a year or two ago I happened to come across a short article by journalist Jay Matthews entitled “The Myth of Tiananmen” that completely upended that apparent reality.

According to Matthews the infamous massacre had likely never happened, but was merely a media artifact produced by confused Western reporters and dishonest propaganda, a mistaken belief that had quickly become embedded in our standard media storyline, endlessly repeated by so many ignorant journalists that they all eventually believed it to be true. Instead, as near as could be determined, the protesting students had all left Tiananmen Square peacefully, just as the Chinese government had always maintained. Indeed, leading newspapers such as the New York Times and the Washington Post had occasionally acknowledged these facts over the years, but usually buried those scanty admissions so deep in their stories that few ever noticed. Meanwhile, the bulk of the mainstream media had fallen for an apparent hoax.

Matthews himself had been the Beijing Bureau Chief of the Washington Post, personally covering the protests at the time, and his article appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, our most prestigious venue for media criticism. This authoritative analysis containing such explosive conclusions was first published in 1998, and I find it difficult to believe that many reporters or editors covering China have remained ignorant of the truth, yet the impact has been absolutely nil. For over twenty years virtually every mainstream media account I have read has continued to promote the Tiananmen Square Massacre Hoax, usually implicitly but sometimes explicitly.

Even more remarkable were the discoveries I made regarding our supposedly accidental bombing of the Chinese Embassy in 1999. Not long after launching this website, I added former Asia Times contributor Peter Lee as a columnist, incorporating his China Matters blogsite archives that stretched back for a decade. He soon published a 7,000 word article on the Belgrade Embassy bombing, representing a compilation of material already contained in a half-dozen previous pieces he’d written on that subject from 2007 onward. To my considerable surprise, he provided a great deal of persuasive evidence that the American attack on the Chinese embassy had indeed been deliberate, just as China had always claimed.

According to Lee, Beijing had allowed its embassy to be used as a site for secure radio transmission facilities by the Serbian military, whose own communications network was a primary target of NATO airstrikes. Meanwhile, Serbian air defenses had shot down an advanced American F-117A fighter, whose top-secret stealth technology was a crucial U.S. military secret. Portions of that enormously valuable wreckage were carefully gathered by the grateful Serbs, who delivered it to the Chinese for temporary storage at their embassy prior to transport back home. This vital technological acquisition later allowed China to deploy its own J20 stealth fighter in early 2011, many years sooner than American military analysts had believed possible.

Based upon this analysis, Lee argued that the Chinese embassy was attacked in order to destroy the Serbian retransmission facilities located there, while punishing the Chinese for allowing such use. There were also widespread rumors in China that another motive had been an unsuccessful attempt to destroy the stealth debris contained there. Later Congressional testimony revealed that the among all the hundreds of NATO airstrikes, the attack on the Chinese embassy was the only one directly ordered by the CIA, a highly-suspicious detail.

I was only slightly familiar with Lee’s work, and under normal circumstances I would have been very cautious in accepting his remarkable claims against the contrary position universally held by all our own elite media outlets. But other sources he cited completely shifted that balance.

Although the American media dominates the English-language world, many British publications also possess a strong global reputation, and since they are often much less in thrall to our own national security state, they have sometimes covered important stories that were ignored here. And in this case, the Sunday Observer published a remarkable expose in October 1999, citing several NATO military and intelligence sources who fully confirmed the deliberate nature of the American bombing of the Chinese embassy, with a US colonel even reportedly boasting that their smartbomb had hit the exact room intended.

This important story was immediately summarized in the Guardian, a sister publication, and also covered by the rival Times of London and many of the world’s other most prestigious publications, but encountered an absolute wall of silence in our own country. Such a bizarre divergence on a story of global strategic importance—a deliberate and deadly US attack against Chinese diplomatic territory—drew the attention of FAIR, a leading American media watchdog group, which published an initial critique and a subsequent follow-up. These two pieces totaled some 3,000 words, and effectively summarized both the overwhelming evidence of the facts and also the heavy international coverage, while reporting the weak excuses made by top American editors to explain their continuing silence. Based upon these articles, I consider the matter settled.

Few Americans remember our 1999 attack upon the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, and if not for the annual waving of a bloody June 6th flag by our ignorant and disingenuous media, the “Tiananmen Square Massacre” would also have long since faded from memory. Neither of these events has much direct importance today, at least for our own citizens. But the broader media implications of these examples do seem quite significant.

These incidents represented two of the most serious flashpoints between the Chinese and American governments during the last thirty-odd years. In both cases the claims of the Chinese government were entirely correct, although they were denied by our own top political leaders and dismissed or ridiculed by virtually our entire mainstream media. Moreover, within a few months or a year the true facts became known to many journalists, even being reported in fully respectable venues. But that reality was still completely ignored and suppressed for decades, so that today almost no American whose information comes from our regular media would even be aware of it. Indeed, since many younger journalists draw their knowledge of the world from these same elite media sources, I suspect that many of them have never learned what their predecessors knew but dared not mention.

Most leading Chinese media outlets are owned or controlled by the Chinese government, and they tend to broadly follow the government line. Leading American media outlets have a corporate ownership structure and often boast of their fierce independence; but on many crucial matters, I think the actual reality is not so very different from that in China.

I tend to doubt that the Chinese leadership has any overwhelming commitment to the truth, and the reasons for their greater veracity are probably practical ones. American news and entertainment completely dominate the global media landscape and they face no significant domestic rival. So China recognizes that it is vastly outmatched in any propaganda conflict, and so as the far weaker party must necessarily try to stick closer to the truth, lest its lies be immediately exposed. Meanwhile, America’s overwhelming control over information may lead to considerable hubris, with the government sometimes promoting the most outrageous and ridiculous falsehoods in the confident belief that a supportive American media will cover for any mistakes.

These considerations should be kept in mind as we attempt to sift the accounts of our often unreliable and dishonest media to extract the true circumstances of the current global coronavirus epidemic. Unlike careful historical analysis, we are working in real-time with our analysis greatly hindered by the ongoing fog of war, so that any conclusions are necessarily very preliminary ones. But given the high stakes, the attempt should be made.

When my morning newspapers first began mentioning the appearance of a mysterious new illness in China during mid-January, I paid little attention, absorbed as I was in the aftermath of our sudden assassination of Iran’s top military leader and the dangerous possibility of a yet another Middle Eastern war. But the reports persisted and grew, with deaths occurring and evidence growing that the viral disease could be transmitted between humans. China seemed unsuccessful in its initial efforts to halt the spread of the disease using convention methods.

Then on Jan. 23rd and after only 17 deaths, the Chinese government took the astonishing step of locking down and quarantining the entire 11 million inhabitants of the city of Wuhan, a story that drew worldwide attention. They soon extended this policy to the 60 million Chinese of Hubei province, and not longer afterward shut down their entire national economy and confined 700 million Chinese to their homes, a public health measure probably a thousand times larger than anything previously undertaken in human history. So either China’s leadership had suddenly gone insane, or they regarded this new virus as an absolutely deadly national threat, which they must take all possible steps to control.

Given these dramatic Chinese actions and the international headlines that they generated, the current accusations by Trump Administration officials that China had attempted to minimize or conceal the serious nature of the disease outbreak is so ludicrous as to defy rationality. In any event, the record shows that on December 31st, the Chinese had already alerted the World Health Organization about the strange new illness, and Chinese scientists published the entire genome of the virus on Jan. 12th, allowing diagnostic tests to be produced worldwide.

Unlike other nations, China had had no advance warning of the nature or existence of the deadly new disease, and therefore faced unique obstacles. But their government implemented public health control measures unprecedented in the history of the world and managed to almost completely eradicate the disease with merely the loss of a few thousand lives.

Meanwhile, many other Western countries such as the US, Italy, Spain, France, and Britain dawdled for months and ignored the potential threat, consequently now suffering well over 100,000 dead, with the numbers still rapidly mounting. For any of these nations or their media to criticize China for its ineffectiveness or slow response represents an absolute inversion of reality.

Some governments took full advantage of the early warning and scientific information provided by China. Although nearby East Asian nations such as South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore had been at greatest risk and were among the first infected, their competent and energetic responses allowed them to almost completely avoid any major outbreak, and they have suffered minimal fatalities. But America and several European countries largely ignored adopting these same early measures such as widespread testing, quarantine, and contact-tracing, and have paid a terrible price for their insouciance.

A few weeks ago British Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that his own coronavirus plan for Britain was based upon rapidly achieving “herd immunity”—essentially encouraging the bulk of his citizens to become infected—then quickly backed away after his desperate advisors recognized that the result might entail a million or more British deaths.

By any reasonable measure, the response to this global health crisis by China and most East Asian countries has been absolutely exemplary, while that of many Western countries has been equally disastrous. Maintaining reasonable public health has been a basic requirement of functional governments since the days of the city-states of Sumeria, and the sheer and total incompetence of our own government and those of many of its European vassals has been breathtaking. If the Western media attempts to pretend otherwise, it will permanently forfeit whatever remaining international credibility it still possesses.

I do not think these particular facts are much disputed except among the most blinkered partisans, and the Trump Administration probably recognizes the hopelessness of arguing otherwise. This probably explains their recent shift towards a far more explosive and controversial narrative, namely claiming Covid-19 may have been the product of Chinese research into deadly viruses at a Wuhan laboratory, thereby suggesting that the blood of hundreds of thousands or millions of victims around the world will be on Chinese hands. Dramatic accusations backed by overwhelming international media power may deeply resonate across the globe.

News reports appearing in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times are reasonably consistent, and cite senior Trump Administration officials pointing to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a leading Chinese biolab, as the possible source of the infection, with the deadly virus having been accidentally released and then spreading first throughout China and later worldwide. Trump himself has publicly voiced similar suspicions, as did Secretary of State and former CIA Director Mike Pompeo in a FoxNews interview. Private lawsuits against China in the multi-trillion-dollar range have already been filed by rightwing activists and Republican senators Tom Cotton and Lindsey Graham have raised similar governmental demands.

I obviously have no personal access to the classified intelligence reports that have been the basis of these charges by Trump, Pompeo, and other top administration officials. But in reading these recent news accounts, I noticed something rather odd.

Back in January, few Americans were paying much attention to the early reports of a disease outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan, which was hardly a household name. Instead, overwhelming political attention was focused upon the battle over Trump’s impeachment and on the aftermath of our dangerous military confrontation with Iran. But towards the end of that month, I discovered that the fringes of the Internet were awash with claims that the disease was caused by a Chinese bioweapon accidentally released from that same Wuhan laboratory, with former Trump advisor Steve Bannon and ZeroHedge, a popular right-wing conspiracy-website, playing leading roles in backing the theory. Indeed, the stories became so widespread in those ideological circles that Sen. Tom Cotton, a leading Neocon, began promoting them on Twitter and FoxNews, thereby provoking an article in the NYT on those “fringe conspiracy theories.”

I suspect that it may be more than purely coincidental that the biowarfare theories which erupted in such concerted fashion on political websites and Social Media accounts back in January so closely match those now publicly advocated by top Trump Administration officials and supposedly based upon our most secure intelligence sources. Perhaps a few intrepid citizen-activists managed to replicate the findings of our multi-billion-dollar intelligence apparatus, and did so in days while the latter required weeks or months. But a more likely scenario is that the wave of January speculation was driven by private leaks and “guidance” provided by exactly the same elements that today are very publicly leveling similar charges in the elite media. Initially promoting controversial theories in less mainstream sources is supposedly a fairly standard intelligence practice.

Regardless of the origins of the idea, does it seem plausible that the coronavirus outbreak might have originated as an accidental leak from that Chinese laboratory? I am not privy to the security procedures of Chinese government facilities, but applying a little common sense may shed some light on that question.

Although the coronavirus is only moderately lethal, apparently having a fatality rate of 1% or less, it is extremely contagious, including during an extended pre-symptomatic period and also among asymptomatic carriers. Thus, portions of the US and Europe are now suffering heavy casualties, while the means taken to control the spread has devastated their national economies. Although the virus is not likely to kill more than a small sliver of the population, we have seen to our dismay how a major outbreak can easily wreck our entire economic life.

During January, the journalists reporting on China’s mushrooming health crisis regularly emphasized that the mysterious new viral outbreak had occurred at the worst possible place and time, in the major transport hub of Wuhan just prior to the Lunar New Year holiday, when hundreds of millions of Chinese usually travel to their homes for the celebration, thereby potentially spreading the disease to all parts of the country and producing a permanent, uncontrollable epidemic. The Chinese government avoided that grim fate by the unprecedented decision to shut down the entire national economy and confine 700 million Chinese to their homes for many weeks. But the outcome seems to have been a very near thing, and if Wuhan had remained open for just a few days longer, China might easily have suffered long-term economic and social devastation.

The timing of an accidental laboratory release would obviously be entirely random. Yet the outbreak seems to have begun during the precise period of time most likely to damage China, the worst possible ten-day or perhaps thirty-day window. As I noted in January, there seemed no solid evidence that the coronavirus was a bioweapon, but if it were, the timing of the release seemed very unlikely to have been accidental.

If the virus was released intentionally, the context and motive for such a biowarfare attack against China could not be more obvious. Although our disingenuous media continues to pretend otherwise, China’s economy surpassed our own in size several years ago, and has continued to grow much more rapidly. Chinese companies have also taken the lead in several crucial technologies, with Huawei becoming the world’s leading telecommunications equipment manufacturer and dominating the important 5G market. And China’s sweeping Belt and Road Initiative has threatened to reorient global trade around an interconnected Eurasian landmass, greatly diminishing the leverage of America’s own control over the seas. I have closely followed China for over forty years, and these trend-lines had never been more apparent. Back in 2012, I published an article bearing the provocative title “China’s Rise, America’s Fall?” and I have seen no reason to reassess my verdict.

For three generations following the end of World War II, America had stood as the world’s supreme economic and technological power, while the collapse of the Soviet Union thirty years ago left us as the world’s sole remaining superpower, with no conceivable military challenger. A growing sense that we were rapidly losing that unchallenged position had certainly inspired the anti-China rhetoric of many senior figures in the Trump Administration, and sparking the major trade war that they launched soon after coming into office. The increasing misery and growing impoverishment of large sections of the American population naturally left these voters searching for a convenient scapegoat, and the prosperous, rising Chinese made a perfect target.

Despite America’s growing economic conflict with China over the last couple of years, I had never considered the possibility that matters might take a military turn. The Chinese had long ago deployed advanced intermediate range missiles that many believed could easily sink our carriers in the region, and they had also generally improved their conventional military deterrent. Moreover, China was on quite good terms with Russia, which itself had been the target of intense American hostility for several years; and Russia’s new suite of revolutionary hypersonic missiles had drastically reduced any American strategic advantage. Thus, a conventional war against China seemed an absolutely hopeless undertaking, while China’s outstanding businessmen and engineers were steadily gaining ground against America’s decaying and heavily-financialized economic system.

Under these difficult circumstances, an American biowarfare attack against China might have seemed the only remaining card to play in hopes of maintaining American supremacy. Plausible deniability would minimize the risk of any direct Chinese retaliation, and if successful, the terrible blow to China’s economy would set it back for many years, perhaps even destabilizing the social and political system. Using alternative media to immediately promote theories that the coronavirus outbreak was the result of a leak from a Chinese biowarfare lab was a natural means of preempting any later Chinese accusations along similar lines, thereby winning the international propaganda war for America before China had even begun to play.

A decision by elements of our national security establishment to wage biological warfare in hopes of maintaining American world power would certainly have been an extremely reckless act, but extreme recklessness had become a consistent American pattern since 2001, especially under the Trump Administration. Just a year earlier we had kidnapped the daughter of Huawei’s founder and chairman, who also served as CFO and ranked as one of China’s most top executives, while at the beginning of January we suddenly assassinated Iran’s top military leader.

These were the thoughts that came to mind during the last week of January once I discovered the widely circulating theories suggesting that China’s massive disease epidemic had been the self-inflicted consequence of its own biowarfare research. I saw no solid evidence that the coronavirus was a bioweapon, but if it were, there seemed an overwhelming likelihood that China was the innocent victim of the attack, presumably carried out by elements of the American national security establishment.

At that point, someone brought to my attention a very long article by an American ex-pat living in China who called himself “Metallicman” and held a wide range of eccentric and implausible beliefs. I have long recognized that flawed individuals can often serve as the vessels of important information otherwise unavailable, and this case constituted a perfect example of that. His piece denounced the outbreak as a likely American biowarfare attack, and provided a great wealth of factual material I had not previously considered. Since he authorized republication elsewhere I did so, and by the end of January his 15,000 word analysis, although somewhat raw and unpolished, was attracting an enormous amount of readership on our website, probably being one of the very first English-language pieces to suggest that the mysterious new disease was an American bioweapon. Many of his arguments appeared doubtful to me or have been obviated by later developments, but several seemed quite telling.

He pointed out that during the previous two years, the Chinese economy had already suffered serious blows from other mysterious new diseases, although these had targeted farm animals rather than people. During 2018 a new Avian Flu virus had swept the country, destroying large portions of China’s poultry industry, and during 2019 the Swine Flu viral epidemic had devastated China’s pig farms, destroying 40% of the nation’s primary domestic source of meat, with widespread claims that the latter disease was being spread by small drones. My morning newspapers had hardly ignored these important business stories, noting that the sudden destruction of China’s domestic food sources might constitute a huge boon to American farm exports at the height of our trade conflict, but I had never considered the obvious implications. So for three years in a row, China had been severely impacted by strange new viral diseases, though only the most recent had been deadly to humans. Although this evidence was merely circumstantial, the pattern seemed highly suspicious.

The writer also noted that shortly before the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, that city had hosted 300 visiting American military officers, there to participate in the 2019 Military World Games, an absolutely remarkable coincidence of timing. As I pointed out at the time, how would Americans react if 300 Chinese military officers had paid an extended visit to Chicago, and soon afterward a mysterious and deadly epidemic had suddenly broken out in that city? Once again, the evidence was merely circumstantial but certainly raised dark suspicions.

Scientific investigation of the coronavirus had already pointed to its origins in a bat virus, leading to widespread media speculation that bats sold as food in the Wuhan open markets had been the original disease vector. Meanwhile, the orchestrated waves of anti-China accusations had emphasized Chinese laboratory research on that same viral source. But we soon published a lengthy article by investigative journalist Whitney Webb providing copious evidence of America’s own enormous biowarfare research efforts, which had similarly focused for years on bat viruses. Webb was then associated with MintPress News, but that publication had strangely declined to publish her important piece, perhaps skittish about the grave suspicions it directed towards the US government on so momentous an issue. So without the benefit of our platform, her major contribution to the public debate might have attracted relatively little readership.

Around the same time, I noted another extremely strange coincidence that seemed to attract no interest from our somnolent national media. Although his name had meant nothing to me, in late January my morning newspapers carried major stories on the sudden arrest of Prof. Charles Lieber, one of Harvard University’s top scientists and Chairman of its Chemistry Department, sometimes characterized as a potential future Nobel Laureate.

The circumstances of that case seemed utterly bizarre to me. Like numerous other prominent American academics, Lieber had had decades of close research ties with China, holding joint appointments and receiving substantial funding for his work. But now he was accused of financial reporting violations in the disclosure portions of his government grant applications—the most obscure sort of offense—and on the basis of those accusations, he was seized by the FBI in an early-morning raid on his Cambridge home and dragged off in shackles, potentially facing decades of federal imprisonment.

Such government action against an academic seemed almost without precedent. During the height of the Cold War, numerous American scientists and technicians were rightfully accused of having stolen our nuclear weapons secrets for delivery to Stalin, yet I had never heard of any of them treated in such a manner, let alone a scholar of Prof. Lieber’s stature, who was merely charged with technical disclosure violations. Indeed, his treatment recalled accounts of NKVD raids during the Soviet purges of the 1930s.

Although Lieber was described as a chemistry professor, a few seconds of Googling revealed that some of his most important work had been in virology, including technology for the detection of viruses. So a massive and deadly new viral epidemic had broken out in China and almost simultaneously, a top American scholar with close Chinese ties and expertise in viruses was suddenly arrested by the federal government, yet no one in the media expresses any curiosity at a possible connection between these two events.

I think we can safely assume that Lieber’s arrest by the FBI had been prompted by the coronavirus epidemic, but anything more is mere speculation. Those now accusing China of having created the coronavirus might surely suggest that our intelligence agencies discovered that the Harvard professor had been personally involved with that deadly research. But I think a far more likely possibility is that Lieber began to wonder whether the epidemic in China might not be the result of an American biowarfare attack, and was perhaps a little too free in voicing his suspicions, thereby drawing the wrath of our national security establishment. Inflicting such extremely harsh treatment upon a top Harvard scientist would greatly intimidate all of his lesser colleagues elsewhere, who would surely now think twice before broaching certain possible theories to any journalists.

By the end of January, our webzine had published seven articles and columns on the coronavirus outbreak, totaling tens of thousands of words, and probably established itself as the primary English-language source for a particular perspective on the deadly epidemic, with our coverage eventually attracting many hundreds of thousands of pageviews. A few weeks later, the Chinese government began gingerly raising the possibility that the coronavirus may have been brought to Wuhan by the 300 American military officers visiting that city, and was fiercely attacked by the Trump Administration for spreading anti-American propaganda. But I strongly suspect that the Chinese had gotten that idea from our own publication.

As the coronavirus gradually began to spread outside China’s own borders, another development occurred that greatly multiplied my suspicions. Most of these early cases had occurred exactly where one might expect, among the East Asian countries bordering China. But by late February Iran had become the second epicenter of the global outbreak. Even more surprisingly, its political elites had been especially hard-hit, with a full 10% of the entire Iranian parliament soon infected and at least a dozen of its officials and politicians, some of them quite senior, soon dying of the disease. Indeed, Neocon activists on Twitter began boasting that their hatred Iranian enemies were now dropping like flies.

Let us consider the implications of this. Across the entire world the only political elites that have yet suffered any significant human losses have been the Iranians, and they died at a very early stage, before significant outbreaks had even occurred almost anywhere else in the world outside China. Thus, we have America assassinating Iran’s top military commander on Jan. 2nd and then just a few weeks later large portions of the Iran’s ruling elites became infected by a mysterious and deadly new virus, with many of them soon dying as a consequence. Could any rational individual possibly regard this as a mere coincidence?

Biological warfare is a highly technical subject, and those possessing such expertise are unlikely to candidly report their classified research activities in the pages of our major newspapers, perhaps even less so after Prof. Lieber was dragged off to prison in chains. My own knowledge is nil. But in mid-March I came across several extremely long and detailed comments on the coronavirus outbreak that had been posted on a small website by an individual calling himself “OldMicrobiologist” and who claimed to be a retired forty-year veteran of American biodefense. The style and details of his material struck me as quite credible, and after a little further investigation I concluded that there was a high likelihood that his background was exactly as he had described. I made arrangements to republish his comments in the form of a 3,400 word article, which soon attracted a great deal of traffic and 80,000 words of further comments.

Although the writer said that he had absolutely no proof, he said that his experience led him to strongly suspect that the coronavirus outbreak was indeed an American biowarfare attack against China, probably carried out by agents brought into that country under cover of the Military Games held at Wuhan in late October, the sort of sabotage operation our intelligence agencies had sometimes undertaken elsewhere. One important point he emphasized was that high lethality was often counter-productive in a bioweapon since debilitating or hospitalizing large numbers of individuals may impose far greater economic costs on a country than a biological agent which simply inflicts an equal number of deaths. In his words “a high communicability, low lethality disease is perfect for ruining an economy,” suggesting that the apparent characteristics of the coronavirus were close to optimal in this regard. Those so interested should read his analysis and assess for themselves his credibility and persuasiveness.

One intriguing aspect of the situation was that almost from the first moment that reports of the strange new epidemic in China reached the international media, a large and orchestrated campaign had been launched on numerous websites and Social Media to identify the cause as a Chinese bioweapon carelessly released in its own country. Meanwhile, the far more plausible hypothesis that China was the victim rather than the perpetrator had received virtually no organized support anywhere, and only began to take shape as I gradually located and republished relevant material usually drawn from very obscure sources and often anonymously authored. So it seemed that only one side was waging an active information war, and that side was not China’s. The nearly simultaneous launch of such a major propaganda campaign may not necessarily demonstrate that an actual biowarfare attack had occurred, but I think it tends to support such a notion.

When considering the hypothesis of an American biowarfare attack, certain natural objections come to mind. The major drawback to biological warfare has always been the obvious fact that the self-replicating agents employed are not prone to respect national borders, raising the serious risk that the disease might eventually return to the land of its origin and inflict substantial casualties. For this reason, it seems quite doubtful that any rational and half-competent American leadership would have unleashed the coronavirus against China.

But as we absolutely see demonstrated in our daily news headlines, America’s current government is grotesquely and manifestly incompetent, more incompetent than one could almost possibly imagine, with tens of thousands of Americans having now already paid with their lives for such extreme incompetence. Rationality and competence are obviously nowhere to be found among the Deep State Neocons that President Donald Trump has appointed to so many crucial positions throughout our national security apparatus.

Moreover, the extremely lackadaisical notion that a massive coronavirus outbreak in China would never spread back to America might have seemed plausible to individuals who carelessly assumed that past historical analogies would exactly apply. As I wrote a few weeks ago:

Reasonable people have suggested that if the coronavirus was a bioweapon deployed by elements of the American national security apparatus against China (and Iran), it’s difficult to imagine why they didn’t assume it would naturally leak back in the US and start a huge pandemic here, as is currently happening.

The most obvious answer is that they were stupid and incompetent, but here’s another point to consider…

In late 2002 there was the outbreak of SARS in China, a related virus but that was far more deadly and somewhat different in other characteristics. The virus killed hundreds of Chinese and spread into a few other countries before it was controlled and stamped out. The impact on the US and Europe was negligible, with just a small scattering of cases and only a death or two.

So if American biowarfare analysts were considering a coronavirus attack against China, isn’t it quite possible they would have said to themselves that since SARS never significantly leaked back into the US or Europe, we’d similarly remain insulated from the coronavirus? Obviously, such an analysis was foolish and mistaken, but would it have seemed so implausible at the time?

As some must have surely noticed, I have deliberately avoided investigating any of the scientific details of the coronavirus. In principle, an objective and accurate analysis of the characteristics and structure of the virus might help suggest whether it was entirely natural or rather the product of a research laboratory, and in the latter case, possibly indicating whether the source was China, America, or some third country.

But we are dealing with a cataclysmic world event and those questions obviously have enormous political ramifications, so the entire subject is shrouded by a thick fog of complex propaganda, with numerous conflicting claims being advanced by interested parties. I have no background in microbiology let alone biological warfare, so I would be hopelessly adrift in evaluating such conflicting scientific and technical claims. I suspect that this is equally true of the overwhelming majority of other observers as well, though committed partisans are loathe to admit that fact, and will eagerly seize upon any scientific argument that supports their preferred position while rejecting those that contradict it.

Therefore, by necessity, my own focus is on evidence that can at least be understood by every layman, if not necessarily always accepted. And I believe that the simple juxtaposition of several recent disclosures in the mainstream media leads to a rather telling conclusion.

For obvious reasons, the Trump Administration has become very eager to emphasize the early missteps and delays in the Chinese reaction to the viral outbreak in Wuhan, and has presumably encouraged our media outlets to focus on this topic.

As an example of this, the Associated Press Investigative Unit recently published a rather detailed analysis of those early events purportedly based upon confidential Chinese documents. Provocatively entitled “China Didn’t Warn Public of Likely Pandemic for 6 Key Days”, the piece was widely distributed, running in abridged form in the NYT and elsewhere. According to this reconstruction, the Chinese government first became aware of the seriousness of this public health crisis on Jan. 14th, but delayed taking any major action until Jan. 20th, a period of time during which the number of infections greatly multiplied.

Last month, a team of five WSJ reporters produced a very detailed and thorough 4,400 word analysis of the same period, and the NYT has published a helpful timeline of those early events as well. Although there may be some differences of emphasis or minor disagreements, all these American media sources agree that Chinese officials first became aware of the serious viral outbreak in Wuhan in early to mid-January, with the first known death occurring on Jan. 11th, and finally implemented major new public health measures later that same month. No one seems to have disputed these basic facts.

But with the horrific consequences of our own later governmental inaction being obvious, sources within our intelligence agencies have sought to demonstrate that they were not the ones asleep at the switch. Earlier this month, an ABC News story cited four separate government sources to reveal that as far back as late November, a special medical intelligence unit within our Defense Intelligence Agency had produced a report revealing than an out-of-control disease epidemic was occurring in the Wuhan area of China, and widely distributed that document throughout the top ranks of our government, warning that steps should be taken to protect US forces based in Asia. After the story aired, a Pentagon spokesman officially denied the existence of that November report, while various other top level government and intelligence officials refused to comment. But a few days later, Israeli television revealed that in November American intelligence had indeed shared such a report on the Wuhan disease outbreak with its NATO and Israeli allies, thus seeming to independently confirm the complete accuracy of the original ABC story and its several government sources.

It therefore appears that elements of the Defense Intelligence Agency were aware of the deadly viral outbreak in Wuhan more than a month before any officials in the Chinese government itself. Unless our intelligence agencies have pioneered the technology of precognition, I think this may have happened for the same reason that arsonists have the earliest knowledge of future fires.

Back in February, before a single American had died from the disease, I wrote my own overview of the possible course of events, and I would still stand by it today:

Consider a particularly ironic outcome of this situation, not particularly likely but certainly possible…

Everyone knows that America’s ruling elites are criminal, crazy, and also extremely incompetent.

So perhaps the coronavirus outbreak was indeed a deliberate biowarfare attack against China, hitting that nation just before Lunar New Year, the worst possible time to produce a permanent nationwide pandemic. However, the PRC responded with remarkable speed and efficiency, implementing by far the largest quarantine in human history, and the deadly disease now seems to be in decline there.

Meanwhile, the disease naturally leaks back into the US, and despite all the advance warning, our totally incompetent government mismanages the situation, producing a huge national health disaster, and the collapse of our economy and decrepit political system.

As I said, not particularly likely, but certainly a very fitting end to the American Empire…


By Ron Unz
Source: Unz Review

Calculated Assumptions and Prevention of “Scientifically Shattered” Societies

April 25, 2020

Note by the Saker: I did post this excellent article by Mansoureh Tajik because it presented a view rarely seen in the West: a view from Iran and a view from a deeply religious person. Yes, that is somewhat of a departure from my rule about not discussing medical aspects of the pandemic, but in this case, it was worth it, at least in my opinion.
HOWEVER
I ask you to please not use this pretext, again, inundate the comment section with you favorite theory about the virus. Really! Surely you can react and discuss this article without the obligatory “here is my theory about the virus”.
Looks, if I cannot appeal to your common sense, then I will have to shut down the comments section under this article.
Your choice.
The Saker

Calculated Assumptions and Prevention of “Scientifically Shattered” Societies

Calculated Assumptions and Prevention of “Scientifically Shattered” Societies

by Mansoureh Tajik for The Saker Blog

Health is severely commodified and diseases are disgracefully exploited as means to social, political, and financial ends. Statements like, “Let us not play politics with people’s health” are made to dress up stealth politics and covert missions to play political games with people’s health and lives on behalf of some vested interest. It is done so by pretending the efforts are devoid of any politics and solely intended for the good of the general public.

In the current atmosphere of uncertainty, disinformation, and behind-the-scene jockeying around this maroon aureole, therefore, our priorities demand us to make transparent the underlying politics of top contenders in the competition of narratives. Who is doing what to whom, how, why, and what is next?

I borrow a passage from Sylvia Noble Tesh’s classic book (1988), Hidden Arguments: Political Ideology and Disease Prevention Policy,[1] to contextualize the point of this exercise and questions, The discussions in that book are a bit dated but their resonances feel rather current. She asserted:

“Behind debates about such questions as the toxicity of environmental pollutants, the hazards of smoking, and the health effects of cholesterol lie other hidden arguments. These arguments are more fundamental: What is the legitimate source of knowledge? What is the nature of human beings? And what is the ideal structure of society? Firmly but often unconsciously held answers to these questions guide scientists, policy makers, and ordinary citizens alike to different constellations of facts about the causes of disease and hence, to different preferences for prevention policy.”[2]

We could add questions about an infectious disease like COVID-19 and its potential causes to Tesh’s list and still be in the same frame of argument. It has been stated in the past and it does not hurt to repeat, as Shi’a, we do not believe there to be any separation between our politics and our religion. Health and diseases greatly affect if and how we perform our required and essential tasks like prayers, fasting, Hajj, jihad, and more. Even our most basic greeting, Salam, and the name of our religion, Islam, all share the same root as our word for health, Salamat. So, for us, there is no shame or any compulsion in admitting that matters related to health and diseases are one and the same as our religion and our politics.

Those societies in which their systems of beliefs have convinced their people, however, that health and disease decisions are made through some apolitical processes and free of political values should have followed Tesh’s advice some thirty years ago that,

“We need public discussion about the values, beliefs, and ideologies with which scientists and policy makers begin. This is not an unwarranted intrusion of politics into science. There is no science uninfluenced by politics. This is a plea to get the politics out of hiding.”[3]

Judging by the signs, I sense that the time for such public discussions by the elites are way passed their deadlines. Discussions about exactly whose political values, views, and interests in public health and diseases are hidden from the very public, at the exclusion of, and at the expense of that very public are all passed due. It appears in not so distant a future such discussions will be carried out by the public on the streets with guns and at gunpoint.

Meanwhile, it is useful to discuss and clarify a few relevant items since the decisions we make rest heavily on what we assume the causes of current events are. It is imperative to make the correct decision and determine which side to take and where to spend most of our energy. In this essay, I would like to discuss one of the Saker’s position regarding SARS-COV-2 and contrast that with the position of the Iranians.

From the beginning of the coronavirus affair, the Saker has maintained a firm position that novel coronavirus is not a bio-weapon. He made his point here and reiterated his position through multiple updates. He solidly sealed his view here. In a recent article here, he provided a reminder by recapitulating that “a truly weaponized virus would both be much more transmissible than SARS-COV-2 and it would be far more deadly.”

It is certainly quite appropriate to assume the null until we have enough solid evidence to reject it. That means, in the case of the novel coronavirus the default assumption would maintain the virus not to be a bio-weapon unless and until there is preponderance of reasonable evidence to reject the null assumption. The Saker has gone a step further, however. His statements, in effect, provide an acceptance of the null not as an assumption but as a proven statement.

The position of the Iranians contrasts with that position. It is not prudent for us to accept the Saker’s firm assessment and to rule out a strong possibility that SARS-COV-2 could be a bio-weapon. My own impetus to pry open the Saker’s stance is twofold. On one hand, I would like to ensure the principle of precaution in these discussions are not overlooked (i.e. the need to err on the side of caution). On the other hand, I think the actual rationale provided by the Saker concerning the aspects of “transmissibility” and “deadliness” of SAR-COV-2 in determining its weaponization status needs additional investigation.

First the principle of precaution. Iranians are a nation that has been the subject of relentless conventional and non-conventional attacks by the US and the west from every imaginable venue and by any conceivable means. Therefore, as a people who are still suffering from the consequences of the chemical attacks by then weaponized agent, Sadam Hussein, we do not feel we have the luxury of definitively accepting a non-weaponized status for this virus.

We imagine for ourselves four possible scenarios based on two rival assumptions. First, if we assumed this virus is a bioweapon and planned according to that assumption, and the virus turned out to have been indeed a bioweapon, then we have done right by our nation and what we are obligated to do in terms of preparation and protection.

Second, if we assumed the virus is not a bioweapon, thus we do not treat it as one but it is, in fact, a bioweapon, then we are guilty of neglect, carelessness, and in breach of our duties in protecting ourselves and our nation.

Third, if we assumed the virus is a bioweapon and prepared accordingly and it turned out not to have been one, then we have prepared for and put into practice a drill with all its required infrastructure that are useful for our defenses and preparedness. In addition, we have supported the country’s health system and have helped reduce its burden in dealing with an infectious disease.

Fourth, if we assumed the virus is not a bioweapon and it was not one, then we would have carried on with life as usual and dealt with a particularly tough flu season and we were no more prepared than before the whole affair.

The Leader of Iran, Ayatullah Khamenei clarified[4] Iran’s position and decision in one of his earlier speeches on March 8 as follows:

“Another key point is that we are asking all sections in the country, we request them to cooperate with a sense of responsibility with the Ministry of Health which is at the frontline of this issue and to make available to the ministry all their necessary resources. We have, of course, asked the armed forces and all organs linked to our office [i.e. the office of the Commander in Chief of all armed forces, Ayatullah Khamenei] that they, too, cooperate and put all of their resources in this area at the service of the people. This is not an event that has just happened for our country. You know and you have heard that this has happened in many countries of the world. The difference, of course, is that in many countries, they are hiding the truth, they are not talking about it. Our officials have spoken with sincerity and truthfulness from the very first day. They have been transparent in their reporting. They have made people aware of the situation which is a good thing. There are places though that we know they have it much worse than we do, but they do not talk about it. We do ask God Almighty for health and wellbeing for all those other countries, too. God Will InshAllah help them, too.

And the last word on this matter is that this event is a transient issue as well. It will pass. It is not an extraordinary event. Happenings similar to this occur in the country. Certainly, I do not wish to minimize the issue but we should not aggrandize it either. There is something that has happened. It will take a specific period of time. A period of time that will not be too long, InshAllah. This will exist for the country and then it will go away. The experiences that we will gain in this area, the actions that people take, and what various organs do, which in fact a general and a public drill in this area, this could become an achievement. If we could have these sorts of achievements, a calamity changes to a blessing. A threat changes into an opportunity.”

Last week, in an event held during this year’s Army Day celebration in Iran on Friday, April 17, Amir Sartip Aziz Nasirzadeh, the head of Islamic Republic’s Air Force, said[5],

“We view the spread of coronavirus through a military lens. The spread of this virus, in our calculation, is a biological threat or a quasi-biological threat. This subject for the armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the military is a practice and a drill to counter biological threats.”

For Iranians, therefore, to assume the novel coronavirus as a bioweapon is logically and wisely a more appropriate assumption. An assumption of otherwise could be more deleterious. However, the Iranians having figured into their calculus not to accept the null assumption about the novel coronavirus is not a reasonable evidence to reject the Saker’s argument. Therefore, I discuss the second element that motivates me to offer this rebuttal which relates to the actual rationale provided by the Saker. He used not high enough “transmissibility” and insufficient “deadliness” as two major determinants to reject the weaponization of SAR-COV-2.

To be fully transparent, I must say I am not an expert in weapons and my practical military training is limited to what a regular Basiji goes through here in Iran. That makes my expertise in this area limited to not accidentally shooting myself in the foot. My argument is therefore literary in essence and not based on practical skills and field experience.

To weaponize an agent (biological, chemical, or nuclear) and the degree of weaponization depends entirely on the specific aim and purpose for that weaponizing. That means, a biological agent can be designed and released to be not highly but “just enough” transmissible and not highly lethal but “just enough” deadly to achieve the intended goal of an attack. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had identified around 30 organisms[6] that might be weaponized. CDC employs a classification scheme based on the intended outcome in three different categories of weaponizations for biological agents. The classification is based on “ease of dissemination, morbidity and mortality, panic potential, and level of public health requirements.” They have defined the categories as follows:

Category A: Highest priority diseases that pose a risk to national security, are easily transmitted, have high morbidity and mortality, would have a major public health impact and cause panic, and require special public health preparedness.

Category B: Moderate priority diseases with lower morbidity and mortality and more difficult to disseminate.

Category C: High priority diseases that have the potential to cause significant morbidity and mortality and are emerging pathogens that could be engineered for mass dispersionCategory C agents are emerging pathogens that could be engineered for mass dissemination because of their availability, ease of production and dissemination, mortality rate, and ability to cause a substantial health impact.”[6]

It is therefore important to consider the intended outcomes as important variables in determining the weaponization of SAR-COV-2. Looking from this angle, transmissibility and deadliness would be more of a tactical decision commensurate to specific aims of the attack than key indicators of weaponization. It might be interesting to note that US CDC had classified SARS coronaviruses as potential biological agents under Category C[7], but it is now removed from its main page[8]. Those interested though could search for published scientific articles that used the CDC’s information as their references in earlier dates.

I would like to go a bit further in supporting my position. I will use an example of attack operations during World War I in which the British carried out “low-grade” attacks and acts of sabotage against the Ottoman’s darling project, the Hejaz Railway. An excerpt from an article by S. Anderson (2014) in the Smithsonian Magazine[9] illustrates the significance of the railroad:

“The southernmost town in Jordan, Mudowarra was once connected to the outside world by means of that railroad. One of the great civil-engineering projects of the early 20th century, the Hejaz Railway was an attempt by the Ottoman sultan to propel his empire into modernity and knit together his far-flung realm. By 1914, the only remaining gap in the line was located in the mountains of southern Turkey. When that tunneling work was finished, it would have been theoretically possible to travel from the Ottoman capital of Constantinople all the way to the Arabian city of Medina, 1,800 miles distant, without ever touching the ground. Instead, the Hejaz Railway fell victim to World War I. For nearly two years, British demolition teams, working with their Arab rebel allies, methodically attacked its bridges and isolated depots, quite rightly perceiving the railroad as the Achilles’ heel of the Ottoman enemy, the supply line linking its isolated garrisons to the Turkish heartland.”

Those attacks were carried out under the command of the British agent T.E. Lawrence (the infamous Lawrence of Arabia made famous by Hollywood). The attacks could have actually been more exact and more destructive than they were to finish the job of destroying the railroad in a much shorter time frame. However, they opted for operations that were less destructive. Lawrence himself explains the reason in Revolts in the Desert[10] by saying:

“In the drainage holes of the spandrils six small charges were inserted zigzag, and with their explosion all the arches were scientifically shattered; the demolition being a fine example of that finest sort which left the skeleton of its bridge intact indeed, but tottering, so that the repairing enemy had a first labour to destroy the wreck, before they could attempt to rebuild.”

“Scientifically shattered,” seems to suggest causing “just enough” destruction for the enemy to get entangled and locked in specific areas, to divert its resources, manpower, and focus to those areas and away from other priorities and critical tasks. If the bridges and the railroads of Hejaz Railway were “scientifically shattered” and tulip bombs were used to twist the rails into tangled ribbons of steel but not completely destroy them, why would not a virus be weaponized in a manner that can “scientifically shatter,” let’s say, health systems, health personnel, and infrastructure of a country with “just enough” but not very high destruction and lethality?

I can think of two specific reasons: 1) A fear that bioweapon would spread beyond the target population and adversely affect allies and own forces and populations. 2) A fear of God and the Day of Judgment. Let’s briefly explore both reasons. For the first one, in case the biological agent can make its way back to one’s own population, if the original source of the attack is prepared, then this becomes a non-issue. However, if not, we must examine whether or not those who use such weapons care sufficiently about their own people and populations.

In a study conducted by the Institute of Medicine titled, “Veterans at Risk: The Health Effects of Mustard Gas and Lewisite,” that was presented at a hearing by the members of the US Congress in 1993 regarding US Department of Defense Mustard Gas Testing,[11] it was revealed that 60,000 US service members were exposed to mustard agents and Lewisite during World War II. Based on the records of that hearing, participants in military test experienced varying degree of exposure to mustard agent or Lewisite. The tests ranged from a drop of agent on the arm in “patch” tests to repeated gas chamber trials and fields tests. In addition, there were thousands of non-service individuals who worked in the US arsenals that produced these chemical agents. There were no follow-up medical care or monitoring of long-term effects but at the time of hearing, the information from the study revealed that:

The scanned document is some hundred thirty pages long, within it though, there are some vivid descriptions that illustrate a high level of indifference and disregard for human suffering. An excerpt is shown below:

We could spend quite a bit of time to review similar examples from the exposure of Vietnam Veterans to Agent Orange[12, 13] to CIA and Military testing of LSD[14] to various DARPA projects. However, the point can be made that some governments’ concerns for health and wellbeing of their own people may not be sufficiently high to serve as an obstacle in decision making.

The second reason about why would a given power refrain from “scientifically shattering” populations and societies using bio-weapons is a fear of God and the Day of Judgment. It is that belief that we cannot really get away and there WILL come a day when we must defend our intentions and deeds. Here, I am not talking about a superficial belief and using the name of God Almighty as a political means to material ends. Nor am I speaking of the type of believers who think they can commit all sorts of atrocities and injustice and be forgiven by God because they are just so special and “chosen”.

وَقَالُوا لَنْ تَمَسَّنَا النَّارُ إِلا أَيَّامًا مَعْدُودَةً [And they say, “Never will the Fire touch us, except for a short period of time.” (Qur’ān, Chapter 2, Verse 80)].

I am speaking of genuinely true believers in God who are very fearful and weary of the day they must stand before their Creator and defend their actions. That is enough functional and practical (not theoretical) fear and weariness that would prevent them from violating God’s boundaries and committing atrocities now, here, and in this world.

Perhaps a passage from the book, Brother Qasem[15], which contains a collection of lectures, talks, and views from Martyr Sardar Soleimani could illustrate what I mean. The segment is titled “Didn’t you say you invited him?!” in the book:

“For years we had been chasing after one of the most notorious rebels in Sistan and Bluchestan. This rebel was very active in narcotic trafficking and had martyred great many of our revolutionary guard members. Finally, after employing very complex intelligence operations, we invited him to a special locality for negotiation. Immediately upon his and his companions’ arrival to the designated place, we arrested him and his team and put them in jail. We were very pleased. He was someone whose criminal record would have secured him some fifty death sentences.

In a meeting in which we were visiting the Leader [Ayatullah Khamenei], I brought up the subject and gave the Leader the news about the arrest and described the event. I was expecting to see a positive reaction and happy response from His Eminence. The Great Leader of the Revolution immediately ordered, “Tell them to set him free right this moment.”

Without hesitation and question, I made the call. Afterwards, while quite baffled, I asked, “Agha! Why? I don’t understand; why did I have to do that? Why did you order his release?”

The Leader said, “Didn’t you say you had invited him?! The order of Islam is that if you invite anyone, and he is your guest, even if he is your father’s killer, you have no right to cause him discomfort.”

I was stunned with the response. Immediately, of course, the Leader commanded, “You must make sure to arrest him.” A few months later, in another series of complex operations, we arrested the fellow.”

The rebel in question was Abdulmalik Rigi, the terrorist agent in the service of the US and the Saudis. But he is not the key point of the excerpt, the Taqwa (as operationalized here by the Leader of the Iranian Revolution) is. Taqwa is to always be mindful and fearful of God’s boundaries and to make sure one does not cross them not matter what the event or the situation. May peace be upon you.

References

[1] Tesh SN (1988). Hidden Arguments: Political Ideology and Disease Prevention Policy. 4th Edition, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

[2] Ibid, P. 3.

[3] Ibid, P. 177.

[4] Speeches by Ayatullah Khamenei on Esfand 13, 1398 (March 8, 2020). Speech after Tree Planting Ceremony. Available online at: http://farsi.khamenei.ir/speech-content?id=45076

[5] Tasnim News Agency, “Fight against corona for armed forces is a military exercise against biological threats.” Farfardin 29 (April 17), 1399; 10:46; News code: 2245243; https://tn.ai/2245243

[6] Williams M, Sizemore DC. “Biologic, Chemical, and Radiation Terrorism Review.” [Updated 2020 Feb 17]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493217/

[7] Moran GJ (2002). “Threats in bioterrorism. II: CDC category B and C agents.” Emergency Medicine Clinics of North America, 20(2):311-30.

[8] US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2020). Bioterrorism Agents and Diseases by Category. Access online at: https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/agentlist-category.asp#c

[9] Anderson S (2014). “World War I: Hundred Years Later, The True Story of Lawrence of Arabia.” Simithsonian Magazine, Special Report, Available online at: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/true-story-lawrence-arabia-180951857/

[10] TE Lawrence (1926). Revolt in the Desert. Garden City Publishing Company, Inc.

[11] Hearing before the Sub-committee on Compensation, Pension, and Insurance of the Committee on Veteran’s Affairs, House of Representatives, One Hundred Second Congress, Second Session, March 10, 1993. Printed for the use of the Committee on Veteran’s Affairs, Serial No. 103-3. Available online at: https://ia802307.us.archive.org/31/items/departmentofdefe1993unit/departmentofdefe1993unit.pdf

[12] Hansen JC (1981). “The Vietnam Veteran vs Agent Orange: The War that Lingers.” Government Accounting Office (GAO) Review, Spring 1981, Pages 29-36. Available online at: https://www.gao.gov/assets/680/674041.pdf

[13] Stellman JM & Stellman SD (2018). “Agent Orange During the Vietnam War: The Lingering Issue of Its Civilian and Military Health Impact.” American Journal of Public Health, 108(6): 726-728.

[14] Disbennett BM (2014). “An Analysis of CIA and Military Testing of LSD on non-Consenting US Service Members and Recovery through the VA Disability System.” Tennessee Journal of Race, Gender, & Social Justice, 3(2): 173-201.

[15] Mehrvanfar A (1397). “Brother Qasem: a Collection of Strategic thinking of Haj Qasem Soleimani in areas of Guardianship, Revolution, Holy Defense, Martyrdom, the Protectors of Haram, Culture and Arts.” Mehr Amir-Al Mumenin Publishing, 1st Edition, Page 23. [Translated from the original in Farsi by the author.]

The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Another Reminder of Western Barbarianism

The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Another Reminder of Western Barbarianism 

By Darko Lazar

During the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999, the Western military alliance devastated the country’s civilian infrastructure. The long list of targets included 19 hospitals, 18 kindergartens, 176 cultural monuments and 44 bridges. 

Several weeks into the military campaign, which was fiercely opposed by Russia and China, a total of five satellite-guided bombs, delivered by American B-2 bombers, slammed into the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. 

The attack on the symbol of Chinese sovereignty in the heart of the Balkans killed three Chinese nationals and wounded twenty others. 

Washington and Brussels claimed the attack was a mistake. But NATO’s increasingly bloody push eastwards would have unintended consequences. 

The Belt and Road Initiative vs. Western dictates 

Just a few months after the bombing of Serbia, Russia’s President Boris Yeltsin was quietly pushed out of office and replaced by the relatively unknown Vladimir Putin.

When Putin won his first election in 2000, he is rumored to have had two inauguration ceremonies. One was held in full view of the global media and another unfolded in the Kremlin’s underground chambers. 

There he was joined by a small group of Russian military officers and operatives from the country’s security apparatus. These men understood that it was only a matter of time before NATO bombs started falling on downtown Moscow, and the decision had been made to confront Western expansionism. 

In the years that followed, China and Russia would join hands with Iran to suppress American influence though the creation of a Eurasian union made up of sovereign and independent nations. 

This ambitious scheme reached Serbia in the form of Russian military hardware and China’s Belt and Road Initiative. 

Beijing found a reliable partner in the government of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, and in less than a decade, the Chinese poured billions of dollars in investments into the Balkan state. 

The investments propped up critical industries in Serbia, including a copper mine, a steelmaker, and a thermal power plant. While safeguarding tens of thousands of jobs and driving much-needed growth, the Chinese were also building new bridges, roads, and ports. 

Meanwhile, Vucic adopted an intelligent foreign policy – one made possible by the reemergence of a multipolar world. He reached out to both east and west and then took the best deal on the table. But the West had little to offer. 

Most of the exchanges with Brussels consisted of dictates. No longer able to bomb embassies, the West demanded Belgrade introduce ‘political reforms’ and restrict Chinese investments. 

Western political elites remained convinced that China and Russia have nothing to offer countries like Serbia that could rival joining ‘democratic’ Western alliances. 

The coronavirus pandemic delivered yet another serious blow to this arrogant and abominable point of view.     

Solidarity and fairytales

As coronavirus infections spiked dramatically across Europe earlier this month, Vucic declared that “European solidarity does not exist.” 

“This was a fairytale on paper,” Vucic said as he announced a state of emergency in his country. “Today I sent a special letter to the only ones who can help, and that is China.” 

He explained that he asked Chinese President Xi Jinping “not only as a dear friend, but as a brother” to provide Serbia desperately needed assistance after the EU imposed a ban on exports of medical equipment.  

Once again, when time came for building bridges instead of destroying them, the great humanitarians of the West had nothing to offer. Meanwhile, Chinese gear and experts flooded Serbia virtually overnight.

Beijing’s assistance and strict measures imposed by the government early on helped Serbia stave off disaster.   

But Serbia isn’t the only country receiving planeloads of supplies from the east. Chinese medical equipment is being sent to Iran, Iraq, and a number of European states including Italy where over 10,000 people have thus far perished due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Italy – the first EU state to embrace the Belt and Road Initiative in 2019 – turned to China after its plea for help from its European neighbors was refused. 

Similar acts of solidarity came from the Russians and some Latin American states. The Cubans flew their doctors to Italy and were asked to return to Brazil where they were expelled in 2018 and labeled “Communist spies” by the right-wing government of Jair Bolsonaro. 

Meanwhile, Western powerhouses are looking inwards. As they cling onto stocks depleted by years of healthcare cuts, the Trump administration was reportedly caught offering piles of money for ‘exclusive rights’ to a Covid-19 vaccine.

Imprisoned by their own twisted interpretations of human rights, many of these governments were slow to react. They hesitated in following the Chinese model and imposing drastic restrictions on freedom of movement. Instead they were worried about profits and how the stock markets would react. 

And even as the U.S. becomes the new epicenter of this pandemic, President Donald Trump expressed his readiness to potentially risk millions of American lives by reopening the country in just a few weeks.

This brutal face of capitalism is also on full display for Washington’s adversaries, namely Iran and Venezuela, where unilateral sanctions are preventing the delivery of desperately needed medical supplies.  

As such, Western governments and their policies are not only endangering individual nation states. At a time when a highly infectious disease is spreading at an unprecedented speed, these policies are threatening the entire global population. 

De omnibus dubitandum est

Despite extensive global coverage of this pandemic, very little is actually known about Covid-19. We don’t know how dangerous the virus is or its concrete consequences. And we certainly don’t have tangible details about what caused the outbreak. 

This leaves plenty of room for speculation, conspiracy theories, and even talk about aliens. Whatever the truth, biological warfare involving powerful political currents can never be ruled out. 

In an op-ed published more than two years ago, Al-Ahed pointed to the existence of hundreds of American military biological laboratories across the Eurasian continent. The labs were being used by the Pentagon to gather intelligence on microorganisms – vital for the creation of highly effective biological weapons. 

There is no doubt that the coronavirus transcends borders and religions and doesn’t discriminate between rich and poor. But that doesn’t mean that the virus isn’t helping further certain political agendas. 

The coronavirus has done what “Israel’s” politicians have failed to do for over a year. It’s brought an end to the political deadlock with indicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set to form the next government. 

By bringing the global economy to a screeching halt, Covid-19 has given birth to another Great Depression and paved the way for the collapse of certain governments. 

Equally important is the fact that the virus has the potential to determine the outcome of every single election process in the Western world for some time to come, including the U.S. presidential race. 

At times like these, it would be wise to remember the words of the late Danish philosopher Soren Aabye Kierkegaard who titled one of his books, De omnibus dubitandum est or “everything must be doubted”. 

NUKES, BUGS, AND GAS IN HYBRID WARS: NUCLEAR, BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL PROTECTION TROOPS OF RUSSA

South Front

This video was originally released by SouthFront in August 2016. In the coming weeks, SouthFront is going to release a series of exclusive videos covering various aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. These videos will provide a closer look at means, measures and structures employed by nations to combat the outbreak.

The recent spate of reports that Russian Radio-Chemical Defense (RKhB) Troops  have been deployed to the Yamal Peninsula in order to combat an anthrax breakout among the local fauna brought attention to a relatively unknown and even unglamorous branch of the Russian Armed Forces which is tasked with protecting own forces, infrastructure, and civilian population from the effects of weapons of mass destruction. With a history dating back to Russian Imperial Army’s independent chemical companies of World War I, and extensive service during the Great Patriotic War as smoke-laying and flame-throwing troops, the best known example of RKhB Troops in action is the operation to put out the fire at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant which demonstrated their technical prowess and self-sacrificial dedication to their life-saving mission.

Even though the Cold War, and the prospect of widespread use of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, have receded in the public’s mind, having been replaced by terrorism as the most immediate security threat, the recent deterioration of the international situation means that we are likely to see increased usage of these weapons in the coming decades.

The growth in the importance of non-state actors as US and NATO proxy warriors in Libya, Syria, and other parts of the world also have meant that such actors, confident in their Western patronage, may use prohibited weapons with legal impunity. We have seen such use on several occasions in Syria, with “moderate rebels” using nerve agents shipped from the post-Gaddafi Libya and possibly even Saudi Arabia, and more recently resorting to chlorine cylinders. The use of a so-called “dirty bomb”, or a radioactivity dispersal device, is an ever-present threat lurking in the minds of security planners around the world, including Russia. Finally, given the importance of Russia’s agriculture as a pillar of its economy and a component of its national security strategy, the use of pathogens targeting crops and livestock is also a plausible threat that must be countered. While Russian forces or civilians have not yet been explicitly targeted by such weapons, it is a virtual certainty that they will be used if the West’s so far unsuccessful “hybrid war” against Russia continues. With the West growing increasingly desperate to compel Russia to abandon its sovereignty, and given its until recently unthinkable policies such as arming radical Islamists and neo-Nazis, providing them with weapons of mass destruction for use against Russia cannot be ruled out either.

For that reason, RKhB Troops have also been the beneficiaries of the recent Russian military modernization efforts, and have undergone an expansion following the drastic post-Soviet cutbacks. The core of today’s RKhB Troops consists of four RKhB brigades, stationed one apiece in each of the four military districts. The post-2008 financial crisis rise in international threat levels has prompted an expansion by reactivating 10 RKhB regiments, with each army headquarters receiving a regiment. In addition to conducting radiological, chemical, and biological reconnaissance and decontamination, RKhB Troops retain the traditional roles of smoke-laying and flame-throwing, which means their armament even includes the TOS-1 Solntsepyok rocket self-propelled flamethrowing vehicles that have proven themselves in Syria and Iraq against Islamist militants.

Historically the best equipped chemical troops in the world, Russian RKhB Troops are continuing that tradition to this day, with the introduction of the Nerkhta gas-proof suits and PMK-3 protective masks and the extensive provision of advanced armored reconnaissance vehicles, including the BTR-80-based RKhM-6 and MTLB-based RKhM-5. Recent large-scale military exercises have also featured the employment of RKhB units and troop operations under the conditions of simulated contamination.

Like other recent Russian military preparations, these efforts are intended with deterrence in mind.  Having potent defensive capabilities may be sufficient to dissuade would-be attackers from using such weapons in the first place. However, should deterrence fail, RKhB Troops stand ready to perform their missions.

SITREP – Iran’s fight against the Coronavirus exposes Washington’s cruel nature

March 22, 2020

By Aram Mirzaei or the Saker blog

The Islamic Republic has entered its second month of battling the global pandemic caused by the Covid-19 disease. For long, Iran stood out as the hardest hit nation outside of China as the virus swiftly spread across the country, infecting several MPs and government officials as well. From the onset of the outbreak, some among the Western media were quick to criticize Iran’s handling of the outbreak, seizing a perfect opportunity to attack the Islamic Republic. Exiled opposition groups and individuals quickly took to Twitter, sharing disaster stories and videos of collapsed men and women on the streets all over Iran. Iran was immediately accused of hiding the true number of infected people and casualties, despite reassurances from the WHO that there was no evidence of a cover up in Tehran.

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/03/02/619989/WHO-Iran-coronavirus-

It could very well be true that the number of infected people in Iran are a lot higher than the official data from the Health Ministry, but unrecorded cases, so called hidden statistics exist almost everywhere. Those who aren’t considered at risk are told to remain at home and self quarantine – there’s no cover up or conspiracy in doing this. ¨

If there was a conspiracy, it would be the so called opposition activists only conspiring to mass produce fake news on Iran’s Corona fight and undermine the government’s efforts. Some of these “activists” openly call for people in Iran to make efforts to worsen the spread in a bid to bring the “regime” down. Others hoard and hide medical supplies and sanitizing products in order to undermine the country’s ability to handle the outbreak. Recently a warehouse in northwestern Iran was discovered to have hoarded 28 million masks and gloves!

Part of the reason for the quick and massive spread of the virus also lies with the government’s inability to confront the threat properly. The holy shrines remained open for a long time after the first confirmed cases in Qom, while the parliament elections were also held despite the imminent threat of an epidemic. Also, the government failed to enforce quarantines in cities such as Tehran and Qom, allowing the disease to spread across all of Iran.

The high amount of government officials and MPs infected are due to the fact that the source of the outbreak in Iran could be traced back to Qom, an important religious and political centre of Iran. A number of the infected officials have since succumbed to the disease and died during the recent weeks.

Amid this fight, it has become clear for the entire world how cruel Washington’s sanctions against Iran truly are. Not only have they refused to ease the sanctions, but they also imposed further sanctions in the recent days.

Bildresultat för iraj harirchi

Presstv:

The United States has announced a new round of sanctions against Iran as part of its so-called “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic Republic.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that Washington had blacklisted three Iranian entities for engaging in what he called “significant transactions” to trade in Iranian petrochemicals.

While he did not name any firms or individuals, Pompeo said the measure included blacklisting Iran’s armed forces social security investment company and its director for investing in the sanctioned entities.

In a separate statement, the US Commerce Department also said it would boycott a number of entities, including five Iranian nuclear scientists, for aiding Tehran’s nuclear program.

The Iranian health sector has been hit hard by the sanctions.
Tehran’s ambassador to Madrid says Iran is the only country in the world that cannot buy medicine and medical equipment from the global market because of America’s “cruel and inhumane” sanctions, which are hindering the country’s fight against a coronavirus outbreak.

Hassan Qashqavi made the remarks in an interview with Spain’s La Razon newspaper on Wednesday.

He further said that any banking transaction requires permission from the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which blocks foreign firms from engaging in transactions and trade with countries on the US’s sanctions list.

Another interesting report:

The British government is pressing the United States to ease its sanctions against Iran amid a coronavirus outbreak in the country which has infected thousands of people, says a report.

The Guardian newspaper claimed in a report published on its website on Wednesday that UK authorities were privately negotiating with Washington for a respite to Iran sanctions.

The report did not elaborate on any further details, neither was there any mention of sources corroborating the claims.

Update Sunday March 22

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has described the US “the most evil enemy of the Iranian nation”, saying the offer by the United States to help Iran fight the coronavirus outbreak is strange.

“Today, we have no less of enemies but the most evil enemy of the Iranian nation is America,” the Leader said in a televised address on Sunday.

US officials have refused to lift draconian sanctions which are hampering Iran’s efforts to contain the coronavirus. They have instead claimed readiness to aid Iranians, with President Donald Trump saying “all they have to do is ask”.

Iranian authorities have dismissed the offer as hypocritical, saying it makes no sense when Washington keeps on imposing new sanctions which have made Iran’s access to food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies impossible.

Ayatollah Khamenei called US officials deceitful, saying they were lying as he touched on speculations that the United States has manufactured the extremely contagious disease.

“Americans have said several times that ‘we are ready to help with treatment and medicine; just ask us and we will help’. This is one of the weirdest things which they tell us to ask them,” the Leader said.

“Firstly, you have a shortage yourself and this is what American officials say. Secondly, you are accused of producing the virus. I do not know how true this accusation is, but when such an accusation is made, which wise person will ask for your help?” he added.

Ayatollah Khamenei said, “American officials are mendacious, deceitful, shameless and greedy. They are all kinds of charlatans who speak like charlatans. They are cruel, merciless, and terrorist.”

According to the Leader, “part of this virus is said to have been made for Iran by using genetic backgrounds which they have collected from Iranians, which of course is part of their hostility”.

Officials in Tehran have ordered all commercial centers closed except for major chain stores supplying foodstuff and other basic requirements as well as pharmacies as part of new restrictive measures to stem the coronavirus outbreak.

Deputy Governor of Tehran Province Hamidreza Goudarzi said on Sunday new social distancing directives about what activities were and were not allowed in the capital had been issued for the megapolis of some 12 million.

Only hypermarkets and drug stores are allowed to stay open and other businesses breaching the order will be penalized, he added. The new restrictions come as Iran is stepping up its campaign to curtail a further spread of the disease.

Head of Iran’s Food and Drug Administration Mohammad Reza Shanehsaz said pharmacies across the country are replenished with protective masks, hand sanitizers and other hygiene products and there is no shortage in this regard.

Alcohol production by Iranian companies has doubled in recent weeks. “We are currently producing 400,000 litres of alcohol on a daily basis,” Shanehsaz said.

Iranian Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said on Sunday that 1,028 new coronavirus cases had been diagnosed within the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of infected individuals to 21,638.

“With 129 new deaths in the past 24 hours, the death toll from the virus has reached 1,685,” he said.
Jahanpour further put the number of patients who have recovered from the viral disease at 7,913.

Meanwhile Iran’s Health Minister Saeed Namaki said as of Sunday morning 32.7 million Iranians had been screened for the new coronavirus.

The minister said up to 60 percent of the population had confined themselves to their homes and urged the rest of the people to abide by the stay-home directives to help prevent a second wave of infections as a result of cross-country trips during the two-week Nowruz holidays.

Bildresultat för iran coronavirus doctors

Deadly Consequences of American Imperial Arrogance on Full Display in COVID-19 Outbreak

By Danny Haiphong

Source

Trump Coronavirus f8a61

Donald Trump is but a symptom of a larger disease. That disease is American imperial arrogance, and it has been on full display as COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the world and the American mainland. The potential lethality of COVID-19 is exponentially more dangerous when combined with the hubris of the American imperial order and its hyper-capitalist economic foundation. The U.S.’s response to the virus lags far behind the rest of the world. A deep thirst for profit among powerful elites dictates all social policies and organizations in the United States and this thirst has deadly consequences.

Testing for COVID-19 in the U.S. remains virtually non-existent when considered in per capita terms. The Trump administration rejected the use of COVID-19 tests supplied by the World Health Organization despite having nearly two months to prepare for the possibility of the virus’ spread on U.S. shores. Now, privately-run labs scramble to assemble their own testing kits, wasting precious time in the process. COVID-19 has an incubation period of up to 14 days. Vulnerable populations such as the disabled, the elderly, the incarcerated, and the chronically ill are potentially being sacrificed en mass because of the U.S.’ vested interest in shirking international coordination for its own short-term interests.

American imperial arrogance has thus left ordinary people in the United States completely in the dark about the dangers of COVID-19. Some people have responded with panic shopping and individual efforts in isolation. Others have ignored many of the basic recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to employ social distance and wash hands frequently. Without a planned and organized response, some Americans have even minimized the possible consequences of COVID-19. Prior to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s March 16th declaration that non-essential businesses reduce capacity, New Yorkers packed into bars and parks as if the world wasn’t mobilizing to ensure COVID-19 is contained and addressed.

American arrogance is fueled by a bipartisan consensus in Washington which prioritizes the enrichment of the few at the expense of the many. It is no secret that President Trump’s response to COVID-19 has been extremely negligent. Trump had met with several individuals who were suspected to have the virus, including Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro. That hasn’t stopped Trump from refusing to get tested and avoiding the fact that the U.S. healthcare system lacks the capacity to respond to COVID-19’s possible impact on the population. But Trump is not alone in the negligence. Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi collaborated with Republicans over a coronavirus relief bill that leaves out corporations of five hundred workers or more from a mandatory fourteen-day sick time benefit paid for by the federal government. The legislation excludes 80 percent of the working population, many of which do not have the sick time necessary to quarantine and protect themselves and their families. 

Such a tepid and putrid response from the bipartisan establishment is demonstrative of how far the U.S. political class will go to concede to its rich donors in the capitalist class. While the political class on both sides of the political aisle willfully and arrogantly ignored recommendations from the WHO, one and a half trillion dollars in stimulus has been pumped into the stock exchange to keep finance capital afloat. Meanwhile, workers are suffering. No sick time, massive school closures, and no national moratorium on evictions and foreclosures means that COVID-19 is already having devastating consequences on the half of the U.S. population which lives paycheck to paycheck. Black workers and migrant workers who make up a large portion of the low-wage economy and the prison population will be disproportionately affected by the virus’ spread.

COVID-19 is in many ways a painful form of blowback for the ways in which American imperial arrogance has ravaged the world’s nations and their people. For over a month, U.S. corporate media and political officials demonized China and condemned its response to COVID-19 as “authoritarian” and “draconian.” Iran’s own experience with COVID-19 has been made exponentially worse by U.S.-imposed sanctions that prevent access to critical medical supplies. The U.S.-blockade of Cuba prevents ordinary Americans from receiving the assistance of Cuban anti-viral medication that has proven effective in treating COVID-19. Furthermore, American leadership in pushing austerity across the world has left European countries like Italy even more vulnerable to the spread of the virus. 

The U.S. is no stranger to biological warfare as part of its overall commitment to destroying the planet at the behest of profit. Private capital views disaster as an opportunity to maximize profit. The U.S. military contracted with Monsanto and Dow Chemical to spray toxic chemicals on large portions of Vietnam’s agricultural lands. The U.S. military has repeatedly used white phosphorus and depleted uranium in Iraq. In 1945, the U.S. dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan. These acts of biological warfare and terror continue to create devastating health consequences for tens of millions of people across the world.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the U.S. ruling class has used COVID-19 to demonize China. In the Arizona Democratic Party debate, CNN’s Dana Bash asked Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders whether they would punish China for suppressing the potential global impact of COVID-19. Neither candidate rejected the very premise of the question, which rests on the faulty assumption that China allowed COVID-19 to fester and grow because a so-called whistleblower ophthalmologist was ignored and punished by Chinese authorities. The reality is that Chinese health workers had reported unusual clusters of viral cases as early as December 27th, 2019. China’s response to the virus has been praised for both its aggressiveness and effectiveness in reducing the impact of COVID-19 by leading epidemiologists and the WHO.

The U.S. placing blame on China for COVID-19 is yet another dangerous example of American imperial arrogance. While CNN and the Democratic Party candidates were arguing about China’s “authoritarianism,” Chinese billionaire and Communist Party member Jack Ma was donating masks and test kits to the United StatesThe deadly consequences of American imperial arrogance are domestic and global. Domestically, U.S. elites are antagonistic to the kind of comprehensive social response that is necessary to contain the virus. Abroad, these same elites prioritize war instead of solidarity and squander critical opportunities for coordination around crises such as COVID-19 and climate change in the process. American imperial arrogance is far more dangerous than COVID-19, as it impedes our collective ability to demand more from a U.S.-led global order which has far outlasted its usefulness to humanity.

Looking at the Military Aspects of Biological Warfare

THE SAKER • MARCH 14, 2020

The 20th century has seen a seemingly countless number of military conflicts, ranging from small local clashes, to at least two world wars. The same 20th century saw a huge efforts by major powers to develop three types of so-called “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD): Atomic, Bacteriological and Chemical (ABC). All of these WMD were initially seen as very effective and very frightening, yet there were only used in a few, limited occasions.

Ask yourself, why is that?

The reason is simple: while the US could nuke Japanese cities with impunity in 1945, and while the Anglo powers developed at least THREE plans to wage a total war against the Soviet Union (details in this article), they never dared to implement them.

Again, ask yourself, why is that?

I am a total medical ignoramus, and I have nothing to say about the nature of SARS-CoV-2, I am a military analyst and one of my two areas of specialization (besides planning nuclear forces) was operational art, that is the level of military operations above tactical, but under strategic: you can think of it as what connects the tactical means to the strategic goals. You can also think of it as the level at which combined arms (above division level) formations are brought together in something similar to an army corps. This is exactly the level at which the used of WMD would be the most likely to happen. Yet, if you look at the typical Soviet/Russian or US manuals discussing operational art you will notice that it is always assumed that the other side will initiate the use of WMD (even in secret documents).

Again, ask yourself, why is that? Is it only a type of political correctness showing that “we are the good guys” and “they are truly evil”? To some degree, yes, but not only.

I submit that all three cases have the same explanation: WMD are very tricky to use, and when used, they can result in absolutely truly cataclysmic political consequences. Take for example the (completely fake) reports about the Syrian government using chemical weapons against the Takfiris: they made no sense to any military analyst simply because 1) they brought no advantage to Damascus and 2) everybody knew that as soon as this latest “new Hitler” would be accused of using chemical munitions, the Empire would seize this pretext to strike at Syria.

True, the Takfiris *DID* develop chemical weapons, apparently, they did try to use them here and there, with no special result to show for, and recently they seem to have poisoned themselves (according to Russian reports). Besides, the very real stocks of Takfiri bioweapons were used as proof of Syrian government attacks (how insanely stupid is that?). So for these Takfiri nutcases, there are no real political consequences. As for their public image, following many hours of video-taped atrocities, you can be sure that they don’t care one bit what the “kafirs” and other “crusaders” think…

Same deal for Saddam Hussein who, aided by the “international community” (mostly the Empire, the USSR and France), did use chemicals against his own population and against Iran, but since he was “our son of a bitch” he was under ZERO risk of retaliation. But when the Empire turned on him, he did not dare to use his WMD against anybody.

Why?

Because the US-led forces would not be stopped by a chemical attack. And because any such attack would give the US and the rest of the anti-Iraqi coalition a “license” to use whatever weapon or technology against Iraq they wanted, including tactical nukes.

The truth is that there are very few military scenarios in which the use of WMD makes sense, this is true for all three of them, but this is especially true for biowarfare which is the hardest of them to control.

Here I have to, again, remind everybody that war is never an end by itself, but only a means towards an end, and that end is always POLITICAL. Going in just to kill people and even bombing a country back to the stone age does NOT qualify as a political goal. If you prefer, the political goal is what ought to be defined as “victory”. So, again, “destroying all enemy ships” or “pulling off a decapitating anti-leadership strike” are NOT political goals.

There are several countries out there which are capable of developing bioweapons. In fact, most biolabs could manufacture a simple bioweapon using commonly found agents. But labs don’t get to decide to engage such weapons. That decision is clearly one which can only be taken at the national command center level and only following a compelling argument by military and scientific specialists. Finally, no responsible government would ever order the use of WMD if it felt that there is a risk of retaliation, both military or political.

Finally, in the case of SARS-CoV-2 and of all the other epidemics/pandemics we see situation where the infection is not confined to the original infection site but goes global.

As far as I know, and please correct me if I am wrong, but I know if no virus which has been successfully deployed against a specific target and then remained contained to that target. In other words, the risk of “collateral damage” from bioweapons is pretty close to infinite (at least potentially).

Yes, in theory, a country could develop a new virus, or weaponize an known one, and then develop a vaccine and then vaccinate its armed forces or even its entire population. But that would amount to placing a huge sign on the White House saying “Yes, we done it!”: political suicide.

Now, the VAST majority of comments here have focused on the possible medical aspects of this pandemic, which is fine and which I have nothing to contribute to. But I ask you now to look at the MILITARY and, therefore, POLITICAL, dimensions of this crisis and ask yourself cui bono?

Seems to me that China and Russia did very, very well. The crisis is pretty much under control in China, and in Russia it is both limited and confined. The fact that neither the Chinese nor the Russians have any delusions about the “private sector” and the fact that these societies perfectly understand that a powerful government is needed to respond to this type (and many other) types of crisis helped them. No such luck for the deluded United States which has less than 950’000 hospital beds in the entire country and whose president seems to believe that Walmart and Amazon can deliver respirators to those in need.

In fact, the USA is a country which can LEAST afford a real pandemic, so why would the US leaders decide to unleash a weapon against comparatively MUCH better prepared countries while itself is one of the most vulnerable on the planet?

How about the fact that the situation in Europe looks absolutely awful? Yes, I know, the Idiot-in-Chief did not even bother to consult with the USA’s so-called “allies” before declaring his (confused) 30 day ban on travel between the US and the EU. But it is one thing to have no manners and not understand diplomacy, it is quite another to be the party responsible for tens of thousands, possibly even millions, of dead amongst your so-called “allies”.

So it boils down to this: do we believe that the real leaders of the AngloZionist Empire (not the clowns in the White House, obviously) insane enough to still try to pull off such an operation?

Frankly, I will not say “no”. I will admit that this is possible.

But, as I like to remind everybody, possible is NOT the same as “likely” and it dramatically different from “established”.

In conclusion:

  1. So far, all we have are speculations and guesses.
  2. We also know that irrespective of how “good”/”bad”/effective the SARS-CoV-2 virus is, using ANY WMD is fantastically dangerous both politically and militarily.
  3. And we know of no modern cases of a successful and limited viral bioweapon attack (bacteria and spores are rather different from that point of view)

Now this is my request to all the commentators:

Since we have discussed the biomedical aspects of SARS-CoV-2 ad nauseam, let’s stop for a while and let’s now ONLY discuss the political and military implications of a deliberate use of SARS-CoV-2 against China (or any other country).

There are two more things I would like to share with you.

First, I looked at the tweet of the Chinese official who declared that the SARS-CoV-2 might have come from the USA. I believe it is this one:

First, I looked at the tweet of the Chinese official who declared that the SARS-CoV-2 might have come from the USA. I believe it is this one:

It refers to this GlobalResearch article: https://www.globalresearch.ca/china-coronavirus-shocking-update/5705196 . In turn, the GlobalResarch article references a GlobalTimes article: https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1180429.shtml . This latest article refers to the website ChinaXiv http://chinaxiv.org/home.htm (I think!). So what we have is a Chinese official, referencing a Canadian outlet, which references a Chinese source which itself bases its reports from a website clearly close to the Chinese government.

Now, unlike most folks in the West, I trust the Chinese government infinitely more than ANY western regime, but even I can see that once the China-bashing campaign swung to a totally new level once the SARS-CoV-2 panic began, the Chinese had a major political interest to point a finger right back at the USA.

In fact, I would argue that NO government out there wants to be blamed for this latest disaster and that the finger pointing is not going to stop, especially if a US politician dies from respiratory complications.

The other thing which will inevitably grow is panic. So far, relatively few people in the West have died, but most specialists agree that this crisis is far from over, especially not in the EU and USA where the epidemic it is still on the ascent. Right now, the general public in the West reminds me of a guy falling from a skyscraper and who, passing the 10th floor, thinks “so far, so good”. Friends, it *WILL* get worse, even if only 1 or 2 percent of the infected people die. I loathe both Merkel and Jonhson, but compared to the flag-waving “best Idiot-in-Chief in the galaxy”, they come across as almost honest politicians (at least and only in this case).

Finally, I want to post an extremely interesting interview by the Russian version of RT of the Academician and Chief Senior Pulmonologist of Russia, Aleksandr Chuchalin. This interview is EXTREMELY interesting and contains a wealth of important statements which, considering who is making them, I would be willing to take to the bank. One problem, this interview is only in Russian:

And here is my special request to all Russian speakersif you can, could you please either 1) find the interview in English, maybe just a transcript or, if not, could you please translate as much of that interview as possible and post your translation in the comments section (or send it to me for posting)? If you cannot translate it all, at least post a summary of the most interesting points?

I wish I could do it myself, but I am really exhausted and, besides, there is a lot of medical terminology I don’t really understand. My wife does, but she is also exhausted. This is why I ask for your help (ребята – если честно, то просто сил нет, помогите если можете!).

That’s it for me for today.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, on SARS-CoV-2

Imam Khamenei

The command to the Armed Forces to establish a Medical Base to fight Coronavirus

  • Mar 13, 2020

The Commander-in-Chief’s order to the Armed Forces due to the increased likelihood of the Coronavirus being a biological attack


The Decree of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief to the Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces on the fight against Corona:
Establish a health and treatment base to organize services for people

Imam Khamenei, the Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces, issued a decree to the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Major General Bagheri, praising the Armed Forces’ services to the people in the fight against the Coronavirus. In emphasizing the need to organize these services into the form of a “Health and Treatment Base” for preventing the spread of the disease, his Eminence stated,

“This measure may also be regarded as a biological defense exercise and add to our national sovereignty and power given the evidence that suggests the likelihood of this being a “biological attack.”


The text of the decree of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution is as follows:


In the Name of Allahthe Beneficentthe Merciful

Major General Bagheri,
With appreciation for the services that the Armed Forces have provided to the dear people so far in the fight against Coronavirus, and with emphasis on the need to continue and expand these services, it is necessary to organize these services into a Health and Treatment Base In addition to treating the sick and establishing medical centers such as field hospitals, places of quarantine, etc., the spread of the disease should also be prevented using the necessary methods. The division of duties and missions of the organizations and departments of the Armed Forces is one of the tasks of this Base. This Base must work in full coordination with the government and the Ministry of Health.

This measure may also be regarded as a biological defense exercise and add to our national sovereignty and power given the evidence that suggests the likelihood of this being a “biological attack.”
It is hoped that with divine guidance and the special support of Imam Mahdi (‘a.j.), the Iranian nation will always be victorious, safe and sound.

Sayyid Ali Khamenei

March 13, 2020

Analyst: Trump’s Offer Hypocritical, Iran Continues to Battle Coronavirus

Analyst: Trump’s Offer Hypocritical, Iran Continues to Battle Coronavirus

By Nour Rida – Tehran

Harsh US sanctions continue to be imposed on Iran despite the World Health Organization declaring that Coronavirus is a pandemic. Nevertheless, the Islamic Republic has proved to be resilient in face of challenges, and has ongoing attempts to find a cure for the COVID-19 virus sweeping across the globe.

On March 1, it was revealed that a major IRGC Iranian research center was developing drugs as well as a vaccine for Coronavirus to boost the government’s efforts to battle the outbreak. Chancellor of the Baqiyatallah Medical Sciences University [BMSU] said three research teams at the academic center were working on treatments for Coronavirus, adding that one of the groups had already come up with a drug that could be used to cure the illness.

Also on March 11, a ceremony in Tehran featured unveiling of a first model of a domestically-manufactured thermal imaging camera, produced by Iran, an electronics company run by the Defense Ministry. The infra-red device was comparable to foreign products when it comes to precision in diagnosing fever, the company said, while the authorities attending the ceremony said the camera would enter the mass-production stage in near future.

The next day, Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei has issued an edict to Iran’s top general, emphasizing the need for the establishment of a “health and treatment base” to prevent further spread of an ongoing Coronavirus epidemic in the country.

According to activist and political analyst Setareh Sadeghi, “this is a chance for Iran to develop its own needs and to develop a solution to its problem like always.”

Iran is well known for being able to be self-sufficient despite sanctions and pressure. The World Health Organization hailed Iran for its performance in dealing with the epidemic. WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Richard Bernan lauded Iran’s preventive measures to fight against Corona virus, and called on the regional states to use the country’s experience in its nationwide campaign against the epidemic.

However, at the time when people are dying of Coronavirus as it spreads very fast there are things that Iran urgently needs and there is no enough time to develop the needs or medicine.

“I think sanctions have made it very difficult for medical supplies to reach ordinary Iranians and it is not only during the COVID-19 phase even before. But now, since the Coronavirus is a pandemic it is affecting a large population of Iranians and its clearer with the current situation how the sanctions are affecting the health sector,” noted The University of Tehran Phd candidate in American studies.

The commentator went on to say “For example, I know that for patients with cancer, many of the medicines needed have become very scarce and almost impossible to find. When you do find a medicine it is very expensive due to the dramatic increase in prices. The same is true with the Coronavirus because many of the patients with COVID-19 have a background of medical needs and diseases and that is why it has even become difficult for them to fight the disease otherwise there are many people who are recovering from it.”

Dual standards and contradictions are crystal clear in the American rhetoric towards Iran. As Iran urged lifting unilateral and illegal sanctions imposed by the United States on the country, which have greatly hampered the Islamic Republic’s fight against the new Coronavirus pandemic, Trump’s administration totally neglected that.

On Sunday Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif in a tweet said the US President Donald Trump is “maliciously tightening US illegal sanctions with aim of draining Iran’s resources needed in the fight against COVID19—while our citizens are dying from it”.

All Trump did was repeat an offer made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo On February 28, when he claimed that the United States has offered to help with the Coronavirus response in Iran. Trump allegedly said he was ready to help Iran with its outbreak of novel Coronavirus if the country asked for assistance. Alongside Trump’s proposal, Britain, France and Germany offered Iran a package of material and financial support to combat the rapid spread of Coronavirus on March 3 and pledged 5 million euros in aid.

On this note, the analyst assured that “Trump’s offer of help is very ridiculous and I am happy Iran turned it down. If the US was genuine in wanting to offer help to Iran they could have at least lifted sanctions off medical supplies and food or at least financial transfer for medical supplies.”

Iranian officials have turned down the offer, calling it a “political-psychological game” and even accused the United States of having launched a “bio-terror attack” against Iran which caused the Coronavirus outbreak.

Sadeghi also believed that “Trump’s offer is so fake and dishonest and the Iranians do not accept it. If the US can find a way to send us a package to aid with the Coronavirus, why not lift the sanctions? I do not understand how you can impose sanctions on medical supplies of a nation and then at the same time offer to send them medical aid or help. This is so hypocritical and any common sense would absolutely reject such an offer.”

Banning banking and financial transfers also constitute a problem. Sadeghi underscored that “Medical supplies have also become very difficult for Iran to purchase from other countries because of the sanctions and this includes also financial transfers. So Iran would buy its medical equipment and supplies from other countries but because of the financial transactions and transfer have become almost impossible for Iranians.”

She added “It is very cruel at this time when the world is trying to fight the Coronavirus, Iranians have to struggle with increasing difficulties due to the sanctions; Iranian hospitals suffer from shortage of equipment and medicine and cannot get it from anywhere due to the transfer limitations.”

In February, a new Swiss payment mechanism known as Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement to allow food, medicine and other humanitarian aid to be sent to Iran without stumbling over US sanctions officially took effect with but on Wednesday Mousavi said the US sanctions have “practically blocked the way and have not let Iran’s financial resources in other countries enter Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement”.

Related Articles

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.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

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


Comment on Global Research Articles on our Facebook page

Become a Member of Global Research

الحرب البيولوجيّة الأميركيّة ضدّ إيران

د. ساعود ساعود

على غرار عواصف الجراد في السعودية وباكستان، داهم فيروس كورونا ووهان، وأتبعها بإيران، دولٌ باتت في حيرة من أمرها إزاء هذا الفيروس اللعين، إلى درجة التشكيك به كمؤامرة ضدها. وحديثنا عن إيران، حيث تناقلت وسائل الإعلان قول عضو لجنة الأمن القومي في البرلمان الإيراني، شهرور برزغر قائلاً: «ما فهمته من حديث وزير الصحة أن هناك نوعين من فيروس كورونا في إيران أحدهما فيروس ووهان والآخر مجهول المنشأ، وهذا برأيي يعزز احتمال وجود هجوم بيولوجي إرهابي أميركي في إيران».

وفي السياق نفسه، قالت القوات المسلحة الإيرانية إن لديها معطيات بشأن احتمال وجود «هجوم بيولوجي أميركي» على إيران عبر نشر فيروس كورونا في البلاد. وفي لقاء مع قناة العالم الإيرانية الناطقة بالعربية قال عراقي زادة: «أعتقد بأنّ لدينا بعض المعطيات ونتحدث عن الهجوم البيولوجي على أساس هذه المعطيات.

ونعتقد بأن الولايات المتحدة لديها مختبرات في مناطق مختلفة من العالم تعمل في هذه المختبرات على تطبيق بكتيريات وفيروسات وعلم هندسة الجينات وصناعة مواد بيولوجية. وبما أن فيروس كورونا حديث، فربما وبالإمكان ويمكن أن يكون هذا الفيروس قد تم خلقه في المختبرات الأميركية.

ونحن ننظر إلى هذا الموضوع كاحتمال، سندرس هذا الأمر وإن توصلنا لنتيجة فسوف نعلن عنها».

وما سأقوم به في هذه المقالة هو دراسة احتمال أن يكون فيروس كورونا سلاح بيولوجي ضد إيران، فحسب ما أراه ويراه الكثيرون غيري، أنّه ليس من عادة الولايات المتحدة الأميركية أن تترك خصومها والمهددين لأمنها بسلام. والأدلة والإثباتات كثيرة منها استراتيجية الاحتواء الأميركية للشيوعية أثناء الحرب الباردة، والاتحاد السوفياتي أيضاً خصم أميركا الذي كانت سبباً في انهياره 1991م، كذلك دول منطقة الشرق الأوسط التي تهدّد أمن «اسرائيل» – من وجهة نظرهم وحسب ما تقر به أدبياتهم – بداية بالعراق واتهامه أميركياً بامتلاك أسلحة تدمير شامل فكان غزو 2003م، وما شهدته سورية الدولة القوية التي تخشاها «اسرائيل» فكان عام 2011م وبداية حرب كونيّة ضد سورية لتدميرها وتفتيت قواها، وإيران مثال آخر ترى فيه أميركا تهديداً لها ولحلفائها مصادر الاستغلال الأميركي، فكان اتهام إيران بمشروعها النووي بحجة عسكرته لا سلميّته.

والنتيجة إن الولايات المتحدة الأميركية لم تترك على مدى التاريخ دولة من الدول أو قوة من القوى بلغت مستوى عالياً من التطوّر والتقدّم، ولا دولة ترى فيها تهديداً لمصالحها إلا وحاولت تدميرها بأسلوب من الأساليب عبر مؤسساتها العسكرية والأمنية والاستخبارية ومراكز بحوثها العلمية.

وهنا لا بد من ذكر بعض الأسباب التي تجعل إيران هدفاً أميركياً منها مثلاً:

أولاً: البرنامج النووي الإيراني قد بات نقطة مركزية في التوتر الأميركي – الإيراني.

ثانياً: البرنامج الصاروخي لطهران رغم أنّه عامل ردع بالنسبة لإيران لا أكثر، إلا أن الأميركي يصوّر الأمر كما يحلو له، ويعتبره تهديداً لمصالحها ولمصالح حلفائها في منطقة الشرق الأوسط.

ثالثاً: العداء والصدام بين إيران وحلفائها من جهة وأميركا وحلفائها، خصوصاً في منطقة الشرق الأوسط.

عموماً أنّ تاريخ الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، مليء بمثل هذه الأحداث والتجارب والشواهد كثيرة أهمها ما يخص التجريب على البشر مثال:

أولاً: في عام 1950، من أجل إجراء محاكاة هجوم الحرب البيولوجية، رشت البحرية الأميركية كميات كبيرة من البكتيريا السراتية الذابلة – كانت تعتبر غير مؤذية في هذا الوقت – فوق مدينة سان فرانسيسكو خلال مشروع يسمى عملية رذاذ البحر. أُصيب العديد من المواطنين بأمراض تشبه الالتهاب الرئوي، وتُوفي شخص على الأقل كنتيجة لذلك.

ثانياً: كتبت سان فرانسيسكو كرونيكل، بتاريخ 17 ديسمبر، 1979، صفحة 5 عن ادعاء الكنيسة العلموية بأن وكالة الاستخبارات المركزية أجرت تجربة حرب بيولوجية في الهواء الطلق في عام 1955 بالقرب من تامبا، فلوريدا ومناطق أخرى في ولاية فلوريدا ببكتيريا السعال الديكي. وزعمت أن التجربة زادت من إصابات السعال الديكي بمقدار ثلاثة أضعاف في فلوريدا وأصيب أكثر من ألف حالة وتسبب ذلك في زيادة حالات الوفاة بسبب السعال الديكي في الدولة من واحد إلى 12 عن العام السابق.

ثالثاً: في عام 1966، أطلق الجيش الأميركي بكتيريا جلوبيجي العصوية إلى نظام مترو أنفاق مدينة نيويورك كجزء من دراسة ميدانية تُسمى دراسة قابلية إصابة ركاب المترو في مدينة نيويورك بهجوم سري باستخدام العوامل البيولوجية. خضع نظام مترو أنفاق شيكاغو أيضاً لتجربة مماثلة من قبل الجيش. وهناك تجارب الإشعاع الذري والتلوث الإشعاعي.

وبناء على هذه الوقائع الموثقة تاريخياً، بنيت اعتقادي بأنّ الولايات المتحدة الأميركية قد خططت لنشر فيروس كورونا في إيران من قبيل حرب بيولوجية تريحها من تحريك أي ساكن، وأرباحها كثيرة لا تقدّر بثمن على الصعد الشتى.

إنّ العمل على نشر فيروس كورونا، وتضخيم أثاره السلبية على إيران، يندرج ضمن مخطط أميركي لضربها اقتصادياً وعسكرياً وثقافياً ضمن إطار ما يسمى اليوم بحروب الجيل الرابع والخامس؛ التي تقوم على خلق أزمات ونشر الأوبئة والأمراض تحت إطار الحروب البيولوجية، وبث الفتن والاشاعات وهدم القيم والتراث، وهدم المجتمع بشكل عام، والابتعاد نهائياً عن أسلوب الصدام المباشر. ولقد أتضحت وثبت هذه النتيجة في ضوء القرائن التاريخية للتجارب البيولوجية الأميركية، وللتعامل الأميركي مع القوى المنافسة لها وللقوى الصاعدة أيضاً.

وعلى هذا الأساس إنّ فيروس كورونا هو شكل من أشكال الحرب البيولوجية الأميركية لإيران.

*أستاذ جامعي.

No Weapon Left Behind: The American Hybrid War on China

Pepe Escobar February 21, 2020

The New Silk Roads – or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – were launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013, first in Central Asia (Nur-Sultan) and then Southeast Asia (Jakarta).

One year later, the Chinese economy overtook the U.S. on a PPP basis. Inexorably, year after year since the start of the millennium, the U.S. share of the global economy shrinks while China’s increases.

China is already the key hub of the global economy and the leading trade partner of nearly 130 nations.

While the U.S. economy is hollowed out, and the casino financing of the U.S. government – repo markets and all – reads as a dystopian nightmare, the civilization-state steps ahead in myriad areas of technological research, not least because of Made in China 2025.

China largely beats the U.S. on patent filings and produces at least 8 times as many STEM graduates a year than the U.S., earning the status of top contributor to global science.

A vast array of nations across the Global South signed on to be part of BRI, which is planned for completion in 2049. Last year alone, Chinese companies signed contracts worth up to $128 billion in large-scale infrastructure projects in dozen of nations.

The only economic competitor to the U.S. is busy reconnecting most of the world to a 21st century, fully networked version of a trade system that was at its peak for over a millennia: the Eurasian Silk Roads.

Inevitably this state of things is something interlocking sectors of the U.S. ruling class simply would not accept.

Branding BRI as a “pandemic”

As the usual suspects fret over the “stability” of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Xi Jinping administration, the fact is the Beijing leadership has had to deal with an accumulation of extremely severe issues: a swine-flu epidemic killing half the stock; the Trump-concocted trade war; Huawei accused of racketeering and about to be prevented from buying U.S. made chips; bird flu; coronavirus virtually shutting down half of China.

Add to it the incessant United States government Hybrid War propaganda barrage, trespassed by acute Sinophobia; everyone from sociopathic “officials” to self-titled councilors are either advising corporate businesses to divert global supply chains out of China or concocting outright calls for regime change – with every possible demonization in between.

There are no holds barred in the all-out offensive to kick the Chinese government while it’s down.

A Pentagon cipher at the Munich Security Conference once again declares China as the greatest threat, economically and militarily, to the U.S. – and by extension the West, forcing a wobbly EU already subordinated to NATO to be subservient to Washington on this remixed Cold War 2.0.

The whole U.S. corporate media complex repeats to exhaustion that Beijing is “lying” and losing control. Descending to sub-gutter, racist levels, hacks even accuse BRI itself of being a pandemic, with China “impossible to quarantine”.

All that is quite rich, to say the least, oozing from lavishly rewarded slaves of an unscrupulous, monopolistic, extractive, destructive, depraved, lawless oligarchy which uses debt offensively to boost their unlimited wealth and power while the lowly U.S. and global masses use debt defensively to barely survive. As Thomas Piketty has conclusively shown, inequality always relies on ideology.

We’re deep into a vicious intel war. From the point of view of Chinese intelligence, the current toxic cocktail simply cannot be attributed to just a random series of coincidences. Beijing has serial motives to piece this extraordinary chain of events as part of a coordinated Hybrid War, Full Spectrum Dominance attack on China.

Enter the Dragon Killer working hypothesis: a bio-weapon attack capable of causing immense economic damage but protected by plausible deniability. The only possible move by the “indispensable nation” on the New Great Game chessboard, considering that the U.S. cannot win a conventional war on China, and cannot win a nuclear war on China.

A biological warfare weapon?

On the surface, coronavirus is a dream bio-weapon for those fixated on wreaking havoc across China and praying for regime change.

Yet it’s complicated. This report is a decent effort trying to track the origins of coronavirus. Now compare it with the insights by Dr. Francis Boyle, international law professor at the University of Illinois and author, among others, of Biowarfare and Terrorism. He’s the man who drafted the U.S. Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 signed into law by George H. W. Bush.

Dr. Boyle is convinced coronavirus is an

“offensive biological warfare weapon” that leaped out of the Wuhan BSL-4 laboratory, although he’s “not saying it was done deliberately.”

Dr. Boyle adds, “all these BSL-4 labs by United States, Europe, Russia, China, Israel are all there to research, develop, test biological warfare agents. There’s really no legitimate scientific reason to have BSL-4 labs.” His own research led to a whopping $100 billion, by 2015, spent by the United States government on bio-warfare research: “We have well over 13,000 alleged life science scientists… testing biological weapons here in the United States. Actually this goes back and it even precedes 9/11.”

Dr. Boyle directly accuses “the Chinese government under Xi and his comrades” of a cover up “from the get-go. The first reported case was December 1, so they’d been sitting on this until they couldn’t anymore. And everything they’re telling you is a lie. It’s propaganda.”

The World Health Organization (WHO), for Dr. Boyle, is also on it: “They’ve approved many of these BSL-4 labs (…) Can’t trust anything the WHO says because they’re all bought and paid for by Big Pharma and they work in cahoots with the CDC, which is the United States government, they work in cahoots with Fort Detrick.” Fort Detrick, now a cutting-edge bio-warfare lab, previously was a notorious CIA den of mind control “experiments”.

Relying on decades of research in bio-warfare, the U.S. Deep State is totally familiar with all bio-weapon overtones. From Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki to Korea, Vietnam and Fallujah, the historical record shows the United States government does not blink when it comes to unleashing weapons of mass destruction on innocent civilians.

For its part, the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) has spent a fortune researching bats, coronaviruses and gene-editing bio-weapons. Now, conveniently – as if this was a form of divine intervention – DARPA’s “strategic allies” have been chosen to develop a genetic vaccine.

The 1996 neocon Bible, the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), unambiguously stated, “advanced forms of biological warfare that can “target” specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool.”

There’s no question coronavirus, so far, has been a Heaven-sent politically useful tool, reaching, with minimum investment, the desired targets of maximized U.S. global power – even if fleetingly, enhanced by a non-stop propaganda offensive – and China relatively isolated with its economy semi paralyzed.

Yet perspective is in order. The CDC estimated that up to 42.9 million people got sick during the 2018-2019 flu season in the U.S. No less than 647,000 people were hospitalized. And 61,200 died.

This report details the Chinese “people’s war” against coronavirus.

It’s up to Chinese virologists to decode its arguably synthetic origin. How China reacts, depending on the findings, will have earth-shattering consequences – literally.

Setting the stage for the Raging Twenties

After managing to reroute trade supply chains across Eurasia to its own advantage and hollow out the Heartland, American – and subordinated Western – elites are now staring into a void. And the void is staring back. A “West” ruled by the U.S. is now faced with irrelevance. BRI is in the process of reversing at least two centuries of Western dominance.

There’s no way the West and especially the “system leader” U.S. will allow it. It all started with dirty ops stirring trouble across the periphery of Eurasia – from Ukraine to Syria to Myanmar.

Now it’s when the going really gets tough. The targeted assassination of Maj. Gen. Soleimani plus coronavirus – the Wuhan flu – have really set up the stage for the Raging Twenties. The designation of choice should actually be WARS – Wuhan Acute Respiratory Syndrome. That would instantly give the game away as a War against Humanity – irrespective of where it came from.The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

%d bloggers like this: